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Copy of a manuscript paper, written, it is probable, about the : end of the year 1647, now, with many other original and
valuable papers relating to the civil-wars, in the postelein
of Hans Wintrop. Mortimer, Elg; of Lincoln's-Inn ; ac vbich papers, belonged, formerly to col. 'Saunders of DerbyThire, colonel of a regiment of horse, &c.
THE freedome wee were borne to is so juftly due to L every Englishman, that whoever shall remember the vehemency wherewith the people did thirst after a parliament before they had this, the zeale wherewith they contributed to the late warre for defence of this freedome ; and the success wherewith it hath pleased God to blefie those endeavours; will soone be satisfied, that there is no better cause in the world to engage upon : and therefore, the cause wce undertake at present, for which we carry our lives in our hands, beinge the very same, will certaynly need no apology for itself, the only thinge that may see me Itrange in these our actings, being the irregular manner of prosecuting our undoubted rights.. . : Herein wee desire it may be considered, That all ordinary means, and some extracrdinary, have beene already attempted, and, after much patience, proved altogether fruitless : - That the parlament hath made noe other use of the many signal opportunities put into their hands, than 19 continue their fitting at Westminster, and dividing the pubhic treasure amongst chemselves : : Kk 3
That That the chiefe officers of the army, (though pretende jng to keepe up the forces under them for the people's good, and to see the same accomplished in a short time) have yet made noe other use of their power, than to continue and enlarge their own commands: • That besides our being dissapointed of the fruit so long expected, and being made more slaves every day than other to committees, and sundry other arbitrary courses; even in the most legal proceedings wee find foe much corruption, tedioufneffe, chargablenesfe, and obscurity practised and abetted by officers of all sorts, that the law itself is become noe protection to us in our properties or liberties : - Wee find that barbarous course still maintained of iny. prisoning men for debt, thereby hindering them from the use of their lawful callings; though they have nothinge else wherewith to satisfy their creditors, or to preserve themselves, and their families from ftarvinge: · Wee find that the reftraininge men's persons att pleasure, without cause rendered, and during pleasure, was irever more frequent :
Wee find that tythes, whose beginninge was superstitious, and is found by experience to oppress the poor hur bandman, and to be vexatious to att manner of people, and prejudicial to the commonwealih; were never foe riö gorously and cruelly exacted as at present : : Wee find taxes to be multiplied without number, or hopes of end, and excise foe cruelly exaéted, that noe man knows what is, or what shall be his owne; and although many millions of moneys hath been levied and payed, both voluntarily and by compulsion, yet noe accompt is given how they have beene expended ; but the public debts are dayly encreased initead of beinge satisfied, and such vaft fums of money payed dayly out of the public treasurie fos interest unto some with userers, as is almoft incredible :
Wee find the trade of the nation (which the parlament promised' at the first to advance) to be generally decayed, that without speedy remedy the nation cannot long fubfift:
Wee find the poore to be wholly disreguarded and op pressed, and thousands of families suffered to beg their bread, and many to perish with hunger:
But herein our condition hath beene rendered most defperate, that wee have not beene fuffered to represent our
miseries to the parlament, and petition for redress; but persons have beene imprisoned for petitioning, and orders issued out from parlament to suppress petitions : Confidering therefore this deplorable estate of the commonwealth, and the apparent danger of being imbrogledao gaine each in others blood, unless a speedy settlement prevent it; and considering not only, that wee have attempted all regular wayes to procure reliefe for our longe oppressed country, but also that wee cannot with safety any longer offer our grievances and desires to parlament in.pe: titions ; and likewise consideringe that our slavery under arbitrary power is occasioned by the want of a settlement of a juft and equal government, wbich if it were eftablished would speedily ease us of all our common burthens; wee cannot bethinke ourselves of a more probable remedy, than to put ourselves, and invite our countrymen to joine with us, in a posture of defence, whereby wee may be secure from danger, and from being prevented of our good intentions by the opposition of such as have designed our Navery, while wee propound to all our dear countrymen (who are sure to bee concerned in sufferinge as much as if they were in office) some certaine grounds of common right and freedoine, wherein they and wee might see reason to agree amongst ourselves, and thereupoti to establish a firme and present peace..
The particulars wee offer are as followeth. : :
i, That a period of time be set, wherein this present parlament shall certainly end.
2. That the people be equally proportioned for the choice of the deputies in all future parlaments; and that they doe of course meęte upon a certaine day (once at least in two years) for that end.
3. That a contract be drawne and sealed betweene the people and their several deputies respectively, upon the day of the elections, wherein the bounds, limits, and extent of their trust shall be clearly expressed. As that they bee impowered with sufficient authoritie for executinge, alteringe and repealinge of lawes; for erectinge and abolishinge, judicatories ; for appointinge, removing and callinge to account magistrates, and officers of all degrees; for makeinge warre and peace, and treating with sovereignc ftates. And that their power do not extend to the bindinge of any KK 4
man in matters of religion, or in the way of God's worship; nor to compell the person of any innocent man to serve against his will either by fea or land; nor to the makinge of any law, that shall be either evidently pernicious to the people, or not equally obligatory unto all perfons without exception.
4. That for the security of all parties, who have acted on any side in the late public differences since the year 1640, and for preventinge all contentions amongst them; the people may agree amongst themselves, that no future parlaments shall question or moleft any person for any thinge fayed or done in reference to these public differences. - 5. That the great officers of the nation, as well civil as military, be often removed, and others put into their room, either every yeare, or every second yeare at fartheft; to the end the persons employed may discharge themselves with greater care, when they know themselves lyable to a speedy account, and that other men may be encouraged to deserve preferment when they see the present incumbents not affixed to their offices as to freeholds..
6. That all determinating committees (except such as are necessary to be kept up for the managing of forces by fea and land) the chancery, and all other arbitrary courts, be forthwith dissolved; or at least all power taken from them, which they have hitherto exercised over men's perfons or estates: and henceforward, as well ordinances as acts of parlament be executed in the antient way of tryals by juries.
7. That the huge volumes of statute laws and ordinances, with the penalties therein imposed, as well corporal as pecuniary, be well revised ; and such only left in forcé, as shall be found fit for the commonwealth ; especially that men's lives be more precious than formerly, and that lerfer punishment than death, and more useful to the public, be found out for smaller offences : that all lawes, writs, commiffions, pleadinges and records' be in the English tongue ; and that proceedinges be reduced to a more certaine charge, and a more expeditious way chan formerly: That no fees at all be exacted of the people in courts of justice; but that the public ministers of state be wholly maintained out of the public treasury. : .
. ..: :*8. That 8. That estates of all kinds, real and personal, be made lyable to debes; but noe imprisonment at all by way of punishment, nor in order to makinge: satisfaction, whichi possibly can never be made, but only by way of fecurity in order to a tryal for some criminal fact, to be determined within some short and certaine space of time, and that this power of restraininge mens persons be very cautiously állowed, to which end the benefit of Habeas Corpus. to be in noe case denied by those whom it concerns to grant them.
9. That tythes be wholly taken away, the parilhoners from whom they are due paying in lieu thereof to the ftate where they are not appropriate, and to the owners where they are, moderate and certaine rent-charge out of their lands: the ministers to be maintained, either by the voluntary contribution of such as desire to hear them, or else by some settled pensions out of the public treasury.
10. That as speedy and as perfect an account as may be, be given and published for the satisfaction of the people how chose vast sums of money have been disposed of, that have been disbursed, voluntarily and otherwise, fince the beginning of these troubles.
i 1l. 1 bac foe soone as public occasions will possibly permit, the imposition of excise, and all other taxés upon the people be wholly taken away, and that in the mean time all care and diligence be used in taking away those occasions, and in the husbandly managing of the public revenues; and to that end that a ballance be made and de clared of all public revenues and expences, and that a course be taken for paying all public debts and damagesy só far as may be, and that the debts upon intereft be difcharged by sale of such lands and goods as are eyther pro. perly belonginge or any wayes accrued to the Itate, and that they be sold to the best advantage. .
12. That there be no less care taken for the growing wealth of the nation, consistinge originally in trade, which being our. Itrength and glory, ought by mitigating the customs, and by all other good meanes, to be cherilhed & promoted. *. 13. That (though restoring peace and commerce be the Surelt way of providinge for the poor) yet some more efle&ual course may be found out than hitberto bach beçne