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A.D. 1629. Upon the dissolution of the parliament, the
public were highly discontented; which appeared in the boldness of their speeches, and their universal complaints, that if a parliament were not presently called again, all things would be unsettled and out of order ; that trading would fail, and contests would perpetually arise about tonnage and poundage. Hereupon the king published a proclamation on the 27th of March, “ That he neither could nor would dispense with the duties his father had received; and that he should not call a new parliament till those who had interrupted the last had received their condign punishment; and those who were misled by them should come to a better understanding of his majesty and themselves.”
his physicians subscribed their opinions that it was absolutely necessary, and his life was in
imminent danger, they could not prevail for obtaining it..
22 This case affords us another instance of the extent of that moderation and mercy so often attributed to Charles the First. We learn, from Rushworth, that upon consulting the judges he was exceedingly disappointed to find that the opposition of these members could not be tortured into a capital offence.Rushworth, vol.i.-Poor Elliot's death should never be forgotten when we speak of this man's character.
Review of King Charles's conduct continued, from the dissolu
tion of the parliament, March 10, 1628-9, to the meeting of the Long Parliament.
Whilst the king was indulging his anger against A.D. 1629. the members of the last parliament, he gave up Bad conhis quarrels with his foreign enemies; and whilst coteiro intent upon increasing his power at home, he lost it abroad, and with it his reputation. Having had no success against the crowns of France and Spain, he was glad to accept of peace from them upon any terms; and instead of supporting the protestants of France, as he was bound in honour to do, he sacrificed them to the resentment of their court. After having engaged them to take up protestants arms (which they had laid down but a little before), and after having assured them that he would . employ all the power of his kingdom to shield their churches from the ruin that threatened them, (in pursuance of which they had bound themselves by oath never to enter into any treaty without his consent,) he left them to make the
A.D. 1629. best terms which they could for themselves; to
the ruin of the protestant interest in France, and to the dishonour of England. They had, for the maintenance of their religion, acted with the greatest resolution, and suffered the most extreme hardships that men could bear. They had been reduced, in Rochelle, during the siege of it, to such want and misery, that for above fourteen months they had subsisted on hides and parchments, and even the bones of the dead had yielded them sustenance, until, despairing of that succour from England which they had so long expected; they were obliged to surrender the place in October 1628. The Duke of Rohan, head of the protestant party in France, not knowing that King Charles had dissolved his parliament, im. plored his aid in behalf of the reformed churches of France, in a letter* dated the 12th of March
Duke of The deplorable accident of
hath pleased to permit, to hum-
provinces that courage, or af-
1628, being two days after the parliament was A.D. 1629. dissolved. At the same time, deputies arrived from the churches, to acquaint the king that, in case he should enter into a treaty with France, they humbly prayed him to insist upon the capitulation that had been made upon his mediation, and with regard to which he had passed his word
verance. And because the most dangers, overcome all obstacles, powerful means which God consumed their goods, and are hath raised them upon earth still ready to spill their blood, is the aid which our churches even unto the last drop. Your have received, and do expect, good-will they have found more from your majesty, the general dear than their lives; and, notassembly have desired that my withstanding the promises and letter (which solely hitherto re- menaces which their enemies presented unto your majesty have made use of to move the interest of the public cause) them, they have not been inmight be joined to the most duced to make any breach of humble supplication which they those oaths by which they represent. I do it, sir, with so were tied never to hearken to much the more affection, be any treaty but with your macause I am witness that this jesty's consent. All the churches poor people breathe after your of this kingdom, which are assistance, having once laid linked together to an unexamdown their arms, which the pled fidelity, are glorious oboppression of the enemy made jects of your charity and power: so necessary; and because they you are, sir, “ defender of that knew it was your desire, took“ faith which they profess;” do them up again, when they not suffer it to be unjustly oplearned that your majesty pressed : you have stirred up obliged them to it by your their affections by your royal counsel and by your promises. promises, and those sacred Upon this sole assurance, they words, " that your majesty have exposed themselves to all would employ all the power
A.D. 1629. that the reformed churches should perform it on
their parts. This they had inviolably done, till forces were raised and kept in forts against them, contrary to the capitulation; so that, at length, they were necessitated to take up arms in their own defence.
To the duke's letter, which was as affecting
of your kingdom to shield all milies banished; our temples those churches from the ruin demolished ; and everywhere, that threatened them;" and where the cruelty of our heihave been, next to the favour nous enemies can extend, men of God, the only foundation and women are beaten to mass of their hopes : they have also with staves. In short, the thought it to be one of the horror and persecution we enhighest crimes they could com- dure is so great, that our mit, to doubt of the perform words are too weak to express ance thereof. If the beginning them. of their miseries hath moved Furthermore, we see, even your compassion, this sad sub- at our doors, the powerful arject hath increased upon them mies which only wait the time with so much violence, that to destroy those retiring places there is nothing but your as that are left, and after that sistance can prevent their ab- banish the exercise of religion, solute destruction; for at this and massacre the faithful day the greatest misdemeanours throughout the kingdom. Herewhich our enemies accuse us upon, if I should entreat your of, and publish, that it cannot majesty not to abandon us, I be expiated but with our blood, fear by these words to offend a is the imploring and hoping for great king, so powerful and so your assistance. Our goods for faithful; but I will take upon this are confiscated and de- me the boldness, by reason of stroyed ; our farms desolate our pressing necessities, to and burnt to ashes; our heads supplicate your ready assistexposed to the block; our fa- ance to hinder our falling