Page images
PDF
EPUB

The third is of the country of New England; she bears, for her arms, a prick-eared preachman, pearched upon a pulpit proper, holding forth to the people a schismatical directory.

The fourth and last is Scotland; she bears in escutcheon the field of rebellion, charged with a stool of repentance.

A BRIEF RELATION

CONTAINING AN ABBREVIATION OF

THE ARGUMENTS URGED BY THE LATE PROTECTOR,

Against the government of this nation, by a King or a single person; to convince men of the danger and inconveniency thereof. Urged by him to many of the army, at St. Albans, Windsor, and White-hali, a little before the King was beheaded, and at several other places. Published for the good and information of parliament, army, and people.

Printed, January, 1655. Quarto, containing eight pages.

To the Reader.

Reader, Of what opinion or judgment soever you are, let not your headiness, or prejudicate opinion, hinder you from considering what is here declared, the substance and truth whereof is well known to some, in city, army, and country, for thine and thy posterity's good, welfare, and preservation. But beg of God wisdom, and he will shew thee the mystery of iniquity, when it is going to be settled by a law, and will cost thee hot service, and sorrow of heart, to redeem thyself and country, and it may be, when thou wouldst redeem it, it will be too hard for thee.

The consideration of the obstruction that probably this true relation

will meet with from all fawning courtiers and deceived Englishmen, had almost prevented its prosecution. But, remembering that nought but the awaking of my dear slumbering countrymen from that drowsy state, that, for some days, they have seemed to lie in, which, if persisted in, will give too great an opportunity to the common enemy to effect bis will on us all; I was encouraged to proceed, trusting in the Lord, who has, and will deliver the innocent

[ocr errors]

from all the calumnious aspersions of court parasites. And, therefore, without any other apology, I shall proceed to the arguments themselves, which I shall deliver, if not in the absolute terms, yet in the genuine sense.

sure.

I. IM MPRIMIS, because it is possible, yea, and more than ordinarily

probable, that a single person, in a short time, will work over his council to his own will, though illegal; either in conferring places of honour and profit on them and their friends, or else in terrifying them by threats.

2. Because that a single person, being raised to such a state, is subject to wax wanton and so forget; or, rather, neglect the commonalty, in providing for a few that will be at his beck, ready to fulfil his plea

3. Because that, notwithstanding for a time he may carry matters fair, and do some good things, Jehu like, until he has gotten an interest in the affections of the people; but then, forgetting, or, rather, slighting what he formerly pretended to, instead of countenancing of justice, and endeavouring reformation, it is possible he may become a favourer of iniquity; nay, said he, a settler of a court, or nursery of whores, rogues, bawds, and such like persons, as was evidently seen in former days at White-hall.

Because, if he cannot accomplish his design on his council, but they discover his wickednesses and abominations, and oppose him, on the behalf of their country, he will be ready and apt secretly to confederate, and make leagues with other princes, and so let in a foreign enemy, rather than be kept within the bounds of law and justice, as we have seen in the (late) King, who has brought in Irish and Scots, and also sent letters patents, with letters of credence to three foreign princes, inviting them to come into England.

5. Because, if the chief governor, King, or single person, should become an ideot, then nought but a continual charge, upon the good people, could be expected, even robbing them of their substance, until they are made so poor, as not to be able to oppose an enemy; which, so soon as understood, will sufficiently encourage a foreign enemy, to make an invasion upon us.

6. Because the government, by one single person, is far more chargeable to the people, which, in the laying aside of, the people will soon become sensible by the lessening of their charge. For that revenue (which was to uphold one man, and spent in voluptuousness by him) being brought into the publick treasury, will help to defray much of the charge that otherwise must fall on the people. Nay, said he, whosoever shall go about to settle the government in one person, will make themselves so odious, that the people will be ready to knock them on the head; for, when once the family of the Stuarts is gone, if you establish one man in the government, in a little time he will become master of the nation's treasure, and, at his first coming to the place, will soost eagerly desire monies, to buy this bauble for one, and that toy for another; and, after a little while, when he hath tasted the sweetness and deliciousness thereof, will, to maintain the same, become a purchaser of lands with the people's monies, until they are become so poor, that they shall be necessitated to be his vassals, and, consequently, slaves for ever; for, as the first doth, so a second, and a third, will do after him, until the good people be utterly undone.

7. Because, the government being placed in one person, he will be subject to judge of himself as above law, and without the reach of any law; and, by violence, tyrannise over whom he pleases, commanding one man to prison, and monies from another, and, possibly, both money and liberty from a third, &c. the refusing of which arbitrary commands or actions will expose men to his mercy, which will be no less than cruelty.

8. Because that the abominations and wickedness of a court have been, and, is justly feared, will be so great, that both the person himself, and his council about him, will always, for to uphold his voluptuousness, be ready to erect new monopolies, granting patents to his lords, &c. to get money from the people, for to maintain their pomp and pride, and thereby keep the people in such servitude, that, in a little time, they will be out of a capacity to gain justice on any of the courtiers. And then the citizen must wait for his money, when his commodity is sold, and scarce dare ask, and not dare arrest a courtier for what he oweth, for tear of his master. And the countryman's hedges will be broken down, his corn trampled on, and spoiled, or eaten by the game, and, to complain of which, will be accounted a crime little less than treason.

These and such are the things you must expect, said he, if you set up one single person, and who would be so mad, God having so signally witnessed against the King and house of lords ? The much blood that hath been shed, and the vast treasure expended, and the controversy decided on our parts, witnesseth aloud against it. Further, said he, I am confident, that, whoever they be, that shall go about to settle a court in this nation, God will destroy and bring to nought, and confusion will be to them and their posterity; and, said he, if ever I should go about any such thing, I desire God would never bless me, nor mine.

He farther declared, That God had borne witness against the parliament, for that they were intending to make peace with the late King, and to settle him; telling some members of the then parliament and army, when they spoke of settling the government in one single person, That God would destroy them; some for going about to settle iniquity by a law, and others for not protesting against them, and for not declara ing their protest to the good people of England. And thus now, gentle reader, thou hast the substance of some of the reasons urged by the late lord protector against monarchy, though suddenly he leaped into the same himself. But now it may be said, these reasons are not sufficient to prove the same. Whether they are, or not, I shall not now dispute ; but, that it may appear to be probable, I present these ensuing queries.

Upon the whole, I query, Whether any man upon rational grounds can expect, that the present protector, or single person pretending to government, sbould be more honest, righteous, and just, than his deceased father was?

But more particularly upon the arguments.

1. I would query, first, Whether the late protector did not work over his council to some things illegal?

2. Whether Kings formerly, and the protector lately, did not wax wanton, and, providing for some few of their creatures, neglect the commonalty?

3. Whether our late experience of a single person cannot testify, that, though for a small time he seemed to favour honest men and things, yet, when he thought himself scated, whether, I say, he did not then slight both them and it, and become a favourer of the contrary? And whether our late court did not shew more growth and increase of rogues, bawds, and whores, than all the time of our government by a commonwealth?

4. Whether a confederacy has not been made abroad, with our secret enemies at home, that so a single person might the better suppress those that see the wickedness of his designs?

5. Whether the single person now pretending to government, though the son of a subtle man, be a wise man, fit to dispose of commonwealth treasure?

6. Whether the good people of this nation be not very sensible of the expensiveness extraordinary of a single person, more than of a commonwealth ? And whether they do not find a want of that vast treasure expended upon baubles, toys, and triling geugaws ? Such as we of late have had too much cause to speak of. And whether the cause of the people's poverty has not been by means of purchasing lands to the family of the late protector, as well as High-Spaniola business ?

7. Whether the late person set up did not judge himself above lawi And whether he did not tyrannise over men's persons, restraining both them and their liberty? And whether the mercy he has pretended to, in the execution thereof, has not been very cruelty?

8. Whether the late single person, to uphold his and his courtiers voluptuousness, has not been ready to uphold what monopolies he found on foot, and likewise to devise new ways to the same purpose? And whether the citizen has not had experience of court-payment, and the countryman, though sad, of the spoiling of his fences, and destroying of his crop, by them that belong to the court? And that they please to call their game. And, if these be the beginnings, What will the end be? And therefore, for a closure, I must say, What shall we say, or do, more than the King Protector has said and done?

Now to conclude: 1 humbly present to consideration, Whether, upon a diligent, serious weighing of the present action, and past management of statc-affairs, of some, being lawyers, &c. raised from a low estate to sit in council, and become great favourites at court, it may not be found, and clearly seen, that they have a design to bring in Charles Stuart? For, if first they bring in a single person, and grant that, the next dispute will be, Whether the one family, or the other, has most right? And who has most interest, Charles, or Richard, I think, asketh no long time to answer. Farther, I would add, Whether it be not more likely to attain to the practice of that golden rule, ‘ Do as you woulù be done to,' under the government of a commonwealth, in which law-makers are liable to be judged by the law made, rather than under a monarchical government, where or in which one, if settled, is above law, and accountable to none? Who, though never so wicked and un• just, cannot be removed, but by an extraordinary providence, as was the case of the late King and protector.

Now, whereas it is endeavoured, by some court-parasites, to insinuate into the people, That that, which the commonwealth party aims at, is an involving of the nations in blood and confusion, I would meekly tender, Whether their deportment and behaviour, under the almost insupportable burden of the tyranny of late times, in which their rights and Iiberties have lain bleeding, hath given any just cause of such suspicion? Or rather, Whether their patience has not manifested, their hope hath been and still is in God, from whom, by the means of a lawful free parliament, they only expect deliverance? be not a vindication sufficient, not only from what is now suggested against them, but also from that old brand, that the late protector, in a letter to the late King, while at Hampton-court, gave them, viz. Levellers; and that their work be to kill the King, and levy all men's estates; by which means he effected his end, viz. an incensing of the people and the other part of the army against them. Which, when he had done, he easily carried on his wicked designs, which since have come to publick view; for a deliverance from which ate the hearty prayers of all true Englishmen.

CROMWELL'S COMPLAINT OF INJUSTICE:

OR,

His Dispute with Pope Alexander the Sixth, for precedency in Hell.

Folio, containing two pages.

Oliver. WHAT pretence hast thou to take place of me? What vast gi

gantick crimes hast thou committed, that thou shouldst dare to think, thou deservest to be greater than I ? Have not I transgressed al the laws of God and man? Did not I subvert a state? Change its reli. gion and government, murder its prince, and set whole rivers of his VOL. VI.

LI

« PreviousContinue »