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Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics Vol. 6 (1649)

1st Edition, uncorrected (Date added: March 18, 2015)

This volume is part of a set of 7 volumes of Leveller Tracts: Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics (1638-1659), 7 vols. Edited by David M. Hart and Ross Kenyon (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2014). </titles/2595>.

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To date, the following volumes have been corrected:

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2nd Revised Edition

A second revised edition of the collection is planned after the conversion of the texts has been completed. It will include an image of the title page of the original pamphlet, its location, date, and id number in the Thomason Collection catalog, a brief bio of the author, and a brief description of the contents of the pamphlet. Also, the titles from the addendum volumes will be merged into their relevant volumes by date of publication.

 

Tracts on Liberty by the Levellers and their Critics, Volume 6 (1649) (1st edition, uncorrected)

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

The Liberty of the Freeborne English-Man, Conferred on him by the house of lords. June 1646. John Lilburne. His age 23. Year 1641. Made by G. Glo.

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

 

Table of Contents

Editor’s Introduction to Volume 6 (1649)

[to be added later]

 

Publishing and Biographical Information

Publishing information about each title can be found in the catalog of the George Thomason collection (henceforth "TT" for Thomason Tracts). Each tract is given a catalog number and a date when the item came into his possession (thus not necessarily the date of publication). We have used these dates to organise our collection in rough chronological order:

Catalogue of the Pamphlets, Books, Newspapers, and Manuscripts relating to the Civil War, the Commonwealth, and Restoration, collected by George Thomason, 1640-1661. 2 vols. (London: William Cowper and Sons, 1908).

  • Vol. 1. Catalogue of the Collection, 1640-1652 [PDF only] .
  • Vol. 2. Catalogue of the Collection, 1653-1661. Newspapers. Index. [PDF only]

Biographical information about the authors can be found in the Biographical Dictionary of British Radicals in the Seventeenth Century, ed. Richard L. Greaves and Robert Zeller (Brighton, Sussex: The Harvester Press, 1982-84), 3 vols.

  • Volume I: A-F
  • Volume II: G-O
  • Volume III: P-Z

 

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Tracts from Volume 6 (1649)

 

6.1. [Anon.], The humble Petition of firm and constant Friends to the Parliament (n.p., 19 January 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

[Anon.,] To the Right Honourable, the Supreme Authority of this Nation, the Commons of England in Parliament assembled. The humble Petition of firm and constant Friends to the Parliament and Common-wealth, Presenters and Promoters of the Large Petition of September 11. MDCXLVIII.

Estimated date of publication

18 January 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 715; Thomason 669. f. 13 (73.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

Sheweth,

That having seriously considered how many large and fair opportunities this honourable House hath had within these eight yeers last past to have made this Nation absolute free and happy; and yet that until this time, every of those opportunies have (after some short space of hope) faded, and but altered, if not increased our bondage.

When we call to mind what extraordinary things the Army undertook (and this honourable House approved) in behalf of the liberties of the people, in the yeer 1647 and that nevertheless, the first fruits of their great and unexpected success, was a more oppressive Ordinance for enforcing of Tyths, than ever had bin before, and which hath bin severely executed, and is still continued, to the extreme vexation of Friends, and encouragement of Pulpit Incendiaries; And how that great and wonderful opportunities wasted it self away in contending with, and imprisoning of cordial Friends, or in tampering with known enemies, and at length ended in a most dangerous and bloudy war; whereas rightly applied, it might have given peace and security to the Nation for many Generations.

These things considered, although we exceedingly rejoyced in your just and excellent Votes of the 4 of this instant Ianuary, as a people who had long suffered the reproches of Sectaries & Levellers, for maintaining the supreme original of all just power to be in the people, & the supreme Authority of this Nation to be in this honourable House, (which our burnt Petitions, and that of Sept. 11. do fully witness. Yet since we understand, that within few daies after you admitted a message from the House of Lords, and gave an accustomed respect thereunto. We have bin very much troubled, how already the same doth essentially derogate from your foresaid Votes.

And since also, we have seen a printed Warrant of his Excellency the Lord General Fairfax, directed to his Marshal General, for suppressing of unlicensed Books and Pamphlets, authorising him (upon the oath of one witness) to take all persons offending into custody, and inflict upon them such corporal punishments, and levie such fines upon them, as your Ordinances impose; and not to discharge them, until after payment and punishment; And further, to make diligent search in all places where the said Marshal shall think meet, for unlicensed printing presses, employed in printing scandalous, unlicensed pamphlets. Books, See. and to seise and carry away such printing presses, fee. And likewise to make diligent search in all suspected printing houses, ware-houses, and other shops and places whatsoever, for such unlicensed books, &c. And in case of opposition, to break open (according to your Ordinances) all dores and locks, and to apprehend all persons so opposing and take them into custody, till they have given satisfaction therein. And all this by vertue of an order of yours of the fift of this instant Ianuary. Since we have seen this, we profess, we cannot but already fear the issue and consequence of those excellent Votes, nothing more dangerous to a people, than the mis-application of their supreme entrusted Authority; and therefore we entreat herein to be excused, though we appear herein, as in a cause of very great Importance.

For what-ever specious pretences of good to the Common-wealth have bin devised to over-aw the Press, yet all times tore-gone will manifest, it hath ever ushered in a tyrannie; mens mouth being to be kept from making noise, whilst they are robd of their liberties; So was it in the late Prerogative times before this Parliament, whilst upon pretence of care of the publike. Licensers were set over the Press, Truth was suppressed, the people thereby kept ignorant, and fitted only to serve the unjust ends of Tyrants and Oppressors, whereby the Nation was enslaved; Nor did any thing beget those oppressions so much opposition, as unlicensed Books and Pamphlets.

A short time after the begining of this Parliament, upon pretense of publike good, and at the solicitation of the Company of Stationers (who in all times have bur officiously instrumental unto Tyrannic) the Press again (notwithstanding the good service it immediately before had done) was most ungratefully committed to the custody of Licensers, when though scandalous Books from or in behalf of the Enemy then at Oxford was the pretended occasion; yet the first that suffered was M. Lawrence Sanders, for Printing without license, a book intituled, Gods Love to Mankind; and not long after, M. John Lilburn, M. William Larnar, and M. Richard Overton, and others, about books discovering the then approching Tyrannie; whilst scandalous Pamphlets nevertheless abounded, and did the greater mischief, in that Licensers have never bin so free to pass, as good men have bin forward to compile proper and effectual answers to such books and pamphlets: And whether Tyrannic did soon follow thereupon, the courses you were forced unto in opposition, and the necessities you were put upon for your preservation, will most cleerly demonstrate. And if you, and your Army shall be pleased to look a little back upon affairs, you will find you have bin very much strengthened all along by unlicensed Printing; yea, that it hath done (with greatest danger to the doers) what it could to preserve you, when licensed did its utmost to destroy you; and we are very confident, those very excellent and necessary Votes of yours fore-mentioned, had made you a multitude of enemies, if unlicensed printing had not prepared and smoothed your way for them, whereas now they are received with great content and satisfaction.

And generally, as to the whole course of printing, as justly in our apprehensions, may Licensers be put over all publike or private Teachings, and Discourses, in Divine, Moral, Natural, Civil, or Political things, as over the Press; the liberty whereof appears so essential unto Freedom, as that without it, its impossible to preserve any Nation from being liable to the worst of bondage; for what may not be done, to that people who may not speak or write, but at the pleasure of Licensers?

As for any prejudice to Government thereby, if Government be just in its Constitution, and equal in its distributions, it will be good, if not absolutely necessary for them, to hear all voices and judgements, which they can never do, but by giving freedom to the Press; and in case any abuse their authority by scandalous Pamphlets, they will never want able Advocates to vindicate their innocency. And therefore all things being duely weighed, to refer all Books and Pamphlets to the judgement, discretion, or affection of Licensers, or to put the least restraint upon the Press, seems altogether inconsistent with the good of the Commonwealth, and expresly opposite and dangerous to the liberties of the people, and to be carefully avoided, as any other exorbitancy or prejudice in Government.

And being so, we beseech you to consider how unreasonable it is for every man or woman to be liable to punishment, penal or corporal, upon one witness in matters of this Nature, for compiling, printing, selling or dispersing of Books and Pamphlets, nay to deserve even whipping (as the last ycers Ordinance, an Engine fited to a Personal Treaty) doth provide a punishment, as we humbly conceive, fit only for slaves or bondmen. But that this honourable House, that is now by an extraordinary means freed from that major part, (which degenerating from the true Interest of the people, were the unhappy authors of that Ordinance) and reduced to that minor part, which we alwaies hoped did really oppose the same, should now approve thereof, and of all other Ordinances of like nature; and not oncly so, but in cases so meerly Civil, to refer the execution thereof to a Military power: This is that which in the present sense and consequence thereof, afflicts us above measure; because according to this rule, we may we know not how soon, be reduced under a military jurisdiction, which we humbly conceive, we ought not to be, and which above any thing in this world, we shall desire in this and all other cases for ever to avoid.

And therefore we most earnestly entreat. First, That as you have voted your selves the supreme Authority, so you will exactly preserve the same entire in it self, without intermixing again with any other whatsoever.

Secondly, That you will precisely hold your selves to the supreme end, the Freedom of the People; as in other things, so in that necessary and essential part, of speaking, writing, printing, and publishing their minds freely; without seting of Masters, Tutors, and Controulers over them; and tor that end, to revoke all Ordinances and Orders to the contrary.

Thirdly, That you will fix us onely in a Civil Jurisdiction, refering the Military to Act distinct, and within it self, except in cases of warlike opposition to Civil Authority.

Fourthly, That you will recal that oppressive Ordinance for Tyths, upon treble damages; that so, as we have rejoyced in the notion, we may not have cause to grieve, but to rejoyce also in the exercise of your supreme Authority; and that the whole Nation in this blessed opportunity may receive a full reward of true Freedom for its large expense of bloud and treasure, and by your Wisdom and Fidelity, be made happy to all Future Generations.

Die Jovis, January 18. 1648.

The House being informed that divers Inhabitants within the Citie of London and Borough of Southwark, were at the Dore; they were called in, and then presented a Petition to this House; which after the Petitioners were withdrawn, was read, and was entituled, The humble Petition of firm and constant friends to Parliament and Common-wealth, the Presenters and Promoters of the late large Petition of Sept. 11. 1648.

Ordered by the Commons assembled in Parliament, that the said Petition be referred to the Committee appointed yesterday to consider of Petitions of this nature.

Hen. Scobell cler. Parl. Dom. Com,

The Petitioners being again called in, M. Speaker by command of this House gave them this answer. Gentlemen, The House have read your Petition, and have referred it to a Committee to consider of the matters of consequence therein; and have taken notice of your continued good affections to this House, and they have commanded me to give you thanks for your good affections, and I do accordingly give you thanks for your good affections.

Hen. Scobell Cleric. Parl. Dom. Com.

 

 


 

6.2. John Rushworth, A Petition concerning the Draught of an Agreement of the People (London: John Partridge, 20 January 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

John Rushworth, A Petition from His Excellency Thomas Lord Fairfax And the General Councel of Officers of the Army, To the Honourable, the Commons of England in Parliament assembled, Concerning the Draught of An Agreement of the People For a secure and present Peace, by them framed and prepared. Together with the said Agreement presented on Saturuday, Jan. 20. And a Declaration of his Excellency and the said General Councel, concerning the same. Tendered to the Consideration of the people. By the Appointment of the Generall Councel of Officers of the Army. Signed John Rushworth, Sec.
London, Printed for John Partridge, R. Harford, G. Calvert, and G. Whittington. 1649.

[Also known as "The Officers’ Agreement".]

Estimated date of publication

20 January 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 716; Thomason E. 539. (2.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

To the honorable the Commons of England in Parliament assembled;

The humble Petition of his Excellency Thomas Lord Fairfax, and the General Councel of Officers of the Army under his Command, concerning the Draught of An Agreement of the People, by them framed and prepared.

IN our late Remonstrance of the 18 of November last, we propounded (next after the matters of publike Justice) some Foundations for a general settlement of Peace in the Nation, which we therein desired might be formed and Established in the nature of a generall Contract or Agreement of the People; and since then, the matters so propounded be wholly rejected, or no consideration of them admitted in Parliament (though visibly of highest Moment to the Publique) and all ordinary Remedies being denyed, we were necessitated to an extraordinary way of Remedy; whereby to avoyd the mischiefs then at hand, and set you in a condition (without such obstructions or diversions by corrupt Members) to proceed to matters of publique Justice and general Settlement. Now as nothing did in our own hearts more justifie our late undertakings towards many Members in this Parliament, then the necessity thereof in order to a sound Settlement in the Kingdom, and the integrity of our intentions to make use of it only to that end: so we hold our selves obliged to give the People all assurance possible, That our opposing the corrupt closure endeavoured with the King, was not in designe to hinder Peace or Settlement, (thereby to render our employments, as Souldiers, necessary to be continued,) and that neither that extraordinary course we have taken, nor any other proceedings of ours, have been intended for the setting up of any particular Party or Interest, by or with which to uphold ourselves in Power and Dominion over the Nation, but that it was and is the desire of our hearts, in all we have done, (with the hindering of that imminent evil, and destructive conjunction with the King) to make way for the settlement of a Peace and Government of the Kingdom upon Grounds of common Freedom and Safety: And therefore because our former Overtures for that purpose (being only in general terms, and not reduced to a certainty of particulars fit for practise) might possibly be understood but as plausible pretences, not intended really to be put into effect, We have thought it our duty to draw out these generals into an intire frame of particulars, ascertained with such circumstances as may make it effectively practicable. And for that end, while your time hath been taken up in other matters of high and present Importance, we have spent much of ours in preparing and perfecting such a draught of Agreement, and in all things so circumstantiated, as to render it ripe for your speedier consideration, and the Kingdoms acceptance and practise (if approved,) and so we do herewith humbly present it to you. Now to prevent misunderstanding of our intentions therein, We have but this to say, That we are far from such a Spirit, as positively to impose our private apprehensions upon the judgments of any in the Kingdom, that have not forfeited their Freedom, and much lesse upon your selves: Neither are we apt in any wise to insist upon circumstantial things, or ought that is not evidently fundamental to that publique Interest for which You and We have declared and engaged; But in this Tender of it we humbly desire,

  • 1That whether it shall be fully approved by You and received by the People (as it now stands) or not, it may yet remain upon Record, before you, a perpetual witness of our real intentions and utmost endeavors for a sound and equal Settlement; and as a testimony whereby all men may be assured, what we are willing and ready to acquiesce in; and their jealousies satisfied or mouths stopt, who are apt to think or say, We have no bottom.
  • 2That (with all expedition which the immediate and pressing great affairs will admit) it may receive your most mature Consideration and Resolutions upon it, not that we desire either the whole, or what you shall like in it, should be by your Authority imposed as a Law upon the Kingdom, (for so it would lose the intended nature of An Agreement of the People,) but that (so far as it concurs with your own judgments) it may receive Your Seal of Approbation only.
  • 3That (according to the method propounded therein) it may be tendred to the People in all parts, to be subscribed by those that are willing, (as Petitions, and other things of a voluntary nature, are;) and that meanwhile, the ascertaining of those circumstances, which it refers to Commissioners in the several Counties, may be proceeded upon in a way preparatory to the practise of it: And if upon the Account of subscriptions (to be returned by those Commissioners in April next) there appear to be a general or common Reception of it amongst the People, or by the well-affected of them, and such as are not obnoxious for Delinquency; it may then take place, and effect according to the Tenor and Substance of it.

And Your Petitioners shall pray, &c.
By the Appointment of his Excellency, and the general Councel of Officers of the Army.

Jo: Rushvvorth Secr’.

AN AGREEMENT OF THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND, And the places therewith INCORPORATED, For a secure and present Peace, upon Grounds of Common Right, Freedom and Safety.

HAving by our late labors and hazards made it appear to the world at how high a rate we value our Just Freedom, And God having so far owned our cause as to deliver the Enemies thereof into our hands, We do now hold our selves bound in mutuall duty to each other to take the best care we can for the future, to avoyd both the danger of returning into a slavish condition, and the chargeable remedy of another War: For as it cannot be imagined, That so many of our Country men would have opposed us in this Quarrell, if they had understood their own good, so may we hopefully promise to our selves, That when our Common Right and Liberties shall be cleared, their endeavors will be disappointed, that seek to make themselves our Masters, since therefore our former oppressions, and not yet ended troubles, have been occasioned, either by want of frequent National Meetings in Councel, or by the undue or unequal Constitution thereof, or by rendering those meetings uneffectual. We are fully agreed and resolved (God willing) to provide, That hereafter our Representatives be neither left to an uncertainty for time, nor be unequally constituted, nor made useless to the ends for which they are intended.

In Order whereunto We Declare and Agree;

1. That to prevent the many inconveniencies, apparently arising from the long continuance of the same persons in supream Authority, this Present Parliament end and dissolve upon, or before the last day of April, in the year of our Lord. 1649.

2. That the People of England (being at this day very unequally distributed, by Counties, Cities and Burroughs, for the Election of their Representatives) be indifferently proportioned: And to this end, That the Representative of the whole Nation shall consist of four hundred persons, or not above; and in each County, and the places thereto subjoyned, there shall be chosen, to make up the said Representative at all times, the several numbers here mentioned; VIZ.

In the County of Kent, with the Burrough, Towns, and Parishes therein (except such as are hereunder particularly named) ten.    } 10
The City of Canterbury, with the Suburbs adjoyning, and Liberties thereof, two.    } 2
The City of Rochester, with the Parishes of Chatham and Strowd, one.    ] 1
The Cinque Ports in Kent and Sussex, viz. Dover, Rumney, Hyde, Sandwich, Hastings, with the townes of Rye and Winchelsey, three.  } 3
The County of Sussex, with the Burroughs, Towns and Parishes (therein except Chichester and the Cinque Ports) eight.  } 8
The City of Chichester, with the Suburbs and Liberties thereof, one.    ] 1
The County of Southampton, with the Burroughs, Towns and Parishes therein, except such as are hereunder named, eight.  } 8
The City of Winchester, with the Suburbs and Liberties thereof, one.    ] 1
The County of the town of Southampton, one.    ] 1
The County of Dorset, with the Burroughs, Townes and Parishes therein (except Dorchester) seven. } 7
The Town of Dorchester, one.    ] 1
The County of Devon, with the Burroughs, Towns and Parishes therein, except such as are hereunder particularly named, twelve.} 12
The City of Excester, two.    ] 2
The Town of Plymouth, two.    ] 2
The Town of Barnstaple, one.    ] 1
The County of Cornwall, with the Burroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, eight.  } 8
The County of Somerset with the Burroughs, Townes and Parishes therein, except such as are hereunder named, eight.  } 8
The City of Bristoll, three.  ] 3
The Towne of Taunton-Deane, one.    ] 1
The County of Wilts, with the Burroughs, Towns and Parishes therein (except Salisbury), seven. } 7
The City of Salisbury, one.    ] 1
The County of Berks, with the Burroughs, Towns and Parishes therein, except Reading, five.    } 5
The Town of Reading, one.    ] 1
The County of Surrey, with the Burroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, except Southwarke, five.    } 5
The Burrough of Southwarke, two.    ] 2
The County of Middlesex, with the Burroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, except such as are hereunder named, four.    } 4
The City of London, eight.  ] 8
The City of VVestminster, and the Dutchy, two.    ] 2
The County of Hartford, with the Burroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, six.     } 6
The County of Buckingham with the Burroughs, Towns and Parishes therein, six.     } 6
The County of Oxon, with the Burroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein (except such as are here under-named) four.    } 4
The City of Oxon, two.    ] 2
The University of Oxon, two.    ] 2
The County of Glocester, with the Burroughs, towns and Parishes therein (except Glocester) seven. } 7
The City of Glocester, two.    ] 2
The County of Hereford, with the Burroughs, towns, and Parishes therin (except Hereford) four.    } 4
The Citie of Hereford, one.    ] 1
The County of Worcester, with the Burroughs, towns, and Parishes therein (except Worcester) foure. } 4
The City of Worcester, two.    ] 2
The County of Warwicke, with the Burroughs, townes, and Parishes therein (except Coventrey) five.    } 5
The City of Coventrey, two.    ] 2
The County of Northampton, with the Burroughs, towns and Parishes therein (except Northampton) five.    } 5
The Town of Northampton, one.    ] 1
The County of Bedford, with the Burroughs, townes, and Parishes therein, foure. } 4
The County of Cambridge, with the Burroughs, towns, and Parishes therein (except such as are here under particularly named) foure. } 4
The University of Cambridge, two.    ] 2
The Town of Cambridge, two.    ] 2
The County of Essex, with the Burroughs, towns, and Parishes therein (except Colchester) eleven.} 11
The Town of Colchester, two.    ] 2
The County of Suffolk, with the Burroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein (except such as are hereunder named) ten.    } 10
The Town of Ipswich, two.    ] 2
The Town of S. Edmonds Bury, one.    ] 1
The County of Norfolk, with the Burroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein (except such as are hereunder named) nine.   } 9
The City of Norwich, three.  ] 3
The Town of Lynne, one.    ] 1
The Town of Yarmouth, one.    ] 1
The County of Lincoln, with the Burroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein (except the City of Lincoln, and the town of Boston) eleven.} 11
The City of Lincoln, one.    ] 1
The Town of Boston, one.    ] 1
The County of Rutland, with the Burroughs, Townes, and Parishes therein, one.    } 1
The County of Huntington, with the Burroughs, Towns and Parishes therein, three.  } 3
The County of Leicester, with the Burroughs, Townes and Parishes therein (except Leicester) five.    } 5
The Town of Leicester, one.    ] 1
The County of Nottingham, with the Burroughs, Towns and Parishes therein (except Nottingham) foure. } 4
The Town of Nottingham, one.    ] 1
The County of Derby, with the Burroughs, Townes, and Parishes therein (except Derby) five.    } 5
The Town of Derby, one.    ] 1
The County of Stafford, with the City of Lichfield, the Burroughs, towne and Parishes therein, six.     } 6
The County of Salop, with the Burroughs, towns, and Parishes therein (except Shrewsbury) six.     } 6
The Town of Shrewsbury, one.    ] 1
The County of Chester, with the Burroughs, townes, and Parishes therein (except Chester) five.    } 5
The City of Chester, two.    ] 2
The County of Lancaster, with the Burroughs, townes, and Parishes therein (except Manchester) six.     } 6
The town of Manchester, and the Parish, one.    ] 1
The County of Yorke, with the Burroughs, towns, and Parishes, therein, except such as are here under named, fifteen. } 15
The City and County of the City of Yorke, three.  ] 3
The Town and County of Kingston upon Hull, one.    ] 1
The town and Parish of Leeds, one.    ] 1
The County Palatine of Duresme, with the Burroughs, towns, and Parishes therein, except Duresme and Gateside, three.  } 3
The City of Duresme, one.    ] 1
The County of Northumberland, with the Burroughs, towns and Parishes therein, except such as are here under named, three.  } 3
The Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne, with Gateside, two.    ] 2
The Town of Berwicke, one.    ] 1
The County of Cumberland, with the Burroughs, towns, and Parishes therein, three.  } 3
The County of Westmerland, with the Burroughs, towns and Parishes therein, two.    } 2
The Isle of Anglesey (with the Parishes therein) two.    ] 2
The County of Brecknock, with the Burroughs, towns, and Parishes therein, three.  } 3
The County of Cardigan, with the Burroughs and Parishes therein, three.  } 3
The County of Caermarthen, with the Burroughs and Parishes therein, three.  } 3
The County of Carnarvon, with the Burroughs and Parishes therein, two.    ] 2
The County of Denbigh, with the Burroughs and Parishes therein two.    ] 2
The County of Flint, with the Burroughs and Parishes therein, one.    ] 1
The County of Monmouth, with the Burroughs and Parishes therein, foure. } 4
The County of Glamorgan, with the Burroughs and Parishes therein, foure. } 4
The County of Merioneth, with the Burroughs and Parishes therein, two.    } 2
The County of Mountgomery, with the Burroughs and Parishes therein, three.  } 3
The County of Radnor, with the Burroughs and Parishes therein, two.    ] 2
The County of Pembroke, with the Burroughs, Towns and Parishes therein, foure. } 4

Provided, That the first or second Representative may (if they see cause) assigne the remainder of the foure hundred Representors, (not hereby assigned) or so many of them as they shall see cause for, unto such Counties as shall appear in this present distribution to have lesse then their due proportion. Provided also, That where any Citie or Burrough to which one Representor or more is assign’d shall be found in a due proportion, not competent alone to elect a Representor, or the number of Representors assign’d thereto, it is left to future Representatives to assigne such a number of Parishes or Villages neare adjoyning to such City, or Burrough, to be joyned therewith in the Elections, as may make the same proportionable.

3. That the people do of course choose themselves a Representative once in two yeares, and shall meet for that purpose upon the first Thursday in every second May by eleven of Clock in the morning, and the Representatives so chosen to meet upon the second Thursday in June following at the usuall place in Westminster, or such other place as by the foregoing Representative, or the Councell of State in the intervall, shall be from time to time appointed and published to the People, at the least twenty daies before the time of Election. And to continue their Session there or elsewhere untill the second Thursday in December following, unlesse they shall adjourne, or dissolve themselves sooner, but not to continue longer. The Election of the first Representative to be on the first Thursday in May, 1649. And that, and all future Elections to be according to the rules prescribed for the same purpose in this Agreement, viz.

  • 1.  That the Electors in every Division, shall be Natives, or Denizons of England, not persons receiving Almes, but such as are assessed ordinarily, towards the reliefe of the poore; not servants to, and receiving wages from any particular person. And in all Elections, (except for the Universities,) they shall be men of one and twenty yeares old, or upwards, and housekeepers, dwelling within the Devision for which the Election is provided, That untill the end of seven yeares next ensuing the time herein limited for the end of this present Parliament, no person shall be admitted to, or have any hand or voice in such Elections, who hath adhered unto, or assisted the King against the Parliament, in any the late Warres, or Insurrections, or who shall make, or joyne in, or abet any forcible opposition against this Agreement.
  • 2.  That such persons and such only, may be elected to be of the Representative, who by the rule aforesaid are to have voice in Elections in one place or other; provided, That of those, none shall be eligible for the first or second Representatives, who have not voluntarily assisted the Parliament against the King, either in person before the 14th. of June 1645. or else in Money, Plate, Horse, or Armes, lent upon the Propositions before the end of May 1643. or who have joyned in, or abetted the treasonable Engagement in London, in the year 1647. or who declared or engaged themselves for a Cessation of Armes with the Scots, that invaded this Nation, the last Summer, or for complyance with the Actors in any the insurrections, of the same Summer, or with the Prince of Wales, or his accomplices in the Revolted Fleete. And also provided, That such persons as by the rules in the preceding Article are not capable of electing untill the end of seven years, shall not be capable to be elected untill the end of foureteen years, next ensuing. And we do desire and recommend it to all men, that in all times the persons to be chosen for this great trust, may be men of courage, fearing God, and hating covetousnesse, and that our Representatives would make the best Provisions for that end.
  • 3.  That who ever, by the two rules in the next preceding Articles, are incapable of Election, or to be elected, shall assume to vote in, or be present at such Elections for the first or second Representative, or being elected shall presume to sit or vote in either of the said Representatives, shall incur the pain of confiscation of the moyety of his Estate, to the use of the publike, in case he have any Estate visible, to the value of fifty pounds. And if he have not such an Estate, then shall incur the pain of imprisonment, for three months; And if any person shall forcibly oppose, molest, or hinder the people, (capable of electing as aforesaid) in their quiet and free Election of Representors, for the first Representative, then each person so offending shall incur the penalty of confiscation of his whole Estate, both reall and personall; and (if he have not an Estate to the value of fifty pounds,) shall suffer imprisonment during one whole year without Bayle, or mainprize. Provided, That the Offender in each such case, be convicted within three Months next after the committing of his offence, And the first Representative is to make further provision for the avoyding of these evills in after Elections.
  • 4.  That to the end, all Officers of State may be certainly accomptable, and no factions made to maintain corrupt interests, no Member of a Councel of State, nor any Officer of any salary forces in Army, or Garison, nor any Treasurer or Receiver of publique monies, shall (while such) be elected to be of a Representative. And in case any such Election shall be, the same to be void. And in case any Lawyer shall be chosen of any Representative, or Councel of State, then he shall be uncapable of practice as a Lawyer, during that trust.
  • 5.  For the more convenient Election of Representatives, each County wherein more then three Representors are to be chosen, with the Townes Corporate and Cities, (if there be any) lying within the compasse thereof, to which no Representors are herein assigned, shall be divided by a due proportion into so many, and such parts, as each part may elect two, and no part above three Representors; For the setting forth of which Divisions, and the ascertaining of other circumstances hereafter exprest, so as to make the Elections lesse subject to confusion, or mistake, in order to the next Representative, Thomas Lord Grey of Grooby, Sir John Danvers, Sir Henry Holcraft, Knights; Moses Wall Gentleman, Samuel Moyer, John Langley, William Hawkins, Abraham Babington, Daniel Taylor, Mark Hilsley, Richard Price, and Col. John White, Citizens of London, or any five, or more of them are intrusted to nominate and appoint under their Hands and Seales, three or more fit persons in each County, and in each Citie, and Borough, to which one Representor or more is assigned to be as Commissioners for the ends aforesaid, in the respective Counties, Cities, and Burroughs, and by like writing under their Hands and Seales shall certifie into the Parliament Records, before the fourteenth day of February next, the names of the Commissioners so appointed for the respective Counties, Cities, and Burroughs, which Comissioners or any three, or more of them, for the respective Counties, Cities, and Burroughs, shall before the end of February next, by writing under their Hands and Seales, appoint two fit and faithfull persons, or more in each Hundred, Lath, or Wapentake, within the respective Counties, and in each Ward, within the City of London, to take care for the orderly taking of all voluntary subscriptions to this Agreement by fit persons to be imploy’d for that purpose in every Perish who are to returne the subscriptions so taken to the persons that imployed them, (keeping a transcript thereof to themselves,) and those persons keeping like Transcripts to return the Originall subscriptions to the respective Commissioners, by whom they were appointed, at, or before the fourteenth of Aprill next, to be registred and kept in the County Records, for the said Counties respectively, and the subscriptions in the City of London, to be kept in the chief Court of Record for the said City. And the Commissioners for the other Cities and Borroughs respectively, are to appoint two or more fit persons in every Parish within their Precincts to take such subscriptions, and (keeping transcripts thereof) to return the Originalls to the respective Commissioners by the said fourteenth of Aprill next, to be registred and kept in the chief Court within the respective Cities and Burroughs. And the same Commissioners, or any three, or more of them, for the severall Counties, Cities, and Boroughs, respectively, shall, where more then three Representors are to be chosen, divide such Counties (as also the City of London) into so many, and such parts as are aforementioned, and shall set forth the bounds of such divisions, and shall in every County, City, and Borough (where any Representors are to be chosen) and in every such division as aforesaid within the City of London, and within the severall Counties so divided, respectively, appoint one certaine place wherein the people shall meet for the choise of their Representors, and some one fit Person or more inhabiting within each Borough, City, County, or Division, respectively, to be present at the time and place of Election, in the nature of Sheriffes to regulate the Elections, and by Pole, or otherwise, clearly to distinguish and judge thereof, and to make returne of the Person or Persons Elected as is hereafter exprest, and shall likewise in writing under their hands and Seales, make Certificates of the severall Divisions (with the bounds thereof) by them set forth, and of the certaine places of meeting, and Persons, in the nature of Sheriffes appointed in them respectively as aforesaid,1 and cause such Certificates to be returned into the Parliament Records before the end of April next, and before that time shall also cause the same to be published in every Parish within the Counties, Cities, and Boroughs respectively, and shall in every such Parish likewise nominate and appoint (by Warrant under their hands and Seals) one Trusty person, or more, inhabiting therein, to make a true list of al the Persons within their respective Parishes, who according to the rules aforegoing are to have voyce in the Elections, and expressing, who amongst them are by the same rules capable of being Elected, and such List (with the said Warrant) to bring in, and returne at the time and place of Election, unto the Person appointed in the nature of Sheriffe, as aforesaid, for that Borough, City, County, or Division respectively; which Person so appointed as Sheriffe being present at the time and place of Election; or in case of his absence by the space of one houre after the time limited for the peoples meeting, then any Person present that is eligible, as aforesaid, whom the people then and there assembled shall chuse for that end, shall receive and keep the said Lists, and admit the Persons therein contained, or so many of them as are present unto a free Vote in the said Election, and having first caused this Agreement to be publiquely read in the audience of the people, shall proceed unto, and regulate and keep peace and order in the Elections, and by Pole, or otherwise, openly distinguish and judge of the same: And thereof by Certificate, or writing under the hands and Seales of himself, and six or more of the Electors (nominating the Person or Persons duly Elected) shall make a true returne into the Parliament Records, within one and twenty dayes after the Election (under paine for default thereof, or for making any false Returne to forfeit one hundred pounds to the Publique use.) And shall also cause Indentures to be made, and interchangeably sealed and delivered betwixt himselfe, and six or more of the said Electors on the one part, and the Persons, or each Person Elected severally on the other part, expressing their Election of him as a Representor of them, according to this Agreement, and his acceptance of that trust, and his promise accordingly to performe the same with faithfulnesse, to the best of his understanding and ability, for the glory of God, and good of the people.

This course is to hold for the first Representative, which is to provide for the ascertaining of these Circumstances in order to future Representatives.

4. That one hundred and fifty Members at least be alwaies present in each sitting of the Representative, at the passing of any Law, or doing of any Act, whereby the people are to be bound; saving, That the number of sixty may make an House for Debates, or Resolutions that are preparatory thereunto.

5. That each Representative shall within twenty dayes after their first meeting appoint a Councell of State for the managing of Publique Affaires, untill the tenth day after the meeting of the next Representative, unlesse that next Representative thinke fit to put an end to that trust sooner. And the same Councell to Act, and proceed therein, according to such Instructions and limitations as the Representative shall give, and not otherwise.

6. That in each intervall betwixt Bienniall Representatives, the Councell of State (in case of imminent danger, or extreame necessity) may summon a Representative to be forthwith chosen, and to meet; so as the Session thereof continue not above foure-score dayes, and so as it dissolve, at least, fifty dayes before the appointed time for the next Bienniall Representative, and upon the fiftyeth day so preceeding it shall dissolve of course, if not otherwise dissolved sooner.

7. That no Member of any Representative be made either Receiver, Treasurer, or other Officer, during that imployment, saving to be a Member of the Councell of State.

8. That the Representatives have, and shall be understood, to have, the Supreame trust in order to the preservation and Government of the whole, and that their power extend, without the consent or concurrence of any other Person or Persons, to the erecting and abolishing of Courts of Justice, and publique Offices, and to the enacting, altering, repealing, and declaring of Lawes, and the highest and finall Judgement, concerning all Naturall or Civill things, but not concerning things Spirituall or Evangelicall; Provided, that even in things Naturall and Civill these six particulars next following are, and shall be understood to be excepted, and reserved from our Representatives, viz.

  • 1.  We doe not impower them to imprest or constraine any Person to serve in Forraigne Warre either by Sea or Land, nor for any Millitary Service within the Kingdome, save that they may take order for the the forming, training and exercising of the people in a Military way to be in readinesse for resisting of Forrain Invasions, suppressing of suddain Insurrections, or for assisting in execution of Law; and may take order for the imploying and conducting of them for those ends; provided, That even in such cases none be compellable to goe out of the County he lives in, if he procure another to serve in his roome.
  • 2.  That after the time herein limited for the commencement of the first Representative, none of the people may be at any time questioned for any thing said or done in relation to the late Warres, or publique differences, otherwise then in execution or pursuance of the determinations of the present House of Commons against such as have adhered to the King, or his interest against the people: And saving that Accomptants for publique monies received, shall remaine accomptable for the same.
  • 3.  That no securities given, or to be given by the Publique Faith of the Nation, nor any engagements of the Publique Faith for satisfaction of debts and dammages, shal be made void or invalid by the next, or any future Representatives; except to such Creditors, as have, or shall have justly forfeited the same; and saving, That the next Representative may confirme or make null, in part, or in whole, all gifts of Lands, Monies, Offices, or otherwise, made by the present Parliament to any Member or Attendant of either House.
  • 4.  That in any Lawes hereafter to be made, no person, by vertue of any tenure, grant, Charter, patent, degree or birth, shall be priviledged from subjection thereto, or from being bound thereby, as well as others.
  • 5.  That the Representative may not give judgement upon any mans person or estate, where no Law hath before provided; save onely in calling to Account, and punishing publique Officers for abusing or failing their trust.
  • 6.  That no Representative may in any wise render up, or give, or take away any the Foundations of common Right, Liberty and Safety contained in this Agreement; nor levell mens Estates, destroy Propriety, or make all things common: And that in all matters of such fundamentall concernment, there shall be a liberty to particular Members of the said Representatives to enter their dissents from the major vote.

9. Concerning Religion, we agree as followeth:

  • 1.  It is intended, That Christian Religion be held forth and recommended, as the publike Profession in this Nation (which wee desire may by the grace of God be reformed to the greatest purity in Doctrine, Worship and Discipline, according to the Word of God.) The instructing of the People whereunto in a publike way (so it be not compulsive) as also the maintaining of able Teachers for that end, and for the confutation or discovery of Heresie, Errour, and whatsoever is contrary to sound Doctrine, is alowed to be provided for by our Representatives; the maintenance of which Teachers may be out of a publike Treasury, and wee desire not by tithes. Provided, That Popery or Prelacy be not held forth as the publike way or profession in this Nation.
  • 2.  That to the publique Profession so held forth none be compelled by penalties or otherwise, but onely may be endeavoured to be wonne by sound Doctrine, and the Example of a good Conversation.
  • 3.  That such as professe Faith in God by Jesus Christ (however differing in judgement from the Doctrine, Worship or Discipline publikely held forth, as aforesaid) shall not be restrained from, but shall be protected in the profession of their Faith and exercise of Religion according to their Consciences in any place (except such as shall be set apart for the publick Worship, where wee provide not for them, unlesse they have leave) so as they abuse not this liberty to the civil injury of others, or to actuall disturbance of the publique peace on their parts; neverthelesse it is not intended to bee hereby provided, That this liberty shall necessarily extend to Popery or Prelacy.
  • 4.  That all Lawes, Ordinances, Statutes, and clauses in any Law, Statute, or Ordinance to the contrary of the liberty provided for in the two particulars next preceding concerning Religion be and are hereby repealed and made void.

10. It is agreed, That whosoever shall by Force of Armes, resist the Orders of the next or any future Representative (except in case where such Representative shall evidently render up, or give, or take away the Foundations of common Right, Liberty and Safety contain’d in this Agreement) shall forthwith after his or their such Resistance lose the benefit and protection of the Laws, and shall be punishable with Death, as an Enemy and Traitour to the Nation.

The form of subscription for the Officers of the Army.

Of the things exprest in this Agreement, The certain ending of this Parliament (as in the first Article) The equall or proportionable distribution of the number of the Representators to be elected (as in the second.) The certainty of the peoples meeting to elect for Representatives Bienniall, and their freedome in Elections with the certainty of meeting, sitting and ending of Representatives so elected (which are provided for in the third Article) as also the Qualifications of Persons to elect or be elected (as in the first and second particulars under the third Article) Also the certainty of a number for passing a Law or preparatory debates (provided for in the fourth Article) The matter of the fifth Article, concerning the Councel of State, and the sixth concerning the calling, sitting and ending of Representatives extraordinary; Also the power of Representatives, to be, as in the eighth Article, and limitted, as in the six reserves next foling the same; Likewise the second and third particulars under the ninth Article concerning Religion, and the whole matter of the tenth Article; (All these) we doe account and declare to be Fundamentall to our common Right, Liberty, and Safety; And therefore doe both agree thereunto, and resolve to maintain the same, as God shall enable us. The rest of the matters in this Agreement, wee account to be usefull and good for the Publike, and the particular circumstances of Numbers, Times and Places expressed in the severall Articles, we account not Fundamentall, but we finde them necessary to be here determined for the making the Agreement certain and practicable, and do hold those most convenient that are here set down, and therefore do positively agree thereunto.

A Declaration of the Generall Councell of Officers of the Army:

Concerning the Agreement by them framed in order to peace, and from them tendred to the People of England.

HAVING ever since the end of the first War longingly waited for some such settlement of the Peace and Government of this Nation, whereby the Common Rights, Liberties and safety thereof, might in future be more hopefully provided for, and therein something gained, which might be accounted to the present age and posterity (through the mercy of God) as a fruit of their labours, hazards and sufferings, that have engaged in the common cause, as some price of the bloud spilt, and ballance to the publique expence and damage sustained in the War, and as some due improvement of that successe, and blessing God hath pleased to give therein: And having not found any such Establishment assayed or endeavoured by those whose proper worke it was, but the many addresses and desires of ourselves, and others, in that behalfe, rejected, discountenanced and opposed, and onely a corrupt closure endeavoured with the King, on tearmes, serving onely to his interest, and theirs that promoted the same; And being thereupon (for the avoidance of the evil thereof, and to make way for some better settlement) necessitated to take extraordinary wayes of remedy (when the ordinary were denied;) Now to exhibit our utmost endeavors for such a settlement, whereupon we, and other Forces, (with which the Kingdome hath so long beene burthened above measure, and whose continuance shall not be necessary for the immediate safety and quiet thereof) may with comfort to our selves, and honesty towards the publique, disband, and returne to our homes and callings; and to the end mens jealousies and fears may be removed concerning any intentions in us to hold up our selves in power, to oppresse or domineer over the people by the sword; And that all men may fully understand those grounds of Peace and Government wherupon (they may rest assured) We shall for our parts acquiesce; We have spent much time to prepare, and have at last (through the blessing of God) finished a Draught of such a settlement, in the nature of an Agreement of the People for Peace amongst themselves; Which we have lately presented to the Honourable the Commons now assembled in Parliament, and doe herewith tender to the people of this Nation.

We shal not otherwise commend it, then to say, It contains the best and most hopefull Foundations for the Peace, & future wel Government of this Nation, that we can devise or think on, within the line of humane power, and such, wherin all the people interested in this Land (that have not particular interests of advantage & power over others, divided from that which is common and publique) are indifferently and equally provided for, save where any have justly forfeited their share in that common interest by opposing it, and so rendred themselves incapable thereof (at least) for some time: And we call the Consciences of all that reade or hear it, to witnesse, whether wee have therein provided or propounded any thing of advantage to our selves in any capacity above others, or ought, but what is as good for one as for another: And therefore as we doubt not but that (the Parliament being now freed from the obstructing and perverting Councels of such Members, by many of whom a corrupt compliance with the Kings Interest hath beene driven on, and all settlement otherwise hath hitherto beene hindred) Those remaining worthy Patriots to whom we have presented the Agreement, will for the maine allow thereof, and give their seale of Approbation thereby; So we desire and hope, That all good People of England whose heart God shall make sensible of their, and our common concernment therein, and of the usefulnesse and sutablenesse thereof to the publique ends it holds forth, will cordially embrace it, and by subscription declare their concurrence, and accord thereto, when it shall be tendred to them, as is directed therein; wherein, if it please God wee shall finde a good Reception of it with the people of the Nation, or the Well-affected therein, We shall rejoyce at the hoped good to the Common-wealth, which (through Gods mercy) may redound therefrom, and that God hath vouchsafed thereby to make us instrumentall for any good settlement to this poor distracted Country, as he hath formerly made us for the avoiding of evill. But if God shall (in his Righteous Judgement towards this Land) suffer the people to be so blinded as not to see their own common good and freedome, endeavoured to be provided for therein, or any to be so deluded (to their own and the publique prejudice) as to make opposition thereto, whereby the effect of it be hindred, we have, yet, by the preparation and tender of it discharged our Consciences to God, and duty to our native Country in our utmost endeavours for a settlement, (to the best of our understandings) unto a just publique interest; And hope we shall be acquitted before God and good men, from the blame of any further troubles, distractions, or miseries to the Kingdom, which may arise through the neglect or rejection thereof, or opposition thereto.

Now whereas there are many good things in particular ters which our own Reasons & observations or the Petitions of others have suggested, and which we hold requisite to be provided for in their proper time and way (as the setting of moderate Fines upon such of the Kings party, as shal not be excepted for life, with a certain day for their coming in and submitting, and an Act of pardon to such as shall come in and submit accordingly, or have already compounded, The setling of a Revenue for all necessary publique uses, in such a way as the people may be most eased, The assigning and ascertayning of securities for Souldiers Arrears; and for publique Debts and Damages. The taking away of Tithes, and putting that maintenance which shall be thought competent for able Teachers to instruct the people, into some other way, lesse subject to scruple or contention, the clearing and perfecting of Accompts for all publique Monies, the relieving of prisoners for Debt; the removing or reforming of other evills or inconveniencies in the present Lawes, and Administrations thereof, the redresse of abuses, and supplying of Defects therein, the putting of all the Lawes and proceedings thereof into the English tongue, the reducing of the course of Law to more brevity and lesse charge, the setling of Courts of Justice and Record in each County or lesse Divisions of the Kingdome, and the erecting of Courts of Merchants for controversies in trading, and the like.) These and many other things of like sort being of a particular nature, and requiring very particular and mature consideration, with larger experience in the particular matters then we have, and much Caution, that by taking away of present Evills greater inconveniences may not ensue for want of other provisions in the room thereof, where it is necessary; and we (for our parts) being far from any Desire or thought to assume or exercise a Law-giving, or Judiciall power over the Kingdome, or to meddle in any thing save the fundamentall setling of that power in the most equall and hopefull way for Common Right, Freedom, and Safety (as in this Agreement) and having not meanes nor time for, nor the necessitie of some present generall settlement admitting the delay of, such a consideration, as seems requisite in relation to such numerous particulars, we have purposely declined the inserting of such things into this Agreement. But (as we have formerly expressed our desires that way, so) when the matters of publique Justice, and generall settlement are over, we shall not be wanting (if needfull) humbly to recommend such particulars to the Parliament, by whom they may more properly, safely, and satisfactorily be provided for, and we doubt not but they will be so, such of them, at least, as are of more neare and present concernment, by this Parliament, and the rest by future Representatives in due time.

And thus we recommend for present the businesse of this Agreement without further addition to the best consideration of all indifferent and equall minded men, and commit the issue thereof (as of all our wayes and concernments) to the good pleasure of the Lord, whose will is better to us then our own, or any inventions of ours, who hath decreed and promised better things then we can wish or imagine, and who is most faithfull to accomplish them in the best way and season.

By the appointment of the Generall Councell of Officers.

Iohn Rushworth Secretary.

FINIS.

Endnotes

 [1 ] Memorandum, That the Commissioners for the respective Counties, Cities, and Boroughs, are to returne a Computation of the number of Subscribers in the severall Parishes unto the Trustees herein named before the end of April next, at such place, and in such forme as the said Trustees, or any five or more of them shall direct.

 

 


 

6.3. John Lilburne, Englands New Chains Discovered (n.p., 26 February 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

John Lilburne, Englands New Chains Discovered; or The serious apprehensions of a part of the People, in behalf of the Commonwealth; (being Presenters, Promoters, and Approvers of the Large Petition of September 11. 1648.) Presented to the Supreme Authority of England, the Representers of the people in Parliament assembled. By Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, and divers other Citizens of London, and Borough of Southwark; February 26. 1648. whereunto his speech delivered at the bar is annexed.

Estimated date of publication

26 February 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 726; Thomason E. 545. (27.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

Since you have done the Nation so much right, and your selves so much honour as to declare that the People (under God) are the original of all just Powers; and given us thereby fair grounds to hope, that you really intend their Freedom and Prosperity; yet the way thereunto being frequently mistaken, and through hast or error of judgement, those who mean the best, are many times mis-led so far to the prejudice of those that trust them, as to leave them in a condition neerest to bondage, when they have thought they had brought them into a way of Freedom. And since woful experience hath manifested this to be a Truth, there seemeth no small reason that you should seriously lay to heart what at present we have to offer, for discovery and prevention of so great a danger. And because we have bin the first movers in and concerning an Agreement of the People, as the most proper and just means for the setting the long and tedious distractions of this Nation, occasioned by nothing more, than the uncertainty of our government; and since there hath bin an Agreement prepared and presented by some Officers of the Army to this honourable House, as what they thought requisite to be agreed unto by the People (you approving thereof) we shall in the first place deliver our apprehensions thereupon.

That an Agreement between those that trust, and those who are trusted hath appeared a thing acceptable to this honorable House, his Excellency, and the Officers of the Army, is as much to our rejoycing, as we conceive it just in it self, and profitable for the Common-wealth, and cannot doubt but that you will protect those of the people, who have no waies forfeited their Birth-right, in their proper liberty of taking this, or any other, as God and their own Considerations shall direct them.

Which we the rather mention, for that many particulars in the Agreement before you, are upon serious examination thereof, dissatisfactory to most of those who are very earnestly desirous of an Agreement, and many very material things seem to be wanting therein, which may be supplyed in another: As

1. They are now much troubled there should be any Intervalls between the ending of this Representative, and the begining of the next as being desirous that this present Parliament that hath lately done so great things in so short a time, tending to their Liberties, should sit; until with certainty and safety they can see them delivered into the hands of another Representative, rather than to leave them (though never so small a time) under the dominion of a Councel of State; a Constitution of a new and unexperienced Nature, and which they fear, as the case now stands, may design to perpetuate their power, and to keep off Parliaments for ever.

2. They now conceive no less danger, in that it is provided that Parliaments for the future are to continue but 6. moneths, and a Councel of State 18. In which time, if they should prove corrupt, having command of all Forces by Sea and Land, they will have great opportunities to make themselves absolute and unaccountable: And because this is a danger, than which there cannot well be a greater; they generally incline to Annual Parliaments, bounded and limited as reason shall devise, not dissolvable, but to be continued or adjourned as shall seem good in their discretion, during that yeer, but no longer 3 and then to dissolve of course, and give way to those who shall be chosen immediatly to succeed them, and in the Intervals of their adjournments, to entrust an ordinary Committee of their own members, as in other cases limited and bounded with express instructions, and accountable to the next Session, which will avoid all those dangers feared from a Councel of State, as at present this is constituted.

3. They are not satisfied with the clause, wherein it is said, that the power of the Representatives shall extend to the erecting and I abolishing of Courts of justice; since the alteration of the usual way of Tryals by twelve sworn men of the Neighborhood, may be included therein: a constitution so equal and just in it self, as that they conceive it ought to remain unalterable. Neither is it cleer what is meant by these words, (viz.) That the Representatives have the highest final judgement. They conceiving that their Authority in these cases, is onely to make Laws, Rules, and Directions for other Courts and Persons assigned by Law for the execution thereof; unto which every member of the Commonwealth, as well those of the Representative, as others, should be alike subject; it being likewise unreasonable in it self, and an occasion of much partiality, injustice, and vexation to the people, that the Lawmakers, should be Law-executors.

4. Although it doth provide that in the Laws hereafter to be made) no person by vertue of any Tenure, Grant, Charter, Patent, Degree, or Birth, shall be priviledged from subjection thereunto, or from being bound thereby, as well as others; Yet doth it not null and make void those present Protections by Law, or otherwise; nor leave all persons, as well Lords as others, alike liable in person and estate, as in reason and conscience they ought to be.

5. They are very much unsatisfied with what is exprest as a reserve from the Representative, in matters of Religion, as being very obscure, and full of perplexity, that ought to be most plain and clear; there having occurred no greater trouble to the Nation about any thing than by the intermedling of Parliaments in matters of Religion.

6. They seem to conceive it absolutely necessary, that there be in their Agreement, a reserve from ever having any Kingly Government, and a bar against restoring the House of Lords, both which are wanting in the Agreement which is before you.

7. They seem to be resolved to take away all known and burdensome grievances, as Tythes, that great oppression of the Countries industry and hindrance of Tillage: Excise, and Customs, Those secret thieves, and Robbers, Drainers of the poor and middle sort of People, and the greatest Obstructers of Trade, surmounting all the prejudices of Ship-mony, Pattents, and Projects, before this Parliament: also to take away all Monopolizing Companies of Marchants, the hinderers and decayers of Clothing and Cloth-working, Dying, and the like useful professions; by which thousands of poor people might be set at work, that are now ready to starve, were Marchandizing restored to its due and proper freedom: they conceive likewise that the three grievances before mentioned, (viz.) Monopolizing Companies, Excise, and Customes, do exceedingly prejudice Shiping, and Navigation, and Consequently discourage Sea-men, and Marriners, and which have had no smal influence upon the late unhappy revolts which have so much endangered the Nation, and so much advantaged your enemies. They also incline to direct a more equal and lesse burdensome way for levying monies for the future, those other fore-mentioned being so chargable in the receipt, as that the very stipends and allowance to the Officers attending thereupon would defray a very great part of the charge of the Army; whereas now they engender and support a corrupt interest. They also have in mind to take away all imprisonment of disabled men, for debt; and to provide some effectual course to enforce all that are able to a speedy payment, and not suffer them to be sheltered in Prisons, where they live in plenty, whilst their Creditors are undone. They have also in mind to provide work, and comfortable maintainance for all sorts of poor, aged, and impotent people, and to establish some more speedy, lesse troublesome and chargeable way for deciding of Controversies in Law, whole families having been ruined by seeking right in the wayes yet in being: All which, though of greatest and most immediate concernment to the People, are yet omitted in their Agreement before you.

These and the like are their intentions in what they purpose for an Agreement of the People, as being resolved (so far as they are able) to lay an impossibility upon all whom they shall hereafter trust, of ever wronging the Common wealth in any considerable measure, without certainty of ruining themselves, and as conceiving it to be an improper tedious, and unprofitable thing for the People, to be ever runing after their Representatives with Petitions for redresse of such Grievances as may at once be removed by themselves, or to depend for these things so essential to their happinesse and freedom, upon the uncertain judgements of several Representatives, the one being apt to renew what the other hath taken away.

And as to the use of their Rights and Liberties herein as becometh, and is due to the people, from whom all just powers are derived; they hoped for and expect what protection is in you and the Army to afford: and we likewise in their and our own behalfs do earnestly desire, that you will publikely declare your resolution to protect those who have not forfeited their liberties in the use thereof, lest they should conceive that the Agreement before you being published abroad, and the Commissioners therein nominated being at work in persuance thereof, is intended to be imposed upon them, which as it is absolutely contrary to the nature of a free Agreement, so we are perswaded it cannot enter into your thoughts to use any impulsion therein.

But although we have presented our apprehensions and desires concerning this great work of an Agreement, and are apt to perswade our selves that nothing shall be able to frustrate our hopes which we have built thereupon; yet have we seen and heard many things of late, which occasions not only apprehensions of other matters intended to be brought upon us of danger to such an Agreement, but of bondage and ruine to all such as shall pursue it.

Insomuch that we are even agast and astonished to see that notwithstanding the productions of the highest notions of freedom that ever this Nation, or any people in the world, have brought to light, notwithstanding the vast expence of blood and treasure that hath been made to purchase those freedoms, notwithstanding the many eminent and even miraculous Victories God hath been pleased to honour our just Cause withall, notwithstanding the extraordinary gripes and pangs, this House hath suffered more than once at the hands of your own servants, and that at least seemingly for the obtaining these our Native Liberties.

When we consider what rackings and tortures the People in general have suffered through decay of Trade, and deernesse of food, and very many families in particular, through Free-quarter, Violence, and other miseries, incident to warre, having nothing to support them therein, but hopes of Freedom, and a well-setled Common-wealth in the end.

That yet after all these things have bin done and suffered, and whilst the way of an Agreement of the People is owned, and approved, even by your selves, and that all men are in expectation of being put into possession of so deer a purchase; Behold! in the close of all, we hear and see what gives us fresh and pregnant cause to believe that the contrary is really intended, and that all those specious pretenses, and high Notions of Liberty, with those extraordinary courses that have of late bin taken (as if of necessity for liberty, and which indeed can never be justified, but deserve the greatest punishments, unless they end in just liberty, and an equal Government) appear to us to have bin done and directed by some secret powerful influences, the more securely and unsuspectedly to attain to an absolute domination over the Common-wealth: It being impossible for them, but by assuming our generally approved Principles, and hiding under the fair shew thereof their other designs, to have drawn in so many good and godly men (really aiming at what the other had but in shew and pretense) and making them unwittingly instrumental to their own and their Countries Bondage.

For where is that good, or where is that liberty so much pretended, so deerly purchased? If we look upon what this House hath done since it hath voted it self the Supreme Authority, and disburthened themselves of the power of the Lords. First, we find a high Court of Justice erected, for Tryal of Criminal causes; whereby that great and strong hold of our preservation, the way of tryal by 12. sworn men of the Neighborhood is infringed, all liberty of exception against the tryers, is over-ruled by a Court consisting of persons pickt and chosen in an unusual way; the practise whereof we cannot allow of, though against open and notorious enemies; as well because we know it to be an usual policy to introduce by such means all usurpations, first against Adversaries, in hope of easier admission; as also, for that the same being so admited, may at pleasure be exercised against any person or persons whatsoever. This is the first part of our new liberty. The next is the censuring of a Member of this House, for declaring his judgement in a point of Religion, which is directly opposite to the Reserve in the Agreement concerning Religion. Besides the Act for pressing of Sea-men, directly contrary to the Agreement of the Officers. Then the stoping of our mouths from Printing, is carefully provided for, and the most severe and unreasonable Ordinances of Parliament that were made in the time of Hollis and Stapletons reign, to gag us from speaking truth, and discovering the tyrannies of bad men are refered to the care of the General, and by him to his Marshal, to be put in execution; in searching, fining, imprisoning, and other wales corporally punishing all that any waies be guilty of unlicensed Printing; They dealing with us as the Bishops of old did with the honest Puritan, who were exact in geting Laws made against the Papist, but really intended them against the Puritan, and made them feel the smart of them: Which also hath bin, and is dayly exercised most violently, whereby our Liberties have bin more deeply wounded, than since the begining of this Parliament; and that to the dislike of the Souldiery, as by their late Petition in that behalf plainly appeareth. Then whereas it was expected that the Chancery, and Courts of justice in Westminster, and the Judges and Officers thereof should have bin surveyed, and for the present regulated, till a better and more equal way of deciding controversies could have bin constituted) that the trouble and charge of the people in their suits should have bin abated: Insteed hereof, the old and advanced fees are continued, and new thousand pounds Annual stipends alotted; when in the corruptest times the ordinary fees were thought a great and a sore burden; in the mean time, and in lieu thereof, there is not one perplexity or absurdity in proceedings taken away. Those Petitioners that have moved in behalf of the people, how have they bin entertained? Somtimes with the complement of empty thanks, their desires in the mean time not at all considered; at other times meeting with Reproches and Threats for their constancy and publike affections, and with violent motions, that their Petitions be burnt by the common Hangman, whilst others are not taken in at all; to so small an account are the people brought, even while they are flattered with notions of being the Original of all just power. And lastly, for compleating this new kind of liberty, a Councel of State is hastily erected for Guardians thereof, who to that end are possessed with power to order and dispose all the forces appertaining to England by Sea or Land, to dispose of the publike Treasure, to command any person whatsoever before them, to give oath for the discovering of Truth, to imprison any that shall dis-obey their commands, and such as they shall judge contumatious. What now is become of that liberty that no mans person shall be attached or imprisoned, or otherwise dis-eased of his Free-hold, or free Customs, but by lawful judgement of his equals? We entreat you give us leave to lay these things open to your view) and judge impartially of our present condition, and of your own also, that by strong and powerfull influences of some persons, are put upon these and the like proceedings, which both you and we ere long (if we look not to it) shall be inforced to subject our selves unto; then we have further cause to complain, when we consider the persons: as first, the chief of the Army directly contrary to what themselves thought meet in their Agreement for the People. 2. Judges of the Law and Treasurers for monies. Then 5. that were Members of the Lords House, and most of them such as have refused to approve of your Votes and proceedings, concerning the King and Lords. 2. of them Judges in the Star-chamber, and approvers of the bloudy and tyrannical sentences issuing from thence.

Some of your own House, forward men in the Treaty, and decliners of your last proceedings; all which do cleerly manifest to our understandings that the secret contrivers of those things doe think themselves now so surely guarded by the strength of an Army, by their dayly Acts and Stratagems, to their ends inclined, and the captivation of this House, that they may now take off the Vail and Cloak of their designes as dreadlesse of what ever can be done against them. By this Councel of State, all power is got into their own hands, a project which hath been long and industriously laboured for; and which being once firmly and to their liking established their next motions may be upon pretense of ease to the People, for the dissolution of this Parliament, half of whose time is already swallowed up by the said Councel now, because no obstacle lies in their way, to the full establishment of these their ends, but the uncorrupted part of the Souldiery, that have their eyes fixed upon their engagements and promises of good to the People, and resolve by no threats or allurements to decline the same; together with that part of the people in Citie and Countries, that remain constant in their motions for Common goods and still persist to run their utmost hazards for procurement of the same, by whom all evil mens designes both have, and are still likely to find a check and discovery. Hereupon the grand contrivers fore-mentioned, whom we can particular by name, do begin to raise their spleen, and manifest a more violent enmitie against Souldiers and People, disposed as afore-said, than ever heretofore, as appeareth by what lately past, at a meeting of Officers, on Feb. 22. last, at White-Hall, where after expressions of much bitternesse against the most Conscientious part of the Souldiery, and others, it was insisted upon, (as we are from very credible hands certainly informed) that a motion should be made to this House for the procurement of a Law enabling them to put to death all such as they should judge by Petitions or otherwise to disturbe the present proceedings; and upon urging that the Civil Magistrate should do it, It was answered, that they could hang twenty ere the Magistrate one. It was likewise urged that Orders might be given to seize upon the Petitioners, Souldiers, or others, at their meetings, with much exclamation against some of greatest integritie to your just Authority, whereof they have given continual and undenyable assurances. A Proclamation was likewise appointed, forbidding the Souldiers to Petition you, or any but their Officers, prohibiting their correspondencies: And private Orders to be given out for seizing upon Citizens and Souldiers at their meetings. And thus after these fair blossoms of hopefull liberty, breaks forth this bitter fruit, of the vilest and basest bondage that ever English men groan’d under: whereby this notwithstanding is gained (viz.) an evident and (we hope) a timely discovery of the instruments, from whence all the evils, contrivances, and designes (which for above these eighteen moneths have been strongly suspected) took their rise and original, even ever since the first breach of their Promises and engagements made at New Market, Triploe Heath, with the Agitators and People. It being for these ends that they have so violently opposed all such as manifested any zeal for Common Right, or any regard to the Faith of the Army, sentencing some to death, others to reproachfull punishments, placing and displacing Officers according as they shewed themselves serviceable or opposite to their designes, listing as many as they thought good, even of such as have served in Arms against you: And then again upon pretence of easing the charge of the People, disbanding Supernumeraries, by advantage thereof picking out, such as were most cordial and active for Common good; thereby moulding the Army (as far as they could) to their own bent and ends premised; exercising Martial Law with much cruelty, thereby to debase their spirits, and make them subservient to their wils and pleasures extending likewise their power (in many cases) over persons not Members of the Army.

And when in case of opposition and difficult services, they have by their creatures desired a Reconciliation with such as at other times they reproached, vilified, and otherwise abased; and through fair promises of good, and dissembled repentance gained their association and assistance, to the great advantage of their proceedings: yet their necessities being over, and the Common enemy subdued, they have sleighted their former promises, and renewed their hate and bitternesse against such their assistances, reproaching them with such appellations as they knew did most distaste the People, such as Levellers, Jesuites, Anarchists, Royalists, names both contradictory in themselves, and altogether groundlesse in relation to the men so reputed; meerly relying for releese thereof upon the easinesse and credulity of the People.

And though the better to insinuate themselves, and get repute with the People, as also to conquer their necessities, they have bin fane to make use of those very principles and productions, the men they have so much traduced, have brought to light: yet the producers themselves they have and doe still more eagerly maligne than ever, as such whom they know to bee acquainted to their deceipts, and deviations and best able to discover the same.

So that now at length, guessing all to be sure, and their own (the King being removed, the House of Lords nulled, their long plotted Councel of State erected, and this House awed to their ends,) the edge of their mallice is turning against such as have yet so much courage left them as to appear for the well establishment of Englands Liberties: and because God hath preserved a great part of the Army untainted with the guilt of the designes aforementioned, who cannot without much danger to the designers themselves be suppressed, they have resolved to put this House upon raising more new forces, (notwithstanding the present necessities of the People, in maintaining those that are already) in doing whereof, though the pretence be danger, and opposition, yet the concealed end is like to be the over-ballancing those in the Army, who are resolved to stand for true Freedome, as the end of all their labours, the which (if they should be permitted to do) they would not then doubt of making themselves absolute seizures, Lords and Masters, both of Parliament and People; which when they have done we expect the utmost of misery, nor shall it grieve us to expire with the liberties of our native Country: for what good man can with any comfort to himself survive then? But God hath hitherto preserved us, and the justice of our desires, as integrity of our intentions are dayly more and more manifest to the impartial and unprejudiced part of men; insomuch that it is no smal comfort to us, that notwithstanding we are upon all these disadvantages that may be, having neither power nor preheminence, the Common Idols of the world; our Cause and principles, do through their own natural truth and lustre get ground in mens understandings, so that where there was one, twelve moneths since, that owned our principles, we beleeve there are now hundreds, so that though we fail, our Truths prosper.

And posterity we doubt not shall reap the benefit of our endeavours, what ever shall become of us. However though we have neither strength nor safety before us, we have discharged our Consciences, and emptied our breasts unto you, knowing well that if you will make use of your power, and take unto you that courage which becomes men of your Trust and condition, you may yet through the goodnesse of God prevent the danger and mischief intended, and be instrumental in restoring this long enthralled and betrayed Nation into a good and happy condition.

For which end we most earnestly desire and propose, as the main prop and support of the work, [1.] that you will not dissolve this House, nor suffer your selves to be dissolved, until as aforesaid, you see a new Representative the next day ready to take your room; which you may confidently and safely insist upon, there being no considerable number in the Army or else-where, that will be so unworthy as to dare to disturb you therein.

2. That you will put in practise the self-denying Ordinance, the most just and useful that ever was made, and continually cryed out for by the people; whereby a great infamy that lies upon your cause will be removed, and men of powerful influences, and dangerous designes, deprived of those means and opportunities which now they have, to prejudice the publike.

3. That you will consider how dangerous it is for one and the same persons to be continued long in the highest commands of a Military power, especially acting so long distinct, and of themselves, as those now in being have done, and in such extraordinary waies whereunto they have accustomed themselves, which was the original of most Regalities and Tyrannies in the world.

4. That you appoint a Committee of such of your own members, as have bin longest establisht upon those rules of Freedom upon which you now proceed; to hear, examine, and conclude all controversies between Officers and Officers, and between Officers and Souldiers; to consider and mitigate the Law-Martial; and to provide that it be not exercised at all upon persons not of the Army: Also to release and repair such as have thereby unduly suffered, as they shall see cause: To consider the condition of the private Souldiers, both Horse and Foot in these deer times, and to allow them such increase of pay, as wherewithal they may live comfortably, and honestly discharge their Quarters: That all disbanding be refered to the said Committee, and that such of the Army as have served the King, may be first disbanded.

5. That you will open the Press, whereby all trecherous and tyranical designes may be the easier discovered, and so prevented, which is a liberty of greatest concernment to the Commonwealth and which such only as intend a tyrannie are engaged to prohibit: The mouths of Adversaries being best stopped, by the sensible good which the people receive from the actions of such as are in Authority.

6. That you wil (whilst you have opportunity) abate the charge of the Law, and reduce the stipends of judges, and all other Magistrates and Officers in the Common-wealth, to a less, but competent allowance, converting the over-plus to the publike Treasury, whereby the taxes of the people may be much eased.

7. But above all, that you will dissolve this present Councel of State, which upon the grounds fore-mentioned so much threatneth Tyrannie; and mannage your affairs by Committees of short continuance, and such as may be frequently and exactly accountable for the discharge of their Trusts.

8. That you will publish a strict prohibition, and severe penalty against all such, whether Committees, Magistrates, or Officers of what kind soever, as shall exceed the limits of their Commission, Rules, or Directions, and encourage all men in their informations and complaints against them.

9. That you will speedily satisfie the expectations of the Souldiers in point of Arrears, and of the people in point of Accounts, in such a manner, as that it may not as formerly, prove a snare to such as have bin most faithful, and a protection to the most corrupt, in the discharge of their trust and duties.

10. That the so many times complained of Ordinance for Tyths upon treble damages, may be forthwith taken away; all which, together with due regard shewed to Petitioners, without respect to their number and strength, would so fasten you in the affections of the people, and of the honest Officers and Souldiers, as that you should not need to fear any opposite power whatsoever: and for the time to come, of your selves enjoy the exercise of your Supreme Authority, whereof you have yet but the name onely; and be inabled to vindicate your just undertakings; wherein we should not onely rejoyce to have occasion to manifest how ready we should be to hazard our lives in your behalf, but should also bend all our studies and endeavours to render you Honorable to all future generations.

Febr. 26. 1648. Being ushered in by the Sergeant at Arms, and called to the Bar, with all due respects given unto the House, Lieutenant Colonel John Lilburn, with divers others, coming to the Bar next the Mace, with the Address in his hand, spake these words, or to this effect, as followeth.

M. Speaker,

I am very glad that without any inconvenience unto my self, and those that are with me, I may freely and cheerfully address my self to this honorable House, as the Supreme Authority of England (time was when I could not) and it much refresheth my spirit, to live to see this day, that you have made such a step to the Peoples Liberties, as to own and declare your selves to be (as indeed you are) the Supreme Authority of this Nation.

M. Speaker, I am desired by a company of honest men, living in and about London, who in truth do rightly appropriate to themselves, the Promoters, Presenters, and Approvers of the late Large London Petition of the 11. of Sept. last, (which was the first Petition I know of in England, that was presented to this honorable House against the late destructive Personal Treaty with the late King) to present you with their serious apprehensions; And give me leave (I beseech you) for my self and them, to say thus much; That for the most part of us we are those that in the worst of times durst own our Liberties and Freedoms, in the face of the greatest of our adversaries; and from the begining of these Wars, never shrunk from the owning of our Freedoms, in the most tempestuous times, nor changed our Principles: Nay Sir, let me with truth tell you, that to the most of us, our Wives, our Children, our Estates, our Relations, nay our Lives, and all that upon earth we can call Ours, have not bin so highly valued by us, as our Liberties and Freedoms; which our constant Actions (to the apparent hazard of our Bloud and Lives) have bin a cleer and full demonstration of, for these many yeers together.

And M. Speaker, give me leave to tell you, that I am confident our Liberties and Freedoms (the true and just end of all the late Wars) are so deer and precious to us, that we had rather our Lives should breath out with them, than to live One moment after the expiration of them.

M. Speaker, I must confess I am to present you with a paper, something of a new kind, for we have had no longer time to consider of it, than from Thursday last, and Warrants (as we are informed) issuing out against us to take us, from those that have no power over us; we durst not well go our ordinary way to work, to get Subscriptions to it, lest we should be surprised before we could present it to this honorable House, and so be frustrated in that benefit or relief that we justly expect from you; and to present it with a few hands, we judged inconsiderable in your estimation, and therefore chuse in the third place (being in so much hast as we were to prevent our eminent and too apparent ruine) in person to bring it to your Bar, and avowedly to present it here: And therefore without any further question, give me leave to tell you, I own it, and I know so doth all the rest of my Friends present; and if any hazard should ensue thereby, Give me leave resolvedly to tell you, I am sorry I have but one life to lose, in maintaining the Truth, justice, and Righteousness, of so gallant a piece.

M. Speaker, We own this honorable House (as of right) the true Guardian of our Liberties and Freedoms; and we wish and most heartily desire, you would rouse up your spirits (like men of gallantry) and now at last take unto your selves a magnanimous resolution, to acquit your selves (without fear or dread) like the chosen and betrusted Trustees of the People, from whom (as your selves acknowledge and declare) all just power is derived, to free us from all bondage and slavery, and really and truly invest us into the price of all our bloud, hazards, and toyls; Our Liberties and Freedoms, the true difference and distinction of men from beasts.

M. Speaker, Though my spirit is full in the sad apprehension of the dying condition of our Liberties and Freedoms: Yet at present I shall say no more, but in the behalf of my self and my friends, I shall earnestly entreat you to read these our serious Apprehensions seriously, and debate them deliberately.

Friends,

This we have adventured to publish for the timely information and benefit of all that adhere unto the common interest of the people, hoping that with such, upon due consideration, it will find as large an acceptance, as our late Petition of Sept. 11. 1648. And we thought good (in regard we were not called in to receive an answer to the same) to acquaint you, that we intend to second it with a Petition sufficiently subscribed, we doubt not with many thousands, earnestly to solicite for an effectual Answer.

FINIS

 

 


 

6.4. [William Walwyn], The Vanitie of the present Churches (London: J. Clows, 12 March 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

[William Walwyn], The Vanitie of the present Churches, and Uncertainty of their Preaching, discovered. Wherein The pretended immediate teaching of the Spirit, is denyed, and the all-sufficiency of the Scriptures teaching, is maintained. With, A new and true Method of reading thereof, for the peace of mind, and the rule of life.

Gal. 6. 15, 16. For in Christ Jesus neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new Creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, be.

London, Printed by J. Clows, and are to be sold in Cornhill and Popes-Head-Alley, 1649.

Estimated date of publication

12 March 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 730; Thomason E. 1367. (1.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

To the Reader

Although I dissent from some things in this Treatise, and other things seeme dark and doubtfull to me, yet there are many plain, clear, and evident Truths, of great use to all Christians. Therefore that the Truth may be manifest to all. And that all Believers and Churches of the Saints may be of one mind and may edifie the whole body in love. And in all their Doctrines, and Conversations, hold forth the truth as it is contained in the written word, the perfect rule of the spirit to guide us into al Truth, and to make us wise unto Salvation through that (one necessary thing) Faith, which is in Christ Jesus: which is by the Gospel, (the power of God to salvation) preached unto us. And that errour may be discovered, reproved, and corrected, and if possible, that the guilty may be convinced, and reformed.

Therefore I say to this Epistle, and the ensuing Treatise.

Imprimatur THEODORE JENNINGS.

THE VANITIE of the present CHURCHES, and Uncertainty of their Preaching, discovered.

WHEREIN The pretended immediate teaching of the Spirit, is denyed, and the all-sufficiency of the Scriptures teaching, is maintained.

WITH, A new and true Method of reading thereof, for the peace of the mind, and rule of life.

Gal. 6. 15, 16. For in Christ Jesus neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new Creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, be.

London, Printed by J. Clows, and are to be sold in Cornhill, and Popes-Head-Alley, 1649.

The vanity of the present Churches, and uncertainty of their Preaching discovered, &c.

As there is nothing more commendable amongst men, then a true correspondency between the heart, the tongue, & the hand: so no thing is more lovely amongst Christians, then that the Conscience, the profession and the practice so universally agree; & though something be allowable unto frailty, yet when the defect or discord is continued, and that to the reproach of Christianity in generall, and to the prejudice of humane society; then certainly a reproofe is not only requisite, but the neglect thereof, a sinne of an high nature.

And so those, whom this discourse now deemeth worthy of reproofe did seeme to judge, when they condemned the persecuting practices, of the new raysed Presbyters, whose positions and professions whilst they were persecuted by the Bishops, did clearly hold forth a full and compleat liberty of Conscience, in the exercise of Religion, and justly and truly did the Independents reprove them, as their many bookes, of that Subject, do sufficiently testifie: their reproofes were sharp, and their replyes driven home; whereby they put the question of the utmost liberty of Conscience, out of all question, accompting nothing more base, or mis-beseeming a Christian, then to question, or vex, or reproach any man for his judgment or practice, touching matters of Religion, and inciting all men to peace, unity, love, and true friendship, though of never so many severall opinions, or different wayes in Religion.

By which their ingenuity, they, (as the Puritan Presbyter had done before them) gained abundance of love and respect from all men: their Congregations multiplied, and in conclusion, obtained much countenance from authority: which they no sooner tasted but instantly, some of them began to pride themselves, and to dispise others; and to reproach and villifie all such, as upon tryall and examination of their Churches, their Pastors and Sermons, finding all to be but fained imitations, nothing reall or substantiall, forsooke their societies, and thereupon as the Presbyters had used them; so deale the Independant with these, and all that any wayes adhered unto these, raysing nick-names and bitter invective reproaches against them, sparing neither art nor paines, to make them odious to others, and their lives (if it were possible) a burthen to themselves; and though reasons have been offered, and conferences desired, that they might see their error, and forbeare to deale thus contrary to their positive, owned, and declared principles: yet have they persisted therein, and go on still without ceasing, manifesting a most destructive and persecuting disposition, not only towards these, but towards many others whom they now (as compleat Judges of other mens Consciences) judge to be erronious, or heriticall, and seeme to have placed their felicity in the ruine of those whom their own Consciences cannot deny to have been instrumentall in their preservations, and who have not thought their lives too precious, to purchase them that freedom which now they enjoy.

And therefore it hath been conceived not only just, but of absolute necessity, to publish to the judgments of all impartial people, both of the Congregationall way and others: this their hard measure and unthankful usage of a harmlesse well-meaning people, and withall, to discover to all those who are conscientious, the error of their wayes, and emptinesse of the things wherein they glory, and to let all those who are wilfull or meere polititians amongst them, beare their shame openly, and since they are proofe against their Consciences, and can take up, and lay down principles, professions, and practices too, as stands most with their advantage, and like the Jewes in their worst estate, make no reckoning of oppressing all that are not of their tribes, it is but equall, that such should bear their mark in their forehead, that all men might be warned from conversing with such deceivers, and if any tartnesse appear herein, they are the occasion, it being no more then they deserve.

And not only so, but we have herein also indeavoured to support the weake, and by establishing them upon the sure foundation of the written word of God, (inclining them to give eare thereunto, as unto the only true infallible teacher of spirituall things in our times) and by directing them in a brief and plain method, in the reading thereof, how to attain to that one necessary Doctrine and main design intended therein unto man, for his temporall and eternall comfort.

To which end, that we may neither seeme to wrong the one sort, nor to delude the other, and for full satisfaction of all that are, or shall be concerned herein: we affirm it to be most palpably evident. That ye of the Independant Congregationall, or of any Church-way whatsoever, have not that true essentiall mark of a true Church to be found amongst you, which only can distinguish the true from the false, and without which a true Church cannot be:—A true Church in the Scripture sence; being such only, as wherein the very word of God is purely and infallibly preached: that’s the mark.

Now though it have been usuall among you in your prayers, to desire of God that your auditors may give eare to the word that you preach, not as unto the word of a mortall man, but as unto the word of the ever living God: and this too, with such solemn countenances, lifted up eyes and earnestnesse of expression, as if it were the sin of sinnes, for men to doubt it: Though this hath been your course: do ye not tremble when you consider it, to think that you should so frequently practice so grosse an imposture, as openly to pray unto God, that your eronious, doubtfull uncertain conceptions, (for what other are your Sermons) shall be heard and received, as the word of the ever living God; what greater impiety, nay blasphemy, then to call mans word, Gods word, to counterfeit a Preacher an Evangelist, an Ambassadour of Christs, and to deliver a Word, a Message, a Gospel, mixt and made up of opinions and conjectures, as if it were the true reall word of the ever living God.

What is this but even to debase, belye, and offer despite to the spirit of God himself, for advancing your own false Honour and repute amongst men.

Consider this seriously, all ye that are captivated with the charmings of these Sophisters, that are intangled in their formes of godlinesse, that are drawn into their imaginary Churches, that are deluded into an opinion, that they are pastors, feeders, preachers of the word of God, and be so true to God, (whose honour lyes at stake) to your selves whose peace and comfort lyes at stake, and to your Neighbours, whose good name lye at stake also: as to make a clear examination whether these pretended pastors, & Churches are taught immediately by the spirit of God, or not, as they pretend; try them by the word they preach.

And you shall find, however they have prepossest you to the contrary, that neither they, nor your selves, have any understanding at all of such divine or heavenly things, as bring peace of Conscience and joy in the Holy-ghost, by any other way or meanes, but only and solely by the Scriptures, and that neither they, nor your selves, are taught by the spirit, as they have long perswaded you, and whereby chiefly they delude you, into a belief that they are true pastors, and your Churches, true Churches of Christ. For Judge you, had they the spirit of God as you pretend? would they need, as they do; when they have resolved to speak to you from a Text of Scripture, to go sit in their Studies, three or four dayes together, turning over those authors, that have written thereupon; and beating their own braines, to find out the meaning and true intent thereof; no certainly, had they the spirit of God, it could in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, inform them the meaning of his own writings; they would not need to be studying, seven, ten, or twenty years, to understand the truth of the Gospel, and when they have done so too be as farre to seeke as they were at first for any expresse certainty therein; for do but observe, that when they have for some years preacht up a Doctrine, they are many times forst to preach it down again, as ye well know most of them have done, and that in very materiall points.

As for instance, are they not one while zealous for the baptizing of Infants, another while for the baptizing of Beleevers only, and then again for no Baptisme at all, for want of a true Ministry? do not the Pastors differ amongst themselves, and contentions arise not only between Church and Church, but in every Church within it self? are there not some that for many years have preacht up election and reprobation, and afterwards have as much preacht it down, and cryed up generall redemption, and, that man hath free will or a negative voice in his salvation, and this in a Church gathered and taught by the spirit, as they would make the world believe and those who by praying and preaching ex tempore, would be thought to have yet a more immediate teaching of the spirit; how extreamly are they to seeke in the ready understanding of the Scriptures, what weake and indigested matter issueth from them, is too easily discerned, yea what contradictions, they huddle one in the neck of another, though through confidence in the speaker, and superstition in the hearer, all passeth for currant truth.

But consider, can it be of the true spirit to produce uncertain Doctrines; if the Trumpet give an uncertain sound, who can prepare himself to the battle; so if the preacher, preach uncertainly, how can he affirm his word to be the word of God; or how from such doubtfulnesse can true faith be begotten in the hearts of the hearers? is not a Church founded upon such uncertainty, founded upon the sand, and built up with hay & stubble, not able to stand the least blast of a reasonable opposition; and will ye that have Consciences towards God, any longer be instrumented in this mocking of him, and by your countenance thereof partake with them in this strong delusion?

What doth the Pope and his Clergy more then belye themselves, and blaspheam God, in saying, they have the true spirit of God, which leads them into all truth; whilst by their lying miracles, by their art and sophistry, they lead the poor deluded people in the greatest errors, for maintenance of their own pride, covetousnesse, and luxury: The bishops they come, and by pretence of the true spirit, discover abundance of faults in the Pope and his Clergy, and make shew of great reformation; but advance only themselves and their uncertain Doctrines, for their own ambitious ends only, without any regard to the glory of God, or good of men: then comes the Presbyters, and they cry out against Common-Prayer (that was faulty enough) and studied Sermons, as stinters, and suppressors of the true Spirit of God in them; and they are no sooner in the Chaire, and their Prayers & preachings examined; but they also are found to differ one with another, to contradict themselves, & to mind only their own honour and profit; and to be possessed (as both the former) with a persecuting Spirit, which is abhorred of God, of Christ, and of all his true Ministers and Apostles.

Then comes the Independents and pretend to erect, a holy, pure and undefiled worship, according to the pattern, shewed unto them by the true Spirit indeed, pleading for generall liberty of conscience, void of all compulsion or restriction, and professing the meeknes of the very Lambs of Christ, and humility towards all men; who now could have suspected what since hath been discovered? Namely, that they as the rest, belyed the Spirit of God, (pardon the harshnes of the expression, its for Gods cause and must be spoken) they being no more infallibly certain of the truth they raise from Scriptures then any of those whom they so much condemn; they as the rest, pray, preach, and do all for mony, and without it they do nothing, taking mony for that which is not bread, but flower, chaffe, and sand mixt together; that did not people swallow it whole, without chewing, or examination, it would be as gravell between their teeth, and they would spit it out of their mouths.

And since, they are increased in numbers, and have as it were, scumm’d the Parish Congregations of most of their wealthy and zealous members. Do they not fully discover a serpentine disposition hankering after persecution? Do they not dayly spet their venom privatly and publickly, against any that either seperate from them, or joyne not with them, and that in as foul aspertions, as ever the Pope uttered against Luther, the Bishops against the Puritan, or the Presbyter against the Independents, are they not high and skillfull in rayling? making whom they please Atheists, Anti-scripturists, Antinomians, Anti-magistrats, Polligamists, Seekers, or what they will: and can these proceed from the true Spirit of God, or from the Spirit of Antichrist? Judge impartially Yee that are yet untainted in your consciences (going on in this Church-way as deceived, and not deceivers) whether yee can offer more dispite to the Spirit of Grace, then by your presence and society, to justifie this delusion; or to uphold this new idoll, this Apple of Sodome, seeming onely faire to the eye, but touch it, and it falls to powder, to the very earth, being nought but earth, like Dagon before the Arke, having neither hands nor feet, but to (discerning eyes) is a meere uselesse lump, an Idoll, which as the Apostle saith, is nothing in the world, and therefore let none, who minde the things that are of God, uphold it any longer.

It being hardly to be beleeved, the infinite evils which comes to the world by this false supposition and assumption of these Churches of having the Spirit of God, or being taught immediately thereby; for by occasion thereof, no sooner doth any one embrace any opinion pretending to Religion, and beginnes to be fortified therein, and that after frequent hearing, prayer, fasting, or humiliation, he continues to be of the same minde, but presently he thinks himselfe bound to declare to all the world, what the Spirit of God (as he calles his owne imagination) hath made knowne unto him.

And hence it is, that at present, the World abounds with such variety of opinions, concerning life and salvation, that many a sincere heart, seeking for peace and rest therein, is kept in perpetuall suspence and doubtfullnesse, whereby their lives become a very burthen to them; and many sad, and wofull effects, follow thereupon.

Some by their confidence, and extreamity of zeale, and diligence, get their opinions (how contrary to Scripture soever they are) into haife the people of a Towne, Village and Parish; and then there is nothing but wrangling, envy, malice, and backbiting one another, to the extreme prejudice and unquietnesse of the place.

Some of them crying up their owne experiences, and the teachings of God within them, affirming that they speak, not from Books, or Scriptures, written in Inke and Paper, and in Letters and Sillables, but from the inward suggestion of the Spirit, induce multitudes to neglect the Scriptures, and to give credit onely to their wilde Notions and Opinions, and though they have no foundation in the plaine expression of the Scripture, or be contrary thereunto, yet are they satisfied, that they onely are in the truth, and all other Christians in errour, not examining their opinions by the Text, but urging that the Text is to be interpreted by their Opinions and experiences.

And hence it is, that in the esteeme of some, the Scriptures are of as small value as the Service Book: and to speak of a Christ crucified at Jerusalem, is carnall. Hence it is, that some, and those not a few, maintaine there is no sin, no evill, no difference of things, that all things are good, are one; and that all things are God, and that to see or judge any otherwise, is for want of the teaching of the Spirit; and this, though it quite contradict the whole tenour, and plaine open scope of the Scriptures, from the beginning of Genesis, to the end of the Revelation; yet passeth it for currant, and gets ground in all places.

Hence it is, that some men will neither stir, nor undertake any thing of any nature, Civill or Naturall, but as they are prompted thereunto, (as they imagine) by the Spirit, or as some phrase it, by the drawings forth of the Father, taking all their inclinations, likings, or dislikings, to be immediatly from God, whereby grosse neglects and failings (to say no more) come to be excused; and not onely so, but expresly put upon Gods score.

Hence it is, that some after extreame fasting, and continuance in prayer, (beyond what their bodies could beare,) extent of minde, and intention of apprehension, have really beleeved, they have seen Christ standing by them, and heard him vocally speake unto them, that they have scene a light waving about their beds all the night long; at other times a black darkness intermixt: and in these extasies, as they call them, (but indeed fevourish distempers) they have been bid, as they thought, to doe such things as the holy Scriptures abhorre; and yet could never rest till they had done them.

And hence it is, that some presume to be so Goded with God, and Christed with Christ, as they affirme, they are in heaven, and upon the earth; that they are ever well, and that paine is not pain; that all things are nothing, and nothing all things, and glory that they are contradictions; Prophesie of things to come, as the day of Judgement; name the time, the very day, see it false, and yet profess it true (in a sence,) and are beleeved; write bookes of the Germans madde mans Divinity, of the occurrences and successe of the present distractions, in such unheard of expressions, concerning King, Parliament, and all Parties, that to a man that gives good heed to the Scriptures, nothing appeares more irreligious; yet through the generall supposition of the immediate teaching of the Spirit, the authors please not onely themselves, but others; and none speaks against it, or writes, or preaches against it to any purpose, least they should break the golden chaine of their own honour or profit; for whoever assumes, or maintaines himselfe to be taught by, or to have the Spirits mediate teaching, is lyable to hold any thing his Fancy presents to his Imagination, and dares not condernne the false assumption of Gods holy Spirit, in another, least he should thereby condernne himselfe; since they both have but their owne bare affirmations, for their foundation, neither being able to manifest, by any thing extraordinary, the reall possession thereof.

To this sad condition are men in these times, brought by this fals presence of a Spirit, which once taken up, & insisted on, their credit becomes so ingag’d, and they are so exceedingly delighted, and lifted up, in being thought the darlings of God, that it is the hardest thing in the world, to make them see their mistake; offer but once to bring them into a doubt, or but desire them to examine how (amidst so many contradictory Opinionists, all affirming the Spirit of God for their leader in each) any one of them comes to know himseife to be in the right, and they turne the head of one side, single [out] and condemn you as not enlightned, and pray not to trouble them; yet if you enquire, what at any time the Spirit immediatly hath made known unto them, they cannot tell one sillable, but recite some place of Scripture, which by serious intention hath imprinted it seife in their minds.

If you demand a reall Demonstration of the Spirit, they can give you none, but (peradventure) will tell you, that you must awaite Gods time, and he will enlighten you. That their Spirit is as the White Stone in the Revelation, the name whereof no body knew, but he that received it; making use of false, darke, and misterious Scriptures (intended for another end) to prove that they are unable by any sound argument, or sensible demonstration to manifest: Whereas, were they really endowed therewith, they could not conceale it, nor we be unconvinced of its devine and supernatural} Power, but must needs bend our knees, and hearts in acknowledgement thereof.

If we urge the Scriptures against them, they tell us the Letter killeth, abusing, and that so grosly that place of Scripture, to the upholding their own vain imagination; nothing being more evident, then that by Letter, in that place of the Romanes, is to be understood the Law: and by Spirit: the Gospel.

And if men did not too much Idolize their owne fancies, it would soone appear. That now in our times we have no Preacher of the Gospel but the Scriptures; which being the infallible Word of God, the Word of Truth, Eph. 1. 13. not the Word of man, but (as it is in truth) the Word of God. 1. Thes. 2. ver. 13. which was not yea, and nay, but yea, 2 Cor. 1. ver. 18, 19, 20. The Word of God that abideth for ever. Is it not strange, that our pretended Preachers of all sorts, should so far prevaile upon the minds of men, as to draw them from giving eare, to what this Word of truth plainly and evidently holdeth forth, for the peace of their minds, and direction of their lives; and take up their time and thoughts wholly, or principally, with their uncertain & fallible Sermons, making them in effect, forsake these living fountains, and digg to themselves broken Cisterns, that can hold no water.

Nay, a wonderfull thing it is, that it should be received for a currant truth. That this, the greatest blessing the World knows, this word of the ever living God, should now come to be esteemed, but as a dead Letter; this sword of the Spirit, that forceth it self into our dead naturall understandings, plants it self there, makes us one with it: and forms us new; this regenerating word, this immortall seed, should be so undervalued, as to passe but as a dead Letter.

Time was, that it was otherwise in England, when our fore-Fathers would have given any thing in the world; yea, many of them gave up their lives, rather then they would part with the smalest part of this precious Word, translated into English, by the first sincere professors of true Christian doctrins; but then Godlinesse was esteemed the greatest gain, and the iniquity of Learning, was not arived to so much impudence, as to make a gain of Godlynesse, to make a trade of Religion, and to become rich by pretended preaching. Nor weaned they the people from the Scriptures, to give eare to their notions, and opinions; telling them they had the Spirit, and that the Scriptures were but a dead letter; but invited and perswaded all men, to a diligent consideration of the true scope and intent of them.

Neither did they preferr the understanding of men, with difficult points, or obscure doctrins; but (as Luther) insisted altogether upon the Doctrin of free Justification by Christ alone; and (in way of thankfulnes for so great a benefit) invited all men, to live righteously, Godly, and soberly in this present world; therein following the example of the Apostles, and the very end, scope, and main design of the Scriptures; which is that unum necessarium, and which, if people did rightly and seriously mind, they would not so easily be drawn to follow such Teachers, or to give eare to such Sermons; whereby they are alwaies learning, but never come to the knowledge of this one necessary truth.

For, how long work soever, Ministers and pretended Preachers, make of it, to maintaine themselves, and families in wealth, plenty, and honour, necessary Doctrins are not at all hard to be understood, nor require long time to learne them; and if it did not concerne their livelihood, and profession, to make men beleeve, they were people who soone understand sufficiently for their establishment, and comfort, and would fall to practice, that so they might become an honour to their profession of Christianity; for the Scriptures, or word of God, having once planted this truth in the understanding, viz. That it is the bloud of Christ, which cleanseth us from all sinne; this Evangelicall truth of its own nature, would instantly set man on work to do the will of him, that hath so loved him, and constrain him to walk in love as Christ hath loved: so that after this, all the care would be, how to advance the Gospel, by making our light to shine forth before men, that others seeing our good works, may glorifie our Father which is in Heaven.

But this is no profitable way, for any of our pretended Preachers, this Doctrin is to soone learned; for if men once come to know that this short lesson is sufficient; what will they regard? either printed discourses, or Sermons, and if once they find them also full of uncertainty, contradiction, and unnecessary things, theyle not part with their mony for such trash, when they may go to the two breasts of Christ himself, freely at all times, to the Scriptures, and buy this sweet milk and hony, without mony and without price; and if men and women come once to understand this, they will not comber themselves with many things but possessing this unvalluable truth, will ever worship God in Spirit and in Truth; and declare unto others this blessed one necessary comfortable way, and that not by preaching or long set speeches: which are apt to deceive; but by conferences, and mutuall debates, one with another, (the best way for attaining a right understanding) far excelling that which is called preaching. But then, how shall Demetrius and the Craftsmen live? even by some lawfull calling, this being the most palpably delusive of any in the world, and it is very strange, that all men do not discerne and avoid it.

It is so, as cunningly as it is carryed, & as high in repute as it is, & hath long time been, having no foundation but in the weake credulity of men; for if men but once consider it, their Sermons will appear to be but as common discourses, full of mistakes, errors, and at the least altogether uncertaine: and that all their preachings and prayings are only for mony, and that their greatest skill and labour, is to hold men ever in suspence; and upon pretence of truth, to give them a bastard Scholastick knowledge, which only serve to make men proud, wrangling Sophisters, and Disputers, vain boasters, talkers, busie-bodies, censurers, Pharisees, wise in their own eyes, and despising others, void of all true piety or reall Christian vertue: and no marvaile.

For such as the tree is, such ever will be the fruit; they boast to have the Spirit of God, & you see it is but boasting, or their own imagination only: and in the mean time, take the Scriptures for a dead Letter; and either reject them, or make them speak according to the spirit of their own Imaginations; and so instead of being reall, are at best but fantastick Christians, uncertain (if not false) Teachers: and such are their fruits. The greatest part of their time, wherein they should be imployed to feed the hungry, cloath the naked, or in visiting the fatherlesse & widdow, or in delivering the Captive, and setting the oppressed free, (all which are workes, so fully and plainly set forth in Scripture, as most pleasing to God) being spent in talking upon some hard texts of Scripture, such are their Sermons, or in disputes & contests, upon some nice & difficult questions. And this exercising themselves therein, week after week, and day after day, and in fastings and repetitions, and in writing of these doubtfull Sermons, is by them called a Religious exercise, and those who can but attain to so much boldnesse and utterance, as to speak and pray an howre, two or three, together, take upon them, and are reputed, guifted Christians, and principall religious persons, when as many of them get good estates by so doing, good benefices, and others who make not a trade of it, as many devout pastors do; yet gaine so much credit thereby, as doth much increase their Trades, and advance their Custom and dealing in the world, and now and then helps to a good round Office. And whilst any of this strain of Christians, may live in this kind of devotion twenty years, preach for twenty or forty shillings a year, and have the repute, of a most religious knowing Christian, from the testimony of the most grave, learned, and solemn pastors of all Congregations, if but a part of their religious disbursments be spent upon them, it is not to be wondered at, that so few are found to serve God sincerely in the way of pure and undefiled Religion, which would plume their Peacocks feathers, and cost them more in one year, then all their lip-service, and Church-devotion, doth many of them in their whole life-time.

Nay, so impudent are many of these proud boasting Churches, (who glory to follow precisely the pattern shewed in the mount) that contrary to all example of the Apostles and first Christians; they can content themselves to be known usurers, and those that are not such themselves, can allow it in their fellow Members, their Pastors, Elders, and Deacons can tolerate it, and why not, as well as for their pastors to take monies from such, as are of lesse abilitie then themselves; nay, do not many of them spend the greatest part of their time, either in making, buying, and selling of baubles and toyes, such as serve only to furnish out the pride, luxury, and fantasticalincsse of the world; yea, view them well in their apparell, from head to foote; consider them in their dyet and usuall feastings; in their furniture for their houses, even in these sad and miserable times; and then say, whether their silks, their fine and delicate linnen, their Laces, Beavers, Plushes; their Fancies, Plate, Rings, and Jewells; do not demonstrate from what roote they are, that they are meere worldlings indeed, and Christians only in name and tongue, and not that neither, if they are well observed.

For there are many amongst them, for slandering and backbiting; for circumvention and an hipocriticall carriage, shall vie and compare with any sort of men in the world; they can play the part of Spies, Intelligencers, plot and betray, upon pretence of intimacy, of endeared friendship and familiarity, eat, drink, be merry with you, day after day, week after week, for months, year for many years and after al: professe boldly, openly, confidently, before their Church, to Neighbors, friends, or strangers, that all this intimacy, friendship, familiarity, was only and meerely to deceive, and to discover what might be, to mischief the parties with whom they held it: shall we aske which of the Apostles was a slanderer, a spy, an Intelligencer, a betrayer: certainly none but Judas, and the followers of Judas; let them henceforth professe themselves, at least, let all that know them, so account them, unles they manifest their speedy true repentance, for bringing such reproach to the profession of Christianity.

But what will such men stick at, as have once dared to dissemble before God, to call themselves Preachers, and are not: to gather Churches, and to joyn and continue in the fellowship of meere mock Churches, that dare attempt the Ordinances with prophane hands, without, and before Commission given from above, that dare pretend Commission, and yet can shew no scale, no letters of credit from Heaven, that dare affirm their own opinions and Sermons, to be the word of God: and all this after admonition, from such persons too, as out of Conscience have seperated from them, against whom also they persist to shoote their most sharp and poysoned Arrowes; even bitter words, false invectives, lyes, and slanders.

O therefore consider this! all ye whose Consciences are yet sound amongst them, or but a little taynted, and see into what a wretched condition ye may be led before ye are aware; there is no stop in wickednesse, but a progresse from one degree of evill to another, unlesse at first: therefore stop in time, and come out from amongst them, least ye soone partake with them in their sinnes; and neither approve, nor connive at what you see and know to be against the judgment of your Consciences, least in time you become as the worst and vilest of them.

Study the Scriptures, that word of truth: blesse God for them, forsake them not for the vain traditions of men, for the uncertain notions, Doctrines, and comments of pretended Preachers; and be certain of this, that you may as soone as they themselves, come to a good and right understanding therein,—and that you may do so. Read them with these Considerations.

That although whatsoever is written, is written for our learning, and that we have great cause to be thankfull to God for vouchsaffing us the knowledge of the severall ways of his dispensations to man, according to the severall times, and ages, which were from Adam, (which was the first) unto the time of the descending of the holy spirit, (which was the last:) yet are we seriously to know, that this last dispensation of the holy spirit, is that which principally concemeth us rightly to understand, and to apply to our selves, both for our comfort and rule of life; for unto this time and dispensation doth our blessed Saviour himself referre us, saying, I will send you another Comforter, he shall lead you into all truth, he shall bring to remembrance the things that I have told you: and he performed his promise effectually to the Apostles, whose writings we have, containing what the same spirit taught unto them; the truth whereof, they were enabled, and did, confirm with miracles, so as it might be as truly said of them, as it was of Christ our Lord; that they taught as men having authority, and not as the Scribes, nor as the uncertain pharisaicall teachers of these times.

Unto which word of theirs, we are principally to give heed: but therein also, we are chiefly to discover and to mind, what that Doctrine was, which they by the spirit, were ordained to preach? because that being understood and believed, doth give the beleever thereof, the name and being of a Christian, how plain and brief soever it be; for we must note, that there are many things written by the Apostles upon occasions, that concerned only or chiefly, the times wherein they wrote, and the places and persons to whom they wrote, which is the true cause that many things are too hard for us to understand; but there was one universall Doctrine, which they were to preach to all Nations, wherewith all their writings do abound, and which is very plain and easie to be understood.

And this is it, namely, that the same Jesus whom the Jewes crucified, was Lord and Christ: That he is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world. That it is the bloud of Christ which cleanseth us from all sinne. That his love is so exceeding towards us, that even when we were enemies, Christ dyed for us: This was the Doctrine which begot people unto the faith, and made them Beleevers: and they used no other inducement, unto Beleevers, to walk as becometh this Gospel (or glad tydings of peace and reconciliation between God and us,) but this, ye are bought with a price, therefore honour God, both in your bodies, and in your spirits: their strongest Argument to perswade, being this and the like: That the love of God which bringeth salvation unto all men hath appeared, teaching us, to deny all ungodlinesse & unrighteousnes of men, and to live righteously, godly, and soberly in this present world: that we should love as Christ hath loved, who gave himself an Offering and a Sacrifice for us: so that if we would try each others Faith, we are to consider each others love; so much faith, so much love; so much love, so much pure and undefiled Religion; extending it self to the fatherles and to the Widdow; to the hungry, the naked, sick, and imprisoned; it being evident, that he who hath this worlds goods, and suffereth his brother to lack, hath not the love of God in him, yea though he have never so great parts of knowledg, zeale, tongues, miracles, yet being void of love, he is nothing: plainly manifesting that all other Religions, are but as defiled and impure in comparison of this.

And these are the Doctrines, which make good the rejoyning of the Angels, bringing glory to God in the highest, in earth peace, good will towards men: These are sufficient, and in these do all sorts of Christians agree, and never had disagreed but for false Teachers, Wolves in sheepes Clothing; who crept in to devoure the flock: causing divers strifes and contentions, about genealogies, and about the Law, which made the Apostle abundance of trouble, crying out, O foolish Galathians who hath bewitched you; telling them plainly, if righteousnesse came by the Law, then Christ dyed in vain; others, it should seem, fell to observe Dayes and Times, Sabaoths and Weeks, justifying themselves, and censuring others: provoking the Apostle to tell them, he was afraid of them, that he had bestowed labor in vain upon them, earnestly desiring them, to let no man deceive them, in respect of an holy day, or of the new Moon, or of the Sabaoth, &c.

The truth is, and upon experience it will be found a truth: that once exceed these plain indusputable Doctrines, and you will be ever to seeke; for though it be a kind of happinesse, to read in Genesis the proceedings of God towards our first Parents, to Abel, Cayne, Enoch, to Noah and the world that perished in the floud; to see his mighty power at the Confusion of Babell: his love to Abraham and Sarah, to Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve Patriarks, to see their way of worship, to observe his mighty wonders in Egypt, in the Wildemesse, and in the promised Land, under the Judges: Saul and David, Solomon, and the rest of the Kings of Judah and Israel: To know with what power he spake by his holy Prophets in all times, even to John the Baptist.

Yet when we have done all, we must acknowledge, that very many things exceed our understandings, and that we draw no comfort like unto this, that unto Christ, do all these beare witnesse: and though we have great cause to blesse God, for those wonderfull things we read of the life of Christ, of his wisdom, goodnesse, and power; by which he beat down the wisdom, craft, and policy of the Scribes and Pharices, of the high Priest and great ones of the world; and whereby he made it manifest, that he was indeed the Christ, yet draw we no comfort like unto that, which the Apostles publish’t by the power of the holy spirit, the comforter promised by Christ before his Assention: because by this dispensation of God, only, do we come to know the benefits of Christs death, and that he is the end of the Law for righteousnesse, and the propitiation for our sinnes; whereby we have peace of Conscience, and joy in the Holy-Ghost.

We Read, with thankfulnesse to God, the Acts of the Apostles, all the Epistles of Paul, of Peter, James, Jude, and the Epistles of John, & the Revelat. to St. John: But we must still acknowledge, that there are very many things in them all, which wee apprehend not fully. We Read of Apostles, Evangelists, Prophets, Pastors, and Teachers, and of the ordering and regulating of Churches, and of gifts given to all these from on high; but not so plainly exprest, as to leave the Conscientious without dispute, and difference thereupon: nor so collected into any one Book, as to convince, that God now under the Gospel, so exactly enjoyned Church Government, as he did under the Law; where Moses was expressely commanded to write particularly all that was required, not leaving out so much as Candlesticks, Snuffers, or Besomes. And when we come to compare the Churches, or their Pastors, and their abilities of our times, with those we read of: or the infallible power by which they spake, with the uncertaine Doctrines of ours, alas we must lay our hands upon our mouths, and hide our faces, as children use to doe, when they are discovered by people of understanding, at their childish immitations, of Christnings and Feastings; where, in a low and miserable weake forme they counterfeit things reall: so that if we shall deale plainely with our selves, we must confesse, wee are at a losse in these things, and that hence onely is our rejoycing. That wee undoubtedly know Jesus Christ and him Crucified, and knowing him, accompt all things as losse and dung in Comparison of him: and that we may be found in him, not having our owne righteousnesse which is of the Law, but the righteousnesse which is of God in him: so that the whole Scriptures to us, is as the Field mentioned in the Gospel, and this the Jewell, for which the wise Merchant, sould all that ever he had to purchase it.

And truely, if the Traders in Divine things, truely consider this, how learned soever they are in Arts and Sciences, in all kinds of Readings and Languages, and how mighty and skilfull soever they would be thought in the Exposition, opening, and interpretation of all places of Scripture, when they come to cast up their account, possibly; nay, certainly, (if they are serious therein) they will accompt all as nothing for this Pearle, which passeth value, they will sell All to purchase it; and rejoyce exceedingly in the exchange, as the most profitable that ever they made.

And this certainly would be done frequently by all who with honest and good hearts Read the Scriptures; were they not kept from it by false Teachers, who hold them in suspence for their own advantage, ever raising, and starting new Questions, and new Opinions, whereby men are ever learning, but never at rest in the knowledge of this one necessary truth: but are tost too and fro, with every winde of Doctrine: and all by giving eare to those that call themselves Preachers, but are not: that pretend to expound the Scriptures, when as they raise nothing but doubts, and darken them; that say they Interpret, when they are to seeke for the meaning; being altogether doubtfull and uncertaine in all they doe.

And therfore much more happy are they, who read with honest and good hearts, and only Read, and considerately lay to heart; giving no care to these charmers: these doubtfull Expositors, these mocke-Preachers, with their trumpery Sermons, stuft with naught but uncertainety and fantasticke doctrines, which in the day of the necessity of mans Conscience, prove like a broken Reed, that instead of help, further wounds.

Nor let any man henceforth wonder, whence so many severall and strange opinions should arise, by which the world becomes even rent and tome in peeces? It is from this kind of Preaching, and false Exposition of the Holy Scriptures. It being so, in more ancient times, with the Law and the old Testament, as Petrus Cunaeus, (de Republ. Lib. 2. chap. 17.) brings to light: affirming, That howsoever the Law was Read amongst them in the former times, either in publicke or in private, yet the bare Text was onely Read, without glosse or descant, Interpretatio Magistrorum nulla, commentatio nulla; but in the second Temple, when there were no Prophets, then did the Scribes and Doctors (mock Prophets, as our mock Preachers) begin to Comment, and make their severall Expositions on the holy Text: Ex quo natae disputationes & sententiae contrariae; from whence (saith he) sprung up debates, and doubtfull disputations: and most probable it is (saith another upon him) that from this liberty of Interpretation sprung up diversity of judgements, from whence arose the severall Sects of Pharisees, Essees and Saduces; who by their difference of Opinions, did distract the multitude, and condernne one another.

Even so in these times, when as there are no true Apostles, Evangelists, Prophets, Pastors, or Teachers, endowed with power from on high, as all true ones are; by which, they are enabled to divide the word of God aright, to stop the mouths of gainsayers, and to say, thus saith the Lord, thus speakes the Lord, and not I, And if an Angell from Heaven, preach any other doctrine, let him be accursed. In the absence of these, are crept in swarmes of Locusts, false Teachers, men of corrupt minds, making Marchandize of the blessed Word of Truth, and for that wicked end, dress it up in what shape their Art or Rhetorick can devise; and upon pretence of exposition, raise thousands of doubts and disputes, write millions of books, and preach innumerable Sermons; whereby the people are divided, and subdivided into Factions, Sects and parties; and whereby the end of the Gospel, which directs only to peace and love, is most unthankfully made use of, as a fire-brand of quarrells and dissentions.

In the mean time, the poor innocent Dove, that desirs to injoy the peace of his mind in this Unum necessarium, that little Doctrin of Christ crucified, and to waike in love, ever worshiping God in Sprit, and in Truth, dis-intangled from all formes, as things he finds uncertain, disingaged from all false Churches (and cannot find a true one) that in all things gives thanks, and dares not pray, but for what he needs, nor joyn with any, where he is not before agreed what to aske; This innocent dove findes not a place to rest his foot in, but is become the game of these birds of prey, these Ravens, Vultures, and Harpies.

O that all ingenious men would lay these things to heart! that they would looke more exactly into these Churches, more boldly & firmly, trying, examining & weighing them in the ballance: that they would shake off that vaile of superstition, and reverend respect to mens persons; whereby they are over-awed into a high esteeme of meer vanities, empty shels without kernells, empty clouds that hold no water. That they would consider, how extreamly partial they are in judging of things; For, who is he, that doth not exceedingly condemn the impudence of Simon Magus, in offering to buy the holy Spirit of God with mony, purposely to have made a gain thereof; and yet can daily see men counterfeit the having of the Spirit, and pretend to preach and to pray by it; when as it is evident, they have it not, and yet are no whit troubled at this, though they see it done also, even for filthy luchre, vain glory, or other vile respects, as he intended.

But all are not alike guilty, many through weaknesse, and a preposterous zeale, being carryed with the stream and current of the times; and many there are, who have run themselves quite out of breath, in searching after peace, and rest, in the various waies of these Churches, and from one Church way to another; but find none to comfort them, nothing to establish them; confessing, that instead of reall ordinances, they find only names; instead of power in them, they find only formes, fashions, likenesses and imitations, meere pictures, and Images without life, altogether dead and comfortlesse; and are held up meerely by the power of Art, craft, and pollicy of men, not without the countenance of corrupt authorities, & oppressive States-men; who find it (as it hath ever proved) a notable means to devide the people, making use thereof, to their wicked and tyrannous ends; But God in these times hath had instruments, to lay all kinds of delusion open: so that henceforth, if men continue in these evill waies, they are altogether inexcusable.

Neither will men ever live in peace, and quietnes one with another, so long as this vaile of false counterfeit preaching, remaineth before their eyes, nor untill the mocke Churches are overturned and laid flat; For so long as men flatter themselves in those vaine waies, and puffe themselves up with vaine thoughts, that they are in a way well pleasing to God, because they are in a Church way, as they call it, or because they are able to speak long together (which they call preaching) they are for the most part regardles of storing their minds with truths reall Christian virtue, little or nothing careing, either for publick Justice, Peace, or freedom amongst men; but spend their time in endlesse disputes, in condemning and censuring those that are contrary minded; whereby nothing but heats and discontents are ingendred, backbiting and snarling at all that oppose them, will neither buy, nor sell with them, if they can chuse, nor give them so much as a good looke; but on all occasions are ready to Censure, one to be carnall, another erronious; one an Atheist, another an Heretick, a Sectary, Scismatick, a Blasphemer, a man not worthy to live, though they have nothing whereof to accuse him; which in the true Scripture sence, will beare the title of an offence, but are stirred in their spirits against him, because happily he speaketh against their Church-way, and frequently sheweth the vanity and emptinesse of those things wherein they glory, and by which they distinguish themselves from other men.

So that it were much better for the Common-wealth, that all mens mindes were set at Liberty, from these entanglements, that so there might be an end of wrangling about shaddows; for if men were once free from this Church-bondage, they would by reading the Scriptures with such like considerations, as are before expressed, soone come to be able to understand the intent, & substantiall scope thereof; and become substantiall Christians; full fraught with true Christian virtue, and reall godlinesse, which would incline them lo a tendernesse of spirit towards all those they saw in any errour; make them to compassionate mens failings, and infirmities; and be ready to help the distressed, and any waies afflicted: it would enlarge their hearts toward all men, making them like unto our heavenly Father, who causeth his Sun to shine on the just, and unjust: that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth no man.

Certainely, were we all busied onely in those short necessary truths, we should soon become practicall Christians; and take more pleasure in Feeding the hungry, Cloathing the naked, visiting and comforting of the sicke, releeving the aged, weake and impotent; in delivering of Prisoners, supporting of poore families, or in freeing a Common wealth from all Tyrants, oppressors, and deceivers, (the authors and promoters of all corruption and superstition) thereby manifesting our universal love to all mankind, without respect of persons. Opinions, Societies, or Churches; doubtlesse there were no way like unto this, to adorne the Gospel of Christ; men and women so exercising themselves, and persevering therein, might possibly deserve the name of Saints; but for men to assume that title for being a Presbyter, an Independent, Brownist, Anabaptist, or for being of this or that opinion, or of this or that forme of Worship, or for being able to Pray, and Preach (as they call it) three or foure houres together, venting their own uncertain notions, and conjectures, or for looking more sadly, and solemnly then other people, or for dressing themselves after a peculiar manner: or for pretending to have the Spirit of God, though they are ever to seeke about the meaning of the Scriptures: or for sucking in, and sighing out reproaches, and slanders against their neighbours: proceeds from meer pride and vanity of mind; when as the best of these put altogether, amount not to so much, towards the making of a true Saint, as one mercifull tender hearted compassionate act, for Christs sake doth.

And therefore those who would truly honour God, let them not think, that he will be flattered with words, or be served with lip service, with that which costeth little or nothing; but let them resolve that he expecteth to be served with no lesse then with all our heart, with all our might, and with all our strength, to be honoured both in our bodies, and in our spirits, for they are his.

It is most certain, that men are first to know and understand, before they can become practicall Christians, and though the Scriptures are very plain and full, as to necessary knowledge, yet the errors of weake and perverse teachers do so abound, that it is a difficult thing to escape them, and to fall into a profitable method of reading, and meditation of the word of God: wherein may the considerations aforementioned, prove as profitable, as they are conscionably intended; but doubtlesse the best way to perfect knowledge, is, and will be, by endeavouring after meetings of people to conferre and discourse together (in a discreet, quiet, and well ordered way) upon necessary points only: the way of preaching or long set speeches, being subject to abundance of error, and inconvenience: and therefore it would be happy, that all wel-meaning people would seriously set themselves to procure frequent and full meetings, for increase of knowledg in all sorts of people, and no longer to depend, either on the publique, or congregationall Sermons, for information of their understandings: it being evident, that they serve rather to dignifie the Speakers, and to sway the hearers into what they please, then to any just or necessary end.

And as every one increaseth in knowledge, let them know, that God hath not vouchsafed his word unto us, to make us talkers, or discoursers only; as the manner of many knowing people is, who as soone as they arive to a good measure of understanding, and are thereby freed from the burthens and oppressions, which error and superstition had brought into their Consciences, instead of being thankfull to God for the same, by dilligence in the wayes of doing good; they become carelesse, turning the goodnesse and truth of God manifested in his word to Idlenesse, if not to wantonnesse, not caring what becommeth of the miseries of the times, or other mens sufferings, but ever after, live as in a pleasing dream; these who ever they are, are to be looked upon as the most unworthy of men, because the most ungratefull: the most opposite to the end of their being, the vilest of Creatures, because sloathfull Christians: the best things, being the worst, if once corrupted.

And therefore it will be very good, for every one to stir up the knowledg of God that is in him, and to keep it alive by continuall practice, upon all occasions: practice in good and just and charitable things being that wherein the Conscience is most delighted; so that if any propose to themselves any happines here in this life, it is to be found only in doing of good: the more good, the better contented, and the greater the happinesse, man being in nothing like unto God, but in doing good, nothing is more acceptable to God, nothing is more pleasant to Conscience, his vicegerent in us; to do good therefore, and to distribute, forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased: whilst we have time and opportunity, let us do good unto all men.

Let us all strive to go on before another in love, and let there be no other strife at all amongst us; we wish with all our soules that all reproach, despites and envyings amongst men might for ever cease, and that difference in judgment, may no longer occasion difference in affection; there being in our apprehension no cause at all; but that all men going in their severall wayes of serving God, whether publique or private, may neverthelesse be free to communicate in all civill Offices of love and true friendship, and cordially joyne with any, for a publique good; but if notwithstanding all that hath been endeavoured, or hath been said: this Generation of congregationall men shall continue to puffe, and swell through pride of heart, & to lift themselves up into the Chayre of the scornfull, and as the man in Peters Chayre assume a power of life and death over all opinions and wayes not owned by them: as if they were infallible judges of all controversies, making no scruple of blasting mens good names and reputations, or of undoing of whose Families thereby: they must then expect to be told their own, and be made appear to the world—as they are,—not as they would be esteemed.

It being evident by what hath been said, that although they have boasted themseivs to be rich, and increased with goods, and to have need of nothing; yet, they are as the luke-warm Church of Laodicea, miserable, & wretched, and poore, and blind, and naked—and for all their bigg and swelling conceipts of parts, of gifts, of Saint-ship, of the Spirit, & (in effect) pharisaically crying out, Lord we thank thee, we are not as other men, nor as those poore Publicans, that receive all their knowledge of Divine things from the Scriptures onely, and are taught onely thereby; Notwithstanding these bigg swelling words, their Peacocks feathers, being thus pluckt off, you see: and they, will they, nill they, must also see, that they must be content at last, to shake hands even with those poore Publicans; and acknowledge that they have no other infallible Teacher of Divine things, but the Scriptures; and that they partake no more of the Spirit, then what that blessed Word of the Spirit planteth in them.

And if their consciences are awakened, will be enforced to forsake their falling Churches: unlesse for politique ends, they shall stifle the power of these Truths within them; chusing rather to perish in the rubbish, then to seem to have bin so exceedingly mistaken; which will prove an unpardonable error; For, however the best of men may erre, yet they are the worst of men, that persist in error, after the discovery.

And therefore, if there be any whose consciences shall be fully informed of the vanity of these Churches; and yet for any ends shall continue to support the reputation of them; let all such know, that those who dare be so impious, as to stop the continuall cry of their consciences, must necessarily desire in their hearts there were no God, whose Vicegerent Conscience is; which is the most sad and dangerous condition that man can fall into in this life.

And certainly they will find it far better to forsake their tottering immaginary structures: confess their emptines, & sinfull imitation, taking shame unto themselves and giving glory unto God, whose name and power they have much diminished, by affirming those to be Churches which are not, those Pastors and Preachers which are not, those Saints which are not: his blessed Word to be but a dead Letter: that to be his Word, which is but conjecturall Sermons; and in censuring those to be erronious and carnall Christians, who have more warrant for what they do then themselves; And then by a more considerate, ingenious, and Christian-like carriage, to make amends for the future which would very much rejoyce the hearts of all that low he Lord Jesus in sincerity, whose Truth and Glory will be advanced by the Scriptures; when all the roving, wild and wandring immaginations of mens spirits, shall vanish, and come to nought.

FINIS

Imprimatur
THEODORE JENNINGS.

 

 


 

6.5. [Signed by Robert Ward, Thomas Watfon, Simon Graunt, George Jellis, William Sawyer (or 5 “Beagles”), but attributed to Richard Overton or John Lilburne], The Hunting of the Foxes (n.p., 21 March 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

[Signed by Robert Ward, Thomas Watfon, Simon Graunt, George Jellis, William Sawyer (or 5 “Beagles”), but attributed to Richard Overton or John Lilburne], The Hunting of the Foxes from New-Market and Triploe-Heaths to White-Hall, by five small Beagles (late of the Armie.) Or The Drandie-Deceivers Unmasked (that you may know them.) Directed to all the Free-Commons of England, but in especiall, to all that have, and are still engaged in the Military Service of the Common-Wealth. By Robert Ward, Thomas Watson, Simon Graunt, George Jellis, and William Sawyer, late Members of the Army.
Printed in a Corner of Freedome, right opposite to the Councel of Warre, Anno Domini, 1649.

Estimated date of publication

21 March 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 732; Thomason E. 548. (7.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

The Hunting of the Foxes, &c.

When we remember our solemn Engagement at Newmarket and Triploe-Heaths, and but therewith consider and compare the strange actings that have been, and still are carried on in the name of the Army (as if upon the accompt of that Engagement) we are even startled at the palpable contrariety and disparity that appeareth betwixt them; for the difference is as great and as wide, as betwixt bondage and freedom: So that it hath put us upon consideration to finde out and discover, where the fault lurketh; and upon serious thoughts, wee cannot impute the declinings of the first Principles of the Army, to the Army it self, but rather to some Persons of private and dangerous interests, usurping and surprising the name of the Army; like as it was said of the 11 impeached Members, concerning the Name and Authority of Parliament, imprinting the face and stampe of that Authority upon their prodigious designs, to the great abuse of the Parliament, as this must needs be of the Army. These, as too many such there be, are Foxes of the deepest kinde, more deceitfull and pernitious than their predecessours; and that such there are, wofull experience puts it out of question: and who they are the print of their footsteps is so evident, that you may trace them from step to step, from hole to hole to their Master Den, where you may finde the whole litter of Foxes in conspiracy, and you may know them by their shapes. Thus then to their footsteps.

When in the times of Stapteton & Hollis, the then faction was aspired to that height of tyranny and insolency, as to overtop the authority and native freedom of the People, threatning generall vassalage to the whole Nation, then the private souldiery (to interpose betwixt the people and their destroiers) drew themselves into that solemn Engagement of June 5. 1647. in the attempting and transaction of which they found no small opposition (as may well be remembred) amongst the Officers; and at that time Cromwell highly dissented, notwithstanding the earnest solicitation and importunity of many friends, til he was forced for fear of imprisonment, to fly to the then engaging souldiery (the day after the first Rendezvous) for refuge, and then Cromwell and Ireton, when they saw no other way to preserve themselves and their interest, engaged in the subversion of that domineering, tyrannical faction, and assuming high offices to themselves, acting as generall Officers, without the election of the soldiery, or Commission from the Parliament, being out by the self-denying Ordinance, and the General having no power to make generall Officers.

And being thus seated, even before they were well warmed in their places, they begin to stomack the sitting of the private souldiers in Councel with them; although it is wel known, that the actions of the Army, moving as an Army, in relation to that Engagement, was, first to be concluded of by a Councell, to consist of those generall Officers (who concurred with the Army in their then just undertakings) with two Commission Officers and two soldiers to be chosen for each Regiment; but a Councell thus modelled, was not sutabic to their wonted greatnes and ambition, it was somewhat of scorn to them, that a private soldier (though the Representour of a Regiment) should sit cheek by joll with them, and have with an Officer an equall vote in that Councel: This was a thing savoured too much of the peoples authority and power, and therefore inconsistent with the transaction of their lordly Interest; the title of free Election (the original of all just authorities) must give place to prerogative patent (the root of all exorbitant powers) that Councel must change the derivation of its session, and being from Agreement and election of the souldiery to the patent of the Officers, and none to sit there but commission Officers, like so many patentee Lords in the high Court of Parliament, deriving their title from the will of their General, as the other did theirs, from the will of the King: so that the difference was no other, but in the chang of names: Here was (when at this perfection) as absolute a Monarchy, and as absolute a Prerogative Court over the Army, as Commoners, as ever there was over the Common-wealth, and accordingly this Councel was overswarmed with Colonels, Lieut. Colonels, Majors, Captains, &c. contrary to and beyond the tenour of the Engagement.

Hence followed secret murmurings & whisperings amongst the Prerogative Officers against the session and power of the Agitators, and at length palpable endeavors broke forth to suppress them: & so soon as the Officers had wound up themselvs to a faction, sufficient to overtop them, and finding the privity of the Agitators in their Councels was an impediment to their evil interest and ambition, then It was openly given out, That they stood as souldiers, only to serve the State, and might not as free Commons insist upon their liberty; and that the ground of their refusing to disband, was, only the want of Arrears and Indempnity, which, how contrary to their Engagement, Declarations, Representations, See. Hear, O heavens, and judge, O earth! for doth not their Declaration of Jun. 14. 1647. in their persons thus speak.

“We shall before disbanding proceed in our own and the Kingdoms behalf, &c. especially considering, that we were not a Mercinary Army, hired to serve any Arbitrary power of a state, but called forth and conjured by the several Declarations of Parliament to the defence of our own, & the peoples just Rights & Liberties.” And if of our own, then not to destroy our right of Petitioning, for that is in the number of our own, and so formerly owned by themselves. And further some few lines after they thus proceed.

“The said Declaration stil directing us to the equitable sense of all Laws and Constitutions, as dispensing with the very letter of the same, and being supream to it, when the safety and preservation of all is concerned, and assured us. That all Authority is fundamentally seated in the Office, and but ministerially in the Persons:” And then to confirm and justifie their motion, as Commoners in behalf of the People, they cite the Presidents of Scotland, Netherlands, Portugall, and others; adding this, “That accordingly the Parliament hath declared it no resisting of Magistracy, to side with the just principles and law of Nature and Nations, being that Law, upon which we have assisted you; and that the souldiers may lawfully hold the hands of the Generall (and if of the Generall then of Cromwell, Ireton and Harrison) who will turn his Cannon against the Army, on purpose to destroy them; the Sea-man the hands of that Pilot who wilfully runs the ship upon a rock, as our brethren of Scotland argued, and such were the proceedings of our Ancestours of famous memory, &c.

Here out of their owne mouths it is contest, That the souldiery are not, nor ought to be mercinary; and that the General (and so consequently all the Officers) may be opposed by the souldiery in case of an immanent destruction to them; and how absolutely destructive it is to them, to be deprived of their right as Commoners, and not suffered upon pain of death or cashierment to petition the Parliament, but to be rendred meerly mercinary to the lusts and ambitions of two or three persons, to serve their pernicious ends, let the world judge: This is a case so plain, so obvious and evident, as none can deny, but that it is a palpable subversion of the Right of the Souldiery; and therfore in such a case they are bound to oppose their Officers, and it is no resisting of the General, nor of the Officers, no more than it is a resisting Magistracy, to side with the just Principles and law of Nature and Nations, as themselves have owned and contest, and if they will not stand to it, they must be kept to it.

And besides, if the equity of the Law be superiour (as they say) to the letter, and if the letter should controll and overthrow the equity, it is to be controld and overthrown it self, and the equity to be preserved, then the rule of the same reason doth tell them, that the Officer is but the form or letter of the Army; and therefore inferiour to the equitable or essentiall part, the Souldiery, and to be controlled and overthrown themselves, when they controll and overthrow the Souldiery in the essentials of their being, life, liberty and freedom, as the souldiery are, when by the Officers rendred meerly mercinary, and denied their right of addresse by way of Petition to the Parliament, for to be tortur’d, enslav’d and opprest, and not suffer’d to complain, but tormented and abused for complaining (although to the Parliament, the undoubted right of an English-man) is the highest cruelty, villany and slavery can be imagined, even Tyranny at the height, and therfore to be opposed by the Souldiery.

And thus, and upon these fundamentals of Nature and Reason the Netherlands made their resistance against the King of Spain. Thus rose the Scots up in arms, and entered this Kingdom, immediately before this Parliament, without all formal countenance or allowance of King or Parliament, since owned and justified by this Parliament. Thus this Parliament took up arms against the King: and thus the Parliament of France now taketh up armes: yea thus this Army enter’d upon their solemn Engagement against the oppressing party at Westminster. And thus may the souldiery renue and revive the same, and even oppose, contradict, dispute and overrule the commands of their Officers themseivs to the contrary, and be equally justifiable with the foregoing presidents. But to return to the matter in hand.

When Cromwell and Ireton, and their faction of self interessed Officers thought they had got the souldiery fast by the brain, as to dote sufficiently upon their transaction and conduct of busines, they then decline the Agitators, decline the Engagement, sleight their Declarations and Promises to the people and Army, rendring the Agitatours but as ciphers amongst them, corrupting some with places, overruling and overawing others, and so bringing the transactions of the Army in order to their solemn Engagement, only to themselves, under the impression and name of his Excellency, and his Councel of War, & so by degrees, step after step they cast out the interest of the souldiery from amongst them, destroied the Engagement, and broke the faith of the Army.

So that the honest souldiery not seeing any redresse, the rights and freedoms of the Nation not cleared or secured, no indempnity or security for arrears, or provision for present pay, no determinate period of time set, when the Parliament should certainly end, no publike vindication of the Army from that most horrid Declaration against the souldiery for petitioning, nor of suppressing and burning Petitions, abusing and imprisoning petitioners, &c.

These things the souldiery beholding and observing, endeavored to restore their Agents to a competent power and ability, to make good the faith of the Army to the people, but then they found the hottest opposition from Cromwell and Ireton with his faction of Officers, as who ever cals but to mind the busines of Ware, when Col. Eyer was imprisoned, and M. Arnold a private souldier was shot to death for promoting and assisting the work of the souldiery in reference to the solemn Engagement of the Army, may know.

And then it may be remembred how insolent & furious Cromwell deported himself against the honest observers of the faith of the Army, it being then made death to observe the Engagement, or but speak for the Agitators: O let that day never be forgotten! let not the bloud of that innocent person be here had out of remembrance, till justice be had for the same; neither let our Engagement or the perfidious perjured subverters thereof be forgotten; for here the Engagement was utterly cast aside, and the Adjutators laid by, and after that no more Agitators would be permitted, but the sentence of death, imprisonment, and cashierments for all that endeavored the reviving thereof was denounced: here the right of the soldiery was clearly destroied, and the Gen. Officers became lords of the name of the Army, assuming the same to themselves, and fitting the impression thereof upon all their future actings, to the abuse and surprisall of the Army; although in deed and in truth no transacting since by Cromwell, Ireton, and their Officers, though in the name of the Gen. Councel of the Army, wil be accounted or imputed to the act of the Army, for it is no Gen. Councel, neither doth it represent the Army, neither hath it the Authority or Commission of the Army therin; for it is another Councel, differing from that of the Engagement of the Army, that was by election, this is by force and obtrusion, in that the soldiery were represented, in this only the Officers, that is to consist of those Gen. Officers concurring with the Engagement, two Com. Officers, and two soldiers chosen out of every Regiment, this is only a Councel of war, whose power doth extend to no transaction in the name of the Army, as Commoners, but only to matters of war, as souldiers: therefore their propositions and tamperings with the King, their march up to London, their violent secluding of so many members from Parl. their triall and execution of the King, of D. Hamilton, Holland, and stout Capel, their erection of the high Court, of the Counsel of State, and their raigning in, & overruling the House, their stopping the Presses, committing violent outrages and cruelties therupon, their usurpation of the civil Authority, &c. are not to be esteemed as actions of the Army, they are not to be set upon the score of the soldiery, for the soldiery hath no mouth in their Councels, neither have they therin to do.

Thus it may well be conceived, that their clothing themselves with the glorious Garments of that Engagement, with their manifold Declarations, Remonstrances, &c. was but in order to what time hath since made manifest, to heave out Stapleton and that faction, to grasp the sole dominion into their own hands: for by their fair speeches and fawning dissimulations, they courted the Souldiery and honest party of the Common-wealth into a strong delusion, even to believe their lyes, their enchantments, and sorceries: Never were such Saints, such curious Angels of light; Pharaohs Egyptian Sorcerers were short of these in their Art. And when by that means they had compassed their ends against Hollis and his, they were so far from insisting upon the premises of their former promises and vows, that they resolve upon an Hocas Pocas trick with the King, and so set upon the work (to make him a Pandor to their dominion and power, to make him a skreen betwixt them and the people) and they drive it to a bargain, Cromwel to be made Earl of Essex, and that (beside his George and blew Ribband) to be a Knight of the Garter, his own son to be Bed chamber-man to the Prince, and his Son in law Ireton, either Lord Deputy of Ireland, or at least Field Marshal General of Ireland, and his own Son (that commanded the Gen. Life Guard) said that the King had cast himself upon his father and brother Ireton, to make his terms for him, and restore him again: And to that end, they frame expedients sutable to his Prerogative Principles, cunningly interweaving the same in their business called the Proposals for the selling a just and lasting Peace (as they called it) in the heads whereof were couphed the several foundations of Regal Tyranny, seating the whole power and authority of this Nation, fundamentally in the Kings wilt, making the same supreme, or a law paramount, to all the determinations of Parliament: This is the unanimous voice of the 1, 2, and 3. particulars, under the first general Proposal, and the last is a seal to them all. But this expedient failing them, as to their exorbitant intents, they cast off those robes of Royalty with which they had rendred themselves acceptable with the King’s adherents, and laid aside the King and them, finding the way of an Agreement of the People to be much affected and endeavoured after among the Souldiery, they also invest themselves with that Robe, to hide their deformity from the Army; and the better to allay all motions after the same, they confess and acknowledge the excellency and goodness of the premisses, they only find the same unseasonable; and this was drest out in such taking Saint-like language, as the religious people might best be surprised, not suspecting any venemous thing to be lurking under the leaf of their holy and sacred pretences: they call Fasts (a certain fore-runner of mischief with them) cry, and howl, and bedew their cheeks with the tears of hypocrsie and deceit, confess their iniquity and abomination in declining the cause of the people, and tampering with the King; and humbly, as in the presence of the all-seeing God, acknowledge the way of an Agreement of the People, to be the way to our Peace and Freedom; and even then, as soon as they had wiped their eys and their mouths, they proceed even to death, imprisonment or cashierment of all such in the Army as promoted or owned that Agreement; and to fan and cull all such Asserters of the Peoples Freedoms out of the Army, they proceed to disband 20. out of a Troup; by which the honest party of the Souldiery was very much weakned, and all the promoters of Freedom discouraged, and the people struck into desperation; which gave rise unto the second war amongst our selves, and invasion of the Scots: But the same by the great blessing of God being over, they finding the old affection of the Souldiers not yet quenched or much cooled, and great motions in the several Regiments after the Freedom of the Nation; they then formalize again, and to keep the honest party in suspense, and to wait upon their motions, and to cease from their own; and the better to make way to the ambitious intents of those Grandees, they then as a cloke, take up the way of an Agreement again, to present themselves amiable unto us; and a great pudder they make in their Councel about an Agreement, and one they brought forth, but such an one as was most abhorred by such as most fought after the way of an Agreement; so inconsistant it was with the true foundations of equal Freedom and Right; but by this means they so far prevailed over the most constant and faithful friends to the People, as to beget an acquiescence in them for a season, till they in the mean time so far effected their business, as to the introduction of an absolute platform of Tyranie, long since hatched by Ireton, for it was he who first offered that expedient of Government by way of a Councel of State, which was soon after the Armies engagement neer New-market-heath, and which ever since he hath kept in the vail, but now the vail is taken away, and it is now presented to the view of all men; But no sooner was this Monster born into the world, but it devours up half of the Parliament of England, and now it is about adorning it self with all Regal magnificence, and majesty of Courtly attendance, &c. and like the 30. Tyrants of Athens, to head it self over the people: This is, and yet this is not our new intended King, there is a king to succeed, this is but his Vice-roy: O Cromwel! whither art thou aspiring? The word is already given out amongst their officers, That this Nation must have one prime Magistrate or Ruler over them, and that the General hath power to make a law to bind all the Commons of England: This was most daringly and desperately avowed at White-hall; and to this temper these Court-Officers are now a moulding, he that runs may read and fore-see the intent, a New Regality! And thus by their Machiavilian pretenses, and wicked practises, they are become masters and usurpers of the name of the Army, and of the name of the Parliament; under which Visors they have levell’d and destroyed all the Authority of this Nation: For the Parliament indeed and in truth is no Parliament, but a Representative Class of the Councel of War; and the Councel of War but the Representative of Cromwel, Ireton, and Harrison; and these are the all in all of this Nation, which under these guises and names of Parliament, Army, General Councel, High Court, and Councel of State, play all the strange pranks that are play’d.

Deer Countreymen and fellow-souldiers, you that by your adventerous hazards and bloud have purchased a precedency in your Native and just Rights; Consider and weigh these things in your hearts, for surely none are more deeply concerned than your selves, none are more highly infringed of their Rights than you; You are not so much as suffered (how oppress’d or abus’d your selves, how sensible of the miseries of the publike soever) to represent your desires or apprehensions to the Parliament; while you are souldiers, you (in their account) are no Free-men, neither have an equal right in the Common-wealth with other of your fellowmembers therein. The General now tells us, if we will petition, we must lay down our swords; these were his own words unto us. It seems he hath forgot the contest of the Army (in which he concurred) with Stapleton and Hollis about their right of Petitioning as Souldiers; Why then (if this must be their received maxime) did he and the General Councel (as by usurpation they call it) present their petition, since we presented ours, and not lay down their swords and their high places, and petition as private Commoners? We are confident it would be an happy day for England, would they but practise that doctrine they preach unto others; But alas deer friends, it is but in this case with them as in all others, they condemned Stapleton and Hollis, because they were not the Stapletons and Hollis’s themselves; they condemned privat correspondencies with the King, because they were not the corresponders themselves; they condemned the force offered to the Parliament by the tumult of Apprentices, &c. because they were not the forcers themselves; they condemned that monstrous declaration of the Parliament against the Souldiers petitioning; they condemned the imprisoning petitioners, and burning petitions, because they were not the Declarers, Imprisoners, and Burners themselves: As who, that doth but consider their waies, may not plainly discern.

But to trace the foot-steps of those Foxes yet a little further, we shall discover their dealings with us. When they heard that the Soldiers were about a petition in behalf of themselves and the people for whom they had engaged, they thereat were highly offended and enraged, and desperate motions upon it were made in their Conventicle (by themselves stiled the General Councel) some moved tor an Act of Parliament, that they might have power to try, judge, condemn, and punish all such, whether of the Army or not of the Army, as should disturb them (as they now call it) by petition to the Parl. or otherwise; and upon the modest reply of one, who desired that the execution of civil affairs, might be left to the Magistrate, Col. Huson answered, we have had tryal enough of Civil Courts, we can hang 20. before they will hang one, and in the Lobby at the Parl. dore, the said Huson breathing out bitter invectives against us Petitioners, who then were waiting at the dore for an answer to our petition, said thus openly, O that any of them (speaking of the Petitioners) durst come into my Regiment, they should never go out; we shall never be quiet till some of them be cut off for examples, and then the rest will be quash’d; there are 10. about this Town that better deserve to be hanged, than those Lords that are at their Tryal before the high Court. And now the Colonels, Lieut. Col. Maj. Capt. of this Gen. Councel, are now moulding up to that sweet temper, insomuch that about March 6. they concluded on the Act, it must now be death to petition, or for any Countryman to talk to us concerning ours and their Freedom: This enforceth us to put you in remembrance of their former words, for out of their own mouths they are judged.

In the Book of the Armies Declaration, pag. 17. we humbly represent in their and our behalfs, as followeth: 1. That whereas it pleased the Honourable Houses of Parliament, having received information of a dangerous Petition in the Army, to declare and immediately to publish in print to the Kingdom, that that Petition did tend to put the Army in distemper and mutiny, to obstruct the relief of Ireland, and put conditions on the Parliament: And declaring the Petitioners if they shall continue in the promoting and advancing that Petition, shall be lookt upon, and proceeded against, as enemies to the State, and disturbers to the publick Peace.

We cannot chuse, but with sadnesse of Spirit be deeply sensible that so humble and innocent Addresse could beget so strange an Interpretation.

Yet now Stapleton and Hollis being removed, are not they in the same steps? do not they call the Humble and Innocent Addresses of the Souldiers to the Parliament, Disturbance to their proceedings, and to the Publick Peace? And do not they seek for worse than a Declaration, an Act of Parliament, to put to death for Petitioning? And even as Stapleton and Hollis would have divided and broken the Army, under the pretence of relief for Ireland, do not these men now do the like? it was formerly opposed and condemned by them, it is now their own expedient.

In the particular charge against the 11. Members, pag. 83. Article 5. That the said M. Hollis, Sr Philip Stapleton, and M. Glyn, have been and are obstructers and prejudices of several Petitioners to the Parliament, for redresse of publick grievances: And the said Mr Hollis, and Sr Philip Stapleton, in the moneth of May, last past, did abuse and affront divers Petitions, offering to draw their swords upon Major Tuleday, and others of the said Petitioners, causing Nicholas Tew to be imprisoned in Newgate, and to be detained a long time there, for no other cause, but for having a Petition about him, which was to be presented to the House: O how carefull were they then, of, the freedom of the People to Petition!

In the eighth Article, fol. 85. Hollis is charged with procuring of the foresaid Declaration against the Souldiers petitioning, as a thing to the great dishonour of the Parliament, to the insufferable injury, the just provocations, discouragement, and discontent of the Army, &c.

O Crumwell, O Ireton, how hath a little time and successe changed the honest shape of so many Officers’ who then would have thought the Councel would have moved for an act to put men to death for Petitioning? who would have thought to have seen Souldiers (by their Order) to ride with their faces towards their Horse tailes, to have their Swords broken over their Heads, and to be casheered, and that for Petitioning, and claiming their just right and title to the same? Such dealing as this was accounted in their Representation of Iune the 4. and 5. 1647. to be against the right both of a Souldier and a Subject. And in pag. 33. it thus saith, And if our liberty of Petitioning for our due be denyed us, and be rendred such a crime (as by the said Order and Declaration.) we cannot but look for the same, or worse, hereafter, not only to our selves, but to all the free-born People of the Land in the like case. And so this President (if it stand good) would extend in the consequence of it, to render all Souldiers under this Parliament the worst of slaves, and all Subjects little better. And though there hath been of late in other mens cases, too many dangerous presidents of suppressing Petitions, and punishing or censuring the Petitioners, &c.

Then they could say, (pag. 35.) Let every honest English man lay his hand on his heart, weigh our case, and make it his own, (as in consequence it is) and then judge for us and himself. But if we now lay our hands on our hearts, and weigh their present case, what may we say for them or our selves? we may forbear pronouncing the sentence they have said for themselves and us.

In the Declaration, Iune 14. 1647. fol. 44. We desire, that the right and freedom of the People, to represent to the Parliament by way of Petition, their grievances may be cleared and vindicated.

In the Remonstrance, June 23. 1647. fol. 58. They account the suppressing of Petitioning in the Army, an infringement of the Rights and Liberties, both of Souldiers and Subjects. And fol. 60. of the same Declaration,) a putting the faithfull servants of the Parliament and Kingdom out of the protection of the Law. Divers other passages of moment out of their own Declarations, Remonstrances, &c. might be cited: but here is sufficient to condernne their violence against, and justifie the Souldiery in Petitioning.

Was there ever a generation of men so Apostate so false and so perjur’d as these? did ever men pretend an higher degree of Holinesse, Religion, and Zeal to God and their Country than these? these preach, these fast, these pray, these have nothing more frequent then the sentences of sacred Scripture, the Name of God and of Christ in their mouthes: You shall scarce speak to Crumwell about any thing, but he will lay his hand on his breast, elevate his eyes, and call God to record, he will weep, howl and repent, even while he doth smite you under the first rib. Captain Joyce and Captain Vernam can tell you sufficient stories to that purpose.

Thus it is evident to the whole World, that the now present interest of the Officers is directly contrary to the interest of the Souldiery: there is no more difference betwixt them, than betwixt Christ and Belial, light and darknesse: if you will uphold the interest of the one, the other must down; and as well you may let them bore holes through your ears, and be their slaves for ever, for your better distinction from free men: for what are you now? your mouths are stopped, you may be abused and enslaved, but you may not complain, you may not Petition for redresse; they are your Lords, and you are their conquered vassals, and this is the state you arein: If a Souldier commit but a seeming fault, especially if by their tentred far fetcht consequences they can make it but reflect on their prerogative greatnesse: Oh to what an height that crime as they call it, is advanced? what aggravations and load is laid upon it? and if there be never an Article in their out-landish Mercinary Articles of Warre, that will touch them; yet they find one in their discretionary conclave, that will doe the businesse, for there must be no standing against the Officers; they must be impeached only by their Peers, the Souldier must not say Black is their eye; if they say the Crow is white, so must the Souldier; he must not lisp a sillable against their treacheries and abuses of the State, their false Musters, and cheating the Souldiery of their pay, though it be their constant and familiar practise: that Souldier that is so presumptuous as to dare to Article against an Officer, must be casheered: Quartermaster Harby was but the other day casheered, but for delivering in a Charge of Delinquency against Lieut. Col. Ashfield, for his perfideous confederacy with treacherous Lilburn, that betrayed Tinmouth Castle: and dayly honest men are casheered for complaining against their Officers: no interest must now stand in the Army, that is against the interest of the Officers, we must all bow to their Lordships, and lay down our necks under their feet, and count it our honour that they will but be pleased to tread upon us, but like worms we must not turn again, upon pain of death, or casheerment. This makes us call to mind the saying of Ireton to honest Major Cobbett of Snow hill, who for joyning with the Agents of the Army asked him, if he were not deluded in his understanding in joyning with the giddy headed Souldiers: and advised him not to run against the interest of himselfe and the Officers. And now we have plainly found what that interest was, it was long a forging, but is now brought forth: but like a Viper, we hope it will gnaw out their own bowels.

But now dear friends, that you may see that their Conclave of Officers at White Hall hath suckt into it the venome of all former corrupt Courts, and interests that were before them, we shall shew you how the Court of the High Commission, the Star chamber, the House of Lords, the King and his Privy Councel’ are all alive in that Court, called the General Councel of the Army.

First if you do but remember, the King to his death stood upon this principle. That he was accomptable to none but God; that he was above the Parliament, and above the People. And now to whom will these be accomptable? to none on Earth. And are they not above the Parliament? they have even a Negative voice thereover: Formerly the Commons could passe nothing without the concurrence of the Lords, now they dare passe nothing without the concurrence of the Conclave of Officers: we were before ruled by King, Lords, and Commons; now by a General, a Court Martial, and House of Commons: and we pray you what is the difference? the Lords were not Members both of the House of Lords, and of the House of Commons, but those are Members both in the House of Officers, (the Martial Lords,) and in the House of Commons. The old Kings person, and the old Lords, are but removed, and a new King and new Lords, with the Commons, are in one House; and so under a more absolute arbitrary Monarchy than before. We have not the change of a Kingdom to a Common wealth; we are onely under the old cheat, the transmutation of Names, but with the addition of New Tyrannies to the old: for the casting out of one unclean Spirit they have brought with them in his stead seven other unclean Spirits, more wicked than the former, and they have entered in, and dwell there; and the last state of this Common wealth, is worse than the first.

Now as for their High Commission and Star-chamber practises, if you will be pleased to view over an Epitomy of our several Examinations before them; you may have a perfect Embleme of those Courts before your eyes; and to that end (and not out of any vain-glorious folly,) we have subjoyned an Abstract of their Interrogatives, with our Answers; together with their Sentence they passed upon us. But first we desire you to take notice, that the matter which they made the occasion of advantage to proceed against us, was a Paper which we delivered to the General, a Copy whereof (lest you should not have seen it) we herewith present you: and then we shall proceed to our Examinations.

To his Excellency Tho. Lord Fairfax, and his Councel of Officers.

May it please your Excellencie, and your Councel of Officers,

We have lately made our humble addresse unto the peoples Representors in Parliament, concerning some relief to our selves and the Commonwealth, by way of Petition, the meanest and lowest degree of an English mans Freedome that we know of, and yet the same (to our astonishment) hath much distasted and imbittered divers of our Superiour Officers (in this Councel convening) against us, as we perceive, and that even unto death.

We therefore being willing to avoid all occasion of offence and division, and to cleare our selves from all imputations thereof, that in Justice and Reason may be conceived against us, desire, that you would be pleased to consider, that we are English Souldiers engaged for the Freedoms of England; and not outlandish mercenaries, to butcher the people for pay, to serve the pernitious ends of ambition and will in any person under Heaven. That we do not imagine our selves absolved from the solemn Engagement at Newmarket Heath, but to be still obliged before God and the whole world to pursue the just ends of the same; and you may remember your many promises and Declarations to the people upon that accompt, which like the blood of Abel cries for justice upon the perfidious infringers and perverters thereof in this Army. You may further remember, that it hath been a principle by you asserted and avowed, that our being Souldiers hath not deprived us of our Right as Commoners, and to Petition the people in Parliament, we do account in the number of our Birthrights; and you may remember that in the time of the domination of Stapleton & Hollis, you complained against their then endeavour to suppresse the liberty of the Souldiers to petition, as an insufferable infringement of the right of the Army and people; and we hope you did not then condemn it in them, to justifie it in your selves: when the power was theirs, it was then condemned; but now it is yours, how comes it to be justified? In the point of Petitioning, we expected your encouragement, and not to have manacles and fetters laid upon it: it is not the bare name or shadow thereof will satisfie us, while we are gull’d of the essence of it self; it is a perfect freedome therein we desire, not therein to be subjected under the Gradual Negative voices of a Captain, a Colonel, your Excllency, or this Councel, to passe the test from one Negative voice to another for its approvement, we account as the most vexatious Labyrinth of thraldom that in this point can be devised, worse then all the opposition and infringements of Stapleton and Hollis; we had rather that in plain terms you would deny us our right of petitioning, and pronounce and proclaim us absolute Slaves and Vassals to our Officers, then secretly to rob us of the right it self. God hath in some measure opened our eyes, that we can see and perceive; and we desire plain dealing, and not to be met half-way with smooth Expedients, and Mediums facing both wayes, with specious and fair pretences, to overtake our sudden apprehensions, and unawares steal upon us, and so be defeated, as too often we have been, to the woe and misery of the people, and of us: but The burnt child dreads the fire.

Further we desire you to consider. That the strength, the honour and being of the Officer, yea and of this Councel (under God) doth consist in the Arme of the Souldier. Is it not the Souldier that endureth the heat and burden of the day, and performeth that work whereof the Officers beareth the glory and name? For what is, or what can the Officer do without the Souldier? If nothing, why are they not ashamed to deny us our right to petition?

We have long waited in silence, even while we could perceive any hopes of any reall redresse from them. But now finding the Military power in an absolute usurpation of the Civill Jurisdiction, in the place of the Magistrate executing that authority, by which the sword of the Magistrate, and the sword of war is incroached into the self same hands under one Military head, which we disclaim and abhorre, as not having any hand or assent therein at all. And we find a strange and unexpected constitution of a Councell of State, Such as neither we or our fore fathers were ever acquainted with, intrusted with little lesse then an unlimited power, & with the whole force both of Sea and Land, into which is combined the most pernitious interests of our rotten State, Lords, Lawyers, Star-Chamber Judges, and dissenters from the proceedings against the King, And which hath already swallowed up half our Parliament, and we fear to be an expedient to cut off our Parliaments, for ever; for if this Councel of State survive the Parliament, how shall we obtain a new Representative, if the Parliament sit but till anew one be ready to take their places, farwell Parliaments farwell Freedoms.

Further we find, the just and legall way of triall by twelve men of the neighbourhood in criminall cases, utterly subverted in this new constitution of an High Court, a President for ought we know, to frame all the Courts of England by, and to which our selves may be as well subjected as our enemies. And considering not one oppression is removed, not one vexation in the Law abated, or one punctillio of freedom restored, or any fair hopes at all appearing, but oppression heaped upon the back of oppression, double cruelty upon cruelty, we therefore from those many considerations, betook our selves as English men to make our address unto the Parliament, as the proper refuge and authority of the people for our and their addresse, in which by birth we challenge a right, as also by the price and purchase of our hazard and blood; and our Civill Rights we cannot yeeld up, we shall first rather yeeld up our lives.

And thus after the weak measure of our understandings, we judge we have given a rationall and full accompt of the occasion and reason of our Petitioning, and we hope satisfactory to your Excellency and this Councell, humbly praying that you will make a charitable and fair construction thereon.

And we further desire, that you will take speciall notice of the serious Apprehension of a part of the people in behalf of the Common wealth, presented to the House by Lievt. Col. John Lilburn, & divers other Citizens of London, and the Burrough of Southwarke, Feb. 26. now published in print. To the which with due thankfulnesse to those our faithful friends the promoters and presenters thereof, we do freely and cheerefully concur, to stand or fall in the just prosecution thereof, as the most absolute medium to our peace and freedom that hath been produced, and we hope it will produce an happy effect upon this Councell, to prevent the otherwise inavoidable dissolation and devision that will ensue upon us all, which to prevent, shall be the faithfull endeavours of.

Sir,
Your Excellencies most humble
Servants and Soulders,

Robert Ward. Symon Grant.
Thomas Watson. George Jelles.
William Sawyer.

The Examination and Answers of ROBERT WARD, before the Court Martiall, March 3. 1648.

1. Being call’d in before the Court, the President demanded of him whether he owned the Letter, or no: he answered, Yea; and did admire he should be committed to prison for delivering his judgment to them.

2. They asked him where the said Letter was written, and who was present at the writing thereof: He answered, he thought that Court had abominated the Spanish Inquisition, and Star-chamber practice, in examining him upon Interrogatories, contrary to their own Declarations; and he would rather lose his life, then betray his Libertie.

3. They told him, he had not wit sufficient to compose such a Letter: He answered. The Letter he did own; and as for worldly wisdom, he had not much; but he told the Court, he hoped he had so much honesty as would bear him out in this action; and desired them to remember what Paul spake, how that God did chuse the foolish things of the world to confound the mighty.

4. They said, That notwithstanding what he might think of himself touching honesty, they would not be afraid to proceed in Judgment against him: To which he answered, they might do what they pleased, for he was in their hands, and they might take away his life if they would: but he assured they would bring innocent bloud upon their own heads. They answered, They did not much passe what he did say.

5. They did ask why they did print the Letter: To which hee answered, That he had been in prison, and it was impossible he or they should print in prison.

6. They asked how he proved the Civill and Military sword to be both in one hand. To which he answered. That some that sate in Councel with them, did likewise sit in the Parliament and Councell of State, contrary to what they had propounded to the People in their Agreement.

7. They asked what he had to say concerning the Councel of State. He answered, They did consist of corrupt persons; viz. Starchamber Judges, corrupt Lords, dissenters from the Proceedings against the late King, and of taking away the House of Lords: and trusted with little lesse then an unlimited power: now considering tlie persons, he told them, it seem’d to him very dangerous.

8. They asked him what he had to say concerning the subversion of our Liberties by the High Court of Justice. He answered: that it was a President (for ought he knew) to frame all the Courts in England by; considering that the lesser doth conform it self to the greater, and to which himself might be brought to tryall as well as others and so deprived of all liberty of exception against Triers.

9. They asked what he said concerning that clause, That no oppression was removed; the King and House of Lords being taken away, the chief cause of all oppression. To which he answered, That it was not the taking away of the King and House of Lords that made us free from oppression; for it was as good for him to suffer under the King, as under the keepers of the Liberties of England; both maintaining one and the same thing; viz. the corrupt administrations in the Law, treble dammage for Tythes, persecution for matter of Conscience, and oppression of the poor.

10. They asked what he thought of the serious apprehension of part of the People, in behalf of themselves and the Commonwealth, delivered to the Parliament by Lieutenant Col. John Lilburn and divers others: To which he being about to answer, they put him forth with confidence that he did own it.

After this they were all committed to prison again: and after three hours call’d again before the Court, and there Sentence read; at which time he told the Court, That they might as well take away his coat as his sword, it being his own proper goods, and never drew it against any but the Nations declared Enemies: and he did appeal from them, to a just God, before whom both they and he should one day appear to give an account of their actions: For the speaking of which, they told him, that by the Articles of War he did deserve death. He told them, it was more than he knew; and so was carried again to prison. And for this deportment, the Marshal General told him he had no more breeding then a Pig.

The Examination and Answers of Simon Grant.

The President asked him whether he did own the Letter: He answered, he did. Then they asked him when he saw the Letter: He told them, before he came to the Generall. They demanded, how long before: Hee told them, two hours. They asked, when, and at what house, and where he did see it first? But apprehending they had not wherewithall to condemn him, but High Commission like sought an advantage out of his mouth, he replyed, if they had any thing against him as matter of Charge, he desired that they would draw it up against him, and if they would give him time, he would answer it. Yes (said Colonel Baxter) and then he that wrote the Letter, would write the Answer. To which he replyed, It was his pleasure to say so. Then the Judge Advocate asked him, whether he did apprehend the Martiall Sword and the Magisteriall Sword were encroached into one another. He answered, he did apprehend it was so; because he did see daily, that many Souldiers did go about to draw and pull men out of their houses, as well as the Civill Magistrate, yea and more. Then he was asked whether he did own all the Letter: He answered, he did own it all. They told him, there were many lyes in it; and asked whether he did own them. But he replyed, that (as he conceived) there was none: he had set his hand to it, and would own it. Many more such like catchizing Interrogatories they put to him; but as frivolous as these.

The Examination and Answers of Tho. Watson.

The President first demanded of him, whether he did own the Letter: He answered, he did own it. Then Col. Huson standing in the Court, told him, he had proclaimed onen Wars against the Generall and the Councell. He answered, that Colonel Huson had past sentence upon him, it was in vain for him to say any thing. One of them replyed, that he knew not the practice of the Court. He answered, that they had no reason to accuse or condemn him for declaring his mind in reference to his Freedom, because they had declared in their own declarations, that in such things a man might write and speak his own mind freely. Nevertheless (he told them) if they had a Charge against him, and would produce it, he would answer it, if they would give him time; although they were not capable to judge him, because they declared he had abused the General and the Councel: and he had never heard, that they who were the Accusers, ought also to be the Judges.

Colonel Baxter asked him, Who wrote the Letter. He answered He came not to accuse himself or friends. Then he asked where it was written, and in whose house? He answered, In London. Baxter asked, why he gave orders to have it printed so quickly? He replied, How can you prove that? Then the Judge Advocate told him, it would have been better for him if he had confest, he had found more mercy from the Court, for his obstinacie would gain him nothing. To whom he replied, They had a limited power, and could do nothing but what God permitted them, and they must once appear before a righteous Judge: but as for their Censure, he valued it not. So he was remanded back to prison.

The Examination and Answers of George Jelles.

They demanded if he would own the Letter? He answered, he would, his hand was to it. They asked if he did write it? He answered, he did own it; and desired to know whether they would judge him in matters relating to the freedom of the Commonwealth by their Martial Law? They told him they would, being a Souldier. To which he replied, He was also Commoner of England: but if by their Martial Law he must be judged, he desired to know by what Article, in regard he had broken none? It was answered, upon the Article for Mutinie; and it was death. He replied, he had made no disturbance in the Army; and told them, that in the time of the predominance of Stapleton and Hollis, they then declared the Souldiery might petition the Parliament; but now the power was in their hands, the Souldiery had lost the Liberty thereof; and so desired God and the whole world might be Judge betwixt them. And upon his desiring of them to know whether they had seen the Agreement or no, they answered they had. He replied, it was therein concluded, that the Military sword & the Civil sword should not be encroached under one head. They answered, it was so, but that was left to the next Parliament to alter. But we wish they would tell us when that shall be; it is to be feared, it is never intended; for it is scarce imaginable they will ever venture the test of a new Representative, except they keep it under the sword, as they do this: let us have but a free successive Parliament, and wee’ll run the hazard of it.

Thus he that considereth their catching questions, and but remembreth the High-Commission and Star-Chamber proceedings shall find no difference betwixt these Courts, but in name. Wherefore all English Souldiers or Commoners, that have the least spark of true love to themselves and their Countries freedom, are bound now or never, to unite them selves against those Apostates, those Jesuites and Traitors to the people: Those are the Levellers indeed; for what have they not levelled? There is no trust or confidence ever any more to be had in them: for they have broken their faith with all parties, by which they have advanced themselves to this height of dominion into which they are intruded; and now they reigne as Kings, and sit upon the Throne of their Predecessor, whom they removed, to take succession over the people.

And now we shall give you a Copy of their Sentence they passed upon us, the which Baxter being President (as they call it) pronounced as followeth.

Gentlemen; for so I think I may without offence call you, for as yet you are Souldiers, but truly you are not long to continue so: For you are guilty of high crimes, as your Letter here by you owned doth manifest, being scandalous to the Parliament, Counsel of State, High Court of Justice, and tending to breed mutinie in the Army, for which you have in an high measure deserved death; but through the great mercie of the Court that is waved, and truly they have waved the Sentence again and again, and now they are come as low as possibly they can: and it being late, I shall declare unto you your severall Sentences, which are as followeth.

You shall ride with your faces towards the Horse-tailes, before the heads of your severall Regiments, with your faults written upon your breasts, and your swords broken over your heads, and so be cashiered the Army as not worthy to ride therein; & a Proclamation to be made, that none shall receive you into any Troop, Company, or Garison. And this I would have you look upon as a great mercy of the Court.

Which sentence was accordingly executed upon us, in the Great Palace-yard at Westminster, March 6.

Thus you may see to what passe we are brought. What they have done to us, in the consequence thereof it doth extend equally to you all; for what they have done to us to day, you are liable to suffer to morrow. Thus you may see, they are Wolves in Sheeps clothing, Foxes in the habit of Saints; and their foosteps are in some measure traced and laid open unto you, from their beginning of engageing with the Army to their present Residence in White-Hall: So that from hence we may safely conclude with the saying of Col. Disborrough to Mr. Bull: that they did not intend to keep the Engagement, but provided the Acquiessing businesse at Ware on purpose to make void their engagement, we shall say no more at present, only add a coppy of a petition to the Parliament on which the Soldiers of the Army are proceeding.

To the Supreme Authority of the Nation, The Commons affembled in Parliament: The humble Petition of the Souldiery under the Conduct of THO. Lord FAIRFAX.

Sheweth,

That we esteem the liberty of addresse by way of Petition to I this Honourable House, a prime and most essentiall part of Freedom, and of right belonging to the meanest member of this Common-wealth.

That we humbly conceive our being Souldiers to be so far from depriving us of our share in this Freedom, as that it ought rather to be a confirmation thereof to us; we having with our utmost hazard of our lives been instrumentall in preserving the same.

That the power of the Officers doth onely extend to the Marshalling and disciplining of the Army, for the better management and execution of marshall Affairs, and that we submitting thereunto, do perform the utmost of obedience that can be required of us as Souldiers. All which notwithstanding, as we are in the capacity of Common-wealths men, we judge our selves as free as any other of the People, or as our Officers themselves, to represent by way of Petition, to this Honourable House, either our Grievances, Informations, or whaesoever else may tend either to the Right of our selves, or the benefit of the Common-wealth. And this is no more then what our Officers themselves have declared to be our Right, and without which we should be our selves the worst of slaves.

That the extraordinary actings of the Army, distinctly of themselves, in reference to the Common-wealth, are grounded upon our solemn Engagement at Newmarket and Triploe Heath, June 14. 1647.

That the Souldiery by that Engagement hath an equall Right and Propriety in and to the Transactions of the Army as Commoners.

That the Officers in matters of that concernment are not (without a free election and consent) the Representers of the Souldiers, as Commoners; but are oncly their Conductors in Military matters.

That by vertue of our solemn Engagement, nothing done or to be done, though in the name of the Army, can be taken as the sense or the act of the Army, so as to be imputed to the Army, that is not agreed unto by a Councell to consist of those generall Officers who concur with the Engagement, with two Commission Officers, and two Souldiers to be chosen for each Regiment; or by the major part of such a Councell.

That if your Honors conceive it meet in your actings to concur with the actings of the Army, then it is necessary that with the sense of the Officers you also require the sense of the Souldiers, else not to account of it, or trust to it as the sense of the Army; and without this, we conceive, you cannot be safe, for it is small security, as to the act or faith of the Army, to receive the sense of the Officers, without the concurrence of the Souldiers in Councel, as aforesaid.

That being ejected and deprived of our Right and property in that Councell, we still conceive our selves at freedom to Petition this House; but yet in the late exercise thereof (amongst some of us) we have been very much abused and menaced; and Orders thereupon made by the Generall-Councell, to interrupt our free access to this honorable House, subjecting our petitions for approvement, to pass the Test from Officer to Officer, by which the sense and understanding of the Souldier is surprised and overawed to the pleasure of the Officer, that he must neither hear, see, nor speak but by the eyes, ears and mouth of the Officer; so that the Souldiers right of petitioning is hereby taken from them; for to Petition in that case, can be at most but the bare sence of a few Officers; inconsiderable in comparison of the Souldiery, and so not the minde of the Army, for the Officers disjunct, make not the Army.

That to our great grief we are inforced to complain to this honorable House, that some of us, to wit, Simon Grant, Robert Ward, Thomas Watson, William Sawyer and George Jelles were sentenced by the Court Martiall, to ride with their faces towards their Horse tails; to have their Swords broken over their heads, and to be cashiered the Army, as unworthy therein to bear any Arms, counting it as a mercy of that Court, that their lives were spared; the which sentence was accordingly executed upon them in the great Palace-yard at Westminster, March the sixth: and all was but for petitioning this House, and delivering a paper of account of that action to the Generall-Councell, which is ready, if call’d for to be produced. The consideration whereof doth exceedingly agrieve us, to think that we should in vain undergo our former hardships, that in stead of addition to our Freedoms, we should in this opprobrious manner be rendred the worst of slaves, for we take it as done to our selves: and that to be deprived of our Rights both as Souldiers and English-men, as unworthy to petition or bear Arms, and that by such as are such glorious pretenders to Freedom, is a matter of amazement to us, considering the Crime (as they call it) was no other then above-mentioned.

Wherefore from these weighty Considerations we are enforced to apply our selves again unto this honourable House, and to desire,

First, That as heretofore and according to Right we may be as free to petition this Honorable House, as other our fellow-members m f/ie Commonwealth’, and that we may with free and uninterrupted accesse approach with our Petitions (though by enforcement) without our Officers, as the Officers have done in declining of us; and that for our clear satisfaction you would declare unto us, that it is the undoubted freedome of the Souldiery to Petition the Parliament, either singly of themselves, or joyntly with their Officers, or with any other well-affected of the Nation whatsoever, otherwise we cannot but look upon our selves as vassals and mercenaries, bound up by the pleasure and understandings of other men.

2. That the power of the Officers and present Councel of the Army may extend only to the Marshalling and Disciplinating thereof; and that in matters which concern the Common-wealth, we may not be concluded by these Debates, or any thing of that nature taken as the Judgment of the whole Army, but of the Subscribers only, unlesse we shall personally or deputatively give our approbation and consent thereunto.

3. That you would require a revocation of their Order prohibiting us from Petitioning, but by our Officers.

4. That our forenamed fellow-Souldiers, by Order of this Honourable House, may berestored to their former places in their respective Regiments.

5. That according to our solemn Engagement, we may not be divided nor disbanded either in part or in whole, or any of us engaged for Ireland, or any service whatsoever, untill full satisfaction and security be given us in relation to our Rights both as Souldiers and Commoners, that we our selves, when in the condition of private men, and all other the free people of England, may not be subject to the like oppression and tyrannic as hath been put upon us.

6. That the desires of our former Petition which in most particulars hath been shadowed forth by a Petition of the Officers, as also the serious Apprehensions of a part of the people, in behalf of the Commonwealth, presented to this House Feb. 26 by Lieut. Colonell Io. Lilburn, may be speedily taken into consideration, and effectually accomplished, that so we may be more and more encouraged to venture our lives in the protection and defence of so good and just Authority.

And your Petitioners shall pray, &c.

FINIS

 

 


 

6.6. [John Lilburne], The Second Part of Englands New-Chaines Discovered (London, n.p., 24 March 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

[John Lilburne], The Second Part of Englands New-Chaines Discovered: Or a sad Representation of the uncertain and dangerous condition of the Common-Wealth: Directed To the Supreme Authority of England, the Representors of the People in Parliament assembled. By severall wel-affected persons inhabiting the City of London, Westminster, the Borough of Southward, Hamblets, and places adjacent, presenters and approvers of the late large Petition of the Eleventh of September. 1648. All persons who are assenting of this Representation, are desired to subscribe it, and bring in their Subscriptions to the Presenters and Approvers of the foresaid Petition of the 11 of Sept.
London, Printed in the Year, 1649.

Estimated date of publication

24 March 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 732; Thomason E. 548. (16.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

To the Supreme Authority of England, the Representors of the People, in Parliament Assembled. The Sad Representation of the uncertain and dangerous Condition of the Common-wealth: By the Presenters and Approvers of the Large Petition of the 11. of September, 1648.

IF OUR hearts were not over-charged with the sense of the present miseries and approching dangers of the Nation, your smal regard to our late serious Apprehensions, would have kept us silent but the misery, danger, and bondage threatned is so great, imminent, and apparent, that whilst we have breath, and are not violently restrained, we cannot but speak, and even cry aloud, until you hear us, or God be pleased otherwaies to relieve us.

Nor should you in reason be with-held from considering what we present you withal, through any strangeness that appeareth therein; For what was more incredible, than that a Parliament trusted by the people to deliver them from all kinds of oppression, and who made so liberal effusion of their bloud) and waste of their estates (upon pretense of doing thereof) should yet so soon as they were in power, oppress with the same kind of oppressions, which yet was true in the time of Hollis and Stapletons faction, and who, (as the King and Bishops had done before) laboured for an Army to back and perpetuate them therein.

Nor were our Petitions then presented (wherein we justly complained of those oppressions, and fore-warned them of the danger ensuing) the less considerable for their burning them by the hand of the common hangman; Nor the Petitioners the more blame-worthy for being reproched with the names of Atheists, Hereticks, and seditious Sectaries (as now with Jesuite, and Leveller) Aspersions being the known marks of corrupt States-men, and usually working no other effect, but the discredit of the Aspersers. Yet were there then many who believed their reports of us, and they were as impatient with us, for our taxing them with their wicked and pernicious designs, as others are now for our presuming to detect them, who are so high in present power and reputation: But it is now evident, that it is possible for our Physitians to bring us into a more dangerous condition than they found us.

And though experience hath made us wofully sensible, that nothing is more dangerous to any people than their bearing with unjust, covetous, or ambitious practises in those they trust; Yet did we forbear to interpose our judgements, or to oppose those mens designs, until they had made a large progress toward our bondage, and endeavoured to grasp the power of the Army into their hands, thereby to enforce their Tyrannie Upon us; insomuch that it was almost too late to give check to their wicked intentions: so unwilling were we to believe it possible for men who all along pretended liberty and redress of grievances, to degenerate so soon into the grossest Principles and practises of long setled Tyrannies.

And much more do our Consciences bear us witness of our backwardness to believe any evil intentions in those who not only were most vigorous and successful against the common enemy, but seemed so sensible of the injustice and trechery of that prevalent faction in Parliament, as to engage with the utmost of their might, as if they had really intended to deliver the Nation from that dangerous thraldom, so that we both durst, and did many of us, venture our lives upon their fidelity; Yea so powerful, perswasive, and contentful were their first Engagements, Papers, and Remonstrances, so fraught with self-denying Doctrines, tender of the Nation, and satisfaction to all interests; as even regard to the peace lulled all peaceable People into a sound sleep of security, casting all their care upon the General Councel of the Army, as upon a People they thought could never have the face to decline either those principles, or to neglect the performance of so many engagements, promises, and protestations, made as in the presence of the all-seeing God, frequently calling upon him, the searcher of all hearts, to bear witness to their integrity and sincerity therein: Insomuch that we (who alwaies with some warinesse observed them) many times denyed our own understandings rather than we would draw hasty conclusions from evident testimonies of their defection.

But when after they had once sleighted the Agitators, and discountenanced those Officers and Souldiers, who first engaged against the destructive Votes of Parliament; such as stood firm to their engagements at New-market, and Triploe Heath: when we saw they not only neglected them, but adhered to persons sent from Parliament and City, in those corrupted times, and fell immediately to plead for Negative Voyces in the King, and Lords; checking and controuling those that opposed: When we understood their General Councels (which according to their engagements ought to have consisted only of two select Commission Officers, and two private Souldiers, chosen by every Regiment, with such General Officers as assented to the Engagement, and no other) were nevertheless overgrown with Collonels, Lieut. Collonels, Majors, and others, not chosen and many of them dissenters from the said Engagement; and that some few eminent persons presum’d above measure therein, and in effect over-awed and controuled those Councels: and that the contrivance of a Councel of State, was the great engine which those Councels laboured to bring about: when we found them not only to Court the King, by kissing his hand, and the like, and that a correspondency was held between him and the General Officers, and Agents sent to and fro continually, whereby they came to so neer a close, as that their Proposals were not I only received, but corrected and amended by the King, before they were sent to the House, till they became very consistent with his ends and Prerogative: and those Officers so engaged thereby, as to be moved to impatience towards any that spake a sillable against this their trafique and intercourse with him: upon which likewise, they concluded an Agreement with the opposing Cittizens of London, without so much as calling the Agitators to advize thereupon. Seeing, Hearing, and Understanding these things, no marvel if we were staggered in our Beleefe of their integrity.

But that a person so deeply charged as the Earl of Manchester, and other grand self-seekers of this House should be entertained with so great respect, and guarded to their places in Parliament, and that notwithstanding the prevailing power of the Army, those who had usurped the Authority of the House, and Voted a new warre, were nevertheless permitted to sit and Vote there, and that contrary to the importunate desires of the Agitators, and the Remonstrance of the Army: and then one of the first fruits of this their conjunction was the passing of an Ordinance for Tythes, upon trebble dammages, which the corrupt Clergy had presented (in the absence of the Speaker) to Pelhams Parliament; and the burning of Mr Biddles Book, by the Common Hangman; and imprisoning his person: and that notwithstanding their glorious March through London, the prerogative Prisoners in the Tower, New-gate, and elsewhere, were utterly neglected, and the Councel of those friends sleighted, who had been instrumental, even to the losse of some, and the hazard of all their lives, to make an easie and unbloudy passage for the Army into Southwark and the City. Upon observation of these and abundant more particulars, which we could enumerate, we concluded, that the Councels of the Army were not steered as at their first engagement, by the select persons chosen thercunto, nor for the ends in that engagement expressed; but by some other powerfull and over-ruling influences, that intended other matters then were pretended, and that laboured by all possible means to convert the honest endeavours of good men in the Army, and elsewhere, and the happy success God had blessed them w’thall, to the advantage of their Lusts, Pride, and Domination: And as time came on, it more and more appeared, that they intended meerly the establishment of themselves in power and greatnesse, without any regard at all to the performance of their promises and engagements, or any respect to the faith and credit of the Army, or to the peace and prosperity of the Common wealth, and that they walked by no rules or principles either of honesty or conscience; but (as meer pollititians) were governed altogether by occasion, and as they saw a possibility of making progress to their designs, which course of theirs they ever termed a waiting upon providence, that with colour of Religion they might deceive the more securely.

Now that this may appear no slander, we entreat that without partiality, their after proceedings may be throughly scan’d: as first, at Kingston it was proposed by the Agitators, friends of London, Southwark, and the places adjacent, that the Tower, City, and Borough, might be secured by the well-affected Inhabitants, and not by Souldiers, that so trade and traffique might be preserved, which otherwise would be driven away (as it soon after proved) And that it was hoped they tended not to secure any place by Souldiers, when the wel-affected Inhabitants were able to secure it. Which advise proceeded as well from our respects to the City and neighbour places, as upon fears of what we know to be the practise of other Tyrants (and therefore doubted would be exercised by those) namely, the garisoning great Towns, thereby to keep the people, as well in poverty, as in continual aw and subjection.

Which advise, though assented unto by the Agitators, was yet rejected by the grand Officers, and a new Regiment raised, to the further charge of the Common-wealth; the Proposers themselves being dismissed with reproches, and the Agitators thrust out, and not permitted to observe how they were dealt withal.

At which time also its very remarkable with how much height of State they observed the King at Hampton Court, visiting him themselves, and permiting thousands of people dayly to visit him, to kiss his hand, and to be healed by him, whereby his party in the City, and every where, were exceedingly animated, his Agents being as familiar at the head-quarters, as at the Court. Then on a sudden, when, the House complyed not with their purposes, in all hast it was to be purged, and thereupon they publish a large Remonstrance, Aug. 18. stuffed with publike reasons, to shew the justness and necessity thereof: but the House again complying, through the sight of their Remonstrance, though no whit changed in respect of its corruption; & they finding, if it were purged, it would not be for their design; they make nothing of their former resolution, but continue it in its corrupt condition, and sit with them themselves.

Then they fall to work again about the King, and send the propositions of New-castle to him, which they knew, and were agreed he should not sign; in the mean time, they so wrought the King by deep promises, and hopes of restauration, as that he inclined much to countenance the Army, gave out words in their favour, and in his answer to the House, prefer’d their Proposals, before the Parliaments Propositions; in lieu thereof, the great ones of the Army themselves, endeavoured the revival of a Treaty, and some of them in the House, were very violent against motions of no more Address, and expressed it was the sense of the Army that further Address should be made, and that except they would make Addresses of another nature to the King, they could not promise them the assistance of the Army; and accordingly they take pains to them the a work every man at the head-quarters; upon which, petitions were attempted in the Army, in favour of a Treaty, and some conscientious, but weak people, were drawn to second their design, with a Petition for a Personal Treaty, which they had ready at the House dore.

These strange and mysterious proceedings, occasioned a new face of things in the Army, many of the Officers being much distasted thereat, & whole Regiments chusing new Agents to look after the publike, as fearing things were runing head-long into a most dangerous condition: The far greater number of the Officers, would not by any means indure to hear of the Armies compliance with the King, and the Agents finding all former engagements, promises, and declarations broken, and utterly neglected, and the Common wealth in danger of utter dissolution, produce an Agreement of the People, upon grounds of Common Right, for uniting of all unprejudiced people therein; the great Officers very much oppose it a while, as having set up another Interest: but seing the same take with the Army, profes though at present their judgements could not so far close with it as to act for it, yet they would never oppose it. Hereupon the whole frame of the design alters, and the matters in projection with them were how to disengage themselves, and be rid of the King, and how likewise to discountenance and keep under the discerning party in the Army. In order to the first, they cast about how to get the King into the Isle of Wight, where they might both easier keep others from him, and the more entirely possess him themselves; and that he might with willingness be hurried thither, they work upon his fear; suggesting to him, that there was an intention in some violent persons to murder him, and perswade him to leave that in a letter, as the cause of his remove. To make which the more credible, they wrought L. Col. Hen. Lilburn to asperse his brother John (who then stood in the way of the great men of the Army) with a base & abhorrid resolution of being one that intended to murder the King; to the proof whereof they would never suffer the Asperser to be brought (though solicited thereunto by a Petition from divers well-affected persons) but insteed thereof, for that perfideous service, they advanced him to the government of Tinmouth Castle above his brother Robert, where retaining the leven of his Apostacy, which the Gen. Officers had laid in him, he suffered the deserved reward of a perfidious traytor.

And though the General Officers enclined him to this revolt themselves, as well by their example, as by countenancing him in the beginlung thereof; and though for the same he incurred the extreme displeasure of his Father, and Kindred, yet are both his Father and Kindred by the Officers themselves and their Associates aspersed with the fact, as if tainted with guilt and contammination thereof.

Thus did they kill two birds with one stone, framing a Name for them which of all others is most distastefull to the People, and was therefore most likely to beget a beleef of the pretended assassination.

Where (by the way) we desire it may be observed, that notwithstanding the word Leveller was framed and cast upon all those in the Army (or elsewhere) who are against any kind of Tyranny, whether in King, Parliament, Army, Councel of State, &c. And though it was not so much as beleeved to concern those upon whom they cast it, the inventers having often professed as much, yet have they both themselves and by their Instruments industriously propagated the same, and insinuated both this and other slanders of us into the hearts of all the easy and credulous people they could meet withall.

But to returne, The King thus removed, they judge themselves at good leisure to deal with the Agreers for the People, and so suddainly violent they became in that work, that at the first Randezvous neer Ware, they shot a Souldier to death, for pursuing the ends of the Engagement at New-market, and for insisting upon the Agreement for the People; unworthily abused Major Skott, a Member of this House, sent him up a prisoner, and accused him and Col. Rainsborough for appearing in behalf of the Agreement, and therewithall sent Col. Ayres, Major Cobbet, Capt. Bray, and many others after them prisoners to Windsor, where, as Parties, Judges, and Juries, the Officers did what they would against them, sentencing some to death, others to disgracefull punishments, restraining and releasing at pleasure, and with as much Arbitrarinesse as ever was in the world, and could not be diswaded though Mr Saltmarsh and others bore full testimony against the cruelty and injustice thereof. Hereupon at the House they procured at once the imprisonment of five cordial Citizens, for justifying the Agreement of the People, and requiring justice for the blood of the Souldier that was shot at Ware, disfranchized them, and under the notion of London Agents forbad their meetings. And when now they thought they had moulded and qualified the Army to their own bent, and had gratified their complying Officers, with the cruelty upon the Levellers (for so they have stiled all who have manifested any sence of Common Right) and had found that they could be nothing so great, rich, and potent, upon a close with the King, and that it would be impossible for them to hold either Officer or Souldier firm to them, in case of such composure. Hereupon uterly to frustrate his hopes that way, they prevail with the House to Vote no more Addresses; and so vanisht away all their glorious flattery of the King and his Party, and their notorious dissimulation appeared, abusing thereby the Faith of the Army, and making it cleer to all discerning men, that such as could so break with one sort of men, will make no Conscience of keeping faith with any.

Their next work was to new-mould the City, and make it theirs, for which purpose they brought some Regiments of Horse and Foot, to White Hall and the Muse, to the extreme discontent of the City, and provoke them further by keeping their Lord Mayor, and some of their Aldermen in the Tower, without admitting them to a Legal Tryal, though upon Petitions and earnest Desires: at last they were referred to be tryed by the Lords, contrary to the known Law of the Land; but their jurisdiction being disclaimed, after a while they were released without any Tryal at all, their end being accomplisht, which was the terror of the City, and changing the Magistrates thereof, so as should best serve their designes.

About this time also they began to exercise their Marshal power over persons not of the Army, and did sentence Mr William Thomson to death at White Hall. And then also they began to new moddel the Army, and for that end, though the new raised Regiment for the Tower was thought no burthen, yet upon pretence of easing the charge of the Common wealth, the Life-Guard must be disbanded, because consisting of discerning men, faithfull to their Country and former promises, and many others of like principles were pickt out of every Regiment; the designe being by weeding the choisest and best resolved men, to make the Army wholy mercenary, slavish, and the Executioners of a few mens lusts and lawlesse Pleasures.

All which those good men perceiving and resolving thereupon not to be disbanded according to the Agreement at New market, till the ends therein expressed were fully gained, they were enforced thereunto by Tyrannicall Sentences of Imprisonment and Death (though the Officers themselves had formerly refused to disband upon command of Parliament upon the same grounds and strength of the same engagement:) By all which It is evident, that according to the maxime of Polititians, they judge themselves loose, where other men are bound; and that all obligations are to them Transitory and Ceremoniall, and that indeed every thing is good and just only, as it is conducing to their corrupt and ambitious interests.

And thus the most hopefull opportunity that ever England had for recovery of our Freedome, was spent and consumed, in such their uncertame staggering motions, and arbitrary, irrationall Proceedings, whereby all partyes became extreamly exasperated, as People that had been meerly mock’d and cheated by faire promises, and under the most religious Pretences &c. Hereby the Army that had but few moneths before been the joy and hope of all sorts of Rationall People, was made a by-word, a hissing and a Reproach to the whole Nation: insomuch that those (in hope of their large good Promises, and protests in their Declarations) who thought nothing too precious for them, now grudged them bread & were ready to stone them in all places where they came; Trade fled Poverty increased, and discontents abounded, till at length broke out such a flame as no time had ever seen before; and no doubt was the propper issue of such horrid delusion, ministring such matter for a generall Rising and Revolt, as all former policies could never attain to, and more threatning the ruine of the Nation then all the former forces and stratagems of the enemies; and which is rightly to be imputed to the unjust partiall and perfidious dealings of these men.

But when they saw what a strange predicament they had brought themselves into and which they would never beleeve, till it was come upon them (no more then now they will) they had before manifested a greater obstinacy, then now they did a serious Repentance (which yet as the sequell proves, was but a counterfeit) though (as God knoweth) we were overjoyed to beleeve it reall: Acknowledging, with the greatest expressions of sorrow, that they had walked by corrupt Pollitick Principles; That they had been to blame in Actings against honest men; That the name of Leveller, Jesuite or the like reproaches, should never be more heard amongst them, that if ever the Nation be happy, it must be by a conjunction in the Levellers Principles, calling upon all, to lay by all Discontents, to forget and forgive, and to unite all against the Common enemy and promising with greatest asseverations, That if God, upon our joynt endeavors, should be pleased to deliver us out of this Sea of danger, that they would never divide from just Principles, nor in the least discountenance honest men as they have done, nor endeavor to set up a party, but cast themselves upon an agreement of the People for the future settlement of the Peace of the Nation: but how and what performance they have made, that we shall intreat, may be impartially observed in the ensuing story; And for a full and timely proofe of their Relapse, & Discovery of their dissimulation; No sooner had they (through Gods blessing and the assistance of their reconciled friends) finished their worke at Colechester, but presently they call to question certaine Persons, that had appeared at St. Albanes in behalf of Captaine Reynalds, chusing rather to forsake the Service, then to be commanded by Captaines, that had been violent against them, that had drunke the Kings Health upon their knees, and profest they could rather fight against the Levellers then Cavaliers, and these (according to their old wont) they sentenc’d to Death, and soon after releast them, as finding or supposing this kinde of Discipline most essentiall, to the breaking and debasing the spirits of the English.

And because Col. Rainsborough had ever opposed their unjust Proceedings, they withdraw him from the Army, by a plausible, but a Tittular command at sea, where by the straitness of his Commission, he not having thereby the command of the Shippes or Officers, he could neither restrain their Revolt, nor preserve himself from being expulsed at the Seamans pleasure out of that employment.

Then upon his return the ruling Officers finding him as inflexible to their ends as formerly, they put him upon that dangerous and unhappy Service before Pomfret (notwithstanding a Commander had been appointed thereunto by the Committee of Yorke) whether he went with much Reluctancy and discontent, as wondering at the Cause of his being Design’d thither, and expressing as much to his Friends, his sad soul presaging the misfortune, which after befell him. But that which gives greatest cause of grief and suspect to his friends, is, that his Brother receives no furtherance, but rather, all discouragement that may be in searching after, and prosecuting the causers of that so bloody and inhumane a Butchery.

In the North, though during the Service and Necessities of the Army, the Levellers (as they are call’d) were countenanc’d and taken into the Bosome, who thereupon (forgetting all former affronts and disrespects) did liberally hazzard their lives, without suspition of fraud and delusion Yet the Necessities being over, and the enemies subdued) they renew fresh disgraces, and fall Into a greater Odium, and contempt than ever.

First, divers Souldiers for Petitioning in the behalfe of Major Reynolds, that he might serve in the room of Major Huntington, were therefore rated, and threatned to have their skulles cutt, and some of them struck obit who with the extreamest hazard of his life, had regained Tinmouth Castle, where his Superior Commander had through the dangers and Difficulties by storme, refused, and a Member of Parliament taken from his duty there & contrary to the self denying Ordinance, made Governor thereof. Major White, who in all the desperate services in the North, had performed the duty of Lieutenant Colonel, and Major both in the Generalls Regiment, yet because a constant man to his Promises and Principles, was refused the Lieftenant Colonelship, and a man of a more complying Spirit fetch’d from another Regiment to officiate therein.

And this was the usage not onely to these Gentlemen, but to all others whether Officers, or souldiers in North or South (for their Counsells were one in both) that did retaine a sense and Resolution to prosecute those good things intimated in their former Ingagements.

And as before, upon their first great Successe against the City, when now again it justly was expected they should have made use of so notable and unexpected Blessings to the benefit & advantage of the Commonwealth, (as their late repentances, promises and Pretences gave men cause to hope) the event proved, they intended another use thereof, for (having now subdued all their enemies), they proceed with greater confidence to their former purposes, of making themselves absolute masters over the Common-wealth) wherein there yet appears one main obstacle) and that in all Well-minded People (especially in that numerous People that concurred in the Petition of the Eleventh of September) to center in an Agreement of the People, which if not evaded, it would be impossible for them to goe through with their Worke: hereupon againe they cry out for Union, and imploy their Agents to get meetings, and Treaties with those that were most forward for an agreement & contract with them to center in an Agreement, and that the Matter of the Petition of the Eleventh of September (as was desired) should be the substance of that Agreement: There being no full other way then by this yeelding in shew: to amaze this busie watchfull Party, and to keep them quiet, whilst they went on with other pieces of their worke.

For what else, hath all the time spent thereabouts produc’d, but a meer amusing, blinding and deluding all that cordially desired the same, it being (before they left it) so obscur’d and perplext in the sence thereof so short of what was intended, and so corrupted in many perticulars, tha’ those most loathld it, that most desir’d it; in the mean time, whilst they had fixt good mens eyes and thoughts upon that Worke, they secretly and swiftly prosecute their other Designes as principall in their purposes, wherein questionlesse they had not had the assistance of good men, but using, blinding and deluding all that cordially desired the same, it being (before they left it) so obscur’d and perplext in the sence thereof so short of what was intended, and so corrupted in many perticulars, that those most loath’d it, that most desir’d it; in the mean time, whilst they had fixt good mens eyes and thoughts upon that Worke, they secretly and swiftly prosecute their other Designes as principall in their purposes, wherein questionlesse they had not had the assistance of good men, but that it was verily beleeved in shew of driving on their owne Designe, they were really and cordially producing a perfect and complete Agreement of the People, as large both in grounds of Freedome, and redresse of grievances, as the Petition of the Eleventh of September, in the uttermost extent thereof did import.

Many of which Petitioners were not satisfyed but that such an Agreement of the People might then have been obtained without any of those extraordinary sudden and violent Courses lately taken, neither in bringing the Army to the City, breaking the House in pieces, or removing the King by such an extra-judiciall Proceedings and Court of Justice, as had no place in the English Government, and did really foresee, there would be nothing but abuse in their pretence of an Agreement of the People: and that their own domination, in and by a Counsell of State, was the maine thing aimed at, and intended.

The Removing the King, the taking away the House of Lords, the overawing the House, and reducing it to that passe, that it is become but the Channell, through which is conveyed all the Decrees and Determinations of a private Counsell of some few Officers, the erecting of their Court of Justice, and their Counsell of State, The Voting of the People the Supreame Power, and this House the Supreame Authority: all these Particulars, (though many of them in order to good ends, have been desired by Welaffected People) are yet become, (as they have managed them) of sole conducement to their ends, and Intents, either by removing such as stood in the way between them and the Power, wealth, or cornmand of the Common-Wealth; or by actually possessing and investing them in the same.

And though all this was foreseen by us, yet so perswasive were their insinuations in the ears of many good & well disposed People, both Souldiers and others, that they have been really carried away with beliefe of them, and reliance upon them, and have thought they could not better imploy their time and abilities, then in affording them all furtherance, and assistance that might be.

So that their only Feares remaine upon our Discoveries, to prevent which they use meanes, that either we might not have opportunity to lay open their Treacheries, and Hypocrisies, or not be beleeved if we did it.

In order to the first, They strictly stop the Presse; In order to the second; They blast us with all the Scandalls and false Reports their Witt or Malice could invent against us; and so monstrously wicked have they been in this particular, that they have pry’d into all our Actions, made use of all our acquaintances and friendly intimacies, and in conclusion, have onely produced such scandalls, as have been customarily used by former Statesmen, and such when scan’d and examined, contains both contrariety in themselves, and have not the least ground of Truth, as concerning us.

By these Arts are they new fastened in their Power, till either by opposition from the enemy, which they may well expect God will raise against them, as the deserved Recompence of their vile Apostacy; or by the weight and Violence of their many Injustices which (in the wicked course they are in) must every day be multiplyed, till they be throwne usurped greatnesse.

They have already lost the Affections of all People, and are onely supported by their present strength; but when once those good men that hold them up, shall perceive how instrumentall they are made, contrary to their intentions, in advancing a few lofty and imperious mens designes; and how easy it is for them to convert their abilities & power to better, and more common ends exprest in their former engagements) and with the complaints of the agrieved people, and their owne understandings can furnish them withall, they will then lament that they have so long been out of the way, and set themselves with the utmost courage & resolution to free their distressed Country from the fears and captivity it now groans under. They may talk of freedom, but what freedom indeed is there, so long as they stop the Presse which is indeed and hath been so accounted in all free Nations, the most essentiall part thereof, imploying an Apostate Judas for executioner therein who hath been twice burnt in the hand, a wretched fellow, that even the Bishops and Star-chamber would have sham’d to own. What freedom is there left, when honest & worthy Souldiers are sentenc’d and enforc’d to ryde the horse with their faces reverst, and their swords broken over their heads for but Petitioning and presenting a Letter in justification of their Liberty therein: if this be not a new way of breaking the spirits of the English, which Strafford and Canterbury never dreampt of; we know no difference of things. A taste also of Liberty of Conscience they have given us in the Case of a worthy Member of your House; so as we may well judge what is like to follow) if their Reigne continue. And as for Peace, whilst the supream Officers of the Army are supream in your House, in the Councel of State, and all in all in the generall Counsell of the Army, when the martiall power is indeed supream to the Civill Authority, what Peace can be expected; we professe we see no councells tending to it, but hereof mighty and vast sums of money to be taxed upon the People per mensem, as if warre were become the only trade, or as if the people were bound to maintain Armyes whether they have trade or no; yea, whether they have bread or no.

And as for the prosperity of the Nation; what one thing hath been done that tendeth to it? Nay, hath any thing been done since they were in power? but what increaseth the rancor, hatred, and malice, which our late unhappy differences have begotten amongst us, as if they had placed their happiness and security in the total division of the People, nothing being offered by them, that hath any face of reconcilement in it, nothing of cheerfulnesse or generall satisfaction, the mother of trade & plenty, that might take away the private remembrances and destinctions of partyes, nothing indeed, but what tendeth to implacable bitternesse of spirit, the mother of confusion penry, and beggery.

Nay what sence of the heavy burdens of the people have they manifested of late, hath it not been by their procurement that the Judges their creatures have a thousand a yeer allow’d to every one of them above the ordinary fees? which were ever esteemed a heavy oppression in themselves: is there any abridgement of the charge, or length of time, in triall of causes? are they touch’d with the generall burthen of Tithes, that canker of industry and tillage? or with that of Exize, which out of the bowells of labourers and poor people enriches the Usurers, and other Catterpillars of the Commonwealth: or what have they done to free Trade from the intolerable burden of Customs? except the setting fresh hungry flyes, upon the old sores of the People? What one matteriall thing did they offer unto you in their late Petition, which you gave them so many thanks for terming their desires modest and descreet; when it’s evident by the contents, they did it only to stop the mouths of their Souldiers, & to amuze them into a pleasing dream, whilst they go on with their designe of absolute domination & which should you in the least oppose, you would finde their modesty no more towards you, then towards your excluded members: In the mean time, where is their Charge against those Members? or why finde they not who amongst them have conferred offices upon each other, and upon their Creatures and relations? or who they were that gave so large Donations of thousands and hundreds per annum whilst the Publick Faith is broaken, and Families are ready to starve for emptying themselves to serve the publick necessities; or why discountenance not they all those who have betrayed the trust of Feofees for Bishops, and Delinquents lands? and are become purchasers themselves of great Estates for very few yeers purchases, the due value rightly considered: or why blame they not the Lord chief justice and Lord chief Baron for keeping their places, which were conferred on them (and the like on others) by this House, when those Members sate there, they have excluded? or why finde they not out those perfidious persons, that have made no conscience of breaking the self-denying Ordinance, and persist therein? or is the reason visible why they have nothing to say against those sorts of men, namely, because these are their own, and their Creatures cases? Oh wretched England, that seeth, and yet sufferfeth such intollerable masters. What can be expected from such Officers, who frequently manifest a thirst after the blood of such People, and Souldiers, as are most active for the common Freedom, peace & prosperity of the Common wealth, and against whom they have nothing else to object: or what can be expected from such a Counsel in the Army, as shal agree that the supream authority should be moved to make a law, That that Counsel of Officers may have Power to have and put to death all such persons, though not of the Army, as they should judge, were disturbers of the Army.

Certainly these things cannot but manifest unto you their very hearts, their inward purposes and Intentions, representing visibly before you and all the World, the most dangerous condition, that ever yet this Nation hath been in: And if there be any Conscience towards God or man to be found amongst you, the whole sinews and progresse of this our sad Representation, is so fully knowne, and fresh in memory, that it is impossible, but it must worke upon all amongst you that are not Co-partners with them in their Designe, or are not engaged (as the Lawyers are) in some corrupt Interest.

But though this long betrayed and miserable Nation should prove so unhappy as that there should not be one found amongst you to owne these known Trueths, which yet ring in every mans eares, throughout the Land; but though feare, or other vile respects, should shut your eyes against the light: it shall be so farre from inducing us, to repent of what we have herein (or in our late Apprehensions) expressed, and set before you, that we shall rejoyce above measure, that we have witnessed to the Trueth; and against all those Delusions and perfidious Stratagems, lay’d by those men to betray and enslave the Common wealth, to their own Pride) Ambition, Lusts) Covetousnesse, and Domination, if not Dukeship, or Kingship; their Creatures discoursing of late, That the Power must be reduced to one: what their meaning is, time (if they be not hindred) Will manifest: but the Premises duly weighed, cloth evidence, what ere it be, it will be as bad, as bad possibly can be.

And as we shall not altogether doubt of the appearance of some in this Honorable House, that will conscionably performe that Supreame Trust which is really and essentially resident in your integrity; what ever may be suggested to the contrary: (it being not others treachery, nor anyes violence, that can divest you of that Authority:) but if you all should fayl therein, as God forbid, yet we shall not doubt, but that what we have here presented, and published, Will open the eyes, and raise the hearts of so conscionable a number of the Souldiary and People in all places, and make them so sensible of the bondage and danger threatned, as that these men) this Faction of Officers, shall never be able to goe through with their wicked intentions.

It being an infinite shame that they should be suffered to proceed so farre therein, as they have done, there having beene no party hitherto so inexcusable for it is possible, if not probable that the King and his party might at first be induced to offend through error of breeding, long customer and sway of times, (although that excuse neither him nor them) That Hollis, and that party, might at first be drawne into their violence, against people faithfull to the Common wealth through an erroneous zeale against supposed Sectaries, and for uniformity in Presbytery (though that also but little extenuates their offence) but neither the one nor the other can be imagined to have transgressed against so evident light, nor against so many and great obligations of love, and great respects from the people as this party hath done; So that the intentions, and endeavours of these men, to enslave the Common-wealth, or their continuing of burthens, without any remorse at the dearnesse of food, and the utter losse of trade, exceeds in the nature and measure of it, all the wickednesse of both the other parties put together.

And therefore upon due consideration of the premises and in utter detestation of their most perfidious and treacherous dealing with the Army, Parliament and Common-wealth; we do in behalf of our selves and all wel-minded people, here before this Honourable House, as in the presence of Almighty God, protest against their breaking the faith of the Army with all parties, their dissolving the Councel of the Agitators, and usurping a power of giving forth the sence of the Army to the Parliament and people, also against the shooting of the Souldier to death at Ware, and their cruelties exercised on other persons, to the debasing of their spirits, and thereby new moulding of the Army to their owne designes, then playing fast and loose with the King and his party, till they brought a new and dangerous Warre upon the Nation.

We also protest against their dissembled repentances, as in no measure satisfactory for so abominable offences: we also protest against all their late extraordinary Proceedings, in bringing the Army upon the City, (to the ruine of trade) there breaking the House in pieces without charging the Members particularly: And then judging and taking away of mens lives in an extraordinary way, as done for no other end, but to make way for their owne absolute domination: we also protest against the Election and Establishment of those High-Courts of Justice, as unjust in themselves, and of dangerous Presidence in time to come; as likewise against the Councell of State, and putting some of themselves therein contrary to their owne Agreement: we also protest against all other the like meetings of those officers, that on Thursday the 2. of February last, voted for so bloody a Law, as to hang whom they should judge, disturbed the Army, (as having no power either by such Councels, either to give the sence of the Army, or to judge any Person not of the Army, or to do any thing in reference to the Common-wealth, more then what any, so many [as] fifty Souldiers or persons not of the Army have power and may lawfully do: though all the Generall officers were continually present:) these we protest against, as things unjust abominable and dangerous and declare that our present not seeking for justice or reliefe therein, shall be no bar against us for the future, when we shall see cause to seek for Justice and reliefe therein.

And for the truth of our Judgements herein: we should with gladnesse submit unto the determinations of this Honourable House, were not their High hand as yet held over you. And therefore we are enforced to appeale to a new Representative, equally chosen in such like manner, as is exprest in our serious apprehensions lately presented unto you, and do likewise desire that you would encourage the Army in chusing a Representative, consisting of select Persons chosen by every Regiment of the Army, as at the first at New-market: and shall humbly pray that you will not any More receive the result of a few officers, as the sence of the Army, the officers of an Army having no more power to make Laws for an Army, then the officers of the Common wealth to make Laws for the People; both of them being constituted only for the Discipline, and Government thereof. We hope you will proceed to further an Agreement of the People; according to our late desires in our serious Apprehensions, and also speedily take in hand and effect those other things therein desired, tending very much to the abrogation of the bondage intended.

Thus have we once more unburdened our hearts before you, and faithfully discharged our duties to our Country, giving timely warning of the most dangerous thraldom and misery that ever threatned this much wasted Nation, and much we doubt not, wil, by wisdom mixt with som honest resolutions, be timely prevented: which we shall exceedingly rejoyce to see, that so after so many yeers of sorrow, the people may at length be comforted, and the Land enjoy her rest; and that all the world may be enforced to confess, That There is a reward for the righteous, and that there is a God that judgeth the earth.

FINIS.

 

 


 

6.7. John Lilburne, Thomas Prince, Richard Overton, The Picture of the Councel of State (n.p., 4 April, 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

John Lilburne, Thomas Prince, Richard Overton, The Picture of the Councel of State, Held forth to the Free people of England by Lieut. John Lilburn, Mr. Thomas Prince, and Mr. Richard Overton, now Prisoners in the Tower of London, Or, A full Narrative of the late Extra-judicial and Military Proceedings against them. Together with the Substance of their several Examinations, Answers and Deportments before them at Darby house, upon the 28. of March last.
Printed in the Year, 1649.

Estimated date of publication

4 April, 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 735; Thomason E. 550. (14.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

The Picture of the Councel of State, Held forth to the Free People of England, By Lieutenant Coll. John Lilburn, M. Thomas Prince, and M. Richard Overton. The Narrative of the proceedings against Lieut. Coll. John Lilburn, thus followeth.

ON WEDNESDAY the 28. of March 1649 about foure or five a clock in the morning, my Lodging at Winchester-house was beset with about a hundred or two hundred armed men, Horse and Foot, one of which knocking at my chamber doore, I rise and opened him the doore, and asked him who he would speak with, and what he would have? He replyed, he was come to take me Prisoner, where upon I demanded of him to see his Warrant, he told me he had one, but had it not here, but as soon as I came to Pauls I should see it; I told him if he walked by the rules of Justice, he ought to have brought his Warrant with him, and to have shewed it me, and given me leave to have coppied it out, if I had desired it; but divers of the foot Soldiers rushing into my roome at his heeles, I desired him to demeane himself like a Gentleman, and not with any incivilities affright my children & family, for if it were nothing but my person he would have, I would but make me ready and go along with him without any more a doe, whither he would carry me, for his power of armed men was beyond my present resisting, or power to dispute, so I desired him and another Gentleman with him to sit down, which they did, and when I was almost ready to go, I demanded of him whether it would not fully satisfie his end, in my going along with him and one or two more of his company in a boate, and I would ingage unto him as I was an Englishman, there should be no disturbance to him by me, or any in my behalf, but I would quietly and peaceably go with him, wherever he would have me; but he told me no, I must march through the streets with the same Guard that came for me, I told him I could not now dispute, but it would be no great conquest to lead a single captive through the streets in the head of so many armed men, who neither had made resistance, nor was in any capacity to do it, and coming down staires into the great yard, I was commanded to stand till the men were marshalled in Rank and File, and two other Prisoners were brought unto me, viz. my Land-lord, Mr. Devennish’s two sons, but for what they knew not, nor could imagine; So away through the streets the armed Victors carry us, like three conquered Slaves, making us often halt by the way, that so their men might draw up in good order, to incounter with an Army of Butter-flies, in case they should meet them in the way to rescue us their Captives from them; so coming to Pauls Church, I there meet with my Comrade Mr. Prince, and after imbraces each of other, and a little discourse, we see our acquaintance M. William Walwin marching at the head of another Partie as a captive, and having understood that our being seised as Prisoners was about a new addresse by way of Petition to the Parliament, intituled the second part of Englands new chains discovered. We could not but wonder at the apprehending of M. Walwin about that, he having for some moneths by past (that ever I could see, or hear of) never bin at any of our meetings, where any such things were managed; But Adjutant General Stubber that was the Commander of the Party coming then to view, I repaired to him, and desired to sec his Warrant by vertue of which his men forced me out of my bed and habitation, from my wife and children, and his Warrant he produced, which I read, he denying me a coppy of it, though both there and at White-Hall I earnestly demanded it as my right, the substance of which so neere as I can remember, is from the Committee, commonly stiled the Councel of State, to Authorise Sir Hardresse Waller, and Collonel Edward Whalely, or whom they shall appoint, to repaire to any place whatsoever, where they shal heare Lieut. Coll. John Lilburn, and M. Prince, M. Walwin, and M. Overton are, them to apprehend and bring before the Councel of State, for suspition of high Treason, for compiling &c. a seditious and scandalous Pamphlet &c. And for so doing, that shal be their Warrant.

Signed JOHN BRADSHAW President.

And in the same paper is contained Sir Hardress Wallers, and Col. Whaley’s Commission or Deputation to Adjustant General Stubber, to apprehend M. Walwin, and my self; who with his Officers, dealt abundantly more fairly with us, then I understand Lieut. Col. Axestell dealt with M. Prince and M. Overton, From which Lieut. Col. if there had bin any harmony in his spirit to his profession, abundance more in point of civility, might have bin expected, than from the other, though he fell much short.

But when we were in Pauls Church-yard, I was very earnest with the Adjutant General, and his Ensigne that apprehended me (as I understood by the Adjutant he was) that we might go to some place to drink our mornings draughts, and accordingly we went to the next dore to the School-house, where we had a large discourse with the Officers, especially about M. Divinish sons, we understanding they had no warrant at all to meddle with them in the least, nor nothing to lay to their charge, but a private information of one Bull their fathers tenant, between which parties there is a private difference, we told them, we could not but stand amazed, that any Officer of an Army durst in such a case apprehend the persons of any Free-man of England, and of his own head and authority, drag him or them out of his house and habitation, like a Traytor, a Thief, or a Rogue, and they being ashamed of what they had done to them, at our importunity, let both the yong men go free. So away by water we three went to White-hall, with the Adjutant General, where we met with our friend M. Overton. And after we had staid at White-hall till about 4. or 5. of the clock in the afternoon, we were by the foresaid Adjutant carried to Darby house, where after about an hours stay, there were called in Lieu. Col. Goldegne, a Coalyard keeper in Southwark) and as some of good quality of his neighbours do report him to have bin no small Personal Treaty man, and also Capt. Williams, and M. Saul Shoe-maker, both of Southwark, who are said to be the Divels 3. deputies, or informers against us; and after they were turned out, I was called in next, and the dore being opened, I marched into the Room with my hat on, and looking about me, I saw divers Members of the House of Commons present, and so I put it off; and by Sergeant Dendy I was directed to go neer M. Bradshaw, that sate as if he had bin Chairman to the Gentlemen that were there present; between whom, and my self, past to this following effect.

Lieut. Col. Lilburn (said he) here are some Votes of Parliament that I am commanded by this Councel to acquaint you with; which were accordingly read, and which did contain the late published and printed Proclamation or Declaration, against the second Part of Englands New Chains discovered, with divers instructions, and an unlimitted power given unto the Councel of State, to find out the Authors and Promoters thereof. After the reading of which, M. Bradshaw said unto me, Sir, You have heard what hath bin read unto you, and this Councel having information that you have a principal hand in compiling and promoting this Book, (shewing me the Book it self,) therefore they have sent for you, and are willing to hear you speak for your self.

Well then M. Bradshaw, said I, If it please you and these Gentlemen to afford me the same liberty and priviledge that the Cavaliers did at Oxford, when I was arraigned before them for my life, for levying War in the quarrel of the Common-wealth, against the late King and his Party (which was liberty of speech, to speak my mind freely without interruption) I shall speak, and go on; but without the Grant of liberty of speech, I shall not say a word more to you.

To which he replyed, That is already granted you, and therefore you may go on to speak what you can or will say for your self, if you please; or if you will not, you may hold your peace, and with draw.

Well then (said I) M. Bradshaw, with your favour, thus. I am an Englishman born, bred, and brought up, and England is a Nation Governed, Bounded, and Limitted by Laws and Liberties: and for the Liberties of England, I have both fought and suffered much: but truly Sir, I judge it now infinitely below me, and the glory and excellency of my late actions, now to plead merit or desert unto you, as though I were forced to fly to the merit of my former actions, to lay in a counter-scale, to weigh down your indignation against me, for my pretended late offences: No, Sir, I scorn it, I abhor it: And therefore Sir, I now stand before you, upon the bare, naked, and single account of an Englishman, as though I had never said, done, or acted any thing, that tended to the preservation of the Liberties thereof, but yet, have never done any act that did put me out of a Legal capacity to claim the utmost punctilio, benefit, and priviledge that the Laws and Liberties of England will afford to any of you here present, or any other man in the whole Nation: And the Laws and Liberties of England are my inheritance and birth-right. And in your late Declaration, published about four or five dales ago, wherein you lay down the grounds and reasons (as I remember) of your doing Justice upon the late King, and why you have abolished Kingly Government, and the House of Lords, you declare in effect the same, and promise to maintain the Laws of England, in reference to the Peoples Liberties and Freedoms: And amongst other things therein contained, you highly commend and extol the Petition of Right, made in the third yeer of the late King, as one of the most excellent and gloriest Laws in reference to the Peoples Liberties that ever was made in this Nation, and you there very much blame, and cry out upon the King, for robing and denying the people of England the benefit of that Law, and sure I am (for I have read and studied it) there is one clause in it that saith expresly, That no Free-man of England ought to be adjudged for life, limb, liberty, or estate, but by the Laws already in being established and declared: And truly Sir, if this be good and sound Legal Doctrine (as undoubtedly it is, or else your own Declarations are false, and lyes) I wonder what you Gentlemen are, For the declared and known Laws of England knows you not, neither by names, nor qualifications, as persons endowed with any power either to imprison or try me, or the meanest Free-man of England, And truly, were it not that I know the faces of divers of you, and honour the persons of some of you, as Members of the House of Commons that have stood pretty firm in shaking times to the Interest of the Nation, I should wonder what you are, or before whom I am, and should not in the least honor or reverence you so much as with Civil Respect, especially considering the manner of my being brought before you, with armed men, and the manner of your close sitting, contrary to all Courts of Justice. M. Bradshaw, it may be the House of Commons hath past some Votes or Orders, to authorise you to sit here for such and such ends as in their Orders may be declared: But that they have made any such Votes or Orders, is legally unknown to me, I never saw them. Its true, by common Fame you are bruted abroad and stiled a Councel of State, but its possible common Fame in this narticular mav as well tell me a lv as a truth: But admit common Fame do in this tell me a truth, and no ly, but that the House of Commons in good earnest have made you a Councel of State, yet I know not what that is, because the Law of England tells me nothing of such a thing, and surely if a Councel of State were a Court of Justice, the Law would speak somthing of it: But I have read both old and new Laws, yea all of late that it was possible to buy or hear of, and they tell me not one word of you, and therefore I scarce know what to make of you, or what to think of you, but as Gentlemen that I know, I give you civil respect, and out of no other consideration: But if you judge your selves to be a Councel of State, and by vertue thereof think you have any power over me, I pray you shew me your Commission, that I may know the better how to behave my self before you. M. Bradshaw, I will not now question or dispute the Votes or Orders of the present single House of Commons, in reference to their power, as binding Laws to the people; yet admit them to be valid, legal, and good, their due circumstances accompanying them: yet Sir, by the Law of England let me tell you, what the House Votes, Orders, and Enacts within their walls, is nothing to me, I am not at all bound by them, nor in Law can take any cognisance of them as Laws, although 20. Members come out of the House, and tell me such things are done, till they be published and declared by sound of Trumpet, Proclamation, or the like, by a publike Officer or Magistrate, in the publike and open places of the Nation; But truly Sir, I never saw any Law in Print or writing, that declares your power so proclaimed or published, and therefore Sir, I know not what more to make of you, then a company of private men, being neither able to own you as a Court of Justice, because the Law speaks nothing of you; nor as a Councel of State, till I see, and read, or hear your Commission, which I desire (if you please) to be acquainted with.

But Sir, give me leave further to aver unto you, and upon this Principle or Averment I will venture my life and being, and all I have in the world; That if the House had by a Proclaimed and Declared Law, Vote, or Order, made this Councel (as you call your selves) a Court of Justice, yet that proclaimed or declared Law, Vote, or Order, had bin unjust, and null, and void in it self; And my reason is, because the House it self was never (neither now, nor in any age before) betrusted with a Law executing power, but only with a Law making power.

And truly Sir, I should have lookt upon the people of this Nation as very fooles, if ever they had betrusted the Parliament with a law executing power, and my reason is, because, if they had so done, they had then chosen and impowred a Parliament to have destroyed them, but not to have preserved them, (which is against the very nature and end of the very being of Parliaments, they being (by your own declared doctrin) chosen to provide for the peoples weale, but not for their wo) And Sir, the reason of that reason is, because its possible if a Parliament should execute the Law they might doe palpable injustice, and male administer it, and so the people would be robd of their intended extraordinary benefit of appeales, for in such cases they must appeale to the Parliament, either against it self, or part of it self, and can it ever be imagined they will ever condernne themselves, or punish themselves, nay, will they not rather judge themselves bound in honour and safety to themselves, to vote that man a Traytor and destroy him that shall so much as question their actions, although formerly they have dealt never so unjustly with him; For this Sir I am sure is very commonly practised now a dayes, and therefore the honesty of former Parliaments in the discharge of their trust and duty in this particular was such, that they have declared, the power is not in them to judge or punish me, or the meanest free-man in England, being no Member of their House, although I should beat or wound one of their Members nigh unto their dore, going to the House to discharge his duty, but I am to be sent in all such cases to the Judge of the upper Bench, unto whom by Law they have given declared rules, and direction in that particular how to behave himself, which are as evident for me to know as himself, now Sir, if reason and justice doe not judge it convenient that the Parliament shal not be Judges in such particular cases, that is of so neere concernment to themselves, but yet hath others that are not of their House that are as well concerned as themselves, much lesse will reason or justice admit them to be judges in particular cases, that are farther remote from their particular selves, and doth meerly concern the common wealth, and sure I am Sir, this is the declared Statute Law of England, and doth stand in ful force at this houre, there being I am sure of it no Jaw to repeale it, no not since the House of Commons set up their new Common-wealth. Now Sir from all this I argue thus, that which is not inherent in the whole, cannot by the whole be derived, or assigned to a part.

But it is not inherent, neither in the power nor authority of the whole House of Commons, primarily and originally to execute the Law, and therefore they cannot derive it to a part of themselves.

But yet Sir with your favour, for all this I would not be mistaken as though I maintained the Parliament had no power to make a Court of justice, for I do grant they may errect a Court of justice to administer the Law, provided that the Judges consist of persons that are not Members of their House, and provided that the power they give them be universal, that is to say, to administer the law to all the people of England indefinitely, and not to two or three particular persons solely, the last of which for them to do is unjust, and altogether out of their power: And therefore Sir, to conclude this point, It being not in the power of the whole Parliament to execute the Law, they can give no power to you their Members to meddle with me in the case before you; For an ordinary Court of Justice (the proper Administrator of the Law) is the onely and sole Judge in this particular; and not you Gentlemen, no nor your whole House it self.

For with your favour M. Bradshaw, the fact that you suppose I have committed (for till it be judicially proved, and that must be before a legal Judge that hath cognisance of the fact) or confessed by my self before the Judge; it is but a bare supposition) is either a crime, or no crime; A crime it cannot be, unless it be a Transgression of a Law in being, before it was committed, acted, or done; For where there is no Law, there is no Transgression. And if it be a Transgression of a Law, that Law provides a punishment for it, and by the Rules and method of that Law am I to be tryed, and by no other whatsoever, made ex post facto.

And therefore Sir, If this be true, as undoubtedly it is; then I am sure you Gentlemen have no power in Law to convene me before you, for the pretended crime laid unto my charge; much less to fetch me by force out of my habitation by the power of armed men: For Sir, let me tell you, The Law of England never made Colonels, Lieut. Colonels, Captains, or Souldiers, either Bayliffs, Constables, or Justices of the Peace: And I cannot but wonder that you should attach me in such a manner as you have done, considering that I have all along adhered to the Interest of the Nation against the common enemy (as you call them) and never disputed, nor contemned any Order of Summons from Parliament, or the most irregularest of their Committees, but alwaies came to them when they sent for me, although their warrant of summons was never so illegal in the form of it, and I have of late in a manner de die in diem, waited at the House dore, and was there that day the Votes you have read, past, till almost twelve a clock, and I am sure there are some here present (whose conscience I believe tells them, they are very much concerned in the Book now before you) that saw me at the dore, and stared wishfully upon me as they went into the House, and I cannot but wonder there could be no Civil Officer found to summon me to appear, but that now, when there is no visible hostile enemy in the Nation, and all the Courts of Justice open, that you (that have no power at all over me) must send for me by an hundred or two hundred armed Horse and Foot, as though I were some monstrous man, that with the breath of my mouth were able to destroy all the Civil Officers that should come to apprehend me, Surely I had not endeavoured to fortifie my, house against you, neither had I betaken my self to a Castle, or a defenced Garison in hostility against you, that you need to send an hundred or two hundred armed men to force me out of my house, from my wife and children, by four or five a clock in the morning, to the distracting and frighting of my wife and children: Surely, I cannot but look upon this irregular, unjust, and illegal hostile action of yours, as one of the fruits and issues of your new created Tyranny, to amuse and debase my spirit, and the spirits of the People of this Free Nation, to fit me and them for bondage and slavery. And Sir, give me leave further to tell you, that for divers hundreds of men that have often bin in the field with their swords in their hands, to encounter with hostile enemies, and in their engagements have acquitted themselves like men of valour, and come out of the field conquerors, for these very men to put themselves in Martial Array against four Mise or Butterflyes, and take them captives, and as captives lead them through the streets, me-thinks is no great victory and conquest for them, but rather a diminution to their former Martial Atchievements and Trophies: And therefore to condude this, I do here before you all, protest against your Power and Jurisdiction over me, in the case in controversie, And do also protest against your Warrant you issued out to apprehend me; And against all your martial and hostile acts committed towards me, as illegal, unjust, and tyrannical, and no way in Law to be justified: Further telling you, that I saw most of the Lord of Straffords arraignment, and (if my memory fail me not) as little things as you have already done to me, were by your selves laid to his I charge, as acts of Treason; For which I saw him lose his head upon Towerhill as a Traytor: And I doubt not for all this that is done unto me, but I shall live to see the Laws and Liberties of England firmly setled, in despite of the present great opposers thereof, and to their shame and confusion: and so M. Bradshaw I have done with what I have now to say.

Upon which M. Bradshaw replyed, Lieut. Col. Lilburn, you need not to have bin so earnest, and have spent so much time in making an Apologetical defence, for this Councel doth not go about to try you, or challenge any jurisdiction to try you, neither do we so much as ask you a question in order to your tryal, and therefore you may correct your mistake in that particular. Unto which I said, Sir, by your favour, if you challenge no Jurisdiction over me, no not so much as in order to a tryal, what do I here before you? or what do you in speaking to me? But Sir, seing I am now here, give me leave to say one word more, and that is this, I am not onely in time of peace (the Courts of Justice being all open) fetcht & forc’t out of my house by multitudes of armed men, in an hostile manner, & carried as a captive up and down the streets, contrary to all Law and Justice, but I am by force of Arms still kept in their custody, and it may be, may be intended to be sent to them again, who are no Guardians of the Laws of England, no nor so much as the meanest Administrators or Executors of it, but ought to be subject to it themselves, and to the Administrators of it: And truly Sir, I had rather dy, than basely betray my liberties into their Martial fingers, (who after fighting for our Freedoms, would now destroy them, and tread them under their feet) that have nothing at all to do with me, nor any pretended or real civil offender in England: I know not what you intend to do with me, neither do I much care; having learned long since to dy, and rather for my Liberties, than in my bed: Its true, I am at present in no capacity effectually to dispute your power, because I am under Guards of armed muskettiers, but I entreat you, If you will continue me a prisoner, that you will free me from the military Sword, and send me to some Civil Goal; and I will at present in peace and quietness obey your command, and go. And so I concluded, and was commanded to with-draw, which I did, and then M. William Wallin was called in, and while he was within, I gave unto my comrades M. Prince, and M. Overton, and the rest of the people, a summary account of what had past between me and them: and within a little time after, M. Walwin came out again, and M. Overton was called in next: and at M. Walwins coming out, he acquainted us what they said to him, which was in a manner the same they said to me, and all that he said to them was but this, That he did not know why he was suspected. To which M. Bradshaw replyed, Is that all you have to say? And M. Walwin answered, yes. So he was commanded to withdraw.

And after M. Overton was come out, M. Prince was called in, and after he had withdrawn, they spent some time of debate among themselves, and then I was called in again, So I marched in sutable to my first posture, and went dose to M. Bradshaw, who said unto me to this effect: Lieut. Colonel Lilburn, This Councel hath considered what you have said, and what they have bin informed of concerning you, and also of that duty that lies upon them by the command of the House, which enjoyns them to improve their utmost ability to find out the Author of this Book, and therefore to effect that end, they judge themselves bound I to demand of you this question: Whether you made not this Book, or were privie to the making of it or no?

And after some pause, and wondering at the strangeness of the question, I answered and said, M. Bradshaw, I cannot but stand amazed that you should ask me such a question as this, at this time of the day, considering what you said unto me at my firsfabeing before you, and considering it is now about eight yeers ago since this very Parliament annihilated the Court of Star-Chamber, Councel bord, and High Commission, and that for such proceedings as these. And truly Sir, I have bin a contestor and sufferer for the Liberties of England these twelve yeers together, and I should now look upon my self as the basest fellow in the world, it now in one moment I should undo all that I have bin doing all this while, which I must of necessity do, if I should answer you to questions against my self, For in the first place, by answering this question against my self, I should betray the Liberties of England, in acknowledging you to have a Legal Jurisdiction over me, to try and adjudge me, which I have already proved to your faces you have not in the least: and if you have forgot what you said to me thereupon, yet I have not forgot what I said to you. And secondly Sir, if I should answer to questions against my self, and to betray my self, I should do that which not onely Law, but Nature abhors: And therefore I cannot but wonder that you your selves are not ashamed to demand so illegal and unworthy a thing of me as this is. And therefore in short, were it that I owned your power (which I do not in the least) I would be hanged, before I would do so base, and un-Englishman-like an Action, to betray my Liberty, which I must of necessity do, in answering questions to accuse my self: But Sir, This I will say to you, my late Actions have not bin done in a hole, or a corner, but on the house top, in the face of the Sun, before hundreds and some thousands of people, and therefore why ask you me any questions? Go to those that have heard me, and seen me, and it is possible you may find some hundreds of witnesses to tell you what I have said and done; for I hate holes and corners: My late Actions need no covers nor hidings, they have bin more honest than so, and I am not sorry for what I have done, for I did look well about me before I did what I did, and I am ready to lay down my life to justifie what I have done, and so much in answer to your question.

But now Sir, with your favour one word more, to mind you again of what I said before, in reference to my Martial imprisonment, and truly Sir, I must tell you, Circumstantials of my Liberty, at this time I shall not much dispute, but for the Essentials of them I shall dy: I am now in the Souldiers custody, where to continue in silence and patience, is absolutely to betray my Liberty; for they have nothing to do with me, nor the meanest Free-man of England in this case; and besides Sir, they have no rules to walk by, but their wills and their swords, which are two dangerous things; it may be I may be of an hasty cholerick temper, and not able nor willing to bear their affronts; and peradventure they may be as willing to put them upon me, as I am unwilling to bear them; and for you in this case to put fire and tinder together, to burn up one an other, will not be much commendable, nor tend much to the accomplishment of your ends, But if for all this, you shall send me back to the Military sword again, either to White-hall, or any other such like garison’d place in England, I do solemnly protest before the Eternal God of Heaven and Earth, I will fire it, and burn it down to the ground, if possibly I can, although I be burnt to ashes with the flames thereof, for Sir, I say again, the souldiers have nothing to do to be my Goalers; and besides, it is a maxime among the souldiers, That they must obey (without dispute) all the Commands of their Officers, be they right or wrong, and it is also the maxime amongst the Officers, That if they do not do it, they must hang for it: therefore if the Officers command them to cut my throat, they must either do it, or hang for it. And truly Sir, (looking wishfully upon Cromwell, that sate just against me) I must be plain with you, I have not found so much Honour, Honesty, Justice, or Conscience, in any of the principal Officers of the Army, as to trust my life under their protection, or to think it can be safe under their immediate fingers, and therefore not knowing, nor very much caring what you will do with me, I earnestly intreat you, if you will again imprison me, send me to a Civil Goal that the Law knows, as Newgite, the Fleet, or the Gatehouse, and although you send me to a Dungeon, thither I will go in Peace and quietness, without any further dispute of your authority, For when I come there, I know those Goalers have their bounds and limits set them by the Law, and I know how to carry my self towards them, and what to expect from them; and if they do abuse me, I know how in law to help my self. And so Sir, I have said what at present I have to say. Whereupon M. Bradshaw commanded the Sergeant to put me out at an other dore, that so I should no more go amongst the people, and immediatly M. Walwin was put out to me, and asking him what they said to him, I found it to be the same in effect they said to me, demanding the same fore-going question of him, that they did of me: to which question, (after some kind of pause) he answered to this effect, That he could not but very much wonder to be asked such a question, however that it was very much against his Judgement and Conscience to answer to questions of that nature, which concerned himself; that if he should answer to it, he should not onely betray his own Liberty, but the Liberties of all Englishmen, which he could not do with a good Conscience, And he could not but exceedingly grieve at the dealing he had found that day; That being one who had alwaies bin so faithful to the Parliament, and so well known to most of the Gentlemen there present, that nevertheless he should be sent for with a party of Horse and Foot, to the affrighting of his Family, and ruine of his credit; And that he could not be satisfied, but that it was very hard measure, to be used thus upon suspition onely; And that if they did hold him under restraint from following his business and occasions, it might be his undoing, which he conceived they ought seriously to consider of.

Then M. Bradshaw said, he was to answer the question, and that they did not ask it as in way of Tryal, so as to proceed in Judgement thereupon, but to report it to the House. To which M. Walwin said, That he had answered it so as he could with a good Conscience, and could make no other Answer, and so with-drew.

And after he came out to me, M. Overton was next called in againe, and then M. Prince, so after we were all come out, and all foure in a roome close by them, all alone, I laid my care to their dore, and heard Lieutenant General Cromwel (I am sure of it) very loud, thumping his fist upon the Councel Table, til it rang againe, and heard him speak in these very words, or to this effect; I tel you Sir, you have no other way to deale with these men, but to break them in pieces; and thumping upon the Councel Table againe, he said Sir, let me tel you that which is true, if you do not breake them, they will break you; yea, and bring all the guilt of the blood and treasure shed and spent in this Kingdom upon your heads and shoulders; and frustrate and make voide all that worke, that with so many yeares industry, toile and paines you have done, and so render you to all rationall men in the world, as the most contemptiblest generation, of silly, low spirited men in the earth, to be broken and routed by such a despicabic contemptible generation of men as they are; and therfore Sir I tel you againe, you are necessitated to break them. But being a little disturbed by the supposition of one of their Messengers coming into the roome, I could not so well heare the answer to him, which I think was Col. Ludlows voyce, who pressed to baile us, for I could very well heare him say, what would you have more than security for them? Upon which discourse of Cromwels, the blood run up and down my veines, and I heartily wisht my self in againe amongst them (being scarse able to contain my self) that so I might have gone five, or six stories higher than I did before, yea, as high as I intended when I came to their dore, and to have particularly paid Cromwel and Hasleridge to the purpose, for their late venome not only against me in the House, but my whole family, Hasleridge saying (as I am informed) in the open House, there was never an one of the Lilburns family fit or worthy to be a Constable in England, though I am confident there is not the worst of us alive that have served the Parliament, but he is a hundred times more just honest and unspoted than he himself, as in due time I shal make it appeare by Gods assistance (I hope) to his shame: But the faire carriage of the Gentlemen of the supposed Councel to me at the first, tooke off the height of the edge of my spirit, and intended resolution, which it may be they shal have the next time to this effect. You your selves have already voted the People under God, the Fountain and Original of all just power, And if so, then, none can make them Laws, but those that are chosen, impowred, and betrusted by them for that end, and if that be true, as undoubtedly it is, I desire to know how the present Gentlemen at Westminster can make it appeare they are the peoples Representatives, being rather chosen by the wil of him, whose head as a Tyrant and Traytor, they have by their wills chopt off (I mean the King) then by the people: whose Will made the Borough Townes to chuse Parliament men, and there by rob’d above nineteen people of this Nation, of their undubitable and inherent right, to give to a single man in twenty for number (in reference to the whole Nation) a Monopoly to chuse Parliament men; disfranchising thereby the other nineteen, and if so in any measure than this, upon their own declared principles they are no Representative of the people, no nor was not at the first, Again, the King summoned them by his Writ, the issue of his will and pleasure, and by vertue of that they sit to this houre, Again, the King by his Will and pleasure combines with them by an Act to make them a perpetual Parliament (one of the worst and tyranicallest actions that ever he did in his life) to sit as long as they pleased, which he nor they had no power to do in the least, the very constitution of Parliaments in England, being to be once every yeare, or oftner if need require, Quere, Whether this act of perpetuating this Parliament by the Parliament men themselves beyond their Commission, was not an act in them of the highest Treason in the world against the People and their liberties, by setting up themselves an arbitrary power over them for ever? Yea, and thereby razing the foundation and constitution of Parliament it self: And if so, then this is nul, if at the first it had bin any thing.

Again, if it should be granted this Parliament at the beginning had a legal constitution from the people (the original and fountaine of all just power) yet the Faction of a trayterous party of Officers of the Army, hath twice rebelled against the Parliament, and broke them to pieces, and by force of Armes culled out whom they please, and imprisoned divers of them and laid nothing to their charge, and have left only in a manner a few men, besides eleven of themselves, viz. the General, Cromwel, Ireton, Harrison, Ficetwood, Rich, Ingolsby, Hasleridge, Constable, Fennick, Walton and Alien, Treasurer, of their own Faction behind them that will like Spaniel-doggs serve their lusts and wills, yea some of the chiefest of them, viz. Ireton, Harrison, &c. yea, M. Holland himself, stiling them a mocke Parliament a mocke power at Windsor, yea, it is yet their expressions at London; And if this be true that they are a mocke power and a mocke Parliament, then,

Quere, Whether in Law or Justice, especially considering they have fallen from al their many glorious promises, & have not done any one action that tends to the universal good of the People? Can those Gentlemen siting at Westminster in the House, called the House of Commons, be any other than a Factious company of men trayterously combined together with Crom. Ireton, and Harrison, to subdue the Laws, Liberties, and Freedomes of England; (for no one of them protest against the rest) and to set up an absolute and perfect Tyranny of the Sword, Will and pleasure, and absolutely intend the destroying the Trade of the Nation, and the absolute impoverishing the people thereof, to fit them to be their Vassals and Slaves; And if so, then,

Quere, Whether the Free People of England, as well Soldiers as others, ought not to contemne all these mens commands, as invalid and illegal in themselves, and as one man to rise up against them as so many professed traytors, theives, robbers and high way men, and apprehend and bring them to justice in a new Representative, chosen by vertue of a just Agreement among the People, there being no other way in the world to preserve the Nation but that alone; the three forementioned men, viz. Cromwel, Ireton, and Harrison, (the Generall being but their Stalking horse, and a Cifer) and there trayterous faction, having by their wills and Swords, got all the Swords of England under their command, and the disposing of all the great places in England by Sea and Land, and also the pretended Law making power, and the pretended law executing power, by making among themselves (contrary to the Laws and Liberties of England) all Judges, Justices of peace, Sherifes, Balifes, Committee men &c. to execute their wills and Tyranny, walking by no limits or bounds but their own wills and pleasures, And traytorously assume unto themselves a power to levy upon the people what money they please, and dispose of it as they please, yea even to buy knifes to cut the peoples throats that pay the mony to them, and to give no account for it til Doomes Day in the afternoone, they having already in their wills and power to dispose of the Kings, Queens, Princes, Dukes, and the rest of the childrens Revenue, Deans and Chapters lands, Bishops lands, sequestered Delinquents lands, sequestred Papists lands, Compositions of all sorts, amounting to millions of money, besides Excise, and Customes, yet this is not enough, although if rightly husbanded it would constantly pay above one hundred thousand men, and furnish an answerable Navy there unto: But the people must now after their trades are lost, and their estates spent to procure their liberties and freedoms, be cessed about 100000. pound a moneth, that so they may be able like so many cheaters and State theeves, to give 6. 8. 10. 12. 14. 16, thousand pounds a peice over again to one another, as they have done already to divers of themselves to buy the Common wealths lands one of another, (contrary to the duty of Trustees, who by law nor equity can neither give nor sel to one another) at two or three years purchase the true and valuable rate considered, as they have already done, and to give 4 or 5000 l per annum over again to King Cromwel, as they have done already out of the Earle of Worcesters estate, &c. Besides about four or five pounds a day he hath by his places of Lieut. General, and Collonel of Horse in the Army, although he were at the beginning of this Parliament but a poore man, yea, little better than a begger (to what he is now) as well as other of his neighbours.

But to return, those gentlemen that would have had us bailed lost the day, by one vote as we understood, and then about 12. at night they broke up, & we went into their pretended Secretary, & found our commitments made in these words, our names changed, viz.

These are to will and require you, to receive herewith into your custody, the person of Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, and him safely to keep in your Prison of the Tower of London, until you receive farther order, he being committed to you upon suspition of high Treason, of which you are not to faile, and for which this shal be your sufficient Warrant, Given at the Councel of State at Darbyhouse this 28. day of March, 164.9.

Signed in the name, and by the
Order of the Councel of State,
appointed by authority of
Parliament. JO. BRADSHAW.
President.

To the Lieut. of the Tower
of London.

Note that we were committed upon Wednesday their fast day, being the best fruits that ever any of their fasts brought out amongst them, viz. To smite with the fist of wickedness. For the illegality of this Warrant, I shall not say much, because it is like all the rest of the Warrants of the present House of Commons, and their unjust Committees, whose Warrants are so sufficiently anatomised by my quondam Comrade, M. John Wildman, in his books, called Truths Tryumph, and The Laws subversion, being Sir John Maynards case truly stated, and by my self, in my late Plea before the Judges of the Kings Bench, now in print, and intituled The Laws Funeral, that it is needless to say any more of that particular, and therefore to them I refer the Reader. But to go on, when we had read our Warrants we told M. Frost we would not dispute the legality of them, because we were under the force of Guards of Armed musquettiers: So some time was spent to find a man that would go with us to prison, Capt. Jenkins (as I remember his name) being Capt. of the Guard, and my old and familiar acquaintance, was prevailed with by us, to take the charge upon him, who used us very Civilly, and gave us leave that night (it being so late) to go home to our wives, and took our words with some other of our friends then present, to meet him in the morning at the Angel Tavern neer the Tower, which we did accordingly, and so marched with him into the Tower, where coming up to the Lieut. house, and after salutes each of other with very much civility, the Lieut. read his Warrants: and M. Walwin as our appointed mouth, acquainted him that we were Englishmen, who had hazarded all we had for our Liberties & Freedoms for many yeers together, and were resolved (though Prisoners) not to part with an inch of our Freedoms, that with strugling for we could keep, and therefore we should neither pay fees nor chamber rent, but what the Law did exactly require us, neither should we eate or drink of our own cost and charges so long as we could fast, telling him it was our unquestionable right by Law, and the custom of this place, to be provided for out of the publike Treasure, although we had never so much mony in our pockets of our own, which he granted to be true, and after some more debate I told him, we were not so irrational as to expect that he out of his own money should provide for us: but the principal end of our discourse with him was, to put words in his mouth from our selves, (he being now our Guardian) to move the Parliament or Councel of State about us, which he hath acquainted us he did to the Councel of State, who he saith granted the King in former times used to provide for the Prisoners, but I say, they will not be so just as he was in that particular, although they have taken off his head for tyranny, yet they must and will be greater Tyrants than he, yea, and they have resolved upon the Question, that he shall be a Traytor that shall but tell them of their tyranny, although it be never so visible.

So now I have brought the Reader to my old and contented Lodging in the Tower, where within two, or three dayes of our arrival there, came one M. Richardson a Preacher amongst those unnatural, un-English-like men, that would now help to destroy the innocent, and the first promoters in England (as Cromwels beagles to do his pleasure) of the first Petition for a Personal Treaty almost 2. yeers ago, and commonly stile themselves the Preachers to the 7. Churches of Anabaptists, which Richardson pretending a great deal of affection to the Common wealth to Cromwel, & to us, prest very hard for union and peace, (and yet by his petition since this, endeavors to hang us) teling us, men cryed mightily out upon us abroad for grand disturbers, that sought Crom. bloud for al his good service to the Nation, and that would center no where, but meerly laboured to pul down those in power, to set up our selves: And after a little discourse with him, being all 4. present, and retorting all he said back upon those he seemed to plead for, before several witnesses, we appeale to his own conscience, whether those could intend any hurt or tyrannie to the people, that desires, and earnestly endeavours for many yeers together, that all Magistrates hands might be bound and limited by a just law and rule, with a penalty annexed unto it, that in case they outstrip their rule, they might forfet life & estate, and that al Magistrates might be chosen by the free people of this Nation by common consent, according to their undubitable right, & often removed, that so they might not be like standing waters, subject to corruption; and that the people might have a plain, easie, short, and known Rule amongst themselves to walk by; but such men were all we; and therefore justly could not be stiled disturbers of any, but onely such as sought to rule over the people by their absolute Wills and pleasures, and would have no bounds or limits but their lusts, and so sought to set up a perfect tyranny, which we absolutely did, and stil do charge upon the great men in the Army, and are ready before indifferent Judges to make it good. And as for seeking our selves, we need no other witnesses but some of our present adversaries in the House, whose great proffered places, and courtship by themselves and their Agents some of us have from time to time slighted, scorned, and contemned, till they would conclude to come to a declared and resolved center, by a just Agreement of the People; there being no other way now in the World to make this Nation free, happy, or safe, but that alone. And as for Cromwels bloud, although he had dealt basely enough with some of us in times by-past, by thirsting after ours, without cause, of whom (if revenge had bin our desire) we could have had it the last yeer to the purpose, especially when his quondam Darling, Maj. Huntington, (Maj. to his own Regiment) impeached him of Treason to both Houses: yet so deer was the good of our native Country to us, to whom we judged him then a serviceable Instrument to ballance the Scots, that we laid all revenge aside, hoping his often dissembled Repentances was real indeed; and M. Holland himself (now his favorite) if his 1000. or 1500. l. per annum of the Kings Lands, that now he enjoys, did not make him forget himself, can sufficiently testifie and witness our unwearied and hazardous Activity for Cromwels particular preservation the last yeer, when his great friends in the House durst not publikely speak for him.

And whereas it is said we will Center no where, we have too just cause to charge that upon them; the whole stream of all our Actions (as we told Richardson) being a continued Declaration of our earnest Desires to come to a determinate and fixed center: one of us making sufficient propositions to that purpose to the Councel of State at our last being there and all our many and late proffers as to that particular, they have hitherto rejected, as no waies consistent with their tyranical and selfish ends and designs: and have given us no other answer in effect, but the sending our bodies prisoners to the Tower: and therefore we judged it infinitely below us (as we told him) and that glorious cause (the Peoples Liberties- and Freedoms, that we are now in bonds for) & for which we suffer, to send any message but a defiance by him or any other to them. Yet to let him know (as one we judged honest, and our friend) we were men of reason, moderation, and justice, and sought nothing particularly for our selves, more than our common share in the common freedom, tranquility, and peace of the land of our Nativity: We would let him know, we had a two fold Center, and if he pleased of and from himself to let our Adversaries know, we were willing our adversaries should have their choise to which of the two they would hold us to.

And therefore said we in the first place, The Officers of the Army have already compiled, and published to the view of the Nation, an Agreement of the people, which they have presented to the present Parliament, against which we make some exceptions, which exceptions are contained in our Addresses: Now let them but mend their Agreement according to our exceptions, and so far as all our interest extends in the whole Nation, we wil acquiesce and rest there, and be at peace with them, & live and dy with them in the pursuance of those ends, and be content for Cromwel and Iretons security, &c. for the bloud of war shed in time of peace at Ware, or any thing else, and to free our selves that we thirst after none of their bloud, but onely our just Liberties (without which we can never sit down in peace) That there shall be a clause, to bury all things in oblivion, as to life and liberty, excepting onely estate; that so the Common-wealth may have an account of their monies in Treasurers hands, &c.

Or secondly, if they judge our exceptions against their Agreement (or any one of them) irrational, let them chuse any 4. men in England, and let Cromwel and Ireton be 2. of them, and take the other 2. where they please, in the whole nation, and we 4. now in prison, will argue the case in reason with them, and if we can agree, there is an end, as to us, and all our interest, but in case we cannot, let them (said we all) chuse any 2. members of the House of Commons, and we will chuse 2. more, viz. Col. Alex. Rigby, and Col. Henry Martin, to be final umpires betwixt us, and what they, or the major part of them determine, as to us (in relation to an Agreement) and all our interest in the whole land, we will acquiesce in, be content with, and stand to without wavering: and this we conceive to be as rational, just, and fair, as can be offered by any men upon earth: and I for my part, say and protest before the Almighty, I will yet stand to this, and if this will content them, I have done, if not, fall back, fal edge, let them do their worst, I for my part bid defiance to them, assuredly knowing, they can do no more to me, than the divel did to Job: for resolved by Gods assistance I am, to spend my heart bloud against them, if they will not condescend to a just Agreement that may be good for the whole Nation, that so we may have a new and as equal a Representative as may be, chosen by those that have not fought against their freedoms, although I am as desirous the Cavaliers should enjoy the benefit of the Law, for the protection of their persons and estates, as well as my self. I know they have an Army at command, but if every hair on the head of that Officer or Souldier they have at their command, were a legion of men, I would fear them no more than so many straws, for the Lord Jehovah is my rock and defence, under the assured shelter of whose wings, I am safe and secure, and therefore will sing and be merry, and do hereby sound an eternal trumpet of defiance to all the men and divels in earth and hell, but only those men that have the image of God in them, and demonstrate it among men, by their just, honest, merciful, and righteous actions. And as for all those vile Actions their saint-like Agents have fixed upon me of late, I know before God none is righteous no not one, but only he that is clothed with the glorious righteousness of Jesus Christ, which I assuredly know my soul hath bin, and now is clothed with, in the strength of which I have walked for above 12 yeers together, and through the strength of which, I have bin able at any time in al that time, to lay down my life in a quarter of an hours warning. But as to man, I bid defiance to all my Adversaries upon earth, to search my waies and goings with a candle, and to lay any one base Action to my charge in any kind whatsoever, since the first day that I visible made profession of the fear of God, which is now above twelve yeares, yea, I bid defiance to him or them, to proclaim it upon the house tops, provided he will set his hand to it, and proclaim a publique place, where before indifferent men, in the face of the Sun, his accusation may be scand; yea, I here declare, that if any man or woman in England, either in reference to my publique actions, to the States money, or in reference to my private dealings in the world shal come in and prove against me, that ever I defrauded him, or her of twelve pence, and for every twelve pence that I have so done, I will make him or her twenty shillings worth of amends, so far as all the estate I have in the world will extend.

Curteous Reader, and deer Countryman, excuse I beseech thee my boasting and glorying, for I am necessitated to it, my adversaries base and lying calumniations puting me upon it, and Paul and Samuel did it before me: and so I am thine, if thou art for the just Freedoms and Liberties of the land of thy Nativity.

JOHN LILBURN, that never yet changed his principles from better to worse, nor could never be threatned out of them, nor courted from them, that never feared the rich nor mighty, nor never despised the poor nor needy, but alwaies hath, and hopes by Gods goodness to continue, semper idem.

Postscript.

Curteous Reader, I have much wondered with my self, what should make most of the Preachers in the Anabaptist Congregations so mid at us foure, as this day to deliver so base a Petition, in the intention of it against us all four; (who have bin as hazardous Sticklers for their particular liberties, as any be in England) and never put a provocation upon them that I know of, especially, considering the most, if not all their Congregations (as from divers of their own members I am informed) protested against their intentions openly in their Congregations, upon the Lords day last, and I am further certainly informed that the aforsaid Petition the Preachers delivered, is not that which was read by themselves amongst the people, but another of their own framing since, which I cannot hear was ever read in any one of their Congregations: So that for the Preachers viz. M. Kiffin, M. Spilsbury, M. Patience, M. Draps, M. Richardson, M. Constant, M. Wayd, the Schoolemaster, &c. to deliver it to the Parliament in the name of their Congregations, they have delivered it a lye and a falshood, and are, a pack of fauning daubing knaves for so doing, but as I understand from one of M. Kiffins members, Kiffin himself did ingenuously confesse upon Lords day last, in his open Congregation, that he was put upon the doing of what he did by some Parliament men, who he perceived were willing and desirous to be rid of us four, so they might come off handsomely without too much losse of credit to themselves: and therefore intended to take a rise from their Petition to free us, and for that end it was, that in their Petition read in the Congregations, after they had sufficiently bespattered us, yet in the conclusion they beg mercy for us, because we had bin formerly active for the Publique. Secondly, I have bin lately told, some of the Congregationall Preachers are very mad, at a late published and licensed booke sold in Popes head Alley and Comhill, intituled, The vanity of the present Churches, supposing it to be the Pen of some of our friends, and therefore out of revenge might Petition against us; I confesse I have within a few houres seen and read the booke, and not before, and must ingenuously confesse, it is one of the shrewdest bookes that ever I read in my life, and do believe it may be possible they may be netled to the purpose at it, but I wish every honest unbyased man in England would seriously read it over.

JOHN LILBURN.

The Proceedings of the Councel of State against Richard Overton, flow prisoner in the Tower of London.

Upon the twenty eighth of March 1649) a partie of Horse and Foot commanded by Lieut. Colonel Axtel (a man highly pretending to religion,) came betwixt five and six of the morning to the house where I then lodged, in that hostile manner to apprehend me, as by the sequel appeared.

But now, to give an account of the particular circumstances attending that action, may seem frivolous, as to the Publick, but in regard the Lieutenant Colonel was pleased so far to out-strip the capacity of a Saint, as to betake himself to the venomed Arrows of lying calumnies and reproaches, to wound (through my sides) the too much forsaken cause of the poor oppressed people of this long wasted Common-wealth: like as it hath been the practice of all perfidious Tyrants in all ages. I shall therefore trouble the Reader with the rehearsall of all the occurrant circumstances which attended his apprehension of me, that the world may cleerly judge betwixt us. And what I here deliver from my pen as touching this matter, I do deliver it to be set upon the Record of my account, as I will answer it at the dreadfull day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be opened, and every one receive according to his deeds done in the flesh: and God so deal with me at that day, as in this thing I speak the truth: And if the rankorous spirits of men will not be satisfied therewith, I have no more to say but this, to commit my self to God in the joyful rest of a good conscience, and not value what insatiable envie can suggest against me. Thus then to the businesse it self.

In the House where I then lodged that night there lived three families, one of the Gentlemen being my very good friend, with whom all that night hee and I onely lay in bed together, and his Wife and childe lay in another bed by themselves: and when they knocked at the door, the Gentleman was up and ready, and his Wife also, for she rose before him, and was suckling her childe: and I was also up, but was not completely drest, And of this the Gentleman himself (her Husband) hath taken his oath before one of the Masters of the Chancery. And we three were together in a Chamber discoursing, he and I intending about our businesse immediately to go abroad, and hearing them knock, I said, Yonder they are come for me. Whereupon, some books that lay upon the table in the room, were thrown into the beds betwixt the sheets (and the books were all the persons he found there in the beds, except he took us for printed papers, and then there were many,) and the Gentleman went down to go to the door; and as soon as the books were cast a toside, I went to put on my boots, and before the Gentleman could get down the stairs, a girl of the house had opened the door, and let them in, and so meeting the Gentleman upon the stairs, Axtel commanded some of the souldiers to seize upon him, and take him into custodie, and not suffer him to come up: And I hearing a voice from below, that one would speak with me, I went to the chamber door (it being open) and immediatly appeared a Musketier (Corporal Neaves, as I take it) and he asked me if my name were not Mr. Overton: I answered, it was Overton, and so I sat me down upon the bed side to pull on my other boot, as if I had but new risen, the better to shelter the books, and that Corporal was the first man that entered into the chamber, and after him one or two more, and then followed the Lieutenant Colonel, and the Corporal told me, I was the man they were come for, and bade me make me ready: and the Lieutenant Colonel when he came in, asked me how I did, and told me, they would use me civilly, and bid me put on my boots, and I should have time enough to make me ready: And immediately upon this the Lieutenant Colonel began to abuse me with scandalous language, and asked me, if the Gentlewoman who then sate suckling her childe, were not one of my wives, and averred that she and I lay together that night. Then the Gentleman hearing his Wife call’d Whore, and abused so shamefully, got from the souldiers, and ran up stairs; and coming into the room where we were, he taxed the Lieutenant Colonel for abusing of his Wife and me, and told him, that he and I lay together that night: But the Lieutenant Colonel, out of that little discretion he had about him, took the Gentleman by the hand, saying) How dost thou, brother Cuckcold? using other shamefull ignorant and abusive language, not worthy repeating. Well, upon this his attempt thus to make me his prisoner, I demanded his Warrant; and he shewed me a Warrant from the Councell of State, with Mr. Bradshaw’s hand to it, and with the Broad Seal of England to it, (as he call’d it) to apprehend Lieutenant Colonel Lilburn, Mr. Walwine, Mr. Prince, and my self, where-ever they could finde us. And as soon as I was drest, he commanded the Musketiers to take me away, and as soon as I was down stairs, he remanded me back again into the chamber where he took me, and then told me, he must search the house, and commanded the trunks to be opened, or they should be broken open: and commanded one of the souldiers to search my pockets. I demanded his Warrant for that: He told me, he had a Warrant, I had seen it. I answered, That was for the apprehension of my person, and bid him shew his Warrant for searching my pockets, and the house: and according to my best remembrance, he replyed, He should have a Warrant. So little respect had he to Law, Justice, and Reason; and vi & armis, right or wrong, they fell to work, (inconsiderately devolving all law, right, and freedom betwixt man and man into their Sword; for the consequence of it extends from one to all) and his party of armed Horse and Foot (joyned to his over-hasty exorbitant will) was his irresistible Warrant: And so they searched my pockets, and took all they found in them, my mony excepted, and searched the trunks, chests, beds, &c. And the Lieutenant Colonel went into the next chamber, where lived an honest Souldier (one of the Lieutenant Generals Regiment) and his wife, and took away his sword, and vilified the Gentleman and his wife, as if she had been his whore, and took him prisoner for lying with a woman, as he said. He also went up to the Gentleman who lets out the rooms, and cast the like imputations upon his wife, as also upon a Maid that lives in the house, and gave it out in the Court and Street, amongst the souldiers and neighbours that it was a Bawdy-house, and that all the women that lived in it were whores, and that he had taken me in bed with another mans Wife. Well, he having ransack’d the house, found many books in the beds, and taken away all such writings, papers, and books, of what sort or kind soever, that he could finde, and given them to the souldiers, (amongst which he took away certain papers which were my former Meditations upon the works of the Creation, intituled, Gods Word confirmed by his Works; wherein I endeavoured the probation of a God, a Creation, a State of Innocencie, a Fall, a Resurrection, a Restorer, a Day of Judgment, &c. barely from the consideration of things visible and created: and these papers I reserved to perfect and publish as soon as I could have any rest from the turmoils of this troubled Common-wealth: and for the loss of those papers I am only troubled: all that I desire of my enemies hands, is but the restitution of those papers, that what-ever becomes of me, they may not be buried in oblivion, for they may prove usefull to many.) Well, when the Lieutenant Colonel had thus far mistaken himself, his Religion and Reason thus unworthily to abuse me and the houshold in that scandalous nature, unbeseeming the part of a Gentleman, a Souldier, or a Christian (all which titles he claimeth) and had transgressed the limits of his Authority, by searching, ransacking, plundering, and taking away what he pleased, he march’d me in the head of his party to Pauls Church-yard, and by the way commanded the souldiers to lead me by the arm, and from thence, with a guard of three Companies of Foot, and a party of Horse, they forced me to Whitehall; and the souldiers carried the books some upon their Muskets, some under their arms: but by the way (upon our march) the Corporall that first entred the room (whose word in that respect is more valuable then Axtels) confess’d unto me (in the audience of the Souldier they took also with them from the place of my lodging) that the Lieutenant Colonel had dealt uncivilly and unworthily with me, and that there was no such matter of taking me in bed with an other woman, &c. And this the said souldier will depose upon his oath.

When I came to White-hall, I was delivered into the hands of Adjutant General Stubber, where I found my worthy friends Lieutenant Collonel John Lilburn, Mr. Wallwin, and Mr. Prince in the same captivity under the Martiall usurpation: and after I had been there a while, upon the motion of Leiutenant Collonell Lilburne, that Leiutenant Collonell Axstell, and I might be brought face to face about the matter of scandall that was raised, he coming there unto us, and questioned about the report he had given out, there averd, that he took me a bed with an other mans wife; and being asked if he saw us actually in bed together, he answered, we were both in the Chamber together, and the woman had scarce got on her coates, (which was a notorious untruth) and she sate suckling of her child, and from these circumstances he did believe we did lie together, and that he spake according to his conscience what he beleeved: These were his words, or to the like effect, to which I replied, as aforementioned. But how short this was of a man pretending so much conscience and sanctity as he doth I leave to all unprejudiced people to judge: it is no point of Christian faith (to which [he] is so great a pretender) to foment a lye for a wicked end, and then to plead it his beleif and conscience, for the easier credence of his malitious aspertion: but though the words belief and Conscience be too specious Evangelicall tearms, no truely consciencious person will say they are to be used, or rather abused to such evill ends. Well in that company I having taxed him for searching my pockets, and without warrant, he answered; that because I was so base a fellow, he did what he could to destroy me. And then the better to make up the measure of the reproach he had raised, he told us, it was now an opinion amongst us to have community of women; I desired him to name one of that opinion, he answered me, It may be I was of that opinion, and I told him, it may be he was of that opinion, and that my may be was as good as his May be: whereupon he replyed, that I was a sawsy fellow. Surely the Lieutenant Collonel at that instant had forgot the Bugget from whence he dropt, I presume when he was a pedler in Harfordshire he had not so lofty an esteem of himself, but now the case is altered, the Gentleman is become one of the Grandees of the Royall palace: one of the (mock-) Saints in season, now judgeing the Earth, inspired with providence and opportunities at pleasure of their own invention as quick and as nimble as an Hocas Spocas, or a Fiend in a Juglers Box) they are not flesh and bloud, as are the wicked, they are all spirituall, all heavenly, the pure Camelions of the time, they are this or that or what you please, in a trice, in a twinkling of an eye; there is no form, no shape that you can fancy among men, into which their Spirituallities are not changeable at pleasure; but for the most part, these holy men present themselves in the perfect figure of Angels of light, of so artificiall resemblance, enough to deceive the very Elect if possible, that when they are entered their Sanctum Sanctorum, their holy convocation at Whitehall, they then seem no other than a quire of Arch-Angels, of Cherubins and Seraphims, chanting their fals-holy Halelujaes of victory over the people, having put all principalities and powers under their feet, and the Kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the Kingdom is theirs, and all Dominions, even all the people shall serve and obey them, [excuse me, it is but their own Counterfeit Dialect, under which their pernitious hipocrisy is vailed that I retort into their bosoms, that you may know them within and without, not that I have any intention of reflection upon holy writ] and now these men of Jerusalem (as I may terme them) those painted Sepulchers of Sion after their long conjuring together of providences, opportunities and seasons one after another, drest out to the people in the sacred shape of Gods Time, (as after the language of their new tangled Saint-ships I may speak it) they have brought their seasons to perfection, even to the Season of Seasons, now to rest themselves in the large and full enjoyment of the creature for a time, two times and half a time, resolving now to ware out the true asserters of the peoples freedom, and to change the time and laws to their exorbitant ambition and will, while all their promises, declarations and engagements to the people must be null’d and made Cyphers, and cast aside as wast paper, as unworthy the fulfilment, or once the remembrance of those Gentlemen, those magnificent stems of our new upstart Nobillity, for now it is not with them as in the dayes of their engagement at Newmarket and Triploe heath, but as it was in the days of old with corrupt persons, so is it in ours, Tempora mutantur—.

But to proceed to the story: the Lieutenant Collonel did not only shew his weakness, (or rather his iniquity) in his dealing with me, but he convents the aforesaid Souldier of Leiutenant Generalls Regiment before divers of the Officers at White-hall, and there he renders the reason wherefore he made him a prisoner, because said he, he takes Overtons part, for he came and asked him how he did, and bid him be of good comfort, and he lay last night with a woman: To which he answered It is true, but the woman was my wife. Then they proceeded to ask, when they were married, and how they should know shee was his wife, and he told them where and when, but that was not enough, they told him, he must get a Certificate from his Captain that he was married to her and then he should have his liberty.

Friends and Country-men, where are you now? what shall you do that have no Captains to give you Certificates? sure you must have the banes of Matrimony re-asked at the Conventicle of Gallants at White-hall, or at least you must thence have a Congregationall Licence, (without offence be it spoken to true Churches) to lye with your wives, else how shall your wives be chast or the children Legitimate? they have now taken Cognizance over your wives and beds, whether will they next? Judgement is now come into the hand of the armed-fury Saints. My Masters have a care what you do, or how you look upon your wives, for the new Saints Millitant are paramount [to] all Laws, King, Parliament, husbands, wives, beds, &c. But to let that passe.

Towards the evening we were sent for, to go before the Counsell of State at Darby-house, and after Lieutenant Collonel John Lilburne, and Mr. Wallwine had been before them, then I was called in, and Mr. Bradshaw spake to me, to this effect.

Master Overton, the Parliament hath seen a Book, Intituled, The Second Part of Englands New-Chains Discovered, and hath past several Votes thereupon, and hath given Order to this Councel to make inquiry after the Authors and Publishers thereof, and proceed upon them as they see Cause, and to make a return thereof unto the House: And thereupon he Commanded Mr. Frost their Secretary to read over the said Votes unto me, which were to this purpose, as hath since been publickly proclaimed:

Die Martis, 27 Martii, 1649.

The House being informed of a Scandalous and Seditius Book Printed, entituled, The Second Part of Englands New-Chains Discovered.

The said Book was this day read.

Resolved upon the Question by the Commons assembled in Parliament, That this printed Paper, entituled, The Second Part of Englands New-Chains Discovered &c. doth contain most false, scandalous, and reproachful matter, and is highly Seditious and Destructive to the present Government, as it is now Declared and setled by Parliament, tends to Division and Mutiny in the Army, and the raising of a New War in the Common-wealth, and to hinder the present Relief of Ireland, and to the continuing of Free-Quarter: And this House doth further Declare, That the Authors, Contrivers, and Framers of the said Papers, are guilty of High Treason, and shall be proceeded against as Traytors; And that all Persons whatsoever, that shall joyn with, or adhere unto, and hereafter voluntarily Ayd or Assist the Authors, Framers, and Contrivers of the aforesaid Paper, in the prosecution thereof, shall be esteemed as Traytors to the Common-wealth, and be proceeded against accordingly.

Then Mr. Bradshaw spake to me much after this effect;

Master Overton, this Councel having received Information, That you had a hand in the Contriving and Publishing of this Book, sent for you by their Warrant to come before them, Besides, they are informed of other Circumstances at your Apprehension against you, That there were divers of the Books found about you. Now Mr. Overton, if you will make any Answer thereunto, you have your Liberty.

To which I answered in these words, or to the like effect:

Sir, what Title to give you, or distinguish you by, I know not, Indeed, I confesse I have heard by common report, that you go under the name of a Councel of State, but for my part, what you are I cannot well tell; but this I know, that had you (as you pretend) a just authority from the Parliament, yet were not your Authority valuable or binding, till solemnly proclaimed to the people: so that for my part, in regard you were pleased thus violently to bring me before you, I shall humbly crave at your hands, the production of your Authority, that I may know what it is, for my better information how to demean my self.

Presid.]

Mr. Overton, We are satisfied in our Authority.

R. Overt.]

Sir, if I may not know it, however I humbly desire, that I may be delivered from under the force of the Military power, for having a naturall and legall title to the Rights of an Englishman, I shall desire that I may have the benefit of the Law of England, (which Law taketh no cognizance of the Sword). And in case you or any man pretend matter of crime against me, in order to a tryall, I desire I may be resigned up to the Civil Magistrate, and receive a free and legall tryall in some ordinary Court of Justice, according to the known Law of the Land, that if I be found a transgressor of any established declared Law of England, on Gods name let me suffer the penalty of that Law.

Further, Sir, In case I must still be detained a prisoner, it is my earnest desire, that I may be disposed to some prison under the jurisdiction and custody of the Civill Authority: For, as for my own part, I cannot in conscience (to the common right of the people) submit my self in any wise to the tryall or custody of the Sword, for I am no Souldier, neither hath the Army any Authoritie over me, I owe them neither dutie nor obedience, they are no Sheriffs, Justices, Bailiffs, Constables, or other Civil Magistrates: So that I cannot, neither will I submit unto their power, but must take the boldnesse to protest against it.

Presid.

Mr. Overton, If this be your Answer, you may withdraw.

R. Overt.

Sir, I humbly desire a word or two more.

Lieut.

Gen. Let him have liberty.

Presid.

Mr. Overton, You may speak on.

R. Overt.

Gentlemen, for future peace and securitie sake, I shall humbly desire to offer this unto your consideration, namely, that if you think it meet: That you would chuse any four men in England, pick and chuse where you please, and we (for my part, I speak it freely in my own behalf, and I think I may say as much in theirs) shall endeavour to the utmost of our power by a fair and moderate Discourse, to give the best account and satisfaction concerning the matter of difference betwixt us, that we can, that if possible, peace and agreement may be made: And this, after the weaknesse of my small understanding, I judge to be a fair and reasonable way: if you shall be pleased to accept of it, you may, if not, you may use your pleasure, I am in your hand, do with me as you think good, I am not able to hinder you.

Presid.

Mr. Overton, If this be all you have to say, withdraw.

R. Overt.

Sir, I have said.

So I was commanded into a little withdrawing room close by the Councel; and I supposed they would have taken my motion into consideration: But after I had been there a while, I was ordered to the Room again, where Lieut. Col. Lilburn, Mr. Walwine, &c. were.

And now that it may be clear unto the whole world, that we heartily desire the prevention and cessation of all differences and divisions that may be bred and break forth in the Land, to the hazard, if not actuall imbroilment thereof in a new exundation of blood in the prosecution of this controversie, wee do freely from the heart (that heaven and earth may bear witnesse betwixt our integrity to the peace of the Commonwealth, and their dealings with us) make this proffer as to be known to the whole world; that wee (in the first place I may best speak for my self; and I so far know the minds of Lieutenant Col. John Lilburn, Mr. Walwine, and Mr. Prince, that I may as freely speak it in their behalfs) wil, by the Assistance of God, give any four men in England that they shall chuse (although the Lieutenant General, and the Commissarie Generall be two of them) a free and moderate debate (if they shall think it no scorn) touching all matters of difference betwixt us, as to the businesse of the Common-wealth (for therein doth consist the controversie betwixt us) that if possibly, new flames and combustions may be quenched, and a thorow and an hearty composure be made betwixt us, upon the grounds of an equall and just Government. And that the businesse may be brought to a certain issue betwixt us, let them, if they please, chuse two Umpires out of the House, or else-where, and we will chuse two; and for our parts, we shall stand to the free determination or sentence, that these four, or any three of them shall passe betwixt us. Or else, if they please but to center upon The Agreement of the People, with amendments according to our late sad Apprehensions, presented to the House upon the 26 of February 1648, for our parts, we shall seal a Contract of Oblivion for all by-past matters, relating either to good name, life, libertie or estate; saving, of making Accompt for the publick Monies of the Common-wealth: And in such an Agreement we will center, to live and die with them in the prosecution thereof. And if this be not a fair and peaceable motion, let all well-minded people judge.

But if nothing will satisfie them but our bloud, we shall not (through the might of God) be sparing of that, to give witnesse to the Right and Freedom of this Common wealth against their Usurpation and Tyranny, but let them know this, That Building hath a bad Foundation that is laid in the bloud of honest men, such as their own knowledge and consciences bear them record, are faithfull to the common interest and safety of the People: out of our ashes may possibly arise their destruction. This I know, God is just, and he will repay the bloud of the innocent upon the head of the Tyrant. But to return to the Narrative.

After some small space that we had all been before them, we were called in again, first, Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, then Mr. Walwine, and then my self: And coming before them the second time, Mr. Bradshaw, spake to this effect:

Presid.

Mr. Overton, The Councel hath taken your Answer into consideration, and they are to discharge their dutie to the Parliament, who hath ordered them to make enquiry after the Book, intituled, The second part of England’s new Chains, &c. and thereof they are to give an account to the House: And the Councel hath ordered me to put this question unto you, Whether you had an hand in the contriving or publishing this Book, or no?

R. Overt.

Sir, I well remember, that since you cut off the King’s head, you declared (or at least the Parliament, from whence you pretend the derivation of your Authoritie) that you would maintain the known fundamentall Laws of the Land, and preserve them inviolable, that the meanest member of this Common-wealth, with the greatest, might freely and fully enjoy the absolute benefit thereof. Now Gentlemen, it is well known, and that unto your selves, that in cases criminall, as now you pretend against me, it is against the fundamentall Laws of this Common-wealth to proceed against any man by way of Interrogatories against himself, as you do against me: and I beleeve (Gentlemen) were you in our cases, you would not be willing to be so served your selves, (what you would have other men do unto you, that do you unto them.) So that for my part, Gentlemen, I do utterly refuse to make answer unto any thing in relation to my own person, or any man or men under heaven, but do humbly desire, that if you intend by way of Charge to proceed to any Triall of me, that it may be (as before I desired at your hands) by the known established Law of England, in some ordinary Court of Justice appointed for such cases (extraordinary waies being never to be used, but abominated, where ordinarie waies may be had) and I shall freely submit to what can be legally made good against me.

But I desire that in the mean time you would be pleased to take notice, that though in your eye I seem so highly criminal, as by those Votes you pretend; yet am I guiltie of nothing, not of this paper, intituled, The second part of England’s new Chains, in case I had never so much an hand in it, till it be legally proved: for the Law looketh upon no man to be guiltie of any crime, till by law he be convicted; so that, I cannot esteem my self guiltie of any thing, till by the Law you have made the same good against me.

And further Sir, I desire you to take notice, that I cannot be guiltie of the transgression of any Law, before that Law be in being: it is impossible to offend that which is not; Where there is no Law there is no Transgression: Now, those Votes on which you proceed against me are but of yesterdaies being; so that, had I an hand in that Book whereof you accuse me, provided it were before those Votes, you cannot render me guiltie by those Votes: If I had done any thing in it, since the Votes (provided you had solemnly proclaimed the same) then you might have had some colour to have proceeded against me: but I have but newly heard the Votes, and since that you know I could do nothing.

Presid.

Mr. Overton, I would correct your judgment in one thing: We are not upon any Triall of you; we are onely upon the discharge of our dutie, and that trust committed unto us by the Parliament, to make enquiry after the authors, contrivers and framers of the Book; and having information against your self and your Comrades, we sent for you, and are to return your Answer to the House, howsoever you dispute their Authority.

R. Overt.

Dispute their Authoritie, Sir! That’s but your supposition, and supposition is no proof. And Sir, as you say you are to discharge your dutie, so must I discharge mine. And as for matter of triall, I am sure you taxe me in a criminall way, and proceed to question me thereupon. But Sir, I conceive it my dutie to answer to none of your Questions in that nature, and therefore shall utterly refuse.

Now Gentlemen, I desire you to take notice, that I do not oppose you as you are members of the Common-wealth; for it is well known, and I think to some here, that I have ever been an opposer of oppression and tyrannic, even from the daies of the Bishops to this present time; and the Books that I have writ and published do in some measure bear witness thereof, and it is well known, that my practice hath ever been answerable thereunto. I suppose no man can accuse me, but that I have opposed Tyrannie where-ever I found it: It is all one to me under what name or title soever oppression be exercised, whether under the name of King, Parliament, Councel of State, under the name of this, or that, or any thing else, For tyrannic and oppression is tyrannie and oppression to me where-ever I finde it, and where-ever I finde it I shall oppose it, without respect of persons.

I know I am mortall and finite, and by the course of nature my daies must have a period, how soon I know not, and the most you can do, it is but to proceed to life; and for my part, I had rather die in the just vindication of the cause of the poor oppressed people of this Commonwealth, then to die in my bed, and the sooner it is, the welcomer, I care not if it were at this instant, for I value not what you can doe unto me.

But Gentlemen, I humbly desire yet a word or two. I confesse, I did not expect so much civilitie at your hands as I have found, and for the same I return you hearty thanks.

Now whereas you commonly say, That we will have no Bottom, center no where, and do taxe us by the Votes you read unto me, of destruction to the present Government, division and mutinie in the Armie, &c. But here I do professe unto you, as in the presence of the allseeing God, before whom one day I must give an account of all my actions, That in case you will but conclude upon an equall and just Government by way of an Agreement of the People, as was honourably begun by the Generall Officers of the Army, and but free that Article in it which concerns the liberty of Gods Worship from the vexatious entanglements and contradictions that are in it, that So consciencious people might freely (without any fear of an insulting Clergie) live quietly and peaceably in the enjoyment of their consciences, As also to add unto it a Barr against Regalitie, and the House of Lords, As also to make provision in it against the most weighty oppressions of the Land; that thereby they may be utterly removed, and for the future prevented, and the people setled in freedom and safeties And then, for my part, neither hand, foot, pen, tongue, mouth or breath of mine shall move against you; but I shall with my utmost power, with hand, heart, life and bloud, assist you in the prosecution thereof, and therein center. Try me, and if I fail of my word, then let me suffer.

Presid.

Mr. Overton, If you have no more to say, you may withdraw.

R. Overt.

Sir, I humbly crave the further addition of a word or two. Gentlemen, I desire (as I did before) that I may (according to the common right of the people of England) be forthwith freed from under the power of the Sword, and be delivered into the hands of the Civil Magistrate, in case I shall be still detained a prisoner, for I am so much against the intrusion of the Military power into the seat of the Magistrate, that I had rather you would fetter me legs and hands, and tie me neck and heels together, and throw me into a Dungeon, and not allow me so much as the benefit of bread and water till I be starved to death, then I would accept of the best Down-bed in England, with sutable accommodation, under the custody of the Sword.

President.

Mr. Overton, I would correct your Judgment a litle, you are not under the Military power, but under the Civil authority, for by the Authority of Parliament this Counsel by their Warrant hath sent for you.

R. Overton.

Sir, it is contest, that pro forma tantum, for matter of Forme, inke or paper, I am under the Civil Authoritie, but essentiallie and reallie, I am under the Martial power; for that Warrant by which I was taken, was executed upon me by the Military power, by a Partie of Horse, and divers Companies of Foot in Arms, and in that Hostile manner (like a prisoner of War) I was led Captive to White-hal, and there ever since, till commanded hither, I was kept amongst the Souldiers, and I am still under the same force: Besides, Sir, these men are meer Souldiers, no Officers of the Magistrate of England, they brought no Warrant to me from anie Justice of Peace, neither did carrie me before anie Justice of Peace, but seised on me, and kept me by their own force: Therefore it is evident and deer to me, That I am not under the Civil, but the Martial power.

President.

Master Overton, If this be your Answer, you may withdraw.

R. Overton.

Sir, I have said.

And so I was conducted to the Room where they had disposed Lieutenant Col. Lilburne and Mr. Walwine: And the next news we heard from them, was, of our Commitment to the Tower, and Master Prince and I were joy nod as yoak-fellows in one Warrant; a Copie whereof is as followeth;

These are to will and require you, to receive herewith into your Custody the Persons of Master Richard Overton, and Master Thomas Prince, and them safely to keep in your prison of the Tower of London, until you receive further Order: They being Committed to you upon suspition of High Treason; of which you are not to fail; and for which this shall be your Warrant: Given at the Councel of State at Darby-House this Twentie eighth day of March, 1649.

Signed in the Name, and by the Order of the
Councel of State, appointed by Authority
of Parliament.

To the Lieutenant of
the Tower.

JO. BRADSHAW President.

Thus all un-interested, unprejudiced persons, (who measure things as they are in themselves, having nothing in admiration with respect of persons, who simply and sincerely mind the freedom and prosperity of the Common-wealth) may clearly see, as in a Glass, by this tast of Aristocraticall Tyranny towards us, a perfect and lively resemblance of the Councell of State; Ex pede Leonem, you may know a Lion by his foot, or a Bear by his paw: by this you may see their nature and kind, what and from whence they are, and whether they tend, by this line you may measure the height depth and breadth of their new Architecture of State, and by making our case but yours, you will find your selves new fettered in chaines, such as never England knew or tasted before; that you may (truly if you will but measure it in the consequence thereof,) break forth and cry out, Their little finger is thicker then our Fathers loines; our Fathers made our yoke heavie, but these adde unto our yoake; our Fathers chastised us with whips, but these chastise us with Scorpions. Who would have thought in the daies of their glorious pretences for Freedom, in the daies of their Engagements, Declarations and Remonstrances, while they were the hope of the oppressed, the joy of the righteous, and had the mighty confluence of all the afflicted and well-minded people of the Land about them, (I principally reflect upon the Victors of the times) I say, who would have thought to have heard, seen, or felt such things from their hands as we have done? Who would have thought such glorious and hopefull beginnings should have vanished into Tyrannie? Who would have thought to have seen those men end in the persecution and imprisonment of persons whom their own Consciences tell them, to be men of known integritie to the Common-wealth; and which is so evident and demonstrative, that thousands in this Nation can bear Record thereof; and that those men should be so devillish, so tyrannicall and arbitrary, as after their imprisonment, to rake hell, and skim the Devill, to conjure out matter of Charge or accusation against them, that they might have their blood, as in our case they have done, sending abroad their blood-hounds to search and pry out in every corner, what could be made out against us, going up and down like roaring Lions seeking how they might devour us; one offering Mistris Prince her Husbands libertie, and the 1000 l. they owe him, if he will but discover what he knoweth (as they are pleased to imagine) against us, and not onely so, but some Members of the House (as Mr. Kiffin confessed in respect of himself) negotiate with the principall Leaders of severall Congregations of religious people about the Town, to promote a petition, which was no other but in order to their bloudy designe against us, that those conscientious people (surprised by their fraudulent suggestions and craft) might (not truly understanding the business) appear in the disownment and discountenance of us, and in the approbation and furtherance of the prosecutors of their bloudy Votes of High-Treason, intentionally breathed out against us: for could they by their delusions overwhelm us once in the odium of religious people, with the venemous contagion of their malicious clamours, bug-bears, reproaches and lies, beget us under the Anathema of the Churches, then they think they may with case and applause cut us off, for that’s the venome lieth under the Icafe, how finely soever they zeal it over, that so our friends and brethren (thus surprised and overtaken) may become our Butchers, and think they do God and their Country good service while they slay us; but let them beware how they contract the guilt of our bloud upon their heads; for assuredly the bloud of the Innocent will be upon them, and God will repay it; I speak not this to beg their mercy, I abhorre it, I bid defiance to what all the men and divels in earth or hell can do against me in the discharge of my understanding and Conscience for the good of this Common-wealth; for I know my Redeemer liveth, and that after this life I shall be restored to life and Immortality, and receive according to the innocency and uprightnesse of my heart: Otherwise, I tell you plainly, I would not thus put my life and wel-being in jeopardie, and expose my self to those extremities and necessities that I do; I would creaturize, be this or that or any thing else, as were the times, cat, drink, and take my pleasure; turn Judas or any thing to flatter great men for promotion: but blessed be the God of Heaven and Earth, he hath given me a better heart, and better understanding. But to proceed;

That which is most to our astonishment, we understand of a truth, That Master Kiffin (to whose Congregation my back-friend Axtel is a retainer) Master Spilsbury, Master Patience (who vilified the Book intituled, The Second Part of Englands New Chains, and yet contest he never saw it or heard it read, as by evidence can be made good) Mr. Fountain, Mr. Drapes, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Couset, Mr. Tomlins, and Mr Wade the Schol-master became their Pursuevants or bloud-hounds, to hunt us to the Bar of the House of Commons with a Petition (most evidently and cleerly in pursuance of our bloud) Intituled, The humble Petition and Representation of the several Churches of God in London, commonly (though falsly) called Anabaptists, April 2. 1649. tacitely and curiously in a most Religious vail pointing at, and reflecting upon us, as Interrupters of the Setlement of the Libertie and Freedom of this Common-wealth, headie, high-minded, unruly, disobedient, presumptuous, self-will’d, contemners of Rulers, Dignities and Civil Government, whoremasters, drunkares, cheaters, &c. as if it were not with those men, as with the Publican and Sinner, dis-owning the Book intituled, The Second Part, &c. which at that juncture of time, all circumstances dulie weighed, was an absolute justification of those Votes of High Treason, and of prosecution against us as Traytors, for the tendency of those Votes were vented at us, and that their own knowledge and Consciences tels them to be true, so that they could have done no more in Order to our bloud, then what they did in that matter, so as to hand it off fairly and covertly preserving to themselves the reputation of the Churches of God: and to adde unto their impiety against us, they juggle with the Churches, present it in the name of the Churches of God in London called Anabaptists, and in their names Remonstrate that they (meaning the Churches, as by the title they speak) neither had nor have heart nor hand in the framing, contriving, abetting, or promoting of the said Paper, which though read in several of our publick Meetings, we do solemnly professe, it was without our consent, being there openly opposed by us. Notwithstanding it is notoriously evident, That the generality of the People Dissented from their Petition against us, and as upon good intelligence I am informed, They had scarce ten in some Congregations to sign it, in some not above 2 or 3, in some none, and in the main they had not the Tythe of the people, and yet those men like a Consistory of Bishops, a Synod of Presbyters, or a New-England Classis, presume upon the Assumption of the name of Several Churches of God, as if to themselves they had purchased the Monopolie or Pattent thereof, or as if the persons of Mr. Kiffin, Mr. Patience, &c. were so many several Churches, (hence sprang the papal, Prelatical, and Presbyterial Supremacie over the Consciences of people) and therefore it behoveth the people to have a care of their Leaders.

We have had the name of King, the name of Parliament, the name of the Armic, &c. surprised, abused, and usurped against us by the hand of our exorbitant enemies; but never before, the name of Several Churches of God, and those stiled Anabaptists; Hear O Heavens, and judge O Earth! Was there ever the like Fact attempted or perpetrated amongst the Churches of God? such wickedness is not once to be named amongst them: And I do not doubt but the wel-minded Christian people of those several Churches presented by that Petition, will vindicate themselves from the Aspersion thereby laid upon them; For I cannot beleeve till I see it, That those people would do any thing, or own any thing that might but so much as seemingly tend to our bloud, or our imprisonment; I am confident they abhorre it: And they cannot in Conscience do less then to disavow that Bloudy Petition (as to its tendency against us) and till they do it, they will be sharers in the publick guilt of our imprisonment, yea, and of our Bloud, for (however God may divert the wicked purposes of men,) that Petition is guiltie of our Bloud.

I confesse, for my part, I am a man full of Sin, and personal Infirmities, and in that Relation I will not take upon me to deer or justifie my self; but as for my Integrity and uprightnesse to the Common wealth, to whatsoever my understanding tels me is for the good of mankind, for the safety, freedom, and tranquillity of my Country, happinesse and prosperity of my Neighbours, to do to my neighbor as I would be done by, and for the freedom and protection of Religious people: I say as to those things, (according to the weak measure of my understanding and judgment) I know my integrity to be such, that I shall freely (in the might of God) sacrifice my life to give witnesse thereunto; and upon that Accompt I am now in Bonds, a protestor against the Aristocratical Tyrannie of the Counsel of State, scorning their Mercy, and bidding defiance to their Crueltie, had they ten millions more of Armies, & Cromwels to perpetrate their inhumanities upon me; for I know they can pass but to this life; when they have done that, they can do no more; and in this case of mine, he that will save his life shall loose it; I know my life is hid in Christ; and if upon this accompt I must yeild it, Welcome, welcome, welcome by the grace of God.

And as for those reproaches and scandals like the smoke of the bottomlesse pit, that are fomented against me, whereby too many icaloua tender spirited people are prejudiced against my person, readie to abhorre the thing I do, though never so good, for my person sake, I desire such to remove their eies from persons to things: if the thing I do be good, it is of God, and so look upon it, and not upon me, and so they shall be sure not to mistake themselves, nor to wrong me: And I further desire such to consider, That tales, rumours, slanderings, backbitings, lyes, scandals &c. tost up and down like clouds with the wind, are not the fruits of the Spirit, neither are they weapons of Gods warfare, they are of the devil and corruption, and betray in the users of them an evil mind: It is a certain badge of a Deceiver to take up whisperings and tales of mens personal failings to inflect them to the cause those persons maintain, by such means to gain advantages upon them.

Consider whether the things I hold forth and professe as in relation to the Common-wealth, be not for the good of mankinde, and the preservation of Gods people: and if they be, my personal failings are not to be reckoned as a counter-balance against them. As I am in my self in respect to my own personall sins and transgressions, so I am to my self and to God, and so I must give an account, the just must stand by his own faith: But as I am in relation to the Common-wealth, that all men have cognizance of, because it concerns their own particular lives, livelihoods and beings, as well as my own, and my failings and evils in that respect I yeeld up to the cognizance of all men, to be righteously used against me. So that the businesse is, not how great a sinner I am, but how faithfull and reall to the Common-wealth, that’s th’e matter concerneth my neighbour, and whereof my neighbour is only in this publick Controversie to take notice, and for my personall sins that are not of Civill cognizance or wrong unto him, to’ leave them to God, whose judgment is righteous and just. And till persons professing Religion be brought to this sound temper, they fall far short of Christianity, the spirit of love, brotherly charity, doing to all men as they would be done by, is not in them; without which they are but as a sounding brass, and a tinkling cymball, a whited wall, rottenness and corruption, let their ceremonial formall practice of Religion be never so Angel-like or specious.

There is a great noise of my sins and iniquities: but which of my Aspersers Oxe or Asse have I stollen? which of them have I wronged the value of a farthing? They taxe me with filthinesse, and strange impieties, but which amongst them is innocent? he that is innocent, let him throw the first stone, otherwise let him lay his hand on his mouth: I have heard of as odious failings, even of the same nature whereof they tax me (and it may be, upon better evidence) amongst them, laid open to me, even of the highest in present power, as well as amongst eminent persons in Churches, which I ever have counted unworthy to be used as an engine against them in the Controversie of the Commonwealth: But if they will not be quiet, I shall be forced, in honour to my own reputation, to open the Cabinet of my Aspersers infirmities, that the world may see what sort of men they are that say unto others, thou shalt not steal, and steal themselves: I shall be sorry to be forced to it; but if they will not be content, necessity hath no law, I shall (as Mr. John Goodwin said to Mr. Edwards, if he would not be quiet) make all their reputations as a stinking carcasse.

And although they think they have such firm matters against me, let them not be too hastie to pursue me with reproach any further, lest it recoil with a vengeance upon themselves: for it is an old and a true saying, One tale is good till another be told. Therefore let no man judge before the time, lest he be judged; for I am able to vindicate my self to all rationall men, as clear as the Sun at noon day, in what I have done.

Much I might have said as in relation to the illegality of our Apprehension, Commitment, &c. But for the present I shall omit it to further opportunity, or the engagement of some more abler pen: And so I shall commit my self and my wayes to God alone, with chearfulnesse and alacrity of spirit, rejoycing that he hath counted me worthy to bear witnesse once more against the Oppressours of the People, and to suffer for the sake of the poor, against the insulting tyrants of the times.

RICHARD OVERTON.

Dulce est pro Patria mori.

Postscript

Courteous Reader, for thy better satisfaction concerning the infamous scandal raised by Lieutenant Colonel Axtel upon me, I thought meet to subjoin hereunto a Copie of an Affidavit concerning the Matter: But I have forborn the publishing of the Deponents name in print, upon his own desire. Yet those of my friends who are desirous, I shall be ready to shew unto them the Originall Copy: A transcript whereof is as followeth.

A. B. of the Parish of St. Anne Aldersgate, Citizen and Pewterer of London, aged thirty six years or thereabouts, maketh Oath, That whereas Lieutenant Colonel Axtel, upon his Apprehending of Mr. Richard Overton, upon Wednesday, between five and sixe of the clock in the morning, being the twenty ninth of March last past, 1649, by an Order from the Councell of State, did raise and make a Report, that he took the said Mr. Overton in bed with this Deponents Wife, that That Report was and is altogether false and scandalous, for that this Deponent and the said Mr. Overton, the Tuesday night next preceding the said Wednesday, did lie both together all that night in one and the self same bed, and this Deponents Wife and his little Childe in another bed of this Deponents house or lodgings. And that the next morning, before the said Lieutenant Colonel Axtel knocked at the door, this Deponent, with his Wife, with the said Mr. Overton, were all up and ready (saving that Mr. Overton had not put on his boots, band and cuffs) and were altogether in a chamber of this Deponents house, where this Deponents Wife was then suckling of her childe: and this Deponent hearing some body knock at the door, went down to open it, which was readily done by a girl of the same house. Whereupon the said Lieutenant Colonel Axtel (meeting this Deponent upon the stairs, and asking him if he were Mr. Overton, to which this Deponent replying, No,) commanded the Musketiers (who attended him) to take this Deponent into their custody, and he himself went directly up into the chamber with some Musketiers attending him. All which this Deponent affirmeth upon his oath to be true.

A.B.

Rob. Aylet.

FINIS.

The Narrative of the Proceedings against Mr Thomas Prince, Thus followeth.

Upon Wednesday the 28. of March 1649. about four a Clock in the morning, my house was beset with about 200 Horse and Foot Souldiers with their Arms, one or more of them knocked at my door, my Wife being up with one of my Children (who was very sick) she hearing the knocking, speedily went and asked who was there? Some of them said, Is Mr Prince within? my wife said, yes: one of them said I would speak with him about some Butter and Cheese for Ireland: my wife told them, my husband is not stirring: they sayd, We must speak with him, it is not for his hurt: my wife presently comes running to my chamber and said to me, Husband, what have you done, here is a Troop of horse and many souldiers at the door for you? I gave my wife this Answer, I fear them not, if there were ten thousand Troops: presently my wife went and let them into my house, and being entred, they searched my Cestern and Oven, and three beds, and asked who lay in this bed? and who in that bed? &c. and turned and tossed the bed cloaths: presently after they came to the chamber where I was, with a pistoll and muskets presented against me: I asked them what the matter was? Lieutenant Colonel Axtel told me, I was his Prisoner, and that he did apprehend me for High Treason, I desired to see his Warrant: He said, here is a Warrant from the Councel of State, signed by the Lord President, and sealed with the great Seal: I took it of him, and read it over, and I found it was no Legal Warrant, and so I told the Lieutenant Colonel. Forthwith came my Wife unto me, and said unto the Souldiers, that she knew her Husband had done no harm, and that he cared not for the worst his Enemies could do unto him.

I was joyful to hear the cheerful words of my Wife, And my Wife further said, Is these the men my Husband hath stood for, and adventured his life, as he hath done, and trusted the Parliament in their necessities, above six years past, with above 1000 l. and is yet unpayd? I am sure my Husband is above 2000 l. the worse in his Estate, for assisting them. I said, Good sweet Heart be content, it is not for men I have stood, it is that the Commonwealth might be freed from Tyranny and Slavery, and I am not sorry for what I have done, for I have discharged a good Conscience therein.

I made me ready presently, took my leave of my dear and loving Wife, and went with the Lieutenant Colonel into my shop, where I found one of my servants and divers Souldiers with him, The Lieutenant Colonel asked me if I missed any thing, wished me to search the Souldiers.

I looked upon the Souldiers, and I told them, By their faces they seemed to me to be no such men: I told them, I had better thoughts of them, I, for my part, have done the Souldiers no wrong:

And I doubt not but these men and their fellow-Souldiers will stand for their own and the Peoples just Liberties against all Tyranny in whomsoever.

And as I was going from my shop in the Lane which doth joyn to my house, there was another party of Souldiers which stood nigh unto my door, and perceiving them in the street and lane, I laught heartily to see so many armed men come for me: I told the Lieutenant Col. one man with a Legal Warrant had been sufficient: The Lieutenant said, they had special Order upon their peril to come: I told him, to come in that manner was suitable to his unjust Warrant: And I also told him, my name is Prince, and that it was usual for Princes to have great attendance.

The Lieutenant Collonel gave a Captain charge of me, to bring me to Paul’s yard, which was performed with a strong Guard following close unto us, after a very little time, came my Friend Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, and Mr William Walwyn, after salutations betwixt us, we went from thence with Adjutant General Stubbard to White-Hall, and there with a very strong Guard of Soldiers was brought unto us our Friend Mr Richard Overton, and there we were kept prisoners until about five a Clock in the afternoon, at that time with a Guard of Souldiers we were brought to Darby-house, within two hours after we had been there, I was called for, I presently went, as was desired, into a room, where I see about ten or twelve men sitting about a large Table, after I had given them a full view, I put off my Hat: I was spoke unto to go nigh Mr Bradshaw, which I did, Mr Bradshaw said unto me, Here is the Votes of Parliament against that printed paper, entituled, The second part of Englands new Chains discovered, which Mr Bradshaw gave unto Mr Frost to read it to me, which he did. Mr Bradshaw likewise told me, Here is an Order of Parliament, giving power to this Councel of State to finde out and examine the Authors, Framers and Contrivers of the aforesaid paper, and to deal with them as they shall see cause, This Councel is informed that you are one of the Authors, Framers or Contrivers of the aforesaid Paper, and you are required to give your Answer.

After a little silence, I said these words, or to this effect;

Sir, I am an Englishman, and therefore lay claim to all the Rights and Liberties which belongeth unto an Englishman, and God gave me such knowledg, that in the very first beginning of the late Wars I gave my cheerful assistance against those that would rule over the people by their own wills, and upon that account, I adventured my life, and lost much blood in defence of the Common-wealth, and all along to this day have assisted in person and purse, to my utmost abilities, and I am the same man still to withstand Tyranny in any whomsoever.

Sir, I hate no man in the world, only the evil in any man I hate.

Sir, all those good things which my conscience and my actions will witness, I have done in behalf of the Common-wealth, I desire they may be all layd aside, and not come in the ballance, as to hinder any punishment that can be afflicted upon me for breaking any known Law.

Sir, that which makes a man an offender, is for breach of a Law, and that Law ought to be made before the offence is committed. Sir, Although I have fought and assisted against the wills and tyranny of men, yet I have not fought to overthrow the known Laws of the Land, for if there be no Law to protect my Estate, Liberty and Life, but to be left to the will of men, to the power of the Sword, to be abused at pleasure, as I have been this day, contrary to Law, being fetcht from my wife and family. Sir, by the same rule you may send for my wife, and children, and for all my estate, and the next time, if you please, to destroy all my neighbors, nay all in the City, and so from County to County, until you destroy as many as you please.

Sir, I have heard talk of Levellers, but I am sure this is levelling indeed, and I do here before you abhor such doings, and I do protest against them.

Sir, There is aknown Law in this Land: if I have wronged any man, let him take his course in Law against me, I fear not what any man in England can do to me by Law, and, Sir, the Law I lay claim unto, as my right, to protect me from violence.

Sir, the Parliament hath lately declared, they would maintain the Law; but I am sure their and your dealing by me declares to the contrary.

Mr Bradshaw said, Is this your Answer? I said, Yes, then I was commanded to withdraw.

After some space I was called in again, Mr Bradshaw asked me, if I did own or deny that Paper, entituled, The second part of Englands new Chains discovered; and to this I was required by that Councel to give my Answer. To which I replyed:

Sir, At the beginning of the Parliament it was declared, how destructive it was for any man to be examined upon Interrogatories, and Sir, if they had not Declared it, it is my right not to be examined against my self; Sir, God hath given me this understanding, not to wrong my Neighbour nor my Self, if my right hand should take away and betray the liberty of my left, I would cut it off: Sir, the people who is the Originall of all Just Power, hath not given any such power to the Parliament, as to examine men against themselves in criminall Causes, the Parliament cannot give that to others they have not.

Sir, as I said before, if any man in England hath any thing against me, let them take their course by Law, Sir, the Law doth prescribe Rules for the Offender to be brought before a Justice of Peace, and after the Justice hath examined witnesses upon Oath, before the party apprehended, if the offence (although proved upon oath) be Bayleable, the Justice is to take Bayle, if the Justice refuse, the party may arrest the Justice, and have his cost by Law against him, if not Bayleable the party is to be sent to prison, and there to be kept untill the next Session or Assises, and not during pleasure.

Sir, I never heard of any Law that gives you, or any of these Gentlemen that sit here, any just Authoritie to call me here in this manner before you.

Master Bradshaw said, Is this your Answer? I answered yes, then I was bid withdraw.

About an hour after, news was brought unto us, That we were to be sent Prisoners to the Tower, upon suspition of High Treason, we disputed with the Officer, and shewed he had no Legall Warrant to carry us thither as prisoners, notwithstanding (by the power of the sword) we were brought Prisoners to the Tower of London, where we are Rejoycing that we are counted worthy to suffer in bearing Testimony for the Freedome of the People, against their Usurpation and Tyrannie.

THO: PRINCE.

FINIS.

I shall desire to acquaint the Reader, that when the Title page of the fore-going Book was first set, there was an absolute determination to have re-printed all our Examinations together, but for some weighty reasons the intentions are altered, and because I understand that the fury, rage and bloud-thirstinesse of Cromwell, Ireton, Haslerig, and Harrison is most at me, right or wrong to destroy me and have my bloud, I am determined, by Gods assistance, to fill their hands as full with my own pen, as all the brains I have can fill them; and to make them pay a valuable price, if possibly I carl, for every hair of my head. And in order to my future intentions, I shall here annex my Outcryes against the Bishops, when they had like to have murdered me in the Fleet, being printed at Amsterdam 1639, intituled

A Cry for Justice: or; An Epistle written by John Lilburn, To all the grave and worthy Citizens of the famous City of London, but esfecially to the Right honorable Maurice Abbot, Lord Maior thereof,

The most miserable and lamentable complaint of that inhumane, barbarous, savage and unparalell’d cruelty and tyranny, that is causelesly, unjustly, and wrongfully exercised upon me John Lilburn a faithfull Subject to my Prince, Country, and a Prentise of this Honorable City, though now a most deplorable close prisoner in the common Gaol of the Fleet. 1639.

Most Honorable and Noble Lord, The chief cause wherefore God the wise Governour of Heaven and Earth, did appoint Magistrates, was for the good of the sons of men, and that they should do Justice betwixt a man and his neighbour, and that they should hear the grievances of the oppressed, and deliver them from the cruelty of their oppressors.

That wrong, violence and injustice that I have suffered, would be now too long to relate in particular: but it being so insupportable, made me to publish it abroad unto the view of the world, to the perpetuall infamy of my tormentors, the chief of which are the traitorous, bloody, murthering Prelates.

The story of my former misery and wrongs you may, if you please, read at large in three severall Books of mine now in print, and published to the view of England, Scotland, Ireland and Holland. They are called My unjust Censure in the Star-chamber, My Speech at the Pillory, and My mournfull Lamentations. I have not seen them since they were put in print, because the Prelate of Canterbury wrongfully detains well nigh two thousand of them from me: but there are still many thousands of them behinde, and I doubt not but some, who pities my afflicted estate, will convey some of them unto your Lordships hands: In the last of which I have proved, that I am more cruelly dealt with, then bloudy Bonner dealt with the poor Saints and Martyrs in Queen Marys dayes, and that I am denyed that which in England was never yet denyed to any Traytor that ever I read of. And in it I accuse William Laud the Prelate of Canterbury for High Treason, the which I did a yeer agone before Sir John Banks Knight, and will still venture my life upon the proof thereof, if I may have a Legall proceeding. One ground of my accusation is this, the Parliament Laws and Statutes of this Land, as the 25 and 37 of Hen. 8. and the first of Edw. 6. and the first and 27 of Elizabeth, doth enact to this effect, That whosoever goes about to set up or challenge any terrain or domestick Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, but what doth immediately flow and come from the Imperiall Crown, is (ipso facto) a Traitor, and ought to die without the benefit of Clergie, as more at large in them you may read. Now the Bishop of Canterbury and the rest of his mercilesse brethren, about four yeers agone, in the Censure of the Noble Doctor Bastwick, (now of late much degenerate) there in their open Court at Lambeth, renounced the King and his Authority, and said, They were not beholding to him for their Episcopall Jurisdiction, for they were made Bishops by Jesus Christ, and consecrated by the holy Ghost, and they had their thrones, and were before Christian Kings, and they held the Crowns of Kings upon their heads, and their Maxime was, No Bishop, no King. And if this be not treason, then I think there was never any committed: And this, with much more to this effect, Doctor Bastwick doth declare in his answer to Sir John Banks his Information (as you may read in the tenth and eleventh pages thereof.) And for this (most Noble Lord) was I, against all Law and Justice, laid in irons for a long time together, in a most inhumane manner, and lock’d up close prisoner for these twelve months together, against all Law, and to the violating of the Subjects Libertie: for by Magna Charta, and other Statutes of this Land, which are still in force, but onely the execution of them is thrown in the kennell, neither the Lord Keeper, nor any others ought to commit any of the Kings Subjects close prisoners, unless either for Felony or Treason, and onely in case of an extraordinary crime, and then they must forthwith bring them to their tryall: But by close imprisonment the Law doth not mean that the Kings Subjects should be locked up in rooms; much lesse, that their friends should not be suffered to come to speak with them, and bring them victuals to preserve their lives, as grave Judge Crook, not long since, in his Speech at Westminster-Hall did prove, when he pleaded for the Subjects Liberty. But contrary to the Parliament Laws, yea, and the practice of Heathens and Pagans, I am lockt up close all alone, and cannot be suffered to come to a just tryall; but am kept up so close, that my friends and acquaintance that bring me relief (I being long since deserted of my Kindred) are not suffered to come at me, but are sent away with that they bring me, with all the abuses, reproaches, and revilings that possible may be, by my Keeper. And one that came unto me he hath beaten, and others he hath threatned to kick if they come any more to me; and to others of them he hath most faisly and slanderously reviled me, calling me Rebell and Traytor, telling them that no victuals should come at me: so that I am forced daily, in regard of barbarous cruelty, to cry out aloud at my iron grate, to the prisoners and strangers, to let them know the height of my misery wherein I live: and yet no redresse can I have, but daily more and more cruelty is exercised upon me, and many grievous threats from bloudy murthering Morry my keeper, who threatens to hamper me, and lock my head and legs together for my complaining: This he did the last Lords day at night, and also offered to beat me with his keys, in so much, that at ten a clock at night I was forced to cry out to the prisoners of it. And in this most miserable condition do I remain, though I have been dangerously sick almost these eleven months, which many times hath brought me even unto deaths door; and in regard of my exceeding extremity of pain in my head, by reason of my long closenesse ever since Candlemass Term was twelve months, and my cruell torments besides, I have been constrained (for to get a little case of my extream pain, which in sudden fits takes me for two or three hours together) to be tied to a constant course of Physick usually once in fourteen dayes, and sometimes oftner: And though of late I had a little liberty to walk once a day in the common prison yard; yet I am now deprived of it by the Warden for complaining of my keepers cruelty, and his shamefull abusing me, and my friends which did but come to look upon me; with whom this was my greatest discourse, that I had tied my self by promise, before I could get that little liberty of walking, that I would not talk with any Friends, therefore I desired them not to be offended, for I durst not talk with them: Yet because they came but to see me, I was deprived of it, and also they that looked to me in my sicknesse and weaknesse kept from me; so that now in my weakness I have none to look to me. In my Grievous and mournfull Complaint already published, I have a little touched the Wardens galled conscience for his cruell oppressions: wherefore he in revenge (it seems) intends to murther me, lest I should by my just complaints make it cost him as dear as the salving up of his wickednesse did, when he was last called to an account, for I have heard the prisoners with open mouth proclaim it, that for making his peace, he gave to the Earl of Bohon ten thousand pounds, and to the fore-man of the Jury one thousand pounds, for which his conscience being troubled, he revealed it upon his death bed: And also to an Officer five hundred pounds to rase out some things which were upon record: yea, I have heard the poor Prisoners proclaim it aloud, that he cozens them of above seven hundred pounds a yeer which belongs to them; and allows them but a small pittance, upon which they are not able to live; and some of them have severall times in the open Chappel cryed out to the Gentlemen prisoners, that they are ready to starve and perish for want of food; yea, so great hath been the barbarous cruelty of the Warden to the poor, that (if the Prisoners reports may be beleeved) poor men here have been forced, for want of food, to eat their own dung: And this had been my own condition, in likelyhood, had not God raised up some compassionate Friends, that were meer strangers unto me before my sufferings; some of which, through all difficulties and reproaches from my Keeper, have brought me food. And though the poor have not by the Wardens means the tenth part of their due, yet to lessen that small means which the poor hitherto hath had (some of which have nothing else in the world to live upon) he hath of late added unto them so many more, (some of which are men of able estates) which he hath put upon the charity, contrary to their Orders, purposely to starve the poor indeed: yea, he hath by force put upon the charity Henry the Hangman, who is under-Turnkey, and hath forty pound land a yeer, as he himself confesseth; and whose vailes besides, as I have heard the prisoners say, are some times better worth then three shillings a day, and this the warden hath done for him, because he is so officious and ready in beating and abusing the poor distressed prisoners, that cry out of the wardens cruelty; and not only the poor prisoners, but also some of those that come to visit and relieve them, some of which he hath beat, and threatned to kick others.

I have heard the prisoners affirm that the revenues of the Fleet hath been cast up to be above threescore thousand pounds a yeer, oh therefore the height of cruelty not to be paralell’d, I think amongst the savage, and barbarous Heathens and Pagans, and which mightily crys unto your Honor, now in our Soveraigns absence, for the wellfare of the City, betimes to be looked unto, and with the assistance of the Noble Lord Protector, to examine out the truth of things, that poor oppressed men may have speedy redress of their wrongs; the greatest part of which, ariseth by reason of the wardens greatnesse with the Bishop of Canterbury and the Lord Keeper, so that they dare not for fear (as I have heard some of them say) complain of him.

Besides my Lord it is notoriously known, that John Morry my upper keeper hath been arraigned at Newgate for murthering a prisoner here in former times, and I think here are other fresh things against him, if poor prisoners might be heard and have justice, which would bear another inditement, and at least manifest him to be too too bloudy a man to have the keeping of poor innocent men; for some in this prison, as it is here reported have been secretly poysoned and lost their lives upon it, and others with eating garlike, and like antidotes have expelled it, and are yet living here to justifie the same; and my dogged under keeper hath been a hangman; whereupon the prisoners at their fallings out with him, do say this verse to his face (viz) Morry the Irish pedler, and Harry the hangman of Cambridge-Shiere, and by these two bloody men, from both of which I have received unsufferable wrongs, my Adversaries intend I shall be killed in a corner.

Because of my untainted innocency, they dare not bring me to a legall publike tryal to the view of the Kingdom; wherefore I am forced by reason of intolerable cruelty injustice and wrong, to cry out unto your Honour, as I have often done at my grate, murther, murther, murther; therefore hear O Heavens, and give care O Earth, and all ye that hear or read this my just complaint and lamentation, bear witness to future generations, that I cry out of violence, wrong, injustice, cruelty, and inhumanity, that I suffer from the trayterous Bishop, and the unjust Lord Keeper, old Sir Henry Vaine, and their bloody Jaylours, which do and will execute their commands, be they never so unjust and unlawful. And how that for my zeal and courage for my God and his truth and glory, and for my ardent love to my Prince and Country, and for my strong desire and indeavour (or the prosperity and flourishing estate of this renowned City, the Metropolis of England, I am like to lose my life and blood by murthering cruelty in close Imprisonment, Therefore, oh all ye brave and worthy Citizens, save, help and rescue me a poor distressed and greatly oppressed young man, from the devouring pawes of devouring Lionish men.

Now my Honorable Lord, I come to make my humble supplication unto your self, which is this, that you would be pleased to take my most deplorable condition into your grave and serious consideration, and after your consultation about it, with your worshipfull brethren the Aldermen of this City, acquaint the honourable Lord protector that noble and courteous Earl of Northumberland, with it (who in part knows it already) but alas alas, I am long since deserted of my kindred and friends, so that I have none that dare follow my business for me, wherefore I am like shortly to perish in my great distress unless your Lorships be pleased in this particular to do something for me.

I desire from your Honours neither silver nor gold, for alas at present it would do me no pleasure, for had I all treasure in the world to buy me victuals, and want a stomack when I should have them, they would nothing avail me: and yet so lamentable is my condition, by reason of my longe closeness and painfull sickness; so that all the favour I desire is but the one of these two things. First that if I be thought to be an offender, that then I may be forthwith brought to a publick tryal, and suffered with freedom to pleade my own just cause again the Bishops, and the Lord Keeper, and old Sir Henry Vaine’s illegall and unjust censure of me which was onely upon this ground: because I refused to take an illegall and unlawfull inquisition oath, which he the Lord Keeper tendred to me, which as I told him to his face in the Star-chamber is against the Statute Lawes of this land; yea against the petition of right, enacted in the 3 yeer of our Soveraign King Charles; yea I told him and proved it to be against the Lawes of God and man, and contrary to the practise of the Heathens and Pagans; (as you may read in the Acts of the Apostles) yet this was the onely ground wherefore he and old Sir Henry Vane, &c. censured me to pay 100 pound, and to be whipt; for there was no witness brought against me face to face, onely there was read two false oaths made by one Edmond Chillington (now a Lieut. in Col. Whalyes Regiment, and one of the principal men that lately caused the Souldier to be shot to death at Pauls) whom the Bishop hired, by giving him his liberty out of New-gate prison for swearing those two false oaths, and doing them other wicked service of the like nature.

My Lord for my own part I desire no mercy nor favour nor compassion from the greatest of my enemies, but onely the benefit of my Soveraignes Lawes, which as I am a faithful and loyal subject to my Prince and Contry, I do according to my priviledge earnestly crave and begg not fearing by reason of my unspotted Innocency the rigour of Justice; for my innocency is such that I fear neither death nor hell, men nor Devills, hanging nor burning; for I assuredly know that when this my miserable life is ended I shall go to my God of glory to be a posessour of an immortall Crowne of glory.

In the second place, if they will not let me have a speedy and legal tryall, then therefore in regard my keepers are such murthering, poysoning and starving fellowes, that I have just cause, in regard of their cruell bloudy threats and inveterate malice at me, to fear that they will either secretly by poison, or else by other wicked cruelty put me to death. I humbly and earnestly desire, that I may be turned over to Bridwell, Newgate, either of the Counters, or any other prison about this City, where my friends may be suffered to come to me and relieve me, and look to me in my weaknesse and great distresse; for I am necessitated with speed to take physick again to ease the extremity of pain which I endure in my head; if my Friends according to law and humanity might be suffered to come to look to me. And for my safe imprisonment, if I may be removed I will put in sufficient security either to the L. Protector, or your self for my forth-coming at all times to answer whatsoever the greatest or capitallest of my enemies shall at any time object against me.

Now, my Lord, I have a little acquainted you with my grievous and just complaint, the particulars of which I offer to justifie and prove, it being such an example of cruelty which is lawlesly and unjustly exercised upon me, which I think cannot be parallell’d in any Nation in the world, where morality and humanity are professed.

Oh therefore, as you are the Noble Governour of this Renowned City, and a Magistrate of good report, make me some powerfull and speedy help against the cruel Warden, whose lawless, unjust, and uncontrollable oppressions are so great (not only to me, but also to-many other poor prisoners) that I think no Prison in the world is able to parallel those just complaints that poor distressed men are able justly to make against him; the chief of which arise from the Bishop, old Sir Henry Vane, and the Lord Keeper’s bearing up the Warden in all his cruelty, for executing with tyranny and rigour their unjust and unlawfull Commands upon those they commit hither to be tormented in our cruel Fleet Purgatory, which if any of the oppressed do but offer to speak of, the Warden and his Officers do labour by lawlesse cruelty to murther them.

Therefore it behoves you, my Lord, and my Lord Protector, now in our Soveraigns absence [being then gone against the Scots] to hear the cryes of poor distressed, and too too much oppressed prisoners, and to ease them according to justice and right, of their intolerable burthens.

For my own part, my distresses and miseries are so great, that I protest before the God of heaven and earth, that I had rather imbrace present death, then still endure the piercing bitternesse of my oppressing torments: yea, I had rather chuse to be banished into the howling and dolesom wildernesse, and left among the Lions, Dragons, Bears and Wolves, those devouring and ramping wilde beasts, then to be as I am, in the custody of the lawlesse, murthering Bishop and Jaylors.

O therefore, if there be any bowels of mercy and compassion in you, most Noble Lord, pity the deplorable condition of me a poor distressed innocent young man, and a Prentice of this Honourable City: And with you, my Lord, I have had occasion to speak face to face about my Masters businesse; and the last piece of service that I did him was in your Honours House. O that I were with you again, that I might with mournfull sollicitations sollicite you for some speedy redresse, which for our Christ his sake I beseech you let me shortly have, lest the continuance in my present and constant misery, cause me to publish this in print, proclaiming it aloud to other Nations, to the publick view of all men, that so they may know my miserable condition. But if I can but have any redresse I shall be ready at your Honours command to do you any service that I am able; and in the interim, I shall with willingnesse sit down in peace and silence. So committing you and all your brave Citizins to the keeping of the Almighty Protector, desiring him to guide your Noble heart uprightly to execute Justice and Judgment in your great place, in these tormenting, oppressing and bloudy times; that so your good name for equity and justice may be had in perpetuity in future generations. So for the present I humbly take my leave, and rest,

Your most miserable distressed, and cruelly oppressed poor Suppliant,

JOHN LILBURN.

All of this I subscribe with my own bloud, which is already almost shed with cruelty: And for the safety of my life, since I was whipt, to the number of above 500 stripes with knotten whip-cords in lesse then an hours space, I have been forced to be let bloud four times.

And because in my most cruell condition I am not suffered to have either pen or ink, neither of which I make use of in the writing of this, I am forced to send it very ruggedly to your Honour, and to crave pardon for those literal faults that you shall finde in it.

From the Fleet, the oppressingest and cruellest prison (I think) that is in the world, the middle of this fifth Month, called May, 1639.

JOHN LILBURN.

 

 


 

6.8. [William Walwyn], The English Souldiers Standard (n.p., 5 April 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

[William Walwyn], The English Souldiers Standard to Repaire to, for Wisdom and Understanding in these doleful backs-liding Times. To be read by every honest Officer to his Souldiers, and by the Souldiers one to another.
Printed in the Yeer, 1649.

Estimated date of publication

5 April 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 736; Thomason E. 550. (1.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

IT WAS most worthily said of you, in your Declaration of the 14 of June 1647, page 6, That you were not a meer mercenary Army, hired to serve any arbitraryr power of a State; but were called forth, and conjured by the severall Declarations of Parliament, to the defence of your own and the peoples just Rights and Liberties: and so you took up Arms in judgment and conscience, to those ends.

Which expressions of yours, and the like, gave so great content and satisfaction to all sorts of well-minded people, that the meanest private Souldier amongst you was more honourable in their esteem, then the most glorious out-side man in the world: you had been their guard by day, and their defence by night; you delivered them from the Bear, and from the Lion; and when the Parliament began to turn Tyrants themselves, and would have broken you in pieces by dividing of you, and sending a part of you for Ireland, that so they might without obstacle have trampled upon the peoples Liberties, you resolved, as became an Army whom the Lord had blessed, to deliver the people also from those uncircumcised Philistines.

And when they would have terrified you from so doing, with urging, that you resisted Authority; you spared not to tell them (and that truly) That it is no resisting of Magistracy, to side with the just principles and Law of Nature and Nations: And that the Souldiery may lawfully hold the hands of the Generall who will turn his Canon (meaning his strength, power and authority) against his Army, on purpose to destroy (or enslave) them: And such (you say) were the proceedings of our Ancestours of famous memorie, to the purchasing of such Rights and Liberties as they have enjoyed through the price of their bloud; and we both by that, and the later bloud of our dear friends and fellow-souldiers (with the hazard of our own) do now lay claim to.

And truly friends, it will be necessary for you to look quickly about you, and that to purpose, and to be like unto our Ancestors, or like unto your selves in what you then declared: and to enquire, whether you and the rest of the people of this Nation are yet restored to those their Rights and Liberties: and accordingly to be satisfied in your Judgments and Consciences.

You have been many of you Country-men and know well what a miserable burthen Tythes and Free-quarter are: many of you have been Trades-men and laborious people, and can be sensible how intolerable the burthen of Excise, and Customs, and Monopolies in Trade are, Officers and Usurers running away with that which should pay you, and the poor labour for; to the ruine of Trade. You cannot but know what it is to live continually in prison, in penury and beggery, hearing and seeing the misery of such poor people in all places.

You know, we live under unknown Laws, written in canting French, vext and molested with a whole drove of corrupt Judges, Lawyers, Jaylors, and the like Caterpillers of the Common-wealth.

Your great Officers indeed have reduced the Supreme Authority into one Jurisdiction: but what are we or you the better, when it is used to set up new ways of tryals for our Lives and Liberties, new Courts of Justice, denying both you and us (when they please) the benefits of tryals by twelve sworn men: when already they have punish’d for matters of Religion, as other corrupt Parliaments use to do: and when they have erected a Councell of State that already examines men upon Interrogatories against themselves in criminall Cases: when they stop the Presse, that no information shall be given to you or the people, and imploy worse beagles to hunt after books, than the High-Commission or Star-Chamber ever did?

Nay Friends, where are you and our Liberties, when your Generall Councel of Officers make it so hainous a crime for Souldiers to petition Parliaments, without licence of their Officers. It is but few years since that in London the Aldermen of the City endeavoured that no Citizens should petition the Parliament, but first they should passe the Common Councel.

But it was when those great men intended to grasp into their hands all power both of Parliament and people; as appeared soon after by their pernitious Remonstrances, and desperate Engagements; which we beleeve had done much more mischief, if honest and resolved Citizens had not made bold with their Greatships, and frequently visited the House with Petitions, which would as soon have past the fire, as the Common Councell.

And you had best look unto your selves, and to your and our Liberties, when as your Officers (many of them) begin to combine together, and punish men for petitioning; assure your selves, if they go on, your Liberties and ours are not long-lived; nay, are they not at last gasp, when they are grown so raging mad, as to importune for a Law to have power in themselves, to hang and put to death any person, though not of the Army, as shall hold any discourse with Souldiers about their own and the peoples just Rights and Liberties? Pray friends, were these men any part of the Army when you published to the world, that you took up Arms in Judgment and Conscience, for the peoples just Rights and Liberties? or have those your Officers forgot themselves, and utterly lost their consciences, and all sense of their then promises. Declarations, and Remonstrances? if so, you shall do well to remember them, as you did those Officers of yours that made scruple to engage with you for your right of petitioning, and for the peoples Liberties at New-market.

Or are these Officers usurpers, and not properly the Councell that was then chosen by the Army? pray look to it, for your Declarations and their works differ exceedingly; the one tending to freedom, but the latter to such a bondage as all true English Souldiers will abhor; and if you find that you have not chosen them to deal with you in those affairs of the Common-wealth, which concern every private Souldier, as the greatest Commander: What have you then to do, but chuse out from amongst your selves, such faithfull men, whether Officers or Souldiers, as in these doubtfull staggering times, have stood firm to their first principles, and do evidence by their humility and resolution, that they took up arms in judgement and Conscience, for their own and the peoples just Rights, and Liberties: and such as rather then the Nation should be deprived thereof, being purchased with so vast expence of blood, durst hold the hands of the Generall, and all the Generall Officers, if they shall persist to turn their Cannons, their strength, power, and authority to the enslaving of the Common-wealth.

For what else is become of that judgment and Conscience, in which you took up armes? certainly your Consciences cannot be satisfied that your Generall, and Generall Officers, no nor the new Generall Councell of Officers, (which seldom exceeds three-score persons) shall after all your tedious strivings, and struglings for liberty, against all other parties, make both you and us, slaves to themselves in a Counsell of State, or their own packt Parliament? certainly Tyranny, Cruelty and continuance of oppression, is not the lesse because your Officers are now the Authors and continuers of it: but should rather be esteemed the greater and more abominable, by how much their promises have exceeded others. It cannot stand either with sound judgment, or good Conscience, that now you should be so far respecters of persons, as to beare with that wickedness, and treachery in your pretended friends and Commanders, which you have by many years war laboured to destroy and root out, in two great and powerful) parties.

You are seriously to consider that you have an alseeing God to give an account unto, and are not to please your Commanders in fulfilling their wils; but to be sure that you give satisfaction to your Conscience in the well pleasing of Almighty God.

And it will be no satisfaction at all to his justice, when he shall call you to an account for the killing and slaying of men, for you to say that you did it in obedience to the Commands of your Generall and Officers; for you must note that it is those just ends, the rights and liberties of the people, that only can acquit you from being murtherers in all you have done, go that you may at once highly please your commanders in killing and slaying of men, to make way for their greatness, wealth, and domination; and more highly displease God in being murtherers in so doing: nor can you escape his heavy Judgments, except you persevere and go on to those just ends, unto which you have made your way as through a Sea of Blood, and to be no respecters of persons, but to take whomsoever for an enemy that shall oppose you therein.

It is observed that you are very strict against your own fellow Souldiers, in case they offend, though in small matters, inflicting very severe punishments for particular offences; and why then look you not after and consider the ways of your Commanders, but let them pass with all their delusions of the Army, abusing the faith and credit thereof, with all sorts of people, breaking your Counsell of Agitators, corrupting and terrifying both Officers and Souldiers, to mould them to their own vile and unworthy ends: and are now in a ready way to make themselves, and their creatures in Parliament, and elsewhere absolute Masters over the Common-wealth? Nay do you not help them in it for want of consideration? for why else are you so ready to execute their cruell sentences upon honest and faithfull Souldiers, as your shooting the man to death at Ware, and imprisoning of divers about the agreement of the people? And now also of late your forcing of five worthy Souldiers to ride the Horse, with their faces to the Horse tails, and breaking their swords over their heads, for standing to their and your Right in petitioning, and for presenting a letter to your cruell Counsell in justification thereof?

It seems it is a very true proverbe, that honors change manners, and is fully verified in your great Commanders, who in the fore recited Declaration of the 14 of June 1647 earnestly desired that, the right and freedom of the people to present petitions to the Parliament might be cleared and vindicated, haveing made it before hainous crime in Hollis, and Stapleton, to hinder the Souldiers from petitioning; and yet now being in honor and power, judge, and sentence honest faithfull Souldiers, to base unworthy punishments, for but resolving to petition.

But truely friends, suffer this and suffer any thing; experience saith, he that takes one box on the car invites another; and when Souldiers that should be men in all things, stand still and suffer their fellow Souldiers to be thus abused by a pack of Officers, no marvell if these officers turn Tyrants, and presume to do any thing to any man.

What right hath a Generall, Generall Officers, or a Counsell of Officers, to petition more then the meanest private Souldier? surely, to be a Generall is not to be above Law, except he make himself a Tyrant; is he or any Officer any other but a person under authority and accomptable for discharge of their trusts? nor is a private Souldier a slave because he is a private souldier: but to have as full benefit of the Law, as clear a use of his liberty in petitioning, or otherwayes as his Generall, or Officers; and there is no surer mark to know a Tyrant by, or such as would be so, then for any to argue otherwise: And it will be good to mark such with a black coale.

Pray consider it, and lay it to heart: Is it not a shame that your fellow-souldiers should undergo so slavish, so severe and painfull punishment, as to ride the woodden horse, or run the gauntlet, and be whipt for small particular offences, and that you should suffer in the mean time your Officers and Commanders to turn Tyrants, and never punish them at all for it? Is this to take up Arms in Judgment and Conscience, when one man, being your Commander, may (as the proverb saith) steal a horse, and you will hang a private souldier for but looking over the hedge? for what comparison is there between a private souldiers offence, and an Officers turning a Bear, a Wolf, a Tyrant?

Beleeve it, if you look not to it speedily, your Officers are in a ready way to make you and the Commonwealth absolute slaves; for they mould and fashion the Army even how they please; preferring none to commands but flatterers and servile men, and catch at all advantages to turn all such out of command as are anyway sensible of the rights of the people; and have taken so absolute a power therein so long, that they have done very much of their work:

And do beleive all is formed to their own bent, and that’s the reason they presume now to propose the sending of many of you for Ireland, pretending extraordinary necessity, and that that Nation otherwise will be utterly lost:—but surely all parties are not so soon agreed; ’twill not be amiss to make two words to such a bargain.

This you know is not the first fetch for Ireland; and you must note ’tis neither Ireland, nor Scotland, nor any other forces they fear, but the sting of their own consciences perpetually tels them they have dealt most perfideously, and Tyrannously with the Army, and Common-wealth; and they perceive by the many motions of Soilldiers, and others, that the Army is likely to draw out Adjutators once more, whose morning they know will be the evening of their domination, and the next day they fear will prove their dooms day:

To avoid which, in all post haste they must be divided, and sent some one way, and some another; but if you be wise, stay a little, or you may perhaps never meet again. Certainly, before you go, it will be good for you to see those Rights and Liberties of the people, for which you took up Arms in judgment and conscience, cleared and secured, by a full and clear Agreement of the people; and not to leave them at the meer arbitrary mercy of a Councel of State, or a pack’d Parliament: for since they have dared to gull and cheat you to your faces, and whitest you are hereabouts, and together; what inhumane cruelties may they not do in your absence? especially, since they incline to raise more forces of a mercenary and servile nature, that shall make no questions for conscience sake about their Commands, as you have been used to do; and then fare-well the English Liberties for ever.

What-ever they may tell you, or however they may flatter you, there is no less danger lies at the bottom of this business for Ireland, and therefore it behoves every one of you to lay it to heart: and before you resolve upon a new Engagement, first see a new Representative of the Army established, by the free Election of every Regiment; and refer your selves to their Counsel and advice in all things, to be disposed of as they shall see cause; and neither admit of disbandings, nor of new listings, nor of any undertaking for Ireland, or any other service, but as that Councell shall advise.

For consider, as things now stand, to what end you should hazard your lives against the Irish: have you not been fighting these seven years in England (or Right and Liberties, that you are yet deluded of? and that too, when as none can hinder you of them but your own Officers, under whom you have fought? and will you go on stil to kil, slay and murther men, to make them as absolute Lords and Masters over Ireland as you have made them over England? or is it your ambition to reduce the Irish to the happinesse of Tythes upon trebble dammages, to Excise, Customs and Monopolies in Trades? or to fill their prisons with poor disabled prisoners, to fill their Land with swarms of beggers; to enrich their Parliament-men, and impoverish their people; to take down Monarchical Tyranny, and set up an Aristocratical Tyranny; or to over-spread that Nation as this yet is, with such Wasps and Hornets as our Lawyers and their Confederates? Or it you intend not this, or would be sorry to see no better effects of your undertakings, it certainly concerns you in the first place, and before you go, to see those evils reformed here; that when occasion shall justly invite you thither, you may carry a good platform in your hands, such a one as possibly they will never fight against: And it would be much more to be wished, that you might overcome them by just and equall offers, then by strength and force. And except you begin and proceed thus, how you will satisfic your consciences, is not discernable.

Therefore look to it, and be not surprised neither with the suddenness nor the plausibleness that may be put upon it by your General, or General Councels; the killing and slaying of men, or the making of a War, being a thing that every particular man of you must give a strict account to God for; in whose sight your Commanders are of as smal weight, when they come to be put into his just balance, as the meanest of you; and at whose great day, these will be found infallible truths, though now they will be called dividing doctrines.

But you must be stedfast to truths, and not be startled from your principles, nor from your promises and engagements, by the revilings of men: these being properly to be called Dividers, that forsake the society of honest men, because they stick close to their principles: it being also certainly good and justifiable to divide for good, rather then to unite for evill.

Labour by all means every man of you to preserve the love of the people toward you, and upon all occasions make it evident that it is for their good you continue in Arms, be courteous and gentle towards all you meet, whether in the streets, or upon the Roads; give them kind language and civil respects, without justling, or brushing, or bustling for the way; a thing which some proud Officers have cherish’d too much in some rude persons: and at your Quarters exercise your selves in harmless refreshments, without noise or lavish expence and give the preeminence to the Master and Mistris of the Family, whether rich or poor; and so you have food and raiment, be therewith content, without regard of bravery or delicateness; eat not but for hunger, which makes all things sweet; and cloath not but for health; and your happiness will not be far to seek.

Beware of entertaining il thoughts of any man, or of any condition of men without good proof; try and examine all things which shall be proposed unto you to act upon; and act or not act as you find the things good or evil; and be not diverted from your own understandings, by your respect to mens persons, nor terrified by aspersions cast upon the proposers, which from our Saviours time to this day hath ever been the obstructer of all good endevours: and if you mind the present proceedings, you will find it was never more practised then now; and it wil never go wel with the Publick, till you mark all aspersers as men that labour to deceive; and know what they have to alledge against the matter proposed, without reflection upon the persons that propose it, or you will never go on with any thing of worth.

Its come to a pretty pass with most of your great Officers: they would have you to obey their commands, though to the killing and slaying of men, without asking a reason: and as the Church of Rome holds the poor ignorant Papists in blind obedience, who are taught to beleeve as the Church beleeves; so would they have it with you, to be led this way, or that way (as men lead horses) into Ireland, or Scotland, or any whither, and as horses shall be whipped, or hanged as mutiniers, it you but dispute the cause, or but petition to have the cause stated before you go, that your judgments and consciences may be fully satisfied (as becometh honest men and Christians) in the lawfulness of whatsoever you undertake. But as there is no Tyrants like those of Rome, through the sottish ignorance of the Papists; co there is nothing will make your Officers so perfect tyrants, as this kind of blind obedience in you: nor wil any thing demonstrate that you took up arms in judgment and conscience, but that every one of you be satisfied in both, before you undertake or engage in any service: and that by sound consideration you wipe off that scandal which your great Officers have fixt upon you; that is, that if they but provide the Troopers good pay, they make no question but to command them any whither, and that they are then assured the Foot will follow the Horse whithersoever they go. ’Tis a sad storie, but it is frequent in their discourse, and no doubt you know it; and shews to what state they designe to bring you.

On the other side, if any thing be proposed to you that is good in it self, and absolutely necessarie for the peace and freedom of the Common-wealth, how then do they bestir themselves, and even sweat with labor to perswade, that you see not to the bottom of it, that it is the most dangerous designe that ever was, that Jesuits at least must be the authors of it, if not Levellers, who like Jack Cade, and Wat Tiler, and the Anabaptists of Motton/Preedon/Munster, would have all things common, wives and all.

But if you rightly consider, this doth but manifest unto you, that all Tyrants are directed by one and the same means; this being but the very same measure which was measured to the whole Army, a little before you past through the City, by those your opposers that were then setting up other Tyrannic.

Your General and Gen. Officers being then Jack Cade and Wat Tiler, that would have all things common; who now setting up for themselves, have packt a Parliament and a Councell of State for their purpose, must bestow the same language upon them that oppose those, as was bestowed upon themselves, and whitest you live you may confidently build upon, that none but those that would be Tyrants, will by aspersions go about to terrific men from relying upon their own understandings.

You have had very much experience: and if you do but any thing consider and resolve, you shall very hardly be deceived; but assure your selves the great work in hand is how to deceive or corrupt you, it being impossible otherwise for them to become Masters of the Common-wealth.

And if they can but get a considerable part of you for Ireland before you see the Councell of State abolished, and this Nation set upon such sure foundations of Freedom, as shall not be in the power of future Parliaments to subvert, their work’s done: nay if they cannot get you for Ireland as themselves much doubt thereof, and have cause enough considering the difficulties attending; yet if they can but get a good part of you in to Scotland before you see those Foundations of freedom setted firmly by an honest agreement of the people, nothing can hinder them of their designe.

Therefore be sure to see this Nation well settled first: keep together here and you may be confident none dare meddle with you from abroad, and when all things are to your mind at home, you may then safely cast your eys abroad, but not before, nor will it ever be good for you to meddle abroad but upon evident cause, upon good grounds, that you may engage upon sound Judgement and good conscience; and not as most of the world doth through ambition, covetousness, and revenge, the fomenters of most of the wars that ever were; and the religion, freedom, peace and prosperity of the people, have been ever in the tongue, yea though accompanied with fastings and prayings, and long preachings, yet your experiences cannot but tell you, ambition, covetousnesse, and revenge have ever been at the heart; and God is discovering it to the whole world.

And may every one of you, and your wel-minded Officers, be therein effectuall instruments to his glory, and in the accomplishment of the freedom, peace and happiness of this miserably abused Nation: And that you may be so, and neither be diverted nor terrified from selling yourselves thereunto, and that with all your might, cast your eys frequenly on this your Standard, and be diligent in searching into your own Consciences, and swerve not from what you find to be your duty; prefer your Officers before others, if they inform your Judgements aright, and lead you to nothing but what is evidently just, obey them exactly after you are resolved of the Justnesse of the cause, but not before.

For he that runs to kill men meerly upon Authority, or others Judgments, or for money, is condemned of himself, in his Conscience, as a murtherer, be the cause what it will; and first or last shall not escape the Judgments of God.

FINIS.

 

 


 

6.9. [Signed by John Lilburn, William Walwyn, Thomas Price, Richard Overton, sometimes attributed mainly to Walwyn], A Manifestation from Lieutenant Col. John Lilburn et al. (n.p., 14 April 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

[Signed by John Lilburn, William Walwyn, Thomas Price, Richard Overton, sometimes attributed mainly to Walwyn], A Manifestation from Lieutenant Col. John Lilburn, Mr William Walwyn, Mr Thomas Prince, and Mr Richard Overton, (Now Prisoners in the Tower of London) And others, commonly (though unjustly) styled Levellers. Intended for their Full Vindication from the many aspersions cast upon them, to render them odious to the World, and unserviceable to the Common-wealth. And to satisfie and ascertain all Men whereunto all their Motions and Endeavours tend, and what is the ultimate Scope of their Engagement in the Publick Affaires. They also that render evill for good, are Our adversaries: because we follow the thing that good is.
Printed in the year of our Lord, 1649.

Estimated date of publication

14 April 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 737; Thomason E. 550. (25.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

Since no man is born for himself only, but obliged by the Laws of Nature (which reaches all) of Christianity (which ingages us as Christians) and of Publick Societie and Government, to employ our endeavours for the advancement of a communitive Happinesse, of equall concernment to others as our selves: here have we (according to that measure of understanding God hath dispensed unto us) laboured with much weaknesse indeed, but with integrity of heart, to produce out of the Common Calamities, such a proportion of Freedom and good to the Nation, as might somewhat compensate its many grievances and lasting sufferings: And although in doing thereof we have hitherto reaped only Reproach, and hatred for our good Will, and been faine to wrestle with the violent passions of Powers and Principalities; yet since it is nothing so much as our Blessed Master and his Followers suffered before us, and but what at first we reckoned upon, we cannot be thereby any whit dismayed in the performance of our duties, supported inwardly by the Innocency and evennesse of our Consciences.

’Tis a very great unhappinesse we well know, to be alwayes strugling and striving in the world, and does wholly keep us from the enjoyment of those contentments our severall Conditions reach unto: So that if we should consult only with ourselves, and regard only our own ease, Wee should never enterpose as we have done, in behalfe of the Commonwealth: But when so much has been done for recovery of our Liberties, and seeing God hath so blest that which has been done, as thereby to cleer the way, and to afford an opportunity which these 600 years has been desired, but could never be attained, of making this a truly happy and wholly Free Nation; We think our selves bound by the greatest obligations that may be, to prevent the neglect of this opportunity, and to hinder as much as lyes in us, that the bloud which has been shed be not spilt like water upon the ground, nor that after the abundant Calamities, which have overspread all quarters of the Land, the change be onely Notionall, Nominall, Circumstantiall, whilst the reall Burdens, Grievances, and Bondages, be continued, even when the Monarchy is changed into a Republike.

We are no more concern’d indeed then other men, and could bear the Yoke we believe as easily as others; but since a Common Duty lyes upon every man to be cautious and circumspect in behalfe of his Country, especially while the Government thereof is setting, other mens neglect is so far we thinke from being a just motive to us of the like sloath and inanimadvertency, as that it rather requires of us an increase of care and circumspection, which if it produces not so good a settlement as ought to be, yet certainly it will prevent its being so bad as otherwise it would be, if we should all only mind our particular callings and employments.

So that although personally we may suffer, yet our solace is that the Common-wealth is therby some gainer, and we doubt not but that God in his due time wil so cleerly dispel the Clouds of Ignominy and Obloquy which now surround us by keeping our hearts upright and our spirits sincerely publike, that every good man will give us the right hand of fellowship, and be even sorry that they have been estranged, and so hardly opinionated against us: We question not but that in time the reason of such misprisions will appeare to be in their eyes and not in our Actions, in the false Representation of things to them and improper glosses that are put upon every thing we do or say: In our own behalfs we have as yet said nothing, trusting that either shame and Christian duty would restrains men from making so bold with others good Name and Reputation, or that the sincerity of our actions would evince the falshood of these scandals, and prevent the Peoples Beliefe of them; But we have found that with too much greedinesse they suck in Reports that tend to the discredit of others, and that our silence gives encouragement to bad Rumors of us; so that in all places they are spread, and industriously propagated as well amongst them that know us, as them that know us not, the first being fed with jealousies that there is more in our designs then appeares, that there is something of danger in the bottom of our hearts, not yet discovered: that we are driven on by others, that we are even discontented and irresolved, that no body yet knowes what we would have, or where our desires will end; whilst they that know us not are made believe any strange conceit of us, that we would Levell all mens estates, that we would have no distinction of Orders and Dignities amongst men, that we are indeed for no government, but a Popular confusion; and then againe that we have bin Agents for the King, and now for the Queen; That we are Atheists, Antiscripturists, jesuites and indeed any thing, that is hatefull and of evill repute amongst men.

All which we could without observance pass over, remembring what is promised to be the Portion of good men, were the damage only personall, but since the ends of such Rumors are purposely to make us uselesse and unserviceable to the Common-wealth, we are necessitated to open our breasts and shew the world our insides, for removing of those scandalls that lye upon us, and likewise for manifesting plainly and particularly what our desires are, and in what we will center and acquiess: all which we shall present to publike view and consideration, not pertinatiously or Magisterially, as concluding other mens judgements, but manifesting our own, for our further vindication, and for the procuring of a Bond and lasting establishment for the Commonwealth.

First, Then it will be requisite that we express our selves concerning Levelling, for which we suppose is commonly meant an equalling of mens estates, and taking away the proper right and Title that every man has to what is his own. This as we have formerly declared against, particularly in our petition of the 11 of Sept. so do we again professe that to attempt an inducing the same is most injurious, unlesse there did precede an universall assent thereunto from all and every one of the People. Nor doe we, under favour, judge it within the Power of a Representative it selfe, because although their power is supreame, yet it is but deputative and of trust, and consequently must be restrained expresly or tacitely, to some particulars essential as well to the Peoples safety and freedom as to the present Government.

The Community amongst the primitive Christians, was Voluntary, not Coactive; they brought their goods and laid them at the Apostles feet, they were not enjoyned to bring them, it was the effect of their Charity and heavenly mindednesse, which the blessed Apostles begot in them, and not the Injunction of any Constitution, which as it was but for a short time done, and in but two or three places, that the Scripture makes mention of, so does the very doing of it there and the Apostles answer to him that detained a part, imply that it was not esteemed a duty, but reckoned a voluntary act occasioned by the abundant measure of faith that was in those Christians and Apostles.

We profess therefore that we never had it in our thoughts to Level mens estates, it being the utmost of our aime that the Commonwealth be reduced to such a passe that every man may with as much security as may be enjoy his propriety.

We know very well that in all Ages those men that engage themselves against Tyranny, unjust and Arbitrary proceedings in Magistrats, have suffered under such appellations, the People being purposely frighted from that wich is good by insinuations of imaginary evill.

But be it so, we must notwithstanding discharge our Duties, which being performed, the successe is in Gods hand to whose good pleasure we must leave the cleering of mens spirits, our only certainty being Tranquillity of mind, and peace of Conscience.

For distinction of Orders and Dignities, We think them so far needfull, as they are animosities of vertue, or requisite for the maintenance of the Magistracy and Government, we thinke they were never intended for the nourishment of Ambition, or subjugation of the People but only to preserve the due respect and obedience in the People which is necessary for the better execution of the Laws.

That we are for Government and against Popular Confusion, we conceive all our actions declare, when rightly considered, our aim having bin all along to reduce it as near as might be to perfection, and certainly we know very well the pravity and corruption of mans heart is such that there could be no living without it; and that though Tyranny is so excessively bad, yet of the two extreames, Confusion is the worst: Tis somewhat a strange consequence to infer that because we have laboured so earnestly for a good Government, therefore we would have none at all, Because we would have the dead and exorbitant Branches pruned, and better sciens grafted, therefore we would pluck the Tree up by the roots.

Yet thus have we been misconceived, and misrepresented to the world, under which we must suffer, till God sees it fitting in his good time to cleer such harsh mistakes, by which many, even good men keep a distance from us.

For those weake suppositions of some of us being Agents for the King or Queen, we think it needful to say no more but this, That though we have not bin any way violent against the persons of them, or their Partie, as having aimed at the conversion of all, and the destruction of none, yet doe we verily beleeve that those Principles and Maxims of Government which are most fundamentally opposite to the Prerogative, and the Kings interest, take their first rise and originall from us, many whereof though at first startled at, and disown’d by those that professed the greatest opposition to him, have yet since been taken up by them and put in practise: and this we think is sufficient, though much more might be said to cleer us from any Agency for that Party.

It is likewise suggested that we are acted by others, who have other ends then appear to us; we answer, That that cannot be, since every thing has its rise amongst our selves, and since those things we bring to light cannot conduce to the ends of any but the publike weale of the Nation.

All our Desires, Petitions and Papers are directly opposite to all corrupt Interests; nor have any credit with us but persons well known, and of certain aboads, and such as have given sound and undeniable testimonies of the truth of their affection to their Country: Besides, the things we promote, are not good onely in appearance, but sensibly so: not moulded nor contrived by the subtill or politick Principles of the World, but plainly produced and nakedly sent, without any insinuating arts, relying wholly upon the apparent and universall beleefe they carry in themselves; and that is it which convinces and engages us in the promotion thereof. So that that suggestion has not indeed any foundation in it self, but is purposely framed, as we conceive, to make us afraid one of another, and to disable us in the promotion of those good things that tend to the freedom and happinesse of the Common-wealth. For our being Jesuits, either in Order or Principles, as ’tis severally reported of us; Though the easiest Negative is hardly proved; yet we can say, That those on whom the first is principally fix’d, are married, and were never over Sea: and we think Marriage is never dispenc’d withall in that Order, and that none can be admitted into the Order but such as are personally present. ’Tis hard that we are put to expresse thus much; and haply we might better passe such reports over in silence; but that we beleeve the very mentioning of them publickly, will be an answer to them, and make such as foment them asham’d of such generally condemned wayes of discrediting and blasting the Reputation of other men. For the principles of Jesuits, we professe we know not what they are; but they are generally said to be full of craft and worldly policy; and therefore exceedingly different from that plainness and simplicity that is apparently visible in all our proceedings.

Whereas its said, we are Atheists and Antiscripturists, we professe that we beleeve there is one eternall and omnipotent God, the Author and Preserver of all things in the world. To whose will and directions, written first in our hearts, and afterwards in his blessed Word, we ought to square our actions and conversations. And though we are not so strict upon the formall and Ceremonial part of his Service, the method, manner, and personall injunction being not so clearly made out unto us, nor the necessary requisites which his Officers and Ministers ought to be furnished withall as yet appearing to us in any that pretend thereunto: yet for the manifestation of Gods love in Christ, it is cleerly assented unto by us; and the practicall and most reall part of Religion is as readily submitted unto by us, as being, in our apprehensions, the most eminent and the most excellent in the world, and as proceeding from no other but that God who is Goodnesse it self: and we humbly desire his Majesty daily more and more to conform our hearts to a willing and sincere obedience thereunto.

For our not being preferred to Offices and Places of profit and credit, which is urged to be the ground of our dissatisfaction, we say, That although we know no reason why we should not be equally capable of them with other men, nor why our publick Affection should be any barr or hinderance thereunto: Yet on the other side, we suppose we can truly say of our selves, that we have not been so earnest and solicitous after them as others: and that in the Catalogue of Sutors, very few that are reckoned of us, are to be found. We are very sorry that so general a change of Officers is proposed, which we judge of no small disparagement to our Cause; and do think it best, that in removals of that kinde, the ground should not be difference in opinion, either in Religious or Civil Matters, but corruption or breach of Trust; considering the misery which befalls whole Families upon such Changes; and that discontents are thereby increased: Whereas we hold it necessary that all wayes of composure and acquieting those storms which the preceeding differences and distractions have begotten, be with utmost care and prudence endeavoured.

And whereas ’tis urged, That if we were in power, we would bear our selves as Tyrannically as others have done: We confess indeed, that the experimentall defections of so many men as have succeeded in Authority, and the exceeding difference we have hitherto found in the same men in a low, and in an exalted condition, makes us even mistrust our own hearts, and hardly beleeve our own Resolutions of the contrary. And therefore we have proposed such an Establishment, as supposing men to be too flexible and yeelding to worldly Temptations, they should not yet have a means or opportunity either to injure particulars, or prejudice the Publick, without extreme hazard, and apparent danger to themselves. Besides, to the objection we have further to say, That we aim not at power in our selves, our Principles and Desires being in no measure of self-concernment: nor do we relie for obtaining the same upon strength, or a forcible obstruction; but solely upon that inbred and perswasive power that is in all good and just things, to make their own way in the hearts of men, and so to procure their own Establishment.

And that makes us at this time naked and defencelesse as we are, and amidst so many discouragements on all hands to persevere in our motions and desires of good to the Nation; although disowned therein at such a time when the doing thereof can be interpreted no other but a politick delivering us up to slaughter, by such as we took for Friends, our brethren of severall Churches; and for whom with truth of affection we have even in the most difficult times done many Services: all which, and whatsoever else can be done against us, we shall reckon but as badges of our sincerity, and be no whit discouraged thereby from the discharge of our duties.

For the dissatisfactions that be upon many good mens spirits, for that they are not ascertained whereunto all our motions tend, and in what they will center,

Though, we conceive, they may have received some general satisfaction from what we have formerly at severall times propounded; yet since they were not disposed into such a form and condition as to become practicable; we have, with the best care and abilities God hath afforded us, cast the same into a Modell and Platform, which we shall speedily present unto the view and consideration of all, as the Standard and ultimate scope of our Designes, that so (in case of approvall) it may be subscribed and returned as agreed upon by the People. And thus far, we conceive, we may without offence or prejudice to Authority, proceed; and which we the rather do, because we know no better, and indeed no other way or means (but by such an Agreement) to remove (as much as may be) all disgusts and heart-burnings, and to settle the Common-wealth upon the fairest probabilities of a lasting Peace, and contentfull Establishment.

The Agreement of the People which was presented by his Excellency and the Officers of the Army to the Right Honourable the Commons, in Parliament, although in many things short (according to our apprehensions) of what is necessary for the good of the Commonwealth, and satisfaction of the People; particularly, in that it containeth no provision for the certain removall of notorious and generally complained of grievances: And although it hath some things of much hazard to the Publick,—yet, had it been put in execution, we should scarcely have interrupted the proceedings thereof, since therein is contained many things of great and important concernment to the Common-wealth. But seeing the time proposed therein for reducing the same into practice, is now past, and that likewise the generality of the people have not, or do not approve of the same, for the reasons (as we suppose) fore-mentioned: We have thought fit to revise it, making onely such alterations therein as we conceive really necessary for the welfare, security and safety of the People, together with additionall Provisions for the taking away of those Burdens and Grievances which may without reall prejudice to the Management of publick Affairs be removed.

And because it is essentiall to the nature of such an Agreement to take its rise from the People, we have therefore purposely declined the presentment thereof to the Parliament: and conceive it may speedily proceed to Subscription, and so to further practice, without any interruption to this Representative, untill the season prefix’d in the Agreement, for the assembling another: By whose immediate succession, without any intervall, the Affairs of the Common-wealth may suffer no stop or intermission.

Lastly, We conceive we are much mistaken in being judged impatient, and over-violent in our motions for the publick Good. To which we answer, That could we have had any assurance that what is desired should have otherwise, or by any have been done; and had not had some taste of the relinquishment of many good things that were promised, we should not have been so earnest and urgent for the doing thereof.

Though we know likewise it hath been very customary in such heretofore as never intended any freedom to the Nation, to except only against the season, and to protract the time so long, till they became sufficiently impowred to justifie the totall denyall and refusall thereof. However, the main reason of our proceeding as we do, is, because we prefer the way of a settlement by an Agreement of the People before any other whatsoever.

And thus the world may clearly see what we are, and what we aym at: We are altogether ignorant, and do from our hearts abominate all designes and contrivances of dangerous consequence which we are said (but God knows, untruly) to be labouring withall. Peace and Freedom is our Designe; by War we were never gainers, nor ever wish to be; and under bondage we have been hitherto sufferers. We desire however, that what is past may be forgotten, provided the Common wealth may have amends made it for the time to come. And this from our soul we desire.

Having no mens persons in hatred, and judging it needfull that all other respects whatsoever are to give way to the good of the Common-wealth, and this is the very truth and inside of our hearts.

John Lilburne

William Walwyn

Thomas Prince

Richard Overton

 

 


 

6.10. [John Prince], Walwyns Wiles: Or The manifesters Manifested (London: Henry Whalley, 23 April 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

[John Prince], Walwyns Wiles: Or The Manifesters Manifested viz. Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, Mr William Walwyn, Mr Richard Overton, and Mr Tho. Prince. Discovering themselves to be Englands new Chains and Irelands back Friends. Or The hunting of the old Fox with his Cubs and the Picture of the Picturers of the Councel of State. Declaring the subtle and crafty Wiles of the Atheisticall Blasphemous, foul-murthehring principles, and practises of Mr William Walwyn, in plentifull instances, confirming the same with some advertisements to Lieu. Col. John Lilburn, and Mr Tho. Prince. By a Lover of the Present, and Eternall, interest of Man-kinde.
The Second Edition, Corrected and amended. April 23. 1649. Imprimatur, Henry Whalley. London, Printed for H.C. and L.L. 1649.

Estimated date of publication

23 April 1649. TT lists it as May 10.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 743; Thomason E. 554. (24.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

To the Noble and Successful Englands Army, Under The Command of his Excellency Thomas Lord General Fairfax.

Gentlemen Souldiers,

It is hard to say whether God hath appeared more gloriously with you in breaking the powers or blasting the policies of your enemies, as he hath been your strength unto the one, so your wisdom unto the other, by whose presence with you, neither wisdom nor weapon have prevaild against you: the great contention between Christ and the Devil, and the seed of either, is to destroy each others work in the world; and although the issue thereof shall be the mortal crushing of the head of the one; yet shall the heel of the other be bruised thereby.

Noble Sirs, the modelling and managing, making and maintaining, preserving and prospering your happy Army, is such a transparent work of God in the world, that it dazels the eyes of all spectators: the presence of God and the prayers of his people have always attended your valiant attempts, by means whereof your ones have chased tens, and your hundreds have put thousands to flight: it is too true, you have met with hardship abroad, and unkindness at home: but your honor it is that neither the one or the other hath made you bow unto a base unworthy and sinful deportment: God hath subdued the common Enemy by you, this he may do more for others then your own sakes; but when he subdues your enemies within you, it is more for your own then other mens sakes; that he doth in love to others; this in love to you: that as he makes you executioners of his fierce wrath; this as he makes you the objects of his free love: When you conquer men, you conquer flesh, and so one beast may conquer another: but when you conquer sin, you conquer spirit; and this is the work of none but Christ: the blood of your Enemies may feed the root of your present power, but the blood of your sins doth water the root of your eternal happiness; that an Army should be humble under victories, meek under injuries, patient under provocations, fear no men, yet tremble before God, should be a terror to the wicked, and a tower to the Saints, should be Lions in fields, and Lambs in families; this imports your powerful hamering by the hand of the spirit upon the anvil of Truth into a blessed battle-ax, compleatly aptified for the hand of God unto the breaking in peeces the envious enemies of his Son and his Saints, according to the predict counsels of his holy Word, and hence it is, that the Antichristian whore is filid with fears that you are the men commission’d by God to execute upon her the Judgment written, to stain her glory and spoil her beauty, to dash her bastards brains against the stones, & to give her blood for blood to drink, to burn her flesh with fire, for the prevention whereof that you may not torment her before her time, she hath summon’d the Princes of the earth that have committed fornication with her, with their sons of whoredom to band their might and strength against you: but the Lord that raised you and called you to his foot (Isa. 4.1.2) gave the Nations before you, making you Rulers over Kings and Princes, giving them as dust to your sword, and as driven stubble to your bow, making you to eat up the Nations, your enemies, to break their bones, and pierce them through with your arrows, and then causing you to couch down like a Lion, none daring to stir you up; but this whorish Dalilah perceiving your might by breaking her forces like Sampsons coards, is trying her tricks to finde out your strength, and the seat thereof, and well perceiving that it lies in your hair, rooted together in your head, (we mean in your Union with Christ, and each with other,) she hath applyed her self in her several Instruments, by her enticing words to cut you from him, and then to divide you each from other, whose curious cunning in that unhappy work is here set forth in one of her supposed faithful factors, Mr William Walwyn, whose various manners in corrupting and dividing (by himself, and others,) the honest and true hearted party to Religions, and the Kingdoms interest in the Army, City and Country, is truly declared, having received satisfaction touching the truth of those particular instances given concerning him, (though we know his protest principle is to say or do any thing whatsoever against him, whom he thought engaged against him to destroy him, yet) we cannot but subscribe our own Observations and Experiences of his general course in all his ways, as they are here set forth. As for Mr Richard Overton we know him not but by his Pen, the complexion whereof hath quit our desires of any further acquaintance with him. Mr Lilburn and Mr Prince (we verily hope) are far better in their ends and ayms, then in their game in hitting their marks (viz. the real Interest of their native Country,) though (we must confess) we look upon them as simplehearted, so simple-headed, to be drawn, as they are, into such ways as they walk. For although in words they profess, yet in works they deny, and destroy the Interest of England; for one who seeth not that these clamorous Complaints, insinuated into the Army, and spread abroad in the City and Country, Viz. That the people assembled at Westminster are not a lawful Parliament, but there maintained by the power of the Sword to overawe and tyrannize over the free-born people of England, That it is against the Laws of the Land, that there should be any Martial Discipline over Souldiers in time of peace, (though there should be an Army under pay,) insinuating as if we were all in Peace, which we are not like to be while such coals of contention are kindled by them, that the design of the House at Westminster, and Councel of State, &c. is to keep down the people under Tyranny and Slavery by an Army, as if it was possible (as the case stands) to settle this Commonwealth without an Army, That the Commons of England (whom in their several Papers they have acknowledged to be the Supream Authority of the Nation) must be tyed to govern by the known Laws, not to alter the Government, viz. to establish a Counsel of State, and yet have power to take away the life of the King, and to abolish the House of Lords &c. That the sending over Forces to Ireland is for nothing else but to make way by the blood of the Army to enlarge their territories of power and Tyranny, That it is an unlawful War, a cruel and bloody work to go to destroy the Irish Natives for their Consciences, (though they have kill’d many thousand Protestants for their Consciences,) and to drive them from their proper natural and native Rights, (though they have done the like to many thousand Protestants, who, though English, had as true natured and native right to their Lands and Inheritances as the Irish had: We say, who is so blind as not to see that the true design of all these chantings is to divide the Army, and break it in pieces by jealousies and discontents, to hinder the happy and hopeful relief of Ireland, to betray these poor Protestants that lie trembling and panting between hope and fear, (not knowing whether yet they shall live or dye,) break the Parliament and Councel of State, and consequently by the utter and irrecoverable loss of Ireland, ruin of the Army, crushing the present Authority, dividing the honest party, the Irish Rebels may come with all their Powers from all parts abroad, and in this Nation, like a mighty Torrent, sweeping all befor them, and put themselves into a capacity of putting into execution their bloody, cruel, tyrannical and revengeful thoughts against the honest party in the Land. We have ever observed, that this Mr Walwyn in all viciscitudes, and turns of affairs, hath still withstood the present Government, yea, though modeled according to his former pretended desires, which argues a hidden design in all his pretences; ’Tis true, when Magisterial Power clasheth against Divine, and men in authority fight against God by oppression and tyranny, they shall be broken in pieces as a glass against a Rock, for though the fountain of Government springs from the People, and the end thereof be their only benefit, yet while the Power in the People is uncontracted, and their own Authority is untransfer’d, it is like (shall we say a tallent hid in the earth without uses) nay rather as the inordinate heat in a stack of corn, firing it self with its own heat. Where all men are alike Rulers, none will be ruled, and then into what precipices should we run? To live together is the Law of Nature, and how can this be when every mans lust shall be every mans Law? For then every mans will shall be every mans wants, and no man will content himself with what he hath. While he hath not that which his neighbor hath, the best of Governments cannot secure each individual from oppression, but where there is no Government, so many men are so many Tyrants each to others. The worst of Governments is good for some, but no Government can be good for none: Where is no Government there can be no Agreement, and certain destruction attends division. Valiant Sirs, be not deceived by these Arch-deluders, neither be divided amongst your selves; Union hath preserved you, Division will destroy you, God hath made you terrible by Union, the Jesuite would make you contemptible by division: your enemies despair to overcome you by Power, revive not their hopes to do it by policy, they could not cudgel you, let them not cajole you: you have wrested their swords, their spears, their trophies, their banners out of their hands, let them not cheat them out of your hands again, they tell you, your Officers would lift up themselves by your blood, but have not you better experiences of your Officers then they? Have not they stuck to you, as well as you to them, in the day of battel? What though men have not regarded you as you deserved, will not God be faithful, though men are not? Will not he be true when they are lyars? Are you afraid to receive your wages, your rewards from the immediate hand of God alone? That your honor shall be too great, your Crown too heavy at the great pay day? He hath made you famous in England, and famous in Scotland, and is it your fear, that he will honor you in Ireland, (that any of you should be disswaded, from that happy work,) are you unwilling to be possessed of that good Land, that Land that floweth with milk and honey? Hath not God fed you with former Victories, to the amazement of all, that he might steel you against all future difficulties that you meet withal. The people of God in England, in Scotland, have risen up and called you blessed for your help to them in the day of trouble, and shall your poor Brethren in Ireland receive no favour from you? We beseech you by the Womb that bare you, and the Paps that gave you suck, by the honor of English men, by all the experiences of the presence of God with you while you stuck to the Interest of God, his people and your native Country, that you pluck off the Vizors of those Jesuitical Whifflers, that (creeping in among you like the Serpents spawn under the green grass) spy out your liberty, envy your approaching happiness, and would now destroy you by your own selves, the just Liberties of the Nation, the Freedom of the Gospel, the Interest of England, the joy of all good men are in the fruitful Womb of your former faithfulness, which is now ready to bring forth, if you help in the hour of travel, howsoever, that the happy work of God, begun in these three Islands of England, Scotland and Ireland, shall go on and prosper by the honored Instruments of Gods own choice, is the faith and prayer of

Your faithful Friends and Brethren your dayly Remembrancers at
the Throne of Grace,

WILLIAM KIFFIN

DAVID LORDELL

JOHN PRICE

EDMUND ROSIER

HENRY FOSTER

HENRY BURNET.

RICHARD ARNALD

Walwyns Wiles: or The Manifestators Manifested.

The greatest Hypocrisie is often palliated with the most specious pretences of the plainest sincerity, and the chiefest use that some men make of Religion, and the language thereof is (after the similitude of Satan with our first Parents) to muffle the understandings of over-credulous and flexible men, and then to cheat them under a guilded bait of their seeming good into such actions that are most conducible to their certain misery: It is the great unhappiness of ingenious and plain-hearted people to be made instrumental to the disguising design of maskt enemies, and to have their Integrity imposed upon by the deceitful policy of those that dare not own their own actions, lest they should allarum them whom they dayly deceive, and hinder the increase of that party by which they expect the accomplishment of their secret projects, to open the windows of this dark Cabinet, and to discover the methods of these Imposters, is worthy the ingenuity and charity of a more able pen. It cannot be imagined that such quondam devout and publique spirits, as did seem to breath in two of these Manifestators, viz. Lieu. Col. John Lilburn, and Mr Thomas Prince, (with some other adhering to them) should be wrought upon (by their late Proceedings in print, and otherways) to serve the implicate Designs of the Kingdoms Adversaries, were they not deceived by the fine and plausible expressions of these cunning Imposters; and although the present distempers of their turbulent passions (like the raging Seas) and the perplext ebullitions of their discontented minds, have fomed out the dregs and dross of frail and sinful flesh and blood (we mean) vented unworthy Callumnies, palpable falsities, and most notorious scandals against those (saviours of the Nation) men, that God hath made happy Instruments of the Kingdoms Freedom from apparent slavery and utter ruine, yet that ancient experience which we have had of the said persons (especially the first named thereof,) together wit those fore-sufferings by him endured in his stout withstanding the Common Enemy in times past, though we confess we have not observed his sufferings to have produced that quiet fruit of Righteousness, nor him to have learnt that meekness and lowliness of spirit after Christs example in bearing his Cross; yet (well considering that oppression obnoxiateth even wise men to that madness which may not be so quickly recovered again,) we are furnished with a covering for his present nakedness, giving us to hope, that as heretofore (if we mistake not) in the like case he may discern it, and be ashamed. We have of late observed several expresses from three of these Manifestators so qualified, as if written by the chief Secretaries of the Prince of Slanders, through whose lines, as through a prison-grate, such a distempered, furious, rayling and raging spirit doth stare and gaze their sober and judicious Readers in the face, spiting such venom, ranker and mallice against the most pious and deserving men of this Nation, that they cannot do such homage to Belzebub, the Prince of such Spirits, as to hear the sound of his revengeful and envious language, and to waste their time in reading such slanderous Declarations from his infernal Court, but behold a fresh appearance of these subscribers in a new dress of a latter date, as if that spirit would shew his master peece, in his crafty translation of himself into the form of an Angel of light, calling it self by the name of a Manifestation of L. C. John Lilburn, Mr. William Walwyn, &c. bearing date the 14 of April, 1649 whose devout, specious, meek, self-denying, soft and pleasant lips favours much of the sligh, cunning and close subtlety of that additional Subscriber, Mr. William Walwyn, who (as the Serpent that deceived our first Parents was more subtle then any beast of the field which the Lord God had made) is much more crafty then the rest of his brethren, of whose curious spinning we have several reasons to presume this piece, for here is not the licentious provoking daringness of L. Col. Lilburns pen, nor yet the notorious profanness of Mr. Richard Overtons pen; as for Mr. Prince, he is a younger brother lately drawn in, and no further accomplished in his brethrens art then in the lesson of Conformity unto their proceedings and conscription unto their Expresses. Again, he that shall compare this Manifestation, subscribed by Mr. Walwyn, with Englands new Chains, the first and second part, the Hunting of the Foxes, and other scandalous Pamphlets, subscribed only by the rest, may easily perceive the well known subtlety and craftiness, phrase and stile of this new Subscriber above his Fellows, who of themselves are no more able to alter the complexion of their pen, then the Leopard his spots, or the Blackamoor his skin; these being Wolves in their own, but the other a Wolf in Sheeps clothing; and that simple and plain-hearted men may no longer be drawn aside from their publique Interest and personal Comforts, temporal and eternal, hear the voyce of several years experience and observation, exhibiting a true and impartial Manifestation chiefly and principally of this Manifestator, we mean this new and additional Subscriber, Mr. William Walwyn, whom we shall consider not at all in referrence to his Birth, Breeding, Trade, manner of life and conversation, any further then only relating to his wiles and ways, methods and modes, in deluding, cozening and deceiving a plain and honest generation of well-meaning men, into such paths practises and manners that are most destructive to their own Interest, and the publique good: And here consider,

First, His game hath always been the unhappy perversion of honest men generally observed to be forward on the Parliaments behalf against the King and the Royal party, for the effecting whereof his custom was to frame his Endeavors.

First, To discern and feel their temper, genius, natural constitution, and complexion, whether of meek, quiet and peaceable, or rash, hasty, and violent spirits, whether of quick, capacious and nimble, or of dull, injudicious and low apprehensions, whether of a more pure, heavenly and spiritual, or more gross, light and vain discourse, whether of a retensive, close, and tenacious capacity in keeping secrets, or a more open, free and liberal aptness in discovering, whether of a richer, or mean condition, whether popular, or how interessed in the Parliament, Army, City, or Country.

Secondly, Having well understood his game, he prepares his baits, those whom he apprehends more solid, wise, moderate, judicious, of quick apprehensions, reaching brains, good parts, and language, and withall notorious for Religion and popular Interest, he first entertains with much civility, candor, and curteous carriages, very good, rational, and acceptable discourse, fitting and framing the same after such a manner as may represent himself an excellent Common-wealths man, full of a publique spirit, and furnished with rich and plentiful observations and propositions, fairly comporting with publique good, and insinuating (with what freedom or tenderness, plainness or covertness, they are able to bear) the many pressures, burdens and grievances of the Commonwealth, and insisting (if at all) yet very slightly upon the Redresses, good and benefit received from men in present authority, backing his discourse of this nature either with some plausible stories of the cunning and crafty behaviour of Foreign Princes, or men in power, pretending good for the Common-wealth, and doing many things very promising thereunto, and at last exalting themselves in the oppressions and vexations of the people, or else with observations of Domestique Polititians, once very famous for their pretended zeal for their Country, but when advanced and lifted up, as infamous for their baseness in Oppression and Tyranny: and by this means he is still fomenting new and fresh jealousies against those that approve themselves most faithful in Authority and Trust, ever observing what actions (if any such thing do fall out) have been done by such men which may possibly (by wringing and wresting, and malign interpretation) render them by his cunning art and skill (being very dexterous that way) to be suspected for Self-seekers, Juglers and Deceivers of the People.

Secondly, Having by this meanes crept into the good opinion, love and affections of his deceived friends, and new acquaintance (the result and issue of severall meetings and conferences in order thereunto,) and hereby wounded their respects, and abated their zeal towards those that have the management and steerage of publike affairs in their hands, that he may make sure work with them, with cunning and curious art he attempts the undermining of their principles of Religion, but with a soft foot, and with much slight of hand, and (Jugler-like) as if he had past his Apprentiship, and served Journey-man to the grand deceiver of the world, he employs his skill in casting a mist before them, and in blinding the eyes of their minds, that the great mysteries of Life and Salvation by Jesus Christ, and the Doctrines of Justification by his Death and Resurrection, Sanctification, and Mortification by his Spirit, &c. may appear but meer fantasms, rediculous, irrational, ayry, vain, empty notions; but thus he attempts very artificially in these gradations.

First, (That he may raze the very Foundation, and lay his Ax at the very root of Religion,) he prepares his battery against the credit, honour and authority of the holy Scriptures, as presuming that to be (as indeed it is) the very Fort Royall of Religion, the credit whereof being once lost in the judgement, the conscience, will and affections, will quickly surrender, even upon Satans terms; but before he spends his Ammunition, viz. his Arguments and Reasons against the same, with no small subtlety parlies with them as in the very same case, and to the same end that envious one to the present and eternal Interest of mankind, did insinuate into a conference with our first parent by way of subtle and crafty questions, and hath God indeed said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden, &c. even so this most proficient Schollar, doth not use in a down-right maner to deny the authority of the Scriptures, but like master like man, he sets upon men quere-wise: How can you prove the Scriptures to be the Word of God? What security have you concerning the divine authority of the Scriptures, and consequently the articles of your belief, and the grounds of your faith, but from the testimony of men? What better grounds have you to beleeve the Scriptures came from God, then the Turks have for their Alcharon, or the Jewes for their Talmud? not that he himself would seem to question it, but if you will beleeve him, it is to understand how men are setled in their faith, and to help them therein, he writ for the defence of the divine authority of the Scriptures, (as Satan himself, when he did tempt the Lord Christ to destroy the Scriptures, in effect, by doing contrary to the Tenor thereof, did quote the very Scripture, saying, It is written, he shall give his Angels charge, &c.

Secondly, if he cannot presently surprise their judgements by his subtile queries about the Scriptures, he waves the business for a season, and takes another course, then he insinuates the contradictious opinions of men about matters of Religion, their various judgements, how opposite and cross they are to themselves (declining distinctions, whereby they may be reconciled) leading his disciples upon the Lords Days from one Church to another, and staying no longer then while somewhat drops from the mouth of the Minister, which he may through his art (not minding what went before, and what followed) render ridiculous and weak, and so by degrees comes at last to improve all against the validity of Religion, Preaching, and other Ordinances: this done,

Thirdly, He entertains them with as much excellency and strength of discourse, as his capacities have attained, in setting forth the famous Governments of such and such Common-wealths, the excellent readings of Phylosophers, their moral ingenuity, parts, and learning, how farre short the Government of this Kingdom comes of them? What kind of breeding such States and Common-wealths give their children in the study of martiall discipline, feats of activity, geometry, &c. by all which means he endeavours still to take off the minds of his Disciples from Religion, and the thoughts thereof, if he sees the desired fruits of his labours, and that he hath gotten the Venison which his soul doth so sorely long for, viz. the betraying of poor men into the same condemnation with himself into low and contemptible thoughts of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Spirit, of the Scriptures, of hearing the Word, Prayer, of Heaven, of Hell, &c. then they become his bosom friends, and are friendly received into his House, and partake of his more intimate thoughts, and familiary, as presuming, that having perverted them, and strengthened them in his most wretched wayes, they might be able to go and do likewise, viz. pervert and strengthen their brethren, and this is his method for the taking the more solid, able, judicious and intelligent men, which are the first sort of men, whom he seeks to seduce from their faithfulness and integrity to God and man.

Before we come to shew his art in drawing aside the other sort of men, take some instances of his proceedings in the former kind, all which, with much more of this nature, shall be manifestly proved as occasion is required.

Having once upon a Fast day (as his usual manner was both upon those and the Lords days) gone from place to place, hearing here a little, and there a little what the Ministers said, making it the subject matter of his prophane scorning and jeering, came at last to his own house with one of his supposed Fast disciples, (though even at that time his heart did rise against Walwyns wickedness, but having got within him, he did resolve, though with much reluctance of spirit, to fathom the deep devout hypocrisie of this man for a through detection of him,) being at home, he fetcht out that prophane scurrilous Lucians Dialogue, come (said he) let us go read that which hath something in it, Here is more wit in this (saith he) then in all the Bible.

And speaking of the book of Psalms, and the Proverbs, said, That there was no heed to be given to them; for, said he, they were pen’d by Kings in order only to their own advantage, and the promotion of their own interest, as they were Kings.

And another, a presumed sure friend, (having some familiarity with this worthy Champion for, and Assertor of the Divine Authority of the Scriptures Mr Walwyn) protest, that this wretched man, Walwyn, speaking of the book of Canticles, said, That it was nothing else but one of Solomons Epiphonema’s or Rhetorical Songs upon one of his whores.

At another time speaking and discoursing of Hell, said, That it was a silly thing to think that there was any hell, or condemnation, which the Ministers keep such a noyse and prating about, and that all the hell that was, was that onely which was in an ill mans conscience in this life: and it being replyed, that the Scriptures speak expresly of hell, and eternal fire and damnation; he answered that is to be understood as the Scriptures also speak, they are condemned already, viz. in their own consciences, which is no more but this, they know they have not done well.

At another time speaking of hell, and everlasting fire, and eternal torments, used words to this purpose, Pish, do you think, can it enter into your heart to conceive, that God should cast a man into everlasting burnings, where he should be tormented for ever without end, for a little time of sinning in this world?

Again, at another time speaking and discoursing of Prayer, (said he) What a silly thing it is for a man to drop down upon his knees, and hold up his hands, and lift up his eyes, and mumble over a few words for half an hour, or an hour together, as if this did please God, when all this while he might have been in doing that which is good in it self, relieving the poor and oppressed; there is no other Religion but that which the Apostle James speaks of, consisting in relieving the poor, judging the cause of the fatherless and widow, &c.

Again, speaking of keeping Sundays as we do, urged, That it was better on such days to meet together, and spend our time in considering what is good for the Common-wealth, read some good moral things, as Plutarchs Morals, Ciceroes Orations, then reading the Scriptures, and hearing Sermons, glorying much of the notable witty things in these moral Writers, and of the manner of their governing of States.

Again, he did bemoan the simple practise of this Nation in bringing up their children in learning Latin (forsooth) and the original Tongues, and I know not what, it were far better to train them up in feats of Activity, Geomitry, riding Horses, exercising Arms, studying Fortifications, and in such things as may make them serviceable to the Common wealth.

It would fill a Volume to declare the sad and miserable effects, which by this means have been brought to pass upon the judgments of some of very able, apt, and ingenious parts and abilities, corrupted by this English man-hunter; one of them, not long since (a man of very singular parts, and much ingenuity, that might have been very useful for this Commonwealth,) having been but a little and lately acquainted with this wretch, speaking with others about the nature of God, his Grace, Mercy and Goodness, most prophanely and lightly replyed, Yea, I hope God is a merry old man, and will make a good Companion when I am dead. And again, one speaking to him of the Sweetness and Excellency of Jesus Christ; replyed, Yea, indeed Jesus Christ is very sweet, I love him better then Capons. But I shall rather insist onely upon his own expressions.

Mr Walwyn being asked by one of his intimate Friends, what he seriously thought concerning the Scriptures, whether they were the Word of God or no? Replyed thus, I’le open my heart plainly unto you, said he, I beleeve it is not the Word of God, and I beleeve again it is the Word of God: I pray expound your self, said his friend, why, said he, the Scripture is so plainly and directly contradictory to it self, that makes me beleeve it is not the Word of God, and yet again, all those passages therein that declare the nature of God, viz. his Grace and Goodness to men, I beleeve are the Word of God, and so you have my meaning; oftentimes declaring, that he did not beleeve that God would punish men for ever for a little time of sinning.

There was a Gentlewoman (a Citizens wife, of very good quality, and well known,) formerly very famous in the profession of Religion, and of very great repute amongst honest people, a woman of parts and abilities above the common standard of her sex, whose sad and heavy condition it was to fall into acquaintance with this unhappy factor for the Region of darknesse, who (as her selfe declared unto some very neerly relating unto her) was unhappily seduced by this wretched man, who having improved his skill (with too much success) in poisoning her judgement touching the truth of the Scriptures, and the precious concernments of her soul, did frequently vent his most Atheisticall and blasphemous opprobries, scorns, and scoffs against Religion, and the holy Scriptures, as these passages do abundantly witnesse.

Upon a time speaking of King David, said to this purpose and effect, That King James and King David were a couple of crafty Foxes, and cunning Knaves, that by their subtilty and policy, under religious pretences, acted all things with a design of abusing and cozening their people over whom they were set, and that they were as like as ever he read of any two men in all his life.

Another time speaking to the same woman, demanded, why she did not come and see his wife? and most jeeringly and scoffingly added, I protest, said he, thou hast sin’d the sin against the Holy Ghost, for not visiting my wife; or to that effect.

At other times visiting the same woman, and finding her in somewhat a melancholy and sad condition, (for indeed she was a woman of quick and ripe apprehensions in spiritual things, and could not likely degenerate from, and decline the waies of God without regret of spirit, and trouble of conscience.) Come, said he, we shall have you return to your religious mood again, you will never do well so long as these thoughts prevail with you; or to that purpose.

Oftentimes did this wretched man suggest unto her to this purpose, That it was a base and ignoble thing for any one to lie under such trouble, anguish, and perplexity, as could not well be indured, having so easie and speedy a way of riddance out of it, as is before every man, and that it was an honorable and valiant thing, for a man in such a case to put an end to his life by laying violent hands upon himself, being a far shorter way of ease, then any other way, Which Atheisticall principle was so nourished by this poor woman in her distresse and trouble, that she often attempted to destroy her self, and at last, she did most wofully bring it to passe, by strangling her self, to the great grief and trouble of her husband, children and dear relations; Now let impartiall and judicious men judge, of the frame, temper, and spirit of this man touching Religion, the Scriptures, the nature and mysteries of the Gospel, of heaven, of hell, &c. and whether these instances compared with his writing, for the divine authority of the Scriptures, as also with the late manifestation, do not manifest him to be a cunning hypocriticall Jugler, abuser, and deceiver of poor men and women that lend their ear unto him: he that can jeere at the Word of God, at the sin against the Holy Ghost, preferre scurrillous, base Pamphlets above the Scriptures, &c. can notwithstanding in this Manifestation, with a very devout and religious pen (as if he had been the most pious assertor of the things of God) pretend to build his comfort upon the Scriptures, as he doth pag. 4. of this Manifestation, where he saith, that he could pass over the many wrongs done unto him, upon this consideration, Remembring what is promised to be the portion of good men. Again, pag. 5. We must suffer till God sees fitting in good time to clear, &c. With severall other strains of this nature, as if Religion, and the affairs of the other world, God, and Christ, and the Spirit, were the main things that guide him in all his waies; wherein both L. Col. John Lilburn, and others, know in their owne consciences, and have declared it, that they could never perceive him a man in the least acquainted with the concernments of Religion, and the work of the Spirit.

Having declared the crafty and subtle wiles and methods of this artificiall and great Impostor, in his Satanicall work of seducing and deceiving the more able sort of men, I shall now proceed in setting forth his Mountebankisme in his Jesuiticall betraying of the weaker, more injudicious, and plainer sort of people, and these likewise being of severall tempers, constitutions, and conditions, he hath variety of art to deceive them all.

If they be of a low, needy, indigent, and wanty condition, as many of them are, he deals with them after this method.

First, (that he might hit the white of the mark in all his aimes, viz. wound the credit and authority of Religion) he is ever and anon harping upon the hard-heartednesse and uncharitablenesse of Professors (and I wish that he had not straw enough to make this Brick) and those that are religious men, how grinding they are in bargains, how penurious, base, and backward in works of charity and mercy, how undermining, and over-reaching they are in buying, in selling, how having and I craving in the things of this life, how hardly any work of mercy and i charity comes off with them, how they let their brethren starve, and die, and perish, rather then help them, and how bountifull, free, and liberall, the very Heathens have been, and how beneficiall even Papists, and many that do not so much as pretend to Religion, are to the poore, and therein I confesse, he spake too true, but the Devill himself speaks truth, to wound and destroy it, not to promote and propagate it, by this means he cunningly insinuates the discredit and disparagement of that, that is called Religion amongs us, and the Professors thereof.

Secondly, that he might likewise procure the second grand design, and desire of his soul, viz. the trouble, misery, and rum of this Common-wealth, in respect of those that now have, and formerly of late had the government thereof in their hands, he takes notice of the neglect of the Parliament in regarding and incouraging their friends, how they do not at all consider the pressures of those that have stuck unto them in their straights and difficulties, how they bestow places of profit upon the rich, and prefer themselves and their children, and kinsmen in places of greatest profit and advantage, how the great things that have been done for the Parliament, have been done by the meaner sort of men, and that by helping them they are now become low and poor, and not at all regarded, &c. by this means he raiseth up and increaseth discontents and ebullitions of spirit, heart-burnings, and repinings against the present Governors.

Thirdly, having somewhat heated them by the meanes aforesaid, then he insists upon the unworthinesse of our times, in making riches, and estates, and the things of this world, the great badge of distinction between man and man, the Characteristicall token of mens fitnesse for Government, and that it will not be well, untill such time as men shall be eligible into places of trust, that are vertuous and able, though poor and low in this world; and that Butchers and Coblers be chosen into the places of Magistracy and Government, as well as others that are rich in this world: These kinds of plausible discourses are very pleasing, and take much with discontented men that are poore and weak in estate, and withall shallow and injudicious, now they begin a little to swell, and be much conceited in, and of themselves: this done, Fourthly, he is very frequent and diligent, in fomenting the consideration of the disproportion and inequality of the distribution of the ‘things of this life. What an inequitable thing it is for one man to have thousands, & another want bread, & that the pleasure of God is, that all men should have enough, and not that one man should abound in this worlds good, spending it upon his lusts, and another man of far better deserts, not to be worth two pence, and that it is no such difficulty as men make it to be, to alter the course of the world in this thing, and that a very few diligent and valiant spirits may turn the world upside down, if they observe their seasons, and shall with life and courage ingage accordingly.

These are his methods in seducing the indigent and poorer sort of men. Againe, those whom he apprehends of passionate, cholerike, froward, and peevish dispositions, of putting forth bold and daring language, and withall weak, shallow, and injudicious, and yet men that are honesthearted in the maine, true to the interest of the Common-wealth, and zealous against tyranny and oppression, he handles after this manner.

First, he is ever blowing up their spirits by daily discourses of the pressures, burthens, rates, & taxes of the poor people of this Nation, Excize, Free-Quarter, Customes, &c. are the subject-matter of his daily talk.

Secondly, the next thing, is the consideration of the Cause hereof, and they are still those that are in places of Trust and Authority, and this is one of his most constant, certain and uniform customes, to foment jealousies against the most active, prosperous, and successefull persons of the Nation; urging, that it was ever known, that men, under pretence of zeal for Religion, and the interest of good people, have gotten into credit, and thereby lifted up themselves, endeavouring to destroy others under a pretence of Justice, and doing righteous things, that they may exalt themselves, and set up their own faction, and promote their sons and their daughters, their nephews, and their kindred, ever blemishing the repute and credit of the most famous and deserving men of the times.

Thirdly, this done, the Remedy is to be considered of, and this must be by remove (by some means or other) of those persons, adjudged the cause of all our troubles, and miseries, and because he knows that they cannot bear the thoughts of assassinations, murdering and killing of them, (especially at first) therefore the pretended miscarriages of these men must be printed and published to the world, and these books must be dispersed among especially the known well-affected and forward party in all places, to which end it must be so ordered and managed, that these books may be upon free cost abroad in the Countries, and all those places and Counties especially that are adjacent to the City of London, and do most abound with honest and wel-affected men, as Hertford-shire, Buckingham-shire, Cambridge-shire, &c. that so there may be a generall distaste and dis-affection among that sort of men against them.

Fourthly, when he hath by this means wounded the repute and credit of the most faithfull and successefull Patriots of the Commonwealth, representing them as the chief and only cause of the pressures, troubles and perplexities of the times, &c. and by this means raised the heat, fury and passion of this sort of men under present consideration, then (as if all the bonds of piety, civility, modesty, education and discretion were broken) scornfull, scandalous, opprobrious, false and clamorous reports are suggested and raised against these men, and happy would it be for this Nation that these men were rid out of the way.

For a further confirmation of the truth of these things, take some few instances which follow.

This Mr. Walwyn, to work upon the indigent and poorer sort of people, and to raise up their spirits in discontents and clamours, &c. did one time professe, he could wish with all his heart that there was neither Pale, Hedge nor Ditch in the whole Nation, and that it was an unconscionable thing that one man should have ten thousand pounds, and another more deserving and usefull to the Commonwealth, should not be worth two pence, or to that purpose.

At another time discoursing of the inequality and disproportion of the estates and conditions of men in the world, had words to this purpose, That it was a sad and miserable thing that it should so continue, and that it would never be well untill all things were common, and it being replyed, will that be ever? Answered, we must endeavour it: It being said, That this would destroy all Government; Answered, That then there would be lesse need of Government, for then there would be no theeves, no covetous persons, no deceiving and abusing of one another, and so no need of Government, &c. but if in such a case they have a form and rule of government to determine cases, as may fall out, yet there will be no need of standing Officers in a Commonwealth, no need of Judges, &c. but if any difference fall out, or any criminall fact be committed, take a Cobler from his Seat, or a Butcher from his Shop, or any other Tradesman that is an honest and just man, and let him hear the case, and determine the same, and then betake himself to his work again.

At another time, discoursing of Printing, and educating Children, &c.: Wisht that Printing had never been known, adding, that since this practice and custome of teaching of Children, and bringing up of youth in learning Tongues and Arts, the world hath been more troubled with suits and quarrells, discontents and divisions, and that one man having more abilities of this kind then another, men have got into great places, and this hath made such distinctions and divisions in the world, which otherwaies had never been known; or to this purpose.

Again, to ratifie the truth of his proceedings, in raising up the spirits of the violent, furious, and passionate sort of people, against well deserving men, take these instances.

In the beginning of our troubles, he hath frequently vented base and unworthy jealousies against that honored Col. Hambden, Mr. Pim and others, whom God made happy Instruments of the good of this Nation, envie it self not being able to blemish them, yet did he insinuate, that there was no trusting them, for they might be dispenced withall, to serve the Kings interest, &c.

What his invectives have been again L. Gen. Cromwell, Commissary Gen. Ireton, Col. Harrison, &c. is notorious to all that have had intimate acquaintance with him.

That he might stirr up the passionate and froward spirited people to work mischief, having raised up their heat and distemper, speaking of the obstructions of the good of the Nation by the house of Lords; Pish, said he, here is a great deal of stirr indeed, about Lords, the Switzers did cut the throats of about forty of them in a night, and had peace ever afterwards.

One of his presumed intimate friends assures of the truth of this story following, which was indeed the cause of his deserting this Walwin, and some others, with whom he had formerly some familiarity, the story is this, viz.

That there was an absolute design by some Agitators at Ware, to murther the Lieut. Gen. Cromwell, concluded upon, and the manner thereof agreed upon, to be thus, the Agreement then concluded upon should be worn in the hats of their Party, and a short Petition of about six lines should be presented to the Lord Generall, Petitioning him to joyn with them, in declaring that they were the Supreme Authority of this Nation; and that upon this ground, the People made the Parliament, the Parliament made the Lord Generall, and the Army, the severall Regiments of the Army made the Agitators, and so they were the supreme Authority, and if the Lord Generall did refuse to joyn with them, they were presently to unhorse him, resolving to destroy and cut the throats of all that did oppose them; and that night, with a Party of Horse, at 12 of the clock, they were to seize upon L. Generall Cromwell, and to shoot him to death, adding, that he should never know who hurt him; and that then they had a Charge ready framed against the King, which they would effectually prosecute, and require the Parliament to joyn with them, resolving to cut the throats of those that should refuse the same. The same Party assures also, that that very night when this should have been done at Ware, the private Committee did meet, with an expectation of the news of the successe of this bloody project; but news came unto them before it was expected, that the whole design was broken, and the manner thereof, viz. L. Gen. Cromwells carriages, with his naked waved Sword, daunted the Souldiers that had the paper in their hats, made them pluck it out, and subjected to commands, &c. to their great dejection and trouble.

The Party informing of this cursed design, was not a member of the private Committee, being a man (known) of more tender conscience, then fit to be admitted into such secresies, but being of a more common meeting, he had the businesse discovered unto him by another, as he is ready to assert.

Having spoken of the particular wiles and waies of this deceiver, touching the subject matter of his attempts, viz. the seducing of the honest and well-affected Party, the manner thereof, viz. his cunning, crafty, and politique observation of their severall tempers, constitutions, complexions, qualifications, and conditions, and his various and suitable application of himself, to gain upon them accordingly, having wrought upon them all to a free and voluntary disposition and inclination to hearken to his counsells, and to stand (as it were) at his right hand to receive his impressions, and orders, which you must still believe, are in order only to the publique good, common freedom, & safety of freeborn people of England, to the pulling down of Oppressors and Tyrants, he hath his severall works and employments for them all; according to every mans aptnesse & fitnesse for the same.

Those whom he observes men of parts, witty and good language, quick apprehensions, able to bridle passions, free from heat and choler, of a composed deportment and behaviour, and withall retensive in keeping secrets, &c. these are of his intimate society, commerse and familiarity, and shall be employed in observing the fitnesse and aptnesse of men for their proper employments, these shall be of the whispering house, close Cabinet, and privie Councell, and their work shall be the encreasing of that Party in the City and Country, whose Letters by the advantage of a politique and crafty Pen may propagate and help on their work in the severall Counties.

Those that are of more bold, peremptory, pertinacious conceipted Spirits, of fierce, daring, and provoking language, apt to heat, choler and passion, and withall shallow, weak, and injudicious, not able to see skin-deep into state affairs, and presuming themselves the best Common-wealths men, the greatest Statists, the onely lovers of their, Countries Liberties, the freest men from self-interest, and therefore the fittest for places of authority and trust: These shall trumpet out matter of discontents, jealousies, and pretended miscarriages of those that are in Authority, how basely things go; what oppressions, taxations, and vexations the poor people do endure? how this poor betrayed Nation is bought and sold? how the cutting off of some Tyrants do alwaies make way for more and worse to succeed them? how nothing is done for the Common-wealth? how basely the Treasure of the Kingdom is imbezeled? how Parliament men vote monies out of the purses of the poor ridden people into their own? how they share the riches of the Nation amongst themselves? how to day they vote this Parliament-man into a great Office, and to morrow another! and how they do nothing for the Common-wealth, but vote one another into places of power and profit! how that though to abuse and cast a mist before the eies of the people, they make a self-denying Ordinance, yet suffer no man to put it in execution! how they promote their kindred and allies into great places every where; if any use be for men in Customhouse, in Excise office, or in any other places of profit, this and that Parliament-mans friends, or brothers, or sons, or nephews must be the men; nay, Parliament men and their Allies have place upon place, and office upon office, as if they had severall bodies to be imployed at one and the same time? What’s become of the infinite sums, the unconceivable treasure of the Nation? the late Kings Customes, Ship-money, Coat and Conductmonies, Monopolies, &c. were nothing to the Customes, Excize, Taxations, Free-quarter, Sequestrations, Papists moneyes, Bishops Lands, Revenues of the Crowne, besides all the Plate and Monies lent freely by the people, and yet nothing done; nay, how many for their zeal and good will to the State have lent freely and bountifully, thereby beggering and undoing themselves, and now cannot receive one penny to buy them bread, but may lie begging, petitioning, and starving at their doors, and cannot be heard? nay, it may be have nothing, but course, hard and cruell language from them; how one faction tears the Common-wealth, and share it among themselves one while, and another, another while, neither of them regarding the ease or greevances of the poor people all this while, and what have they done since this purge and that purge? they have voted the continuance of Tythes, the laying of more Taxes and Rates, they imprison honest men, &c. these and the like charges are belchedout from day to day by these men: this is the main matter of their discourse, writing, printing, &c. never considering how far true or false, what may be said in answer to any of these things, but blowing and blazing these clamours and complaints in all companies and places where they come, and where they can by writings, or otherwaies spread them abroad, and for this purpose they have a very singular advantage of the good will and affection of our weekly newsmongers, the Tuesday-Moderate, the Friday-Occurrences, who were easily intreated to spread abroad their late Manifestation, that their simplicity, piety, and innocency, and the Parliaments oppression, cruelty and tyranny might be the better known to the whole Kingdom, and Malignants hopes revived again, that at last these may restore them, &c. This raiseth up a spirit of contempt, envy, and malice, anger & discontent, against the Parliament, & all that they do.

For those that are poor, indigent, and low in the world, these likewise must spread abroad their complaints, the deadnesse of Trading, the dearth of the times, the great burthens, assessments, and taxations; These are all through the neglect and by means of the Parliament, all burthens, rates, and services are laid upon them, they beare the heat and burthen of the day: but they are trampled upon, and is a peece of policy in men of great places, to keep the poor low, and needy in the world, and that this course must not be suffered, &c.

These and the like have been the particular ways of this cunning Artist, in abusing simple-hearted honest men; briefly the seeming tendency, drift, and scope of all his Agitations have carryed the face of many fould design.

First, to root out Religion and the principles and power thereof, out of the judgments and consciences of those that hearken unto him, witnesse those former Methods & Instances given in order thereunto.

Secondly, to root out the generation of honest, godly, religious and consciencious sort of people, whom he pretends to love above others, by putting them upon such waies and projects, which if they take place, would render them the most unsufferable generation in the world, not fit indeed to live in a Common-wealth: and what can his design herein be, but to precipitate them into their own ruine and destruction! and these are his Methods to that purpose.

First, to propose singular good things, and very promising, to the Common-wealth: And indeed, either he receives his instructions in some underhand way from others, (for we are not without ground, to suspect such a thing, as shall be declared as occasion Serves,) or else he hath a politique and crafty head in contriving, pretending, ordering and mannaging Propositions of that kind; This advanceth and magnifieth him in the thoughts and opinions of his seduced Disciples, for a man of admirable and good affections to the Common-wealth, to publique liberty and universall good: and withall, of admirable parts, capacities, and abilities, and therefore very fit for places of government, and worthy to be listned and hearkned unto.

Secondly, for the effecting of those things, and bringing them to passe, they must be tendered to the Parliament by the well-affected in Petitions, For what way is so meet for the people as petitioning, and what can those that are in Authority do lesse, then grant them just things, that every mans judgement calleth good? And here is one of the great Masterpeeces of his craft and subtilty, viz. in the framing, ordering and managing their Petitions.

First, the Phrase, Stile and Dialect of these Petitions must be always harsh, unpleasant, and in case if denied, menacing and provoking, representing the Petitioners, froward, imperious, passionate, furious, positive and implacable, men of low and mean birth, breeding and quality, proud, heady, high-minded, vainglorious, giving out themselves to be alwaies the well-affected party, by whom, chiefly and mainly, if not only the Parliament have been chosen, maintained, preserved: as if the whole burthen of the charges, and service of the Warrs, was undergone by them, and by none else.

Secondly, The matter of those Petitions must not contain apparent good things in themselves only, but alwaies mingled with some things very doubtfull and questionable, causing many disputes, debates and meetings hereabout.

Thirdly, They must alwaies be clog’d and filid with such things, which though in themselves desireable, and (were they attained) hopefull and promising to the well-being of honest men, and the interest of the Nation: yet unseasonable, being of the greatest and remotest probability (as things stand) to be procured: insisting with most importunities in plainnesse and peremptorinesse of words, upon such things: not contenting themselves with those which are directly previous and infallibly conducing thereunto: but having a speciall eye, either at the present incapacity of the House, (by reason of diversities of judgements amongst themselves, the inabilities of the Nation in generall, the variety of the providences of God, in ordering the affairs of the Common-wealth) to grant such things, though happily they themselves desire it, yet with much impetuousnesse, they commandingly pray, and proudly petition for the same, now his game is started and he merily pursues it.

First, He hath divided the quondam united petitioning party, by the framing, phrasifying and ordering these Petitions, some being for, others against the same, now heat, jealousies, differences arise, one party censuring the other (with hard words) for cowardice, dastardlinesse, and basenesse of spirit, these are our prudentialists, our wise, moderate men, that can never find a season to do good for their Countrey, Is it not time to speak out? shall we always be meal-mouth’d, and never speak plain? If this be not a season? when will it be? are not the things just we desire? if they will not grant them, we may see what to expect from them: Again, the other party looks upon them as rash, heady, incogitant, fiery, furious spirited men that are like to bring all to ruine and confusion, &c.

Secondly, the House is hereby unwillingly precipitated and hurried upon one of these inevitable rocks: either by granting their Petitions they must obnoxiate themselves to the disgust, displeasure, and irritation of the generality of all sorts of the people of the Land, as also to the dangerous consequences of the pride and ambition of these men, puft up with their vain and vapouring conceipts, that they must not be denyed, though their Petitions be never so peremptory, positive and commanding, or else,

Secondly, by denying them, they must undergo the hard, uncivill and unworthy Censures of these hot spirited Petitioners, viz. the Parliament, what is it? a company of base self-seeking fellows, a pack of knaves, as reall Tyrants as the King and his Patentees, a generation that will never do good to this Nation, that deserve no better at the hands of the people, then Weezils, or Polecats: this Mr. Walwyn himself, discoursing with others about modelling & framing Petitions, so as to induce the Parliament to give a gratious answer, protest to this purpose, that it would be better for the people, that the Parliament should deny, then grant their Petitions, for then they would discover themselves what they are, and what the people must expect from them; if any man shall revise all those Petitions, whose modell was the birth of his brain, he shall find them spirited, with such provocations, as have the greatest extention to all considerable Parties throughout the Nation; that the Magistrates may be provoked, their power must be taken away, the rigour of the Lawes abated, as inconsistent with the liberties of a free people, they must have no power to impresse or constrain the people to arms by Sea or Land, &c. in short, leaving them nothing but the bare ayrie empty title of a Magistrate without power, and this pleaseth the rude and vicious sort of people; again, the Ministers must be provoked, and thereby the Pulpits fiered, by taking away their maintenance under the name of Tythes, no other way or means propounded, to encourage the preaching of the Gospell, whereby this ayery, vain empty thing (so reputed by this man) called Religion, may be exploded and expelled the Nation; this pleaseth the ignorant, simple and covetous Party; the Lawyers they must be provoked, by pretending the uselessenesse of them in a Common-wealth, which pleaseth the irregular, quarrellous and offensive part of the people: The Merchants must be provoked by complaining against their Monopolizing of Trade in their own hands, and not admitting a free people to a free trade; it would be no hard matter clearly to discern an exasperating irritating & irascifying spirit in all their Petitions whose apt, natural & genuine tendencies are to kindle flames distempers, divisions, jealousies, & discontents amongst all sorts whatsoever.

Whether these former considerations do not meerly demonstrate his design of mischief to the honest and well-affected party, let any mans reason determine; as for the interest of the people, the freedom and Liberties of the Nation, (the great desire of his soul, and the travell of all his conceptions, if you will beleeve him) when any man shall seriously observe that the bent and naturall genius of all his solicitations are the division of the honest party, the alienation of their hearts from, and malignifying of their opinions against, yea, the utter ruine and destruction of the successefull and faithfull instruments of deliverance and safety to the Nation, his uniform hindering and obstructing, by his manifold wiles, the happy progresse of the compleat interest, deliverance and freedom of the people, when the Parl. and Army are in a hopefull capacity thereunto, his constant retarding and endeavours of preventing the execution of those very things, when in a hopefull way thereunto, which he formerly seem’d most eagerly, and with all his soul and might to pursue, his constant quarrelling with, and exciting his followers against, those that at any time, since this Parliament began, have the publike rule in their hands: he, I say, that shall impartially and in the exercise of his reason, observe these and many the like uniform, certain, and constant proceedings of this man, needs not be to seek how to make a most probable, if not indubitable judgment upon him in that point.

I shall only in a word adde one thing more, and leave him, and that is his constant endeavour to hinder the relief of Ireland, by exhibiting arguments and reasons in justification of that bloody rebellion, and in puzzling the judgements and Consciences of those that otherways would promote that happy work, arguing that the cause of the Irish Natives in seeking their just freedoms, immunities, and liberties, was the very same with our cause here, in indeavouring our own rescue and freedom from the power of oppressors, waving the consideration of that damnable, bloody, and unparalleled massacring, murthering, and starving so many thousands of poor Protestants, whose blood, it seems, this devout Manifestator, Mr. Walwyn judgeth not worthy, so much as to be enquired after, but God, I hope, hath, and will so discover the folly, falsenesse, and deceits of this man, that he shall proceed no further in seducing and deceiving the honest and plain hearted people, that have been apt to hearken to him.

As for L. C. Jo. Lilburn, I am very apt to beleeve, and hope, that there are yet some seeds of God remaining in him, which (though for the present very strangely subdued, and kept under the clouds of ambition, heat, and choller, passion, frowardnesse, and heighth of spirit, pride, vain-glory, and affectation, rendring him for the present fierce, heady, high-minded, lofty, peevish, revengefull, implacable, very unlovely, and unlike our Lord Jesus, to whose service he doth pretend,) will (notwithstanding all this) at last break forth in beauty & strength, in much sorrow, repentance, and humiliation, in much humility, meekness, and sweetness of spirit, in much gentlenesse, patience and long-suffering, in much wisdome, prudence, and lowlinesse of mind, which will at last grow up and ripen unto a rich and plentifull harvest of honour and praise unto God, of much complacency, satisfaction and contentment to his grieved and offended brethren, of much inward, comfortable, and contentfull communion and fellowship with the holy Spirit, and of his eternall peace, life, and salvation with God, hereafter, which (the Judge of, all hearts doth know) is the longing of my soul in his behalf.

As for Mr. Prince I have no acquaintance at all with him, but have heard a good report of him, and am very apt to believe the same, for he is not the first good man that hath been seduced by the sleights of men, and therefore the cognizance that I have of M. Lilburn, and the reports I hear of M. Prince, have incouraged me (as presuming if I am not deceived in the one and the other) to render to them some few considerations, confidently believing, that the serious and Christian contemplation therof, by vertue of that Spiritualis tactus, that, I hope, is upon their hearts, will prove through the blessing of God, a means of meekning, softning, and framing their spirits, unto a peaceable, quiet, and amiable disposition, life, and conversation.

Omitting then the consideration of the violent, furious, and fiery language, especially of M. Lilburn, together with the roughnesse, rigidnesse, and licentiousness of his tongue and pen, in abusing, knaving, and rascallizing (after a most furious and unchristian manner) those that have given as ample testimony of their integrity and faithfulnesse to this Nation, as ever any that was bred therein, as also of their innocency in those very things (viz. self-seeking, self-interest, &c.) whereof they are accused, having as great advantages, seasons, and oportunities hereunto, as ever men had, by the many and great victories, successes, and forces vouchsafed unto them, and under their command, whereby they have (through the presence of the Lord with them) pull’d down the pride and power of the enemy, and might have had what terms they pleased, for the particular advantage of themselves and families, would they thereby have been wooed, perswaded and wrought upon to a base and unworthy compliance, the lustre, brightnesse, and glory whereof, doth most powerfully break through all those clouds, fogs, and mists, ascending from the ranker, malice, and discontents, clamors, falsities, and scandalous tongues and pens of these men, to the generall satisfaction of wise observing and considering men, having not only the testimony of God and their own consciences, but even of those, whose occasions, condition, and conversation, have given them an oportunity of a peculiar, daily, and constant inspection and observation of their wayes, by means whereof they can laugh to scorn those irrationall accusations against them from day to day. I say, omitting these things which may be insisted upon, consider, (whereas you are still complaining of oppressions, sorrows and troubles of the Nation) that we cannot upon any rational & Scriptural ground, expect a compleat, full, absolute, and perfect freedome from all kind of pressures and grievances in the Land, surely a naturall and compleat freedome from all sorrows and troubles, was fit for man only before he had sinned, and not since, let them look for their portion in this life, that know no better, and their Kingdome in this world, that believe no other, to what end are the graces of faith, patience, and self-deniall, vouchsafed unto us? what need would there be of the ordinances of prayer, of the promises of the comforts of the Holy Ghost? what should we make of those sayings of Christ? asserting, That in the world we shall, have tribulation, That through many afflictions we must enter into the Kingdom of God, That here we have no continuing City, but we look for one that is to come, &c. if we might expect perfect freedom here below.

Again, consider whether your tongues, your pens, your bookes, should not as well savour of the sence of mercy received, as of complaints of what is wanting, though the sorrows, troubles, and grievances of the Nation be great, yet have we no cause of thankfulness to God and men for his mercy, and their assistance? what had become of this Nation, had not God stirr’d up those very men, which are the men of your complaint, to interpose between it, and the power, wrath, and malice of the contrary party? and is it not hard measure, when for all their hazarding and jeoparding their lives in the high places, under all disadvantages of numbers, powers, and strength, as you know they did, that you, even you, brethren of their own party, should reward them as now you do, could you bear it your selves?

Again, consider, that the best of men, are but men at best, and will you give no allowance for flesh and blood? doubtlesse, these men of your anger have their spots, for they are but men, but have not you yours? if they are such as you give them out to be, viz. base, tyrannicall, false and rotten-hearted men, will not God find them out, as he hath done in our eyes? yes verily: and so will he find you out, if you be like them, but if you think they are upright in the maine, pity them, pardon them, counsell them, and pray for them, as the like measure is meted out for you: can you presume that perfection and temptation can dwell together on this side the grave? Have you no covering for infirmities? Make it your own case; was there no tang of pride, vain-glory, tyranny and oppression in your L. Col. John Lilburne, when you were lifted but some few degrees above your brethren, and fellow-Souldiers in the Army? Will all men give testimorty of your meekness, wisdom, goodness, gentleness, that you were free from self-seeking, using no Lordliness over your poor souldiers, not the least tincture of fingering their dues, rights, liberties? can you think that had you that power, place, & authority in the Parliament, Army, &c. which these men have, that you would do better for the Common-wealth then they do? if so be such vain conceits do swel within you, recollect your self, & bear the language of a friend, what means then the imperious Magisterial Dialect of your tongue & pen, that you cannot bear the least-dissent from your opinion or judgement without flying beyond the bounds of your present station, yea, and civility, and good manners, but your tongue let flie: Knave, Rascall, lie have his ears, lie have his blood, &c? could you bear contradictions having power in your hands, & cannot indure the same, no, though it be in matter of opinion about State-affairs, when you stand upon the lower ground? Have not men hereby cause to presume you as full of tyrannicall prindples, as a fish is full of spawne? Can you tread upon the necks of Princes and Rulers, while you are upon the dunghill, and would not doe the like even to Peasants if you sate upon the Throne? though you seem to blesse your selfe from day to day in that you can steal away the hearts of the people from the Parliament and Army, as Absalom did from David by your pretended zeal for the Liberties of the poor oppressed people, saying to the disturbed and grieved thereof for want of just administrations, as he did, 2 Sam. 15. 2, 3, 4) Of what City are you? of one of the Tribes of Israel: your matters are good and right, but there is no man to hear you: O that I were made a Judg in the Land, that every man that hath any suit, or cause, might come unto me, and I would do him right: The Free-born People of England, how are they oppressed, wronged and abused? No man judgeth their cause. This must be mended; we will have this, and that, and the other thing done, that will ease and please the people; and may happily gather together such a number as he did, about 4. hundred silly, shallow, heady, hasty and simple-hearted men to the Kingdoms trouble and their own mine; yet be perswaded in fame, for you cannot prosper; surely your spirit, your language, your dialect, stand at such palpable, plain, and open defiance to that spirit, which breatheth in the Scriptures, & in the hearts of those that fear God (out of whose number I do not exdude you, though as I said before, very strangely are the symptoms of godliness kept down in you) that you cannot, you shal not thus go on, and prosper, no notwithstanding your crafty methods & art, which you use to incense and stir up the poor ignorant Country, by sending your Papers, appointing this man to spread them abroad in this part, and that man in that part, this man in this parish, and another in that, exercising the like skil for infection of several Regiments, Troops, and Companies of the Army, by means whereof you boast of your thousands and ten thousands to stand to you, swelling up your vain spirit to that height, making you forget what you are, yet let me tell you, that all this while you are but making matter of shame, sorrow, and repentance for your self, and however you may be puft up with the airy, empty, vain & flattering words of those that applaud you, and cry you up for a valiant & brave spirit that hath withstood Kings, Lords, Commons, Army, fearing neither men or devils in your Countries caus, the wind wherof may blow you up & down as a cloud without water, and make your sails swel beyond your vessel, yet wise judicious & seeing men do evidently perceive you vainly hurried to the very brink of an inevitable precipice, from whence (if not prevented by a gracious hand of mercy from on high) you will certainly fall into shameful issues, as Absalom did, to the grief & trouble of your real, though not flattering friends: if therefore you have any bowels of compassion to your native Country, in whose behalf you would seem even to be eaten up with zeal, do not hinder the happines therof, by gratifying Malignants, whose only hope is you and your party, who rejoyce in your mad and furious proceedings, and take pleasure in your folly, and do boie you up with vain, empty, and windy words, seeking your own, and your brethrens ruin, & would rejoyce to see us all destroyed and hang’d together: Do you think your Manifestation (wherein you would make them beleeve that you never have been any way violent against the persons of the King and Queen, or their party, though I confess I wonder with what face you could so speak) doth satisfie them? no doubtless they know you well enough, and you shall know it, if an opportunity serves them. Are you indeed lovers of your Country? why then do you hinder the peace & happiness thereof by your present Commotions? Are you indeed the servants of the most high God? where is his image? Are you the Disciples of Christ? where is his meekness, patience, gentleness, long-suffering goodness? Are you flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone? where then is your love to his people? Can you make wise and judicious men to believe your great protest zeal of your love to good men, while you hinder the relief of Ireland, (though I now speak not to M. Walwyn and M. Overton, because I fear they have not hearing ears in matters of this nature,) yet, can you M. Lilburn and M. Prince bear the thoughts of so many thousand Protestants (amongst whom who can tell how many faithful servants of God) murthered & massacred without any inquisition made for their blood? nay, that all that remain of that generation must give up themseivs to be butcherd and slaughterd by those sons of violence, and shal have no assistance? Could it enter into any mans heart, that L. Col. Lilburn the grand Zealot for honest mens interest should ever be so baffled with vain glosses, Jesuitical, notorious and cunning Sophistry, as to be perswaded to hinder the relief of Ireland? Do not the screeches and cries of those slaughtered men, women and children fill your ears, their sprawlings and gaspings appear in your eyes, while you hinder the just vengeance upon those barbarous murtherers? What’s become of those wonted bowels of love and affection to the honest party that did sound in you? are they restrained? can you resolve not only to deafen your ears to the cry of the dead for Justice, but will you stop them also against the cry of the living for mercy that are like to be slaughtered for want of relief? What Malignant, what Papist, what Jesuit, nay, what Devil, under the notion of an Angel of light, hath thus bewitcht you, that you cannot see the crafty jugglism and Jesuitism of your present transactions? Do you not perceive, nor yet understand that under the pretence, shape, and vizard of zeal for your Countries good, you are furiously hurried and blindly cheated into such actions that threaten its ruine? Will the raising up of a third War, the utter extirpation of the Protestants in Ireland, the dividing, rending, and breaking Englands Army, the heating, fiering and enflaming the spirits of the honest and united party, the raising, increasing and multiplying difficulties and troubles in this very juncture of time, when all contrivances, plots and projects that malice it self can study and invent by Sea or Land to prevent and hinder the hopeful change of the late Government for the happy promotion of the Liberties and Freedom of the people? Will these things, I say (the proper tendencies of your present practises) promote the Peace and Interest of England? Or can they be any other then the unhappy birth of the Romish, Malignant, Jesuitical and Satanical Faction? And shall L. Col. John Lilburn, and Mr Prince, protest friends to Englands Interest, adjutate, help and promote the same? Or speak plainly, Have you quitted the tents of Israel, and struk hands with the Philistins? Is your quondam Religion and protest experiences thereof like salt that hath lost its savour? Is it now fit for nothing but the dunghil? Do you make no other use of your old profession then to retain your credit with your quondam companions for your more easie & quick dispatch of their utter ruine, by the course you take, that so you may do their grand Enemy and his party the greater work in a little time; if these things be the abhorring of your souls, what means your present practises? Destroy the Parliament and Councel of State, break the Army in pieces, set the Souldiers against the Officers, tell them ’tis Tyranny to be under the martial Discipline, (though under pay) hinder the relief of Ireland, make way for the Rebells to come over hither, let French, & Danes and Devils come with them; do not you think that all this will promote Englands interest, the Gospels through-fare, and happy successe, the peace and prosperity of Honest men? and have not your present ways, a direct face, yea, and a swift foot after these things? or hath the spirit of Tinmouth Lilburne, possessed you, that you have resolved to betray the interest of the whole Nation into the hands of the revengefull Enemie. Well, if it be so, you are about a work which will devour the workman. For all they that hate Zion shall be turned backward and perish.

Postscript

Reader,

The foolish, vain, inconsistent, malicious, and contradictious Scandals, falsities and absurdities of the late Pamphlets, subscribed by these men, are so plain, dear and obvious, that it would reflect disparagement upon thy judgment, and difficiency upon thy observation to insist upon the same, nevertheless because they are a high-flown generation, presuming that unanswerable which others judg intolerable, and mens discretion in slighting their folly insufficiency to refute the same, thou shalt (as occasion is offered, if thy nostrils can bear it) see the boyls and botches of their ulcerous pens lancht before thee, wherein thou mayst expect such heighths of confidence, and depths of ignorance, such impudence and arrogance, such substantial vapors, such true falsities, such shallow deeps, such real vanities, such irrational reasonings, such dividing propositions for the settlement of peace, such reedy pillars for the establishment of the State, such warring principles for the Peoples Agreement, as it is hard to say, whether will move thy pity or laughter; but when men turn apostates from God, scoffers of Religion, deny the Scriptures, neglect, contemn, and despise the means of Sanctification, grow haughty, proud, vain-glorious, passionate, froward, fierce, fiery, &c. they’l at last make nothing to strike hands with the Devil and his party, Atheists and Papists, and prophane Malignants, no longer help the Lord against the mighty, but the mighty against the Lord, betray Ireland, settle the Prince upon the English throne, ruine the honest interest of the Nation, and then

Farewel.

 

 


 

6.11. John Lilburne, William Walwyn, Thomas Prince, Richard Overton, An Agreement of the Free People of England (London: Gyles Calvert, 1 May 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

John Lilburne, William Walwyn, Thomas Prince, Richard Overton, An Agreement of the Free People of England. Tendered as a Peace-Offering to this distressed Nation. By Lieutenant Colonel John Lilburne, Master William Walwyn, Master Thomas Prince, and Master Richard Overton, Prisoners in the Tower of London, May the 1. 1649.

Matth. 5.verse 9. Blessed are the Peace-makers for they shall be called the children of God.

London, Printed for Gyles Calvert at the blaclkspread-Eagle at the West end of Pauls, 1649.

Estimated date of publication

1 May 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 740; Thomason E. 571. (10.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

A Preparative to all sorts of people.

IF AFFLICTIONS make men wise, and wisdom direct to happinesse, I then certainly this Nation is not far from such a degree therof, as may compare if not far exceed, any part of the world: having for some yeares by-past, drunk deep of the Cup of misery and sorrow. We blesse God our consciences are cleer from adding affliction to affliction, having ever laboured from the beginning, of our publick distractions, to compose and reconcile them: & should esteem it the Crown of all our temporal felicity that yet we might be instrumentall in procuring the peace and prosperity of this Common-wealth the land of our Nativity.

And therefore according to our promise in our late Manifestation of the 14 of Aprill 1649. (being perswaded of the necessitie and justnesse thereof) as a Peace-Offering to the Free people of this Nation, we tender this ensuing Agreement, not knowing any more effectuall means to put a finall period to all our feares and troubles.

It is a way of settlement, though at first much startled at by some in high authority; yet according to the nature of truth, it hath made its own way into the understanding, and taken root in most mens hearts and affections, so that we have reall ground to hope (what ever shall become of us) that our earnest desires and indeavours for good to the people will not altogether be null and frustrate.

The life of all things is in the right use and application, which is not our worke only, but every mans conscience must look to it selfe, and not dreame out more seasons and opportunities. And this we trust will satisfie all ingenuous people that we are not such wilde, irrationall, dangerous Creatures as we have been aspersed to be; This agreement being the ultimate end and full scope of all our desires and intentions concerning the Government of this Nation, and wherein we shall absolutely rest satisfied and acquiesce; nor did we ever give just cause for any to beleeve worse of us by any thing either said or done by us, and which would not in the least be doubted, but that men consider not the interest of those that I have so unchristian-like made bold with our good names; but we must bear with men of such interests as are opposite to any part of this Agreement, when neither our Saviour nor his Apostles innocency could stop such mens mouthes whose interests their doctrines and practises did extirpate; And therefore if friends at least would but consider what interest men relate to, whilst they are telling or whispering their aspersions against us, they would find the reason and save us a great deale of labour in clearing our selves, it being a remarkable signe of an ill cause when aspersions supply the place of Arguments.

We blesse God that he hath given us time and hearts to bring it to this issue, what further he hath for us to do is yet only knowne to his wisedom, to whose will and pleasure we shall willingly submit; we have if we look with the eyes of frailty, enemies like the sons of Anak, but if with the eyes of faith and confidence in a righteous God and a just cause, we see more with us then against us.

JOHN LILBURN.

WILLIAM WALWYN.

THOMAS PRINCE.

RICHARD OVERTON.

The Agreement it selfe thus followeth.

After the long and tedious prosecution of a most unnaturall cruell, homebred war, occasioned by divisions and distempers amongst our selves, and those distempers arising from the uncertaintie of our Government, and the exercise of an unlimited or Arbitrary power, by such as have been trusted with Supreme and subordinate Authority, wherby multitudes of grievances and intolerable oppressions have been brought upon us. And finding after eight yeares experience and expectation all indeavours hitherto used, or remedies hitherto applyed, to have encreased rather then diminished our distractions, and that if not speedily prevented our falling againe into factions and divisions, will not only deprive us of the benefit of all those wonderful Victories God hath vouchsafed against such as sought our bondage, but expose us first to poverty and misery, and then to be destroyed by forraigne enemies. And being earnestly desirous to make a right use of that opportunity God hath given us to make this Nation Free and Happy, to reconcile our differences, and beget a perfect amitie and friendship once more amongst us, that we may stand clear in our consciences before Almighty God, as unbyassed by any corrupt Interest or particular advantages, and manifest to all the world that our indeavours have not proceeded from malice to the persons of any, or enmity against opinions; but in reference to the peace and prosperity of the Common-wealth, and for prevention of like distractions, and removall of all grievances; We the free People of England, to whom God hath given hearts, means and opportunity to effect the same, do with submission to his wisdom, in his name, and desiring the equity thereof may be to his praise and glory; Agree to ascertain our Government, to abolish all arbitrary Power, and to set bounds and limits both to our Supreme, and all Subordinate Authority, and remove all known Grievances.

And accordingly do declare and publish to all the world, that we are agreed as followeth,

I. That the Supreme Authority of England and the Territories therewith incorporate, shall be and reside henceforward in a Representative of the People consisting of four hundred persons, but no more; in the choice of whom (according to naturall right) all men of the age of one and twenty yeers and upwards (not being servants, or receiving alms, or having served the late King in Arms or voluntary Contributions) shall have their voices; and be capable of being elected to that Supreme Trust, those who served the King being disabled for ten years onely. All things concerning the distribution of the said four hundred Members proportionable to the respective parts of the Nation, the severall places for Election, the manner of giving and taking of Voyces, with all Circumstances of like nature, tending to the compleating and equall proceedings in Elections, as also their Salary, is referred to be setled by this present Parliament, in such sort as the next Representative may be in a certain capacity to meet with safety at the time herein expressed: and such circumstances to be made more perfect by future Representatives.

II. That two hundred of the four hundred Members, and not lesse, shall be taken and esteemed for a competent Representative; and the major Voyces present shall be concluding to this Nation. The place of Session, and choice of a Speaker, with other circumstances of that nature, are referred to the care of this and future Representatives.

III. And to the end all publick Officers may be certainly accountable, and no Factions made to maintain corrupt Interests, no Officer of any salary, Forces in Army or Garison, nor any Treasurer or Receiver of publick monies, shall (while such) be elected a Member for any Representative; and if any Lawyer shall at any time be chosen, he shall be uncapable of practice as a Lawyer, during the whole time of that Trust. And for the same reason, and that all persons may be capable of subjection as well as rule.

IIII. That no Member of the present Parliament shall be capable of being elected of the next Representative, nor any Member of any future Representative shall be capable of being chosen for the Representative immediately succeeding: but are free to be chosen, one Representative having intervened: Nor shall any Member of any Representative be made either Receiver, Treasurer, or other Officer during that imployment.

V. That for avoyding the many dangers and inconveniences apparently arising from the long continuance of the same persons in Authority; We Agree, that this present Parliament shall end the first Wednesday in August next 1649, and thenceforth be of no power or Authority: and in the mean time shall order and direct the Election of a new and equall Representative, according to the true intent of this our Agreement: and so as the next Representative may meet and sit in power and Authority as an effectuall Representative upon the day following; namely, the first Thursday of the same August, 1649.

VI. We agree, if the present Parliament shall omit to order such Election or Meeting of a new Representative; or shall by any means be hindered from performance of that Trust:

That in such case, we shall for the next Representative proceed in electing thereof in those places, & according to that manner & number formerly accustomed in the choice of Knights and Burgesses; observing onely the exceptions of such persons from being Electors or Elected, as are mentioned before in the first third, and fourth Heads of this Agreement: It being most unreasonable that we should either be kept from new, frequent and successive Representatives, or that the supreme Authority should fall into the hands of such as have manifested disaffection to our common Freedom, and endeavoured the bondage of the Nation.

VII. And for preserving the supreme authority from falling into the hands of any whom the people have not, or shall not chuse, We are resolved and agreed (God willing) that a new Representative shall be upon the first Thursday in August next aforesaid: the ordering and disposing of themselves, as to the choice of a speaker, and the like circumstances, is hereby left to their discretion: But are in the extent and exercise of Power, to follow the direction and rules of this agreement; and are hereby authorised and required according to their best judgements, to set rules for future equall distribution, and election of Members as is herein intended and enjoyned to be done, by the present Parliament.

VIII. And for the preservation of the supreme Authority (in all times) entirely in the hands of such persons only as shal be chosen thereunto—we agree and declare: That the next & al future Representatives, shall continue in full power for the space of one whole year: and that the people shall of course, chuse a Parliament once every year so as all the members thereof may be in a capacity to meet, and take place of the foregoing Representative: the first Thursday in every August for ever if God so please; Also (for the same reason) that the next or any future Representative being met, shall continue their Session day by day without intermission for four monthes at the least; and after that shall be at Liberty to adjourn from two monthes to two months, as they shall see cause untill their yeer be expired, but shall sit no longer then a yeer upon pain of treason to every member that shall exceed that time: and in times of adjurnment shall not erect a Councel of State but refer the managing of affairs in the intervals to a Committee of their own members, giving such instructions, and publish them, as shall in no measure contradict this agreement.

IX. And that none henceforth may be ignorant or doubtful concerning the power of the Supreme authority, and of the affairs, about which the same is to be conversant and exercised: we agree and declare, that the power of Representatives shall extend without the consent or concurrence of any other person or persons,

1. To the conservation of Peace and commerce with forrain Nations.

2. To the preservation of those safe guards, and securities of our lives, limbes, liberties, properties, and estates, contained in the Petition of Right, made and enacted in the third year of the late King.

3. To the raising of moneys, and generally to all things as shall be evidently conducing to those ends, or to the enlargement of our freedom, redress of grievances, and prosperity of the Commonwealth.

For security whereof, having by wofull experience found the prevalence of corrupt interests powerfully inclining most men once entrusted with authority, to pervert the same to their own domination, and to the prejudice of our Peace and Liberties, we therefore further agree and declare.

X. That we do not impower or entrust our said representatives to continue in force, or to make any Lawes, Oaths, or Covenants, whereby to compell by penalties or otherwise any person to any thing in or about matters of faith, Religion or Gods worship or to restrain any person from the profession of his faith, or exercise of Religion according to his Conscience, nothing having caused more distractions, and heart burnings in all ages, then persecution and molestation for matters of Conscience in and about Religion:

XI. We doe not impower them to impresse or constrain any person to serve in war by Sea or Land every mans Conscience being to be satisfied in the justness of that cause wherein he hazards his own life, or may destroy an others.

And for the quieting of all differences, and abolishing of all enmity and rancour, as much as is now possible for us to effect.

XII. We agree, That after the end of this present Parliament, no person shall be questioned for any thing said or done in reference to the late Warres, or publique differences; otherwise then in pursuance of the determinations of the present Parliament, against such as have adhered to the King against the Liberties of the people: And saving that Accomptants for publick moneys received, shall remain accomptable for the same.

XIII. That all priviledges or exemptions of any persons from the Lawes, or from the ordinary course of Legall proceedings, by vertue of any Tenure, Grant, Charter, Patent, Degree, or Birth, or of any place of residence, or refuge, or priviledge of Parliament, shall be henceforth void and null; and the like not to be made nor revived again.

XIIII. We doe not impower them to give judgment upon any ones person or estate, where no Law hath been before provided, nor to give power to any other Court or jurisdiction so to do, Because where there is no Law, there is no transgression, for men or Magistrates to take Cognisance of; neither doe we impower them to intermeddle with the execution of any Law whatsoever.

XV. And that we may remove all long setled Grievances, and thereby as farre as we are able, take away all cause of complaints, and no longer depend upon the uncertain inclination of Parliaments to remove them, nor trouble our selves or them with Petitions after Petitions, as hath been accustomed, without fruit or benefit; and knowing no cause why any should repine at our removall of them, except such as make advantage by their continuance, or are related to some corrupt Interests, which we are not to regard.

We agree and Declare,

XVI. That it shall not be in the power of any Representative, to punish, or cause to be punished, any person or persons for refusing to answer to questions against themselves in Criminall cases.

XVII. That it shall not be in their power, after the end of the next Representative, to continue or constitute any proceedings in Law that shall be longer then Six months in the final determination of any cause past all Appeal, nor to continue the Laws or proceedings therein in any other Language then English, nor to hinder any person or persons from pleading their own Causes, or of making use of whom they please to plead for them.

The reducing of these and other the like provisions of this nature in this Agreement provided, and which could not now in all particulars be perfected by us, is intended by us to be the proper works of faithful Representatives.

XVIII. That it shall not be in their power to continue or make any Laws to abridge or hinder any person or persons, from trading or merchandizing into any place beyond the Seas, where any of this Nation are free to Trade.

XIX. That it shall not be in their power to continue Excise or Customes upon any sort of Food, or any other Goods, Wares, or Commodities, longer then four months after the beginning of the next Representative, being both of them extreme burthensome and oppressive to Trade, and so expensive in the Receipt, as the moneys expended therein (if collected as Subsidies have been) would extend very far towards defraying the publick Charges; and forasmuch as all Moneys to be raised are drawn from the People; such burthensome and chargeable wayes, shall never more be revived, nor shall they raise Moneys by any other ways (after the aforesaid time) but only by an equal rate in the pound upon every reall and persotiall estate in the Nation.

XX. That it shall not be in their power to make or continue any Law, whereby mens reall or personall estates, or any part thereof, shall be exempted from payment of their debts; or to imprison any person for debt of any nature, it being both unchristian in it self, and no advantage to the Creditors, and both a reproach and prejudice to the Commonwealth.

XXI. That it shall not be in their power to make or continue any Law, for taking away any mans life, except for murther, or other the like hainous offences destructive to humane Society, or for endevouring by force to destroy this our Agreement, but shall use their uttermost endeavour to appoint punishments equall to offences: that so mens Lives, Limbs, Liberties, and estates, may not be liable to be taken away upon trivial or slight occasions as they have been; and shall have speciall care to preserve) all sorts of people from wickedness misery and beggery: nor shall the estate of any capitall offendor be confiscate but in cases of treason only; and in all other capitall offences recompence shall be made to the parties damnified, as well out of the estate of the Malifactor, as by loss of life, according to the conscience of his jury.

XXII. That it shall not be in their power to continue or make any Law, to deprive any person, in case of Tryals for Life, Limb, Liberty, or Estate from the benefit of witnesses on his or their behalf; nor deprive any person of those priviledges, and liberties, contained in the Petition of Right, made in the third yeer of the late King Charls.

XXIII. That it shall not be in their power to continue the Grievance of Tithes, longer then to the end of the next Representative; in which time, they shall provide to give reasonable satisfaction to all Impropriators: neither shall they force by penalties or otherwise any person to pay towards the maintenance of any Ministers, who out of conscience cannot submit thereunto.

XXIV. That it shall not be in their power to impose Ministers upon any the respective Parishes, but shall give free liberty to the parishioners of every particular parish, to chuse such as themselves shall approve; and upon such terms, and for such reward, as themselves shall be willing to contribute, or shall contract for. Provided, none be chusers but such as are capable of electing Representatives.

XXV. That it shal not be in their power, to continue or make a law, for any other way of Judgments, or Conviction of life, limb, liberty, or estate, but oliely by twelve sworn men of the Neighborhood; to be chosen in some free way by the people; to be directed before the end of the next Representative, and not picked and imposed, as hitherto in many places they have been.

XXVI. They shall not disable any person from bearing any office in the Common-wealth, for any opinion or practice in Religion, excepting such as maintain the Popes (or other forraign) Supremacy.

XXVII. That it shal not be in their power to impose any publike officer upon any Counties, Hundreds, Cities, Towns, or Borroughs; but the people capable by this Agreement to chuse Representatives, shall chuse all their publike Officers that are in any kinde to administer the Law for their respective places, for one whole yeer, and no longer, and so from yeer to yeer: and this as an especial means to avoyd Factions, and Parties.

And that no person may have just cause to complain, by reason of taking away the Excise and Customs, we agree,

XXVIII. That the next, and all future Representatives shall exactly keep the publike Faith, and give ful satisfaction, for all securities, debts, arrears or damages, (justly chargeable) out of the publike Treasury; and shall confirm and make good all just publike Purchases and Contracts that have been, or shall be made; save that the next Representative may confirm or make null in part or in whole, all gifts of Lands, Moneys, Offices, or otherwise made by the present Parliament, to any Member of the House of Commoiis, or to any of the Lords, or to any of the attendants of either of them.

And for as much as nothing threateneth greater danger to the Common wealth, then that the Military power should by any means come to be superior to the Civil Authority,

XXLX. We declare and agree, That no Forces shal be raised, but by the Representatives, for the time being; and in raising thereof, that they exactly observe these Rules, namely, That they allot to each particular County, City, Town, and Borrugh, the raising, furnishing, agreeing, and paying of a due proportion, according to the hole number to be levyed; and shall to the Electors of Representatives in each respective place, give Free liberty, to nominate and appoint all Officers appertaining to Regiments, Troops, and Companies, and to remove them as they shall see cause, Reserving to the Representative, the nominating and appointing onely of the General, and all General-Officers; and the ordering, regulatng, and commanding of them all, upon what service shall seem to them necessary for the Safety, Peace, and Freedom of the Common-wealth.

And in as much as we have found by sad experience, That generally men make little or nothing, to innovate in Government, to exceed their time and power in places of trust, to introduce an Arbitrary, and Tyrannical power, and to overturn all things into Anarchy and Confusion, where there are no penalties imposed for such destructive crimes and offences,

XXX. We therefore agree and declare, That it shall not be in the power of any Representative, in any wise, to render up, or give, or take away any part of this Agreement, nor level mens Estates, destroy Propriety, or make all things Common: And if any Representative shall enclever, as a Representative, to destroy this Agreement, every Member present in the House, not entering or immediately publishing his dissent, shall incur the pain due for High Treason, and be proceeded against accordingly; and if any person or persons, shall by force endevor or contrive, the destruction thereof, each person so doing, shall likewise be dealt withal as in cases of Treason.

And if any person shal by force of Arms disturb Elections of Representatives, he shall incurr the penalty of a Riot; and if any person not capable of being an Elector, or Elected, shal intrude themselves amongst those that are, or any persons shall behave themselves rudely and disorderly, such persons shal be liable to a presentment by a grand Inquest and to an indictment upon misdemeanor; and be fined and otherwise punish’d according to the discretion and verdict of a Jury. And all Laws made or that shall be made contrary to any part of this Agreement are hereby made null and void.

Thus, as becometh a free People, thankfull unto God for this blessed opportunity, and desirous to make use thereof to his glory, in taking off every yoak, and removing every burthen, in delivering the captive, and setting the oppressed free; we have in all the particular Heads forementioned, done as we would be done unto, and as we trust in God will abolish all occasion of offence and discord, and produce the lasting Peace and Prosperity of this Common wealth: and accordingly do in the sincerity of our hearts and consciences, as in the presence of Almighty God, give cleer testimony of our absolute agreement to all and every part hereof by subscribing our hands thereunto. Dated the first day of May, in the Yeer of our Lord 1649.

JOHN LILBURN.

WILLIAM WALWYN.

THOMAS PRINCE.

RICHARD OVERTON.

GILBERT MABBOT

finis.

London, Printed for Gyles Calvert at the black spread-Eagle at the West end of Pauls.

 

 


 

6.12. Robert Lockier, John Lilburne, and Richard Overton, The Army’s Martyr (London, n.p., 4 May 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

Robert Lockier, John Lilburne, and Richard Overton, The Army’s Martyr, Or, A more ful Relation of the barbarous and illegall proceedings of the Court-Martiall at White-Hall Upon Mr. Robert Lockier: Who was shot to death in Paul’s Church-yard upon the 27 day of April, 1649. And a brief Narrative of the Cause thereof. With his Christian carriage and deportment, and his dying Speeches to all his fellow-souldiers at the time of his Execution, as an everlasting witnesse of his integrity to the Rights and Freedoms of the Common-Wealth. With a Petition Of divers well-affected persons, and a Letter of Lieut. Col. Jo. Lilburne, and M. Ri. Overton, Presented to the General in his behalf.

I Kings. 2.5., 6. The blood of War shed in the time of Peace,
Cries out for vengeance; or our Freedoms cease.

Printed at London in the Yeer 1649.

Estimated date of publication

4 May 1649. TT also lists it as April 27, 1650.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 794; Thomason E. 554. (6.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

THE ARMIES MARTYR, &c.

WHereas I have been truly informed from many honest and consciencious persons of the life and death of this gallant man M. Lockier) I thought good out of that duty I owe unto him, for to give a perfect and full Relation of the whole matter & cause of his death, for the full satisfaction of all persons that desire to be truly informed: And knowing that it is the duty of every man that lives in a Common-wealth to be as instrumentall as he can, in discovering any thing that may be of Publick concernment; And considering that it is the common practice of Machiavils to colour over their cruell and unjust actions with the vizor of some great good, or prevention of some great evill to the Nation or place where the thing was committed, the better to deceive the simple, and wellminded people; And to keep on that veile of hypocrisie which they have cast over the face of the Common-wealth that they might not question their abominable actions, both towards this poor innocent, and their juglings with the whole Nation; I have therefore taken a little paines to put forth a Narrative of the cause of this their bloody proceedings against him; that people may be possessed that their holinesses may erre and be guilty of as much innocent blood, if they continue in the courses they have walked in of late, as ever Queen Mary or any Tyrants before her: Thus then to the matter: on Tuesday Aprill the 24. 1649. there came orders for the Troop to march forth of the City; and the Souldiers being unwilling to march forth without mony to defray their Quarters: desired pay to put them in a capacity to pay their Quarters there, and be enabled to give satisfaction to the Country which they were to march into: which desires of theirs being not fulfild, they went unto the foure Swannes where their Colours were, and secured them for the present, untill they had the pay that was due to them; being invited by some of Cap. Groves Troop who had secured their colours before them: well then here was a months pay provided for them; but the Clark affirmed that there was 11 dayes pay due more to them then that months, and would have laid five pound with the Quartermaster of the truth of it: But when Col. Whaley came and they disputed how much they were behind, he came down the yard and said there was but five dayes pay due to them: But whether this was a plot of his to cause this stirre or trouble, I know not; but surely it was the trick of a knave in so doing; but to the matter; while they were in dispute about their marching away, there came a fortnights pay out of Essex for them; and on Tuesday night there was an alarm in their quarters about some plot as they say to destroy the Generall and some Officers, and some papers cast abroad to that effect, a meer plot of the Grandees as is conceived the better to countenance their illegall proceedings on some Citizens that night, which because the Souldiers did not march were not ashamed to put it upon them, though they never knew of it; at which time of the alarm, or as they were to goe to their quarters, Captain Savage told them that they should come & receive a fortnights pay more betimes in the morning that they might march away; whereupon they prepared for the march, some having received their monies; but when some came for it, he told them they could not, nor should not receive it, though other Troops had, because they refused to march the day before; whereupon they kept their Colours and would not march except they were made up equall in pay with the rest of the Regiment: But yet so reasonable they were in their demands that they told Col. Whaley and M. Swallow and their Capt. that if they might have but the fives dayes pay which they acknowledged was due to them, with an engagement from their Officers to pay them a days pay every day as they were upon the march till they were made up equall with the Regiment, and a passing by what had been done on both sides, they would march away presently; No, they should not have it because they did not march out to a Rendevouz of the Regiment the day before to Mile-end green, although there were not many above 40 of the three Troopes that marcht forth and came in againe; Yet at length Col. Whaley said that if their Captain should draw out six men of them and carry them before the Generall, they should have it: but they were unwilling that any should be taken out, seeing all had refused marching: being forced thereunto by their unjust command, in commanding them to march without their pay to satisfie their quarters: at length the Generall and Lieutenant Generall came very furiously breathing forth nothing but death to them all, being fetch’d and animated on by that forsworn and perjured tyrannicall Knave Chillington, who can take what he please out of the Souldiers pay for to maintain him in his Domineering courses. But oh how bloody and red did Cromwel look! and the Generall told them that they should be hanged all, and that they did deserve to be hanged presently in the Court: whereupon a Souldier or two went down the Gallery, and desired his Execellency to hear their just desires: No, he would not hear them there; but they must march away presently to White-hall with those Troops that came to guard them thither; there being no resistance offered on the Souldiers part, nor sword drawn, though they have reported since, there were: but Whaley drew his, and Chillington drew his to cut a Souldier, from whose back he rent his cloak. But so much do they thirst after the bloud of those that shall dispute a command of theirs, whether right or wrong, all is a case to them, when it comes to diminish from their lawlesse wils (for it was disputed and affirmed by an Officer of the Army at the Spittle, that souldiers must obey their commands, and not question it, though it be to kill a man, or steal an horse) that to prison they must, and the next day to a Councel of War, as they call it, where their most implacable & bloudy enemies were their Accusers and Witnesses, if not their Judges; who, when they had sworn many things against some of them which they never did (as can sufficiently be proved by good hands) male constructions and consequences on the things done and sworn, whispering in the ears of them that sate in the Councel (no question but to stir up their holy zeal against those that most opposed their ungodly practices.) Now though there were many witnesses of taking the Colours from the four Swans, and carrying them into the Bul-yard; yet none swore, or at least could swear, that he above any other did lay hands on them first, because there were about 40 that huddled or compass’d the Colours about at one time: And though they say he did confesse himself he did it; I say, its no such matter: all that he said, was, that he had a hand in it as well as others. Besides, Capt. Savage would have sworn that M. Joyce had done it; for he came to him, and said, Mr. Joyce, I will take my oath that you were the first man that laid hands on my Colours: But the Gentleman being not able to bear such a grosse Lie, told him, he was at the Generals Quarters that day till almost night to get leave to go see his friends.

But such was their former malice at this gallant man (for his former appearing in the Agreement of the People, when they murdered Mr. Arnold at Ware; and because he would often oppose or dispute their unjust actions) that right or wrong, their Saint-like thirst could be satisfied with nothing but his bloud. Well, die he must the next day by two of the clock, so was the Sentence; Nothing could work upon any of them [for as David saith, There is none of them that doth good, no not one;] for when divers Citizens went with a Petition, desiring his Excellencies mercy and clemency to mitigate the Sentence, and reprieve him but one day more; shewing from the Statutes of the Land, that it could be no lesse then murder to exercise Martial Law in a time of peace; yet this could not prevail with him, the Law is but a dead letter to them, when they must exalt their wils above it; for they make no more conscience of destroying the life of our lives, that is to say, the Law, then a dog doth of eating a shoulder of mutton; for their will is their Law, and their Sword their Justice. Another went to Col. Whaley in the behalf of this poor Innocent, and found him come lately out of bed in his Skie-colour satten wastcoat lac’d with silver lace, and his pantophles dawbed with silver lace, and did present a Petition to his Honor, beseeching his Honour, that he would be pleased to remember mercy to this poor Gentleman, & mitigate the Sentence to any other punishment, so as it was not to the taking away of his life: But after many things passed between them, at last he said, that if it lay in his power to save him, he would not. The like most humble Petition that could be framed by a man, was sent in to the Councel on his behalf, and the rest that were to draw lots for their lives; But nothing would satisfie but his blood; many persons came to visit him that formerly knew him much lamenting his most sad condition, being condenmned for nothing but asking his pay: And indeed that was the thing which did most troubled him, that so small a thing as contending for his pay, should give his enemies occasion to take away his life; which as he often said, had it been for the freedom and liberties of this Nation for which he had engaged these 7 or 8 years, it would have much added to his comfort; Though he was satisfied well enough, that this in asking his pay was far inconsiderable to the taking away of his life in the eyes of God and all unprejudiced men: for he knew it was malice that prevailed over him and not justice; for one would have thought that there being no swords drawn nor affronts to any offered, that if it was such a fault and of such a nature, that a casheerment of the Army, or banishment of the Kingdom would have been punishment enough for his first failling, and faithfull and valiant services performed by him for these seven or eight years; They well knowing that for his duty he hath ever been ready to perform; and never held with any that was unwilling to do that duty which was required of him and his due to performe. Concerning his conversation, he was a man honest, just and faithfull, being able to render an account of his faith in God, and hope of eternal life; and was also able to make good the Cause for which he so long had engaged: which is a difficult thing to many simple guls now in armes, that like so many sheep, will be commanded to kill and do any violence and never question it: for indeed this is that sweet temper these Machavils have so long laboured after; namely the casting forth of all honest and deserving Souldiers that would be active for common good, & listing of such as will kill a man for a morsel of bread; for his civill courtesie, and loving carriage and disposition at all times and to all persons, he may challeng respect from any that knew him; for I think he was beloved of many, and scarce hated of any; he was a man that did extremely desire the freedom of the Common-wealth, as can be witnessed by divers who knew his forwardness in promoting any thing tending thereunto: as when the agreement of the people was broken off at Ware; (by these that pretended it was not Gods time, because they had not gotten to that height of honour which now they say Providence hath brought them) oh how sad was his poor spirit, riding up and down the fields with one or two, where he manifested so much love to the liberties of his native Country, as that he could have lost his life there to have procured it.

For his valour in the field, I scorn to equalize it with the proudest of his enemies that sate in Councell or bore false witness against him: he did much scorn to engage any man for his life, but he would endeavour his utmost to perform it: [Not like Whaly when he engaged Major Bethell to charge a party of the Kings Horse, commanded by the Lord Goring neer Oxford; and promised to charge them with his division at another place; the Major Bethell asked him again and again whether he would do it; he told him he would; who afterward stood still and never charged at all, but suffered 9 troops to fall on 3 broken troops, where the Major was taken, and many kill’d and most desperatly wounded; and for which he received a sufficient check from Crumwel] he was much grieved to see such Taxes, Excise, Tythes and Free-quarter to lye upon the Country, and would not be so exact as many self seeking officers are (when they lye at Free quarter on the poor Country) of their accommodation, either for himself or his horse; I need not blaze his good esteem he had of all persons that knew him; for they do, and can speak more then I can of him, and for him: In his dealing with all men he was just, ever approving of that rule of Christ, that what we would have others do to us, we should to them; and I dare pawn my Salvation upon this truth, that he did as much as could be be discerned, walk by it: failings I will not say but he was subject to as well as others; but if told of his failings, he indevoured amendment; and if any be without sin let him cast the first stone at him: sure I am, he was more conscionable in serving his Nation then Captain Savage that holy man, whose holiness can admit of three men, or two men and a boy to be mustered, and receive pay for them, and send them home to his father in laws house with their horses and let them do their work, and the Common-wealth to pay them: But I’ll warrant the good man will tell you it is a priviledge that we Officers have, being fetcht from the practice of mercenaries beyond the sea; but this is not the first cheat he hath served the state, neither is he alone but many more Officers in the Army, especially those that are married, who can make it their trade to be with their wives more then with their troops & companies; though themselves have denied that to others before they were in that Condition, telling them that he that warreth a warfare intangleth not himself with the things of the world. But now it is no marvell they asperse and envy every man that desireth but to look into the mystery of their iniquity; they may do what they please and no man question them for it; as Captain Tounsell took Mr. Sawyer and cast him into White-hall after he had abused him sufficiently in his own Chamber, there commiting him without any order or charge against him, where he might die and perish for want of food if good people did not relieve him; so I say marvell not at their actions; for whatsoever is pleasing in their own eyes, that they will do to any, as they have done to this true friend to his Countries Freedom. Therefore his bloud I will require at Colonel Whaley’s and Savage’s hand, because said Whaley I knew him two yeers before this time; and Savage knew he desired Justice on him when the troops charged him for dissenting at New-market; and other articles belonging thereunto; and now have they their desires on him.

And thus have I given you a briefe narrative of the cause of this murther, which was executed on him in Paul’s Church-yard, where were many hundred if not thousands, weeping eyes and shreking voyces lamenting so gallant a creature should lose his life. What he said to divers there and in his Coach coming to his execution is here inserted verbatim, or as far as can be remembred.

Mr. Shaw and Mr. Atkinson being come to Pauls, met with M. Lockier coming up Ludgate-hil with a strong guard of Souldiers of Col. Hewsons Regiment before and behind, and he with a friend or two in a Coach, to which they addressed themselves, and acquainted him with what had passed between them and the Generall; to which he answered, Dear friends, (he scarce knowing us) I am ready and willing to dye for my Country and Liberty, and I blesse God I am not afraid to look death in the face in this particular cause God hath called me to.

M. Atkinson.] After that I met him in the yard where he was to suffer, he said the same words, and to the same effect; and then the Guard driving all his friends away, and him, I could not hear what he said.

But I heard (getting to him through favour of an Officer) Colonel Okey to challenge him with untruth, in that he confessed before the Councell of War, that he was guilty of what was charged upon him in reference to mutinie, and now he denyed it: to which he answered that it was not so; Okey said it was, and he could produce many to witnesse the same. Lockier replyed that he knew what he had said well enough, and that ever since he knew what it was to draw a sword he never intended any thing but meerly for the Priviledges and Liberties of the people, and in that he would live and die, and Major Swallow and others said something to him then which I did not hear, but Major Carter made up that discourse and said that it was convenient that this little time he had to spend, it was requisite that he spent it in the best way he thought meet and if he desired to retire himself he might, to which he replyed he did desire to retire himself in private, and that though he did doe or think nothing but what he would have every man to hear, for as his actions from the first to the last have been for publique good, he desired his death might be, and so he knew it would be: For God would make his bloud speak Liberty and Freedom to all England; And then he drew to the wall, and there prayed about a quarter of an houre, and after goes and makes water, and then comes and had discourse with many of the Officers, but what it was I could not well hear, but thus much I heard how he with a couragious and willing heart did undergoe what ever was laid upon him because it was in the behalfe of his Country.

Then I took him by the hand, and he began to say in this manner: friends here I am to suffer what it pleases God to lay upon me, and truly that for my Countreys good and how great a comfort this is to me I am not able to expresse, and therefore friends it is a good, sweet and comfortable thing for to serve God; for he hath set us in a condition to serve him, and given us a rule, and hath purchased for us not only Liberty and Freedom here through his Son, but peace and tranquility hereafter, and a meanes he hath set downe in his word, which we ought to take heed to; For in that he hath declared that Christ is sufficient for all our sinnes, and God would provide fully for all those that sought to God by him: it was not anything would commend us to God, but pure and undefiled actions in the sight of God through the power of Christ and his Word which I fully own and beleeve declared the same, unto which we do well to take heed; for if we will we may do well here and hereafter: here we must serve him in standing up for our Countries Liberties and Freedoms, & they will make much for hereafter, for if we do well we shall be well rewarded. Therefore my dear friends and fellow souldiers, I desire you all to serve God and love him, and honor him: And for me to pray as long as you see me live, that God would carry forth my heart as now you see me carried forth: to which I answered I am overjoyed M Lockier to hear such expressions come from you in which I saw so much Religion, as that it was for me a good pattern to learn by: and not take upon me to instruct one so able as you are. Lockier said, The Lord stablish and strenthen you, and fit you for his work: And not onely you, but all my dear friends, to whom I desire you to commend me dearly; to and for whom I shall pray while I breathe, that God would enable them to stand up faithfully and couragiously for the good of their Country and Liberties: And I pray you let not this death of mine be a discouragement, but rather an incouragement; for never man died more comfortably then I do. And after he and I had embraced each other, he spake a few words to the Officers, and then he desired to speak with his Sister and Cousins, but what passed betwixt them I know not.

And then I heard not what he said to them; but from good hands of them that were close to him, he said thus, Fellow souldiers, I am here brought to suffer in behalf of the People of England, and for your Priviledges and Liberties, and such as in conscience you ought to own and stand to: But I perceive you are appointed by your Officers to murder me; and I did not think that you had had such heathenish and barbarous principles in you, as to obey your Officers in murthering of me, when I stand up for nothing but what is for your good. And then I heard Colonel Okey say, with other Officers, What, do you endeavour to make the souldiers mutinie? Martial, away with him: And setting him in the place where he was to suffer, he pulled off his loose Jacket, and Coat, and Belt, and gave them some to one, and some to another: and after that he went to prayer again in his shirt without his dublet, and after prayer he stood in the place of execution, and all this while, with abundance of courage and undauntedness; for when I desired him to put something upon his face and cover it, he thanked me for my love, but he said, his cause was so just, as that he feared not the face of death; and therefore he stood looking with a gallant courage in their faces, and then came up to the men that were to shoot him, which were six Musketiers, he lifted up his eyes to God, and desired that when he gave them a signe they should shoot, which was the lifting up of both his hands; and immediately he lifting up his hands, they all six shot off their Muskets, and so died this gallant Heart.

M. Watson.] I asked him how it was with him in relation to his eternall condition, and whether that which he had done was not out of passion? and told him that he was to depart this life, the hour of his death was very neer, therefore I desired him if any thing lay upon his Spirit that he would declare it to me; he replyed, I have been a servant to them a long time, and been faithfull, I am burdened in my Spirit because of their unjust proceedings, and for my condition at present, I praise God it is well with me, and I praise God out of obedience to God, I have served my Country and for that I first ingaged, I little thought that they would have proceeded so harsh against me to single me from the rest of my fellows, the fault being one and the same, not that I am sorry that I am singled out by my self, for I am joyfull that I must dye to excuse them, but I see their aime is at my blood, and when they have it they may then be satisfied, though that will give them little satisfaction as to righteousnesse, yet I praise God I am fitted for it and have a witnesse from God that I have served my generation with uprightnesse so farre as I had understanding, and seeing God hath been so pleased to dispose of me, let it come and welcome, death is nothing, it stoppeth my progresse from sorrow to sorrow, I am sure I have a smiling conscience within me and the love of the Father made out to me through the Son, and for death I praise God I fear it not, and so dear friend I leave thee to the disposall of the Almighty hoping to meet thee in word, I meane in spirit, though now we are divided by death; I desire you would joyne in prayer with me, which we did.

Mr. Bunting told him, That he had heard very well of him, that he was an honest consciencious man, and that much of God appeared in him, for which he was glad; now he was appointed to die, it was good for him to make preparation, he having been one of the chief promoters of the late mutinie, which might have occasioned the shedding of much bloud, for which he was sentenced by the Councel of War to be shot; and said that the Councel was very tender in their dealing towards them, and that they desired not to shed bloud; though there were 14 more guilty, yet but him to die: however his intention might be good, yet a Mutinie being of such an high nature, could be adjudged no lesse then death.

Ans. Sir I am condemned, or brought here to dye, I bless my God I can freely submit unto it, having learned to look death in the face, hoping by the merits of the Lord Jesus to have life and salvation; I have done nothing whereof I am accused; I am sentenced as I think by their sixt Article to suffer. An Officer then stept in and said that he did before the Councel acknowledge that he was the chief of the mutinie; which mutinie deserved death: which presently was denied, saying that he was no more concerned then the rest, and for them to take away his life, was very partiall and unjust; but I pray God forgive them, and us all our sins; that it be not laid to their charge; I am sure their dealings with me is bloody for them to take away my life for a supposed crime, for that which might happen; besides I never went forth to uphold a Martiall Law to be executed in a time of peace, it being too cruel for any freeborn Englishman to live under: I went voluntarily forth being invited by declarations of Parliament, to stand by them in the defence of the just rights and freedoms of this Nation, for which I have engaged my life, and for the freedoms and liberties of the people, I now suffer. An Officer steps in and said it was in your own choice you might have left the Army if you would, for why should you continue under the power of it and not to obey. Ans. I am sure I have been faithful I never betray’d my trust. Severall of the Officers desiring him to retire, if possible they might disturbe him, it may be he would be private, the time is but short, therefore think of death. I bless the Lord I can willingly submit to dye; he then withdrew for a while and prayed, and came again discoursing a little with the Officers; called for his Sister and Friends there, came to the Souldiers that were to shoot him, and said, I freely forgive you and all the world; I pray sister forgive them. I am sorry to see that you should be brought to obey your officers to murther me, for you stand as if you were the men appointed to murder me; I pray God forgive you I doe: Whereupon the Officers thrust him away, and said he would make a mutinie among the Souldiers take him away; so being not permitted to speak to them, they shot him, &c. saying they were sorry to see him dye so. A mutineer he lived, and so he died.

But as he was honorable in his life and at his Death; so he was as honorably buried to the trouble of many of his enemies, who could have been contented to have his memoriall to be buried in oblivion, that their wickednesse might not be had in remembrance: But I beleeve he did not so much offend them in his life, but his death shall be a greater terrour to them in crying for vengeance on their heads: the guilt of whose blood doth trouble many of them already as I hear: However he is gone to his grave in peace with confidence in Gods love tto him through Jesus Christ, where he shall rest in his grave and at last stand up in his Lott having his Portion amongst the Just, and crowned with the loving kindnesses and enjoyment of God.

To his Excellency Thomas Lord FAIRFAX Generall of the English Forces.

The humble addresses of divers well affected persons, in behalfe of all those that are under restraint or censure of the Councel of War, or Law-Martiall.

May it please your Excellency,

Forasmuch as the Petition of Right, and other the known Laws of the Land do expresly provide against the exercise of Martiall Law upon Souldiers or others in times of peace, all Courts of Justice being open, and that the deprivation of life thereby in such times hath been adjudged in Law no lesse then murther.

And forasmuch as yet have declared to all the world, That the Army under Your Excellency’s Command was not a meer mercinary Army, hired to serve the Arbitrary ends of a State; but that they took up arms in judgement and conscience, for your own and the Peoples just Rights, the principall whereof are contained in the foresaid Laws and Petition of Right.

And finding neverthelesse those our undoubted Liberties never more encroached upon by the Military power and Law-Martial, Souldiers and others of late being frequently seized, restrained and &illegible; &illegible; death, and to reproachfull punishments without any regard to the Law of the Land, and &illegible; twelve sworne men of the neighbourhood: as is manifest in your present proceedings against those Souldiers and others now under restraint, and censure of the Councell of war.

Hereupon we conceive our selves bound in conscience in behalf of the Liberties of the people of England to intreat and claim the benefit of those Liberties contained in the Petition of Right, and other the good Lawes of this Land: and that all persons now under restraint or censure of the Councel of War or Martiall Law, may be remitted to the tryall of twelve sworn men of the neighbourhood, and be proceeded against by due processe of Law; which I humbly conceive your Excellency and the whole army, are both by Law, and your many Declarations engaged to perform, and whereby only you will render your self acceptable to the present, and honorable to future Generations.

Robert Shaw

Thomas Moulson

George Atkinson

Thomas Hawes

Thomas Frisby

Walter Allen.

M. Robert Shaw and the rest went with this Petition, & after that came to White-hall, & there related to the prisoners what they had done in the business, & then M. Atkinson addressed himself, at M. Lockiers request to the Marshall General, & acquainted him with the particular carriage in the business how they had drawn up a Petition to the General, and did desire he would stay till they had an Answer. He replyed, that if so, they should wait upon the Generall for an answer, and meet him at Pauls, for there he was appointed to suffer. And to that end Mr. Shaw, Mr. Atkinson and others went to the Generall, whom they found at Grays Inn in Sir Thomas Withringtons Lodgings, and with much adoe were admitted to speak with him: Unto whom Mr. Atkins spake to this effect; May it please your Excellency, We are come in the behalf of a poor distressed man that is appointed this day, and almost ready to die: in whose behalf we only desire your Excellency be pleased to pardon, or but to reprieve him till tomorrow. And we are the rather incouraged thereunto by Reason of your wonted mercy in this particular. To whom he replyed, You come here about the saving of a souldier, who is already condemned by the Councell of Officers under me, and for a great crime of mutinie, wherein were ingaged many more besides him, at least 15; and I think, in such a high businesse as this is, you never knew a Generall to pardon so many as I have done; and now he is to suffer by course of Martiall Law, and it being past, it cannot be recall’d. To which we answered, Your Excellency hath shewen much mercy to poor men in the like nature, that did deserve more to die then he did: Therefore we were imboldened to sue to your Excellency for him, to which he answered, That he conceived he deserved to suffer as he did, and that it did behove us, if we were his friends, to prepare him for another world; and not to do as we do, to countenance him in any thing that is not regular nor safe; for he had like to have made a great fraction in the City and Army, and for that he is to die, and it lies not in my power to preserve him. Then we did beseech his Excellency to reprieve him but till to-morrow: but he would not condescend to neither. And so much passed to this effect, but nothing at all obtained from him.

The Copy of a Letter written to the Generall, from Lieut. Col. Jo. Lilburn and M. Rich. Overton, Arbitrary and Aristocratical prisoners in the Tower of London, the 27 of April 1649, in behalf of Mr. Robert Lockier, tyrannically ordered to be murdered by the pretence of Martiall Law by the Councel of War at White-Hall: M. George Ash, M. Joseph Hockley, M. Robert Osburn, Mr. Matth. Heyworth, Mr. Tho. Goodwin, all of Captain Savage his Troop in Col. Whaley’s Regiment; who by the said Councel were adjudged to cast lots for their lives, and one of them to die.

In which it is by Law fully proved, That it is both Treason and Murder, for any General or Councel of War to execute any Souldier in time of Peace, by Martial Law.

May it please your Excellency,

WEe have not yet forgot your Solemn Engagement of June 5. 1647, whereby the Armies continuance as an Army was in no wise by the will of the State, but by their owne mutuall Agreement: and if their standing were removed from one Foundation to another (as is undeniable) then with the same they removed from one Authority to anoother; and the Ligaments and Bonds of the first were all dissolved, and gave place to the Second; and under, and from the head of their first Station, viz. By the will of the State, the Army derived their Government by Martiall Law; which in Judgment and Reason could be no longer binding then the Authority (which gave being thereto) was binding to the Army: for the denyal of the authority is an Abrogation and Nulment of all Acts, Orders, or Ordinances by that Authority, as to them: And upon this account your Excellency with the Army long proceeded upon the Constitution of a new Councell and Government, contrary to all Martiall Law and Discipline, by whom only the Army engaged to be ordered in their prosecution of the ends, to wit, Their severall Rights both as Souldiers and Commoners, for which they associated; Declaring, agreeing, and promising each other, not to Disband, Divide, or suffer themselves to be Disbanded or Divided, without satisfaction, and security, in relation to their Grievances and desires in behalfe of themselves and the Common-wealth, as would be agreed unto by their Councel of Agitators. And by vertue, & under color of this Establishment, all the extraordinary Actions by your Excellency, your Officers, and the Army have past: Your refusall to Disband, disputing the Orders of Parliament; Impeachment and ejection of Eleven Members; your First and Second March up to London; your late violent Exclusion of the major part of Members out of the House, and their imprisonment without Cause declared, &c. which can no way be justified from the guilt of high Treason, but in the accomplishment of a righteous end, viz. The enjoyment of the benefit of our Laws and Liberties, which we hoped long ere this to have enjoyed from your hands: Yet when we consider, and herewith compare many of your late carriages both towards the Souldiery and other Free-People; and principally your cruell exercise of Martiall Law, even to the Sentence and execution of Death upon such of your Souldiers as stand for the Rights of that Engagement, &c. And not only so, but against others not of the Army; we cannot but look upon your Defection and Apostacy in such dealings, as of most dangerous consequence to all the Lawes and Freedoms of the People.

And therefore, although there had never been any such solemn Engagement by the Army, as that of June 5. 1647. which with your Excellency in point of duty and conscience ought not to be of the meanest obligation, We do protest against your Exercise of Martial Law, against any whomsoever, in times of Peace, where all Courts of Justice are open, as the greatest encroachment upon out Lawes and Liberties that can be acted against us; And particularly against the Trial of the Souldiers of Captain Savage’s Troop yesterday, by a Court Martiall, upon the barbarous Articles of Warre, and sentencing of two of them to death; and for no other end (as we understand) but for some dispute about their pay: And the reason of this our Protestation, is from the Petition of Right, made in the third yeer of the late King, which declareth, That no person ought to be judged by Law Martiall, except in times of Warre; And that all Commissions to execute Martiall Law in times of Peace, are contrary to the Lawes and Statutes of the Land. And it was the Parliaments complaint, That Martial Law was then commanded to be executed upon Souldiers for Robbery, Mutiny, or Murder. Which Petition of Right, this present Parliament in their late Declarations of the 9. of Feb. and the 17 of March 1648, commend, as the most excellent Law in England, and there promise to preserve inviolably, it, and all other the fundamentall Laws and Liberties, concerning the preservation of the Lives, Properties and Liberties of the People, with all things incident thereunto. And the Exercise of Martiall Law in Ireland, in time of Peace, was one of the chiefest Articles for which the Earl of Strafford lost his head; as appears Article 1, in the case of the Lord Mount-Norris (yet alive:) the same by this present Parliament being judged high Treason. And the Parliament it self, neither by Act nor Ordinance, can justly or warrantably destroy the fundamental Liberties and Principles of the Common Law of England: It being a maxime in Law and Reason both, That all such Acts and Ordinances are ipso facto null and void in Law, and bind not at all, but ought to be resisted and stood against to the death. And if the supreme Authority may not presume to do this, much lesse may You, or Your Officers presume therupon; for where remedy may be had by an ordinary course in Law, the party grieved shall never have his recourse to extraordinarie. Whence it is evident, That it is the undoubted Right of every Englishman (Souldier or other) that he should be punishable onely in the ordinary Courts of Justice, according to the Laws and Statutes of the Realm in the time of Peace, as now it is (there being no declared enemy in arms either in field or garrison ready to destroy the Nation with fire and sword, and by their fury and power stop or dam up the ordinary administration of the Law) and the extraordinary way by Court Martiall, in no wise to be used.

Yea, the Parliaments Oracle, Sr. Ed. Cook Declares in the third part of his Institutes Cap. of Murther, fol. 52. that for a General or other Officers of an Army in time of Peace to put any man, (although a Souldier,) to death, by colour of Martiall Law, it is absolute murther in that Generall, or Councel of War, &c. Because, saith he, this is against Magna Charta, ch. 29. and is done by such power and strength as the party cannot defend himself: and here the Law implyeth malic; vide Pasch. 14 fol 3. in Scatcario, The Abbot of Ramsey’s Case, in a Writ of Errour, in part abridged by Fitzh. tit. Scire fac. 112 for time of peace. Thomas Earl of Lancaster being taken in an open Insurrection, was by judgment of Martial Law put to death: in anno 14. Ed. 4. this was adjudged to be unlawfull, because (saith he) he was not arraigned or put to answer in the time of peace; and because the Chancery, and all other Courts of the Kings were then open; in which Law was done to every man, as it wont to be; and that against the Charter of Liberties, because the said Thomas being a Peer and Noble of the Kingdom, should not be imprisoned, nor should the same King passe Sentence upon him, but by the lawfull judgment of his Peers: yet in the time of peace, and without Arraignment or Answer, or lawful Judgment of his Peers, he was adjudged to death. Therefore erecting of Martiall Law now, when all Courts of Justice are open, and stopping the free current of Law, which sufficiently provides for the punishment of Souldiers as well as others (as appears by 13: H. 6: Ch. 18, 19. and 2, & 3 Ed. 6. Ch. 2. 4. & 5. P. & M. Ch. 3. & 5. Eliz. 5. & 1. Jam. 25.) is an absolute destroying of our Fundamentall Liberties, and the razing of the Foundation of the Common Law of England; the which out of duty and Conscience to the Rights and Freedoms of this Nation (which we value above our lives) and to &illegible; &illegible; and all Your Councell without all excuse, we are moved to present unto your Excellencie; Earnestly pressing you, well to consider what you doe, before you proceed to the taking away the lives of those men by Martiall Law; least the blood of the Innocent, or the blood of War shed in the time of peace (and so palpable subversion of the Laws and Liberties of England) bring the reward of just vengeance after it upon you, as it did upon Joab the Son of Zerviah, 1 King. 2. ver. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33. and the Earl of Strafford: for innocent blood God will not pardon, Gen. 9. 5, 6. and Rev. 13. 10. and which cannot be expiated but by the bloud of him that shed it, Numb. 35. 33. Deut. 19. 11, 12, 13. and 2 Sam. 11. 12. and 1 King. 21. 19. and 2 King. 9. 7, 8. 9, 10, 26, 33, 36, 37. and chap. 24. 2, 3, 4. and what the people may do (in case of such violent subversion of their Rights) we shall leave to your Excellency to judge, and remain

Sir,                                                       
Your Excellencies most watchful observers

Iohn Lilburn.       

Richard Overton.

The Postscript to the Reader.

Dear Countryman,

WE desire thee to take notice, that M. Robert Shaw, M. Thomas Moulson, M. George Atkinson, M. Thomas Harris, M. Thomas Frisby, and M. Walter Allen, delivered a Petition to the Generalls own hands, to the effect of this Letter, divers houres before the execution of the foresaid gallant and honest M. Robert Lockier; which Petition and the Generals answer, you may at large read in the 3 and 4 pages of the Book called the Armyes Martyr: But nothing would satisfie the Generall but his innocent bloud; and therfore according to the Law of his will, he caused him to be murthered or shot to death in Pauls Church-yard; for whose innocent blood, both by the Law of God and the Kingdome the Generals ought to go without mercy or compassion; and not only his but also all the rest of his Judges and Executioners, for which by the Law of England they are indictable (by any honest English man) in the County where the murther was committed. And that this Act in shooting precious Master Lockier to death, is not only willfull murther in the eye of the law of England, but also Treason, is plainly and undeniably proved, in C. Iohn Ingrams plea, M. Wil. Tompsons plea, and M. Io. Crosmans plea, all of which are printed at large in Lieutenant Col. Iohn Lilburns Book, Printed, Feb, 1647. and called, The Peoples Prerogative, pag. 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56. And also in his additions to his second Edition of his Book called, The Picture of the Councell of State: And therefore let us tell the Generall. It may prove in time a vaine thing to him and his officers to protect themselves with their swords from the due course and proceedings of Law; least the people come to preach the same doctrine to the Generall and his Tyrannicall officers, that their darling friend the present Lord Chief Justice St. Iohn preached to the Earl of Strafford in the latter end of his Argument of Law Printed for John Battles, and made against him when he was upon his Tryall, whose words are these, That he in vaine calls for the help of the Law, that walks contrary unto Law, and from the Law of life for life; he that would not have others to have law, why should he have any himselfe? why should not that be done unto him, which he himselfe would have done to another? It is truth saith he, we give law to Hares and Deer, because they be Beasts of Chase; but it was never accompted either cruelty or foule play to knock Foxes or Wolves on the head as often as they can be found, because they be beasts of prey; The warrenner sets traps for Polecats and other vermine for the preservation of the warren,

John Lilburn.     

Richard Overton

FINIS.

 

 


 

6.13. Oliver Cromwell, The Declaration of Lieutenant Generall Crumwel Concerning the Levellers (London, n.p., 14 May 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

Oliver Cromwell, The Declaration of Lieutenant Generall Crumwel Concerning the Levellers; and His Letter and Representation to the Agitators of the respective Regiments who have deserted and declared against the Parliament, the Councell of State, and the late proceedings of the High Court of Justice. With the Declaration, Resolution, and Proposals of the said Levellers, presented to the view of the World, intimating the Grounds and Reasons of their Engagement, and to die as one man with their swords in their hands, rather then to be inslaved. Also, Two Fights between the Levellers and the parliamenteers, neer Worcester and Banbury, the particulars thereof, and the number killed; with the Levellers Summons to the City of Coventry.
Imprinted at London, for G.H., May 14. 1649.

Estimated date of publication

14 May 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 743; Thomason E. 555. (12.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

THE DECLARATION Of Lieut-General CRUMWEL Concerning The Levellers; and the particulars of a Fight neere Banbury, and the City of Worcester; With the Levellers Summons to the City of Coventry.

Right Honoured,

THis morning his Excellency the Lord Generall Fairfax, and Lieutenant General Crumwell, randezvouzed with their Horse and Foot neer Andover, where the Lieu. Gen. rode to the head of each Regiment, declaring. That He was resolved to live and die with them, and that as he had often engaged with them against the common Enemy of this Nation, so was he resolved still to persist therein, against those Revolters which are now called by the name of Levellers; not doubting but that they would as one man unite, and with unanimous spirits follow him, for the subduing of them, and bringing the chief Ring-leaders thereof to exemplary punishment.

Many declared a great willingnesse to engage with him: Others rejected it, saying, they would not fight against their friends: But they are now upon their march towards Salisbury, for the reducing and bringing of those Regiments to obedience and subjection that have declared against them: from whence wee hear, that they are resolved rather to die, then yeeld to any thing which shall infringe their liberty, or pervert the freedom of their Nativity.

Many of the said party have agreed upon a Declaration, containing these ensning heads: First, they declare against the present Parl. and their proceedings. 2 Against the Councell of State. 3 Against the Generall Councell of the Army. And 4. against the proceedings of the late Court of Justice Their chief Ring leader is one Capt. Tompson, who was formerly condemned by a Councell of War to be hanged, but by the goodnesse and compassion of the Lord Gen. he was spared: this is the man who draws all men after him, his number is conceived to be about 400. and in his warch up and down hee daily gains new Proselites to him: On Wednesday last he marcht to Coventry, where he found resistance, and the Gate shut against him demanded of the Gates were so holy that he might not enter;) and after the exchange of two or three Vollies, he left the place, and marched thence to Tossiter, where coming in very late at night, he seized upon captain Farmer the Post master there, who, after they had carryed him as a prisoner up and down with them, they were content to release him upon his Parol to come up to London to the Councel of State, to procure the release of three of their Brethren, who were taken posting up of their papers about Banbury; if he could not procure this he was to return as their prisoner to Banbury.

Some blows have been already disputed neer Banbury between 100 of the Lord Gen. horse, and 200 of the Levellers, and after a sharp conflict, the Levellers declining engagement, retreated towards Oxford, but no great harm done on either side: there is a body of horse about Oxford ready to joyn with them, commanded by Mr. Everard, after uniting, its said they intend Westward.

Some difference hath also been in the City of Worcester and the Levellers who had entred the City forced to retreat out again with the losse of five men: the Generall and the Lieutenant Generall hath sent a Letter to the Agitators and Commanders in chief of the said party, for preventing of the effusion of bloud, and healing of the present breach, and quenching those flame of Discord, which are ready to break forth in severall parts of this Nation; and its hoped a happy & mutuall reconciliation will be embraced, before the involving and shedding of any more bloud within the Rowels of this Nation.

SIR,

IN the middest of all our calamities and distractions, great are the differences in these parts; new coles are even now kindling, and the turbulent spirits and affections of men begin to break forth in a most violent and visible flame; for the common people flight the authority of Magistracy, and say they will no longer walk under the vail and shadow of reformation, but endeavour the speedy reforming thereof; and in order thereunto, many have declared, that they will joyn with the Levellers, for the restauration of the peoples freedoms to its just splendor and propriety, &c. The foundation whereof, takes its first Rise from the present actings of certain troopers in this county, who have declared, and remonstrated to the people, That the present transaction of affaires, are both arbytrary and tyrannicall, and that they will have a new Parliament, in the dissolving whereof, an equall Representative shall be freely chosen and elected: But it is hoped that all these vapours will be soon expelled & blown over: For some discoveries are already made, That they had a design to surprize the Cities of Yorke, Oxford, Bristol, Gloucester, and many other places in the VVest of England, and that they had an intent to draw into a body and randezvouz, where they resolved to set up a standard of Sea-green Colours; they declare, that they have a great influence in divers Regiments of the Army; but care is taken to prevent their Designs, and it is not doubted but the well affected of Col. Scroops Regiment, Col. Harrisons, and divers others wherein they bussle, will be undeceived, for many thousands have declared against their present actings, and are resolved to sacrifice lives and fortunes for the Parliament against all opposition whatsoever.

But yet notwithstanding all opposition, they are resolved to proceed, and to insist upon further particulars, a breviate whereof I shall here insert, according to the full demonstration thereof, viz.

How happy were England were mens designs of enslaving here at an end, how gladly should we here break off, and praise the Lord for his goodnesse to England? but alas the peoples hearts, are full of grief, and their eyes are full of teares, as ever, they cry out, they are deceived, their expectations is frustrated, and their liberty betrayed; they take up Davids complaint it is not an open enemy that enslaves them, not damme Cavaliers, nor rigid envious and surly Presbyters, but Religious and Godly friends, that have prayed, declared and fought together for freedom with them, that with their swords have cut in sunder the chaines of other Tyrants, and yet now are become the greatest Tyrants over their brethren themselves, which when they can refrain from sighing & sobbing, they in their broken and rustick language thus expatiates: all the form of Government being corrupted and abused, the Law and administration perverted, and the peoples liberties, betrayed; it was promised that a new foundation should be layd by an agreement of the people, to such righteous Principles of Justice and common right, that as to human reason it should be impossib for any Tyrants in this or future generations to introduce bondage upon the people.

Proclamation hath been lately made in the name of the Levellers, throughout the Counties of Oxford, Gloucester, Worcester, &c. for all free born people to come in to their assistance; the &illegible; &illegible; is very hard, & few have little appetite to that engagement.

The Levellers new and ultimate proposals.

First, That honesty is the best policy: the deep plots and witty contrivances of men in power, when inconsistent with the will of God, requiring them to do Judgement and Justice, and to take the yolks from the oppressed, have alway been abortive, for God will not be mocked; and experience tels us, that self-seekers though otherwise Godly and gallant men, yet are and shalbe saved as by fire; witnesse many worthy members of Parliament, who endeavouring by a Treaty to secure themselves, are by the Lord with disgrace laid aside; hee thereby no doubt intending much good to their soules, Fœlix quem paciunt aliena pericula cautum, he is a happy man that takes warning by other mens harms.

Secondly, Carnal mixtures with corrupt interests, are destructive to them that make them.

FINIS.

 

 


 

6.14. [Humphrey Brooke], The Charity of Church-men (n.p., 28 May 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

[Humphrey Brooke], The Charity of Church-men: or, A Vindication of Mr William Walwyn Merchant, from the aspersions plentifully cast upon him in a Pamphlet, Intituled, Walwyn’s Wiles. By H.B. Med. a friend to Truth, his Country and Mr Walwyn.

Prov. 29. 26. Many seek the Rulers favour, but every mans judgement commeth of the Lord.
Mark 3.6. And the Pharisees de-parted, and straightway gathered a Councell with the Herodians against him, that they might destroy him.
Luke 23.2. And they began to accuse him, saying, we have found this man perverting the Nation.
2 Tim. 3. 9. But they shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as theirs also was.

London, Printed by H. Hils, and are to be sold by W. Larnar, at the sign of the Blackmore, near Bishops-gate. M.DC.XLIX. (1669)

Estimated date of publication

28 May 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 746; Thomason E. 556. (20.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

The Charity of Church-men.

THE WORLD cannot choose but take notice, of a strangely malitious and scandalous Pamphlet, Intituled, (Walwyns Wiles, &c.) the particular slanders whereof, though heretofore privately, yet industriously disperst, accompanied with many more of a lighter nature, but more easily discoverable, which are therefore in this book left out, yet have the pollitick Authors not thought fit to collect and publish the same, till they knew Mr Walwyn was much straitned from the means and opportunity of Vindicating himself; and till they judged by such slanders, they should render him odious to all Religious people, and so fit him for that destruction, they do secretly, but most laboriously endeavour to bring upon him.

He has been hitherto silent, and when importuned to clear himself; he has argued, That it was not the way of Christ or his Apostles; that we read of no Apologies of theirs, though in the same manner with himselfe, but in a more plentifull measure loaded with obloquies and reproaches: That the best use he could make of such hard speeches, was to be more circumspect in his waies, and not to deviate from the path of righteousnesse, that so by the innocence of his life, and unblamablenesse of his conversation, he might give check to such rumours and evil reports. That he knew very well what was the root from whence such bitter fruits proceeded: viz. his engageing for the people, and discovering a resolution in himself to persevere in the same. Indeed neither he nor his friends did ever thinke they would have proceeded so far in these crosse and rugged paths, as to prosecute him to the very death; for who could but suppose that either the precepts of Christianity that are in direct opposition to such courses, or at least (if nothing else is prevalent with them) that the outward reputation of their Religion would have restrained them. But when once the innocent and harmelesse path is forsaken, whether then? but into a sea of evil, where one bad action necessarily drawes on another; and one injustice enforces the committing of another, for support and protection of the first? When Religious men become spies, and make use of friendship to betray; when they shall hunt their Brethren like Partridges, ransack their whole lives, insinuate themselves into their acquaintance purposely to ensnare them, and justifie themselves in so doing: wrest mens sayings to the worst, forge and fix upon them things of greatest antipathy to their spirits; what is this but to blast the name of Christianity, and the profession of Religion, and to make it evil spoken of all the world over? yet this hath been the practice of the Authors of that Pamphlet towards Mr. Walwyn, who has patiently bore all hitherto, and is now undergoing the highest proof of his vertue (which his Adversaries make his crime and disadvantage) and of his Christian fortitude (with which I well know he is amply endowed) as in these latter times I thinke any man has undergon. They have seasoned this project of theirs to the purpose, took a course for restraining him, and then they revile him; knowing well that other men, though of never so great acquaintance and intimacy with him, cannot so clearly discover the mistakes and fallacious delivery of those speeches that are fathered upon him, as he himself could.

However I judge my selfe bound to do my best (though weak) indeavour for his Vindication, out of my hearty respects to that Innocency and reall Goodnesse that is so visible in his life and conversation, as one would thinke should answer all objections.

Indeed I judge that Pamphlet more properly a designe, then a discourse; the politick contrivance (most of it) of other kind of adversaries then have subscribed their names to it, for that the end cannot be out of conscience to prevent the perversion of honest men, for then they would have published it when those speeches are pretended to be spoken; but to fit the people to bear his destruction patiently, and to make him (if possible) so odious as that they may cry out for it themselves, and urge, as the deluded Jews did against Paul, away with him, ’tis not fit such a man should live upon the Earth.

And that which the more confirmes me therein is, because one maine drift of the book is to take off the People from complaining of their Burdens and pressures, and rendring all them as suspitious of some dangerous designe, that shall give advice for the doing thereof; fixing an evil sence upon all the motions of theirs to that end, especially upon such as give them Councel, or are most able amongst them, to thinke of wayes and means for getting relief, or deliverance. Now because Mr. Walwyn has been alwayes a ready friend to all sorts of people unjustly suffering in any kind; and is stil putting such as are in Authority in remembrance of their duty, and has been a most unwearied solicitour these 8. years, for the just rights and liberties of People: hence is it that as heretofore he was made the marke of badmens displeasure: so even now, when we hope to see better times, is become the common Butt against which all harsh censures are directed; and all this to over-awe mens spirits, and, by frighting him and others from doing their duties, make them submit to any yoaks that shall be brought upon them.

Henceforward to Petition will be rendred a matter dangerous to the State, and he that shall set himself to frame and manage such things, may in like manner as Mr. Walwyn, be said to insinuate into, and mislead the people, to study their tempers and complexions, the qualifications of their spirits, their humours and passionate inclinations, their externall quality and estate, purposely to deceive them: he that shall urge the pressures and excessive burthens we groane under, and insist upon the causes and remedies thereof, must by this way of judging, be a seditious person, an incenser of the people against Authority; a politick perverter of man-kind, which is such a machiavilian way of stopping our mouthes and making us stoop under every yoak that may be laid upon us, as no sort of men hitherto arrived unto.

’Tis well the Author of that Pamphlet and his accomplices are so wel pleased with the present sad and deplorable condition of the Commonwealth: the world goes wel with them it seems, so they enjoy the eare and favour of Authority; and have faire hopes of advancing such of themselves as are not already advanced into places of profit; what care they though the poor starve, though all kinds of oppression be trebled and centupled upon the Commonwealth: the fish is caught and therefore away with the nets, there must be Tyranny (so they now argue) and why not in these rather then in any else? changes are dangerous, and in time all that is desirable shall be established; and therefore let us as it becomes Christians, waite with patience upon Authority and see what they will doe: Thus they perswade most to a yeilding contentfull submission to the yoak, who once taken off, are ingaged for justification of themselves, to plead and argue against those who see through the subtiltie of such deceptions, and continue notwithstanding all hazards, watchful and industrious as wel to manifest and bring to light what is behooful, as to discover what is pernitious to their Country.

’Gainst such as these, what means more effectuall then scandals? and what scandals more odious then Atheism and Communitie? By the first, all that are religious are incens’d, by the last, all that are rich. And though the whole progresse of Mr Walwyns life and conversation doth clearly evince the false imputation both of the one and the other; yet having happily scattered in familiar discourses, some words, that by the extremity of wresting and mis-application, for want of observation of the coherence, by taking a piece only, or part of his speech; all which, such as came purposely to betray, must needs be supposed to be very much inclin’d unto; ’tis no wonder, if in so many years watching and way-laying him, some words be not gathered, which in a perverted sense may look that way.

Our blessed Saviour, notwithstanding the Divinity of his Nature, was frequently so mis-apprehended; and though his design in this world was only to do good, and die for mankind, yet was he rendred by the policies of the Jews, a Subverter of the Law, an enemy to Moses and Cesar: When a liberty shall be taken to scrutiny and comment upon other mens lives, and to judge of their ends and intentions, what man of parts and businesse in the world, but may be rendred odious? Who is there but may have such a glosse put upon his actions, as to make him appear a man of wicked designs? ’Tis a course, indeed, that if we should retaliate in the like kind, would in time heighten us to the extremest acts of violence one towards another, and beget everlasting feuds and enmity amongst us. If they suppose we want matter; we answer, that ’tis not good for them to trust to it, for we have a Bedrole of such enormities in some of the chief of them, that had we not great respects to peace, and reluctancy within us to discover the weaknesses of other men, we could make them ashamed of themselves: But suppose we did want matter, we answer, so also do they; and we, as well as they, may make it, and no lesse plausibly: If we would take upon us to judge Mr John Goodwin, might we not say, he is a Timeserver, and visibly so? That his Doctrines are contradictory, not framed by the Line of Truth, but the probability of successe in each Party? That therfore when there was hopes of the Kings Restauration, he argued him to be unaccountable to any earthly Tribunall, and, as the consecrated corn, to be cut only by the hand of God: That he abhorred both the Jesuiticall Doctrine and Practice of taking away Kings; and yet afterwards, when the hopes of his return was over, and that he knew not only the prosecution of his Person, but also an abolition of the Kingly Office intended; who then became a more stout Arguer for the same then he? And though these things in a candid sense may be said to proceed from a further discussion and consideration of the point, and the appearance of light in him, yet allowing every man the liberty that the Author of the Pamphlet takes: how easie is it to fix such a censure upon him?

So in like manner Mr Goodwin having said, That no Translation of the Bible, nor yet no Copy in the Originall Languages, can be truly called the Word of God: how clearly does it follow, that then we have no Word of God amongst us, since we have nothing that can in any sense be called Gods Word, but either the Copies or Translations, the Originall being kept from us? Neither doth he, when he comes to explain himself, much mend the matter, since the spirituall sense, and Divine interpretation, which only in his judgment deserves the name of Gods Word, is divers in every man, and that opinion the way to make our apprehensions the Judge of the Scriptures, and not the Scriptures the rule of our apprehensions. Hereupon, if, as the Author of the Pamphlet, a man may take liberty to assert, that when those things were spoken, it was Mr J. Goodwins intention, to subvert the very Foundations of other Divines, and of the Scriptures themselves, because the Liberty of Conscience was then denied him; how obvious would the inference be? And though he hath since evinced the Divine Authority of the Scriptures in writing, yet since Mr Walwyn hath done the like, and never said so much, nor so clearly to the contrary: what reason is there, but that he may stand as fair in the opinion of mankind, as Mr John Goodwin in that point?

For the scandalous speeches that in the Book are Fathered upon Mr Walwyn, though I cannot expressly and circumstantially manifest, that they are all false and forged, yet for the chief of them, which are of the foulest savour, I shall: For the rest, I shall either passe them over, and leave them to Mr Walwyn’s own confutation; or from my knowledge of his opposite judgment in the particulars, evince the improbability of his ever speaking them.

For the first, ’tis thus far true, That Mr Walwyn, and a Member of Mr Goodwin’s Congregation, together with my self, did upon a Fast day (as it hath been the usuall manner of many of his Members) (an eie witnesse may speak it, and as Mr John Price’s Pulpit Incendiary doth abundantly evidence) go to hear Mr Cranford, and some others, it being the time when the contests about Conformity and Toleration were very high: ’Tis likewise true, that we did all agree, comming afterwards home to Mr Walwyns, that the Ministers did generally spend their time either upon uselesse subjects, such as did little tend to edification; or about advancing their own interests and reputation with the people; and that Gentleman was as forward in such expressions as we. ’Tis true, that Lucian was taken off a shelf either by me, or Mr Walwyn, I can’t say which, and that we read one of his Dialogues, which was the Tyrant, or Megapenthes; and afterwards commended it as very usefull in the time he lived; when by setting forth the foulnesse and deformity of Tyrannic in a third person, he informed the people of the wickednesse of such under whom they lived: but that any comparison was made between that and the Bible, is as false as in it self ridiculous.

’Tis at least 4 or 5 years that the Gentleman hath charg’d his memory with this, in all which time, his hatred and enmity against Mr Walwyn being in its growth, (for he is of the Councel and Faction) ’tis no wonder if he be biass’d thereby to find that which he came purposely to look for, whether it were really there, or no.

Besides, Mr Walwyn prefer’d Lucian (as the Pamphlet sales) for wit, before the Bible: ’Tis well known, that Mr Walwyn hath the lowest esteem of wit that may be, counting it the lightest, volatile and superficiall part of a man, whence his observation is, that commonly those that have most wit, have most wickednesse: He distinguishes between Wit and Wisdom, and prizes only the latter, as of reall behoof and benefit to mankind, it being that, which through the concomitant blessing of the Almighty, bears a man through all the straits and exigencies of this life: whereas Wit is but the exuberance of light and unsteady minds, which since he in all other matters dislikes, for the truth whereof, I appeal to all that know him: What ground is there for the least supposall that he should for that prefer Lucian before the Bible?

For his opinion concerning Hell, ’tis clearly thus: Though he judges every wicked man to have, intus Gehennam, a Hell in his own Conscience, as on the contrary, every good man to have the Kingdom of God within him, yet upon strict search, which we together have made into the Scripture, we have concluded, that there is another Hel succeeding judgment, convinced by those places of Scripture, Psal. 6. 8. Mat. 25. 4.1. 2 Thess. c.1. So that the mistake is, that because he said, there is Hel within man, therfore he concludes, there’s none without him: And though it seems contrary to reason, that a man should be punished everlastingly for a little sinning in this world, in which sense only he spoke it: yet have we both submitted our Reasons to Gods Word, the places fore mentioned being expresse for the same.

For Books of Morality and History, though Mr Walwyn gives them their due esteem, and judges that the peoples reading them would very much advance their knowledge, and enable them to preserve themselves in freedom, by seeing through the policies of bad men and their many sleights by which they abuse and enslave the people which are plentifully described in those Books: And thus far the Author speaks truth of him. Yet hath Mr Walwyn never elevated them beyond their proper sphere, or desert, nor made comparisons between them, and that Book which he ever hath accounted, the Book of Books, and truly deserving the name of Bible, or the Book, in comparison to which, all others, though good and usefull in themselves, do not yet deserve any esteem: This I do as truly know to be his judgment in this particular, as I know ’tis day when the Sun shines amongst us.

That he hath blamed the simple practice of this Nation, in bringing up their Children to learn Latin and Originall Languages, is most false, but that he hath and doth condemn the tedious and tiresome way that is taken in doing the same, is most true, his judgment in this particular being, that Children may be taught Latin, Greek and Hebrew, in a fourth part of the time that is now spent therein, and that purposely for the gain of the Schoolmaster.

It is as true, that he dislikes in the education of Children, that the Languages only are proposed, and not the principles of Divinity, and the precepts of Morality, in such a manner, as that their understandings may be possessed therewith, whereby they may be made both religious and true Common-wealths-men. And that also some Art, Mechanick or Manufacture, be taught according as their genius and disposition of body shall encline them, that so they may be both able to provide for themselves, and serviceable to the Common-wealth.

How easie in these particulars it is for other men to mistake him, that continually lie upon the catch, and are ready to interpret every thing he speaks to the worst, let the world judge. And consider likewise, how exceedingly it doth mis-become those that professe Christianity, especially a more pure and refined way then other men, to lie lurking privily to destroy the innocent. That the Scribes, Pharisees and Lawyers should ask questions, and insinuate themselves into good mens company to betray them, is no wonder: but that it should be done, and professedly done by such as would be thought of a near relation to God, such as separate from others because they will not have a profane person among them, doth to my understanding call in question the sincerity of their assembling, and import the end thereof to be, not the edification one of another, but the undermining of all other men and waies, that are in any opposition to them. I speak not this of the generality of the Members, who questionlesse have good and Religious ends in congregating together; but of that Vestry or Conclave of them, that sit as Judges of every mans fame and reputation, and have for that purpose their Emissaries to bring them in matter to raise Batteries against any mans good name, they would make hatefull: They have indeed too exactly learned Machiavel’s rule, to spare not to scandalize and traduce their adversaries, for that though some of the dirt may be wiped off, yet part of it will stick, and they shall be sure not altogether to lose their labours.

Where by the way, let every good man consider, whether their mixing with other men, under the notion of Friends, their getting into familiar acquaintance, eating and drinking together, and all this to betray, be not like Judas, kissing our Saviour, and in effect the dissolving of all society and friendship: For how should I, or any man know, but that every man, though seemingly a bosome Friend, is indeed a Traitor? How can this choose but take away the sweetnesse of friendship, and make us every one jealous one of another? Seriously I think they could not have done an action so discordant to Religion, nor of so evil consequence to mankind.

For the Objection in the generall, That Mr Walwyn labours, and makes it his main businesse to bring people out of love with Religion and the Scriptures, is a thing in it self so absurd, as I think nothing can be more; For what can be the end of a man in doing so? And certainly every wise mans actions are directed to some end: What would mens Atheism advantage him, since ’tis clear as day, and all his endeavours manifest it, that he strives to have every man good? And since he knows, that Religion doth restrain men from committing those evils, that otherwise they would rush upon, were that necessary Tie of Conscience taken off. Besides, I professe as in the presence of Almighty God, that I know no man that endeavours with more exactnesse to square his life according to the rule of Scripture, then Mr Walwyn doth, which is the clearest argument in the world, that they are dear and precious in his eies; and all those I know, that are observers of his life and conversation, will give testimony thereunto.

The true ground of this bitternesse of spirit against him may well be supposed to be, because he cannot associate into a Church way, upon their grounds, as not knowing any persons to be so quallified as Ministers of the Gospel ought to be, which he thinks is essentiall to such an association, and is in expectance that in time it will be so. In the mean time, he approves Congregationall Assemblyes for instructing the people, and for the consideration and right understanding of the Scriptures, as also, for the making every man in love with true piety and virtue, and to loath whatsoever is evil: But because he can no more approve the Divine Authority and Saintship of the Independent Pastours then of others before them, and reckons, that they are such but in pretence and shew only, and is esteemed able to manifest and evince the same; Hence have they drawn out their sharpest arrows, even bitter words, and let them fly at him, hoping thereby to make invalid whatsoever he shall say in order thereunto.

And this indeed appears to be the true ground of their persecuting him, and making use of all means, direct or indirect, to blast his spotlesse reputation, and which hath made them gather up that heap of forgeries and calumnies which in that Book are contained.

For these speeches which are said to be other mens whom he hath perverted, although I very much question, whether they were ever spoken by any man, they are so abominably profane and wicked: yet ’tis most clear, that for Mr John Price, or whoever is the Author of the Pamphlet, to suggest that which he cannot know, namely, that such wicked speeches have proceeded from the mans acquaintance with Mr Walwyn, doth clearly discover the maliciousnesse of his heart, and the Un-Christian spirit that is within him: which indeed is more evident by these bitter expressions that are scattered through his Book, as, English man Hunter, Factor for the Devil, Cunning and Hypocriticall Jugler, Wretched man, Journey-man, and Apprentice to the Prince of darknesse, Artificiall and great Imposter, &c. all which comming from within him, do clearly manifest the defilements of his soul, and from what rancour all the rest hath proceeded.

But the height of his bitternesse is discovered in a story concerning a Gentlewoman, whom he is said in her great paine and distemper to advise to make away with her selfe: a thing so false and scandalous, as I know not what can be more; For Mr. Walwyn hearing of her distemper, and melancholly resolutions, did out of the respects he bore unto her (being a Woman of so much goodnesse, and with whom and her husband, he had been of long intimate acquaintance) frequently visit her, and advised me to do the like purposely to fortifie her spirit against so harsh and sinful a resolve, which we both did; and as her husband knowes to good purpose, that she was often much more chearful and better disposed after our being with her then at other times: Insomuch that he has often desired both Mr. Walwyns and my frequent visitation of her. For a fuller testimony thereof, I intended that the Gentleman himself should have attested so much: but he being very sick in the Country, and his Sister and servants urging to me the danger of bringing to his remembrance his Wives sad disaster, and telling me, that probably it might be his sudden death, I have forborn for a time, till God shall give him more strength and health.

But forasmuch as Mr Walwyn hath been often with him since his Wives death, and been as fairly accepted as ever (as his Son and servants know) What cleerer Argument can there be, but that he does acquit M. Walwyn of any such horrid action, as perswading his wife to make away with her self?

Besides, if M. Walwyn had bin so wicked as to urge her, can he be supposed to do it before I know not what stranger that told them the business; when the Gentle-woman that was alwaies with her, her Sisters and servants, do none of them know any thing of the business, but are ready to attest his frequent perswading her to the contrary.

By the falshood of this particular slander, a man may guess at the truth of all the rest; for they that will be so forward to divulge a Forgery so exceedingly tending to the discredit of another, and make expostulations thereupon, and appeals to the People; advising them to judge of the Frame, Temper, and Spirit of the man by this action; where will they stick? Or what will they not do to take away his life, which when a mans good name is gone, is not at all to be valued? For a good Name, what is it, but the life of a mans life? I am very sorry for Religions sake, which I fear will very much suffer by this demeanor of men, whom I wish I could alwaies have accounted Religious. But I see, it is not an habit of Speaking, gained by Study and Custom, nor an Ability to Dispute or Discuss a point in Controversie, that truly, denominates a man such; but the inward sweetness and calmness of Spirit, that Christianity prescribes; and which indeed, is more eminent in M. Walwyn, then I have known it in any man; whose way hath alwaies bin, to take the injured mans part, to diminish the aggravations of an accuser, slowly and unwillingly to hear any thing that tends to the prejudice or dis-repute of another: as knowing well the aptness and propension in most men, to give credence when they hear others ill spoken of. I cannot chuse but upon occasion break out into these Speeches concerning M. Walwyn (and I question not but good men will excuse me for it) because I am so experimentally sensible of the Truth thereof: Indeed, if I were to chuse a true Friend, a vertuous and Religious Assotiate, addicted to no vice or extravagancy, the most averse from contention, the most cheerful and pleasant (but for the disturbance of his Spirit to see the Common-wealth still in so sad a condition) If I would chuse a man to be- readily assistant to his power in any distress, and that makes Conscience of his duty to God and man: It should be M. Walwyn: And I heartily bless God, that he hath afforded me the enjoyment of his Society for these eight yeers together, and upward; which I do reckon among the prime blessings of this life, and which I would not utterly leave, for any worldly Temptation whatsoever. God knows, I flatter not, for what need have I to flatter? but speak the truth of my heart, being inwardly conscious both of his innocence and goodness, of the many pressures that undeservedly ly upon him; out of which I hope God almighty will shortly free him, by cleering all Scruples, and false Apprehensions concerning him. But to proceed.

What M. Walwyn has said concerning Professors, I know not, but sure there is much to be said, and much in them to be amended; haply in this particular he has bin more earnest than ordinary; because he sees so large a disproportion between the Rule and their Practise: and since this is true, and acknowledged so by the Author, how uncharitable must he needs appear, in judging M. Walwyns urging the same, to proceed from a designe to disparage Religion, and the Professors thereof? Sure I am, that if any man could be so wicked as to propose such a designe to himself, as the disparagement of Religion and its Professors, he would not check, but countenance their wickedness; then which, nothing can be more discreditable to Religion.

M. Walwyns next drift is said to be, to procure the trouble, misery, and ruine of this Common-wealth: A goodly work indeed, and which is likely, that a man which hath spent himself for the Parliament, and in endeavouring a good and happy settlement of the Common-wealth, should ever admit into his thoughts. For what end should he attempt any such thing? If for wealth or greatness, what an improbable way is that to get either? Besides, he has hitherto bin regardless of both: and certainly, if they had bin his end, he has brain and ability enough to have compassed them both, by striking in with any party that has had the dispensation thereof. But in this the calumniation of M. Walwyn is not so principally intended, as to startle the people from finding fault with any thing that is amiss, or from complaining of the failings and undue management of things, by such as are, or may be in Authority; for this he cries out upon, as the means to carry on his private designe, which will questionless, be extended to any who sit not down contented with whatsoever happens, but appear in never so moderate desires for the rectification of what is amiss. How has he by this means, fitted every man with a way how to find fault with Petitioners; to stile them of Walwyns gang, deceived by his Wiles and Impostures; and so to take away that last human Refuge which good men have left them, viz. of making their Grievances known, and desiring Redress? For the waies which he is said to use to seduce the poor and indigent, as by telling them that vertue and ability for discharge of a Publike trust, ought to be the characteristical tokens of fitness to bear Office, and places of Government, and that it is a most unfiting thing that one man should have thousands to spend upon his lusts, and another want necessaries, though neither of these I think have so much irrationality or unchristianity in them, as to deserve to be cryed down by a Member of a Church, and are as uncharitably urged as supposed weapons M. Walwyn fights withal, in order to an imagined design, their either weak or wicked thoughts have invented. Yet can I truly say of M. Walwyn, as from my own knowledge, that he hath ever protest and proposed not to supply poor men by injuring the Rich, but by reducing the Common-wealth to so good a pass, that every man by care and easie labour, might have wherewithal to maintain himself and his Family in some comfortable manner.

To take away from any man what is his by inheritance, or by his trade or industry, or any other way, is so visibly contrary to the equity which he hath ever (according to his understanding) held forth, not onely in the front, but in the very heart of his designes (or what you please to call them) which makes me think that book was compiled by some-body that knows him not, but has had a heap of matter at random, gathered up and given him by such as knew him able to make inferences, and contrive a subtle Pamphlet thereupon; not onely to calumniate M. Walwyn, but to stop the mouths of all the aggrieved and discontented people of the land, and for that end has he marshalled all the several oppressions and burdens of the Common-wealth, into several ranks; as if they were not real things, but inventions of M. Walwyn, to irritate by some of them, the poor; by others, the rich; by some, the rash and cholerick; by others, the discreet and apprehensive; to discontent and dis-affection against such as are in Authority. So that questionless they hope by this means to terrific all now from opening their mouths, be they under what oppression soever; though for my part, I think it will work a contrary effect, when men shall see the Arts and Stratagems that are used to make them stoop under their burdens Issachar-like; and that the private Churchmen are become the Sluggards of their fair and lawful endeavors, to redeem themselves from those pressures that ly upon them.

Did not in like manner the King and Bishops make the Scots odious, and the Puritan Party in England, a by-word, urging such like slanders of them, and saying that it was the designe of some discontented spirits, to alienate mens affections from their Governors, and that by private discourses, by printing and publishing Books, sending into several Counties, and flinging them into mens houses, as this Author imposeth upon Mr Walwyn? Nay, did not the Presbyter Party, in particular Mr Edwards, Mr Jenkins, and others, do the like upon the Independents, Sectaries, Seekers, &c. inventing strange Designs, like these father’d upon Mr Walwin, and casting them upon any that they had a mind to make odious? And did not Mr Goodwin himself bear an ample share of these Calumnies, being stiled by them, The Grand Heretick of England, a plucker up (presumptuously) of the Fundamental Priviledges of Parliament by the roots: and is not this work of our Author the very same in effect, manner, and design? the tide being now turn’d, and the stream of profit runing into a new Channel; the only difference being a more subtile contrivance in this pageant of scandals, then hath yet by any of them been produced.

It will be needless for me to run over more particulars, the Principal having been already cleered, and the Remainder being but of the same batch and leven with the other; and if true, as in the rankness of their expression they are not, they cannot beget that abomination against him, which they expect.

For the Ware business, it is so base and abominable a Fiction, so apparently the wicked offspring of a Politick brain, that little needs to be said to it, only thus, That if there had been any such design of the Agitators at Ware of the Outing the Lord General, destroying the Lieut. General, and forcing the Parliament to prosecute the King, and Mr Walwin privie to it; the whole town should certainly have rung of it before now, and not only so, but the Designers should have been prosecuted for it, since there is Law sufficient for that; (Civil Law I mean, without the help of Martial) and since neither Power nor Authority hath been wanting to see so plain a piece of Justice executed; what therefore doth the not doing thereof more cleerly argue, then the present forgery of this present fable, for their friend Mr Walwins sake, whose spotless innocence leaves them without any ground to raise their batteries against him, but with what comes out of the Mint of their own inventions.

Besides, the Author saies not that Mr Walwin was of, or privie to that Design, but only layes it upon certain Agitators at Ware; and yet he craftily and maliciously inserts it amongst other things he hath fram’d and fatherd upon Mr Walwin, of purpose to make the world believe that this is also his.

If People knew how fertile their brains have been with Fictions of this nature, they would say all were not Christian that took that name upon them, and seem’d so zealous for the honor of God and dignity of the Scriptures: There is indeed scarce any thing that concerns a mans life, but Mr Walwin hath been abused in, by foul Reports: to some he is said to paint his face, having been hitherto of a ruddy complexion; and the Reporters have been trac’d from one to another, till one would go no further, but only told him, That he heard it of credible men. Others report him loose in his Life, and one Mr Woollastone meeting Major Cobet, bid him beware of Mr Walwyn, for he was a dangerous man, a Jesuite, an Anti-scripturist; and to make the last good, said, That a Woman being tempted by him to lewdness, she replying that it was against Gods Word which saies, that Whoremongers and Adulterers God will judge: Mr Walwyn (as this bad man reported) made answer, What telst thou me of that idle Book? Whereupon Major Cobet told Mr Woollastone that he would tell Mr Walwyn of this, and that he should look to be called to an account for it: Within a while after, a Meeting being at the Windmill in Lothbury about a Petition, Major Cobet told Mr Walwyn of it before six or seven other men, at which M Walwyn wondered he should be so abused, having no other way left to deer himself but by a denyal and abomination of the thing: But it so fell out, that imediatly after Mr Woollastone came into the Room, and being urged by Major Cobet to make good what he had reported to him concerning Mr Walwyn before those six that were present, Mr Woollaston Answered, That he contest he had injured Mr Walwyn in the Report, and desired his Pardon, for the words were true of another, but not of him: In Witness of the truth of what is here Related, I Subscribe my name.

Notwithstanding all which, both this and other scandals of the like nature are still scattered against him, so that if he would deer himself, he must be ever writing in his own Vindication, this sinck filling with such ditch-water faster then any one man can pumpe it out. In the mean time, what are they? or what do they deserve? or for what end can all this be supposed to be done? but to villifieand render contemptible a man, that in his heart abominates all unjust wayes, which they know they are deeply engaged in.

Then again, there are divers that make it their business about the Town, to close with such as they have any hopes will be flexible, and to advise them that they be cautious concerning Mr Walwyn) for knowing men say he is a Jesuit, and ’tis probable enough say they, for no body knows where he was born, or how he maintains himself, and that ’tis verily thought he was born in Spain: Some six or seven men that have been thus Accosted I know, and can produce, which shews that these things are not Casual, but proceed from Design and Pre-meditation.

How many are mis-led into a belief hereof, and of the former Scandals already, I know not, but that no more may, and that such as are, may be better informed: I hope without offence to any, I may give a brief and cursory Description of Mr Walwyns Life and Disposition, which is as follows:

Mr Walwyn was born at Newland in Worcester-shire, of Mr Robert Walwyn Esquire, a man of good Life and Repute in his Country, and of between three and four hundred pounds Annual Estate, that his Mother is still living and was Daughter to Doctor Westphaling Bishop of Hereford: his Brothers and Sisters are likewise in that Country; But he being a yonger Brother, was bound Apprentize in London, and served out his Time with a Silk-man in Pater-noster-Row: A while after, he was made Free of the Merchant Adventurers Company, and hath since traded as Merchant about seventeen or eighteen yeers; during all which time, his aboads have bin known and certain, and his residence in London constant, except two or three journeys into his owne Country, and one or two to the Army, before its first comming to London. That he was never over Sea in any Country whatsoever. That he has from the profits of his Trade, maintained his Family in a middle and moderate but contentful condition; having bin much wasted, but never gained one penny by these eight yeers distractions, nor ever desired it; his only end, being that the Common-wealth might be so setled, that men might with comfort and alacrity set themselves about their particular Callings and employments. That he is most strictly abstemious, and though of an open hand, and a large heart to his ability, yet did I never observe in any man so cautious and constant a Temperance.

That I never observed in him the least unseemly gesture towards women, being a man noted by such as intimately know him, for a most precise and exemplary modesty, naturally expressing it self (even at his yeers, which are almost fifty) at any obscene word or behaviour, by a blush: which is an outward manifestation of the inward distast and reluctancy of the mind, against the evil of the present object. That he has lived 21 yeers and upward with one woman, and she a truly good one; between whom I have observed so constant, so growing an affection, as that I have not known in my 8 yeers aboad with them, a hasty word pass from one to the other: By her he has had almost twenty children; that before the Parliament, he informed himself of all the extravagancies and oppressions of the King, and out of dislike thereof, and in hope that his Country should by the endeavors of the Parliament be freed from them, he engaged with them; that he has continued so doing till this day; and though he hath bin much disswaded by his friends from crossing the stream, and advised to swim in it; yet could he never bring his mind to it; the light of his own Conscience guiding him otherwise. In this case, Charity (he thinks) ought not to begin at home, but at his Country; for though a mans self may be allowed to be deerer then another, yet not then all. For the publike Liberties, he hath not onely constantly appeared, but rescued most of them out of a heap of contrary Doctrines, and Politick concealments. And for Liberty of Conscience, there is a book (the first that was brought to light upon that Subject, since these Troubles) doth ow much to his Industry: And though he is not so much concern’d in the point as other men, especially his Adversaries (he having never bin of any private Congregation) yet did he one of the first break the Ice in that point, since this Parliament, and to the utmost of his power, both by writing, and by frequent and very hazardable Addresses to Authority, labored both to evince the equity of the thing in it self, and procure a Liberty for the Exercise thereof; as judging it a mans duty to move not onely for those things that are of immediate concernment, but in those also, which being good and just, conduce to the more immediate benefit of his Brethren.

If I should reckon up all the good things he hath engaged in, I should haply be too tiresome to the Reader. I will therefore say onely this, that I never knew him engage in any thing that could (except in a wrested sense) be said to advantage a corrupt interest: He hath studied the Peoples Freedoms so radically, and hath brought to light Principles so supportive thereof, and so essential thereunto, that no other Designe but their good, can with any pretense be fixt upon him; except for the mis-leading those that know him not, or do not well know him. I wish with all my heart, the necessity of writing thus much, had not bin enforced upon me: For there is not any man I think, which loves retirement, and the not being seen in this kind, more then I do.

Neither doth M. Walwyn take the least pleasure in applause, or the worlds good opinion of him, which no man, hath more slighted; but expects his recompense from Gods love to him (which certainly he will amply find, if not here, hereafter;) from the calmness of his own Conscience, and the respects of truly godly and ingenuous men; who not by hear-say, a casual expression, or slip of his tongue, do suppose they know him; but of such as are neer and narrow observers of his Discourses, Life, and Conversation.

I have let pass many expressions of the lightest nature in the Book, that are not within the reach of my knowledge to disprove. Some of them I have heard of from them, and that 5. or 6. yeers ago (which shews that the Timber for this Structure has bin long cut down, and that they have had time enough to shape it to their own purposes). I suppose they will, if there be further need, receive answer by M. Walwyn himself.

For the particulars that concern Levelling mens Estates, &c. M. Walwyn has given such ample satisfaction, I conceive, in the Manifestation, which the Author too conceives to be principally his, that I wonder old expressions in heat of Discourses (who knows how long ago) dropt from him (as who knows too how slightly and mistakingly since reported) should be now urged upon him: But in order to a Design, what must not be done? But ’tis talkt abroad, they can be proved; that is, that credible people have heard them, and will attest the same. To that I shall say,

1. That M. Edwards had witnesses for attestation of many strange matters he reported of pious and honest people, and yet how deservedly were his slanders slighted, upon this ground, that men of different spirits do very familiarly hear with too open ears, and report with such additions as their spleen and dis-affection suggests against him they maligne? And as M. John Goodwin (whose hap it hath bin to suffer much in this kind with M. Walwyn) well expresses himself in his answer to M. Edwards Gangreen, p. 2. Sect. 3. There is no reasonable man but will abate and deduct, and that to a good proportion, from such Reckonings and Accompts, which are drawn up and given into him by the hand of envie.

2. That in many particulars urged upon M Walwyn, the offence lies not in the things, but in the end for which they were done; which the Author takes upon him to judge; and does he not thereby (as M. Goodwin saies of M. Edwards in his Innocencies Tryumph, p. 3) claim part or priviledge with God himself, in his Omniscience or heart-searching, which is (as he goes on) to magnifie himself above all that is called man, and to set himself down in Gods chair.

3. Of what credit pray is the testimony of an enemy in matters of obloquy and reproach, tending to the disparagement of another; M. John Goodwin frequently tells you in his Hagiomastix) and his Cretenses, or answer to M. Edwards ulcerous Treatise, especially (I may add) when the memory is long charged therewith, and when discontents and new enmities do in the intervalls arise.

4. Let it be considered how unlike it is to the way of Christ and his Apostles, to have Eve-droppers, Agents, or Factors, to gather up, and furnish themselves with the sins and infirmities of good men, who never took a report into their lips against any man, upon loose or malicious suggestions, that pleaded the cause even of an Adultress, and stopt the mouths of her Accusers: yet here hath our Author ransackt all corners, sifted every mans knowledge of M. Walwyn, and then, taking onely the bran or dregs of his life, hath with the unworthy addition of the slime of his brain, made up a dish for his own and his friends eating; and hopes that by the large commendations he gives of it, it will find acceptance among all other good people.

Whereas the Author makes a difference between Mr Walwyn and the rest of his Fellow Prisoners, judging him to be the Principal, and they the Accessaries to the Chimerical Crimes, our Authors brains have fancied: to this I say, That they who do know, or do not conceal their knowledge of Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, must needs confess him to be a man the least liable to be moulded or bowed by others, of any man in the world. Who bias’d him I pray in all his sufferings before in the Fleet, Oxford, Newgate, the Fleet again, the Tower, &c? whose Counsel hath he taken in writing those many Discoveries of bad mens wayes, but God and his own? But our Author writes not so much his knowledge as his guesse, and not so much his guess neither as his Design either to make difference between these Friends, or by laying the whole burden upon Mr Walwyn, to single him out thereby for destruction. For Mr Prince, as he is a man of a single heart, and lamb-like innocence; so is he far from pining his Faith upon another mans sleive, and professes himself guided in the present dislikes he hath manifested, not by other mens discourses, but by real and sensible sufferings: By what his eyes see, his eares hear of the Peoples sad and deplorable Condition: by apparent contradictions in actions and Engagements, by the benefit of Law taken away, and by abundance of other instances and experimental proofs of things, by which, and the sense of his own duty, thereupon he is engaged, he sayes, to shew himself as he doth. But I shall forbear to speak further to this, since I hear they both intend to write something in Vindication of themselves: for Mr Walwyn in the supposition the world hath of him of being a Politick man; he is as much mistaken as may be; Policy being taken in the worst sense, for an ability to do things good or bad, just or unjust for advantage, and the accomplishment of an evil end. He is the most precisely tyed as to good in the end, so in all the means in Order to that end, that I have often told him of the impossibillity of procuring that for the people his honest heart intended, against powers otherwaies resolved, and here upon I have often perswaded him to decline the Engaging as too difficult for him. To which he hath answered, That his thoughts did not so much insist upon the success, as his duty: the one he was bound to perform, the other was without him, not in his power, and therefore though he should rejoyce at the good event of things, yet should he not be dismayed, when they fall out otherwayes, for that was at the good pleasure of him, to whom he was to submit.

Tis observable that some of those that Subscribed the Epistle Dedicatory, are his most deadly Enemies, and of those, one hath very busily spread abroad that most malicious suggestion of Mr Walwyns being a Jesuit, although I suppose he himself knows the contrary: othersome, namely the two last, have been very scarcely known unto him, or he of them, and yet they tell you too, that they therein Subscribed their own experiences and observations of his general Course in all his wayes, as they are in the Book set forth. If this be the Course that must be expected from these Churchmen, whose fame or reputation can be safe? though never so carefully guarded by innocence, and a diligent eschewing of evil? For as Mr Walwyn hath suffered, so who may not? or who is not likely to suffer, that stands in the way at least of their prospect? Every head must vaile, and every heart must stoop to the Glory and Sanctity of these Saintly men, that have already suckt in large hopes of being Possessors of the Earth, and begin to stretch themselves, and justle out other men as profane, worldly irreligious, and what Titles else they please to defame them withal: Still must it be that new men rise up, and tread in the same steps of reviling with their fore fathers. Was M. Walwyn a Traytor, Heretick, and Rebel in the Bishops esteem? Was he the Presbyters Schismatick, Atheist, Anarchist, and what not thats bad and monstrous, because his Conscience could not stoop to them? And must the sink of every mans malice be still thrown upon him, and his tender back prest down with all the obloquies that men of more copious and refined imaginations can invent and throw upon him: Must he ever be the man of infamy and disgrace? whither then shall he appeal for relief and vindication, but at thy sacred throne, almighty God, to whose Omniscience the secret thoughts and inmost corners of every heart are like a Text in great Letters, visible and transparent? Thy Majesty hast true and certain knowledge of every thing done and imagined in the world, thou knewest the innocence of thy servant Stephen, and the maliciousness of the Jews that stoned him, the purpose of Tertullus in accusing Paul, and of the forty Jews combined to destroy him. There is nothing at present that is hid from thee, no dark purpose or designe (though never so speciously vaild over with good or Religious pretences), but is perspicable by the eye of thy All-seeing Wisdom.

The frailty and dimnesse of our sight cannot distinguish between things that are and but seem to be, between Truth and Falshood: insomuch that this vain world frequently mis-calls Good, Evil; and Evil Good: and upon confidence of this common frailty, bad men endowed with craft and vain policy, impose upon the weak and credulous what shapes and imaginations of things their wicked ends suggest unto them. Forasmuch as therefore O Lord, thou art the protectour of all the Innocent, and detector of the false accusers, give some real manifestation to the World, both of the one and of the other; open the breasts of Mr Walwyn and his Accusers: Let their thoughts be manifest, the secret purposes and designements of their hearts written as in their fore-heads; that so thy Name may have the glory in a plain and visible discovery of them both, and the innocence of the one shine more bright by this fiery Tryal it is now undergoing; and the secret ends and contrivances of the other be no longer concealed under the painted garment of zeal towards thee and thy Word, which thou knowest O God, is by many of them put on purposely to enable them to destroy innocent men, and to persecute thy Christ In his Members.

But if O Lord thou hast decreed that bad men shall run on in the course of their wickednesse, till their measure be full, and wilt suffer them to be chastizing instruments in thy hand, for the many frailties and sinnes of thy servants, thy will be done, only support us we beseech thee with the strength of thy inward consolations, with patience to drink of that Cup thou hast provided for thy servants, and to submit all we are or have, to thy hand, thy wisdom, thy will, our Lord, our God, our Father.

 

 


 

6.15. William Walwyn, The Fountain of Slaunder Discovered (London: H. Hills, 30 May 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

William Walwyn, The Fountain of Slaunder Discovered. By William Walwyn, Merchant. With some passages concerning his present Imprisonment in the Tower of London. Published for satisfaction of Friends and Enemies.
London, Printed by H. Hils, and are to be sold by W. Larnar, at the sign of the Blackmore, near Bishops-gate. M.DC.XLIX. (1649)

Estimated date of publication

30 May 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 746; Thomason E. 557. (4.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

The Fountain of Slander discovered, &c.

From my serious and frequent consideration of the goodness of God towards man, the innumerable good things he created for his sustenance & comfort; that he hath made him of so large a capacity as to be Lord over other creatures; ever testifying his love, by giving rain and fruitfull seasons, feeding our hearts with food and gladnesse: That he hath made him, as his own Vicegerent, to see all things justly and equally done, and planted in him an ever living conscience to mind him continually of his duty; I could not but wonder that this should not be sufficient to keep mankind in order, and the world in quiet.

But when I considered the infinite obligations of love and thankfulnesse, wherewith men, as Christians, are bound unto God, and yet how extremely averse all sorts of Christians were, to the essentiall and practicall part of Religion; so great ingratitude did quite astonish me.

And made me with much patience passe over the many injuries I have suffered for my own endeavours after common good; and to resolve within my self, that for any man to give good heed to the voyce of God in his own conscience, and vigorously to appear against the unrighteousnesse of men, is certainly the way to affliction and reproaches.

And hereupon, when of late I have been hunted with open mouth, and could appear in no place, but I was pointed at, and frown’d upon almost by every man, I was but little moved; for why should I expect better measure than my Maker and Redeemer? And so with patience sate me down, and considered, whence so many undeserved aspersions should proceed against me at a time too, when I was most secure; all power being then in the hands of such, from whom I had merited nothing but love and friendship.

I was sure any man that had a mind to know what, or where I was, might easily trace me from my present habitation in Moor-Fields, to Newland in Worcestershire, where I was born of no unknown or beggarly parentage, as some have suggested to disparage me; but such as were both generous, as the world accounts; and ingenuous too, as wise men judge; and to whose exemplary virtue I owe more, then for my being.

I knew an exact accompt might be taken of me, in lesse then one daies time: and that this may gain belief, I shall refer the enquiry of my birth and breeding to Mr Sallaway, a Member of Parliament for the County of Worcester; and for my first eight years in London to Mr Crowder, another Member of this present Parliament: The truth of whose relation, I suppose none will doubt, and I shall be obliged to them, to satisfie as many as desire it.

For 13 years together, after that, I dwelt in the Parish of Saint James, Garlick-hill, London: Where, for all that time, any that please, may be satisfied; since which time, I have lived in Moor-Fields, where now my Wife and Children are; and what my demeanour there hath been, my neighbours will soon resolve.

I have been married 21 years, and have had almost 20 Children; my profession hath been Merchandising, but never was beyond the Seas; but my Brother died in Flanders in my imployment, and cost me near 50 pounds, rather then he should want that buriall accustomed to Protestants; which one would think might suffice to prove me no Jesuite.

In all which time, I believe scarce any that ever knew me, will be so dis-ingenuous as to spot me with any vice; and as little of infirmity as of any other; having never heard ill of my self, untill my hopes of this Parliament encouraged me to engage in publique affairs; being then 40 years of age, 20 of which I had been a serious and studious reader and observer of things necessary.

But then in short time, I heard such vile unworthy things as I abhorred, and made me blush to hear; and ever since, reproaches have pursued me, like rowling waves, one in the neck of another.

All which being groundlesse, as my conscience well knew, I soon concluded, they were devised purposely by some Politicians (whose corrupt interest I opposed) to render me odious to all societies of men, and so to make me uselesse to the Commonwealth, which my long experience and observation told me, was a common practice in all ages.

So as to me it is evident, that corrupt interests are the originall of Politicians; for a just course of life, or interest, needs no crafts or policies to support it: And it is as clear to me, that Politicians are the originall of reproaches, and the fountain of slander: for that it being impossible to defend an ill cause by reason; reproaches necessarily must be devised, and cast upon the opposers to discredit what they speak; or it were impossible for any corrupt interest to stand the least blast of a rationall opposition.

Most miserable unhappy therfore are those men, who are engaged and resolved to continue in any kind of corrupt interest, or way of living; since they are thereby all their life long necessitated to become meer Politicians, devisers of lies, slanders, falshoods, and many times to perpetrate the most dishonest actions that can be imagined, for supportation of their interest.

And upon this accompt I am certain, and upon no other, so much dirt hath been cast upon me; for when art and sophistry will not serve to vanquish truth and reason, aspersion generally wil do the deed.

Which hath made discreet and considerable men to make a contrary use of aspersions: For whereas the rash, and weak, when they hear either man or Cause asperst, they presently shun the men, and abhominate the cause upon little or no examination, as being affrighted therewith. Wise and discreet men, skilfull in the common rules and practises of the world, are so far from prejudging either the man or cause of evil; that without prejudging, or partiality, they make an exact enquiry, how things are, and determine nothing but upon good and reall satisfaction.

And there is good cause for every man so to do; for if all stories be well searcht into, it will be found. That unjust, cruel, covetous, or ambitious men, such as were engaged in corrupt interests, or in some wicked designs, were ever the aspersers; and honest, just and publique spirited men the aspersed.

That this is a certain truth, examples need not be brought out of common histories, whilst the Scriptures abound therewith.

It was the portion both of the Prophets and Apostles, and of all the holy men of all times: yea, our blessed Saviour, who spent all his time on earth in doing good, was neverthelesse tearmed, a Wine-bibber, a Friend of Publicans and sinners, a Caster out of Devils by Beelzebub the Prince of Devils. And who were they that so asperst him, but the great and learned Politicians of the times, who with the Scribes and Pharisees, set themselves against him and his doctrines, because he gave knowledge to the poor and simple; by which, their delusion, pride, oppression and corrupt interests were plainly discovered.

So that let no man look to escape aspersions, that sets himself to promote any publique good, or to remove any old or new setled evil; but let him resolve, according to the good he endeavoureth, so shall his aspersion be: Nor let him thinke, when time and his constant actings have worn out, one, or two, or ten aspersions, that he is therfore free; but if he continue to mind more good, he shall be sure to find new aspersions, such as he never dream’d of, or could imagine.

Luther opposeth the delusions and oppressions of the Pope, and his Clergy, and the ruine of Emperours, Kings and great ones of the world, laies them all open and naked to the view of all men: and who was ever more asperst then he?

Cornelius Agrippa sets forth a Treatise, entituled, The vanity of Arts and Sciences; and is reputed a Conjurer for his labour.

How faisly and vilely were our Martyrs reproached and cruelly used in Queen Maries daies, for opposing the wickednesse of the great ones of that time? And how unjustly Mr Greenwood, Mr Penry, and Mr Barrow suffered in Queen Elizabeths daies for publishing unwelcome truths, is yet sadly remembred.

Yet how odious did the Bishops set forth those that pretended for the Discipline of Presbyterie? all along comparing them to the Anabaptists of Munster; affirming, that (whatever they pretended) they aimed to destroy all Magistracy and Government; to have plurality of wives, and all things common; saying any thing of them to render them odious to the people.

In like manner the Court reproached Parliaments upon their least shew of redresse of grievances, or abatement of Prerogative; calling them, a factious, seditious, viperous brood, that intended to bring all to Anarchy, parity and confusion.

And even so divers Presbyters of late have dealt with the Independents, Brownists, Anabaptists, Antinomians, and the like; stiling them Heretiques, Blasphemers, Sectaries; and comparing the Army and their Leaders to Jack Cade, Wat Tyier, and John of Leydon. And so about that time dealt the Parliament with many wellminded people, that petitioned them for removall of long setled, and new imposed grievances, tearming them factious, and seditious Sectaries; and burnt their just Petitions most reproachfully by the common hangman.

And just so now deal some most unworthy Independents with many the present Asserters of common freedom, stiling them Levellers, Anti-scripturists, Atheists; and devise such scandalous, false aspersions against them; and publish the same with so much bitternesse and vilenesse of expression, as if they resolved of all that went before them, from Rabshekah, to the unhappy daies of Mr Edwards, and his Contemporaries, none should come nigh them for invention, or calumniation; and that upon no cause, except for opposing the present corruption and corrupt interests of the times; wherein it should seem, many of them are now engaged, and taking pleasure therein, are as impatient as ever Demetrius and the Crafts-men were with Paul for preaching against the Goddesse Diana, by making of whose Shrines they lived, tis like, very plenteously.

And although nothing be more evident, then that Aspersers are ever deceivers, and asperse for no other end but for their own interest and advantage, yet are not men sufficiently cautious to avoid their wiles, but are ensnared perpetually; for let a man with never so much discretion and fidelity, make known a publique grievance, or an imminent danger, and propose never so effectuall means for redresse and prevention, yet if one of these subtil Politicians, or their Agents, can have opportunity to buz into the ears of those that are concerned, thou the proposer art an Heretique, a Blasphemer, an Atheist, a denier of God and Scriptures; or, which is worse to most rich men, that he is a Leveller, and would have all things common: then out upon him, away with such a fellow from off the earth; better perish then be preserved by so prophane a person: and in the mean time, who so seemingly pious, meek and religious as the asperser? Whose councel so readily harkned to as his? which yet leadeth to a certain bondage, or destruction, never feared till felt.

And truly but for these deceits in Politicians, and these weaknesses in the people, it had been impossible but these times must necessarily have produced much more good to the Common wealth: and it is wonderfull to consider, how powerfully this delusion proves in all times; no warning or experience being guard enough against it, though to a reasonable judgment, no deceit be more palpable.

For generally the asperser is really guilty of what he unjustly brands another withall: So, the false Prophets accuse the true of falsnesse: In like manner, the false Apostles accuse the true: The Scribes and Pharisees were, indeed, friends of Publicans and Sinners, reall friends of Beelzebub, as being the chief of Hypocrites: The Pope and his Clergie really guilty of all they fained against Luther: Emperours and Great ones of the world, cry out of perfidiousnesse, and breach of Oaths; who have broken so frequently as they? or make so little of it when ’tis done? Those who cry out against Community, Parity and Levelling, in the mean time enforce all to their own wils, both Persons, Estates and Consciences, and if resisted, fire and sword, halters, axes and prisons, must be their Executioners. The persecutor is for the most part the most desperate heretick, and those that cry out so much against blasphemy, neither regard man nor honour God, pretending Godlinesse onely for by, and base respects: Those who make so great a noise against Atheists, are they not such as say in their hearts, there is no God? denying him in their actions and conversations, back-biting, covetousnesse, pride, and usury being no sinnes amongst them, men that have a meer specious forme of Godlinesse, but no power at all: Those that raise fames of denying the Scriptures; you shall have them do it so as if they did it purposely to bring Scriptures in question, and write so in defence of them, as if they bent all their endeavours (though subtilly and obscurely) to weaken the credit and belief thereof; and have the impudence to call their uncertaine, doubtfull preaching and sermons the word of God, preach for filthy lucre, and take money for that which is not bread; so that if people had but any consideration in them, they would easily discover the fraud, policy and malice of aspersors, and be armed against their stratagems.

And although the people for some time may be deceived by their delusions, and do not perceive their devises: yet God in the end discovers them to their shame; selling their nakednesse and the shame of their nakednesse open in the sight of all men; and that garment of hypocriticall Godlinesse with which they stalked so securely, becomes a badge of their reproach.

The Scribes, and Pharisees, and Herod, and Pilat had their time; but are their names now any other but a by-word? and doth not the Doctrine of Luther, shine in despite of all his mighty opposers?

What gained the Bishops by bespeaking the Presbyter of so much errour and madnesse, but their own down-fall? what got the Courtiers by accusing Parliaments of intending Anarchy and Community but their own ruine? and have not these Presbyters brought themselves to shame by their bitter invective Sermons and writings against the Independent and Sectaries?

And are all these forementioned, acquitted of the aspersions cast upon them? and am I and my friends guilty? why must these scandalous defamations be truer of us then of them? in their severall times they were beleeved to be true of them, and its time onely and successe that hath cleared them, and should perswade men to forbear censuring us of evil unlesse the just things we have proposed, and Petitioned for be granted; and if we content not our selves within the bounds of just Government let us then be blamed, and not before: but what sayes the politician if somebody be not asperst. Mischief cannot prosper if these men be believed and credited, downe goes our profit. And truely, that enemies to the common freedome of this Nation, or enemies to a just Parliamentary Government, enemies to the Army, or men of persecuting principles and practices, should either divide or scatter these false aspersions against me, I did never wonder at: beleiving these to be but as clouds that would soon vanish upon the rising of the friends of the Common wealth, and prevailing of the Army; And so it came to passe, and for a season continued; but no sooner did I and my friends in behalf of the Common-wealth, manifest our expectation of that freedome so long desired, so seriously promised them in the power of friends to give and grow importunate in pursuit thereof, but out flies these hornets againe about our ears, as if kept tame of purpose to vex and sting to death those that would not rest satisfied with lesse then a well grounded freedome: and since, we have been afresh more violently rayled at then ever, as if all the corrupt interests in England must downe, except we were reproacht to purpose.

And certainly there was never so fair an opportunity to free this Nation from all kinds of oppression and usurpation as now, if some had hearts to do their endeavour, that strongly pretended to do their utmost; and what binders, is as yet, somewhat in a mistery; but time will reveal all, and then it will appear more particularly then will yet be permitted to be discovered, from what corrupt fountaine, (though sweetned with flowers of Religion) these undeserved clamours have issued against me and my friends.

But I shame to thinke how readily, the most irrationall sencelesse aspersions cast upon me, are credited by many, whom I esteemed sincere in their way of Religion, and that most uncharitably against the long experience they have had of me, and most unthankfully too, against the many services I have done them, in standing for their liberties (and animating others so to do) when they were most in danger and most exposed, never yet failing though in my own particular I were not then concerned) to manifest as great a tendernesse of their welfare as mine owne.

But in patience I possesse my self, such as the tree is such I perceive will be the fruit: and as I see a man is no farther a man then as he clearly understands; so also I perceive a Christian is no farther a Christian then as he stands clear from errour, and superstition, with both which were not most men extreamly tainted? such rash and harish censures could never have past upon me, such evil fruits springing not from true Religion; wherein, as full of zeal, as the times seeme to be; most men are far to seek: every man almost differs from his neighbour, yet every man is confident, who then is right in judgement? and if the judgement direct to practice (as no doubt it ought) no marvell we see so much weaknesse, so much emptinesse, vanity, and to speak softly, so much unchristianity, so many meer Nationall and verball, so few practicall and reall Christians, but busie-bodies, talebearers, serviceable, not to God, in the preservation of the life or good name of their neighbours, but unto polititians in blasting and defaming, and so in ruining of their brother.

If I now amidst so great variety of judgements and practises as there are, should go a particular way; Charity and Christianity would forbear to censure me of evill, and would give me leave to follow mine owne understanding of the Scriptures, even as I freely allow unto others.

Admit then my Conscience have been necessitated to break through all kinds of Superstition, as finding no peace, but distraction and instability therein, and have found out true uncorrupt Religion, and placed my joy and contentment therein; admit I find it so brief and plaine, as to be understood in a very short time, by the meanest capacity, so sweet and delectable as cannot but be embraced, so certain as cannot be doubted, so powerfull to dissolve man into love, and to set me on work to do the will of him that loved me, how exceedingly then are weak superstitious people mistaken in me?

That I beleive a God, and Scriptures, and understand my self concerning both, those small things I have occasionally written and published, are testimonies more then sufficient; as my Whisper in the eare of Mr. Thomas Edwards; My Antidote against his poyson; My prediction of his conversion and recantation: My parable or consultation of Physitians upon him: and My still and soft voice (expresly written though needlesse after the rest) for my vindication herein, all which I intreat may be read and considered: and surely if any that accuse and backbite me, had done but half so much, they would (and might justly) take it very ill not to be believed.

But when I consider the small thanks and ill rewards I had from some of Mr. Edward’s his opposers, upon my publishing those Treatises, I have cause to beleive they are fraught with some such unusuall truths, that have spoiled the markets of some of the more refined Demetrius’s and crafts-men; I must confesse I have been very apt, to blunt out such truths as I had well digested to be needfull amongst men: wherein my conscience is much delighted, not much regarding the displeasure of any, whilst I but performe my duty.

And in all that I have written my judgement concerning Civil Government is so evident, as (if men were men indeed, and were not altogether devoid of Conscience) might acquit me from such vanities as I am accused of; but for this, besides those I have named, I shall refer the Reader to my Word in Season, published in a time of no small need; and to that large Petition that was burnt by the hand of the common Hangman, wherein with thousands of wel-affected people I was engaged: and to which I stand, being no more for Anarchy and Levelling, then that Petition importeth; the burners thereof, and the then aspersers of me and my friends having been since taught a new lesson, and which might be a good warning to those that now a fresh take liberty to abuse us: but no heart swoln with pride as the politicians, but scornes advice, spurns and jeers, and laugh at all; yet for all their confidence, few of them escape the severe hand of Gods justice first and last, even in this world.

Indeed it hath been no difficult thing to know my judgement by the scope of that Petition, and truely were I as deadly an enemy unto Parliaments (as I have been and still am a most affectionate devotant to their just Authority) I could not wish them a greater mischief then to be drawne to use Petitioners unkindly, or to deny them things reasonable, upon suspition that they would be emboldened to ask things unreasonable, by which rule, no just things should ever be granted; wishing with all my heart that care may be speedily taken in this particular, the people already being too much enclined to be out of love with Parliaments, then which I know no greater evill can befall the Common-wealth.

Another new thing I am asperst withall, is, that I hold Polygamie, that is, that it is lawfull to have more wives then one; (I wonder what will be next, for these will wear out, or returne to the right owners) and this scandall would intimate that I am addicted loosely to women; but this is another envenomed arrow drawne from the same Pollitick quiver, and shot without any regard to my inclination; and shewes the authors to be empty of all goodnesse, and filled with a most wretchlesse malice; for this is such a slander as doggs me at the heels home to my house; seeking to torment me even with my wife and children and so to make my life a burthen unto me; but this also loseth its force, and availeth nothing, as the rest do also, where I am fully known; nay it produceth the contrary; even the increase of love and esteeme amongst them, as from those, whose goodnesse and certain knowledge can admit no such thoughts of vanity or vilenesse in me: one and twenty years experience with my wife, and fifteen or sixteen with my daughters, without the least staine of my person, putting the question of my conversation out of all question.

There are also that give out that I am of a bloudy disposition, its very strange it should be so and I not know it, sure I am, and I blesse God for it, that since I was a youth I never struck any one a blow through quarrell or passion; avoyding with greatest care all occasions and provocation; and although possibly nature would prevaile with me to kill rather then be killed; yet to my judgement and conscience, to kill a man is so horrid a thing, that upon deliberation I cannot resolve I should do it.

And though to free a Nation from bondage and tyranny it may be lawfull to kill and slay, yet I judge it should not be attempted but after all means used for prevention; (wherein I fear there hath been some defect) and upon extreme necessity, and then also with so dismall a sadnesse, exempt from that usuall vapouring and gallantry (accustomed in meer mercinary Souldiers) as should testifie to the world that their hearts took no pleasure therein; much lesse that they look’d for particular gaine and profit for their so doing: and I wish those who have defamed me in this, did not by their gamisht outside, demonstrate that they have found a more pleasing sweetnesse in bloud then ever I did.

Now some may wonder why those religious people that so readily serve the Polliticians, tumes in catching and carrying these aspersions from man to man, have not so much honesty or charity, as to be fully satisfied of the truth thereof, and then deale with me in a Christian way, before they blow abroad their defamations; or why the taking away of my good name, which may be the undoing of my wife and children should be thought no sin amongst them? but truely I doe not wonder at it, for where notionall or verball Religion, which at best is but superstition, is author of that little shadow of goodnesse which possesses men, its no marvell they have so little hold of themselves: for they want that innate inbred vertue which makes men good men, and that pure and undefiled Religion, which truly denominateth men good Christians; and which only giveth strength against temptations of this nature.

And as men are more or lesse superstitious, the effects will be found amongst them; nor is better to be expected from them untill they deeme themselves, no further Religious, then as they find brotherly love abound in their hearts towards all men: all the rest being but as sounding brasse and tinkling Simbals; nor will they ever be so happy as to know their friends from their foes, except they will now at length be warned against these cunning ways of Polliticians, by scandals and aspersions to divide them; and be so wise, as to resolve to beleeve nothing upon report, so as to report it againe, untill full knowledge of the truth thereof; and then also to deal as becommeth a discreet Christian, to whom anothers good name is as pretious as his own; being ever mindfull, that love covereth a multitude of sins.

But I have said enough as I judge for my owne vindication and discovery of the infernall tongues of Polliticians, that set on fire the whole course of nature, and am hopefull thereby to reclaime some weak wel-minded people from their sodain beleeving or inconsiderate dispersing of reproaches; and so to frustrate the polliticians ends in this dangerous kind of delusion.

As for those who know me and yet asperce me, or suffer others unreproved, all such I should judge to be polliticians their hirelings, or favourers; and I might as well undertake to wash a Blackmore white, as to turne their course, or restore them to a sound and honest mind.

However I shall no whit dispaire of the prosperity of the just cause I have hitherto prosecuted, because (though at present I be kept under) yet I have this to comfort me, that understanding increaseth exceedingly, and men daily abandon superstition, and all unnecessary fantastick knowledge; and become men of piercing judgements, that know the arts and crafts of deceivers, and have abillity to discover them; so that besides the goodnesse of the cause which commands my duty, I may hope to see it prosper, and to produce a lasting happinesse to this long enthraled Nation.

A good name amongst good men I love and would cherish; but my contentment is placed only in the just peace and quietnesse of my own conscience, I may be a man of reproaches, and a man of crosses, but my integrity no man can take from me; I may by my friends and nearest alliances, be blamed as too forward in publique affaires, be argued of pride, as David was by his brother; yet I thinke the family whereof I am, is so ingenious as to acquit me, and to believe my conscience provokes me to do what I have done; but admit it should not be so, my answer might be the same as his. Is there not a cause? nay may I not rather wonder the harvest being so great, that the labourers be so few; if all men should be offended with me for endeavouring the good of all men, in all just wayes (for I professe I know no other cause against me) I should choose it rather then the displeasure of God or the distaste of my owne conscience, affliction being to me a better choice then sin.

And this my judgement (as necessary for that time) I put into writing about 16 monthes since or somewhat more, but deferred the publishing, because it was once denied the Licencing, (which by the way was hard measure, considering how freely aspersers have been Licenced or countenanced against me) but chiefly I omitted to Print it, because I thought my continuall acting towards the common peace, freedome, and safety of the Nation, would yet in time clear off all my reproaches, and for that I could not possibly vindicate my selfe, but that I must necessarily reflect upon some sorts of men, whom I did hope time and their grouth in knowledg would have certified in their judgements concerning me, and the things I ever promoted; But finding now at length, that notwithstanding all times since, I walked in an uprightnesse of heart towards their publique good; without any the least wandering and deviation, (as their Petitioners of the ii of September will bear me witnesse) notwithstanding I can prove I have rendered very much good, to those that had done me very much evil, and from whom its known I have deserved better things; yet my aspersions after the last Summers troubles were over, flew abroad a fresh, (for in all that time I had very fair words) and no nay but Walwin was a Jesuite, and a Pentioner to the Pope, or some Forraigne State: but for proof not one sillable ever proved one while I was a Leveller, then on a sodaine I drove on the King’s designe, and none so countenanced as those that were officious in telling strange stories and tales of me: Insomuch, as I found it had an effect of danger towards my life; divers of the Army giving out, that it would never be well till some dispatch were made of me; that I deserved to be stoned to death; All which, though I considered it to its full value, yet did it not deterre me from pursuing my just Cause, according to my just Judgement and Conscience; but this was my portion from too many, from whom I may truly say, I had deserved better: yet in all these things it was my happinesse to have good esteem from such as I account constant to the Cause, and uncorrupted men of Army and Parliament, to whose love in this kind, for many years, I have been exceedingly obliged, and who never shunned me in any company, nothwithstanding all reproaches, but ever vindicated me, as having undoubted assurance of my integrity; and believing confidently, that I was asperst for no other cause, but for my perpetuall solicitation for the Common-wealth.

But there is no stopping the mouth of corrupt interests, against which only I have ever steered, and not in the least against persons; being still of the same mind I was when I wrote my Whisper in the ear of Mr. Edwards, Minister’, professing still, as there in pag: 3. I did, in sincerity of heart; That I am one that do truly and heartily love all mankind, it being my unfeined desire, that all men might be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth: That it is my extreme grief, that any man is afflicted, molested or punished, and cannot but most earnestly wish them all occasion were taken away—That there is no man weak, but I would strengthen; nor ignorant, but I would reform; nor erroneous, but I would rectifie; nor vicious, but I would reclaim; nor cruel, but I would moderate and reduce to clemency—I am as much grieved that any man should be so unhappy as to be cruel or unjust, as that any man should suffer by cruelty or injustice; and if I could, I would preserve from both.

And however I am mistaken, it is from this disposition in me, that I have engaged in any publique affairs, and from no other—Which my manner of proceeding, in every particular businesse wherein I have in any measure appear’d, will sufficiently evince to all that have, without partiality, observed me.

I never proposed any man for my enemy, but injustice, oppression, innovation, arbitrary power, and cruelty; where I found them, I ever opposed my self against them; but so, as to destroy the evil, but to preserve the person: And therfore all the war I have made, other then what my voluntary and necessary contributions hath maintained, which I have wisht ten thousand times more then my ability; so really am I affected with the Parliaments just cause for the common freedom of this Nation. I say, all the war I have made, hath been to get victory over the understandings of men, accounting it a more worthy and profitable labour to beget friends to the Cause I loved, rather then to molest metis persons, or confiscate mens estates: and how many reall Converts have been made through my endeavours, reproaches might tempt me to boast, were I not better pleased with the conscience of so doing.

Of this mind I was in the year, 1646, and long before; and of the same mind I am at this present; and, I trust, shall ever but be so.

And hence it is, that I have pursued the settlement of the Government of this Nation by an Agreement of the People; as firmly hoping thereby, to see the Common-wealth past all possibility of returning into a slavish condition; though in pursuite thereof, I have met with very hard and froward measure from some that pretended to be really for it: So that do what I will for the good of my native Country, I receive still nothing but evil for my labour; all I speak, or purpose, is construed to the worst; and though never so good, fares the worse for my proposing; and all by reason of those many aspersions cast upon me.

If any thing be displeasing, or judged dangerous, or thought worthy of punishment, then Walwyn’s the Author; and no matter, saies one, if Walwyn had been destroyed long ago: Saies another, Let’s get a law to have power our selves to hang all such: and this openly, and yet un-reproved; affronted in open Court; asperst in every corner; threatned wherever I passe; and within this last month of March, was twice advertised by Letters, of secret contrivances and resolutions to imprison me.

And so accordingly (sutable to such prejudgings and threatnings) upon the 28th of March last, by Warrant of the Councel of State; I that might have been fetcht by the least intimation of their desire to speak with me, was sent for by Warrant under Sergeant Bradshaw’s hand, backt with a strong party of horse and foot, commanded by Adjutant Generall Stubber (by deputation from Sir Hardresse Waller, and Colonel Whaley) who placing his souldiers in the allyes, houses, and gardens round about my house, knockt violently at my garden gate, between four and five in the morning; which being opened by my maid, the Adjutant Generall, with many souldiers, entred, and immediately disperst themselves about the garden, and in my house, to the great terror of my Family; my poor maid comming up to me, crying and shivering, with news that Souldiers were come for me, in such a sad distempered manner (for she could hardly speak) as was sufficient to have daunted one that had been used to such sudden surprisals; much more my Wife, who for two and twenty years we have lived together, never had known me under a minutes restraint by any Authority; she being also so weakly a woman, as in all that time, I cannot say she hath enjoyed a week together in good health; and certainly had been much more affrighted, but for her confidence of my innocence; which fright hath likewise made too deep an impression upon my eldest Daughter, who hath continued sick ever since, my Children and I having been very tender one of another: Nor were my neighbours lesse troubled for me, to whose love I am very much obliged.

The Adjutant Generall immediately followed my maid into my Chamber, as I was putting on my clothes; telling me, that he was sent by the Councel of State (an Authority which he did own) to bring me before them: I askt, for what cause? he answered me, he did not understand particularly, but in the notion of it, it was of a very high nature: I askt him, if he had any warrant? he answered, he had; and that being drest, I should see it.

The Souldiers I perceived very loud in the garden; and I not imagining then, there had been more disperst in my neighbours grounds and houses; and being willing to preserve my credit (a thing sooner bruised then made whole) desired him, to cause their silence, which he courteously did: Then I told him, if he had known me in any measure, he would have thought himself, without any souldiers, sufficient to bring me before them: That I could not but wonder (considering how well I was known) that I should be sent for by Souldiers, when there was not the meanest civil Officer but might command my appearance: That I thought it was a thing not agreeable to that freedom and liberty which had been pretended.

That now he saw what I was, I should take it as a favour, that he would command his Souldiers off, which he did very friendly, reserving some two very civil Gentlemen with him; so being ready, he shewed me the Warrant: the substance whereof was, for suspicion of treason, in being suspected to be the Author of a Book, entituled, The second part of Englands new Chains discovered: I desired him to take a Copy of it, which was denied, though then and afterwards by my self, the Lieut. Col. John Lilburn (who was likewise in the same Warrant) importuned very much for.

Then I went out with him into Moor-Fields, and there I saw, to my great wonder, a great party of souldiers, which he commanded to march before, and went with me, (only with another Gentleman, at a great distance) to Pauls; yet such people was were up, took so much notice of it, as it flew quickly all about the Town; which I knew would redound much to my prejudice, in my credit; which was my only care, the times being not quallified for recovery of bruises in that kind.

In Pauls Church-yard was their rendezvous; where I was no sooner come, but I espied my Friends, Mr Lilburn and Mr Prince, both labouring to convince the souldiers of the injury done unto us, and to themselves, and to posterity, and the Nation in us: in that they, as souldiers, would obey and execute commands in seizing any Freeman of England, not Members of the Army, before they evidently saw the civil Magistrates and Officers in the Common-wealth, were resisted by force, and not able to bring men to legall trials, with very much to that purpose; and in my judgment, prevailed very much amongst them; many looking, as if they repented and grieved to see such dealings.

Then they removed to a house for refreshment, where, after a little discourse, we perswaded them to release two of Mr Davenish his sons, whom a Captain had taken into custody without Warrant: but that kind of errour being laid fully open, they were enlarged with much civility, which I was glad to see, as perceiving no inclination in the present Officers or Souldiers, to defend any exorbitant proceedings, when this understood them to be such.

So the Adjutant Generall sent off the whole party, and with some very few, took us, by water, to his Quarters at Whitehall (where after a while, came in Mr Overton) the Adjutant intending about nine of the clock, to go with us to Darby house.

But the Councel not sitting till five at night, we were kept in his Quarters all that time; where some, but not many of our friends that came to visit us, were permitted.

About five a clock, the Councel sate; so he took us thither, where we continued about two houres, before any of us were called in; and then Mr Lilburn was called, and was there about a quarter of an hour, and then came out to us, and his Friends, declaring at large all that had past between him and them.

Then after a little while, I was called in, and directed up to Sergeant Bradshaw the President; who told me, that the Parliament had taken notice of a very dangerous Book, full of sedition and treason; and that the Councel was informed, that I had a hand in the making or compiling thereof; that the Parliament had referred the enquiry and search after the Authors and Publishers, to that Councel; and that I should hear the Order of Parliament read, for my better satisfaction: so the Order was read, containing the substance of what the President had delivered; and then he said, by this you understand the cause wherfore you are brought hither; and then was silent, expecting, as I thought, what I would say.

But the matter which had been spoken, being only a relation, I kept silence, expecting what further was intended; which being perceived, the President said. You are free to speak, if you have any thing to say to it: to which I said only this, I do not know why I am suspected: Is that all, said he: To which I answered. Yes; and then he said. You may withdraw: So I went forth.

And then Mr Overton, and after him, Mr Prince, were called in; and after all four had been out a while, Mr Lilburn was called in again, and put forth another way; and then I was called in again:

And the President said to this effect, that the Parliament had reposed a great trust in them for finding out the Authors of that Book; and that the Councel were carefull to give a good accompt of their trust; in order whereunto, I had been called in, and what I had said, they had considered; but they had now ordered him to ask me a question, which was this: Whether or no I had any hand in making or compiling of this Book? holding the Book in his hand: To which, after a little while, I answered to this effect. That I could not but very much wonder to be asked such a question; howsoever, that it was very much against my judgment and conscience, to answer to questions of that nature which concem’d my self; that if I should answer to it, I should not only betray my own liberty, but the liberties of all Englishmen, which I could not do with a good conscience: And that I could not but exceedingly grieve at the dealing I had found that day; that being one who had been alwaies so faithfull to the Parliament, and so well known to most of the Gentlemen there present, that neverthelesse I should be sent for with a party of horse and foot, to the affrighting of my family, and ruine of my credit; and that I could not be satisfied, but that it was very hard measure to be used thus upon suspicion only; professing, that if they did hold me under restraint from following my businesse and occasions, it might be my undoing, which I intreated might be considered.

Then the President said, I was to answer the question; and that they did not ask it, as in way of triall, so as to proceed in judgment thereupon, but to report it to the House: To which I said, that I had answered it so as I could with a good conscience, and could make no other answer; so I was put forth a back way, as Mr Lilburn had been, and where he was.

After this, they cal’d in Mr Overton, and after him Mr Prince, using the very same expressions, and question to all alike; and so we were all four together; and after a long expectance, we found we were committed Prisoners to the Tower of London, for suspicion of high treason; where now we are, to the great rejoycing of all that hate us, whose longing desires are so far satisfied: And to make good that face of danger, which by sending so many horse and foot was put upon it, a strong Guard hath ever since been continued at Darby house, when the Councel sits.

And now again, fresh aspersions and reproaches are let loose against us, and by all means I, that never was beyond the Seas, nor ever saw the Sea, must be a Jesuite, and am reported to be now discovered to be born in Spain: That because I am an enemy to superstition, therfore they give out, I intend to destroy all Religion; and (which I never heard till now) that I desire to have all the Bibles in England burnt; that I value Heathen Authors above the Scriptures: whereas all that know me, can testifie how, though I esteem many other good Books very well, yet, I ever prefer’d the Scriptures; and I have alwaies maintained, that Reason and Philosophy could never have discovered peace and reconciliation by Christ alone, nor do teach men to love their enemies; doctrines which I prize more then the whole world: It seems I am used so ill, that except by aspersions I be made the vilest man in the world, it will be thought, I cannot deserve it: And though I were, yet (living under a civil Government) as I hope, I ever shall do, and not under a Military, I cannot discern how such dealing could be justified: For, admit any one should have a mind to accuse me of treason, the party accusing ought to go to some Justice of the Peace, dwelling in the County or hundred, and to inform the fact; which if the Justice find to be against the expresse law, and a crime of treason; and that the accuser make oath of his knowledge of the fact; then the Justice may lawfully give out a Warrant, to be served by some Constable, or the like civil Officer, to bring the party accused before him, or some other Justice: wherein the party accused is at liberty to go to what Justice of Peace he pleaseth; and as the matter appeareth when the parties are face to face before a Justice, with a competent number of friends about him to speak in his behalf, as they see cause, his house being to be kept open for that time; then the Justice is to proceed as Laws directeth, as he will answer the contrary at his perill; being responsible to the party, and to the Law, in case of any extra-judiciall proceeding; and the Warrant of attachment and commitment ought to expresse the cause of commitment in legall and expresse tearms, as to the very fact and crime; and to refer to the next Gaol delivery, and not at pleasure.

Whereas I was fetcht out of my bed by souldiers, in an hostile manner, by a Warrant, expressing no fact that was a crime by any law made formerly, but by a Vote of the House, past the very day the Warrant was dated: Nor was I carried to a Justice of the Peace, much lesse to such a one as I would have made choyce of, where my Accuser (if any) was to appear openly face to face, to make oath of fact against me, if any were, but before a Councel of State, where I saw no Accuser face to face, nor oath taken, nor my friends allowed to be present, nor dores open; but upon a bare affirmation that the Councel was informed that I had a hand in compiling a Book, the title nor matter whereof was not mentioned in any law extant: whereas treason by any law, is neither in words nor intents, but in deeds and actions, expresly written, totidem verbis, in the law. And after, being required to answer to a question against my self, in a matter (avouched by Vote of Parliament to be no lesse then Treason) was committed Prisoner, not to a common County prison, (nor for the time) referred to the next Gaol delivery, by the ordinary Courts of Justice, my birthright, but to the Tower of London, during pleasure, preferred to be tryed by the upper Bench, whereas treason is triable only in the County where the fact is pretended to be committed.

All which I have laboured with all the understanding I have, or can procure, to make appear to be just and reasonable, but cannot as yet find any satisfaction therin; being clear in my judgment, that a Parliament may not make the people lesse free then they found them, but ought at least to make good their liberties contained in Magna Charta, the Petition of Right, and other the good Laws of the Land, which are the best evidences of our Freedoms. Besides, I consider the consequence of our Sufferings; for in like manner, any man or woman in England is liable to be fetcht from the farthest parts of the Land, by parties of horse and foot, in an hostile manner, to the affrighting and ruining of their Families; and for a thing, or act, never known before by any Law to be a crime, but voted to be so, only the very day perhaps of signing the Warrent: And therfore that such power can be in this, or any other Parliament; or that such a kind of proceeding can be consistent with freedom, I wish any would give me a reason that I might understand it; for certainly the meer voting of it, will hardly give satisfaction: And now I well perceive, they had good ground for it, who asserted this belief into the first Agreement of the people; namely,

That as the laws ought to be equall, so they must be good, and not evidently destructive to our liberties; and I wish that might be well considered in making of any Law: And likewise. That no Law might be concluded, before it be published for a competent time; that those who are so minded, might offer their reasons either for or against the same, as they see cause: But I forget my self, not considering that my proposing of this, will be a means to beget a dislike thereof, and may possibly work me some new aspersions.

I am said likewise to have worse opinions then this; whereof one is, That I hope to see this Nation governed by reason, and not by the sword.

Nay worse yet; That notwithstanding all our present distractions, there is a possibility upon a clear and free debate of things, to discover so equall, just and rationall Propositions, as should produce so contentfull satisfaction, and absolute peace, prosperity and rest to this Nation; as that there should be no fear of man, nor need of an Army; or at worst, but a very small one.

But if I should declare my mind in this more fully, it would, as other good motions and propositions of mine have done, beget me the opinion of a very dangerous man, and some new aspersion; there being some, whose interest must not suffer it to be believed.

And yet it may be true enough; for I could instance a Country, not so surrounded with Seas as ours is, nor so defensible from Enemies, but that is surrounded with potent Princes and States, and was as much distracted with divisions as ours at present is, yet by wisdom so order themselves, as that they keep up no Army, nor dread no war, but have set the native Militia in such a posture, as that all the Countries round about them dare not affront them with the least injury; or if they do, satisfaction being not made, upon demand, in 48 hours, a wel disciplin’d Army appears in Field to do themselves justice; it being a maxim and principle among them, to do no injury, nor to suffer any the least from Forraigners; as also, not to let passe, without severe exemplar punishment, the least corruption in publique Officers and Magistrates; without a due regard unto both which, it is impossible for any people to be long in safety; and to hold authority, or command beyond the time limited by law, or Commission amongst them, is a capitall offence, and never fails of punishment: So that this opinion of mine is not the lesse true because I hold it, but is of the number of those many usefull ones, that this present age is not so happy as to believe: Nor are we like to be happier, till we are wiser.

But as subject as some would make me to vain opinions, there is one that hath been creeping upon us about eight months, which yet gets no hold upon me; and that is. That the present power of the Sword may reign; from this ground, that the power which is uppermost is the power of God; and the power of the Sword being now (as some reason) above the civil Authority, it is therfore the power of God: But the greatest wonder in this, is, that some Anabaptists who are descended from a people so far from this opinion, that they abhorred the use of the sword, though in their own defence (to such extremities are people subject to, that think themselves to have all knowledge and religion in them, when in truth it is but imagination and Scripture). As for me, I am of neither of these opinions, but should be glad once-again to see the sword in its right place, in all senses; and the civil Authority to mind as well the essence as the punctilio’s and formalities, but neglecting neither; and that the People would be so far carefull of their own good, as to observe with a watchfull eie, the right ordering and disposing both of the civill and military power; we having no warrant to argue that to be of God, but what is justly derived, attained and used to honest means; the ends, I mean, of all Government, viz. the safety, peace, freedom and prosperity of the people governed; whereas otherwise. Tyrants, Theeves, out-laws, Pirats and Murtherers, by the same kind of arguing, may prove themselves to be of God; which in reall effect, perverts the whole supreme intent of Government, being constituted every where for the punishment and suppression of all evil and irregular men.

But why spend I my time thus, in clearing mens understandings, that so they might be able to preserve themselves from bondage and misery, being so ill requited for my labour? Nay that might have thanks, and other good things besides, if I would forbear? To which truly I have nothing to say, but that my conscience provokes and invites me to do what I do, and have done in all my motions for the Common-wealth; nor have I, I blesse God, any other reason; and which to me is irresistible; unlesse I should stifle the power of my conscience, which is the voyce of God in me, alwaies accusing or excusing me: So that whil’st I have opportunity, I shall endeavour to do good unto all men.

But I have other businesse now upon me, then ever I had, being now in prison, which (I praise God for it) I never was in my life before; where though I think I have as much comfort as another, yet it is not a place I like, and therfore am carefull how to become free as soon as I can, my restraint being very prejudiciall to me; especially considering how the corruptions of some false hearted people doth now break out against me, in renewed clamours and aspersions; which whil’st I labour to acquit my self of it, it proves to me like the laving of the ever-flowing Fountain of Slander; the invective brain of some resolved Politicians; for I see I must be asperst, till honesty gets the victory of policy, and true Religion over superstition; the one being the Inventer, and the other the Disperser, as the fore-going discourse will, I judge, sufficiently demonstrate: And therfore henceforth let men say and report what evil they will of me, I shall not after this regard it, nor trouble my self any more in this way of vindication, hoping to find some other way.

Only one aspersion remains, which I thought good to quit here; which is, that I am a Pentioner to some forraign State; which indeed is most false, and is invented for the end, as all the rest are, to make me odious: And truly if men were not grown past all shame, or care of what they said or heard of me, it would be impossible to get belief, for which way doth it appear? I think, nay am sure, that in my house no man (bred in that plenty I was) ever contented himself with lesse, which is easily known—and for the apparell of my self, my Wife and Children, if it exceed in any thing, it is in the plainesse, wherewith we are very well satisfied; and so in houshold stuff, and all other expenses; and for my charge upon publique, voluntary occasions, I rather merit a charitable construction from those I have accompanied with, then any thanks or praise for any extraordinary disbursments: and I am sure I go on foot many times from my house to Westminster, when as I see many inferiour to me in birth and breeding, only the favorites of the times, on their stately horses, and in their coaches; and when I have been amongst my Friends in the Army, as many times I have had occasion, I must ever acknowledge that I have received amongst them ten kindnesses for one; and yet (not to wrong my self) I think, nay am sure, there is not a man in the world that is of a more free or thankfull heart; and have nothing else to bear me up against what good and worthy men (whom I have seen in great necessities) might conjecture of me, when as I have administred nothing to relieve them—when was the time, and where the place, I gave dinners or suppers, or other gifts? For shame, thou black-mouth’d slander, hide thy head, till the light of these knowing times be out; all that thou canst do, is not sufficient to blast me amongst those with whom I converse, or who have experience of my constancy in affection & endeavour to the generall good of all men, but to thy greater torment & vexation, know this, they that entirely love me for the same, are exceedingly increased, and many whom thou hadst deceived, return daily, manifesting their greater love to me and the publique, as willing to recompence the losse of that time thou deceivedst them.

And this imprisonment, which thou hast procured me, for my greater and irrecoverable reproach amongst good men; thy poyson’d heart would burst to see how it hath wrought the contrary, so far, as I never had so clear a manifestation of love and approbation in my life, from sincere single-hearted people, as now to my exceeding joy I find.

And possibly for time to come, these notorious falshoods with which the slanderous tongue hath pursued me, may have the same effect upon these weak people thou makest thy instruments, which they have had upon me; and that is. That I am the most backward to receive a report concerning any mans reputation, to his prejudice, of any man in the world, and account it a basenesse to pry into mens actions, or to listen to mens discourses, or to report what I judge they would not have known, as not beseeming a man of good and honest breeding, or that understands what belongs to civil society.

But leaving these things, which I wish I had had no occasion to insist upon, it will concern me to consider the condition I am in; for though I know nothing of crime or guilt in my self, worthy my care, yet considering how, and in what an hostile manner I was sent for out of my bed and house, from my dear Wife and Children; the sense of that force and authors of my present imprisonment, shewing so little a sencibility or fellow-feeling of the evils that might follow upon me and them, by their so doing; it will not be a misse for me to view it in the worst cullers it can bear.

As for the booke called The second part of Englands new chaines discovered: for which Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, Mr Prince, Mr Overton and my self are all questioned: it concernes me nothing at all, farther then as the matter therein contained agreeth or disagreeth with my judgement; and my judgement will work on any thing I read in spight of my heart; I cannot judge what I please, but it will judge according to its owne perceverance.

And to speake my conscience, having read the same before the Declaration of Parliament was abroad; I must professe I did not discerne it to deserve a censure of those evils which that Declaration doth import, but rather conceived the maine scope and drift thereof tended to the avoiding of all those evils: and when I had seen and read the Declaration, I wished with all my heart, the Parliament had been pleased for satisfaction of all those their faithfull friends who were concerned therein, and of the whole Nation in generall: To have expresly applied each part of the book to each censure upon it, as to have shewed in what part it was false, scandalous, and reproachfull; in what seditious, and destructive to the present Government, especially since both Parliament and Army, and all wel affected people have approved of the way of settlement of our Government, by an Agreement of the People.

Also that they had pleased to have shewed what part, sentence or matter therein, tended to division and mutiny in the Army, and the raising of a new War in the Common-wealth: or wherein to hinder the relief of Ireland, and continuing of Free-quarter; for certainly it would conduce very much to a contentfull satisfaction, to deal gently with such as have been friends in all extremities; and in such cases as these to condescend to a fair correspondency, as being willing to give reasons in all things, to any part of the people; there being not the least or most inconsiderable part of men that deserve so much respect, as to have reason given them by those they trust, and not possitively to conclude any upon meere votes and resolutions: and in my poor opinion had this course been taken all along from the beginning of the Parliament to this day, many of the greatest evils that have befalne, had been avoided; the Land ere this time had been in a happy and prosperous condition.

There being nothing that maintaines love, unity and friendship in families; Societies, Citties, Countries, Authorities Nations; so much as a condescention to the giving, and hearing, and debating of reason.

And without this, what advantage is it for the people to be, and to be voted the Supreme power? it being impossible for all the people to meet together, to speak with, or debate things with their Representative; and then if no part be considerable but only the whole, or if any men shall be reckoned slightly of in respect of opinions, estates, poverty, cloathes; and then one sort shall either be heard before another: or none shall have reasons given them except they present things pleasing: the Supreme power, the People, is a pittifull mear helplesse thing; as under School-masters being in danger to be whipt and beaten in case they meddle in things without leave and licence from their Masters: and since our Government now inclines to a Commonwealth, ’twere good all imperiousnesse were laid aside, and all friendlinesse hereafter used towards the meanest of the people especially (if Government make any dissention at all.)

And truly I wish there had been no such imperious courses taken in apprehending of me, nor that I had been carried before the Councell of State; nor that the Declaration had been so suddenly and with such solemnity proclaimed upon our commitment, there being no harsh expression therein; but what through the accustomed transportation of mens spirits towards these that suffer, but is applied to us, so that we are lookt upon as guilty already of no lesse then Mutiny, Sedition, and Treason; of raising a new War, or hindering the relief of Ireland, and continuance of Free-quarter; insomuch as though now we shall be allowed a legall triall in the ordinary Courts of Justice: as certainly the times will afford us that, or farewell all our rights and liberty, so often protested and declared to be kept inviolable; and within these two years so largely promised to be restored and preserved: yet what Judge will not be terrified and preposest by such a charge laid upon us by so high an Authority, and attached by Soldiers, and sent Prisoners to the Tower: nay what Judge will not be prejudiced against us?

If they should be persons relating to the Army, we are represented as Mutineers: if to the present actings in Government, to such we are represented as seditious and destructive: if such as are sensible of the losse of Trade, who can be more distrustfull to them then those that are said to raise a new Warre: if any of them should be of those who are engaged in the affairs of Ireland, to these we are represented as hinderers of the relief of Ireland: and what punishment shall seeme too great for us, from such as have been tired and wasted with Freequarter? who are pointed out to be the continuers thereof: if any Jurymen should be of that sort of men who stile themselves of the seaven Churches of God, what equity are we like to finde from them who have already engaged against us, by their Pharisaicall Petition, for though they name us not, yet all their discourses point us out as the princiapall persons therein complained of; an ill requitall for our faithfull adherence unto them in the worst of times, and by whose endeavours under God they attained to that freedome they now enjoy; and can Churches prove unthankfull? nay watch a time when men are in prison to be so unthankfull as to oppose their enlargement? what to wound a man halfe dead by wounds? a Priest or Levite would have been ashamed of such unworthinesse: what, Christians that should be full of love, even to their enemies, to forget all humanity, and to be so dispightfull to frinds? alas, alas, for Churches that have such Pastors for their leaders; nay for Churches of God to owne such kind of un-Christian dealing: Churches of God, so their Petition denominates them; if the tree should be judged by his fruit, I know what I could say, but I am very loath to grive the spirits of any welmeaning people: and know there are whole societies of those that call themselves Churches, that abhor to be thought guilty of such unworthinesse; Mr Lamb a pastor at the Spittle, offering upon a free debate, to prove the presenters of the Petition guilty of injustice, arrogance, flattery, and cruelty: ye many members of these seven Churches, that have protested against it; and many more that condemn them for this their doing, to whom I wish so much happinesse as they will seriously consider how apt in things of this civil nature, these their Pastors have been to be mistaken, as they were when they misled them not very long since to Petition for a Personall Treaty, which I would never thus have mentioned but that they persist for byends, offices or the like (it may be) to obstruct all publick-good proceedings, and to maligne those, who without respect of persons or opinions, endeavour a common good to all men. And truly to be thus fore-laied; and as it were prejudg’d by Votes, and Declarations, and Proclamations of Parliament, under such hideous notions of sedition and Treason; apprehended in so formidable a way, and imprisoned in an extraordinary place, no Bayle being to be allowed: and after all these to be renounced and disclaimed by the open mouthes of the Pastors, and some members of seven Churches assuming the title of the Churches of God; are actions that may in one respect or other, worke a prejudicate opinion of us, in any jury that at this day may or can be found.

So as I cannot but exceedingly prefer the ordinary way of proceedings (as of right is due to every English-man) in Criminall cases by Justices of the Peace, which brings a man to a Triall in an ordinary way, without those affrightments and prejudgings which serve only to distract the understanding, and bias Justice, and to the hazarding of mens lives in an unreasonable manner, which is a consideration not unworthy the laying to heart of every particular person in this Nation; for what is done to us now, may be done to every person at any time at pleasure.

Neverthelesse, neither I nor my partners in suffering are any whit doubtfull of a full and clear Vindication, upon a legall triall; for in my observation of trials I have generally found. Juries and Jury-men to be full of conscience, care, and circumspection, and tendernesse in cases of life and death; and I have read very remarkable passages in our Histories; amongst which the Case and Triall of Throckmorton, in Queen Maries time is most remarkeable: the consciences of the Jury being proof against the opinion of the Judges, the rhetorick of the Councell who were great and Learned, nay against the threats of the Court, which then was absolute in power and tyranny, and quit the Gentleman, like true-hearted, wel-resolved English-men, that valued their consciences above their lives; and I cannot think but these times, will afford as much good conscience, as that time of grosse ignorance and superstition did: and the liberty of exception against so many persons returned for Jury-men, is so mighty a guard against partaking, that I cannot doubt the issue.

Besides since In Col. Martin’s Case, a worthy Member of Parliament, it is clear that Parliaments have been mistaken in such censures, as appears by his restauration, and razing all matters concerning his Sentence out of the House Book: And since the Parliament revoked their Declaration against the Souldiers Petitioning in the beginning of the year, 1647 as having been mistaken therein: since they have so often imprisoned Mr Lilburn my fellow Prisoner, and some others, and have after found themselves mistaken; yea since some of these Gentlemen who now approve of the way of an Agreement of the People, as the only way to give rest to the Nation; about a year since voted it destructive to Parliaments, and to the very being of all Governments, imprisoning divers for appearing in behalf thereof.

I am somewhat hopefull, that a Jury will not much be swaied by such their sudden proceedings towards us; as not perfectly knowing, but that they may also have been mistaken concerning us now; for it was never yet known, that Mr Lilburn, or I, or any of us, ever yet had a hand in any base, unworthy, dangerous businesse: though sometimes upon hasty apprehensions and jealousies of weak people, we have been so rendred: But (be this businesse what it wil) I do not know why I should be suspected in the least, and can never sufficiently wonder at this their dealing towards me.

And as for any great hurt the Pastors of the seven Churches are like to do, by their petitioning against us, though their intentions were very bad and vile, yet considering how few of their honest members approve thereof, and that the high esteem of the Church-way is a most worn out, being not made (as the Churches we reade of in Scriptures) of everlasting, but fading matter; as the Book, entituled. The vanity of the present Churches, doth fully demonstrate: a little consideration of these things by any Jury, will easily prevent the worst they intended: Wherein also, possibly, they may deserve some excuse, as being (probably) mis-led thereto by the same politique councels, as drew them in, to petition for a Personall Treaty: Such as these being fit instruments for Politicians; as in the former part of this Discourse is evinced.

But, be it as it may, if I be still thought so unworthy as to deserve a prosecution, a fair legall triall by twelve sworn men of the neighbourhood, in the ordinary Courts of Justice, is all I desire (as being even more willing to put myself upon my Country, then on the Court, or any the like Prerogative way) and have exceeding cause to rejoyce in the sincere affection of a multitude of Friends, who out of an assured confidence of our integrity, and sensible of the hard measure we have found, and of the prejudice our present imprisonment might bring upon us, did immediately bestir themselves, and presented a Petition for our present enlargement with a speedy legall triall: whose care and tender respects towards us, we shall ever thankfully acknowledge: But the seven Churches were got before them, and had so much respect, that our Friends found none at all; but what remedy but patience? all things have their season, and what one day denies, another gives.

And so I could willingly conclude, but that I shall stay a little to take in some more aspersions, which are brought in apace still, and I would willingly dispatch them.

I and my fellow prisoners are now abused, and that upon the Exchange, by the mouths of very godly people; so it must run. That say, all our bustlings are, because we are not put into some Offices of profit and Authority, and if we were once in power, we would be very Tyrants: But pray. Sirs, you that are at this loosenesse of conscience, why produce you not the Petitions we presented to your Patrons? Why tell you not the time and place, where we solicited for any advantage to our selves? But allow we had done so, with what faces can you reprove us? For shame pluck out the beams out of your own eies, you that have turned all things upside down for no other end, and run continually to and fro to furnish your selves and Friends, thrusting whole families out to seek their bread, to make room for you. And how appears it, that if we were in any power and Authority we would be very Tyrants? We never sought for any, and that’s some good sign; those who do, seldom using it to the good of the publique: And for ought is seen, we might have had a large share if we would have sought it; but account it a sure rule, that into Muse as they use: So generally true is it, that the Asperser is really guilty of what he forgeth against another: And that this may appear, let all impartiall people but look about them, and consider what and who they are, that seek most after offices and power, and how they use them when they have them; and then say, whether those that asperse us, or we who are aspersed, do most deserve this imputation.

Nay, we find by experience, that we are reproacht scarce by any, but such as are engaged in one kind of corrupt interest or other; either he hath two or three offices or trusts upon him, by which he is enriched and made powerfull; or he hath an office in the excise, or customs; or is of some monopolizing company; or interested in the corruption of the laws; or is an encloser of fens, or other commons; or hath charge of publique monies in his hands, for which he would not willingly be accomptable; or hath kept some trust, authority or command in hand longer then commission and time intended; or being in power, hath done something that cannot well be answered; or that hath money upon usury in the excise; or that makes title of tythes, and the like burthenous grievances; or else such as have changed their principles with their condition; and of pleaders for liberty of Conscience, whil’st they were under restraint, and now become persecutors, so soon as they are freed from disturbance; or some that have been projectors, still fearing an after-reckoning; or that have received gifts, or purchased the publique lands at undervalues.

And we heartily wish, that all ingenuous people would but enquire into the interest of every one they hear asperse us; the which if they clearly do, it’s ten to one the greatest number of them by far, will prove to belong to some of those corrupt interests forenamed; and we desire all men to mark this in all places: And the reason is evident, namely, because they are jealous (our hands being known to be clear from all those things) that by our, and our Friends means, in behalf of the common good, first or last, they shall be accomptable; and if those who hear any of these exclaiming against us would but tread, their corrupt interests a little upon the toe where the shoe pinches, they might soon have reason of them, and they will be glad to be silent: and this is a medicine for a foul mouth, I have often used very profitably.

And now comes one that tels me, it’s reported by a very godly man, that I am a man of a most dissolute life, it being common with me to play at Cards on the Lord’s day; there is indeed no end of lying and backbiting; nor shame in impudence, or such palpable impostors could never be beleived; and I am perswaded the Inventers would give a good deal of money I were indeed addicted to spend my time in gaming, drinking or loosnesse; from which I praise God, he hath alwaies preserved me, and hath so inclined my mind and disposition, as that it takes pleasure in nothing but what is truly good and virtuous; the most of my recreation being a good Book, or an honest and discoursing Friend: Other sports and pastimes that are lawfull and moderate, though I allow them well to yet I have used them as seldom my self as any man, I think, hath done: But I see, slander will have its course; and that a good conscience, and a corrupt interest can no more consist in one and the same person, then Christ and Belial.

And for a conclusion to all these scandals, it is imposed upon us, that we are an unquiet, unstaied people, that are not resolved what will satisfie us; that we know not where to end, or what to fix a bottom upon—and truly this hath been alwaies the very language of those, who would keep all power in their hands, and would never condescend to such an issue as could satisfie; such as would content themselves with the least measure of what might justly be called true freedom: But what sort of men ever offered at, or discovered so rationall a way for men to come to so sure a foundation for peace and freedom, as we have done and long insisted on, namely, by an Agreement of the People, and unto which we all stand: As for the way, and as to the matter, we have been long since satisfied in our selves, but our willingnesse to obtain the patronage of some thereto, instead of furtherance, procur’d its obstruction: Because we cannot submit to things unreasonable, and unsafe in an Agreement, shall any brand us, that we are restlesse, and have no bottom? Certainly it had been time enough for such an aspersion, if there had been a joynt and free consent to what was produc’t and insisted on by others.

For till a bargain be made, both parties are free, and may raise the price, as occasion invites; so hath it been in our case: At first, the little short Agreement was by us thought sufficient; and had that been establisht, we had rested there: but that being baffled, as the burnt Petition had procured that Agreement, so the baffling of that usher’d in, and occasioned the fulnesse, the largenesse of that Agreement which Mr Lilburn publisht: and if that had been assented to, and established, we had rested then; and untill after contract, all complaints are unjust; and now if the baffling of this last, thorow further observation and teachings of necessity; the next in motion should exceed both the former in clearnesse of freedom, and removall of all grievances: would it not rather be a good improvement of this time of suspension, then deserve the aspersion of unsetlednesse: We wish those that upbraid us of unsetlednesse, would settle according to promise; and if after, we content not our selves, and stand to what is setled, then, and not before, let us be thus asperst: God knows, how exceedingly we long to see this Nation out of danger, misery, and poverty it is like to run into through losse of trade, and by reason of the enmity continued amongst us, for want of such a settlement as we desire; and which are defects, if by some mens policies it had not been prevented, had been long since setled, as we verily believe, to the contentfull satisfaction of all sorts of people, and to the restoring of that peace, amity, love and friendship, which hath been too long absent from us; and untill which be restored, this Nation will never flourish with that plenty of trade and commerce, which alone can produce the happinesse and prosperity of this impoverished and wasted Nation.

Lastly (yet I am out of hope it will be the last, for I see no end of this ever-flowing fountain) I am accused to have said, I never would petition the Parliament, if I thought they would grant what I petitioned for; which, I professe, is most false and absurd; for I never had any hand in any Petition, but I desired with all my heart it might be granted; and am perswaded, if those I and my Friends have presented, had been granted, it had been much better with the Common-wealth then now it is; for we have been ever watchfull for the good of England, though now we are requited with a prison and aspersions for our labour: and if the present time should be so froward as to reject the light we bring, yet our comfort is, that our principles are of a growing nature, as having the power of truth in them: so that we cannot doubt, but England will be the better for our motions and endeavours to all generations.

I little thought when I began this work, that it would have drawn me out to such a length, much beyond my disposition; but if I can avoid it, I shall make amends, and never trouble the World any more in this kind: Nor had I done thus much, but that through my easily pierced sides, they wounded the cause, I shall promote whil’st I have breath; they wound the reputation of the Family whereof I am; and may too much wound with grief my dear and ancient Mother, whom I have the greatest cause to love; my Wife and Children also are deeply wounded in my reproaches, whom I value ten-fold above my life; and upon whom, whensoever I shall leave the world, I would leave no blemish: Nor should I, could my heart be truly understood; for how exceedingly short soever I may come of doing my duty in all cases, yet are my desires, inclinations, and intentions, as reall to the publique, as free from basenesse in my particular walkings and occasions; as the corrupt Fountain of Slander is full of malice, treachery and impudence.

Nor could I, as the case is now with me (this restraint being very much to my prejudice) bear up my spirit with that contentednesse, I bless God, I do; were it not for the integrity of my Conscience towards all men: And whereas long since I had concluded it for a most excellent truth, my experience now tels me, that affliction is ten thousand times better then sin; and that the innocent have more chearfulnesse in a Dungeon, then corrupt and wicked men have, though they are cloathed in Purple, and fare deliciously every day.

This Discourse being thus far furnished immediately after I came into prison, I did forbear to print it, because of its largenesse, far exceeding my inclination; and was much better satisfied to fall in with my partners in sufferings, in publishing our joynt manifestation of the 4th of April, 1649 wherein we conceived, we had given full satisfaction to all men, and stopt the mouth of slander it self; and after that, according to our promise therein, having upon the first of May, 1649. published an Agreement of the People, to take off that scandall then upon us, that we would rest or bottom no where: As my three partners did, so did I judge my writing work at end, as not knowing or conceiving that any thing remained in objection against me, that was not either expresly or impliedly cleared and resolved.

And thereupon began to take some more content, that I had not published this Discourse: When lo, on a sudden, just as I was to be made a close Prisoner, there belches out from the corrupt Fountain of Slander, such a foggy mist of lies, invectives and slanders, as would have choakt any but the spawn of envy and malice to have uttered them: But that venome which destroyes men, I see, is the life-bloud of such ingratefull serpents, as now for former kindnesses, watch this time of my affliction, to choak me with their pestilentiall breath.

But, I blesse God, I am proof against it, I have a certain antidote they are not acquainted withall, that published Walwyn’s Wyles; it’s called, a good Conscience; which tels me, if that Book had been named by its true Father, and Father of lies, it would have been entituled (for he sometimes speaks truth) Lies of Walwyn: But it finds nothing in me, whereof to condemn my self; and why then I should take so much pains as to answer them, I cannot yet resolve: especially considering my causlesse close imprisonment, hath somewhat weakned me: and possibly, being so fully known as I am, and being now thus restrained, some may wish me so well, as to write in my vindication; if not, possibly I may do it my self.

In the mean time, the ingenuous Reader of this will be indifferently well prepared to a right understanding, whence all this filthy matter proceedeth; it being evident by what hath been written, that the Politicians of this world are Satan’s chief Agents, by whom all discords and dissentions amongst men are begot and nourished: and that the Politicians chief Agent is his tongue, wherewith in an evil sense, and to an evil end, he speaks to every man in his own language, applies himself to every man’s corrupt humour and interest, by it he becomes all things to all men, that by all means he might deceive some.

And whom by flattery and delusion he gains not, by slander he labours to destroy; his brain is the forge of mischief, the Fountain of Slander, and his tongue set on fire of hel (as Saint James speaks)

Yet his words are cool as the dew, smooth as oyl, and sweet as the purest honey, weeps and kils, smiles and stobs, praieth, fasteth, and sometimes preacheth to betray, shrouds himself under the finest cloak of Religion, takes on him the most zealous form of godlinesse, and in this shape securely casts his nets to catch plain-meaning people.

Such as himself are his assodates; for without confederacy, much cannot be effected; and superstitious people, and their Idolaters, upon whose ignorant zeal they work, and by whom (as by men religious, not prophane) they disperse and send abroad their reproaches and slanders without suspicion.

Yet as godly as they appear, and as close as they keep, if you but once take the boldnesse to suspect them, they are discovered; for as their Father is said not to be able to hide his cloven foot, so neither can these hide their double dealing: do but never so little watch them, and you shall find they are made up of Contradictions:

Very Religious in shew, but very covetous in deed, given to usury and oppressive gain, can possesse the worlds goods in abundance, yet suffer their Brethren to lack necessaries, yea, to lie and starve in prisons through penury and hunger: they can be clothed, as in purple, and fare deliciously every day, but poor Joseph’s and Lazarus’s tears and cries are despised by them: Seemingly humble, but upon advantage, none more violent, imperious, inhumane or bloud-thirsty then they: obstructers of justice, and all good things, neither doing it themselves, nor permitting others.

In a word, observe them well, and you shall see Christ and Belial, God and Mammon in one and the same person; Christ in shew, the other in reality:—Men they are, that have no ties or bonds upon them, letting themselves loose to lying, dissimulation, slandering, backbiting, and all kinds of circumvention; God, Conscience, Religion, Reason, Virtue, are but meer tearms and notions in them, serving them to no other purpose, but to deceive the more effectually: And to speak them all at once, they are the most ingratefull men in the world.

Their principall work is to make proselytes, to corrupt the best parted, and most able Wits to take part with them; shewing them all the glories of the world, if they will fall down and worship them; and if they can but get them to embrace any corrupt way of living, or but plant them in any corrupt interest, they are theirs for ever, and must not stop at any wickednesse, baits which have taken too many precious spirits in these warping times.

And if this Discourse of mine serve but somewhat to warn all wellmeaning people, so as to beware of this kind of men, or rather Monsters; I shall have the utmost benefit I expect therein; praying God to blesse all my weak indeavours and sufferings to the information of men, and good of the Nation.

The Printer to the Reader

Mend the Printer’s faults, as thou doest them espy, For the Author lies in Gaol, but knows not why.

FINIS

 

 


 

6.16. John Lilburne, The Legall Fundamentall Liberties of the People of England Revived, Asserted, and Vindicated (London, n.p., 8 June 1649).

Bibliographical Information

Full title

John Lilburne, The Legall Fundamentall Liberties of the People of England Revived, Asserted, and Vindicated. Or, An Epistle written the eighth day of June 1649, by lieut. Colonel John Lilburn (Arbitrary and Aristocratical prisoner in the Tower of London) to Mr. William Lenthall Speaker to the remainder of those few knights, Citizens, and burgesses that Col. Thomas Pride at his late purge thought convenient to leave sitting at Westminster (as most fit for his and his Masters designes, to serve their ambitious and tyrannical ends, to destroy the good old Laws, Liberties and Customs of England, the badges of our freedom (as the Declaration against the King, of the 17 of March 1648, pag. 23. calls them) and by force of arms to rob the people of their lives, estates and properties, and subject them to perfect vassalage and slavery, as he cleerly evinceth in his present Case etc. they have done) who (and in truth no other-wise) pretendedly stile themselves (the Conservators of the peace of England, or) the Parliament of England, intrusted and authorised by the consent of all the people thereof, whose Representatives by election (in the Declaration last mentioned, pag. 27. they say) they are; although they are never able to produce one bit of a Law, or any piece of a Commission to prove, that all the people of England, or one quarter, tenth, hundred, or thousand part of them authorised Thomas pride, with his Regiment of Souldiers, to chuse them a Parliament, as indeed he hath de facto done by this pretended mock Parliament: And therefore it cannot properly be called the Nations or Peoples Parliament, but Col Pride’s and his associates, whose really it is; who, although they have beheaded the King for a Tyrant, yet walk in his oppressingest steps, if not worse and higher.

John 7. 51. Doth our Law judge any man, before it hear him and know what he doth?
Acts 24. 23. And he commanded a Centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister, or come unto him, (although in ver. 5. he was accused for a most pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition throughout all the world.)
Acts 25. 27. For it seemeth to me unreasonable (saith the heathen Judge) to send a prisoner, and not withall to signifie the crimes laid against him.
Acts 28. 30. And Paul (in his imprisonment at Rome under the heathen persecutors) dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him.

London, Printed in the grand yeer of hypocriticall and abominable dissimulation. 1649.

Estimated date of publication

8 June 1649.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

TT1, p. 749; Thomason E. 560. (14.) (2nd. ed.)

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet

SIR,

FOr distinction-sake, I will yet stile you Mr. Speaker, although it be but to Col. Pride’s Junto or Parliament, sitting at Westminster, (not the Nation’s, for they never gave him Authority to issue out Writs, elect or constitute a Parliament for them) and you being their mouth, I could not think of any man to whom I could better direct my Lines at present to, (in my great Oppressions by You, and your Lord and Master Cromvvel] then your self: And therefore cannot now chuse but put you in minde, That the 4th. April, 1648. when I was like unjustly to be destroyed by Mr. Oliver Cromwell in my late unjust and tyrannicall Imprisonment in the Tower; I writ you a large Epistle, and stiled it in print, The prisoners Plea for a Habeas corpus; in the 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 pages of which, I positively accuse Mr. Oliver Cromwell for a wilfull murderer, and desire you there to acquaint your House therewith (who then had some little face of a Parliament stamp upon it) and, That I would engage upon my life to prove him to be so by Law: You your selves in your Declaration of the 4th. March, 1647. in answer to the Scotch-Commissioners Papers Declare p. 5. 16. that the subduing the enemies forces in the Nation, (which then were, as you there say, wholly subdued & suppressed) though the Parliament keep up an Army, in a time of peace, when all the ordinary Courts of Justice were open, where only and alone, all Law and Justice ought to be dispensed to all Englishmen in all cases whatsoever, yea, even to Soldiers as well as others; as in the aforesaid pages, and in Mr. Overtons and My printed Epistle to the Generall (in Mr. Lockiers behalf) of the 27 April, 1649. is by Law undeniably proved; which Epistle you may read at the last end of the second Edition of my Picture of the Councell of State: And yet about or upon the 15 Nov. 1647. near Ware in Hertford-shire, He, &c. wilfully and offer-malice murdered Rich. Arnell, a freeborn Englishman; and so shed the bloud of War in the time of Peace, which was Joabs case in reference to Abner and Amasa, 2 Sam. 3. 27. and 20. 10. of whom when David delivered his charge to his son Solomon, he saith thus, Moreover, thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zerviah did to me, and what he did to the two Captains of the host of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins; and in his shoos that were on his feet: Doe therefore (saith he) according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoary head goe down to the grave in peace, 1. Kings 2. 5. 6. which charge he accordingly performed; and so delivered himself and his Fathers house from the guilt of innocent blood, ver. 29, 30, 31, 32, 33. And you may also remember that upon the 19 of Jan. 1647. at your Barr I openly delivered a formal charge or impeachment of high Treason (according to your own Ordinances) against the foresaid Mr. Oliver Cromwell, and his subtil machevilian son-in-Law Mr. Henry Ireton, for their notorious doing that in reference to the King; for but the petty acting of which in comparison to theirs, they impeached Mr. Denzill Hollis, Sir Philip Stapleton, &c. of high Treason, (as appeareth in their own Book of Declarations, pag. 81, 82. Article 2 & 3.) and forcibly expunged them your House as Traytors therefore.

And in the foresaid pages of my plea for a Habeas Corpus, I truly acquaint you with the plot and design, Master Cromwell laid to take away my life, for but a little opposition to the King, whose professed and avowed proctors he and his son in Law Irtten were at that time, both openly in your House, and in the Generall Councell at Putney, nay and gave him leave to peruse and correct with his &illegible; hands their Proposals and Declarations before they published &illegible; &illegible; &illegible; &illegible; the King would be no longer subservient to Oliver and &illegible; &illegible; &illegible; they as the principall instruments caused his head to be chopt off as a Traytor and Tyrant for exercising, (as in the Declaration of 17 of March 1648. against him they declare) opression, and arbitrary power against Law, overthrowing the annuall constitution of Parliaments, imprisoning and presecuting of men, for opposing his unlawfull will, for setting up multitudes of projects and monopolize against Law, and so breaking that most excellent Law, the Petition of Right (as they call it there page 7) for endeavouring to bring in the Germain Horse to awe us into slavery and bondage, and by private solicitations, promises of rewards, and threats from him unto the Judges of Law, to cause them to do his will rather then equall Right, and to break his and their own Oaths, for the oppressions of the Councell Table, Star-Chamber, High-Commission, &c. for protecting Delinquents from Justice, for giving profuse donations of yearly salleries and pensions, to such as were found or would be made &illegible; instruments or promoters of tyranny, protecting his own and the Lords servants from arrests and processe of Law, his breach of faith, of oaths, protestations and declarations; unto act which offences were joyned (say you in your laid Declaration against him of the 17 of March 1648 pag. 15.) all along a strange obstinacy and implacablenesse, and uncessant labour for the destruction of his people; which (with the unerring truth wherein is no dispensation for Kings) and say I for Parliament-men neither) that &illegible; satisfaction shal be taken for the life of a murtherer, but he shall surely be put to death; and that the land cannot be clensed of the bloud that is shed therein, but by the bloud of him that shed it) brought on and effected the worke of Justice upon him.

Of all which crimes and charges, and all your others against the King contained in your foresaid Declaration, I know not three of them, but Cromwell and his Confederates in your pretended House and Army, are as guilty of the like in kind, though under a new name and notion, as the King was of the forementioned (if not more guilty, in that they have so often and largly promised ease and redresse in the same things; encouraged and engaged the people to pour out their monies, and their blouds for seven or eight years together for that very end and no other) and in that they doe the very same things as is obvious and cleer to every rationall and unbiased eye in the whole Nation, and which in a good measure may be evinced in my own particular case, which is my intended task at this time to make appear.

But to save my self a new labour of writing things twise over, I shall here insert my Plea (yet never visible to the People of England) against the late House of Lords, and Wollaston their Gaoler of Newgate, &illegible; I prepared for (and carried to) the Committee of Indemnity the 20 of June 1648. Where the Lord Munson had the Chair, (in regard the greatest part of it is almost as pertinent to my present businesse as if it had been purposely framed for it) for the effecting of which I shall (in truth) endeavour without welt or guard) as well as God and those abilities he hath given me, will enable me to state in fact, law, your own Declarations and the Armies, your dealings with me at present; which that I may the better do, I shall here insert my said Plea to the Committee of Indemnitie first, and then unto it, add or joyn what I have besides at present to say for my self and my instant sufferings, but in the first place the plea it self thus followeth.

The PLEA it self thus followeth.

May it please this Honourable Committee,

I Was commanded by you, upon Tuesday the 13 day of this present June 1648, to bring in an Answer this day to the Petition and complaint of Henry Wollastone Kepeer of the prison of Newgate, in which Petition he complains that I have brought an action at the common Law against him, for detaining me in safe custody according to his duty, by vertue of a Warrant from the House of Lords; and therefore prayes indemnity for his acting therein in obedience to the Authority of Parliament, and his trebble damages, and that at common Law there may be no further proceedings in the said Action. And being demanded by the then Chairman of this Committee whether I had caused such an Action to be commenced, yea or no, I positively declared, I had, and that I had very good ground in Law so to do, considering that the Law of England (which is my Birth-right and Inheritance) requires, That I shall not be deprived of my Liberty but by due processe of Law, according to the Laws of the Land; and that if any shall detain my body in prison without legall Authority, he is liable in Law to make me satisfaction therefore: but Mr. Wollastone had kept me in prison divers weeks by vertue of a pretended Warrant of the single House of Lords, who in Law, I will maintain it, have not the least power in the World to commit my body to prison: yet they did (upon the tenth day of June 1646, laying no crime to my charge) command me to be kept for all my short eternity in this world; for the Warrant is, during their pleasures: and then by another illegall Warrant, within fourteen dayes after, dated the 23 of June 1646, they (for no cause in the world) commit me close prisoner, and command that I be not permitted to have pen, ink nor paper, and that none shall have accesse unto me in any kinde, but onely my Keeper, untill the Lords otherwise please. Which most illegall Warrant Mr. Wollastone executed upon me with a great deal of severitie and barbarism, not permitting my Wife to come into the prison yard to speak with me at a distance out of my grates, nor suffering me to receive either meat, drink, or money, or any other necessaries from the hands of my Wife, servant, or friends, nor suffering me to see their faces when they sent me in my diet: All which usages are against the Laws and Statutes of this Kingdom: and therefore I have cause and ground enough in Law, to seek for my remedy in Law against the said Mr. Wollastone; and I hope the Members of this Committee have taken too many Oaths to maintain the fundamentall Laws of the Land, and the Liberties of the People, then now to go about to deprive me of the benefit of them.

It is true, you sit here by verue of an Ordinance of both Houses, to in demnifie all those that have acted or done, or commanded to be acted or done, any thing by sea or land, by the Authority, or for the service or benefit of this present Parliament: But under the favour of this Committee, I do conceive, That the said Ordinance, which is your Commission, doth not in the least authorise you to meddle with my present case; forasmuch as I do not prosecute Mr. Wollastone for actions done by the Command and Authority of Parliament, but for actions done directly against their Authority publickly declared in the Laws of the Kingdom, and their own Declarations: and I hope this Committee will not so much undervalue their own House, as to adjudge the House of Lords singly to be the Parliament of England, nor their single Order to be the Parliaments Authority of England: and if not, then I cleerly conceive, that upon your own principles, you have nothing to do with my business before you; neither can I conceive, that you can in the least judge Mr. Wollaston’s illegal and barbarous actions done upon me, to be for the service and benefit of the Parliament, but rather the quite contrary, by rendering them odious and abominable in the eyes of the people, if they shall patronize such tyrannicall doings, after they have taken so many Oathes to maintain the Laws and Liberties of the Kingdom, and caused so much English bloud to be shed pretendedly therefore.

Whereupon, after a little debate amongst the members of this Committee by themselves, my L. Munson the Chairman thereof was pleased to tell me, that the business was weighty, and did concern the Priviledges of the Lords House; and therefore they judged it convenient to put it off till this day, and to acquaint the Lords with it, that so, if they pleased, some of them might here be present: and you also ordered me to fit my self with a formall Answer to the Petition, which accordingly I have done, and with the favour of this Committee, giving me free leave to speak, I am ready to deliver unto you, and do deliver it unto you thus.

My Lord, I read in the Statutes of 4. Edw. 3. ch. 4. and 36. Edw. 3 ch. 10. and in the tyrannical Act made this Parliament 16 C. R. and in the 4 part Cooks Instit. fol. 9. 11. 37. 38. 39. 41. 42. and 1 part Book Decl. pag. 701, 702, that Parliaments are principally called for the maintenance of the Laws, and for the redresse of divers mischiefs and grievances that daily happen; and sutable to this are the ends contained in the Writs that summon them, and the intentions of those that chuse the Members and send them.

And if Parliaments be principally called for the maintenance of the Laws, and redresse of mischiefs and grievances, then not for the destruction of the Laws, nor for the increase of mischiefs and grievances. And therefore when this present Parliament in the dayes of their virginity and primitive puritie, in their Actions, Declarations, and Remonstrances expressed much zeal, for accomplishing of those ends for which they were trusted in providing for the safety of the Kingdom, and peace of the people, which you call God to witness is your only aime, protesting in the presence of the all seeing deity, that the foresaid ends is the only end of all your counsels and indeavours, wherein you are resolved to continue freed, and inlarged from all private aims, personall respects or passions whatsoever, and persevere in the vigorous indevoring to preserve the Laws and Liberties of this Land, though you should perish in the work,* calling upon God, that sees your innocency; and that you have no aims but at his glory & the publick good for protection in your straits; I lay yet notwitstanding all this, the King to make you odious, and to be deserted of the people, in several of his Declarations Declares that all these were but guilded dissimulations, it being your reall intentions to destroy Liberty and property, meum and &illegible;, and to subvert the Lawes and introduce new forms of arbitrary government, and to introduce Anarchy, a paritic and confuon by levelling of all degrees & conditions, and to monopolise into your hands all the rich and great places in the Kingdom, for your own particular advantage and profit; and to get such a power into your hands, as thereby to enable you inevitably to destroy all that opposed you; and that the maintenance and advancement of Religion, Justice, Liberty, Propertie, and peace, are really but your stalking horses, and neither the grounds of the war, nor of your demands; and that for all your fair pretences to the people, you will extirpate the Law, root, and branch, alter the whole frame of Government, and leave not any thing like Law, Liberty or Property, introduce Democracy and Parity, and leave nether King, nor Gentlemen; and so the people will too late discover all this to their costs, that they have undone themselves with too much discretion, and obtained nothing by their compliance with you, and adherence to you, but to be destroyed last, 1 part Book Declar. pag. 284, 285, 298, 316, 320, 334, 378, 514, 515, 520, 521, 530, 539, 543, 550, 558. 2 Part, pag. 100, 102, 112, 113, 117. In answer unto all which, to disprove what he saith, and keep up your re-reputations amongst the people for a company of honest men, that really sought their good, and always intended to be as good as their words, promises, and engagements in your declarations of the 19 of May 1642. 1 Part, Book Decl. Pag 207. you repeat your votes, against which the King excepts, the weight of which lieth in these words: That the Kingdom hath been of late, and still is in so eminent danger, both from enemies abroad, and a popish discontented party at home; that there is an urgent and an inevitable necessity, for puting the Kingdom into a posture of defence, for the safegard thereof; and that in this case of extreme danger, and his Majesties refusall, the Ordinance of Parliament agreed upon by both Houses for the Militia, doth oblige the people, and ought to be obeyed, by the fundamentall Lawes of this Kingdom. By all which (say you) it doth appear, That there is no colour of this tax, that we go about to introduce a new Law; much less to exercise an Arbitrary power, but indeed to prevent it; for this Law (say you) is as old as the Kingdom, That the Kingdom must not be without a means to preserve it self: and in the conclusion of the same Decl. Pag. 214. speaking of the many difficulties you grapple with, the many hazards you undergo in your places, you conclude thus, yet we doubt not but we shall overcome all this at last, if the people suffer not themselves to be deluded with false and specious shewes, and so drawn to betray us to their own undoing, who have ever been willing to hazard the undoing of our selves, that they might not be betrayed by our neglect of the trust reposed in us; but if it were possible the Kings party should prevail, herein yet (say you) we would not fail, through Gods grace still to persist in our duties, and to look beyond our own lives, estates and advantages, as those who think nothing worth the enjoying without the libertie, peace, and safety of the Kingdom; not any thing too good to be hazarded in discharge of our consciences, for the obtaining of it; and shall always repose our selves upon the protection of the Almighty, which we are confident shall never be wanting to us (while we seck his glory.) And in your Declaration of the 26 of May 1642, which is an answer to the Kings Declaration of the 4 of May, about the business of Hull, in the 1 Part Decl. pag. 263. speaking of the new engine of the Malignant party about the King, to beget and increase distrust, and disaffection between the King, the Parliament, and the People; We cannot (say you) be so much wanting to our own innocency, or to the duty of our trust, as not to clear our selves from those false aspersions, and (which is our chiefest care) to disabuse the peoples minds, and open their eyes that under the false shews and pretexts of the Laws of the Land, (frequently interwoven in his Majesties foresaid Declaration) and of their own Rights and Liberties; they may not be carried into the road-way that leadeth to the utter ruine and subversion thereof, and to destroy them both with their own hands, by taking their Lives, Liberties, and Estates out of their hands whom they have chosen and entrusted therewith, and resigning them up unto some evil Counsellors about his Majestie, who can lay no other foundation of their own greatness, but upon the ruine of this Parliament; and in it of all other Parliaments, and in them of the freedom of this Nation: And these are the men that would perswade the people that both Houses of Parliament containing all the Peers, & representing all the Commons of England, would destroy the Lawes of the Land, and Liberties of the Peoples wherein besides the trust of the whole, they themselves in their own particulars have so great an interest of honour and estate, that we hope it will gain little credit with any that have the least use of reason, that such as must have so great a share in the misery, should take so much paines in the procuring thereof, and spend so much time and run so many hazards to make themselves slaves, and to destroy the property of their estates. But remarkable are your words in the same Declaration pag. 267. where you say, You have given no occasion to his Majestie to declare his resolution with so much earnestness, that he will not suffer either or both Houses by their votes without or against his consent to injoyn any thing that is forbidden by the Law, or to forbid any thing that is injoyned by the Law; for our votes (say you) have done no such thing, and as we shall be very tender of the Law (which we acknowledge to be the safegard and custody of all publick and private interests, &c.) And in the same declaration having argued it soundly against the King, for the calumniations and aspersions cast upon you as you are pleased to call them in; p. 270. you have these words, All this considered, we cannot but wonder, that the contrivers of the aforesaid message, should conceive the people of this land to be so void of common-sence, as to enter into so deep a mistrust of those that they have, and his Majestie ought to repose so great a trust in, as to dispair of any security in their private estates, by dissents, purchases, assurances, or conveyances, unless his Majestie should by his vote, prevent the prejudice they might receive therein by the votes of both Houses of Parliament, as if they who are especially chosen and intrusted for that purpose, and who themselves must needs have so great a share in all grievances of the Subject, had wholy cast off the care of the Subjects good, and his Majestie had soly taken it up.

And in your most notablest of Declarations, made about Agust 1642. 1 Part Book Decl. pag. 491. wherein you indeavour to give an account to the world of the justice of your proceedings, in being necessitated to take up armes against his Majesty, who you say was then in armes against you and the Kingdom, for the suppression of the Lawes and Liberties thereof; which you say every honest man is bound to defend, especially those that have taken the late Protestation, in which Declaration you declare, that the long designe which hath been carried on to alter the frame and constitution of the Government of the Kingdom, from Law and Liberty, to slavery and vassaladge, is now come to ripeness; there you go on to declare an Epitome of the Kings dealings with the Kingdom before this Parliament; in which time you say the Lawes were no defence nor protection of any mans right; all was subject to will and power, which imposed what payment they thought fit, to drain the Subjects purse of, and supply those necessities which ill councels had brought upon the King, or gratifie such as were instruments in promoting those illegall and oppresive courses. They who yeelded and complyed, were countenanced and advanced, all others disgraced and kept under, that so mens mindes made poor and base, and their Liberties lost and gone, they might be ready to let go their Religion, whensoever they should be resolved to alter it; and then ennumerate divers strange actions of his done to the Kingdom since this Parliament; and in pag. 494. you declare, that after his ill councel had got him from the Parliament, then they doe work upon him and upon the Queen, and perswade her to retire out of the Kingdom, and carry him further and further from the Parliament, and so possess him with a hatred of it, that they cannot put words bitter enough into his mouth, to express upon all occasions; they make him cross oppose and envy upon all the proceedings of Parliament, incourage and protect all those that will affront it, take away all power and authority from it to make it contemptible, and of less esteem then the meanest Court, draw away the members, commanding them to come to him to York, and insteed of discharging their duty in the service of the Parliament, to contribute their advice, and assistance to the destruction of it, indeavouring an arbitrary Government, a thing (say you) which every honest Morall man abhors; much more the Wisdom, Justice, and Piety of the two House, of Parliament; and in truth such a charge as no rational man can beleeve it, it being unpossible so many several persons as the Houses of, Parliament consist of about 600; and in either House all of equall power, should all of them, or at least the major part, agree in Acts of Will and Tyranny, which makes up an arbitrary Government; and most improbable that the Nobility and chief Gentry of this Kingdom, should conspire to take away the Law by which they injoy their estates, are protected from any act of violence and power, and differenced from the meanest fort of people, with whom otherwise they would be but fellow servants; so having given an answer to his charges laid upon you in pag. 496. you vehemently presse the people to come in to the help of the Parliament (against the Kings forces) And save themselves their Laws and Liberties, and though both they and we (say you) must perish, yet have we discharged our consciences, and delivered our soules, and will look for a reward in heaven; should we be so ill required upon earth, as to be deserted by the people, whom in the next page you tell, nothing will satisfie the King and those evill men with him, but the destruction of this Parliament, and to be Masters of Religion and Liberties, to make us Slaves, and alter the Government of this Kindom, and reduce it to the condition of some other Countryes which are not governed by Parliaments, and so by Laws, but by the will of the Prince, or rather of those who are about him; And therfore in the zeal of your Spirits, you declare your resolved resolutions to continue firme to maintain the Laws and Liberties of your Country, according to your duty; saying, Woe be to us if we do it not, at least doe our utmost endeavours for the discharge of our duties, and the saving of our souls, and leave the successe to God Almighty; and you conclude with these words; and therefore we do here require all who have any sence of piety, honour, or compassion, to help a distressed State, and to come in to our aid and assistance.

And in your reply to the Kings Answer of yours, of 26 May 1642. 1 part Book Declar. pag. 693. you declare with indignation your abhorrance of the Kings charging you by your votes to dispose of the peoples lives, liberties and estates, contrary to the Law of the Land, & throw back the Charge upon himself and those that are about him. And in the next page you say thus, and for that concerning our inclination to be slaves, it is affirmed, that his Majestic said nothing that might imply any such inclination in us, but sure, what ever be our inclination, slavery would be our condition, if we should go about to overthrow the Laws of the Land, and the propriety of every mans estate, and the liberty of his person; for therein we must needs be as much Patients as Agents, and must every one in his turn suffer our selves, what ever we should impose upon others as in nothing we have laid upon others we haue ever refused to do or suffer our selves, and that in a high proportion. And then when you come in the next page to speake of the Kings, charging of you that you afect to be Tyrants, because you will admit no rule to Govern by but your own wills, yea worse then those thirty most perfect Tyrants of Athens, spoken of by Sir Walter Rawley in his third Book of the History of the world, Chap. 9. Sect. 2. you abhor the charge with the height of detestation, and therefore in the next page unto it, being page 696 you say We do still acknowledg that it were a very great crime in us, if we had or should do any thing whereby the title and interest of all the Subjects to their lands were destroyed; which I say of necessitie must be, if they be deprived of the benefit of the Law, which is all I crave at your hands, and which I hope you will not deny me; especially considering in your Declaration of the 10 of June 1642, 1 par. Book Decla. pag. 342, for bringing in mony and plate, you positively declare, that whatsoever is brought in, shall not at all be imployed about any other occasion, then to the purposes aforesaid, which amongst others, are principally for destroying Tyranny, maintaining of Liberty and Propriety, the free Course of Justice according to the known Laws of the Land; but Propriety cannot be maintained, if Liberty be destroyed; for the Liberty of my Person is more neerer to me then my Propriety, or goods; and he that contrary to Law and Justice, robs or deprives me of the Liberty of my Person, the nighest to me, may much more by the some reason, rob and deprive me at his will and pleasure of my goods and estate, the further of from me, and so Propriety is overthrowne and destroyed; and this if done avowedly by you, is distructive to your honours and engagements; yea, & in an absolute violation of all your Oaths and Promises; whereby you will be rendred, by your own actions, in the eyes of the people that trusted you, the basest and worst of men, fit for nothing but desertion, opposition and distruction; Again how can Law be maintained, when the free execution of Justice in the ordinary course thereof shall be hindered by you? which you in your Declaration 23 of October 1642. 1 par. Book. Declar. pag. 656) call the soule and life of all Laws, which ordinary course of Justice, you in your first Remonstrance page 7 call the common birth-right of the Subject of England; And therefore 1 par. Book Decl. pag. 660 you own it as your duty, to use the best of your endeavours that the meanest of the Commonalty may enjoy their own birth-right, freedom and liberty of the Lawes of the Land, being equally intitled thereunto with the greatest subject; and if so? how can you in justice and honour or conscience, deprive and ebereave me of my birth right? the benefit of the Law of the Land, in the ordinary course of Justice in the Judicatures thereof? who have done no actrons either by Sea or Land, but what doth become an honest, true-bred Englishman and constantly in the midst of many deaths, maintaining the Laws &illegible; and Liberties of my Native Country, which actions are consonant to the Authority of Parliament, and for the service and benefit thereof; and therfore I ought not to be molested and troubled therefore; especially by you, who in your Declarations in the case of the Five Members, declare 1 par. Boo. Decl. pa. 39. you are very sensible that it equally imports you; aswell to see Justice done against them that are criminous, as to defend the just rights and Liberties of the Subjects and Parliament of England; but if you shall stop my proceedings at Common Law against Master Wollaston the Jaylour of Newgate, for keeping me there against Law by the Lords Order, You are so far from punishing the criminous, that you justifie the wicked, and condemn the righteous, break all your Oaths, Protestations and Covenants, that you have taken to maintain the Laws and Liberties of the Kingdom, and dissolve the whole frame and constitution of the Civill Policy and Government of this Kingdom into the originall Law of Nature, which crime you taxe the King with, 1 par. Book. Decl. pag. 690. yea, and thereby become destructive to the being of the Commonwealth, and the safety of the people, the preservation of which is the chief end of the Law, the institution of all Government, as you declare in your Declarations of the 6 of May 1643 & 17 April 1647. 2 part. Book. Decla. fal. 95.879.

For the Illustration of which I desire to observe this Method.

First. I averre that the House of Lords have not the Least Jurisdiction in the world over me in the case in controversie betwixt us; and I am ready upon my life to make this good by the Laws of the Kingdom against all the Judges and Lawyers in England; but I conceive; I have already so fully done it in my three pleas against the Lords, that they are unanswerable, viz. First in my Plea before the Committee of the House of Commons, where Master Henry Martin had the Chaire 6 Novemb. 1646. And Secondly in my Plea the 20 of October 1647. before another Committee of the House of Commons, where M. Iohn Maynard had the Chaire; And Thirdly, in my Plea before the Judges of the Kings Bench, the 8 of May 1648. all three of which I desire to communicate unto your consideration.

And if the Lords by Law have no originall Jurisdiction over me, then no power to summon me, nor no power to try me nor commit me; Wherefore M. Wollaston by Law ought to have refused to have received my body, or detained it in prison, by vertue of their illegall warrant which being both illegall in the power that made it, & in the forme of drawing it up, he is liable to make me satisfaction in Law for executing it, which as present I illustrate out of your own Declarations, which are the most unanswerable arguments against you that I can use, Acts 17 28. Titus 1.12.

And first in your Declaration of the 17 of January 1641. 1 par. Book. Decl. pag. 38. 39. where speaking of the Five Members, you say his Majestic did issue forth severall warrants to divers Officers, under his own hand for the apprehension of the persons of the said Members, which by Law he cannot do, there being not all this time any legall charge or accusation, or due processe of Law issued against them, or any pretence of charge made known to the House of Commons; all which are against the Fundamentall Liberties of the Subjects, and the Rights of Parliament; Whereupon we are necessitated according to our duty to declare, That if any person shall arrest M. Hollis, Sir Arthur Haslerig, Master Pym, Master Hamden, Master Strode, or any of them, or any Member of Parliament, by pretence or colour of any warrant issuing out from the King onely, is guilty of the breach of the Liberty of the Subject, and of the Priviledges of Parliament, and 2. publick enemy to the Common-wealth; and that the arresting of the said Members, or any of them, or any Members of Parliament, by any Warrant whatsoever, without a legall proceeding against them, and without consent of that House, whereof such a person is a Member, is against the Libertie of the Subject, and a breach of Priviledge of Parliament: and the person which shall arrest any of these persons, or any other Member of the Parliament, is declared a publick enemy of the Common-wealth. Yea, and upon the 15 of January 1641, you voted and ordered a Charge to be brought in against Mr. Atturney General Herbert, to require of him satisfaction for his great injury and scandal that particularly he had done to the said Mr. Hollis, &c. and generally to the publick Justice of the Kingdom, in so illegally accusing the foresaid five Gentlemen, without due processe of Law, as appears in your first part Book Declarat. pag. 53. And therefore in your Petition of the 2 Feb. 1641. 1 part. Book Decl. 67. you tel the King, It is your duty to tell him of the injustice done unto the five Members, for impeaching them without due processe of Law, and to require reparations for them. And therefore in your second Petition of the same month, 1 part Book Decl. pag. 76. 77. you tell the King again, notwithstanding all your importunity, the said five Members and the Lord Kimbolton still lie under that heavie charge of Treason, to the exceeding prejudice not onely of themselves, but also of the whole Parliament. And whereas by the expresse Laws and Statutes of this Realm, that is to say, by two Acts of Parliament, the one made in the 37, and the other in the 38 year of the reign of your most noble Progenitor King Edward the 3 its said, If any person whatsoever make suggestion to the King himself of any fault committed by another, the same person ought to be sent with the suggestion before the Chancellor, or Keeper of the great Seal, Treasurer, and the great Councel, there to finde Surety to pursue his suggestion: which if he cannot prove, he is to be imprisoned till he hath satisfied the party accused of his dammages and slander, and made Fine and Ransom to the King: The benefit of these Laws you claim at the Kings hand, and there tell him, he ought not of right and justice to deny it to you. And also in 1 part Book Decl. pag. 101, speaking to the King, you say Your Majesty lays a generall tax upon us; if you will be graciously pleased to let us know the particulars, we shall give a cleer and satisfactory Answer: But what hope can we have of ever giving your Majestie sasaction, when those particulars which you have been made beleeve were true, yet being produced and made known to us, appeared to be false? and your Majestie notwithstanding will neither punish, nor produce the Authors, but go on to contract new jealousies and fears, upon generall and uncertain grounds, affording us no means or possibilitie of particular answer, to the cleering of ourselves. For proof whereof we beseech your Majestie to consider,

The heavie charge and accusation of the Lord Kimbolton, and the five Members of the House of Commons, who refused no Triall or Examination which might stand with the Priviledge of Parliament: yet no Authors, no Witnesses produced, against whom they may have reparation for the great injury and infamy cast upon them, notwithstanding three severall Petitions of both Houses, and the Authority of two Acts of Parliament vouched in the last of those Petitions.

And in a fourth Petition about the same business, 1 part Book Decl. pag. 123. We beseech your Majesty (say you) to remember, that the Government of this Kingdom, as it was in a great part mannaged by your ministers before the beginning of this Parliament, consisted of many continued and multiplied acts of violation of Laws, the wounds whereof were scarcely healed, when the extremitie of all those violations was far exceeded by the late strange and unheard of breach of our Laws in the accusation of the Lord Kimbolton and the five Members of the Commons House, and in the proceedings thereupon; for which we have yet received no full satisfaction. And in your Declaration of the 19 of May 2642, 1. par. Book Dec. p 200. 201. you are very remarkable, and say, The accusation of the L. Kimbolton, and the 5 Members of the House of Comons, is called a breach of Priviledge; and truly so it was and a very high one, far above any satisfaction that hath yet been given: How can it be said to be largely satisfied, so long as his Majestie laboured to preserve his Atturney from punishment, who was the visible Actor in it? so long as his Majestie hath not onely justified him, but by his Letter declared, that it was his duty to accuse them, and that he would have punished him if he had not done it; so long as those members have not the means of cleering their innocency, and the authors of that malicious Charge undiscovered, though both Houses of Parliament have severall times petitioned his Majestie to discover them; and that not onely upon grounds of common Justice, but by Act of Parliament his Majestie is bound to do it; so long as the King refuseth to passe a Bill for their discharge, alledging, that the Narrative in that Bill is against his Honour; whereby he seems still to avow the matter of that false and scandalous Accusation, though he deserts the Prosecution, offering to passe a Bill for their acquital; yet with intimation, that they must desert the avowing their own innocency, which would more wound them in Honor, then secure them in Law.

And in vindication of this great Priviledge of Parliament, we do not know that we have invaded any Priviledge belonging to his Majesty, as is alledged in his Declaration.

But we look not upon this onely in the notion of a breach of Priviledge, which might be, though the Accusation were true or false; but under the notion of an bainous crime in the Attourney, and all other Subjects who had a hand in it, a crime against the Law of Nature, against the Rules of Justice, that innocent men should be charged with so great an offence as Treason, in the face of the highest Judicatory of the Kingdom, whereby their lives and estates, their bloud and honour are in danger, without witnesse, without evidence, without all possibility of reparation in a legall course; yet a crime of such a nature, that his Majesties Command can no more warrant, then it can any other act of injustice. It is true that those things which are evil in their own nature, such as a false testimony, or a false accusation, cannot be the subject of any Command, or induce any obligation of obedience upon any man, by any Authority whatsoever; therefore the Attourney in this case was bound to refuse to execute such a Command unlesse he had had some such evidence or testimony as might have warranted him against the parties, and be liable to make satisfaction if it should prove false. And further, to prove that they are liable to punishment, that puts in execution the Kings illegall Commands, is must excellently proved, and largely evident from your own words in 1 part Book Decl. pag. 259. 260. 276. 279. 280. 721. 722. 723. 727. 803. where you largely declare, that Alexander Archbishop of York, Robert de Veere Duke of Island, &c. were executed in Richard the Second’s time as Traytors, for putting in execution the commands of the King against the Law: and if they are punishable that execute the commands of the King the Primitive, against Law: then much more by Law is Mr. Wollaston punishable for executing the commands of the single House of Lords the Derivative, against Law: and if in my own defence, when I was in Mr. Wollaston’s custody, I had served him, for his actions done to me in pursuance of the Lords single illegall commands, as Simson of Northampton-shire did Johnson in the 42 of Elizabeth for his doing actions in pursuance of the Queens Letters Patents, contrary to Law, in endeavouring by a Warrant (flowing from the High-Commission, which was established by Act of Parliament, and had legall cognizance of any facts in Controversie grounded thereupon) to imprison his body: for doing of which, Simson (in his own defence, and his Liberties) slew the said Johnson: For which he was justified by the Judges of Assise, and all the Judges of England, as you may read in Sir Edward Cook 4. part Institutes, fol. 333. 334. and in my Plea before the Judges of the Kings Bench, called The Laws funerall, page 24. 25. I say in case I had in my own defence, and the defence of my legall Liberties stain Wollaston &c. for executing the Lords single illegall Orders upon me for any thing I can read in the Law, he had his mends in his own hands.

But to come more close upon your own principles, to prove that a single Order of the Lords cannot stand in competition with the Law, I do it, thus; In all your Declarations you declare, that binding and permanent Laws according to the Constitution of this Kingdom, are made by King, Lords, and Commons, and so is the opinion of Sir Ed. Cosk, whose Books are published by your own Order, and who in the 2 part of his Institutes, fol. 48. 157 and 3 part fol. 22. and 4 part fol. 23. 25. 48. 292. saith that Act that is made by King and Lords, in Law binds not, nor by King and Commons binds not, or by Lords and Commons binds not in Law; if so, then much more invalid is the single Order of the Lords made against Law, and can indemnifie no man that acts by vertue of it, and your Ordinances made this Parliament in time of extream necessitie, during denounced Wars, are by your selves in abundance of your own Declarations, esteemed, adjudged, declared but temporary and invalid as durable Laws, which is evidently cleer out of the 1 par. Book Decl. p. 93. 102. 112. 142. 143. 150. 171. 173. 179. 207. 208. 267. 277. 303. 305. 382. 697. 705. 709. 727. your expressions in the last page are, we did and doe say that the Soveraign power doth reside in the King and both Houses of Parliament, and that his Majesties Negative voice doth not import a Liberty to deny things as he pleaseth, though never so requisite and necessary for the Kingdom, and yet we did not nor do say, that such bills as his Majestic is so bound both in Conscience and Justice to passe, shall notwithstanding be law without his consent, so far are we from taking away his Negative voice. And if such Ordinances and Bills as passe both Houses are not Lawes by your own Doctrine, without the Kings Consent; then, muchlesse can the Order of the single House of Lords be Lawes or supersedeacs to the Lawes; And besides, when divers honest and well-affected. Citizens, it may be out of a sensible apprehension of the mischiefs that acrue to the Kingdom by having the Supream authority lodged in three distinct Estates, which many times so falls out, that when two Estates grant things essentially good for the wellfare of the Kingdom, the third Estate opposeth it, and will not passe it, which many times occasions war and bloud-shed, to the hazard of the being of the Kingdom; for the preventing of which, they framed a Petition to your House, Entitling it, To the Supream Authority of this Nation, the Commons assembled in Parliament; in which they intreat you to he careful of the mischief of Negative Voices in any whomsoever; which said Petition your House upon the 20 of May 1647. Voted to be burnt at the Exchange and Westminster by the hands of the Common Hangman, and lately as I am informed, there was a Petition of Master John Mildmans presented to your House, and it was rejected by them, for no other cause, but because it had the foresaid title; and therefore you your selves having rejected to be stiled the Supream Authority of this Nation; I can see no ground or reason, how you can upon your own Principles, grant a supersedeas to Master Wollaston to overule my action at law against him; and so de facto exercise the Supream Authority, which in words, you would have the Kingdom beleeve you abhorre; neither can I in reason or Justice conceive, that if now you should own your selves for the Supream Authority of the Nation, and the single and absolute Law-Repealers; and Law-Makers thereof, how you can deprive me of the benefit of those just Laws, viz. Magna Charta, Petition of Right, and the Act that abolished the Star-Chamber, that you have not avowedly and particularly declared to be void, null and vacated, as never to be in use any more in England; Again, you in your Protestation, in your Vote and Covenant, and in your League and Covenant, swore to maintain the Laws and Liberties of the Kingdom with your estates and lives, and make the Kings Person and Authority out subservrent thereunto, or dependant thereupon; And you have been so zealous to make Votes to disfranchise all those that will not take your Covenant, as unfit to bear any Office in the Common-wealth, or to give a Vote to chuse an Officer; and can it stand with your Justice and Honour to deny me the benefit of that (viz. the Law) which you have been so zealous in forcing the People of England to swear to maintain? or can you in Justice and Honor, be angry with me for standing for that (viz.) the Laws and Liberties of England,) which you have ingaged, incited and forced, thousands and ten thousands of the people of England, to loose their Lives and Blouds for, which I amongst others have upon zealous and true principles, as hazardously ventured my life for as any man in England? O let such an abominable thing be farre from men of honour, conscience and honesty, and let the fearfull judgments that befell the Hungarians, as it were, from God from heaven for breaking, violating and falling from their faith and Covenant, made with Amurah the Second, the Sixt Emperor of the Turkes Recorded in the Fourth Edition of the Turkes History fol. 267. 269. 273. 277 deterr all Covenant Makers, and Covenant takers from breach of their Oaths, Covenants, and Contracts, the breaking of which is highly detested and abhorred of God as a thing that his soul loaths as he declares in Scripture, as you may read Exo. 20. 7. Lev. 19. 11, 12. Deut. 23. 21, 22, 23. Psal. 15. 4. Eccels. 5. 45. Ezek. 17. 13, 14, 15, 10. 17, 18. Zacab. 5. 3, 4 & 8. 16. 17. Yea I say let the fearfull judgements, wrath and vengeance Recorded by Sir Walter Rawley in his excellent preface to his history of the World that befell Tyrants and Oppressors, who after they had broke their Oaths, Faith, Promises and Lawes made with the People, and then turned Tyrants, deterr you from such practises, but especially the fearfull judgments of God that befel the most execrable thirty Tyrants of Athens, who after the people of that City had set them up for the Conservators of their Laws and Liberties, and who did many things well til they had got power into their own hands, which they had no sooner done, but they turned it poin blank against the people, and fell a murthering, robbing, spoyling and destroying the innocent people, and raised a Guard of three or foure thousand men of their own Mercenary faction, whose destruction was fatall by the steeled resolution and valour of seventy faithfull and brave Citizens, as you may read in Sir Walter Rawleys History Lib. 3. Ch. 9. sec. 1 & 3. Yea the Tyranny of Duke d’Alva cost his Master the King of Spaine the revolt of the Hollanders to his unimaginable losse. But to returne, did not you and the Lords the other day pass Votes and Communicated them to the Common Councel of London to declare to them and the whole Kingdom, you would continue the Government, by King, Lords and Commons? and can it now stand with your Honour and Justice, to goe about to advance a single, illegall Order of the Lords above all the Laws made joyntly by you the Lords and King, and to make Ciphers of your selves and your House as well as of the King? which undeniably you do, if you indemnitie Master Wollaston by superseding my action at Common Law against him; Again, have you not in your Declaration of the 15 of June 1647. (in which is contained your Votes, to lay the King aside and make no more applications or addresses unto him) declared to preserve unto the people their Laws, and to governe them thereby? sure I am these are your own words, having received an absolute denyall from his Majesty: The Lords and Commons do hold themselves obliged to use their utmost endeavous speedily to settle the present Government in such a way as may bring the greatest security to this Kingdom, in the enjoyment of the Laws and Liberties thereof: And can it now stand with your honour and Justice to fall from this and all other your publique Declarations, by denying me the benefit of the Law against Master Wollaston, that unjustly imprisoned me, and Tyrannically and closly imprisoned me, to the hazard of my life and being, and that by an illegall warrant of the Lords, who have no power in Law to commit me, or so much as to summon me before them, in reference to a tryal? much lesse when I do come at their Bar, to deal with me like a Spanish Inquisition, by examining me upon Interrogatories to insnare my self, and refuse to let me see either accuser, prosecutor, indictment, charge or impeachment: but presse me againe and again to answer Interogatories against my self, and so force me to deliver in a Plea, according to my priviledg and the Laws of the Land, against their illegall dealings with me, and then to wave all pretence of any foregoing crime, and commit me the 11 July 1646 to Master Wollaston to Newgate prison during their pleasure for delivering in that my very Plea, which hath not a word in it but what is justifiable by Magna Charta, and the Petition of Right; and then when I am at Newgate, by pretence of a Warrant of the 22 of June after, for Master Wollaston to cause his servants to break into my Chamber and by force and violence to carry me before the Lords, who had, nor have no more Jurisdiction over me by the Laws of England to try me, passe upon me, or condemn me, then so many Turks have: and when I come there, they only look upon me, but lay nothing to my Charge, neither by word of mouth, not writing but passe an Order in these very words,

Die Martis 23. Junij.

Ordered by the Lords assembled in Parliamen, That Iohn Lilburn shall stand Committed close Prisoner in th Prison of Newgate, And that he be not permitted to have pen, ink or paper, and none shall have accesse unto him in any kind, but his Keeper, untill this Court doth take further Order.

And that is when they turn honest and just, which I do confidently beleeve will never be; here is illegality upon illegality, and Tyranny upon the neck of that, and yet Master Wollaston, and that Barish fellow Briscoe, executed it to the height without any scruple of conscience, although they might have as well by vertue of the same Warrant have cut my throat; as have used me as they did, till the 11 of July 1646. at and upon which day they by force of armes, with thirty or forty of the hangmans guard of Halberteers, and against all Law and Justice, carried me before the Lords, upon pretence to hear my Charge read, although the Lords had not, nor have not in Law the least power in the world to try me or to summon me, as hath been notably and undeniably proved in the Case of Sir Iohn Maynard and the four Aldermen, in the releasing of whom as the Lords have done, if ever they had any Jurisdiction over Commoners in any kind whatsoever, they have now totally given it away; for they were all impeached by the House of Commons, and their impeachments transmitted from them before ever they medled with them, which I never was, and yet flew as high in their Protestations and Declarations against the Lords Jurisdiction over them as ever I did, whom notwithstanding for all this, without stooping, submitting, or so much as petitioning, the Lords released, and of their own accord took all their proceedings against them off the file, thereby declaring to the whole Kingdom, that their own consciences told them they had no Authority in Law to go about to try them, being none of their Legall Judges, though they were impeached by the House of Commons, and that they had done nothing but their duty in protesting against them, and their Jurisdiction over them.

Therefore (my Lord Munson) can it stand with the Justice and Honour of your House, in your first Remonstrance to the Kingdom, pag. 6. to cry out so bitterly as you do against the Kings Ministers, who durst be so bold and presumptuous to break the Laws, and suppresse the Liberties of the Kingdom, after they had been so solemnly and evidently declared by the Petition of Right, by committing divers free men of England to prison for refusing to stoop unto the Commission of Loan, whereby many of them contracted such sicknesses as cost them their lives, and detaining others close prisoners for many months together, without the liberty of using Books, pen, ink, or paper, denying them at the comforts of life, all means of preservation of health, nor permitting their Wives to come unto them: And for the compleating of that cruelty, after yeeres spent in such miserable durance, to keep them still in their oppressed condition, not admitting them to be bailed according to Law, and oppressing and vexing them above measure; and the ordinary course of Justice (the common birth-right of the Subjects of England) wholly obstructed unto them: and divers others oppressed by grievous Fines, Imprisonments, Stigmatizings, Mutilations, Whippings, Pillories, Gaggs, Confinements, Banishments after so rigid a manner, as hath not onely deprived men of the society of their friends, exercise of their professions, comfort of Books, use of paper or ink, but even violated that neer union which God hath established betwixt men and their wives, by forced* and constrained separation, whereby they have been bereaved of the comfort and conversation one of another. Can all these doings be criminous and wicked in the King’s Ministers? and can your denying of justice for seven yeers together to me, that suffered the grievousnesse of these very torments, be just and righteous? Let God and the world judge, whether you by your actions do not justifie all the foregoing unjust proceedings, nay, and out-strip them, in that you your selves do, or suffer to be done (when you have power enough in your hands to remedy, but will not) divers of the very self same things to some of the very self same men, after (in obedience to your commands, in the sincerity of their souls) they have freely adventured their lives (and to carried themselves in all their actions towards you, that all their adversaries are not able, nor ever were, to lay in law any crime to their charge) for the redresse of all the foresaid grievances? and yet the best recompence you your selves give unto them, is, to tosse and tumble them yeer after yeer, from Gaol to Gaol (without laying any crime unto their charge) denying them the benefit of their Birth-right, the Law of the Land, keeping thousands of pounds of their own from them, and endeavouring in their long imprisonments to starve and murder them, their Wives and Children, by being worse then the King was to your Members, (who allowed them three, foure, and five pounds a man weekly, notwithstanding their own great estates to live upon) in allowing them never a penny to live upon, endeavouring to protect all those unrighteous men that (contrary to Law) have endeavoured to murder and destroy them, and take away their lives and beings from the earth. And all this is my own case and sufferings from you your selves. Therefore Hear, O Heavens! and give ear, O Earth! and the righteous God, and all just men judge betwixt us.

And therefore if there be any truth or resolutions in you to stand to any thing that you say and declare, I challenge at your hands the benefis of all your Declarations and Remonstrances, which are all of my side; and particularly the notablest of Declarations of the 6 of May 1643, and 17 April 1646. which was made before my contest with the Lords, in which you declare (2 par. Book De. so 95. & 879) that although the necessity of war have given some disturbances to loyall proceedings, stopped the usuall course of justice, enforced the Parliament for the preservation of this right to impose and require many great and unusual payments from the good Subjects of this Kingdom, and to take extraordinary wayes for the procuring of monyes for their many pressing occasions; It having pleased God to reduce our affaires into a more hopefull condition then heretofore: We do declare, that we will not, nor any by colour of any authority derived from us, shall interrupt the ordinary course of Justice in the severall Courts of Judicatures of this Kingdom, nor intermeddle in cases of private interest otherwhere determinable, unlesse it be in case of male administration of Justice, wherein we shall so provide, that right be done, and punishment inflicted as there shall be occasion according to the Law of the Kingdom, and the trust reposed in us.

Therefore seeing that you that stile your selvs the fountain and conservatory of the Law, first par. Book Declar. pag. 272 have declared in answer to the Kings Complaint against scandalous pamphlets (which was the originall pretence of the Lords quarrelling with me) that you know the King hath wayes enough in his ordinary Courts of Justice to punish such seditious Pamphlets and Sermons, as are any way prejudiciall to his rights, honour, and authority, benefit of the Law, you frustrate your end in making Judges to sit in Westminster Hall to execute the Law, and put a mock upon the people, and dissolve the whole frame and constitution of the civill Policy of the Government of this Kingdom into the originall law of Nature, and leave every man to judge within his own brest what is just and righteous, and thereby necessitate me, whether I will or no, to do that in reference to you, which you in your great straits, did in reference to the King; viz. Appeal to the righteous Judge of all the world, and the judgment of the people to decide the controversie berwixt you, as appears in your own Declarations, 1. part Book Dec. p. 172. 196. 214. 263. 278. 464. 491. 495. 496. 498. 629. 636. 666. 690. 699. 701. 728, and if I perish, I perish. For what greater tyranny can there be in the world, or what greater straits can a man be put to, then to delayed justice, (which is worse th’ll to be denyed) for above seven yeers together, by those that have raised a bloudy war, and pretended for justice: and then, after I have spent above 1000 li. in endeavouring to obtain Justice and my own at your hands, and after I have served you faithfully, and adventured my life in the field for you, and undergone multitudes of other hardships and hazzards at Oxford for you, and carried my self in all my actions towards you unspotted, and that upon you own declared principles: and after all this, to be toss’d and tumbled by you from Gaol to Gaol, year after year, for nothing but my honesty; and can come to no legall tryall, although I have endeavoured it with all my might; and to have by you thousands of pounds of my own kept from me, and not a penny in all my captivitie allowed me to live upon, but in the eye of reason exposed to famish and sterve, or to eat my Wife and Children; O monstrous and unnaturall cruelty! which I will maintain upon my life, is not to be parallell’d in all Queen Marie’s dayes, nor in the worst of King Charles his Reign.

So (my Lord) I have done with my PLEA,                      
and take leave to remain a true hearted Englishman,

John Lilburn.     

NOw Master Speaker, having finished my Plea to the Committee of Indemnity; I must acquaint you that I brought it to the said Committee, with whom I had some verball expostulations, after which I began to open my Plea, having it fair writ in my hand; which the Committee no sooner saw but presently they left. (me according to my desire) to the ordinary course of the Law, where I was necessitated at present to cease prosecution of Wollaston, because I was continually in expectation of my Liberty from the Lords, and therefore judged it but wisdom in me not to provoke them, and also for perfecting of my Ordinance, for my long sought, dear bought, and hard suffered for reparations, from old Sir H. Vane and the rest of my cruel Star-Chamber Judges; which Ordinance with much adoe was at last concluded, though to little purpose as before truly is noted in p. 15, 16. And for my Liberty, I was chiefly beholding for that to my friends in London, who in seven dayes got eight or nine thousand hands to a Petition for me, in the day of your straits by the Cavaleers, and presented it to your House, which my true friend, and faithfull and couragious fellow sufferer Sir Iohn Maynard took the advantage of, and improved the utmost of his interest, and thereby became principally instrumentall both in your House and in the House of Lords for my Liberty then, unto whom I must and do returne the chiefest thanks for it.

But now Sir, seeing my life (for no thing but my honesty, and because I will not be a slave to mens lusts) is so strongly sought for to be taken away by those that have made the largest pretences and promises that can be made in the world to deliver this Nation from thraldom, bondage, vassallage and slavery; and seeing they are such painted Sepulchers that they are like to cozen all the honest men in England with religious cheaters, such as Master Edmond Rozer, with whom as teacher to the Congregation where I was a Member, I walked many yeares in fellowship, and Master William Kiffin who was once my servant, and unto both whom the indearedest of my affections run out unto; to either of which I never gave a provocation to, nor wronged in all my dayes to my knowledge, neither of which (although the first of them and I have been familiar together for almost twenty years) I am confident of it, in reference to my actings to the sons of men, are able to my face to say black is my eye, yet for these men so high and mighty in their pretence of religion, and in their former familiarity and friendship to me, to persecute me bitterly, and write reproachfull books &c. against me and in the day of my calamity (when the great men of the Nation make deep furrows upon my back for nothing) when I am as it were in the Kehnell, and my hands and feet tied, then to beat, buffet, wound me, and pursue my very life; O the height not only of unchristianity, but even of unmanhood it selfe! such actions differing nothing in beastlinesse and brutishnesse from the brutest of Beasts themselves; if it had been enemies (as David did in the like case Ps. 55. 12, 13, 14. that had done it, I could have born it; but for my familiar, bosome, indeared friends, to deal thus with me, and that in the day of my adversity, when my life is hunted for like a Partridge upon the mountains, in this they are more unnaturall then the very Pagans and heathens themselves; for saith Isaiah, cha. 21. 14. The Inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled; and for their making a frothy light, giddy headed fellow of me in their late book called Walwyns wyles, easily deluded and drawn aside, being of no depth in my self; I am confident there is no two men in England that know me, whose consciences are more perswaded of the falsity of that their own assertion in every particular them M. Rozer, and Master Kiffin are, if they would speak the truth from their very hearts, the whole stream of my action extraordinarily well known to both of them for these twelve or thirteen years together, being as a large demonstration that I understand the things I goe about; and am not to be biased with favour, flattery, frowns, nor hard usage; (but act singly and nakedly upon my own principles that I beleeve God distills into my soul) I beleeve as the actions of any man upon the face of the earth are, having never forsaken nor changed my principles from better to worse the space of one hour, from the day of Gods sweet and fatherly discovering, and distinct, and assured making known of his eternall, everlasting and unchangable loving kindnesse in the Lord Jesus unto my soul, to this day, although I am confident it is now above 13 years, since I know God as my loving and reconciled father, that had particularly washed and clensed my soul with the precious bloud of Jesus Christ, and had caused the grace of God to appear in my soul, to teach me (as a reciprocall duty spread abroad in my heart by the overflowings of the fountaine of love within me) to abstaine from all ungodlinesse and worldly lusts and to live soberly and righteously, in this present evill world, doing good to all, but especially to the houshold of Faith, Ingraving with his Spirit upon my heart as with a point of a Diamond those Divine Laws, viz. to doe to all men as I would they should do to me, and in all the carriages of my life to be watchfull over my actings, and not to do evill that good may come of it, and thirdly that seeing that I am bought with a price by Redemption, that therefore I should not be the servant of men (to serve their lusts and wills) but entirely and solely the servant of God, to glorifie him with my body, in righteous and just actions amongst the sons of men, as well as in my soul, in speculation, imagination or adoration; and so at present I leave them to the reflections of their own consciences, if the vanity of the world and the fadeing promotions thereof hath not eat out the life and sensible part of them; into whose secrets now let not my soul (O Lord) enter into. But as for the rest of their subscribing Comrades, being in all six or seven, I know not some of them, only Iohn Price and Richard Arnold I know to be men fitly to deserve the name of Common Baristors, or known Eves-dropers, so detestable and abominable therfore to all truly & really honest unbiased men that know them, that a man shal but desile himselfe to touch them with a paire of tongs, deserving no other answer from me for their indefatigable and restlesse pains to bespatter and destroy me, but either the highest of scorn, or a good cudgell in due time; and so at present I leave them to the serious perusal of their own ugly forms and shapes, lively pictured out in that most excellent and masculine Anatomy of them, by Doct. Brooks in his Law Book entituled the Charity of Churchmen, or a Vindication of (my most choice and honest Comrade and Fellow-sufferer) Master William Walwyn.

But in regard my grand adversaries, and their little Beagles in London, doe continually report me to be a man of contention, and one that is never quiet from broyls, nor never content with any Government, but full of self conceitedness, malice and revenge; it will be very necessary for me to return an effectuall answer to this, before I come to the main thing I intend.

And therefore in the first place, When I was a childe (as Paul faith) I thought as a childe, I did as a childe; but after I came to have any discretion, well nigh twenty years agoe, my Father brought me to London, and bound me Apprentice to Mr. Thomas Hewson near London-stone; whom I served as faithfully about six years, as ever Apprentice served a Master: And though he had no more but my self, and had many thousands of Pounds went through my hands, driving a large Whole-sale trade; yet directly, nor indirectly, I cannot remember that ever I wronged him of a Groat, or the value of it; or that ever all the time I was with him, I was ever branded or taxed with one base visible act on; or that I either gave or took a box on the care, or any thing like it, or ever quarrelled with any Flesh alive all the time I was there, (although I had then as much mettle, life and spirit as most young men in London had) only I must confess, my old Master offered me somtimes some abuse, for which I carryed him before the Chamberlain of London, and ever after lived in peace with him: And after that, in all the dayes of my calamity by the Bishops, had the truest and cordiallest friend of him, that ever servant had of a Master in the day of his tryall. And though in his service (keeping only a Ware-house) severall days in the week I had spare time enough, yet I never misspent it, but continually spent it in reading the Bible, the Book of Martyrs, Luthers, Calvins, Bezaes, Gartwrights, Perkins, Molins, Burtons, and Rogers Works, with multitude of other such like Books that I had bought with my own money; till the foresaid Mr. Edmond Rozer, my familiar friend and neighbour, and fellow-professor of Religion, (conversant at my Masters house from the beginning of my coming to him) brought me in anno 1636. acquainted with Dr. Bastwick then prisoner in the Gatehouse, whom after I visited constantly, and for whose service I could have laid down my life; and for my true affection to him, I was forced by the Bishops and their Carchpoles to fly into the Low-Countreys for refuge, just about the time of his Banishment, where I was divers months, and where the Kings Ambassador, Sir VVilliam Boswell, laid for me (as I was informed) severall designes to put me a Ship board, and send me over to England to the Bishops here, for my visible activity there against them, which forced me continually to wear my sword about me; yet in all my time there, I never gave nor took a box on the care, nor had so much as a single quarrell; and at my coming to England I was in danger enough, and therefore went like a swaggerer disguised, and yet was betrayed by my pretended bosome friend, John Chilliburn servant to old Mr. VVharton in Bow-lane, and so fell into the devouring clutches of the High-Commission, Councell-board, and the Star-Chamber, all three of which had a fling at me: But in all my troubles and tryals by them for divers years together, I never saw or heard of any other prosecutor, but only two most desperate, forsworn, false Oaths of my then familiar acquaintance, Edmond Chillington then Button seller in Cannonstreet, and now a forsworn Lieutenant in Colonell Whaleys Regiment of Horse: which false Oaths he was hired unto by the Bishops and their Chaplins, Mr. Baker, &c. and by means of which he got his own Liberty, and this he did for my curtesie and kindnesse to him in his then captivity, &c. owing me at this day, I am confident of it, upon that account well nigh 30 pounds: by meanes of which Oathes, I had above 500 stripes with knotted cords, given me by the bloody decree of old Sir Henry Vane, &c. and endured a world of other unheard of miseries and barbarous cruelties for three yeers together: and at my deliverance by the Parliament, I could have had his cares for perjury, as easily as to have kissed my hand, if I had been revengefull; but so far was I from that, that I never questioned him for it, but contrarily I required him good for evill, when he was prisoner in Oxford Castle with me, and ready to starve, being destitute both of money and friends there; and to save him alive, I readily lent him both gold and silver, as he very well knowes, by the same token I was without my money long enough; and in the day of his prosperity here, I was fain to ask often enough for it, before I could get it again.

So here it is true, I was in contestation with the High Commission, Connoel-Board, and Star-chamber, but they began with me, and not I with them, (the story of which you may read in my book called the Christian mans tryall, Printed for Mr. V. Vill. Larner) It is true also, I had in them sufferings, many contestations with Gaolers, but it was to preserve my life, when they contrary to Law would have murdered me; but with all my fellow-prisoners, &c. I lived as peaceably, as lovingly and friendly as any man in the world did; and all this contestation was but for the maintaining my legall rights due to me by the Petition of Right, which before the beginning of those troubles I had read, and a little understood: In which contest this Parliament in its Primitive purity hath justified me, in not only by abolishing the foresaid unjust Courts by Act of Parliament; but also in and by their Votes of the 4th. May, 1641. which thus followeth; Resolved upon the Question, That the sentence of the Star-chamber given against John Lilburne, is illegall, and against the liberty of the Subject; and also bloody, wicked, cruel, barbarous & tyrannicall. Resolved also upon the Question, That reparations ought to be given to Mr. Lilburn, for his imprisonment, sufferings and losses sustained by that illegall sentence; Which I confess, I never got to this day, but had been a rich and happy man in reference to the world, if it had been voted I should never have expected any; for then might I have spent my eight years time in my trade beyond sea, that I have in a manner spent in following these Votes; and one way or other 1000 or 1500 pounds to boot; with seven or eight imprisonments besides for nothing.

Well, after this I fought with C. Lunsford, and divers others at Westminster, (who drew first) with my sword in my hand, to save the Parliament mens throats from being cut, conscienciously judging nothing that I had too good to hazard for so just an Authority as I then judged them to be; & they have since well rewarded me for my pains, with 7 or 8 cruell imprisonments, and never told me nor any body else to this hour wherfore, with many strong endeavours to take away my life in the said imprisonments unjustly; but I hope, they especially will justifie me in that contest; however, I from my heart beseech the righteous Lord of Heaven and Earth to judge righteously and impartially betwixt them and me, and to manifest his Righteous judgment betwixt us visibly to the world, that so the sons of men may see it, and behold it, and fear, and tremble before him.

Well, in the next place the Wars begun betwixt them and the King; and truly having seriously read all their primitive most excellent Declarations, and sufficiently my self smarted under the Kings irregular government, in the violating of the Laws of England, the compact betwixt him and his people; which he in my judgment had then notably violated; And not in the least doubtting but they would be as good as their words and Declarations, which were to secure the Peoples Lawes and Liberties to them, and not in the least to seek themselves; to provide for their weale, but not for their woe: and reading in the Scripture, Rom. 13. that the end of the institution of all Magistracy in the world, is for a terror to evill doers, and for a praise to those that doe well; the serious consideration of which, wrought out something in reason in my own thoughts, to ballance the letter of those Laws, (which I then knew were absolutely for the King), somthing like those generall rules or maximes in Law, recorded by that most excellent of English Lawyers, Sir Edw. Cook, in his 4 part. Institut. fol. 330. which are, That although the Law (of England) speak in generall terms, yet it is to be bound up, or accepted, but where reason ceaseth, there the law ceaseth; for seeing reason is the very life and spirit of the Law it self, the Lawgiver is not to be esteemed to respect that which hath no reason, although the generality of the words at the first fight, or after the Letter seem otherwise: And it, in my reason, could not be rationall for any men to appoint a compact to be betwixt two parties, but to bind both equally alike, King as well as People; and not to keep the people bound to the expresse letter of the Kings part, or any others, when the King or that other, shall break his or theirs in twenty particulars, as by Ship-money, Projects, &c. And further, saith Cook, fol. 328. ibid. Such an interpretation of ambiguous things (in Law) is always to be made, that absurdities and inconveniences may be avoyded: but absurdities and inconveniences cannot be avoyded, if the express and single letter of any Law, in reference to a King or Parliament, shall tie or bind me to cut my own throat, or any other wayes destroy my self, or my companions, brethren, or neighbours, which is irrationall or unjust for me to do: 1 Part. Book Decl. p. 150. So upon these or the like grounds, I took up arms in judgment and conscience against the King, and contested with his misgovernment in subduing my legall and native Rights, and in my sufferings and arraignment at Oxford therefore, carried my self with a great deal of resolution and undauntednesse of spirit; for which the Parliament by speciall Declaration of the 17 of December 1642, justified me: which Declaration you may see 1 part Book Decl. pag. 802, 803. yea, and exchanged me very honourably, high above my quality and condition; and at my coming home, some of them that were no mean ones, proffered my wife a place of honour and profit for me, then reputed worth about 1000 l. per annum: which I conscientiously scorned and slighted, professing unto my wife, to her extraordinary grief, that I must rather fight (though it were) for 8 pence a day, till I see the liberties and peace of England setled, then set me down in a rich place for mine own advantage, in the midst of so many grand distractions of my native Country as then possessed it: and so I left old Essex, that had been so generous unto me in giving me almost 300 l. ready money at my deliverance, as Colonel Fleetwood and Colonel Harrison very well know: But him for all that (I say) I left; for his persecuting for non-taking the Govenant, and down to Lincolnshire I posted; to my then two Darlings and familiar Friends, Manchester and Cromwel; where I engaged theartily, [and syent all Essex his money freely] and continued in many a desperate service, till Manchester visibly degenerated, and would have hanged me, for being overhonest, and over active in taking in Tikel Castle too soon: which with his visible turning knave, and apparantly betraying his trust at Denmington, in designing his Army, or the best part of it, a sacrifice to the Kings fury, made me engage against him and others of his Associates, with Cromwel, who thereunto sollicited me, and also threw up my Commission; and so his basenesse spoyled a Souldier of me, that I could never fight as a Souldier since; although Cromwel by himself face to face, and by his Agents (I am confident of it) hath from time to time much, and as earnestly solicited me, as is possible for a man to be solicited, to take up command in Fairfax his Army. But no sooner was I by the cars with Manchester, who first began with me, but Mr. Prynn wrote his desperate invective Books against us all that would not be conformable to the Covenant (that Cheat,) and the Scots Presbytery (that every thing and nothing;) and would have had us all destroyed, or banished the Land of our Nativity: so in conscience to God, and safety to my self and brethren (Mr. Edmund Roser, my present unworthy Antagonist, being then my pastor or teacher) I was inwardly compelled to deal with him, that thus sought to destroy the generation of the righteous; and accordingly I wrote him a sharp Epistle, now in print, dated 7 Jan. 1644. which brought upon my back a whole sea of troubles; and a Vote or Votes in the House of Commons past against me: whereupon, without any more adoc, black Corbet and the Committee of Examinations makes me a Prisoner, and tosseth and tumbleth me to the purpose: So before him, upon the 13 of June 1645, was I forced to give in my reasons (now in print) wherefore I wrote that excellent and seasonable Epistle (which was the first avowed publick Cannon I know of in England, discharged against the then insulting Presbyter, for the liberty of the consciences of my present bloudy and malicious persecutors, that now stile themselves the Pastours and Leaders of the Churches of God; but do indeed and in truth, by their unnaturall, unchristian, and unjust actions deserve no other stile, but men fit for nothing but to be the Pastors and Leaders of the Synagogue of Satan.) The whole story of which contest with Mr. Prynn, you may read at large in the beginning of my Book, called Innocency and Truth justified. And I hope my present Adversaries, who pretend themselves to be Leaders in the Churches of God, will justifie and acquit me from guilt or crime in these contests; especially considering that they themselves (that now are so violent in hunting after my bloud, and the bloud of my Associates, in the day of our trouble and calamity, now we are under hatches) durst then do nothing manlike for themselves; but sate in silence like a company of sneaks without souls or hearts.

And then before I well got rid of this broyl, you your self got the House of Commons the 19 day of July 1645. to fall upon my bones, and Vote me to prison I know not wherefore, unlesse it were for riding post from Summerset-shire through twenty dangers to bring you the first news of the Lord Gorings Army being routed at Lampert; for you never told me other to this hour; but yet I was tossed by your own means, from Hunt your Serjeants hands, to the hands of Knight his Deputy; and from thence the 9 of August to Newgate, by that old Patentee Monopolizer Lawrence Whittaker, then Chairman to the Committee of Examination; and when you had got me to Newgate, then you got your Bull-dogs in the House to bait me to the purpose, and also turn’d me over to be araigned at the sessions in Old-baily and so to be hanged at Tyburn; for you appointed Bradshaw your bloody and unjust Lord President, Master Seale and Walker &c. to prosecute me for my life; But after I had sufficiently baited both you and your unjust house; you sent me to Newgate a hundred pound in mony, I thinke to get me to hold my peace, and the 14 of October 1645. most honorably Voted me out of Prison, and so your self being my accuser, prosecuter and Judge, Justified me in this contest, the relation of which you may at large read in that notable book called Englands Birth-right, and in my Epistle of two sheets of paper in print dated 25. July 1645. but especially in my Large Book forementioned, and called Innocency and Truth Justified; and in this contest with you, my old acquzintance Doctor Bastwick, (for whose sake in the Bishops days I underwent more sorrows then is to be found in any ordinary death) fell upon me also, so that likewise I was faine to contest a little with him, but he begunne first.

And after this, viz. upon the 14 day of April 1646. Colonel Edward King arrests me in an Action of 2000 l. at Westminster for calling him Traitor, which was only in truth, for discharging my duty in prosecuting him, for betraying his trust to the Kings Party, while he was my, Colonel in Lincolnshire, and in this contest abundance of your own Ordinances justified me: which while I pleaded them in my Epistle to Judg Reeve of the 6 of June 1646 now in Print, before whom Kings action were dependent; the guilty conscioned Judge grew as angry with me therefore, as the Lawyers in Christs time did at him for reproving the hypocrisie of the Scribes and Pharisees, although nominally he medled not with them, yet their own guilty consciences did inwardly accuse them, which made one of them say, Master, in saying thus, thou reproachest us also, Luke 11. 45. unto whom Christ replyes and saith, vers. 46 &c. We unto you also ye Lawyers; for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be born and you your selves touch not the burthens with one of your fingers. We unto you for you build the Sepulchers of the Prophets; and your Fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witnesse that ye allow the deeds of your Fathers: for they indeed killed them, and you build their Sepulchers. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them Prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute; That the bloud of all the Prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this Generation, from the bloud of Abel. unto the bloud of Zacharias, which perished between the Aliar and the Temple: Verily I say unto you it shall be required of this Generation. Wee unto you Lawyers for ye have taken away the key of knowledge, ye entred not in your selves, and them that were entring in you hindred.

And accordingly Judge Reeves being wounded within at the down-right truth of my forementioned Epistle or Plea, that lasheth the base and abominable coruptions of him and the rest of his Brother-Judges, then and now Administrators of the Law; and finding something in it that brands Manchester for an unjust man in his late Generalship, who then was Speaker of the House of Peers, away to him trudgeth the Judge in all post haste with my Book, to get him by his power to be revenged of me, which he was easily provoked and perswaded too, and accordingly the 10 of June 1646. He gets an Order to passe the Lords House, To summon me up to the Lords Barito answer to such things as I stood Charged before their Lordships with, concerning the writing the foresaid Letter or plea, and when &illegible; to their Bar they dealt with me like a Spanish Inquisition, in examining me against my selfe, which forced me then at the Bar to deliver in my plea in Law, to prove that by the Laws of England they had no &illegible; over Commoners, to try them either for life, limb, liberty, or estate, which you may read in my Printed Book, called The Freemans freedom vindicated, which plea and protestation made them mad, and for which they sent me to Newgate, from whence upon the 16 of June I sent my appeal for Justice to the House of Commons against there, which made the Lords madder, whereupon they upon the 22 of June 1646 issuewed out an Order to bring me to their Bar again, where in contempt of their Jurisdiction, I refused to kneel, for which they committed me to the foresaid Wollaston Keeper of Newgate, to be kept close Prisoner without pen, inke or paper, the accesse of my wife or any other friend, which was with rigour sufficiently exercised upon me; till the 10 of July 1646. which day they issued out another Order to bring me again to their Bar, at which when I came, in the height of contempt of their Jurisdiction, I marched in amongst them with my bar on, So not only refused to kneel at their Bar, But also with my fingers stopt both my ears when they went about no read my pretended Charge, for all which they fined me 4000l. to the King, and further sentenced me to be a prisoner seven yeares, or during their pleasure, in the Tower of London, to be for ever disfranchised of being capable to bear any office or place, in Military or Civill Government, in Church or Common-wealth; and accordingly I was committed to the Tower, where I was in the nature of a close prisoner, divorced from the society of my Wife, till the 16 of September 1646. Whereupon a strong warre was made upon the Lords and their Jurisdiction, by the Authors of those two notable Books, called Vox plebis, and Regall Tyranny, and I also paid them prety well my self, in my two large books, Called, Londons Liberty in chaines discovered, and Londons Charters, and by a large Petition of my Wives, and accompanied at the delivery of it with divers of her feminine friends, I got my business to the examination of a Committee of the House of Commons, before whom I appeared, and pleaded the 9th. November, 1646. and had fair play, but waited month after month, and could get no report of it made by reason of the sway and power that Mr. Denzil Hollis, Sir Philip Stapleton, & the rest of their Associates had here in the House of Commons, who were then strong confederates with the Lords in their unjust usurpations, and my then professed enemies, in keeping me from Justice, the benefit of the Law and my right: whereupon I was compell’d and necessitated by a hard, long, and almost starving imprisonment to engage against them; which I did to the purpose, as you may read in my Books, called, The oppressed mans oppressions declared; The out-cryes of oppressed commons; There solved mans Resolution; and Rash-Oaths. And then the Army turned up the chief of their heals, by a trick of Hocus Pocus, alias, An Impeachment; And then up got Mr. Oliver cromwell my pretended friend, with whom; and in whose quarrel (for the Liberties of the Common-wealth (as he pretended) at his earnest solicitation of my wife in London, to send for me from the Leaguer then at Crowland; (and by his message delivered unto me for that end, by his brother-in-law Major Desborough, near Sir Will. Russell in Cambridg-shire) I engaged against the Earl of Manchester, &c. and was one of the first Evidences that gave in my testimony against him, before Mr. Lisle then chairman to that committee, where Manchesters impeachment did then depend; but alass, Mr. Oliver impeached him only for this end, (as the sequel fully declares) not in the least for Justice-sake, but only to get him, &c. out of his command) that so he might get in a friend of his own into it that he could rule, and it may be in time himself; both of which he bath compleatly done: but I say Mr. Oliver; by the help of the Army at their first Rebellion against the Parliament, their Lords and Masters, was no sooner up, but like a most persidious base unworthy man, he turned my enemy and Jaylol, and was as great with Manchester in particular as ever; yea, and the House of Beers were his only white Boyes; Being more then his &illegible;, and &illegible; conformable to his will then the House of commons it self; and who but Oliver (that before to me had called them in effect both tyrants and usurpers) became their Proctor where ever he came, yea, and set his son Ireton at work for them also, insomuch as at some meetings with some of my Friends at the Lord Whartons lodgings, he clapt his hand upon his breast, and to this purpose, professed as in the sight of God, upon his conscience, That the Lords had as true a right to their Legislative and Jurisdictive power over the Commons, as he had to the coat upon his back; and he would procure a friend, viz. Mr. Nath. Fionnes, should argue and plead their said right with any friend I had in England; and not only so, but did he not get the Generall and councell of War at Windsor (about the time when the Votes of no more Addresses were to pass) to make a Declaration to the whole Kingdom, declaring the legall Rights of the Lords House, and their fixed Resolutions to maintain and uphold it? which, as I remember was sent by the General, &c. to the Lords by Sir Hardesse VValler; and to indear himself the more unto the Lords (in whose House without all doubt he intended to have sate himself:) he requited me evil for good, and became my enemy to keep me in prison, out of which I must not stir, unless I would stoop and acknowledge the Lords jurisdiction over commoners, (and for that end he set his Agents and Instruments at work to get me to doe it;) And it became the above-board work of him and his son-in-law, after a little under-hand working, to make all means gone about in the Army for my liberty, ineffectuall, or a snare to me; so that I was pinched and forced for my own preservation, to fall about Olivers cares, and his Sons both, to discover their depth of knavery acted by themselves and agents in their base dealing with me, (who was then almost destroyed in prison by their villany) as you may partly read in my Books, called, The Juglers discovered; Jonah’s cryes out of the Whaleshelly; The Peoples Prerogative; My additionall Plea before Mr. John Maynard of the House; and my Whip for the present House of Lords.

But to fill up the measure of his malice against me, after by my own industry and importunity, I had got a little Liberty, in spite of him and his faction, from your House, he and his Faction got your House again to commit me and Mr. Wildman prisoners as Traytors, upon 19. Jan. 1647. for but mannaging an honest Petition, that did but a little touch upon the Lords power: And yet this very Mr. Oliver hath since been the principall Instrument to pluck up the House of Lords by the roots, as usurpers and encroachers, because they would not joyn with him to cut off the King’s head (for that which he is as guilty of himself) and so take him out of his way, that he might be absolute King himself, as now he is, and more then ever the King was in his life: for he can, and hath taken severall free men of England by the shoulders at the House door, and in Westminster-hall, and by his will, without any due processe of Law, commited them prisoners to his mercinary Janisaries, (as lately he hath done to honest Cornet Chesman, (not of the Army) for but delivering a Letter of his unjustly imprisoned Captains, Cap. Bray, to the Speaker, and soliciting him for an Answer to it.) The like of which Tyranny the King never did in his Reign; and yet by Saint Oliver &illegible; lost his head for a Tyrant. But the thing that I principally drive at here, is, to declare, that Oliver and his Parliament now at Westminster (for the Nations it is not) having pluck’d up the House of Lords by the roots, as usurped, tyrannicall, and unjust, hath thereby himself justified me in all my contests with them, in denying their Jurisdiction over Commoners by Law.

And although Oliver had his hands full with Poyer, Goring, Holland, Hamilton and Langdale the last yeer; but especially with the generall odium that was then in both Houses against him, upon the notable Impeachment of his Major Huntington, and I then by my absolute freedom was a little up, and could have at my pleasure been revenged of him, if I had so pleased, either by divisions in his Army, which was easily then in my power; or by joyning in impeaching him with Major Huntington; which I had matter enough to do, and was earnestly solicited to it again and again, and might have had money enough to boot in my then low and exhausted condition: yet I scorned it, and rather applyed my hand to help him up again, as not loving a Scotch Interest, as is very well and fully known to his present darling Mr. Cornelius Holland, and also to Colonel Ludlow, and Mr. Thomas Challoner, with other Members that I could name; and which was demonstrated to himself by a Letter I sent him by Mr. Edw. Sexby, whom on purpose I procured to go down to him: the true Copy whereof thus followeth:

Sir,

WHat my Comrade hath written by our trusty Bearer, might be sufficient for us both; but to demonstrate unto you that I am no staggerer from my first principles that I engaged my life upon, nor from you, if you are what you ought to be, and what you are strongly reported to be; although, if I prosecuted or desired revenge for an hard and almost sterving imprisonment, I could have had of late the choice of twenty opportunities to have payd you to the purpose; but I scorn it, especially when you are low: and this assure your self, that if ever my band be upon you, it shall be when you are in your full glory, if then you shall decline from the righteous wayes of Truth and Justice: Which, if you will fixedly and impartially prosecute, I am

Yours, to the last drop of my heart bloud,
(for all your late severe hand towards me)

JOHN LILBURN.

Which Letter &c. as I have been told by the Bearer, was not a little welcome.

But his dealings with me now manifest that Proverb to be very true, viz. Save a Thief from the Gallows, and for your requitall, he will be the first shall hang you. But to this I shall say no more but what the Spirit of truth saith in Prov. 17. 13. That he that rewards evill for good, evill shall not depart from his house. And being at liberty, not liking in the least the several juglings I observed in divers great ones in reference to the personall Treaty, and that there was nothing worth praising or liking thought of or presented by the Parliament in reference to the Peoples Liberties or Freedoms, (especially considering their late large expences and hazards for the procurement of the settlement of them) I was compelled in conscience to have a hand in that most excellent of Petitions of the 11 of Septemb. 1648. which (I am sure) was no small piece of service to Cromwel and his great Associates: though his Church-men now my chiefest Adversaries, durst not joyn in it, nor own it for very fear. And having been in the North about my own business, where I saw Cromwel, and made as diligent scrutinies into things about him as I could; which I then to my self judged, favoured more of intended self-exalring, then any thing really and heartily (of what before I had strongly heard of him) to the through advancement of those things that were worthy to be accounted indeed the Liberties and Freedoms of the Nation.

And being come to London, my self and some other of my friends, by two Messengers, viz. Mr. Hunt one of Cromwel’s creatures, and another, sent a Message down to him to Pomfret to be delivered to himself, and to debate it with him, and bring his expresse Answer back again speedily: the effect of which Message was,

That to our knowledge, God had caused him to understand the principles of a just Government, under which the glory of God may shine forth by an equall distribution unto all men.

That the obtaining of this was the sole intended end of the Warre: and that the Warre cannot be justified upon any other account, then the, defence of the peoples right, unto that just Government, and their Freedom Under it.

His Answer to which Message by Mr. Hunt was principally directed to the Independents; some of whom appointed a meeting at the Nags-head Tavern by Blackwell-Hall, and invited Mr. Wildman and my self, &c. thither, whether we went accordingly, and where wee met with Colonel Tichburn, Col. John White, Dr. Parker, Mr. Taylor, John Price, and divers others; where we had a large debate of things, and where the just ends of the War were as exactly laid open by Mr. VVildman, as ever I heard in my life. But towards the conclusion, they plainly told us, The chief things first to be done by the Army, was first To cut off the Kings Head, &c. and force and throughly purge if not dissolve the Parliament: All of which we were all against, and press’d to know the bottom of their center, and in what they would absolutely rest for a future Settlement: and I plainly told them in these words, or to this effect.

Its true, I look upon the King as an evill man in his actions, and divers of his party as bad: but the Army had couzened as the last yeer, and fallen from all their Promises and Declarations, and therefore could not rationally any more he trusted by us without good cautions and security: In which regard, although me should judge the King as arrant a Tyrant as they supposed him, or could imagine him to be; and the Parliament as bad as they could make them; yet there being no other balancing power in the Kingdome against the Army, but the King and Parliament, it was our interest to keep up one Tyrant to balance another; till we certainly knew what that Tyrant that pretended fairest would give &illegible; as our Freedoms; that so we might have something to rest upon, and not suffer the Army (so &illegible; &illegible; &illegible; &illegible;) to &illegible; all the Government of the Kingdom into their &illegible; and &illegible; (which were two things we nor no &illegible; man could like) and leave no persons nor power to be a &illegible; against them: And if we should do this, our slavery for future (I told them) might probably be greater then ever it was in the Kings time, and so our last errour would be greater then our first: and therefore I pressed very hard for an Agreement amongst the People first, utterly disclaiming the thoughts of the other, ill this was done. And this (I told them) was not onely my opinion, but I believe it to be the unanimous opinion of all my friends with whom I most constantly conversed.

At which the Gentlemen Independents were some of them most desperately cholerick: But my opinion being barked with the Speeches of some others of my Friends, we came calmly to chuse out four and four of a side to debate and conclude of some Heads towards the accomplishment of an Agreement of the People: and (as I remember) their four were Colonel Titchburn. Col. White, Dr. Parker and Jo. Price; and our four were M. William Walwyn Lieutenant Col. Wetton, M. John Wildman, and my self. But John Price sent some of the company to tell us (after we were parted, and some of us drinking a cup of wine below) he would not make one, if Mr. Walwyn was one, for he had a prejudice against him. Unto which I replyed, M. Walwyn had in are honestly and integrity in his little finger, then John Price had in all his body; and therefore No meeting for me, seeing John Price was so base, unlesse Mr. VValwyn was one, though we had but two of a side: but the businesse being much debated and expostulated, Mr. VValwin and John Price both (for peace sake) were at present laid aside: and according to appointment (as I remember) all the other six met the fifteenth of Novemb. 1648, being Wednesday, at the fore-mentioned Nags head; and there, after some debate, unanimously agreed in these words, viz. That in our conceptions, the onely way of Sentiment is.

1. That some persons be chosen by the Army to represent the whole Body: And that the well affected in every County (if it may be) chuse some persons to represent them: And those to meet at the Head-Quarters.

2. That those persons ought not to exercise any Legislative power, but only to draw up the foundation of a just Government, and to propound them to the well-affected people in every County to be agreed to: Which Agreement might to be above Law; and therefore the bounds, limits and extent of the people’s Legislative Deputies in Parliament, contained in the Agreement to be drawn up into a formall contract, to be mutually signed by the well-affected people and their said Deputies upon the days of their Election respectively.

3. To prevent present confusion, the Parliament (if it be possible) may not be by force immediately dissolved; but that the day of its dissolution be inserted in that Agreement, by vertue whereof it shall be dissolved.

4. That this way of Settlement, (if it may be) should be mentioned in the Armie’s first Remonstrance.

5. That the matter of the Petition of Septemb. 11. be the matter to be setled.

Which Agreement of ours (as I remember) was immediately sent away to the Head Quarters at St. Alban’s by Mr. &illegible; of Southwark, where (as it was afterwards told us, it was very well accepted and approved of by the great ones there; whose high and mighty Declaration (&illegible; by &illegible; Windsor, when he pretended to lay down his Commission) against the King coming to our view, we made divers objections against many passages in it, but especially at divers lashes that &illegible; at the beginning of it hinted at us; which we told some of their friends, could not he put in wish a spirit of peace towards us, or intention of good to the Nation, in those good things we desired and propounded for it: But it was with many fair expressions salved up by them; upon which we judged it requisite for some of us to go to Windsor, to speak with Mr. &illegible; the Stear-man himself; and accordingly (as I remember) Lieut. Colonel VVelton, Mr. Petty, Mr. VVildman, and my Self met there; and having drawn up our thoughts in writing, we communicated them to Col. Tychburn, Col. VVhite, M. Moyer, and divers others of the Independent Party, who were with us to the Governours house, where we met with Mr. Peters, the grand Journey, or Hackney-man of the Army; and after we had acquainted him with our mindes, we delivered him a copy of our Paper, containing distinctly the Heads of what we desired, and intreated him to deliver them to Commissary Ireton, with whom we desired to discourse about them; who sent us word, at such an hour he would come to our Inn at the Garter, to speak with us about them; and accordingly he did, accompanied with a whole Train of Officers; and a large and sharp discourse we had; our principall difference lying at his desire in the too strict restraining Liberty of conscience, and in keeping a power in the Parliament to punish where no visible Law is transgressed; the unreasonablenesse of which was much spoken against by divers of the principall Officers with him, but especially by Col. Harrison, who was then extreme fair and gilded. And so little satisfaction had we at this meeting, from Ireton (the &illegible; Alpha and Omega) that we despaired of any good from them, and were in a manner resolved to come away in haste to London, and acquaint our friends with our conceptions, and so improve our Interests forcibly, as much as we could, to oppose their intended designes. But Colonel Harrison coming to us again at ten o clock, according to our desire, we had a private and large discourse with him, and fully and effectually acquainted him with the most desperate mischievousnesse of their attempting to do these things, without giving some good security to the Nation for the future settlement of their Liberties and Freedoms, especially in frequent, free, and successive Representatives, according to their many Promises, Oathes, Covenants and Declarations; or else as soon as they had performed their intentions to destroy the King, (which we fully understood they were absolutely resolved to do, (yea, as they told us, though they did it by Martiall Law) and also totally to root up the Parliament, and invite so many Members to come to them as would joyn with them, to manage businesses, till a new and equall Representative could by an Agreement be setled; which the chiefest of them protested before God, was the ultimate and chiefest of their designes and desires.) I say, we press’d hard for security, before they attempted these things in the least, lest when they were done we should be solely left to their wills and swords; by which, we told them, they might role over us arbitrarity; without declared Laws, as a conquered people, and so deal with us as the poor &illegible; peasants in France and &illegible; with, who enjoy nothing that they can call their own. And besides, we plainly cold him, we would not trust their bare words in generall onely, for they had broke their promise once already, both with us and the Kingdom; and he that would break once, would make no conscience of breaking twice, if it served for his ends, and therefore they must come to some absolute particular compact with us, or else, some of us told him, we would post away to London, and stir up our Interest against them, yea and spend our blonds to oppose them. To which he replyed to this effect, It was true in what we said; far he must ingenuously confesse, they had once broken &illegible; &illegible; and the Kingdom, and therefore acknowledged it was dangerous trusting them upon Generals again: But saith he, we cannot stay so long from going to London with the &illegible; to perfect an Agreement; and without our speedy going, we are all unavoydably destroyed to &illegible; (saith he) we sally understand, that the Treaty betwixt the King and Parliament is almost &illegible; upon: at the conclusion of which, we shall be commanded by King and Parliament to disband, the which if we do, we are unavoydably destroyed for what we have done already: and if we do not disband, they will by Act of Parliament proclaim us Traytors, and declare us to be the onely hinderers of setling &illegible; in the Nation; and then (saith he) we shall never be able to fight with both the Interest of King and Parliament: so that you will be destroyed as well as &illegible; for we certainly understand that Major Generall Brown &c. are underhand preparing an Army against us. And therefore I professe, I confesse, I know not will what to say as your Reasons, they are so strong; but our Necessities are so great, that we must speedily &illegible;; and to go without giving you some content, is hazardable too.

Well Sir, (said we) we have as much cause to distrust the Parliament men, as we have to distrust you; for we know what and how many large promises they have made to the Kingdom; and how little they have performed; and we also know what a temptation Honour, Power, and profit are even to those spirits that were pretty ingenuous and honest before; and when you have done your works and gor, as you pretend, forty or fifty of the honestest Members of the House to you; alas, (said we) It will be a mock Power; yet they may finde such sweetnesse and delight in their pretended power, that they may fly to your swords for their protection, and bid us go shake our cars for our Agreement, and go look it where we can catch it. And therefore we will trust generals no more to your forty or fifty Members of Parliament, then to you: for it’s possible, if we leave the Agreement to their framing, they may frame us such a one as will do us no good, but rather make us slaves by our own consents, if signed by us: and therefore we press’d him that we might agree upon a small and absolute Judge of the &illegible; and method of the Agreement, that so we might not spend months and yeers in dispute about it. And therefore we would propound this unto him, That if their honest friends in the Parliament, as they called them, would chuse four from amongst themselves, and the Army four from amongst themselves, and the Independents four from amongst themselves; we that were nick-named Levellers, would chuse four from among our selves; and these sixteen should draw up the Agreement finally, without any more appeal to any other; and we for our parts, so far as all our Interest in England extended, would be willing to acquiesce in, and submit to the determinations of them 16, or the major part of them: And we would be willing the Presbyterian party should be invited and desired to chuse four more to be of equall authority with the other sixteen. Provided, they did it by the first day we should appoint to meet upon.

Which Proposition he approved of extraordinary well, and said, It was as just, as rationall, and as equitable as possibly could be; and said, He doubted not but all Interests would center in it, and ingaged to acquaint them with it: and so we parted, very glad that we were likely to come to some fixed agreement for the future enjoyment of our dear bought, and hard purchased Freedoms.

And the next morning we went to the Gentlemen Independents, that lay the next door to us, who were almost ready to horse for London, and we acquainted them with it, who liked it very well, and with whom we fixed a night for severall distinct meetings in London, to chuse our respective trustees for this work, and also appointed a day to meet at Winsor again about it, and from them we went to Master Holland, who then was the chief stickler, for those they called honest men in the House of Commons, and as I remember we met Colonel Harison, Master Holland, and Captaine Smith a Member, and his Son in Law in the Street, and Master Holland seemed exceedingly to rejoyce at the Proposition. Colonel Harison having told him of it before, which we repeated over distinctly to him, that so in conclusion we might not be gulled through pretence of mistakes or misunderstandings; which we were continually afraid we should meet with; so we went all together to Commissary Generall Iretons chamber to have his concurrence, which of all sides was taken for the concurrence of the whole Army, or at least for the powerfull and governing part of it; he being in a manner both their eyes and ears: so when we came to his Chamber in the Castle, he was in Bed with his Wife, but sent us out word by Colonel Harison as he averred to us, that he did absolutely and heartily agree to the foresaid Proposition, which to avoid mistakes, was again repeated, so we seemed joyfull men of all sides, and apointed a day speedily to meet at Winsor, about it, Master Holland againe and againe engaging for four Parliament men, and Colonel Harison, with Commissary Ireton for four of the Army, as we Londoners had done for each of our tribe; and so to horse we went, and I overtook upon the road the whole gang of Independants, with whom I discoursed again, and acquainted them all fully with the absolutenes of our agreement, which they acquainted their friends with in London, who chose Colonel Tichburn, Colonel Iohn White, Master Daniel Taylor, and Master Price the Scrivener; And for our party, there was by unanimous consent of the Agents from our friends in and about London, at a every large meeting chosen Master William Walwyn, Master Maximilian Petty, Master Iohn Wildman and my Self, and for the honest men of the Parliament as they were called, they had severall meetings at the Bell in Kings-street, and at Summerset-house, where as I was informed, they chose Colonel Henry Martyn, Colonel Alexander Rigby, Master Thomas Challiner and Master Scot, with one or two more to supply the places of those of them that should be absent at any time about their occasions; so when we came to Winsor the Army men had chosen Commissary Generall Ireton, Sir William Constable, and as I remember Colonel Tomlinson, Colonel Baxster, Lieutenant Colonel Kelsey, and Captain Parker, some two of the which last 4 should alwayes make up the number; so we had a meeting in their Councel-Chamber at the Castle, where we were all of all sides present, but only the Parliament men, for whom only Colonel Martyn appeared, and after a large discourse about the foundations of our agreement, we departed to our Lodging, where Colonel Martyn and we four nick-named Levellers, lockt our selves up, and went in good earnest to the consideration of of our Agreement, but much was not done in it there, because of their haste to London to force and break up the Parliament (which Journy at all, was very much opposed by M. Walwyn, and many reasons he gave against their march to London at all) the absolute desolution of which their friends in the House would no ways admit of, although Ireton, Harison &c. commonly stiled it then a Parliament that had forfeited us trust, a mock Parliament, and that if they did not totally dissolve it, but purge it, it would be but a mock Parliament, and a mock power however; for where have we say they either law, warrant or Commission to purge it, or can any thing justifie us in the doing it; but the height of necessitie to save the Kingdom from a new war, that they with the conjunction with the King will presently vote and declare for, and to procure a new and free representative and so successive and frequent free Representatives, which this present Parliament will never suffer, and without which the freedoms of the Nation are lost and gone, and the doing of which can only justifie before God and man our present and formr extraordinary actings with, and against legall Authority, and so all our fighting fruitlesse; and this was their open and common discourse, with more of the like nature; and to those that objected against their totall dissolving or breaking the House, (and the illegalitie of their intended and declared trying of the King, which also was opposed by us, till a new and unquestionable Representative was sitting;) as I am able sufficiently by pluralitie of witnesses to prove and justifie, yea when they were come to London, Ireton, &c. and some Members of the House (in a Chamber neer the long Gallery in VVhite-hall,) had a large conference, where and to whom he stifly maintained the same to their faces, calling this Purg’d Parliament, a mocke power and mocke Parliament, which Members I beleeve if there were a necessity of it, I could produce to justifie it; for I am sure one of them told me the substance of all the discourse immediatly after it happened; So that if it be treason to call this a Pretended Parliament, a mock power, a mock Parliament, yea and to say in plain English, that it is no Parliament at all, then they themselves are the prime, the chief and originall traytors; and if this be true, as true it is; then there is neither Legall Judges, nor Justices of Peace in England; and if so; then all those that are executed at Tiburne, &c. by their sentences of condemnations given against them, are meerly murthered and the Judges or Justices that condemned them are liable in time to be hanged (and that justly) therefore, for acting without a just and legall commission either from true Regall, or true Parliamentary power; see for this purpose the notable arguments in the 13, 14, but especially 15 page of the second Edition of my late picture of the Councell of State: But to returne to our acting to compleat the Agreement, all parties chosen of all sides constantly mett at White-hall after the Army came to town, saying the Parliament men failed, only Master Martin was most commonly there, and a long and tedious tug we had with Commissary Generall Ireton only, yea sometimes whole nights together, Principally about Liberty of Conscience, and the Parliaments punishing where no law provides, and very angry and Lordly in his debates many times he was; but to some kind of an expedient in the first, for peace sake we condescended in to please him, and so came amongst the major part of the 16 Commissioners, according to our originall Agreement, to an absolute and finall conclusion; and thinking all had been done as to any more debate upon it, and that it should without any more adoe be promoted for subscriptions, first at the Councell of Warre, and so in the Regiments, and so all over the Nation; but alas poor fools we were meerly cheated and cozened (it being the principall unhappinesse of some of us (as to the flesh) to have our eyes wide open to see things long before most honest men come to have their eyes open; and this is that which turns to our smart and reproach) and that which we Commissioners feared at the first, viz. (that no tye, promises nor ingagements were strong enough to the grand Juglers and Leaders of the Army, was now made cleerly manifest, for when it came to the Councel, there came the Generall, Crumwell, and the whole gang of creature Colonels and other Officers, and spent many dayes in taking it all in pieces) and there Ireton himself shewed himself an absolute King, if not an Emperor, against whose will no man must dispute, and then fhittlecock Roe their Scout, Okey, and Major Barten (where Sir Hardresle VValler sate President) begun in their open Councell to quarrell with us by giving some of us base and unworthy language, which procured them from me a sharpe retortment of their own basenesse and unworthinesse into their teeth, and a CHALLENG from my selfe, into the field besides seeing they were like to fight with us in the room, in their own Garison, which when Sir Hardresse in my eare reproved me for it, I justified it and gave it him again for suffering us to be so affronted: And within a little time after I took my leave of them for a pack of dissembling juggling Knaves, amongst whom in consultation ever thereafter I should scorn to come (as I told some of them;) for there was neither faith, truth, nor common honesty amongst them: and so away I went to those that chose and trusted me, and gave publikely and effectually (at a set meeting appointed on purpose) to divers of them an exact account how they had dealt with us, and couzened and deceived us; and so absolutely discharged my self for medling or making any more with so persidious a generation of men as the great ones of the Army were, but especially the cunningest of Machiavilians Commissary Henry Ireton: and having an exact copy of what the greatest part of the foresaid sixteen had agreed upon, I onely mended a clause in the first Reserve about Religion, to the sense of us all but Ireton, and put an Epistle to it, of the 15 of December 1648, and printed it of my own accord, and the next day it came abroad; about which Mr. Price the Scrivener and my self had a good sharp bout at Colonel Tichburn’s house within two or three dayes after, where I avowed the publishing of it, and also putting my Epistle to it of my own head and accord. And after that I came no more amongst them, but with other of my friends, prepared a complaint against their dealing with us, and a kinde of Protest against their proceedings; which with my own hand I presented to the Generals own hands at the Mews, the 28 of December 1648, being accompanied with Major Robert Cobbes, Mr. Thomas Prince, Mr. George Middlemore, Mr. Robert Davies, Mr. Richard Overton, Mr. Edward Tenth, Mr. Daniel Linton, Mr. William Bottom, Mr. John Harris, Mr. Thomas Dafferne, Mr. Thomas Goddard, Mr. Samuel Blaiklock, Mr. Andrew Dednam, Mr. John Walters, and Mr. Richard Pechel; and which was immediately printed by Ja. and Jo. Moxon, for William Larner, at the signe of the Black Moor neer Bishops-gate: within two or three dayes of the delivery of which, I went towards my Journey to Newcastle; and about five weeks after my arrivall in those parts, I heard that the General and his Councel had presented their Agreement to your House: which, when I read the title page of it, I found it to be upon the 20 of January 1648, which is compleat 35 dayes after my publishing of that which is called ours.

And yet in the third and fourth pages of a Declaration of the proceedings of the General in reducing the late revolted Troops, appointed by his Excellency and his Councel of VVar to be printed and published May 22 1649, and signed by their Order, Richard Hatter Secretary, and first printed at Oxford, and then re-printed at London May 23 1649. I finde these very words, viz.

The grounds and manner of the proceedings of these men that have so much pretended for the Liberty of the people, have been as followeth:

There was a paper filled the Agreement of the people, framed by certain select persons, and debated at a generall Councel of Officers of the Army, to be tendered to the Parliament, and to be by them commended over to the people of the Nation: It being hoped, that such an Expedient, if assented unto, at least by the honest part of the people that had appeared for this common Cause, to which God hath so witnessed, it would have tended much to settlement, and the composing of our differences; at least have fixed honest men to such grounds of certainty as might have kept them firm and entire in opposing the common enemy, and stand united to publick Interest.

The generall Councell of the Army, and the other sorts of men, going then under the name of Levellers (so baptized by your selves at Putney) who (by their late actings have made good the same which we then judged but an imputation) bad (as now it appears) different ends and aims, both in the matter and manner of their proceedings: That which was intended by those men, was to have somewhat tendred as a test and coertion upon the people, and all sorts of men and Authorities in the Land: That which these, to wit, the Councell of the Army aimed at, was to make an humble Representation of such things as were then likely to give satisfaction, and unite, and might be remitted to. MENS JUDGMENTS, to be owned or disowned as men were satisfied in their consciences, and as it should please God to let men SEE REASON for their so doing; that so it might not be onely called an Agreement, but through the freedom of it, be one INDEED, and RECEIVE IT’S STAMP OF APPROBATION FROM THE PARLIAMENT TO WHOM IT WAS HUMBLY SUBMITTED.

HEREUPON THOSE OTHER MEN TOOK so much DISSATISFACTION, that they forthwith printed and spread abroad their paper, which was different from that of the Army; using all possible means to make the same to passe: but with how little effect, is very well known. And finding by the Armie’s application to the PARLIAMENT, that they were likely, according to their duty, to STAND BY AND OWN THEM AS THE SUPREME AUTHORITY OF THE NATION, they have by all means assayed to vilipend that Authority, presenting them to the people (in printed Libels, and otherwise) as worse Tyrants then any who were before them.

In which passage of the Generals and his Councel, I shall desire to observe these things, which plainly to me are in the words: and if they can make it appear that I mistake their words as they are laid down, I shall cry them mercy.

First, That they give a false and untrue Narrative of the original occasion of that Agreement, to which by our importunate importunity they were necessitated, and drawn unto that little they did in it as a Bear to the stake, as is truely by me before declared; and which, as the sequell shews, they undertook meerly to quiet and please us (like children with rattles) till they had done their main work; (viz. either in annihilating or purging the House to make it fit for their purpose, and in destroyng the King; unto both which they never had our consents in the least) that so they might have no opposition from us, but that we might be lull’d asleep in a fools paradise with thoughts of their honest intentions, till all was over; and then totally lay it aside, as they have done, as being then able to do what they pleased whether we would or no: for if they ever had intended an Agreement, why do they let their own lie dormant in the pretended Parliament ever since they presented it? seeing it is obvious to every knowing English eye, that from the day they presented it to this hour, they have had as much power over their own Parliament now sitting, as any School-master in England ever had over his Boys. But to them it was presented (who scarce ought to meddle with it) on purpose, that there, without any more stir about it, it might be lodged for ever: For alas, an Agreement of the People is not proper to come from the Parliament, because it comes from thence rather with a command then any thing else; so that its we, and not they that really and in good earnest say, it ought not to do, but to be voluntary. Besides, that which is done by one Parliament, as a Parliament, may be undone by the next Parliament: but an Agreement of the People begun and ended amongst the People can never come justly within the Parliaments cognizance to destroy: which the Generall and the chief of his Councel knew well enough; and I dare safely say it upon my conscience, that an Agreement of the People upon foundations of just freedom gon through with, is a thing the Generall and the chiefest of his Councel as much hates, as they do honesty, justice and righteousnesse, (which they long since abandoned) against which in their own spirits they are absolutely resolved (I do verily beleeve) to spend their heart blouds, and not to leave a man breathing in English air, if possibly they can, that throughly and resolutely prosecutes it; a new and just Parliament being more dreadful to them, then the great day of Judgement spoken so much of in the Scripture. And although they have beheaded the King, yet I am confidently perswaded their enmity is such at the Peoples Liberties, that they would sooner run the hazard of letting the Prince in to reign in his Fathers stead, then further really a just Agreement, or endure the sight of a new Parliament rightly constituted.

Secondly, Its plain to me out of their words, That they positively aver, that their Agreement was presented to the Parliament before ours was published in print; which I must and do here tell both the General and his Councel, is the arrantest lie and falshood under the cope of heaven: for I have truely before declared, and will justifie it with my life, that ours was printed above thirty dayes before theirs was presented; yea, it was printed before theirs was half perfected. But it is no wonder, when men turn their backs of God, of a good conscience, of righteousnesse and common honesty amongst men, and make lies and falshoods, oppression and bloody cruelty their sole confidence and refuge, that then they say or swear any thing; all which, if the Generall and his Councel had not done, they would have scorned and abhorred, in the face of the Sun, to have affirmed and printed so many lies, as in their foregoing words is literally (without wresting) contained.

Thirdly, They positively hint, our dissatisfaction was taken at them for presenting theirs to the Parliament; which is also as false as the former: for 1. Our dissatisfaction was above a month before declared in their open Councel by my self, &c. as Sir Hardresse Waller and divers others of them cannot but justifie. 2. Our dissatisfaction was long before taken, upon the grounds by me before specified: the manifestations of which dissatisfaction I presented to the Generals own hands the 28 of December 1648, accompanied and subscribed with my own name, and fifteen more of my Comrades, in behalf of our selves, and all our friends that sent us, which we also immediately caused to be printed. And their Agreement, as the Title of it declares, was not presented till the 20 of Jan. after.

Fourthly, They say, VVe used all possible means to make ours passe; but with how little successe, they say, is very well known. If they mean, we used all possible means to make ours passe with them, it’s true; but the reason it had no better effect, was because they had no minde to it, it was too honect for them: and I am sure, in the very Epistle to it, it is declarared, That the principall reason of the printing of it, is, that the people might have an opportunity to consider the equitie of it, and offer their reasons against any thing therein contained. And this was all the means, after the printing of it, we used to make it passe. Alasse, we knew the Armies swords were longer then ours, and would by force cut in pieces all our endeavours that we should use against their minds and wils, by reason of the peoples cowardlinesse; and therefore we let ours rest, and were willing to sit still to see them perfect theirs, and never did any thing in it since amongst the people to make it passe, that I know of.

Fifthly, They say, VVe were troubled at their doing their duty, in submitting to authority, and owning the Parliament as the Supreme Authoritie of the Nation: When as alas, it is as visible as the Sun when it shines in its glory and splendour, That CORAH, DATHAN and ABIRAM of old were never such Rebels against Authoritie as the General and his Councel are, nor the Anabaptists at &illegible; with JOHN of LEYDON and NEPERDULLION were never more contemners of Authority; nor JACK STRAW, nor WAT TILER, nor all those famous men mentioned with a black pen in our Histories, and called Rebels and Traytors, can never be put in any scale of equall balance, for all manner of REBELLIONS and TREASONS against all sorts and kindes of Magistracy, with the Generall and his Councell: And I will undertake the task upon my life, to make good every particular of this I now say, to the General’s face. For did any, or all of them fore-mentioned, ever rebell against their Advancers, Promotors and Creators, as these have done two severall times? Did ever any, or all of them chop off (without all shadow of Law) a KING’s and NOBLES HEADS? ravish and force a Parliament twice? nay, raze the foundation of a Parliament to the ground? and under the notion of performing a trust, break all Oathes, Covenants, Protestations and Declarations, (and make evidently void all the declared ends of the War) which was one of Strafford’s principal Treasons, and which is notably aggravated against him by M. Pym in his fore-mentioned Speech against him? pag. 9. 11. and under pretence of preserving their Laws, Liberties, and Freedoms, destroy, annihilate, and tread under their feet all their Laws, Liberties, Freedoms and Properties (although they could cite against Strafford the precedent of Trifilian chief Justice, who lost his life for delivering of opinions for the subversion of the Law, as S. John’s Argument of Law against him, pag. last but one declares; yea, and against the Ship-money Judges, and also the Precedent of Judg Belknap in King Richard the Second’s time, who was by the Parliament banished for but subscribing an opinion against Law, though forc’d by a dagger held to his brest, thereto; yea, and cite also the precedent against him, which was against Justice Thorp in Edward the Third’s time, who was by the Parliament condemned to death for bribery; the reason of which Judgment, they say, was, because he had broken the Kings Oath, that solemn and great Obligation (as Mr. Pym ibid. calls it) which is the security of the whole Kingdom.) All which forementioned, either with pen or tongue by dispute, I wil particularly maintain and make good upon my life, publickly, before the face of the Kingdom, against the stoutest and ablest of their Champions in all their pretended Churches of God, either Independent or Anabaptistical; and that they are altogether unfavoury salt, good for nothing but to be abominated, and thrown out to the dunghil, as fit for nothing but the indignation of God, and the peoples wrath.

And as for their stiling this their own Junto the supreme Authoritie; I know the time not long since, when that stile to be given to the House of Commons single, was accounted an abominable wickednesse in the eye of the chiefest of them: Yea, I also know the time, and unable sufficiently to justifie and prove it, that they were absolutely resolved and determined to pull up this their own Parliament by the roots, and not so much as to leave a shadow of it (frequently then calling it a MOCK-POWER, and a MOCK-PARLIAMENT:) yea, and had done it, if we, and some in the House of our then friends, had not been the principall instruments to hinder them; we judging it then, of two evils the least, to chuse rather to be governed by the shadow of a Parliament, till we could get a reall and true one (which with the greatest protestations in the world they then promised and engaged with all their might speedily to effect) then simply, solely and onely by the wils of Sword-men, whom we had already found to be men of no very render consciences: But to me it is no wonder, that they own this for the supreme Power, seeing they have totally in Law, Reason and Justice broke the Parliament, and absolutely, by the hands of The Pride, set up indeed a MOCK-POWER, and a MOCK-PARLIAMENT, by purging out all those that they were any way jeolous of, would not vote as they would have them, and suffering and permitting none to sit but (for the major part of them) a company of absolute School boys, that will, like good boyes; say their lessons after them their Lords and Masters, and Vote as they would have them; and so be a screen (as yong H. Vane used to call the King) betwixt them and the people, with the name of Parliament, and the shadow and imperfect image of legal and just Authority to pick their pockets for them by Assessments and Taxations; and by their arbitrary and tyrannicall Courts and Committees, (the best of which is now become a perfect Star chamber, High-Commission and Councel board) make them their perfect slaves and vassals by their constant and continuall breaking and abasing of their spirits; a thing so much complained of against the Earl of Strafford, by the late Parliament at his tryal, especially in M. Pym’s notable Speech against him, pag. 7. as it is printed 1641, at the later end of a book called Speeches and Passages: where speaking against Oppression, and the exercise of a tyrannicall and arbitrary Power, (the Earl of Strafford’s sins, which now are become more the great mens of the Army) he saith,

It is inconsistent with the peace, the wealth, the prosperity of a Nation; it is destructive to Justice, the mother of peace; to Inductry, the spring of wealth; to Valour, which is the active vertue whereby the prosperity of a Nation can onely be procured, confirmed, and inlarged.

It is not only apt to take away Peace, and so intangle the Nation with Wars; but doth corrupt Peace, and puts such amaliguitic into it, as produceth the effects of War, as he there instanceth in the Earl of Straffords Government. And as for Industry and Valour, Who will take pains for that (saith he) which when he hath gotten, is not his own? or who will fight for that wherein he hath no other interest, but such as is subject to the will of another? The ancient incouragement to men that were to defend their Countries was this, That they were to hazard their persons, pro aris & socis, for their Religion, and for their houses; But by this arbitrary way, which was practised (by the Earl) in Ireland and counselled here; no man had any certainty, either of Religion, or of his House, or any thing else to be his own: But besides this, such arbitrary courses have an ill operation upon the courage of a Nation, by IMBASING THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE; A servile condition doth for the most part beget in men a slavish temper and disposition. Those that live so much under the Whit and the Pillory, and such SERVILE engines, as were frequently used by the Earl of Strafford, they may have the dregs of valour, sullenness, and stubbornness, which may make them prone to mutinies and discontents; But those noble and gallant affections which put men on brave designes and attempts for the preservation or inlargement of a Kingdom, they are hardly capable of: Shall it be treason to embase the Kings coin, though but a piece of Twelve-pence or Six-pence; and must it not needs be the effect of a greater Treason, to EMBASE THE SPIRITS of his Subjects, and to set a stamp and CHARACTER OF SERVITUDE upon them, when by it they shall be disabled to doe any thing for the service of the King or Common wealth? O most excellent and transcendent saying! worthy to be writ in a Table of gold in every Englishmans house.

But &illegible; I say, No wonder, all the things foregoing rightly considered, they do &illegible; you (now as Thomas Pride hath made you) for the supreme Authority of the Nation, although before they would neither submit to the King, nor the Parliament, when it was a thousand times more unquestionably both in Law and Reason, then now you are; but fought against both King and Parliament, their setters up, conquered them, repelled them, subdued them, and broke them both; and so pull’d up by the roots all the legall and visible Magistracy and Authority in the Nation, and thereby left none but themselves, who stand in parallell to none (as they have managed their businesse) but to a company of murderers, theeves and robbers, who may justly be dispossessed by the first force that are able to do it (as Mr. Pym undenyably and fully proves in the foresaid Speech pag. 3. 9. 11.) no pretended Authority that they of themselves and by their swords can set up, having in the sight of God or man, either in Law or Reason, any more just Authority in them, then so many Argier Pirats and Robbers upon the Sea have. And so much in answer at present to the forementioned part of the Generals Declaration.

But now to return back, after this necessary Digression, to my own Story of going down into the North, where &c. I received of my 3000 l. allotted me, for my hard suffered for, deer purchased, and long expected Reparations, 400 l. of Sir Arthur Haslerig, for sequestred Coles and Iron, of Mr. Bowes’s, and got besides betwixt 100 and 200 l. in Rents, Free-quarter and Taxes having eat out the bowels, soul and life of them, being served in the wood allotted me, (the principall thing in my eye, by old Sir Henry Vane my old bloudy enemy) as is in part declared before in page 15 and 16. who hath Treason and crimes enough upon him, not onely to throw him out of the House, if it were any, but also to send him to a Scaffold or Gallows, as is very notably declared in print in England’s Birth right, pag. 19. 20. 21. in which pages you may read his Charge of High Treason exhibited against him to the Earl of Essex in anno 1643. by severall Gentlemen of the County of Durham; for his trayterous betraying their Country (and so consequently all the North) to the Earl of Newcastle; for whith &c. he better deserved in Law, equity and reason to lose his head, then either Hambleton, or stout Capel did for theirs, they having betrayed no trust (but had the letter of the Law of England &c, to justifie them in what they did) as he most palpably hath done. And as for his breaking up the little Parliament, his Star chamber wickednesse, and his desperate Gun-powder Monopoly, with his and his sons Sir George Vane’s late jugglings in the County of Durham. I have pretty well anatomised in my book called The resolved mans resolution, page 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. his very having a hand in the Gunpowder Monopoly alone being sufficient long since to throw him out of your House, as being uncapable to be a Member therein, as cleerly appears by your Votes and Orders of the 19. and 25 of Nov. 1640, one of which, as it is printed in the foresaid &illegible; and Passages, pag. 229. thus followeth:

It is ordered upon the Question. That all Projectors and Monopolizes whatsoever, or that have had any share in any Monopolies, or that do receive, or late &illegible; received any benefit by any Monopolies or Patent, or that have procured any Warrant or Command for the restraint or molesting of any that have refused to &illegible; form themselves to any Proclamation or project, are disabled by Order of this House, &illegible; be a Member thereof, and shall be dealt with as a stranger, that hath no power to sit there.

In the compasse of which Order is both Sir Henry Mildmore and Lawrence Whittaker, and ought in justice, for their notorious Monopolising, to be both long since thrown out of the House.

But again to return: After I had done as much in the North as I could at present do about my own businesse, I came again to London, where I fixed up my resolution wholly to devote my self to provide for the future well-being of my wife and children, and not without the extraordinariest necessity engage in any publick contests again, making it my work to enquire into the true estate of things with the great men that sit at the helm, and whether the bent of their spirits now after they had taken off the King, was to set the Nation free from Tyranny, as well as from some they called principal Tyrants; and whether or no the drift of all their actions were but a meer changing of persons, but not of things or tyranny it self: and truly my observations and inquiries brought me in so little satisfaction in the visible intention of the ruling men, for all their many solemn Ingagements to the contrary, that I looked cleerly at the whole tendency of their ways, to drive at a greater Tyranny then ever, in the worst of the Kings Reign, (before the Parliament) was exercised: at which I bit my lip, but said little, and went to no meeting; which made many of my old faithfull friends be jealous of me, some of whom gave out some private hints, that I had now served my self by my pretended Reparations, and I was thereby quieted, and was become like all the rest of the world, and so there was an end of me. But I confesse, I was in a kinde of deep muse with my self, what to do with my self; being like an old weather-beaten ship, that would fain be in some harbour of ease and rest, and my thoughts were very much bent of going into Holland, where I conjectured I should be out of harms way, and get a little repose. And while I was thus musing, I heard from thence of a most transcendent height and rage that the Kings party there were in, especially about the beheading the late King; so that I judged there was no safety for me there, especially when I called to minde what the Post-master of Burrow-brigs and others in York-shire told me as I came up from Newcastle, which was, that the Cavaliers in those parts were most desperate mad at me in particular, about the beheading of the late King: although I were as far as Newcastle when it was done, and refused to give my consent to be one of his Judges, although I was solicited so to be before I went out of London; yea, although I avowedly declared my self at Windsor against the manner and time of their intended dealing with him; arguing there very stifly, that upon their own principles, which led them to look upon all legall Authority in England as now broken, they could be no better then murderers in taking away the Kings life though never so guilty of the crimes they charged upon him: for as justice ought to be done, especially for bloud, which they then principally charged upon him; so said I, and still say, It ought to be done justly: For in case another man murder me, and a day, a week, or a yeer after my brother or friend that is no legall Magistrate, executes him therefore, yet this is murder in the eye of the Law, because it was done by a hand had no Authority to do it. And therefore I pressed again and again, seeing themselves confess’d all legal Authority in England was broke, that they would stay his tryall till a new and equal free Representative upon the Agreement of the well-affected people, that had not fought against their Liberties, Rights and Freedoms, could be chosen and sit, and then either try him thereby, or else by their Judges sitting in the Court called Kings Bench. But they at Windsor ask’d me now by Law I could have him tryed: I told them, the Law of England expresly saith, Whosoever murders or kils another shall die; it doth not say, excepting the King, Queen, or Prince, &c. but indefinitely, whosoever murders shall die; and therefore where none is excepted, there all men are included in Law: But the King is a man: Ergo, he is included as well as I. Unto which it was objected, that it would hardly be proved, that the King with his own hands kill’d a man: To which I answered, by the Law of England, he that counsels or commissionares others to kill a man or men, is as guilty of the fact, as he or they that do it: And besides, the advantage of trying of the King by the rules of the Law, would be sufficient to declare, that no man is born (or justly can be made) lawlesse, but that even Magistrates as well as people are subject to the penall part of the Law, as well as the directive part: And besides, to try him in an extraordinary way, that hath no reall footsteps nor paths in our Law, would be a thing of extraordinary ill Precedent; for why not twenty upon pretended extraordinary cases, as wel as one? and why not a thousand as wel as twenty? and extraordinary cases are easily made and pretended by those that are uppermost, though never so unjust in themselves. And besides, to try him in an extraordinary way, when the Law hath provided all the essentials of justice in an ordinary way, (and meerly wants nothing (if it do want) but twelve Kings as his Peers or Equals) will nourish and increase in men that erroneous conceit, That Magistrates by the Law of God, Nature, and Reason, are not, no nor ought not to be subject to the penal part of the Laws of men, as well as the directive part of it, which is the bane, ruine and destruction of all the Common-wealths in the world.

I say, the consideration of the things fore-mentioned put me off the thoughts of going to Holland my self: and then I put the query to my self, What course I should (being now a free man) take for my livelihood: for if I and my family lived upon the main stock, which was not very much, (now that I had paid almost all my debts) that would soon waste and be gone; and to take a place for my future livelihood, as I have been offered often, and that a considerable one; that I could not do, for these reasons: First, because I was not satisfied in the present power or Authority to act under them; and so if I should, I should be a supporter of so unjust and illegal a fabrick as I judged an everlasting Parliament (purged twice by force of Arms by the hands of their meer mercenary servants) to be; who were principally raised, hired and paid to kil those they esteemed and judged Bears, Wolves, Foxes and Poulears: that took up Arms against the true, chast and legally constituted Representative of the Nation, being not in the least hired or raised to be the Masters of their Masters, or the Lawgivers to the legal Law-makers of the Nation in case of necessity. And that an everlasting Parliament is destructive to the very life and soul of the Liberties of this Nation; I &illegible; prove; first by Law, and secondly by Reason.

And first by Law: The Law Books do shew, That a Parliament (which in its own institution is excellent good physick, but never was intended, nor safely can be used for diet, because it is so unlimited and arbitrary) was called and held somtimes twice a yeer before the Conquest, as it declared by Lambert, in his Collection of Laws before the Conquest, amongst the Laws of Edgar, chap. 5. and by Sir Edward Cook, in his margent in the ninth page of his par. 4. Instit. in the Chapt. of High Court of Parliament: which with other of the Liberties of England being by force of arms subdued by the Bastard Norman Conqueror, although he three severall times took his oath after his being owned for King, to maintain their Laws and Liberties, as being not able, nor judging his Conquest so good, just and secure a Plea to hold his new got Crown by, as an after mutuall compact with the people, or their Representatives over whom he was to rule: and therefore, as Cook in the foresaid Chapt. pag. 12. declares, a Parliament, or a kinde of one, was held in his time. See also 21 Edw. 3. fol. 60. and 1 part. Institut. lib. 2. chap. 10. Sect. 164. fol. 110. a. and came to be more frequently used in his Successors time; yea, even to be once in two years in Edward the First or Second’s time; at which notwithstanding the people grumbled, as being an abridgment of their ancient and undoubted Libertie, to meet more frequently in their National and publick, Assemblies, to treat and conclude of things for their weal and better being; the want of which, of ancient time lost this Island to the Romans, as Cook declares, 4 part. Inst. fol. 9. out of Tacitus in the Life of Agricola, pag. 306. whereupon it was enacted in full Parliament in Edw. the Thirds time, That the King (who is their Officer of trust) should assemble and call them together once every yeer, or more often if need require; as appears by the Statute of 4 Edw. 3. 14. But because this was not constantly used by that King, but there sometimes was intervals of three or four yeers betwixt Parliament and Parliament, which was a diminution of the soul and life of all their Liberties, viz. frequent and often constant Parliaments; therefore in the 36 yeer of his Reign annuall Parliaments are provided for again, and also the causes of their assembling declared in these very words:

Item, For maintenance of the said Articles and Statutes, and redresse of divers mischiefs and grievances which daily happen, a Parliament shall be holden every yeer, as another time was ordained by a Statute of 4. Edw. 3. chap. 14. Brit King Charles exceedingly breaking his trust, in the frequent calling of Parliaments, and dissolving them at his pleasure, when they came to treat of any thing that he liked not, and so made them uselesse to the Nation; both which was against his trust, as you notably declare in your Declaration of Novemb. 2. 1642. 1 part Book Decl. pag. 701, 702. And of which you most bitterly complain in your first Remonstrance, 1 part Book Decl. pag. 5. 6. 11. and in pag. 10. 11 ibidem you declare, That his destroying of these two grand Freedom of the People, viz. Frequent, successive Parliaments, and free Debates therein, bad corrupted and distempered the whole frame and Government of the Kingdom, and brought in nothing but wayes of destruction and Tyranny. For the preventing of which for the future, you got an Act to passe in the sixteenth yeer of the late King, and the first yeer of this long-winded Parliament, to confirm every title of the two forementioned Acts for an annuall Parliament: And further there say thus:

And whereas it is by experience found; that the not holding of Parliaments according to the two forementioned Acts, hath produced sundry and great mischiefs and inconveniences to the Kings Majesty, the Church and Common-Wealth; For the prevention of the like mischiefs and inconveniences in time to come, Be it enacted by the Kings most excellent Majesty, with the consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall, and the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, That the said [LAST FOREMENTIONED] Laws and Statutes be from henceforth duely kept and observed. And you there go on and enact, that in case the King perform not this part of his trust in calling annuall Parliaments, that then a Trienniall one shall be Called By The Lord Keeper, &c. whether the King will or no.

And there being no provision in this Act, but that the King might break up this Parliament at his pleasure, as before he used to do, and so dis-inable you to discharge your trust and duty to the people, in providing fit remedies for those many grievances then extraordinarily spread over the whole Nation, that the long intermission of Parliaments had occasioned; you therefore presse the King to grant an Act, that the two Houses might not be dissolved but by your own consents; which the King condescended unto the rather, because the Scotch Army was then in the Kingdom, which he longed to be rid of, and which you pretended you could not pay without such an Act; these being the true declared and intended causes of it, both in King and Parliament: There being not one word in the Act that authoriseth the two Houses to be a constant and perpetuall Parliament, which was never so much as intended nor pretended; and which if in the Act it had been absolutely declared, it had been a void and a null Act in it self, as being both against the nature of the Kings trust and Yours: which (as in your Book of Decl. part 1. pag. 150. you declare) is, to provide for the peoples weal, but not for their woe; for their better being, but not for their worse being. For, your Interest and the Kings both being Interests of Trust, as your Declarations do plentifully and plainly declare, 1 part Book Decl. pag. 206. 266. 267. 382. but especially your present Junto’s late Declaration, against the late beheaded King, and Kingly Government of the 17 of March 1648, pag. 2. 11. 13. 15. 16. compared with 24. 25. 27. And all Interests of trust whatsoever are for the use of others, and cannot, nor ought not to be imployed to their own particular, nor to any other use, saving that onely for which they are intended, according to the condition and true intent thereof, 1 part Book Dec. pag. 266. 267. 700. And your trust is onely for the good of the Nation; which is the principall, or onely end of all Government in the Nation; as you confesse in your foresaid Declaration of March 17, pag. 6. and in 2 part Book Decl. pag. 95. 879. And therefore, if you had put the King upon such an Act as the establishing of a perpetuall Parliament, you had thereby destroyed frequent, successive and annually chosen Parliaments; for which you had been Traytors in the highest nature to your trust, in destroying the very PILLARS, LIFE, MARROW and SOUL OF ALL THE PEOPLES LIBERTIES, for the preservation of which they chose you, and which would shortly bring in (as is too evident at this day) greater disorders, confusions, and tyrannies then ever were in all the Kings Reign before; and so wholly and fully make your selves guilty of that which he was but in part (viz. the establishing of a perfect Tyranny by Law) an everlasting Parliament being ten thousand times worse then no Parliament at all; for no such slavery under the cope of heaven, as that which is brought upon the people by pretence of Law, and their own voluntary consents; and no greater Treason can there be in the world committed, then for an interessed Power to keep their Commission longer then by the letter, equitie or intention of their Commissions their Masters really intended they should; especially when it is kept by force of Arms, to the Masters hurt, and the danger of his total destruction, for the meer advancement of their servants and their Associates: all which is the case of your pretended Parliament, whereof you are now Speaker, and that you were never intended to sit so long as you have done, nor to be everlasting. I shall here recite the Act it self verbatim, the onely and alone pretence of a Commission you have, and then take it in pieces by paraphrasing upon it. The Act it self thus followeth:

Anno XVII CAROLI Regis.

An ACT to prevent inconveniences which may happen by the untimely Adjourning, Proroguing, or Dissolving of this present PARLIAMENT.

WHereas great Summs of money must of necessity be speedily advanced and provided for the relief of his Majestie’s Army and people in the Northern parts of this Realm, and for the preventing the imminent danger this Kingdom is in, and for supply of other his Majesties present and urgent occasions, which cannot be so timely effected as is requisite, without credit for raising the said moneys; which credit cannot be obtained, untill such obstacles be first removed as are occasioned by fears, jealousies, and apprehensions of divers of his Majesties loyall Subjects, that this present Parliament may be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved Before Justice Shall Be Duly Executed Upon Delinquents, publick Grievances redressed, a firm Peace betwixt the two Nations of England and Scotland concluded, and before sufficient provision be made for the repayment of the said moneys so to be raised: All which the Commons in this present Parliament assembled having duly considered, do therefore humbly beseech your most excellent Majesty, that it may be declared and enacted,

And be it declared and enacted by the King our Soveraign Lord, with the assent of the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That this present Parliament now assembled, shall not be dissolved, unlesse it be by Act of Parliament to be passed for that purpose; nor shall be at any time or times during the continuance thereof, prorogued or adjourned, unlesse it be by Act of Parliament to be likewise passed for that purpose: And that the House of Peers shall not at any time or times during this present Parliament, be adjourned, unlesse it be by themselves, or by their own Order: And in like manner, That the House of Commons shall not at any time or times during this present Parliament, be adjourned, unlesse it be by themselves, or by their own Order; and that all and every thing or things whatsoever done or to be done, for the adjournment, proroguing, or dissolving of this present Parliament contrary to this present Act, shall be utterly void, and of none effect.

The true intent and meaning of this Act in the Framers, Makers, and Contrivers of it, was meerly to secure their sitting for some-reasonable time, that so they might be able to apply fit plasters to the great sores of the Nation, and not be broken up suddenly, before they had applyed them to the sores, and laid them on; and their fear was, the King would, as he used to do, dissolve them suddenly; security from which was their onely end in procuring this Act, and not in the least to make this a perpetuall Parliament; which I demonstrate thus:

First, A perpetual Parliament is repugnant to the Act made this Parliament for a Triennial Parliament (which in your Declarations is so highly extolled after the making of both the Acts:) for how can every three yeers a Parliament be begun, if this be perpetuall? which by the Act may be so, if the two Houses please. But in all the Act there is not one word of the annihilating or repealing of the Act for a Trienniall Parliament; which, if it had been intended, it would have mentioned, and not left such a businesse of consequence in any doubtfulnesse whatsoever: and the not mentioning of it, is a cleer declaration to all the Readers of it, That their designe solely in the last Act, was onely to secure themselves from the Kings sudden and quick dissolving them at his wil and pleasure. And therefore,

Secondly, In Law, according to the constitution of our Parliaments, an Adjournment of the Parliament makes no Session; howbeit, before the Adjournment the King gives his assent to some Bils; as is plain out of Cooke, 4 Instit. chap. High Court of Parliament, fol. 27. authorised to be printed by the late Parliament, in its purest purity for good Law.

Thirdly, In Law there is no Session in a prorogation or dissolution of the Parliament; they are the words of Cook himself, fol. 27. ibid.

Fourthly, This Parliament, as appears by the Act for not dissolving thereof, before mentioned, cannot be prorogued by the Kings but by Act of Parliament: but there had been as yet no Act of Parliament in that behalf: and therefore all the Acts of this Parliament are in law Acts of one Session, as appears by Plowd Com. 33. H. 8. Bro. relation 36. Bro. Parl. 86. Dier 1. M. 85.

Fifthly, In Law, all Acts of one Session, relate to the first day of the Parliament, and all the Acts of such a Parliament are Acts of one day; so the Act for the Triennial, and the Act for this perpetual Parliament, are two Acts of one day, by the Law.

Sixthly, the 4 Edw. 3. chap. 14. & 36 Edw. 3. chap. 10. forementioned, declares that a Parliament ought to be holden once every year, and more often if need be, those very Acts are every clause of them confirmed this Parliament, which also provides, that in case the King break those Laws, and do not annually call Parliaments, as is before declared, that then the Lord Keeper, whether he will or no, shall call a triennial one. Now I would fain know of any rational-man, How an everlasting Parliament doth agree with a Parliament once every yeer, a oftner if need require, or with the intention of those Laws? And how doth a Parliament every three years (provided for as sure as its possible for Law to provide, (in case the King annually should not cal one) agree with a Parliament for ever, which may be by the letter of the perpetual Act, if the two Houses please?

The conclusion of all is this, that at one day in law, the late Parliament passed two Acts, (for, howbeit the one was in the 16 of the King, and the other in the 17 year of the King: yet both in law are Acts of one day) the one saith, the King shall call a Parliament once a year, after the sitting of this Parliament, and in case he doth not, the Lord Keeper, &c. shall call a Parliament three years after the sitting of this Parliament. The other Act in the letter, or litterall construction of it, saith, this Parliament shall sit for ever if the two Houses please. The one will have a Parliament with an end, the other a Parliament without an end: Now the question is, which of these two was the true intent and meaning of the Makers of this Act: for as Learned Cook rationally and well observes in his excellent exposition of the 1 Eliz. chap. 1. 4 part. Institut. fol. 328. (which Act established the power of the High-Commission, that by colour of this Statute did many barbarous and illegall things) such an interpretation of ambiguous and doubtfull things is alwayes to be made, that absurdities and inconveniences may be avoyded; but the highest absurdities and inconveniences in the world would follow, if this last Statute should be taken according to the literall construction of it, and not according to the equity and true intent and meaning of the makers of it, which was not to make this everlasting if they pleased, and so totally to destroy annuall Parliaments, or in the Kings default of calling them, then trienniall Parliaments whether he would or no, but only to secure them from the Kings sudden breaking them up at his pleasure: that so they might sit some reasonable short time to dispatch the great business of the Nation; and that reasonable time cannot by any words (or the true meaning of any) in either of the Statutes, Be rightly interpreted to be above a year as most, especially from the date of the last; for the laws (in the right and true meaning) notwithstanding the last Act, were yet still in force to binde the King to call Annuall Parliaments; but two Parliaments by Law cannot sit together: but without two Parliaments should sit together, (viz. An everlasting one, and an annuall one, which is our right by Law) we cannot enjoy the benefit of those good and excellent Laws, for Annuall Parliaments or oftner if need require. And therefore to take the utmost extent of the length of that time, the two Houses were enabled to sit by vertue of the force and power of the last Act, it could not be above a year at most, from the day of the date of it, and yet they have sate almost eight since, by vertue and colour of that alone, and of nothing else in law, having no other visible Commission under the Sun, to authorise them to destroy our undoubted naturall and legal Rights, of having often and frequent successive Parliaments totally new, which they have done by their long an