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Putney, 29th October 1647 - Arthur Sutherland Pigott Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents 
Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents, selected and edited with an Introduction A.S.P. Woodhouse, foreword by A.D. Lindsay (University of Chicago Press, 1951).
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Putney, 29th October 1647
At the meeting of the officers for calling upon God, according to the appointment of the General Council, after some discourse of Commissary [Nicholas] Cowling, Major White, and others—
Captain [John] Clarke [said]:
We have been here, as we say, seeking of God, though truly he is not far from every one of us; and we have said in thea presence of God (as out of his presence we cannot go) that we have none in heaven in comparison of him, nor none we have even in earth in comparison of him. I wish our hearts dob not give us the lie, for truly had that been a truthc —I mean a truth in our carriages—we should not have been so lost this day. Had we given ear to the inspiring word of Christ, and had [we] not given ourselves to the false prophet within us, certainly God would have kindled that light within us, and [we] should have gone [on] and submitted to his will, and should not have been troubled or harassed, as we are, with troubles and amazements, but must have gone with God as he hath allotted to us. The cause of every evil sought after, what is the reason that we find the light and glory of God eclipsed from our eyes this day? Truly we may find this silence within us, and let us but search our own spirits with patience, and look by the lightd of God within us, and we shall find that we have submitted the Spirit of God unto the candle of reason, whereas reason should have been subservient unto the Spirit of God. We are troubled when our own reasons tell us that this is the way, and we are careless to seek the way, or that true light, Christ in us, which is the way. We are apt to say, all of us, that if we seek that first (the latter first) the lighte will not be wanting. But truly, we have sought the first last, and therefore the first is wanting. And before this light can take place again that darkness must be removed—that candle of reason, andg first within us our lust, which doth seduce and entice us to wander from God, must be eaten out of us by the Spirit of God, and when there is no place for lust, there is place enough for the Spirit of God. If we shall with resolutionf and humility of spirit not say, but do, as the children of Israel used to do many times when they were in distress—many times they cried unto the Lord; if we shall do as we profess before God this day, that is, lay down our reason, lay down our goods, lay down all we have at the feet of God, and let God work his will in us that we may be buried with God in our spirits; I doubt not but the appearances of God will be more glorious, and I doubt not but there will be that contentedness in spirit. We should desire no way, but wait which way God will lead us. I say, we should choose no way, but if the Spirit of God lead us, we should be ready to submit to the will of God.a And therefore I desire that, since this is in order to another meeting in the afternoon, we may lay down all at the feet of God, not following our own reasons, butb submitting unto that light which is lightedc in us by his Spirit.
(After this Captain Carter prayed.)
Adjutant-General [Richard] Deane:
Motion for a meeting at this place, the Quartermaster-General’s quarters, to meet Monday, the council day, from 8 till 11, to seek God, &c.
That which I must now desire to express to you was partly occasioned by the thoughts that I had the last night, as being indeed kept awake with them a good while; and, hearing something that did concur with it from one that spake since we came together, I feel some weight upon my spirit to express it to you. That which was spoken enow [was] concerning the conjunction that is between Antichrist, or that mystery of iniquity in the world carried on by men that call themselves the church, thatd certainly it is with the conjunction of men in places of power or authority in the world, with kings and great men. And truly my thoughts were much upon it this night, and it appears to me very clearly from that which God hath set down in his word in the Book of the Revelations—which is that word that we are bid and commanded to study and to look into, being the word which God sent by his angel to John, to declare as things shortly to be done. Now certainly this work of Antichrist hath been a work of great standing, and, as it was well observed, it hath been mixed with the church, and men that call themselves the church, the clergy, mixed with men of authority.e It is said in the Revelation, that the kings of the earth should give up their power unto the Beast, and the kings of the earth have given up their power to the Pope. But some places that have seemed to deny the Pope’s supremacy, yet they have taken upon them that which hath been equivalent to that which the Pope himself holds forth. Truly I could bring it to this present kingdom wherein we are. ’Tis true the kings have been instruments to cast off the Pope’s supremacy, but we may see if they have not put themselves into the same state. We may see it in that title which the King hath; ‘Defender of the Faith,’ but more especially in that canonical prayer which the clergy used, ‘In all causes, and over all persons, as well ecclesiastical as civil, [supreme].’ Certainly, this is a mystery of iniquity. Now Jesus Christ his work in the last days is to destroy this mystery of iniquity; and because it is so interwoven and entwisted in the interest of states, certainly in that overthrow of the mystery of iniquity by Jesus Christ, there must be great alterations of states. Now the word doth hold out in the Revelation, that in this work of Jesus Christ he shall have a company of Saints to follow him, such as are chosen and called and faithful. Now it is a scruple among the Saints, how far they should use the sword; yet God hath made use of them in that work. Many of them have been employed these five or six years. Yet whatsoever God shall employ us in, I could wish this were laid to heart by us: whereasa we would be called the chosen and faithful that will follow Christ wheresoever he goes, let us tremble at the thoughtb that we should be standing in a direct opposition against Jesus Christ in the work that he is about. Let us not be twisted amongst such kind of compartings where there shall be a mystery of iniquityc set up by outward power, lestd we should be the instruments of giving any life or strength to that power. And I wish [we may lay this to heart]—and I believe it may somewhat tend to the work by the way—because we are to hold out the will of God for the time to come, and to be humbled for what we have done against it. Let us inquire whether some of the actions that we have done of late, some of the things that we have propounded of late, do not cross the work of God in these particulars; because in our proposing things we do endeavour to set up that power which God would not set up again—it hath been hinted already—I mean in our compliance with that party which God hath engaged us to destroy. We intended nothing but civility, but I wish they were not in some measure compliances; and, if I mistake not, there are ways which God hath laid open to us, whereby we may lay aside that compliance.
But this is not all that I would speak, because God hath called forth my spirit to unity. What we do according to the will of God will not tend to division. This I speak concerning compliance; and [since] this may be thought to reflect upon some particular persons more than other some, so on the other hand I desire to speak something that may concern some persons that may stand, or at least may seem to stand, in direct opposition to us. And truly I wish we may be very wary what we do; and let us take heed of rejecting any of the Saints of God before God rejects them. If God be pleased to show any of his servants that he hath made use of [them] as great instruments in his hand, [and to show them], as [also] those that God hath blessed in them, that God hath blessed them, and [that] this hath been the greatest instrument of the ruin of sin and corruption in this Army, let us be wary and consider what we have to do in that kind. And I spake this the rather because I was sensible of some personal reflections that did not argue the workings of God [so much] as the workings of passions in us. Now the work of the Spirit is, that we do pull down all works [that are not] of the Spirit whatsoever; and therefore I desire that, as in the presence of God, we may take heed of all things which may tend to disunion, and that we may not despise those who may have some things in their hands to contribute for the work of God.
And there is another thing. If we have lost the opportunity of appearing against [God’s] enemies, let us take heed, when we be sensible of God’s displeasure, that we do not run before he bids us go a second time. There is a place which is very remarkable, Numbers 14, where the spies were sent to the land of Canaan; and when they came back the hearts of the people were discouraged. God was displeased at this, and he discovered it in some such way as he did this day. But upon a sudden there was a party that would go up and fight against the Amalekites, and at such a time when God would not have them go up. ‘Though you did sin against the Lord in not going at first,’ says Moses, ‘yet go not now up, for the Lord is not among you, that ye be not smitten before your enemies.’ Yet they did go up unto the hilltop, and were discomfited. I think we have sinned in that we did not show our courage and faithfulness to God. Let us not now in a kind of heat run up and say, ‘We will go now’; because it may be there is a better opportunity that God will give us. And that we may a little help us by our own experiences, let us remember how God hath dealt with this Army in our late proceedings. There was some heaviness in our proceedings before the City, as was thought by some; and it was said by many, ‘Go up, go up quickly, and do our work.’ But let us remember that God found a better season for us than if we had gone at first. Let us consider whether this be the best juncture of time for us [to press on the work of God. But let us, as well, be careful not] to declare [against], and to throw off, some of our friends when that they would have it discovered whethera God goes along with us. Let this be considered, that so we may be humbled, on the one hand, and break off all unlawful compliance with the enemies of God, so, on the other hand, we may stay, and take the company one of another, or rather the presence of God, [along with us]. And so for the work of the day, I wish there may be a day of union amongst us; for it may be it is the will of God that we should wait upon him therein, to see what will be the issue of a business that is now transacted; and if we can trust God in this strait we shall see him straight before us, if we can be of one mind. I wish this may be considered, and if there be anything of God in it, it may be received.
Mr. [Robert] Everard:
This honourable Council hath given me great encouragement. Though I have many impediments in my speech, yet I thank you that you will hear me speak. I engaged myself yesterday to bring the men to have a debate,1 and for that purpose I have prosecuted these my promises, and I have been with them—as many as I can find; but the most of them are dispersed, so that I lost that opportunity which I would have enjoyed. But, nevertheless, I hope you will take it kindly, that those that were there are come hither, and those two friends that were with me yesterday.b Our ends are that we desire, yet once more, a compliance in those things that we propounded to you, but if it shall please God to open our eyes that we can see it, we shall comply with you. For our desires are nothing but (according to our first declaration) to follow our work, to deliver the kingdom from that burden that lies upon us. For my part I am but a poor man, and unacquainted with the affairs of the kingdom; yet this message God hath sent me to you, that there is great expectation of sudden destruction—and I would be loath to fill up that with words. We desire your joint consent to seek out some speedy way for the relief of the kingdom.
I think it would not be amiss that those gentlemen that are come would draw nigher.
I must offer this to your consideration: whether or no we, having set apart this morning to seek God, and to get such a preparedness of heart and spirit as might receive that that God was minded to have imparted to us, and this having taken up all our time all this day, and it having been so late this last night as indeed it was when we brake up, and we having appointed a committee to meet together to consider of that paper, and this committee having had no time or opportunity that I know of, not so much as a meeting; I make some scruple or doubt whether or no it is not better [to adjourn the debate. I know] that danger is imagined [near at hand], and indeed I think it is; but be the danger what it will, our agreement in the business is much more [pressing] than the pressing of any danger, so by that we do not delay too [long].a That which I have to offer [is]: whether or no we are [as] fit to take up such a consideration of these papers now as we might be to-morrow; and perhaps if these gentlemen, which are but few, and that committee should meet together, and spend their time together an hour or two the remainder of this afternoon, and all this company might meet about nine or ten o’clock at furthest, they [might] understand one another so well thatc we might be prepared for the general meeting, to have a more exact and particular consideration of things than [we can have] by a general loose debate of things which our committee, or at least manyd of us, have [not] had any, or at least not many, thoughts about.
Sir: I am sorry that the ill disposition of my body caused me to go to London last night, ande [hindered me] from coming so soon this morning as to be with you in the duty you were about. But I hope that which hath been said at this time (which I hope is a truth and sent from God) will so work upon me that I shall endeavour at least to carry myself so that I may use all that interest I have, to a right and quick understanding between us. And truly, sir, to that present motion that hath been made, I confess I have nothing against it, but only the danger that lies upon us; which truly—if we may have leave to differ one from another—may in a moment overcome [us]. I hope we shall all take [to heart] one word that was spoken to us by Lieutenant-Colonel Goffe, and I think that nothing will conduce so much [to union as] that we may have no personal reflections. I think it would have been well if the committee had met, but since all this company—or the greatest part of themf —have been here [and] have joined in that duty which was on the former part of the morning, I think there is not much inconveniency that they may spend the other part of the day with us. And if we were satisfied ourselves upon debate, and yetg there should be one party, or one sort of men, that are of a judgment [at] present contrary, or others that should come over to us, it would cost some time hereafter to know the reasons of their [contrary judgment or of their] coming over. And therefore I think it an advantage that it should be as public [as possible], and as many as may, be present at it.a The debating this thus publicly may be an advantage unto us; andb after the multitude of people that are herec have been spoken to, if we find that inconvenient, I do not doubt but the committee, when this company breaks up, may have two hours’ time together. And therefore I should desire that, since the gentlemen and you are met together to such an end and purpose, you will follow to that end.
It is not [fit], as I conceive, to dispute anything touching particularf [persons], for all, as I conceive, do seek the kingdom’s good. Much business will beg if we stand disputing the work! I desire this honourable Council—[if it] will pardon me—to make out some speedy way for the easing of us.h Let us go about the work;i no question but we shall go together. I beseech you that you will consider upon that. I believe we shall jump all in one with it, if we do not fall upon some extraordinary ways between. Some laws with us that will prick us to the heart, we must wink at them; [but] let us now [seek to reform such of them as we may], not that I desire that we should seek to ruinate any wholesome laws, but [only] such as will not stand with the wholesome peace of the kingdom.
I shall desire to second that gentleman’s motion. While we debate we do nothing. I am confident that whilst you are doing you will all agree together, for it is idleness that hath begot this rust and this gangrene amongst us.
I think it is true. Let us be doing, but let us be united in our doing. If there remain nothing else [needful] but present action,k [let us be doing]—I mean, doing in that kind, doing in that sort. I think we need not be in council here [if] such kind of action, action of that nature, [will serve].l But if we do not rightly and clearly understand one another before we come to act, if we do not lay a foundation of action before we do act, I doubt whether we shall act unanimously or no. And seriously, as before the Lord, I knew no such end of our speech the last night, and [our] appointing another meeting, but in order to a more perfect understanding of one another, what we should do, and that we might be agreed upon some principles of action. And truly if I remember rightly, upon the delivery of the paper that was yesterday, this was offered, that the things [that] are now upon usa are things of difficulty, the things are things that do deserve therefore consideration, because there might be great weight in the consequences; and it was then offered, and I hope is still so in all our hearts, that we are not troubled with the consideration of the difficulty, nor with the consideration of anything but this: that if we do difficult things, we may see that the things we do, have the will of God in them, that they are not only plausible and good things, but seasonable and honest things, fit for us to do. And therefore it was desired that we might consider, [before] we could come to these papers,i in what condition we stood in respect of former engagements,b however some may be satisfiedc that there lie none upon us, or none but such as it’s duty to break, it’s sin to keep. Therefore that was yesterday premised, [that] there may be a consideration had of them—and I may speak it as in the presence of God, that I know nothing of any engagements, but I would see liberty in any man as I would be free from bondage to anything that should hinder me from doing my duty—and therefore that was first in consideration. If our obligation be nothing, or if it be weak, I hoped we shalle receive satisfaction why it should be laid aside, [and be convinced] that the things that we speak of are not obliged. And therefore, if it please you, I think it will be good for us to frame our discourse to what we were, where we are, what we are bound to, what we are free to; and then I make no question but that this may conclude what is between [us and] these gentlemen, in one afternoon. I do not speak this to make obligations more than what they were before, but as before the Lord. You see what they are ([producing the printed volume of Army Declarations1 ]); and when we look upon them we shall see whetherf we have been in a wrong way, and I hope it will call upon us for the more double diligence.g
I shall desire a word or two before that. I did exceedingly mistake myself the last nighth upon what we say now was [then] determined. I looked upon the committee as a committee to look over this paper, to see whether it were a paper that did hold forth justice and righteousness, whether it were a paper that honest men could close with. But truly I am of opinion that if we should spend ten days’ time in going over that book, and debate what engagements we have broke, or whether we have broke any or no, or whether we have kept our engagements, it would not come to the business; neither would it prevent that evil that I think will overtake us (unless God in abundant manner prevent). Let us go the quickest way to work [and not fear lest we start] before we fall into the right way. And truly, sir, I have thought that the wounds of the kingdom, and the difficulties that we are fallen into, and our [need of] cure, is become so great that we would be willing, all of us, to heal the sore, and [not] to skin it over but leave it unwholesome and corrupt at the bottom. Therefore for my part I do [thus] conclude in my spirit—and I could give you reasons for it, which this day I have from very good hands, buta which I think [it] is notb prudent to declare so publicly as this is; for my own part I [did] say this yesterday upon another occasion: I will not say positively that we are to take the course prescribed in that paper at present, but if we do not set upon the work [of settlement presently we are undone]. Since in order to that there is a thing called an Agreement which the people [must] have subscribed, and being that is ready to our hands, I desire that you would read it and debate it, whether it be a way to deliver us yet or no; and if it be, [that you would accept it], and if not, that you would think of some other way.
I shall but offer this to you. Truly I hope that we may speak our hearts freely here; and I hope that there is not such an evil amongst us as that we could or would exercise our wits, or our cunning, to veil over any doubleness of heart that may possibly be in us. I hope, having been in such a presence as we have been [in] this day, we do not admitc such a thought as this into our hearts. And therefore if the speaking of that we did speak before—and to which I shall speak again, with submission to all that hear me; if the declining to consider this paper may have with any man a workingd upon his spirit through any jealousy that it aims at delay; truly I can speak it as before the Lord, it is not at all in my heart, but sincerely this is the ground of it. I know this paper doth contain many good things in it, but this is the only thing that doth stick with me, the desiring to know my freedom to this thing. Though this [paper] doth suggest that that may be the bottom of all our evils—and I will not say against it because I do not think against it—though this doth suggest the bottom of all our evils, yet for all to see ourselves free to this, all of us, [so] as we may unanimously join upon this, either to agree to this, or to add more to it, [or] to alter [it] as we shall agree, [that is alone needful; but, lacking it,] this impediment lies in our way, [even] if every man be satisfied with it but myself. [I repeat] that this is the first thing that is to be considered, that we should consider in what condition we stand to our former obligations, that if we be clear we may go off clear, if not we may not go on. If I be not come off [clear] with what obligations are made, if I be not free to act to whatsoever you shall agree upon, I think this is my duty: that I should not in the least study either to retard your work or hinder it, or to act against it, but wish you as much success as if I were free to act with you. I desire we may view over our obligations and engagements, that so we may be free [to act together] upon honest and clear grounds, if this be——
I have but one word to prevent you in, and that is for imminent danger. It may be possibly so [imminent] that [it] may not admit of an hour’s debate, nor nothing of delay. If that be so, I think that’s above all law and rule to us.
I would offer one word, for I think this will bring us to no issue at all. Both yesterday and to-day, and divers times, we have had cautions given us to have care of divisions. I do speak it to avoid division: that we may not at this time consider the engagements. If you, or any other gentlemen, are of opinion that you have not broke them, and then some others are of opinion that you have broke them, we may fall into contest[s] which may occasion division. But if you read this, and find it not against the Engagement,1 that will be the work. If it be not against the Engagement, you will find that in it which you will find from your engagements. And I have something to say to the particulars in it.
I shall only offer this, the necessity of expedition if the people shall consider the necessities that they and we are in. We live now upon free-quarter, and we have that against our wills. Those that know what belongs to armies well know, none are to quarter soldiers but those that are within so many miles. And if so be too that the owner of the house should refuse to open his doors, we are prevented to pay our quarters by those that might have supplied us. I have seen this paper, and upon second reading of it I set my hand to it, that we may not lie as drones to devour their families. I am ready where I am called by my superiors. If not, the Lord be merciful to me.
I should offer one word to this Council: I think it is in all our minds to deliver the kingdom; if there be particular engagements we must lay them asidea to lay down [something for the] public good.
I desire to know what the gentleman means concerning particular engagements: whetherb he means those that are in this book? If those that are in this book [they are the engagements of the Army]. But if he means engagements personal from particular persons, let every man speak for himself. I speak for myself, I disavow all, and I am free to act, free from any such——
I conceive that [if] they be such as are passed by the Representative of the Army, I think the Army is bound in conscience to go on with them.
Colonel [John] Hewson:
All the engagements that have been declared for have [not] been by the Representative of the Army. And whether or no that hath not been the cause of this cloud that hangs over our heads, I think if we lay our hands over our hearts we may not much mistake it.
According to your Honours’ desire yesterday, I am comed here to give in my reasons why I do approve of this paper, this Agreement, [and] to receive reasons why it should not be agreed to.e For the particular engagements of the Army, I am ignorant of them, but if it please this Council [I would move them] to let this [paper] be read, that either the matter or manner of it may be debated; and when any of the matter shall come to touch upon any engagement [so as] to break any engagement, that then the engagement may be shown; and if that engagement shall prove just, and this unjust, this must be rejected, or if this just, and these engagements unjust, [then they must be rejected]. I desire all those that are free from it in their spirits may act farther; and those that think themselves bound up sof to acquiesce in it, that they would be pleased to rest satisfied in the actions of other men that are at liberty to act for the peace and freedom of the kingdom.
Truly I would, if I did know of any personal, particular engagements, if I were personally or particularly engaged myself, which I profess, as in the presence of God, I know not fora myself. I myself am not under any engagement in relation to that business that the great question lies upon—I need not name it—more than what all men know that have seen and read, and in the Army consented to, those things that were published. But if I were under any particular engagement, it should not at all stand in any other man’s way. If I were underb [any particular engagement], I say, that I could be convincedc was ill and unlawful for me to enter into, my engagement should not stand in any other man’s way that would do anything that I could be convinced of to be better. And till God hath brought us all to that temper of spirit that we can be contented to be nothing in our reputations, [in our] esteems, in our power—truly I may go a little higher and say, till the reputation and honour of the Army, and such things, become nothing to us, [at least] not so as to stand at all in the way, [or allow] the consideration of them to stand at all in the way, to hinder us from what we see God calling us to, or to prompt us on to what we have not a clear call from him [to undertake]—we are not brought to that temper wherein I can expect any renewing of that presence of God that we have sought. And therefore, for my part, I profess first, I desire no [particular] engagements [may be considered]. If there were particular engagements of any particular man whatsoever, I desire they may not be considered [so] as to [influence] the leading of the Army one way or other, but let that man look to himself for what justice lies upon him, and what justice will follow him. Neither do I care for the engagements of the Army so much for the engagements’d sake, but I look upon this Army as having carried with it hitherto the name of God, and having carried with it hitherto the interest of the people of God, and the interest which is God’s interest, the honour of his name, the good and freedom and safety and happiness of his people. And for my part I think that it is that that is the only thing for which God hath appeared with us, and led us, and gone before us, and honoured us, and taken delight to work by us. I say, that very thing: that we have carried the name of God (and I hope not in show, but in reality), professing to act, and to work, as we have thought,e in our judgments and consciences, God to lead us; professing to act to those ends that we have thought to be answerable and suitable to the mind of God, so far as it hath been known to us.f We have professed to endeavour to follow the counsels of God, and to have him president in our councils; and I hope it hath been so in our hearts. [We have professed] that we have been ready to follow his guidance; and I know it hath been so in many things against our own reasons, where we have seen evidently God calling us. And [I know] that we have been carried on with a confidence in him: we have made him our trust, and we have held forth his name, and we have owned his hand towards us. These are the things, I say, which God hath in some degree and measure wrought his people in this Army up to, in some degree of sincerity. And this it is (as I said before) that I account hath been [the thing] that God hath taken delight in, amongst us, to dwell with us, to be with us, and to appear with us, and [the reason why he] will manifest his presence to us. And therefore by this means, and by that appearance of God amongst us, the name and honour of God, the name and reputation of the people of God, and of that Gospel that they profess, is deeply and dearly and nearly concerned in the good or ill manage of this Army, in their good or ill carriage; and therefore, for my part I profess it, that’s the only thing to me. [It is] not to me so much as the vainest or lightest thing you can imagine, whether there be a king in England or no, whether there be lords in England or no. For whatever I find the work of God tending to, I should desire quietly to submit to. If God saw it good to destroy, not only King and Lords, but all distinctions of degrees—nay if it go further, to destroy all property, that there’s no such thing left, that there be nothing at all of civil constitution left in the kingdom—if I see the hand of God in it I hope I shall with quietness acquiesce, and submit to it, and not resist it. But still I think that God certainly will so lead those that are his, and I hope too he will so lead this Army,a that they may not incur sin, or bring scandal upon the name of God, and the name of the people of God, that are both so nearly concerned in what this Army does.b And [therefore] it is my wish, upon those grounds that I before declared, which made the consideration of this Army dear and tender to me,c [that] we may take heed, [that] we may consider first engagements,d so far as they are engagements publicly of the Army. I do not speak of particular [engagements]; I would not have them considered, if there be any. And secondly, I would have us consider of this: that our ways and workings and actings, and the actings of the Army, so far as the counsels of those prevail in it who have anything of the spirit of Jesus Christ, may appear suitable to that spirit. And [as] I would [not] have this Army in relation to those great concernments (as I said before: the honour of God, and the honour and good name of his people and of religion),e as I would not have it to incur the scandal of neglecting engagements, and laying aside all consideration of engagements, and [the scandal] of juggling, and deceiving, and deluding the world, making them believe things in times of extremity which they never meant; so I would [not] have usa give the world occasion to think that we are the disturbers of the peace of mankind. I say, I would not give them just occasion to think so; nay, I would have them have just cause to think that we seek peace with all men, andb the good of all men, and [that] we seek the destruction of none—that we can say. And in general I would wish and study, and that my heart is bent to, that the counsels of this Army may appear acted1 by that wisdom that is from above, which we know how it is charactered.2 It is first pure, and then peaceable, and then gentle, and easy to be entreated, and we find many characters of the same wisdom, and all other fruits of the same spirit, that still run clearly that way. Therefore, I say, I wish that we may have no otherwise a consideration of engagements or anything of that nature. That which makes me press it, is chiefly that consideration of the concernment of the honour of God and his people in the Army; and as I prize them so I presse [that in] all [things] whatsoever,f though we were free and had no engagements,g we do act as Christians, as men guided by the Spirit of God, as men having that wisdom [that is] from above, and [is] so characterized.
To the method of our proceeding. Having expressed what I desire may be all our cares, I cannot but think that this will be clearest, because I see it is so much pressed and insisted upon: noth to read what our engagements are, but [to] read the paper that is presented here, and consider upon it, what good and what matter of justice and righteousness there is in it, and whether there be anything of injustice or unrighteousness, either in itself or in reference to our engagements. And so far, I think our engagements ought to be taken into consideration:i that so far as we are engaged to a thing that was not unlawful to engage toj (and I should be sad to think them so), we should think ourselves bound not to act contrary to those engagements. And first that we may consider of the particulars of this paper,k whether they be good and just (that is [not ill], not unjust); and then further to consider whether they be so essentially due and right as that they should be contended for, for then that is some kind of check to less engagements,l and for such things, if we find any, light engagements [may] be cast off and not considered.m But if we find any matter in them that, though it be just, though it be goodn (that is not ill, not unjust),o is notp probable to be so beneficial and advantageous (not to few, but to many), thatq withal we may consider whether it be so much a duty, and we be so much bound to it by the thing itself, as that no engagement can take us from it. Anda if we find any thing[s] that, if they be just or good, [are] yet not so obligatory or of [such] necessity to the kingdom [but that] the kingdom may stand without them, then I think, it being [so, it is] not absolutely lawful [for us] to act for them.
Major [William] Rainborough:
I desire we may come to that end we all strive after. I humbly desire you will fall upon that which is the engagement of all, which is the rights and freedoms of the people, and let us see how far we have made sure to them a right and freedom, and if anything be tendered as to that [in this paper]. And when that engagement is gone through, then, let us consider of those [things only] that are of greater weight.
(The paper called the Agreement read. Afterwards the first article read by itself.)1
The exception that lies in it is this. It is said, they are to be distributed according to the number of the inhabitants: ‘The people of England,’ &c. And this doth make me think that the meaning is, that every man that is an inhabitant is to be equally considered, and to have an equal voice in the election of those representers, the persons that are for the general Representative; and if that be the meaning, then I have something to say against it. But if it be only that those people that by the civil constitution of this kingdom, which is original and fundamental, and beyond which I am sure no memory of record does go—
Not before the Conquest.c
But before the Conquest it was so. If it be intended that those that by that constitution that was before the Conquest, that hath been beyond memory, such persons that have been before [by] that constitution [the electors], should be [still] the electors, I have no more to say against it.
Colonel Rainborough objected:d
That others might have given their hands to it.
Captain Denne denied that those that were set of their regimente were their hands.
Whether those men whose hands are to it, or those that brought it, do know so much of the matter as [to know] whethera they mean that all that had a former right of election [are to be electors], or [that] those that had no right before are to come in.
In the time before the Conquest.b Since the Conquest the greatest part of the kingdom was in vassalage.
We judge that all inhabitants that have not lost their birthright should have an equal voice in elections.
I desired that those that had engaged in it [might be included]. For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he; and therefore truly, sir, I think it’s clear, that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under; and I am confident that, when I have heard the reasons against it,d something will be said to answer those reasons, insomuch that I should doubt whether hee was an Englishman or no, that should doubt of these things.
That’s [the meaning of] this, [‘according to the number of the inhabitants’]?
Give me leave to tell you, that if you make this the rule I think you must fly for refuge to an absolute natural right, and you must deny all civil right; and I am sure it will come to that in the consequence. This, I perceive, is pressed as that which is so essential and due: the right of the people of this kingdom, and as they are the people of this kingdom, distinct and divided from other people, andf that we must for this right lay aside all other considerations; this is so just, this is so due, this is so right to them.g And that those that they do thus choose must have such a power of binding all, and loosing all, according to those limitations, this is pressed as so due, and so just, as [it] is argued, that it is an engagement paramount [to] all others: and you must for it lay aside all others; if you have engaged any otherwise,h you must break it. [We must] so look upon these as thus held out to us; so it was held out by the gentleman that brought it yesterday. For my part, I think it is no right at all. I think that no person hath a right to an interest or share in the disposing of the affairs of the kingdom, and in determining or choosing those that shall determine what laws we shall be ruled by here—no person hath a right to this, that hath not a permanent fixed interest in this kingdom, and those persons together are properly the represented of this kingdom,a and consequently are [also] to make up the representers of this kingdom,b who taken together do comprehend whatsoever is of real or permanent interest in the kingdom. And I am surei otherwise I cannot tell whatc any man can say why a foreigner coming in amongst us—or as many as will coming in amongst us, or by force or otherwise settling themselves here, or at least by our permission having a being here—why they should not as well lay claim to it as any other. We talk of birthright. Truly [by] birthright there is thus much claim. Men may justly have by birthright, by their very being born in England, that we should not seclude them out of England, that we should not refuse to give them air and place and ground, and the freedom of the highways and other things, to live amongst us—not any man that is born here, thoughd by his birth there come nothing at all (that is part of the permanent interest of this kingdom) to him. That I think is due to a man by birth. But that by a man’s being born here he shall have a share in that power that shall dispose of the lands here, and of all things here, I do not think it a sufficient ground.e I am sure if we look upon that which is the utmost (within [any] man’s view) of what was originally the constitution of this kingdom,f upon that which is most radical and fundamental, and which if you take away, there is no man hath any land, any goods,g [or] any civil interest,h that is this: that those that choose the representers for the making of laws by which this state and kingdom are to be governed, are the persons who, taken together, do comprehend the local interest of this kingdom; that is, the persons in whom all land lies, and those in corporations in whom all trading lies. This is the most fundamental constitution of this kingdom and [that] which if you do not allow, you allow none at all. This constitution hath limited and determined it that only those shall have voices in elections. It is true, as was said by a gentleman near me, the meanest man in England ought to have [a voice in the election of the government he lives under—but only if he has some local interest]. I say this: that those that have the meanest local interest—that man that hath but forty shillings a year, he hath as great voice in the election of a knight for the shire as he that hath ten thousand a year, or more if he had never so much; and therefore there is that regard had to it. But this [local interest], still the constitution of this government hath had an eye to (and what other government hath not an eye to this?). It doth not relate to the interest of the kingdom if it do not lay the foundation of the power that’s given toa the representers, in those who have a permanent and a local interest in the kingdom, and who taken all together do comprehend the whole [interest of the kingdom]. There is all the reason and justice that can be, [in this]: if I will come to live in a kingdom, being a foreigner to it, or live in a kingdom, having no permanent interest in it, [and] if I will desire as a stranger, or claim as one freeborn here, the air, the free passage of highways, the protection of laws, and all such thingsb —if I will either desire them or claim them, [then] I (if I have no permanent interest in that kingdom) must submit to those laws and those rules [which they shall choose], who, taken together, do comprehend the whole interest of the kingdom.c And if we shall go to take away this, we shall plainly go to take away all property and interest that any man hath either in land by inheritance, or in estate by possession, or anything else—[I say], if you take away this fundamental part of the civil constitution.d
Truly, sir, I am of the same opinion I was, and am resolved to keep it till I know reason why I should not. I confess my memory is bad, and therefore I am fain to make use of my pen. I remember that, in a former speech [which] this gentleman brought before this [meeting], he was saying that in some cases he should not value whether [there were] a king or no king, whether lords or no lords, whether a property or no property. For my part I differ in that. I do very much care whether [there be] a king or no king, lords or no lords, property or no property; and I think, if we do not all take care, we shall all have none of these very shortly. But as to this present business. I do hear nothing at all that can convince me, why any man that is born in England ought not to have his voice in election of burgesses. It is said that if a man have not a permanent interest, he can have no claim; and [that] we must be no freer than the laws will let use be, and that there is no [law in any] chronicle will let us be freer than that we [now] enjoy. Something was said to this yesterday. I do think that the main cause why Almighty God gave men reason, it was that they should make use of that reason, and that they should improve it for that end and purpose that God gave it them. And truly, I think that half a loaf is better than none if a man be anhungry: [this gift of reason without other property may seem a small thing], yet I think there is nothing that God hath given a man that any [one] else can take from him. And therefore I say, that either it must be the Law of God or the law of man that must prohibit the meanest man in the kingdom to have this benefit as well as the greatest. I do not find anything in the Law of God, that a lord shall choose twenty burgesses, and a gentleman but two, or a poor man shall choose none: I find no such thing in the Law of Nature, nor in the Law of Nations. But I do find that all Englishmen must be subject to English laws, and I do verily believe that there is no man but will say that the foundation of all law lies in the people, and if [it lie] in the people, I am to seek for this exemption.
And truly I have thought something [else]: in what a miserable distressed condition would many a man that hath fought for the Parliament in this quarrel, be! I will be bound to say that many a man whose zeal and affection to God and this kingdom hath carried him forth in this cause, hath so spent his estate that, in the way the state [and] the Army are going,a he shall not hold up his head, ifb when his estate is lost, and not worth forty shillings a year, a man shall not have any interest. And there are many other ways by which [the] estatesc men have (if that be the rule which God in his providence does use) do fall to decay. A man, when he hath an estate,f hath an interest in making laws, [but] when he hath none, he hath no power in it; so that a man cannot lose that which he hath for the maintenance of his family but he must [also] lose that which God and nature hath given him! And therefore I do [think], and am still of the same opinion, that every man born in England cannot, ought not, neither by the Law of God nor the Law of Nature, to be exempted from the choice of those who are to make lawsg for him to live under, and for him, for aught I know, to lose his life under. And therefore I think there can be no great stick in this.
Truly I think that there is not this day reigning in England a greater fruit or effect of tyranny than this very thing would produce.d Truly I know nothing free but only the knight of the shire, nor do I know anything in a parliamentary way that is clear from the height and fulness of tyranny, but only [that]. As for this of corporations [which you also mentioned], it is as contrary to freedom as may be.e For, sir, what is it? The King he grants a patent under the Broad Seal of England to such a corporation to send burgesses, he grants to [such] a city to send burgesses. When a poor base corporation from the King[’s grant] shall send two burgesses, when five hundred men of estate shall not send one, when those that are to make their laws are called by the King, or cannot act [but] by such a call, truly I think that the people of England have little freedom.
I think there was nothing that I said to give you occasion to think that I did contend for this, that such a corporation [as that] should have the electing of a man to the Parliament. I think I agreed to this matter, that all should be equally distributed. But the question is, whether it should be distributed to all persons, or whether the same persons that are the electors [now] should be the electors still, and it [be] equally distributed amongst them. I do not see anybody else that makes this objection; and if nobody else be sensible of it I shall soon have done. Only I shall a little crave your leave to represent the consequences of it, and clear myself from onea thing that was misrepresented by the gentleman that sat next me. I think, if the gentleman remember himself, he cannot but remember that what I said was to this effect: that if I saw the hand of God leading so far as to destroy King, and destroy Lords, and destroy property, and [leave] no such thing at all amongst us, I should acquiesce in it; and so I did not care, if no king, no lords, or no property [should] be,b in comparison of the tender care that I have of the honour of God, and of the people of God, whose [good] name is so much concerned in this Army. This I did deliver [so], and not absolutely.
All the main thing that I speak for, is because I would have an eye to property. I hope we do not come to contend for victory—but let every man consider with himself that he do not go that way to take away all property. For here is the case of the most fundamental part of the constitution of the kingdom, which if you take away, you take away all by that. Herec men of this and this quality are determined to be the electors of men to the Parliament, and they are all those who have any permanent interest in the kingdom, and who, taken together, do comprehend the whole [permanent, local] interest of the kingdom. I mean by permanent [and] local, that [it] is not [able to be removed] anywhere else. As for instance, he that hath a freehold, and that freehold cannot be removed out of the kingdom; and so there’s a [freeman of a] corporation, a place which hath the privilege of a market and trading, which if you should allow to all places equally, I do not see how you could preserve any peace in the kingdom, and that is the reason why in the constitution we have but some few market towns. Now those people [that have freeholds]d and those [that] are the freemen of corporations,e were looked upona by the former constitutionb to comprehend the permanent interest of the kingdom. For [first], he that hath his livelihood by his trade, and by his freedom of trading in such a corporation, which he cannot exercise in another, he is tied to that place, [for] his livelihood depends upon it. And secondly, that man hath an interest, hath a permanent interest there, upon which he may live, and live a freeman without dependence. These [things the] constitutionc [of] this kingdom hath looked at. Now I wish we may all consider of what right you will challenge that all the people should have right to elections. Is it by the right of nature? If you will hold forth that as your ground, then I think you must deny all property too, and this is my reason. For thus: by that same right of nature (whatever it be) that you pretend, by which you can say, oned man hath an equal right with another to the choosing of him that shall govern him—by the same right of nature, he hath the same [equal] right in any goods he sees—meat, drink, clothes—to take and use them for his sustenance. He hath a freedom to the land, [to take] the ground, to exercise it, till it; he hath the [same] freedom to anything that any one doth account himself to have any propriety in. Why now I say then, if you,g against the most fundamental part of [the] civil constitution (which I have now declared), will plead the Law of Nature, that a man should (paramount [to] this, and contrary to this) have a power of choosing those men that shall determine what shall be law in this state, though he himself have no permanent interest in the state, [but] whatever interest he hath he may carry about with him—if this be allowed, [because by the right of nature] we are free, we are equal, one man must have as much voice as another, then show me what step or difference [there is], why [I may not] by the same right [take your property, though not] of necessity to sustain nature. It is for my better being, and [the better settlement of the kingdom]? Possibly not for it, neither: possibly I may not have so real a regard to the peace of the kingdom as that man who hath a permanent interest in it.e He thatf is here to-day, and gone to-morrow, I do not see that he hath such a permanent interest. Since you cannot plead to it by anything but the Law of Nature, [or for anything] but for the end of better being, and [since] that better being is not certain, and [what is] more, destructive to another; upon these grounds, if you do, paramount [to] all constitutions, hold up this Law of Nature, I would fain have any man show me their bounds, where you will end, and [why you should not] take away all property.
I shall now be a little more free and open with you than I was before. I wish we were all true-hearted, and that we did all carry ourselves with integrity. If I did mistrust you I would [not] use such asseverations. I think it doth go on mistrust, and things are thought too [readily] matters of reflection, that were never intended. For my part, as I think, you forgot something that was in my speech,a and you do not only yourselves believe that [some] men are inclining to anarchy, but you would make all men believe that. And, sir, to say because a man pleads that every man hath a voice [by right of nature], that therefore it destroys [by] the same [argument all property—this is to forget the Law of God]. That there’s a property, the Law of God says it; else why [hath] God made that law, Thou shalt not steal? I am a poor man, therefore I must be [op]pressed: if I have no interest in the kingdom, I must suffer by all their laws be they right or wrong. Nay thus: a gentleman lives in a country and hath three or four lordships, as some men have (God knows how they got them); and when a Parliament is called he must be a Parliamentman; and it may be he sees some poor men, they live near this man, he can crush them—I have known an invasionb to make sure he hath turned the poor menc out of doors; and I would fain know whether the potency of [rich] men do not this, and so keep them under the greatest tyranny that was [ever] thought of in the world. And therefore I think that to that it is fully answered: God hath set down that thing as to propriety with this law of his, Thou shalt not steal. And for my part I am against any such thought, and,d as for yourselves,e I wish you would not make the world believe that we are for anarchy.
I know nothing but this, that they that are the most yielding have the greatest wisdom; but really, sir, this is not right as it should be. No man says that you have a mind to anarchy, but [that] the consequence of this rule tends to anarchy, must end in anarchy; for where is there any bound or limit set if you take away this [limit], that men that have no interest but the interest of breathing [shall have no voice in elections]? Therefore I am confident on’t, we should not be so hot one with another.
I know that some particular men we debate with [believe we] are for anarchy.
I profess I must clear myself as to that point.g I would not desire,h I cannot allow myself, to lay the least scandal upon anybody. And truly, for that gentleman that did take so much offence, I do not know why he should take it so. We speak to the paper—not to persons—and to the matter of the paper. And I hope that no man is so much engaged to the matter of the paper—I hope [that] our persons, and our hearts and judgments, are not [so] pinned to papers but that we are ready to hear what good or ill consequence will flow from it.a
I have, with as much plainness and clearness of reason as I could, showed you how I did conceive the doing of this [that the paper advocates] takes away that which is the most original, the most fundamental civil constitution of this kingdom, and which is, above all, that constitution by which I have any property.b If you will take away that and set up,c as a thing paramount,d whatever a man may claim by the Law of Nature, though it be not a thing of necessity to him for the sustenance of nature; if you do make this your rule, I desire clearly to understand where then remains property.
Now thene —I would misrepresent nothing—thef answer which had anything of matter in it,g the great and main answer upon which that which hath been said against this [objection] rests, seemed to be that it will not make a breach of property,h [for this reason]: that there is a law, Thou shalt not steal. [But] the same law says, Honour thy father and [thy] mother, and that law doth likewise hold out that it doth extend to all that (in that place where we are in) are our governors; so that by that there is a forbidding of breaking a civil law when we may live quietly under it, and [that by] a divine law. Again it is said—indeed [was said] before—that there is no law, no divine law, that tells us that such a corporation must have the election of burgesses,i such a shire [of knights], or the like. Divine law extends not to particular things. And so, on the other side, if a man were to demonstrate his [right to] property by divine law, it would be very remote.j Our [right to] property descends from other things, as well as our right of sending burgesses. That divine law doth not determine particulars but generals in relation to man and man, and to property, and all things else: and we should be as far to seek if we should go to prove a property in [a thing by] divine law, as to prove that I have an interest in choosing burgesses of the Parliament by divine law. And truly, under favour, I refer it to all, whether there be anything of solution to that objection that I made, if it be understood—I submit it to any man’s judgment.
To the thing itself—property [in the franchise]. I would fain know how it comes to be the property [of some men, and not of others]. As for estates and those kind of things, and other things that belong to men, it will be granted thata they areb property; but I deny that that is a property, to a lord, to a gentleman, to any man more than another in the kingdom of England. If it be a property, it is a property by a law—neither do I think that there is very little property in this thing by the law of the land, because I think that the law of the land in that thing is the most tyrannical law under heaven. And I would fain know what we have fought for. [For our laws and liberties?] And this is the old law of England—and that which enslaves the people of England—that they should be bound by laws in which they have no voice at all!c [With respect to the divine law which says Honour thy father and thy mother] the great dispute is, who is a right father and a right mother? I am bound to know who is my father and mother; and—I take it in the same sense you do—I would have a distinction, a character whereby God commands me to honour [them]. And for my part I look upon the people of England so, that wherein they have not voices in the choosing of their [governors—their civil] fathers and mothers—they are not bound to that commandment.
I desire to add one word concerning the word property. It is for something that anarchy is so much talked of. For my own part I cannot believe in the least that it can be clearly derived from that paper. ’Tis true, that somewhat may be derived in the paper against the King, the power of the King, and somewhat against the power of the Lords; and the truth is when I shall see God going about to throw down King and Lords and property, then I shall be contented. But I hope that they may live to see the power of the King and the Lords thrown down, that yet may live to see property preserved. And for this of changing the Representative of the nation, of changing those that choose the Representative, making of them more full, taking more into the number than formerly, I had verily thought we had all agreed in it that more should have chosen—all that had desired a more equal representation than we now have. For now those only choose who have forty shillings freehold. A man may have a lease for one hundred pounds a year, a man may have a lease for three lives, [but he has no voice]. But [as] for this [argument], that it destroys all right [to property] that every Englishman that is an inhabitant of England should choose and have a voiced in the representatives, I suppose it is, [on the contrary], the only means to preserve all property. For I judge every man is naturally free; and I judge the reason whya men [chose representatives] when they wereh in so great numbers that every man could not give his voice [directly], wasb that they who were chosen might preserve property [for all]; and therefore men agreed to come into some form of government that they might preserve property, and I would fain know, if we were to begin a government, [whether you would say], ‘You have not forty shillings a year, therefore you shall not have a voice.’ Whereas before there was a government every man had such a voice,i and afterwards, and for this very cause, they did choose representatives, and put themselves into forms of government that they may preserve property, and therefore it is not to destroy it, [to give every man a voice].
I think we shall not be so apt to come to a right understanding in this business, if one man, and another man, and another man do speak their several thoughts and conceptions to the same purpose, as if we do considerc where the objection lies, and what the answer is which is made to it;d and therefore I desire we may do so. To that which this gentleman spake last. The main thing that he seemed to answer was this: that he would make it appear that the going about to establish this government, [or] such a government, is not a destruction of property, nor does not tend to the destruction of property, because the people’s falling into a government is for the preservation of property. What weight there [is in it] lies in this: since there is a falling into a government, and government is to preserve property, therefore this cannot be against property. The objection does not lie in that, the making ofe the representationf more equal, but [in] the introducing of men into an equality of interest in this government, who have no property in this kingdom, or who have no local permanent interest in it. For if I had said that I would not wish at all that we should have any enlargement of the bounds of those that are to be the electors, then you might have excepted against it. But [what I said was] that I would not go to enlarge it beyond all bounds, so that upon the same ground you may admit of so many men from foreign states as would outvote you. The objection lies still in this.g I do not mean that I would have it restrained to that proportion [that now obtains], but to restrain it still to men who have a local, a permanent interest in the kingdom, who have such an interest that they may live upon it as freeman, and who have such an interest as is fixed upon a place, and is not the same equally everywhere. If a man be an inhabitant upon a rack rent for a year, for two years, or twenty years, you cannot think that man hath any fixed or permanent interest. That man, if he pay the rent that his land is worth, anda hath no advantage but what he hath by his land,b is as good a man, may have as much interest, in another kingdom asc here. I do not speak of notd enlarging this [representation] at all, but of keeping this to the most fundamental constitution in this kingdom, that is, that no person that hath not a local and permanent interest in the kingdom should have an equal dependence in election [with those that have]. But if you go beyond this law, if you admit any man that hath a breath and being, I did show you how this will destroy property. It may come to destroy property thus. You may havee such men chosen, or at least the major part of them, [as have no local and permanent interest]. Whyf may notg those men vote against all property? [Again] you may admit strangers by this rule, if you admit them once to inhabit, and those that have interest in the land may be voted out of their land. It may destroy property that way. But here is the rule that you go by.h You infer this to be the right of the people, of every inhabitant,i becausej man hath such a right in nature, though it be not of necessity for the preserving of his being; [and] therefore you are to overthrow the most fundamental constitution for this. By the same rule, show me why you will not, by the same right of nature, make use of anything that any man hath, [though it be not] for the necessary sustenance of men.k Show me what you will stop at; wherein you will fence any man in a property by this rule.
I desire to know how this comes to be a property in some men, and not in others.
Colonel [Nathaniel] Rich:
I confess [there is weight in] that objection that the Commissary-General last insisted upon; for you have five to one in this kingdom that have no permanent interest. Some men [have] ten, some twenty servants, some more, some less. If the master and servant shall be equal electors, then clearly those that have no interest in the kingdom will make it their interest to choose those that have no interest. It may happen, that the majority may by law, not in a confusion,l destroy property; there may be a law enacted, that there shall be an equality of goods and estate.1 I think that either of the extremes may be urged to inconveniency; that is, [that] men that have no interest as to estate should have no interest as to election [and that they should have an equal interest]. But there may be a more equitableg division and distribution than that he that hath nothing should have an equal voice; and certainly there may be some other way thought of, that there may be a representative of the poor as well as the rich, and not to exclude all. I remember there were many workings and revolutions, as we have heard, in the Roman Senate; and there was never a confusion that did appear (and that indeed was come to) till the state came to know this kind of distribution of election. That is howa the people’s voices were bought and sold, and that by the poor; and thence it came that he that was the richest man, and [a man] of some considerable power among the soldiers,b and one they resolved on,c made himself a perpetual dictator. And if we strain too far to avoid monarchy in kings [let us take heed] that we do not call for emperors to deliver us from more than one tyrant.
I should not have spoken again. I think it is a fine gilded pill. But there is much danger, and it may seem to some that there is some kind of remedy [possible]. I think that we are better as we are [if it can be really proved] that the poor shall choose many [and] still the people bed in the same case, be over-voted still. [But of this, and much else, I am unsatisfied], and therefore truly, sir, I should desire to go close to the business; and the [first] thing that I am unsatisfied in is how it comes about that there is such a propriety in some freeborn Englishmen, and not [in] others.
Whether the younger son have not as much right to the inheritance as the eldest.
Will you decide it by the light of nature?
Why election was [given] only [to those with freeholds of] forty shillings a year (which was [then worth] more than forty pounds a year now), the reason was: that the Commons of England were overpowered by the Lords, who had abundance of vassals, but that still they might make their laws good against encroaching prerogatives [by this means];e therefore they did exclude all slaves. Now the case is not so: all slaves have bought their freedoms, [and] they are more free that in the commonwealth are more beneficial. [Yet] there are men [of substance] in the country [with no voice in elections]. There is a tanner in Staines worth three thousand pounds, and another in Reading worth three horseskins. [The second has a voice; the first, none.]
In the beginning of your speech you seem to acknowledge [that] by law, by civil constitution, the propriety of having voices in election was fixed in certain persons. So then your exception of your argument does not prove that by civil constitution they have no such propriety, but your argument does acknowledge [that] by civil [constitution they have such] propriety. You argue against this law [only] that this law is not good.
Unless I be very much mistaken we are very much deviated from the first question.a Instead of following the first proposition to inquire what is just, I conceive we look to prophecies, and look to what may be the event, and judge of the justness of a thing by the consequence. I desire we may recall [ourselves to the question] whether it be right or no. I conceive all that hath been said against it will be reduced to this [question of consequences], and [to]b another reasonc —that it is against a fundamental law, that every person [choosing] ought to have a permanent interest, because it is not fit that those should choose Parliaments that have no lands to be disposed of by Parliament.
If you will take it by the way, it is not fit that the representees should choose [as] the representers, or the persons who shall make the law in the kingdom, [those] who have not a permanent fixed interest in the kingdom. [The reason is the same in the two cases.]
Sir, I do so take it; and I conceive that that is brought in for the same reason: that foreigners might [otherwise not only] come to have a voice in our elections as well as the native inhabitants, [but to be elected].
That is upon supposition that these [foreigners] should be all inhabitants.
I shall begin with the last first. The case is different withd the native inhabitant and [the] foreigner. If a foreigner shall be admitted to be an inhabitant in the nation,e so he will submit to that form of government as the natives do, he hath the same right as the natives but in this particular. Our case is to be considered thus, that we have been under slavery. That’s acknowledged by all. Our very laws were made by our conquerors; and whereas it’s spoken much of chronicles, I conceive there is no credit to be given to any of them; and the reason is because those that were our lords, and made us their vassals, would suffer nothing else to be chronicled. We are now engaged for our freedom. That’s the end of Parliaments: not to constitute what is already [established, but to act] according to the just rules of government. Every person in England hath as clear a right to elect his representative as the greatest person in England. I conceive that’s the undeniable maxim of government: that all government is in the free consent of the people. If [so], then upon that account there is no person that is under a just government, or hath justly his own, unless he by his own free consent be put under that government. This he cannot be unless he be consenting to it, and therefore, according to this maxim, there is never a person in England [but ought to have a voice in elections]. If [this], as that gentleman says, be true, there are no laws that in this strictness and rigour of justice [any man is bound to], that are not made by those who[m] he doth consent to. And therefore I should humbly move, that if the question be stated—which would soonest bring things to an issue—it might rather be thus: Whether any person can justly be bound by law,a who doth not give his consent that such persons shall make laws for him?
Let the question be so: Whether a man can be bound to any law that he doth not consent to? And I shall tell you, that he may and ought to be [bound to a law] that he doth not give a consent to, nor doth not choose any [to consent to]; and I will make it clear. If a foreigner come within this kingdom, if that stranger will have liberty [to dwell here] who hath no local interest here, he, asb a man, it’s true, hath air, [the passage of highways, the protection of laws,c and all] that by nature; we must not expel [him] our coasts, give him no being amongst us, nor kill him because he comes upon our land, comes up our stream, arrives at our shore. It is a piece of hospitality, of humanity, to receive that man amongst us. But if that man be received to a being amongst us, I think that man may very well be content to submit himself to the law of the land; that is, the law that is made by those people that have a property, a fixed property, in the land. I think, if any man will receive protection from this people though [neither] he nor his ancestors, not any betwixt him and Adam, did ever give concurrence to this constitution, I think this man ought to be subject to those laws, and to be bound by those laws, so long as he continues amongst them. That is my opinion. A man ought to be subject to a law, that did not give his consent, but with this reservation, that if this man do think himself unsatisfied to be subject to this law he may go into another kingdom. And so the same reason doth extend, in my understanding, [to] thata man that hath no permanent interest in the kingdom. If he hath money, his money is as good in another place as here; he hath nothing that doth locally fix him to this kingdom. If thatb man will live in this kingdom, or trade amongst us, that man ought to subject himself to the law made by the people who have the interest of this kingdom in them.c And yet I do acknowledge that which you take to be so general a maxim, that in every kingdom, within every land, the original of power of making laws, of determining what shall be law in the land, does lie in the people—[but by the people is meant those] that are possessed ofd the permanent interest in the land. But whoever is extraneous to this, that is, as good a man in another land, that man ought to give such a respect to the property of men that live in the land. They do not determine [that I shall live in this land]. Why should I have any interest ine determiningf what shall be the law of this land?
Major [William] Rainborough:
I think if it can be made to appear that it is a just and reasonable thing, and that it is for the preservation of all the [native] freeborn men, [that they should have an equal voice in election]—I think it ought to be made good unto them. And the reason is: that the chief end of this government is to preserve persons as well as estates, and if any law shall take hold of my person it is more dear than my estate.
I do very well remember that the gentleman in the window1 [said] that, if it were so, there were no propriety to be had, becauseh five partsi of [the nation], the poor people, are now excluded and would then come in. Soj one on the other side said [that], if [it were] otherwise, then rich men [only] shall be chosen. Then, I say, the one part shall make hewers of wood and drawers of water of the other five, and so the greatest part of the nation be enslaved.k Truly I think we are stilll where we were; and I do not hear any argument given but only that it is the present law of the kingdom. I say still,m what shall become of those many [men] that have laid out themselves for the Parliament of England in this present war, that have ruined themselves by fighting, by hazarding all they had? They are Englishmen. They have now nothing to say for themselves.
I should be very sorry to speak anything here that should give offence, or that may occasion personal reflection[s] that we spoke against just now. I did not urge anything so far as was represented, and I did not at all urgea that there should be a consideration [had of rich men], and that [a] man that is [poor] shall be without consideration, [or that] he deserves to be made poore[r] and not to live [in independence] at all. But all that I urged was this: that I think it worthy consideration, whether they should have an equality in their interest.b However, I think we have been a great while upon this point, and if we be as long upon all the rest, it were well if there were no greater difference than this.
Mr. [Hugh] Peter:
I think that this [matter of the franchise] may be easily agreed on—that is, there may be a way thought of. I think you would do well to set up all night [if thereby you could effect it], but I think that three or four might be thought of in this company [to form a committee]. You will be forced [only] to put characters upon electors or elected; therefore I do suppose that if there be any here that can make up a Representative to your mind, the thing is gained.c But I would fain know whether that will answer the work of your meeting.d The question is, whether you can state any one question for [removing] the present danger of the kingdom, whether any one question or no will dispatch the work.
Sir, I desire, [if it be possible], that some question may be stated to finish the present work, to cement us [in the points] wherein lies the distance; and if the thoughts [be] of the commonwealth [and] the people’s freedom, I think that’s soon cured. I desire that all manner of plainness may be used, that we may not go on with the lapwing and carry one another off the nest. There is something elsef that must cement us where the awkwardness of our spirits lies.
For my part, I think we cannot engage one way or other in the Army if we do not think of the people’s liberties. If we can agree where the liberty and freedom of the people lies, that will do all.
I cannot consent so far.g As I said before: when I see the hand of God destroying King, and Lords, and Commons too, [or] any foundation of human constitution, when I see God hath done it, I shall, I hope, comfortably acquiesce in it. But first, I cannot give my consent to it, because it is not good. And secondly, as I desire that this Army should have regard to engagements wherever they are lawful, so I would have them have regard to this [as well]: that they should not bring that scandal upon the name of God [and the Saints], that those that call themselves by that name, those whom God hath owned and appeared with—that we shoulda represent ourselves to the world as men so far from being of that peaceable spirit which is suitable to the Gospel, as we should have bought peace of the world upon such terms—[as] we would not have peace in the world but upon such terms—as should destroy all property. If the principle upon which you move this alteration, or the ground upon which you press that we should make this alteration, do destroy all kind of property or whatsoever a man hath by human constitution, [I cannot consent to it]. The Law of God doth not give me property, nor the Law of Nature, but property is of human constitution. I have a property and this I shall enjoy. Constitution founds property. If either the thing itself that you press or the consequence [of] that you press [do destroy property], though I shall acquiesce in having no property, yet I cannot give my heart or hand to it; because it is a thing evil in itself and scandalous to the world, and I desire this Army may be free from both.
I see that though libertyb were our end,c there is a degeneration from it. We have engaged in this kingdom and ventured our lives, and it was all for this: to recover our birthrights and privileges as Englishmen; and by the arguments urged there is none. There are many thousands of us soldiers that have ventured our lives; we have had little propriety in the kingdom as to our estates, yet we have had a birthright. But it seems now, except a man hath a fixed estate in this kingdom, he hath no right in this kingdom. I wonder we were so much deceived. If we had not a right to the kingdom, we were mere mercenary soldiers. There are many in my condition, that have as good a condition [as I have]; it may be little estate they have at present, and yet they have as much a [birth]right as those two1 who are their lawgivers, as any in this place. I shall tell you in a word my resolution. I am resolved to give my birthright to none. Whatsoever may come in the way, and [whatsoever may] be thought,d I will give it to none. If this thing [be denied the poor], that with so much pressing after [they have sought, it will be the greatest scandal]. There was one thing spoken to this effect: that if the poor and those in low condition [were given their birthright it would be the destruction of this kingdom]. I think this was but a distrust of Providence. I do think the poor and meaner of this kingdom—I speak as ina relation [to the condition of soldiers], in which we are—have been the means of the preservation of this kingdom. I say, in their stations, and really I think to their utmost possibility; and their lives have not been [held] dear for purchasing the good of the kingdom.b [And now they demand the birthright for which they fought.] Those that act to this end are as free from anarchy or confusion as those that oppose it, and they have the Law of God and the law of their conscience [with them]. But truly I shall only sum up [in] this.c I desire that we may not spend so much time upon these things. We must be plain. When men come to understand these things, they will not lose that which they have contended for. That which I shall beseech you is to come to a determination of this question.
I am very sorry we are come to this point, that from reasoning one to another we should come to express our resolutions. I profess for my part, what I see is good for the kingdom, and becoming a Christian to contend for, I hope through God I shall have strength and resolution to do my part towards it. And yet I will profess direct contrary in some kind to what that gentleman said. For my part, rather than I will make a disturbance to a good constitution of a kingdom wherein I may live in godliness and honesty, and peace and quietness, I will part with a great deal of my birthright. I will part with my own property rather than I will be the man that shall make a disturbance in the kingdom for my property; and therefore if all the people in this kingdom, or [the] representative[s] of them all together, should meet and should give away my property I would submit to it, I would give it away. But that gentleman, and I think every Christian, ought to bear that spirit,d to carry that in him, that he will not make a public disturbance upon a private prejudice.
Now let us consider where our difference lies. We all agree that you should have a Representative to govern, ande this Representative to be as equal as you can [make it]. But the question is, whether this distribution can be made to all persons equally, or whether [only] amongst those equals that have the interest of England in them. That which I have declared [is] my opinion [still]. I think we ought to keep to that [constitution which we have now], both because it is a civil constitution—it is the most fundamental constitution that we have—and [because] there is so much justice and reason and prudence [in it]—as I dare confidently undertake to demonstratea —that there are many more evils that will follow in case you do alter [it] than there can [be] in the standing of it. But I say but this in the general, that I do wish that they that talk of birthrights—we any of us when we talk of birthrightsb —would consider what really our birthright is.
If a man meanc by birthright, whatsoever Id can challenge by the Law of Nature (suppose there were no constitution at all,e no civil law and [no] civil constitution), [and] that that I am to contend for against constitution; [then] you leave no property, nor no foundation for any man to enjoy anything. But if you call that your birthright which isl the most fundamental part of your constitution, then let him perish that goes about to hinder you or any man of the least part of your birthright, or will [desire to] do it. But if you will lay aside the most fundamental constitution, which is as good, for aught you can discern, as anything you can propose—at least it is a constitution,f and I will give you consequence for consequence of good upon [that] constitution as you [can give] upong your birthright [without it]h —and if you merely upon pretence of a birthright, of the right of nature, which is only true as for [your being, and not for] your better being; if you will upon that ground pretend that this constitution, the most fundamental constitution, the thing that hath reason and equity in it, shall not stand in your way, [it] is the same principle to me, say I, [as if] but for your better satisfaction you shall take hold of anything that a[nother] man calls his own.
Sir, I see that it is impossible to have liberty but all property must be taken away. If it be laid down for a rule, and if you will say it, it must be so. But I would fain know whati the soldier hathj fought for all this while? He hath fought to enslave himself, to give power to men of riches, men of estates, to make him a perpetual slave. We do find in all presses that go forth none must be pressed that are freehold men. When these gentlemen fall out among themselves they shall press the poor scrubsk to come and kill [one another for] them.
I confess I see so much right in the business that I am not easily satisfied with flourishes. If you will [not] lay the stress of the business upon the consideration of reason, or right relating to anything of human constitution, or anything of that nature, but will put it upon consequences, I will show you greater ill consequences—I see enough to say that, to my apprehensions, I can show you greater ill consequences to follow upon that alteration which you would have, by extending [voices] to all that have a being in this kingdom, than [any] that [can come] by this [present constitution], a great deal. Thata [that you urge of the present constitution] is a particular ill consequence. This [that I object against your proposal] is a general ill consequence, and thisb is as great as thatc or any [ill consequence] else [whatsoever], though I think you will see that the validity of that argument must bed that for one ill [that] lies upon that which now is,e I can show you a thousand upon this [that you propose].
Give me leave [to say] but this one word. I [will] tell you what the soldier of the kingdom hath fought for. First, the danger that we stood in was that one man’s will must be a law. The people of the kingdom must have this right at least, that they should not be concluded [but] by the Representative of those that had the interest of the kingdom. So[m]e men fought in this, because they were immediately concerned and engaged in it. Other men who had no other interest in the kingdom but this, that they should have the benefit of those laws made by the Representative, yet [fought] that they should have the benefit of this Representative. They thought it was better to be concluded by the common consent of those that were fixed men, and settled men, that had the interest of this kingdom [in them]. ‘And from that way,’ [said they], ‘I shall know a law and have a certainty.’ Every man that was born [in the country, that]f is a denizeng in it, that hath a freedom, he was capable of trading to get money, to get estates by; and therefore this man, I think, had a great deal of reason to build up such a foundation of interest to himself: that is, that the will of one man should not be a law, but that the law of this kingdom should be by a choice of persons to represent, and that choice to be made by, the generality of the kingdom. Here was a right that induced men to fight, and those men that hadh this interest, though this be not the utmost interest that other men have, yet they had some interest. Now [tell me] why we should go to plead whatsoever we can challenge by the right of nature against whatsoever any man can challenge by constitution. I do not see where that man will stop, as to point of property, [so] that he shall not use [against other property] that right he hath [claimed] by the Law of Nature against that constitution. I desire any man to show me where there is a difference. I have been answered, ‘Now we see liberty cannot stand without [destroying] property.’ Liberty may be had and property not be destroyed. First, the liberty of all those that have the permanent interest in the kingdom, that is provided for [by the constitution]. Anda [secondly, by an appeal to the Law of Nature] liberty cannot be provided for in a general sense, if property be preserved. For if property be preserved [by acknowledging a natural right in the possessor, so] that I am not to meddle with such a man’s estate, his meat, his drink, his apparel, or other goods, then the right of nature destroys liberty. By the right of nature I am to have sustenance rather than perish; yet property destroys it for a man to have [this] by the rightb of nature, [even] suppose there be no human constitution.
I do say still, under favour, there is a way to cure all this debate. I will mind you of one thing: that upon the will of one man abusing us, [we reached agreement], and if the safety of the Army be in danger [so we may again]. I hope, it is not denied by any man that any wise, discreet man that hath preserved England [is worthy of a voice] ind the government of it. So that, I profess to you, for my part I am clear the point of election should be amended [in that sense]. I think, they will desire no more liberty. If there were time to dispute it, I think theye would be satisfied, and all will be satisfied.
I confess I was most dissatisfied with that I heard Mr. Sexby speak, of any man here, because it did savour so much of will. But I desire that all of us may decline that, and if we meet here really to agree to that which isf for the safety of the kingdom, let us not spend so much time in such debates as these are, but let us apply ourselves to such things as are conclusive, and that shall be this. Everybody here would be willing that the Representative might be mended, that is, [that] it might be [made] better than it is. Perhaps it may be offered in that [other] paper1 too lamely. If the thing [there] insisted upon beg too limited, why perhaps there are a very considerable part of copyholders by inheritance that ought to have a voice; and there may be somewhat [in that paper] too [that] reflects upon the generality of the people [in denying them a voice]. I know our debates are endless if we think to bring it to an issue this way. If we may but resolve upon a committee, [things may be done]. If I cannot be satisfied to go so far as these gentlemen that bring this paper,2 I say it again [and] I profess it, I shall freely and willingly withdraw myself, and I hope to do it in such a manner that the Army shall see that I shall by my withdrawing satisfyh the interest of the Army, the public interest of the kingdom, and those ends these men aim at. And I think if you do bring this to a result it were well.
If these men must be advanced, and other men set under foot, I am not satisfied. If their rules must be observed, and other men, that are [not] in authority, [be silenced, I] do not know how this can stand together [with the idea of a free debate]. I wonder how that should be thought wilfulness in one man that is reason in another; for I confess I have not heard anything that doth satisfy me, and though I have not so much wisdom, or [so many] notions in my head,a I have so many [apprehensions] that I could tell an hundred [such] ofb the ruin of the people. I am not at all against a committee’s meeting; and as you say—and I think every Christian ought to do the same—for my part I shall be ready, if I see the way that I am going, and the thing that I would insist on, will destroy the kingdom, I shall withdraw [from] it as soon as any. And therefore, till I see that, I shall use all the means [I can], and I think it is no fault in any man [to refuse] to sell that which is his birthright.
I desire to speak a few words. I am sorry that my zeal to what I apprehend is good should be so ill resented. I am not sorry to see that which I apprehend is truth [disputed], but I am sorry the Lord hath darkened some so much as not to see it, and that is in short [this]. Do you [not] think it were a sad and miserable condition, that we have fought all this time for nothing? All here, both great and small, do think that we fought for something. I confess, many of us fought for those ends which, we since saw,c were not thosed which caused us to go through difficulties and straits [and] to venture all in the ship with you. It had been good in you to have advertised us of it, and I believe you would have [had] fewer under your command to have commanded. But if this be the business, that an estate doth make men capable—it is no matter which way they get it, they are capable—to choose those that shall represent them, I think there are many that have not estates that in honesty have as much right in the freedom [of] their choicee as any that have great estates. Truly, sir, [as for] your putting off this question and coming to some other, I dare say, and I dare appeal to all of them, that they cannot settle upon any other until this be done. It was the ground that we took up arms [on], and it is the ground which we shall maintain. Concerning my making rents and divisions in this way. Asf a particular, if I were but so, I could lie down and be trodden there; [but] truly I am sent by a regiment, [and] if I should not speak, guilt shall lie upon me, and I [should] think I were a covenant-breaker.a I do not know how we have [been] answered in our arguments, and [as for our engagements], I conceive we shall not accomplish them to the kingdom when we deny them to ourselves.b I shall be loath to make a rent and division, but, for my own part, unless I see this put to a question, I despair of an issue.
The first thing that I shouldc desire was, and is, this: that there might be a temperature and moderation of spirit within us; that we should speak with moderation, not with such reflection as was boulted one from another, but so speak and so hear as that which [is said] may be the droppings of love from one to another’s hearts. Another word I have to say is [that] the grand question of all is, whether or no it be the property of every individual person in the kingdom to have a vote in election[s]; and the ground [on which it is claimed] is the Law of Nature, which, for my part, I think to be that law which is the ground of all constitutions. Yet really properties are the foundation of constitutions, [and not constitutions of property]. For if so be there were no constitutions,d yete the Law of Nature does give a principle [for every man] to have a property of what he has, or may have, which is not another man’s. This [natural right to] property is the ground of meum and tuum. Now there may be inconveniencies on both hands, but not so great freedom [on either as is supposed—not] the greater freedom, as I conceive, that all may have whatsoever [they have a mind to]. And if it come to pass that there be a difference, and that the one [claimant] doth oppose the other, then nothing can decide it but the sword, which is the wrath of God.
I see you have a long dispute [and] that you do intend to dispute here till the tenth of March. You have brought us into a fair pass, and the kingdom into a fair pass, for if your reasons are not satisfied, and we do not fetch all our waters from your wells, you threaten to withdraw yourselves. I could wish, according to our several protestations, we might sit down quietly, and there throw down ourselves where we see reason. I could wish we might all rise, and go to our duties, and setf our work in hand. I see both [parties] at a stand; and if we dispute here, both are lost.
Really for my own part I must needs say, whilst we say we would not make reflections we do make reflections; and if I had not come hither with a free heart to do that that I was persuaded in my conscience is my duty, I should a thousand times rather have kept myself away. For I do think I had brought upon myself the greatest sin that I was [ever] guilty of, if I should have come to have stood before God in that former duty,a and if [I did retreat from] that my saying—which I did say, and shall persevere to say—that I shall not, I cannot, against my conscience do anything. They that have stood so much for liberty of conscience, if they will not grant that liberty to every man, but say it is a deserting I know not what—if that [liberty] be denied me, I think there is not that equality that isb professed to be amongst us.c Though we should be satisfied in our consciences in what we do, we are told we purpose to leave the Army, or to leave our commands, as if we took upon us to do it asd [a] matter of will. I did hear some gentlemen speak more of will than anything that was spoken this way, for more was spoken by way of will than of satisfaction, and if there be notk more equality in our minds I can but grieve for it, I must do no more.e I said this (and I say no more): that [if you would] make your businesses as well as you can, we might bring things to an understanding; [for] it was [in order] to be brought to a fair composure [that we met]. And when you have said [what you can for the paper and have heard our objections], if [then] you should put this paper to the question without any qualifications, I doubt whether it would pass so freely. If we would have no difference we ought to put it [with due qualifications]. And let me speak clearly and freely—I have heard other gentlemen do the like: I have not heard the Commissary-Generl answered, not in onef part, to my knowledge, not in a tittle. If, therefore, when I see there is an extremity of difference between you, [I move for a committee] to the end it may be brought nearer to a general satisfactiong —if this [too] be thought a deserting of that interest, [I know not] if there can be anything more sharply said; I will not give it an ill word.
I should not speak [again], but reflections do necessitate [it], do call upon us to vindicate ourselves. As if we, who have led men into engagements and services,h had divided [from them] because we did not concur with them! I will ask that gentlemani that spokej (whom I love in my heart): whether when they drew out to serve the Parliament in the beginning, whether when they engaged with the Army at Newmarket, whether then they thought of any more interest or right in the kingdom than this; whether they did think that they should have as great interest in Parliament-men as freeholders had, or whether from the beginning we did not engage for the liberty of Parliaments, and that we should be concluded by the laws that such did make. Unless somebody did make you believe before now that you should have an equal interest in the kingdom, unless somebody dida make that to be believed, there is no reason to blame men for leading [you] so far as they have done; and if any man was far enough from such an apprehension, that man hath not been deceived. And truly, I shall say but this word more for myself in this business, because the whole objection seems to be pressed to me, and maintained againstb me. I will not arrogate that I was the first man that put the Army upon the thought either of successive Parliaments or more equal Parliaments; yet there are some here that know who they were [that] put us upon that foundation of liberty of putting a period to this Parliament, [in order] that we might have successive Parliaments, and that there might be a more equal distribution of elections. There are many here that know who were the first movers of that business in the Army. I shall not arrogate that [to myself], but I can argue this with a clear conscience: that no man hath prosecuted that with more earnestness, andf will stand to that interest more than I do, of having Parliaments successive and not perpetual, and thec distribution of electionsd [more equal]. But, notwithstanding, my opinion stands good, that it ought to be a distribution amongst the fixed and settled people of this nation. It’s more prudent and safe, and more upon this ground of right for it [to be so]. Now it is the fundamental constitution of this kingdom; and that which you take away [you take away] for matter of wilfulness. Notwithstanding, [as for] this universal conclusion, that all inhabitants [shall have voices], as it stands [in the Agreement], I must declare that thoughe I cannot yet be satisfied, yet for my part I shall acquiesce. I will not make a distraction in this Army. Though I have a property in being one of those that should be an elector, though I have an interest in the birthright, yet I will rather lose that birthright and that interest than I will make it my business [to oppose them], if I see but the generality of those whom I have reason to think honest men and conscientious men and godly men, to carry them[selves] another way. I will not oppose, though I be not satisfied to join with them. And I desire [to say this]. I am agreed with you if you insist upon a more equal distribution of elections; I will agree with you, not only to dispute for it, but to fight for it and contend for it. Thus far I shall agree with you. On the other hand, [to] those who differ [in] their terms [and say], ‘I will not agree with you except you go farther,’ [I make answer], ‘Thus far I can go with you: I will go with you as far as I can.’ If you will appoint a committeea of someb [few] to consider of that, so as you preserve the equitable part of that constitution [that now is, securing a voice to those] who are like to be free men,c men not given up to the wills of others, [and thereby] keeping to the latitude which is the equity of constitutions, I will go with you as far as I can. [And where I cannot] I will sit down, I will not make any disturbance among you.
If I dod speak my soul and conscience I do think that there is not an objection made but that it hath been answered; but the speeches are so long. I am sorry for some passion and some reflections, and I could wish where it is most taken [amiss] the cause had not been given. It is a fundamental [of the] constitution of the kingdom, [that] there [be parliamentary boroughs]; I would fain know whether the choice of burgesses in corporations should not be altered. [But] the end wherefore I speak is only this. You think we shall be worse than we are, if we come to a conclusion by a [sudden] vote. If it be put to the question we shall [at least] all know one another’s mind. If it be determined, and the [common] resolutions known, we shall take such a course as to put it in execution. This gentleman says, if he cannot go he will sit still. He thinks he hath a full liberty [to do so]; we think we have not. There is a great deal of difference between us two. If a man hath all he doth desire, [he may wish to sit still]; but [if] I think I have nothing at all of what I fought for, I do not think the argument holds that I must desist as well as he.
The rich would very unwillingly be concluded by the poor. And there is as much reason that the rich should conclude the poor as the poor the riche —and indeed [that is] no reason [at all].f There should be an equal share in both. I understood your engagement was that you would use all your endeavours for the liberties of the people, that they should be secured. If there is [such] a constitution that the people are not free, that [constitution] should be annulled. That constitution which is now set up is a constitution of forty shillings a year, but this constitution doth not make [the] people free.
Here’s the mistake: [you make the whole question to be] whether that’s the better constitution in that paper, or that which [now] is. But if you will go upon such a ground as that,a although a better constitution was [really] offered for the removing of the worse, yet some gentlemen are resolved to stick to the worse [and] there might be a great deal of prejudice upon such an apprehension. I think you are by this time satisfied that it is a clear mistake; for it is a dispute whether or no this [proposed constitution] bef better—nay, whether it be not destructive to the kingdom.
I desire to speak one word to this business, because I do not know whether my occasions will suffer me to attend it any longer. The great reason that I have heard [urged] is, ‘the constitution of the kingdom, the utmost constitution of it’; and ‘if we destroy this constitution there is no property.’ I suppose that if constitutions should tie up all men in this nature it were very dangerous.
First, the thing itself were dangerous if it were settled [so as] to destroy propriety. But I say the principle that leads to this [proposed change] is destructive to property. For by the same reason that you will alter this constitution, merely thatb there’s a greater [liberty] by nature [than this] constitutionc [gives]—by the same reason, by the Law of Nature, there is a greater liberty to the use of other men’s goods, which that property bars you of. And I would fain have any man show me why I should destroy that liberty which the freeholders, and burghers in corporations, have in choosing [knights and] burgesses (that which ifd you take away, you leave no constitution), and this because there is a greater freedom due to mee by the Law of Nature—[why I should do this] more than that I should take another man’s goods because the Law of Nature does allow me.
I would grant something that the Commissary-General says. But [I would have the question stated]: Whether this be a just propriety, the propriety [that] says that forty shillings a year enables a man to elect? If it were stated to that [effect], nothing would conduce so much [to determine] whether some men do agree or no.
Captain [Edmund] Rolfe:
I conceive that, as we are met here, there are one or two things mainly to be prosecuted by us; that is especially unity, [the] preservation of unity in the Army, and so likewise to put ourselves into a capacity thereby to do good to the kingdom.a Therefore I shall desire that there may be a tender consideration had of that which is so much urged, in that of an equal, as well as of a free, Representative. I shall desire that a medium, or some thoughts of a composure, [may be had] in relation to servants or to foreigners, or such others as shall be agreed upon. I say, then, I conceive, excepting those, there may be a very equitable sense [p]resented to us from that offer in our own declarations wherein we do offer the common good of all, unless they have made any shipwreck or loss of it.
I presume that the great stick here is this: that if every one shall have his [natural] propriety [of election] it does bereave the kingdom of its principal fundamental constitution, that it [now] hath. I presume that all people, and all nations whatsoever, have a liberty and power to alter and change their constitutions if they find them to be weak and infirm. Now if the people of England shall find this weakness in their constitution, they may change it if they please. Another thing is this: [it is feared that] if the light of nature be only [followed] in this, it may destroy the propriety which every man can call his own. [But it will not, and] the reason is this, because this principle and light of nature doth give all men their own—as, for example, the clothes upon my back because they are not another man’s. [Finally] if every man hath this propriety of election to choose those who [shall make the laws], you fear [it] may beget inconveniencies. I do not conceive that anything may be so nicely and precisely done but that it may admit of inconveniency. If it be [that there is inconveniency] in that [form of the constitution] wherein it is now, there may [some of] those inconveniencies rise [from the changes, that are apprehended] from them. For my part I know nothing [of fatal consequence in the relation of men] but the want of love in it, and [then, if difference arises], the sword must decide it.
I [too] shall desire [that] before the question be stated it may be moderated as for foreigners.
In the beginning of this discourse there were overtures made of imminent danger. This way we have taken this afternoon is not the way to prevent it. I wouldc humbly move that we should put a speedy end to this business, and that not only to this main question of the paper, but also according to the Lieutenant-General’s motion, that a committee may be chosen seriously to consider the things in that paper, and compare them with divers things in our declarations and engagements, that so [we may show ourselves ready], as we have all professed, to lay down ourselves before God. If we take this course of debating upon one question a whole afternoon, [and] if the danger be so near as it is supposed, it were the ready way to bring us into it. [I desire] that things may be put into a speedy dispatch.
Sir Hardress Waller:
This was that I was [desirous of] saying. (I confess I have not spoken yet, and I was willing to be silent, having heard so many speak, that I might learn).a It is not easy for us to say when this dispute will have an end; but I think it is easy to say when the kingdom will have an end.b If we do not breathe out ourselves, we shall be kicked and spurned of all the world. I would fain know how far the question will decide it; for certainly we must not expect, while we have tabernacles here, to be all of one mind. If it be to be decided by a question, andc all parties are satisfied in that, I think the sooner you hasten to it the better. If otherwise, we shall needlessly discover our dividing opinion, which as long as it may be avoided I desire it may. Therefore I desire to have a period [put to this debate].
I chanced to speak a word or two. Truly there was more offence taken at it. For my part I spoke against every man living, not only against yourself and the Commissary, but [against] every man that would dispute till we have our throats cut,d and therefore I desire I may not lie in any prejudice before your persons.e I profess, if so be there were none but you and the Commissary-General alone to maintain that argument, I would die in any place in England, in asserting that it is the right of every free-born man to elect, according to the rule, Quod omnibus spectat, ab omnibusftractari debet, that which concerns all ought to be debated by all. [He continued: That] he knew no reason why that law should oblige [him] when he himself had no finger in appointing the law-giver.
You have met here this day to see if God would show you any way wherein you might jointly preserve the kingdom from its destruction, which you all apprehend to be at the door. God is pleased not to come in to you. There is a gentleman, Mr. Saltmarsh, did desire what he has wrote may be read to the General Council.1 If God do manifest anything by him I think it ought to be heard.
[I have declared] that you will alter that constitution from a better to a worse, from a just to a thing that is less just in my apprehension; and I will not repeat the reasons of that, but refer to what I have declared before. To me, if there were nothing but this, that there is a constitution, and that constitution which is the very last constitution, which if you take away you leave nothing of constitution, and consequently nothing of right or property, [it would be enough]. I would not go to alter this,a though a man could propound that which in some respects might be better, unless it could be demonstrated to me that this were unlawful, or that this were destructive. Truly, therefore, I say for my part, to go on a sudden to make such a limitation as that [to inhabitants] in general, [is to make no limitation at all]. If you do extend the latitude [of the constitution so far] that any man shall have a voice in election who has not that interest in this kingdom that is permanent and fixed, who hath not that interest upon which he mayb have hisc freedom in this kingdom without dependence, you will put it into the hands of men to choose, [not] of men [desirous] to preserve their liberty, [but of men] who will give it away.
d I am confident, our discontent and dissatisfactione if ever they do well, they do in this. If there be anything at all that is a foundation of liberty it is this, that those who shall choose the law-makers shall be men freed from dependence upon others.f I have a thing put into my heart which I cannot but speak. I profess I am afraid that if we, from such apprehensions as these are of an imaginable right of nature opposite to constitution, if we will contend and hazard the breaking of peace upong this business of that enlargement,h I think if we, from imaginations and conceits, will go about to hazard the peace of the kingdom, to alter the constitution in such a point, I am afraid we shall find the hand of God will follow it [and] we shall see that that liberty which we so much talk of, and [have so much] contended for, shall be nothing at all by this our contending for it, by [our] putting it into the hands of those men that will give it away when they have it.
If we should go about to alter these things, I do not think that we are bound to fight for every particular proposition. Servants, while servants, are not included. Then you agree that he that receives alms is to be excluded?
Lieutenant-Colonel [Thomas] Reade:
I suppose it’s concluded by all, that the choosing of representatives is a privilege; now I see no reason why anya man that is a native ought to be excluded that privilege, unless from voluntary servitude.
I conceive the reason why we would exclude apprentices, or servants, or those that take alms,b is because they depend upon the will of other men and should be afraid to displease [them]. For servants and apprentices, they are included in their masters, and so for those that receive alms from door to door; but if there be any general way taken for those that are not [so] bound [to the will of other men], it would bec well.
I being sent from the Agents of [the] five regiments with an answer unto a writing, the committee was very desirous to inquire into the depth of our intentions. Those things that they had there manifested in the paper,d and what I did understand as a particular person, I did declare.e It was the Lieutenant-General’s desire for an understanding with us,f presuming those things I did declare did tend to unity. ‘And if so,’ [said he], ‘you will let it appear by coming unto us.’ We have gone thus far: we have had two or three meetings to declare and hold forth what it is we stand upon, the principles of unity and freedom. We have declared in what we conceive these principles do lie—I shall not name them all because they are known unto you. Now in the progress of these disputes and debates we find that the time spends, and no question but our adversaries are harder at work than we are. I heardg (but I had no such testimony as I could take hold of) that there are meetings daily and contrivances against us. Now for our parts weh hope you will not say all [the desire for unity] is yours, but [will acknowledge that] we have nakedly and freely unbosomed ourselves unto you. Though those things [in the paper] have startled many at the first view, yet we find there is [still] good hopes. We have fixed our resolutions, and we are determined, and we want nothing but that only God will direct us to what is just and right. But I understand that [in] all these debates if we shall agree upon any one thing, [to say], ‘This is our freedom; this is our liberty; this liberty and freedom we are debarred of, and we are bereaved of all those comforts,’ [that even] in case we should find out half an hundred of these, yet the main business is [first] how we should find them, and [then] how we should come by them. Is there any libertyi that we find ourselves deprived of? If we have grievances let us see who are the hindrances [that oppose the best way of removing them]j when we have pitched upon that way. I conceive—I speak humbly in this one thing as a particular persona —I conceive, myself, that these delays, these disputes, will prove little encouragement.b It was told me by [one of] these gentlemen, that he had great jealousies that we would not come to the trial of our spirits and that perhaps there might happen [to be] another design in hand. I said to his Honour again, if they would not come to the light I would judge they had the works of darkness in hand. Now as they told me again on the other hand, when it was questioned by Colonel Hewson:c ‘These gentlemen,’ [said they], not naming any particular persons, ‘they will hold you in hand, and keep you in debate and dispute till you and we [shall] come all to ruin.’ Now I stood as a moderator between [the asserters of] these things. When I heard the Lieutenant-General speak I was marvellously taken up with the plainness of the carriage. I said, ‘I will bring them to you. You shall see if their hearts be so. For my part I [shall expect to] see nothing but plainness and uprightness of heart made manifest unto you.’ I will not judge, nor draw any long discourse upon, our disputes this day. We may differ in one thing: that you conceive this debating and disputationd will do the work; [while we conceive] we must [without delay] put ourselves into the former privileges which we want.
I think this gentleman hath dealt very ingenuouslye and plainly with us. I pray God we may do so too, and, for one, I will do it. I think our disputings will not do the thing. I think [we shall do well] if we do make it our resolution that we do hold it forth to all powers—Parliament or King, or whoever they are—to let them know that these are our rights, and if we have them not we must get them the best way we can.
I think you say very well; and my friend at my back, he tells me that [there] are great fears abroad; and they [that bring the paper] talk of some things such as are not only specious to take a great many people with, but real and substantial, and such as are comprehensive of that that hath the good of the kingdom in it.f Truly if there be never so much desire of carrying on these things [together], never so much desire of conjunction, yet if there be not liberty of speech to come to a right understanding of things, I think it shall be all one as if there were no desire at all to meet. I may say it with truth, that I verily believe there is as much reality and heartiness amongst us [as amongst you], to come to a right understanding, and to accord with that that hath the settlement of the kingdom in it. Though when it comes to particulars we may differ in the way, yet I know nothing but that every honest man will go as far as his conscience will let him; and he that will go farther, I think he will fall back. And I think, when that principle is written in the hearts of us, and when there is not hypocrisy in our dealings, we must all of us resolve upon this, that ’tis God that persuades the heart. If there be a doubt of sincerity, it’s the devil that created that effect; and ’tis God that gives uprightness [of heart]. And I hope thata with such an heart we have all met withal. If we have not, God find him out that came without it; for my part I do [come with] it.
I would have us fall to something that is practicable, with as little pains and dissatisfaction as may be.c [As for the distribution of representatives], when you have done this according to the number of inhabitants, do you think it is not very variable,d for the number will change every day?e I remember that in the proposals that went out in the name of the Army,1 it is propounded as a rule [for the seats] to be distributed according to the rates that the counties bear in the [burdens of the] kingdom. And remember then you have a rule, and though this be not a rule of exactness [either], yet there was something of equality in it, and it was a certain rule, where all are agreed; and therefore [by adopting it] we should come to some settling. Now I do not understand wherein the advantage does lie, [if] from a sudden [apprehension of] danger, [we should rashly fix] upon a thing that will continue so long, and will continue so uncertain as this is.
’Tis thought there’s imminent danger; I hope to God we shall be so ready to agree for the future that we shall all agree for the present to rise as one man if the danger be such, for it is an impossibility to have a remedy in this. The paper says that this [present] Parliament is to continue a year, but will the great burden of the people be ever satisfied with papers [whilst] you eat and feed upon them? I shall be glad that, [if] there be not any present danger,f you will think of some way to ease the burden, that we may take a course [to do it]; and when we have satisfied the people that we do really intend the good of the kingdom [they will believe us]. Otherwise, if the four Evangelists were here, and lay [at] free-quarter upon them, theyg would not believe them.h
Colonel Rainborough moved:
That the Army might be called to a rendezvous, and things settled [as promised in its printed engagements].
We are called back to engagements. I think the engagementsa we have made and published, and all the engagements of all sorts, have been better kept by those that did not so much cry out for it than by those that do, and—if you will [have it] in plain terms—better kept than by those that have brought this paper. Give me leave to tell you, in that one point, in the engagement of the Army not to divide,1 I am sure that he that understands the engagement of the Army not to divide or disbandb [as meaning] that we are not to divide for quarters, for the ease of the country, or the satisfaction of service—he that does understand it in that sense, I am not capable of his understanding.c There was another sense in it, and that is, that we should not suffer ourselves to be torn into pieces. Such a dividing as [that] is really a disbanding, and for my part I do not know what disbanding is if not that dividing. [I say] thatd the subscribers of this paper, the authorse of that book that is called The Case of the Army, I say that they have gone the way of disbanding.f Disbanding of an army is not parting in a place, for if that be so, did we not at that night disband to several quarters? Did we not then send several regiments: Colonel Scroope’s regiment into the West—we know where it was first; Colonel Horton’s regiment into Wales for preventing of insurrection there; Colonel Lambert’s [and] Colonel Lilburne’s regiment[s] then sent down for strengthening such a place as York?g And yet the authors of that paper and the subscribers of ith —for I cannot think the authors and subscribers all onei —know, and [well] they may know it, that there is not one part of the Army is divided [in body] farther than the outcries of the authors of it [are in spirit].j [For] they go [about] to scandalize [us as breakers of] an engagement [not to disperse] or divide; [yet they know that] there’s no part of the Army is dispersed to quarters further than that [I have stated]. Whereupon [all] that outcry is [made]! But he that will go to understand this to be a dividing that we engaged against, he looks at the name, and not at the thing. That dividing which is a disbanding [is] that dividing which makes no army, andk that dissolving of that order and government which is as essential to an army as life is to a man—which if it be taken away I think that such a company are no more an army than a rotten carcass is a man; and [it is] those [who have done this] that have gone [about] to divide the Army. And what else is there in this paper [but] that we have acted so vigorously for [already? We proposed that this Parliament should end within a year at most]; they do not propose that this [present] Parliament should end till the beginning of September.a When all comes [to be considered] upon the matter, it is but a critical difference and the very substance of that we have declared [for] before.b And let it be judged whetherc this wayd we have taken ande that [way] they have taken be not the same as to the matter [of it].f For my part I profess it seriously, that we shall findg in the issue that the principle of that division [which they seek to raise on the question] of disbanding is no more than this: whether such [men] or such shall have the managing of the business.h I say plainly, the way [they have taken] hath been the way of disunion and division, andi [the dissolution] of that order and government by which we shall be enabled to act [at all]. And I shall appeal to all men: [whether] the dividing from that General Council [and from the resolution] wherein we have all engaged [that] we would be concluded by [the decisions of] that [Council], and [whether likewise] the endeavouring to draw the soldiers to run this way [with them—whether this is not the real dividing of the Army]. I shall appeal [to them]: whether there can be any breach of the Army higher than that breach we have now spoke of, [any truer sense in which] that word ‘dividing the Army’j [can be taken]; whether that dividing were not more truly and properly [such, which is] in every man’s heart, [than] this dividing [which they do accuse us of incurring], wherein we do go apart one from another [but remain united in heart], and [whether it does not follow] consequently, [that] those that have gone this way have not broke the Engagement, [but that] the other dividingk [cannot be] a keeping of the Engagement. And those that do [so] judge the one [and the other, will concur with me when I say], I do not think that we have been fairly dealt with.
I do not make any great wonder that this gentleman hath sense above all men in the world. But for these things, he is the man that hath undertaken [the drawing-up of] them all. I say, this gentleman hath the advantage of us [on the question of engagements]: he hath drawn up the most part of them; and whyl may hem not keep a sense that we do not know of? If this gentleman had declared to us at first that this was the sense of the Army in dividing, and it was meant that men should not divide in opinions! To me that is a mystery.n It is a huge reflection, a taxing of persons,o and because I will avoid further reflections, I shall say no more.
Whereas you say the Agents did it, [it was] the soldiers did put the Agents upon these meetings. It was the dissatisfactions that were in the Army which provoked, which occasioned, those meetings, which you suppose tends so much to dividing; and the reason[s] of such dissatisfactions are because those whom they had to trust to act for them were not true to them.
If this be all the effect of your meetings to agree upon this paper, there is but one thing in this that hath not been insisted upon and propounded by the Army heretofore, [in the Heads of the Proposals, and] all along. Here it is put according to the number of inhabitants;a there according to the taxes. This says a period at such a day, the last of September; the other says a period within a year at most. [The Agreement says] that these have the power of making law, and determining what is law, without the consent of another. ’Tis true the Proposals said not that [but would restore the consent of the King]. And for my part, if any man will put that to the question whether we shall concur with it, I am in the same mind [still, especially] if [by your franchise] you put it in any other hands than [of] those that are free men. But [even] if you shall put the questionb with that limitation [to free men] that hath been all along acknowledged by the Parliament, till we can acquit ourselves justly from any engagement, old or new, that we stand in, to preserve the person of the King, the persons of Lords, and their rights, so far as they are consistent with the common right [and the safety of the kingdom]—till that be done, I think there is reason [that] that exception [in their favour] should continue, [but with the proviso] which hath been all along, that is, where the safety of the kingdom is concerned. This the Proposalsc seem to hold out. I would hold to positive constitution where I [see things] would not do real mischief.d I would neither be thought to be a wrong-doer or disturber; so long as I can with safety continue a constitution I will do it.e And therefore where I find that the safety of the kingdom is not concerned, I would not for every trifling [cause] make that this shall be a law, though neither the Lords, who have a claim to it, nor the King, who hath a claim to it, will consent. But where this [safety] is concerned [I think that particular rights cannot stand]. Upon the whole matter let men but consider [whether] those that have thus gone away to divide from the Army [will not destroy the constitution upon a fancied right and advantage of the people]. Admit that this Agreement of the People be the advantage, it may be.f Shall weg [then] agree to that without any limitation? I do agree that the King is bound by his oath at his coronationa to agree to the law that the Commons shall choose without Lords or anybody else.d [But] if I can agree any further, that if the King do not confirm with his authority the laws that the people shall choose [those laws require not his authority], we know what will follow.
I had the happiness sometimes to be at the debate of the Proposals, and my opinion was then as it is now, against the King’s vote and the Lords’. But [I did] not [then] so [definitely desire the abolition of these votes] as I do [now] desire [it; for] since [that time] it hath pleased God to raise a company of men that do stand up for the power of the House of Commons, which is the Representative of the people, and deny the negative voice of King and Lords. For my part I was much unknown to any of them, bute I heard their principles; and hearingi their principles I cannot but join with them in my judgment, for I think it is reasonable that all laws are made by their1 consent [alone]. Whereas you seem to make the King and Lords so light a thing as that it may bef without prejudiceg [to keep them, though] to the destruction of the kingdom to throw them out;j for my part I cannot but think that both the power of King and Lords was ever a branch of tyranny. And if ever a people shall free themselves from tyranny, certainly it is after seven years’ war and fighting for their liberty. For my part [I think that] if the constitution of this kingdom shall be established as formerly, it might rivet tyranny into this kingdom more strongly than before. For when the people shall hear that for seven years together the people were plundered, and [that] after they had overcome the King and kept the King under restraint, at last the King comes in again,h then it will rivet the King’s interest; and so when any men shall endeavour to free themselves from tyranny we may do them mischief and no good. I think it’s most just and equal, since a number of men have declared against it, [that] they should be encouraged in it, and not discouraged. And I find by the Council that their thoughts are the same against the King and Lords, and if so be that a power may be raised to do that, it would do well.
Truly, sir, I being desired by the Agents yesterday to appear at council or committees either, at that time [in their behalf], I suppose I may be bold to make known what I know of their sense, and a little to vindicate them in their way of proceeding, and to show the necessity of this way of proceeding that they have entered upon. Truly, sir, as to breaking of engagements, the Agents do declare their principle, that whenever any engagement cannot be kept justlya they must break that engagement. Now though it’s urged they ought to condescend to what the General Council do [resolve], I conceive it’s true [only] so long as it is for their safety. I conceive [it’s] just and righteous for them to stand up for some more speedy vigorous actings. I conceive it’s no more than what the Army did when the Parliament did not only delay deliverance, but opposed it. And I conceive this way of their appearing hath not beenb in the least way anything tending to division, since they proceed to clear the rights of the people; and so long as they proceed upon those righteous principles [for which we first engaged], I suppose it cannot be laid to their charge that they are dividers. And though it be declared [that they ought to stand only as soldiers and not as Englishmen], yetc the malice of the enemies would have bereaved you of your liberties as Englishmen, [and] therefore as Englishmen they are deeply concerned to regard the due observation of their rights, [and have the same right to declare their apprehensions] as I, or any commoner, have right to propound to the kingdom my conceptions [of] what is fit for the good of the kingdom. Whereas it is objected, ‘How will it appear that their proceedings shall tend for the good of the kingdom?’ thatd matter is different [from the point of justice they would propound]. Whereas it was said before, it was propounded [in the Council, that] there must be an end to the [present] Parliament [and] an equality as to elections. I find it to be their minds [also; but] when they came there, they found many aversions from matters that they ought to stand to as soldiers ande as Englishmen, and therefore, I find, it [was discovered that there was a difference] concerning the matter of the thing, [and] I conceive it to be a very vast difference in the whole matter of [the] Proposals. [By it] the foundation of slavery was riveted more strongly than before—as where the militia is instated in the King and Lords, and not in the Commons, [and] there [too] is a foundation of a future quarrel constantly laid. However, the main thing was that the right of the militia was acknowledgedf to be in the King,g [as] they found in the Proposals propounded,h before any redress of any one of the people’s grievances [or] any one of their burdens; and [the King was] so to be brought in as with a negative voice, whereby the people and Army that have fought against him when he had propounded such things, [would be at his mercy]. And finding [this], they perceived they were, as they thought, in a sad case; for they thought, he coming in thus with a negative [voice], the Parliament are but as so many ciphers, so many round O’s, for if the King would not do it, he might choose, Sic volo, sic jubeo, &c., and so the corrupt party of the kingdom must be so settled in the King. The godly people are turned over and trampled upon already in the most places of the kingdom.a I speak but the words of the Agents,b and I find this to be their thoughts. But whereas it is said, ‘How will this paper provide for anything for that purpose?’ I shall say that this paper doth lay down the foundations of freedom for all manner of people. It doth lay the foundations of soldiers’ [freedom], whereas they found a great uncertainty in the Proposals, [which implied] that they should go to the King for an Act of Indemnity, and thus the King might command his judges to hang them up for what they did in the wars, because, the present constitution being left as it was, nothing was law but what the King signed, and not any ordinance of Parliament [without his consent]. And considering this,c they thought it should be by an Agreement with the people, whereby a rule between the Parliament and the people might be set, that so they might be destroyed neither by the King’s prerogative nor Parliament’s privileges ([including those of the Lords, for] they are not bound to be subject to the laws as other men, [and that is] why men cannot recover their estates). They thought there must be a necessity of a rule between the Parliament and the people, so that the Parliament should know what they were entrusted with,d and what they were not; and that there might be no doubt ofk the Parliament’s power, to lay foundations of future quarrels. The Parliament shall not meddle with a soldier after indemnity [if] it is [so] agreed amongst the people; whereas between a parliament and [a] king [the soldier may lose his indemnity]. If the King were not under restraint [his assent might be made to bind him. But if the present Parliament] should make an Act of Indemnity, whoe [shall say that] another Parliament cannot alter this? [An Agreement of the People would be necessary], that these foundations might be established, that there might be no dispute between Lords and Commons, andf [that], these things being settled, there should be no more disputes [at all], but that the Parliament should redress the people’s grievances. Whereas now almostg all are troubled with [the] King’s interests, if this were settled the Parliament should be free from these temptations.h And besidesi —which for my own part I do suppose to be a truthj —this very Parliament, by the King’s voice in this very Parliament, may destroy [us], whereas [then] they shall be free from temptations and the King cannot have an influence upon them [such] as he nowa hath.
Gentlemen, I think there is no man is able to give a better account of the sense of the Agents, and so readily; he hath spoke so much as they have in their book, and therefore I sayb he is very well able to give their sense.c I wish their sensed had [not only] not been prejudicial to other men’s senses, but, ase I fear it will prove, really prejudicial to the kingdom [as well], how plausiblyf soever it seems to be carried. That paper of The Case of the Armyg doth so abuse the General and General Council of the Army, [stating] that such and such things have been done that made them do thus and thus, [that I cannot leave it unanswered]. First as to the material points of the paper. You know as to the business of the Lords, the way we were then in admitted no other [course]. This gentleman that speaks here, and the other gentleman that spake before, when we were at Reading framing the Proposals [they] did not think of this way. I am sure they did not think of this way; and according to the best judgments of those that were entrusted by the General Council to draw up the Proposals, it was carried by a question clearly, that we should not [adopt such a way]. In these Proposals our business was to set forth particulars; we had set forth general declarations, which did come to as much in effect as this; the thing then proposed was that we should not take away the power of the Lords in this kingdom, and it was [so] concluded in the Proposals. But as to the King we were clear. There is not one thing in the Proposals, nor in what was declared, that doth give the King any negative [voice]. And therefore that’s part of the scandal amongst others: we do not give the King any negative voice; we do but take the King as a man with whom we have been at a difference; we propound terms of peace. We do not demand that he shall have no negative, but we do not say that he shall have any. There’s another thing: we have, as they say, gone from our engagements in our declarations in that we go in the Proposals to establish the King’s rights before [taking away] the people’s grievances. In our general declarations1 we first desire a purging of this Parliament, a period [to be set] forh this Parliament, and provision for the certainty of future Parliaments; and if the King shall agree in these things and what [things] else the Parliament shall propound, that are necessary for the safety of the kingdom, then we desire his rights may be considered so far as may consist with the rights of the people. We did so [speak] in the declarations, and you shall see what we did in the Proposals. In the Proposals, [we put first] things that are essential to peace, and it distinguishes those from the things that conduce to our better being, and things that lay foundations of an hopeful constitution in the future. When those are passed, then wei say that, ‘these things having the King’s concurrence, we desire that his right may be considered.’ There were many other grievances and particular matters [of] which we did not think [it] so necessary that they should precede the settling of a peace, [the lack of] which is the greatest grievance of the kingdom. Our way was to take away that [first]. Then we say there, [after] propounding what things we thought in our judgmentsa to be essential and necessary as to peace,b ‘Yet we desire that the Parliament would lose no time from the consideration of them.’ These gentlemen would say now [that] we have gone from our declarations, that we propose the settling of the King [first, because] it stands before those grievances. We say, those grievances are not so necessary [to be remedied] as that the remedying of them should be before the settling of the peace of the kingdom. What we thought in our consciences to be essential to the peace of the kingdom we did putj preceding to the consideration of the King’s personal right; and the concurrence of [the King to] those is a condition without which we cannot have any right at all, and without [which] there can be no peace, and [we] have named [it] beforec the consideration of the King’s rights in the settling of a peace, as a thing necessary to the constitution of a peace. That, therefore, [to say] we should prefer the King’s rights before a general good, was as unworthy and as unchristian an injury as ever was done [by any] to men that were in society with them, andd merely equivocation. But it was told you, that the General Council hath seemed to do so and so, to put the soldiers out of the way.e It is suggested that the Engagement is broken by our dividing to quarters; and whether that be broken or notf in other things,g it is said that the General Council hath broken the Engagement in this: that whereas before we were not a mercenary army, now we are. Let any man but speak what hath given the occasion of that. It hath been pressed by some men that we should [not] have subjected [our propositions] to the Parliament, and we shouldh stand to the propositions whatever they were; but the sense of the General Council was this: that, as they had sent their propositions to the Parliament,g they would see what the Parliament would do before they would conclude what themselves would do; and that there was respect [to be had] to that which we have hitherto accounted the fundamental council of the kingdom. If all the people to a man had subscribed to this [Agreement], then there would be some security to it, because no man would oppose [it]; but otherwise our concurrence amongst ourselves is no more than our saying [that] ourselves we will be indemnified.a Our indemnity must be [owed] to something that at least we will uphold, and we see we cannot hold [the Army] to be a conclusive authority of the kingdom.b For that [charge] of going to the King for indemnity, we propose[d] an Act of Oblivion only for the King’s party; we propose[d] for ourselves an Act of Indemnity and Justification. Is this the asking of a pardon?c Let us resort to the first petition of the Army, wherein we all were engaged once, which we made the basis of all our proceedings. In that we say, that [we wish] an ordinance might be passed, to which the royal assent might be desired; but we have [since] declared that, if the royal assent could not be had, we should account the authority of the Parliament valid without it. We have desired, in the General Council, that for security for arrears we might have the royal assent. And let me tell you (though I shall be content to lose my arrears to see the kingdom have its liberty —if any man can do it—unless it be by putting our liberty into the hands of those that will give it away when they have done [with it]; but I say whatf I do thinkg true in this): Whoever talks either of [arrears gained by] the endeavours of the soldiers or of any other indemnity [won] by the sword in their hands, is [for] the perpetuating of combustions; so that word cannot take place [of], and does not suppose, the settling of a peace by that authority which hath been herei the legislative power of the kingdom, and he that expects to have the arrears of the soldiers so, I think he does but deceive himself. For my own part I would give up my arrears, andj lose my arrears, if we have not [first a] settlement; no arrears [n]or [any] want of indemnity, nor anything in the world, shall satisfy me to have a peace upon any terms wherein that which is really the right of this nation is not as far provided for as can be provided for by men. I could tell you many other particulars wherein there are divers gross injuries done to the General and [the] General Council, and such a wrong [done them] as is not fit to be done among Christians, and so wrong and so false [a design imputed to them] that I cannot think that they have gone so far in it.
I do not know what reason you have to suppose I should be so well acquainted with The Case of the Army, and the things proposed [in it]. I conceive them to be very good and just. But for that which I give as their sense, which you are pleased to say are scandals cast upon the Army. The legislative power had been acknowledged [hitherto] to be in the King with [the] Lords and Commons; anda considering that, and what [indeed] you said before was a[nother] scandal [laid upon you], that you propounded to bring in the King with his negative voice, [you seem to restore him to his controlling part in the legislative power. For] I do humbly propound to your consideration [that] when you restrain the King’s negative in one particular [only], which is in [your] restraining unequal distributing,b you doc say the legislative power to be now partly in him. And [indeed you] say directly, in these very words, [that he] ‘shall be restored to his personal rights.’ And therefore I conceive (if I have any reason) [that] the King is proposed to be brought in with his negative voice. And whereas you say it is a scandal for [us to assert that you would have] the King to come in with his personal rights [before the grievances of the people are redressed, it is said in the Proposals] that, the King consenting to those things, the King [is] to be restored to all his personal rights. There’s his restoration. Not a bare consideration what his rights are before the people’s grievances [are considered], but a restoration to his personal rights, these things being done. Is the Parliament not to lose their rights [by such a provision]? And for that of [asking the King’s consent to an Act of] Indemnity, I do not say [that] it was an asking of the King[’s] pardon; [but] it is rendering us up [without promise of future security, for the King is under constraint], and therefore it is null in law.d
 This identifies Everard as the ‘Buff-Coat’ of the previous debate.
A Declaration of the Engagements, Remonstrances, Representations . . . of the Army, London, 1647 [Oct. 2].
 The Solemn Engagement of the Army, 5th June 1647; see pp. 401-3.
 Perhaps an error. Major Francis White had been expelled from the Council.
 See pp. 443-5.
 Possibly someone interrupts to object that now only the rich are chosen; see Rainborough, p. 67.
 Colonel Rich, p. 63.
 MS. too; but reference was probably to Cromwell and Ireton.
Heads of the Proposals.
 The Agreement.
 See letter of John Saltmarsh, Appendix, pp. 438-9.
Heads of the Proposals; see p. 422.
 See p. 430.
 i.e. the people’s.
 See the Representation of the Army; see also Heads of the Proposals and Wildman’s Putney Projects (pp. 403-9, 422-6, 426-9).
[38. (a)] + said;
[(c)] + wee should nott have bin;
[(g)] + that.
[39. (a)] + blank;
[(b)] + by;
[(e)] + and.
[40. (a)]that as;
[(b)] + of it;
[(c)] + bee;
[(b)] + and.
[43. (a)] + and;
[(e)] + this morning;
[(f)] + that;
[44. (a)] + and;
[(b)] + if we finde that;
[(c)] + that;
[(g)] Clause tr from this point [see h-i]; + butt;
[(h-i)] tr Much businesse will bee. Firth believes that ‘Everard’s speech is extremely confused, as fragments of different sentences are mixed together’; and he adds vaguely, ‘Three clauses have been moved.’ I have reverted to the order of MS. save for the transposition of one clause;
[(k-l)] Firth omits: I mean doing in that kinde, doing in that sort and such kinde of Action, Action of that nature. I have restored the reading of MS.
[45. (a)] + the thinges;
[(b)] + which;
[(c)] + with;
[(g)] + in itt;
[(h)] + that;
[(i)] + that wee might consider.
[(b)] + soe;
[(c)] + of;
[47. (a-b)] tr if this bee.
[(c)]Mr Pettus (evidently an alternative form of the name);
[(d)] + in;
[(e)] + and;
[(f)] + as.
[49. (a)] tr presence of God;
[(b)] + &c.;
[(c)] + of;
[(f)] + that.
[50. (a-e)] Report appears to be very much confused at this point. I have adopted Firth’s reconstruction, but have recorded its departures from MS.;
[(a-b)] tr this Army deare and tender to me;
[(c)] Here a-b, + and therefore itt is that I wish;
[(d)] + (if there be any) or;
[(e)] + I would nott have this Army.
[51. (a)] + nott to;
[(b)] + wee seeke;
[(f)]wheresoever (but apparently with whatsoever written over it);
[(g)] + that;
[(h)] + going;
[(i-j)] tr sad to thinke them soe;
[(k)] + first;
[(l-m)] tr noe Engagemt. can take us from itt;
[(n-o)] tr though itt bee just;
[(o-p)] tr matter in them that;
[(b-c)] MS. places in brackets in Ireton’s speech. Firth suggests, but does not adopt, the change;
[(e)] + that they.
[(b)] + and;
[(d)] + that;
[(g)] + and those that they must thus chuse;
[54. (a)] + who taken together;
[(b)] + Are the Representors;
[(c)] + otherwise;
[(d)] + hee in Birth or;
[(e)] + butt;
[(f)] + look;
[(g)] + you take away;
[(h)] + and;
[(i)] + those is.
[(b)] + and;
[(c-d)] tr taken altogether doe comprehend the whole;
[(e)] + to.
[56. (a)] + this way;
[(c)] tr men have;
[(d-e)] tr a Citty to send Burgesses;
[(f)] + hee;
[(g)] + and.
[57. (a)] + misrepresentation of the;
[(c)] + are;
[(d-e)] tr the p[er]manent interest.
[58. (a-b)] tr freemen of Corporations;
[(e)] + butt;
[(f)] + hath no p[er]manent interest that;
[(g)] + will.
[59. (a)] + you forgott Somethinge in my Speech;
[(d-e)] tr wee are for Anarchy;
[(f)] The report of Ireton’s speech is extremely confused. I have in general adopted Firth’s rearrangement, but have recorded the departures from MS.; (g-60 a) tr answer upon which that which;
[(g-h)]I desire I would nott.
[60. (b)] + and;
[(c)] + that;
[(c-d)] tr whatever a man may claim;
[(e)] + that which;
[(f)] + great and maine; this tr to position marked g;
[(g-h)]that seem’d to bee the Answer uppon which that which hath bin said against this rests. Here follows first paragraph of speech [59 g-60 a], and MS. proceeds: Now then as I say to that which is to the maine Answer that itt will nott make the breach of propertie, Then;
[(i)] + of;
[(j)] + butt.
[61. (a-b)]itt is;
[(c)] + Soe;
[62. (a)] + the;
[(b)]if (in error for is);
[(c-d)]what the objection is, and where the Answer lies to which itt is made;
[(g)] + that;
[63. (a)] + hee;
[(b)] + that man;
[(e)] + a Major pte. you may have;
[(f-g)] tr those men;
[(h)] + for that by which;
[(i)] + and that;
[(j)] + this;
[(l)] + you may.
[(b-c)] tr a perpetual dictator;
[(e)] + and;
[65. (a)] + and;
[(b-c)] tr against a fundamentall Law;
[(e)] + hee may.
[66. (a)] + nott by his owne consent;
[(c)] Emendation supplied by Ireton’s speech [p. 55].
[67. (a)] + a;
[(f)] + of;
[(h-i)]a fifth pte. Emendation supplied by Rich’s speech [p. 63];
[(j)] + I say;
[(k)] + and;
[(l)] tr where wee were;
[(m)] tr what shall become.
[68. (a)] + them;
[(b)] + butt;
[(c-d)] tr there may bee a way thought of;
[(f)] + in;
[(g)] + before.
[69. (a)] + nott;
[(c)] + I see;
[(d)] + that.
[70. (a)] + that;
[(b)] + and;
[(c)] + in alle;
[(d)] tr I thinke every Christian;
[71. (a)] + as;
[(b)] + wee;
[(e)] + supposing;
[(f-h)] tr lay aside the most fundamentall Constitution;
[(i-j)]all the soldiers have;
[(e)] + and;
[(f-g)] tr that hath a freedome;
[(h)] + nott.
[73. (a)] + in a generall sense;
[(c)] Firth thinks that ‘only the first words of some sentences are given.’ I find the sense much more complete, but the order of the sentences, and even the phrases, in unrelieved confusion. I have reduced them to a rational order, which is, of course, conjectural. MS. reads: I will minde you of one thinge, that uppon the will of one Man abusing us, and soe forth: Soe that I professe to you for my pte. I hope itt is nott denied by any man, That any wise discreete Man that hath preserved England or the Governemt. of itt, I doe say still under favour there is a way to cure all this Debate, I thinke they will desire noe more Libertie if there were time to dispute itt, I thinke hee would bee satisfied & all will be satisfied, and if the safetie of the Army bee in danger for my pte. I am cleare itt should bee amended, the point of Election should bee mended;
[(g)] tr If the thinge;
[74. (a)] + butt;
[(c-d)]was nott that;
[(e)] + as free;
[(f)] + to.
[75. (a)] + and;
[(b)] + for my pte.;
[76. (a)] + wch. is before you;
[(c-e)] tr I will nott give itt an ill worde. ‘The remainder of this speech is simply a chaos of detached phrases from different sentences’ (Firth);
[(g)] + and;
[(h)] + that wee;
[(i-j)] tr love in my heart;
[(k)] + a.
[(c-d)]distributions of itt;
[(e)] tr as itt stands;
[(f)] + that.
[78. (a-b)] tr to consider;
[(c)] + and;
[(d)] + nott;
[(e-f)] tr there is as much reason;
[(f)] + butt.
[79. (a)] + is;
[(c)] tr there’s a greater;
[(d)] tr you take away;
[(e)] + from some Men;
[(f)] + nott.
[80. (a)] + and;
[(b)] Speech is transposed from after Chillenden’s. I do not agree with Firth that it is ‘merely a second version of the speech [on p. 75], not a new speech.’ It is different in phrasing, though similar in argument at one or two points, and it refers to other matters, two of which have been mentioned, since Clarke’s previous speech, by Petty and Rolfe [pp. 79-80]. Since, however, ‘Waller does not answer Clarke, but Chillenden,’ the speech must have become misplaced, and it could hardly have stood before Rolfe’s since it seems to concur with that speech in its last sentence. Hence the transposition;
[81. (a)] + to butt;
[(b)] + butt;
[(c)] + that;
[(d-e)] tr noe finger in appointing the lawgiver;
[(d-f)] tr this enlargementof that businesse;
[(e)] + in that;
[(g-h)]this enlargement of that businesse.
[(b)] + itt;
[(d)] + I declar’d;
[(d-e)] tr there manifested in the paper I declar’d;
[(f)] + and were;
[(g)] + that there were meetings;
[84. (a)] + that;
[(b)] + as;
[(c)] + on the other hand they told me, That;
[(f)] + and.
[85. (a)] tr with such an heart;
[(b-c)] tr thinke itt is nott very variable;
[(d-e)] tr though this be nott a rule of exactnesse;
[(f)] + if nott that;
[(g-h)]will nott believe you.
[86. (a)] + & all the Engagements.;
[(b)] + for satisfaction;
[(c)] + butt;
[(d)] + I doe nott see;
[(d-e)]the Authours of this paper the subscribers;
[(f)] + for my pte. I do nott know what disbanding is iff that;
[(g-j)] tr than the outcries of the authours of itt;
[(i)] + wee all;
[(k)] + if.
[87. (a-b)] tr endeavouring to draw the souldiers to run this way;
[(c-f)] tr have the managing of the businesse;
[(c-d)]by this or that way;
[(f-h)] tr that wee have declar’d [for] before;
[(g)] + itt;
[(i)] + that;
[(j)] + whether we will nott devide with such satisfaction;
[(k)] + whether that were a deviding;
[(n-o)] tr a sense that wee doe nott know of.
[88. (a)] + heere itt is putt according to the inhabitants;
[(b)] + and;
[(d-e)] tr that the Commons shall chuse without Lords or any body else [butt where I see thinges] [p. 89; and see 89 d];
[89. (a)] + is bound att his Coronation;
[(d)] + butt where I see thinges + transposed sentence [88 d-e];
[(e)] + only as;
[(f-g)] tr destruction of the Kingdome to throwe them out [and];
[(i)] + of;
[(j)] + and.
[90. (a)] + butt when they cannott act justly;
[(b)]appear’d to bee;
[(e)] + nott;
[(f-g)]by the Kinge;
[(h)] + to bee.
[91. (a-b)] tr and nott any ordinance of Parliament;
[(c)]of this that;
[(g)] tr troubled with the Kinges interests;
[(h-i)] tr if this were setled;
[(j)] + that;
[92. (a)] tr this very Parliament may destroy wheras;
[(c)] + and;
[(e)] tr I feare;
[(g)] + that;
[93. (a)] + are;
[(b)] + and then itt says there;
[(c)] tr can bee noe peace and have;
[(d)] + as;
[(e)] + and;
[(f)] + & itt is suggested;
[(g)] + butt;
[(j)] + them.
[94. (a)] + butt;
[(b)] + and;
[(c)] + then;
[(g)] + that;
[(i)] + by;
[(j)] + for my pte.
[95. (a)] + then;
[(b)] + butt wheras;
[(c)] + now;
[(d)] + blank (4½ pp.)—perhaps left for other speeches, which were not transcribed.