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1649 Charles I King Of Great Britain (1625-49), Beheaded For Treason


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The Execution of Charles I, 1649


King Charles I was his own worst enemy. Self-righteous, arrogant, and unscrupulous; he had a penchant for making bad decisions. His troubles began the moment he ascended the throne in 1625 upon the death of his father James I. Charles simultaneously alienated both his subjects and his Parliament, prompting a series of events that ultimately lead to civil war, his own death and the abolition of the English monarchy.




" I go to where no disturbance can be"


January 30, 1649 was a bitterly cold day. Charles went to his execution wearing two heavy shirts so that he might not shiver in the cold and appear to be afraid. The following account of the event comes from an anonymous observer and begins as the doomed King addresses the crowd from the scaffold:


"[As for the people,] truly I desire their liberty and freedom as much as anybody whomsoever; but I must tell you that their liberty and freedom consist in having of government, those laws by which their life and their goods may be most their own. It is not for having share in government, sirs; that is nothing pertaining to them; a subject and a sovereign are clear different things. And therefore until they do that, I mean that you do put the people in that liberty, as I say, certainly they will never enjoy themselves. Sirs, it was for this that now I am come here. If I would have given way to an arbitrary way, for to have all laws changed according to the power of the sword, I needed not to have come here; and therefore I tell you (and I pray God it be not laid to your charge) that I am the martyr of the people. . .


And to the executioner he said, 'I shall say but very short prayers, and when I thrust out my hands - '









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