King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

realized fully--as the passage just quoted shows--that he was a beaten man, and as such in no case to refuse anything fit to be granted, but--beaten or not--there were certain things that it would be better to die than to grant, things which, in his own words, "reason and religion bids me deny."

That was his position, clearly defined and maintained with undeviating consistency throughout his successive captivities and at his trial; it was the position that he re-affirmed on the scaffold. Almost up to the end it would have been open to him to have obtained terms that would have enabled him to return to Whitehall with at least the outward trappings of kingship; the pomp and luxury surrounding even a crowned puppet might have been judged preferable to the rigours and humiliations of confinement, with a bloody death more and more plainly in prospect at the end of it. Charles judged otherwise, and paid the price.

Such a choice is open to criticism from those who are inspired by a different philosophy. The case of his accusers against Socrates, that of the world at all times against the martyr, is as old as civilization. It is a genuine case. The martyr is, from the world's standpoint, impossible. But to talk of his attitude as one of weakness or duplicity is not to state a rational case at all. It does not even make sense.


3
TYRANNY OF CORRUPTION

WHEN the King had come to Newcastle the city had gone mad with joy; there had been firing of guns and clashing of bells, the streets had been lined with cheering crowds. But it was little that they could see of him; for round him was a packed phalanx of three hundred Scottish horse, those next him with their heads decently uncovered, but for all that a steel-clad barrier between him and his people. It had been like that all the way from Newark. Orders had gone out to intercept loyal addresses and to isolate him from any demonstration of popular affection. The King would not have been human had he failed to take note of this, the first of many cumulative evidences that he had the heart of the common people on his side in his captivity as he had never had it in the days of his splendour.

-159-

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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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