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abusion. It appears then, that if this bill of not dissolving were an unparalleled act, it was a known and common right, which our ancestors under other kings enjoyed as firmly as if it had been graven in marble; and that the infringement of this king first brought it into a written act who now boasts that as a great favour done us, which his own less fidelity than was in former kings constrained us only of an old undoubted right to make a new written act. But what needed written acts, whenas anciently it was esteemed part of his crown oath, not to dissolve parliaments till all grievances were considered? whereupon the old " Modi of Parliament" calls it flat perjury, if he dissolve them before: as I find cited in a book mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, to which and other law tractates I refer the more lawyerly mooting of this point, which is neither my element, nor my proper work here; since the book which I have to answer, pretends reason, not authorities and quotations: and I hold reason to be the best arbitrator, and the law of law itself.
It is true, that "good subjects think it not just, that the king's condition should be worse by bettering theirs." But then the king must not be at such a distance from the people in judging what is better and what worse; which might have been agreed, had he known (for his own words condemn him) "as well with moderation to use, as with earnestness to desire his own advantages." "A continual parliament, he thought, would keep the commonwealth in tune." Judge, commonwealth! what proofs he gave, that this boasted profession was ever in his thought. "Some," saith he, “gave out, that I repented me of that settling act. His own actions gave it out beyond all supposition; for doubtless it repented him to have established that by law, which he went about so 300n after to abrogate by the sword.
He calls those acts, which he confesses "tended to their good, not more princely than friendly contributions." As if to do his duty were of courtesy, and the discharge of his trust a parcel of his liberality; so nigh lost in his esteem was the birthright of our liberties, that to give them back again upon demand, stood at the mercy of his contribution. "He doubts not but the affections of his people will compensate his sufferings for those acts of confidence:" and imputes his
sufferings to a contrary cause. Not his confidence, but his distrust, was that which brought him to those sufferings, from the time that he forsook his parliament; and trusted them never the sooner for what he tells "of their piety and religious strictness," but rather hated them as puritans, whom he always sought to extirpate.
He would have it believed, that "to bind his hands by these acts, argued a very short foresight of things, and extreme fatuity of mind in him," if he had meant a war. If we should conclude so, that were not the only argument: neither did it argue that he meant peace; knowing that what he granted for the present out of fear, he might as soon repeal by force, watching his time; and deprive them the fruit of those acts, if his own designs, wherein he put his trust, took effect.
Yet he complains, "that the tumults threatened to abuse all acts of grace, and turn them into wantonness." I would they had turned his wantonness into the grace of not abusing scripture. Was this becoming such a saint as they would make him, to adulterate those sacred words from the grace of God to the acts of his own grace? Herod was eaten up of worms for suffering others to compare his voice to the voice of God; but the borrower of this phrase gives much. more cause of jealousy, that he likened his own acts of grace to the acts of God's grace.
From profaneness he scarce comes off with perfect sense. "I was not then in a capacity to make war," therefore, "I intended not." "I was not in a capacity," therefore "I could not have given my enemies greater advantage, than by so unprincely inconstancy to have scattered them by arms, whom but lately I had settled by parliament." What place could there be for his inconstancy in that thing whereto he was in no capacity? Otherwise his inconstancy was not so unwonted, or so nice, but that it would have easily found pretences to scatter those in revenge, whom he settled in fear.
"It had been a course full of sin, as well as of hazard and dishonour." True; but if those considerations withheld him not from other actions of like nature, how can we believe they were of strength sufficient to withhold him from this? And that they withheld him not, the event soon taught us. "His letting some men go up to the pinnacle of the temple, was a temptation to them to cast him down headlong." In
this simile we have himself compared to Christ, the parliament to the devil, and his giving them that act of settling, to his letting them go up to the "pinnacle of the temple." A tottering and giddy act rather than a settling. This was goodly use made of scripture in his solitudes: but it was no pinnacle of the temple, it was a pinnacle of Nebuchadnezzar's palace, from whence he and monarchy fell headlong together. He would have others see that "all the kingdoms of the world are not worth gaining by ways of sin which hazard the soul;" and hath himself left nothing unhazarded to keep three. He concludes with sentences, that, rightly scanned, make not so much for him as against him, and confesses, that "the act of settling was no sin of his will;" and we easily believe him, for it hath been clearly proved a sin of his unwillingness. With his orisons I meddle not, for he appeals to a high audit. This yet may be noted, that at his prayers he had before him the sad presage of his ill success, "as of a dark and dangerous storm, which never admitted his return to the port from whence he set out." Yet his prayer-book no sooner shut, but other hopes flattered him ; and their flattering was his destruction.
Upon his Retirement from Westminster.
THE simile wherewith he begins I was about to have found fault with, as in a garb somewhat more poetical than for a statist: but meeting with many strains of like dress in other of his essays, and hearing him reported a more diligent reader of poets than of politicians, I began to think that the whole book might perhaps be intended a piece of poetry. The words are good, the fiction smooth and cleanly; there wanted only rhyme, and that, they say, is bestowed upon it lately. But to the argument.
* This, probably, is a mere joke; but prefixed to the Eikon Basilikè, we find a copy of verses, which, if really written by Charles I., prove that he profited but little by the study of Shakspeare; for, in spite of a few poetical expressions, this triplet ballad is upon the whole very sad stuff. Like the rest of the book, it smacks more of the crosier than the sceptre. It is entitled, "Majesty in Misery; or, An Imploration to the King of Kings." Written by his late majesty King Charles I., of blessed memory, during his captivity at Carisbrooke Castle, Anno Dom. 1648.
"I stayed at Whitehall, till I was driven away by shame more than fear." I retract not what I thought of the fiction, yet here, I must confess it lies too open. In his messages and declarations, nay, in the whole chapter next but one before this, he affirms, that "the danger wherein his wife, his children, and his own person" were by those tumults, was the main cause that drove him from Whitehall, and appeals to God as witness: he affirms here that it was "shame more than fear." And Digby, who knew his mind as well as any, tells his new-listed guard, "that the principal cause of his majesty's going thence was to save them from being trod in the dirt." From whence we may discern what false and frivolous excuses are avowed for truth, either in those declarations, or in this penitential book.
Our forefathers were of that courage and severity of zeal to justice and their native liberty, against the proud contempt and misrule of their kings, that when Richard the Second departed but from a committee of lords, who sat preparing matter for the parliament not yet assembled, to the removal of his evil counsellors, they first vanquished and put to flight Robert de Vere, his chief favourite; and then, coming up to London with a huge army, required the king, then withdrawn for fear, but no further off than the Tower, to come to Westminster. Which he refusing, they told him flatly, that unless he came they would choose another. So high a crime it was accounted then for kings to absent themselves, not from a parliament, which none ever durst, but from any meeting of his peers and counsellors, which did but tend towards a parliament. Much less would they have suffered, that a king, for such trivial and various pretences, one while for fear of tumults, another while "for shame to see them," should leave his regal station, and the whole kingdom bleeding to death of those wounds, which his own unskilful and perverse government had inflicted.
Shame then it was that drove him from the parliament, but the shame of what? Was it the shame of his manifold errors and misdeeds, and to see how weakly he had played the king? No; "but to see the barbarous rudeness of those tumults to demand anything." We have started here another, and I believe the truest cause of his deserting the parliament. The worst and strangest of that "Anything,"
which the people then demanded, was but the unlording of bishops, and expelling them the house, and the reducing of church-discipline to a conformity with other protestant churches; this was the barbarism of those tumults: and that he might avoid the granting of those honest and pious demands, as well demanded by the parliament as the people, for this very cause more than for fear, by his own confession here, he left the city; and in a most tempestuous season forsook the helm and steerage of the commonwealth. This was that terrible "Anything," from which his conscience and his reason chose to run, rather than not deny. To be importuned the removing of evil counsellors, and other grievances in church and state, was to him " an intolerable oppression." If the people's demanding were so burdensome to him, what was his denial and delay of justice to them?
But as the demands of his people were to him a burden and oppression, so was the advice of his parliament esteemed a bondage; "Whose agreeing votes," as he affirms, "were not by any law or reason conclusive to his judgment." For the law, it ordains a parliament to advise him in his great affairs; but if it ordain also, that the single judgment of a king shall out-balance all the wisdom of his parliament, it ordains that which frustrates the end of its own ordaining. For where the king's judgment may dissent, to the destruction, as it may happen, both of himself and the kingdom, their advice, and no further, is a most insufficient and frustraneous means to be provided by law in cases of so high concernment. And where the main and principal law of common preservation against tyranny is left so fruitless and infirm, there it must needs follow, that all lesser laws are to their several ends and purposes much more weak and ineffectual. For that nation would deserve to be renowned and chronicled for folly and stupidity, that should by law provide force against private and petty wrongs, advice only against tyranny and public ruin.
It being therefore most unlike a law, to ordain a remedy so slender and unlawlike, to be the utmost means of all public safety or prevention, as advice is, which may at any time be rejected by the sole judgment of one man, the king, and so unlike the law of England, which lawyers say is the