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Eikon Basilike: Ch. 18

Upon Uxbridge-Treaty, and other offers made by the KING.

I LOOK upon the way of Treaties, as a retiring from fighting like Beasts, to arguing like Men; whose strength should be more in their understandings, than in their limbs.

And though I could seldome get opportunities to Treat, yet I never wanted either desire or disposition to it; having greater confidence of My Reason, than My Sword: I was so wholly resolved to yeild to the first, that I thought neither My selfe, nor others, should need to use the second, if once we rightly understood each other.

Nor did I ever think it a diminution of Me, to prevent them with Expresses of My desires, and even importunities to Treat: it being an office, not onely of humanity, rather to use Reason, than Force; but also of Christianity to seek peace and ensue it.

As I am very unwillingly compelled to defend My self with Armes, so I very willingly embraced any thing tending to Peace.

The events of all Warre by the Sword being very dubious, and of a Civil Warre uncomfortable; the end hardly recompencing, and late repairing the mischief of the means.

Nor did any successe I had ever enhaunce with Me the price of Peace, as earnestly desired by Me as any man; though I was like to pay dearer for it than any man: all that I sought to reserve was, Mine Honour, and My Conscience; the one I could not part with as a KING, the other as a Christian.

The Treaty at Uxbridge gave the fairest hopes of an happy composure; had others applied themselves to it with the same moderation, as I did, I am confident the War had then ended.

I was willing to condescend, as farre as Reason, Honour, and Conscience, would give Me leave; nor were the remaining differences so essentiall to My Peoples happinesse; or of such consequence; as in the least kind to have hindred My Subjects either security, or prosperity; for they better enjoyed both, many years, before ever those demands were made, some of which, to deny, I think the greatest Justice to My self, and favour to My Subjects.

I see, Jealousies are not so easily allayed, as they are raised: some men are more afraid to retreat from violent Engagements, than to Engage: what is wanting in equity, must be made up in pertinacy. Such as had little to enjoy in peace, or to lose in warre, studied to render the very name of Peace odious and suspected.

In Church affaires, where I had least liberty of prudence, having so many strict ties of Conscience upon Me; yet I was willing to condescend so farre to the setling of them, as might have given fair satisfaction to all men, whom faction, covetousnesse, or superstition had not engaged more, than any true zeale, charity, or love of Reformation.

I was content to yeild to all that might seem to advance true piety; I onely sought to continue what was necessary in point of Order, Maintenance, and Authority to the Churches Government; and what I am perswaded (as I have elswhere set downe My thoughts more fully) is most agreeable to the true Principles of all Government, raised to its full stature and perfection, as also to the primitive Apostolicall patterne, and the practise of the Universall Church conforme thereto.

From which wholly to recede, without any probable reason urged or answered, onely to satisfie some mens wills and fantasies (which yet agree not among themselves in any point, but that of extirpating EpiscopacyThe government of a church by bishops, or the office of a bishop., and fighting against Me) must needs argue such a softnesse, and infirmity of mind in Me, as will rather part with Gods Truth, than Mans Peace, and rather lose the Churches honour, than crosse some mens Factious humours.

God knowes, and time will discover, who were most too blame for the unsuccesfulnesse of that Treaty, and who must bear the guilt of after-calamities. I believe, I am very excusable both before God, and all unpassionate men, who have seriously weighed those transactions, wherein I endeavoured no lesse the restauration of Peace to My people, than the preservation of my own Crowns to my Posterity.

Some men have that height, as to interpret all faire Condescendings, as Arguments of feeblenesse, and glory most in an unflexible stifnesse, when they see others most supple and inclinable to them.

A grand Maxime with them was alwaies to aske something, which in reason and honour must be denied, that they might have some colour to refuse all that was in other things granted; setting Peace at as high a rate, as the worst effects of Warre; endeavouring first to make Me destroy My selfe by dishonourable Concessions, that so they might have the lesse to doe.

This was all which that Treaty, or any other produced, to let the world see, how little I would deny, or they grant, in order to the Publique peace.

That it gave occasion to some mens further restivenesse, is imputable to their owne depraved tempers, not to any Concessions or Negations of Mine: I have alwaies the content of what I offered, and they the regret, and blame, for what they refused.

The highest tide of successe set me not above a Treaty, nor the lowest ebbe below a Fight: though I never thought it any signe of true valourShowing great courage in the face of danger., to be prodigall of mens lives, rather then to be drawne to produce our owne reasons, or subscribe to other mens.

That which made Me for the most part presage the unsuccesfulnesse of any Treaty, was, some mens un-willingnesse to Treat: which implied some things were to be gained by the Sword, whose unreasonablenesse they were loath to have fairly scanned, being more proper to be acted by Souldiers, than by Counsellours.

I pray God forgive them that were guilty of that Treaties breaking; and give them grace to make their advantages gotten by the Sword a better opportunity to use such moderation, as was then wanting; that so though Peace were for our sins justly deferred, yet at last it may be happily obtain'd; what we could not get by our Treaties, we may gaine by our Prayers.

O Thou, that art the God of Reason, and of Peace, who disdainest not to Treat with Sinners, preventing them with offers of attonement, and beseeching them to be reconciled with thy selfe: who wantest not power, or justice, to destroy them; yet aboundest in mercy to save: soften our hearts by the bloud of our Redeemer, and perswade us to accept of Peace with thy self, and both to procure and preserve peace among our selves, as Men and Christians, how oft have I intreated for Peace, but when I speak thereof, they make them ready to Warre.

Condemne us not to our passions, which are destructive, both of our selves, and of others.

Cleare up our understandings, to see thy Truth, both in Reason, as Men; and in Religion, as Christians: and encline all our hearts to hold the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of Peace.

Take from us that enmity which is now in our hearts against thee; and give us that charity which should be among our selves.

Remove the evils of Warre we have deserved, and bestow upon us that Peace, which only Christ our great Peace-maker can merit.