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IX.: DIGGER PRINCIPLES - 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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In the beginning of time, the great Creator, Reason, made the earth to be a common treasury, to preserve beasts, birds, fishes, and man, the lord that was to govern this creation. For man had domination given to him over the beasts, birds, and fishes. But not one word was spoken in the beginning, that one branch of mankind should rule over another.
And the reason is this. Every single man, male and female, is a perfect creature of himself. And the same Spirit that made the globe dwells in man to govern the globe; so that the flesh of man, being subject to Reason, his Maker, hath him to be his teacher and ruler within himself, therefore needs not run abroad after any teacher and ruler without him. . . .
But since human flesh . . . began to delight himself in the objects of the creation more than in the Spirit Reason and Righteousness, who manifests himself to be the indweller in the five senses . . .; then he fell into blindness of mind and weakness of heart, and runs abroad for a teacher and ruler, and so selfish imaginations, taking possession of the five senses, and ruling as king in the room of Reason therein, and working with covetousness, did set up one man to teach and rule over another. And thereby the Spirit was killed, and man was brought into bondage and became a greater slave to such of his own kind than the beasts of the field were to him.
And hereupon the earth, which was made to be a common treasury of relief for all, both beasts and men, was hedged into enclosures by the teachers and rulers, and the others were made servants and slaves. And that earth that is within this creation made a common storehouse for all, is bought and sold and kept in the hands of a few; whereby the great Creator is mightily dishonoured: as if he were a respecter of persons, delighting in the comfortable livelihood of some, and rejoicing in the miserable poverty and straits of others. From the beginning it was not so. * * *
But for the present state of the old world, that is running up like parchment in the fire and wearing away, we see proud imaginary flesh, which is the wise serpent, rises up in flesh and gets dominion in some to rule over others, and so forces one part of the creation, man, to be a slave to another. And thereby the Spirit is killed in both. The one looks upon himself as a teacher and ruler, and so is lifted up in pride over his fellow creature. The other looks upon himself as imperfect, and so is dejected in his spirit, and looks upon his fellow creature, of his own image, as a lord above him.
And thus Esau, the man of flesh, which is covetousness and pride, hath killed Jacob, the spirit of meekness, and righteous government in the light of reason, and rules over him. And so the earth that was made a common treasury for all to live comfortably upon, is become, through man’s unrighteous actions one over another, to be a place wherein one torments another.
Now the great Creator, who is the Spirit Reason, suffered himself thus to be rejected and trodden under foot by the covetous, proud flesh, for a certain time limited. Therefore saith he: The seed out of whom the creation did proceed, which is myself, shall bruise this serpent’s head, and restore my creation again from this curse and bondage; and when I, the King of Righteousness, reigns in every man, I will be the blessing of the earth, and the joy of all nations.
And . . . the earth hath been enclosed and given to the elder brother Esau, or man of flesh, and hath been bought and sold from one to another; and Jacob, or the younger brother, that is to succeed or come forth next, who is the universal spreading power of righteousness that gives liberty to the whole creation, is made a servant. And this elder son, or man of bondage, hath held the earth in bondage to himself, not by a meek law of righteousness, but by subtle selfish counsels, and by open and violent force. For wherefore is it that there is such wars and rumours of wars in the nations of the earth? And wherefore are men so mad to destroy one another? But only to uphold civil propriety of honour, dominion and riches one over another, which is the curse the creation groans under, waiting for deliverance.
But when once the earth becomes a common treasury again—as it must; for all the prophecies of scriptures and reason are circled here in this community, and mankind must have the law of righteousness once more writ in his heart, and all must be made of one heart and one mind—then this enmity in all lands will cease. For none shall dare to seek a dominion over others; neither shall any dare to kill another, nor desire more of the earth than another. For he that will rule over, imprison, oppress, and kill his fellow creatures under what pretence soever, is a destroyer of the creation and an actor of the curse, and walks contrary to the rule of righteousness: Do as you would have others do to you; and love your enemies, not in words, but in actions.
Therefore you powers of the earth, or Lord Esau, the elder brother, because you have appeared to rule the creation, first take notice that the power that sets you to work is selfish covetousness, and an aspiring pride to live in glory and ease over Jacob, the meek spirit; that is, the seed that lies hid in and among the poor common people, or younger brother, out of whom the blessing of deliverance is to rise and spring up to all nations. And Reason, the living King of Righteousness, doth only look on and lets thee alone, that whereas thou counts thyself an angel of light, thou shalt appear in the light of the Sun to be a devil . . . and the curse that the creation groans under. And the time is now come for thy downfall; and Jacob must rise, who is the universal spirit of love and righteousness that fills, and will fill, all the earth. * * *
[After reproaching ‘the powers of England’ with their failure to make ‘this people a free people,’ with their having indeed, through their ‘self-seeking humour,’ increased its bondage, the pamphlet proceeds:]
Surely thou must not do this great work of advancing the creation out of bondage; for thou art lost extremely, and drowned in the sea of covetousness, pride, and hardness of heart. The blessing shall rise out of the dust which thou treadest under foot, even the poor despised people, and they shall hold up salvation to this land, and to all lands, and thou shalt be ashamed. * * *
The work we are going about is this: to dig up George’s Hill and the waste ground thereabouts, and to sow corn, and to eat our bread together by the sweat of our brows.1
And the first reason is this. That we may work in righteousness, and lay the foundation of making the earth a common treasury for all, both rich and poor. That every one that is born in the land may be fed by the earth, his mother that brought him forth, according to the reason that rules in the creation, not enclosing any part into any particular hand, but all as one man working together, and feeding together as sons of one father, members of one family; not one lording over another, but all looking upon each other as equals in the creation. So that our Maker may be glorified in the work of his own hands, and that every one may see he is no respecter of persons, but equally loves his whole creation, and hates nothing but the serpent. Which is covetousness, branching forth into selfish imagination, pride, envy, hypocrisy, uncleanness, all seeking the ease and honour of flesh, and fighting against the Spirit Reason that made the creation. For that is the corruption, the curse, the devil, the father of lies, death and bondage—that serpent and dragon that the creation is to be delivered from.
And we are moved hereunto for that reason, and others which hath been showed us, both by vision, voice, and revelation. For it is showed us, that so long as we or any other doth own the earth to be the peculiar interest of lords and landlords, and not common to others as well as them, we own the curse thata holds the creation under bondage. And so long as we or any other doth own landlords and tenants, for one to call the land his, or another to hire it of him, or for one to give hire, and for another to work for hire; this is to dishonour the work of creation—as if the righteous Creator should have respect to persons, and therefore made the earth for some, and not for all. * * *
And that this civil propriety is the curse, is manifest thus. Those that buy and sell land and are landlords, have got it either by oppression or murder or theft; and all landlords live in the breach of the Seventh and Eighth Commandments, Thou shalt not steal, nor kill.
First by their oppression. They have, by their subtle, imaginary, and covetous wit, got the plain-hearted poor, or younger brethren, to work for them for small wages, and by their work have got a great increase; for the poor by their labour lifts up tyrants to rule over them. Or else by their covetous wit, they have outreached the plain-hearted in buying and selling, and thereby enriched themselves but impoverished others. Or else by their subtle wit, having been alifted upb into places of trust, [they] have enforced people to pay money for a public use, but have divided much of it into their private purses, and so have got it by oppression.
Then, secondly, for murder. They have by subtle wit and power pretended to preserve a people in safety by the power of the sword. And what by large pay, much free-quarter, and other booties which they call their own, they get much moneys, and with this they buy land and become landlords. And if once landlords, then they rise to be justices, rulers, and state governors, as experience shows. But all this is but a bloody and subtle thievery, countenanced by a law that covetousness made; and is a breach of the Seventh Commandment, Thou shalt not kill.
And likewise, thirdly, a breach of the Eighth Commandment, Thou shalt not steal. But these landlords have thus stolen the earth from their fellow creatures, that have an equal share with them by the law of reason and creation, as well as they.
And such as these rise up to be rich in the objects of the earth. Then, by their plausible words of flattery to the plain-hearted people, whom they deceive, and that lies under confusion and blindness, they are lifted up to be teachers, rulers, and lawmakers over them that lifted them up; as if the earth were made peculiarly for them, and not for others’ weal. If you cast your eye a little backward, you shall see that this outward teaching and ruling power is the Babylonish yoke laid upon Israel of old, under Nebuchadnezzar. And so successively from that time the conquering enemy have still laid these yokes upon Israel, to keep Jacob down. And the last enslaving conquest which the enemy got over Israel, was the Norman over England. And from that time kings, lords, judges, justices, bailiffs, and the violent bitter people that are freeholders, are and have been successively: the Norman bastard William himself, his colonels, captains, inferior officers, and common soldiers, who still are from that time to this day in pursuit of that victory, imprisoning, robbing, and killing the poor enslaved English Israelites.
And this appears clear. For when any trustee or state officer is to be chosen, the freeholders or landlords must be the choosers, who are the Norman common soldiers spread abroad in the land. And who must be chosen but some very rich man who is the successor of the Norman colonels or high officers? And to what end have they been thus chosen but to establish that Norman power the more forcibly over the enslaved English, and to beat them down again whenas they gather heart to seek for liberty? For what are all those binding and restraining laws that have been made from one age to another since that conquest, and are still upheld by fury over the people? I say, what are they but the cords, bands, manacles, and yokes that the enslaved English, like Newgate prisoners, wears upon their hands and legs as they walk the streets; by which those Norman oppressors, and these their successors from age to age, have enslaved the poor people by, killed their younger brother, and would not suffer Jacob to arise? * * *
It is showed us, that all the prophecies, visions and revelations of scriptures, of Prophets and Apostles, concerning the calling of the Jews, the restoration of Israel, and making of that people the inheritors of the whole earth, doth all seat themselves in this work of making the earth a common treasury; as you may read: Ezek. 24. 26-7, &c.; Jer. 33. 7-12; Isa. 49. 17-18, &c.; Zech. 8. 4-12; Dan. 2. 44-5; 7. 27; Hos. 14. 5-7; Joel 2. 26-7; Amos 9. 8 to the end; Obad. 17, 18, 21; Mic. 5. 7 to the end; Hab. 2. 6, 7; 8. 13, 14; Gen. 18. 18; Rom. 11. 15; Zeph. 3. &c.; Zech. 14. 9. And when the Son of Man was gone from the Apostles, his Spirit descended upon the Apostles and Brethren as they were waiting at Jerusalem; and the rich men sold their possessions and gave part to the poor, and no man said that aught that he possessed was his own, for they had all things common (Acts 4. 32).
Now this community was suppressed by covetous, proud flesh, which was the powers that ruled the world. And the righteous Father suffered himself thus to be suppressed for a time, times and dividing of time, or for forty-two months, or for three days and an half, which are all but one and the same term of time. And the world is now come to the half day; and the Spirit of Christ, which is the Spirit of universal community and freedom, is risen, and is rising, and will rise higher and higher, till those pure waters of Shiloa, the well-springs of life and liberty to the whole creation, do overrun . . . those banks of bondage, curse, and slavery. * * *
Another voice that was heard was this: Israel shall neither take hire nor give hire.
And if so, then certainly none shall say, ‘This is my land; work for me and I’ll give you wages.’ For the earth is the Lord’s; that is man’s, who is lord of the creation, in every branch of mankind. For as divers members of our human bodies make but one body perfect, so every particular man is but a member or branch of mankind; and mankind, living in the light and obedience to Reason, the King of Righteousness, is thereby made a fit and complete lord of the creation. And the whole earth is this Lord’s man, subject to the Spirit, and not the inheritance of covetous, proud flesh that is selfish, and enmity to the Spirit. * * *
That which does encourage us to go on in this work is this. We find the streaming out of love in our hearts towards all, to enemies as well as friends. We would have none live in beggary, poverty, or sorrow, but that every one might enjoy the benefit of his creation. We have peace in our hearts, and quiet rejoicing in our work, and [are] filled with sweet content though we have but a dish of roots and bread for our food.
And we are assured that, in the strength of this Spirit that hath manifested himself to us, we shall not be startled, neither at prison nor death, while we are about his work. And we have been made to sit down and count what it may cost us in undertaking such a work. And we know the full sum, and are resolved to give all that we have to buy this pearl which we see in the field.
For by this work, we are assured, and reason makes it appear to others, that bondage shall be removed, tears wiped away, and all poor people by their righteous labours shall be relieved and freed from poverty and straits. For in this work of restoration there will be no beggar in Israel. For surely, if there was no beggar in literal Israel, there shall be no beggar in spiritual Israel, the antitype, much more. * * *
 By William Everard, Gerrard Winstanley, John Taylor, and others. For full list see ‘Notes on Text.’
 Clarke MSS. contain a petition of the Diggers, and a letter from Winstanley to Fairfax, on the use of soldiers against the Diggers, late in 1649; also a Diggers’ Song. See Clarke Papers, ed. Firth, 2. 215-24.
[379. (a)]The True Levellers Standard Advanced: or the State of Community opened, and presented to the Sons of Men. By William Everard, Iohn Palmer, Iohn South, Iohn Courton, William Taylor, Christopher Clifford, Iohn Barker, Ferrard Winstanley, Richard Goodgroome, Thomas Starre, William Hoggrill, Robert Sawyer, Thomas Eder, Henry Bickerstaffe, Iohn Taylor, &c. Beginning to plant and manure the waste land upon George-Hill, in the Parish of Walton, in the County of Surrey. London, Printed in the year MDCXLIX [April 26, 1649]. Address ‘To all my fellow creatures that shall view these ensuing lines,’ signed John Taylor, April 20, 1649, omitted. Heading of main body of text, ‘A declaration to the powers of England and to all the Powers of the World . . .’ omitted.
[(b)]a lifter up.
[385. (a)]The Diggers Mirth, or, Certain Verses composed and fitted to tunes, for the delight and recreation of all those who dig, or own that work, in the commonwealth of England. * * * Set forth by those who were the original of that so righteous a work, and continue still successfull therein at Cobham in Surrey. London, Printed in the Year 1650 [April 4]. Pamphlet contains a second song; neither is that copied in Clarke MSS. and printed by Firth (Clarke Papers, 2.221);
[387. (a)] For principles on which documents in the Appendix are edited, see above, 179 (a).