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of christians, as such; nor upon the people of England assembled in parliament; but upon the council of officers and agitators ; who having been deeply engaged in the transactions of those times, and fearing the king's vindictive temper and the danger of trusting to his promises, thought, it is probable, their own safety could no other way be provided for but by this bold and illegal stroke.
C H A P. XVII.
The Book Eikon BASILIKE was not the Compo
sure of King CHARLES.
NOTHING, perhaps, nas more contributed to give a wrong idea of the real character of this prince, than a book which came forth immediately upon his death, styled Eikon Basiliké, or a Portraiture of his sacred Majesty in his Solitude and Sufferings, said to be written with the king's own hand. It passed through fifty editions within twelve months. No book ever raised the king's reputation so high as this.
“ The piety of the prayers made all people cry out against the murder of a prince who thought so seriously of all bis affairs in his secret meditations before God." -Burnet's Hist. Tim. Vol. 1. p. 54. It is doubtless from the meditations and devotion of this book, rather than from the prevailing facts and tenor of his life, that the image of this prince is drawn, when such high encomiums are given of his piety and religion; and he is celebrated as the best of Christians, as well as the best of kings. But the lustre which this famous book has cast upon his royal character, there is the strongest
reason to believe, is all counterfeit and false. That his majesty was not its author, is now proved beyond oll just and reasonable doubt: and that this Lord Clarendon very well knew, may be strongly presumed from his perfect silence about it. Had he known, or believed this book, which so much tended to the honour of the king, to be really his, it can never be supposed he would have taken no notice at all of it.
“I was bred up,” says bishop Burnet, "with an high veneration of this book : being confirmed in the persuasion that it was the king's, I was not a little surprised when in the year 1673, in which I had a great share of favour and free conversation with the then duke of York, afterwards king James II. as he suffered me to talk very freely to him about matters of religion, and as I was urging him with something out of his father's book, he told me that book was not of his father's wri. ting, and that the letter to the prince of Wales was never brought to him. · He said, Dr. Gawden writ it. After the restoration he (Gawden) brought the duke of Somerset and the earl of Southampton both to the king and to himself, who affirmed that they knew it was his writing; and that it was carried down by the earl of Southampton, and shewed the king during the treaty of Newport, who read it, and approved of it, as containing his sense of things. Upon this he told me, that though Sheldon and the other bishops opposed Gawden's promotion because he had taken the covenant, yet the merits of that service carried it for him, notwithstanding their opposition.” Ibid. Vol. 1. p. 54, 55,
But this matter is set in the fullest light, and put beyond all dispute by Dr. Walker, * a very
• In a book entitled, 4 true Account of the Author of Εικου Βασιλικη,
zealous admirer and friend of king Charles, and a reverend divine of the church of England, who, in the most public and solemn manner, appealing to God the searcher of hearts and avenger of falsehood, affirms,—“That being a friend and intimate of Dr. Gawden's, and living in his family, Dr. Gawden, whilst he was writing the book, and before it was finished, was pleased to acquaint him with the design, and shew him the heads of the several chapters, and what he had wrote upon them; after perusing them, Dr. Gawden asked his opinion concerning it: he told him, he doubted not it would be for the king's reputation, but stuck at the lawfulness of it: and modestly asked him, how he satisfied himself thus to impose upon the world? He answered, look upon the title, it is The portraiture &c. and no man draws his own picture. Some time after Dr. Gawden took him (Mr. Walker) with him to London, and to make a visit to Dr. Duppa, bishop of Salisbury, where he shewed the bishop what he had written (having before acquainted him of the design): as they returned hoine Dr. Gawden communicated to Mr. Walker what had passed between him and the bishop of Salisbury. He particularly told him, there were two subjects more he wished he had thought on, viz. the ordinance against the common prayer, and the denying his majesty his chaplains: which at first he desired him to write two chapters upon; but, before they parted, undertook to do it himself; and desired him to go on and finish what remained.
“ After the king was murdered, upon Mr. Walker's asking the doctor, whether his majesty had seen the book? He told him he knew not certainly, but he had sent it to the king at the Isle of Wight, by the marquis of Hartford ; that the duke of York knew of it, and had spoken of it to
him (Dr. Gawden) as a seasonable and acceptable service. That Mrs. Gawden, himself, Mr. Gifford, (who transcribed the copy sent to the Isle of Wight) and others of the family, always spoke of it, in his presence and absence, as his book; being as much assured of it as they could be of any such fact : that the doctor delivered to him (Walker) with his own hand the last part (after part was printed, or at least in Royston's, the printer's hands) giving him caution with what wariness to deliver it: And accordingly be delivered it, Saturday, December 23d. to one Peacock, who was instructed by what hands he should deliver it to Royston : and in the same way and by the hands of Mr. Peacock, when the impression was finished he received six books as an acknowledgment of his service.”
There is also a long narrative of Mrs. Gawden, written with her own hand, expressly confirming this testimony of Dr. Walker, and a great many other circumstances which put it out of all doubt, that the Eikon was not the composure of king Charles. The testimony of the earl of Anglesey shall conclude this subject, which was wrate upon a blank leaf of the Eikon as follows:
King Charles II. and the duke of York did both (in the last sessions of parliament, 1675, when I shewed them in the lord's house the written copy of this book Eikon Basilike, wherein some corrections and alterations written with the late king Charles I's own hand) assured me that this was none of the said king's compiling, but made by Dr. Gawden, bishop of Exeter, which I here insert for the undeceiving others in this point, by attesting so much under my hand."
A Summary View of King Charles's Character
and Reign, by a very great Statesman. IT may not be amiss, as a kind of recapitulation, here to present the reader with a succinct view of this reign, as it is drawn up by a great minister of state, a member of the established church, and a person of distinguished name both in the political and learned world; in the Short history of a standing army.
“King Charles was a great bigot, which made him the darling of the clergy; but having no great reach of his own, and being governed by the priests, who have been always unfortunate when they meddled with politics, with a true ecclesiastical fury he drove on to the destruction of all the liberties of England. This king's whole reign was one continued act against the laws. He dissolved his first parliament for presuming to enquire into his father's death, though he lost a great sum of money by it, which they had voted him. He entered at the same time into a war with France and Spain, upon the private piques of Buckingham, and managed them to the eternal dishonour and reproach of the English nation ; witness the ridiculous enterprises upon Cadiz and the Isle of Rhee. He delivered Penington's fleet into the the French hands, betrayed the Rochellers, and suffered the protestant interest in France to be quite extirpated. He raised loans and excise, coat and conduct-money, tonnage and poundage, knighthood, and ship-money, without authority of parliament: imposed new oaths on the subjects to discover the value of their estates : imprisoned great numbers of the most considerable gentry and merchants for not paying his arbitrary taxes :