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up himself the higher, by the greater heap which he sat promising himself of our sudden ruin through dissension.
But he infers, as if the parliament would have compelled him to part with something of “his honour as a king." What honour could he have or call his, joined not only with the offence or disturbance, but with the bondage and destruction of three nations ? whereof, though he be careless and improvident, yet the parliament, by our laws and freedom, ought to judge, and use prevention ; our laws else were but cobweb laws. And what were all his most rightful honours, but the people's gift, and the investment of that lustre, majesty, and honour, which for the public good, and no otherwise, redounds from a whole nation into one person? So far is any honour from being his to a common mischief and calamity. Yet still he talks on equal terms with the grand representative of that people, for whose sake he was a king; as if the general welfare and his subservient rights were of equal moment or consideration. His aim indeed hath ever been to magnify and exalt his borrowed rights and prerogatives above the parliament and kingdom, of whom he holds them. But when a king sets himself to bandy against the highest court and residence of all his regal power, he then, in the single person of a man, fights against his own majesty and kingship, and then indeed sets the first hand to his own deposing.
“ The treaty at Uxbridge,” he saith, “ gave the fairest hopes of a happy composure;" fairest indeed, if his instructions to bribe our commissioners with the promise of security, rewards, and places, were fair. What other hopes it gave, no man can tell. There being but three main heads whereon to be treated-Ireland, episcopacy, and the militia ; the first was anticipated and forestalled by a peace at any rate to be hastened with the Irish rebels, ere the treaty could begin, that he might pretend his word and honour passed against “ the specious and popular arguments" (he calls them no better) which the parliament would urge upon him for the continuance of that just war. Episcopacy he bids the queen be confident he will never quit; * which informs us by what patronage it stood ; and the sword be resolves to clutch as fast, as if God with his own hand had put it into his. This was the “moderation which he brought;" this was,
* Yet it was her advice that he should quit it; and Sir William Davenant was dispatched over from France, in the hope of prevailing on him to abandon episcopacy, which she despised, as much as he superstitiously reverenced it. (Clarendon, v. 411.) The historian, indeed, relates, that she
as far as reason, honour, conscience," and the queen, who was his regent in all these,“ would give himn leave.”
Lastly, “ for composure," instead of happy, how miserable it was more likely to have been, wise men could then judge ; when the English, during treaty, were called rebels; the Irish, good and catholic subjects; and the parliament beforehand, though for fashion's sake called a parliament, yet, by a jesuitical sleight, not acknowledged, though called so; but pri
; vately in the council books enrolled no parliament: that if accommodation had succeeded, upon what terms soever, such a devilish fraud was prepared, that the king in his own esteem had been absolved from all performance, as having treated with rebels and no parliament; and they, on the other side, instead of an expected happiness, had been brought under the hatchet.* Then no doubt “ war had ended,” that massacre and tyranny might begin. These jealousies, however raised, let
, , all men see whether they be diminished or allayed by the letters of his own cabinet opened. And yet the breach of this treaty is laid all upon the parliament and their commissioners, with odious names of “ pertinacy, hatred of peace, faction, and covetousness,” nay, his own brat, “superstition,” is laid to their charge; notwithstanding his here profissed resolution to continue both the order, maintenance, and authority of prelates, as a truth of God.
And who were most to blame in the unsuccessfulness of was never advised by those who either understood or valued his true interests ;” which,” observes Warburton, “is one of the severest things he has permitted himself to say of this wicked woman.” (vii. 617.)-ED.
It seems to be admitted on all hands that such was the hypocrisy and duplicity of Charles the First's character, that no one could trust him. For in 1647, when the Scotch comniissioners waited on him at Hampton Court, and many officers of the army seemed desirous of serving his cause, a dread of his jesnitical principles arose, and checked them. " If those who at this time governed the army had any real intention of restoring the king, they certainly were diverted from the duplicity they discovered in the king's character, manifested in this negotiation with the Scotch commissioners.” (Warburton, Notes on Clarendon, vii. 618, 619.) And again : “ The king, by all the accounts of that time, even by some of those wrote by his own servants, acted a double and disingenuous part with those who governed the army.”—ED
that treaty,” his appeal is to God's decision; believing to be very excusable at that tribunal. But if ever man gloried in an inflexible stiffness, he came not behind any; and that grand maxim, always to put something into his treaties which might give colour to refuse all that was in other things granted, and to make them signify nothing, was his own principal maxim and particular instructions to his commissioners.
Yet all, by his own verdict, must be construed reason in the king, and depraved temper in the parliament.
That the “highest tide of success,” with these principles and designs, “ set him not above a treaty,” no great wonder. And yet if that be spoken to his praise, the parliament therein surpassed him; who, when he was their vanquished and their captive, his forces utterly broken and disbanded, yet offered him three several times no worse proposals or demands, than when he stood fair to be their conqueror. But that imprudent surmise that his lowest ebb could not set him “below a fight,” was a presumption that ruined him.
He presaged the future“ unsuccessfulness of treaties by the unwillingness of some men to treat ;” and could not see what was present, that their unwillingness had good cause to proceed from the continual experience of his own obstinacy and breach of word. His prayer, therefore, of forgiveness to the guilty of that treaty's breaking, he had good reason to say heartily over, as including no man in that guilt sooner than himself. As for that protestation following in his prayer, “ How oft have I entreated for peace, but when I speak thereof they make them ready to war;” unless he thought himself still in that perfidious mist between Colnbrook and Hounslow, and thought that mist could hide him from the
of Heaven as well as of man, after such a bloody recompence given to our first offers of peace, how could this in the sight of heaven without horrors of conscience be uttered ?
CHAPTER XIX. * Upon the various Events of the War. It is no new or unwonted thing, for bad men to claim as much part in God as his best servants; to usurp and imitate their words, and appropriate to themselves those properties which belong only to the good and righteous. This not only ir. scripture is familiarly to be found, but here also in this chapter of Apocrypha. He tells us much why“ it pleased God” to send him victory or loss, (although what in so doing was the intent of God, he might be much mistaken as to his own particular,) but we are yet to learn what real good use he made thereof in his practice.
Those numbers, which he grew to “ from small beginnings,” were not such as out of love came to protect him, for none approved his actions as a king, except courtiers and prelates, but were such as fled to be protected by him from the fear of that reformation which the pravity of their lives would not bear. Such a snowball he might easily gather by rolling through those cold and dark provinces of ignorance and lewdness, where on a sudden he became so numerous. He imputes that to God's" protection” which, to them who persist in a bad cause, is either his long-suffering or his hardening; and that to wholesome“chastisement” which were the gradual beginnings of a severe punishment. For if neither God nor nature put civil power in the hands of any whomsoever, but to a lawful end, and commands our obedience to the authority of law only, not to the tyrannical force of any person; and if the laws of our land have placed the sword in no man's single hand, so much as to unsheath against a foreign enemy, much less
upon the native people; but have placed it in that elective body of the parliament, to whom the making, repealing, judging, and interpreting of law itself was also committed, as was fittest, so long as we intended to be a free nation, and not the slaves of one man's will; then was the king himself disobedient and rebellious to that law by which he reigned : and by authority of parliament to raise arms against him in defence of law and liberty, we do not only think, but believe and know, was justifiable both by the word of God, the laws of the land, and all lawful oaths ;” and they who sided with him, fought against all these.
The same allegations which he uses for himself and his party, may as well fit any tyrant in the orld; for let the parliament be called a faction when the king pleases, and that no law must be made or changed, either civil or religious, because no law will content all sides, then must be made or changed no law at all, but what a tyrant, be he
protestant or papist, thinks fit. Which tyrannous assertion forced upon us by the sword, he who fights against, and dies fighting, if his other sins outweigh not, dies a martyr undoubtedly both of the faith and of the commonwealth ; and I hold it not as the opinion, but as the full belief and persuasion, of far holier and wiser men than parasitic preachers; who, without their dinner-doctrine, know that neither king, law, civil oaths, nor religion, was ever established without the parliament. And their power is the same to abrogate as to establish ; neither is anything to be thought established, which that house declares to be abolished. Where the parliament sits, there inseparably sits the king, there the laws, there our oaths, and whatsoever can be civil in religion. They who fought for the parliament, in the truest sense, fought for all these; who fought for the king divided from his parliament, fought for the shadow of a king against all these; and for things that were not, as if they were established. It were a thing monstrously absurd and contradictory, to give the parliament a legislative power, and then to upbraid them for transgressing old establishments.
But the king and his party having lost in this quarrel their heaven upon earth, hegin to make great reckoning of eternal life, and at an easy rate in forma pauperis canonize one another into heaven; he them in his book, they him in the portraiture before his book. But, as was said before, stage-work will not do it, much less the “justness of their cause," wherein most frequently they died in a brutish fierceness, with oaths and other damning words in their mouths; as if such had been all " the only oaths” they fought for; which undoubtedly sent them full sail on another voyage than to heaven. In the meanwhile they to whom God gave victory never brought to the king at Oxford the state of their consciences, that he should presume without confession, more than a pope presumes, to tell abroad what “conflicts and accusations” men whom he never spoke with have “in their own thoughts." We never read of any English king but one that was a confessor, and his name was Edward; yet sure it passed his skill to know thoughts, as this king takes upon him. But they who will not stick to slander men's inward consciences, which they can neither see nor know, much less will care to slander outward actions,