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scarce the confidence to be a petitioner to you, though in order to the saving of my life. Sir, God knows what I did, did not proceed from any personal ill-will, or animosity to Your Royal
. Highness ; but merely because I was of opinion,
that it was the best way for preserving the religion established by law : in which, if I was mistaken, yet I acted sincerely, without any ill end in it. And as for any base design against your person, I hope Your Royal Highness will be so just to me, as not to think me capable of‘ so vile a thought. But I am now resolved, and do faithfully engage myself, that if it shall please the King to pardon me, and if Your Royal Highness will interpose in it, I will in no sort meddle any more, in the least opposition to Your Royal Highness; but will be readily determined to live in any part of the world, which His Majesty shall prescribe, and will never fail in my daily prayers, both for His Majesty’s preservation and honour, and Your Royal Highness’s happiness ; and will wholly withdraw myself from the affairs of Eng. land, unless called by His Majesty’s orders to serve him, which I shall never be wanting to do to the utterrnost of my power. And if Your
As he folded up this letter, which was written at the earnest solicitation of his wife, he said to Dr. Burnet, “ This will be printed, and will be selling about the streets, as my submission, when I am hanged.”
He was, however, by no means disposed to yield in a single article of his opinions, with the wish of saving his life. Dr. Tillotson and Dr. Burnet were in hopes, that if he could be brought to allow that resistance was unlawful, the King would grant him a pardon. With this view, they both used all their influence to persuade him to retract his well-known sentiments on the right and duty of a subject.
On the Monday, which was the first day on which Burnet saw Lord Russell after his trial, he spoke to him on this subject, and though, he found him perfectly prepared and steady in his opinion, yet that opinion was so moderate, as to give Dr. Burnet hopes of prevailing with him to allow the absolute illegality of resistance. As he came away, he’ met Dr. Tillotson, and told him that he believed he had brought Lord Russell to
‘a willingness to declare himself convinced on that point. He desired Dr. Tillotson‘ to go to Lord Halifax, and acquaint him with it, in order ‘that his lordship might relate it to the King in
such a manner, as to be the means of saving Lord Russell’s life. ' Lord Halifax did so, and
told the Dean that the King seemed to be more’
moved with it, than by any thing that he had said before. On the Thursday, Dr. Tillotson communicated his satisfaction and his hopes to Lord Russell; but he replied that he was not so clearly convinced as Dr. Tillotson supposed. Dr. Tillotson said he was very sorry for it, because the message had been carried to the King, that he was convinced, and would declare it at his death. Lord Russell answered he was willing to be convinced, but yet could not say he absolutely was. The next morning he showed Dr. Tillotson a passage that he intended to form part his speech, to be delivered to the sheriffs on the scaffold, in these terms :
“ For my part, I cannot deny,‘ but I have been of opinion, that a free nation like this might defend their religion and liberties, when invaded, and taken from them, though under pretence and colour of law. But some eminent and worthy divines, who have had the charity to he often with me, and whom I value and esteem to a very great degree, have offered me weighty reasons to
persuade me, that faith and patience are the proper ways for the preservation of religion ; and the method of the Gospel is to suffer persecution rather than to use resistance. But if I have sinned in this, 1 hope God will not lay it to my charge, since he knows it was only a sin of ig
Dr. Tillotson was much dissatisfied with this passage, and particularly with the coldness of the concluding paragraph. He felt that he had been the instrument of conveying a wrong impression to the King; so, not having opportunity at that time to urge the matter, he went home, and wrote a paper concerning it,‘ which he brought to Lord Russell. This'was on the Friday afternoon, the day before the execution. The paper was in the form of a letter, in the following words :-
“ My Lord,
“ I was heartily glad to see your lordship this morning in that calm and devout temper at receiving the Sacrament. But peace of mind, unless it be well grounded, will avail little. Andbecause transient discourse many times have little efl'ect for want of time to weigh and consider it, therefore, in tender compassion of your lordship’s case, and from all the good-will that one man can bear to another, I do humbly offer
to your lordship’s deliberate thoughts, these following considerations concerning the point of resistance, if our religion and rights should be invaded, as your lordship puts the case, concerning which I understood, by Dr. Burnet, that your lordship had once received satisfaction, and am sorry to find a change.
“ First, that the Christian religion doth plainly forbid the resistance of authority.
“ Secondly, that though our religion be established by law, (which your lordship argues as a difl'erence between our case and that of the primitive Christians,) yet in the same law, which establishes our religion, it is declared, that it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatsoever, to take up arms, doc. Besides that, there is a particular law declaring the power of the militia to be solely in the King. And this ties the hands of subjects, though the law of nature, and the general rules of Scripture, have left us at liberty, which I believe they do not, because the government, and peace of human society, could not well subsist upon these terms.
“ Thirdly, your lordship’s opinion is contrary to the declared doctrine of all Protestant churches. And though some particular persons have thought otherwise, yet they have been contradicted herein, and condemned for it, by the