Front Page Titles (by Subject) General Councill 5 Jan. 1648 att Whitehall. - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 2
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General Councill 5 Jan. 1648 att Whitehall. - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 2 
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, 1894). 4 vols.
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General Councill 5 Jan. 1648 att Whitehall.
Elizabeth Poole who came from Abington call’d in.
Having bin by the pleasure of the Most High made sensible of the many grievances of this land, and of the great trust putt into your hands, I have had some cause indeed of jealousies least you might (through the manifold temptations which will easily besett you) betray your trusts. I know I speake to some amongst you that can judge what I say. I have heard [that] some of you [are busied] uppon that which is called, The Agreement of the People. ’Tis very evident to mee, that the Kingly power is falne into your hands, and you are intrusted with itt that you might bee as the head to the body. Now therefore if you shall take that uppe as an Agreement of the people, I must humbly present this to your thoughts. For itt seemes to mee to bee [intended by the Agreement] that you shall give the power out of your owne hands; whereas God hath intrusted itt with you, and will require itt of you how itt is improved. You are his stewards, and soe stewards of the guift[s] of God in and uppon this Nation. Wherfore I should humbly desire that itt might bee faithfully improved of you; and lett noe jealousies or feares that might suggest themselves to you, or apprehensions in respect of persons whatsoever they are, [prevail] in you to lett goe your trusts. Further another snare on the other hand will meete you: that you beare sway above measure. Butt I am afraid of this alsoe, that you loose your Nobility for feare of what Parliament might say, or people might say, or other judges might say, or such as men have their eyes uppon you. I know itt hath bin the panges (?) of some of you that the Kinge betrayed his trust and the Parliament their’s; wherfore this is the great thinge I must present unto you: Betray nott you your trust.a
I have yett a[nother] message to declare, which itt’s very possible may bee very strangely look’t uppon; butt in the law of the Lord I present myself to tender itt, and lett itt finde acceptance as itt is.
(Gives in a paper.)b
I must desire to aske one question: whether you were commanded by the spiritt of God to deliver itt unto us in this manner?
I believe I had a command from God for itt.
To deliver this paper in this forme?
To deliver in this paper or otherwise a message.
And soe you bringe itt, and present itt to us, as directed by his spiritt in you, and commanded to deliver itt to us?
Yea Sir, I doe.
After Debate shee was call’d in againe.
The Councill desires to heare [from] you a little further what you say [as] to these 2 thinges. 1. What doe you hold forth to us as the demonstration of the witnesse to us, that this that you have deliver’d to us is from God, and from God given in to you to bee deliver’d to us? The next thinge [is, as to] that particular which you speake of concerning the Kinge: whether you intend itt against his triall or bringing to judgement, or against his execution only?a
That hee is due to bee judged I beleive, and that you may binde his hands and hold him fast under.b
What would you hold forth to us as the demonstration or witnesse that wee should take notice of, that this that you have deliver’d to us to bee read is from God, from him given in to you, and from you to bee deliver’d to us?
Sir, I know nott, butt that that is there will beare witnesse for itt self, if itt bee consider’d in the relation that Kinges are sett in for Governement, though I doe nott speake this to favour the tyranny or bloodthirstinesse of any, for I doe looke uppon the Conquest to bee of Divine pleasure, though I doe nott speake this—God is nott the supporter of tyranny or injustice, those are thinges hee desires may bee kept under.a
I desire to know whether that which is the will of God is nott concordant with naturall reason?—and are refined and purified from itt’s heate of which wee know because wee know nothing of itt’s fall, but—Whether itt bee the will of God that any thinge in point of Governement should bee inconsistent with the most essentiall being for which itt was ordain’d? Now if then any outward thinge, and [any] state and power and trust [may be forfeited if it is abused], if itt bee nott the will or the minde of God that any man impowred or intrusted for the publique good, for the Governement sake should bee tyrannous to the governed for the welbeing of which hee was sett in the chaire for, then whether for the highest breach of trust there cannott bee such an outward forfeiture of life ittself, as of the trust itt self?
If these thinges bee mistaken by mee and found out by you, soe God may be glorified I shall bee satisfied.
Lt. Col. Kelsay.
That which was desired to know of the Gentlewoman was, [whether she said] That this message was dictated to her by the spiritt, and by the spiritt presented to this Councill. Now if itt bee this way of demonstration or reason as Col. Rich speakes to [it] will admitt of dispute; butt if itt bee only from God, God doth nott send a messenger butt that there may bee an impression uppon their hearts [that are] to receive itt. Now that which was proposed to Mrs. Poole to know [was], what demonstration or token shee can give that itt is from God; for either itt must bee from extraordinary Revelation from God to you, and from you to us, or else there must bee somethinge of argument and reason to demonstrate itt to us. Now there is nothing of reason in itt, and if itt bee from God the Councill would bee glad to heare what outgoinges there are in that particular?
For the present I have noe more to say then what is said therin.
I doe desire that I may aske heere 2 questions 1. I thinke you have indeed answer’d to the first already, butt perhaps I doe nott understand you fully, whether itt bee intended [only] to preserve his life, [and] nott att all against his Triall?
The 2d whether you doe offer this paper or from the Revelation of God?
I saw noe vision, nor noe Angell, nor heard noe voice, butt my spiritt being drawne out about those thinges, I was in itt. Soe farre as it is from God I thinke itt is a revelation.a
In case uppon the Kinges Triall that very filthy thinges, murther and all the great crimes that can bee imagined, [shall be proved against him, and] that hee should bee found guilty, then must hee nott die?
That Hee will direct you in wisedome, I have presented my thoughts.
By the favour of this Councill, I would move one question: whether that the spiritt doth give in to her bee, that this Kinge after judgement must [not] die, or that noe Kinge in the world after judgement may die; and if soe, why itt should bee the minde of God that upon judgement and question hee should nott die rather then any other kinge.b
Why surely thus, itt appeares to mee that the Kinge is the highest in subordinat[ion] to God, in respect with the relation over the people His trust he hath betrayed—that I have often bin speaking of, and the charge and care therof is falne uppon you. Butt I speake in relation to the people. A Head once sett off.c
I desire to bee satisfied in one question more. A Triall of the person that may bee is meete and is just, and hee is capable of being judged by men. Now the question is, whether or noe, [in case] hee being nott convinc’t that those that were intrusted for the Judiciall power are the proper Judges, and soe when hee [should make] answers pro and con hee stands mute and will nott answer—the question is whether that will hinder the power of judgement?
I understand itt nott.
I have heard mention since I came of two men, Joseph and Moses. The one was a greater provider for the wellbeing of the people, and the other did as much in delivering the people when they were nott well [used]. I desire that as Moses you will nott bee soe full of punctillios as to looke uppon the old Constitution, wherin they have bin uppon us 34 yearesb and they could fall uppon noe other forme butt the beastly forme of E[gypt]. [The Jews did] and the best they brought forth was a calfe. Now this I should offer to you: Take heede how you sticke unto that Constitution without [leaving] which you are nott able to forme a way by which every man may enjoy his owne.
Whitehall 6 January 1648.
[a ]She being afterwards asked by some of the chief officers; Whether she conceived they were called to deliver up the trust to them committed either to Parliament or people? She answered, No, for this reason it being committed to their care and trust it should certainly be required to their hands, but take them with you as younger brethren who may be helpfull to you. A Vision, p. 2.
[b ]Against the King’s execution.
[a ]“Our Counsels run all for the following of Providence by present dispatch, and will not endure any mediations; no, nor hear again of Ireton’s proposals, that it were perhaps safer to have the King live prisoner for to dispose him a while to abandon his negative, to part from Church lands, to abjure the Scots, etc.” Royalist letter Jan. 8, 1649, Carte, Original Letters, i., 202.
[b ]“She was asked, whether she spake against the bringing of him to triall, or against their taking of his life. She answered, Bring him to his triall, that he may be convicted in his conscience, but touch not his person.” A Vision, p. 6.
[a ]She argues in her message to the Council that they are not to take the King’s life. “Vengeance is mine I will repay saith the Lord . . . Stretch not forth the hand against him. For know this, the conquest was not without divine pleasure, whereby kings came to reign, though through lust they tyrannized; which God excuseth not but judgeth; and his judgments are fallen heavy, as you see upon Charles your Lord.” P. 5.
[a ]This last sentence is attributed by the MS. to Sadler, but is clearly part of Mrs. Poole’s answer to his question.
[b ]MS. “another kinde.”
[c ]The sense of her argument, according to the pamphlet, was that the King is to the people as the husband to the wife. The husband is head of the wife (Ephesians, v. 23), and therefore apparently may be put under restraint but not cut off. She quotes the case of Nabal.
[a ]This speech, though given in the MS. at the end of the debate on Mrs. Poole’s message, has absolutely no connection with it at all. These debates, as I conclude from a number of signs and other indications in the MSS., were taken down in shorthand on loose sheets of paper at the time, then put up in bundles, and not transcribed or copied into the folio book at present containing them until many years later, probably not till 1662. Under the circumstances it would not be surprising if a speech were sometimes inserted in the wrong place. This speech may very well belong to the debate of Jan. 6, or to that of 13 Jan. Cowell apparently urges the Council not to seek to give up their power to Parliament, as they proposed to do by the Agreement, but to keep the government in their own hands Like the Israelites, he argues, the English people have come out of the house of bondage. Just as the Israelites hankered after the gods of Egypt and set up a golden calf, so the army are making a mistake in too punctiliously adhering to the old Constitution, and striving to set up government by parliaments again.
[b ]He perhaps said, “wherein these burdens have been upon us 300 or 400 years.”