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I confess to you, I am very much troubled in my spirit, that the necessity of affairs doth require that I should be so short in these things, because I told you before, this is the leanest part of the transaction, to wit, an historical narration, there being in every dispensation (whether the King's going from the parliament, the pulling down the bishops, purging the-house at that time by their going away to assist the King, or change of government) whatever it was, not any of those things, but hath a remarkable point of providence set upon it, that he that runs may read; therefore I am heartily sorry, that, in point of time, I cannot be particular in those things, which I did principally design this day, thereby to provoke and stir up your hearts and mine to gratitude and confidence.
I shall now begin a little to remember you of the passages that have been transacted since Worcester fight; whence coming with my fellow officers and soldiers, we expected, and had some reasonable confidence that our expectations should not be frustrated: That the authority, that then was, having such a history to look back unto,such a God that appeared for them so eminently, so visibly, that even our enemies many times confessed, that God himself was engaged against them, or they should never have been brought so low, nor disappointed in every undertaking; for that may be said, by the way, had we miscarried but once, where had we been? I say, we did think, and had some reasonable confidence, that, coming up then, the mercies that God had shewed, the expectations that were in the hearts of all good men, would have prompted those that were in authority to have done those good things, which might, by honest men, have been judged a return fit for such a God, and worthy of such mercies, and, indeed, a discharge of duty to those, for whom all these mercies have been shewed, that is, the interest of the three nations, the true interest of the three nations.
And, if I should now labour to be particular in enumerating some businesses, that have been transacted from that time till the dissolution of the late parliament, indeed I should be upon a theme that would be very troublesome to myself. For I must say for myself and fellow officers, we have rather desired and studied healing, than to rake into sores, and look backward, to render things in those colours that would not be very well pleasing to any good eye to look upon. Only this we must say, for our own exoneration, and as thereby laying some foundation for the making evident the necessity and duty, that was incumbent upon us, to make this last great change, I think it will not be amiss to offer a word or two in that, not taking pleasure to rake into the business, were there not some kind of necessity so to do.
Indeed, we may say, without commending ourselves, I mean myself, and those gentlemen that have been engaged in the military affairs, that, upon our return, we came, fully bent in our hearts and thoughts, to desire and use all fair and lawful means we could, to have had the nation to reap the fruit of all that blood and treasure that had been expended in this cause; and we have had many desires, and thirstings, in our spirits, to find out ways and means, wherein we might any ways be instrumental to help it forward; and we were very tender, fora long time, so much as to petition,till August last, or thereabouts; we never offered
to petition, but some of our then members, and others, having good acquaintance and relation to divers members of the parliament, we did, from time to time, sollicit that, which we thought (if there had been no body to prompt them, nobody to call upon them) would have been listen id to, out of ingenuity and integrity in them, that had opportunity to have answered our expectations; and truly, when we saw nothing would be done, we did, as we thought, according to our duty, remind them by a petition; which petition 1 suppose the most of you have seen, which we delivered, either in July or August last; what effect that had is likewise very well known. The truth is, we had no return at all, that was satisfaction for us, but a few words given us. The business petitioned for, most of them, we were told, were under consideration; and those that were not, had very little or no consideration at all.
Finding the people dissatisfied in every corner of the nation, and bringing home to our doors the non-performance of those things that had been promised, and were of due to be performed, we did think ourselves concerned; we endeavoured, as became honest men, to keep up the reputation of honest men in the ^orld; and therefore we had, divers times, endeavoured to obtain a meeting with divers members of Parliament; and truly we did not begin this till October last, and in those meeting* did, in all faithfulness and sincerity, beseech them, that they would be mindful of their duty to God and man, and of the discharge of their trust to God and man. I believe these gentlemen, that are many of them here, can tell, that we had, at the least, ten or twelve meetings, most humbly begging and beseeching them, that, of their own accords, they would do those good things that had been promised, that so it might appear, they did not do them, by any suggestion from the army, but of their own ingenuity, so tender were we to preserve them in the reputation and opinion of the people, to the uttermost. And having had many of those meetings, and declaring plainly, that the issue would be the judgment and displeasure of God against them, the dissatisfaction of the people, and the putting things into a confusion, yet, how little we did prevail, we well know, and, we believe, is not unknown to you. At the last, when we saw, indeed, that things would not be laid to heart, we had a serious consideration amongst ourselves, what other way to have recourse/unto; and when, indeed, wc came to those close considerations, they began to take the act of the new representative to heart, and seemed exceeding willing to put it on; the which, had it been done, or would it have been done with that integrity, with that caution, that would have saved this cause, and the interest we have been so long engaged in, there could nothing have happened to our judgments more welcome than that would have been; but finding plainly, that the intendment of it was not to give the people that right of choice, although it had been but a ceding right, or the seeming, to give the people that choice intended and designed, to recruit the house, the better to perpetuate themselves. And truly divers of us being spoken to, to that end that we should give way to it, a thing to which we had a perpetual aversion, which we did abominate the thoughts of, we always declared our judgments against it, and our dissatisfaction; but yet they would not hear of a representative, before it lay three years before them, without proceeding with one line considerably in it; they that could not endure to hear of it, then, when we came to our close considerations, then, instead of protracting, they did make as much preposterous haste on the other hand, and ran into that extremity; and finding that this spirit was not according to God, and that the whole weight of this cause, which must needs have been very dear unto us, who have so often adventured our lives for it; and we believe-is so to you; when we saw plainly, that there was not so much consideration how to assert it, or to provide security for it; and indeed, to cross those, that they reckoned the most troublesome people they had to deal with, which was the army, which, by this time, was sufficiently their displeasure; when we saw this, truly, that had power in our hands, to let the business go to such an issue as this, was to throw back the cause into the hands of them we first fought with; we came to this first conclusion amongst ourselves, that, if we had been fought out of'it, necessity would have taught us patience; but, to be taken from us so unworthily, we should be rendered the worst people in the world, and we should become traitors both to God and man; and, when God had laid this to our hearts, and that we found the interest of his people was grown cheap, and not laid to heart, and, if we came to competition of things, the cause even amongst themselves would even, almost in every thing, go to the ground; this did add more consideration to us, that there was a duty incumbent upon us, and truly I ipeak it in the presence of some that are here, that were at the close consultations; I may say, as before the Lord, the thinking of an act of violence was, to us, worse than any engagement that ever we were in yet, and worse to us than the utmost hazard of our lives, that could be> so unwilling were we, so tender were we, so desirous were we, if it were possible, that these men might have quit their places with honour. And truly, this I am the longer upon, because it hath been, in our hearts and consciences, our justification, and hath never yet been imparted tho- .rough to the nation; and we had rather begin with you to do it, than to have done it before, and do think, indeed, that these transactions be more proper for a verbal communication, than to have put it into writing. I doubt, whosoever had put it on, would have been tempted to have dipped his pen in anger and wrath; but affairs being at this posture, that we saw plainly and evidently, in some critical things, that the cause of the people of God was a despised thing, truly then we did believe, that the hands of other men must be the hands that must be trusted with it, and then we thought it high time for us to look about us, and to be sensible of our duty. If I should take up your time to tell you, what instances we have to satisfy our judgments and consciences, that these things were not vain imaginations, and things that were petitioned for, but that fell within the compass of our certain knowledge and sense; should 1 repeat these things to you, I should do that which I would avoid, to rake into these things too much; only this, if anybody were in competition for any place of real and signal trust, how hard and difficult a thing it was to get any thing to be carried, without making parties, without things, indeed, unworthy of a parliament. And, when things must be carried so in a supreme authority, indeed, I think, it is not as it ought to be; but, when it came
to other trials, in that case of Wales, which I must confess, for my own part, I set myself upon, if I should inform what discountenance that business of the poor people of God there had, who had watchings over them, men like so many wolves, ready to catch the lamb, as soon as it was brought out into the world; how signally they threw that business under foot, to the discountenancing of the honest people there, and to the countenancing of the malignant party of this commonwealth. I need but say, it was so; many have felt, by sad expcrience,it was so, who will, better impart that business to you? Which, for myself and fellow officers, I think it was as perfect a trial of our spirits as any thing, it being known to many of us, that God kindles a seed there, indeed, hardly to be paralleled since the primitive times. I would this had been all the instances; but finding which way their spirits went, and finding that good was never intended to the people of God, I mean when I say so, that large comprehension of them, under the several forms of godliness in this nation; when I saw, that tenderness was forgotten to them all (though it was very true, that, by their hands and means, through the blessing of God, they sat where they did) and affairs, not to speak it boastingly, had been instrumentally brought to that issue they were brought to by the hands of those poor creatures, we thought this an evil requital. 1 will not say they were at the uttermost pitch of reformation, although I could say, that one thing, the regulation of the law so much groaned under in that posture it now is in, there were many words spoken for it, we know many months together was not time enough to pass over one word called incumbrances: I say, finding that this was the spirit and complexion of them, that though these were faults, for which no man should have dared to lift his hand, simply for their faults and failings, when yet we saw their intendment was to perpetuate themselves, and men of this spirit, forsome had it from their own mouths, from their own designs, who could not endure to hear of being dissolved, this was an high breach of trust, if they had been a parliament, never violated, sitting as free, and as clear as ever any sat in England; yet, if they would go about to perpetuate themselves, we did think this so great a breach of trust, as greater could not be. And we did not go by guess in this, and to be out of doubt in it, we did (having that conference amongst ourselves, whereof we gave account) we did desire once more, the night before the dissolution, and it had been in our desires, some two or three days before, that we might speak with some of the principal persons of the house, that we might, with ingenuity, open our ears to them, to the end we might be either convinced of the ground of their principles and intentions, to the good of the nation; or, if we could not be convinced, they would hearour offer, or expedient, to prevent this mischief. And indeed, we could not prevail for two or three days, till the night before the dissolution; there is a touch of this in that our declaration; we had often desired it; at that time, we attained it, there were above twenty of them who were members not of the least consideration, for interest and ability,with whom we desired to discourse those things, and had discourse with them; and it pleased the gentlemen-officers of the army, to desire me to offer their sense to them, and, indeed, it was shortly carried thus* We told them, that the reason of our desire to wait upon
them, was, that we might know from them what security lay in the way of their proceedings so hastily with their representative, wherein they had made a few qualifications, such as they were, and, how the whole business should be executed, we have no account of; and we desired them they would be pleased, and we thought we had an interest in our lives, estates, and families, as well as the worst people of the nation, and that we might be bold to ask satisfaction in that; and if they did proceed in honest ways, as might be safe to the nation, we might acquiesce therein. When we pressed them to give satisfaction in this, the answer was made, that nothing could be good to the nation, but the continuance of this parliament; we wondered that we should have such a return, we said little to that.
But seeing they would not give us that which might satisfy us, that their way was honest and safe, they would give us leave to make our objections. We did tell them, that we thought that way they were going in would be impracticable; we could not tell them how it would be brought to pass, to send out an act of parliament into the country, to have qualifications in an act to be the rules of electors and elected, and not to know who should execute this. Desired to know whether the next parliament were not like to be all presbyters? Whether those qualifications would hinder them, or neuters? And tho' it be our desire to value and esteem persons of that judgment, only they having been as we know, having deserted this cause and interest upon the King's account, and upon that closure between them and the neighbour nation, we do think we must profess we had as good have delivered up our cause into the hands of any, as into the hands of interested and byassed men; for it is one thing to live friendly and brotherly, to bear with, and love a person of another judgment in religion; another thing to have any so far set into the saddle upon that account, as it should be in them to have all the rest of their brethren at mercy. Having had this discourse, making these objections of bringing in neuters, or such as should impose upon their brethren, or such as had given testimony to the King's party, and objecting to the danger of it, in drawing the concourse of all people to arraign every individual person, which indeed did fall obviously in, and the issue would certainly have been the putting it into the hands of men that had little affection to this cause. The answer again was made, and it was confessed by some, that these objections did lie; (jut answer was made by a very eminent person, at the same time as before, that nothing would save the nation but the continuance of this parliament; this being so, we humbly proposed an expedient of ours, which was indeed, to desire that the government being in that condition it was, and things being under so much ill sense abroad, and so likely to come to confusion in every respect, if it went on; so we desired they would devolve the trust over to persons of honour and integrity, that were well known, men well-affected to religion and the interest of the nation, which we told them, and was confessed, had been no new thing when these nations had been under the like hurlyburly and distractions, and it was confessed by them, it had been no new thing; we had been at labour to get precedents to convince them of it, and we told them these things we offered out of that deep sense
VOL. VI, . Y