« PreviousContinue »
best subjects' blood a flowing? Did not I do all this, and hast thou the impudence to pretend to merit more, and have a greater share in the infernal empire, than I?
Pope. All this thou didst, I do confess it; but, if thou wouldst hare but the patience to hear me, I do not question but to make appear, that I and my predecessors have done much more meritorious things, for our great lord and master the Devil, than ever thou didst, or couldst do.
Oliver. Hell and furies! What didst thou ever do more, than whore thy own daughter, and help thy son, Cæsar Borgia, to poison, and make
away, all the opposers and obstacles to his greatness ? Pope. Well, that is something; it shewed how willing, and ríady, I was to tread in the footsteps of my predecessors, and give a good example to all my flock; but be patient, and I will tell thec the right, I and my brother popes have to be viceroys here below. Thou, alas! valuest thyself, for having been the ruin of one prince and state: But, how many emperors have we forced to come, and lay their necks under our foet? How many Kings have we caused to be assassinated? How many princes to be murthered ? How many kingdoms and states to be ruined by civil wars and dissensions ? Have not we caused princes to rebel against, and murther the Kings their fathers ? Subjects to depose their lawful sovereigns, and set up tyrants in their rooms? And, in fine, Did we not bring anarchy and confusion into all nations, when our interest required it, or when those at the helm did not regulate themselves as we would have had them? All tlis thou knowest, we did, and must confess it, there being millions of instruments here whom we employed to those ends, to confirm and testify it.
Oliver. I grant all you popes together have been fruitfully and bravely wicked: But hath any one of you, attempted, performed, and compleated, such great, noble, and numerous crimes as I have done? Did not I, and my companions, under the pretext of religion, subvert both it and the government, and crying out against the ill management of the state, the treachery, and want of conduct in ministers, and, by pretending to reform the helm, bring the nation into such a combus. tion, that we gained our point: which was, that we might have the liberty to act those wickednesses, that the others, who were there before us, were accused of, but which indeed never came into their thoughts, not having the sense or courage to perform, or, at least were restrained by their consciences; the liberty of which we cried out mightily for, because we knew ours would allow us all that we could desire.
Pope. All this I know, and how successful you were in it, but you were only the executioners of the Roman contrivances; we drew the model, and set you to work; your King's death, that you brag so much of, was first resolved on al Rome, before it came into your noddles, and, so far, you were only the blind ministers of our resolutions.
Oliver. I am sure that is false; for none of us all, but aimed chiefly at him, though we scemed to look, and squinted another way. You might, perhaps, have the same design, but you ought not therefore to arrogate 10 yourself all the honour, seeing we thought on it, and de. signed it, as soon as there was any probability of doing it; and even perfor...cd it as soon as it lay in our power. Indeed we found it a diffi
cult task, and, without your help, perhaps, we should not have been able to have compassed it. We were forced to raise fears and jealousies of an arbitrary government; and in that, I must confess, we found your party extremely useful to us, and very skilful to infuse the poison into people's minds; and, by these means, we arrived at what we so much had railed against, and seemed to abhor; that is to say, an unli
We trampled all laws down under our feet, and made such new ones, as were fit for our purpose and interests. The truth is, to bring this to pass, we made it cost the nations whole seas of blood. Trade was destroyed, maidens were ravished, mothers had their infants rip'd out of their wombs, the father stabbed his son, and the son his father; and nothing was more common, than to see brother drink his brother's blood to the health of our cause, when he called him an enemy, and traitor to his country.
Pope. I laugh at all these flourishes, they are but the common and usual effects of our conspiracies. Had but our late plot succeeded in England, you would have seen them bravely acted, and repeated even to a degree above admiration; they would have surpassed your envy, and even have caused, in you yourself, a dread and terror.
Oliver. But must you not confess, lhat your instruments were but pitiful, base creatures, and ashamed of their task, since they denied it at their executions? Whereas, you see, my brood in Scotland, not only begun bravely by their rebellion, and murthering the archbishop of Saint Andrews, but acknowledged the fact at their trials and deaths; and not only maintained the lawfulness of it, but also died martyrs for the doctrine of King-killing; whereas, your chicken-hearted heroes were both ashamed of what they would have done, and disowned what the brave doctors of your church have taught.
Pope. Come, do not reproach us, they had been fools if they had owned it; nay, and we had taken care to persuade them they should bave been Jamned too; besides, people's opinion of an action is generally regulated by its success, which we being disappointed of, all our interests and reputation in the world would have been lost and ruined, had they not stiftly denied it. Therefore, I say, do not reproach us; for can you or your brood, as you call them, ever pretend to match our treacheries, treasons, plots, conspiracies, massacres, &c. Do you think you ever can?
Oliver. Perhaps we may; but, of that, I will tell you more he.eafter.
For Letter to Parliament, Sce Vol. I, p. 28.
A SEASONABLE SPEECH,
Diuile by a worthy Member of Parliament in the House of Commons, cons
cerning the other House, March 1659.
Mr. Speaker, T's day's debate is but too clear a proof, that we Englishmen are
right Islanders, variable and mutable like the air we live in. For (Sir) if that were not our temper, we should not be now disputing, whether, after all those hazards we have run, that blood we have spilt, that treasure we have exhausted, we should not now sit down, just where we did begin; and of our own accords, submit ourselves to that slavery, which we have not only ventured our estates and lives, but I wish I could not say, our souls and consciences, to throw off. What others, Sir, think of this levity, I cannot tell, I mean those that steer their consciences by occasions, and cannot lose the honour they never had. But truly, Sir, for my own part, I dare as little not declare it to be my opinion, as others more prudential dare avow it to be theirs; that we are this day making good all the reproaches of our enemies, owning of ourselves oppressors, murderers, regicides, subverters of that, which now we do not only acknowledge to have been a lawful government, but, by recalling it, confess it now to be the best. Which, Sir, if it be true, and that we now begin to sec aright, I heartily wish, our eyes had been sooner open; and for three nations sake, that we had purchased our conviction at a cheaper rate. We might, Sir, in Fortytwo, have been what we thus contend to be in Fisty-nine; and our consciences have had much less to answer for to God, and our reputations to the world.
But Mr. Speaker, I wish with all my soul, I did state our case to you amiss, and that it were the question only, whether we would voluntarily relapse into the disease we were formerly possessed with, and of our own accords take up our old yoke, that we, with wearing and custom, had made habitual and easy, and which, it may be, it was more onr wantonness than our pressure, that made us throw it off. But this Sir, is not now the question; that which we deliberate, is not, whether we will say we do not care to be free, we like our old masters, and will now be content to have our ears bored at the door-posts of their house, and so serve them for ever. But, Sir, as if we were contending for shame, as well as servitude, we are carrying our ears to be bored at the doors of another house. A house, Sir, without name, and therefore, it is but congruous it should consist of members without a family: A house that inverts the order of slavery, and subjects it to our servants;
Containing eight pages, quarto, without date, or printcr's name.
and yet, in contradiction to Scripture, we do not only not think that subjection intolerable, but are now pleading for it. In a word, Sir, it is a house of so incongruous and odious a composition and mixture, that certainly the grand architect would never have so framed it, had it not been his design as well to shew to the world the contempt he had of us, as to demonstrate the power he had over us.
Sir, that it may appear, that I intend, to be so prudent, as far as my part is concerned, as to make a voluntary resignation of my liberty and honour to this excellent part of his late highness's last will and testament, I shall crave, Sir, the leave to declare, in a few particulars, my opinion of this other house; wherein I cannot but promise myself to be favourably heard by some, but patiently heard by all. For these Englishmen, that are against this house, will certainly with content hear the reasons why others are so too; those courtiers, that are for it, give me evidence enough to think that, in nature, there is nothing which they cannot willingly endure.
First, Sir, as to the author and framer of this house of perss. Let me put you in mind, it was he, that with reiterated oaths, had often sworn, to be true and faithful to the government without it; and not only sworn so himself, but had been the chief instrument, both to draw, and counsel others, to swear so too. So, Sir, that the foundation of this noble fabrick was laid in perjury, and was begun with the violation and contempt, as weil of the latvs of God, as of the nation. He, Sir, that called monarchy anti-christian in another, and indeed made it so in himself. He that voted a house of lords dangerous and unnecessary, and too truly made it so in his partisans. He that with fraud and force, deprived you of your liberty, when he was living, and entailed slavery upon you, at his death; it is he, Şir, that hath left you these worthy overseers of that his last will and testament; who, however they have behaved themselves in other trusts, we may be confident they will endeavour faithfully to discharge themselves in this: In a word, Sir, had this other house no other fault but its institution and author, I should think that original sin enough for its condemnation. For I am of their opinion that think, that for the good of example, all acts and monuments of tyrants are to be expunged, and erased, that, if possible, their memory might be no longer-lived than their carcasses. And the truth is, their good laws are of the number of their snares, and but base brokage for our liberty.
But, Sir, to impute to this other house no other faults, but its own, you may please in the first place to consider of the power, which his highness bath left it, according to that humble petition and advice, which he was pleased to give order to the parliament to present unto him. For, Sir, as the Romans had Kings, so had bis highness parliaments, amongst his instruments of slavery; and I hope, Sir, it will be no offence for me to pray, that his son may not have them so too. But, Sir, they have a negative voice, and all other circumstances of that arbitrary power, which made the former house intolerable; only the dignity, and quality, of the persons themselves, is wanting, that our slavery may be accompanied with ignominy and affront. And now, Mr. Speaker, have we not gloriously vindicated the nation's liberty? have we not worthily employed our blood and treasure to abolish that power that was set over us by the law, to have the same imposed upon us without a law? And after all that sound and noise we have made in the world, of the people's legislative power, and of the supremacy and omnipotency of their representatives ; we now see there is no more power left them, but what is put in the balance, and equalled by the power of a few retainers of tyranny, who are so far from being of the people's choice, that the most part of them are only known to the nation by the villainies and mischiefs they have committed in it.
In the next place, Sir, you may please to consider, that the persons, invested with this power, are all of them nominated and designed by the lord protector, for to say, 'by him, and his council,' hath in effect no more distinction, than if one should say,' by Oliver, and Cromwell.' By this means the protector himself, by his own, and his peers negative, becomes in effect two of the three estates ; and by consequenee, is possessed of two parts of the legislative power. I think this can be a doubt to no man, that will but take the pains to read over that fair catalugue of those noble lords; for certainly no man, that reads their names, can possibly fancy, for what other virtues or good qualities, such a composition should be made choice of, but only the certainty of their compliance, with whatsoever should be enjoined them by their creator. (Pardon Sir, that name, for it is properly applicable, where things are made of nothing.). Now, Sir, if in the former government, increase of nobility was a grievance, because the new nobility, having fresh obligation to the crown, were the easilier led to compliance with it: And, if one of the main reasons, for exclusion of the bishops out of the lords, was because that they, being of the King's making, were in effect so many certain votes, for whatever the King had a mind to carry in that house; how much more assured will that inconvenience now be, when the protector, that wants nothing of the King, but, in every sense, the title, shall not only make and nominate a part, but of himself, constitute the whole house? In a word, Sir, if our liberty was endangered by the former house, we may give it for lost in the other house; and it is in all respects as advantageous and secure for the liberty of the nation, which we come hither to redeem, to allow this power and notion to his highness's officers, or council, nay his very chaplains, as to his other creatures and partisans, in his other house.
Now having considered, Sir, their author, power, and constitution, give me leave to make some few observations, though, but in general, of the persons themselves that are designed to be our lords and masters, and let us see what either the extraordinary quality or qualifications are of these egregious legislators, which may justify their choice, and prevail with the people to admit them, at least, into equal authority, with the whole representative body of themselves. But what I shall speak, Sir, of their quality, or any thing else concerning them, I would be thought to speak with distinction, and to intend only of the major part. For I acknowledge, Mr. Speaker, the mixture of this other house to be like the compositions of apothecaries, who are used to mix something of relish, something grateful to the taste, to qualify their bitter drugs, which else, perchance, would be immediately spit out, and never swal.