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constitution; and had learned, that even the commons, whose authority was pretended, were subdued by lawless force, and were bereaved of their liberty: that he himself was their NATIVE HEREDITARY KING; nor was the whole authority of the state, though free and united, entitled to try him, who derived his dignity from the Supreme Majesty of heaven: that, admitting those extravagant principles which levelled all orders of men, the court could plead no power delegated by the people; unless the consent of every individual, down to the meanest and most ignorant peasant, had been previously asked and obtained: that he acknowledged, without scruple, that he had a trust committed to him, and one most sacred and inviolable; he was intrusted with the liberties of his people, and would not now betray them, by recognising a power founded on the most atrocious violence and usurpation: that having taken arms, and frequently exposed his life in defence of public liberty, of the constitution, of the fundamental laws of the kingdom, he was willing, in this last and most solemn scene, to seal with his blood those precious rights, for which, though in vain, he had so long contended : that those who arrogated a title to sit as his judges, were born his subjects, and born subjects to those laws, which determined, That the king can do no wrong : that he was not reduced to the necessity of sheltering him. self under this general maxim, which guards every English monarch, even the least deserving; but was able, by the most satisfactory reasons, to justify those measures, in which he had been engaged: that to the whole world, and even to them, his pretended judges, he was desirous, if called upon in another manner, to prove the integrity of his conduct, and assert the justice of those defensive arms, to which, unwillingly and unfortunately, he had had recourse : but that, in order to preserve a uniformity of conduct, he must at present forego the apology of his innocence; lest, by ratifying an authority, no better founded than that of robbers and pirates, he be justly branded as the betrayer, instead of being applauded as the martyr, of the constitution.
The president, in order to support the majesty of the people, and maintain the superiority of his court above the prisoner, still inculcated, that he must not decline the authority of his judges; that they over-ruled his objections ; that they were delegated by the people, the only source of every lawful power; and that kings themselves acted but in trust from that community, which had invested this high court of justice with its jurisdiction. Even according to those principles, which in his present situation he was perhaps obliged to adopt, his behaviour in general will appear not a little barsh and barbarous; but when we consider him as a subject, and one too of no higb character, addressing bimself to his unfortunate sovereign, his style will be esteemed, to the last degree, audacious and insolent.
Three times was Charles produced before the court, and as often declined their jurisdiction. On the fourth, the judges having examined some witnesses, by whom it was proved that the king had appeared in arms against the forces commissioned by the parliament; they pronounced sentence against him (27th Jan.) He seemed very anxious, at this time, to be admitted to a conference with the two houses; and it was supposed, that he intended to resign the crown to his son: but the court refused compliance, and considered that request as nothing but a delay of justice.
It is confessed, that the king's behaviour, during this last scene of his life, does honour to his memory; and that, in all appearances before his judges, he never forgot his part, either as a prince or as a man. Firm and intrepid, he maintained, in each reply, the utmost perspicuity and justness both of thought and expression : mild and equable, he rose into no passion at that unusual authority which was assumed over him. His soul, without effort or affectation, seemed only to remain in the situation familiar to it, and to look down with contempt on all the efforts of human malice and iniquity. The soldiers, instigated by their superiors, were brought, though with difficulty, to ery aloud for justice: Poor souls ! said the king to one of bis attendants; for a little money they would do as
much against their commanders.96 Some of them were permitted to go the utmost length of brutal insolence, and to spit in his face, as he was conducted along the passage to the court. To excite a sentiment of piety was the only effect which this inhuman insult was able to produce upon him.
The people, though under the rod of lawless unlimited power, could not forbear, with the most ardent prayers, pouring forth their wishes for his preservation; and, in his present distress, they avowed him, hy their generous tears for their monarch, whom, in their misguided fury, they bad before so violently rejected. The king was softened at this moving scene, and expressed his gratitude for their dutiful affection. One soldier too, seized by contagious sympathy, demanded from heaven a blessing on oppressed and fallen majesty: his officer overhearing the prayer, beat him to the ground in the king's presence. The punishment, methinks, exceeds the offence: this was the reflection which Charles formed on that occasion.97
As soon as the intention of trying the king was known in foreign countries, so enormous an action was exclaimed against by the general voice of reason and humanity; and all men, under whatever form of government they were born, rejected this example, as the utmost effort of undisguised usurpation, and the most heinous insult on law and justice. The French ambassador, by orders from his court, interposed in the king's behalf: the Dutch em. ployed their good offices : the Scots exclaimed and protested against the violence: the queen, the prince, wrote pathetic letters to the parliament. All solicitations were found fruitless with men whose resolutions were fixed and irrevocable.
Four of Charles's friends, persons of virtue and dignity, Richmond, Hertford, Southampton, Lindesey, applied to the commons. They represented that they were the king's counsellors, and had concurred, by their advice, in all those measures which were now imputed as crimes to their royal master: that in the eye of the law, and accord. ing to the dictates of common reason, they alone were guilty, and were alone exposed to censure for every blameahle action of the prince: and that they now presented themselves, in order to save, by their own punishment, that precious life which it became the commons them. selves, and every subject, with the utmost hazard, to protect and defend.98 Such a generous effort tended to their honour; but contributed nothing towards the king's safety.
The people remained in that silence and astonishment which all great passions, when they have not an opportuñity of exerting themselves, naturally produce in the human mind. The soldiers being incessantly plyed with prayers, sermons, and exhortations, were wrought up to a degree of fury, and imagined, that in the acts of the most extreme disloyalty towards their prince, consisted their greatest merit in the eye of heaven.99
Three days were allowed the king between his sentence and his execution. This interval he passed with great tranquillity, chiefly in reading and devotion. All his family that remained in England were allowed access to him. It consisted only of the princess Elizabeth and the duke of Gloucester; for the duke of York had made his escape. Gloucester was little more than an infant: the princess, notwithstanding her tender years, showed an advanced judgment; and the calamities of her family had made a deep impression upon her. After many pious consolations and advices, the king gave her in charge to tell the queen, that, during the whole course of his life, he had never once, even in thought, failed in his fidelity towards her; and that his conjugal tenderness and his life should have an equal duration.
To the young duke too, he could not forbear giving some advice, in order to season his mind with early principles of loyalty and obedience towards his brother, who was so soon to be his sovereign. Holding him on his knee, he said, “Now they will cut off thy father's head.” AC these words the child looked very steadfastly upon him, “ Mark, child! what I say: they will cut off my head ! and perhaps make thee a king : but mark what I say,
thou must not be a king, as long as thy brothers Charles and James are alive. They will cut off thy brothers' heads when they can catch them! and thy head too they will cut off at last! therefore, I charge thee, do not be made a king by them!" The duke, sighing, replied, “ I will be torn in pieces first!" So determined an answer from one of such tender years, filled the king's eyes with tears of joy and admiration.
Every night, during this interval, the king slept sound as usual; though the noise of workmen, employed in framing the scaffold, and other preparations for his execution, continually resounded in his ears.100 The morning of the fatal day (30th Jan.) he rose early; and calling Herbert, one of his attendants, he bade him employ more than usual care in dressing him, and preparing him for so great and joyful a solemnity. Bishop Juxon, a man endowed with the same mild and steady virtues by which the king himself was so much distinguished, assisted him in his devotions, and paid the last melancholy duties to bis friend and sovereign.
EXECUTION OF THE KING. The street before Whitehall was the place destined for the execution : for it was intended, by choosing that very place, in sight of his own palace, to display more evidently the triumph of popular justice over royal majesty. When the king came upon the scaffold, he found it so surrounded with soldiers, that he could not expect to be heard by any of the people: he addressed, therefore, his discourse to the few persons who were about him; particularly colonel Tomlinson, to wbose care he had lately been committed, and upon whom, as upon many others, his amiable deportment had wrought an entire conversion. He justified his own innocence in the late fatal wars, and observed that he had not taken arms till after the parliament had enlisted forces; nor bad he any other object in his warlike operations, than to preserve that authority entire, which his predecessors had transmitted to him. He threw not,