The passages below are the last words of some of the unfortunate people who were beheaded after being a guest of the Tower of London. (Not necessarily killed in the Tower of London)
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.
To Elizabeth Melville who said Oh Madam, it will be the sorrow fullest message that I ever carried when I shall report that my Queen and dear Mistress is dead
The queen dashed away her tears and said gently; You ought to rejoice and not weep for that the end of Mary Stuarts troubles is now done, Thou knowest, Melville that all this world is but vanity and fill of troubles and sorrows. Carry this message from me and tell my friends that I died a true woman to my religion and like a true Scottish woman and true French woman
When Kent said that dipping napkins in her blood would not be convenient she replied My Load, I shall give my word and promise for them that they shall not do any such thing as your lordship hath named. Alas poor soul, it would do them good to bid me farewell. You know I am cousin to your Queen and descended from the blood of Henry VII, a married queen of France and the anointed Queen of Scotland
She was then led into the Great Hall
To Dr Fletcher who intended to harangue the queen according to the rites of the Protestant religion. Mr. Dean, I am settled in the ancient Catholic Roman religion and mind to spend my blood in defence of it. If you will pray with me my Lords, I will thank you but to join in prayer I will not, for that you and I are not one religion.
Mary then began to pray ignoring the Dean and others.
but the queen prayed on, asking god to avert his wrath from England, and calling on the Saints to intercede for her; and so she kissed the crucifix she held and crossing herself, ended Even as thy arms, O Jesus, were spread here upon the cross, so receive me into Thy arms of mercy, and forgive me all my sins.
SIR THOMAS MORE
Although sir Thomas More was asked not to make a speech in case he embarrassed the King, he managed to keep his sense of humour to the end. The scaffold steps were rickety so he held out his hand to the Lieutenant saying I pray you, master Lieutenant, see me safe up. When I come down again, let me shift for myself as well as I can.
To the executioner: Pluck up your spirits man, and not afraid to do your office. My neck is very short, take heed therefore you strike not awry
And finally after placing his neck upon the block, paused, setting his beard aside, saying, It does not deserve to suffer, since it has never committed any treason.
QUEEN ANNE BOLEYN
Before being led out to the scaffold, she turned to Kingston and said commend me to his Majesty, and tell him he has been ever constant in
.advancing me. From a private gentlewoman he made me a marchioness, from a marchioness a queen and now that he has left no higher degree of honour, he gives my innocence the crown of martyrdom.
On the scaffold she asked everyone to pray for the King, and begged forgiveness of all whom she had wronged.
KING CHARLES I
He took out of his pocket and unfolded a piece of paper about four inches square on which he had made a few notes then addressed himself to the group round him on the scaffold, and more especially to Colonel Tomlinson:
I shall be very little heard of anybody here, he said, I shall therefore speak a word unto you here. Indeed I could hold my peace very well but I think it is my duty, to god first, and to my country, to clear myself both as an honest man, a good King and a good Christian. He began briefly by attesting his innocence: I think it is not very needful for me to insist long upon this, for all the world knows that I never begin a war first with the two Houses of Parliament
He gave his own brief account of how the troubles had began, with Parliament, as he saw it, the aggressor, but added: god forbid I should lay it on the two Houses of Parliament
. I do believer that ill instruments between them and me have been the chief cause of all this bloodshed.
He denied the justice of the sentence against him, adding that as a Christian he saw his fate as gods judgement on him: an unjust sentence that I suffered to take effect, is punished now by an unjust sentence on me.
Passing on his duties as Christian he declared that he had forgiven all the world, and even those in particular that have been chief causers of my death: who are they, god knows, I do not desire to know, I pray god forgive them. I wish that they may repent, for indeed they have committed a great sin in that particular; I pray god with St Stephen, that this be not laid to their charge. Nay, not only so, but that they may take the right way to the peace of the Kingdom: for my charity commands me to endeavour to the last gasp the peace of the Kingdom. So, sirs, I do wish with all my soul (and I do hope there is some here will carry it further) that they may endeavour the peace of the Kingdom.
He looked towards the clerks who are busy taking notes then went on with great composure to instruct his enemies in politics. They would achieve nothing but unjust conquest; they must learn the people. They should call a national council to settle the affairs of the Church. As for the King
He broke off short, for one of the officers on the scaffold, happened by accident to touch the axe. Hurt not the axe that may hurt me.
He resumed. Their duty to the king was clearly laid down in the known laws of the land. Then he came to the people: Truly I desire their liberty and freedom as much as anybody whomsoever; but I must tell you their liberty and freedom consists in having of government, those laws by which their life and their goods may be most their own. It is not for having a share in government, Sir, that is nothing pertaining to them. A subject and a sovereign are clear different things
.Sirs, it was for this arbitrary way, for to have all laws changed according to the power of the sword, I needed not to have come here; and therefore I tell you (and I pray God it be not laid to your charge) that I am the Martyr of the people. He solemnly attested that I die a Christian according to the profession of the Church of England, as I found it left me by my father
. I have a good Cause and I have a gracious God; I will say no more.