Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 4, 1640-42. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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By the KING.
A Proclamation concerning the true Payment of Tonnage and Poundage.
Whereas in and by the last Act of this present Parliament, concerning Tonnage and Poundage, (intituled, A Subsidy granted to the King of Tonnage Poundage, and other Sums of Money, payable upon Merchandize Exported and Imposed) it is enacted, That the Penalty and Forfeiture contained in an Act made in the First Year of the Reign of his Majesty's late Royal Father King James, (intituted, A Subsidy granted to the King of Tonnage, Poundage, Wools, &c.) shall not ensue to any Person or Persons, for the Shipping or Unshipping of any Goods or Merchandize, whereupon Tonnage, Poundage, or any Sums of Money, are payable by the said last Act, until notice shall be given of the said last Act, Penalty and Forfeiture, by Proclamation, where the said Goods are, or ought to be entred; unless after such Notice, they shall refuse to compound for such Goods and Merchandize.
'His most Excellent Majesty, left any of his loving Subjects, or others (under pretence of Ignorance) should forbear to pay the said Tonnage, Poundage, and other Sums of Money, payable upon Merchandize or Goods either exported or imported, contrary to the Tenor of the said last Act, and for the more speedy publishing thereof, hath thought sit (by Advice of his Parliament) hereby to declare his Royal Will and Pleasure to be, That all his loving Subjects and others, whom it shall or may concern, do take notice of the said last Act: And that they, and all of them, do accordingly pay the said Tonnage, Poundage, and other Sums of Money thereby laid, or imposed upon Merchandizes or Goods, either imported or exported, under the Pains and Penalties in the said last Act, and in the said Act made in the first Year of his Majesty's said late Father, or either of them provided and expressed; and to be farther punished, according to the Law, for their Contempt of his Majesty's Royal Commandment herein.
'And therefore his Majesty doth hereby straitly charge and command, as well all and every his Customers Controllers, Collectors, Searchers, Waiters, and other the Officers and Ministers in all and every his Majesty's Ports and Havens, and the Members thereof, within this Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales; and all Justices of Peace, Mayors, Sheriffs, Bailiffs, Constables, Headboroughs, and other his Majesty's Officers and Ministers, to whom it shall or may appertain, that they, and every of them in their several Offices and Places respectively, do take care, that all and every the Premises be fully executed and performed, according to his Majesty's Royal Will and Pleasure herein declared, as they will answer the contrary at their Perils.
Die Martis, 3 Maii, 1642.
Ordered by the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled,
That the Persons intrusted with the ordering of the Militia of the City of London, shall have Power to draw the Trained-Bands of the City into such usual and convenient Places, within three Miles of the said City, as to them from time to time shall seem fit, for the training and exercising of the Soldiers; And that the said Soldiers upon Summons shall from time to time appear, and nor depart from their Colours without the Consent of their Officers, as they will answer their Contempt to the Parliament.
Die Jovis 12 Maii, 1642.
Resolved upon the Question, &c.
That this House doth declare, That if any Persctn whatsoever shall arrest or imprison the Persons of the Lords and Gentlemen now at York, or any of them, or any other of the Members of either House of Parliament that shall be imployed in the Service of both Houses of Parliament, or shall offer Violence to them, or any of them, for doing any thing in pursuance of the Commands or Instructions of both Houses, such Persons shall be held Disturbers of the Proceedings of Parliament, and publick Enemies of the State; and that all Persons are bound by their Protestation, to endeavour to bring them to condign Punishment.
Resolved, &c. That this House doth declare, that those of the City of London, and all other Persons that have obeyed the Ordinance for the Militia, and done any thing in Execution thereof, have done according to the Law of the Land, and in pursuance of what they were commanded by both Houses of Parliament, and for the Defence and Safety of the King and Kingdom; and shall have the Assistance of both Houses of Parliament against any that shall presume to question them for yielding their Obedience unto the said Commands, in this necessary and important Service: and that whosoever shall obey the said Ordinance for the time to come, shall receive the same Approbation and Assistance from both Houses of Parliament.
Resolved, &c. That this House doth declare, that they are resolved to maintain those Lords and Gentlemen in those things they have done, and shall farther do in the Obedience of their Commands, for the preserving the Peace of the Kingdom.
The King having sent for Serjeant Major-General Skippon to attend him at York, the Two Houses passed the Two Orders following.
Die Martis 17 Maii, 1642.
The Lords and Commons in Parliament do declare, That it is against the Laws and Liberties of the Kingdom, that any of the Subjects thereof should be Commanded by the King to attend him at his Pleasure, but such as are bound thereto by special Service; and that whosoever upon pretence of his Majesty's Command shall take Arms, and gather together with others in a warlike manner, to the Terror of the King's People, shall be esteemed Disturbers of the publick Peace, and to do that which may introduce a Precedent of very dangerous Consequence for the future, and produce most mischievous Effects for the present, considering the great Distempers of the Kingdom, and what pernicious Counsellors and Incendiaries are now about the King; and how desperate and ill-affected divers Persons attending upon his Majesty have shewed themselves to the Parliament, and to his other good Subjects, threatning and reproaching them publickly, even in his Majesty's presence; and for the preventing and avoiding such great Mischiefs as may thereupon ensue.
It is ordered and ordained by both Houses of Parliament, That if the Trained-Bands; or any other of his Majesty's Subjects, shall upon pretence of any such Command, be drawn together, and put into a posture of War, the Sheriff of that County, where there shall be such raising or drawing together of armed Men, do forthwith raise the power of the County to suppress the same, and to keep his Majesty's Peace according to Law; and that the Lord-Lieutenants, Deputy-Lieutenants, and Justices of the Peace, and all other his Majesty's Subjects be aiding and assisting to the several respective Sheriffs in performance hereof, as they will answer the contrary at their peril.
Die Martis 17 Maii, 1642.
Resolved upon the Question,
That this Command of his Majesty to call Captain Philip Skippon, Serjeant Major-General of the Forces of London, to attend his Majesty's Person at York, is against the Law of the Land, and the Liberty of the Subject.
Resolved, &c. That this Command of his Majesty to call Captain Philip Skippon, Serjeant Major-General of the Forces of London, to attend his Majesty's Person, being employed by both Houses to attend their Service, without their Consent, is against the Privilege of Parliament.
The Declaration or Remonstrance of the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, May 19th, 1642.
The infinite Mercy and Providence of the Almighty God hath been abundantly manifested since the beginning of this Parliament, in great variety of Protections and Blessings whereby he hath not only delivered us from many wicked Plots and Designs, which, if they had taken effect, would have brought Ruin and Destruction upon this Kingdom; but out of these Attempts hath produced divers evident and remarkable Advantages to the surtherance of those Services, which we have been desirous to perform to our Sovereign Lord the King, and to this Church and State, in providing for the publick Peace and Prosperity of his Majesty, and all his Realms, which in the presence of the same All-seeing Deity, we protest to have been, and still to be the only End of all our Counsels and Endeavours, wherein we have resolved to continue freed, and inlarged from all private Aims, personal Respects or Passions whatsoever.
In which Resolution we are nothing discouraged, altho' the Heads of the malignant Party disappointed of that Prey, the Religion and Liberty of this Kingdom, which they were ready to seize upon, and devour before the beginning of this Parliament, have still persisted by new Practices, both of Force and Subtilty, to recover the same again; for which purpose they have made several Attempts for the bringing up of the Army; they afterwards projected the false Accusation of the Lord Kimbolton, and the Five Members of the House of Commons, which being in it self of an odious Nature, they yet so far prevailed with his Majesty as to procure him to take it upon himself; but when the unchangeable Duty and Faithfulness of the Parliament could not be wrought upon by such a Fact as that, to withdraw any part of their Reverence and Obedience from his Majesty, they have with much Art and Industry advised his Majesty to suffer divers unjust Scandals, and Imputations upon the Parliament, to be published in his Name, whereby they might make it odious to the People, and by their help to destroy that which hitherto hath been the only means of their own preservation.
For this purpose they have drawn his Majesty into the Northern parts far from the Parliament, that so false Rumours might have time to get Credit, and the just Defences of the Parliament find a more tedious, difficult and disadvantagious Access, after those false Imputations and Slanders had been first rooted in the Apprehension of his Majesty, and his Subjects; which the more speedily so effect, they have caused a Press to be transported to York, from whence several Papers and Writings of that kind are conveyed to all parts of the Kingdom, without the Authority of the Great Seal, in an unu ' ual and illegal manner, and without the Advice of his Majesty's Privy-Counsel; from the greater and better part whereof having withdrawn himself, as well as from his great Council of Parliament, he is thereby exposed to the wicked and unfaithful Counsels of such as have made the Wisdom and Justice of the Parliament dangerous to themselves, and this Danger they labour to prevent by hiding their own Guilt under the name and shadow of the King; insusinginto him their own Fears, and as much as in them lies, aspersing his Royal Person and Honour with their own Infamy, from both which it hath always been as much the Care, as it is the Duty of the Parliament to preserve his Majesty, and to fix the Guilt of all evil Actions and Counsels, upon those who have been the Authors of them.
Amongst divers Writings of this kind, We the Lords and Commons in Parliament, have taken into our Consideration two printed Papers; the first containing a Declaration which they received from his Majesty in answer of that which was presented to his Majesty from both Houses of Parliament at Newmarket, the 9th of March, 1641. The other his Majesty's Answer to the petition of both Houses, presented to his Majesty at York the 26th of March 1642 Both which are filled with harsh Censures, and causeless Charges upon the Parliament; concerning which we hold it necessary to give Satisfaction to the Kingdom, seeing we find it very difficult to satisfie his Majesty, whom, to our grief, we have found to be so engaged to, and possessed by those Misapprehensions which evil Counsellors have wrought in him, that our most humble and faithful Remonstrances, have rather irritated and imbittered, than any thing allayed or mitigated the sharp Expressions which his Majesty has been please to make in Answer to them; for the manifestation whereof, and of our own Innocency, we desire that all his Majesty's loving Subjects may take notice of these Particulars.
Neither did we tell his Majesty, either in Words or in Effect, That if he did not join with us in an Act which his Majesty conceived might prove prejudicial and dangerous to himself and the whole Kingdom, we would make a Law without him, and impose it upon the People. That which we desired was, That in regard of the imminent Danger of the Kingdom, the Militia, for the Security of his Majesty and his People, might be put under the Command of such noble and faithful Persons, as they had all cause to confide in: And such was the Necessity of this Preservation, that we declared, That if his Majesty should refuse to join with us therein, the two Houses of Parliament being the supream Court and highest Council of the Kingdom, were enabled, by their own Authority, to provide for the repulsing of such imminent and evident Danger, not by any new Law of their own making, as hath been untruly suggested to his Majesty, but by the most ancient Law of this Kingdom, even that which is fundamental and essential to the Constitution and Subsistance of it.
Altho' we never desired to encourage his Majesty to such Replies as might produce any Contestation betwixt him and his Parliament, of which we never found better Effect, than lots of Time, and hinderance of the publick Affairs; yet we have been far from telling him of how little value his Words would be with us, much less when they are accompanied with Actions of Love and Justice. His Majesty hath more reason to find fault with those wicked Counsellors, who have so often bereaved him of the Honour, and his People of the fruit of many gracious Speeches which he made to them, such as those in the end of the last Parliament; That in the Word of a King, and as he was a Gentleman, he would redress the Grievances of his People, as well out of Parliament as in it: Were the searching the Studies and Chambers, yea, the Pockets of some, both of the Nobility and Commons the very next Day; the Commitment of Mr. Bellasis, Sir John Hotham, and Mr. Crew; the continued Oppressions by Ship-money, Coat and Conduct-money; with the manifold Imprisonments, and other Vexations thereupon, and other ensuing Violations of the Laws and Liberties of the Kingdom, (all which were the Effects of evil Counsel, and abundantly declared in our general Remonstrance of the State of the Kingdom) Actions of Love and Justice, suitable to such words as those?
As gracious was his Majesty's Speech in the beginning of this Parliament; That he was resolved to put himself freely and clearly upon the Love and Affection of his English Subjects. Whether his causless Complaints and Jealousie, the unjust Imputations so often cast upon his Parliament, his denial of their necessary Defence by the Ordinance of the Militia, his dangerous absenting himself from his great Council, like to produce such a mischievous Division in the Kingdom, have not been more suitable to other Mens evil Counsels, than to his own Words, will easily appear to any indifferent Judgment.
Neither have his latter Speeches been better used, and preserved by these evil and wicked Counsellors; Could any words be fuller of Love and Justice than those in his Answer to the Message sent the House of Commons the One and thirtieth of December, 1641. ' We do engage unto you solemnly on the Word of a King, that the Security of all, and every one of you from Violence, is and ever shall be as much our care, as the preservation of Us and our Children. And could any Actions be fuller of Injustice and Violence, than that of the Attorney-General, in falsly accusing the six Members of Parliament, and the other Proceedings thereupon, within three or four days after that Message? For the full view whereof, let the Declaration made of those Proceedings be perused; and by those Instances (we could add many more) for all the World judge who deserves to be taxed with disvaluing his Majesty's Words, they who have, as much as in them lies, it aimed and jullied them with such foul Counsels; or the Parliament, who have ever manifested with Joy and Delight their humble Thankfulness for those gracious Words and Actions of Love and Justice which have been conformable thereunto.
The King is pleased to disavow the having any such evil Counsel or Counsellors as are mentioned in our Declaration to his knowledge; and we hold it our Duty, humbly to avow there are such, or else we must say, That all the ill Things done of late in his Majesty's Name, have been done by himself, wherein we should neither follow the Direction of the Law, nor the Affection of our own Hearts, which is as much as may be, to clear his Majesty from all Imputation of Misgovernment, and to say the Fault upon his Ministers, the false accusing of six Ministers of Parliament, the justifying of Muster-Attorney in that false Accusation; the violent coming to the House of Commons; the denial of the Militia, the sharp Messages to both Houses, contrary to the Customs of former Kings, the long and remote Absence of his Majesty from Parliament, the heavy, and wrongful Taxes upon both Houses; the cherishing and countenancing a discontented Party in the Kingdom against them: These certainly are the Fruits of very ill Counsel, apt to put the Kingdom into a Combustion, to hinder the Supplies of Ireland, and to countenance the Proceedings and Pretentions of the Rebels there, and the Authors of these evil Counsels, we conceive must needs be known to his Majesty. And we hope our labouring with his Majesty, to have these discovered and brought to a just Censure, will not so much wound his Honour in the Opinion of his good Subjects, as his labouring to preserve and conceal them.
And whereas his Majesty faith, He could wish that his own immediate Actions, which he avows on his own Honour, might not be so roughly censured under that common Style of Evil Counsellors: We could also heartily wish, That we had not cause to make that Style so common, but how often and undutifully soever these wicked Cousellors fix their Dishonour upon the King, by making his Majesty the Author of those evil Actions, which are the Effects of their own evil Counsels: We his Majesty's loyal and dutiful Subjects, can use no other Style, according to that Maxim in the Law, The King can do no Wrong; but if any Ill be committed in Matter of State, the Council; if in Mater of Justice, the Judges must answer for it.
We lay no charge upon his Majesty, which should put him upon that Apology, concerning his faithful and zealous Affection of the Protestant Profession: Neither doth his Majesty endeavour to clear those in greatest Authority about him, by whom (we say) that Design hath been potently carry'd on for divers Years; and we rather wish that the Mercies of Heaven than the Judgments may be manifested upon them; but that there have been such, there are so plentiful and frequent Evidences, that we believe there is none, either Protestant or Papist, who hath had any reasonable View of the Passages of latter Times, but either in Fear or Hope, did expect a sudden Issue of this Design.
We have no Way transgressed against the Act of Oblivion, by remembring the intended War against Scotland, as a Branch of that Design to alter Religion, by those wicked Counsels, from which God did then deliver us, which we ought never to forget.
That the Rebellion in Ireland was framed and cherish'd by the Popish and Malignant Party in England, is not only affirmed by the Rebels, but may be cleared by many other Proofs: The same rebellious Principles of pretended Religion, the same politick Ends are apparent in both, and their malicious Designs and Practices are mask'd and disguis'd with the same false Colour of their earnest Zeal to vindicate his Majesty's Prerogative from the supposed Oppression of the Parliament: How much these treacherous Pretences have been countenanced by some evil Counsel about his Majesty, may appear in this, That the Proclamation whereby they were declared Traytors, was so long with-held as to the second of January, though the Rebellion broke forth in October before, and then no more but Forty Copies appointed to be printed; with a special Command from his Majesty not to exceed that Number; and that none of them should be published, 'till his Majesty's Pleasure were further signify'd, as by the Warrant appears, a true Copy whereof is hereunto added, so that a few only could take Notice of it; which was made more observable, by the late contrary Proceedings against the Scots, who were in a very quick and sharp manner proclaimed; and those Proclamations forthwith dispersed, with as much diligence as might be, thorow all the Kingdom, and ordered to be read in all Churches, accompanied with publick Prayers and Execrations. Another Evidence of Favour, and Countenance to the Rebels in some Power about his Majesty, is this, That they have put forth, in his Majesty's Name, a causless Complaint against the Parliament; which speaketh the same Language of the Parliament which the Rebels do, whereby to raise a Belief in Mens Minds that his Majesty's Affections are alienated, as well as his Person is removed from that his great Council: All which doth exceedingly retard the Supplies of Ireland, and more advance the Proceedings of the Rebels, than any Jealousy or Misapprehension begotten in his Subjects, by the Declaration of the Rebels, Injunction of Ressetti, or Information of Trestram Whitcombe; so that considering the present State and Temper of both Kingdoms, his Royal Presence is far more necessary here than it can be in Ireland, for Redemption or Protection of his Subjects there.
And whether there be any Cause of his Majesty's great Indignation, for being reproach'd to have intended Force or Threatning to the Parliament: We desire them to consider, who shall read our Declaration, in which there is no Word tending to any such Reproach; and certainly we have been more tender of his Majesty's Honour in this Point, than he, whosoever he was, that did write this Declaration, where, in his Majesty's Name, he doth call God to witness, he never had any such Thought, or knew of any such Resolution of bringing up the Army; which truly will seem strange to those who shall read the Deposition of Mr. Goring, the Information of Mr. Percie, and divers other Examinations of Mr. Willmot, Mr. Pollard and others; the other Examination of Captain Legg, Sir Jacob Ashley, Sir John Conneyers; and consider the Condition and Nature of the Petition, which was sent unto Sir Jacob Ashley, under the Approbation of C. R. which his Majesty doth now acknowledge to be his own Hand; and being full of Scandal to the Parliament, might have proved dangerous to the whole Kingdom, if the Army should have interposed betwixt the King and them, as was desired.
We do not affirm, That his Majesty's Warrant was granted for the Passage of Mr. Jermin, after the Desire of both Houses for Restraint of his Servants, but only that he did pass over, after that Restraint, by virtue of such a Warrant. We know the Warrant bears date the Day before our Desire; yet it seems strange to those who know how great Respect and Power Mr. Jermin had in Court, that he should begin his Journey in such haste, and in Apparel so unfit for Travel, as a black Sattin Sure, and white Boots, if his going away were designed the Day before.
The Accusation of the Lord Kimbolton, and the five Members of the House of Commons, is called A Breach of Privilege; and truly so it was, and a very high one, far above any Satisfaction that hath been yet given: How can it be said to be largely satisfied, so long as his Majesty laboured to preserve Master Attorney from Punishment, who was the visible Actor in it; so long as his Majesty hath not only justified him, but by his Letter declared, That it was his Duty to accuse them, and that he would have punish'd him if he had not done it: So long as those Members have not the Means of clearing their Innocency, and the Authors of that malicious Charge undiscovered, though both Houses of Parliament have several times petitioned his Majesty to discover them, and that not only upon Grounds of common Justice, but by Act of Parliament, his Majesty is bound to do it: So long as the King refuseth to pass a Bill for their Discharge, alledging, That the Narrative in that Bill is against his Honour, whereby he seems still to avow the Matter of that false and scandalous Accusation, tho' he deserts the Prosecution, offering to pass a Bill for their Acquittal; yet with Intimation, that they must desert the avowing their own Innocency, which would more wound them in Honour, than secure them in Law.
But we look not upon this only in the Notion of a Breach of Privilege, which might be, tho' the Accusation were true or false, but under the Notion of a heinous Crime in the Attorney, and all other Subjects who had a hand in it, a Crime against the Law of Nature, against the Rules of Justice, that innocent Men should be charged with so great an Offence as Treason, in the Face of the highest Judicatory of the Kingdom, whereby their Lives and Estates, their Blood and Honour are endangered, without Witness, without Evidence, without all possibility of Reparation in a legal Course, yet a Crime of such a Nature, that his Majesty's Command can no more warrant, than it can any other Acts of Injustice. It is true that those things which are evil in their own Nature, such as false Testimony or false Accusation, cannot be the Subject of any Command, or induce any Obligation of Obedience upon any Man, by any Authority whatsoever; therefore the Attorney in this Case was bound to refuse to execute such a Command, unless he had some such Evidence or Testimony as might have warranted him against the Parties, and be liable to make Satisfaction if it should prove false; and it is sufficiently known to every Man, and adjudged in Parliament, That the King can be neither the Relator, Informer, or Witness. If it rest as it is, without further Satisfaction, no future Parliament can be safe, but that the Members may be taken and destroyed at pleasure; yea, the very Principles of Government and Justice will be in danger to be dissolved.
We do not conceive that Numbers do make an Assembly unlawful, but when either the end or manner of their Carriage shall be unlawful. Divers just Occasions might draw the Citizens to Westminster, where many publick and private Petitions and other Causes were depending in Parliament, and why that should be found more faulty in the Citizens, than the resort of great numbers every day in the Term to the ordinary Courts of Justice, we know not. That those Citizens were notoriosly provoked and assaulted at Westminster by Collonel Lumsford, Captain Hide, with divers others, and by some of the Servants of the Archbishctp of York, is sufficiently proved; and that afterward they were more violently wounded, and most barbarously mangled with Swords by the Officers and Soldiers near Whitehall, many of them being without Weapons, and giving no Cause of Distaste, as is likewise proved by several Testimonies; but of any scandalous or seditious Misdemeanours of theirs, that might give his Majesty good Cause to suppose his own Person, or those of his Royal Consort or Children to be in apparent Danger, we have had no Proof ever offered to either House; and if there had been any Complaint of that kind, it is no doubt the Houses would have been as forward to joyn in an Order for the Suppressing such Tumults, as they were not long before upon another Occasion, when they made an Order to that purpose. Whereas those Officers and Soldiers which committed that Violence upon so many of the Citizens at White-hall, were cherish'd and fostred in his Majesty's House: And when not long after the Common-Council of London presented a Petition to his Majesty for Reparation of those Injuries; his Majesty's Answer was, (without hearing the Proof of the Complainants) That if any Citizen were wounded or ill-treated, his Majesty was confidently assured, that it happened by their own evil and corrupt Demeanors.
We hope it cannot be thought contrary to the Duty and Wisdom of a Parliament, if many concurring, and frequently reiterated and renewed Advertisements from Rome, Venice, Paris, and other Parts; if the Sollicitations of the Pope's Nuncio, and our own discontented Fugitives, do make us jealous and watchful for the Safety of the State. And we have been very careful to make our Expressions thereof so easie and so plain, to the Capacity and Understanding of the People, that nothing might justly stick with them, with Reflection upon the Person of his Majesty. Wherein we appeal to the Judgment of any indifferent Person, who shall read and peruse our own Words.
We must maintain the ground of our Fears to be of that moment, that we cannot discharge the Trust and Duty which lyes upon us, unless we do apply ourselves to the Use of those Means which the Law hath enabled us in Cases of this Nature for the necessary Defence of the Kingdom; and as his Majesty doth graciously declare, The Law shall be the Measure of his Power; so do we most heartily profess, that we shall always make it the Rule of our Obedience.
Prudent Omissions in the Answer.
The next Point of our Declaration was with much Caution artificially passed over by him who drew his Majesty's Answer, it being indeed the Foundation of all our Misery, and his Majesty's Trouble, that he is pleased to hear general Taxes upon his Parliament, without any particular Charge to which they may give Satisfaction, and that he hath often conceived Displeasure against particular Persons upon Mis-information; and altho' those Informations have been clearly proved to be false, yet he would never bring the Accusers to question which layeth an Impossibility upon honest Men of clearing themselves, and gives Incouragement unto false and unworthy Persons to trouble him with untrue and groundless Informations. Three Particulars we mentioned in our Declaration, which the Penner of that Answer had good Cause to omit; the Words supposed to be spoken at Kensington, the precended Articles against the Queen, and the groundless Accusation of the six Members of Parliament, there being nothing to be said in Defence or Denial of any of them.
Concerning his Majesty's Desire to join with his Parliament, and with his faithful Subjects, in defence of Religion, and publick Good of the Kingdom; we doubt not but he will do it fully, when evil Counsellors shall be removed from about him, and until that be, as we shewed before of Words, so must we also say of Laws, that they cannot secure us; Witness the Petition of Right, which was follow'd with such an Inundation of illegal Taxes, that we had just Cause to think that the Payment of eight hundred and twenty thousand Pounds was an easy Burden to the Common-wealth in exchange of them; and we cannot but justly think, that if there be a Continuance of such ill Counsellours, and Favour to them, they will by some wicked Device or other, make the Bill for the Triennial Parliament, and those other excellent Laws mentioned in his Majesty's Declaration, of less value than Words.
That excellent Bill for the Continuance of this Parliament was so necessary, that without it we could not have raised so great Sums of Money for the Service of his Majesty and the Common-wealth as we have done, and without which the Ruin and Destruction of the Kingdom must needs have followed. And we are resolved, the gracious Favour of his Majesty expressed in that Bill, and the Advantage and Security which thereby we have from being dissolved, shall not incourage us to do any thing which otherwise had not been fit to have been done. And we are ready to make it good before all the World, that altho' his Majesty hath passed many Bills very advantagious for the Subject, yet in none of them have we bereaved his Majesty of any just, necessary, or profitable Prerogative of the Crown.
We so earnestly desire his Majesty's Return to London, for that upon it, we conceive, depends the very Safety and Being of both his Kingdoms. And therefore we must protest, that as for the time past, neither the Government of London, nor any Laws of the Land, have lost their Life and Force for his Security; so for the Future, we shall be ready to do or say any thing that may stand with the Duty or Honour of a Parliament, which may raise a mutual Confidence betwixt his Majesty and Us, as We do wish, and as the Affairs of the Kingdom do require.
Thus far the Answer to that which is called His Majesty's Declaration, hath led us. Now we come to that which is intituled, His Majesty's Answer to the Petition of both Houses, presented to him at York the 26th of March, 1642. In the beginning whereof, his Majesty wisheth that our Privileges on all parts were so stated, that this way of Correspondency might be preserved with that Freedom which hath been used of old. We know nothing introduced by us, that gives any Impediment hereunto, neither have we affirmed our Priviledges to be broken, when his Majesty denies us any thing, or gives a Reason why he cannot grant it, or that those who advised such Denial, were Enemies to the Peace of the Kingdom, and Favourers of the Irish Rebellion, in which Aspersion, that is turned into a general Assertion, which in our Votes is applied to a particular case, wherefore we must maintain our Votes, that those who advised his Majesty to contradict that which both Houses in the Question concerning the Militia, had declared to be Law, and command it should not be obeyed, is a high Breach of Privilege; and that those who advised his Majesty to absent himself from his Parliament, are Enemies to the Peace of the Kingdom, and justly to be suspected to be Favourers of the Rebellion in Ireland. The Reasons of both are evident, because in the first there is as great a Derogation from the Trust and Authority of Parliament; and in the second, as much Advantage to the Proceedings and Hopes of the Rebels as may be: And we hold it a very causeless Imputation upon the Parliament, that we have herein any way impeach'd, much less taken away the Freedom of his Majesty's Vote, which doth not import a Liberty for his Majesty to deny any thing, how necessary soever, for the Preservation of the Kingdom, much less a License to evil Counsellors, to advise any thing, though never so destructive to his Majesty and his People.
By the Message of the 20th of January, his Majesty did propound to both Houses of Parliament, that they would with all speed fall into a serious Consideration of all those Particulars which they thought necessary as well for the upholding and maintaining his Majesty's just and regal Authority, and for the settling his Revenue, as for the present and future establishing our Privileges, the free and quiet enjoying our Estates, the Liberties of our Persons, the Security of the true Religion professed in the Church of England, and the settling of Ceremonies in such a manner as may take away all just Offence, and to digest it into one entire Body.
To that Point of upholding and maintaining his Royal Authority, we say nothing hath been done to the Prejudice of it, that should require any new Provision: To the other of settling the Revenue, the Parliament hath no way abridged or disordered his just Revenue; but it is true that much Waste and Confusion of his Majesty's Estate hath been made by those evil and unfaithful Ministers, whom he hath imployed in the managing of it, whereby his own ordinary Expences would have been disappointed, and the Safety of the Kingdom more endangered, if the Parliament had not in some measure provided for his Houshold, and for some of the Forts, more than they were bound to do; and they are still willing to settle such a Revenue upon his Majesty, as may make him live royally, plentifully, and safely; but they cannot in Wisdom and Fidelity to the Common-wealth do this, 'till he shall chuse such Counsellors and Officers as may order and dispose it to the publick Good, and not apply it to the Ruin and Destruction of his People, as heretofore it hath been. But this and the other Matters concerning ourselves, being Works of great Importance, and full of Intricacy, will require so long a Time of Deliberation, that the Kingdom might be ruined before we should effect them. Wherefore we thought it necessary, first, to be Suitors to his Majesty so to order the Militia, that the Kingdom being secured, we might with more Ease and Safety apply ourselves to debate of that Message wherein we have been interrupted by his Majesty's Denial of the Ordinance concerning the same, because it would have been in vain for us to labour in other Things, and in the mean Time to leave ourselves naked to the Malice of so many Enemies both at home and abroad; yet we have not been altogether negligent of those Things which his Majesty is pleased to propound in that Message: We have agreed upon a Book of a Rates in a larger Proportion than hath been granted to any of his Majesty's Predecessors, which is a considerable Support of his Majesty's publick Charge; and have likewise prepared divers Propositions and Bills for Preservation of our Religion and Liberties, which we intend shortly to present to his Majesty, and to do whatsoever is fit for us to make up this unpleasant Breach betwixt his Majesty and his Parliament.
Whereas divers Exceptions are here taken concerning the Militia; first, That his Majesty never deny'd the Thing, but accepted the Persons (except for Corporations) only that he deny'd the way. To which we answer, That that Exception takes off London, and all other great Towns and Cities, which makes a great part of the Kingdom; and for the way of Ordinance it is ancient, more speedy, more easily alterable, and in all these and other respects, more proper and more applicable to the present Occasion, than a Bill, which his Majesty calls the only good old way of imposing upon the Subjects. It should seem that neither his Majesty's Royal Predecessors, nor our Ancestors have heretofore been of that Opinion; 37 Ed. 3. we find this Record, `The Chancellor made Declaration of the Challenge of the Parliament; the King desires to know the Griefs of his Subjects, and to redress Enormities. The last Day of the Parliament the King demanded of the whole Estates, Whether they would have such Things as they agreed on, by way of Ordinance or Statute, who answered, By way of Ordinance, for that they might amend the same at their pleasure, and so it was.
But his Majesty objects further, That there is somewhat in the Preface to which he could not consent with Justice to his Honour and Innocence, and that thereby he is excluded from any power in the disposing of it. These Objections may seem somewhat, but indeed will appear nothing, when it shall be consider'd, that nothing in the Preamble lays any Charge upon his Majesty, or in the Body of the Ordinance, that excludes his Royal Authority in the disposing or execution of it: But only it is provided, That it should be signify'd by both Houses of Parliament, as that Channel thro' which it will be best derived, and most certainly to those ends for which it is intended, and let all the World judge, whether we have not Reason to insist upon it, that the Strength of the Kingdom should rather be ordered according to the Direction or Advice of the great Council of the Land, equally intrusted by the King and by the Kingdom, than that the Safety of the King, Parliament, and Kingdom shctuld be left at the Devotion of a few unknown Counsellors, many of them not intrusted at all by the King in any publick way, not at all confided in by the Kingdom.
We wish the Danger were not imminent, or not still continuing, but cannot conceive that the long time spent in this Debate is Evidence sufficient that there was no such Necessity or Danger, but a Bill might easily have been prepared; for when many Causes do concur to the Danger of a State, the Interruption of any one may hinder the Execution of the rest, and yet the Design be still kept on foot for better Opportunities. Who knows whether the ill Success of the Rebels in Ireland had not hinder'd the Insurrection of the Papists here? Whether the preservation of the six Members of the Parliament falsly accused, hath not prevented that Plot of the breaking the neck of the Parliament, of which we were informed from France, not long before they were accused? Yet since his Majesty hath been pleased to express his Pleasure rather for a Bill than an Ordinance, and that he sent in one for that purpose, we readily entertained it, and with some small and necessary Alterations, speedily passed the same: But contrary to the Custom of Parliament, and our Expectation grounded upon his Majesty's own Invitation of us to that way, and the other Reasons manifested in our Declaration concerning the Militia of the 5th of May, instead of his Royal Assent, we met with an absolute Refusal.
If the Matter of these our Votes of the 15th and 16th of March, be according to Law, we hope his Majesty will allow the Subjects to be bound by them, because he hath said, He will make the Law the Rule of his Power; and if the Question be, Whether that be Law which the Lords and Commons have once declared to us so, who shall be the Judge? Not his Majesty; for the King judgeth not of Matters of Law, but by his Courts; and his Courts, tho' sitting by his Authority, expect not his Assent in Matters of Law: Nor any other Courts, for they cannot judge in that case because they are inferiour; no Appeal lying to them from Parliament, the Judgment whereof is, in the Eye of the Law, the King's Judgment in his highest Court; though the King in his Person be neither present nor assenting thereunto.
The Votes at which his Majesty takes Exceptions, are these,
- I. That the Kings Absence so far remote from the Parliament, is not only an Obstruction, but may be a Destruction to the Affairs of Ireland.
- II. That when the Lords and Commons shall declare what the Law of the Land is, to have this not only questioned and controverted, but contradicted, and a Command that it should not be obeyed, is a high Breach of the Privilege of Parliament.
- III. That those Persons that advised his Majesly to absent himself from the Parliament, are Enemies to the Peace of the Kingdom, and justly may be suspected to be Favourers of the Rebellion in Ireland.
That the Kingdom hath been of late, and still is in so imminent Danger, both from Enemies abroad, and a Popish and discontented Party at home, that there is an urgent and inevitable Necessity of putting his Majesty's Subjects into a Posture of Defence, for the safe-guard both of his Majesty and his People.
That the Lords and Commons fully apprehending this Danger, and being sensible of their own Duty, to provide a suitable Prevention, have in several Petitions addressed themselves to his Majesty, for the ordering and disposing the Militia of the Kingdom, in such a way as was agreed upon by the Wisdom of both Houses, to be most effectual and proper for the present Exigents of the Kingdom, yet could not obtain it; but his Majesty did several Times refuse to give his Royal Assent thereunto.
That in this case of extream Danger, and his Majesty's Refusal, the Ordinance of Parliament agreed upon by both Houses for the Militia, doth oblige the People, and ought to be obeyed by the Fundamental Laws of this Kingdom.
By all which it doth appear, that there is no colour that by this Tax we go about to introduce a new Law, much less to exercise an Arbitrary Power, but indeed to prevent it; for this Law is as old as the Kingdom. That the Kingdom must not be without a Means to preserve itself; which that it may be done without Confusion, this Nation hath intrusted certain Hands with a Power to provide, in an orderly and regular Way, for the Good and Safety of the Whole; which Power, by the Constitution of this Kingdom, is in his Majesty, and in his Parliament together: Yet since the Prince being but one Person, is more subject to Accidents of Nature and Chance, whereby the Common-wealth may be deprived of the Fruit of that Trust which was in part reposed in him, in Cases of such Necessity, that the Kingdom may not be inforced presently to return to its first Principles, and every Man left to do what is aright in his own Eyes, without either Guide or Rule: The Wisdom of this State hath intrusted the Houses of Parliament with a Power to supply what shall be wanting on the part of the Prince, as is evident by the constant Custom and Practice thereof, in Cases of Nonage, natural Disability and Captivity; and the like Reason doth and must hold for the exercise of the same Power in such Cases, where the Royal Trust cannot be, or is not discharged, and that the Kingdom runs an evident and imminent Danger thereby; which Danger having been declared by the Lords and Commons in Parliament, there needs not the Authority of any Person or Court to affirm; nor is it in the Power of any Person or Court to revoke that Judgment.
We know the King hath Ways enough in his ordinary Courts of Justice, to punish such seditious Pamphlets and Sermons, as are any way prejudicial to his Rights, Honour, and Authority; and if any of them have been so insolently violated and villisy'd, his Majesty's own Council and Officers have been too blame, and not the Parliament: We never did restrain any Proceedings of this kind in other Courts, nor refuse any fit Complaint to us. The Protestation protested, was referred by the Common's House to a Committee, and the Author being not produced, the Printer was committed to Prison, and the Book voted by that Committee to be burnt; but Sir Edward Deering, who was to make that Report of the Votes of that Committee, neglected to make it. The Apprentices Protestation was never complained of, but the other seditious Pamphlet (To your Tents, O Israel !) was once questioned, and the full prosecution of it was not interrupted by any Fault of either House, whose forwardness to do his Majesty all Right therein, may plainly appear, in that a Committee of Lords and Commons was purposely appointed to take such Information as the King's Counsel should present, concerning seditious Words, Practices or Tumults, Pamphlets or Sermons, tending to the Derogation of his Majesty's Rights or Prerogative; and his Counsel were enjoyned by that Committee, to enquire and present them; who several times met thereupon, and received this Answer and Declaration from the King's Counsel, that they knew of no such thing as yet.
If his Majesty had used the Service of such a one in penning this Answer, who understood the Laws and Government of this Kingdom, he would not have thought it legally in his Power to deny his Parliament a Guard when they stood in need of it, since every ordinary Court hath it; neither would his Majesty, if he had been well informed of the Laws, have refused such a Guard as they desired, it being in the Power of inferiour Courts to command their own Guard; neither would he have imposed upon them such a Guard under a Commander which they could not confide in; which is clearly against the Privileges of Parliament, and of which they found very dangerous Effects, and therefore desired to have it discharged; but such a Guard, and so commanded, as the Houses of Parliament desired, they could never obtain of his Majesty; and the placing of a Guard about them contrary to their Defise, was not to grant a Guard to them, but in effect to set one upon them. All which consider'd, we believe, in the Judgments of any indifferent Persons, it will not be thought strange if there were a more than ordinary Resort of People at Westminster, of such as came willingly of their own accord to be Witnesses and Helpers of the Safety of them whom all his Majesty's good Subjects are bound to defend from Violence and Danger; or that such a Concourse as this, they carrying themselves quietly and peaceably, (as they did) ought, in his Majesty's Apprehension, or can, in the interpretation of the Law, be held Tumultuary and Seditious.
When his Majesty, in that Question of Violation of the Laws, had expressed the observation of them indefinitely, without any limitation of Time, altho' we never said or thought any thing that might look like a Reproach to his Majesty, yet we had reason to remember that it had been otherwise, left we should seem to desert our former Complaints and Proceedings thereupon, as his Majesty doth seem but little to like or approve of them; for altho' he doth acknowledge here that great Mischief that grew by that Arbitrary Power then complained of, yet such are continually preferred and countenanced as were Friends or Favourers, or related unto the chief Authors and Actors of that Arbitrary Power, and of those false Colours, Suggestions of imminent Danger and Necessity, whereby they did make it plausible unto his Majesty. And on the other side, such as did appear against them, are daily discountenanced and disgraced; which whilst it shall be so, we have no reason to judge the Disease to be yet killed and dead at Root, and therefore no reason to bury it in Oblivion. And whilst we behold the Spawns of those mischievous Principles, cherish'd and fostered in that new Generation of Counsellors, Friends and Abettors of the former, or atleast concurring with them in their Malignancy against the Proceedings of this Parliament, we cannot think ourselves secure from the like or a worse Danger.
And here the Penner of this Answer bestows an Admonition upon the Parliament, bidding us take heed we fall not upon the same Error, upon the same Suggestions. But he might have well spared this, 'till he could have shewed wherein we had exercised any Power otherwise than by the Rule of the Law, or could have found a more authentick or higher Judge in Matters of Law, than the High Court of Parliament.
It is declared, in his Majesty's Name, That he is resolved to keep the Rule himself, and to his power to require the same of all others. We must needs acknowledge, that such a Resolution is like to bring much Happiness and Blessing to his Majesty, and all his Kingdoms; yet with Humility we must confess, we have not the Fruit of it, in that Case of my Lord Kimbolton, and the other five Members, accused contrary to Law, both Common Law, and the Statute Law, and yet remain unsatisfied; which Case was remembred in our Declaration, as a strange and unheard-of Violation of our Laws. But the Penner of this Answer thought fit to pass it over, hoping that many would read his Majesty's Answer, (which hath been so carefully dispersed) which would not read our Declaration.
Whereas after our ample Thanks and Acknowldgment of his Majesty's Favour in passing many good Bills, we said, That Truth and Necessity inforced us to add this, that in or about the time of passing those Bills, some Design or other hath been on Foot; which if it had taken Effect, would not only have deprived us of the Fruit of those Bills, but would have reduced us to a worse Condition of Confusion than that wherein the Parliament found us. It is now told us, That the King must be most sensible of what we cast upon him, for requital of those good Bills; whereas out of our usual Tenderness of his Majesty's Honour, we did not mention him at all; but so injurious are those wicked Counsellors to the Name and Honour of their Master and Sovereign, that as much as they can, they lay their own Infamy and Guilt upon his Shoulders.
Here, God also is called to witness his Majesty's upright Intentions at the passing of those Laws; this we will not question, neither did we give any occasion for such a solemn Asseveration as this is. The Devil is likewise defied to prove there was any Design with his Majesty's Knowledge or Privity. This might well have been spared, for we spake nothing of his Majesty: But since we are so far taxed as to have it affirmed, that we laid a notorious and false Imputation upon his Majesty, we have thought it necessary, for the just Defence of our own Innocency, to cause the Oaths and Examinations which have been taken concerning the Design, to be published in a full Narration, for Satisfaction of all his Majesty's Subjects; out of which we shall now offer some few Particulars, whereby the World may judge whether we could have proceeded with more Tenderness towards his Majesty than we have done. Mr. Goring confesseth, that the King first asked him, Whether he were ingaged in any Cabal concerning the Army? and commanded him to join with Mr. Percy and Mr. Jermin, and some others, whom they should find within at Mr. Percy 's Chamber; where they took the Oath of Secrecy, and then debated of a Design propounded by Mr. Jermin to secure the Tower, and to consider of bringing up the Army to London. And Captain Legg confessed, he had received the Draught of a Petition in the King's Presence; and his Majesty acknowledgeth it was from his own Hand: And whosoever reads the Sum of that Petition, as it was proved by the Testimony of Sir Jacob Ashley, Sir John Conyors, and Captain Legg, will easily perceive some Points in it, apt to beget in them some Discontent against the Parliament. And can any Man believe there was no Design in the Accusation of the Lord Kimbolton, and the rest, in which his Majesty doth avow himself to be both a Commander and an Actor? These things being so, it will easily appear to be as much against the Rule of Prudence, that the Penner of this Answer should entangle his Majesty in this unnecessary Apology; as it is against the Rules of Justice, that any Reputation from us should be either yielded or demanded.
It is prosessed, in his Majesty's Name, That he is truly sensible of the Burdens of his People, which makes us hope that he will take that Course which will be most effectual to ease them of these Burdens; that is, to join with his Parliament in preserving the Peace of the Kingdom; which by his Absence from them, hath been much endangered, and which by hindering the voluntary Adventures for the Recovery of Ireland, and disabling the Subjects to discharge the great Tax laid upon them, is like to make the War much more heavy to the Kingdom. And for his Majesty's Wants, the Parliament hath been no Cause of them; we have not diminished his just Revenue, but have mucheased his publick Charge, and somewhat his private. And we shall be ready in a Parliamentary way, to settle his Revenue in such an honourable Proportion, as may be answerable to both, when he shall put himself into such a Posture of Government, that his Subjects may be secure to enjoy his just Protection for their Religion, Laws and Liberties.
We never refused his Majesty's gracious Offer of a free and general Pardon only we said it could be no Security to our present Fears and Jealousies: And we gave a Reason for it, that those Fears did not arise out of any Guilt of our own Actions, but out of the evil Designs and Attempts of others; and we leave it to the World to judge, whether we herein have deserved so heavy a Tax and Exclamation, (that it was a strange World, when Princes profered Favours are counted Reproaches; such are the Words of his Majesty's Answer) who do esteem that Offer as an Act of Princely Grace and Bounty, which since this Parliament began, we have humbly desired we might obtain, and do still hold it very necessary and advantageous for the generality of the Subjects, upon whom these Taxes and Subsidies lie heaviest; but we see, upon every Occasion, how unhappy we are in his Majesty's Misapprehensions of our Words and Actions.
We are fully of the King's Mind, as it is here declared, that he may rest so secure of the Affections of his Subjects, that he should not stand in need of Foreign Force to preserve him from Oppression, and are confident that he shall never want an abundant Evidence of the good Wishes and Assistance of his whole Kingdom, especially if he shall be pleased to hold to that gracious Resolution of building upon that sure Foundation, the Law of the Land: but why his Majesty should take it ill, that we having received Informations so deeply concerning the Safety of the Kingdom, should think them fit to be considered of, we cannot conceive; for altho the Name of the Person was unknown, yet that which was more substantial to the Probability of the Report was known (that is) that he was Servant to the Lord Digby, who in his presumptuous Letter to the Queen's Majesty, and other Letters to Sir Lewis Dives, had intimated some wicked Proposition suitable to that Information; but that this should require Reparation, we hold it as far from Justice as it is from Truth, that we have mixed any Malice with these Rumours, thereby to feed the Fears and Jealousies of the People.
It is affirmed his Majesty is driven (but not by us yet) from us; perchance hereafter if there be Opportunity of gaining more Credit, there will not be wanting who will suggest unto his Majesty, that it is done by us. And if his Majesty were driven from us, we hope it was not by his own Fears, but by the Fears of the Lord Digby, and his Retinue of Cavaliers; and that no Fears of any tumultuary Violence, but of their just Punishment for their manifold Insolence and intended Violence against the Parliament. And this is expressed by the Lord Digby himself, when he told those Cavaliers, that the principal Cause of his Majesty's going out of Town, was to save them from being trampled in the Dirt; but of his Majesty's Person there was no Cause of Fear in the greatest Heat of his People's Indignation, after the Accusation, and his Majesty's violent coming to the House; there was no Shew of any evil Intention against his Regal Person, of which there can be no better Evidence than this, that he came the next day without a Guard into the City, where he heard nothing but Prayers and Petitions, no Threatnings or irreverent Speeches, that might give him any just Occasion of Fear, that we have heard of, or that his Majesty express: for he Raid near a Week after at White-hall in a secure and peaceable Condition, where by we are induced to believe that there is no Difficulty nor Doubt at all, but his Majesty's Residence near London, may be as safe as in any part of the Kingdom. We are most assured of the Faithfulness of the City and Suburbs; and for our selves, we shall quicken the Vigour of the Laws, the Industry of the Magistrate, the Authority of the Parliament for the suppressing of all tumultuary Insolences whatsoever, and for the vindicating of his Honour from all insupportable and insolent Scandals, if any such shall be found to be raised upon him, as are mentioned in this Answer; and therefore we think it altogether unnecessary, and exceeding inconvenient to adjourn the Parliament to any other Place.
Where the Desire of a good Understanding betwixt the King and the Parliament, is on both Parts so earnest, as is here profess'd by his Majesty to be in him, and we have sufficiently testified to be in our selves, it seems strange we should be so long asunder; it can be nothing else but evil and malicious Counsel misrepresenting our Carriage to him, and indisposing his Favour to us: and as it shall be far from us to take any Advantage of his Majesty's supposed Straits, as to desire, much less to compel him to that which his Honour or Interest may render unpleasant and grievous to him; so we hope that his Majesty will not make his own Understanding or Reason the Rule of his Government, but will suffer himself to be assisted with a wife and prudent Council, that may deal faithfully betwixt him and his People; and that he will remember that his Resolutions do concern Kingdoms, and therefore ought not to be moulded by his own, much less by any other private Person, which is not alike proportionable to so great a Trust. And therefore we still desire and hope that his Majesty will not be guided by his own Understanding, or think those Courses Straits and Necessities, to which he shall be advised by the Wisdom of both Houses of Parliament, which are the Eyes in this politick Body, whereby his Majesty is by the Constitution of this Kingdom, to discern the Differences of those things which concern the publick Peace and Safety thereof.
We have given his Majesty no cause to say, that we do meanly value the discharge of his publick Duty, whatsoever Acts of Grace or Justice have been done, they proceed from his Majesty by the Advice and Counsel of his Parliament; yet we have, and shall always answer them with constant Gratitude, Obedience and Affection: And altho many things have been done since this Parliament of another nature, yet we shall not cease to desire the continued Protection of Almighty God upon his Majesty; and most humbly petition him to cast from him all those evil and contrary Counsels which have in many particulars formerly mentioned, much detracted from the Honour of his Government, the Happiness of his own Estate, and Prosperity of his People.
And having past so many Dangers from abroad, so many Conspiracies at home, and brought on the publick Work so far, through the greatest Difficulties that ever stood in opposition to a Parliament, to such a degree of Success, that nothing seems to be left in our way able to hinder the full Accomplishment of our Desires and Endeavours for the publick Good; unless God in his Justice do send such a grievous Curse upon us, as to turn the Strength of the Kingdom against itself, and to effect that by their own Folly and Credulity, which the Power and Subtilty of their and our Enemies could not attain; that is, to divide the People from the Parliament, and to make them serviceable to the Ends and Aims of those who would destroy them. Therefore we desire the Kingdom to take notice of this last most desperate and mischievous Plot of the Malignant Party, that is acted and prosecuted in many parts of the Kingdom, under plausible Notions of stirring them up to a Care of preserving the King's Prerogative, maintaining the Discipline of the Church, upholding and continuing the Reverence and Solemnity of God's Service, and incouraging of Learning. And upon these Grounds divers mutinous Petitions have been framed in London, Kent, and other Counties; and sundry of his Majesty's Subjects have been sollicited to declare themselves for the King against the Parliament: and many false and foul Aspersions have been cast upon our Proceedings, as if we had been not only negligent, but averse in these Points: Whereas we desire nothing more than to maintain the Purity and Power of Religion, and to honour the King in all his just Prerogatives; and for Encouragement and Advancement of Piety and Learning, we have very earnestly endeavoured, and stil do to the utmost of our Power, that all Parishes may have learned, pious and sufficient Preachers, and all such Preachers competent Livings.
Many other Bills and Propositions are in preparation for the King's Profit and Honour, the People's Safety and Prosperity: In the Proceedings whereof, we are much hindred by his Majesty's Absence from the Parliament, which is altogether contrary to the Use of his Predecessors, and the Privileges of Parliament, whereby our Time is consumed by a multitude of unnecessary Messages, and our Innocency wounded by causeless and sharp Invectives. Yet we doubt not but we shall overcome all this at last, if the People suffer not themselves to be deluded with false and specious Shews, and so drawn to betray us to their own undoing, who have ever been willing to hazard the undoing of our selves, that they might not be betrayed by our Neglect of the Trust reposed in us: but if it were possible they should prevail herein, yet we would not fail through God's Grace still to persist in our Duties, and to look beyond our own Lives, Estates and Advantages, as those who think nothing worth the enjoying without the Liberty, Peace and Safety of the Kingdom; nor any thing too good to be hazarded in discharge of our Consciences, for the obtaining of it: and shall always repose our selves upon the Protection of Almighty God, which we are confident shall never be wanting to us (while we seek his Glory) as we have found it hitherto wonderfully going along with us in all our Proceedings.
Die Jovis 19 Maii, 1642,
His Majesty's Answer to a Book, Entituled, The Declaration or Remonstrance of the Lords and Commons of the 19th of May, 1642.
' If We could be weary of taking any Pains for the Satisfaction of Our People, and to undeceive them of those specious mischievous Infusions which are daily instilled into them, to shake and corrupt their Loyalty and Affection to Us and Our Government, after so full and ample Declaration of Our Self and Intentions, and so fair and satisfactory Answers to all such Matters as have been objected to Us by a major part present of both Houses of Parliament. We might well give over this Labour of Our Pen, and sit still till it shall please God so to enlighten the Affections and Understandings of Our good Subjects on Our behalf (which We doubt not but that in his good time he will do) that they may see Our Sufferings are their Sufferings. But since, instead of applying themselves to the Method proposed to Us, of making such solid particular Propositions as might establish a good Understanding between Us, or of following the Advice of Our Council of Scotland (with whom they communicate their Affairs) in forbearing all Means that might make the Breach wider and Wound deeper; they have chosen to pursue Us with new Reproaches, or rather to continue and improve the old, by adding and varying little Circumstances and Language, in Matters formerly urged by them, and fully answered by Us. We prevailed with Our Self, upon very mature and particular Consideration of it, to answer the late printed Book, intituled, A Declaration or Remonstrance of the Lords and Commons, which was ordered the 19th of May last to be printed and publish'd, hoping then that they would put Us to no more of this Trouble, but that that should have been the last of such a nature they would have communicated to Our People, and that they would not, as they have done since, thought sit to assault Us with a newer Declaration, indeed of a very new Nature and Learning, which must have another Answer. And We doubt not but that Our good Subjects in a short time will be so well instructed in the Differences and Mistakings between Us, that they will plainly discern, without resigning their Reason and Understanding to Our Prerogative, or the Infallibility of a now major part of both Houses of Parliament (infected by a few malignant Spirits) where the Fault is.
' Tho we shall with Humility and Alacrity be always forward to acknowledge the Infinite Mercy and Providence of Almighty God, vouchfased so many several ways to Our Self and this Nation; yet since God himself doth not allow that We should fancy and create Dangers to Our Self, that We might manifest and publish his Mercy in Our Deliverance, We must profess We do not know those Deliverances, mentioned in the beginning of that Declaration, from so many wicked Plots and Designs since the beginning of this Parliament, which if they had taken effect, would have brought Ruin and Destruction upon this Kingdom. We well know the great Labour and Skill hath been used to amaze and affright Our good Subjects with Fears and Apprehensions of Plots and Conspiracies, the several Pamphlets published, and Letters scattered up and down full of such ridiculous contemptible Animadversions to that purpose, as (tho they found, for what end God knows, very unusual Countenance) no sober Man could be moved with them. But We must confess, We have never been able to inform Our Self of any such pernicious formed Design against the Peace of this Kingdom, since the beginning of this Parliament, as is mentioned in that Declaration, or might be any Warrant to those great Fears both Our Houses of Parliament seemed to be transported with; but We have great Cause to believe more Mischief and Danger hath been raised and begotten to the Disturbance of this Kingdom, than cured or prevented by those Fears and Jealousies. And therefore, however the Rumour and Discourse of Plots and Conspiracies may have been necessary to the Designs of particular Men, they shall do well not to pay any false Devotions to Almighty God, who discerns whether Our Dangers are real or pretended.
' For the bringing up the Army to London, as We have heretofore (by no other Direction than the Testimony of a good Conscience) called God to witness, We never had, or knew any such Resolution; so that upon the View of the Depositions now published with that Declaration, it is not evident to Us there was ever such a Design, unless every loose Discourse or Argument be Instance enough of such a Design. And it is apparent, that what was said of it, was near three Months before the Discovery to both Houses of Parliament: so that if there were any Danger threatned that way, it vanished without any Resistance or Prevention, by the Wisdom, Power or Authority of them.
' It seems the Intention of that Declaration (whatsoever other end it hath) is to answer a Declaration they received from Us, in Answer to that which was presented to Us at Newmarket the 9th of March last; and likewise to Our Answer to the Petition of both Houses, presented to Us at York, the 26th of March last. But before that Declaration falls upon any Particulars of Our said Declaration or Answer, it complains, That the Heads of the Malignant Party have, with much Art and Industry, advised Us to suffer divers unjust Scandals and Imputations upon the Parliament, to be published in Our Name, whereby they might make it odious to the People, and by their help destroy it: But not instancing in any one Scandal or Imputation so published by Us, we are still to seek for the Heads of the Malignant Party. But Our good Subjects will easily understand, That if We were guilty of that Aspersion, We must not only be active in raising the Scandal, but passive in the Mischief begotten by that Scandal, We being an essential Part of the Parliament: and We hope the just Defence of Our Self and Our Authority, and the necessary Vindication of Our Innocence and Justice from the Imputation laid on Us by a major part then present of either or both Houses, shall no more be called a Scandal upon the Parliament, than the Opinion of such a Part be reputed an Act of Parliament. And We hope Our good Subjects will not be long misled by that common Expression in all the Declarations, wherein they usurp the Word Parliament, and apply it to countenance any Resolution or Vote some few have a mind to make, by calling it, The Resolution of Parliament, which can never be without Our Consent; neither can the Vote of either, or both Houses, make a greater Alteration in the Laws of this Kingdom (so solemnly made by the Advice of their Predecessors, with the Concurrence of Us and Our Ancestors) either by commanding or inhibiting any thing (besides the known Rule of the Law) than Our single Direction or Mandate can do, to which we do not ascribe the Authority.
' But that Declaration informs Our People, that the Malignant Party hath drawn Us into the Northern Parts far from Our Parliament. It might more truly and properly have said, that it hath driven, than drawn Us hither. For We confess Our Journey hither (for which We have no other reason to be sorry, than with reference to the Cause of it) was only forced upon Us by the true Malignant Party, which contrived and countenanced those barbarous Tumults and other seditious Circumstances, of which We have so often complained, and hereafter shall say more, and which indeed threatens so much Danger to Our Person, and laid so much Scandal upon the whole Privilege and Dignity of Parliament, that we wonder it can be mentioned without Blushes or Indignation: But of that anon. But why the Malignant Party should be charged with causing a Press to be transported to York, We cannot imagine; neither have any Papers or Writings issued from thence, to Our Knowledge, but what have been extorted from Us by such Provocations, as have not been before offered to a King. And no doubt it will appear a most trivial and fond Exception, when all Presses are open to vent whatsoever they think fit to say to the People, (a thing unwarranted by former Custom) that We should not make use of all lawful Means to publish Our just and necessary Answers thereunto. As for the Authority of the Great Seal (tho We do not know that it hath been necessary to things of this nature) the same shall be more frequently used hereafter, as occasion shall require; to which We make no doubt the greater and better part of Our Privy Council will concur, and whose Advice We are resolved to follow, as far as it shall be agreeable to the Good and Welfare of the Kingdom.
' Before that Declaration vouchsafes to insist on any Particulars, it is pleased to censure both Our Declaration and Answer, to be filled with harsh Censures, and causless Charges upon the Parliament (still misapplying the Word Parliament to the Vote of both Houses) concerning which they resolve to give satisfaction to the Kingdom, since they find it very difficult to satisfy us. If, as in the Usage of the Word Parliament, they have left us out of their Thoughts; so by the Word Kingdom, they intend to exclude all our People, who are out of their Walls; (for that's grown another Phrase of the Time, The Vote of the major Part of both Houses, and sometimes of one, is now called, The Resolution of the whole Kingdom) we believe it may not be hard to give Satisfaction to themselves; otherwise we are confident (and our Confidence proceeds from the Uprightness of our own Conscience) they will never be able so to fever the Affections of us and our Kingdom, that what cannot be Satisfaction to the one, shall be to the other. Neither will the Style of Humble and Faithful, and telling us, That they will make us a Great and Glorious King, in their Petitions and Remonstrances, so deceive our good Subjects, that they will pass over the Reproaches, Threats and Menaces, they are stussed with, which sure could not be more gently reprehended by us, than by saying, Their Expressions were different from the usual Language to Princes, which that Declaration tells you, we had no occasion to say. But we believe, whoever looks over that Declaration presented to us at Newmarket, to which ours was an Answer, will find the Language throughout it, to be so unusual, that, before this, Parliament, it could never be parallel'd, whilst under pretence of justifying their Fears, they give so much Countenance to the Discourse of the Rebels of Ireland, as if they had a mind our good Subjects should give credit to it; otherwise, being warranted by the same Evidence, which they have since published, they would have as well declared, That those Rebels publickly threaten the rooting out the Name of the English, and that they will have a King of their own, and no longer be governed by us; as that they say, That they do nothing but by our Authority, and that they call themselves, The Queen's Army. And therefore we have great reason to complain of the absence of Justice and Integrity in that Declaration, besides the Unfitness of other Expressions. Neither did we mistake the Substance or Logick of the Message to us at Theobalds, concerning the Militia, which was no other, and is stated to be no other (even by that Declaration which reproved us) than a plain Threat, That if we refused to join with them, they would make a Law without us. Not hath the Practice since that been other, which will never be justified to the most ordinary (if not partial) Understandings, by the mere averring it to be according to the Fundamental Laws of this Kingdom, without giving any direction, that the most cunning and learned Men in the Laws may be able to find those Foundations. And we must appeal to all the World, Whether they might not with as much Justice, and by as much Law, have seized upon the Estate of every Member of both Houses, who dissented from that pretended Ordinance, (which much the major part of the House of Peers did two or three several times) as they have invaded that Power of ours over the Militia, because we (upon Reasons they have not so much as pretended to answer) refuse to consent to that Proposition: And if no better effects than Loss of Time, and Hinderance of the publick Affairs, have been found by our Answers and Replies, let all good Men judge, by whose Default, and whose want of Duty such Effects have been: For as our End (indeed only End) in those Answers and Replies hath been the Settlement and Composure of publick Affairs, so we are assured, and most Men do believe, That if that due Regard and Reverence had been given to our Words, and that Consent and Obedience to our Counsels, which we did expect, there had been before this time a chearful Calm upon the Face of the whole Kingdom, every Man enjoying his own, with all possible Peace and Security that can be imagined; which surely those Men do not desire, who (after all those Acts of Justice and Favour passed by us this Parliament, all those Affronts and Sufferings endured and undergone by us) think fit still to reproach us with Ship-money, Coat and Conduct-money, and other things so abundantly declared (as that Declaration it self confesses) in the general Remonstrance of the State of the Kingdom, published in November last, which we wonder to find now avowed to be the Remonstrance of both Houses, and which we assure was presented to us only by the House of Commons; and did never, and we are confident, in that time, could never have passed the House of Peers; the Concurrence and Authority of which was not then thought necessary. Shall we believe those Reproaches to be the Voice of the Kingdom of England? That all our loving Subjects, eased, refreshed, strengthned, and abundantly satisfy'd with our Acts of Grace and Favour towards them, are willing to be involved in these unthankful Expressions? We must appeal to the Thanks and Acknowledgments published in the Petitions of most of the Counties of England, to the Testimony and Thanks we have received from both Houses of Parliament, how seasonable, how agreeable this Usage of us is to our Merit, or their former Expressions.
' We have not at all swerved or departed from our Resolution, or Words, in the beginning of this Parliament. We said, we were resolved to put ourself freely and clearly upon the Love and Affection of our English Subjects; and we say so still, as far as concerns England. And we call Almighty God to witness all our Complaints and Jealousies, which have never been causeless, not of our Houses of Parliament, (but of some few schismatical, factious and ambitious Spirits, and upon such Grounds, as short time, we fear, will justify to the World) our Denial of the Militia, our absenting our self from London, have been the Effects of an upright and faithful Affection to our English Subjects, that we may be able (through all the Inconveniences we are compelled to wrestle with) at last to preserve and restore their Religion, Laws and Liberties unto them.
' Since the Proceeding against the Lord Kimbolton, and the five Members, is still looked upon, and so often pressed as so great an Advantage against us, that no Retracttation made by us, nor no Actions since that time committed against us, and the Law of the Land, under the pretence of Vindication of Privilege, can satisfy the Contrivers of that Declaration, but that they would have our good Subjects believe, the Accusation of those six Members must be a Plot for the breaking the Neck of the Parliament, (a strange Arrogance, if any of those Members had the penning of that Declaration) and that it is so \?\ urged against us, as if by that single casual Mistake of ours (in Form only) we had forfeited all Duty, Credit and Allegiance from our People; We must, without endeavouring to excuse that, which in truth was an Error (our going to the House of Commons) give our People a clear and full Narration of the Matter of Fact, assuring our self, that our good Subjects will not find our Carriage in that Business, such as hath been reported.
' When we resolved upon such Grounds, as when they shall be published, will satisfy the World, that it was fit for our own Safety and Honour, and the Peace of the Kingdom, to proceed against those Persons; tho we well know there was no degree of Privilege in that Case, yet (to shew our Desire of Correspondency with the two Houses of Parliament) we chose, rather than to apprehend their Persons by the ordinary Ministers of Justice, (which, according to the Opinion and Practice of former Times, we might have done) to command our Attorney-General to acquaint our House of Peers with our Intention, and the general Matters of our Charge, (which was yet more particular than a mere Accusation) and to proceed accordingly; and at the same time sent a sworn Servant, a Serjeant at Arms, to our House of Commons, to acquaint them, That we did accuse, and intended to prosecute the five Members of that House for High-Treason, and did require that their Persons might be secured in Custody. This we did, not only to shew that we intended not to violate or invade their Privileges, but to use more Ceremony towards them, than we then conceived in Justice might be required of us; and expected at least such an Answer as might inform us, if we were out of the way: But we received none at all; only in the instant, without offering any thing of their Privileges to our Consideration, an Order was made, (and the same Night published in Print) That if any Person whatsoever should offer to arrest the Person of any Member of that House, without first acquainting that House therewith, and receiving further Order from that House, That it should be lawful for such Members, or any Person to resist them, and to stand upon his or their Guard of Defence, and to make resistance according to the Procestation taken to defend the Privileges of Parliament. And this was the first time that we heard the Protestation might be wrested to such a Sense; or than in any Case (though of the most undoubted and unquestionable Privilege) it might be lawful for any Person to resist, and use Violence against a publick Minister of Justice, armed with lawful Authority, though we well knew, that even such a Minister might be punished for executing such Authority.
' Upon viewing this Order, we must confess we were somewhat amazed, having never seen or heard of the like, though we had known Members of either House committed without so much Formality as we had used and upon Crimes of a far inferiour Nature to those we had suggested; and having no Course proposed to us for our proceeding, we were upon the Matter only told, That against those Persons we were not to proceed at all: That they were above our Reach, or the Reach of the Law. It was then not easy for us to resolve what to do. If we imployed our Ministers of Justice in the usual way for their Apprehension, (who without doubt would not have refused to execute our lawful Commands) we saw what Resistance and Opposition was like to be made, which very probably might cost some Blood. If we sat still, and desisted upon this Terror, we should at the best have confessed our own Want of Power, and the Weakness of the Law. In this Strait we put on a sudden Resolution to try whether our own Presence, and a clear Discovery of our Intentions (which haply might not have been so well understood) could remove those Doubts, and prevent those Inconveniences which seemed to have been threaten'd; and thereupon we resolved to go in our own Person to our House of Commons, which we discovered not till the very Minute of our going; when we sent out Orders, That our Servants, and such Gentlemen as were then in our Court, should attend us to Westminster: But giving them express Command, (as we have expressed in our Answer to the Ordinance) that no Accidents of Provocation should draw them to any such Action as might imply a Purpose of Force in us; and our self (requiring those of our Train not to come within the Door) went into the House of Commons: The bare doing of which, we did not then conceive would have been thought more a Breach of Privilege, than if we had gone to the House of Peers, and sent for them to come to us, which is the usual Custom. We used the best Expressions we could, to assure them how far we were from any Intention of violating their Privileges; That we intended to proceed legally and speedily against the Persons we had accused, and desired therefore, if they were in the House, that they might be delivered to us; or if absent, that such a Course might be taken for their forth-coming, as might satisfy our just Demands: and so we departed, having no other purpose of Force, if they had been in the House, than we have before protested before God, in our Answer to the Ordinance. You have an account of our part of this Story fully, let our People judge freely of it. What followed on their part, (tho this Declaration tells you, It could not withdraw any Part of their Reverence and Obedience from us; it may be any part of theirs it did not) we shall have too much Cause hereafter to inform the World.
' There will be no end of this Discourse, and of upbraiding us with evil Counsellors, if upon our constant denial of knowing any, they will not vouchfase to inform us of them; and after eight Months amusing the Kingdom with the Expectation of a Discovery of a Malignant Party, and of evil Counsellors, they will not at last name any, nor describe them. Let the Actions and Lives of Men be examined, who have contrived, counselled, actually consented to grieve and burden our People: and if such be about us, or any against whom any notorious malicious Crime can be proved; if we shelter and protect any such, let our Injustice be published to the World: but till that be done, particularly and manifestly, (for we shall never conclude any Man, upon a bare general Vote of the major Part of either, or both Houses, till it be evident that major Part be without Passion or Affectioon) we must look upon the Charge this Declaration puts on us, of cherishing and countenancing a discontented Party of the Kingdom against them, as a heavier and unjuster Tax upon our Justice and Honour, than any we have, or can lay upon the Framers of that Declaration.
' And now, to countenance those unhandsom Expressions, whereby usually they have implied our Connivance at, or want of Zeal against the Rebellion of Ireland (so odious to all good Men) they have found a new way of Exprobration; That the Proclamation against those bloody Traytors came not out till the beginning of January, though that Rebellion broke out in October; 'and then by Special Command from us, but forty Copies were appointed to be printed. 'Tis well known where we were at that time, when that Rebellion brake forth in Scotland; That we immediately from thence recommended the Care of that Business to both Houses of Parliament here, after we had provided for all sitting Supplies from our Kingdom of Scotland: That after our Return hither, we observed all those Forms for that Service, which we were advised to by our Council of Ireland, or both Houses of Parliament here; and if no Proclamation issued out sooner, (of which for the present we are not certain, but think that others before that time were issued by our Directions) it was, because the Lords Justices of the Kingdom desired them no sooner; and when they did, the Number they desired was but Twenty, which they advised might be signed by us; which we, for Expedition of the Service, commanded to be printed, (a Circumstance not required by them) thereupon we signed more of them than our Justices desired. All which was very well known to some Members of one or both Houses of Parliament, who have the more to answer, if they forbore to express it at the passing of this Declaration; and if they did express it, we have the greater Reason to complain, that so envious an Aspersion should be cast on us to our People, when they knew well how to answer their own Objection.
' What that Complaint is against the Parliament, put forth in our Name, which is such an Evidence and Countenance to the Rebels, and speaks the same Language of the Parliament which the Rebels do, we cannot understand. All our Answers and Declarations have been, and are owned by us, and have been attested under our own Hand; if any other had been published in our Name, and without our Authority, it would be easy for both Houses of Parliament to discover and apprehend the Authors. And we wish, that whosoever was trusted with the drawing and penning of that Declaration, had no more Authority or Cunning to impose upon, or deceive a major Part of those Votes by which it passed, than any Man hath to prevail with us to publish in our Name any thing but the Sense and Resolution of our own Heart: Or, that the Contriver of that Declaration could, with as good a Conscience, call God to witness, That all his Counsels and Endeavours have been free from all private Aims, personal Respects or Passions whatsoever, as we have done, and do, That we never had or knew of any such Resolution of bringing up the Army to London. And since this new Device is found out, instead of answering our Reasons, or satisfying our just Demands, to blast our Declarations and Answers, as if they were not our own (a bold senseless Imputation) we are sure, that every Answer and Declaration published by us, is much more our own, than any one of those bold, threatning and reproachful Petitions and Remonstrances are the Acts of either, or both Houses. And if the Penner of that Declaration had been careful of the Trust reposed in him, he would never have denied, (and thereupon found fault with our just Indignation) in the Text or Margin, that we never had been charged with the Intention of any Force: and that in their whole Declaration there is no Word tending to such a Reproach: the contrary whereof is so evident, that we are in express Terms charged in that Declaration, That we sent them gracious Messages, when, with our Privity, bringing up the Army was in agitation. And even in this Declaration they seek to make our People believe some such thing to be proved in the Depositions now published, wherein, we doubt not, they will as much fail, as they do in their Censure of that Petition shewed formerly to us by Captain Legg, and subscribed by us with C. R. which, notwithstanding our full and particular Narration of the Substance of that Petition, the Circumstances of our seeing and approving it, this Declaration is pleased to say, was full of Scandal to the Parliament, and might have proved dangerous to the whole Kingdom. If they have this dangerous Petition in their Hands, we have no Reason to believe any Tenderness to us-ward hath kept them from communicating it: If they have it not, we ought to have been believed. But that all good People may compute their other pretended Dangers by their clear understanding of this, the Noise whereof hath not been inferiour to any of the rest, we have recovered a true Copy of the very Petition we signed with C. R. which shall in fit time be published; and which, we hope, will open the Eyes of our good People.
' We complained in our Declaration, and as often as we have Occasion to mention our Return and Residence near London, we shall complain of the barbarous and seditious Tumults at Westminster and White-hall, which indeed were so full of Scandal to our Government, and Danger to our Person, that we shall never think of our Return thither, till we have Justice for what is past, and Security for the time to come. And if there were so great a Necessity, or Desire of our Return, as is pretended, in all this time, upon so often pressing our Desires, and upon Causes so notorious, we should at least have procured some Order for the future. But that Declaration tells us, we are upon the Matter mistaken; the Resort of the Citizens to Westminster was as lawful as the Resort of great Numbers every Day in the Term to the ordinary Courts of Justice. They knew no Tumults. Strange! was the disorderly Appearance of so many thousand People with Staves and Swords crying through the Streets, Westminster-hall, the Passage between both Houses (insomuch as the Members could hardly pass to and fro) No Bishops, Down with the Bishops; no Tumults? What Member is there of either House that saw not those Numbers, and heard not those Cries? and yet lawful Assemblies! Were not several Members of either House assaulted, threatned and ill-treated? and yet no Tumults! Why made the House of Peers a Declaration, and sent it down to the House of Commons for the suppressing of Tumults, if there were no Tumults? and if there were any, why was not such a Declaration consented to and published? When the Attempts were so visible, and the Threats so loud to pull down the Abby at Westminster, had we not just cause to apprehend, that such People might continue their Work to White-hall ? Yet no Tumults! What a strange time are we in! that a few impudent, malicious (to give them no worse Term) Men should cast such a strange Mist of Error before the Eyes of both Houses of Parliament, as that they either cannot, or will not see how manifestly they injure themselves by maintaining these visible Untruths? We say no more. By the help of God and the Law, we will have Justice for those Tumults.
' From excepting (how weightily let every Man judge) to what we have said, that Declaration proceeds to censure us for what we have not said, for the prudent Omissions in our Answer: We forbore to say any thing of the Words spoken at Kensington, or the Articles against our dearest Confort, and of the Accusation of the six Members: Of the last we had spoken often, and we thought enough of the other two; having never accused any (tho God knows what Truth there might be in either) we had no reason to give any particular Answer.
' We do not reckon our self bereaved of any part of our Prerogative, which we are pleased freely for a time to part with by Bill; yet we must say, we expressed a great Trust in our Two Houses of Parliament, when we devested our self of the Power of dissolving this Parliament, which was a just, necessary and proper Prerogative: But we are glad to hear their Resolution, that it shall not encourage them to do any thing, which otherwise had not been fit to have been done; if it do, it will be such a Breach of Trust, as God will require an Account for at their hands.
' For the Militia, we have said so much of it heretofore, and the Point is so well understood by all Men, that we will waste time no more in that Dispute. We never said there was no such thing as an Ordinance (though we know that they have been long difused) but that there never was any Ordinance, or can be without the King's Consent; and that is true: and the unnecessary Precedent cited in the Declaration doth not offer to prove the contrary. But enough of that; God and the Law must determine that Business.
' Neither hath this Declaration given us any Satisfaction concerning the Votes of the 15th and 16th of March last, which we must declare, and appeal to all the World in the Point, to be the greatest Violation of our Privilege, the Law of the Land, the Liberty of the Subject, and the Right of Parliament, that can be imagined. One of those Votes is, (and there needs no other to destroy the King and People) That when the Lords and Commons (it is well the Commons are admitted to their part in Judicature) shall declare what the Law of the Land is, the same must be assented to, and obeyed; that is the Sense in few Words. Where is every Man's Property, every Man's Liberty? If a major Part of both Houses declare that the Law is, that the younger Brother shall inherit, What is become of all the Families and Estates in the Kingdom? If they declare, That by the Fundamental Law of the Land, such a rash Action, such an unadvised Word ought to be punished by perpetual Imprisonment, is not the Liberty of the Subject, durante placito, remediless? That Declaration confesseth, They pretend not to Power of making new Laws, that without us they cannot do that. They need no such Power, if their Declaration can suspend this Statute from being obeyed or executed, and make this Order, which is no Statute, to be obeyed and executed. If they have Power to declare the Lord Digby waiting on us to Hampton-Court, and thence visiting some Officers at Kingston, with a Coach and six Horses, to be levying of War, and High Treason; and Sir John Hotham 's defying us to our Face, keeping our Town, Fort and Goods against us by Force of Arms, to be an Act of Affection and Loyalty, what needs a Power of making new Laws? Or, is there such a thing as Law left? We desire our good Subjects to mark the Reason and Consequence of these Votes, the Progress they have already made, and how infinite that Progress may be. First, They vote the Kingdom is in eminent Danger (it is above three Months since they discerned it) from Enemies abroad, and a Popish and discontented Party at home: that is Matter of Fact, the Law follows. This Vote hath given them Authority by Law (the Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom) to order and dispose of the Militia of the Kingdom, and with this Power, and to prevent that Danger, to enter into our Towns, seize upon our Magazine, and by force keep both from us. Is not this our Case? First, They vote we have an Intention to levy War against our Parliament; that is Matter of Fact: Then they declare, such as shall assist us, to be guilty of High-Treason; that is the Law, and proved by two Statutes themseves know to be repealed: no matter for that, they declare it. Upon this Ground they exercise the Militia, and so actually do that upon us, which they have voted we intend to do upon them. Who doth doth not see the Confusion that must follow upon such a Power of declaring? If they should now vote, That we did not write this Declaration, but that such an one did it, which is still Matter of Fact; and then declare, That for so doing he is an Enemy to the Commonwealth: What is become of the Law that Man was born to? And if all their Zeal for the Defence of the Law, be but to defend that which they declare to be Law, their own Votes, it will not be in their Power to satisfy any Man of their good Intentions to the publick Peace, but such who are willing to relinquish their Titles to Magna Charta, and hold their Lives and Fortunes by a Vote of a major Part of both Houses. In a word, we deny not but they may have Power to declare in a particular doubtful Case regularly brought before them, what Law is; but to make a general Declaration, whereby the known Rule of the Law may be crossed or altered, they have no Power, nor can exercise any, without bringing the Life and Liberty of the Subject to a lawless and arbitrary Subjection.
' We complained (and let the World judge the Justice and Necessity of that Complaint) of the Multitude of seditious Pamphlets and Sermons. And that Declaration tells us, They know we have Ways enough in our ordinary Courts of Justice to punish those; so we have to punish Tumults and Riots, and yet they will not serve our turn to keep our Towns, our Forests and Parks from Violence. And it may be, though those Courts have still the Power to punish, they may have lost the Skill to define what Riots and Tumults are; otherwise a Jury in Southwark, legally impannelled to examine a Riot there, would not have been superseded, and the Sheriff enjoyned not to proceed, by virtue of an Order of the House of Commons, which it seems at that time had the sole Power of declaring. But it is no wonder, that they who could not see the Tumults, do not consider the Pamphlets and Sermons, though the Author of the Protestation Protected, be well known to be Burton (that infamous Disturber of the Peace of this Church and State) and that he preached it at Westminster, in the hearing of divers Members of the House of Commons: But of such Pamphlets, and seditious Preachers (divers whereof have been recommended, if not imposed upon several Parishes, by some Members of both Houses, by what Authority we know not) we shall hereafter take a further Account.
' We confess we have little Skill in the Laws, and those that have had most, we now find are much to seek: Yet we cannot understand or believe that every ordinary Court, or any Court, hath Power to raise what Guard they please, and under what Command they please; neither can we imagine what dangerous Effects they found by the Guard we appointed them, or (indeed) any the least Occasion why they needed a Guard at all.
' But of all the Imputations so causlesly and unjustly laid upon us by that Declaration, we must wonder at that Charge so apparently and evidently untrue, That such are continually preferred and countenanced by us, who are Friends or Favourers, or related to the chief Authors and Actors of that Arbitrary Power heretofore practised or complained of. And on the other side, that such as did appear against it, are daily discountenanced and disgraced. We would know one Person that contributed to the Ills of those Times, or had Dependance upon those that did, whom we do, or lately have countenanced or preferred. Nay, we are confident (and we look for no other at their Hands) as they have been always most eminent Assertors of the publick Liberties; so, if they found us inclined to any thing not agreeable to Honour and Justice, they would leave us to morrow: whether different Persons have not, and do not receive Countenance elsewhere, and upon what Grounds, let all Men judge: and whether we have not been forward enough to honour and prefer those of the most contrary Opinion, how little Comfort soever we have had of those Preferments; in bestowing of which hereafter we shall be more guided by Mens Actions and Opinions. And therefore we had good cause to bestow that Admonition (for we assure you it was an Admonition of our own) upon both our Houses of Parliament, to take heed of inclining (under the specious Shews of Necessity and Danger) to the Exercise of such an Arbitrary Power they before complained of: The Advice will do no harm, and we shall be glad to see it followed.
' And are all the specious Promises, and loud Professions of making us a great and glorious King, of settling a greater Revenue upon us than any of our Ancestors have enjoyed; of making us to be honoured at home, and feared abroad; resolved into this, that they will be ready to settle our Revenue in an honourable Proportion, when we shall put our self in such a Posture of Government that our Subjects may be secure to enjoy our just Protection for their Religion, Laws and Liberties? What Posture of Government they intend, we know not; nor can we imagine what Security our good Subjects can desire for their Religion, Laws and Liberties, which we have not offered, or fully given? And is it sutable to the Duty and Dignity of both Houses of Parliament to answer our particular weighty Expressions of the Causes of our Remove from London (so generally known to the Kingdom) with a Scoff, That they hope we were driven from thence, not by our own Fears, but by the Fears of the Lord Digby, and his Retinue of Cavaliers? Sure the Penner of that Declaration inserted that ungrave and insolent Expression (as he hath done divers others) without the Consent or Examination of both Houses, who would not so lighty have departed from their former Professions of Duty to us.
' Whether the way to a good Understanding between us and our People, hath been as zealously pressed by them, as it hath been professed and desired by us, will be easily discerned by those who observe, that we have left no publick Act undone on our part, which in the least degree might be necessary to the Peace, Plenty and Security of our Subjects, and that they have not dispatched one Act which hath given the least evidence of their particular Affection and Kindness to us; but on the contrary, have discountenanced and hindred the Testimony other Men would give to us of their Affections; witness the stopping and keeping back the Bill of Subsidies granted by the Clergy almos a Year since; which, though our personal Wants are so notoriously known, they will not to this time pass: so not only forbearing to supply us themselves, but keeping the Love and Bounty of other Men from us, and afford no other Answers to all our Desires, all our Reasons (indeed not to be answered) than, That we must not make our Understanding or Reason the Rule of our Government, but suffer our self to be assisted (which we never denied) by our great Council. We require no other Liberty to our Will, than the meanest of them do, (we wish they would always use that Liberty) not to consent to any thing evidently contrary to our Conscience and Understanding; and we have, and shall always give as much Estimation and Regard to the Advice and Counsel of both our Houses of Parliament, as ever Prince hath done: But we shall never (and we hope our People will never) account the Contrivance of a few (factious seditious Persons, a malignant Party, who would sacrifice the Commonwealth to their own Fury and Ambition) the Wisdom of Parliament: And that the justifying and defending such Persons, (of whctm, and of their particular sinister Ways to compass their own bad Ends, we shall shortly inform the World) is not the way to preserve Parliaments, but is the opposing and preferring the Consideration of a few unworthy Persons, before their Duty to their King, or their Care of the Kingdom. They would have us remember that our Resolutions do concern Kingdoms, and therefore are not to be moulded by our own Understanding: We well remember it, but we would have them remember, That when their Consultations endeavour to lessen the Office and Dignity of a King, they meddle with that which is not within their Determination, and of which we must give an account to God and our other Kingdoms, and must maintain with the Sacrifice of our Life.
' Lastly, That Declaration tells you of a present desperate and malicious Plot of the Malignant Party now acting, under the plausible Notions of stirring Men up to a Care of preserving the King's Prerogative, maintaining the Discipline of the Church, upholding and continuing the Reverence and Solemnity of God's Service, and encouraging Learning, (indeed plausible and honourable Notions to act any thing upon) and that upon these Grounds divers mutinous Petitions have been framed in London, Kent, and other Places. Upon what Grounds would these Men have Petitions framed? Have so many Petitions (even against the Form and Constitution of the Kingdom, and the Laws established) been joyfully received and accepted? and shall Petitions framed upon these Grounds be called Mutinous? Hath a Multitude of mean, unknown, inconsiderable, contemptible Persons about the City and Suburbs of London, had Liberty to petition against the Government of the Church, against the Book of Common-Prayer, against the Freedom and Privilege of Parliament, and been thanked for it? And shall it be called Mutiny in the gravest and best Citizens of London, in the Gentry and Commonalty of Kent, to frame Petitions upon these Grounds, and to desire to be governed by the known Laws of the Land, not by Orders and Votes of either, or both Houses? Can this be thought the Wisdom and Justice of both Houses of Parliament? Is it not evidently the Work of a Faction within or without both Houses, who deceive the Trust reposed in them, and have now told us what Mutiny is? To stir up Men to a Care of preserving our Prerogative, maintaining the Discipline of the Church, upholding and continuing the Reverence and Solemnity of God's Service, encouraging of Learning, is Mutiny. Let Heaven and Earth, God and Man, judge between us and these Men. And however such Petitions are there called Mutinous, and the Petitioners threatned, discountenanced, censured and imprisoned; if they bring such lawful Petitions to us, we will graciously receive them, and defend them and their Rights against what power soever, with the uttermost Hazard of our Being.
' We have been the longer (to our very great Pain) in this Answer, that we might give the World Satisfaction, even in the most trivial Particulars which have been objected against us; and that we may not again be reproached with any more prudent Omissions. If we have been compelled to sharper Language than we affect, let it be considered how vile, how insufferable our Provocations have been: And except to repel Force be to assault, and to give punctual and necessary Answer to rough and insolent Demands, be to make invectives, we are confident the World will accuse us of too much Mildness, and all our good Subjects will think we are not well dealt with, and will judge of us, and of their own Happiness and Security in us, by our Actions; which we desire may no longer prosper, or have a Blessing from God upon them and us, than they shall be directed to the Glory of God, in the maintenance of the true Protestant Profession, to the Preservation of the Property and the Liberty of the Subject, in the Observation of the Laws, and to the Maintenance of the Rights and Freedom of Parliament, in the Allowance and Protection of all their just Privileges.
The Right Honourable John Earl of Bristol, his Speech in Parliament, Maii 20, 1642. for an Accommodation.
I Have spoken so often upon the Subject of Accommodation, with so little Acceptance, and so ill Success, that it was in my Intention not to have made any further Essay in this kind: but my Zeal to the Peace and Happiness of this Kingdom, and my Apprehensions of the near approaching of our unspeakable Miseries and Calamities, suffer me not to be Master of my own Resolutions.
Certainly this Kingdom hath at all times many Advantages over the other Monarchies of Europe; as of Situation, of Plenty, of rich Commodities, of Power both by Sea and Land; but more particularly at this time, when all our neighbouring States are by their several Interests so involved in War, and with such Equality of Power, that there is not much likelihood of their mastering one another, nor of having their Differences easily compounded: And thereby we being only admitted to all Trades, and to all Places, Wealth and Plenty (which ever follow where Trade flourisheth) are in a manner cast upon us.
Queen Elizabeth was a Princess disadvantaged by her Sex, by her Age, and chiefly by her want of Issue: Yet if we shall consider the great Effects which were wrought upon most of the States of Christendom by this Nation, under her prudent Government, (the Growth of the Monarchy of Spain chiefly by her impeached; the United Provinces by her protected; the French in their greatest Miseries relieved; most of the Princes of Germany kept in high Respect and Reverence towards her and this Kingdom, and the Peace and Tranquillity wherein this Kingdom flourished, and which hath been continued down unto us by the peaceable Government of King James of blessd Memory, and of his now Majesty, until these late unhappy Interruptions) we cannot but judge this Nation equally capable with any other, of Honour, Happiness and Plenty.
Now, if instead of this happy Condition, on which we have been, and might be, upon a sober and impartial Enquiry, we shall find our selves to have been for some few Years last past involved in so many Troubles and Distractions, and at the present to be reduced to the very Brink of Miseries and Calamities; it is high time for us to consider by what means we have been brought into them, and by what means it is most probable we may be brought out of them.
This Kingdom never enjoyed so universal a Peace, neither hath it any visible Enemy in the whole World, either Insidel or Christian. Our Enemies are only of our own House, such as our own Dissensions, Jealousies and Distractions have raised up: And certainly where they are found (especially betwixt a King and his People) no other Cause of the Unhappiness and Misery of a State need to be fought after; for civil Discord is a plentiful Source, from whence all Miseries and Mischiefs flow into a Kingdom.
The Scripture telleth us of the Strength of a little City united, and of the Instability of a Kingdom divided within it self. So that upon a prudent Enquiry we may assign our own Jealousies and Discords, for the chief Cause of our past and present Troubles, and of our future Fears. It must be confessed, that by the Counsel and Conduct of Evil Ministers, the Subject had cause to think their Just Liberties invaded; and from thence have our former Distempers grown: For it is in the Body Politick of a Monarchy, as in the natural Body, the Health whereof is defined to be, Partium corporus aqua temperies, an equal Temper of the Parts. So likewise, a State is well in Health, and well disposed, when Sovereign Power and common Right are equally ballanced and kept in an even Temper by justt and equitable Rules.
And truly (my Lord) the Goodness of his Majesty, and by the prudent Endeavour of the Parliament, this State is almost reduced to that equal and even Temper, and our Sickness is rather continued out of Fancy and Conceit (I mean Fears and Jealousies) than out of any real Distemper or Defect.
I well remember, That before the beginning of this Parliament, some noble Lords presented a Petition unto the King, and in that Petition did set down all or most of the Grievances and Distempers of the Kingdom which then occurred to them. To these (as I conceive) the Parliament have procured from his Majesty such Redresses as are to their good Satisfaction.
Many other things, for the Ease, Security and Comfort of the Subject, have been, by their great Industry, found and propounded, and by his Majesty's Goodness condescended unto. And now we are come so near the Happiness of being the most free and most settled Nation in the Christian World, our Dangers and Miseries will grow greater and nearer unto us every Day than other, if they be not prevented.
The King, on his part, offereth to concur with us in the settling of all the Liberties and Immunities, either for the Property of our Goods, or Liberty of our Persons, which we have received from our Ancestors, or which himself hath granted unto us: And what shall yet remain for the Good and Comfort of his Subjects, he is willing to hearken to all our just and reasonable Propositions: And for the establishing the true Protestant Religion, he woos us to it; and the Wisdom and Industry of the Parliament hath now put it in a hopeful way.
The Rule of his Government, he professeth, shall be the Laws of the Kingdom; and for the comforting and securing of as, he offereth a more large and more general Pardon than hath been granted by any of his Predecessors. And truly, my Lords, this is all that ever was, or can be pretended unto by us.
We, on the other side, make Profession, That we intend to make his Majesty a Glorious King, to endeavour to support his Dignity, and to pay unto him that Duty and Obedience, which by our Allegiance, several Oaths, and late Protestation we owe unto him, and to maintain all his just Regalities and Prerogatives, which I conceive to be as much as his Majesty will expect from us.
So that, my Lords, we (being both thus reciprocally agreed, of that which in the general would make both the King and the People happy) shall be most unfortunate, if we shall not bring both Inclinations and Endeavours, so to propound and settle Differences, as both King and People may know what will give them mutual Satisfaction, which certainly must be the first Step to the setting a right Understanding betwixt them; and in this I should not conceive any great Difficulty, if it were once put into a way of Preparation: But the greatest Difficulty may seem to be, how that which may be settled and agreed upon may be secured. This is commonly the last Point in Treaties betwixt Princes, and of the greatest Niceness: but much more betwixt a King and his Subjects, where that Confidence and Belief which should be betwixt them, is once lost. And to speak clearly, I fear that this may be our Case; and herein may consist the chiefest Difficulty of Accommodation: for it is much easier to compose Differences arising from Reason, yea even from Wrongs, than it is to satisfy Jealousies, which arising out of Diffidence and Distrust, grow, and are varied upon every Occasion.
But, my Lords, if there be no Endeavours to allay and remove them, they will every Day encrease and gather Strength; nay, they are already grown to that height, and the mutual Replies are in those direct Terms of Opposition, that if we make not a present Stop, it is to be feared it will speedily pass further than verbal Contestations.
I observe in some of his Majesty's Answers a Civil War spoken of; I confess it is a Word of Horror to me who have been an Eye-witness of those unexpressible Calamities, that in a short time the most plentiful and flourishing Countries of Europe have been brought into by an intestine War.
I further observe, That his Majesty protesteth against the Miseries that may ensue by a War, and that he is clear of them. It is true, that a Protestation of that kind is no actual denouncing of War, but it is the very next degree to it, ultima Admonitio, as the Civilians term it, the last Admonition: so that we are upon the very Brink of our Miseries; it is better keeping out of them, than getting out of them: And in a State, the Wisdom of Prevention is infinitely beyond the Wisdom of Remedies. If, for the Sins of this Nation, these Misunderstandings should produce the least Act of Hostility, it is not almost to be believed how impossible it were to put any Stay to our Miseries: For a Civil War admits of none of those Conditions, or Quarter, by which Cruelty and Blood are, amongst other Enemies, kept from Extremities: Nay, if it should but so happen, (which God of his Goodness avert) that mutually Forces and Armies should be raised, Jealousies and Fears would be so much increased thereby, that any Accommodation would be rendred full of Difficulty and Length; and by the very Charge of maintaining them, (whilst after a Cessation of Arms, and then a general Accommodation were in treating) the Wealth of the Kingdom would be consumed.
And of this we had lately a costly Example: For in those unhappy Troubles betwixt us and Scotland, after there was a Stop made to any further Acts of Hostility, and a Desire of Peace expressed on both Sides, Commissioners nominated, and all the Articles propounded, yet the keeping of the Armies together for our several Securities (whilst the Cessation at Rippon, and the Peace at London were in treating) cost this Kingdom not much less than a Million of Pounds. And if two Armies be once on foot here in England, either a sudden Encounter must destroy one of them, or the keeping of them both on foot, must destroy the Kingdom.
I hope therefore we shall make it our Endeavour, by Moderation and Calmness, yet to put a Stay to our so near approaching Miseries; and that we shall hearken to the wife Advice of our Brethren of Scotland, in their late Answer to the King and Parliament, wherein they earnestly intreat us, 'That all Means may be forborn which may make the Breach wider, and the Wound deeper; and that no place be given to the evil Spirit of Division, which at such times worketh incessantly, and resteth not; but that the fairest, the most christian and compendious way may be taken by so wife a King and Parliament, as may (against all Malice and Opposition) make his Majesty and his Posterity more glorious, and his Kingdom more happy than ever.' And in another Place they say, 'That since the Parliament have thought meet to draw the Practice of the Parliament of Scotland into Example, in point of Declaration; they are confident that the Affection of the Parliament will lead them also to the Practice of that Kingdom, in composing the unhappy Differences betwixt his Majesty and them; and (so far as may consist with their Religion, Liberties and Laws) in giving his Majesty all Satisfaction, especially in their tender Care of his Royal Person, and of his Princely Greatness and Authority.
Certainly, my Lords, this is wise and brotherly Advice; and I doubt not but we are all desirous to follow it. We must not then still dwell upon Generals, (for Generals produce nothing) but we must put this Business into a certain way, whereby Particulars may be descended unto. And the way I shall offer with all Humility, is, That there may be a select Committee of choice Persons of both Houses, who may, in the first place, truly state and set down all things in Difference betwixt the King and the Subject, with the most probable Ways of reconciling them. Secondly, To descend into Particulars, which may be expected by each from other, either in point of our supporting of him, or his relieving of us. And, lastly, how all these Conditions, being agreed upon, may be so secured, as may stand with the Honour of his Majesty, and the Satisfaction of the Subject.
When such a Committee shall have drawn up the Heads of the Propositions, and the Way of securing them, they may be presented unto the Houses, and so offered unto his Majesty, by such a way as the Parliament shall judge most probable to produce an Accommodation.
My Lords, what I have yet said unto you, hath been chiefly grounded upon the Apprehensions and Fears of our future Dangers. I shall say something of the Unhappiness of our present Estate, which certainly standeth in as much need of Relief and Remedy, as our Fears do of Prevention: For although the King and People were fully united, and that all Men that now draw several Ways, should unanimously set their Hand to the Work, yet they would find it no easy Task to restore this Kingdom to a prosperous and comfortable Condition: If we take into our Consideration the deplorable State of Ireland, likely to drain this Kingdom of Men and Treasure: If we consider the Debts and Necessity of the Crown, the Engagements of the Kingdom, the great and unusual Contributions of the People; the which, although they may not be so much to their Discontent, (for that they have been legally raised) yet the Burden hath not been much eased. Let us likewise consider the Distractions (I may almost call them Confusions) in point of Religion (which of all other Distempers are most dangerous and destructive to the Peace of the State.
Besides these publick Calamities, let every particular Man consider the distracted and discomfortable Estate of his own Condition. For mine own part, I must ingenuously confess unto your Lordships, That I cannot find out, under the different Command of the King and Parliament, any such Course of Caution and Wariness, by which I can promise to my self Security or Safety. I could give your Lordships many Instances of the Inconsistency and Impossibility of obeying these Commands; but I shall trouble you only with one or two.
The Ordinance of Parliament (now in so great Agitation) commands all Persons in Authority to put it in Execution, and all others to obey it, according to the Fundamental Laws of the Land. The King declareth it to be contrary to the Fundamental Laws, against the Liberty of the Subject, and Rights of Parliament; and commandeth all his Subjects, of what degree soever, upon their Allegiance, not to obey the said Ordinance, as they will answer the contrary at their Perils.
So likewise in point of the King's commanding the Attendance of divers of us upon his Persctn, whereunto we are obliged by several Relations of our Services and Oaths; in case we comply not with his Commands, we are liable to his Displeasure, and the Loss of those Places of Honour and Trust which we hold under him. If we obey his Commands, without the leave of the Parliament, (which hath not been always granted) we are liable to the Censure of Parliament; and of both these we want not fresh Examples: So that certainly this cannot but be acknowledged to be an unhappy and uncomfortable Condition. I am sure I bring with me a ready and obedient Heart, to pay unto the King all those Duties of Loyalty, Allegiance and Obedience which I owe unto him; I shall never be wanting towards the Parliament, to pay unto it all those due Rights, and that Obedience which we all owe unto it: But in contrary Commands, a Conformity of Obedience to both, is hardly to be lighted on. The Reconciliation must be in the Commanders and the Commands, and not in the Obedience, or the Person that is to obey. And therefore until it shall please God to bless us with a right Understanding between the King and Parliament, and a Conformity in their Commands, neither the Kingdom in publick, nor particular Men in private, can be reduced to a safe or comfortable Condition.
I have said thus much to give Occasion to others to offer likewise their Opinions; for if we should sit still, and nothing tending to the Stay of the unhappy Misunderstanding betwixt the King and his People be propounded, it is to be feared, that our Miseries will hasten so fast upon us, that the Season and Opportunity of applying Remedies may be past.
I have herein discharged my Conscience, suitable to that Duty which I owe to the King my Sovereign and Master, and suitable to that Zeal and Affection which I shall ever pay to the Happiness and Prosperity of the Kingdom; towards which I shall ever faithfully contribute my humble Prayers and honest Endeavours. And I shall no way doubt, whatsoever Success this my Proposition may have, it will be accompanied with the good Wishes of your Lordships, and of all peaceable and well-minded Men.
Die Veneris, 20 Maii 1642.
1. That it appears, That the King, seduced by wicked Counsel, intends to make War against the Parliament, who in all their Consultations and Actions, have proposed no other End unto themselves, but the Care of his Kingdoms, and the Performance of all Duty and Loyalty to his Person.
Resolved, &c. 2. That whensoever the King maketh War upon the Parliament, it is a Breach of the Trust reposed in him by his People, contrary to his Oath, and tending to the Dissolution of this Government.
Resolved, &c. 3. That whosoever shall serve or assist him in such Wars, are Traitors by the Fundamental Laws of this Kingdom; and have been so adjudged by two Acts of Parliament, and ought to suffer as Traitors, 11 Rich, 2. 1 Hen. 4.
By the KING,
A Proclamation of Peace with Portugal, May 22. 1642.
' Whereas the High and Mighty Prince, John the Fourth King of Portugal, hath lately sent his Embassadors to the King's most Excellent Majesty, declaring his Desire to renew the antient Confederation and Amity between their Royal Predecessors Crowns and Subjects; his Majesty out of his Royal Care of the Peace and Tranquillity of his Kingdoms, and the Freedom of Trade and Commerce of his loving Subjects, by the Advice of his Privy-Council, hath been pleased to yield thereunto; and doth make known to his loving People, that the said Peace and Confederation is concluded and established between the said Kings, their Crowns, Kingdoms, Territories and Subjects. And the King's most Excellent Majesty, for the Direction of his Merchants in their Trade and Commerce, hath given Command, that the Articles of this Treaty of Peace shall be published, straitly charging and commanding all his Subjects of whatsoever Degree and Estate to observe the same.
' Given at the Court at York the two and twentieth Day of May, in the eighteenth Year of his Majesty's Reign, 1642.
[At this time the Great Seal of England was carried away from London to York. Edward Lord Littleton, on whom the King, after the Lord Finch 's retiring out of England, had bestowed the keeping thereof (he being before Lord Chief Justice of the Common-Pleas, and created a Baron of the Realm) had hitherto continued with the Parliament: And as generally he concurred with them, so particularly he gave his Vote for settling the Militia by Ordinance of Parliament. But now Mr. Tho. Elliot, a young Gentleman, Groom of the Privy-Chamber to the King, being privately sent to him from York, and admitted by the Lord-Keeper to a secret Conference, he used such Arguments as prevailed with him to deliver up the Great Seal; with which the said Mr. Elliot rode away Post to the King at York.
In his Passage towards York, the Author of these Collections met Mr. Elliot at Witham, a Post-Stage between Grantham and Stamford, who with a Fall off his Horse had hurt his Shoulder; and seeing the Author, his old Acquaintance, demanded what News? (thinking he had been sent after him by the Parliament to recover the Great Seal) To which he replied to Mr. Elliot, (not imagining he had then with him the Great Seal) That he came from York, and that the King was well, and that he was going with Letters from the Committee of Parliament at York, to both Houses, wherein some Answers from the King were inclosed to the Parliament. To which Mr. Elliot replied, It was fit the Author should make haste; and therefore, said he, take my Horses which are ready saddled, (fearing left the Author should raise the Country against him); so we parted at that time, not suspecting one another.
The Lord Keeper considering what he had done, and apprehending his Danger from the Parliament for parting thus with the Seal, did early the next Morning ride away after it himself, and went to the King.
Mr. Elliot's Letter to the Lord Digby, May 27. 1642. intercepted.
You have ever been so willing to oblige, that I cannot despair of your Favour in a Business wherein I am much concerned: The King was pleased to employ me to London to my Lord Keeper for the Seals; which, tho after two Hours Consideration he refused, yet being resolved not to be denied, my Importunity at last prevailed: which Service the King hath declare was so great, that he hath promised a Reward equal to it. It may be the King expects I should move him for some Place, which I shall not do, being resolved never to have any but by the Queen, being already so infinitely obliged to her for her Favours, that I confess I would owe my Being only to her; nor shall I ever value that Life I hold but as a Debt which I shall ever pay to her Commands. The Favour which I desire from your Lordship is, That you will engage the Queen to write to the King, that he would make me a Groom of his Bed-Chamber; which since I know 'tis so absolutely in her Power to do, I shall never think of another way: For which Favour neither her Majesty, nor your Lordship, shall ever find a more real Servant. For our Affairs, they are now in so good a Condition, that if we are not undone by hearkening to an Accommodation, there is nothing else can hurt us, which I fear the King is too much inclined to; but I hope what he shall receive from the Queen, will make him so resolved, that nothing but a Satisfaction equal to the Injuries he hath received, will make him quit the Advantage he now hath: Which I do not doubt will be the Means of bringing your Lordship quickly hither, where you shall find none more ready to obey your Commands,
To the King's most Excellent Majesty,
The Humble Petition of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, May 23. 1642.
Your Majesty's Loyal Subjects, the Lords and Commons in this Parliament, do humbly represent to your Majesty, That notwithstanding your frequent Professions to your Parliament and the Kingdom, and the late Expression in your Answer of the 13th of May, to the Petition of the County of York, That your Desire and Intention is only the preserving the true Protestant Profession, the Laws of the Land, the Liberty of your People, and the Peace of the Kingdom; nevertheless, with great Grief, we perceive by your Speech of the 12th of May, and the Paper printed in your Majesty's Name, in the Form of a Proclamation, bearing Date the 14th of May, and other Evidences, that under colour of raising a Guard to secure your Persctn, of which Guard (conssidering the Fidelity and Care of your Parliament) there can be no Use; your Majesty doth command Troops, both of Horse and Foot, to assemble at York; the very beginnings whereof were apprehended by the Inhabitants of that County to be an Affrightment and Disturbance of your Majesty's Liege People, as appears by their Petition presented to your Majesty, the continuing and increase of which Forces is to your Parliament, and must needs be, a just Cause of great Jealousy, and of Danger to your whole Kingdom.
Therefore we do humbly beseech your Majesty to disband all such Forces, as by your Command are assembled; and relying for your Security (as your Predecessors have done) upon the Laws and the Affections of your People, you will be pleased to desist from any farther Designs of this nature, contenting your self with your usual and ordinary Guards: otherwise we shall hold our selves bound in Duty towards God, and the Trust reposed in us by the People, and the Fundamental Laws and Constitutions of this Kingdom, to employ our Care and utmost Power to secure the Parliament, and preserve the Peace and Quiet of the Kingdom.
His Majesty's Answer.
'We cannot but extremely wonder, that the causless Jealousies concerning us, raised and somented by a malignant Party in this Kingdom, which desires nothing more than to snatch to themselves particular Advantages out of a general Combustion (which Means of Advantage shall never be administred to them by our fault or seeking) should not only be able to seduce a weak Party in this our Kingdom, but seem to find so much Countenance even from both Houses, as that our raising of a Guard (without farther design than the Safety of our Person) an Action so legal, in a Manner so peaceable, upon Causes so evident and necessary, should not only be look'd upon and petition'd against by them as a Cause of Jealousy, but declared to be the raising of a War against them, contrary to our former Professions of our Care of Religion and Law: and we no less wonder that this Action of ours shall be said (in a very large Expression) to be apprehended by the Inhabitants of this County, as an Affrightment and Disturbance to our People, having been as well received here, as it is every-where to be justify'd; and (we speak now of the General, not of a few seduced Particulars) assisted by this Country with that loyal Affection and Alacrity, as is a most excellent Example set to the rest of the Kingdom, of the Care of our Safety upon all Occasions, and shall never be forgotten by us, nor (we hope) by our Posterity, but shall ever be paid to them in that which is the proper Expression of a Prince's Gratitude, a perpetual and vigilant Care to govern them justly, and to preserve the only Rule by which they can be so governed, the Law of the Land: and we are confident, that if you were your selves Eye-witnesses, you would so see the contrary, as to give little present Thanks, and hereafter little Credit to your Informers: and if you have no better Intelligence of the Inclinations and Affections of the rest of the Kingdom, certainly the Minds of our People (which to some Ends and Purposes you represent) are but ill represented unto you.
' Have you so many Months together not contented your selves to rely for Security (as your Predecessors have done) upon the Affection of the People, but by your own single Authority raise to your selves a Guard (and that sometimes of no ordinary Numbers, and in no ordinary way) and could not all those Pikes and Protestations, that Army on one side, and that Navy on the other, perswade us to command you to disband your Forces, and to content your selves with your ordinary (that is no) Guard; or work us into an Opinion, that you appeared to levy War against us, or had any farther Dessign? And is it possible, that the same Persons should be so apt to suspect and condemn us, who have been so unapt in the same matter (upon much more ground) to tax or suspect them? This is our Case, notwithstanding the Care and Fidelity of our Parliament, our Fort is kept by armed Men against us, our proper Goods first detained from us; and then, contrary to our Command, by strong hand, offered to be carried away (in which at once all our Property as a private Person, all our Authority as a King, are wrested from us; and yet for us to secure our self in a legal Way, that Sir John Hotham may not by the same Forces, or by more raised by pretence of the same Authority (for they say he raises daily some, and we know it is no new thing for him to pretend Orders that he cannot shew) continue the War that he hath levied against us, and as well imprison our Person, as detain our Goods, and as well shut us up in York, as shut us out of Hull; is said to be esteemed a Cause of great Jealousy to the Parliament, a raising of War against them, and of Danger to the whole Kingdom. While these Injustices and Indignities offered to us are countenanced by them, who ought to be most forward in our Vindication, and their Punishment in Observation of their Oaths, and of their Trust reposed in them by the People, and to avoid the Dissolution of the present Government. Upon which case the whole World is to judge, whether we had not reason, not wholly to rely upon the Care and Fidelity of our Parliament, being so strangely blinded by malignant Spirits, as not to perceive our Injuries, but to take some Care of our own Person; and in order to that, to make use of that Authority which the Law declares to be in us: And whether this Petition, with such a threatning Conclusion, accompanied with more threatning Votes, give us not cause rather to increase than diminish our Guards; especially since we saw before the Petition a printed Paper dated the 17th of May, underwritten Hen. Elsing Cler. Dom. Com. commanding (in the Name of both Lords and Commons) the Sheriffs of all our Counties, to raise the Power of all those our Counties, to suppress such of our Subjects as by any of our Commands shall be drawn together, and put (as that Paper calls it) in a Posture of War, charging our Officers and Subjects to assist them in the Performance thereof at their Perils. For though we cannot suspect that this Paper (or any bare Votes, not grounded upon Law or Reason, or Quotations of repealed Statutes) should have any ill Influence upon our good People, who know their Duties too well, not to know, that to take up Arms against those who, upon a legal Command, that is, ours, come together to a most legal End, (that is, our Security and Preservation) were to levy War against us; and who appear in this County (and we are confident they are so throughout the Kingdom) no less satisfied with the Legality, Conveniency and Necessity of these our Guards, and no less sensible of the Indignities and Dangers (which make them necessary) than we are our self; yet if that Paper be really the Ass of both Houses, we cannot but look upon it as the highest of Scorns and Indignities. First, to issue Commands of Force against us, and after those have appeared useless, to offer by Petition to perswade us to that, which that Force should have effected.
' We conclude this Answer to your Petition with our Counsel to you, That you joyn with us in exacting Satisfaction for that unparallel'd, and yet unpunished Action of Sir John Hotham 's; and that you command our Fort and Goods to be returned to our own Hands; That you lay down all Pretences (under pretence of Necessity, or declaring what is Law) to make Laws without us, and by consequence, but a Cypher of us; That you declare effectually against Tumults, and call in such Pamphlets (punishing the Authors and Publishers of them) as seditiously endeavour to disable us from protecting our People, by weakning, by false Aspersions, and new false Doctrines, our Authority with them, and their Confidence in us. The Particulars of which Tumults and Pamphlets we would long since have taken care, that our Learned Counsel should have been enabled to give in Evidence, if upon our former offer, we had received any Return of Encouragement from you in it. And if you do this, you then (and hardly till then) will perswade the World that you have discharged your Duty to God, the Trust reposed in you by the People, and the Fundamental Laws and Constitutions of the Kingdom, and employed your Care and utmost Power to secure the Parliament (for we are still a Part of the Parliament, and shall be till this well-founded Monarchy be turned to a Democracy) and to preserve the Peace and Quiet of the Kingdom; which, together with the Defence of the Protestant Profession, the Laws of the Land, and our own just Prerogative (as a Part of, and a Defence to those Laws) have been the main End, which in our Consultations and Actions we proposed to our self.
Die Sabbati, 28 Maii, 1642.
Whereas it appeareth, That the King, seduced by wicked Counsel, intends to make War against the Parliament, and under the colour of a Guard to secure his Royal Person, doth command Troops both of Horse and Foot, to assemble at York; all which is against the Laws of the Kingdom, tending to the Dissolution of the Parliament, and Destruction of the People: It is therefore ordered by the Lords and Commons in Parliament, That the Sheriff of the County of Lancaster, and all other Sheriffs of the Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales, shall, by the Power of that County, and of their several Counties respectively, suppress the raising and coming together of any Soldiers, Horse or Foot, by any Warrant, Commission or Order from his Majesty, without the Advice and Consent of the Lords and Commons in Parliament; and that all Persons whatsoever do forbear to execute any such Commission or Warrant for levying Soldiers, a gathering them together, without Consent of Parliament. And those who shall execute or obey any such Commission or Warrant, are hereby declared to be Disturbers of the Kingdom. And the Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Lancaster, and all Lord-Lieutenants of all other Counties in the Kingdom of England, or Dominion of Wales respectively; as likewise all Deputy-Lieutenants, Captains and Officers of the Trained-Bands, and all Mayors, Justices of the Peace, and other his Majesty's loving Subjects are hereby commanded and required to be aiding and assisting to the said Sheriff of the County of Lancaster, and to the other Sheriffs of the other Counties of this Kingdom, and of the Dominion of Wales. And that his Majesty's loving Subjects may the better understand what the Law and their own Duty is in this behalf, the said Sheriff of Lancaster, and other Sheriffs of the other Counties of this Kingdom respective, shall cause this present Order forthwith to be published in the several Market-Towns within their said Counties.
An Order to all High-Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, and other Officers within 150 Miles of the City of York.
Whereas it appears to the Lords and Commons, that the King, seduced by wicked Counsel, intends to make War upon this Parliament; it is therefore ordered by the Lords and Commons, that the High-Sheriffs and Justices of the Peace, and other Officers within the same Counties, Cities and Towns-Corporate, situate within 150 Miles of the City of York, shall forthwith take special care for to make stay of all Arms and Ammunition carrying towards York, until they have given notice thereof unto the Lords and Commons, and shall have received their farther Direction. And for the better effecting hereof, the said High-Sheriff, Justices of the Peace and other Officers, are further to take special care, that strict Watches be kept within their several Limits and Jurisdictions, for the searching for, and seizing all such Arms and Ammunition, as likewise for the apprehending all Persons going with the same.
The humble Petition and Advice of both Houses of Parliament, with Nineteen Propositions sent unto his Majesty the 2d of June 1642.
Your Majesty's most humble and faithful Subjects, the Lords and Commons in Parliament, having nothing in their Thoughts and Desires more precious, and of higher Esteem, (next to the Honour and immediate Service of God) than the just and faithful Performance of their Duty to your Majesty and this Kingdom; and being very sensible of the great Distractions and Distempers, and of the imminent Dangers and Calamities which those Distractions and Distempers are like to bring upon your Majesty and your Subjects; all which have proceeded from the subtile Informations, mischievous Practices and evil Counsels of Men disaffected to God's true Religion, your Majesty's Honour and Safety, and the publick Peace and Prosperity of your People; after a serious Observation of the Cause of those Mischiefs, do in all Humility and Sincerity, present to your Majesty their most dutiful Petition and Advice, That out of your Princely Wisdom, for the establishing your own Honour and Safety, and gracious Tenderness of the Welfare and Security of your Subjects and Dominions, you will be pleased to grant and accept these their humble Desires and Propositions, as the most necessary effectual Means, through God's Blessing, of removing those Jealousies and Differences which have unhappily fallen beewixt you and your People, and procuring both your Majesty and them a constant Course of Honour, Peace and Happiness.