Front Page Titles (by Subject) Declaration intended at Coldstream 1 - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 4
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Declaration intended at Coldstream 1 - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 4 
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., 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.
Declaration intended at Coldstream1
If euer anye nation were reduced to a condition so deplorably miserable as did require the most fervent prayers, wisest councells, and valliant hearts to interpose for its deliverance, wee thinke the condition of England is such at this time, beeing through the inconsiderat, violent, and most illegall proceedings of some men, at present voyd, not only of civille authority, but also so distracted and divided within itself that, unlesse it shall please the Lord out of his tender mercy to that remnant of his amongst us to lead us out of that confusion and misery in which by our departures from him wee have involved ourselves, it cannot in all humane probability bee conceived but that suddaine and inevitable destruction will soon overwhelme us, and the good people of these nations bee irrecoverably delivered upp into the hands of such oppressors as are not like to leave them the least shadow of that religion, liberty, and priviledges, which have been the purchasse made by the losse of many lives, and so vast a treasure as wee think never anye nation parted with in defence of theire rights in so little a space of time since the world beganne. That wee might not bee defective in our duty to God, our country, and the precious cause wee have bin for many years engaged in, when all these interests required our most cordiall and vigorous assistance, so soon as wee were informed of the interuption of the parliament, under whose authority all these interests have to so great advantage been sheltered and incouraged for many years, wee put forth a declaration on the NA of October last, wherein wee did assert the freedome and priviledges of the present parliament, the libertyes and rights of our native country, the protection and priviledge of the people of God, and the government of these nations by a free state and Commonwealth, withall inviting all such as had anye love to theire religion and libertyes to give us theire cheerefull assistance in a worke of so great concernment to them and theire posterityes. After which declaration of ours the officers of the Army in England, being desirous of a treaty with us, to the end that, if possible, there might bee a right understanding betuixt them and us; wee beeing as desirous rather to attaine our just ends by peaceable and freindly means then by ingaging the nation in an unnecessary warre, were easily induced to condescend to so reasonable a desire, hoping that God would so have inclined the hearts of our brethren to a peaceable and righteous settlement that wee should not have needed anye other weapons then rationall and Christian arguments to have accomplished our just desires by. But after some dayes spent in that worke wee found the temper of the officers of the Army at London to bee such that did exceedingly weaken our hopes of a good issue to that enterprise, they being alltogether averse to consent to anye thing in plaine and direct terms which might secure the rights and libertyes under the authority of parliament of these nations. And if any thing of that kind escaped them, it was in such obscure and ambiguous expressions as could scarcely bee explained but by the longest sword; whereuppon wee thought it convenient to remand our Commissioners, and afterwards some overtures were made of renewing a treaty in which what was obscurely stated in the former might bee explaind, and what was therein defective might bee repaird by the addition of what was necessary to the healing of so great a Breach as theire inconsiderat actions had made betwixt them and us. The affaiers of this nation standing in this posture, intelligence was brought us that three of the Commissioners appointed and authorized for the government of the Army by act of parliament, had possessd themselues of the garrison of Portsmouth, and acted uppon theire Commission, as also that in some other parts of England divers gentlemen had appeard in defence of the Authority of Parliament and of the self same cause in which wee stood engaged; whereuppon, that wee might proceed with all ingenuity and candor with the officers of the Army in England, wee gave them to understand that three of the aforementiond Commissioners of the Army being met at Portsmouth, and acting by authority of Parliament, theire Commission being the warrant of our proceedings and the Authority under which wee act, wee could not come to a finall conclusion touching the present difference with them without theire instructions and consent, to whom wee dispatcht an officer of the Army to know theire pleasure concerning the same. But so little desire did the Lord Lambert and his officers manifest to peace that they suffered not the gentleman whom wee sent to goe beyond Nuecastle, but returned him back to us againe, not giving us the least assurance of anye inclinations in them to an amicable composure of this unhappy difference. Whereuppon wee, looking on ourselves under no ingagements to anye further treaty with them, have thought it our duty once more to declare that wee are resolved, through the gracious assistance of our most blessed God, who (with praise to his name bee it acknowledged) hath both kept our hearts sincere in this worke, and incouraged them (through the great affection borne towards us in these our just undertakings by our countreymen in generall and all the sober spirited of the nation) to prosecut with vigour and faithfulnesse those just ends for which wee have declared, namely: the freedome and priviledge of the parlament of England, and the government of these nations by no other than parlamentary authority, against all usurpers whatsoever; the true reformed Protestant religion against all innovations whatsoever not warranted by the word of God, the maintenance and incouragement of a learned, pious, and orthodoxe ministrye, which may feed the flocke of Christ with wholsome, sound doctrine and instruction, whereby the prophane and ætheisticall spirit which hath so farre overspread these nations may bee subdued, and the truth and power of the Christian religion may take root in the hearts of the people of these nations, and the fruits therof may appeare in righteousnesse and peace. Wee doe allso declare that wee doe not know, or cann bee convinced, of anye other way or means whereby the authority of parlament cann bee preserved, or our libertyes secured, but by the restoration of the parlament now by violence interrupted, by which all that anye Englishman cann make claime to, if not manifestly taken from him, is endangerd, for as much as no man cann promise to himselve the least security or protection of law in anye of his concerns where the legislative authority of his nation is subjected to violence and contempt. And wee doe therefore disclaime and utterly renounce the pretended authority of anye other assembly or assemblyes of men whatsoever, let them distinguish them selves by what names or titles they please, as having anye authority over these nations, the present parlament being never yet legally dissolved, without which legall dissolution there cann be no other but an arbitrary and usurped authority set upp by anye pretenders whatsoever. And therefore wee doe forwarne all our countrymen and freinds in these three nations that they bee not defrauded by the invaders of theire libertyes in the promise of a parlament, for as much as they have no power to sumon one, or if they had, it cannot bee expected the members thereof should bee permitted either to assemble or sit in freedome. And to make this evident let anye man take but an impartiall vieu of theire behaviour to all parlaments or assemblyes of theire owne setting upp since the first interruption of the only true parlament in the yeere 1653. Was there ever anye number of men by them called parlaments, though of theire owne [calling], yea, chusing and never so exactly squared to theire owne principles, which were ever free from bondage, violence, and contempt, and this poured uppon them by those that gave them being, viz. the present usurpers? Whereby it is most evident to all that will but open theire eyes that it is not this or that parlament that they so much contend against, but parlamentary authority, which while it hath a being in these nations will ever bee irreconcileable to the interests of these and all other ambitious usurpers whatsoever. Heereat, therefore, they bend all theire force, heereat they direct all theire shafts, even at parlamentary power, it beeing so inconsistent with theire enslaving purposes, that whilst anye thing that bears but the meere name of a parlament hath a beeing in these nations theire spirits cannot away with it, as that which will in time necessarily destroy them unlesse they [destroy] it. Let us therefore give all our countrymen this one caution, that they doe not so farre gratifye the designes of theire aduersaryes as to make parlaments theire owne felo de se, which in all liklihood they will doe if they shall submit theire trustees to such qualifications as theire oppressors require, which is the only method hath hitherto been taken for the inslaving of the freest borne people under the sun. Bee therefore incouraged, deare brethren and fellow cittizens, in this, for ought wee know, last opportunity you may ever see wherein your religion, your libertyes, your estats, and whatever is deare to you is redeemable; if you suffer a spirit of bondage and feare now to possesse your hearts you will not only manifest the highest degree of ingratitude and treachery to your freinds that have now appeared for you, but will also betraye your posteritye to the insatiable auarice and ambition of those men whose well meaning towards you and your children you have but too sadly experimented allready.
[1 ]So described in the endorsement. From the Phillips MSS. in the Advocates’ Library.