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No amusement was allowed him, nor society, which might relieve his anxious thoughts: To be speedily poisoned or assassinated was the only prospect which he had every moment before his eyes : for he entertained no apprehension of a judicial sentence and execution; an event of which no history hitherto furnished an example. Meanwhile the Parliament was very in Austrious in publishing, from time to time, the intelligence which they received from Hammond; how cheer ful the King was, how pleased with every thing that approached him, how satisfied in his present condition: The great source whence the King derived consolation amidst all his calamities, was undoubtedly religion; a principle which, in him, seems to have contained 10. thing tierce or gloomy, nothing which enraged him against his adversaries, or terrified bim with the dismal prospect of futurity. While every thing rond hinr bore a hostile aspect; while friends, family, relations, whom he passionately loved, were piaced at a distance, and unable to serve him, he reposed himself with confidence in the arnis of that Being who penetrates and sustains all nature, and whose severities, if received with piety and resignation, he regarded as the surest pledges of unexhausted favour.
A final attempt at an accommodation between Charles and the Parliament was made at Newport, in the alltumn of 1648; but, like former attempts, failed through the unbending obstinacy of the Puritan leaders. The King yielded to all their demands, except what conceru, ed the abolition of episcopacy, and the giving up of his friends. These were conditions to which he thought himself bound in honour and conscience not to consent; and his firmness in these points, however creditable to his character, proved in the event fatal to him.
When the Parliament was negotiating with the King, Cromwell and the other leaders of the army were employed in quelling various Aangerous ipsarrections in different parts of the kingdom; and their usual success having attended their arms, they now returned to London, flushed with victory, and determined no longer to
observe any terms with their adversaries. Their first step was to exclude from the Parliament all those members whom they thought unfriendly to their cause. When the Commons were to meet, colonel Pride, forwerly a drayman, surrounded the house with two regiments, and seized in the passage forty-one members of the Presbyterian party, and sent them to a low room, which passed by the appellation of hett, whence they were afterwards carried to several inns. About 160 members more were excluded, and none were allowed to enter but the most furious and most determined of the Independents. This invasion of the Parliament commonly passed under the name of Colonel Pride's Purge, so much disposed was the nation to make merry with the dethroning of those members who had arrogated the whole authority of government, and deprived the king of his legal prerogatives.
One of the first acts of this remnant of the house of Commons, was the appointmeut of a committee to draw ap a formal accusation or impeachment of the King. Charles was now removed from the Isle of Wight to Windsor, and every thing announced to him that the period of his life was now fast approaching: but, notwithstanding all the preparations which were making, and the intelligence which he received, he could not, even yet, believe, that his enemies really meant to conclude their violences by a public trial and execution. A private assaseination he every moment looked for; and though Harrison assured him, that his apprehen. sions were entirely groundless, it was by that catastrophe, so frequent with dethroned princes, that he expected to terminate bis life. In appearance, as well as in reality, the King was now dethroned. All the exterior symbols of sovereignty were withdrawn, and his attendants had orders to serve him without ceremony. At first, he was shocked with instances of rudeness and familiarity, to which he had been so little accustomed.
othing so contemptible as a despised prince! was the reflection which they suggested to him. But he soon reconciled his mind to this, as he had done to his other calamities.
All the circumstances of the trial were now adjusted, and the high court of justice fully constituted. It consisted of 133 persons, as named by the Commons; but there scarcely ever sat above 70: So difficult was it, notwithstanding the blindness of prejudice, and the allurements of interest to engage men of any character or name in that criminal measure. Cromwell, Ireton, Harrison, and the chief officers of the army, most of them of mean birth, were members, together with some of the Lower House and some citizens of London. The twelve judges were at first appointed of the number; but, as they had affirmed, that it was contrary to all ideas of English law to try the King for treason, by whose authority all accusations for treason must necessarily be conductcd, their names, as well as those of some peers, were afterwards struck out. Bradshaw, a lawyer, was chosen president. Coke was appointed solicitor for the people of England. Dorislaus, Steele, and Aske, were named assistants. The court sat in Westininster-hall.
“ The pomp, the diguity, the ceremony of this transaction," says Hume,“ corresponded to the greatest conception that is suggested in the annals of human kind. The delegates of a great people, sitting in judgment upon their supreme magistrate, and trying him for his misgovernment and breach of trust." The solicitor, in the name of the Commons, represented, that Charles Stuart, being admitted King of England, and entrusted with a limited power; yet, nevertheless, from a wicked design, to erect an unlimited and tyrannical government, had traitorously and maliciously levied war against the present Parliament, and the people whom they represented, and was therefore impeached as a tyrant, traitor, mure derer', and a public and implacable enemy to the commonwealth. After the charge was finished, the president directed his vtiscourse to the King, and told him, that the court expected bis answer.
The King, tlougla long detained a prisoner, and now Produced as a criminal. sustained, by bis magnanimous courage, the majesty of a monarch. With great temper and dignity he declined the authority of the court, and refused to submit himself to their jurisdiction. 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. The King seemed very anxious at this time to be admitted to a conference with the two houses; and it was snpposed, that he intended to resign the crowu to his son; but the court refused, and considered the request as nothing but a delay of justice.
It is confessed, even by his enemies, that the King's behaviour, during this last scene of life, does bonour to his memory ; and that, in all appearance before his judges, he never forgot his part, either as a prince or as a man. Firm and intrepid, be maintained, in each reply, the utmost perspicuity and justness both of thought and expression. Mild and equable, he rose into no passion at that anusual 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 malig. nity and iniquity. The soldiers, instigated by their superiors, though with difficulty, to cry aloud for justice: Poor souls, said the King to one of his attendants, for a little money they would do as much against one of their commanders. Some of them were permitted to go to the atmost length of brutal violence, 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, pooring forth their wishes for his preservation ; and, in his present distress, they avowed him, by their
generous tears, for their monarch, whom, in their mise guided fury, they had 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 ofticer overheard the prayer, and beat him to the ground in the King's presence. The punishment, me thinks, etceeds the offenee. This was the reflection which Charles formed on that occasion.
Three days were allowed the King between his sentence and his execution. This interval he passed in great tranquillity, chiefly in reading and devotion. All his family that remained in England were allowed access to him. It consisted ouly 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, shewed an advanced judgment; and the calamities of her fansily hail made a deep impression on 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 conjngal tenderness and 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 soon to be his sovereign. Holding him on his knee, he said, “ now they will cut off thy father's head.” Atthese words the child looked very steadfastly
“ 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 ent off thy brothers' heads if they can catch them! And thy head too they will cut off at last! therefore I eharge thee do not be made a king by them." The duke, sighing, replied, "I will be torn in pieces first.” So de