Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Answer of the Agitators read. a - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 1
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
The Answer of the Agitators read. 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Answer of the Agitators read.a
Wheras itt was appointed by the Councill and wee of the Committee did accordingly desire, that these Gentlemen, being Members of the Army and engaged with the Army, might have come to communicate with the Generall Councill of the Army and those that were appointed by them for a mutuall satisfaction: by this paper they seeme to bee of a fix’t resolution, setting themselves to bee a divided partie or distinct Councill from the Generall Councill of the Army, and [seem to say] that there was nothing to bee done as single persons to declare their dissatisfaction, or the grounds for informing themselves better or us better, butt that they as all the rest should concurre soe as to hold together as a form’d and setled partie distinct and divided from others; and withall seem’d to sett downe these resolutions to [as things] which they expect the compliance of any others, rather then their compliance with others to give satisfaction. Butt itt seemes uppon some thinge that the Lieutennant Generall and some others of that Committee did thinke fitt [to offer] the Gentlemen that brought that paper have bin since induced to descend a little from the heighth, and to send some of them to come as agents particularlie, or Messengers from that Meeting or from that Councill, to heare what wee have to say to there, or to offer somethinge to us relating to the matters in that paper. I beleive there are Gentlemenb sent with them that though perhaps the persons of them that are Members of the Army may nott give the passages in itt they may bee better able to observe them; and therefore if you please that they may proceede.
May itt please your Honour, to give you satisfaccion in that there was such a willingnesse that wee might have a conference, whereuppon I did engage that interest that was in mee that I would procure some to come hither both of the souldiers and of others for assistance; and in order thereunto heere are two souldiers sent from the Agents, and two of our freinds alsoe, and to present this to your considerations, and desirea your advice. [We believe that] according to myb expectations and your engagement you are resolved every one to purchase our inheritances which have bin lost, and free this Nation from the tyranny that lies uppon us. I question nott butt that itt is all your desires: and for that purpose wee desire to doe nothing butt what wee present to your consideration, and if you conceive itt that itt must bee for us to bee instruments, that wee might shelter our selves like wise men before the Storme comes. Wee desire that all carping uppon words might bee laid aside, and [that you may] fall directly uppon the matter presented to you.
Wee have heere met on purposec according to my Engagement that whatsoever may bee thought to bee necessary for our satisfaction, for the right understanding one of another [may be done] that wee might goe on together. For, though our ends and aimes bee the same, if one thinkes this way, another another way—butt that way which is the best for the subject [is] that they [both] may bee hearkned unto.
The Answer of the Agitators, the 2d time read.a
I thinke itt will bee strange that wee that are souldiers cannott have them [for] our selves, if nott for the whole Kingedome; and therfore wee beseech you consider of itt.
These thinges that you have now offered they are new to us; they are thinges that wee have nott att all (att least in this method and thus circumstantially) had any opportunity to consider of them, because they came to us butt thus as you see; this is the first time wee had a view of them.
Truly this paper does containe in itt very great alterations of the very Governement of the Kingedome, alterations from that Governement that itt hath bin under, I beleive I may almost say since itt was a Nation, I say I thinke I may almost say soe, and what the consequences of such an alteration as this would bee, if there were nothing else to be consider’d, wise men and godly men ought to consider. I say if there were nothing else [to be considered] butt the very weight and nature of the thinges contayn’d in this paper. Therfore, although the pretensions in itt, and the expressions in itt are very plausible, and if wee could leape out of one condition into another, that had soe specious thinges in itt as this hath, I suppose there would nott bee much dispute, though perhaps some of these thinges may bee very well disputed—How doe wee know if whilest wee are disputing these thinges another companie of men shall gather together, and they shall putt out a paper as plausible perhaps as this? I doe nott know why itt might nott bee done by that time you have agreed uppon this, or gott hands to itt, if that bee the way. And not onely another, and another, butt many of this kinde. And if soe, what doe you thinke the consequence of that would bee? Would itt nott bee confusion? Would itt nott bee utter confusion? Would itt nott make England like the Switzerland Country, one Canton of the Switz against another, and one County against another? I aske you whether itt bee nott fitt for every honest man seriouslie to lay that uppon his heart? And if soe, what would that produce butt an absolute desolation—an absolute desolation to the Nation—and wee in the meane time tell the Nation, “It is for your Libertie, ’Tis for your priviledge,” “ ’Tis for your good.” Pray God itt prove soe whatsoever course wee run. Butt truly, I thinke wee are nott onely to consider what the consequences are (if there were nothing else butt this paper), butt wee are to consider the probability of the wayes and meanes to accomplish: that is to say [to consider] whether,a according to reason and judgement, the spiritts and temper of the people of this Nation are prepared to receive and to goe on alonge with itt, and [whether] those great difficulties [that] lie in our way [are] in a likelihood to bee either overcome or removed. Truly, to anythinge that’s good, there’s noe doubt on itt, objections may bee made and fram’d; butt lett every honest man consider, whether or noe there bee nott very reall objections [to this] in point of difficulty. I know a man may answer all difficulties with faith, and faith will answer all difficulties really where itt is, buta wee are very apt all of us to call that faith, that perhaps may bee butt carnall imagination, and carnall reasonings. Give mee leave to say this, There will bee very great mountaines in the way of this, if this were the thinge in present consideration; and therfore wee ought to consider the consequences, and God hath given us our reason that wee may doe this. Itt is nott enough to propose thinges that are good in the end, butt suppose this modell were an excellent modell, and fitt for England, and the Kingedome to receive, itt is our duty as Christians and men to consider consequences, and to consider the way.b
Butt really I shall speake to nothing butt that that, as before the Lord, I am perswaded in my heart tends to uniting of us in one to that that God will manifest to us to bee the thinge that hee would have us prosecute; and hee that meetes nott heere with that heart, and dares nott say hee will stand to that, I thinke hee is a deceivour. I say itt to you againe, and I professe unto you, I shall offer nothing to you butt that I thinke in my heart and conscience tends to the uniting of us, and to the begetting a right understanding amonge us, and therefore this is that I would insist uppon, and have itt clear’d amonge us.
Itt is nott enough for us to insist uppon good thinges; that every one would doe—there is nott 40 of us butt wee could prescribe many thinges exceeding plausible, and hardly anythinge worse then our present condition, take itt with all the troubles that are uppon us. Itt is nott enough for us to propose good thinges, butt itt behoves honest men and Christians that really will approve themselves soe before God and men, to see whether or noe they bee in a condition, [to attempt] whether, taking all thinges into consideration, they may honestly indeavour and attempt that that is fairly and plausibly proposed. For my owne parte I know nothing that wee are to consider first butt that, before wee would come to debate the evill or good of this [paper], or to adde to itt or substract from itt;a which I am confident, if your hearts bee upright as ours are—and God will bee judge betweene you and us—if wee should come to any thinge, you doe nott bringe this paper with peremptorinesse of minde, butt to receive amendements to have any thinge taken from itt that may bee made apparent by cleare reason to bee inconvenient or unhonest. This ought to bee our consideration and yours, saving [that] in this you have the advantage of us—you that are the souldiers you have nott—butt you that are nott [soldiers] you reckon your selves att a loose and att a liberty, as men that have noe obligation uppon you. Perhaps wee conceive wee have; and therfore this is that I may say—both to those that come with you, and to my fellow officers and all others that heare mee—that it concernes us as wee would approve our selves [as honest men] before God, and before men that are able to judge of us, if wee doe nott make good engagements, if wee doe nott make good that that the world expects wee should make good. I doe nott speake to determine what that is, butt if I bee nott much mistaken wee have in the time of our danger issued out Declarations; wee have bin requir’d by the Parliament, because our Declarations were generall, to declare particularly what wee meant; and having done that how farre that obliges or nott obliges [us] that is by us to bee consider’d, if wee meane honestly and sincerely and to approve our selves to God as honest men. And therfore having heard this paper read, this remaines to us; that wee againe review what wee have engaged in, and what wee have that lies uppon us. Hee that departs from that that is a reall engagement and a reall tye uppon him, I thinke hee transgresses without faith, for faith will beare uppe men in every honest obligation, and God does expect from men the performance of every honest obligation. Therefore I have noe more to say butt this; wee having received your paper shall amongst our selves consider what to doe; and before wee take this into consideration, itt is fitt for us to consider how farre wee are obliged, and how farre wee are free; and I hope wee shall prove our selves honest men where wee are free to tender any thinge to the good of the publique. And this is that I thought good to offer to you uppon this paper.
Being yesterday att a Meeting where divers Country-Gentlemen, and souldiers and others were, and amongst the rest the Agents of the five Regiments, and having weigh’d their papers, I must freely confesse I did declare my agreement with them. Uppon that they were pleas’d to declare their sence in most particulars of their proceedinges to mee, and desir’d mee that I would bee their mouth, and in their names to represent their sence unto you; and uppon that ground I shall speake something in answer to that which your Honour last spake.
I shall nott reply any thinge att present till itt come to bee further debated, either concerning the consequences of what is propounded, or [the contents] of this paper; butt I conceive the cheif weight of your Honour’s speech lay in this, that you were first to consider what obligations lay uppon you, and how farre you were engaged, before you could consider what was just in this paper now propounded; adding, that God would protect men in keeping honest promises. To that I must only offer this, that according to the best knowledge [I have] of their apprehensions, they doe apprehend that what ever obligation is past must bee consider’d afterwards, when itt is urged whether itt were honest or just or noe; and if [the obligationa ] were nott just itt doth nott oblige the persons, if itt bee an oath itt self. Butt if, while there is nott soe cleare a light, any person passes an Engagement, itt is judged by them, (and I soe judge itt), to bee an act of honesty for that man to recede from his former judgement, and to abhorre itt. And therfore I conceive the first thinge is to consider the honesty of what is offer’d, otherwise itt cannott bee consider’d of any obligation that doth prepossesse. By the consideration of the justice of what is offer’d that obligation shall appeare whether itt was just or noe. If itt were nott just, I cannott butt bee confident of the searinges of your consciences. I conceive this to bee their sence; and uppon this account, uppon a more serious review of all Declarations past, they see noe obligations which are just that they contradict by proceeding in this way.
Commissary Gen. Ireton.
Sure this Gentleman hath nott bin acquainted with our Engagements, for hee that will cry out of breach of Engagement in slight and triviall thinges, and thinges necessitated to, that is soe tender of an Engagement as to frame or concurre with this Bookea in their insisting uppon every punctilio of Engagement, I can hardly thinke that manb can bee of that principle that noe Engagement is binding further then that hee thinkes itt just or noe. For itt hintes that, if hee that makes an Engagement (bee itt what itt will bee) have further light that this engagement was nott good or honest, then hee is free from itt. Truly if the sence were putt thus, that a man that findes hee hath entred into an engagement and thinkes that itt was nott a just Engagement, I confesse some thinge might bee said that [such] a man might declare himself for his parte to suffer some penalty uppon their persons, or uppon their partie. The question is, whether itt bee an Engagement to another partie. Now if a man venture into an Engagement from him [self] to another, and finda that Engagement [not] just and honest, hee must apply himself to the other partie, and say “I cannott actively performe itt, I will make you amends as neere as I can.” Uppon the same ground men are nott obliged to [be obedient to] any aucthoritie that is sett uppe, though itt were this aucthority that is proposed heere, I am nott engaged to bee soe actively to that aucthority. Yett if I have engag’d that they shall binde mee by Law, though afterwards, I finde that they doe require mee to a thinge that is nott just or honest, I am bound soe farre to my Engagement that I must submitt and suffer, though I cannott act and doe that which their Lawes doe impose upon mee. If that caution were putt in where a performance of an Engagement might bee expected from another, and hee could nott doe itt because hee thought itt was nott honest to bee performed; if such a thinge were putt into the case, itt is possible there might bee some reason for itt. Butt to take itt as itt is deliver’d in generall, whatever Engagement wee have entred into, though itt bee a promise of somethinge to another partie, wherin that other partie is concerned, wherin hee hath a benefitt, if wee make itt good, wherin hee hath a prejudice if wee make itt nott good [that we are free to break it if it be not just]: this is a principle that will take away all Commonwealth[s], and will take away the fruite of this Engagement if itt were entred into; and men of this principle would thinke themselves as little as may bee [obliged by any law] if in their apprehensions itt bee nott a good Law. I thinke they would thinke themselves as little obliged to thinke of standing to that aucthority [that is proposed in this paper].
Truly Sir I have little to say att the present to that matter of the paper that is tendred to us. I confesse there are plausible thinges in itt, and there are thinges really good in itt, and there are those thinges that I doe with my heart desire, and there are those thinges for the most parte of itt [that] I shall bee soe free as to say, if these Gentlemen, and other Gentlemen that will joyne with them can obtaine, I would nott oppose, I should rejoice to see obtayn’d. There are those thinges in itt, divers [of them]; and, if wee were as hath bin urged now, free; if wee were first free from consideration of all the dangers and miseries that wee may bringe uppon this people, [the danger] that when wee goe to cry out for the libertie of itt wee may nott leave a being [in it], free from all [those] Engagements that doe lie uppon us, and that were honest when they were entred into, I should concurre with this paper further then as the case doth stand I can. Butt truly I doe account wee are under Engagements; and I suppose that whatsoever this Gentleman that spoke last doth seeme to deliver to us, holding himself absolved from all Engagements, if hee thinkes itt, yett those men that came with him (that are in the case of the Armie,)a hold themselves more obliged; and therfore that they will nott perswade us to lay aside all our former Engagements and Declarations, if there bee any thinge in them, and to concurre in this, if there bee any thinge in itt that is contrary to those Engagements which they call uppon us to confirme. Therfore I doe wish that wee may have a consideration of our former Engagements, of thinges which are the Engagements of the Army generallie. Those wee are to take notice of, and sure wee are nott to recede from them till wee are convinct of them that they are unjust. And when wee are convinc’t of them that they are unjust, truly yett I must nott fully concurre with that Gentleman’s principle, that presently wee are, as hee sayes, absolv’d from them, that wee are nott bound to them, or wee are nott bound to make them good. Yett I should thinke att least, if the breach of that Engagement bee to the prejudice of another whome wee have perswaded to beleive by our Declaring such thinges [so] that wee made them and led them to a confidence of itt, to a dependance uppon itt, to a disadvantage to themselves or the loosing of advantages to them, though wee were convinc’t they were unjust, and satisfied in this Gentleman’s principle, and free, and disengag’d from them, yett wee who made that engagement should nott make itt our act to breake itt. Though wee were convinc’t that wee are nott bound to performe itt, yett wee should nott make itt our act to breake [it]. And soe uppon the whole matter I speake this to inforce. As uppon the particulars of this Agreement; whether they have that goodnesse that they hold forth in shew? or whether are nott some defects in them which are nott seene? that if wee should rest in this Agreement without somethinge more [whether] they would nott deceive us? and whether there bee nott some considerations that would tend to union? And withall [I wish] that wee who are the Armie and are engag’d with publique Declarations may consider how farre those publique Declarations, which wee then thought to bee just, doe oblige, that wee may either resolve to make them good if wee can in honest wayes, or att least nott make itt our worke to breake them. And for this purpose I wish—unlesse the Councill please to meete from time to time, from day to day and to consider itt themselves—to goe over our papers and declarations and take the heads of them, I wish there may bee some specially appointed for itt; and I shall bee very glad if itt may bee soe that I my self may bee none of them.
I shall crave your pardon if I may speake something freelie, and I thinke itt will bee the last time I shall speake heere, and from such a way that I never look’t for. The consideration that I had in this Army and amongst honest men—nott that itt is an addition of honour and profitt to mee butt rather a detriment in both—is the reason that I speake somethinge by way of apologie. I saw this paper first by chance and had noe resolution to have bin att this Councill nor any other since I tooke this imployment uppon mee, butt to doe my duty.a I mett with a Letter (which truly was soe strange to mee that I have bin a little troubled, and truly I have soe many sparkes of honour and honesty in mee) to lett mee know that my Regiment should bee imediately disposed from mee. I hope that none in the Army will say butt that I have perform’d my duty, and that with some successe, as well as others. I am loath to leave the Army with whome I will live and die, insomuch that rather then I will loose this Regiment of mine the Parliament shall exclude mee the House, [or] imprison mee; for truly while I am [employed] abroad I will nott bee undone att home. This was itt that call’d mee hither, and nott any thinge of this paper. Butt now I shall speake somethinge of itt.
I shall speake my minde; that whoever hee bee that hath done this hee hath done it with much respect to the Good of his Country. Itt is said there are many plausible thinges in itt. Truly, many thinges have engaged mee, which, if I had nott knowne they should have bin nothing butt Good, I would nott have engag’d in. Itt hath bin said, that if a man bee Engag’d hee must performe his Engagements. I am wholly confident that every honest man is bound in duty to God and his Conscience, lett him bee engag’d in what hee will, to decline itt when hee is engag’d and clearly convinc’t to discharge his duty to God as ever hee was for itt; and that I shall make good out of the Scripture, and cleare itt by that if that bee any thinge. There are two objections are made against itt.
The one is Division. Truly I thinke wee are utterly undone if wee devide, butt I hope that honest things have carried us on thus longe, and will keepe us together, and I hope that wee shall nott devide. Another thinge is Difficulties. Oh unhappy men are wee that ever began this warre; if ever wee [had] look’t uppon difficulties I doe nott know that ever wee should have look’t an enemy in the face. Truly I thinke the Parliament were very indiscreete to contest with the Kinge if they did nott consider first that they should goe through difficulties; and I thinke there was noe man that entred into this warre that did nott engage [to go through difficulties]. And I shall humbly offer unto you—itt may bee the last time I shall offer—itt may bee soe, butt I shall discharge my conscience in itt—itt is this; that truly I thinke that lett the difficulties bee round about you, have you death before you, the sea on each side of you and behinde you, are you convinc’t that the thinge is just I thinke you are bound in conscience to carry itt on; and I thinke att the last day itt can never bee answer’d to God that you did nott doe itt. For I thinke itt is a poore service to God and the Kingedome to take their pay and to decline their worke. I heare itt said, “Itt’s a huge alteration, itt’s a bringing in of New Lawes,” and that this Kingedome hath bin under this Governement ever since itt was a Kingdome. If writinges bee true there hath bin many scufflinges betweene the honest men of England and those that have tyranniz’d over them; and iff itt bee [true what I have] read, there is none of those just and equitable lawes that the people of England are borne to butt that they are intrenchment altogether.a Butt if they were those which the people have bin alwayes under, if the people finde that they are [not] suitable to freemen as they are, I know noe reason should deterre mee, either in what I must answer before God or the world, from indeavouring by all meanes to gaine any thinge that might bee of more advantage to them then the Government under which they live. I doe nott presse that you should goe on with this thinge, for I thinke that every man that would speake to itt will bee lesse able till hee hath some time to consider itt. I doe make itt my Motion, that two or three dayes time may bee sett for every man to consider, and all that is to bee consider’d is the justnesse of the thinge—and if that bee consider’d then all thinges are—that there may bee nothing to deterre us from itt, butt that wee may doe that which is just to the people.
Truly I am very glad, that this Gentleman that spoke last is heere, and nott sorry for the occasion that brought him hither; because itt argues wee shall enjoy his company longer then I thought wee should have done.
If I should nott bee kick’t out.
And truly then I thinke itt shall nott bee longe enough. Butt truly I doe nott know what the meaning of that expression is, nor what the meaning of any hatefull worde is heere. For wee are all heere with the same integrity to the publique; and perhaps wee have all of us done our parts nott affrighted with difficulties, one as well as another; and I hope have all purposes henceforward, through the Grace of God, nott resolving in our owne strength, to doe soe still. And therefore truly I thinke all the consideration is, That amongst us wee are almost all souldiers; all considerations [of not fearing difficulties] or wordes of that kinde doe wonderfully please us, all words of courage animate us to carry on our businesse, to doe God’s businesse, [and] that which is the will of God. I say itt againe, I doe nott thinke that any man heere wants courage to doe that which becomes an honest man and an Englishman to doe. Butt wee speake as men that desire to have the feare of God before our eyes, and men that may nott resolve to doe that which wee doe in the power of a fleshly strength, butt to lay this as the foundation of all our actions, to doe that which is the will of God. And if any man have a false deceit—on the one hand, deceitfulnesse, that which hee doth nott intend, or a perswasion on the other hand, I thinke hee will nott prosper.
Butt to that which was mov’d by Col. Rainborow, of the objections of difficulty and danger [and] of the consequences, they are nott proposed to any other end, butt [as] thinges fitting consideration, nott forged to deterre from the consideration of the businesse. In the consideration of the thinge that is new to us, and of every thinge that shall bee new that is of such importance as this is, I thinke that hee that wishes the most serious advice to bee taken of such a change as this is,—soe evident and cleare [a change]—who ever offers that there may bee most serious consideration, I thinke hee does nott speake impertinently. And truly itt was offer’d to noe other end then what I speake. I shall say noe more to that.
Butt to the other, concerning Engagements and breaking of them. I doe nott thinke that itt was att all offer’d by any body, that though an Engagement were never soe unrighteous itt ought to bee kept. Noe man offer’d a syllable or tittle [to that purpose]. For certainly itt’s an act of duty to breake an unrighteous Engagement; hee that keepes itt does a double sin, in that hee made an unrighteous Engagement, and [in] that he goes about to keepe itt. Butt this was onely offer’d; and I know nott what can bee more fit, that before wee can consider of this [paper] wee labour to know where wee are, and where wee stand. Perhaps wee are uppon Engagements that wee cannott with honesty breake, Butt lett mee tell you this, that hee that speakes to you of Engagements heere, is as free from Engagements to the Kinge as any man in all the world; and I know thata if itt were otherwise I believe my future actions would provoke some to declare itt. Butt I thanke God I stand uppon the bottome of my owne innocence in this particular; through the Grace of God I feare nott the face of any man, I doe nott. I say wee are to consider what Engagements wee have made, and if our Engagements have bin unrighteous why should wee nott make itt our indeavours to breake them. Yett if unrighteous Engagementsb itt is nott a present breach of them unlesse there bee a consideration of circumstances. Circumstances may bee such as I may nott now breake an unrighteous Engagement, or else I may doe that which I did scandalously, if the thinge bee good.c If that bee true concerning the breaking of an unrighteous Engagement itt is much more verified concerning Engagements disputable whether they bee righteous or unrighteous. If soe, I am sure itt is fitt wee should dispute [them], and if, when wee have disputed them, wee see the goodnesse of God inlightening us to see our liberties, I thinke wee are to doe what wee can to give satisfaction to men. Butt if itt were soe, as wee made an Engagement in judgement and knowledge, soe wee goe off from itt in judgement and knowledge. Butt there may be just Engagements uppon us such as perhaps itt will bee our duty to keepe; and if soe itt is fitt wee should consider, and all that I said [was] that wee should consider our Engagements, and there is nothing else offer’d, and therefore what neede anybody bee angry or offended. Perhaps wee have made such Engagements as may in the matter of them nott binde us, in some circumstances they may. Our Engagements are publique Engagements. They are to the Kingedome, and to every one in the Kingdome that could looke uppon what wee did publiquely declare, could read or heare itt read. They are to the Parliament, and itt is a very fitting thinge that wee doe seriously consider of the thinges. And shortly this is that I shall offer: that because the Kingedome is in the danger itt is in, because the Kingdome is in that condition itt is in, and time may bee ill spent in debates, and itt is necessary for thinges to bee putt to an issue, if ever itt was necessary in the world itt is now, I should desire this may bee done.
That this Generall Councill may bee appointed [to meet] against a very short time, two dayes, Thursday, if you would, against Saturday, or att furthest against Munday: that there might bee a Committee out of this Councill appointed to debate and consider with those two Gentlemen, and with any others that are nott of the Army that they shall bringe, and with the Agitators of those five Regiments: that soe there may bee a liberall and free debate had amongst us, that wee may understand really as before God the bottome of our desires, and that wee may seeke God together, and see if God will give us an uniting spiritt. Give mee leave to tell itt you againe, I am confident there sitts nott a man in this place that cannott soe freely act with you, but if hee sees that God hath shutt uppe his way that hee cannott doe any service hee will bee glad to withdraw himself, and wish you all prosperity in that way as may bee good for the Kingedome.a And if this heart bee in us, as is knowne to God that searches our hearts and tryeth the reines, God will discover whether our hearts bee nott cleare in this businesse. Therefore I shall move that wee may have a Committee amongst our selves [to consider] of the Engagements, and this Committee to dispute thinges with others, and a short day [to be appointed] for the Generall Councill. I doubt nott butt if in sincerity wee are willing to submitt to that light that God shall cast in amonge us God will unite us, and make us of one heart and one minde. Doe the plausiblest thinges you can doe, doe that which hath the most appearance of reason in itt that tends to change, att this conjuncture of time you will finde difficulties. Butt if God satisfie our spiritts this will bee a ground of confidence to every good man, and hee that goes uppon other grounds hee shall fall like a beast. I shall desire this, that you or any other of the Agitators or Gentlemen that can bee heere will bee heere, that wee may have free discourses amongst our selves of thinges, and you will bee able to satisfie each other. And really, rather then I would have this Kingedome breake in pieces before some company of men bee united together to a settlement, I will withdraw my self from the Army tomorrow, and lay downe my Commission; I will perish before I hinder itt.a
May itt please your Honour,
I was desired by some of the Agents to accompanie this paper, manifesting my approbation of itt after I had heard itt read severall times, and they desir’d that itt might bee offer’d to this Councill, for the concurrence of the Councill if itt might bee. I finde that the Engagements of the Army are att present the thinges which is insisted to bee consider’d. I confesse my ignorance in those Engagements, butt I apprehend, att least I hope, that those Engagements have given away nothing from the people that is the people’s Right. Itt may bee they have promised the King his Right, or any other persons their Right, butt noe more. If they have promised more then their Right to any person or persons, and have given away any thinge from the people that is their Right, then I conceive they are unjust. And if they are unjust [they should be broken], though I confesse for my owne parte I am very tender of breaking an Engagement when itt concernes a particular person—I thinke that a particular person ought rather to sett downe and loose then to breake an Engagement—butt if any man have given away any thinge from another whose Right itt was to one or more whose Right itt was nott, I conceive these men may [break that engagement]—at least many of them thinke themselves bound nott onely to breake this Engagement, butt to placea to give every one his due. I conceive that for the substance of the paper itt is the peoples due; and for the change of the Governement which is soe dangerous, I apprehend that there may bee many dangers in itt, and truly I apprehend there may bee more dangers without itt. For I conceive if you keepe the Governement as itt is and bringe in the Kinge, there may bee more dangers then in changing the Governement. Butt however, because from those thinges that I heard of the Agents they conceive that this conjuncture of time may almost destroy them, they have taken uppon them a libertie of acting to higher thinges, as they hope, for the freedome of the Nation, then yett this Generall Councill have acted to. And therefore as their sences I must make this motion; that all those that uppon a due consideration of the thinge doe finde itt to bee just and honest, and doe finde that if they have engaged any thinge to the contrary of this itt is unjust and giving away the people’s Rights, I desire that they and all others may have a free libertie of acting to any thinge in this nature, or any other nature, that may bee for the peoples good, by petitioning or otherwise; wherby the fundamentalls for a well-ordered Governement for the people’s Rights may bee established. And I shall desire that those that conceive themselves bound uppe would desist, and satisfie themselves in that, and bee noe hinderances to hinder the people in a more perfect way then hath bin [yet] indeavour’d.
I suppose you have nott thought fitt, that there should bee a dispute concerning thinges att this time. I desire that other thinges may bee taken into consideration, delayes and debates. Delayes have undone us, and itt must bee a great expedition that must further us, and therfore I desire that there may bee a Committee appointed.
Lieut. Col. Goffe.
I shall butt humbly take the boldnesse to put you in minde of one thinge which you moved enow.a The Motion is, that there might bee a seeking of God in the thinges that now lie before us.
I shall humbly desire, that that Motion may nott die. Itt may bee there are or may bee some particular opinions amonge us concerning the use of ordinances and of publique seeking of God. Noe doubt formes have bin rested uppon too much; butt yett since there are soe many of us that have had soe many and soe large experiences of an extraordinarie manifestation of God’s presence, when wee have bin in such extraordinarie wayes mett together, I shall desire that those who are that way [inclined] will take the present opportunity to doe itt. For certainly those thinges that are now presented, as they are, are well accepted by most of us; and though I am nott prepared to say any thinge either consenting or dissenting to the paper, as nott thinking itt wisedome to answer a matter before I have consider’d, yett when I doe consider how much ground there is to conceive there hath bin a withdrawing of the presence of God from us that have mett in this place—I doe nott say a totall withdrawing; I hope God is with us and amongst us. Itt hath bin our trouble night and day that God hath nott bin with us as formerly, as many within us soe without us [have told us], men that were sent from God in an extraordinarie manner to us. I meane [that though] the Ministers may take too much uppon them, yett there have bin those that have preached to us in this place, [in]b severall places, wee know very well that they spake to our hearts and consciences, and told us of our wandringes from God, and told us in the name of the Lord, that God would bee with us noe longer then wee were with him. Wee have in some thinges wandred from God, and as wee have heard this from them in this place, soe have wee had itt very frequently prest uppon our spiritts [elsewhere], prest uppon us in the Citty and the Country. I speake this to this end, that our hearts may bee deeply and throughly affected with this matter. For if God bee departed from us hee is some where else. Iff wee have nott the will of God in these Councills God may bee found amonge some other Councills. Therfore I say, lett us shew the spiritt of Christians, and lett us nott bee ashamed to declare to all the world, that our Councills, and our wisedome, and our wayes they are nott altogether such as the world hath walked in; butt that wee have had a dependancie uppon God, and that our desires are to follow God (though never soe much to our disadvantage in the world) if God may have the glory by itt. And I pray lett us consider this: God does seeme evidently to bee throwing downe the glory of all flesh; the greatest powers in the Kingedome have bin shaken. God hath throwne downe the glory of the Kinge and that partie; hee hath throwne downe a partie in the Citty; I doe nott say, that God will throw us downe—I hope better thinges—butt hee will have the glory; lett us nott stand uppon our glory and reputation in the world. If wee have done some thinges through ignorance, or feare, or unbeleif, in the day of our straights, and could nott give God that glory by beleiving as wee ought to have done, I hope God hath a way for to humble us for that, and to keepe us as instruments in his hand still. There are two wayes that God doth take uppon those that walke obstinately against him; if they bee obstinate and continue obstinate hee breakes them in pieces with a rod of iron; if they bee his people and wander from him hee takes that glory from them, and takes itt to himself. I speake itt I hope from a divine impression. If wee would continue to bee instruments in his hand, lett us seriously sett our selves before the Lord, and seeke to him and waite uppon him for conviction of spiritts. Itt is nott enough for us to say, “if wee have offended wee will leave the world, wee will goe and confesse to the Lord what wee have done amisse, butt wee will doe noe more soe.’ Aaron went uppe to Hur and died, and Moses was favour’d to see the land of Canaan, hee did nott voluntarily lay himself aside. I hope our strayings from God are nott soe great, butt that a conversion and true humiliation may recover us againe; and I desire that wee may bee serious in this, and not despise any other instruments that God will use. God will have his worke done; itt may bee wee thinke wee are the onely instruments that God hath in his hands. I shall onely adde these two thinges. First, that wee bee warie how wee lett forth any thinge against his people, and that which is for the whole Kingedome and Nation. I would move, that wee may nott lett our spiritts act too freely against them till wee have throughly weighed the matter, and considered our own wayes too. The second is to draw us uppe to a serious consideration of the weightiness of the worke that lies before us, and seriously to sett our selves to seeke the Lord; and I wish itt might bee consider’d of a way and manner that itt should be conveniently done, and I thinke to morrow will bee the [best] day.
I know nott what Lieut. Col. Goffe meanes for to morrow for the time of seeking God. I thinke itt will bee requisite that wee doe itt speedily, and doe itt the first thinge, and that wee doe itt as unitedly as wee can, as many of us as well may meete together. For my parte I shall lay aside all businesse for this businesse, either to convince or bee convinc’t as God shall please. I thinke itt would bee good that to morrow morning may bee spent in prayer, and the afternoone might bee the time of our businesse. I doe nott know that these Gentlemen doe assent to itt that to morrow in the afternoone might bee the time.
Lieut. Col. Goffe.
I thinke wee have a great deale of businesse to doe, and wee have bin doing of itt these ten weekes. Itt is an ordinance that God hath blest to this end. I say goe about what you will, for my parte I shall nott thinke any thinge can prosper, unlesse God bee first sought.
If that bee approved of, that to morrow shall bee a time of seeking the Lord, and that the afternoone shall bee the time of businesse, if that doth agree with your opinion and the generall sence, lett that bee first order’d.
Com̃. Gen. Ireton.
That which Lieut. Col. Goffe offer’d hath [made] a very great impression uppon mee; and indeed I must acknowledge to God through him, that, as hee hath severall times spoke in this place, and elsewhere to this purpose, hee hath never spoke butt hee hath touched my heart; and that especially in the point that hee hintes. That one thinge is, that in the time of our straights and difficulties, I thinke wee none of us—I feare wee none of us—I am sure I have nott—walked soe closely with God, and kept soe close with him, [as] to trust wholly uppon him, as nott to bee led too much with considerations of danger and difficulty, and from that consideration to waive some thinges, and perhaps to doe some thinges, that otherwise I should nott have thought fitt to have done. Every one hath a spiritt within him—especially [he] who has that communion indeed with that spirit that is the only searcher of hearts—that can best search out and discover to him the errours of his owne wayes, and of the workinges of his owne heart. And though I thinke that publique actinges, publique departings from God are the fruites of unbeleif and distrust, and nott honouring God by sanctifying him in our wayes; they doe more publiquely engage God to vindicate his honour by a departing from them that doe soe, and if there bee any such thinge in the Army that is to bee look’t uppon with a publique eye in relation to the Army.a I thinke the maine thinge is for every one to waite uppon God, for the errours, deceits, and weaknesses of his owne heart, and I pray God to bee present with us in that. Butt withall I would nott have that seasonable and good Motion that hath come from Lieut. Col. Goffe to bee neglected, of a publique seeking of God, and seeking to God, as for other thinges soe especially for the discovery of any publique deserting of God, or dishonouring of him, or declining from him, that does lie as the fault and blemish uppon the Army. Therfore I wish his Motion may bee pursued, that the thinge may bee done, and for point of time as was moved by him. Onely this to the way; I confesse I thinke the best [way] is this, that itt may bee only taken notice of as a thinge by the agreement of this Councill resolv’d on, that tomorrow in the morning, the forenoone wee doe sett aparte, wee doe give uppe from other businesse, for every man to give himself uppe that way, either in private by himself, though I cannott say not in public. For the publique Meeting att the Church, itt were nott amisse that itt may bee thus taken notice of as a time given from other imployments for that purpose, and every one as God shall incline their hearts, some in one place, and some another, to imploy themselves that way.
Agreed for the Meeting for Prayer to bee att Mr. Chamberlaine’s
That they should nott meete as two contrary parties, butt as some desirous to satisfie or convince each other.
For my owne parte, I have done as to this businesse what was desired by the Agents that sent mee hither. As for any further Meeting to morrow or any other time I cannott meete uppon the same ground, to meete as for their sence, [but only] to give my owne reason why I doe assent to itt.
I should bee sorry, that they should bee soe suddaine to stand uppon themselves.
To procure three, four, or five more or lesse to meete, for my owne parte I am utterly unconcern’d in the businesse.
I have heere att this day answer’d the expectations, which I engaged to your Honours; which was, that if wee would give a Meeting you should take that as a symptome, or a remarkeable testimonie of our fidelitie. I have discharged that trust reposed in mee. I could nott engage for them. I shall goe on still in that method. I shall engage my deepest interest for any reasonable desires to engage them to come to this.
I hope wee know God better then to make appearances of Religious Meetings as covers for designes for insinuation amongst you. I desire that God that hath given us some sinceritie will owne us according to his owne goodnesse, and that sincerity that hee hath given us. I dare bee confident to speake itt, that [design] that hath bin amongst us hitherto is to seeke the guidances of God, and to recover that presence of God that seemes to withdraw from us; and our end is to accomplish that worke which may bee for the good of the Kingedome. It seems to us in this as much as anything we are not of a minde, and for our parts wee doe nott desire or offer you to bee with us in our seeking of God further then your owne satisfaccions lead you, butt onely [that] against to-morrow in the afternoone (which will bee design’d for the consideration of these businesses with you) you will doe what you may to have soe many as you shall thinke fitt to see what God will direct you to say to us. Perhaps God may unite us and carry us both one way, that whilest wee are going one way, and you another, wee bee nott both destroyed. This requires spiritt. Itt may bee too soone to say, itt is my present apprehension; I had rather wee should devolve our strength to you then that the Kingedome for our division should suffer losse.a For that’s in all our hearts, to professe above any thinge that’s worldlie, the publique good of the people; and if that bee in our hearts truly, and nakedlie, I am confident itt is a principall that will stand. And therefore I doe desire you, that against to morrow in the afternoone, if you judge itt meete, you will come to us to the Quartermaster Generall’s Quarters, and there you will finde us [at prayer], if you will come timely to joyne with us; at your libertie, if afterwards [you wish] to speake with us.b
I desire to returne a little to the businesse in hand that was the occasion of these other motions. I could nott butt take some notice of some thinge that did reflect uppon the Agents of the five Regiments, in which I could nott butt give a little satisfaction to them; and I shall desire to prosecute a motion or two that hath bin already made. I observ’d that itt was said, that these gentlemen doe insist upon Engagements in “The Case of the Army,” and therefore it was said to bee contrary to the principles of the Agents, that an Engagement which was unjust should lawfully bee broken.c I shall onely observe this; that though an unjust Engagement when itt appeares unjust may bee broken, yett when two parties engage [each that] the other partie may have satisfaccion, yett because they are mutually engaged each to other one partie that apprehends they are broken [is justified] to complaine of them; and soe itt may bee their case, with which I confesse I made my concurrence. The other is a principle much spreading and much to my trouble, and that is this: that when persons once bee engaged, though the Engagement appeare to bee unjust, yett the person must sett downe and suffer under itt; and that therefore, in case a Parliament, as a true Parliament, doth anythinge unjustly, if wee bee engaged to submitt to the Lawes that they shall make, if they make an unjust law, though they make an unrighteous law, yett wee must sweare obedience.
I confesse to mee this principle is very dangerous, and I speake itt the rather because I see itt spreading abroad in the Army againe. Wheras itt is contrary to what the Army first declar’d: that they stood uppon such principles of right and freedome, and the lawes of nature and nations, wherby men were to preserve themselves though the persons to whome aucthority belong’d should faile in itt, and urged the example of the Scotts, and [that] the Generall that would destroy the Army they might hold his hands; and therfore if any thinge tends to the destruction of a people, because the thinge is absolutely unjust and tends to their destruction, [they may preserve themselves].a I could nott butt speake a worde to that. The motion that I should make uppon that account is this.
That wheras there must bee a Meeting I could nott finde [but] that they were desirous to give all satisfaccion, and they desire nothing but the union of the Army. Thus farre itt is their sence. That the necessity of the Kingdome for present actinges is such that two or three dayes may loose the Kingdome. I desire in the sight of God to speake plainly: I meane there may bee an agreement betweene the Kinge [and the Parliament] by propositions, with a power to hinder the making of any lawes that are good, and the tendring of any good [lawes]. And therfore, because none of the people’s greivances are redrest, they doe apprehend that thus a few dayes may bee the losse of the Kingedome. I know it is their sence. That they desire to bee excused that itt might nott bee thought any arrogancie in them, butt they are clearlie satisfied, that the way they proceede in is just, and desire to bee excus’d if they goe on in itt; and yett notwithstanding will give all satisfaccion. And wheras itt is desir’d that Engagements may bee consider’d, I shall desire that onely the justice of the thinge that is proposed may bee consider’d. Whether the chief thinge in the Agreement, the intent of itt, bee nott this, to secure the Rights of the people in their Parliaments, which was declar’d by this Army in the Declaration of the 14th of June to bee absolutely insisted on? I shall make that motion to bee the thinge consider’d: whether the thinge bee just or the people’s due, and then there can bee noe Engagement to binde from itt.
Com̃. Gen. Ireton.
Truly Sir, by what Lieut. Col. Goffe moved I confesse I was soe taken off from all [other] thoughts in this businesse that I did nott thinke of speaking any thinge more. Butt what this Gentleman hath last said hath renewed the occasion, and indeed if I did thinkea all that hee hath deliver’d bee truth and innocence—nay, if I did nott thinke that it hath venome and poyson in itt—I would nott speake itt.
First, I cannott butt speake somethinge unto the two particulars that hee holds forth as dangerous thinges,—indeed hee hath cleerlie yoak’t them together, when before I was sensible of those principles and how farre they would run together—that is that principle of nott being obliged, by nott regarding what Engagements men have entred into, if in their future apprehensions the thinges they engaged to are unjust; and that principle on the other hand of nott submitting passively for peace sake to that authority wee have engaged to. For hee does hold forth his opinion in those two points to cleare their way; and I must crave leave on my parte to declare [that] my opinion of that Distinction doth lie on the other way. I am farre from holding, that if a man have engag’d himself to a thinge that is nott just—to a thinge that is evill, that is sin if hee doe itt—that that man is still bound to performe what hee hath promised; I am farre from apprehending that. Butt when wee talke of just, itt is nott soe much of what is sinfull before God, which depends uppon many circumstances of indignation to that man and the like, butt itt intends of that which is just according to the foundation of justice betweene man and man. And for my parte I account that the great foundation of justice betweene man and man, and that without which I know nothing of justice betwixt man and man—in particular matters I meane, nothing in particular thinges that can come under humane Engagement one way or other—there is noe other foundation of right I know of, right to one thinge from another man, noe foundation of that justice or that righteousnesse, butt this generall justice, and this generall ground of righteousnesse, that wee should keepe covenant one with another. Covenants freely made, freely entred into, must bee kept one with another. Take away that I doe nott know what ground there is of any thinge you can call any man’s right. I would very faine know what you Gentlemen or any other doe account the right you have to any thinge in England, any thinge of estate, land, or goods that you have, what ground, what right you have to itt? What right hath any man to any thinge if you lay nott that principle, that wee are to keepe covenant? If you will resort onely to the law of Nature, by the law of Nature you have noe more right to this land or any thinge else then I have. I have as much right to take hold of any thinge that is for my sustenance, [to] take hold of any thinge that I have a desire to for my satisfaction as you. Butt heere comes the foundation of all right that I understand to be betwixt men, as to the enjoying of one thinge or nott enjoying of itt; wee are under a contract, wee are under an agreement, and that agreement is what a man has for matter of land that a man hath received by a traduction from his ancestors, which according to the law does fall uppon him to bee his right. [The agreement is] that that hee shall enjoy, hee shall have the property of, the use of, the disposing of, with submission to that generall aucthoritie which is agreed uppon amongst us for the preserving of peace, and for the supporting of this law. This I take to bee [the foundation of all right] for matter of land. For matter of goods, that which does fence mee from that [right] which another man may claime by the law of nature of taking my goods, that which makes itt mine really and civillie is the law. That which makes itt unlawfull originally and radically is onely this: because that man is in covenant with mee to live together in peace one with another, and nott to meddle with that which another is posses’t of, butt that each of us should enjoy, and make use of, and dispose of, that which by the course of law is in his possession, and [another] shall nott by violence take itt away from him. This is the foundation of all the right any man has to any thinge butt to his owne person. This is the generall thinge: that wee must keepe covenant one with another when wee have contracted one with another. And if any difference arise among us itt shall bee thus and thus: that I shall nott goe with violence to prejudice another, butt with submission to this way. And therefore when I heare men speake of laying aside all Engagements to [consider only] that wild or vast notion of what in every man’s conception is just or unjust, I am afraid and doe tremble att the boundlesse and endlesse consequences of itt.a What you apply this paper to. You say, “If these thinges in this paper, in this Engagement bee just, then,” say you, “never talke of any Engagement, for if any thinge in that Engagement bee against this, your Engagement was unlawfull; consider singly this paper, whether itt bee just.” In what sence doe you thinke this is just? There is a great deale of equivocation [as to] what is just and unjust.
I suppose you take away the substance of the question. Ourb [sense] was, that an unjust Engagement is rather to be broken then kept. The Agents thinke that to delay is to dispose their Enemy into such a capacitie as hee may destroy them. I make a question whether any Engagement can bee to an unjust thinge. [If] a man may promise to doe that which is never soe much unjust, a man may promise to breake all Engagements and duties. Butt [I say] this, wee must lay aside the consideration of Engagements, soe as nott to take in that as one ground of what is just or unjust amongst men in this case. I doe apply this to the case in hand: that itt might bee consider’d whether itt bee unjust to bringe in the Kinge in such a way as hee may bee in a capacity to destroy the people. This paper may bee applyed to itt.
You come to itt more particularly then that paper leads. There is a great deale of equivocation in the point of justice, and that I am bound to declare.
Mr. Wildman sayes if wee stay butt three dayes before you satisfie one another, and if wee tarry longe the kinge will come and say who will be hang’d first.
Sir, I was saying this; wee shall much deceive our selves, and bee apt to deceive others if wee doe nott consider that there is two parts of justice. There may bee a thinge just that is negatively [so], itt is nott unjust, nott unlawfull—that which is nott unlawfull, that’s just to mee to doe if I bee free. Againe there is another sence of just when wee account such a thinge to bee a duty,—nott onely a thinge lawfull “wea may doe itt,” but itt’s a duty, “you ought to doe itt,”—and there is a great deale of mistake if you confound these two. If I engage my self to a thinge that was in this sence just, that’s a thinge lawfull for mee to doe supposing mee free, then I account my Engagement stands good to this. On the other hand, if I engage my self against a thinge which was a duty for mee to doe, which I was bound to doe; or if I engag’d myself to a thinge which was nott lawfull for mee to doe, which I was bound nott to doe, in this sence I doe account this [engagement] unjust. If I doe engage my self to what was unlawfull for mee to engage to, I thinke I am nott then to make good activelie this Engagement. Butt though this bee true, yett the generall end and equitie of Engagements I must regard, and that is the preserving right betwixt men, the nott doing of wronge or hurt to men, one to another. And therfore if [by] that which I engage to, though the thinge bee unlawfull for mee to doe, another man bee prejudict in case I did not perform it—though itt bee a thinge which wasa unlawfull for mee to doe, yett [if] I did freelie [engage to do it] and I did [engage] uppon a consideration to mee, and that man did beleive mee, and hee suffer’d a prejudice by beleiving—though I bee nott bound by my Engagement to performe itt,b yett I am [bound] to regard that justice that lies in the matter of Engagement, soe as to repaire that man by some just way as farre as I can; and hee that doth nott hold this, I doubt whether hee hath any principle of justice, or doing right to any att all in him. That is [if] hee that did nott thinke itt lawfull hath made another man beleive itt to his prejudice and hurt, and [made] another man bee prejudic’t and hurt by that, hee that does nott hold that hee is in this case to repaire [it] to that man, and free him from [the prejudice of] itt, I conceive there is noe justice in him. And therfore I wish wee may take notice of this distinction when wee talke of being bound to make good Engagements or nott. This I thinke I can make good in a larger dispute by reason. If the thinges engaged to were lawfull to bee done, or lawfull for mee to engage to, then [I] by my Engagement amc bound to [perform] itt. On the other hand if the thinge were nott lawfull for mee to engage, or [if it were] a duty for mee to have done to the contrary, then I am nott bound positively and actively to performe itt. Nay I am bound nott to performe itt, because itt was unlawfull [and] unjust by another Engagement. Butt when I engage to another man, and hee hath a prejudice by beleiving, I nott performing itt, I am bound to repaire that man as much as may bee, and lett the prejudice fall upon my self and nott uppon any other. This I desire wee may take notice of to avoide falacie on that part. For there is an extremity to say on the one hand, that if a man engage what is nott just hee may act against itt soe as to regard noe relation or prejudice. [There’s an extremity] for a man to say on the other hand, that whatsoever you engage, though itt bee never soe unjust, you are to stand to itt. One worde more to the other parte which Mr. Wildeman doth hold out as a dangerous principle acting amongst us, that wee must bee bound to active obedience to any power acting amongst men.
You repeat not the principle right—“To thinke that wee are bound soe absolutely to personall obedience to any Magistrates or personall aucthoritie that if they worke to our destruction wee may nott oppose them.”
That wee may nott deceive ourselves againe [by arguments] that are fallacious in that kinde I am a little affected to speake in this, because I see that the abuse and misapplicationa of those thinges the Army hath declar’d hath led many men into a great and dangerous errour and destructive to all humane society. Because the Army hath declar’d, in those cases where the foundation of all that right and libertie of the people is, if they have any, that in these cases they will insist uppon that right, and that they will nott suffer that originall and fundamentall right to bee taken away; and because the Army when there hath bin a command of that supreame aucthority the Parliament have nott obeyed itt, butt stood uppon itt to have this fundamentall right setled first, and requir’d a rectification of the supreame aucthority of the Kingedome; for a man therfore to inferre [that] uppon any particular, you may dispute that aucthority by what is commanded what is just or unjust, if in your apprehension nott to obey, and soe farre itt is well, and if itt tend to your losse to oppose itt.b
If itt tend to my Destruction that was the worde I spoke.
Lett us take heede that wee doe nott maintaine [that] this principle leads to destruction. If the case were soe visible as those cases the Army speaks of, of a Generall’s turning the cannon against the Army, the bulke and body of the Army; or [of] a Pylott that sees a rock [and] does by the advantage of the steeringa putt the shippe uppon’t; if you could propose cases as evident as these are, there is noe man butt would agree with you. Butt when men will first putt in those termes of destruction, they will imagine any thinge a destruction, if there could bee any thinge better [for them]; and soe itt is very easy and demonstrable that thinges are soe counted abhorred and destructive, that, att the utmost if a man should make itt out by reason, that manb would bee in a better condition if itt bee nott done, then if itt bee done. And though I cannott butt subscribe to, that in such a visible way I may hold the hands of those that are in aucthority as I may the hands of a mad-man; butt that noe man shall thinke himself [bound] to acquiesce particularly, and to suffer for quietnesse sake rather then to make a disturbance, or to raise a power if hee can to make a disturbance in the State—I doe apprehend and appeale to all men whether there bee nott more follie or destructivenesse in the springe of that principle then there can bee in that other principle of holding passive obedience? Now whatsoever wee have declar’d in the Armie [declarations] itt is noe more butt this. The Parliament hath commanded us [to do] this. Wee have said, noe. First wee have insisted uppon [the] fundamentall rights of the people. Wee have said wee desire [first] to have the constitution of the supreame aucthority of this Kingedome reduced to that constitution which is due to the people of this Kingedome, and reducing the aucthority to this wee will submitt to itt, wee will acquiesce, wee will cast our share into this common bottome; and if itt goe ill with us att one time, itt will goe well att another. The reducing of the supreame aucthority to that constitution, by successe or election as neere as may bee, wee have insisted uppon as an essentiall right of the Kingedome; and noe man can accuse the Armie of disobedience, or holding forth a principle of disobedience uppon any other ground.
Lett mee speake a worde to this businesse. Wee are now uppon that businesse which wee spake of consulting with God about, and therfore I judge it altogether unreasonablea for us to dispute the meritt of those thinges, unlesse you will make itt the subject of debate before you consider itt among your selves. The businesse of the Engagement[s] lies uppon us. Theyb are free in a double respect; they made none, and if they did, then the way out is now; and [it is a way] which all the members of the Army, except they bee sensible of itt [may take], and, att one jumpe, jumpe out of all [engagements], and itt is a very great jumpe I will assure you. As wee professe wee intend to seeke the Lord in the thinge, the less wee speake in itt [now] the better, and the more wee cast ourselves uppon God the better.
I shall onelie speake two thinges to Mr. Wildman in order to our Meeting. Mee thoughte hee said if there bee delay hee feares this businesse will bee determined, the propositions will bee sent from the Parliament, and the Parliament and Kinge agree, and soe those Gentlemen that were in that minde to goe on in their way will bee cutt off in point of time to their owne dissadvantage. And the other thinge hee said was, that these Gentlemen who have chosen Mr. Wildman, and that other Gentleman,c to bee their mouth att this meeting to deliver their mindes, they are uppon the matter engaged in what they have resolved uppon, and they come as engaged men uppon their owne resolution. If that bee soe, I thinke there neither needes consideration of the former, for you will not bee anticipated. If that bee soe, you [can] worke accordingly. And though you [do] meete us, yett having that resolution you cannott bee prevented in your way by any proposition, or any such thinge; though wee should have come hither, and wee should meete to morrow as a company of men that really would bee guided by God. If any come to us to morrow onely to instruct us and teach us, how farre that will consist with the libertie of a freea [debate] or an end of satisfaction I referre to every sober spiritted man to thinke of and determine.b I thinke itt is such a preengagement that there is noe neede of talke of the thinge. And I see then if that bee soe, things are in such an irrevocable way—I will nott call itt desperate—as there is noe hope of accomodation or union, except wee receive the Councills—I will nott call itt the commands—of them that come to us. I desire that wee may rightly understand this thinge. If this bee soe I doe nott understand what the end of the meeting will bee. If this bee nott soe, weec will [not] draw any man from their Engagements further then the Light of God shall draw them from their Engagements; and I thinke, according to your owne principle, if you bee uppon any Engagement you are liable to bee convinc’t unlesse you bee infallible. If wee may come to an honest and single debate, how wee may all agree in one common way for publique good; if wee [may] meete soe, wee shall meete with a great deale the more comfort, and hopes of a good and happy issue, and understanding of the businesse. Butt if otherwise, I despaire of the Meeting; or att least I would have the Meeting to bee of another notion, a Meeting that did represent the Agitators of five Regiments to give rules to the Councill of Warre. If itt signifie this, for my owne parte I shall bee glad to submitt to itt under this notion. If itt bee a free debate what may bee fitt for us all to doe, with clearnesse and opennesse before the Lord, lett us understand that wee may come and meete soe and in that sincerity.a Otherwise I doe verily believe wee shall meete with prejudice, and we shall meete to prejudice—really to the prejudice of the Kingedome, and of the whole Army—if wee bee thus absolutely resolved uppon our way and engaged before hand. The Kingedome will see itt is such a reall actuall division as admitts of noe reconciliation, and all those that are enemies to us and freinds to our enemies will have the clearer advantage uppon us to putt us into inconveniency. And I desire if there bee any feare of God among us, I desire that wee may declare ourselves freely, that wee doe meete uppon these termes.
I wish, that the Motion of Lieut. Col Goffe might have taken effect, nott only to the time and place for Meeting [but] as hee desir’d. Butt, Sir, since itt is gone thus farre, and since I heare much of fallacie talk’t of, I feare itt as much on the one side as the other. Itt is made a wonderb of that some Gentlemen without should have principles to breake Engagements, yett [it is made no wonder of] that some Gentlemen within should soe much insist uppon Engagements. I doe nott consider my self as jumping, butt yett I hope when I leape I shall take soe much of God with mee, and soe much of just and right with mee, as I shall jumpe sure. Butt I am more unsatisfied against [another of] those thinges that have bin said, and that is as to another Engagement. For all that hath bin said hath bin [as to engagements] betweene partie and partie, if two men should make an agreement and the like, and there were noe living one amongst another if those Engagements were nott made [good], yett I thinke under favour that some Engagements may bee broke. Noe man that takes a wife butt there is an Engagement, and I thinke that a man ought to keepe itt, yett if another man that had married her before claimes her, hee ought to lett him have her and soe breake the Engagement. Butt whereas it is told us, this engagement is of another nature,a that the partie to whome wee make the Engagement relyed uppon [it], and becomes therby prejudic’t, [and so] wee ought to take itt rather uppon ourselves then to leave itt uppon them,—this may serve in a particular case, if any menb heere will suffer they may; butt if wee will make our selves a third partie, and engage betweene Kinge and Parliament, [it is not a particular case] and I am of that Gentlemans minde that spoke, the Kinges partie would have bin about our eares if wee had nott made some considerations. Heere is the consideration now. As concerning them, doe wee nott engage for the Parliament and for the liberties of the people of England, and doe wee nott engage against itt? Wee have gott the better of them in the feild, butt they shall bee masters of our Houses. Never was Engagements broken more then wee doe. Wee did take uppe Armes with all that tooke parte with the Parliament and wee engag’d with them.c For my parte itt may bee thought that I am against the Kinge; I am against him or any power that would destroy Gods people, and I will never bee destroyed till I cannott helpe my self. Is itt nott an argument, if a pylott run his shipp uppon a rock, or [if] a Generall mount his cannon against his Army, hee is to bee resisted? I thinke that this as cleare the very case as any thinge in the world. For clearly the Kinge and his partie could nott have come in uppon those termes that hee is come[to] in [on], if this very Army did nott engage for him; and I verily thinke that the House had nott made another addresse, if itt had nott bin said that itt was the desire of the Army, and the Army were engaged to itt. Therefore I say I hope men will have charitable opinions of other men. For my parte I thinke I shall never doe any thinge against conscience, and I shall have those hopes of others. That which is deare unto mee is my freedome. Itt is that I would enjoy, and I will enjoy if I can. For my owne parte I hope there is noe such distance betwixt these Gentlemen as is imagin’d, butt they will heare reason that may convince them out of itt. I doe verily beleive they are soe farre from a disunion that they will bee advis’d by this Councill in generall, or by any honest man of this Councill in particular. I have nott the same apprehensions that two or three dayes will undoe us, butt I thinke a very little delay will undoe us; and therefore I should onely desire, (itt may bee because I have spoken some other may answer mee) the lesse wee speake itt may bee the better. And as this Agitator whoma I never saw before, said that hee will use his interest, I hope that God will doe somethinge in that for our next Meeting to morrow, that when wee doe meete wee shall have a very happy union.
That hee could breake Engagements in case they [were] proved unjust and that itt might [so] appeare to his conscience. That whatsoever hopes or obligations I should bee bound unto, if afterwards God should reveale himself, I would breake itt speedily, if itt were an 100 a day; and in that sence wee deliver’d our sence.
Provided, that what is done tends to destruction, either self destruction or to [the destruction of] my neighbour especially. Unlawfull Engagements [are] Engagements against duty, and an Engagement to any person to bring him in such a way as hee may bee enabled to engage, itt is that which may tend to destruction.a
I thinke clearly you were understood to putt itt uppon an issue where there is clearly a case of destruction, publique destruction, and ruine; and I thinke this will bringe itt into consideration whether or noe our Engagements have really in them that that hath publique destruction and ruine necessarily following? or whether or noe wee may nott give way too much to our owne doubts or feares? and the issue will beeb whether itt bee lawfull to breake a covenant uppon our owne doubts and feares? I thinke [best] if wee agree to deferre the debate, to nominate a Committee.
One worde. I am of another opinion. Nott that the Engagements of the Army are look’t uppon as destructive, butt the nott-performance of the Engagements of the Army is that which is destructive.
I thinke Mr. Wildman’s conclusion is, that they are destructive because they are destructive to our neighbours.
That if an Engagement were such itt does nott binde.
Then if itt were a compliance, or such a Meeting nott for a Law butt for satisfaction, since wheras the only ground which the thinge seemes to mee to bee represented that these Gentlemen thinke that there owne agreement is soe cleare, soe infallibly just and right, that. I doe thinke those Gentlemen have nott soe much ground of confidence to each parte of that agreement as itt lies there, that whatever goes about to take itt from them, or whatever does nott agree to itt, is a thinge unlawfull, butt somethinge may bee seene in that if you come, in the Engagement of itt; and therfore in that relation, and nott your owne principalls that you would admitt of soe much conference as to question itt.a
I have gather’d from two men’s mouthes, that destruction is somethinge neere, and the cause of the destruction as they understand is the going of the proposalls to the Kinge. I thinke itt were very necessary that if itt bee true, as is suppos’d, the proposalls may bee brought hither when they doe goe, that wee may see what they are.
The Question is whether the propositions will save us, or [whether they will] nott destroy us. This discourse concludes nothing.
One partie feares, That the Kinge will rise by the proposalls, another that hee will loose.
I thinke that most mens eyes are open to see that they are like to prove a broken reede, and that your charriott wheeles doe move heavily, and that this Engagement which is the ground of most of your discourse.a You both desire a succession of Parliaments. The fundamentall businesse of itt is the desire of most of this Councill, to have this Parliament that itt might nott be perpetuated and I thinke when.
That this Oedipus riddle is un-open’d, and this Gordian knott untied, and the enemies of the same, and the spiritt of God are the same in both, and the principles of both are the same. You have both promised to free the people, which you may doe by taking off tythes and other Antichristian yoakes uppon them, and [to] give contents to the souldiers, and I hope that when you meete together itt will bee for good, and not for evill.
Wheras this Gentleman that wee have requested to come alonge with us hath declar’d some parte of their resolutions with us, and wee are resolved that wee will have the peace of the Kingedome if wee can, and yett notwithstanding if a furtheranceb for the manner of procuring of itt is what God shall direct unto us, I would nott have you judge that wee will deny that Light, till that you know what wee will doe. Noe man can judge soe of any man. A man cannott bee called to bee [of] a peremptory will or self willed, and and come resolved nolens volens [till you know what he will do]. Wee desire that better thoughts may bee of us.
I hope that these Gentlemen of the Five Regiments their ends are good, and hope their hearts doe tend to peace; and I shall move this, that they would willingly come to morrow, and joyne with us in our Councills together, and alsoe I shall humbly move, That after wee have sought God in the businesse, that God will make itt out to us, to see wherin wee have failed, and that their being with us, and our vigorous proceeding in itt, and these Gentlemen of the five Regiments they will manifest this by a sweete compliance in communicating Councils.
That which this Gentlemana hath moved I like exceeding well; hee hath fully declar’d himself concerning the freedome of their spiritt as to principles. In generall they aime att peace and safetie, and really I am perswaded in my conscience itt is their aime [to act] as may bee most for the good of the people, for really if that bee nott the supreame [aim]b of us under God, (the good of the people) our principles fall. Now if that bee in your spiritts and our spiritts, itt remaines onely that God shew us the way, and lead us [in] the way, which I hope hee will. And give mee leave [to add] that there may bee some prejudices uppon some of your spiritts, and [uppon] such men that doe affect your way, that they may have some jealousies and apprehensions that wee are wedded and glewed to formes of Governement; soe that whatsoever wee may pretend, itt is in vaine for [you] to speake to us, or to hope for any agreement from us to you. And I beleive some such apprehensions as [that we are engaged to] some parte of the Legislative power of the Kingdome, where itt may rest besides in the Commons of the Kingedome. You will finde that wee are farre from being so particularly engaged to anythinge to the prejudice of this—further then the notorious engagements that the world takes notice of—that wee should nott concurre with you that the foundation and supremacy is in the people, radically in them, and to bee sett downe by them in their representations.a And if wee doe soe [concur, we may also concur] for that that does remayne, how wee may run to that end that wee all aime att, and therfore lett us onely name the Committee.
Lieut. Col. Goffe.
You were pleased to say that somethinge which should bee offer’d by these Gentlemenb gave you another occasion of the Meeting, if itt were onely design’d to lie uppon you. I hope that you did nott conceive, that any such ground did lie in my brest. I would speake this worde to the quickening of us to a good hope. I am verily perswaded if God carry us out to meete sincerely, as with free spiritts to open ourselves before the Lord, wee may bee found going on according to his will. I desire such prejudices may bee laid aside.
A Meeting is intended to morrow; butt that wee may fully end, I would humbly offer to you whether these Gentlemen have a power to debate; and if they have nott, that they may have recourse to them that sent them, to see what [powers] they will give [them], that wee may offer our reasons and judgement uppon the thinge, and actc uppon that principle uppon which wee actc If wee unite and agree to itt, itt will putt on other thinges. An agreement formallyd made, wee must bee serious in itt, and to that end that wee may have a full debate in itt. Otherwise itt will bee uselesse and endlesse our meeting.
That Gentleman sayes hee will doe what hee can to draw all or the most of them hither to bee heard to morrow; and I desire Mr. Wildman, that if they have any freinds that are of a loving spiritt, that would contribute to this businesse of a right understanding [they would come with him]. And I say noe more butt this, I pray God judge betweene you and us when wee doe meete, whether wee come with engaged spiritts to uppehold our owne resolutions and opinions, or whether wee shall lay downe ourselves to bee rul’d [by Him] and that which hee shall communicate.
Hee did tell you hee would improve his interest, which is as full satisfaction to what Mr. Allen sayes as could bee, if they shall come nott to doe, butt I hope they will come to full power, nott to debate. I thinke there needes noe more.a
To conferre with the Agitators of the five regiments, and such gentlemen as shall come with them about the “Agreement” now brought in, and their own declarations and engagements.
Putney, October 29, 1647.
Att the Meeting of the officers for calling uppon God, according to the appointment of the Generall Councill, after some discourses of Commissary Cowling, Major White, and others.
Wee have bin heere as wee say seekeing of God, though truly hee is nott farre from every one of us; and wee have said in the presence of God, as out of his presence wee cannott goe, that wee have none in heaven in comparison of him, nor none wee have even in earth in comparison of him. I wish our hearts does nott give us the lie, for truly had that bin a truth, I meane a truth in our carriages, wee should nott have bin soe lost this day. Had wee given eare to the inspiring worde of Christ, and had nott given ourselves to the false prophett within us, certainly God would have kindled that light within us, and [we] should have gone [on] and submitted to his will; and should nott have bin troubled or harassed as wee are with troubles and amazements, butt must have gone with God as hee hath allotted to us. What is the reason that wee finde the light and glory of God eclypsed from our eyes this day? Truly wee may finde this silence within us the cause of every evil sought after;a and lett us butt search our owne spiritts with patience, and looke by the lightb of God within us, and wee shall finde that wee have submitted the spiritt of God unto the candle of reason, whereas reason should have bin subservient unto the spiritt of God. Wee are troubled when our owne reasons tell us, that this is the way, and wee are careless to seeke the way, or that true light Christ in us which is the way. Wee are apt to say, all of us, that if wee seeke thatc first, the later first, the firstd will nott bee wanting; butt truly, wee have sought the first last, and therfore the first is wanting, and before this light can take place againe that darkenesse must bee removed. And first within us our lust, that candle of reason,a which doth seduce and intice us to wander from God, must bee eaten out of us by the spiritt of God, and when there is noe place for lust, there is place enough for the spiritt of God. If wee shall with resolutions and humility of spiritt nott say, butt doe, as the children of Israell used to doe many times when they were in distresse—many times they cryed unto the Lord—if wee shall doe as wee professe before God this day, that is, lay downe our reason, lay downe our goods, lay downe all wee have att the feete of God and lett God worke his will in us that wee may bee buried with God in our spiritts; I doubt nott butt the appearances of God will bee more glorious, and I doubt nott butt there will bee that contentednesse in spiritt. Wee should desire noe way, butt waite which way God will lead us. I say, wee should chuse noe way, butt if the spiritt of God lead us, wee should bee ready to submitt to the will of God. And therfore I desire, that, since this is in order to another meeting in the afternoone, wee may lay downe all att the feete of God, nott following our owne reasons, butt submitting unto that light which is lightened in us by his spirit.
After this Capt. Carter prayed.
Adj. Gen. Deane.
Motion for a Meeting att this place, the Quartermaster Generall’s Quarters, to meete Munday, the Councill day, from 8 till 11, to seeke God, &c.
Lieut. Col. Goffe.b
That which I must now desire to expresse to you was partly occasioned by the thoughts that I had the last night, as being indeed kept awake with them a good while; and, hearing somethinge that did concurre with itt from one that spake since wee came together, I feele some weight uppon my spiritt to expresse itt to you. That which was spoken enow [was] concerning the conjunction that is betweene Antichrist, or that mistery of iniquity in the world carried on by men that call themselves [the] church, thata certainly itt is with the conjunction of men in places of power or aucthority in the world, with kinges and great men. And truly my thoughts were much uppon itt this night, and itt appeares to me very clearly from that which God hath sett downe in his worde in the Booke of the Revelations,—which is that worde that wee are bid and commanded to study and to looke into, being the worde which God sent by his Angell to John to declare as thinges shortly to bee done. Now certainly this worke of Antichrist hath bin a worke of great standing, and, as itt was well observ’d, itt hath bin mixt with the church, and men that call themselves the church, the clergie, mixt with men of aucthoritie. Itt is said in the Revelation, that the kinges of the earth should give uppe their power unto the Beast, and the kinges of the earth have given uppe their power to the Pope. Butt some places that have seem’d to deny the Pope’s supremacy, yett they have taken uppon them that which hath bin equivalent to that which the Pope himself holds forth. Truly I could bringe itt to this present Kingedome wherin wee are. ’Tis true the kinges have bin instruments to cast off the Pope’s supremacy, butt wee may see if they have nott putt themselves into the same state.b Wee may see itt in that title which the kinge hath, “Defender of the Faith,” butt more especially in that canonicall prayer which the clergie used, “In all causes, and over all persons as well Ecclesiasticall as Civill [supreme].” Certainly, this is a mistery of iniquity. Now Jesus Christ his worke in the last dayes is to destroy this mistery of iniquity; and because itt is so interwoven and intwisted in the interest of States, certainly in that overthrow of the mistery of iniquity by Jesus Christ, there must bee great alterations of states. Now the worde doth hold out in the Revelation, that in this worke of Jesus Christ hee shall have a companie of Saints to follow him, such as are chosen, and called, and faithfull.a Now itt is a scruple amonge the saints, how farre they should use the sworde, yett God hath made use of them in that worke. Many of them have bin imployed these five or six yeares. Yett whatsoever God shall imploy us in, I could wish this were laid to heart by us, that, as wee would bee called the chosen and faithfull that will follow Christ wheresoever hee goes, lett us tremble att the thought that wee should bee standing in a direct opposition against Jesus Christ in the worke that hee is about. Lett us nott bee twisted amongst such kinde of compartinges where there shall bee a mystery of iniquity sett uppe by outward power, and that wee should bee the instruments of giving any life or strength to that power. And I wish [we may lay this to heart], and I beleive itt may somewhat tend to the worke by the way; because wee are to hold out the will of God for the time to come, and to bee humbled for what wee have done against itt. Lett us inquire whether some of the actions that wee have done of late, some of the thinges that wee have propounded of late, doe nott crosse the worke of God in these particulars; because in our proposing thinges wee doe indeavour to sett uppe that power which God would nott sett uppe againe. Itt hath bin hinted already. I meane in our compliance with that partie which God hath ingaged us to destroy. Wee intended nothing butt civility, butt I wish they were nott in some measure compliances; and if I mistake nott there are ways which God hath laid open to us, wherby wee may lay aside that compliance.
Butt this is nott all that I would speake, because God hath called forth my spiritt to unity. What wee doe according to the will of God will nott tend to division. This I speake concerning compliance may bee thought to reflect uppon some particular persons more then other some, soe on the other hand I desire to speake somethinge that may concerne some persons that may stand, or att least may seeme to stand, in direct opposition to us; and truly I wish wee may bee very wary what wee doe, and lett us take heede of rejecting any of the saints of God before God rejects them. If God bee pleased to shew any of his servants that hee hath made use of as great instruments in his hand as those that God hath blest in them, that God hath blest them, and this hath bin the greatest instrument of the ruine of sin and corruption in this Army. Lett us bee wary and consider what wee have to doe in that kinde; and I spake this the rather because I was sensible of some personall reflections that did nott argue the workinges of God [so much] as the workinges of passions in us. Now the worke of the spiritt is, that wee doe pull downe all workes [not] of the spiritt whatsoever; and therfore I desire that as in the presence of God wee may take heede of all thinges which may tend to dissunion, and that wee may nott despise those who may have some thinges in their hands to contribute for the worke of God. And there is another thinge: if wee have lost the opportunity of appearing against enemies, lett us take heede, when wee bee sensible of God’s displeasure, that wee doe nott run before hee bids us goe a 2d time. There is a place which is very remarkable, Numbers xiv., where the spies were sent to the Land of Canaan; and when they came back the hearts of the people were discouraged. God was displeased att this, and hee discover’d itt in some such way as hee did this day. Uppon a suddaine there was a partie that would goe uppe, and fight against the Amalekites; and att such a time when God would nott have them goe uppe. “Though you did sin against the Lord in nott going att first,” sayes Moses, “yett goe nott now uppe, for the Lord is nott amonge you, that yee bee nott smitten before your enemies.”a Yett they did goe uppe unto the Hill Toppe, and were discomfited. I thinke wee have sinned in that wee did nott shew our courage and faithfulnesse to God. Lett us nott now in a kinde of heate run uppe and say, “wee will goe now;” because itt may bee there is a better opportunity that God will give us. And that wee may a little helpe us by our owne experiences, lett us remember how God hath dealt with this Army in our late proceedinges. There was some heavinesse in our proceedinges before the Citty,a as was thought by some; and itt was said by many, “Goe uppe, Goe uppe quicklie, and doe our worke.” Butt lett us remember that God found a better season for us, then if wee had gone att first. Lett us consider whether this bee the best juncture of time for us to declare, and to throw off some of our freinds, when that they would have itt discover’d whetherb God goes alonge with us. Lett this bee consider’d, that soe wee may bee humbled on the one hand, and breake off all unlawfull compliance with the enemies of God, soe on the other hand wee may stay, and take the company one of another, or rather the presence of God, [alonge with us]. And soe for the worke of the day, I wish there may bee a day of union amongst us; for itt may bee itt is the will of God that wee should waite uppon him therin to see what will bee the issue of a businesse that is now transacted; and if wee can trust God in this strait wee shall see him straight before us, if wee can bee of one minde. I wish this may bee consider’d, and if there be anythinge of God in itt, itt may be received.
This honourable Councill hath given mee great incouragement. Though I have many impediments in my speach, yett I thanke you that you will heare mee speake. I engaged myself yesterday to bringe the men to have a debatc, and for that purpose I have prosecuted these my promises, and I have bin with them as many as I can finde; butt the most of them are dispersed, soe that I lost that opportunity which I would have enjoyed; butt neverthelesse I hope you will take itt kindlie, that those that were there are come hither, and those two freinds that were with mee yesterday. Our ends are that wee desire yett once more a compliance in those thinges that wee propounded to you, butt if itt shall please God to open our eyes that wee can see itt, wee shall comply with you. For our desires are nothing butt (according to our first Declaration,)a to follow our worke to deliver the Kingedome from that burthen that lies uppon us. For my parte I am butt a poore man, and unacquainted with the affaires of the Kingedome, yett this message God hath sent mee to you, that there is great expectation of suddaine destruction; and I would bee loath to fill uppe that with words. Wee desire your joynct consent to seeke out some speedy way for the releif of the Kingedome.
I thinke itt would nott bee amisse that those Gentlemen that are come would draw nigher.
I must offer this to your consideration, whether or noe wee, having sett aparte this morning to seeke God, and to gett such a preparednesse of heart and spiritt as might receive that, that God was minded to have imparted to us, and this having taken uppe all our time, all this day, and itt having bin soe late this last night as indeed itt was when wee brake uppe, and wee having appointed a committee to meete together to consider of that paper, and this Committee having had noe time or opportunity that I know of, nott soe much as a meeting, I make some scruple or doubt whether or noe itt is nott better,—[I know] that danger is imagined [near at hand], and indeed I thinke itt is,—butt bee the danger what itt will, our agreement in the businesse is much more [pressing] then the pressing of any danger, soe by that wee doe nott delay too.—That which I have to offer [is], whether or noe wee are [as] fitt to take uppe such a consideracion of these papers now as wee might bee to-morrow. Perhaps if these Gentlemen, which are butt few, and that Committee should meete together, and spend their time together an houre or two the remainder of this afternoone, and all this company might meete about 9 or 10 a clock att furthest, and they [might] understand one another soe well, as wee might bee prepared for the generall meeting to have a more exact and particular consideration of thinges then [we can have] by a generall loose debate of thinges, which our Committee or att least manya of us have [not] had any, or att least nott many thoughts about.
Sir. I am sorry that the ill disposition of my body caused mee to goe to London last night, and [hindered me] from coming soe soone this morning as to bee with you in the duty you were about. Butt I hope that which hath bin said att this time, which I hope is a truth and sent from God, will soe worke uppon mee that I shall indeavour att least to carry my self soe that I may use all that interest I have to a right and quick understanding betweene us. And truly, Sir, to that present motion that hath bin made I confesse I have nothing against itt, butt onely the danger that lies uppon us; which truly (if wee may have leave to differ one from another) may in a moment overcome [us]. I hope wee shall all take one worde that was spoken to us by Lieut. Col. Goffe, and I thinke that nothing will conduce soe much [to union as] that wee may have noe personall reflections. I thinke itt would have bin well if the Committee had mett, butt since all this company, or the greatest parte of them that have bin heere, have joyn’d in that duty which was on the former parte of the morning, I thinke there is nott much inconveniency that they may spend the other parte of the day with us. [That] if wee were satisfied ourselves uppon debate, and there should bee one partie, or one sort of men that are of a contrary judgement present, or others that should come over to us, itt would heerafter cost some time to know the reasons of their coming over. Therfore I thinke itt an advantage that it should bee as publique, and as many as may bee present att itt. The debating this thus publiquely may bee an advantage unto us, and if wee finde ata after the multitude of people that are heere (that have bin spoken to) if wee finde that inconvenient, I doe nott doubt butt the Committee, when this company breakes uppe, may have two houres time together. Therefore I should desire, that since the Gentlemen and you are mett together to such an end and purpose, that you will follow to that end.
That itt is not [fit] as I conceive to dispute any thing touching particulars, for all as I conceive doe seeke the kingedome’s good. Lett us goe about the work, noe question butt we shall goe together. Butt if wee stand disputing the worke, much business will be. I desire this honourable Councill will pardon mee to make out some speedy way for the easing of us. I beseech you that you will let us now consider uppon that. I believe wee shall jumpe all in one with itt. If wee doe nott fall upon some extraordinary wayes between—Some lawes with us that will prick us to the heart, wee must winke att them, nott that I desire that wee should seeke to ruinate any wholesome lawes, butt such as will nott stand with the wholesome peace of the Kingedome.b
I shall desire to second that Gentleman’s motion. That while wee debate wee doe nothing. I am confident that whilest you are doing you will all agree together, for itt is idlenesse that hath begott this rust, and this gangreene amongst us.
I thinke itt is true. Lett us bee doing, butt lett us bee united in our doing. If there remayne nothing else butt present action,a I thinke wee neede nott bee in Councill heere.a Butt if wee doe nott rightly and clearly understand one another before wee come to act, if wee doe nott lay a foundation of action before wee doe act, I doubt whether wee shall act unanimously or noe. And seriously, as before the Lord, I knew noe such end of our speech the last night, and appointing another Meeting, butt in order to a more perfect understanding of one another, what wee should doe, and that wee might bee agreed uppon some principalls of action. And truly if I remember rightly, uppon the delivery of the paper that was yesterday, this was offer’d, that the thinges [that] are now uppon us are thinges of difficulty, the thinges are therfore thinges that doe deserve consideration, because there might bee great weight in the consequences; and itt was then offer’d, and I hope is still soe in all our hearts, that wee are nott troubled with the consideration of the difficulty, nor with the consideration of any thinge butt this; that if wee doe difficult thinges wee may see that the thinges wee doe have the will of God in them, that they are nott onely plausible and good thinges but seasonable and honest thinges fitt for us to doe. And therfore itt was desir’d that wee might consider, before wee could come to these papers, in what condition wee stood in respect of former Engagements, however some may bee satisfied that there lie none uppon us, or none butt such as itt’s duty to breake, itt’s sin to keepe. Therefore that was yesterday premised [that] there may bee a consideration had of them—and I may speake itt as in the presence of God that I know nothing of any Engagements, butt I would see liberty in any man as I would bee free from bondage to any thinge that should hinder mee from doing my duty—and therfore that was first in consideration. If our obligation bee nothing, or if itt bee weake, I hope itt will receive satisfaction why itt should bee laid aside, that the thinges that wee speake of are nott obliged. And therfore if itt please you I thinke itt will bee good for us to frame our discourse to what wee were, where wee are, what wee are bound to, what wee are free to; and then I make noe question, butt that this may conclude what is betweene these Gentlemen in one afternoone. I doe nott speake this to make obligations more then what they were before; butt as before the Lord. You see what they are,a and when wee looke uppon them wee shall see ifb we have bin in a wronge way, and I hope itt will call uppon us for the more double diligence.
I shall desire a word or two before that. I did exceedingly mistake myself the last night that uppon what wee say now was determined.c I look’t uppon the Committee as a Committee to looke over this paper, to see whether itt were a paper that did hold forth justice and righteousnesse, whether itt were a paper that honest men could close with. Butt truly I am of opinion that if wee should spend ten dayes time in going over that Booke, and debate what Engagements wee have broke, or whether wee have broke any or noe, or whether we have kept our Engagements, itt would nott come to the businesse, neither would itt prevent that evill that I thinke will overtake us before wee fall into the right way,d unlesse God in abundant manner prevent;—and I could give you reasons for itt which this day I have from very good hands, and which I think is not prudent to declare soe publicly as this is.—Lett us goe the quickest way to worke; and truly, Sir, I have thought that the wounds of the Kingedome, and the difficulties that wee are falne into, and our cure is become soe great that wee would bee willing all of us to heale the sore, and [not] to skin itt over butt leave itt unwholesome and corrupt att the bottome. Therefore for my parte I doe conclude in my spiritt, for my owne parte I [did] say this yesterday uppon another occasion, I will nott say positively that wee are to take the course prescribed in that paper att present, butt if wee doe nott sett uppon the worke—Since in order to that there is a thinge call’d an Agreement which the people have subscribed, and being that is ready to our hands, I desire that you would reade itt and debate itt, whether itt bee a way to deliver us yett or noe; and if itt bee . . . . [that you would accept it], and if nott that you would thinke of some other way.
I shall butt offer this to you. Truly I hope that wee may speake our hearts freelie heere; and I hope that there is nott such an evill amongst us as that wee could or would exercise our witts, or our cunning to vaile over any doublenesse of heart that may possibly bee in us. I hope, having bin in such a presence as wee have bin this day, wee doe nott admitt of such a thought as this into our hearts. And therfore if the speaking of that wee did speake before, and to which I shall speake againe, with submission to all that heare mee — if the declining to consider this paper may have with any man a workinga uppon his spiritt through any jealousie that itt aimes att delay; truly I can speake itt as before the Lord itt is nott att all in my heart, butt sincerely this is the ground of itt. I know this paper doth contayne many good thinges in itt, butt this is the onely thinge that doth stick with mee, the desiring to know my freedome to this thinge. Though this doth suggest that that may bee the bottome of all our evills—and I will nott say against itt because I doe nott thinke against itt—though this doth suggest the bottome of all our evills, yett for all of us to see our selves free to this [so] as wee may unanimously joyne uppon this, either to agree to this, or to adde more to itt, [or] to alter [it] as wee shall agree, this impediment lies in our way, [even] if every man bee satisfied with itt butt my self. That this is the first thinge that is to bee consider’d, that wee should consider in what condition wee stand to our former obligations, that if wee bee cleare wee may goe off cleare, if nott wee may nott goe on. If I bee nott come off [clear] with what obligations are made, if I bee nott free to act to whatsoever you shall agree uppon, I thinke this is my duty: that I should nott in the least study either to retard your worke or hinder itt, or to act against itt, butt wish you as much successe as if I were free to act with you. I desire wee may view over our obligations and Engagements, that soe wee may bee free [to act together] uppon honest and cleare grounds, if this bee [possible].
My desire — (Col. Rainborow offering to speake.)
I have butt one worde to prevent you in, and that is for imminent danger. Itt may bee possibly soe [imminent] that [it] may nott admitt of an houres debate, nor nothing of delay. If that bee soe, I thinke that’s above all law and rule to us.
I would offer one worde, for I thinke this will bringe us to noe issue att all. Both yesterday and to-day, and divers times, wee have had cautions given us to have care of divisions. I doe speake itt to avoide devision; that wee may nott att this time consider the Engagements. If you, or any other Gentlemen, are of opinion that you have nott broke them, and then some others are of opinion that you have broke them, wee may fall into contests which may occasion devision. Butt if you reade this, and finde it not against the Engagement, that will bee the worke. If it be nott against the Engagement, you will finde that in itt which you will finde from your Engagements, and I have somethinge to say to the particulars in itt.
I shall onely offer this, the necessity of expedition if the people shall consider the necessities that they and we are in. Wee live now uppon free-quarter, and wee have that against our wills.a Those that know what belonges to Armies well know, none are to quarter souldiers, butt those that are within soe many miles; and if soe bee too that the owner of the house should refuse to open his doores wee are prevented to pay our quarters by those that might have supplyed us. I have seene this paper, and uppon second reading of itt I sett my hand to itt, that wee may nott lie as drones to devoure their families. I am ready where I am called by my superiours. If nott, the Lord bee mercifull to mee.
I should offer one worde to this Councill: I thinke itt is in all our mindes to deliver the Kingdome; if there bee particular engagements wee must lay them downe to lay downe publique good.
I desire to know what the Gentleman meanes concerning particular Engagements; if hee meanes those that are in this Booke? If those that are in this booke [they are the engagements of the Army]. Butt if hee meanes Engagements personall from particular persons, lett every man speake for himselfe. I speake for myself, I disavowe all, and I am free to act, free from any such —
I conceive that [if] they bee such as are past by the Representativec of the Army, I thinke the Army is bound in conscience to goe on with them.
All the Engagements that have bin declar’d for have bin by the Representative of the Army, and whether or noe that hath nott bin the cause of this cloude that hanges over our heads. I thinke if wee lay our hands over our hearts wee may nott much mistake itt.
According to your Honours desires yesterday, I am come in heere to give in my reasons why I doe approve of this paper, this Agreement, [and] to receive reasons why itt should nott bee agreed to. For the particular Engagements of the Army I am ignorant of them, butt, if itt please this Councill to lett this bee read, that either the matter or manner of itt may bee debated; and when any of the matter shall come to touch uppon any Engagement so as to breake any Engagement, that then the Engagement may bee showne; and if that Engagement shall prove just, and this unjust, this must bee rejected, or if this just, and these Engagements unjust [then they must be rejected]. I desire all those that are free from itt in their spiritts may act farther; and those that thinke themselves bound uppe soea to acquiesce in itt, as that they would bee pleased to rest satisfied in the actions of other men that are att libertie to act for the peace and freedome of the Kingedome.
Truly I would, if I did know of any personall, particular Engagements, if I were personally or particularly engaged myself, which I professe, as in the presence of God, I know nott for myself.b I myself am nott under any Engagement in relation to that businesse that the great Question lies uppon—I neede nott name itt—more then what all men know that have seene and read, and in the Armie consented to, those thinges that were published. Butt if I were under any particular Engagement, itt should nott att all stand in any other man’s way. If I were under [any particular engagement] I say, that I could bee convinc’t of was ill and unlawfull for mee to enter into, my Engagement should nott stand in any other man’s way that would doe any thinge that I could bee convinc’t of to bee better. And till God hath brought us all to that temper of spiritt that wee can bee contented to bee nothing in our reputations, [in our] esteemes, in our power—truly I may goe a little higher and say, till the reputation and honour of the Army and such thinges become nothing to us, nott soe as to [let] the consideration of them, to stand att all in the way to hinder us from what wee see God calling us to, or to prompt us on to what wee have nott a cleare call from him—wee are nott brought to that temper wherin I can expect any renewing of that presence of God that wee have sought. Therfore for my parte I professe first, I desire noe [particular] Engagements [may be considered]. If there were particular Engagements of any particular man whatsoever, as to the leading of the Army one way or other, I desire they may nott bee consider’d; butt lett that man looke to himself for what justice lies uppon him, and what justice will follow him. Neither doe I care for the Engagements of the Army soe much for the Engagementsa sake, butt I looke uppon this Army as having carried with itt hitherto the name of God, and having carried with it hitherto the interest of the people of God, and the interest which is God’s interest, the honour of his name, the good, and freedome, and safetie, and happinesse of his people. And for my parte I thinke that itt is that that is the onely thinge for which God hath appeared with us, and led us, and gone before us, and honoured us, and taken delight to worke by us. I say, that very thinge, that wee have carried the name of God, and I hope nott in shew butt in reallity, professing to act, and to worke, as wee have thought in our judgements and consciences, [with] God to lead us; professing to act to those ends that wee have thought to bee answerable and suitable to the minde of God, soe farre as itt hath bin knowne to us. Wee have professed to indeavour to follow the councells of God, and to have him President in our Councills; and I hope itt hath bin soe in our hearts. That wee have bin ready to follow his guidance; and I know itt hath bin soe in many thinges against our owne reasons, where wee have seene evidently God calling us. That wee have bin carried on with a confidence in him, wee have made him our trust, and wee have held forth his name, and wee have owned his hand towards us. These are the thinges I say which God hath in some degree and measure wrought his people in this Army uppe to, in some degree of sincerity; and this itt is, as I said before, that I account hath bin [the cause] that God hath taken delight in, amongst us, to dwell with us, to bee with us, and to appeare with us, and will manifest his presence to us. And therefore by this meanes, and by that appearance of God amongst us, the name and honour of God, the name and reputation of the people of God, and of that Gospell that they professe, is deeply, and dearly, and nearly concern’d in the good or ill manage of this Army, in their good or ill carriage; and therefore for my parte I professe itt, that’s the onely thinge to mee. [It is] nott to mee soe much as the vainest, or lightest thinge you can imagine, whether there bee a kinge in England, or noe, whether there bee Lords in England or noe. For whatever I finde the worke of God tending to I should desire quietly to submitt to. If God saw itt good to destroy, nott only Kinge and Lords, butt all distinctions of degrees—nay if itt goe further, to destroy all property, that there’s noe such thinge left, that there bee nothing att all of Civill Constitution left in the Kingedome—if I see the hand of God in itt I hope I shall with quietnesse acquiesce, and submitt to itt, and nott resist itt. Butt still I thinke that God certainly will soe leade those that are his, and I hope too hee will soe lead this Army that they may nott incurre sin, or bring scandall uppon the name of God, and the name of the people of God that are both soe neerly concern’d in what this Army does. And therefore itt is my wish, uppon those grounds that I before declar’d which made the consideration of this Army deare and tender to mee,a that wee may take heede, [that] wee consider first Engagements, soe farre as they are Engagements publiquely of the Army. I doe nott speake of particular [engagements] I would nott have them consider’d, if there bee any. And secondly I would have us consider of this: that our wayes and workinges and actinges, and the actings of the Army, soe farre as the Councills of those prevaile in itt who have anythinge of the spiritt of Jesus Christ may appeare suitable to that spiritt. And as I would not have this Army in relation to those great concernements (as I said before) the honour of God, and the honour and good name of his people and of religion, as I would nott have itt to incurre the scandall of neglecting Engagements, and laying aside all consideration of Engagements, and of jugling, and deceiving, and deluding the world, making them beleive thinges in times of extreamity which they never meant, soe I would nott have us to give the world occasion to thinke that wee are the disturbers of the peace of mankinde. I say, I would nott give them just occasion to thinke soe; nay I would have them have just cause to thinke that wee seeke peace with all men, and wee seeke the good of all men, and wee seeke the destruction of none that wee can say; and in generall I would wish and study, and that my hearte is bent to, that the Councills of this Army may appeare acted by that wisedome that is from above, which wee know how itt is charact’d. Itt is first pure, and then peaceable, and then gentle, and easie to bee intreated, and wee finde many characters of the same wisedome, and other fruites of the same spiritt that all still run clearlie that way. Therefore I say, I wish that wee may have noe otherwise a consideration of Engagements or any thinge of that nature. That which makes mee presse itt is cheiflie, that consideracion of the concernement of the honour of God and his people in the Army; and as I prize them soe I pressa that in all things whatsoever, though wee were free and had noe Engagements, we doe act as Christians, as men guided by the spiritt of God, as men having that wisedome [that is] from above, and [is] soe characteriz’d.
To the method of our proceeding. Having exprest what I desire may bee all our cares, I cannott but thinke that this will bee clearest, because I see it is soe much prest and insisted uppon: nott [to go]b to read what our Engagements are, butt [to] read the paper that is presented heere, and consider uppon it, what good, and what matter of justice and righteousnesse there is in itt, and whether there bee anythinge of injustice or unrighteousnesse, either in itt self, or in reference to our Engagements. Soe farre I thinke our Engagements ought to bee taken into consideration: that soe farre as wee are engaged to a thinge that was nott unlawfull to engage to, and I should bee sad to thinke them soe, wee should thinke ourselves bound nott to act contrary to those Engagements. And that wee may consider of the particulars of this paper, first, whether they bee good and just, that is, nott ill, nott unjust; and then further to consider whether they bee soe essentially due and right as that they should bee contended for, for then that is some kinde of checke to lesse Engagements; and for such thinges, if wee finde any, light Engagements [may] bee cast off and nott consider’d.c Butt if wee finde any matter in them that, though itt bee just, though itt bee good, is nott probable to bee soe beneficiall and advantageous, nott to few, butt to many, that withall wee may consider whether itt bee soe much a duty, and wee bee soe much bound to itt by the thinge itt self as that noe Engagement can take us from itt. Andd if wee finde any thinges that, if they bee just or good, [are] yett nott soe obligatorie or of [such] necessity to the Kingedome, [but that] the Kingedome may stand without them, then I thinke itt being [so] nott absolutely lawfull to act for them.
I desire wee may come to that end wee all strive after. I humbly desire you will fall uppon that which is the Engagement of all, which is the rights and freedomes of the people, and lett us see how farre wee have made sure to them a right and freedome, and if any thinge bee tendred as to that. And when that Engagement is gone through then lett us consider of those that are of greater weight.
[a ]A portion of an answer of the agitators to the charge of attempting to divide the Army is given by Rushworth, viii., 857.
[b ]Wildman and Petty.
[a ]MS. “desiring.”
[b ]MS. “your expectations and my engagements.”
[c ]MS., two lines below, gives “we have here men on purpose.”
[a ]The answer of the agitators here mentioned is evidently the document known as “the Agreement of the People,” as the contents of Cromwell’s speech prove, and the reference made to it by name by Ireton on p. 244. It is printed in Rushworth, viii., 859. It demands, (1) Equal electoral districts. (2) The dissolution of the Long Parliament on September 30, 1648. (3) Biennial Parliaments to be elected every March and sit for five months. (4) The limitation of the powers of future parliaments so as to guarantee complete toleration; a full indemnity for acts done during the late public differences, and good and equal laws. In one point it attacks the privileges of the peerage, demanding “That in all laws made, or to be made, every person may be bound alike, and that tenure, estates, charter, degree, birth, or place, do not confer any exception from the ordinary course of legal proceedings, whereunto others are subjected.” In conclusion it protests against the proposed treaty with the King. “These things we declare to be our native rights, and therefore are agreed and resolved to maintain them with our utmost possibilities, against all opposition whatsoever; being compelled thereunto, not only by the examples of our ancestors, whose blood was often spent in vain for the recovery of their freedoms, suffering themselves, through fraudulent accommodations, to be still deluded of the fruit of their victory, but also by our own woful experience, who having long expected, and dearly earned the establishment of those certain rules of government, are yet made to depend for the settlement of our peace and freedom upon him that intended our bondage, and brought a cruel war upon us.”
[a ]MS. “that.”
[a ]MS. “and.”
[b ]Clause transposed.
[a ]May be paraphrased, “which paper I am confident if your hearts be upright as ours you do not bring with peremptoriness of mind, etc.” The words “if we should come to anything” seem to belong to the previous clause.
[a ]MS. “it.”
[a ]The text should probably run, “as to concur with the framers of this book.”
[b ]In “The Case of the Army” it was asserted “that the Army’s Engagement, Representations, Declarations, and Remonstrances, and promises in them contained, are declined, and more and more dayly broken, and not only in some smaller matters wherein the Army and Kingdom are not neerly concerned, but in divers particulars of dangerous consequence to the Army and the whole nation.” Ten points in which these engagements had been broken were then enumerated.
[a ]MS. “finding.”
[a ]i.e., “The soldier agitators contrasted with those who did not belong to the Army.”
[a ]Rainborowe had been added to the Committee of the Navy on 9 September, 1647, and appointed Vice-Admiral on September 27. (Commons’ Journals, v., 297, 318.) On October 2 the Commons voted that he should be at once despatched to sea, and on October 8 that he should be commander-in-chief of the ships appointed for the winter guard. (Ibid., 324, 328.) On September 29 the committee of general officers voted that Deane should succeed to the command of Rainborowe’s regiment when the latter went to sea, which seems to be one of the causes of the discontent shown in Rainborowe’s speech. Cromwell and Rainborowe had before this fallen out on the question of treating with the King. A news-letter of September 20 (Clarendon MS. 2577) says, “The Parliament is not well pleased with the Army’s proposals, and the Army is as much displeased with them for disliking them; and upon Thursday last there was a resolution amongst them to send to the Houses that they should treat with the King upon the proposals. High language passed at the Council of War between Cromwell and Rainsborough, so high that Rainsborough told him that one of them must not live.”
[a ]i.e., “All the good laws we now enjoy were innovations once, and intrenchments on the rights of the King or the Lords.”
[a ]MS. “itt.”
[b ]i.e., “if our engagements are unrighteous.”
[c ]Perhaps Cromwell means “though the engagement may be unrighteous, and it may be good in the abstract to break it, circumstances may render it scandalous to do so now.”
[a ]Clause transposed.
[a ]Cromwell’s dread of division is commented on in Berkeley’s Memoirs, Masere’s Tracts, i., 364.
[a ]The sense requires, “to replace it by a new engagement.”
[a ]enow. Halliwell gives “enow” as meaning even now and “anowe” as “now.”
[b ]Goffe perhaps was referring to what took place on October 7, when the Council “gave audience to an High German, who pretended to be a prophet, and would prescribe a way for the settling of a firm and lasting peace.” Rushworth, viii. 836.
[a ]The sentence should probably read thus: “Public departings from God (if there be any such thing in the Army that is to be looked upon with a public eye in relation to the Army) are the fruits of unbelief and distrust; and though I think that public actings (i.e. public prayer meetings) do more publicly engage God to vindicate his honour by a departing from them that do so, still I think the main thing is,” etc.
[a ]After Cromwell quitted the Parliament, says Berkeley, “his chief dependence was on the Army, which he endeavoured by all means to keep in unity; and if he could not bring it to his sense, he, rather than suffer any division in it, went over himself and carried his friends with him into that way which the Army did choose.” Masere’s Tracts, p. 364.
[b ]In this speech of Cromwell’s the position of several clauses has been altered with a view to clearing the sense.
[c ]The two halves of this sentence have been transposed.
[a ]Wildman refers to the principles laid down in the Declaration of the Army, of June 14, 1647.
[a ]MS. “I thinke if.”
[a ]M.S. “What you apply to this paper.”
[b ]MS. “ours.”
[a ]MS. “hee.”
[a ]“nott” is here omitted, and the words “in case I did not perform it” are transposed from four lines below.
[b ]MS. “though I bee bound by my engagement nott to perform itt.”
[c ]MS. “are.”
[a ]Clause transferred from the line below.
[b ]Past amending.
[a ]MS. “stearne.”
[b ]MS. “men.”
[a ]Transferred from a lower line.
[b ]“They,” i.e. the representatives of the five regiments and the agents of the Londoners.
[a ]MS. “the liberty of a free liberty.”
[b ]The last two words transferred from three lines before.
[c ]MS. “that they,” i.e. Cromwell and the Council. The reporter changes into oratio obliqua for a moment.
[a ]Four words transferred from the previous line.
[b ]MS. “noe wonder.”
[a ]MS. “butt this engagement is of another nature, but wheras it is told.”
[b ]MS. “man.”
[c ]Rainborow’s argument may be thus paraphrased, though his actual words are hopelessly confused:
[a ]MS. “whence.”
[a ]Perhaps “to engage us to that which may tend to the destruction of others.”
[b ]Four words transferred from two lines below.
[a ]The report is so fragmentary that it is difficult to follow Ireton’s argument. It seems to me to be this. “If your compliance to the meeting we desire means a meeting for mutual satisfaction and not one in which you are to give us the law, we ought to discuss then the question whether our engagements are of the kind you say. But it seems to me that the only ground on which you base your demands is that your ‘Agreement’ is so clear, so just, and so right that there is no need to discuss it. However, if you will come to the meeting, we shall be able to examine into your ‘Agreement,’ and therefore I hope you will come and allow us to discuss it.”
[a ]Merriman’s argument seems to be something like this:
[b ]Probably should be “further answer” or “further guidance.”
[a ]i.e. “Buffcoat.”
[b ]MS. good.
[a ]Some people believe we are engaged to maintain the authority of the House of Lords. Waller asserts that Cromwell and Ireton privately entered into an engagement to maintain the rights of the House of Lords in August, 1647, when the nine Lords joined the Army. Vindication, p. 192.
[b ]Clause transposed.
[d ]MS. “formerly.”
[a ]May be paraphrased: “I hope they will come, if they shall come, with full power not to debate only but to do.”
[a ]Clause transferred from three lines above.
[b ]MS. “candle.”
[c ]i. e. “the way.”
[d ]i. e. “the light.”
[a ]M.S. “that candle of reason, and that first within us our lust.”
[b ]Goffe was one of the most enthusiastic of the Army leaders, and resembled the Fifth Monarchy men in his views.
[a ]MS. “yett.”
[b ]i. e. “into the place of the Pope.”
[a ]See Revelation, chaps. xvii., xviii., xix., xx., especially chap. xvii., verses 13, 14.
[a ]Numbers, xiv., 41, 42.
[a ]Goffe refers to the debate of July 16, pp. 176-211.
[b ]MS. “that.”
[c ]Everard was evidently the trooper before referred to as “buff-coat.” Robert Everard of Cromwell’s regiment was one of the signatories of the “Letter to the freeborn people of England,” published with the agreement. There were several Everards in the Army, v. Reliquiae Baxterianae, p. 78.
[a ]The Army’s Declaration of June 14, 1647.
[a ]MS. “any.”
[a ]MS. “that.”
[b ]In the MS. Everard’s speech is extremely confused, as fragments of different sentences are mixed together. Three clauses have been moved.
[a ]The MS. inserts after “action,” “I meane doing in that kind, doing in that sort,” and after “heere,” “such kind of action, action of that nature.”
[a ]Cromwell at this point seems to have produced the book of Army Declarations, printed by Matthew Simmons in September, 1647.
[b ]MS. “that.”
[c ]i. e. “that which you say now was then determined upon.”
[d ]Transferred from two lines below.
[a ]MS. “worke.”
[a ]See the Case of the Army Truly Stated, p. 9.
[b ]Can hardly be Major Francis White, as he had been expelled from the Council.
[c ]The Representative of the Army, i. e., the General Council established in pursuance of the Engagement of June 5, 1647, consisting of those general officers who had concurred in that engagement together with two commission officers and two privates for each regiment.
[a ]MS. “soe as to acquiesce in it.”
[b ]MS. “for I know nott myself.”
[a ]MS. “Armie’s.”
[a ]Two lines moved from the previous sentence, and several words omitted.
[a ]MS. “prize all wheresoever.”
[b ]MS. “going.”
[c ]The last sixteen words are transferred from six lines lower.
[d ]MS. “but.”