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Conference Readings: The Levellers and the Origins of Anglo-American Constitutionalism

“The Levellers and the Origins of Anglo-American Constitutionalism”

[Revised: 28 Oct., 2016]

Table of Contents

Key

T.78 [1646.10.12] (3.18) Richard Overton, An Arrow against all Tyrants and Tyranny (12 October 1646).

Tract number; sorting ID number based on date of publication or acquisition by Thomason; volume number and location in 1st edition; author; abbreviated title; approximate date of publication according to Thomason.

Session I: Personal Sovereignty and Individualism

Session II: Toleration and Liberty

Session III: Legitimacy and Resistance

Session IV: Constitutional Programs

Session V: Social Relations and Economic Thinking

Session VI: The Nature of Citizenship and Resistance

 


 

The Readings

“The Liberty of the Freeborne English-Man, Conferred on him by the house of lords. June 1646."

The medallion is surrounded by the words "John lilburne. At the age of 23. The Year 1641." Made by G. Glo.

Beneath is a poem which states:

Gaze not upon this shaddow that is vaine, But rather raise thy thoughts a higher straine, To GOD (I meane) who set this young man free, And in like straits, can eke (also) deliver thee. Yea though the lords have him in bonds againe LORD of lords will his just cause maintaine.

 


 

T.78 (8.32) Richard Overton, An Arrow against all Tyrants and Tyranny (12 October, 1646)

OLL Thumbs

 

Bibliographical Information

ID Number

T.78 [1646.10.12] (3.18 and 8.32) Richard Overton, An Arrow against all Tyrants and Tyranny (12 October 1646).

Full title

Richard Overton, AN ARROW AGAINST ALL TYRANTS And Tyrany, shot from the Prison of New-gate into the Prerogative Bowels of the Arbitrary House of Lords and all other Usurpers and Tyrants Whatsoever. Wherein the originall rise, extent, and end of Magisteriall power, the naturall and Nationall rights, freedomes and properties of Mankind are discovered, and undeniably maintained; the late oppressions and incroachments of the Lords over the Commons legally (by the fundamentall Lawes and Statutes of this Realme, as also by a memorable Extract out of the Records of the Tower of London) condemned; The late Presbyterian Ordinance (invented and contrived by the Diviners, and by the motion of Mr. Bacon and Mr. Taet read in the House of Commons) examined, refuted, and exploaded, as most inhumaine, tyranicall and Barbarous. By RICHARD OVERTON Prerogative Archer to the Arbitrary House of Lords, Their Prisoner in New gate, for the just and legall properties, rights and freedoms of the Commons of England: Sent by way of a Letter from him, to Mr. Henry Martin, a Member of the House of Commons. IMPRIMATUR Rectat Justitia.
Printed at the backside of the Cyclopian Mountains, by Martin Claw-Clergy, Printer to the reverend Assembly of Divines, and are to be sould at the signe of the Subjects Liberty, right opposite to persecuting Court. 1646.

The pamphlet contains the following parts:

  1. An Arrow against all Tyrants and Tyranny
  2. To the high and mighty states, the knights, citizens and burgesses in parliament assembled (England’s legal sovereign power). The humble appeal and supplication of Richard Overton
  3. Postscript

 

Estimated date of publication

12 October, 1646.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 469; Thomason E. 356. (14.)

Leveller Tract: T.78 (8.32) Richard Overton, An Arrow against all Tyrants and Tyranny (12 October 1646)

AN ARROVV AGAINST ALL TYRANTS And Tyrany, shot from the prison of New-gate into the Prerogative bowels of the Arbitrary House of Lords, and all other Usurpers and Tyrants whatsoever.

Sir,

TO every Individuall in nature, is given an individuall property by nature, not to be invaded or usurped by any: for every one as he is himselfe, so he hath a selfe propriety, else could he not be himselfe, and on this no second may presume to deprive any of, without manifest violation and affront to the very principles of nature, and of the Rules of equity and justice between man and man; mine and thine cannot be, except this be: No man hath power over my rights and liberties, and I over no mans; I may be but an Individuall, enjoy my selfe and my selfe propriety, and may write my selfe no more then my selfe, or presume any further; if I doe, I am an encroacher & an invader upon an other mans Right, to which I have no Right. For by naturall birth, all men are equally and alike borne to like propriety, liberty and freedome, and as we are delivered of God by the hand of nature into this world, every one with a naturall, innate freedome and propriety (as it were writ in the table of every mans heart, never to be obliterated) even so are we to live, every one equally and alike to enjoy his Birth-right and priviledge; even all whereof God by nature hath made him free.

And this by nature every one desires aimes at, and requires, for no man naturally would be befooled of his liberty by his neighbours craft, or inslaved by his neighbours might, for it is natures instinct to preserve it selfe, from all things hurtfull and obnoctious, and this in nature is granted of all to be most reasonable, equall and just; not to be rooted out of the kind, even of equall duration with the creature: And from this fountain or root, all just humain powers take their original; not immediately from God (as Kings usually plead their prerogative) but mediatly by the hand of nature, as from the represented to the representors; for originally; God hath implanted them in the creature, and from the creature those powers immediately proceed; and no further: and no more may be communicated then stands for the better being, weale, or safety thereof: and this is mans prerogative and no further, so much and no more may be given or received thereof: even so much as is conducent to a better being, more safety and freedome, and no more; he that gives more, sins against his owne flesh; and he that takes more, is a Theife and Robber to his kind: Every man by nature being a King, Priest and Prophet in his owne naturall circuite and compasse, whereof no second may partake, but by deputation, commission, and free consent from him, whose naturall right and freedome it is.

And thus Sir, and no otherwise are you instated into your soveraign capacity, for the free people of this Nation, for their better being, discipline, government, propriety and safety, have each of them communicated so much unto you (their Chosen Ones) of their naturall rights and powers, that you might thereby become their absolute Commissioners, and lawfull Deputies, but no more; and that by contraction of those their severall Individuall Communications conser’d upon, and united in you, you alone might become their own naturall proper, soveraign power, therewith singly and only impowred for their severall weales, safeties and freedomes, and no otherwise: for as by nature, no man may abuse, beat, torment, or afflict himselfe, so by nature, no man may give that power to an other, seeing he may not doe it himselfe, for no more can be communicated from the generall then is included in the particulars, whereof the generall is compounded.

So that such so deputed, are to the Generall no otherwise, then as a Schoole-master to a particular, to this or that mans familie, for as such an ones Mastership, ordering and regulating power, is but by deputation, and that ad bene placitum, and may be removed at the parents or Head masters pleasure, upon neglect or abuse thereof, and be confer’d upon another (no parents ever giving such an absolute unlimited power to such over their children, as to doe to them as they list, and not to be retracted, controuled, or restrained in their exorbitances) Even so and no otherwise is it, with you our Deputies in respect of the Generall, it is in vaine for you to thinke you have power over us, to save us or destroy us at your pleasure, to doe with us as you list, be it for our weale, or be it for our wo, and not to be enjoyned in mercy to the one, or questioned in justice for the other, for the edge of your own arguments against the King in this kind, may be turned upon your selves, for if for the salety of the people, he might in equity be opposed by you in his tyranies oppressions & cruelties, even so may you by the same rule of right reason, be opposed by the people in generall, in the like cases of distruction and ruine by you upon them, for the safety of the people is the Soveraigne Law, to which all must become subject, and for the which all powers humaine are ordained by them, for tyrany, oppression and cruelty whatsoever, and in whomsoever, is in it selfe unnaturall, illegall, yea absolutly anti magisteriall, for it is even destructive to all humaine civill society, and therefore resistable.

Now Sir the Commons of this Nation, having impowred their Body Representative, wherof you are one, with their own absolute Soveraignty, thereby Authoritively and legally to remove from amongst them all oppressions and tyranies, oppressors and tyrants, how great soever in name, place or dignity, and to protect, safegard, and defend them from all such unnaturall monsters, vipers and pests, bred of corruption or which are intrusted amongst them & as much as in them lies, to prevent all such for the future. And to that end, you have been assisted with our lives and fortunes, most liberally and freely, with most victorious and happy successe, whereby your Armes are strengthned with our might, that now you may make us all happy within the confines of this Nation, if you please; and therfore Sir, in reason, equity and justice, we deserve no lesse at your hands, and (Sir) let it not seem strange unto you, that we are thus bold with you for our own.

For by nature we are the sons of Adam, and from him have legitimatly derived a naturall propriety, right and freedome, which only we require, and how in equity you can deny us, we cannot see; It is but the just rights and prerogative of mankind (whereunto the people of England, are heires apparent as well as other Nations) which we desire: and sure you will not deny it us, that we may be men, and live like men; if you doe it will be as little safe for your selfes and posterity, as for us and our posterity, for Sir, look what bondage, thraldome, or tyrany soever you settle upon us, you certainly, or your posterity will tast of the dregs: if by your present policy and (abused) might, you chance toward it from your selves in particular, yet your posterity doe what you can, will be liable to the hazard thereof.

And therefore Sir, we desire you help for your own sakes, as well as for our selves, chiefly for the removall of two most insufferable evils, daylie encroaching and encreasing upon us, portending and threatning inevitable destruction, and confusion of your selves, of us, and of all our posterities, namely, the encroachments and usurpations of the House of LORDS, over the Commons liberties, and freedomes, together with the barberons, inhumaine, blood-thirsty desires and endevours of the Presbyterian Clergy.

For the first, namely, the exhorbitances of the LORDS, they are to such an hight aspired that contrary to all presidents the free Comoners of England are imprisoned, fined & condemned by them (their incomputent illegall, unequall, improper judges) against the expresse letter of Magna char. chap. 29. (so often urged and used) that no free man of England shall be passed upon, tryed, or condemned, but by the lawfull judgement of his equals, or by the Law of the Land, wth as saith Sir Edw. Cooke in his exposition of Mag. chap. 28. last li. is Per pares, by his peeres, that is, by his equals. And page 46. branch 1. 2. 5. in these words;

1. That no man be taken or imprisoned, but per legem terræ, that is, by the common Law, Statute Law or custome of England: For these words, per legem terræ being towards the end of this chapter, doe referre to all the pretended matters in this chapter, and this hath the first place, because the liberty of a mans person is more precious to him then all the rest that follow, and therefore it is great reason, that he should by law be relieved therein, if he be wronged, as hereafter shall be shewed.

2. No man shall be disseised, that is, put out of seison, or dispossessed of his free-hold, that is, lands or livelyhood, or if his liberties or free customes, that is, of such franchises and freedomes, and free customes, as belong to him by his free birthright; unlesse it be by the lawfull judgement, that is verdict of his equals (that is of men of his own condition) or by the Law of the Land (that is to speak it once for all) by the due course and processes of Law.

3. No man shall be in any sorts destroyed (destruere, 1. quod prius structum & sactum suit; ponitus evertere & dimere) unlesse it be by the verdict of his equals, or according to the Law of the land.

And chapter 19. of Magna Charta, it is said secundum legem & consuetudinem Anglia, after the Law and custome of England, non Regis Anglia, not of the King of England, lest it might be thought to bind the King only, nec populi Anglia, nor of the People of England, but that the Law might tend to all, it is said, per legem terræ, by the Law of the Land. Magna chapta, 29.

Against this ancient and fundamentall Law, and in the very face thereof (saith Sir Edward Cooke) he found an Act of the Parliament made in the 11. of Hen. the 7. chap. 3. that as well justices of Peace without any finding or presentment by the verdict of 12. men, upon the bare information for the King before them, should have full power and authority, by their discretions to hear and determine all offences and contempts committed or done by any person or persons against the forme, ordinance, and effect of any Statute made and not repealed: by colour of which Act, shaking this fundamentall Law, (it is not credible) saith he what horrible oppressions and exactions (to the undoing of infinite numbers of people) were committed by Sir Richard Empson Knight, and Edmund Dudly, being Justices of the Peace through England, and upon this unjust and injurious act, (as commonly in the like cases it falleth out) a new Office was errected, and they made masters of the Kings Forfitures.

But at the Parliament holden in the 1. of Hen. 8. chap. 6. this Act of Hen. 7. is receited, made void and Repealed, and the reason thereof is yeelded, for that by force of the said Act, it was manifestly known that many sinister, crafty, and forged informations had been pursued against divers of the Kings Subjects, to their great damage and unspeakable vexation: (a thing most frequent and usuall at this day and in these times) the ill successe whereof, together with the most fearfull end of these great Oppressors should deterre others from committing the like, and should admonish Parliaments in the future, that in stead of this ordinary and precious tryall Per legem Terræ they bring not in an absolute and parciall tryall by discretion, Cooke 2. institute folio. 51.

And to this and the Judgement upon Symon de Bereford, a Commoner, in the 4. yeare of Edw. 3. is an excellent precident for these times (as is to be seen upon record in the Tower, in the second Roll of Parliament held the same yeare of the said King, and delivered into the Chancery by Henry de Edenston Clerk of the Parliament) for that the said Simon de Bereford having counselled, aided and assisted Roger de Mortimer to the murther of the Father of the said King; the King commanded the Earles and Barons in the said Parliament Assembled, to give right and lawfull judgement unto the said Symon de Bereford; But the Earles, Barons and Peers came before the Lord the King in the same Parliament, and said with one voice; that the aforesaid Simon, was not their Peer or equall, wherefore, they were not bound to judge him as a Peer of the Land: Yet notwithstanding all this, the Earles, Barons and Peers (being over swaid by the King) did award and adjudge (as judges of Parliament, by the assent of the King in the said Parliament) that the said Simon as a traitor & enemy of the Realm, should be hanged & drawn, and execution accordingly was done: But as by the said Roll appeareth, it was by full Parliament condemned and adjudged as illegall, and as a precident not to be drawn into example; the words of the said Roll are these, viz.

And it is assented and agreed by our Lord the King, and all the Grandees in full Parliament, that albeit the said Peers as judges in full Parliament took upon them in presence of our Lord the King, to make and give the said Judgement by the assent of the King, upon some of them that were not their Peers, (to wit Commoners) & by reason of the murther of the Leige Lord, and destruction of him, which was so neer of the blood royall and the Kings Father, that therefore the said Peers which now are, or the Peers which shall be for the time to come, be not bound or charged to give judgement upon others then upon their Peers, nor shall doe it; but of that for ever be discharged, and acquit, and that the aforesaid Judgement now given be not drawn into example or consequent for the time to come, by which the said Peers may be charged hereafter to Judge others then their Peers, being against the Law of the Land, if any such case happen, which God defend.

Agreeth with the Record.

William Collet.

But notwithstanding all this, our Lords in Parliament take upon them as Judges in Parliament to passe judgement and sentence (even of themselves) upon the Commoners which are not their Peeres, and that to fining, imprisonment, &c. And this doth not only content them, but they even send forth their armed men, and beset, invade, assault their houses and persons in a warlike manner, and take what plunder they please, before so much as any of their pretended, illegall warrants be shewed, as was lately upon the eleventh of August 1646. perpetrated against mee and mine, which was more then the King himselfe by his legall Prerogative ever could doe, for neither by verball commands or commissions under the Great Seale of England, he could ever give any lawfull authority to any Generall, Captaine, or person whatsoever without legall triall and conviction, forceibly to assault, rob, spoile or imprison any of the free Commoners of England: and in case any free Commoner by such his illegall Commissions, Orders or warrants before they be lawfully convicted, should be assaulted, spoiled, plundered, imprisoned, &c. in such cases his agents and ministers ought to be proceeded against, resisted, apprehended, indicted and condemned (notwithstanding such commissions) as Trespassers, Theeves, Burglarers, Felons, Murderers both by Statute and common Law, as is enacted and resolvd by Magna Charta, cap. 29. 15. Eliz. 3. stat. 1. cap. 1, 2, 3, 42. Eliz. 5. cap. 13. 28. Eliz. 1. Artic. sup. chartas, cap. 2. 4. Eliz. 3. cap. 4. 5. Eliz. 3. cap. 2. 24. Eliz. 3. cap. 1. 2. Rich. 2. cap. 7. 5. Rich. 2. cap. 5. 1. Hen. 5. cap. 6. 11. Hen. 2. cap. 1. 106. 24. Hen. 8. cap. 5. 21. Jacob. cap. 3.

And if the King himselfe have not this Arbitrary power, much lesse may his Peeres or Companions, the Lords over the free Commons of England. And therefore notwithstanding such illegall censures and warrants either of King or of Lords (no legall conviction being made) the persons invaded and assaulted by such open force of Armes may lawfully arme themselves, fortifie their Houses (which are their Castles in the judgement of the Law) against them, yea, disarme, beat, wound, represse and kill them in their just necessary defence of their own persons, houses, goods wives and families, and not be guilty of the least offence, as is expresly resolved by the Statute of 21. Edw. de male factoribus in parcis, by 24. Hen. 8. cap. 5. 12. Hen. 6. 16. 14. Hen. 6. 24. 35. Hen. 6. 12. E. 4. 6.

And therefore (Sir) as even by nature and by the Law of the Land I was bound, I denyed subjection to these Lords and their arbitrary creatures; thus by open force invading and assaulting my house person, &c. no legall conviction preceding, or warrant then showen; but and if they had brought and shewen a thousand such warrants, they had all been illegall antimagisteriall & void in this case, for they have no legal power in that kind, no more then the King, but such their actions are utterly condemned, and expresly forbidden by the Law: Why therefore should you of the Representative Body sit still, and suffer these Lords thus to devour both us and our Lawes?

Be awakned, arise and consider their oppressions and encroachments, and stop their Lord-ships in their ambitious carere, for they do not cease only here, but they soar higher & higher, & now they are become arrogators to themselves, of the natural Soveraignity the Represented have conveyed and issued to their proper Representors, even challenge to themselves the tittle of the Supreamest Court of Judecature in the Land, as was claimed by the Lord Hounsden, when I was before them, which you may see more at large in a printed letter published under my name, intitled, A Defiance &c. which challenge of his (I think I may be bold to assert) was a most illegall, Anti-parliamentary, audacious presumpsion, and might better be pleaded and challenged by the King singly, then by all those Lords in a distinction from the Commons: but it is more then may be granted to the King himselfe, for the Parliament & whole Kingdom whom it represents is truly and properly the highest Supream power of all others, yea above the King himselfe:

And therefore much more above the Lords, for they can question, Cancell, disanull and utterly revoake the Kings own Royall Charters, Writs, Commissions, Pattents, &c. Though ratified with the Great Scale, even against his personal wil, as is evident by their late abrogation of sundry, Patents, Cõmissions, writs, Charters, Lone, Shipmony &c. yea the body Representative have power to enlarge or retract the very prerogative of the King, as the Statute de prærog. Reg. and the Parliament Roll of 1. Hen. 4. num. 18, doth evidence, and therefore their power is larger and higher then the Kings, and if above the Kings, much more above the Lords, who are subordinate to the King, and if the Kings Writs, Charters &c. which intrench upon the weale of the People, may be abrogated, nul’d and made voide by the Parliament, the Representateve body of the Land, and his very prerogatives bounded, restrained & limited by them, much more may the Orders, Warrants, Commitments &c. of the Lords, with their usurped prerogatives over the commons and People of England be restrained, nul’d and made void by them, and therefore these Lord must needs be inferiour to them.

Further the Legislative power is not in the King himselfe, but only in the Kingdome and body Representative, who hath power to make or to abrogate Lawes, Statutes &c. even without the Kings consent, for by law he hath not a negative voyce either in making or reversing, but by his own Coronation Oath, he is sworne, to grant fulfill and defend all rightfull Lawes, which the COMMONS of the Realme shall chuse, and to strengthen and maintain them after his power; by wch clause of the oath, is evident, that the Cõmons not the King or Lords) have power to chuse what Lawes themselves shall judge meetest, and thereto of necessity the King must assent, and this is evident by most of our former Kings and Parliaments, and especially by the Raignes Edw. 1. 2. 3. 4. Rich 2 Hen. 4. 5. & 6. So that it cannot be denied, but that the King is subordinate and inferiour to the whole Kingdome and body Representative: Therefore if the King, much more must the Lords vaile their Bonets to the Commons and may not be esteemed the upper House, or Supreame Court of Judicature of the Land.

So that seeing the Soveraigne power is not originally in the King, or personally terminated in him, then the King at most can be but chief Officer, or supream executioner of the Lawes, under whom all other legall executioners, their severall executions, functions and offices are subordinate; for indeed the Representers (in whom that power is inherent, and from whence it takes its originall) can only make conveyance thereof to their Representors, vicegerents or Deputies, and cannot possibly further extend it, for so they should go beyond themselves, wich is impossible, for ultra posse non est esse, there is no being beyond the power of being: That which goes beyond the substance and shaddow of a thing, cannot possibly be the thing it selfe, either substantially or vertually, for that which is beyond the Representors, is not representative, and so not the Kingdomes or peoples, either so much as in shaddow or substance,

Therefore the Soveraigne power (extending no further then from the Represented to the Representors) all this kind of Soveraynity challenged by any (whither of King Lords or others) is usurpation, illegitimate and illegall, and none of the Kingdomes or Peoples, neither are the People thereto obliged: Thus (Sir) seing the Soveraigne or legislative power is only from the Represented, to the Representors and cannot possibly legally further extend: the power of the King cannot be Legislative, but only executive, and he can communicate no more then he hath himselfe; and the Soveraigne power not being inherent in him, it cannot be conveyed by, or derived from him to any, for could he, he would have carried it away with him, when he left the Parliament: So that his meere prerogative creatures, cannot have that which their Lord and creator never had, hath, or can have; namely, the Legislative power: For it is a standing rule in nature, omne simile generat simile every like begetteth its like; and indeed they are as like him, as if they were spit out of his mouth.

For their proper station will not content them, but they must make incursions & inroads upon the Peoples rights and freedomes, and extend their prerogative pattent beyond their Masters compasse; Indeed all other Courts might as well challenge that prerogative of Soveraignity, yea better then this Court of Lords. But and if any Court or Courts in this Kingdome, should arrogate to themselves that dignity, to be the supreame Court of Judicatory of the Land, it would be judged no les then high Treason, to wit, for an inferiour subordinate power to advance and exalt it selfe above the power of the Parliament.

And (Sir) the oppressions, usurpations, and miseries, from this prerogative Head, are not the sole cause of our grievance and complaint, but in especiall, the most unnaturall, tyranicall, blood-thirsty desires and continuall endeavours of the Clergy, against the contrary minded in matters of conscience, wch have been so vailed, guilded and covered over, with such various, faire and specious pretences, that by the common discernings, such woolfeish, canniball, inhumaine intents against their neighbours, kindred, friends and countrymen, as is now clearely discovered, was little suspected (and lesse deserved) at their hands; but now I suppose they will scarce hereafter be so hard of beliefe, for now in plain termes, and with open face the Clergy here discover themselves in their kind, and shew plainly that inwardly they are no other but ravening wolves, even as roaring Lyons wanting their pray, going up and down, seeking whom they may devour.

For (Sir) it seems these cruell minded men to their brethren, have by the powerfull agitation of M. taet and M. Bacon, two members of the House, procured a most Romish inquisition Ordinance, to obtain an admission into the House, there to be twice read, and to be referred to a Committee, which is of such a nature, if it should be but confirmed, enacted, and established, as would draw all the innocent blood of the Saints, from righteous Abel, unto this present upon this Nation, and fill the land with more Martyrdomes, tyranies, cruelties and oppressions, then ever was in the bloody dayes of Queen Mary, yea or ever before, or since: For I may boldly say that the people of this Nation never heard of such a diabollicall, murthering, devouring Ordinance, Order, Edict or Law in their Land as is that;

So that it may be truly said unto England, we to the inhabitants thereof, for the Divell is come down unto you, (in the shape of the letter B.) having great wrath, because be knoweth he hath but a short time, for never before was the like hear’d of in England; the cruel villanous, barbarous Martyrdomes, murthers and butcherys of Gods People, under the papall and Episcopall Clergy, were not perpetated or acted by any Law, so divelish, cruell and inhumain as this, therefore what may the free People of England expect at the hands of their Presbyterian Clergy, who thus discover themselves more firce and cruell then their fellowes? Nothing but hanging, burning, branding, imprisoning, &c. is like to be the reward of the most faithfull friends to the Kingdome and Parliament, if the Clergy may be the disposers, notwithstanding their constant magnanimity, fidelity and good service both in the field and at home, for them and the State:

But sure this Ordinance was never intended to pay the Souldiers; their arears if it be, the independents are like to have the best share, let them take that for their comfort: but I believe there was more Tyth providence, then State thrift in the matter, for if the Independents, Anabaptists, and Brownists, were but sinceerly addicted to the DVE PAYMENT of TYTHES, it would be better to them in this case then, two-subsidy men, to acquit them of Fellony.

For were it not for the losse of their Trade, and spoyling their custome, an Anabaptitst, Brownist, Independent and Presbyter were all one to them, then might they without doubt have the Mercy of the Clergy, then would they not have been entered into their Spanish Inquisition Calender for absolute Fellons or need they have feared the popish soule muthering Antichristian Oath of Abjuration or branding in the left cheeke with the letter B. the new Presbyterian Mark of the Beast for you see the Devill is now againe entered amongst us in a new shape, not like an Angell of light, (as both he and his servants can transforme themselves when they please) but even in the shape of the letter B; from the power of which Presbyterian Belzebub good Lord deliver us all and let al the People say Amen; Then needed they not to have feared their Prisons, their fire and faggot, their gallowes and halters, &c. The strongest Texts in all the Presbyterian new moddle of Clergy divinity, for the maintenance & reverence of their cloth, and confutation of errours; for he that doth but so much as question that priest fatning-Ordinance for Tythes, Oblations, Obventions, &c. doth flatly deny the fundamentals of Presbytrie, for it was the first stone they laid in their building, and the second stone, the prohibition of all to teach Gods word but themselves, and so are ipso facto all Fellons. &c.

By this (Sir) you may see what bloody minded men those of the black Presbytrie be, what little love, patience, meeknes, long suffering and forbearance they have to their Brethren; neither doe they as they would be done to; or doe to others as is done to them; for they would not be so served themselves, of the Independents, neither have the Independents ever sought or desired any such thing upon them, but would beare with them in all brotherly love; if they would be but contented to live peaceably and neighbourly by them, and not thus to brand, hang, judge and condemne all for Fellons, that are not like themselves. Sure (Sir) you cannot take this murthering, bloody disposition of theirs for the Spirit of Christianity, for Christian chairety suffers long, is kind, envieth not, exalteth not it selfe, secketh not its own is not easily provoked, thinketh no evill, beareth all things, beleeveth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; but these their desires and endevours are directly contrary.

Therefore (Sir) if you should suffer this bloody inroad of Martyrdome, cruelties and tyranies, upon the free Commoners of England, with whose weale you are betrusted, if you should be so inhumaine, undutifull, yea and unnaturall unto us, our innocent blood will be upon you, and all the blood of the righteous that shall be shed by this Ordinance, and you will be branded to future generations, for Englands bloody Parliament.

If you will not think upon us, think upon your posterities, for I cannot suppose that any one of you would have your children hang’d in case they should prove Independents, Anabaptists, Brownists; I cannot judge you so unnaturall and inhumain to your own children, therefore (Sir) if for our own sakes we shall not be protected, save us for your children sakes, (though you think your selves secure,) for ye may be assured their and our interest is interwowne in one, if wee perish, they must not think to scape. And (Sir) consider, that the cruelties, tyranics and Martyrdomes of the papall and episcopall Clergy, was one of the greatest instigations to this most unnaturall warre; and think you, if you settle a worse foundation of cruelty, that future generations will not tast of the dreags of that bitter cup?

Therefore now step in or never, and discharge your duties to God and to us, and tell us no longer, that such motions are not yet seasonable, and wee must still waite; for have we not waited on your pleasures, many faire seasons and precious occasions and opportunities these six yeares. even till the Halters are ready to be tyed to the Gallowes, and now must wee hold our peace, and waite till wee be all imprisoned, hang’d, burnt and confounded? Blame us not (Sir) if we complain against you, speak, write and plead thus with might and maine, for our lives, lawes and liberties, for they are our earthly summum bonum wherewith you are chiefly betrusted; & whereof we desire a faithful discharge at your hands in especiall, therefore be not you the men that shall betray the blood of us and our posterities, into the hands of those bloody black executioners: for God is just, and wil avenge our blood at your hands; and let Heaven and earth bear witnesse against you, that for this end, that we might be preserved and restored, wee have discharged our duties to you, both of love, fidelity and assistance, and in what else yee could demand or devise in all your severall needs, necessities and extremities, not thinking our lives, estates, nor any thing too precious to sacrifice for you and the Kingdomes safety, and shall wee now be thus unfaithfully, undutifully and ungratfully rewarded? For shame, let never such things be spoken far lesse recorded to future generations.

Thus Sir, I have so farre enboldened my selfe with you (hoping you will let greivances be uttered, that if God see it good they may be redressed, and give loosers leave to speake without offence) as I am forced to at this time, not only in the discharge of my duty to my selfe in particular, but to your selves and to our whole Country in generall for the present, and for our severall posterities for the future, and the Lord give you grace to take this timely advice, from so meane and unworthy an instrument.

One thing more (Sir) I shall be bold to crave at your hands, that you would be pleased to present my Appeale here inclosed, to your Honourable House; perchance the manner of it may beget a disaffection in you, or at least a suspition, of disfavour from the House: but howsoever, I beseech you, that you would make presentation thereof, and if any hazard and danger ensue, let it fall upon mee, for I have cast up mine accounts, I know the most that it can cost me, is but the dissolution of this fading mortality, which once must be dissolved; but after (blessed be God) commeth righteous judgement.

Thus (Sir) hoping my earnest and fervent desires after the universall freedomes and properties of this Nation in generall, and especially of the most godly and faithfull, in their consciences, persons and estates, will be a sufficient excuse with you, for this my tedious presumption upon your patience: I shal commit the premisses to your deliberate thoughts, and the issue thereof unto God; expecting and praying for his blessing upon all your faithfull and honest endevours in the prosecution thereof. And rest;

In Bonds for the just rights and
freedoms of the Commons of
England, theirs and your faithfull
friend and servant,

Richard Overton.

To the high and mighty States, the Knights Citizens and Burgesses in Parliament Assembled; (Englands legall Soveraigne power) The humble Appeale and supplication of Richard Overton, Prisoner in the most contemptible Goale of New gate.

Humbly sheweth;

THAT whereas your Petitioner under the pretence of a Criminall fact, being in a warlike manner brought before the House of Lords to be tried, and by them put to answer to Interogatories concerning himselfe, both which your Petitioner humbly conceiveth to be illegall, and contrary to the naturall rights, freedome and properties of the free Commoners of England (confirmed to thereby Magna Charta, the Petition of Right, and the Act for the abolishment of the Star-chamber) he therefore was enboldened to refuse subjection to the said House, both in the one and the other; expressing his resolution before them, that he would not infringe the private Rights and properties of himselfe, or of any one Commoner in particular, or the common Rights and properties of this Nation in generall: For which your Petitioner was by them adjudged contemptuous, & by an Order from the said House was therefore committed to the Goale of New-gate, where, from the 11. of August 1646, to this present he hath lyen, and there commanded to be kept till their Pleasures shall be further signified (as a copy of the said Order hereunto annexed doth declare) which may be perpetuall if they please, and may have their wils; for your Petitioner humbly conceiveth that thereby he is made a Prisoner to their Wils, not to the Law, except their Wils may be a Law.

Wherefore, your leige Petitioner doth make his humble appeale unto this most Soveraigne House (as to the highest Court of Judicatory in the Land, wherein all the appeales thereof are to centure, & beyond which none can legally be made) humbly craving (both in testimony of his acknowledgment of its legall regality, & of his due submission thereunto) that your Honours therein assembled, would take his cause (and in his, the cause of all the free Commoners of England, whom you represent, & for whom you sit) into your serious consideration and legall determination, that he may either by the mercy of the Law be repossessed of his just liberty and freedome, and thereby the whole Commons of England of theirs, their unjustly (as he humbly conceiveth) usurped & invaded by the House of LORDS, with due repairations of all such damages so sustained, or else that he may undergoe what penalty shall in equity by the impartiall severity of the Law he adjudged against him by this Honourable House, in case by them he shall be legally found a transgressour herein.

And Your Petitioner (as in duty
bound) shall ever pray, &c.

Die Martis 11. Augusti. 1646.

It is this day Ordered by the Lords in Parliament assembled, that [  ] Overton brought before a Committee of this House, for printing scandalous things against this House, is hereby committed to the Prison of New-gate, for his high contempt offered to this House, and to the said Committee by his contempteous words and gesture, and refusing to answer unto the Speaker: And that the said Overton shall be kept in safe custody by the Keeper of New-gate or his deputy, untill the Pleasure of the House be further signified.

To the Gentleman Usher
attending this House, or his
Deputy, to be delivered to
the Keeper of New-gate
or his Deputy.

John Brown Cleric. Parl.
Examinat. per Ra. Brisco Clrich.
de New-gate.

Postscript.

SIR,

YOur unseasonable absence from the House, chiefly while Mistres Lilborns Petition should have been read (you having a REPORT to make in her husbands behalfe, whereby the hearing thereof was defer’d and retarded) did possesse my mind with strong jealousies and feares of you, that you either preferred your own pleasure or private interest before the execution of justice and judgement, or else withdrew your selfe, on set purpose (through the strong instigation of the Lords) to evade the discharge of your trust to God and to your Country; but at your returne understanding, that you honestly & faithfully did redeem your absent time, I was dispossessed of those feares and jealousies: So that for my over-hasty censorious esteem of you, I humbly crave your excuse, hoping you will rather impute it to the fervency of my faithfull zeale to the common good, then to any malignant disposition or disaffection in me towards you: Yet (Sir) in this my suspition I was not single, for it was even become a generall surmise.

Wherefore (Sir) for the awarding your innocency for the future, from the tincture of such unjust and calumnious suspitions, be you diligent and faithfull, instant in season and out of season, omit no opportunity, (though with never so much hazard to your person, estate or family) to discharge the great trust (in you reposed with the rest of your fellow members) for the redemption of your native Country from the Arbitrary Domination and usurpations, either of the House of LORDS, or any other.

And since by the divine providence of God, it hath pleased that Honourable Assembly whereof you are a Member, to select and sever you out from amongst themselves, to be of that Committee which they have Ordained to receive the Commoners complaints against the House of LORDS, granted upon the foresaid most honourable Petition: Be you therefore impartiall, and just, active and resolute care neither for favours nor smiles, and be no respector of persons, let not the greatest Peers in the Land, be more respected with you, then somany old Bellowes-menders, Broom men, Coblers, Tinkers or Chimney-sweepers, who are all equally Free borne; with the hudgest men, and loftiest Anachuims in the Land.

Doe nothing for favour of the one, or feare of the other; and have a care of the temporary Sagacity of the new Sect of OPPORTUNITY TO POLITITIANS, whereof we have got at least two or three too many; for delayes & demurres of Justice are of more deceitfull & dangerous consequence, then the flat & open deniall of its execution, for the one keeps in suspence, makes negligent & remisse, the other provokes to speedy defence, makes active and resolute: Therefore be wise, quick, stout and impartiall: neither spare, favour, or connive at friend or foe, high or low, rich or poore, Lord or Commoner.

And let even the saying of the Lord, with which I will close this present discourse, close with your heart, and be with you to the death. Leviticus, 19. 15.

Yee shall doe no unrighteousnesse in judgement; thou shalt not respect the person of the poore, nor honour the person of the mighty, but in righteousnesse shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

FINIS.

 


 

T.70 (3.11) [Richard Overton], A Remonstrance of Many Thousand Citizens (7 July 1646).

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Bibliographical Information

ID Number

T.70 [1646.07.17] (3.11) [Richard Overton], A Remonstrance of Many Thousand Citizens, and other Free-born People of England, To their owne House of Commons (17 July 1646).

Full title

[Richard Overton], A Remonstrance of Many Thousand Citizens, and other Free-born People of England, To their owne House of Commons. Occasioned through the Illegall and barbarous Imprisonment of that Famous and Worthy Sufferer for his Countries Freedoms, Lieutenant Col. John Lilburne. Wherein their just Demands in behalfe of themselves and the whole Kingdome, concerning their Publick Safety, Peace and Freedome, is Express’d; calling thoise their Commissioners in Parliament to an Account, how they (since the beginning of their Session, to this present) have discharged their Duties to the Universallity of the People, their Sovereign Lord, from whom their Power and Strength is derived, and by whom (ad bene placitum) it is continued.
Printed in the Yeer. 1646.

Estimated date of publication

7 July 1646.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 450; E. 343. (11.)

Note: This pamphlet has an engraving of John Lilburne behind prison-bars which we have used as the title image of this collection.

The Liberty of the Freeborne Englishman (John Lilburne in Gaol)
The Liberty of the Freeborne Englishman (John Lilburne in Gaol)

Text of Pamphlet

WEE are well assured, yet cannot forget, that the cause of our choosing you to be Parliament-men, was to deliver us from all kind of Bondage, and to preserve the Common-wealth in Peace and Happinesse: For effecting whereof, we possessed you with the same Power that was in our selves, to have done the same; For wee might justly have done it our selves without you, if we had thought it convenient; choosing you [as Persons whom wee thought fitly quallified, and Faithfull, for avoiding some inconveniences.

But ye are to remember, this was only of us but a Power of trust, [which is ever revokable, and cannot be otherwise,] and to be imployed to no other end, then our owne well-being: Nor did wee choose you to continue our Trust’s longer, then the knowne established constitution of this Commonly-wealth will justly permit, and that could be but for one yeere at the most: for by our Law, a Parliament is to be called once every yeere, and oftner (if need be,) as ye well know. Wee are your Principalls, and you our Agents; it is a Truth which you cannot but acknowledge: For if you or any other shall assume, or exercise any Power, that is not derived from our Trust and choice thereunto, that Power is no lesse then usurpation and an Oppression, from which wee expect to be freed, in whomsoever we finde it; it being altogether inconsistent with the nature of just Freedome, which yee also very well understand.

The History of our Fore-fathers since they were Conquered by the Normans, doth manifest that this Nation hath been held in bondage all along ever since by the policies and force of the Officers of Trust in the Common-wealth, amongst whom, wee always esteemed Kings the chiefest: and what (in much of the formertime) was done by warre, and by impoverishing of the People, to make them slaves, and to hold them in bondage, our latter Princes have endeavoured to effect, by giving ease and wealth unto the People, but withall, corrupting their understanding, by infusing false Principles concerning Kings, and Government, and Parliaments, and Freedoms; and also using all meanes to corrupt and vitiate the manners of the youth, and strongest prop and support of the People, the Gentry.

It is wonderfull, that the failings of former Kings, to bring our Fore-fathers into bondage, together with the trouble and danger that some of them drew upon themselves and their Posterity, by those their unjust endevours, had not wrought in our latter Kings a resolution to rely on, and trust only to justice and square dealing with the People, especially considering the unaptnesse of the Nation to beare much, especially from those that pretend to love them, and unto whom they expressed so much hearty affection, (as any People in the world ever did,) as in the quiet admission of King James from Scotland, sufficient, (if any Obligation would worke Kings to Reason,) to have endeared both him and his sonne King Charles, to an inviolable love, and hearty affection to the English Nation; but it would not doe.

They choose rather to trust unto their Policies and Court Arts, to King-waste, and delusion, then to justice and plaine dealing; and did effect many things tending to our enslaving (as in your First Remonstrance; you shew skill enough to manifest the same to all the World:) and this Nation having been by their delusive Arts, and a long continued Peace, much softened and debased in judgement and Spirit, did beare far beyond its usuall temper, or any example of our Fore-Fathers, which (to our shame,) wee acknowledge.

But in conclusion, longer they would not beare, and then yee were chosen to worke our deliverance, and to Estate us in naturall and just libertie agreeable to Reason and common equitie; for whatever our Fore-fathers were; or whatever they did or suffered, or were enforced to yeeld unto; we are the men of the present age, and ought to be absolutely free from all kindes of exorbitancies, molestations or Arbitrary Power, and you wee choose to free us from all without exception or limitation, either in respect of Persons, Officers, Degrees, or things; and we were full of confidence, that ye also would have dealt impartially on our behalf, and made us the most absolute free People in the world.

But how ye have dealt with us; wee shall now let you know, and let the Righteous GOD judge between you and us; the continuall Oppressours of the Nation, have been Kings, which is so evident, that you cannot denie it; and ye yourselves have told the King, (whom yet you owne,) That his whole 16. Yeeres reigne was one continued act of the breach of the Law.

You shewed him, That you understood his under-working with Ireland, his endeavour to enforce the Parliament by the Army raised against Scotland, yee were eye-witnesses of his violent attempt about the Five Members; Yee saw evidently his purpose of raising Warre; yee have seen him engaged, and with obstinate violence, persisting in the most bloody Warre that ever this Nation knew, to the wasting and destruction of multitudes of honest and Religious People.

Yee have experience, that none but a King could doe so great intollerable mischiefes, the very name of King, proving a sufficient charme to delude many of our Brethren in Wales, Ireland, England, and Scotland too, so farre, as to fight against their own Liberties, which you know, no man under heaven could ever have done.

And yet, as if you were of Counsell with him, and were resolved to hold up his reputation, thereby to enable him to goe on in mischief, you maintaine, The King can doe no wrong, and apply all his Oppressions to Evill Counsellors, begging and intreating him in such submissive language, to returne to his Kingly Office and Parliament, as if you were resolved to make us beleeve, hee were a God, without whose presence, all must fall to ruine, or as if it were impossible for any Nation to be happy without a King.

You cannot fight for our Liberties, but it must be in the Name of King and Parliament; he that speakes of his cruelties, must be thrust out of your House and society; your Preachers must pray for him, as if he had not deserved to be excommunicated all Christian Society, or as if yee or they thought God were a respecter of the Persons of Kings in judgement.

By this and other your like dealings, your frequent treating, and tampering to maintaine his honour, Wee that have trusted you to deliver us from his Opressions, and to preserve us from his cruelties, are wasted and consumed (in multitudes) to manifold miseries, whilst you lie ready with open armes to receive him, and to make him a great and glorious King.

Have you shoke this Nation like an Earth-quake, to produce no more than this for us; Is it for this, that ye have made so free use, & been so bold both with our Persons & Estates? And doe you (because of our readings to comply with your desires in all things) conceive us so sottish, as to be contented with such unworthy returnes of our trust and Love? No; it is high time wee be plaine with you; WEE are not, nor SHALL not be so contented; Wee doe expect according to reason, that yee should in the first place, declare and set forth King Charles his wickednesse openly before the world, and withall, to shew the intollerable inconyeniences of having a Kingly Government, from the constant evill practices of those of this Nation; and so to declare King Charles an enemy, and to publish your resolution, never to have any more, but to acquite us of so great a charge and trouble forever, and to convert the great revenue of the Crowne to the publike treasure, to make good the injuries and injustices done heretofore, and of late by those that have possessed the same; and this we expected long since at your hand, and untill this be done, wee shall not thinke our selves well dealt withall in this originall of all Oppressions, to wit Kings.

Yee must also deal better with us concerning the Lords, then you have done? Yee only are chosen by Us the People; and therefore in you onely is the Power of binding the whole Nation, by making, altering, or abolishing of Lawes; Yee have therefore prejudiced Us, in acting so, as if ye could not make a Law without both the Royall assent of the King (so ye are pleased to expresse your selves,) and the assent of the Lords; yet when either King or Lords assent not to what you approve, yee have so much sense of your owne Power, as to assent what yee thinke good by an Order of your owne House.

What is this but to blinde our eyes, that Wee should not know where our Power is lodged, nor to whom to aply our selves for the use thereof; but if We want a Law, Wee must awaite till the King and Lords assent; if an Ordinance, then Wee must waite till the Lords assent; yet ye knowing their assent to be meerly formall, (as having no root in the choice of the People, from whom the Power that is just must be derived,) doe frequently importune their assent, which implies a most grosse absurditie.

For where their assent is necessary and essentiall, they must be as Free as you, to assent, or dissent as their understandings and Consciences should guide them: and might as justly importune you, as yee them. Yee ought in Conscience to reduce this case also to a certaintie, and not to waste time, and open your Counsells, and be lyable to so many Obstructions as yee have been.

But to prevaile with them (enjoying their Honours and Possessions,) to be lyable, and stand to be chosen for Knights and Burgesses by the People, as other the Gentry and Free-men of this Nation doe, which will be an Obligation upon them, as having one and the same interest: then also they would be distinguished by their vertues, and love to the Common-wealth, whereas now they Act and Vote in our affaires but as intruders, or as thrust upon us by Kings, to make good their Interests, which to this day have been to bring us into a slavish subjection to their wills.

Nor is there any reason, that they should in any measure, be lesse lyable to any Law then the Gentry are; Why should any of them assault, strike, or beate any, and not be lyable to the Law, as other men are? Why should not they be as lyable to their debts as other men? there is no reason: yet have yee stood still, and seen many of us, and some of your selves violently abused without repairation.

Wee desire you to free us from these abuses, and their negative Voices, or else tell us, that it is reasonable wee should be slaves, this being a perpetuall prejudice in our Government, neither consulting with Freedome nor Safety: with Freedome it cannot; for in this way of Voting in all Affaires of the Common-wealth, being not Chosen thereunto by the People, they are therein Masters & Lords of the People, which necessarily implyes the People to be their servants and vassalls, and they have used many of us accordingly, by committing divers to Prison upon their owne Authority, namely William Larner, Liev. Col. John Lilburne, and other worthy Sufferers, who upon Appeale unto you, have not beene relieved.

Wee must therefore pray you to make a Law against all kinds of Arbitrary Government, as the highest capitall offence against the Common-wealth, and to reduce all conditions of men to a certainty, that none hence-forward may presume or plead any thing in way of excuse, and that ye will leave no favour or scruple of Tyranicall Power over us in any whatsoever.

Time hath revealed hidden things unto us, things covered over thick and threefold with pretences of the true Reformed Religion, when as wee see apparently, that this Nation, and that of Scotland, are joyned together in a most bloody and consuming Warre, by the waste and policie of a sort of Lords in each Nation, that were male-contents, and vexed that the King had advanced others, and not themselves to the manageing of State-affaires.

Which they suffered till the King increasing his Oppressions in both Nations, gave them opportunity to reveale themselves, and then they resolve to bring the King to their bow and regulation, and to exclude all those from managing State-affaires that hee had advanced thereunto, and who were growne so insolent and presumptuous, as these discontented ones were lyable to continuall molestations from them, either by practices at Counsel-table, High-Commission, or Starre-chamber.

So as their work was to subvert the Monarchiall Lords and Clergy, and therewithall, to abate the Power of the King, and to Order him: but this was a mighty worke, and they were nowise able to effect it of themselves: therefore (say they,) the generallity of the People must be engaged; and how must this be done? Why say they, wee must associate with that part of the Clergy that are now made underlings, and others of them that have been oppressed, and with the most zealous religious Non-conformists, and by the helpe of these, wee will lay before the Generalitie of the People, all the Popish Innovations in Religion, all the Oppressions of the Bishops and High-Commission, all the exorbitances of the Counsell-board, and Star-chamber, all the injustice of the Chancery, and Courts of Justice, all the illegall Taxations, as Ship-mony, Pattents, and Projects, whereby we shall be sure to get into our Party, the generalitie of the Citie of London, and all the considerable substantiall People of both Nations.

By whose cry and importunity we shall have a Parliament, which wee shall by our manifold wayes, alliant, dependant, and relations soone worke to our purposes.

But (say some) this will never be effected without a Warre, for the King will have a strong party, and he will never submit to us; ’tis not expected otherwise (say they) and great and vaste sums of money must be raised, and Souldiers and Ammunition must be had, whereof wee shall not need to feare any want: for what will not an opprest, rich, and Religious People doe, to be delivered from all kinds of Oppression, both Spirituall and Temporall, and to be restored to purity and freedome in Religion, and to the just liberty of their Persons and Estates?

All our care must be to hold all at our Command and disposing; for if this People thus stirred up by us, should make an end too soon with the King and his party, it is much to be doubted, they would place the Supreme Power in their House of Commons, unto whom only of right it belongeth, they only being chosen by the People, which is so presently discerned, that as wee have a care the King and his Lords must not prevaile; so more especially, wee must be carefull the Supreme Power fall not into the Peoples hands, or House of Commons.

Therefore wee must so act, as not to make an end with the King and his Party, till by expence of time and treasure, a long, bloody and consuming War, decay of trade, and multitudes of the highest Impositions, the People by degrees are tyred and wearied, so as they shall not be able to contest or dispute with us, either about Supreame or inferiour Power; but wee will be able, afore they are aware, to give them both Law and Religion.

In Scotland it will be easie to establish the Presbyteriall Government in the Church, and that being once effected, it will not be much difficult in England, upon a pretence of uniformity in both Nations, and the like, unto which there will be found a Clergy as willing as wee, it giving them as absolute a Ministery over the Consciences of the People, over the Persons and Purses, as wee our selves aime at, or desire.

And if any shall presume to oppose either us or them, wee shall be easily able by the helpe of the Clergy, by our Party in the House of Commons, and by their and our influence in all parts of both Nations, easily to crush and suppress them.

Well (saies some) all this may be done, but wee, without abundance of travell to our selves, and wounding our owne Consciences, for wee must grosly dissemble before God, and all the world will see it in time; for wee can never doe all this that yee aime at, but by the very same oppressions as wee practised by the King, the Bishops, and all those his tyranicall Instruments, both in Religion, and Civill Government.

And it will never last or continue long, the People will see it, and hate you for it, more then ever they hated the former Tyrants and Oppressours: were it not better and safer for us to be just, and really to doe that for the People, which wee pretend, and for which wee shall so freely spend their lives and Estates, and so have their Love, and enjoy the Peace of quiet Consciences?

For (say they) are not Wee a LORD, a Peere of the Kingdom? Have you your Lordship or Peerage, or those Honours and Priviledges that belong thereunto from the love and Election of the People? Your interest is as different from theirs, and as inconsistent with their freedoms, as those Lords and Clergy are, whom wee strive to supplant.

And therefore, rather then satisfie the Peoples expectations in what concernes their Freedoms, it were much better to continue as wee are, and never disturbe the King in his Prerogatives, nor his Lords and Prelates in their Priviledges: and therefore let us be as one, and when wee talke of Conscience, let us make conscience, to make good unto our selves and our Posterities those Dignities, Honours and Preheminencies conveyed unto us by our Noble Progenitours, by all the meanes wee can; not making questions for Conscience sake, or any other things; and if wee be united in our endeavours, and worke wisely, observing when to advance, and when to give ground, wee cannot faile of successe, which will be an honour to our Names for ever.

These are the strong delusions that have been amongst us, and the mystery of iniquity hath wrought most vehemently in all our affaires: Hence it was that Strafford was so long in tryall, and that he had no greater heads to beare his company. Hence it was that the King was not called to an account for his oppressive Government, and that the treachery of those that would have enforced you, was not severely punished.

That the King gained time to raise an Army, and the Queene to furnish Ammunition; that our first and second Army was so ill formed, and as ill managed; Sherburn, Brainford, Exeter, the slender use of the Associate Counties, the slight garding of the sea, Oxford, Dermington, the West Defeate, did all proceed from (and upon) the Mystery of Iniquity.

The King and his Party had been nothing in your hands, had not some of you been engaged, and some of you ensnared, and the rest of you over-borne with this Mystery, which you may now easily perceive, if you have a minde thereunto, that yee were put upon the continuation of this Parliament, during the pleasure of both Houses, was from this Mystery, because in time these Politicians had hopes to worke, and pervert you to forsake the common Interest of those that choose and trusted you to promote their unjust Designe to enslave us; wherein they have prevailed too too much.

For Wee must deale plainly with you, yee have long time acted more like the House of Peers then the House of Commons: Wee can scarcely approach your Door with a Request or motion, though by way of Petition, but yee hold long debates, whether Wee break not your Priviledges; the Kings, or the Lords pretended Prerogatives never made a greater noise, nor was made more dreadfull then the Name of Priviledge of the House of Commons.

Your Members in all Impositions must not be taxed in the places where they live, like other men: Your servants have their Priviledges too. To accuse or prosecute any of you, is become dangerous to the Prosecutors. Yee have imprisonments as frequent for either Witnesses or Prosecutors, as ever the Star-chamber had, and yee are furnished with new devised Arguments, to prove, that yee onely may justly doe these grosse injustices, which the Starre-Chamber, High-Commission, and Counsell-board might not doe.

And for doing whereof (whil’st yee were untainted,) yee abolished them, for yee now frequently commit mens Persons to Prison without shewing Cause; Yee examine men upon Interogatories and Questions against themselves, and Imprison them for refusing to answere: And ye have Officious servile men, that write and publish Sophisticall Arguments to justifie your so doing, for which they are rewarded and countenanced, as the Starre-Chamber and High-Commission-beagles lately were.

Whilst those that ventured their lives for your establishment, are many of them vexed and molested, and impoverished by them; Yee have entertained to be your Committees servants, those very prowling Varlets that were imployed by those unjust Courts, who took pleasure to torment honest conscionable People; yet vex and molest honest men for matters of Religion, and difference with you and your Synod in judgement, and take upon you to determine of Doctrine and Discipline, approving this, and reproaching that, just like unto former ignorant pollitick. and superstitious Parliaments and Convocations: And thereby have divided honest People amongst themselves, by countenancing only those of the Presbitry, and discountenancing all the Separation, Anabaptists and Independents.

And though it resteth in you to acquiet all differences in affection, though not in judgement, by permitting every one to be fully perswaded in their owne mindes, commanding all Reproach to cease; yet as yee also had admitted Machiavells Maxime, Divide & impera, divide and prevaile; yee countenance onely one, open the Printing-presse onely unto one, and that to the Presbytry, and suffer them to raile and abuse, and domineere over all the rest, as if also ye had discovered and digested, That without a powerfull compulsive Presbytry in the Church, a compulsive mastership, or Arristocraticall Government over the People in the State, could never long be maintained.

Whereas truely wee are well assured, neither you, nor none else, can have any into Power at all to conclude the People in matters that concerne the Worship of God, for therein every one of us ought to be fully assured in our owne mindes, and to be sure to Worship him according to our Consciences.

Yee may propose what Forme yee conceive best, and most available for Information and well-being of the Nation, and may perswade and invite thereunto, but compell, yee cannot justly; for ye have no Power from Us so to doe, nor could you have; for we could not conferre a Power that was not in our selves, there being none of us, that can without wilfull sinne binde our selves to worship God after any other way, then what (to a tittle,) in our owne particular understandings, wee approve to be just.

And therefore We could not referre our selves to you in things of this Nature; and surely, if We could not conferre this Power upon you, yee cannot have it, and so not exercise it justly; Nay, as we ought not to revile or reproach any man for his differing with us in judgement, more then wee would be reviled or reproached for ours; even so yee ought not to countenance any Reproachers or revilers, or molesters for matters of Conscience.

But to protect and defend all that live peaceably in the Commonwealth, of what judgement or way of Worship whatsoever; and if ye would bend your mindes thereunto, and leave your selves open to give care, and to consider such things as would be presented unto you, a just way would be discovered for the Peace & quiet of the land in generall, and of every well-minded Person in particular.

But if you lock up your selves from hearing all voices; how is it possible you should try all things. It is not for you to assume a Power to controule and force Religion, or a way of Church Government, upon the People, because former Parliaments have so done; yee are first to prove that yee could have such a Power justly entrusted unto you by the People that trusted you, (which you see you have not,) we may happily be answered, that the Kings Writt that summons a Parliament, and directs the People to choose Knights and Burgesses, implyes the Establishment of Religion.

To which wee answere, that if Kings would prove themselves Lawfull Magistrates, they must prove themselves to be so, by a lawfull derivation of their Authority, which must be from the voluntary trust of the People, and then the case is the same with them, as between the People & you, they as you, being possessed of no more Power then what is in the People justly to intrust, and then all implications in the Writts, of the Establishment of Religion, sheweth that in that particular, as many other, we remain under the Norman yoke of an unlawfull Power, from which wee ought to free our selves; and which yee ought not to maintaine upon us, but to abrogate.

But ye have listned to any Counsells, rather then to the voice of us that trusted you: Why is it that you have stopt the Presse; but that you would have nothing but pleasing flattering Discourses, and go on to make your selves partakers of the Lordship over us, without hearing any thing to the contrary: yea, your Lords and Clergy long to have us in the same condition with our deluded brethren, the Commons of Scotland, where their understandings are so captivated with a Reverend opinion of their Presbytry, that they really beleeve them to be by Divine Authority, and are as zealous therein, as ever the poore deceived Papists were.

As much they live in feare of their thunder-bolts of Excommunication, and good cause they have, poor soules, for those Excommunications are so followed with the civill Sanction, or secular Power, that they are able to crush any opposer or dissenter to dust, to undoe or ruine any man: so absolute a Power hath their new Clergy already gained over the Poore People there, and earnestly labour to bring us into the same condition, because if wee should live in greater Freedome in this Nation, it would (they know,) in time be observed by their People, whose understandings would be thereby informed, and then they would grow impatient of their thraldome, and shake off their yoake.

They are also in no lesse bondage in things Civill, the Lords and great Men over-rule all, as they please; the People are scarce free in any thing.

Friends, these are known Truths.

And hence it is, that in their Counsells here, they adhere to those that maintaine their owne greatnesse, and usurped rule over us, lest if wee should here possesse greater liberty, then their vassalls the People in Scotland, they might in short time observe the same, and discharge themselves of their Oppressions.

It is from the mystery of iniquity, that yee have never made that use of the People of this Nation, in your warre, as you might have done, but have chosen rather to hazard their coming in, then to Arme your owne native undoubted friends; by which meanes they are possessed of too many considerable strengths of this Nation and speak such language in their late published papers, as if they were not payed for their slow assistance.

Whereas yee might have ended the Warre long ere this, if by Sea or Land you had shewed your selves resolved to make us a Free-People; but it is evident, a change of our bondage is the uttermost is intended us, and that too for a worse, and longer; if wee shall be so contended, but it is strange you should imagine.

But the truth is, wee finde none are so much hated by you, as those you thinke doe discerne those your purposes, or that apply themselves unto you, with motions tending to divert you from proceeding therein: for some yeers now, no condition of men can prevaile with you, to ammend any thing that is amisse in the Common-wealth.

The exorbitances in the Cities Government, and the strivings about Prerogatives in the Major and Aldermen, against the Freedoms of the Commons, (and to their extreme prejudice,) are returned to the same point they were at in Garrawayes time, which you observe, and move not, nor assist the Commons; Nay, worse then in his time, they are justified by the Major, in a book published, and sent by him to every Common-Counsell-man.

The oppression of the Turky Company, and the Adventerers Company, and all other infringements of our Native Liberties of the same nature, and which in the beginnings of the Parliament, yee seemed to abhominate, are now by you complyed withall, and licensed to goe on in their Oppressions.

Yee know, the Lawes of this Nation are unworthy a Free People, and deserve from first to last, to be considered, and seriously debated, and reduced to an agreement with common equity, and right reason, which ought to be the Forme and Life of every Government. Magna Charta it self being but a beggerly thing, containing many markes of intollerable bondage, & the Lawes that have been made since by Parliaments, have in very many particulars made our Government much more oppressive and intollerable.

The Norman way for ending of Controversies, was much more abusive then the English way, yet the Conquerour, contrary to his Oath introduced the Norman Lawes, and his litigious and vexatious way amongst us; the like he did also for punishment of malefactours, Controversies of all natures, having before a quick and finall dispatch in every hundred.

He erected a trade of judges and Lawyers, to sell justice and injustice at his owne unconscionable rate, and in what time bee pleased; the corruption whereof is yet remaining upon us, to our continuall impoverishing and molestation; from which we thought you should have delivered us.

Yee know also, Imprisonment for Debt, is not from the beginning; Yet ye thinke not of these many Thousand Persons and Families that are destroyed thereby, yee are Rich, and abound in goods, and have need of nothing; but the afflictions of the poore; your hunger-starved brethren, ye have no compassion of; Your zeal makes a noise as farre as Argiere, to deliver those captived Christians at the charge of others, but those whom your owne unjust Lawes hold captive in your owne Prisons; these are too neere you to thinke of; Nay, yee suffer poor Christians, for whom Christ died to kneel before you in the streets, aged, sick and cripled, begging your halfe-penny Charities, and yee rustle by them in your Coaches and silkes daily, without regard, or taking any course for their constant reliefe, their sight would melt the heart of any Christian, and yet it moves not you nor your Clergy.

Wee intreat you to consider what difference there is, between binding a man to an Oare, as a Gally-slave in Turkie or Argiere, and Pressing of men to serve in your Warre; to surprize a man on the sudden, force him from his Calling, where he lived comfortably, from a good trade; from his dear Parents, Wife or Children, against inclination, disposition to fight for a Cause hee understands not, and in Company of such, as he hath no comfort to be withall; for Pay, that will scarce give him sustenance; and if he live, to returne to a lost trade, or beggery, or not much better: If any Tyranny or cruelty exceed this; it must be worse then that of a Turkish Gally-slave.

But yee are apt to say, What remedy, men wee must have? To which we answer, in behalfe of ourselves, and our too much injured Brethren, that are Pressed; That the Hollanders our provident Neighbours have no such cruelties, esteeming nothing more unjust, or unreasonable, yet they want no men; and if ye would take care, that all sorts of men might find comfort and contentment in your Government, yee would not need to enforce men to serve your Warres.

And if yee would in many things follow their good example, and make this Nation a State, free from the Oppression of Kings, and the corruptions of the Court, and shew love to the People in the Constitutions of your Government, the affection of the People, would satisfie all common and publike Occasions: and in many particulars wee can shew you a remedy for this and all other inconveniences, if wee could find you inclinable to heare us.

Yee are extreamely altered in demeanour towards us, in the beginning yee seemed to know what Freedome was; made a distinction of honest men, whether rich or poor, all were welcome to you, and yee would mix your selves with us in a loving familiar way, void of Courtly observance or behaviour.

Yee kept your Committee doores open, all might heare & judge of your dealings, hardly ye would permit men to stand bareheaded before you, some of you telling them, ye more regarded their health, and that they should not deem of you, as of other domineering Courts, yee and they were one, all Commons of England; and the like ingenious carriage, by which ye wanne our affections to that height, that ye no sooner demanded any thing but it was effected; yee did well then, who did hinder you? the mystery of iniquity, that was it that perverted your course.

What a multitude of precious lives have been lost? What a masse of moneys have been raised? What one way was proposed to advance moneys, that was refused by you, though never so prejudiciall to the People, allowing your Committees to force men to pay or lend, or else to sweare that they were not worth so or so: the most destructive course to tradesmen, that could be devised, fifty intire subsidies, to be lent throughout London, if not procured, yet authorized by you; never the like heard of, and the Excise that being once setled, all other assessments should cease.

Notwithstanding in few moneths comes forth Ordinance upon Ordinance for more moneys, and for the Customes, they were thought an oppression in the beginning, and being (so high,) an hinderance to Trade, and extreamly prejudiciall to the Nation, neverthelesse is now confirmed, with many augmentations, in so much as men of inferiour trading finde great trouble to provide moneys for Customes, and have so many Officers to please, that it is a very slavery to have any thing to doe with them, and no remedy; the first Commissioners being more harsh and ingenious, then the late Farmers, and the last worse then the former.

Truly it is a sad thing, but too true, a plaine quiet-minded man in any place in England, is just like a harmelesse sheep in a Thicket, can hardly move or stirre, but hee shall be strech’d, and loose his wooll: such Committees have ye made in all Cities and Counties, and none are so ill used as honest Godly men.

Ye have now sate full five yeeres, which is foure yeeres longer then wee intended, for wee could choose you but for (at most) one yeere; and now we wish ye would publish to all the world, the good that you have done for us, the liberty ye have brought us unto: if yee could excuse your selves, as ye use to doe; by saying it hath been a time of warre; that will not doe: for when the warre might in the beginning have been prevented, if yee had drawn a little more blood from the right veine, and might often (ere this) have been ended.

Occasion hath been given away, and Treated away, and now, when through the faithfulnesse of the New Modell, yee have almost forc’d an end, and have no great part to effect: now againe, at the instigation of those that love their Kings more then all this Nation, and their owne, his Sacred or holy Majestie, must againe be treated with, their Nationall and Solemne League and Covenant with their God, binding them to be respecters of Persons in judgement: and to preserve His Person in the defence of the true Protestant Religion, and Libertie of the People; that hath constantly against all perswasion and Obligation, done what ever he could to subvert both: if this be not the height of the mystery of iniquitie, what is higher.

But let not these be deceived, nor thus under zealous expressions deceive you; wee wish your soules may no further enter into their secret: For God will not be mocked, nor suffer such grosse Hypocrisie to passe without exemplary punishment: And if yee beleeve there is a God; yee must beleeve it; and if yee doe beleeve it, and consider the wayes yee have troad, and truely repent, shew it by walking contrary to what yee have done, or purposed to doe, and let us quickly and speedily partake thereof: For God is a God that taketh vengeance, and will not suffer you to goe on to our ruine.

Wee have some hopes ye will; for amongst you, there have been alwayes faithfull and Worthy men, whose aboundant grief it hath been to observe the strange progresse of the Chosen men of the Common-wealth, and have strove exceedingly on all occasions to produce better effects, and some Christians of late produced to their praise.

Others there are, that have been onely misled by the policies, and stratagems of politick men, and these, after this our serious advice, will make you more seriously studdie the common Interrest of this Nation: others there are, and those a great number, that are newly chosen into your house, and wee trust are such as will exceedingly strengthen the good part, that hitherto hath been too weake to steere an even course amidst so many oppositions and crosse waves.

But henceforth joyn’d all in one will be able to doe and carry on whatsoever is just and good for the Common-wealth, the more just and good, the more easily effected, for such things are easily to be made evident to all men, and can never faile of the uttermost assistance of all well-minded People.

And therefore wee would not have you to be discouraged in attempting whatsoever is evidently just, for Wee will therein assist you to the last drop of our bloods: Feare neither the Anakims, nor the sonnes of the Gyants, For the LORD our God, hee will stand by you in all things that are just, and will blesse and prosper you therein.

Forsake, and utterly renounce all craftie and subtill intentions; hide not your thoughts from Us, and give us encouragement to be open-breasted unto you: Proclaime afore-hand, what yee determine to doe, in establishing any thing for continuance; and heare all things that can be spoken with or against the same, and to that intent, let the imprisoned Presses at liberty, that all mens understandings may be more conveniently informed, and convinced, as faire as is possible by the equity of your Proceedings.

Wee cannot but expect to be delivered from the Norman bondage, whereof wee now as well as our Predecessours, have felt the smart by these bloody warres; and from all unreasonable lawes made ever since that unhappy conquest; as wee have encouragement, wee shall informe you further, and guide you, as we observe your doings.

The Worke yee must note is ours, and not your owne, though ye are to be partakers with us in the well or ill doing thereof: and therefore ye must expect to heare more frequently from us then yee have done, nor will it be your wisedome to take these Admonitions and Cautions in evill part.

If yee consider well, yee may wonder Wee are no tarter: Ye may perceive, wee have not yet left our true English confidence, but are willing that both you, and all our Neighbour Nations should know, that wee both see and know all stratagems and Policies that are laid in waite to entrap, and so to enslave us, and that wee bid defyance to their worst our enemies can doe; we know wee have stoore of friends in our Neighbour Countries.

Our head is not yet so intoxicated with this New mystery of Iniquity, but that a reasonable Cordiall Administered by your hand, will set us fast in our seat.

Yee are not to reckon that yee have any longer time to effect the Great Worke wee have entrusted unto you: for wee must not loose our free choice of a Parliament once every yeer, fresh and fresh for a continuall Parliament.

For so, if a present Parliament be mistaken in their understandings, and doe things prejudiciall, We may so long remain under these prejudices, that the Common-wealth. may be endangered thereby, nor doe wee value a Trieniall Parliament: before three yeeres come to an end, Grievances and Mischiefes may be past remedy.

And therefore our advice is, that yee Order a meeting of the chosen of Parliament-men, to be expresly upon one certaine day in November yeerly throughout the Land in the Places accustomed, and to be by you expressed, there to make choice of whom they think good, according to Law, and all men that have a Right to be there, not to faile upon a great penaltie but no summons to be expected.

And if any Person without exception, shall write Letters, or use any endeavours to incline the choosers to choose any man, or use any meanes to disturbe or pervert them from a free Choice, then that all such sinister dealing be made punishable, or a most haynous crime.

And that a Parliament so chosen in November, succeeding yeere by yeere, may come instead of the preceeding Parliament, and proceed with the Affaires of the Common-Wealth; nor would wee have it in the Power of our Parliament, to receive any Member from his Place or service of the House, without the consent had of those Counties, Cities and Burroughs respectively that choose him; great inconveniences depending thereon, whereof wee have scene and felt too much.

Now, if yee shall conscionably performe your Trust the yeer ensuing, and order the Parliaments to succeed as aforesaid, then Wee shall not doubt to be made absolute Free-men in time, and become a just, plenteous and Powerfull Nation; All that is past will be forgotten, and Wee shall yet have cause to rejoyce in your Wisedome and Fidelity.

POSTSCRIPT.

Moreover, as for me, God forbid that I should sinne against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and right way. Onely feare the LORD, and serve him in Truth with all your heart: For considder how great things He hath done for you. But if yee still doe wickedly, yee shall be consumed, both yee and your King. 1 Sam. 22, 23, 24, 25.

FINIS.

 


 

T.69 (3.10) William Larner, A Vindication of every Free-mans libertie (June 1646).

 

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Bibliographical Information

ID Number

T.69 [1646.??] (3.10) William Larner, A Vindication of every Free-mans libertie against all Arbitrary power and Government (June 1646).

Full title

William Larner, A Vindication of every Free-mans libertie against all Arbitrary power and Government, Or, A Letter of William Larner, Prisoner, to Sir Henry Vane junior, a Parliament man: Wherein is set forth his unjust Imprisonment, and cruell hard dealings towards the said William Larner.

The pamphlet contains the following parts:

  1. Letter
  2. To the Right honourable, the Lords assembled in Parliament. The humble Petition of Hellen Larner,

 

Estimated date of publication

June 1646.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

Not listed in TT.

Leveller Tract: T.69 (3.10) William Larner, A Vindication of every Free-mans libertie against all Arbitrary power and Government (June 1646)

Honoured Sir,

IT is not unknown unto you, my suffering condition, being in some measure set forth unto you, in my Letter of the 3d. of April last past, which I sent you then: I expected according to your undertaking and promise, you would have done somewhat whereby I might either have been freed from these my bands, or otherwise brought to triall, according to Law, and not thus to have suffered me to languish in prison, as many more do. The House of Commons have declared, that they will not exercise any Arbitrary power, or suffer it to be done by any other, but according to the fundamentall Lawes of this Kingdome, Justice and right to be done to every man without respect of persons: Besides, you have bound your selves by Oath unto, and by a Law confirmed the Great Charter of Liberties, for the preservation whereof we have adventured all, in assisting you against the oppugners thereof.

But now contrary to your Oathes, Protestations, Lawes and Statutes of this Kingdome, am I still detained in prison, to the ruining and utter undoing of my wife and family, all means of subsistence and livelihood being taken from us, yet you seem regardlesse of it, as if it were a matter that concerned you nothing. Sir, I pray you to consider, that if the oppressions and severall grievances of men in particular be not redressed, what avails your generall Laws? If you that are Members of the House, refuse to present our grievance and just complaints, to the House, what hopes can we have to receive any comfort of relief there, whatsoever good that Honourable House intends us? So as indeed you that neglect or refuse to open your mouths (being bound by Oath and the duty of your place thereunto for us) in presenting our Petitions, conditions and sufferings, to that Honourable House, may you not be truly said to be such as are the betrayers of our Liberties, covertly doing more disservice to the Parliament and State, then the Enemy that openly fighteth against them: The Enemy discovers themselves (by oppugning the Laws and our liberties) what they be; but you whilest you retard the delivering up of our complaints, thinking the fault to be in the House, causes us to conceive hard thoughts against them, brings us into a dislike of their government, and thus you do the work of the Enemy; and by thus neglecting us, do the Parliament more harm, and in time (if not provided for) will prove more dangerous then all the machinations and attempts of the adversary: For, the people begin already to look upon you, as men carrying on your own designes and peculiar and private interests, under the Veil of publike pretences, and that your care is how to get great Offices and places for your selves and your friends, and while you suffer us the Commons to be spoiled of all, to lie in Prisons, and undergo all miseries, wants and extremities, you be nothing troubled thereat, so long as your selves fare well; this is utterly a fault in many of you, of no little blemish and shame for you, and cannot be imputed to be little lesse then meer madnesse, in thus exasperating our spirits, and alienating our affections from you, and yet to stand upon so high tearms with the contrary party.

Till you by actions manifest, as by your words you have declared to the world, to be the men you professe and would seem to be, I and others shall doubt that you intend nothing lesse then our good, or peace. For hitherto you have sworn and protested, but all as yet in vain: For these our Bonds and Imprisonments shew them to be (hitherto) emptinesse and Winde; and if this be continued, these courses will make the people hate you, and as you have been regardlesse of their burthens and complaints, so (I fear) when you shall expect and most need their help, they will dissert you.

Sir, are we a free-born people, or are we born slaves? What I pray you, makes you to differ? who brought you into that House? whether your own greatnesse and power, or the peoples love and Election? If by the people, how comes it then to passe, that their grievances and complaints be so little minded, and themselves so contemptible in your eyes? (as if meer slaves:) Beware, lest losing and neglecting them, you lose not your selves: Excuse my plainnesse and freedome; for if I hold my peace, I see destruction; by putting my self forth this way, I may happily save you and my self, in awaking you out of this drowsinesse, carelesnesse (of our common liberty) with which you are so deeply overtaken.

You see in what condition you have brought us, even into a condition worse then slavery, yea, worse then death; for in death sorrow is not remembered; bread is provided for the slave, but we your prisoners (loaden with sorrow, broken with affliction) mewed up in your prison houses, oftentimes wish for death and cannot finde it, nor any bread you provide for us, hunger-starved men, and we pine in prisons, not pitied, not lamented.

Sir, if I have offended, if I have transgressed any known law, I then crave the benefit of the Law, the liberty of a Free-man; that, either according to the same I may be tried for my justification or condemnation, or otherwise; that I may be holden no longer from my charge and* calling, in this my tormenting Prison.

You have confirmed Magna Charta, and many other good Lawes since made in favour of our Liberties, and yet unrepealed; which if they were duly put in execution, I then should not doubt but to come forth out of prison, to the confusion of the faces of such as prosecutes, and maliciously informs against me: In the beginning of this Parliament you brought us out of Prisons, approved our standings and sufferings against the Exorbitant and Arbitrary power and Government of the Starchamber, Councell Table, and high Commission Court. These your incouragements made us bold, did you finde us ungrateful? We are the same men still, we have the same affections to you, and if by you we may receive one Ordinance, viz. The Ordinance of Justice, then assure your selves, we to our abilities will not be wanting to you, but will be ever ready to spend and be spent for you: Thus hoping you will at length answer the expectation of a Free-man of England wrongfully imprisoned, and no longer adde to the sins of the Prelates, to the increasing of wrath, by imprisoning and unjustly tormenting, just and free persons. In expectation whereof, Sir I am, and will remain

Yours in all due respects to his power:
Will: Larner.

To the Right honourable, the Lords assembled in Parliament.

The humble Petition of Hellen Larner, in the behalf of her husband William Larner, and their two servants, John Larner, and Jane Hale.

William Larner
Larner, William
Sheweth,

THat your Petitioners husband, hath now stood committed more then 8. Weeks, and their servants in the Fleet four Weeks, upon a false suggestion of Hunscots (the Stationers Beadle) a malicious adversary of your poor petitioners husband.

Your Petitioner most humbly beseecheth your Honours, to commiserate our deplorable condition, whose meanes of livelihood, depends solely upon their calling and liberty, and therefore according to your noble clemencie, to be pleased to assigne unto them, their liberty out of Goal, free of all prison fees:

And your Petitioner as bound, shall pray, &c.
William Larner.

 


 

T.35 (2.3) Henry Robinson, Liberty of Conscience (24 March 1644).

 

 

Bibliographical Information

ID Number

T.35 [1644.03.24] (2.3) Henry Robinson, Liberty of Conscience: Or the Sole means to obtaine Peace and Truth (24 March 1644).

Full title

Henry Robinson, Liberty of Conscience: Or the Sole means to obtaine Peace and Truth. Not onely reconciling His majesty with His Subjects, but all Christian States and princes to one another, with the freest passage for the Gospel. Very seasonable and necessary in these distracted times, when most men are weary of War, and cannot finde the way to Peace.
Printed in the Yeare 1643.

The pamphlet contains the following parts:

  1. To every Christian Reader that seeks Truth as well as Peace
  2. Liberty of Conscience: Or, The only means to obtain Peace and Truth

 

Estimated date of publication

24 March 1644

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 316; Thomason E. 39. (1.)

Leveller Tract: T.35 (2.3) Henry Robinson, Liberty of Conscience: Or the Sole means to obtaine Peace and Truth (24 March 1644).

To every Christian Reader that seeks Truth as well as Peace

Beloved in Christ Jesus:

LEt not the seeming noveltie of opinions deter thee from searching out the Truth, and be assured that Gods people, as well as worldlings have their times to fish in troubled waters; wherefore before thou proceed on with this Discourse, promise me, I beseech thee, to read it out; and if thou then repent thee of thy paines, let me but know so much, and I shall willingly take upon me a double penance for thy satisfaction and amends.

I am not ignorant that the lawfulnesse of newtrality is much controverted both in policie and conscience, but men of moderation which endeavour to qualifie or decline the precipice of extreams, ought not to be accounted newtralls or luke-warme: Such then (as I presume) will no more be of opinion, that all on the Kings side are Papists or Popishly affected, then that all on the Parliaments are Brownists, Anabaptists, or thereunto inclined; nor all that are at Oxford enemies of God and godly men, or all at London to take up Arms only for good of either; but that there are on both sides great numbers, though not equall, which wish sincerely and mean well, notwithstanding there may have been many weaknesses, infirmities & errours expressed by them; for, the presence and influence of both the Armies I conceive but much alike conducing to make the people really good or bad, though they must outwardly comply with both, so long as they are neare them and have any thing to lose, and do not yet perceive, but that such Members of the Lords and Commons House, are much the same, notwithstanding their passing to and fro between London and Oxford.

But the London Pamphlets querie, whether Papists are likely to settle the Protestant Religion? And Aulicus seeming no lesse scrupulous, askes whether Brownists or Anabaptists will? But if a third should resolve them both, and say, that the Protestant Religion hath not been in England these eighty years, he might run the hazard to be thought a libeller, and yet it may chance be found so, if we examine what it is, whence it came, whether it be not confined amongst the Lutherans, and how much we differ from it, though we still retain the name: But what matters it, whether we be called Protestants or otherwise? or is truth and propriety the worse, because we endeavour, or attaine them by the helpe of Papists and of Brownists? or may not Papists and Brownists as lawfully serve their King and Countrey, as those thundering legions of Primitive Christians did the Heathen Emperours? The King saies he took up defensive Arms; and both Houses of Parliament averre that they did so: The Parliament party fear that if the King prevail, though his Majesty himselfe be not Popishly affected, the Bishops would be established, and by their jurisdiction, suppresse all such as did not conforme both to their discipline and doctrine: On the other side, the Kings party is in as great a fear, that if the Parliaments side should get the upper hand, though they do not establish Brownisme or Anabaptisme, yet they would settle a Presbytery, which may as much abridge them the Liberty of Conscience, as they themselves have been abridged under Episcopacie heretofore; in which respect, each party for the present, pretends to grant such a liberty as shall be sutable and complying with tender consciences, but neither dare yeeld unto, or trust the other: In such a case as this, is there no remedy? Hath God left us quite destitute of meanes to stop so great a gap to prevent the totall ruine and desolation of three Nations, not without the greatest scandall and offence which ever befell the Reformed Protestant Religion? The feare is equall and extream on both sides, though either of them is like enough to say, the others fear is but imaginary, yet both of them, since they say so, and cannot be disproved, are to be treated and proceeded with, alike: To this the King addes, and saies, that besides sundry demonstrations of His grace and favour, I have granted a perpetuall Parliament, and if ever that should have an end, they have still a trienniall Parliament to perpetuity, which of themselves only transcend all the grants that ever my Predecessours made unto their Subjects: and notwithstanding all this, they attempt my life, and take away my Revenues, Royalty, and Religion too, if it were possible: On the contrary, the two Houses of Parliament in their severall Remonstrances have informed his Majesty, how through predominancie of evill counsellours the Subjects liberties have had severall great breaches made upon them, innovations of Doctrine and Discipline in their Religion, and they are really and totally possessed, that by the same, and such like evill counsellours which are likely to succeed, their whole priviledges and propriety will be forced from them, and the profession of the true Protestant Religion utterly abolished; assuring his Majesty notwithstanding, that if he will be pleased to returne unto his great Councell, cause delinquents to be brought to triall, and settle the Militia of the Kingdome in such persons as both Houses may confide in, there shall be no failing on their parts to make him a glorious Prince, beloved at home, feared abroad, and enlarge his Revenues beyond all his Predecessours; but not finding how to qualifie the diffidence which each hath of the other, both sides have strengthned themselves, brought severall Armies into the field, fought some pitcht battells, and had so many skirmishes and encounters, as, besides the firing of whole Townes, deflouring of Virgins, committing rapes, rapines, and a thousand other villanies, hath been the death perhaps of above a hundred thousand soules in England only, then which, what could possibly befall more offensive unto God, or damageable to the State? Surely both parties should be desirous of composing such a difference, which in so high a nature and degree, is totally destructive unto both? But alas! the jealousies are such, that neither dare well offer, or entertain a Treaty, lest the other should make advantage of it; & yet a King cannot be said to deal too great a measure of love unto his people, nor subjects to out-doe their duty unto their King; nor the sword be said or thought properly or justly to have a capacity and power of settling true Religion; or Christians of all ranks and conditions whatsoever, more glorifie the King of Kings, then in renouncing all earthly interests and advantages, rather then his great Name should be evill spoken of, or the bloud of his dearest Saints to be spilt upon the ground, and yet we cannot possibly imagine, without the greatest scandall of our owne charity, and offence unto the weaker brethren, but that some of them have already dyed on either side, God of his infinite mercy direct them both, that neither of them come short or be found guilty in either.

Another of the London queries is, Whether if Religion, and the State be in imminent danger of an Oxford party, both Houses of Parliament, and so great a portion as adheres unto them, may not defend themselves by Armes? and since Aulicus seems to be as much afraid that both Religion, Laws, and Priviledges of Parliament are equally endangered by the London Apprentices, and those that went to Westminster, some will thinke it best to answer both in one, and say, necessity hath no law, it is above all law, and though there be neither Act of Parliament, Ordinance of both Houses, or so much as a bare order of either, necessity will notwithstanding sufficiently warrant & instruct the people, as certainly and lawfully, though not so readily, to defend themselves from ruine and destruction; grant then that the danger be imminent, the necessity is implied therein, and all the rest will follow: This is a truth, though such a one as must be justly ballanced, and tenderly made use of; it is no doctrine of libertinisme, though libertines should abuse it, and for a curbe to such as would flie out on either side: If all fortifications throughout the Kingdome were once demolished, it would be to little purpose for a King to require more of the Subjects then the Laws permit, and they had willingnesse to performe; or for the representatives to engage the Kingdome farther then they that chose them, shall unanimously approve thereof: And since the strength and power is naturally in the people, as God doubtlesse allowes thereof, that they might have a possibility to shelter themselves against the extremities of tyranny in what government soever; so will none truly conscientious, easily take occasion hereby to deny subjection to the Powers: It is not sufficient to say there is imminent danger and necessity, both God and man must see it is so, and unlesse we be both wise & conscientious in the mangage of it, slanders by and others, the Saints of all neighbouring States and Nations will judge otherwise thereof hereafter, what ever we our selves declare therein at present: what would the King or Parliament gaine thereby, if either of them did prevaile by sword? in such case the conquered party must be still kept under by a martiall law and power, which would so long continue grievous to them both, untill the whole Kingdome be weary of it, and joyntly agree to cast the yoke from off them; so that unlesse the conditions be free, just and equall in apprehension of them both, Prerogative continued unto the King, Priviledges to both Houses of Parliament, and Liberties unto the Subject, we cannot expect a during peace, much lesse a Reformation of what is amisse either in Civill or Ecclesiasticall affaires, nor Gods blessing upon any of them.

Having thus heard what is alledged, and tryed and prepared our consciences on both sides let us thinke upon a Treaty, and rather then be without it, the wars may still be prosecuted, as if there were no Treaty? And because it may seem that the King and Parliament doe not confide in one another, I wish with all meeknesse and submission that they may both consider whether it is not necessary that some such middle way be thought on, as neither of them remaine at the meer power and mercy of the other, and yet it would not be good to divide the Kingdom again into a Heptarchie, or more, or fewer portions, but if it should be thought fitting towards the compassing a speedier disbanding of the Souldiers and demolishing all Inland works, whereby the Countrey is not only plundered of what they have at present, but absolutely discouraged to till the ground, and nourish cattell, lest both stocke and fruit be taken from them afterwards; that in this interim only, each of them may have a rationall security and safeguard against the others attempt, whilest the bloud which hath been so long boyling, be growne cold againe, and every one of us better fitted and disposed to imbrace each other more cordially, that in such case, and for such purpose only, certaine garrisons for a short time may still remaine in some of the Sea-Ports as both King and Parliament shall approve of.

For more facilitating of so good a worke, give me leave to premise these few things: 1. That the King being but one, cannot possibly overmatch the Subjects, unlesse they will themselves, and therefore the Houses of Parliament may with lesse danger treat him more like a King. 2. The King being sole disposer of his owne, may better resolve to forgoe the present enjoyment of some small part thereof a while, when He shall finde that God will trie Him, in calling for it to purchase His owne peace, and three Kingdomes welfare, which both Houses cannot comply in, unlesse the major part be willing. 3. Though the generall good of all his Subjects ought rather to oversway a King, then all his owne interests in the Kingdome, yet since it is more harsh to Royall flesh and bloud (borne to rule and governe others) to renounce their owne just rights, much more to deliver up unto the adverse party, all such as have adhered to Him; so may the Parliament expresse much Noblenesse and Wisdome in being tender of pressing Him with so great a tryall. 4. That though either side conceive the Propositions which shall be made unequall, and little hopes of bettering them for the present; yet I presume the difference will not be so great, but both of them may expect security therein at time of need; and in case either side should take advantage, and break out again, a good cause and conscience with a lesse Army, may more hopefully expect assistance from God to overcome a greater. 5. If Armes being laid downe on both sides, the King through importunity of evill counsellours should refuse to passe any other Acts for redresse of sundry grievances which the Subjects yet lye under, both Houses have the same liberty to withold their consent in such other Acts as were for the Kings advantage, and I humbly propound whether it may not appeare upon enquiry, that (concerning civill interests) the Subjects, for the present, stand in lesse need of new Acts to be passed in their favour then the King does of Subsidies, His Majesty being no little indebted, His charge so much encreased, and His revenue lessened. 6. If evill Counsellers or Courtiers should returne againe to innovate either in Church or State, they cannot have the boldnesse or power to worke such mischiefe, but a trieniall Parliament will easily be able to make them weary of it. And lastly, That it cannot be for the good of King and People, that the three estates in Parliament, though Armes were quite laid downe, should stand severely upon the priviledge of their negative respective voyces, but necessarily must comply with one another to make their mutuall happinesse compleat.

And because I am verily perswaded that one great reason which moved God to permit these Kingdomes to be thus divided, and engaged in a civill War, was the generall obstinacie and aversenesse of most men of all ranks and qualities in each Nation, to tollerate, and beare with tender consciences, and different opinions of their brethren, unlesse they were thereunto so far necessitated, that without it, there must inevitably ensue on both sides a totall ruine and destruction, which is full neare, the present wofull condition that all three, so lately flourishing Kingdomes, are now plunged into, God of his great mercy vouchsafe effectually to shew them their deliverance: in this respect, as also in that I cannot thinke, that God hath suffered so much bloudshed, either to establish the Kings Prerogative, or the Priviledge of Parliament only, but that He hath yet a far greater worke of his own to bring about, I humbly conceive that Liberty of Conscience may deservedly require to be first treated on, what, and how far forth it may and ought to be permitted; which being throughly debated, and agreed on by both sides as the first Article, to be forthwith ratified by the three estates in Parliament, all the rest will doubtlesse follow more willingly and sweetly.

If a man will raile against the high Commission Court, or in a seditious manner revile Episcopacie or Presbytery, he shall not want multitudes to countenance and cry him up, but such as in a Christian way, goe about with meeknesse to discover, and desire the spring head may be reformed, the unwarrantable power of both witheld, from whence the spirituall wickednesses arise, and without which, though we should chance be eased a while by change, upon the abolishing of Prelacie, yet the milde and gentle interregnum, would prove so much more cruell to us afterwards, when a succeeding government, having the selfe same corrupting principles with Episcopacie, and knowing its own strength, shall, contrary to Pauls doctrine, 2 Cor. 1. 24. assume againe the dominion of our consciences, after we had tasted the sweetnesse of Christian liberty, and slattered our selves with the continuance of it; such I say, may run the hazard to be accounted presumptuous, turbulent, or innovaters, so dim sighted are most men in the mystery of godlinesse, and so inclinable to be transported with carnall wisdome and security: It is not the imperiousnesse of Episcopacie, Presbytery, or a Classis in what degree of comparison soever they shall ranke themselves, which can scourge men into a spirituall Temple fit for the Holy Ghost to dwell in, no meanes so much conducing thereunto as a fatherly reproving, a brotherly admonishing, and a most patheticall beseeching one another, like that of St. Paul the aged, Philem. 9. in the bowels and tenderest compassion of Jesus Christ, which how seldome it hath been practised by either of them in respect of what they ought, and how little fruit we see thereof, I desire no wayes to aggravate, but mention only, (God is my record) not so much for their sorrow, as amendment, having just cause to pray that I may finde repentance for my share thereof, which is not with the least.

Let both the Oxford and London party consider duly, whether to be persecuted be not a signe of the true Church, since Paul saies, 2 Tim. 3. 12. All that will live godly must suffer persecution, and consequently though we had not one word more in all the Bible to this purpose, whether that government be not likeliest to be such as Christ intended to rule his people by, whom he calls his Sheep his Lambes, Joh. 21. 15. 16. no creatures of prey, which most respects, and bears with tender consciences? and since all governments may degenerate into tyranny, though for the present, all things were settled according to either of their desires, whether notwithstanding they ought not to wish, and even in meer policie endeavour that there might be a tolleration of weake consciences, lest through the vicissitude and wheeling about of time, their owne consciences might come againe to be oppressed hereafter: for Salomon saies, Ec. 1. 9. There is no new thing under the sun, and the thing which hath been, is that which shall be done againe hereafter: and the generall applause and confidence which Episcopacie had so lately of its owne strength in this Kingdome, should be a warning for all other governments not to subject themselves through presumption of their power and party unto the like downfall and destruction: and such as have either felt or understood the spirituall bondage which this Kingdome hath twice suffered in time of Popery and Prelacie by reason of their coercive jurisdiction, unlesse they be both earnest with God and man, that the same be not given unto any other government, will bring upon their owne soules, the miscarriage of all such as perish through the tyranny which it will infallibly fall into and exercise hereafter; it was not their Popery or Prelacie (that was to themselves) which so much oppressed us, as their power, otherwise, the persons of such which still remained in the same Popish and Prelaticall opinions, ought to have been rather proceeded against, and not that power to be arraigned and condemned both of spirituall and corporall rape and murder in Prelacie, which was so soone after to be again enthroned in Presbytery: I humbly querie what it might be that moved both Houses of Parliament to vote and prepare a Bill against Episcopacie, or that prevailed with the Estates of Scotland to declare it Antichristian; if it were only an abusing of such power as was given to the Church, and might possibly have been well imployed, then may a Reformation or punishing of such Bishops as abused it, redresse our grievances, and the government still remaine established; but if it were the great Diana, Act. 19. 24, 28. that strumpet and Idol which is common to them all, that plenepotentiary jurisdiction to administer or passe sentence against their brethren in person or estate, by vertue of a coercive discipline and dominion, how can it safely be given unto any other government, since that both Popular and Aristocraticall with all others, are as infallibly, though not equally subject to tyrannize, as the Papall or Episcopall? And Whereas it is said that Presbytery disclaimes coercive power to be in the Church, but about it only to be imployed by the Civill Magistrate in behalfe and benefit of the Church, I would faine be informed, whether the Civill Magistrate be Judge when it is fitting to imploy such power for behoofe of the Church; and if he be, whether then the Civill Magistrate be not above the Church, and every member and the whole Church lyable to correction though they offend not in their owne opinions; and if the Civill Magistrate may not move therein untill the Church or Presbytery require, whether such may not be said the Churches using of the Civill sword in a more superlative and sovereigne way, little differing from what they practise in the Papacie, which is first to degrade and disrobe all Ecclesiasticall persons, and so deliver up, both them and all others that shall be found guilty unto the Civill Magistrate, which may not refuse to see the execution done.

And because it may be objected that many places of Scripture herein alledged, may as well seem to speake for a tolleration of Popery, and my selfe therein to plead for it, let such be pleased to rest satisfied, that though I cannot for the present make full discovery in the word of God, why, or how Papists should be forced by fines and other penalties to be of our Religion, yet I take not upon me to be spokesman for a tolleration of theirs, by reason of their Idolatry; but my humble desires are prostrated unto the King and Parliament that all other Christians who are now reproached under the name of Puritans, Separatists or Nonconformists of what kind soever, who are so far from being suspected, that they must needs be acknowledged the greatest enemies to Idolatry, may enjoy such peace and freedome, as will permit them to keep alwayes a good conscience both before God and man, Act. 24. 16. And that they would vouchsafe, out of the love they beare to Gods Cause and People, to take into further consideration, that if as Reformed Protestants, we may not suffer Papists and Turks to make profession of their Religion amongst us, in a qualified and more moderate manner, as in some parts of Germany, where they have Churches, but are not permitted their publicke Processions, or open exposing of the Sacrament, as they call it, which no Protestants can walke the streets about, without being subject to be scandalized thereat, how far, in such case, it may be found agreeable to the Word of God, for Protestants to transplant themselves by Colonies, or as particular Marchants to goe and live in Turky, or in Italy and Spaine especially, where, though they were not troubled with the Inquisition, though they were not forced to Church, which they frequent notwithstanding to prevent the danger of it, though they might enjoy their owne Religion quietly, whether they may for this respect live in Italy and Spaine, where they cannot chuse but see (and must likewise seem to countenance by putting off of hats, setting out lights, adorning with pictures, hangings, or otherwise that part of their houses where the Procession passes, sometimes with corporall kneeling, and seldome without bowing) even at their owne windows, and in the streets as they walke about their businesse, the superstitious pageantrie of their wil-worship, and Idolatry, which is the condition of all our Merchants and Travellers that go amongst them.

And whereas many will not sticke to say, that such are luke-warme or of no Religion, who delude a tolleration of so many? I answer, That it is the freedome of their owne conscience which they desire, not to be indifferently of any Religion, or prophanely of none at all, but that they might enjoy alwayes peaceably that Religion, which they have examined and sound to be the true one, and not be subject to a change so often as the Civill State, or those of the highest Court shall please to vary; for since they are chosen anew so often as a Parliament is called, they may every time be of different, if not of opposite opinions and religions; and far more is it to be feared, that such will be found carelesse, if not negligent, in the choice of their Religion, as little troubling themselves to trie the spirits whether they be of God or no, 1 John 4. 1. or examine the opinions and doctrines which are taught, receive them currantly, what ever they be, so they come sealed and delivered by authority of State.

It hath more then once come into my thoughts, what might move the wisdome of God, to leave the Scriptures so liable to the diversities of interpretations, which in regard it favoured more of curiosity then edifying, I purposely forbore to ruminate thereon; however at the same instant, it came into my minde as not altogether impossible, that God might be so pleased, to make men more diligent and inquisitive to search after truth, and conscientious in imbracing it with fear and troubling, Phil. 2. 12. after which manner we are required to work out our salvation: In this respect, the very Law of Moses consisting in a dead letter, which the Divil himselfe could scarce controvert or pick a quarrell with, did not render the Jews so scrupulous and conscionable, as the Gospel doth Christians; and even amongst all those that professe Christianity, I conceive it may easily be observed, that such as study the variety of opinions, and trie the spirits out of a zeale to truth, choosing their Religion by their owne judgements, though erronious, are yet more jealous of Gods worship, and conscionable towards men. Shall men so far distrust themselves to feare they may be misted into a false religion or opinion, because they have liberty to make profession of the truth? or can a man be in a better condition then he can with himselfe to be? are we the more acceptable to God because we will not be of the true Religion, unlesse we be forced thereto? or are we the more excusable in being of the false; because we are willing to be compelled into it? is the tyranny of the body so grievous to us, and are we in love with spirituall bondage? To be of a Religion because it is countenanced by the law in that Countrey where thou livest, or because most men are of the same, is no good reason; it is not a hundred yeares since Popery was established by law in England, and may be so againe for all that we can tell, most part of Europe still being Papists: Dear Reader, search, examine thine owne heart, and consider whether it may not be found in the last day, that many men have taken up that Religion which was with most importunity thrust upon them, rather then they would take paines to make triall of it: Oh, but some will say it is presumption to be wiser then a Synod or a State; consider againe, I beseech thee in the feare of God, who is more arrogant and presumptuous, he that seeketh to enjoy his owne conscience peaceably, only admonishing and informing such as run erronious wayes with all humility and love, or those that imperiously, and will they nill they, constraine others to make profession of such opinions as they themselves are of? and yet there is no medium between an implicite faith, and that which a mans owne judgement and understanding leads him to.

But some will still object and say, what shall be done to those that are obstinately malignant, and maliciously perverse in their owne opinions? I answer, That as in the Parable it is said, If they bear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be perswaded, though one rose from the dead, Luke 16. 31. So if informing, exhorting, and such fair means, or others which are Scripture proofe, doe not prevaile with such as are led into false opinions, harsh and compulsive, or other which are unwarrantable cannot, and therefore to charge a man that he is wilfully blinde, and will not see the truth, if he submit himselfe to heare and read what shall be lawfully required of him in that behalfe, is the most uncivill, unreasonable, and unchristianlike offence that words know how to utter, and flatly against all reason, ordinary policie, & Scripture, to endeavour or think that the mysticall Body of our Saviour may possibly be built up after such a manner, as it should alwayes remaine in continuall fear and power of men to pull it downe againe; and though we should suppose, that this very man who is thus reproached, had yeelded and complied in whatsoever could have been expected from him, yet it was impossible for him to be in heart of this or that opinion, to beleeve this or that doctrine of truth, untill God had touched his heart, and called him thereunto, till when they ought still in meeknesse to instruct even those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgement of truth, 2 Tim. 2. 25. as appears more largely in the following Discourses. We say that Church Papists are most dangerous, and hypocrites the worit of men, what ground have we then, or how can we excuse our provoking them to goe to Church, or tempting them to be such by so many severall waies? that may be lawfull to one who thinks so, which to another would be sin, because he doubts thereof: have we not learned that eating of meats only was sin in some good Christians, 1 Cor. 8. 10, 11. when others might freely eat thereof without any guiltinesse at all? how much more may the same case happen in points of discipline or doctrine, wherein the worship of God is more highly interessed and concerned.

I confesse my selfe much inferiour to the taske I have undertook, and should in no sort have presumed upon it, had I not apprehended my selfe to be called thereunto, through the silence of so many who were abundantly better qualified to undergoe it; however I doubt not but God will be so far forth pleased to second my weak endeavours, as sundry well disposed souls may be provoked to light their torches at these sparkles, and prosecute it with more advantages for this cause am I moved to make them publick, not for any private respect or interest of mine own, further then they are involved in the generall; for if at any time I stood in need of liberty and freedome in mine own particular, I am not such a stranger to forreigne Countries, both of severall climates and professions, but that I can finde the way thither againe to purchase my enlargement.

I know I have not observed the symmetrie and rules of Architecture in contriving so large a Portall for so small a Fabrick, however, before I take my leave, let me advertise thee, that I plead not against, but for liberty, and that the best of all liberties, the Liberty of Conscience; not for, but against imprisoning, fining, or formenting, of all others the most tyrannicall, for matters meerly of Religion; not for, but against the shedding bloud, Christian bloud, Protestant bloud of the most conscientious Christians, Gods dearest Saints, the Lords inheritance, for whose salvation only our Saviour shed his owne most precious bloud. Dear Reader, let but the thought hereof prevail with thee to demurre a little, and consider, whether this controversie, about liberty or bondage, life and death both temporall and spirituall, though heretofore seldome thought on, be not worth debating; Nulla unquam de morte hominis constatie longe: disclaime all carnall wisdome which knew not what to counsell thee; renounce thine owne self will and wishes, that foolishly have wished and willed so many things unduly, as had not God withold them from thee, must needs have been thy finall ruine: And now at last, fit and prepare thy minde to receive in such further light and truth, as the Blessed Spirit shall please to visit thee withall, and rest assured, that God who now stands looking out for such labourers, wil in some degree and measure according to thy readinesse, make thee an instrument of a sanctified peace and reformation, where with three Kingdomes are now in travell, to his owne glory, and thy eternall happinesse: Which God of his infinite goodnesse bestow upon thee, and all such as in sincerity seek Peace and Truth: Amen.

Besides mispointing, the Errata are many, and some of them very grosse, in which respect the Reader will doubtlesse finde the benefit thereof, if before he proceed any further he resolve to rectifie these that fellow, viz. Page 4. line 17. for perish, read persist. ibid. p. l. 35. take. p. 6. l. 13. ingenuous. ib. p. l. 38. Barbery p. 9. l. 12. many times. p. 10. l. 20 persist. p. 12. l. 22. whence. p. 14. l. 26. those. p. 18. l. 33. ingenuous. p. 20. l. 5. doubting. p. 22. l. 14. make. p. 24. l. 39. one on. p. 21 l. 32. expressely. ib. p. l. 4 1. these. p. 29. l. 3. cannot possibly. p. 30. l. 29. with. p. 32. l. 13. make. p. 33. l. 11. apprehended. p. 47. l. 15. from though he write, to the end of l. 17. must come in at l. 20. after Bez. p. 49. l. 22. extraordinarily ib. p. l. 29. us. ib. p. l. 38. principles. p. 50. l. 12. your. ib. p. l. 27. as is yet. p. 51. l. 41. rather than. p. 55. l. 20. have not. p. 56. l. 6. principles.

Liberty of Conscience: Or, The only means to obtain Peace and Truth

THE Sword, Pestilence, and Famine, are the three most dreadfull scourges wherewith God uses to chastise a stubborne People; and although that Sinne be the only generall cause to pull downe vengeance, and God ordinarily makes use of naturall meanes to convey it upon us in what kinde soever; yet in the former, man appeares to be a more principall and immediate instrument, then in the two latter, and doubtlesse by Gods permission, hath a greater liberty and power to beginne, and put an end to it, which was the cause that the Sword onely hath destroyed far more without comparison, then Famine and pestilence together: wherefore when David found himselfe in a strait by the three propositions of Sword, Pestilence and Famina, which God made unto him as a punishment for numbring of the people, knowing full well the cruelties of man,1 Chron. 2. chose to fall into the hand of God, who therefore sent the Pestilence upon Israell, which in this respect besides others may justly be thought the more mercifull of all three, and by consequence of what was said, it will follow, that such as have the keeping of the Sword, with power to draw and put it up again, must be accountable for all the blondshed: Had Kings no other thornes about their Crownes, doubtlesse this one if duly thought on, would keep them circumspect and watchfull in every action, the least whereof, though insensibly, conduces somewhat towards Peace or Warfare.

Warres, and rumours of warres have ever beene, and are at present throughout the world; but since Princes became Christians, it may have been observed, how Christendome a spot of ground only, hath continually been the Cock-pit, & all the world besides but as a breathing place; however we ought not for this cause to be forward in justifying Wars the more, but rather make search and strict enquiry whence it comes to passe, that Christians are so plunged therein, since they of all other people can justifie it least.

I know there may be a just War, but what I am now to say, is meant only against that which is unjust, and so desire it may be understood, whereof I doe the more presume because no Warre but hath much evill as the effect thereof; and however for such as do begin a War, we may charitably conceive of both sides, that they apprehend it to be lawfull, yet if we examine standers by, and heare what all that are not interessed doe judge thereof, we shall finde them generally condemning both sides, though one perhaps in a greater measure than another.

St. Paul sayes, that covetousnesse is the root of all evill, and Warre which is the greatest of those evills, questionlesse was never yet without a coveting; however, because that neither coveting, nor such other motives as are the reall and originall causes of taking up of Armes, have not for the most part beene found, or thought sufficient to prevaile, or beare sway enough with all such as are to be required to contribute largely for the maintenance thereof; I say, it may most commonly be observed, that whatsoever were the reall, though more secret ground of War. Religion was still pretended to be the principall, or at least endeavoured to be made seem so far forth hazarded and engaged in the quarrell, that no man might adventure to call in question the lawfulnesse thereof, or seem backward in supplying without palpable scandall and suspition of luke-warmnesse in Religion: I need not bring examples for proofe hereof, every mans own acquaintance in Histories will furnish himselfe abundantly.

But in regard that Religion, though perhaps it seldome was the primary and sole cause of making War (in that I thinke few have been so conscientious, yet such as some Casuists conceive, were but a misgrounded conscience in respect of an offensive War) hath notwithstanding been, and still is the most powerfull meanes and stratagem to countenance and continue it, whereby that which ought to be most deare and sacred, becomes a pander to satisfie our lusts, the consideration whereof, the shedding so much Christian bloud, the obstructing of the Gospels propagation, the miserable devastation of whole Countries, with infinite perpetrating and multiplication of most enormous and execrable villanies, have moved me to consider with my selfe, which way Religion might be vindicated and redeemed from this abuse, the grand meanes of fomenting Wars discovered, the main jealousies prevented which Princes pretend to have of one another, or King and people amongst themselves, towards accommodation of the present Wars, and cutting off occasion from such as otherwise might spring up againe hereafter.

Whether Religion have been the reall cause of so much War in Christendome, or so pretended only, makes all one to what I have in hand, which is to prove in this Discourse, by Gods assistance, how a man ought not to be persecuted for conscience sake, as will appeare by the inconsistencie thereof with sundry Scriptures following, which being once concluded on, and put in practice, will make an open way for the free passage of the Gospel, quite cut off the greatest jealousies and feares which perplex the mindes of Princes, States and People, when they suppose or but alleadge an endangering of their Religion, and consequently the likeliest course of reducing all Christian Countries to peace amongst themselves, and friendly intercourse with one another.

St. Paul saith, You are bought with a price,1 Cor. 7. 2. 25, 24. be ye not the servants of men: this must be meant for matters of this world, or else of that which is to come; about subjection of the body in civill affaires, or subjection of the soule in spirituall; but it cannot be understood for matters of the body, or of this world, because it would then contradict other places of Scripture,Rom. 1. 3. 1. which command all to be subject unto higher Powers, servants to their masters,1 Pet. 7. 13. wives to their husbands, and the like; in which respect,Eph. 5. 21. 6. 5. as also from the coherence with the words aforegoing,1 Pet. 2. 8. it appeares necessarily to be understood, that we must not be subject concerning our Religion,Col. 3. 22. matters of conscience or touching the soule, to be of this or that Religion, because we are commanded by King or State, for though it be the true Religion which we professe, yet if we were forced to it, it will doe us little good, nor be ever a whit available, for God accepts only of willing service, such as we performe of our owne free election, not by compulsion.

Neither is the objection good,Object. that though men be forced into the true Religion at first without any liking of their owne, yet afterwards it falls out that such approve of it, and will not bee brought to change nor alter, which must needs be acceptable to God: For first,Answ. the compelling of a man to any thing against his owne conscience, especially in matters of faith, is a doing evill, which God forbids, that good may come of it,Rom. 3. 8. : 14. 23. and therefore we cannot expect that he should prosper, so bad a meanes to produce so good effect, as that people at first constrained to make profession of the true Religion, should afterwards prove sincere and true beleevers, by vertue of those coercive powers which were meerly unwarrantable and sinfull, but for such as doe so continue, it is to be attributed to some other meanes whereby they became convinced of the truth, or more secret call of God, which would in due time have found out, and brought them home into his sheepfold without the helpe of a tyranous inquisition.

This is more evident if we consider the multitudes of people and whole Nations which live and dye in the Religion they were borne, with equall constancie and security, though their faith and tenets be diametrically opposite to one another; and for those that happen to be thus of the true Religion, because borne in it, though it be the true one, and that they will not be brought to change, yet for most part they can give no better reason of their faith, then those that are in the wrong, and perish as obstinately, for they tooke not their Religion upon choice or triall, neither do they continue it upon judgement, never having searched or tried the Scriptures, as we are commanded; and indeed they may well say,Ir. 1 3. 5. h. 4. 1. 1. 8. to what purpose shall we examine our selves, as St. Paul saith, whether we be in the faith or no? to what end, Try the spirits whether they be of God? or, Search the Scriptures, whether the doctrine taught us now be the same which the Apostles left us? when we may not professe the Religion we apprehend to be the only true one, but are forced to make profession of that only which the State shall thinke fit, and declare to be such.

Nay, in that St. Paul sayes, Trie the spirits whether they bee of God or no; and tells them plainly, that if any man thinke himselfe to be something, then he is nothing, that he deceiveth himselfe, and that every man should therefore prove his owne worke, and that then he shall have rejoycing in himselfe alone, and not in another, for every man shall beare his owne burthen, Gal. 6. 3, 4. 5. And to the Thessalonians he saies, Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good, 1 Thess. 5. 21. Do not such thwart and resist these Scriptures, who take upon them to assigne and stint men unto certaine spirits, as though they could be saved by the faith and knowledge of others, with expresse peremptory commands to receive them for the true Spirit of God, without any triall or examination? and indeed it is better to take up a Religion without triall upon adventure, then having examined and found it Antichristian or erronious, submit unto it notwithstanding; but certainly if well examined, this will appeare not a bare adding or taking from the word of God, but a flat opposition, and giving the lie, as I may terme it, unto the Scriptures, for whom a heavier judgement is preparing, if such a one were possible,Rev. 22. 1 then that which is denounced in the Revelation.

What if the Prince and Peeres should change Religion, must they be subject also to persecution? I know not how they can be well secured so long as such Statutes are in force, for in that they concerne matters of Religion, if they binde at all, they binde most of all: But what if a King and Parliament should repeale all Acts against the Papists, and passe others of the same tenour against all Protestants, must we therefore all turne Papists? If that Religion must be received and forced upon the consciences of people, which by a major part is voted to be the true one, I know no remedy but that we may be lyable againe hereafter to change as often as those that lived in the Reignes of Henry 8. Edward 6. Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth.

My humble desires therefore are that we may not procrastinate any longer the preventing so great a misery, as the world cannot possibly torment us with a greater, not through confidence of a present prevailing party, or such other assurance as carnall policie and wisdome doe only furnish us withall; the Bishops condition may be sufficient item to us in this behalfe, who, notwithstanding so many suffered by them, had within lesse then five yeares since greater multitudes of abettors within this Kingdome, then ever any kinde of Church government in likelihood will find hereafter; it is necessary therefore to proceed upon a sure foundation, by passing an act against persecution for Religion, which besides the agreeablenesse with Scripture, all degrees of people having once tasted the sweetnesse of it, will never suffer themselves to be bereaved thereof againe, and by that means become a sure establisher of the generall peace of the Kingdome, and dispose every one more willingly to submit to higher powers, though to some prejudice of his propriety when he apprehends himself certain to enjoy the Liberty of his Conscience.

But may we not any longer be subject unto men?1 Cor. 7. 2. Surely then in whatsoever sense it be meant, we must be subject unto Christ, his yoke is easie;Matth. 11.3 cd and we must not live lawlesse as we our selves list, but persecution imposes a heavier yoke of subjection upon the Conscience, then any Prince or Tyrant in the world doth upon the body of his Subjects: And although every soule must be subject to higher Powers in civill matters, yet there are degrees of subjection and relations in a Common-wealth whereby one is bound to yeeld more or lesse subjection, obedience, respect, and honour, according to the respective Lawes and ranke wherein he stands; and yet in most Countries every Subject from the highest to the lowest hath a kinde of freedome, and possibility of quitting himselfe from the most toilsome and inferiour vassalage, if he be a man of abilities or wealth; but that Law which imposes on the Conscience,Note. serves all alike, save that the most ingenious and conscientious are most afflicted with it, and so long as it is in force, a good Conscience hath no meanes either to evade it or dispence with it.

But how fruitlesse a course it is to force men to conformity in a Religion they have no liking of, will appeare by the small successe it wrought on Papists here in England, many whereof went to Church when they were strictly lookt too, stopping their eares with wooll because they would not heare at all, or heare with an intention to beleeve the contrary; or else like Protestant Merchants and travellers in Italy and Spaine, which ordinarily goe to Masse and Vespers, to avoid suspition of the Inquisition, but because their hearts joyn not in the Church devotions, they purposely send their eyes a gadding after beauty, whilest many, too too many, by custome assume so great a liberty, as if the eye could not sin in one respect, whilest the heart consented not in another, or rather as if God would pardon them the lust of the eye, so long as they were not Popish in their hearts.

But more remarkable it is in the Moores of Spaine and Jewes of Portugal, some whereof dissembled Popery in their successive generations some hundreds of yeares together, untill the Moores being discovered in such multitudes, as that the King not thinking it safe to retaine them longer in so slavish a captivity of the Conscience, nor able to give them a tolleration without the Popes dispencing, commanded them to be gone, and accordingly about the yeare 1606. they conveyed themselves into Barbaria and Turkey, with such a stocke of Christian crafts and pollicie, as not only the Pirates, but those whole Nations are much advantaged and improved, to the no lesse shame than detriment of Christianity: Oh let not the like befall England, with her manufactors, but I feare it is almost too late to wish so, for so many thousands of them being already gone, are able to teach all the world, unlesse both they be suddenly recalled, and others encouraged to continue by a Liberty of Conscience.

And for the Jewes in Portugall, the Inquisition used alwaies to be full of them, seldome without foure hundred or five hundred together, and though most of them will not scruple, and many of them chuse rather to marry with such as really are Christians, that they may with more security play the hypocrites, yet by such as live amongst them it is observed, that though from one generation to another, they have matched into Christian families, yet they reserve and instill their Jewish principles so subtilly into their offspring, as the children though they have remaining in them not above one two and thirtieth part of a Jew, are notwithstanding knowne by infallible presumptions to be Jewes in heart, though outwardly they make profession otherwise.

In the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus answered,John 1 My Kingdome is not of this world, if my Kingdome were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered up to the Jewes. What can be more opposite unto the intentions and proceedings of our Saviour, who rather than resist chose to suffer persecution unto death, than these that persecute others unto death? If Christs Kingdome be not of this world, but if it be mysticall and spirituall, then must it necessarily be erected by powerfull preaching of the Word, and by the Spirit: When Peter smote off the high Priest servants eare in defence of his Master,Matth. 52. our Saviour bids him put up his sword, and instead of commending him and his zeal in rescuing the sacred Person of our blessed Saviour, saies, All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword:Eph. 6:1 And St. Paul exhorts the Ephesians to be strong, but in the Lord, and in the power of his might, not brandishing the sword of civill Magistrates, but to take the helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: and in another place he sayes, that Faith comes by hearing,Rom. 11 and how shall they beleeve in him they have not heard? and how shall they heare without a preacher? And yet if it had been as good a way, Paul would doubtlesse have taught it them, by saying, how shall they beleeve unlesse you tell them? and how shall they know what is to bee beleeved, unlesse you impose it upon them? But this was none of Pauls Doctrine; both our Saviour and his Apostles not only taught and practised, but sealed the contrary with their bloud.

The Spaniards are blamed, and that justly, by all other Nations for having massacred so many millions of West-Indians in their owne Country, under pretence of Religion, though it be evident, it was only that they might the easier rifle them of their gold and silver, and so it is in all persecutions pretended for Conscience sake; for did we but a little consider with our selves, we would easily conclude, that few have been yet so mad to put people to death meerly for Religion sake; I know that many in passion, rage and fury, will say it is pity such Hereticks should live, but when such men are in a calme mood,Rom. 12. 1. if another Nathan, like him that came to David, should say unto them, there is such a neighbour of mine charitable to the poore, upright in his dealing, courteous in his behaviour, meek and lowly minded, loyall to his Sovereigne, true to his Country, chusing rather to suffer than offer injuries, beloved of all that knew him, and never so much as tainted with suspition of any thing blame-worthy, till of late being accused as a Separatist for seducing the Kings liege people unto his owne Religion: the Jury finding him guilty, he is condemned to dye; will not a tender hearted Christian be ready to reply, it is pity such a one should dye? and though the Law condemne him, the King is mercifull, and doubtlesse would reprieve him if he knew he had been loyall to his Country, and committed no other sinne then endeavouring by argument from Scripture to bring others of his owne Religion: now though most men, or every good man would be loth that a conscientious Christian should be put to death for doing nothing but what he is bound in conscience, the winning Proselites to his cause, his religion, which amongst so many different sorts of Christians; he thinks to be the right, and himselfe no lesse obliged to publish it,34. 17. 10. then Peter and John, who when they were commanded by the Magistrate not to speake or teach in the name of Jesus, answered, We cannot but speake the things which we have seen and heard: And when our Saviour sent out his Apostles,tth. 10. 17. he said unto them, What I tell you in darknesse, speake ye in light, and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house tops, and feare not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soule: Now though Christians generally will not acknowledge that they put any to death meerly for Conscience sake, yet so long as there is a Law where-unto such as differ from us in religion, or any point thereof shal be more lyable then ourselves; as the Jewes, when they could not resist and gainsay the spirit wherewith Steven spake, stirred up the people, suborned and set up false witnesses to accuse him, Acts 6. 11. 13. So, amongst us there will not be wanting one or other who for some private interest and by-respect, will finde out one to accuse, others to witnesse, a Jury to give verdict and make guilty, a Judge to pronounce the sentence, and at last finde meanes to keep the King from reprieving, all of them thus conspiring to put him to death by the advantage of such a Law, whereas really it was not his Religion which they so much regarded, and they may cleerly say they put him not to death for his Religion, but it was their owne respective private benefit and ends which corrupted them to compasse his distruction by force and colour of such a Law.

But why? what reason which is Scripture proofe can be given, why a particular Gentleman should be put out of a Mannor whereof he hath the propriety by inheritance or purchase, more than a whole Nation, a Nation of Infidells and Pagans for Religion sake?Obj. Perhaps it may be said, the State hath enacted a Law whereby this Gentlemans whole revenue or part of it becomes forfeited, because he is not of the true Religion; whereto I answer, That Popery was enacted to be the true Religion in Queen Maries dayes,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and that which Protestants professe in Queen Elizabeths, yet they could not be both the true Religion, however the Subject was not suffered to say so much of either, so long as they had a Parliament protection; but doubtlesse all just Laws have their grounds and rule in Scripture, and more exactly such as concerne Religion, which is the unum necessarium: and if a Pagan Nation may not be invaded in their teritories, because they will not be of our Religion, nor a neighbouring Christian people differing from us in some opinions, why should a particular man have his only lambe,2 Sarr. 4. his pittance taken from him for refusing only to be of a religion, or of an opinion which would absolute damne him because he doubts,Rom. 23. so long as he lives peaceably, and gives unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsars?

In Genesis we finde that Hamor and Sechem told the men of their City that Jacob and his children were peaceable, and therefore moved that they might dwell in the land and trade therein; but when Simeon and Levi had treacherously slaine Hamor, Sechem, and all their males, whilst they were sore after their late circumcision, though it was in revenge that Sechem had first defiled their sister Dinah, yet Jacob reproved them greatly, saying ye have troubled me, and made me to stinke amongst the inhabitants, Gen. 34. 2. 21. 25. 30. So when the Protestant Princes made intercession to the Emperours of Germany, or Kings of France in behalfe of such as professed the reformed Religion: nay, when any Christian Prince made meanes to Turke or Persian that their subjects might live within their jurisdictions enjoying Liberty of Conscience, doe we thinke they used any other arguments then that such Christians were peaceable harmlesse men, medled not with the State or Government, and desired only that they might be permitted to recide there, and enjoy the freedome of their Conscience, where they had their revenues, friends, or best meanes to get a livelihood? they moved not that such poore Christians might not be persecuted because they were of the true Religion, for every man thinkes his owne to be the truest, and though he take advice of never so many, will not let another be finall judge thereof; for Turkes have as much reason to persecute Christians, as Christians have to persecute Turkes; but for Christians to persecute one another, and yet blame one another for the same persecution; how can they chuse but thinke St. Pauls reprehension was not so sutable to the Romans, as themselves? and how can they expect to avoid Gods judgements mentioned in the Text, so long as they perish so wilfully, condemning others for what they doe themselves? the words are these; Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest, for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thy selfe,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. for thou that judgest doest the same things: And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which doe such things, and doest the same, that thou shall escape the judgement? Might not St. Paul if he were now living say, Thou Protestant, sayest thou a man [a Calvinist] should not persecute, and doest thou the same? Thou Calvinist, sayest thou a man [a Protestant] should not persecute, and doest thou the same? Since it is most true, that they must mutually justifie, or mutually condemne each other, and though it will be by both sides alleadged, that none are put to death amongst them meerly for Religion sake, I feare me, it may be found upon due scrutiny, how many have dyed on both sides, as well for exercising their owne Religion, as seeking to convert others; and in regard that both Calvinists,9. Lutherans, and all others of the reformed Religion have received and acknowledged our Saviours command to love their neighbours as themselves, and doe to others as they would be done to, and thinke they are no lesse bound then St. Peter, when he was converted, to convert his brethren,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and this being a doctrine and point of Faith, which all reformed Christians make profession of, such of them as have been imprisoned, fined, banished, or put to death, for no other cause but what this point of their faith obliged them to, cannot be said otherwise then to have beene thus persecuted meerly for Religion sake: And there is this more of aggravation, that for the most part these fierce and persecuting Christians esteem each other in a damnable condition so long as they perish and dye therein, and yet either of them being by the other condemned to death shall have his pardon, if he become a convert, which is a destroying of the spirit that the flesh may be saved, just opposite to St. Pauls doctrine, but if he refuse, they proceed to execution, which according to their owne opinion sends them irrevocably to hell, whereas in Christian charity they ought rather to reprieve them, that there might be a possibility of their conversion: and were we not besotted with most supine carelessenes or ignorance, wee should not chuse but see that persecuting and putting to death the body of such as differ from us in religion or opinion, cannot possibly be out of charity to their soules, but must needs acknowledge that either we are guilty of their perishing both body and soule, if they dye in such opinions, or else condemne our selves on the other side for putting them to death, because they were of such a religion or opinion as accompained them to heaven:1 If St. Paul to the Corinthians prescribes all Christians a way of proceeding against sinners for destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus; and if hee tels Timothy that a servant of the Lord must not strive,2 but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meeknesse instructing those that oppose themselves,2. if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgement of the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of the snares of the Divell: what art thou, O Christian, who contradicting the Holy Ghost in these places of Scripture, thus puttest Christians to death after such a manner, and in such a time, as that according to the faith whereof thou thy selfe makest profession, the spirit of such Christians cannot possibly be saved, but must inevitably be damned in the day of our Lord Jesus? consider of it, I beseech thee in the feare of God, and be humbled, endeavouring to redeem thine owne misdoing by the grace of God, in earnestly petitioning his divine Goodnesse to dispose the King and Parliament for repealing some lawes, and enacting others, whereby the people may be free hereafter from so dangerous a temptation, as this power and colour of persecuting others for Religion sake leads them unto.

But I must not yet leave St. Paul without making a little more use of so bright a light, who reproving the Corinthians in that they suffered such as committed fornication to live amongst them, though absent by virtue of his Apostleship, judged such offenders to be taken from them,1 Cor. 5. 3, 4, 5. and by the same authority commanded the Church of Corinth to put it in execution, & that when they came together in the name of the Lord Jesus, they should deliver such a one unto Sathan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus: Now either this delivering up to Sathan was a present putting to death with a blasphemous inference, that the sudden putting to death is a saving of the soul, or else it is only some Ecclesiasticall and Christian censure whereby the sinner might have liberty to survive for the mortifying of his body and destroying all fleshly lusts that the soule might escape in the dreadfull day of judgement, so that such as put the body to death, as much as in them lyes,Note. dam the soul, quite opposite to St. Pauls intention, who prescribed another way of justice with his expresse reason for it, That the soule might be saved; wherefore they may well be reproved and reprehended in his owne words to the Romans,Rom. 2. 4. Despisest thou the riches of the goodnesse and forbearance and long suffering, not knowing that the goodnesse of God leadeth thee to repentance?1 Cor. 3. 6 And whereas in other places, he saies, We are by Christ made able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life: unlesse in this, and such other Scriptures, it be understood that the Gospel dispences ordinarily with the letter of the Law, to mitigate and qualifie temporall punishments of the body,Exod. 21. 12. 15. 17. Liv. 20. 10 and 24. 17 21. Num. 35. 16. & seq. Object. as well as to free us from eternall torments of the soule; I doe not finde where Christian people and Commonwealths take power of sparing such offenders which by the expresse letter of the Law were commanded to be put to death.

But some will say, if men be suffered to preach such grosse erronious doctrines, the number of Hereticks would quickly be so great, that true Beleevers might be swallowed up by them, as good corne which is choaked many times through abundance of tares and weeds; whereto I answer,Answ. That we should do that only which is commanded and warrantable, relying upon Gods providence concerning the event, he spares not these erronious Beleevers or Hereticks that they might seduce and pervert the faithfull,Joh. 24. 24 for that is impossible, but that the faithfull might in his due time reduce the misbeleevers unto the truth, who if they should be taken off presently, would for all we can expect have perished in their sinnes:1 Cor. 7. And as St. Paul taught the Corinthians, If a brother have a wife that beleeveth not,2. 14. 16. and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away, for the unbeleeving wife is sanctified by the beleeving husband, and what knowest thou O husband, whether thou shalt save thy wife? Surely this text may be well applied to the whole Church which is the Spouse of Christ, and such as finally cut off the least inferiour member by persecution, be so much more justly censured and condemned by it.

Our Saviour having sent his messengers to a village of the Samaritanes to make ready for him,Luke 9, 32. & 109. the people of the village refused to receive them, which when James and John saw, they desired to bring downe fire from heaven to consume them as Eliah did, but our Saviour rebuked them, saying, ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of, for the Sonne of man is not come to destroy mens lives, but to save them; I wish this Scripture were well considered on by all that make profession of the Gospel.

The Inquisitors of these dayes have no better ground for their strict proceedings,Exod. 34. 13. then the Old Testament which expressely commanded Idolatry to be rooted out, their Altars to be pulled downe, and groves wherein they worshipped false gods, to be destroyed;Deut. 7. 5. & 12. 3. there have we also the example of Eliah, who consumed the two Captaines with their fifties,2 King 18 4. which were sent from the Idolatrous King Ahaziah: the Disciples John and James, it seems, were then of the same mind in this respect,Mich. 5. 14 & if they could have had their owne wills,2 King. 1. 1. would have caused fire from heaven to have rained upon the opposers of the New Testament as Eliah had done upon the Idolatrous and disobedient of the Old,Matth. 11. 29. but our Saviour who was very meeknesse, reproved them for not knowing what manner of spirit they were of, as if he should have said, you must not have the spirit of persecuters, but such a spirit as those which are to be persecuted have need of;Matth. 10. 23, 24, 25. and for this cause he had before taught them a lesson of preparation, saying, When they persecute you in this City, flye ye into another, the disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord: If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub2 Tim. 3. 12. how much more shall they call them of his houshold? And for the destruction of the groves which had beene made to commit Idolatry in, if it concerne Protestant Reformers to do the like under the Gospel, we should not finde many Churches in England which could escape; but whether they be all to be pulled down, or why one more then another, I leave it to such as have already delivered their opinions to make them good, wishing them to remember that in St. Pauls judgement,1 Cor. 8. & 10. cap. a good Christian might have eaten of those meats which had been consecrated to their Idolls, provided it were no scandall to a weak beleever.

And although this lesson was so quite contrary to the dispositions of John and James ambitious when they reasoned amongst themselves who should be the greatest,Luke 9. 46. that they might in liklihood be the more enabled to persecute and punish others, as appeared afterwards by this rash and unadvised motion of theirs, yet the reprehension in both respects sunck so deep into their eares, that the Disciples never exercised greatnesse amongst themselves, nor persecution or compulsion towards others, much lesse prescribed it to be practised by their successors, and in pursuance thereof,10. St. Paul advised, or rather required the Corinthians, and in them all Christians, that they give no offence; neither to the Iewes nor to the Gentiles,1. nor to the Church of God, and to the Colossians he saies, walke in wisdome to them that are without: Now what can be more against the rules of wisdome, then endeavouring to bring into the true Church such as are without by a rigorous way of persecution? we see by daily experience that men are by nothing so much obliged and engaged, as by courtesie and affable proceedings, these both win and keep the heart fast, whilst violence and constraint can at best, but prevaile upon the body, the soule even in that instant so much more alienated, as the body and outward man was forced to play the hypocrite and yeeld obedience.

What possibility is there of converting Papists, Jewes, Turkes, or Infidels to the Faith upon such grounds as most Christians hold at present? It is generally and truly agreed on, that we ought not to invade their Countries to dispossesse them of it, or their meanes, because they refuse to imbrace Christianity, and I have scarce so much as heard of any Protestants, or others of the reformed Religion (may it be spoken for their humbling and amendment) that ever employed themselves to compasse their conversion meerly for Conscience sake; few of them have means to come to us, and if they had, how can we thinke they would be willing if they knew they might not live amongst us, without being forced to a new Religion, before their reason and understandings were convinced in the truth thereof? and for the same respects, as also in that the Christians in their new Plantations seek more after the wealth of the Country, then propagating of the Gospel, the neighbouring people of these parts hate the very name of Christians, make such opposition against them as they are able, and at last, when they have no other remedy, flye further off, not one of a thousand desiring their society or acquaintance: can any thing be more contrary to walking in wisdome towards a people, then to practice such courses as make themselves odious and hatefull, that they cannot get to be admitted into their company?1. 5. St. Paul having writ unto the Corinthians that they should not accompany with fornicators,1. lest they might mistake him, he explanes it to them afterwards, that it was not his meaning that they should altogether forbeare to keep company with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous or extortioners, or with Idolaters, for then they must needs go out of the world, but if a brother were such a one, they should not so much as eat with him; from hence I conceive may be inferred, that if the Disciples of Christ had had a civill power to force a way for the Gospel, yet they thought it either not lawfull or not expedient to imploy such meanes, because they forbore to make use of milder, for though they might not eat with a professor, a brother which was a notorious wilfull sinner, yet such as were without, though they were covetous, fornicators, extortioners, and Idolaters to boot, they might eat and keep company with them by St. Pauls permission, when they might as well have avoided it in them as in their owne brethren;The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and whereas Idolatry and other execrable sinnes were then so rife with all men, that St. Paul was forced to say in effect, that it was not possible to live, and not keep company with such sinners, yet he said not that such as would altogether avoid their company, must send such sinners out of the world, or out of the Country by persecution, which the Inquisitors of these times practise, but insinuates, that in case the world were so full of notorious sinners and misbeleevers, as that a true Beleever could not live in the world without conversing with them, and that God would not permit his people to converse with them, that then the true Beleevers themselves should rather goe out of the world, then send such notorious sinners and misbeleevers out of the world in the midst of their sinnes by persecuting them to death, which I much desire were well reflected on, as also that passage of St. Johns Gospel in the prayer which our Saviour makes unto his Father in behalfe of his sheep the true Beleevers,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keepe them from the evill: from whence it may likewise be inferred, that if the true Beleevers could not be kept from the sinne and evill of the world, in such case they ought rather to pray that God would be pleased to take themselves out of the world, then to desire that notorious sinners or misbeleevers were taken out of the world in their sins, whereas so long as they live there is hopes of their repentance.

Our Saviour when he sent forth his Disciples,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. gave them charge to preach the Gospel freely as they had received it freely, and that if they came amongst such as would not receive or heare them, they should depart thence shaking off the dust from their feet as a testimony against them, which is farre from a commission to plant the Gospel with fire and sword, or other waies of persecution, which are practised in these dayes; and Saint Marke in his relation thereof makes the commission to be given them, in these words, Goe ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel unto every creature, he that beleeveth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that beleeveth not shall be damned: Now though it be not to be meant so litterally and precisely that they should preach the Gospel to irrationall creatures, yet the sense and meaning of every creature is so cleare, that none which were capable to receive the word, should be barred by persecution from hearing of it preached; and whereas our Saviour saith, he that beleeveth not shall be damned, had his intention beene, that such as beleeved not should be compelled thereto, doubtlesse he would have said so in expresse words upon this occasion, rather then denounce their damnation, before he had first countenanced this so efficacious a way, as some alleadge,Object. for to prevent it.

To say the Apostles had then no civill power, and therefore they used it not, is not to the purpose, for if coercive power had been requisite,Answ. our Saviour when he sent them forth could as easily have ordered them to make use of it (in which case the Magistrate must have contributed his assistance) as to say, heale the sicke, clense leapers, raise the dead, and cast out divels, and although miracles were now quite ceased, yet it followes not that the civill sword is given to the Church to cleer the Gospels passage, for God will have no wayes or meanes made use of, but such as he himselfe prescribed with expresse order only (not to persecute but) to depart from such as would not heare it; and what command finde we in the word of God which warrants us to imprison, fine, banish, or put to death any one especially amongst Christians for difference of opinion in Religion? many I know are so indulgent to be contented that every man might enjoy his own Conscience quietly, but would not suffer them to, have the free exercise of it, to discourse or publish their opinions unto others, but hereof I finde no ground in Scripture; St. Paul sayes, 1 Cor. 9. 16. A command is laid upon me, and wo is unto me if I preach not the Gospel; and our Saviour said unto St. Peter, Acts 22. 32. When thou art converted strengthen thy brethren: So that the same God which commands me to trie the spirits, requires of me also that when I have found the truth, I should not withold it like a candle under a bushell,Marke 4. 21. but teach it unto others.

Yea but some will say,Object. God requires you to teach the Truth but you teach Heresie instead thereof, and therefore you ought to be persecuted; my answer is,Answ. That I apprehend it to be the truth, and doe but discharge my conscience, though it be erronious, desiring to see the warrant for persecuting such as teach or publish erronious doctrines, which they in their owne opinion thought had been found: St. Paul in the name of the whole Ministery said, 2 Cor. 5. 20. We are Ambassadours for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled to God: And in another place, 2 Cor. 10. 1. 3. 4. I Paul my selfe beseech you by the blacknesse and gentlenesse of Christ, for though we walke in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnall, but mighty through God to the pulling downe of strong holds : So that Paul did war, but not according to the flesh, he did not imprison, fine, nor cut off eares, his weapons were only spirituall, the power and might of Jesus Christ; gentle exhortation and friendly admonition was the only meanes the Apostles practised, which prevailed then so mightily, and ought for that very reason to be still continued, especially since we cannot pretend any other commission but what they had, unlesse we will also seem to have had an other Gospel.

I presume no Protestant will deny, but that we are bound to endeavour the conversion of Papists, Jewes, Turkes, Pagans, Hereticks, with all Infidels & misbeleevers unto the only true and saving faith in Jesus Christ, this taske how little soever it be practised and thought on, will one day lye heavy upon all Christians, who are no lesse obliged thereto in their respective callings,Matth. 23. 19. then the Apostles were to preach the Gospel unto all Nations, as was said immediately before: But as it is said in the Parable, Mark 3. 27. That before one can enter into a strong mans house and spoile his goods, he must first binde the strong man: So before you can prevaile and reduce a Turk or Papist to the true reformed Religion, you must first convince him in the errours of his owne, by the evidence of Scripture, and by the power of the Holy Ghost, and this must be done by word of mouth, by writing or by both, as I rather conceive; first, by word of mouth, in that the Apostles were expressely ordered to go and teach all Nations, which necessarily inferres their presence; and secondly, by writing, that it may be better dispersed, and more freely enjoyed at all times, places and opportunities, besides, that controversies and businesses of intricacie, are far better and more methodically stated and explaned in writing or in Print, then can possibly be delivered by word of mouth: The Poet said,

Qui volet ingenio cedere rarus erit:

But farre more rarely shall you finde a man to give preheminence in point of his Religion, each thinking his owne to be the truest; this combat therefore must be fought out upon eaven ground, on equall termes, neither side must expect to have greater liberty of speech, writing, Printing, or whatsoever else, then the other:Object. But it will be again objected, that if such a tolleration as this be granted, the whole Kingdome will be quickly pestered with a greater confusion then that of Babel; to which I answer,Answ. That the confusion will not be such as is so much imagined and feared, though it may seem greater at first then afterwards, when every man hath associated himselfe with such as are of his owne opinion; and I crave leave to aske, if it be not a far greater confusion both before God and man, and of more dangerous consequence to the State, and their owne soules, for a thousand men and women of ten severall religions or opinions to assemble together every Sunday in a Parish Church for feare of imprisonment, fines, banishment and worse, or else that the same thousand men and women being permitted freely,Object. may meet in a peaceable manner at ten severall places according to their respective differing opinions and religion: But you will say that all these thousand men and women were good Protestants, before this licentiousnesse of being what they would, was granted them:Answ. I answer, That they could not possibly be good Protestants, but either were hypocrites and time servers, or else that they had hapned by chance, or rather by course of the Country into a meer formall profession of the Protestant Religion, whereof they were not able to render a reason if it had been demanded, & though they should have stil continued as visible members of the true Protestant Church, and participated in the outward means, their actions would have been never the more accepted of the Lord whilest they had lived, nor their persons at the day of judgement.

Secondly though this confusion were yet greater then you imagine, I desire to be informed, how it may be prevented without a far worse inconvenience; first, in that I finde no expresse warrant, and lesse then expresse will not be enough to abridge any man the exercise of his Religion, which makes him sinne against his owne Conscience, and so is a doing of evill at least, that good may come of it, Rom. 3. 8. And secondly, because you are commanded to teach all Nations, which is impossible, unlesse you could goe and live amongst them, which you cannot reasonably imagine or conceive, that people of different religions & opinions will permit you to remaine amongst them who hold tenets, that when you have converted a considerable number, you may if you see possibility of strength to compasse it by force of fire and sword, compell the rest to be of the same Religion, much lesse will they come unto you for the same reasons, as also in that you will not permit them within your jurisdiction to make profession of their Religion, whereof they have as good opinion as you can possibly have of yours, and though perhaps they might be contented (not that they are doubtfull of their owne, but in hopes it may be to make a Proselite of you, or out of an ingenibus disposition and desire to comply with you, who seem so solicitous of their salvation) to hear what you alledge, why they should become good Protestants, yet you cannot in reason expect, or in equity require, that they should not have as ample priviledge as your selfe, to deliver their mindes freely both in speech and writing.

We know that in most Kingdoms there are severall Courts of Justice, which having different priviledges and jurisdictions, when any man hath cause to commence a suite he first informes himselfe in which he may likeliest finde greatest favour of equity and justice, but if his adversary gaine advantage, and force him to a triall in such a Court, as according to the constitution thereof, he could not have so favourable triall as in another, the party thus agrieved forthwith appeals from that where he was overthrowne unto another, never resting or submitting, if it may be otherwise avoided, untill he apprehend himselfe, to have been equally proceeded with; and yet the triall of Religion must still be more precise and equitable, in that it must be voluntary on both sides.

Suppose then that a man have a controversie with another about land, houses, money, merchandise, or what ever earthly luggage else, of a considerable valuation, is any so simple as to think that such a one even whilest he is confident of his owne right and title, will give it up unto his adversary upon entreaty, menacies, or compulsion, and that willingly? Is it not then a greater absurdity and incongruity of sense to thinke that a man should rest contented willingly to be forced against his will? nay is it not a meer impossibility, as absolute as the subsistance of contrarieties? can a man in one & the same respect, about the self same thing, and at same time too, be both willing and yet unwilling? can he at same time think he hath just cause to keep possession of such land or moveables, and yet think he ought to render up possession of them? how much more tenacious may we justly presume every man to be of his religion, which he thinks to be the only true one? and how much more backward and unwilling will every one be that makes conscience to part from his faith, whereby he expects not some momentary profit and advantage, but his wel-being and salvation unto eternity? And if being confident in mine owne Religion, I cannot possibly be brought to thinke otherwise by force, what ever violence make me professe outwardly to the contrary, then will it be necessary to proceed by fair meanes, that all reasons and inducements being aledged with equall liberty and freedome on both sides, the whole controversie may be fully stated and understood to the self-conviction of heresie and errour, which if other Nations of different Religions may not be permitted, and by that means freely declare and expresse the grounds whereon they built their faith, how false soever they be, they cannot possibly be convinced thereof, but will be so much more hardned in their opinions, conceiving them the sounder, by how much you restrain the publishing thereof, and when they see you intend to persecute them, denying an equall and indifferent triall, they will be gone again with a far more prejudiciall conceit of the Protestant Religion then they had before, if you detaine them perforce, you do contrary to St. Pauls doctrine, 1 Cor. 7. 15. who gave order that even the unbeleeving wife might depart, if she would depart, and besides afright all such as hear of it, from ever comming to you afterwards.

Thus does it appeare most evidently,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. that if you will continue your rules and maximes of persecution, besides the unwarrantablenesse thereof, you cannot reasonably conceive a possibility to discharge our Saviours aforesaid Commission, with sundry other Scriptures for teachching of all Nations.

Besides, we finde how amongst other directions which our Saviour gave his seventy Disciples at their mission, Luke 10 5. 6. He bids them, That into whatsoever house they enter, they first say, Peace be to that house, and that if the son of peace be there, their peace shall rest upon it, if not, it shall returne to them againe:The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and by this instruction surely we may observe, our Saviour did not intend, that his Disciples whilest they went about preaching the Gospel should crie Peace, Peace, that they might more securely instill into their Proselites a doctrine of war and persecution, and such Christian States and Churches as do since practise it, go quite opposite to that command of our Saviours, and his Disciples practise, wherein we are so much more inexcusable, in that he declared himselfe so plainly, that his meaning was, the Doctrine of Peace should be proffered to all,10. and that if they and it were not received, Their peace should returne to them againe,16. 11 and they only shake of the dust from their feet as a witnesse against them at the day of judgement; as if he had said so on purpose,19. 5. lest they meeting with such as would not receive them and their peace, should be to seek what further course to take, and thinke their labour lost, unlesse they had compelled them to receive both whether they would or no.

But notwithstanding our Saviours charging his Apostles to teach all Nations, Matth. 28. 19. And St. Pauls saying, Rom. 10. 17. That faith commeth by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; requiring Timothy to be instant in season and out of season, 2 Tim. 4. 2. The Inquisitors are ready to say with the young man in the Gospel, Matth. 19. 20. All these things have we done:The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. We have preached and such will not heare us, some that heare will not beleeve us, and such as beleeve us, will not live accordingly, what shall we do with such? I answer, this is no more then St. Paul foretold, when he said, 2 Tim. 2. 3, 4, 5. The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their owne lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching eares, and they shall turne away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables, but watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, doe the work of an Evangelist, make full proofe of thy ministery: Y. 2. Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine: This aversenesse to the saving truth which St. Paul prophesied of, was not so much to be discovered in the time of Timothy, as afterwards in succeeding ages; and St. Pauls directions in that behalfe to be applied to all Ministers successively: To the Romans he saith, Rom. 10. 14. concerning his brethren the Jews, How shall they beleeve in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they heare without a Preacher? But if he had lived in these dayes, Paul himselfe must have been taught to say, Do you expect they should goe to Church unlesse you whip them thither? and how shall they beleeve unlesse you beat it into them? This had been as easie for St. Paul to have prescribed in those times had it been but as good doctrine, however the practise of some Christian Countries is so contrary to it, that more care and watchfulnesse is used, that Inquisitors be circumspect and diligent to require conformity of the outward man, then that the word be sincerely taught, or the Sacraments administred according to their due simplicity and purity, to the comfort and edifying of the inward man; these may make a great shew and bravery for the present, surpassing in number like the Nationall Church of the Jews when it was most populous, but being such spurious Christians chiefly as are begot by their illegall Inquisition, and not nourished by the sincere milke of the word, 1 Pet. 2. 2. they are never like to grow up and encrease in godlinesse untill they become perfect men in Christ Jesus.

St. Paul writing to the Romans about meats which were lawfull to be eaten, by such as beleeved they might eat them, prescribes notwithstanding to forbeare, rather then offend a weake brother, but withall sayes, Rom. 14. 22, 23. Happy is he that condemneth not himselfe in that thing which he alloweth, and he that doubteth is damned if he eateth, because he eateth not of faith, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. And in the same Chapter, vers. 5. he saies, One man esteemeth one day above another, and another esteemeth every day alike, let every man be fully perswaded in his owne minde; according to which doctrine, a mans owne conscience was both primarily and lastly to be resolved fully before he eat or dranke, whether he keep holy-daies or no, and not the Inquisition house or Bishops court:The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. If eating with a doubting conscience only be sinne, what is it in such as eat contrary to their conscience? how much greater sin is it in such as goe to Church, or are present at worshipping of God in such a manner as they themselves hold to be flat Idolatry; and then how comparatively greater is their sin that force others to doe that which damnes themselves, so much against their owne wills and dispositions? But perhaps it will be objected, that they are not forced, but may chuse whether they will come to Church or no, so they pay one third part of their revenues or some easier fine:Answ. To which I answer, That such fines, imprisonment, or lesser punishments whatsoever are justly to be accounted force, and that in the highest nature, when a man will rather resolve to hazard the losse of his own soule in going to Church with a double conscience, according to his owne tenets and opinion, then to submit to the said fines, imprisonment or other punishments; I need say no more then such going to Church is not of faith, but of feare, and faith comes by hearing, not by frighting.

But it will be againe objected,Object. That the Apostles had no power on authority from the civill Magistrate to render men obedient unto their doctrine in a compulsive way, otherwise they would in likelihood have made use of it, there being no such probable meanes under heaven as such imagine, to settle an uniformity, as sining, imprisoning, banishing, cutting off eares,Answ. and heads too, if they see fit; whereto I answer, That the Apostles preaching, baptizing, and doing miracles, were all contrary to the authority and expresse commands of civill Magistrates, and if they had had but equall warrant from their Master, having gained such multitudes of converts as our Saviour was fain to feed miraculously at one time, about five thousand of them, all men, besides women and children; at another time foure thousand men, besides women and children, Matth. 14. 24. and 15. 38. And in the Acts it is said, Act. 2. 41. That through Peters preaching, three thousand soules were added to them in one day, we cannot justly thinke but having once gained so many Proselites,Luke 3. and amongst those were souldiers, to take leaders and commanders off,12. 14. they had through their numbers both means and reason, rather to encourage them in adventuring to settle,Act. 10. in the former part. or at least to lay some ground-worke of their coercive discipline, then with such boldnesse at first to travell from place to place, from one City to another, preaching Christ Jesus undauntedly, when there was not so much as one to countenance and backe them against the civill Magistrate, or persecution of the common people.

Why did the Apostles baptise or teach in the name of Jesus, being expressely commanded by the civill Magistrate to the contrary? this disobedience and offending of the higher powers had beene a sin in them, unlesse our Saviour had given them expresse commission to teach all Nations, and if coercive power had been as warrantable, and more likely means to propagate the Gospel, the Apostles were as much to blame in that they did not use it, as they should have been if they had not preached the Gospel at all; for Christ that commanded them the end, must needs understand the means thereto conducing to be comprehended in the same commission; neither could they be said to want power for putting the meanes in execution, so long as they had the gift of working miracles: which doubtlesse they also practised so often as they had the divine Oracle for warrant; and of this nature was Peters punishing. Ananias and Sapphira a with sudden death,Acts 5. 5 10. because they had dedicated a certain possession unto the Lord, and afterwards sought to rob his Saints of part thereof: Paul likewise, Chap. 13. 11. struck Elimas the sorcerer blinde, because he sought to turn away Paulus Sergius the Deputy his heart from the faith [Editor: illegible word]. And his delivering of Himeneus and Alexander unto Sathan that they might learne not to blaspheme, 1 Tim. 1. 20. I suppose may be understood in the same manner. Our Saviour having occasion to make use of an Asse that the Prophesie in Zachariah might be fulfilled, Zach. 9. 9. sent two of his Disciples to the village Belphage to fetch one, giving them no other instructions, but that if any body said ought unto them, they should reply, That the Lord had need of it, Matth. 21. 3. Even so might the Apostles have done when they had met with obstinate people that would not receive their Gospel (especially the Jews which the Roman Magistrate in likelihood regarded little whether they were Jews or Christians) it had been but sending for a Centurian, or other officer of justice with a little ticket, that Domino opus est, no body should have been able to resist their will; as it is said in the Romans, Rom. 9. 19. the proudest Pharaoh must have submitted, and all his Subjects been willing to assist,Matth. 26. 53. besides legions of Angels which would have been in readinesse if God had pleased to warrant them in such a course.

And whereas in the Scripture before alledged, it is said, Acts 2. 41. That three thousand soules were added to the Church that day; the Text declares also, that they which gladly received the word were baptised,Note. insinuating that they which doe not willingly receive the word, ought not to be baptised, much lesse be forceibly baptised, or being first baptised in their infancie when good hopes were conceived of them, be afterwards compelled to receive the word, and participate in the ordinances when their unwillingnesse is so well known, and this to be the case of all such Christians as are forced into a Religion: But how many souls soever were added to the Church at Peters preaching, Acts 2. 47. and whereas it is said, That the Lord added daily to the Church such as should be saved, it cannot be said so in such Countries where the Inquisition ruleth, or people are forced to goe to Church upon penalties how small soever, there is neither adding to the Church, not falling from, they are one and all, all of the Church, or all out of the Church, and which of the two is likeliest I am sorry to consider.

What people under heaven can boast of an outward unity, and so generall a uniformity as the Papists at this day, most eminently glorious if it were to be contemplated according to humane wisdome, or beheld with the eye of flesh? But do not Protestant Writers affirme of them, that they would fall into as many peeces and opinions amongst themselves, as all other Christians have in the whole world besides, if the yoke of their Inquisition bondage were but broken? Nay do not all Protestants conclude that even such a hodge podge of uniformity cannot be compassed without an Ecclesiasticall Sovereignty? and that this Ecclesiasticall Sovereignty hath such inbred corruptions and temptations in it selfe as breeds a propensity, little lesse then unavoidably degenerating into tyranny? and that tyranny over the minde to be seventy seven times worse, then that which civill Magistrates exercise upon the body or estate? nay must it not needs follow by consequence undeniable, that if there were as good ground in Scripture for spirituall Sovereignty as there is for temporall, that this spirituall Sovereignty ought to be reduced to Monarchy, as the best and only government to settle uniformity? and would not this Pope and spirituall Monarch upon the same grounds have a better claim and title to all the world, because ecclesiasticall and spirituall forsooth, then any King or Emperour hath to his owne Dominions? All these grosse absurdities (which we so much condemne in the Pope of Rome, for the mystery of iniquity aimes at no lesse then all the world, their ground-worke and proceedings conclude as much, though yet it speakes not plaine) will inevitably follow the endeavouring to settle a uniformity in the Church, or such tenets as require a necessity of coercive power to be executed on the body or estate in matters meerly of Religion.

Let all Church governments be but brought to a triall, see what the Pope can say, Episcopacie, Presbyterie, or any other that stands for compulsive jurisdiction over goods or person, and though they mince it never so finely, speake never so fairly, and each of them have not really in it selfe an equall proportion of inbred putrifaction, tending unto spirituall tyranny, yet if they be well examined, though in their negatives one may condemn the other, for their affirmatives whatsoever shall be alledged by any one will be acknowledged the doctrine and principles of all the rest, and each of them for the matter, though not equally, upon most palpable consequence be found tending and endeavouring a command and dominion over the faith and consciences of men, which St. Paul disclaimed, 2. Cor. 1. 24. And when James and John the sons of Zebedee desired to sit on our Saviours right hand, and the other on his left in glory, he told them, That the Princes of the Gentiles doe exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority over them, but it shall not be so among you: And when he was desired only to speake a powerfull word for execution of civill jurisdiction, that an inheritance might be devided rightly betwixt two brothers, he reprehends the party, saying, Man, who made me a judge or devider over you, Luke 12. 13, 14. And if the Apostles, and their lawfull successors in the Ministery, may not exercise dominion nor authority, what ever their minds were, their persecution would want a sting, Mat. 20. 25, 26.

God will not have men persecuted for matter of Religion, lest under colour thereof, the persecuting of his dearest Saints should seeme more justifiable: But you will say, why does he then permit the civill Magistrates to put men to death, by which proceeding innocent and guiltlesse persons have often suffered? I answer, how it is true that through the iniquity of some Countries Lawes, and malice or corruption of wicked people, innocent and simple men have too too often been condemned and put to death: But first, it is obvious to every ones capacity, how the crimes and offences for which men suffer under civill Magistrates, are by most Nations concurrently agreed upon to deserve death. Secondly, such delinquencies are more easily to be proved against the malefactors, and in matters of difficulty, as to discover whether a woman had committed adultery, the Lord had appointed a miraculous way of triall, and called it The law of jealousies, Exod. 5. 12. which was, that if the spirit of jealousie had possessed the husband, the Priest giving the wife a bitter water to drinke (in such manner as is related in the Story) her thigh should rot, and belly burst if she were guilty, but do her no hurt at all in case of innocencie; from whence may be inferred, that the putting any man to death, or punishing by civill Magistrates without undeniable proofe and witnesses, cannot be justified or excused without a miracle; how much more in matters of Religion, where there is no law of Gods making that commands it, and seldome righteous testimonies that can be produced to prove it? Thirdly, it lay in the malefactors power not to have committed such crimes and outrages; and last of all, civill Magistrates have the Scripture for a rule what delinquents they may put to death, and how far they may proceed in fining: but for matter of Religion it is quite otherwise; for first, no man is of opinion that another deserves to be persecuted and put to death, only, because he is of the same Religion which himselfe is of, since therein he should condemne himselfe: Secondly, if a man will himselfe, you cannot tell what Religion he is of, because whatever he is driven to make profession of, it is the heart that in this respect, either justifies or condemnes: Thirdly, though a man would use all the means which can be prescribed him, and should even himselfe be contented, and desire that such a Religion were the true one, yet it is not in his power to thinke so, and consequently to be of the same in heart, untill his reason and understanding be convinced thereof: And last of all, there is no warrant for persecution in the Scripture, if there were, we might boldly say, fiat justitia ruat Coelum, God will beare us out in whatsoever we do by his commandement, and as severe an account will he require at the dreadfull day of judgement, for all such fining, imprisoning, mutilating, and putting to death, especially of his Saints, and other conscientious people, as have been practised without it.

We are bid in the Scripture to come out of the world,3. 4. and separate our selves from the wicked,6. lest we partake of their judgements, and the like; but instead of conforming hereunto, such as will not enter into Covenant, such as will not goe to Church and receive the Communion with us, we endeavour to compell them to it by pecuniary or corporall punishments, which is as much as possible to withstand and hinder such a separation: for instead of preaching unto the true Beleevers, according unto St. Pauls doctrine, that they should separate themselves, and not communicate with notorious sinners, we quite contrary turne our speech and power too, towards Papists, Blasphemers, Traitors, and the mixt multitude in generall, forcing them and the true Beleevers to assemble and communicate together, to have one Faith, one Baptisme, one Church, and whether it may involve us in one doome, I leave to others to determine, and at present only advertise, that, from hence arises a double inconvenience, one to our selves by communicating with Atheists, Papists, Traitors, Blasphemers and Reprobates of all sorts, from whom we are commanded by St. Pauls Epistle to Timothy, 2 Tim. 3. 5. to turne away, whilest we notwithstanding force them whether they will or no, to joyne with us in the most sacred Ordinances of God: the other inconvenience is to those that are so forced, by making of them hypocrites and time-servers, so much worse then they were before, or as our Saviour saith, Matth. 23. 15. Two times more the children of the divell, when perhaps what they would have done of their owne good will, though erronious, might have been in part excused by ignorance, and a good intention, as St. Paul did when he persecuted the Church of God, 1 Tim. 1. 13. and so far are we from building up the mysticall body of Christ by compelling the personall presence of Papists, and such like, at our spirituall exercises, that it only hardens them so much more, and alienates their mindes so much futher from being wrought upon, by such arguments as are alledged from reason or from Scripture.

The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it.In a Sermon preached before the House of Commons the 27. of December, 1643. I finde these words. It feareth me that a great part of the people of this land are still fond of a formall service, and a proud Prelacie; and yet the Covenant which apparently professes a finall extirpation of them both, had found such acceptance, that I beleeve there is scarce one man in a hundred throughout all London but hath subscribed to it; however I am fully of the same opinion, and verily conceive that from the carriage and effect of this businesse only, it may cleerly he observed, how easily multitudes of men will permit ship wracke to be made of their soules, and consequently how incongruous and dangerous a way of proceeding it is, to joyne profit or preferment, hopes or feares, threats or force to worke upon the conscience; for although the Covenant hath passed thus currantly, I finde notwithstanding by discourse that the greatest part of people are little weaned from the present Service Booke, and wish better to Episcopacie a little reformed, I meane the rigour of it only, with some small supersfuities of the Lordlinesse, and that it should still remain Diocesan, rather then Presbyteriall, or any other Church government whatsoever; but for such as hold with independencie how their stomacks can throughly digest the Covenant, I cannot any wayes imagine.

I know that much is said and done in many places in behalfe of uniformity, a Nationall Church and Covenant; which things indeed carry a great shew of wisdome in wil-worship, as the Apostle saith, Col. 3. 23. were it not that our Saviour told us. That in vaine they worship him, teaching for doctrines, the commandements of men, Matth. 15. 9.

But wherefore such labouring in vaine, and striving against the streame to obtaine a superficies, and false lustre of a Nationall Church? Doe we thinke that Gods salvation is also Nationall? Surely if the seven thousand which never bowed knee to Baal, had been in a body, Eliah would have knowne them better;1 K 19. we see indeed that they have all the face or shew of Mahumetans in Turkie, Papists in Spaine, and Lutherans in Germany, but this is the worke of man and not of God; and though the power of flesh is such to keep the purity and saving knowledge of the Gospel from them, they will be sure enough to rise up in judgement, and with their uncircumcised hearts, and law of nature, condemne the tyranny of those that kept it from them. And they allege also the great reformations wrought by Ataxerxes, Ezra 7. 23. (and other good Kings under the the Law) who said, Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven; and many still crie out aloud upon a reformation of Religion, or building up the mysticall Temple under the Gospel, after the same manner by fire and sword,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. never remembring, that there was expresse order and direction from God himselfe concerning every thing about the first Temple, not a pin excepted, whereas many of latter times, out of greater eagernesse to have the worke done, then care and consideration to the well doing, have put their owne commandment afoot instead of Gods, requiring judgement to be executed speedily upon them that disobeyed, whether it were to death or to banishment, to consiscation of goods or imprisonment, with as much confidence, as though the Prophet Ezra had purposely recorded it, not so much that God might be glorified in Artaxerxes great carefulnesse, and just commands for beautifying of his Temple, as to countenance their owne wil-worship and inventions.

But did God ever say to any Christian people as he did to Abraham, Gen. 17. 8. I will give unto thee and thy seed thy neighbours Country, whose inhabitants were without the Covenant of workes, for an everlasting possession? How much lesse does God give thee the confiscation of thy brothers estate, whom thou wilt perhaps acknowledge to be within, and canst not possibly prove to be without the covenant of Grace, because he differs from thee in opinion, or some cases of conscience only? Did God ever say to Christians as he did to Abraham, v. 14. The uncircumcised man-childe shall be cut off from his people? If Christians have any command equivolent hereunto, why is it not impartially put in execution? If they have not, who shall answer for such as have beene persecuted or put to death without it? But as whatsoever God hath commanded should be punctually done; so what God hath not commanded, ought not to be done: the adding to in Deuteronomy, Deut. 12. 32. and Johns Revelation, Rev. 22. 18. is as much forbidden, as the taking from it; and Salomon sayes, Prov. 30. 6. Adde thou not unto the words of God, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found liar. I am confident it cannot be denied, but that the endeavouring and practice of coercive power to sway the conscience in any kinde, is for the most part either expressively, or by undeniable consequence quite contrary to the principall intention and letter throughout the whole Scripture, in which respect if there were some few texts or passages which might seem to colour it, yet they ought to be so much more deliberately considered and pondered on for the honour we owe to Gods truth, and charity to our neghbour.

In Matthews Gospel cap. 28. 20. it is said, Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; But I doe not finde persecution to have been expressely commanded in any place of the Gospel: and whereas some would infer it from the words,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. Let all things be done decently and in order, as by the coherence with the whole Chapter it appeares plainly to relate only unto the orderly proceeding & behaviour in their assemblies or publick meetings; so it possibly cannot be made appear from hence, that there is, or ought to be a power to persecute or put to death, for then this conclusion would follow, that the Church of Corinth had commission given them to put a man to death only for indecencie, or for having done any thing which was unseemly or out of order; but this would be both a great absurdity, injustice and blasphemy to affirme: againe, Let all things be done decently and in order cannot possibly signifie, or imply a power or order of fining, imprisoning, and putting to death, unlesse you will say, that the Apostles, Disciples, and all Christian Churches, especially that of Corinth had the same power, and then you must either say that there was no delinquencie to proceed against in a coercive way, which is notoriously false, or else you must condemn them all, because they did not practise it at any time; for as the precept or command was given to the Church and Saints of Corinth, so Pauls meaning and intention must needs be, that they of all others should observe and practise it fully and punctually in all things that it might have been a president to others: and lastly, that the commission of decencie and order in all things was given unto the Church of Corinth, is plaine,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. since the whole Epistle is directed to them particularly, and by name, but it was written for instruction, and concerned equally all the Disciples & Churches of Christ, both then living, and us, as S. Paul saies, On whom the ends of the world are come: now it is grosse and preposterous to think or say, that Paul gave the Church of Corinth such commission, that is, an order or authority to use coercive power for the better prevailing that all things might be done decently and in order, because he knew they wanted, and could not have the assistance of the civill Magistrate thereunto; and if the coercive was not intended to them, much lesse to future Churches, who have only received the same commission after so many reversions, and can not pretend that the words thereof should have a different or larger signification in our favour, then was meant unto the Corinthians, unto whom it was immediately directed; and we may well presume that if it had signified a compulsive or Lordly jurisdiction, to have been put in execution by Christian Churches or Common-wealths in after ages, which cannot be because of so many absurd consequences which follow thereupon, yet dato & non concesso, in such case I say, the Apostles and primitive Christians, though they themselves had wanted coercive meanes and power, would not withstanding infallibly have left some ground or warrant inserted in the letter of the Gospel, to be conveyed successively unto posterity, for their better direction in a businesse of such concernment, and so great obscurity in that sense which is objected; but if the point be intricate or dubious, the safest way is to proceed no further then we have a precept or president of our Saviour or his Apostles to warrant us, especially in matters of so high a nature, as are the worship and service of God Almighty, the Discipline of his House, and tender consciences of his dearest Saints.

In the Gospel we meet with Bishops,1 Tim. 3. 12. 4. 14. a Presbytery, Elders, Deacons, Apostles, Evangelists, Disciples, Prophets, strange tongues, and Interpreters of tongues, Elders that rule well, and labour in the Ministery, some to take care of poore widowes,Tit. 1. 5. others for exhortation, Pastors, Teachers for perfecting of the Saints, for the worke of the Ministery, for the edifying of the body of Christ untill we all come in the unity of the faith,1 Tim. 3. 8 5. 1 7. as St. Paul sayes: But what spirit of truth doe we ever meet with which saies that any of these were given for the corporall imprisoning, banishing, or putting to death the body of Christ,Act 6. beginning. which are his Saints, as of latter times too too often hath beene practised? where finde wee in the Gospel order or authority to convent, accuse and arraigne men with power of life and death for matters of religion or opinion only? this is but traditionall,Luke 10. 1 23. and far short from being Cannonicall and Christian; it is true we finde here a precept for endeavouring to accomplish a unity of faith in the Saints,1 Cor. 12. 10. or the Saints in the unity of faith, but this was neither universall nor nationall unity, as appeares afterwards,Eph 4. 11, 12, 13. where he sayes unto the same Ephesians, Walke not as other Gentiles walke in the vanity of their mindes, much lesse was any constraint or compulsion ordered or intended to be used,Rom. 12. 8 for then both they and all other Christian Churches had been bound to make all others walke with them in unity of faith, or to walke unto the gallowes;Verse 17. and the Apostles admonition in such case would have been both more proper and effectuall which the Ephesians, as such Church commanders pretend, if he had said, Walke not as other Gentiles, who because they will not walke with you in unity of Religion, and uniformity of discipline, are deservedly compelled to walke unto the gallowes.

Hath it not often been instilled into the eares of Princes, as Haman the great favourite did unto King Ahasuerus concerning the Jewes Gods people, who were then afflicted in captivity, and so abjectly contemptible, that they could not possibly be dangerous to the State? and yet proud Haman, Esther. 3. 8, 9. &c. only because a consciencious Mordecai was scrupulous and could not bow and doe reverence to him as the King commanded, informed his Majesty that there was a certaine people scattered abroad, and dispersed into all Provinces of his Kingdome, whose lawes were divers from all people, neither kept they the Kings lawes, and therefore it was not for the Kings profit to suffer them; in which respect, if it pleased his Majesty that letters might be writ for their destruction, he promised to pay ten thousand talents of silver into the Kings treasurie; hereupon the King consented to the Edict, that all of them men, women and children should be massacred, and for Hamans good counsell, remitted the ten thousand talents of silver, and gave him the poore Jews to boot, to be murdered in such a manner as his cruelty could best contrive: Oh how often hath this wicked advice of Haman been practised upon Gods best people in all parts of Christendome? for there are Puritanes both in Spaine and Italy, in greater numbers then ever appeared in England before this present Parliament, and permitted to meet and walke peaceably up and downe the streets together, more numerous then ever yet. I saw in London, may it, in Gods time, be spoken to the greater humbling, then shame of this Nation and all Protestants besides.

But how often thinke we may it have been suggested unto our Gracious Sovereignes, and insinuated unto the people, how disserviceable and dangerous the Puritanes were unto the State? surely not seldome, or else they would never have reduced so many thousands of them into a necessity of leaving the Land, and carry with them their gifts, arts, and manufactures into other Countries, to the greatest detriment of this Common-wealth, and yet far greater losse and judgement unto Gods Church in England: But what hath been the end of the grand Politicians and Persecuters? may it not be observed, that like Haman who was hanged on the gallowes, which he himselfe had caused to be set up for Mordecai, so many, nay, very many of the greatest that ever yet appeared enemies unto Gods people, have been taken in their own nets, and felt those penalties and proceedings, which they first invented and practised upon others? And as that villanons designe of Hamans, Est. 8. 8. through Gods providence proved so much more successefull unto the Jewes; in like manner may the sun-shine of Gods love have beene seene to breake out still more bright and comfortable towards such as in all times have been reproached for Puritanes, I may not say for any deserts or works of theirs, but through Gods most gracious providence, which as Mordecai foretold to Esther, cap. 4. 14. hath wrought enlargement and deliverance to them, though they perhaps may be said to have endeavoured it, not without many weaknesses and failings.

But since God both can and will finish his owne great work of Reformation in spight of all opposition,1 Cor. 10. 12. Let such as thinke they stand take heed lest they fall,Note. and may it be far from any of Gods good servants to imagine that God delivered them out of persecution to the end they might be inabled to persecute their brethren:The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. Persecution is a sinne, a signe of the Church malignant, and no degree thereof dispensable by Popery, Episcopacie, or Presbytery, neither may God be thought to be the author of it, or countenance it further then he doth other sinnes by barely permitting them in wrath and judgement to chastise and scourge a sinfull people, the whole Kingdome did acknowledge it whilest Popery domineered, the greatest part are weary of it in Prelacie; O let Presbytery be forewarned thereby, and know that they have the same temptation which was common to both the other Governments,5. 10. and wherein they miscarried. The Jewes came out with swords and staves to apprehend our Saviour, but God never blessed them in it, nor sanctified them since to bring men in, and made profession of the Gospel. Let all the reasons, grounds and principles for a coercive power and discipline in matter of Religion be produced, and it will most evidently appeare how Presbytery cannot possibly alledge more, or better then what the Papacie and Prelacie first brought to light, all having the self same inbred matter and corruption in them, which infallibly, though not with equal posting, inclines them naturally to degenerate into tyranny & persecution, and the work which they all fight against,5. 39. being of God, cannot possibly be overthrowne, but will notwithstanding be brought about to the greater misery and confusion of all such, who if they would make strickt enquiry with an upright heart into the nature of such government, could not likely chuse, having felt or understood the bondage which this Kingdome hath already twice suffered under it, but see the malignant poyson and putrifaction which is bred and lyes lurking within the bowells thereof, and be weary of it; yet I forbeare to judge, and in all meeknesse beseech that they would be as backwards in judging others.

The Italians have a Proverbe that whosoever goes beyond his commission must run the hazard of it for his owne account; but for such who have no commission at all, and yet take away the liberty, livelihood, limbs and lives of their Christian brethren, and that for meere matter of conscience only, cannot amount to lesse then the shedding of innocent blould, that crying sinne, for which the Jewes remain still scattered upon the face of the earth untill this day: But have the Jews been thus afflicted for putting Christ to death, and a few of Gods Prophets only,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. how excessive then will be the torments of such Christian States which have persecuted and put to death thousands of Christians for every single soule which was executed by the Jews, and that principally because such Christians differed from them onely in opinion, when if they had been Turkes or Pagans they might likely have escaped? But you will say perhaps, that the Jews put Christ to death the ransome and Saviour of the whole world : I answer, That they knew him not to be Christ, and that the Jewes had then better grounds and warrant to put a blasphemer to death, and such they accounted Jesus,Lev. 16. then Christians have now: Secondly, I answer. That when Joseph perceived that his brethren were troubled in minde and grieved for having sold him into slavery, making himselfe knowne,Must 65. bid them not be grieved or angry with themselves,Gen. 3. 5. for that God had sent him before into Egypt to preserve their lives: and our Saviour after they had laid hands on him,Must 53, 5. and apprehending him, for the comfort no doubt of repentant Jewes, was pleased so say, That if he had prayed, his Father could have given him more then twelve legions of Angels, but then the Scriptures would not have been fulfilled, that it must be so, and that all was done that the Scriptures, of the Prophets might be fulfilled. In John we finde that therefore they could not beleeve because Esaias saith, He hath blinded their eyes, Joh. 12. 39. 40. And whereas the same Evangelist saith, 1 John 4. 20. He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how shall he love God whom he hath not seen: So the Jews, though they saw Jesus and crucified him, yet they knew him not to be God, and by Johns way of arguing, were so much more to be excused, and the sinne of Christians aggravated, who doe not only know their brethren, but many times acknowledge that they setting aside the difference of opinion, have more eminent gifts and abilities then themselves, and yet will not forbeare to perplex and persecute them, and according to the principles which many of them hold and practise, had they been living in our Saviours dayes,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. they would have been far likelier to have crucified him, then were the Jews themselves: And who can resolve me, whether the penitent thiefe was not once guilty, and actually consenting unto Christs death? or whether such Christians as come short in nothing, but that they have not Christ on earth in their power, will not be one day found guilty of crucifying him againe, though they could not act it upon his person: besides the Saints are coheires with Christ, they are his beloved ones, his glory, his Spouse, nay they are his body, they are Christ himselfe, they are all Anointed of the Lord, and we are forbid to touch them: Oh let us not be longer guilty of persecuting the least of them: And whereas Saint Paul exhorted the Hebrewes that they should not be forgetfull to entertaine strangers, because some thereby had entertained Angels unawares; I humbly wish all Christian people would, in the feare of God, consider, whether in putting their Christian brethren to death for matters of conscience & Religion only, they do not run a thousand times greater hazard to spill the innocent bloud of Gods chosen people,Heb. 12. 23. his first born, whose names are written in heaven, and that it be imputed to them to have crucified the Lord himselfe againe, far more wilfully then the Jewes, because we crucifie him in his Saints,Matth. 25. 40. 45. our brethren, whom we have both seen and knowne.

It is said in the Acts, Act. 18. 12, 13, 14, 16. that when Gallio was Deputy of Achaiæ, the Jewes made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgement seat, saying, This fellow perwadeth men to worship God contrary to the Law, but Gallio answered the Jews, and told them, if it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdnesse, he would have done as equity required, and herewith drove them from the judgement seat: now though no doubt but God guided this proceeding of Gallio, that Paul might have the better opportunity to preach the Gospel, so is Gallio his judgement more remarkable, who at such a time and instant, as God had over him a speciall, and more then ordinary providence could say, (though it is likely that he regarded alike the Jewish and the Christian Religion,Note. yet we who are under the Gospel may especially learne it from him) that the worshiping of God in a different manner, though contrary to an established civill Law, according as men finde themselves bound in conscience, which must not he wavering or doubting, ought not to be interpreted or accounted as wicked lewdnesse, or a matter of wrong to those that were of another opinion, much lesse be punished as such.

The passage of Gamaliel, Act. cap. 5. and what he said to disswade the Jewes from persecuting the Apostles to death, is no lesse worth our serious consideration: The Apostles having cured and converted multitudes of people, vers.18. the high Priest and all that were with him being full of indignation, laid hands on the Apostles and put them into prison, but the Lord who never forsakes those that trust in him, sent an Angel and brought them out againe; the Apostles according as the Angel bid them, went into the Temple to teach the word of life, which when the Jewes understood, they caused them to be apprehended and brought before the Councell that they might be put to death: The Jewes having finished their accusations, and the Apostles answered what God inspired them with for their owne defence, Gamaliel one of the Councell, a Pharisie, a great Doctor of the Law, and in reputation among the people, having commanded the Apostles to withdraw, said unto them, vers. 35. Ye men of Israel, take heed to your selves what ye intend to doe concerning these men, and having given examples of Theudas, and Judas who for a while drawing much people to them, were afterwards dispersed, exhorted them to let the Apostles alone, saying, v. 38. 39. If this counsell or this worke be of God, ye cannot overthrew it, lest happily ye be found even to fight against God; and the Jewes agreed with him: I know that most men now adayes, either reflect little upon these Scriptures, or account both Gamaliel and Gallio to have plaid the worldly polititians in this businesse, and not being fervent in their owne Religion,Object. tooke care only to quiet the people for the present, alledging, that we must not live like those that say,Answ. let the world goe how it list, nor expect that God will relieve us when we lye still in the ditch, and cry God helpe us only;Riv. 3. 11 but I desire such to consider, that as the luke-warm are so distastefull unto God, that he hath declared himselfe to spue them out;Rom. 10. 2. so he hath also said, that men many times have a zeale without knowledge, and that the wrath of man workes not the righteousnesse of God,Jam. 2. 19. 20. for which cause James exhorts them to be slow to wrath.

Gamaliel and Gallio are not to be looked upon barely as polititians, who in that respect might be biased, & carried awry through their own private interest, or that of State, but their reason should be truly valued by men of moderate temper, not without zeale, the more the better so it be according to knowledge,Rom. 10. 2. but I mean such men as are not engaged to the contrary opinion: Gamaliels great argument was,Note. that the Jewes should forbeare to persecute the Apostles, because they ran a hazard of fighting against God, and this was no bare jealousie or phansie of Gamaliels, but a most sacred truth; for we finde that our Saviour told Paul before he was converted, that he persecuted him, whilest he held the garments of those that stoned Steven, and haled the Saints both men and women up and downe before Magistrates and into prison, Act. 9. 4. 5. and 22. and 23. chap. And it is yet further to be observed that these advices and counsells of Gallio and Gamaliel, were not only grounded upon policie, reason and Religion, but were in favour of the Apostles, and recorded by the Spirit of God, with the liberty and successe which ensued thereon in the Apostles freer preaching of the Gospell, which in a kinde of silent manner tells us they were guided by an especiall providence to become instruments of procuring Liberty of Conscience unto the Apostles, and remaine an example for all Christians to grant the like to one another.

Will it not be acknowledged that the Bishops in Queene Maries dayes, and since, persecuted many Christians, and therein resisted Christ instead of setting him up upon his throne? Yea some will say,Object. but they were Papists in Q. Maries dayes, and Episcopacie is Antichristian, but Presbyterie or some other government may be jure divino, and will only suppresse Heresies, and settle a uniformity in the Church of Christ:Answ. I answer, that the Bishops in Queen Maries dayes, and since, whether Papists or others, did then say as much, and with equall confidence in defence of their coercive proceedings for preventing Schismes, and establishing uniformity, and that they had Gods word to backe them in it, and though I am fully assured, that God hath been pleased to discover unto us since, a greater measure of his truth then ever, yet if a Presbytery, or other Ecclesiasticall government shall silence or persecute in whatsoever manner, such Christians as are conscientious, pious in their actions, zealous for God, and painfull in propagating of the Gospel, though they differ in opinion, and hold some points contrary to the current of the times, but are obedient to higher powers in civil matters that such should be persecuted whether by Presbyteriall or other government, I never yet heard other reason for it then what Antichrist himselfe alledged so long since, nor doe see any other likelihood from the politick constitution of this State, much lesse can finde evidence in Scripture, but it may run the hazard, that future times, when God shall please to enlighten us yet further, will acknowledge it to be erronious, that it will appear in the last day to have been a fighting against God, and persecuting of Christ, or at least a resisting and quenching of the Spirit and gifts of God, which are acknowledged to be in such men so silenced and opposed.

St. Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians tells them, 1 Cor. 12. in the beginning, There are diversities of gifts, but one Spirit, one Lord, one God; to one, he saies, is given the word of wisdom, to an other the word of knowledge; to one faith, to an other the gift of healing; to one the gift of miracles, to an other prophesie; to one discerning of spirits, to an other divers kinds of tongues, and to an other the interpretation of tongues, but all these work by one and the selfe same Spirit: And though all these are gifts of the Spirit, and that there is not any one of these but a man may have it, and be a reprobate, for even of faith Paul himself saies, 1 Cor. 13. 2. though he had it in such a degree as he could remove mountaines, if he had not charity withall, he were nothing, yet it is said in the 7 verse of the 12 Chaper, That the manifestation of the Spirit in the diversity of gifts, is given to profit with, that is for the profit and benefit of the Church to which these gifts were to be communicated: now if all these gifts are from God, and if God gave them that they might be improved or dispenced unto all Nations; nay, since in the third verse of the same Chapter, it is revealed unto us, that no man can so much as say, That Jesus is the Lord but by the holy Ghost:Note. how can it be denied, but that the silencing or persecuting of any man that hath but one or more of these gifts in him, because he wants some others, or hath not all, is not a plaine suppressing of the Holy Ghost? which though given in a smaller measure (like him that had but one talent in the Gospel,Matth. 25. and was condemned to utter darknesse for not imploying it) or if it had extended only to the saying that Jesus is the Lord, were all given to profit by, and would doubtlesse effectually prove profitable, if they were not unwarrantably quenched.

Suppose I were of the faith generally professed in New England, and had a brother of the Presbyteriall Discipline in Scotland, who loving me as himselfe, desired nothing so much as to conforme me to his own opinion, I that am no whit inferiour to him in affection, that I may bee the better able to give account of my owne faith, free from the least doubting, but prepared to imbrace any truth which to me remains yet unrevealed, after I have tried it by the touchstone of Gods word; and made use of such other helpes as God hath given me, that I may be the stronger setled, and not seem obstinate in my opinion, but especially hoping hereby, as St. Paul, Rom. 9. 22. whilest he became all things to all men, to convince my brother in the errour of his wayes, I render my selfe complying upon his request, to heare or read whatsoever can bee said in the defence of Presbytery: Now when I have used all those lawfull meanes which he prescribed me, or could thinke any wayes available to reduce a man to that opinion, and tell him notwithstanding, that I finde not the least scruple or ground of doubting in that faith which before I made profession of; my brother, who sees no greater errour or weaknesse in me then in himselfe, hath nothing else to except against me, knowes that I cannot be of what religion or opinion I will my selfe, untill I be fully convinced about the truth thereof, and that a bare doubting in point of conscience, would bring damnation on me, can, I say, my brother Presbyter in such a case, upon good ground or reason, thinke I ought to be silenced or persecuted in any manner? Can there be a Law according to Gods word to punish me for what lay not in my power to remedy, nor may with a safe conscience be dissembled? But it will be said,Object. that this plyablenesse and readinesse to receive such truth as shall be discovered; may be counterfet and hypocriticall, and that such as Scripture and reason doe not convince, are wilfully obstinate, or in state of reprobation, though they know it not themselves: To this I answer,Answ. That though it be said of the Jewes, This people is waxed grosse,Act. 28. 27 and their eares are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and heare with their eares, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heale them, yet it was not meant that every one of that Nation was hardned,Luke 6. 43, 44. or of any particular person that he could be a distinguished from the rest, nay it is plaine, there are no signes or tokens given us infallibly to know an obstinate or reprobate heart by, for though it be said,Act 22. A good tree doth not bring forth had fruit, & you shall know the tree by the fruit, and that of thornes men do not gather figs, nor of bramble bushes grapes; yet we know that Paul persecuted, & was a blasphemer to the last,Joh. 6. 44. even till he was vocally called by Christ from heaven; and the same Christ when he was on earth said, No man can come unto me except the Father draw him, and therefore we have expresse order to judge nothing before the time,1 Cor. 4. 5. untill the Lord come who will bring to light the hidden things of darknesse; and St. Paul saies, Rom. 14. 4. Who are thou that judgest an other mans servant, to his owne master he standeth or falleth, yea he shall be upheld, for God is able to make him stand?

We finde in Matthew, Matth. 17. 5. that the Apostles heard a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, heare ye him: And our Saviour bid them tell no body thereof till he was risen again from the dead: whence we may be informed, that Hear ye him, was not said so much to the Apostles themselves, as to all Christians in their generations to the end of the world; for if that vision, and that doctrine of Heare ye Christ, be not to be taught till after our Saviour be risen from the dead, after which time he had but a few dayes to spend amongst them on earth, then must it follow, That it is Christ still that speaks to us in his Gospel,Matth: 28. 18. and by the Ministers of his Gospel, the power which the Ministers of the Church have, is the power of Christ, who is the head of the Church, and though Christ as he is God, hath power equall with God, and all power was given unto him in Heaven and in Earth;Joh. 18. 36 yet as he said his Kingdom was not of this world, so neither may the Church imploy the power of the world, or use such coercive meanes in the government of his Kingdome, as men be forced to performe outward obedience for feare, and doe what they doe for the Church or civill powers sake, and not for Christs, like unto those people who are led to worship the Divell, lest he should doe them hurt.

And as in a politicke State, it is not safe to suffer a penny to be taken or forced from any man in an illegall way; so much lesse may an Ecclesiasticall government and power, or the Church of Christ extend their jurisdiction beyond the expresse and precise warrant of the Scripture Law, for Christs power being unlimited as he was God and Man, whosoever layes claim there unto to exercise it according to any other rule, subjects himself to the greatest temptation of becomming a boundlesse Tyrant, and the people to be enthralled by the most arbitrary and wretched tyranny and vassallage of any under heaven: 1. Because they that take upon them this supremacie of expounding Scripture whether in doctrine or discipline must say in effect, or infer by their proceedings, that their dictates are the infallible truths of God, otherwise men will be apt to think they had as good beleeve their own: Secondly, that it is infallibly Gods wil to have those dictates of theirs to be forced upon mens consciences: and thirdly, that they are infallibly called thereunto, & guided by Gods Spirit to see them executed; all which are the darling reasons and tenets of the Papacie to uphold the spirituall Scepter, greater they cannot be, the very Power and Spirit of God himselfe, as they pretend, and lesse would not be colour enough to force the people to receive them: Now I shall leave it to every understanding Christian to thinke and judge,Note. whether such as exercise the same dominion and power over the conscience which the Pope does, and not give the same, or as good a reason for it, may not be thought greater tyrants and usurpers in requiring such obedience and implicite faith to their owne abilities and strength, which the Pope is so modest as to acknowledge only due to an infallibility, and that infallibility to be from God?

In civill affaires we see by experience that every man most commonly understands best his owne businesse, and such as doe not, but rely upon the managing and foresight of others, be they of what calling or condition soever, in a few yeares run out at heels, to the utter undoing of themselves and whole families; besides we should thinke it a most grosse solecisme, and extravagant course in any State which did make Laws and Statutes, that the Subject might not goe about and dispatch his worldly businesse, save in one generall prescript forme and manner, as a thing most irrationall and inequitable, because it cannot possibly be sutable to the infinite occasions and interests of a Kingdome, or lesser people: Nay, why are not all Arts and Sciences thus manacled, if Divinity may be so much improved thereby? why have not each of them their respective theses, positions, and conclusions limited and assigned them? why are Physitians permitted to make experiments,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and kill men after what fashion they please? Surely this kinde of Inquisition, Government and Discipline, should first have practised upon other Arts and Sciences, without daring to tamper with Theologie and Conscience, before it had proceeded master of all the rest: Besides, as our Saviour in the Parable, where the more early labourers murmured that the latter commers should have equall reward with them, said, Is it not lawfull for me to do what I will with mine own? So we know that every man is desirous to doe with his owne as he thinks good himselfe,Ver. 13. (especially when others receive no wrong thereby, as in the said Parable) and if it thrive not in his owne way, he may thanke himselfe, and will like better of it, and be content with what he does himselfe though it prove ill not so, if others have the manage and ordering of it against his own desire: but in spirituall matters it holdeth much stronger, and concernes men to be more circumspect and warie, as the good or ill thereof readeth unto eternity: wherefore since it is as possible for them or him to erre,4. who take upon them to conduct me to heaven, as I my selfe, since it is granted that I must give account, repent and beleeve for my selfe, and cannot doe either by proxie;2. since no man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the same man which is within him; since my salvation ought to be more deare unto my selfe then to any else; since if I miscarry through mine owne choice and will, I shall easier acknowledge my destruction to be from my selfe, and declare Gods judgements to be just; If I perish by mine own folly, tis the losse of one, but if misled by others, we all fall into the ditch together, with an aggravation of our condemnation, to me that relyed finally upon others in a businesse of the greatest concernment that possibly could befall me, without other possibility or assurance of doing well, than by an implicite faith; and to them that tooke upon them to be guide and pilote unto others in a coercive way especially, when they knew not how to save themselves. For all these respects, and infinite others which might be heaped up, I desire every Christian heart, in the feare of God, to consider, and revolve in his saddest and most retired thoughts, whether it be not a much safer way in spirituall affaires, for every particular man to understand his owne estate betwixt God and himselfe, and manage his own busines; whether it be not a greater infringement of Christian libertie and proprietie, to have burdens and impositions layd upon the conscience, whereby a poore soule lives in hatefull bondage upon earth, and subjects it selfe unto perpetuall torments in hell hereafter, without a meanes or possibility to helpe himselfe, though he be sensible of the miserable state and condition wherein he is, or apprehend the inevitable destruction whereto they lead him?

If the redeeming civill rights and priviledges which hath made this present Parliament so deare, be acceptable in so high a nature as to engage the Kingdome in a war for their defence; how much more will the Liberty of Conscience, which transcends the other, as far as spirituall liberty does temporall, engage it still further at their devotions? The civill Lawes permit Subjects to defend their estates with Swords and Guns; but what kinde of Laws are those which expose men naked, to have their Religion and Consciences assaulted? The civility of the French Nation is such, that in regard the Protestants, though they have a liberty of profession, being most commonly fewer in number in what ever company they happen, lest the Protestants should therewith be adash’d as wanting courage, and not enjoy an equall liberty and freedome of conversation with the Papists; in this respect, they are so temperate and discreet, that it is held an unseemly and uncivill part, for a Papist to aske an other what Religion he is of; whereas in England it is ordinary with Protestants, to reproach one another with the nick-name of Puritan or Separatist, Presbyterian or Independent, even those which we cannot but acknowledge to be conscientious and jealous of offending God in any thing, and that which renders us inexcusable, is, that many times when we cannot colourably fix any of these distinctions upon a man, who differs from us in opinion, or discourse only, we are so apt to terme him malignant or Popishly affected, though never any Law was yet made to declare them such.

It is usuall with gamesters to say they had rather lose their own money, then that others’ should lose it for them; and surely if we took as much delight in saving our soules, as gamesters doe in losing of their money, we would quickly chuse to hazard the losse of our owne souls ourselves, rather then forgoe the present joy and comfort of endeavouring the salvation of them by our owne, and not by an implicite faith.

Parents or such as beare affection, when God pleases to call their friends or children out of this world by sicknesse, have great contentment, that they were neare at hand to send for the Physitians, and provide such remedies, as if God had pleased, were likeliest to prevail for their recovery; how much more then will it encrease the miseries of the damned, when they shall thinke and see how foolish and sottish they have been, to take no care or thought of making their salvation sure, by trying of the spirits, and searching whether they were in the truth or no? How will children curse their parents, servants their masters, and whole Nations the State and Government wherein they were borne and bred,1 The 21. which instead of teaching them to prove all things and hold fast that which is good, have brought them up in blinde devotion, and superstitious idolizing of whatsoever their ancestors or themselves beleeved, saying, they ought to be wise unto sobriety, and not preferre their owne studies or judgements, before the Acts and Cannons of Synods and whole Kingdomes? It is true that Christ promised he would send the Spirit which should lead them into all truth,Joh. 11. 13. and that where two or three be gathered together in his name he will be in the midst of them; from whence, and such like Scriptures it will follow, that a Church,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. Synod or Councell cannot erre in fundamentalls, no more then an elect Christian fall finally from grace, so long as such a Synod, or Church keeps close unto the Scriptures, and herein all Christians agree, and joyne in one confession, that the Bible is the very truth and word of God, but when a Protestant Synod or Papall Councell shall goe further, and Paraphrase, make Inferences, Consequences, Conclusions, Canons, and the like; or say, this is the genuine, full and only sense and meaning of such a Text, and not as their respective adversaries object, herein they are both, though not equally, in a possibility of erring, and cannot be infallibly sure of truth, but as each of them is apt to abound in their own sense, thinking their peculiar exposition truest, and cannot chuse but be swayed therewith, so ought they equally, to leave all such as differ from them, as large a liberty and freedome to enjoy their owne opinions; for though the Members of one Synod may be more learned, wise, and outwardly conscientious, and zealous in Religion then another, yet these are no infallible grounds, and tokens of Gods greater illumination and presence with one, then with the other, and though a third and more superiour Synod, should see that one of the two former is in an errour, and advise them that they shall do well to assent unto the other, yet this Synod which hath two to one against it selfe, neither may, nor can forsake their owne opinions, upon the bare authority of the other two, before they see cleare evidence in Scripture, whereby their owne reason findes it selfe convinced: And since in that text according to John the Evangelist afore mentioned, where it is said, cap. 16. 13, 14, 15. The Spirit shall lead them into all truth; it appears, that, that truth is no other, then what the blessed Spirit had heard and received of Christs, then much lesse may frail mankinde whether assembled in a Synod, or otherwise, thinke any thing of their owne addition, or but varied in the least tittle, to be infallible, or of equall authority with Scripture: nay, since neither Christ, nor his Disciples thought good to force men to receive their Gospel, how much more presumptuous is it in men of the same passions and infirmities with others, to impose Cannons and resolutions upon the consciences of their brethren?

Christ said unto his Disciples, Matth. 7. 6. Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast your pearles before swine lest they trample them under their feet: and when a woman of Canaan besought him, unto whom upon the third motion, he answered, cap. 15. 26, 28. O woman great is thy faith; yet upon her first and second deprecation, she could obtaine no better answer, then, It is not meet to take the childrens bread, and cast it unto dogs: And in Davids Psalmes, Psal. 50 16, 17. God said unto the wicked, What hast thou to doe to take my Covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behinde thee? Yet these Persecutors and Inquisitors, which compell others to communion with them, doe not barely prostitute the sacred Ordinances of God, by affable enticing and alluring a mixt multitude to abuse them, but far more unnaturally, and with greater impiety, because spirituall, then those of Sodome tempt, provoke and force them by so many severall wayes, to ravish and deflowre the Church their spirituall Mother, and dearest Spouse of Christ: Nay, suppose Christ Jesus himselfe should come againe personally, and live amongst us upon earth, I would very faine be assured, how he might be free of being persecuted, and crucified againe, according to the principalls of such government, if he should either worke miracles, or teach, or speake any thing besides the rule of mans inventions, or above the capacity of our fraile and carnall apprehensions.

It is acknowledged that St. Paul sayes, Rom. 13. 1. Let every soule be subject unto the higher powers; but this only is meant in civill matters, and not such as may concerne the inward governing and reglement of the soul, or affect the conscience with remorse and guiltinesse; for first, we finde in severall other texts, that if the difference be between Gods prerogative, and the powers on earth, It is better to obey God then man;Act. 5. 2 and that Paul meant no lesse, appears clearly in the same Chaper, where he sayes Rom. 13. 5. Ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake, which cannot possibly succeed, if they commanded any thing contrary to conscience, or the divine Supremacy, unto which only, as it is acknowledged even by the light of Nature, the conscience is primarily subject, and not unto any other Law or Court, without expresse warrant and dispensation. Secondly, though we must be subject unto all Powers, because the Powers and Ministers are of God, yet we are not bound to be subject to any of them, farther then their known respective powers extend, for the power which is assumed beyond their bounds is not of God, and so the reason which Paul urges, why we must be obedient falls to ground, I meane in respect of active obedience, and for passive, especially towards those that are supreme, I refer the Reader to such as have so lately argued it so largely.

I desire not to seem as thinking that Christians may live as they list, for when Paul told the Galatians, Gal. 5. 13. that they were called unto liberty, he bid them withall, not use it for an occasion to the flesh; or that government is ever a whit the lesse necessary in any Church, State, or Common-wealth, for even a Corporation, or family cannot well subsist without it: but it may not be imagined, that God did not prescribe and leave expresse warrant, how he would have his owne house governed. Paul tells Timothy that he wrote those things unto him, hoping to come in person shortly, but in case he tarried longer that Timothy might know how he ought to behave himselfe in the house of God, 1 Tim. 2. 14. and as Paul thought these directions enough, and Timothy might not goe beyond commission, so neither may we imploy any other means, or instruments to uphold Christs government or houshold, then such as were by him prescribed, which St. Paul sayes, 2 Cor. 10. 4, 5. are only Spirituall, but mighty through God to the pulling downe of strong holds, casting downe imaginations, and every high thing which exalteth it selfe against the knowledge of God; and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ: And he said to the Ephesians, Put on the armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the divell, for we wrestle not against flesh and bloud, but against the rulers of darknesse of this world, against spirituall wickednesse in high places, Eph. 6. 11, 12. The armour prescribed by him was only spirituall, and therefore their enemies cannot be imagined otherwise then spirituall. But if civill powers, or others, have authority in matters of Religion, then their commands and Laws in that respect, must be as absolute, as in any other, and ought equally to be obeyed, which would ingage the whole Kingdome still to the Discipline of the Common-Prayer-Book, and government of Episcopacy which for the present stand established by sundry Acts of Parliament unrepealed; and all Puritans, Non-conformists or Protestant separatists of what sort soever, are as subject to persecution as any Papists, which appears by the respective Acts themselves in that behalfe, 2. and 3. Edw. 6. cap. 5. and 6. Edw. 6. cap. 1. 1. Eliz. cap. 2. And if Subjects may say that Episcopacie and the Service-Booke are Antichristian, contrary to the word of God, and may be their own judges in that respect, what hinders but they may say so too concerning Presbytery, or any other government? Wherefore there remaines no medium, either a Liberty of Conscience must be permitted us to enjoy our owne opinions in matters of Religion, or else there is a necessity of being liable and subject against Conscience, whensoever the civill powers which surely are no more infallible then Ecclesiasticall, shall happen to enact or stablish any thing else, lesse consonant and agreeing to the word of God.

And whereas the 15. Chapter of the Acts is commonly alledged, from whence they deduce the authority and use of Synods, with a supremacie of power in matters Ecclesiasticall, I say that whatsoever is pretended from thence in behalfe of Synods, Papists have long since said the same, and far more in favour of their Generall Councells, but that there is no ground at all in that place, neither for Synods, or Generall Councells, in that way which is pretended by either of them, besides sundry others, will manifestly appeare by these few reasons: First, because Paul and Barnabas with the others sent from Antioch, did not appeare as Commissioners or Representatives at the consultation of Jerusalem,Act. 15. 4. 5. jointly to consult with the Apostles and Elders about the matter in question, but only made relation of their message, as bare messengers. 2. The Text it selfe saies, they should go to Jerusalem unto the Apostles and Elders about this question,Vers. 2. and not unto a Synod. Thirdly, the Apostles and Elders of Jerusalem only, came together to consider of the businesse, as appeares by collating vers. 6. with vers. 2. and 4. the multitude which were then present,Vers. 12. being perhaps standers by, as I may so say, or rather the Brethren also, who if they did consult in v. 23. they were the Brethren of Jerusalem, the naming whereof evidences more plainly, that there were no others who consulted. Fourthly, Syria and Cilicia had no Commissioners there, for if they had, they would have been named as well as Paul and Barnabas, when the Apostles, Elders and Brethren of Jerusalem wrote their letters,Vers. 23. and the decree should have been published in the name of the Commissioners, and Representatives of Antioch, Syria, Cilicia, and all others that did consult, as well as of the Apostles, Elders, and Brethren of Jerusalem, had they been all assembled in a Synod, and so much more would it have obliged their respective Churches, whom they represented: But perhaps it may be not improbably conjectured that Paul and Barnabas as they passed from Antioch through Cilicia and Syria, understanding that the Churches there were no lesse disquieted with the same false doctrines, of their own accords informed the Apostles, Elders and Brethren of Jerusalem so much at some more private season, whereupon they joyned them together in their Christian care, and directed their letters joyntly to all the Gentiles of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia, because it was equally available to them all, though the question was only moved by those of Antioch. Fifthly, the Apostles and Elders answer of Jerusalem does not imply any necessity of those other Churches submission unto their determination, otherwise then infallibly inspired men, as appears by ver. 28. Sixtly, the result of the Assembly, was not published, nor the letters wrote as from a Synod, but in the name of the Church of Jerusalem to the Churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia; for it saies vers. 22. It pleased the Apostles and Elders with the whole Church to send chosen men, &c. and vers. 23. The Apostles and Elders and Brethren send greeting, whereas had they been assembled in Pontificalibus or as a Synod, they would never have termed themselves by the denomination of a Church: And seventhly, they imposed not their decrees with Anathema’s, or upon the Churches utmost perill of fire and sword, besides whatsoever was then decreed by that pretended Synod, was only that Christians should abstaine from meats offered unto Idols, from bloud,Vers. 27. things strangled and from fornication; with an expresse preamble,Vers. 28. That it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and them not to lay any greater burden then those necessary things, but the meat offered unto Idolls was quickly dispenced with,1 Cor. 8. 8. and 10. Chap. and for bloud and things strangled, we take liberty unto our selves; but if Synods and civill Magistrates would raise no further impositions, for matters of Religion, nor impose other penalties then are there specified, it would not be so burdensome, or so slavish a bondage to Gods Saints, and most conscientious Christians, as they have been faine to prevent by flight, or live under, to the great vexation of their soules, and perhaps not altogether without a doubting conscience.

But why doe not Synods begin all their decrees, with, It pleaseth the Holy Ghost and us? &c. this me thinks is more plausible and easier to be beleeved, then the forcing of their decrees and votes upon others can be digested; for if any man tell me, he is sometime miraculously inspired, I have no infallible means to disprove him, though it were false, and sometimes I may see just inducements to beleeve him, but I cannot possibly beleeve what he propounds unto me, contrary to mine owne reason and understanding; and yet though the Apostles, Elders, and Church of Christ in Jerusalem, were immediately inspired, and spake in the Holy Ghosts name, yet they fixed not to their decrees any other conjuration or threatnings,Act 15. 29 then, If you doe these things, you shall doe well.

Gregory Nazienzen could say that he never saw good end of Generall Councells;Nazienz. ad Preco. Epist. 55. Grotii [Editor: illegible word] cap. 6, p. 108. and Hugo Grotius in these latter times, both eminent for learning, and a friend to the Church Government of the united Provinces, does not withstanding affirm, that he could never understand how Synods can prove a singular remedy for reconciling differences in Religion: and indeed as it may easily be observed, that Generall Councells and Synods, have seldome had good successe, so for the most part, it may easily appeare, that there could not much better be expected, for commonly the choice of such as were sent thither, was factious or siding at the least, and the whole proceedings accordingly, they sought rather to decide matters by a major part of voyces, then by mature debating and arguing of the question, they did take advantages as well for alledging their owne reasons, as concealing, or over-shadowing the reasons of such as were of contrary opinions, that they might not be heard, debated, or throughly understood, and being in all respects watchfull, how they might with craft and subtilty circumvent, and over reach one another, to compasse their private interests, or indirect ends, which the respective parties that sent them thither did principally aime at, amongst other stratagems and pollicies, it hath not been the least to lay hold of such times and seasons, to make their motions or forbeare, when such, or such were present or absent, which might best further or hinder, by seconding or contradicting of their arguments.

But by Histories and Records of what passed betwixt all the Protestant Nations almost, since the Reformation, it appears plainly, that though in some Countries, and at some times, when certaine hot spirits were predominant, there hath been for a spirt, very bitter persecuting of Protestants for difference in Religion, yet their opinions and intentions when considerately resolved were still settled for Liberty of Conscience; and Calvin tells us,Instit. lib. 4. cap. 11. sect. 3. That the holy Bishops [of ancient times] did not exercise their authority in fining, imprisoning, and civill punishments, and for his owne judgement in this particular, he saies,Ibid. sect. 16. Though he write a whole tract about punishing of Heretickes, yet he could not chuse but acknowledge so much truth in a few lines only as confutes the whole Treatise, where he tells us, That as the Church hath no power of forcing of its owne, so neither may it require such of civill Magistrates, to imploy it in a coercive way: And Beza, God never gave power to man for imposing Lawes upon the Conscience, nor can endure that any body besides himselfe should beare sway or dominion over the mindes of men, de Hæret. à Civil. Magist. puniendis. The States of the united Provinces, when they first began to free themselves from the Spanish tyranny, declared, That they took not up Armes for matter of Religion, as appears by letters which the States of Holland at that time wrote unto those of Amsterdam, quoted by Hugo Grotius in his Apologie, of those that governed Holland,Cap. 2. 24. and the neighbouring Nations in 1618. for then Amsterdam, and severall other chiefe Townes were absolutely Popish for matter of Religion; and yet all those Provinces and severall Townes did unanimously agree, that, though they joyned their force against the Spaniard and common enemy, for redemption and maintenance of their priviledges and immunities, yet the liberty and freedome of Conscience should be reserved to all, and each of them respectively: The Protestants of Switzerland and Germany have published to the same purpose in their Confessions and Manifesto’s, and even of latter yeares, when the Synod of Dort was first thought on to be assembled, most of the States and Townes declared themselves before hand, that it was not their intentions that the said Synod should oblige them unto any thing that was not agreeable to their laws and government, which, as I said before, had abundantly established and ratified a Liberty of Conscience to every particular person that inhabited amongst them: And though upon the determination of the same Synod, in the point of Predestination against Arminians, there ensued suddenly in some few places by the instigation of a most violent party, seconded by the Prince, a fierce persecution and banishment of divers Ministers and others which were of that opinion, with a totall silencing and inhibiting them to preach, yet they were quickly restored againe, and have now their places of publicke meetings, and greater liberty then ever, and that in Amsterdam and Utreckt, where they had suffered most, to the very change and alteration of their government, as may be seen more at large in Grotius his Apologie: But the States of Frisia in July 1622. put out a severe edict which is to be seen in Print, that none of the Dort Synod decrees should be put in execution throughout their jurisdiction, untill they were by themselves, in their owne Courts and Magistrates approved on; and in fine, I doe not finde so much as any one place, or City throughout the united Provinces, where any one decree which that Synod passed, is at present coercively enforced upon the inhabitants in any kinde; but contrarywise it is well knowne to all, how they permit people of all Religions to live amongst them, and though they have continuall wars with Spain, and Papists in some Towns amongst them have more liberty then in others, yet every where their freedome is great, and though in some places they are one fourth or one halfe part Papists, yet doe not the States subject themselves to be terrified or troubled with jealousies or other plots and treacheries then in punishing the authours at such times as they happen to be discovered; I wish it were well weighed, whether the great liberty and freedome of the Gospel which they permit, That Christ be preached whether through contention or of goodwill,18. as Paul desired, and rejoyced at, may not be a great meanes to prevaile with God Almighty thus to prosper them although they may otherwise have failings and weaknesses, which worldly and carnall policies are most apt to bee overtaken with.

If the whole manner of Gods worship were revealed unto us, or any State or Church, and that such a Church or State could be certaine to be in the present possession, and practise of the whole truth, without any mixture of superstition and Idolatry, then would there be far more colour and ground for erecting an Inquisition Office, or Spirituall Court to bring a Nation, a Countrey, or all Christendome unto a uniformity both of Discipline and Doctrine, but this appeares plainly to be otherwise in both respects: First, no Church can possibly be sure to be without a mixture of errour and superstition, in that it is necessary there should be heresies, that they which are approved might be made manifest,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and besides we are foretold that there shall be false Christs and false Prophets, and for that cause we are commanded to trie the Spirits whether they be of God or no: Then secondly, God is pleased only to discover the Gospel to us by peecemeals, as we become worthy and capable of the mysteries and truth thereof, which our Saviour testifies in John, John 16. 12, 13. I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot beare them now, howbeit when the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth: Now though the Spirit which is the Holy Ghost be come, and is with his Saints unto the end of the world, teaching and instructing them in so many wholesome truths, as are sufficient for their salvation, yet most evident it is that God still discovers new truths or a greater measure of the same truths by obedience, unto which he intends to bring unto salvation such as are then living, or to be borne hereafter; and this appeares further from St. Pauls words to the Corinthians, where he saies, We know but in part, and when I was a childe I spake as a childe, understood and thought as a childe, but when I became a man, I put away childish things, 1 Cor. 13. 9. 11. Strong meat belongeth to men that are of a full age, Heb. 5. 13. In another place, Who is sufficient for these things? And I have sed you with milke and not with meat, for hitherto yee were not able to beare it, neither yet are ye able, for ye are yet carnall: And of himselfe though he were extraordinary and miraculously gifted out of a sanctified zeale magnifying himselfe unto the Philipians, he saies, Not as though I were already perfect, but forgetting these things which are behinde, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I presse towards the marke, &c. Phil. 13. 12, 13. 14. Besides, if all Christians were equally enlightned, and had the same measure and strength of faith and knowledge, it would have been needlesse for the Apostle to exhort as to beare with one another, there would have been no occasion for such as are strong to comport the weak, nor all in generall to bear one anothers burden, which is required of us as the fulfilling of the Law of Christ, Rom. 15. 1. Gal. 6. 2. But the same cause which made the Corinthians incapable of meat, such further truths and mysteries as St. Paul had to discover unto them, resides in us doubtlesse, and that in as great a measure, which is carnality, and consequently witholds Gods Spirit from revealing a great part of his blessed will unto us, otherwise then as we grow lesse carnally minded, and more spirituall.

And whereas it will be said by some,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. that they have all the principalls and fundamentalls of Religion revealed unto them, whereby they may be wise unto salvation, which is as much as they are obliged to, and desire no more: I crave leave to answer such with another question or two, and aske, Doe you not sometimes pray, that Gods will may be done on earth, as it is in heaven? And are you qualified to do your part thereof? Are you perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect? Is the same minde in you which is in Christ Jesus? Unlesse you have attained to this perfection, according to the measure and fulnesse of Christ Jesus, there is yet a part, which unlesse you use all possible meanes to arrive to, though I cannot tell you when, or whether you shall or no, I see no ground whereby you may be sure, as yet, to have that full proportion, either of truth or knowledge, which you ought to have; much lesse how you can reasonably excuse the obstructing, as much as in you lyes, the free passage of the Gospell, the limiting and stinting of all spirituall gifts, with the quenching of Gods blessed Spirit, all which are sent for the farther instruction and illumination.

Paul tells the same Corinthians, 1 Cor. 2. 14. That the naturall man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishnesse unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned: And our Saviour told Peter, Matth 16. 17. That flesh and bloud had not revealed it unto him, but his Father which was in heaven: And St. Peter exhorts them to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Pet. 3. 18. All which are undeniable arguments, that though a Christian live never so long, yet he both may, and ought still to grow from grace to grace,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and from knowledge to knowledge, continually ayming, and endeavouring, untill he arrive to a perfect man according to the measure of stature and fulnesse of Christ, in both which respects an inquisition or persecution for matters of Religion may not be tollerated: First, because it would as much as in us lyes, still withold such saving truth and knowledge as yet undiscovered, and unto which we are to attaine by degrees only, for not any of them but at first sight and hearing, is accounted heresie to most men, and much adoe there is before we will imbrace it: And secondly, in that persecution for Religion, would render us altogether incapable of ever purging and reforming our selves from such erronious doctrines and superstitions, as are amongst us for the present, and what would this be otherwise then a meer forme of godlinesse, but denying the power thereof, from which Timothy was ordered to turne away? 2 Tim. 3. 5. 7. But as was said before, Matth. 5. 48. our Saviour commands us to be perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect; and in that forme of prayer which he taught us, cap. 6. 10. we were ordered to make request, That Gods will may be done in earth as it is in heaven, unto which height of godlinesse we may be sure not to be arrived, being still so much further off, as we apprehend our selves to have attained it, forbearing to presse forwards, as St. Paul said to the Philipians, Phil. 3. 14. 15. I presse towards the marke for the price of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus: let us therefore as many as be perfect be thus minded, and if in any thing you be otherwise minded God shall reveale even this unto you: And S. Peter in his first Epistle generall, exhorts those Christians, As new borne babes to desire the sincere milke of the word that they may grow thereby, not that they should thinke themselves to have attained either unto a perfection and fulnesse of knowledge, or purity of profession, both which must be supposed, or else the ground-worke and foundation whereon they build their Inquisition house for setling a uniformity, is so much more unwarrantable and unfound.

The Parable of our Saviour, Matth. 13. 29, 30. wherein he forbids the pulling up the tares lest they pull up the good wheat with them, and commands, That both tares and wheat be let grow together till harvest, seems to me a full argument that the State should not be forwards in putting any to death, save such as are expressely warranted by the word of God, but this place makes especially against persecution for matters of Religion; for though every body can distinguish tares from corne, yet it is not so with heresies and errours in point of Doctrine; besides, the outward man may so conforme himselfe if he will, as that it is impossible for the world to finde him out, because they cannot arrive to the heart, and what ever externall meanes may be used, they worke only upon the body, and cannot reach the soule: But persecution for Religion does not only contradict the Scripture, but is contrary to common sense and reason, as will appeare if you consider, that, although we say proverbially, facile credimus, quod libenter volumus; yet a man of himselfe cannot possibly beleeve what he himselfe desires to beleeve, before his judgement and understanding be convinced, so that unlesse it be a good argument, to prevaile upon a mans judgement and understanding, to say, beleeve this or that point of doctrine upon penalty of losing your ears, or the like, it must needs be extravagant and unjust to practise it: let us not then goe against our owne reason, and the Scripture where it is said, That though Paul plant, and Apollo water, it is God that gives encrease: And our Saviour tells us, That no man can come to him except the Father draw him, that it is the Spirit which quickneth,1 Joh. 63. and that the flesh profiteth nothing.

There is yet another place of Scripture which speakes more plainly, letting all Inquisitors and Persecutors know, that though they had the spirit of divination and discerning, wherewith they could be certaine to have discovered such as preach the Gospell out of strife and envie, and not sincerely, yet they are not to silence them, but be glad that the Gospel be preached in a weake and erronious manner, then not at all, for even as a man that holds fast with his hands, if his feet slip, will recover himselfe againe, so if Christ the foundation be kept, though for the present they may preach and teach many a false doctrine, yet wee may be certaine that all rotten unsound superstructures and erronious tenets shall fall downe in Gods good time and season, whilest the foundation remaines sure for ever: He that hath given us Christ, will with him,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. but at his owne good pleasure give us all things; Paul thought this was a good argument, and so far bare with all mens infirmities, that as he sayes of himselfe to the end he might have opportunity to preach the Gospel, he became all things to all men, that by all meanes he might save some, unto the Jews as a Jew that he might gaine the Jews, to them that are under the Law, as under the Law, and to them that were without Law, as without Law, that he might gaine both; and lest you might thinke him a libertine in all this, and without Law to God, he tells you he was all this while under the Law to Christ, and doubtlesse did him no small service in thus complying: But that you may guesse in what manner and how far forth he had been indulgent at such other times, the relation whereof we doe not finde recorded, take what he saies unto the Philippians, Phil 1. 16, 17, 18, 19. Some preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some also upon good will, the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to adde affliction to my bonds, but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel: what then? notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached, and I therein doe rejoyce, yea and will rejoyce, for I know that this shall turne to my salvation through your prayers, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Yea will some say great shame it were if we should not rejoyce that Christ be truly preached in what manner soever; but such as we silence and persecute though they confesse and preach Christ in words, yet they hold certaine erronious tenets which strike at the foundation, and overthrow Christianity: I desire such to remember those Scriptures which say,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. that, whosoever is borne of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is borne of God: Whosoever beleeveth in him shall not perish but have eternall life: And whosoever shall confesse that Jesus is the Sonne of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God: Now as we know that David though he committed adultery and murder, was borne of God notwithstanding this text, because it means only that God imputes not sinne unto them that are borne of God; so he that beleeveth in God, and confesseth that Jesus is the Son of God, though he do together with this foundation, hold certain points which may seem to crosse it, and be in a great degree erronious, but contrary to his owne intention, it is both very possible and probable, that such a one notwithstanding shall not perish, but God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

In the very Bible we finde severall texts and passages which seem to thwart and contradict themselves, yet we are certaine, that the whole Scripture being the inspiration of one, and the sime blessed Spirit, cannot but be at unity within it selfe, and all good Christians are fully assured thereof, though they be not able sometimes to make it appeare so to their weake and carnall understandings; and in such cases we have the example of St. Paul, Rom. 11. 13. the great Apostle of the Gentiles, who though he testified of himselfe, that he gave his judgement as one that had obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithfull,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. and thought that he also had the Spirit of God, yet having waded into the mystery of Predestination, so far as his owne reason could arive, burst out into a most devout admiration, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdome and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgements, and his wayes past finding out.

In S. Pauls Epistle to the Romans, chap. 3. 28. it is said, Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law: And St. James saith, James 2. 24. Ye see then how that by workes a man is justified, and not by faith only: Now as we are fully assured that these two Scriptures though they differ so much litterally, are notwithstanding not only in their owne being reconcileable, but even in our shallow capacities and apprehensions: And as God had good cause why he counted Paul faithfull and put him into the Ministery,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. who was before a blasphemer and persecuter: So we may safely thinke, that God can much more (after the manner of men be it spoken) tell how to prosper their endeavours, and bring unto salvation, such as beleeve in him, and confesse Jesus to be the Son of God, for his word and promise are engaged and cannot be frustrated through their weaknesses and unsoundnesse in some points of Discipline, Doctrine, or of both: But it will be objected, why should such be suffered to preach Christ, who withall mix unsound doctrine, since there may be teachers enough besides, who are all orthodox and unquestionable? I answer, That this is not the true state of the case, for that the Puritans or other conscientious Christians hold their owne teachers to be the soundest, and if they be silenced, conceive they are bound, without power of dispencing with themselves to heare none at all, rather then such with whom they cannot possibly joyne or be present without a doubting and condemning conscience; so that at the very best this can be but a pulling up of good wheat together with the tares, which as was said before, our Saviour would not have so much as hazarded and endangered; or a doing evill that good may come of it, which is as absolutely forbidden.

I will therefore forbeare to make any further application of Pauls rejoycing so Christ were preached in whatsoever manner, but beseech with meeknesse all such as read it, to pause a little and consider, that since Paul rejoyced in whatsoever way that Christ was preached, whether of contention, envy, pretence, or in truth, how inexcusable will all those be that persecute or silence such as preach him in any other maner then they themselves prescribe, whereby many eminent abilities and gifts have been smothered and lost: To the same purpose is that place in St. Markes Gospel, where John in the name of the Apostles tells our Saviour, saying, Master, we saw one casting out divells in thy name, and he followeth not us, and we forbad him because he followeth not us, but Jesus said, forbid him not, for there is no man which shall doe a miracle in my name that can lightly speake evill of me, he that is not against us, is on our part, Marke 9. 38, 39, 40.

Paul tells the Hebrewes,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. how He that despised Moses law dyed without mercy under two or three witnesses; and askes them, how much sorer punishment they supposed such should be thought worthy of, who have trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the bloud of the Covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, which is a plain evidence, that though such as live under the Gospel, and neglect or despise the means of comming to the knowledge, or yet speake against the truth thereof, deserve greater punishment then those that violated the law of Moses, which was certaine death in the mouth of two or three witnesses, yet he saies not that it ought to be so under the Gospel; but though he aggravate the crime as far more heynous under the Gospel, yet he declines to say they should be punished corporally in this life, and plainly insinuates that it must be left untill the day of judgement, as appeares by the coherence with the words which follow, where he brings the Lord in,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. saying, Vengeance is mine, and I will recompence it: and againe, The Lord shall judge his people: It is a fearfull thing to fall into the hands of the living God: And this is yet more manifest, if we consider that there had been thousands of those which thus rejected and violated the Gospel which then had not been punished with death according to the law of Moses, and yet Paul for all this did not blame those Christians for omitting to doe corporall execution on them, or leave any order that the civill Magistrate should afterwards have such power when they became Christian: And if Paul tells Titus that a Bishop must not be soone angry, nor a striker; and Peter bids the Elders take the oversight of Gods flocke, not being Lords over Gods heritage, but as ensamples to the flocke; how shall a Presbyter that is a striker, or that Lords it over the flocke of Christ be justified? or how can he be said to be lesse then a striker, that passes sentence of condemnation to banishment, imprisonment, and death, or not to Lord it over the flock of Christ, that imposes laws upon their consciences?

But did these persecuters of God and good men consider, that to be persecuted, is a mark and signe of the true Church, and consequently to persecute, an infallible character of unsound Christians and the Church malignant, in charity we ought to thinke they might likely be reclaimed, I shall therefore intreat them for their owne direction to call to minde, what St. Paul saith to the Galathians, viz. Now we Brethren as Isaac was, are the children of promise,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. but as then he that was borne after the flesh persecuted him that was borne after the Spirit, even so it is now: This text declares how the true Church and true Beleevers are children of the promise, figured out in Abel, Isaac and Jacob, persecuted by Cain, Ismael, Esau, and their posterity, children of the bond-woman, teaching us in expresse words, that as those which persecuted in the Old Testament were not the Elect or children of the promise, so now the best servants of God were persecuted under the Gospel; which will yet appeare more plainly to such as have their understanding darkned, if they reflect likewise upon these other Scriptures: He that loveth not his brother is not of God, for this is the message that we heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain, who was of the wicked one, and slew his brother: and wherefore slew he him? because his works were evill, and his brothers righteous: And our Saviour told his Disciples, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves; ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoyce.

But if the practise of persecution for difference in matters of Religion were a signe of the true Church, then that Church were likeliest to be the truest Church that did most persecute others, which I beleeve will be denied by all Protestants, or else they must condemne themselves, in suffering the Papists to go beyond them in persecuting others: and secondly, if persecution were a note of the true Church, it would instigate and encourage all States and Churches to double and encrease their persecutions, untill each of them had attained to the most exquisite degrees and height of cruelty and tyranny.

Againe, though persecution for conscience sake be never so much practised, it is condemned by all men in every body but themselves, for who is there that blames himself for persecuting others, or who would be contented to be persecuted himselfe? and so far is persecution from propagating of the Gospel, that nothing in humane appearance can possibly hinder it so much, for the Papists having got the upper hand and greatest portion of the Christian world into their power by vigour of their persecution, hinder the blessed Gospel from being truly taught in the simplicity and purity thereof; and as it is well knowne, that the best Churches have been in errours,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. sometimes able to digest milke only, not capable of strong meat, so by the rules and principalls of persecution, it were impossible to grow stronger, or come into the light of truth againe, because that according to such discipline, such as teach any new truth, or but a further measure of former truths should be persecuted, as it happened unto Paul and the other Apostles and Disciples, under the calumnie of sedition, heresie, blasphemy, or innovation, for Paul himselfe was reduced to say, I worship God after the manner which they call heresie: And whereas some will object, that the Churches in the Primitive times were weake as being newly planted, but that Christians now adaies have attained to a larger measure of strength and knowledge in the truth, I dare not subscribe thereunto, and for whatever failings, errours and false doctrines such men shall prove to have been found in the Churches of Rome, Corinth, Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Galatia, or any of the rest during the Apostles times, when through weaknesse and carnality they were said to have need of milke, it will full easily appeare, that, as the infallibility of the Apostles, their diversity and preheminencie of gifts, and miracles which they wrought, were far more efficacious means then at any time were since enjoyed: so none of our Protestant Churches at present, especially Nationall, but will justifie the Primitive, in our owne greater errours, both for Discipline and Doctrine: It is true that if liberty be given for men to teach what they will, there will appeare more false Teachers then ever, yet it were better that many false doctrines were published, especially with a good intention and out of weaknesse only, then that one sound truth should be forcibly smothered or wilfully concealed; and by the incongruities and absurdities which accompany erroneous and unfound doctrines, the truth appears still more glorious, and wins others to the love thereof.

Neither is this complying with weake consciences, or the tollerating of severall opinions, any other sort of Libertinisme, then what Paul practised,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. when he suffered all things lest he should hinder the Gospel, and was made all things to all, that he might save some, at which very time hee professed himself notwithstanding to live not without law to God, but under law to Christ: And Peter tells us, We must live as free, but not using our liberty for a cloak of maliciousnesse, but as the servants of God, 1 Pet. 2. 16. And if you demand whether Hereticks then may not be reclaimed? I answer, That you both may, and ought to endeavour their reclaiming, not by compulsive courses, but with brotherly and Christian admonition and instructions, by evidence of Scripture in demonstration of the Spirit, and such other peaceable and quiet wayes as are warrantable by the Word of God: but for such as say, we have tried all faire means, and none but coercive will prevaile; if they had order to make use of them, how can they be sure that forcible means would have better successe? and how much more blameable are they that use them, when they neither have commission, nor assurance that they shall prevaile?

Our Saviour told his Disciples, That if they were of the world,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. the world would love his owne, but he had chosen them out of the world, and therefore the world hated them, and lest this should not prove a sufficient item to them and us, St. Paul tells us plainly, How all that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution: whereto that we may be the better induced, our Saviour in his Sermon on the Mount, amongst other blessings pronounces this unto them, Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evill against you falsely for my sake, rejoyce and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you: And lest such poor distressed Christians should be to seek, how to behave themselves in so great a temptation and distresse, the blessed Spirit of God by St. Paul to the Romans instructs us, to blesse such as persecute us, so that in these and many other Scriptures, we have the practise of persecution given us as a sign to know the Church malignant by; and to be persecuted as a love token, and most peculiar livery of Jesus Christ to distinguish true from false beleevers.

And if it be objected,The following marginalia text is unreadable and Liberty Fund has made no effort to partially transcribe it. that then there must be no true Church amongst Christians, and that all of them doe persecute one another more or lesse, it wil notwithstanding follow, that such Christian States and Churches as persecute most, are most corrupted, and though I could hope for their sakes which still retaine it with lesse rigour, that every smaller degree of persecuting Christians which differ from them in opinion, may not hinder such to be true Christians, though imperfect and failing in this particular, yet my earnest desires are, that all such as are causers, counsellours or instruments promoting, or not endeavouring and disswading persecution, will seriously consider with themselves, whether, the thus persecuting one another by Christian Churches which differ in opinions, though it should not hinder them from being true Churches, yet if it may not be found, at least, an errour and exceeding great blemish in them all, even those that use it seldomest and in milder manner, expressely forbidden in so many places of Scripture, and continually declamed against by the whole proceedings of our Blessed Saviour, his Apostles, and most conscientious and truly mortified Christians, famous for greatest piety and devotion in their respective generations.

Joh. 3. 19, 20, 21.St. John saies, That light is come into the world, and men loved darknesse rather then light because their deeds were evill, for every one that doth evill, hateth light, neither commeth to the light lest his deeds should be reproved, but he that doth the truth commeth to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God: Methinkes we may well resemble the true professours of Jesus Christ, to those that seek the light, that the truth which they teach may be made manifest; and contrarywise such to be false prophets and hypocrites, that hate the light lest their beloved errours and counterfeit doctrines should be discovered, reproved and forsaken: Indeed many a man hath been over confident, and delivered up his body to be burnt in a bad cause, but this should make such as have a good one, to gather so much more courage to themselves, and not decline any lawfull triall or disputation, whereby falshood would be vanquished, and the light of truth shine out, so much more amiable and bright, as before it had greater opposition.

In the ordinary course of the world betwixt two which are at law together, when either of them uses meanes to prolong the suit, and prevent what possibly he can the comming to a judgement, may we not say, and that justly too, that such a man hath a bad cause, or else that he hath not all his proofes and evidences in readinesse, especially if we suppose that he knew he had a Judge who both understood his cause fully, and would infallibly do him justice? surely the same may be said and that more warrantably concerning Religion, and differences in opinion about any point thereof.

Confidence and boldnesse prevaile sometimes, and that not a little even in a bad cause,Act. 4. 13. but never fail when they maintaine a good one; we may see it in the Acts that both Peter and John, with the cause of Jesus Christ sped the better for their boldnesse, which when the Scribes, Elders, Annas, and all high Priests kindred saw, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled, and took knowledge that they had been with Jesus, And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it; and how wonderfully the cause prospered hereupon appears in that fourth Chapter to the Acts,Eph. 3. 12. which is well worth reading out, and cannot by a heart truly sanctified be passed over without great admiration: St. Paul confirmes it unto the Ephesians,Phil. 3. 19. 20. 25. saying, That through faith in Jesus Christ we have boldnesse and accesse with confidence: And to the Philippians he hath yet a fuller expression, where he sayes, I know according to my earnest expectation, and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldnesse, as alwaies, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or death, and having this confidence I know that I shall abide and continue with you all, for your furtherance and joy of faith: Surely as all true Beleevers have the same good cause and Gospel, so can they not possibly fare worse if they had but such a faith and confidence as Pauls was:Jim. 2. 20. Now true and lively faith cannot be without works, and the most eminent and glorious worke of all, is to seek the propagation of it, in such means and manner as are most warrantable, and likeliest by the precept and president of our only wise Saviour, and his blessed Apostles to prove successefull: Oh, let us not then defer the practise of it any longer! doe we suspect that errour should vanquish truth? this is so vaine that no man will confesse so much, but for their full conviction if they were so conceited, let them take notice what St. Paul saith to the Corinthians,2 Cor. 13. 8. We cannot do any thing against the truth but for the truth; we may plot, contrive and endeavour whatsoever our owne depraved natures will suggest us to against it, but great is the power of truth, and it will prevaile at last: or doe we then feare that the true professours may fall from their former stedfastnesse? it is true that some which once made profession of the truth may fall from that profession, but such, though they make profession of the truth, yet were they never true professours,1 Joh. 2. 19. as St. John saies in his first Epistle, They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us, but they went out, that they might be made manifest, that they were not all of us: And doubtlesse it were much to be desired, and all justifiable meanes to be imployed, whereby hypocrites, and such as are not true at heart, might be best moved to discover themselves of their owne accord, for then the people of God might be kept from falling into many a sin through their ill example, and avoid many a temporall judgement and affliction for holding fellowship and communion with them; but blessed be God this is the worst that can befall them, neither divells nor the deepest wiles of wicked reprobates can possibly deceive the true Professours Gods Elect.Mat. 24. 24. Our Saviour hath passed his word, That not one of these little ones shall perish, Mat. 18. 4. And my sheep heare my voyce, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternall life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand, John 10. 27, 28. And Paul saies, We are persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed, 2 Cor. 4. 9. And he told Timothy That the foundation of God standeth sure. having this seale, that the Lord knoweth them that are his, 2 Tim. 2, 19.

But since heresies must needs be,Cap. 1. 87. though a woe betide the authours of them, how much more may we well thinke should there be a Liberty of Conscience? since the authors instead of woe, may be certain of a blessing, and nothing can more manifest the truth, when all such as for feare of imprisoning, sining, corporall punishment, or any worldly prerogative had heretofore made profession thereof, would now appear in their own colours, and follow the false calls of their more false teachers, leaving truth to herselfe, and such only as did imbrace her in true sincerity of heart: and yet this is not all the benefit which would accrue hereby, the greatest and best part is still behinde; for as in the Primitive times, when Scribes,Note. Pharises, and all the learned Doctors both Jews and Gentiles, disputed and opposed the truth with more liberty and freedome, it became then much more famous and prevailing, untill the mystery of iniquity undertooke the protecting of it by the Civill Sword, which if it were but sheathed againe,Joh. 3. 8. and the Blessed Spirit, which bloweth where it listeth, not resisted, we might even in these dayes with Gods assistance, expect to see victorious trophees, and multitudes of Christians set at liberty,Object. and redeemed out of Babylon to the speedier downfall of Antichrist.

But some will say that the learned and wisest men have alwaies been and are still of opinion, that it is no good policie to suffer so many severall Religions to be publickly professed in one and the same Kingdome and jurisdiction, because that though many men may be able with Scripture to defend their owne Religion, and others perhaps stedfast and obstinate enough in their opinions what ever they be, yet if contrary tenets may be debated freely, and made profession of without controle, some numbers more or lesse amongst such multitudes of people, either by importunity, worldly advantages, or in that their ignorance or little knowledge in spirituall matters, is not able to withstand the arguments which are urged against them,Answ. must needs be seduced and led away from the Religion established by Law: Whereto I answer, That the advice of wise and learned men if they be otherwise also as well qualified, is to be far preferred before that of ignorant and lesse wise, but such whose affections and carnall lusts are mortified, and whose guifts are sanctified, these mens counsells ought to take place before the deepest Polititians of State, or grand Rabbies of the Law or Gospel: worldly wisdome and humane learning are both usefull and expedient, when they concur with Scripture,Joh. 7. 48. not against it: It was the argument of the Jews against our Saviour and his Apostles, That the Scribes, Pharises and great ones beleeved not on him; the Papists urged the like, that all the learned Doctors and profoundest schollars throughout the Christian world were of their opinion against Luther and the first Reformers, and although we all acknowledge of how little account and force this argument was then, yet is it now as much stood upon, and altogether as weakly grounded, even by the greatest part of Reformed Churches, against such as yet strive for, and endeavour only a further Reformation: surely if such would but consider of what low condition and meane estate the Apostles were,Act. 4. 12. they would never think the worse of truth,Matth. 4. 18. 21. because it was held out unto them by men of most inferiour ranke and quality, this would make such as are Scripture wise to thinke the better of it, for who are likeliest to have spiritualll things discovered to them, then such as are spirituall themselves? and who likeliest to be spirituall, then such as are poore, base and abject both in the eyes of others and their owne opinions? Surely St. Paul speaks plaine to this purpose when he saies,1 Cor. 1. 26, 27, 28. Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen:Ver. 20. And againe, where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of the world? hath not God made foolish the wisdome of this world? And to the Corinthians he gives a reason why God made use of men of such low ranke and esteem in the world, to be the chiefest instruments of propagating the Gospel, when he sayes, We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellencie of the power may be of God, and not of us, 2 Cor. 4. 7. And in another place he saies, Christ sent me to preach the Gospel, not with wisdome of words, lest the crosse of Christ should be made of none effect, 1 Cor. 1. 17. If these passages of Scripture with sundry others were seriously considered, by a minde prepared to submit to Gods good will and pleasure what ever it were, when it should be discovered unto him, such a soule would not be swayd, and led away with any carnall priviledges or worldly circumstances how plausible soever,Eccles. 1. 2. 14. since all such are but vanity and vexation of spirit, as the wise man assures us: evidence of Scripture is that only which ought to be our guide in what we do or say, our supreame rule or touchstone to make triall of what we heare or see, according whereunto if we proceed, whatsoever be alledged to the contrary, we may cleerly finde, That persecution for matters of Religion does plainly crosse so many places of Scripture, murders so many of Gods Saints, and so much hinders the propagation of the Gospel, as no other erronious tenet or heresie whatsoever: for if the Gospel had but a free passage, and the true Professours liberty to teach and publish it, this only as a sovereigne remedy and counterpoyson, would prevaile against all heresies, unlesse you will grant that errour may possibly vanquish truth: and though our owne fond fancies should suggest never so many inconveniences to ensue thereon, we ought to rest satisfied with so great a manifestation of Gods revealed will, no waies attempting any thing, or cleaving to such opinions, which either directly, or by rationall consequence and induction may hinder the preaching of the Gospel to all Nations.

If Kings or States may lawfully enact a Religion, or settle any point of faith to be beleeved and practised by force and virtue of a new law, then ought all subjects to be conformable thereunto, and so become lyable to change and alter their Religion, so often as the State and chiefest Councell of the Land shall deem just and requisite;Note. for as our predecessours could not make a law to binde their successours irrevocably, or longer then they pleased themselves in civill matters, much lesse in what concerns the Conscience; so neither can we that are now living engage our posterity in any act, but what they may repeal at pleasure, with the same liberty and power by which it was made, since the whole Kingdome being a body politicke indowed with a supremacie, cannot have greater or lesse power over it selfe at one time then another; wherefore since it is our duty to think very reverently of Laws and Acts when once established by the highest Court, yet if we consider that they themselves doe not assume infallibility, that both they, Synods, and chiefe Generall Councells have thought it expedient and just to repeal, alter, and sometimes enact Laws, concerning Discipline and Doctrine quite contrary to their predecessours, by which means a people in their life time have been compelled to change Religion twice or thrice: my humblest desires beg leave to prostrate themselves in meeknesse and most submissive manner unto the three estates in Parliament, That all former acts which countenance persecution for matters of Religion may be repealed, and Liberty of Conscience which is the greatest liberty the Gospel brings, restored, lest whilest the prevailing party of Protestants in England think it lawfull to force other Protestants, because lesse in number, and differing from them in opinion, to change Religion; God in justice permit Papists to doe the like with Protestants in Ireland, as well for our sins as their owne, to the further desolation of both Kingdomes.

FINIS.

T.44 (2.9) [Richard Overton], The Araignment of Mr. Persecution (8 April 1645).

 

 

Bibliographical Information

ID Number

T.44 [1645.04.08] (2.9) [Richard Overton], The Araignment of Mr. Persecution (8 April 1645).

Full title

[Richard Overton], The Araignment of Mr. Persecution. Presented to the Consideration of the House of Commons, and to all the Common People of England. Wherein he is Indicted, Araigned, Convicted, and Condemned of enmity against God, and all Goodness, of Treasons, Rebellion, Bloodshed, etc. and sent to the place of Execution, In the prosecution whereof, the Jesuiticall Designes, and secret Encroachments of his Defendants, Sir Symon Synod and the John of all Sir Johns, Sir John Presbiter, upon the Liberty of the Subject is detected and laid open. By Yongue Martin Mar-Priest, Son to old Martin the Metrapolitane.

This is Licenced, and printed according to Holy Order, but not Entered into the Stationers Monopole.

ANGLIAE MARTINIS disce favere tuis.

Europe. Printed by Martin Claw Clergie, Printer to the Reverend Assembly of Divines and are to be should at his Shop in Toleration Street, at the Signe of the Subjects Liberty, right opposite to Persecuting Court. 1645.

The pamphlet contains the following parts:

  1. Yongue MARTIN MARPREIST, TO THE REVEREND LEARNED THE PROLOcutor, Assessors, the Commissioners of the Church of Scotland
  2. To his Freind the Authour upon his Booke )a poem)
  3. THE ARAIGNEMENT OF PERSECUTION

 

Estimated date of publication

8 April 1645.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 371; Thomason E. 276. (23.)

Leveller Tract: T.44 (2.9) [Richard Overton], The Araignment of Mr. Persecution (8 April 1645)

TO THE REVEREND LEARNED THE PROLOcutor, Assessors, the Commissioners of the Church of Scotland, and the rest of the venerable Assembly of Divines, now sitting in holy Convocation at Westminster

Reverend Sirs,

According to my duty at your divine entreaty, I have reduced those pious instructions received from you, into such a pleasing forme, as I hope, shall not only affect, but abundantly edefie the people of this Kingdome under your holy Iurisdiction; for considering your spirituall care over them, and how your time hath been taken up wholy in the procurement of that sacred Ordinance for Tythes, wysely thought on before the Directory, for he is an Infidell and denyeth the faith, that doth not provide for his family: your late humble Advice digested into severall Assertions: your sore travill and paine you have daly ever since your holy Convocation undergon, to bring to birth his Holynesse, Sir IOHN PRESBYTER; and other your toylesome endeavours for the Honour of your holy cloth, I have therefore more willingly become your Iovrneman to ease your Burthen in this your toylesome time of Deformation; and having thus prepared my endeavoures, fit for the publike vew, I am emboldned to Dedicate them unto your divine protection, not doubting of the sacred imposition of your hands upon them, to sanctifie them unto the people, as, truly Presbyterean, that comeing forth with your Classicall Authority, they may obtaine a reverent estimation with them. And seeing I have made such a happy beginning, I doubt not of an answerable encouragement from you to proceed as I have begun, but a small matter will please MARTIN, if you sanctifie him with the Benedicite of a Cornelian Benefice of 400. l. per annum, to knocke downe the Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. with your thumping, humping, Presbyterean, Classicall CLUB, that shall suffice pro tempore, and withall to gratifie him with the Deane of Pauls House that’s but a sinall matter, it will become his worship very well for the present, and afterwards you may doe, as it shall seem best to your divine wisedomes according to his best deservings therein; he is a singular man in such a busines, and wants nothing but preferment; you doe not thinke, neither doth it enter into your hearts, how reverend Yongue MARTIN can thunder-thump the Pulpit, O, he can staer most devoutly, raile and bawle most fervently, storme most tempestiously even till he foame at mouth most precisely; Oh how he can spetter’t out! O these cursed Anabaptists, these wicked Brownists, these Heretickes, these Scismatickes, these Sectaries; O MARTIN hath it at his fingers end, he's an University man, skild in the Tongues and Sciences, and can sophisticate any Text, O he is excellent at false Glosses, and Scholastike Interpretations, he can wrest the Scriptures most neatly, tell the people it is thus and thus in the Originall, an excellent man to make a Presbyter! and O Bretheren, if MARTIN thus delude the people & thrash those Hereticks in hope sure MARTIN shall be partaker of his hope, you will not muzle the oxe that treadeth out your corne; no, MARTIN hath better esteeme of the Assembly, he doth not once suppose, that like Bell's Assembly of Preists they’l devoure all themselves, and leave nothing for MARTIN, but it is no matter, MARTIN will be content with hard meats rather then desert the service of such an holy, such a reverend Assembly, such a Quagmire of croaking skip-jacke Presbyters, such is his zeale and pious affection to the Cause, he is resolved to worke with his owne hands rather then be troublesome: Thus committing his endeavoures to your learned Consultations, pious Debates, and sacred Conclusions, he rests in expectation of his Reward,

Yours humbly devoated in all Synoddicall,
Classicall, Consistoreall, or Predicatory
Function, till death us depart,
Yongue MARTIN MARPREIST, Son to old MARTIN the Metrapolitane.
  • To his Freind the Authour upon his Booke.

  • ’T was boldly ventured to set upon
  • This foule blacke Feind, mad PERSECVTION,
  • Pluto’s Grand Agent, whom the world beside,
  • Durst not but fawne upon, thou’st tane, and try’d:
  • Thy paines sure have been great, to seeke him out,
  • Thou hast encompast Europe all about,
  • The Sottish, English, Irish Climates too,
  • Thou hast trac’d’ore, to see what things they doe:
  • What was the cause that so much blood was shed
  • In all those places? Why rents and sad divisions
  • In Kingdomes once made happy? now the visions
  • Of woefull ruine; Spectacles for time,
  • To write destructions everlasting line.
  • Thanke then Yongue MARTIN for his love and care,
  • T’impart to thee, who these proud actours are,
  • And let him have thy prayers, so thou shalt be,
  • As much belov’d of virteous men as he.
  • A. B.

Die Saturni, Apr. 6. 1645.

It is Decreed, and Ordained by the reverend Assembly of Divines now assembled in holy Convocation, that Dr. Burgesse, and Mr. Edwards doe returne thankes unto the worthy Authour of this Treatise, intituled, The Araignement of Persecution, for his pious endevoures, and vigilant care he hath taken therein, at the intreaty of this Synod: And it is further Ordained, that they doe desire him to print and publish the said Treatise forthwith, and that it be commended to the people, as a divine Hand-Maide to the right understanding of the Directory: And it is yet further Decreed and Ordained, that none shall presume to print or reprint the said Treatise, but whome he shall authorize under his own hand writing till this most Holy Synod shall take furuther Order.

Henry Roborough, {Scribes.
Adoniran Byfeild, {Scribes.
I appoynt my Cozen MARTIN CLAW-CLERGIE,
Printer to the reverend Assembly of Divines, and none else
to Print this Treatise.
Yongue MARTIN MAR-PREIST.

THE ARAIGNEMENT OF PERSECUTION.

A Certaine dreadfull, and severe Gentleman by name, Gods-vengance, of the Towne of Impartiallity, in the County of Iust-judgment, having a long time through the daily perswations of his Kinsman, Mr. Long-sufferance (an honest peaceable Gentleman, unwilling his enemie should perish) forborne to proceed against the great Enemie and Incendiary of mankind, Mr. Persecation, according to his iniquity, at length taking occasion at his Kinsmans abused patience, forthwith procures a warrant from the Lord Cheife Iustice, Peace-with-all-men, for the Constable, Mr. Reward-of-tyranny, to attach him; who takes with him two approved men of the Parish, old Mr. Woefull-experience, and honest Mr. Sound-judgment; and making strict search and inquiry after him from Religion to Religion, found him at length amongst the Papists, under the name of Mr. Spanish-Inquisition; but the subtile Fox no sooner perceived their Authority, but shrunke out of his Roman Papall Robe, and presently turned Protestant, clad with an English Episcopall habit, under the name of Mr. High-Commission, but Constable Reward-of-Tyranny, with old Woefull-Experience, and honest Sound-Iudgement being acquainted with his trikes, made after him, whereat he cast of his Laune sleeves, Hoode, Typpit, &c. and forthwith, least all Trades should saile, became a zealous Covenanter, in the godly shape of a Presbyter, changing his name into Classicall Presbytrie (a new cheat to cosen the world,) and then Scholer like, as if it had been for a goodly fat Benefice, in the twinkling of an eye jumpt out of Scotland into England, and turn’d a reverend Synodian, disguis’d with a Sylogisticall pair of Britches (saving your presence) in Bocardo, and snatching a Rhetoricall Cassok he girt up his loynes with a Sophisticall Girdle, and ran into the wildernesse of Tropes, and Figures, and there they had lost him, had it not been for the Spirits Teaching, by whose direction they trac’d him through the various windings, subtile by-Pathes, secret tracts, and cunning Meanders the evening wolves, wild Boares and Beasts of the Forrest in the briery thickets of Rhetoricall Glosses, Sophistications, and scholastick Interpretations had made, but being fit to lay hands on him, the cunning Hocus Pocus vanish’d out of their sight, and presently takes Sanctuary, for lookeing about for him, Behold, he was doing his busines (Sr. Reverence) in the Pulpit, thumping it devoutly, and most furiously like the Son of Thunder he ratlid the Anabaptists, Brouwnists, &c. letting his bolts (which according to the Proverbe were soone shot) fly at randome against them: but thinking to apprehend him, he skipt from them, from Pulpit to Pulpit, from Vniversity to Vniversity, from Colledge to Colledge, even through all the Pulpits, Vniversities, and Colledges in Christendome, and then he hied him from Parsonage to Parsonage, where the Parsons Wifes had thought to have hid him amongst the Heards of Tyth Pigges, flockes of chickings geese, &c. but that failing, he ran as if he had been wild through the Gleabe Land, and skipt over into a Tyth Cocke, and thought all had been cocke sure; but perceiving they espy’d him, up starts the Fox, and presently fast by the Synod he caught hold on the Altar, but fearing least he should be made a burnt Offering he vanished into 12. Articles, but that businesse not thriving, the next sight that was made of him, was in a petitionary garbe in the behalfe of the London Ministers: And a thousand other trickes, that I cannot reckon, he had; but one above all the rest I must not forget, which was the master peece of all the rest; for to bloke up all passages, stop all mouthes, and fortifie himselfe round, he turn’d reverend Imprimatur: and here the pursuers were at a stand, for all was as fast as the Divel and the Presbyters could make it, they sought to Authority to open the Presse, and still the Pres-byters (as their custome is) were in the way, that nothing could be done: Well, no good was to be done in publike, they then goe to it privately, and to worke a deliverance, fell into dangrous labour, and at length brought forth the villaine into publike vew, and notwithstanding all his trickes detected, apprehended, and caried him to Iustice Reason, who having examined the Malefactour, sets downe his Examination, and binds over Gods-vengance to prosecute the Malefactour at the next Assizes, and finding him not baylable, makes his Mittimus for the Constable to commit him to the Goale, there to be kept in safe custody without Bayle or Manuprise till the next Goale delivery.

Now for the better understanding of this Araignment this ensuing Catalogue of the names of the severall Officers of the Court is here annexed.

The Court of Assizes held at the Araignment of Persecution. 1645.

Lord Parliament The Iudge
Iustice { Reason } Iustices the Peace.
{ Humanity
{ Conformity
Sir Charles-Royall-Prerogative. { The Kings Sergeant.
Sir Peter-protestant. { The Kings Arturney.
Sir Iohn-Equity { High-Sherriffe.
Mr. Obedience. { Under Sherriffe.
Clarke. Cryer.
Mr. { Soveraingnty-of-Christ. { Grand Inquest.
{ Power-of-Parliaments.
{ Vnity-of-Kingdomes.
{ Nationall Strength.
{ Setled-Peace.
{ Humaine-Society.
{ Vnited-Provinces.
{ Desolate-Germany.
{ Blood-of-Princes.
{ Publike-Good.
{ Nationall-Wealth.
{ Civill-Government.
{ Domesticke-Miseries.
Mr. { Creation. { Innocent-blood. { Iury of life and death.
{ Gospel. { Good-samaritane.
{ Politique-power. { Trueth-and-peace.
{ State-pollicy. { Orphan.
{ National-loyalty. { Light-of-nature.
{ Liberty-of-Subject. { Day-of-judgement.
Mr. PERSECUTION. { Prisoner.
Mr. Gods-Vengence. { Prosecutour.
Gaffar { Christian { Evidences.
{ Martyrs
{ Liberty-of-Conscience.
Sir Symon Synod and Sir Iohn Presbyter. Defendants.

A neuw Iury for Life and Death endeavoured by Sir Symon Synod.

Mr. { Satan. { Rude-multitude. { Sir Symons Iury men.
{ Antichrist. { Sr. Iohn Presbiter.
{ Spanish-Inquisition. { Scotch-government.
{ Counsell-of-Trent. { False-prophets.
{ High-commission. { Eccles-Supremacy.
{ Assembly-of-Divines. { Pontificall-Revenue.

THus (Reader) the Court being compleat, for thy more speedy progression through the matter intended, suppose the transaction of many passages in these Assizes here in this Relation omitted, as needlesse the repetition; the Essentialls thereof being so tedious (to the impatient Reader, yet not unnecessary and uselesse (I hope) to the diligent peruser) for wherein without prejudice to our present matter, an omission may be, my silence for formality sake gives place to a supposition thereof, otherwise I shall transgresse upon the Readers Patience. Thus then the Grand Inquest (the matter being thus far brought) fall into debate.

1. Mr. Soveraignenity of Christ Gentlemen, our Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, whose Image and expresse prerogative I am, hath by the price of his blood, constituted himselfe sole Head and King for ever over the Consciences of men, and therefore he chargeth his Housholders, the Kings of the Earth, to let the Tares and the Wheat grow together in the Field of the World untill the Harvest the Day of judgement, therefore this Malefactour Persecution, in my Iudgement, being in his Inclinations and Actions altogether averse thereto, is an Arch-traitour to the Prerogative Royall of Iesus Christ over the Consciences of men, and therefore Lawfully and Iustly charged with this Bill.

2. Mr. Power of Parliaments. My verdict (Mr. Foreman) is, that Persecution for Conscience is Inconsistant with the Soveraignity of Kingdomes, for it divideth their Powers one against another, and in themselves occasioneth murmurings, grutchings, and repinings, which in time breake forth into Conspiracies, Rebellions, Insurrections, &c. as well to the prejudice of Soveraignity, as to the ruine of the Subject; and which is more, the tendency, operation, and end of Persecution, is to reduce the Power of Kingdomes and Parliaments from themselves into the hands and disposall of the Pontificall Clergie, according to the divilish Decree of Pope Paul 4. con. Trent. lib. 5. p. 409. So that there can be no security for the Power of Majestracy, where Ecclesiasticke usurpation is predominant; for the greater their Power is, the lesse powerfull is Majestracy: wherefore I must needs consent to the equity of this Byll.

3. Mr. Vnity-of-Kingdomes. Mr. Foreman, should I relate how through the divilish polecy and cruelty of this Persecution for conscience I have been banished from betwixt Kingdomes, States, and Provinces to their utter destruction in one an others ruine, I should be unhappily too troublesome: wherefore in short, my verdict is concurrant with yours.

4. Mr. Nationall-strength. Mr. Foreman, I conceive that you cannot be unsensible that the Nationall strength of Kingdomes & People consists in the generall peace, as severall members wisely compacted in the naturall skin of one politike body: wherefore, to foster this Malefactor amongst a people, is to render the strength of a Kingdome to ruine, for he is a constant sower of division, emulation, hatred, &c. amongst them: So that my verdict is not any wayes dissenting from your judgment.

Mr. Setled-Peace. Mr. Foreman, By reason of Persecution for conscience, I can find no absolute acceptance in any Kingdome or Nation troughout Christendome. For he so poysoneth all Nationall Pacifications, Leagues and Covenants, that their peace changeth with their Religion; so that their peace cannot be truly setled whererefore my verdict is concurrant.

6. Mr. Humaine Society. Mr. Foreman, My verdict is, what by experience you have all found, that he hath not only set Kingdomes at variance, but even father against son, and son against father, one friend against an other, and embrewes them in one an others blood, to the destruction of all humaine society: wherefore, I conceive this Charge against him is according to equity.

7. Mr. Blood-of-Princes. Mr. Foreman, The blood of Kings, Rulers, and Governours; the Treasons, Designes, and Conspiracies against their persons, whereof History is full, and whereto our Age is not wanting, occasioned by Persecution, enforces my verdict in approbation of the Byll against him.

7. Mr. Vnited-Provinces. Mr. Foreman, Whosoever readeth the History of the Vnited Provinces, and considereth their wonderfull preservation, flourishing state and prosperity they enjoy, notwithstanding their waging of continuall warre with a forraigne Enemie, may clearly perceive, the great mercy of God upon a Nation and people, that in tender to the consciences one of an other, exclude, banish, and extirpate Persecution out of their Territories: wherefore I likewise consent to the equity of the Byll given in against him.

8. Mr. Desolate-Germany. Mr. Foreman, Those that doubt of the truth of this Byll, let them but looke upon the Germaine desolations, depopulations, warre, famine, and pestilence occasioned through papall supremacy over our consciences, & he may receive full satisfaction of the equity of this Byll.

9. Mr. Publique-good. Mr. Foreman, that which is destructive to the publique good is Treasonable, and not to be suffered in a Common-wealth, because it striketh at the Root and Foundation of Magistracy, whose proper end is, that all may lead a Quiet and Peaceable life under the publique Protection. But this Fellow, Pesecution, diverteth the publique good from the Generality to this or that Sort, to this or that prevailing Faction: so that where, or in what State soever he is Predominate, there is an impossibility of an equall enjoyment of the publique good, but even the better sort, such as stand for the good of others as well as their owne, and have hazarded their lives for the publique good against the common Enemy, as Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. are by him deprived of the publique Liberty and Freedome of the Subject, for which they have engaged Estate and Life. Therefore Mr. Foreman, my Verdict upon the Bill is BILLA VERA.

10. Mr. Nationall-wealth. Mr. Foreman, that which is the Ruine of Nationall Wealth is destructive to the very Being and continuance of Nations, Kingdomes, and States: for it bringeth Devastation and Depopulation thereof, and so not to be suffered. But this Persecution for Conscience stirreth up Wares and Bloodshed, in Nations, Kingdomes, and States, which consumeth their Wealth, devoureth their Fruit, burneth and destroyeth their Cities, Townes, and Villages, and throweth all into a Wildernesse. Therefore Mr. Foreman you have my consent to the verity of this Byll.

Foreman.

Gentlemen, we have spent much time, and our verdict is expected, if you (12.) Mr. Civill-Government, and Mr. (13.) Domesticke-Miseries, be agreed with us in your verdict, there remaineth nothing, but the endorsment hereof with Billa-Vera.

Ambo.

Wee are agreed with you.

This past, the Grand Iury give in their verdict or Inditement endorsed with Billa Vera, whereby the Malefactor Persecution is made a lawfull prisoner, to be brought forth to the Barre, and to be put upon the Jury of life and death.

Whereupon the Clarcke (the mouth of the Court) commands the Goaler to set forth Persecution to the Barre.

The Goaler sets forth Persecution to the Barre.

The Indictment

Clar.

Persecution, Hold up thy Hand, and heare thy Indictment. Persecution, Thou standest Indicted in this County of Iust-Iudgment by the name of Persecution, late of the Towne of Tyranny, in the County of Martyrdome, by Gods-Vengance, of the Towne of Impartiallity, in the County of Iust-Iudgment, That thou art an enemy to God and all goodnesse, a Traytor to Kings and Princes, their persons, Crownes and Dignities divider of them one against an other, and of Kingdomes and people in themselves, and that thou art guilty of the warre and bloodshed at present in this Land, yea almost of all the blood of the whole earth from the blood of righteous Abell unto the blood of these present times, contrary to the peace of our Soveraigne Lord the King, his crowne and dignity: How saist thou Persecution, art thou guilty of this Treason, Rebellion and bloodshed in manner and forme is thou standest Indicted, or not guilty?

Pris.

Not guitly.

Clar.

By whom wilst thou be tryed?

Pris.

By God and my Countrey.

Then an Impanell being returned, the Clarke saith,

You good men that are Impanneled between our Soveraigne Lord the King, and the prisoner at the Barre, answer to your names at the first call upon paine and perill that may fall thereon.

They all answer to their names.

Clar.

Cryer, make Proclamation. Creyer o———yes———If any man can informe my Lord the Kings Iustices, the Kings Sergeant, or the Kings Atturney before this Inquest be taken, between our Soveraigne Lord the King, and the prisoner at the Barre, let them come forth and they shalbe heard; for the prisoner stands at the Barre upon his deliverance.

Clar.

You the prisoner that is called to the Bar, these men which you have heard called, and personally appeare, shall passe between our Soveraigne Lord the King and you, upon tryall of your life and death, if you will challenge them, or any of them, you must speake unto them or any of them as they come to the Booke to be sworne, before they be sworne.

Prisoner.

My Lord, let me humbly crave liberty to Challenge this Iury, who though my Lord in all probability they be honest Gentlemen, yet my breeding, education, nature and course of life is not so well known unto them, as unto divers other Gentlemen (of worth and quality) here present, indifferent men, of far more esteem in the world, more able to discerne my cause, & the evidence mine accusars shall bring: Besides my Lord, these men of the Iury are men possest with an inveterate hatred and malice against me, and are parties in my Indictment; for together with the Grand Inquest they conspired together against me, and provoaked Gods-Vengance to prosecute against me: now for me to be tryed by mine accusars and mortall enemies, I hope your Lordship cannot conceive it equall or legall: wherefore my Lord, I beseech you have mercy upon me, consider the blood of the innocent, least it be a prey to the malice of envy, and let more indifferent men be chosen.

Iudge.

Persecution, I much wonder at thy impudence in excepting against such a Iury, yet so far as in equity I may I am willing for justice sake, to grant the utmost the Law affords.

Prisoner.

I humbly thanke your Lordship, the Lord blesse your Honour, and I beseech your Honour for the assistance of Sir Symon Synod.

Iudge.

Well then let Sir Symon be cal’d into the Court.

Clarke.

Call Sir Symon Synod.

Crier.

Sir Symon Synod, come into the Court.

Iudge.

Sir Symon, if you can further his Majesties service, in the proposall of others in the roome of those Persecution doth except against to Mr. Sherriffe to be impanneled, you are commanded.

Sir Symon Synod.

My Lord, since it is your Lordships pleasure with the consent of this Honourable Bench, that I shall be serviceable to him I shall most willingly propose to his consideration persons of sufficient worth and estimation in the World, that are not prejudiciall to the Person of the Prisoner, neither are parties in his accusation, indifferent men, acquainted with his life and conversation, able to discerne the evidence, that shall be brought in against him, men whom I shall commend unto your Lordships acceptance for soundnesse of judgement, and singular Piety in the cause of the Clergy, this being a matter which concernes them in an high nature wherefore by your Lordships favour I shall propose those if no better can be procured) to wit, Mr. Satan, Mr. Antichrist, Mr. Spanish Inquisition Mr. Councell-of-Trent, Mr. High-Commission, Mr. Assembly of Divines, Mr. Rude Multitude, Sr. Iohn Presbyter, mine only son, Mr. Scotch Government, Mr. False-Prophets, Mr. Ecclesiasticall-Supremacy, Mr. Pontificall Revenue: These never failed the designes of the Clergy, who in all Ages have endevoured the Advancement of the Church of God, the Tribe of Levi: wherefore this being a Case that concernes their Advancement, which above all things in the world is to be endevoured, I am emboldned to propound them unto Mr. Sheriffe, for the Triall of this Prisoner.

Iudge.

Sr. Simon, this is a strange Iury you propose.

Justice Reason.

My Lord; it is according to the nature of the Clergy, can you expect Grapes of Thornes, or Figges of Thistles? if you shall but according to Reason consider of their Waies and Pretences, which indeed beare a specious shew, you shall find them no better then ravening Woolves in Sheepes Cloathing.

Iustice Humanity.

My Lord, it cannot stand with Humanity, much lesse with Legall Equity, that a Case which concernes the generall good of mankind should be refer’d to the Verdict of such an humane Iury.

Kings Ser.

My Lord there be divers of them whom Royall Prerogative hath called in to his Assistance, and at this day I conceive maketh use of them for the Establishing the Liberty of the Subject and the Protestant Religion, so that for my part I cannot see how all of them can be condemned.

Kings Attorn.

My Lord, a great part of them are Props to the Protestant Religion.

Justice Reason.

My Lord, what though Royall Prerogative and the Protestant Religion should be founded upon them? must they therefore be concluded Authentick? non sequitur: and for the Liberty of the Subject, though they may be used as a Glosse; yet Reason will tell you, that they are as directly opposite to it, as the Zenith is to the Antipodes.

Iudge.

Sr. Simon, I cannot in Equity permit such unworthy Persons to be on the Iury only Mr. Assembly of Divines, Sr. Iohn Presbyter and Mr. Schotch governement are commanded to attend the Court, for the service of the King, if occasion be.

Then the former Iury being sworne, &c. the Goaler is commanded to set forth PERSECUTION to the Barre.

Clar.

PERSECUTION, hold up thy hand: Looke upon him Masters of the Iury, hearken to his cause, You shall understand, that he stands indicted in this County of Iust judgment, by the name of PERSECUTION, &c. Upon this Indictment he hath beene Arraigned, and thereto hath pleaded not guilty, and for his tryall hath put himselfe upon God and the Countrey, which Countrey are you: your Charge is to enquire whether he be guilty of this Treason, murder, &c. in manner and forme as he stands Indicted, or not guilty: And heare your Evidence.

Crier.

If any man can give Evidence, or can say any thing against the Prisoner, let him come forth, for the Prisoner stands upon his deliverance.

Clar. call. { Gods-Vengance. Crier { Gods-Vengance. { here.
{ Gaffar. Christian. { Gaffar Christian { here.
{ Gaffar. Martyrs. { Gaffar Martyrs. { here.
{ Gaffar. Lib. Cons. { Gaffar Lib. Cons.
come forth & prosecute, or you forfeite your Recognisance. { I cannot get in my Lord Sir Symon keeps me out. O! murder, murther, my Lord.
Iudge.

What is the matter?

Lib. Cons.

My Lord, Sir Symon Synod is like to pull out my troate with the revenous Clawes of an Assembly, and Mr. Scotch-Government was fit to stab me with his Scotch dagger, and the Iohn of all Sr. Iohns, Sr. Iohn Presbyter with his Classicall Club would beat out my braines: For my Lord, they are affraid I should come into your Honours presence, least I should find entertainment in this Kingdome, and so Mr. Pontificall-Revenue turne Seperate from the Church of Engeland.

Crier.

Peace there, every man keep silence upon paine of imprisonment: make way there for Liberty-of-Conscience; Jemmy put up thy dagger; Sir Symon goe parre your nalles; Sir Iohn, away with your Club, that Liberty-of-Conscience may come into the Court.

The Witnesses being come in, they are sworne every one according to their knowledge to give in a true Evidence for the King against the Prisoner at the Barre.

Clar.

Gods-Vengance, stand up, what can you say for the King against the Prisoner at the Bar?

GODS-VENGANCE

My Lord, I have from the beginning diligently observed the Nature and inclinations of this Prisoner, ever to have been so averse to God and all goodnesse, that his Action in all Nations, Kingdomes and States, amongst Societyes and people, have been in direct Enmity to the end of Christs comming: for he came not to destroy mens Lives, but to save them, Luk. 19. 56. Ioh. 3. 17. But this fellow PERSECVTION, destroyeth both Life Temporall and Spirituall: he wasteth mens Estates, the more Godly and upright they are, the more cruell, raging and hatefull he is against them, he bringeth Misery, Poverty and Beggery on their Wives and Children: yea my Lord, this Savage Blood thirsty Wretch Hangeth, Burneth, Stoneth, Tortureth, Saweth a sunder, Casteth into the fiery Fornace, into the Lions Denne, Teareth in peeces with Wild Horses, Plucketh out the eyes, Roasteth quicke, Bureth alive, Plucketh out the Tongues, Imprisoneth, Scourgeth, Revileth, Curseth, yea, with Bell, Booke and Candle, Belyeth, Cutteth the Eares, Slitteh the Nose, Manacles the Hands, Gaggeth the Mouthes, Whippeth, Pilloreth, Banisheth into remote Islands, makes them fly by whole Shipfulls into Wild Desarts, Stigmatizeth some, and sometimes maketh such (so Stigmatized) when the wind turnes, to Stigmatize their freinds with Reproaches, Calumnies, Oppression of Conscience, &c. Deprives them of the Communication of their Freinds, of all Releife, of Pen, Inke and Paper, Seperates Man and Wife, Deprives Parents of their Children and Children of their Parents, Imprisoneth men only for the discharge of a good Conscience, Stoppeth Presses, whereby men cannot make their just defence, Suffers nothing to be Licensed, Printed, Preached, or otherwise published, but what himselfe alloweth, and having thus bound the hands and stopt the mouthes of all good men, then he comes forth in Print against them like an Armed man, and furiously assalts them, Exults and Exalts himselfe over them, Feigneth Arguments for them, and then like a Valiant Champion gives them a conquering Answere, and thus puts them to flight, and pursues them with Revilings, Scandalls, Forgeries, and Opprobrious Nick-names, as Antinomians, Anabaptists, Brownists, Independents, Scismatiques, Herctiques &c. Thus he dealeth with the Godly party: Yea, he forceth Millions to make Shipwracke of a good Conscience, who for feare of such inhumanity deny the Lord that bought them, to their finall condemnation. Oh! therefore (my Lord) if there be any Bowells of Mercy, any tender Compassion in you! pitty the destitute, the Afflicted, the tormented, who wander about in Sheepskinnes and in Goateskinnes in desarts and in mountaines, in Dens and in Caves of the Earth, of whom the World is not worthy.

Secondly, my Lord, he maketh a Nation guilty of all the righteous blood spilt upon the Earth, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias, and of all that are slayen upon the Earth; for it is all innocent blood that is shed in that case, purchased by the blood of Iesus Christ, who came not to destroy, but to save mens lives; and therefore would have all taught in all Nations, that all might be perswaded to the obedience of the truth, that all might be saved: Therefore to kill the unbeleever, as, Turke, Pagan, Iew, &c. is to slay such as Christ would have to live to repent, which must needs be Murder in the highest Nature: And cursed is he that shall slay an Innocent Person, and all the people shall say, Amen, Deut. 29. 25. The Land that sheddeth Innocent Blood, Innocent blood shall be upon it. Deut. 19. 10. and Innocent Blood the Lord will not pardon. 2 Kings 24. 4.

Thirdly, my Lord, he occasioneth Treasons, Conspiracies, Rebellions, Warres, Forreigne and Domesticke, in all Nations and Kingdomes in the Earth, He divideth Prince against Prince, Kingdome against Kingdome, & Kingdomes in themselves, Breedeth and begetteth a Nationall hatred betwixt Prince and People, and amongst themselves: he setteth Neighbour against Neighbeur, Yea Father against Sonne, and Sonne against Father, he breaketh the bonds of Peace and Freindship Nationall and Domesticke, Inrageth and Filleth the wholl Earth with blood and Violence: for what at this day is the Reason the Protestants seeke the Blood of the Papists? but because the Papists seeke theirs? they hate & persecute the Papists, because the Papists hate and persecute them: they would extirpate and roote out the Papists, because the Papists would doe the like to them. And on the other side, the Papists plot and conspire against the Protestants, because the Protestants will not suffer them to live amongst them, but Banish, Imprison, Hang, Draw, Quarter, and set up the Limbs of some of them (in open defiance to the God of heaven and earth) upon the Gates of the City, who though unhappily they be found Traitors to the Publique Peace and Politique Government, yet Nature might teach them to bury their Limbs, An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth, Blood for Blood, saith God: but now Blood cannot satisfie Inhumane cruelty: If this be Canonicall, Let me have old Tobits Apocripha, who hazarded his life to bury the dead.

Where two stand at Enmity, there must needs be Mastery, or else no safety: When one knoweth the other is his mortall Enemy, he will use all the Means, Strenght and Pollicy that he can to subdue him. This enrageth to all manner of Tyranny and bloodshed, setteth one Kingdome against another, because each knoweth and taketh each other for his deadly Enemy: Their faith being built upon this rotten & devouring principle of forcing the consciences one of another. But if the Papist knew the Protestant, the Protestant the papist to love another: & would not molest or in the least injure one another for their Conscience, but live peaceably & quietly one by another; bearing one with another, and so of all Religions: What man would lift up his hand against his Neighbour? This could not but conduce to a generall true setled Peace, to the wholl World. And in a short time, the Enmity of Heart betweene the Papist & Protestant &c. would be quite worne out: Why should we hate and destroy one another? are we not all the Creatures of one God? redeemed by one Lord Jesus Christ? this should provoke us to Love and peace one towards another. If God have revealed more Light of the Gospell to one then to another, shall the more knowing trample the ignorant under his feet? we should carry our selves loving and meeke one towards another, with Patience perswading and exhorting the contrary minded, proving if at any time God will turne their bearts, by this meanes the great Incendiary of the World, an inforced enraged Conscience, would be at rest. What is more neere and deere then our Consciences? if that be enraged who can appease it? if that be satisfied, what Content, Joy or Peace like unto it? or what more mild more Gentle or Loving? Therefore how render ought we to be in Cases of Conscience? it is a Lion if enraged, a Lamb if appeased: it is all Honey or all Gall, enraged it is like the Wild Bore of the Forrest, pleased, it is like the Dove from the Arcke: no greater Freind, no greater Foe.

It is beter therefore for Kingdomes to set the Conscience free as in Holland, Polonia, Transylvania, &c. and be at Peace in themselves, the to bind and enforce it and be Rent in themselves with Emulations, Heart burnings, Conspiracies, Rebellions, &c. If this Fiery Spirit were allaied, This ignorant Zeall of forcing all to believe as we believe, extinct: Nationall Feares, Ielousies, and Hatred would cease betwix. Nation and Nation, people and people: for as this violent Implacable Spirit suggesteth Feares and Ielousies betwixt one Conscience-forcing King and an other: Kingdome and Kingdome: Nation and Nation: so it forceth them to draw their swords, and stand in continuall Defiance and Defence for feare of mutuall Invasion. Yea under a false Opinion of advancing Gods glory: by forcing others to their faith, they invade, assault and murther one an other, and yet both (deluded by this Seducer) thinke they doe God good servicee, when alas it is all innocent blood that is shed: What was the maine cause so many Nations have been rent and divided in themselves, and one against an other, and in their divisions devoured one an other of late dayes? What occasioned the revolt of the Germaine Princes, from the House of Austrea, of the Neitherlanders from the King of Spaine, the bloody Missery in France? And amongst our selves, what occasioned the rising of the Scots, the Rebellion in Ireland, and those bloody divisions in England, but this divelish Spirit of binding the conscience? One would compell the other to their faith, and force them from their owne, and that will not be borne, they had rather dye, then deny their faith; and therefore is it, that a considerable party rebelleth, and in that Rebellion wallow in one an others blood, burne and destroy all before them, and yet both (as they suppose) fight the Lords battell, while indeed the Divell beareth the greatest share, whose servants they are in that Quarrell one as well as the other. Doth not the Holy Ghost make it a speciall Marke of Antichrist to force all both great and small, &c. and is it not the cause of the Womans flight into the Wildernes from the presence of the Dragon; the scattering of the Church into Desarts and secret places; the Death of the two Witnesses, and wearing out of the Saints of the most High? How cometh the Woman on the scarlet coloured Beast drunke with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the Martyrs of Iesus, and all the blood of the Earth to be found in her, but by this divelish Spirit, even the Spirit of Divels, which goeth forth unto the Kings of the Earth, and of the whole world to provoke them to warre against the Saints; I meane, this binding of conscience, and forceing conformity, though never so much against knowledge and perswation of heart, which at this day is so hotly endeavoured preached, and pleaded for by the proud, Prelaticall Presbytrie of this Land, who by their subtile insinuations and secret delusions endeavour the infusion thereof into the hearts of their Rulers, and to beget it as a principle of faith in the multitude: Should they possesse a Parliament and Kingdome with this Spirit, that Parliament and Kingdom cannot expect peace and safety to continue; the fire may be smothered for a time, but it will breake out at last, as this Kingdome hath already found by woefull experience, the blood of its Nobles and Commons, &c. whereof my Lord, this infernall Feind (here araigned before your Honor, a Traitor to his Majesties Crown and Dignity, the priviledges of Parliament, Rights, and Lib. of the Subject) is the cause: Yea my Lord, he is Iakce on both sides, it was he that occasioned the feares and jealousies betwixt his Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament, and unhappily drew them into the Feild of Blood, neither party would be oppressed in Conscience, or deprived of their Religion; this was one halfe of the Quarrell, and publikely prosessed the main, though it may be Monarchie was the other halfe; and my Lord, he seduced the King into the North, and provoaked your Lordship unto Armes, and hath continued to this day firmely on both sides, so that fall which side it will, he concludes to be Conquerer, and be established absolute Monarke, for he so deports himselfe betwixt you both, that both may persecute, and hitherto he hath too much prevailed with your Lordship: Therefore my Lord, if this vile Incendiary (here happily detected and araigned) be not cut off from betwixt you, there is no hopes of peace, till the sword (and it may be famine, and pestilence too) wrestle it out to a Conquest on one side; and when all is done, yet peace will not, nor can possibly long endure; for where Persecution is, there will be heart burnings, envyings emulations, and murmurings, which at length will breake out into Commotions, Conspiracies, Insurrections and Rebellions. And thus my Lord, I give place to what shall be further evidenced by the Witnesses.

Clar.

GAFFAR CHRISTIAN stand up, what can you say for the King against the Prisoner at the Barre?

CHRISTIAN.

My Lord, I have knowne this man by woofull Experience, well nigh 1644 yeares: and my brethren of old, the Prophets, bare witnesse against him unto the day of my Nativity, that he was in their times the most Pestilent Enemy to Mankind, to God and all Goodnesse, that ever was borne into the World: and my Lord, I am able to prove his continuance in that cursed Condition even unto this day: so that he hath lived and scaped the hands of Iustice above 5660. yeares, and all his dayes hath been a Murderer and Butcher of good men, yet scarce any consider it.

Secondly, my Lord, this Prisoner, PERSECUTION for Conscience, maketh the Gospel of none effect, instead of Sincerity he setteth up Hypocricy, instead of the Feare of God, he setteth up the Terrour of men: instead of the Simplicity of the Word, he setteth up the Vsurpation of the Sword: for my Lord, the compelling of men against their Consciences, enforceth such Inconveniences and Impieties inevitably: Yea my Lord, of such a Divelish Spirit is this Enemy of, as he exalteth himselfe against the Mercy of God in Christ toward the sonnes of men, to the very prevention thereof to Multitudes, and the tumbling of them headlong without remorse to the Divell: for they that are blind, they that are Tares, who knowes but they may see, may become Wheate heereafter: but if they be cut off, (as this mercilesse Inhumane Mescreant useth) for their blindnesse, how shall they see? for (Isa. 38. 19.) The Grave cannot praise thee, they that goe down into the Pit cannot hope for thy Truth. Blasphemers may hareafter become faithfull Witnesses of Christ, Act. 3. 3. & 9. 5. 6. Idolaters, true Worshippers, no people of God, the people of God, as the Corinthians, 1. Cor. 6. 9. & some come at the first, third, sixt, & some not till the eleventh houre, Mat. 20. 6. but should those that are in their sins till the 11. houre be cut off because they came no sooner: they should have been prevented from conversion, or coming at all, as godly King Edward moved by his bloody Bishops, to the burning of a godly Woman called Ioan Butcher (Fox Act. Mon. p. 148. 4.) answered, will you have me send her quicke to the Divell in her errours. This is the service this PERSECVTION doth, instead of building he destroyeth, instead of saving he damneth, under the colours of Christ he fighteth for the Divell his Master.

Thirdly my Lord, his nature is at direct emnity against the very command Christ gave unto the Apostles in the Generall Commission: Goe teach all Nations, &c. Mat. 28. 19. where teaching, not violent compulsion is constituted, and once for ever ordained the meanes and only way for conversion to the faith of Iesus in all Nations: Now compulsion and perswation all know are directly opposite, as much as to will and to nill; So that the command of the one by the Authority of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, is a flat denyall of the other by the same Authority: For here (ver. 19. 20.) by full power of that Authority, Teaching is commanded; as, teach all Nations, &c. teaching them to observe all things, what ever I have commanded, &c. Therefore, all violence, as by menaces. threates, imprisonments, bodily punishments, spoyling of goods, and such like cruelties of this tyrant, is condemned in all Nations as a meanes for no Nation in the administration of the Gospell.

Fourthly, my Lord, this Adversaries practice, and the Discipline of this old, envious, malignant wretch here justly araigned before your Honour, is quite contrary to the Apostles in their Administration of the Gospell; for they did never suggest, or stirre up any Prince, or Majestrate, (in whose hand is the compulsive civill power,) to force such by violence of penall Lawes, Edicts, Ordinances, Imprisonments, or the like, as would not suject unto their Gospel: but on the contrary, gave up themselves to scorgins, imprisonments, stoning, &c. which this Enemie occasioned against them, for the promulgation thereof: And the worst that they did, or were commanded to doe, to such as would not receive the Gospell, was but to shake of the dust from their feete, Mat. 10. 14. Luke 10. 11. Acts 13. 51. which was nothing so ill, as this Feind’s fire and faggot, burning, hanging, stoning, scorging, imprisoning, &c. whose nature hath ever been & is alwayes versant in such cruelties; and yet my Lord, this spawne of Satan, this malitious Hypocrite, doth all under the vizour of Religion, his woolfeish nature is never seen abroad, but in sheeps clothing, in nomine Domini he perpetrates all his villany: So that my Lord, he is a most dangerous inveterate Antichrist, and Arch-traytour to his Majesty (the King of Kings) his royall Crowne and Dignity, and an invadour and destroyer of the just Liberties, the lives and fortunes of his Majesties leige people.

Fiftly, my Lord, it is against the Law of Charity, not to doe as we would be done unto: He that hangs a Iew, because he will not be a Christian, would be loath a Iew should reward him in the same kind, because he will not be a Iew, though in equity he deserve it, for innocend blood requireth blood. Yea my Lord, to force men and women against their consciences is worse then to ravish the bodies of women and Maides against their wills: Yea, it is beyond the Turkish cruelty, for though the Turkes force the bodies of Christians and Strangers to slavery, yet they let their conscience goe free: But our late Idol blood-sucking Bishops, and after them our ravenous Presbiters, as towardly younge Cubbes forbeare not to force the consciences of their friends and neighbours, and imprison them for walking after the light God hath given them; And my Lord, it is this Malefactour which rendereth them so guilty: Yea my Lord, this Foule Spirit breathed into them at their Consacration is not yet cast out of them, which like a roaring Lion seeketh whome it may devoure: So that if your Lordships justice doe not speedely interpose the bloody resolves and villanous intents of our new upstart frisking Presbyters, we shall be all devoured by those greedy Synodian Cormorants, which if you suffer, Woe then to your Lordship in the latter Day, for be assured, that all the miseries, tortures, and torments they inflict upon us, will not only rise up in judgment against them, but even against your Lordship.

Sixtly my Lord, he usurpeth that to himselfe, which Christ hath referred to the Last Day, to wit, to judge them that reject him, for Iohn 12. 47. 48. If any man hear my words and before not, I judge him not, for I came not to judge the World, but to save the World: he that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him, the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last day. And 1. Cor. 4. 5. Iudge nothing before the time untill the Lord come. And Mat. 7. 1. 2. Iudge not least yee be judged, for with what judgement yee judge, yee shall be judged &c. and to these adde Isa. 11. 4. Therefore no man upon paine of judgement, must presume to judge any in respect of Christ or his words, but must referre it to the last day, whose word shall judge him, and not Fire and Faggot, Hanging and Quartering, Imprisoning &c. such are incompetent Iudges, for to this end Christ both died and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living. Let us not therfore judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling Blocke as an occasion of fall in his brothers way: for, Who art thou that judgest another mans servant? to his owne master he standeth or falleth. Rom. 14. 4. We are not equall Iudges one over another in matters of Faith, Who is it that shall condemne? it is Christ that dyed: What is he that shall dare to execute Vengeance for unbeleefe? He that is innocent let him throw the first stone. The Assembly (surely) will not plead Innocence, and if not, why are they so hasty to throw? Surely, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. Yet Mr. Calamy a man but newly Metamorphosed by a figure which we Rhetoricians call METONOMIA BENEFICII from Episcopallity to Presbytery: upon demand what they would doe with Anabaptists, Antinomians &c. tells us, That they will not meddle with their Consciences, but with their Bodyes and Estates. Truly if this be the drift, they are even leapt out of the Frying pan into the Fire. If they be fallen, this is not to restore them with the Spirit of meeknes. But my Lord, Iustice upon this Malefactour would cure the Synodians of that Disease, for Patience per force is a Medicine for a madde Dogge. And thus my Lord, your Honour hath my Testimony of this Malefactour.

Clar.

GAFFAR MARTYRS, What can you say for the King against the Prisoner at the Barre?

MARTYRS.

My Lord, Had not my life been hid in Iesus Christ, who is God of the living, and not of the dead, for though dead in the grave, yet I live unto him, to be raised and revived at the last day; or could the arme of flesh supresse the cry of blood, my witnesse would have beene disinabled: for this Malefactour PERSECUTION persecuted me even to the death; so that my voyce is no other then the cry of blood, even of the Prophets and Martyrs of Iesus, that you heare; for my Lord, such hath been his cruelty to me to suppresse my Testimony against him while I was living, that all the tortures and torment wit and malice could invent, he with his blood-thirsty Clergy devised against, and executed upon me, whereby I was most baberously murthered; so that my Lord, I have no other voyce left me, then that of blood, spilt for the Word of God and the testimony of Iesus, crying with a loud voyce, how long O Lord holy and true dost thou not avenge our blood? I could enlarge my selfe into a Sea of blood against him, discover him drunken with the blood of the Saints and Martyres of Iesus: yea my Lord, Articles of all manner of impiety against God, and all goodnesse, Treasons, Rebellions, &c. I could exhibite against him, but my faithfull brother, that pore despised CHRISTIAN, hath most justly witnessed abundantly against him: And there is yet an other faithfull Witnesse to give in his Evidence, Gaffar LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, who I know, is thoroughly furnished with matters of highest concernement against him, to whose just Evidence I shall give place.

Clar.

Gaffar LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, what can you say for the King against the Prisoner at the Barre?

Prisoner.

My Lord, before he proceed, be pleased to heare the just exceptions, Sir Symon Synod and Sir Iohn Presbyter after their so long and serious consultation have devised and contrived, why his Testimony should not be heard, as an unfit Witnesse in such a case as this.

Iustice Reas.

My Lord, if Baal be God, let him plead for himselfe.

Iudge.

And reason good: For the judgment of this Court is not to be swayed by favour, affection, humour of multitudes, or the like, but by Reason and equity it selfe: Wherefore for the more free and just proceding herein this Court Ordaineth and Proclameth freedome for both sides, one as well as the other, whether Presbyterian Tormentours or Independant Sufferers to give in their groundes and reasones to the Sentence of this Court, whether LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE be tollerable, and his Evidence to be received. Wherefore Sir Symon, if you have any thing why this mans witnesse may be disinabled, you have liberty to speake.

Sir SYMON SYNOD.

My Lord, this fellow LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, is a Free-willer, a loose Libertine, one that opens a gate to all manner of prophanes, in what Countrey or State soever he gets entertainement, a man of all Religions and of no Religion, a compound of all heresies, scisme, and faction; a pestelent enemie to Nationall Conformity, our late Solemne League and Covenant, a Tratour to your late sacred and blessed Ordinance for Tythes, a worke of Superarrogation, a Confuter of our mighty Champions Mr. Prinne, Edwards, &c. He is for no Reformation, but strives to frustrate all my endeavours, and the pious ends of the rest of my holy brethren of the Tribe of Levi, for the advancement of the Church of God, the Clergie of the Land, with ecclesiasticall Revenue, and power coercive to curbe opposition, and force Reformation to Presbyterian Governement: yea my Lord, this is he that would reduce the Nationall Reformation of this Kingdome, so much endeavoured by your ne Lordship, even to open loosensse, every man to be of what Religion he list, every mecannicke illiterate fellow to turne Preacher, and be as good as their Minister, no distinction made betwixt the Clergie and the Laity, our Canonicall Coates, Girdle: long Cloakes and Blacke Gownes made a dirision, a taunt, and a curse, as ominous as Lawne sleeves and as hatefull as a Miter, our holy Tythes, as of Lambe, Pigge, Goose, &c. be turned unto voluntary Contribution, oh insufferable sacraledge! from the good will of the people good Lord preserve us yea my Lord the upper hand in publike places, (the Clergies delight) as, in streets, at feasts, &c. be deny’d us, the reverent estimation of our Coate be past either Cap, Congue, Cur’tsey, no difference betwixt the Black Cassaocke and the Louthren Iacket, and all our goodly fat Benefices turnd to the labour of our hands (alas my Lord, we were never brought up to labour, we cannot digge, and to begge we are asham’d) our delusions, false Glosses, Sophistications, and godly prerences be detected, and divulged, and so all things that are dainty and goodly to depart from us: alas, alas my Lord! this will undoe the Clergie quite, we may leave our Callings, and learne new Trades, if we turne Coblers, Tinckers, and Weavers we may chance get constant worke, is not, now and then a job of preaching amongst the people; Consider my Lord, it will put out the two eyes of the Kingdome: Much more I could say, but I shall give way to my Son Sir Iohn, who by your Lordships favour shall further informe this Court in the defence of this Prisoner.

Iudge.

Well Sir Symon, this being a busines of high concernment, either what you or your Sir Iohn, or what any man else can say in the behalfe of his Majesty concerning the Prisoner, this Court freely permitteth, yea commandeth Information thereof.

Clar.

Call Sir Iohn Presbyter, sonne to Sir Symon.

I. Reas.

Magus.

Crier.

Sir Iohn Presbyter sonne to Sir Symon come into the Court.

Iudge.

Sir Iohn your Father hath informed us, that you have, matter of exception against LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, if you have, the mercy of the Court permitteth the Prisoner the benefit thereof.

Sir IOHN PRESBYTER.

My Lord, My Reasons against LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, why both himselfe and his Evidence is to be rejected, are these.

1. Because I suppose it must needs be granted,Edwards Antipol. pag. 280. that the Majestrate is custos ac vindex utruisque Tabulæ, (as is confessed by all Orthodox Divines) that the care of Religion belongs to him: And because Austin and other Divines on Psal. 2. 10. 11. and on Deut. 17. 19. give unto Magestrates that power. Ergo.

[I. Reas. States-men must weare Bells about their neckes, because antient Divines say, Kings are but Packe-horses to the Clergie.]

2. Because in this Kingdome the Reformation in Worship, Government,pag. 281. &c. which shalbe setled and established by your Lordship is judged and taken for granted by you to be according to the mind of Christ; else why hath your Lordship called so many able, godly, and learned Divines (of us) to consult with for that purpose? and why else will you establish it, if there be any other more agreable to the Word? Ergo.

[I Reas. The Synod is guided by the Holy Ghost sent in a Cloake-bag from Scotland, as of old from Rome to the Councell of Trent, Concil. Trent. lib. 6. p. 497.

3. Because it is against the solemne League and Covenant for Reformation, taken by the Parliament and Kingdome of England and Scotland,pag. 282. & 283. and so cannot be condescended to in England without the breach of that Oath and Covenant: So that all Apollogie and motion for Toleration comes too late, the dore is shut against it, the Kingdomes hands are bound, so that if a Toleration were not in it selfe unlawfull, and against the duty of the Majestrate, yet now because of the Oath and Covenant ’tis unlawfull; so that whatsoever might have been granted before, cannot be now, least the Kingdome should be guilty before God of Covenant breaking. Ergo.

[I. Reas. Because the Assembly hath sadled the Parliament, it is unlawfull for the Presbyters to goe a foote. Ergo, Persecution was unlawfull when the Priests were persecuted, but now it is lawfull they persecute. Ergo, Toleration was lawfull, and the duty of the Majestrate when the power was in the hands of the Bishops, but now the Presbyters are crowding into S. Peters Chaire, the Parliament is bound to compell all men to the Decrees of the Assembly, as that impudent, and desperate Incendiary Mr. Edwards boldly and openly affirmeth, an Assertion able to divide the Kingdome in twenty peeces.]

4. Because it is against the greatest lights in the Church both antient and moderne, as Augustine, Ambrose, Calvine, Phillip Melancton, Zinchius,pag. 281. Musculus, Bullinger, likewise the judgement of the Devines of New England are against the Toleration of any Church Governement and way but one, they will not suffer Brownists, Anabaptists, &c. Mr. Cotton the greatest Divine in New England, and a pretious man, is against Toleration, and holds that men may be punished for their Consciences, as will appeare by his Letter to Mr. Williams. Ergo.

[I. Reas. Presbyterian Governement is unlawfull, because Mr. Cotton condemnes it in his Booke intituled, The Keyes of the Kingdome of Heaven.]

5. Because at this time for want of setled Governement,pag. 289. people being left to so great liberty, multitudes are fallen, and doe daily to Antinomianisme, Anabaptisme, Independancy, yea to deny the Immortality of the soule: Ergo,

[I. Reas. One Anabaptist, Independant, or the like, that can render a Reason for what he holds, is better then seaven Presbyters that conclude from such bald Promises., Prov. 26. 16.] [Here the Authour of that Booke, instituted Mans Mortality, desires Mr. Edwards with those that are so invective against it in their Pulpits that they would cease their railing at it there, and come forth in Print against it; for the thing being so rare, so litle questioned, and the contrary so generally concluded as a principle of faith, any bumbast stuffe will passe there for authentike with the people without tryall, but if it be put forth to publike vew, it must expect an encounter by one or other, and therein the Authour of that Booke observeth the policie of his Presbyterian Adversaries to maintaine their repute with the people, in being so hasty in the Pulpit and so slow to the Presse]

6. Independants,pag. ibid. and all kind of Sectaries as long as they have their liberty, snuffe up the wind, and will not hearken to any way whereby they may receive satisfaction, but if once the Majestrate declares, and by Lawes concludes one way of Church Worship, it may be they will heare reason. Ergo,

[I. Reas. It seemes the Presbyters till then can rendor them none, for the reason and force of that Argument lies in take him Goaler. Ergo, If once the Majestrate declares, and by Lawes concludes all the fat Benefices of the Kingdome upon Independancie, then it may be the Presbyters will heare reason and turne Independants.]

7. Independancie hath ever been from the first to the last,pag. 294. a Fountaine of evill, roote of bitternes, divisions, &c. as the Histories of the Anabaptists (the highest forme of Independancy, and Church way) declare, in respect of the evils they fell into, and the mischeifes they brought upon Germany, and how God cursed and scattered them. Ergo,

[I. Reas. If the King conquer, the Parliament wilbe Traytours to posterity by Cronicle; for who writ the Histories of the Anabaptists but their Enemies?]

8. My Lord,pag. 297. because the Presbyterian way hath been countenanced from Heaven, and blessed from sorts of sects, &c. and that for almost an hundered yeares: Ergo,

[I. Reas. Both Papall and Episcopall is better then Presbyterian, for they are, and have been more uniforme, and have continued many hundred yeares longer then Presbyterian, and were long before Presbytrie was thought on: for alas, it was but a shift at a pinch the Divell made, when neither of the other would serve his turne; and so came up Presbytrie, but what good the Divell will have out I know not; for who knowes the lucke of a lousie Curre, he may prove a good Dog?]

9. My Lord,Pag. 302. If Toleration of Government though not of Doctrine should be granted, then the simple Anabaptists, and that simple sort called Dippers will come in too, saying, that Baptisme at such an age, and Baptizing in Rivers by Dipping are but matters of order and time: Ergo,

[I. Reas. He that desembleth hatred with lying lips, and he that inventeth slander is a foole, Pro. 10. 18.]

Wherefore I humbly beseech your Lordship,pag. 303. seriously to consider the depth of Satan in this Designe, of Toleration, how this is now his last Plot and Designe, and by it would undermine and frustrate the whole worke of Reformation, ’tis his Master peece for England. I am confident if the Divell had his choyce, whether the Hierarche, Ceremonies,pag. 304. and Liturgie should be established in this Kingdome, or a Toleration granted, he would chuse and preferre a Toleration before them.

[I. Human. That is of Presbyterian Compulsion, because Episcopall in England is worne out of Date: Mr. Edwards knowes the Divell is not so simple, to chuse Hierarchie, Ceremonies, &c. where their deceit is detected, hated, and rejected, it seemes has better acquainted with him then so, the next time he writes, we shall have more of the Divels mind, but it is likely he’ll have finished his Designe first, and then it may be, Mr. Edwards will tell us, that the Divell is better perswaded of Presbytrie (his last shift) then ever he was of Episcopacie, he will be so serviceable to him therein, for if Mr. Edwards and the Divell be not deceived, be intends with it to devoure, breake in peeces, and stampe the residue the Hierarchie hath left under his feete, so to weare out the Saints of the most High.]

And thus my Lord, you have my Reasons, why this fellow LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE is not to have admittance within the verge of this Kingdom, much lesse to enter thus into the bowels of this Court to give in Evidence, to be proceeded on upon the life and death of this holy man, Mr. PERSECVTION.

Lib. Cons.

My Lord, Sir Iohn’s a pritty forward child, that can pratle thus before he have his teeth; thy say he hath been breeding of teeth ever since the the Assembly were in consulation; surely they’ll be huge, long, boarish tuskes when they come out; should your Lordship but cause his mouth to be opened, you might see great iron teeth lie in his gummes, ready to cut, he wants nothing but a Parliament Corall to whet them with all: but my Lord, were he mine, I would knock out his braines with an Independant Hammer, to prevent the groweth of such teeth, for Daniell tels us the nature of great iron teeth. Nou whereas my Lord, he excepteth against my witnesse, I humbly conceive, the equity of this Cours cannot receive his exception against me in the justification of this Butcher and murtherer of good men, seeing himselfe is a mercilesse in humane Butcher, the son of a Butcher, yea my Lord, his Grand-father and Great-Grand-father were Butchers; for whereas my Lord, he hath acquired the name of Sir Iohn Presbyter, in truth he is a Priest, the son of a Bishop, Grand-child to the Pope, and the Divell is his Great-Grand-father, all murtherers and Butchers of Gods people. Therefore good my Lord let not mine Evidence be thus unjustly disinabled.

Iudge.

LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE, you are sworne for the King, to give in your Evidence in his Majesties behalfe against the Prisoner at the Bar; and the challenge against you being such as may be dispenc’d with, you are to proceed in your Evidence.

LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE.

My Lord, To what the former Evidence have testified I shall with brevity adde, that this Malefactour PERSECUTION destroyeth the Innocent with the wicked, contrary to the command of Christ, Mat. 13. 30. let the tares and the wheat grow together untill the harvest, from which Parable appeareth, that the Kingdome of heaven or Christs Government over the whole world doth strictly charge his servants, the Kings and Rulers of the Earth (for by him Kings raigne) to suffer tares; Turckes, Jewes, Pagans, and Infidels, as wel as Christians to grow or live together in the Feild of the World, their Dominions untill the Day of harvest, or desolution of all things, and not plucke them up, because they are Tares, Turckes, Iewes, Pagans, &c. least they plucke up such as may become as the Pillars of Solomon in the House of God, even glorious witnesses of Jesus Christ: What greater Rebellion therefore can there be by those Servants to the Housholder, then to plucke up the tares from the wheat? As their office brings all under their Dominions, so it is to preserve all in their Dominions, that tares and wheate, Infidell and Beleever may grow and live peaceably together in civill cohabration, commerce, &c. in their Dominions untill the Harvest, or end or all things, when the Lord of the Harvest shal seperate the tares from the wheat, with come yee blessed, goe yee cursed, &c.

Secondly my Lord, he depriveth the Iewes (as much as in him lieth) of their deliverance according to the Covenant God made with their Fathers from this their Captivity, notwithstanding the wrath of the Lord threatned against them, that shall evill entreat them therein, Zach. 2. 8. Esa. 54. 15. 17. cap. 15. 22. 23. for my Lord, he hath made the name of a Iew as hatefull as Iudas; yea, his nature is not to leave a man of them to pisse against the wall. Now my Lord, though the Iewes are led captive by the Gentiles under the time of the Gospell, and though the naturall branches are broaken off, and the Heathen grafted in, yet still they are beloved for their Fathers sakes Rom. 11. 28. and are not to be persecuted for their infidelity, for he that toucheth them, toucheth the apple of Gods eye: What though they are stumbled? shall we boast our selves against them? God forbid; for if wee that are wild by nature be grafted contrary to nature into the good Olive Tree, how much more shall they which are naturall branches be grafted into their owne Olive Tree againe? Therefore the Apostle would not have us ignorant of this Mystery, that blindnesse in part is hapned to Israel untill the fulnesse of the Gentiles be come in, and all Israel shalbe saved, Rom. 11. 25. 26. compated to Isa. 49. 22. 23. Deut. 30. 1. 2. 4. 5. Amos 9. 14. 15. Now what hindereth their salvation and deliverance so much as persecution, for they are even led captive by PERSECUTION, and made slaves to him even to this day? And how shal they beleive, if they shal have no time given them to beleive? this divelish Spirit gives them not a minute, he will not suffer a Jew to live amongst the Christians, or come neare him: what hopes then is there the Iewes should be converted, where this Tyrant is in force? Shall we that have receive vantage by their rejection, thus recompence them with tyranny? our Lord whome they slew, would not have them slayen, but they are beloved of him, and himselfe will be their Deliverer, Rom. 11. 26. 27. 28. yet this Incendiary hath caused our Kings, and our Rulers, our Bishops and our preists not to suffer a Iew by authority to live amongst them; how then can we complaine of the vengance that is at this time upon us & our children, that have been so cruel, so hatefull, so bloody minded to them and their children? we have given them the cup of Trembling, surely we must tast of the dregges: Hearken therefore no longer to those which teach this bloody doctrine of persecution, for neither they, their preachings, fastings, weepings, long prayers, &c. can deliver in the day of distresse, as long as ye persecute Behold, yee fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the Presbyterian fist of wickednesse; but this is the Fast which the Lord hath chosen, to undoe the heavy burthen, and to let the oppressed goo free, and that yee breake every yoake.

Thirdly my Lord, He is a murtherer of Kings and Princes, &c. for the murthering of heriticke Princes is the naturall brat of this divelish Spirit; for from this ground, that the contrary minded are to be forced, the Papists justifie the murthering of Hereticks, making all Heretickes which seperate from them; for that Religion that is bottomed on this principle that all must he forced, will they, nill they, where it cannot force, must murther: so cometh it to passe, so many Kings have been murthered, by the Papists, because casting of the Romish yoake, they free themselves from their power of forcing, therefore the Papists to make good their courcive principle, betake themselves privately to murther such Princes, to prevent a countermanding power, and keep all in their catholicke subjection; so that such as would have all forced, where they cannot force, is to be feared, will privately murther: Therefore it is dangerous for a King, to trust his person with such men, for if the King should change his Religion, to one opposite to theirs, who knowes, those men will not doe as their principle leads them, even murther their Prince; but on the contrary, that Religion that is grounded on the principle of meekenesse, patience, and long sufferance, instructing the contrary minded, and utterly contesting against all compulsion, cannot in the least measure administer any feare or danger unto Princes of their persons, be of what Religion they will, for be they of any Religion or of no Religion, for matter of violence it is all one to the Spirit of meekenesse, for its nature is only to perswade, not to compell; if by faire meanes it cannot prevaile, it hath done, committing the issue to God.

Fourthly my Lord, He is an utter enemy to all spirituall knowledge, a hinderer of its encrease and groweth; for no man knoweth but in part, and what wee know, we receive it by degrees, now a litle, and then a litle; he that knowes the most, was once as ignorant as he that knowes the least; nay, is it not frequent amongst us, that the thing that we judged heresie we now beleive is orthodox; now can such thinke themselves were worthy to beene persecuted in, and for that their ignorance? they cannot sure be of that mind; such therefore cannot condemne, imprison, or hang the ignorant, or such as discover or oppose their ignorance, but in that they condemne themselves, sinne against nature and their own knowledge: The twelve at Ephesus that had not so much as heard whether there were a Holy Ghost or no, if they had been so evilly used by Paul when he heard it, how should they spake with tongues, and prophesied? yet we see how common a thing it is, if we know not, nor beleive so much as the multitude knoweth or beleiveth, or the Doctrine of the Presbyterean Church requireth, we must be persecuted; and if our knowledge goe beyond them, that we protest against their errours, and labour to informe them better, we must tast of the same sauce too, so that wee must know nor beleive neither more nor lesse then they, but must beleive just as they beleive, or else be persecuted; as if a Statute should be enacted, that an Image should be made, and all that were higher or lower then the Image should be hanged: By this we may see, what an unreasonable thing it is evilly to entreat such as we judge ignorant and erroneous, or all to be erronious and heriticall that we understand not our selves: What shall we say then of such Ministers, that of rationall creatures would teach us to be thus unreasonable? their end is destruction, their belly their God, they serve the Parliament but for their owne bellyes, and by good words and faire speeches deceive the simple: These uphold the accursed Doctrine of Persecution, least liberty of printing, writing, teaching, should discover their deceipts, and they be dis-inherited of their Fathers Inheritance; their intents are plaine to him that hath but halfe an eye to see, they’l not doe much, only change the title, before it was Episcopal Prelacy, it shall be now but Preistly or Presbyterian Prelacy, so that, he that lives but a small time shall surely see a Presbyter as fat as ever was a Bishop; those are enemies to all knowledge, that is either too short or beyond their bellyes, therefore is it, that all heads must be made even with the Presbyters, none higher nor none lower, just as tall, and no taller, he that is too short must be stretched out, and he that is too long must be pared even, least they should misse of their Prayers, give us this day our dayly tythes, that the Germaine proverbe might be fulfilled, phophen geizegkeite, Gottes barmehartzegkite, were bis in ebekeite, the coveteousnesse of the Preists and the mercy of God endure for ever; I would exhort them to be otherwise minded, but that I know, venter non habet aures, the belly hath no cares.

Pris.

My Lord, I beseech you heare me after this tedious Accusation, it is false and malitious, as by sound reason, and Personages of Honour I shall clearly evidence: First my Lord, as for GODS VENGANCE my Prosecutour, both the Iuries, with divers others, together with the witnesses, enforced him to prosecute me, and I know not by what pretence they procured GODS VENGANCE against me; for my Lord, I am innocent, and ever have been from my Cradle from such and so hainous accusation, as is laid to my charge: And for that fellow, that pretends he hath knowne me since the comeing of Christ, he is a man of no reputation, without habitation, a beggerly fellow, a runagate, a loose fellow, he stayes in no place, keeps no hospitallity, blaspheameth that most divine, Liviticall, ever to adored Ordinance for Tythes, and counteth it as an unholy thing, paies none where he lives, but sharkes here and there, where he can shufle in his head, runnes from house to house, to delude simple women, who are ever learning, and never learned; and where as he saith, his name is CHRISTIAN, his name is not CHRISTIAN, neither is he of the generation of Christianity, but a most factious dissembling Anabaptist, a Tubpreacher, and no Christian, as Sir Symon, Sir Iohn, and divers other reverend, and honourable persons here present can witnesse: As for Gaffar Martyrs, he is as a sounding brasse and tinckling Cymball, who though he giveth up his body to be burnt, himselfe is but a castaway, and this I am able to make good unto your Honour, by the most grave, and solid judgment of all the reverend Divines, the Clergie of Christendome: Therefore my Lord, it much mattereth not, what his Evidence is, it being but the malice of an Hereticke: And as for LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE, Sir Symon, and that blessed babe, his Sonne Sir Iohn, (sanctified from his mothers wombe, the Synodian Whore of Babylon,) hath informed your Honour of the unworthynesse of his witnesse. My Lord, I desire Sir Symon may speake in my defence.

Sir Symon.

My Lord, this Gentleman here arraigned, is altogether innocent from this accusation, I have had antient familiarity with him, a dayly society hath past betwixt us, and I never could find any such thing in him, and my Lord, here is Mr. Pontificall Revenue, Mr. Ecclesiasticall Supremacy, Mr. Nationall Confirmity, Mr. Rude Multitude, Mr. Scotch Government, and mine only Sonne, Sir Iohn Presbyter, all to witnes his innocency from this Accusation: And if your Lordship make any scruple hereof, that learned Gentleman, Iustas Conformity, of Lincolns Inne Esq. can thoroughly resolve you, both by Scripture Texts, Presidents of all sorts, and the constant interrupted practises, examples, of the most eminent Emperours, Princes, Councels, Parliaments, &c.

Lib. Cons.

My Lord, the Defendant smels of a fat benefice; see, see, his pockets are full of Presbyterian Steeples, the Spires sticke under his Girdle: ha, ha, hah; instead of Weather-cocks, every Spire hath got a Blacke Boxe upon it, and in it the pure and immaculate Ordinance for Tythes, Oblations, &c. Sure shortly, instead of Moses and Aaron, and the Two Tables, we shall have Sir Symon, and Sir Iohn holding the late solemne League and Covenant, and that demure, spotlesse, pritty, lovely, sacred, divine, devout, and holy Ordinance for Tythes (the Two Tables of our new Presbyterian Gospell) painted upon all the Churches in England. Oh brave Sir Symon, the Bels in your pocket chime all in while ours chime all-out: I pray you give us a Funerall Homile for your friend here before he depart, here’s twenty shillings for your paines, you know’t is sacraledge to bring downe the price, As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Crier.

Make way there for the Iurie.

The Iurie withdraw, and thus fall into debate about their verdict.

Creation. Gentlemen, from the Evidence of the Witnesses against PERSECUTION, I clearely perceive, that he is of so divelish and unnaturall disposition, as is not compatible with the workes of the Creation, all creaturs of a kind associate, feed, and converse together, there is a publicke freedome of all kinds amongst themselves, the Oxe, the Asse, the Sheep, and all sorts of Cattell; the Dove, the Sparrow, and all kinds of Birds have a State harmony, a publike Toleration, generall Concord and unity among themselves in their severall kinds: but this Malefactour as from the Witnesses is evident, unnaturallizes man-kind above all kinds of Creatures, that where he rules, no peace publike, or private; no freedome, rights, or liberty either civil or spirituall; no society, cohabitation, or concord Nationall nor Domesticke can possibly be amongst men, but envying, hatred, emulation, banishment, &c. Wherefore, from the consideration hereof, and of what the Witnesses have given in, to me he appeareth guilty, what say you Mr. Gospell?

Gosp.

Mr. Foreman, Whereas it is by Sir Iohn and such like urged, that the Kings of the Gentiles have equall power with the Kings of Israel of old: understand, that their supremacy was but for a time, untill Shiloh came, and no longer, to whome then the gathering of the people should be; he came to take away the First, that he might establish the Second, being made Mediatour of a better Covenant, established on better promises, the forgivenesse of sinnes, and the guift of eternall life: But he that despised Moses Laws, dyed without mercy under two or three witnesses. The old Covenant was over the Old man, and its Condemnation or punishment was over the Old man, to wit, this corruptable fallen State of Mortallity, and therefore they executed death upon the transgressors thereof. The New Covenant is over the New man, to wit, the Spirit that shall be raised out of this corruptable at the Resurrection; therefore hath it the promise of forgivinesse of sins, and eternall life; the penalty of that, temporall death, the death of the Old or earthly man in this life; the penalty of this, everlasting death, the death of the New or spirituall man in the life to come; wee are New Creatures or New men now but by faith, not actuall till the Resurrection, we are to live as if we were raised againe, for the condition of the Gospell is not to us, as the Condition of Innocency was to Adam, a Condition in this present State of this present State, as his was to him, to wit, the Condition of immortallity in immortallity; but ours a condition in present mortallity of future immortallity: so is it, that mortallity being swallowed up of life, we are presently under the end of its Condition, Salvation, or Condemnation. Therefore as the Resurrection cannot possibly be but by Christ, so the penalty cannot possibly be by other; it is out of the Spear of this world, therefore out of the power of the Princes of this world, as they cannot be Mediatours of the New Testament, so they cannot be punishers therein; Therefore to punish the Offenders therein, is to attempt the Throne of Christ, and usurpe (as much as in them lieth) his Mediatourship: Therefore hath he referred the contemners of his Gospell untill the Iudgment of the Last Day. And for that in Isaiah 49. 23. And Kings shall be thy nursing Fathers, and Queens thy nursing Mothers: it is a Prophesie of the deliverance of the Iewes from their Captivity, to whom Kings and Queens shall be assistant in their returne to the Land of their Forefathers, as ver. 19. 22. 23. 26. &c. witnesse.

Politicke Power.

Mr. Foreman, Salvus populi, the safety of the people, is the Soveraigne Law, or fundamentall constitution of Civill Government: therefore though Majestracy hath been corrupted and abused, (as appeareth by our Evidence) to the terrour of the most virteous, conscientious, well-minded men, and the maintenance and protection of the wicked; so that it hath been perverted from the generall good if all sorts, sects, and societies of people, unto this or that sort or sect; yet this evill in Majestracy is to be cut off, ne pars sincera trahatur. And Mr. Foreman, it appears by our Evidence, that PERSECUTION is the originall of the disease, therefore to be cut off, least the whole politique body perish: For where Persecution is, what dissentions, mutinies, tumults, insurrections, uproares, and divisions; what conspiracies, Treasons and Rebellions; what bloodshed, cruelty, and inhumanity hath been by our Evidence declared, the which by our owne experience we find verified in divers Kingdomes, States, and Provinces: for doe we not see, betwixt the Catholicke Cause and the True Protestant Religion (so cal') the Christian world is embrewed with blood, destroying and devouring one an other: the dashing of those two imperious, ambitious, insolent Religions, the Papall and Protestant together besides what it hath done to the House of Austrea, &c. hath split the Dominions of this politique body asunder, that they wallow in one an others vitall blood, burning, destroying, and ruinating all before them; how many Townes, Villages, and sumpteous buildings have been burnt? what Tillage and Meddowes laid wast, and how many thousands of innocent soules have been slayen in Ireland contrary to the end and foundation of politique Government? and doth not England tast even the dregges of this Cup, yea swallow it downe with greedynes, that we are even drunke with one an others blood, enraged with madnesse, cruelties, &c. without all hopes of peace till one of these persecuting Religions have devoured the other.

Mr. State-policie.

Mr. Foreman, though from Rome, the spirit of Persecution is conveyed into most sects of Religion, and is dayly found to the shame of Religion among such as are or would be counted religious, and most States, and Kingdomes being rent with such persecuting Religions, therefore the Kingdoms of Christendome have judged the Toleration of divers Sects inconsistent with State policy; yet Politians would they consider, need not in curing one mischiefe run upon a greater; for such good and wholesome meanes might be provided, as in a small time this violent spirit might be worne out, the next generation be of a better temper, and length Persecution to be as rare as now common, and a more placable peaceable spirit consiliated among the generality of men: And seeing this impatient, violent, ambitious spirit is so dangerous to Civill Societies, their freindship & unity, so destructive to publike peace and safety: It is therefore necessary, that Kings and all Governours, whose Office is, that all may lead a peaceable and quiet life under them, should in policy to the generall good, see to the securing of their Dominions from this factious spirit, by such whole some strict Lawes as may best conduce to the suppression thereof, as of Treason, Rebellion, or the like; for all are Traytours and Rebels in their hearts to the publike peace, and generall good of humaine societies, salut populi, the peoples safety, (which our State counteth the supreame Law) which are of a persecuting spirit; for it is in direct opposition to that Law; And who more guilty then the Papist and the Protestant, when one is too mighty for the other, the Papist stronger then the Protestant, the Protestans stronger then the Papist, the stronger is so ambitious and fiery zealous for his owne cause, especially the Papist, that one place is too hot for them both, and the Protestant as he is a persecutour of the Papist, so as well as the Papist, is he a Persecutour of Anabaptists, Brownists, Antinominians, Independants, &c. but they persecute none, but seeke the generall good, peace, and safety of all Sorts, Sects, and Societies of people, yea even of their Enemies; so that as Papists are Enemies and Traytours to the safety of all Sorts, Sects, and Societies, so are the Protestants, considered in this persecuting capacity, both persecuting; therefore in this sense their Religions are both trayterous, desperate, and dangerous to the Publike Good: Therefore it ought to be the care of those Kingdomes and States where those persecuting Religions are, to purge those Religions of this malignant persecuting spirit, this trayterous-disposition, for Religions may be absolute, yea the Protestant more truley Protestant, if cured of this pestilentiall disease of persecution, for indeed persecution is no part of Religion, but a meer spirit of Treason insensibly insinuated, and distill’d into Religions by Popes, Bishops and Preists; so that ignorantly the members of those Religions are made Traytours to their owne Rights and Liberties, and so enslaved to the trayterous designes of the Clergie, the very roote of Treason; for indeed the Teachers of Persecution are the Archest Iesuiticall Traytours of all, whether Papist, Protestant &c. such as Mr. Edwards, who most impudently and trayterously saith in his Antipologie, that the Parliament is bound in duty, to compell all men to the Decrees of the Assembly.

Mr. Polit. Power.

Mr. State-policy, I commend your policy herein, for indeed Mr. Edwards in so saying, is a Traytour to politique power: But I pray you proceed.

Mr. State-Policie.

Well then, as all are borne subjects to their Kings, so are Kings to see, that all may have their Birthright, Liberty, and Priviledge of Subjects, that all may be kept in the generall Bond of peace, of what sort of sect soever, for as Lucius Lavinius said to King Iames, all the different members being wrapt up in the skine of one constitution, need no stronger obligement, to uphold the whole then their owne interest: Therefore, were the devouring principle of persecution weeded out from betwixt all Religion, they might all enjoy their publike safety to the generall enlargement and strengthning of politike power, for the strength of the King lies in the multitude of people, so that it is most consonant to State policy to include all, rather then deprive any of publike protection.

M. Nationall-Loyalty.

Mr. Foreman, this is a matter of great weight, that we have in hand, therefore not sleightly, but seriously to be weighed, and deliberately examined both from our owne knowledge and experience, as from the just Evidence given in by the Witnesses, (for I conceive, this prisoner is antiently knowne to us all) that wee may be better enabled to give in our verdict, wherefore having something to say of antient experience, I shall first desire Mr. State-Policie, since he hath given us an hint of wholesome meanes that might be used, to prevent and suppresse this turbulent rebellious Spirit of Persecution, that he would declare what further he hath in his thoughts thereon.

Mr. State-Polic.

That which in it selfe is wicked, neither honourable to God, allowed by him, nor profitable to man, but dangerous and destructive to common safety and peace, falleth under the Sword of the Majestracy, and the Majestrate may lawfully use such meanes as shall best secure the publike peace from the evill thereof: Now since the generality of the people are possessed with this Evill Spirit, infused, nourished, and preserved in their hearts by Popes, Bishops, Preists, and (at present in the Land) by the trayterous Synod, called the Assembly of Divines, who labour with might and maine to establish and setle this trayterous spirit in the Land; and further, since all by compulsion are to be forced to the Civill peace and publike unity, and all are to be defended and preserved under the publike freedome, one as well as an other; therefore to this end the Majestrate ought to bind all Religions, that no Religion have power over other, that all in the Generall have Toleration, and none in particular be offensive; for the Papist may be a Papist, the Protestant a Protestant without the power of Compulsion, the deprivation thereof is no wayes injurious to their Religion; as a man that hath a when, or a bunch that growes upon any member, may be a perfect man, and that a perfect member without it: Therefore to this end a Nationall Covenant would not be inconsiderable, to engage all in this publike freedome, that as all should be sharers in it, so all should be defenders of it. That no Protestant Minister or others should teach privately or publikely, either by preaching, writing, or conference any thing contradictory or distructive thereto. That no man upbraid, reproach, scoffe, deride, threaten, or doe any violence to any for his Religion, and such like: And that this be continued from Generation to Generation under such and such penalties as the State shall thinke fit; so that in a small time, if the Governours would hearken to the feare of the Lord, this oppression of conscience, which is now made State-Policie (condemned by the God of mercy and all mercifull men) would waxe out of date, and be cast out as abominable to God, and destructive to mankind: Then their feares and jealousies one of an other, which puts them in a continuall posture of war both offensive and defensive would be at an end; their Controversies would be of an other kind, faire and equall Disputes, and it is better and farre cheaper to provide words for Argumentation, then instruments of war for blowes and bloodshed, and would conduce I am sure more to the common good and safety; the one doth encrease knowledge, the other nothing but rage and revenge: by reasoning those that are ignorant would shortly see, how they and their Fore-fathers have been cheated of the Tenth of their encrease, fool’d, and nurs’d up in blindnesse by Bishops, Priests, &c. meerly to uphold their greatnesse, stuffe and cram their ungodly guts, that it is become a Proverbe, as fat as a Bishop, and how soone, if PERSECUTION be acquited, it may be verified on the Presbyters, I leave that to the issue, only I wish the people to try things themselves, and not trust too much to their Lippes, for their Lippes are Cozen Germaine to their Teeth, and this is most certain, they all speake through the Teeth.

Mr. Nation. Loyal.

Mr. Foreman, according to the Evidence we have received, and result of our consultation hitherto, he is guilty ipso facto of what is laid to his charge; and for mine owne part, I know that Toleration is not against Nationall Loyalty, but my well stand with Nationall peace, as by divers antient and moderne Examples I can make it appeare. Abraham lived among the Canaanites and Perizzites, Gen. 13. 7. & 16. 3. againe he sojourned in Egypt, Gen. 12. 10. after in Gerar, where King Abimelech bid him dwell where it pleased him, cap. 20. &c. 21. 23. 24. afterwards among the Hittites, cap. 23. Lot lived in Sodom, Isaack also dwelt in Gerar, yet contrary to the King and his Subjects, cap. 20. Iacob lived 20. yeares with his Uncle Laban in one house, yet different in Religion, Gen. 31. 30. 33. the Children of Israell lived 430. yeares in Egypt, Exod. 12. 40. afterwards were caried away to Babylon, where they remained 70. yeares, all which times they differed in Religion, yet no danger to the State: Sampson lived among the Philistines, Lot in the Land of Vz, yet their Religion though different was not disturbant to the State: And in the time of Christ, when Israell was captive to the Romans, lived divers Sects of Religions, Herodians, Scribes, and Pharises, Sadduces and Libertines such as denyed the Resurrection, and Samaritanes the common Religion of the Iewes, the Christian and Apostolick Religion, all which differed from the common Religion of the State; which in all probability was the worship of Diana, whome all the world almost then worshipped, Act. 19. 20. yet all these lived under the Government of Cæsar, not any wayes injurious to his Crowne and Dignity, or disturbant to the peace of his Government: but when Persecution arose, then the State was troubled by tumults, uproares, &c. And how doth Toleration injure the State of Holland, Poland, Trasilvania, &c. their Weales, States, and Citties are well and peaceably governed, divers Religions are in their Provinces, yet all have one harmony in matters of State, all united and engaged in the generall safety, peace, and tranquillity of their severall Kingdoms, States, and Provinces, wherein they so freely enjoy their severall safeties, protection and freedomes.

Mr. Liberty-of-Subject.

Mr. Foreman, besides what I have received from the Witnesses, of my own experience I know, that if PERSECUTION be not executed, the Liberty of the Subject (now in controversie) cannot be setled in this Land; for the Anabaptists, Brownists, Independants, &c. true and faithfull Subjects to the State, that stood to the publike cause, when the Priests & such like scurrelous vermine, durst scarce be seen in it, but Iesuitically caried themselves in an equall ballance betwixt both, that though the King had conquered, yet most of them would have kept their Benefices, a wise generation! I say, these more noble spirited men, that freely spend their lives, fortunes, and estates for the Liberty of the Subject, and that from the most noble and rationall principle, the Common Good and not for selfe respect, neither those of them which survive, nor the succeders in their faith shall enjoy this Liberty, their just Birth-right, but be wholy deprived thereof, and the purchase of their Blood be ceas’d and devoured by those Presbyterian Horse lecches, and confined to such blood-thirsty Cattle, which is directly opposite to the just Liberty of the Subject.

Mr. Compas. Sam.

Mr. Foreman, I have beheld the innocency of their intentions, and honesty of their lives, (to wit of Anabaptists, Brownists, &c.) their affections to the Common-wealth, their forwardnes of assistance in purse and person, knowing their Meetings to be so innocent, so far from confederacy or counterplots (pag. 3.) and yet their persons so hated, contemned, and belyed, such wounds made upon their consciences, that my heart aboundeth with greife, that their miserie should be thus passed by, their wounds so wide and deepe, and no oyle of mercy powred in: so that me thinkes, everie man is bound in conscience, to speake and doe what he can in the behalfe of such an harmeles people as these. (pap. 4.) Therefore, Mr. Foreman, being privy to the truth of the Evidence against PERSECUTION, the sole causer of their wounds and miserie, I conclude him, an enemie against God and all goodnesse, &c. and that he is guilty of the Indictment.

Mr. Truth-&-Peace.

Mr. Foreman, much I could say against the Prisoner, to witnesse the verity of the Indictment, but for brevity sake I shall referre you to the discovery I have made of his Impiety, Treason, Blood-shed, &c. in that Booke intituled, The Bloody Tenent, and I commend unto you, and to the necessary perusall of the COMMONNS and nobles of England, that most famous peece, called, The Compassionate Samaritane, as a most exact modell of rationality.

Mr. Light-of-Nature.

Mr. Foreman, whereas Sir Symon in the defence of PERSECUTION saith, that LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE opens a gate to all manner of prophanesse, loosenesse, &c. the Light of Nature might teach him, that Toleration is no Approbation, or the suffering of Religions a warrant to be of no Religion, much lesse to publike prophanesse; for this comes within the compasse of that which Nature teaches the most ignorant, therefore within the reach of publike restraint, according to the Lawes of common modesty and civility, which Nature hath written in the hearts of all men naturally: Such publike Transgressions that are uncivill, unnaturall, and unbecomeing humaine society, as open prophanesse and loosenesse fall under the restraint, and correction of the Magestrate, whose power is over the things of Nature, those being offences of that kind: As the Majestrate is to maintaine the publicke peace, and all civill societies therein, so is it preserve publike modesty, comlines, and civillity, that there may be a generall comely demeanour as rationall creatures, so their carriage and publicke demeanours are to be rationall regular, and comely, and not openly licentious, prophane, and blasphemous, contrary to common sense, reason, and humanity.

Mr. Creation.

Gentlemen, we have spent much time, and our Verdict is expected, and the case is so evident and plaine, that I thinke what is done may suffice, if you Mr. Orphan, and Mr. Day of Iudgement be agreed with us in your Verdict, let us give it in: what say you?

Ambo.

We are agreed; guilty, guilty.

Crier.

A Verdict: Make way there for the Iurie.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, hold up thy hand: Masters of the Iurie, looke upon the Prisoner, is he guilty of this Treason, Rebellion, Bloodshed, &c. in manner and forme as he stands indicted, or not guilty.

Foreman.

GUILTY my Lord.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, thou hast heard the hainous Accusation, that hath been proved against thee, and the verdict the Iurie have given in upon thee, what canst thou say for thy selfe, to award the sencence of death from passing against thee?

Pers.

My Lord, the Iurie have not dealt honestly in their verdict, wherefore I appeale from them to the Assembly of Divines, for a tryall of their honesty in this verdict.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, indeed thou stand’est need of a Long Cloak to cover thy knaverie; but there is no appeale from this Court, they are no Sanctuary of refuge in this case, neither can I conceive such worthy Gentlemen should perjure themselves, yet if thou hast any thing else to say, to award the Sentence of death, speake for thy selfe.

Pers.

I thanke your Honour, the Lord blesse your Honour: My Lord, I am so terrified in my selfe at the apprehension of death that I am not in case to speake for my selfe: I beseech your Lordship, that Sir Symon may speake in my behalfe.

Sir Sym.

My Lord, The enemies of our peace in this matter have dealt very subtilly, and most trayterously against the reverend Assembly of the faithfull, the Clergie, to divide them from your Lordships protection, to destroy and hinder the worke of Reformation, &c. for my Lord, this man here indicted by the name of PERSECUTION, is none of the man; for here is Mr. Nationall Conformity, Mr. Pontificall Revenue, Mr. Ecclesiasticall Supremacy, Personages of Honour, and eminencie through out whole Christendome, to testifie with me, that this Prisoner hath ever endeavoured to purge the Church of God from Heresie, Scisme, and all manner of irregular exorbitant courses, and laboured for the peace of the Church, that we may lead, a lazie and an easie life without God, and the people in the feare of the Clergie. Indeed my Lord, he was once of the Church of Rome, and thereupon generally branded by the name of PERSECUTION; but my Lord, for the hundred yeares and upward he hath been of the true Protestant Religion, even from the time of Luthar, and at this present en-devoureth with us the good of the Church in its restitution to Prelaticall Presbytrie: And upon his seperation from Rome with Luthar, he utterly renounced the nicke-name of PERSECUTION, and though unhappily through Jesuiticall suggestions & delusions he was too frequent in the Spanish Inquisition, and of late by Episcopall sophistications intised to officiate in the High Commission; yet my Lord, he was ever in himselfe an honest Reformer, and indeed his true name is Present Reformation, he was borne not long after the Primative times, but his nature and inclinations by evill Instruments have been so much abus’d, that he had even lost his name, and being nicke-named when he was yongue, and through long continuance of time, forgot his name, that indeed he answerd a long time to the name of PERSECUTION, but his true and proper name is Persent Reformation, which by Interpretation, is, Presbyterian Government: Wherefore my Lord, I beseech you consider the subtilty of this malignant hereticall faction, who have procured the apprehension and indictment of this Present Reformation under the odious name of PERSECUTION, thereby at once to make your Honor both ruine your selfe, and the Presbytrie of the Kingdom: therefore my Lord, whether the Iurie have dealt honestly in their Verdict, your Honour by this may esily discerne.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, what sayest thou to this? Is thy name Present Reformation?

Pers.

Yes my Lord, and my name is according to my naturall disposition.

Iudge.

Who gave you that name?

I. Reas.

My Lord, his God-fathers and God-mothers in his Baptisme, wherein he was made a member of the Assembly, and an Inheritor of the Kingdome of Antichrist.

Iudge.

His God-fathers, and God-mothers? who are your God-fathers, and your God-mothers?

Pers.

My Lord, Mr. Ecclesiasticall-Supremacy, and Mr. Scotch-Government are my God-fathers, Mr. State-Ambition, and Mr. Church-Revenue are my God-mothers, and I was sprinkled into the Assembly of Divines at the takeing of the late solemn-League and Covenant.

I. Reas.

My Lord, he is at this time Primate and Metrapolitane over all the Ecclesiast Courts of Tyranny in the world, the Spanish Inquisition, the High Commission and now our Divines have sprinkled his federall Holynesse into their Assembly, and hereupon chang’d his name from PERSECUTION, and Anabaptis’d him Present Reformation.

Iudg.

’Tis strange, that at the makeing of the late solemne League and Covenant bloodthirsty PERSECUTION should be Anabaptized Present Reformation; then here’s a Designe of blood in the Covenant, if under the name of Reformation the Clergie have infused the trayterous bloodthirsty spirit of Persecution into it.

I. Human.

My Lord, there was never any Nationall or Provinciall Synod, but strengthned the hands of PERSECVTION, and that under the vizor of Religion.

I. Reas.

And my Lord, Sir Symon, and Sir Iohn’s agitation for PERSECUTION, is on purpose, to save this villaine, to cut their throats, that hazard, and spend their lives and fortunes for Us, and for the State of the Kingdome, such as have been faithfull in the publike Service, never tainted with Treason, or doubledealing, though the Kings negotiation with large promises have attempted it, even such cheifly, as they brand with the names of Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. those notwithstanding, they would have depriv’d of the liberty of the subject, yea of the liberty of their lives; and the sole cause hereof is, because they labour to informe your L. with rationall principles, and are zealous inquirers into the Gospel, from thence discovering the iniquity of the pontificall Clergie, and (labouring for the common good) communicate their understandings to the benefit of others, which prooving prejuditiall to the wicked ends of the Clergy, they labour with opprobrious names, lyes and slanders to make such odious, the better accomplish their ends, and in this Designe they have plaid their parts, for should PERSECUTION be put to death, the whole Clergy feare to be undone, as their exceptions against LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE did manifest; they are afraid of the mercy of the people, they cannot endure to serve only for Conscience, their tongues are even with their bellyes, pinch their guts, and spoyle the Preists, shut your hand, and there is a generall silence, you may be Anabaptist, Brouwnist, or what you will, if the matter be brought to that passe: This is that they feare my Lord, Therefore, would they have their hands strengthned with PERSECVTION, to prevent it let who will perish, if they stand. Moreover, my Lord, those very men which plead for PERSECUTION, are the same, even this man, Sir John, is the very man, that in the dayes of the Bishops complained, and contested against PERSECUTION, used all possible meanes to be delivered out of his Episcopall Pawes, endevoured to cast him out of the High Commission; but as soone as these underling Divines are from under their Episcopall Task-masters, and beginning to encroach upon your Lordships power, presently take this notorious bloody Traitour, PERSECUTION, stript by your Lordship of his High Commission habit, and out of their zeale dresse him in a divine Synodicallgarbe, and chang his name from PERSECUTION, and cristen him Reformation; so to engage your Lordship, and the Kingdomes of England and Scotland in blood, to settle and establish bloody Persecution by Covenant over the Consciences of honest and faithfull men unto the State, under the speacious and godly pretence of Reformation, as Mr. Edwards one of their Champions manifests, who is so impudent, as to assert, that your Lordship is bound to compell all men to the Decrees of the Synod, (ascribing to them, as the Papists to the Pope) an infallible unerring spirit, 2nd openly proclaimes, that Toleration of such honest faithfull Subjects, as Anabaptists, Brownists, Independants, Antinomians, &c. to be indirect opposition to the Covenant, and though before they might have beene lawfully tolerated, yet now they cannot under breach of the Covenant: Consider My Lord, is not this Jesuiticall subtilty, most desperate and secret delusion, that by this Covenant they would engage your Lordship, either to be a Covenant breaker, or else infringe the Liberty of the Subject entrusted by the Common people in your hands, one of these is inavoydable, and yet all under the coulour of Reformation, the true Protestant Religion, the cause of God, and I know not what; what in nomine Domini perpetrant omni malum; so that it is most certaine, that this fellow, whose name Sir Symon feigneth to be Reformation, is absolute PERSECVTION, so that had these Reformers but as much power as Queen Maryes Clergie, their Reformation would conclude in fire and faggot.

Judge.

Oh insufferable Assembly! I see ’tis dangerous for a State to pin their faith upon the sleive of the Clergie.

I. Reas.

Further my Lord, whereas others are impoverished, spend their estates, engage and loose their lives in this Quarrell, they are enriched, and advanced by it, save their purses and persons, cram and fill their greedy guts too filthy to be caried to a Beare, heape up wealth to themselves, and give not a penny, while others (against whom they exclaime) venture and expend all, yea my Lord, this great gorbelly’d Idoll, called the Assembly of Divines, is not ashamed in this time of State necessity, to guzle up and devoure dayly more at an ordinary meale, then would make a Feast for Bell and the Dragon, for besides all their fat Benefices, forsooth they must have their foure shillings a peece by the day, for sitting in constollidation; and poore men when they had fil’d all Benefices with good Trencher-men of their owne Presbyterean Tribe, they move your Lordship, that all Ministers may be wholy freed from all manner of Taxations, that now the Trade of a Presbyter is the best Trade in England, all are taxed, and it goes free; poore men that have not bread to still the cry of their children, must either pay or goe in person to the wars, while those devouring Church-lubbers live at case, feed on dainties, neither pay nor goe themselves but preach out our very hearts, they make it a case of conscience to give all, but wise men the'l give none: let the sicke, the lame and maimed Souldiers, and those that that have lost their limbs, and beg in the streets, let women that have lost their husbands, let parents that have lost their children, let children that have lost their parents, and let all that have or suffer oppression and misery, in and for the publike cause consider this, and be no longer riden and jayded by Clergy Masters; but to give the Divell his due, one thing to their commendations I have observed, that they are so zealously affected with the honour of their cloth, that ’t were pitty to disroabe them of their Cassoke garbe to be led in a string from Westminster to Allgate in Leatherne Jackets, and Mattokes on their shoulders; and my Lord, though some thinke they would do the State more good in Leatheren Jackets and Mattokes then in long Cloakes and Cassokes, yet me thinks, they would doe the State better service with their Canonicall Girdles, were the knot ty’d in the right place.

Iudge.

Sir Symon, we convocated the Assembly to consult with about matters of Religion, not arrogating to our selves, or ascribing to them a Spirit of infallability, considering that we are but Parliament men, not Gods, therefore we made tryall of their advice, but for them hereupon to arogate Supremacy over the State and people, lay claime to an unerring spirit, and perswade us, (as Edwards in his Antipol. saith) that we take it for granted, that the conclusions of their Debates, Controversies, and Consulations are according to the mind of Christ, because We cal’d them together, and hereupon to compell all men to their Decrees, is most impudent presumption, and popish arrogance; We did not suppresse the High Commission, to subject Our Selves to an Assembly, race out Episcopall to set up Presbyterian Prelacy, for what more Prelaticall, what more exorbitant then such presumption, tis a meere Monopole of the Spirit Sir Symon: you have so plaid the Iesuites, as it seemes, We have only put downe the men, not the Function; caught the shaddow, and let goe the substance: while We were suppressing Primates, Metrapalitanes, Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Ecclesiasticall Courts, Canons, Injunctions, Decrees, &c. you have so subtilly carried the businesse, as it seemes, Primacy, Metrapolitanisme, Prelacy, &c. shrunke into the Presbytry, and our High Commission turn’d into an Assembly of Divines; We out of Our good intentions cast out this Evill Spirit thence, and it entred it seemes, into these Swine, who thus headlong run upon their own destruction, (the Divell hath brought his hogges to a faire Market) arrogating an infallability, and a supremacy over Us, and the people, condemning PERSECUTION, when, they were persecuted, but commending & approving it, if they may persecute: Truly Sir Symon, you have out run the Constable, your ambition is a little too swift for your policie: What breath out threatnings, menaces, and persecutions openly, before you have power to persecute! sure you were not in your wits; when they were vented.

I. Human.

My Lord, they have set even till they’r run mad, you might do well to adjorne them to Bedlam; for my Lord, they are raging mad; to have the innocent blood of the Anabaptists, Brownists, Independants, &c.

I. Reas.

My Lord, they have over studdied themselves, and crack’d their wits in finding out a Religion for us; poore men they have been mightily puzled about it, it hath cost them the consumption of many fat Pigge, Chicken, capon, &c. the infusion of many a cup of sacke, to bring it to birth, and after such dolerous pangs, and bitter throwes for almost these two yeares, who would have thought, they should be delivered of such a ridiculous vermine, called, a Presbyter; parturiunt montes, nascitur ridiculus mus. And now my Lord, after this mountanous delivery, they are at their wits end, what dressing to put it out in, all the Taylours in the Kingdome are not able to content them, what to doe they know not, and now the matters worse then ever it was, they had thought to have shewne the world it in the godly shape of Reformation, but upon examination, ’tis found to be PERSECVTION, a sad event! there is no way now, but Bedlam for our Doctours, it may chance to chastize them into their wits againe, and then upon their second thoughts, it may be, they’l be thinke themselves, to put a Blew Bonnet upon ’t, and then ’t will passe from England to Scotland, and from Scotland to England againe without Question or controule.

Iudge.

Sir Symon, We blesse God, that hath put it into the hearts of those honest godly people, (though publikely despised and hated) those faithfull freinds and lovers of the Parliament and Kingdome, whome you nicke-name Anabaptists, Brownists, Independants, &c. to discover and detect unto us the Iesuiticall and Trayterous Designes of the Synod with the hazard of their Libertis, and for ought they know of their lives and fortunes; for should they not ventured themselves in the discovery of such a subtile generation, Who should have been kept ignorant through their zealous pretences, and had there been a mountaine more of their villany, it seemes they would have covered it with a vaile of teares, Fastings, affected prayers, and the like, from Our discerning.

I. Reas.

It is an approved truth, that such as are called Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. have in all Ages ventured, yea given up their lives, to enforme Kings, Kingdomes, Parliaments, and States in things that concerne their peace, and the glory of God, which though condemned at first, afterwards have proved no other; yea such as your Lordships Predecessours have condemned by penall Lawes, Statutes, &c. which now your Lordship through the mercy of God find otherwise, and it is we that reape the benefit of their blood in the suppression of Episcopall Iurisdiction, High Commission, &c. not they; for their sufferings, and their testimony have detected and informed us of their unlawnesse, it being their custome my Lord, to weare out the Mysterie of Iniquity with their blood: And now my Lord, we that have received vantage by their bitter sufferings, shall we baost our selves against them? it were ungratude to God, and inhumanity to them.

Iudge.

True: We find by dayly experience, that the Seperates are not such as ground their religion on selfe ends, for like Salamanders in the fire, they live in the heare of Persecution, they spare not their lives, to witnesse the innocencie of their Cause, the fire of Persecution cannot consume, but enflames them towards their God and the Truth; the menacing of Kings and Governours, and cruelties of their greatest Adversaries hinders not their testimony; this we find, when ever they are convented before Us, even to our astonishment; and we further find, it is not their owne good alone that they aime at, but the generall good of all men, that all (one as well as an other) may lead an honest and a quiet life under Our Protection, and We have (to our benefit) found the blessing of God upon their endeavours, as the hopefull and glorious successe in the Conquest of Yorke, which envie and malice it selfe cannot deny, was instrumentally archeived by their valour and fidelity: Wherefore in justice to their uprightnesse, and faithfulnes to that trust reposed in Us for the publike Good; the Liberty and property of the Subject, We may not deny them the benefit of Subjects, but as they are faithfull parties in the generall venture, so to be heriditatory to the generall purchase, having as just a Right thereto by the price of their blood as Our Selves, for that which is purchased by blood, all the purchasers have an equall right to the thing purchased.

I. Reas.

My Lord, but our Dessembly Doctours teach otherwise, yet I think if your Lordship should settle Anabaptistrie or the like, even that which they now persecute and threaten, preach and pray against, and forewarne the people off, as hereticall and damnable, provided you should endouw it with goodly fat Benefices, and sanctifie it with the hallowed Ordinance for Tythes, Offerings, Oblations, &c. questionlesse the generallity of those Persecutours of Anabaptists would have the wit to turne Anabaptists, for their Religion is moved upon the Wheele of the State; when the State was for Bishops, then they were for Bishops, and were very Canonicall Surplisse men, Altar bewers, and the like, (and the precisest sort those that are now our most zealous Presbyters) did then so comply and conforme to Episcopall superstition, is they kept their Benefices, (except here and there one of the honester sort,) while the honest Separate (counting nothing too deare for his God) did openly resist and witnesse against it, even to imprisonments, deprivation of goods, &c. But our temporizing Doctours, our State Protestant Ministers are not so simple to swime against the streame, they are wiser in their generation, for they know most wealth goes that way, as long as your Ordinance is laden with Tythes, Offerings and Oblations, they’l be sure to give fire; but should the State deprive their Religion of all Ecclesiasticall Revenue, of Personages, Tythes, &c. yea, should it be their very Presbyterie they so aime at that they should so impoverish, certainly we should have more Parishes then Presbyters, more Steeples then Doctours; then they would no be so hot for Presbytry, so zealous to persecute its opposers, I would your Lordship would make tryall, call in but your Ordinance for Tythes, and turne them to the good will of people, and then — a tythe Pigge will be sold for a penny.

Iudge.

Well notwithstanding the Doctrine and subtilty our Divines we cannot deale so unworthely with those honest men, but must by the grace of God, being by them better in formed, proceed to Sentence against this Malefactour according to the just Verdict of the Iurie.

PERSECUTION fals upon his knees.

Pers. Good my Lord, have mercy upon me, I beseech your Honour even for the Clergies sake, have mercy upon me; consider my Lord, that in my death is their ruine, it will be the greatest inroad upon the Divines of Christendome, that ever was made. Oh!

I beseech you my Lord, by the Mysterie of their holy Convocation, by their agony, and bloody sweate, by their Crosse and Passion at my shamefull approaching death and buriall, Good Lord deliver me.

By their glorious Resurrection, and Ascention from the Pulpit above the State: By the coming of the Holy Ghost to them in Cloake Bagge from Scotland, Good Lord deliver me.

By the late solemne League and Covenant: By the 400. and 50. l. for the Copy of their Directory: By all the fat Benefices, and goodly Revenues of the Clergie, Good Lord deliver me.

By the Apocripha writings and non sense Arguments of Mr. Edwards: By the distracted thoughts and subitaine apprehensions of Mr. Prinne: By the Designes of the Clergie: By their fained teares: By their hypocrisie: By their false Glosses, Interpretations, and Sophistications, Good Lord deliver me.

By the Advance of the mickle Armie into the South: By the late innocent and undefiled Ordinance for Tythes: By all that is neare and deare unto the Clergie, the pompe and glorie of this world, Good Lord deliver me.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, what would’st thou have? here’s no place of mercy for thee, the Vengance of God cannot be dispens’d with, thou art not in the High Commission, nor before the Assembly, this is a Court where justice must take place.

Pers.

Oh my Lord, I beseech your Lordship for the mercy of this honourable Bench: My Lord, I am a Clergie man, and beseech your Honour for the benefit of my Clergie: I have been of all the Universities of Christendom, have taken all their Degrees, proceeded through all Ecclesiasticall Orders and Functions, and my Lord, at present am under the Holy Order of Presbytrie, and I hope a Presbyter shall find favour in your eyes: Wherefore I beseech you my Lord, that I may have the benefit of Degration.

Iudge.

PERSECUTION, be contented, you shall be sent to the place of Degradation.

Pers.

Oh Good my Lord, let not a Presbyter come to so shamefull an end, I beseech this Honourable Bench, that I may be repreeved but as long as the Synod and Presbytrie endure.

Iudge.

No PERSECUTION, such is thy Treason, Rebillion, &c. as cannot be dispensed with.

Pers.

Oh my Lord, a psalme of mercy, I beseech your Honour, a psalme of mercy.

Iudge.

No PERSECUTION, no; prepare to heare thy Sentence. Hereupon this ensuinge Letter was privately conveyed to Iustice Conformity.

Symon Synod
Synod, Symon
Iohn Presbyter
Presbyter, Iohn

To the right worshipfull Iustice Conformity, all blessing and benediction from his Holynesse Sir SYMON, and his Son Sir IOHN.

Right worshipfull,

These are to adjure you, as you will Answer it before US, at the great and dreadfull DAY of OUR Classicall exaltation above all persons in the Kingdome, that you forthwith sollicite my Lord, to suspend his Sentence but till the advance of the mickle Armie into the South, for then we feare not the procurement of his plenary pardon; and for your encouragement herein last night my Son Iacke and I went into our Presbyterian ware-house, and have taken a list of all the Instruments of torture and torment already prepared for our Designe: to wit, triple knotty corded whips, Gagges, Pillories, Stockes Sharpe Knifes, Pincers, hot burning Irons, Halters, Gallowes, Gybbets, Rackes, Spits, Fire-forkes, Gridirons, Axes, Sawes Fleshhookes, firery Furnaces, hot Ovens, boyling Caldrons, Fire and Faggot, close Prisons, darke and noysome Dungeons, Fetters, Manacles, all in abundance, most bloody and cruell Executioners, terrible and divilish Tormentours as, Presbyterian Hangmen, Goalers, &c. besides multitudes of Synodean Tyranies newly invented, not yet discovered to the people, such as never either by Pope, Bishop, or their adherents were devised: and though we have prepared those Divelish Instruments, yet we shall not be so indiscreet, to rush them in all on a suddaine; no we shall observe the temper of the people, the course of times, make a graduall progression, now a little, and then a little, and alwayes a most godly and holy pretence to usher in a damnable and wicked designe; if in the poising a businesse wee find it so heavy, that neither Synod, Divill, nor Presbyter can lift, we’ll suspend the matter, and insensibly prepare the people for the entertainment thereof, which by our vaine-glorious fasting, hypocriticall teares, prayers, and sophisticall Sermons we shall easily doe: And for your further encouragement understand; there are of certaine, from a late Consistorie of Divels dispatched seaven soule Spirits a peece for every Presbyter throughout England, to attend them in their Parochiall Iurisdiction: so that a Presbyter shall be seaven times worse then a Bishop, for it is intended, he shall be more fearce and cruell then his fellowes, therefore Woe, Woe unto those Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. those cursed Heretickes, for those presbyterian Feinds expect but the word of command, to devoure them up: But Mr. William, all this will come to nothing, if this Prisoner be put to death, you see those Sectaries have had such freedome of speech that my Son Iacke and I can doe no good; now, there being not such a considerable person in this County as your self to prevaile, WEE therefore charge you, as you hope to be a Iudge, faile not at this dead lift for your Eires; indeed he’s in your debt, but he vowes by your fiat justitia, that if you prevaile, he’ll provide you a paire of better and longer, then ever you had: Hereof faile not, and we shall not be backward to answer your deserts, when, WE and the parliament, shall be Commenced by

Your intire Freinds, Sir SYMON SYNOD, and Sir IOHN PRESBYTER.

I. Conformity. My Lord, were your Lordship but rightly informed concerning this Prisoner under the name of Mr. PERSECUTION, what he is, and from whence he came, your Honour would lesse wonder at his severall evations and dilatory pleaes, to award the Sentence of death, for were he guilty, what would not a man doe for his life? skin for skin, and all that a man hath will be give for his life, but such is his innocency, that the proceedings against him have been altogether upon false grounds; for whereas by the Evidence he is asserted to be born soon after the time of Innocency, and by them standeth charged with all the Innocent blood spilt upon the whole earth: I shall by your Lordships favour upon good grounds make it apeare, to be otherwise, for my Lord, this prisoner is not yet above an 100 yeares of age, being borne in Geneva, of very good Lutheran and Calvenish parentage, about the yeare 1544. where he was very well educated and instructed both in the Tongues and Liberall Sciences; and upon a certaine time going to Sea, he was by a great wind raised by Belzebub the Prince of Divels blowne into Scotland: And being so neare us, forth of his zeale and pious affection to reforme the Church of the Episcopall Prelacy to Presbyterian, he occasioned the rising of the Scots as one man to oppose that power, against which ever since he hath contested, and he lately advanced with their mickle Armie to the Leagure before Yorke, and for all this, he received many an affront by Cromwels scismaticall Brigade, and from thence taking his journey through Derby, Stafferd, Coventry, and Cambridge, where performing much good service he came to London, since whose coming, old Grand Mr. PERSECUTION, charged in the Indictment and convicted by the Iurie, was happily and timely executed uppon Tower Hill, by all which it appeareth, that the Witnesses that have given in Testimony against this prisoner, the Gentleman at the Bar, have greatly abused him, your Lordship, and the Iurie, he not being the person charged, and consequently innocent of the crimes laid to his charge, he being indeed as reall an adversary to Old Mr. PERSECVTION, as any Gentleman of this whole County; hereof if your Lordship make any doubt, I beseech you; that a Farrier may be called into the Court, who may make a perfect discovery to your Lordship of his age, by opening his mouth and vewing his Teeth, whose yongue, small, Presbyterean Pegges have no proportion betwixt the Great Twangs, and Boarish Tuskes of Old Mr. PERSECVTION: And besides this my Lord, to testifie what I have said, to be authenticke, there are hundreds in the mickle Arnue, whose absence have occasioned this his inability to justifie and cleare himselfe; but if your Lordship please but to adjourne the busines but till their mickle Advance into the South, the matter shall be made cleare unto your Honour, for then we make no question to awe and crush those Hereticall false witnesses, and advance Presbytry to its super Prelaticall Throne of CLASSICALL SVPREMACY, and though at first it be but jure Humane, a little fire and faggot will quickly Commence it jure divino.

I. Reas. My Lord, I am much afraid of a Conspiracy betwixt Sir Symon, and Sir Iohn Presbyter with Iustice Conformity, whome like an Ignoramus they have perswaded into their Combination, how to delude your Lordship, thereby to deliver PERSECVTION from the justice of this Court; You may easily perceave, how they would pinch your Lordships Nose with a paire of Scotch-Spectacles, and fixe a paire of long Synodian Eares unto your Lordships head, that your Lordship might see nothing but Blew Caps, heare nothing but Synodian Thunder; but I hope your Honour is throughly sensible hereof; yet least your Lordships Innocency, and honest endeavoures for the generall and equall Rights and Liberties of the Common People, should be circumvented and perverted by their policie, I shall (hoping my plaine dealing meerly (I call God to witnesse) out of unfeigned love unto your Honour, and the common Good of all the Common People shall not be recompensed with your High Displeasure) present the cunning insinuations and subtile fictions of Iustas Conformity in their true shape; for whereas he saith, that this present Prisoner is not the person indicted, and convicted of Treason, Rebellion &c. this being but a yongue man, the other very old, I can assure your Lordship, that he is herein meerly delusive, for the man is the very same, only through the advise of Sir IOHN he hath made use of a Presbyterian Barber, who hath shaven from his head, his old deformed Tresses, cropt of his haire above the eares after the halfe moon fashion, taught him the Presbyterian posture of his eyes, plaistered up the wrinkles of his bended brow with Scotch morter, whereby he hath acquired a more smooth Synodian countenance, but in a small time if he be let alone, he’l be as terrible and frighfull as ever; for his pritty small Pegges that he speakes off, your L. is therein mis-informed; for the Farrier that searched his mouth, was a Presbyterean Horse Doctour, prepared on purpose by yongue Sir IOHN for that very end, who discovered to your L. only the upper part of his fore teeth, whereas were his mouth but searched by an Independant Farrier, he would discover besides those in the hinderpart of his Classicall Iawes, his Great Iron Fangs, as great and terrible as there in spoaken of by Daniell cap. 7. 7. And as for the good service in those Enmity mentioned that he performed in his Roade from Scotland, seemes it was soo good, that the Prisoners there care for no more of his prison: for if he mumble us thus with his yongue small Presbyterian Pegges, what bloody massacrie, what cruell crushing of bones, rending tearing and devouring of flesh, must we expect, if your Lordship permit him the use of his dreadfull devouring Tuskes, his huge monsterous iron Fangs, but I hope your Lordship will first grant him the favour of an Independant Tooth-drawer, and then wee shall not greatly feare his Gummes: And concerning the Mickle Armie, my Lord, you may perceive how they would bind your hands from the execution of justice by the force of Armes, as though the wisedome of this Court were to be inslaved to such sinister respects; my Lord, it is highly deregatory to your Honour, and here are sufficient English Evidence, to prove this old seducer, to be PERSECUTION himselfe, as hath been manifest before your Honour; let not the people be thus deprived of justice, they did not in chusing your Lordship to this place, wherein you are, intend the makeing of themselves slaves in any the least kind, to Synods, Sir Iohns, force of armes, or the like, or to put themselves at so vast a distance, as to make their addresses to you, as to some Dietie, but in their chusing of you, authorised and entrusted you, to vindicate and preserve their native and just Liberties in generall, yea, and common to them with your selfe: therefore you cannot without betraing this Trust, by any coersive power subject any of their consciences, persons, or estates to any Ecclesiasticall Iurisdiction whatsoever: And now seeing this vile person at the Barre hath been legally indicted, araigned, and convicted, and thereby found an Arch-enemie and Traytour to the peoples common Liberty and Safety, Iudgement and Execution ought forthwith to passe upon him accordingly, that this Hypocriticall Pharisie, this blood-thirsty Catisse, this long Gown’d Mountebanke with his spirituall delusions may no longer cheate the world, as he hath done.

Hereupon the Court preceedeth to Iudgment.

Iudge.

Make Proclamation.

Crier.

O—yes, every man keep silence, &c.

Iudge.

With much patience this Court hath heard the severall pleaes betwixt PERSECUTION, and LIBERTY-OF-CONSCIENCE urged on both sides; having seriously weighed the same in the Ballance of equity, hath found PERSECUTION and his Abettours with all their Pleas too light, even meere subtile, airie, and empty delusions: It is therefore the Sentence of this Court concerning Sir Symon, and Sir Iohn Presbyter, who have thus Iesuitically endeavoured to pervert the justice of this Court by their false, their subtile, and Trayterous suggestions in the behalf of this notorious bloody Malefactour PERSECUTION, that Sir SIMON be committed close Prisoner to King Henry the eight, is Chappell, there to be kept in Parliamentory safe custody, till the GREAT ASSISES, held in the first yeare of the RAIGNE of our Soveraigne Lord CHRIST, (when the Kingdom, and the greatnes of the Kingdome under the whole Heaven shallbe given to the Saints of the most High) there, and then to be Araigned with the rest of his Holy Tribe, whether Vniversall, Nationall, Provinciall, or Consistoriall Counsels, or Synods whatsoever, before his Highnesse the KING OF KINGS, and LORD OF LORDS.

I. Reas.

And my Lord, in the meane time to keep his Holinesse in action, I beseech your Honour, that he may Synodicate a full Resolution to these ensuing Queries.

1. Whether it doth not as much conduce to the Subjects Liberty still to be subjected to Episcopall usurpation, as to be given over to Presbyterian cruelty?

2. Whether it would not been more profitable for the Kingdome of England, to have forthwith hired a Coach and twelve Horses to have set a Directory from Scotland, then to have spent the learned consultations, pious debates, and sacred conclusions of such an holy, such a reverend, such an heavenly, such a godly, such a learned, such a pious, such a grave, such a wise, such a sollid, such a discreete, such a spirituall, such an evangelicall, such an infallible, such a venerable, such a super celestiall Quire of Angels, such a superlative Assembly of Divines for almost these two yeares space, after the profuse and vast expence of above fourty thousand pounds, besides their goodly fat Benefices, upon their devouring Guts, for an English DIRECTORY of worship equivolent to the Scotch DIRECTORY?

3. Whether this Directory standing in so many thousands to fumble it together, and the Copy sould at 400. and 50. l. be not of more value then the Writinges of the Prophets and Apostles.

4. Whether St. Peters Chaire doth not becomme a Presbyter, as well as a Bishop?

5. Whether the late divine Ordinance for Tythes, Offerings, Oblations, and Conventions be not better Gospell, and in all Presbyterian wisedome to be preferred and provided before the Directory for the worship of God?

  • O Cives, Cives, quærenda pecunia primum,
  • Virtus post nummos.
Iudge.

And as for Sir IOHN PRESBYTER, this Court hath Voted him to the uncleane, filthy, impious, unholy, darke, and worldly Dungeon, called, IVRE HVMANO there with Arch-Bishops, Bishops, &c. the Grand-Presbyters, his Fore-fathers, to be fast bound with the Majesteriall Chaines of humaine Lawes, Ordinances, Edicts, &c. and in them to be kept in safe custody till the aforesaid great Assises, in the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord Christ, there, and then to be brought forth to the Tyrall of that Great and terrible DAY. Now to the Prisoner.

PERSECUTION, hould up thy hand: Thou hast been Indicted, and Araigned of emnity against God and all goodnes, of Treasons, Rebellion, Bloodshed, &c. and for thy tryall hast put thy selfe upon thy Countrey, which Countrey have found thee guilty, and to award the Sentence of death, from passing upon thee, thou hast had the liberty this Court in justice could permit, to make thy defence: we have heard thine allegations, evasions, the Reasons and Pleaes of thy Defendants, to whom was given all freedome of Defence could be desired, also We have heard the distracted jubitaine mediation of J. Conformity in thy behalfe, yet notwithstanding all that can be made for thee, thy guilt is so palpably apparant and grosse, that all the subtilety, craft, and policy thou and thy Consederates can devise, cannot obscure thee from the eye of justice: for this Court upon thy tryall, hath found out thy villany, Treason, and Bloodshed, and how thou art guilty of all that is laid to thy charge: Therefore the Sentence of this Court is, that thou shalt returne to the place from whence thou camest, to wit, the noysome, and filthy CAGE of every uncleane and hatefull Bird, the CLERGIE of Christendome, there to be fast bound with Inquisition, Synoddicall, Classicall, Preist bitter-all Chaines untill the Appearing of that Great and terrible Iudge of the whole Earth, who shall take thee alive, with Sir SYMON, and his Son Sir IOHN, and cast thee with them and their Confederates into the LAKE of fire and brimstone, where the Beast and the False Prophet are, there to be tormented day and night for ever, and ever.

Rev. 19. 1. 2. 3. And after these things I heard a great voyce of much people in Heaven, saying, Allelujah: salvation and glory, honour and power, unto the Lord our God:

For true and righteous are his judgments, for he hath judged the Great Whore, which did corrupt the Earth with her Fornication, and avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. Again they said, Allelujah: And her smoak rose up for ever and ever.

The POSTSCRIPT.

Least the honest innocent Intentions of Yongue MARTIN should receive some Synoddicall misconstruction, he desires to be his owne Interpreter concerning some passages, and for the rest he leaves to the fate of the publicke censure. Now whereas his Licence may seem to be an immitation of an Order of Parliament, it is only to shew the ostentation, pride, and vaine glory of the boasting Presbyters. And where he ascribeth many Epithites, as, divine, holy, &c. to the Ordinance for Tythes, they are not intended in derision to the Parliament, or to any of their Lawes, Statutes, or Ordinances whatsoever, but are used in the sense of Presbyterian acceptation, and of the reverend estimation they would perswade us of that above any other whatsoever. And the use of the late League and Covenant, is likewise only in the Presbyterian sense, simply respecting that Tribe, according to Edwards Interpretation thereof. Honest MARTIN would not be mistaken, he is no enemie to the unity of the two Kingdomes in Civill League and peace, but it is his hearts desire and prayers that not only they, but that all the Nations of the Earth were so in themselves and one with another. And for the Advance of the Scots, that is used only to shew, how those Presbyterian Iesuites would make that, which the two Kingdomes intend for the common good, to be perverted only to the Advance of their Persecuting Faction: And this MARTIN proclaimes to be his own genuine meaning.

FINIS.

 


 

T.38 (2.5) [William Walwyn], Good Counsell (29 July 1644).

 

 

Bibliographical Information

ID Number

T.38 [1644.07.29] (2.5) [William Walwyn], Good Counsell to All those that heartily desire the glory of God, the freedome of the Commonwealth, and the good of all vertuous men (29 July 1644)

Full title

[William Walwyn], Good Counsell to All those that heartily desire the glory of God, the freedome of the Commonwealth, and the good of all vertuous men.

 

Estimated date of publication

29 July 1644

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 335; Thomason E. 1199. (2.)

Leveller Tract: T.38 (2.5) [William Walwyn], Good Counsell to All those that heartily desire the glory of God, the freedome of the Commonwealth, and the good of all vertuous men (29 July 1644)

You are most earnestly intreated to take notice, and to be warned of a most pestilent and dangerous designe lately practised by some hellish Polititians, tending to the dividing of the honest party amongst themselves, thereby to weaken them, and to give advantages to the Common Enemies.

The ground of their designe is, The difference of judgement in matters of Religion amongst conscientious well minded people, occasion being taken from thence to make them not only to despise and hate one another, but as odious to the generality of good men as are theeves, murderers and harlots.

The means they use to promote their designe, is principally to broach some grosse and foolish errours; and then to father them on all those that are called Anabaptists, Antinomians, Brownists, Separatists or Independents:

Perswading and possessing the people:

First, concerning the Anabaptists, That they hold all government in the Commonweale to bee unlawfull; which you are to know is most pernicious delusion, for they approve of, and doe submit unto all government that is agreed on by common consent in Parliament; and disapprove only of arbitrary and tyrannicall government, usurpations and exorbitances in Magistrates and Officers; and have disbursed their monies and hazarded their lives as freely for their just government, and liberties of this Nation, as any condition of men whatsoever.

Secondly, That the Antinomians doe hold, that a Beleever may live as he list! even in all licentiousnesse: which is most grossely false: there being no Scripture more frequent in their mouthes then this, namely. The love of God bringing salvation to all men hath appeared, teaching us to deny all ungodlinesse and worldly lusts, and to live righteously and godly, and soberly in this present world.

Thirdly, That the Brownists, Separation and Independents doe hold that all other Protestants are in a damnable condition, who doe hold fellowship, Church society, and communion with grossely, vitious and wicked persons: which also is most notoriously false: for they doe not so judge of any; but doe judge that themselves having (to their apprehensions) grounds in Scripture, proving the unlawfulnesse of such mixt communions, may not, nor dare not so communicate: And as concerning others they judge (as themselves would be judged) that they exercise their Religion in that way which appeareth to them most agreeable to the Word of God.

When these sowers of division have possest the people, that these and the like absurdities are held by them: Then they advise them to flye from them as from Serpents, and not to heare them or discourse with them, as they tender the safety of their souls; & make them glad & rejoyce when they heare any of them are imprisoned or silenced; or their bookes (though slightly and absurdly) answered: and when they heare that many of them are forsaking the Kingdome, and betaking themselves to the West-Indies and other places for Liberty of their Consciences (as void of all remorse) they cry out, Let them goe, a good riddance, it will never bee well in England (say they) so long as these Sects are permitted to live amongst us; nor untill the Parliament do set up one expresse way for exercise of Religion, and compell all men to submit thereunto, and most severely to punish all such as will not.

But you will finde that this is the very voice of Prelacie, and the authours thereof to bee the very same in heart, what ever they are in deaths and outside—And that it is not the voyce of the Apostles, who required that every man should be fully perswaded in his owne minde of the lawfulnesse of that way wherein he served the Lord; and that upon such a ground as no authority on earth can ever dispence withall, namely, That whatsoever is not of faith (or full assurance of minde) is sin.

Our Saviour Christ did not use the Sadduces in so unkinde a manner, and yet they held more dangerous opinions then any that are accused in our times; for they beleeved that there was no resurrection, and that there was neither Angell nor Spirit; though they came to him in a kinde of insolent confidence in these their opinions, which he knew sufficiently. He, neverthelesse both heard and answered them gently; he did not revile them with reproachfull language, telling them that they were not worthy to live in a Commonwealth; nor did he warne others to discourse with them; hee did not command their persons to be imprisoned, nor declare their lives to be forfeited: It is likely they lived quietly, and (in all civill respects) according to the loves of the Country, and were honester men then the Scribes and Pharisees who were hypocrites: and so, as the true authour of his Apostles doctrine, he allowed them to be fully perswaded in their owne mindes, using no meanes but argument and perswasion to alter or controle their judgements: He knew that men might live peaceably and lovingly together, though they differ in judgement one from another: Himselfe was composed of love, and esteemed nothing so pretious as love; His servant and Apostle Paul was of the same minde also, affirming that though hee had all faith and al knowledge, and understood all mysteries, though he could speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not love, he is nothing, a meere sounding brasse or tinckling symball: he desires that those who are strong in the faith, should beare with those that are weak, adviseth him that eateth that hee should not condemne him that eateth not: where one observed a day to the Lord, and others not (though a matter of great moment) yet he alloweth every one to be fully perswaded in his owne minde: Now if our Saviour and his Apostle, that could infallibly determine what was truth, and what was error, did neverthelesse allow every man to bee fully perswaded in his owne minde, and did not command any man upon their authority to doe any thing against judgement and conscience—What spirit are they of, whose Ministers are they, that would have all men compelled to submit to their probabilities and doubtfull determinations?

The Apostle perswadeth those whom he instructed to try all things: These allow not things to be compared, they take liberty to speake what they please in publike against opinions and judgements, under what nick-names they thinke fittest to make them odious, and write and Print, and licence the same, wresting and misapplying the Scriptures to prove their false assertions; but stop all mens mouthes from speaking, and prohibit the Printing of any thing that might be produced in way of defence and vindication; and if any thing bee attempted, spoken or published without authority or licence, Pursuivants, fines and imprisonments, are sure to wait the Authors, Printers and publishers.

And though experience of all times under Popery and Prelacie, have proved this a vaine way to bring all men to be of one minde, yet these men are not yet made wiser by the folly of others, but suffer themselves to be outwitted by the devillish policies of those that put them on in those compulsive and restrictive courses, as knowing it to be the only meanes to obstruct the truth, to multiply opinions, and cause divisions, without which they know they should in vaine attempt the bondage or destruction of the honest party.

Be you therefore wise in time, and speedily and freely unite your selves to those your brethren, though reproached with never so many nick-names, and use all lawfull meanes for their ease and freedome, and for protection from reproach, injury or violence, that they may be encouraged to abide in, and returne unto this our distressed country, and to contribute their utmost assistance to free the same from the bloudy intentions of the common enemies, and give them assurance of a comfortable freedome of conscience when a happy end shall be given to these wofull times: you cannot deny but that they are to bee trusted in any imployment equall to any condition of men, not one of them having proved false hearted or treacherous in any publike employment: sticke you therefore close to them, they will most certainly sticke close to you; which if you doe, all the Popish and malignant party in the world will not be able to circumvent you: but if you suffer your selves to be so grossely deluded as to despise or renounce their assistance and association, you shall soone perceive your selves to be over-growne with malignants (the taking of a Covenant will not change a blackamore) your bondage will be speedy and certaine: The ground upon which you renounce them is so unjust and contrary to the word of God, that God cannot prosper you; you have therefore no choice at all; but if you joyne not; you perish: Your destruction is of your selves, (complaine of none else) your pride and disdaine of them will be your mine.

Thus have you the faithfull advice of him who is neither Anabaptist, Antinomian, Brownist, Separatist or Independent: But of one that upon good ground (as he conceiveth) holdeth fellowship and communion with the Parochiall congregations, who observing with a sad heart the manifold distractions and divisions amongst his brethren about difference of judgement in matters of Religion; and finding the same fomented and made use of to the destruction of the common freedome of his deare Country: He could not forbeare to give warning thereof to all sorts of well-affected persons, hoping that they will labour to informe themselves more truly of the opinions and dispositions of those their too much despised Brethren; and (as himselfe hath done) resolve henceforward to joyne heart and hand with them in all offices of love and mutuall assistance of the Commonwealth.

FINIS

 


 

T.66 (3.7) John Lilburne, The Free-mans Freedom Vindicated (16 June 1646).

OLL Thumbs

 

Bibliographical Information

ID Number

T.66 [1646.06.16] (3.7) John Lilburne, The Free-mans Freedom Vindicated (16 June 1646).

Full title

John Lilburne, The Free-mans Freedom Vindicated. Or A true Relation of the cause and manner of Lievt. Col. Iohn Lilburns present imprisonment in Newgate, being thereunto arbitrarily and illegally committed, by the House of Peeres, Iune 11. 1646. for his delivering in, at their open Barre, under his Hand and Seal, his Protestation, against their incroaching upon the Common Liberties of all the Commons of England, in endeavouring to try him, a Commoner of England, in a criminall cause, contrary to the expresse tenour and forme of the 29. Chap. of the great Charter of England, and for making his legall and iust appeal to his competent, propper and legal Tryers and Judges, the Commons of England, in Parliament assembled.

The pamphlet contains the following parts:

  1. Letters
  2. The Protestation, Plea, and Defence of Lievtenant Colonell IOHN LILBVRNE.
  3. To the right Honourable the chosen and Representative body of England Assembled in Parliament. The humble Petition of L. C. Iohn Lilburne A Free man of England.
  4. A Postscript, containing a generall Proposition
  5. Declaration of the House of Commons, published 27. Ianu. 1641

 

Estimated date of publication

16 June 1646.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 445; E. 341. (12.)

Leveller Tract: T.66 (3.7) John Lilburne, The Free-mans Freedom Vindicated (16 June 1646)

TRue bred Englishmen, that have a life to lay down, for the defence of your just Liberties and Freedomes, (for to such alone I direct my speech) against all incroachers, destroyers, and usurpers thereof, (be they what they will be) I desire to let you understand, that I your Countryman amongst many others, have imbarqued all that I have in this world, in this one vessell, cal’d the good Ship of good Hope, sayling in the troublesome Seas of England, bound for the long desired Port, called the safe injoyment of Englands liberties and freedomes, the direct roade tending thereunto, is the path of Iustice, without the sayling in which roade, it is forever impossible to arive there; And therefore fearing my Venture should lately miscarry, I tooke upon me the bouldnesse to write an Epistle to Judge Reeve, one of Englands Pilots, which hath occasioned a desperate Storm to arise against me in particular, though there be nothing but wholsome and sound advice therein contained.

And perceiving by my late being with the Judge, that it was not well taken, nor likely to provide for my safety, against Col. Edward King, one of Englands rotten members, and branches, fit for nothing but to be cut off, out of Englands pleasant and fruitfull Vineyard I thereupon writ further instructions to my Atturney, to draw up my Plea, which thus followeth.

To his faithfull and much respected friend and Attorney, Mr. Goorge Ingram, at his Chamber in Cliffords Inne, these.

John Lilbvrne
Lilbvrne, John
Sir,

IN the cause wherein Colonell Edward King is plantive against me, in an action for pretended words spoken by me again(st) him: I entertained you to be my Attorny, whereupon you appeared for me, and received Kings declaration the last Tearme to which I am now to plead, I desire you therefore to plead to the same, that the said Edward King long before the pretended words alleadged by the declaration, to be spoken viz. in August 1644. was by Master Muffenden and Master Wolley and divers others of the Committee of Lincolne, accused and charged before the Honourable House of Commons of high Treason, for his betraying the towne of Crowland unto the Enemy, as by the fourth Article of the said charge (whereunto reference being had) will appeare. And by the twelf Article of the said charge, the said Edward King is accused for the negligent losse and delivery up of Grantham to the Enemy, which is adjudged to be high Treason, Rot. Parl. 7. Richard 2. Num. 38. 39. 40.

And for further plea, that the said charge was before this action brought, and yet is still depending, and only examinable and triable in Parliament, neither is the said Colonell King yet acquited or tried for the same, besides plead also that I am a witnesse so the proofe of the said Charge, and so not compellable to make further answer, or other plea then this, untill the said King have had his triall upon the said Charge of high Treason in a Parliamentary way. This I hope the Court will accept and approve of, for a satisfactory and plenary answer and plea to his declaration, which you may draw up in forme as you shall find cause, whereunto I doe Authorize you, and for this pleading, this shall be your warrant and discharge, this I thought good to doe for the preventing of any colourable advantage, Colonell King might seeme to have, or any waies take through my neglect, or for want of a warrant to you to plead to his declaration, a judgment should passe for him against me by default.

I have written to Master Justice Reeve, setting forth the true state of the cause, a printed coppy I left at his house for him, which I perceive he hath perused, another I send you here inclosed, whereby you may be the better informed, and inabled to draw up my plea, and what you shall doe herein according to this warrant, I shall allow, in testimony whereof to this my warrant I have subscribed my hand, and set to my seale this ninth day of June 1646. and rest,

Your affectionate and faithfull friend
JOHN LILBVRNE.

Sir, if you think fit to shew this to Judge Reeve or any other I shall approve of it.

Being moved out of mature consideration, to give him these instructions, because, (as I told him) if I should plead in a formall way to the Plea, guilty, or not guilty, I should thereby be the beginner of a dangerous president of destructive consequence to the wholl Kingdome, because that if a man intrusted, did turn traytor, and a company of honest men did endeavour, according to their duty, and to avoid the grievous sinne of perjury, did endeavour to bring him to condigne punishment for his treason, & for that end, referred Artickles of high treason in Parliament against him, with their names to them, and they, by reason of many publicke businesses, by reason of the warres in, & distractions of the Kingdome, cannot conveniently, for halfe a yeare, a yeare or more, try and adjudge the busines, the traytor or accused person, being a crafty fellow, full of ill gotten money, and corrupt Alies, and because that his tryall is delayed, he picks quarrels against his just prosecuters, and arests them in actions of 2. or 3000l. at the Common Law, for calling him (as really he is) traytor, and tosseth and tumbleth them, yea and it may be, by an unjust Puntillo in Law, brings them unto unavoidable ruine, by Common Law, which principally is inherent in the oracles of erring Iudges breasts, who it may be, two houres before he passeth sentence, is not resolved what to decree for Law, and so by this meanes every honest man that complaines of a knave or traytor in the Parliament, or is a party interested, in making good the charge against him, may by such wayes and meanes (by reason of delay in iudgement, which is not his fault) be brought by his cunning adversary into the Common Law Bryers, as I am by King, who ought by Law to be in Prison fast by the heeles) and so all honest men forever discouraged in such a cause, to complain of such transgressours, let them act treason against the State universall and representative, and do what they will; and this is just my case with Col. Ed. King, as by my printed letter to Iudge Reeve, I have truly & clearly declared.

But by my foresaid instructions sent to my attorney, I gave him authority (if he pleased) to shew them to the iudge, which for ought I know to the contrary he did, which it may be may occasion a complaint from him, or some others against me to the Lords, for immediately upon it, I am summoned before them, their warrant thus followeth.

Die Mercurij 10. June, 1646.

IT is this day ordered by the Lords in Parliament assembled, that Liev. Col. Lilburn, shall forthwith upon sight hereof, appeare before the Lords in Parliament, to answer such things as he stands charged with before their Lordships, concerning a Pamphlet, intittuled, the Just mans justification, or a Letter by way of Plea in Barr. And hereof he shall not faile, as he will answer the contrary at his perill.

Ioh. Brown. Cler. Parl.

To the gentleman Usher attending this House, or his Deputy.

The Officer comming Iune 11th. last past to my House, about 6. of the Clock in the morning, cal’d me out of my Bed, and after I had read his warrant, I told him that if there were not a tye of respect laid upon me to the Lords, for their faire and courteous dealing with me about my busines, that was lately depending before them, I would not in the present case, obey their warrant, nor twenty more of the like nature, but would defend my selfe in my own house (which is my Castle) against all that in such cases they should send unto me, to the death, because they have by the Law, no authority at all to mak me dance attendance upon them, in the present case, or to try me a Commoner, in any Criminall cause whatsoever, either for Life, Limb, liberty or estate, which I told him was the case now in and, for his own warrants did sumon me to appeare to answer a charge then before their Lordships, and this I wished him to tell them must be my plea at their Barre at which, having promised him to appeare, he departed, so sitting my selfe in the best manner the present In-comes of God inabled me for the brunt.

I tooke my Journey towards Westminster, and in the streets meditating, desired God according to his wonted manner to direct me, I presently had contrived in my own brain, without any humane help in the world, a Protestation and appeal, my heart being set up so high to go on with it, although it should be present death unto me, so I took sanctuary at a friends lodging to compile it in a method, which being done I transcribed it faire with my owne hand, and then set my hand and seale unto it, and being loth to run so high a contest with the House of Peers if by any meanes possible I could avoid it.

I repaired to a Lord a member of that House, and told him my whole heart in my intentions, shewed him my paper, and read part of it to him, and desired him to fill some more of the Lords of it, if he judged it convenient, that so they might a little better consider of it before they brought me to their Barre, and forced me to doe that that would tend to their extaordrnary dishonour, or my ruine and distruction, and doe it I both must and would by Gods assistance (I told him) if they called me to their Barre, telling him I judged it as base an action in me (both in the sight of God and man) to betray my knowne and fundamentall liberties, as with my owne hands to cut my owne throat, protesting unto him, that if he and the rest of the Lords indevoured to destroy Magna Charta and to tread, it under their feet, as they would doe if they medled with me in this case, I would draw my sword against them every man as freely as I would doe against the King, and the desperatest Cavalier with him, with much more that then I told him he departed to the House, and I imediatly by water followed him, and what he did in it I doe not fully know, but I was not called in till about one a clock:

And being commanded to their Barr, the Earl of Manchester (their Speaker) commanded Master Smith to show me my printed Epistle to Iudge Reeves, and asked me (to this effect) if I know that booke, and whether I did not leave (or cause to be left) one of them at Iudge Reeves house for the Iudge himselfe.

Unto which I replyed, my Lord, if it may stand with the pleasure of this House, I desire to know whether or no you have any formall or legall charge against me in writing, if they had I desired to see it? that so I might read it, and then I would give them an answer to their question

Whereupon after a little pawze and looking one upon another, the Earle of Stamford stept up and with much zeale pressed his Lordship to hould me to the question, (so saith the Earle of Manchester) answer to the question.

My Lord (said I) under favour, I conceive the thing I desire of your Lordship, is very just and rationall (& so it is if you consider their owne summons which expresly commands me to appeare before them to answere a charge) but if nothing will serve your turne but a possitive answere to the question, then my Lord there is an answere in writing under my hand and seale, which I will justifie and maintaine to the death, I beseech you it may be read;

And with this I gave my paper to Master Smith their Cleark then at their Barre: Whereupon the Earle of Lincolne stept up and said to the Speaker, my Lord what have wee to doe with his paper? command him to answer to the question.

Lieutenant Colonell Lilburne (saith the Earle of Manchester) the Lords command you to answer positively to the question, unto which I replyed my Lord, in that paper in Master Smiths hand is my answer to the question, and to all others whatsoever that you shall ask me, and no other answer I have to give you, neither shall I, and if that will satisfy you well and good, if not, seeke it where you can have it, for I for my part shall give you no other, where upon I was commanded to withdraw.

And one of the Lords commanded the Cleark to give me my paper, (for saith be, what shall wee doe with it) but I refused to take it, and tould them, I would not medle nor make with it, there it was, and it was enough to me, that I had delivered it at their open Barre, do what you will with it, for my Lords, I am as carelesse as you are, whether you will read it or no, so the Cleark threw it after me, but I would not medle with it, but withdrew, the words of which thus followeth.

The Protestation, Plea, and Defence of Lievtenant Colonell IOHN LILBVRNE.

Given to the Lords at their Barre, thursday Iune 11th. 1646. with his Appeall to his competent, propper, and legall tryers and Judges, the Commons of ENGLAND, assembled in PARLIAMENT.

John Lilbvrne
Lilbvrne, John
My Lords,

THis morning I received a summons under your Clearks hand, to appeare upon sight thereof before your Lordships in Parliament, to answer such things as I am charged with before your Lordships, touching a Booke called by your Warrant, a Pamphlet intituled, the Iust mans Iustification, or a Letter by way of Plea in Barre. My Lords I tould your Messenger, Mr. Bakers sonne, that your Lorships had dealt friendly, honourably, and fairely with me in my apprehension, in my late businesse, being in a legall and Parliamentary way, transacted, first by the House of Commons, and so brought before your Lordships, which did lye as a tye upon my spirit, by way of Obligation, and now I would repay it, in laying aside (so far at present my priviledge, as I am a Commoner of England) as in obedience to your summons (salvo jure) to appeare at your Barre, although (as I told him) your Lordships, by Magna Charta and the Law of this Kingdome have nothing to doe with me, being a Commoner in any judiciall way, to try me in a criminall cause either for life, limb, liberties or estate, which is now the present case betwixt your Lordships and me, as appeares by your own summons, and this I desired your messenger to tell your honours must of necessity be my plea at your Barr.

But that it may appeare that I do nothing headily or rashly either in contempt of your just rights and powers, which I desire you may long enioy, alwaies provided, you endeavour not my ruin and destruction with them, neither out of any desire in the least to contest with you, which in me to doe, (I acknowledge) would argue abundance of ingratitude, it being my principle to do to others as I would be done to myself; and as much as in me lyes, to endeavour to live in peace with all men.

But to be robbed of my life, or give way to be made a slave to any whomsoever, either by a voluntary giving up, or in silent suffering to be taken from me, my native, naturall, just legall and hereditary freedomes and liberties, I am resolved rather to undergo all extremities hazards, miseries, and deaths, which possibly the wit of man can devise, or his power and tirany inflict.

And therefore my Lords, you being Peeres as you are called, merely made by prerogative, and never intrusted or impowred by the Commons of England, the originall and fountaine of Power, Magna Charta the English mans legall birth right and inheritance, so often bought and redemed with such great seas of blood, and milions of money, hath justly, rationally, and well provided that your Lordships shall not sit in judgment, or passe sentence in Criminall causes, upon any Commoner of England either for life, limbe, liberty or estate, but that all Commoners in such cases shall be tryed only by their Peeres and equalls, that is to say their fellow Commoners, as is amply and effectually declared in the 29. ch. of that great Charter, which previledge & immunity cannot justly be taken away from the free Commoners of England by any power whatsoever on Earth, without a better and larger given in the roome of it, for all betrusted powers must and ought to be for the good of the trusters, Book decl. Pag. 150.

And this Charter in al ages hath in an especiall manner been maintained, preserved and defended by our Progenitors, and in a speciall manner confirmed by 5. of Edward 3. ch. 9 the words be these, that no man from henceforth shall be attached by any accusation, nor fore-judged of life nor limb, nor his land Tenements goods or chattles, seised upon otherwise then by the forme of the great Charter, which is further confirmed by the said King, in the 25. of his Raigne, ch. 4. and by the petition of Right-made in the third yeare of this present King; and the Act made for the abolishing the Star-chamber &c. made this present Parliament, therefore my Lords as a free Commoner of England, I doe here at your open Barre protest against all your present procedings against me in this pretended Criminall cause, as unjust and against the tenor and forme of the great Charter (which all of you have sworn unviolably to observe and caused the Commons of England to doe the same. And therefore my Lords I doe hereby declare and am resolved as in duty bound to God, my selfe, Country, and posterity, to maintaine my legall liberties, to the last drop of my blood, against all opposers whatsoever, having so often in the field &c. adventured my life therefore, and doe therfore from you and your Barre (as incrochers and usurping Judges) appeale to the Barre and tribunall of my competent, proper and legall triers and Judges, the Commons of England assembled in Parliament: in testimony whereof, to these presents I have set my hand and seal, this present eleventh day of June, 1646.

JOHN LILBVRNE.

And being not long without, the Gentleman vsher came civelly to me, and told me I must put off my sword and give it to some of my friends, for I must go a prisoner to Newgate, so desiring to see my Commitment, and to have a coppy of it before I stird to go, I had it accordingly, which thus followeth.

Die Iovis 11 Iune 1646.

IT is this day Ordered by the Lords in Parliament assembled, that Lievtenant Colonell Iohn Lilburne shall stand committed to the Prison of Newgate, for exhibiting to this house a scandalous and contemptuous Paper, it being delivered by himselfe at the Barre this day, & that the Keeper of the said Prison shall keepe him in safely, untill the pleasure of this House be further signified, and this to be a sufficient Warrant in that behalfe.

Ioh. Brown Cler. Parl.

John Lilbvrne
Lilbvrne, John
June 11. 1646
London
To the Gentleman Vsher of this House, or his Deputy, to be delivered to the Keeper of Newgate.

My usage to me semes very strange, that for doing my duty, in a just way to bring Col. King to condigne punishment, I should be so tost and tumbled as I am, by his meanes, (that per Iure, ought to dye for his offence or at least by Law should be in durance, till he receive his just doom) clapt formerly by the heeles, (as in my epistle to Iudge Reeve is justly declared) and lately at Kings suite arrested upon an action of two thousand pounds, and brought into Court, that have nothing to doe with the businesse, it being dependant in Parliament, and there tyed up to such rules, formallities, and Puntillo’s, as all the reason I have, cannot understand, and then for writing my Plea, threatned, and told by the Judge himselfe I had forever undone my selfe, by endeavouring to root up by the roots, the fundamentall law of England, by which I enjoy my life, and all that I can call mine, though as I told his Lordship, although he were a Judge, yet under his Lordships favour I conceived he was in an error, I having not in the least, medled with any fundamentall, known or visible Law of England.

For the Law that I medled withall, was meerly, and onely an invisible, uncertain, and unknown Law, that resided in the Oracle of his Lordships breast, and his fellow Iudges, which (as I told him) I thought no man in England knew besides themselves, no nor I thought they themselves neither, no not two houres before they decreed, and adjudged it for Law.

And yet for all this I must be forced to dance attendance (contrary to Law) to answer a charge without forme or fashion in Law, at the Barre of the House of Peeres, who knew very well, or at least wise might know, that I knew as well as themselves their power, jurisdiction, and the Prerogative Fountain, from whence they sprung, as well as any of themselves, having sometimes discoursed of that subject freely with some of them.

And having lately (though unwillingly) contested with those, to whome by nature and interest, I am a thousand times more related unto then to them, meerely out of this principle, that I will not be a slave unto, nor part with my just liberty to any.

But I clearly perceive the hand of Joab to be in this, namely, my old back friend the Earle of Manchester the fountaine (as I conceive) of all my present troubles, who would have hanged mee for taking a Castle from the Cavaliers in York shire; but is so closely glu’d in intrest to that party, that he protected from justice Colonell King, one of his own Officers, for his good service in treacherously delivering or betraying Crowland to the Cavaliers, and never called, nor that I could heare, desired to call to account his Officer, or Officers, that basely, cowardly, and treacherously, betrayed and delivered Lincoln last up to the enemy, without striking one stroke, or staying till so much as a Troope of Horse, or a Trumpeter came to demand it, his Lordships Head hath stood it seemes too long upon his shoulders, that makes him he cannot be quiet, till Lievt. Gen. Crumwels Charge against him, fully proved in the House of Commons, be revived, which is of as high a nature I believe, as ever any charge given in there, the epittomy of which I have by me, & his Lordship may live shortly to see it in print by my meanes, and for my Lord of Stamford, at present I desire him to remember but one Article, made at the de-livery of Exeter, which it may be, may in time coole his furious endeavour to enslave the free People of England, the earthly Lord and Creator of his Creator, who I am confident do, and will scorn to be made slaves & vasssals, by the meer Creatures of their Creature the King. So being straightened in time at present, I bid you farewell, and rest.

Your faithfull Countryman, and a free Commoner of England.
JOHN LILBVRNE.

To the right Honourable the chosen and Representative body of England Assembled in Parliament.

John Lilbvrne
Lilbvrne, John
Iune 16. 1646

The humble Petition of L. C. Iohn Lilburne A Free man of England.

Sheweth,

THat your petitioner hath and doth look upon this Honourable House, as the chosen and betrusted Commissioners of all the Commons of England, in whom alone (by right) resides the formall and legall supreame power of England, and unto whom all the Commons of England have given so much of their Power, as to inable you alone, to doe all things whatsoever for their weale, safety peace and prosperity, the end of all Government, as is most excellently, by your Honourable declaration of the 17. of April last declared.

The knowledge and understanding of which, hath made your petitioner as a Commoner (in his Countries straits and necessities) to take up armes as his duty, to fight against the King (the servant of the Common wealth) and all the forces raised by his Authority (who sought to destroy the end of Government, the safety and weale of the people) and to be faithfull in your said service, in the midst of many deaths; contemning and slighting, the large proffers of the Kings Honours and preferments, sent unto him by foure Lords, when he was a prisoner for you at Oxford, for which he was imediatly laid in Irons night and day, lockt up close in a room, a Centinell set at his dore, that so he might not speak with any whosoever, forced to lye on the floore, kept without one farthing of allowance although he carried not one penny with him to the prison.

And within a few daies after was (for his continued resolution) arraigned (in Irons) as a Traitor for his life before Judge Heath, before whom he pleaded to his indictment, professing unto him at the open barre (when he pressed your petitioner to save himselfe) that he your supplyant was not seduced by any to take up armes, but did it out of a principle of duty to himselfe, his country and the Paliament, and that he was resolved to spend his blood in the defence of his owne and his Countries liberties; also your petitioner upon the same grounds, hath often been in the field since, and done good services, and hath continued faithfull in all his ingagements, and is resolved (by the strength of God) so to doe to the death.

Now for as much as the liberties and freedomes contained in the 28. & 29. chap. of the great Charter of England, are the best legall inheritance that your petitioner hath, and for the preservation of which, yee have so often sworne to spend your lives and fortunes, and injoyned the people that trusted you to doe the same, and for the maintaining of which, your petitioner hath run the hazard of so many deaths and miseries as he hath done, amongst which liberties and priviledges this is not one of the least (as your petitioner humbly conceives) that all Commoners whatsoever in criminall causes shall be tried by their equals or fellow Commoners; nevertheles the House of Lords (commonly so called) summoned your petitioner to their Barre to answer a criminall charge there, contrary to the tenour of the great Charter so often confirmed, and although your petitioner told their Messenger, and afterwards some of themselves, that by Magna Charta they had nothing to doe with your petitioner in such a case, and that if he were called, he must and would plead this at their Barre, cost it him what it would, and also intreated one of themselves, to acquaint the rest of his fellow Lords, that he must and would protest against them, and appeale to his competent proper and legall tryers and judges your Honours.

Yet notwithstanding they forced your Petitioner to their Bar, and would have compel’d him, contrary to Law, reason, and Conscience, and to the fundamentall liberty of all the free People of England, (so adjudged in his own case of the Star-chamber &c, by your honours and themselves) to answere to Interrogatories concerning himselfe, without shewing him any formall and legall charge in writing, although he earnestly desired to see it, if they had any, which was refused, and your Petitioner pressed again and again with much vehemency, by their Speaker, to answer verball questions, which forced your Petitioner to deliver at their open Bar his Protestation, in writing under his hand and seale, as also his appeal to your Honours, his competent, proper and legall Tryers and Iudges; a true Coppy of which is hereunto annexed, for which alone, they committed your Petitioner to Newgate prison, (as appeares by the Coppy of their commitment hereunto annexed) all which your Petitioner humbly conceives, tends to the disfranchizing him of his just liberties and freedomes, (and so to the making him a slave) and to the violation of their own Oathes and Covenants, and to the utter subversion, and alteration of the fundamentall Lawes and government of this Kingdome, for the preservation of which, so much blood and treasure hath already been spent.

Your Petitioner therefore, as a free-man of England, (who to his knowledge never did any act that deserveth the forfeiting of his birth-right) humbly appealleth to your honourable Bar and Justice, as his proper, competent, legall tryers and Iudges, and humbly prayeth.

For as much as he is a free Commoner of England, and ought not to be proceeded against, nor his liberties and freedomes to be taken from him, in any arbitrary or extrajudiciall way. And for that their Lordships have no power, nor jurisdiction, according to the Law and constitutions of this Kingdome, to try and adjudge any free Commoner thereof, for any criminall causes whatsoever, concerning life, limb, liberty, or estate; And for that your Petitioner is imprisoned, contrary to the form and tenour of the great Charter of England, and therefore altogether illegall, and meerly arbitrary; That your Honours will be pleased, according to your unparaleld Declaration of the 17th of April last, whereby is set forth, that you will not exercise, nor suffer to be exercised by any other, any arbitrary power, but that you will provide for the safety and weal of the People, (the primitive end of all government) according to the great trust reposed in you, and committed to you, by your Impowrers, the Commons of England, you will take your Petitioner into your protection, and not suffer him any longer to be kept in prison, and spoyled of his Franchizes and liberties. But according to the said Charter of liberties, your Protestations, Oaths and Declarations, the lawes and Statutes of this Kingdome, he may freely be inlarged out of prison, and restored to his just libertie, with iust reparations for his damages, for the great wrongs done unto him, by his reproachfull imprisonment in the infamous prison of Newgate, and the vindication and freeing of the whole Kingdome (according to their long and iust expectation) from the like usurpation, and encroachment of their iust rights and privledges, and your Petitioner shall ever be ready to spend his life for you, and his Countries iust liberties, and in obedience to all iust authority, to answer any Charge, when the same shall be in a legall way brought against him.

And your Petitioner (as in duty bound) shall ever pray to God, to enable you to go on, to finish, and perfect the great things expected from you, according to the trust reposed in you.
JOHN LILBVRNE.

A Postscript, containing a generall Proposition.

GOD, the absolute Soveraign Lord and King, of all things in heaven and earth, the originall fountain, and cause of all causes, who is circumscribed, governed, and limited by no rules, but doth all things meerly and onely by his soveraign will, and unlimited good pleasure, who made the world, and all things therein, for his own glory, and who by his own will and pleasure, gave man (his meer creature) the soveraignty (under himselfe) over all the rest of his Creatures, Gen. 1. 26. 28. 29. and indued him with a rationall soule, or understanding, and thereby created him after his own image, Gen. 1. 26. 27. and 9. 6. the first of which was Adam, a male, or man, made out of the dust or clay, out of whose side was taken a Rib, which by the soveraign and absolute mighty creating power of God, was made a female, or Woman cal’d Eve which two are the earthly, original fountain, as begetters and bringers forth of all and every particular and individuall man and woman, that ever breathed in the world since, who are, and were by nature all equall and alike in power, dignity, authority, and majesty, none of them having (by nature) any authority dominion or majesteriall power, one over or above another, neither have they, or can they exercise any, but meerely by institution, or donation, that is to say, by mutuall agreement or consent, given, derived, or assumed, by mutuall consent and agreement, for the good benefit and comfort each of other, and not for the mischiefe, hurt, or damage of any, it being unnaturall, irrationall, sinfull, wicked and unjust, for any man, or men whatsoever, to part with so much of their power, as shall enable any of their Parliament men, Commissioners, Trustees, deputies, Viceroys, Ministers, Officers or servants, to destroy and undoe them therewith: And unnaturall, irrationall, sinfull, wicked, unjust, divelish, and tyranicall it is, for any man whatsoever, spirituall or temporall, Cleargy-man or Lay-man, to appropriate and assume unto himselfe, a power, authority and jurisdiction, to rule, govern, or raign over any sort of men in the world, without their free consent, and whosoever doth it, whether Cleargy-man, or any other whatsoever, doe thereby as much as in them lyes, endeavour to appropriate & assume unto themselves the Office and soveraignty of God, (who alone doth, and is to rule by his will and pleasure) and to be like their Creator, which was the sinne of the Devils, who not being content with their first station, but would be like God, for which sin they were thrown down into hell, reserved in everlasting chaines, under darknes, unto the judgement of the great day. Iude ver. 6. And Adams sin it was, which brought the curse upon him and all his posterity, that he was not content with the station and condition that God created him in, but did aspire unto a better, and more excellent, (namely to be like his Creator) which proved his ruin, yea, and indeed had been the everlasting ruin and destruction of him and all his, had not God been the more mercifull unto him in the promised Messiah. Gen. Chap. 3.

From my cock-loft in the Presse yard Newgate.

Iune 19. 1646.

per me Iohn Lilburne.

Curteous Countrymen to fill up this vacant place I shall desire thee to reade the words of the Declaration of the House of Commons, published 27. Ianu. 1641. which you shall find in the 41. pag. of the booke of Declarations thus.

And this House doth further declare, That all such persons as have given any Councell, or endeavoured to set or maintain division or dislike, between the King and Parliament, or have listed their names, or otherwise entred into any combination or agreement, to be ayding, or assisting, to any such counsell or endeavour or have perswaded any other so to doe, or that shall do any the things above mentioned; And shall not forthwith discover the same to either House of Parliament: or the Speaker of either of the said Houses respectively, and desclaime it, are declared Publique Enemies of the State and Peace of this Kingdome, and shall be inquired of, and proceeded against accordingly.

Secondly the three Votes of both Houses May 20. 1642. which you shall find in the book of Declarations pa. 259.

Resolved upon the Question

1. That it appeares, That the King (seduced by wicked Counsell) Intends to make warre against the Parliament, who (in all their consultations and actions) have proposed no other end unto themselves, but the care of His Kingdoms, and the performance of all duty and loyalty to His Person.

Resolved upon the Question.

2. That whensoever the King makes Warre upon the Parliament, it is a breach of the trust reposed in Him by His people, contrary to His Oath, and tending to the dissolution of this Government.

Resolved upon the Question

3. That whosoever shall serve, or assist Him in such warres, are Traitors, by the Fundamentall Lawes of this Kingdome, and have been so adjudged by two Acts of Parliament, and ought to suffer as Traitors. 11. Rich. 2. 1. Hen. 4.

Joh Browne Cler. Parliament.

3. The Declaration of both Houses in pa. 576. in these words, Whereas the King &c.

4. The words in their Declaration for the vindication of Ferdinando Lord Fairfax. as you shall find pa. 914. in these words, The said Lords &c.

FINIS.

 


 

T.111 (4.16) [Several Hands], [The Putney Debates], The General Council of Officers at Putney (October/November 1647).

OLL Thumbs TP Image - missing??

 

Bibliographical Information

ID Number

T.111 [1647.10] (4.16) [Several Hands], [The Putney Debates], The General Council of Officers at Putney (October/November 1647).

Full title

[Several Hands], “The Putney Debates”, The General Council of Officers at Putney. They are from Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, Secretary to the Council of the Army, 1647-1649, and to General Monck and the Commanders of the Army in Scotland, 1651-1660, ed. C.H. Firth (Camden Society, 1894). 4 vols. [/titles/1985].

Firth vol. 2, pp. 71-186

This text contains the following parts:

  1. Discussion of 28 Oct. 1647
  2. The Answer of the Agitators read
  3. Discussion of 29 Oct. 1647
  4. The Paper called The Agreement read
  5. Discussion of Saturday 30 Oct. 1647
  6. Discussion of 1 Nov. 1647
  7. Discussion of 2 Nov. 1647
  8. At the Committee of Officers appointed by the General Council (3 Nov. 1647)
  9. Discussion of 8 Nov. 1647
  10. Desires of the Army
  11. Discussion of 9 Nov. 1647
  12. Discussion of 11 Nov. 1647

 

Estimated date of publication

28 October - 1 November 1647.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

Several items are listed separately in TT.

Note:

We have two versions of the Putney Debates online, an edited version with modernised spelling by Woodhouse and a more complete version with original spelling by Firth. We use the Firth edition here but have not been able to check it against the originals:

  • 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). </titles/2183>. Putney Debates, pp. 1-124.
  • Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, Secretary to the Council of the Army, 1647-1649, and to General Monck and the Commanders of the Army in Scotland, 1651-1660, ed. C.H. Firth (Camden Society, 1901). Putney Debates in vol. 1, pp.226-418. </titles/1984>.

 

Leveller Tract: T.111 (4.16) [Several Hands], [The Putney Debates], The General Council of Officers at Putney (October/November 1647)

Att the Generall Councill of Officers att Putney. 28 October, 1647.

The Officers being mett, first said,

Lieutennant General Cromwell.a

That the Meeting was for publique businesses. Those that had anythinge to say concerning the publique businesse might have libertie to speake.

Mr. Edward Sexby.

Mr. Allen, Mr. Lockyer, and my self are three.

They have sent two Souldiers, one of your owne Regiment and one of Col. Whalley’s, with two other Gentlemen, Mr. Wildman and Mr. Petty.

Commissary General Ireton.

That hee had nott the paper of what was done uppon all of them.

Itt was referr’d to the Committee, that they should consider of the paper that was printed, “The Case of the Army Stated,” and to examine the particulars in itt, and to represent and offer somethinge to this Councill about itt.b They were likewise appointed to send for those persons concern’d in the paper. The Committee mett according to appointment that night. Itt was only then Resolv’d on, That there should bee some sent in a freindlie way (nott by command, or summons) to invite some of those Gentlemen to come in with us, I thinke.

Mr. Sexby.

I was desired by the Lieutennant Generall to [let him] know the bottome of their desires. They gave us this answer, that they would willinglie draw them uppe, and represent them unto you. They are come att this time to tender them to your considerations with their resolutions to maintaine them.

Wee have bin by providence putt upon strange thinges, such as the ancientist heere doth scarce remember. The Army acting to these ends, providence hath bin with us, and yett wee have found little [fruit] of our indeavours; and really I thinke all heere both great and small (both Officers and Souldiers), wee may say wee have lean’d on, and gone to Egypt for helpe. The Kingdomes cause requires expedition, and truly our miseries with [those of] our fellow souldiers’ cry out for present helpe. I thinke, att this time, this is your businesse, and I thinke itt is in all your hearts to releive the one and satisfie the other. You resolv’d if any thinge [reasonable] should bee propounded to you, you would joyne and goe alonge with us.

The cause of our misery [is] uppon two thinges. We sought to satisfie all men, and itt was well; butt in going [about] to doe itt wee have dissatisfied all men. Wee have labour’d to please a Kinge, and I thinke, except wee goe about to cutt all our throates, wee shall nott please him; and wee have gone to support an house which will prove rotten studds,a I meane the Parliament which consists of a Company of rotten Members.

And therfore wee beseech you that you will take these thinges into your consideration.

I shall speake to the Lieut. Generall and Commissary Generall concerning one thinge. Your creditts and reputation hath bin much blasted uppon these two considerations. The one is for seeking to settle this Kingdome in such a way wherein wee thought to have satisfied all men, and wee have dissatisfied them—I meane in relation to the Kinge—The other is in referrence to a Parliamentarie aucthoritie (which most heere would loose their lives for), to seeb those powers to which wee will subject our selves loyally called. These two things are as I thinke conscientiously the cause of all those blemishes that have bin cast uppon either the one or the other. You are convinc’t God will have you to act on, butt [ask] onelie to consider how you shall act, and [take] those [ways] that will secure you and the whole Kingdome. I desire you will consider those thinges that shall bee offer’d to you; and, if you see any thinge of reason, you will joyne with us that the Kingdome may bee eas’d, and our fellow souldiers may bee quieted in spiritt. These thinges I have represented as my thoughts. I desire your pardon.

Lieut. Generall.

I thinke itt is good for us to proceede to our businesse in some order, and that will bee if wee consider some things that are latelie past. There hath bin a booke printed, called, “The Case of the Armie Stated,” and that hath bin taken into consideration, and there hath bin somewhat drawne uppe by way of exception to thinges contayn’d in that booke; and I suppose there was an Answer brought to that which was taken by way of exception, and yesterday the Gentleman that brought the Answer hee was dealt honestly and plainly withall, and hee was told, that there were new designes a driving, and nothing would bee a clearer discovery of the sincerity of [their] intentions, as their willingnesse that were active to bringe what they had to say to bee judg’d of by the Generall Officers, and by this Generall Councill, that wee might discerne what the intentions were. Now itt seemes there bee divers that are come hither to manifest those intentions according to what was offer’d yesterday, and truly I thinke, that the best way of our proceeding will bee to receive what they have to offer. Onely this, Mr. Sexby, you were speaking to us two. [I do not know why you named us two,] except you thinke that wee have done somewhat or acted somewhat different from the sence and resolution of the Generall Councill. Truly, that that you speake to, was the thinges that related to the Kinge and thinges that related to the Parliament; and if there bee a fault I may say itt, and I dare say, itt hath bin the fault of the Generall Councill, and that which you doe speake both in relation to the one and the other, you speake to the Generall Councill I hope, though you nam’d us two, Therfore truly I thinke itt sufficient for us to say, and ’tis that wee say—I can speake for my selfe, lett others speake for them selves—I dare maintaine itt, and I dare avowe I have acted nothing butt what I have done with the publique consent, and approbation and allowance of the Generall Councill. That I dare say for my self, both in relation to the one, and to the other. What I have acted in Parliament in the name of the Councill or of the Army I have had my warrant for from hence. What I have spoken in another capacitie, as a Member of the House, that was free for mee to doe; and I am confident, that I have nott used the name of the Army, or interest of the Army to anythinge butt what I have had allowance from the Generall Councill for, and [what they] thought itt fitt to move the House in. I doe the rather give you this account, because I heare there are some slanderous reports going uppe and downe uppon somewhat that hath bin offer’d to the House of Commons [by me], as being the sence and opinion of this Armie, and in the name of this Army, which, I dare bee confident to speake itt, hath bin as false and slanderous a report as could bee raised of a man. And that was this; That I should say to the Parliament and deliver itt as the desire of this Armie, and the sence of this Armie, that there should bee a second addresse to the Kinge by way of propositions. I dare bee confident to speake itt, what I deliver’d there I deliver’d as my owne sence, and what I deliver’d as my owne sence I am nott ashamed of. What I deliver’d as your sence, I never deliver’d butt what I had as your sence.a

Col. Rainborow.

For this the Lieutennant Generall was pleas’d to speake of last, itt was moved, that day the propositions were brought in. That itt was carried for making a second addresse to the Kinge, itt was when both the Lieutennant Generall and my selfe were last heere, and where wee broke off heere, and when wee came uppon the Bill itt was told us, That the House had carried itt for a second addresse; and therfore the Lieutenant Generall must needes bee cleare of itt. Butt itt was urged in the House that itt was the sence of the Army that itt should bee soe.

Com̃. Gen. Ireton.

I desire nott to speake of these thinges, butt onely to putt thinges into an orderly way, which would lead to what the occasion is that hath brought these Gentlemen hither that are now call’d in; yett I cannott butt speake a worde to that that was last touch’t uppon.

If I had told any man soe (which I know I did nott) if I did, I did tell him what I thought; and if I thought otherwise of the Army, I protest I should have bin ashamed of the Armie and detested itt; that is, if I had thought the Army had bin of that minde, they would lett those propositions sent from both Kingdomes bee the thinges which should bee [final] whether peace or noe, without any farther offers; and when I doe finde itt, I shall bee asham’d on’t, and detest any dayes condescention with itt. And yett for that which Mr. Sexby tells us hath bin one of the great businesses [cast] uppon the Lieutennant Generall and my self, I doe detest and defie the thought of that thinge, of any indeavour, or designe, or purpose, or desire to sett uppe the Kinge; and I thinke I have demonstrated, and I hope I shall doe still, [that] itt is the interest of the Kingdome that I have suffer’d for. As for the Parliament too, I thinke those that know the beginninges of these principles, that wee [set forth] in our Declarations of late for clearing and vindicating the Liberties of the people, even in relation to Parliament will have reason [to acquit me]. And whoever doe know how wee were led to the declaring of that point as wee have, as [a fundamental] one, will bee able to acquitt mee that I have bin farre from a designe of setting uppe the persons of these men, or of any men whatsoever to bee our Law Makers. Soe likewise for the Kinge; though I am cleare, as from the other, from setting uppe the person of one or other, yett I shall declare itt againe; I doe nott seeke, or would nott seeke, nor will joyne with them that doe seeke the destruction either of Parliament or Kinge. Neither will I consent with those or concurre with them who will nott attempt all the wayes that are possible to preserve both, and to make good use, and the best use that can bee of both for the Kingedome; and I did nott heare any thinge from that Gentleman (Mr. Sexby) that could induce or incline mee to that resolution. To that point I stand cleare as I have exprest. Butt I shall nott speake any more concerning myself.

The Committeea mett att my lodginges assoone as they parted from hence; and the first thinge they resolved on hearing there was a meeting of the Agitators [was, that] though itt was thought fitt by the Generall Councill heere they should bee sent for to the Regiment[s], yett itt was thought fitt to lett them know what the Generall Councill had done, and to goe on in a way that might tend to unitie; and [this] being resolved on wee were desired by one of those Gentlemen that were desired to goe, that least they should mistake the matter they went about, itt might bee drawne in writing, and this is itt:

That the Generall Councill, etc. [blank].

This is the substance of what was deliver’d. Mr. Allen, Mr. Lockyer, and Mr. Sexby were sent with itt, and I thinke itt is fitt that the Councill should bee acquainted with the Answer.

Mr. Allen.

As to the Answer itt was short (truly I shall give itt as shorte). Wee gave them the paper, and read itt amongst them, and to my best remembrance they then told us, that they were nott all come together whome itt did concerne, and soe were nott in a capacitie att the present to returne us an Answer; butt that they would take itt into consideration, and would send itt as speedily as might bee. I thinke itt was neare their Sence.

The Answer of the Agitators read.a

Com̃. Generall.

Wheras itt was appointed by the Councill and wee of the Committee did accordingly desire, that these Gentlemen, being Members of the Army and engaged with the Army, might have come to communicate with the Generall Councill of the Army and those that were appointed by them for a mutuall satisfaction: by this paper they seeme to bee of a fix’t resolution, setting themselves to bee a divided partie or distinct Councill from the Generall Councill of the Army, and [seem to say] that there was nothing to bee done as single persons to declare their dissatisfaction, or the grounds for informing themselves better or us better, butt that they as all the rest should concurre soe as to hold together as a form’d and setled partie distinct and divided from others; and withall seem’d to sett downe these resolutions to [as things] which they expect the compliance of any others, rather then their compliance with others to give satisfaction. Butt itt seemes uppon some thinge that the Lieutennant Generall and some others of that Committee did thinke fitt [to offer] the Gentlemen that brought that paper have bin since induced to descend a little from the heighth, and to send some of them to come as agents particularlie, or Messengers from that Meeting or from that Councill, to heare what wee have to say to there, or to offer somethinge to us relating to the matters in that paper. I beleive there are Gentlemenb sent with them that though perhaps the persons of them that are Members of the Army may nott give the passages in itt they may bee better able to observe them; and therefore if you please that they may proceede.

Buffe-Coate.

May itt please your Honour, to give you satisfaccion in that there was such a willingnesse that wee might have a conference, whereuppon I did engage that interest that was in mee that I would procure some to come hither both of the souldiers and of others for assistance; and in order thereunto heere are two souldiers sent from the Agents, and two of our freinds alsoe, and to present this to your considerations, and desirea your advice. [We believe that] according to myb expectations and your engagement you are resolved every one to purchase our inheritances which have bin lost, and free this Nation from the tyranny that lies uppon us. I question nott butt that itt is all your desires: and for that purpose wee desire to doe nothing butt what wee present to your consideration, and if you conceive itt that itt must bee for us to bee instruments, that wee might shelter our selves like wise men before the Storme comes. Wee desire that all carping uppon words might bee laid aside, and [that you may] fall directly uppon the matter presented to you.

Wee have heere met on purposec according to my Engagement that whatsoever may bee thought to bee necessary for our satisfaction, for the right understanding one of another [may be done] that wee might goe on together. For, though our ends and aimes bee the same, if one thinkes this way, another another way—butt that way which is the best for the subject [is] that they [both] may bee hearkned unto.

The Answer of the Agitators, the 2d time read.a

Buffecoate.

I thinke itt will bee strange that wee that are souldiers cannott have them [for] our selves, if nott for the whole Kingedome; and therfore wee beseech you consider of itt.

Lieut. Generall.

These thinges that you have now offered they are new to us; they are thinges that wee have nott att all (att least in this method and thus circumstantially) had any opportunity to consider of them, because they came to us butt thus as you see; this is the first time wee had a view of them.

Truly this paper does containe in itt very great alterations of the very Governement of the Kingedome, alterations from that Governement that itt hath bin under, I beleive I may almost say since itt was a Nation, I say I thinke I may almost say soe, and what the consequences of such an alteration as this would bee, if there were nothing else to be consider’d, wise men and godly men ought to consider. I say if there were nothing else [to be considered] butt the very weight and nature of the thinges contayn’d in this paper. Therfore, although the pretensions in itt, and the expressions in itt are very plausible, and if wee could leape out of one condition into another, that had soe specious thinges in itt as this hath, I suppose there would nott bee much dispute, though perhaps some of these thinges may bee very well disputed—How doe wee know if whilest wee are disputing these thinges another companie of men shall gather together, and they shall putt out a paper as plausible perhaps as this? I doe nott know why itt might nott bee done by that time you have agreed uppon this, or gott hands to itt, if that bee the way. And not onely another, and another, butt many of this kinde. And if soe, what doe you thinke the consequence of that would bee? Would itt nott bee confusion? Would itt nott bee utter confusion? Would itt nott make England like the Switzerland Country, one Canton of the Switz against another, and one County against another? I aske you whether itt bee nott fitt for every honest man seriouslie to lay that uppon his heart? And if soe, what would that produce butt an absolute desolation—an absolute desolation to the Nation—and wee in the meane time tell the Nation, “It is for your Libertie, ’Tis for your priviledge,” “ ’Tis for your good.” Pray God itt prove soe whatsoever course wee run. Butt truly, I thinke wee are nott onely to consider what the consequences are (if there were nothing else butt this paper), butt wee are to consider the probability of the wayes and meanes to accomplish: that is to say [to consider] whether,a according to reason and judgement, the spiritts and temper of the people of this Nation are prepared to receive and to goe on alonge with itt, and [whether] those great difficulties [that] lie in our way [are] in a likelihood to bee either overcome or removed. Truly, to anythinge that’s good, there’s noe doubt on itt, objections may bee made and fram’d; butt lett every honest man consider, whether or noe there bee nott very reall objections [to this] in point of difficulty. I know a man may answer all difficulties with faith, and faith will answer all difficulties really where itt is, buta wee are very apt all of us to call that faith, that perhaps may bee butt carnall imagination, and carnall reasonings. Give mee leave to say this, There will bee very great mountaines in the way of this, if this were the thinge in present consideration; and therfore wee ought to consider the consequences, and God hath given us our reason that wee may doe this. Itt is nott enough to propose thinges that are good in the end, butt suppose this modell were an excellent modell, and fitt for England, and the Kingedome to receive, itt is our duty as Christians and men to consider consequences, and to consider the way.b

Butt really I shall speake to nothing butt that that, as before the Lord, I am perswaded in my heart tends to uniting of us in one to that that God will manifest to us to bee the thinge that hee would have us prosecute; and hee that meetes nott heere with that heart, and dares nott say hee will stand to that, I thinke hee is a deceivour. I say itt to you againe, and I professe unto you, I shall offer nothing to you butt that I thinke in my heart and conscience tends to the uniting of us, and to the begetting a right understanding amonge us, and therefore this is that I would insist uppon, and have itt clear’d amonge us.

Itt is nott enough for us to insist uppon good thinges; that every one would doe—there is nott 40 of us butt wee could prescribe many thinges exceeding plausible, and hardly anythinge worse then our present condition, take itt with all the troubles that are uppon us. Itt is nott enough for us to propose good thinges, butt itt behoves honest men and Christians that really will approve themselves soe before God and men, to see whether or noe they bee in a condition, [to attempt] whether, taking all thinges into consideration, they may honestly indeavour and attempt that that is fairly and plausibly proposed. For my owne parte I know nothing that wee are to consider first butt that, before wee would come to debate the evill or good of this [paper], or to adde to itt or substract from itt;a which I am confident, if your hearts bee upright as ours are—and God will bee judge betweene you and us—if wee should come to any thinge, you doe nott bringe this paper with peremptorinesse of minde, butt to receive amendements to have any thinge taken from itt that may bee made apparent by cleare reason to bee inconvenient or unhonest. This ought to bee our consideration and yours, saving [that] in this you have the advantage of us—you that are the souldiers you have nott—butt you that are nott [soldiers] you reckon your selves att a loose and att a liberty, as men that have noe obligation uppon you. Perhaps wee conceive wee have; and therfore this is that I may say—both to those that come with you, and to my fellow officers and all others that heare mee—that it concernes us as wee would approve our selves [as honest men] before God, and before men that are able to judge of us, if wee doe nott make good engagements, if wee doe nott make good that that the world expects wee should make good. I doe nott speake to determine what that is, butt if I bee nott much mistaken wee have in the time of our danger issued out Declarations; wee have bin requir’d by the Parliament, because our Declarations were generall, to declare particularly what wee meant; and having done that how farre that obliges or nott obliges [us] that is by us to bee consider’d, if wee meane honestly and sincerely and to approve our selves to God as honest men. And therfore having heard this paper read, this remaines to us; that wee againe review what wee have engaged in, and what wee have that lies uppon us. Hee that departs from that that is a reall engagement and a reall tye uppon him, I thinke hee transgresses without faith, for faith will beare uppe men in every honest obligation, and God does expect from men the performance of every honest obligation. Therefore I have noe more to say butt this; wee having received your paper shall amongst our selves consider what to doe; and before wee take this into consideration, itt is fitt for us to consider how farre wee are obliged, and how farre wee are free; and I hope wee shall prove our selves honest men where wee are free to tender any thinge to the good of the publique. And this is that I thought good to offer to you uppon this paper.

Mr. Wildman.

Being yesterday att a Meeting where divers Country-Gentlemen, and souldiers and others were, and amongst the rest the Agents of the five Regiments, and having weigh’d their papers, I must freely confesse I did declare my agreement with them. Uppon that they were pleas’d to declare their sence in most particulars of their proceedinges to mee, and desir’d mee that I would bee their mouth, and in their names to represent their sence unto you; and uppon that ground I shall speake something in answer to that which your Honour last spake.

I shall nott reply any thinge att present till itt come to bee further debated, either concerning the consequences of what is propounded, or [the contents] of this paper; butt I conceive the cheif weight of your Honour’s speech lay in this, that you were first to consider what obligations lay uppon you, and how farre you were engaged, before you could consider what was just in this paper now propounded; adding, that God would protect men in keeping honest promises. To that I must only offer this, that according to the best knowledge [I have] of their apprehensions, they doe apprehend that what ever obligation is past must bee consider’d afterwards, when itt is urged whether itt were honest or just or noe; and if [the obligationa] were nott just itt doth nott oblige the persons, if itt bee an oath itt self. Butt if, while there is nott soe cleare a light, any person passes an Engagement, itt is judged by them, (and I soe judge itt), to bee an act of honesty for that man to recede from his former judgement, and to abhorre itt. And therfore I conceive the first thinge is to consider the honesty of what is offer’d, otherwise itt cannott bee consider’d of any obligation that doth prepossesse. By the consideration of the justice of what is offer’d that obligation shall appeare whether itt was just or noe. If itt were nott just, I cannott butt bee confident of the searinges of your consciences. I conceive this to bee their sence; and uppon this account, uppon a more serious review of all Declarations past, they see noe obligations which are just that they contradict by proceeding in this way.

Commissary Gen. Ireton.

Sure this Gentleman hath nott bin acquainted with our Engagements, for hee that will cry out of breach of Engagement in slight and triviall thinges, and thinges necessitated to, that is soe tender of an Engagement as to frame or concurre with this Bookea in their insisting uppon every punctilio of Engagement, I can hardly thinke that manb can bee of that principle that noe Engagement is binding further then that hee thinkes itt just or noe. For itt hintes that, if hee that makes an Engagement (bee itt what itt will bee) have further light that this engagement was nott good or honest, then hee is free from itt. Truly if the sence were putt thus, that a man that findes hee hath entred into an engagement and thinkes that itt was nott a just Engagement, I confesse some thinge might bee said that [such] a man might declare himself for his parte to suffer some penalty uppon their persons, or uppon their partie. The question is, whether itt bee an Engagement to another partie. Now if a man venture into an Engagement from him [self] to another, and finda that Engagement [not] just and honest, hee must apply himself to the other partie, and say “I cannott actively performe itt, I will make you amends as neere as I can.” Uppon the same ground men are nott obliged to [be obedient to] any aucthoritie that is sett uppe, though itt were this aucthority that is proposed heere, I am nott engaged to bee soe actively to that aucthority. Yett if I have engag’d that they shall binde mee by Law, though afterwards, I finde that they doe require mee to a thinge that is nott just or honest, I am bound soe farre to my Engagement that I must submitt and suffer, though I cannott act and doe that which their Lawes doe impose upon mee. If that caution were putt in where a performance of an Engagement might bee expected from another, and hee could nott doe itt because hee thought itt was nott honest to bee performed; if such a thinge were putt into the case, itt is possible there might bee some reason for itt. Butt to take itt as itt is deliver’d in generall, whatever Engagement wee have entred into, though itt bee a promise of somethinge to another partie, wherin that other partie is concerned, wherin hee hath a benefitt, if wee make itt good, wherin hee hath a prejudice if wee make itt nott good [that we are free to break it if it be not just]: this is a principle that will take away all Commonwealth[s], and will take away the fruite of this Engagement if itt were entred into; and men of this principle would thinke themselves as little as may bee [obliged by any law] if in their apprehensions itt bee nott a good Law. I thinke they would thinke themselves as little obliged to thinke of standing to that aucthority [that is proposed in this paper].

Truly Sir I have little to say att the present to that matter of the paper that is tendred to us. I confesse there are plausible thinges in itt, and there are thinges really good in itt, and there are those thinges that I doe with my heart desire, and there are those thinges for the most parte of itt [that] I shall bee soe free as to say, if these Gentlemen, and other Gentlemen that will joyne with them can obtaine, I would nott oppose, I should rejoice to see obtayn’d. There are those thinges in itt, divers [of them]; and, if wee were as hath bin urged now, free; if wee were first free from consideration of all the dangers and miseries that wee may bringe uppon this people, [the danger] that when wee goe to cry out for the libertie of itt wee may nott leave a being [in it], free from all [those] Engagements that doe lie uppon us, and that were honest when they were entred into, I should concurre with this paper further then as the case doth stand I can. Butt truly I doe account wee are under Engagements; and I suppose that whatsoever this Gentleman that spoke last doth seeme to deliver to us, holding himself absolved from all Engagements, if hee thinkes itt, yett those men that came with him (that are in the case of the Armie,)a hold themselves more obliged; and therfore that they will nott perswade us to lay aside all our former Engagements and Declarations, if there bee any thinge in them, and to concurre in this, if there bee any thinge in itt that is contrary to those Engagements which they call uppon us to confirme. Therfore I doe wish that wee may have a consideration of our former Engagements, of thinges which are the Engagements of the Army generallie. Those wee are to take notice of, and sure wee are nott to recede from them till wee are convinct of them that they are unjust. And when wee are convinc’t of them that they are unjust, truly yett I must nott fully concurre with that Gentleman’s principle, that presently wee are, as hee sayes, absolv’d from them, that wee are nott bound to them, or wee are nott bound to make them good. Yett I should thinke att least, if the breach of that Engagement bee to the prejudice of another whome wee have perswaded to beleive by our Declaring such thinges [so] that wee made them and led them to a confidence of itt, to a dependance uppon itt, to a disadvantage to themselves or the loosing of advantages to them, though wee were convinc’t they were unjust, and satisfied in this Gentleman’s principle, and free, and disengag’d from them, yett wee who made that engagement should nott make itt our act to breake itt. Though wee were convinc’t that wee are nott bound to performe itt, yett wee should nott make itt our act to breake [it]. And soe uppon the whole matter I speake this to inforce. As uppon the particulars of this Agreement; whether they have that goodnesse that they hold forth in shew? or whether are nott some defects in them which are nott seene? that if wee should rest in this Agreement without somethinge more [whether] they would nott deceive us? and whether there bee nott some considerations that would tend to union? And withall [I wish] that wee who are the Armie and are engag’d with publique Declarations may consider how farre those publique Declarations, which wee then thought to bee just, doe oblige, that wee may either resolve to make them good if wee can in honest wayes, or att least nott make itt our worke to breake them. And for this purpose I wish—unlesse the Councill please to meete from time to time, from day to day and to consider itt themselves—to goe over our papers and declarations and take the heads of them, I wish there may bee some specially appointed for itt; and I shall bee very glad if itt may bee soe that I my self may bee none of them.

Col. Rainborow.

I shall crave your pardon if I may speake something freelie, and I thinke itt will bee the last time I shall speake heere, and from such a way that I never look’t for. The consideration that I had in this Army and amongst honest men—nott that itt is an addition of honour and profitt to mee butt rather a detriment in both—is the reason that I speake somethinge by way of apologie. I saw this paper first by chance and had noe resolution to have bin att this Councill nor any other since I tooke this imployment uppon mee, butt to doe my duty.a I mett with a Letter (which truly was soe strange to mee that I have bin a little troubled, and truly I have soe many sparkes of honour and honesty in mee) to lett mee know that my Regiment should bee imediately disposed from mee. I hope that none in the Army will say butt that I have perform’d my duty, and that with some successe, as well as others. I am loath to leave the Army with whome I will live and die, insomuch that rather then I will loose this Regiment of mine the Parliament shall exclude mee the House, [or] imprison mee; for truly while I am [employed] abroad I will nott bee undone att home. This was itt that call’d mee hither, and nott any thinge of this paper. Butt now I shall speake somethinge of itt.

I shall speake my minde; that whoever hee bee that hath done this hee hath done it with much respect to the Good of his Country. Itt is said there are many plausible thinges in itt. Truly, many thinges have engaged mee, which, if I had nott knowne they should have bin nothing butt Good, I would nott have engag’d in. Itt hath bin said, that if a man bee Engag’d hee must performe his Engagements. I am wholly confident that every honest man is bound in duty to God and his Conscience, lett him bee engag’d in what hee will, to decline itt when hee is engag’d and clearly convinc’t to discharge his duty to God as ever hee was for itt; and that I shall make good out of the Scripture, and cleare itt by that if that bee any thinge. There are two objections are made against itt.

The one is Division. Truly I thinke wee are utterly undone if wee devide, butt I hope that honest things have carried us on thus longe, and will keepe us together, and I hope that wee shall nott devide. Another thinge is Difficulties. Oh unhappy men are wee that ever began this warre; if ever wee [had] look’t uppon difficulties I doe nott know that ever wee should have look’t an enemy in the face. Truly I thinke the Parliament were very indiscreete to contest with the Kinge if they did nott consider first that they should goe through difficulties; and I thinke there was noe man that entred into this warre that did nott engage [to go through difficulties]. And I shall humbly offer unto you—itt may bee the last time I shall offer—itt may bee soe, butt I shall discharge my conscience in itt—itt is this; that truly I thinke that lett the difficulties bee round about you, have you death before you, the sea on each side of you and behinde you, are you convinc’t that the thinge is just I thinke you are bound in conscience to carry itt on; and I thinke att the last day itt can never bee answer’d to God that you did nott doe itt. For I thinke itt is a poore service to God and the Kingedome to take their pay and to decline their worke. I heare itt said, “Itt’s a huge alteration, itt’s a bringing in of New Lawes,” and that this Kingedome hath bin under this Governement ever since itt was a Kingdome. If writinges bee true there hath bin many scufflinges betweene the honest men of England and those that have tyranniz’d over them; and iff itt bee [true what I have] read, there is none of those just and equitable lawes that the people of England are borne to butt that they are intrenchment altogether.a Butt if they were those which the people have bin alwayes under, if the people finde that they are [not] suitable to freemen as they are, I know noe reason should deterre mee, either in what I must answer before God or the world, from indeavouring by all meanes to gaine any thinge that might bee of more advantage to them then the Government under which they live. I doe nott presse that you should goe on with this thinge, for I thinke that every man that would speake to itt will bee lesse able till hee hath some time to consider itt. I doe make itt my Motion, that two or three dayes time may bee sett for every man to consider, and all that is to bee consider’d is the justnesse of the thinge—and if that bee consider’d then all thinges are—that there may bee nothing to deterre us from itt, butt that wee may doe that which is just to the people.

Lieut. Generall.

Truly I am very glad, that this Gentleman that spoke last is heere, and nott sorry for the occasion that brought him hither; because itt argues wee shall enjoy his company longer then I thought wee should have done.

Col. Rainborow.

If I should nott bee kick’t out.

Lieut. Generall.

And truly then I thinke itt shall nott bee longe enough. Butt truly I doe nott know what the meaning of that expression is, nor what the meaning of any hatefull worde is heere. For wee are all heere with the same integrity to the publique; and perhaps wee have all of us done our parts nott affrighted with difficulties, one as well as another; and I hope have all purposes henceforward, through the Grace of God, nott resolving in our owne strength, to doe soe still. And therefore truly I thinke all the consideration is, That amongst us wee are almost all souldiers; all considerations [of not fearing difficulties] or wordes of that kinde doe wonderfully please us, all words of courage animate us to carry on our businesse, to doe God’s businesse, [and] that which is the will of God. I say itt againe, I doe nott thinke that any man heere wants courage to doe that which becomes an honest man and an Englishman to doe. Butt wee speake as men that desire to have the feare of God before our eyes, and men that may nott resolve to doe that which wee doe in the power of a fleshly strength, butt to lay this as the foundation of all our actions, to doe that which is the will of God. And if any man have a false deceit—on the one hand, deceitfulnesse, that which hee doth nott intend, or a perswasion on the other hand, I thinke hee will nott prosper.

Butt to that which was mov’d by Col. Rainborow, of the objections of difficulty and danger [and] of the consequences, they are nott proposed to any other end, butt [as] thinges fitting consideration, nott forged to deterre from the consideration of the businesse. In the consideration of the thinge that is new to us, and of every thinge that shall bee new that is of such importance as this is, I thinke that hee that wishes the most serious advice to bee taken of such a change as this is,—soe evident and cleare [a change]—who ever offers that there may bee most serious consideration, I thinke hee does nott speake impertinently. And truly itt was offer’d to noe other end then what I speake. I shall say noe more to that.

Butt to the other, concerning Engagements and breaking of them. I doe nott thinke that itt was att all offer’d by any body, that though an Engagement were never soe unrighteous itt ought to bee kept. Noe man offer’d a syllable or tittle [to that purpose]. For certainly itt’s an act of duty to breake an unrighteous Engagement; hee that keepes itt does a double sin, in that hee made an unrighteous Engagement, and [in] that he goes about to keepe itt. Butt this was onely offer’d; and I know nott what can bee more fit, that before wee can consider of this [paper] wee labour to know where wee are, and where wee stand. Perhaps wee are uppon Engagements that wee cannott with honesty breake, Butt lett mee tell you this, that hee that speakes to you of Engagements heere, is as free from Engagements to the Kinge as any man in all the world; and I know thata if itt were otherwise I believe my future actions would provoke some to declare itt. Butt I thanke God I stand uppon the bottome of my owne innocence in this particular; through the Grace of God I feare nott the face of any man, I doe nott. I say wee are to consider what Engagements wee have made, and if our Engagements have bin unrighteous why should wee nott make itt our indeavours to breake them. Yett if unrighteous Engagementsb itt is nott a present breach of them unlesse there bee a consideration of circumstances. Circumstances may bee such as I may nott now breake an unrighteous Engagement, or else I may doe that which I did scandalously, if the thinge bee good.c If that bee true concerning the breaking of an unrighteous Engagement itt is much more verified concerning Engagements disputable whether they bee righteous or unrighteous. If soe, I am sure itt is fitt wee should dispute [them], and if, when wee have disputed them, wee see the goodnesse of God inlightening us to see our liberties, I thinke wee are to doe what wee can to give satisfaction to men. Butt if itt were soe, as wee made an Engagement in judgement and knowledge, soe wee goe off from itt in judgement and knowledge. Butt there may be just Engagements uppon us such as perhaps itt will bee our duty to keepe; and if soe itt is fitt wee should consider, and all that I said [was] that wee should consider our Engagements, and there is nothing else offer’d, and therefore what neede anybody bee angry or offended. Perhaps wee have made such Engagements as may in the matter of them nott binde us, in some circumstances they may. Our Engagements are publique Engagements. They are to the Kingedome, and to every one in the Kingdome that could looke uppon what wee did publiquely declare, could read or heare itt read. They are to the Parliament, and itt is a very fitting thinge that wee doe seriously consider of the thinges. And shortly this is that I shall offer: that because the Kingedome is in the danger itt is in, because the Kingdome is in that condition itt is in, and time may bee ill spent in debates, and itt is necessary for thinges to bee putt to an issue, if ever itt was necessary in the world itt is now, I should desire this may bee done.

That this Generall Councill may bee appointed [to meet] against a very short time, two dayes, Thursday, if you would, against Saturday, or att furthest against Munday: that there might bee a Committee out of this Councill appointed to debate and consider with those two Gentlemen, and with any others that are nott of the Army that they shall bringe, and with the Agitators of those five Regiments: that soe there may bee a liberall and free debate had amongst us, that wee may understand really as before God the bottome of our desires, and that wee may seeke God together, and see if God will give us an uniting spiritt. Give mee leave to tell itt you againe, I am confident there sitts nott a man in this place that cannott soe freely act with you, but if hee sees that God hath shutt uppe his way that hee cannott doe any service hee will bee glad to withdraw himself, and wish you all prosperity in that way as may bee good for the Kingedome.a And if this heart bee in us, as is knowne to God that searches our hearts and tryeth the reines, God will discover whether our hearts bee nott cleare in this businesse. Therefore I shall move that wee may have a Committee amongst our selves [to consider] of the Engagements, and this Committee to dispute thinges with others, and a short day [to be appointed] for the Generall Councill. I doubt nott butt if in sincerity wee are willing to submitt to that light that God shall cast in amonge us God will unite us, and make us of one heart and one minde. Doe the plausiblest thinges you can doe, doe that which hath the most appearance of reason in itt that tends to change, att this conjuncture of time you will finde difficulties. Butt if God satisfie our spiritts this will bee a ground of confidence to every good man, and hee that goes uppon other grounds hee shall fall like a beast. I shall desire this, that you or any other of the Agitators or Gentlemen that can bee heere will bee heere, that wee may have free discourses amongst our selves of thinges, and you will bee able to satisfie each other. And really, rather then I would have this Kingedome breake in pieces before some company of men bee united together to a settlement, I will withdraw my self from the Army tomorrow, and lay downe my Commission; I will perish before I hinder itt.a

Bedfordshire Man.

May itt please your Honour,

I was desired by some of the Agents to accompanie this paper, manifesting my approbation of itt after I had heard itt read severall times, and they desir’d that itt might bee offer’d to this Councill, for the concurrence of the Councill if itt might bee. I finde that the Engagements of the Army are att present the thinges which is insisted to bee consider’d. I confesse my ignorance in those Engagements, butt I apprehend, att least I hope, that those Engagements have given away nothing from the people that is the people’s Right. Itt may bee they have promised the King his Right, or any other persons their Right, butt noe more. If they have promised more then their Right to any person or persons, and have given away any thinge from the people that is their Right, then I conceive they are unjust. And if they are unjust [they should be broken], though I confesse for my owne parte I am very tender of breaking an Engagement when itt concernes a particular person—I thinke that a particular person ought rather to sett downe and loose then to breake an Engagement—butt if any man have given away any thinge from another whose Right itt was to one or more whose Right itt was nott, I conceive these men may [break that engagement]—at least many of them thinke themselves bound nott onely to breake this Engagement, butt to placea to give every one his due. I conceive that for the substance of the paper itt is the peoples due; and for the change of the Governement which is soe dangerous, I apprehend that there may bee many dangers in itt, and truly I apprehend there may bee more dangers without itt. For I conceive if you keepe the Governement as itt is and bringe in the Kinge, there may bee more dangers then in changing the Governement. Butt however, because from those thinges that I heard of the Agents they conceive that this conjuncture of time may almost destroy them, they have taken uppon them a libertie of acting to higher thinges, as they hope, for the freedome of the Nation, then yett this Generall Councill have acted to. And therefore as their sences I must make this motion; that all those that uppon a due consideration of the thinge doe finde itt to bee just and honest, and doe finde that if they have engaged any thinge to the contrary of this itt is unjust and giving away the people’s Rights, I desire that they and all others may have a free libertie of acting to any thinge in this nature, or any other nature, that may bee for the peoples good, by petitioning or otherwise; wherby the fundamentalls for a well-ordered Governement for the people’s Rights may bee established. And I shall desire that those that conceive themselves bound uppe would desist, and satisfie themselves in that, and bee noe hinderances to hinder the people in a more perfect way then hath bin [yet] indeavour’d.

Capt. Awdeley.

I suppose you have nott thought fitt, that there should bee a dispute concerning thinges att this time. I desire that other thinges may bee taken into consideration, delayes and debates. Delayes have undone us, and itt must bee a great expedition that must further us, and therfore I desire that there may bee a Committee appointed.

Lieut. Col. Goffe.

I shall butt humbly take the boldnesse to put you in minde of one thinge which you moved enow.a The Motion is, that there might bee a seeking of God in the thinges that now lie before us.

I shall humbly desire, that that Motion may nott die. Itt may bee there are or may bee some particular opinions amonge us concerning the use of ordinances and of publique seeking of God. Noe doubt formes have bin rested uppon too much; butt yett since there are soe many of us that have had soe many and soe large experiences of an extraordinarie manifestation of God’s presence, when wee have bin in such extraordinarie wayes mett together, I shall desire that those who are that way [inclined] will take the present opportunity to doe itt. For certainly those thinges that are now presented, as they are, are well accepted by most of us; and though I am nott prepared to say any thinge either consenting or dissenting to the paper, as nott thinking itt wisedome to answer a matter before I have consider’d, yett when I doe consider how much ground there is to conceive there hath bin a withdrawing of the presence of God from us that have mett in this place—I doe nott say a totall withdrawing; I hope God is with us and amongst us. Itt hath bin our trouble night and day that God hath nott bin with us as formerly, as many within us soe without us [have told us], men that were sent from God in an extraordinarie manner to us. I meane [that though] the Ministers may take too much uppon them, yett there have bin those that have preached to us in this place, [in]b severall places, wee know very well that they spake to our hearts and consciences, and told us of our wandringes from God, and told us in the name of the Lord, that God would bee with us noe longer then wee were with him. Wee have in some thinges wandred from God, and as wee have heard this from them in this place, soe have wee had itt very frequently prest uppon our spiritts [elsewhere], prest uppon us in the Citty and the Country. I speake this to this end, that our hearts may bee deeply and throughly affected with this matter. For if God bee departed from us hee is some where else. Iff wee have nott the will of God in these Councills God may bee found amonge some other Councills. Therfore I say, lett us shew the spiritt of Christians, and lett us nott bee ashamed to declare to all the world, that our Councills, and our wisedome, and our wayes they are nott altogether such as the world hath walked in; butt that wee have had a dependancie uppon God, and that our desires are to follow God (though never soe much to our disadvantage in the world) if God may have the glory by itt. And I pray lett us consider this: God does seeme evidently to bee throwing downe the glory of all flesh; the greatest powers in the Kingedome have bin shaken. God hath throwne downe the glory of the Kinge and that partie; hee hath throwne downe a partie in the Citty; I doe nott say, that God will throw us downe—I hope better thinges—butt hee will have the glory; lett us nott stand uppon our glory and reputation in the world. If wee have done some thinges through ignorance, or feare, or unbeleif, in the day of our straights, and could nott give God that glory by beleiving as wee ought to have done, I hope God hath a way for to humble us for that, and to keepe us as instruments in his hand still. There are two wayes that God doth take uppon those that walke obstinately against him; if they bee obstinate and continue obstinate hee breakes them in pieces with a rod of iron; if they bee his people and wander from him hee takes that glory from them, and takes itt to himself. I speake itt I hope from a divine impression. If wee would continue to bee instruments in his hand, lett us seriously sett our selves before the Lord, and seeke to him and waite uppon him for conviction of spiritts. Itt is nott enough for us to say, “if wee have offended wee will leave the world, wee will goe and confesse to the Lord what wee have done amisse, butt wee will doe noe more soe.’ Aaron went uppe to Hur and died, and Moses was favour’d to see the land of Canaan, hee did nott voluntarily lay himself aside. I hope our strayings from God are nott soe great, butt that a conversion and true humiliation may recover us againe; and I desire that wee may bee serious in this, and not despise any other instruments that God will use. God will have his worke done; itt may bee wee thinke wee are the onely instruments that God hath in his hands. I shall onely adde these two thinges. First, that wee bee warie how wee lett forth any thinge against his people, and that which is for the whole Kingedome and Nation. I would move, that wee may nott lett our spiritts act too freely against them till wee have throughly weighed the matter, and considered our own wayes too. The second is to draw us uppe to a serious consideration of the weightiness of the worke that lies before us, and seriously to sett our selves to seeke the Lord; and I wish itt might bee consider’d of a way and manner that itt should be conveniently done, and I thinke to morrow will bee the [best] day.

Lieut Generall.

I know nott what Lieut. Col. Goffe meanes for to morrow for the time of seeking God. I thinke itt will bee requisite that wee doe itt speedily, and doe itt the first thinge, and that wee doe itt as unitedly as wee can, as many of us as well may meete together. For my parte I shall lay aside all businesse for this businesse, either to convince or bee convinc’t as God shall please. I thinke itt would bee good that to morrow morning may bee spent in prayer, and the afternoone might bee the time of our businesse. I doe nott know that these Gentlemen doe assent to itt that to morrow in the afternoone might bee the time.

Lieut. Col. Goffe.

I thinke wee have a great deale of businesse to doe, and wee have bin doing of itt these ten weekes. Itt is an ordinance that God hath blest to this end. I say goe about what you will, for my parte I shall nott thinke any thinge can prosper, unlesse God bee first sought.

If that bee approved of, that to morrow shall bee a time of seeking the Lord, and that the afternoone shall bee the time of businesse, if that doth agree with your opinion and the generall sence, lett that bee first order’d.

Com̃. Gen. Ireton.

That which Lieut. Col. Goffe offer’d hath [made] a very great impression uppon mee; and indeed I must acknowledge to God through him, that, as hee hath severall times spoke in this place, and elsewhere to this purpose, hee hath never spoke butt hee hath touched my heart; and that especially in the point that hee hintes. That one thinge is, that in the time of our straights and difficulties, I thinke wee none of us—I feare wee none of us—I am sure I have nott—walked soe closely with God, and kept soe close with him, [as] to trust wholly uppon him, as nott to bee led too much with considerations of danger and difficulty, and from that consideration to waive some thinges, and perhaps to doe some thinges, that otherwise I should nott have thought fitt to have done. Every one hath a spiritt within him—especially [he] who has that communion indeed with that spirit that is the only searcher of hearts—that can best search out and discover to him the errours of his owne wayes, and of the workinges of his owne heart. And though I thinke that publique actinges, publique departings from God are the fruites of unbeleif and distrust, and nott honouring God by sanctifying him in our wayes; they doe more publiquely engage God to vindicate his honour by a departing from them that doe soe, and if there bee any such thinge in the Army that is to bee look’t uppon with a publique eye in relation to the Army.a I thinke the maine thinge is for every one to waite uppon God, for the errours, deceits, and weaknesses of his owne heart, and I pray God to bee present with us in that. Butt withall I would nott have that seasonable and good Motion that hath come from Lieut. Col. Goffe to bee neglected, of a publique seeking of God, and seeking to God, as for other thinges soe especially for the discovery of any publique deserting of God, or dishonouring of him, or declining from him, that does lie as the fault and blemish uppon the Army. Therfore I wish his Motion may bee pursued, that the thinge may bee done, and for point of time as was moved by him. Onely this to the way; I confesse I thinke the best [way] is this, that itt may bee only taken notice of as a thinge by the agreement of this Councill resolv’d on, that tomorrow in the morning, the forenoone wee doe sett aparte, wee doe give uppe from other businesse, for every man to give himself uppe that way, either in private by himself, though I cannott say not in public. For the publique Meeting att the Church, itt were nott amisse that itt may bee thus taken notice of as a time given from other imployments for that purpose, and every one as God shall incline their hearts, some in one place, and some another, to imploy themselves that way.

Agreed for the Meeting for Prayer to bee att Mr. Chamberlaine’s

Lieut. Gen.

That they should nott meete as two contrary parties, butt as some desirous to satisfie or convince each other.

Mr. Petty.

For my owne parte, I have done as to this businesse what was desired by the Agents that sent mee hither. As for any further Meeting to morrow or any other time I cannott meete uppon the same ground, to meete as for their sence, [but only] to give my owne reason why I doe assent to itt.

Com̃. Ireton.

I should bee sorry, that they should bee soe suddaine to stand uppon themselves.

Mr. Petty.

To procure three, four, or five more or lesse to meete, for my owne parte I am utterly unconcern’d in the businesse.

Buffe-Coate.

I have heere att this day answer’d the expectations, which I engaged to your Honours; which was, that if wee would give a Meeting you should take that as a symptome, or a remarkeable testimonie of our fidelitie. I have discharged that trust reposed in mee. I could nott engage for them. I shall goe on still in that method. I shall engage my deepest interest for any reasonable desires to engage them to come to this.

Lieut. Generall.

I hope wee know God better then to make appearances of Religious Meetings as covers for designes for insinuation amongst you. I desire that God that hath given us some sinceritie will owne us according to his owne goodnesse, and that sincerity that hee hath given us. I dare bee confident to speake itt, that [design] that hath bin amongst us hitherto is to seeke the guidances of God, and to recover that presence of God that seemes to withdraw from us; and our end is to accomplish that worke which may bee for the good of the Kingedome. It seems to us in this as much as anything we are not of a minde, and for our parts wee doe nott desire or offer you to bee with us in our seeking of God further then your owne satisfaccions lead you, butt onely [that] against to-morrow in the afternoone (which will bee design’d for the consideration of these businesses with you) you will doe what you may to have soe many as you shall thinke fitt to see what God will direct you to say to us. Perhaps God may unite us and carry us both one way, that whilest wee are going one way, and you another, wee bee nott both destroyed. This requires spiritt. Itt may bee too soone to say, itt is my present apprehension; I had rather wee should devolve our strength to you then that the Kingedome for our division should suffer losse.a For that’s in all our hearts, to professe above any thinge that’s worldlie, the publique good of the people; and if that bee in our hearts truly, and nakedlie, I am confident itt is a principall that will stand. And therefore I doe desire you, that against to morrow in the afternoone, if you judge itt meete, you will come to us to the Quartermaster Generall’s Quarters, and there you will finde us [at prayer], if you will come timely to joyne with us; at your libertie, if afterwards [you wish] to speake with us.b

Mr Wildman.

I desire to returne a little to the businesse in hand that was the occasion of these other motions. I could nott butt take some notice of some thinge that did reflect uppon the Agents of the five Regiments, in which I could nott butt give a little satisfaction to them; and I shall desire to prosecute a motion or two that hath bin already made. I observ’d that itt was said, that these gentlemen doe insist upon Engagements in “The Case of the Army,” and therefore it was said to bee contrary to the principles of the Agents, that an Engagement which was unjust should lawfully bee broken.c I shall onely observe this; that though an unjust Engagement when itt appeares unjust may bee broken, yett when two parties engage [each that] the other partie may have satisfaccion, yett because they are mutually engaged each to other one partie that apprehends they are broken [is justified] to complaine of them; and soe itt may bee their case, with which I confesse I made my concurrence. The other is a principle much spreading and much to my trouble, and that is this: that when persons once bee engaged, though the Engagement appeare to bee unjust, yett the person must sett downe and suffer under itt; and that therefore, in case a Parliament, as a true Parliament, doth anythinge unjustly, if wee bee engaged to submitt to the Lawes that they shall make, if they make an unjust law, though they make an unrighteous law, yett wee must sweare obedience.

I confesse to mee this principle is very dangerous, and I speake itt the rather because I see itt spreading abroad in the Army againe. Wheras itt is contrary to what the Army first declar’d: that they stood uppon such principles of right and freedome, and the lawes of nature and nations, wherby men were to preserve themselves though the persons to whome aucthority belong’d should faile in itt, and urged the example of the Scotts, and [that] the Generall that would destroy the Army they might hold his hands; and therfore if any thinge tends to the destruction of a people, because the thinge is absolutely unjust and tends to their destruction, [they may preserve themselves].a I could nott butt speake a worde to that. The motion that I should make uppon that account is this.

That wheras there must bee a Meeting I could nott finde [but] that they were desirous to give all satisfaccion, and they desire nothing but the union of the Army. Thus farre itt is their sence. That the necessity of the Kingdome for present actinges is such that two or three dayes may loose the Kingdome. I desire in the sight of God to speake plainly: I meane there may bee an agreement betweene the Kinge [and the Parliament] by propositions, with a power to hinder the making of any lawes that are good, and the tendring of any good [lawes]. And therfore, because none of the people’s greivances are redrest, they doe apprehend that thus a few dayes may bee the losse of the Kingedome. I know it is their sence. That they desire to bee excused that itt might nott bee thought any arrogancie in them, butt they are clearlie satisfied, that the way they proceede in is just, and desire to bee excus’d if they goe on in itt; and yett notwithstanding will give all satisfaccion. And wheras itt is desir’d that Engagements may bee consider’d, I shall desire that onely the justice of the thinge that is proposed may bee consider’d. Whether the chief thinge in the Agreement, the intent of itt, bee nott this, to secure the Rights of the people in their Parliaments, which was declar’d by this Army in the Declaration of the 14th of June to bee absolutely insisted on? I shall make that motion to bee the thinge consider’d: whether the thinge bee just or the people’s due, and then there can bee noe Engagement to binde from itt.

Com̃. Gen. Ireton.

Truly Sir, by what Lieut. Col. Goffe moved I confesse I was soe taken off from all [other] thoughts in this businesse that I did nott thinke of speaking any thinge more. Butt what this Gentleman hath last said hath renewed the occasion, and indeed if I did thinkea all that hee hath deliver’d bee truth and innocence—nay, if I did nott thinke that it hath venome and poyson in itt—I would nott speake itt.

First, I cannott butt speake somethinge unto the two particulars that hee holds forth as dangerous thinges,—indeed hee hath cleerlie yoak’t them together, when before I was sensible of those principles and how farre they would run together—that is that principle of nott being obliged, by nott regarding what Engagements men have entred into, if in their future apprehensions the thinges they engaged to are unjust; and that principle on the other hand of nott submitting passively for peace sake to that authority wee have engaged to. For hee does hold forth his opinion in those two points to cleare their way; and I must crave leave on my parte to declare [that] my opinion of that Distinction doth lie on the other way. I am farre from holding, that if a man have engag’d himself to a thinge that is nott just—to a thinge that is evill, that is sin if hee doe itt—that that man is still bound to performe what hee hath promised; I am farre from apprehending that. Butt when wee talke of just, itt is nott soe much of what is sinfull before God, which depends uppon many circumstances of indignation to that man and the like, butt itt intends of that which is just according to the foundation of justice betweene man and man. And for my parte I account that the great foundation of justice betweene man and man, and that without which I know nothing of justice betwixt man and man—in particular matters I meane, nothing in particular thinges that can come under humane Engagement one way or other—there is noe other foundation of right I know of, right to one thinge from another man, noe foundation of that justice or that righteousnesse, butt this generall justice, and this generall ground of righteousnesse, that wee should keepe covenant one with another. Covenants freely made, freely entred into, must bee kept one with another. Take away that I doe nott know what ground there is of any thinge you can call any man’s right. I would very faine know what you Gentlemen or any other doe account the right you have to any thinge in England, any thinge of estate, land, or goods that you have, what ground, what right you have to itt? What right hath any man to any thinge if you lay nott that principle, that wee are to keepe covenant? If you will resort onely to the law of Nature, by the law of Nature you have noe more right to this land or any thinge else then I have. I have as much right to take hold of any thinge that is for my sustenance, [to] take hold of any thinge that I have a desire to for my satisfaction as you. Butt heere comes the foundation of all right that I understand to be betwixt men, as to the enjoying of one thinge or nott enjoying of itt; wee are under a contract, wee are under an agreement, and that agreement is what a man has for matter of land that a man hath received by a traduction from his ancestors, which according to the law does fall uppon him to bee his right. [The agreement is] that that hee shall enjoy, hee shall have the property of, the use of, the disposing of, with submission to that generall aucthoritie which is agreed uppon amongst us for the preserving of peace, and for the supporting of this law. This I take to bee [the foundation of all right] for matter of land. For matter of goods, that which does fence mee from that [right] which another man may claime by the law of nature of taking my goods, that which makes itt mine really and civillie is the law. That which makes itt unlawfull originally and radically is onely this: because that man is in covenant with mee to live together in peace one with another, and nott to meddle with that which another is posses’t of, butt that each of us should enjoy, and make use of, and dispose of, that which by the course of law is in his possession, and [another] shall nott by violence take itt away from him. This is the foundation of all the right any man has to any thinge butt to his owne person. This is the generall thinge: that wee must keepe covenant one with another when wee have contracted one with another. And if any difference arise among us itt shall bee thus and thus: that I shall nott goe with violence to prejudice another, butt with submission to this way. And therefore when I heare men speake of laying aside all Engagements to [consider only] that wild or vast notion of what in every man’s conception is just or unjust, I am afraid and doe tremble att the boundlesse and endlesse consequences of itt.a What you apply this paper to. You say, “If these thinges in this paper, in this Engagement bee just, then,” say you, “never talke of any Engagement, for if any thinge in that Engagement bee against this, your Engagement was unlawfull; consider singly this paper, whether itt bee just.” In what sence doe you thinke this is just? There is a great deale of equivocation [as to] what is just and unjust.

Mr. Wildman.

I suppose you take away the substance of the question. Ourb [sense] was, that an unjust Engagement is rather to be broken then kept. The Agents thinke that to delay is to dispose their Enemy into such a capacitie as hee may destroy them. I make a question whether any Engagement can bee to an unjust thinge. [If] a man may promise to doe that which is never soe much unjust, a man may promise to breake all Engagements and duties. Butt [I say] this, wee must lay aside the consideration of Engagements, soe as nott to take in that as one ground of what is just or unjust amongst men in this case. I doe apply this to the case in hand: that itt might bee consider’d whether itt bee unjust to bringe in the Kinge in such a way as hee may bee in a capacity to destroy the people. This paper may bee applyed to itt.

Com̃. Generall.

You come to itt more particularly then that paper leads. There is a great deale of equivocation in the point of justice, and that I am bound to declare.

Capt. Awdeley.

Mr. Wildman sayes if wee stay butt three dayes before you satisfie one another, and if wee tarry longe the kinge will come and say who will be hang’d first.

Com̃ Gen.

Sir, I was saying this; wee shall much deceive our selves, and bee apt to deceive others if wee doe nott consider that there is two parts of justice. There may bee a thinge just that is negatively [so], itt is nott unjust, nott unlawfull—that which is nott unlawfull, that’s just to mee to doe if I bee free. Againe there is another sence of just when wee account such a thinge to bee a duty,—nott onely a thinge lawfull “wea may doe itt,” but itt’s a duty, “you ought to doe itt,”—and there is a great deale of mistake if you confound these two. If I engage my self to a thinge that was in this sence just, that’s a thinge lawfull for mee to doe supposing mee free, then I account my Engagement stands good to this. On the other hand, if I engage my self against a thinge which was a duty for mee to doe, which I was bound to doe; or if I engag’d myself to a thinge which was nott lawfull for mee to doe, which I was bound nott to doe, in this sence I doe account this [engagement] unjust. If I doe engage my self to what was unlawfull for mee to engage to, I thinke I am nott then to make good activelie this Engagement. Butt though this bee true, yett the generall end and equitie of Engagements I must regard, and that is the preserving right betwixt men, the nott doing of wronge or hurt to men, one to another. And therfore if [by] that which I engage to, though the thinge bee unlawfull for mee to doe, another man bee prejudict in case I did not perform it—though itt bee a thinge which wasa unlawfull for mee to doe, yett [if] I did freelie [engage to do it] and I did [engage] uppon a consideration to mee, and that man did beleive mee, and hee suffer’d a prejudice by beleiving—though I bee nott bound by my Engagement to performe itt,b yett I am [bound] to regard that justice that lies in the matter of Engagement, soe as to repaire that man by some just way as farre as I can; and hee that doth nott hold this, I doubt whether hee hath any principle of justice, or doing right to any att all in him. That is [if] hee that did nott thinke itt lawfull hath made another man beleive itt to his prejudice and hurt, and [made] another man bee prejudic’t and hurt by that, hee that does nott hold that hee is in this case to repaire [it] to that man, and free him from [the prejudice of] itt, I conceive there is noe justice in him. And therfore I wish wee may take notice of this distinction when wee talke of being bound to make good Engagements or nott. This I thinke I can make good in a larger dispute by reason. If the thinges engaged to were lawfull to bee done, or lawfull for mee to engage to, then [I] by my Engagement amc bound to [perform] itt. On the other hand if the thinge were nott lawfull for mee to engage, or [if it were] a duty for mee to have done to the contrary, then I am nott bound positively and actively to performe itt. Nay I am bound nott to performe itt, because itt was unlawfull [and] unjust by another Engagement. Butt when I engage to another man, and hee hath a prejudice by beleiving, I nott performing itt, I am bound to repaire that man as much as may bee, and lett the prejudice fall upon my self and nott uppon any other. This I desire wee may take notice of to avoide falacie on that part. For there is an extremity to say on the one hand, that if a man engage what is nott just hee may act against itt soe as to regard noe relation or prejudice. [There’s an extremity] for a man to say on the other hand, that whatsoever you engage, though itt bee never soe unjust, you are to stand to itt. One worde more to the other parte which Mr. Wildeman doth hold out as a dangerous principle acting amongst us, that wee must bee bound to active obedience to any power acting amongst men.

Wildman.

You repeat not the principle right—“To thinke that wee are bound soe absolutely to personall obedience to any Magistrates or personall aucthoritie that if they worke to our destruction wee may nott oppose them.”

[Ireton.]

That wee may nott deceive ourselves againe [by arguments] that are fallacious in that kinde I am a little affected to speake in this, because I see that the abuse and misapplicationa of those thinges the Army hath declar’d hath led many men into a great and dangerous errour and destructive to all humane society. Because the Army hath declar’d, in those cases where the foundation of all that right and libertie of the people is, if they have any, that in these cases they will insist uppon that right, and that they will nott suffer that originall and fundamentall right to bee taken away; and because the Army when there hath bin a command of that supreame aucthority the Parliament have nott obeyed itt, butt stood uppon itt to have this fundamentall right setled first, and requir’d a rectification of the supreame aucthority of the Kingedome; for a man therfore to inferre [that] uppon any particular, you may dispute that aucthority by what is commanded what is just or unjust, if in your apprehension nott to obey, and soe farre itt is well, and if itt tend to your losse to oppose itt.b

Mr. Wildman.

If itt tend to my Destruction that was the worde I spoke.

Com̃. Gen.

Lett us take heede that wee doe nott maintaine [that] this principle leads to destruction. If the case were soe visible as those cases the Army speaks of, of a Generall’s turning the cannon against the Army, the bulke and body of the Army; or [of] a Pylott that sees a rock [and] does by the advantage of the steeringa putt the shippe uppon’t; if you could propose cases as evident as these are, there is noe man butt would agree with you. Butt when men will first putt in those termes of destruction, they will imagine any thinge a destruction, if there could bee any thinge better [for them]; and soe itt is very easy and demonstrable that thinges are soe counted abhorred and destructive, that, att the utmost if a man should make itt out by reason, that manb would bee in a better condition if itt bee nott done, then if itt bee done. And though I cannott butt subscribe to, that in such a visible way I may hold the hands of those that are in aucthority as I may the hands of a mad-man; butt that noe man shall thinke himself [bound] to acquiesce particularly, and to suffer for quietnesse sake rather then to make a disturbance, or to raise a power if hee can to make a disturbance in the State—I doe apprehend and appeale to all men whether there bee nott more follie or destructivenesse in the springe of that principle then there can bee in that other principle of holding passive obedience? Now whatsoever wee have declar’d in the Armie [declarations] itt is noe more butt this. The Parliament hath commanded us [to do] this. Wee have said, noe. First wee have insisted uppon [the] fundamentall rights of the people. Wee have said wee desire [first] to have the constitution of the supreame aucthority of this Kingedome reduced to that constitution which is due to the people of this Kingedome, and reducing the aucthority to this wee will submitt to itt, wee will acquiesce, wee will cast our share into this common bottome; and if itt goe ill with us att one time, itt will goe well att another. The reducing of the supreame aucthority to that constitution, by successe or election as neere as may bee, wee have insisted uppon as an essentiall right of the Kingedome; and noe man can accuse the Armie of disobedience, or holding forth a principle of disobedience uppon any other ground.

Lieut. Generall.

Lett mee speake a worde to this businesse. Wee are now uppon that businesse which wee spake of consulting with God about, and therfore I judge it altogether unreasonablea for us to dispute the meritt of those thinges, unlesse you will make itt the subject of debate before you consider itt among your selves. The businesse of the Engagement[s] lies uppon us. Theyb are free in a double respect; they made none, and if they did, then the way out is now; and [it is a way] which all the members of the Army, except they bee sensible of itt [may take], and, att one jumpe, jumpe out of all [engagements], and itt is a very great jumpe I will assure you. As wee professe wee intend to seeke the Lord in the thinge, the less wee speake in itt [now] the better, and the more wee cast ourselves uppon God the better.

I shall onelie speake two thinges to Mr. Wildman in order to our Meeting. Mee thoughte hee said if there bee delay hee feares this businesse will bee determined, the propositions will bee sent from the Parliament, and the Parliament and Kinge agree, and soe those Gentlemen that were in that minde to goe on in their way will bee cutt off in point of time to their owne dissadvantage. And the other thinge hee said was, that these Gentlemen who have chosen Mr. Wildman, and that other Gentleman,c to bee their mouth att this meeting to deliver their mindes, they are uppon the matter engaged in what they have resolved uppon, and they come as engaged men uppon their owne resolution. If that bee soe, I thinke there neither needes consideration of the former, for you will not bee anticipated. If that bee soe, you [can] worke accordingly. And though you [do] meete us, yett having that resolution you cannott bee prevented in your way by any proposition, or any such thinge; though wee should have come hither, and wee should meete to morrow as a company of men that really would bee guided by God. If any come to us to morrow onely to instruct us and teach us, how farre that will consist with the libertie of a freea [debate] or an end of satisfaction I referre to every sober spiritted man to thinke of and determine.b I thinke itt is such a preengagement that there is noe neede of talke of the thinge. And I see then if that bee soe, things are in such an irrevocable way—I will nott call itt desperate—as there is noe hope of accomodation or union, except wee receive the Councills—I will nott call itt the commands—of them that come to us. I desire that wee may rightly understand this thinge. If this bee soe I doe nott understand what the end of the meeting will bee. If this bee nott soe, weec will [not] draw any man from their Engagements further then the Light of God shall draw them from their Engagements; and I thinke, according to your owne principle, if you bee uppon any Engagement you are liable to bee convinc’t unlesse you bee infallible. If wee may come to an honest and single debate, how wee may all agree in one common way for publique good; if wee [may] meete soe, wee shall meete with a great deale the more comfort, and hopes of a good and happy issue, and understanding of the businesse. Butt if otherwise, I despaire of the Meeting; or att least I would have the Meeting to bee of another notion, a Meeting that did represent the Agitators of five Regiments to give rules to the Councill of Warre. If itt signifie this, for my owne parte I shall bee glad to submitt to itt under this notion. If itt bee a free debate what may bee fitt for us all to doe, with clearnesse and opennesse before the Lord, lett us understand that wee may come and meete soe and in that sincerity.a Otherwise I doe verily believe wee shall meete with prejudice, and we shall meete to prejudice—really to the prejudice of the Kingedome, and of the whole Army—if wee bee thus absolutely resolved uppon our way and engaged before hand. The Kingedome will see itt is such a reall actuall division as admitts of noe reconciliation, and all those that are enemies to us and freinds to our enemies will have the clearer advantage uppon us to putt us into inconveniency. And I desire if there bee any feare of God among us, I desire that wee may declare ourselves freely, that wee doe meete uppon these termes.

Col. Rainborow.

I wish, that the Motion of Lieut. Col Goffe might have taken effect, nott only to the time and place for Meeting [but] as hee desir’d. Butt, Sir, since itt is gone thus farre, and since I heare much of fallacie talk’t of, I feare itt as much on the one side as the other. Itt is made a wonderb of that some Gentlemen without should have principles to breake Engagements, yett [it is made no wonder of] that some Gentlemen within should soe much insist uppon Engagements. I doe nott consider my self as jumping, butt yett I hope when I leape I shall take soe much of God with mee, and soe much of just and right with mee, as I shall jumpe sure. Butt I am more unsatisfied against [another of] those thinges that have bin said, and that is as to another Engagement. For all that hath bin said hath bin [as to engagements] betweene partie and partie, if two men should make an agreement and the like, and there were noe living one amongst another if those Engagements were nott made [good], yett I thinke under favour that some Engagements may bee broke. Noe man that takes a wife butt there is an Engagement, and I thinke that a man ought to keepe itt, yett if another man that had married her before claimes her, hee ought to lett him have her and soe breake the Engagement. Butt whereas it is told us, this engagement is of another nature,a that the partie to whome wee make the Engagement relyed uppon [it], and becomes therby prejudic’t, [and so] wee ought to take itt rather uppon ourselves then to leave itt uppon them,—this may serve in a particular case, if any menb heere will suffer they may; butt if wee will make our selves a third partie, and engage betweene Kinge and Parliament, [it is not a particular case] and I am of that Gentlemans minde that spoke, the Kinges partie would have bin about our eares if wee had nott made some considerations. Heere is the consideration now. As concerning them, doe wee nott engage for the Parliament and for the liberties of the people of England, and doe wee nott engage against itt? Wee have gott the better of them in the feild, butt they shall bee masters of our Houses. Never was Engagements broken more then wee doe. Wee did take uppe Armes with all that tooke parte with the Parliament and wee engag’d with them.c For my parte itt may bee thought that I am against the Kinge; I am against him or any power that would destroy Gods people, and I will never bee destroyed till I cannott helpe my self. Is itt nott an argument, if a pylott run his shipp uppon a rock, or [if] a Generall mount his cannon against his Army, hee is to bee resisted? I thinke that this as cleare the very case as any thinge in the world. For clearly the Kinge and his partie could nott have come in uppon those termes that hee is come[to] in [on], if this very Army did nott engage for him; and I verily thinke that the House had nott made another addresse, if itt had nott bin said that itt was the desire of the Army, and the Army were engaged to itt. Therefore I say I hope men will have charitable opinions of other men. For my parte I thinke I shall never doe any thinge against conscience, and I shall have those hopes of others. That which is deare unto mee is my freedome. Itt is that I would enjoy, and I will enjoy if I can. For my owne parte I hope there is noe such distance betwixt these Gentlemen as is imagin’d, butt they will heare reason that may convince them out of itt. I doe verily beleive they are soe farre from a disunion that they will bee advis’d by this Councill in generall, or by any honest man of this Councill in particular. I have nott the same apprehensions that two or three dayes will undoe us, butt I thinke a very little delay will undoe us; and therefore I should onely desire, (itt may bee because I have spoken some other may answer mee) the lesse wee speake itt may bee the better. And as this Agitator whoma I never saw before, said that hee will use his interest, I hope that God will doe somethinge in that for our next Meeting to morrow, that when wee doe meete wee shall have a very happy union.

Buffe-coate.

That hee could breake Engagements in case they [were] proved unjust and that itt might [so] appeare to his conscience. That whatsoever hopes or obligations I should bee bound unto, if afterwards God should reveale himself, I would breake itt speedily, if itt were an 100 a day; and in that sence wee deliver’d our sence.

Mr. Wildman.

Provided, that what is done tends to destruction, either self destruction or to [the destruction of] my neighbour especially. Unlawfull Engagements [are] Engagements against duty, and an Engagement to any person to bring him in such a way as hee may bee enabled to engage, itt is that which may tend to destruction.a

Lieut. Generall.

I thinke clearly you were understood to putt itt uppon an issue where there is clearly a case of destruction, publique destruction, and ruine; and I thinke this will bringe itt into consideration whether or noe our Engagements have really in them that that hath publique destruction and ruine necessarily following? or whether or noe wee may nott give way too much to our owne doubts or feares? and the issue will beeb whether itt bee lawfull to breake a covenant uppon our owne doubts and feares? I thinke [best] if wee agree to deferre the debate, to nominate a Committee.

Col. Rainborow.

One worde. I am of another opinion. Nott that the Engagements of the Army are look’t uppon as destructive, butt the nott-performance of the Engagements of the Army is that which is destructive.

Com̃. Ireton.

I thinke Mr. Wildman’s conclusion is, that they are destructive because they are destructive to our neighbours.

Mr. Wildman.

That if an Engagement were such itt does nott binde.

Com̃. Ireton.

Then if itt were a compliance, or such a Meeting nott for a Law butt for satisfaction, since wheras the only ground which the thinge seemes to mee to bee represented that these Gentlemen thinke that there owne agreement is soe cleare, soe infallibly just and right, that. I doe thinke those Gentlemen have nott soe much ground of confidence to each parte of that agreement as itt lies there, that whatever goes about to take itt from them, or whatever does nott agree to itt, is a thinge unlawfull, butt somethinge may bee seene in that if you come, in the Engagement of itt; and therfore in that relation, and nott your owne principalls that you would admitt of soe much conference as to question itt.a

Mr. Lockyer.

I have gather’d from two men’s mouthes, that destruction is somethinge neere, and the cause of the destruction as they understand is the going of the proposalls to the Kinge. I thinke itt were very necessary that if itt bee true, as is suppos’d, the proposalls may bee brought hither when they doe goe, that wee may see what they are.

Lieut. Generall.

The Question is whether the propositions will save us, or [whether they will] nott destroy us. This discourse concludes nothing.

Capt. Merriman.

One partie feares, That the Kinge will rise by the proposalls, another that hee will loose.

I thinke that most mens eyes are open to see that they are like to prove a broken reede, and that your charriott wheeles doe move heavily, and that this Engagement which is the ground of most of your discourse.a You both desire a succession of Parliaments. The fundamentall businesse of itt is the desire of most of this Councill, to have this Parliament that itt might nott be perpetuated and I thinke when.

That this Oedipus riddle is un-open’d, and this Gordian knott untied, and the enemies of the same, and the spiritt of God are the same in both, and the principles of both are the same. You have both promised to free the people, which you may doe by taking off tythes and other Antichristian yoakes uppon them, and [to] give contents to the souldiers, and I hope that when you meete together itt will bee for good, and not for evill.

Buffe-Coate.

Wheras this Gentleman that wee have requested to come alonge with us hath declar’d some parte of their resolutions with us, and wee are resolved that wee will have the peace of the Kingedome if wee can, and yett notwithstanding if a furtheranceb for the manner of procuring of itt is what God shall direct unto us, I would nott have you judge that wee will deny that Light, till that you know what wee will doe. Noe man can judge soe of any man. A man cannott bee called to bee [of] a peremptory will or self willed, and and come resolved nolens volens [till you know what he will do]. Wee desire that better thoughts may bee of us.

Lieut. Chillenden.

I hope that these Gentlemen of the Five Regiments their ends are good, and hope their hearts doe tend to peace; and I shall move this, that they would willingly come to morrow, and joyne with us in our Councills together, and alsoe I shall humbly move, That after wee have sought God in the businesse, that God will make itt out to us, to see wherin wee have failed, and that their being with us, and our vigorous proceeding in itt, and these Gentlemen of the five Regiments they will manifest this by a sweete compliance in communicating Councils.

Lieut. Generall.

That which this Gentlemana hath moved I like exceeding well; hee hath fully declar’d himself concerning the freedome of their spiritt as to principles. In generall they aime att peace and safetie, and really I am perswaded in my conscience itt is their aime [to act] as may bee most for the good of the people, for really if that bee nott the supreame [aim]b of us under God, (the good of the people) our principles fall. Now if that bee in your spiritts and our spiritts, itt remaines onely that God shew us the way, and lead us [in] the way, which I hope hee will. And give mee leave [to add] that there may bee some prejudices uppon some of your spiritts, and [uppon] such men that doe affect your way, that they may have some jealousies and apprehensions that wee are wedded and glewed to formes of Governement; soe that whatsoever wee may pretend, itt is in vaine for [you] to speake to us, or to hope for any agreement from us to you. And I beleive some such apprehensions as [that we are engaged to] some parte of the Legislative power of the Kingdome, where itt may rest besides in the Commons of the Kingedome. You will finde that wee are farre from being so particularly engaged to anythinge to the prejudice of this—further then the notorious engagements that the world takes notice of—that wee should nott concurre with you that the foundation and supremacy is in the people, radically in them, and to bee sett downe by them in their representations.a And if wee doe soe [concur, we may also concur] for that that does remayne, how wee may run to that end that wee all aime att, and therfore lett us onely name the Committee.

Lieut. Col. Goffe.

You were pleased to say that somethinge which should bee offer’d by these Gentlemenb gave you another occasion of the Meeting, if itt were onely design’d to lie uppon you. I hope that you did nott conceive, that any such ground did lie in my brest. I would speake this worde to the quickening of us to a good hope. I am verily perswaded if God carry us out to meete sincerely, as with free spiritts to open ourselves before the Lord, wee may bee found going on according to his will. I desire such prejudices may bee laid aside.

Mr. Allen.

A Meeting is intended to morrow; butt that wee may fully end, I would humbly offer to you whether these Gentlemen have a power to debate; and if they have nott, that they may have recourse to them that sent them, to see what [powers] they will give [them], that wee may offer our reasons and judgement uppon the thinge, and actc uppon that principle uppon which wee actc If wee unite and agree to itt, itt will putt on other thinges. An agreement formallyd made, wee must bee serious in itt, and to that end that wee may have a full debate in itt. Otherwise itt will bee uselesse and endlesse our meeting.

Lieut. Generall.

That Gentleman sayes hee will doe what hee can to draw all or the most of them hither to bee heard to morrow; and I desire Mr. Wildman, that if they have any freinds that are of a loving spiritt, that would contribute to this businesse of a right understanding [they would come with him]. And I say noe more butt this, I pray God judge betweene you and us when wee doe meete, whether wee come with engaged spiritts to uppehold our owne resolutions and opinions, or whether wee shall lay downe ourselves to bee rul’d [by Him] and that which hee shall communicate.

Col. Rainborow.

Hee did tell you hee would improve his interest, which is as full satisfaction to what Mr. Allen sayes as could bee, if they shall come nott to doe, butt I hope they will come to full power, nott to debate. I thinke there needes noe more.a

Names of the Committee.
Lieut. Generall. Col. Okey.
Co. Generall. Col. Tichborne.
Col. Rainborow. Mr. Sexby.
Sir Hardresse Waller. Mr. Allen.
Col. Rich. Mr. Lockyer.
Adj. Generall Deane. Mr. Clarke.
Col. Scrope. Lt. Generall Hammond.
Col. Thomlinson. Mr. Stenson.
Col. Overton. Mr. Underwood.

To conferre with the Agitators of the five regiments, and such gentlemen as shall come with them about the “Agreement” now brought in, and their own declarations and engagements.

October 29, 1647
Putney

Att the Meeting of the officers for calling uppon God, according to the appointment of the Generall Councill, after some discourses of Commissary Cowling, Major White, and others.

Capt. Clarke.

Wee have bin heere as wee say seekeing of God, though truly hee is nott farre from every one of us; and wee have said in the presence of God, as out of his presence wee cannott goe, that wee have none in heaven in comparison of him, nor none wee have even in earth in comparison of him. I wish our hearts does nott give us the lie, for truly had that bin a truth, I meane a truth in our carriages, wee should nott have bin soe lost this day. Had wee given eare to the inspiring worde of Christ, and had nott given ourselves to the false prophett within us, certainly God would have kindled that light within us, and [we] should have gone [on] and submitted to his will; and should nott have bin troubled or harassed as wee are with troubles and amazements, butt must have gone with God as hee hath allotted to us. What is the reason that wee finde the light and glory of God eclypsed from our eyes this day? Truly wee may finde this silence within us the cause of every evil sought after;a and lett us butt search our owne spiritts with patience, and looke by the lightb of God within us, and wee shall finde that wee have submitted the spiritt of God unto the candle of reason, whereas reason should have bin subservient unto the spiritt of God. Wee are troubled when our owne reasons tell us, that this is the way, and wee are careless to seeke the way, or that true light Christ in us which is the way. Wee are apt to say, all of us, that if wee seeke thatc first, the later first, the firstd will nott bee wanting; butt truly, wee have sought the first last, and therfore the first is wanting, and before this light can take place againe that darkenesse must bee removed. And first within us our lust, that candle of reason,a which doth seduce and intice us to wander from God, must bee eaten out of us by the spiritt of God, and when there is noe place for lust, there is place enough for the spiritt of God. If wee shall with resolutions and humility of spiritt nott say, butt doe, as the children of Israell used to doe many times when they were in distresse—many times they cryed unto the Lord—if wee shall doe as wee professe before God this day, that is, lay downe our reason, lay downe our goods, lay downe all wee have att the feete of God and lett God worke his will in us that wee may bee buried with God in our spiritts; I doubt nott butt the appearances of God will bee more glorious, and I doubt nott butt there will bee that contentednesse in spiritt. Wee should desire noe way, butt waite which way God will lead us. I say, wee should chuse noe way, butt if the spiritt of God lead us, wee should bee ready to submitt to the will of God. And therfore I desire, that, since this is in order to another meeting in the afternoone, wee may lay downe all att the feete of God, nott following our owne reasons, butt submitting unto that light which is lightened in us by his spirit.

After this Capt. Carter prayed.

Adj. Gen. Deane.

Motion for a Meeting att this place, the Quartermaster Generall’s Quarters, to meete Munday, the Councill day, from 8 till 11, to seeke God, &c.

Lieut. Col. Goffe.b

That which I must now desire to expresse to you was partly occasioned by the thoughts that I had the last night, as being indeed kept awake with them a good while; and, hearing somethinge that did concurre with itt from one that spake since wee came together, I feele some weight uppon my spiritt to expresse itt to you. That which was spoken enow [was] concerning the conjunction that is betweene Antichrist, or that mistery of iniquity in the world carried on by men that call themselves [the] church, thata certainly itt is with the conjunction of men in places of power or aucthority in the world, with kinges and great men. And truly my thoughts were much uppon itt this night, and itt appeares to me very clearly from that which God hath sett downe in his worde in the Booke of the Revelations,—which is that worde that wee are bid and commanded to study and to looke into, being the worde which God sent by his Angell to John to declare as thinges shortly to bee done. Now certainly this worke of Antichrist hath bin a worke of great standing, and, as itt was well observ’d, itt hath bin mixt with the church, and men that call themselves the church, the clergie, mixt with men of aucthoritie. Itt is said in the Revelation, that the kinges of the earth should give uppe their power unto the Beast, and the kinges of the earth have given uppe their power to the Pope. Butt some places that have seem’d to deny the Pope’s supremacy, yett they have taken uppon them that which hath bin equivalent to that which the Pope himself holds forth. Truly I could bringe itt to this present Kingedome wherin wee are. ’Tis true the kinges have bin instruments to cast off the Pope’s supremacy, butt wee may see if they have nott putt themselves into the same state.b Wee may see itt in that title which the kinge hath, “Defender of the Faith,” butt more especially in that canonicall prayer which the clergie used, “In all causes, and over all persons as well Ecclesiasticall as Civill [supreme].” Certainly, this is a mistery of iniquity. Now Jesus Christ his worke in the last dayes is to destroy this mistery of iniquity; and because itt is so interwoven and intwisted in the interest of States, certainly in that overthrow of the mistery of iniquity by Jesus Christ, there must bee great alterations of states. Now the worde doth hold out in the Revelation, that in this worke of Jesus Christ hee shall have a companie of Saints to follow him, such as are chosen, and called, and faithfull.a Now itt is a scruple amonge the saints, how farre they should use the sworde, yett God hath made use of them in that worke. Many of them have bin imployed these five or six yeares. Yett whatsoever God shall imploy us in, I could wish this were laid to heart by us, that, as wee would bee called the chosen and faithfull that will follow Christ wheresoever hee goes, lett us tremble att the thought that wee should bee standing in a direct opposition against Jesus Christ in the worke that hee is about. Lett us nott bee twisted amongst such kinde of compartinges where there shall bee a mystery of iniquity sett uppe by outward power, and that wee should bee the instruments of giving any life or strength to that power. And I wish [we may lay this to heart], and I beleive itt may somewhat tend to the worke by the way; because wee are to hold out the will of God for the time to come, and to bee humbled for what wee have done against itt. Lett us inquire whether some of the actions that wee have done of late, some of the thinges that wee have propounded of late, doe nott crosse the worke of God in these particulars; because in our proposing thinges wee doe indeavour to sett uppe that power which God would nott sett uppe againe. Itt hath bin hinted already. I meane in our compliance with that partie which God hath ingaged us to destroy. Wee intended nothing butt civility, butt I wish they were nott in some measure compliances; and if I mistake nott there are ways which God hath laid open to us, wherby wee may lay aside that compliance.

Butt this is nott all that I would speake, because God hath called forth my spiritt to unity. What wee doe according to the will of God will nott tend to division. This I speake concerning compliance may bee thought to reflect uppon some particular persons more then other some, soe on the other hand I desire to speake somethinge that may concerne some persons that may stand, or att least may seeme to stand, in direct opposition to us; and truly I wish wee may bee very wary what wee doe, and lett us take heede of rejecting any of the saints of God before God rejects them. If God bee pleased to shew any of his servants that hee hath made use of as great instruments in his hand as those that God hath blest in them, that God hath blest them, and this hath bin the greatest instrument of the ruine of sin and corruption in this Army. Lett us bee wary and consider what wee have to doe in that kinde; and I spake this the rather because I was sensible of some personall reflections that did nott argue the workinges of God [so much] as the workinges of passions in us. Now the worke of the spiritt is, that wee doe pull downe all workes [not] of the spiritt whatsoever; and therfore I desire that as in the presence of God wee may take heede of all thinges which may tend to dissunion, and that wee may nott despise those who may have some thinges in their hands to contribute for the worke of God. And there is another thinge: if wee have lost the opportunity of appearing against enemies, lett us take heede, when wee bee sensible of God’s displeasure, that wee doe nott run before hee bids us goe a 2d time. There is a place which is very remarkable, Numbers xiv., where the spies were sent to the Land of Canaan; and when they came back the hearts of the people were discouraged. God was displeased att this, and hee discover’d itt in some such way as hee did this day. Uppon a suddaine there was a partie that would goe uppe, and fight against the Amalekites; and att such a time when God would nott have them goe uppe. “Though you did sin against the Lord in nott going att first,” sayes Moses, “yett goe nott now uppe, for the Lord is nott amonge you, that yee bee nott smitten before your enemies.”a Yett they did goe uppe unto the Hill Toppe, and were discomfited. I thinke wee have sinned in that wee did nott shew our courage and faithfulnesse to God. Lett us nott now in a kinde of heate run uppe and say, “wee will goe now;” because itt may bee there is a better opportunity that God will give us. And that wee may a little helpe us by our owne experiences, lett us remember how God hath dealt with this Army in our late proceedinges. There was some heavinesse in our proceedinges before the Citty,a as was thought by some; and itt was said by many, “Goe uppe, Goe uppe quicklie, and doe our worke.” Butt lett us remember that God found a better season for us, then if wee had gone att first. Lett us consider whether this bee the best juncture of time for us to declare, and to throw off some of our freinds, when that they would have itt discover’d whetherb God goes alonge with us. Lett this bee consider’d, that soe wee may bee humbled on the one hand, and breake off all unlawfull compliance with the enemies of God, soe on the other hand wee may stay, and take the company one of another, or rather the presence of God, [alonge with us]. And soe for the worke of the day, I wish there may bee a day of union amongst us; for itt may bee itt is the will of God that wee should waite uppon him therin to see what will bee the issue of a businesse that is now transacted; and if wee can trust God in this strait wee shall see him straight before us, if wee can bee of one minde. I wish this may bee consider’d, and if there be anythinge of God in itt, itt may be received.

Mr. Everard.c

This honourable Councill hath given mee great incouragement. Though I have many impediments in my speach, yett I thanke you that you will heare mee speake. I engaged myself yesterday to bringe the men to have a debatc, and for that purpose I have prosecuted these my promises, and I have bin with them as many as I can finde; butt the most of them are dispersed, soe that I lost that opportunity which I would have enjoyed; butt neverthelesse I hope you will take itt kindlie, that those that were there are come hither, and those two freinds that were with mee yesterday. Our ends are that wee desire yett once more a compliance in those thinges that wee propounded to you, butt if itt shall please God to open our eyes that wee can see itt, wee shall comply with you. For our desires are nothing butt (according to our first Declaration,)a to follow our worke to deliver the Kingedome from that burthen that lies uppon us. For my parte I am butt a poore man, and unacquainted with the affaires of the Kingedome, yett this message God hath sent mee to you, that there is great expectation of suddaine destruction; and I would bee loath to fill uppe that with words. Wee desire your joynct consent to seeke out some speedy way for the releif of the Kingedome.

Lieut. Generall,

I thinke itt would nott bee amisse that those Gentlemen that are come would draw nigher.

I must offer this to your consideration, whether or noe wee, having sett aparte this morning to seeke God, and to gett such a preparednesse of heart and spiritt as might receive that, that God was minded to have imparted to us, and this having taken uppe all our time, all this day, and itt having bin soe late this last night as indeed itt was when wee brake uppe, and wee having appointed a committee to meete together to consider of that paper, and this Committee having had noe time or opportunity that I know of, nott soe much as a meeting, I make some scruple or doubt whether or noe itt is nott better,—[I know] that danger is imagined [near at hand], and indeed I thinke itt is,—butt bee the danger what itt will, our agreement in the businesse is much more [pressing] then the pressing of any danger, soe by that wee doe nott delay too.—That which I have to offer [is], whether or noe wee are [as] fitt to take uppe such a consideracion of these papers now as wee might bee to-morrow. Perhaps if these Gentlemen, which are butt few, and that Committee should meete together, and spend their time together an houre or two the remainder of this afternoone, and all this company might meete about 9 or 10 a clock att furthest, and they [might] understand one another soe well, as wee might bee prepared for the generall meeting to have a more exact and particular consideration of thinges then [we can have] by a generall loose debate of thinges, which our Committee or att least manya of us have [not] had any, or att least nott many thoughts about.

Col. Rainborow,

Sir. I am sorry that the ill disposition of my body caused mee to goe to London last night, and [hindered me] from coming soe soone this morning as to bee with you in the duty you were about. Butt I hope that which hath bin said att this time, which I hope is a truth and sent from God, will soe worke uppon mee that I shall indeavour att least to carry my self soe that I may use all that interest I have to a right and quick understanding betweene us. And truly, Sir, to that present motion that hath bin made I confesse I have nothing against itt, butt onely the danger that lies uppon us; which truly (if wee may have leave to differ one from another) may in a moment overcome [us]. I hope wee shall all take one worde that was spoken to us by Lieut. Col. Goffe, and I thinke that nothing will conduce soe much [to union as] that wee may have noe personall reflections. I thinke itt would have bin well if the Committee had mett, butt since all this company, or the greatest parte of them that have bin heere, have joyn’d in that duty which was on the former parte of the morning, I thinke there is nott much inconveniency that they may spend the other parte of the day with us. [That] if wee were satisfied ourselves uppon debate, and there should bee one partie, or one sort of men that are of a contrary judgement present, or others that should come over to us, itt would heerafter cost some time to know the reasons of their coming over. Therfore I thinke itt an advantage that it should bee as publique, and as many as may bee present att itt. The debating this thus publiquely may bee an advantage unto us, and if wee finde ata after the multitude of people that are heere (that have bin spoken to) if wee finde that inconvenient, I doe nott doubt butt the Committee, when this company breakes uppe, may have two houres time together. Therefore I should desire, that since the Gentlemen and you are mett together to such an end and purpose, that you will follow to that end.

Mr. Everard.

That itt is not [fit] as I conceive to dispute any thing touching particulars, for all as I conceive doe seeke the kingedome’s good. Lett us goe about the work, noe question butt we shall goe together. Butt if wee stand disputing the worke, much business will be. I desire this honourable Councill will pardon mee to make out some speedy way for the easing of us. I beseech you that you will let us now consider uppon that. I believe wee shall jumpe all in one with itt. If wee doe nott fall upon some extraordinary wayes between—Some lawes with us that will prick us to the heart, wee must winke att them, nott that I desire that wee should seeke to ruinate any wholesome lawes, butt such as will nott stand with the wholesome peace of the Kingedome.b

Capt. Awdeley.

I shall desire to second that Gentleman’s motion. That while wee debate wee doe nothing. I am confident that whilest you are doing you will all agree together, for itt is idlenesse that hath begott this rust, and this gangreene amongst us.

Lieut. Generall.

I thinke itt is true. Lett us bee doing, butt lett us bee united in our doing. If there remayne nothing else butt present action,a I thinke wee neede nott bee in Councill heere.a Butt if wee doe nott rightly and clearly understand one another before wee come to act, if wee doe nott lay a foundation of action before wee doe act, I doubt whether wee shall act unanimously or noe. And seriously, as before the Lord, I knew noe such end of our speech the last night, and appointing another Meeting, butt in order to a more perfect understanding of one another, what wee should doe, and that wee might bee agreed uppon some principalls of action. And truly if I remember rightly, uppon the delivery of the paper that was yesterday, this was offer’d, that the thinges [that] are now uppon us are thinges of difficulty, the thinges are therfore thinges that doe deserve consideration, because there might bee great weight in the consequences; and itt was then offer’d, and I hope is still soe in all our hearts, that wee are nott troubled with the consideration of the difficulty, nor with the consideration of any thinge butt this; that if wee doe difficult thinges wee may see that the thinges wee doe have the will of God in them, that they are nott onely plausible and good thinges but seasonable and honest thinges fitt for us to doe. And therfore itt was desir’d that wee might consider, before wee could come to these papers, in what condition wee stood in respect of former Engagements, however some may bee satisfied that there lie none uppon us, or none butt such as itt’s duty to breake, itt’s sin to keepe. Therefore that was yesterday premised [that] there may bee a consideration had of them—and I may speake itt as in the presence of God that I know nothing of any Engagements, butt I would see liberty in any man as I would bee free from bondage to any thinge that should hinder mee from doing my duty—and therfore that was first in consideration. If our obligation bee nothing, or if itt bee weake, I hope itt will receive satisfaction why itt should bee laid aside, that the thinges that wee speake of are nott obliged. And therfore if itt please you I thinke itt will bee good for us to frame our discourse to what wee were, where wee are, what wee are bound to, what wee are free to; and then I make noe question, butt that this may conclude what is betweene these Gentlemen in one afternoone. I doe nott speake this to make obligations more then what they were before; butt as before the Lord. You see what they are,a and when wee looke uppon them wee shall see ifb we have bin in a wronge way, and I hope itt will call uppon us for the more double diligence.

Col. Rainborow.

I shall desire a word or two before that. I did exceedingly mistake myself the last night that uppon what wee say now was determined.c I look’t uppon the Committee as a Committee to looke over this paper, to see whether itt were a paper that did hold forth justice and righteousnesse, whether itt were a paper that honest men could close with. Butt truly I am of opinion that if wee should spend ten dayes time in going over that Booke, and debate what Engagements wee have broke, or whether wee have broke any or noe, or whether we have kept our Engagements, itt would nott come to the businesse, neither would itt prevent that evill that I thinke will overtake us before wee fall into the right way,d unlesse God in abundant manner prevent;—and I could give you reasons for itt which this day I have from very good hands, and which I think is not prudent to declare soe publicly as this is.—Lett us goe the quickest way to worke; and truly, Sir, I have thought that the wounds of the Kingedome, and the difficulties that wee are falne into, and our cure is become soe great that wee would bee willing all of us to heale the sore, and [not] to skin itt over butt leave itt unwholesome and corrupt att the bottome. Therefore for my parte I doe conclude in my spiritt, for my owne parte I [did] say this yesterday uppon another occasion, I will nott say positively that wee are to take the course prescribed in that paper att present, butt if wee doe nott sett uppon the worke—Since in order to that there is a thinge call’d an Agreement which the people have subscribed, and being that is ready to our hands, I desire that you would reade itt and debate itt, whether itt bee a way to deliver us yett or noe; and if itt bee . . . . [that you would accept it], and if nott that you would thinke of some other way.

Lieut. Generall.

I shall butt offer this to you. Truly I hope that wee may speake our hearts freelie heere; and I hope that there is nott such an evill amongst us as that wee could or would exercise our witts, or our cunning to vaile over any doublenesse of heart that may possibly bee in us. I hope, having bin in such a presence as wee have bin this day, wee doe nott admitt of such a thought as this into our hearts. And therfore if the speaking of that wee did speake before, and to which I shall speake againe, with submission to all that heare mee — if the declining to consider this paper may have with any man a workinga uppon his spiritt through any jealousie that itt aimes att delay; truly I can speake itt as before the Lord itt is nott att all in my heart, butt sincerely this is the ground of itt. I know this paper doth contayne many good thinges in itt, butt this is the onely thinge that doth stick with mee, the desiring to know my freedome to this thinge. Though this doth suggest that that may bee the bottome of all our evills—and I will nott say against itt because I doe nott thinke against itt—though this doth suggest the bottome of all our evills, yett for all of us to see our selves free to this [so] as wee may unanimously joyne uppon this, either to agree to this, or to adde more to itt, [or] to alter [it] as wee shall agree, this impediment lies in our way, [even] if every man bee satisfied with itt butt my self. That this is the first thinge that is to bee consider’d, that wee should consider in what condition wee stand to our former obligations, that if wee bee cleare wee may goe off cleare, if nott wee may nott goe on. If I bee nott come off [clear] with what obligations are made, if I bee nott free to act to whatsoever you shall agree uppon, I thinke this is my duty: that I should nott in the least study either to retard your worke or hinder itt, or to act against itt, butt wish you as much successe as if I were free to act with you. I desire wee may view over our obligations and Engagements, that soe wee may bee free [to act together] uppon honest and cleare grounds, if this bee [possible].

My desire — (Col. Rainborow offering to speake.)

Lieut. Gen.

I have butt one worde to prevent you in, and that is for imminent danger. Itt may bee possibly soe [imminent] that [it] may nott admitt of an houres debate, nor nothing of delay. If that bee soe, I thinke that’s above all law and rule to us.

Col. Rainborow.

I would offer one worde, for I thinke this will bringe us to noe issue att all. Both yesterday and to-day, and divers times, wee have had cautions given us to have care of divisions. I doe speake itt to avoide devision; that wee may nott att this time consider the Engagements. If you, or any other Gentlemen, are of opinion that you have nott broke them, and then some others are of opinion that you have broke them, wee may fall into contests which may occasion devision. Butt if you reade this, and finde it not against the Engagement, that will bee the worke. If it be nott against the Engagement, you will finde that in itt which you will finde from your Engagements, and I have somethinge to say to the particulars in itt.

Com̃: Cowling.

I shall onely offer this, the necessity of expedition if the people shall consider the necessities that they and we are in. Wee live now uppon free-quarter, and wee have that against our wills.a Those that know what belonges to Armies well know, none are to quarter souldiers, butt those that are within soe many miles; and if soe bee too that the owner of the house should refuse to open his doores wee are prevented to pay our quarters by those that might have supplyed us. I have seene this paper, and uppon second reading of itt I sett my hand to itt, that wee may nott lie as drones to devoure their families. I am ready where I am called by my superiours. If nott, the Lord bee mercifull to mee.

Major White.b

I should offer one worde to this Councill: I thinke itt is in all our mindes to deliver the Kingdome; if there bee particular engagements wee must lay them downe to lay downe publique good.

Lieut. Generall.

I desire to know what the Gentleman meanes concerning particular Engagements; if hee meanes those that are in this Booke? If those that are in this booke [they are the engagements of the Army]. Butt if hee meanes Engagements personall from particular persons, lett every man speake for himselfe. I speake for myself, I disavowe all, and I am free to act, free from any such —

Major White.

I conceive that [if] they bee such as are past by the Representativec of the Army, I thinke the Army is bound in conscience to goe on with them.

Col. Hewson.

All the Engagements that have bin declar’d for have bin by the Representative of the Army, and whether or noe that hath nott bin the cause of this cloude that hanges over our heads. I thinke if wee lay our hands over our hearts wee may nott much mistake itt.

Mr. Pettus.

According to your Honours desires yesterday, I am come in heere to give in my reasons why I doe approve of this paper, this Agreement, [and] to receive reasons why itt should nott bee agreed to. For the particular Engagements of the Army I am ignorant of them, butt, if itt please this Councill to lett this bee read, that either the matter or manner of itt may bee debated; and when any of the matter shall come to touch uppon any Engagement so as to breake any Engagement, that then the Engagement may bee showne; and if that Engagement shall prove just, and this unjust, this must bee rejected, or if this just, and these Engagements unjust [then they must be rejected]. I desire all those that are free from itt in their spiritts may act farther; and those that thinke themselves bound uppe soea to acquiesce in itt, as that they would bee pleased to rest satisfied in the actions of other men that are att libertie to act for the peace and freedome of the Kingedome.

Com̃. Generall.

Truly I would, if I did know of any personall, particular Engagements, if I were personally or particularly engaged myself, which I professe, as in the presence of God, I know nott for myself.b I myself am nott under any Engagement in relation to that businesse that the great Question lies uppon—I neede nott name itt—more then what all men know that have seene and read, and in the Armie consented to, those thinges that were published. Butt if I were under any particular Engagement, itt should nott att all stand in any other man’s way. If I were under [any particular engagement] I say, that I could bee convinc’t of was ill and unlawfull for mee to enter into, my Engagement should nott stand in any other man’s way that would doe any thinge that I could bee convinc’t of to bee better. And till God hath brought us all to that temper of spiritt that wee can bee contented to bee nothing in our reputations, [in our] esteemes, in our power—truly I may goe a little higher and say, till the reputation and honour of the Army and such thinges become nothing to us, nott soe as to [let] the consideration of them, to stand att all in the way to hinder us from what wee see God calling us to, or to prompt us on to what wee have nott a cleare call from him—wee are nott brought to that temper wherin I can expect any renewing of that presence of God that wee have sought. Therfore for my parte I professe first, I desire noe [particular] Engagements [may be considered]. If there were particular Engagements of any particular man whatsoever, as to the leading of the Army one way or other, I desire they may nott bee consider’d; butt lett that man looke to himself for what justice lies uppon him, and what justice will follow him. Neither doe I care for the Engagements of the Army soe much for the Engagementsa sake, butt I looke uppon this Army as having carried with itt hitherto the name of God, and having carried with it hitherto the interest of the people of God, and the interest which is God’s interest, the honour of his name, the good, and freedome, and safetie, and happinesse of his people. And for my parte I thinke that itt is that that is the onely thinge for which God hath appeared with us, and led us, and gone before us, and honoured us, and taken delight to worke by us. I say, that very thinge, that wee have carried the name of God, and I hope nott in shew butt in reallity, professing to act, and to worke, as wee have thought in our judgements and consciences, [with] God to lead us; professing to act to those ends that wee have thought to bee answerable and suitable to the minde of God, soe farre as itt hath bin knowne to us. Wee have professed to indeavour to follow the councells of God, and to have him President in our Councills; and I hope itt hath bin soe in our hearts. That wee have bin ready to follow his guidance; and I know itt hath bin soe in many thinges against our owne reasons, where wee have seene evidently God calling us. That wee have bin carried on with a confidence in him, wee have made him our trust, and wee have held forth his name, and wee have owned his hand towards us. These are the thinges I say which God hath in some degree and measure wrought his people in this Army uppe to, in some degree of sincerity; and this itt is, as I said before, that I account hath bin [the cause] that God hath taken delight in, amongst us, to dwell with us, to bee with us, and to appeare with us, and will manifest his presence to us. And therefore by this meanes, and by that appearance of God amongst us, the name and honour of God, the name and reputation of the people of God, and of that Gospell that they professe, is deeply, and dearly, and nearly concern’d in the good or ill manage of this Army, in their good or ill carriage; and therefore for my parte I professe itt, that’s the onely thinge to mee. [It is] nott to mee soe much as the vainest, or lightest thinge you can imagine, whether there bee a kinge in England, or noe, whether there bee Lords in England or noe. For whatever I finde the worke of God tending to I should desire quietly to submitt to. If God saw itt good to destroy, nott only Kinge and Lords, butt all distinctions of degrees—nay if itt goe further, to destroy all property, that there’s noe such thinge left, that there bee nothing att all of Civill Constitution left in the Kingedome—if I see the hand of God in itt I hope I shall with quietnesse acquiesce, and submitt to itt, and nott resist itt. Butt still I thinke that God certainly will soe leade those that are his, and I hope too hee will soe lead this Army that they may nott incurre sin, or bring scandall uppon the name of God, and the name of the people of God that are both soe neerly concern’d in what this Army does. And therefore itt is my wish, uppon those grounds that I before declar’d which made the consideration of this Army deare and tender to mee,a that wee may take heede, [that] wee consider first Engagements, soe farre as they are Engagements publiquely of the Army. I doe nott speake of particular [engagements] I would nott have them consider’d, if there bee any. And secondly I would have us consider of this: that our wayes and workinges and actinges, and the actings of the Army, soe farre as the Councills of those prevaile in itt who have anythinge of the spiritt of Jesus Christ may appeare suitable to that spiritt. And as I would not have this Army in relation to those great concernements (as I said before) the honour of God, and the honour and good name of his people and of religion, as I would nott have itt to incurre the scandall of neglecting Engagements, and laying aside all consideration of Engagements, and of jugling, and deceiving, and deluding the world, making them beleive thinges in times of extreamity which they never meant, soe I would nott have us to give the world occasion to thinke that wee are the disturbers of the peace of mankinde. I say, I would nott give them just occasion to thinke soe; nay I would have them have just cause to thinke that wee seeke peace with all men, and wee seeke the good of all men, and wee seeke the destruction of none that wee can say; and in generall I would wish and study, and that my hearte is bent to, that the Councills of this Army may appeare acted by that wisedome that is from above, which wee know how itt is charact’d. Itt is first pure, and then peaceable, and then gentle, and easie to bee intreated, and wee finde many characters of the same wisedome, and other fruites of the same spiritt that all still run clearlie that way. Therefore I say, I wish that wee may have noe otherwise a consideration of Engagements or any thinge of that nature. That which makes mee presse itt is cheiflie, that consideracion of the concernement of the honour of God and his people in the Army; and as I prize them soe I pressa that in all things whatsoever, though wee were free and had noe Engagements, we doe act as Christians, as men guided by the spiritt of God, as men having that wisedome [that is] from above, and [is] soe characteriz’d.

To the method of our proceeding. Having exprest what I desire may bee all our cares, I cannott but thinke that this will bee clearest, because I see it is soe much prest and insisted uppon: nott [to go]b to read what our Engagements are, butt [to] read the paper that is presented heere, and consider uppon it, what good, and what matter of justice and righteousnesse there is in itt, and whether there bee anythinge of injustice or unrighteousnesse, either in itt self, or in reference to our Engagements. Soe farre I thinke our Engagements ought to bee taken into consideration: that soe farre as wee are engaged to a thinge that was nott unlawfull to engage to, and I should bee sad to thinke them soe, wee should thinke ourselves bound nott to act contrary to those Engagements. And that wee may consider of the particulars of this paper, first, whether they bee good and just, that is, nott ill, nott unjust; and then further to consider whether they bee soe essentially due and right as that they should bee contended for, for then that is some kinde of checke to lesse Engagements; and for such thinges, if wee finde any, light Engagements [may] bee cast off and nott consider’d.c Butt if wee finde any matter in them that, though itt bee just, though itt bee good, is nott probable to bee soe beneficiall and advantageous, nott to few, butt to many, that withall wee may consider whether itt bee soe much a duty, and wee bee soe much bound to itt by the thinge itt self as that noe Engagement can take us from itt. Andd if wee finde any thinges that, if they bee just or good, [are] yett nott soe obligatorie or of [such] necessity to the Kingedome, [but that] the Kingedome may stand without them, then I thinke itt being [so] nott absolutely lawfull to act for them.

Major Rainborow.

I desire wee may come to that end wee all strive after. I humbly desire you will fall uppon that which is the Engagement of all, which is the rights and freedomes of the people, and lett us see how farre wee have made sure to them a right and freedome, and if any thinge bee tendred as to that. And when that Engagement is gone through then lett us consider of those that are of greater weight.

The Paper called the Agreement read.

Afterwards the first Article read by itt self.a

Commissary Ireton.

The exception that lies in itt is this. Itt is said: “The people of England” etc. . . . . they are to bee distributed “according to the number of the inhabitants;” and this doth make mee thinke that the meaning is, that every man that is an inhabitant is to bee equally consider’d, and to have an equall voice in the election of the representors, those persons that are for the Generall Representative; and if that bee the meaning then I have somethinge to say against itt. But if itt bee onely that those people, that by the Civill Constitution of this kingedome, which is originall and fundamentall, and beyond which I am sure noe memory of record does goe—(Nott before the Conquest).a Butt before the Conquest itt was soe. Iff itt bee intended, that those that by that Constitution that was before the Conquest, that hath bin beyond memory, such persons that have bin before [by] that Constitution [the electors], should be [still] the electors, I have noe more to say against itt.

Col. Rainborow.

Moved, That others might have given their hands to itt.

Capt. Denne.

Denied, That those that were sett of their Regiment that they were their hands.

Commissary Ireton.

Whether those men whose hands are to itt, or those that brought itt, doe know soe much of the matter, as [to know whether] they meane that all that had a former right of election [are to be electors], or [whether] those that had noe right before are to come in?

Commissary Cowling.

In the time before the Conquest, and since the Conquest, the greatest parte of the Kingedome was in vassalage.

Mr. Pettus.

Wee judge that all inhabitants that have nott lost their birthright should have an equall voice in Elections.

Col. Rainborow.

I desir’d that those that had engaged in itt [should speak] for really I thinke that the poorest hee that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest hee; and therfore truly, Sir, I thinke itt’s cleare, that every man that is to live under a Governement ought first by his owne consent to putt himself under that Governement; and I doe thinke that the poorest man in England is nott att all bound in a stricte sence to that Governement that hee hath not had a voice to putt himself under; and I am confident that when I have heard the reasons against itt, somethinge will bee said to answer those reasons, insoemuch that I should doubt whether hea was an Englishman or noe that should doubt of these thinges.

Commissary Ireton.

That’s [the meaning of] this [“according to the number of the inhabitants.”]

Give mee leave to tell you, that if you make this the rule I thinke you must flie for refuge to an absolute naturall Right, and you must deny all Civill Right; and I am sure itt will come to that in the consequence. This I perceive is prest as that which is soe essentiall and due,—the right of the people of this Kingedome, and as they are the people of this Kingedome, distinct and devided from other people,—as that wee must for this right lay aside all other considerations; this is soe just, this is soe due, this is soe right to them. And that those that they doe thus chuse must have such a power of binding all, and loosing all, according to those limitations; this is prest, as soe due, and soe just as [it] is argued, that itt is an Engagement paramount [to] all others: and you must for itt lay aside all others; if you have engaged any others you must breake itt. [We must] soe looke uppon these as thus held out to us; soe itt was held out by the Gentleman that brought itt yesterday. For my parte I thinke itt is noe right att all. I thinke that noe person hath a right to an interest or share in the disposing or determining of the affaires of the Kingdome, and in chusing those that shall determine what lawes wee shall bee rul’d by heere, noe person hath a right to this, that hath nott a permanent fixed interest in this Kingedome; and those persons together are properly the Represented of this Kingedome, and consequentlie are to make uppe the Representors of this Kingedome, who taken together doe comprehend whatsoever is of reall or permanent interest in the Kingedome. And I am sure I cannott tell what otherwise any man can say why a forraigner coming in amongst us—or as many as will coming in amongst us, or by force or otherwise setling themselves heere, or att least by our permission having a being heere—why they should nott as well lay claime to itt as any other. Wee talke of birthright. Truly [by] birthright there is thus much claime. Men may justly have by birthright, by their very being borne in England, that wee should nott seclude them out of England, that wee should nott refuse to give them aire, and place, and ground, and the freedome of the high wayes and other thinges, to live amongst us; nott [to] any man that is borne heere, though by his birth there come nothing att all to him that is parte of the permanent interest of this Kingedome. That I thinke is due to a man by birth. Butt that by a man’s being borne heere hee shall have a share in that power that shall dispose of the lands heere, and of all thinges heere, I doe nott thinke itt a sufficient ground. I am sure if wee looke uppon that which is the utmost within man’s view of what was originally the constitution of this Kingedome, [if wee] looke uppon that which is most radicall and fundamentall, and which if you take away there is noe man hath any land, any goods, [or] any civill interest, that is this: that those that chuse the Representors for the making of Lawes by which this State and Kingedome are to bee govern’d, are the persons who taken together doe comprehend the locall interest of this Kingedome; that is, the persons in whome all land lies, and those in Corporations in whome all trading lies. This is the most fundamentall Constitution of this Kingedome, which if you doe nott allow you allow none att all. This Constitution hath limitted and determined itt that onely those shall have voices in Elections. Itt is true as was said by a Gentlemana neere mee, the meanest man in England ought to have [a voice in the election of the government he lives under]. . . . I say this, that those that have the the meanest locall interest, that man that hath butt fourty shillinges a yeare, hee hath as great voice in the Election of a Knight for the shire as hee that hath ten thousand a yeare or more, if hee had never soe much; and therfore there is that regard had to itt. Butt this still the Constitution of this Government hath had an eye to — and what other Governement hath nott an eye to this? Itt doth nott relate to the interest of the Kingedome, if itt doe nott lay the foundation of the power that’s given to the Representors in those who have a permanent and a locall interest in the Kingedome, and who taken altogether doe comprehend the whole [interest of this kingdom]. If wee shall goe to take away this fundamentall parte of the civill constitution wee shall plainly goe to take away all property and interest that any man hath, either in land by inheritance, or in estate by possession, or any thinge else. There is all the reason and justice that can bee if I will come to live in a Kingedome being a forraigner to itt, or live in a Kingedome having noe permanent interest in itt—if I will desire as a stranger, or claime as one freeborne heere, the ayre, the free passage of highwayes, the protection of lawes and all such things, if I will either desire them, or claime them, I (if I have noe permanent interest in that Kingdome), must submitt to those lawes and those rules which those shall choose who taken together doe comprehend the whole interest of the Kingedome.b

Col. Rainborow,

Truly, Sir, I am of the same opinion I was; and am resolved to keepe itt till I know reason why I should nott. I confesse my memory is bad, and therfore I am faine to make use of my penne. I remember that in a former speecha this Gentleman brought before this, hee was saying, that in some cases hee should nott value whether [there were] a Kinge or noe Kinge, whether Lords or noe Lords, whether a property or noe property. For my parte I differ in that. I doe very much care whether [there be] a Kinge or noe Kinge, Lords or noe Lords, property or noe property; and I thinke iff wee doe nott all take care wee shall all have none of these very shortly. Butt as to this present businesse. I doe heare nothing att all that can convince mee, why any man that is borne in England ought nott to have his voice in Election of Burgesses. Itt is said, that if a man have nott a permanent interest, hee can have noe claime, and wee must bee noe freer then the lawes will lett us to bee, and that there is noe Chronicle will lett us bee freer then that wee enjoy. Something was said to this yesterday. I doe thinke that the maine cause why Almighty God gave men reason, itt was, that they should make use of that reason, and that they should improve itt for that end and purpose that God gave itt them.b And truly, I thinke that halfe a loafe is better then none if a man bee an hungry, yett I thinke there is nothing that God hath given a man that any else can take from him. Therfore I say, that either itt must bee the law of God or the law of man that must prohibite the meanest man in the Kingdome to have this benefittc as well as the greatest. I doe nott finde any thinge in the law of God, that a Lord shall chuse 20 Burgesses, and a Gentleman butt two, or a poore man shall chuse none. I finde noe such thinge in the law of nature, nor in the law of nations. Butt I doe finde, that all Englishmen must bee subject to English lawes, and I doe verily beleive, that there is noe man butt will say, that the foundation of all law lies in the people, and if [it lie] in the people, I am to seeke for this exemption. And truly I have thought somethinge [else], in what a miserable distressed condition would many a man that hath fought for the Parliament in this quarrell bee? I will bee bound to say, that many a man whose zeale and affection to God and this Kingedome hath carried him forth in this cause hath soe spent his estate that in the way the State, the Army are going hee shall nott hold uppe his head; and when his estate is lost, and nott worth 40s. a yeare, a man shall nott have any interest;a and there are many other wayes by which estates men have doe fall to decay, if that bee the rule which God in his providence does use. A man when hee hath an estate hath an interest in making lawes, when hee hath none, hee hath noe power in itt. Soe that a man cannott loose that which hee hath for the maintenance of his family, butt hee must loose that which God and nature hath given him. Therfore I doe [think] and am still of the same opinion; that every man born in England cannot, ought nott, neither by the law of God nor the law of nature, to bee exempted from the choice of those who are to make lawes, for him to live under, and for him, for ought I know, to loose his life under. Therfore I thinke there can bee noe great sticke in this.

Truly I thinke that there is nott this day raigning in England a greater fruite or effect of Tyranny then this very thinge would produce. Truly I know nothing free butt onely the Knight of the shire, nor doe I know any thinge in a Parliamentary way that is cleare from the heighth and fulnesse of Tyranny, but onlie [that]. As for this of Corporations itt is as contrary to freedome as may bee. For, Sir, what is itt? The Kinge hee grants a patent under the Broad-seale of England to such a Corporation to send Burgesses, hee grants to [such] a Citty to send Burgesses.b When a poore, base, Corporation from the Kinge[’s grant] shall send two Burgesses, when 500 men of estate shall nott send one, when those that are to make their lawes are called by the Kinge, or cannott act [but] by such a call, truly I thinke that the people of England have little freedome.

Commissary Gen. Ireton.

I thinke there was nothing that I said to give you occasion to thinke that I did contend for this, that such a Corporation [as that] should have the electing of a man to the Parliament. I think I agreed to this matter, that all should bee equallie distributed. Butt the question is, whether itt should bee distributed to all persons, or whether the same persons that are the electors [now] should bee the Electors still, and itt [be] equallie distributed amongst them.a I doe nott see any body else that makes this objection; and if noe body else bee sensible of itt I shall soone have done. Onely I shall a little crave your leave to represent the consequences of itt, and cleare my self from one thinge that was misrepresented by the Gentleman that satt next mee. I thinke if the Gentleman remember himself hee cannott butt remember, that what I said was to this effect:b that if I saw the hand of God leading soe farre as to destroy Kinge, and destroy Lords, and destroy property, and [leave] noe such thinge att all amongst us, I should acquiese in itt; and soe I did nott care, if noe Kinge, noe Lords, or noe property, in comparison of the tender care that I have of the honour of God, and of the people of God, whose [good] name is soe much concern’d in this Army. This I did deliver [so] and nott absolutely.

All the maine thinge that I speake for is because I would have an eye to propertie. I hope wee doe nott come to contend for victorie, butt lett every man consider with himself that hee doe nott goe that way to take away all propertie. For heere is the case of the most fundamentall parte of the Constitution of the Kingdome, which if you take away, you take away all by that. Heere are men of this and this qualitie are determined to bee the Electors of men to the Parliament, and they are all those who have any permanent interest in the Kingedome, and who taken together doe comprehend the whole interest of the Kingedome. I meane by permanent, locall, that is nott any where else. As for instance; hee that hath a freehold, and that freehold cannott bee removed out of the Kingedome; and soe there’s a [freeman of a] Corporation, a place which hath the priviledge of a markett and trading, which if you should allow to all places equallie, I doe nott see how you could preserve any peace in the Kingedome, and that is the reason why in the Constitution wee have but some few markett townes. Now those people [that have freeholds] and those that are the freemen of Corporations, were look’t upon by the former Constitution to comprehend the permanent interest of the Kingdom. For [firstly] hee that hath his livelihood by his trade, and by his freedome of trading in such a Corporation which hee cannott exercise in another, hee is tied to that place, his livelihood depends uppon itt. And secondly, that man hath an interest, hath a permanent interest there, uppon which hee may live, and live a freeman without dependance. These Constitutions this Kingedome hath look’t att. Now I wish wee may all consider of what right you will challenge, that all the people should have right to Elections. Is itt by the right of nature? If you will hold forth that as your ground, then I thinke you must deny all property too, and this is my reason. For thus: by that same right of nature, whatever itt bee that you pretend, by which you can say, “one mana hath an equall right with another to the chusing of him that shall governe him”—by the same right of nature, hee hath an equalb right in any goods hee sees: meate, drinke, cloathes, to take and use them for his sustenance. Hee hath a freedome to the land, [to take] the ground, to exercise itt, till itt; he hath the [same] freedome to any thinge that any one doth account himself to have any propriety in. Why now I say then, if you, against this most fundamentall parte of [the] civill Constitution (which I have now declar’d), will pleade the law of nature, that a man should, paramount [to] this, and contrary to this, have a power of chusing those men that shall determine what shall bee law in this state, though he himself have noe permanent interest in the State, [but] whatever interest hee hath hee may carry about with him. If this be allowed, [because by the right of nature], wee are free, wee are equall, one man must have as much voice as another, then shew mee what steppe or difference [there is], why by the same right of necessity to sustaine nature [I may not claim property as well]? Itt is for my better being [I may say], and possibly nott for itt neither, possibly I may nott have soe reall a regard to the peace of the Kingedom as that man who hath a permanent interest in itt. Hee that is heere to day and gone to morrow, I doe nott see that hee hath such a permanent interest. Since you cannott plead to itt by any thinge butt the law of nature, [for any thing] but for the end of better being, and [since] that better being is nott certaine, and [what is] more, destructive to another, if uppon these grounds you doe paramount [to] all Constitutions hold uppe this law of nature, I would faine have any man shew mee their bounds, where you will end, and [why you should not] take away all propertie?

Col. Rainborow.

I shall now bee a little more free and open with you then I was before. I wish wee were all true hearted, and that wee did all carry our selves with integritie. If I did mistrust you I would use such asseverations. I thinke itt doth goe on mistrust, and thinges are thought to be matters of reflection that were never intended. For my parte, as I thinke, you forgott somethinge that was in my speech, and you doe nott only your selves beleive that [we]a are inclining to anarchy, butt you would make all men beleive that. And Sir, to say because a man pleades, that every man hath a voice [by the right of nature], that therefore itt destroyes [by] the same [argument all property]—that there’s a propertie the law of God sayes itt; else why [hath] God made that law, “Thou shalt nott steale?” If I have noe interest in the Kingedome I must suffer by all their lawes bee they right or wronge. I am a poore man, therfore I must bee prest. Nay thus; a Gentleman lives in a country and hath three or fower Lordshippes as some men have—God knowes how they gott them—and when a Parliament is call’d hee must bee a Parliament man; and itt may bee hee sees some poore men, they live neere this man, hee can crush them—I have knowne an evasion to make sure hee hath turned the poore man out of doores; and I would faine know whether the potencie of men doe nott this, and soe keepe them under the greatest tyranny that was thought off in the world. Therefore I thinke that to that itt is fully answered. God hath sett downe that thinge as to propriety with this law of his, “Thou shalt not steale.” For my parte I am against any such thought, and as for yourselves I wish you would nott make the world beleive that wee are for anarchy.

Lieut. Generall.

I know nothing butt this, that they that are the most yeilding have the greatest wisedome; butt really, Sir, this is nott right as itt should bee. Noe man sayes that you have a minde to anarchy, butt the consequence of this rule tends to anarchy, must end in anarchy; for where is there any bound or limitt sett if you take away this [limit], that men that have noe interest butt the interest of breathing [shall have no voices in elections]? Therfore I am confident on’t wee should nott bee soe hott one with another.

Col. Rainborow.

I know that some particular men wee debate with [believe we] are for anarchy.

Com̃. Ireton.

I professe I must cleare my selfe as to that point.

I would nott desire, I cannott allow myself, to lay the least scandall uppon any body; and truly, for that Gentleman that did take soe much offence, I doe nott knowe why hee should take itt soe. Wee speake to the paper, and to that matter of the paper, nott to persons; and I hope that noe man is soe much engaged to the matter of the paper, I hope our persons, and our hearts, and judgements are not [so] pinn’d to papers, butt that wee are ready to heare what good or ill consequence will flow from itt.

I have, with as much plainesse and clearnesse of reason as I could, shew’d you how I did conceive the doing of this takes away that which is the most originall, the most fundamentall civil Constitution of this Kingedome, and which above all is that Constitution by which I have any propertie. If you will take away that, and sett uppe as a thing paramount whatever a man may claime by the law of nature—though itt bee nott a thinge of necessitie to him for the sustenance of nature—if you doe make this your rule, I desire clearlie to understand where then remaines propertie?

Now then, as I say, I would misrepresent nothing; the answer which had any thing of matter in itt, the great and maine answer upon which that which hath bin said against this rests, that seem’d to be:a that itt will nott make the breach of propertie: that there is a law, “Thou shalt nott steale.” The same law sayes, “Honour thy Father and Mother”; and that law doth likewise extend to all that are our governours in that place where wee are in. Soe that, by that there is a forbidding of breaking a Civill Law when wee may live quietly under itt, and a Divine Law. Againe itt is said indeed before, that there is noe Law, noe Divine Law, that tells us, that such a Corporation must have the Election of Burgesses, or such a shire, or the like; and soe on the other side if a man were to demonstrate his [right to] propertie by Divine Law, itt would bee very remote. Our property as well as our right of sending Burgesses descends from other thinges. That Divine Law doth nott determine particulars butt generalls, in relation to man and man, and to propertie, and all thinges else; and wee should bee as farre to seeke if wee should goe to prove a property in [a thinge by] Divine Law as to prove that I have an interest in chusing Burgesses of the Parliament by Divine Law. Truly under favour I referre itt to all whether there bee anythinge of solution to that objection that I made, if itt bee understood,—I submitt itt to any man’s judgement.

Col. Rainborow.

To the thinge itt self propertie. I would faine know how itta comes to bee the propertie [of some men, and not of others]. As for estates, and those kinde of thinges, and other thinges that belonge to men, itt will bee granted that they areb propertie; butt I deny that that is a propertie, to a Lord, to a Gentleman, to any man more then another in the Kingdome of England. Iff itt bee a propertie, itt is a propertie by a law; neither doe I thinke, that there is very little propertie in this thinge by the law of the land, because I thinke that the law of the land in that thinge is the most tyrannicall law under heaven, and I would faine know what wee have fought for, and this is the old law of England and that which inslaves the people of England that they should bee bound by lawes in which they have noe voice att all.c [So with respect to the law which says ‘Honour thy father and thy mother.’] The great dispute is who is a right Father and a right Mother. I am bound to know who is my Father and Mother, and I take it in the same sence you doe, I would have a distinction, a character wherby God commands mee to honour [them], and for my parte I looke uppon the people of England soe, that wherin they have nott voices in the chusing of their Fathers and Mothers, they are nott bound to that commandement.

Mr. Pettus.

I desire to adde one worde, concerning the worde Propertie.

Itt is for somethinge that anarchy is soe much talk’t of. For my owne parte I cannott beleive in the least that itt can bee clearlie derived from that paper. Tis true, that somewhat may bee derived in the paper against the power of the Kinge, and somewhat against the power of the Lords; and the truth is when I shall see God going about to throw downe Kinge and Lords and propertie then I shall bee contented. Butt I hope that they may live to see the power of the Kinge and the Lords throwne downe, that yett may live to see propertie preserved. And for this of changing the Representative of the Nation, of changing those that chuse the Representive, making of them more full, taking more into the number then formerly, I had verily thought wee had all agreed that more should have chosen, and that all had desir’d a more equall Representation then wee now have. For now those onely chuse who have 40s. freehold. A man may have a lease for 1001 a yeare, a man may have a lease for three lives [but he has no voice]. Butt [as] for this [argument] that itt destroyes all right [to property] that every Englishman that is an inhabitant of England should chuse and have a choice in the Representatives, I suppose itt is [on the contrary] the onely meanes to preserve all propertie. For I judge every man is naturally free; and I judge the reason why mena when they were in soe great numbers [chose representatives was] that every man could nott give his voice; and therefore men agreed to come into some forme of Governement that they who were chosen might preserve propertie. I would faine know, if we were to begin a Governement, [whether you would say] ‘you have nott 40s. a yeare, therfore you shall not have a voice.’ Wheras before there was a Governement every man had such a choice, and afterwards for this very cause they did chuse Representatives, and putt themselves into formes of Governement that they may preserve propertie, and therfore itt is nott to destroy itt [to give every man a choice].

Com. Generall.

I thinke wee shall nott bee soe apt to come to a right understanding in this businesse, if one man, and another man, and another man doe speake their severall thoughts and conceptions to the same purpose, as if wee doe consider where the objection lies, and what the answer is which is made to itt; and therfore I desire wee may doe soe. To that which this Gentleman spake last. The maine thinge that hee seem’d to answer was this: that hee would make itt appeare, that the going about to establish this Government,a [or] such a Governement, is nott a destruction of propertie, nor does nott tend to the destruction of propertie, because the people’s falling into a Governement is for the preservation of propertie. What weight there [is in it] lies in this: since there is a falling into a Governement, and Governement is to preserve property, therfore this cannott bee against property. The objection does nott lie in that, the making of ittb more equall, butt [in] the introducing of men into an equality of interest in this Governement who have noe property in this Kingedome, or who have noe locall permanent interest in itt. For if I had said, that I would nott wish that wee should have any inlargement att all of the bounds of those that are to bee the Electors, then you might have excepted against itt. Butt [what I said was] that I would nott goe to inlarge itt beyond all bounds: that uppon the same ground you may admitt of soe many men from forraigne States as would outvote you. The objection lies still in this. I doe nott meane that I would have itt restrained to that proportion [it is now], butt to restraine itt still to men who have a locall, a permanent interest in the Kingedome, who have such an interest that they may live uppon itt as freemen, and who have such an interest as is fix’t uppon a place, and is nott the same every where equally. If a man bee an inhabitant uppon a wrack rent for a yeare, for two yeares, or 20 yeares—you cannott thinke that man hath any fix’t or permanent interest—that man if hee pay the rent that his land is worth, and hath noe advantage butt what hee hath by his land, that man is as good a man, may have as much interest, in another Kingedome as heere. I doe nott speake of nota inlarging this att all, butt of keeping this to the most fundamentall Constitution in this Kingedome, that is, that noe person that hath nott a locall and permanent interest in the Kingedome should have an equall dependance in Elections [with those that have]. Butt if you goe beyond this law, if you admitt any man that hath a breath and being, I did shew you how this will destroy propertie. Itt may come to destroy propertie thus: you may have such men chosen or att least the major parte of them [as have no local and permanent interest.] Why may nott those men vote against all propertie? You may admitt strangers by this rule, if you admitt them once to inhabite, and those that have interest in the land may bee voted out of their land. Itt may destroy propertie that way.b Butt heere is the rule that you goe by; for that by which you inferre this to bee the right of the people, of every inhabitant, that because manc hath such a right in nature, though itt bee nott of necessity for the preserving of his being, therfore you are to overthrow the most fundamentall Constitution for this, by the same rule shew mee why you will nott, by the same right of nature, make use of any thinge that any man hath necessary for the sustenance of men.d Shew mee what you will stoppe att, wherin you will fence any man in a property by this rule.

Col. Rainborow.

I desire to know how this comes to bee a propertie in some men, and nott in others.

Col. Rich.

I confesse [there is weight in] that objection that the Commissary Generall last insisted uppon; for you have five to one in this Kingedome that have noe permanent interest. Some men [have] ten, some twenty servants, some more, some lesse. If the Master and servant shall bee equall Electors, then clearlie those that have noe interest in the Kingedome will make itt their interest to chuse those that have noe interest. Itt may happen, that the majority may by law, nott in a confusion, destroy propertie; there may bee a law enacted, that there shall bee an equality of goods and estate. I thinke that either of the extreames may be urg’d to inconveniencie. That is, men that have noe interest as to Estate should have no interest as to Election. Butt there may bee a more equall division and distribution then that hee that hath nothing should have an equall voice; and certainly there may bee some other way thought of that there may bee a Representative of the poore as well as the rich, and nott to exclude all. I remember there were as wee have heard many workinges and revolutions in the Roman Senate; and there was never a confusion that did appeare, and that indeed was come to, till the State came to know this kinde of distribution of Election. That the peoples voices were bought and sold, and that by the poore, and thence itt came that hee that was the richest man, and [a man] of some considerable power amonge the souldiers, and one they resolued on, made himself a perpetuall dictator. And if wee straine too farre to avoide monarchy in Kinges [let us take heed] that wee doe nott call for Emperours to deliver us from more then one Tyrant.

Col. Rainborow.

I should nott have spoken againe. I thinke itt is a fine guilded pill, butt there is much danger and itt may seeme to some, that there is some kinde of remedy, I thinke that wee are better as wee are. That the poore shall chuse many, still the people are in the same case, are over voted still. And therfore truly, Sir, I should desire to goe close to the businesse; and the thinge that I am unsatisfied in is how itt comes about that there is such a propriety in some freeborne Englishmen, and nott [in] others.

Com̃. Cowling.

Whether the younger sonne have nott as much right to the Inheritance as the eldest?

Com̃. Gen. Ireton.

Will you decide itt by the light of nature?

Com̃. Cowling.

Why Election was only 40s a yeare,a which was more then 40ɫ;. a yeare now, the reason was [this], that the Commons of England were overpowr’d by the Lords, who had abundance of vassalls, butt that they might still make their lawes good against incroaching prerogatives, therefore they did exclude all slaves. Now the case is nott soe; all slaves have bought their freedomes. They are more free that in the common wealth are more beneficiall. There are men in the country . . . . there is a tanner in Stanes worth 3000ɫ;, and another in Reading worth 3 horseskins.

Com̃. Gen. Ireton.

In the beginning of your speech you seeme to acknowledge [that] by law, by civill Constitution, the propriety of having voices in Election was fixt in certaine persons. Soe then your exception of your argument does nott prove that by civill constitution they have noe such propriety, butt your argument does acknowledge [that] by civil [constitution they have such] propriety. You argue against this law, that this law is nott good.

Mr. Wildman.

Unlesse I bee very much mistaken wee are very much deviated from the first Question. Instead of following the first proposition to inquire what is just, I conceive wee looke to prophesies, and looke to what may bee the event, and judge of the justnesse of a thinge by the consequence. I desire wee may recall [ourselves to the question] whether itt bee right or noe. I conceive all that hath bin said against itt will bee reduc’t to this and another reason; that itt is against a fundamentall law, [and] that every person ought to have a permanent interest, because itt is nott fitt that those should chuse Parliaments that have noe lands to bee disposed of by Parliament.

Com̃. Gen. Ireton.

If you will take itt by the way, itt is not fitta that the Representees should chuse the Representors, or the persons who shall make the law in the Kingedome, who have nott a permanent fix’t interest in the Kingedome.

Mr. Wildman.

Sir I doe soe take itt; and I conceive that that is brought in for the same reason, that forraigners might come to have a voice in our Elections as well as the native Inhabitants.

Com̃. Ireton.

That is uppon supposition that theseb should bee all Inhabitants.

Mr. Wildman.

I shall begin with the last first. The case is different from the native Inhabitant and forraigner. If a forraigner shall bee admitted to bee an Inhabitant in the Nation, soe hee will submitt to that forme of Governement as the natives doe, hee hath the same right as the natives, butt in this particular. Our case is to bee consider’d thus, that wee have bin under slavery. That’s acknowledged by all. Our very lawes were made by our Conquerours; and wheras itt’s spoken much of Chronicles. I conceive there is noe creditt to bee given to any of them; and the reason is because those that were our Lords, and made us their vassalls, would suffer nothing else to bee chronicled. Wee are now engaged for our freedome; that’s the end of Parliaments, nott to constitute what is already according to the just rules of Government.a Every person in England hath as cleere a right to Elect his Representative as the greatest person in England. I conceive that’s the undeniable maxime of Governement: that all governement is in the free consent of the people. If [so], then uppon that account, there is noe person that is under a just Governement, or hath justly his owne, unlesse hee by his owne free consent bee putt under that Governement. This hee cannott bee unlesse hee bee consenting to itt, and therfore according to this maxime there is never a person in England [but ought to have a voice in elections]; if as that Gentlemanb sayes bee true, there are noe lawes that in this strictnesse and rigour of justice [any man is bound to] that are nott made by those who hee doth consent to. And therfore I should humbly move, that if the Question bee stated—which would soonest bringe thinges to an issue—itt might rather bee this: whether any person can justly bee bound by law, who doth nott give his consent that such persons shall make lawes for him?

Com̃. Gen: Ireton.

Lett the Question bee soe; whether a man can can bee bound to any law that hee doth nott consent to? And I shall tell you, that hee may and ought to bee [bound to a law] that hee doth nott give a consent to, nor doth nott chuse any [to consent to], and I will make itt cleare. If a forraigner come within this Kingedome, if that stranger will have libertie [to dwell here] who hath noe local interest heere—hee is a man itt’s true, hath aire that by naturea wee must nott expell our Coasts, give him noe being amongst us, nor kill him because hee comes uppon our land, comes uppe our streame, arrives att our shoare. Itt is a peece of hospitality, of humanity, to receive that man amongst us. Butt if that man bee received to a being amongst us I thinke that man may very well bee content to submitt himself to the law of the land: that is, the law that is made by those people that have a property, a fixt property, in the land. I thinke if any man will receive protection from this people, this man ought to bee subject to those lawes, and to bee bound by those lawes soe longe as hee continues amongst them, though [neither] hee nor his ancestors, nott any betwixt him and Adam, did ever give concurrence to this Constitution. That is my opinion. A man ought to bee subject to a law that did nott give his consent, butt with this reservation, that if this man doe thinke himself unsatisfied to bee subject to this law hee may goe into another Kingedome. And soe the same reason doth extend in my understanding to that man that hath noe permanent interest in the Kingedome. If hee hath mony, his monie is as good in another place as heere; hee hath nothing that doth locally fixe him to this Kingedome. If this man will live in this Kingedome or trade amongst us, that man ought to subject himself to the law made by the people who have the interest of this Kingedome in us; and yett I doe acknowledge that which you take to bee soe generall a maxime, that in every Kingedome, within every land, the originall of power, of making lawes, of determining what shall bee law in the land, does lie in the people that are possess’t of the permanent interest in the land. Butt whoever is extraneous to this, that is, as good a man in another land, that man ought to give such a respect to the property of men that live in the land. They doe nott determine [that I shall live in this land], why should I have any interest of determining of what shall bee the law of this land?a

Major Rainborow.

I thinke if itt can bee made to appeare, that itt is a just and reasonable thinge, and that is for the preservation of all the freeborne men, itt ought to bee made good unto them. The reason is, that the chief end of this Governement is to preserve persons as well as estates, and if any law shall take hold of my person itt is more deare than my estate.

Col. Rainborow.

I doe very well remember that the Gentleman in the windowb [said], that if itt were soe there were noe propriety to bee had, because a fifth parte of the poor people [that] are now excluded and would then come in. Soe one on the other side said, that if otherwise then rich men shall bee chosen [there would be no propriety]. Then I say the one parte shall make hewers of wood and drawers of water of the other five, and soe the greatest parte of the Nation bee enslav’d. Truly I thinke wee are still where wee were; and I doe not heare any argument given butt only that itt is the present law of the Kingedome. I say still, what shall become of those many [men] that have laid out themselves for the Parliament of England in this present warre, that have ruined themselves by fighting, by hazarding all they had? They are Englishmen. They have now nothing to say for themselves.

Col. Rich.

I should bee very sorry to speake anythinge heere that should give offence, or that may occasion personall reflections that wee spoke against just now. I did nott urge any thinge soe farre as was represented, and I did nott att all urge that there should bee a consideration [had of rich men only], and that [a] man that is [poor] shall bee without consideration, or that hee deserves to bee made poore and nott to live att all. All that I urged was this, that I thinke itt worthy consideration, whether they should have an equality in their interest. Butt however I thinke wee have bin a great while uppon this point, and if wee bee as longe upon all the rest, itt were well if there were noe greater difference then this.

Mr. Peter.

I thinke that this may bee easily agreed on, that is there may bee a way thought of. I thinke you should doe well to sett uppe all night, butt I would faine know whether that will answer the worke of your Meeting.a You will be forc’t to putt characters uppon Electors or Elected, therfore I doe suppose that if there bee any heere that can make uppe a Representative to your minde, the thinge is gain’d. I think three or four might be thought of in this companie.a But the question is, whether you can state any one question for the present danger of the Kingedome, if any one question or noe will dispatch the worke.

Sir, I desire that some question may bee stated to finish the present worke to cement us wherin lies the distance, and if the thoughts of the Commonwealth, the people’s freedome, I thinke that’s soone cured. I desire that all manner of plainesse may bee used that wee may nott goe on with the lapwinge, and carry one another off the nest. There is somethinge else in that must cement us where the awkwardnesse of our spiritts lies.

Col. Rainborow.

For my parte I thinke wee cannott engage one way or other in the Army if wee doe nott thinke of the people’s liberties. If wee can agree where the liberty and freedome of the people lies, that will doe all.

Com̃. Gen. Ireton.

I cannott consent soe farre. As I said before: when I see the hand of God destroying Kinge, and Lords, and Commons too, [or] any foundation of humane Constitution, when I see God hath done itt, I shall I hope comfortably acquiesce in itt. Butt first, I cannott give my consent to itt because itt is nott good. And secondly, as I desire that this Army should have regard to Engagements wherever they are lawfull, soe I would have them have regard to this as well, that they should nott bringe that scandall uppon the name of God, that those that call themselves by that name, those whome God hath own’d and appear’d with—that wee should nott represent ourselves to the world as men soe farre from being of that peaceable spiritt which is suitable to the Gospell, as wee would have bought peace of the world uppon such termes, wee would nott have peace in the world butt uppon such termes, as should destroy all propertie. If the principle uppon which you move this alteration, or the ground uppon which you presse that wee should make this alteration, doe destroy all kinde of property or whatsoever a man hath by humane Constitution [I cannot consent to it]. The law of God doth nott give mee propertie, nor the law of nature, butt propertie is of humane Constitution. I have a propertie and this I shall enjoy. Constitution founds propertie. If either the thinge itt selfe that you presse or the consequence [of] that you presse [do destroy property], though I shall acquiesce in having noe propertie, yett I cannott give my heart or hand to itt; because itt is a thinge evill in ittself and scandalous to the world, and I desire this Army may bee free from both.

Mr. Sexby.

I see that though itta were our end, there is a degeneration from itt. Wee have engaged in this Kingdome and ventur’d our lives, and itt was all for this: to recover our birthrights and priviledges as Englishmen, and by the arguments urged there is none. There are many thousands of us souldiers that have ventur’d our lives; wee have had little propriety in the Kingedome as to our estates, yett wee have had a birthright. Butt itt seemes now except a man hath a fix’t estate in this Kingedome, hee hath noe right in this Kingedome. I wonder wee were see much deceived. If wee had nott a right to the Kingedome, wee were meere mercinarie souldiers. There are many in my condition, that have as good a condition [as I have], itt may bee little estate they have att present, and yett they have as much a [birth] right as those twoa who are their law givers, as any in this place. I shall tell you in a worde my resolution. I am resolved to give my birthright to none.b Whatsoever may come in the way, and [whatsoever may] bee thought, I will give itt to none. If this thinge that with soe much pressing after—There was one thinge spoken to this effect—that if the poore and those in lowe condition. . . .c I thinke this was butt a distrust of providence. I doe thinke the poore and meaner of this Kingedome (I speake as in that relation in which wee are) have bin the meanes of the preservation of this Kingedome. I say in their stations, and really I thinke to their utmost possibility; and their lives have nott bin deare for purchasing the good of the Kingdome. Those that act to this end are as free from anarchy or confusion as those that oppose itt, and they have the law of God and the law of their conscience [with them]. Butt truly I shall only summe uppe in this, I desire that wee may nott spend soe much time uppon these thinges. Wee must bee plaine. When men come to understand these thinges they will nott loose that which they have contended for. That which I shall beseech you is to come to a determination of this question.

Com̃. Gen. Ireton.

I am very sorry wee are come to this point, that from reasoning one to another wee should come to expresse our resolutions. I professe for my parte, what I see is good for the Kingdome, and becoming a Christian to contend for, I hope through God I shall have strength and resolution to doe my parte towards itt. And yett I will professe direct contrary in some kinde to what that Gentleman said.a For my parte, rather then I will make a disturbance to a good Constitution of a Kingedome wherin I may live in godlinesse, and honesty, and peace and quietnesse, I will parte with a great deale of my birthright. I will parte with my owne property rather then I will bee the man that shall make a disturbance in the Kingedome for my property; and therfore if all the people in this Kingedome, or [the] Representative[s] of them all together, should meete and should give away my propertie I would submitt to itt, I would give it away. Butt that Gentleman, and I thinke every Christian ought to beare that spiritt in him, that hee will nott make a publique disturbance uppon a private prejudiceb

Now lett us consider where our difference lies. Wee all agree that you should have a Representative to governe, [and] this Representative to bee as equall as you can. Butt the question is, whether this distribution can bee made to all persons equallie, or whether equallie amongst those that have the interest of England in them. That which I have declar’d [is] my opinion [still]. I thinke wee ought to keepe to that [constitution which we have now], both because itt is a civill Constitution, itt is the most fundamentall Constitution that wee have, and [because] there is soe much justice, and reason, and prudence [in it], as I dare confidently undertake to demonstrate, that there are many more evills that will follow in case you doe alter, then there can in the standing of itt. Butt I say butt this in the generall, that I doe wish that they that talke of birthrights—wee any of us when wee talke of birthrights—would consider what really our birthright is.

If a man meana by birthright, whatsoever hee can challenge by the law of nature, suppose there were noe Constitution att all, supposing noe Civill law and Civill Constitution—that that I am to contend for against Constitution, you leave noe property, nor noe foundation for any man to enjoy any thinge. Butt if you call that your birthrights which is the most fundamentall parte of your Constitution, then lett him perish that goes about to hinder you or any man of the least parte of your birthright, or will doe itt. Butt if you will lay aside the most fundamentall Constitution, which is as good for ought you can discerne as anythinge you can propose—att least itt is a Constitution, and I will give you consequence for consequence of good uppon Constitution as you for your birthrightb—and if you meerlie uppon pretence of a birthright, of the right of nature, which is onely true as for your better being; if you will uppon that ground pretend, that this Constitution, the most fundamentall Constitution, the thinge that hath reason and equity in itt shall nott stand in your way, [it] is the same principle to mee say I, [as if] but for your better satisfaction you shall take hold of any thinge that a man calls his owne,

Col. Rainborow.

Sir I see, that itt is impossible to have liberty butt all propertie must be taken away. If itt be laid downe for a rule, and if you will say itt, itt must bee soe. Butt I would faine know what the souldier hathc fought for all this while? Hee hath fought to inslave himself, to give power to men of riches, men of estates, to make him a perpetuall slave. Wee doe finde in all presses that goe forth none must bee pres’t that are freehold men. When these Gentlemen fall out amonge themselves they shall presse the poore shrubsa to come and kill them.

Com̃. Gen. Ireton.

I confesse I see soe much right in the businesse that I am nott easily satisfied with flourishes. If you will lay the stresse of the businesse [not] uppon the consideration of reason, or right relating to humane constitution, or anything of that nature, butt will putt itt uppon consequences, I see enough to say, that to my apprehensions I can shew you greater ill consequences to follow uppon that alteration which you would have by extending [voices] to all that have a being in this Kingedome then by this a great deale. That is a particular ill consequence. This is a generall ill consequence, and that is as great as this or any else; though I thinke you will see that the validity of that argument must beb that for one ill lies uppon that which now is, I can shew you a thousand uppon this. Give mee leave [to say] butt this one worde. I tell you what the souldier of the Kingedome hath fought for. First, the danger that wee stood in was, that one man’s will must bee a law. The people of the Kingedome must have this right att least, that they should nott bee concluded [but] by the Representative of those that had the interest of the Kingedome. Somec men fought in this, because they were imediately concern’d and engag’d in itt. Other men who had noe other interest in the Kingedome butt this, that they should have the benefitt of those lawes made by the Representative, yett [fought] that they should have the benefitt of this Representative. They thought itt was better to bee concluded by the common consent of those that were fix’t men and setled men that had the interest of this Kingedome [in them], and from that way [said they] I shall know a law and have a certainty. Every man that was borne in itt that hath a freedome is a denizon, hee was capable of trading to gett money and to gett estates by, and therfore this man I thinke had a great deale of reason to build uppe such a foundation of interest to himself: that is, that the will of one man should nott bee a law, butt that the law of this Kingedome should bee by a choice of persons to represent, and that choice to bee made by the generality of the Kingedome. Heere was a right that induced men to fight, and those men that had this interest, though this bee nott the utmost interest that other men have, yett they had some interest. Now why wee should goe to pleade whatsoever wee can challenge by the right of nature against whatsoever any man can challenge by Constitution?a I doe nott see where that man will stoppe as to point of property that hee shall nott use that right hee hath by the law of nature against that Constitution. I desire any man to shew mee where there is a difference. I have bin answer’d “now wee see libertie cannott stand without [destroying] propertie.” Libertie may bee had and property nott bee destroyed. First, the libertie of all those that have the permanent interest in the Kingedome, that is provided for; and in a generall sence libertie cannott bee provided for if property bee preserved; for if propertie bee preserved—that I am nott to meddle with such a man’s estate, his meate, his drinke, his apparell, or other goods—then the right of nature destroys libertie. By the right of nature I am to have sustenance rather then perish, yett property destroyes it for a man to have by the rightb of nature, suppose there bee noe humane Constitution.

Mr. Peter.

I will minde you of one thinge. That uppon the will of one man abusing us, and soe forth.—Soe that I professe to you for my parte. I hope itt is nott denied by any man, that any wise discreete man that hath preserved England or the Governement of itt—I doe say still under favour there is a way to cure all this debate—I thinke they will desire noe more libertie—If there were time to dispute itt—I thinke hee would bee satisfied, and all will bee satisfied and if the safetie of the Army bee in danger—For my parte I am cleare the point of Election should bee amended.a

Lieut. Generall.

I confesse I was most dissatisfied with that I heard Mr. Sexby speake of any man heere, because itt did savour soe much of will. Butt I desire that all of us may decline that, and if wee meete heere really to agree to that which was for the safetie of the Kingdome, lett us nott spend soe much time in such debates as these are, but lett us apply ourselves to such thinges as are conclusive, and that shall bee this: Everybodie heere would bee willing, that the Representative might bee mended, that is, itt might bee better then itt is. Perhaps itt may bee offer’d in that paper too lamely. If the thinge bee insisted uppon too limitted, why perhaps there are a very considerable parte of copyholders by inheritance that ought to have a voice, and there may bee somewhat too reflects uppon the generality of the people.b If wee thinke to bringe itt to an issue this way I know our debates are endlesse; and I thinke if you doe [desire to] bringe this to a result itt were well if wee may butt resolve uppon a Committee.c I say itt againe, if I cannott bee satisfied to goe soe farre as these Gentlemen that bringe this paper, I professe I shall freely and willinglie withdrawe myself, and I hope to doe itt in such a manner that the Army shall see that I shall by my withdrawing satisfy the interest of the Army, the publique interest of the Kingedome, and those ends these men aime att.

Col. Rainborow.

If these men must bee advanced and other men sett under foote, I am nott satisfied if their rules must bee observed, and other men that are in aucthority doe nott know how this can stand together.a I wonder how that should bee thought wilfulnesse in one man that is reason in another; for I confesse I have nott heard any thinge that doth satisfie mee, and though I have nott soe much wisedome or notions in my head, I have soe many that I could tell an hundred to the ruine of the people. I am nott at all against a Committee’s meeting; and as you say, for my parte I shall bee ready, if I see the way that I am going and the thinge that I could insist on will destroy the Kingdome, I shall withdraw it as soon as any, and I thinke every Christian ought to do the same;b and therfore till I see that I shall use all the meanes, and I thinke itt is noe fault in any man [to refuse] to sell that which is his birthright.

Mr. Sexby.

I desire to speake a few words. I am sorry that my zeale to what I apprehend is good should bee soe ill resented. I am nott sorry to see that which I apprehend is truth, butt I am sorry the Lord hath darkened some soe much as nott to see itt, and that is in short [this]. Doe you [not] thinke itt were a sad and miserable condition that wee have fought all this time for nothing? All heere both great and small doe thinke that wee fought for something. I confesse many of us fought for those ends which wee since saw was nott that which caused us to goe through difficulties and straightes to venture all in the shippe with you. Itt had bin good in you to have advertis’d us of itt, and I beleive you would have fewer under your command to have commanded. Butt if this bee the businesse, that an estate doth make men capable to chuse those that shall represent them—itt is noe matter which way they gett it, they are capable—I thinke there are many that have nott estates that in honesty have as much right in the freedome [of] their choicea as any that have great estates. Truly, Sir,b [as for] your putting off this question and coming to some other; I dare say, and I dare appeale to all of them, that they cannott settle uppon any other untill this bee done. Itt was the ground that wee tooke uppe armes, and itt is the ground which wee shall maintaine. Concerning my making rents and divisions in this way—as a particular, if I were butt soe, I could lie downe and be troden there. [But] truly I am sent by a Regiment. If I should nott speake, guilt shall lie uppon mee, and I thinke I were a Covenant breaker. I doe nott know how wee have [been] answer’d in our Arguments, and I conceive wee shall nott accomplish themc to the Kingedome when wee deny them to our selves. I shall bee loath to make a rent and division, butt, for my owne parte, unlesse I see this putt to a question, I despaire of an issue.

Capt. Clarke.d

The first thing that I shall desire was, and is, this; that there might bee a temperature and moderation of spiritt within us; that wee should speak with moderation, nott with such reflection as was boulted one from another; butt soe speake and soe heare as that which may bee the droppinges of love from one another to another’s hearts. Another word I have to say is, the grand question of all is, whether or noe itt bee the property of every individuall person in the Kingdome to have a vote in election[s]; and the ground [on which it is claimed] is the law of nature, which for my parte I thinke to bee that law which is the ground of all Constitutions. Yett really properties are the foundation of Constitutions, for if soe bee there were noe property, that the law of nature does give a principall [for every man] to have a property of what hee has or may have which is nott another man’s propertie. This is the ground of meum and tuum. Now there may bee inconveniencies on both hands butt nott soe great freedome. The greater freedome as I conceive that all may have whatsoever. And if itt come to passe that there bee a difference, and that the one doth oppose the other, then nothing can decide itt butt the sword which is the wrath of God.

Capt. Audeley.

I see you have a longe dispute, that you doe intend to dispute heere till the 10th of March. I see both att a stand, and if wee dispute heere both are lost. Youa have brought us into a faire passe, and the Kingdome into a faire passe, for if your reasons are nott satisfied, and wee doe nott fetch all our waters from your wells you threaten to withdraw your selves. I could wish according to our severall protestations wee might sett downe quietly, and there throw downe our selves where wee see reason. I could wish wee might all rise, and goe to our duties, and see our worke in hand.

Lieut. Generall.

Really for my owne parte I must needes say whilest wee say wee would nott make reflections wee doe make reflections; and if I had nott come hither with a free heart to doe that that I was perswaded in my conscience is my duty I should a thousand times rather have kept myself away. For I doe thinke I had brought uppon myself the greatest sin that I was [ever] guilty of, if I should have come to have stood before God in that former duty, and if [I should not persevere in] that my saying which I did say [to you before], and shall persevere to say, that I cannott against my conscience doe anythinge. They that have stood soe much for libertie of conscience, if they will nott grant that libertie to every man, butt say itt is a deserting I know nott what—if that bee denied mee I thinke there is nott that equality that [is] profest to bee amongst us.a I said this, and I say noe more that make your businesses as well as you can, wee might bringe thinges to an understanding, itt was to bee brought to a faire composure, and when you have said, if you should putt this paper to the question without any qualifications I doubt whether itt would passe soe freely, if wee would have noe difference wee ought to putt itt, and lett me speake clearlie and freelie, I have heard other Gentlemen doe the like, I have nott heard the Commissary Generall answer’d, nott in a parte to my knowledge, nott in a tittle, if therefore when I see there is an extreamity of difference betweene you, to the end itt may bee brought neerer to a generall satisfaction,a and if this bee thought a deserting of that interest, if there can bee anythinge more sharpely said, I will nott give itt an ill worde. Though wee should bee satisfied in our consciences in what wee doe, wee are told wee purpose to leave the Armie, or to leave our commands as if wee tooke uppon us to doe itt in matter of will. I did heare some Gentlemen speake more of will then anythinge that was spoken this way, for more was spoken by way of will then of satisfaction, and if there bee nott a more equality in our mindes I can butt greive for itt, I must doe noe more.

Com̃. Gen. Ireton,

I should nott speake, butt reflections, as if wee who have led men into Engagements and services had divided from them because wee did nott concurre with them, doe necessitate, doe call uppon us to vindicate ourselves. I will aske that Gentlemana that spoke, whome I love in my heart, whether when they drew out to serve the Parliament in the beginning, when they engag’d with the Army att New Markett,b whether then they thought of any more interest or right in the Kingdome then this? Whether they did thinke, that they should have as great interest in Parliament men as freeholders had? Or whether from the beginning wee did nott engage for the liberty of Parliaments,c and that wee should bee concluded by the lawes that such did make. Unlesse somebody did make you beleive before now that you should have an equall interest in the Kingedome, unlesse somebody doe make that to bee beleived, there is noe reason to blame men for leading [you] soe farre as they have done; and if any man was farre enough from such an apprehension that man hath nott bin deceiv’d. And truly, I shall say butt this worde more for my self in this businesse, because the whole objection seemes to bee prest to mee, and maintain’d by mee. I will not arrogate that I was the first man that putt the Army uppon the thought either of successive Parliaments or more equall Parliaments; yett there are some heere that know who they were putt us uppon that foundation of libertie of putting a period to this Parliament, that wee might have successive Parliaments, and that there might bee a more equall distribution of Elections. There are many heere athat know who were the first movers of that businesse in the Army. I shall nott arrogate that, butt I can argue this with a cleare conscience: that noe man hath prosecuted that with more earnestnesse, and will stand to that interest more than I doe, of having Parliaments successive and nott perpetuall, and the distributions of itt [more equal]. Butt notwithstanding my opinion stands good, that itt ought to bee a distribution amongst the fix’t and setled people of this Nation. Itt’s more prudent and safe, and more uppon this ground of right for itt: itt is the fundamentall Constitution of this Kingedome now, and that which you take away for matter of wilfulnesse. Notwithstanding [as for] this universall conclusion, that all inhabitants [shall have voices], as it stands [in the Agreement], I must declare that though I cannott yett bee satisfied, yett for my parte I shall acquiesce. I will nott make a distraction in this Army. Though I have a property in being, one of those that should bee an Elector, though I have an interest in the birthright, yet I will rather loose that birthright, and that interest then I will make itt my businesse [to oppose], if I see butt the generality of those whome I have reason to thinke honest men, and conscientious men, and godly men to carry them another way. I will nott oppose though I bee nott satisfied to joyne with them. And I desire [to say this], I am agreed with you if you insist uppon a more equall distribution of Elections; I will agree with you, nott onely to dispute for itt, butt to fight for itt and contend for itt. Thus farre I shall agree with you. On the other hand those who differ their termes, I will not agree with you except you goe farther. Thus farre I can goe with you, I will goe with you as farre as I can. If you will appoint a committee to consider of some of that, soe as you preserve the equitable part of that, who are like to be freemen, and men not given uppe to the wills of others, keeping to the latitude which is the equity of Constitution, I will goe with you as farre as I can. I will sit downe, I will not make any disturbance amongst you.a

Col. Rainborow.

If I do speak my soul and conscience I doe thinke that there is not an objection made butt that itt hath bin answer’d, butt the speeches are soe longe. I am sorry for some passion and some reflections, and I could wish where itt is most taken the cause had nott bin given. Itt is a fundamentall Constitution of the Kingedome there—I would faine know whether the choise of Burgesses in Corporations should nott bee alter’d. The end wherfore I speake is onely this, youb thinke wee shall bee worse then wee are, if wee come to a conclusion by a vote. If itt bee putt to the question wee shall all know one another’s minde. If itt bee determined and the resolutions knowne, wee shall take such a course as to putt itt in execution. This Gentlemanc sayes if hee cannott goe hee will sitt still. Hee thinkes hee hath a full libertie, wee thinke wee have nott. There is a great deale of difference betweene us two. If a man hath all hee doth desire, [he may wish to sit still]; butt [if] I thinke I have nothing att all of what I fought for, I doe nott thinke the argument holds that I must desist as well as hee.

Mr. Pettus.

The rich would very unwillinglie bee concluded by the poore; and there is as much reason, and indeed noe reason that the rich should conclude the poore as the poore the rich. There should bee an equall share in both. I understood your Engagement was, that you would use all your indeavours for the liberties of the people, that they should bee secur’d. If there is a Constitution that the people are not free that should bee annull’d. Butt this Constitution doth nott make people free, that Constitution which is now sette uppe is a Constitution of 40s. a yeare.

Lieut. Generall.

Heere’s the mistake, [the whole question is] whether that’s the better Constitution in that paper,a or that which is. Butt if you will goe uppon such a ground as that although a better Constitution was offer’d for the removing of the worse, yett some Gentlemen are resolved to stick to the worse, there might bee a great deale of prejudice uppon such an apprehension. I thinke you are by this time satisfied, that itt is a cleare mistake; for itt is a disputeb whether or noe this bee better; nay, whether itt bee nott destructive to the Kingedome.

Mr. Pettus.

cI desire to speake one worde to this businesse, because I doe nott know whether my occasions will suffer mee to attend itt any longer. The great reason that I have heard is [that this is] the Constitution of the Kingdome, the utmost Constitution of itt; and if wee destroy this Constitution there is noe propertie. I suppose that itt were very dangerous if Constitutions should tie uppe all men in this nature.

Com. Ireton.

First the thinge itt self were dangerous if itt were settled to destroy propertie. Butt I say the principle that leads to this is destructive to propertie; for by the same reason that you will alter this Constitution meerly that there’s a greater Constitution by nature—by the same reason, by the law of nature, there is a greater liberty to the use of other men’s goods which that property barres you of; and I would faine have any man shew mee why I should destroy that libertie, which the freeholders and Burgers in Corporations have in chusing Burgesses—that which [if] you take away you leave noe Constitution—and this because there is a greater freedome due to mee by the law of nature—more then that I should take another man’s goods because the law of nature does allow me.

Col. Rainborow.

I would grant somethinge that the Commissary Generall sayes. But whether this bee a just propriety, the propriety sayes that 40s. a yeare inables a man to electa—If itt were stated to that, nothing would conduce soe much whether some men doe agree or noe.

Capt. Rolfe.

I conceive that as wee are mett heere, there are one or two thinges mainly to be prosecuted by us; that is especially unitie, [the] preservation of unity in the Army; and soe likewise to putt ourselves into a capacity therby to doe good to the Kingedome. Therfore I shall desire, that there may bee a tender consideration had of that which is soe much urged, in that of an equall as well as of a free Representative. I shall desire that [there may bee] some thoughts of a medium or a composure, in relation to servants or to forraigners, or such others as shall bee agreed uppon. I say then I conceive, excepting those, there may bee a very equitable sence resented to us from that offer in our owne Declarations wherin wee doe offer the common good of all, unlesse they have made any shippewrack or losse of itt.b

Lieut. Chillenden.

In the beginning of this discourse there were overtures made of imminent danger. This way wee have taken this afternoone is nott the way to prevent itt. I should humbly move that wee should putt a speedy end to this businesse, and that not onely to this maine question of the paper, butt alsoe that, according to the Lieutenant Generall’s motion, a Committee may be chosen seriously to consider the thinges in that paper, and compare them with divers thinges in our Declarations and Engagements; that soe as wee have all profest to lay downe ourselves before God—If wee take this course of debating uppon one question a whole afternoone, if the danger bee soe neere as itt is supposed itt were the ready way to bringe us into itt. [I desire] that thinges may bee putt into a speedy dispatch.

Capt. Clarke.

I presume that the great stick heere is this: that if every one shall have his propriety itt does bereave the Kingedome of itts principall, fundamentall Constitution that itt hath. I presume that all people and all nations whatsoever have a liberty and power to alter and change their Constitutions, if they finde them to bee weake and infirme. Now if the people of England shall finde this weaknesse in their Constitution they may change itt if they please. Another thinge is this. If the lighta of nature bee onely [followed] in this, itt may destroy the propriety which every man can call his owne. The reason is this, because this principall and light of naturea doth give all men their owne. As for example the clothes uppon my back because they are nott another man’s. If every man hath this propriety of Election to chuse those whom [they think fit], you feare [it] may begett inconveniences. I doe nott conceive that any thinge may bee soe nicely and preciselie done, butt that itt may admitt of inconveniencie. If itt bee in that wherin itt is now there may those inconveniencies rise from them. For my part I know nothing butt the want of love in itt, and the sword must decide itt. I shall desire before the question bee stated itt may bee moderated as for forraigners.a

Sir Hardresse Waller.

This was that I was saying, I confesse I have nott spoken yett, and having heard so many speake I was willing to bee silent that I might learne too. Itt is nott easy for us to say when this dispute will have an end; butt I thinke itt is easie to say when the Kingedome will have an end. If wee doe nott breath out ourselves wee shall bee kick’t and spurn’d of all the world. I would faine know how farre the question will decide itt, for certainly wee must nott expect while wee have tabernacles heere to bee all of one minde. If it bee to bee decided by a question, and all parties are satisfied in that, I thinke the sooner you hasten to itt the better. If otherwise we shall needlessely discover our dividing opinion, which as longe as itt may bee avoided I desire itt may. Therfore I desire to have a period [put to this debate].

Capt. Awdeley.

I chanc’t to speake a worde or two. Truly there was more offence taken att itt. For my parte I spoke against every man living,—nott onely against your selfb and the Commissary, butt [against] every man that would dispute till wee have our throates cutt—and therfore I desire I may not lie in any prejudice before your persons. I professe, if soe bee there were none butt you and the Commissary Generall alone to maintain that argument, I would die in any place in England, in asserting that itt is the right of every free borne man to elect, according to the rule, Quod omnibus spectat, ab omnibus tractari debet, that which concernes all ought to bee debated by all. Hee knew noe reason why that law should oblige when hee himself had noe finger in appointing the lawgiver.

Capt. Byshopp.

You have mett heere this day to see if God would shew you any way wherin you might joynctlie preserve the Kingedome from itts destruction, which you all apprehend to bee att the doore. God is please’d nott to come in to you. There is a Gentleman, Mr. Saltmarsh,a did desire what hee has wrote may bee read to the Generall Councill. If God doe manifest any thinge by him I thinke itt ought to bee heard.

Commissary Generall.

That you will alter that Constitution in my apprehension, from a better to a worse, from a just to a thinge that is lesse juste, and I will nott repeate the reasons of that butt referre to what I have declar’d before. To mee, if there were nothing butt this, that there is a Constitution, and that Constitution which is the very last Constitution, which if you take away you leave nothing of Constitution, and consequently nothing of right or propertie, [it would be enough]. I would nott goe to alter that, though a man could propound that which in some respects might bee better, unlesse itt could bee demonstrated to mee that this were unlawfull, or that this were destructive. Truly therfore I say for my parte, to goe on a suddaine to make such a limitation as that [to inhabitants] in generall—if you doe extend the latitude [of it so far] that any man shall have a voice in Election who has nott that interest in this Kingedome that is permanent and fix’d, who hath nott that interest uppon which hee may have hisa freedome in this Kingedome without dependance, you will putt itt into the hands of men to chuse, [instead] of men to preserve their libertie, [men] who will give itt away.

I am confident our discontent and dissatisfaction, if ever they doe well, they doe in this. If there bee any thinge att all that is a foundation of libertie itt is this, that those who shall chuse the law makers shall bee men freed from dependance uppon others. I have a thinge putt into my heart which I cannott butt speake. I professe I am afraid, that if wee, from such apprehensions as these are of an imaginable right of nature opposite to Constitution—if wee will uppon this businesse of that enlargement contend and hazard the breaking of peace, I am afraid wee shall finde the hand of God will follow itt. I thinke if wee from imagination and conceits will goe about to hazard the peace of the Kingdome, to alter the Constitution in such a point, wee shall see that that libertie which wee soe much talke of and [have so much] contended for shall bee nothing att all by this our contending for itt, by putting itt into the hands of those men that will give itt away when they have itt.b

Lieut. Generall.

If wee should goe about to alter these thinges. I doe nott thinke that wee are bound to fight for every particular proposition. Servants while servants are nott included. Then you agree that hee that receives almes is to bee excluded.

Lieut. Col. Reade.

I suppose itt’s concluded by all, that the chusing of Representatives is a priviledge; now I see noe reason why anyc man that is a native ought to bee excluded that priviledge, unless from voluntarie servitude.

Mr. Pettus.

I conceive the reason why wee would exclude apprentices, or servants, or those that take almes, is because they depend uppon the will of other men and should bee afraid to displease [them]. For servants and apprentices, they are included in their masters, and soe for those that receive almes from doore to doore; butt if there bee any generall way taken for those that are nott [so] bound [to the will of other men] itt would doe well.

Mr. Everard.a

I being sent from the Agents of the five regiments with an answer unto a writing, the Committee was very desirous to inquire into the depth of our intentions. Those things that they had there manifested in the paper I did declare, and what I did understand as a particular person. It was the Lieutenant General’s desire for an understanding with us, presuming those things I did declare did tend to unity; “and if soe [said he] you will lett it appeare by coming unto us.”b Wee have gone thus farre, wee have had two or three meetinges to declare and hold forth whatt itt is wee stand uppon. [Wee stand upon] the principles of unity and freedome. Wee have declar’d in what wee conceive these principles doe lie. I shall nott name them all because they are knowne unto you. Now in the progresse of these disputes and debates wee finde that the time spends, and noe question butt our adversaries are harder att worke then wee are. I heard (butt I had noe such testimonie as I could take hold of) that there are meetinges daily and contrivances against us. Now for our parts I hope you will nott say all is yours, butt wee have nakedlie and freelie unbosom’d ourselves unto you. Though those thinges have startled many att the first view, yett wee finde there is good hopes. Wee have fix’t our resolutions, and wee are determin’d, and wee want nothing butt that only God will direct us to what is just and right. Butt I understand, that [in] all these debates if wee shall agree uppon any one thinge, [to say] “this is our freedome,” “this is our libertie,” “this liberty and freedome wee are debarr’d of and wee are bereav’d of all those comforts,” [that even] in case wee should finde out half a hundred of these, yett the maine businesse is how wee should finde them, and how wee should come by them. Is there any liberties that wee finde ourselves deprived of—if wee have greivances lett us see who are the hinderances, and when wee have pitched uppon that way—I conceive—I speake humbly in this, one thinge that I conceive myself as a particular person—that these delayes, these disputes will prove little incouragement. Itt was told mee by [one of] these Gentlemen that hee had great jealousies that wee would nott come to the triall of our spiritts, and that perhaps there might happen [to be] another designe in hand. I said to his Honour againe, if they would nott come to the light I would judge they had the workes of darkenesse in hand. Now as they told mee againe on the other hand, when itt was questioned by Col. Hewson, on the other hand they told mee that these Gentlemen, nott naming any particular persons, they will hold you in hand, and keepe you in debate and dispute till you and wee [shall] all come to ruine. Now I stood as a moderator betweene these thinges. When I heard the Lieutennant Generall speake I was mervailously taken uppe with the plainesse of the carriage. I said, “I will bringe them to you,” “you shall see if there hearts bee soe; for my parte I see nothing butt plainesse and uprightnesse of heart made manifest unto you.” I will nott judge nor draw any longe discourses uppon our disputes this day. Wee may differ in one thinge, that you conceive this debating and disputations will doe the worke, [we conceive] wee must putt ourselves into the former priviledges which wee want.

Sir Hardresse Waller.

I thinke this Gentleman hath dealt very ingenuously and plainly with us, I pray God wee may doe soe too, and I for one will doe itt. I thinke our disputings will not doe the thinge. I thinke if we doe make itt our resolution that wee doe hold itt forth to all powers, Parliament or Kinge, or whoever they are, to lett them know that these are our rights, and if wee have them nott, wee must get them the best way wee can.

Lieut. Generall.

I thinke you say very well, and my freind att my back,a hee tells mee that [there] are great feares abroad, and they talke of some thinges such as are nott onely specious to take a great many people with, butt reall, and substantiall, and such as are comprehensive of that that hath the good of the Kingedome in it. Truly if there bee never soe much desire of carrying on these thinges [together], never soe much desire of conjunction, yett if there bee not libertie of speech to come to a right understanding of thinges, I thinke itt shall bee all one as if there were noe desire att all to meete. I may say itt with truth that I verily beleive there is as much reallity and heartinesse amongst us [as amongst you] to come to a right understanding, and to accord with that that hath the settlement of the Kingdome in itt. Though when itt comes to particulars wee may differ in the way, yett I know nothing butt that every honest man will goe as farre as his conscience will lett him, and hee that will goe farther I thinke hee will fall back. And I thinke when that principle is written in the hearts of us, and when there is nott hypocrisie in our dealinges, wee must all of us resolve uppon this, that ’tis God that perswades the heart; if there be a doubt of sincerity, itt’s the Devill that created that effect; and ’tis God that gives uprightnesse, and I hope with such an heart that wee have all met withall; if wee have not, God finde him out that came without itt; for my parte I doe itt.

Com. Generall.

When you have done this according to the number of inhabitants, doe you not thinke itt is very variable, for the number will change every day? I would have us fall to somethinge that is practicable with as little paines and dissatisfaction as may bee. I remember, that in the proposalls that went out in the name of the Army itt is propounded as a rule to bee distributed according to the rates that the Counties beare in the [burdens of the] Kingedome; and remember then you have a rule, and though this be not a rule of exactnesse, yett there was something of equality in itt, and itt was a certaine rule where all are agreed, and therefore wee should come to some settling. Now I doe nott understand wherin the advantage does lie from a suddaine danger, uppon a thinge that will continue soe long, and will continue soe uncertaine as this is.a

Sir Hardresse Waller.

’Tis thought there’s imminent danger; I hope to God we shall bee soe ready to agree for the future that wee shall all agree for the present to rise as one man if the danger bee such, for itt is an impossibility to have a remedy in this. The paper sayes, that this Parliament is to continue a yeare, butt will the great burthen of the people be ever satisfied with papers [whilst] you eate and feede uppon them? I shall be glad, that [if] there bee nott any present danger, you will thinke of some way to ease the burthen that wee may take a course [to do it]; and when wee have satisfied the people that wee doe really intend the good of the Kingdome [they will believe us]—Otherwise if the four Evangelists were heere and lay free quarter uppon them, they will not believe you.

Col. Rainborow.

Moved,

That the Army might bee called to a Randezvous, and thinges setled.

Com̃. Ireton.

Wee are called back to Engagements. I thinke the Engagements wee have made and published, and all the Engagements of all sorts, have bin better kept by those that did nott soe much cry out for itt then by those that doe; and if you will [have itt] in plaine termes, better kept then by those that have brought this paper. Give mee leave to tell you that in one point, in the Engagement of the Army not to devide, I am sure that hee that understands the Engagement of the Army nott to devide or disband, [as meaning] that wee are nott to devide for quarters for the ease of the country, or the satisfaction of service—hee that does understand itt in that sence, I am nott capable of his understanding.a There was another sence in itt, and that is, that wee should nott suffer ourselves to bee torne into pieces—such a dividing as [that] is really a disbanding, and for my parte I doe nott know what disbanding is if nott that deviding. [I say that] the subscribers of this paper, the authours of that Booke that is called, ‘The Case of the Armie,’ I say that they have gone the way of disbanding. Disbanding of an Army is nott parting in a place, for if that bee soe, did not wee att that night disband to severall quarters? Did wee nott then send severall Regiments—Col. Scroope’s Regiment into the Westa—wee know where itt was first—Col. Horton’s Regiment into Wales for preventing of insurrection there—Col. Lambert’s [and] Col. Lilburne’s Regiment[s] then sent downe for strengthning such a place as Yorke. And yett the authours of that paper, and the subscribers of them—for I cannott thinke the authours and subscribers all one—we all know, and they may know, that there’s noe parte of the Army is dispersed to quarters further then that. Wherupon that outcrie is [made]. They goe to scandalise [us as breakers of the Engagement not to disband or divide].b Butt hee that will goe to understand this to bee a dividing that wee engaged against, hee lookes att the name, and nott att the thinge. That deviding which is a disbanding [is] that deviding which makes noe Army, and that dissolving of that order and government which is as essentiall to an Army as life is to a man—which if it be taken away I thinke that such a companie are noe more an armie than a rotten carcass is a man—and [it is] those [who have done this] that have gone to devide the Armie. And what else is there in this paper [but] that we have acted soe vigorously for [already? We proposed that this Parliament should end within a year at most]; they doe not propose that this Parliament should end till the beginning of September. When all comes uppon the matter itt is but a criticall difference, and the very substance of that we have declared before. For my part I professe it seriously that we shall find in the issue that the principall of that division, of [that] disbanding is noe more then this, whether such or such [men] shall have the managing of the businesse. I say plainly the way [they have taken] hath bin the way of disunion and division, and [the dissolution] of that order and Government by which wee shall bee enabled to act, and that by the deviding from that generall Councill, wherein wee have all engaged we should bee concluded, and the endeavouring to draw the soldiers to run this way; and I shall appeale to all men whether there can bee any breach of the Army higher then that breach wee have now spoken of. [As for] that word “deviding the Army,” let it bee judged whether [when we said] wee will nott divide [but] with such [and such] satisfaction, whether that deviding were nott more truly and properlie this deviding in every man’s heart wherin wee doe goe apart one from another, and consequently [whether] those that have gone this way have nott broke the Engagement; [and] whether that [other dividing] were a deviding, [or] a keeping of the Engagement: and those that doe judge the one I doe nott thinke that wee have bin fairely dealt with.a

Col. Rainborow,

I doe nott make any great wonder that this Gentleman hath sence above all men in the world, butt for these thinges hee is the man that hath undertaken them all. I say this Gentleman hath the advantage of us, hee hath drawne uppe the most parte of them; and why may hee nott keepe a sence that wee doe nott know of? If this Gentleman had declar’d to us att first that this was the sence of the Armie in deviding, and itt was meant that men should nott devide in opinions—To mee that is a mistery. Itt is a huge reflection, a taxing of persons, and because I will avoide further reflections, I shall say noe more.

Agitator,

Wheras you say the Agents did itt, [it was] the souldiers did putt the Agents uppon these meetinges. Itt was the dissatisfactions that were in the Army which provoak’t, which occasion’d those Meetinges, which you suppose tends soe much to deviding; and the reasons of such dissatisfactions are because those whome they had to trust to act for them were nott true to them.

Comm. Gen.

If this bee all the effect of your meetinges to agree uppon this paper, there is butt one thinge in this that hath nott bin insisted uppon and propounded by the Army heertofore all alonge.a Heereb itt is putt according to the number of inhabitants; there according to the taxes. Thisb sayes a period att such a day, the last of September, the other sayes a period within a yeare att most. The Agreement says that these have the power of making law, and determining what is law without the consent of another.a ’Tis true the “Proposalls” said nott that, and for my parte, if any man will putt that to the question whether wee shall concurre with itt I am in the same minde,b if you putt itt in any other hands then those that are freemen; butt if you shall putt the question, and with that limitation that hath bin all alonge acknowledged by the Parliament, till wee can acquitt ourselves justly from any Engagement old or new that wee stand in to preserve the person of the Kinge, the persons of Lords, and their rights soe farre as they are consistent with the common right,c till that bee done I thinke there is reason that exception should continue which hath bin all alonge, that is, where the safetie of the Kingdome is concern’d, this they seeme to hold out. But where I see thinges would nott doe reall mischief I would hold to positive constitution. I would neither bee thought to bee a wronge doer or disturber; soe longe as I can with safetie continue a constitution I will doe itt.d And therfore where I finde that the safetie of the Kingedome is nott concern’d, I would nott for every trifling [cause] make that this shall bee a law, though neither the Lords who have a claime to itt nor the Kinge who hath a claime to itt will consent. Butt where this is concern’de—Uppon the whole matter lett men butt consider those that have thus gone away to devide from the Army. Admitt that this Agreement of the people bee the advantage, itt may bee wee shall agree to that without any limittation. I doe agree, that the Kinge is bound by his oath att his coronation to agree to the law that the Commons shall chuse without Lords or any body else. If I can agree any further that if the Kinge doe nott confirme with his aucthority the lawes that the people shall chuse, wee know what will follow.a

Mr. Pettus.

I had the happinesse sometimes to bee att the debate of the Proposalls, and my opinion was then as itt is now, against the Kinges vote and the Lords. Butt nott soe as I doe desire,b since itt hath pleased God to raise a companie of men that doe stand uppe for the power of the House of Commons, which is the Representative of the people, and deny the negative voice of King and Lords. For my parte I was much unknowne to any of them, butt only as I heard their principles, and hearing their principles I cannott butt joyne with them in my judgement, for I thinke itt is reasonable. That all lawes are made by their consent,c wheras you seeme to make the Kinge and Lords soe light a thinge as that itt may bee to the destruction of the Kingedome to throwe them out, and without prejudice [to keep them in]. For my parte I cannott butt thinke that both the power of Kinge and Lords was ever a branch of Tyranny, and if ever a people shall free themselves from Tyranny, cartainly itt is after 7 yeares warre and fighting for their libertie. For my parte, [I think that] if the Constitution of this Kingdome shall bee established as formerly, itt might rivett Tyranny into this Kingedome more strongly then before. For when the people shall heare that for 7 yeares together the people were plundered, and [that] after they had overcome the Kinge, and kept the Kinge under restraint, att last the Kinge comes in, then itt will rivett the Kinges interest; and soe when any men shall indeavour to free themselves from Tyranny wee may doe them mischief and noe good. I thinke itt’s most just and equall, since a number of men have declar’d against itt, they should bee encouraged in itt, and nott discouraged; and I finde by the Councill that their thoughts are the same against the Kinge and Lords, and if soe bee that a power may bee raised to doe that itt would doe well.

Mr. Wildman.

Truly, Sir, I being desired by the Agents yesterday to appeare att Councill or Committees either, att that time, I suppose I may bee bold to make knowne what I know of their sence, and a little to vindicate them in their way of proceeding, and to shew the necessity of this way of proceeding that they have entred uppon. Truly, Sir, as to breaking of Engagements: the Agents doe declare their principle, that whensoever any Engagement cannott bee kept justly they must breake that Engagement. Now though itt’s urg’d they ought to condescend to what the Generall Councill doe [resolve], I conceive itt’s true [only] soe longe as itt is for their safetie. I conceive [itt’s] just and righteous for them to stand uppe for some more speedy vigorous actinges. I conceive itt’s noe more then what the Army did when the Parliament did nott only delay deliverance butt oppos’d itt; and I conceive this way of their appearing hath nott appear’d to bee in the least way anythinge tending to devision, since they proceede to cleare the rights of the people; and soe longe as they proceede uppon those righteous principles [for which we first engaged],a itt cannott bee laid to their charge that they are deviders. And though itt bee declared [that they ought to stand only as soldiers and not as Englishmen], that the malice of the enemies would have bereaved you of your liberties as Englishmen; therefore as Englishmen they are deeply concerned to regard the due observation of their rights, [and have the same right to declare their apprehensions] as I, or any Commoner, have right to propound to the Kingedome my conceptions what is fitt for the good of the Kingedome. Wheras itt is objected, how will itt appear that their proceedings shall tend for the good of the Kingedome? The matter is different. Wheras itt was said before itt was propounded, there must bee an ende to the Parliament, an equality as to Elections—I finde itt to bee their minds—When they came there, they found many aversions from matters that they ought to stand to as souldiers, and nott as Englishmen, and therfore I find it. Concerning the matter of the thinge, I conceive it to bee a very vast difference in the whole matter of proposalls. The foundation of slavery was rivetted more strongly then before. As where the militia is instated in the Kinge and Lords,b and nott in the Commons, there is a foundation of a future quarrell constantlie laid. However the maine thing was that they found by the proposalls propounded the right of the Militia was acknowledged to bee in the Kinge, before any redresse of any one of the people’s greivances or any one of their burthens; and [the King was] soe to bee brought in as with a negative voice, wherby the people and Army that have fought against him when hee had propounded such thingesa—And finding [this] they perceived they were as they thought in a sad case, for they thought, hee coming in thus with a negative, the Parliament are butt as soe many cyphers, soe many round Os; for if the Kinge would nott doe itt hee might chuse, “Sic volo, sic jubeo,” &c., and soe the corrupt party of the Kingedome must bee soe setled in the Kinge. The godly people are turn’d over and trampled uppon already in the most places of the Kingedome. I speake butt the words of the agents, and I finde this to bee their thoughts. Butt wheras itt is said, “how will this paper provide for anythinge for that purpose?” I say, that this paper doth lay downe the foundations of freedome for all manner of people. Itt doth lay the foundations of souldiers [freedom], wheras they found a great uncertainty in the proposalls: that they should goe to the Kinge for an act of indempnity, and thus the Kinge might command his Judges to hange them uppe for what they did in the warres; because the present Constitution being left as itt was, nothing was law butt what the Kinge sign’d, and nott any ordnance of Parliament. And considering this, they thought itt should bee by an Agreement with the people, wherby a rule betweene the Parliament and the people might bee sett, that soe they might bee destroyed neither by the Kinge’s Prerogative, nor Parliament’s priviledges. Theya are nott bound to bee subject to the lawes as other men, [that is] why men cannott recover their estates. They thought there must bee a necessity of a rule betweene the Parliament and the people, soe that the Parliament should know what they were intrusted to, and what they were nott; and that there might bee noe doubt of the Parliament’s power to lay foundations for future quarrells.b The Parliament shall nott meddle with a souldier after indempnity. Itt is agreed amongst the people, wheras betweene a Parliament and Kinge—if the Kinge were nott under restraint—should make an Act of Indempnity—wheras another Parliament cannott alter this—That these foundations might bee established. That there might bee noe dispute betweene Lords and Commons, butt these thinges being setled, there should bee noe more disputes, butt that the Parliament should redresse the peoples grievances, wheras now all are troubled with Kinge’s interests almost. And besides if this were setled, the Parliament should be free from those temptations—which for my owne parte I doe suppose to bee a truth, that this very Parliament, by the Kinge’s voice in this very Parliament may destroy—wheras now they shall bee free from temptations and the Kinge cannott have an influence uppon them as hee hath.a

Com̃. Gen. Ireton.

Gentlemen, I thinke there is noe man is able to give a better account of the sence of the Agents; hee hath spoke soe much as they have in their Booke and soe readily and therefore I see hee is very well able to give their sence. I wish their sences had nott bin prejudiciall to other men’s sences; butt I feare as itt will prove really prejudiciall to the Kingedome, how plausible soever it seemes to bee carried. That paper of the Case of the Armie doth soe abuse the Generall and Generall Councill of the Armie, that such and such thinges have bin done that made them doe thus and thus. First as to the materiall points of the paper. As to the businesse of the Lords you know the way wee were then in admitted noe other.b This Gentleman that speakes heere, and the other gentleman that spake before, when wee were att Reading framing the proposalls did nott thinke of this way. I am sure they did not thinke of this way; and according to the best judgments of those that were intrusted by the Generall Councill to drawe uppe the prosposalls, itt was carried by a question clearlie, that wee should nott. In these proposalls our businesse was to sett forth particulars; wee had sett forth generall Declarations, which did come to as much in effect in thisa The thinge then proposed was, that wee should nott take away the power of the Lords in this Kingedome, and itt was concluded that in the proposalls. Butt as to the Kinge wee were clear. There is nott one thinge in the proposalls, nor in what wee declar’d, that doth give the Kinge any negative voice; and therfore that’s parte of the scandall amongst others. Wee doe not give the Kinge any negative, wee doe butt take the Kinge as a man with whome wee have bin att a difference, wee propound termes of peace. Wee doe nott demand that hee shall have noe Negative, butt wee doe nott say that hee shall have any. There’s another thinge that wee have, as they say, gone from our Engagements in our Declarations in. [They say] that in the proposalls we goe to establish the Kinge’s Rights before [taking away] the peoples Greivances.a In our Generall Declarations wee first desire a purging of this Parliament, a period [to be set for] this Parliament, and provision for the certainty of future Parliaments; and if the Kinge shall agree in these thinges and what [things] else the Parliament shall propound that are necessary for the safetie of the Kingedome, then wee desire his Rights may bee consider’d soe farre as may consist with the Rights of the people. Wee did soe [speak] in the Declarations, and you shall see what wee did in the proposalls.a In the proposalls, [we put first] thinges that are essentiall to peace, and itt distinguishes those from the things that conduce to our better being, and thinges that lay foundations of an hopefull Constitution in the future. When those are past, then they say, ‘that these thinges having the Kinge’s concurrence wee desire that his Right may bee consider’d.’ There were many other greivances and particular matters which wee did nott thinke soe necessary that they should precede the setling of a peace, which is the greatest greivance of the Kingdome. Our way was to take away that [first]. Then itt says there, [after] propounding what thinges wee thought in our judgements are to bee essentiall and necessary to peace, ‘yet wee desire that the Parliament would loose noe time from the consideration of them.’b These Gentlemen would say now wee have gone from our Declarations, that wee propose the setling of the Kinge [first, because] itt stands before those Greivances. Wee say those Greivances are nott soe necessary, as that the remedying of them should bee before the setling of the peace of the Kingedome. What wee thought in our consciences to bee essentiall to the peace of the Kingedome wee did putt preceding to the consideration of the Kinge’s personall Right; and the concurrence of [the King to] those is a condition without which wee cannott have any Right att all, and without [which] there can bee noe peace, and [we] have named [it] before the consideration of the Kinge’s Rights in the setling of a peace, as a thinge necessary to the constitution of a peace. That therfore [to say] wee should preferre the Kinge’s Rights before a generall good, was as unworthy and as unchristian an injury as ever was done [by any] to men that were in society with them, and meerly equivocation. Butt itt was told you, that the Generall Councill hath seemed to doe soe and soe, to putt the souldiers out of the way. Itt is suggested, that the Engagement is broken by our deviding to quarters; and whether that bee broken or nott in other thinges, itt is said, that the Generall Councill hath broken the Engagement in this; that wheras before wee were nott a mercinarie Army, now wee are. Lett any man butt speake what hath given the occasion of that. Itt hath bin pres’t by some men that wee should [not] have subjected [our propositions] to the Parliament, and wee would stand to the propositions whatever they were; butt the sence of the Generall Councill was this, that, as they had sent their propositions to the Parliament, they would see what the Parliament would doe before they would conclude what themselves would doe; and that there was respect [to be had] to that which wee have hitherto accounted the fundamentall Councill of the Kingedome.a If all the people to a man had subscribed to this [Agreement]b then there would bee some security to itt, because noe man would oppose; butt otherwise our concurrence amongst ourselves is noe more then our saying our selves wee will bee indemnified. Our Indemnity must bee to somethinge that att least wee will uppehold, and wee see wee cannott hold to bee a conclusive authority of the Kingedome. For that [charge] of going to the Kinge for Indemnity, wee propose an Act of oblivion onely for the Kinges partie; wee propose for ourselves an Act of Indemnity and Justification. Is this the asking of a pardon? Lett us resort to the first petition of the Army wherin wee all were engag’d once, which wee made the basis of all our proceedinges. In that wee say, that [wee wish] an ordinance might bee past to which the Royall Assent might bee desired; butt wee have [since] declar’d, that if the Royall Assent could nott be had, wee should account the aucthority of the Parliament valid without itt.a Wee have desired in the Generall Councill, that for security for arreares wee might have the Royall Assent; and lett mee tell you though I shall bee content to loose my arreares to see the Kingedome have itts libertie—and if any man can doe itt unlesse itt bee by putting our libertie into the hands of those that will give itt away when they have done. Butt I say that I doe thinke that true in this, whoever talk’t either of the indeavours of the souldiers, or of any other Indempnity by the sworde in their hands, is [for] the perpetuating of combustions, soe that worde cannott take place, and does nott suppose the setling of a peace, and by that aucthority which hath bin here by the legislative power of the Kingedome; and hee that expects to have the arreares of the souldiers soe, I thinke hee does butt deceive himself.b For my owne parte I would give uppe my arreares, and for my parte loose my arreares, if wee have nott settlement; noe arreares or want of Indempnity, nor any thinge in the world shall satisfie mee to have a peace uppon any termes, wherin that which is really the Right of this Nation is nott as farre provided for as can bee provided for by men. I could tell you many other particulars wherin there are divers grosse injuries done to the Generall and Generall Councill, and such a wronge as is nott fitt to bee done amonge Christians, and soe wronge, and soe false that I cannott thinke that they have gone soe farre in itt.

Mr. Wildman.

I doe nott know what reason you have to suppose I should bee soe well acquainted with the Case of the Armie, and the thinges proposed [in it]. I conceive them to bee very good and just. Butt for that which I give as their sence, which you are pleased to say are scandalls cast uppon the Army, that you propounded to bringe in the Kinge with his negative voice. The legislative power had bin acknowledged [hitherto] to bee in the Kinge with Lords and Commons, whereas you do now say the legislative power to be partly in him. Then considering that, I doe humbly propound to your consideration, [that] when you restraine the Kinges Negative in one particular, which is in restrayning unequall distributions, and say directly in these very words [the King] “shall bee restored to his personall Rights,” you doe now say the Legislative power to bee now partly in him. And therfore I conceive if I have any reason the Kinge is proposed to bee brought in with his Negative voice.a And wheras you say itt is a scandall for [us to say that you propose] the Kinge to come in with his personall Rights [before the grievances of the people are redressed, it is said in the proposals] that the Kinge consenting to those thinges the Kinge [is] to bee restored to all his personall Rights.

There’s his Restoration. Nott a bare consideration what his Rights are before the peoples Greivances [are considered], butt a Restoration to his personall Rights these thinges being done. Is nott the Parliament to loose their Rights? And for that of [asking the King’s consent to an Act of] Indempnity, I doe nott say itt was an asking of the Kinge pardon; itt is rendring us uppe, [because the King is under constraint], and therfore itt is null in Law.

Saturday, 30 October, 1647

Att the Committee of Oficers att the Quartermaster Generalls.

Present.

Lieut. Generall. Capt. Merriman.
Commissary Generall. Lieut. Col. Cobbett.
Col. Rainborow. Lieut. Chillenden.
Sir Hardresse Waller. Mr. Allen.
Col. Lilburne. Mr. Walley.
Col. Rich. Mr. Sexby.
Lieutennant Col. Goffe. Mr. Whiting.
Major Rainborow. Mr. Gayes.
Capt. Clarke. Mr. Andrewes.

To consider of the papers of the Armie, and the paper of the People’s Agreement, and to collect and prepare somewhat to bee insisted uppon and adheer’d unto for setling the Kingedome, and to cleare our proceedinges hitherto.

October 30, 1647
Putney

Att the Committee of Officers appointed to consider of the Agreement, and compare itt with Declarations.

Agreed,

1. That there bee a period sett to this Parliament to end and bee dissolved on the first day of September next ensuing att the furthest.

2. That secure provision may bee made for the succession, constitution, and clearing the power of Parliaments in future, as followeth:

1. For the certainty of their succession, that Parliaments shall biennially meete on the first Thursday in Aprill every second yeare from and after the ending of this Parliament, with such provision for the certainty therof as shall bee found needfull before the ending of this Parliament. The place of Meeting for each succeeding Parliament to bee where the Parliament last preceding shall appoint, unlesse the Councill of State heerafter mencioned, during the intervall shall finde emergent cause to alter the place, and in such case the Meeting for the next Parliament to bee where the Councill shall appoint, provided, that notice bee given therof to all the severall Divisions of the Kingedome for which Members are to bee chosen att least 30 dayes before the time of Meeting.

2. For the certainty of their sitting,

That each Bienniall Parliament shall certainly continue to sitt untill the last day of September next ensuing after the meeting therof, unlesse adjourn’d or dissolv’d sooner by their owne consent, butt uppon the said last day of September to dissolve of course.

3. That this Parliament and each succeeding Parliament, att or before Adjournement or Dissolution therof, shall or may appoint a Committee or Councell of State, and such other Committees to continue during the intervall with such powers as they shall finde needfull for such ends and purposes as are in these articles referr’d and left unto them.

4. That in the intervalls betwixt Bienniall Parliaments the Kinge, without the advice and consent of the Councill of State may nott call a Parliament extraordinary; butt uppon the advice of the Councill of State, and uppon their warrant for that purpose a Parliament extraordinary shall be called, provided, that itt meete above 70 dayes before the next Bienniall day, and shall dissolve of course att least 40 dayes before the same, soe as the course of Bienniall Elections may never bee interrupted. Other circumstances about the manner and way of calling such Parliaments extraordinary are to bee sett downe by this Parliament before the ende thereof.

5. For the Constitution of future Parliaments.

1. That the Election of Members for the House of Commons in succeeding Parliaments shall bee distributed to all Counties, or other partes or Devisions of the Kingdome, according to some rule of equality of proportion, soe as to render the House of Commons as neere as may bee an equall Representative of the whole body of the people that are to Elect; and in order therunto, that all obstructions to the freedome and equalitie of their choice, either by petitions or charters or other prerogative grants, bee removed, and the circumstances of number, place, and manner for more equall distributions bee sett downe by the Commons in this present parliament before the end therof; and what they shall order therin, as alsoe what they or the Commons in succeeding Parliaments shall from time to time further order or sett downe, for reducing the said Elections to more and more perfection of equality in distribution therof, freedome in the Election, order and regularity in the proceeding therof, and certainty in the returnes, shall bee lawes in full force to those purposes.a

2. That the qualifications of the people that shall have voices in the Elections, as alsoe of those that shall bee capable of being Elected, bee determined by the Commons in this present Parliament before the end therof, soe as to give as much inlargement to Common freedome as may bee, with a due regard had to the equalitya and end of the present Constitution in that point; wherin wee desire itt may bee provided, that all freeborne Englishmen, or persons made free denizons of England, who have served the Parliament in the late warre for the liberties of the Kingdome, and were in the service before the 14th of June 1645, or have voluntarily assisted the Parliament in the said warre with mony, plate, horse, or Armes lent uppon the Parliament’s propositions for that purpose, brought in theruppon before theb day of 1642, shall uppon such certificates therof as by the Commons in this present Parment shall bee determined sufficient, or uppon other sufficient evidence of the said service or assistance, bee admitted to have voices in the said elections for the respective Counties or Divisions wherin they shall inhabite, although they should nott in other respects bee within the qualifications to bee sett downe as aforesaid; as alsoe that itt bee provided, that noe person who for delinquencie in the late warre or otherwise hath forfeited or shall forfeite his said freedome, and is or shall bee soe adjudged by the Commons in Parliament, either by particular judgement or otherwise, or according to generall rules or law for that purpose, whiles hee standeth or shall stand soe adjudged and nott restor’d, shall bee admitted to have any voice in the said Elections or bee capable of being elected. And for that purpose, that itt bee provided either by law or judgement in this present Parliament, that noe person whatsoever who hath bin in hostility against the Parliament in the late warre shall bee capable of having a voice or being elected in the said Elections or to vote or sitt as a Member or Assistant in either House of Parliament untill the 2d Bienniall Parliament bee past.

3. That noe Peers made since the 21st day of May, 1642, or heerafter to bee made, shall bee admitted or capable to sitt or vote in Parliament without consent of both Houses.

6. For clearing of the power of Parliament in future and the interest of the people therin.a

1 November, 1647
Putney

Att the Generall Councill of the Army.

Lieut. Generall.

The Lieutennant Generall first moved, that every one might speake their experiences as the issue of what God had given in answer to their prayers.

Capt. Allen.c

Made a speech, expressing what experiences hee had received from himself, and from divers other godly people: that the worke that was before them was to take away the Negative voice of the Kinge and Lords.

A report from Col. Lambert’s Regiment that two Horsemen, Agitators, came and perswaded them to send new Agitators, for that the Officers had broken their Engagements.

Capt. Cartera

Exprest his experiences; that hee found nott any inclination in his heart as formerly to pray for the kinge, that God would make him yett a Blessing to the kingdome.

Com̃. Cowling.

Made a speech expressing, that the sworde was the onelie thinge that had from time to time recover’d our Rightes, and which hee ever read in the Worde of God had recover’d the Rights of the people: that our ancestors had still recover’d their liberties from the Danes and Normans by the sworde, when they were under such a slaverie that an Englishman was as hatefull then as an Irishman is now, and what an honour those that were noblemen thought itt to marry their daughters to, or to marry the daughters of any cookes or bakers of the Normans.

Lieut. Col. Lilburne.b

That hee never observed that the recovery of our liberties which wee had before the Normans was the occasion of our taking uppe armes, or the maine quarrell; and that the Norman Lawes are nott slaverie introduced uppon us, but an augmentation of our slaverie before. Therefore I doubt for those reasons I have given you what was by some offer’d was not of God.

Lieut Generall.

To that which hath bin moved concerning the Negative vote, or thinges which have bin deliver’d in papers, and otherwise may present a reall pleasing. I doe nott say that they have all pleas’d, for I thinke that the Kinge is Kinge by contract, and I shall say, as Christ said, “Lett him that is without sin cast the first stone;” and minde that worde of bearing one with another, itt was taught us to day. If wee had carried itt on in the Parliament and by our power without any thinges laid on [us of] that kinde, soe that wee could say that wee were without transgression, I should then say itt were just to cutt off transgressors; butt considering that wee are in our owne actions failing in many particulars, I thinke there is much necessity of pardoning of transgressors.

For the actions that are to bee done, and those that must doe them. I thinke itt is their proper place to conforme to the Parliament that first gave them their being; and I thinke itt is considerablea whether they doe contrive to suppresse the power by that power or noe. If they doe continue to suppresse them how they can take the determination of commanding men, conducting men, quartering men, keeping guards, without an aucthority otherwise then from themselves, I am ignorant of. And therfore I thinke there is much [need] in the Army to conforme to those thinges that are within their spheare. For those thinges that have bin done in the Army, as this of the Case of the Army truly Stated. There is much in itt usefull, and to bee condescended to; butt I am nott satisfied how farre wee shall presse [it]. Either they are a Parliament or noe Parliament. If they bee noe Parliament they are nothing, and wee are nothing likewise. If they bee a Parliament wee are to offer itt to itt. If I could see a visible presence of the people, either by subscriptions, or number [I should be satisfied with it]; for in the Governement of Nations that which is to bee look’t after is the affections of the people, and that I finde which satisfies my conscience in the present thinge.

[Consider the case of the Jews]. They were first [divided into] families where they lived, and had heads of families [to govern them], and they were [next] under judges, and [then] they were under Kinges. When they came to desire a Kinge they had a Kinge, first Elective, and secondly by succession. In all these kindes of Governement they were happy and contented. If you make the best of itt, if you should change the Governement to the best of itt, itt is butt a morall thinge. Itt is butt as Paul sayes “Drosse and dunge in comparison of Christ;”a and why wee shall soe farre contest for temporall thinges, that if wee cannott haveb this freedome wee will venture life and livelihood for itt. When every man shall come to this condition I thinke the State will come to desolation. Therfore the considering of what is fitt for the Kingedome does belonge to the Parliament—well composed in their creation and election—how farre I shall leave itt to the Parliament to offer itt. There may bee care—That the elections or formes of Parliament are very illegall, as I could name butt one for a Corporation to chuse two. I shall desire, that there may bee a forme for the electing of Purliaments. And another thinge as the perpetuity of the Parliamentc that there is noe assurance to the people, butt that itt is perpetuall, which does [not] satisfie the Kingedome; and for other thinges that are to the Kinge’s Negative vote as may cast you off wholly, itt hath bin the resolution of the Parliament and of the Army—If there bee a possibility of the Parliament’s offering those thinges unto the Kinge that may secure us I thinke there is much may bee said for the[ir] doing of itt.

As for the present condition of the Army I shall speake somethinge of itt. For the conduct of the Army I perceive there are severall Declarations from the Army and dissobligations to the Generalls orders by calling Randezvous and otherwise. I must confesse I have a Commission from the Generall and I understand that I am to doe by itt. I shall conforme to him according to the rules and discipline of warre, and according to those rules I ought to bee conformable; and therfore I conceive itt is nott in the power of any particular men or any particular man in the Army to call a Randezvouz of a troope, or Regiment, or [in the] leasta to disoblige the Armie from those commands of the Generall. This way is destructive to the Armie and to every particular man in the Armie. I have bin inform’d by some of the Kinge’s partie, that if they give us rope enough we will hange ourselves. [We shall hang ourselves], if wee doe not conforme to the rules of warre, and therfore I shall move what wee shall center uppon. If itt have butt the face of aucthority, if itt bee butt an hare swimming over the Thames, hee will take hold of itt rather then lett itt goe.b

Lieut. Chillenden.

That God hitherto hath bin pleased to shew us many mercies. The relation of God’s providence in bringing us from our march to London.

Mr. Allen.

On Friday was a day for to seeke God for direction in this worke, and uppon Saturday many were giving in their thoughts concerning what God had given in to them to speake, as to a cure for a dying Kingdome. Truly amongst the rest my thoughts were att worke. Providentially, my thoughts were cast uppon one thinge which I had often seene before, yett if prosecuted may bee the meanes of an happy union amongst us. That which I hinte att, and which I spoke to was, the Case of the Armie Stated. I doe perceive, that there is either a reall or an apprehensive—or rather a missapprehensive dissunion amongst us; and truly in my heart there was somethinge providentially laid for a uniting, and that in that passage that those Agentes—att that very time of dissenting from us and when they were ripping uppe our faults to open view—came in the issue to lay us down [as] a rule, and that was [a thing] which before had bin laid downe as a rule, and we and they were to act according to itt; butt being laid downe by them againe I thinke itt is a twofold corde that cannott easily bee broken. They doe referre us to our three Declarations, that of 14 June, 21 of June, 18 of August; and their desires are, that those might bee look’t uppon, and adheered unto; and if they bee our desires and their desires that wee should walke uppe to them, I thinke this will putt the businesse to a very faire issue. I did looke over for my parte all thinges [contained] in those three Declarations, and therfore I humbly desire that whatsoever there is in those Declarations we should persist in, wee may intend and pursue, as tending to that end wee all aime att, namelie the Kingdomes good.a

Lieut. Col. Jubbes.b

Truly I doe nott know how to distinguish whether the spiritt of God lives in mee, or noe, butt by mercy, love, and peace; and on the contrary whether the spirit of Antichrist lives in mee, butt by envy, malice, and warre. I am altogether against a warre if there may bee a composure [so] that the Englishman may have his priviledges; I have a commission ready to deliver uppe whensoever I shall bee call’d.

Queries wherein Lieut. Col. Jubbes desireth satisfaction for the preventing of the effusion of bloud.

1. Whether or noe the Parliament may yett be purged of all such Members as assented to the late insurreccions and treason of the City, and still continue a House?

2. If itt may bee purged and an House still remayning, whether the major parte of the remainder bee such persons as are desirous of giving satisfaction to our or the Kingdome’s just desires?

3. If the 2d bee assented unto, that they are such persons, whether then they may nott satisfie our just desires, and declare the Kinge guilty of all the bloudshed, vast expence of treasure, and ruine that hath bin occasioned by all the warres both of England and Ireland, and then for that hee is the Kinge of Scotland, and alsoe of Ireland as well as England, that therfore to receive him as Kinge againe for avoiding further warres?

4. Whether if the Parliament may adjourne and dissolve when in their discretions they shall finde cause or nott before—as att this present, even by law, God hath order’d itt—they may nott then reject the Kinge’s Act of Oblivion, and take unto themselves that godly resolution to doe that justice unto the Kingdome which now they dare nott doe?

Col. Rainborow.

Mov’d that the papers of the Committee might bee read.

Lieut. Col. Goffe.

I thinke that motion which was made by the Lieutennant Generall should nott die, butt that itt should have some issue. I thinke itt is a vaine thinge to seeke God if wee doe nott hearken after his answer, and somethinge that was spoken by the Lieutennant Generall moves mee to speake att this time, and that was uppon this ground. Itt was concluded by the Lieutennant Generall uppon what was spoken by one heere, that that was nott the minde of God that was spoken by him. I could wish wee might bee warie of such expressions. “There was a lying spiritt in the mouth of Ahab’s Prophetts. Hee speakes falselie to us in the name of the Lord.”a I doe not speake this, that this was the minde of the Lord in any thinge; yett wee may nott breake abruptly of that what one spoke was the minde of the Lord, yett wee must consider whether somethinge was nott spoken by others which may bee the minde of the Lord. Truly I am very tender in this thinge; if wee shall waite for God, and if God shall speake to us [and we not hearken], wee shall bringe much evill uppon ourselves. God hath spoken in severall ages in sundry wayes. Then they sent to a Prophett, and hee comes and tells them uppon his bare worde, and hee tells them that hee received such a message from the Lord. Butt God hath [now] putt us uppon such a course which I cannott butt reverence, and God does nott now speake by one particular man, butt in every one of our hearts; and certainly if itt were a dangerous thinge to refuse a message that came from one man to many, itt is a more dangerous thinge to refuse what comes from God, being spoke by many to us. I shall adde this, that itt seemes to mee evident and cleare, that this hath bin a voice from heaven to us, that wee have sinn’d against the Lord in tampering with his enemies; and itt hath soe wrought with mee that [though] I cannott run præcipitately to worke, yett I dare nott open my mouth for the benefitt or uppeholding that power. I thinke that hath bin the voice of God, and whatsoever was contradicted was our præcipitate running on, our taking hold of an opportunity before itt was given;a and therfore I desire wee may nott præcipitately run on, butt waite uppon God, and that in the issue wee mayb see [if] God hath [not] spoken to us; and if the Lord hath spoken to us I pray God keepe us from that sin that wee doe nott hearken to the voice of the Lord.

Lieut. Generall.

I shall nott be unwilling to heare God speaking in any; butt I thinke that God may [as well] bee heard speaking in that which is to bee readc as otherwise.

Butt I shall speake a worde in that which Lieut. Col. Goffe said because itt seemes to come as a reproof to mee, and I shall bee willing to receive a reproof when itt shall bee in love, and shall bee [so] given. That which hee speakes was, that at such a Meeting as this wee should waite uppon God, and [hearken to] the voice of God speaking in any of us. I confesse itt is an high duty, butt when any thinge is spoken [as from God] I thinke the rule is, Lett the rest judge!d Itt is left to mee to judge for my owne satisfaction, and the satisfaction of others, whether itt bee of the Lord or nott, and I doe noe more. I doe nott judge conclusively, negatively, that itt was nott of the Lord, butt I doe desire to submitt itt to all your judgements whether itt was of the Lord or noe? I did offer some reasons which did satisfie mee, I know nott whether I did others. If in those thinges wee doe speake, and pretend to speake from God, there bee mistakes of fact—if there bee a mistake in the thinge, in the reason of the thinge—truly I thinke itt is free for mee to shew both the one, and the other if I can. Nay, I thinke itt is my duty to doe itt: for noe man receives any thinge in the name of the Lord further then [to] the light of his conscience appeares. I can say in the next place—and I can say itt heartily and freely as to the matter he speakes—I must confesse I have noe prejudice, nott the least thought of prejudice, uppon that ground—I speake itt truly as before the Lord—butt this I thinke; that itt is noe evill advertisement to wish us in our speeches of righteousnesse and justice to referre us to any engagements that are upon us, and [it is] that which I have learn’ta in all [our] debates. I have still desir’d wee should consider, where wee are, and what engagements are uppon us, and how wee ought to goe off as becomes Christians. This is all that I aim’d att and I doe aime att. I must confesse I had a mervailous reverence and awe uppon my spiritt when we came to speake. [We said], lett us speake one to another what God hath spoken to us; and as I said before I cannott say that I have recived any thinge that I can speake as in the name of the Lord—nott that I can say that any body did speake that which was untrue in the name of the Lord—butt uppon this ground, that when wee say wee speake in the name of the Lord itt is of an high nature.

Lieutenant Col. Goffe made an apologie for what hee had said before.

Mr. Allen.

My desire is to see thinges putt to an issue. Men have bin declaring their thoughts, and truly I would crave libertie to declare mine. The difference betweene us I thinke is in the interest of Kinge and Lords, some declaring against the name and title of Kinge and Lords. For my parte [I think] clearly, according to what wee have engag’d wee stand bound; and I thinke wee should bee look’t uppon as persons nott fitt to bee called Christians, if wee doe nott worke up to them. As first, concerning the Kinge. You say you will sett uppe the Kinge as farre as may bee consistent with, and nott prejudiciall to the liberties of the Kingedome; and really I am of that minde [too]. If the setting uppe of him bee nott consistent with them, and prejudiciall to them, then downe with him; butt if hee may bee soe sett uppe—which I thinke hee may—[then set him up], and itt is not our judgement onely, butt [that] of those that sett forth the Case of the Army.

Col. Rainborow.

Tooke occasion to take notice as if what Mr. Allen spoke did reflect upon himself or some other there, as if they were against the name of Kinge and Lords.

Mr. Sexby.

Truly I must bee bold to offer this one worde unto you. Truly heere was somewhat spoke of the workinges and actinges of God within them, I shall speake a worde of that. The Lord hath putt you into a state, or att least [suffered you] to run you[rselves] into such a one, that you know nott where you are. You are in a wildernesse condition. Some actinges amonge us singly and joyntlie that are the cause of itt. Truly I would intreate you to weigh that. Wee finde in the worde of God “I would heale Babylon, butt shee would nott bee healed.”a I thinke that wee have gone about to heale Babylon when shee would nott. Wee have gone about to wash a Blackamore, to wash him white, which hee will nott. I think wee are going about to sette uppe the power which God will destroy. Wee are going about to sett uppe the power of Kinges, some parte of itt, which God will destroy; and which will bee butt as a burthensome stone that whosoever shall fall uppon itt, itt will destroy him.b I shall propose this to your Honours, to weigh the grounds, whether they bee right, and then you shall bee led in pleasant pathes by still waters, and shall nott bee offended. I thinke this is the reason of the straights that are in hand.

Lieut. Gen.

I thinke wee should nott lett goe that motion which Lieut. Col. Goffe made, and soe I cannott butt renew that caution that wee should take heede what wee speake in the name of the Lord. As for what that Gentleman spoke last (butt it was with too much confidence) I cannott conceive that hee altogether meant itt. I would wee should all take heede of mentioning our owne thoughts and conceptions with that which is of God. What this Gentleman told us [was] that which [he conceived] was our great fault. Hee alludes to such a place of Scripture. “Wee would have heal’d Babylon, butt shee would nott.” The Gentleman applied itt to us, as that we had bin men that would have heal’d Babylon, and God would nott have had her heal’d. Truly though that bee nott the intent of that Scripture, yett I thinke itt is true, that whosoever would have gone about to heale Babylon when God had determined [to destroy her] hee does fight against God, because God will nott have her heal’d. Indeed when wee are convinc’t that itt is Babylon wee are going about to heale, I thinke itt’s fitt wee should then give over our healing; and yett certainly in generall itt is nott evill to desire an healing. Butt since I heare noe man offering nothing to speake to us as a particular dictate from God, I shall desire to speake a word or two.a I should desire to draw to some conclusion of that expectation of ours. Truly, as Lieut. Col. Goffe said, God hath in severall ages used severall dispensations, and yett some dispensations more eminently in one age then another. I am one of those whose heart God hath drawne out to waite for some extraordinary dispensations, according to those promises that hee hath held forth of thinges to bee accomplished in the later time, and I cannott butt thinke that God is beginning of them. Yett certainly [we do well to take heed], uppon the same ground that wee finde in the Epistle of Peter, where hee speakes of the Scriptures, as “a more sure word of Prophecy” then their testimonies was, to which, says hee, you doe well to take heede, as a light shining in a dark place.a If, when wee want particular and extraordinary impressions, wee shall either altogether sitt still because wee have them nott, and nott follow that light that wee have; or shall goe against, or short of that light that wee have, uppon the imaginary apprehension of such divine impressions and divine discoveries in particular thinges—which are nott soe divine as to carry their evidence with them to the conviction of those that have the spiritt of God within them—I thinke wee shall bee justly under a condemnation. Truly wee have heard many speaking to us; and I cannott butt thinke that in many of those thinges God hath spoke to us. I cannott butt thinke that in most that have spoke there hath bin some thinge of God made forth to us; and yett there hath bin severall contradictions in what hath bin spoken. Butt certainly God is nott the Authour of contradictions. The contradictions are nott soe much in the end as in the way. I cannott see butt that wee all speake to the same end, and the mistakes are onely in the way. The end is to deliver this Nation from oppression and slavery, to accomplish that worke that God hath carried us on in, to establish our hopes of an end of justice and righteousnesse in itt. Wee agree thus farre. I thinke wee may goe thus farre farther, that wee all apprehend danger from the person of the Kinge, and from the Lords. All that have spoke have agreed in this too; though the Gentleman in the windoweb when hee spoke [of] sett[ing] uppe, if hee should declare itt, did nott meane all that that worde might importe. I thinke that seemes to bee generall amonge us all, that if itt were free before us whether wee should sett uppe one or other, there is nott any intention of any in the Army, of any of us, to sett uppe the one [or the other]. I doe to my best observation finde an unanimity amongst us all, that wee would sett uppe neither.a Thus farre I finde us to bee agreed, and thus farre as wee sre agreed I thinke itt is of God. Butt there are circumstances in which wee differ as in relation to this. I must further tell you, that as wee doe nott make itt our businesse or intention to sett uppe the one or the other, soe neither is itt [our intention] to preserve the one or the other, with a visible danger and destruction to the people and the publique interest. Soe that that parte of difference that seemes to bee among us is whether there can bee a preservation [of them with safety to the kingdom]. First of all, on the one parte, there is this apprehension: that wee cannott with justice and righteousnesse att the present destroy, or goe about to destroy, or take away, or [altogether] lay aside both, or all the interest they have in the publique affaires of the Kingdome; and those that doe soe apprehend would straine somethinge in point of security, would rather leave some hazard—or att least, if they see that they may consist without any considerable hazard to the interest of the Kingdome, doe soe farre [wish] to preserve them. On the other hand, those who differ from this, I doe take itt in the most candid apprehension that they seeme to runb thus: that there is nott any safetie or security to the libertie of the Kingedome, and to [the] publique interest, if you doe retaine these at all; and therfore they thinke this is a consideration to them paramount [to] the consideration of particular obligations of justice, or matter of right or due towards Kinge or Lords. Truly I thinke itt hath pleased God to lead mee to a true and clear stating our agreement, and our difference; and if this bee soe wee are the better prepared to goe [on]. If this bee nott soe, I shall desire that any one that hath heard mee [will] declare [it], if hee doe thinke that the thinge is mistated as to our agreement or difference; and I shall goe on, onely in a worde or two to conclude that wee have bin about. As to the dispensations of God itt was more particular in the time of the law [of Moses than in the time of the law] written in our hearts, that worde within us, the minde of Christ;a and truly when wee have noe other more particular impression of the power of God going forth with itt I thinke that this law and this [word] speaking [within us]—which truly is in every man who hath the spiritt of God—wee are to have a regard to; and this to mee seemes to bee very cleare what wee are to judge of the apprehensions of men to particular cases, whether itt bee of God or noe. When itt doth nott carry itts evidence of the power of God with itt to convince us clearlie, our best way is to judge the conformity or disformity of [it with] the law written within us, which is the law of the spiritt of God, the minde of God, the minde of Christ. As was well said by Lieut. Col. Jubbs, for my parte I doe nott know any outward evidence of what proceedes from the spiritt of God more cleare then this, the appearance of meeknesse, and gentlenesse, and mercy, and patience, and forbearance, and love, and a desire to doe good to all, and to destroy none that can bee sav’d;b and as he said of the spiritt of malice, and envy, and thinges of that nature, I cannot but take that to bee contrary to this law. For my parte I say where I doe see this, where I doe see men speaking according to that law, which I am sure is the law of the spiritt of life—And I thinke there is this radically in that heart where there is such a law as leads us against all opposition. On the other hand, I thinke that hee that would decline the doing of justice—where there is noe place for mercy—and the exercise of the wayes of force—for the saftie of the Kingedome where there is noe other way to save itt—and would decline these out of the apprehensions of danger and difficulties in itt, hee that leads that way on the other hand doth truly lead us from that which is the law of the spiritt of Life, the law written in our hearts. And truly having thus declared what wee may apprehend of all that hath bin said, I shall wish that wee may goe on to our businesse; and I shall onely adde severall cautions on the one hand, and the other.

I could wish that none of those whose apprehensions run on the other hand, that there can bee noe safetie in a consistencie with the person of the Kinge or the Lords, or their having the least interest in the publique affaires of the Kingedome, I doe wish them that they will take heede of that which some men are apt to bee carried away by, [that is] apprehensions that God will destroy these persons or that power; for that they may mistake in. And though [I] my selfe doe concurre with them, and perhaps concurre with them uppon some ground that God will doe soe, yett lett us, [not] make those thinges to bee our rule which wee cannott soe clearlie know to bee the minde of God. I meane in particular thinges lett us nott make those our rules, “that this is to bee done, [this] is the minde of God, wee muste worke to itt.”a Att least [let] those to whome this is nott made cleare, though they doe thinke itt probable that God will destroy them, yett lett them make this rule to themselves, though God have a purpose to destroy them, and though I should finde a desire to destroy them—though a Christian spiritt can hardly finde itt for itt self—yett God can doe itt without necessitating us to doe a thinge which is scandalous, or sinne, or which would bringe a dishonour to his name; and therfore let those that are of that minde waite uppon God for such a way when the thinge may bee done without sin, and without scandall too. Surely what God would have us doe hee does nott desire wee should steppe out of the way for itt. This is the caution, on the one hand that wee doe noe wronge to one or other, and that wee abstaine from all appearance of wronge, and for that purpose avoide the bringing of a scandall to the name of God, and to his people uppon whome his name is call’d. On the other hand, I have butt this to say: that those who doe apprehend obligations lying uppon them—either by a generall duty or particularly in relation to the thinges that wee have declar’d, a duty of justice, or a duty in regard of that Engagement—that they would clearlie come to this resolution, that if they found in their judgements and consciences that those Engagements lead to anythinge which really cannott consist with the libertie and safetie and publique interest of this Nation, they would account the Generall [duty] paramount [to] the other, soe farre as nott to oppose any other that would doe better for the Nation then they will doe. If wee doe act according to that minde and that spiritt, and that law which I have before spoken of, and in these particular cases doa take these two cautions, God will lead us to what shall bee his way, as many of us as hee shall incline their mindes to, and the rest in their way in a due time.

Capt. Byshopp.

I shall desire to speake one word and that breiflie. What’s the reason that wee are distracted in Councill, and that wee cannott as formerly preserve the Kingedome from that dying condition in which itt is? After many inquiries in my spirit I finde this answer, and the answer which is to many Christians besides amongst us. I say [it is] a compliance to preserve that Man of Bloud, and those principles of tyranny which God from Heaven by his many successes hath manifestly declar’d against, and which I am confident may bee our destruction [if they be preserved]. I say nott [this] in respect of any particular persons. I onely speake this [as] what is uppon my spiritt, because I see you are uppon inquiry what God hath given in to any one which may tend to the preservation of the Kingedome.b

Mr. Wildman.

I observe that the worke hath bin to inquire what hath bin the minde of God, and every one speakes what is given in to his spiritt. I desire as much as is possible to reverence whatsoever hath the spiritt or image of God uppon itt. Whatever another man hath received from the spiritt, that man cannott demonstrate to mee butt by some other way then meerlie relating to mee that which hee conceives to bee the minde of God. Itt is beyond the power of the reason of all the men on earth to demonstrate the Scriptures to bee the Scriptures written by the spiritt of God; butt itt must bee the spiritt of faith that must make him believe whatsoever may bee spoken in spirituall matters; yett in civill matters wee cannott finde anythinge in the worde of God what is fitt to bee done in civill matters. I conceive that onely is of God that does appeare to bee like unto God, justice and mercy, to bee meeke and peaceable. I should desire therfore that wee might proceede onelie in that way. If itt please this honourable Councill to consider what is justice and what is mercy, and what is good, and I cannott butt conclude that that is of God. Otherwise I cannott thinke that any one doth speake from God when hee sayes what hee speakes is of God.

Butt to the matter in hand, I am clearly of opinion with that Gentleman that spake last save one, that itt is nott of God [to decline the doing of justice] where there is noe way left of mercy; and I could much concurre that itt is very questionable whether there bee a way left for mercy uppon that person that wee now insist uppon. Whether itt is demonstrable by reason or justice [that it is right] to punish with death those that according to his command doe make warre, or those that doe butt hold compliance with them, and then [to say] that there is a way left for mercy for him who was the great actor of this, and who was the great contriver of all? Butt I confesse because itt is in civill matters I would much decline that, and rather looke to what is safetie, what the minde doth dictate from safetie, what is the safetie I know itt cannott bee the minde of God to goe contrary to; butt for what particulars that Gentleman speakes of the differences betweene us, I thinke they are soe many as nott easily to bee reckoned uppe. That which hee instanc’t was that some did desire to preserve the person of the Kinge and person of the Lords, soe farre as itt was [consistent] with the safetie or the good of the Kingedome, and other persons doe conceive, that the preservation of the Kinge or Lords was inconsistent with the people’s safetie, and that law to bee paramount all.

Com̃. Ireton.a

Sir, I did not speake of the destroying of the Kinge and Lords—I have nott heard any man charge all the Lords soe as to deserve a punishment—but [of] a reserving to them any interest att all in the publique affaires of the Kingdome.

Mr. Wildman.

Then Sir, as I conceive, you were saying the difference was this: that some persons were of opinion that the preservation of the power of Kinge and Lords was paramount to all considerations, and might keepe them from any giving them what was due and right.

Com̃. Ireton.

I said, that some men did apprehend, that there might be an interest given to them with safetie to the Kingdome, others doe thinke, that noe parte of their interest could bee given without destruction to the Kingedome.

Mr. Wildman.

For the matter of stating the thinge in difference, I thinke that the person of Kinge and Lords are nott soe joyn’d together by any; for as your self said, none have any exception against the persons of the Lords or name of Lords. The difference is whether wee should alter the old foundations of our Governement soe as to give to Kinge and Lords that which they could never claime before. Whereas itt’s said, that those that dissenta looke after alteration of Governement, I doe rather thinke that those that doe dissent doe indeavour to alter the foundation of our Governement, and that I shall demonstrate thus. According to the Kinges oath hee is to grant such lawes as the people shall chuse, and therefore I conceive they are called lawes before they come to him. They are called lawes that hee must confirme, and soe they are lawes before they come to him.b To give the Kinge a legislative power is contrary to his owne oath att his Coronation, and itt is the like to give a power to the Kinge by his negative voice to deny all lawes. And for the Lords, seeing the foundation of all justice is the election of the people, itt is unjust they should have that power.

Therfore I conceive the difference only is this, whether this power should bee given to the King and Lords or noe?

For the later parte of that noble Gentleman’s wordes this may bee said to them, whether this consideration to give themc what is their due right may [not] bee paramount to all engagements?

Com̃. Ireton.

The Question is nott whether this should bee given to Kinge and Lords, or noe, but the Question is, whether that interest that they have in this, (if they have any) whether itt should bee now positively insisted uppon to bee clearly taken away.

Mr. Wildman.

Sir, I suppose that the interest they have if they have any—if (for that supposition is very well put in)—for (as I said before) I conceive that neither Kinge, nor Lords according to the foundation of Governement ever had a right.

Com̃. Ireton.

I spake itt to you, and those that are of your minde, if you were satisfied nott to have an exception.a

Mr. Wildeman.

Then I say the whole tenour of the propositions or proposalls must bee alter’d, if any thinge bee in them [allowing the King a negative voice]. I conceive that not to expresse it because it hath bin usurp’t is to confirme his usurpation of itt.b For many yeares this hath bin usurp’t. Now, if after God hath given us the victory over them wee shall nott declare against them, wee give noe security for the peoples libertie.

Com. Ireton.

You speake parte to the point of justice and parte to the point of safetie. To the point of justice you seeme to speake this; that by the fundamentall constitutions of this Kingedome, neither Kinge nor Lords have rightfully a negative voice; and therefore to take itt away or to cleare itt that they have none is butt justice. I thinke that is itt, that [by] the fundamentall constitution, neither of them [have a negative voice].

You seeme to argue onely from the Kinges oath, and then you conclude, if as appeares by that they had itt nott before, though wee all bee satisfied wee would say nothing to give them itt, yett if wee doe nott expreslie take itt away, nay if wee doe send itt to any of them—wee doe leave to them a power to assent or dissent, and give them that which wee had before. Soe you well remember that that which you argue of the Kinge’s Oath, and I know for my owne parte noe other [evidence] then an old Statute or two cited in the Declarationa wherin the Commons declare—

I remember I spoke itt, and I speake itt againe, and that that is the intent I doe verily beleive: that the originall sence and intention of the Oath of the Kinge’s which is published in that Declaration of the Commons was, and is, and ought to bee, that the Kinge ought to confirme those lawes that the Commons chuse. Now whether this Kinge bee soe bound by his Oath, as that hee breakes his Oath if hee doe not confirme every law that they seeke, I conceive that depends uppon what hee did verily at his coronation make his Oath; butt I thinke that in the sence and intention of the people of the Kingedome their intention was that hee should confirme all the lawes that they should chuse. Butt you must take notice, that the Oath doth take them [as] lawes before hee should make them; itt calls them lawes, the lawes in Election, Quas vulgus elegerit. The Kinge promises that hee will by his aucthority confirme those lawes that the people shall chuse, soe that this showes clearly what use in the constitution of the Kingedome they made of the Kinge in the Commonwealth. The Commons are to chuse the lawes and the Kinge to confirme, they had this trust to the Kinge would confirme what they should chuse, and hee confirming them they were firme lawes. I doe really believe, that this was the Agreement that the people of England made with their Kinges; that is, they would have him give his consent to what lawes they should chuse and soe to have that implicite use. Butt this is most apparent, both by the Oath ittself, and by all the practice since—the sending of lawes to the Kinge—by all that itt is apparent, that they had some relation to the Kinge and to his consent in the making of a law.b This I am sure, if itt were never soe cleare in the Constitution that they were good lawes without itt, yett this is cleare—if that were true in the originall Constitution of this Kingedome this is cleare—that they have [been] sent still to him to bee confirm’d; as the word was to bee confirm’d or corroborated, Leges quas vulgus elegerit corroborandas.

I thinke if wee doe [take into] account all the sending of lawes heeretofore to bee corroborated by him, and if his denying of some of them—nott absolutely denying butt advising—if these have nott at all prejudic’t [the right of] the people against his Negative voice, soe the sending of propositions now for his assent cannott prejudice the right of the people more then all their sending [laws to him] before. If wee should putt itt to the Kinge as his act—The Parliament have declar’d itt and asserted itt, that itt is their right that the Kinge ought nott to deny any [laws they offer to him]; itt is his Oath. They have gone thus much farther, that if hee did not confirme them they were lawes without him. Uppon this there hath bin a warre made. They have gone to make all lawes and ordinances that were needfull for the management of the affaires of the Kingedome without the Kinge. Itt is now come to a period. Soe that De facto itt is thus, they have made lawes, and held them forth to the Kingedome [as laws]. Now if the Kinge by his act doe confirme what the Parliament have done, and condemne all that have bin against the Parliament, whether hee doe nott acknowledge to all posteritie, that in case of safety, when the Parliament doth adjudge the safetie of the Kingedome to bee concern’d they are to make a law without him? For my parte I thinke there can bee nothing more cleare then this is. For my owne particular I doe apprehend that there is that generall right [in the Parliament] that the lawes [it shall pass] ought to bee confirm’d [by the King]; ita is my thoughts, that without anythinge of the Kinge’s Declaration to that purpose, in point of safetie where they cannott dispense with the suspending of the Kinge, they are a law without him. This the Parliament hath declar’d, and this is asserted in all the Declarations that have bin sent out, and [this is] the ground that I have proceeded [on] in those proposalls of the Armie. That “in a case of safetie” was provided for in those matters that I have spoke of. I account them materially and essentially provided for in those;a and if I had nott, for my parte I should never have rested or bin satisfied in that point, and in other points there might have bin a dispensation with a suspending. Notwithstanding the liberty of the Kingedome hath bin provided for in this, that there should nott bee any thinge done or lawes made without the consent of the people.b

Capt. Awdeley.

I thinke if soe bee that this business of the Negative voice bee all the dispute, wee shall all agree in itt; for itt appear’d by what you spake the other night that hee ought to have his Negative voice taken away.

Col. Hewson.

The Scotts have made provision, that hee should have noe Negative voice among them, and why should nott wee make the same provision with them?

Com̃. Ireton.

Those thinges that the Committee did prepare and they proceeded in last night will almost end us this dispute. Wheras itt was desired that we should take into consideration the severall Heads to bee insisted uppon as fundamentall lawes that wee must stand [to] for the establishing of the Kingdome—They are still [things held to be necessary] in relation to the security of the Kingdome.

The Proposall read.a

Col. Rainborow.

That some thinges in the Agreement were granted there.

To Debate whether or noe when the Commons Representative doe declare a law itt ought nott to passe without the Kinge’s consent.b

Com̃. Ireton.

Truly this is all; whether honour, title, estate, liberty, or life, [if] the Commons have a minde to take itt away by a law [they can do so]; soe that to say you are contented to leave them all, this [negative] being taken away, is as much as to say you are to allow them nothing. Consider how much of this dispute is saved, [by] this that is read to you. It gives the negative voice to the people, noe lawes can bee made without their consent. And secondly itt takes away the negative voice of the Lords and of the Kinge too, as to what concernes the people; for itt says that the Commons of England shall bee bound by what judgements and alsoe [by] what orders, ordinances, or lawes shall bee made for that purpose by them; and all that followes for the King or Lords is this, that the Lords or King are nott bound by that law they passe for their owne persons or estates as the Commons are, unlesse they consent to itt. Therfore what is there wanting for the good or safety of the Commons of England?c

Col. Rainborow.

That if the Negative voice bee taken away, then if the Kinge or Lords were taking courses destructive how should they bee prevented?

Com̃. Generall.

Itt is further provided if they will meddle in any other offices, as Officers of Justice or Ministers of State in this Kingdome, then they likewise are soe farre subject to the Judgement of the House of Commons. If they onely stand as single men, their personall interest and the like [is secured], and the right of being only judged by their peeres, anda their individuall persons [are not bound] by any law that they doe nott consent to.

Col. Rainborow.

If the Lords should joyne together by their interest in the Kingedome, and should act against the Commons, then the Commons had noe way to helpe themselves.

Com̃. Ireton.

Iff itt come to a breach of the peace itt will come to breake some law. That a Lord is subject to the common law. The Lords heertoforeb [as] to the breaches of peace have bin subject to the common law; only for the matter of fact, whether guilty or nott guilty of the breach of such a law, they must bee tryed by their Peeres. Wee have stood very much for ourselves that wee should bee judged by our Peeres, and by our fellow Commoners; I would faine know this, how wee can take away that right of Peeres to bee tryed by their Peeres when that itt is a point of right for the Commons to bee tryed by their Peeres.c

Col. Rainborow.

That the lawes that binde the Commons are exclusive to the Lords.

Com. Ireton.

I would faine know this whether the High Sheriff in every County of the Kingedome [may not apprehend a Lord who breake the peace], and I am sure the law hath provided for the keeping of the peace. I know that there is noe law butt the chief justice of the Kinge’s Bench, nay the Sheriff of a County, nay the Constable of any towne may seize uppon him.

Col. Rainborow.

If a Petty Constable or Sheriff shall apprehend a Peere of the Kingedome, whether hee can answer itt?

Com. Ireton.

That if a Lord shall bee accused, and by a Jury found guilty, hee will expect to bee tryed by his Peeres.

Mr. Wildman.

I would proceede to the thinges in hand. Though I protest I would nott widen a difference, yett I conceive the difference is as wide as ever; for in what’s there provided the interest of the Kinge and Lords is given away which the Lord by a Judgement from heaven hath laid aside.a I conceive [that in] this [article] concerning the succession of Parliaments [it] is proposed positively that itt shall bee as Trienniall Parliaments were.b

Com. Ireton.

You did in your way propose a certainty or nott; if you did nott propose itt how farre—That which you propose is, the people shall meete; you neither say where nor when. Wee say [with such provision] for the certainty of itt [as in the late Act made for Trienniall Parliaments]. That Act tells you particularly; butt because you must make a new provision for itt, since you must make a New Division and distribution of the Kingedome and a New Circuite, therfore itt sayes, “with such further provision as shall bee made for reducement [of it] to a certainty.”a

Col. Rainborow.

That hee does take exception att [the provision] that noe man should bee chosen that hath nott 20li a yeare.

Com Ireton.

If Mr. Wildman thinke fitt to [let me] goe on without taking an advantage to every particular as itt is read, [he may shew afterwards] what they are that doe render these propositions soe destructive, and give the King and Lords such an interest as they never had before, if hee will take them uppon his memory, and by the way. I hope Mr. Wildman will nott offer such an assertion butt hee hath arguments to make itt good.

Mr. Wildman.

I onely affirme that itt doth establish the Kinge’s and Lords’ interest surer than before.

Com, Ireton.

Wee doe agree that all the Commons of England are bound, [by whatever laws the House of Commons shall pass;] butt the Kinge and Lords as to their persons are nott bound; butt if any of them bee an officer or Minister of State then hee is to bee subject [to the judgment of the House of Commons].

Col. Rainborow.

How does itt reach the Kinge and nott a Lord?

Com. Ireton.

Every Lord is nott a Minister of Justice, butt if there bee any other difference they are tryed by their Peeres.

Col. Rainborow.

Itt is offer’d to make them capable of being chosen.

Com. Ireton.

Every Baron by the other exception may bee chosen.

Col. Rainborow.

Is itt nott soe in Scotland?

Com. Ireton.

In Scotland every Lord hath his place as Burgesse.a

Col. Rainborow.

Why should nott the Lords have the same priviledge?b

Com. Ireton.

I should thinke that [w]as the directest interest to the Kingedome in the world, for that for soe many persons to bee the permanent interest in the House, every two yeares—

Col. Titchburne.a

I was speaking to this of the Negative. I doe remember on Saturday last wee were att this pitch, and there I did leave itt; itt did concurre with my sence, and that was this: that all the power of making lawes should bee in those that the people should chuse, the Kinge and Lords should serve onely to this end, that lawes should bee presented to them, that if they would doe the Commons that right as to confirme those lawes they should doe itt; butt if they should nott thinke fitt to signe them, itt should begett a review of that by the House of Commons; and if after a review the House of Commons did declare that was for the safetie of the people, though neither Kinge nor Lords did subscribe, yett itt was a standing and binding law; and therfore wee shall nott neede to feare to take a shadow when they can doe us little hurt. This was what I did then suppose agreed uppon.

Com̃. Ireton.

’Tis true, Saturday night wee were thinking of that, butt wee had an eye to that of safetie, that is provided for by the Commons. Noe mony can bee raised, noe warre raised, butt by those that the Commons shall chuse. Butt that which was questioned in the name the safety and securing of safety that thought itt fitt that they should have a liberty to preserve one another, and soe wee thought to putt itt to consideration. That the Commons should make soe much use of the Lords in all affaires, they might occasion a review, butt if the Commons should uppon that review thinke itt fitt, itt should bee look’t uppon as a law; but instead of that the Committee voted last night—That whether the Commons of England should bee bound by all the lawes past in the House of Commons, or whether itt should bee valid in the case of safetie, that which you speake of will follow. If there doe butt continue such a thinge as Lords, and they doe nott sitt joynctlie with the House of Commons, then the Lords will agree, or otherwise the Commons will doe itt presently themselves.a

Col. Rainborow.

If they bee injur’d they have nott a remedy.

Com̃. Ireton.

That’s all that can bee said. The Question is whether there bee soe much neede of giving them a power to preserve themselves against the injuries of the Commons. They are nott capable of Judgement as to their persons unlesse itt bee as they are Officers of State. Onely the truth of itt is, there is this seemes to bee taken away [by taking away their judicial power]. If a man doe come and violently fall uppon them in the Court, or doe any such thinge, they have noe power to preserve themselves, and all their way will bee to complaine to the House of Commons.a

Mr. Wildman.

I conceive that whilest wee thus run into such particulars there is very little probability of coming to satisfaction. The case as there itt is stated in the Agreement is generall; and itt will never satisfie the godly people in the Kingedome unlesse that all Governement bee in the Commons, and freely. Truly I conceive that according to what is there propounded the power of the House of Commons is much lessen’d—from what itt is of right, nott [from] what itt is now by usurpation of Kinge and Lords. Wheras itt’s said, that noe law shall bee made without the consent of the Commons, itt doth suppose some other law makers besides the Representative of the Commons. Wheras itt is said, that the Lords in some cases should sitt as an House of Parliament to consent to lawes, doth give them that power which they never had before the Warres; for as your self said of the Kinge’s Oath, itt sayes, that the King shall consent to such lawes as the people shall chuse, butt the Lords have noe power. If there bee a liberty to the Kinge to give them a title of honour they ought to bee under all lawes, and soe they ought to concerne them as well as all others; which I conceive is diminished in those particulars. Besides the generall current of the whole offer runs that nothing shall bee declar’d against that usurpation in the Kinge formerly, nor in the Lords formerly, and soe itt remaines perpetually dubious. They shall say, though itt does nott concerne mee in my private yett itt does in my politique; and noe law can bee made butt itt must bee sent to the Kinge and Lords, and that must occasion a review; and soe they must have recourse to the unrighteous for righteousnesse, and soe longe as itt is nott clearly declar’d that hee hath noe power to deny itt, and that they neede nott addresse themselves to him, the Kingedome cannott bee in safetie, butt his owne partie may gett uppe, and doe what hee will.a

Com̃. Ireton.

This businesse is much heightned. That I doe nott know by all that hath bin said that the Kinge or Lords are more fastened then before. Wee heere talke of lawes by ancient Constitution, and by usurpation, and yett I doe nott finde that the gentleman that speakes of them doth shew [any evidence] what was the ancient Constitution, nor of [that] usurpation, butt onely [the evidence] of the Kinge’s Oath; and that is drawne as taking itt for granted that by ancient Constitution there were lawes without the Kinge’s consent. For that [question of the oath] I did before cleare [it] sufficiently by comparing that with other evidence; for if wee could look uppon that as an evidence paramount to all, that needed nott bee soe much insisted uppon. If this Gentleman can finde noe law in being in this Kingedome which hath nott Lords to itt, and Kinge to itt, expreslie, and, “Bee itt ordain’d by the Kinge, Lords, and Commons”—if itt alwayes have gone soe, and noe interruption and noe memory of any kinde of proceeding to the contrarie, but that all lawes past by the Commons have bin sent to the Lords for their concurrence—The Lords have [made amendments and] sent downe [to the Commons] for their concurrence, they have had conferences, and when they could nott agree, the Commons have lett itt rest and nott insisted uppon itt. Wee must look uppon these together with that testimonie of the Kinge’s Oath as evidences of what is Constitution. But, wheras those other thinges that are numerous and cleare evidences doth in expresse termes relate to the Lords, when I doe consider the consequences of that Oath, I doe conclude either that the word ‘vulgus’ is concludeda to comprehend all Lords and Commons; or else itt is thus, that the two great powers of this Kingedome are divided betwixt the Lords and Commons; and itt is most probable to mee that itt was soe. That the judiciall power was in the Lords principally, and the House of Commons yett to have their concurrences, the Legislative power principally in the Commons, and the Lords’ concurrences in practice to bee desired. Itt is a cleare and knowne thinge, that by the Constitution of the Kingedome, the House of Commons cannot makeb an Oath, butt if they will have an Oath given they must resort to the Lords. Besides all the Judges of Common Law in the Kingedome sitt as assistants to the Lords. Uppon this the practice hath bin that in any private cause wherin unjust sentence hath bin past in another court a Writt of Errour may bee judg’d there.c Itt is beyond all record or memory. Soe that these two powers of the Legislative power and the judiciall have bin exercised betweene both Lords and Commons, and none of them to exercise the one or the other without mutuall consent. I desire this Gentleman, or any other that argues uppon the other parte [to] that wee are uppon—unlesse they will produce some kinde of evidence of history uppon record by law—that they will forbeare arguments of that nature, calling such thinges usurpations from Constitution or from right, and insist uppon thinges of common safetie as supposing noe constitution att all.a

Com̃. Cowling.

Contrary to Resolution I must now speake, whether itt bee from the Lord, or noe I know nott. What foundation had the Commons of England to sitting (being 200 yeares in sitting), for in Kinge Henry the third’s time when Magna Charta was finished (which by computation was 200 yeares) and this was granted to the Lords Spirituall [and] Temporall, and Edward the sonne was called to bee a witnesse, but when the Lords saw that they were nott stronge enough to sitt in that magnificence the Commons were drawne in, and that in that law the Kinges Oath should come in. Now had itt nott bin a fundamentall law the Commons should nott have bin drawne uppe, butt that they did drive uppe is cleare, and what will become of us if wee drive uppe to noe other purpose butt to support a Norman prerogative? The Lord knoweth, nott I.

Com̃. Ireton.

I thought this Gentleman had had some answer to this matter of History. As to the Norman Conquest, if subjection to a kinge bee a tyranny, [we had a King before the Norman Conquest]; the Question was betweene him and the Conquerour who had the right of the Crowne, soe as wee should nott seeme to derive all our tyranny from the Norman Conquest.b I cannott butt wonder att the strange inferences that are made. Hee tells us, that there is noe memory of the Commons having any interest in the Legislative power till Edward the First’s time; and then [that] the Lords Spirituall and Temporall they found themselves not strong enough in King Henry the Third’s time, and therfore they brought them in; and yett would certainly have us to beleive, that the Commons had all the right before [the Conquest].

Com̃. Cowling.

In Alfred’s time, the Commons had all the power, and the Kinge hang’d 43 in one yeare.a

Col. Rainborow.

That the Commissary Generall is willing to lay that of Constitution aside, and that of Custome aside, and to consider the equality and reasonableness of the thinge, and nott to stand uppon Constitution, which wee have broken againe and againe. I doe nott finde in all the reading that I have done, I doe nott know that ever the Commons made warre with the Kinge, the Barons did.

That besides the Oath hee found, that one of the maine Articles against Richard the Second [was], that hee did nott concurre with and agree uppon those wholesome lawes were offer’d him by the Commons for the safety of the people.b If that were soe great a right as did depose him, itt is in the Kingdome [still], and therfore lett us goe to the justice of the thinge. That justice and reason doth nott give to the major parte . . . .

Com̃. Ireton.

You would have us lay aside arguments of Constitution, and yett you have brought the strongest that may bee. I have seene the Articles of Richard the Second, and itt is strange that the Parliament should nott insist uppon that.

Col. Rainborow.

That is nott the thinge that I would consider of.

Com̃. Ireton.

I suppose noe man will make a Question, that that may bee justice and equity uppon noe Constitution, which is nott justice and equitie uppon a Constitution. As for instance in the matter of a common &c.

I wish butt this, that wee may have a regard to safetie—safetie to our persons, safetie to our estates, safetie to our libertie. Lett’s have that as the law paramount, and then lett us regard positive constitution as farre as itt can stand with safetie to these. Now therfore, thus for my parte I confesse itt, if I should have ever given a consent in my heart to propound any thinge that did nott consist with this, with regard to any Constitution whatsoever—butt for my parte I cannott see that any thinge butt safetie is provided for. Wheras Mr. Wildman sayes, that many godly men would nott bee satisfied with this that wee have read—which amounts to this: that the Commons have power to make lawes for all the Commons of England, that onely the person of the Kinge and persons of the Lords with their estates as persons are freed from them—I doe nott see theya are satisfied with anythinge without having a power over other men’s liberties.

Mr. Wildman.

Wheras you are pleased to say I produced noe other evidence, Col. Rainborow brought another, because you did confesse the Lords had noe other power in making lawes.

Com̃. Ireton.

I never confest itt in my life, [otherwise] then [by] the recitation of that Oath “which the people shall chuse.”

Mr. Wildman.

I could wish wee should have recourse to principles and maximes of just Governement [instead of arguments of safety] which are as loose as can bee.b

Com̃. Ireton.

The Governement of Kinges or of Lords is as just as any in the world, is the justest Governement in the world. “Volenti non fit injuria.” Men cannott wronge themselves willinglie, and if they will agree to make a Kinge, and his heires, there’s noe injustice. They may either make itt hereditary or elective. They may give him an absolute power or a limited power. Heere hath bin Agreements of the people that have agreed with this. There hath bin such an Agreement when the people have fought for their libertie, and have established the Kinge againe.

Mr. Wildman.

’Twas their superstition to have such an opinion of a Great Man.a

Com. Ireton.

Any man that makes a bargaine, and does finde afterwards ’tis for the worse, yett is bound to stand to itt.

Mr. Wildman.

They were couzen’d as wee are like to bee.

Com. Ireton.

I would nott have you talke of principles of juste Governement when you hold that all Governements that are sett uppe by consent are just. [Argue instead that] such or such a way that can consist with the libertie of the people. Then wee shall goe to cleare reason. That’s one maxime, that all Governement must bee for the safetie of the people.

Col. Titchborne.

Lett us keepe to that businesse of safetie. ’Tis uppon the matter solelie in the people. [By] what hath bin propos’d in that I give Kinge and Lords [opportunity] to doe mee a curtesie if they will—a

Mr. Wildman.

Noe Curtesie.

Col. Titchborne.

Itt is onely an opportunity—and shew themselves as willing as the Commons. Lett us nott fight with shadowes.

Com. Ireton.

Wee doe nott know what opportunity God will give us.b If God will destroy Kinge or Lords hee can doe itt without cur or your wronge doing. If you take away all power from them, which this clearlie does, butt [do nott] take away all kinde of destruction of them from other men, then you doe them wronge too. Their having a [security from] destruction from other men cannott doe us wronge. That you can doe to the utmost for the[ir] safetie is this, that a Lord or Kinge may preserve his owne person or estate free from the Commons. Now whether this can bee destructive to the Commons that soe few men should bee distinct from a law made by the Commons, especially when wee have lawes made as to the preserving of the peace of the Kingdome and preserving every man in his right? The King and Lords are suable, impleadable in any Court. The Kinge may bee sued and tryed by a Jury, and a Lord may bee sued and tryed per Pares onely, a Knight by Esquires. What needes more where there are such lawes already that the Kinge and Lords are soe bound?

Mr. Wildman.

I conceive that the difference does not lie heere, butt whether the Kinge shall soe come in, that the Parliament must make their addresses themselves unto him for [the confirmation of] every thinge they passe. Whether itt bee a shadow or noe, I thinke itt is a substance when nothing shall bee made but by addresse to the Kinge. This will bee very shamefull in future Chronicles, that after soe much bloud there should bee noe better an issue for the Commons.

Com̃. Ireton.

Doe you thinke wee have nott lawes good enough for the securing of [the] rights [of the Commons?]

Mr. Wildman.

I thinke [that] according to the letter of the law, if the King will [he may] kill mee by law. Aske any lawiers of itt; by the letter of the present law hee may kill mee, and 40 more, and noe law call him to account for itt.a

Com̃. Ireton.

I thinke noe man will thinke itt, that when the Kinge stands thus bound with soe many Lawsb about him, and all the Commons of England bound to obey what law [the House of Commons] doe make, lett any man guesse whether the Kinge, as hee is a single person, will hazard himself to kill this, or that, or any other man.

Mr. Wildman.

Itt will bee thought boldnesse in mee [not] to agree. If God will open your hearts to provide soe that the Kinge may nott doe mee injury I shall bee glad of itt. If nott, I am butt a single man, I shall venture myself and [my] share in the common bottome.

Resolved, That the Councill bee adjourned till to-morrow and soe from day to day till the proposalls bee all debated, and the same Committee to meete againe.

Att the Meeting of the Committee.

Resolved,

1. That the power of this and all succeeding Representatives of the Commons in Parliament doth extend on the behalf and as to the whole interest of all the Commons of England to the enacting,Nemine contradicente. altering, and repealing of lawes, to the conclusive exposition and Declaration of law, and to finalla judgement without further appeale, and generally to all thinges concerning the Commonwealth whatsoever is nott by the represented reserved to themselves as is heerafter expressed.

2. That noe law shall bee repealed, nor any new law or ordinance made to bind the Commons of England,Agreed. nor any Parliamentary Judgement, triall, order, or other proceeding valid against any Commoner,Major Corbett;b noe. without the particular concurrence and consent of the House of Commons, except in case of actuall violence or affront done by a Commoner to the House of Peeres as a Court; and in that case noe further proceeding to bee valid, butt by the House of Commons, saving to the securing or imprisoning of the offender’s person till hee can bee tryed.

3. That noe Commoner of England shall be exempt from butt shall bee subject to and concluded by the power and judgement of the House of Commons without further appeale,Agreed. as alsoe to and by all such orders, ordinances, and lawes, or expositions and Declarations of law,Nemine contradicente. as shall bee made, past, and insisted on by that House, except in such fundamentall thinges as are by the people electing generally reserved to themselves, as is heerafter expressed.

4. That noe person whatsoever being an officer of Justice or Minister of State shall bee exempt from,Agreed. butt shall bee accountable and subject to the same power and judgement of the House of Commons for any mal-administration of his place to the hurt or damage of the Commonwealth;Nemine contradicente. butt the persons of peeres, otherwise then in such capacity as aforesaid, shall bee tryed and judged onely by their Peeres.

Agreed.5. That noe person whatsoever soe adjudged by Parliament as before shall bee capable of protection or pardon from the Kinge, or to have their fines remitted, without the advice or consent of Parliament,Nemine contradicente. nor such fines to bee disposed of otherwise then by the same judgement, advice, or consent shall bee directed.

Agreed.6. That in all Elections of Representatives for the people these thinges following are by the people electing reserved to themselves, and soe generally to bee understood, to witt:Nemine contradicente.

1. Matters of Religion and the wayes of God’s worshippe, as to any positive compulsion there, are nott intrusted to any humane power.

2. That the matter of impresting or constrayning any free commoner of England to serve in the warres, any further or otherwise then for the imediate defence of this Kingdome and keeping the peace within itt, is likewise reserved.

3. That noe Commoner bee henceforth questioned for any thinge said or done in reference to or prosecution of the late warre or publique contests within this Kingdome, otherwise then by the judgement or with the concurrence of the present House of Commons, or in execution or prosecution of such judgement.

4. That the matter and effect of the preceding Articles, To witt, First, Concerning the certaine succession of Bienniall Parliaments.a Then the 2d Concerning the certainty of their sitting. Likewise the matter of the 6th, and the particulars under itt concerning the clearing of the power of Parliaments in future as to the interest of the people therin, and soe much of the intent of the 5th as concernes the equall distributing of future Representatives, are reserved by the people represented as their fundamentall rights nott to bee given away or abrogated by their Representatives.

Added to the Committee.

Lt. Col. Salmon.

Com̃. Cowling.

Cornett Wallis.

That the said Committee shall prepare such other particulars to bee presented to the Parliament as they shall finde necessary in relation to our former Declarations, and likewise to prepare a Declaration to bee sent with them to the Parliament and Kingedome, to bee tendred to this generall Councill for their consideration att the next Meeting.

And if there appeare any likelihood, that the Parliaments propositions for peace may bee sent to the Kinge before the said Declaration and particulars can bee sent from the Army to the Parliament, then the said Committee are to move the Generall that the Parliament in the name of this Councill may bee desired to suspend the sending of their propositions to the King untill some thinges that wee have to offer shall bee tendred to them, which wee hold essentiall to the liberty and peace of this Kingedome.

3 Novemb. 1647
Putney

Att the Committee of Officers appointed by the Generall Councill.

A story about the Generall wearing the Kinge’s Colours.

The souldiers saying, Lett my Collonell bee for the Devill an hee will, I will bee for the Kinge.a

400 of Col. Lilburne’s Regiment declar’d for the Kinge, uppon their coming back to Dunstable offer’d the Countrymen their armes, and they would take clubs, and bringe the Kinge to Whitehall. They would see what their Officers would doe, and then they would carry the Kinge away.

Debate concerning the Militia.a

That the Terme bee ten yeares, and the Declaratorie lawes to take place from thence.

Tythes nott to bee paid, but either a Land-rate to bee made in lieu of them, or sold att 14 yeares purchase for the use of the State, and they to make provision for the Ministers.b

8 November, 1647
Putney
The Lieut. Generall.

Spoke much to expresse the danger of their principles who had sought to devide the Army. That the first particular of that which they call’d The Agreement of the People did tend very much to Anarchy, that all those who are in the Kingedome should have a voice in electing Representatives.

Capt. Bray.

Made a longe speech to take off what the Lieut. General said, and that what hee call’d Anarchy was for propriety.d

Lieut. Generall.

Moved to putt itt to the Question,

Whether that the Officers and Agitators bee sent to their Quarters, yea, or noe.

Resolved uppon the Question,

That the Generall Council doth humbly advise his Excellency, that in regard the Generall shortly intends a Randezvous of the Army, and forasmuch as many distempers are reported to bee in the severall Regiments whereby much dissatisfaccion is given both to the Parliament and Kingdome through some misrepresentacions; to the end a right understanding may bee had, and the souldiers quieted, in order to their obedience to his Excellency for the service of the Parliament and Kingedome, itt is thought fitt to desire his Excellency that for a time the said Officers and Agitators resort to their severall commands and Regiments, to the ends aforesaid, there to reside untill the said Randezvouz bee over, and untill his Excellency shall see cause to call them together againe according to the Engagement.a

Committee.
Lieut. Generall. Mr. Allen.
Co. Gen. Ireton. Capt. Clarke.
Sir Hardresse Waller. Mr. Lockyer.
Col. Okey. Capt. Deane.
Col. Tichborne. Col. Thomlinson.
Col. Hewson. Lt. Col. Goffe.
Commissary Stane. Major Rainborow.
Scoutmaster General [Watson]. Lt. Col. Cowell.
Col. Rich. Co. Cowling.

This Committee to drawe uppe instructions for what shall bee offer’d to the Regiments att the Randezvouz, to consider of the late lettre sent to the Parliament, and what shall bee thought fitt further to bee propos’d to them.b

[Desires of the Army.]

1. Itt is desired, That six weekes pay if possibly itt may bee, if nott a monthes pay, bee presently sent downe to the Army.

2. That the arreares may bee voted to bee paid out of the remainder of Byshopps lands, Deanes and Chapters lands, to bee sold in the same manner as the Byshopps lands, reserving a competencie for those that have a legall interest therin, and have nott forfeited the same by delinquencie, and two thirds out of delinquents compositions who have nott yett compounded and out of forrest lands.

3. Wee desire, that the House will bee pleased either to make provision, that when this monthes pay is out there shall bee constant pay to inable the souldiers to avoide the oppressing of the people by free quarter (then which nothing is more greivous unto us), or if the Parliament does finde the Countries will nott soe readily bringe in their monies wee shall undertake, if inabled therunto, soe to dispose of the Army and of the severall counties as that the monies shall be raised and the people punctually satisfied for their quarters, provided that there may be an increase of the said tax to an hundred thousand pounds a month for the payment of this Army, and the other forces concern’d in the Kingedome, and those that are to goe for Ireland, and the disbanding of those that bee supernumerary, untill the Parliament shall otherwise provide by excise or otherwise for easing the said taxes.

4. Lastly, wee declare that if this course bee taken, that as wee have engaged that none shall uppon paine of death take any thinge from any inhabitant in this Kingedome against his will, wherin wee shall bee punctuall and positive, soe alsoe wee shall give assurance that noe man shall bee forc’t to bee quarter’d uppon against his consent, provided there may bee an allowance for lodging, firing, and candle, or the owners uppon whose houses quarters are assigned to bee had in other places to bee allowed to those that shall quarter.

9 November, 1647
Putney

Generall Councill.

The Generall present.

This Committee is to take into consideration, the Engagement, Declarations, and papers of the Armie, and uppon them to collect a summarie of those thinges that concerne the good of the Kingedome, the liberties of the people, and interests of the army, and further to consider the Case of the Army stated, and a paper commonly call’d The Agreement of the People, and to consider how farre any thinge contain’d in the same are consistent with the said Engagements and Declarations and Interests aforesaid.

This summarie soe concluded by the major parte of the Committee to bee represented to the Generall.a

b Met November 25th, at Windsor.
CORNETT WALLIS. COL. TITCHBORNE.
CAPT. LEIGH. MR. WILDMAN.
LT. GENERALL. COM. COWLING.
COM. GENERALL. Added since.
LT. CHILLENDEN. MAJOR SAUNDERS.
SIR HARDRESSE WALLER. COL. HARRISON.
CAPT. CARTER. CAPT. SPENCER.
CORNETT TRACY. MAJOR RAINBOROW<