Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

God, nor of the chearful concurrence of all
good people, and of the undeceived part of
the army, whose arrears and future advance-
ment they would procure, suffering no im-
position or force on any man's conscience.”

If I am charged with inconsistency in de-
precating the acts of the effective govern-
ment of the nation, during this tyrannical
usurpation of twenty years, after having
established the principle, that the acts of
the majority are conclusive upon the whole, I
first oppose to it that unexceptionable maxim,
that there can be no real government, which
is not admitted by the free consent of the ma-
jority of the people. Now to prove, that the The rebellion
scenes of bloodshed, cruelty, and tyranny from of the majority
the year 1641 to the year 1660, were not by
the free affent of the majority of the nation, I
shall beg leave to adduce the following au-
thorities in evidence. * « The number of
the commons, that passed their act for the
king's trial were but forty-six, not the tenth
part of a house of commons duly constituted;
and if the people had been asked one by one,
not one in a hundred would have consented to
the king's murder, or chosen such representa-
tives (if they might have had a free choice),

[ocr errors]

not the free act

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

• D. Brady's Hift. of the Succeffion, p. 357.



[ocr errors]

* « And we

as would have consented to it; and yet this charge is drawn up and urged against the king, as the act of the commons and all the people of England; or lastly, who can deny, that they published for law and right whatsoever they did or fáid, though it were never so treasonable, vile, or wicked.” In the answer of the house of commons to King Charles the Second's letter, or declaration from Breda, we shall hear some more authentic accounts of the fewness of the actors and abettors in these scenes of horror and tyranny. beseech your majesty, we may add this farther for the vindication of parliaments, and even of the last parliament convened under your royal father of happy memory, when as your majesty well observes, through mistakes and misunderstandings, many inconveniences were produced, which were not intended; that those very inconveniences could not have been brought upon us by those persons, who had designed them, without violating the parliament itself; for they well knew it was not possible to do a violence to that sacred person, whilst the parliament, which had vowed and covenanted for the defence and safety of that person remained entire, Surely Sir, as the

Vid. Clar. Hift. of the Civil Wars, b. xvi. Vol. üi. P. 592.


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

persons of our kings have ever been dear
unto parliaments, so we cannot think of that
horrid act committed against the precious life
of our late sovereign, but with such a detefta.
tion and abhorrency, as we want words to
express it; and next to wishing it had never
been, we wish it may never be remembered
by your majesty, to be unto you an occasion
of sorrow, as it will never be remembered
by us, but with that grief and trouble of
mind, which it deserves ; being the greatest
reproach, that ever was incurred by any of the
English nation, an offence to all the protes-
tant churches abroad, and a scandal to the
profession of the truth of religion here at
home; though both profession and true pro- The whole na-

tion not guilty,
feffors, and the nation itself, as well as the
parliament, were most innocent of it, it have
ing been only the contrivance and act of some
few ambitious and bloody persons, and such
others, as by their influence were mised.
And as we hope and pray, that God will not
impute the guilt of it, nor of all the evil con-
sequences thereof, unto the land, whose divine
justice never involves the guiltless with the

Though Dr. Priestley finds occasion of The murderers exultation and triumph in the annual comme- a faction, and moration of the 30th of January, yet in ano- tives of the naRr2

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


of King Charles

not representa

ther part of his works he owns, that from the nature of things it was necessary, that the opposition to King Charles's government should begin from a few, who might therefore be called a faction, for whom there was no fafety short of his death. *“ For,” says he, “it is to be regretted, that the situation of things was fuch, that the sentence could not be passed by the whole nation, or their representatives solemnly


* Priestley upon Government, p. 39.

+ Lord Clarendon relates the following anecdote, not irrelevant to the present subject, which happened on the first day of King Charles's trial. Hift. of the Civil Wars, vol. iii.. b. xi. p. 196.“ When all those, who were commisfioners had taken their places, and the king was brought in, the first ceremony was, to read their commission, which was the ordinance of parliament for the trial; and when the judges were all called, every man answering to his name, as he was called, and the president being first called and making answer, the next who was called being the general, Lord Fairfax, and no answer being made, the officer called him the second time, when there was a voice heard that said, " he had more wit than to be there;' which put the court into some disorder; and somebody asking who it was, there was no answer, but a little murmuring; but presently, when the impeachment was read, and that expression used, of all the good people of England, the fame voice in a louder tone answered, “No, nor the hundredth part of them;' upon which one of the officers bid the foldiers give fire into that box, whence those presumptuous words were uttered; but it was quickly discerned, that it was the general's wife the lady Fairfax, who had uttered both those sharpe sayings, who was presently persuaded or forced to leave the place, to prevent any new disorder.


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

this country.

[ocr errors]

asembled for that purpose. I am sensible indeed
that the generality of the nation at that time
would not have voted for the death of their sove-

From what I have already said, may we
collect a specimen of the deadly fruit, which
this faction would produce, if the growth of
the plant were in any manner encouraged in

Some of the most noxious herbs, under the disguise of improper names, find their way into the fairest gardens; but one fatal instance of their deadly poison, induces the melancholy but requisite caution to prevent their future progress to maturity. Thus confident am I, that the abusive appli- Seditious pocation of the term religious to these feditious ries masked unand rebellious political sectaries, has alone appellation. procured the admission, 'adoption, or toleration of them in our constitution. We have

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

She was of a very noble extraction, one of the daughters
and heirs of Horace Lord Vere of Tilbury, who having
been bred in Holland, had not that reverence for the
church of England, as she ought to have had, and so had
unhappily concurred in her husband's entering into rebel--
lion, never imagining what misery it would bring upon
the kingdom, and now abhorred the work in hand as
much, as any body could do, and did all she could to
hinder her husband from acting any part in it. Nor did
he ever fit in that bloody court, though he was throughout
overwitted by Cromwell, and made a property to bring
that to pass, which could very hardly have been otherwise


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


« PreviousContinue »