Great Civil War In England, Execution Of Charles I

Author:      Macaulay, Lord;Knight, Charles

 

By Lord Macaulay

 

1649

 

 

 

     No period of English history is more crowded with important events than

that of the civil war.  The intolerant reign of James I had brought him into

conflict, not only with the religious elements in the kingdom, but also with

Parliament.

 

     Like James, his son and successor, Charles I, was a stubborn believer in

the divine right of the monarch; and as James had shown throughout his reign a

flagrant disregard of law, so Charles from the outset betrayed the same

disposition.  He surrounded himself with advisers who supported his favorite

views.  In the first fifteen months of his reign he summoned two parliaments

only to dissolve them in anger.  Next he raised money by forced loans and

other expedients which were odious to many of his subjects.

 

     For the first time England was now divided between two great parties.

Matters proceeded with constantly increasing friction, and at last the

struggle developed into civil war.  Macaulay's summary of it, and Knight's

picture of its culmination in that most melancholy tragedy, the execution of

the King, cover the subject in its essential aspects, without unnecessary

dealing with minor details.

 

     In August, 1642, the sword was at length drawn; and soon, in almost every

shire of the kingdom, two hostile factions appeared in arms against each

other.  It is not easy to say which of the contending parties was at first the

more formidable.  The Houses commanded London and the counties round London,

the fleet, the navigation of the Thames, and most of the large towns and

seaports.  They had at their disposal almost all the military stores of the

kingdom, and were able to raise duties, both on goods imported from foreign

countries and on some important products of domestic industry.

 

     King Charles was ill provided with artillery and ammunition.  The taxes

which he laid on the rural districts occupied by his troops produced, it is

probable, a sum far less than that which the Parliament drew from the city of

London alone.  He relied, indeed, chiefly, for pecuniary aid on the

munificence of his opulent adherents.  Many of these mortgaged their land,

pawned their jewels, and broke up their silver chargers and christening-bowls

in order to assist him.  But experience has fully proved that the voluntary

liberality of individuals, even in times of the greatest excitement, is a poor

financial resource when compared with severe and methodical taxation, which

presses on the willing and unwilling alike.

 

     Charles, however, had one advantage, which, if he had used it well, would

have more than compensated for the want of stores and money, and which,

notwithstanding his mismanagement, gave him, during some months, a superiority

in the war.  His troops at first fought much better than those of the

Parliament.  Both armies, it is true, were almost entirely composed of men who

had never seen a field of battle.  Nevertheless, the difference was great.

The Parliamentary ranks were filled with hirelings whom want and idleness had

induced to enlist.  Hampden's regiment was regarded as one of the best; and

even Hampden's regiment was described by Cromwell as a mere rabble of tapsters

and serving-men out of place.

 

     The royal army, on the other hand, consisted in great part of gentlemen,

high-spirited, ardent, accustomed to consider dishonor as more terrible than

death, accustomed to fencing, to the use of fire-arms, to bold riding, and to

manly and perilous sport, which has been well called the image of war.  Such

gentlemen, mounted on their favorite horses, and commanding little bands

composed of their younger brothers, grooms, gamekeepers, and huntsmen, were

from the very first day on which they took the field, qualified to play their

part with credit in skirmish.  The steadiness, the prompt obedience, the

mechanical precision of movement, which are characteristic of the regular

soldier, these gallant volunteers never attained.  But they were at first

opposed to enemies as undisciplined as themselves, and far less active,

athletic, and daring.  For a time, therefore, the Cavaliers were successful in

almost every encounter.

 

     The Houses had also been unfortunate in the choice of a general.  The

rank and wealth of the Earl of Essex made him one of the most important

members of the Parliamentary party.  He had borne arms on the Continent with

credit, and, when the war began, had as high a military reputation as any man

in the country.  But it soon appeared that he was unfit for the post of

commander-in-chief.  He had little energy and no originality.  The methodical

tactics which he had learned in the war of the Palatinate did not save him

from the disgrace of being surprised and baffled by such a captain as Rupert,

who could claim no higher fame than that of an enterprising partisan.

 

     Nor were the officers who held the chief commissions under Essex

qualified to supply what was wanting in him.  For this, indeed, the Houses are

scarcely to be blamed.  In a country which had not, within the memory of the

oldest person living, made war on a great scale by land, generals of tried

skill and valor were not to be found.  It was necessary, therefore, in the

first instance, to trust untried men; and the preference was naturally given

to men distinguished either by their station or by the abilities which they

had displayed in Parliament.

 

     In scarcely a single instance, however, was the selection fortunate.

Neither the grandees nor the orators proved good soldiers.  The Earl of

Stamford, one of the greatest nobles of England, was routed by the Royalists

at Stratton.  Nathaniel Fiennes, inferior to none of his contemporaries in

talents for civil business, disgraced himself by the pusillanimous surrender

of Bristol.  Indeed, of all the statesmen who at this juncture accepted high

military commands, Hampden alone appears to have carried into the camp the

capacity and strength of mind which had made him eminent in politics.

 

     When the war had lasted a year, the advantage was decidedly with the

Royalists.  They were victorious, both in the western and in the northern

counties.  They had wrested Bristol, the second city in the kingdom, from the

Parliament.  They had won several battles, and had not sustained a single

serious or ignominious defeat.  Among the Roundheads adversity had begun to

produce dissension and discontent.  The Parliament was kept in alarm,

sometimes by plots and sometimes by riots.  It was thought necessary to

fortify London against the royal army, and to hang some disaffected citizens

at their own doors.  Several of the most distinguished peers who had hitherto

remained at Westminster fled to the court at Oxford; nor can it be doubted

that if the operations of the Cavaliers had at this season been directed by a

sagacious and powerful mind, Charles would soon have marched in triumph to

Whitehall.

 

     But the King suffered the auspicious moment to pass away; and it never

returned.  In August, 1643, he sat down before the city of Gloucester.  That

city was defended by the inhabitants and by the garrison, with a determination

such as had not, since the commencement of the war, been shown by the

adherents of the Parliament.  The emulation of London was excited. The train -

bands of the city volunteered to march wherever their services might be

required.  A great force was speedily collected and began to move westward.

The siege of Gloucester was raised; the Royalists in every part of the kingdom

were disheartened; the spirit of the Parliamentary party revived; and the

apostate lords, who had lately fled from Westminster to Oxford, hastened back

from Oxford to Westminster.

 

     And now a new and alarming class of symptoms began to appear in the

distempered body politic.  There had been, from the first, in the

Parliamentary party, some men whose minds were set on objects from which the

majority of that party would have shrunk with horror.  These men were, in

religion Independents.  They conceived that every Christian congregation had,

under Christ, supreme jurisdiction in things spiritual; that appeals to

provincial and national synods were scarcely less unscriptural than appeals to

the court of arches or to the Vatican; and that popery, prelacy, and

Presbyterianism were merely three forms of one great apostasy.  In politics,

the Independents were, to use the phrase of their time, root and brance men,

or, to use the kindred phrase of our own time, radicals.  Not content with

limiting the power of the monarch, they were desirous to erect a commonwealth

on the ruins of the old English polity.

 

     At first they had been inconsiderable, both in numbers and in weight; but

before the war had lasted two years they became, not indeed the largest, but

the most powerful, faction in the country.  Some of the old Parliamentary

leaders had been removed by death; and others had forfeited the public

confidence.  Pym had been borne, with princely honors, to grave among the

Plantagenets.  Hampden had fallen, as became him, while vainly endeavoring, by

his heroic example, to inspire his followers with courage to face the fiery

cavalry of Rupert.  Bedford had been untrue to the cause. Northumberland was

known to be lukewarm.  Essex and his lieutenants had shown little vigor and

ability in the conduct of military operations.  At such a conjucture it was

that the Independent party, ardent, resolute, and uncompromising, began to

raise its head, both in the camp and in the House of Commons.

 

     The soul of that party was Oliver Cromwell.  Bred to peaceful

occupations, he had, at more than forty years of age, accepted a commission in

the Parliamentary army.  No sooner had he become a soldier than he discerned,

with the keen glance of genius, what Essex, and men like Essex, with all their

experience, were unable to perceive.  He saw precisely where the strength of

the Royalists lay, and by what means alone that strength could be overpowered.

He saw that it was necessary to reconstruct the army of the Parliament.  He

saw also that there were abundant and excellent materials for the purpose,

materials less showy, indeed, but more solid, than those of which the gallant

squadrons of the King were composed.  It was necessary to look for recruits

who were not mere mercenaries, for recruits of decent station and grave

character, fearing God and zealous for public liberty.  With such men he

filled his own regiment, and, while he subjected them to a discipline more

rigid than had ever before been known in England, he administered to their

intellectual and moral nature stimulants of fearful potency.

 

     The events of the year 1644 fully proved the superiority of his

abilities.  In the South, where Essex held the command, the Parliamentary

forces underwent a succession of shameful disasters; but in the North the

victory of Marston Moor fully compensated for all that had been lost

elsewhere.  That victory was not a more serious blow to the Royalists than to

the party which had hitherto been dominant at Westminster; for it was

notorious that the day, disgracefully lost by the Presbyterians, had been

retrieved by the energy of Cromwell and by the steady valor of the warriors

whom he had trained.

 

     These events produced the "Self-denying Ordinance" and the new model of

the army.  Under decorous pretexts, and with every mark of respect, Essex and

most of those who had held high posts under him were removed; and the conduct

of the war was intrusted to very different hands.  Fairfax, a brave soldier,

but of mean understanding and irresolute temper, was the nominal lord-general

of the forces; but Cromwell was their real head.

 

     Cromwell made haste to organize the whole army on the same principles on

which he had organized his own regiment.  As soon as this process was

complete, the event of the war was decided.  The Cavaliers had now to

encounter natural courage equal to their own, enthusiasm stronger than their

own, and discipline such as was utterly wanting to them.  It soon became a

proverb that the soldiers of Fairfax and Cromwell were men of a different

breed from the soldiers of Essex.  At Naseby took place the first great

encounter between the Royalists and the remodelled anry of the Houses.  The

victory of the Roundheads was complete and decisive.  It was followed by other

triumphs in rapid succession.  In a few months the authority of the Parliament

was fully established over the whole kingdom.  Charles fled to the Scots, and

was by them, in a manner which did not much exalt their national character,

delivered up to his English subjects.

 

     While the event of the war was still doubtful, the Houses had put the

primate to death, had interdicted, within the sphere of their authority, the

use of the liturgy, and had required all men to subscribe that renowned

instrument known by the name of the "Solemn League and Covenant." Covenanting

work, as it was called, went on fast.  Hundreds of thousands affixed their

names to the rolls, and, with hands lifted up toward heaven, swore to

endeavor, without respect of persons, the extirpation of popery and prelacy,

heresy and schism, and to bring to public trial and condign punishment all who

should hinder the reformation of religion.  When the struggle was over, the

work of innovation and revenge was pushed on with increased ardor.  The

ecclesiastical polity of the kingdom was remodelled. Most of the old clergy

were ejected from their benefices.  Fines, ofter of ruinous amount, were laid

on the Royalists, already impoverished by large aids furnished to the King.

Many estates were confiscated.  Many proscribed Cavaliers found it expedient

to purchase, at an enormous cost, the protection of eminent members of the

victorious party.  Large domains, belonging to the crown, to the bishops, and

to the chapters, were seized, and either granted away or put up to auction.

In consequence of these spoliations, a great part of the soil of England was

at once offered for sale.  As money was scarce, as the market was glutted, as

the title was insecure, and as the awe inspired by powerful bidders prevented

free competition, the prices were often merely nominal.  Thus many old and

honorable families disappeared and were heard of no more; and many new men

rose rapidly to affluence.

 

     But, while the Houses were employing their authority thus, it suddenly

passed out of their hands.  It had been obtained by calling into existence a

power which could not be controlled.  In the summer of 1647, about twelve

months after the last fortress of the Cavaliers had submitted to the

Parliament was compelled to submit to its own soldiers.  Thirteen years

followed, during which England was, under various names and forms, really

governed by the sword.  Never before that time, or since that time, was the

civil power in our country subjected to military dictation.

 

     The army which now became supreme in the state was an army very different

from any that has since been seen among us.  At present the pay of the common

soldier is not such as can seduce any but the humblest class of English

laborers from their calling.  A barrier almost impassable separates him from

the commissioned officer.  The great majority of those who rise high in the

service rise by purchase.  So numerous and extensive are the remote

dependencies of England that every man who enlists in the line must expect to

pass many years in exile, and some years in climates unfavorable to the health

and vigor of the European race.  The army of the Long Parliament was raised

for home service.  The pay of the private soldier was much above the wages

earned by the great body of the people; and, if he distinguished himself by

intelligence and courage, he might hope to attain high commands.

 

     The ranks were accordingly composed of persons superior in station and

education to the multitude.  These persons, sober, moral, diligent, and

accustomed to reflect, had been induced to take up arms, not by the pressure

of want, not by the love of novelty and license, not by the arts of

recruiting-officers, but by religious and political zeal, mingled with the

desire of distinction and promotion.  The boast of the soldiers, as we find it

recorded in their solemn resolutions, was that they had not been forced into

the service, nor had enlisted chiefly for the sake of lucre, that they were no

janizaries, but freeborn Englishmen, who had, of their own accord, put their

lives in jeopardy for the liberties and religion of England, and whose right

and duty it was to watch over the welfare of the nation which they had saved.

 

     A force thus composed might, without injury to its efficiency, be

indulged in some liberties which, if allowed to any other troops, would have

proved subversive of all discipline.  In general, soldiers who should form

themselves into political clubs, elect delegates, and pass resolutions on high

questions of state, would soon break loose from all control, would cease to

form an army, and would become the worst and most dangerous of mobs.  Nor

would it be safe in our time to tolerate in any regiment religious meetings,

at which a corporal versed in Scripture should lead the devotions of his less

gifted colonel, and admonish a backsliding major.  But such was the

intelligence, the gravity, and the self-command of the warriors whom Cromwell

had trained that in their camp a political organization and a religious

organization could exist without destroying military organization.  The same

men, who, off duty, were noted as demagogues and field preachers were

distinguished by steadiness, by the spirit of order, and by prompt obedience

on watch, on drill, and on the field of battle.

 

     In war this strange force was irresistible.  The stubborn courage

characteristic of the English people was, by the system of Cromwell, at once

regulated and stimulated.  Other leaders have maintained order as strict.

Other leaders have inspired their followers with zeal as ardent.  But in his

camp alone the most rigid discipline was found in company with the fiercest

enthusiasm.  His troops moved to victory with the precision of machines, while

burning with the wildest fanaticism of crusaders.  From the time when the army

was remodelled to the time when it was disbanded, it never found, either in

the British Islands or on the Continent, an enemy who could stand its onset.

In England, Scotland, Ireland, Flanders, the Puritan warriors, often

surrounded by difficulties, sometimes contending against threefold odds, not

only never failed to conquer, but never failed to destroy and break in pieces

whatever force was opposed to them.  They at length came to regard the day of

battle as a day of certain triumph, and marched against the most renowned

battalions of Europe with disdainful confidence.

 

     Turenne was startled by the shout of stern exultation with which his

English allies advanced to the combat, and expressed the delight of a true

soldier when he learned that it was ever the fashion of Cromwell's pikemen to

rejoice greatly when they beheld the enemy; and the banished Cavaliers felt an

emotion of national pride when they saw a brigade of their countrymen,

outnumbered by foes and abandoned by friends, drive before it in headlong rout

the finest infantry of Spain, and force a passage into a counter-scarp which

had just been pronounced impregnable by the ablest of the marshals of France.

 

     But that which chiefly distinguished the army of Cromwell from other

armies was the austere morality and the fear of God which pervaded all ranks.

It is acknowledged by the most zealous Royalists that, in that singular camp,

no oath was heard, no drunkenness or gambling was seen, and that, during the

long dominion of the soldiery, the property of the peaceable citizen and the

honor of woman were held sacred.  If outrages were committed, they were

outrages of a very different kind from those of which a victorious army is

generally guilty.  No servant girl complained of the rough gallantry of the

redcoats.  Not an ounce of plate was taken from the shops of the goldsmiths.

But a Pelagian sermon, or a window on which the Virgin and Child were painted,

produced in the Puritan ranks an excitement which it required the utmost

exertions of the officers to quell.  One of Cromwell's chief difficulties was

to restrain his musketeers and dragoons from invading by main force the

pulpits of ministers whose discourses, to use the language of that time, were

not savory; and too many of our cathedrals still bear the marks of the hatred

with which those stern spirits regarded every vestige of popery.

 

     To keep down the English people was no light task even for that army. No

sooner was the first pressure of military tyranny felt than the nation,

unbroken to such servitude, began to struggle fiercely.  Insurrections broke

out even in those counties which, during the recent war, had been the most

submissive to the Parliament.  Indeed, the Parliament itself abhorred its old

defenders more than its old enemies, and was desirous to come to terms of

accommodation with Charles at the expense of the troops.  In Scotland, at the

same time, a coalition was formed between the Royalists and a large body of

Presbyterians who regarded the doctrines of the Independents with detestation.

 

     At length the storm burst.  There were risings in Norfolk, Suffolk,

Essex, Kent, Wales.  The fleet in the Thames suddenly hoisted the royal

colors, stood out to sea, and menaced the southern coast.  A great Scottish

force crossed the frontier and advanced into Lancashire.  It might well be

suspected that these movements were contemplated with secret complacency by a

majority both of the Lords and of the Commons.

 

     But the yoke of the army was not to be so shaken off.  While Fairfax

suppressed the risings in the neighborhood of the capital, Oliver routed the

Welsh insurgents, and, leaving their castles in ruins, marched against the

Scots.  His troops were few, when compared with the invaders; but he was

little in the habit of counting his enemies.  The Scottish army was utterly

destroyed.  A change in the Scottish government followed.  An administration,

hostile to the King, was formed at Edinburgh; and Cromwell, more than ever the

darling of his soldiers, returned in triumph to London.

 

     And now a design, to which, at the commencement of the civil war, no man

would have dared to allude, and which was not less inconsistent with the

Solemn League and Covenant than with the old law of England, began to take a

distinct form.  The austere warriors who ruled the nation had, during some

months, meditated a fearful vengeance on the captive King.  When and how the

scheme originated, whether it spread from the general to the ranks or from the

ranks to the general, whether it is to be ascribed to policy using fanaticism

as a tool or to fanaticism bearing down policy with headlong impulse, are

questions which, even at this day, cannot be answered with perfect confidence.

 

     It seems, however, on the whole, probable that he who seemed to lead was

really forced to follow, and that, on this occasion, as on another great

occasion a few years later, he sacrificed his own judgment and his own

inclinations to the wishes of the army.  For the power which he had called

into existence was a power which even he could not always control; and, that

he might ordinarily command, it was necessary that he should sometimes obey.

He publicly protested that he was no mover in the matter, that the first steps

had been taken without his privity, that he could not advise the Parliament to

strike the blow, but that he submitted his own feelings to the force of

circumstances which seemed to him to indicate the purposes of Providence.

 

     It has been the fashion to consider these professions as instances of the

hypocrisy which is vulgarly imputed to him.  But even those who pronounce him

a hypocrite will scarcely venture to call him a fool.  They are therefore

bound to show that he had some purpose to serve by secretly stimulating the

army to take that course which he did not venture openly to recommend.  It

would be absurd to suppose that he who was never by his respectable enemies

represented as wantonly cruel or implacably vindictive, would have taken the

most important step of his life under the influence of mere malevolence.  He

was far too wise a man not to know, when he consented to shed that august

blood, that he was doing a deed which was inexpiable, and which would move the

grief and horror, not only of the Royalists, but of ninetenths of those who

had stood by the Parliament.  Whatever visions may have deluded others, he was

assuredly dreaming neither of a republic on the antique pattern nor of the

millennial reign of the saints.  If he already aspired to be himself the A

founder of a new dynasty, it was plain that Charles I was a less formidable

competitor than Charles II would be.

 

     At the moment of the death of Charles I the loyalty of every Cavalier

would be transferred, unimpaired, to Charles II.  Charles I was a captive:

Charles II would be at liberty.  Charles I was an object of suspicion and

dislike to a large proportion of those who yet shuddered at the thought of

slaying him: Charles II would excite all the interest which belongs to

distressed youth and innocence.  It is impossible to believe that

considerations so obvious and so important escaped the most profound

politician of that age.  The truth is that Cromwell had at one time meant to

mediate between the throne and the Parliament, and to reorganize the

distracted state by the power of the sword, under the sanction of the royal

name.

 

     In this design he persisted till he was compelled to abandon it by the

refractory temper of the soldiers and by the incurable duplicity of the King.

A party in the camp began to clamor for the head of the traitor, who was for

treating with Agag.  Conspiracies were formed.  Threats of impeachment were

loudly uttered.  A mutiny broke out, which all the vigor and resolution of

Oliver could hardly quell.  And though, by a judicious mixture of severity and

kindness, he succeeded in restoring order, he saw that it would be in the

highest degree difficult and perilous to contend against the rage of warriors,

who regarded the fallen tyrant as their foe and as the foe of their God.  At

the same time it became more evident than ever that the King could not be

trusted.  The vices of Charles had grown upon him.  They were, indeed, vices

which difficulties and perplexities generally bring out in the strongest

light.  Cunning is the natural defence of the weak.  A prince, therefore, who

is habitually a deceiver when at the height of power, is not likely to learn

frankness in the midst of embarrassments and distresses.

 

     Charles was not only a most unscrupulous but a most unlucky dissembler.

There never was a politician to whom so many frauds and falsehoods were

brought home by undeniable evidence.  He publicly recognized the Houses at

Westminster as a legal Parliament, and at the same time made a private minute

in council declaring the recognition null.  He publicly disclaimed all thought

of calling in foreign aid against his people; he privately solicited aid from

France, from Denmark, and from Lorraine.  He publicly denied that he employed

papists: at the same time he privately sent to his generals directions to

employ every papist that would serve.  He publicly took the sacrament at

Oxford as a pledge that he never would even connive at popery. He privately

assured his wife that he intended to tolerate property in England; and he

authorized Lord Glamorgan to promise that popery should be established in

Ireland.  Then he attempted to clear himself at his agent's expense.

 

     Glamorgan received, in the royal handwriting, reprimands intended to be

read by others, and eulogies which were to be seen only by himself.  To such

an extent, indeed, had insincerity now tainted the King's whole nature, that

his most devoted friends could not refrain from complaining to each other,

with bitter grief and shame, of his crooked politics.  His defeats, they said,

gave them less pain than his intrigues.  Since he had been a prisoner, there

was no section of the victorious party which had not been the object both of

his flatteries and of his machinations; but never was he more unfortunate than

when he attempted at once to cajole and to undermine Cromwell.

 

     Cromwell had to determine whether he would put to hazard the attachment

of his party, the attachment of his army, his own greatness, nay, his own

life, in an attempt which would probably have been vain, to save a prince whom

no engagement could bind.  With many struggles and misgivings, and probably

not without many prayers, the decision was made.  Charles was left to his

fate.  The military saints resolved that, in defiance of the old laws of the

realm, and of the almost universal sentiment of the nation, the King should

expiate his crimes with his blood.  He for a time expected a death like that

of his unhappy predecessors, Edward II and Richard II.  But he was in no

danger of such treason.  Those who had him in their gripe were not midnight

stabbers.  What they did they did in order that it might be a spectacle to

heaven and earth, and that it might be held in everlasting remembrance.  They

enjoyed keenly the very scandal which they gave.  That the ancient

constitution and the public opinion of England were directly opposed to

regicide made regicide seem strangely fascinating to a party bent on effecting

a complete political and social revolution.

 

     In order to accomplish their purpose, it was necessary that they should

first break in pieces every part of the machinery of the government; and this

necessity was rather agreeable than painful to them.  The Commons passed a

vote tending to accommodation with the King.  The soldiers excluded the

majority by force.  The Lords unanimously rejected the proposition that the

King should be brought to trial.  Their house was instantly closed.  No court

known to the law would take on itself the office of judging the fountain of

justice.  A revolutionary tribunal was created.  That tribunal pronounced

Charles a tyrant, a traitor, a murderer, and a public enemy; and his head was

severed from his shoulders, before thousands of spectators, in front of the

banqueting-hall of his own palace.

 

     In no long time it became manifest that those political and religious

zealots to whom this deed is to be ascribed had committed, not only a crime,

but an error.  They had given to a prince, hitherto known to his people

chiefly by his faults, an opportunity of displaying, on a great theatre,

before the eyes of all nations and all ages, some qualities which irresistibly

call forth the admiration and love of mankind, the high spirit of a gallant

gentleman, the patience and meekness of a penitent Christian. Nay, they had so

contrived their revenge that the very man whose life had been a series of

attacks on the liberties of England now seemed to die a martyr in the cause of

those liberties.  No demagogue ever produced such an impression on the public

mind as the captive King, who, retaining in that extremity all his regal

dignity, and confronting death with dauntless courage, gave utterance to the

feelings of his oppressed people, manfully refused to plead before a court

unknown to the law, appealed from military violence to the principles of the

constitution, asked by what right the House of Commons had been purged of its

most respectable members and the House of Lords deprived of its legislative

functions, and told his weeping hearers that he was defending, not only his

own cause, but theirs.

 

     His long misgovernment, his innumerable perfidies, were forgotten.  His

memory was, in the minds of the great majority of his subjects, associated

with those free institutions which he had during many years labored to

destroy; for those free institutions had perished with him, and, amid the

mournful silence of a community kept down by arms, had been defended by his

voice alone.  From that day began a reaction in favor of monarchy and of the

exiled house, a reaction which never ceased till the throne had again been set

up in all its old dignity.

 

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