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Charles I, King of England / Eikon Basilike The Pourtracture of His Sacred Majestie, in His Solitudes and Sufferings
[Greek: Eikôn Basilikę]










With a perfect Copy of Prayers used by his Majesty in the time of his

Delivered to Dr. JUXON Bishop of _London_, immediately before his

ROM. 8.

_More then Conquerour, &c._

_Bona agere, & mala pati, Regium est._

Printed at _London_, 1649.

The Explanation of the Embleme.

=PONDERIBUS= _genuus omne mali, probriq; gravatus,
Vixq; ferenda ferens_, =Palma= _ut_ =depressa=, _resurgo.
Ac, velut undarum_ =Fuctűs Ventěque=, _furorem
Irati Populi_ =Rupes immotta= _repello_.
=Clarioré tenebris=, _c[oe]lestis stella, corusco.
Victor ćternum f[oe]lici pace_ =triumpho=.
_Auro_ =fulgentem= _rutilo gemmisque micantem,
At curis_ =Gravidam= _spernendo_ =calco Coronam=.
=Spinosam=, _at_ =ferri facilem=, _quo_ =spes mea=, _Christi
Auxilio, Nobis non est_ =tractare= _molestum_.
=Ćternam=, _fixis fidei, semperque_ =beatam=
_In C[oe]los occulis_ =specto=, _Moběsque-paratam.
Quod_ =vanum= _est, sperno; quod Christi_ =Gratia= _prćbet
Amplecti studium est: Virtutis_ =Gloria= _merces._

THOUGH clogg'd with _weights_ of miseries,
_Palm_-like _depress'd_, I higher rise.
And as th' _unmoved Rock_ out-braves
The boyst'rous _winds_, and raging _waves_;
So _triumph I_. And _shine more bright_
In sad Affliction's darksom night.
That _splendid_, but yet _toilsome Crown_,
Regardlesly _I trample_ down.
With joy I take this _Crown_ of _Thorn_,
Though _sharp_, yet _easie to be born_.
That _heav'nly Crown_, already mine,
I _view_ with _eyes_ of faith divine.
I slight _vain_ things; and do embrace
_Glory_, the just reward of _Grace_.

[Greek: To Chi ouden ędikęse tęn polin, oude to Kappa.]


[Greek: Eikôn Basilikę.]









With a perfect Copy of Prayers used by his Majesty in the time of his

Delivered to Dr. JUXON Bishop of _London_, immediately before his

ROM. 8.

_More then Conquerour, &c.

Bona agere, & mala pati, Regium est._

Printed at _London_, 1649.


1 _Vpon His Majesties calling this last Parliament._

2 _Upon the Earl of_ Strafford's _death._

3 _Upon His Majesties going to the House of Commons._

4 _Upon the Insolency of the Tumults._

5 _Upon His Majesties passing the Bill for the Trienniall
Parliaments: and after setling this, during the pleasure of
the two Houses._

6 _Upon His Majesties retirement from_ Westminster.

7 _Upon the Queens departure, and absence out of_ England.

8 _Upon His Majesties repulse at_ Hull, _and the fates of the_

9 _Upon the listing and raising Armies against the King._

10 _Upon their seizing the Kings Magazines, Forts, Navie, and

11 _Upon the 19 Propositions first sent to the King; and more

12 _Upon the Rebellion, and troubles in_ Ireland.

13 _Upon the Calling in of the_ Scots, _and their Coming._

14 _Upon the Covenant._

15 _Upon the many Jealousies raised, and Scandals cast upon
the King, to stirre up the people against Him._

16 _Upon the Ordinance against the Common prayer-Book._

17 _Of the differences between the King, and the two Houses,
in point of Church-government._

18 _Upon_ Uxbridge-_Treaty, and others Offers made by the

19 _Upon the various events of the War; Victories, and

20 _Upon the Reformations of the Times._

21 _Upon His Majesties Letters taken and divulged._

22 _Upon His Majesties leaving_ Oxford, and going to the_

23 _Upon the_ Scots _delivering the King to the_ English; _and
His Captivity at_ Holmbie.

24 _Upon their denying His Majestie the Attendance of His

25 Penitentiall Meditations and Vowes in the King's solitude
at _Holmbie_.

26 _Upon the Armies surprisall of the King at_ Holmbie, _and
the ensuing distractions in the two Houses, the Army, and the

27 _To the Prince of_ Wales.

28 _Meditations upon Death, after the Votes of Non-Addresses,
and His Majesties closer Imprisonment in_ Carisbrook-Castle.

29 _Divers prayers used by his Majesty in time of His

30 _His Speeches to the Lady_ Elisabeth _and Duke of_
Glocester: _And His_ Reasons _against the jurisdiction of the
high Court of Justice._



1. _Upon His Majesties calling this last Parliament._

This last Parliament I called, not more by others advice, and
necessity of My affairs, then by my own choice and inclination; who
have always thought the right way of Parliaments most safe for
My Crown, and best pleasing to my People: And although I was not
forgetfull of those sparks, which some mens distempers formerly
studied to kindle in Parliaments, (which by forbearing to convene for
some years, I hoped to have extinguished) yet resolving with My self
to give all just satisfaction to modest and sober desires, and to
redress all publick grievances in Church and State; I hoped (by My
freedom and their moderation) to prevent all mis-understandings and
miscarriages in this: In which as I feared, affairs would meet with
some passion and prejudice in other men, so I resolved they should
finde least of them in my self; not doubting, but by the weight of
Reason I should counterpoiz the over-ballancing of any Factions.

I was, indeed, sorry to hear with what partiality and popular heat,
Elections were carried in many places; yet hoping that the gravity and
discretion of other Gentlemen would allay and fix the Commons to a
due temperament (guiding some mens well-meaning zeal by such rules of
moderation as are best both to preserve and restore the health of all
States and Kingdoms:) No man was better pleased with the convening of
this Parliament then My self; who knowing best the largenesse of my
own Heart toward my Peoples good and just contentment, pleased my
self most in that good and firm understanding, which would hence grow
between me and my people.

All jealousies being laid aside, my own and my Childrens Interests
gave me many obligations to seek and preserve the love and welfare of
my Subjects; The only temporal blessing that is left to the ambition
of just Monarchs, as their greatest honour and safety, next Gods
protection. I cared not to lessen my self in some things of my wonted
Prerogative; since I knew I could be no loser, if I might gain but a
recompence in my Subjects affections.

I intended not only to oblige my friends, but mine enemies also:
exceeding even the desires of those that were factiously discontented,
if they did but pretend to any modest and sober sense.

The _odium_ and offences which some mens rigor or remissnesse in
Church and State had contracted upon my Government, I resolved to have
expiated by such Laws and regulations for the future, as might
not only rectifie what was amiss in practice, but supply what was
defective in the constitution: No man having a greater zeal to see
Religion setled, and preserved in Truth, Unitie, and Order then my
self; whom it most concerns both in pietie and policie; as knowing,
that, No flames of civil dissentions are more dangerous then those
which make Religious pretensions the grounds of Factions.

I resolved to reform, what I should by free and full advice in
Parliament be convinced to be amiss; and to grant whatever my Reason
and Conscience told me was fit to be desired; I wish I had kept my
self within those bounds, and not suffered my own Judgement to have
been over-born in some things, more by others Importunities, then
their Arguments; my confidence had less betrayed my self, and my
Kingdoms, to those advantages, which some men sought for, who wanted
nothing but power and occasion to do mischief.

But our sins being ripe, there was no preventing of Gods Justice, from
reaping that glory in our Calamities, which we robbed him of in our

_For thou (O Lord) hast made us see, That Resolutions of future
Reforming, doe not alwayes satisfie thy justice, nor prevent thy
Vengeance for former miscarriages._

_Our sins have over-laid our hopes: Thou hast taught us to depend on
thy mercies to forgive, not on our purpose to amend._

_When thou hast vindicated thy glory by thy judgments, and hast shewed
us how unsafe it is to offend thee, upon presumptions afterwards to
please thee, Then I trust thy mercy will restore those blessings to
us, which we have so much abused, as to force thee to deprive us of

_For want of timely repentance of our sins, Thou givest us cause to
Repent of those Remedies we too late apply._

_Yet I doe not repent of my calling the last Parliament, because O
Lord, I did it with an upright intention to thy glory, and My Peoples

_The miseries which have ensued upon me and my Kingdoms, are the just
effects of thy displeasure upon us; and may be yet, through thy mercy,
preparatives of us to future blessings and better hearts to enjoy

_O Lord, though thou hast deprived us of many former comforts;
yet grant me and my People the benefit of our afflictions, and thy
chastisements; that thy Rod as well as thy Staff may comfort us:
Then shall we dare to account them the strokes not of an enemy, but a
Father: when thou givest us those humble affections, that measure of
patience in repentance which becomes thy Children; I shall have no
cause to repent the miseries this Parliament hath occasioned, when by
them thou hast brought me and my people unfeignedly to repent of the
sins we have committed._

_Thy grace is infinitely better with our sufferings, then our Peace
could be with our sins._

_O thou soveraign goodness and wisdom, who over-rulest all our
Counsels; over-rule also all our hearts; That the worse things we
suffer by thy Justice, the better we may be by thy mercie._

_As our sins have turned our Antidotes into Poison, so let thy Grace
turn our Poison into Antidotes._

_As the sins of our Peace disposed us to this unhappy Warre, so let
this War prepare us for thy blessed Peace._

_That although I have but troublesom Kingdoms here, yet I may attain
to that Kingdom of Peace in my Heart, and in thy Heaven, which Christ
hath purchased, & thou wilt give to thy servant (though a sinner) for
my Saviours sake._ Amen.

* * * * *

2. _Upon the Earl of Straffords death_.

I looked upon my Lord of _Strafford_, as a Gentleman, whose great
abilities might make a Prince rather afraid, then ashamed to employ
him in the greatest affairs of State.

For those were prone to create in him great confidence of
undertakings, and this was like enough to betray him to great errors,
and many enemies; whereof he could not but contract good store, while
moving in so high a sphear, and with so vigorous a lustre, he must
needs (as the Sun) raise many envious exhalations, which condensed by
a popular _odium_, were capable to cast a cloud before the brightest
merit and integrity.

Though I cannot in my judgement approve all he did, driven (it may be)
by the necessities of times, and the Temper of that people, more then
led by his own disposition to any height and rigour of actions: yet I
could never be convinced of any such criminousness in him as willingly
to expose his life to the stroke of Justice, and malice of his
enemies. I never met with a more unhappy conjuncture of affairs,
then in the businesse of that unfortunate Earl: when between my own
unsatisfiedness in Conscience, and a necessity (as some told me) of
satisfying the importunities of some people, I was perswaded by those
that I think wished Me well, to chuse rather what was safe, then what
seemed just; preferring the outward peace of My Kingdoms with men,
before that inward exactness of Conscience before God.

And indeed I am so far from excusing or denying that compliance on My
part (for plenary consent it was not) to his destruction, whom in
My judgment I thought not, by any clear law, guilty of death: That
I never bare any touch of Conscience with greater regret: which as a
sign of my repentance, I have often with sorrow confessed both to God
and men, as an act of so sinfull frailty, that it discovered more
a fear of man, then of God, whose name and place on earth no man is
worthy to bear, who will avoid inconveniencies of State, by acts of so
high injustice, as no publick convenience can expiate or compensate.

I see it a bad exchange to wound a mans own Conscience, thereby to
salve State-sores; to calm the storms of popular discontents, by
stirring up a tempest in a mans own bosome.

Nor hath Gods Justice failed in the event and sad consequences, to
shew the world the fallacy of that Maxime, _Better one man perish,
(though unjustly) then the people be displeased or destroyed._

For, In all likelihood I could never have suffered, with My people,
greater calamities, (yet with greater comfort) had I vindicated
_Straffords_ innocency, at least by denying to Sign that destructive
_Bill_, according to that Justice, which My conscience suggested
to Me, then I have done since I gratified some mens unthankful
importunities with so cruel a favour. And I have observed, that those,
who counselled Me to sign that Bill, have been so far from receiving
the rewards of such ingratiatings with the People, that no men have
been harassed & crushed more then they: He onely hath been least vexed
by them, who counselled Me, not to consent against the vote of My own
Conscience: I hope God hath forgiven Me and them, the sinful rashness
of that business.

To which being in My soul so fully conscious, those Judgements God
hath pleased to send upon Me, are so much the more welcom, as a means
(I hope) which his mercy hath sanctified so to Me, as to make Me
repent of that unjust Act, (for so it was to Me) and for the future
to teach Me, That the best rule of policie is, to prefer the doing of
Justice, before all enjoyments, and the peace of my Conscience before
the preservation of My Kingdoms.

Nor hath any thing more fortified My resolutions against all those
violent importunities, which since have sought to gain a like consent
from Me, to Acts, wherein my Conscience is unsatisfied, then the sharp
touches I have had for what passed Me, in My Lord of _Straffords_

Not that I resolved to have imployed him in My affairs, against the
advise of my Parliament, but I would not have had any hand in his
Death, of whose Guiltlesness I was better assured, then any man living
could be.

Nor were the crimes objected against him so clear, as after a long and
fair hearing to give convincing satisfaction to the Major part of both
Houses; especially that of the Lords, of whom scarce a third part
were present, when the bill passed that House: And for the House
of Commons, many Gentlemen, disposed enough to diminish My Lord of
_Straffords_ greatness and power, yet unsatisfied of his guilt in Law,
durst not condemn him to die: who for their integrity in their Votes,
were by Posting their Names, exposed to the popular calumny, hatred
and fury; which grew then so exorbitant in their clamours _for
Justice_, (that is, to have both my self and the two Houses' Vote,
and doe as they would have us) that many ('tis thought) were rather
terrified to concur with the condemning party, then satisfied that of
right they ought so to doe.

And that after-Act vacating the Authority of the precedent, for future
imitation sufficiently tels the world, that some remorse touched even
his most implacable enimies, as knowing he had very hard measure, and
such as they would be very loath should be repeated to themselves.

This tendernesse and regret I find in my soul, for having any hand
(and that very unwillingly God knows) in shedding one mans bloud
unjustly, (though under the colour and formalities of Justice, and
pretences of avoiding publick mischiefs) which may (I hope) be some
evidence before God and man, to all posterity, that I am far from
bearing justly the vast load and guilt of all that blood which hath
been shed in this unhappy War; which some men will needs charge on me,
to ease their own souls, who am, and ever shall be, more affraid to
take away any mans life unjustly then to lose my own.

_But then, O God, of thy infinit mercies forgive me that act of
sinfull compliance, which hath greater aggravations upon me then any
man, Since I had not the least temptation of envy, or malice against
him, and by my place should, at least so farre, have been a preserver
of him, as to have denied my consent to his destruction._

_O Lord, I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before

_Deliver me from blood-guiltiness O God, thou God of my salvation, and
my tongue shall sing of thy righteousness._

_Against thee have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight, for thou
sawest the contradiction between my heart and my hand._

_Yet cast me not away from thy presence, purge me with the blood of my
Redeemer, and I shall be clear; wash me with that pretious effusion,
and I shall be whiter then snow._

_Teach me to learn Righteousnesse by thy Iudgements, and to see my
frailtie in thy Iustice: while I was perswaded by shedding one mans
bloud to prevent after-troubles, thou hast for that, among other
sins, brought upon mee, and upon my Kingdoms, great, long, and heavy

_Make me to prefer Iustice, which is thy Will, before all contrary
clamours, which are but the discoveries of mans injurious will._

_It is too much that they have once overcome me, to please them by
displeasing thee: O never suffer me for any reason of State, to go
against my Reason of Conscience, Which is highly to sin against thee,
the God of Reason, and Iudge of our Consciences._

_Whatever, O Lord, thou seest fit to deprive me of, yet restore unto
me the joy of thy Salvation, and ever uphold me with thy free Spirit;
which subjects my will to non: but the light of Reason, Justice, and
Religion, which shines in my Soul; for thou desirest Truth in the
inward parts, and Integritie in the outward expressions._

_Lord, hear the voice of thy Sons, and my Saviours bloud, which speaks
better things; O make me, and my People, to hear the voice of Joy and
Gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken, may rejoice in thy

* * * * *

3. _Vpon His Majesties going to the House of Commons._

My going to the House of Commons to demand Justice upon the five
Members, was an act which my Enemies loaded with all the obloquies and
exasperations they could.

It filled indifferent men with great jealousies and fears; yea, and
many of my Friends resented it, as a motion rising rather from Passion
then Reason, and not guided with such discretion as the touchiness of
those times required.

But these men knew not the just motives, and pregnant grounds, with
which I thought myself so furnished, that there needed nothing to such
evidence, as I could have produced against those I charged, save onely
a free and legall Trial, which was all I desired.

Nor had I any temptation of displeasure or revenge against those mens
persons, further then I had discovered those (as I thought) unlawfull
correspondencies they had used, and engagements they had made to
embroyl my Kingdoms: of all which I missed but little to have produced
Writings under some mens own hands, who were the chief contrivers of
the following Innovations.

Providence would not have it so; yet I wanted not such probabilities
as were sufficient to raise jealousies in any Kings heart, who is not
wholly stupid and neglective of the publick Peace; which to preserve,
my calling in question half a dozen men, in a fair and legall way
(which God knows, was all my design) could have amounted to no worse
effect, had it succeeded, then either to do Me and my Kingdom right,
in case they had been found guilty; or else to have cleared their
innocency, and removed my suspicion: which, as they were not raised
out of any malice, so neither were they in reason to be smothered.

What flames of discontent this spark (though I sought by all speedy
and possible means to quench it) soon kindled, all the world is
witnesse: The aspersion which some men cast upon that action, as if
I had designed by force to assault the House of Commons, and invade
their Priviledge, is so false, that, as God best knows, I had no such
intent; so none that attended Me could justly gather from any thing I
then said or did, the least intimation of any such thoughts.

That I went attended with some Gentlemen, as it was no unwonted thing
for the Majesty and safety of a King so to be attended, especially
in discontented times; so were my Followers at that time short of
my ordinary Guard, and no way proportionable to hazard a tumultuary
conflict. Nor were they more scared at my coming, then I was unassured
of not having some affronts cast upon me, if I had none to be with
Me to preserve a reverence to Me: for many people had (at that time)
learned to think those hard thoughts, which they have since abundantly
vented against Me, both by words and deeds.

The sum of that businesse was this,

Those men and their adherents were then look'd upon by the affrighted
vulgar, as greater Protectors of their Laws and Liberties then my
Self, and so worthier of their protection. I leave them to God and
their own Consciences, who, if guilty of evill machinations, no
present impunity, or popular vindications of them will be subterfuge
sufficient to rescue them from those exact Tribunals.

To which, in the obstructions of Justice among men, we must
religiously appeal, as being an argument to us Christians of that
after unavoidable Judgement, which shall re-judge what among men is
but corruptly decided, or not at all.

I endeavoured to have prevented, if God had seen fit, those future
commotions which I foresaw, would in all likelyhood follow some mens
activity (if not restrained) and so now hath done to the undoing of
many thousands; the more is the pity.

But to over-awe the freedom of the Houses, or to weaken their just
Authority by any violent impressions upon them, was not at all my
design: I thought I had so much Justice and Reason on my side, as
should not have needed so rough assistance: and I was resolved
rather to bear the repulse with patience, then to use such hazardous

_But thou, O Lord art my witnesse in heaven, and in my Heart: If I
have purposed any violence or oppression against the Innocent: or if
there were any such wickednes in my thoughts._

_Then let the enemy persecute my soul, and tread my life to the
ground, and lay mine Honour in the dust._

_Thou that seest not as man seeth, but lookest beyond all popular
appearances, searching the heart, and trying the reins, and bringing
to light the hidden things of darknesse, shew thy self._

_Let not my afflictions be esteemed (as with wise and godly men they
cannot be) any argument as my sin, in that matter: more then their
Impunity among good men is any sure token of their Innocency._

_But forgive them wherin they have done amiss, though they are not
punished for it in this world._

_Save thy servant from the privy conspiracies, and open violence of
bloody and unreasonable men, according to the uprightness of my heart,
and the innocency of my hands in this matter._

_Plead my cause and maintain my right, O thou that sittest in the
Throne, judging rightly, that thy servant may ever rejoyce in thy

* * * * *

4. _Upon the Insolency of the Tumults._

I Never thought any thing (except our sins) more ominously presaging
all these mischiefs, which have followed, then those Tumults
in _London_ and _Westminster_, soon after the convening of this
Parliament; which were not like a storm at Sea, (which yet wants not
its terrour) but like an Earth-quake, shaking the very foundations of
all; then which nothing in the world hath more of horror.

As it is one of the most convincing Arguments that there is a God,
while his power sets bounds to the raging of the Sea: so 'tis no
less, that he restrains the madness of the People. Nor doth any thing
portend more Gods displeasure against a Nation, then when he suffers
the confluence and clamours of the Vulgar to passe all boundaries of
Laws and reverence to Authority.

Which those Tumults did to so high degrees of Insolence, that they
spared not to invade the Honour and Freedom of the two Houses,
menacing, reproaching, shaking, yea, and assaulting some Members of
both Houses, as they fancied, or disliked them: Nor did they forbear
most rude and unseemly deportments, both in contemptuous words and
actions, to my Self and my Court.

Nor was this a short fit or two of shaking, as an ague, but a
quotidian fever, always encreasing to higher inflammations, impatient
of any mitigation, restraint, or remission.

First, They must be a guard against those fears which some men scared
themselves and others withall; when indeed nothing was more to be
feared, and lesse to be used by wise men, then those tumultuary
confluxes of mean and rude people, who are taught first to petition,
then to protect, then to dictate, at last to command and over-aw the

All obstructions in Parliament (that is, all freedom of differing in
Votes, and debating matters with reason and candor) must be taken away
with these Tumults; By these must the Houses be purged, and all
rotten Members (as they pleased to count them) cast out: By these the
obstinacie of men resolved to discharge their Consciences, must be
subdued; by these all factious, seditious, and schismaticall Proposals
against Government Ecclesiastical or Civil, must be backed and
abetted, till they prevailed.

Generally, who-ever had most mind to bring forth confusion and ruine
upon Church and State, used the midwifery of those Tumults: whose riot
and impatience was such, that they would not stay the ripening and
season of Counsels, or fair production of Acts, in the order, gravity,
and deliberatenesse befitting a Parliament; but ripped up with
barbarous cruelty, and forcibly cut out abortive Votes, such as their
Inviters and Encouragers most fancied.

Yea, so enormous and detestable were their outrages, that no sober man
could be without an infinite shame and sorrow to see them so tolerated
and connived at by some; countenanced, encouraged, and applauded by

What good man had not rather want any thing he most desired, for the
publick good, then obtain it by such unlawfull and irreligious means?
But mens passions and Gods directions seldom agree; violent designes
and motions must have sutable engines: such as too much attend their
own ends, seldom confine themselves to Gods means. Force must crowd in
what Reason will not lead.

Who were the chief Demagogues and Patrons of Tumults, to send for
them, to flatter and embolden them, to direct and tune their clamorous
importunities, some men yet living are too conscious to pretend
ignorance: God in his due time will let these see, That those were no
fit means to be used for attaining his ends.

But as it is no strange thing for the Sea to rage, when strong winds
blow upon it; so neither for Multitudes to become insolent, when they
have Men of some reputation for parts and piety to set them on.

That which made their rudenesse most formidable, was, that many
Complaints being made, and Messages sent by my Self, and, some of both
Houses; yet no Order for redress could be obtained with any vigour
and efficacie, proportionable to the malignity of that now far-spread
disease, and predominant mischief.

Such was some mens stupidity, that they feared no inconvenience;
Others petulancie, that they joyed to see their betters shamefully
outraged and abused, while they knew their onely security consisted
in vulgar flattery: so insensible were they of Mine, or the two Houses
common Safety and Honours.

Nor could ever any Order be obtained, impartially to examine, censure,
and punish the known Boutefeus, and impudent Incendiaries, who boasted
of the influence they had and used, to convoke those Tumults as their
advantages served.

Yea, some (who should have been wiser States-men) owned them as
friends, commending their Courage, Zeal, and Industry; which to sober
men could seem no better then that of the Divel, who _goes about
seeking whom he may_ deceive and _devour._

I confesse, when I found such a deafness, that no Declaration from the
Bishops, who were first fouly insolenced and assaulted; nor yet from
other Lords and Gentlemen of Honor; nor yet from my self could take
place for the due repression of these Tumults; and securing not only
Our freedom in Parliament, but Our very persons in the Streets; I
thought My self not bound by my presence to provoke them to higher
boldness and contempts; I hoped by my with-drawing to give time, both
for the ebbing of their tumultuous furie, and others regaining some
degrees of modesty and sober sense.

Some may interpret it as an effect of Pusillanimitie in any man
for popular terrors to desert his publick station. But I think it a
hardiness, beyond true valor, for a wise man to set himself against
the breaking in of a Sea; which to resist, at present, threatens
imminent danger; but to withdraw, gives it space to spend its fury,
and gains a fitter time to repair the breach. Certainly a gallant man
had rather fight to great disadvantages for number and place in the
field, in an orderly way, then skuffle with an undisciplined rabble.

Some suspected and affirmed that I meditated a war (when I went from
_Whitehal_ only to redeem my Person & Conscience from violence) God
knows I did not think of a war. Nor will any prudent man conceive that
I would by so many former and some after-acts, have so much weakned
My self, if I had purposed to engage in a war, which to decline by
all means, I denyed my self in so many particulars: 'Tis evident I had
then no Army to fly unto, for protection or vindication.

Who can blame me, or any other for a withdrawing our selves from the
daily baitings of the Tumults, not knowing whether their fury and
discontent might not fly so high, as to worry and tear those in
pieces, whom as yet they but played with in their paws? God, who is my
sole Judg, is my Witness in Heaven, that I never had any thoughts
of going from My house at _Whitehall_, if I could have had but any
reasonable fair Quarter; I was resolved to bear much, and did so, but
I did not think my self bound to prostitute the Majesty of my place
and Person, the safety of my Wife and children, to those who are prone
to insult most, when they have objects and opportunity, most capable
of their rudeness and petulancy.

But this business of the Tumults (whereof some have given already an
account to God, others yet living, know themselves desperatly guilty)
time and the guilt of many hath so smothered up and buried, that I
think it best to leave it as it is: Only I beleeve the just Avenger of
all disorders, will in time make those men, and that City, see their
sin in the glass of their Punishment. 'Tis more then an even lay, they
may one day see themselves punished by that way they offended.

Had this Parliament, as it was in its first Election and Constitution,
sate full and free, the Members of both Houses being left to their
freedom of Voting, as in all reason, honor, and Religion, they should
have been; I doubt not but things would have been so carried, as
would have given no less content to all good men, then they wished or

For, I was resolved to hear reason in all things, and to consent to
it so far as I could comprehend it: but as Swine are to Gardens and
orderly Plantations, so are Tumults to Parliaments, and Plebeian
concourses to publick Councels, turning all into disorders and sordid

I am prone sometimes to think, That had I called this Parliament to
any other place in _England_, (as I might opportunely enough have
done) the sad consequences, in all likelihood, with Gods blessing,
might have been prevented. A Parliament would have been welcom in
any place; no place afforded such confluence of various and vitious
humors, as that where it was unhappily convened. But we must leave all
to God, who orders our disorders, and magnifies his wisdom most, when
our follies and miseries are most discovered.

_But thou O Lord art My refuge and defence_: _to thee I may safely
flie, who rulest the raging of the Sea, and the madnesse of the

_The flouds, O Lord, the flouds are come in upon Me, and are ready to
overwhelm Me._

_I look upon My sinnes and the sinnes of My people, (which are the
tumults of our Souls against thee O Lord) as the just cause of these
popular inundations which thou permittest to overbear all the banks of
Loyalty, Modesty, Laws, Justice, and Religion._

_But thou that gatheredst the Waters into one place, and madest the
dry land to appear, and after did'st asswage the floud which drowned
the world, by the word of thy power; Rebuke those beasts of the
people, and deliver Me from the rudenesse and strivings of the

_Restore, We beseech thee, unto Us, the freedoms of Our Councels and
Parliaments, make Us unpassionately to see the light of Reason, and
Religion, and with all order and gravity to follow it, as becomes Men
and Christians; so shall We praise thy Name, who art the God of order
and counsel._

_What man cannot, or will not represse, thy Omnipotent Justice can and

_O Lord, give them that are yet living, a timely sense and sorrow
for their great sinne, whom thou knowest guilty of raising or
not suppressing those disorders: Let shame here and not suffering
hereafter be their punishment._

_Set bounds to our passions by Reason, to our errors by Truth, to our
seditions by Laws duely executed, to our schismes by Charitie, that we
may be, as thy_ Jerusalem, _a Citie at unity in it self._

_This grant, O My God, in thy good time, for Jesus Christs sake._

* * * * *

5. _Upon His Majesties passing the_ BILL _for the Trienniall
Parliaments: And after, setling this, during the pleasure of the two

That the world might be fully confirmed in my purposes at first, to
contribute what in Justice, Reason, Honour and Conscience I could,
to the happy success of this Parliament, (which had in Me no other
Designe, but the generall good of My Kingdoms) I willingly passed
the BILL for Trienniall Parliaments: which, as gentle and seasonable
Physick, might (if well applied) prevent any distempers from getting
any head, or prevailing; especially, if the remedy proved not a remedy
beyond all remedy.

I conceived, this Parliament would finde work with convenient Recesses
for the first three years: But I did not imagine, that some men would
thereby have occasioned more work then they found to do, by undoing
so much as they found well done to their hands. Such is some mens
activity, that they will needs make work rather then want it; and
chuse to be doing amiss, rather then do nothing.

When that first Act seemed too scanty to satisfie some mens fears, and
compass publick Affairs; I was perswaded to grant that BILL of sitting
during the pleasure of the Houses; which amounted, in some mens sense,
to as much as the perpetuating of this Parliament. By this Act of
highest confidence, I hoped for ever to shut out, and lock the door
upon all present jealousies, and future mistakes: I confess, I did
not thereby intend to shut my Self out of doors, as some men have now
requited me.

True, it was an Act unparallell'd by any of my Predecessors; yet
cannot in reason admit of any worse interpretation then this, of an
extreme confidence I had, That my Subjects would not make ill use of
an Act, by which I declared so much to trust them, as to deny my Self
in so high a point of my Prerogative.

For good Subjects will never think it just or fit, that my Condition
should be worse, by my bettering theirs; Nor indeed would it have been
so in the events, if some men had known as well with moderation to
use, as with earnestness to desire advantages of doing good or evill.

A continuall Parliament (I thought) would but keep the Common-weale in
tune, by preserving Laws in their due execution and vigour: wherein My
interest lies more then any mans, since by those Laws My Rights as
a KING, would be preserved no less then My Subjects; which is all I
desired. More then the Law gives Me I would not have, and less the
meanest Subject should not.

Some (as _I_ have heard) gave it out, that I soon repented me of that
setling Act: and many would needs perswade Me, _I_ had cause so to do:
But I could not easily nor suddenly suspect such ingratitude in men
of Honour, That the more I granted them, the less _I_ should have and
enjoy with them. _I_ still counted my self undiminished by my largest
Concessions, if by them _I_ might gain and confirm the love of My

Of which I do not yet despair, but that God will still bless Me with
increase of it, when men shall have more leisure and less prejudice;
that so with unpassionate representations they may reflect upon those
(as I think) not more Princely then friendly contributions, which I
granted toward the perpetuating of their happiness: who are now only
miserable in this, That some mens ambition will not give them leave to
enjoy what I intended for their good.

Nor do I doubt, but that in Gods due time, the Loyal and cleared
affections of My people will strive to return such retributions of
Honour and love to Me or My Posteritie, as may fully compensate both
the Acts of my confidence, and my Sufferings for them; which (God
knows) have been neither few; nor small, nor short; occasioned chiefly
by a perswasion I had, that I could not grant too much, or distrust
too little, to men, that being professedly my Subjects, pretended
singular piety, and religious strictness.

The injurie of all Injuries is, That which some men will needs load Me
withall; as if I were a wilfull and resolved Occasioner of my Own,
and my Subjects Miseries; while (as they confidently, but (God knows)
falsly divulge) I repining at the establishment of this Parliament,
endeavoured by force and open hostility, to undoe what by my Royall
Assent I had done. Sure, it had argued a very short sight of things,
and extreme fatuity of minde in Me, so far to binde my Own hands at
their request, if I had shortly meant to have used a sword against
them. God knows, though I had then a sense of Injuries; yet not such
as to think them worth vindicating by a War: I was not then compelled,
as since, to injure my Self by their not using favours with the same
candour wherewith they were conferred. The Tumults indeed threatned
to abuse all Acts of Grace, and turne them into wantonnesse; but I
thought at length their own fears, whose black arts first raised up
those turbulent spirits, would force them to conjure them down again.

Nor if I had justly resented any indignities put upon me, or others,
was I then in any capacitie to have taken just revenge in an hostile
and warlike way, upon those, whom I knew so well fortified in the
love of the meaner sort of the people, that I could not have given
my Enemies greater and more desired advantages against Me, then by so
unprincely inconstancie, to have assaulted them with Armies, thereby
to scatter them, whom but lately I had solemnly setled by an Act of

God knows, I longed for nothing more, then that my Self, and my
Subjects might quietly enjoy the fruits of my many Condescendings.

It had been a Course full of sin, as well as of Hazard and Dishonor;
for Me to go about the cutting up of that by the Sword, which I had
so lately planted, so much (as I thought) to my Subjects content, and
mine Own too, in all probability, if some men had not feared where no
fear was, whose security consisted in fearing others.

I thank God, I know so well the sincerity and uprightness of my own
Heart in passing that great BILL, which exceeded the very thoughts of
former times; That although I may seem less a Polititian to men, yet
I need no secret distinctions or evasions before God, nor had I any
reservations in my own Soul when I passed it: nor repenting after,
till I saw that my letting some men go up to the pinnacle of the
Temple, was a temptation to them to cast me down headlong.

Concluding, That without a miracle, Monarchie it self, together with
Me, could not but be dashed in pieces by such a precipitous fall as
they intended: whom God in mercy forgive, and make them see at length,
That as many Kingdoms as the Divell shewed our Saviour, and the Glory
of them (if they could be at once enjoyed by them) are not worth the
gaining, by ways of sinfull ingratitude and dishonour, which hazards a
soul, worth more Worlds then this hath Kingdoms.

But God hath hitherto preserved Me, and made Me to see, That it is no
strange thing for men, left to their own passions, either to do much
evill themselves, or abuse the overmuch goodness of others, whereof an
ungratefull surfet is the most desperate and incurable disease.

I cannot say properly that I repent of that Act, since _I_ have
no reflections upon it as a sin of my Wil, though an errour of too
charitable a judgment: Only I am sorry other mens eys should be evill,
because mine were good.

_To Thee (O my God) do I still appeale, whose All-discerning Justice
sees through all the disguises of mens pretensions, and deceitfull
darknesse of their hearts._

_Thou gavest Me a heart to grant much to My Subjects; and now I need a
Heart fitter to suffer much for some of them._

_They will be done, though never so much to the crossing of ours, even
when we hope to doe what might be most comfortable to thine and theirs
too; who pretended they aymed at nothing else._

_Let thy grace teach me wisely to enjoy as well the frustratings, as
the fulfilling of My best hopes, and most specious desires._

_I see while I thought to allay others fears, I have raised My owne;
and by setling them, have unsetled My self._

_Thus have they requited Me evill for good, and hatred for My good
will towards them._

_O Lord be thou My Pilot in this darke and dangerous storme, which
never admits My returne to the Port whence I set out, nor My making
any other, with that safety and honour which I designed._

_Tis easie for Thee to keep Me safe in the love and confidence of
My people; nor is it hard for Thee to preserve Me amidst the unjust
hatred and jealousies of too many, which thou hast suffered so far
to prevaile upon Me, as to be able to pervert and abuse my acts of
greatest Indulgence to them, and assurance of them._

_But no favours from Me can make others more guiltie then My self may
be of misusing those many and great ones, which Thou, O Lord, hast
conferred on Me._

_I beseech thee, give Me and them such Repentance as thou wilt accept,
and such Grace as we may not abuse._

_Make me so far happy, as to make right use of others abuses; and by
their failings of Me, to reflect with a reforming displeasure upon My
offences against Thee._

_So, although for My sins I am by other mens sins deprived of thy
temporall blessings, yet I may be happie to enjoy the comfort of
thy Mercies, which often raise the greatest Sufferers to be the most
glorious Saints._

* * * * *


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Library mainpage -> Charles I, King of England -> Eikon Basilike The Pourtracture of His Sacred Majestie, in His Solitudes and Sufferings