The Declarations and Humble Representations of the Officers and Souldiers
About this text
This pamphlet is typical of the petitions put forward during and after the Putney debates by revolutionary factions. There were increasing differences of opinion among parliamentarians and revolutionaries about the position of the King, Lords, and Commons, and appearances of unity were shattered after the victory of the Parliament’s armies in 1648. Many intended to retain the Crown as part of a parliamentary government. The regiments submitting this petition, on the other hand, demanded that the King be brought to the bar. Thomas Fairfax (1612-1671), General and Parliamentary Commander during the Civil Wars, to whom this petition was addressed, eventually refused to condone the execution of the King. The complexities of political factionism in this moment were compounded, as this pamphlet emphasises, by economic instability and shortage. While texts such as these do not explicitly discuss economic issues, their rhetoric of shortage appears in the context of the poor harvests of 1647 and 1648.
Officers and Souldiers
- Colonel Scroops
- Colonel Sanders
- Col. Wautons
Presented to his Excellency the Lord
As also the Remonstrance of the Souldiers
belonging to the Garisons of Arundel and Rye,
and the Officers and Souldiers of Chichester.
Printed for John Partridge. 1648.
PUBLISHED BY R.L.
1.1. To His Excellency the LordFairfax, our ever Honored and Renowned Generall;
The humble Remonstrance of the Officers and Souldiers in Colonel Scroop's, and Colonel Sanders's Regiments of Horse.
May it please your Excellency,
THe consideration of the manifold and wonderful mercies of God manifested unto and upon us, and all the well affected in the Kingdom, in treading down our Enemies under our feet, because his mercy endureth for ever. The serious thoughts of the hidious cry of innocent blood crying for vengeance to Heaven, together with the Meditation upon that peremptory command of the Creator, Whoso sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed.
The necessity of the due and timely execution of Justice, in reference to the appeasing of our present distractions, the setling of a lasting peace and tranquillity in this Nation, the terror of the present and future generations, that they may fear to do any more the like, the dangerous consequence of former lenity, and too much pity, and our observation of a present design by a prevailing party in Parliament, to frustrate all our undertakings and expectations by a (now furiously driven on, and) most unjust Treaty, with our twice conquered Enemy, to the reviving of the hopes of the common Enemy: Had prest our spirits earnestly to entreat your Excellency, with your General Councel of War, that without delay (according to the wisdom and valor given you by God) you would endeavor that Justice might take place upon all, from the highest to the lowest, from the King to the meanest Subject, that they (who (to satisfie their lusts, to support and continue slavery and Tyranny in this Nation,) by their swords have made many mothers childless, and children fatherless, may (as to a sufficient number of the principal actors) have their children Orphans, and their mothers childless, in that happy day when Judgment without partiallity shall flow down as a stream.
That sufficient and timely provision be made for the taking off from the Country that unsupportable burden of famine-threatning-free-quarter, (the detestation of both Soldier and countryman,) with divers other things already before your Excellency from other Regiments. But whilst these things were in agitation amongst us, there came to our view the heads of the Remonstrance of the Army, abundantly satisfying our expectations, and preventing our requests, by granting our Petitions before they came to your Excellencies hands, which we do with all joyfulness receive, and thankfulness imbrace,acknow [Page 3] acknowledging or hands to be much strengthned, and our hearts so encouraged, that we do desire this may be for ever a witness against us, if we do not readily (at your Excellencies command) put our lives in our hands again, resolving by Gods assistance, to break through all difficulties for the accomplishment thereof, and to require the blood of our brethren, and dear fellow Souldiers, at the hands of him (or them) who shall dare to stop the currant of Justice.
1.2. To his Excellency Thomas Lord Fairfax General of all the Forces raised by the Parliament in the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales;
The humble Petition of the Officers in the Regiment of Col. Valentine Wauton, in the behalf of themselves, and Souldiers under their command;
THat Your Petitioners observing the good hand of God to this Nation, in the many successes and deliverances to this Army under your Excellencies Conduct, doth justifie that Cause so unanimously undertaking to Gods glory and the Peoples preservation, notwithstanding the secret Plots and open force of the common Enemies of our Native Country to destroy the liberties and birth right of the People, purchased by the loss of their Estates and Blood, which Cries to Heaven for Justice against that Capital Destroyer, and his party; the wilful Shedders of the blood of some hundred thousands of the Free-born People of England and Ireland: but our dayly fears are encreased of a third more bloody War by the sparing of those malicious enemies, which God delivered into your hand, not yet brought to publique Justice, but rather ways found out for their deliverance and escape, by easie Fines , to put them in bette condition then those who have suffered the loss of all for their Countries Freedom: Not forgetting that grand Design of Petitions framed [Page 4] framed by several Counties for a Personal Treaty with Honor, Freedom, and Safety at London, fomented by the Malignant party, to cause Insurrections throughout the Kingdom, that your Army, under your Excellencies Command, might be divided into small parties to suppress the Enemy, thereby to destroy the Army, to accomplish their wicked purposes, by force or fraud, into a Personal Treaty, which God hath hitherto blasted and disappointed; and understanding the pious Resolution of the Army under your Excellencies command, to bring Delinquents to punishment, and settle the Peace of the Kingdom (the desire of an oppressed people, with their just Rights and Freedoms of the Free-born of this Nation).
Humbly pray that your Excellency would not be discouraged because of the opposition and difficulties you meet withal, not doubting but God, who is wisdom and strength, will carry you thorough this great work, by his own Arm of power, making yours and the Kingdoms Enemies to become as chaff before the wind, we your Officers and Soldiers shal adhere to, and stand by you with the hazard of our lives and fortunes in setling the Peace and W elfare of the Kingdom, as followeth;
- That the King; that Capital Destroyer of, and Shedder of the Blood of some hundred thousands of his good people in England and Ireland, may be brought to publique Justice.
- That some of the principal Actors, now in your hand, may have publique Justice done upon them for the innocent blood they have spilt.
- That the principal Actors and Abettors in bringing in the Scots Army (if found out) be brought to Justice.
- That no Negative Voyces may be used in this Kingdom against the Peoples Freedom and just Liberty.
- That the Rights and Liberties of the Free-born people of England be vindicated and cleared.
- That a just and more equal way for Election of Burgesses to the Parliament.
- That Free-quarters be taken off, and the Kingdom eased of their Burthen.
- That the Revenue of the Common-wealth, by Excise, Deans and Chapters Lands, Forrest Lands, the estates of Delinquents, and the parts of Papists Lands, according to their estates so forfeited in any City or County, be for the constant pay of the Army by Assignation, according to the Establishment for Defence of the Kingdom, and satisfying all publique Debts & Damages therof.
- That a Treasurer, with two or three Commissioners, in each County, City or Riding, be appointed for such service, with some of the Army, or such as they shall appoint to be joyned with them, whereby the Revenue of the [Page 5] the Kingdom may be more certainly known, and not converted to private uses as heretofore, under an Oath for their faithful discharging of their trust, allowing them for their pains two pence in the pound, and no more.
- That all Committees, Commissioners and Sequestrators be taken away, and some strict course for bringing them to Account, with all Treasurers and Collectors, since the beginning of this Parliament.
- That abuses in Court of Justice be reformed; That the People have Justice at their own doors for petty actions.
- That an office be set up in every County for the Filing of all Deeds, Bargains and Contracts within such place where the Land lies; Bargain or Contract made, be Registred in such City or County, for the ease and benefit of the people.
- That the Clerk of the Peace, for each City and County, do take an Oath for the due Execution of the same; And that four pence be allowed him for Registering every Deed, Bargain or Contract, with the like sum of four pence for every Search.
- That free Trade may be encouraged, and some stricter course taken to protect Merchants that they be not robbed and spoiled of their Estates at Sea by English and Irish Pirates.
- That it may be made death to transport Wool, Yarn, or Fullers-earth beyond Seas.
- That Tythes belonging to the Clergy be taken away, and a Land-rate thorow the Kingdom in every Parish, equal by value, to Tithes for their maintenance.
- That some publike place in every City or County for a Treasury, be kept for that end onely; and the Justices of the Peace, for such City or County, to receive and pay them their several proportions, as shall arise out of every Parish , to the Ministers of the said place quarterly.
- That the Six Clarks Office be taken away for their intolerable exactions of eight pence a sheet, for every Bill and Answer fileing in that Court, and ten shillings for every Commission.
- That the Clerks belonging to the Chancery, may be sworn Attourneys of that Court, who may be allowed two pence a sheet for every Bill and Answer drawing, and half a crown for every Commission.
- That all penal Laws may be reviewed, what shall be thought destructive to the people, may be taken away; and what shall be thought necessary, to be continued, such penalty may be imployed for the publike use of every County or City, where the offence shall be committed.
1.3. To his Excellency the Lord General.
The humble Representation of your Officers and Souldiers in Nottingham Castle, touching their united Concurrence with the late Remonstrance from Saint Albans; and their earnest desire for the speedy and vigorous prosecution of the ends thereof.
May it please your Excellency,
We the Officers and Souldiers belonging to the Garrison of Nottingham Castle (being one of the least Members of that Body, whereof God hath made your Excellency the >head,) Although design'd to a distinct imployment from the rest of our Fellow Souldiers in the Army; and therefore not so well knowing their proceedings, or (at least) uncapable (by reason of our confinement here) of [...] acting with them; yet being (as we hope) acted by the same Spirit, to breath after the the same happy end of Impartial Justice and Publike Freedom, as we have (with great joy and reciprocal complacency) read them in several of their late Addresses tendred to your Excellency, to that purpose. And especially, having beheld the comfortable Fruit of these, in the late Remonstrance from Saint Albans, sent by your Excellency, and the General Councel of Officers, to the High Court of Parliament at Westminster: Wherein is effectually discovered, the involving depth of mischief and treachery, prepared to devour all the sons of uprightness, covered over with the pretence of composing a safe and well grounded Peace, though founded upon the rotten >Basis of an unsafe and hypocritical Treaty.
In consideration whereof, we cannot but with grief express, that our hearts even tremble with amazement, to behold the ambiguous footsteps of these our pretended Reformers; who seeming to set their faces towards the promised Land, hasten to bring us back into the place of Bondage: As if the reinslaving us under the Iron Yoke of our now seven-fold more [...]ag [...]d Taskmaskers, was the deserved purchase of all the precious Blood and Treasure spent in the former, and latter Engagements, for the obtaining of our most endeared Birthright Freedoms. All which, and many more eminent and destructive evils, ready to destroy us, together with the Remedies, are so [Page 7] so largely, and with so much plainness and faithfulness, declared in the forementioned Remonstrance.
Thus it remains (onely) for us to say Amen to your Righteous Undertakings: Exceedingly rejoycing, that we yet hear the Language of a Remnant, so much unbyassed from the rotten principle of self-ish Interest and Sinister respects, as dare adventure to plead for the pure simplicity of uncorrupted Justice: From which, it is given in to our hearts, to hope that Goodness shall (at last) dis-throne Greatness; and the despised plainness of downright honesty, out-poyze the flashy extravagancies of any Titles. Being bold onely to adde the slender weight of our desires, to move your Excellency, and those worthy Instruments with you, to a speedy prosecution of what is so righteously, and (we hope) seasonably proposed with an humble Caution, That you permit not your selves and the Kingdom, to be any more beguiled into, and acquiescenced in a pretended settlement, fixed upon any thing less stable, then the real and firm Foundation of Publike Safety; Beseeching God to protect you from the cheating intricacies of their ways, who can (Camelion-like) assume any colour to deceive. But in what form soever they appear, will be sure to approve themselves, yours, and the Kingdoms inveterate Adversaries.
And for our parts, as we are really perswaded of the sincerity and uprightness of your intentions, in what you have Remonstrated (and we trust, by the assistance of God, will speedily draw forth into Action,) so do we with singleness of heart, profess our selves ready to run with you the hazzard of all adventures, upon the same publike Bottom, according to our duty in our several places, as God shall enable us; chearfully resigning our selves to abide what verdict the most righteous Judg shall give in, to be the issue of your godly undertakings: And we hope it will not appear a vanity in us, (though a small inconsiderable handful, and not so early in our appearance, as others,) thus to declare our united humble Concurrence with your Excellency, and the rest of our Brethren in the Army, with all the true lovers of publike Freedom, in seeking the same desired Ends; which as Christians, as Souldiers, and as Englishmen, we are abundantly oblieged to do, as well as to manifest our selves,
Your Excellencies, and the Kingdoms
5. Decem. 1648.The
1.4. The humble Declaration of the Officers and Souldiers belonging to the County of Sussex, in the Garrisons of Arrundel and Rye, and the Officers Souldiers of Chichester.
THat we having had sad experience, how far our Adversaries have encouraged themselves unto their last trayterous ingagement against the Parliament by the treachery of some, and the dissenting of others, (even of those that at the first joyned hand in hand with us against the common Enemy.) And being also at present fully sensible how far our silence now in this time of greatest action and highest dispatch may give just cause of hope to our Enemies, and of fear to our friends, that we in this County, (though we are under the same command, and have hitherto faithfully and constantly joyned with you both in the first and last engagement,) yet that now we are either opposers of, or, at least dissenters from you: We therefore for the timely prevention of any such jealousie or suspition, and that we may be no longer a dissatisfaction either to you or to our selves, as to the particular of a ready compliance with you; we having lately seen your seasonable, and (as we hope) satisfying Remonstrance to the Kingdom, in which, as is conceived by us, you are pleased to remonstrate your sense and resolution, as the present affairs of the Kingdom, and the now state of things; we cannot with any contentment to our selves, or faithfulness to you, hold it fit to be any longer silent, but we must, and in this our humble Declaration do testifie our general approbabation of, and consent unto the particulars declared in your Remonstrance, assuring your Excellency, and those other Officers ingaged therein, that you shall always find us most ready constantly to joyn with you, and unanimously to carry on the same things with the body of the Army; we shall willingly, in case of any opposition, as our duty binds us, be ready to hazard our lives with you in pursuance of the things remonstrated by you; and that this our present declaring may not appear to be out of any self-ends, or self-seeking or in any relation to the continuance of our selves in arms, any longer then the condition and common necessity of the Kingdom requires; we have thought it not amiss to add, That the Peace of the Kingdom being once setled and the Peoples Rights and Liberties fully vindicated, and Justice on all Delinquents duly executed, we shall be ready to disband with the first; and this the major part of us have already testified by our willingness to take up Arms, or to lay them down, according as the necessities of the Country required.