Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

THE OATH.

'I do in the presence, and by the name of God Almighty, promise' and swear, that, to the utmost of my power in my place, I will uphold aud maintain the true reformed protestant Christian religion in the power thereof, as it is contained in the Holy Scriptures of theOld and New Testament, and encourage the profession and professors of the same: And that I will be true and faithful to the Lord "Protector of the commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions and territories thereunto belonging, as chief magistrate thereof: And shall not contrive, design, or attempt any thing against the person, or lawful authority of the Lord Protector; and shall endeavour, as much as in me lies, as a member of parliament, the preservation of the rights and li* bcrties of the people.'

Which having taken, and coming into the house, they find not only some of their fellow f members, but their old servant and clerk, Mr. Scobell, gone, and a new one put in his room, whose name is Smith, which, with biting a little the lip, and something in way of compliment, as with a salvo of their rights and privileges, they for quietness sake vote him (so put upon them) to be their clerk, and then settled themselves in a posture for their future work. And the first thing they undertake, is to keep a day of prayer in their house, which accordingly they did; and with great prudence, plowing with an ox and an ass together, the presbyters and independents being both called to officiate.

The other house, who would fain have the honour to be called Lords, or rather, a House of Lords, did likewise, in their house, pray at the same time, with much devotion, and did afterwards agree to send to the parliament(or,as they would have them again called, the House of Commons) by Baron Hill and scrjeant Windham (after the manner of the House of Peers formerly) to declare their message, viz. 'that the House of Lords, or the Lords of the other House, had sent unto them, to desire their joining with them, in a petition or message to the Protector, that a day of prayer t and humiliation might be appointed through the whole commonwealth.

Which message begat very high debates, and sharp speeches from many that were not at the making this lame and imperfect model, so as the aforesaid messengers were fain to wait a long time; but at length got this answer, viz. 'that they would return an answer by messengers of their own.'

The house filling daily, and many of those that had been secluded in ther former session coming in, the face of things in the house was

i

"Can those be faithful to the rights and liberties of the people, who swear to he faithful to the government in a single person, which, our too sad experience tells us, so naturally tends to destroy them? Do not those, who so swear, undertake to uphold that in the Protector, which cost so much blood and treasure to oppose, as anlichristian and tyrannical in the king? Or is that a lawful authority, which, contrary to all precedents and privileges of parliament, was carried but by three voices of them that were permitted to sit, there being at the same time at least eithty of the members purposely kept out, till that act was passed? Ought not things to be searched into, and set right upon this account? For that (Matt. vi. 24.) 'Ho man can ierve two masters.' B

+" To the other house they were gone for greater preferment.

i In nwnine Dwnini tnciuc omnc malum.

i

in a great measure changed, another spirit appearing in them, than before, insomuch that many made question of the things that were formerly done; some speaking at a high rate in behalf of the rights of the English free people, and against the wrongs and injuries that had been done unto them. This being doneday by day, and the house not agreeing what to call that other house, which was as it were a nameless infant, and fain would be named the House of Lords, was the gicatest part of their work, save that, now and then, some little matters came under debate, as the reviving and perfecting their committees, and reading some former bills. The Lord Craven's case also was taken in, and the council on both parts heard at the bar of the house, with some other little matters that passed; but the greatest part of the timethat was spent in the house, whilst sitting, was in considering and debating what they should call the other house.

Towards the end of their sitting, there came another message from the other house, after the same manner as before, ' desiring theii joining with them, in moving the protector to order, that the papists, and such as had been in arms under the late king, might be exiled the city, and put out of the lines of communication,' &c. This message being also designed as a shooing-horn, to draw on their owning of thein, received a like answer as did the former.

As for the other house, who called themselves the House of I ords, they spent their time in little matters, such as choosing of committees, and among other things, to consider of the privileges and jurisdiction of their house, good wise souls, before they knew what their house was, or should be called.

About which time also, a petition was preparing, by some faithful friends to the good old cause, in and about the city of London, which was afterwards printed, and signed with many thousand hands; which petition makes mention of the several particulars that were the grounds of contest between the late king, and parliament, and the good people of the nation. And prayeth,' the settling those good things sought for, as the reward and fruit of the blood and treasure so greatly expended in the late wars,' &c. This petition was ready to be presented to the parliament, in a peaceable way, by the hands of about twenty in the name of the rest, desiring to submit the issue thereof to God, and the wisdom ofthat assembly. The court, hearing of it, were so affrighted, that they began to consider how they might quell, and put a stop to, 'hat honest spirit, which so appeared against them; the Protector, in the mean while, calling them traitors, and seditious persons, &c. threatening to cut their sculls, and to tread them down as mire in the streets, &c. And, turned out • Major Packer, and most of the honestest officers of his regiment of horse, for refusing to serve his lust therein. And apprehending that nothing could do it, but a speedy dissolving the parliament, they put on resolutions accordingly, only waiting fora convenient opportunity. But, something happening that morning, that put

"As Major Packer, Mr. Kimn, and others, by endeavouring to promote the apostasy at its arst rise, have occasioned many baptised persons. and others, simply to wander after the boast. They, now seeing their error, ought they not to declare it to the people, as also to stir thctn wp to keep close with more refinedness in their spirits to the good old cause, and to be fc-i nt •ingle person whatsoever, till he comes, whose right it is, Ezek, ni. SO. •

the Protector into a rage and passion, near unto madness, as those at . M'hitc-hall can witness, he gets into a coach, and to the other house he comes, and sends for his son Fleetwood, Mr. Nathaniel Fines, and some others, acquainting them what his purpose and resolution was, and what he came to do, who, as it is said, earnestly endeavoured to dissuade him from it; but he refused to hearken, and in great passion swore 'By the living God he would dissolve them.' And so going into the house, and sending the black rod, with a message, to call the parliament to come unto him, he, with laying great blame upon them, and charging them with great crimes, and magnifying of himself, as his manner is, dissolved them. And this was the fourth parliament broken by him, in five years. v

Thus the two houses fell, and perished together; their father, their good father, knocking his children on the head, and killing of them, because they were not towardly, but did wrangle one with another; but what hath he gained thereby? Solomon the wise saith, Prov. xiv. 1". 'Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucke thit down with her own hands.'

Upon the whole, it is humbly queried as follows, viz. First, whether there may not very plainly be read and perceived a hand of displeasure from the Almighty, blinding the eyes, and infatuating the understandings of those unworthy persons, who, * Hiel like, would have built Jericho again, to wit, fallen monarchy in a single person, and a House of Lords, with their negative voices over the good peopleof these lands, so as to cause, or suffer them to do their work by halves; and to rise, and leave so lame, nameless, and insignificant, their new model of the humble petition and advice, alids, instrument of bondage to the English nation. Let the curse of confusion, that attended the builders of t Babel, be considered of.

Secondly, whether those so very wise gentlemen, who saw it so necessary, and ventured so high, and took so much pains, to bring in again, and a-new restore fallen monarchy and kingship in these lands, could, according to the rules of common reason and understanding of men, imagine and conclude, that the gentlemen, who had formerly been so wronged, abused, and exasperated by them, in being kept out of the house, would be so easy and tame, as presently, without any more ado, address themselves to lick their new golden calf, and nurse up that Babylonish, antichristian brat, they had no hand in, but were against the begetting of? And whether it doth not speak out a very great weakness in their counsels, and a marvellous shallowness in the Protector, his council, and whole number concerned in that design, in making no better piovision beforehand, and seeing no further into the ensuing danger, so likely to attend their whole device, and the nameless infant of the other house, which they would have to be christened, and called by the name of Lords?

Thirdly, whether the good people of this nation have not cause for ever, as to abhor the memory of the fore-mentioned backsliding persons, so that parliament (so called) in thefirst session of it, before their adjourning, that, of their own heads, and contrary to their engagement to the • instrument of government, by virtue whereof they sat at first, and without consulting the respective counties for whom they served, or so much as one petition delivered to them for that purpose, changed the government, and made one worse, harder, and more grievous to be borne, than that they put away; so fastening iheir new iron yoke upon the necks of the good people of this land, settling great taxes, with the customs and excise for ever, to keep this yoke upon them?

* 1 Kings xvi. M. !Gen. xi. 7, 9.

Fourthly, whether those gentlemen keptout in the first sitting, when those hard things were transacted, and afterwards coming in, and being present in the second meeting, notwithstanding the so great reproach and dirt cast on them by the court, are not highly to be honoured and esteemed, for appearing and standing, so far as they did, for right and freedom, against the bondages, which, contrary to engagements, covenants, and promises, were put upon the good people of this land? As well as to be blamed, not only for not declaring at their first seclusion, to inform the people of the wrong and injury done unto them, but also, when afterwards they were so arbitrarily and tyrannically dissolved, with the rest of their unworthy brethren, they took it so patiently, and went so tamely home, and did not, in the very time of the action, protest and declare against the tyrant, and then retire into their places, (from whence they ought not to have stirred at first) and call him to the bar, or otherwise proceed against him for so doing? Had it not been suitable to, and well becoming that noble commonwealth spirit (so much pretended to) thus to have assayed, though they had fallen in it? And whether the army in honesty, conscience, and duty, their former declarations and engagements considered, ought not to have assisted them therein, as well as they did the long parliament against the king and his courtiers, upon the like account? Do not the like cries of the souls of the saints • under the altar, slain for the testimony which they held in their day, as also the blood of the saints, and others, slain in the late wars, and the sufferings of our dear brethren in prisons and banishment, call for this their testimony also? If so: Ought not this honest word of reproof for what is past, and of excitation for the future, tp take place?

Fifthly, but since things were as they were, and, as it seems, could be no better, whether all good people, in these nations, have not great pause exceedingly to bless and praise the Lord? (Though they owe little to the instrument, who, Ashur-like, had other ends) that the late parliament (so called) was dissolved; who were, many of them, such mercenary, salary, and self-interested men, as, in all probability, had they continued much longer, would have over-voted the lovers of freedom, and so have perfected their instrument of bondage, and riveted it on the necks of the good people for ever'by a law, and thereby made them vassals and slaves perpetually. But, hitherto, the Lord hath, in a great measure, frustrated the^r wicked designs, blessed be his holy name.

* The first instrument is not hereby owned, bat abhorred as much as the latter, though I thus tptjk. + Kcr. vi. 9, 10.

Sixthly, Whether the protector, so called, be not a great destroyer of the rights and liberties of the English nation? For hath he not engrossed the whole power of the militia into his own hand? The right also of property? power of judging all matters of the highest and greatest concernment? And doth he not take on him tobe sole judge of peace and war, of calling and dissolving parliaments? Raising money without consent in parliament? Imprisoning persons without due form of law, and keeping them in durance at pleasure; using the militia in his own hand against the good people, in these fore-named things, and against their representers in parliament.

Seventhly, Whether the protector, and the great men his confederates, be not rather to be termed fanatick, whimsical, and sickbrained, than those (who remaining firm to, and, being more refined in their former good, and honest principles, will upon no account be drawn to desert the good old cause) they account and call so? And whether this unsettledness in their government, and changing both it and their principles, in so short a time; and going so diametrically contrary to their former honest protestations, declarations, sermons, and actings, doth not in the view of all the world declare them to beso?

Eighthly, Whether the protector(so called) be not that himself, which he untruly charged upon the members turned out of the little parliament (so called) viz.' destroyer of magistracy and ministry'? Of magistracy, in breaking four parliaments in five years; and pulling up by the roots, what in him lieth, the very basis and foundation of all just power, to wit, the interest of the good people of this commonwealth; making himself, and his own will and lust, the basis and foundation thereof? And doth he not at his pleasure suppress and destroy all military and civil power, and governors that submit not thereunto? Is he not likewise a great destroyer of ministry, in taking from them their religious, or divine capacities, putting them into that of lay or common? And accordingly, in a professed way, preferring them to places of advantage by the triers?

Ninthly, Whether the protector be so wise and understanding, so tender and careful of the common interest (as is pretended to) above all others whatsoever? Yea, above and beyond the four parliaments he hath dissolved? And may it not be enquired how he came to this great height of knowledge and absolute understanding, seeing there are very many worthy patriots, sometimes his equals, at leasl, of as high a descent, of as good breeding, of as great parts, of as fair an interest, as also as well versed in government as himself? Whether it may not be wondered at, that he should be so exceeding wise, and tender above all, even above parliaments themselves?

Tenthly, Whether Sir Henry Vane, Major-General Harrison, the late president Bradshaw, Sir Arthur Haslerigg, Licutenant-General Ludlow, with hundreds more of worthy patriots, that have ventured far in their country's cause, for justice and freedom, may not rationally be thought to be as careful and tender of the good of their country, as the protector?

Eleventhly, Whether it doth not rankly savour of high pride and arrogancy in the protector, so called, to setup his sense and judgment

« AnteriorContinuar »