Front Page Titles (by Subject) An Intercepted Letter 1 - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 3
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An Intercepted Letter 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.
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An Intercepted Letter1
f. 16.Another squadron of the great fleete is gone. The Randezvous is to bee at Barbadoes. The designe is secrett, knowne to the designer onely, whoe saith if hee thought his shirt knew it hee would burne it, and yet as seacrett as it is, possibly hee may not know God’s designe therein, though he may his owne intencion. My thoughts are God’s workeing wilbee beyond his invencion, for I doe much enclyne to beleive they may bee eminently usefull, it may be in destroying some notable obstruction, and of greate advantage to the Jewes (waite but a while and you shall see the salvacion of God come to Israell). The present effect is startling to all nacious round about, all in a waiteing frame where this cloud will light, and its a head of encouragement to some weake or suffering Christianes, not knowing but it may prove there releife. Such is the provission for warre, the multitude and magnitude of mortar peices and cannons, as never the like went out of England, and is to the amasement of the greate prisoners in the Tower whoe have the advantage of seeing and wondering onely.
As to the army they are a travaileing wombe, still many throwes towards a birth which cannot be accomplished without the man-mid-wife, whoe is as hee sayth willing (though at the present not at leisure), butt when the sylent [sic] Parliament hath runne out its tyme, it may be the opportunity will be, and the delivering tyme come. The Parliament at present verry busy about herresy, what it is, and to enumerate them. They have putt one Biddle in prison for denying the Holy Ghost to be God in order to his tryall, and if they should hang him they would not chainge his mind, though I thinke it bee a verry daingerous one, and thus in tyme theire tyme will have an end, with what publicke workes donne by them records will beare them testimony, for I cannott.
Colonel Okey by some greate ones in the army was accused for treason, butt by the pole of 2 more for him then against him hee was acquitted.
The army presented these particulers to his Highnes.
1. That liberty of conscience be allowed, but not to papistry in publicke worshipp.
2. That tythes be taken away.
3. That a law be made for the righting persons wronged for liberty of conscience.
4. That the lawes of the Nacion be regulated.
5. That all prisoners whoe are able to pay their debts and will not may be compelled.
6. That the poore be sett on worke.
7. That Articles be made good to those whoe have beene in actuall armes against the State.
8. That all just debts of the Nacion be sattisfyed, whether money or goods lent upon publicke fayth, or just debts for service donne. An ould lesson not yett learnt, repetitions are good.
Mr. John Sympson is now come to London, and hath I heare taken of the prejudice which some friends had of him; hee was at (Allhallowes yesterday, and opened Psalm 102; 19, 20, 21. Hee declared his sufferings for Christ, that it was in declareing against the sinnes of men, and though hee was accused for treason, yett hee never spake against any man but it was from the law of God or of the land, and therefore was not guiltye. He gave reasons why hee obeyed the order of banishment. Because liberty is desyreable, and hee might be useful (and hath beene) in the countrey. And why then did hee breake the Order? Because of reports by many was that hee desired to be banished from the Citty, and had noe mynd to come to his Church, and that it was given out from the Court that hee might come to London if he would, whereupon hee thought himselfe noe further engaged, but was bound to show his readyness to serve Christ and his Church, though he ventured his life in it. I rejoyce to heare of some striveings of heart among you. The Lord encrease it, continue it, and answeare it. In [?] Bristow I have heard was a high spirritt of exspectacion of God’s powreing out his Spirritt, which now they judge is answered in the generacion of the Quackers, and multitudes there are taken heerewith, and the eminent in profession of grace too. I write this by way of caution, the Lord helpe us to be watchfull and faythfull to the end.
Your Freind &c.
London, 19o. December. Mr. Feakes book is published entituled Defyance to the Father of Lyes.
[1 ]This letter and the following, both derived from vol. xxvii. of the Clarke MSS., were addressed to one of the officers arrested in Scotland for the plot known as ‘Overton’s Plot,’ and were probably found on one of the prisoners. Probably Mr. Oates was the person to whom they were written. (See Scotland and the Protectorate, p. 240.)