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Turks, Tartars, Jews, and Cannibals always observed most obsequiously and punctually: but we, contrary to them, and repugnant to Christianity, have suffered ambassadors to be rifled, robbed, and evil entreated. And we have caused his majesty's messengers to be hanged, whom he hath most graciously sent to us with conditions of peace. By the Vox Populi, or common vote of those people, we are pleased . to call malignants, Papists, enemies to the state, with otherscandals and epithets (which they utterly deny both in their words and practice:) we are justly taxed to be the main incendiaries, and pestilent propagators, of all the mischiefs which this afflicted miserable kingdom groans and bleeds under; for they say, that the old statutes of Magna Charta are overthrown by us, under pretence and colour of supporting them: and that, by our votes, ordinances, precepts, proclamations, edicts, mandates, and commands, we have countermanded, abrogated, annihilated, abolished, violated, and made void, all the laws of God, of mature, of arms, and of arts too; and, instead of them, we have unlawfully erected marshal law, club law, Stafford law, and such lawless laws as make most for treason, rebellion, murder, sacrilege, ruin, and plunder. But as for the King himself, we have not allowed him so much law as a huntsman allows a hare. These are our enemies words, and so much they say we have done for the laws. Fifthly, Mr. Speaker, This question or query is, what we have done for the kingdom. It is said, that we have done and undone the kingdom; this ancient famous skourishing kingdom; this envy of the world for happiness; this Eden of the universe; this terrestrial Paradise; this abstract of heaven's blessings, and earthly content; this epitome of nature's glory; this exact extract of piety, learning, and magnanimous chivalry; this nursery of religion, arms, arts, and laudable endeavours; this breed of men; this wonder of nations, formerly renowned, feared, loved, and honoured, as far as ever sun and moon shined; this England, which hath been a kingdom, and a monarchy, many hundred years, under the reigns of one hundred and sixty-eight kings and queens; this kingdom which hath conquered kingdoms; that hath India, Syria, Palestina, Cyprus, tributary tremblers; that hath made France shake, and Spain quake; that relieved and defended Scotland from French slavery, and saved and protected the Netherlands from Spanish tyranny. Now have we made this kingdom, this England, a miserable slave to itself, an universal Golgotha, a purple gore, Aceldama, a field of blood, a Gehenna, a den of thieves, or infernal furies, and finally, an earthly hell, were it not for this difference, that here the best men are punished, and in hell only the worst are plagued; here no good man escapes torment, nor any bad man is troubled: the king is abused for being good and just, and his true and loyal subjects and servants are ruined and massacred for their fidelity. The protestants are called papists, because they will not be Brownists, Anabaptists, and rebels. And our adversaries are so bold to say, that we have plotted and laboured long to turn this glorious monarchy into a pedling roly poly independant anarchy, and make this kingdom to be ao kingdom; and so much we have done for this kingdom.
Sixthly, Mr. Speaker, They do question us what good we have done for the benefit or liberty of the subject. Many of them say, that they know too well and too ill, what and what not; they find, (by lamentable experience) that we have turned their liberty into bondage, their freedom into slavery, and their happiness into an unexampled infelicity. Nay, it is reported, that we have found two ways to hell, which are, either to be rebels, or perjured; to fight in person against the king, and to be forsworn by a covenant to owe him no obedience, or dutiful allegiance: they say we say, tush, these are but trifles, which may be answered at an easy rate, a small matter will clear this reckoning; it is no more than everlasting damnation, for which, Mr. Speaker, I am bold to make use of a speech in the distasteful litany, “Good Lord, deliwer us.” The malignants do compare this commonwealth to an old kettle, with here and there a fault or hole, a crack, or a flaw in it; and that we (in imitation of our worthy brethren of Banbury,) were intrusted to mend the said kettle; but, like deceitful and cheating knaves, we have, i. stead of stopping one hole, made three or four score; for the people chose us to ease them of some mild and tolerable grievances, which we have done so artificially, that they all cry and complain", that the medicine is forty times worse than the disease, and the remedy a hundred times worse than the medicine. And so much is reported that we have done for the subject. Seventhly, Mr. Speaker, The malignants query, or question, is, what we have done for reformation: what, by our industrious care, and long sitting, we have reformed; how the service of God is by us more religiously, sincerely, zealously, fervently, and ardently, preached or practised; what we have amended either in church or kingdom; how either the king is more honoured or obeyed than he was before this parliament; what good we have done this four or five years; with what faces can we look upon the freeholders and corporations in every shire, county, city, town, and borough in this kingdom, who cried us up, and with their voices elected us to be knights and burgesses; which way we can answer the same, for our many breaches of that great trust, which they intrusted us withal I tell you, Mr. Speaker, these are home questions; and they plainly say, that all our reformation is non-conformation; and, by sure confirmation, true information, certain affirmation, we have by cunning transformation turned all to deformation: so that if our predecessors and ancestors that are departed this life (to a better or worse) should, or could, rise out of their graves, and see the change, alteration, and unmannerly manners, that have overspread this church and kingdom, they would think they were not in England, but either in Turky, Barbary, Scythia, Tartary, or some land that is inhabited by infidels or pagans; for England, as it is, looks no more like England, as it was five years ago, than a camel, or cockleshell, are like an owl, or a red herring. Eighthly and Lastly, Briefly and compendiously, the question is, what we have done for ourselves. We have run the hazard of our estates
*See the Tract intituled, Awake, O Rngland, in vol. 7.
to be justly forfeited by rebellion, against a just, merciful, and truly religious king; our lives are liable to the rigour of such laws as former parliaments have enacted against rebels and traitors; and ourselves are in danger of perpetual perdition, if submission, contrition, and satisfaction be not humbly and speedily performed, or endeavoured; for we, and none but we, have altered this kingdom's felicity to confusion and misery; from a pleasant merry comedy, to a dismal bloody tragedy, sufficient to fill a large history of perpetual memory of us and our posterity.
And thus, Mr. Speaker, have I, with as much brevity as I could, run over my eight parts of speech, whereby may be perceived, how the malignant adversaries do esteem of us and our actions. I could speak more than I have said, and I could say more than I have spoken; but, having done, I hold it discretion to make an end.
PLAGUE AT WESTMINSTER :
Grievously troubled with a new Disease, called the Consumption of their Members.
- The Persons visited are:
The Lord Hunsdon, Master Glyn, Recorder of London.
With a form of prayer, and other rites and ceremonies to be used for their recovery; strictly commanded to be used in all cathedrals, churches, chapels, and congregations, throughout his Majesty's three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Printed for W. W. in the year 1647. Quarto, containing six pages.
Let all the long-abused people of this kingdom speedily repair, for the remedy of all their grievances, to the High-Place at Westminster, and, so soon as entered in to the Lords-House, let them reverently kneel down upon their bare knees, and say this new prayer and exhortation following:
O Almighty and everlasting Lords, we acknowledge and confess from
the bottom of our hearts, that you have most justly plagued us these full seven years for our manifold sins and iniquities. Forasmuch as we have not rebelled against you, but against the King, our most gracious lord and governor, to the abundant sorrow of our relenting hearts, to whose empty chair we now bow in all reverence, in token of our duty and obedience. For we now too well (O Lords) understand that we have grievously sinned, which hath made your honours give us up a spoil unto robbers, viz. your committees, sequestrators, excisemen, and pursuivants; besides your several instruments of torments, distinguished by the various names of Colonels, Lieutenant-Colonels, Majors, Captains, Quarter-masters, and a certain sort of putredinous vermin, that you use to line hedges withal, vulgarly called Dragoons, Troopers, and the like, O Lords; these, besides your continual taxes, collections, assessments, and the like; a burthen that breaks our backs and very hearts, which continually follow one on the neck of another, besides your excises on our very flesh and apparel, with every particular belonging to our trade and livelihoods; our wives, our daughters, our sons, our houses, our beds, our apparel, our horses, our hay, our beeves, our muttons, our lambs, our pigs, our geese, our capons, and the rest of our goods are forced from us, upon free quarters, as they call it; and we poor wretched and languishing wretches, amounting to the number of millions of millions, being sufficiently humbled by all these plagues and punishments (cry to your honours for redress) besides the large portion of our bloods which from the earth cries unto your honours, even as Abel's did unto heaven; so we to you mighty Lords; we therefore humbly pray and beseech you, that your honours would be graciously pleased (in your omnipotent power) to raise to life again, but to half a dozen thousand poor widows, their dear husbands, and many fatherless children, now in a languishing condition, will for ever magnify your honours for the same; or else your honours must expect the cry of the widow to heaven against you, the curse of the fatherless, and the cry of the earth, which already begins to vomit up that blood in your faces, which so rebelliously and unchristianly you have stained her’s withal; she hath yet been a place of pleasure unto you, yielding no contagious air to infect you with those consuming diseases, that now reign amongst your honours, besides so many sorrows, distractions, disorders or passions, that visit your honours' consciences; all earthly creatures have been obedient unto you, mighty Lords. Finally, she hath yielded all things to your contentment, and nothing to your annoyance: We beseech you therefore consider the present miseries of our bodies, as hunger, thirst, nakedness, want of our limbs, deformities, sickness and mortality; the troubles of our minds, as fancies, fears, perplexities, anguishes, and other imperfections; likewise the general scourges that are amongst us, as plagues, wars, and a thousand other hazardous calamities: Look but into our hospitals, we beseech you, and see lazars, cancers, fistulas, ulcers, and rottings, with wolves, sores, and festered carbuncles, frenzies, palsies, lethargies, falling-sicknesses, and lunaries. On the other side, we beseech you to consider the infirmities of our minds; the furious rages, envies, rancours, and corrosives; the unplacable sorrows and desperate passions; the continual hell-torments, and remorse of conscience (for our late forced rebellion against our king) and infinite other sprightish fits and agonies you have brought wpon us. Consider, how you have made us incur the heavy displea
sure of the most just and christian prince” that ever reigned in this kingdom; the malice and enmity of our equals; the contempt, ignominy, and reproach of all nations; the continual mocks and scoffs we receive of our inferiors; the fraud and treachery of all sorts and degrees; our frequent molestations by plunderings, sequestrations, loss of goods, limbs, liberties, friends, wives, and children. Consider what intolerable usage hath been to divers people, since the beginning of these unnatural wars,persecuted by therage and fury of you,who would be called Christians, but indeed the worst of tyrants: What spoiling of our goods, shedding of our bloods, oppressing of innocents, persecution of godly and orthodox ministers t, that the world was not worthy of, as reverend Armagh, Westfield, Featly, Shute, and divers other learned and holy men; in whose places what a litter of foxes have you put into God's vineyard, who root up the tender vines thereof; a crew of such vipers, that are not worth so much as the naming? what deflowering of virgins, abusing of matrons, compulsion unto wickedness and rebellion, and terrifying from all virtue and christian obedience? what inconve- . niences and miseries have ensued by these unnatural and bloody wars? what alteration of estates and religion, subversion of three flourishing kingdoms, slaughtering of his Majesty's subjects, destroying of cities, and confusion of all order That it is almost incredible, that so many and so strange calamities could befall so happy a people, as we lately were, in so short a spacef. We humbly beseech you to consider these our just plaints, and speedily let us enjoy our king, our religion, our laws, our just liberties and estates, lest the anger of the Lord take harness, and arm all the creatures to the revenge of his enemies. He shall put on justice for his breast-plate, and shall take for his helmet certain judgment. He shall take equity as an impregnable buckler, he shall sharpen his dreadful wrath into a spear, and the world shall fight with him against such senseless persons. His throws of thunderbolts shall go directly, and shall be driven, as it were, from a well-bended bow, and shall hit at a certain plate. Against them shall the spirit of might stand, and, like a whirlwind, shall divide them, and shall bring all the land of their iniquity to a desart, and shall overthrow the seats of the mighty. These are shrewd items, high and mighty Lords, and may cause you to peach one another still, and charge thorough and thorough, as well as round, yet the silly Commons will hardly be gulled so; they hope to recover their wits again, and will now listen to his Majesty, as once they might have done and have preserved their now lost estates. The twentieth part, divided amongst so many sharers, comes but to a very little: Waller's might come to some twelve butter-firkins full of gold. John Pym, that lousy esquire, might have been a second Croesus, had he lived, and Charles his son, a very Dives, in spight of Lincoln’sInn Pump; but he fears no peaching now, nor Hambden, nor Strowd, nor Stapleton neither; their charge will hardly be drawn up till Doomsday in the afternoon, and then the city shall receive their debts on the
* K. Charles I. * See a list of these ministers so persecuted and ejected, in Wol.7. # As seven years.