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E.: DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE WHITEHALL DEBATES - 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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DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE WHITEHALL DEBATES
Petition of 11th September 1648:
see pp. 338-42.
To the Right Honourable the Commons of England Assembled in Parliament. * * *
We are not ignorant that that rule of Salus populi suprema lex is of all others most apt to be abused or misapplied, and yet none more surely true. It is too ordinary (especially of late times) for men who, either from intentions of evil or inordinate temper of spirit, would break those bonds of law and magistracy which they find to restrain them, to frame pretences of public danger and extremity thereof, and from thence immediately to assume a liberty to break, or else neglect and fly above, the due bounds of order and government, and stir up others to the same, pleading privilege from that vast large rule of Salus populi, &c. From such misapplications whereof, great disturbances do oft arise and confusion is endangered; and yet we know the same may be justly pretended and followed, and that, where it is from honest public intentions and upon clear grounds, with very happy effects. We have seen in this our age several instances in both kinds, and the hand of God bearing testimony, and giving judgment for some, and yet against others where the pretensions have been the same, or so like as it was hard for human judgment to distinguish. * * * Neither wants there ground for men to make some judgment therein. For certainly he that engageth upon such pretences really for public ends, and but upon public necessity or extremity, and with a sober spirit, . . . will both try first all honest ways possible . . . whereby he may accomplish them and avoid the danger (if possible) with due regard to, and by concurrenceb with, orc preservation of, the magistracy and government un[der] which God hath set him, before he will fly to ways of extremity; neither will he (when engaged therein) proceed further or longer in that way against or without the magistracy than that first necessity, or some other emergent upon the proceeding, does justly lead, and the security of the ends require: not driving that pretence of necessity further to serve or advantage himself or perpetuate those ways of extremity, but, when the necessity or danger is over and the public ends secured, will return to magistracy and order again, and meanwhile so act in all as carefully to avoid both injury to the innocent and offence to the weak, and as subjecting . . . all to an indifferent and equal judgment. . . .
For our parts, both prudential considerations and the experience we have of the danger that is in the least breaking or letting loose or entangling the reins of order and government upon such pretences, makes us most tender of it, as that which is never otherwise to be used or admitted than as a desperate cure in a desperate case, and at the utmost peril as well of them that use it as of those for whom. And the experiences we have seen of God’s righteous judgments in such cases, as it makes us not apt without trembling and fear to think of such proceedings, so much the more strict to observe all the aforesaid cautions concerning them, and yet where just occasion and a real public necessity calls thereunto, not to fear such appeals to God for any outward difficulties or dangers appearing to ourselves therein. But both from divine and human considerations, as we do and ever shall avoid the occasions by all means possible (even to utmost extremity), and do pray and hope we may never come to it: so, if ever such extremity do happen to us, we hope (through the grace of God) we shall be careful and enabled, both in the engaging and proceeding therein, so to act as before the Lord, and to approve ourselves both to God and good men, and as submitting to the judgment of both. And therefore though we are full of sad apprehensions of present dangers to the public interest, and the extremity even at hand, yet we shall first in all humbleness and soberness of mind, and with all clearness (as God shall enable us), remonstrate to you our apprehensions both of the dangers at hand and of the remedies, with our grounds in both. * * *
[After urging Parliament to adhere to its own resolution of no further addresses to the King and descanting on his untrustworthy character, the document proceeds to prove that the ends for which the struggle was undertaken cannot be guaranteed by treaty with the King.]
The sum of the public interest of a nation in relation to common right and freedom (which has been the chief subject of our contest), and in opposition to tyranny and injustice of kings or others, we take to lie in these things following:
1. That for all matters of supreme trust or concernment to the safety and welfare of the whole, they have a common and supreme council of Parliament; and that (as to the common behalf, who cannot all meet together themselves) to consist of deputies or representers freely chosen by them, with as much equality as may be, and those elections to be successive and renewed, either at times certain and stated, or at the call of some subordinate standing officer or council entrusted by them for that purpose, in the intervals of the supreme, or else at both.
2. That the power of making laws, constitutions, and offices, for the preservation and government of the whole, and of altering or repealing and abolishing the same, for the removal of any public grievance therein, and the power of final judgment concerning war or peace, the safety and welfare of the people, and all civil things whatsoever, without further appeal to any created standing power, and the supreme trust in relation to all such things, may rest in that supreme council; so as:
(i) That the ordinary ordering and government of the people may be by such offices and administrations, and according to such laws and rules, as by that council, or the representative body of the people therein, have been prescribed or allowed, and not otherwise.
(ii) That none of those extraordinary or arbitrary powers aforementioned may be exercised towards the people by any as of right, but by that supreme council, or the representative body of the people therein; nor without their advice and consent may anything be imposed upon, or taken from, the people; or if it be otherwise attempted by any, that the people be not bound thereby but free, and the attempters punishable.
(iii) That those extraordinary powers, or any of them, may be exercised by that supreme council, or by the representative body of the people therein, and where they shall see cause to assume and exercise the same in a matter which they find necessary for the safety or well-being of the people, their proceedings and determinations therein may be binding and conclusive to the people and to all officers of justice and ministers of state whatsoever; and that it may not be left in the will of the King or any particular persons (standing in their own interest) to oppose, make void, or render ineffectual such their determinations or proceedings; and especially, since the having of good constitutions, and making of good laws, were of little security or null, without power to punish those that break, or go about to overthrow them. . . , that therefore the same council or representative body therein, having the supreme trust, may in all such cases where the offence or default is in public officers abusing or failing their trust, or in any person whatsoever if the offence extend to the prejudice of the public, may call such offenders to account and distribute punishments to them, either according to the law, where it has provided, or their own judgment, where it has not and they find the offence, though not particularly provided against by particular laws, yet against the general law of reason or nations, and the vindication of public interest to require justice; and that in such case no person whatsoever may be exempt from such account or punishment, or have power to protect others from their judgment, or (without their consent) to pardon whom they have judged. * * *
But . . . the matters aforementioned being the main parts of public interest originally contended for on your parts, and theirs that engaged with you, and thus opposed by the King for the interest of his will and power, many other more particular or special interests have occasionally fallen into the contest on each part.a As first on the Parliament’s part, to protect and countenance religious men and godliness in the power of it, to give freedom and enlargement to the Gospel for the increasing and spreading of light amongst men, to take away those corrupted forms of an outside religion and church-government, whether imposed without law, or rooted in the law in times of popish ignorance or idolatry, or of the Gospel’s dimmer light, by means whereof snares and chains were laid upon conscientious and zealous men, and the generality of people held in darkness, superstition, and a blind reverence of persons and outward things, fit for popery and slavery; and also to take away or loosen that dependence of the clergy and ecclesiastical affairs upon the King, and that interest of the clergy in the laws and civil affairs, which the craft of both in length of time had wrought for each other. Which several things were the proper subject of the reformation endeavoured by the Parliament. Contrariwise, on the King’s part the interest was to discountenance and suppress the power of godliness, or anything of conscience obliging above or against human and outward constitutions; to restrain or lessen the preaching of the Gospel and growth of light amongst men, to hold the community of men, as much as might be, in a darksome ignorance and superstition or formality in religion, with only an awful reverence of persons, offices, and outward dispensations, rendering them fit subjects for ecclesiastical and civil tyranny; and for these ends to advance and set up further forms of superstition, or at least hold fast the old which had any foundation in the laws, whereby chains and fetters might be held upon, and advantages taken against, such in whom a zeal or conscience to anything above man should break forth, and to uphold and maintain the dependence of the clergy and church-matters upon the King, and greatness of the clergy under him, and in all these things to oppose the reformation endeavoured by the Parliament. Also on the Parliament’s part, their interest, as well as duty, was to discountenance irreligion, profaneness, debauchery, vanity, ambition, and time-serving, and to prefer such especially as were otherwise given, viz., conscientious, strict in manners, sober, serious, and of plain and public spirits. Contrary to these, on the King’s part it was to countenance or connive at profaneness, looseness of manners, vanity and luxury of life, and prefer especially such as had a mixture of ambition and vainglory with a servile spirit, rendering them fit to serve another’s power and greatness for the enjoying of some share therein to themselves; in all or most of which respects it has been the great happiness and advantage to [the] Parliamentary and public interest that it hath been made one (very much) with the interest of the godly, or (for the name whereof it has been so much derided) the Saints; as on the other side, the King’s, one with their greatest opposites, by occasion whereof God hath been doubly engaged in the cause, viz., for that, and for the righteousness of it. And to this indeed, through the favour and presence of God therewith, the Parliament hath cause to own and refer the blessing and success that hath accompanied their affairs. Which, accordingly as they have held square and been kept close to this, have prospered gloriously, and wherein or so oft as this hath been thwarted, swerved from, or neglected in their manage, have suffered miserable blastings. * * *
Now if yet any shall object the Covenant as perpetually obliging to endeavour the preservation of the King’s person and authority, and consequently not allowing any such way of security against him as would be to the hurt of his person or prejudice of his authority, and so concluding us under a necessity of perpetual addresses to him for security until he give it, as being the only way consistent with the preservation of his person and authority, to this we answer: that indeed the Covenant, heaping together several distinct interests (which are or possibly may come to be inconsistent, or one destructive to the other, or at least may be so made use of) and yet engaging positively for them all, without expressing clearly and unquestionably which is chief and perpetual, and . . . how far, and upon what conditions the covenanter shall be obliged to them, and what shall disoblige him, we find it is (as other promissory oaths of that kind) apt to be made a very snare, serving to draw in many of several judgments and affections, each in respect to that interest therein engaged for, which himself does most affect. And so those that make least conscience of the oath, make but an advantage of it upon all occasions to cry up that interest which themselves prefer (though to the destruction or prejudice of the rest, yea, of that which is really the main and best), while those that make most conscience of the oath, and affect the principal and honestest part in it, are oft withheld from what’s just and necessary in relation thereunto, being staggered in regard of the prejudice it may be to the rest, to which jointly they seem obliged. But this Covenant as it is drawn, though it have something of that ensnaring nature, yet as to this point has not left the takers without an honest way out. Or if it had, yet through the providence of God the snare is broken and they may escape.
For the Covenant engaging to the matters of religion and public interests primarily and absolutely (without any limitation), and after that to the preservation of the King’s person and authority, but with this restriction, . . . in the preservation of the true religion and liberties of the kingdoms; in this case, though a caviller might make it a question, yet who will not rationally resolve it, that the preceding matters of religion and the public interest are to be understood as the principal and supreme matters engaged for, and that of the King’s person and authority as inferior and subordinate to the other? * * *
Yea, might it not justly be so understood, that the obligation to preserve his person and authority should be fulfilled in (as well as not extended further than) the preservation of religion and liberties? * * * Or if it might be so understood [as protecting the King’s person and authority, and those of persons acting on his commission], doth it not call for explanation to clear it from being understood in so wicked a sense? Yea, if it did by the advantage of words extend to such a sense past explanation, and if so (through error in consideration, or deceit in the framing of it, or through flattery, evil custom, or unbelief and carnal policy in the passing of it) you had literally engaged yourselves, and drawn in others to be engaged, unto so wicked and mischievous a thing; did it not call for repentance when you find such wickedness in it? And rather than unnecessarily to continue yourselves, and hold others, under but a colour of obligation to a thing so evil, so full of prejudice and danger unto, and so inconsistent with the security of, so many other unquestionably good things to which in the same Covenant, as well as by immutable duty, you stand obliged, would it not call for your utmost consideration and endeavour (so far as Providence has left you any occasion, without sin or wrong) to extricate and clear yourselves and others from such a snare? * * *
Whatever, or how expressly soever, the Covenant may seem to have engaged unto . . . anything in the King’s behalf, or to his only benefit, yet, as God ordered the business, it does not now oblige you at all before God or man in that matter. For first (considering it only as a covenant betwixt man and man, as for the civil parts of it), where . . . several persons joining to make a mutual covenant or agreement, do therefore covenant for some things to the good and union of themselves amongst themselves who are present and parties to it, and withal do make a covenanting clause therein for something else to the good or benefit of another person not present nor party to the agreement, . . . to the end he might join with them in the agreement, and partake the benefit thereof as well as themselves—we say, in such case, if the absent party, as he never required it, so (when ’tis tendered to him for his conjunction) shall not accept the agreement, but refuse to join in it, and (conceiving his interest prejudiced thereby) shall oppose it, and . . . multiply contests with all the covenanters about the matters contained in it; surely that person in so doing, as he keeps him free and no way obliged thereby as to what concerns the rest . . . so he excludes himself from any claim to any benefit therefrom at their hands as to what concerns himself. * * *
Secondly, considering it as an oath, the form of an oath, added to that of a covenant, makes it no other than a covenant still, but taken as in the presence of God, and only adds the calling of God to witness as to the truth of your intentions and faithfulness of your endeavours to perform what it as a covenant obligeth unto; and . . . how far it, in the nature of a covenant, as to any particular matter obligeth, so far, and no further or otherwise, doth that calling of God to witness engage him the more to avenge any falsehood in your intentions, or unfaithfulness in your endeavours to perform it. And this is all the enforcement which that form of an oath addeth to that of a covenant, without obliging to any further matter, or for any longer or more absolute continuance than it as a covenant doth oblige; and therefore wherein, and upon what supposition soever, the obligation ceaseth as a covenant, that enforcement also ceaseth as an oath; so that if as a covenant it oblige not to his benefit upon supposal of his refusal or opposal, upon the same it enforceth nought to his benefit as an oath.
Having thus endeavoured to remonstrate the danger and evil of the way you are in, and cleared the way unto what we have to propose, we shall with the same plainness and faithfulness give you our apprehensions of the remedies. . . . First, we conceive and hope that from what hath before been said, you may find abundant cause to forbear any further proceeding in this evil and most dangerous treaty, and to return to your former grounds in the votes of non-addresses, and thereupon proceed to the settling and securing of the kingdom without, and against, the King, upon such foundations as hereafter are tendered; but if, notwithstanding all the evils and dangers remonstrated to lie even in the treaty itself, you will yet proceed in such an evil way, we shall at least desire that you make sure to avoid that main venom and mischief attending it, viz., the King’s restitution with impunity, &c., and that imperfect bargaining for partial justice against inferior offenders. * * *
[The Remonstrance proceeds to demand ‘exemplary justice . . . in capital punishment upon the principal author and some prime instruments of our late wars, and thereby the blood thereof expiated, and others deterred from future attempts of the like in either capacity’; then to propound the terms on which the Prince and Duke of York may be admitted to offices of government, and other delinquents admitted to composition, &c., and finally to suggest the disposal of the royal revenues ‘for a good number of years while the desolation and spoils of the poor people . . . may be in good measure repaired or recovered,’ and, as a first charge, ‘the satisfaction of arrears to the soldiery,’ and reparation of losses especially of those who voluntarily engaged for, and have constantly adhered to, the common cause.’]
Now . . . we proceed in order to the general satisfaction and settling of the kingdom as followeth:
I. That you1 would set some reasonable and certain period to your own power, by which time that great and supreme trust reposed in you shall be returned into the hands of the people, from and for whom you received it; that so you may give them satisfaction and assurance that what you have contended for against the King (for which they have been put to so much trouble, cost, and loss of blood) hath been only for their liberties and common interest, and not for your own personal interest or power.
II. That (with a period to this Parliament, to be assigned as short as may be with safety to the kingdom and public interest thereof) there may be a sound settlement of the peace and future government of the kingdom, upon grounds of common right, freedom, and safety, to the effect here following:
III. That from the end of this, there may be a certain succession of future Parliaments (annual or biennial) with secure provision:
1. For the certainty of their meeting, sitting, and ending.
2. For the equal distribution of elections thereunto, to render the House of Commons, as near as may be, an equal Representative of the whole people electing.
3. For the certainty of the people’s meeting (according to such distributions) to elect, and for their full freedom in elections: provided that none who have engaged, or shall engage, in war against the right of Parliament, and interest of the kingdom therein, or have adhered to the enemies thereof, may be capable of electing or being elected at least during a competent number of years; nor any other who shall oppose, or not join in agreement to, this settlement.
4. For future clearing and ascertaining the power of the said Representatives: in order to which, that it be declared that (as to the whole interest of the people of England) such Representatives have, and shall have the supreme power and trust as to the making of laws, constitutions and offices, for the ordering, preservation, and government of the whole, and as to the altering and repealing or abolishing of the same, [as to] the making of war or peace, and as to the highest and final judgment in all civil things, without further appeal to any created standing power; and that all the people of this nation, and all officers of justice and ministers of state, as such, shall in all such things be accountable and subject thereunto, and bound and concluded thereby, provided that:
(i) They may not censure or question any man, after the end of this Parliament, for anything said or done in reference to the late wars or public differences, saving in execution of such determinations of this Parliament as shall be left in force at the ending thereof, in relation to such as have served the king against the Parliament.
(ii) They may not render up, or give or take away, any the foundations of common right, liberty or safety contained in this settlement and agreement. But that the power of these two things (last mentioned) shall be always understood to be reserved from, and not entrusted to, the said Representatives.
[5.] For liberty of entering dissents in the said Representatives: that, in case of corruption or abuse in these matters of highest trust, the people may be in capacity to know who are free thereof, and who guilty, to the end only they may avoid the further trusting of such, but without further penalty to any for their free judgments there.
[6.] That no King be hereafter admitted but upon the election of, and as upon trust from, the people by such their Representatives, nor without first disclaiming and disavowing all pretence to a negative voice against the determinations of the said Representatives, or Commons in Parliament; and that to be done in some certain form, more clear than heretofore in the coronation oath.
These matters of general settlement (viz., that concerning a period to this Parliament, and the other particulars thence following hitherto), we propound to be declared and provided by this Parliament, or by the authority of the Commons therein, and to be further established by a general contract or agreement of the people, with their subscriptions thereunto, and that withal it may be provided, that none may be capable of any benefit by the agreement, who shall not consent and subscribe thereunto; nor any King be admitted to the crown, or other person to any office or place of public trust, without express accord and subscription to the same. * * *
We shall therefore earnestly desire that these things may be minded and prosecuted effectually, and that nothing may interrupt them, save what shall be for immediate and necessary safety. And that (to avoid interruptions from such things as are not necessary, or less proper for parliamentary consideration or debates) you would leave all private matters and things of ordinary justice and right to the laws and present proper officers and administrations thereof until better can be provided, and commit all ordinary matters of state to the manage of a fit Council of State (sufficiently empowered for that purpose, and assisted with the addition of some merchants in relation to the balancing, security, and advance of trade), so as you may be the more free for the present to attenda those aforesaid considerations of public justice, and the settlement of the kingdom upon just and safe foundations of public interest, and that, when you have effectuated them or put them into a way of effect, you may (for the after-time of this Parliament’s continuance) more entirely apply your counsels to such other things as are the most proper work of Parliaments, and by and for which Parliaments have had their esteem in this nation, and the kingdom most benefit by them, viz.: the reformation of evils or inconveniences in the present laws and administrations thereof, the redress of abuses, and supplying of defects therein, and the making of better constitutions for the well-government and prosperity of the nation, as also the due proportioning of rates, and providing of money in the most equal and least grievous ways for all necessary uses of the public, and the like. And, in order to such things, that you would in due time and place (viz., after public justice, and the general settlement) consider such special overtures of that kind as have been tendered to you in the petitions of well-wishers to public good, and particularly in that Large Petition from many about London, dated the eleventh of September last, and also what shall be tendered of like kind from others, that so what is really for the remedy of common grievances, or the advancement of common good, may not be slighted or neglected, but that evils in that kind being removed, and good things ordained and provided by you for the ease, benefit, and prosperity of the people in all things possible, you may (when you come to lay down your trust) leave a good savour behind you, both to the name of Parliaments and also of men professing godliness so much as this House hath done, and therein chiefly to the honour of Almighty God, who hath in his rich grace and mercy done such wonders for you and us. And for furtherance to all these ends (since the heart of man is deceitful, and corrupt above all things, and most apt to answerable counsels and actings where it can hope to walk in the dark, undiscerned or undistinguished, though but to the eye of man), we must again desire that even from henceforth the aforesaid liberty of entering dissents, as it is in the Scotch Parliament (where lately there hath appeared a most useful effect of it), so also may be admitted amongst you, or at least that in these transactions of such high moment to the public and all honest interests, and in times so apt to deceit, defection, and apostasy, that liberty may be taken by all honest faithful members that desire to appear, as their hearts to God, so their ways to good men. Yet still we wish not, whoever should by that means be detected for corrupt counsels, that for his judgment there, any advantage should be taken withoutdoors, but only that men may avoid the further trusting of such persons, and that the innocent may not be unjustly prejudiced or suspected. * * *
And now to conclude, we hope that, in an age of so much light, mere will or resolution will not be held forth or pursued against it; but that what reason or righteousness there is in the things we have said, will be considered and followed. Nor let it find prejudice with you from any disdain towards those from whom it comes, being in the condition of an army, looked upon as servants under you, since servants may speak to their masters, and ought to be heard and regarded even when they speak for their own right only, and rather when they speak for the good and safety of them they serve, but much more when they speak of that wherein they have some joint interest with them; and yet more when (those their immediate masters being themselves also servants and trustees for the benefit of others) they speak for the interest of those for whom both are employed.
History of the Second Agreement of the People:
see pp. 342-55.
From the Declaration of the Army, on the March to London, 30th November 1648a
And as the incompetency of this Parliament, in its present constitution, to give an absolute and conclusive judgment for the whole (especially to be the sole judges of their own performance or breach of trust) doth make the juster way for such an appeal, so indeed we see no other way left for remedy, in regard the present unlimited continuance of this Parliament doth exclude the orderly succession of any other more equal formal judicature of men, to which we might hope in due time other ways to appeal. Thus then we apprehend ourselves in the present case, both necessitated to, and justified in, an appeal from this Parliament, in the present constitution as it stands, unto the extraordinary judgment of God and good people. And yet in the prosecution of this appeal, as we shall drive it on but to the speedy obtaining of a more orderly and equal judicature of men in a just Representative, according to our Remonstrance, . . . so in the present procuring of justice, with the people’s ease and quiet, and in the settling of the kingdom upon a due, safe, and hopeful succession of Parliaments, it is our heart’s desire, and shall be our endeavour, that so much both of the matter and form of the present parliamentary authority may be preserved, as can be safe, or will be useful to these ends, until a just and full constitution thereof, both for matter and form (suitable to the public ends it serves for) can be introduced.
And therefore, first, it should be our great rejoicing (if God saw it good), that the majority of the present House of Commons were become sensible of the evil and destructiveness of their late way, and would resolvedly and vigorously apply themselves to the speedy execution of justice, with the righting and easing of the oppressed people, and to a just and safe settlement of the kingdom upon such foundations as have been propounded by us and others for that purpose, and would, for the speedier and surer prosecution of these things, exclude from communication in their counsels all such corrupt and apostatized members as have appeared hitherto but to obstruct and hinder such matter of justice, safety, and public interest, and to pervert their counsels a contrary way, and have therein so shamefully both falsified and forfeited their trust.
But however, if God shall not see it good to vouchsafe that mercy to them and the kingdom, we shall, secondly, desire that so many of them as God hath kept upright, and shall touch with a just sense of those things, would by protestation or otherwise acquit themselves from such breach of trust, and approve their faithfulness by withdrawing from those that persist in the guilt thereof, and would apply themselves to such a posture whereby they may speedily and effectually prosecute those necessary and public ends. . . . And for so many of them, whose hearts God shall stir up thus to do, we shall therein, in this case of extremity, look upon them as persons having materially the chief trust of the kingdom remaining in them, and though not a formal standing power to be continued in them, or drawn into ordinary precedents, yet the best and most rightful that can be had as the present state and exigence of affairs now stand. And we shall, accordingly, own them, adhere to them, and be guided by them in their faithful prosecution of that trust, in order unto, and until, the introducing of a more full and formal power in a just Representative to be speed[il]y endeavoured.
Now yet further to take away all jealousies in relation to ourselves, which might withhold ora discourage any honest members from this course:b as we have the witness of God in our hearts that in these proceedings we do not seek, but even resolve we will not take, advantages to ourselves either in point of profit or power, and that if God did open unto us a way wherein with honesty and faithfulness to the public interest and good people engaged for us, we might presently be discharged, so as we might not in our present employments look on, and be accessory to, yea, supporters of, the Parliament, in the present corrupt, oppressive, and destructive proceedings, we should with rejoicing, and without more ado, embrace such a discharge rather than interpose in these things to our own vast trouble and hazard. So, if we could but obtain a rational assurance for the effectual prosecution of these things, we shall give any proportionable assurance on our parts concerning our laying down of arms, when, and as, we should be required. But for the present, as the case stands, we apprehend ourselves obliged in duty to God, this kingdom, and good men therein, to improve our utmost abilities in all honest ways for the avoiding of these great evils we have remonstrated, and for prosecution of the good things we have propounded; and also that such persons who were the inviters of the late invasion from Scotland, the instigators and encouragers of the late insurrections within this kingdom, and (those forcible ways failing) have still pursued the same wicked designs by treacherous and corrupt counsels, may be brought to public justice, according to their several demerits. For all these ends we are now drawing up with the Army to London, there to follow Providence as God shall clear our way.
Text of the Second Agreement of the People:
see pp. 355-67.
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
December 16: Agreement VII 2 (p. 362). Question: ‘Whether we shall present in this Agreement any reserve from the power of the Representative in point of impressing men for the war?’ (Resolved in affirmative.) Question: ‘Whether there shall be a reserve from the Representative to impress for foreign service?’ (Resolved in affirmative; Hewson and Scoutmaster Roe dissenting.) Clause phrased as in Agreement presented to Parliament (VIII 2: p. 362, n. 29), but without the words: ‘and may take order for the employing and conducting of them for those ends.’1
December 18: Agreement VII 3-6 (pp. 362-3). Third2 Reserve was passed as in Agreement presented to Parliament (VIII 3: p. 362, n. 30). Fourth Reserve was ‘laid aside.’ Fifth was ‘suspended as not proper to the place.’ Question: ‘Whether the Sixth Reserve (p. 363) shall be waived or not?’ (Resolved in negative, 18 : 16.)3
December 21: Agreement VII; VII 1. ‘An expedient upon the First Reserve, concerning Religion, brought in and debated.’1Question: ‘Whether the particulars now debated shall be referred or no?’ (Resolved in negative.) ‘All but officers to go forth.’ Question: ‘Whether the word moral shall be in the paper now read or no?’ (Resolved in negative, 27: 17.)2 Phrased practically as in Agreement presented to Parliament, VIII (p. 361, n. 25), but lacks emphatic phrase, ‘but not concerning things spiritual and evangelical,’ and the six particulars reserved in ‘things natural and civil.’ Question: ‘Whether under this general article of the power of your Representatives now agreed on, there shall be any reserve subjoined concerning religion?’ (Resolved in negative, 37 : 12; it is later transferred to separate article, IX.)
December 26: Agreement VII 6 (p. 363): ‘The Sixth Reserve . . . read and debated. Afterwards read thus (as an expedient): That the said Representatives may not exercise the power of immediate judgment in particular questions of right and wrong between one person and another. Nor may they give immediate judgment upon any man’s person or estate for any offence which does not extend immediately to the hurt or damage of the public. Nor for any such offence may they proceed to the taking away of life or limb, unless before the fact done it were so provided against by express law then in force. Nor may they inflict or award other punishment for such an offence not so provided against beforehand, save where it is clearly against the general law of human society and where the vindication or securing of the public interest does require such justice.’ First Question: ‘Whether the Sixth Reserve shall pass as it now stands or no?’ (Unanimously resolved in negative.) Last part of VII 6 read (p. 363): ‘That the Representative may not give judgment upon any man’s person or estate where no law hath been before provided, save only in calling to account and punishing public officers failing in their trust.’ Second Question: ‘Whether this clause now read shall be put to the question as part of the reserve or no?’ (Resolved in affirmative, 22 : 15.) Third Question: ‘Whether this clause now read shall pass as of the reserve as it is?’ (Resolved in affirmative, 25 : 13.)
December 29: Agreement VII 5, 7, 8; VIII, IX, VII 5 (pp. 362-3). The Seventh Reserve read and passed unanimously (becoming VII). The Eighth Reserve read and passed unanimously (becoming VIII 6, and later receiving as an addition the provision for entering dissents, p. 363, n. 36). The Eighth Article read and altered practically to the form in Agreement as presented to Parliament, VI. The Ninth Article read and altered practically to the form in VIII 3. The Tenth Article read and altered to the form in first part of X (p. 363, nn. 42-3). The Fifth Reserve (formerly waived) read. Question: ‘Whether this shall pass as a reserve or no?’ (Resolved in the negative.) The [preamble?] of the Agreement read. Committee of ten officers named, including Ireton, Harrison, Rich, and Waller, ‘to consider of a form of conclusion and subscription to this Agreement as to the officers of the Army.’
In strange contrast with these debates on the constitution are two fully recorded examinations of Elizabeth Poole, on 29th December and 5th January. These are also reported in: A Vision wherein is Manifested the Disease and Cure of the Kingdom, being the sum of what was delivered to the General Council of the Army, Decemb. 29, 1648. Together with a true copy of what was delivered in writing (the fifth of the present January) to the said General Council, of divine pleasure concerning the King, in reference to his being brought to trial, what they are therein to do and what not, both concerning his office and person. By E. Poole, herein a servant to the Most High God.
The vision1 was of a ‘woman . . . full of imperfection, crooked, weak, sickly, imperfect,’ and a man, ‘a member of the Army,’ devoted to ‘his country, to its liberty and freedom, which he should gladly be a sacrifice for.’ The man (the Army) was to effect the recovery of the woman (the kingdom): ‘ . . . he should, before the Lord, act diligently and faithfully to employ all means which I should by the gift of God [in me] direct for her cure.’ All depended on ‘that Spirit of Eternal Power which had called me to believe and him to act; neither was he to be slack in action, nor I to be staggered in believing.’ God had manifested his presence with the Army, and they must ‘go forward and stand up for the liberty of the people as it was their liberty and God had opened the way to them.’ But they must deny themselves; for ‘ . . . perfectly dying in the will of the Lord, you may find your resurrection in him.’2Rich highly approved this doctrine: ‘I cannot but give you that impression that is upon my spirit in conjunction with that testimony which God hath manifested here by an unexpected providence. * * * The truth is: . . . [there are] many things in which we are to take a liberty, and use the liberty in reference to the men of the world that we have to deal withal; but that principle which is to carry us, as in consideration of ourselves, before God and the world, [is] after that liberty which the world doth not understand. It is true, we may use these arguments to satisfy such as understand no more but such [things] as the world gives testimony of; but if we have not another manner of testimony, [of] such things that God hath by his providence given us satisfaction of, I believe, as she says, the conclusion of it will be but fleshly after having begun in the spirit. I think every man is to search his own heart, and to see what is within, and not [to look for deliverance] from himself or from men from outward means, but from that kingdom which, when it comes, will have no end.’ Mrs. Poole declared: ‘It is true, that the Lord hath a controversy with the great and mighty of the earth, with the captains and rulers. He will contend for his own name amongst them.’ Harrison was eager to know what prescription she had by the gift of God, to offer for the Army’s cure of the kingdom: ‘Whether anything was given to you more particularly to express than before?’ She replied: ‘No, sir. For it was presented to me as the Church; . . . by the gift and faith of the Church you shall be guided, which spirit is in you, which shall direct you.’ Ireton could ‘see nothing in her but those [things] that are the fruits of the Spirit of God . . . because it comes with such a spirit that does . . . hold forth humility and self-denial. . . .’
On January 5, Elizabeth Poole said: ‘I have heard [that] some of you [are busied] upon that which is called the Agreement of the People. ’Tis very evident to me that the kingly power is fallen into your hands and you are entrusted with it that you might be as the head to the body. Now . . . if you shall take that up as an Agreement of the People . . . , it seems to me . . . that you shall give power out of your hands, whereas God hath entrusted it with you and will require it of you, how it is improved. * * * Betray not you your trust.’ She then delivered a paper against the King’s execution. Ireton asked: ‘What would you hold forth to us as the demonstration . . . that this that you have delivered to us to be read is from God, from him given in to you, and from you to be delivered to us?’ She replied that the paper would ‘bear witness for itself,’ and added: ‘ . . . Kings are set in [their places] for government, though I do not speak this to favour the tyranny or bloodthirstiness of any. For I do look upon the [Norman] Conquest to be of divine pleasure [whereby kings came to reign],1 though . . . God is not the supporter of tyranny or injustice; those are things [that] he desires may be kept under.’ Rich asked: ‘. . . whether that which is the will of God is not [always] concordant with natural reason; . . . whether it be the will of God that anything in point of government should be inconsistent with the most essential being for which it was ordained? Now, if . . . any outward thing, and [any] state and power and trust [may be forfeited if it is abused, I would know] if it be not the will or the mind of God that if any man, empowered or entrusted for the public good, for the government’s sake, should be tyrannous to the governed (for the well-being of which he was set in the chair)—then whether for the highest breach of [that] trust there cannot be such an outward forfeiture of life . . . as [there is] of the trust itself?’ Lt.-Col. Kelsey pointed out that ‘God doth not send a messenger but that there may be an impression upon their hearts [that are] to receive it.’ Such a communication as Mrs. Poole’s ‘either . . . must be from God . . . or else there must be something of argument and reason to demonstrate it to us. Now there is nothing of reason in it. And if it be from God the Council would be glad to hear what outgoings there are in that particular.’ The meeting evidently disapproved of Mrs. Poole’s declaration against the punishment of Charles by death, and was sceptical of its divine origin.
January 6: ‘Debate concerning the setting a period to this Parliament by the last of April’ (Agreement I, p. 356). Ireton argues that the dissolution of the present Parliament by the Agreement ‘will be a greater security in case the Army should be forced to remove, when the ill-affected party may [otherwise] come in again. It will give much satisfaction to the people in regard of their expressing their desires [for the Army] not to set up themselves, but [rather] their resolves for a future Representative.’ Cromwell thinks that ‘it will be more honourable and convenient for them to put a period to themselves.’ Ireton replies: ‘If the Parliament should vote a day for their dissolution without the Agreement, all the endeavours [imaginable] will be used for Parliaments to come in [in] the old way. But if men find there is no avoidance of this Parliament but by this Agreement, there is nothing so much likely to keep men’s hands off from opposing the Agreement. * * * The people may [be taught to] think [that] if they oppose this Agreement they oppose the ending of this Parliament.’ Cromwell asks: ‘Then you are afraid they will do [that]?’ Ireton answers: ‘If the generality of [the] people could see the end of this Parliament [in any other way, they] would be for opposing anything of this kind—or would wait for the expiring of that [time], to look for a succession of new Parliaments in the old way and [the] old form of a King [and Parliament] again. Nothing [could be] of more [real] advantage to this Parliament than to end it by the Agreement with safety [to its members and] without prejudice to future Parliaments.’ It was possibly at this debate1 that Cowling opposed the effort to return to a constitutional mode of government, and especially an Agreement which surrendered the Army’s power: ‘I have heard mention, since I came, of two men, Joseph and Moses. The one was a greater provider for the well-being of the people, and the other did as much in delivering the people when they were not well [used]. I desire that, as Moses, you will not be so full of punctilios as to look upon the old constitution. . . . [The Jews observed the customs of Egypt] and the best they brought forth was a [golden] calf. Now this I should offer to you: Take heed how you stick unto that constitution without [leaving] which you are not able to form a way by which every man may enjoy his own.’
The Levellers’ Dissatisfaction with the Debates
And we were very much satisfied that your last Remonstrance terminated in proposing an Agreement of the People as the only proper means for quieting the long and woeful distractions of the nation, and the matter of our foresaid Petition of the eleventh of Sept[ember] as requisite to be seriously considered; both which intimated a nearer compliance with our desires than we had formerly found. But much more satisfactory it was, that you allowed us to choose out certain friends from amongst us, to be joined with you in the drawing up of an Agreement for the people, to be offered unto them for their union therein. And which (though with great expense of time and much contest) was at length effected, so that our hopes revived and our confidence was great that the work would then go on currently amongst you without stop or interruption.
But since the same hath been tendered to the consideration of your Council, the long time spent already therein and the tedious disputes and contests held thereupon, and that in things so essential unto our freedom, as without which we account the Agreement of no value! For what freedom is there to conscientious people where the magistrate shall be entrusted with a restrictive power in matters of religion, or to judge and punish in cases where no law hath been before provided? Which are the points that as yet remain in suspense, and about which most of the time hath been spent, though they are such as wherein all the cordial friends of this Army are fully satisfied, as clearly appeareth by their adhering to our foresaid Petition of the eleventh of Septemb[er]. And when we consider how many in this Council have appeared in behalf of these unreasonable powers in the magistrate; how they have been countenanced that have spoken for them, and how discountenanced that have spoken against them, and that at length; [how] interests directly opposite to freedom of conscience in point of God’s worship are nevertheless called for, to receive satisfaction, whose principles and Covenant lead to no less than persecution in matters of that nature, and which (upon the least hope of power) they have eagerly practised, as in Col[onel] Leigh’s committee; and since at present reproaches of Leveller, Jesuit, and the like begin afresh to be as rife as ever, which usually have forerun the destruction of good endeavours, we profess these are such manifest effects of evil influences and do so evidently demonstrate that both you and we are almost overgrown with destructive interests, and administer so much occasion to doubt the Agreement pretended is not really, or not effectually, intended in that fulness of right, freedom, and redress of grievances as all true-hearted friends expected, that we deem it afresh, worthy [of] all our fears, and of your more than ordinary intention to discover from whence those evil and dangerous effects do proceed, lest before you are aware (as it befell the well-minded members in Parliament) you be entangled in such perplexities that, when you would, it shall not be in your power to help yourselves, or to free this commonwealth from misery and bondage.
All which . . . we judged ourselves bound in conscience thus timely to advertise you of, and do most earnestly entreat that . . . , to prevent your and our being overgrown with destructive interests . . . , you will employ all your might to the speedy production of so full and ample [an] Agreement for the people as (to the restoring all true freedom and for removing of all known grievances) may deserve the stamp of so successful an Army. * * *
That to these just and necessary ends you will instantly reduce your Council into a certain method of orderly proceeding, which will much conduce to the furthering and clearing of your debates and resolutions, wherein we are now exceedingly concerned.
As first, to agree what certain number of officers, and no less, shall make a Council, which, we humbly conceive, ought not to be less than the major part of the commission[ed] officers, at the Headquarters and adjacent thereunto, not excluding of others.
2. That all persons in council may sit in a distinct orderly way, so as they may be observed by the president when they are inclined to speak.
3. That you will agree how many times any person may speak to a question.
4. That you will free your determinations from all pretences of a negative voice, and from all discountenance and check by any superior officer.
And [this] being so regulated:
1. That you will consider and resolve what is the most proper way for advance of officers, so as to preserve them entire to the interest of the people, and from a servile condition or necessary dependence upon the favour or will of any; and seriously to consider whether your Articles of Martial Law (as now they are) are not of too tyrannous a nature for an army of free-born Englishmen; and to reduce the same to reason and an equal constitution.
2. To take special care of the principles of any officer to be admitted, that they be not tainted with those of arbitrary power or of persecution for matters of religion.
3. That there be no disbanding of any sort of men but by consent of the General Council, nor admission or listing of any for horse or foot but according to provision made by the said Council, it being reported that very many of late are listed, of bad and doubtful condition.
By all which means, if conscionably observed (and we trust you will not be the less sensible because we advise), the growth of any corrupt interest will be effectually prevented. And if it shall seem good or anyway useful unto you, we shall choose and appoint four of our friends always to attend and assist, though not to vote with you. Nor will these things or these desires of ours seem strange unto you if you shall consider at how high a rate we have all along valued our just liberties, and how by breaking all authority you have taken upon yourselves the care, protection, and restoration thereof. You will not only cease to wonder, but resolve that we have cause to mind you thereof and of whatsoever we observe may be prejudicial thereunto, being well assured that it highly concerns you in the condition you have put yourselves not to be strait or narrow-hearted to your friends in point of liberty, or removal of known grievances, but to be as large in both as the utmost reason of these knowing times can plead for or desire. And as less than that is not expected from you in the Agreement you have in hand, so, if less in a tittle, it will not be regarded, but very much undervalue your affection to the commonwealth, as being that without which your extraordinary proceedings in overturning all the visible supreme authority of the nation, can never be justified before God or man. * * *1
 The work of Ireton.
 It will be remembered that the Remonstrance is addressed to the House of Commons.
 Added to the Committee on the First Reserve (in religion): Dr. Pagett, Dr. Cox, Dr. Goddard, Major Carter, Capt. Hodden.
 Numbering of reserves is according to the Agreement, Article VII, as printed in Lilburne’s Foundations of Freedom (above, pp. 361-3).
 Added to Committee on Religion: Col. Hewson, Major Barton, Col. Okey. ‘Memorandum: at the meeting to-morrow, to consider of some moderate men to meet in London at Colonel Tichborne’s.’ (Reference is perhaps to moderate Presbyterians to be taken into the discussion.) On 19th December, Major Coleman, Capt. Spencer, Mr. Cooly, added to Committee.
 Firth quotes from Perfect Diurnal, 22nd December: ‘The General Council of the Army have had many large debates this week upon that reserve in the Representative in matters of religion; some Presbyterian ministers have been discoursed withal, and at last an expedient is agreed upon, which will give satisfaction. Much debate also upon the power of the Representative in civils, as how they might proceed to punish, not being directed by a known law.’
 In view of what follows, the question appears to be whether there should be granted to the Representative ‘the highest and final judgment concerning all natural, civil, and moral things.’ The connection with religion is in the contention that it falls within the scope of the moral law. The addition is opposed by that principle which later adds the specific phrase reserving ‘things spiritual and evangelical.’
 I have tried to restore the correct order of the argument by reference to the pamphlet.
 This quotation is from the pamphlet.
 This phrase is from the pamphlet.
 The speech is reported under 5th January, where it appears to have no place.
 Signed by Lilburne, Overton, Prince, and thirteen others.
[456. (a)] A Remonstrance of his Excellency Thomas Lord Fairfax, Lord Generall of the Parliaments forces, and of the Generall Councell of Officers. Held at St. Albans the 16. of November, 1648. Presented to the Commons assembled in parliament, the 20 instant, and tendred to the consideration of the kingdome. London Printed for John Partridge and George Whittington . . . MDCXLVIII [Nov. 22];
[458. (a)]party (thus throughout, except in the phrase immediately following).
[465. (a)]The Declaration of His Excellency The Lord General Fairfax, and his General Councel of Officers, shewing the grounds of the Armies advance towards the City of London. * * * London, Printed by John Field for John Partridge, Novemb. 1. 1648 [Dec. 1].
[466. (a-b)]discourse . . . from this courage.
[467. (a)] Clarke MSS., vol. 67; and Clarke Papers, ed. Firth, 2. 133-70.
[472. (a)] A Plea for Common-right and Freedom. To his Excellency, the Lord General Fairfax, and the Commission-officers of the Armie. Or, the serious addresses, and earnest desires of their faithful friends . . . Promoters and presenters of the late Large-Petition of the eleventh of September, MDCXLVIII. As it was presented to his Excellency, Decemb. 28. 1648. By L. C. John Lilburn . . . Richard Overton . . . Tho. Prince [thirteen others named]. London Printed by Ja. and Jo. Moxon, for Will. Larnar . . . 1648 [Dec. 29].