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occasion of discontent, to make use of such a precedent as this. In this very parliament you have not been without some taste of the experience hereof: it is now somewhat more than two years since you had an army in the north, paid and directed by yourselves; and yet you may be pleased to remember there was a considerable number of officers in that army, which joined in a petition or remonstrance to this house, taking notice of what some of the members had said here, as they supposed, to their disadvantage, and did little less than require them of you. 'Tis true, there had been some tampering with them ; but what has happened at one time, may wisely be thought possible to fall out again at another.
Sir, I presume but to point you out the danger : if it be not just, I know you will not do me the wrong to expose me to this trial ; if it be just, your army may another time require the same justice of you in your own behalf, against some other member, whom perhaps you would be less willing to part with. Necessity has of late forced you into untrodden paths, and in such a case as this, where you have no precedent of your own, you may not do amiss to look abroad upon other states and senates, which excercise the supreme power, as you now do here.
I dare confidently say you shall find none, either ancient or modern, which ever exposed any of their own order to be tried for his life by the officers of their armies abroad, for what he did while he resided among them in the senate.
Among the Romans the practice was so contrary, that some inferior officers in their army, far from the city, having been sentenced by their general or commander in chief as deserving death by their discipline of war, have nevertheless (because they were senators) appealed thither ; and the cause has received a new hearing in the senate.
Not to use more words to persuade you to take heed that you wound not yourselves, through my sides, in vio. lating the privileges belonging to your own persons, I shall humbly desire you to consider likewise the nature of my
offence; not but that I should be much ashamed to say any thing in diminution thereof, (God knows 'tis horrid enough for the evil it might have occasioned) but if you look near it, it may perhaps appear to be rather a civil than a martial crime, and so to have title to a trial at the common law of the land. There may justly be some difference put between me and others in this business.
I have had nothing to do with the other army, or any intention to begin the offer of violence to any body ; it was only a civil pretence to that which I then foolishly conceived to be the right of the subject. I humbly refer it to your considerations, and to your consciences. I know you will take care not to shed that blood by the law of war, which hath a right to be tried by the law
For so much as concerns myself, and my part in this business, (if I were worthy to have any thing spoken, or patiently heard in my behalf,) this might truly be said : that I made not this business, but found it ; it was in other men's hands long before it was brought to me ; and when it came, I extended it not, but restrained it. For the propositions of letting in part of the king's army, or of fering violence to the members of this house, I ever disallowed, and utterly rejected them.
What it was that moved me to entertain discourse of this business so far as I did, I will tell you ingenously; and that rather as a warning for others, than it makes any thing for myself: It was only an impatience of the inconveniences of the present war ; looking on things with a carnal eye, and not minding that which chiefly, if not only, ought to have been considered : the inestimable value of the cause you have in hand, the cause of God and of religion, and the necessities you are forced upon for the maintenance of the same. As a just punishment for this neglect, it pleased God to desert me, and suffer me, with a fatal blindness, to be led on and engaged in such councils, as were wholly disproportioned to the rest of my life. This, sir, my own conscience tells me, was the cause of my falling; and not malice, or any ill habit of mind or disposition towards the commonwealth, or to the parliament. For, from whence should I have it? If you look on my birth, you will not find it in my blood. I am of a stock which hath borne you better fruit. If you look on my education, it hath been al. most from my childhood in this house, and amongst the best sort of men ; and for the whole practice of my life, till this time, if another were to speak for me, he might reasonably say, that neither my actions out of parliament, nor my expressions in it, have favored of disaffection or malice to the liberties of the people, or privileges of parliament.
Thus, sir, 1 have set before your cyes, both my person and my case ; wherein I shall make no such defence by denying or extenuating any thing I have done, as ordinary delinquents do. My address to you, and all my plea shall be, such as children use to their parents. I have offended; I confess it. I never did any thing like it before. It is a passage unsuitable to the whole course of my life besides; and for the time to come, as God, that can bring light out of darkness, hath made this business in the event useful to you, so also hath he to me. You have, by it, made an happy discovery of your ene, mies; and I of myself, and the evil principles I walked by ; so that if you look either on what I have been heretofore, or what I now am, and by God's grace assisting me 1 shall always continue to be, you may, perhaps, think me fit to be an example of your compassion and clemency.
Sir, I shall no sooner leave you, but my life will depend on your breath ; and not that alone, but the subsistence of some that are more innocent. I might therefore, shew. you my children, whom the rigour of your
justice would make complete orphans, being already mo. therless I might shew you a family wherein there are some unworthy to have their share in that mark of infamy which now threatens me. But something there is, which, if I could shew you, would move you more than all this : it is my heart; which abhors what I have done more, and is more severe to itself, than the severest judge can be. A heart, Mr. Speaker, so awakened by this afiliction, and so entirely devoted to the cause you maintain, that I earnestly desire of God to incline you so to dispose of me, whether for life or death, as may most conduce to the advancement thereof.
Sir, not to trouble you any longer, if I die, I shall die praying for you; if I live, I shall live serving you, and render you back the use and employment of all those days you shall add to my life.
(An eminent Lawyer, and Speaker of the Long Parliament,)
Was member for Woodstock. He was born 1591, and died 1662.
This high-flown address to General Fairfax, is a model of the adulatory style. Surely a great man does not stand in need of so much praise.
to your excellency's merit, and their desires. To effect this ac. cordingly, I should have informed myself, from histories that have preserved the memories of the famous worthies of former ages, and should have taken the di. mensions of the largest coronets and trophies wherewith Voz I.
they are made glorious; and even those would rather streighten than enlarge the temples of your excellency. Or else I should have consulted some of the most learned and eloquent orators, who have set forth the glorious gests performed in former times, whereby I might have insisted on some parallel for your wisdom, piety, justice, and valour; but I conceived the virtues and success which God hath bestowed upon you, were very hardly to be matched, and rather needed more industry and memory to enumerate, than oratory to polish.
Heretofore, when I read the histories of the acts of fainous princes and warriors in this and other nations, it was not without some jealousy, that in them there was some mixture and glosses of oratory and art, the more to set off and give lustre to their acts, as arguments of emulation for others to follow the footsteps of their virtues; but the actions of your excellency will add lustre and belief to them, being all verified in you. And, indeed, here considering the swift marches, and the expedition of those grand and difficult attempts, which were prosecuted and effected by your excellency, I may say, the Almighty came riding on the wings of the wind; for these were nothing else but the magnalia Dei, acted in and by you, his instrument.
It was the custom of the ancient Romans, after a glorious and successful prince, to derive his name to posterity in memory of his virtues; as after that great prince Julius Cæsar, his successors retained the name of Cæsars: as Augustus Cæsar, Tiberius Cæsar, &c. Thus, hereafter, all famous and victorious succeeding generals in this kingdom, (if the times should prove so unfortunate,) will desire the addition of the name of Fairfax.
And surely the honour of the late lord general was not, whilst he lived, any way eclipsed by the succession of your excellency in his command ; but rather augmented, whilst each retained the brightness of his own honour, having both rays enough to enlighten a kingdom, then overset with clouds and thick darkness.