Or, The King's Book
Edited by Edward Almack
London: A. Moring, Limited, At the De la More Press, 1904.
text from an "advance copy" of the first edition, 1649.
3. Upon His Majesties going to the House of Commons.
MY going to the House of Commons to demand Justice upon the Members, was an act, which My enemies loaded with all the obloquies and exasperations they could.
It filled indifferent men with great jealousies and feares; 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 touchinesse of those times required.
But these men knew not the just motives, and pregnant grounds, with which I thought my self so furnished, that there needed nothing to such evidence, as I could have produced against those I charged, save only a free and legall Triall, 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 embroyle my Kingdomes: 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 by calling in Question half a dozen men, in a fair and legall way (which God knowes 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 suspicions; which, as they were not raised out of any malice, so neither were they in Reason to be smothered.
What flames of discontent this sparke (though I sought by all speedy and possible means to quench it) soone 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 knowes, I had no such intent; so none that attended could justly gather from anything 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 comming, then I was unassured of not having some affronts cast upon me, if I had none 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 aboundantly vented against Me both by words and deeds.
The summe of that businesse was this.
Those men, and their adherents were then looked upon by the affrighted vulgar, as greater protectors of their Lawes 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 Tribunalls.
To which, in the obstructions of Justice among men, we must religiously appeal, as being an argument to us Christians of that after un-avoidable 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 fore-saw, 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 pitty.
But to over-awe the freedome of the Houses, or to weaken their just Authority by any violent impressions upon them, was not at all my designe; 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 extremities.
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 wickednesse in my thoughts.
Then let the enemy persecute my soule, 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 reines, and bringing to light the hidden things of darknesse, shew thy selfe.
Let not my afflictions be esteemed (as with wise and godly men they cannot be) any argument of my sin, in that matter: more then their Impunity among good men is any sure token of their Innocency.
But forgive them wherein they have done amisse, 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 uprightnesse 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 salvation.