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the easy literature of custom and opinion; it shall be ventured yet, and the truth not smothered, but sent abroad, in the native confidence of her single self, to earn, how she can, her entertainment in the world, and to find out her own readers: few perhaps, but those few, of such value and substantial worth, as truth and wisdom, not respecting numbers and big names, have been ever wont in all ages to be contented with.
And if the late king had thought sufficient those answers and defences made for him in his lifetime, they who on the other side accused his evil government, judging that on their behalf enough also hath been replied, the heat of this controversy was in all likelihood drawing to an end; and the further mention of his deeds, not so much unfortunate as faulty, had in tenderness to his late sufferings been willingly forborne; and perhaps for the present age might have slept with him unrepeated, while his adversaries, calmed and assuaged with the success of their cause, had been the less unfavourable to his memory. But since he himself, making new appeal to truth and the world, hath left behind him this book, as the best advocate and interpreter of his own actions, and that his friends, by publishing, dispersing, commending, and almost adoring it, seem to place therein the chief strength and nerves of their cause; it would argue doubtless in the other party great deficience and distrust of themselves, not to meet the force of his reason in any field whatsoever, the force and equipage of whose arms they have so often met victoriously. And he who at the bar stood excepting against the form and manner of his judicature, and complained that he was not heard; neither he nor his friends shall have that cause now
*See in Clarendon, (History, vol. vi. p. 230 sqq.) the particulars of the trial as described by a most zealous partisan. This writer observes, that "when he was first brought to Westminster-hall, which was upon the twentieth of January, before their high court of justice, he looked upon them, and sat down, without any manifestation of trouble, never stirring his hat; all the impudent judges sitting covered, and fixing their eyes upon him, without the least show of respect." When the charge had been read, and the king was asked, "What answer he had to make to that impeachment ?" he, "without any alteration in his countenance by all that insolent provocation, told them, he would first know of them by what authority they presumed by force to bring him before them, and who gave them power to judge of his actions, for which he was accountable to none but God: though they had been always such as he need not be ashamed to own them before all the world."" -ED.
to find fault, being met and debated with in this open and monumental court of his erecting; and not only heard uttering his whole mind at large, but answered: which to do effectually, if it be necessary, that to his book nothing the more respect be had for being his, they of his own party can have no just reason to exclaim.
For it were too unreasonable that he, because dead, should have the liberty in his book to speak all evil of the parliament; and they, because living, should be expected to have less freedom, or any for them, to speak home the plain truth of a full and pertinent reply. As he, to acquit himself, hath not spared his adversaries to load them with all sorts of blame and accusation, so to him, as in his book alive, there will be used no more courtship than he uses; but what is properly his own guilt, not imputed any more to his evil counsellors,* (a ceremony used longer by the parliament than he himself desired,) shall be laid here without circumlocutions at his own door. That they who from the first beginning, or but now of late, by what unhappiness I know not, are so much affatuated, not with his person only, but with his palpable faults, and dote
*Speaking of the early part of Charles the First's reign, Clarendon observes, that the "proclamation, at the breaking up of the last parliament, and which was commonly understood to inhibit all men to speak of another parliament,' produced two very ill effects of different natures,” which he goes on to describe. (vol. i. p. 118, sqq.) Upon this passage Warburton remarks: "That this interpretation of the proclamation concerning parliaments, that the king intended that the people should think no more of them than he did," (he means "was correct,")" appears plainly from the following fact. In the year 1633, the king agreed upon a draught (which was by his direction drawn up by his ministers) of a circular letter for a voluntary contribution to the support of the Queen of Bohemia and her children; which, to put the people in better humour, concluded with these words: after our having so long forborne to demand any of them (the people) for foreign affairs; assuring them that as the largeness of their free gift will be a clear evidence to us of the measure of their affections towards us,' (no doubt that is the way to measure affection,) which we esteem our greatest happiness, so their forwardness to assist us in this kind, shall not make us more backward to require their aid in another way, no less agreeable to us than to them, when the season shall be proper for it.' This paragraph the king struck out of the draught, and with his own hand hath added these words; I have scored out these eight lines, as not judging them fit to pass. See the Clarendon collection of State Papers. (vol. i. 8vo. published 1767, p. 113.)" He had no objection to send out begging circulars for money, but for their affections, or for their parliaments, where they might best show their affections, he did not judge the least hint at such a desire "fit to pass." -ED.
upon his deformities, may have none to blame but their own folly, if they live and die in such a stricken blindness, as next to that of Sodom hath not happened to any sort of men more gross, or more misleading. Yet neither let his enemies expect to find recorded here all that hath been whispered in the court, or alleged openly, of the king's bad actions; it being the proper scope of this work in hand, not to rip up and relate the misdoings of his whole life, but to answer only and refute the missayings of his book.
First, then, that some men (whether this were by him intended, or by his friends) have by policy accomplished after death that revenge upon their enemies, which in life they were not able, hath been oft related. And among other examples we find, that the last will of Cæsar being read to the people, and what bounteous legacies he had bequeathed them, wrought more in that vulgar audience to the avenging of his death, than all the art he could ever use to win their favour in his lifetime. And how much their intent, who published these over-late apologies and meditations of the dead king, drives to the same end of stirring up the people to bring him that honour, that affection, and by consequence that revenge to his dead corpse, which he himself living could never gain to his person, it appears both by the conceited portraiture before his book, drawn out of the full measure of a masking scene, and set there to catch fools and silly gazers; and by those Latin words after the end, Vota dabunt quæ bella negarunt; intimating, that what he could not compass by war, he should achieve by his meditations: for in words which admit of various sense, the liberty is ours, to choose that interpretation, which may best mind us of what our restless enemies endeavour, and what we are timely to prevent.
And here may be well observed the loose and negligent curiosity of those, who took upon them to adorn the setting out of this book; for though the picture set in front would martyr him and saint him to befool the people, yet the Latin motto in the end, which they understand not, leaves him, as it were, a politic contriver to bring about that interest, by fair and plausible words, which the force of arms denied him. But quaint emblems and devices, begged from the old pageantry of some twelfthnight's entertainment at Whitehall, will do but ill to make a saint or martyr: and if the people resolve
to take him sainted at the canonizing, I shall suspect their calendar more than the Gregorian. In one thing I must commend his openness, who gave the title to this book, Εικὼν Baolin, that is to say, The King's Image; and by the shrine he dresses out for him, certainly would have the people come and worship him. For which reason this answer also is entitled, Eikonoklastes, the famous surname of many Greek emperors, who, in their zeal to the command of God, after long tradition of idolatry in the church, took courage and broke all superstitious images to pieces.
But the people, exorbitant and excessive in all their motions, are prone ofttimes not to a religious only, but to a civil kind of idolatry, in idolizing their kings: though never more mistaken in the object of their worship; heretofore being wont to repute for saints those faithful and courageous barons, who lost their lives in the field, making glorious war against tyrants for the common liberty; as Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, against Henry III.; Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster, against Edward II. But now, with a besotted and degenerate baseness of spirit, except some few who yet retain in them the old English fortitude and love of freedom, and have testified it by their matchless deeds, the rest, imbastardized from the ancient nobleness of their ancestors, are ready to fall flat, and give adoration to the image and memory of this man, who hath offered at more cunning fetches to undermine our liberties, and put tyranny into an art, than any British king before him. Which low dejection and debasement of mind in the people, I must confess, I cannot willingly ascribe to the natural disposition of an Englishman, but rather to two other causes; first, to the prelates and their fellowteachers, though of another name and sect, whose pulpit-stuff, both first and last, hath been the doctrine and perpetual infusion of servility and wretchedness to all their hearers, and whose lives the type of worldliness and hypocrisy, without the least true pattern of virtue, righteousness, or self-denial in their whole practice. I attribute it, next to the factious inclination of most men divided from the public by several ends and humours of their own.*
* Undoubtedly they who have interests different from those of the public must always be factious breeders of mischief. And this is the case with all privileged classes, all hereditary legislators, who naturally and necessarily
At first no man less beloved, no man more generally condemned, than was the king; from the time that it became his custom to break parliaments at home, and either wilfully or weakly to betray protestants abroad, to the beginning of these combustions. All men inveighed against him; all men, except court-vassals, opposed him and his tyrannical proceedings; the cry was universal; and this full parliament was at first unanimous in their dislike and protestation against his evil government. But when they, who sought themselves and not the public, began to doubt, that all of them could not by one and the same way attain to their ambitious purposes, then was the king, or his name at least, as a fit property, first made use of, his doings made the best of, and by degrees justified; which begot him such a party, as, after many wiles and strugglings with his inward fears, emboldened him at length to set up his standard against the parliament: whenas before that time, all his adherents, consisting most of dissolute swordsmen and suburb-roysterers, hardly amounted to the making up of one ragged regiment strong enough to assault the unarmed house of commons. After which attempt seconded by a tedious and bloody war on his subjects, wherein he hath so far exceeded those his arbitrary violences in time of peace, they who before hated him for his high misgovernment, nay, fought against him with displayed banners in the field, now applaud him and extol him for the wisest and most religious prince that lived. By so strange a method amongst the mad multitude is a sudden reputation won, of wisdom by wilfulness and subtle shifts, of goodness by multiplying evil, of piety by endeavouring to root out true religion.
But it is evident that the chief of his adherents never loved him, never honoured either him or his cause, but as they took him to set a face upon their own malignant designs, nor bemoan his loss at all, but the loss of their own aspiring hopes:* like those captive women, whom the poet notes in Iliad, to
oppose reform, knowing their own privileges to be the greatest of abuses, which, to be complete, reform must sweep away.-ED.
*From characters such as those described in the preceding note, no higher views could be expected. Even Clarendon, as the late Lord Dover has abundantly proved, was himself a man of venal and interested character. -ED.