Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 8, 1640-41. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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A Copy of the Paper containing the Heads of the Lord Strafford's Last Speech, written by his own Hand as it was left upon the Scaffold.
- 1. I Come to pay the last debt we owe to Sin.
- 2. I Rise to Righteousness.
- 3. Die willingly.
- 4. Forgive all.
- 5. Submit to what is voted Justice, but my Intentions innocent from Subverting, &c.
- 6. Wishing nothing more than great Prosperity to King and People.
- 7. Acquit the King constrained.
- 8. Beseech to Repent.
- 9. Strange way, to write the beginning of Reformation and Settlement of a Kingdom, in Blood on themselves.
- 10. Beseech that Demand may rest there.
- 11. Call not Blood on themselves.
- 12. Die in the Faith of tie Church.
- 13. Pray for it, and desire their Prayers with me.
Give me leave here to add two pretty Passages more: The first is, when my Lord of Strafford, the night before the day of Execution, had sent for the Lieutenant of the Tower, and asked him. Whether it Were possible he might speak with the Arch-Bishop? The Lieutenant told him, he might not do it, without Orders from the Parliament. Master Lieutenant (said he) you shall hear what passeth betwixt us; it is not a time either for him to plot Heresy, or me to plot Treason. The Lieutenant answered, That he was limited, and therefore desired his Lordship, that he would petition the Parliament for that Favour. No, (said he) I have gotten my Dispatch from them, and will trouble them no more; I am now petitioning an Higher Court, where neither Partiality can be expected, nor Error feared. But, my Lord, said he, (turning to the Primate of Ireland, then present) what I should have spoken to my Lord's Grace of Canterbury, is this; You shall desire the Arch-Bishop to lend the his Prayers this night, and to give me his Blessing when 1 go abroad to-morrow, and to be in his Window, that by my last Farewell, 1 may give him Thanks for this, and all other his former Favours.
My Lord Primate having delivered the Message without delay, the Arch-Bishop reply'd, That in Conscience he was bound for the first, and in Duty and Obligation to the second; but he feared his Weakness and Passion would not lend him Eyes to behold his last departure.
The next Morning, at his coming forth, he drew near to the Arch-Bishop's Lodgings, and said to the Lieutenant, Tho' I do not see the Arch-Bishop, give me leave, I pray you, to do my last observance towards his Rooms. In the mean time, the Arch-Bishop, advertised of his approach, came out to the Window; then the Earl, bowing himself to the ground, My Lord, (said he) Your Prayers, and your Blessing. The Arch-Bishop lift up his Hands, and bestowed both; but. overcome with Grief, fell to the ground in Animi deliquio. The Earl proceeding a little farther, bowed the second time, saying, Farewell, my Lord; God protect your Innocency.
The next is, When he was marching to the Scaffold, more like a General at the Head of an Army, (as many of the Spectators then said) to breathe Victory, than like a Condemned Man, to undergo the Sentence of Death; The Lieutenant desired him to take Coach, for fear the People should rush in upon him, and tear him in pieces: No, (said he) Master Lieutenant, I dare look Death in the Face, and, I hope, the People too: Have you a care that I do not escape, and 1care not how 1 die, whether by the hand of the Executioner, or the madness and fury of the People; if that may give them better content, it is all one to me.
He left these Three Instructions for his Son in Writing.
First, 'That he should continue still to be brought up under those Governors to whom he had committed him, as being the best he could pick out of all those within his knowledge, and that he should not change them, unless they were weary of him; That he should rather want himself, than they should want any thing they could desire.
Secondly, 'If his Prince should call him to publick service, he should carefully undertake it, to testifie his obedience, and withal, to be faithful and sincere to his Matter, tho' he should come to the same-End, that himself did.
Thirdly, 'That he foresaw that Ruine was like to come upon the Revenues of the Church, and that perhaps they might be shared amongst the Nobility and Gentry, but I charge you never to meddle with any of it, for the curse of God will follow all them that-meddle with such a thing, that tends to the destruction of the most Apostolical Church upon Earth.
A brief Account of some Interlocutory passages in Parliament, in which my Lord of Strafford so discovered his Wit and Temper, that the Court took particular notice of him.
In the Month of September, 1626, the King having special Occasions to be furnished with Money, suitable to the Importance of his Undertakings, for the Relief of the King of Denmark, His Majesty came to this Resolution; That the Urgency of; Affairs not admitting the way of Parliament, the most speedy, equal, and convenient Means were by a general Loan from the Subject, according as every Man was Assessed in the Rolls of the last Subsidy.
Upon which Result, the King forthwith chose Commissioners for the Loan and caused a Declaration to be publish'd, wherein he alledged for this course of Supply, the Reasons set down at large in his late Declaration, touching the Dissolution of the Parliament 20 Car. adding further, That, the Urgency of the Occasion, would not give leave to the calling of Parliament.
In the said Year 1626, Sir Thomas Wentworth having a Privy Seal sent unto him about the Loan-money, and to advance the Sum of 40l. to the King, he (among, other things in the County of York) refused to Lend the same, as being a Demand contrary to the Right and Property of the Subject, to part with their Money, but by Consent of Parliament.
The Non-Subscribers of high Rank and Rate in most Counties, were bound over by Recognizance, to tender their Appearance at the Council-Table, and divers of them were committed to Prison; but others also of Quality were appointed to several Consinements, not in their own, but in remote Counties.
Sir Thomas Wentworth and George Ratcliffe Esq; (afterwards Sir George) were sent, by Messengers from the Council, and removed out of the County of York into the County of Kent; and there secured by Confinement; and during this Restraint and Consinement, a Parliament, was called, which to meet March the 17th, 30 Car. 1627.
In the Month of July, before the calling of, this Parliament, the Lord Conway, Secretary of State, brought a Message from the King to Arch-Bishop Abbot that it was His Majesty's Pleasure, he would withdraw from his Houses at Lambeth and Croydon, and go to Canterbury and reside there. What is my fault, (said the Arch-Bishop) that brings this message of Removal and Confinement upon me ?. 'Altho' (said the Secretary) I have no Commission to tell you, It is for a Book you would not License for the King's Service. [And afterwards the Arch-Bishop understood more particularly, that besides that, it was because Sir Thomas Wentworth made resort to the arch-Bishop's House, at times of Dinner and Super.] As for Sir Thomas Wentworth (reply'd the Arch-Bishop) he had good occasion to send unto me, and sometimes to see me, because we were joint-Executors to Sir George Savile, who marry'd his Sister, and was my Pupil at Oxford, to which Son also Sir Thomas Wentworth and were Guardians, as may appear in the Court of Wards, and many things passed between us in that behalf; yet to my remembrance, I saw not this Gentleman but once these, three quarters of a year last past, at which time he came to see his Brother-in-law the Lord Clifford, who was then with me at Dinner at Lambeth.
Saturday March the 22d,
The time of the House was spent in opening the Grievances, and State of the Kingdom, as Billeting of Soldiers, Benevolencies, and Privy-Seals, and the Imprisoning certain Gentlemen, who refused to Lend upon that account, &c. Sir Francis Seymor spake first, and said,
'This is the great Council of the Kingdom, and here (if not here alone) His Majesty may see, as in a true Glass, the State of the Kingdom, &c. We are called hither by His Majesty Writs, to give him faithful Counsel, such as may stand with His Honour; but this we must do without Flattery. We are sent hither by the Commons to discharge the Trust reposed in us, by delivering up their just Grievances; and this we must do without Fear: Let us not therefore be like the Cambyfe, Judges, who being demanded of their King, Whether it were not lawful for him to do what in it self was unlawful? They (rather to please the King, than to discharge their own Consciences) answered, That the Persian Kings might do what they listed, &c. Flattery tends to Mischief being fitter for reproof than imitation: And as Flattery, so Fear taketh away the Judgment; let us not then be possessed with Fear or Flattery of corruptions the basest: For my own part, I shall shun both these, and speak my Conscience with as much Duty to His Majesty as any Man but not neglecting the Publick, in which His Majesty and the Commonwealth have an Interest: But how can we shew our Affections, Whilst we retain our Fears? or how can we think of giving Subsidies, till we know whether we have any thing to give, or no ? For if His Majesty be perswaded by any to take from His Subjects what He will, and where it pleaseth Him, I would gladly know what we have to give?
After Sir Francis Seymor had ended his Speech, Sir Thomas Wentworth stood up and said,
This Debate carries a double Aspect, towards the Sovereign and the Subject; tho' both be innocent, both are injured, and both to be cured: Surely, in the greatest humility I speak it, these illegal Ways are Punishments and Marks of Indignation: The raising of Loans strengthned by Commission, with unheard-of Instructions and Oaths; the Billeting of Soldiers by the Lieutenants, and Deputy-Lieutenants, have been, as they could have perswaded Christian Princes, yea, Worlds, that the Right of Empire had been to take away by strong Hands; and, they have endeavour'd, as far as possible, for them to do it: This hath not been done by the King, (under the pleasing shade of whose Crown, I hope we shall ever gather the fruits of Justice) but by Projectors, who have extended the Prerogative of the King beyond the just Symetry, which maketh a sweet Harmony of the Whole: They have brought the Crown into greater Want than ever, by anticipating the Revenues: And can the Shepherd be thus smitten, and the Sheep not Scattered? They have introduced a Privy-Council, ravishing at once the Spheres of all ancient Government; Imprisoning us, without Bail or Bond; They have taken from us, (what shall I say indeed, what have they left us ?) all Means of supplying the King, and ingratiating our selves with him, taking up the root of all Propriety; which if it be not seasonably set again into the ground by His Majesty's own hands, we shall have, instead of Beauty, Baldness. To the making of those Whole, I shall apply my self, and propound a Remedy to all these Diseases: By one and the same thing have King and People been hurt, and by the same must they be cured; To vindicate which, shall we propound new things ? No, our ancient vital Liberties, by enforcing the ancient Laws made by our Ancestors, by seting forth such a Character of them, as no licentious spirit shall dare to enter upon them, will do the business: And shall we think that this is a Way to break a Parliament ? No, our Desires are Model and Just, I speak truly, both for the Interest of King and People; We enjoy not these, it will be impossible for to relieve Him.
"Therefore let us never fear, they shall not accepted by his goodness: Wherefore I shall shortly descend to my Motions,' consisting of four Parts, two of which have relation to our Persons, two to the Propriety of Goods for our Persons; First, the Freedom of them from Employment Abroad, contrary to the Ancient Customs: For our Goods, that no Levies be made, but by Parliaments: Secondly, No Billeting of Soldiers. It is most necessary that these be Resolved, that the Subject may be secured in both.
Monday March the 24th,
Secretary Cook renewed the Motion of Supply for His Majesty; yet so, that Grievances be taken into Consideration: ' We all think (said he) that both these go hand in hand together: but let me put you in mind of that which concerns the King, let Him have the Precedency of Honour, if not of Time; Let Heads of the King's Supply be first propounded: No King is more ready to hear the Complaints of his Subjects; and withal, you know no King is more sensible all Reproaches which touch his Honour: Would it not be sit to grant him this Honour, to have the Precedency ? this Will have good Aspect Abroad, it will prevent Divisions at Home, &c.
'The first fower of seeds of Distractions amongst us, was an Agent from Spain (Gundemore) that did his Master great service Here, and at Home: since that, we have other Ministers that Have blown the fire; the Ambassador or France, who told his Master at home, that he had wrought Divisions here between King and People, and he was rewarded: Whilst we fate here in Parliament, there was another intended Parliament within a Mile of this place; this was discovered by Letters sent to Rome, and the Place of their Meeting is now changed; I desire the meanest judgment will consider what may follow, in giving Precedency to His Majesty; in so doing, we shall put from our, selves. many Imputations. This Matter coming to no Resolution this Day Secretary Cook the next Day tendred to the House certain Propositions from the King touching Supply: (Viz.)
Wednesday March 26. 1628.
His Majesty's Propositions to the House of Commons couching Supply.
The Propositions tendred the Day before before by Secretary Cook from His Majesty, were now Received and Read, but the Debate thereof was referred to another Day: The Proportions were these, (viz.)
- 1. To furnish with Men and Victuals 30 Ships to guard the Narrow Seas, and along the Coasts.
- 2. To set out 10 other Ships for the relief of the Town of Rochelle.
- 3. To set out 10 other Ships for the preservation of the Elbe, the Sound, and Baltick-Sea, &c.
See pag. in the First Part of Historical Collections.
Wednesday April 2d, 4° Car. I.
The Business of Confinement came into Debate in the House of Commons: Whereupon Sir Francis Seymor spake to this effect;
'That it is said, The greatest Grievance, is want of Supply: But I hold it a greater Grievance, that His Majesty is brought into these Necessities, especially, considering the Supplies that of late have been given to the King, of two Subsidies in Parliament, besides Privy-Seals; and the late Loan, whereby five Subsidies were forcedly and unadvisedly taken: That it is not, then, what the Subjects do give, unless His Majesty do employ Men of Integrity and Experience; other wife, all that we give, will be as cast into a bottomless Bag.
Upon this Occasion, Sir Thomas Wentworth flood up and Spake as followeth:
"I Cannot forget that Duty I owe to my Country; Unless we be secured as to our Liberties, we cannot give; I speak not this to make Diversions, but to the end, that giving, I may give chearfully. As for the Propositions made to induce us to give, and to be considered of, I incline to decline them, and to look upon the State of our Country, whether it be fit to give, or no. Are we come to an end for our Country's Liberties ? Have we intrenched on the Right of the Deputy-Lieutenants? Are we secured for Time future ? &c.
Whereupon Mr. Selden speaking also upon this occasion of the Confinement of Sir Thomas Wentworth, &c. said,
'That tho' Confinement is different from Imprisonment, yet it is against the Law that any should be Confined to his House, or elsewhere. I know not what you can call a Punishment, but here is some grounds of it, or mention thereof, in Acts of Parliament, Books of Records; but for this Confinement, I find none: Indeed, Jews have been Confined, in former Times, to certain Places, as here in London to the Jewry, now called the Old Jewry, &c.
Hereupon Sir Thomas Wentworth spake briefly, as to Sir Peter Hayman's enforced Employment beyond Seas;
"That if any Man owes a Man a Displeasure, and shall procure him to be put into Foreign Employment, it will be a matter of high Concern in the Effect. We know the Honour and Justice of the King, but we know not what his Ministers, or the Mediation of Ambassadors may do, to hold their own Wrath upon any Man.
April 11th, 40 Car. I.
Mr. Secretary Cook moved for expediting of Subsidies, and turning of the Votes into an Act, (saying) 'We have finally and chearfully given the King Five Subsidies, but no Time is appointed and Subsidy without Time, is no Subsidy; let us appoint a Time.
To which Sir Dudly Diggs spake thus; We have (said he) freely concluded our Liberties; we have offered Five Subsidies: His Majesty hath given us gracious Answers, and nothing is done that the King can take notice of, &c.
Hereupon Sir Thomas Wentworth proposed a middle way, (viz.)
"That when we set down the Time, be sure the Subjects Liberties go hand in hand together with the King's Supply then to resolve of the Time, but not to report it to the House 'till we have a ground, and a Bill for our Liberties; This is the way to come off fairly, and prevent Jealousies.- Hereupon the Committee of the whole House Resolved, That Grievances and Supply go hand in hand.
May 1st, 40 Car. I.
Mr. Secretary Cook delivered a Message from His Majesty, (viz.) To know whether the House would rely on his Royal Word, or no, declared to them by the Lord Keeper ? which if they do, the King assured them it should be Royally performed.
Sir Robert Phillips of Somersetshire spake upon this Occasion, and said; That if the Words of Kings strike Impressions in the Hearts of Subjects, to speak in a plain language, said he, We are now come to the end of our journey; and the well disposing of an Answer to this Message, will give Happiness or Misery to this Kingdom; Let us set the Common-wealth of England before the Eyes of His Majesty, that we may justifie to the world, that we have demeaned our selves as dutiful Subjects to His Majesty.
Hereupon Sir Thomas Wentworth stood up, and concluded the Debate Saying,
"That never House of Parliament trusted more in the Goodness of their King, for their own private, than the present; but we are ambitious that His Majesty's Goodness may remain to Posterity, and we are accountable to publick Trust; and therefore, seeing there hath been a publick violation of the Laws by His Ministers, nothing will satisfie him but a publick Mends; and to our desire vindicate the Subjects Rights by Bill, is no more than is laid down in former Laws, with some modest provision for Restriction, Performance, and Execution.—And this so well agreed with the sense of the House, that they made it the subject of Message to be delivered by the Speaker to His Majesty.
Whilst the Lords, afterwards, were in Debate of the Petition of Right, they were pleased, at a Conference, to propose to the Commons this following addition to the Petition of Right, (viz.)
'We present this our humble Petition to Your Majesty, with the care, not only of preserving our own Liberties, but with due regard to leave intire the Sovereign Power, wherewith Your Majesty is trusted for the Protection, Safety, and Happiness of the People.
Upon this Sir Edward Cook spake, saying, 'This is Magnum in Parvo, This is propounded to be a Conclusion of our Petition; it is a matter of great weight, and, to speak plainly, it will overthrow all our Petition, it trenches on all parts of it. Look into the Petitions of former times, they never petitioned, wherein there was a saving of the King's Sovereignty; I know the Prerogative is part of the Law, but Sovereign Power is no Parliamentary Word, &c.
Sir Thomas Wentworth spake next, and said,
"If we do admit of this Addition, we shall leave the Subjects worse than we found them, and we shall have little thanks for our labour when we come home; let us leave all Power to His Majesty to punish Male-factors, but these Laws are not acquainted with Sovereign Power; we desire no new thing, nor do we offer to trench upon His Majesty's Prerogative; we may not recede from this Petition, neither in part, or in whole; To add a Saving, is not safe; doubtful Words may beget an ill construction, and the Words are not only doubtful Words, but Words unknown to us, and never asked in one Act or Petition before.
2. Now he began to be more generally taken notice of by all Men, And his Fame to spread abroad, where Publick Affairs, and the Criticisms of the Times were discoursed by the most refined judgments; those who were infected with Popularity, flattering themselves, that he was inclined to support their Inclination, and would prove a Champion upon that account: but such discourse, as it endeared him to his Country, so it begot to him an interest in the bosom of his Prince, who (having a discerning judgment of Men) quickly made his observation of Wentworth, that he was a Person framed for great Affairs, and fit to be near His Royal Person and Councils.
About this time, in the heat of so general a report of him, Sir Richard Weston then Lord High Treasurer, afterwards Earl of Portland, a Person also eminent for his acute and clear Parts, coveted acquaintance with this Gentleman; and there not being wanting discreet Agents to accomplish what my Lord Treasurer desired, it was soon effected. After the first view, a familiarity was begotten, and next a deep friendship. It happened, that in some Conferences, they touch'd upon the Popular Humour (as they term'd it) then appearing in the House of Commons, and the present ways they were in, as tending to no good; he proposed the most rational and plausible mediations that cou'd be, for the present juncture of affairs, info much that his judgment in things was much valu'd and follow'd.
In some time after he was made Baron Wentworth, and had so gained His Majesty's opinion, that he was also created Viscount Wentworth of Wentworth-Woodhouse, made one of His Majesty's Privy Council, Lord-Lieutenant of the County of York, and Lord-President of the North; In this Trust he governed himself with such. skill, especially in those high-contested points then in consultation, that he pleased his Prince, and improved His Majesty's Revenue.
His frequent appearance at the Council-board, quickly gave occasion to that great Prelate Arch-Bishop Laud (then Bishop of London) and himself, to discern one another's Parts, begetting a right Understanding betwixt them, which grew into so inviolable a Friendship, that nothing but the inevitable stroke of Death could separate them, who, whilst they lived, constantly united their great Hearts and Understandings, for the advancing the Church, and the service of their Prince.
The Cedar was still growing, tho' perhaps, to the dislike of some Emulators, yet to the general satisfaction of all such as had ability enough to judge of his Parts.
His next advance was to be Lord-Deputy, and Chief Governor of Ireland; the Affairs of that Realm being in much disorder, by the temper of the Popish Party there, who did not with moderation make use of the King's Clemency to them, in relaxation of the rigour of some penal Statutes.
He began with the Church, in the Reformation of his Kingdom, and first procured of the King, by the joynt-mediation of the Arch-Bishop, That all the Impropriations then in the Crown, should be restored to the Church in that Nation, tho' to some diminution of the Royal Revenue, and advanced Learned Men whose Judgments were for Episcopacy.
He raised in Ireland Eight Regiments for the King's service, each consisting of 1000 Men, in Ten Companies, besides Two more, which he intended to be raised in the nearest part of Wales.
Before this Army already raised, was dispersed into their several Quarters, all which were in the Province of Ulster, near the Sea, in fight of Scotland, the Lord-Lieutenant returned into England by His Majesty's Command, where an Army-Royal was levied, in opposition to the Scotish Design, leaving an Honourable Person, Mr. Christopher Wandesford Master of the Rolls, Lord-Deputy: The Command of General of that Royal Army in England, was given to the Earl of Northumberland, then Lord-Admiral of England, upon whose sickness. the Earl of Strafford was made Lieutenant-General, who having undertaken the Command of this Army, signified by Letter from Dublin to the Arch-Bishop Laud, that he durst venture (upon peril of his Head) to drive, the Scots out of England, but that he did hot hold it proper, as the case then flood, for him to advise that course; but if any of the Lords would advise the King to try his fortune in Battle, he doubted not of sending them home in more haste than they came. - But this Severity and Indiscretion of his against that Kingdom, when things were ripe, did much hasten his Ruin and Destruction, as may be seen by the following Impeachment.
The Charge of the Scotish Commissioners, against Thomas Earl of Strafford.
The Charge of the Scotch Commissioners, presented o the Parliament.
In our Declarations, we have joyned with Canterbury, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, whose Malice hath set all his Wits and Power on work, to devise and do Mischief against our Kirk and Country. No other other cause of his Malice can we conceive, but, First, His Pride, and supercilious Disdain of the Kirk of Scotland, which in his opinion, declared by his Speeches, hath not in it almost any thing of a Kirk, altho' the Reformed Kirks, and many worthy Divines of England, have given ample testimony to the Reformation of the Kirk of Scotland.
Secondly, Our open opposition against the dangerous Innovation of Religion, intended, and very far promoted in all His Majesty's Dominions, of which he hath shewn himself in his own way, no less zealous than Canterbury himself, as may appear by advancing of his Chaplain, Dr. Brambal not only to the Bishoprick of Derry, but also to be Vicar-General of Ireland, a Man prompted for exalting of Canterburian Popery, and Arminianism, that thus himself might have the power of both Swords, against all that should maintain the Reformation, by his bringing of Dr. Chappel, a Man of the same spirit, to the University of Dublin, for poysoning the Fountains, and corrupting the Seminaries of the Kirk.
Thirdly, When the Primate of Ireland did pres a new ratification of the Articles of that Kirk in Parliament, for barring such Novations in Religion; he boldly menaced him, with the burning by the hand of the Hangman, all of that Confession, altho' confirmed in former Parliaments.
When he found that the Reformation began in Scotland did stand in his way, he left no means unassayed to rub disgrace upon us, and our Cause. The Pieces printed at Dublin, viz. Examen conjurationis Scotiana, the Ungirding of the Scotisb Armour: and the Pamphlet, bearing the counterfeit name of Lisimachus Nicanor, all three so full of Calumnies', Slanders, Scurrilities against our Country, and Reformation, that the Jesuits in their greatest spite, could not have said more; yet not only the Authors were countenanced and rewarded by him, but the Books must bear his Name, as the great Patron both of the Work and Workman.
When the National Oath and Covenant warranted by Our General Assemblies, was approved by Parliament, in the Articles subscribed in the Ring's Name, by His Majesty's High Commissioner, and by the Lords of the Privy-Council, and commanded to be sworn by His Majesty's Subjects of all ranks, and particular and plenary information was given unto the Lieutenant, by Men of such Quality, as he ought to have believed of the Loyalty of our hearts to the King, of the lawfulness of our Proceedings, and innocency of our Covenant, and whole course, that he could have no excuse; yet his desperate Malice made him to bend his Craft and Cruelty, his Fraud and Forces against us. For first, 'he did craftily call up to Dublin some of our Countrymen, both of the Nobility and Gentry, living in Ireland, shewing them, that the King would conceive and account them as Conspirators with the Scots in their rebellious courses, except some remedy were provided j and for remedy, suggesting his own wicked invention, to present unto him, and his Council, a Petition which he caused to be framed by the Bishop of Rapho, and was seen and corrected by himself, wherein they petitioned to have an Oath given them, containing a formal renunciation of the Scotish Covenant, and a deep assurance, never so much as to protest against any of His Majesty's Commandments whatsoever.
No sooner was this Oath thus craftily contrived, but in all haste it is sent to such places of the Kingdom where our Countrymen had residence; and Men, Women, and all other Persons above the years, of Sixteen, constrained either presently to take the Oath, and thereby, renounce their National Covenant, as Seditious and Trayterous, or with violence and cuelty to be haled to the Jayl, Fined above the value of their Estates, and to be kept close Prisoners, and, so far as we know, some are yet kept in Prison, both Men and Women of good Quality, for, not renouncing that Oath which they had taken 40 years since, in the obedience to the King who. then lived. Besides, a cruelty ensued, which may parallel the persecutions of the most unchristian time: for weak Women dragged to the Bench to take the Oath died in the place both Mother and Child, hundreds driven to hide themselves, till in the darkness of the night they might escape by Sea into Scotland, whither thousands of them did flye, being forced to leave Corn, Cattle, Houses, and all they possessed, to be a, prey to their persecuting enemies. the Lieutenant's Officers. And some Indicted, and Declared, guilty of High: Treason, for no other guiltyness, but for subscribing our National Oath, which was not only impiety and injustice, in it self, and an utter undoing of His Majesty's Subjects, but was a weakening of the Scotch Plantation, to the prejudice of that Kingdom, and His Majesty's Service, and was a high scandal against the King's Honour, and intolerable abuse to His Majesty's Trust and Authority; His Majesty's Commission, which was procured by the Lieutenant, bearing no other penalty, than a certification of Noting the names of the refusers of the Oath.
But, this his restless Rage, and insatiable Cruelty against our Religion and Country, could not rest here, nor be kept within the bounds of Ireland, but proceeded farther, so that by this means a Parliament is called; and altho' by the Six Subsidies granted in Parliament not long before, and by the base means which himself and his Officers did use, (as is contained in a late Remonstrance) that Land was extremely impoverished, yet by his speeches full of Oaths and Asseverations, that we were Traytors and Rebels, casting off all Monarchical? Government, &c. he extorted from them four new Subsidies, & indicta causa, before we were heard, procured that a War was undertaken, and Forces should be levied against us, as a rebellious Nation, which was also intended to be an example: and precedent to the Parliament of England, for granting Subsidies, and sending a joynt Army for our utter ruine.
According to his appointment in Parliament, the Army was gathered, and brought down to the Coast, threatning a daily invasion of our Country, intending to make us a conquered Province, and to destroy our Religion, Liberties, and Laws, and thereby laying upon us a necessity of vast Charges, to keep Forces on foot on the West Coast, to wait upon his coming.
And as the War was denounced, and Forces levied before we were heard; So before the denouncing of the War, our Ships and Goods on the Irish Coast were taken, and the Owners cast in Prison, and some of them in Irons. Frigats were sent forth to scour our Coasts, by which they did take some, and burn others of our Barques.
Having thus incited the Kingdom of Ireland, and put his Forces in order there against us, with all haste he cometh to England.
In his parting, at the giving up of the Sword, he openly avowed our utter ruine and desolation in these or the like words If I return to that Honourable Sword, I shall leave of the Scots neither root nor branch.
How soon he cometh to Court, as before he had done every evil office against our Commissioners, clearing our proceedings before the point; So now he useth all means to-stir up the King and Parliament against us, and to move them to a present War, according to the precedent and example his own making. in the Parliament of Ireland. And finding that his hopes failed him, and his designs succeeded not that way, in his nimble-ness he taketh another course, that the Parliament of England may be broken up, and despising their Wisdom and Authority, not only with great glad-ness accepteth, but useth all means that the conduct of the Army in the Expedition against Scotland, may be put upon him; which accordingly he obtaineth as General Captain, with power to invade, kill, slay, and save at his discretion, and to make any one or more Deputies in his stead, to do and execute all the Power and Authorities committed to him.
According to the largeness of his Commission, and Letters Patents of this devising, so were his deportments afterwards; for when the Scots, (according to their Declaration, sent before them) were coming in a peaceable way, far from any intention to invade any of His Majesty's Subjects, and still to supplicate His Majesty for a setled Peace, he gave order to his Officers to fight with them on the way, that the two Nations once entred in Blood, whatsoever should be the success, he might escape Tryal, and censure, and his bloody designs might be put in execution against His Majesties Subjects of both Kingdoms.
When the King's Majesty was again inclined to hearken to our Petitions, and to compose our Differences in a peaceable way, and the Peers of England convened at York, had, as before, in their great wisdom and faithfulness, given unto His Majesty Counsels of Peace, yet this Firebrand still smoaketh, and in that Honourable Assembly, taketh upon him to breathe out Threatenings against us as Traytors, and Enemies to Monarchical Government; and threatened that we be sent home again in our blood, and he will whip us out of England.
And as these were his Speeches in the time of the Treaty appointed by His Majesty at Rippon, that if it had been possible, it might have been broken up; So, when a cessation of Arms was happily agreed upon there, yet he ceaseth not, but still his practices were for War: his Under Officers can tell who it was that gave them Commission to draw near in Arms beyond the Teese, in the time of the Treaty at Rippon.
The Governours of Berwick and Carlisle can shew from whom they had their Warrants for their acts of hostility, after the cessation was concluded. It may be tried how it cometh to pass, that the Ports of Ireland are yet closed, our Countrymen for the Oath still kept in Prison, Traffick interrupted, and no other face of affairs, than if no cessation had been agreed on.
We therefore desire, that your Lordships will represent to the Parliament, that this great Incendiary upon these and the like Offences, not against particular Persons, but against Kingdoms and Nations, may be put to a Tryal, and from their known and renowned Justice, may have his deserved Punishment.
The Description of his Person and Family.
This Noble Earl was in Person of a tall Stature, something inclining to stooping in his Shoulders, his Hair black and thick, which he wore short, his Countenance of a grave well-composed symetry, and good Features, only in his Forehead he express'd more Severity than Affability yet a very courteous Person.
And as he went from the Tower to the Scaffold, his Countenance was in a Mild posture, between dejection in contrition for Sin, and a high Courage, without perceiving the least affectation of disguise in him.
He saluted the People as he walked on foot from the Tower to the Scaffold, often putting off his Hat unto them, sometimes to the right, and sometimes to the left hand, being apparelled in a Black Cloth Suit, having White Gloves on his Hands.
And tho' at this time there were gathered together on the great open place on Tower-Hill, where the Scaffold stood, a numerous croud of People, standing as thick as they could one by another, over all that great Hill, insomuch as, by modest computation, they could not be esteemed to be less than 100000 People; yet as he went to the Scaffold, they uttered no reproachful or reflecting language upon him.
He had three Wives; the first, the Lady Margaret Clifford, Sister to the Earl of Cumberland, who left no Issue. The second, the Lady Arabella Hollis, Sister to the Earl of Clare, who left him his only Son William now Earl of Strafford, and two Daughters. The third Wife, was Daughter of Sir Francis Rhodes of Yorkshire, by whom he had one Daughter, an Infant at the time of his death
On the 1st of December, in the 17th Year of the King's Reign, by His Majesty's Letters Patents, his Son William was restored to all his Father's Dignities and Titles, and was made Knight of the most Noble Order of the Garter, having doubled his Paternal Glories and his own, by marrying the worthy Daughter of two incomparable Parents, Henrietta Maria, the Daughter of James Earl of Derby, and Charlotte Daughter of Claude Duke de Temoille and Charlotte of Nassaw Daughter of William Prince of Orange.
A brief Account of his Secretary Slingsby.
Mr. Slingsby his Secretary, after the death of this Noble Lord, presently left the Kingdom, and was received beyond the Seas into the Queen's favour, and by Her Majesty designed Secretary to the Prince of Wales, (now our gracious Sovereign;) but in his zeal to the King's Service, and to enable himself to attend Her Majesty upon Her Landing, the transported himself into Cleveland, where he had but a small Estate, but so much a bigger Interest, that in a very short time he levied eight hundred Foot, and eighty Horse, with intention to make up a full Regiment, and Troop, to wait on the Queen.
He made his Quarters at Gisborough in Cleveland, but before the Foot were disciplin'd in the use of Arms, he was attack'd by Sir Hugh Cholmley with 1500 Horse and Foot, and some Brass Drakes: Mr. Slingsby (who was wholly educated an Civil affairs, never in the active Military part) having timely notice of his Adversaries approach, thought not of any retreat, but addresses himself and party immediately to draw out and fight the Enemy, notwithstanding the inequality in number. At his first charge, Mr. Slingsby (having season'd old Soldiers in his Troop, which he brought out of Holland) worsted their Horse, and had some pursuit and execution, but being alarmed behind, by the noise of an Engagement betwixt the Bodies of Foot, found his Regiment totally dissipated, beyond all hopes of rallying; whereupon he employed his Courage upon the Enemy's Foot, in which Charge his Horse fell, and himself wounded with many Cafe-shot, and became Prisoner.
The relation of Blood moved Sir Hugh Cholmly to a generous regard and care of him, he was carried back to Gisborough, where (in order to the saving of his life) both his Legs were cut off above the knee, after which he lived three days.
The Lady Slingsby his disconsolate Mother, hastened from York (betwixt hopes of Life, and fear of Death) to Gisborough, where she found the late hopes of her Family, and support of her Age lying dead; and Sir Hugh was as much concerned as his Parent, for the loss of so accomplished a Gentleman.
Mr. Slingsby's Interment.
His Body was carry'd to York, and there, with very Honourable Solemnities, interred in the Cathedral-Church, after a Sermon preach'd by Dr. Bramhall, then Bishop of Londonderry, and late Primate of Ireland, who had a large experience of him.
His Extraction and Education.
He was Eldest Son of Sir Guilford Slingsby, of the Families of Screnen and Redhouse in the County of York; his Father's Estate did lie in Cleveland in. the said County: He was educated first at the University at St. Andrew's in, Scotland and afterwards studied some Years in the in the University at Oxford.
Sir Guilford his Father dying, the Earl of Strafford received this Gentleman in his Retinue, among other young. Gentlemen of Quality, upon his going first into Ireland, where, his Deportment after some time, made his Lord to promote him to be Secretary, and afterwards Lieutenant of the Ordnance, and Vice-Admiral of Munster. Lastly, his Lord made choice of him, before all others, to stand by him, and manage all his Papers, during his Confinement and Tryal: And immediately after the Bill of Attainder did pass both Houses, the Earl wrote this ensuing Letter unto him;
A Letter from the Earl of Strafford, to his Secretary Guilford Slingsby Esq; after the passing of the Bill of Attainder, under his own Hand.
I Wou'd not, as the case now stands, for any thing you should endanger your self, being a Person in whom I shall put a great part of my future Trust and therefore in any case absent your self for a time, yet so, as I may know where you are; and therefore send your Man back, that I may know whither to direct any thing I have to impart to you, and that presently; and after that, let your Man come as little about this Place a s may be: Your going to the King, is to no purpose; I am lost, my Body is theirs, but my Soul is God's; there is little trust in Man; God may yet (if it please him) deliver me; and as I shall (in the best way he shall enable me unto) prepare my self for him, so to him I submit all I have. The Person you were last withal at Court, sent to move that business we resolved upon, with is rightly handled, might perchance do something; but you know my opinion in all, and what my belief is in all these things. I should by any means advise you to absent your self, albeit never so innocent as you are, till you see what become of me: If I live, there will be no danger for you to stay, but otherwise keep out of the way till I be forgotten, and then your return may be with safety. I mean, indeed to leave you one in Trust for m y Children, and thank you for your readiness to look after it.
Time is precious, and mine I expect to be very short, and therefore no part of it to be lost. God direct and proper you in all your ways; and remember, there was a Person whom you were content to call Master, that did very much value and esteem you, and carried to his death a great flock of his affection for you, as for all your services, so for this your care towards me all this time of my Tryal and Affliction; and however it be my misfortune to be decried at present, yet in more equal Times, my Friends (I trust) shall not be ashamed to mention their love to my Children, for their Father's sake.
Your Affectionate Friend,
The Reflexions of King Charles the First, upon the Earl of Strafford's Death.
"I Looked upon my Lord of Strafford as a Gentleman, whose great Abilities might make a Prince rather afraid, than ashamed to employ him in the greatest Affairs of State.
"For those were prone to create in him great confidence of Undertakings, and this was like enough to betray him to great Errors, and many Enemies; whereof he could not but contract good store, while moving in so high a sphere, and with so vigorous a lustre; he must needs (as the Sun) raise many envious exhalations, which condensed by a Popular Odium, were capable to cast a cloud upon the brightest Merit and Integrity.
"Tho' I cannot in my judgment approve all he did, driven (it may be) by the Necessities of Times, and the Temper of that People, more than led by his own disposition to any height and rigour of Actions; yet I could never be convinced of any such criminousness in him, as willingly to expose his life to the stroke of Justice, and Malice of his Enemies.
"I never met with a more; unhappy conjuncture of affairs, than in the business of that unfortunate Earl; when between my own unsatisfiedness in Conscience, and a necessity (as some told me) of satisfying the Importunities of some People, I was perswaded by those, that I think wished me well, to chuse rather what was safe, than what seemed just; preferring the outward peace of my Kingdoms with Men, before that inward exactness of Conscience before God.
"And indeed, I am so far from excusing or denying that compliance on my part (for plenary consent it was not) to his destruction, whom in my judgment I thought not, by any clear Law, guilty of Death, that I never did bear any touch of Conscience with greater regret: which, as a sign of my repentance, I have often with sorrow confessed, both to God and Men, as an act of so sinful frailty, that it discover'd more a fear of Man, than of God, whose Name and Place on Earth no Man is worthy to bear, who will avoid Inconveniences of State, by Acts of sohigh Injustice, as no Publick Convenience can expiate or compensate.
"I see it a bad, exchange, to wound a Man's own Conscience, thereby to salve State sores; to calm the storms of popular discontents, by stirring up a tempest in a man's own bosom.
"Nor hath God's Justice failed in the Event and sad Consequences, to shew the world the fallacy of that Maxim, Better one Man perish (tho' unjustly) than the People be displeased, or destroyed.
"For, in all likelyhood, I could never have suffered with my People greater Calamities, (yet with greater Comfort) had I vindicated Strafford's Innocency, at least by denying to sign that destructive Bill, according to that Justice which my Conscience suggested to me, than I have done, since I gratify'd some Mens unthankful Importunities with so cruel a Favour; and I have observed, that those who counselled me to sign that Bill, have been so far from receiving the rewards of such Ingratiating with the People, that no Men have been harrassed and crushed more than they: he only hath been least vexed by them, who counselled me not to consent against the Vote; of my own Conscience: I hope God hath forgiven me and them the sinful Rashness of that business.
"To which, being in my Soul so fully conscious, those Judgments God hath pleased to send upon me, are so much the more welcome, as a Means (I hope) which his Mercy hath sanctified so to me, as to make me repent of that unjust Act, (for so it was to me) and for the future to teach me, that the best rule of Policy, is, to preferr the doing of Justice, before all Enjoyments, and the Peace of my Conscience, before the Preservation of my Kingdoms.
"Nor hath any thing more fortified my resolutions against all those violent Importunities which since have sought to gain a like consent from me, to Acts wherein my Conscience is unsatisfied, than the sharp touches 1 have had, for what passed me in my Lord of Strafford's, business.
"Not that I resolved to have employed him in my Affairs, against the Advice of my Parliament; but I would not have had any hand in his Death, of whose Guiltlessness I was better assured, than any Man living could be.
"Nor were the Crimes objected against him so clear, as after a long and fair Hearing, to give convincing satisfaction to the major part of both Houses; especially that of the Lords, of whom scarce a third part were present when the Bill passed that House: And for the House of Commons, many Gentlemen disposed enough to diminish my Lord of Strafford's Greatness and Power, yet unsatisfy'd of his Guilt in Law, durst not condemn him to Die; who, for their Integrity in their Votes were, by posting their Names, exposed to the Popular Calumny, Hatred, and Fury, which grew then so. exorbitant in their Clamours for Justice, (that is, to have both my Self, and the Two Houses, Vote and do as they wou'd have us,) that many ('tis thought) were rather terrify'd to concur with the condemning Party, than satisfy'd, that of right they ought so to do.
"And that after Act, vacating the Authority of the precedent, for future imitation, sufficiently tells the world, that some remorse touched ev'n his most implacable Enemies, as knowing he had very hard measure, and such as they would be very loth should be repeated to themselves.
"This tenderness and regret I find in my Soul, for having had any hand (and that very unwillingly, God knows) in shedding one Man's Blood unjustly, (tho' under the colour and formalities of Justice, and pretences of avoiding publick Mischiefs) which may, I hope, be some Evidence before God and Man, to all Posterity, that I am far from bearing, justly, the vast Load and Guilt of all that Blood which hath been shed in this unhappy War; which some Men will needs charge upon me, to ease their own Souls, who am, and ever shall be more afraid, to take away any Man's Life unjustly, than to to lose my own.
An ACT for Reversing the Earl of STRAFFORD's Attainder.
Whereas Thomas late Earl Of Strafford was Impeached of High-Treason, upon pretence of endeavouring to subbert the fundamental Laws and, called to a publick and solemn Arraignment and Tryal before the Peers in Parliament, where he made a particular Defence to every Article objected against him; insomuch that turbulent party then seeing no hopes to effect their unjust Designs, by any ordinary way and method of proceedings, did at last resolve to attempt the Destruction and Attainder of the said Earl, by an Act of Parliament to be therefore purposely made to Condemn him upon Accumulative Treason, none of the pretended Crimes being Treason apart and so could not be in the whole, if they had been proved, as they were not; and also adjudged him Guilty of Constructive Treason, (that is, of Levying War against the King) tho' it was only the Commanding an Order of the Council-board in Ireland to be executed by a Sergeant at Arms, and three or four Soldiers, which was the constant Practice of the Deputies there for a long time: To the which end, they having first presented a Bill for this intent to the House of Commons, and finding there more opposition than they expected, they caused a multitude of tumultuous Persons to come down to Westminster, armed with Swords and Staves, and to till both the Palace-yards, and all the approaches to both Houses of parliament, with fury and Clamour, and to require Justice, speedy Justice against Earl of Strafford; and having by those and other undue practices obtained that Bill to pass the House of Commons, they caused the Names of those resolute Gentlemen, who in a Case of innocent Blood had freely discharged their Conscience, sciences, being fifty nine, to be posted up in several places about the cities of London and Westminster, and titled them Straffordians, and enemies to their Country, hoping thereby to deliver them up to the bury of the People, whom they had endeavoured to incense against them, and then procured the said Bill to be sent up to the House of Peers; where it having some time rested under great deliberation, at last, in a time when a great part of the Peers were absent, by reason of the Cumults, and many of those who were present protected against it, the said Bill passed the House of Peers; and at length His Majesty the late King CHARLES the First, of Glorious Memory, granted a Commission for giving His Royal Assent thereunto which nevertheless was done by His said Majesty with exceeding great sorrow then, and ever remembered by him with inexpressible grief of heart, and out of His Majesty's great Piety, he did publickly express it, when His own Sacred Life was taken away by the most detectable Traytors that ever were.
For all which Causes, Be it Declared and Enacted by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this Present Parliament assembled, That the Act, Intituled, An Act for the Attainder of Thomas Earl of Strafford of High-Treason, and all and every Clause, and Article and Ching therein contained, being obtained as aforesaid, is now hereby Repealed, Revoked, and Reverted.
And to the end that Right be done to the Memory of the beceased Earl of Strafford aforesaid, Be it further enacted, That all records and Proceedings of Parliament, relating to the said Attainder, be wholly Canceled, and taken off the file, or otherwise Defaced and Obliterated, to the intent the same may not be visible in After Ages or brought into Example, to the prejudice of any Persn whatsover.
Provided, That this Act shall not extend tot the future questioning of any Person or Persons however concerned in this Business, or who had any hand in the Cummults, or disorderly Procuring the Act aforesaid; Any thing herein contained to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.