Cromwell was a very able man, and he saw that nobody could settle the difficulties about the law and the rights of the people but himself. He saw that things never would be settled while the king lived, nor by the Parliament, so he sent one of his officers, named Pryde, to turnout all the members of Parliament who would not do his will, and then the fifty who were left appointed a court of officers and lawyers to try the king. Charles was brought before them; but, as they had no right to try him, he would not say a word in answer to them. Nevertheless, they sentenced him to have his head cut off. He had borne all his troubles in the most meek and patient way, forgiving all his enemies and praying for them: and he was ready to die in the same temper. His queen was in France, and all his children were safe out of England, except his daughter Elizabeth, who was twelve years old, and little Henry, who was five. They were brought to Whitehall Palace for him to see the night before he was to die. He took the little boy on his knee, and talked a long time to Elizabeth, telling her what books to read and giving her his message to her mother and brothers; and then he told little Henry to mark what he said, and to mind that he must never be set up as a king while his elder brothers, Charles and James were alive. The little boy said through his tears, “I will be torn to pieces first.” His father kissed and blessed the two children, and left them.
The next day was the 30th of January, 1649. The king was allowed to have Bishop Juxon to read and pray with him, and to give him the holy communion. After that, forgiving his enemies and praying for them, he was led to the Banqueting House at Whitehall, and out through a window, on to the scaffold hung with black cloth. He said his last prayers, and the executioner cut off his head with one blow, and held it up to the people. He was buried at night,—a light snow falling at the time,—in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor, by four faithful noblemen, but they were not allowed to use any service over his grave.
The Scots were so much shocked to find what their selling of their king had come to, that they invited his eldest son, Charles, a young man of nineteen, to come and reign over them, and offered to set him on the English throne again. Young Charles came; but they were so strict that they made his life very dull and weary, since they saw sin in every amusement. However, they kept their promise of marching into England, and some of the English cavaliers joined them; but Oliver Cromwell and his army met them at Worcester, and they were entirely beaten. Young King Charles had to go away with a few gentlemen, and he was so closely followed that they had to put him in charge of some woodmen named Penderel, who lived in Boscobel Forest. They dressed him in a rough leather suit like their own, and when the Roundhead soldiers came to search, he was hidden among the branches of