conscience, the honour of my crowns, and the welfare of my people; which my word may injure more than any war can do, while I gratify a few to oppress all.
"The laws will, by God's blessing, revive with the love and loyalty of my subjects; if I bury them not by my consent, and cover them in that grave of dishonour and injustice which some men's violence hath digged for them.
"If my captivity or death be the price of their redemption, I grudge not to pay it. No condition can make a King miserable that carries not with it his soul's, his people's, and posterity's thraldom.
"After times may see, what the blindness of this age will not; and God may at length show my subjects that I chose rather to suffer for them than with them; happily I might redeem myself to some show of liberty if I would consent to enslave them: I had rather hazard the ruin of one king, than to confirm many tyrants over them; from whom I pray God deliver them whatever becomes of me, whose solitude hath not left me alone."
In these pregnant and moving words King Charles defined the attitude that he was to maintain consistently, and to confirm in face of the death that he had foreseen. Hitherto he had spoken of his cause as that of his Crown, his Church (or his God), and his friends; in those long hours of spiritual stocktaking at Holdenby he had come to see more clearly than ever what he must have felt all along--that in standing for these he was standing between his people and tyranny; that the surrender he was asked to make was that of their liberties, their laws, all that it is the plain duty of a king, as opposed to a tyrant, to maintain on behalf of his subjects.
And if in maintaining it he should himself fall, it would be of his own free choice as the martyr of his people.
THE MUTINY OF THE NEW MODEL
No further overtures came from Westminster. The Parliament chiefs had something more urgent to occupy their attention; so the King had to take the first step himself if it were to be taken at all. But there did at last seem to be a gleam of hope, for intelligence
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Publication information: Book title: King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649. Contributors: Esmé Wingfield-Stratford - Author. Publisher: Hollis & Carter. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1950. Page number: 178.
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