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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Charles I.

  • [King of England; born 1600; succeeded James I., 1625; became involved in contests with Parliament in the first year of his reign, on the granting of supplies; and, having dissolved three Parliaments in succession, determined to reign without one; finally summoned the Long Parliament in 1640, which declared war upon him, in the course of which he was imprisoned, tried, and executed Jan. 30, 1649.]
  • If I granted your demands, I should be no more than the mere phantom of a king.

  • To the Long Parliament, which demanded the power of controlling military, civil, and religious appointments. At an early period he defined the relations between a king and his subjects thus: “The people’s liberties strengthen the king’s prerogative, and the king’s prerogative is to defend the people’s liberties.”
  • When Charles entered the House of Commons to arrest Pym, Hampden, Holies, Hazlerig, and Strode, Jan. 4, 1642, he called upon Speaker Lenthall to tell him whether they were present. The Speaker made the historic answer: “I have neither eyes to see, nor ears to hear, save as the commons of England themselves do direct.”—“Well, well,” replied the king, “I think my eyes are as good as another’s.” Failing, however, to discover the members, he added, “Since I see all my birds have flown, I do expect from you that you will send them unto me as soon as they return hither.”
  • Nothing is so contemptible as a despised prince.

  • Before his execution.
  • Napoleon wrote to his brother Joseph, king of Naples, in April, 1806, in displeasure at his conduct, “An exiled and vagabond king is a silly personage” (C’est un sot personage que celui d’un roi exilé et vagabond).
  • On the scaffold Charles said, “I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, where no disturbance can take place.” His last word, spoken to Bishop Juxon, was, “Remember!” It is supposed to refer to a message to his son Charles, counselling him to forgive the enemies and murderers of his father. Thus Phocion, when asked, before drinking the hemlock, if he had any message for his son, sent this: “I command and entreat you not to think of any revenge upon the Athenians.”