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his own person, and against them, might appropriate to himself the strength of a whole nation as his proper goods. What
'а the laws of the land are, a parliament should know best, having both the life and death of laws in their law-giving power: and the law of England is, at best, but the reason of parliament. The parliament, therefore, taking into their hands that whereof most properly they ought to have the keeping, committed no surprisal. If they prevented him, that argued not at all either his “innocency or unpreparedness," but their timely foresight to use prevention.
But what needed that? “ They knew his chiefest arms left him were those only which the ancient Christians were wont to use against their persecutors, prayers and tears.” * O sacred reverence of God! respect and shame of men ! whither were ye fled when these hypocrisies were uttered? Was the kingdom then at all that cost of blood to remove from him none but prayers and tears ? What were those thousands of blaspheming cavaliers about him, whose mouths let fly oaths and curses by the volley : were those the prayers; and those carouses drunk to the confusion of all things good or holy, did those minister the tears ? Were they prayers and tears that were listed at York, mustered on Heworth Moor, and laid siege to Hull for the guard of his person? Were prayers and tears at so high a rate in Holland, that nothing could purchase them but the crown jewels? Yet they in Holland (such word was sent us) sold them for guns, carabines, mortar-pieces, cannons, and other deadly instruments of war; which, when they came to York, were all, no doubt by the merit of some great saint, suddenly transformed into prayers and tears: and, being divided into regiments and brigades, were the only arms that mischieved us in all those battles and encounters.
These were his chief arms, whatever we must call them, and yet such arms as they who fought for the commonwealth have, by the help of better prayers, vanquished and brought to nothing. He bewails his want of the militia, not so much in reference to his own protection, as the people's, whose many and sore oppressions grieve him.” Never considering how ill for seventeen years together he had protected them, and that these miseries of the people are still his own handiwork, having smitten them, like a forked arrow, so sore into the kingdom's sides, as not to be drawn out and cured without the incision of more flesh.
* They who read the history of the civil wars will certainly be astonished at this declaration, and think Milton's rebuke richly deserved.--Ed.
He tells us, that " what he wants in the hand of power," he has in “ the wings of faith and prayer.” But they who made no reckoning of those wings while they had that power in their hands, may easily mistake the wings of faith for the wings of presumption, and so fall headlong. We meet next with a comparison, how apt let them judge who have travelled to Mekka," that the parliament have hung the majesty of kingship in an airy imagination of regality, between the privileges of both houses, like the tomb of Mahomet." He knew not that he was prophesying the death and burial of a Turkish tyranny, that spurned down those laws which gave it life and being, so long as it endured to be a regulated monarchy.
He counts it an injury“ not to have the sole power in himself to help or hurt any;" and that the “militia, which he holds to be his undoubted right, should be disposed as the parliament thinks fit:" and yet confesses that, if he had it in his actual disposing, he would defend those whom he calls “ his good subjects from those men’s violence and fraud, who would persuade the world that none but wolves are fit to be trusted with the custody of the shepherd and his flock." Surely, if we may guess whom he means here, by knowing whom he hath ever most opposed in this controversy, we may then assure ourselves that by violence and fraud he means that which the parliament hath done in settling the militia, and those the wolves into whose hands it was by them intrusted : which draws a clear confession from his own mouth, that if the parliament had left him sole power of the militia, he would have used it to the destruction of them and their friends.
As for sole power of the militia, which he claims as a right no less undoubted than the crown, it hath been oft enough told him that he hath no more authority over the sword than over the law : over the law he hath none, either to establish or to abrogate, to interpret or to execute, but only by his courts and in his courts, whereof the parliament is highest; no more, therefore, hath he power of the militia,
which is the sword, either to use or to dispose, but with consent of parliament; give him but that, and as good give him in a lump all our laws and liberties. For if the power of the sword were anywhere separate and undepending from the power of the law, which is originally seated in the highest court, then would that power of the sword be soon master of the law : and being at one man's disposal might, when he pleased, control the law; and in derision of our Magna Charta, which were but weak resistance against an armed tyrant, might absolutely enslave us. And not to have in ourselves, though vaunting to be freeborn, the power of our own freedom, and the public safety, is a degree lower than not to have the property of our own goods. For liberty of person, and the right of self-preservation, is much nearer, much more natural, and more worth to all men, than the property of their goods and wealth. Yet such power as all this did the king in open terms challenge to have over us, and brought thousands to help him win it; so much more good at fighting than at understanding, as to persuade themselves, that they fought then for the subject's liberty.
He is contented, because he knows no other remedy, to resign this power“ for his own time, but not for his successors :"' so diligent and careful he is, that we should be slaves, if not to him, yet to his posterity, and fain would leave us the legacy of another war about it. But the parliament have done well to remove that question : whom as his manner is to dignify with some good name or other, he calls now a
many-headed hydra of government, full of factious distractions, and not more eyes than mouths.” Yet surely not more mouths, or not so wide, as the dissolute rabble of all his courtiers had, both hees and shees,
He would prove, that to govern by parliament hath“ monstrosity rather than perfection ;” and grounds his argu
. ment upon two or three eminent absurdities : first, by placing counsel in the senses ; next, by turning the senses out of the head, and in lieu thereof placing power supreme above sense and reason : which be now the greater monstrosities? Further to dispute what kind of government is best would be a long debate; it sufficeth that his reasons here for monarchy are found weak and inconsiderable.
if there were any
He bodes much “ horror and bad influence after his eclipse." He speaks his wishes; but they who by weighing prudently things past foresee things to come, the best divination, may hope rather all good success and happiness, by removing that darkness, which the misty cloud of his prerogative made between us and a peaceful reformation, which is our true sunlight, and not he, though he would be taken for our sun itself. And wherefore should we not hope to be governed more happily without a king, whenas all our misery and trouble hath been either by a king, or by our necessary vindication and defence against him ?
He would be thought "inforced to perjury,” by having granted the militia, by which his oath bound him to protect che people. If he can be perjured in granting that, why doth he refuse for no other cause the abolishing of episcopacy? But never was any oath so blind as to swear him to protect delinquents against justice, but to protect all the people in that order, and by those hands which the parliament should advise him to, and the protected confide in; not under the show of protection to hold a violent and incommunicable sword over us, as ready to be let fall upon our own necks, as upon our enemies ; nor to make our own hands and weapons fight against our own liberties.
By his parting with the militia he takes to himself much praise of his
assurance in God's protection;" and to the parliament imputes the fear" of not daring to adventure the injustice of their actions upon any other way of safety.” But wherefore came not this assurance of God's protection to him till the militia was wrung out of his hands ? It should seem by his holding it so fast, that his own actions and intentions had no less of injustice in them, than what he charges upon others, whom he terms Chaldeans, Sabeans, and the devil himself. But Job used no such militia against those enemies, nor such a magazine as was at Hull, which this king so contended for, and made war upon us, that he might have wherewithal to make war against us.
He concludes, that," although they take all from him, yet can they not obstruct his way to heaven.” It was no handsome occasion, by feigning obstructions where they are not, to tell us whither he was going : he should have shut the door, and prayed in secret, not here in the high street. Private prayers
in public ask something of whom they ask not, and that shall be thei, reward.
CHAPTER XI. Upon the Nineteen Propositions, fc. Of the nineteen propositions he names none in particular, neither shall the answer : but he insists upon the old plea of “his conscience, honour, and reason;" using the plausibility of large and indefinite words, to defend himself at such a distance as may hinder the eye of common judgment from all distinct view and examination of his reasoning. “He would buy the peace of his people at any rate, save only the parting with his conscience and honour.” Yet shews not how it can happen that the peace of a people, if otherwise to be bought at any rate, should be inconsistent or at variance with the conscience and honour of a king. Till then, we may receive it for a better sentence, that nothing should be more agreeable to the conscience and honour of a king, than to preserve his subjects in peace; especially from civil war.
And which of the propositions were “obtruded on hin with the point of the sword,” till he first with the point of the sword,” thrust from him both the propositions and the propounders ? He never reckons those violent and merciless obtrusions, which for almost twenty years he had been forcing upon tender consciences, by all sorts of persecution, till through the multitude of them that were to suffer, it could no more be called a persecution, but a plain war. From which when first the Scots, then the English, were constrained to defend themselves, this their just defence is that which he calls here, “their making war upon his soul.” He grudges that so many things are required of him,
a and nothing offered him in requital of those favours which he had granted.” What could satiate the desires of this man, who being king of England, and master of almost two millions yearly,* what by hook or crook, was still in want; and those acts of justice which he was to do in duty, counts done as favours; and such favours as were not done without
Since that time the revenues of England have somewhat increased ! -ED,