The Resolver


The Parliament: And confirming the Procee-
dings about the KING.
A Letter written to a deare Friend, tending to satisfie him.
At least, to shew the Authour rationall, in approving the
proceedings of the Army.
Debita sanguineo, mors sanguinolenta tyranno.
He that sheds mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed. Gen. 9.6.
Thou shalt not be joyned with them in buriall, because thou hast destroyed thy land,
and slain thy people.
Esay 14.20.
Indignus enim est quem terra sinu suo excepiat ac contegat, is, qui eam vastarit, & in-
nocentium sanguine corrupit:
Marlorat in locum.
London , Printed by I. C. and are to be sold
at the Crown in Popes-head-Alley

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1. THE RESOLVER, OR, A short word to the large question of the times, concerning the Armies seizing the Members of the Parliament, and confirming the proceedings about the King, &c.

Deare Friend,

THe transactions of affaires on foot are weighty, and in our conclusions concerning them, we had need be wary. He that is to passe over the amazing Sea of politiques, had need have a stout Ship, and a skilfull Pilote. Its cowardize not to own a good cause, when it so appeares. But its madnesse to account every cause good, that is so called; rashness in any thing (especially of weighty) is irrationall. I have a long time bin a serious, and silent spectator of the late Tragedies which have been overacted upon the English Stage: And if I should say, I have beheld them with my eyes, my heart would at once witnesse against me, and condemn me. Misery hath a power upon men (much more upon Christians) to cause mourning. A safe, and a speedy period of these sad, and shaking affaires is, that which is desired by all, and endeavoured by some: But alas! Who is sufficient for these things. I confesse, I long and looke for a full, just, and grounded peace, because the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath promised it; But the question is, whether the things now in agitation, have a tendancy thereunto. Now, that justice (rightly administred) is the path to peace; I think none that is but morallywise will denye. And that punishment of offenders, is a prime peece of justice, was ever maintained by those, who were any thing verst in politiques. The doubt then is not for, much about the matter, as about the manner of the things now transacted.

Two things you scruple, in order to the removal, of which this is,

First, you question: Whether the Armies seizing, and secluding the Members of the Parliament be not rather a violation of justice, then an expedient for peace. For suppose them (say you) guilty, yet to ceize and secure them, was not regular: and confident you are, that it was the breach of their priviledges, and so not only above the power, but against the Protestation of the Army. And secondly, you say, you are in the dark about the peoples power over Princes, and the quaere, whether the tryall of the King, either by Army, or Parliament, may be lawfull.

In Answer to both these, I return briefly thus.

First, as touching the Armies seisure of the Members, and therein of their breach of priviledge, I return thus.

  1. I am as yet ignorant of those Arcana Imperii, i.e. what the priviledges of Parliament are in their just latitude, Only I am apt to think, that as all was not prerogative. [Page 2] (just) which the King and his faction so named; so neither are all those just priviledges (which alone were protested to maintain) which certain Parliamentary Grandees are pleased so to declare: Certain, the King did deceive, while he said, every thing (or most) which the Parliament did against him, was an invation of his prerogative; And why the Parliamentees may not delude also, when they cry out breach of priviledges, I know not. But I hope that ere long, we shall know the just bounds of Parliamentary Priviledges, and then, we shall see who transgresse.
  2. As yet its not declared by those, whose innocency continues then in the house, that what was so done by the Army, was a breach of Parliamentary Priviledges: Nay, while they desire to know the reasons thereof, do they not tacitly include, that it was not. It were as easie for them to say, you have broke the Priviledges, as to intreat an account of that action. The Justice, who only askes the Constable, why he secured such a person upon suspition of felony, and doth in it silently hint, that the very securing was unjust.
  3. What ever be their Priviledge in Parliament, I am perswaded to think that it is not (at least) a just Priviledge to be free altogether from Arrests, (for then what would the City Creditors do, &c.) And I am easily convinced, that it may be as just to Arrest (and above an Arrest, the Army hath not acted) for suspition of Treason, as for any debt whatsoever.
  4. The Commission of the Army was to take, and secure (at least) all such as either more publikely, or more privately, were enemies to the Kingdom: And why, a Parliamentman being such, should be exempted, I know not: sure there was no such proviso, in the Commission: that in case they were Parliamentmen, that acted against the Kingdom, they should not be taken hold of. It had been well for some rotten and Revolted Members, such a clause had been in: but then it were ill for the Kingdom.

Lastly, Admit the action exentrick, and not avoyding to the formalities of Law, (which have him at best, a hinderance to justice) yet the case is extraordinary, necessity is the Law royall. And how many Acts, which in their fieri, or doing, have not bin so legall; have yet in their fact or Act, bin declared (even by the Parliament,) necessary, and therefore warrantable, is known to all: That there was a necessity to compell, (and for to authorize) the other is cleare. Suppose that some Pilots, to whose care the safety, & steerage of some ship were committed, should upon their being a shore, and in company with some Pirates, conclude to go aboard, and to conspire there against the owners, and venturers in the Ship: either to betray it to the Pirates, or to detain it themselves. Now suppose some of the Seamen, who were to man it, as to Warre, and to fight for the safety, and security of the Ship, should upon the hearing, or knowledge of their design, stop the perfidious Pilots, and not permit them to go abroad that morning when they intended to do as they designed, and detain them safely, till they had given an accompt hereof to the Marchants and owners: would, or could any man say? the men of Warre, or Seamen did more, then upon this necessitie, they were bound to do. I know you are quick, and can apply. The allegory of a Ship is platonick. And what the Members were about to vote that morning when they were seized, is not Apocriphall.

This to the first of the scruples. As touching the other that consernes the quondam King. Reserving my large thoughts, till a fitter opportunity, at present, I shall only offer briefly, as followes.

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First. No King is ex Lex, i.e. either, without, or above the Law: Indeed some have said, the King could not sin, I am sure 'tis false Divinity, and fained Law, why Kings should have a Prerogative to do evill, without controwle, or tryall, is above my thoughts to conceive, and against reason to conclude, 'Twas Court Divinity, that the King was responcible to God only, but this Divinity of the Court, is not currant.

Secondly. The Armies Charge is no more, then what this very Parliament, and some of the Apostate Members, long since have taught them, and the Kingdom to make.

Thirdly. Kings, when faulty, may be dealt withall; some have thought (and that rationally) that the Kingdom of Judah, was carryed captive for their Kings cruelty: and the reason they give, is, because the people, did not resist their King. Certain, if it were a fault in them not to resist, it can not be injustice in us to question a King. I shall at this time only acquaint you with what I find in Alstedius (a great and sedulous Reader, and a man impartiall and unbyassed) He in his Enciclopedia, in the 23. book, pag. 1427. layes down this conclusion.

All and every Subject may resist a Tyrant.

Upon this, he comments thus. Concerning this conclusion, it hath been anxiously disputed, both by Divines, and Politicians. For things (he saith) have in this businesse bin inquired after, which he thus sets down.

  1. Who is a Tyrant.
  2. Who may resist him.
  3. Why, and wherefore.
  4. How long.

As to the first and second, he saith thus. A Tyrant is one who either wants, or hath a title. He is a Tyrant without a title, who usurpes, or invades, either openly, or clandestinely, a Commonwealth which is not his, by the just title either of election, or succession. And concerning this, there is no doubt, but its lawfull for any one (even a private person) to put him to death, &c.

But a tyrant with a title (who also is called freeborn) is one who by publique authority, either of election, or succession, hath obtained Imperiall power, but doth abuse it. The notes, signes, and Characters of such a one are. Partly generall, as to violate the fundamentall Lawes of a Commonwealth, to be an injury to his Subjects, to abuse the rights of Majesty, to do (what in him lyes) to overthrow the state of the Commonwealth: More special markes are, to convert the treasury of the Commonwealth, either to his own private use, or to the detriment of the publique: to wast, diminish, or alienate, the goods of the Kingdom, to take away the Estate of the Subject, and exhaust them, either by force, or fraud, to wage war to the undoing of the Subject, &c. And so he goes on reckoning up the signes of a Tyrant, and amongst others, (I forbear all, being in hast) he reckons up the prohibition or hinderance of (much more certainly the warring against) Parliaments or conjunctions of state. Now concerning such a one (saith he) we do judge thus. That if he have been often admonished, and do not repent (alas! we know of admonition, but who knowes of repentance?) if he reine the Commonwealth; if he make a prey of all, (i.e. if he persist to attempt it) if he break his Oath (as certainly, the man you wot of, hath) if he hastily oppose godlinesse, He is to be dethroned by the Ephori (i.e. which is the Parl.) who gave, or committed the regall power unto him. But if this cannot conveniently be done, he is to be suppressed by Armes, as an enemy to the Country or Kingdom. Now the most weighty of those reasons, which are urged to maintain this opinion, are these, as he thus recites there.

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  1. Subjects are obliged to Princes but conditionally, viz. whiles they governe iustly. For a Prince is constitued by the people, through their Heads, (or Presentatives) to be a Father, Preserver, Protector, Defender, and Shepherd of the Subjects. By the same he is, or may be exauthorized, (or Dethroned) and suppressed by force, when he is a Destroyer, Oppressor, and wicked Ruler. And so is a Lyon, a Beare, a Woolfe, or Vulture. He is an evill Pilote, who doth make a hole in the Ship (i.e. the Common wealth in which he lives) and as much as in him lies, destroyes, and overthrowes the universall Society over which he is, in that he overthowes the fundamentall Rights, and Lawes, as well of Ecclesiasticall, as of Civill Power. The Subjects therefore are obliged to the Prince, so farre as he governes the Commonwealth aright. Now the obligation ceaseth, when the condition thereof faileth.
  2. Princes doe constitute aright or power, of resisting themselves: because either tacitely, or expressely, they give consent to that condition: that the States or Peeres of the Kingdome, should rise up against them, if they doe otherwise then right, or as they ought.
  3. A Prince acting against the agreements, and fundamentalls of a Kingdome, and thereby losing that (otherwise) inviolable Majesty? Becomes upon this a private person, to resist whom, is generally allowed of by all.
  4. The constitution of a King doth not take away that lawfull defence against force, and injury, which the Law of Nature doth grant to any: especially to a people, who would punish a Prince that is a notorious Tyrant.
  5. The Civill Lawes (which, my friend, were Imperiall, and are still in great force in forreigne parts) doe confirme this opinion; while they delare thus: We are not to obey a Prince ruling either above the limits of the power intrusted him; or beyond their power committed to him: For the Commonweale by constituting a King, doth not rob, or deprive it selfe of the power of its owne preservation, and give it to him.

Examples of such as have resisted the chiefe Magistrate, occurre, 1 King. 1.2. Where the 10 Tribes revolt from Rehoboam. 2 Chron. 26. Where the high Priest resisteth King Ussiah. 2 King. 11. Where the high Priest Jehojada gave command, for the putting of Queene Athalia to death, &c. But he adds, farre be it from us to say, that it is lawfull for every, or any private person, to put a Tyrant to death. So the windowes, yea the gates would be wide open to the Manslaughter, and Murder of all Kings, &c.— But forasmuch as a Tyrant is therefore resisted, that the publike safety may remaine secure, it followes therefore, that the Peeres and Powers of State, who are, as it were, the compendium (saith he) of the Commonweale, (as indeed our Parliament is) that they give judgement by publike authoritie, conserning the Kings government, and that they ought to remove that Tyrant; yet so, as that they accommodate the assistance of the people. I might adde to these reasons of his, but I forbeare.

Now as to the third thing: viz. For what end, or why a Tyrant is, or may thus be resisted. This he gives shortly thus. That so the Commonweale may be secured, and the Tyrant himselfe (if it may be by any meanes) may be brought to be fruitfull, (i.e. by repentance.)

To the last particular: How long this is to last, or continue. He saith, Till hee (that is the Tyrant) amend. But if no hope thereof appeare, so long as the safety of the Kingdome will permit.

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Object. But if the Peeres, or Powers of State (saith the same Author) further him (i.e. the TyrantKing) and nourish his Tyranny. What may, or shall the people doe?

Answ. For a good time, or a long time, they must forbeare, or be quiet. Till patience it selfe, often, and long abused, turne into impatiencie. Thus that light of Germany, Transilvania, yea of Europe (as a fire, and no flattering Pen stiles) Alstedius.

Quest. But (you will say) in all this, here is no mention of putting Kings to death.

Answ. True: None directly. But I presume, you are so rationall, as not to deny it consequentially. Certainely the same grounds urged for deposing, &c. of Kings, will also hold their putting them to death, where justice and necessity call for it. The security of a Kingdome is to be prized, above the security of a King. And when it cannot be otherwise, better one man dye, by the Sword of Justice, then many (yea a Kingdome) bleed by the Sword of Tyranny.

But what Instances can be given (will you say.) Its good acting by a President.

I Reply. Tis lawfull without. Suppose some Instances could not be given, must therefore the thing be unlawfull? Surely, non sequitur. If some Kings formerly were so good, as not to deserve it: or some People so weak, as not to inflict it. Shall not others be so wise as to punish, when their Kings shall be so wicked as to deserve it.

But we need not runne to this short (yet sure) refuge: I could give Instances enough to cleare this. That If Kings deserve, States may inflict death upon them. Thryninius (the proud) was dethroned, his goods confiscated, and certainly (saith Livie) had he been taken (for he fled) should have been otherwise punished. If you say, his crimes were above Charles Stuarts, I think when you have read Livie, you will say, they were lesse. For he saith, He was guilty, of not hearkning to the advice of the Senate, That he made Warre of his owe head (as the King did against the Scots, and that against the consent and counsell of the Parliament) That he violated the Lawes, &c.

The Histories of the Athenian and Lacedemonian Commonweales, are plentifull in this kinde.

Q. But they are Heathen.

A. What then? Had not they Justice: And shall not Christians, rather goe before, then not follow them therein. But our English Histories tell you of Edward the 2d. John, and others, that were dethroned by Parliament. I am in haste, therefore I shall onely referre you to Buchanan: and if have not time to read him. Any of the Scots (and you know some) will tell you, of Kings enough, which their Kingdom hath tried, and proceeded against.

Q. But heres no ScriptureJustice you will say.

A. True: It needs not. The The Law of Nature, and Nations in these cases will suffice. Jus politicum is enough in Politcks. Why should any (especially who content themselves with, yea and contend, that jus humanum, may suffice in Churchaffaires) why (I say) should these require jus divinum in Civills; yet is not the Scripture alltogether silent. For there we read of Amaziah king of Judah, put to death by his Subjects, with a generall consent, (the Spirit of the Lord not mentioning (as he doth in other things) the least disallowance thereof) 2 Chron. 25.27. I confesse, I finde not the cause fully expressed; But in the Hebrew notes of Rabbi Solomon Jarchi I finde this: That the heart of every man was grieved for his sons, for his brethren, and kinsmen, which were slain by his meanes, in warre against Josias king of Israel. Note, this was but for a rash warre waged against another King, to the slaughter of his Subjects; what [Page 8] then shall be done to him, that hath waged a long, bloody warre against his Subject? Sed manam de tabulam.

I have almost done, you know he was no Independant (so nicknamed) who said, Fiat justitia, & ruat Mundus. Better certainly, expose the Kingdom, to an other shaking by War, (through the execution of justice) then expose it, to a three years famine; (president whereof we have, 2 Sam. 21.) for not punishing a bloody house. Surely the blood of the English is as deare to God, as the blood of the Gibeonites, and the house of Stewards, as bloody as the house of Saul.

I have thus hastily scribled this paper, if not to your satisfaction, yet at least, to my owne: And I hope by this you will see, that I am more rationall, then cast in that approbation which I gave to the Armies Remonstrance. For a close, I protest, that I am perswaded, that the things now agitated are of the Lord: Therefore it is that I approve them: And humbly advise you, not to oppose them; least you be found Tiomachan. To fight against him ignorantly, whom, I hope you love sincerely, viz. the God of love, and also of Justice, Its easie to doe that in an houre, which we cannot undoe in a yeare: Afterwit indeed is bought, and accounted best, but you know it costs deare. I beleeve some repents of the last Summers rashnesse, and will doe whils they live. But this not in Kent; for since old and good Sir Anthony is dead, the Committee hath lost its life. And some of them act, as if they made little account of their Soules: Godfrey of Bulloigne is not amongst them. There is one indeed of that name: But alas! he read The Armies Remonstrance, wondred at it, Cryed it up, And then sate down againe, and is now, &c. a Jacobine Proselite.—

As touching your feare of an inundation of Errours, and a devastation of the Ministry, and Learning. You know, that I hate Errors as much as you; and I confesse, tho I feare them (for they are evill) yet I hope the Weapon of our Warfare being Spivituall, will also be mighty. And as to Learning, and the Ministery, you know, I have cause to love them: And, I must confesse, I am so far, from fearing any evill to befall them. That I expect, (I have reason to hope) their advancement.

But to end. Its a fitting season: Rotten leaves, (and branches too) fall apace. Be not you high minded, but feare: The day is surely dawned, in which the loftinesse of man, shall be bowed downe; and the haughtinesse of men shall be made low, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in this day. Its my advise to you, and indeard for my selfe, to provide a ransome from Divine Justice hereafter, rather then to hinder, or speak against, the executing of humane justice here. At the great day, Christ will not distinguish between Kings and Clownes. Princes at his bar, will be proceeded against, according to their desarts.

Indeed tis true, the World counts them, and the Word calls them Gods: But it saith also, that they must die (at best) as men: And for my part, if they deserve it, I think it all reason, they should dye as Mallefactors. When Kings fall from their goodnesse, they lose their Diety: And when they fight against their Subjects, and break their oathes, they forfeit their Kingship. If Charles Steward have done evill, and deserve it, in Gods name, and the Kingdomes Peace, let him die: I shall pray that free grace may save his soule, when Justice shall destroy his body.

I am Sir, Your friend and servant,
N. T.
Jan. 1. 1648.
This is the full version of the original text


destruction, drink, eating, harvest, need, pirate, want, war

Source text

Title: The Resolver

Author: N. T.

Publisher: I. C.

Publication date: 1648

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: Wing (2nd ed.) / T40 Bibliographic name / number: Thomason / E.527[10] Physical description: 8 p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: Thomason / 82:E.527[10] Copy from: British Library

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Original author(s): N. T.

Language: English

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