The Regicides In New England

From New England Magazine

The Regicides In New England.

By Frederick Hull Cogswell

      About a mile and a half back from New Haven harbor, and plainly visible for many miles away, rise two steep bluffs, each about four hundred feet above the sea level. On the plain below is spread the beautiful City of Elms. Not a quarter of its structures are visible from these elevations, so thick is the foliage of the stately elms that arch the streets and almost bury the residences in their shadows. Indeed, were it not for an occasional church spire pointing its white finger upward through the trees, it would be difficult to discern where the city's boundaries really are.
      The easternmost of the two bluffs has been converted into a park, which is ascended from different points by a series of drives through the delightful woods that cover all its sides except the one fronting the city and harbor. The park's twin sister, West Rock, still preserves for the most part its primitive wildness. Excepting here and there an encroachment of the woodman's axe and the drill and blast of the quarryman, little change has taken place since two of the regicide judges of Charles the First dwelt in the seclusion of its forest. The Park Commission, however, not insensible to its availability for public purposes, has recently acquired it, and its single drive will soon be but one of many.
      Late one August afternoon several boys of larger growth found themselves on the top of West Rock for a night of camping. There were Fabian, a young lawyer; Bangs, a full-fledged doctor; Ford, a student in the doctor's office; Graham, a clergyman; Fennell, a newspaper man; and the writer, whose occupation is of no account. Fabian, who was the oldest of the party, had reached the advanced age of thirty-two, but was still able, in spite of his decrepitude, to enjoy himself.
      "I never so pitied the regicides as to-night," said the doctor, as he gave the fire a poke and settled back snugly in his blanket.
      "Well, that's good! Why are your sympathies moved so particularly to-night for Messrs. Whalley and Goffe?" asked Fabian.
      "Because they couldn't come out on the brow of the rock and build a fire like this, as fearlessly as we are doing," said the doctor.
      "Ah, poor fellows!" groaned Fabian.
      "Why won't somebody tell us the story of the unfortunate judges right here by our camp fire, within a few rods of their hiding place?" exclaimed Fennell.
      "Good!" said Ford. "Who shall tell it?"
      "Why, the doctor, of course," said Graham, who knew that the doctor knew all about it. And we all echoed, "The doctor, of course!" and the doctor easily yielded.
      "When Charles the First was finally impeached as an enemy of the people, a commission of one hundred and thirty-five lords, generals, colonels, aldermen, knights, baronets, private citizens, and country gentlemen was appointed to try him; but only about eighty actually sat.
      Among these who condemned the king to death were Oliver Cromwell; Henry Ireton, his son-in-law; Edward Whalley, his cousin; Gen. William Goffe, Whalley's son-in-law; Col. John Dixwell, a gentleman of wealth and a member of the parliamentary army; and Gen. Thomas Harrison, an ancestor of Benjamin Harrison, it has been said, but this is doubtful. When Charles the Second was restored, the question soon arose as to what should be done to those who had sat in judgment on the late king, the 'regicides,' as they were called. Charles was not vindictive, but was a willing tool in the hands of those around him who clamored for revenge. Twenty-four of the regicides were now dead, sixteen had left the country, and nineteen remained at home. When Charles came to the throne he promised

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