Front Page Titles (by Subject) 21.: Proceedings in the General Council, 4th-9th Nov. From A Letter from Several Agitators to their Regiments (11th Nov.) a - Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
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21.: Proceedings in the General Council, 4th-9th Nov. From A Letter from Several Agitators to their Regiments (11th Nov.) a - 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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Proceedings in the General Council, 4th-9th Nov.
Gentlemen and Fellow Soldiers:
We esteem it our duty to render you an account of the present state of our affairs with us, and at the Headquarters. We have been consulting about the most speedy and effectual settlement of your and all the people’s freedoms, whereby the people may be disposed into a capacity and willingness to provide constant pay, and secure our arrears. We found by sad experience that there was no possibility of obtaining either so long as the settlement of the people’s freedoms was delayed, and therefore, as well in love and real respects to you and to our dear country, we were constrained to propound the foundations of freedom to be forthwith established by a mutual Agreement between the people and you. And though we dare aver that there is nothing contained in that Agreement, or in The Case of the Army Stated, which is propounded to be insisted on, but what is (at least) the equitable sense of our former Declarations and Remonstrances; yet we find many at the Headquarters obstructing and opposing our proceedings.
We sent some of them to debate in love the matters and manner of the Agreement. And the first article thereof, being long debated, it was concluded by vote in the affirmative: viz., That all soldiers and others, if they be not servants or beggars, ought to have voices in electing those which shall represent them in Parliament, although they have not forty shillings per annum in freehold land. And there were but three voices against this your native freedom. After this they would refer all to a committee. And the next General Council our friends obtained a general rendezvous, and a letter from the Council to clear the Army from any desire or intent of constraining the Parliament to send new propositions to the King1 (whereby your indemnity for fighting against the King should be begged of the King, and so the guilt of innocent blood taken upon your own heads, and your enemies should boast and insult over you, saying, you were forced to ask them to save you harmless). At the next meeting a Declaration was offered to the Council, wherein the King’s corrupt interest was so intermixed that in short time, if he should so come in, he would be in a capacity to destroy you and the people. (And assure yourselves, if any power be but in the least given to him, he will improve it to the utmost to enslave and ruin you that conquered him, and to advance your enemies to trample upon you.) Upon this we desired only a free debate on this question: Whether it were safe either for the Army or people to suffer any power to be given to the King? And Lieut[enant]-Gen[eral] Cromwell and the rest professed, as before God, they would freely debate it. And Monday last a General Council was appointed for that purpose, but when they met they wholly refused, and instead of that, spake very reproachfully of us and our actings, and declaimed against that which was passed, the Council before, concerning the voices of those in elections which have not forty shillings a year freehold; and against the letter sent by the Council to the Parliament. And the day before, Commissary-General Ireton withdrew and protested he would act no more with them unless they recalled that letter.
And to prevent any further debate they would have dissolved the Council for above a fortnight, and thus our hopes of agreeing together to settle your and the people’s freedoms were then frustrate. And though the chief of them had desired some of our friends, not above three days before, to go on in their actings, for they might come in when they should do us more service than at that time; yet there they made great outcries against us and complaints of distempers in the Army, which were nothing but endeavours after their rights and freedoms.
The next day they still waived and refused the free debate of the aforesaid question, and dissolved the Council for above a fortnight, and for a time resolved they would only prepare some fair propositions to the Army about arrears and pay, and sent to the Parliament for a month’s pay against a rendezvous. But they declared they would divide the Army into three parts, to rendezvous severally. And all this appears to be only to draw off the Army from joining together to settle those clear foundations of freedom propounded to you, and to procure your rights as you are soldiers, effectually.
Thus you may observe the strange inconstancy of those that would obstruct our way, and the great matter wherein the difference lies, and the candidness of our actings. But we hope it will be no discouragement to you, though your officers—yea, the greatest officers—should oppose you. It is well known that the great officers which now opposed did as much oppose secretly when we refused to disband according to the Parliament’s order; and at last they confessed the providence of God was the more wonderful because those resolutions to stand for freedom and justice began amongst the soldiers only. And yet now they would affright you from such actings by telling you it is disobedience to the General’s command, and distempers, and mutinies. These were the words of that faction in Parliament which opposed you before. And you may consider that you had done as much service for the people by disobedience to the Parliament as ever you did by obedience, if you had fulfilled your Declarations and Engagements which you then passed.
As for the month’s pay, if it come you may consider it is but your due; and yet we believe none had been procured for you unless we had thus appeared. And if any declarations or propositions about pay or arrears be offered to you, remember you have been fed with paper too long. We desire that there may be a general rendezvous, and no parting each from other till we be fully assured we shall not return to burden the country by free-quarter, and till our arrears be actually secured, and the foundations of our freedom, peace and security in the Agreement established; and likewise, until a sure way be settled for calling committees, sequestrators, and Parliament-men, to account for the country’s money, that so the country may know we intend their good and freedom. We know some fair overtures will be made to you about pay, arrears, seeming freedom and security; but we hope, as you formerly rejected such overtures from the Parliament, knowing that without a settlement of freedom no constant pay or arrears will be provided—so now we are confident you will not be deceived, and hope you are all resolved for a general rendezvous, that we may all agree together in fulfilling our Declarations and Engagements to the people, that so we may not become the objects of scorn and hatred. * * *1
From Clarke MSS.a
[At the General Council] Putney, 8 November, 1647.
Cromwell spoke much to express the danger of their principles who had sought to divide the Army. That the first particular of that which they called the Agreement of the People did tend very much to anarchy, that all those who are in the kingdom should have a voice in electing Representatives.
Capt. [William] Bray made a long speech to take off what the Lieut[enant]-General said, and that what he called anarchy was for propriety.
Cromwell moved to put it to the question: Whether that the Officers and Agitators be sent to their quarters, yea, or no?
Resolved upon the question: that the General Council doth humbly advise his Excellency, that (in regard the General shortly intends a rendezvous of the Army, and forasmuch as many distempers are reported to be in the several regiments, whereby much dissatisfaction is given both to the Parliament and kingdom through some misrepresentations) to the end a right understanding may be had, and the soldiers quieted, in order to their obedience to his Excellency for the service of the Parliament and kingdom, it is thought fit to desire his Excellency that for a time the said Officers and Agitators resort to their several commands and regiments, to the ends aforesaid, there to reside until the said rendezvous be over, and until his Excellency shall see cause to call them together again according to the Engagement. * * *
[A Committee of eighteen was named, including Cromwell, Ireton, Cowling, Waller, Tichborne, Hewson, Rich, Tomlinson, Goffe, and the Agitators Allen and Lockyer.] This Committee to draw up instructions for what shall be offered to the regiments at the rendezvous, to consider of the later letter sent to the Parliament, and what shall be thought fit further to be proposed to them.1 * * *
[At the General Council] Putney, 9 November, 1647.
The General present. This Committee is to take into consideration the Engagement, Declarations, and papers of the Army, and upon them to collect a summary of those things that concern the good of the kingdom, the liberties of the people, and interests of the Army, and further to consider The Case of the Army Stated, and a paper commonly called the Agreement of the People, and to consider how far any thing contained in the same are consistent with the said Engagements and Declarations and interests aforesaid. This summary so concluded by the major part of the Committee to be represented to the General.2 * * * [A Committee of twenty-three is named, including Cromwell, Ireton, Cowling, Waller, Tichborne, Rich, Tomlinson, Goffe, Chillenden, and John Wildman; later eight more added, including Harrison and Rainborough. A note of its adjournment ‘till Thursday come fortnight, at the Headquarters.’]
[Resolution:] If any by that letter bearing date 5th of November do make any construction as if we intended that we were against the Parliament’s sending propositions to the King, we do hereby declare that it was no part of our intentions in the said letter, but that the same is utterly a mistake of our intention and meaning therein, our intentions being only to assert the freedom of Parliament.
DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE WHITEHALL DEBATES
 The letter to the Speaker was signed by William Clarke, ‘by appointment of the General Council of the Army,’ and read in part: ‘Whereas it is generally reported that the House was induced to make another address to the King by propositions, by reason it was represented to the House as the desire of the Army; from a tenderness to the privileges of parliamentary actings, this night the General Council of the Army declared that any such representation of their desires was [al]together groundless, and that they earnestly desire no such consideration may be admitted into the House’s resolutions in that particular.’ (From Clarke Papers, ed. Firth, 1. 440-1.)
 Signed by Edward Sexby, Robert Everard, and thirteen others (Agitators and Agents).
 Followed in Clarke MSS. by draft of a request to Parliament (mentioned in the Agitators’ letter) for six weeks’ pay for the Army, or, failing that, one month’s; also recommending the raising of funds for arrears from the lands of bishops, and of deans and chapters, and objecting once more to free-quarter.
 Rushworth (Collections, 6. 868) adds: for his order to communicate the same to the several regiments at their respective rendezvous.
[452. (a)] A Letter sent from several Agitators of the Army to their respective Regiments. . . . Wherein is discovered the groundof the present differences between them and the General Councel, concerning the King, and the establishment of Common Right and Freedom for all People in this Kingdom. With a true Account of the Proceedings of the General Councel thereupon. London, Printed for John Harris. 1647 [Nov. 11] (McAlpin Collection).
[454. (a)] Clarke MSS., vol. 67; and Clarke Papers, ed. Firth, 1. 411-6.