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Charles I. in the year 1646 was about to meet proposals from the London Parliament by sanctioning a trial of Presbyterian Government for three years, and surrendering the command of the Militia for ten years, when he received this ill-timed check to what would probably have been a partial reconciliation with his vigorous antagonists.

Queen Henrietta Maria to Charles I.

Paris: Dec. 14, 1646.

This day I received yours of the 21, to which, being streightened in tyme, I shall answer in English that it may be soonest put into cypher. In the first place you conclude right, that nothing but the abundance of my love could make me take upon me the harsher part of pressing things which are inacceptable to you. But where I find your interest so much concerned as it is in your present resolution, I should be faultier than you if I would suffer you to rest in such an error as would prove fatal to you. Therefore you may safely believe, that no duty which I perform to you is accompanied with more kindness than when I oppose those opinions. I acknowledge that mistakes are the grounds of our differences in opinion, otherwise you would not so confidently think that your answer to the propositions sent me last week grants nothing about the militia but according to the advice you have had from hence. Therein I shall refer you to the duplicate herewith sent you, to which I will only add my desires that you will carefully compare the draught sent you from hence with the other; and then you will find to what purpose the preamble serves, and what care there was taken here to make it and the grant to persons of trust to be of a piece. If your message be not gone there is no hurt done; if it be, get off from this rock as well as you can, according to the advice in those duplicates, and to your resolution expressed in your letter, not to admit any copartners therein. Touching the pulpits and Presbyterian government,

&c. I will not any more enter into dispute with you, finding that arguments of that nature have neither done you nor your business any good; only I may conclude that if your offer shall not satisfy the Presbyterians, whom you desire to make yours, you must begin again, or leave the work undone. Neither can you expect this your subtility in reserving the last determination, after three years, to you and the two houses will do the feat; no, they with whom you have to do will be cunning enough to put you to explain yourself. I shall rest confidently upon your resolution now expressed touching your friends, because you sufficiently know how much your honour and justice, as well as policy, is in the case. All I desire therein is, that you recede not from your.demand of a general act of oblivion, for nothing less can secure you and them. The lyke was done to you in Scotland; which will be a general precedent here. For the Covenant, you know my opinion; after the entire consideration of it, we both fully agree therein; neither as we are advertised from London, will it be stifly insisted upon there; yet possibly if the Scots shall prevail, and that only difference were in the case, they may consent to such alterations in it as may satisfy all of us, and confirm such a conjunction as you ought to desire. Therefore I again desire you, upon conference with Will. Murray, or otherwise, to use your utmost endeavours that some [per]sons may be admitted to come privately to you and the Scots, to see upon a full debate with them if all things may not be reconciled to your and their satis. faction. If they would consent to such a meeting, I would have some hopes of good success: for the present there appears to be poison in the pot; do not trust to your own cooking of it. For the proposition to Belliévre, I hate it. should be made public, you are undone; make a malicious use of it. Be sure you never own it again in any discourse, otherwise than as intended as a foile or an hyperbole, or any otherways except in sober earnest. Consider well what I have written of; away [with] your message presently without sharing the Militia and abandoning Ireland. Strike out the 10 years out of the clause concerning offices, or the clause itself, which you will; it may be added in the close, and the naming 10 years implies that this parliament should sit so long; obtain the admitting of persons, and then we

If any such thing your enemies will

shall agree in the whole business; neither shall I then despair of seeing you again with comfort, which is the fullest happiness I wish for in this world. A Dieu, mon cher cœur !


This is the reply to the foregoing mandate. The King's weak submission to the taunts and imperious counsels of his exiled Queen brought about his ruin. For his obedience to her injunctions against making necessary concessions he was made a prisoner in the hands of the English Parliament.

Charles I. to Queen Henrietta Maria.

Newcastle: Dec. 12 and 19, 1646.

Dear Heart,-I have not received any letters, or news from thee, this last week, of which I do not complain, for, as I have not missed one week since I wrote first from hence, and I know that thou hast been several times two weeks without receiving any of mine, so I believe thou hast taken the pains, albeit I want the comfort of hearing from thee.

My return from Scotland is, that my intended answer to London is absolutely disliked and disapproved there; the main reasons are, that I am not found altered in my conscience, and that I will not authorize the covenant, without which (I tell the very words) all that can be offered will not satisfy: yet, for their personal duty, I have much assurance from duke Hamilton and earl of Lanerick.

If they make good what is promised in their name (and I will put them to it), my game will be far from desperate, but, having little belief that these men will do as they say, I will not trouble thee with particulars, until I give thee some more evidence than words of their realities.

December 19.

When I had written thus far, I was desirous to stay for thy answer to my letter of the 14th of Nov, thereby the better to make my message to London, the which not receiving before Wednesday, it made me spare one week's writing to thee, which I hope you will easily excuse, since it is the first. Nor shall I now make a particular answer to thine of the 11th and 14th of December, albeit it may be thou wilt think it full enough, for this assures

thee that my intended answer to the London propositions is not gone, and that I have sent another message (the copy of which the queen will receive by the French ambassadour), the substance whereof is to adhere to my former answer, made the first [tenth?] of August last; so that all thy fears concerning the militia are saved, wherein, I confess, I thought not I had fundamentally erred, notwithstanding that the particular possession were (for the prefixt time) in the two houses, when I kept the return entire to the crown without associates, and that I still stuck to my right, which I did by the preamble, for I did, and yet do, conceive that the temporary power of managing it is merely circumstantial, and not material. But I have done, and willingly yield the argument, when the question is of holding fast, and shall only wish that all those whose advice the queen takes in business be but as constant to foundations, and as little apt to be couzened or frighted out of them, as I shall be. For those that make thee believe any alteration can make the covenant passable can stick at nothing, and excuse me to tell thee that whatsoever gives thee that advice is either fool or knave; for this damn'd covenant is the child of rebellion, and breaths nothing but treason, so that if episcopacy were to be introduced by the covenant, I would not do it, because I am as much bound in conscience to do no act to the destruction of monarchy as to resist heresy, all actions being unlawful (let the end be never so just) where the means is not lawful.

I conclude this, conjuring thee never to abandon one particular good friend of ours, which is a good cause, be the Scots never so false, even as thou lovest him who is eternally thine,


By the next I will give thee a full account why I could not send my particular answer to London, and, I believe also, what may be expected from Scotland.

No security can be had for any to come to me from thee.

The Solemn League and Covenant.

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