"Peace At Any Price"
Context: Hyde was one of the most distinguished of British statesmen during the mid-seventeenth century. In 1643 he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and in 1645 guardian of the Prince of Wales, the future Charles II. Following the Restoration in 1660 he was made Lord Chancellor, but his austerity brought him into disfavor in the court of the "merry monarch," and he was dismissed and exiled to France in 1674. His History of the Rebellion covers the years of strife between Charles I and Parliament, ending with the Restoration. It was intended as a defense of the constitutional royalists who had advised the first Charles, and it frequently deals with what were then highly controversial matters. Lord Falkland was one of Charles's moderate advisers; he defended Anglicanism as the cause of reason against both Rome and Geneva and believed that true liberty consisted in freedom of the mind. Hyde's portrait of Falkland was probably written as early as 1648:
When there was any overture or hope of peace he would be more erect and vigorous, and exceedingly solicitous to press anything which he thought might promote it; and sitting amongst his friends, often after a deep silence and frequent sighs, would, with a shrill and sad accent, ingeminate the word Peace, Peace, and would passionately profess that the very agony of the war, and the view of the calamites and desolation the kingdom did and must endure, took his sleep from him, and would shortly break his heart. This made some think, or pretend to think, that he was so much enamoured on peace that he would have been glad the King should have bought it at any price; which was a most unreasonable calumny; as if a man that was himself the most punctual and precise in every circumstance that might reflect upon conscience or honour could have wished the King to have committed a tresspass against either. . . .