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Newsletters - 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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April 12, 1657.—
f. 42.Wednesday1 the Parliament attended his Highnesse at Whitehall, who tould [them] that he had waited upon the Lord for his direccion in the last answer he gave them, to which he saw noe cause as yet to recede from, his conscience and judgement being sattisfied therein, and hee ready to give a reason for both, but if hee may be informed more perticular of their reasons then their vote held forth, there wilbe noe doubt but he may answer that lyes incombent upon him for the good of the 3 nations. Thursday the House impowred a Comittee to treat with his Highnes, and to give him reasons to accept of the title, and if his Highnes gives them any, to answer them if they could, else to report them to the House. Fryday his Highnes appointed to meete with the said Comittee, but was prevented by a rendevouz intended by the Fifth Monarchy men at three severall places neere London. Notice was given Thursday night where one party of them were with their armes and the standard intended to bee set up, it being a lyon couchant and the motto ‘Who shall rouse him up,’ besides many thousands of their declaracions ready printed. A troope of horse being sent secured 20 of them in one house with all their armes, ammunicion, and horses. It is proved that this designe was laid 2 yeares since, and the intended actors of this blody tragidy had 3 Comittees named, each consisting of 24, out of all which were 12 chosen to carry on the designe with secricy; it had such influence upon many that commanded both by sea and land, that severall of them threw up their comissions.1 Major Generall Harrison, Collonel Rich, Mr. Courtney, Collonel Danvers, and Vice Admirall Lawson are already secured; Collonel Okey and others are sent for. This day his Highnes and the Comittee began their conference. Munday the House considers of the afforesaid printed declaracion, and the persons that are ingaged in that designe. The breach betweene France and Holland is confirmed by letters, and that the French have seized on all the vessels and goods of the Dutch. Sir John Reynolds is given out Comander in Cheife of the forces lately raysed; what the designe is for certaine is not yett made knowne. The inclosed is the declaracion of the intended insurrecion. Monday1 his Highnes gives the Comittee his reasons.
By another thus,—There is a new plott discovered, conceived by the Fifth Monarchy men, which was so farre advanced as that their rendezvous was to have been shortly; considerable persons are taken vizt. Sir Henry Vane, Harrison, Rich, Okey, and Vice-Admirall Lawson; on Thuresday night there were 24 persons taken in one roome while they were at prayer, and there were found a great many armes and provisions for warre, with a declaration and the reasons of their riseing and a forme of Government all in print, and a standard in white taffata with a couchant lyon with this motto, ‘Who shall rouze him.’ There is alsoe 10000 men goeing over for the assistance of the French against the King of Spayne. Lockhart is Generall, and Sir John Reynolds Major Generall.
Westminster, April 30, 1657.—
f. 54b.This day the Parliament have by vote confirmed the Acts and Ordinances of the Long Parliament, with this provision, that no matter conteyned in them or any of them shall tend to the prejudice of this Instrument called the Petition and Advice. They have now dispatched their resolves upon those papers his Highnes gave them. This afternoon a Comittee attended his Highnes to receive his tyme for a conference, for which purpose all the late votes are draweing up in order. Wee cannot yet say what the issue will bee, but its thought by many that pressing importunityes upon grounds of necessity will worke an acceptation.
May 2, 1657.—
f. 55b.Friday was a Rendezvous at Blackheath of the six new raysed regiments, which were very full and compleatly armed, and at their conjunction exprest much joy and resolution by their loud acclamations. Hide parke was likewise a place of Rendezvous for many thousand of coaches, and most of all the nobility and gentry of the nation in or neare London according to their usuall custome.
May 7, 1657.—
f. 57b.Yesterday the House sate not, but in the afternoon the Comittee usually appointed to waite upon his Highnes attended him at White-hall, where hee told them hee would meet the House this day in the Painted Chamber at eleven of the clock, and give them an answer to the Petition and Advice, but upon further consideration he sent the morning to the Comittee to desire that meeting might bee excused, and that they would bee at Whitehall this afternoon at five of the clock, whither they came accordingly, and stayed three howers before his Highnes came to them, and when he came he onely excused his absence, and desired a conference with them to morrow morneing at eight of the clock before the House met, at which time hee sayd hee would deliver himselfe so to them, as he hoped hee should put them to no further trouble in this businesse.
f. 58b.Thursday his Highnesse sent a message to the House, that hee could nott that day meete them in the Painted Chamber according to former appointment, but desired that the Comittee might come that evening to him about 5 of the clock, which they did accordingly, when his Highnes desired them to acquaint the House that if they pleased hee would meet them to morrow in the Banquetting House, Whitehall, about ten of the clock in the morneing. In the interim severall of the officers of the army met, and agreed upon a petition to the Parliament, which was delivered yesterday by Lieutenant Colonel Mason, Lieutenant Colonel Goffe, and severall other officers of the army, but not read, who were call’d in, and own’d the petition, wherein they prayed that the Parliament would forebeare to press his Highnes to any further answer concerning their Petition and Advice, he haveing given them [?] his reasons why he cannot accept thereof.1 The House then attended his Highnes, whoe spake as followeth.2
May 15, 1657.—
f. 67.Since his Highnesse’ late refusall of the title of King, the House has from day to day adjourned upon what should be the question of these three.
1. Whether in course the advice should altogether be layd aside with the government and title indissolubly?
2. Whether since the governement profered by the humble advice of the House, being in it selfe so perfect and necessary for the happines of the people, may not be retayned, and some other title fallen upon which may be more acceptable?
3. Whether the present title of Protector may not be fit to be retayned, with the new perfect advice of governement, and such thinges as may be therein conceived inconsistent with this title may not be expunged, as House of Lords and such like, and the whole remnant remayne?
May 16, 1657.—
f. 68.Munday the House spent in debate uppon the bill for probate of wills and granting administracions, and order’d the same to bee ingros’t. Tuesday3 the Speaker had strenght only to make a short report of his Highnes’ last answer to the Parliament, but could not sit soe long as to heare any debate thereupon, soe the House adjorn’d till the next morning, but satt in a Grand Comittee upon the bill of Assesments. It was againe mov’d that the breach of previlidge by the last peticion of some officers of the army might bee debated, but nothing don there upon. Wednesday, Thursday, and Fryday, the House debated the great bussines of his Highnes’ last answer; some mov’d for an adjornment, others for a new title, some for letting of the debate fall, and [to] consider of passing such bills as may bee for the good of the three nacions. But in all that time they were soe farr from coming to a result that they could never agree upon the stating of the question, soe that yesterday they ajorned the House and the further debate thereupon till Tuesday morning next. There [are] 3500 of the new raised forces landed in France, the rest are speedily to bee with them.
May 21, 1657.—
f. 70.Since the late result of the Parliament for establishing the governement under the title of Protector, the Committee have had some consideracion and debate about circomstanciating the thing soe, that the ancient lawes [and] the present title and government may have familliarity and good corrispondence each with other for the better clearing and security of all just interests, but it is observed that to enumerate [?] rules and circomstances in that case will bee dificult, if not endles, therefore it hath bin mouved as the shortest and securist course, rather to couch all under one generall head or article, then to run into many particulars, viz. to this purpose, that the founddementall lawes of the nacion shall run in their direct and proper channell, and be construed [?], deemed, and taken to have as full force, effect, and vertue to all intents and purposes, under the title of Protectour as supreame magistrate, as under the title of King, and that his Highnes’ power and authority shall bee equevolent, and its supposed some what of this nature wilbe resolved on. That pe[ti]tion signed by some of the army officers, and presented to the Parliament that morning his Highnes gave his last answer, slipt into the presse with a postscript (as they say) inviting two out of each regiment in the army to owne and subscribe itt, which in this juncture of time was disgusted on all hands, and there being some examined about itt utterly disowne that postscript or printing of it, and inferring itt hath bin done by some on porpose to lay them under a prejudice, however the same is supposed, and sayd that the generall councell of officers declare against it.1 Sir John Reynolds wee heare with the last part of the 6000 [soldiers?] is landed in France.
[1 ]April 8. A letter amongst the Carte MSS. (ccxxvii. 84) dated April 8, and signed T. B., gives the following account of the situation:
[1 ]See Thurloe, vi. 184.
[1 ]April 13.
[1 ]Thomas Clarges (?).
[1 ]Thurloe, vi. 281; Ludlow’s Memoirs, ed. 1894, ii. 25-28.
[2 ]Thurloe, vi. 267; Commons’ Journals, vii. 533. Carlyle’s Cromwell, speech xiv. The version in the Clarke Papers agrees with that given in the Journals.
[3 ]May 12. An account of the debate on the petition of the officers is given in a letter from Major Morgan to Henry Cromwell, printed in a note to Ludlow’s Memoirs, ed. 1894, ii. 26.
[1 ]See Thurloe, vi. 291, 310; and Scotland and the Protectorate, Scottish History Society, 1899, p. 354.