than the Cavalier front for a peaceful solution that should deliver the nation from the nightmare of civil war, or of the determination of the men in control at Westminster to enforce a hundred-percent war policy, and ruthlessly suppress any tentative peace feelers that might be put out from either side.
It is true that the prime architects of the rebellion, Pym and Hampden, had been eliminated, and the leadership of the war party had devolved upon men of such inferior stature as the saturnine Oliver St John, and the younger Sir Harry Vane, a curious blend of religious fanatic and political twister. These men were sufficiently powerful in the inner councils of the revolution to prevent any weakening in the resolve to drive the King to a surrender that would eliminate all but the name of monarchy from the Constitution, and leave the way clear for the unfettered dominance of the plutocratic ring to which they belonged.
For him to proffer terms of any kind would be mere waste of ink: the rebel chiefs would have all or nothing. And it was becoming increasingly apparent that failing a military miracle, they had the brute force to get all that force was capable of getting.
BUT it was not only force on which they relied. It was by threatening the Queen that they could bring the deadliest pressure to bear on her husband. He might offer himself as a sacrifice in the game -but her, never. His two suicidally false moves in the past, his signature of Strafford's death warrant and his attempt to indict the Five Members for treason, had been forced from him by unformulated threats to the Queen's life. And now she was openly marked down for destruction. Commissioners had been appointed by Parliament to proceed with her impeachment for treason. They were in no hurry. It was the gesture that counted, the plain intimation to him whom it most concerned that if they caught her they meant to murder her, or at best to hold her as a blackmailing counter to extract the unconditional surrender from him, which was all they really cared about. And the King knew only too well that this was no idle threat. The practice of killing Queens was