A Declaration of Some Proceedings
Of some Proceedings of
Lt. Col. John Lilburn,
And his ASSOCIATES:
Some Examination, and Animadversion
upon papers lately printed, and scattered abroad.
PUBLISHED BY Humphrey Harward
Declaration, & c.
THere can be nothing more evident to any that will give themselves leave maturely to weigh and compare the past and present state of affaires in this Kingdome with an impartiall Judge-ment, than that all the pressures for-merly imposed, the late Warre, the pre-sent distempers, and future threatned danger thereby, doe all grow out of the same root, and flow from the same fountaine; and will lead, if they be pursued, to one and the same end, Even that which was first in the intention of the first Designers, The setling of Tyranny, and inslaving the People. And although he that shall look upon these things only en passant, will scarce believe that such diffe-rent Principles and pretentions as are held out to view, should serve the same ends. And though it should seem there could be nothing at greater distance to the intenti-[Page 2] on of some, who are abused into these distempers, than to promote slavery and hasten ruine. Yet they who are unin-teressed and uningaged in them, and instructed in, and convinced of the Grand Designe of those who began our troubles, and how it is still carryed on; can both see the Artifice by which they are raised and fomented, and the End to which they tend, and where at they are like to ar-rive; There is no need to reckon up what the state of this Kingdom was before the breaking out of these trou-bles, being in such condition of wealth, and all mnaner of prosperity, as made it the Subject of Envie to those who knew not what was designed against it. But no lesse than an absolute Tyranny would please the King, to com-mand the hearts of his people by a just Government, ac-cording to the Lawes, and the Limits of his Trust, and there by to command their persons, and purses, and all; for the good of all, was beneath Royallity. And that it was fitter for a King to take, than ask, was then State Do-ctrine, and the practise suitable. We were to be mo-delled to a forreign pattern, and in pursuance thereof, all manner of Arbitrary exactions, and impositions were laid upon the people, the particulars will not be forgot-ten this Age, and need not a recapitulation. A Consump-tion had seized the people, and their usuall Physick was denyed them; and when twas grown dangerous even to sigh for a Parliament, the Kings necessities by the stirres in Scotland inforce him to call one. But that was not the first the King had broken, and he then knew well enough when it would not serve his turne, and verefie Edicts, How to keep it from serving the people for the recovery of their Liberty: His necessities encrease, this present Parliament is called; and in regard of so many broken before, this [Page 3] was not able to serve the necessities of the Kingdome, unlesse it were put beyond his power to break; And therefore was continued by Law till the Houses by joynt consent should dissolve it; Now the King being fast, as to usuall Court Stratagems, hath recourse to force, deales with one Army, tempts another, frustrate in both; impeacheth Members, comes himselfe to fetch them, nothing takes; He retires into the North, resolves a Conquest of the Parliament, the People, the Lawes, and though to blind the short-sighted multitude, He forbids the repaire of Papists to the Court, yet his principall Assi-stants in it are those his good Subjects; He set up his Stan-dard, raiseth an Army, maketh Warre against the Par-liament and Kingdome, and put it to the tryall of the Sword, whether he shall govern by the Lawes, or by his Will without Law. In the prosecution of which appeal to the Lord of Hosts, he hath lost his Cause, which stands determined against him by a full Conquest of all his forces; And thereby an happy opportunity given, not only to deliver from those late Exactions, and to make their re-turne impossible, but for the recovery and establishment of all that just Freedome that may make a people happy, as they stand in the Naturall Constitution, and Civill Con-sociation, and distinct and mutuall relations of the people of England; if themselves hinder not.
The way of force being at an end, but there being no end of the malice of our Enemies, but the slaverie of the Nation; and the ruine of all those faithfull Patriots that hath hitherto hindred it.
They convert now their whole industry to the mannage of that Maxime (Divide and Rule) as to the only Engine left them to attaine their ends, yet this is not now first in [Page 4] practice amongst them, it hath had its part during all the time of the Warre (though not so strenuously pursu-ed, while they had other hopes) by raising and fomen-ting of factions, and divisions in all places, Armies, Councels, Cajoling all sorts by all those Artifices, where-by their Interests, humours, and discontents might be wrought upon. Thus they have had their Emissaries un-der every disguise, who have laboured to divide the people among themselves; and Characterize that divi-sion by distinguishing Names, and to divide them all from the Parliament by severall pretences; that it being naked of the protection of their force, might be unable to protect the people by their Authority. The Pulpits have served the Kings Interest, while they thought they pursued their owne. (The Instruments putting them on, being a New Malignant party, under a disguise, they not discerning they were acted by the old one, through the entremise of these,) and while they have divided the people, they have left them lesse able to defend themselves: Division among themselvs is not al, they divide also from the Par-liament: for the people being wont to believe what ever they hear from that place, by those men, have from thence been abated in their respect and opinion of the Parliament. Hence the City Remonstrance, and hence the first visible turne to their Actings toward the Parliament: The same Instruments tell the souldiers of their Arrears, strengthen their reflections upon their merit, help them to heighten the sense of their present wants, and sufferings, and in the meane time labour all they can possibly, both in the Houses, and among the people, to hinder the advancing or levie of moneys to satisfie them. And what workings there hath been, both toward, and in the Army under the [Page 5] Command of Sir Thomas Fairfax, to breed faction and division there, to irritate it, or to break it, by whom it was done, and whose interest those men carried on, all men know. And how incredible soever it seem, yet even the Cries for liberty, endeavors of levellin perfectly play the Kings Game; his Tyranny can with greater ease over-flow a levell, then where it meets with the opposition of the power of the Kingdom in the Parliament. The In-struments of those designes, know that it is impossible for Tyranny ever to grow again upon Us, till that power be ta-ken away, or disabled, by which it hath been broken, and our right recovered; and that so long as the people ac-knowledge their Protectors, and own their Protection, they will be safe under it. The Woolves perswade the Sheep, if the Dogs were away, there would be a happy peace between them. The difficulty now is, to make the Sheep believe they are Woolves that make the overture.
The truth is, tis the greatest pity in the world that plain and simple integrity, and well-meaning innocency should be deceived. But their unhappinesse is, there is no-thing easier; it is necessary the Serpent & the Dove should go together, else he that only consults his own Candor and Integrity, will never believe that another mans Propo-sitions or Designs have any worse principle. When Absolon went about to dethrone his father, there followed him three hundred men from Jerusalem, that went in the simplicity of their hearts, knowing nothing: the man pre-tended only a Religious Vow, and these poor, believed him, And every age produceth sufficient numbers of as little foresight; and there is no doubt, but if many a-mong those that promote the dividing destructive A-greement of the people, and indeavor an Anarchicall level- [Page 6] ling had had but as much light to have judged the de-signs of their leaders, and to have foreseen the end of their motions, as they have good meaning, their Musters had never swelled to the numbers they account them, though in that there is very little credit to be given to their own Roll.
It hath not been the least part of the Art of those that drive on these designs, to imploy such to serve their turns, whose former merit might seem to priviledge a mistake in their duty, and that it must be ingratitude at least, if not cruelty in the Parliament to proceed to any severe animadversion against men of so much merit as the Leaders, or so large and good affection as their followers.
In which Stratagem, they have not failed, for by the Parliaments lenity and forbearance toward such men, (in hope they would see their mistakes, and return to the wayes of their duty and safety,) they are grown to that height, both by making Combinations; Printing and dis-persing all manner of false and scandalous Pamphlets and Papers against the Parliament, to debauch the rest of the people, gathering monyes, and making Treasurers and Re-presentons of themselves, as it is necessary to obviate by present and effectuall means. And the Parliament can no longer suffer them in these seditious wayes, without de-serting their trust in preserving the Peace of the King-dom, and the freedome and property of peaceable men.
Among all the Instruments they have out-witted to carry on their designs with this sort of people, there are none have visibly done them more service then Lieute-nant Col. John Lilburn, a man who hath made himselfe sufficiently known to the world, by those heaps of scan-dalous Books and Papers that he hath either written, or [Page 7] owned against the House of Peers, and such as have done him greatest courtesies; filled with falshoods, bitternesse, and ingratitude, whereby he hath given himself a Chara-cter sufficient to distinguish him (with the Judicious) from a man walking according to the rules of sobriety, and the just deportment of a Christian: 'Tis true, he suffered much from the Bishops, in the time of their exorbitancies, and he was one of the first the Parliament took into their care for liberty and redresse. But the present temper of his spirit, gives some ground to beleeve, that he added much to the weight of his pressures, by his want of meeknesse to bear what Providence had laid him under.
'Tis also true, that he hath done good service for the Parliament, and adventured his life, and lost of his blood in the Common Cause. But some that know him, well observe, that he brought not the same affections from Oxford, that he was carried priso-ner thither withall; though indeed he hath also done ser-vice since that time. And the Parliament hath not been unmindfull either of his sufferings, or of his services, but hath given him severall sums of money, notwithstanding the Committee of Accounts reported to the House, that in their judgements there was nothing due to him.
But let his services be as great as himself, or his friends will have them, yet 'tis possible for a man to reflect too much upon his own desert; and mens overvaluing their ser-vices, have oftentimes produced such subsequent Acti-ons, as have buried their first merit in a punishment.
It is very probable, many of those that he misleads into these dangerous Actions, look upon him as a Mar-tyr in the Cause against the Bishops; and believe that all his zeal is only for the promotion of Righteousnesse, and just [Page 8] things, and for the Vindicating and Asserting the peoples liberty against Oppression and Violence, and that only by Petition, and indubitably just, and allow-ed way for all men to seek their grievances by, and by which they may without offence, addresse to any autho-rity or greatnesse whatsoever.
To take off this disguise, and disabuse well meaning men, who cannot judge him by his Character drawn of himself, by himself, in his severall books; It will be ne-cessary to give the world a Narrative of what his de-portment and carriage was toward the House of Peers, upon which he was imprisoned, it having yet been spread to the World, only as he and his friends have pleased to dresse it, all which is taken out of the Records of that House, and is as followeth.
UPon the publishing of a Book by him written, called, The just mans Justification, and complaint thereof made to the House; It was Ordered the 10. of June, 1646. That Lieutenant Colonel John Lil-borne shall appeare, and answer such things as he stands charged with, concerning a Book entituled, The just mans Justification. The 11. of June he appeared, and there delivered at the Barre a paper, entituled, The Pro-testation, Plea, and Defence of Lieut. Col. John Lilborn, given to the Lords at their Barre, the 11. of June, 1646. with his Appeal to his proper and legall Tryers, and Judges, the Commons of England assembled in Par-liament. In which Protestation, after he hath acknow-ledged an Obligation to the House, for dealing justly and honourably with him in a Parliamentary way, in a businesse of his, lately before that House, yet that he [Page 9] would not submit to any Judgement of this House a-gainst him in a criminall Cause; but would rather under-goe all deaths or miseries which the wit of man can de-vise, or his power and Tyranny inflict; And closeth his Protestation in these words, Therefore doe from you, and from your Bar, as Inchroachers and usurping Judges, appeal to the Barre, and Tribunal of my competent, pro-per, and legall Tryers and Judges, the Commons of Eng-land assembled in Parliament: which Protestation be-ing contrived, and prepared by him upon premeditation, and given in at the Barre with so much contempt of and affront unto the Priviledges of this House, It was upon consideration thereof had, Ordered that the said Lieu-tenant Collonel John Lilborn should stand committed to Newgate, for bringing into the House a scandalous and contemptuous paper, And that the Keeper of Newgate doe keep him in safe custody.
The 23. of June following, the House Ordered he should be brought into the House as a Delinquent, being formerly committed as a Delinquent. At which time being brought to the Barre according to the said Order, he refused there to kneele, which is the constant po-sture, and so known to be; and accordingly practised by all who are sent for as Delinquents by either of the Houses. And upon that refusall, the House Ordered, That he should for that his contempt to the House, be committed close prisoner to Newgate, And that none be suffered to resort to him, nor any pen and inke to be allowed him, untill the House should take further Order therein, And it was then further Ordered, That the Kings Counsell, with the assistance of Mr. Hailes, Mr. Herne, and Mr. Glover, should draw up a Charge against [Page 10] him with all convenient speed, and that they should ad-vise with the Judges herein, and acquaint them with precedents: Which Charge being by the said Councell drawn up into certaine Articles, and brought into the House by Mr. Nathaniel Finch, his Majesties Serjeant at Law. July 10. Containing matter of high crimes, and misdemeanors, (and such as only concerned the House of Peers in the Priviledges thereof, and some of their Members, of which matters, We are certainly the un-questionable and undoubted Judges) which Charge was then and there read. And it was then Ordered, That the said John Lilborne should be brought to the Barre next day, which was done accordingly. And he being there, was required to kneel at the Barre (as is usuall in such cases) and to hear his Charge read, that he might make his defence thereto; he did not only refuse to kneel, as before he had done, but when the House command-ed his Charge to be read, he said he would not hear, and upon reading thereof he stopped his eares with his fin-ger. Being commanded to withdraw (after the House had taken this his contemptuous carriage into considera-tion) it was Ordered, That he should be called in again, and admonished, and told, that by his stopping of his ears, his ill language, and contemptuous and scornfull de-portment, he had deprived himself of what favour he might have had in the House. And commanded him a-gaine without stopping of his ears to hear his Charge. He answered, he had appealed from this House (as not his competent Judges) to the House of Commons, to which he would stand so long as he had any bloud in his body. The House again commands his Charge to be read, and he again told them he would not hear it, And accor- [Page 11] dingly he again stopped his eares while it was readings being asked what he said to his Charge, he answered he heard nothing of it, had nothing to doe with it, tooke no notice of it, but would stand to his Protestation, ha-ving appealed from this House, and protested against it, as unrighteous Judges, to those Judges who were to judge him and them, namely the House of Commons as-sembled in Parliament. Being again commanded to with-draw, the House took his refusall as an Answer pro Con-fesso to the whole matter of his Charge. And taking in-to consideration, the high contempt to the honour and dignity of the House of Peers, shewed by his words and speeches at the Barre, which were also contained in his Charge. It was amongst other things adjudged, That Lieutenant Colonel John Lilborne for his high contempt to the honour of the House, should be imprisoned in the Tower of London, during the pleasure of the House. And upon consideration of the whole matter of his Charge, it was likewise amongst other things adjudged, that he be imprisoned seven years.
Had this Contemptuous carriage been shewed to the mea-nest Court in the Kingdome, or to a single Justice of the Peace, he would certainly have been committed for misbehaviour. Courts and Magistrates are no longer able to execute the duty of their places, and discharge their trust in the administration of Justice, than they keep up and maintain their Dignity and Authority from the tramp-lings and contempt of Delinquents. And there is no doubt but these approaches made by Lieutenant Co-lonel John Lilborne, and carried even within the walls of the Lords House with so little losse, was a maine encou-ragement to that generall assault and force upon both [Page 12] Houses, upon the 26. of July last, by that Rable of Re-formadoes, and of the Prentices set on and encouraged, by the known Malignant-then-ruling-part of the City. This carriage of his might seem sufficient to discover the Man, and being known, might warn every well-tempered and peaceable disposition, to take heed of engaging in any Designe that may be the conception of such a Spirit: the birth whereof can portend nothing but Distraction and confusion. And the better yet to undeceive wel-meaning men, who may perhaps believe the Results and productions of the late frequent, and numerous meet-ings of him, and his party, in and about the City, are of a contrary omplexion and tendency, and can serve no other end than a firme and speedy setling the peace and tranquillity of the Kingdome, which all good men desire and should promote; They may here take notice of what was delivered to the Houses of Parliament, by Mr. Masterson Minister of Shoreditch, who was pre-sent at one of those meetings, And which was also (af-ter many denials, tergiversations and prevarications, by the said Lieutenant Colonel John Lilborne, and the lie given (or words that signified as much) to Mr. Master-son in the House of Commons (who was confronted there with him at the Barre) confessed by himselfe, in eve-ry particular one only excepted. The whole Relation whereof is here printed from the Copie, signed by the said Mr. Masterson with his own hand, and is as fol-loweth.
At a meeting in Well-Yard, in, or neer Wapping,
at the house of one Williams a Gardiner,
on Monday the 17 of January.
THere were Assembled Lieutenant Colonel John Lil-burn, John Wildman, (with many others) debating a Petition, when I and one Robert Malbor of Shor-ditch Parish came in; anon after we entred the Room, one Lieutenant Lever Objected against the manner of their Pro-ceedings, and said, That he liked well enough the particu-lars of the Petition, but he did not like the manner (namely) of Petitioning the House of Commons, for (said he) They have never done us any Right, nor will they ever do us any: To this Lieutenant Colonel John Lilburn Answered, We must, said he, own some visible Authority for the present, or else we shall be brought to Ruine and Con-fusion: but when we have raised up the spirits of the people through the whole Kingdom whether it be nine dayes hence, or a moneth, or three moneths, when the House shall be fit to receive an Impression of Justice) We shall FORCE. them to grant us those things we desire.
Lieutenant Colonel John Lilburn did then and there Af-firm, That the People of London had appointed ten or twelve of their Commissioners, (whereof he the said Lilburn was one) though he said likewise, that the honest Blades in Southwark did not like the word Commissioners. These Commissioners were appointed to promote the Petition, and send out Agents into every City, Town, and Parish, if they could [Page 14] could possibly) of every County of the Kingdome, to inform the people of their Liberties and Priviledges; and not only to get their hands to the Petition, for (said he) I would not give three pence for ten thousand hands.
A plain man of the Company Objected against that way of Proceeding, thus: Mr. Lilburn (said he) we know that the generality of the People are wicked, and if (by the sending abroad of your Agents into all the Parishes of the Kingdom) they come to have power and strength in their hand, We may suppose, and fear they will cut the throats of all those who are called Roundheads, that is, the honest, godly, faithfull men in the Land. Lieute-nant Colonel Lilburn Answered, Pish (said he) do not you fear that, he that hath this Petition in his hand, and a Blue Ribb and in his Hat, need not fear his throat cutting; or this Petition in your hand, will be as good as a Blue Ribband in your Hat to preserve your throat from cutting. It was further Objected by one of the Company that sat at, or neer the upper end of the Table, That it was not fit to disturb (or to that pur-pose) the House at this time, seeing they had made such excel-lent Votes concerning the King, and had appointed a Commit-tee to hear, and report all our grievances. Lieutenant Colonel Lilburn Answered, Do you know, said he, how those Votes were procured? (or words to that effect.) Some An-swered, No; nor did they care, since the Votes (as they appre-hended) were so excellent; Lieutenant Colonel Lilburn said he could tell them. There was (said he) a bargain struck be-tween Crumwell, Ireton, and the King, and the bargain was this, They (namely Lieutenant Generall Crumwell, and Commissary Generall Ireton) by their influence on the Army, should estate the King in his Throne, Power, and Authority; and for their Reward, Crumwell should receive (or [Page 15] (or had received) a Blue Ribband from the King, and be made Earl of Essex, and his son Ireton, either Lord Lieutenant, or Field Marshall of Ireland: and this he (the said Lieutenant Colonel Lilburn) said he would make good to all the world.
Lieutenant Colonel Lilburn said further, that certain In-formation of this comming to a Member of the House of Com-mons, our good for best) friend: I need not name him, said he, I suppose you all know him; his father was a Parliament man, and a Knight, but he is dead, and this Gentleman his son is of his Christian name (as they call it) a man of a good Estate. This Gentleman, said he, takes upon him a noble Felton resolu-tion, that (rather then a Kingdome should be inslaved to the lust of one man) he would dispatch him (namely Crumwell) wherever he met him, though in the presence of the Generall Sir Thomas Fairfax himself, and for that end, provided, and charged a Pistoll, and took a Dagger in his Pocket, that if the one did not, the other should dispatch him. The said Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, (being asked how it came to passe that he did not effect it, and Act according to his re-solution? Answered, The Gentleman (said he) communicating his resolution to a Member of the House of Commons, a Knight whom he judged faithfull, the Gentleman was by this Knight shut up in his Chamber in White Hall a whole day; and the Knight dispatched an expresse to Crumwell, to inform him of the Gentlemans Resolution; whereupon, Crumwell (ap-prehending his person in danger) called a pretended day of Hu-miliation; there he was reconciled to the Officers of the Army, drew up a Declaration to the House, which begat and produ-ced those Votes. Upon this John Wildman said, That he knew three other men (at the same time) had taken up the same Resolution of killing Crumwell, and there was not one of them that knew the Intentions of another: [Page 16] likewise the said John Wildman said, That he would ne-ver trust honest man again for Crumwels sake.
Lieutenant Colonel Lilburn, and the said John Wildman (speaking promiscuously in the Commendation of the said Peti-tion) one or other or both of them affirmed, That this Petition was of more worth and value, then any thing they had ever yet attempted; and that some great Malignants (as they are called) told them, that if they were not ingaged to the person of this King, and had personally served him, they would in-gage with them; and the said Malignants gave them incou-ragement to go on with it, saying, it was the most rationall piece that they had seen: And that they (the people assem-bled) might understand how the Petition had wrought alrea-dy, they affirmed that it (the Petition) had made the Lords House to quake, and the Commons themselves to stinke: and that before the Petition was two dayes old, or had been two dayes abroad, the Lords (I shall not need to name them, said he, but the greatest Earls of them in Estate, in Authority and Popularity) sent to us a creature of their own to Article with us, and offered (so we would desistfrom promoting the Petiti-on) to consent to all our priviledges and liberties that we de-sired in our Petition, so that we would abate them their Legis-lative power. Lieutenant Colonel Lilburn said further, When they saw we would not desist, they (the Lords) offered us thirty thousand pounds, if we would yet sit down, and lay the Petition aside: nay, more said he, but here the said John Wildman interrupted him, and said, Prethee do not tell all, but Lilburn replied, He would, and they should hereby see their (the Lords) basenesse, whereupon going on, he said, This morning they sent to this Gentlemans Chamber (laying his hand upon Wildman) at the Sarazens head in Friday-street, and offered him, that if we would forbear to Promote [Page 17] this Petition, they would be content for their heirs and succes-sors, to cut off the Legislative power from them by Ordinance or Act for ever, so we would let them quietly injoy the Legisla-tive power for their lives.
Lieutenant Col. Lilburn told them, That they (the Commissi-oners) had their constant meetings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the evening at the Whalebone; and the o-ther three dayes at Southwark, Wapping, and other places, with their friends; and that upon the next Lords day they were to meet at Dartfort in Kent, to receive an account of their Agents, (from Gravesend, Maidstone, and most of the choice Townes in that County) how they had promoted the businesse there.
Lieutenant Colonel Lilburn drawing a Paper-Book from under his short Red Coat, and turning over the leaves of it, told them that there were certain Letters, one to Colonel Blunt, another (as I remember) to Sir Anthony Wel-den; and that he said, he wrote himself likewise divers Let-ters to our friends the well-affected of such and such a County, whose names I remembred not: he the said (Lieutenant Colo-nel) told them likewise, That because the businesse must needs be a work of charge (there being thirty thousand Petitions to come forth in Print to morrow, and it would cost money to send their Agents abroad, though the honest souldiers now at White Hall would save them something in scattering them up and down in the Counties) they had therefore appointed Treasurers, namely Mr. Prince, Mr. Chidly, and others, and Collectors, (whose names as I remember, he did not reade) who should gather up from those that acted with them, of some two pence, three pence, six pence, a shilling, two shillings, half a Crown a week: and thus promising to meet them the next night, he tooke leave. [Page 18]
But immediately before his departure told them, that they shut him up in the Tower the night before, but they should not have his company these fourteen nights for it. This is the summe and sence of that which was delivered, and affir-med in the House of Lords, at the conference, and in the Commons House by
BY this testimony of Mr. Masterson (which was all but one particular, as was said before, confessed by Lieutenant Colonel John Lilburn himselfe) Its hoped all men truly conscientious will take heed how they comply with these men, who have conceived those black designes in the dark, and think to bring them forth by murders and assassination; certainly these Councels look as if they were suggested from him that is a Mur-therer from the beginning, and yet many are drawn into the same guilt, danger, and disservice to the peace of the Kingdome. The Conspiracy seemes to be formed, and the actings to be at hand, Treasurers chosen, Collectors appoin-ted, moneys gathered, Emissaries sent abroad to stirre up the people; Murders and assassinations are undertaken, and Lilburn, and Wildman know the Instruments. Can any man now that desire to have Peace, and prosperity set-led, and conserved, and that abhorres to think of Con-fusion of all things, and the effusions of innocent bloud, won-der if the Parliament takes care in discharge of their Trust, to make abortive these monstrous conceptions, and prevent the like for the future, by present securing in or-der to punishing the Authors of these?
To say any thing further upon this relation seems needlesse, [Page 19] needlesse, it being not imaginable, That after so clear and full a discovery, there should be found any man, either so simple, or so wicked, as not to discover the monster under the mask, to see the danger, hate the design, and feare the Event; and that will not flie from the Councels & Com-panies of these Pests and Incendiaries, who while they cal themselvs Christians, do yet project, or else at least con-ceal, and applaud designed murthers and assassinations. And that all men may the better see, what is like to be the end to which these actions end, let them here take this account given from a sure hand in forreign parts, Name-ly, that a Priest, a Chaplaine of a forrain Minister of State, whose name (which is to be concealed) seemes to make him an English man, was lately employed hither as a Spie, and at his returne gives this ac-count to his Master, and to other Confidents, That there are foure hundred Missionaries now in London, and in the Army, under severall disguises, and that some of them act the Preacher, all which, with all diligence attend the service of their Mission, with hope to give a very good account to their Superiours: Are not these Designes, these Councels, and the violent carrying thereof, more like to be the Doctrine of those Wolves under Sheeps skins, than of any man that hath resigned up himself to be led by the Spirit of God?
But that which covers all is, that you doe but Petition, and addresse to the House of Commons, with much seem-ing respect and deferencie. But, what account you make of their Authority, is seen by Lieutenant Colonel Lil-burns Answer to Lieutenant Level his Objection, and what account of all the Parliament hath done, in asserting and vindicating the just freedome of the Nation, is seen [Page 20] in the said objection. And how farre you meane to at-tend upon, and acquiesce in the Judgement of the House, to which you addresse, is likewise seen in some of the Letters mentioned by Mr. Masterson, to be sent to their friends, the wel-affected of such and such a County. That, to all the peaceable and welminded people in Kent, who desire present Peace, Freedome, Justice, and common Right, and good of all men, is, as followeth, the Originall whereof is ready to be produced when oc-casion is.
Worthy Gentlemen, and dear Friends,
OVr bowels are troubled, and our hearts pained within us, to behold the Divisions, Distractions, heart-bur- nings, and contentions which abound in this distressed Nation, and we are confounded in our selves upon the fore-sight of the confusion and desolation, which will be the cer-tain consequence of such divisions, if they should be but for a little time longer continued; there are now clouds of bloud o-ver our heads again, and the very rumors and fears of Warre hath so wasted Trading, and enhaunsed the price of all food and cloathing, that Famine is even entring into your gates; and doubtlesse, neither pen nor tongue can expresse the misery, which will ensue immediately upon the beginning of another Warre; Why therefore O our Country men, should we not every man say each to other, as Abraham to Lot, or Moses to the [Page 21] the two Israelites, Why should we contend each with other, seeing we are brethren? O that our advice might be acceptable to you, that you would every man expostulate each with other, and now while you have an opportunity, consider together, wherefore the contention hath been these six or seven years! Hath it not been for freedome and Justice? O then propound each to other the chief principles of your freedome, and the foundation of Justice, and common Right, and questionlesse, when you shall understand the desires each of other, you will unite together inviolably to pursue them.
Now truely in our apprehensions, this work is prepared to your hands in the Fetition, which we herewith send to you; cer-tainly, if you shall all joyne together to follow resolutely, and unweariedly, after the things contained in that Petition, the bloud and confusion which now threaten us may be prevented, and the sweet streames of Justice will run into your bosomes freely without obstruction; O that the Lord may be so propi-tious to this tottering Nation, as to give you to understand these things which belong to your Peace and welfare!
Many honest people are resolved already to unite together in that Petition, & to prosecute the obtaining it with all their strength; they are de-termined, that now after seven years waiting for Justice, Peace, and Freedome, they will receive no deniall in these requests which are so essentiall in their Peace and Freedome; and for the more effectuall procee- [Page 22] dings in this businesse, there is a Method and Order setled in all the Wards in London, and the out Parishes and Suburbs; they have appointed severall active men in every Ward and Division, to be a Committee, to take the speciall care of the businesse, and to appoint active men in every Parish, to read the Petition at set meetings for that purpose, and to take Sub-scriptions, and to move as many as can possibly, to goe in per-son when the day of delivering it shall be appointed; and they intend to give notice of that time to all the adjacent Counties, that as many of them as possibly can, may also joyne with them the same day; and the like orderly way of proceeding is com-mended to severall Counties, to whom the Petition is sent, as to Hartfordshier, Buckingham, Oxford, Cambridge, Rut-landshier, & c. And we cannot but propound to you the same Method, as the best expedient for your union, in pursuing af-ter a speedy settlement of your Peace and Freedome, therefore in brief we desire,
- That you would appoint meetings in every Division of your County, and there to select faithfull men of publick spi-rits, to take care that the Petition be sent to the hands of the most active men in every Town, to unite the Town in those desires of common right, and to take their subscriptions.
- That you would appoint as many as can with conve-nience, to meet at Dartford, the 23. of this present Ja-nuary, being Lords day, and we shall conferre with you a-bout the Matters that concerne your Peace, and common good and Freedome.
Wee shall at present adde no more but this, that to serve you, [Page 23] and our whole countrey in whatsoever concerns its common peace and well fare, is, and alwayes shall be, the desire and joy of
Your most Faithfull Friends and Servants which came from London from many other friends upon this Service,
John Lilburn. Wildman. John Davies. Richard Woodward.
Dartford this 9. of Jan. 1647.
Well minded People,
YOU who are apt to resolve and Act upon the bare consultation of your own unexperienced innocency, look to your selves, there is a design upon you; you perhaps cannot believe, that this tendernesse and trouble of Bowels professed, should tend to tear out your owne; that these breathings after Justice should subject you to the worst Tyranny, and that these men are reducing the Kingdome into Atomes, while they cry out, and com-plaine of Division; but a Poyson is offered you in this sweet wine, and all these sugred words serve but to sweeten [Page 24] that Pill in your mouth, which will be bitternesse in your belly; there is a hook in the Bait, and all those seeming prudentiall directions in the close of this Letter, serve but to teach you how to destroy your selves with the greatest dexterity and infallibility. The poyson is in the middle, which (if you will take these State-Montebanks words) many honest people are resolved already to take, that is, To unite together in the Petition, and to prosecute the obtaining of it with all their strength; and they are determi-ned, that now after so long waiting for Justice, Peace, and Free-dome, they will receive no deny all in these requests: Here's the second part of the 26 of July, to the same Tune to a syllable: There was a Petition, and so is here; there was an Union of the Rabble, so here must be an Union; there was an Horrid, and Barbarous force and violence; here must be a Prosecution with all their strength: The people of divers whole Counties solicited to be present at the delivery of it, and must be ingaged to it by presub-scriptions: Can this, all their strength, all this number, this determination to take no deniall, be lesse then a War, or lesse then a forcing of the Legislative power? Be warned to take heed of such dayes works as the 26 of July, it hath, and will cost some dear: Only the difference is, The Actors in this intended Rebellious and Treasona-ble force, in the judgement of these infallible Censors of Piety and Honesty, must be honest men: But if they be men so qualified, let them take heed of this Conspiracy, that they may continue so still, and let not those himble Presligiators juggle them into Sedition and Treason, before they consider whither they are going.
The Truth is, you mean to stir up the people, and make your selves the leaders; and then 'tis not one man alone that wil be armed with Pisiol and Dagger. And it will not be then, either a Blue Riband in the Hat, nor a Petition in the Hand, that wil be a sufficient defence to any of those, whose either Religion and Conscience, Wisdom and Judgment, Integrity and sense of Duty, or more large Estate, and desire to defend his pro-priety, shal have made them the object of your bevelling fury. But any one of those qualifications may make a man as guil-ty to you, as to write and read did those, who had the unhap-piness of so much learning in the days of your Predecessors, Jack Straw and his Associats.
But let us examine your Petition it self, magnified, as Lilburn and Wildman affirm, by the greatest Malignants, for the most rational Peace they had seen, and which they per-swade them by all means to promote, an acknowledgment of theirs to be specially noted, they have never yet been so zea-lous for the peace of the People, if it took not beginning from their suggestions, 'tis certainly promoted by their help. They also giving out that noman is more the Kings then Lilburn; And 'tis known to all, that while Lilburn was in the Tower, he still maintained a close Conversation and aquaintance with the principle dangerous men, and especially with Da-vid Jenkins, now a prisoner in New-gate for his Treasons. But if it be a Petition to the House, why is it Printed and Published to the people, before the presenting of it to the House? Is it to get the approbation of multitudes? What need of that? If what is asked be reasonable and just, and good for the publike, it needs no other qualification for its accep-tance, nor arguments for its grant; though it were only the private suggestion of a single man: If it be not so, the Petiti-oners, though very many more then wil own this, ought not to be gratified with the wrong of all the rest. The whole Judg-ment of the Kingdom, is in the Judgment of the Houses; you [Page 26] can represent your own pressures, but not those of all the Kingdom, for you are not all the Kingdom. You may account that your pressure, which others, and as many as you, may judg their benefit; and the Houses trusted by all, must judg what is good for all.
To the Supream Authority of Eng-
land, the Commons Assembled in
The earnest Petition of many Freeborn People of this Nation.
THAT the devouring fire of the Lords wrath, hath burnt in the bowels of this miserable Nation, until its almost consumed. That upon a due search into the causes of Gods heavy Judgments, we find that in justice and oppression, have been the common Nati-onal sias, for which the Lord hath threatned woes, confusions and deso-lations, unto any People or Nation; Woe (saith God) to the op-pressing City. Zeph. 3.1.
That when the King had opened the Flood-gates of injustice and oppression upon the people, and yet peremptorily declared that the people, who trusted him for their good, could not in, or by their Parlia-m nt require any account of the discharge of his trust; and when by a pretended negative vo ce to Laws, he would not suffer the strength of the Kingdom, the Militi , to be so disposed of, that oppres-sion might be safely remedied, & oppressors brought to condign punish-ment, but raised a War to protect the subvertors of our Laws and Libe ties, and maintain Himself to be subject to no accompt, even for such oppressions, and pursuing after an oppressive power. the Judg of the Earth, with whom the Throne of iniquity can have no fellowship, hath brought him low, and executed fierce wrath upon many of his ad [...] r nts
That God expects Justice from those before whose eyes he hath de-stroyed an unjust generation. Zeph. 3.6.7. and without doing justly, [Page 27] and releeving the oppressed, God abhors fastings and praye s, and ac-counts himself mocked. Esa. 5 8.4 5, 6 7. Mic. 6.6, 7, 8.
That our eyes fail with looking to see the Foundations of our Free-doms and Peace secured by this Honorable House, and yet we are made to depend upon the Will of the King, and the Lords, which were never chosen or betrusted by the People, to redress their grievances. And this Honorable House, which formerly declared, that they were the representative of al England, & betrusted with our Estates, Liber-ties and Lives, 1 part Book of Decla. 264.382. do now declare by their practise, that they will not redress our grievances, or settle our Freedoms, unless the King and the Lords will.
That in case you should thus proceed, Parliaments wil be rendered wholly useless to the People, and their happiness left to depend solely upon the Will of the King, and such as he by his Patents creates Lords; and so the invaluable price of all the precious English blood; spilt in the defence of our freedoms against the King, shal be imbezelled or lost; and certainly, God the avenger of blood, wil require it of the ob-structors of justice and freedom. Judges 9.24.
That though our Petitions have been burned, and our persons im-prisoned, reviled, and abused only for petitioning, yet we cannot de-spair absolutely of all bowels of compassion in this Honorable House, to an inslaved perishing people. We still nourish some hopes, that you wil at last consider that our estates are expended, the whole trade of the Nation decayed, thousands of families impoverished, and merciless Famine is entered into our Gates, and therefore we cannot but once more assay to pierce your eares with our dolefull cries for Justice and Freedom, before your delays wholly consume the Nation. In particular we earnestly intreat:
- First, That seeing we conceive this Honorable House is intrusted by the People, with all power to redress our grievances, and to provide se-curity for our Freedoms, by making or repealing Laws, errecting or a-bolishing Courts, displacing or plaecing Officers, and the like: And see-ing upon this consideration, we have often made our addresses to you, and yet we are made to depend for all our expected good, upon the wils of others who have brought all our misery upon us: That there-fore in case this Honorable House, wil not, or cannot, according to their trust, relieve and help us; that it be clearly declared; That we may know to whom, as the Supream power, we may make our present ad- [Page 28] dresses before we perish, or be inforced to flie to the prime Laws of na-ture or refuge.
- That as we conceive all Governors and Magistrates, being the ordinance of m n, before they be the ordinance of God, and no Au-thority being of God, but what is erected by the mutuall consent of a People: and seeing this Honorable House alone represents the People of this Nation, that therefore no person whatsoever, be permitted to ex-ercise any power or Authority in this Nation, who shal not clearly and confessedly, receive his power from this House, and be always accounta-ble for the discharge of his trust, to the People in their Representers in Parliament: If otherwise, that it be declared who they are which as-sume to themselves a power according to their own Wills, and not re-ceived as a trust from the People, that we may know to whose Wils we must be subject, and under whom we must suffer such oppressions, as they please, without a possibillity of having Justice against them.
- That considering, that all Just Power and Authority in this Na-tion, which is not immediatly derived from the People, can be derived only from this Honorable House, and that the People are perpetually subject to Tyranny, when the Jurisdiction of Courts, and the Power and Authority of Officers are not clearly described, and their bounds and limits prefixed; that therefore the Jurisdiction of every Court or Judicature, and the Power of every Officer or Minister of Justice, with their bounds and limits, be forthwith declared by this honorable House; and that it be enacted, that the Judges of every Court, which shal exceed its Jurisdiction, and every other Officer or Minister of Iu-stice, which shal interm dle with matters not coming under his (ogni-zance, shall incurr the forfeiture of his, and their whole estates And likewise, that all unnecessary Courts may be forthwith abolished; and that the publike Treasury, out of which the Officers solely ought to be maintained, may be put to the lesse Charge.
- That whereas there are multitudes of Complaints of oppression, by Committees of this House, determining particular matters, which properly appertains to the Cognizance of the ordinary Courts of Justice; and whereas many persons, of faithful and publike spirits, have bin, and are dayly molested, vexed, Imprisoned by such Committes, sometimes for not answering Interroga ories, and sometimes for other matters, which are not in Law Criminall; and also without any legal [Page 29] warrants expressing the cause, and commanding the Jaylor safely to keep their bodies, untill they be delivered by due course of Law; And by these oppressions, the persons and estates of many are wasted, and destroyed: That therefore henceforth, No particular cause, whe-ther Criminal or other, which comes under the Cognizance of the or-dinary Courts of Justice, may be determined by this House, or any Committee thereof, or any other, then by those Courts, whose duty it is to execute such Laws as this honorable House shal make; and who are to be censured by this House in case of injustice: Always excepted, mat-ters relating to the late War, for Indempnity for your Assisters; and the exact Observation of al articles granted to the adverse Party: And that henceforth, no Person be molested or Imprisoned by the wil or ar-bitrary powers of any, or for such Matters as are not Crimes, [o] according to Law: And that all persons Imprisoned at present for a-ny such matters, or without such legall warrants as abovesaid, upon what pretence, or by what Authority soever, may be forthwith re-least, with due reparations.
- That considering it s a Badg of our Slavery to a Norman Con-queror, to have our Laws in the French Tongue, and it is little lesse then brutish vassalage to be bound to walk by Laws which the People cannot know, that therefore all the Laws and Customs of this Realm, be immediatly written in our Mothers Tongue without any abreviations of words, and the most known vulgar hand, viz. Roman or Secretary, and that Writs, Processes, and Enroulments, be issued forth, entered or inrouled in English, and such manner of writing as aforesaid.
- That seeing in Magna Charta, which is our Native right, it's pronounced in the name of all Courts, That we wil sel to no man, we will not deny, or defer to any man either Justice or Right, notwith-standing we can obtain no Justice or Right, neither from the common ordinary Courts or Judges, nor yet from your own Committees, though it be in case of indempnity for serving you, without paying a dear price for it; that therefore our native Right be restored to us, which is now also the price of our blood; that in any Court whatsoever, no moneys be extorted from us, under pretence of Fees to the Officers of the Court, or otherwise: And that for this end, sufficient sallaries or pensions be al- [Page 30] lowed to the Judges, and Officers of Courts, as was of old, out of the common Treasury, that they may maintain their Clerks and servants, and keep their Oaths uprightly; wherein they swear to take no mo-n y o Cloaths, or other rewar s except meat and drink, in a smal quantity, besides what is allowed them by the King; and this we may with the more confidence claim as our Right, seeing this honorable House hath declared, in case of Ship-money, and in the case of the Bi-shops Canons that not one peny, by any power whatsoever, could be lea-vied upon the people, without common consent in Parliament, and sure we are that the Fees exacted by Judges, and Clerks, and Iaylors, and all kind of Ministers of Justice, are not setled upon them by Act of Par-liament, and therefore by your own declared principles, destructive to our property; therefore we desire it may be enacted to be death for any Judg, Officer, or Minister of Justice, from the highest to the lowest, to exact the least moneys, or the worth of moneys from any person what-soever, more then his pension or sallary allowed from the Common Treasury. That no Judg of any Court may continue above three yeares.
- That whereas according to your own complaint in your first Re-monstrance of the State of the Kingdom, occasion is given to bri-bery, extortion and partiallity, by reason, that judicial places, and other Offices of power and trust, are sold and bought: That therefore for pre-vention of all inJustice, it be forthwith enacted, to be death for any per-son or persons whatsoever, directly or indirectly, to buy, or sell, or offer, or receive moneys, or rewards, to procure for themselves or others, any Office of power or trust whatsoever.
- Whereas according to Justice, and the equitable sense of the Law, Goals and Prisons ought to be only used as places of safe custody, until the constant appointed time of tryall, and now they are made places of torment, and the punishment of supposed offenders, they being detai-ned many years without any Legal tryalls: That therefore it be ena-cted that henceforth no supposed offender whatsoever, may be denyed his Legal tryall, at the first Sessions, Assizes, or Goal delivery, after his Commitment and that at such tryal, every such supposed offen-der be either condemned or acquitted.
- Whereas Monopolies of all kinds have been declared by this honorable House, to be against the Fundamentall Laws of the Land, and all such restrictions of Trade, do in the consequence destroy not only Liberty but property: That therefore all Monopolies what- [Page 31] soever, and in particular that oppressive Company of Merchant Ad-venturers be forthwith abolished, and a free trade restored, and that all Monopolizers may give good reparation to the Common-wealth, the particular parties who have been damnified by them, and to be made incapable of bearing any Office of power, or trust, in the Na-tion, and that the Votes of this House Novemb. 19. 1640. against their siting therein, may be forthwith put in due execution.
- Whereas this House hath declared in the first Remonstrance of the State of the Kingdom, that Shipmoney, and Monopolies, which were imposed upon the people before the late War, did at least amount to 1400000 l. per annum, and whereas since then, the Taxes have been double and treble, and the Army hath declared that 1300000 l. per annum, would compleatly pay all Forces and Garisons in the Kingdom, and the Customs could not but amount to much more then would pay the Navy; so that considering the vast sums of moneys, raised by imposition of money, the fifth and twentieth part, Sequestra-tions, and Compositions, Excise, and otherwise, it's conceived much Treasure is concealed: that therefore an Order issue forth immediat-ly from this Honorable House, to every Parish in the Kingdom, to deliver in without delay to some faithful persons, as perfect an ac-compt as possible, of all moneys Leavied in such Town, City, or Parish; for what end or use soever, since the begining of the late War, and to return the several receivers names, and that those who shal be im-ployed by the several Parishes in every Shire or County, to carry in those accompts to some appointed place in the County, may have liber-ty to choose the receiver of them, and that those selected persons by the several Parishes in every County or Shire, may have liber-ty to invest some one faithful person in every of their respective Coun-ties or places, with power to sit in a Committee at London or else-where, to be the General Accomptants of the Kingdom, who shal pub-lish their Accompts every moneth to the publick view, and that hence-forth there be only one Common Treasury where the books of Ac-compts may be kept by several persons, open to the view of all men.
- Whereas it hath been the Ancient Liberty of this Nation, that all the Free-born people have freely elected their Representers in Par-liament, and their Sheriffs and Justices of the Peace, & c. and that they were abridged of that their native Liberty, by a Statute of the 8. H. 6.7. That therefore, that Birthright of all English men, be
[Page 32] forthwith restored to all which are not, or shal not be legally disfran-chised for some criminal cause, or are not under 21 years of age, or servants, or beggers; and we humbly offer, That every County may have its equal proportion of Representers; and that every County may have its several divisions, in which one Representer may be cho-sen, and that some chosen Representatives of every Parish proportion-ably may be the Electors of the Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Com-mitteemen, Grandjury men, and all ministers of Justice Whatsoe-ver, in the respective Counties, and that no such minister of justice may continue in his Office above one whole year, without a new Election.
- That all Statutes for all kind of Oaths, whether in Corporati-ons, Cities, or other, which insnare conscientious people, as also other Statutes, injoyning all to hear the Book of Common Prayer, be forth-with repealed and nulled, and that nothing be imposed upon the con-sciences of any to compel them to sin against their own con-sciences.
- That the too long continued shame of this Nation, viz. permis-sion of any to suffer such poverty as to beg their bread, may be forth-with effectually remedied: and to that purpose that the Poor be en-abled to choose their Trustees, to discover all Stocks, Houses, Lands, & c. which of right belong to them, and their use, that they may speedily receive the benefit thereof; and that some good improvement may be made of waste Grounds for their use; and that according to the promise of this honorable House, in your first Remonstrance, care be taken forthwith to advance the native commodities of this Nation, that the poor may have better wages for their labor; and that Manu-factures may be increased, and the Herringfishing upon our own Coasts may be improved for the best advantange of our own Mariners, and the whole Nation.
- Whereas that burthensom Tax of the Excise lies heavy only upon the Poorer, and most ingenious industrious People, to their intolerable oppression; and that all persons of large Revenues in Lands, and vast estates at usury, bear not the least proportionable weight of that burthen, whereby Trade decays, and all ingenuity and industry is discouraged: That therefore that oppressive way of raising money may forthwith cease, and all moneys be raised by equal Rates, according to the proportion of mens estates.
- [Page 33]That M. Peter Smart, Doctor Leighton, M. Ralph Grafton, M. Hen. Burton, Doctor Bastwick, M. William Prinne, Lieut. Co-nell John Lilburne, the heires and executors of M. Brewer, M. John Turner, and all others that suffered any cruelty, or false illegall im-prisonment, by the StarChamber, the high Commission, or CouncellBoard, as M. Aederman Chambers, and all others that suffered oppres-sion before the Parliament, for refusing to pay illegall imposts, customes, or Shipmoney, or yeeld conformity to Monopolizing Patentees, may (after 7. years attendance for justice and right) forthwith by this House receive legall and just reparations out of the estates of all those with-out exception, who occasioned, acted in, or procured their heavy suffe-rings, that so in future Ages men may not be totally discouraged to stand for their Liberties and Freedomes, against Oppressors and Tyrants.
- Whereas we can fix our eyes upon no other but this honour able House for reliefe in all these our pressing grievances, untill we shall be forced to despaire, we therefore desire, that the most exact care be had of the right constitutions thereof: And therefore we desire that all Members of this House chosen in their Nonage, may be forthwith e-jected, and that all Votes for suspension of Members from this House may be forthwith put in execution; provided, that the House proceed either finally to expell them, that others may be elected in their stead, or they be restored to serve their Countrey: And likewise that all Law-yers who are Members of this House (by reason of their overawing power over Judges of their owne making) may wholly attend the peo-ples service therein, and that every of them may be expelled the House who shall hereafter plead any cause before any Court or Committee whatsoever, during his Membership in this House: And we further desire, that every Member of this House may be enjoyned under some great penalty, not to be absent above three dayes, without the expresse license of this House, and not above one month without the licence of the place by which they are betrusted: And likewise that no Law may be passed, unlesse two third parts of all the Members of this House be present, and that the most speedy care be had to distribute Elections equally throughout the Nation.
Now whereas the particular requests in our Peritions, are for the most part never debated in this House, but when we are at any time rightly interpreted in our meanings and inten-tions, we onely receive thankes for our good affections, or [Page 34] promises that in due time our desires shall be taken into consideration, and by such delayes our distractions are dai-ly increased, and our burdens made more heavy; therefore we desire, that a Committee be forthwith appointed by this honourable House, who may be enjoyned under some penal-ty, to sit from day to day, untill they have debated every particular of our requests, and reported their sense of the justnesse and necessity of them to this House, that we may attend for an answer accordingly; and that a time be fixed when such a Committee shall make their report. And we further desire the same Committee may be invested with power to heare all our other complaints, and offer sutable remedies to this honourable House, and to bring in the Appeales of any persons from the Judges at Westminster, to this honourable House, against their injustice, bribety, or illegall delay and oppression.
Now O ye worthy Trustees! let not your eares bee any longer deafe to our importunate cries, let not our destru-ction be worse then that of Sodome, who was overthrown in a moment. Let us not pine away with famine and bee worse then those who die by the sword. Oh dissolve not all Government into the prime Lawes of nature, and com-pell us to take the naturall remedy to preserve our selves, which you have declared no people can bee deprived of Oh remember that the righteous God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, and judgeth among the gods, and saith, How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked, defend the poor and fatherless, do justice to the afflicted and needy, deliver the poor and needy, and rid them out of the hands of the wicked,
And your Petitioners shall ever pray, & c.
'TIs indeed called a Petition, but the whole frame and matter of it is nothing else but a Calumnie against those they seem to petition, charging upon their account all those Evills that are upon the Kingdome, and a great number more imaginary ones which they have created, and make men believe they are pressed with; and publish all this to the Kingdome, to render the Parliament odious to the People, to divorce their affections, and withdraw their assistance, without which, the Common Enemy know very well, they are not able to settle the peace and tranquillity of the Kingdome from forraigne and domestick Force, and calme and compesce those civill and intestine aestuations, the remaining distempers of our late (almost mortall) Disease, (of which the motions of the Petitioners are a very consider a-ble part) that thereby a faire way might be paved for a free and equall course of Law and Justice, (which is a fit-ter meanes to preserve peace, then restore it) whose lower voice cannot be heard while the Drums beat, or the People tumultuate. It pursues that common and hatefull Maxime, Calumniate boldly, something will stick. It runs in generals, which ever covers deceipt: why descend you not to par-ticulars? The Cries are loud against injustice, oppressi-on, bribery, exacted, extorted Fees, and can you name no man that is guilty? You would make all the World be-lieve you were in an iron furnace, and that the Kingdome were an Hell to its Inhabitants; and yet tell not who hurts you: But 'tis easier to calumniate then accuse, and yet to accuse, then to prove. Be not abused by them that serve their designes by you; Accuse no man falsly, though upon others informations; look upon the File in which [Page 36] accusers march, and consider who may be like to the Lead-er. A good name is above riches, 'tis sooner taken away then restored: name those Oppressors you complaine of, bring forth the matter and the proofe, and then if you have not justice, you may have reason to complaine. You com-plaine of unnecessary Courts, and Courts exceeding the li-mits of their jurisdiction; you desire the one to be abolish-ed, and the other to be limited; neither is here any particu-lar: Hath not this Parliament taken away the Starre-Chamber, High Commission, all the Bishops Courts, the Court of Wards? and are not all the jurisdictions of the o-ther Courts well knowne? What have any of the Petitio-ners suffered by those Courts transgressing their limits? or what are the unnecessary Courts you meane? was it your modesty, or want of matter, that you omit particulars? Untruths are boldly affirmed upon heare-say; why are you silent in the things that presse your selves?
A word or two to your Margent, and then the particu-lars of the Petition it selfe shall be a little toucht upon. The Margent you have filled, with Authorities and Quo-tations of Magna Charta, Statutes, Comments on them, Declarations of & c. Speeches in Parliament; to what purpose serve these? Would you have the Parliament bound in their Parliamentary proceedings by precedent Lawes? Were not those Lawes made by Parliament, and is it not the proper work of the Parliament, to repeale, as well as to make Lawes? Els why doe you desire in your twelfth Particular, to have the Statutes there mentioned repealed? Either put out your Margent, and deceive not the ignorant with a shew of that which signifies nothing, or els reconcile it with your text; unlesse you meane to say, you will appoint the Parliament what Lawes they shall [Page 37] peale, and by what they shall govern themselves. If it be onely to tell them what hath been done before, you may take notice, that there are these in that House, to which you addresse, that can as well tell what the Law new is, or heretofore was, without your Index, as they are able to judge what is necessary for the present, or for the future, without your advice or intimation. But you would faine make the People believe, the Parliament neither have wis-dome enough to know how, nor fidelity enough to make them willing to discharge their trust, unlesse you direct and incite them.
The Petition is large; to give it an answer in proportion, were to write a volume, which few could buy, and fewer would read: and perhaps there is somthing of policy in the length, least their seduced numbers should be satisfied by a just confutation. Yet because perhaps there are some a-mong them of that sort of people, to whom a word is e-nough; therefore they may please to consider, 'Tis called onely the Petition of many Free-borne people of this Na-tion; 'tis not then, by your own confession, of all, or of the major part: remember this, and be modest for once, act not as if you were all. But why many Free-borne Peo-ple of this Nation? are there any Englishmen that are not Free-borne? why doe you distinguish your selves? what need of that Epithete, while you addresse to the House of Commons, who have asserted, and by the blessing of God upon the Councells and Forces of the Parlia-ment, vindicated the English Freedome from the Common E-nemy, under the slavery of whom, by these your dividing di-stempers, and weake and out-witted designes, you seek to re-turne, and carry the Kingdome with you.
To give it the more Authority, the prefacing part of it is forc'd to speak Scripture; but not with the Idiome of the Spirit that wrote it, your Hebrew hath much of Ashdod, the breathings of that Spirit are purity and peace; and the fruits of that Spirit are love, joy, peace, and the rest of that Ca-talogue.
You begin with a sad complaint, that the fire of the Lords wrath hath been among us, which must be acknow-ledged; and it may be justly conceived it is so still; what meane else the distempers of the people, that will not be healed, and the actings of division, together with the Cries for peace? But to say as you do, that it is almost consumed, were to lie against the truth, and sin against that mercy which he hath remembred in the middest of his wrath. This Kingdome hath found the effects of the rowlings of his bowells, while it hath been under his chastising rod, that bush hath burned, but 'tis not consumed; and 'tis an evi-dence that God is in it. 'Tis true, in many places of the Land the scarres of great wounds remaine, but not as in Germany; the lands in England are not untilled for want of men, the thistles grow not in the furrowes of the field, the Oxen are yet strong to labour, and the Sheep bring forth their thou-sands; if you had not intended an ill use of the com-plaint, the matter would have borne a mixture of thanks: but if seems you had rather God should lose the praise of his mercy, then you would omit this Engine, to move the People to murmure and discontent.
'Tis true, that for injustice and oppression God hath threatned woes, confusion and desolation to any People or Nation; but if your search had been as due as you af-firme it was, you might have found other besides those, which you may light upon perhaps, if you would make a [Page 39] review. It is not to be denied, that oppression and injustice cause loud cries to heaven, onely remember justice is to render to every one his owne, and not to doe to another what you would not should be done to you.
The rich may be oppressed as well as the poore, propriety is to be preserved to all: and a poore man that op-presseth the poore, is like a sweeping raine that leaveth no food.
You observe the Kings oppressions and how God hath brought him low, and executed fierce wrath upon his ad-herents. Why will ye suffer your selves to be abused by those adherents, into those dividing destructive courses whereby you contribute directly to the restoring of the Kings affaires; you are acted by his Counsells, and you will not see it, and every man shall be the Enemy of the people that tels you of it, and if his party shall againe get head to the indangering of the Kingdome, which God forbid, thank your owne petulant importune and unseasona-ble interpellations of those Councells, by which through the blessing of God, your deliverance had been perfected, if your selves had not hindred; can you believe the Kings Counsells are changed? or that he wants a party wait-ing an oportunity to bring that upon you which you feare and complaine of? why doe you then give them hope and the Parliament worke, who have yet so much to doe to preserve the vitalls and recover strength, that they cannot attend to prescribe a topike to cure the Morphew on the face? trust them with your cure, and allow it time, over-hasty ones prove palliate ones, and not sound. It is the Pa-tients part to declare his griefe, and take his Physick, but he must let the Physitian write the Recipe, if he desires the cure should succeed.
That your Petitions were burned, and your selves im-prisoned onely for petitioning, serves to irritate and inrage those whom you have misled and deceived, a Petition may well deserve to be burned and the Petitioners punished, if the matter be unjust, false, scandalous, seditious, read over some of your old copies, and see if there be none of those faults, 'tis true, it is your liberty to Petition, and it is also your duty to acquiesce in the Parliaments jugement upon it; a Petition is to set forth your grievances, and not to give a rule to the Legislative Power, if you meane it shall be an Edict, which you must compose, and the Parliament must verifie, call it no more a Petition.
You say your Estates are expended, how come you then to lay Contributions upon your selves for the promoting these destructive designes? is that the way to reimburse your selves? or is it to enable you to fly to the prime laws of nature for refuge? your Margent will teach the Legi-slative Power to suspect you, and that if you be not wicked, it is because perhaps you may not have oportunity or strength enough, which it will be therefore their care to prevent: and however perhaps it may be true, that these sad troubles have caused some diminution in your Estates, yet if you had used as much diligence since in your owne callings, as you have done in those you lesse understand, and had let out the current of your thoughts, which have been misimployed about Politiques, to the Oeconomy of your families, the account of losse had not run so high, and your private reflections (if ever you assume the trouble of viewing your selves) had imbraced you with the smiles of a sweeter peace with him, and your actions abroad had lesse procured the guilt of others.
Thousands of families you say are improverished, and mercilesse Famine is entring into your Gates, and there-fore You will once more essay to pierce their ears with your dolefull cries for Justice and freedome, before the Parliaments delayes consume the Nation. What justice, what freedom is it you mean: Which of all the particu-lars in your Petition being granted, will be able to turn this famine you so aggravate, into a plenty? what an odi-ous aspersion is this, to lay upon the Parliament, to make them hatefull to all men? To tell the World in Print, That there is something in their power (for otherwise you say nothing) that they delay, whereby this Dearth and Famine, as you call it, is upon the Kingdom? Have you learned this from those of old? That whenever Fa-mine, Pestilence, or any publicker calamity, invaded the World from the just hand of God, then to cry out, Throw the Christians to the Lions, attributing to them the cause of all, as you do now to the Parliament. Do you not know that the unseasonable seedtime in 1646. and the unkindly Spring following, might well cause a Dearth, which is not yet in England, (through the mer-cy of God) as it is in other places? And do you think it is in the power of the Parliament to give a Law to the Heavens, to restrain the Pleiades, or loose Orion, to give or withhold rain? can the Parliament make windows in hea-ven, or create a plenty? Why do you say you care not what, and abuse the people without blushing?
Your large Petitory part in 16 Articles, might well receive a very short Answer, That it offers many things as grievances that removed, desires many things that[Page 42] are already granted, of which you will take no notice, that you may multiply the Odium, mistake the present state of things, as if all were an unformed matter, or abrasa tabula fitted for the projection of a new modell, or for the compiling of a new body of Laws.
He that will build a City upon a Plain, hath the place obedient to his projections, and succeptible of any form; And if he be not prejudiced by forreign extrinsicall obser-vations, to which he will conform his lines, he may ex-emplifie the best Ideas his minde offers him: But he that would reedifie or beautifie an old one, will meet with many things that will not submit to pure technicall rules; And where it will not, it is not presently to be pulled down, or set on fire. Rome had a greater beauty and uni-formity as it was built by its first Kings, then after the Burning by the Gaules, and Rescue by Camillus, where each man built as it was most Commodious for him, and not as it was most comely, or convenient for the whole: And yet Catiline and his Complices were judged Traytors for designing to burn it, and it was only be-coming Nero to put it into flames.
The dispute is not now of what is absolutely best if all were new, but of what is perfectly just as things now stand: It is not the Parliaments work to set up an Utopian Com-mon-Wealth, or to force the people to practise abstractions, but to make them as happy as the present frame will bear. That wise Lawgiver of old, acknowledged that he had not given his people the Laws that were absolute-ly best, but the best they were able to receive. The per-fect return of health after sicknesse, is to be left to nature
[Page 43] and time; he that will purge his body, till there remain nothing peccant, will sooner expell his life, then the cause of his sicknesse. And he that out of a desire to repaire his house, shall move all the foundations, will sooner be bu-ried in the ruines of the old, then live to see the erection of a new structure.
You forget that universall rule of Justice (to do as you would be doneby) which is not only one of those con-nate and common Notions which are written in the hearts of all, which every one capable of reason, and under wrong, can quote from that internall writing, though he that inferrs the injury, will not: And it is given also as a Compendium of the Law, and an Universall rule of Christian Practice, by him who is the one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy; To whose Commands and Dictates, whoever will profess contradiction, and pur-sue a contumacious disobedience, is more worthy the name of a Renegado then a Christian.
Upon forgetfullnesse of this rule it is, that you would by force spoil the Lords of their part of the Legislative power, which they hold by a claim of an older date then any of the Petitioners can shew for their Land: Ask your selves the question, Would any of you be content to be disseized of his Land, to which he can derive a title, or prescribe to for so long a time? And your contumelious expression of Patent Lords might have been spared, see-ing the Houses have resolved that none shall be made Peers of Parliament hereafter, but by consent of both Hou-ses, whereby your Representors and Trustees have a Negative voice against any such Creation for the future?[Page 44]
Were it not to inlarge this particular beyond what is in-tended for the rest, you might be informed, That there were Princes of the people, and heads of the Tribes, a-mongst the Israelites; and the first choyce of them, when they were new come up out of Aegypt, and were then re-ceptive of any form, was not by the people, but by Moses; and as it is expresse of the Priesthood, so it is evident in the rest of the Tribes, that the first of the first line was still Prince of the Tribe.
And the longest lived, best governed, most Potent and florishing Common-wealths that ever the sun saw, have al-wayes had their Orders of Nobility or Patricians, in suc-cession from Father to Son, preserved with a kinde of Re-ligion in a cleer distinction from the people: Those two of Old Rome, while a Common-wealth; And Venice at pre-sent, are known Examples. But this particular with divers others concerning Government, require a fuller Tractate then this occasionall glaunce.
- Secondly (besides their right) there is at least a ve-ry great conveniency, if not a necessity, that the Legislative power should be in several and distinct bodies for the re-view of what might else be perhaps at first overseen: There is scarce any man but findes, that revising in the morning his evenings conceptions, he meets with something or other to be added or altered.
- Are not all Officers and Ministers of Justice, and all other Civill Officers, all military Officers both by sea and land, chosen, and put into their places, by both Houses of Parliament, wherein, as in all other things, the Commons have a Negative Vote?
- [Page 45]Is not there a Committee that hath been a good while since appointed to receive Informations of grie-vances, and propound them with remedies to the House? What addresse have you made to them? Have they refu-sed to take your Informations? Why doe you complain before you have been refused redresse?
- You complaine of the imprisonment of faithfull and publike spirits, for matters not criminall, and would have no imprisonment to be but for crimes, according to Law. But are there not some actions in these unsetled times that may deserve a punishment, for which no for-mer Law hath explicitely provided any? You would have no man kept in prison longer, than till he be deliver-ed by due course of Law. You know there are two wayes of delivery by due course of Law; And he that hath de-served the one should not complaine he is still a Prisoner; And for what is a Crime, the party guilty is no Judge; it cannot be denyed, that as the Parliament is the supream Judge, so it is the most competent; and if they Judge it necessary, that seditious Incendiaries should be restrained, for the Peace of the Kingdome, must they give an ac-count to the Delinquents of the reason of their Acti-ons?
- You would have the Lawes in our known tongue, and all writings and proceedings in the present knowne hands; they have been so heretofore; What are you now the better for it? Which of you understand the Saxon Lawes, written in the then vulgar tongue? And the Nor-man-French, though not then Nationall, yet was very generally understood. And if most of the Petitioners shall look upon the language of two or three Centuries past, they will meet with so many words they under- [Page 46] stand not, as will disable their understanding of the sense of those they doe. And if those which are in other tongues, were in English, there were a possibility you might mistake them, as well as you doe those that already are so. And if there should be a disuse in the Courts, of writing those hands which now are obsolete to vulgar use, the reading of those hands might in time come to be lost, and there-by a losse of all the Records that are written in them.
- If any shall denie to doe you Justice, according to Magna Charta, unlesse he may sell it, why doe you not accuse the man? Strike not through all by such oblique in-sinuations, but let the guilty bear his shame and punish-ment. You might have taken notice, that the Parliament hath doubled the salaries of the Judges: but to pay all ministeriall Officers from the publick Treasurie, were to waste the States treasure to maintaine the quarrels of the contentious against them that are peaceable.
- You would have no Judge continue for above three years; What shall he doe the rest of his life? Were not this to put them upon the temptation of the unjust Ste-ward? You will say he may returne to private practice at the Barre againe. Will any of you when he hath set up for himself for the space of three yeares, be content to serve journeyman for the rest of his life? If it be so comely or easie a matter, Why did Lieutenant Colonel Lilburn refuse the Command of a Troup of Horse offered him in the Army of Sir Thomas Fairfax, because he had the title of a Lieutenant Colonel before, And would not ac-cept of lesse than a Regiment? Consider who they are that binde heavie burthens for other men, and grievous to be borne, but themselves will not touch them with one of their fingers.
- [Page 47]For the buying of Offices; suppose both parties a-greed, yet he must have a large purse who can buy of a Parliament, and 'twill be hard where so many must be bribed to be secret in all.
- For that speedy tryall of offenders; your desire may interferre with Justice, matter cannot be alwayes presently proved, Will you free a man accused of mur-ther done the day before the Assises, because that which hath vehement presumptions, cannot have a legall Evidence till some dayes after.
- The Monopolies you so much complain of are condemned by Law, You may take your course against any, and no man can hinder you. If there be any Mo-nopolizer in the House, why doe you not declare it to the House, and prove it? Have they not formerly put out some for that offence? if there be none there, that piece might have been spared.
- You complain, That the Members of the House of Commons are chosen onely by Free-holders, and not by all the free-borne people of the Kingdome. If you con-ceive it be an Injury to all the rest, that they are chosen only by Free-holders, Consider seriously, and then tell Us, whether it be not an injury to all the rest, that they so chosen must be directed and ordered by you. Tell the world how you came by your Priviledge, To make a Colle-ction of such as this is, of some things good; with a mix-ture of divers mistakes in the rest, and then magistically obtrude it upon the House, presently to passe and con-firme, the highest affront to the Legislative power, and the highest injury to your free-borne fellowes that can be well imagined.
- You take notice of the shame of the Nation, by [Page 48] the begging of the poor, and it is undeniably a great one, and Peace being setled, the remedy of it were one of the most desirable things to be undertaken, and this Kingdom wants not materialls for industry, and there is not any doubt, that the encouragement of fishing in this Kingdome, might produce it a profit of exceeding va-lue; but doe You not know that the Parliament hath had so hard a taske to preserve the Land, that they have had no time left to improve those advantages of the Sea? neither can they give industry to men, which if any will exercise in it, they may be sure of all acceptation. And certainly that, and divers other things for the good of the Kingdome have been thought upon by the Par-liament (though you would faine have the world believe they mind nothing, unlesse You be their remembran-cers) and had been in effect before this time, had not such consultations been diverted by the necessity of provi-ding against these, and some other distempers. In the meane time, till care can be taken for prevention of beg-gery, increase not their number by the addition of your selves; neglect not your Callings, forbear your clande-stine Contributions, You may perhaps thrive in your own way, but your unhappy and ill advised Statizing will ru-ine your selves, and hath a naturall tendency to the ru-ine of the Kingdome.
- You complaine of the heavie burthen of the Ex-cise, and there again you pretend to be the Advocates of the poore, but in nothing are you more the Kings At-turneys, That standing and constant Revenue being that, which of all others with great est ease, supplyed the Exi-gencies of the Warre when it was hottest, and contribu-ted most to the breaking of the Enemy. Every thing[Page 49] must serve to heighten your discontent, and to stirre up the ignorant people. Otherwise tis obvious enough to every discerning eye, that as tis least grievous of all other wayes, because it passeth from a man unseen, so it can-not but be most Equall, because every man is in a sort his owne assessor, it being in his owne power by his frugallity, to reduce it to as small a summe as he please, the greatest burthen of it lying upon things not necessary, lesse ne-cessary, or, if necessary, yet there in such a proportion, as those which are for the use of the richer sort have the greatest imposition, there being nothing but only strong beer, wherein the poore seeme to be touched, which for the too much abuse of it, and that even by the poore, it may justly afford something toward the maintenance of the publick, while it is so deeply accessary to the undo-ing of many private persons. For that other, that it is the decay of Trade, and the discouragement of all ingenui-ty and industry, You may, if you will but send some of your Emissaries into the united Provinces, be informed there, That that people could never find a foundation of money for those vast charges they were forc'd to be at, to defend themselves from those who tyrannized their Liberties, and to settle the free State they have since managed, till they had fallen upon the Excise; And that notwithstanding it, their Trade is so growne upon them since, that they have in a great measure en-grossed it from the rest of Europe, and yet have little matter to raise it upon, but their Industrie, which is not so discouraged by the Excise, but it produceth that effect, and were worth our Imitation; but there was but a word intended, If twere necessary, there is nothing more ea-sie than to justifie this way of Levie by Excise, before all other wayes whatsoever.
- You doe very magisterially appoint the House how [Page 50] to regulate their Members, and especially those of the long robe, who by no meanes may exercise their calling, because they are called thither to serve the publique; O-ther Gentlemen have their rents and profits come in without their owne particular care, and they who have trades can drive them by their partners and servants, on-ly these whose employments must be personall must needs suffer losse in their Estates, because they are Mem-bers. And what reason is there why a just Judge, who judgeth according to Law, and proceeds according to the rules of the Court, should be awed by, or afraid of, the person of any, though a Member of the House? for though that House be a Judge of the Judges, yet the Judge in his Court is Superiour in that qualification to whoso-ever pleads at his Barre.
Your Epilogue might have been spared; the first part of it, in regard the Committee You desire hath been long appointed, to whom any man hath Liberty to bring his grievances, and there is doubt they will be received, and their sense of the justnesse and necessity of them be re-ported to the House, though tis probable 'twill not please you concerning yours, unlesse it be your own sense also.
Your second might be with more Justice retorted; Poore deluded people! When will yee begin to turne a deafe Eare to those who seduce you? When will you re-member your duty, and come out of your dreame, in which you have believed that you are all the people, and therefore supreame, and have arraigned all men in a sui-table Style? Act not a part, dissemble not with Heaven, remember you are in the light and view of Omniscience; Complain not of Famine before you feele it, lest you pro-voke him that can send it. There is a difference between scarcity and Famine. God is the God of order, forbear to endeavour any further to dissolve all government into [Page 51] Confusion, lest you compell the Parliament to prevent it in your just punishment; Remember that God stands in your Clandestine Conciliables, as well as in the Con-gregation of the Mighty, and as he requires of Magi-strates to defend the poore and needy, so he hath also for-bidden to countenance a poore man in his cause.
Together with this Petition, there was at the same time brought to the House of Commons, by Colonel Barlistead, another scandalous printed paper, of which two quires had been delivered to one Lazarus Tindall, a private soul-dier of Captaine Groomes Company, in the Regiment of the said Colonel, the papers were delivered to him, to spread among the souldiers of that Regiment, and that same person that delivered them, told him he should have one thousand of the large Petitions also, to disperse in that Regiment, so soon as they were reprinted, which they were about to do in a smaller leter, for the saving of charges. By which it appears that paper also springs from the same root with the foresaid Petition, of which it also takes notice, and helps to promote the same ends with it; and who ever shall put himselfe to the trouble to read them both, will finde them speak the same Lan-guage, and discern the same spirit in them both; and is yet more evident by the latter clause of the first Margi-nall note, which were Lilburns words to a syllable, at the Barre of the House of Commons; And by that para-graph of the paper, which begins [have you not upon such pretences] & c. which were Wildmans words at that meeting in Wellyard, which is mentioned in Mr. Mar-stersons relation, and at the Commons Barre; and by the last clause of the next paragraph, which were the words of Lilburn and Wildman, or one of them, at the Barre of the House of Commons, and are also to be found in the Petition it selfe, so as a very dim sight may discerne it to be a Whelp of the same litter.
The mournfnll Cryes of many
thousand poor Tradesmen, who
are ready to famish through
decay of Trade.
Or, The warning Tears of the Oppressed.
OH that the cravings of our Stomacks could be heard by the Parliament and City! Oh that the Tears of our poor famishing Babes were botled! Oh that their tender Mothers Cryes for bread to feed them were ingraven in Brasse! Oh that our pined Car-kasses were open to every pitifull Eye! Oh that it were known that we sell our Beds and Cloaths for Bread! Oh our Hearts faint, and we are ready to swoon in the top of every Street!
O you Members of Parliament, and rich men in the Ci-ty, that are at ease, and drink Wine in Bowls, and stretch your selves upon Beds of Down, you that grind our fa-ces, and flay off our skins, Will no man amonst you re-gard, will no man behold our faces black with Sorrow and Famine? Is there none to pity? The Sea Mon-ster drawes out the brest, and gives suck to their young ones, and are our Rulers become cruell like the Ostrich in the Wildernesse? Lament. 4.3.
OH ye great men of England, will not (think you) the righteous God behold our Affliction, doth not he take notice that you devour us as if our Flesh were Bread? are not most of you either Parliamentmen, Commit-teemen, Customers, Excisemen, Treasurers, Governors of Towns and Castles, or Commanders in the Army, Officers in those Dens of Robbery, the Courts of Law? and are not your Kinsmen and Allies, Colectors of the[Page 53] Kings Revenue, or the Bishops Rents, or Sequestratours? What then are your ruffling Silks and Velvets, and your glittering Gold and Silver Laces? are they not the sweat of our brows, & the wants of our backs & bellies?
Its your Taxes, Customs, and Excize, that compells the Countrey to raise the price of food, and to buy no-thing from us but meer absolute necessaries; and then you of the City that buy our Work, must have your Ta-bles furnished, and your Cups overflow; and therefore will give us little or nothing for our Work, even what you* *And since the late Lord Mayor A-dam; you have put in execu-tion art illegall wicked docree of the Com-mon Councel, whereby you have taken our goods from us if we have gone to the Inns to sell them to coun-try men; and you have mur-dered some of our poor wives that have gone to Innes to finde country men to buy them.please, because you know we must sell for moneys to set our Families on work, or else we famish: Thus our Flesh is that whereupon you Rich men live, and where-with you deck and adorn your selves. Ye great men, Is it not your plenty and abundance which begets you Pride and Riot? And doth not your Pride beget Ambiti-on, and your Ambition Faction, and your Faction these Civil broyles? What else but your Ambition and Facti-on continue our Distractions and Oppressions? Is not all the Controversie whose Slaves the poor shall be? Whe-ther they shall be the Kings Vassals, or the Presbyteri-ans, or the Independent Factions? And is not the Con-tention nourished, that you whose Houses are full of the spoils of your Contrey, might be secure from Accounts, while there is nothing but Distraction? and that by the tumultuousnesse of the people under prodigious oppres-sion, you might have fair pretences to keep up an Army, and garrisons? and that under pretence of necessity, you may uphold your arbitrary Government by Commit-tees, & c.
Have you not upon such pretences brought an Army into the bowels of the City? and now Exchange doth rise already beyond Sea, and no Merchants beyond Sea will trust their Goods hither, and our own Merchants [Page 54] conveigh their Estates from hence, so there is likely to be no importing of Goods, and then there will be no Exporting, and then our Trade will be utterly lost, and our Families perish as it were in a moment.
O ye Parliament-men hear our dying cry, Settle a Peace, settle a Peace! strive not who shall be greatest untill you be all confounded. You may if you will presently determine where the supream Power resides, and settle the just common Freedomes of the Nation, so that all Parties may equally receive Justice, and injoy their Right, and every one may be as much concerned as other to defend those common Freedoms; you may presently put down your Arbitrary Committees, and let us be Governed by plain written Lawes, in our own Tongue, and pay your Ministers of Justice out of a common Treasury, that eve-ry one may have Justice freely and impartially.
You have in your hands the Kings, Queens, and Princes Revenue, and Papists Lands, and Bishops, and Deans, and Chapters Lands, and Sequestred Lands, at least to the value of eighteen hundred thousand pounds by the year, Which is at least five hundred thousand pounds a year more then will pay the Navy, and all the Army, and the Forces which need to be kept up in England and Ireland; and out of that the Kingdoms debts would be paid year-ly; whereas now you run further into Debt daily, and pay one thousand pounds by the day at least for use Mo-ney. Besides you may if you will Proclaim Liberty, for all to come and discover to a Committee of disingaged men, chosen out of every County, one for a County, to discover to them what Monies and Treasure, your own Members, and your Sequestrators, & c. have in their hands, and you may by that means find many Millions of Money to pay the publique Debts. You may find 30000. li. in Mr. Richard Darley's hand, 25000. li. in Mr. [Page 55] Thorpes hand , a Member of Yours, who first Proclaim-ed Sir John Hotham Traytor. And thus you may take off all Taxes presently, and so secure Peace, that Trading may revive, and our pining, hungry, famishing Families be saved.
And O ye Souldiers who refused to disband, because you would have Justice and Freedom, who cryed till the Earth ecchoed, Justice, Justice; forget not that cry, but cry speedily for Peace and Justice, louder then ever. There is a large Petition of some pittifull men, that is now abroad, which contains all our desires, and were that granted in all things, we should have Trading again, and should not need to beg our Bread, though those men have so much mercy, as they would have none to cry in the Streets for Bread.
Oh though you be Souldiers, shew bowels of Mercy and Pity to a hungerstarved People; Go down to the Parliament, desire them to consume and trifle away no more time, but offer your desires for Us in that large Pe-tition, and cry Justice, Justice; Save, save, save the pe-rishing People; O cry thus till your importunity make them hear you.
O Parliament men, and Souldiers! Necessity dissolves all Laws and Government, and Hunger will break through stone Walls; Tender Mothers will sooner devour You, then the Fruit of their own womb, and Hunger regards no Swords nor Canons. It may be so great oppressours intend tumults, that they may escape in a croud, but your food may then be wanting as well as ours, and your Arms will be hard dyet. O heark, heark at our doors, how our children cry Bread, Bread, Bread; and we now with bleeding hearts, cry once more to you, pity, pity an oppressed, inslaved People: carry our cries in the large Petition to the Parliament, and tell them, if they [Page 56] be still deaf, the Teares of the oppressed will wash away the foundations of their houses. Amen, Amen, so be it.
It seemes to be written by some of the Professors of Rhe-torick in Newgate, or Ludgate, whose long practice of that kind of Oratory had made him as great a stranger to truth, as to blushing. The whole matter of it composed of so grosse an hypocrisie, that it scarce deserves that name; mix-ed with impudency, and lyes, of the same Genius with the Petition, boldly affirming in generals, and brins gnot forth one particular with proofe. Where are those famishing babes? and where are those pining carkasses? Why are they not brought forth to the view of some pitifull eye? You cry for pitie, why shew you not the object? Where are those faces black with sorrow and famine? Spend no longer your breath in vaine, Let the famishing pined Carkasses, those black faces be seen, the view gives a deeper impression then heare-say. If you be not of those that have said in their hrarts, There is no God, (though your paper abuse the repetition of that sacred Name) Remember that the al-seeing God beholds your hearts, and knowes your distempers, murmurings, and black de-signations as well as your wants, And sees with what a frontlesse boldnesse you affirme any thing, be the untruth never so notorious. The language looks more like the ebullition of wine than the cries of want.
You complaine of the rising of the Exchange abroad, that Merchants will not trust their goods hither, and our Merchants convey their Estates. And what is the reason thinke you they doe so? (if the matter of fact be true) Why an Army is brought into the bowels of the City. Doth one Regiment of Horse, and one of Foot make an Army in your account? And is White-hall, and the Mewes, in the bowels of the City? The Parliament hath had a
[Page 57] guard these five yares; when it was furnished from the Ci-ty, and places within the lines, it was held a great grievance, And what security the Parliament had by it was evi-dent on Monday the 26. of July last, when either by the Cowardise, or Complyance of the then guard, so horrid and dishonourable a violence was put upon the Houses by an inconsiderable Rabble of people. And what a danger to trade these Regiments are like to be, You might be able to judge, if you would but make an Estimate of the Millions the Ci-ty suffered in, when the whole Army, whereof these Regi-ments are a part, marched in Armes through the City, up-on the sixt of August, after they had been sufficiently irri-tated by some of the City: Yet you are not able to bring so much as a loaf of bread to the account of losse to the City by all their march, though the shops were open, and the market furnished.
But you would faine use any pretence to remove these faithfull forces, because you see as long as they are here, you will hardly be able to make use of your pistolls and dag-gers, or to dissolve all Lawes and Government, or to have re-course to the prime Lawes of Nature. But indeed twere worth the enquirie, what it is that causes this great export-ing of Estates, and that hinders all importation, 'tis cer-tainly a disease that must needs destroy, though not in a mo-ment. There hath been a good while a rumour of a pesti-lence that walketh in darknesse; and hath been known to have infected some that frequent your meetings, and are ac-counted as your own; and this rumour is not a whispering, it hath spoken almost as loud as some of your Cries for bread, And 'tis the Doctrine of Parity or levelling, bringing all mens Estates to an Equallity; A notion that Merchants, and men of great Trade, are as little edified with, as either the Lords are with being devested of their Honours, and part in the Legislative power, or other Gentlemen to part with their [Page 58] Lands, and therefore having so good meanes to put them out of your reach, which other men have not, may per-haps transport them, not willing their large personall E-states should come under your Distribution, from which there an be no recovery. And if you thinke that Merchan-dize be good for the Kingdome, and if you have any care of that good, you must consider how to satisfie Mer-chants, that you intend not to levell; for their Trade runs such an hazzard, and must be managed with such a diligence, and industry, as will hardly receive incouragement from your Utopian parity. And however the Croud of those that follow you intend no such thing, but thinke these are wayes to secure their own property; yet just suspition is upon many of you, And tis not your bare deniall will serve, good words will not satisfie. You know who said Hayle Master, when the salutation was a watchword. It might be thought there would be nothing of greater deferency and respect, than the addresse of your Petition in the superlative inscription, yet Lilburn told you at the meeting in Well-yard, that when you had once raised the spirits of the pea-ple, you would then force the House to grant what you ask. Confide not in your present intentions, remember Hazael. There is not the most clear and Candid soule amongst you that knowes to what (now abhorred) actions he may be dri-ven by the violence of the people, if that Sea shall once break over his bankes, and twill not be then in their power to stop, but only is his that calmeth the Sea and rebuketh the raging of the people, who can say to both, hitherto shalt thou come and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed. But to passe by all the rest, be perswaded to examine the truth of fact with a little more care when you compose your next seditious Harangue; You may take notice, how ill your intelligence hath been in this; It's possible indeed, much of the publique money may be in Collectors, Recei- [Page 59] vers, and sequestrators hands, and it were a meritorious ser-vice to the Common-wealth to discover it, and would no doubt be of universall acceptance; but be sure you be right-ly inform'd, accuse no man falsly, specially in print, 'tis a-gainst Charity, to which Grace no Christian should be a stranger. Bring the particulars and proofes to the House, that a course may be taken to bring that money in to sup-ply the necessities of the Commonwealth, which are great; some paines taken to the purpose in this service, will be more worth than all your Petitioning. But for these par-ticulars here produced, they are so farre from truth, as makes your whole paper suspected to proceed from the Father of lyes. You say there is 25000. l. in Mr. Thorps hands, a Member of the House of Commons. He was never appointed or authorised Treasurer, or Collector of any publique moneys, either by the Parliament, or any Committee, or any others, nor ever received one penny of the publique moneys. Mr. Richard Darley was indeed appointed to receive some moneys in the East riding of Yorkeshier, But he never received more himselfe than six-ty three pound or therabouts, which was upon occasion of calling the Sequestrators of Beverly to ac-count; At which time his Deputy receiver, Mr. Richard Thornton, being not there, he received it himselfe, and put it to account. All other moneys were received by his said Deputy, who hath from time to time paid out the same, according to such Orders as he received for that purpose. Mr. Darley knowes not particularly what is at present in his Deputies hand, in regard he is here at London, attending his service in the House of Commons, and his Deputy is in Yorkeshier, neither yet can he tell whether he may not have already accounted with the Committee of the County; how ever he knowes it cannot be any great summe, and the account for the whole is ready, when[Page 60] it shall be called for; And so is also the money remain-ing, when Order shall be given for it. But your famous mistake, is that of your margent concerning Mr. Speaker, The truth of which story upon through inquiry, instead of what you have Printed, is clearly thus, That Mr. William Lenthall Speaker of the House of Commons, never purcha-sed Land, either in his own, or any other mans name since these troubles; neither did Mr. Cole purchase any for him; Mr. Cole died not suddenly, but of a Fever, and that after ten or twelve days sicknes; his wife is still a widdow, and not married either to Lawyer, or any other; there is no sute against her by Mr. Speaker, nor cause of any. You say an hundred such discoveries might be made as this latter, and indeed its true, they may be done with great ease, it is but to sit down and write an hundred particulars what comes upermost, taking only care there be never a true word in them, which the suggestor of this will easily enable you to do, and then there will be an hundred such discoveries made; but indeed he that would take paines to examine both your Petition, and this Paper, and had so little to do with precious time, as so to imploy it, might finde among your Complaints, Suggestions, & Calculations, some convenient number of truths of the same Complexion with these: But as you may know the Lion by his claw, so you may know the Devill by his tongue, he is a liar, and the Father of lies; and certainly this your mistaken confidence may be sufficient to command belief from such as are content to be deceived in all your Generals, for information in which, it is not credible you would take more care, then in these particulars, which both concerned the reputation of particular Gentlemen, and whereof the truth might be inquired out. But now how will you do these Gentlemen right in this, and give them reparations? perhaps your scandalous Paper, by the great diligence of your selves, and Emissaries to spread them, may come to [Page 61] many hands where their just defence may not follow, and perhaps they may escape more proper uses, so as to remain when the Gentlemen shall be at rest, and be a black Epitaph upon their innocency, and an unjust and unworthy Blot upon their fair reputation. If any man shall after this be misled by these guides, it will not be an easie matter to undeceive him, but he is to be Pitied, as one of those who being fal-len out with truth, is given up to strong delusions to beleeve a lye. Be yet advised not to feign a necessity, and hold out that as a Vail to your Resolution to dissolve all Laws of Go-vernment, it may confound propriety, and levell Estates, the thing perhaps that some aime at: But it may cause a promiscuous mingling of blood too, and in such a confusion as you seek to introduce, it is not impossible you may lose your own in the Croud. Call not up therefore more spirits then you know how to conjure down, yo Spels may fail you, there may be some have Pistols and Daggers, that nei-ther care for your Spels nor you, nor your Petition neither. While you plot tragedies, and indeavor thus to bring them upon the Stage, take heed there enter not some who will nei-ther take their Cu from your Prompter, nor Act according to your Poets design.
We shall adde noe further trouble to the Reader, and indeed very much of this might have been spared, as to those who have their parts exercised to discern good and evill. The evill of this is so written, that they that run might read it, if prejudice did not blinde them, if perhaps there be not also some that do not see, because they will not see; but because there are some, who in the simplicity of their hearts, have followed those Impostors, let them suffer themselves to make halt in this furious march, and a little to consider their leader, and then think whither they are go-ing; let them take a measure of Lilburn by his books filled with falshoods and bitternesse; by his ingratitude to those who [Page 62] have obliged him, by that behaviour in the House of Lords, that wants a name; by the Pistoll and Dagger he speaks of, by which murder was designed, which he cals a noble reso-lution; by his company, the most desperate Malignants; by their opinion of him, as being wholly the Kings; by all these Actions which tend to stir up the people, to force the power which your Petition acknowledgeth supream, and thereby to dissolve all Government, and mingle all with ruine; then judge impartially, if this be the Character of a Christian, or a Banditto; of a man acted and guided by the Spirit of God, or moved and driven by the Devill: And think if it be becoming men professing Religion to be found in these wayes. To be Religious is no more in despising forms then in adoring them, The power of it is in Conforming the will of man to the will of God, and in all the goings out of that will either into affection, or action, with an unreserved resig-nation to give up the man to be guided still, by the eter-nall rule of truth and gooddesse, of which there is sufficient, and cleerely enough laid down in the word of truth, for direction in all things to him that humbly seeks it of which You should have made more use in sincerity and humility to direct your selves, and lesse in prevaricating and misapplying it with a spirit of bitternesse, to make it serve for the lan-guage in which you would falsly accuse, not your brethren, but your confessed Superiours. Be perswaded to study to be quiet, and doe your owne businesse, to live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you; and leave the pub-lique affaires to those, to whom God and the Kingdome hath committed them; abuse not lenity, but make use of thus much for your faire retreat, and charge no more; nor un-dertake any further to prastise till you be a great deale bet-ter studied in, and have more universall, comprehension of, that very important, and yet very little known art of Statizing.