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had little else to do but to prepare himself for death. Indeed, the commons were highly offended with the king's fpeech, saying, It was an unprecedented thing, that he should meddle with bills before they were presented to him ; and, that it had a tendency to take away the freedom of votes. Upon this they adjourned till Monday, the third of May.
When the bill of attainder against the earl paffed both houses, the king was in the greatest agitation and perplexity. He loved Strafford, and was convinced that he had done nothing but what was conformable to his intentions and the maxims he woald have intro. duced into the government. He might be guilty, with regard to the people, upon many accounts ; but certainly he was not so with respect to the king, who had always approved of his conduct : befides, his majesty had protested, in full parliament, that he could not, nor would, do any thing against his consci. ence; and he did not believe in his conscience that the earl was guilty. On the other hand, if he consented to the bill of attainder, after having declared that it was against his conscience, he would shew that he was reduced to this extremity by the necessity of his affairs, so would not be thanked for it, and, for the time to come, would be able to refuse his parliament nothing : but, if he rejected the bill, he plainly perceived the consequences his refusal might be attended with ; and, that, at least, he should be accufed of denying his
people juftice, contrary to the advice of both houses of parliament.
It seems probable that, in this extremity, fome one advised the king to diffolve the parlia. ment; at least the commons imagined he had no other expedient left to extricate himself from the difficulty he was involved ia ; and therefore, to deprive him of this refuge, the fame day, the fourth of May, they ordered the bringing in of a bill for the continuance of the present parliament, that it might not be dissolved without the consent of both houses.
Then the king called his privy-council together, and sent for his lawyers. He laid be. fore them his scruples, and the reasons which 'ought to prevent him from giving his consent to the bill: but Juxon, bithop of London, was the only person that ventured to advise the king to reject a bill presented to him by both houses. All the relt did their utmost to persuade him to satisfy his people, alledging that the life of any person ought not to be put in the ballance with the safety of the kingdom. With regard to his fcruples, they told him, that he might confult his bishops, who would give him the best advice.
The king, not meeting with the satisfaction he expected from his council, fent for fome bishops to advise with. It is afirmed, that Neile, archbishop of York, said to him upon this occasion, that there was a private and a public conscience; that his public conscience, Vol. V.
as a king, might not only dispense with, but oblige, him to do that which was against his private conscience as a man; and so, in plain terms, advised him, even for conscience sake, to pass the act.
What helped the most, however, to determine Charles, was a letter from Strafford him.' self, who, hearing the straits the king was in, humbly besought him to pass the bill, to remove him out of the way, towards a blessed agreement, which he doubted not God would for ever establish between him and his sub. jects : adding, that his consent would more acquit his majesty to God than all the world could do besides. To a willing man there is no injury. At least, the king, no longer able to withstand the presling instances of the parliament, and his own counsellors, or, rather, the fear of the calamities he foresaw might befal him and his posterity, if he refused to consent to the bill, signed a commission to three lords to pass it in his name,
But, notwithstanding the earl of Strafford's letter, when the king sent secretary Carleton to him, to acquaint him with what was done, and the motives of it, the earl seriously asked the secretary, whether his majesty had paffed the bill or not; as not believing, without some astonishment, that the king would have done it; and, being again assured that it was pasled, he rose from his chair, lifted up his eyes to heaven, laid his hand on his heart, and said, "Put not your trust in princes, nor in any
of the sons of men, for there is no help in them."
On Wednesday, the twelfth of May, 1641, being come to the place of execution, he mounted the scaffold, made his obeisances, and began to take his last farewel of his friends, who appeared much more concerned than himself. Observing his brother, Sir George Wentworth, to weep excessively, “Brother,” said he, with a chearful brikkness, " W’hat do you see in me to deserve these tears? Doth any indecent fear betray in me a guilt, innocent boldness
atheism ? Think now that you are accompanying me the third time to my marriage bed : never did I throw off my cloaths with greater freedom and con. tent than in this preparation to my grave. That stock," pointing to the block, “must be my pillow, here shall I rest from all my labours ; no thoughts of envy, no dreams of treason, jealoufies or cares for the king, the state, or myself, shall interrupt this easy sleep: therefore, brother, with me, pity those who, besides their intention, have made me happy ; rejoice in my happiness, rejoice in my innocence.”
Then kneeling down, he made this protestation :.“I hope, gentlemen, you do think, that neither the fear of loss, nor love of reputation, will suffer me to belye God and my owil conscience at this time. I am now in the very door, going out, and my next step must be from time to eternity either of peace or pain.
To clear myself before you all, I do here fo. Jemnly call God to witness, I am not guilty, so far as I can understand, of the great
crime laid to my charge ; nor have ever had the least inclination or intention to damnify or prejudice the king, the state, the laws, or the religion, of this kingdom ; but, with my best endeavours, to serve all, and to support all; so may God be merciful to my foal." ;
Then rifing up, he said he defired to speak fomething to the people, but was afraid he fhould be heard but by few, in regard of the noise; but having first fitted himself to the block, and rifing again, he thus addressed himfelf to the spectators.
My lord-primate of Ireland, and my lords, and the rest of these noble gentlemen : it is a great comfort to me to have your
lordships by me this day, because I have been known to you a long time; and I now desire to be heard a few words. I come here by the good will and pleasure of almighty God, to pay that last debt I owe to fin, which is death ; and, by the blefing of that God, to rise again, thro' the merits of Jesus Christ, to righteoufness and life eternal.” Here he was a little interrupted.
My lords, I am come hither to submit to that judgment which hath passed against me, I do it with a very quiet and contented mind; I thank God I do freely forgive all the world; a forgiveness that is not spoken from the teeth outward, as they say, but from the very heart: