Front Page Titles (by Subject) Newsletters written in 1653 1 - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 3
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Newsletters written in 1653 1 - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 3 
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 (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899). 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.
Newsletters written in 16531
Westminster, April 23, 1653.2 —
f. 12.His Excellency and severall officers of the army treating on the Tuesday before with many of the best Members of Parliament about putting the governement of the nation into some honest and able persons till a new representative should bee chosen (for that the bill resolved to bee carried on by Parliament was not for dissolving this Parliament but recruiting itt with such as probably would bee dissaffected, neuters, lawyers, or the like, which would destroy the publique interest of the nation), the Members promised to consider and give in their judgementes therof the next day, and in the interim would indeavour to keepe the bill from passing. But this being told to most of the Members, the House (in the Generall’s absence) called the next morning for the bill, and before his Excellency could come had neere past itt (contrary to promise as was then told to them), whereuppon after something said by the Generall, Captain Scott marched into the House with parte of his companie, and tooke the Speaker’s mace, and himself refusing to come out of the chaire was (modestly) pull’d out by a Member of Parliament and army: and soe the Members walk’t out, and the Parliament was dissolved with as little noyse as can bee imagined: Alderman Allen was a little while under confinement for some words, but noe other Member. They are generally displeas’d, unlesse some few of them who (itt’s thought) will bee made use of for the next Governours, none being yet chosen. They are to bee 21 in all (wherof 3 only to bee of the army, vizte. the Lord Generall, Major Generall Lambert, and Lieutenant Generall Fleetwood). Those of the Parliament that are already come in are, Major Salway, Colonel Bennett, and Mr. Walter Strickland. The people are very calme and pleasant, expecting great and good thinges to bee speedily done for the nation. The forraine Ambassadors will still continue their addresses to those impowr’d from the army, where Commissary Generall Whalley sitts in the chaire. There are 100 saile of shippes ready to goe forth, which will bee as gallant a fleete (with those already out) as ever England sett forth.
Westminster, April 26, 1653.—
13b.Yesterday the Lord Generall sent his Secretary to the Lord Maior and the rest of the Justices att the Sessions, desiring none condemned for theft or any other crime (save only for murther) may att present bee executed, wheruppon the Court repreived them till further order.1 The persons intended to governe for some time are nott yet chosen, only there sitts severall of the late Members, vizte. Major Salway, Mr. Cary, Colonel Stapley, Sir Gilbert Pickering, Mr. Strickland, and others, advising and consulting about setling the affaires of the nation; severall more (itt’s thought) will speedily bee added to them. Major Generall Lambert, Major Generall Harrison, and severall officers of the army sitt likewise daily about the affaires of the armie. The seales were yesterday opened and made use of in preparacion to this next terme, for most of the Judges (itt’s said) are satisfied to act. Colonel Grosvenor is coming to Scotland to give the ground of the late proceedings. Lieutenant Colonel White is intended for Ireland uppon the same account. Major Generall Disbrowe hath refused the command of Scotland, and Commissary Generall Whalley is now conceived to bee the man. Sir Henry Vane is discontentedly or politiquely gone into the countrie. Sir Arthur Heslerigge, Lord Bradshaw, St. John, and all the grandees are much troubled att this revolucion.
Westminster, April 30, 1653.—
f. 37.An answere came this weeke from the States General to the letter of the late Parliament, wherein he takes notice of the Parliament’s inclinacion to unity and peace, which they likewise desire, and in order thereunto propose that a convenient tyme and place may be appointed for Comissioners on both sides to treat. This lettre was directed to the Parliament, but opened by the army, whoe it’s presumed are inclinable to an accomodacion if the termes be safe. The late Speaker sent this lettre to Habberdashers’ Hall, and subscribed himselfe ‘William Lenthall Speaker.’ The Lord Bradshaw likewise at the Court of Articles openly blaimed a Councell for pleading in the name of the late Parliament, saying that the Parliament was not dissolv’d though under force. Most of the Judges sits and acts upon this account (the termes being as full as ever), though the House of Peeres was never yet denied by them to be dissolved upon the like scoare, being a parte of this Parliament, which they say cannot be dissolv’d unlesse by their owne consents. There are 6 Sweedish ships come and a party, seemingly forc’t in by a parte of our fleet, laden with pitch, tarre, cordage &c. which our State will fully paie them for. A scandalous ballade was this weeke sung generally through London, and bought by most, the burthen whereof was 12 Parliament men for a penny. His Excellencie desir’d the Lord Maior to suppresse it, which he did accordingly, and hath since imprisoned the printer.1 The old Postmaster peticioned his Excellencie to be continued in his employment. The peticion and whole busines of post lettres is referred to Major Generall Lambert and Major Generall Desborow. His Excellencie, Major Generall Lambert, Mr. Strickland, Major Generall Harrison, Sir Guilbert Pickering, Colonel Stapley, Mr. Cary, Colonel Sydenham, Colonel Bennet, and Major Salway continue sitting as a Councill till the Governours be chosen (which wilbe within 5 or 6 daies longer), and have appointed two Commitees to examine the abuses of the Fleete prison and treasurers at Ely House and report. The fleet consisting of 190 sayle are joyned in the Downes. The Commitee for inspeccion and the Commitee for the army sit and act still.
Westminster, April 30.—
38b.The management of the Governement is now resolved to bee by a Sanedrim or 70 of the best men that can bee thought of through England, who are already pitch’t uppon, and wee shall shortly see their names in a paper to bee printed for like satisfaction of the nation.1 These shall have the supreame aucthority, and bee called Custodes libertatis Reipublicæ Anglicanæ. Noe professed lawyer is to bee of the number, nor must any Member of this optimacy hold any beneficiall office of the Commonwealth. If any of the army bee chosen wee heare they must lay downe their commissions, but whether they shall soe continue time will discover. 4 Scotchmen are to bee of the aforesaid number to represent their nation. These are nott to exceede 2 yeares in their sitting. And att the period of time they are to choose other 70 to succeede them, and soe on forwards, unlesse they shall judge this nation capable of their former government by Parliaments.
Westminster, May 7, 1653.—
f. 42.The Councell of State hath this weeke nominated 2 Committees consisting for the most parte of the officers of the army, the one to consider and examine the accounts of the nation, and how the vast treasure thereof hath bin expended, and the other a Comittee of Irish and Scottish affaires, and to manage the affaires of the nation. They likewise ordered, that the Deputies of Scotland residing heere should have notice given them of their intencions speedily to renew the power of, and give further time to, the Commissioners of Administracion of justice in Scotland to act, and if they had anythinge before to offer concerning that businesse they might bee heard. The Committee of the army consisting of officers have ordered a letter to bee sent to the forces in Ireland and Scotland of the grounds of this late revolucion. Itt is likewise intended to bee sent to all garrisons in England. They proceede in nominating persons in the severall counties to sitt as a Counsell, and are in hand with the draught of the large Declaracion. Mr. Strickland is sett downe for Yorkeshire, Captain Howard for Cumberland, Colonel Fenwick for Northumberland, and soe others for other counties. About 300 Dutch merchants shippes going round by Scotland homeward, 6 of them nott good sailers very richly laden were taken by one of our private men of warre. Our fleete consisting of 112 sayle are sayled to the Texell to intercept this fleete, where the Dutch have 70 men of warre to receive them; wee expect daily to heare of an engagement. A Messenger is now come that tells us the Dutch fleete is fled unto and block’t uppe in the Texell, and that we have taken 50 of their dogger boates.
Westminster, May 14, 1653.—
f. 51b.The Councell of State have this weeke appointed Lieutenant Colonel Kelsay, Captain Deane, Mr. Jackson, Treasurers to the Commissioners of excise, and 2 more citizens committed to consider how all the treasury of this Commonwealth may bee managed for the best advantage therof. They likewise sent for all the Trustees for sale of Delinquents’ lands, Byshops’, Deanes’ and Chapters’, and crowne lands, to give an account what monies remayne in the Treasuries. They have likewise consider’d of selling and disposing of the lands in Ireland. 4 theeves who lately rob’d the Committee of estates treasurie came yesterday to rob Mr. Scotts’ chamber (a late Member of Parliament), and being betrayed were apprehended about 9 in the morning, and by the Councell committed. 3 Commissioners are come from Burdeaux, and applyed themselves yesterday to his Excellency, their businesse is nott yet knowne. Captain Bodiloe is with his fleete come into the Downes, hee hath brought in besides his fleete 4 shippes, one of which proves prize. Thursday last lettres came from the Generalls that they wanted a dayes sayle from the Dutch fleete, but were in great hopes to overtake them. His Excellency and severall officers of the army began this day to consider of 70 persons to bee elected to sitt as Counsell till a Representative bee chosen, who shall elect them, and what the qualifications shall bee made concerning their eleccion.
Westminster, May 21, 1653.—
f. 56b.Wednesday the Lord Maior brought downe his Excellencies picture to him, which hee tooke off the Exchange, over which was written, God save the Kinge. The same day the souldiers with a civill officer went into the Temple, and served an execution uppon a gentleman for debt, and brought him out of that priviledg’d place. Generall Blake went this day towards Plymouth with parte of his 40 men of warre, who are ready to goe out with him.
Alderman Andrewes presented a peticion to his Excellency subscribed by himself and 10 Aldermen with some others: Alderman Estwick made a large speech att the delivery of it, which was disrelished by the Generall. The substance of the peticion was, that the late Parliament might sitt againe, and that they might chuse a new representative according to the ancient fundamentall lawes of the nation. The Generall told them hee tooke itt ill that they should goe about to obstruct the proceedings for the good of the people, that himself and those about him (turning to the officers) would make good what was done with their bloods &c. This answer not satisfying them they went to the Councell of State with another peticion, where they had much more sniffling but went away free men. The stronger guards are heeruppon kept about the cittie, and such as subscribed the peticion removed from their publique imployment, and their salaries converted to a generall use. Colonel Thompson is disabled from being a Commissioner of the Navy and Customes, Alderman Allen and Mr. Dennis Bond to bee noe longer of the Committee for inspeccion of treasuries (and Colonel Rich and Colonel Bennett in their roomes), nor Mr. Winslowe and Mr. Waring of the committee att Goldsmiths Hall, and the clarke of the ordnance of the Tower acted [outed?] uppon that account. Colonel Pride is chosen one of the Representors for the citty of London, but Major Generall Lambert, Comissary Generall Whally, Colonel Twisleton, and other officers of the army, being like to bee chosen, his Excellency desir’d the Councell to forbeare them, in regard that those that are soe chosen are to lay downe their commands in the army.
The Zealanders having intercepted letters of the Jesuites intimating some designe against them, sent 12 Messengers to the States of Holland to presse them to a peace with England. The Lorrainers had kill’d many men uppon the borders of Holland, but by order from the Kinge of Spaine were recalled.
The Lord of Arundell of Warder and the Lord Shandoys were indicted at sessions, and found guilty of manslaughter, and had sentence to bee burn’t in the hand (a strange doome for Noblemen). The Cavaleere uppon whose oath the Lord Craven’s estate was sequestred, was indicted for perjury att the Upper Bench, and found guilty therof: for which hee is to stand in the pillory.
Westminster, May 28, 1653.—
f. 60.Wednesday last the Messenger of the Councell of State that went with their last messag to the Stats of Holland retorned with this answer, that they would send answer by Messenger of their owne, whome hee heard would bee 2 Ambassadours. This day Vantrump came into Dover roade with his fleete, haveing before convayed home all the fleete of Merchants, discharged many cannons against the towne of Dover, whereby some howses were prejudiced, but noe persons slaine. They are from thence gon up to the cost of France, but where our fleete is wee heare noe accompt at present. The Councell of State hath this weeke spent much time in debate of the Declaration for continueing the old Commissioners for assessments in the severall counties and the present tax upon the nacion for 3 moneths longer, this was twice read and committed. The Councell was informed that Mr. Russell, whoe signed the peticion of severall cittizens for recaleing the late Parlament, did continue to sit and act as one of the Councell of Haberdashers Hall, notwithstanding that vote to the contrary, they ordered the said vote to bee sent to him, and that [he] upon his penalty forbeare to sit or act there longer. Mr. Smith, one of the councell of the navie, whoe declared his dislike of the said peticion when hee signed it, and since to the Councell, is by vote restored to his said imployment. Thirsday the Councell named a comittee to consider of disposeing the places that were vacant upon that peticion; they considered how the receipt of the custome and excize may be managed by and brought into office. This day letters came from Dover that the Dutch were sayled up towards the Goodwyns, and that they bent homewards. This weeke his Excellencie and officers have sat cloce in chooseing the persons to sit in the next Representative; it will bee a busines of more time then was at first conceived.
Westminster, July 5, 1653.—
f. 81b.The 4th instant his Excellency mett with the Members that were summoned by his Lordshippe to appeare then att the Councell Chamber, and declared to them the reasons why hee dissolved the late Parliament and summoned them to succeed them, delivering the power of the 3 nations into their hands; for which purpose hee had signed and sealed an instrument in writeing by advice of his councell of officers, declareing their time of sitting to continue till the third of November 1654, and that they should issue out their writtes three monthes before their dissolucion for conveening the like number to succeede them, and this to continue till the people bee capable of electing their owne representative; and for the Councell of State, he had appointed them for dispatch of present and urgent affaires till they should thinke fitt to alter them. His Lordshippe concluded with a good, pertinent admonition, and then the Members summoned (which were neere the compleate number) adjourned till the next day att 8 of clocke to the late Parliament house, where they kept a day of humiliation for a blesing upon their meeteing, not any Minister speakeing before them (as was proposed) only themselves; amongst the rest was Mr. Squibb and Samuell Moyer. They have chosen the Lord Generall, Lambert, Harrison, Thomlinson &c. who were of the Councell of State, to be Members of Parliament, they appointed Mr. Rowse to be Speaker for a month, and Mr. Scobell their clarke. Our fleete att present is off the coast of Holland to take in victualls, but in 3 days will in againe. I have inclosed a list of shipes latly taken by them.
Westminster, December 14, 1653.—
f. 151.A Relation of the Dissolution of the late Parliament with the manner and circumstances thereof, and the establishment of another power to carry on the affaires of this Commonwealth.
Yesterday wee had another turne in the House they having dissolved themselves, and because various reports may goe, I shall give a hinte of the manner according to my best intelligence.
There were in the House two parties, one for the lawes, ministry, tithes, and the other against them, this latter partie had on Satterday last voted against the other and carried it, in a business wherin they were indeavouring to remoove scandolous ministers and to countenance the godly.
On Munday morning they coming together, the first party (of whom was Sir Charles Worsley,1 Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, Colonell Sidenham and Colonell Tichbourne) stood up, and Worsley began, told the Speaker that they had been a good while in the House but had not answered the people’s expectations, but instead of seeking their good did what they could against them, endeavouring to take away their properties by taking away the law, to overthrow the Ministry by taking away tythes and settleing nothing in their roomes, and severall other things, so that for their parts they would sitt no longer, so that the major part of the House came out of the House with the Speaker and Mace to the Horse Chamber (my Lord Generall and officers being their).
Those of the House, being about 80 in number, drew up an instrument, and subscribing their names delivered it into my Lord Generall’s hands, where they left all their power.
The smaller part, being about 27, remained in the House, where Collonel Gough presently came, and with all meekness told them that he was fearfull their stay their might prove prejuditiall to the Commonwealth, and probably to themselves (they being no House); they desired to know if he had any power, which he deneyed, but sweetly argued it with them, but they refusing to heare he opened the doore, and presently entered one file of Muskitters upon whose appearance the remaining part of the House withdrew. But here you must take notice, severall of these 27 came from the Horse Chamber, being of those 80 that resigned up their power.
Presently after this severall of the 80 and officers of the army mett, and upon serious debate concluded their should [be] a person who should be under the title of Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and should have a constant Councell, whose number should not exceed 21 nor be under 13.
[1 ]The letters for 1653 are all from vol. xxv. of the Clarke MSS. in Worcester College Library.
[2 ]Printed in the English Historical Review for July 1893, with other documents relating to the Expulsion of the Long Parliament.
[1 ]See Gardiner, History of the Commonwealth and Protectorate, ii. 217.
[1 ]Printed in Thomas Wright’s Political Ballads published during the Commonwealth, 1841, p. 126.
[1 ]Compare Ludlow’s Memoirs, i. 358, ed. 1894.
[1 ]Sir Charles Wolseley.