Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 5, 1642-45. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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The whole Proceedings of, and relating to, the Lords and Commons assembled at Oxford the 22d of January, 1643/4. to the time of their Recess, April 16. 1644.
By the King,
A Proclamation for the Assembling of the Members of both Houses at Oxford, upon occasion of the Invasion by the Scots.
The King's Proclamation for the Members to aflemble at Oxford, on the 22d of January, dated Dec. 22. 1643.
Whereas we did by our Proclamation, bearing date the 20th day of June last, upon due consideration of the Miseries of this Kingdom, and the true cause thereof, warn all our Good Subjects no longer to be mis-led by the Votes, Orders, and pretended Ordinances of one or both Houses, by reason the Members do not enjoy the Freedom and Liberty of Parliament; which appears by several instances of Force and Violence, and by the course of their Proceedings mentioned in our said Proclamation, and several of our Declarations. Since which time our Subjects of Scotland have made great and warlike Preparations to enter and invade this Kingdom with an Army, and have already actually invaded the same, by possessing themselves, by force of Arms, of our Town of Berwick, upon pretence that they are invited thereunto by the desires of the two Houses; the which, as we doubt not, all our good Subjects of this Kingdom will look upon as the most insolent act of Ingratitude and Disloyalty, and to the apparent breach of the late Act of Pacification, so solemnly made between the Kingdoms, and is indeed no other than a design of Conquest, and to impose new Laws upon this Nation, they not so much as pretending the least Provocation or Violation from this Kingdom: So we are most assured, that the major part of both Houses of Parliament, do from their Souls abhor the least thought of introducing that Foreign Power, to increase and make desperate the Miseries of their unhappy Country. And therefore that it may appear to all the World, how far the Major part of both Houses is from such Actions of Treason and Disloyalty, and how grossly those few Members, remaining at Westminster, have and do impose upon our People, we do will and require such of the Members of both Houses, as well those who have been by the Faction of the malignant Party expelled for performing their Duty to us, and into whose rooms no Persons have been since chosen by their Country, as the rest who have been driven thence, and all those who being conscious of their want of Freedom, now shall be willing to withdraw from that rebellious City, to assemble themselves together at our City of Oxford, on Monday the twenty second day of January, where care shall be taken for their several Accommodations, and fit places appointed for their Meeting; and where all our good Subjects shall see how willing we are to receive advice for the preservation of the Religion, Laws, and Safety of the Kingdom, and as far as in us lies, to restore it to its former Peace and Security (our chief and only end) from those whom they have trusted, though we cannot receive it in the place where we appointed. And for the better encouragement of those Members of either House to resort to us, who may be conscious to themselves of having justly incurred our Displeasure, by submitting to, or concurring in unlawful Actions; and that all the World may see how willing and desirous we are to forget the Injuries and Indignities offered to us, and by an Union of English Hearts to prevent the lasting Miseries, which this foreign Invasion must bring upon this Kingdom, we do offer a free and general Pardon to all the Members of either House, who shall, at or before the said twenty second day of January, appear at our City of Oxford, and desire the same, without exceptions; which, considering the manifest Treasons committed against us, and the condition we are now in, improved by God's wonderful Blessing to a better degree than we have enjoyed at any time since these Distractions, is the greatest instance of princely and fatherly Care of our People that can be expressed, and which Malice it self cannot suggest to proceed from any other ground. And therefore we hope and are confident, that all such who upon this our gracious Invitation will not return to their Duty and Allegiance, shall be no more thought Promoters of the Religion, Laws, and Liberty of the Kingdom, (which this way may be, without doubt, settled and secured;) but persons engaged from the beginning out of their own Pride, Malice, and Ambition, to bring Confusion and Desolation upon their Country; and to that purpose (having long since contrived the Design) to invite and join with a Foreign Nation to ruine and extinguish their own; and shall accordingly be pursued as the most desperate and malicious Enemies of the Kingdom. And our Pleasure is, That this our Proclamation be read in all Churches and Chappels within this our Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales.
Given at our Court at Oxford the 22d Day of December in the 19th Year of our Reign, 1643.
God save the King.
The King's Speech to the Lords and Commons at Oxford, upon their first Meeting, January 22. 1643/4.
The King's Speech, &c.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
When I consider your publick Interests and Concernments in the Happiness and Honour of this Nation, and your continual Sufferings in this Rebellion for your Affection and Loyalty to me, I must look upon you as the most competent Considerers and Counsellors how to manage and improve the condition we are all in; for sure our Condition is so equal, that the same violence hath oppressed us all.
I have therefore called you together to be Witnesses of my Actions, and privy to my Intentions; and certainly if I had the least thought, disagreeing with the happiness and security of this Kingdom, I would not advise with such Counsellors. And I doubt not but your concurrence with me, will so far prevail over the Hearts and Understandings of this whole Kingdom, who must look upon you as Persons naturally and originally trusted by and for them; that it will be above the reach and malice of those, who have hitherto had too great an influence upon the People, to discredit my most entire Actions, and sincere Promises; you will be the best Witnesses for the one, and security for the other. Very many of you can bear me witness with what unwillingness I suffered my self to take up these defensive Arms; indeed with so great, that I was first almost in the power of those, who in two set Battles have sufficiently informed the World how tender they have been of the safety of my Person. I foresaw not only the Rage and Oppression which would every day break out upon my Subjects, as the Malice of these ill Menincreased, and their purposes were detected; but also the great Inconveniences my best Subjects would suffer, even by my own Army, raised and kept for their Preservation and Protection; for I was not so ill a Soldier, as not to foresee how impossible it was to keep a strict Discipline, I being to struggle with so many Defects and Necessities: and I assure you the sense I have of their Sufferings, who deserve well of me, by my Forces, hath been a greater grief to me, than any thing for my own particular. My hope was, that either by Success on my part, or Repentance on theirs, God would have put a short end to this great Storm: but Guilt and Despair have made these Men more wicked, than I imagined they intended to be; for instead of removing and reconciling these bloody Distractions, and restoring Peace to this languishing Country, they have invited a Foreign Power to invade this Kingdom, and that in your Names, and challenge this invasion from them as a Debb to the Common-Wealth. You, my Lords, have, like your selves (as good Patriots) expressed your dissent, and vindicated your selves from that Imputation; and I doubt not, but you, Gentlemen, will let your Countries know, how far you are from desiring such Assistance, and how absolute and peremptory a breach this raising of Arms of my Scatish Subjects is of that Bacification, which was so lately and solemnly made by you, and can intend nothing but a Conquest of you and your Laws: I shall send you all the Advertisements I have of that business which is threatned from Scotland, and what is already acted from thence, and shall desire your Speedy advice and assistance, what is to be said or done, both with reference to this, and that Kingdom.
Our ends being the same, I am sure there will be no other difference in the way, than what upon Debate and a right Understanding will be easily adjusted: let our Religion in which we are all most nearly concerned, and without care of which we must not look for God's Blessing, be vindicated and preserved; let my Honour and Rights, which you find to have an inseparable relation with your own Interest, be vindicated and restored; let your Liberties, Properties, Privileges, without which I would not be your King, be secured and confirmed; and there is nothing you can advise me to, I will not meet you in; and I doubt not we shall together inform Posterity, how much our trust and confidence in each other, is a better expedient for the Peace and preservation of the Kingdom, than fears and jealousies.
I shall keep you no longer from consulting together, than in telling you, that I have prepared fit places for your Meeting, to which I desire you to repair this Night; assuring you, that I will be always ready to receive any thing from you, admitting you to me, or coming to you my self, whensoever you shall desire: And so God direct you the best way.
To the Right Honourable the Lords of the Privy-Council in Scotland, and Conservators of Peace between both Kingdoms.
A Letter of the Lords at Oxford to the Scots touching their Expedition into England, and shewing how few Peers were left at Westminster.
Our very Good Lords.
If for no other reason, yet that Posterity may know we have done our Duties, and not sat still, whilst our Brethren of Scotland were transported with a dangerous and fatal Mis-understanding, that the resolution now taken among them for an Expedition into England, is agreeable to their Obligation by the late Treaty, and to the wishes and desires of this Kingdom, expressed by the two Houses of Parliament; we have thought it necessary to let your Lordships know, that if we had dissented from that Act, it could never have been made a Law; and when you have examined and considered the Names of us who subscribe this Letter, (who we hope are too well known to your Lordships and both Kingdoms, to be suspected to want affection to Religion, or to the Laws and Liberty of our Country, for the defence and maintenance whereof we shall always hold our Lives a cheap Sacrifice) and when you are informed, that the Earls of Arundel and Thanet, and the Lords Stafford, Stanhope, Coventry, Goring, and Craven, are in parts beyond the Seas, and the Earls of Chesterfield, Westmoreland, and the Lord Montague of Boughton, under restraint at London for their Loyalty and Duty to his Majesty and the Kingdom, your Lordships will easily conclude how very few now make up the Peers at Westminster, there being in truth not above 25 Lords present or privy to these Counsels, or being absent, consenting, or concurring with them; whereas the House of Peers consists of above an Hundred, besides Minors and Recusant-Lords, neither of which keep us company in this Address to your Lordships. How we and the major part of the House of Commons come to be absent from thence, is so notorious to all the World, that we believe your Lordships cannot be Strangers to it: How several times, during our sitting there, Multitudes of the meanest sort of People, with Weapons not agreeing to there Condition or Custom, in a manner very contrary and destructive to the Privileges of Parliament, filled up the way between both Houses, offering Injuries both by Words and Actions unto, and laying violent Hands upon several Members, and crying out many Hours together against the established Laws in a most tumultuous and menacing way; how to remedy would be submitted to for preventing these Tumults; after which and other unlawful and Unparliamentary Actions, many things received and settled, upon solemn debate in the House of Peers, were again, after many threats and menaces, returned, altered, and determined, contrary to the Law and Custom of Parliaments, and so many of us withdrew our selves from thence, where we could not sit, speak, and vote with Honour, Freedom, and Safety, and are now kept from thence for our Duty and Loyalty to our Soveraign; and must therefore protest against an Invitation which hath been made to our Brethren of Scotland, to enter the Kingdom with an Army, the same being as much against the desires as against the duty of the Lords and Commons of England. And we do conjure your Lordships, by our common Allegiance and Subjection under our Gracious Soveraign, by the Amity and Affection between the two Nations, by the Treaty of Pacification (which by any such Act is absolutely dissolved,) and by all Obligations both divine and humane, which can preserve Peace upon Earth, to use your utmost Endeavours, to prevent the effusion of so much Christian Blood, and the Confusion and Desolation which must follow the unjust Invasion of this Kingdom, which we (and we are confident all true English-men) must interpret as a design of Conquest, and to impose new Laws upon us; and therefore your Lordships may be assured, we shall not so far forget our own Interest, and the Honour of our Nation, as not to expose our Lives and Fortunes, in the just and necessary defence of this Kingdom; but if your Lordships, in truth, have any doubt or apprehensions, that there is now, or hereafter may be a purpose to infringe your Laws or Liberties, from any attempt of this Kingdom, we do engage our Honours to your Lordships to be our selves most Religious Observers of the Act of Pacification; and if the Breach and Violation do not first begin within that Kingdom, we are confident you shall never have cause to complain of this: And having thus far expressed our selves to your Lordships, we hope to receive such an Answer from you as may be a means to preserve a right Understanding between the two Nations, and lay an Obligation upon us to continue
Your Lordships most affectionate humble Servants,
- Edw. Littleton, C. S.
- L. Cottington.
- D. Richmond.
- M. Hartford.
- M. Newcastle.
- E. Huntington.
- E. Bath.
- E. Southampton.
- E. Dorset.
- E. Northampton.
- E. Devonshire.
- E. Bristol.
- E. Berkshire.
- E. Cleveland.
- E. Marlborough.
- E. Rivers.
- E. Lindsey.
- E. Dover.
- E. Peterborough.
- E. Kingston.
- E. Newport.
- E. Portland.
- E. Carbery.
- V. Conway.
- V. Falconbridge.
- V. Wilmot.
- V. Savil.
- L. Mowbray and Maltravers.
- L. Darcy and Conners.
- L. Wentworth.
- L. Cromwel.
- L. Rich.
- L. Paget.
- L. Digby.
- L. Howard of Charlton.
- L. Deincourt.
- L. Lovelace.
- L. Pawlet.
- L. Mohun.
- L. Dunsmore.
- L. Stymour.
- L. Herbert.
- L. Cobham.
- L. Capel.
- L. Piercy.
- L. Leigh.
- L. Hatton.
- L. Hopton.
- L. Jermyn.
- L. Loughborough.
- L. Byron.
- L. Widdrington.
This Letter was sent by the Marquess of Newcastle to the Earl of Argyle, to be delivered as directed: To which the Lords of the Council in Scotland, and the Conservators of the Peace, returned the following Answer.
The Scots Answer, March 18. 1643/4. to the preceeding Letter.
We have yesterday received and considered your Lordships Letter, concerning our Expedition into England, and do know that your Lordships are not so great Strangers to our Proceedings, as not to know that this was not intended, till all other means were first assayed and disappointed. We will not deny, that the Invitation of the Honourable Houses of Parliament, in the behalf of our Brethren in England, (who are shedding their Blood in defence of that Power, without which Religion can never be defended nor reformed, nor unity of Religion with us and other reformed Churches be attained) is a special Motive; but our Christian Duty to Religion, our Loyalty and tender regard of his Majesty's Honour and Safety, and preservation of our selves from Ruin and Destruction, are the principal Cause of this undertaking: That this Invitation and Act of the Honourable Houses of Parliament is null, and not to be respected, because it wants your Lordships assent, and of those Lords beyond Seas, or under restraint, is that which we think not proper for us to dispute; but how this Parliament, that sought so earnestly for Reformation of Religion, for redress of Grievances, and settlement of the great Affairs of that Kingdom, and which was indicted by his Majesty for these ends, and is ratified by a special Act of Parliament, not to be raised without advice and consent of both Houses, is null and void, by the absence of those Lords beyond Sea, or by your Lordships withdrawing your selves, or that those who stay in Parliament are not a sufficient number without your Lordships, is more than we do apprehend. And as we are more deeply affected with unfeigned Grief for these unhappy Differences betwixt His Majesty and His Subjects, and more sensibly touched with the Sufferings of our Brethren, than desirous to judge of the Laws and Practices of another Kingdom; so do we hold our selves in duty obliged to our Country, to clear this Kingdom of that unjust Aspersion of Invasion. Our Remonstrances to his Majesty, to the Honourable Houses of Parliament, and to all the World, and our whole former deportment, are more plain and sure Evidences of the Zeal of this Kingdom to Religion, of our Loyalty to our native King, and of true Affection to our Brethren of England, than all that Malice can devise, or Calumny express against us. And if the difficulties of the passage had not stopped our Declarations, concerning our present Expedition into England, or the industry of our Adversaries suppressed the same, from coming to your Lordships hands, you will never have so far mis-interpreted our entry into England, as to have named it to be an Invasion, nor a design of Conquest of that Kingdom, where we desire the Throne of our Native King to be established to all Ages. But the Question rightly stated is, Whether against the Popish, Prelatical, and Malignant Party, and their Adherents, prevailing in England and Ireland, we be not bound to provide for our own preservation? or whether we ought not to endeavour, so far as our power can reach, to rescue our native King, his Crown and Posterity, out of the midst of so many Dangers, and to preserve his People and Kingdoms from utter ruin and destruction? And that this is the true State of the Question, and the sincerity of our Intentions towards so pious and necessary a Duty, we remit your Lordships for more full information to the Declaration of the Estates of this Kingdom, concernin the present Expedition into England, from their meeting at Edinburgh, August 1643. and the Covenant betwixt the two Kingdoms, which we do herewith send; and if your Lordships shall join in this Pious and Solemn Oath, for reformation and defence of Religion, His Majesty's true Honour and Happiness, and the Peace of His Dominions, which this Kingdom with the hazard of their Lives and Fortunes have (with God's Assistance) resolved to maintain; then we may certainly expect that God's Judgments, which the Sins and Provocations of both Nations do justly deserve, shall be averted; the effusion of more Christian Blood shall be eschewed, and the Confusion and Desolations which farther threaten the ruin of these Kingdoms, shall be turned into a happy Pacification, for establishing of Truth and Peace in all His Majesty's Dominions.
For which ends, we shall in every noble and just way, be ready (according to our Covenant) to contribute our utmost endeavours, as a real Testimony of our desires to continue
Your Lordships, &c.
Edinb. March 18. 1644.
Votes at Oxford, Jan. 26. 1643/4.
Die Veneris 26 January 1643/4.
Votes of the Lords and Commons at Oxford, touching the Scots coming into England.
Resolved upon the Question, Nemine contradicente,
That all such Subjects of Scotland, as have consented to the Declaration, Intituled, The Declaration of the Kingdom of Scotland, concerning the present Expedition into England, according to the Commission and Order of the Convention of Estates, from their Meeting at Edinburgh, August 1643. have thereby denounced War against the Kingdom of England, and broke the Act of Pacification.
Resolved, &c. Nemine contradicente,
That all such of the Subjects of Scotland, as have in an Hostile Manner entred into the Town of Berwick upon Tweed, have thereby broke the Act of Pacification.
Resolved, &c. Nemine contradicente,
That all His Majesty's Subjects of the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales are, both by their Allegiance, and the Act of Pacification, bound to resist and repress all such of the Subjects of Scotland, as have in an Hostile Manner already entred, or shall hereafter enter into the Town of Berwick upon Tweed, or any other part of His Majesty's Realm of Engand, or Dominion of Wales, as Traitors, and Enemies to the State.
Resolved, &c. Nemine contradicente,
That all such of His Majesty's Subjects of the Realm of England, or Dominion of Wales, that shall be abetting, aiding, and assisting to the Subjects of Scotland, in their Hostile Invasion of any part of His Majesty's Realm of England, or Dominion of Wales, shall be deemed and taken as Traitors and Enemies to the State.
Resolved, &c. Nemine contradicente,
That all His Majesty's Subjects of Scotland are bound by the Act of Pacification, to resist and repress all of that Kingdom, that already have raised Arms, or shall rise in Arms to invade this Kingdom of England, or Dominion of Wales.
His Majesty's Speech to the Lords and Commons at Oxford, Febr. 7. 1643/4.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
I Have hardly thus long forborn to give you Thanks, for the Care and Pains you have taken for the Publick Safety, since your coming together. And, first, I thank you for your Inclination to Peace; to which, as my willingness of complying shewed the constancy of my endeavours in the best way for the Publick Good, so the Rebels, by their scornfully rejecting Your Overtures, as they have done heretofore Mine, have shew'd their constancy in their way.
Next, I must thank every one of you, for so chearfully applying your selves to the maintenance and recruiting of my Army; which I hope God will so bless, that thereby these Enemies of Peace shall have their due Reward. And truly, my Lords and Gentlemen, this Alacrity of yours in providing for my Army, doth please me in no consideration so much, as that it is the best way for Peace: For certainly this strange Arrogance of refusing to treat with you, can proceed from nothing but their Contempt of our Forces. But it is your present Honour, and will be more to Posterity, that God hath made you Instruments to defend your Sovereign, and to preserve your Country; to see that Religion and Law to flourish, which you have rescued from the Violence of Rebellion; for which I hope, in time, to recompense every one of you; but if I shall not, here is One (fn. 1) I hope will, in which he shall but perform my Commands: for I have no greater Sadness for those that are my ill Subjects, than I have Joy and Comfort in your Affections and Fidelities; and so God prosper your Proceedings.
Votes at Oxford, March 12. 1643/4.
Votes of the Lords and Commons at Oxford, touching Essex's Army, the New Great Seal, &c.
Resolved upon the Question, Nemine contradicente,
That the Lords and Commons, now remaining at Westminster, that have given their Votes or Consent to the raising of Forces under the Command of the Earl of Essex, or have been abetting, aiding, or assisting thereunto, have levied and made War against the King, and are therein Guilty of High-Treason.
That the Lords and Commons now remaining at Westminster, that have given their Votes and Consent for the making and using of a new Great Seal, have thereby counterfeited the King's Great Seal, and therein committed High Treason.
That the said Lords and Commons, now remaining at Westminster, that have given their Consent, or have been abetting, aiding, or assisting to the present coming in of the Scots into England, in a warlike Manner, have therein committed High-Treason.
That the Lords and Commons, now remaining at Westminster, who have committed the Crimes mentioned in the three former Votes, have therein broken the Trust in them reposed by their Country, and ought to be proceeded against as Traitors to the King and Kingdom.
That all the Endeavours and Offers of Peace and Treaty, made by His Majesty, by the Advice of the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled at Oxford, have been refused and rejected by the Lords and Commons remaining at Westminster.
A Declaration of the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Oxford.
Of their Proceedings touching a Treaty of Peace, and the refusal thereof, with the several Letters and Answers that passed therein.
Declaration of the Lords and Commons at Oxford, of their Proceedings touching a Treaty for Peace.
If our most earnest Desires and Endeavours could have prevailed for a Treaty, our Proceedings therein, without this Declaration, would have manifested to all the World the Clearness of our Intentions, for the restoring the Peace of this Kingdom; but seeing all the means used by us for that purpose have been rendred fruitless, we hold our selves bound to let our Countries know what in discharge of our Duty to God and to them, we on our parts have done since our coming to Oxford to prevent the further effusion of Christian Blood, and the Desolation of this Kingdom.
His Majesty having by His Proclamation, upon occasion of the Invasion from Scotland, and other weighty Reasons, commanded our attendance at Oxford upon the 22 d of January last, there to advise him for the preservation of the Religion, Laws, and Safety of the Kingdom, and to restore it to its former Peace and Security: These Motives, with the true Sense of our Country's Miseries, quickned our Duty to give ready Obedience to those His Royal Commands, hoping (by God's Blessing) to have become happy Instruments for such good Ends. And, upon our coming hither, we applyed our selves with all diligence to advise of such means as might most probably settle the Peace of this Kingdom; the thing most desired by His Majesty and Our Selves. And because we found many Gracious Offers of Treaty for Peace by His Majesty had been rejected by the Lords and Commons remaining at Westminster, we deemed it fit to write in our own Names, and thereby make tryal, whether That might produce any better effect of accomplishing our Desires and our Country's Happiness; and they having (under pain of Death) prohibited the Address of any Letters or Message to Westminster, but by their General, and we conceiving him a Person who (by reason of their trust reposed in him) had a great Influence into, and power over their proceedings, resolved to recommend it to his care, and to engage him in that pious Work, with our earnest desire to him to represent it to those that trusted him, to prevent all exceptions and delay. And thereupon the 27th of the same January, dispatched a Letter away under the Hands of the Prince, his Highness the Duke of York, and of 43 Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts, and Barons of the House of Peers, and 118 Members of the House of Commons there present, (many others of us by reason of distance of Place, Sickness, and Imployments in His Majesty's Service, and for want of timely notice of the Proclamation of Summons, not being then come hither) which Letter we caused to be inclosed in a Letter from the Earl of Forth, the King's General: A true Copy of which Letter from us to the Earl of Essex hereafter followeth, viz.
Letter of the Lords at Oxford to the Earl of Essex.
His Majesty having by his Proclamation of the 22d of December, upon occasion of the Invasion threatned, and in part begun, by some of his Subjects of Scotland, Summon'd all the Members of hoth Houses of Parliament to attend him here at Oxford, we whose Names are under-written are here met and assembled in obedience to those his Majesty's Commands; his Majesty was pleased to invite us in the said Proclamation by these Gracious Expressions, That his Subjects should see how willing he was to receive advice for the preservation of the Religion, Laws, and Safety of the Kingdom, and as far as in him lay, to restore its former Peace and Security, his chief and only end, from those whom they had trusted, tho he could not receive it in the place where he appointed. This most Gracious Invitation hath not only been made good unto us, but seconded and heightned by such unquestionable Demonstrations of the deep and princely Sense which possesses his Royal Heart of the Miseries and Calamities of his poor Subjects in this unnatural War, and of his most entire and passionate Affections to redeem them from that sad and deplorable condition, by all ways possible, consistent either with his Honour, or with the future Safety of the Kingdom, that as it were Impiety to question the sincerity of them, so it were great want of Duty and Faithfulness in us, (his Majesty having vouchsafed to declare, that he did call us to be Witnesses of his Actions, and privy to his Intentions) should we not satisfy and witness to all the World the assurance we have of the Piety and Sincerity of both; we being most entirely satisfied of this Truth, cannot but confess, that amidst our highest Affections, in the deep and piercing Sense of the present Miseries and Desolations of our Country, and those farther Dangers threatned from Scotland, we are at length erected to some cheerful and comfortable Thoughts, that possibly we may yet, by God's Mercy, (if his Justice have not determined this Nation for its Sins to total Ruin and Desolation) hope to be happy Instruments of our Country's Redemption from the Miseries of War, and Restitution to the Blessings of Peace; and we being desirous to believe your Lordship (howsoever ingaged) a Person likely to be sensibly touched with these Considerations, have thought fit to invite you to that part in this Blessed Work, which is only capable to repair all our Misfortunes, and to buoy up the Kingdom from ruin; that is, by conjuring you, by all the obligations that have power upon Honour, Conscience, or Publick Piety, that laying to heart, as we do, the inwardly bleeding condition of your Country, and the outward more menacing destruction by a foreign Nation, upon the very point of Invading it, you will co-operate with us to its Preservation, by truly representing to, and faithfully and industriously promoting with those by whom you are trusted, this following most sincere and most earnest desire of ours, That they joining with us in a right sense of the past, present, and more threatning Calamities of this deplorable Kingdom, some Persons be appointed on either part, and a Place agreed on, to treat of such a Peace as may yet redeem it from the brink of Desolation.
This Address we should not have made, but that his Majesty's Summons, by which we are met, most graciously proclaimed Pardon to all without Exception, is evidence enough, that his Mercy and Clemency can transcend all former Provocations, and that he hath not only made us Witnesses of his princely Intentions, but honoured us also with the Name of being Security for them.
God Almighty direct your Lordship, and those to whom you shall present these our most real Desires, in such a course as may produce that happy Peace and Settlement of the present Destractions, which is so heartily desired and pray'd for by us, and which may make us,
From Oxford Jan. 27. 1643/4.
We are not ashamed of that Earnest, Meek, and Christian Request we made in that Letter, (though it was cryed through London-Streets in scorn, as the Petition of the Prince, and Duke of York for Peace) and we thought it would have prevailed to have procured a Treaty for so Blessed a thing as Peace, and for such an end as redeeming the Kingdom from Desolation, (the only desire of that our Letter;) but instead of a compliance with us in this Christian Work of Treaty and Accommodation, we received a meer frivolous Answer, or rather a Paper of scorn, in form of a Letter, directed to the Earl of Forth, wherein was inclosed a printed Paper, called, A National Covenant of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, and two other Papers in writing, one called, A Declaration of both those Kingdoms, and the other, A Declaration of the Kingdom of Scotland; Pamphlets full of Treason, Sedition, and Disloyalty; which being publick, and needless here to be inserted, the Copy of the Letter hereafter followeth,
The Earl of Essex's Answer to the Earl of Forth.
I Received this day a Letter of the nine and twentieth of this Instant, from your Lordship; and a Parchment subscribed by the Prince, Duke of York, and divers other Lords and Gentlemen; but it neither having Address to the two Houses of Parliament, nor their being therein any acknowledgment of them, I could not communicate it to them. My Lord, the maintenance of the Parliament of England, and of the Privileges thereof, is That for which we are all resolved to spend our Blood, as being the Foundation whereupon all our Laws and Liberties are built. I send your Lordship herewith, A National Covenant, solemnly entred into by both the Kingdoms of England and Scotland; and a Declaration passed by them both together, and another Declaration of the Kingdom of Scotland. I rest
Your Lordship's humble Servant,
Essex-House, Jan. 30, 1643.
Whosoever considers this Letter, will easily find it was fully understood to whom ours was desired to be communicated, under the Expression of (those by whom their General was trusted;) and although it be pretended, because there was no Address to the two Houses of Parliament, nor acknowledgment of them, it could not be communicated to them, it is notoriously known, he did so far impart it, that a Committee of theirs advised the Answer; and it appears by the penning, they all concurred in the Resolution therein mentioned, whereby it is evident, that this was but an excuse framed to avoid a Treaty. And what could that printed Covenant, and two Declarations enclosed signify, but to let us know, that before we come to any Treaty, we must also join in that Covenant with them for the absolute extirpation of Church-Government here, without, nay tho against the King's consent; submit the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of us, and all those, who according to their Allegiance, have assisted his Majesty, to their Mercy; and admit and justify the Invasion from Scotland, according to the plain Sense of their Declaration? Which all indifferent Men will think strange Preparatives to a Treaty for Peace; and after such a yielding and submission, we know not what is left to treat upon.
These things are too apparent to every ordinary understanding; and yet were not forward to apprehend the Scorn of that Letter, or take it for a denial of a Treaty; but being still sollicitous for that happy Peace, which alone could redeem this Kingdom from rain, we resolved to try another way, and for avoiding delay or cavil about Names or Titles, or descants upon Words, to forbear writing, and humbly besought his Majesty to send Messengers, with Instructions, to desire a Treaty for Peace, who was pleased to name Mr. Richard Fanshaw, and Mr. Thomas Offly, (Gentlemen of clear repute and integrity) and to avoid their danger in repairing to Westminster, at our desire, commanded the Earl of Forth, his General, to write to Theirs for a Safe-Conduct for those two Messengers: (For such is our condition at present, that a free-born Subject, sent upon the King's Message, cannot but with such leave repair to London or Westminster, without danger of his Life.) The Letter for the Safe-Conduct was as followeth,
The Earl of Forth's Letter to the Earl of Essex for a safe Conduct.
I Cannot so willingly write to you in any business as in that of Peace, the endeavour thereof being the principal Dnty of those who are trusted in places of our Commands; especially when the Blood that is spilt is of Persons under the same Allegiance and the same Country and Religion, his Majesty continuing constant in his pious and servent desires of a happy end to these bloody Distractions. I do hereby desire your Lordship to send me a Safe-Conduct to and from Westminster, for Mr. Richard Fanshaw, and Mr. Thomas Offly, to be sent by his Majesty concerning a Treaty for Peace. I rest,
Your Lordship's humble Servant,
To this was returned a Letter, directed to the Earl of Forth, in these Words, viz.
The Earl of Essex's Answer.
You shew your Nobleness in declaring your willingness to write to me in nobusiness so much as of that of Peace, and I join with you in the same Opinion, that it ought to be a principal Duty of those who are trusted in places of our Command; and therefore whensoever I shall receive any directions to those who have intrusted me, I shall use my best endeavours; and when you shall send for a Safe-Conduct for those Gentlemen, mentioned in your Letter, from his Majesty to the Houses of Parliament, I shall with all cheerfulness shew my willingness to further any way that may produce that Happiness, that all honest Men pray for; which is, a true understanding between his Majesty and his Faithful and only Council, the Parliament.
Your Lordships humble Servant,
Essex-House, Feb. 19. 1643/4.
That this doth neither grant a Safe-Conduct, or give any direct answer to the Earl of Forth's request, every ordinary Eye may see; and yet such Requests amongst Generals are rarely denied, and we may easily thereby discern how fearful they at Westminster are, left the poor distressed People of this Kingdom, should by the advantage of a Treaty, and free debate of the present Differences, see how grossly they had been deceived and mis-led, and so obtain an end of their Miseries: For otherwise who could have believed, that when these Differences arose and were continued, for want of a free Convention in Parliament, and that a main end of the Treaty was to resolve how we, according to our Duty and the Trust reposed in us by our Countries, might with them freely debate and advise his Majesty in those things that concerned the maintenance of our Religion, Parliament-Privileges, the King's Rights, and the Subjects Liberty and Property, that this Letter should tell us, that the Party we are to treat withal, is the King's only Council, excluding all others, not only our selves called by the same Authority to Council as they were, but his Privy-Council also, and Council at Law? So that we could have no hopes of a Treaty, unless we should first agree that they are The Parliament and the King's only Council, whereby they that are Parties would become the only Judges of all things in question, which would be a Submission and not a Treaty.
Having received these frivolous delays, which we might have interpreted absolute denials of any Treaty of Peace, we yet resolved not to give over our endeavours, for that which so much concerned the good of our Country, and the welfare of all Professors of the true Protestant Religion; but by our humble and earnest desires to his Majesty, prevailed with him to write his Royal Letters, and once more desire a Treaty for Peace, tho it had been so often formerly rejected, and to avoid all colour of exception, to direct it to The Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Westminster; which was done and inclosed in a Letter from the Earl of Forth to their General: a Copy of both which Letters hereafter follow.
The Earl of Forth's Third Letter to the Earl of Essex.
I Have received your Letter of the 19th of this Month, which according to my Duty I shew'd to his Majesty, who observing in it your Expressions concerning Peace, That whensoever you shall receive any Directions to those that have intrusted you, you shall use your best endeavours, is graciously pleased to send this inclosed, which it is desired may be delivered according to the directions:
Directed, To the Earl of Essex.
Subscribed, By the Earl of Forth.
The King's Letter directed to the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Westminster.
Out of our most tender and pious Sense of the sad and bleeding Condition of this our Kingdom, and our unwearied desires to apply all Remedies, which, by the Blessing of Almighty God, may recover it from an utter Ruin, by the advice of the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Oxford, we do propound and desire, that a convenient Number of fit Persons may be appointed and authoriz'd by you to meet with all convenient speed, at such place as you shall nominate, with an equal number of fit Persons, whom we shall appoint and authorize, to treat of the ways and means to settle the present Distractions of this our Kingdom, and to procure a happy Peace; and, particularly, how all the Members of both Houses may securely meet, in a full and free Convention of Parliament, there to treat, consult, and agree upon such things, us may conduce to the maintenance and defence of the true reformed Protestant Religion, with due consideration to all just and reasonable ease of Tender Consciences, to the settling and maintaining of our just Rights and Privileges, of the Rights and Privileges of Parliament, the Laws of the Land, the Liberty and Property of the Subject, and all other Expedients that may conduce to that Blessed End, of a firm and lasting Peace both in Church and State, and a perfect Understanding betwixt us and our People, wherein no Endeavours or Concurrency of ours shall be wanting; and God direct your Hearts in the ways of Peace. Given at our Court at Oxford, the Third Day of March, 1643/4.
To the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Westminster.
We now appeal to all the World, what could more have been done by his Majesty, or us, in order to Peace; here being so great a condescending from a King to Subjects, all indifferent advantages left to them, both for time and place of Treaty, and choice of Persons to treat: But what their Intentions to Peace are, will appear by their Letter inclosed in one from their General, to the Earl of Forth; both which are as follow.
The Earl of Essex to the Earl of Forth.
I am commanded by both Houses of Parliament, to send a Trumpeter with the inclosed Letter to his Majesty, which I desire your Lordship may be most humbly presented to his Majesty. I rest,
Your Lordship's humble Servant,
Essex-House, March 9. 1643.
The Answer of the two Houses at Westminster to his Majesty's Letter.
May it please your Majesty,
We the Lords and Commons assembled in the Parliament of England, taking into our consideration a Letter sent from your Majesty, dated the third of March instant, and directed To the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Westminster, which by the Contents of a Letter from the Earl of Forth, unto the Lord General the Earl of Essex, we conceive was intended to our selves, have resolved, with the concurrent advice and consent of the Commissioners of the Kingdom of Scotland, to represent to your Majesty, in all humility and plainness, as followeth,
That as we have used all means for a just and fafe Peace; so will we never be wanting to do our utmost for the procuring thereof; but when we consider the Expression in that Letter of your Majesty's, we have more sad and despairing Thoughts of attaining, the same than ever; because thereby those Persons now assembled at Oxford, who contrary to their Duty have deserted your Parliament, are put into an equal condition with it; and this present Parliament, convened according to the known and fundamental Laws of the Kingdom, the continuance whereof is established by a Law consented unto by your Majesty, is (in effect) denied to be a Parliament; the scope and intention of that Letter being to make Provision, how all the Members (as is pretended) of both Houses may securely meet in a full and free Convention of Parliament, whereof no other Conclusion can be made, but that this present Parliament is not a full nor free Convention; and that to make it a full and free Convention of Parliament, the presence of those is necessary, who notwithstanding that they have deserted that great Trust, and do levy War against the Parliament, are pretended to be Members of the two Houses of Parliament.
And hereupon we think our selves bound to let your Majesty know, that seeing the Continuance of this Parliament is settled by a Law, (which as other Laws of your Kingdoms, your Majesty hath sworn to maintain, as we are sworn to your Majesty, these obligations being reciprocal) we must in Duty, and accordingly are resolved with our Lives and Fortunes, to defend and preserve the just Rights and full Power of this Parliament; and do beseech your Majesty to be assured, that your Majesty's Royal and Hearty Concurence with us herein, will be the most effectual and ready means of procuring a firm and lasting Peace in all your Majesty's Dominion and of begetting a perfect Understanding between your Majesty and your People; without which, your Majesty's most earnest Professions, and our most real Intentions concerning the same, must necessarily be frustrated: And in case your Majesty's three Kingdoms should, by reason thereof, remain in this sad and bleeding Condition, tending by the Continuance of this unnatural War, to their Ruin, your Majesty cannot be the least nor the last Sufferer. God in his Goodness incline your Royal Breast, out of Pity and Compassion to those deep Sufferings of your innocent People, to put a speedy and happy Issue to these desperate Evils, by the joint Advice of both your Kingdoms, now happily united in this Cause, by their late Solemn League and Covenant; which as it will prove the surest remedy, so is it the earnest Prayer of your Majesty's Loyal Subjects, the Lords and Commons assembled in the Parliament of England.
Grey of Wark, Speaker of the House of Peers in Parliament, pro tempore.
William Lenthall, Speaker of the Commons House in Parliament.
Westminster, Mar. 9. 1643.
Whosoever considers that this should be a Letter from Subjects, might well think it very unbeseeming Language in them, to call his Majesty's earnest endeavours for Peace, but Professions, and their own feigned Pretence, most real Intentions; but much more menacing Language, that his Majesty cannot be the least or last Sufferer: which Expressions from Subjects in Arms to their Sovereign, what dangerous Construction they may admit we are unwilling to mention.
But we need not wonder at the manner of their Expressions, when we see in this Letter the Parliament it self, as far as in them lies, destroyed; and those who here stile themselves, The Lords and Commons assembled in the Parliament of England, not to resolve upon their Answer to their King, without the concurrent Advice and Consent of the Commissioners, as they call them, of the Kingdom of Scotland.
If they had only taken the Advice of the Scotish Commissioners, they had broken the fundamental Constitution of Parliament, the very Writs of Summons, the Foundation of all Power in Parliament, being in express terms for the Lords to treat and advise with the King, and the Peers of the Kingdom of England, and for the Commons to do and consent to those things, which by that Common-Council of England should be ordained, thereby excluding all others.
But their League, it seems, is gone further, the Scots must Consent as well as Advise, so that they gave gotten a Negative Voice; and they, who in the former Letter would be the King's only Council, are now become no Council, without the Scotish Commissioners: The truth is, they have, besides the Solemn League and Covenant with the Scots, which their Letter mentions, (a strange and traiterous Presumption for Subjects to make a Covenant and League with Subjects of another Kingdom without their Prince) made a private Bargain with the Scots touching our Estates; and a private agreement, not to treat without their consent, as some of themselves being afraid of a Treaty, openly declared to the Common-Council of London: and therefore 'tis no wonder that being touched to the quick, with the apprehension that they are not, nor can be in this condition, a full and free Convention of Parliament, they charge us with the deserting our Trust, and would have us to be no Members of the Parliament. They may remember it was our want of Freedom within, and the seditious Tumults without, their many multiplied Treasons there, and imposing traiterous Oaths, which inforced our absence: but concerning that and the want of freedom in Parliament, we shall say no more here, (that being the Subject of another Declaration;) only we wish them to consider by what fundamental Laws of the Kingdom (which they have lately wrested to serve all turns) they can exclude us from our Votes in Parliament, who were duly summoned, chosen, and returned Members of Parliament, and take in those of another Kingdom to their Resolutions, who are not bound by our Laws.
But what Violation soever they make of the Laws, they are forward to put the King in mind of his Duty; and therefore tell him, That he is sworn to maintain the Laws, as they are sworn to their Allegiance to him, these Obligations being reciprocal. It is true, in some sense, that the Oath of the King and Subjects is reciprocal; that is, each is bound to perform what they swear, the King as well as the Subjects: But he that will well weigh their Letter, and make one part have connexion with the other, and examine that part of their Covenant, whereby they swear they will defend the King's Person and Authority, no farther or otherwise than in preservation of their Religion and Liberties, may easily find another construction, viz. That the Subjects Allegiance is no longer due than the King performs his Duty; nay, no longer than he in their opinion observes his Duty, whereof they themselves must be Judges, and if he fail in his Duty, they may take up Arms against him: a Principle, which as it is utterly destructive to all Government, so we believe they themselves dare not plainly avow it, left as they now make use of it against the King, so the People finding their failure of Duty, and breach of Trust, should hereafter practise it by taking up Arms against them, and so shake off that Yoke of Tyranny, imposed by their Fellow-Subjects, which lies so heavy upon them, that it were well, as they still press upon the King's maintenance of the Laws, they would also know that their Obligation to observe the same is reciprocal. And where they here resolve to defend and preserve the full Power of this Parliament, (which in their sense can be no other than the Power they have exercised this Parliament) they would take notice, that they are therein so far from observation of the Laws, that they desperately resolve an utter subversion of them: for what can more tend to the destruction of the Laws, than to usurp a Power to themselves without the King, and against his will to raise Arms; to attribute to their Orders, or pretended Ordinances, the Power of Laws and Statutes; to inforce Contributions, Loans, and Taxes of all sorts from the Subject; to imprison without cause shew'd, and then prohibit Writs of Habeas Corpus for their Enlargement; to lay Excises upon all Commodities; to command and dispose of the Lives and Estates of the free-born Subjects of this Kingdom, at their pleasure; to impose Tonnage and Poundage, contrary to the Law declared in the late Act for Tonnage and Poundage, and all this done and justified, as by a legal Civil Power founded and inherent in them? All which are manifest breaches of the Petition of Right and Magna Charta, the great Evidence of the Liberties of England; which Charter by express Words binds them and us, tho assembled in Parliament, as well as the King; and tho it be not now, as heretofore it hath been, taken by Solemn Oath on the People's part, as well as on the King's, nor a Curse as heretofore pronounced on the Violaters; yet they having taken a Protestation to maintain the Laws and Liberties and the Properties of the Subject, and inclusively that Charter, let them take heed whilst they make use of this their pretended Power to the destruction of the Law, left a Curse fall upon them and upon their Posterity: God knoweth, and it is too certain a Truth, that our selves and many other good Subjects in this Kingdom, even under the Power of the King's Army, have suffered exceedingly in Liberty and Estates, during this present Rebellion, by many heavy charges, the sad consideration whereof makes our Hearts bleed; because we can see no way for relief, so long as this unnatural Rebellion continues. But as these things were first practised by them, and thereby necessitated upon the King's Army, so it was never yet pretended that they were done by virtue of a Law, but either by consent, or by the unhappy and unavoidable exigence of War, and to expire with the present Rebellion, which God in his Mercy hasten; for our parts we have the inward Comfort of our own Consciences, witnessing with us, that we have improved all opportunities and advantages for the restoring of this Kingdom to its former Peace, and we must witness for his Majesty his most hearty desires thereof; and tho both his Majesty and our endeavours therein have been made frustrate, yet God in his great Goodness hath raised up our Spirits, not to desert our Religion, our King, our Laws, our Lives, the Liberties of us English free-born Subjects, and by God's assistance and his Majesty's concurrence, we do resolve to unite our selves as one Man, and cheerfully adventure our Lives and Estates for the maintenance and defence of the true reformed Protestant Religion of the Church of England, (of which we profess our selves to be) for the defence of the King's Person and Rights of his Crown, for the regaining and maintaining the Rights and Privileges of Parliament, and the Liberty of the Subject's Person, and Property of his Estate, according to the known Laws of the Land; to repel those of the Scottish Nation, that have in a warlike manner entred this Realm, and to reduce the Subjects thereof now in Rebellion to the King's Obedience; and we doubt not but the same God will enlighten the Eyes of the poor deceived People of this Land, like true-hearted honest Englishmen, to join unanimously with us in so just and pious a Work; and the God of Heaven prosper us according to the Goodness of the Cause we have in hand.
The Names of the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Oxford, who did subscribe the Letter to the Earl of Essex, dated Jan. 27. 1643.
- Charles, P. York
- Ed. Littleton, C. S.
- Fra. Cottington
- D. Richmond
- M. Hartford
- E. Lindsey
- E. Dorset
- E. Shrewsbury
- E. Bath
- E. Southampton
- E. Leicester
- E. Northampton
- E. Devonshire
- E. Carlile
- E. Bristol
- E. Barkshire
- E. Cleveland
- E. Rivers
- E. Dover
- E. Peterborough
- E. Kingston
- E. Newport
- E. Portland
- V. Conway
- L. Digby
- L. Mowbray and Maltravers
- L. Wentworth
- L. Cromwell
- L. Rich
- L. Paget
- L. Chandoys
- L. Howard of Charleton
- L. Lovelace
- L. Savile
- L. Mohun
- L. Dunsmore
- L. Seymour
- L. Percy
- L. Willmot
- L. Leigh
- L. Hatton
- L. Jermin
- L. Carrington
- John Fettiplace, Esq;
- Sir Alex. Denton
- Sir John Packington
- Sir Tho. Smith
- Francis Gamul Esq;
- John Harris Esq;
- Joseph Jane Esq;
- Richard Edgcombe Esq;
- Jonathan Rawleigh Esq;
- G. Fane Esq;
- P. Edgcombe Esq;
- Will. Glanvill Esq;
- Sir Robert Holburne
- Sir Ra. Sydenham
- Fr. Godolphin Esq;
- George Parry, Dr. of Law
- Ambrose Manaton Esq;
- Richard Vivian Esq;
- John Polewheele Esq;
- John Arundel Esq;
- Thomas Lower Esq;
- Sir Edward Hide
- William Allestree Esq;
- Sir George Stonehouse
- Edward Seymour Esq;
- Peter Sainthill Esq;
- Sir William Poole
- Roger Matthew Esq;
- Richard Arundel Esq;
- Giles Strangways Esq;
- Sir John Strangways
- Sir Thomas Hele
- Sir George Naper
- Sam. Turner Dr. in Physick
- Will. Constantine Esq;
- Hen. Killigrew Esq;
- Richard King Esq;
- John Dutton Esq;
- Henry Brett Esq;
- William Chadwell Esq;
- Sir Theobald Gorges
- John George Esq;
- Sir Tho. Fanshaw
- Humf. Conningsby Esq;
- Richard Seaborne Esq;
- Arthur Lord Ranelaugh
- Tho. Tomkins Esq;
- Sir Sampson Evers
- Sir John Culpeper
- Jeffrey Palmer Esq;
- Sir John Harrison
- Tho. Fanshaw Esq;
- Sir Roger Palmer
- Sir Orlando Bridgman
- William Watkins Esq;
- John Smith Esq;
- Sir Thomas Bludder
- Sir Edward Littleton
- Sir Harvy Bagot
- Sir Richard Leveson
- Sir Richard Cave
- Richard Weston Esq;
- Sir Richard Lee
- Sir Tho. Whitmore
- Sir Ed. Acton
- C. Baldwin Esq;
- R. Goodwin Esq;
- Tho. Howard Esq;
- Tho. Littleton Esq;
- Sir Rob. Howard
- Sir John Meux
- Matthew Davis Esq;
- Sir Fr. Cornwallis
- Tho. Jermin Esq;
- John Taylor Esq;
- William Basset Esq;
- Sir William Portman
- Sir Edward Rodney
- Tho. Hanham Esq;
- Edward Philips Esq;
- John Digby Esq;
- Christ. Kirton Esq;
- Edward Lukenor Esq;
- Sir Edward Alford
- John White Esq;
- John Ashburnham Esq;
- William Smith Esq;
- Thomas Leeds Esq;
- Sir James Thinne
- William Pleydell Esq;
- Ro. Hide Serjeant at Law
- Sir Edward Griffin
- Sir Walter Smith
- George Lowe Esq;
- Rich. Harding Esq;
- Sir Henry Herbert
- And. Porter Esq;
- Samuel Sandys Esq;
- John Bodvill Esq;
- William Morgan Esq;
- William Thomas Esq;
- John Mostyn Esq;
- Henry Bellasis Esq;
- Sir George Wentworth
- William Malery Esq;
- Richard Aldburgh Esq;
- John Salisbury Esq;
- William Herbert Esq;
- William Price Esq;
- Sir John Price
- Sir Robert Herbert
- Charles Price Esq;
- Phil. Warwick Esq;
- Thomas Cook Esq;
- Sir Robert Crooke
- Herb. Price Esq;
- John Whistler Esq;
These Peers following, being disabled by several Accidents to appear sooner, have since attended the Service, and concurred with us.
- Marquess of Winchester
- Marquess of Worcester
- Marquess of Newcastle
- Earl of Derby
- Earl of Huntingdon
- Earl of Clare
- Earl of Marlborough
- Viscount Falconbridge
- Lord Morley
- Lord Darcy and Corners
- Lord Stourton
- Lord Evers
- Lord Daincourt
- Lord Pawlet
- Lord Brudenell
- Lord Powis
- Lord Herbert of Cherbury
- Lord Hopton
- Lord Loughborough
- Lord Byron
- Lord Vaughan
- Lord Withrington.
- Earl of Arundel
- Earl of St. Albans
- Viscount Montague
- Viscount Stafford
- Lord Stanhope
- Lord Coventry
- Lord Goring
- Lord Craven of Hampstead
- Lord Craven of Ryton.
Whoever views these numbers, and considers how many Peers are at this time under Age, will quickly know who and how many are privy or consenting to the Counsels at Westminster.
These Members following, being disabled by several Accidents to appear sooner, have since attended the Service, and concurred with us.
- Peter Venables Esq;
- Sir John Pawlet
- Edward Bagshaw Esq;
- Sir John Burlasey
- Francis Newport Esq;
- Anthony Hungerford Esq;
- John Russel Esq;
- Thomas Chichley Esq;
- Earl of Cork
- Sir Gervase Clifton
- Sir Guy Palmes
- Robert Sutton Esq;
- Gervase Hollis Esq;
- Sir Patricius Curwen
- Sir Henry Bellingham
- Sir George Dalstone
- Sir Thomas Sandsord
- Sir William Dalston
- Michael Wharton Esq;
- Sir Robert Hatton
- James Scudamore Esq;
- Sir John Brooke
- Sir John Stepney
Imployed in his Majesty's Service, or absent with Leave, or by Sickness.
- Sir John Fenwick
- Hugh Potter Esq;
- Walter Kyrle Esq;
- William Stanhope Esq;
- Sir William Carnaby
- Sir Thomas Danby
- John Fenwick Esq;
- Ralph Sneade Esq;
- Sir William Ogle
- Sir Thomas Jermine
- Sir John Stowell
- Sir Robert Strickland
- Sir Philip Musgrave
- John Cowcher Esq;
- John Coventry Esq;
- Sir Henry Slingesby
- Sir John Malory
- John Bellasis Esq;
- Sir Thomas Ingram
- Lord Mansfield
- Tho. Heblethwaite Esq;
- Sir Hugh Cholmely
- Sir George Wentworth
- Sir Walter Lloyd
- Sir Henry Vaughan
- Francis Lloyd Esq;
- John Vaughan Esq;
- Richard Ferrers Esq;
- George Hartnol Esq;
- Sir William Udal
- Robert Hunt Esq;
- Thomas May Esq;
- Sir Thomas Bowyer
- Sir Thomas Roe.
Whoever now considers how many have retired themselves into several Counties, and so are absent from Westminster, and yet cannot thro the danger of travelling be present at Oxford; how many have withdrawn themselves into the parts beyond the Seas; how many of their own principal Instruments are voted out of the House, by themselves, as Sir John Hotham, and his Son, Sir Alexander Carew, Mr. Martin, Mr. Fiennes, and many others; and how many now are imprisoned by them; how many Members from the beginning have been factiously kept from the House, upon questions of Election; and how many without any Colour are kept in, by not suffering their Elections to be reported; and that there are thirty five Members dead, into whose rooms no new Persons are chosen; how many since are become Barons by descent, or Creation, will easily conclude, how small the number is which remains, and of those how few in truth have right to sit there.
Our express pleasure is, That this Declaration of the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Oxford, be read by the Parson, Vicar, or Curate, in every Church and Chappel within our Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales.
March 19. 1643.
About the same time the two Houses at Westminster set forth a Declaration touching the same Proceedings, relating to a Treaty for Peace, being as followeth.
A Declaration of the Lords and Commons in Parliaments with the Advice and Concurrence of the Commissioners of Scotland, touching a Treaty of Peace.
A Declaration of the two Houses at Westminster, shewing why they could not accept the Overtures made from Oxford, for a Treaty.
We the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, having notice given us by the Earl of Essex, Lord General of the Forces raised for the Defence of the King and Parliament, of divers Letters sent unto him by the Earl of Forth, and of a Writing in Parchment, dated at Oxford, and subscribed by divers Lords and Gentlemen, inclosed in one of those Letters, and directed to the said Earl of Essex; and likewise of another Letter subscribed by his Majesty, and directed thus, To the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Westminster, which by the intimation given by the Earl of Forth in his Letter, wherein it was inclosed, seemed to be intended for the Two Houses of Parliament, (all which we have caused to be herewith (fn. 2) printed,) did take the same into our serious Consideration; and the rather, because it carried with it a Rumor, and Pretence of a Treaty of Peace, which (being accompanied with Truth) hath always been our earnest desire, and shall be our faithful Endeavours to effect: And having truly weighed the same with the Circumstances thereof, do find it so far from any Aim or Intention to Peace, that, under the Mask and Title thereof, it appears to be an endeavour to make our unhappy Distractions and Miseries more lasting, and the War more irreconcilable.
For now, what the Authors and Fomenters of our sad Calamities from the beginning intended, they have procured to be in substance openly professed; that is, the Overthrow and Destruction of this present Parliament, being (under God) the only Basis and Support of our Religion and Liberty, and the very Bulwark between us and Tyranny, Popery, and Superstition, which are pressing hard to overrun all the three Kingdoms; and because they foresaw the subversion of this Parliament would be of a hard Digestion with the People, they would first digest it under the Disguise of Peace, and therefore his Majesty in his application thereunto must by his Letter deny the Freedom and Continuance thereof, and make way to the setting up of another at Oxford, in stiling that Convention by the Name of The Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Oxford, being the same Title which is therein given to the Parliament, and owning this proceeding toward Peace to be by their Advice: And then, if upon these Terms the two Houses entertained this Overture, they have gained an Acknowledgment from us of being no Parliament, or at leas wife a tacit Consent of an Assembly at Oxford, to be in equal condition with us, but in case this Address should be rejected, then they would take the Advantage thereby to persuade the World, that they at Oxford did labour for Peace, and the Parliament was averse to Peace; and so by this subtile Insinuation poison the Affections of the People, to make the better way to ruin both Parliament and People.
And therefore, that the sincerity of our Actions, and the Malice and Subtilty of our Adversaries may be more clearly discovered, we thought it our Duty, (with the Advice and Concurrence of the Commissioners of the Kingdom of Scotland) to publish our Proceedings to the Kingdom; and to declare, that as it hath always been, and ever shall be our earnest and faithful Endeavours to put an end to the Troubles and dangerous Distempers of this Kingdom, by a happy and well-grounded Peace; so is it our settled Resolution, in discharge of the Trust reposed in us, never to purchase it with the loss and ruin of our Religion and Liberty, having before our Eyes the sad Spectacle of that woful Kingdom of Ireland; which, after the expence of so much Innocent Blood, in defence of the Protestant Religion, is under the false gloss of Peace, subjected, and brought under the Power of Popery and Superstition: And those Bloody Rebels having effected their ends in that Kingdom, are brought over hither to bring us under the same Yoke; which, upon this occasion, we are necessitated to publish, being now tempted by that specious Pretence to acknowlege the Dissolution of this Parliament; which, had we assented to, would not only deprive us, and our Posterity of the present, but of the hopes and capacity of any future Parliament; and so at one blow cut in sunder the chief Support and Pillar of our Laws and Liberties; For what better Assurance can we have, either of our present, or future Liberty, than the Laws and Statutes of the Kingdom; and what greater Obligation can we expect of the observance thereof, than his Majesty's Personal Consent to that Law, and his Sacred and Solemn Oath to observe the Laws? And yet both these are not thought Holds strong enough to secure us our own; infomuch, that not only this present Parliament, convened according to Common Law and Usage of the Realm, and enacted by a Law consented unto by himself to have continuance (and (fn. 3) herewith Printed) is attempted to be Dissolved; but another endeavoured to be set up at Oxford. And if the King, notwithstanding all these Obligations, shall, at his pleasure, dissolve this, the Kingdom is not only deprived of the present, but made incapable of enjoying the benefit of any future Parliament or Laws, any longer than shall stand with the Will and Pleasure of the King; and consequently the Fundamentals of all our Laws and Government are subverted.
And we very well know this Design to be long since contrived at Oxford, as appeareth by the Lord Digby's intercepted Letter, dated the Twenty seventh of December last, (which we have caused to be herewith Printed;) and of such expectation, that he in that Letter expresseth it to carry along with it Probability of the surest and readiest way, &c. of any Course that hath been yet taken; knowing very well, that the Evils and Miseries, himself and his wicked Confederates have brought upon this distressed Kingdom can expect no safety, but by attempting more.
And truly they could not think of any more likely to involve themselves in the same Guilt, than those Lords and Gentlemen now met at Oxford, who had already, contrary to their Duty, and the Trust reposed in them by their Country, deserted the Parliament, and assisted in a War against it; and had there been any doubt or suspicion of their Concurrence in that Design, the very place of Meeting being the Head-Quarters of a Popish Army, whose Cause they were there to consult of, would be a Rod sharp enough to secure them from that Fear. And it doth sufficiently appear, that they have answered their expectation; for they have assumed the Form, and exercised the Power of Parliament; they sit in two distinct Places, terming the one the House of Peers, and the other the House of Commons; and they have made the Lord Littleton Speaker of that which they call the House of Peers, and Serjeant Eure of the other which they name the House of Commons.
They have granted the Sum of 100000 l. for the maintenance and recruiting of the Forces raised against the Parliament and Kingdom, and have advised the same to be levied upon the People in an Arbitrary way, by Privy Seal, under the colour of Loan; which by their Consent and pretended Authority is accordingly put in Execution, as appeareth by the Privy Seals themselves, signed by the said Lord Littleton and Serjeant Eure, a Copy of one of them we have caused to be herewith printed: And what is beyond all, and without the Power and Capacity of a Parliament, they have declared another Kingdom, and the Parliament it self, Guilty of High-Treason; having voted our Brethren of Scotland, who, upon our Invitation, and according to the Act of Pacification, are come in to assist us, in maintenance of our Religion and just Privileges, and the Two Houses, who have raised Forces for their own just Defence, and the maintenance of their Religion and Liberty, Traytors and Rebels.
And now we refer it to any sober and indifferent Judgment, whether there can be a higher Attempt to shake off and cut in funder all Bands of Law and Government, and to bring the People under the Yoke and Bondage of an Absolute Tyranny, than this is?
And we cannot choose but admire and lament, that this Kingdom should produce such unnatural Monsters, who, like Vipers, to make way for their own safety, would destroy the Womb that bare them: And because themselves are justly cut off, as rotten and destructive Branches of the Representative Body of the Kingdom, would therefore pluck up the Tree by the Root, and destroy both Parliament and Kingdom. But when we consider the Persons this Idol is composed of, it produceth no great wonder, consisting not only of such, who for betraying the Trust reposed in them by their Country, and their Duty to the Commonwealth, have been justly excluded the Parliament; but of the Lord Digby, Piercy, Jermin and others, who even before these unhappy Differences, have been legally impeached, or questioned in Parliament for High Treason; and, being convinced in their own Consciences of the Guilt thereof, fled the Kingdom to avoid their Trial; and therefore by Proclamations in his Majesty's Name, when his Majesty was here present, summoned to appear to answer to that Charge. But our greatest grief is, that their Counsels should so far prevail, as to procure his Majesty (under the pretence of Peace) to be their Instrument to an attempt so destructive to himself, Kingdom, and People; and to endeavour the consent of the Parliament to destroy it self, and their own Religion and Liberties; an Attempt not to be parallell'd by the precedent of the most pernicious Times; and, if effected, would in the end prove as dangerous to his Majesty as to the Kingdom, which may be made apparent by the Example of some of his Predecessors, unhappily misled by the desperate Counsels of private and ill-affected Persons: which Consideration necessitated us to return his Majesty the Answer (fn. 4) herewith printed; wherein we take the boldness, with all humility and plainness, to declare, as well the Duty we owe to our Country, for whom we are intrusted, as the Allegiance we owe to him; and that without apparent Breach of both, we could not assent to any Treaty, upon the Terms expressed in his Majesty's Letter; and likewise to tender unto him our humble Advice of a safe and ready way to put an end to the present sad Condition of his Majesty's Dominions; and we shall never cease by our continual and earnest Prayers to Almighty God, to implore him, that yet at length he would incline his Royal Heart to be throughly sensible of these unhappy Divisions, that have occasioned so much innocent Blood to stain the Land; and by hearkning to the joint Advice of both Kingdoms, now happily united in this common Cause, by their late Solemn League and Covenant, put an happy Issue to all these Troubles.
This we thought necessary to declare, to the end the World may see, as well our own real Endeavours to attain a safe and just Peace, as the indefatigable Practices of those Popish and Jesuitical Councils (the Instruments of all our Miseries) who are content to appear in all Shapes, and leave no means unattempted to compass their own ends.
First, They would have undermined us by secret Practices; then they would have forced us by open War; and now they would allure us with the specious pretence of Peace to dis-avow this Parliament, and our just Rights and Privileges; and consequently resign our selves, Religion, Laws, and Liberties to the Power of Idolatry, Superstition and Tyranny.
But we are constantly resolved, in discharge of the Duty we owe to our God, the Trust reposed in us by our Country, and our late Solemn Oath and Covenant, with the hazard of our Lives and Fortunes, to defend our lawful Rights and Liberties, the Freedom and Privileges of this present Parliament; and, which is above all, the true Protestant Religion: wherein we shall not doubt, but to receive the hearty Concurrence and Assistance of all well-affected Protestants and true Lovers of their Country and Liberty; and the Lord of Hosts, whose Cause it is we stand for, and upon whose Assistance we principally rely, grant our Endeavours a blessed and happy Success.
The Lord Digby's Letter intercepted, and in this Declaration referred unto, was as followeth.
The Lord Digby's Letter to Sir H. Devic.
An intercepted Letter of the Lord Digby's, Dec. 27, 1643.
My Indisposition the last Week forced me to refer you to my Secretary, for an Account of what Occurrences it afforded. This Week hath been so little productive of any thing considerable, that when I shall have told you of the taking of Briston-Castle in Cheshire, by his Majesty's Forces under the Lord Byron, a Place of huge Importance, both for Strength and Command of all those Counties of Cheshire, Lancashire, and some part of Stafford and Derbyshire, I shall have told you all: The Marqueβ of Newcastle having attempted nothing since the taking of Winchfield-Mannor, Plymouth remaining still in the former condition, besieged; and there having been nothing done betwixt my Lord Hopton and Sir William Waller, since the unlucky beating up of one of our Quarters at Alton; but we are in daily expectation of a critical Blow between them, the Lord Wilmot being now joined with the Lord Hopton, with a fresh Strength of 1000 Horse, and both being under March to attain Waller, who hath possessed himself of Arundel Town, we having a strong Garison in the Castle; and it is probably hop'd, that he cannot avoid fighting with them upon disadvantage. Thus much for the military part.
The Prince Harcourt's Negotiation, by way of entremize for an Accommodation, is well nigh at an end, as I believe; for that the pretended Parliament will not hearken to any Proposition from him, in any other way than an avowed Addreβ; by which they might seem, either to be owned by him as a Parliament, and applied to by him as an Embassador, or else to be admitted by the King for somewhat mere considerable than he hath in a long time own'd them for: a Point which his Majesty may not suffer them to gain, without subverting the Grounds and Maxims of all his late Proceedings against them, and that which he now goes upon by the Advice of all his Nobility here, as you will perceive by this inclosed Proclamation, upon the Effects whereof all the Eyes of the Kingdom are fixed. God send them to be as good actuated, as they are in speculation; for I am confident, that in reason it carries probability of the surest and readiest way to a re-establishment of his Majesty in his just Rights and Powers, of any course that hath been yet attempted. This is all, more than the hearty Respect of
Your very Affectionate Friend and Servant,
Oxon, Dec. 27. 1643.
I have received yours of the 19th, and will by the next give you an account of that Particular in it concerning your self.
A Copy of the King's Privy Seal for borrowing of Money, in the foregoing Declaration mentioned.
To our Trusty and Well-beloved Richard Tilney of Rotherwick, Gent.
The King's Privy Seal to borrow Money by Advice of the Lords and Commons at Oxford, Feb. 14. 1643/4.
Trusty and Well-beloved, we greet you well: Whereas all our Subjects of the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales are, both by their Allegiance and Act of Pacification, bound to resist and suppreβ all such of our Subjects of Scotland, as have in an hostile manner already entred, or shall hereafter enter into this Kingdom; and, by Law, your Personal Service, attended in a warlike manner, for the resistance of this Invasion, may be required by us, which we desire to spare, chusing rather to invite your Assistance for the maintenance of our Army in a free and voluntary expression of your Affections to our Service, and the Safety of this Kingdom. And whereas the Members of both Houses of Parliament assembled at Oxford, have taken into their Consideration the necessity of supporting our Army, for the defence of us and our People against this Invasion, and for the Preservation of the Religion, Laws, and Liberties of this Kingdom; and thereupon have agreed upon the speedy raising of One hundred thousand Pounds, by Loan, from particular Persons, toward the which themselves have advanced a very considerable Proportion; and by their Examples hope, that our well-affected Subjects throughout the Kingdom will, in a short time, make up the Remainder; whereby We shall not only be enabled to pay and recruit our Army, but likewise be enabled to put our Armies in such a condition, as our Subjects shall not suffer by Free Quarter, or the Unruliness of our Soldiers, which is now in present agitation, and will (We no way doubt, by the Advice of the Members of both Houses assembled) be speedily effected.
We do toward so good a Work, by the Approbation and Advice of the said Members of both Houses here assembled, desire you forthwith to lend us the Sum of Two hundred Pounds, or the value thereof in Plate, touch'd at Five Shillings, and untouch'd Plate at Four Shillings Four Pence per Ounce; and to pay or deliver the same within seven days after the Receipt hereof, to the Hands of our High Sheriff of that our County, or to such whom he shall appoint to receive the same (upon his Acquittance for the Receipt thereof) who is forthwith to return and pay the same at Corpus-Christi College in Oxford, to the Hands of the Earl of Bath, the Lord Seymour, Mr. John Ashburnham, and Mr. John Fettiplace, or any of them, who are appointed Treasurers for the receiving and issuing thereof by the said Members (by whose order only the said Money is to be disposed) and to give Receipts for the same; the which we promise to repay as soon as God shall enable us: This Sum being to be advanced with speed, we are necessitated to apply our selves to such Persons as your self, of whose Ability and Affection we have confidence; giving you this assurance, that in such farther Charges, that the necessity of our just Defence shall inforce us to require of our good Subjects, your Forwardneβ and Disbursements shall be considered to your best advantage. And so, presuming you will not fail to expreβ your Affection herein, we bid you Farewel. Given at our Court at Oxford, the 14th Day of February, in the Nineteenth Year of our Reign, 1643.
By the Advice of the Members of both Houses, assembled at Oxford.
To Mr. Tilney of Rotherwick, 200 l.
The Declaration of the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Oxford, according to his Majesty's Proclamation.
Concerning their Endeavours, since they came thither, for the Peace of the Kingdom, and the Reasons enforcing their absence from Westminster.
A Declaration of the Lords and Commons at Oxford, touching the Reasons enforcing their absence from Westminster.
We the Lords and Commons of Parliament, being upon just and important Reasons absent from the City of Westminster, whither we were legally called, or sent by the Power and Authority of his Majesty's Writ when he summoned his Parliament, and being by his gracious Proclamation of the 22d day of December convened at Oxford, with full liberty to present our humble Advice to his Majesty for the preservation of the Religion, Laws, and Safety of the Kingdom, thought it most agreeable to our Duty to God, our Zeal and tenderness of his Majesty's Honour and Safety, and our Affection and Compassion of the bleeding Condition of our miserable Country, to use our utmost and earliest Endeavours to prevent the effusion of more Christian English Blood, and to close those Wounds thro which this Kingdom is in danger in a short time to languish even to Dissolution: And finding the ill success which had attended all the overtures of Treaty and Accommodation made by his Majesty, his Majesty's most gracious Message from Nottingham being with so much Contempt rejected, which being sent by Members of both Houses, those Messengers were not suffered to deliver it, as Members, or to sit in the House whilst the same was debated, contrary to the Privilege of Parliament; and that to the two last Messages, sent by him, of the twelfth of April, and nineteenth of May (in both which are most gracious Expressions of his Princely and passionate Inclinations to Peace, as may appear by those Messages herewith again (fn. 5) reprinted) there hath not been the least Answer returned to his Majesty; but on the contrary his Messenger imprisoned, and to this Day detained, and an Order that on pain of Death none should presume to come thither from his Majesty, upon what business soever, without leave from the Earl of Essex; in pursuance of which Order, tho the same passed only the Commons, a sworn Messenger of his Majesty's hath been barbarously put to Death for carrying a legal Writ to London. We thought any Address for Peace would most successfully pass thro his Hands; and that when he had considered how unhappily he had been made an Instrument of so much Blood and Devastation, he would with great cheerfulness have interposed in a business of Reconciliation, and, at least, have met us half way in so blessed a Work; and therefore with his Majesty's leave, which he most readily and graciously gave us (and for which we doubt not he shall receive the Thanks and Prayers of all his good Subjects) we directed a Letter to that purpose to him, signed under our Hands; whosoever reads this Letter (and we hope it will be read by all Men) will bear us Witness, and it will be a Witness against those who have rejected it, that we have done our parts. Instead of vouchsafing us any Answer, or proposing us any other way towards Peace (if that which which we preposed was not thought convenient) he writes a short Letter to the Earl of Forth, General of his Majesty's Army, acknowledging the receipt of ours, but saying, that it neither having address to the Two Houses of Parliament, nor therein there being any acknowledgment of them, he could not communicate it to them; whereas the Address was in the way prescribed (under pain of Death no Address being allowed, as aforesaid, but by the Earl of Essex) and he being desired to represent to, and promote with Those by whom he is trusted, our most sincere and earnest desire of a Treaty; so that if there had been the least inclination to, or enduring of an overture of Peace, he might have as easily communicated it to all those by whom he is intrusted, as to a Committee, by whose Advice, 'tis well known, his Answer was sent; and with it, and as part of it, a Paper intitled, The Declaration of the Kingdom of Scotland; and, A Declaration of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland; and another, A Solemn League and Covenant; the Declarations and Covenant being against the King of both Kingdoms, without the consent of, and against the major part of the Nobility, and we are confident the Gentry and Commonalty of This. And if his Lordship would make good his own Letter, and spend his Blood, or but use his Endeavours for the maintenance of the Parliament of England (being indeed the Foundation whereupon all our Laws and Liberties are supported) we should not treat at this distance, at least a Treaty would not be rejected. We suffered not our selves to be discouraged with this Refusal, but a safe Conduct was desired for two Gentlemen (against whom there neither was or could be the least exception) to go to Westminster, to present such Propositions as might best conduce to the Peace of the Kingdom, conceiving that by such means our Meaning and Intentions might best appear, and all Formalities and unnecessary insisting and mistakes upon Words might be removed: This safe Conduct (which had never been denied by his Majesty, or his Generals, to any Person who hath desired to have admittance to him) was likewise absolutely refused by the Earl of Essex; yet with some Expressions, that if any Propositions should be sent to those by whom he was intrusted, he would use his utmost Endeavours to advance the Peace; which tho it seem'd nothing agreeable to his former Answers, obtained yet so much credit with us, that we besought his Majesty once more, in his own Royal Name, to press and desire a Treaty, and to direct his Message under such a Title, that they who call themselves The Two Houses of Parliament, could not take any exception, but should be compelled to return some Answer or other; and an Answer it hath drawn from them, but such a one as will sufficiently inform the World (if there could yet have remained any doubt of it) how much they are Enemies to Peace; those Answers, Declarations, and that Covenant, are likewise publick to all Men. God and the World must judge between us. In the mean time we must, without bitterness or sharpness of Language (to which no Example or Provocation shall transport us) tell these Men, That most of us are too well known, even to themselves, to be suspected to encline to be either Papists or Slaves, or that we can possibly be made Instruments to advance either Popery or Tyranny; and since the defence of the Religion, Laws, and Liberties of the Kingdom, seems to be (and in truth is on our part) the Argument of this bloody Contention, and that we are endeavouring all ways to destroy one another, in the behalf of That we all do, or all pretend to desire, we think our selves obliged to Truth, to the present Age and to Posterity, to let the World know, That as we are much more tender of the Religion, Laws, and Liberty of the Kingdom, than of our Lives and Fortunes, so the uneasie Condition wherein we are, and the heavy Judgments and Proscriptions imposed on us by our Equals, have proceeded and been caused from that Conscience, Loyalty, and Duty, in which we have been born and bred, and from which we could not swerve without the manifest breach of our Allegiance, and those civil Oaths we are obliged by, as we hope will appear to all Men by this our ensuing Declaration.
We shall pass over (only acknowledging his Majesty's abundant care and favour to his People) those excellent Laws made this Parliament, for the vindication and removal of those Mischiefs and Inconveniencies, which seemed to threaten our Rights and Liberty, to all which there are very few amongst us who concurred not fully, (however we are now traduced with the negligence of both) and that most gracious Offer of his Majesty, to consent to An Act for the ease of tender Consciences in matters indifferent, which, if it had been accepted, would have prevented many of the Miseries have since befallen this poor Kingdom.
And because the Name and Privilege of Parliament is pretended in defence of those Actions, which are done contrary to the known Laws, by which only Right and Wrong can be measured and determined, and by that venerable Name many of our Companions and Friends have been led into unwarrantable Actions, before we come to consider the State and Condition of the Religion, Laws, and Liberty of the Kingdom by these Distractions, we shall let the World know how much the inherent and essential Privileges of Parliament have been violated; how we (being called by his Majesty, and trusted by our Country with their Suffrages in that Council) have been driven, and are now kept from the place whither we were first called by his Majesty, and where some Members still sit; and lastly, how far this miserable, and, to say no more, this unjustifiable Civil War, and this desperate and odious Invitation of a Foreign Power to invade this Kingdom, is from having the Countenance, Authority, and Approbation of the Two Houses of Parliament.
The great Industry and ill Arts used by those who have since been principal Instruments of the present Rebellion, to bring in Persons of their Faction into the House of Commons; and admitting and receiving such who were neither lawfully chosen, nor lawfully returned by their Country, and the putting and keeping out others whose Opinions were not liked; the reprehending, reproaching, and imprisoning of Members for speaking freely according to their Consciences in matters in debate; the posting and setting up Men's Names in publick places; the proscribing them as Enemies to their Country, who dissented in the Houses in opinion in matters debated, and being complained of, no reparation granted; the sitting at unparliamentary Hours, thereby wearying and tiring many Members from Attendance, and so in a thin House altering and reversing the Resolution taken in a full House; the refusing to receive, and suppressing Petitions against Persons in favour, tho in point of Bribery and Corruption in Judicatory, and the like of other Petitions from whole Counties, for the preservation of the Government of the Church, as from Nottinghamshire and Somersetshire; whilst others against it were received with great Countenance and Approbation from mean unknown People; the getting, with great Labour and Faction, several Hands to Petitions from Counties, and then framing new Petitions at London, and annexing the Hands formerly gotten in the Country to those Petitions, of which they who subscribed their Hands know nothing, as in the Petition of Buckinghamshire; and the setting Names in London to Petitions in the Name of (as if they had been subscribed in) remote Counties; the usurping of Jurisdictions to supersede Acts of Parliament, and to dispense with the breach of Laws in force; the suffering undutiful and disloyal Language against the Sacred Person of the King, without so much as reprehension, and the denying his Majesty's negative Voice, we insist not so much on (tho very prejudicial and scandalous to the Privileges and Honour of Parliament) as on those Acts of Force and Violence which are contrary and destructive to the Freedom and Liberty of Parliament.
Shortly after his Majesty returned from Scotland, there being a very long Debate in the House of Commons, concerning an unparliamentary Remonstrance to be published to the People of the State of the Kingdom, which many of us then thought might prove prejudicial to the Peace thereof; Captain Venne, then a Member of the House of Commons, who had before bragg'd of having brought down the People upon the Two Houses, and so drawn Resolutions from them, sent Notes in Writing under his Hand into the City, that the People should come down to Westminster, for that the better part of the House was like to be over-powered by the worser part: whereupon both at that time, and some days after, multitudes of the meanest sort of People, with Weapons not agreeing with their Condition or Custom, in a manner very contrary and destructive to the Privilege of Parliament, fill'd up the way between both Houses, offering Injuries both by Words and Actions to, and laying violent Hands upon several Members, proclaiming the Names of several Peers, as evil and rotten-hearted Lords, crying out many hours together against the established Laws, in a most tumultuous and menacing way. This Action of Captain Venne's was complained of to the House of Commons, and Witnesses offered to prove it; a Fellow who had assaulted and reproached a Member of the House of Commons in those Tumults was complained of, and shew'd to the House, in the number of those that brought a Petition to the Bar; and yet in neither of these Cases Justice, or so much as an Examination, could be obtained.
Upon a suggestion and pretence of Danger, and suit made to his Majesty, a Guard was allowed and appointed by him for the security of both Houses; shortly after, this Guard was refused and discharged by themselves, and a new Guard appointed by them, without his Majesty's consent, thereby to awe all those who concurred not with them; a legal Writ issuing out by the direction of the House of Peers, under the Great Seal of England, to prevent those Tumults which daily infested both Houses, the Justices of the Peace, for executing the Writ according to their Oaths, were imprisoned by the House of Commons; a Commission under the Great Seal of England, for Enquiry after Riots committed in Southwark, was likewise superseded by an Order of the House of Commons; and when the Lords desired by several Messages that the House of Commons would join with them in a Declaration against Tumults, they refused, or neglected to join with them, it being said by Mr. Pym in the House of Commons, God forbid we should dishearten our Friends who come to assist us: And albeit some of the Lords professed, that if the People were again drawn down in that tumultuous manner, they would no more come to the House; and albeit an Order was made, that in such a case the House should be presently adjourned, yet those Tumults again appearing, that Order, tho urged by several Lords, was not suffered to be executed.
The House of Commons having desired the House of Peers to join with them in desiring his Majesty, that the Militia of this Kingdom might be put into such Hands as both Houses did conside in, and this desire having been put to the Question, and carried negatively by much the major part of the Lords; it being again resumed at another time, contrary to the course of Parliament, the Debate was begun with a Declaration made by several of those Lords, against whom that Question was twice carried by Votes (and that by much the major part) That whosoever refused in this particular to join with the House of Commons, were in their Opinions Enemies to the State; Words destructive to the Liberty and Freedom of Debate.
During the time that this business of the Militia was in Debate (that is, before it had approbation and consent of the House of Peers) a Petition in a tumultuous manner was delivered to the House of Lords, in the Name of the Knights, Gentlemen, Freeholders, and others the Inhabitants of the County of Hertford, reckoning up the Causes of the present Fears, Troubles, and Distractions, and among them the want of Compliance in that Honourable House with the House of Commons, in entertaining those many good Motions, and passing those necessary Bills presented to them from that House for the Publick Good; and desiring liberty to protest against all those, as Enemies to the Publick, who refused to join with the Honourable Lords, whose Endeavours were for the Publick Good; and with the House of Commons, for the putting the Kingdom into a posture of Safety, under the Command of such Persons as the Parliament should appoint. Several Petitions of the same Nature, particularly one under the Title of The Knights, Gentlemen, Freeholders, and other Inhabitants of the County of Surrey, directed to the House of Peers, concluded with this clause, That they should be in Duty obliged to maintain their Lordships, so far as they should be united with the House of Commons in their just and pious Proceedings; sufficiently intimating, that if they joined not with the House of Commons, they then meant as much as others had plainly professed: About the same time, a Citizen saying at the Bar of the House of Commons, That they heard there were Lords who refused to consent and concur with them, and that they would gladly know their Names, or Words to the effect. A Petition in the Names of many Thousand poor People, in and about the City of London, was directed to the House of Commons, taking notice of a malignant Faction that made abortive all their good Motions, which tended to the Peace and Tranquillity of this Kingdom; desiring, That those noble Worthies of the House of Peers, who concurred with them in their happy Votes, might be earnestly desired to join with that Honourable House, and to fit and vote together, as one entire Body; and professing, That unless some speedy remedy were taken for the removing all such Obstructions, as hindred the happy Progress of their great Endeavours, their Petitioners should not rest in quietness, but should be forced to lay hold on the next Remedy which was at hand, to remove the Disturbers of the Peace, and (Want and Necessity breaking the Bounds of Modesty) not to leave any means unassayed for their relief; lastly, adding, That the Cry of the Poor and Needy was, That such Persons, who were the Obstacles of their Peace, and the Hinderers of the happy Proceedings of this Parliament, might be forthwith publickly declared, whose removal they conceived would put a period to those Distractions. And this Petition was brought up to the House of Lords, by the House of Commons, at a Conference; and after the same day, Mr. Hollis, a Member of the House of Commons, in a Message from that House pressed the Lords at their Bar to join with the House of Commons in their desire about the Militia; and farther with many other expressions of like nature desired in Words to this effect, That if that desire of the House of Commons were not assented unto, those Lords who were willing to concur, would find some means to make themselves known, that it might be known who were against them, and they might make it known to those that sent them. After which Petition so strangely framed, countenanced and seconded, many Lords thereupon withdrawing themselves, the Vote, in order to the Militia, twice before rejected, was then passed.
After these and other unparliamentary Actions, many things rejected and settled upon solemn Debate, were again after many Threats and Menaces, resumed, altered, and determined, contrary to the Custom and Laws of Parliament; and so many of us withdrew our selves from thence, where we could not sit, speak, and vote, with Honour, Freedom, and Safety; and are now kept from thence for our Duty and Loyalty to our Sovereign: and tho some of us sat and continued there long after this, hoping that we might have been able to have prevented the growth and progress of farther Mischief; yet since the Privilege of Parliament is so substantial and entire a Right, that as the Invasion of the Liberties of either House is an injury to the other, and the whole Kingdom; so the Violence and Assaults upon any of our Fellow-Members, for expressing their Opinions in matters of Debate, were Instances to us, what we were to look for, when we should be known to dissent from what was expected and under that Consideration every one of our just Liberties suffered Violation.
Many of us having for these and other Reasons, after his Majesty himself was by many Indignities and Force driven from Westminster, have been, contrary to the Right and Freedom of Parliament, voted out of the House, without committing any Crime; and some of us without hearing or so much as being summoned to be heard; and so our Countries, for which we were, and are trusted, have been without any Proxies or Persons trusted on their behalf. An Army hath been raised without, and against his Majesty's Consent, and a Protestation enjoyned to live and die with the Earl of Essex, their General of that Army; and a Member now amongst us refusing to take that Protestation, was told, That if he left not the Town speedily he should be committed to the Tower, or knocked on the Head by the Soldiers. All Persons, even the Members of both Houses, have been and now are forced, or enjoyned to contribute for the maintenance and support of that Army. A Traiterous Covenant is since taken by the Members who remain, and imposed upon the Kingdom, That they will to their Power assist the Forces raised and continued by both Houses of Parliament, against the Forces raised by the King, with many other Clauses, directly contrary to their Allegiance; and another for The alteration of the Government of the Church established by Law: and such Members as have refused, contrary to their Duty and Conscience, to take those Covenants, have been imprisoned or expelled, so as they have suffered none to reside with them, but those who are engaged with them in their desperate Courses.
The whole Power and Authority of both Houses is delegated, against the Law and Nature of Parliament, to a close Committee, which assumes and usurps the Power of King, Lords, and Commons disposes of the Persons, Liberties, and Estates of us and our Fellow-Subjects, without so much as communicating their Resolutions to those that sit in the Houses; and when an Order hath been reported to be confirmed by them, it hath been only put to the Question, no Debates being suffered, it having been said in the House where the Commons sit, to those who have excepted against such an Order, when presented, That they were only to Vote, not to Dispute, and thereupon all Argument and Contradiction hath been taken away. And to shew how impossible it is to contain themselves within any Bounds of Civility and Humanity when they have forfeited their Allegiance, after the Attempt in a most barbarous manner to murder the Queen's Majesty at her landing at Burlington, by making, many great Shot at the House where she lodged for her Repose after a long Voyage by Sea, where, by God's Blessing it was disappointed, they impeach'd her of High-Treason, for assisting the King her Husband, and the Kingdom in their greatest Necessities. All Petitions and Addresses of Peace have been, with great Art and Vehemence, discountenanced and suppressed, whilst others for Sedition and Discord have with no less Industry and Passion been promoted; and when the Members of the House of Commons in August last, had agreed upon a long and solemn Debate to join with the Lords in sending Propositions of Peace to his Majesty, the next Day printed Papers were scattered in the Streets and fix'd upon the publick places, both in the City and Suburbs, requiring all Persons well-affected to rise as one Man, and to come to the House of Commons next Morning, for that 20000 Irish Rebels were landed; which Direction and Information was likewise that Day given in Pulpits by their Seditious Preachers: and in some of those Papers was subscribed, That the Malignant Party had over-voted the Good, and if not prevented there would be Peace, (the Propositions for Peace being the Day before carried by nine and twenty Voices) a Common-Council was called late at Night, tho Sunday, and a Petition there framed against Peace, which was the next Morning brought to the House, countenanced by Alderman Pennington, (a known Promoter and Governour of those Tumults) and attended with a great multitude of mean Persons, who used Threats, Menaces and Reproaches to the Members of both Houses: their Petition took notice of Propositions passed by the Lords for Peace, which if allowed, would be destructive to Religion, Laws, and Liberties; and therefore desired an Ordinance according to the Tenor of an Act of their Common-Council the Night before. Thanks was given them by the Commons, whilst the Lords complained of the Tumults, and desired a Concurrence to suppress them, and to prevent the like; many of the People telling the Members of both Houses, that if they had not a good Answer, they would be there the next Day with double the number: By these Threats and Violence, the Propositions formerly received were rejected, and all thoughts of Peace laid aside. Shortly after, great numbers of Women resort to the House where the Commons sat, with a Petition for Peace: Troops of Horse were hereupon sent for, who wound and kill several of the Women, and disperse the rest. Then special notice was taken of those Members who seemed most importunate and desirous of Peace, and thereupon the late Covenant eagerly and severely pressed upon them; by reason whereof, and the other Miscarriages, whereby their Freedom was absolutely taken from them, divers of both Houses withdrew themselves.
And we must now appeal to all our Fellow-Subjects of this Kingdom, who have taken the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, who have any knowledge of the Rights, Customs, and Privileges of Parliament, or of the Frame and Constitution of this Realm, whether we or they have fail'd in our Duty to our King or Country? And whether we have not, in discharge of a good Conscience, undergone the Evils we have born? And then we doubt not, we shall not be thought less Members of Parliament, tho we are not at Westminster, than if that City were in the possession of a foreign Enemy: Yet we confess the place to be so material, that if there were that Liberty and Freedom which is due to the Members, and indeed is the Life of Parliament, the Act of those in the House (being a lawful Act) is the Act of the House, though there were a greater number absent, who were all of another Opinion. But in our Case, when we are by force driven away, and by force kept away, and when nothing can be said to justifie the Actions which are done but the Reputation and Number of the Actors, we rely so much upon the Understanding and Honesty of our Country-men, That they will believe, when they see our Concurrence and Unanimity in Resolutions and Counsel for their Peace, Welfare, and Security, (as we are confident the Number of those who concur in this Declaration, is greater than hath concurred in most, if not in any of those things of which we complain.) that it will be better for them to be advised by us at Oxford, than by those at Westminster, from whence we are absent only by reason of those Outrages and Violences offered to our Persons or our Consciences, which take away all Freedom, and consequently all Authority from those Counsels, and where indeed these Men ought not to undertake to act any thing, till that Freedom and Liberty be restored to us; who, as long as this Parliament shall continue, notwithstanding all the Votes of those who are guilty of Treason and Rebellion, must account our selves, and shall be accounted by our Countty, the true and lawful Members of Parliament.
Having said thus much to undeceive our Brethren, and that our Fellow-Subjects may be no longer seduced to unlawful Actions, by colour and pretence of Parliament; we shall briefly present to their View and Consideration the Danger and Condition of his Majesty's Person, his Honour and Rights, the Religion and Liberty of the Kingdom, the defence and maintenance of which those Persons, with whom we cannot agree, seem and pretend to undertake. For their care of the Honour and Safety of his Majesty's Person, (to the which we are so absolutely obliged, and so solemnly sworn) we shall need only to mention (which we mention with great sadness of Heart and horrour) the taking by force his Majesty's Forts, Towns, Navy; the assuming a Power over the Militia of the Kingdom; the denying his Majesty's Negative Voice; the uncomely, insolent, and disloyal mentioning of his Majesty's Person; the neglect, contempt, and violation of Leagues made by his Majesty with foreign Princes, in the Injuries and Affronts done to their publick Ministers, and otherwise; the transcendent Presumption of sending Agents to foreign Princes, and in the Name of the States of Ireland; the traiterous distinction between the Person of the King and his Office, and declaring, that an attempt upon his Life is not High-Treason; which Doctrine is so much countenanced, that Persons, who have threatned to kill the King, having been complained of, have been left unpunished, and the Witnesses and Prosecutors threatned or discountenanced; the raising an Army against him, and therewith giving Battle to his Person, all which are known to be very unagreeable with the Affection, Duty, and Loyalty of Subjects, and English-men.
Concerning Religion, we cannot but with bleeding Hearts, and trembling Souls, consider the unheard of Impieties and Prophanations exercised in Churches, and Consecrated Places; the Countenance and License given to scandalous, debauch'd, ignorant Lay Persons to preach, and exercise the Office of the Ministry; the suppressing and cruel using and imprisoning in Goals, and on Ship-board, godly, learned, orthodox Divines, famous and exemplary in their Lives and Doctrine, the most eminent assertors of the Protestant Religion, against Popery and Innovations; the scurrilous and scandalous reviling, scoffing, and suppressing the Book of Common-Prayer, compied by Glorious Martyrs for the Protestant Religion established by Law, and so long, and so publickly used, and acknowledged as an excellent and unparallel'd Form of Devotion and Divine Service; the suspending the execution of the Act of Parliament made in the first Year of Queen Elizabeth of Famous Memory, for Uniformity of Common-Prayer, by an Order under the Hand of a private Member of the House of Commons, and that during the Recess of both Houses; the stirring up and inciting the People to Rebellion in Pulpits, and (which is the greatest scandal and reproach to the Protestant Religion that can be imagined) the making Religion it self the ground and cause of Rebellion; lastly, after having lived so many years in the most Glorious, and most unblemished Church of Christendom, the total defacing and pulling down the whole Fabrick of it, censuring and reproaching the Doctrine, and destroying the Discipline, and (as if we were cast ashore in some uninhabited Climate, where the Elements of Christianity were not known) the Calling, without the least shadow or colour of Law, or Lawful Authority, against his Majesty's express Consent, manifestly against the Statute of the 25th year of King Henry the Eighth, An Assembly of Divines, composed of some Noblemen, Gentlemen, and Ministers, all under the Stile of Godly and Learned Divines, most of which are not otherwise known, than by their Schism and Separation from that Church, in which they were born, and to which they have subscribed: and these Men now must new-make and mould the Religion by which we must all be saved. God in his good time we hope will vindicate his own Cause, and repair the Breaches which have been lately made.
For the Laws of the Land, and the Liberty of the Subject, so speciously urged and pretended, to be the end of those who have disturbed our Peace, we need say little; every Place and every Person is an ample Evidence and Testimony of the bold and avowed Violation of either; the Charter of our Liberties, Magna Charta, so industriously and religiously preserved by our Ancestors, and above thirty several times confirmed in Parliament, that Rampire and Bulwark of all the precious Privileges and Immunities which the Subjects of this Kingdom could boast of, and which distinguishes them from all the Subjects of Christendom, is levelled and trampled under foot, scorned, despised, and superseded by Votes and Orders; Men of all sorts, Clergy and Laity, imprisoned without the least Charge that by the Law is called a Crime, and their Estates are sequestred by Persons of whom the Law can take no notice; Committees, made by Committees, rob, banish, and imprison the Lords and Commons of England; Men committed by Persons of no Authority, for no cause, to Prison, have by Habeas Corpus, (the good old Remedy and Security for our Liberty) been brought to the King's-Bench, and by the Command of those who first committed them remanded, and Commands given to the Judges that they should grant no Habeas Corpus (which they were sworn to grant) to any Persons committed by them, or by those to whom they grant Authority to commit, which themselves have not power to do. Neither can we pass over the Motion made by Mr. Rigby, a Member of the House of Commons, to transport those Lords and Gentlemen who were Prisoners, and by them accounted Malignants, to be sold as Slaves to Argiers, or sent to the new Plantation in the West-Indies, urged the second time with much earnestness, because the Proposer had contracted with two Merchants to that purpose; the which, though it took no Effect at that time, may awaken those who have observed so many things to pass and be ordered, long after it hath been once or twice denied and rejected; and who sees the new and inhumane way of imprisoning Persons of Quality under Decks on Shipboard, by which cruel Usage, many of our Country-men have been murdered, may have reason to sear they may be hereafter carried a longer Voyage than is yet avowed; the twentieth part of our Estates is at once taken, and if we are not willing to obey that Order, the other nineteen are taken from us as Malignnants, a term unknown and undefined, and yet crime enough to forfeit our Lives, and all that we have; our Fellow-Subjects have been executed in cold Blood, for doing that which by the Laws of God and Man they were bound to do, and after their Murder, their Estates feized, and their Wives and Children exposed to Misery and Famine; Laws made, and Penalties imposed by Laws this Parliament, are suspended, dispensed withal, and those things done by Order, against which those Laws were made; and that there may be no Face of Justice over the Land, the Judges are prohibited to ride their Circuits, for the Administration of that Justice which the King owes his People, and they are bound to execute: and after all this, and after the merciless shedding of so much English Blood, after the expending so much Money (much of which was given for relief of our poor Protestant Brethren of Ireland, and diverted for the improving the Distractions at home) after the Transportation of such vast Sums of Money, and great Treasure into Foreign parts, to the unspeakable impoverishing this poor Kingdom; to make our Misery lasting, and our Confusion compleat, a Foreign Enemy is invited and brought into the Bowels of this Kingdom, to drink our Blood, to divide our Possessions, to give us new Laws, and to rule over us. And the better to make way to those horrid Impositions, by confounding and making void all Civil Rights and Proprieties, and the better preparing the Kingdom to be shared by Strangers, a new Great Seal (the special Ensign of Monarchy, and the only way by which Justice is derived and distributed to the People) is counterfeited and used, albeit it be by the express Letter of the Statute of the 25th year of King Edward the Third, declared to be High-Treason.
Having now made this clear plain Narration to the Kingdom, (the truth and particulars whereof are known to most Men) that when Posterity shall find our Names in the Records of these times, as Members trusted by our Country in that great Council, by whose Authority and Power the present Alteration and Distraction seems to be wrought, it may likewise see how far we have been and are from consenting to these desperate and fatal Innovations, we cannot rest satisfied without declaring and publishing to all our Fellow-Subjects, and to the whole World, That all our Intentions and Actions have been, are, and shall be directed to the defence of his Majesty's Person and just Rights; the preservation of the true protestant Religion, and Liberties of the Kingdom, established by Law: That as we do with all humility to God Almighty, and as a great Blessing from him, acknowledge his Majesty's happy and religious Reign and Government over this Kindom, and especially the excellent Laws and Statutes made in his time, and particularly those in this Parliament, so we do with all Duty and Submission declare, That his Majesty is the only Supreme Governor of this Realm in all Causes Ecclesiastical and Temporal; That his Natural Person is not to be divided from his Kingly Office, but that our Natural Allegiance, and the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, do bind us and all his other Subjects to Loyalty and Allegiance to his Natural Person; That his Majesty's Negative Voice (without which Monarchy is dissolved) is an inherent Right of his Crown, and that no Orders of one or both Houses of Parliament, without his Majesty's express Consent, can make a Law to bind the Subjects, either in their Property or Liberty; That we do from our Souls abhor the present Rebellion raised in this Kingdom against his Majesty, and that all his Majesty's Subjects are bound by their Natural Allegiance, and the Oaths lawfully taken by them, to the utmost of their Power, to resist and repress the same, and particularly the Army now under the Command of the Earl of Essex, and all other Armies raised, or to be raised without his Majesty's Consent, under pretence of the Authority of the two Houses of Parliament: and we do disclaim all Votes, Orders, and Declarations in countenance or maintenance of the said Armies; and declare that no Oath or Covenant voluntarily taken, or inforced, doth or can bind or dispense with the breach of those other Oaths formerly and lawfully taken to his Majesty; and that all those who aid, assist, or abett this horrid and odious Rebellion, are, and ought to be accounted and pursued as Traitors, by the known Laws of the Land; that we utterly detest and disclaim the Invitation which hath been made to his Majesty's Subjects of Scotland to enter this Kingdom with an Army, the same being as much against the Desires, as against the Duty of the Lords and Commons of England, and all true-hearted English-men; and we do declare and publish to the World, that any such Invasion, or hostile entry into the Kingdom, by the Rebellious Subjects of Scotland, is a direct and peremptory Breach of the late Act of Pacification between the two Kingdoms; so we, and all the Subjects of this Kingdom are bound by our Allegiance, and by that very Act to resist and repress such Invasion; and whosoever is or shall be abetting, aiding, or assisting to those of Scotland, in their hostile Invasion of this Kingdom, ought to be looked upon as Betrayers of their Country, and are guilty of High-Treason by the known Laws of this Kingdom.
And that our weak, misled and seduced Country-men, may no longer pay an implicite regard and reverence to the abused Name of Parliament, (which these Guilty Persons usurp to themselves) and so submit to those Actions and Commands which Two Houses of Parliament, never so legally and regularly constituted, have not Authority to require or enjoin; and since these Men will not suffer their poor Country to be restored by a Treaty to the benefit of a Parliament, which would by God's Blessing easily remove these Miseries, and prevent the like for the time to come, We must and do declare to the whole Kingdom, That as at no time either or both Houses of Parliament, can by any Order or Ordinance impose upon the People without the King's Consent, so by reason of the want of Freedom and Security for all the Members of Parliament to meet at Westminster, and there to fit, speak, and vote with Freedom and Safety, all the Actions, Votes, Orders, Declarations, and pretended Ordinances, made by those Members who remain still at Westminster, are void and of none Effect; and as many of the Lords and Commons assembled at Westminster, as have at any time consented to the raising of Forces under the Command of the Earl of Essex, or to the making and using of the new Great Seal, or to the present coming of the Scots into England in a warlike Manner, have therein broken the Trust reposed in them by their Country, and are to be proceeded against as Traytors: and yet we are far from dissolving, or attempting the Dissolution of this Parliament, or the Violation of any Act made and confirmed by his Majesty's Royal Assent this Parliament, which we shall always maintain and defend; Acts of Parliament are only in danger to be destroyed by those who undervalue and despise the Authority and Power of Acts of Parliament; who therefore deny the King's Negative Voice, and neglect his Concurrence, that their own Resolutions may be reputed as Acts of Parliament, to the ruin and confusion of all Laws and Interest. It is our grief in the behalf of the whole Kingdom, that since the Parliament is not dissolved, the Power thereof should, by the Treason and Violence of these Men, be so far suspended, that the Kingdom should be without the fruit and benefit of a Parliament, which cannot be reduced to any Action or Authority, till the Freedom and Liberty due to the Members be restored and admitted; and they who oppose this, must be only looked upon as the Enemies to Parliament. In the mean time we neither have or shall attempt any thing for the adjourning, dissolving, or proroguing thereof, otherwise than as it may stand with the Act in that case provided.
Lastly, We declare, that our Endeavours, Actions, and Resolutions tend, and are directed, and shall always be directed to the maintenance of God's true Religion, established by Law within this Kingdom; to the defence of his Majesty's Sacred Person, his Honour and Just Rights; to the preservation of the Liberty, and Property of the Subject, settled, and evident by the Laws, Statutes, and Customs of the Realm; and the just Freedom, Liberty, and Privilege of Parliament; and that what we shall do for the defence and maintenance of all these proceeds from the Conscience of our Duty to God, our King and Country, without any private and sinister ends of our own, and and out of our sincere love to Truth and Peace; the which as we have, so we shall always labour to procure, as the only Blessed End of all our Labours. And we do therefore conjure all our Countrymen and Fellow Subjects by all those precious Obligations of Religion to God Almighty, of Loyalty towards their Sovereign, of Affection towards one another, and of Charity and Compassion towards their bleeding Country, to assist and join with us in the suppressing those Enemies to Peace, who are so much delighted with the Ruin and Confusion they have made, that they will not so much as vouchsafe to treat with us, that specious Pretences might be taken away, and the Grounds of this bloody Contention clearly stated to the World; if these Men, with a true sense and remorse of the ill they have done, shall yet return to their Duty and Loyalty, they shall, God willing, find us of another temper towards them, than they have been towards us; and if the Conscience of their Duty shall not draw all our Fellow-Subjects and Countrymen to join with us in assisting his Majesty, we hope that the prudent Consideration, that 'tis impossible to Reason, for our miserable Country ever to be restored to Peace and Happiness, but by restoring all just and legally due Power and Authority into his Majesty's Hands again, will direct them what is fit to be done by them: And if any yet should be so unskilful, and to say no worse, vulgar-spirited, to hope for a Neutrality and odious Indifferency, to rest secure in this Storm, tho we shall not follow the Examples of other Men, in telling them, that their Estates shall be forfeited and taken from them, as pernicious and publick Enemies. (God be thanked, the Law is not so supprest, but that it proceeds in Attainders and Forfeitures, and all Men know an Estate escheated to his Majesty by High-Treason, is as much, as legally his Majesty's, or his to whom his Majesty grants it, as ever it was the unhappy Person's who hath so forfeited it;) yet we must let them know, that their Condition is like to be very dangerous, and that as they, for resistance of whom his Majesty's Armies are raised, have declared to them what they are to expect at their Hands, that is, to be dealt with as pernicious and publick Enemies; so they have reason to believe, that his Majesty cannot look upon them as Persons who have performed that Duty they are obliged to by their Natural Allegiance, and their Oaths enjoined by Law, which is to defend the King to the utmost of their Power, against all Conspiracies and Attempts whatsoever, which shall be made against his Majesty's Person, his Crown and Dignity; and to do their best endeavours to disclose and make known to him all Treasons and Conspiracies which shall be against him, to their Power to assist all Jurisdictions, Privileges, Preheminencies and Authorities belonging to him, or united to the Imperial Crown of this Realm.
The just and pious Consideration and weighing of which Oath and Obligation, must stir up all Men of Loyalty and Conscience, to be industrious and active on his Majesty's behalf against this horrid and odious Rebellion, and against the Authors and Fomenters of the same; and we are confident it will not a little encrease the Indignation of all good English-men, to find these Disturbers of their Peace, who have so speciously pretended the defence of the Rights and Privileges of Parliament, unite themselves with, and govern their Actions by the concurrent Advice and Consent of Commissioners of another Kingdom, whose business is to alter our Laws, and confound our Government: and if all the other particulars so plainly set down in this Declaration, and so publickly known to most Men, were wanting, there could not be a greater instance of deserting the Dignity and Right, and as much as in them lies, cancelling all the Liberties and Privileges of Parliament, than for these Men to break the Trust reposed in them by their Country, and to submit themselves to the Advice, and oblige themselves to the Consent of Agents of another Kingdom, who have cast off their Allegiance, and united themselves together against their natural and native King, and against the Laws of both Kingdoms; and have given an ample Testimony to all those they have misled, how far they are from submitting or intending to be governed by Parliament, or by those who would yet be thought the Two Houses of Parliament, by joyning four Scotch-men (Agents for that Rebellious Army which hath invaded this Kingdom) in equal Power and Authority with seven Lords and Fourteen Commons; by whose sole and uncontrolled Managery and Consent, all business of Peace and War, which do or may concern this languishing Kingdom, must be governed.
And yet these Men take it very heinously, that his Majesty should move them in order to Peace, to agree, That all the Members of both Houses may securely meet in a full and free Convention of Parliament; because, they say, from thence no other Conclusion can be made, but that this present Parliament is not a full nor free Convention, and that to make it such the presence of Us is necessary: We must appeal to all the World, whether in truth that Conclusion be not very apparent from the truth of their Proceedings? and even to the Conscience of these Men themselves, whether whilst we were among them, we enjoyed that Liberty and Freedom which was due to us? And whether (if there were no danger or breach of Duty in being willingly and constantly present where Actions of Treason are plotted and concluded) we could now be with them without engaging our selves in that Covenant, which as it takes away all Freedom and Liberty of Counsel, so cannot be taken without the Violation of our Duty and Allegiance: For the deserting the great Trust reposed in us, we cannot with the least colour be accused, we wish it had not been, or were not now broken on their parts; on ours we are sure it is not, except observation of our Oaths lawfully taken and enjoyned, and submission to the known established Laws of the Land, (the preservation of which is our greatest Trust) be to desert the Trust reposed in us. What they have done, who have broken thro all these, and will not at last consent to the binding up the Wounds they have made, we must leave to the World to judge.
In the mean time, since it is apparent that their utmost endeavours are to make Peace impossible, and (having enriched themselves by these publick Calamities, and impoverished their Country by the Transportation of the Wealth thereof into foreign Parts) that they have left themselves no other means to repay those vast Sums they have extorted from the People, upon that they call Publick Faith, but out of the Estates of those who have preserved their Duty and Loyalty entire; and that at the price of their Religion and Laws they intend to establish a Government and Empire to themselves. All good Men who desire Peace will joyn with us in the suppressing these Enemies of Peace, and by a resolute and unanimous Declaration of themselves rise as one Man in the assistance of his Majesty, with their Persons and their Fortunes, which is the only means, with God's Blessing, to restore and preserve the Religion, Laws, and Liberties of the Kingdom, and the very Being of Parliaments; the which if these Men have any Mind to do, it being not so easily to be done any other way, they will at last be willing, that all the Members of both Houses may meet in a full and free Convention of Parliament, which we have always desired, and shall be always ready to do.
Our express Pleasure is, That this Declaration of the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Oxford, be read by the Parson, Vicar, or Curate in every Church and Chappel within our Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales.
March 9. 1643.
To the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
The humble Petition of the Lords and Commons of Parliament assembled at Oxford, according to your Majesty's Proclamation.
The Petition of the Lords and Commons at Oxford, the day before their Recess, April 15. 1644.
We must humbly acknowledge your Princely Goodness in calling us to receive our Advices, for Preservation of the Religion, Laws and Safety of the Kingdom, and to restore it to its former Peace and Security: How earnestly we have sought a Peace with your Majesty's most Gracious Concurrence, doth appear by the Printed Declaration of our Proceedings touching a Treaty for Peace, wherein we aimed at a free and full Convention of Parliament, as the most hopeful way to unite these unhappy Divisions; and since that hath been refused, we have applied our Advices for supporting your Armies, the visible means now left, for maintaining our Religion, restoring the Laws, and procuring the Safety of the Kingdom; being assured from your Majesty, you do and will employ your Armies to no other end.
And although our selves are most fully satisfied of your Majesty's pious and just Resolutions herein; yet because Fears and Jealousies have been maliciously scattered among your Subjects, to poison their Affections and corrupt their Loyalty to your Majesty, Therefore, to the end we may be enabled by your Gracious Answer to satisfie all the World, or to leave them inexcusable, who will not be satisfied, We do in all Humility, present to your Majesty these Petitions.
That your Majesty will give Direction for the Re-printing your Protestation, made in the Head of your Army, (fn. 6) and your other Declarations; wherein your constant Resolution is declared to maintain and defend the true, reformed, Protestant Religion, and that the same may be with more diligence published among the People; that so your Princely, Christian Zeal and Affection to that Religion, and to maintain the same against all Popery, Schism and Prophaneness, may be manifested, and which we beseech your Majesty, upon this our Petition, to declare again to all the World, to the Discountenance and Suppression of those Scandals laid upon your Majesty, by those who disturb our Peace.
That when there may be a full and free Convention of Parliament, a National Synod may be lawfully called to advise of some fit means for the establishing the Government and Peace of our Church, to whom may be recommended a Care for the Ease of the Tender Consciences of your Protestant Subjects.
Touching our Laws, we cannot ask more of your Majesty, than to declare and continue your former Resolutions to hold and keep them inviolable and unalterable, but by Act of Parliament.
And for avoiding the Scandal maliciously infused into many of your Subjects, that if your Majesty prevail against this Rebellion, you intend not to use the frequent Council of Parliaments, We humbly pray and advise your Majesty to declare the sincerity of your Royal Heart therein, to satisfie your seduced Subjects against such False and Malicious Aspersions.
And in respect the present Contributions, Loans, Taxes, and other Impositions for maintenance of your Armies, have been submitted unto as exigencies of War and Necessity, because of this unexampled Rebellion and Invasion; We humbly beseech your Majesty to declare, that they shall not be drawn into Example, nor continue longer than the present Exigence and Necessity, nor be at any time mentioned as Precedents: And that for the farther Security of your People, your Majesty will vouchsafe to promise your Royal Assent to a Law to be made and declared to that purpose, in a full and free Convention of Parliament.
And that for the present Ease and Encouragement of those under Contributions by Contract with your Majesty, you will be pleased, that those Contracts may be so observed, that your Subjects may not have just cause of complaint against the Commanders, Governours, Officers, or Soldiers of your Army; or of, or in your Garisons, Castles, or Forts, for taking any Money, Horses, or other Cattle, Provisions, or other Goods, or any Timber or Woods of any your Subjects; or Free-Billet, or Free-Quarter in any Place, where the Contributions and Taxes agreed on are paid: humbly beseeching your Majesty's Gracious Care herein, and that the Offenders may receive exemplary Punishment.
Lastly, That your Majesty will retain your Pious Endeavours to procure the Peace of this Languishing Kingdom, not to be removed or altered by any Advantages or prosperous Success.
His Majesty's Gracious Answer to the aforesaid Petition.
As we shall always acknowledge the great Comforts and Assistance we have received by your Counsels, since your Meeting here according to our Proclamation; so we must give you very particular Thanks for the Expressions you have made in this Petition of your Confidence in us, and for the Care you have therein taken, that all our good Subjects may receive ample Satisfaction in those things upon which the Good and Welfare of their Condition so much depends.
We have long observed (tho not without Wonder) the fly, subtile and groundless Insinuation, infused and dispersed amongst our People by the Disturbers of the publick Peace, of our favouring and countenancing of Popery: and therefore, as in our constant visible Practice we have, to the utmost of our Power (and we hope sufficiently) manifested the gross Falshood of those Imputations and Scandals; so we have omitted no opportunity of publishing to all the World the clear Intentions and Resolutions of our Soul in that point. We wish from our Heart, that the True, Reformed, Protestant Religion may not receive greater Blemish by the Actions and Practice of these Men, than it doth, or shall by any Connivance of ours: We will take the best care we can (and we desire your Assistance in it) to publish to all our good Subjects, that our Protestation, and those Declarations you mention; and we do assure you there is not an Expression in either of them, for the maintenance and advancement of our Religion, with which our Heart doth not fully concur, and in which we shall be so constant, that if it shall not please God to enable us by force to defend it, we shall shew our Affection and Love to it, by dying for it. We may without Vanity say it hath pleased God to enlighten our Understanding to discern the clear Truth of the Protestant Religion, in which we have been born and bred, from the Mists and Clouds of Popery, the which (if it hath made any Growth or Progress of late within the Kingdom, as we hope it hath not) is more beholden to the Unchristian Rage and Fury of these Men, than to any Connivance or Favour of ours.
For a National Synod, We have often promised it; and when God shall give so much Peace and Quiet to this Kingdom, that Regular and Lawful Conventions may be esteemed, shall gladly perform that Promise, as the best Means to re-establish our Religion, and make up those Breaches which are made: and we shall then willingly recommend unto them a special care of the ease of the tender Consciences of our Protestant Subjects, as we have often expressed.
For the Laws of the Land, We can say no more than we have said in that Protestation you mention; and we thank you for being satisfied with it; in which God knows our Resolution to be so firm and stedfast, that we will give any Security under Heaven for the observation of it. And as our greatest Desire at this present is to meet in a full and free Convention of Parliament, which we are confident would quickly put an end to all these Troubles; so when it shall please God to restore that Blessing to us, we shall value and esteem that Council, and frequently consult with it, and be advised by it, as the best Means to make both King and People truly Happy; and we shall then by an Act given, wipe out the Footsteps of these Extraordinary Supplies, which nothing but this real, visible Necessity, which oppresses us all, could have compelled us to make use of, and which shall never be mentioned or remembred by us, to the least Prejudice of your Rights and Liberties: And in the mean time we shall leave nothing undone, for the observation of particular Contracts, and prevention of the Disorder and License of the Soldier, which is in our Power to do, no particular Person enduring half that Sadness of Heart for those Breaches and Pressures, which we our self do; for the Prevention and Suppression whereof, we shall proceed with all Rigour and Severity.
Lastly, As the Support and Maintenance of the Religion, Laws, and Privileges of Parliament, is (as you well know) the only Argument of our defensive Arms; so those being secured, we shall with all imaginable Joy lay down those Arms; and as you have been our Witnesses and our Assistants in our earnest desires of Peace, so we promise you, we shall not only with the same earnestness always embrace it, if it shall be offered, but pursue and press it, upon the least likelihood or opportunity: and this our Resolution by God's Blessing shall not be altered by any Advantages or prosperous Success.
His Majesty's Speech to the Lords and Commons of Parliament Assembled at Oxford, delivered at their Recess, April 16. 1644.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
I Am now brought to you by your selves; for 1 should not so soon have parted with you, if you had not desired it; and I believe that the same Zeal and Affection to me and your Country, which hath brought and staid you here, hath caused you to seek this Recess, that so by distributing your selves into your several Countries, we may all the better reap the Fruits of our Consultations; wherefore, in God's Name, dispose of your selves, as you think fit. I heartily thank you for what you have done, and fully approve of what you desire.
I think most (if not all) of you are engaged in my Service, either in a Civil, or a Martial way: To you, that have Charge in my Armies, I recommend the diligent Attendance on your Commands; that so by your good Example and Discipline, you may suppress that Licence and Disorder which will Discredit and may Destroy the best Cause.
And to you, who are engaged in the Civil Affairs, I must recommend these few Particulars; That you expedite those Supplies of Moneys, which by your Advice I have sent for, whether by Subscription, or Excise remembring that Monies are the Nerves of War.
Likewise, That you use your best Diligence for the Impressing of Men, and encouragement of Volunteers; by shewing them, that now the only way to preserve themselves from Slavery, and their Country from Ruin, is freely to engage their Persons.
But chiefly, and with all possible care, to inform all my Subjects of the Barbarity and Odiousness of this Rebellion; how sollicitous I have been for Peace, and how insolently and scornfully it has been rejected; assuring them, that my Armies are raised and kept only for the defence of their Religion, Laws, and Liberties, which being once secured and vindicated, I shall most cheerfully lay them down, I having (God knows) with much unwillingness taken them up.
Lastly, assure them, that these extraordinary ways, which necessity hath produced (and most of them not without your Consent or Advice) for my Supply, shall not hereafter be brought in Example to their Prejudice; and I shall, in the mean time, do my best to prevent and punish all Exorbitances and Disorders.
To conclude, My Lords and Gentlemen, I do now again (yet never enough) thank you for your great and unanimous Expression of your Affections to me, which hath laid an inexpressible Obligation upon me: And be assured, that there is no Profession, which I have made for the defence and maintenance of our Religion, Laws, and Liberties, which I will not inviolably observe.
Now God, who hath blessed this Meeting with an unexpected Unanimity, (which I esteem as one, not of his least Blessings) will I hope, bring us all safe together again the Eighth Day of October next. In the mean time I shall be ready to receive anything from your Committees, that shall be desired.