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SECTION that there was no example, by which the trial and - execution of the King could be sanctioned.
of Charles the Pirst,
The execution. Mr. Fox enters into a laboured discussion respecting the
execution of the King, and he is the most unfortunate of all historians, if after having occupied four pages in endeavouring to prove, that it was neither just nor necessary, and the example of it not likely to be salutary but pernicious, he could be liable to the charge of having justified it. Many of his private friends must know, that he frequently spoke of this event in terms of the highest disapprobation, and that he made no secret of his thinking even less favourably of the execution of the ill-fated monarch, Lewis the Sixteenth. But, because, in discussing the
justice of the execution of Charles, he says, “ Mr. Hume not Fox, p. 13.
“ perhaps intentionally, makes the best justification of it “ by saying, that while Charles lived, the projected republic “ could never be secure ;" and then endeavours to shew, that even this justification, the best which can be made, is not sufficient, Mr. Rose seizes the proposition which Mr. Fox disapproved of, and had stated only to answer, seriously objects to it as an original observation of Mr. Fox himself, and then concludes with denying that Mr.
Hume attempts to set up such a justification. Here Mr. Hlume, vii. p. Rose is certainly mistaken, for Mr. Hume does set it up,
by describing the measure, as one which was thought requisite for the advancement of the common ends of safety, and ambition of those, who promoted it.
Mr. Rose ought not to have withheld the words, which SECTION immediately follow the passage he has cited from Mr. – Fox, they are, “ But to justify taking away the life of an Fox, p. 13. “ individual upon the principle of self-defence, the dan“ ger must be not problematical and remote, but evident “ and immediate. The danger, in this instance, was not “ of such a nature,” &c. Here Mr. Fox is arguing in favour of the opinion of Mr. Rose, that the execution of Charles the First is not to be justified, and Mr. Rose may rest in peace, in full assurance that even the defence made for it by Mr. Hume is not to be supported.
The petty observations already noticed are only introductory to the grand charge against Mr. Fox, of entertaining sentiments, which “ must in the minds of many Rose, p. 10. “excite considerable astonishment.” The passages alluded to are these, “ among the modes of destroying per- Fox, p 14. « sons in such a situation," (i. e. as monarchs deposed), “ there can be little doubt but that adopted by Cromwell “ and his adherents is the least dishonourable ; Edward “ the Second, Richard the Second, Henry the Sixth, Ed“ ward the Fifth, had none of them long survived their de“ posal ; but this was the first instance, in our history at “ least, where of such an act it could be truly said that “ it was not done in a corner.” And afterwards, “ After p. 16. “all, however, notwithstanding what the more reason“able part of mankind may think upon this question, “ it is much to be doubted, whether this singular pro
« ceeding has not, as much as any other circumstance,
Before we enter into an examination of the sentiments contained in this paragraph, which have excited to so great a degree the astonishment of Mr. Rose, it will be proper to notice a mistake, made by him in the few words, which introduce them to our notice. He says, “ according to Mr. Fox, our horror at the atrocity of the " King having been put to death, is to be abated by the “ publicity of the act." Here Mr. Rose, through inadvertency, has so expressed himself, as to lead his readers
to the inference, that Mr. Fox has said the horror ought SECTION
The principal objection of Mr. Rose to the sentiments above alluded to, is, that the publicity and solemnity of the act could be no abatement of its atrocity, for it could neither be an alleviation of the misery of the King, nor inspire foreigners with respect, to make a public degrading exhibition of him, to expose him to insult, and to humiliate him, by charging him before the instruments of Cromwell, who were appointed to try him. Here Mr. Rose has misstated, not wilfully, we admit, the sentiments of Mr. Fox; for, it is not said, that the publicity of the act abates its atrocity, but that few would be capable of displaying the splendour and magnanimity, which Cromwell and his associates did in the publicity and solemnity of the act. And these sentiments, which Mr. Rose can hardly imagine could have entered into the human mind, to conceive, are found, with increase of astonishment let him learn it, in the mild philosophical temperament, Rose, Intr.p.zii.
Hume, vii. p.
SECTION (as he describes it) of Mr. Hume, who warmed with
- almost enthusiastic rapture, speaks of the trial of Charles
in the following glowing terms. “The pomp, the dig“ nity, the ceremony of this transaction corresponded to “ the greatest conception, that is suggested in the annals “ of human kind; the delegates of a great people sit“ ting in judgment upon their supreme magistrate, and “ trying him for his misgovernment and breach of trust.”
Here Mr. Hume, as well as Mr. Fox in the passage objected to, makes no allusion to the feelings of the individual concerned, but only to the solemnity of the mode of proceeding against him. Mr. Rose, however, with the dexterity of a man used to combat for victory, and not conviction, changes the ground, and without denying the fact he objects to, directs the attention of the reader to another subject—to the situation of the king, degraded, insulted, and humiliated, insisting that this mode of proceeding could neither alleviate his misery, nor inspire foreigners with respect. But it is not clear that the publicity of the transaction was not an alleviation of misery to the King, for Mr. Hume relates,· that even after the ordinance for his trial was passed, he still was in dread every moment of a private assassination, and Harrison, in whose custody he was placed, endeavoured in vain to remove the impression; and, though Mr. Rose could hardly imagine it could enter into the heart of man to conceive, that the proceedings against the King could
Ib, p. 140.