Page images

you in

tion, no doubt there be enough in every county who will thankfully accept them ; your excellency once more declaring publicly this to be your mind, and having a faithful veteran army, so ready, and glad to aslift the prosecution thereof. For the full and absolute adminiltration of law in every county, which is the difficultest of these proposals, hath been of most long desired; and the not granting it held a general grievance. The reft, when they shall see the beginnings and proceedings of these constitutions proposed, and the orderly, the decent, the civil, the safe, the noble effects thereof, will be foon convinced, and by degrees come in of their own accord, to be partakers of so happy a government.






Compared with the


Of readmitting Kingship in this Nation.

Et nos

Confilium dedimus Syllæ, demus populo nunc.


LTHOUGH, since the writing of this treatise, the

face of things hath had some change, writs for new elections have been recalled, and the members at first chosen readmitted from exclusion; yet not a little rejoicing to hear declared the resolution of those who are in power, tending to the establishment of a free commonwealth, and to remove, if it be possible, this noxious humour of returning to bondage, instilled of late by fome deceivers, and nourished from bad principles and false apprehensions among too many of the people; I thought beft not to fupprefs what I had written, hoping that it may now be of much more use and concernment to be freely published, in the midst of our elections to a free parliament, or their fitting to consider freely of the government; whom it behoves to have all things represented to them that may direct their judgment therein ; and I never read of any state, scarce of any tyrant grown fo incurable, as to refuse counsel from any in a time of public deliberation, much less to be offended. If their absolute determination be to inthrall us, before so long a Lent of servitude, they may VOL, III, DD


[ocr errors]

permit us a little shrovingtime first, wherein to speak freely, and take our leaves of liberty. And because in the former edition, through hafte, many faults escaped, and many books were suddenly dispersed, ere the note to mend them could be sent, I took the opportunity from this occasion to revise and somewhat to enlarge the whole discourse, especially that part which argues for a perpetual fenate. The treatise thus revised and enlarged, is as follows.

The Parliament of England, aslisted by a great number of the people who appeared and stuck to them faithfullest in defence of religion and their civil liberties, judging kingship by long experience a government unnecessary, burdenfome, and dangerous, juftly and mag. nanimously abolithed it, turning regal bondage into a free commonwealth, to the admiration and terrour of our emulous neighbours. They took themselves not bound by the light of nature or religion to any former covenant, from which the king himself, by many forfeitures of a latter date or discovery, and our own longer confideration thereon, had more and more unbound us, both to himself and his posterity; as hath been ever the justice and the prudence of all wife nations, that have ejected tyranny. They covenanted“to preserve the king's person and authority, in the preservation of the true religion, and our liberties ;" not in his endeavouring to bring in upon our consciences a popish religion; upon our liberties, thraldom; upon our lives, destruction, by his occafioning, if not complotting, as was after discovered, the Irish massacre; his fomenting and arming the rebellion; his covert leaguing with the rebels against us; his refusing, more than seven times, propositions moft juft and necessary to the true religion and our liberties, tendered him by the parliament both of England and Scotland. They made not their covenant concerning him with no difference between a king and a God; or promised him, as Job did to the Almighty,

to trust in him though he llay us:" they understood that the folemn engagement, wherein we all forswore kingship, was no more a breach of the covenant, than the covenant was of the protestation before, but a faith


ful and prudent going on both in words well weighed, and in the true sense of the covenant“ without respect of persons," when we could not serve two contrary malters, God and the king, or the king and that more fupreme law, sworn in the first place to maintain our safety and our liberty. They knew the people of England to be a free people, themselves the representers of that freedom; and although many were excluded, and as many fled (so they pretended) from tumults to Oxford, yet they were left a sufficient number to act in parliament, therefore not bound by any statute of preceding parliaments, but by the law of nature only, which is the only law of laws truly and properly to all mankind fundamental; the beginning and the end of all government; to which no parliament or people that will throughly reform, but may and must have recourse, as they had, and must yet have, in church-reformation (if they throughly intend it) to evangelic rules; not to ecclefiaftical canons, though never fo ancient, so ratified and established in the land by statutes, which for the moft part are mere positive laws, neither natural nor moral; and so by any parliament, for just and ferious considerations, without scruple to be at any pealed. If others of their number in these things were under force, they were not, but under free conscience; if others were excluded by a power which they could not resist, they were not therefore to leave the helm of government in no hands, to discontinue their care of the public peace and safety, to desert the people in anarchy and confusion, no more than when so many of their members left them, as made up in outward formality a more legal parliament of three estates against them. The best-affected also, and best-principled of the people, stood not numbering or computing, on which side were moft voices in parliament, but on which fide appeared to them most reason, most safety, when the house divided upon main matters. What was well motioned and advised, they examined not whether fear or persuafion carried it in the vole, neither did they measure votes and counsels by the intentions of them that voted; know- . ing that intentions either are but guessed at, or not soon DD 2


time re

enough known ; and although good, can neither make the deed such, nor prevent the consequence from being bad : suppose bad intentions in things otherwise well done; what was well done, was by them who fo thought, not the less obeyed or followed in the state; since in the church, who had not rather follow Iscariot or Simon the magician, though to covetous ends, preaching, than Saul, though in the uprightness of his heart persecuting the gospel ? Safer they therefore judged what they thought the better counsels, though carried on by fome perhaps to bad ends, than the worfe by others, though endeavoured with best intentions: and yet they were not to learn, that a greater number might be corrupt within the walls of a parliament, as well as of a city; whereof in matters of nearest concernment all men will be judges; nor easily permit, that the odds of voices in their greatest council fhall moré endanger them by corrupt or credulous votes, than the odds of enemies by open assaults; judging, that most voices .ought not al. ways to prevail, where main matters are in question. If others hence will pretend to disturb all counsels; what is that to them who pretend not, but are in real danger; not they only fo judging, but a great, though not the greatest number of their chosen patriots, who might be more in weight than the others in numbers: there being in number little virtue, but by weight and measure wifdom working all things, and the dangers on either side they serioully thus weighed. From the treaty, short fruits of long labours, and seven years war; security for twenty years, if we can hold it; reformation in the church for three years: then put to fhift again with our vanquished master. His justice, his honour, his conscience declared quite contrary to ours; which would have furniflied him with many such evasions, as in a book entitled, “An Inquisition for Blood,” soon after were not concealed; bithops not totally removed, but left, as it were, in ambuth, a reserve, with ordination in their fole power; their lands already fold, not to be alienated, but rented, and the sale of them called “ sacrilege;" delinquents, few of many brought to condign punishment; accesso



« EelmineJätka »