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which by all invocations that were holy he had in public abjured. They revealed his endeavours to bring in foreign forces, Irish, French, Dutch, Lorrainers, and our old invaders the Dance , upon us, besides his subtleties and mysterious arts in treatiny; to sum up all, they shewed him governed by a woman. All which, though suspected vehemently before, and from good grounds believed, yet by him and his adherents peremptorily denied, were by the opening of the cabinet visible to all men under his own hand. *
The parliament, therefore, to clear themselves of aspersing him without cause, and that the people might no longer be abused and cajoled, as they call it, by falsities and court impudence, in matters of so high concernment; to let them know on what terms their duty stood, and the kingdom's peace, conceived it most expedient and necessary that those letters should be made public. This the king affirms was by them done without “ honour and civility;" words, which if they contain not in them, as in the language of courtier most commonly they do not, more of substance and reality, than compliment, ceremony, court-fawning, and dissembling, enter not I suppose further than the ear into any wise man's consideration. Matters were not then between the parliament, and a king their enemy, in that state of trifling, as to observe those superficial vanities. But if honour and civility mean, as they did of old, discretion, honesty, prudence, and plain truth, it will be then maintained against any sect of those Cabalists, that the parliament, in doing what they did with those letters, could suffer in their honour and civility no diminution. The reasons are already heard.
And that it is with none more familiar than with kings, to transgress the bounds of all honour and civility, there should not want examples good store, if brevity would permit: in point of letters, this one shall suffice. The duchess of Burgundy, and heir of duke Charles, had promised to her subjects, that she intended no otherwise to govern than by advice of the three estates ; but to Louis, the French king, had
* Clarendon (v. 186) complains that the king's papers, taken at Naseby, were published in a mutilated form ; but the author of the Eikon Basilikè, whether the king or Dr. Gauden, makes no allusion to any mutilation, but merely indulges in a silly declamation against the parliament's breach of politeness ! (chap. xxi. p. 179—184, edit. of 1681.) As if, under such cir. cumstances, they ought to have stood upon points of etiquette.-ED.
written letters, that she had resolved to commit wholly the managing of her affairs to four persons, whom she named. The three estates, not doubting the sincerity of her princely word, send ambassadors to Louis, who then besieged Arras belonging to the duke of Burgundy. The king, taking hold of this occasion to set them at division
among themselves, questioned their credence: which when they offered to produce with their instructions, he not only shews them the private letter of their duchess, but gives it them to carry home, wherewith to affront her; which they did, she denying it stoutly; till they, spreading it before her face in a full assembly, convicted her of an open lie. Which although Comines the historian much blames, as a deed too harsh and dishonourable in them who were subjects, and not at war with their princess, yet to his master Louis, who first divulged those letters, to the open shaming of that young governess, he imputes no incivility or dishonour at all, although betraying a certain confidence reposed by that letter in his royal secrecy.
With much more reason then may matters not intercepted only, but won in battle from an enemy, be made public to the best advantages of them that win them, to the discovery of such important truth or falsehood. Was
Was it not more dishonourable in himself to feign suspicions and jealousies, which we first found among those letters, touching the chastity of his mother, thereby to gain assistance from the king of Denmark, as in vindication of his sister? The damsel of Burgundy at sight of her own letter was soon blank, and more ingenuous than to stand outfacing; but this man, whom nothing will convince, thinks by talking world without end, to make good his integrity and fair dealing, contradicted by his own hand and seal. They who can pick nothing out of them but phrases, shall be counted bees: they that discern further both there and here, that constancy to his wife is set in place before laws and religion, are in his naturalities no better than spiders.
He would work the people to a persuasion, that " if he be miserable, they cannot be happy.' What should hinder them? Were they all born twins of Hippocrates with him and his fortune, one birth, one burial ?" It were a nation miserable indeed, not worth the name of a nation, but a race
of idiots, whose happiness and welfare depended upon one man. The happiness of a nation consists in true religion, piety, justice, prudence, temperance, fortitude, and the contempt of avarice and ambition. They in whomsoever these virtues dwell eminently, need not kings to make them happy, but are the architects of their own happiness; and, whether to themselves or others, are not less than kings. But in him which of these virtues were to be found, that might extend to the making happy, or the well-governing of so much as his own household, which was the most licentious and ill-governed in the whole land ?
But the opening of his letters was designed by the parliament“ to make all reconciliation desperate.” Are the lives of so many good and faithful men, that died for the freedom of their country, to be so slighted, as to be forgotten in a. stupid reconcilement without justice done them? What he fears not by war and slaughter, should we fear to make desperate by opening his letters? Which fact he would parallel with Cham's revealing of his father's nakedness : when he at that time could be no way esteemed the father of his country, but the destroyer; nor had he ever before merited that former title.
“ He thanks God he can not only bear this with patience, but with charity forgive the doers.” Is not this mere mockery to thank God for what he can do, but will not ? For is it patience to impute barbarism and inhumanity to the opening of an enerny's letter, or is it charity to clothe them with curses in his prayer, whom he hath forgiven in his discourse? In which prayer, to show how readily he can return good for evil to the parliament, and that if they take away his coat he can let them have his cloak also; for the dismantling of his letters he wishes “ they may be covered with the cloak of confusion.” Which I suppose they do resign with much willingness, both livery, badge, and cognizance, to them who chose rather to be the slaves and vassals of his will, than to stand against him, as men by nature free; born and created with a better title to their freedom than any king hath to his
Upon his going to the Scots. The king's coming in, whether to the Scots or English, deserved no thanks : for necessity was his counsellor; and that he hated them both alike, his expressions everywhere manifest. Some say his purpose was to have come to London, till hearing how strictly it was proclaimed, that no man should conceal him, he diverted his course. But that had been a frivolous excuse : and besides, he himself rehearsing the consultations had, before he took his journey, shews us clearly that he was determined to adventure « loyalty who first began his troubles." And that the Scots had notice of it before, hath been long since brought to light. What prudence there could be in it, no man can imagine; malice there might be, by raising new jealousies to divide friends. For besides his diffidence of the English, it was no small dishonour that he put upon them, when, rather than yield himself to the parliament of England, he yielded to a hireling army of Scots in England, paid for their service here, not in Scotch coin, but in English silver; nay, who from the first beginning of these troubles, what with brotherly assistance, and what with monthly pay, have defended their own liberty and consciences at our charge. However, it was a hazardous and rash journey taken," to resolve riddles in men's loyalty,” who had more reason to mistrust the riddle of such a disguised yielding; and to put himself in their hands whose loyally was a riddle to him, was not the course to be resolved of it, but to tempt it. What Providence denied to force, he thought it might grant to fraud, which he styles prudence; but Providence was not cozened with disguises, neither outward nor inward.
To have known “his greatest danger in his supposed safety, and his greatest safety in his supposed danger," was to him a fatal riddle never yet resolved; wherein rather to have employed his main skill
, had been much more to his preservation. Hau he“ known when the game was lost,” it might have saved much contest; but the way to give over fairly, was not to slip out of open war into a new disguise. He lays down his arms, but not his wiles; nor all his arms; for in obstinacy he comes no less armed than ever cap-à-pé. And what were
they but wiles, continually to move for treaties, and yet to persist the same man, and to fortify his mind beforehand, still purposing to grant no more than what seemed good to that violent and lawless triumvirate within him, under the falsified names of his reason, honour, and conscience, the old circulating dance of his shifts and evasions ?
The words of a king, as they are full of power, in the authority and strength of law, so, like Samson, without the strength of that Nazarite's lock, they have no more power in them than the words of another man. He adores reason as Domitian did Minerva, and calls her the “ divinest power, thereby to intimate as if at reasoning, as at his own weapon, no man were so able as himself. Might we be so happy as to know where these monuments of his reason may be seen; for in his actions and his writing they appear as thinly as could be expected from the meanest parts, bred up in the midst of so many ways extraordinary to know something. He who reads his talk, would think he had left Oxford not without mature deliberation : yet his prayer confesses, that “ he knew not what to do.” Thus is verified that Psalm : "He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way." Psal. cvii.
CHAPTER XXIII. Upon the Scots delivering the King to the English. That the Scots in England should“ sell their king,” as he himself here affirms, and for a “price so much above that which the covetousness of Judas was contented with to sell our Saviour, is so foul an infamy and dishonour cast upon them, as befits none to vindicate but themselves. And it were but friendly counsel to wish them beware the son, who comes among them with a firm belief, that they sold his father. The rest of this chapter he sacrifices to the echo of his conscience, out-babbling creeds and aves : glorying in his resolute obstinacy, and, as it were, triumphing how “evident it is now, not that evil counsellors,” but he himself, hath been the author of all our troubles. Herein only we shall disagree to the world's end; while he, who sought so manifestly to have annihilated all our laws and liberties, hath the