Englands Troublers Troubled
Or the just
The plaine-men of ENGLAND,
RICH AND MIGHTIE:
by whose pride treachery and wilful-
nes, they are brought into extreme necessity
Jam. 5. 1. 5. 6.
Go to now ye rich men weep and howle, for the miseries that shall come upon you; ye have lived in pleasure
and wantonnes on the earth, ye have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter ye have condemned
and killed the just, and have not been re-
Printed in the yeare. 1648.
Go to now ye rich men weep and howle, for the miseries that shall come upon you; ye have lived in pleasure
and wantonnes on the earth, ye have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter ye have condemned
and killed the just, and have not been re-
Or the just
The plaine-men of ENGLAND & c.
THough ye have dealt most fraudulently and and treacherously with us, yet we shall deal plainly and honestly with you, especially you of the City of London.
When before this Parliament, the whole land was overburdened with unlawfull taxes and pattents, then the Magistrates, Aldermen, Common-Councell and other rich Citizens, joyned therein with the King and Courtiers, vexing, reproaching and imprisoning all that would not submit to any thing imposed, though never so unjust; many of you becoming projectors your selves, and so betrayed the liberties of the Nation, and caused the evils of the Common-wealth to arise unto that height, which have occasioned and increased the troubles ever since.
When the oppressions and cries of the people had gotten a Parliament, Oh then what heave and shove there was to get all out of Office, that had complyed with the King, and to get in such as shewed themselves forward for the Parliament; but to our grief and misery, we find our selves much deceived and abused, too many wolves and foxes in sheeps cloathing, geting in amongst some honest men; who ever since have per-verted all honest endeavours, diverted all just proceedings, and from time to time strove to set differences between the Parliament and City, and so have devised all waies, and used all means to leng then and increase our miseries.
At the first (and for some time after) this politick worke of theirs proved somwhat difficult, because for a season, the major part of the Common-councell were so wise and honest, as to discerne and oppose them therein; during which time, not one evill word was suffered to be whispered, (or past unpunished that was spoken) against the house of Commons, or in behalf of the common enemy the King and his party, then if the Lords did in any thing dispute with the Commons, the Common councell instantly laid it to heart, and ran to Westminster with Petitions, declaring for the authority of the house of Commons, as representing the people, such a happy and hopefull time there was, ye cannot deny.
But the House of Lords, (who have been and are chief in this politick work, ever carrying on both the King and Courtiers designs) perceiving this difficulty, strike in with the Lordlike men of the City, the Aldermen, and with other rich men in all places of the Country, all proceedings ever since evidently demonstrating a confederacy amongst the rich and mighty, to impoverish and so to enslave all the plaine and mean people throughout the land.
And hence we evidently see it is, that we have had so many bones cast amongst us, to devide and make us quarrell one with another, driving all men into parties and factions, that so we might never agree together in any thing, tending to our good and preservation, untill we were so wasted and impoverished by your wicked [...], that we must be forced to serve you and your vile ends for a morsell of bread.
We feel arly it is from the House of Lords, that the house of Commons have been corrupted, drawn into factions, put upon such courses as should make them odious to us and all honest men, that so when time should be, we might be induced (through their unjust dealings to oppose their authority, and for this end it is, that the Lords have packt so many of their sons, servants and tenants therin, and countenance all Lawyers there, who are the manifest perverters of of justice, and corrupters of all places.
By these their creatures, they put the House of Commons
[Page 3] upon taking offices, and disposing the publike treasurie of the Commonwealth amongst themselves, their children, kindred and servants upon enriching themselves by Bishops and other Delinquents lands, upon obstructing and perverting legall tryals, and imposing a multitude of illegall taxes, as excise and the like upon us, wiherein we are miserably overbut thened in our trades and painfull callings, and wealthy men favoured.
By these & such other subtile practises they cuningly corrupt them, and then they cry out on their corruptions, that so all men might be induced to undervalue and despise them, and be ready to trample upon their authority, and erect that of the Lords and the Kings, (which indeed are both one) above the power of the people in the House of Commons; being stomackt & repined at by both alike; So that now we not only see, but begin to feele, that the ground of all our wars, and the continuance of them, and of all our miseries have been and is, to erect the power of the King and Lords, above that of the people, in the house of Commons.
And therefore unanimously to this end, they bend their joint endeavours; for when many of the Lords went with the King to help him to raise forces, and to be Commanders in his Atmies, many of them also were left here, and sent back to corrupt the House of Commons, to devise plots and stifle discoveries (as that of Challenor and Tomkins) to pervert the City, to divide the people, to preserve traytors and delinquents from due punishment, as Waller and many others, to favour richmen and monopolizing companies, to crush mean men, impose burthens, and destroy the Parliaments Armies, as that of Essex Manchester and others.
For this cause, the house of Lords agreed not to the raysing of this succesfull Army, but obstructed it all they could, endeavoured to have bound them fast at Oxford from following the King, kept them without pay fourteene Moneths together, wrought the City and other places to become their enemies, to remonstrate and Petition for their disbanding, stirr them up to an engagement to force the house of Commons that adhered to the Army, and in conclusion, to raise an Army against them, and
[Page 4] proclaime them enemies, and vote the King to London.
And all this for no other cause, but that this Army proved not deceitfull like others; but faithfull and in good earnest against the King and his forces, and endeavoured to restore the power of the house of Commons above that of the House of Lords, having in all their victories made no use of any Lord at all. It's true, some few of them seemed to comply with the Army, when there was little or no need of their help; but thrice happy had it been for this nation, that they had never mixed their councells with such timeserving hypocrites as these Lords are; for they semed to hold with the Army meerly to betray them, puting them upon tampering with the King, & upon holding up their own Lordly usurped power equall to, if not above the just power of the house of Commons, when according to duty and conscience the Army, should have only insisted upon the establishment of the just liberties of the people, being the true end for which they were raised.
So that for any good the house of Lords or any part of them have done in all these eight yeares troubles, it had been happy for this Nation, they had all gone at first with the King, as the rest of them did.
All men may se, it is from the Councell and practice of the house of Lords, that we have had such pulling and halling, such packing and striving about Common-counsel-men in every ward of London, crying down one sort of men, and up another, and could never be quiet till the Common-counsell and Aldermen in all respects answered the expectation of the Lords; and now that they are become as one fraternity or incorporate body together, what are they put upon, but doing the King and (his deputies) the house of Lords work for? not only every week, but almost every day petitions are posted up to the house of Commons for no lesse then a Personall Treaty with the King, a platform laid for his comming toLondon, all means used to necessitate their yeelding the reunto, though against all conscience and reason.
To this end, an universall rising is contrived, together with the revolting of the Navy, and the Scots invasion, and an engagement at London, all at one instant, and all expresly for the
[Page 5] same things, chiefly a Personall Treaty, and the disbandings of the Army.
By all which stratagems, policies and confideracies, they have disturbed all trade at home, and stopt up all traffique by sea, and thereby intend to reduce us the plaine and meane people of England to such extremity and lamentable poverty, as that we shall have no possibility to get bread for our selves our wives, children & families, except we will serve their vile ends, in crying up a personall treaty, and the power of the King and Lords, and downe with the House of Commons for ever and ever.
And if crying, petitioning and engaging will not do it, then ye think, we will be so mad as to list and fight against them, or that worthy Army (who is both their and our shelter from these wicked mens bloudy cruelty) and to joyne with such desperate enemies of God and all goodnes, as Goring, Rupert, Maurice or with such apostates as the Scots, to bring our selvs and our posterity into bondage and beggery. But we trust, we shall be proof, both against your old treachery, and Prince Charles his new flattery, we look for no grapes from such thornes, nor figs from such thistles.
How ignorant soever ye suppose us to be, we are sensible enough of what trouble and misery you have brought upon as, and how dayly (upon pretences of speedy remedies) ye bring us into more cruell and painfull diseases, transporting us dayly from one degree of poverty and necessity into another, and seem now cock-sure, that we must either starve, or do ourselvs and the Common-wealth any mischeif ye can imagine.
But assure your selves, ye insolent and deceitfull men, as ye have brought us into our greatest extremities, so when ye have most need of our aide, ye shall find us otherwise minded, Ye have by corruption in Government, by unjust and unequall lawes, by fraud, cousenage, tyranny and oppression gotten most of the land of this distressed and enslaved nation into your ravenous clawes, ye have by monopolies, usuties & combinations engrossed all the wealth, monies and houses into your possessions, yea and inclosed our commons in most Counties.
Ye have by your confederacies usurped all authority, the plain and England by your great craft and power are ba led out of all, as for instance, in Parliament, the house of Commons is made by your means, of no value or use to the people that chused them, and amongst them a plaine man is made the scorn of rich , yea of Lawyers who are the vilest of men, and greatest abusers of mankind.
In the City, the Aldermen and we by Citizens ver rule all, not est eming of any commoner, bu such a serve their wills. In all the companies the Commons and Commu lity are all cheated and abused by their w althy members, pack: together under the name of the assistants, all law and freedom are every where perverted by you, even in tryalls a law, juries and jury men (though grave and ancient) are despised and vi fied and though in the esteeme of the Law of the land, they be of cheifest trust, yet are forced to stand bare, and oftentimes righted by unjust judges and corrupt Lawyers, for giving just and true judgment according to their knowledge and consciences; so that it is in vaine, for any plaine honest meane man to expect any reason, equity or justice against any sort of you and wealthy men, who have not only engrossed all our substance into your clawes, which we have dearly earned with the sweat of our browes, but ye have caused much innocent blood to be spilt to maintain your pride and domination. How excessively and unconscionably have ye advanced your land rents in the Country, and house and shop tents in the City within these fourty yeares? How many families have ye eaten out at doores and made beggars, some with racke rents, and others with engrossing of leases, and monopolizing of trades?
When with extream care, rackt credit and hard labour our selves and servants have produced our manufactures, with what cruelty have ye wrought, and still worke upon our necessities, and enrich your selves upon our extremities, ffering yea frequently buying our work for lesse then (you know) the stuft whereof it was made cost us; by which and the like unconscionable meanes in grinding the faces of the poore, a d advancing your selves on our ruins, most of you rich Citizens
[Page 7] come to your wealth, without any kind of remorse or Christian compassion for your so undoing of poore Families, and pittifully eating the bread out of the young crying infants mouthes.
And what do ye think we shall do now, for (by divine providence) it begins to come to our turns? ye have by your Arts and devices stopt and supprest all Trade, how do ye imagine we shall pay our debts, our rents, or give our Families bread? ye suppose, we will (contrary to common sence) fight against the House of Commons, or against the Army? But for whom shall we do it, for you! who so many wayes oppresse and tyrannize over us, or for what? To establish your Lordships over us, and become your slaves, your beggers, your prisoners, and be for ever without any hope of ever seeing a House of Commons any more in England, to redresse our grievances? Or do ye think in these manifold extremities, to starve us by this your wilfull dearth, pinching hunger, and intollerable Famine brought upon us, by your crafty, base, and corrupt means? No,
Ye may assure your selves, ye shall not only taste, but drink deep of your own mischievous brewing, the evill which you so hastily provide for us, ye shall find suddainly to fall upon your own heads.
For to be plaine with you, though ye have ever dealt deceitfully with us, until ye forbear to wrest, force, and importune the House of Commons beyond their own mature judgements, either concerning the King or any thing else; and likewise, cease to scandalise and provoke the Army, under Command of his Excellency the Lord Fair fax, which hath preserved both you and us, and hath dealt civilly with all men, untill the Scots that are come in by your invitation and procurement, be wholly withdrawn, The revolted Ships be come in, and the passage by Sea fully cleared, yea and both Trading and other subsistance be restored, whereof by your wicked means, we are quite debarred, ye must hold us excused, for paying any of you either re ts, debts, or interest, and all enclosures of fenus and Commons, ye must expect to be layed open; And such of us as shall be in extremity of
[Page 8] want by your indirect means, (as many thousands of us (especially who depends on Trade are likely to be,) we shal make bold with our Servants and Familes to visit your rich houses, barns, butteries, capbords and tables, with whatsoever else may supply our necessities, and that not by way of fellony, or robbery, but in a just, faire, and usuall way of free quarter, as too many of our selves have given, both to the Kings Armies and yours, as well as to any one under the Parliament and Common-wealth, even for years and half years, and moneths and weeks, so farre above our power as maketh us so much the more unable to maintain our Families at this time, which ye perceiving instead of pitty, do also spoile us of our Trades and Livelyhoods: So it is but reasonable and equitable, that ye who bring upon us these miseries, should supply our necessities so long as they continue, or at least, so long as ye have estates, and we neither Estates nor Trades, by your meanes.
We shall also expect to be excused from paying either Excise, Assesments, or other Taxes, and shall desire of our House of Commons, that all impositions upon Trade, especially on mean Tradesmen may for ever cease, and that they will raise such somes of money as they shall need for the publick, only by way of subsidees, as by law and reason they ought, which also will fall chiefly upon you, who are only able to bear them, as having both reall and personall estates, even to superfluity.
And we, shall upon all occasions be ready to assist them in reducing you to obedience thereunto, and to what else shall be thought expedient for the publike service.
For however you have most unjustly done your utmost to corrupt ou w e sones, servants and relations, and (contraty to the nature of all order and Government) set them us Judges over the Commons of England in Parliament Assembled, yet shall we give those unexparienced young men better example, and both recover and preserve that just authority hence forth as carefully as our lives.
Had ye been willing, ye could have prevented much of these troubles when Gorings forces kept Bow-bridge, by sending a small force cut of the City, by which your wilfull neglect, ye not only see, but seem to rejoyce at the miseries of Colch-ster, and the comming in of the Scots, and labour day and night to bring us into as bad or worse condition, but we trust in God we shall be able justly to turne the mischiefe upon your selves, which ye have unjustly devised and intended against us.
If ye think us too bold with you, and that the burden will be too heavy for you, then think what it is for us to be thus exrteamly necessitated by your malitious wilfullnes, and for your owne sakes make an end the sooner; for it is in your power to do all we according to reason desire and insist upon, if you deferre therefore any longer what you ought to perform, as cur necessity by your negligence and wicked meanes shall increase upon us, so shall we be enforced to take a more effectuall course with you.
And of this also take timely warning,if ye shall obslinately and traterously persist, to animate, helpe or further the Scots advance, the sea men in their revolt, overbear or importune the house of Commons, and provoak the Army, and for these and the like perfidious treacheries to the Commonwealth, come to be voted enemies and Delinquents.
Assure your selves, that we shall not faile, but be ready to help and assist the house of Commons with all curabilities, to make good all such Votes of theirs, against the greatest, proudest and highest of you all; being still (as we were alwaies) resolved to value no man, nor party of men, in any unjust way to their just authority, (whose amendment we shall pray for, hope and study to deserve) but never to relye upon you or any of you in any publike respect, whose work and interest it is, to deceive, oppresse or hold us in bondage.
Ye are so rich, fat and swoln with wealth, that ye esteem far lesse of plaine men then you do of your horses or doggs
[Page 10] which ye feed and pamper, whilst by your means such as we are enforced to starve or begg.
But know this, God can pull down your pride (like Dives) and that by your own folly and madnes, and in short time, bring you (as he hath brought thousands both in City and Country as high as any in Court, City and Country to such a low condition, that ye may be sensible what it is, to stop and interrupt that so lawfull and needfull course of trade, without which so many thousands cannot subsist, having neither one foote of land to plow nor pasture, nor house to live in, nor shop nor stall wherein to get their dayly bread, but at your unconscionable & unreasonable rackt, oppressive and destructive rents.
But these and many other enormities, are parcells of the fruits of evill, co rupt and tyrannicall Government, and of covetous, wicked and ambitious Governours, perverting most undutifully, and unconscionably the end of Gods Creation, who in all Nations, hath most wisely and liberally provided a sufficiency of necessaries for the Inhabitants, and unto every particular or individuall person whereof a competency is due, and which if withheld, is in his sight no lesse then robbery and injustice: And therefore by all just Governments, ought to be carefully lookt unto and prevented, it being most unreasonable where God hath given enough, that any should perish through want and penury.
These things we have begun now mor seriously to consider, then at any time heretofore, ye giving us more and more cause so to do, and if ye desist not, from stopping and disturbing of trade, by which (if ye would be quiet) we for our parts could (with Gods blessing upon our labours, comforrably and peaceably live; ye must consider, that necessity (which passeth the bounds of Law) will put men upon further and higer matters, then either ye would be willing to heare, or we desirous to utter: for we desire only such competency of meane whereby to live quietly, that we be not cha gable, but rather helpfull to the Common-wealth, and
[Page 11] no wise to disturbe you, either in your wealth or honours, if ye would desist from doing us wrong, and suffer us to enjoy what is due unto us by proper right.
Therefore, as ye love your wealth, honour and greatnes, study and endeavour by all good meanes, to put an end to these long lasting troubles, and (as ye ought) referre the Government in every part of this destressed Nation, to those who are chosen from all Cities and Counties thereof, and thinke not because ye are happily more wealthy then they, to trample them under your feet, which is such a presumption as will never be indured in England; And as it hath beene, so may i ever be the certaine downfall of you, and all that attempt so pernirious and distructive an enterprize.
Nor can we but wonder, why the Parliament, having so great a number of true friends should suffer themselvs to be thus continually vexed and affronted, as they have been and are, by your destuctive firebrand Remonstrances, and Petitions, wherein from politique hypocrites, (long time pretending zeal and conscience) ye are grown impudent professed malignants, and traytors to the Commonwealth; as hath manifestly appeared in your Petition of the 8, of August last, and your persisting to list horses without authority, and against command of Parliament.
For what else importeth, that ye deeme the King in a sad, miserable and deplorable condition, as in your Petition is expressed? Is not his condition too good for him, considering so many thousands and ten thousands honest people that have been seduced and destroyed by his obstinat tyrannous disposition, and by whom this long and bloudy war hath been contrived & continued? Could such language proceed from you in his behalf, but that ye and he are of one mind, and are confederated together with the house of Lords your gracious answerers, to destroy the House of Commons, the only obstacle of your tyranny.
If you would not be so esteemed, why call you those Scots your brethren, that by your owne [Page 12] acknowledgement are, come into this Nation in an hostile manner? ye know sufficiently, the house of Commons have voted all those Traytors, that had any hand in bringing them in, or shall any wise assist them; and if these be still your brethren, God blesse us from such Common-Councell Petitioners.
And why is it that ye beare your selves so respectfully towards him, who hath now made himselfe Prince of those Rebells in the revolted Ships, as to fawne upon him in these corrupt expressions, His Hignesse the Prince of Wales, Commanding at Sea, a considerablle part of the Navy and other Ships; (as if ye thought him justly there) but that ye desire to honour him before the people, and thereby increase his party?
Were ye otherwise minded, ye would have layd all those evils (ye there mention) upon him, whether it be the destruction of Navigation, the deserting of Seamen, obstruction in the trade of Merchandize, clothing, manufactures, wooll and the like; for who is the cause of these and the rest ye mention, but he? And had ye not been of his faction, ye would have stiled him the Grand enemy of England, and destroyer of this City, and would have tendered your utmost assistance to the Parliament to have brought him to justice, and which (if ye would) ye could as easily yet do, as ye could have stopt Gorings passage to Colckester.
But we see, ye will never leave ploting, till ye have brought this City into as grrat misery, as that Town is now in; ye have wealth at will, (and can it seems) outlast these times of destruction and poverty:
Trade, ye thought was overwrought before, Tradesmen and Marchants were so numerous, that your wealth came in too slowly, and it seems ye hope this will cure your disease, and weed out all inferiour traders; and then ye think, ye and your gallant Sonnes shall soone recover (with the Princes favour) all that ye disburse underhand, or are willingly robb'd off by him.
So that it is only we of the meaner sort, that must be robb'd, begger'd and undone in good earnest, and so
[Page 13] it shall be, if we cannot help it; but we hope you will find your selves mistaken: ti's not your dissembled care of us in your Petition, that will now blind our eyes; when wee want work and bread, we shall neither run to disturbe our friends at Westminster, nor into forraign parts, but our innumerable number (as ye call us) shall find a nearer way to food and rayment, till (as ye have begun them) ye put an end to these distempers.
Nor is it your Bishoplike outcries against the unsetlement of the Church, or the increase of blasphemy, Heresie, Schisme and prophanenes, that will any longer keepe us from discerning you to be our worst of enemies, and those whom thereby yee intend to reproach, to be our best of friends; for we know ye mean therby to asperce principally the Grand enemy of your Scot s brethren, the Army, commonly called by them (their King and Prince) the Army of Sectaries.
But when ye have spett all your venome, ye must find more honest expedients to prevent the apparent ruine, (ye indeede intend) then so speedy a freeing of his Majesty from the unjust restraint, wherein he now remains, by a Personall Treaty: Your meaning is, ye would have Him to your City, and put Him in the head of a new Army, that so He might restore Himself to His unjust power, which ye call His just Rights, because thereby only ye expect to be protected in all your oppressions and dominations over us.
The Parliament is now sufficiently acquainted, with your delusions of this nature, and how carefull ye will be to preserve their undoubted Priviledges, whereof ye and the King would be competent Judges, (and soone put them out of all question) as also of our native Liberties, would they but once be so cruell to themselves and us, as to grant your Petitions, or a Cessation of all acts of hostility, untill the Scoss have increased, and your Prince grow more absolute Master at Sea, or his Father get loose againe, then we should soone lye at your mercy,
[Page 14] and in stead of this Army, which ye so eagerly seeke to have disbanded, we should (in all probability) have such a wretched one, as was led by Rupert and Maurice to robb and spoyle us at land, as now your new Prince Pyrat doth at Sea.
But we trust, God will preserve both Parliament and people from all your malitious stratagems, and intended mischeifs, and give you to drink deep of the cup of your owne so recries and abominations.