Front Page Titles (by Subject) [ Letter from the Agitators of Horse to the Horse in the North. ] - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 1
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[ Letter from the Agitators of Horse to the Horse in the North. ] - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 1 
The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, Secretary to the Council of the Army, 1647-1649, and to General Monck and the Commanders of the Army in Scotland, 1651-1660, ed. C.H. Firth (Camden Society, 1901). 4 vols.
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[Letter from the Agitators of Horse to the Horse in the North.]
Honoured Gentlemen and Fellowe Souldiers wee greete you well.
Wee in this Army whereof you are a part haveing for these few weekes last past had it made our portion to be brought on the publique stage of the Kingdome as acting in the things which wee could wish had been more private, but necessitie hath noe law, fellow Souldiers, wee knowe, that these actions of ours have through the false suggestions of some been liable to misconstructions and misinterpretations which we well knew must be our portion before we began to act, but our comfort is, Wisedome is justified of her children, and we hope wee shall not be condemned by you; and to the end you may have right apprehensions of our candid intentions and actions wee present you with these following lynes, wherein we shall breifly give you the ground of the way and the end of our Proceedings. For the Ground it was this, Wee in this Army lying under many sore and pressing greivances, and being apprehensive of many more we were ere long like to be involv’d into if not prevented; for the prevention of which wee had an humble Petition with Representations annexed framed to be presented to the Generall and by him to the House, we conceiving this to be our undoubted right and priviledge whether considered as Souldiers or Subjects if wee have a right to any thing; but while this was only in intention, such was the haniousnesse of itt apprehended to be, according as it was represented by a Letter from an unknowne Officer of the Army who was not sparing in the Letter in the laying many odious aspersions both on itt and us, and suddenly after the receiving of this letter (unexpectedly and to our amazement) comes forth the Declaration against our Petition, declaring us enemies to the State and persisting and laying many heavy charges upon us as you may see in itt at large (to which wee referre you); this coming out from our professed Enemies, it sadned our spiritts that wee should be declared Enemies for going on in that way which they themselves had directed us to in case of Greivances, and the thoughts of this putt us upon drawing a vindication of our late Petition which wee beleive you have seene. The next thing was to thinke of framing of a Lettera to the Generall and Major Generall and Lieutenant Generall. Our end in that was thus, wee did not knowe but the Parliament might be pleased to heare them speake for us though they would not receive our Petition from us, but were pleased to condemne it to die before it was brought out to live. This Letter being presented to the persons to whome directed, it was conceived by Major Generall Skippon to have many things of great importance and dangerous consequence; soe it was presented to the House, and the messengers called in and examined and much debate about it, and the results were the dismissing of the messengers at present to attend them on the next summons, and this Letter according as wee conceive was the occasion of the Commissioners coming downe to take a view of the distempers reported in the Armie, which accordingly they did, and having conveen’d the Officers gave them order to repaire to their severall charges to receive the greivances of those under their commands, which was done accordingly and the greivances brought in to the Commissioners to be by them presented to the House, and wee have herewith sent you a coppie of them as they are in the abstract, though they would have been longer, but the severall Regiments being streightened in time they could not bring them in soe large as otherwise they would, which wee desire you to read and impartially to judge of our sad condition wee are in, and what just cause we have to doe what wee have done, and withall what little ground there is for all these loud clamours against us as is sounded abroad daily. Wee desire the just God and all just men to judge whether wee have deserved such hard measure from them that wee [who] have not thought any thing too deare to part with for their sake, who have manifested our selves not to be enemies but reall freinds and soe knowne to be in the dayes of their adversitie, and did little thinke that this should have been our portion to be declared Enemies in the dayes of their prosperitie, but our God his will is done, and our worke is with him and our reward is before him. As to our ends [it] is to selfe preservation, which all creatures does, and Man, the cheife of creatures, cannot but doe, that soe when God hath made us instrumentall in saving a kingdome we might [not] be accessorie to our owne destruction, as we should be if wee should suffer our selves to be deprived of our just freedomes, which are ours in a double sence, first, as by the lawes of this Nation it hath been conferred upon us; and 2dly, as by many of our dearest blouds it hath been purchased by us, and whatsoever the false suggestions of men are to the contrarie, yet our ends, soe farre as wee knowe our own hearts, are noe other but in that we might live and enjoy that which the knowne lawes of this Nation allowe us to enjoy, and the Parliament in many of their Declarations have oftentimes assured us wee should have; and wee shall never desire any to adheere to us any further or longer then wee are acting to this end. Thus you have our whole bussinesse before you. Read and consider, and God direct you. Thinke wee are prosecuting just things in a just way, and if from such thoughts of us you have a desire to joyne with us, these Gentlemen which are the bearers hereof will direct you in the way of doing itt, and our hearts will aboundantly reioyce in it, and wee shall not be wanting in the use of all lawfull wayes and meanes to assist you to the utmost of our power in the attainement of this our desired end; and wee question not but the just Lord who loves Justice will assist us all while Justice doth runne as a mighty streame amongst us. In the meane time wee hope to stand right in your apprehensions soe long as you shall discerne the the clearenesse of our intentions. Soe we leave you to God who wee hope will never leave you but will be to you a God of direction, and to you and us a God of Protection in all our warrantable undertakeings.
Yours and the Kingdomes humble Servants Adjutating for the severall Regiments whose names are hereto subscribed.a
[a ]April 28, 1647.
[a ]This letter is not dated and no signatures are appended. It was, however, evidently written immediately after the abstract of the grievances had been drawn up, i.e. about May 20. Several agitators are mentioned as being sent with it to the northern troops. The names of three agitators belonging to the southern army are appended to a subsequent declaration, viz. Richard Kingdom of Cromwell’s regiment, Thomas Diggel, of Harrison’s, late Sheffield’s regiment, and John Caseby, of Flectwood’s. None of these signed the petition of May 29, but Diggel signed the letter of May 19, therefore their despatch to the north probably took place between 19th and 29th May.