Front Page Titles (by Subject) [ Letter to the Agitators. ] a - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 1
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[ Letter to the Agitators. ] a - 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.]a
My best respects. I rid hard and came to London by 4 this afternoone. The House hath ordered and voted the Army to be disbanded, Regiment by Regiment. The General’s Regiment of Foote on Tuesday next to lay downe their Armes in Chelmsford Church, and they doe intend to send you down once more Commissioners to doe it of Lords and Commons; they will not pay more then two months pay, and after we be disbanded to state our Accompts and to be paid by the Excise in course. This is their good Vote, and their good vissible securitie. Pray, Gentlemen, ride night and day; wee will act here night and day for you. You must by all meanes frame a Petition in the name of all the Souldiers, to be presented to the Generall by you the Agitators, to have him in honour, justice, and honestie, to stand by you, and to tell Skippon to depart the Army and all other Officers that are not right. Bee sure now be active, and send some 30 or 40 Horse to fetch away Jackson, Gooday, and all that are naught, and be sure to possesse his Souldiers, hee will sell them and abuse them; for soe hee hath done, hee engaged to sell them for 8 weeks pay. Gent. I have it from (59) and (89) that you must doe this, and that you shall expell [them] out of the Army; and if you doe disappoint them in the disbanding of this Regiment namely (68) you will breake the neck of all their designes. This is the Judgment of (59) and (89), therefore Gent. followe it close. The (52) are about (42) which Coppies I send you, and let mee tell you (41) and (52) in (54) are all very gallant; I pray God keep us soe too. Now, my Ladds, if wee worke like men wee shall doe well, and that in the hands of (52); and lett all the (44) be very instant that the (55) may be called to a (43) and that with speed; delay it not, by all meanes and be sure to stirre upp the Counties to Petition, and for their rights to make their appeale to (55) to assist them. You shall heare all I can by the next. Soe till then I rest.
Yours till death,
From 51, 11o at night.
As soone as the Generall came to Walden hee sent to the severall Regiments to acquaint them, that on Friday last the House had taken their greivances under consideration, and requir’d them to desist from their meeting; and because hee would be neere the Horse Quarters to prevent inconveniences he removed to St. Edmonds Bury in Suffolke, on Tuesday last. All Fryday hee was very ill, hee left his course of phissick too soone, but your commands were above phisick. This day the Regiments understand of the proceedings on Tuesday last, that as to vindication &c. nothing is to be done till after disbanding, and that only 8 weeks is ordered them at disbanding. Truly Sir, I am loath to expresse what their sense is of this. Tis in vaine to say any thing on their behalfe; I only dread the consequences, and desire that on all sides there may be more moderation and temper. I doubt the disobleiging of soe faithfull an Army will be repented of; provocation and exasperation makes men thinke of that they never intended. They are posses’t, as farr as I can discerne with this opinion, That if they be thus scornfully dealt withall for their faithfull services whilst the Sword is in their hands, what shall their usage be when they are dissolved? I assure you that passionate and violent councell which is given thus to provoke the Army will in time be apprehended to be destructive, or my observation failes mee. It shall be my endeavour to keepe things as right as I can; but how long I shall be able I knowe not. Unlesse you proceede upon better Principles, and more moderate termes then what I observed when I was in London in the bitternesse of spirit in some Parliament men, Cittizens, and Clergie, and by what I perceive in the Resolution of the Souldiers to defend themselves in just things as they pretend—and truly many honest consciencious men much disobleiged by the Declaration—I cannot but imagine a storme. The Lord fitt all those that belong to him to hearea things with patience, and lett the Parliament see it is possible they may erre as well as the Army or any other State.b
25, May, 1647.
[a ]This letter is headed “Letter from Lt. C. to the Agitators:” see p. 85. The second sentence refers to the votes of the House of Commons on May 25: this letter was apparently written the same day. Of the cyphers some can be easily explained: 51 stands for London, 55, the army, 44, the agitators, 43, a rendezvous, 68, probably Fairfax.
[b ]The date above given can hardly be correct. Fairfax was ordered down to the army on May 18, and arrived at Walden on May 20 (ante p. 93, Rushworth, vi., 491). The letter “to the several regiments” is that of May 24, printed in Rushworth, vi., 495. The removal of the headquarters to Bury took place on Tuesday, May 25. The letter also refers to the votes of Parliament on May 25 “Tuesday last,” as having this day become known to the soldiers, and was therefore probably written on Thursday, May 27. The Friday on which Fairfax was ill would then be May 21, the day after his arrival at the army; if it be taken to refer to Friday, May 28, this letter must have been written on May 29, and in that case the absence of any reference to the council of war fixed for that day is curious. The authorship of the letter is more difficult to determine. It was evidently written by some one in authority in the army, to some one in the Parliament. The author speaks of the vote ordering Fairfax to the army as “your commands,” and says of the proceedings of Parliament, “unless you proceed,” etc. It was very probably addressed to Cromwell. The author had been recently in London, and it was his business in the army to keep things as right as he could; it was probably one of the four commissioners sent down at the beginning of May, two of whom, Skippon and Ireton, were still with the army. From substance and style it seems more likely to have been written by the latter.