Charles I: Speech on the Scaffold

(1649)

Charles I (r. 1625–1649) was the second of the Stuart dynasty to reign over England. In 1642 a war broke out between forces loyal to the English Parliament and those “Royalist” or “Cavalier” forces loyal to the king. The division was also a religious one, with extreme Protestant “Puritans” supporting Parliament and backers of the traditional Church of England supporting the king. After many vicissitudes, Charles I was captured, tried, and condemned to death on the charge of levying war against Parliament. January 30, 1649, was set as the day of execution. As was the custom, the...

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Engraving of Charles I by William Faithorne (Yale Center for British Art)

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