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was a thing neither of mean consideration, nor untruly charged upon him or his son : himself confessing here, that
court-delights are prone either to root up all true virtue * and honour, or to be contented only with some leaves and withering formalities of them, without any real fruits tending to the public good.” Which presents him still in his
. own words another Rehoboam, softened by a far worse court than Solomon's, and so corrupted by flatteries, which he affirms to be unseparable, to the overturning of all peace, and the loss of his own honour and kingdoms.
That he came therefore thus bred up and nurtured to the throne far worse than Rehoboam, unless he be of those who equalized his father to king Solomon, we have here his own confession. And how voluptuously, how idly reigning in the hands of other men, he either tyrannized or trifled away those seventeen years of peace, without care or thought, as if to be a king had been nothing else in his apprehension, but to eat and drink, and have his will, and take his pleasure; though there be who can relate his domestic life to the exactness of a diary, there shall be here no mention made. This yet we might have then foreseen, that he who spent his leisure so remissly and so corruptly to his own pleasing, would one day or other be worse busied and employed to our sor
And that he acted in good earnest what Rehoboam did but threaten, to make his little finger heavier than his father's loins, and to whip us up with two twisted scorpions,
* Mrs. Macauley was right, when she said of Charles I., that “his manners partook of dissipation, and his conversation of the indecency of a court;" for, notwithstanding the panegyrics of Clarendon and Hume, Milton's view of his private character is proved to be strictly consonant with the truth of history. In his “Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio,” he speaks out more clearly, charging Charles with the grossest libertinism.
But this, it may be said, is the account of an enemy. Then let us hear his friends. “ Lady Leicester says to her husband, in 1636, “I have been at court. In his majesty (Charles I.) I found an inclination to shew me some kindness, but he could not find the way: at last he told me, that he perceived I was very kind to my husband when he was with me, which kept me very lean, for he thought me much fatter than I used to be. This short speech was worse to me than absolute silence, for I blushed, and was so extremely out of countenance, that all the company laughed at me.'”—(Sidney Papers, ii. 472.) And young Lord Sunderland, in the camp, 1642, to his wife: “I never saw the king look better ; he is very cheerful, and by the bawdy discourse I thought I had been in the drawing-room.” So that, after all, the court of Charles II. sprang naturally enough from that of Charles I.-ED.
both temporal and spiritual tyranny, all his kingdoms have felt. What good use he made afterwards of his adversity, both his impenitence and obstinacy to the end, (for he was no Manasseh,) and the sequel of these his meditated resolutions, abundantly express: retaining, commending, teaching to his son all those putrid and pernicious documents, both of state and of religion, instilled by wicked doctors and received by him as in a vessel nothing better seasoned, which were the first occasion both of his own and all our miseries.
And if he, in the best maturity of his years and understanding made no better use to himself or others of his so long and manifold afflictions, either looking up to God, or looking down upon the reason of his own affairs; there can be no probability, that his son, bred up, not in the soft effeminacies of a court only, but in the rugged and more boisterous licence of undisciplined camps and garrisons, for years unable to reflect with judgment upon his own condition, and thus ill-instructed by his father, should give his mind to walk by any other rules than these, bequeathed him as on his father's death-bed, and as the choicest of all that experience, which his most serious observation and retirement in good or evil days had taught him. David indeed, by suffering without just cause, learned that meekness and that wisdom by adversity, which inade him much the fitter man to reign. But they who suffer as oppressors, tyrants, violators of law, and persecutors of reformation, without appearance of repenting, if they once get hold again of that dignity and power, which they had lost, are but whetted and enraged by what they suffered, against those whom they look upon as them that caused their sufferings.*
How he hath been subject to the sceptre of God's word and Spirit,” though acknowledged to be the best government; and what his dispensation of civil power hath been, with what justice, and what honour to the public peace, it is but looking back upon the whole catalogue of his deeds, and that will be sufficient to remember us. “The cup
. How exactly was this verified upon the Restoration! For an account of the public actions of Charles II., we need refer no further than to the common page of history; but nowhere, perhaps, except in the “Mernoirs of Grammont,” (See Standard Library Edition,) can we find a faithful picture of his private career, soiled by every vice, and dishonoured by every meanness, incident to human nature.-ED.
of God's physic,” as he calls it, what alteration it wrought in him to a firm healthfulness from any surfeit, or excess whereof the people generally thought him sick, if any man would
go about to prove, we have his own testimony following here, that it wrought none at all.
First, he hath the same fixed opinion and esteem of his old Ephesian goddess, called the church of England, as he had ever; and charges strictly his son after him to persevere in that antipapal schism, (for it is not much better,) as that which will be necessary both for his soul's and the king
But if this can be any foundation of the kingdom's peace, which was the first cause of our distractions, let common sense be judge. It is a rule and principle worthy to be known by Christians, that no scripture, no, nor so. much as any ancient creed, binds our faith, or our obedience to any church whatsoever, denominated by a particular name; far less, if it be distinguished by a several government from that which is indeed catholic. No man was ever bid be subject to the church of Corinth, Rome, or Asia, but to the church without addition, as it held faithful to the rules of scripture, and the government established in all places by the apostles; which at first was universally the same in all churches and congregations; not differing or distinguished by the diversity of countries, territories, or civil bounds. That church, that froin the name of a distinct place takes authority to set up a distinct faith or government, is a schism and faction, not a church. It were an injury to condemn the papist of absurdity and contradiction, for adhering to his catholic Romish religion, if we, for the pleasure of a king and his politic considerations, shall adhere to a catholic English
But suppose the church of England were as it ought to be, how is it to us the safer by being so named and established, whenas that very name and establishment, by this contriving or approbation, served for nothing else but to delude us and amuse us, while the church of England insensibly was almost changed and translated into the church of Rome. Which as every man knows in general to be true, so the particular treaties and transactions tending to that conclusion are at large discovered in a book entitled the “ English Pope." But when the people, discerning these abuses,
began to call for reformation, in order to which the parliament demanded of the king to unestablish that prelatical government, which without scripture had usurped over us; straight, as Pharaoh accused of idleness the Israelites that sought leave to go and sacrifice to God, he lays faction to their charge.
And that we may not hope to have ever anything reformed in the church either by him or his sun, he forewarns him, “ that the devil of rebellion doth most commonly turn himself into an angel of reformation :” and says enough to make him hate it, as the worst of cvils, and the bane of his crown: nay, he counsels him to “ let nothing seem little or despicable to him, so as not speedily and effectually to suppress errors and schisms.” Whereby we may perceive plainly, that our consciences were destined to the same servitude and persecution, if not worse than before, whether under him, or if it should so happen, under his son; who count all protestant churches erroneous and schismatical, which are not episcopal.
His next precept is concerning our civil liberties ; which by his sole voice and predominant will must be circumscribed, and not permitted to extend a hand's breadth further than his interpretation of the laws already settled. And although all human laws are but the offspring of that frailty, that fallibility and imperfection, which was in their authors, whereby many laws in the change of ignorant and obscure ages, may be found both scandalous, and full of grievance to their posterity that made them, and no law is further good than mutable upon just occasion; yet if the removing of an old law, or the making of a new, would save the kingdom, we shall not have it, unless his arbitrary voice will so far slacken the stiff curb of his prerogative, as to grant it us; who are as free born to make our own laws, as our fathers were who made these we have.
Where are then the English liberties, which we boast to have been left us by our progenitors ? To that he answers, that our liberties consist in the enjoyment of the fruits of our industry, and the benefit of those laws to which we ourselves have consented.” First, for the enjoyment of those fruits, which our industry and labours have made our own upon our own, what privilege is that above what the Turks,
Jews, and Moors enjoy under the Turkish monarchy ? For without that kind of justice, which is also in Algiers, among thieves and pirates between themselves, no kind of government, no society, just or unjust, could stand; no combination or conspiracy could stick together. Which he also acknowledges in these words: “ That if the crown upon his head be so heavy as to oppress the whole body, the weakness of inferior members cannot return anything of strength, honour, or safety to the head; but that a necessary debilitation must follow.” So that this liberty of the subject concerns himself and the subsistence of his own regal power in the first place, and before the consideration of any right belonging to the subject. We expect therefore something more, that must distinguish free government from slavish. But instead of that, this king, though ever talking and protesting as smooth as now, suffered it in his own hearing to be preached and pleaded, without control or check, by them whom he most favoured and upheld, that the subject had no property of his own goods, but that all was the king's right.
Next, for the “ benefit of those laws, to which we ourselves have consented,” we never had it under him; for, not to speak of laws ill executed, when the parliament, and in them the people, have consented to divers laws, and, according to our ancient rights, demanded them, he took upon him to have a negative will, as the transcendent and ultimate law above all our laws; and to rule us forcibly by laws, to which we ourselves did not consent, but complained of. Thus these two heads, wherein the utmost of his allowance here will give our liberties leave to consist, the one of them shall be so far only made good to us, as may support his own interest and crown from ruin or debilitation; and so far Turkish vassals enjoy as much liberty under Mahomet and the Grand Siguior: the other we neither yet have enjoyed under him, nor were ever like to do under the tyranny of a negative voice, which he claims above the unanimous consent and power of a whole nation, virtually in the parliament.
In which negative voice to have been cast by the doom of war, and put to death by those who vanquished him in their own defence, he reckons to himself more than a negative martyrdom. But martyrs bear witness to the truth, not to themselves. “If I bear witness of myself," saith Christ,"my