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through Henley, St. Albans, and came as near to London, as Harrow-on-the-Hill; he even entertained thoughts of entering into that city. But at last, after passing through many cross roads, he arrived at the Scottish camp before Newark.
The parliament hearing of his escape from Oxford, issued rigorous orders, threatening with instant death whoever should harbour or conceal their fugitive king! The Scottish generals and commissioners affected great surprise on his appearance, and with all the exterior marks of respect due to his dignity, they instantly set a guard upon him, un. der colour of protection, and made him in reality a prisoner, contrary to what they had promised to the French ambassador, Montreuil. They inform-ed the English parliament of this incident, and assured them, that they had entered into no private treaty with the king Meanwhile they applied to his majesty for ordering the governor of Newark to surrender that town now reduced to extremity; the order was immediately issued and executed; but as they heard that the parliament laid claim to the entire disposal of the king's person, and that the English army was in motion towards them, they thought proper to retire northwards, and to fix their camp at Newcastle. .
This measure was very grateful to the king, and he began to entertain hopes of protection from the Scots; but he soon discovered by the behaviour of their preachers, on whom all depended, that the covenanting zealots were far from being pacified to. wards him. They insulted him from the pulpit; one of them, after reproaching him to his face with his misconduct, ordered that psalm to be sung, which begins, “ Why dost thou, tyrant, boast thy56. self thy wicked deeds to praise.” The king stood up, and called for that psalm, which begins, “ Have. - mercy, Lord, on me I pray, for men would me
66 devour." The good-natured audience, pitying virtue and majesty in distress, sung that psalm in preference to that of their preacher.
Charles was strictly guarded; all his friends were kept at a distance, and no intercourse whatsoever was allowed him with any one who was suspected of any attachment towards him. The Scottish generals still treated him with distant respectful ce. remony, but would enter into no confidence with him, and every proposal which they inade him, tend. ed to his further abasement and ruin. He, however, on their demand, issued orders to Oxford, and all his other garrisons to surrender to the parliament. He even extended these orders to Ormond in Ireland, and Montrose in Scotland. The terms granted to most of these garrisons were honourable, and Fairfax, as far as lay in his power, was very exact in observing them. Far from allowing violence, he would not even permit insults or triumph over the unfortunate royalists, and by his generous humanity, so cruel a civil war was ended with no appear. ance of animosity between the parties. The last of the king's party who laid down his arms, was the marquis of Worcester, a nobleman, past eightyfour, who defended Ragley castle to the last extreinity.
The parliament and the Scots laid their proposals before the king. They were such, as a captive en. tirely at mercy, could expect from the most inexorable victor. They evidently tended not only to the degradation, but to the utter annihilation of all kingly power and dignity, the title of king only excepted, or rather reduced to an insignificant nicka name, as it could imply no other idea than that of an extinct office, without any function, honour, or authority.
Charles represented, that proposals, which introduced such important innovations in the constitu.
tion, demanded time for deliberation. The commissioners replied, that he must give his answer in ten days. He desired to reason about the meaning and import of some terms, and requested a personal treaty with the parliament. They informed him that they had no power of debate, and peremptorily required his consent or refusal, threatening that if he delayed compliance, the parliament would by their own authority settle the nation.
What the parliament was most intent upon was, not their treaty with Charles, but that with the Scots, with whom they had to settle two important points; their delivery of the king, the estimation and payment of their arrears, which by their account, amounted to near two millions, from which the contributions they had levied, as well as the price of their living at free quarters, must be deducted. After many discussions, it was at last agreed, that in lieu of all demands, they should accept of four hundred thousand pounds, one half to be paid instantly, another in two subsequent payments.
Great pains were taken by the Scots to make the transaction appear quite different from that for the delivery of the king's person ; but as it is evi. dent that the English would never have parted with such a sum, had they not been assured that the king would be delivered to them, it is no less certain that the Scots of that time underwent and will for ever undergo the just reproach of having betrayed for money their sovereign, who had ever loved and cherished them, and of having sold him, not to a friendly power, who could protect him, but to his most inveterate enemies, who wanted to murder him. The infamy of this bargain, the most ex. ecrable that ever was recorded in the history of nations, made such an impression on the Scottish par. liament, that they once, voted that the king should
be protected and his liberty insisted on. But the general assembly interposed and pronounced, that as he had refused to take the covenant which was pressed on him, it became not the godly to concern themselves about his fortunes; and on this declaration, suggested by the most sordid and criminal avarice, covered with the veil of bigotry and fanati. cism, the parliament did not blush to retract their vote.
When Charles received intelligence of the final resolution of the Scottish nation to surrender him, he was playing at chess; and such command of temper did he possess that he continued his game without any by-standers perceiving that the letter he perused, had brought him any news of consequence. The English commissioners who came some days after to take him under their custody, were admitted to kiss his hands, and received with the same affability as if they had come only to pay their court to him.
The earl of Essex died at this period, when his life would have been most serviceable, since, sensible of the excesses to which affairs had been carried, he had resolved to conciliate a peace. By his death the presbyterians, or rather the moderale party among the commons, were considerably weakened, and the small remains of authority which the peers had still preserved, were in a manner wholly extin
The commissioners convey the king to Holmbycastle, in Northamptonshire, where he is strictly confined, deprived of his ancient servants, and of all communication with his friends or family. · The presbyterian sect had the majority in the house of commons, but the great majority of the
army were staunch independents. The presbyterians, alarmed at it, no sooner saw, after the res treat of the Scots, submission and obedience every where re-established, than they began to talk of dismissing a considerable part of the army, and send. ing the rest to Ireland. It may easily be conceived that the army was no less disinclined to be employed in that desolated country, laid waste by massacres and civil commotions, than to disband, and renounce that pay which having earned through fatigues and dangers, they now expected to enjoy in peace and tranquillity; nor could most of their officers, who had risen from the dregs of the people, willingly submit to have no other prospect, if deprived of their commission, than that of returning to languish in their native poverty and obscurity. Hearing of parties in the house of commons, and that the majority were their enemies, the troops were, natu. rally inclined eagerly to embrace all means of securing the superiority to their partizans. Instead, therefore, of preparing to disband, they framed and handed about a petition, addressed to Fairfax, the general, craving an indemnity, to be ratified by the king for any illegal action, of which, during the course of the war, the soldiers might have been guilty, together with satisfaction in arrears, freedom from pressing, relief of widows and maimed sola diers, and pay till disbanded.
. The commons, aware of the dangerous consequences which must attend such a combination, if not checked in its first appearance, summoned some officers to answer for this attempt, and voted imme. Jiately, that the petition tended to introduce mu. tiny, to put conditions upon the parliament, and to obstruct the relief of Ireland ; meanwhile they threatened to proceed against the promoters of it as enemies to the state and disturbers of the public peace. This declaration produced fatal effects. The