T.101 [1647.06.14] [William Walwyn], Gold Tried in the Fire, or The burnt Petitions revived (14 June 1647).
[William Walwyn], Gold Tried in the Fire, or The burnt Petitions revived. A Preface.
This tract contains the following parts:
14 June 1647.
TT1, p. 519; Thomason E. 392. (19.)
(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)
Courteous Reader, I shall give thee a short Narative of some passages upon the following Petitions, first concerning the large Petition: Divers printed coppies thereof being sent abroad to gaine subscriptions, one whereof was intercepted by an Informer, and so brought to the hands of Mr. Glyn Recorder of London, and a member of the Commons House; who was pleased to call it a scandalous, and seditious paper: Whereupon it was referred to Colonell Leighes Committee (it being that Committee appoynted to receive informations against those men who preached without licence from the Ordainers) to finde out the Authours of the said Petition; upon this a certificate being drawn up, and intended by the Petitioners, to have been delivered to the said Committee, for vindication of the said Petition, as will appeare by the certificate herewith printed; and notice being taken of one of the petitioners named Nicholas Tue, who red the said certificate in the Court of Request; for the Concurrence of friends who had not formerly seen nor subscribed the certificate: and for his so doing he was sent for presently before the said Committee, and for refusing to answer to Interrogatories, was presently by them Committed, and still remaineth in prison, it being at the least three Moneths since his first commitment.
Likewise Major Tuledah, was upon complaint of that Committee, the next day committed by the House, but since discharged upon baile, without any just cause shewn for either of their Commitments: and others of the Petitioners abused, and vilified by that Committee; some of them offering to draw their swords upon the Petitioners. All which, with more was ready to be proved to the whole House, but could by no meanes be obtained, though earnestly desired, by a Petition, presently delivered into the House, humbly desiring the examination of these miscarriages; but after eight weekes attendance, with much importunity; after many promises and dayes appointed to take their Petition into consideration, they obtained a very slight answer: which was that they could not like of their Petition.
Occasion being taken sodainely after to commit one of the Petitioners named Mr. Browne to the prison of Newgate; for his importunity in desiring an answer to that Petition, after many promises and delayes. Shortly after the slight answer obtained to the said Petition, the Petitioners thought good to deliver a second Petition to the House, to see if it were possible to obtain a better answer to their just desires; hoping that they would better consider of things, but after attendance and importunity, they obtained an answer in these words. That the Parliament had Voted it a breach of priviledge, scandalous, and seditious, and that Petition, and the large Petition, to be burned by the hand of the Hangman; which was accordingly done by Order of the House, in these words.
Die Jovis 20 May, 1647,
Resolved &c. That the Sheriffes of London and Middlesex, be required, to take care that the Petition and paper be burnt, which accordingly was done, before the Exchange, two dayes after the said Vote and Order of the House.
And shortly after this the Petitioners prepared a third Petition, which is the last Petition herewith printed: and after much importunity with the Members of the House; after almost two dayes attendance, obtained so much favour from one of the Members, as to present that Petition to the House, and after all this could obtaine no other answer to that Petition; but the House after long dispute thereupon passed this Vote.
Upon the 2d. of June 1647. That no answer shall be given to the Petition at the present: and two dayes after the Petitioners attended the House, for a further answer delivering copies of their Petition to the severall Members of the House, but could obtaine no further answer thereunto; but received many vilifying, and disgracefull speeches, from severall Members of the House: and so after a whole dayes attendance, departed without any hope, to receive any answer to their just desires in the said Petition.
And thus I have faithfully, and truly (though briefly) given ye an account of the proceedings upon the ensuing Petitions. Now let the judicious and considerate Reader judge whether the Petitioners have received equall and even dealing herein from this present Parliament: the Petitioners being such who have laid out themselves, both in their persons and purses, far above their abilities; who have not valued their lives, their childrens lives, nor their servants lives, nor estates, to deare for the service of the Parliament and Common-wealth.
And is this the reward they shall receive, after they have thus laid out themselves? Nay, they have just cause to feare that they and their friends are men appointed to utter ruine, and destruction; otherwise what meaneth all the rayling, reviling, and reproachfull speeches of their Ministers, and Agents, out of the pulpit and presse, to stirre up the rude multitude to fall upon them, and destroy them; is not this ingratitude in the highest degree, shall not the very Heathen rise up in judgement against such a generation, of degenerate men as these? Who could say, Si ingratum dixeris, omnia dixeris.
You cannot chuse but take notice of severall Remonstrances, and Petitions presented to the House from these men, who call themselves Lord Major, Aldermen and Commons, of the City of London in Common-councell assembled, what high affronts they have offered to the Parliament; yet they have in some measure by steps, and degrees, answered the Remonstrances, and granted their Petitions, and you may observe what answer they have given to their last Petition, for raising of Horse, &c. (The tendencie whereof may be of very dangerous consequence if well weighed) which is thus. Mr. Speaker by command of the House, exprest unto them the true sense the House hath of their constant good affections to this Parliament; and that no alterations whatsoever can work any change in their duty, and love; for which he is to give them the hartiest thanks of this House.
I could enlarge my selfe, but I affect brevitie, and the judicious and considerate Reader may enlarge himselfe in his own thoughts: well weighing the matter in the said Remonstrances, and Petitions; and upon due consideration may judge whether their Petitions, or the Petitions burnt, vilified, and disgraced, deserve most thanks, or tend most to the safetie of the Parliament, and Common-wealth.
And will henceforth conclude, that as there is little good to be hoped for from such Parliaments, as need to be Petitioned; so there is none at all to be expected from those that burn such Petitions as these.
If the endeavours of good Common-wealths-men in the House could have prevailed, these Petitions had not been burnt, nor the Petitioners abused; but the sons of Zeruiah were to strong for them, that is to say, the Malignants, and Delinquents, the Lawyers (some few excepted) the Monopolising merchants, the sons and servants of the Lords; all these joyning together, over Voted them about 16 Voyces; but God in time, will we trust, deliver the people of this Nation, from their deceipt, and malice; and therefore let us not sorrow as men without hope, nor be discouraged, but goe on and persist, for the just liberties of England, a word to the wise is sufficient. Farewell.
By a well-wisher to truth and peace.
Printed in the yeere 1647.
The humble Petition of many Thousands, earnestly desiring the glory of God, the freedom of the Common-wealth, & the peace of all Men.
That as no Government is more just in the constitution, then that of Parliaments, having its foundation in the free choyce of the people; and as the end of all Government is the safety and freedome of the governed, even so the people of this Nation in all times, have manifested most hearty affection, unto Parliaments as the most proper remedy of their grievances; yet such hath been the wicked policies of those who from time to time have endevoured to bring this Nation into bondage; that they have in all times either by the disuse or abuse of Parliaments deprived the people of their hopes: For testimony whereof the late times foregoing this Parliament will sadly witnesse, when it was not only made a crime to mention a Parliament, but either the pretended negative voyce, (the most destructive to freedome) or a speedy dissolution, blasted the fruite and benefit thereof, whilst the whole Land was overspread with all kinds of oppression and tyranny, extending both to Soule and Body, and that in so rooted and setled a way, that the complaints of the people in generall witnessed, that they would have given any thing in the world for one six moneths freedome of Parliament. Which hath been since evidenced in their instant and constant readinesse of assistance to this present Parliament, exceeding the records of all former ages, and wherein God hath blessed them with their first desires, making this Parliament the most absolute and free of any Parliament that ever was, and enabling it with power sufficient to deliver the whole Nation from all kinds of oppressions and grievances, though of never so long continuance, and to make it the most absolute and free Nation in the world.
And it is most thankefully acknowledged that yee have in order to the freedome of the people suppressed the High-Commission, Starr-Chamber, and Councel-Table, called home the banished, delivered such as were imprisoned for matters of conscience, and brought some Delinquents to deserved punishment. That yee have suppressed the Bishops and Popish Lords, abolished Episcopacy, and that kinde of Prelatick persecuting government. That ye have taken away Shipmoney, and all the new illegall Patents, whereby the hearts of all the wel-affected were enlarged and filled with a confident hope, that they should have seen long ere this a compleate removall of all grievances, and the whole people delivered from all oppressions over Soule or Body: But such is our misery, that after the expence of so much precious time, of blood, and treasure, and the ruine of so many thousands, of honest families in recovering our Liberties, wee still finde this Nation oppressed with grievances of the same destructive nature as formerly, though under other notions; and which are so much the more grievous unto us, because they are inflicted in the very time of this present Parliament, under God, the hope of the oppressed. For, as then all the men and women in England, were made lyable to the Sommons, Attatchments, Sentences, and Imprisonments of the Lords of the Councell-boord, so wee finde by wofull experience and sufferings of many particular persons, that the present Lords doe assume and exercise the same power, then which nothing is, or can be more repugnant and destructive to the Commons just liberties.
As the unjust power of Star-Chamber was exercised in compelling of men and women to answer to Interrogatories tending to accuse themselves and others; so is the same now frequently practized upon divers persons, even your cordiall friends, that have been, and still are, punished for refusing to Answer to questions against themselves and nearest relations. As then the great oppression of the High Commission was most evident in molesting of godly peaceable people, for nonconformity, or different opinion and practice in Religion, judging all who were contrary minded to themselves, to be Hereticks, Sectaries, Schismaticks, seditious, factious, enemies to the State, and the like; and under great penalties forbidding all persons, not licenced by them, to preach or publish the Gospel: Even so now at this day, the very same, if not greater molestations, are set on foot, and violently prosecuted by the instigation of a Clergie no more infallible then the former, to the extreame discouragement and affliction of many thousands of your faithfull adherents, who are not satisfyed that controversies in Religion can be trusted to the compulsive regulation of any: And after the Bishops were suppressed, did hope never to have seen such a power assumed by any in this Nation any more.
And although all new illegall patents are by you abolished, yet the oppressive Monopoly of Merchant-adventurers, and others, doe still remain to the great abridgement of the liberties of the people, and to the extreame prejudice of all such industrious people as depend on cloathing, or other woollen manufacture, (it being the Staple-commodity of this Nation,) and to the great discouragment & disadvantage of all sorts of Tradesmen, Sea-faring-men, and hinderance of Shipping and Navigation. Also the old tedious and chargeable way of deciding controversies, or suits in Law, is continued to this day, to the extream vexation and utter undoing of multitudes of Families; a grievance as great and as palpable as any in the world. Likewise, that old, but most unequall punishment of malefactors is still continued, whereby mens lives and liberties are as liable to the law, and corporall pains as much inflicted for small as for great offences, and that most unjustly upon the testimony of one witnesse, contrary both to the Law of God, and common equity, a grievance very great, but little regarded. Also tythes, and other inforced maintenance are still continued, though there be no ground for either under the Gospel; and though the same have occasioned multitudes of suits, quarrels, and debates, both in former and later times. In like manner, multitudes of poore distressed prisoners for debt, lye still unregarded, in a most miserable & wofull condition throughout the Land, to the great reproach of this Nation. Likewise Prison-Keepers, or Gaolers, are as presumptuous as ever they were, both in receiving and detaining of prisoners illegally committed, as cruell & inhumane to all, especially to such as are wel-affected, as oppressive & extorting in their Fees, & are attended with under-officers, of such vile & unchristian demeanour, as is most abominable. Also thousands of men & women, are still (as formerly) permitted to live in beggery and wickednesse all their life long, and to breed their children to the same idle and vitious course of life, and no effectuall means used to reclaime either, or to reduce them to any vertue or industry.
And last, as those who found themselves aggrieved formerly at the burthens & oppressions of those times, that did not conforme to the Church-government then established, refused to pay Ship-money, or yeeld obedience to unjust Patents, were reviled and reproached with nicknames of Puritans, Hereticks, Schismaticks, Sectaries, or were termed factious or seditious, men of turbulent spirits, despisers of government, & disturbers of the publick peace; even so is it at this day in al respects, with those who shew any sensibility of the fore-recited grievances, or move in any manner or measure for remedy thereof, all the reproaches, evils, and mischiefes that can be devised, are thought too few or too little to be laid upon them, as Round-heads, Sectaries, Independents, Hereticks, Schismaticks, factious, seditious, rebellious, disturbers of the publick peace, destroyers of all civill relation, & subordinations; yea, and beyond what was formerly. Nonconformity is now judged a sufficient cause to disable any person, though of known fidelity, from bearing any Office of trust in the Common-wealth, whiles Newters, Malignants, and disaffected are admitted and continued. And though it be not now made a crime to mention a Parliament, yet is it little lesse to mention the supreme power of this honourable House. So that in all these respects, this Nation remaineth in a very sad & disconsolate condition; & the more, because it is thus with us after so long a session of so powerfull & so free a Parliament, & which hath been so made and maintained, by the aboundant love and liberall effusion of the blood of the people. And therefore knowing no danger nor thraldome like unto our being left in this most sad condition by this Parliament, and observing that yee are now drawing the great and weighty affaires of this Nation to some kinde of conclusion and fearing that yee may ere long be obstructed by something equally evill to a negative voyce, and that yee may be induced to lay by that strength, which (under God) hath hitherto made you powerfull to all good works: whiles we have yet time to hope, and ye power to help, and least by our silence wee might be guilty of that ruine, and slavery which without your speedy help is like to fall upon us, your selves and the whole Nation; wee have presumed to spread our cause thus plainly and largely before you: And doe most earnestly intreat, that yee will stir up your affections to a zealous love and tender regard of the people, who have chosen and trusted you, and, that yee will seriously consider, that the end of their trust, was freedome and deliverance from all kinde of grievances and oppressions.
1. And that therefore in the first place, yee will be exceeding carefull to preserve your just authority from all prejudices of a negative voyce in any person or persons whomsoever, which may disable you from making that happy return unto the people which they justly expect, and that yee will not bee induced to lay by your strength, untill yee have satisfied your understandings in the undoubted security of your selves, and of those who have voluntarily and faithfully adhered unto you in all your extremities; and untill yee have secured and setled the Common-wealth in solid peace and true freedome, which is the end of the primitive institution of all governments.
2. That yee will take off all Sentences, Fines, and imprisonments imposed on Commoners, by any whomsoever, without due course of Law, or judgement of their equals; and to give due reparations to all those who have been so injuriously dealt withall, and for preventing the like for time to come, that ye will Enact all such Arbitrary proceedings, to bee capitall crimes.
3. That yee will permit no authority whatsoever, to compell any person or persons to answer to questions against themselves, or nearest relations, except in cases of private interest between party and party in a legall way, and to release all such as suffer by imprisonment, or otherwise for refusing to answer to such Interrogatories.
4. That all Statutes, Oaths, and Covenants may be repealed so farre as they tend, or may be construed to the molestation and ensnaring of religious, peaceable wel-affected people, for nonconformity, or different opinion or practice in religion.
5. That no man for preaching or publishing his opinion in Religion in a peaceable way, may be punished or persecuted as hereticall, by Judges that are not infallible, but may be mistaken (as well as other men) in their judgements, lest upon pretence of suppressing Errors, Sects, or Schismes, the most necessary truths, and sincere professors thereof, may bee suppressed, as upon the like pretence it hath been in all ages.
6. That yee will, for the incouragement of industrious people, dissolve that old oppressive Company of Merchant-Adventurers, and the like, and prevent all such others by great penalties, for ever.
7. That ye will settle a just speedy playn and unburthensome way, for deciding of controversies and suits in Law, and reduce all Lawes to the nearest agreement with Christianity, and publish them in the English Tongue, and that all processes and proceedings, therein may be true, and also in English, and in the most usuall Character of writing, without any abbreviations, that each one who can reade, may the better understand their own affaires; and that the duty of all Judges, Officers and practisers in the Law, and of all Magistrates and Officers in the Commonwealth may be prescribed, and their fees limitted, under strict penalties, and published in Print to the view and knowledge of all men: by which just and equitable means, this Nation shal be for ever freed of an oppression more burthensome, & troublesome then all the oppressions hitherto by this Parliament removed.
8. That the life of no person may bee taken away, under the testimony of two witnesses at least, of honest conversation; and that in an equitable way yee will proportion punishments to offences, that so no mans life may be taken, his body punished, nor his Estate forfeited, but upon such weighty and considerable causes as justly deserve such punishments; and that all prisoners may have a speedy tryall, that they bee neither starved, nor their families ruined, by long and lingering imprisonment; and that imprisonment may be used onely for safe custody, untill time of tryall, and not as a punishment for offences.
9. That tythes and all other enforced maintenance, may be for ever abolished, and nothing in place thereof imposed; but that all Ministers may be paid onely by those who voluntarily chuse them, and contract with them for their labours.
10. That yee will take some speedy and effectuall course to relieve all such prisoners for debt, as are altogether unable to pay, that they may not perish in prison through the hard-heartednesse of their Creditors; and that all such as have any estates, may be inforced to make payment accordingly, and not shelter themselves in Prison to defraud their Creditors.
11. That none may be Prison-keepers, but such as are of approved honesty, and that they may be prohibited under great penalties to receive or detain any person or persons without lawfull warrant; That their usage of prisoners, may be with gentlenesse and civility, their fees moderate and certain, and that they may give security for the good behaviour of their under-Officers.
12. That yee will provide some powerfull meanes to keep men, women, and children, from begging and wickednesse, that this Nation may bee no longer a shame to Christianity therein.
13. That yee will restrain and discountenance the malice and impudency of impious Persons, in their reviling and reproaching the wel-affected, with the ignominious titles of Round-heads, factious, seditious, and the like, whereby your real friends have been a long time, and still are exceedingly wronged, discouraged, and made obnoxious to rude and prophane people, and that yee will not exclude any of approved fidelity from bearing office of trust in the Commonwealth for non-conformity; rather neuters, and such as manifest disaffection or opposition to common-freedome, the admission, and continuation of such being the chiefe cause of all our grievances.
These remedies, or what other shall seeme more effectuall to your grave wisdomes, wee humbly pray may be speedily applyed and that in doing thereof, yee will bee confident of the assistance of your Petitioners, and of all considerate well-minded people, to the uttermost of their best abilities, against all opposition whatsoever, looking upon our selves as more concerned now at last to make a good end, then at the first to have made a good beginning: For what shall it profit us, or what remedy can we expect, if now after so great troubles and miseries this Nation should be left by this Parliament in so great a thraldome, both of body, minde, and estate?
We beseech you therefore, that with all your might whilest ye have time, freedome and power, so effectually to fulfill the true end of Parliaments in delivering this Nation from these and all other grievances, that none may presume, or dare to introduce the like for ever.
And wee trust, the God of your good successe, will manifest the sincerity of our intentions herein, and that our humble desires are such as tend not onely to our own particular, but to the generall good of the Common-wealth, and proper for this Honorable House to grant, without which this Nation cannot be safe or happy; And that he will blesse you with true Christian fortitude, suitable to the trust and greatnesse of the worke yee have undertaken, and make the memory of this Parliament blessed to all succeeding Generations.
Shall ever be the prayer of your humble Petitioners.
The humble Petition of divers well-affected Citizens.
That as the oppressions of this Nation, in times fore-going this Parliament, were so numerous & burthensome, as will never be forgotten; so were the hopes of our deliverance by this Parliament, exceeding great and full of confidence, which as they were strengthened by many Acts of yours in the beginning, especially towards consciencious people, without respect unto their judgements or opinions; So did the gratitude of well-minded people exceed all president or example, sparing neither estates, limbs, liberties, or lives, to make good the authority of this Honorable House, as the foundation and root of all just freedome.
And although wee many times observed to our griefe, some proceedings holding resemblance rather with our former bondage, then with that just freedome wee expected: yet did wee impute the same to the troublesomnesse of the times of warre, patiently and silently passing them over, as undoubtedly hoping a perfect remedy so soon as the warrs were ended: but perceiving our expectations altogether frustrate, wee conceived our selves bound in conscience, and in duty to God, to set before you the generall grievances of the Commonwealth, and the earnest desires of ingenious well-minded people; and for that end did ingage in promoting the Petition in question, in the usuall and approved way of gathering subscriptions, with full intention to present the same to this Honourable House, so soon as it should bee in readinesse: but as it appeareth, a Copy thereof was unduly obtained, and tendred to this Honourable House, under the notion of a dangerous and seditious Paper: Whereupon this House was pleased to order the Petition to the Committee, whereof Col. Lee is Chair-man; and Mr. Lambe, at whose House it was said to be found, to be there examined concerning the same.
Whereupon your Petitioners conceived it their duty to own and avouch the said Petition, and for that end, in a peaceable manner attended that Committee with this humble Certificate hereunto annexed, to bee offered to their wisdomes as opportunity should be ministred: but through some small miscarriage of some few persons (for which your Petitioners were much grieved) your Committee took so sudain and high displeasure, as to command your Petitioners to withdraw, threatning to remove them with a guard, before they had time to turn themselves.
Whereupon your Petitioners caused the Certificate to bee publikely read in the Court of Requests, to take the sense and allowance of many persons, who had not before seen the same, with intent still to present it; which though endeavoured to the utmost, was absolutely refused to bee received. But to our astonishment, occasion was taken against our friend that read the same, so farre, as that hee stands a prisoner to that Committee, and much harsh language, with threatenings and provocations issued from some of the Committee, towards some other of our friends, purposely (as we verily beleeve) to get some advantage, to present us odious to this Honourable House, whose persons and authority hath been as deare in our esteeme as our very lives. And therefore, wee have just cause to complaine to this Honorable House.
1. Of unjust useage from those that indevoured to interupt the gathering of hands in a peaceable way, or to possesse this Honourable House with evill suggestions concerning the intention & purpose of the said Petition.
2. Of hard measure from your Committee in the particulars forementioned, contrary to what wee have deserved, or should have found in former times.
3. Neverthelesse, our liberties, to promote Petitions to this Honourable House, is so essentiall to our freedome, (our condition, without the same being absolute slavery) and our hope of justice from this Honourable House, [is so essentiall to our freedome, our condition, without the same being absolute slavery: and our hope of justice from this Honorable House,] so great in protecting us therein, that wee are not discouraged by what hath passed; but in confidence thereof, do humbly intreat, First, That ye will bee pleased to declare our freedome, to promote, and your readinesse to receive the said Petition, which wee cannot but still looke upon, as tending the generall good of this Nation.
Secondly, That our friends may bee inlarged, and that Yee will discountenance the officiousness of such over-busie informers, as have disturbed the just progresse of that Petition.
Wee are not ignorant, that wee have been, and are like to bee represented unto you, as Heretickes, Schismatikes, Sectaries, seditious persons and Enemies to Civill-government, and the like: but our said Petition is sufficient to stop the mouthes of such Calumniators, and declare us to bee not only sollicitors for our own particulars, but for the generall good of the Common-wealth, and will minister a just occasion to suspect the designes of those, that so frequently asperse us, though their pretences bee never so specious. And trust your wisdomes will timeously discover and prevent any evill intended against us.
And whereas Major Tuledah stands committed by Order of this Honourable House, for some conceived misbehaviour towards some Members of your said Committee; we humbly intreat, that he may be forthwith called to your Barre, and be permitted to answer for himselfe, and that witnesses also may bee heard on his behalfe, that so this Honourable House may bee rightly and fully informed, concerning his cause and demeanour of those Members, the suddain imprisonment of our friends being very grievous unto us.
And your Petitioners shall pray.
The Humble Certificate of divers persons interested in, and avouching the Petition lately referred to this Committee by the Right Honourable House of Commons.
That the Petition (entituled, The humble Petition of many thousands, earnestly desiring the glory of God, the freedome of the Common-wealth, and the peace of all men, and directed to the Right Honourable, and supreame authority of this Nation, the Commons assembled in Parliament) is no scandalous or seditious Paper (as hath been unjustly suggested) but a reall Petition, subscribed, and to bee subscribed, by none but constant cordiall friends to Parliament and Common-Wealth, and to bee presented to that Honourable House with all possible speed, as an especiall meanes, to procure the universall good of this long inthralled, and distracted Nation; and wee trust this Honourable Committee will in no measure dishearten the people from presenting their humble considerations. Reasons, and Petitions, to those whom they have chosen (there being no other due and legall way wherein those that are aggrieved can find redresse) but that rather you will bee pleased to give all incouragement therein: In assured hope whereof, wee shall pray.
The humble Petition of divers well-affected people in and about the City of LONDON.
That as the authority of this Honorable House is intrusted by the people for remedy of their grievances, so hath it been their accustomed and undoubted liberty in a peaceable manner to present unto this House whatsoever they deemed to be particular or generall grievances: And as yee gave encouragement unto others in the use of this just Liberty, reproving such as endeavoured to obstruct the peaceable promoting of Petitions, so did wee verily hope to have found the like Countenance and protection in promoting our large Petition: but no sooner was the promoting thereof discovered but Mr. Glin Recorder as is commonly reported, hastily & untimely brought it into this House, exclaiming against it, as a most dangerous and seditious Paper, and shortly after the Common-councell in like manner prejudged it, as guilty of danger and sedition, though both without any grounds or reasons affixed, that wee know of.
And as the worke of Mr. Recorder was the occasion (as wee conceive) of an enquirie after the promoters, so also of the hard measure we found at Col. Lieghs Committee, where occasion was suddenly taken to threaten our removal by a guard, to imprison Nicholas Tew, one of the Petitioners, the rest being reviled with odious titles of factious and seditious sectaries, & Major Tulidah another of the Petitioners, not onely reviled and reproached as the rest, but violently hauled, and most boysterously used by Sir Philip Stapleton, and Col. Hollis, who made offer as if they would draw their Swords upon the Petitioners, and Sir Walter Earle lifting up his Cane in a most threatening manner, tooke another by the Shoulder: all which is ready to be certified by sufficient witnesses, and which wee do verily beleeve was done purposely, out of their hatred to the matter of the Petition, to render us as a turbulent people to this Honourable House, to beget a dislike of our Petition, and to frustrate our endeavours in promoting thereof.
Unto which their misinformation of this honourable House, as wee have cause to suspect, may be imputed the occasion of the sudden imprisonment of Major Tulidah without hearing of him, and our so long and tedious attendance for answer to our last Petition, and Certificate, and the misapprehension of this honourable House of our desires in that Petition: For we did not desire (as your answer importeth) that this House should declare their liking or disliking of our large Petition, being not then promoted nor presented by us, but that you will bee pleased to vindicate our Liberty, to promote that Petition, notwithstanding the hard measure we had found, and the aspersions cast upon it, to release the party imprisoned by the Committee, meaning Nicholas Tew, to discountenance those that obstructed the gathering of subscriptions, to call Major Tuledah to your Barre, and to heare witnesses on his behalfe, that so ye might also be rightly informed, as of his cause, so of the demeanour of some Members of that Committee.
Now for as much as the more wee consider the generall grievances of the Common-wealth, the greater cause wee still finde of Promoting the Large Petition, as not discerning any thing of danger therein, except to some corruptions yet remaining, nor of sedition, except as before this Parliament it be in some mens esteems seditious to move, though in the most peaceable manner for remedy of the most palpable grievances: and for as much as wee are hopefull this Honourable House will in due time have good use thereof, for discovery of such as are engaged either directly or by Relations in those corruptions, for removall whereof the Petition is intended, and not knowing for what end so great an effusion of the blood of the people hath been made, except to procure at the least the Particulars desired in that Petition, and that we might know our selves so farre at least to be free men and not slaves, as to be at Liberty to promote Petitions in a peaceable way, to be Judges of the matter thereof, and for our time of presenting them to this Honorable House, without let or Circumvention.
We humbly intreat that you will bee pleased
1. To weigh in Equall ballance the carriage of Mr. Recorder, and-that of the Common-Councell in this weighty cause of prejudging Petitions; and to deale with them as the cause deserveth.
2. To consider of how evill consequence it is, for your Committees to assume a power of imprisoning mens persons, without your Commission, and that yee will not pass over this in this Committee.
3. To receive the Testimonies concerning Sir Philip Stapleton, Coll. Hollis, and Sir Walter Earle, and to deale with them according to the ill consequence of their violent demeanour, and misinformation of this honourable House, tending to no lesse then the obstruction of Petitions, the greatest mischiefe that can befall a people in time of Parliament.
4. That Nicholas Tew may be wholly enlarged, and that no man may henceforth bee committed by an arbitrary power, as hee at the first was, nor without cause shewed, though by lawfull authority.
5. That yee will as yet suspend your sense of our large Petition, untill such time as the Petitioners shall judge it fit to present the same as a Petition unto your wisdomes.
And as in duty bound, wee shall pray &c.
The humble Petition of many thousands of well-affected people.
That having seriously considered what an uncontroulled liberty hath generally been taken, publiquely to reproach, and make odious persons of eminent and constant good affection to Parliament and common-wealth, how prevalent indeavours have been, to withhold such from being chosen into places of trust or Counsell, how easie to molest, or get them into prisons, how exceedingly liable to misconstruction, their motions and Petitions in behalfe of the publique have lately been.
When we consider what grudgings and repinings, have sinistrously been begotten, against your most faithfull and successefull Army: what arts and devises, to provoke you against them, and to make you jealous of them; what hard measure some of them, both Officers and Souldiers have found in divers respects, in sundry places.
When we consider what change of late hath importunately (though causelessly) been procured of the Committee of Militia in the City of London, and how that new Committee hath already begun to remove from Command, in the Trained Bands and Auxiliaries, persons not to be suspected of disaffection or newtrality, but such as have been most zealous, in promoting the safety of Parliament and City.
When wee consider how full of Armies our neighbor Countries are round about us, and what threatnings of foraine forces, we are even astonished with griefe, as not able to free our selves from apprehensions of eminent danger but are strongly induced to feare some evill intentions of some desperate and willfull persons, yet powerfully working, to blast the just ends of this Parliament, and re-imbroile this late bleeding and much wasted Nation, in more violent wars, distempers and miseries.
And as our earnest desires of the quiet and safety of the Commonwealth, hath necessitated these our most sad observations: So are we constrained to beleeve, that so dangerous an alteration, could not so generally have appeared, but that there is some great alteration befalne, both in counsels and authorities throughout the Land: which we verily conceive ariseth from no other cause, but from the treacherous policy of Enemies, and weaknesse of friends, in chusing such thereinto, as having been unfit for those imployments, some whereof (as is credibly reported) having served the Enemy in Armes, some with moneys; horse, ammunition, or by intelligence, some in commissions of Array, some manifesting constant malignity in their actions, speeches, or standing Newters in times of greatest triall, some culpable of notorious crimes, others lying under heavie accusations, some but are under age, or such who are at present engaged in such courses as in the beginning of this Parliament were esteemed Monopolies.
Now may it please this honourable House, if such as these should remaine, or may have privily crept into your Councels of Authorities (as by the forecited considerations, we humbly conceive cannot but bee judged) what can possibly be expected, by those who have been most active and faithfull in your service, but utter ruine, or the worst of bondage.
For prevention whereof, and of those dangers, warres and troubles that are generally feared, we are constrained earnestly to intreat:
1. That you will be pleased instantly to appoint a Committee of such Worthy Members of this honourable House, as have manifested most sincere affections, to the Well affected, and to authorize them to make speedy and strict inquirie after all such as are possessed of places of Councell, trust, authority or command, who according to law. Ordinance, Reason, or Safety, ought not to be admitted, and that all persons without exception, may be permitted and encouraged to bring in accusations, witnesses, or testimonies for the more speedy perfecting of the Work: and that you will forthwith exclude all such out of all offices of Councell, Trust, Authority, or command, against whom sufficient cause shall bee proved, without which wee cannot see how it is possible for the well-affected to live either in peace or safety.
2. That you will countenance, protect, and succour the cordiall wel-affected in all places, according to their severall cases and conditions, especially in their addresses with Petitions.
3. That you will bee pleased to condesend unto all the just and reasonable desires of your Commanders, Officers & Souldiers, by whose courage and faithfullnesse, so great services have been performed, and severely to punish all such as have any way sought to alienate you from them.
4. That the Militia of London may bee returned to the custody and disposing of those persons of whose faithfullnesse and wisdome in managing thereof, you have had great experience, and that none may be put out of Command in the Trained bands or Auxiliaries, who have been and are of knowne good affection to the Common Wealth,
All which we humbly intreat may be speedily and effectualy accomplished, according to the great necessity and exigency of these distracted times, and as in duty bound, we shall pray, &c.