Tuesday, the 12th of May, 1657.
Protector's Speech declining title of King.
Mr. Speaker, according to former Order, reports his
Highness' Speech on Friday last, to the House at
Whitehall, upon the humble Petition and Advice presented
unto him by the Parliament: Which Speech was in these
I COME hither to answer That that was in your last
Paper to your Committee, you sent to me; which was in
relation to the Desires which were offered to me by the
House, in That they called their Petition.
I confess, That Business hath put the House, the Parliament, to a great deal of Trouble, and spent much Time.
I am very sorry for That! It hath cost me some, and
some Thoughts; and, because I have been the unhappy
Occasion of the Expence of so much Time, I shall spend
little of it now.
I have, the best I can, revolved the whole Business in
my Thoughts; and I have said so much already in Testimony to the Whole, that, I think, I shall not need to repeat any thing that I have said: I think it is a Government
that, in the Aims of it, seeks the settling the Nation on a
good Foot, in relation to Civil Rights and Liberties, which
are the Rights of the Nation: And, I hope, I shall never
be found to be one of them that shall go about to rob the
Nation of those Rights; but to serve them, what I can,
to the Attaining of them.
It is also exceeding well provided there for the Safety
and Security of honest Men, in that great, natural, and
religious Liberty, which is Liberty of Conscience. These
are the great Fundamentals; and I must bear my Testimony to them, as I have, and shall do still, so long as God
lets me live in this World; that the Intentions and the
Things are very honourable and honest, and the Product
worthy of a Parliament: I have only had the Unhappiness
both in my Conferences with your Committees, and in the
best Thoughts I could take to myself, not to be convinced
of the Necessity of That Thing that hath been so often
insisted on by you; to wit, the Title of King, as in itself
so necessary, as it seems to be apprehended by yourself.
And yet I do, with all Honour and Respect to the Judgment of a Parliament, testify that (cæteris paribus) no private Judgment is to lie in the Balance with the Judgment
of Parliament; but, in Things that respect particular
Persons, every Man that is to give an Account to God
of his Actions, he must, in some measure, be able to
prove his own Work, and to have an Approbation in his
own Conscience of That that he is to do, or to forbear:
And, whilst you are granting others Liberties, surely you
will not deny me This; it being not only a Liberty, but
a Duty (and such a Duty as I cannot, without sinning,
forbear) to examine my own Heart, and Thoughts, and
Judgment, in every Work which I am to set my Hand
to, or to appear in, or for.
I must confess therefore, that though I do acknowlege
all the other, yet I must be a little confident in This,
that, what with the Circumstances that accompany human
Actions, whether they be Circumstances of Time or Persons, whether Circumstances, that relate to the Whole, or
private or particular Circumstances, that compass any Person that is to render an Account of his own Actions; I
have truly thought, and do still think, that if I should (at
the best) do any thing, on this account, to answer your
Expectation, at the best, I should do it doubtingly; and
certainly, what is so, is not of Faith; and whatsoever is
not so, whatsoever is not of Faith, is Sin to him that doth
it, whether it be with relation to the Substance of the
Action about which that Consideration is conversant, or
whether to Circumstances about it, which makes all indifferent Actions good or evil: I say Circumstances; and
truly I mean good or evil to him that doth it.
I, lying under this Consideration, think it my Duty;
only I could have wished I had done it sooner, for the
Sake of the House, who hath laid so infinite Obligations
on me; I wish I had done it sooner, for your Sake, and for
saving Time and Trouble: And, indeed, for the Committee's Sake, to whom I must acknowlege publickly, I
have been unreasonably troublesome: I say, I could have
wished I had given it sooner: But, truly, this is my Answer; That (although I think the Government doth consist of very excellent Parts, in all but in that one Thing,
the Title, as to me) I should not be an honest Man, if I
should not tell you that I cannot accept of the Government, nor undertake the Trouble and Charge of it; which
I have a little more experimented than every body, what
Troubles and Difficulties do befall Men under such Trusts,
and in such Undertakings: I say, I am persuaded to return this Answer to you; That I cannot undertake this
Government, with that Title of King: And that is mine
Answer to this great and weighty Business.
Resolved, That this Debate be adjourned till Tomorrow Morning.
The Question being put, That the House be resolved
into a Grand Committee, upon the Bill of Assessments;
The House was divided.
The Yeas went forth.
||Tellers for the Yeas:
||With the Yeas,
||Tellers for the Noes:
||With the Noes,
So it was Resolved, That the House be resolved into a
Grand Committee, upon the Bill of Assessments.
The House was accordingly resolved into a Grand
Committee, upon the Bill of Assessments.
Mr. Speaker left the Chair.
Mr. Downing took the Chair.
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