State Papers, 1650: July-September

Pages 154-164

A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 1, 1638-1653. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.

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In this section


Mr. Fisher to the council of state.

Vol. ii. p. 128.

May it please your honours,
The next day after I sent away my last letter, don Fernandez deContreras, chief se- cretary of state, sent an expresse messenger unto me to advise me, that the governour of Cadiz had order to let those ships, that are now there, to come in, buy what they had need of, and depart at their pleasure; and that the like liberty should be graunted to what- ever number shall come hereafter. That order was taken concerning their admittance into whatever of this king's ports, and answer in conformity unto the parliament's letter sent unto don Alonso de Cardenas in London. On Monday the 11th current I adventured to vistt don Ger. de la Torre secretary of state, who by word of mouth confirmed at all the above said unto me, and was extreame glad to heare the parliament's fleete had taken several French and Portugues prizes. If the parliament strike the iron whilst it is hott, they may procure any thing of this king. The cavalliers little thinke, that by Mr. Ascham's death they have spoyled theire owne busines. If the parliament agree with this king, he will quick dispeed Cottington, as I have in effect been told as much. The present insurrections in France give encouragement sufficient for the unity of Spayne and England, which done will be extreame beneficiall to both nations. I hope the parliament doth not impute Mr. Ascham's death unto any disrespect or negligence of this king; for I know the contrary. The murderers are not proceeded against, till the parliament's answer come, which is now daily expected. Whereas in my last I advised you of the packett being opened that came from Cadiz, and the letter to the king taken out before it came to my hands; I understand since, that the king's letter came aparte; soe I desire that bussines may not be taken notice of, the king's secretaryes (as I am informed) not daring such a thing upon perill of their lives. I beseech your honours to believe, that I will in all things seeke the parliament's credit and advantage, and will not saile to complaine of abuses, when there is just occasion. In the mean time your honours may please to rest satisfyed, that I am and will be
Madrid, 13 July, 1650. [N.S.]

Your honours most obedient servant,
George Fisher,

The speaker to the generals at sea.

Vol. ii. p. 87.

The letters and papers sent by you to the council of state concerning the state of the affairs of the fleet under your command, and your transactions with the king of Portugal, have been reported to the parliament. And although your endeavours therein have been hitherto without that effect, that might have been expected, if that king had been disposed to have done justice, as he ought; yet the parliament approve of what you have done, and commanded me to return you thanks for the same. And for that the time of the year speeds apace, and that it is of very great concernment to the commonwealth, that business should be brought to a speedy issue, the parliament hath commanded me to signify unto you, that they expect you should take hold of every opportunity for the vigorous prosecution of those instructions, which you have received, or shall herewith receive from the council of state; according to which you are to order and direct yourselves in that affair.

Whitehall, July 12, 1650.

To the generals at sea with the fleet at Lisbon.

Additional instruction for collonel Popham and collonel Robert Blake.

Vol. ii. p. 88.

Whereas some of the merchants residing in Portugal, being well affected to this commonwealth, as namely John Bushell, Richard Boare, and William Milward, persons employed by the late agent extraordinary for the parliament to that king, have been by his order unjustly imprisoned, and their goods and effects in that kingdom lately seized upon; and whereas divers English persons are in Rupert's custody, which are still restrained in the king's port, and for which, though demanded, no justice can yet be had: You shall therefore upon all opportunities seize upon all such Portugals, as you may any way lay hold on; and to keep them in prison aboard your ships, until such time as the king of Portugal shall actually cause to be released and set at liberty the said merchants, all such seamen and English prisoners, as were, or now are, or shall be detained by Rupert. In the execution whereof you are to be very careful and observant, for that the parliament doth very much resent the imprisonment of, and injuries aforesaid done to the merchants, seamen, and others the well affected members of this commonwealth, and resolve by God's assistance to have amends for the same.

Whitehall, 13 July, 1650.

The council of state to the generals at sea.

Vol. ii. p. 86.

By the bearer you will receive letters from the parliament, and also instructions from this councill, to which that letter refers; which we desire you seriously to consider, and to prosecute with all effect and vigour, and to let slip no oppertunity for attaining the end, for which you were sent thither. We are informed, that since the time the Brazil fleet went forth, and that you stayed the English ships with you, there came in a Carrack from the East-India worth 250,000 l. sterling, which ship you suffered to go into the river, and stayed her not; which if it be so, is a very great omission, and perhaps you will not have the like prize come within your power. We desire you to improve all occasions, whereby you may incomodate that king. Among others we are told, that the hindring the fishing about the mouth of that river, whereby the city of Lisbon is served, will much stir up the people of the city, and be a means to effect what you stay about. We are also informed, that it is very probable, advice is sent from Portugal to give warning to the Brazil fleet, and to the ships of East-India, yet to come; whereby they may put in at the Azores or at Madera; whereof we have thought fit to give you this information, and leave it to you to take such course therein, as you think fit. The time of the year wasts apace, in which you can there ride without danger; and therefore we recommend it to you to use your utmost endeavours for bringing the worke to a speedy conclusion.

Whitehall, July 13, 1650.

To the generals of the fleet at sea at or about Lisbon.

The council of state to the generals at sea.

Vol. ii. p. 89.

We have not heard any thing from you of your affairs there, since the dispatch by the Constant Warwick; by whom at her return we sent you our last instructions. What your present state is, either in the fleet, or in relation to that king, we know not; and for want of the knowledge thereof, and of what variation there may be from the former state of it, we judge it difficult to add to or vary from our former instructions: but however we desire and hope, you will watchfully observe all opportunities, and improve them for the obtaining of those ends, for which the commonwealth hath been at so great a charge, and wherein their honour and reputation is so deeply ingaged; to say nothing of what the trade of our merchants will suffer, if Rupert's piratical fleet be not reduced or destroyed. We have taken into consideration the season of the year, how much it is elapsed; and also the state of the victual, especially of that fleet, which went forth first with general Blake; and apprehend, that it will be difficult to keep out all the ships of that fleet with that victual much longer than the end of September. And therefore we desire you to consider well, what number of ships of the whole fleet may be thought sit to be kept still out for any further attempts and designs to be made upon that king and his subjects, if he shall still deny us justice, and give protection to those pirates. His partiality towards them, and the ground of this his dealing with us, you will see in the inclosed papers, which we have caused to be translated from the Portugueze, that were intercepted, being sent from Holland to a merchant in London.

We doubtnot, but in your consultations and debates you cast all ways, how in pursuance of your former instructions you may incommodate the Portugueze, thereby to necessitate their king to do us justice; and being nearer, will by one means or other have intelligence of their shipping go out or returning to any of their ports. Yet we thought sit to let you know, that some merchants here have letters from Porto, signifying that intelligence was come thither, that the Brazil fleet consisting of 120 sail of all sorts did set out from thence about the middle of July last Stilo novo; and tho' advices be sent from that king to hinder their coming home, yet they found them in port, or come out upon the way; it is like, if they were come out, they will bend their course to the islands: we therefore offer it to your consideration, when the season of the year shall not suffer you to ride in safety, when you are before the port of Lisbon, whether you should not with as many ships of the fittest for the winter service, as you can provide for their stay abroad, not exceeding 3000 men, to look out for that fleet at the islands or in the way thence, as you upon consideration of all circumstances shall find it most practicable; but however not to leave the coast of Portugal without some fit ships of ours, that may ply up and down the coast, and lie off and on to dis stress the Portugueze, and interrupt their trade, and take what vessels of theirs you can, in pursuance of your former instructions. When upon mature consideration of all things you have chosen out such ships, as may be most proper and sufficient for those services, manned with the number aforesaid, we conceive it convenient to send home the rest. By all which we intend not to tye you up strictly to practise what we have here intimated, if you shall find it inseasible, or attended with such difficulties or apparent dangers, as it shall be irrational to attempt. But we offer it as that, which (at this distance, and in the want we are of more particular information) seems to us fit to be taken into your most serious consideration, and accordingly put in execution, unless by some evident reason appearing to you upon the place, which we see not, you think to take any other course, that may more conduce to the end, for which this expedition was undertaken. The honour of the nation, the safety and encouragement of trade being so much concerned in the good success of this action, we doubt not but you will be tender of it, and make the best improvement of all to effect it, according to the best of your judgment; which we pray God to direct, unto whose blessing and protection we recommend you.

Whitehall, 14th August, 1650.

To general Popham and general Blake, commanders of the fleet at Lisbon.

Mr. Fisher to the council of state.

Vol. ii. p. 131.

May it please your honours,
The proceeding against Mr. Ascham's bloudy murtherers is suspended, untill the parliament's letters come; which I dayly expect. Since my consinement to a house, my landlord hath ventured to carry me abroad in a coach, accompanied alwayes by three or four more knights and their servants; but now he dare noe more doe it, being informed that some ten Cottingtonians have often sought for me (but by God's providence have mist of me) vowing my death, whatever come of itt. Another in my stead might questionlesse be safe, but I have many enemies, for other reasons besides my relation to the parliament, whom therefore I should more gladely serve at home, if theire honours would please to licence my retire from this country. The embassadour from Burdeaux is gone back, whom the king presented with a jewell of great value, and another in his stead is come. A secretary is come back from the Spanish embassador at Constantinople. I heare not what newes he brings, save only his Mr's *** by the great Turke, whose ambassadour is shortly to departe, and another of greater quallity and with more ostentation to come in his roome. Concerning Cottington, I can say noe more then what in my last, viz. that he is poore and disrespected (fn. 1) Yesterday I heard of the sad news of the rout of all our armada before Lisbon, done chiefly by the Portugueses, but with the helpe of Rupert and the French. The report is, that most of our fleet was burnt and sunk, and the small remainder forced to depart in very bad condition. I feare tis worse with them then I could wish; but yet I hope (and verily beleeve) not soe as reported. The Spaniards (being generally haters of the parliament) are all or most parte of them glad of it; but the king is sorry for itt. Yet in this he may satisfy himself, that the enmity, which was between us and the Portugueses before, was in a way of being turned into amity which, since that accident hath fallen out) cannot (as I conceave) with the parliament's honour be effected, untill satisfaction be made for the affront given; whereas before the meere forcing of prince Rupert out of the harbour might have preserved the friendship between both nations, which would have been extreame prejudicial to this king. I heare all things goe well at home, viz. that Ireland is almost our owne, and Scotland in the way of soe being. God grant all to his glory and our comfort. What damage our fleet may have suffered, I doubt not but our English marchants will be willing to repaire, and against next spring (if not sooner) another and a stronger fleet will come out in pursuit of Rupert and the French, who otherwife will hinder all trading into the Straights. I most humbly crave leave, and desire your honours undoubtedly to believe, that I am and will be
Madrid 24 Aug. 1650. [N. S.]

Your honours constant and faithfull servant,
G. Fisher.

The council of state to the generals at sea.

Vol. ii. p. 92.

The petition inclosed, subscribed by several merchants trading to Portugal, hath been presented to this council; of whose present sufferings, by the injustice of the king, we are very sensible, and doubt not but in the end they will have satisfaction for all upon his account. In the mean time, for preventing of further loss to them, we recommend their petition to your consideration; and desire you to use the best means you can, to prevent the falling of any more goods into the hands of the Portuguese. We have taken order with the committee of the navy, that the sum of four thousand and five hundred pounds shall be made over to Cadiz by the commissioners of the customs, by bills of exchange, or by letters of credit, to be paid to you or either of you, or to your order, at any time when you shall call for the same between the beginning of October next and the end of December, as your occasions shall require. We thought fit to give you this notice of it, that taking that also in consideration, you might the better make your judgment of what is to be done concerning the matter intimated in our letter of the 15th instant, that comes unto you with these.

Whitehall, 16 Aug. 1650.

To the generals of the fleet at Lisbon.

From the council of state 27th August 1650. concerning the king's children.

To coll. Sydenham, governor of the isle of Wight.

In the possession of G. Duckett esq.

The parliament hath appointed the two children of the late king, who are now at the earl of Leicester's at Penshurst, shall be sent out of the limits of the commonwealth; and have referred the same to this councill to see done accordingly; and untill that can be done, we have thought it fit and necessary they be sent to Carresbrooke castle; and have sent you this notice hereof before, that you might be ready for them. And for that we are informed, there are designs of mischief carrying on in severall places, we recommend that island to your more especiall care. And if there be any persons therein, whom you shall judge may bring danger thereunto, you are hereby desired and authorized to put them out of the isle, and to seize upon and secure the horses, arms, and ammunition of any, whom you shall suspect will make an ill use of them to interrupt the publick peace.

Signed in the names and by order of the councill of state appointed by the authority of parliament.

Whitehall 27th August 1650.

Jo. Bradshawe, presid.

The following six letters were printed together at Edinburgh in the year 1650, under the title of, Several letters and passages between his excellency the lord general Cromwell, and the governors of Edinburgh castle, and the ministers there, since his excellency's entrance into Edinburgh.

For the honourable the governour of the castle of Edinburgh.

I Received command from my lord generall, to desire you to lett the ministers of Edinburgh, now in the castle with you, know, that they have free liberty granted them, if they please to take the pains, to preach in their severall churches; and that my lord hath given speciall command both to officers and souldiers, that they shall not in the least be molested. Sir, I am,
Edinb. the 9th of September 1650.

Your most humble servant,
Edw. Whalley.

From the governour of Edinburgh castle to colonell Whalley.

I have communicated the desire of your letter to such of the ministers of Edinburgh, as are with me; who have desired me to return this for answer, that tho' they are ready to be spent in their Master's service, and to refuse no suffering, so they may fulfill their ministrie with joy; yet perceiving the persecution to be personall by the practice of your party upon the ministers of Christ in England and Ireland, and in the kingdom of Scotland since your unjust invasion thereof; and finding nothing exprest in yours, whereupon to build any security for their persons, while they are there, and for their return hither; they are resolved to reserve themselves for better times, and to wait upon him, who hath hidden his face for a while from the sons of Jacob. This is all I have to say, but that I am, sir,
9 September 1650.

Your most humble servant,
W. Dundas.

For the honourable the governour of the castle of Edinburgh.

The kindnesse offered to the ministers with you was done with ingenuitie, thinking it might have met with the like: but I am satisfied to tell those with you, that if their Master's service (as they call it) were chiefly in their eye, imagination of suffering would not have caused such a return; much lesse the practice by our party (as they are pleased to say) upon the ministers of Christ in England have been an argument of personall persecution. The ministers in England are supported, and have liberty to preach the gospell, though not to raile, nor under pretence thereof to overtop the civill power, or debase it as they please. No man hath been troubled in England or Ireland for preaching the gospell; nor has any minister been molested in Scotland since the coming of the army hither. The speaking truth becomes the ministers of Christ. When ministers pretend to a glorious reformation, and lay the foundation thereof in getting to themselves worldly power, and can make worldly mixtures to accomplish the same, such as their late agreement with their king, and hopes by him to carry on their designe, may know, that the Sion promised and hoped for will not be built with such untempered mortar. As for the unjust invasion they mention, time was, when an army of Scotland came into England, not called by the supreame authority. Wee have said in our papers with what hearts and upon what accompt we came; and the Lord hath heard us, though you would not, upon as solemn an appeal as any experience can parallell. And although they seem to comfort themselves with being the sons of Jacob, from whom (they say) God hath hid his face for a time; yet it's no wonder, when the Lord hath lifted up his hand so eminently against a family, as he hath done so often against this, and men wil not see his hand, if the Lord hide his face from such, putting them to shame, both for it and their hatred at his people, as it is this day. When they purely trust to the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, which is powerfull to bring down strong holds, and every imagination that exalts itself, which alone is able to square and fitt the stones for the new Jerusalem; then, and not before, and by that meanes, and no other, shall Jerusalem (which is to be the praise of the whole earth) the city of the Lord be built, the Sion of the holy one of Israel. I have nothing to say to you, but that I am, sir,
September 9 1650.

Your humble servant,
O. Cromwell.

From the governor of Edinburgh castle to the right honourable the lord Cromwell, commander in chief of the English army.

My lord,
YOURS I have communicate to those with me, whom it concerned, who desire me to return this answer; that their ingenuitie in prosecuting the ends of the covenant, according to their vocation and place, and adhering to their first principles, is well known; and one of their greatest regrates is, that they have not been met with the like. When ministers of the gospel have been imprisoned, deprived of their benefices, sequestrate, forced to flee from their dwellings, and bitterly threatned for their faithfull declarein the will of God against the godless and wicked proceedings of men; that it cannot be accounted an imaginary fear of suffering in such, as are resolved to follow the like freedom and faithfullness in discharge of their Master's message; that it savours not of ingenuitie to promise liberty of preaching the gospel, and to limit the preachers thereof, that they must not speak against the sins and enormities of civill powers, since their commission carryeth them to speak the word of the Lord unto, and to reprove the sins of persons of all ranks, from the highest to the lowest: That to impose the name of railing upon such faithfull freedom, was the old practice of malignants against the ministers of the gospell, who laid open to people the wickednes of their wayes, that they should not be ensnared thereby: that their consciences bear them record, and all their hearers do know, that they meddle not with civill affairs further then to hold furth the rule of the word, by which the straightnes and crookednes of men's actions are made evident. But they are sorry, that they have just cause to regrate, that men of meer civill place and employment should usurp the calling and employment of the ministry, to the scandall of the reformed kirks, and particularly in Scotland, contrary to the government and discipline therein established, to the maintenance whereof you are bound by the solemn league and covenant. Thus far they have thought fitt to vindicate their return to the offer in colonell Whalley's letter. The other part of yours, which concernes the publick as well as them, they conceive that all hath been answered sufficiently in the publick papers of the state and kirk. Onely to that of the successe upon your solemn appeal, they say again, what was said to it before, that they have not so learned Christ, as to hang the equity of their cause upon events; but desire to have their hearts established in the love of the truth in all the tribulations that befall them. I onely do adde, that I am,

9 Sept. 1650.

My lord,

Your most humble servant
W. Dundas.

For the governour of Edinburgh castle.

BECAUSE I am at some reasonable good leisure, I cannot let such a gross mistake and inconsequentiall reasonings pass without some nottice taken of them. And first their ingenuitie in relation to the covenant, for which they commend themselves, doth no more justifie their want of ingenuity in answer to colonell Whaley's Christian offer, concerning which my letter charged them with guiltinesse, deficiencie, then their bearing witnesse to themselves of their adhering to their first principles, and ingenuitie in prosecuting the ends of the covenant, justifies them so to have done, meerly because they say so. They must give more leave henceforwards, for Christ will have it so, will they nil they; and they must have patience to have the truth of their doctrines and sayings tryed by the sure touchstone of the word of God. And if there be a liberty and duty of triall, there is a liberty of judgement also for them that may and ought to try; which if so, they must give others leave to say and think, that they can appeall to equall judges, who have been the truest fulfillers of the most reall and equitable ends of the covenant. But if these gentlemen, which do assume to themselves to be the insallible expositors of the covenant, as they do too much to their auditories of the scriptures, counting a different sence and judgement from theirs breach of covenant and heresy; no marvell they judge of others so authoritatively and severely. But we have not so learned Christ. We look at ministers as helpers of, not lords over the faith of God's people. I appeale to their consciences, whether any trying their doctrines and diffenting shall not incurre the censure of sectary; and what is this but to deny Christians their liberty, and assume the insallible chayre? What doeth he, whom we would not be likened unto, doe more then this? In the second place, it is affirmed, that the ministers of the gospell have been imprisoned, deprived of their benefices, sequestred, sorced to flye from their dwellings, and bitterly threatned for their faithfull declaring the will of God, &c. and that they have been limited, that they might not speak against the sins and enormities of the civill powers; that to impose the name of rayling upon such faithfull freedome, was the old practise of malignants against the preachers of the gospel, &c.

If the civill authority, or that part of it, which continued faithfull to their trust, true to the ends of the covenant, did in answer to their consciences turn out a tyrant, in a way, which the Christians in after times will mention with honour, and all tyrants in the world look at with seare; and many thousands of saints in England rejoyce to think of it, and have received from the hand of God a liberty from the fear of like usurpations, and have cast off him, who trod in his father's steps, doing mischeise as sarre as he was able, whom you have received like fire into your bosome, of which God will, I trust, in time make you sensible: If ministers rayling at the civill power, calling them murtherers, and the like, for doing this, have been dealt with as you mention; will this be sound a personall persecution? Or is sin so, because they say so? They that acted this great businesse have given a reason of their faith in this action, and some here are ready further to doe it against all gainsayers. But it will be sound, that these reprovers doe not only make themselves the judges and determiners of sin, that so they may reprove; but they also took liberty to stirre up the people to blood and armes, and would have brought a warre upon England, as hath been upon Scotland, had not God prevented it. And if such severity as hath been expressed to ward them, be worthy of the name of personall persecution, lett all uninterested men judge, whither the calling of this practice rayling be to be paralel'd with the malignants imputation upon the ministers for speaking against the popish innovations in the prelates times, and the tyrannicall and wicked practice then on foot. Let your own consciences minde you. The Roman emperors in Christ's and his apostles times were usurpers and intruders upon the Jewish state; yet what footstep have ye either of our Blessed Saviour's so much as willingness to the divideing of an inheritance, or their medling in that kind: this was not practised by the church since our Saviour's time, till antichrist assuming the infallible chaire, and all that he called the church to be under him, practised this authoritatively over civill governours.

The way to fulfill your ministry with joy, is to preach the gospel; which I wish some, who take pleasure in reprooses at adventure, doe not forget too much to doe.

Thirdly, You say you have just cause to regreat, that men of civill imployments should usurp the calling and employment of the ministery, to the scandal of the reformed kirks.

Are you troubled, that Christ is preached ? Is preaching so inclusive in your function ? Doeth it scandalize the reformed kirks, and Scotland in particular? Is it against the covenant? Away with the covenant, if this be so. I thought the covenant and these could have been willing, that any should speak good of the name of Christ; if not, it is no covenant of God's approveing, nor the kirks you mention, in so much the spouse of Christ. Where do you find in the scripture a ground to warrand such an assertion, that preaching is included in your function? Tho' an approbation from men hath order in it, and may doe well, yet he that hath not a better warrant then that, hath none at all. I hope, he that ascended up on high, may give his gifts to whom he please; and if those gifts be the seall of mission, be not envious, though Eldad and Medad prophesie. You know, who bids us covet earnestly the best gifts, but chiefly that we may prophecie, which the apostle explains there to be a speaking to instruction, and edification, and comfort; which the instructed, edified, and comforted, can best tell the energie and effect of: if such evidence be, I say again, take heed you envy not for your own sakes, lest you be guilty of a greater sault, then Moses reproved in Joshua for envying for his sake. Indeed you erre through the mistake of the of the scriptures; approbation is an act of conveniency in respect of order, not of necessity to give faculty to preach the gospel. Your pretended fear, least error should step in, is like the man, that would keep all the wine out of the country, least men should be drunk. It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousie, to deny a man the liberty he hath by nature, upon a supposition he may abuse it: when he doeth abuse it, judge. If a man speak foolishly, ye suffer him gladly, because ye are wife; if erroneously, the truth more appears by your conviction; stop such a man's mouth with found words, that cannot be gainsaid: if blasphemously, or to the disturbance of the publick peace, let the civill magistrate punish him: if truly, rejoyce in the truth. And if you will call our speakings together since we came into Scotland, to provoke one another to love and good works, to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and repentance from dead works, to charity and love towards you, to pray and mourn for you, and for the bitter returns to, and incredulity of our professions of love to you, of the truth of which we have made our solemne and humble appeales to the Lord our God, which he hath heard and born witness to; if these things be scandalous to the kirk, and against the covenant, because done by men of civill callings, we rejoice in them, notwithstanding what you say.

For a conclusion, in answer to the witnesse of God upon our solemn appeal; you say, you have not so learned Christ, to hang the equity of your cause upon events. We could wish blindnesse hath not been upon your eyes to all those marvellous dispensations, which God hath wrought lately in England. But did not you solemnly appeal and pray ? Did not we do so too? And ought not you and we to think with fear and trembling of the hand of the great God in this mighty and strange appearance of his? But can slightly call it an event. Were not both yours and our expectations renewed from time to time, whilst we waited upon God, to see which way he would manifest himself upon our appeals ? And shall we after all these our prayers, fastings, tears, expectations, and solemne appeals, call these bare events? The Lord pity you. Surely we fear, because it hath been a merciful and gracious deliverance to us. I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, search after the mind of the Lord in it towards you, and we shall help you by our prayers, that you may find it out; for yet (if we know our hearts at all) our bowels do in Christ Jesus earn after the godly in Scotland. We know there are stumbling-blocks, which hinder you; the personall prejudices you have taken up against us and our wayes, wherein we cannot but think some occasion has been given, and for which we mourn; the apprehension you have, that we have hindered the glorious reformation you think you were upon. I am perswaded these and such like binde you up from an understanding and yeelding to the minde of God in this great day of his power and visitation; and if I be rightly informed, the late blow you received is attributed to prophane councels, and conduct, and mixtures in your army, and such like. The naturall man will not find out the cause; look up to the Lord, that he may tell it you; which that he would do, shall be the servent prayer of

Edinburgh, Sept. 12, 1650.

Your loving freind and servant,
O. Cromwell.

For the governour of Edinburgh Castle these.

THESE queries are sent, not to reproach you, but in the love of Christ, laying them before you; wee being perswaded in the Lord, that there is a truth in them, which we earnestly desire may not be laid aside unsought after, by any prejudice, either against the things themselves, or the unworthinesse or weaknesse of the person that offers them. If you turn at the Lord's reproofs, he will pouer out his Spirit upon you, and you shall understand his words, and they will guide you to a blessed reformation indeed, even to one according to the word, and such as the people of God wait for; wherein you will find us and all saints ready to rejoyce, and serve you to the utmost in our places and callings.


1. Whither the Lord's controversie be not both against the ministers in Scotland and England for wresting, straining, and improveing the covenant against the godly and saints in England, of the same faith with them in every fundamentall, even to a bitter persecution; and so makeing that, which in the main attention was spirituall, to serve politicks and carnal ends, even in that part especially, which was spirituall, and did look to the glory of God, and the comfort of his people.

2. Whither the Lord's controversie be not for your and the ministers in England fullennesse at, and darkning, and not beholding the glory of God's wonderfull dispensations in this series of his providences in England, Ireland, and Scotland, both now and formerly, through envy at instruments, and because the things did not work forth your platform, and the great God did not come doun to your mindes and thoughts.

3. Whither your carrying on a reformation, so much by you spoken of, have not probably been subject to some mistakes in your oun judgements about some parts of the same, laying so much stresse thereupon, as hath been a temptation to you even to break the law of love towards your brethren, and those Christ hath regenerated, even to the reviling and persecuting of them, and to stir up wicked men to do the same, for your formes sake, or but some parts of it.

4. Whither if your reformation be so perfect and so spirituall, be indeed the kingdom of the Lord Jesus, it will need such carnal pollicies, such fleshly mixtures, such unsincere actings, as to pretend to cry doun all malignants, and yet receive and sett up the head of them, and so act for the kingdom of Christ in his name, and upon advantage theirof; and to publish so false a paper, so full of specious pretences to pietie, as the fruit and effect of his repentance, to deceive the mindes of all the godly in England, Ireland, and Scotland; you in your own consciences knowing with what regreat he did it, and with what importunities and threats he was brought to do it, and how much to this very day he is against it; and whither this be not a high provocation of the Lord in so grosly dissembling with him and his people.

For the right honourable the commander in chief of the English army.

My lord,
Your papers I have communicate to these with me, whom they concerned, who have desired me to return this answer: The contents of these papers do concern the publick differences betwixt you and these of the three kingdomes, who have faithfully adhered to the solemn league and covenant, and are awed by the oath of God from accession to the guiltinesse of clear and evident breaches of covenant, and have been so often and fully answered in the publick papers of this kirk and kingdome, in the resolutions of the assembly of divines in England, and in the published wrytings of the foundest divines there, yea, and of all the reformed kirks; that they conceive it needlesse (though a matter of no great difficulty) to give a particular answer; especially since the late generall assembly have authorized their commissioners to take into consideration matters of publick concernment to this kirk, unto whom (if you please) you may hereafter direct papers of that kind. In the mean time they rest fully perswaded in their minds, that the event of a battle (though ordered indeed by a just and wife providence) is no infallible proofe of the equity or iniquity of a cause; seeing there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked, to him that sweareth and to him that feareth an oath, as it is clear in the cause of Israel against Benjamin about the men of Gibeath. I am,

September 12, 1650.

My lord, your most humble servant, W. Dundas.

Letter from the king's majestie, — directed thus:

To our right trusty and wel-beloved cousines and counsallers, our right trusty and welbeloved cossens, and to our trusty and right wel-beloved counsallors, and to our trusty and wel-beloved the committee of estates of the kingdome of Scotland. Orig.

From the public records of Scotland in the laigh parliament house at Edinburgh.

Charles R.
Right trustie and wel-beloved cossens and counsellors, &c. we greete you well. As soone as wee were certainly informed of what had befallen our army, and that wee hearde that it was ralliyng again towards Sterline, and the committee of estates were come thither; wee immediatly dispatched the marquis of Argyle towards yow, whom we instructed with what wee thought necessarie to be represented. And althought till this day wee hearde nothing from yow, neither in relation to that sadde stroake, nor of your resolutions, yett wee did not think it strange, nor esteamed it any want of your respect to us, nor of your deutie towards the making up of the breatch again. Wee cannot doubt of the first, and by your letter to us, and the orders to the shyres, wee see how carefull yow have beane of the second; wherein principally wee desire yow to make use of your spirits and courage. There is nothing under the funne, that is not subject to soddaine and strange alteration (God Almighty is onely unchangeable, and therefor it is, that wee are not consumed) and of all the affaires in the world nothing is subject to soe many accidents, as ane army and the matters of warre. To day nothing foe glorious and terrible, as ane army with banners; to morrowe or in ane houre's space nothing soe confused, and soe weake; when then the terrour of God falls upon them, and they turne their backes, and that the men of might synde not their hands, then that that was before goodly and dreadfull, is in ane instant despicable and contemptible. Wee cannot but acknowledge, that the stroake and tryall is very harde to be borne, and would be impossible for us and yow, in humane strength; but in the Lord's wee are bold and confident, whoe hath always defended this antient kyngdome, and transmitted the governement of it upon us from soe many worthy predecessors, whoe in the lyke difficulties have not fainted; and they had only the honor and civill liberties of the land to defend, but wee have with yow religion, the gospell, and the covenant, against which Hell shall not prevaile, muche lesse a number of sectaries stirred up by it. Wee accknouledge, that what hath befallen is just from God for our sinns, and these of our house and the whole land, and all the families in it have lykewise helped to pull doune the judgement, and to kindle this feirce wrath. Wee shall strive to be humbled, that the Lord may be appeased, and that he may returne to the thousands of his people, and comfort us according to the days wee have beene afflicted, and the yeares that wee have seene evill. Yow are going, yow say, upon the deuties, for reliefe of the afflicted land (yow do well to doe soe) and to try the instrumentall causes and occasions of the disaster and surpryssall. Looke not too much upon second causes; the pryme and originall and onely cause is God's just displeasure; for the causes of defeats in armys, they are harder to be found out then in any other of the actions of men; a worde, a founde, the moveing or removeing of any body or squadron, may be and have beane the causes of the losse of battles; and howe often have pannike feares feazed upon them, that never any ground or resone could be given for? Lay not the fault upon this or that, coming doune, or not staing upon a ground of advantage, or upon this person, or the other. That is the worst way of all, for nothing devided nor in discord can stand or prosper; but leaste of all ane army; any thing of that kynde is the sodaine ruine of it. Upon any other constitution it will not worke so soone. Therefore wee intreete and charge yow, as ye feare God, love his cause in your hands, have affection to your countrie, or respect to us; that yow will remember, yow are breethren in a covenant, and that yow now stand up, and joyne together as one man for religion, your countrie, your wives, children, liberties, and us, as your predecessors have done in difficulties in their generations. Wee shall as willingly as any of them be readie to hazarde our lyfe (nay to lay it doune) with yow for God, the covenant, and the honor and freedome of this hitherto unconquered kyngdome, with any handfull yow have togither, or when it shall be thought convenient. We approve of the orders yow have sent to the shyres, and have lykewise written our letters to them for their more ready obedience, and the furthering of the levies. And as yow have appoynted the broken regiments, and troopes, to be made up, and new ones added; foe wee desire yow will take course, that our gardes of horse and foot may be also made up to that strength and number is sitting; and that able and fitt persones may be designed for the troopes and companies not yet formed; and haveing assurance of the worth and abilities of the laird of Thorntoune, wee desire, that a troupe be appoynted for him, and that yow appoynt a localitie in some shyre, which may be effectuall to him for that purpose. Wee desire yow will give us frequent dayly advertisements of your proceedings, of the strength of the forces are yett in a bodie, and of their increase, and grouth; and how yow propose to employ them; and what yow can learne of the enemies intentions, or see of their motions. Soe wee bid yow heartily farewell. From our court att Perth the 12 September 1650, and in the second yeare of our raigne.

Produced the 13th of September.

Letter from the king's majestie, — directed thus:

To our right trusty and wel-beloved cousines and counsallors, and to our trustie and right wel-beloved cousines, and to our trusty and right wel-beloved counsellors, and to our trusty and wel-beloved the committee of estaites of our kingdome of Scotland. Orig.

From the public records of Scotland in the laigh parliament house at Edinburgh.

Charles R.
Right trustie and wel-beloved cousines and counsallors, and right trustie and welbeloved, &c. wee greet yow well. Wee wrote a letter to yow yisterday, and amongst other purposes wee desyred, that our regiments of gardes of horse and foote might be maid up to such numbers and strenth, as is fitt such regiments sould be of. Bot being informed more fullie since of the conditione of our gardes of foote, which are altogether broken, and most of the officers killed or prisoners; wee have commanded our cosen the lord 'Lorne to repair to yow, wha will more particularly represent the condition of it; and wee desyre yow will take a speedie and effectuall course, that the companies of it may be recruetted, whereof thair are any remainders; and that so many new companies be added, as are fitt and necessarie for a regiment, that hath the name to be of our gardes; and that the vaccant places be filled up, and new companies and other officers appoynted by the nomination of the collonel; to quhom wee have given pouer and orders for that effect. And this wee seriously recomend to your care; and bid yow farewell. Given at our court in Pearth the 12 of September 1650, and in the second yeare of our raigne.


  • 1. See Clarend. iii. 295, &c.