- Postscript to the 1950 Edition
- Preface to the Second Edition
- Part I.: The Putney Debates
- At the General Council of Officers 1 At Putney, 28th October 1647.
- Putney, 29th October 1647
- Putney, 1st November 1647 At the General Council of the Army
- Part II.: The Whitehall Debates a
- General Council 1 At Whitehall, 14th December 1648 B
- Council of Officers, 8th-11th January 1649
- Whitehall, 13th January 1649 General Council 1 a
- Part III.: Puritan Views of Liberty a
- I.: Some Principles of the Puritan Parties
- From John Saltmarsh, Smoke In the Temple (1646) B
- From J[ohn] G[oodwin], Independency God’s Verity (1647) a
- II.: The Law of Nature
- From William Ames, Conscience (1639) a
- III.: Religious Principles of Resistance
- Christian Obedience and Its Limits From Calvin’s Institution of Christian Religion (thomas Norton’s Translation) a
- Presbyterian Principles of Resistance From [samuel Rutherford], Lex, Rex (1644) a
- Independent Principles of Resistance From John Goodwin, Right and Might Well Met (1649) a
- IV.: The Law and the Gospel: Christian Liberty
- From Luther’s Commentary Upon Galatians (edition of 1644) a
- Milton On Christian Liberty
- V.: The Privileges of the Saints
- The Elect and the Reprobate From William Prynne, Anti-arminianism (1630) a
- The Millennium At Hand [hanserd Knollys], 1 a Glimpse of Sion’s Glory (1641) a
- The Rule of the Saints 1 Certain Queries Presented By Many Christian People (1649) a
- VI.: Liberty of Conscience
- Independent Position From the Ancient Bounds (1645) a
- Separatist Position From Roger Williams, the Bloody Tenent of Persecution 1 (1644) a
- VII.: Models of a Free Church
- The Power of the People From Thomas Goodwin and Philip Nye’s Introduction to John Cotton’s the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (1644) a
- The Church Covenant From [richard Mather], an Apology For Church Covenant (1643) a
- From the Saints’ Apology (1644) a
- A Spiritual Church From William Dell, the Way of True Peace and Unity 1 (1649) a
- VIII.: Leveller Principles 1
- God and Man From John Lilburne, the Free-man’s Freedom Vindicated (1646) a
- An Appeal to Parliament From the Large Petition of the Levellers 1 (march 1647) B
- An Appeal to the People From Richard Overton, an Appeal From the Commons to the Free People (1647) a
- Parliament Once More From the Levellers’ Petition to the House of Commons, 1 11th September 1648. A
- Agreements of the People the History of the Second Agreement 1 From John Lilburne, Legal Fundamental Liberties (1649) a
- The Second Agreement of the People (1648) From John Lilburne, Foundations of Freedom a
- The Female of the Species From a Petition of Women, Affecters and Approvers of the Petition of Sept. 11, 1648 1 (5th May 1649) a
- Democracy In the City From London’s Liberties Or a Learned Argument of Law and Reason 1 (dec. 1650) a
- IX.: Digger Principles
- From the True Levellers’ Standard Advanced 1 (1649) a
- Appendix a
- A.: the Spirit of the New Model
- 1.: Reports of Observers
- 2.: A Sermon At Putney From Thomas Collier, a Discovery of the New Creation a (preached At the Headquarters, Putney, 29th Sept. 1647)
- B.: the Army Organizes: May—june 1647
- 3.: Apology of the Soldiers to Their Officers 1 (3rd May ) a
- 4.: Advertisements For the Managing of the Counsels of the Army, 1 Walden, 4th May 1647 B
- 5.: From the Grievances of Regiments, Presented At Saffron Walden, 13th-14th May a
- 6.: Letters to the Agitators 1
- 7.: From a Solemn Engagement of the Army 1 (5 Th June ) a
- 8.: From a Representation of the Army (14th June) a
- C.: The Reading Debates
- 9.: Summary, With Selections, of the Debate In the General Council of the Army, At Reading, 16th July 1647, On the Proposals of the Agitators For Five Points to Be Insisted On By the Army and Enforced By a March On London a
- 10.: Account of the Debate, In a Newsletter From Reading, B 17 Th July.
- D.: Documents Relating to the Putney Debates
- 13.: From the Heads of the Proposals a
- 14.: The Levellers’ Discontent With the Heads of the Proposals From [john Wildman], Putney Projects a
- 15.: From [john Wildman], the Case of the Army Truly Stated a 15th Oct.
- 16.: A Letter From the Agents to the Whole Soldiery From Two Letters From the Agents of the Five Regiments (28th Oct.) a
- 17.: Letter of John Saltmarsh to the Council of War (28th Oct.) a
- 18.: From a Call to All the Soldiers of the Army By the Free People of England 1 (29 Th Oct.) a
- 19.: An Agreement of the People ( Printed 3rd Nov.) a
- 20.: Summary (with Quotation) of the Reports of the Committee On the Army’s Papers and the Agreement of the People a
- 21.: Proceedings In the General Council, 4th-9th Nov. From a Letter From Several Agitators to Their Regiments (11th Nov.) a
- E.: Documents Relating to the Whitehall Debates
- 22.: Petition of 11th September 1648:
- 23.: From a Remonstrance of Fairfax and the Council of Officers 1 (16th November 1648) a
- 24.: History of the Second Agreement of the People:
- 25.: From the Declaration of the Army, On the March to London, 30th November 1648 a
- 26.: Text of the Second Agreement of the People:
- 27.: Summary of the Debates On the Agreement, In the Council of Officers, 16th December-6th January; and of the Examination of Elizabeth Poole On 29th December and 5th January. a
- 28.: The Levellers’ Dissatisfaction With the Debates From John Lilburne, a Plea For Common Right and Freedom (28th Dec. 1648) a
- F.: Retrospect
- 29.: From a Declaration of the English Army Now In Scotland, 2 1st Aug. 1650 a
- Notes On Text
THE ARMY ORGANIZES: MAY—JUNE 1647
Apology of the Soldiers to their Officers (3rd May)a
We your soldiers, who have served under your commands, with all readiness, to free this our native land and nation from all tyranny and oppressions whatsoever, and that by virtue and power derived from this present Parliament, given not only to his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax, our now present General, but likewise under all the late generals, his predecessors, under whom we, even the whole soldiery, have served both the state and you faithfully and diligently; by which means God hath been pleased to crown us with victory in dispersing our common adversaries, so that we hoped to put an end to all tyranny and oppressions, so that justice and equity, according to the law of this land, should have been done to the people, and that the meanest subject should fully enjoy his right, liberty, and properties, in all things; which the Parliament have made known to all the world in divers of their declarations, to which they have so often bound themselves, to perform, by their oaths, vows, covenants, and protestations: upon this ground of hope we have gone through all difficulties and dangers, that we might purchase to the people of this land, with ourselves, a plentiful crop and harvest of liberty and peace. But instead of it, to the great grief and saddening of our hearts, we see that oppression is as great as ever, if not greater, yea, and that upon the cordial friends to the Parliament and us, and to the just rights and liberties of this nation; that they with us are slighted, abused, beaten, and dragged to gaols, yea, to the utter ruin of their estates, and loss of their lives; yea, the best and most candid intentions and actions of theirs and ours, grossly and foully misconstrued, even to such a height as deserving no less than to be declared as troublers of, and enemies to, the state and kingdom. And such as have [been] and are now the enemies of the Parliament and kingdom are countenanced and honoured to be in places of general trust, and are made judges of them and us for our lives and estates. * * * From whence, we believe, springs all our miseries, and that so many of our fellow soldiers that have been disbanded have been so rigorously dealt withal asa imprisoned, indicted, and hanged, for things done in time and place of war, and necessity of the Parliament’s service, required in their low condition, and without which they could not have safely sat in the House of Parliament with their heads on. And the reason of all this, we judge, is because our very enemies are made our judges. Yea, such is our condition: though we be oppressed we may not cry, as it is too apparent. When of late we did in a humble and petitionary way seek to make known our grievances to our General, such was our offence as that we must presently, without being heard, be declared enemies to the state. * * *
Therefore, brave Commanders, the Lord put a spirit of courage into your hearts that you may stand fast in your integrity that you have manifested to us your soldiers; and we do declare to you that if any of you shall not, he shall be marked with a brand of infamy for ever as a traitor to his country and an enemy to thisb Army. Read and consider. Was there ever such things done by a Parliament, to proclaim us enemies to the state, as they have done about the late petition? (The Lords and they could quickly agree to this, though they will be very tedious when anything is offered that is for the good of the commonwealth.) And to keep the hirelings’ wages, and not to give them that which they have so dearly bought with their blood and lives, even theirc pay; and not only so, but to leave them to the merciless malice of their wicked enemies!
Is it not better to die like men than to be enslaved and hanged like dogs? Which must and will be yours and our portion if not now looked into, even before our disbanding. * * *
We have been quiet and peaceable in obeying all orders and commands, yet not, we have a just cause to tell you, if we be not relieved in these our grievances. We shall be forced to that which we pray God to divert, and keep your and our hearts upright, desiring you to present these things to the General as our desires: (1) That the honour of this Army may be vindicated in every particular, especially about the late petition, and reparations given, and justice done upon the fomenters. (2) That an Act of Indemnity may be made for all things done in time and place of war. (3) That the wives and children of those that have been slain in the service, and maimed soldiers, may be provided for. (4) Our arrears, under this General, to be paid us; our arrears under other generalsa to be audited and stated, and security given for the payment. (5) That we that have served the Parliament freely may not be pressed out of the kingdom. (6) That the liberty of the subject may be no longer enslaved, but that justice and judgment may be dealt to the meanest subject of this land according to old law.
Now unless all these humble requests be by you for us your soldiers and yourselves stood for to be granted, it had [been] better we had never been born, or at least we had never been in arms, but that we had by the sword been cut off from the misery we and you are like to undergo. So we rest in hopes of your faithfulness,
Advertisements for the Managing of the Counsels of the Army,Walden, 4th May 1647b
1. Appoint a council for the ordering the undertakings of the Army.
2. Keep a party of able pen-men at Oxford and the Army, where their presses be employed to satisfy and undeceive the people.
3. Hold correspondence with the soldiers and well-affected friends in the several counties of the kingdom, for prevention of uproars, interposition of parties, for disarming the disaffected and securing the persons of projecting parties, namely Presbyterians.
4. Do all things upon public grounds for the good of the people, and with expedition, to avoid divisions and for the prevention of bloodshed.
5. Be vigilant to keep yourselves from supplanting, secret,c open, or undermining enemies;d especially prevent the removal or surprisal of the King’s person.
6. Present the General Officers with the heads of your demands in writing, and subscribed, and so agreed to by your appointed trustees in behalf of yourselves and other soldiers.
7. Desire redress of all arbitrary and exorbitant proceedings throughout the kingdom, and, according to the Covenant, call for public justice and due punishment to be inflicted upon all offenders whomsoever.
8. Givee some reasons for desiring reformation in civil justice, and query how the pretended and respective ends of our taking up arms hath been performed or comported with, according to the mutual provocations and declarations of Parliament put forth to engage us in blood, and, for aught we yet find, to entangle us in stronger chains, and to clap upon our necks heavier yokes or servitude.
9. Permit not the Army to be long delayed, or tampered with too much, lest resolution languish and courage grow cold.
10. Persuade the General Officers not to depart from the Army until these storms be overblown, the subject’s liberty confirmed, the kingdom settled, delinquents detected and punished, the soldiers and sufferers satisfied and rewarded; in all which respects their conduct was never of more consequence, nor their interest in the Army more useful, the present employment being most important, tending to the consummation of all our cares, and the good concluding by the establishment (in peace and truth) of the work of the whole war.
11. That, according to the premises, we may be speedily [satisfied] and [our several demands] respectively performed with[al]; after which the Army may be reduced, and [to] such a number of horsemen as is not inconsistent with the kingdom’s safety; the rest, being justly dealt with in point of due and deserved pay, with honourable rewards for their several services, may be disbanded, after an Act of Indemnity be made, and satisfaction be given, as aforesaid, not only to this Army, but to all the well-affected soldiers and subjects throughout this kingdom.
From the Grievances of Regiments, Presented at Saffron Walden, 13th-14th Maya
Thatb such rigour is already exercised that we are denied the liberty which Christ hath purchased for us, and abridged of our freedom to serve God according to our proportion of faith, and like to be imprisoned, yea, beaten and persecuted, to enforce us to a human conformity never enjoined by Christ.
Thatc notwithstanding we have engaged our lives for you, ourselves, [and] posterity, that we might be free from the yoke of episcopal tyranny, yet we fear that the consciences of men shall be pressed beyond the light they have received from the rule of the Word in things appertaining to the worship of God, a thing wholly contrary to the Word of God [and] the best Reformed Churches.
Thatd the ministers in their public labour by all means do make us odious to the kingdom, that they might take off their affections from us lest the world should think too well of us, and not only so but have printed many scandalous books against us, as Mr. Edwards’s Gangraena and Mr. Love’s Sermons.
Thate we who have engaged for our country’s liberties and freedom, are denied the liberty to petition in case of grievance, notwithstanding the Parliament have declared (in their Declaration, 2nd November) . . . that it is the liberty of the people to petition unto them in case of grievances, and we humbly conceive that we have the liberty.
That the freemen of England are so much deprived of their liberties and freedom (as many of them are at this day) as to be imprisoned so long together for they know not what, and cannot be brought to a legal trial according to the laws of this land, for their just condemnation or justification, although both themselves and their friends have so often petitioned to the Parliament for it; which we know not how soon may be our case.
That the laws of this land, by which we are to be governed, are in an unknown tongue, so that we may be guilty of the breach of them unknown to us, and come into condemnation.
Letters to the Agitators
Gentlemen,a My best respects. I rid hard and came to London by four this afternoon. The House hath ordered and voted the Army to be disbanded, regiment by regiment. The General’s Regiment of Foot on Tuesday next to lay down their arms in Chelmsford Church, and they do intend to send you down once more Commissioners, to do it, of Lords and Commons. They will not pay more than two months’ pay, and, after we be disbanded, to state our accompts and to be paid by the excise in course. This is their good vote, and their good visible security! Pray, Gentlemen, ride night and day. We will act here night and day for you. You must by all means frame a petition in the name of all the soldiers, to be presented to the General by you the Agitators, to have him, in honour, justice and honesty, to stand by you, and to tell Skippon to depart the Army, and all other officers that are not right. Be sure now be active, and send some thirty or forty horse to fetch away Jackson, Gooday, and all that are naught. And be sure to possess his soldiers: he will sell them and abuse them; for so he hath done, he engaged to sell them for eight weeks’ pay. Gent., I have it from (59) and (89) that you must do this, and that you shall expel [them] out of the Army; and if you do disappoint them in the disbanding of this regiment, namely (68), you will break the neck of all their designs. This is the judgment of (59) and (89); therefore, Gent., follow it close. The (52) are about (42), which copies I send you. And let me tell you (41) and (52) in (54) are all very gallant. I pray God keep us so too. Now, my lads, if we work like men we shall do well, and that in the hands of (53). And let all the (44) be very insistentb that the (55) may be called to a (43), and that with speed. Delay it not. Andc by all means be sure to stir up the Counties to petition for their rights, andd to make their appeal to (55) to assist them. You shall hear all I can, by the next. So till then I rest.
Yours till death,
From 51. 11o at night.
Maye 28, 11 at night.
Send this to 92.
Send to me and you shall have powder enough and that in your own quarters, five hundred barrels, and it shall not cost a penny, and on Tuesday I will inform you how and where.
There is seven thousand coming down to Chelmsford: on Monday night it will be there. The Earl of Warwick, the Lord Delawarr,f of the Commons, Mr. Annesley, Sir Gilbert Gerrard, Sir John Potts, Mr. Grimstone, all these are to come as Commissioners for to disband us. Therefore, Gent., you know what to do. Colonel Rainborough is to go to his regiment, and it is by Oxford. And a guard of dragoons comes with the money and the Commissioners, but how many I know not. All the honest party do much rejoice here at your courage, and the other party do much threaten and speak big. Therefore I pray be careful to have horse to apprehend and seize on the money and Commissioners before they come at the foot. And if you can banish Jackson and the rest out of that regiment, you will do the work; and be sure you do what you can. Do not let Jackson be there to go to London, nor none of them of that regiment, and you will do well enough. Let two horsemen go presently to Colonel Rainborough to Oxford, and be very careful you be not overwitted. Now break the neck of this design, and you will do well. And [this] you must now do, to make a bolt or a shot and not to dally: [to have] but a good party of horse of a thousand, and to have spies with them before (to bring you intelligence), and to quarter your horse overnight, and to march in the night.
So God bless,
From A Solemn Engagement of the Army (5th June)a
Whereas, upon the petition intended and agreed upon in the Army in March last, to have been presented to the General, for the obtaining of our due and necessary concernments as soldiers, the Honourable House of Commons being unseasonably prepossessed with a copy thereof, and (as by the sequel we suppose) with some strange misrepresentations of the carriage and intentions of the same, was induced to send down an order for suppressing the petition; and within two or three days after . . . a declaration was published in the name of both Houses highly censuring the said petition, and declaring the petitioners, if they should proceed thereupon, no less than enemies to the state and disturbers of the public peace. * * *
And whereas, by the aforesaid proceedings and the effects thereof, the soldiers of this Army (finding themselves so stopped in their due and regular way of making known their just grievances and desires, to and by their officers) were enforced to an unusual, but in that case necessary, way of correspondence and agreement amongst themselves, to choose out of the several troops and companies several men, and those out of their whole number to choose two or more for each regiment, to act in the name and behalf of the whole soldiery of the respective regiments, troops, and companies, in the prosecution of their rights and desires in the said petition; as also of their just vindication and rightingb in reference to the aforesaid proceedings upon and against the same, who have accordingly acted and done many things to those ends; all which the soldierya did then approveb as their own acts. * * *
Now forasmuch as we know not how far the malice, injustice, and tyrannical principles of our enemies, that have already prevailed so far to abuse the Parliament and the Army, as is aforementioned in the past proceedings against the Army, may further prevail to the danger and prejudice of ourselves or any officers or soldiers of the Army, or other persons that have appeared to act anything in behalf of the Army, or how far the same may further prevail to the danger or prejudice of the kingdom, in raising a new war or otherwise: therefore for the better prevention of all such dangers, prejudices, or other inconveniences that may ensue, and withal for better satisfaction to the Parliament and kingdom concerning our desires of conformingc to the authority of the one, and providing [for] the good and quiet of the other, in the present affair of disbanding, and for a more assured way whereby that affair may come to a certain issue (to which purpose we herein humbly implore the present and continued assistance of God, the righteous judge of all), we, the officers and soldiers of the Army subscribing hereunto, do hereby declare, agree, and promise, to and with each other, and to and with the Parliament and kingdom, as followeth:
1. That we shall cheerfully and readily disband when thereunto required by the Parliament, or else shall many of us be willing, if desired, to engage in further services either in England or Ireland, having first such satisfaction to the Army in relation to our grievances and desires heretofore presented, and such security that wed ourselves, when disbanded and in the condition of private men, or other the free-born people of England (to whom the consequence of our case doth equally extend), shall not remain subject to the like oppression, injury, or abuse, as in the premises hath been attempted and put upon us while an army, by the same men’s continuance in the same credit and power (especially if as our judges), who have in these past proceedings against the Army so far prevailed to abuse the Parliament and us and to endanger the kingdom; and also such security that we ourselves or any member of this Army, or others who have appeared to act anything in behalf of the Army in relation to the premises before recited, shall not after disbanding be any way questioned, prosecuted, troubled, or prejudiced, for anything so acted, or for the entering into, or necessary prosecution of, this presente agreement; we say, having first such satisfaction and security in these things as shall be agreed unto by a council to consist of those general officers of the Army who have concurred with the Army in the premises, with two commission-officers and two soldiers to be chosen for each regiment who have concurred and shall concur with us in the premises and in this agreement, and by the major part of such of them who shall meet in council for that purpose when they shall be thereunto called by the General.
2. That without such satisfaction and security as aforesaid, we shall not willingly disband nor divide, nor suffer ourselves to be disbanded or divided. And whereas we find many strange things suggested or suspected to our great prejudice, concerning dangerous principles, interests and designs in this Army (as to the overthrow of magistracy, the suppression or hindering of Presbytery, the establishment of Independent government, or upholding of a general licentiousness in religion under pretence of liberty of conscience, and many such things), we shall very shortly tender to the Parliament a vindication of the Army from all such scandals, to clear our principles in relation thereunto. And in the meantime we do disavow and disclaim all purposes or designs in our late or present proceedings, to advance or insist upon any such interest; neither would we, if we might and could, advance or set up any one particular party or interest in the kingdom, though imagined never so much our own, but should much rather study to provide, as far as may be within our sphere or power, for such an establishment of common and equal right, freedom, and safety to the whole as all might equally partake of, that do not, by denying the same to others, or otherwise, render themselves incapable thereof.
From A Representation of the Army (14th June)a
That we may no longer be the dissatisfaction of our friends, the subject of our enemies’ malice (to work jealousies and misrepresentations upon), and the suspicion, if not astonishment, of many in the kingdom, in our late or present transactions . . . , we shall in all faithfulness . . . declare unto you those things which have of late protracted and hindered our disbanding, the present grievances which possess our Army and are yet unremedied, with our desires as to the complete settlement of the liberties and peace of the kingdom. Which is that blessing of God than which, of all worldly things, nothing is more dear unto us or more precious in our thoughts, we having hitherto thought all our present enjoyments (whether of life, or livelihood, or nearest relations) a price but sufficient to the purchase of so rich a blessing, that we and all the free-born people of this nation may sit down in quiet under our vines, and under the glorious administration of justice and righteousness, and in full possession of those fundamental rights and liberties without which we can have little hopes, as to human considerations, to enjoy either any comfort of life or so much as life itself, but at the pleasures of some men ruling merely according to will and power. * * *
Nor will it now, we hope, seem strange or unseasonable to rational and honest men, . . . if . . . we shall, before disbanding, proceed in our own and the kingdom’s behalf to propound and plead for some provision for our and the kingdom’s satisfaction and future security. . . . Especially considering that we were not a mere mercenary army, hired to serve any arbitrary power of a state, but called forth and conjured by the several declarations of Parliament to the defence of our own and the people’s just rights and liberties. And so we took up arms in judgment and conscience to those ends, and have so continued them, and are resolved according to your first just desires in your declarations, and such principles as we have received from your frequent informations, and our own common sense, concerning these our fundamental rights and liberties, to assert and vindicate the just power and rights of this kingdom in Parliament for those common ends premised, against all arbitrary power, violence and oppression, and all particular parties and interests whatsoever; the said declarations still directing us to the equitable sense of all laws and constitutions, as dispensing with the very letter of the same and being supreme to it when the safety and preservation of all is concerned, and assuring us that all authority is fundamentally seated in the office, and but ministerially in the persons. Neither do or will these our proceedings, as we are fully and in conscience persuaded, amount to anything unwarrantable before God and men; being thus far much short of the common proceedings in other nations, to things of an higher nature than we have yet appeared to. And we cannot but be sensible of the great complaints that have been made to us generally in the kingdom from the people where we march, of arbitrariness and injustice to their great and insupportable oppressions.
And truly such kingdoms as have, according both to the law of nature and nations, appeared to the vindications and defences of their just rights and liberties, have proceeded much higher; as our brethren of Scotland, who in the first beginning of these late differences associated in covenant from the very same principles and grounds, having no visible form either of Parliament or King to countenance them—and as they were therein justified and protected by their own and this kingdom also, so we justly shall expect to be. (We need not mention the States of the Netherlands, the Portugals, and others, all proceeding upon the same principles of right and freedom.) And accordingly the Parliament hath declared it no resistance of magistracy to side with the just principles of law, nature, and nations, being that law upon which we have assisted you, and that the soldiery may lawfully hold the hands of that general who will turn his cannon against his army on purpose to destroy them, the seamen the hands of that pilot who wilfully runs the ship upon the rock (as our brethren of Scotland argued). And such were the proceedings of our ancestors of famous memory, to the purchasing of such rights and liberties as they have enjoyed through the price of their blood, and [such rights and liberties as] we, both by that and the later blood of our dear friends and fellow soldiers, with the hazard of our own, do now lay claim unto.
Nor is that supreme end, the glory of God, wanting in these cases to set a price upon all such proceedings of righteousness and justice; it being one witness of God in the world, to carry on a testimony against the injustice and unrighteousness of men, and against the miscarriages of government[s] when corrupted or declining from their primitive and original glory.
These things we mention but to compare proceedings, and to show that we are so much the more justifiable and warranted in what we do, by how much we come short of that height and measure of proceedings which the people in free kingdoms and nations have formerly practised.
Now, having thus far cleared our way in this business, we shall proceed to propound such things as we do humbly desire for the settling and securing of our own and the kingdom’s right, freedom, peace, and safety, as followeth:
I. That the Houses may be speedily purged of such members as for their delinquency, or for corruption, or abuse to the state, or undue election, ought not to sit there. . . .
II. That those persons who have, in the late unjust and high proceedings against the Army, appeared to have the will, the confidence, credit, and power to abuse the Parliament and the Army, and endanger the kingdom in carrying on such things against us while an army, may be some way speedily disabled from doing the like or worse to us, when disbanded and dispersed, and in the condition of private men, or to other the free-born people of England in the same condition with us. * * *
But because neither the granting of this alone would be sufficient to secure our own and the kingdom’s rights, liberties, and safety, either for the present age or posterity, nor would the proposal of this, singly, be free from the scandal and appearance of faction, or [of] design only to suppress one party under the notion of unjust or oppressive, that we may advance another, which may be imagined more our own: we therefore declare that indeed we cannot but wish that such men, and such only, might be preferred to the great power and trust of the commonwealth, as are approved at least for moral righteousness, and of such we cannot but in our wishes prefer those that appear acted thereunto by a principle of conscience and religion in them; and accordingly we do and ever shall bless God for those many worthies who, through his providence, have been chosen into this Parliament; and to such men’s endeavours, under God, we cannot but attribute that vindication in part of the people’s rights and liberties, and those beginnings of a just reformation, which the proceedings of the beginnings of this Parliament appeared to have driven at and tended to, though of late obstructed, or rather diverted to other ends and interests, by the prevailing of other persons of other principles and conditions.
But we are so far from designing or complying to have any absolute arbitrary power fixed or settled for continuance in any persons whatsoever as that, if we might be sure to obtain it, we cannot wish to have it so in the persons of any who[m] we might best confide in, or who should appear most of our own opinions or principles, or whom we might have most personal assurance of, or interest in; but we do and shall much rather wish that the authority of this kingdom in the Parliaments rightly constituted, free, equally and successively chosen, according to its original intention, may ever stand and have its course. And therefore we shall apply our desires chiefly to such things as (by having parliaments settled in such a right constitution) may give more hopes of justice and righteousness to flow down equally to all in that its ancient channel, without any overture tending either to overthrow that foundation either of order or government in this kingdom, or to engross that power, for perpetuity, into the hands of any particular person or party whatsoever. * * *
We . . . humbly conceive that (of two inconveniences the less being to be chosen) the main thing to be intended . . . (and beyond which human providence cannot reach as to any assurance of positive good) seems to be this, viz.: To provide that however unjust or corrupt persons of Parliament, in present or future, may prove, or whatever it be they may do to particular parties, or to the whole in particular things, during their respective terms or periods; yet they shall not have the temptation or advantage of an unlimited power fixed in them during their own pleasure, whereby to perpetuate injustice and oppression upon any, without end or remedy, or to advance and uphold any one particular party, faction, or interest whatsoever, to the oppression or prejudice of the community and the enslaving of the kingdom unto all posterity; but that the people may have an equal hope or possibility, if they have [made] an ill choice at one time, to mend it in another, and [the members] themselves may be in a capacity to taste of subjection as well as rule, and may be so inclined to consider of other men’s cases as what may come to be their own. This we speak of in relation to the House of Commons, as being entrusted on the people’s behalf for their interest in that great and supreme power of the commonwealth (viz., the legislative power, with the power of final judgments), which, being in its own nature so arbitrary, and in a manner unlimited unless in point of time, is most unfit and dangerous, as to the people’s interest, to be fixed in the persons of the same mena during life or their own pleasure. Neither by the original constitution of this state was it, or ought it to continue so. Nor doth it, wherever it is and continues so, render that state any better than a mere tyranny, or the people subjected to it any better than vassals. But in all states where there is any face of common freedom, and particularly in this state of England (as is most evident both by many positive laws and ancient constant custom), the people have a right to new and successive elections unto that great and supreme trust, at certain periods of time; which is so essential and fundamental to their freedom as it cannot or ought not to be denied them,a or withheld from them, andb without which the House of Commons is of very little concernment to the interest of the Commons of England. Yet in this we would not be misunderstood to blame those worthies of both Houses, whose zeal to vindicate the liberties of this nation did procure that act for [the] continuance of [this] Parliament, whereby it was secured from being dissolved at the King’s pleasure, as former Parliaments have been, and reduced to such a certainty as might enable them the better to assist and vindicate the liberties of this nation (immediately before so highly invaded, and then also so much endangered). * * *
And therefore upon all the grounds premised we further humbly desire as followeth:
III. That some determinate period of time may be set for the continuance of this and future Parliaments, beyond which none shall continue, and upon which new writs may of course issue out, and new elections successively take place, according to the intent of the Bill for Triennial Parliaments. * * *
IV. That secure provision may be made for the continuance of future Parliaments, so as they may not be adjournable or dissolvable at the King’s pleasure, or any other ways than by their own consent during their respective periods; but [at] those periods each Parliament to determine of course, as before. This we desire may be now provided for, if it may be, so as to put it out of all dispute for [the] future, though we think of right it ought not to have been otherwise before.
And because the present distribution of elections for Parliament-members is so very unequal, and the multitude of burgesses for decayed or inconsiderable towns (whose interest in the kingdom would in many not exceed, or in others not equal, ordinary villages) doth give too much and too evident opportunity for men of power to frame parties in Parliament to serve particular interest[s], and thereby the common interest of the whole is not so minded, or not so equally provided for, we therefore further desire:
V. That some provision may be now made for such distribution of elections for future Parliaments as may stand with some rule of equality or proportion as near as may be, to render the Parliament a more equal representative of the whole, as, for instance, that all counties or divisions and parts of the kingdom (involving inconsiderable towns) may have a number of Parliament-men allowed to their choice proportionable to the respective rates they bear in the common charges and burdens of the kingdom, and not to have more, or some other such-like rule.
And thus a firm foundation being laid in the authority and constitution of Parliament for the hopes, at least, of common and equal right and freedom to ourselves and all the free-born people of this land, we shall, for our parts, freely and cheerfully commit our stock or share of interest in this kingdom into this common bottom of Parliament[s]; and though it may, for our particulars, go ill with us in one voyage, yet we shall thus hope, if right be with us, to fare better in another.
These things we desire may be provided for by bill or ordinance of Parliament, to which the Royal Assent may be desired. And when His Majesty (in these things, and what else shall be proposed by the Parliament, necessary for securing the rights and liberties of the people, and for settling the militia and peace of the kingdom) shall have given his concurrence to put them past dispute, we shall then desire that the rights of His Majesty and his posterity may be considered of and settled in all things, so far as may consist with the right and freedom of the subject and with the security of the same for [the] future.
VI. We desire that the right and freedom of the people to represent to the Parliament, by way of humble petition, their grievances in such things as cannot otherwise be remedied than by Parliament, may be cleared and vindicated; that all such grievances of the people may be freely received and admitted into consideration, and put into an equitable and speedy way to be heard, examined, and redressed, if they appear real; and that in such things for which men have remedy by law they may be freely left to the benefit of [the] law, and the regulated course of justice, without interruption or check from the Parliament, except in case of things done upon the exigency of war, or for the service and benefit of the Parliament and kingdom in relation to the war, or otherwise in due pursuance and execution of ordinances or orders of Parliament.
More particularly, under this head we cannot but desire that all such as are imprisoned for any pretended misdemeanour may be put into a speedy way for a just hearing and trial; and such as shall appear to have been unjustly and unduly imprisoned, may, with their liberty, have some reasonable reparation according to their sufferings and the demerit of their oppressors. * * *
IX. That public justice being first satisfied by some few examples to posterity out of the worst of excepted persons, and other delinquents having passed their compositions, some course may be taken by a general act of oblivion, or otherwise, whereby the seeds of future war or feuds, either to the present age or posterity, may the better be taken away, by easing that sense of present, and satisfying those fears of future, ruin or undoing to persons or families, which may drive men into any desperate ways for self-preservation and remedy, and by taking away the private remembrances and distinctions of parties, as far as may stand with safety to the rights and liberties we have hitherto fought for.
There are, besides these, many particular things which we could wish to be done, and some to be undone, all in order still to the same end of common right, freedom, peace, and safety; but these proposals aforegoing being the principal things we bottom and insist upon, we shall, as we have said before, for our parts acquiesce for other particulars in the wisdom and justice of Parliament. And whereas it hath been suggested, or suspected, that in our late or present proceedings our design is to overthrow Presbytery, or hinder the settlement thereof, and to have the Independent government set up, we do clearly disclaim and disavow any such design. We only desire that, according to the declarations promising a privilege for tender consciences, there may be some effectual course taken, according to the intent thereof, and that such who upon conscientious grounds may differ from the established forms, may not for that be debarred from the common rights, liberties, or benefits belonging equally to all as men and members of the commonwealth, while they live soberly, honestly, inoffensively towards others, and peacefully and faithfully towards the state. * * *
Added to The Apology of the Common Soldiers, dated 28th April 1647, and ‘Printed May 3, 1647.’ For some account of an earlier Apology, see Introduction, p. .
Ascribed by Firth to Edward Sexby (Clarke Papers, 1. 22).
These two letters, each headed ‘Letter from Lt. C. to the Agitators’, are probably from Lieutenant Edmund Chillenden. Their interest is in the flashlight picture which they give, of the secret organization and activity of the Agitators and their allies. Most of the code numbers are easy to interpret.
Probably the work of Ireton.
Omitted passage deals with Parliament’s plan to disband the Army.
See No. 8, also the work of Ireton.
Omitted passage contains a brief and forceful statement of the particular grievances and demands of the Army.
The Representation is addressed to the Parliament.
This and the following paragraph occur only in the Cambridge edition.
VII deals with the limiting of the regional powers given during the war to committees and deputy lieutenants; VIII, with the auditing of Parliament’s accounts.
[396. (a)] ‘A Second Apologie of All the Private Souldiers in his Excellencies Sir Thomas Fairfax his Army, to their Commission Officers,’ in The Apologie of the Common Souldiers of his Excellencie Sir Tho. Fairfaxes Army. To him their noble and renowned Generall and to all the rest of the Commission-Officers. About which Apologie the said Armies Commissioners were questioned, and imprisoned about two houres, by the House of Commons, the last of April 1647. for delivering this Apologie to their Generall and other of their chiefe Commanders in London. London, Printed May 3. 1647. The first Apology is dated 28th April 1647, and signed by the Agitators of eight regiments.
[397. (a)] + marginal reference to instances, with a promise to prove them;
[398. (a)] + and.
[398. (b)] Clarke MSS., vol. 41; and Clarke Papers, ed. Firth, 1. 22-4;
[(c-d)]open Enemies or undermining;
[399. (a)] Clarke MSS., vol. 41;
[(b)] Colonel Waller’s Regiment, art. 12;
[(c)] Colonel Farley’s Regiment, art. 12;
[(d)] Colonel Lambert’s Regiment, art. 13;
[(e)] Colonel Hewson’s Regiment, arts. 1, 6, 12.
[400. (a)] Clarke MSS., vol. 41; and Clarke Papers, ed. Firth, 1. 100-1;
[(c)] tr means;
[(d)] tr petition;
[(e)] Clarke MSS., vol. 41; and Clarke Papers, ed. Firth, 1. 105-6;
[401. (a)] A Solemne Engagement of the Army under the command of his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax, with a declaration of their resolutions as to disbanding and a breife vindication of their principles and intentions. * * * Subscribed by the officers and souldiers of the severall regiments at the rendezvous neare New-Market on fryday and saturday, June 4 and 5. * * * London: Printed for George Whittington . . . 1647 [June 11]. Compared with the Cambridge edition, printed by Roger Daniel, as reprinted in Old Parliamentary History, 15. 424-30;
[402. (a-b)] Cambridge text: do own and approve;
[(d)] + of;
[(e)]necessary; Cambridge text, present.
[403. (a)] A Representation from his Excellencie Sr. Thomas Fairfax, And the Army under his command, Humbly tendered to the Parliament: Concerning the just and fundamentall rights and liberties of themselves and the kingdome, with some humble proposals and desires in order thereunto, and for settling the peace of the kingdome. St. Albans, June 14. 1647. * * * Cambridge: Printed by Roger Daniel, Printer to the Universitie. Compared with the London edition, printed for George Whittington, 1647, which lacks two paragraphs present in the Cambridge edition.
[406. (a)] London text; Cambridge text + now.
[407. (a-b)] London text.