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mation of the treaty, nor for some days after, and he would not break his word.
Means were now taken to exclude from Parliament any members who would be likely to oppose the measures of Cromwell and his party, for bringing the king to trial and execution. Such was their intention, and they carried it into effect. The small assembly which still bore the name of Parliament, agreed in accomplishing this cruel scheme. Charles was brought to trial; he was accused of forming a wicked design to establish unlimited and tyranical government, and of traitorously levying war against the Parliament. He was called a traitor, a tyrant, a murderer, and an enemy of the Commonwealth ; and finally, sentence was pronounced upon him for treason, and a warrant for his execution was signed by fiftynine persons, the most distinguished name among them being that of Oliver Cromwell!
It is said, that when, during the trial, the charge was read against the king, “in the name of the people of England," a voice in the court was heard to cry out, " Not a tenth part of them.” The officers looked around to ascertain who had spoken these words, and found that they had been pronounced by Lady Fairfax. Her brave husband was absent on that sad occasion. He had always been opposed to the dreadful scheme of putting the king to
death; and had planned to rescue him, should his execution be actually determined upon; but Cromwell heard what his intention was, and found means of preventing it from being fulfilled.
And now we come to the closing scene of the life of Charles I. Three days were allowed him between the sentence and the execution, and this time he spent chiefly in prayer and devotion. He was permitted to see his family, and to bid them a last farewell; but only his young daughter Elizabeth, and the little Duke of Gloucester, were then in England. He talked for some time to the princess, gave her much good counsel and advice, and tried to 'console her in her deep sorrow.
And then, taking his little boy on his knee, he began to speak to him. My child,” he said, “they will cut off thy father's head; mark what I say; they will cut off my head, and perhaps make thee a king ; but,-mark what I say,—thou must not be a king as long as thy brothers Charles and James are alive. They will cut off thy brothers' heads, when they can catch them, and thy head too they will cut off at last ; therefore, I charge thee, do not be made a king by them.”
The child burst into tears, and exclaimed, “ I will be torn in pieces first." This was the last interview that Charles had with these poor children. The young prin
cess did not long survive her father; grief brought her to an early grave; and the Duke of Gloucester was sent by Cromwell to a far distant land. He afterwards returned, and died early in the reign of his brother, Charles II. The two elder sons were both kings eventually, so that Charles's sad forebodings respecting them were happily not realized.
On the morning of his execution, the king was awakened by one of his attendants, and summoned to prepare for the awful event of that day. “I fear not death,” Charles remarked, as he
death is not terrible to me. I bless God, I am prepared.”—The execution was to take place at Whitehall, and there he was conducted at the appointed hour. The streets were thronged with spectators ;-. the scaffold was surrounded with sol. diers—these were all his own subjects, and had it not been for the dissensions which led to this dreadful result, Charles might have been ruling them in confidence and love, and they might have been obeying him with loyalty and affection.-But, ah, how different was it! There they were assembled to witness the execution of their king; and there stood that king, as a sentenced and condemned criminal, to perish by the axe of the executioner!
Charles prepared to address the assembled multitude, but only those that stood near him
could hear his last words. He declared hiinself to be innocent, as regarded his people, but guilty in the eyes of his God. And there was one act of his life which had long weighed heavily on his conscience, and the remembrance of which added bitterness to this solemn hour, -it was the consent he had given to the unjust execution of the Earl of Strafford. He acknowledged, as a dying man, that an unjust sentence which he had suffered to take effect upon another, was now punished by an unjust sentence executed on himself. Then Charles exhorted those who had caused his death, to l'epent, and to return into the
of He advised them to do three things ;-to render to God his due, by settling the church according to Scripture; to restore to the crown those rights that belonged to it by law; and to teach the people this distinction between the sovereign and the subject, that those persons could not be governers, who were to be governed ; nor they rule, whose duty it was to be ruled. He freely forgave all his enemies; no unkindly, no revengeful feelings appeared in the looks or words of the king at that sad moment. And then, he prepared for the block. As he did so, Bishop Juxon, his kind and valued friend, who stood by him to the last, said, “There is, Sire, but one stage more ; and that, though turbulent and troublesome, is yet a very short one.
It will soon carry you a great way; it will carry you from earth to heaven, and there you will find the prize to which you hasten,-a crown of glory.” “I
" go," answered the king, "from a corruptible crown, to an incorruptible ;-a good exchange." He then laid his head on the block, and at one blow it was severed from his body by the man wbo acted as executioner; and another, holding it up, streaming with blood, cried, 6. This is the head of a traitor.” But the spectators were almost all in tears, and little disposed to respond to such a cry as that; and the greater part of the nation was overwhelmed with grief, when the news of the king's death was made publicly known.
But it is time for us to leave this sad scene. I need add little more to what has already been said, as to the conduct both of the king and of the party who opposed him. You have seen the faults of both sides in this unhappy contest. Whatever may have been the faults of Charles, they can by no means excuse the act, the unrighteous and cruel act, of putting him to death, of which his enemies were guilty. The Bible, that unerring guide to which we should always go for direction, is quite clear on this point, --that it is the duty of subjects to reverence their sovereign as the ruler and minister whom God has set over them; and to obey him too,