Page images
PDF
EPUB

tempt cast on his name, family, and go.

vernment,

upon them; and most of them under the force of

tyrannical will, and fear of ruine by displeasure there• of; some under the force of several factions or titles ( to the crown: yet the laws made, even by such par

liaments, have continued, and been received, and be• neficial to succeeding ages. All which, and whatlo• ever hath been done by this parliament, fince some of • their members deserted them, and the late King raised « forces against them, and several disorders and affronts (formerly offered to them (if this objection take place) « are wholly vacated. For any breach of privilege of • parliament, it will not be charged upon the remain• ing part, or to have been within their power of pre

vention or reparation ; or that they have not enjoyred the freedom of their own persons and votes, and « are, undoubtedly, by the law of parliaments, far ex

ceeding that number which makes a house, authorised

for the dispatch of any business whatsoever : and that, « which at present is called a force upon them, is fome • of their best friends, called and appointed by the par' liament for their safety, and for the guard of them

against their enemies; who, by this means, being • disappointed of their hopes to destroy the parliament, 6 would, nevertheless, scandalize their actions, as done (under a force, who, in truth, are no other than their

own guards of their own army, by themselves ap< pointed: and, when it fell into consideration, whether s the priviledge of parliament, or the safety of the king• dom, should be preferred, it is not hard to judge ' which ought to sway the ballance; and that the parlia"ment ought to pass by the breach of priviledge (as

had been formerly often done upon much smaller

<grounds) rather than, by a sullen declining their duty ; Declara- s and truit, to resign up all to the apparent hazard of ciun, &c.

. ruin and confusion of the nation (a). These were p. 22.

the principal reasons at that time given for this most extraordinary action. The reader will judge of their

force,

vernment. To conciliate men to their pro

ceedings,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

force, and determine whether they answer the objections founded on the illegality and violence of the pro. ceeding. It Tould be observed, however, that the abettors of it gloried that it was performed in the eye of the world, and that an example was set to pofterity how to act in fimilar circumstances.

There want not precedents of some of his prede( ceflors, said they, who have been deposed by parlia

ments, but were afterwards in darkness, and in cor• ners, barely murthered. This parliament held it more • agreeable to honour and justice, to give the King a "fair and open trial, by above an hundred gentlemen, . in the most publick place of justice, free (if he had so (6) Declarat

pleased) to make his defence (6).'- If the parlia- tion, &c.

ment and military council do what they do without P. 14. • precedent,' says Milton, « if it appear their duty, it • argues the more wisdom, virtue and magnanimity, x that they know themselves able to be a precedent to

others, who, perhaps, in future ages, if they prove

not too degenerate, will look up with honour, and o aspire towards these exemplary and matchless deeds

of their ancestors, as to the highest top of their civil • glory and emulation; which, heretofore, in the pur• suance of fame and foreign dominion, spent itself { vain-gloriously abroad; but, henceforth, may learn a • better fortitude, to dare execute highest justice on them • that shall, by force of arms, endeavour the oppressing

and bereaving of religion and their liberty at home; " that no unbridled potentate or tyrant, but to his for• row, for the future, may presume such high and irre

sponsible licence over mankind, to havoc and turn upside whole kingdoms of men, as though they were no more, in respect of his perverse will, than a nation of pismires (c).'- The time was,' said another (0) Prose

Works, vol. commonwealth advocate, when this nation was wed-i. !ded to the vanity of admiring kings, placing them in : a lofty seat of impunity, like gods, that were not

• bound

ceedings, and make them submit to their rule, they began (11) with fair promises,

and

« bound to give men an account of their actions, but
• had a liberty to thunder at pleasure, and put the world
• into combustion, so that there was no love but luft,
( no rule but the prince's will, which so vassalized the
• spirics of this great and mighty people, that they were
" content to establish the highest piece of injustice by
• such maxims of law, as said, the King can do no
« wrong ;' as if whatsoever he did could not make him
ra delinquent or a traitor ; nor was it law only, but
• those antiquated cheats of the clergy made it pass for
• divinity also ; so that the commonwealth of England,
< for almost six hundred years, hath been pinioned like
"a captive with the twofold cord of the law and the

gospel, which the corrupt professors have made use of « after their own inventions. Yet, notwithstanding " that this glorious idol of royalty was elevated to such

a height over the liberties of the parliament, and fet ( upon the very pinacle of the temple, we have lived • to see a noble generation of Engliñ hearts, that have

« fetched it down with a vengeance, and cured the land () Mercu

o of that idolatry, by one of the most heroic and ex

of shoe idolatry by on cus, No. 56. emplary acts of justice, that ever was done under the p. 886. fun (d)

I shall only add, that, in the year 1651, 0. S. the 30th of January was observed, by the English percbants at Dantzick, in memorial of their deliverance from

Navery, and a feast was made for the whole company, (0) Thurloe, the expence of which was ordered to be repaid by the vol. i. po

commonwealth of England (c). 554, 555.

(11) They began with fair promises, and expressed, at the same time, much resolution] After it had been determined to bring the King to a trial, the house of commons acted with great spirit and rigour. They declared, that

the commons of England, in parliament assembled, be(f) Jour. ing chosen by, and representing, the people, have the nal, 4th

1628. supreme power in the nation (F). They resolved, that

rius

[ocr errors]

Sameting the one spirit and his parlia

[ocr errors]

and expresied, at the same time, much resolution. Nor were they worse than their

words:

a great seal be graven, with the addition of a map of the kingdom of Ireland, and of Jersey and Guernsey, together with the map of England; and, in some con enienc place on that fide, the arms by which the kingdoms of England and Ireland are differenced from other kingdoms. That, on the map fide of the great seal, the inscription shall be, · The Great Seal of England, 1648.' That the inscription, on the other side of the seal, on which the sculpture of the ho se of commons is engraven, shall be this, ziz. “In the first year of freedom by God's bles- also « fing reitored (81. Sixty pounds were charged on the gth of Janó revenue towards the charges of this seal. On the 1648. 17th of March, after the King's execution, an act was palled for abolishing the kingly office, and it was declared, high treason in any one to endeavour to set • up any of the late King's children, or any other pero fon to be King of England and Ireland; and that who• foever should be convicted of the said offence, should « be deemed and adjudged a traitor against the parlia

4 (6) Scobel's • ment and people of England (6).' And, that no collection; hopes might be given of the restoration of monarchy, March, care was taken to demolish its great support the house 1648. of peers, which was declared to be useless and dan• gerous to the people of England:' and it was enacted, • 'That the lords should not from thenceforth meet or « fit in the house called the lords house, or in any other • house or place whatsoever, as a house of lords ; nor should fit, vote, advise, adjudge or determine of any • matter or thing whatsoever, as a house of lords, in e parliament (i).' They, moreover, pulled down the (i) Id. ibs ftatues of Charies at St. Paul's and in the Royal Exchangi, and put in the nich of the latter, Exit Tyrannus - regum ultimus : imitating the Syracufans, who, at the - invitation of Timoleon, overturned the palaces and mo-,

(6) Plutarch numents, and whatever else might preserve the me- Timomory of former tyrants (k).' These were very icon.

bold

words : for, 'tis very certain, great things

were

bold and high acts, and such as needed an apology to the nation and the world. Accordingly a declaration was prepared and printed, in which the grounds of their proceedings were laid open in the best manner they were able. And the better to reconcile the people to their actions, and conciliate their esteem to their authority, they spoke them fair, and promised them largely. After having in the declaration vindicated their several actions, they proceed in the following manner : • The .« sum of all the parliament's design and endeavour in the

a present change of government from tyranny to a free « state; and which they intend not only to declare in • words, but really and speedily endeavour to bring to

effect, is this ; to prevent a new war, and further ex• pence and effusion of the treasure and blood of England; and to establish a firm and safe peace, and an « oblivion of all rancour and ill will occasioned by the • Jate troubles: to provide for the due worship of God,

according to his word, the advancement of the true <protestant religion, and for the liberal and certain « maintenance of godly ministers : to procure a juft li

berty for the consciences, persons and estates of all * men, conformable to God's glory and their own peace: < to endeavour vigorously the punishment of the cruel «murtherers in Ireland, and the restoring of the honeft • protestants, and this commonwealth, to their rights • there, and the full fatisfaction of all engagements for • this work: to provide for the settling and just obferv

ing of treaties and alliances with foreign princes and • states, for the encouragement of manufactures, for o the increase and flourishing of trades at home, and " the maintenance of the poor in all places of the land: < to cake care for the due reformation and administration r of the law and publique justice, that the evil may be

punished and the good rewarded : to order the reve"nue in such a way, that the publique charges may be " defiayed, the soldiers pay justly and duly settled, that

free

« PreviousContinue »