King Charles I, John Nalson, Chronicler of King Charles, Sir John Glynn, speaking in parliament on Charles's behalf, and Arthur Capel, Royalist leader

      The single biggest upheaval of the 17th century was the  Revolution (1642-48), which culminated in the execution of the king and the installation of Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector of England. The revolution was caused, in large part, by Charles's unpopular taxes, with which he financed his warmongering, and his disregard of Parliament. But there was a religious component, too. Charles's wife was a Catholic, and he himself was accused of having Catholic sympathies. There was some truth in the charge, though on the scaffold he said, "I die a Christian according to the Profession of the Church of England". Perhaps what really sealed Charles's fate was his belief in the divine right of kings; this was apparently what led to what Parliament perceived as his arrogance. He really believed he had been appointed king by God and was beyond earthly jurisdiction. Hence, when the Roundheads put him to trial, he refused to acknowledge the authority of the court. Legally and morally speaking, he was in the right, and the majority of English people were shocked at his death - "To depose Charles was one thing; to execute him was another" (DNB) - but that didn't save him. The books shown here are, firstly, John Nalson's account King Charles's life (volume I only, covering events up to 1641), and his account of the trial, published in 1682 and 1684 respectively, during the reign of Charles's son, Charles II, a parliamentary speech by Sir John Glynn on behalf of Charles and, finally, the contemplations and letters of Arthur Capel, beheaded by the Roundheads for his support of the king.

Click HERE for editions of works by, or attributed to, Charles.


An Impartial Collection of the Affairs of State, From the Beginning of the Scotch Rebellion In the Year MDCXXXIX To the Murther of King Charles I. Wherein the first Occasions, and the whole Series of the late Troubles in England, Scotland, & Ireland Are faithfully Represented. Taken from Authentick Records, and Methodically Digested, By John Nalson, LL.D. Vol.I. Published by his Majesties Special Command. (London, Printed for S. Mearne, T. Dring, B. Tooke, T. Waswbridge, and C. Mearne, 1682, fol., pp. 817 + [13]). Early binding, in very good condition, with some dampstaining. The word "impartial" has to be taken with a pinch of salt. This is a very thorough and well-researched piece of work, and it is not a whitewash of Charles, but it is premised on a belief in Charles's right to reign and the fundamental wrongness of any challenges to that right.



This allegorical frontispiece to Nalson's An Impartial Collection of the Affairs of State is explained by an accompanying poem. "Britania" - "the World's Glory once" - has been cast down and exposed to scorn by the religious hypocrites who overthrew the king.



A True Copy of the Journal of the High Court of Justice, for the Tryal of K. Charles I. As it was Read in the House of Commons, and Attested under the hand of Phelps, Clerk to theat Infamous Court. Taken by J. Nalson, LL D. Jan. 4. 1683 [i.e., 1684]. With a Large Introduction. (London, Printed by H.C. for Thomas Dring, at the Harrow at the Corner of Chancery-Lane in Fleet-street, 1684, fol. pp. 10+70+2+128+7.) A fascinating book, with an allegorical frontispiece engraving (accompanied by an explanation, in verse), and an engraving showing the seating arrangements of the trial court. Nalson upholds the Royalist point of view, providing a long introduction, followed by a fascinating transcript of the proceedings of the trial, together with speeches made by the king before his death and other particulars. In very good condition, with replaced endpapers, restored leather binding and some restoration to the inside of the book. The British Library does not appear to have a copy of this first edition, listing reprints of 1731.


A Speech made in Parliament by Mr. Glyn. On Wednesday, the 5th of January, 1641. Concerning the Breaches of the the Priviledges thereof, by breaking open the Chambers Truncks, and Studies of the Six worthy Members of Parliament, upon their Accusation of high Treason by his Maiesty([London, 1641, O.S.] 8vo. Pp. 5). Rebound. In very good condition. One of two speeches made by Sir John Glynn as Charles's relations with Parliament worsened and England began to slide into civil war.



Excellent Contemplations, Divine and Moral. Written by the Magnanimous and truly Loyal Arthur Lord Capel, Baron of Hadham, Together with some Account of his Life, and his Letters to several Persons while he was Prisoner...Likewise his Affectionate Letters to his Lady, the day before his Death...and his last Speech at his Suffering...With his Pious Advice to his Son the late Earl of Essex. (London, Printed for Nath. Crouch at the Bell in the Poultry near Cheapside, 1683, 8vo, pp. 203 [misprinted as 223] +9.) A very good copy, in a half-leather binding.

     Arthur Capel, Lord of Hadham (1610?-1649), was one of those who spoke out in Parliament (in November 1640) against the burdens imposed on the people by the king's warmaking activities, but when it came to actively making war against the king Capel cast in his lot with the king who, from 1641 on, "had no adherent more faithful and devoted" (DNB). He was taken prisoner by the Roundheads at the end of the war (1648), escaped briefly and was recaptured, and was beheaded on March 8th, 1649.The book shown here was published during the reign of King Charles II, and contains his Excellent Contemplations (first published in 1655 as Daily Observations and Meditations), together with his letters, which had been published previously in 1654. 

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