Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 10, 1688-1693. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Prince of Orange's, Declaration.
THE Most Illustrious Prince William Henry, by the Grace of God, Prince of Orange, having published a Declaration of the Reasons inducing him to appear in Arms in the Kingdom of England, for preserving of the Protestant Religion, and for restoring the Laws and Liberties of England, Scotland, Ireland; the Tenor whereof here followeth;
His Highness's Declaration.
IT is both certain and evident to all Men, that the publick Peace and Happiness of any State or Kingdom cannot be preserved, where the Laws, Liberties and Customs, established by the lawful Authority in it, are openly transgressed and annulled; more especially where the Alteration of Religion is endeavoured, and that a Religion, which is contrary to Law, is endeavoured to be introduced; upon which those who are most immediately concerned in it are indispensably bound to endeavour to preserve and maintain the established Laws, Liberties and Customs, and, above all, the Religion and Worship of God, that is established among them; and to take such an effectual Care, that the Inhabitants of the said State or Kingdom may neither be deprived of their Religion, nor of their Civil Rights: Which is so much the more necessary, because the Greatness and Security both of Kings, Royal Families, and of all such as are in Authority, as well as the Happiness of their Subjects and People, depend in a more especial manner upon the exact Observation and Maintenance of these their Laws, Liberties and Customs.
Upon these Grounds it is that we cannot any longer forbear to declare, that, to our great Regret, we see, that those Counsellors, who have now the Chief Credit with the King, have overturned the Religion, Laws and Liberties of those Realms, and subjected them, in all things relating to their Consciences, Liberties and Properties, to arbitrary Government; and That, not only by secret and indirect Ways, but in an open and undisguised Manner.
Those evil Counsellors, for the advancing and colouring This with some plausible Pretexts, did invent and set on foot the King's dispensing Power; by virtue of which they pretend, that, according to Law, he can suspend and dispence with the Execution of the Laws, that have been enacted by the Authority of the King and Parliament, for the Security and Happiness of the Subject; and so have rendered those Laws of no Effect: Though there is nothing more certain, than that, as no Laws can be made but by the joint Concurrence of King and Parliament, so likewise Laws so enacted, which secure the publick Peace and Safety of the Nation, and the Lives and Liberties of every Subject in it, cannot be repealed or suspended but by the same Authority.
For though the King may pardon the Punishment that a Transgressor has incurred, and to which he is condemned; as in Cases of Treason or Felony; yet it cannot be, with any Colour of Reason, inferred from thence, that the King can intirely suspend the Execution of those Laws relating to Treason or Felony, unless it is pretended, that he is cloathed with a despotick and arbitrary Power, and that the Lives, Liberties, Honours, and Estates of the Subjects, depend wholly on his goodwill and Pleasure, and are intirely subject to him; which must infallibly follow on the King's having a Power to suspend the Execution of Laws, and to dispense with them.
Those evil Counsellors, in order to the giving some Credit to this strange and execrable Maxim, have so conducted the Matter, that they have obtained a Sentence from the Judges, declaring, that this dispensing Power is a Right belonging to the Crown; as if it were in the Power of the Twelve Judges to offer up the Laws, Rights, and Liberties of the whole Nation to the King, to be disposed of by him arbitrarily, and at his Pleasure, and expresly contrary to the Laws enacted for the Security of the Subjects. In order to the obtaining this Judgment, those evil Counsellors did, beforehand, examine secretly the Opinion of the Judges, and procured such of them, as could not in Conscience concur in so pernicious a Sentence, to be turned out, and others to be substituted in their rooms, till, by the Changes which were made in the Courts of Judicature, they at last obtained that Judgment. And they have raised some to those Trusts, who make open Profession of the Popish Religion, though those are by Law rendered incapable of all such Employments.
It is also manifest and notorious, that, as his Majesty was, upon his coming to the Crown, received and acknowledged by all the Subjects of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as their King, without the least Opposition, though he made then open Profession of the Popish Religion, so he did then promise and solemnly swear at his Coronation, that he would maintain his Subjects in the free Enjoyment of their Laws, Rights and Liberties; and in particular, that he would maintain the Church of England, as it was established by Law. It is likewise certain, that there have been, at divers and sundry times, several Laws enacted for the Preservation of those Rights and Liberties; and of the Protestant Religion; and, among other Securities, it has been enacted, that all Persons whatsoever, who are advanced to any Ecclesiastical Dignity, or to bear Office in either University, as likewise all others that should be put in any Employment Civil or Military, should declare, that they were not Papists, but were of the Protestant Religion, and That, by their Taking of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and the Test: Yet these evil Counsellors have, in Effect, annulled and abolished all those Laws, both with relation to Ecclesiastical and Civil Employments.
In order to Ecclesiastical Dignities and Offices, they have, not only without any Colour of Law, but against most express Laws to the contrary, set up a Commission of a certain Number of Persons, to whom they have committed the Cognizance and Direction of all Ecclesiastical Matters; in the which Commission there has been, and still is, One of his Majesty's Ministers of State, who makes now publick Profession of the Popish Religion; and who, at the time of his first professing it, declared, that for a great while before he had believed That to be the only true Religion. By all this, the deplorable State to which the Protestant Religion is reduced is apparent, since the Affairs of the Church of England are now put into the Hands of Persons, who have accepted of a Commission that is manifestly illegal, and who have executed it contrary to all Law; and that now One of their chief Members has abjured the Protestant Religion, and declared himself a Papist; by which he is become incapable of holding any publick Employment. The said Commissioners have hitherto given such Proof of their Submission to the Directions given them, that there is no Reason to doubt, but they will still continue to promote all such Designs, as will be most agreeable to them. And those evil Counsellors take care to raise none to any Ecclesiastical Dignities but Persons that have no Zeal for the Protestant Religion, and that now hide their Unconcernedness for it under the specious Pretence of Moderation. The said Commissioners have suspended the Bishop of London, only because he refused to obey an Order that was sent him to suspend a worthy Divine, without so much as citing him before him to make his own Defence, or observing the common Forms of Process. They have turned out a President chosen by the Fellows of Magdalen College, and afterwards all the Fellows of that College, without so much as citing them before any Court that could take legal Cognizance of that Affair, or obtaining any Sentence against them by a competent Judge: And the only Reason that was given for turning them out, was, their refusing to choose for their President a Person that was recommended to them by the Instigation of those evil Counsellors, though the Right of a free Election belonged undoubtedly to them; but they were turned out of their Freeholds, contrary to Law, and to that express Provision in Magna Charta, That no Man shall lose Life or Goods but by the Law of the Land: And now these evil Counsellors have put the said College wholly into the Hands of the Papists; though, as is above said, they are incapable of all such Employments, both by the Law of the Land, and the Statutes of the College. These Commissioners have also cited before them all the Chancellors and Archdeacons of England, requiring them to certify to them the Names of all such Clergymen as have read the King's Declaration for Liberty of Conscience, and of such as have not read it, without considering that the Reading of it was not injoined the Clergy by the Bishops, who are their Ordinaries. The Illegality and Incompetency of the said Court of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners was so notoriously known, did so evidently appear, that it tended to the subversion of the Protestant Religion, that the most Reverend Father in God William Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate and Metropolitan of England, seeing that it was raised for no other End but to oppress such Persons who were of eminent Virtue, Learning, and Piety, refused to sit or to concur in it.
And, though there are many express Laws against all Churches and Chapels for the Exercise of the Popish Religion, and also against all Monasteries and Convents, and more particularly against the Order of the Jesuits; yet those evil Counsellors have procured Orders for the Building of separate Churches and Chapels for the Exercise of that Religion: They have also procured divers Monasteries to be erected; and, in Contempt of the Law, they have not only set up several Colleges of Jesuits in divers Places, for corrupting of the Youth, but have raised up One of the Order to be a Privy Counsellor, and a Minister of State: By all which they do evidently shew, that they are restrained by no Rules or Law whatsoever; but that they have subjected the Honours and Estates of the Subjects, and the Established Religion, to a despotick Power, and to arbitrary Government: In all which they are served and seconded by those Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
They have also followed the same Methods with relation to Civil Affairs; for they have procured Orders to examine all Lords Lieutenants, Deputy Lieutenants, Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, and also all others that were in any publick Employment, if they would concur with the King in the Repeal of the Test and the Penal Laws: And all such whose Consciences did not suffer them to comply with their Designs, were turned out, and others were put in their Places, who they believed would be more compliant to them in their Designs of defeating the Intent and Execution of those Laws which had been made with so much Care and Caution for the Security of the Protestant Religion: And in many of these Places they have put professed Papists; though the Law has disabled them, and warranted the Subjects not to have any Regard to their Orders.
They have also invaded the Privileges, and seized on the Charters of most of those Towns that have a Right to be represented by their Burgesses in Parliament, and have secured Surrenders to be made of them; by which the Magistrates in them have delivered up all their Rights and Privileges to be disposed of at the Pleasure of those evil Counsellors; who have thereupon placed new Magistrates in those Towns, such as they can most entirely confide in; and in many of them they have put Popish Magistrates, notwithstanding the Incapacities under which the Law has put them.
And whereas no Nation whatsoever can subsist without the Administration of good and impartial Justice, upon which Men's Lives, Liberties, Honours and Estates do depend; those evil Counsellors have subjected these to an arbitrary and despotick Power. In the most important Affairs they have studied to discover beforehand the Opinions of the Judges, and have turned out such as they found would not conform themselves to their Intentions; and have put others in their Places of whom they are more assured, without having any Regard to their Abilities: And they have not stuck to raise even professed Papists to the Courts of Judicature, notwithstanding their Incapacity by Law, and that no Regard is due to any Sentences flowing from them. They have carried this so far, as to deprive such Judges, who, in the common Administration of Justice, shew, that they were governed by their Consciences, and not by the Directions which the others gave them: By which it is apparent, that they design to render themselves the absolute Masters of the Lives, Honours and Estates of the Subjects, of what Rank or Dignity soever they may be; and That, without having any Regard either to the Equity of the Cause, or to the Consciences of the Judges; whom they will have to submit in all things to their own Will and Pleasure: Hoping by such Ways to intimidate those other Judges, who are yet in Employment; as also such others as they shall think fit to put in the rooms of those whom they have turned out; and to make them see, what they must look for, if they should at any time act in the least contrary to their Good-liking; and that no Failings of that kind are pardoned in any Persons whatsoever. A great deal of Blood has been shed in many Places of the Kingdom, by Judges, governed by those evil Counsellors, against all the Rules and Forms of Law, without so much as suffering the Persons, that were accused, to plead in their own Defence.
They have also, by putting the Administrations of Justice in the Hands of Papists, brought all the Matters of Civil Justice into great Uncertainties, with how much Exactness and Justice so ever that those Sentences may have been given: For, since the Laws of the Land do not only exclude Papists from all Places of Judicature, but have put them under an Incapacity, none are bound to acknowledge or obey their Judgments; and all Sentences given by them are null and void of themselves; so that all Persons, who have been cast in Trials before such Popish Judges, may justly look on their pretended Sentences as having no more Force than the Sentences of any private and unauthorized Person whatsoever: So deplorable is the Case of the Subjects, who are obliged to answer to such Judges, that must in all things stick to the Rules, which are set them by those evil Counsellors; who, as they raised them up to those Employments, so can turn them out of them at Pleasure; and who can never be esteemed lawful Judges: So that all their Sentences are in the Construction of the Law of no Force and Efficacy. They have likewise disposed of all Military Employments in the same manner; for though the Laws have not only excluded Papists from all such Employments, but have, in particular, provided, that they should be disarmed; yet they, in Contempt of those Laws, have not only armed the Papists, but have likewise raised them up to the greatest Military Trusts, both by Sea and Land; and That, Strangers as well as Natives, and Irish as well as English; that so, by these Means they having rendered themselves Masters both of the Affairs of the Church, of the Government of the Nation, and of the Course of Justice, and subjected them all to a despotick and arbitrary Power, they might be in a Capacity to maintain and execute their wicked Designs by the Assistance of the Army, and thereby to enslave the Nation.
The dismal Effects of this Subversion of the Established Religion, Laws and Liberties in England, appear more evidently to us by what we see done in Ireland; where the whole Government is put in the Hands of Papists; and where all the Protestant Inhabitants are under the daily Fears of what may be justly apprehended from the arbitrary Power which is set up there; Which has made great Numbers of them leave that Kingdom, and abandon their Estates in it; remembring well that cruel and bloody Massacre which fell out in that Island in the Year 1641.
Those evil Counsellors have also prevailed with the King to declare in Scotland, that he is cloathed with absolute Power, and that all the Subjects are bound to obey him without Reserve; upon which he has assumed an arbitrary Power, both over the Religion and Laws of that Kingdom. From all which it is apparent, what is to be looked for in England, as soon as Matters are duly prepared for it.
Those great and insufferable Oppressions, and the open Contempt of all Law, together with the Apprehensions of the sad Consequences that must certainly follow upon it, have put the Subjects under great and just Fears, and have made them look after such lawful Remedies as are allowed of in all Nations: Yet all has been without Effect. And those evil Counsellors have endeavoured to make all Men to apprehend the Loss of their Lives, Liberties, Honours and Estates, if they should go about to preserve themselves from this Oppression by Petitions, Representations, or other Means authorized by Law. Thus did they proceed with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the other Bishops; who, having offered a most humble Petition to the King, in Terms full of Respect, and not exceeding the Number limited by Law, (in which they set forth, in short, the Reasons for which they could not obey that Order, which by the Instigation of those evil Counsellors was sent them, requiring them to appoint their Clergy to read in their Churches the Declaration for Liberty of Conscience) were sent to Prison, and afterwards brought to a Trial, as if they had been guilty of some enormous Crime. They were not only obliged to defend themselves in that Pursuit, but to appear before professed Papists, who had not taken the Test, and by consequence were Men whose Interest led them to condemn them: And the Judges that gave their Opinions in their Favours were thereupon turned out.
And yet it cannot be pretended, that any Kings, how great soever their Power has been, and how arbitrary and despotick soever they have been in the Exercise of it, have ever reckoned it a Crime for their Subjects to come, in all Submission and Respect, and in a due Number not exceeding the Limits of the Law, and represent to them the Reasons that made it impossible for them to obey their Orders. Those evil Counsellors have also treated a Peer of the Realm as a Criminal, only because he said that the Subjects were not bound to obey the Orders of a Popish Justice of Peace; though it is evident, that, they being by Law rendered incapable of all such Trust, no Regard is due to their Orders; this being the Security, which the People have by the Law, for their Lives, Liberties, Honours and Estates, that they are not to be subjected to the arbitrary Proceedings of Papists, that are, contrary to Law, put into any Employments Civil or Military.
Both we ourselves, and our dearest and most entirely beloved Consort the Princess, have endeavoured to signify in Terms full of respect to the King, the just and deep Regret which all these Proceedings have given us; and, in Compliance with his Majesty's Desires, signified to us, we declared, both by Word of Mouth to his Envoy, and in Writing, what our Thoughts were, touching the Repealing of the Test and Penal Laws; which we did in such a Manner, that we hoped we had proposed an Expedient, by which the Peace of those Kingdoms, and a happy Agreement among the Subjects of all Persuasions, might have been settled: But those evil Counsellors have put such ill Constructions on those our good Intentions, that they have endeavoured to alienate the King more and more from us, as if we had designed to disturb the Happiness and Quiet of the Kingdom.
The last and great Remedy for all those Evils is the Calling of a Parliament, for securing the Nation against the evil Practices of those wicked Counsellors; but this could not be yet compassed, nor can it be easily brought about: For those Men apprehending, that a lawful Parliament being once assembled, they would be brought to an Account for all their open Violations of Law, and for their Plots and Conspiracies against the Protestant Religion, and the Lives and Liberties of the Subjects, they have endeavoured, under the specious Pretence of Liberty of Conscience, first to sow Divisions amongst Protestants, between those of the Church of England and the Dissenters; the Design being laid, to engage Protestants that are all equally concerned to preserve themselves from Popish Oppression, into mutual Quarrellings, that so, by these, some Advantages might be given to them to bring about their Designs; and That, both in the Election of the Members of Parliament, and afterwards in the Parliament itself: For they see well, that if all Protestants could enter into a mutual good Understanding one with another, and concur together in the Preserving of their Religion, it would not be possible for them to compass their wicked Ends. They have also required all the Persons in the several Counties in England, that either were in any Employment, or were in any considerable Esteem, to declare beforehand, that they would concur in the Repeal of the Test and Penal Laws; and that they would give their Voices in the Elections to Parliament only for such as would concur in it. Such as would not thus pre-engage themselves were turned out of all Employments; and others who entered into those Engagements were put in their Places, many of them being Papists. And, contrary to the Charters and Privileges of those Boroughs that have a Right to send Burgesses to Parliament, they have ordered such Regulations to be made, as they thought fit and necessary for assuring themselves of all the Members that are to be chosen by those Corporations: And by this Means they hope to avoid that Punishment which they have deserved: Though it is apparent, that all Acts made by Popish Magistrates are null and void of themselves; so that no Parliament can be lawful, for which the Elections and Returns are made by Popish Sheriffs and Mayors of Towns: And therefore as long as the Authority and Magistracy is in such Hands, it is not possible to have any lawful Parliament. And though, according to the Constitution of the English Government, and immemorial Custom, all Elections of Parliament men ought to be made with an intire Liberty, without any sort of Force, or the requiring the Electors to choose such Persons as shall be named to them; and the Persons thus freely elected ought to give their Opinions freely upon all Matters that are brought before them, having the Good of the Nation ever before their Eyes, and following in all things the Dictates of their Conscience; yet Now, the People of England cannot expect a Remedy from a free Parliament legally called and chosen; but they may perhaps see one called, in which all Elections will be carried on by Fraud or Force; and which will be composed of such Persons of whom those evil Counsellors hold themselves well assured, in which all things will be carried on according to their Direction and Interest, without any Regard to the Good or Happiness of the Nation: Which may appear evidently from This, that the same Persons tried the Members of the last Parliament, to gain them to consent to the Repeal of the Test and Penal Laws; and procured That Parliament to be dissolved, when they found, that they could not, neither by Promises nor Threatnings, prevail with the Members to comply with their wicked Designs.
But, to crown all, there are great and violent Presumptions inducing us to believe, that those evil Counsellors, in order to the Carrying on of their ill Designs, and to the gaining to themselves the more Time for the Effecting of them, for the encouraging their Complices, and for the Discouraging all good Subjects, have published, that the Queen hath brought forth a Son; though there hath appeared, both during the Queen's pretended Bigness, and in the Manner in which the Birth was managed, so many just and visible Grounds of Suspicion, that not only we ourselves, but all the good Subjects of those Kingdoms, do vehemently suspect, that the pretended Prince of Wales was not borne by the Queen. And it is notoriously known to all the World, that many both doubted of the Queen's Bigness, and of the Birth of the Child; and yet there was not any one thing done to satisfy them, or to put an End to their Doubts.
And since our dearest and most entirely beloved Consort the Princess, and likewise ourselves, have so great an Interest in this Matter, and such a Right, as all the World knows, to the Succession to the Crown; since also the English did, in the Year One thousand Six hundred and Seventy-two, when the States General of the United Provinces were invaded in a most unjust War, use their utmost Endeavours to put an End to that War, and That in Opposition to those who were then in the Government; and by their so doing, they run the Hazard of losing both the Favour of the Court, and their Employments; and since the English Nation has ever testified a most particular Affection and Esteem, both to our dearest Consort the Princess, and to ourselves; we cannot excuse ourselves from espousing their Interests in a Matter of such high Consequence; and from contributing all that lies in us for the Maintaining, both of the Protestant Religion, and of the Laws and Liberties of those Kingdoms; and for the securing to them the continual Enjoyment of all their just Rights: To the doing of which we are most earnestly sollicited by a great many Lords, both Spiritual and Temporal, and by many Gentlemen, and other Subjects of all Ranks.
Therefore it is, that we have thought fit to go over to England, and to carry over with us a Force sufficient, by the Blessing of God, to defend us from the Violence of those evil Counsellors; and we, being desirous that our Intention in this may be rightly understood, have, for this End, prepared this Declaration, in which we have hitherto given a true Account of the Reasons inducing us to it; so we now think fit to declare, that this our Expedition is intended for no other Design, but to have a free and lawful Parliament assembled as soon as is possible; and that in order to this, all the late Charters, by which the Elections of Burgesses are limited contrary to the ancient Custom, shall be considered as null and of no Force; and likewise, all Magistrates, who have been unjustly turned out, shall forthwith resume their former Employments; as well as all the Boroughs of England shall return again to their ancient Prescriptions and Charters; and more particularly, that the ancient Charter of the great and famous City of London shall again be in Force; and that the Writs for the Members of Parliament shall be addressed to the proper Officers, according to Law and Custom; that also none be suffered to choose or to be chosen Members of Parliament, but such as are qualified by Law; and that the Members of Parliament being thus lawfully chosen, they shall meet and sit in full Freedom, that so the Two Houses may concur in the Preparing of such Laws as they, upon full and free Debate, shall judge necessary and convenient, both for the confirming and executing the Law concerning the Test, and such other Laws as are necessary for the Security and Maintenance of the Protestant Religion; as likewise for making such Laws as may establish a good Agreement between the Church of England and all Protestant Dissenters; as also, for the Covering and Securing of all such who would live peaceably under the Government, as becomes good Subjects, from all Persecution upon the account of their Religion, even Papists themselves not excepted; and for the Doing of all other things, which the Two Houses of Parliament shall find necessary for the Peace, Honour and Safety of the Nation, so that they may be in no more Danger of the Nation's falling at any time hereafter under arbitrary Government. To this Parliament we will also refer the Inquiry into the Birth of the pretended Prince of Wales, and of all Things relating to it, and to the Right of Succession.
And we, for our Part, will concur in every thing that may procure the Peace and Happiness of the Nation, which a free and lawful Parliament shall determine; since we have nothing before our Eyes, in this our Undertaking, but the Preservation of the Protestant Religion, the Covering of all Men from Persecution for their Consciences, and the securing to the whole Nation the free Enjoyment of their Laws, Rights and Liberties, under a just and legal Government.
This is the Design that we have purposed to ourselves in appearing upon this Occasion in Arms; in the Conduct of which, we will keep the Forces under our Command under all Strictness of Martial Discipline, and take a special Care that the People of the Countries through which we must march shall not suffer by their Means; and, as soon as the State of the Nation will admit of it, we promise, that we will send back all those Foreign Forces that we have brought along with us.
We do therefore hope, that all People will judge rightly of us, and approve of these our Proceedings: But we chiefly rely on the Blessing of God, for the Success of this our Undertaking, in which we place our whole and only Confidence.
We do, in the last place, invite and require all Persons whatsoever, all the Peers of the Realm, both Spiritual and Temporal, all Lords Lieutenants, Deputy Lieutenants, and all Gentlemen, Citizens, and other Commons of all Ranks, to come and assist us, in order to the Executing of this our Design, against all such as shall endeavour to oppose us, that so we may prevent all those Miseries which must needs follow upon the Nation's being kept under arbitrary Government and Slavery, and that all the Violences and Disorders, which may have overturned the whole Constitution of the English Government, may be fully redressed, in a free and legal Parliament.
And we do likewise resolve, as soon as the Nations are brought to a State of Quiet, we will take Care that a Parliament shall be called in Scotland, for the restoring the ancient Constitution of that Kingdom; and for bringing the Matters of Religion to such a Settlement, that the People may live easy and happy; and for putting an End to all the unjust Violences that have been in a Course of so many Years committed there.
We will also study to bring the Kingdom of Ireland to such a State, that the Settlement there may be religiously observed; and that the Protestant and British Interest there may be secured. And we will endeavour, by all possible Means, to procure such an Establishment in all the Three Kingdoms, that they may all live in a happy Union and correspond together; and that the Protestant Religion, and the Peace, Honour and Happiness of these Nations, may be established upon lasting Foundations.
AFTER we had prepared and printed this our Declaration, we have understood, that the Subverters of the Religion and Laws of those Kingdoms, hearing of our Preparation to assist the People against them, have begun to retract some of the arbitrary and despotick Powers that they had assumed; and to vacate some of their unjust Judgments and Decrees. The sense of their Guilt, and the Distrust of their Force, have induced them to offer to the City of London, some seeming Relief from their great Oppressions; hoping thereby to quiet the People, and to divert them from demanding a secure Re-establishment of their Religion and Laws, under the Shelter of our Arms. They do also give out, that we intend to conquer and enslave the Nation. And therefore it is we have thought fit to add a few Words to our Declaration.
We are confident, that no Persons can have such hard Thoughts of us, as to imagine, that we have any other Design in this our Undertaking, than to procure a Settlement of the Religion and of the Liberties and Properties of the Subjects, upon so sure a Foundation, that there may be no Danger of the Nation's relapsing into the like Miseries, at any time hereafter. And as the Forces that we have brought along with us are utterly disproportioned to that wicked Design of conquering the Nation, if we were capable of intending it; so the great numbers of the principal Nobility and Gentry, that are Men of eminent Quality and Estates, and Persons of known Integrity and Zeal, both for the Religion and Government of England (many of them being also distinguished by their Fidelity to the Crown) who doth both accompany us in this Expedition, and have earnestly solicited us to it, will cover us from all such malicious Insinuations: For it is not to be imagined, that either those who have invited us, or those that are already come to assist us, can join in a wicked Attempt of Conquest, to make void their own lawful Titles to their Honours, Estates, and Interests. We are also confident, that all Men see how little Weight there is to be laid on all Promises and Engagements that can be now made, since there has been so little regard had, in Time past, to the most solemn Promises. And as that imperfect Redress that is now offered is a plain Confession of those Violations of the Government that we have set forth, so the Defectiveness is no less apparent; for they lay down nothing which they may not take up at Pleasure; and they reserve entire, and not so much as mentioned, their Claims and Pretences to an arbitrary and despotick Power, which has been the Root of all their Oppression, and of the total Subversion of the Government. And it is plain, that there can be no Redress nor Remedy offered, but in Parliament, by a Declaration of the Rights of the Subjects that have been invaded; and not by any pretended Acts of Grace, to which the Extremity of their Affairs has driven them. Therefore it is that we have thought fit to declare, that we will refer all to a free Assembly of the Nation, in a lawful Parliament.
Arrival of the Prince of Orange.
His said Highness did, on the Fifth Day of November following, land with his Forces at Torbay, in the County of Devon; and, making from thence directly towards the City of London, he arrived there on Tuesday the Seventeenth of December; and the Three-and-twentieth Day of the same Month he issued forth this issuing Order:
Meeting of such as were Members of Charles 2d. Parliaments, &c.
WHEREAS the Necessity of Affairs do require speedy Advice, we do desire all such Persons as have served as Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, in any of the Parliaments that were held during the Reign of the late King Charles the Second, to meet us at St. James's, upon Wednesday the Six-and-twentieth of this Instant December, by Ten of the Clock in the Morning. And we do likewise desire that the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen of the City of London would be present at the same Time; and that the Common-council would appoint Fifty of their Number, to be there likewise. And hereof We desire them not to fail.
Prince of Orange's Speech.
YOU, Gentlemen, that have been Members of the late Parliaments, I have desired you to meet me here, to advise the best Manner how to pursue the ends of my Declar. . ., in calling a free Parliament, for the Preservation of the Protestant Religion, and Restoring of the Rights and Liberties of the Kingdom, and settling the same, that they may not be in Danger of being again subverted. And You, the Aldermen, and Members of the Common-council of the City of London, I desire the same of you. And, in regard your Numbers are like to be great, you may, if you think fit, divide yourselves, and sit in several Places.
Proceedings of the Meeting.
Which being done, his Highness immediately departed: And the Members then present, for their better Conveniency, did immediately agree, to go from thence to the Commons House at Westminster: Where being placed, Pelham, Esquire, did move, that one of their Members might take the Chair; and, for that Purpose, did nominate the Right Honourable Henry Powle, Esquire: Who being generally called on, and no Person contradicting it, he went up to the Clerk's Table, and sat himself in a Chair, placed there for that Purpose, having on his Left Hand Paul Jodrell, Esquire, Clerk of the House of Commons, and Samuell Gillham, Esquire, his Clerk Assistant, there attending.
The Assembly being thus sat, Sir Thomas Allen, the senior Alderman of the City of London, (the Lord Mayor of the said City being absent, by reason of Sickness) acquainted them, that he had received a Paper from his Highness the Prince of Orange, which he conceived was a Copy of what his Highness had spoken to them at St. James's: Which being delivered by him at the Table, was read by the Chairman; and agreed, verbatim, with what is before entered.
After this, it was moved by some of the Members of the City of London, that, in regard his Highness had intimated to them in his Speech, that if it were inconvenient for the Members of Parliament, and the Aldermen, and Common-council-men of the City of London, to sit together, they might divide themselves, and sit in several Places; they desired they might return into the City, and consult there: But the Sense of the Assembly appearing to be otherwise, it was ruled, without a Question, that they should continue to sit as they were.
Address, desiring the Prince to take upon him the Government.
Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That Thanks be given to his Highness the Prince of Orange, for his coming into this Kingdom, exposing his Person, adventuring so great Hazards, for the Preservation of our Religion, Laws, and Liberties.
Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That his Highness be desired to take upon him the Administration of publick Affairs, both Civil and Military; and the Disposal of the publick Revenue; for the Preservation of our Religion, Rights, Laws, Liberties, and Properties, of the Peace of the Nation.
Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That his Highness be desired to take into his particular Care the present Condition of Ireland, and endeavour, by the most speedy and effectual Means, to prevent the Danger threatening that Kingdom.
Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That his Highness be desired to cause Letters to be written, subscribed by himself, to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, being Protestants, and to the several Counties, Universities, Cities, Boroughs, and Cinque Ports, of England, Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed, for calling a Convention, to meet the said Two-and-twentieth of January.
Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That his Highness be desired to cause Letters for the Counties to be directed, to the Coroners of the respective Counties, or any One of them, and, in default of Coroners, to the Clerk of the Peace of the respective Counties; and the Letters for the Universities to be directed to the Vice-chancellors; and the Letters to the several Cities, Boroughs, and Cinque Ports, to be deducted to the Chief Magistrates of each respective City, Borough, and Cinque Port; containing Directions for the choosing in all such Counties, Cities, Universities, Boroughs, Cinque Ports, within Ten Days after the Receipt of the said respective Letters, such a Number of Persons to represent them, as are of Right to be sent to Parliament.
Resolved, &c. That for such Elections, and the Times and Places thereof, the respective Officers shall give Notice by the Space of Ten Days at the least; the intended Elections for the Counties to be published in the Churches immediately after the Time of Divine Service, and in all Market-towns within the respective Counties; and Notice of the intended Elections for the Cities, Universities, Boroughs, and Cinque Ports, to be published in the respective Places: And,
Resolved, &c. That the said Letters, and the Execution thereof, be returned by such Officer and Officers, who shall execute the same, to the Clerk of the Crown in the Court of Chancery, so as the Persons, so to be chosen, may meet and sit at Westminster on the Two-and-twentieth Day of January next.
Resolved, &c. That an Address be drawn up, upon these Votes, to be presented to the Prince of Orange: And that it be referred to Mr. Hamden, Sir Tho. Clarges, Sir Tho. Leigh, Sir Hen. Capell, Serjeant Maynard, Sir Geo. Treby, Mr. Garway, Mr. Herbert, Sir Rob. Clayton, Mr. Powle, Major Wildman, Mr. Jepson, Colonel Hen. Sidney, or any Five of them, to prepare the said Address; and to meet at Three of the Clock this Afternoon in the Room called the Speaker's Chamber.
Upon a Motion made by the Earl of Wilts, that the Association, entered into by those Lords and Gentlemen that had joined together for the Defence of the Protestant Religion, and maintaining the ancient Government, and Laws and Liberties of England, Scotland, and Ireland, might be brought into this Assembly; and that it might be signed by all the Members there present.
Ordered, That the Association be laid upon the Table, that all the Members that please may sign it: And that a Clerk do attend at the Table with the said Association, after the Assembly is risen, until their next Meeting.
WE whose Names are hereunto subscribed, who have now joined for the Defence of the Protestant Religion, and for maintaining the ancient Government, and the Laws and Liberties of England, Scotland, and Ireland, do engage, to Almighty God, to his Highness the Prince of Orange, and to one another, in the Defence of it; and never to depart from it, until our Religion, our Laws, and our Liberties are so far secured to us, in a free Parliament, that we shall be in no danger of falling under Popery and Slavery.
And whereas we are engaged in this common Cause, under the Protection of the Prince of Orange, by which means his Person may be exposed to the desperate and cursed Attempts of Papists, and other bloody Men: We do therefore solemnly engage, both to God and to one another, that if any such Attempts are made upon him, we will pursue, not only those who make them, but all their Adherents, and all that we find in Arms against us, with the utmost Severities of a just Revenge, to their Ruin and Destruction; and that the Execution of any such Attempt (which God of his Mercy forbid) shall not divert us from prosecuting this Cause, which we do now undertake; but that it shall engage us to carry it on with all the Vigour that so barbarous a Practice shall deserve.