A Fraction in the Assembly: or the Synod in Armes

About this text

Introductory notes

This is one of many satirical pamphlets about the Westminster Assembly of Divines (1643-53), a council of theologians and members of the English parliament appointed to discuss the restructuring of the English church. The Assembly was called by the Long Parliament during the Civil Wars; it included ministers of the Church of Scotland and there were attempts to bring the English church closer to the Presbyterian system. The Assembly produced a new form of church governance, a Confession of Faith, catechisms, and a liturgical manual. The idea of a national assembly of theologians to discuss and debate church reforms, and the concessions made to puritan factions, annoyed many, and the Assembly provoked numerous satirical pamphlets. This particular pamphlet makes significant use of the rhetoric of food, gluttony, and starvation. It presents the meeting of the Assembly as a dinner meeting in a London tavern, and the pamphlet was published during the time of consecutive poor harvests in 1647-48.

Being a punctuall Relation of
their set meeting, upon the 25. of Aprill in this present year of our Computation 1648 at a tavern in LONDON, where the purposes of those reverend Fathers, were piously discovered by themselves, in a mutuall conference by the strength of a Dinner, and in the truth of wine: Their disagreement, upon the question: their falling out upon that; and how they were parted: with other mixtures of sad and merry accidents being all passages very remarkeable: and curious observations, which the Author, as a generall wellwisher, delivers heer to the worlds viewAnd he hopes satisfaction.
London Printed in the yeare, 1648.



Being a punctuall Relation of their set meeting, upon the 25. of Aprill in this present year of our Computation 1648 at a tavern in LONDON, where the purposes of those reverend Fathers, were piously discovered by themselves, in a mutuall conference by the strength of a Dinner, and in the truth of wine: Their disagreement, upon the question: their falling out upon that; and how they were parted: with other mixtures of sad and merry accidents being all passages very remarkeable: and curious observations, which the Author, as a generall well-wisher, delivers heer to the worlds view And he hopes satisfaction. London Printed in the yeare, 1648.

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As once Olympian Jove: put Juno by
And wise Minerva, Gave bold Mars the lye
Touching Troyes fate: when limping Vulcan scorus
To keepe heavens peace: and with ungratefull hornes
Butts at his freindly Rivall: Even such odds
Tainted of late our sublunary Gods
The sacred Synod: which we mortalls call
The viols of Heavens wrath: O Troy: thy fall
Phaebus lamented: but in Englands dust
What hand writes pity, as if all were just
For patience has endurd: vengeance convince
These of thir guilt and Charles that Godlike Prince
Let his white Truth prevaile: our story cooles
Whose Lard seemes learning: and her fat rich fooles
Fed high with pension dinners: Whose meere close
Would burst an Elephant: wele now speake prose,
Freinds what you see, beleeve, here is no lye
For when this chanc'd, the Authors self was by

PRay be not so angry Gentlemen; For that weighty misfortuns, whose Relations are to the publick, should be knowne and considered, I deny not, seeing otherwise, how shall men declare their modest sorrowings in matters neerely concerning them, or study their prevention, In the future, If they be ignorant of them: All this without the rack: or hanging by the great toe, with the head downeward like A dancer of the Ropes; or any other inquisition torture, is confest freely: but this is it that I say. why should one poore beast, be forst to carry the burthen for a whole Kingdome:*she is a widow because Mrs. such a one: the Mistris of the Taverne where this famous accident befell, with her whole family, have taken the Covenant, or Oaths of secresie with these fathers, Confessors; to hide it from honest men, and so keepe the world in this, like other things in ignorance and infidelity; must I therefore, weepe my selfe into aTransformation: Be made a new river, as some have been before mee, as you may read in the History of Miobe and others, in Ovids unerring Chronicle of his Metamorphosis or be turnd into a frogge, for overlaughing my selfe, When I have a

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mind to jest out my greifes: And all this because, I only, had the fortune to be by I say, there is no reason for it: no, there are more Asses inEngland besides mee; let the matter be communicated: that everyLucius taking up his owne load, we may Jogge on like contented Market-Women, or Citizens wives to their Country houses, fairely, and easily together: to what use serve Ambages amongst friends, or why should the Author with tedious Apologies Cuffe his story into teares; because he thrusts her back, and restraines her appearing, Even now, when by all visible signes, she hath A mighty mind to discover her selfe, take it therefore amongst you, which in few words befell thus.

Upon St. Markes day the 25. of Aprill the holines whereof is much envied by our Libertines of England, because the superstitious Romans, observe it: halfe a dozen of our Synodicall Presbytery, peiced with just as many Independants, to make up the number, though of severall colours, had a mind to condogge together.

Their meeting was at a Tavern in London, not a strecht mile from the Old Exchange: which to cover the Nakednesse of a prime Damsell, the daughter of the house, and 'tis thought the loadstone of that society, shall for the present be namelesse.

After an humble Thanksgiving, for their arrivall atterra florida And that being such, who by sins of an unrecoverable miscreancy, had tempted Heaven and Earth to destroy them, yet, the stones in the streets, had not risen up against them, either to breake their shins or their Necks in that their pilgrimage, concluding with an admiration, what providence that should be that still continu'd to protect them: Impenitent sinners, they seated themselves at a large round Table in a very faire Roome, and calling for fine Angelica which shall be her name here, after a briefe catachizing touching the state of her virginity, and how the pulse of her Concupiscences did beate, whereof she was much comforted to heare them tell her, all flesh was guilty, she received from them a blessing upon the lip, and they from her faire hand, the cup of Salutation, which that pretty Leman presenting with wine and sugar, they did her reason first, and then tost it of freely one to another.

The joyning of two rounds together, engendred a discourse delivered by a Doctor, in these words following, Brethren, we are heercondoled together: As it were, to peck up a few Crummes of Consolation

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from this our mutuall enjoying one of another: in the plenty of the Creature, which we presently expect, cal'd Meat, Wine, and Woemen: Renowned Subjects of the three first miracles: of these, we may feed till we burst againe, for our purses are full, the people our friends, And therefore the House is likewise ours, while wee, whom the prophane of the Land call evill spirits, shall please to possesse it, But first, let us advise, and unscruple our soules, least any thing by chance, should lie pinching us in that tender place, to the hurt of our present or future tranquillities: If any of you doubt, let him only question, And be resolved.

The motion was applauded, and thus trod upon the very heele by another, then are we quoth hee, the most miserable of all men, if vox populi, carrie it's old credit, for that cals us the Incendiaries of the Nation: It saies, that weekly preaching have advanced Rebellion, Murder, Theft, Confusion, and every evill worke: That we have brought contempt upon the Ghospell; That outwardly we contest as opposits, but secretly are agreed to nourish divisions so long, like the Scotts, wee have gathered all businesse into our discussing, that we may Judge and determine all things as chiefe moderators in matters of conscience, and so, by degrees, steale the Soveraignty from King and People, and Plant it in our selves, the Clergy.

That neither wee, nor any Authorized by us, or lawfull Ministers, because we have forfited our calling by the double breach of those two Oathes, Alleageance and Supremacy, which bound us to the King: who when he hath vanquisht his toiles, will, they say, have us baited in Bearesskins, for playing to much the Foxes, as first to Drill him into a snare; And then set Doggs to worry him; not those of a Generous kind, but mangy Mungrell Currs, caldMildmay, Martin, Haman, and our selves, to whom they say, the Rogue last nam'd is only Turnkey; but we his Jailours, that may free him instantly, if we would but sweeten the polluted Aire with pure Divinity. And from wounded hearts in penitentiall Pulpits, Ingeminate to Heaven, and men, our hearty sorrowings for the high Crime, of our Soveraigne Lords unjust and violent Captivity, first caus'd by us, and now contrived by our connivences; in fine that all our fasting Prayers, are abhominations, because our hands, they say are full of blood, neither can they heare our preaching, if they would, the Keyes of keep such a noise and ratling at our Girdles, all

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which render us worse thenBaals Priests, or the 600. false Prophets that prophesied lies, and persecuted the good men of God. These Imputations that bold Vox Populi that presumes to call Infinit thousands of Men, Women, and Children, nay, our owne Consciences forsooth, for Witnesses; he sweares are no slanders, but bleeding truths, which so wounds my thoughts, and consumes me in this very minute, that if your Sack here were not perfect Charinco, and the smell of our approaching Dinner restorative. I should verily faint, and drop out of this Land of the living, and your Good Companies which would much greive mee; to grope out uncertaine chances in another world, where tis ten to one, they serve not God after our manner; so, he sipt off his Cup:unclear was pledgd round, and thus satisfied by the Chaireman.

Brother: we must sute the behaviour of our Actions to the disposition, or humor of their causes, which command ours at this time, to observe the posture they now stand at: The people indeed exclaime, I say their cries are just, for by us, a Cloud is brought upon their Lawes, Liberties, Estates, nay persons and all this by preaching, yet if this present momentary ill, conduces to their future good eternally: who should these beetles thank, but us; Bitches have clogs: which we take off, to make them happy, if the silly Irrationall Cattell could but understand it, however, wee, that know it necessary are bound to practise it, for all their goods.

This Generation must suffer, for the sins of those past, and all that are to Come: The next by our endeavors, shall shine againe, with a Government so pure, and like heaven, that Angels shall seeme to be beguild, and love to live, at least converse with men as formerly, mistake mee not, I meane with us heere inEngland: As for the Scotts, lately our Brethren, they are revolting poore Rogues, not worthy now, nor ever able to entertaine such Guests: Let not these Nitts disquiet you Mr.to make you throw of the Dublet of your first resolutions, If a rampant lowse, or two, chance to trouble you, yet never unbutton for the matter, only tell me where they bite, vile helpe you to a remover strait: come heers the Man, he was thank'd, pledgd, and should have beene encountred with a reply, but as the word was sallying out of the Respondents Lips: it was forst to recoile by a whole file of Dishes, which just then presented upon them, The falling on was furious; they came suddenly to pell mell, And slasht it without mercy.

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You will aske paradventure, how I came to know all this; Ile tell you: A freind and I had agreed over night to meet at that very Taverne about 10 this morning, I kept my appointment, but my freind, as the fashion is, failed me. I with a pinte of the purest before me, sell a sleepe, and was, it seemes, aswell forgot by the house as my selfe, till the entrance of so many, and so neere me, with the shuffling of leggs and feet, started me in such a fright, as had there been a chimney in the roome, I had certainely appeared at the top in a trice, and rather crept out that way, to shift for my selfe, then stood to the mercy of that Corporall, and his Squadron, for so I strongly fancied these to be, that came to search for malignants; of which outlaw'd family, my owne a Kingheart told me verily, that I was a forlorne Brother; well, the Divill a Chimney was there, or a hole bigg enough, for Tom Thumbe to have hid himselfe in; there was no remedy: I composed my fears the best I could, & setled my selfe, to listen their sitting discourse, but especially the sight of them thorough a clift in the wainscot, which only divided us, for t'was in the next a roome, so confirmed mee; that I drove care away to kill catts, and sat prancking it upon my bench, as proudely, as St. George did upon his Beast, after he had killed the Dragon. Haveing given you this satisfaction, you are bound in conscience to read on, and beleeve every word as followeth. Wee left them at dinner at the Tables end, sat the fatt Mistris of the House, with a face appearing like a full Moone; by whome there shined her daughter, the faire Ange-lica, whose brightnesse so stellified the roome, that those elders could doe nothing else for a while, but drinke, and dart glances, feathered with wanton language at her, which she retorted like another Venus, till her Tongue travel'd tantivie, and more then a Canterbury pace, and never Stopt till Mr. Assaulted the Chaireman, whose place the Mistris had borrowed very freshly with some fragments of the first question.

That although what he had uttered, was profound and undeniable, yet he was still to seeke in two maine particulars; first of the Church differences which he ever held reall, till then, next touching the King: who being a Just: Good: Gratious: Mild: Mercifull: Magnanimous: Valiant: Pious: Wise Prince: in his opinion he deserved Nobler usage, and to be at liberty: The Doctor replied tis true; you have not flattered him in all this Glorious Charecter

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for, tis his due; which is Attribute we owe to all: nay, the very Proverbe commands it for the Devill, yet to the King we must deny, this, under the Rose here, weel give it him, amongst our selves, but not publikely, for know: The government by Kings, and that wee aime at, which is to exalt the Church above it, are incompatible: If wee, submitting to the equity you speak of, which pleads hard for the King: should replant him, you should quickly perceive, what wild fruits that foolish Honesty would bring forth: The awfull office of Bishops would certainly florish again; Then pray what would become of us: marry, Ile tell ye if we scap'd hanging, even presently be farted out of the Land, perhaps into that Jakes ofScotland, like some griping disease among the Gutts, or the wind Collick of the Kingdome: which they begin already to call Us: No if we wish our owne utility, and the Churches Honor, we must heap Pelion upon Ossa, raise such a mount of scandals in the Kings way, as may bar his returne for ever, as being too high for all his patience or vindications, to climbe over, for example. Ther'sAnthony Mildmay, a dear Proselyt of ours. I can never call thee Rogue to mind, but me thinks, I wish my hands were stroaking his zealous heart, and chasing it into new designes for us: This precious villaine, in a Letter to that Saint his Brother, some call him Serpent, because he stings the King that cherisht him: I confesse an offence that would damme him, were he not a Son of the Cause, and we his defenders, charge his Majesty with severall expressions in discourse, which he cals Tyrannies, and Inveighing against him, with the extreamest tartnesse of a depraved Pen exposes him to a malevolent censure, now we perceiving how the slave betraid his Master, by poisoning the Innocence of his language, and meaning with wrested constructions of his owne, which we well knew were false; Though we Admir'd the fellowes Impudency, yet we cherisht his Information for the reason aforesaid: and made speciall uses of it, to our owne eternall advantage, as we Imagine, and the Kings finall detriment: This which we hold far better, then an Act of oblivion or Indemnity, meets your feares of after questionings, and calls them Triviall.

Touching your second doubt of our pretended Church differences Brethren, that the condition of state Affaires is sometimes such as forces us, that manage them, to adeceptio visus, A piece ofHocus, to benight mens Eyes at noone, and falsifie their object for their ru-ine.

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We present somethings to the publick view just as they are, others not so, but as they seeme to be by our direction: we are not to sentence any evill desperate, whose remedy is in our selves, one famous trick of pure conveyance carried it, for we, the Synod first, and then the Parliament, pretended to divide, we preached, writ, disgraced one another to the uttermost, which wanted no successe, for the silly people, just as we imagin d, couzen'd with empty face of anger, ran presently to sides, and quickly wound the quarrell up to such a height, as to avoid the crushing of a party when the weight should fall, the continuance of an Army was resolved upon, and so by their own misprisions, counted necessary, which fitted our desires just: This plot, thus wisely laid, was likewise fortunate, for being thus seemingly opposite, we can open our pack by turnes, now thePresbyterian, then theIndependent, and passe our wares at what price wee please upon the shallow world, which receives all our brocage, [as some disparage it] it the second hand, paying truly the deare rates of many thanks, and Reverence, not from any skill of their owne to judge, but as wee adorne it, with a glosse, and praise it

Thus you see, those our Sons ofWestminster, and London obey our contrivings:unclear" Our servants Fairfax, and Cromwell, like Esau andNimrod, smell strongly of the field, and savor rank of the blood we command them to spill in hunting: and lastly, wee, the Sages of Europe, and Englands Reverendissimoes, do keepe unity, as well as we can, and concord in a Golden band, I meane amongst our selves being alwaies careful that neither of our parties outweigh the other, but both to lye so hard upon the King and his followers, that wee wonder, by what virtue or miracle they live.

This, I have told you, is the very heart of the affaire, which these dotterells of the Laity are not to search into, but you the Sons of Eli, and my deare Iockey's must dive into the bottome of this or any other secret, wherein my art can pleasure you.

After this Oration, he watered his dry pallate with a shower of White wine, to which he was very devoutly affected, and liquored his tongue to make it fruitfull for more flowers of Rhetoricke: That done, he demanded their opinion of what he had offered one, whose hands I marked were no unprofitable Servants to his stomack for in the interim of this long parley they had stored the Magazine of his belly with a moneths provision at least, for feare of a famine from Kent and other Mutinous Counties, entreated the Chaireman

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to excuse them, forasmuch as they had not been at leisure to hearken to his Tale, which notwithstanding, they were confident, was all true from the beginning, to the end of the last syllable: it being no more possible for him to erre, then the Popes holinesse: To whose two Chaires, Infallibility, was equally annexed in assurance whereof, A black fellow, very like Mr. Marshall, and sure I think t'was he, taking up a weighty Boll, brimfull of Sack, offered to drink to any man in the Company that would pledge him, and be of his opinion; his challenge was received immediatly by another: what replied a third, that they say, seldome spake a true word, but in his Drink, is not this in the Devills name, a trick of the beast, to tell the people of a Cock and a Bull, and bind them to beleeve all the stories inChawceror Articles of Faith: pray what's this, but Implicita fides: the very bumbaste father of Ignorance.

Brother, answerd the Chaireman, That ignorance you despise so much, is, being rightly conceived, the true and sober parent, not only of devotion towards Heaven, but of reverence to us: of which last Jewell it behoves us to have a more tender care, then of the other: Oracles were admir'd of old, because, dark and stupendious, let a Riddle be once expounded, and every fool will tread upon it: I tell you againe, they must not be able to fathom our depth, tis sufficient for them, to practise obedience, and for us, to embrace the example of our witty forefathers of the lastTrent Councell, who when they added new, and strange Articles, all contradiction to those, was death, for a crime cald by them, Haeresy; and now by us Felony, especially about the Ius Divinum, of our Presbyterian Government, never known tillCalvin, by whom to speak Truth, it was first broached, to get the man a name,make this on which is true and please the humorous pallate of the hare braind people.

Oderant si metuunt, Let them hate me so they feare me, was the Motto of a Tyrant, and yet in my judgement a sentence more Divine, then any of Catoes: we must compell the vulgar Adoration to us,a tyanious moto allowed by synoiod As the Divell does the Indians, Appeare in mild shapes to those that love us, or submit willingly, but be formidable to the rest: you see how these Goats desert us daily, & are not their revolts sufficient to excuse our cruelty, nay though we damn'd them after death O how I am taken with your grave politicks, & stand amazed at the profound mysterie of Prophesies: Machiavell crie I, was a sprightly Gentleman, within Duce Ace, as wise as the Devill, if not wiser: and MotherShipton, As vast in her divinations, and as

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Authentick an Author as anySybillof them all: he drank to em, expecting an Applausebut it would not serve his turne, for being holyday as I told you, the Wine had kindled Bonefires in their braines, they valued neither him, nor his Chaire, and his language had so offended one, that he told him plainly he took him for Barabas, The Father of Insurrections, not halfe so honest as a Brewers Clark, whose false Tally was alwaies sworn to Cozen either the Master or his Customers, The Prolocutor, who to my thinking, rav'd, hearing this, and fearing worse: cald all the Godly of both parties to side with him, if he were affronted further by thatlying Rascall, I think he would have said, but the lye was returned into his Throat, before he could get out the rest, and had almost choaked him, being rammed downe by three great Teeth of his owne, which were driven from their Pallisadoe, by an assault and battery.

He that gave this blow, I marked to be a man, whose face was so dyed in the Grain of Claret, that his plump Cheeks lookd for all the World, like a couple of flowing Winebagges, which in a moment were emptied, by a quick response from the Chaireman, that with a cast of his Office, hit him so home and hardily, as drew the Vintage in his face through the Spigot of his Nose, and laid him flat upon the ground, like a bunch of Grapes new prest.

This Patroclus had an Ajax, that bestird him, who mowed downe the Chaireman at one swing with a pottle Pot, All hands were excercis'd in a moment, And by a rare method or keeping due time betwixt feet and fists, No man could take them for any other then profest dancers, that were notably skilfull in observing the Decorum of A brawle: The fray was silent, sharp, and short, for the house, cheifly Angelica, came running up, and parted them: They returnd to their seats: smil'd, at the Captiousnesse of great spirits, and cald for a Gallon ofNepenthe, a reconciling Drink, which they swallowed liberally, and were friends: The next Act was voiding the Table of all things, but a faire Cloth, a miraculous great Pie, plenty of wine to cleanse their mouths, and Tobacco to foule them againe.

Their wits went now a woolgathering, from Learning the Reverend wagges, would needs grow wanton with a peice of divination, What quoth one, if these Divells in Kent and Essex, should get the better of our Saints in the Army, and so demand the Angells, in our two Houses: And then those spirits of the middle Region, the Londoners, in whose power I confesse it lies to dispatch the businesse in

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few houres, should deliver them up, What would then become of us all; The chaireman whose custome it was to fall upon the kernell of the businesse, for you see, he opened the shells as fast, as any Wesell can crack nuts, replyed instantly,That all would prove indifferently well, for let it raine Doggs, and Cats, we, said he, will recover our old sanctified plantation, in despight of them, our sublimer Saints: As Lenthall, Martin, Mildmay, and the rest shall step aside into their severall ports in Neighbour Nations,NewEnglandwhere they may unite the forces of Treasure, and craft, of both which they have a large stock, as occasion shall invite them, to tosse new balls and make Engand wilde by the fire of another new Warre, This would be meritorious you know.

All in Good time, went on the Objector, If wee as you say, are able to cry, noli me tangere, when danger is ready to fasten, yet what will become of the frie, that have borne up our weake flights, upon the strength, and reach of their long winged votes, and have all this while sided with us, for these not being of the cabinet Counsell, will 'tis like, know nothing of the bogge, till they best fled in it.

They are good for nothing else, answered the Chaireman, but to be regarded, like Bills, and Bonds out of date, bundled up together for wast papers, and reserved only for posterior uses, As they have voted with us, from the beginning without judgement, or against conscience, so let them eene be hanged for us at last, Thats all I care.

Now you speake of that, said another, I am within an Inch of death with laughing: when I but think of that great Animall Pembrook, a fellow that appears amongst the Lords in the upper house as the Devill did in Heaven, in a shuffling way, having indeede, no priviledge to be found in any place, where wit should dwell, Lord, what a Legacy of nonsence, that Buffoone, will bequeath to the jeering Malignants when they are throug'd together to behold him, as he stands upon his degrees, for he hath lately beene at Oxford ye know, to preach his owne funerall sermon at some selected Gallowes, for tis verily thought, that party, if they can but finger him, wil never honour such a keckshaw with the solemnity of a Scaffold, This Earle sayes another, should be alwayes thrown upon Tumults to pacifie them, for let him talke what he list to displease the people, hees sure, they cannot all knock out his braines, for these not only he, but all the rest of the Peers, have delivered up to the single custody of Viscount Say, a crafty Merchant that hath

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sealed them up from all mens uses, but his owne, which makes their Honors sit with empty Noddles, from whence they say, The higher House is called an Hospitall of fools, and in subjection to the lower who for this very reason are to be their Guardians.

To this point they came; neither did these mountains of discourse want their vallies, into which I will not trouble your discent, let it suffice us over looking many inferiour passages of the day to walke on still keeping the higher ground till we arrive at Eleaven at night, which finishes the tragedy, and dismisses the spectators.

Eleaven was the houre, till which time, though I had not eat a bit, yet I was not fasting: I confesse I fed not, like other men at the mouth, but by the eye, and eare aboundantly my nose too, came in for a share, which thrusting out of my Casement, snuft up the hot steam of their broath and baKte meat, which nourisht me exceedingly.

They were now high flown: Bacchus had crown'd all their temples with vermillion: his owne colours which are commonly purchased at a drunken rate, and looking thorough their owne eyes, now turn'd into multiplying Glasses, they strongly fancied the huge pie before them to be full as big asLondon within the walls, this once falling into apprehensions already distemperd: they stept into a higher degree of madnesse, for anIndependant started up and swore it was London it selfe, shewing the Armes,the won defull power of drink which said he, you may behold blazon'd here upon one of her gates [he ment the Lid, where indeed they were Gallantly flourished] and therefore I & my companions, embracing the opportunity, will now beseige, and take it, for this we know is the maine designe of the Army, and all the wellaffect ed party.

They grew from words to Action, and prepar'd in earnest, some to destroy, others to defend it: The batterie was feirce, many a sadd blow was discharged at the Pie that fell heavily upon one face or other, in a word, the Independent party prevaild, and the Chaireman their Leader, beating downe the walls by force of Armes, the Cart of his stomack was the first that wheeld in, whereof himselfe being Charioteer and Guide, he bore down all before him, and did a terrible execution with his owne hand.

The fortifications being quite leveld, profest friends fell to the plunder, like Enemies; never did poore Citizens suffer persecution: and devouring with so much strange patience, not a Groane, nor sigh, it seemes remembring their faults against the King they silently confessed all these punishments just, well, extreames cannot last allwaies,

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the Conqueror tyr'd with the labour of his own cruelty, was willing to pardon the miserable surviving relicks, which beginning to observe,this was done by the cook maid and a dawner as thewmselves told they found them to be a Cluster of Froggs, well doest and seasoned: The men were amazd, and the Woemen scrietched like Owles to see the Metamorphosis, and kneeling downe in a cold perplexity, they confest themselves to those Ghastly Fathers, in Termes Auricular, that as they never hoped to see Heaven, it was as sweet a Woodcock pie, as ever kist the Lipps of a moderne Apostle: feare became fury: They gave all Pies they said to the Divell, it was a City they look'd after, whose Inhabitants conquered by them, were first turnd into Frogs, by Art Magick, and now at the best, made but Woodcocks by the Sorseresses.

Two only of the Twelve perswaded Peace, and in Scripture phrases but could not be heard, for all spirit of meeknesse bad forsaken them, yet being conscious in themselves, that they all had a smackering in Nicromancy, which they studied more then divinity, they fell into a suspition, that some one among them, had done this, to put a trick upon the rest; but the Chaireman, that snorted like Bucephalus, Alexanders horse, in whom the fire of the first disdaine was freshly kindled, being before but rak'd up in a dissembled pacification, would needs presse the businesse in tempestuous language upon him, that had first stricken him, who likewise grudging at him with a fervent emulation thus retorted: that rather he himselfe was the man, for who knew not him to be alwayes drawing lines of infernall communication, spending most of his time in familiar conference with a certaine Divel, whose name he had forgot, finally, he Affirm'd him to be one that surmounted Faustus in Magick, and could make babies of those two learned Friers, Bacon, and Bungey. The brazen head had spoke his last,a terrible blowfor at this word the War broke out againe; one Cuffe from the Chaire upon the others Right Eare, made his head face quite about to the left shoulder, without hope, ever to see right forwards againe: This mortall chance engaged all the Company, who fell aboord, and battered one another without mercy: It seemd to raine Cloaks and Hatts, while Ruffs, bands, and Cassocks, were dismembred like the Frogs they had eaten, and flew up and downe as if they had been alive.

One there was amongst the rest, that had entertain'd the Time and Company, with a long discourse in praise of Reebahs sober Legacy to his Sons, whose very neer Kinsman he proved himselfe to be, at the distance only of 2019. Generations, which he assur'd them was

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all, and all the reason he knew, why that language of Hebrew seemd to him more naturall then this of his own mother Tongue: beeing as he offered to make it appeare, descended, ab originali, from the Jewes, and drawing his pedigree in straight line, from Caiphas his Chamber keeper: Malchas told the wench that made fires in the high Priests Hall, the very fame, that made Peter deny his Master, which two he protested were Married together: This Gallant, by way of pure imitation would drink no Wine, but had so drownd himselfe in a River of Ale, as getting into the middle of the roome, and staring upon that wild crew, with Goggleeyes, he stood there fixt, as if some body had turnd him into A Pillar of Malt, never to be removed, till the furious Chaireman by the triall of Feet and Fists, quickly found him to be a dirty Moveable, and kickt him out of the roome.

Another that waited his opportunity, and seemd to pitty the Damsell because he saw her in dismay, led her meekly into a darke Closer in a corner of the roome, where clinging about her like jvy, he recoverd her by the virtue of frication, reclaimd her Haggard smiles, and made her feelingly merry: her absence was quickly resented by one, that loved her dearly, who ungrappling from a Vessell that had boorded him, gave them Chase by the sent, and found thatRabbin pluming his pullet instead of a Partridge, confounded with Jelousie he bellowd out a rape, untwined their embraces, and flew upon his Rivall like a Cat Amountaine, his roaring compelled the rest to take notice of him, and being all in charity with the Nymph, which I beleeve was none of Dianaes, they took a minutes truce, and ran to her rescue, where they discovered their Pigeon all to be ruffled, and the two enraged Combatants upon the Ground: clawing one another like a couple of Currycombes.

I am not able to expresse the Chaire mans fury, whose peculiar darling she was, his anger groand, and he foamd at the mouth, and grew so insolent that he invaded freind and foe; at that instant high midnight appeared amongst them an old man or a little fellow not so tall as himselfe by the head, for he wanted one, I would faine have seene his face but could not for the reasons aforesaid, yet I think it was the Martyr Land, his hands arm'd with whips; scourged that Martiall Crew into admirable discipline, and it seemes, his blowes smarted, for they friskt up and downe the roome like Morris dancers,

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The first that fled in this dreadfull vision, was Angelica, who running downe staires fell flat upon her face, at the bottome of them with her Traine, smock and all about her eares, and exposing a paire of lovely buttocks, to the view, lay So as if she had been dead by their dispaires, two Doctors followed her at the heeles; one fell upon her right, the other upon her left hanch, which being white, pubble, and sweet, they kist them close with their cheeke, and fell fast asleepe, The Chaireman himselfe came last, which flying from his tormentor, tript likewise upon the Virgin, and ran his nose directly into her Moonshine, Those Heroes above terribly affrighted and tyrannically lasht, dropt downe suddenly into a Trance, and all was silent. The Mistris had gotten her load and sate below with eyes fast lock'd, the Servants had likewise their shares, and presented themselves the true family of night, upon whom Morpheus had cast the charme of a leaden slumber.

I, that was not with out my shiverings at this midnight spectacle, and not delighting in such cruelty grasped the occasion: opened my doore softly and stept upon the stage, where I saw such wonders acted: It was pav'd with cloakes, the candles, which signified that that spirit was not evil never went out, but gided me to several wines which well brew'd with sugar, I powred downe plentifully. I seizd upon a light and saw how Ruffs, Coats, cloaks and beards lay strowed up and downe, as thick as rushes: sacriledge, I rememberd to be a sinne, and therefore touched none of those babilonish garments, least I should seeme to be guilty of it and rob their Church, but glided gently downe, and could hardly bridle my laughter, to see how those Doctors lay like Church leeches, sucking at the breech of the body politique, and certainly they hit upon the right veine, especially he in the midst that had the best share by ods, for she had evacuated as freely in his face, as if he had been newly giving her a Glister, which made the Grinning Chaireman look like a Gouldfin der when diving into the bottome of his office he comes up again with his prey in his teeth, Jn a word, leaving these spirituall Fathers consulting with the flesh I unlock'd the street doore, shut it againe, went speedily to my lodging, and as suddenly to bed, yet not till I had scribled down a few notes, as helps to facilitate the next dayes labour, and because I reputed it an unpardonable Error to betray the least dram of so deserving a passage to unthankfull forgetfulnesse. FINIS.

This is the full version of the original text


drink, dry, famine, sugar, virtue, wine

Source text

Title: A Fraction in the Assembly: or the Synod in Armes

Author: Anon

Publication date: 1648

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bibliographic name / number: Wing (2nd ed.) / F2050 Bibliographic name / number: Thomason / E.447[17] Physical description: 14 [i.e. 16] p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: Thomason / 71:E.447[17]

Digital edition

Original author(s): Anon

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) whole


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > pamphlets

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.