« PreviousContinue »
country from those very yokes, which are now, by a law, re-established, and imposed upon us ?
15. Whether these pretended law-makers had not more of a selfish, than a publick spirit, in declining the way of subsidy, and advancing their nineteen-hundred thousand pounds per year, for the support of their new governinent, by laying two-thirds of the same on the merchants, tradesmen, and artificers; and the other third on the real and personal estates of the nation? Have they not hereby slipped their own shoulders from under the burthen; and unworthily laid it heavy on the industrious people; whilst the lawyers great places and fees, with the swordsmen's salaries, and land purchased with the price of other men's blocd, pay little or nothing at all?
16. Whether the gentlemen of this convention be not the very offspring of the old courtiers, and their dependants, the late patentees suppressed and turned out of the long parliament, at their first sitting, as unworthy to come there ; in that they have bought and sold the penple of this nation, by letting, and taking to farm their rights and properties? Did ever any company of men before abuse parliamentary authority so, as these men have done; in making an act to let to farm the good people of this nation, their properties and goods, to such as will bid most; and authorising their members to become like panders, to give entertainment to all comers, who have a mind to become patentees, and contract with them for power, to use the English free people as they please?
17. Whether the pretence, of advancing a revenue to the state, be a plea sufficient to warrant their oppressing, impoverishing, and inslaving the people of this nation, to fill the state's coffer; or rather the lusts of some great statesmen ? And whether such, as buy dear, must not sell dear, and use such means to raise their money again, as will eat up the people to the very bones ? Were not Sir Abraham Daws, Sir John Worsenham, and Sir Nicholas Crisp, counted criminal, and fined accordingly, for being such farmers? And whether the gentlemen that do, and shall now adventure to farm, may not, in time, come to be subjects of like justice, as was deservedly executed upon Empson and Dudley, with their confederates, for their raking and peeling the people of this nation formerly?
18. Whether the raising up again the ruins of the fallen courts and monarchy, and the giving up the grand interests of the people, su lately redeemed with the price of much precious blood, out of the clutches of tyranuy into the hands of one single person again ; and this done without the advice and consent, and against the hopes and expectations of the most faithful and honest part of the nation, be not an act highly unworthy the day that is upon us, and a fundamental ground of dissatisfaction to all, in whom there yet remains any sense of the late most honourable cause, and of the experiences and appearances that attended us, while we abode uncorrupted in the faithful and fervent prosecution thereof?
Upon the whole: Whether these things, brought forth of late, be the natural issue of those-noble beginnings formerly amongst us; or rather the degenerate fruits of that bitter root of apostasy that hath sprung
up since, and of late more effectually manifested itself, under the face of authority; in an assembly of men, made up of persons ridden by the clergy, and acted by principles of self-security, and advancement of sons and kinsmen, servants, of low-spirited conquered Scots, curbed cavaliers, and young boys; of corrupt lawyers, and others; who prostitute their light and principles to their Diana, to uphold their gain and profits; and of a declined sort of independant, baptized, ranting, and mercurial divinity professors; and lastly, of mercenary soldiers and swordsmen, who have, out of fear, or covetous ends, apostatised, and unworthily betrayed as honourable and precious a cause as ever was on foot since the world began, of all which this juncto was made up and constituted.
Reader, This had come sooner into thy hands, had not Providence hindered. What is wanting, either for matter or form, thou art desired (who art capable thereof) to make a supply in this or some other manner, more for the discovery of wickedness, and pleading for righteousness; and however the apostates of the day (with their protector) may be displeased and rage thereat; yet, consider the encouragement our Lord Protector gives thee hereunto, Isa. ix. 16. Who complains (that in a day of transgressing, flying and departing away from God, of oppression; yea, when truth failed, and he that departed from evil made himself a prey, and there was no judgment) that none called for justice, nor any man pleaded for truth, &c. and wondered there was no intercessor. Let not that lively active spirit, that once appeared for God, against tyranny and wickedness in the late king's days, now die; when the same spirit and wickedness is again revived and acting, even by them who were so instrumental to destroy the late generation, for these very things. Your friend, who, having in some measure been instrumental herein, hath no other apprehensions in his own spirit, but that he may before long be known, and dealt withal as others have been formerly upon the like account; yet the matter, herein contained, being such as (if justice could take place) might not only be signed to, pleaded for, but would certainly overcome, he is so far from being discouraged, or in the least damped in his spirit from the publishing hereof, that he had much rather (the Lord assisting) be exposed to a state of imprisonment all his days, yea, to death itself, than withdraw his assistance in the least measure, in this or any other thing, wherein he apprehends he may be useful to witness against the apostasy of this day, to revive the good old cause, and bring in justice and righteousness to the people.
NARRATIVE OF THE LATE PARLIAMENT
Wherein, after a brief reciting some remarkable passages in the former
narrative, is given an account of their second meeting, and things transacted by them: As, also, how the Protector (so called) came swearing, ‘By the living God,'and dissolved them, after two or three weeks sitting With some queries sadly proposed thereupon. Together, with an account of three and forty of their names, who were taken out of the house, and others that sat in the other house, intended for a house of lords; but, being so unexpectedly disappointed, could not take root, with a brief character and description of them. All humbly presented to publick view. By a Friend to the good old cause of justice, righteousness, the freedom and liberties of the people, which hath cost so much blood and treasure, to be
carried on in the late wars, and are not yet settled. Cursed be the man before the Lord that riscth up and buildeth the
city Jericho, be shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest son shall be set up the gates of it. Josh. vi.
26. I have seen the foolish taking root; but suddenly I cursed his habita
tion: His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the
gate, neither is there any to deliver tbem. JOB v. 3, 4. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their bands cannot
find their enterprise. Job v. 12. His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring
him to the king of terrors. JOB xviii. 14.
Printed in the fifth year of England's slavery, under its new monarchy, 1658.
vernment, called, “ The humble petition and advice,' before they had well licked their golden calf, or given the brat of their brain a name, were called upon to adjourn, and break up: And so, making more haste than good speed, they left things very raw and imperfect, which afterwards occasioned great contests; and, in fine, their dissolution.
According to the time they adjourned unto, they assemble again, being January 23, 1657, where, after the usual solemnities of devotion performed, they repair to the house, where they found some of their number commissioned, and impowered by the Protector, to swear them, The copy of which oath here follows:
THE OATH. ! I do in the presence, and by the name of God Almighty, promise and swear, that, to the utmost of my power in my place, I will uphold and maintain the true reformed protestant Christian religion in the power thereof, as it is contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and encourage the profession and professors of the same: And that I will be true and faithful to the Lord Protector of the commonwealih of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions and territories thereunto belonging, as chief magistrate thereof: And shall not contrive, design, or attempt any thing against the person, or lawful authority of the Lord Protector; and shall endeavour, as much as in me lies, as a member of parliament, the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people.'
Which having taken, and coming into the house, they find not only some of their fellow † members, but their old servant and clerk, Mr. Scobell, gone, and a new one put in his room, whose name is Smith, which, with biting a little the lip, and something in way of compliment, as with a salvo of their rights and privileges, they for quietness sake vote him (so put upon them) to be their clerk, and then settled themselves in a posture for their future work. And the first thing they undertake, is to keep a day of prayer in their house, which accordingly they did; and with great prudence, plowing with an ox and an ass together, the presbyters and independents being both called to officiate.
The other house, who would fain have the honour to be called Lords, or rather, a House of Lords, did likewise, in their house, pray at the same time, with much devotion, and did afterwards agree to send to the parliament (or, as they would have them again called, the House of Comilons) by Baron Hill and serjeant Windham (after the manner of the House of Peers formerly) to declare their message, viz. “ that the Ilouse of Lords, or the Lords of the other House, had sent unto them, to desire their joining with them, in a petition or message to the Protector, that a day of prayer f and humiliation might be appointed tlírough the whole commonwealth.
Which message begat very high debates, and sharp speeches from many that were not at the making this lame and imperfect model, so as the aforesaid messengers were fain to wait a long time; but at length got this answer, viz.. that they would return an answer by messengers of their own.'
The house filling daily, and many of those that had been secluded in ther former session coming in, the face of things in the house was
• Can those be faithful to the rights and liberties of the people, who swear to be faithful to the governinent in a single person, which, our too sad experience tells us, so naturally tends to destroy them? Do not those, who so swear, undertake to uphold that in the Protector, which cost so much blood and treasure to oppose, as antichristian and tyrannical in the king? Or is that a lawful authority, which, contrary to all precedents and privileges of parliament, was carried but by three voices of them that were perinitted to sit, there being at the same time at least eighty of the meinbers purposely kept out, till that act was passed ? Ought not things to be searched into, and set right upon this account? For that (Dlatt. vi. 24 ) No man car serve two masters,
* To the other house they were gone for greater preferment, 1 In nomine Domini incipe girne malum.
in a great measure changerl, another spirit appraring in them, than be. fore, insomuch that many made question of the things that were formerly done; soine speaking at a high rate in behalf of the rights of the English free people, and against the wrongs and injuries that had been done unto them. This being doneday by day, and the house not agreeing what to call that other house, which was as it were a nameliss infant, and fain would be named the House of Lords, was the greatest part of their work, save that, now and then, some little matters came under debate, as the reviving and perfecting their committees, and reading some former bills. The Lord Craven's case also was taken in, and the council on both parts heard at the bar of the house, with some other little matters that passed; but the greatest part of the timethat was spent in the house, whilst sitting, was in considering and debating what they should call the other house.
Towards the end of their sitting, there came another message from the other house, after the same manner as before, desiring their joining with them, in moving the protector to order, that the papists, and such as had been in arms under the late king, might be exiled the city, and put out of the lines of communication,' &c. This message being also designed as a shooing-horn, to draw on their owning of thein, received a like answer as did the former.
As for the other house, who called themselves the House of lords, they spent their time in little matters, such as choosing of committees, and among other things, to consider of the privileges and jurisdiction of their house, good wise souls, before they knew what their house was, or should be called.
About which time also, a petition was preparing, by some faithful friends to the good old cause, in and about the city of London, which was afterwards printed, and signed with many thousand hands; which petition makes mention of the several particulars that were the grounds of contest between the late king, and parliament, and the good people of the nation. And prayeth, “the settling those good things sought for, as the reward and fruit of the blood and treasure so greatly expended in the late wars,'&c. This petition was ready to be presented to the parliament, in a peaceable way, by the hands of about twenty in the name of the rest, desiring to submit the issue thereof to God, and the wisdom of that assembly. The court, hearing of it, were so affrighted that they began to consider how they might quell, and put a stop to, 'bat huncst spirit, which so appeared against them; the Protector, in the inean while, calling them traitors, and seditious persons, &c. threatening to cut their sculls, and to tread them down as mire in the streets, &c. And, turned out * Major Packer, and most of the honestest offi. cers of his regiment of horse, for refusing to serve his lust therein. And apprehending that nothing could do it, but a speedy dissolving the parTiament, they put on resolutions accordingly, only waiting for a convenient opportunity. But, something happening that morning, that put
• As Major Packer. Mr. Kiffin, and others, by endeavouring to promote the apostasy at its first rist, race occasioned many baptised persons and others, simply to wander after the beast Thry, now seeing their error, ought they not to declare it to the people, as also to stir them up to keep close with more renvedness in their spirits to the good old cause, and to be for se single person whatsoever, till he comes, whose right it is, Ezek. xxi. 26.