Front Page Titles (by Subject) Letter to the Agitators. b - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 1
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Letter to the Agitators. b - 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 to the Agitators.b
The great bussinesse of the House yesterday was a long debate upon the honest partic of the Citties Petition,c and likewise upon the great Petition that is gone out into the Kingdome, and in conclusion order’d them both to be burnt by the Hangman at the Exchange and Pallace Yard—a new way to answer Petitions and doubtlesse (might some have their wills) the Petitioners too should be burnt in Smithfeild. They committed one of the Citty Petitioners to Newgate, for telling a Parliament Instrument “if wee cannot be allowed to Petition wee must take some other course.”c The expression indeed was too high but he knew him not to be a Member, yet it was not soe high as both parties was that day in the House, for one of the parties said That they [that] had delivered and sent the letter to the Generall, Major Generall, and Lieutenant Generall were a companie of rascalls; and another said, That hee shall very willingly die with his sword in his hand though there be an Army of 30,000, in the Feild. Massie is sent downe to Gloucester (they say), from thence to secure Monmouth for feare of some insurrection in those parts. Sir Robert Pye is gone to his Regiment. The designe of the King’s letter to settle Presbitry for three yeares, and the Militia for tenn, may be easily gues’t at:a His Majestie hath a mind to please the Citty, and they him; they forgett that they are little lesse then 80 thousand pound arreare to this Army. His excellencie came hither this Evening. The Major Generall and some other Officers came to vissitt him (though they went not forth to meet him). Major Gooday saluted him with a pittiful complaint in a Letter from Lieutennant Collonell Jackson. That his Regiment would have meetings, and some of them come to the Head Quarters without orders, notwithstanding they had acquainted his Souldiers, with a desire which the Major Generall, Lieutennant Generall, &c. made Thursday before the Lieutennant Generall went to London, That the Officers would use their endeavours to prevent any meetings of the Souldiers. The Major Generall sett it home with Arguments of the inconveniences that might come by it, Mutinies, disorders, &c. It was moved that the Generall would send some command in writing, that the Major Generall and the rest had forborne it before, expecting his Excellencie’s coming downe. There is noe order as yet given; if you have not that libertie (carrying things discreetly and moderately) I knowe not what can be done to purpose. Our Enemies may worke and destroy us before wee are aware.
Walden, 20th May 1647.
[b ]It is difficult to determine the authorship of this letter. It seems to have been written by some one officially employed at headquarters. The signature does not occur again.
[c ]An account of the whole business of these petitioners is given in a pamphlet entitled Gold Tried in the Fire, 1647. British Museum, E. 392, (19). The petitioner committed to Newgate was one William Browne. Commons’ Journals, v. 179; Rushworth, vi., 488.
[a ]A news-letter of May 18 says: “Things growe very high; the Lord moderate them or else we are like to have a very sad kingdome. It is thought that the House intends to send down propositions to the King; it is thought such propositions will be sent as the King will signe, and then they thinke the King’s party and theirs will be hard enough for us. . . . . The great designe of the Parliament is to get the Magazine of Oxford into their hands upon pretence of the service of Ireland.”