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of parliament, and Cromwell, without waiting for the general's orders, despatched a party of 500 horse, who seized the king's person, and brought him safe to the army. The parliament was thrown

into the utmost consternation, which was redoubled when they beheld Cromwell, now chosen general, march to within a few miles of the city of London. His design was not long ambiguous. He caused eleven members of the House of Commons, the chiefs of the Presbyterian party, to be impeached for high treason; and afterwards entering the city, where all was uproar and confusion, he ordered the lord mayor and the chief magistrates to prison. The speakers of the two houses surrendered, and put themselves under the army's protection. The parliament was now at their mercy, and they had in their hands the king and the whole authority of the government.

The king, who now saw the spirit of the army directed so strenuously against his enemies, began to believe himself in the hands of his friends; but he was miserably deceived. Cromwell had determined the destruction both of king and parliament. The eyes of Charles were soon opened to his situation. Rumours were artfully propagated of designs against his life, of which the intention was to force him to attempt an escape from his confinement. They had the desired effect; he found means to escape from Hampton Court, and to fly to the Isle of Wight, where he was forthwith detained a close prisoner.

Here a negociation was begun between the king and the parliament, which, from the concessions made by Charles, had, at first, every appearance of

terminating this state of anarchy. He agreed to resign to the parliament the power over the militia and army, and the right of raising money for their support. He agreed to abolish episcopacy; and that for three years the Presbyterian form of worship should take place; after which, a lasting plan should be settled by the advice of parliament. He resigned the disposal of all the offices of state, and the power of creating peers without consent of parliament. In short, he acquiesced in all their demands; two articles only excepted: to give up his friends to punishment, and abandon his own religious principles.

After a debate of three days, the parliament, of whom a great majority were now most sincerely desirous of an accommodation, passed a vote, by which it was declared that the king's concessions were a reasonable foundation for the house to proceed upon in the settlement of the kingdom. The vote was no sooner heard, than Cromwell marched into London, surrounded the House of Commons, and suffering none to enter but his own party, exIcluded about two hundred of the members. Thus there remained about sixty of the Independent party, sure and unanimous in the intended measures. The vote agreeing to the king's concessions was now rescinded, and another passed, declaring it treason in a king to levy war against his parliament, and appointing a high court of justice to take trial of Charles's treason. This vote being sent up to the House of Lords, was rejected without a dissenting voice. But this mockery of a parliament was not thus to be stopped in their career. The next vote was that the Commons of

England have the supreme authority of the nation, independent of either king or peers. Cromwell himself was ashamed of the glaring illegality of the proceedings, and apologised for his conduct by declaring that he had a divine impulse that the king had been abandoned of heaven.

Thus sixty fanatical Independents, who had the assurance to term themselves the Commons of England, and to arrogate the supreme authority of the nation, prepared a spectacle for the astonishment of all Europe. The king was brought to trial. With great dignity of demeanour, and with high propriety, he refused to ratify the authority of this illegal tribunal, by answering to those charges of which he was accused, but offered to vindicate publicly his conduct to his subjects and to the world. A few witnesses being called, who swore to his having appeared in arms against the forces of the parliament, sentence was passed, condemning him to be beheaded. Without regard to the remonstrances of France, of Holland, and of now repenting Scotland, or to the judgment formed of these proceedings by all the European nations, this sentence was carried into effect, and Charles fell by the stroke of the executioner on the 30th day of January, 1649.

From this event, the fate of Charles I., two questions naturally arise: the one, whether it is in any case lawful for the subject to carry resistance so far as to employ the sword against the sovereign, or to bring him to justice as a delinquent; the other, whether, in the particular case of Charles, his subjects were justifiable in that procedure.

As to the first question, I hold the principle of resistance to be inherent in all government; because it is consonant to human nature, and results from the nature of government itself. Government is founded either on superior force, which subjects every thing to the despotic will of the governor, or it is founded on a compact, express or tacit, by which the subject consents to be ruled, and the prince to rule, according to certain laws and regulations. In the former case, of a government founded on force, resistance is implied in the very idea of such a constitution; and force is lawfully employed to dissolve a connexion which owed its existence to force. In the case of a government subsisting by an express or tacit agreement between the prince and subjects, while the prince maintains his part of the contract by a strict adherence to those rules by which it is stipulated that he is to govern, resistance is unlawful and rebellious; where he violates those rules resistance is legal and justifiable. In all governments, therefore, the principle of resistance is naturally inherent; and if that is allowed, I see nothing that can, or that ought, to limit it in degree, till its purpose is accomplished.

With regard to the second question, whether, in the case of Charles, the subjects were justifiable in carrying their resistance so far as to put the sovereign to death, neither do I apprehend it difficult to form a precise opinion. The narrative I have given of the transactions of this reign leads to a conclusion, which is equally remote from either extreme, equally condemnatory of the opinions of the bigoted supporters of arbitrary power, and the

furious partisans of the rights of the people. The many violations of the constitution by Charles I. (whether he understood them to be such or not is nothing to the purpose) unquestionably justified that resistance on the part of the people, which at length produced its effect in obtaining such concessions from the sovereign as afforded the utmost possible liberty to the subject, consistent with the idea of a limited monarchy. But from the moment that end was attained, resistance ceased to be lawful. It could have nothing else for its object than the destruction of the constitution. In the case of Charles, the sovereign, taught by severe experience that the people had rights which, when arbitrarily infringed, they had strength to vindicate, at length not only gave them back their own, but yielded so much of his lawful and constitutional authority as to leave himself little more than the name and shadow of royalty. To insist on a further abasement was illegal and inhuman; to push revenge the length of a capital punishment was a degree of criminality for which there is not an adequate term of blame.

Such are the reflections which would naturally arise on this subject in an impartial breast, upon the supposition that Charles I. had been brought to trial and condemned to death by the authority of the people of England, or a fair representation of them in parliament. But let it not be forgotten who were those that took upon them to act in the name of the people of England, and what was the nature of that parliament which authorised his trial and condemnation—a handful of fanatics, who, after expelling two hundred of the members

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