A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 1, 1638-1653. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.
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An intercepted letter.
I have resolved many times to forbear troubling you any more with lines signifying little, I have written so oft and soe fully in all things within my judgment, that truth I have now little to say; and really I intend this to be my last, to things in this kind, knowing that if my former gave noe light to what is convenient to be done, what hereafter can be said will be farr lesse. He, who writte my former, when I had ended it, is now gon for Scotland; a very ingenious man, my kinsman, and one who is the king's true servant. He is not lesse capable of doing service there, that he hath been privy to what I writt or told him at his goeing away, he is able to make good use of it, and I am consident will doe it. He is a souldier, and the second lieutenant colonel that was at Worcester. I am very confident, he will venter his life with as much willingnesse as any in the king's service. He that writte this is your kinsman very neere; otherwayes I should not adventure. I hope my two last came to you, which I wrote since that of the second instant, which to the full gave you account of things of the government, and the manner of it, which is the strangest that ever was both for manner and matter. A worse esteem from all men cannot be had of any man then is of the protector. Truly I speake not for end, but truly and knowingly. As formerly he betwray'd all interests, deceived all friends, broake all protestations, oaths, and execrations, and those not a few or to a few, to bring himselfe to this, which is spoaken of in all places on all occasions. And sure I am, the first occasion will be taken to remove him; which really would easily be done, if those, whom it most concearnes, were able to doe any thing in any reasonable time. But if the spring passe, farewell his interest in any time. This is my judgment, and I wish it may not prove true. As the protector did ever prevent the moderate presbyterian party to come to any close with the late king, to make them hateful; so he prevented the independent parliament to ease the land of charges, making some of his owne creatures to spend their time in debate, and in doing nothing. This they found; and intended in a private way for their own security and those of the land, and the gaining of the affections of people; they endeavoured to lessen the number of the soldiers in all the three nations; and in a short time would have done it. He perceiving this, said it was not safe for him to lett them fitte any longer, pulled them out of the house, and declared they intended not the good of the nation, were settling themselfs in power, raising themselfs fortunes; and this and other things was his reason of raising them. This being done, he goes and contrives persons most fitt for his purpose, least able to doe good, or that understood how to doe it (for the most part of them I meane) encouraged the Anabaptist to pull down the ministry and the law, carried fair with them, gott another party to stand for the law and the ministry. Harrison was the head of the Anabaptists, gave him the greatest respect in the world to gain the greate countenances to his party; by which the proud foole grew high; so did his party. And truly I believe if the house had sate a weeke longer, law and the ministry had been voted down. He to prevent this was (as he pretends) forced to breake up this house; and then a party of the house instantly ready to desire him by any instrument under their own hands to take the power given by him to them on himself. The house was 140 or thereabouts; eighty signed the instrument, the rest would not. This being done, Lambert and some of the officers declares him at the counsell lord governour; but they did not long rest there, but within two dayes, not above six or seven knowinge of it, voted him lord protector, gott the instrument and oath by him to be taken ready, and instantly went and swoare him, as is formerly written.
By taking this occasion to breake up the house under pretence of preserving lawe and religion, consequently lawyers and ministers, the doome beinge only being proceeded from him, and occasion'd by him; yet their owne present preservation will stop their mouthes, or cause them to speake for him, as many doe, as owing him their lives and livelyhoods.
This consent given these two, who valewe theire owne interest more then any thinge, the present animositys betweene the royalist, the presbyter, the anabaptist and independent will quash that risinge, each one being fearfull and watchfull of the other.
As for the commonality, they will not stirr, the taxe being upon the landlord, little upon them; the landlord not beinge able to doe that he did in former time unto them in feasting and protecting them, hath noe powre with them. The want of trade, which hinders them to sell the commodity, is the thinge that troubles them. But the reason of this one of hundred understands not, nor any that doth dares tell them it; so that from these noe good can be expected, nor will be done to preserve the present person, or to pull him downe. These reasons, that now hinder any resistance or risinge, will doe the same, when any other powers shall come into the land; nay will occasion a present assisting to those that will come, knowing no powre can be more unsecure or soe cruell as this.
The art of the protector will now be to bringe in (as formerly told you) some able men to his council of 21; men, who have not only some intrest, but a good repute; by this to give hopes to the people of his good intentions towards them. And can he but gett in some of those he aimes at, he will go neare to gaine much of his end; and you will find they must fitt both for theire owne safeties and for the good of theire freinds and people in general. If they sit and act, your gaine will be hard; if they sit and act not, yet it will advance his worke, they not daring to give their opinions.
The prime man the protector aimes to get in is Mr. Pearpoint, to whome he hath sent. When the messenger was there, he was not well. He is to come to towne. What he will doe, is not knowne. He hath avoided all invitations hitherto, and would not sit; but the sad events, that would come on us, if the anabaptists had stood, will make him and others fearfull to let it come again, with which they will be threatned, if they should not fit. Yet my thoughts are, he will not fit; yet others will, though he doe not, if there be not some suddaine action in hand to keep them from soe doinge.
The charge of our fleete was last yeare sixteene hundred thousand pounds; as much more it will be this yeare, if the Dutch war continue. Truly I know not where any of it is to be had; neither doe they that must have it, soe that you must endeavour by all the meanes and ways possible to prevent conclusions with them, for there are noe conditions they can almost aske, but Cromwell will give it them. They demand all our intrest in the East Indies, and the Levant trade, that we should leave both to them. This nor nothing else will stand with him to gain his end, although he breake with them next day, as he hath done with all others.
I doe assure you, our forces in England are noe way considerable; neither can we make
them greater, without we conclude with the Dutch; and then we may employ them where
we please. If we get the money spent by our fleete, and a free trade to please the people
of the land, Cromwell will get the love of most people, and few will or dare bring or
endeavour the raising any other interest; neither will the Scott be able long to stand; for
after so long confusion, and soe much blood spent, people will be at rest and quiet, which
this man will make it his worke to doe. Wherefore flatter not your selfe, neither make your
actions as tedious as suits in chancery. If you doe, you will find most men concearned
will make their condition the best they can, and you will find the mischeife in the end, and
that your long eloquent speeches at your councells to crosse what is propounded, without
laying downe a better way to doe the worke, will not doe the thinge. I remember in the
lord of Strafford's time, when he was to send an army into Scotland from the north of
Ireland, was to send things by long sea from London to Carricksergus, where or neere
which place the Irish army lay, he had ships in the Thames laden with most of his necessareys; yet he or his agents would have all sent together. He paid thirty thousand pounds
demeurage for those ships, whilst they lay in the Thames; by which meanes his designe was
spoiled. His end I need not tell, and happily had he taken his time, and gone or sent what
was ready away, it might have been otherways. I will now conclude, although I could
in some things enlarge; but in a word, Henry the VIIth of England, nor Robert Bruce of
Scotland, never had the like occasion, as your now king Charles hath, if God give him
and his tedious councell grace to make use of it; which I hartily wish, and beseech God
he may. And this believe, sir, from
Your most humble servant, R. B.
Munke is not yet remoaved from the ships. Remember what I writt formerly about Scotland. If that fier be quenched, farewel my hopes. Better stirr with what you have, then consume that, and goe with far more in a worse time. Munke lies with 40 faile neere the Isle of Wight, expecting more. This is a very great charge unto us, and will make us very incapable of sending a considerable fleete to sea in the springe. This fleete is sent out only to threaten the Dutch into a peace. Our want of men and money cannot be expressed; our charge is neere upon ten thousand pounds a day; and at this time I am confident we have not ten thousand pounds in all our treasurys; and for seamen, they are not to be had to supply halfe our fleete, by reason of soe many have bin killed, wounded, and died in sicknesse; so that we have bin faine all alonge to make use of our best landmen to supply that want, many of which thereby have bin destroy'd. I am confident at this present houre there is not seven thousand foot and horse in England, not five thousand old souldiers. The councell hath given the general all the king's revenews of Scotland, which was about six thousand pounds a yeare; as also the customes of land, which was about twelve thousand more; all the revenue of the king and customes in Ireland, which was formerly seventy two thousand pounds per annum; Hampton-Court, which long aimed at and kept from sale for his owne end, with all the king's land in England unsold, which is not much; all the confiscated estates in England, which are unsold, wherein will be included all the papists estates in England, which were intended to be sold, which will amount to 80 thousand pounds a yeere. What they want of two hundred thousand, they intend to compleate; and this done by a councell of his owne choosing to the number of thirteen, to whom he gives powre, and they to him, what he pleaseth. All these several revenues were formerly employ'd for the use of the souldiery in the several lands, and how this will be supplied unto them (they having thought they had too little, when they enjoyed it) I know not. And sure I am it will bring envy sufficiently on him and them both from the souldiers and others. I must conclude with my old opinion, if something be not done by the king, or visibly to all men a doinge, before he setles his councell, quiets the anabaptists in England and Ireland, sends supplies in Scotland, makes his conditions with the Dutch (although but a cessation for six months) which will occasion all the rest to be done, and will give the land hopes of their burdens present ease, I ever foregoe any expectation of hopes for the king during your time and mine. And therefore I must conclude, that he, who long debates, hinders a present acting, and retards his remoavall from thence, is a traitor to his person and intrest, and that will be found at last. I desire to heare from you. If you send your letter to the good lady, or as formerly directed, either way it will come to my hands. I am, sir, very really yours.
The Protector's Speech to a Committee of Parliament in Whitehall upon Friday, the 3d of April 1657.
I am heartily sorry, I did not make my desires known to the Parliament before this time, which was, that I acquainted you with by letter this day. The reason was, because some infirmity of body had seized upon me these two last days, yesterday and wednesday.
I have, as well as I could, taken consideration of the things contained in this paper, which was presented to me by the Parliament upon tuesday last in the Banqueting-house; and have sought of God, that I might return such an answer, as might become me, and be worthy of the Parliament.
I must needs bear this testimony to you, that you have been zealous of the two greatest concernments, that God hath in the world; the one is, that of religion and preservation of the professors of it, to give them all due and just liberty, and to assert the truths of God, which you have done in part in this paper, and do refer them to be done more fully by your selves and me. And as to the liberty of men professing godliness under the variety of forms amongst us, you have done that, which was never done before; and I pray God it may not fall upon the people of God as a fault in them, or any sort of them, if they do not put such a value on what was done, as never was put on any thing since Christ's time, for such a catholick interest of the people of God. The other thing cared for is the civil liberty, and the interest of the nation; which though it is, and indeed I think ought to be, subordinate to a more peculiar interest of God, yet it is the next best, that God hath given men in the world, and if well, is better than any words to fence men in their other interests. And if any one whatsoever think the interest of the nation and the interest of the people of God inconsistent, I wish my soul may not enter into his or their secrets. These are things I must acknowledge Christian and honorable, and are provided for by you like Christian men, and men of honour, and, like your selves, Englishmen; and to this I must and shall bear my testimony, whilst I live, against all gainsayers whatsoever. And upon these two interests, if God shall count me worthy, I shall live and die; and I must say, if I were to give an account before a greater tribunal than any earthly one, and if I were asked, why I have ingaged all along in the late wars, I could give none, but it would be a wicked one, if it did not comprehend these two ends. Only give me leave to say, and to say it seriously, the issue will prove it so, that you have one or two considerations, that do stick with me; the one is, you have named me by another title than that I now bear. You do necessitate my answer to be categorical, and you have made me without a liberty of choice, save as to all. I question not your wisdom in doing of it, but I think myself obliged to acquiesce in your determination, knowing you are men of wisdom, and considering the trust you are under. It is a duty not to question the reasons of any thing you have done. I should be very brutish, should I not acknowledge the exceeding high honour and respect you have had for me in this paper. Truly according to what the world calls good, and hath all good in it, according to the world's comprehension, sovereign power, you have testified your value and affection as to my person as high as you could; more you could not do. I hope I shall always keep a grateful memory of this in my heart; and by you I give the Parliament this my grateful acknowledgment; whatever other mens thoughts may be, I shall not know ingratitude. But I must needs say, that what may be fit for you to do, may not be fit for me to undertake. As I should reckon it a very great presumption, should I ask of you the reason of your doing any one thing in this paper, except some very few things, the instrument bears witness to itself; so you will not take it unkindly, if I ask of you this addition of the Parliament's favour, love, and indulgence to me, if it be taken in tender part, if I give such an answer, as I find in my heart to give in this business, without urging many reasons for it, saving such as are most obvious, and most for my advantage in answering; to wit, I am unable for such a trust and charge; and if the answer of the tongue, as well as the preparation of the heart, be from God, I must say, my heart and thoughts, ever since I heard the Parliament's, were upon this business.
Though I could not take notice of your proceedings therein without breach of your privileges, yet as a common person, I confess, I heard of it as in common with others. I must say, I have been able to attain no further than this, that seeing the way is hedged up, as it is unto me, I cannot accept the things offered, unless I accept all. I have not been able to find it in my duty to God and you to undertake this charge under that title. The most I said in commendation of the instrument may be returned upon me thus; are there such good things so well provided for, why can you not accept, because of such an ingredient? Nothing must make a man's conscience his servant; and really and sincerely it's my conscience, that guides me to this answer. And if the Parliament be so resolved, it will not be fit for me to use any inducements by you to alter their resolutions. This is all I have to say; I hope it will, and desire it may be candidly, and with integrity and ingenuity represented by you to them.
A letter to secretary Thurloe, proposing to discover conspiracies against the Protector's person; supposed to be written by Sir Richard Willis. (fn. 1)
Though itt cannot be imagined, that you (who have beene always wakeinge and watchinge for the good and preservation of these nations, and by whose care and prudence soe often repeated disappointments have beene given to the enemyes of our peace, and the contrivers of our ruine) should att such a tyme as this, be wantinge in the discharge of any thinge, to which the greatnesse of the trust reposed in you does engage you; yett as the best physitians accountt itt noe shame to them to confesse, that there are some diseases (and those the most dangerous ones) which doe soe silently surprize nature, and soe secretly undermine our totteringe tabernacles of clay, that itt is hard to make a discovery of them by any symptomes, and therefore allmost impossible to give a timely prevention to them by any apt remedies; so allsoe the wisest of politicians, and the most experienc't of statesmen (whoe to the politique body are the same as physitians are to the naturall) have not thought itt any diminution of themselves to acknowledge, that in all states and in all ages, there are not wantinge those, whoe are soe wickedly ingenious, and sometimes allsoe soe unhappily fortunate to destroy, that the best patriotts of their countrey are oftentimes att a losse how to save. That this, sir, is the unhappinesse of this poor commonwealth, I beleive you are too sensible, every day beinge pregnant, you see, of new and dangerous designes, which (though contrived and carried on by different and perhaps differinge interests, yett) doe all concenter in hoc tertio, the disturbance and destruction of the present government; and that they have not as yett had as prosperous a birth as they have had a malitious conception, is principally to be attributed (next to the good providence of heaven) to your singular wisedome, which has made them abortives. Hee that does but observe the sickly complexion of affaires att present, hee that does but view the angry and envious countenances of enraged and disappointed factions, hee that does but take notice of the restlesse motions of ambitious and aspiringe spiritts, he that does but read the several pasquills, libells and pamphletts, which are dayly sowne like seeds of sedition in the streetes, he that does but feele the violent and disordered pulse of the people, beatinge strongly in bold and open expressions of discontent, must necessarily conclude, that a stronge hecticke has beene a long tyme upon us, and that we are now att the very crysis of itt, ready either to expire, or to recover very speedily. I cannot deny; nay I would ingenuously confesse, that amongst some others I have beene one, whoe have a little contributed to adde malignity and inflamation to this feaver; not that I did ever delight in the torments of my countrey (for as a member of itt, I cannot want my sympathy with itt) but led (I may say, seduced) by that aphorisme, positâ causâ sebris melius est febrire quam non febrire, and beinge possest with a perswasion, that there was still a surfeet remaineing in the body, I thought the readyest way to cure the disease, was to heighten and encrease the distemper. This must needes seeme a strange paradox, and a most preposterous method of cureinge; but like emperickes (bold thro' ignorance) wee did not sticke to try any conclusions upon a sickly commonwealth, and accountinge itt skill enough to disturbe, we concluded that to be the best physicke, which would worke the most violently, and did then most applaud ourselves in our owne art, when wee were most ingenious in the contrivance of mischeife.
But as I can protest in the presence of God, that itt was not præjudice, or envy, or ambition; or vaine-glory, or necessity (the common spurrs of troublesome spiritts) noe nor any enthusiasticall intoxication (the gilded iniquity of this deluded age) but a pure, honest, simple, affectionate love and regard to the just liberty, good, and wellfare of my deare countrey (mixt perhaps with too much of passion, the natural fault and infirmity of my complexion) which did att first carry me into undertakeings of this nature; soe I did noe sooner discover, that these endeavours of myne, and other malecontents, were likely to engage the nation in those troubles, which the wisest of men could not designe a period to, that many advantages would hereby be given to the common enemy, that the good old cause (the purchase of soe much blood) would hereby be againe committed to the uncertaine successe of doubtfull victoryes, that the interest of all the honest and godly party might hereby (per accidens) be betrayed, or att least hazarded, that many rotten, selfish interests, concealinge themselves under the faire disguise of plausible pretences, would hereby be advanced, that divers of those, whoe are most bitter in their invectives against the present proceedinges of the tymes, were such, of whome it may truely be said, as Tiberius said of his mother-in-law Agrippina, Ideo Iædi, quia non regnant, and that the grievances, which were generally complained of, were chiefly occasioned by ourselves, whoe by our too peevish opposition of the magistrate did putt an obstacle to all better settlements intended by him; and, like mad dogs, by strugglinge with the powers that were over us, did strangle ourselves in that cord, which was onely intended to hold us, and not to hurt us; I say, I did noe sooner seriously consider these thinges, and admitt them to a calme debate of reason within myselfe, but I did presently conclude myselfe to be under a very great mistake; and findeinge my former apprehensions of thinges and persons to be noethinge else, but the misrepresentations of an ill-stated judgement, I could not but thinke itt a duety highly incumbent upon me, to be soe much the more industrious now, to prevent the evills impendinge the nation, by how much the more instrumentall I have beene hitherto in promoteinge them. To this end, sir, itt is, that I now make this application unto you, which I have chosen to doe by writinge, rather then in person at first, as beinge unwillinge to appeare before you, untill a right understandinge be fully compleated betwixt us.
When you shall please to command me to waite upon you, I shall be willinge to hold such a candle to yon, as by the light of itt you will be able cleerely to see into all the practices of your eneemies. I shall lett you into the knowlege of what conspiracyes there are against his highnesse's person, when to be putt into execution, by whome, and how. I shall shew unto you what designes are carried on by the old cavalier-party by themselves; what by those that call themselves commonwealth's men, by themselves; what by divers discontented (and those not the meanest) persons in the army, by themselves; and what are the conjoyned and united councills of all these together, and whoe are the instruments, by which this confœderacy is managed. Most of these thinges I shall be able to make manifest unto you by letters and papers, which are in my handes; and I may safely say, that itt is not in the power of any one liveing (exceptinge one man) besides myselfe, to serve you in the like kinde.
And now, sir, that I have acquainted you with what small services I am able and willinge to performe for you, I shall begge your leave in the next place to acquaint you with some few proposals in relation to myselfe, which I shall desire here to insert as præliminary conditions, of the performance whereof I must be well assured from you, before I can engage to proceede any farther.
And first, sir, I shall desire, that I may receave a promise from you, that (when you doe know me) you will neither directly nor indirectly give the least or most remote hints of me to any one, save only to his highnesse (from whome alsoe, I shall humbly request the same engagement;) and that, forasmuch as itt is my intention, rather to discover thinges then persons, the plotts, rather then the plotters, you would not expect, nor exact from me, that I should come forth as a witnesse viva voce against any one, which I cannot doe without soe greate a forfeiture of my reputation, that all the advantages of the world should not tempt me to itt.
2. That his highness would be pleased to engage his royall word to me, for the indemnity of one person, whome I highly value as a faithfull friend, and such an one, upon whome I would not be instrumentall to draw any inconveniencies, though itt were to save my owne life.
3. That forasmuch as I am not ignorant, that the service I now doe, cannot receive any publique reward; nor be gratified with the donation of any office (for any visible character of favour from his highnesse would disable me from farther serveinge him) I may be assured of such a gratuity in money, as may beare some reasonable proportion to the benefitt, that will hereby accrue to the commonwealth; and particularly that 500l. be paid unto me att my first waiteinge upon you, and 500l. more, when I putt into your handes any of the conspirators against his highnesse's person.
This last proposal is (I confesse) prima facie soe justly obnoxious to prudent jealousy, that I would not have mentioned itt, were there not some difficultyes in the way, which I must break through, before I can be able to waite upon you, which I cannot possibly conquer without the assistance of such a summe att the least. I shall leave this and the whole upon your thoughts, to judge of itt, and of me, as shall seeme most agreeable to your wisedom.
If you thinke fit to persue this overture, be pleas'd to returne a punctuall answer with all convenient speed (for delayes may be dangerous) and lett itt be left with Mr. Drayner, an Apothecary neere Charinge Crosse, att the same house which was lately doctor Clargye's. The messenger, whome you imploy, I desire may not be knowne to have any employment under his highnesse, and if he comes in the night, or in some disguise, itt will be the safer.
The instructions of Mr. Drayner neede onley be this, that one Mr. Foster (for he knowes me not) gave directions to have 50l. left for him in Mr. Drayner's hands; and that (being shortly to come to London to take physicke) he will make demaund of itt by himselfe, or by a servant; upon which demaund he is to deliver both the letter and the money, and 'till then to keepe them in his owne handes.
Sir, I know not what more to adde, but onelye, that you will be as charitable as you
can in your opinion of me, 'till you understand me better. 'Till then, be pleas'd to account me
Your faithful (though unknowne) servant John Foster.
Mr. Thurloe's account of the negotiations between England, France, and Spain from the time of Oliver Cromwel's assuming the government, to the restoration, delivered to the lord chancellor Hyde.
Upon O.'s assuming the government, both those crownes applyed to him. Don Alonso de Cardenas the Spanish ambassador then residing here, in a private audience, congratulated his access to the government, expressing the great satisfaction his master had received therein; in whose name he did assure him of the true and constant friendship of Spayne, in the condition he then stood; or if he would go a step further, and take upon him the crowne, that his master would venture the crowne of Spayne to defend him in it; with many other expressions of kindness and good will. To this O. returned a civill, but generall answere, expressing his gratefull resentments of so frank and generous an offer, and his readiness to consider with him of the best means to continue and increase the friendship between these two states.
1. To bring France to a good peace, and thereby to obtain rest and quiet to all Christendome, which was miserably embroyled through the ambition of France, who would listen to no reasonable terms of peace, unless they were constrained thereto; and the most likely and visible means to effect that was, by the united counsells and forces of England and Spayne.
2. In this peace the establishment of O. in the government of these nations should be provided for, and particularly secured, against the clayme and title of his now majesty; propounding, that one of the articles of the peace should be to defend O. in the aforesaid government, declaring that Spayne would never lay downe their arms, nor make peace with France, till that crowne also would agree thereto; by which means the standing of O. would be made firm and stable, having besides his own interest here, two of the greatest crownes of Europe to support and strengthen him: making mention here, by way of inducement, and to perswade that Spayne was reall, and in good earnest in this particular, of the great disobligations, that the late king's majesty had put upon the king of Spayne, and the ill dealing he had received from hym in severall rencounters, which his majesty of Spayne did so much resent, that there could be never any confidence again between Spaine and that family; nor would it be the interest of Spayne, that any of that lyne should be restored to this government. Thence concluding, that O. could not relye in this matter upon any prince or state in Europe so much as upon Spayne, labouring at the same time to render the allyance with France not onely useless, but dangerous, save in the way before expressed; wherein the treaty might be so ordered, that if France did break any of the articles in prejudice of O. or his government in England, Spayne would be obliged to joine with England for the making good thereof.
The particulars, which he desired of England in this conjunction against France, was at first only four thousand soldiers to serve with the Spanish army, and twelve ships of war to be joined with their fleet in the designes they had against France about Bourdeaux. This proposition came afterwards to an entire English army of horse and foot, that might be able to march in any part of France. And as to the charge of transporting and keeping such an army, Don Alonso propounded (as I remember) that Spayne should bear two third parts, and the like of the fleet, which being computed, he was willing to pay part downe, and so much yearly, as long as this war should continue.
At the same tyme arrived here Monsieur Ligné from the prince of Conde, besides Monsieur Barriere, that was here also, and some deputyes from the towne of Bourdeaux, offering reasons for a war against France, and propounding designes relating to Bourdeaux and the parts thereabouts, wherin England might engage (as they thought) with great advantage; and this part was also managed by Don Alonso.
These propositions were communicated to O. by those, who met Don Alonso thereupon; but his owne inclinations being not for any conjunction with Spayne, they were therefore only discoursed of, but the answere thereunto was delayed.
France during this tyme did also make knowne by Monsieur Bourdeaux their desires of holding a good understanding with O. and sounded his inclinations of a nearer conjunction with France, and Monsieur de Baas was sent immediately from the Cardinall, and as his confident, to assure O. of his particular service. And both the one and the other did express the desires, that France had of entering into a league defensive and offensive with England, and of proceeding by joint counsells towards Spayne; and that if England will either joyne their armes to France, or make war against Spayne upon their own bottom, they would contribute to the charge; desiring in the mean tyme, that the former treatyes between these two states may be renewed. To all this generall answers were given, expressing very good intentions towards France; and I do not remember, that any thing more particular was said at this time, nor during all the tyme that Monsieur de Baas stayed here; who was commanded to depart this country upon intelligence, that he had intrigues here with severall persons, tending to the publick disturbance.
Don Alonso receiving no answere to his propositions, and perceiving a coldness in that business, signified to O. that the intention of his master was not to engage England in a war against France, in case the present government found it not to be for their own interest; but that his chief hope was to maintaine a constant good intelligence with England. And therefore propounded, that the former allyances may be renewed, as the first step towards a nearer union. Accordingly commissioners were assigned to treate with hym thereupon, and severall conferences there were upon the concept of a treaty, mostly drawne out of the treaty of 1630. Amongst other difficulties these three following were the chief:
1. Touching the West Indies, the debate whereof was occasioned upon the first article of the aforesaid treaty of 1630, whereby it is agreed, that there should be a peace, amity and friendship between the two kings and their respective subjects in all parts of the world, as well in Europe as elsewhere. Upon this it was shewed, that in contravention of this article, the English were treated by the Spaniards as enemies, wherever they were met in America, though sayling to and from their owne plantations; and insisted, that satisfaction was to be given in this, and a good foundation of friendship lay'd in those parts for the future between their respective subjects (the English there being very considerable, and whose safety and interest the government here ought to provide for,) or else there could be no solid and lasting peace established between these two states in Europe.
2. The second difference was touching the Inquisition, the danger whereof all our English merchants trading in Spayne were exposed to. And in that it was desired, that out of the article, which related to the English merchants exercise of their religion in Spayne, those words might be omitted (modo ne dent scandalum) and that liberty might be granted to the said merchants to have and use in Spayne English bibles and other religious books.
To these two Don Alonso was pleased to answere; that to ask a liberty from the inquisition, and free sayling in the West Indies, was to ask his master's two eyes; and that nothing could be done in these points, but according to the practise of former tymes.
The debates upon these articles gave no great satisfaction to either side, nor encreased the confidence, but rather shewed, that the principles of England and Spayne at that tyme were very different, and that it would be hard to make their interests to agree.
Then it came into debate before O. and his councell, with which of these crownes an allyance was to be chosen. O. hymself was for a war with Spayne, at least in the West Indies, if satisfaction were not given for the past damages, and things well settled for the future. And most of the councell went the same way, and inclyned to hold good intelligence with France; and some of the reasons for this opinion were:
1. In reference to his majesty, to wit, that by entertaining a good and consident correspondence with France, the king of England and his brother might be removed out of France, and thereby a perpetuall enmity stated between his said majesty and the king of France; and so all hopes of his restitution by succours from France taken away. And France was lookt upon as the only foreign power, that O. need consider as to the king's restitution. For
3. There was alwayes a great considence between the French and the Scots, which the French constantly made use of as a back door into England; and as affaires stood in Scotland, it would not be hard to set all into a flame there. And although it was supposed, that if his majesty were excluded France, he would betake himself to Spayne, yet this was not thought dangerous; because his being in Spayne seemed rather disadvantageous to his returne then otherwise, the English being always jealous and afrayd of the principles of Spayne, and who had no interest here, but the papist; the presbiterian party, whom O. was desirous enough to engage in his affayres, having ever shewed the greatest aversion to the Spanyard.
So it was resolved to take all oportunityes to maintayne a good understanding with France, and to send a fleet and land forces into the West Indies, where it was taken for granted the peace was already broken by the Spanyard contrary to the former treatyes; and not to meddle with any thing in Europe, untill the Spaynard should begin, unless the American fleet should be met with, which was looked upon as lawful prize.
And now the consideration was of joining with France in this war upon the grounds aforesaid, which France offer'd to do. And a treaty there was touching a squadron of ships to joine with the French as auxiliaryes only to France, that so no breach might be in Europe with Spayne on the part of England; as also a sum of money was propounded to be given by France, in case England will declare war against Spayne in any part of the world. But many difficulties and delayes falling out in this treaty, the fleet was sent away into the West Indyes.
And now there was no more discourse of a league defensive and offensive with France, which the counsel were never for; but the former peace was renewed with some alterations in respect of the present tyme, which is in print; and an article by it self for exclusion of his majesty, his highnesse the duke of Yorke presently, and his highnesse the duke of Glocester after ten years, with some other persons particularly named, out of France.
In the mean tyme O. cast with hymself how to get footing on the continent, which he alwayes much longed for. And there was a designe to have drawne Flanders to revolt from Spayne; and to that end to have dealt with some of the great townes to have declared themselves a commonwealth, under the protection of the prince of Conde; and he was to be founded in it, how he would inclyne thereto, if England and France did assist hym therein, and so by that means to have satisfied Conde to live out of France, and to have eased the cardinall of the feare of his returne. But proper mediums being not found out to sound the prince of Conde, and it being not relish'd in France, it was no further prosecuted.
Afterwards there were propositions of joining in the war against the Spanyard in Flanders, whereupon there was a treaty made in the yeare 1657. The effect was, that O. should send into France or Flanders six thousand foot, three thousand at the charge of England, and three thousand at the charge of France; that the whole being landed should come under the pay of France. That with these and a French army of horse and foot, the king should that yeare besiege Graveling or Dunkirk; and either being taken, to deliver it with all the forts into the English hands, viz. Dunkirk absolutely, and Graveling by way of caution, untill Dunkirk should be taken and delivered. That the priviledges of the towne and the religion should remayne in the same state as before; and that no peace or truce be made with Spayne by either during that yeare.
That which past between France, and the sonn of O. was this. Monsieur de Bourdeaux, by the direction of the king, let him know in November or December 1658, that he was very much prest to treate with Spaine for a peace, both by his owne subjects, and by letters from his allyes; and that a treaty could not be avoyded, yet nothing should be done therin without the consent of England. And therefore desired to know his mind upon this peace, assuring hym, that in case he should find it for his interest to continue the war, that then France would make no peace; but if he was resolved to make a peace with Spaine, then he desired to know (if he thought fit) what the conditions were, which England would expect, and France would insist upon them equally as for themselves; and offered to agree by a treaty, that neither England nor France should make any peace with Spayne without the consent of the other, desiring that all things in this treaty may be managed by joint counsells; and from time to time they communicated what past between them and Prinontelli, and between their allyes, who dayly prest them to this peace.
The sonne of O. and his counsell inclyned to the peace, but did not like to treate by the way of France; but that some neutrall place might be agreed upon, where the ambassadors of the three states might meet after the conditions were understood, upon the which the peace was to be made; and the court of France having signified hither, that Pimontelli had instruction to treat with England upon the conditions of the peace, and of all things relating thereunto, the English ambassador then with the French court had directions to see his power, and to desire a copy of them; that in case they were such as gave satisfaction, he should be enabled to confer with hym upon the particulars of a peace to be made between England and Spayne.
About the same tyme that France signified hither their intentions to treate, and communicated Pimontelli's negotiation, there came over hither a person authorized from Brussels to trye, whether there were any disposition in the government of England towards a peace with Spaine; and in case he found it, to speak with those that were nearly trusted in affaires about the conditions. The person, that came over, was spoke with by one of the councell, and having given some reasons to induce belief, that he came trusted from the counsell at Brussells, desired to know, whether there were sincere intentions in this government of making a peace with Spayne. And being answered, that they were upon honorable terms, hee sayd, he believed there would be noe difference upon the conditions; and thereupon fell to discourse of some particulars, wherein he sayd he understood the mind of Spayne, though he had no authority to make offer of any conditions. The particulars spoke of were Dunkirk, Jamaica, trade in the West Indyes, the inquisition, and the condition of his majesty of Great Britain then in Flanders. For Dunkirk, he sayd, if money would not be taken for it, there would be no great difficulty in suffering the English to keep it. For Jamaica, he beleeved, that the king of Spayne could not consent to have that in the English hands, in respect it would in tyme overthrow all the maximes he go verned those parts by; but would give a considerable sum of money to England for it. And for the English trading there, that it could not be granted universally, but particular licences might be granted, not exceeding such a number. As to the inquisition, the usual articles could not be altered, but means might be found out to assure the English, that they should not be troubled thereupon, which would answer the end. And as to the king of England, he should not live in Flanders or Spayne, but some other place out of the Spanish dominions might be thought of, where he might reside under an allowance of a pension from the king of Spayne, without giving any jealousy to England; concluding with this, that if upon this discourse the government here will send a person incognito to Madrid, to the court of Spayne, he had direction from the counsell of Brussels to goe with hym; and doubted not but the conditions of the peace would soon be agreed upon, if it were intended on this side. This was at two conferences, but the affaires of England were such at home, as gave no opportunity to intend this affair.
This is a sumary account of all that past between England and Spayne, and betweene England and France, saving that there was in February 1658 a treaty made between England and France, in referrence to the affaires of the Sound, the account whereof will belong to those transactions.
H. Cromwell to the lord chancellor Clarendon.
May it please your lordship,
When the declaration was framing, I did abhor to bee so unreasonable as to seeke any particular provision for my self in it. But when I saw my self secured with the multitude, and when his majesty by his special letters and promises declared, that though I had indeed scaped in the crowd, yet that hee had a particular mercy for mee; and when I saw hee could not bee prevailed upon to unsettle others, who perhaps (abating my name) were greater offenders, I did then presume to insist upon that his mercy, nor could I believe (with some) that my soe doing was dishonorable unto his majesty. And your lordship (being above makeing an interest by trampling upon the fallen, or by being bitter against things, that came to pass by God's secret providence) have most nobly and Christianly patronized me in it, even to successe; and for this in a few words I give your lordship my eternall thanks and prayers.
I might, perhaps, have better expressed these my sentements some other way; yet I have presumed to doe it thus by a letter, that there may remayne a testimony of insamy upon mee, if ever I abuse the admirable mercy I have found, either by future disloyallty to his majesty, or ingratitude to your lordship. And I wish your lordship would add one favour more, which is to assure his most excellent majesty, and his royal highnes (how hard, or needless soever it bee to beleeve me) that few can wish their royall persons, family, or interest, more prosperity and establishment, then doth,
Mr. John Maidston to John Winthrop, esq; governor of the colony of Connecticut in New England.
Your kinde remembrance of mee in Mr. Hooke's letter covered me with noe small shame, that I have neglected a person of soe signal worth, as all reportes I meet with present you in; especially when it is attended with the consideration of the obligations your father's memorie hath left upon me.
Yet may I not be so injurious to my selfe as to acknowledge, that the long omission of writing to you proceeded from forgetfulnesse. The frequent discourse I have made of your selfe and honored father have created testimony sufficient to vindicate mee from such ingratitude. But the perpetual hurry of distressing affaires, wherein for some yeares I have been exercised, deprived me of gaining a fit opportunity of conveying letters. And this is breifly and truely the cause of so long an intermission. For me now to present you with a relation of the unheard-of dealing of God towardes his people in thes nations, is not my designe; partly because I beleeve you have heard much of it, but principally because such a worke would better become a voluminous chronicle, then a short epistle. For it would weary the winge of an eagle to measure out the wayes, wherein God hath walked, with all the turnings and intricacys, that are found in them. The quarrel, at first commenced betwixt king and parliament, was grounded upon a civil foundation; the king accusing them of invading his prerogative, and the house charging him with the breach of their priviledges, and consequently the invassalaging the people represented by them. Whea this argument had for some time been agitated by as hot and bloudy a war as this latter age hath seen, it fel at last to be managed (on the parliament side) by instruments religiously principled, in whose hand it received so many evident testimonies of God's extraordinary presence and conduct, that in conclusion a period was put to it, the king made a prisoner, and all his expectation of rescue utterly defeated and cut of. While the matter stood in this posture, great debates, solicitous consultations and cabals are held, in order to settlement; for thes transactions (according to the constant product of all such things) had created factions and divisions betwixt persons of equal worth in point of parts, and (as themselves thought) of ballancing merrit, to receive the reward of so great and hazardous an undertaking as they had gone thorow. The parties instantly devyded themselves (or rather did appeare devyded, for they had been so before) under the heades of presbitery and independency. The former had the advantage in number, the ministry generally adhereing to them; the latter in having been the active instrument, by whose valour and conduct the king was brought from a pallace to a prison, and thereby were possest of the militarie power of the nation; by helpe whereof, and having many friendes in the house of commons against the minde of the major part, they first secluded them, and then set aside the house of lords; and by a co-operation with the house of commons then sitting, (whom they owned as the supream power of the nation) the king was brought to tryall before an high court of justice (consisting of members of parliament, officers of the army and others) and proceeded against to execution.
This act was highly displeasing to many, who with equal zeal and forwardness had assisted in the war. Insomuch that the difference, which the king's party put between them that fought with him, and thos that take away his life, they exprest in this proverb; that presbiterians held him by the hayr, till independants cut of his head. Yet have the former struggled hard ever since, to doe something, that might render them under a better character, as to their covenant and loyalty to the king. The peace of the nation being thus settled, and the king's family and offspring departed into forreign places, his eldest son the prince of Wales traveled into the Netherlands, where (after some short time) application was made to him by the most sereous and prudent party of Scotland (amongst whom I know some to be as choyce men, as most I have been acquainted with, for wisedome and true holynesse, for so it becomes mee to judge) who presented to him the consideration of the stupendious judgments of God upon him and his father's house, and prest upon him the sence of it, endeavouring to reduce him to Scotland, in order to restore him to his dominions, upon hope that he might be instrumental to honour God, and re-establish publique peace. To this he gave very fayre returns, and in a short time shipt himself for Scotland, and arrived there, where hee was honourably entertained by that, which is called the kirk party, and is indeed the religious party of that nation: by them he was crowned king of Scotland, and so brought into a capacity of action.
The kirk party had now the command of him and the nation, but another party had a greater roome in his heart, having been constant to his father, when the other had raysed war against him. Thes devyded under two heades caled resolutioners and protesters (fn. 2).
The parliament of England by this time grew awakened, foreseeing that this whole action was calculated to the perfect capacity of Scotland, imposing a king upon England, of which they were evinced by more then probable arguments; to obviat which they resolve to send a potent army under the command of general Cromwel (the lord Fairfax refusing that service upon the influence of presbyterians, as was sayd) that Scotland might be rendered the seat of war, and so made less able to annoy England. This accordingly was done, an invasion made from England, Scotland put into armes to resist it, whereby they wearied and wasted the English army and forced it (in a miserable condition) to retreat for England, had they not at Dunbar, out of pure necessity, inforced an ingagement to their own destruction. For the defeat then given to the Scotch army was as signal as any thing in the whole war. The advantage of number and men fit for fight was very great; but that, which is most observable, is the quality of the persons: for presbiterie being the golden bal that day, I am credibly informed, that thousands lost their lives for it (after many meetings, de bates and appeales to God betwixt our English officers and them) of as holy praying people, as this island or the world affoardes.
The lord general Cromwel was a person of too great activity and sagacity to loose the advantage of such a victory, and therefore marcht his army to Edenburgh, and possest himselfe of that place, lay'd siege to the strong castle in it, and distrest it til it submitted, being so situated as not to be enter'd by onslaught, nor undermined, by reason of the rocke on which it is built. There he spent the winter, but was not idle, for in that time many strong places became subject to him: by this means the young king had opportunity to fall in with his beloved party caled the Resolutioners. His interest likewise wrought here in England, caried on by the presbiterian party; and in this quarrel, honest Mr. Love, who doubtless was a godly man, though indiscreet, lost his heade, and many of his brethren were indangered, being deteined prisoners, til general Cromwel came home and procured their release. But before that, his continuance in Scotland was a time of great action, wherein he so distressed the king, as he inforced him to march with all the force he could make for England; but being close pursued by the English horse, under the command of general Lambert (a prudent, valiant commander, and a man of gallant conduct) and resisted by force raysed in England, he was compelled to make a halt at Worcester city, til the lord general, with a body of the army, advanced thither, and after a short time totaly defeated his army, himselfe escaping very hardly, and afterwardes (with great difficulty) conveyed himselfe beyond the seas. The idea of the stocke of honour, which general Cremwell came invested with to London, after this crowning victorie (superadded to what God had before cloathed him with not onely by his atchievements in England, but those in Scotland, which I pretermitted, because, being grounded on thos barbarous massacres, the habitable world founded with the noise of them) will in my silence present itself to your imagination. He had not long continued here, before it was strongly imprest upon him by thos, to whom he had no reason to be utterly incredulous, and strengthened by his own observation, that the persons then caled the parliament of the commonwealth of England, as from whom he had derived his authority, and by vertue whereof he had sought so many holy men in Scotland into their graves, were not such as were spirited to carry the good interest to an end, wherein he and they had jeopardied all that was of concern to them in this world; and I wish cordially, that there had not been too great a ground for thos allegations. The result of them after many debates betwixt the members then sitting, and the general, with some who joyned with him, was the dissolution of that parliament by a mi litary force, since called by a softer word, interuption. Great dissatisfaction sprung from this action, and such as is not yet forgotten amongst good men. For let the reasons and end be never so good, upon which the general acted this part; yet, say they, 'twas high breach of trust in him, to overthrow that authority, in defence of which God had appeared, and made him so significant an instrument; yet factum valet, say others, who were not well satisfyed neither; and now care is used to settle fluctuating Britain.
In order to which the lord general by his authority (which was but military) summons one hundred persons out of all parts of the nation (with competent indifferency and equalety) to represent the nation, and invests them with legislative authority. They meet and accept it, assume the title of parliament, and sit in the house of commons, and inact sundry lawes; but in a short time made it appear to all considering and unprejudiced men, that they were buic negotio impares, non obstante their godlinesse; of which the more judicious of them being sensible, contrived the matter so as to dissolve themselves by an act of their owne, and resolve their authority, whence they first derived it, upon the general. It was not long before he was advised to assume the government of this nation in his single capacity, limited with such restrictions, as were drawne up in an instrument of government framed to that purpose. This he accepted of, and (being by it with due ceremonie in Westminster-hall inaugurated, he) assumed it accordingly. According to one of the articles in it, he summoned a house of commons, at Westminster, the September following, of which house I had the honour to be a member. The house consisting of many disobliged persons (some upon the king's account, and others upon a pretence of right to sit upon the former foundation, as not being legally, though forceably, dissolved; and others judging that the powers given by the instrument of government to the protector were too large; professing that though they were willing to trust him, yet they would not trust his successors with so large a jurisdiction) fel into high animosities, and after five months spent in framing another instrument instead of the former (which they sayd they could not swallow without chewing) they were by the protector dissolved.
This was ungratefull to English spirits, who deify their representatives; but the protector's parts and interest enabled him to stemme this tyde. Yet the weight of government incumbing too heavily upon him, before many years passed he summoned another parliament, and his experience guided him to concur with them in a new instrument to governe by. In it they would have changed his title, and made him king, and I thinke he had closed with them in it, not out of lust to that title (I am persuaded) but out of an apprehension, that it would have secured (in a better way) the nation's settlement: but the party, to whom the protector ever prosessed to owe himself (being the generallity of his standing friends) rose so high in opposition to it (by reason of the scandal, that thereby would fall upon his person and profession) as it diverted him, and occasioned him to take investiture in his government, though from them, yet under his former title of protector.
In it provision was made for another house of parliament, instead of the old lords; that this might be a screen or ballance betwixt the protector and commons, as the former lordes had been betwixt the king and them.
Thes to consist of seventy persons, all at first to be nominated by the protector, and after as any one dyed, a new one to be nominated by him and his successors, and assented to by themselves, or without that consent not to fit: twenty of them was a quorum. It was noe smal taske for the protector to finde idoneous men for this place, because the future security of the honest interest, seemed (under God) to be layd up in them; for by a mortal generation (if they were wel chosen at first) like foundationals in the gathering of a church, they would propagate their owne kinde, when the single person could not; and the commons (who represented the nation) would not, having in them, for the most part, the spirit of thos they represent, which hath little affinity with or respect to the cause of God. And indeed, to speake freely, so barren was the island of persons of quality, spirited for such a service, as they were not to be found, according to that of the apostle, 1 Cor i. 26. Yee sec your caling, not many wise nor noble, &c. This forced him to make it up of men of meane ranke, and consequently of less interest, and upon tryal too light for ballance, too thin for a screen, and upon the point ineffectual to answer the designe, being made a scorn by the nobility and gentry, and generality of the people; the house of commons continually spurning at their power, and spending large debates in controverting their title, til at length the protector (finding the distempers which grew in his government, and the dangers of the publick peace thereby) dissolved the parliament, and so silenced that controversy for that time. And that was the last, that sat during his life, he being compelled to wrestle with the difficulties of his place, so well as he could, without parliamentary assistance, and in it met with so great a burthen, as (I doubt not to say, it dranke up his spirits, of which his natural constitution yeelded a vast stocke) and brought him to his grave; his interment being the seed time of his glory, and England's calamity. Before I passe further, pardon mee in troubling you with the character of his person, which by reason of my nearnesse to him, I had opportunity well to observe.
His body was wel compact and strong, his stature under 6 foote (I beleeve about two inches) his head so shaped, as you might see it a storehouse and shop both of a vast treasury of natural parts. His temper exceeding fyery, as I have known, but the flame of it kept downe, for the most part, or soon allayed with thos moral endowments he had. He was naturally compassionate towards objects in distresse, even to an effeminate measure; though God had made him a heart, wherein was left little roume for any fear, but what was due to himselfe, of which there was a large proportion, yet did he exceed in tendernesse towards sufferers. A larger soul, I thinke, hath seldome dwelt in a house of clay than his was. I do believe, if his story were impartialy transmitted, and the unprejudiced world wel possest with it, she would adde him to her nine worthies, and make up that number a decemviri. He lived and dyed in comfortable communion with God, as judicious persons neer him wel observed. He was that Mordecai that sought the welfare of his people, and spake peace to his seed, yet were his temptations such, as it appeared frequently, that he, that hath grace enough for many men, may have too little for himselfe; the treasure he had being but in an earthen vessel, and that equally defiled with original sin, as any other man's nature is. He left successor in the protectorship his eldest son, a worthy person indeed, of an obliging nature and religious disposition, giving great respect to the best of persons, both ministers and others; and having to his lady a prudent, godly, practical christian. His entrance into the government was with general satisfaction, having acceptation with all forts of people, and addresses from them, importing so much. It was an amazing consideration to me (who out of the experience I had of the spirits of people did fear confusion would be famous Oliver's successor) to see my fears so confuted; though alas, the sin of England soon shewed, that they were not vaine feares. For in a short time, some actings in the army appeared tending to devest the protector of the power of it. This bred some jealousy and unkindnesse betwixt him and the officers of it; but it was allayed, and things looked fayre again. About this time writs were sent out to summons a parliament, which accordingly sat downe in march following. The power of the protector and that of the other house was instantly controverted in the house of commons, which house consisted of a tripartite interest, viz. the protector's, the common-wealth's (as it was so called by some, though groundessly enough) and Charles the king of Scots; each party striving to carry an end their owne design, syding one while with one, another whyle with another obstructed settlement, and acted nothing but what tended to leave religion and sobriety naked of protection. The vigilant army observed this, and disposed themselves to prevent this growing evil: in order to it, keep generall counsells, publish remonstrances, and make addresses. The parliament fearing the coordinacy (at least) of a military power with the civil, forbid the meetings of the army. The army resent this so ill, as by a violent impression they prevayle with the protector to dissolve the parliament. This he did animo tam reluctanti, that he could not conceal his repentance of it, but it breake out upon all occations. The army observing it reflected on him as a person true to the civil interest, and not fixed to them. And the officers keeping general counsels in a few days resolve to depose him, and restore the members of parliament dissolved by the first protector, in the year 53, to the exercise of their government again, in order (as they ridiculously stiled it) to the settling of a common-wealth. The nation resented this act of the army exceeding ill; the godly party being generally much dissatisfyed with it, in regard the persons brought together, were for the most part disobliging to any thing of reason or sobriety; so that they inslaved the people to the lusts of a few men, as it soon appeared from thes the officers of the army; and all in civil power derived their authority, and they seemed to have brought all under perfect subjection. But their deportment waxed too swelling for the army to beare long; for upon an insurrection raysed in the West by Sir George Booth a secluded member, in behalf of a free parliament, forces were sent against him under general Lambert, by whom Sir George was soone reduced and made a prisoner. This so elevated the ruling men in parliament, as they began to encrease the thicknesse of their fingers. The army fearing they would not rest, till they had brought them to Rehoboam's scantling, make complaint to them by way of remonstrance, out of which egg a bird sprang, that made new division, or rather renued the old betwixt them, til it came to another interruption. This put us into so great distemper, as one regiment marcht against another, some for the parliament, others against them, and drew up neer Westminster-hall, even to push of pike, but God in mercy kept them from ingaging; so that noe bloud was spilt. The house thus disturbed used its interest to redintigrate its power: members meet in private cabals about it. They send into Scotland to general Monke, who was placed there by the old protector, commander in chiefe of the force of that nation. To him they complaine of the breach of trust by the army here, and by them of the violence offered to parliament. This Monke resents ill, and declares for the parliament against the army. The army in England meet in councel; they chuse the lord Fleetwood captain general of all the forces in England, Scotland and Ireland; send letters to Monke for accomodation; appoint a committee of safety for the publique peace, made up of many chief officers of the army, and others of the best qualety they could get: declare a resolution to call a new parliament, appoynt a committee to draw a platforme of government for the three nations. Whyle this was acting, the nations grew into a flame, greatly hating any government introduced by the sword; so the officers of the army, and committee of safety, and all began to draw heavily, and in a few weeks by the revolt of the soldiery, which began first at Portsmouth, was seconded by the fleet, and generally falne in with by the private soldiers, their wheeles fell of, and left them on the ground. The members of parliament returned to sit, all the officers, that were looked upon as having a hand in their interruption, set aside, though to other things indemnifyed. Thus far was Jotham's parable in the case of Abimelech, and the men of Shechem realiced in this matter also. General Monke advances now to London, and is there honourably entertained: he is invited into London, courted and careeced there upon hope free would introduce the king of Scots, whose interest grew all this whyle, and the generalety of the people exprest intentenesse upon it; abuse the parliament, and affront (to violence) the speaker at his lodgings, and the members walking in the streets.
In this interim the house dismisses Sir Henry Vane from sitting in it, as a person, that had not been constant to parliament priviledges; and major Salaway a person of great parts, and Sir Henry Vane's second in most things, with some others, who acted in the committee of safety. Yet were they greatly prest by declarations from the people, who though they were pleased with the dishonour put on Sir Henry Vane (he being unhappy in lying under the most catholique prejudice of any man I know) yet partly dissatisfyed with the secluction of the members of 48, and partly thirsting after their libertyes in free parliament, were restless and impetuous.
General Monke is now earnestly applyed to by the greatest part of the citizens of London, and the members of parliament, who were secluded in the year 48, to restore them to the exercise of their trust. In that capacity, after some debate of some of the then sitting members concerning this matter, without further consent obtained from the then sitting members, and without their privity, they were by the general brought into the house. They sat not three weekes, before they by act of parliament dissolved themselves, and made provision for a succeeding parliament, which is to sit down the 25th day of the next month. In this time they made sundry acts; one about the ministry, to the advantage of presbyterie; another, in which they settled a militia distinct from that of the army, put into such commissioners hands, for the most part, as are for the king's interest. They likewise settled a council of state, consisting of one and thirty very prudent aud sober men, and of good interest as to civil concernments.
But to draw to a period, and trouble you no longer with this discourse; the interest of religion lyes dreadfully on the dust; for the eminent professors of it having atchieved formerly great victories in the war, and thereby great power in the army, made use of it to make variety of changes in the government; and every of thos changes hazardous and pernicious, and dissatisfactory in one considerable respect or other.
They were all charged upon the principles of the authours of them, who being congregational men, have not onely made men of that perswation cheape, but render'd them odeus to the generality of the nation; and that the rather, because general Fleetwood, who married the protector's daughter, and the lord Desborow, who married his sister, were principal instruments (as is apprehended, though I thinke not truely of Fleetwood) in overthrowing the family, from which they had their preferment and so many signal kindnesses. It is not to be exprest, what reproach it brought upon profession of religion by this meanes, and what a foundation layd to persecute it out of England, if that party prevayles; for demonstration is made by experience, that professors were not more troublesome and factious in times of peace, before the wars of England began, and the great instruments of them, then they have been imperious, self-seeking, trust-breaking, and covenant-violating, since they were invested with power. And whyther this scandal will goe, or what the effects of it will be, the Lord knows; but to be sure, as Solomon says, he that breaks a hedge, a serpent will byte him; and this is fulfilled upon them, who have been the greatest hedge-breakers, that I have known. And as there is a woe pronounced to the world by our Saviour, because of offences, so there is a redundant woe to them, by whom thos offences come.
I have cause to beleeve, that you have met with most of what I have here communicated to you, in a better dresse, from some other hand; if so, I entreat the pardon of your stomake for my crambe bis coctum. I also entreat your advise by the next oppertunity, concerning friendes here, what incouragement persons may have, if tymes press them to transport their familyes into New England, with some general directions of doeing to the best advantage.
I doe promise my selfe this fruit of my writing, that as it may renue our intercourse, and kindle the former coales of love, soe it will provoke you with greatest servency, to lay the sad state of our affaires here before the Lord, whose name is greatly ingaged in them; for the rage of the enemy is swelled to an intollerable height, and his mouth set against the heavens. God hath great cause now to feare the enemy and the avenger. And this is our last refuge, for we have forfited all to the utmost. I pray present mee to my cousin your wife, under the character of a person ready, though unable to serve her. Accept of the like tender from, sir, Westminster, March 24, 1659.
If you shall give yourselfe the trouble at any time of honoring mee with a letter, you may please to direct it to Pondhouse, at Boxted in Essex, where my father lived; it is three miles from Colchester.