King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

its resolution and strengthened its Ordinance by constituting its new Commission a High Court of Justice, and found time summarily to reject a piteous appeal from the Queen to be allowed to visit her husband in his affliction.

On the 4th it voted three other resolutions to the effect that all just power originated from the people, and that the Commons of England--signifying themselves, whom they had the face to describe as representing the people--were invested with full sovereign authority to pass any laws they chose without consent of either King or Lords.

Having thus formally abolished every rival authority and established single chamber government as the law of the land, the Rump was in a position to turn its Ordinances into Acts, and this it did two days later by an Act not only setting up the Court for trying the King, but also bearing a preamble couched in the most venomous and vituperative rhetoric in which the prisoner's guilt is taken for granted and "his exemplary and condign punishment" explicitly provided for.

The Act that was, in everything but name, the King of England's death warrant, was passed by a majority of "6-26 votes against 20.* Thus in a House whose original and proper strength was approximately 500, less than a tenth of the Members voted at all, and less than one in every nineteen could be found who would have part or lot in this cynical travesty of all that has ever passed in England for law or justice or elementary decency.


7
HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

THE new Court did not waste time in formalities. We can realize the speed at which the whole operation was performed when we consider that the Act setting up this most unprecedented of all juridical innovations was passed on the 6th of January, and that the High Court not only got itself constituted, but had its victim tried, sentenced, and executed before the end of the month. Good

____________________
*
These figures-damning in their implication--are apparently considered by the usually exhaustive Gardiner not sufficiently important to quote. This suppressio veri has been remedied, I think for the first time, by Mr J. G. Muddiman in his invaluable Trial of Charles I.

-313-

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King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xiii
  • I - The Clinch 1
  • I - The Court at Oxford 3
  • 3 - Newark and Cheriton 7
  • 4 - A Desperate Situation 11
  • 5 - Adieu! 16
  • 6 - The King's Strategy 19
  • 7 - A Night March 21
  • 8 - Rupert's Flank March Through Lancashire 25
  • 9 - The Relief of York and Cropredy Bridge 30
  • 10 - Marston Moor--The Challenge 33
  • II - Marston Moor--The Decision 36
  • 12 - The Escape of the Queen 50
  • 14 - Second Newbury and the Cavalier Recovery 54
  • 15 - Artist as General 58
  • II - Defeat 71
  • I - Tertium Quid 73
  • 3 - "Three Things I Will Not Part With" 76
  • 4 - The Liquidation of the Primate 81
  • 5 - A Foredoomed Negotiation 88
  • 6 - An Irish Imbroglio 92
  • 9 - Prelude to Naseby 97
  • 10 - Naseby 102
  • 12 - The King's Cabinet Rifled 112
  • 13 - The King Takes His Stand 116
  • 15 - Meeting and Reconciliation 124
  • 16 - Last Days at Oxford 130
  • 17 - Hobson's Choice 141
  • III - Captivity 149
  • I - Confidence Trick 151
  • 2 - Third Degree at Newcastle 155
  • 4 - "Barbarously Baited" 159
  • 5 - Foreshadowing Martyrdom 162
  • 6 - A King for Cash 168
  • 7 - Holdenby Backwater 171
  • 8 - The Mutiny of the New Model 173
  • 9 - The Commission of Cornet Joyce 178
  • 10 - The King at Newmarket 189
  • 15 - The Fall of London 203
  • 16 - Cromwell on the Turn 208
  • 17 - A Darkening Prospect 219
  • 18 - Escape from Prison 224
  • 21 - The Engagement with the Scots 232
  • 22 - The Trap Shuts 244
  • 24 - Escape Barred 247
  • 26 - Jane Whorwood 256
  • IV - Martyrdom 285
  • I - The Train is Laid 287
  • 3 - Hurst Castle and Pride's Purge 295
  • 4 - Journey to Windsor 299
  • 6 - Conspiracy to Murder 301
  • 7 - High Court of Justice 308
  • 8 - By What Authority? 313
  • 13 - Cromwell Takes Charge 344
  • 14 - Preparation for Death 348
  • 16 - "Cruel Necessity" 354
  • Appendices 369
  • Index 381
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