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when you deal so basely and treacherously with your King; what justice may yonr fellow subjects, a little while your slaves, look for from you? But what may men expect from impudence aud wickedness in the abstracts; from men (do I say men) from devils, from things worse than devils, so often guilty of perjury, murder, robbery, oppression, and treason? You cursed caitiffs, how suits this with the law of God or of the land, with your protestation and your covenant? You would seem to alledge many reasons for that declaration, but those, that moved you thereto, were much otherwise than those you lay down; they were the final accomplishment of your first intended treasons, the extirpation of monarchical government, the coronation of yourselves, and our slavery; which to bring about, now that you had lost yourselves in our opinions, you devised this recapitulation of your pristine forgeries, with which you had formerly befooled us all; confiding, it would put out of our memories the late seals of your leger-de-main dealings, and reprint in us those jealousies and disaffections towards our gracious sovereign, which in several they did before: But stay, since he chuseth rather to endure your disconsolate prison, than pass you such bills as may be ours and our children's ruin; you must (rake you hell for lyes, and skum the devils) never more look again to divide our hearts from him; you have discovered yourselves too far, to regain any interest in our affections; we would enjoy our religion and our laws, which we must not look to do, until we get you to the block and gallows. When we looked for a settlement of our King and kingdom, lo! you false your words, and break covenant with our brethren of Scotland; you provide arms and snap-snacks, and prepare for more wars. Never were rakehells, buffoons, rebels, vermin, so desperately set to undo their own native soil, and church in which they were baptized ; but we know the reason, ye live too well, ye fare too full, ye can have your feasts, each day, of all the dainty cates our city-cookery can devise; ye grow too fat in bag and body, by fishing in troubled waters, to desire peace; neither regard ye the empty purses, and hungry bellies, that ye have made in the city, especially since your lurching it out of the presbyterians command. Ye may see if ye would, but ye will not, multitudes of thousands, who formerly had trading and work enough for subsistence, now sit hungerstarved in chimney-corners, without employment to get them bread. Ye know, that, since ye took the Tower and militia from us, and sent away our King, the city hath had no trading, and yet ye send not for him home; but ye can send for your taxations, as if our trade were good: Ye have made this famous city of London not only poor, but the very scorn and mock of all the world, by your force done upon it in August; and, as if ye had not then enough wronged our honour, ye must, the other day, triumph and lord it through our streets with a handful of your scummy army; and, in derision, as ye passed along, bid usgo buy more swords for our apprentices. Had ye not meddled in the business, but made use of us, we could have ruled them without slaughter, and would; but, so ye may peer it, ye weigh not our dishonour, nor their blood.
I may seem a new Britannicus for thus phrasing you, but it was ever held lawful to call a spade a spade; it is good to uncase such imps, that they may be known what they be; it is good to discover such panthers, lest, when you have allured more with the sweet scent, and party-colouredness of skin (I mean your calumnies against our friends, and your sugared declarations) you, as these beasts, prey upon them with bloody tallons, as already you have done upon us. St. Paul gave not Elymas any gentle terms, nor did St. Peter speak butter and honey to Simon Magus; our Saviour himself, that man of meekness, called Herod a fox, and Judas a devil, when they deserved it. Since ye aim not at peace, but make it your whole endeavour, your special study, day and night, by all kind of iniquity, to keep faction and sedition on foot, and maintain opposition, even where it needs not, ye are to be curried in your kind, and rubbed as ye deserve; not to be smoothed or sleeked over, lest ye please yourselves too well in your impiety, and our oppression never have redress. Ye talked much in the beginning of your sessions, that ye would open obstructions of law, not stop the course of justice and equity; but hear a little your own falshood, and go chew the cud, as when ye receive letters from Scotland.
Give us leave to let our neighbours understand the suits late in chancery, betwixt one Wilkes, and one Dutton, of the neighbourhood of Nantwich in Cheshire, and two knaves, providers of your independent faction there, one Becket, and one Gellicorse: the business was trms: Wilkes and Dutton, good honest presbyterians, had much cattle and cheese taken from them in the time of the war, by Becket and Gellicorse, without any order from the council of war there; and the goods not converted to the use of the publick, as was pretended, but embezzled by the two providers; now, since that the courts were opened, Wilkes and Dutton repair to the chancery, for relief, the exchequer at Chester being not as then open, or not daring to meddle with any of yours, for fear of a snub; and Becket, for himself and Gellicorse, hasteth to Sir William Brereton, goodly Sir William Brereton, who forthwith makes relation of the matter unto you, his brethren, of the two houses; and you (all of you apprehensive enough, of what might betide yourselves, and your honest committees, as well as the providers, if such suits had audience, presently dispatch a private ordinance unto all the courts, then open in the kingdom, commanding that no lawyer should plead, nor judge determine in any such cause; whereupon, the plaintiffs were sent home with double loss, cast thus unjustly in charges, and many threats for desiring justice; and their sollicitor forced to fly the court for looking after the business. Was this honest dealing? Was this an opening or obstructing of law? Tell now, and call yourselves knaves. Ye are brave men to steer a state, are ye not? The city and kingdom both have known enough of such like seizures; but we shall straight find a way to strip ^Esop's magpy out of her plundered plumes.
You made out many ordinances, that your under officers should not wrong the publick, by vertue of any act, order, or ordinance of parliament, or without warrant; by taxing, levying, collecting, or receiving; by seizing, selling, disbursing, or disposing any monies, goods, debts, rents, or profits of friends or others, or by setting or letting to farm delinquents lands and tythes. But you never held them to the observation of such your rules, nor punish any frauds or misdemeanors in any such kind, though justice were required, but would send away the plaintiffs, as you would have done the Warwickshire gentry, had they not been so many, and so earnest, as that you feared the revolt of that country, with threats bedaubing them with the notions of malignancy, and desires to divide you amongst themselves: For whereas there was a great subsidy granted about November, J 642, for the then present affairs of this kingdom, and of Ireland; the one moiety of the said subsidy paid, at least in most places, by the several counties, to commissioners, according as the same act appointed: nevertheless, there have since warrants issued forth, which are kept safe to be produced, if time once serve, for such accusations, signed with the proper hands of some of your members, amongst the other your committees, for the re-collecting of thesaid money paid before, and much more by colour of the said act: And whereas you made an ordinance, bearing date, October the sixteenth, 16-H, for the supply of the British army in Ireland, ordering a weekly pay, to last for the space of a year, and the one moiety of the assessment to be in corn, at least in many places so, the other in money; the same ordinance was not put in execution, I could tell you where, according to the tenor thereof: But about July, 1(545, warrants were sent out by some of your members, then in the countries and councils of war, for the raising of divers great sums of money, amounting to more than twice as much, as was limited by the said ordinance; and immediately, upon the former collections, new warrants sent abroad, for vast sums to be paid weekly, without any orders from you, and yet you neither can find any law for your taxations; and in default of payment, our goods and chattels by violence, as well to the person, as goods of the party, have been distrained, detained, and sold without speedy payment, according to the collectors demands, with a command to the high-sheriff, delegated by him to the under-sheriff, not to grant any replevin for our goods and chattels so violently taken away, contrary to the liberty of the subject, and the known laws and customs of this kingdom.
You talked of calling for accounts, and seemed to do so; but we are certain, that the revenues of delinquents estates would have defrayed all, or the greatest part of the charge of the war, without any so great burthens to the country, as have been laid upon it, had they been faithfully and really disposed of, to the best advantage, and benefit of the publick; but you have all made up your accounts honestly, it must needs be so; and indeed where one thief must account before another, who thinks any great discoveries will be made? But let me tell you, and I will tell you truly, how accounts were made; you nominated committees for examination, men as much in fault as the accountants, who put their hands to all reckonings, as they were presented, without looking, if they were just and straight, or no; met thus you tried accounts; who may think that those broken fortuned and beggarly knaves, of which sort of people, for the most part, your officers consisted, would compass such estates, as they have done in so short a time, and bring in just and true accounts? I trow not man: Nay, your own accounts, if they were examined, as they should be, would prove no juster than the others; else, how come you by all that money, you have, from time to time, seut beyond sea? We remember, how vehemently you startled and exclaimed, when some of our city would have bad an account of the proposition-plate.
You made an ordinance, that your sequestrators, and their under officers, the collectors and prizers, should occupy no sequestered farms; but the most of them did hold very good demesns of two or three-hundred per annum, and paid not a penny rent to the use of the publick for them, neither wanted they their pay from other levies.
You likewise made an ordinance, that they should sell malignants goods, at the best rate, for the advantage of the publick; but they have been suffered to take what they pleased to themselves, and the rest they have6old to their favourites, many times, for less than half so much, as others would have given for them.
You made an ordinance, that they should take no bribes, and yet neither they, nor you, would ever do any courtesy, or act of distributive justice, without a bribe.
There were (in many cities and towns taken in) booties seized, worth better than two-hundred thousand pounds, in money and plate, and jewels, and houshold furniture; I could tell you where; and yet your committees, your appraisers, and men that sold them, have not been ashamed to say, they made but thirteen-thousand pounds of such vast booties, though it hath been publickly known they have had above nine- teen-thousand pounds, in money and plate, out of one house, and fifteen thousand pounds-worth of one man's goods out of another. But truly, how they should put things to the best, I cannot see, running the way they did; for they would first proclaim a day of sale, to fetch in the country chapmen, and, when they were come, put the day off again, to weary them out of the towns with expence; and the non-fighting officers would take the best and most of the prey unto themselves, besides selling Robin Hood's pennyworths for bribes : This was the deportment of many of them, Ye should have summoned in the country, and the cavaliers, to have shewed what money, and goods, and provision was fetched from them from time to time, and by whom, and have compared their notes with your accountants; ye should have examined the musters of your men, and so ye might have found out receipts, and guessed whatdisbursements might have been; and this would soon have been done by many officers, and many divisions of the counties; and who, but such as are altogether void of honesty and shame, would carry themselves thus unrighteously, or bear with it? These things ye could not chuse but know (for those of you, that were abroad in the wars, were eye-witnesses of the same) and yet ye never minded to redress them.
After this manner have you ever looked to the publick welfare, and no otherwise: Besides, it was usual for your independent faction (though no fighters) at taking of towns, to get orders from committees (by scraping legs and crouching) for cavaliers houses, and then take goods and all for their own use, without payment of a penny for them to the publick. This is not unknown to many; and, as if you would leave no tricks unpractised, by which you might beguile and abuse the country, yedevised another trick to get more of their monies; your committees must lend you, but what? The monies they have gathered from the country by loans and mizes, and the country must pay eight per cent, interest for loan of the same. Thus do ye daily only consult how to delude and abuse the country; thus do ye continue your sitting for no other end, but that ye may suck up the fat of the kingdom; but ye shall see, now it hath found your knavery, it will shortly turn you over another leaf; it hath provided a trap to catch your foxes; Ye cried out upon the King for heavy taxes, which nevertheless, by your own computation, amounted but to seven-hundred thousand pounds per annum in the whole, throughout the city and kingdom; which was no great sum to build and maintain so many ships and soldiers, as his Majesty then had for the defence of his kingdoms; and ye quarrelled at-the manner of his levying such monies, forsooth, because there was no statutelaw for the same; as if the pater patriot might not, where the letter of the law falls too short, make use of his own and his council's' discretion for his people's preservation. Oh! but, had he made you the collectors, that you might have licked your fingers, as ye have done since ye put yourselves into offices, all had been well enough; but, for the mass of money levied, if your proposition money, your fifths and twentieth parts, your continual loans and mizes, and your other innumerable taxations, your sequestrations of goods and lands, your plunder and pillage, yoursoldiers free-quarter, and provisions for your stores were, or could be cast up, they would be found valuable to buy twenty times seven-hundred thousand pounds perannum. Thus haveyourgood state physicians medicined your diseases; yet we cannot deny you to becunning doctors, ye have kept our purses so long in physick. And I pray you, had ye any precedent in the law to imprison men unconvicted of vice, and make them ransom themselves with great sums of money, as ye did (when ye sent the propositions through the country) those that refused to furnish you according to your demand? I trow not. Ye know it is a breach of the law, and an infringement of the Magna Charta, both which ye forsworu wretches swore to maintain. Ye accuse the King of neglecting Ireland, and lo! since the war was ended here, what care have ye taken to relieve it? Ye have sent sometimes handfuls of men over, to be cut offas soon as they came there; ye might as good have hanged them here, before they had gone, as sent them thither by such inconsiderable companies. This is the great care ye take of those plantations, and of this people of England. O, but now you will mend in that point; ye are beating drums all over the countries for soldiers for Ireland, but the truth is, it is to recruit your army here; ye mean to send them into the west to fight (you will tell them, when they come there) with Irish rebels newly landed; ye have not men enough to spare hence; and,' If we should (says Cromwell) draw our army off this city, it would follow us in the rear, and, being but such a handful, as we now are, they would cut us all off.' We are in a pitiful case now; to stay or go we know not; stay, and the Scots and the Lord Inchiquin come in upon us; go, and the city follows us. I smell a rat; the blazing comets are going out with a filthy stink; an ordinance of parliament to pass four great ships without search, laden with money, and now at Gravesend, or newly put to sea. Nay, but your soldiers a raising are for Ireland;