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were obliged to subscribe and declare, That it was not lawful upon ANY PRETENCE WHATSOEVER to use arms against the king : and when the two universities, the fountains of literature, had with the utmost solemnity affirmed and decreed, That kings derived not their power from the people, but from God, and that to him alone they are accountable : that it belongs not to subjects to create or to censure, but to honour and obey their SOVEREIGN ; who comes to be so, by a fundamental hereditary right of succession, which no RELIGION, NO LAW, NO FAULT, no FORFEITURE can alter or diminish: and that to assert it lawful to resist kings, is impious, seditious, scandalous, damnable, heretical, blasphemous, and in
famous to the christian religion.- Address from Cambridge, 1681.-Oxford Decree, 1683. - If these principles indeed were true, the war waged by the parliament was undoubtedly a rebellion, But the wisdom of Providence quickly brought the nation to an acknowledgment that they were not true; and to an open, most solemn rejection and disavowal of them. A great part of the nobility, bishops, and gentry of the land invite a foreign prince, WILLIAM prince of Orange, to rescue it by force of arms from the tyranny of king James, and promise to assist him. Oxford now thinks that lawful and meritorious, yea, does the very thing, which five years before it had solemnly decreed impious, blasphemous, damnable, and heretical : it invites the prince thither; assures him it would declare for him, and offers him their plate: and the representatives of the whole kingdom, both nobles and commons, in an illustrious convention approve the taking arms against their sovereign when he became tyrannical; and declare, that by his refusing to rule according to the constitution, and going about to overthrow it
, he had forfeited his right to the allegiance of his subjects; and might lawfully, yea ought to be resisted and opposed.
For any therefore who approve of that glorious event which we call the REVOLUTION, and of the title of his present majesty and his family to the throne (under whom we have enjoyed the blessing of a gentle government, beyond what the happiest of our ancestors could boast) for any such to call this war of the parliament against king Charles a rebellion, must argue extreme ignorance, and shew them to be self condemned.
Who were chargeable with killing the King?
“THE war being commenced it was waged at first with equal success ; but afterward with disadvantage to the parliament. Wherefore as the king had resolved to call in the Irish to his assistance, the parliament treat with the Scots for their aid.* By the assistance of these, and the change of the general, the scale is so turned to the parliament's side, that the king daily loses ground. Mean time, a great and sudden change is wrought by the republicans, who still lay concealed. It is so managed by Cromwell and some others, that the army is entirely new-modelled. Thus the independants, without discovering themselves or their designs, become at once almost masters of the army. The king, by the loss of the battle of
• Note. The parliament applied not to Scotland for help, till the king had formed the resolution of bringing over the bloody Irish, to complete his conquest of them and render himself absolute.
Naseby, is unable to keep the field, and throws himself at last into the Scottish army before Newark, and is by them delivered up to the parliament.”—Tindal's Cont. p. 10. 11.
Nothing was at that time farther from the thoughts both of parliament and the Scots, than the putting the king to death. The independants, mortal enemies to the king, Scots, and presbyterians, were the men who took away the king twice from the parliament, by means of the army, and cut off his head, at the very time the parliament and Scots were heartily labouring to restore him."*-Rapin, Vol. xii. p. 347.
“ For at this time contests arose betwixt the army and the parliament. The army refuse to disband, and resolve to have a share in settling the government. They begin with seizing the king's person, whom they coaduct to Hamptoncourt. Here the king privately treats with the Scottish commissioners, and afterwards signs an agreement with them, by which, on certain conditions, they engage speedily to bring an army into the field, and in conjunction with the English presbyterians and royalists, to free him from the independants, and restore him to his just rights. The king's reliance on this army and the insurrections of his party, prevents his closing with the parliament's terms, and finishes his ruin. For the Scots are routed, and the royalists dispersed; after which the army suddenly resolve to bring the king to a public trial, as the author of the war. The members that opposed this resolution are by violence kept from the house in
* It is scarce just, perhaps, to throw the odium of this fact upon any particular sect or religious party then subsisting : it being done by a juncto of men (as appears from Du Moulin's Testimony, p. 146) acting from very different principles and designs.
number about a hundred) the rest erect an high court of justice, by which the king is condemned and beheaded. Ludlow and others say, that the king, whilst at Hampton-court and in treaty with the Scots, received some private overtures from the army; but that Cromwell discovered the king's secret negociation with the Scots, and intercepting a letter to the queen of the king's intentions to destroy him, when it should be in his power; instantly resolved to bring the king to the scaffold. He found the army very ready to second him, since they would have been cashiered without fail, had the king and parliament agreed upon any terms.”—Tindals Cont. p. 11.-Clarend. Vol. v,
“ The Scots,” Lord Clarendon bears them wit. ness, no sooner heard of the erection of an high court of justice, and of a purpose of trying the king for his life, than they were all in a flame. As well the assembly of the kirk as the parliament, resolved to prosecute an high expostulation with those of England, for the breach of faith and promises which had been made, for the safety of the king's person. Commissioners were forthwith sent, who in the name of the parliament of Scotland dcclared, that they did all unanimously with one voice, not one member excepted, disclaim the least knowledge of, or occasion to the late proceedings of the army against the king. And that it might be manifest to the world, how much they did detest and abominale so horrid a design against his majesty's person (as was then carrying on) they did in the name of the parliament of Scotland declare their dissent from the said proceedings, and the taking away of his majesty's life; protesting that as they were altogether free from the same, so they might be free from all the miseries and calamities that might follow thereupon.”—Clarend. Vol. v. p. 279, 282.
“ It is evident the presbyterians had no hand at all in the sentence, nor ever dreamt of bringing hiin to a trial."--Rapin, Vol. XII. p. 585.—The presbyterians and the body of the city, says bishop Burnet, were much against it; and were every where fasting and praying for the king's preservation. It was the crime of but a few hot-headed enthusiasts, or ambitious soldiers. Many of the most considerable dissenters did even then, when it was not so safe to do it as it is now, openly declare against it both in their sermons and writings. This is what in justice cannot be denied them.”— Burnet's Hist. Tim. Vol. 1. p. 31.- Idem. Serm. 30th of Jan. 1680.
In a conference betwixt the two houses Lord Clarendon declared that the king (Charles II.) having sent him in embassy to the king of Spain, bad expressly charged him to tell that monarch, “ That the horrible murder of his father ought not to be deemed an act of the parliament or people of England, but of a small crew of wretches and miscreants who had usurped the sovereign power and rendered themselves masters of the kingdom.” Rapin, Vol. xIII. p. 246.--This was so agreeable to the commons that they sent a deputation with their thanks to the king. Accordingly, the letter which the prince of Wales wrote, interceding for the release and restoration of his father, he directed not to the parliament, but to Fairfax and the council of war, because he knew, (says his lordship) that the parliament had no authority.-Yea it is most certain, that at the very time when he was wickedly murdered in the siglt of the sun, he had as great a share in the hearts and affections of his subjects in general, was as much be, loved, esteemed, and longed for by the people in