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to procure his safety. He had no attention, however, paid unto him: for the king, as it is well known, being condemned, lost . his life before Whitehall, to the amazement of all his partizans. And that the hopes of the prince of Wales might be en
determined by the army, with the approbation of the parliament, to bring the king to a trial for high-treason; his friends were greatly alarmed. The prince, in particular, made application to the States of Holland to interpose in his behalf to the parliament; which they promised to do, and actually did, by an ambas-, sador sent for that purpose: though it proved of no significancy. Not content herewith, he sent a seryant with a letter to Fairfax, and the council of war (for he knew the parliament had no authority), in which he told them," that he had no other means to be informed of the health and condition of the king his royal father, but by the common prints, and general intelligences that arriv'd in those parts: he had reason by those to believe, that after the expiration of the treaty in the isle of Wight, (where he hoped the foundation for a happy peace had been laid) his majesty had been carried to Hurst Castle; and since, by some officers of the army to Windsor, not without purpose of a more violent prosecution; the rumour whereof, though of so monstrous and incredible a nature, had called upon his piety to make this address to them; who had at this time the power to chuse, whether they would raise lasting monuments to themselves of loyalty and piety, by restoring their sovereign to his just rights, and their country to peace and happiness,
tirely cut off, all persons were forbidden to declare, publish, or promote him, or any other person, to be king, or chief magistrate of England, or Ireland, without consent of parliament: the house of peers was declared useless and dangerous; and the
a glory which had been seldom absolutely vouchsafed to sơ sinall a number of men; or to make themselves the authors of endless misery to the kingdom, by eontributing or consenting to an act which all Christians, into how different opinions soever divided, must abhør as the most inconsistent with the elements of any religion, and destructive to the security and being of any kind of government. He did therefore earnestly desire and conjure them, sadly to consider the vast and prodigious disproportion in that election; and then, he said, he could not doubt but that they would chuse to do that which is most just, safe, and honourable for them to do; make themselves the blest instruments to preserve, defend, and restore theiț king, to whoin only their allegiance was due; by which every one of them might justly promise themselves peace of conscience, the singular good will and favour of his majesty; the ample thanks and aclinowledgments of all good men, and the particular and unalterable affection of the prince himself. This letter," continues my author,
was with much ado delivered into the hands of Fairfax himself; but the messenger could never be admitted to speak with him; nor was there more known than that it was read in the council of war, and laid asidea?
* Clarendon, vol. V. p. 251.
kingly office itself, utterly abolished. A commonwealth hereupon was erected ; and an engagement imposed on all persons (on pain of incapacity of bearing office in church or state) to be true and faithful to
If this letter was really written and sent, its success was just such as might have been expected. For what heed could be given to the intercessions or promises of a man who but a very little before had declared himself an enemy to them, and desirous of their destruction? Filial piety might naturally prompt, and a father's imminent danger might excite, to such an address; but cool reason must pronounce that it would be ineffectual. The men his royal highness had to do with, were not to be charmed with words.--It is said, the prince also sent to the parliament, to pre- . scribe the terms on which his majesty's head might be secured. This is not improbable: as I know there is in the British Museum a blank paper, at the bottom of which, on the right hand, is written, Charles P. and on the left, opposite thereunto, a seal is affixed; and on the back there is written, in another hand, “ Prince Charles his carte blanche to the parliament to save his father's head." However, no intercessions were regarded; and the prince had the mortification to find that the pretence of royal blood could not fix a tyrant on the throne, or secure him from open punishment. Happy had it been if the children of this monarch had learned wisdom from the sufferings of their father! But a fatality, for the most part, attended their race: they loved tyranny, and they experienced the hatred it produced. May it be the fate of such as imitate them,
the commonwealth of England, as thien established, without king or house of lords. This gave rise to a controversy, which it will be proper to give an account of 10 In the mean time, Charles was proclaimed
in every age, and in every nation! that they may know the rights of human nature; the prerogative of man; and the laws, the reasonable laws, of their respective communities. ;
Ye wretches, ye perfidious train,
Ye curst of gods and freeborn men,
Tho' now you glory in your lust,
Tho' now you tread the feeble neck in dust,
10 This gave rise to a controversy, which it will be proper to give an account of.] The act for subscribing the engagement passed the house Jan. 2, 1649, O.S. and continued in force till Jan. 19, 1653; when, by the authority of Cromwell and his parliament, it was laid aside. Mr. Whitlock tells us," that it was ordered , that the lords commissioners of the great seal do take care that writs be issued out and sent down into every county to the several sheriffs to proclaim the act touching the engagement. This course of proclaiming new acts of parliament,” adds he," was very antient, and constantly used (especially in elder times), as appears by the records, but of late disused, I thought fit to have it revived again, that the people might be informed what acts were passed, which they were not so fully by the printing as by proclaiming of thein at
king of Scotland by the parliament of that nation; who resolved to send a committee
their markets."." . The revival of this practice scems to have been bighly reasonable; though, with many others, it was not continued after the Restoration. The end and design of the engagement was to secure the new government against its adversaries, which were neither few nor contemptible: it being judged, proper to permit none to enjoy power under the commonwealth, who were not well inclined towards it, or who could not quietly sit easy under it. It of consequence made
many removes among men of real "principles, and excited many disputes among those who were actuated by conscience. As for the herd in the higher or lower classes, in all ages they are one,--without thought, consideration, or honour; and consequently it may easily be supposed, that they very quietly submitted. Various were the opinions, and opposite the practicesy of very wise and good men, concerning this oath, which was intended to establish a quite different form of government from what they had been used to; and each party appealed to the public, as usual on such occasions. : “ The arraignment, conviction and condemnation of the Westminsterian-Juncto's Engagementb, written, as I believe, by Pryone, without a name, immediately appeared. : In this, it was allegedly
that it was imposed by those, who by the laws, never had power to adınjoister, much less to make or impose any oath, supposing them, a full and free house of commons, as they were not; that it was contrary to all antient oaths, the modern oaths of allegiance and su:
In 4to. 1649, without the name of place of
a Whitlock, p. 439. printer.