Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/173

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


ment to depose him. Put the case, every county and borough should have given this Parliament for a benevolence a sum of money; and that every county, meeting in their county-court or elsewhere, and every borough in their town-hall, should have chosen *certain* men to carry their several sums respectively to the Parliament. Had not these men represented the whole nation?

B. Yes, no doubt.

A. Do you think the Parliament would have thought it reasonable to be called to account by this representative?

B. No, sure; and yet I must confess the case is the same.

A. This ordinance contained, first, a summary of the charge against the King, in substance this: that not content with the encroachments of his predecessors upon the freedom of the people, he had designed to set up a tyrannical government; and to that end, had raised and maintained in the land a civil war against the Parliament, whereby the country hath been miserably wasted, the public treasure exhausted, thousands of people murdered, and infinite other mischiefs committed. Secondly, a constitution passed of a high court of justice, that is, of a certain number of commissioners, of whom any twenty had power to try the King, and to proceed to sentence according to the merit of the cause, and see it speedily executed.

The commissioners met on Saturday, January 20th, in Westminister Hall, and the King was brought before them; where, sitting in a chair, he heard the charge read, but denied to plead to it either guilty or not guilty, till he should know by what lawful authority he was brought thither. The president told him that the Parliament affirmed their own authority; and the King persevered in his refusal to plead. Though many words passed between him and the president, yet this was the substance of it all.

On Monday, January 22nd, the court met again; and then the solicitor moved that if the King persisted in denying the authority of the court, the charge might be taken pro confesso: but the King still denied their authority.