Page images
PDF
EPUB

the latter became disgusted, indifferent, and negligent in their duties. Concession was his ruin in both kingdoms. He con

less it rebounded lawfully upon him, but to fear the Lord, and He would provide for him.” At which words, the child sighing, said, “ I will be torn in pieces first ;" ana these words falling unexpectedly from one so young, gave the king great satisfaction.

Balfour states, that on the 29th of January the king observed his own picture drawn on the glass of one of the windows, on which he gazed for a considerable time. The “ ruffian, the captain of that blasphemous and traitorous guard his keeper," rudely reminded him that his meditations ought to be on something else. Bishop Juxon begged his majesty “ not to notice the scurvy behaviour of so base a variet.” He concluded that the royal meditation was not without some object, and begged he would have the goodness to shew it to him. “You see," said the king, “ that here is above my head a crown, but it should have a cross :" when he uttered some pious reflections on the vanities of earthly crowns and kingdoms; but he continued, “ I have forgotten one thing, which is now come in my mind; you see here my figure, designed Carolus rex, and fitting my present estate and assured hope of my future felicity; this anagram of my name is presently come in thought of these two words Carolus rex- Cras ero lux;' which I hope, in mercy of my blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, before the morrow at this time, shall be assuredly verified on me, a miserable sinner."

On Tuesday, the fatal 30th of January, five of the sectarian ministers were ordered to attend his majesty, but he peremptorily refused their assistance. Bishop Juxon, with some difficulty, was allowed to attend his dying sovereign, who read divine service and administered the Eucharist; and about ten o'clock the king was conducted on foot to Whitehall. There was an unexpected delay of more than two hours, which is supposed to have been occasioned by the interces. sion of ambassadors from the Hague for his life; but Cromwell had proceeded too far in this bloody tragedy to stop short just at this stage of it. At twelve o'clock the king refused to dine, but ate a piece of bread and drank a glass of claret, and spent the time in private devotion. At one o'clock he was brought through the banquetting house to the scaffold, to which a passage had been made through a window. The street was filled with troops, to keep off the people and prevent his speaking to them; he therefore omitted much that he had premeditated to say, and he addressed himself to colonel Tomlinson. Upon being reminded by Dr. Juxon, he added, “ In troth, sirs, my conscience in religion, I think, is very well known to all the world, and therefore I declare before you all, that I die a christian according to the profession of the church of England, as I found it left me by my father; and this honest man (pointing to Dr. Juxon], I think, will witness it."

His body and the head were put into a coffin. Many dipped their handkerchiefs in his blood, some as trophies of their villainy, and others as the relic of a martyr. The ruling powers maliciously directed the surgeons to search for such internal symptoms as might disgrace either bimself or his posterity ; but were disappointed by an honest intruder, who gave a faithful account of his sound and healthy condition. On Wednesday, the 7th February, the royal corpse was delivered to four of his servants, who removed it to Windsor that night. Next day the duke of Richmond, marquis of Hertford, earls of Southampton and Lindsay, and the bishop of London, arrived with two votes of the Commons, which committed the funeral to the care of the duke, provided the expenses did not exceed £500. Colonel Whichcot refused their request that the interment might be in St. George's Chapel, according to the form of the Common Prayer. The governor had ordered an ordinary grave to be dug in the body of Windsor church, which the lords rejected with disdain. One of the old knights of Windsor secretly shewed them a vault in the middle of the quire, which they pretended to discover by the accidental knocking of their walking sticks. They caused this vault to be opened, and, on entering, they found one large coffin and a smaller one, which

ted, and 'their discided to the effect places of

ceded perpetuity to the Long Parliament, and placed the whole power of the crown of England in their hands; and he conceded tɔ the Scottish estates the power of appointing to all places of power and trust, both civil and military, which in effect placed the sword in their hands. He conceded to the presbyterian saction the establishment of their discipline, of which he afterwards deeply repented, and attributed all his after misfortunes, as a just retribution for wickedly preferring human politics to “the dictates of a right informed judgment." In short, he yielded every thing to them which they had a mind to demand, and consigned the government entirely to the leaders of their faction, till they even owned they had nothing more to ask, and that they were, as they said," a contented king with a contented people.” But all his concessions, and their own professions of contentment, did not prevent their levying war against him, to force him to make the same alterations in England that he had unhappily done in Scotland. Before his murder, he began to see, when too late, the impolicy as well as the fatal effects of concession.

Hume says of him," that his dignity was free from pride, his humanity from weakness, his bravery from rashness, his temperance from austerity, his frugality from avarice; all those virtues in him maintained their proper bounds, and merited unreserved praise. To speak the most harshly of him we may affirm, that many of his good qualities were attended with

has since been ascertained were those of Henry VIII. and his queen Jane. Here the remains of Charles were deposited by the officers of the garrison, at three o'clock in the afternoon of Friday the 9th of February; the lords bore the pall, and the bishop of London followed. Balfour asserts that no funeral service was read it being expressly prohibited by the governor; and the account says the in. terment took place “ silently, and, without other solemnity than of sighs and tears, committed to the earth, the velvet pall being thrown into the vault over the coffin ; to which was fastened an inscription in lead, of these words :

" KING CHARLES. 1648.” 1

Out of many epitaphs which were written on this sectarian crime, the following, from the pen of the great Montrose, is the most brief and apt :-

" Great, good, and just, could I but rate

My grief to thy too frigid fate,
I'd weep the world in such a strain
As it should deluge once again ;
But since thy case much rather cries
For Briareus hands than Argus eyes,
I'll tune thy elegies to trumpet sounds,
And write thy epitaph in blood and wounds."

1 The Account of King Charles's Trial, &c. affixed to his works.--Eikon Basilike.--Balfour's Annals ili. 399, 400.-Guthry's Memoirs, 255.

some latent frailty, which, though seemingly inconsiderable, were able, when seconded by the extreme malevolence of his fortune, to disappoint them of all their influence. His beneficent disposition was clouded by a manner not very gracious. He deserves the epithet of a good rather than a great prince ; and was more fitted to rule in a regular established government, than either to give way to the encroachments of a popular assembly, or finally to subdue their pretensions. . . . Unhappily, his fate threw him into a period when the precedent of former reigns savoured strongly of arbitrary power, and the genius of the people ran violently towards liberty. And if his political prudence was not sufficient to extricate him from so perilous a situation, he may be excused; since even after the event, when it is commonly easy to correct all errors, one is at a loss to determine what conduct, in his circumstances, could have maintained the authority of the crown, and preserved the peace of the nation. Exposed, without revenue, without arms, to the assaults of furious, implacable, and bigotted factions, it was never permitted him, but with the most fatal consequences, to commit the smallest mistake ;-a condition too rigorous to be imposed on the greatest human capacity."

- Charles is in his grave;
After life's fitful fever, he sleeps well ;
Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
Can touch him further."

Macbeth, Act iii. Scone 2.

I present the reader with an engraving of the head and face of the royal martyr, after it had lain a hundred and sixty-four years in the tomb. The search for his remains at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, was conducted by sir Henry Halford, in presence of the Prince Regent, and some members of the court. The particular vault in which the coffin was deposited had long remained unknown, though it was understood to be the one in which Henry the Eighth and one of his wives were laid. Accident led to its detection, A scroll, with name and date, served in some measure to authenticate the outer covering; but the examination of the head left not a doubt of the identity of the royal remains. Upon disengaging the face from the cere-cloth, which had been lined with an unctuous and resinous substance, apparently with a view to exclude the external air, the complexion of the skin was observed to be dark and discoloured. The forehead and temples had lost lille

or nothing of their muscular substance: the cartilage of the nose was gone; but the left eye, in the first moment of exposure, was open and full, though it vanished almost immediately; and the pointed beard, so characteristic of the period of the reign of king Charles, was perfect. The shape of the face was a long oval; many of the teeth reinained; and the left ear, in consequence of the interposition of the unctuous matter between it and the cere-cloth, was found entire. The countenance, in short, notwithstanding its disfigurement, bore a strong resemblance to the coins, the busts, and especially to the pictures of Charles the First by Vandyke. Finally, the fourth cervical vertebra was found divided transversely; the corresponding surfaces being smooth, betokening that they had been separated by a very sharp instrument. I quote these particulars from the interesting narrative lately published by sir Henry Halford.

[graphic]

302

CHAPTER XXIV.

THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT, OLIVER CROMWELL, PRESBYTERY THE REMONSTRATORS AND RESOLUTIOXERS.

1649.—Charles II. proclaimed at Edinburgh-the king reprimanded.—Commis.

sioners sent to Breda.--The duke of Hamilton arraigned-condemned-executed-his speech-anecdote-his history.--Argyle refuses to intercede.Huntly executed.--Loudon's intrigues-act of classes-negociations with the king -his answer—the kirk's rigidity-Dr. Spang's complaint of it.- Omnipotence of the kirk.-Meeting of the commission at St. Andrews.-Dr. Barron deprived. -General Assembly meets—those who served in the Engagement excommuni. cated.-Seasonable warning.-Letter to the king.-Act abolishing patronageremarks on it.—Clergymen deposed.-Committees for deposition.-Metre version of the psalms adopted.-Immorality.- 1650.—Montrose-lands in Orkney.- Presbytery of Orkney deposed.—Montrose lands in Caithness-defeated and taken-his entry into Edinburgh-his condemnation-execution.Ministers' altar.-Deputation to the king—his communicating offends the deputation—sails from Holland—lands at Spey-signs the covenant-king's suite removed.--Assembly meets.-Cromwell's invasion.--Act of the west kirk. Letter to Cromwell—his answer.-Dunfermline declaration--the king's reluc. tance to sign it-unfairly forced.-Purgation of the army.-Violence of the ministers.--The king still farther humbled.--" The causes of the Lord's wrath." - Battle of Dunbar—the effects of it.-Cromwell's correspondence with the ministers.--Meeting of commission-their address to the people.—A fast.-Opposition. The household purged.—The king makes his escape-pursued and brought back to Perth.-Abortive attempts of the loyalists.--Questions put to the commission-their answer.-RESOLUTIONS.-The REMONSTRANCE.--Parliament summon the commission to advise them--the commission's report.Coronation.-Letter from the presbytery of Stirling to the commission.—Mi. nisters of Stirling cited by the chancellor--their protest—the commission's judgment-consent to the repeal of the act of classes—act repealed. Proceed. ings of the commission.-General Assembly-proceedings of the remonstrators -proposal to cede all England to Cromwell.-King went to Aberdeen.-Cromwell defeats general Holborn, and captures the commission of the kirk.-" The start” for England.-Battle of Worcester.-King's personal conduct.-Con clusion.

1649.-As soon as it was known at Edinburgh that Cromwell and the military had murdered the king, the parliament or

« PreviousContinue »