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by shame more than fear.” I retract not what I thought of the fiction, yet here, I must confess, it lies too open. In his messages and declarations, nay in the whole chapter next but one before this, he affirms, that “the danger wherein his wife, his children, and his own person” were by those tumults, was the main cause that drove him from Whitehall, and appeals to God as witness: he affirms here that it was “ shame more than fear.” And Digby, who knew his mind as well as any, tells his new-listed guard, “ that the principal cause
Nature and law, by thy divine decree,
(The only root of righteous royalty,)
With this dim diadem invested me.
The holy unction, and the royal globe :
Yet am I levelled with the life of Job.
Upon my grief, my grey discrowned head,
Whilst sacrilegious hands have best applause,
Plunder and murder are the kingdom's laws.
Revenge and robbery, are reformation,
Oppression gains the name of sequestration
Attend me, (by the law of God and reason,)
They dare impeach, and punish for high treason.
Pious episcopacy must go down,
They will destroy the crosier and the crown.
Mechanics preach, and holy fathers bleed,
The crown is crucified with the creed.
The pulpit is usurped by each impostor,
Extempore excludes the pater noster.
Springs with broad-blades; to make religion bleed,
Herod and Pontius Pilate are agreed.
With such a bloody method and behaviour,
of his majesty's going thence was to save them from being trod in the dirt.” From whence we may discern what false and frivolous excuses are avowed for truth, either in those declarations, or in this penitential book.
94. Our forefathers were of that courage and severity of zeal to justice and their native liberty, against the proud contempt and misrule of their kings, that when Richard the Second departed but from a committee of lords, who sat preparing matter for the parliament not yet assembled, to
My royal consort, from whose fruitful womb
So many princes legally have come,
Is forced in pilgrimage to seek a tomb.
Whilst on his father's head, his foes advance :
Poor child! he weeps out his inheritance.
In the king's name, the king himself 's uncrowned :
So does the dust destroy the diamond.
My people's ears, such as do reason daunt,
And the Almighty will not let me grant.
To make me great, advance my diadem,
If I will first fall down, and worship them :
Distress my children, and destroy my bones :
I fear they 'll force me to make bread of stones,
That, in my absence, they draw bills of hate,
To prove the king a traitor to the state. Felons obtain more privilege than I,
They are allowed to answer ere they die,
'Tis death for me to ask the reason, why? But, sacred Saviour, with thy words I woo
Thee to forgive, and not be bitter to
Such, as thou knowest do not know what they do. But since they from their Lord are so disjointed
As to contemn those edicts he appointed,
How can they prize the power of his anointed ?
Preserve my issue, and inspire my mate;
the removal of his evil counsellors, they first vanquished and put to flight Robert de Vere, his chief favourite; and then, coming up to London with a huge army, required the king, then withdrawn for fear, but no further off than the Tower, to come to Westminster. Which he refusing, they told him flatly, that unless he came they would choose another. So high a crime it was accounted then for kings to absent themselves, not from a parliament, which none ever durst, but from any meeting of his peers and counsellors, which did but tend towards a parliament. Much less would they have suffered, that a king, for such trivial and various pretences, one while for fear of tumults, another while “ for shame to see them,” should leave his regal station, and the whole kingdom bleeding to death of those wounds, which his own unskilful and perverse government had inflicted.
95. Shame then it was that drove him from the parliament, but the shame of what? Was it the shame of bis manifold errors and misdeeds, and to see how weakly he had played the king ? No; “ but to see the barbarous rudeness of those tumults to demand any thing.” We have started here another, and I believe the truest cause of his deserting the parliament. The worst and strangest of that “ Any thing,” which the people then demanded, was but the unlording of bishops, and expelling them the house, and the reducing of church-discipline to a conformity with other Protestant churches; this was the barbarism of those tumults: and that he might avoid the granting of those honest and pious demands, as well demanded by the parliament as the people, for this very cause more than for fear, by his own confession here, he left the city; and in a most tempestuous season forsook the helm and steerage of the commonwealth. This was that terrible “ Any thing,” from which his conscience and his reason chose to run, rather than not deny. To be importuned the removing of evil counsellors, and other grievances in church and state, was to him “ an intolerable oppression.” If the people's demanding were so burdensome to him, what was his denial and delay of justice to them ?
96. But as the demands of his people were to him a burden and oppression, so was the advice of his parliament esteemed a bondage; “ Whose agreeing votes," as he affirms, “ were not by any law or reason conclusive to his judgment.” For the law, it ordains a parliament to advise him in his great affairs; but if it ordain also, that the single judgment of a king shall out-balance all the wisdom of his parliament, it ordains that which frustrates the end of its own ordaining. For where the king's judgment may dissent, to the destruction, as it may happen, both of himself and the kingdom, their advice, and no further, is a most insufficient and frustraneous means to be provided by law in cases of so high concernment. And where the main and principal law of common preservation against tyranny is left so fruitless and infirm, there it must needs follow, that all lesser laws are to their several ends and purposes much
more weak and ineffectual. For that nation would deserve to be renowned and chronicled for folly and stupidity, that should by law provide force against private and petty wrongs, advice only against tyranny and public ruin.
97. It being therefore most unlike a law, to ordain a remedy so slender and unlawlike, to be the utmost means of all public safety or prevention, as advice is, which may at any time be rejected by the sole judgment of one man, the king, and so unlike the law of England, which lawyers say is the quintessence of reason and mature wisdom; we may conclude, that the king's negative voice was never any law, but an absurd and reasonless custom, begotten and grown up either from the flattery of basest times, or the usurpation of immoderate princes. Thus much to the law of it, by a better evidence than rolls and records, reason. But is it possible he should pretend also to reason, that the judgment of one man, not as a wise or good man, but as a king, and ofttimes a wilful, proud, and wicked king, should outweigh the prudence and all the virtue of an elected parliament ? What an abusive thing were it then to summon parliaments, that by the major part of voices greatest matters may be there debated and resolved, whenas one single voice after that shall dash all their resolutions ?
98. He attempts to give a reason why it should, “ Because the whole parliaments represent not him in any kind.” But mark how little he advances; for if the parliament represent the whole kingdom,