A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 4, Sept 1655 - May 1656. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.
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February (5 of 6)
Inclos'd in the preceding. The Trustees of the forfeited estates in Scotland to the protector's council there.
Having seen a letter from the councill dated the 6th instant, directed to the trustees (of whose number wee are two) touching setting out lands to the yearly vallue of one hundred pounds sterling to capt. Henry Ogle, wee humbly conceive it our duty (although wee could have wisht for a quorum of us to have given a full answer to the perticulars in your lordshipps letter) to signify to your lordshipps, that the estates of the excepted persons in Scotland being invested and settled in and upon us, for certaine uses expressed in an ordinance of his highnes and councill, dated the 12th of Aprill 1654, which is first to satisfy the creditors, and provisions for the wives and children of the forfeited persons, and then such donatives, as were given by the late parliament: and whereas collonell Overton, collonell Pride, collonel Fysch, and mr. Weaver, who had such donatives, as well from his highnes the lord protector, as parliament, made formerly applications to us, when we were a full number; we did then find our selves not impowered to sett out the same, untill the creditors and provisions for the wifes and children of the forfeited persons be first satisfied, which alone wee conceive will be very hardly answered, considering the many estates lately discharged from forfeitures; so that we humbly conceive, noe lande can be further sett out of those estates, then what are already charged upon them. Wee remaine
Edinburgh, Feb. 3, 1655/6.
Col. Morley to secretary Thurloe.
This bearer will attend you with a letter from the justices of the peace of this rape, whereby you will perceive what hath been done upon his highnesse commands about seamen. We were willinge to performe commands, though I much feare the course prescribed and taken will not compasse the ends intended; and if there be a reall present want of seamen to man the shipps, and other sturdy idle persons to helpe plante at Jamaica, in my humble opinion, the best way to get them will be to have a general search all over this county in one night, to have some certaine place appoynted, to which they may be sent next day; and that some persons may be there ready from the state to receive them. I conceive some sea-towne wil be the fittest place, neere which some of his highnesse's shipps may ride, and receive the men aboard soe soone as they come in. This, I doubt, cannot well be done without a generall meeting of the justices from all parts of the county, unless the time for the search be appoynted by his highness's letter; and because this cannot be performed without some expence of money, I may take the boldnes to inform you, that the expence of it in this rape may be defrayed out of the money remaininge in mr. Ralph Ashurst's hands, who was formerly a treasurer. It was there continued with an intent to have it disbursed for the payment of some free quarter formerly taken amongst us; and if his highness please to let it go that way, the people will be very thankfull for it; but if upon pressing necessity any of it be employed upon this occasion, I suppose we must all rest contented. I beg your pardon for this impertinent interruption; and desire, that what I have written may not be made publique. But I had almost omitted to tell you, that affairs of this nature formerly were wont to be dispatched by commissioners, and not by justices; and there is great reason for it in this country, because almost halfe the sea coasts are of an exempt jurisdiction from us, being members of the Cinque Ports. I shall not adde any more, but that I am
Your most faithfull servant,
Dutch embassadors in Denmark to the states general.
High and mighty lords,
My lords, since our last of the 27th of the last month is arrived here a skipper from Rostock, who relates, that he saw two Swedish galliots, which have brought in there two Holland galliots, that came from Dantzick, which they took in the open sea, and brought them into the said port as prize. The taking of the Lubeckers mentioned in our last is also confirmed. These excesses, without any occasion or pretence, do cause sundry speculations and thoughts, that further mischief is intended by all the small vessels, that the Swedes are making ready in several of their ports. To the Danish skipper, whom they had strip'd, and taken all his money from him, the Swedish resident caused the same to be restored, and gave something more than was taken from him.
Extracts out of the resolutions of the states of Holland.
Upon the motion of some members, after foregoing deliberation had, it is thought fit and understood, that there shall be furthered in the generality on the behalf of their noble great lordships, to the end that by their high and mighty lordships the required order may be put, that the direction money may be exadliy raised according to the list, and likewise raised upon the lean oxen, without any connivance or mitigation; and that to that purpose such necessary letters be sent to the respective colleges of the admiralties, as shall be requisite.
Col. Robt. Lilburne to secretary Thurloe.
Four Dunkerke pyrats (as is conceived) haveing these three or four dayes by passt infested these coastes, and taken three or four ships of ours, has put a great fright on the people on the sea syde, and has put a stopt at present to trading; and sir William Strickland haveing sent a messenger to me, to signifie soe much, together with this inclosed letter to his brother, wherein I understand there is a large account of that busines, that I shall not need to trouble you with the repetition thereof, but shall referr you to it for your further information, that such course may be taken as shal be thought sit; and therefore conceiveing it my duty to give it this quick dispatch, I remaine
Yorke, Feb. 21, 55.
Major general Boteler to secretary Thurloe.
Since I writt to you, and gave you (in that letter) an account of the annuall income upon the delinquents estates within my association, I have notice from the councill of the taking off of 2 or 3 gentlemen's assessments; and do therefore once again humbly minde you, that care may be had to supply, what the councill shall see cause to take away. Also I am bould to informe you, that the charge will be sixty pounds per annum more then I then gave in; for I did forgett severall sub-officers, that we are necessitated to employ. And sir G. Pickering tells me, I should have put in my owne sallary also, which indeed I did not, because I did not suppose it should have beene so. I beseech you be pleased to add it, (if you thinke fitt) with the said 60 l. per annum, to the former charge I presented you withall, and pardon this presumption from
Huntingdon, February 21, 1655.
Col. Tho. Cooper to secretary Thurloe.
I Receaved yours of the 21st of January, and another since of the 12th of February, with the printed addresses to his highness, and humbly thanck you for both. I am veary glad to see that good spirit appeareing in South-wales; and the more, because meetinge with some (I hope) good men in North-wales, (as I came alonge) whoe much relyed uppon their appeareinge for their pittifull weake (to say noe worse) paper; and when I argued the inconsistances, that they held out in it, they seemed exceedingly offended, and sayd, my dependance uppon the government made me plead for it; and that noe sober good man in England not soe engaged was of my mynde. It is sad to see the extream distemper men are in. The Lord put an end to it; and I hope the late paper may doe some good that way. When I left Dublin, which is near 3 weekes, wee left our friends ther in a quiet frame, except some few, whoe, I thinck, till the Lord perswades to be otherwise mynded, will remaine as they are; but I hope they will bee quiet. In these north parts indeavour hath been to disunite honest men uppon religious and civill grounds; but I hope the worst is paste, and that men will be perswaded into a better opinion both of persons and things. The army is in a very quiet frame. The want of pay hath occasioned some disorders of stealinge, and such other inconveniences amongst the souldiers. I shall not trouble his highness, but beg your selfe to present my service to him, and beg your owne pardon for this trouble, and remaine, sir,
Carrick-fergus, Feb. 21, 2655.
Further instructions to John Pell esq; the protector's resident at Zuricke.
1. Whereas the protestant cantons of Swisserland have not only desired supplies of money from us in the warre they are now engaged in with their popish neighbours and confederates, but alsoe our assistance, councell, and advise, in case they should come to a treatye of peace: and haveinge understood that publique ministers from some neighboringe princes are dispatchinge towards the cantons, to mediate a peace, and to use their endeavours to reconsile the present differences amongst them: as wee have beene ready to answere the desires of our good freinds and allyes, the protestant cantons, in supplyeinge them with money for the warre, accordinge as our owne affaires here at home would permitt, (concerninge which you have formerly received directions) soe wee are most willinge to give them our best advise and help in their treatyes of peace. And this you shall give full assurance of unto them.
2. If a peace be enclyned to by them, we, who know not the true state of their affaires, shall not disswade them from it. And therefore if a treatye be entered upon, you shall applye your selfe to assist them therein by such meanes, as you in your owne judgment, or by advise with the protestant cantons, or any of them, shall thinke most proper and effectuall for obteyneinge those termes and conditions, which shall be just, safe, and honorable.
3. And for that purpose you are authorized to appeare as often as you shall see cause, in our name in the generall assemblie of all the cantons, or other meetings, on the behalf of our sayd protestant friends, and to improve the justice of their cause with such effectuall reasons, and in such proper and becomeinge termes, as shall be thought fitt and expedient, and as their affaires require. And to enable you hereunto, you shall herewith receive letters credentiall to the whole Helvetian body.
4. You shall also use your best endeavours to dispose ambassadors or publique ministers of the king of France resident in those parts, to assist the protestant cantons in their treatyes, in as much as they have beene allways certeyne and fixt freinds to France; whereas the popish cantons doe both in their affections, principles, and interest adhere to Spayne, the declared enemye of that crowne and kingdome. Besides, that there can bee nothinge done by France more to encrease the friendship and good correspondence between us and that kinge then in respect to the protestant cantons on this occasion.
5. You shall also use the like endeavours with any other publique ministers, which may be there upon the place on this occasion from other princes and states, with whom we are in amitye, as it shall be judged to bee of use for the purposes aforesaid.
6. And particularly for the more effectuall manageinge of this buissines of so much concernement to the whole Protestant cause, you shall from tyme to tyme with all confi dence advise and communicate therein with the publique ministers of the states generall of the united provinces therein, and as farre as may be usefull to proceed in these affaires with joynt counsells.
And in respect we cannot at this distance give you instructions, how to carry your self in every particular in such a negotiation as this, wherein many thinges, which cannot bee foreseene, may fall out every day; wee haveing declared to you our generall minde and scope, doe referre to your judgment the wayes and meanes, whereby the same may bee pursued. Wherein you are to advise and communicate with all freedome, confidence, and intimacy with the protestant cantons; and as any thinge shall be represented unto us from you in referrence to this buissines, wee shall give you further instructions therein as shall be necessary.
The protector to the whole Helvetian body.
Seria præsentis rerum apud vos statûs consideratio id a nobis impetravit, ut pro benevolo nostro in rempub. vestram studio honorabilem virum sinceré nobis fidelem & dilectum Johannem Pell residentem nostrum Tiguri ad vos mitteremus. Qui cùm ex parte nostrâ quædam vobis proponenda habeat, auctoritate & mandatis ea propter a nobis instructus, amplissimas vestras dominationes literis rogatas volumus, ut ei facilis audientia, quotiescunque dicendorum ratio postulaverit, concedatur; necnon ut publico nostro ministro plenaria in omnibus fides detur. De cætero Deum opt. max. precamur, ut consilia & conatus vestros regere & dirigere velit. Dab. è palatio nostro Westmonasterii, Feb. 21, 1655/6.
Mr. Longland, agent at Leghorn, to secretary Thurloe.
I Hav bin advysed this week by mr. Smith, that my bill of 50 l. is payd, for which I humbly thank you, hoping you will be pleased to tak the lyk care for payment of my other bill of 690 l. which has bin disburst by your own order to buy and provide his hyhnes horses, as by the account sent you.
By a French shipp arryved here this week from Sidon is com advys, that Ipsir Bashawe's son (the great vizier who was cut off at Constantinople) to revenge his father's death has raised a great army of 20 thousand men, and beseiged Aleppo in Siria, which the bashaw of Damascus seeking to reliev has bin beaten, and most of his army cut off; so the seige stil continues, which if he taks, 'tis lykly he wil lykwys tak Damascus, and mak himself very great; for having thes 2 cittyes, he wil command al the large country between Asia Minor and Egypt.
The queen of Sweden has dismist her court of 180 horse, (has sold 120) and contracts her familly to a small number, begining to conform herself to the Italian way, being resolved to setle her abode at Rom; whence 'tis advys'd by good hands, that the Portugues is lyk to join with the Spanyard. We have no noiz here of any great fleets to be about these parts, but that the Spanyard maks himself as strong as he can at Cales.
Here has lived long in this town one Morgan Read, a papist, and a vassal to this prince,
being maried in his countrey to an Itallian. This man has exercysed the offis of consul
a long tym, which offis is to assist masters of ships, for which he taks a duty of 5 dollars per
ship; but he strains and extends it farther to the disturbance of our nation, by setting the
masters to law with the factors, and appeares in al things as the head of our nation by
a long continuance. At first he had the late king's commission, and som 5 years since,
when Killegrew went to Venis, he gave him the king of Scots commission, by which he
now acts and exercyses autority over our nation. How convenient this is, I humbly refer
to your consideration, that a papist and a great enemy to our government should be in
such autority. If you ask, why I do not interpose, my commission wil not do it, bearing in 51, and not comprehending any such autority; but if you should send me a larger
commission, with power to substitute a consul, I should put in such a man, as affects the
government, and loves our religion; which is what occurs from,
Leg. March 3, 1655. [N. S.]
A letter of intelligence.
Sir, the news we have here is nothing, but of the great preparations for defence both at land and sea against the French and English, which goes on apace. They write from Cadiz, that the flota of 18 sail, most merchant ships, will be ready by the middle of this month of March to set sail for the West-Indies. They give out, the galleons from thence are expected to come in all this month. There are weekly prizes brought in of the English. This week they have brought in a ship of London loaden with currants from Zant. Here are to the number of 15 ships in all; most of them are taken by those pirates lately come hither from Brest with the duke of York's commission, though those of this town have set out near 10 small men of war upon this king's commission. The Brest men have brought in here the persons of 5 merchants, which they took out of several Dutch ships they met at sea; and they do petition, that they may have a prison allowed them to keep such merchants as they take, and set a ransom upon them, which yet is not granted them. They are in hopes to obtain such a liberty from the king, which is all I have at present to inform you.
Extract out of the resolution of the states general.
There being heard the report of the lords Bemmel and other their high and mighty lordships commissioners for the affairs of Denmark, according to their reiterative resolutions, having reviewed and examined the instructions of the 16th Nov. of the last year, agreed upon for the lords embassadors of this state to be sent to the king of Denmark; whereupon being debated and consideration had, in regard of the alteration of affairs happened since the conclusion and agreement made upon the said instructions, some redress ought to be made for some of those points thereby coming to cease, and likewise others are to be altered according to the present state of affairs; whereupon it is thought fit and resolved, that there be forthwith signified to the said lord embassadors that, which is agreed and resolved upon by their high and mighty lordships upon the subject of the designed embassy to the king of Sweden; and especially the instruction for the said embassy. And that the said lords embassadors be charged and ordered to do their utmost endeavours, to dispose the king of Denmark to decree likewise an embassy to the king of Sweden upon the grounds and reasons mentioned in the said instruction, that so there may be endeavours used on his part as well as on their high and mighty lordships, to the end the quarters and parts of Poland and Prussia may be restored and preserved in peace and tranquillity; that so consequently the inhabitants thereof being preserved, the commerce may flourish and be preserved among them in it's former vigour, without any extraordinary taxes or tolls laid upon the same. Likewise the said lords embassadors are by particular duties and offices under-hand to endeavour to dispose the king of Denmark, that he for the encreasing of his own honour and safety, as also for facilitating of the negotiation intended with the king of Sweden, do put himself in a posture of arms, and especially by a considerable fleet at sea, upon all which the said lords embassadors are earnestly to insist, and thereupon to advise their high and mighty lordships of the success thereof, that so such further resolution may be taken by them, as they shall see cause.
Boreel, the Dutch embassador in France to the states general.
High and mighty lords,
On sunday last the lord chancellor entertained with a most sumptuous banquet the queen mother, the king, the princess of Orange, the princess of England, the duke of York, and the king's brother, who sat after this order at the table: behind the king stood the cardinal, the lord chancellor, and the lord embassador of Venice, who uninvited, and as incognito, came to see this entertainment. Since that the princess royal hath been to visit the queen of France at the Louvre, who caused her to sit down in a chair with arms, which is not done to the dutchess of Orleans.
The embassador monsieur de Bordeaux is now ready to depart with his family for England, and there to reside in the quality of embassador extraordinary. It is said, that he is honoured with the order of the king for illustrating of his person, and in recompence of the good offices performed by him in the late concluded treaty with England.
Here is news of an attempt made by the Spaniards upon St. Gillain, which did not take effect. One of the magazines was blown up; but the plot thereupon being presently discovered, the surprize of the place was prevented. In regard that there is advice come from Switzerland, that there is a cessation of arms between the cantons, the journey of the lord embassador extraordinary the duke of Rochefoucault is deferred, and some suppose quite laid aside; and that commission and instruction is sent to the lord embassador's servant at Turin to go for Switzerland to endeavour the finishing of the accommodation. The war against England hath been declared and published in Spain by sound of drum and trumpet, and great preparations for the sea are making there.
P. Van Oorschot to the states general.
High and mighty lords,
Formerly I advertised your high and mighty lordships, how that they did look for at Madrid an embassador to come from your high and mighty lordships; and in regard the news out of the Netherlands doth still seem to confirm the said news; wherefore I thought fit to remonstrate to your high and mighty lordships the vexation and molestation, which your high and mighty lordships subjects are suffering in their commerce by the proceedings of the council of war. So it is, high and mighty lords, that since the conclusion of the treaty between the king of Spain and your high and mighty lordships, they have brought the merchants here to a custom of bringing simple attestation with their merchandizes, (for which they had 6 months time granted them after the arrival of the goods) by that means to hinder the introduction of French and Portuguese goods, all which was observed so till the year 1645, when some covetous and ill-affected ministers of the said council did order the officers both here and at Bilboa, that all goods, that should arrive both here and there, without such attestations, to seize upon them, and to declare them forfeited; whereupon several goods have been since lost upon that pretence, and declared prize by the said council, although no goods of French men or Portuguese. These sinister practices are not a little fomented by the secretary don Louis de Hoy Enguta, and seconded by the marquis de Basparias being a member of the said council. Such like vexations are your high and mighty lordships subjects subject unto by the said tribunal, from whom we are to expect little good. The frigats of Fontarabia do daily continue their insolencies at sea in the plundering of our ships, whereof your high and mighty lordships have formerly had several complaints made unto them. I thought it my duty to remonstrate these passages unto your high and mighty lordships, that in case you do send an embassador, he may come instantly in order to our relief and redress in our commerce, as your high and mighty lordships in your wisdoms shall think fit.
I do perceive, that in case your high and mighty lordships design in sending an embassador do take effect, that he will be very acceptable; yea the Spanish merchants themselves do very much desire it. There is brought in an English ship laden with currants taken by an Irish frigat.
Mr. John Cooke to H. Cromwell, major general of the army in Ireland.
Your honor's counsell here doe finde very much against the claimants in generall, to
bring most of them into the first or 7th qualification by their constant residence in the
rebells quarters, when they might have removed; their taking the generall catholique
oath to destroy the generall assembly of confederate catholiques, with their voluntary contributions in the first yeer, or being in armes after, which (if well pursued) will put a
speedy period to the busines. I have made bold to propound my humble opinion to my
lord chief barron concerninge it; and (God willing) we shall to the utmost serve his highnes, your honor's, and our generation faithfully herein. We doe all present our most humble
services to your good lordship, beseeching God to give his blessing to all your great and
dear concernments, and (as I am by many particular favors obliged) I shall ever remaine
Athlone, Feb. 23, 1655.
Consul de Hove to the states general.
High and mighty lords,
My lords, on the first current arrived here the ship prince Robert, whereof is commander Robert Cornelissen Wells, with letters of reprisals of your high and mighty lordships against the Portuguese, bringing with him a Portuguese caraval.
The 2d current arrived in this bay the patacha, or the ketch of the galleons from Terrafirma, whereby we understand, that they set sail from the Havanah on the 1st of January; and that in their sailing out of the channel one galleon of capt. don John de Hoyos happened to run on ground, which is conceived to be returned back to the Havanah. Afterwards upon the 20th of January, near by the Bermudas, the admiral and vice admiral happened to board each other in the night in a storm; and the next morning the vice admiral was seen no more. God preserve her to send her safe. The patacha lost the galleons 18 days before his arrival, through stress of weather. The fleet is now every day expected.
Monsieur Gentillot to sir Oliver Fleming.
Je vous ay escrit du 20 Janvier: j'ay adressé ma lettre a monsieur Cromwel colonel en Hollande pour diverses considerations; l'une parce qu'il me cognoit il y a fort long temps, & secondement pource qu'estant de mes amis, il vous auroit bien adressé ma ditte lettre. Or ayant aprins, qu'il n'est pas a present en Angleterre, ou je le croyois, mais qu'il est en Hollande, & que ma ditte lettre luy a esté envoyée, je vous fais cellecy a la mesme sin que ma premiere, qui est, que pour le seul interest de nostre religion, du service & de gloire de S. A. M. le protecteur d'Angleterre, je desirois aller en Angleterre pour y presenter mes tres humbles services a sa ditte altesse, & luy proposer quelques unes de mes considerations sur l'estat present des affaires, pour laisser apres a sa grande sagesse l'examen de tout ce que je pourray luy manifester; & si mes overtures luy sont utiles ou agreables, luy offrir pour les accomplir ma personne, avec tout la fidelitté & tout le zelle, que l'on doit desirer d'un homme d'honneur, & de bien, & gentilhomme. Je vous suppliois de prendre la peine de le communiquer a sa ditte altesse par tel moyen, que vous jugeres le plus propre, & de m'en donner advis & response par le voye de quelque marchant ou autrement. Je me suis servy de celuy, qui vous livrera la presente, qui s'appelle Marcq & Pierre Laurans, qui m'ont cy devant fourny quelque argent, que je ne cognois pas autrement; mais qui me feront bien tenir nostre response. J'estois une fois conseillé par beaucoup de considerations d'aller en Angleterre sans autre precaution; mais je ne puis me resoudre d'y aller sans estre assuré, que mon voyage, & ma personne, & mes bonnes affections & intentions y seront agreablement escoutés, quand mesmes elles ne feroient pas suivyes, qu'elles seront au moins prinses de bonne part. Si ce que je pense doit estre agreable a sa ditte altesse, il est a propos, que je recoive diligemment response de vous. Je feray mon voyage par Dieppe a la Rye pour le faire plus suerment incogneu dicy: par Callais je ne le pourrois sans estre cogneu. Sy une fregatte s'y trouvoit pour me passer, j'en serois bien aise. Je suis, monsieur,
Vostre tres humble & tres affectionné serviteur, Gentillot.
From prince Maurice of Nassau.
Eight days ago I sent word, that my lord duke of Newburg was arrived at Dusseldorp, which is not confirmed: his stadtholder and council are disappointed, in case they upon that report went out to meet him to adorn his entry.
The troops in the country of Kempen are still there, and are daily augmented more and more. 800 men, that lay above Cologne, will join them likewise. Last night a friend and patriot came to me, and told me in confidence, that there was a design form'd against Rhynberg, and that the said troops should be employed for that purpose.
They write to me from Lunen on the 2d instant, that the day before a courier from the elector of Ments was passed through there with letters to the lords bishops of Munster, Osnabrug, and Paderborn, to raise nine regiments for the service of his imperial majesty.
Mr. Bradshaw, resident at Hamburgh, to secretary Thurloe.
Mr. Rolt and his compainie are now all heere in health, blessed be God; but the ship for their transportation doth not yet appeare. If the Spaniard stop or intercept the pacquett, I presume you will thinke of sendinge the letters by way of Holland. I am glad to heare, that whilst some ill disposed persons strive to hinder a setlement of that government, which God hath so emminently owned, others of a more gospel spirit declare their affections to his highnes in opposinge their pernicious waies, and in unmaskinge them to the people, without whome they cannot hurt. It was not without cause our nation hath been so antiently reputed the hardest people in the world to governe.
I am sorry it is not in your power to obtayne an end to that troublesome busines of the
company. The longe dependinge of it heightens the factious party heere to insolencie beyond beleefe. I shall beare, whilst I can. If there be noe remedie, I must then desire
his highnes revocation; for truly it will neither be for his honour, nor my comfort, to
continue heere in this condition. Presuminge that mr. Rolt will give you the inside of
affaires in the parts from whence he came, I shall not trouble you with my gleaneings, or
further trouble you, than onely to professe my selfe much obliged for your good respect to
me, and for which I am and shall ever remayne
Hamburgh, Feb. 26, 1655.
Mr. E. Rolt to secretary Thurloe.
On saturday last I made an end of a tedious journey of about thirteen hundred miles; and now by God's speciall favour I am arrived in good health at this place. I thought to proceed on my returne by land, but yours of the 15th instant hath put mee to a stand, in expectation of the shipp, which you have pleased to send for me. The wind is very good, and the river is open, and yett I heare noe newes of her, which makes me doubt, least she hath mett with fowll weather. I long till shee come, such is my earnest desire to see his highnesse and my most honored friends at court. I am glad to heare, that the affaires of the commonwealth prosper. God put no period to the prosperity, and give good successe to the enterprises relating to the advantage thereof, and grant long life with health to his highnesse, to serve powerfully to such ends. Sir, kissing your hands absent, which I hope to doe shortly in presence, I rest
Hamburg, Feb. 26, 1655.
Lord Broghill to the protector.
May it please your highnes,
Ever since my comminge into this nation, I have made it assiduously my endeavour to gaine a considerable honnest party to you, which might in all respects be really advantageous to your service.
To this end I have diligently inquired into those two partise, which heere pass under the names of publike resolutioners and remonstrators, in both which I have found severall godly and considerable persons, but indeed too much of exception against either of those partise consider'd in the gross.
The publike resolutioners are by very much the greater number of the ministry, and best esteemed by the presbiterians in England and Irelande; but on the other side not inclyned to your highnes government, and haveinge too many amongst them not fitt for the callinge of a minister of the gospell, yet still an entire and strongly cemented party.
The remonstrators much the less and inconsiderable in number and in influence both in England and heere; but men for the generallity more strict and close in their outward walkinges, then the generallity of the other; but too many of them flateringe the now government as much as Charles Steward's, and as much devided within themselves as from the publike resolutioners. Part of them lead by the laird of Warresten and mr. James Gutery, who are bitterly averse to your highnes authority, if not to any. The other lead by mr. Patrick Gilespy and mr. John Levingston, who are pious sober men, and I verrily beleeve frends to your government, and servants to your highnes, yet still for the Presbiterian discipline, and who are really soe weary of the rest of their brethren the remonstrators, who are Warristen's and Gutery's way, that I thinke they would close with any as soone as thos. And indeed by as much as I can recollect after severall discourses and meetinges with the lord Warresten and mr. Gutery, thos of their judgment are, as I may call them, Fifth-monarchy-presbiterians, and accordinge to their principles (settinge aside some little shewe of presbiterian disciplyne, which yet they allow none to practise over them, but would practise it over all others) they are neerer a closure with the late All-hallowse men then any others. I humbly present your highnes with a treatise written by them against your highnes ordnance of the 8th of August 1654, which I could not at the first beleeve men, that lived under your government, and every day beged and received favours and protections from it, could dare to write, till I called mr. Gutery privatly and shewed it to him, who after some little hesitation did owne it; and truly som late addresses we have had from that divided part of the remonstrators have the same spirrit in them, tho' not fully the same rebellious language. This paper was disperst neere a yeere since, and upon our late declaration for puttinge that ordinance in forse, was as carefully and industriously scattered abroad againe at the first. I have not as yet shewed it to your highnes councell heere, for when we take notice of it juditially, we shall I hope doe it to purpose, at least if they be noe wiser then I.
Haveinge thus, as briefly as I might, humbly presented your highnes with the best prospect I could of these partise and subdivisions in them, I shall now presume to acquaint you with my poor apprehensions concerninge them, and endeavors theron.
I thought the gaininge for your highnes of any the two intire partise equally difficult; but the gaininge of the publike resolutioners, if once effected and moddeled as I proposed, would be in all regards most advantagious for your highnes; first gaininge them so as to purge from them speedily any whos ignorance or disorderly walkinge might be scandalous to conscientious Christians; and secondly, that party soe purged to joyne with them, mr. Gilespy, mr. Levingstone, and their freinds. This as to the moddell. As to the benefit of your highnes service; first I considered the party soe composed, viz. by haveinge purged out the bad and joyned the good, would only consist of the most sober, most honest, and most godly of this nation, and who would have a great and a generall ascendant over all such in this nation.
Fourthly, it might cut off Charles Steward's hopes by the rootes, when the only nation of the three, which owned him, does close with your highnes; at lest the ministry, whos power over the people has bin such, that hardly has ever any thinge bin done without them, and all that has bin done has bin with or by them.
Fiftly, tho' the presbiterians ought not but upon good experience to be depended on, yet possibly many, who now looke upon them as your highnes ennemies, if they saw them your servants, would not probably be soe bold with you, as they have bin, which perhaps the distance might in noe small degree have occasioned. I am of beleif, that if this had bin done before now, much of their scandelous seditious papers from Wales, (both Letter and that intituled A word for God) had bin omitted. All thes and a crowde of such other considerations made me in duty and true affection to your highnes endeavour to win the body of the ministry of this nation to owne you, and then the honnest of them to close with and owne one another; castinge off the unfitt men, and separatinge from the madmen. I have therefore in this worke spent many houres, and had severall meetinges with the ministers, together and apart; and puttinge noe small considence in mr. Gilespy and mr. Levingstone, I imparted my whole thoughts theron to them, who I found fully of opinion (as also most of your highnes council heer) if I could effect what I designed, it would be of very good benefit and advantage to your highnes and this cuntrey. And haveinge cleerly found, that mr. Robert Dowglas, mr. David Dicksy, mr. James Wood of St. Andrewse, mr. Hutchison, mr. Smyth of this citty, and mr. Sharpe of Fife, were in effect the leaders of the whole ministry, and indeed persons eminent for piety and parts, I applyde my selfe to gaine them, and they at length beinge well satisfyde with me and my reasons (at lest as they protested to me) and that your highnes both in conscience and in prudence could not be but a lover of Godly men, under their discipline as well as any other, they did apart give me verball assurances, "That they were disposed to live inoffensively and peaceably, under that power and government the Lord in the dispensations of his providence should subjecte them unto, and did promis and resolve to live so under your highnes government." And then pressing them to give me that assurance under their hands, they told me they would freely doe it, and not only soe, but with the best expedition they could they would engage all their brethren to doe the like. Only if what they themselves should joyntly thus give under their hands were as yet made knowne to any but your highnes, it might totally disinable them from actinge that with the rest, which they durst promise me they would otherwise, the Lord willinge, effect. I did therupon assure them, that if they gave me under their hands joyntly what they had told me by worde of mouth, no person whatever should know it (till by their owne consents) but your highnes, the generall heer, and mr. secretary. Heerupon they have sent me, with a large adresse, those foregoinge wordes expresly under their hands, with this further assurance, that tho' it were signed but by them, yet I might look upon it as the acte of the 750 of the 900 parochiall ministers of this nation; which the effects e're 4 months were expired, should evidence.
They further told me, they would in April next proceed effectually to the purginge out of all unfitt ministers in their respective presbiteryes and synods; and to manifest the cleerness of their harts therin, they desyred me to appoynt some knowinge Christians to be present at their meetinges, to witness of the reallity and impartiality of their actinges, which I have promised to doe.
The other day a minister in a cuntry church prayed for all the exiles and prisoners high and low; and I beinge informed of it, caused the man to be brought before the councill heer, who not denyinge the words, we committed him, and afterwards he acknowledginge his fault, and promisseinge never to be guilty of the like again, or usinge any indirect termes, which might keepe up Charles Steward in the memory of the people, we dismist him from his imprisonment and from ever preachinge againe in that church. Mr. Douglas and some of the rest heerupon came unto me, and after haveinge much disrellished what that minister had done, desyred me in the future, if any other should be guilty of the like offence, that we would turne him over to the ministry, and they would engage for the first transgression of that nature they would give him a publicke and sharpe rebuke, and for the second thrust him out of his ministry; for since they were now closed with the government, and had promised to live inoffensively, and peaceably under it, they would doe it cordially and thoroly. I gave him my harty thankes for that promise, and assured him in the council's name, we would heeraster deale soe with any, which shall or may transgress.
Mr. Douglas (who I may truly say is the leadingest man of all the church of Scotland) was soe ingenious as to tell me in private, that they were not yet sit for a generall assembly, should we allow them to call one; and the last Lord's day did soe far preach for the government, that many of the old malignants did say he was a turne-coate. Truly, my lord, I doubt not, but by the blessing of God, by July next, all thes ministers, which hitherto have bin soe averse, will openly pray for your government, and incite the people to obey and defend it, not for feare, but conscience sake, and lettinge them enjoy their disciplyne in thinges purely ecclesiastikall, and over such only as doe freely submitt unto it, your highnes may, I am perswaded, tye them to you, or they must evidence themselves the unworthiest men livinge.
I humbly make it my desyer to your highnes (is you thinke it not unfitt to condescend
soe lowe) to write a letter unto thos six ministers, takeing notice unto them of what
is past, and encourageinge them to persevere and proceede; which I hope will not be unserviceable unto you. Mr. Sharpe is a man I have made good use of in all this business,
and one, who, I thinke, is devoted to your service. They are all now laboreing with
their brethren, and especially mr. Douglas and mr. Dixsie in an eminent degree, to bringe
about what they have promised, which I question not, will be effected in a short time,
and till then I most humbly presume to beg your highnes, that thes ministers engagements
to me may remayne in your brest, lest it might ruin them in their party, and consequently the good worke they intend. I am now endeavouringe to close with thes six, mr.
Gilespie and mr. Livingstone, who tho' ther are som rubs in the way, yet I doubt not in
a short time to accomplish, and then I trust, all the honnest ministers will soone be of
one peece, and all of them your highnes servants, and frends to your government, which
is the best service I am heere able to doe you, and if accepted by your highnes, as 'tis
meant, wil be a great reward and satisfaction unto
Edinburgh, Feb. 26, 1655.