Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

with the felicity of being put immediately into the form of an equal commonwealth, yet met with the best expedient, being governed by the members of parliament that continued to sit after the king's death; who, through their wisdom, put the nation in such a posture, as was a great refreshment to the harrassed country; and, through their victories, more increased our territories, and were more successful in arms, than all the martial princes that reigned in this isle since the conquest; approving themselves to the whole world prudent, active, and courageous statesmen, and such as minded the interest of their country. What good, what benefits, what felicities might we not justly expect from these worthy patriots, but this only, namely, a good government? And, if this, also is not expected, it is not because their good intentions to the nation are at all questioned, but because they, being too many, are not capable of performing it. But, as they were too many to frame a good government, so also they were, and still are, looked on, by wise men, as too few to make a popular council. Being but a piece of a house of commons, and necessitated to sit so many years, and to lay heavy taxes and burdens on the people, General Cromwell, during his time, turned them out of doors, and then called a select senate; which, being packed by him, plaid his game, at last resigning into his hands their power. He, rejecting the title of king, assumed to himself the government, and a greater power, than the English kings formerly had, with the consent of a great part of the people, who, like affrighted children, thought they should be safe, being hid under the gown of this great man. Yet failed he in his design of crecting a durable monarchy, who, probably, was able to have bro:ight to pass any thing else in this nation. With difficulty, whilst he lived, he made a shift to keep himself in the saddlc, which his son lost, presently after he was mounted. The government then devolved into the hands of this present parliament, who kept it not long, before they were ejectrd by their army; but now again, this third time, are they risen from the dead, and restored, through the fidelity and courage of your excellency, to the exercise of their trust.

Thus hath this poor nation, within these few years, tried all sorts of government, but an equal commonwealth.

We have ex. perienced monarchy in the old line, and in the two protectors, a select senate, an oligarchy, the government of an army, What not? And have not as yet met with the ends of a good govern. ment. Like a drowning man, this nation hath laid hold of every .thing that came in its way; but all things have proved but straws, and helpless twigs, that will not bear it above water.

And now, Sir, can any thing else save us but an equal commonwealth ? Which in truth is no more than a free and full parliament, but a free and full parliament more truly elected, and better formed. You having been bred up in the best school of experience, and being acquainted by history with ancient, and, by your travels and employment, with modern patterns of government, out of which your exact judgment will readily gather whatever is ex. cellent, or agreeable to this nation; I shall not presume to disa course particularly of the framing of a government to your excel. lency, whom God, I hope, hath raised to be the legislator of England. Only give me leave to remember you, that it is the judg. ment of the oracle in the politicks, grounded on notable exaples, experience and reason, and approved by modern writers, that the legislator of a nation must be but one man; who, whatsoever extraordinary actions he attempeth, or whatsoever power he'assu. meth to himself for the accomplishing of so worthy an end, as the settling of a commonwealth will prove to be, deserves not only excuse, but also honour. Consider, Sir, the present state of affairs, and see if you are able to discern the foot, on which our present commonwealth, so called, now stands, so narrow is it become: Or, if it hath a foot, is it not like that of Nebuchadnezzar's image, part of iron, and part of miry clay, which will not cleave together? It is already fractioned and crumbled into a small handful, which, though so small, is not well knit, but affords daily cause of jealousy; that like the little church or sect, which, consisting, as Barclay relates, of but three men, came at last to be three several churches: “Sic de angustà ecclesia, & trium hominum numero definita, tres quoque ecclesiæ natæ sunt;" this party will break, till they have not number enough to make up a family. And do you think so weak a defence, as this party is, will be able to repel the violent rage of that increased multitude, which, like a mighty sea, threatens to overbcar it? But, Sir, either

you

look on the parliament, not only as willing, but also as able to settle us a good government, or else you. would never, I conceive, stand by it, and own it. If you look on the parliament as able to perform it, we have new cause to esteem and love our country, after a more extraordinary manner, that can produce one or two-hun. dred able and sufficient legislators, when Rome, Sparta, Athens, or Israel, can boast of but one a.piece.

But, my Lord, the opinions of so many men met together must be various, anıt, like a multitude of physicians, will indanger, if not destroy their languishing patient. Let England, therefore, my Lord, have but onc physiciant, and such an one as they esteem and love; which will facilitate its recovery. Your excelleney, being esteemed and loved by your country, crowncd with victory, celebrated for martial skill, for your undaunted courage, your poli. tick conduct, and also having the militia’s of the three nations at your back, is that physician that may make us as happy, or as mi. serable as you please.

But alas! whilst the ship, that we are all embarked in, is tossed in a high sea, you, Sir, seem to sleep, notwithstanding the loud noise of all degrees of people, crying out to you,

" Save us, or we perish.” Behold, what a chaos England, your native country, is become; be you to it, as Moses was to Aaron, instead of a God; reduce the jarring elements into their places; sct a new and beall. tiful face on your deformed country, and, by bestowing on it an equal commonwealth, make it a paradise, wherein we may pass our

1

you see

days happily, and chearfully, blessing God for so worthy and hea roick a person, as you thereby will approve yourself.

England, when an equal commonwealth, will be as wise as Ve. nice, as rich as Holland, as virtuous and military as Rome. Bow lieve it, Sir, no legislator hitherto hath had so large territories, to settle a mighty and glorious commonwealth on, as England affords. All manner of materials are made ready for erecting the most beau. tiful structure; there only wants an able workman. Can any obstacle in your way? You yourself have affirmed, that the foundation of monarchy is gone. And what nobility is there to oppose you, but a titular and impotent one? What army hath England, but what is at your command ? Multitudes of people, indeed, like children, who must have a baby to play with, and something to glitter in their eyes, cry for a king; but, when they shall once view the glory and splendor, and enjoy the felicity of an equal commonwealth, they will cry out with the ravished apostle at the transfiguration of our blessed Saviour,' “ It is good for us to be here, let us build us tabernacles.” At worst, if this kind of government prove so good for the nation, as is promised, these fond people will not, nor indeed can they, make any person more than a prince in the commonwealth.

What should hinder you then from settling such a government? Or what encouragements are wanting? Do it, and you make this. people glorious and blessed; you will infinitely please them, and thereby attain to the highest step of honour, becoming the founder of a potent state; a legislator, that shall be commended by a learned age, the father of your country, and princeps perpetuus, Et quo

sis alacrior ad tutandam remp. sic habeto: Omnibus qui patriam conservavcrint, adjuverint, auxerint, certum esse in cælo, ac definitum locum, ubi beati ævo sempiterno fruantur. Cic. de

Som. Scip.

AN EXACT ACCOUNT OF THE

RECEIPTS, AND DISBURSEMENTS

EXPENDED BY THE

COMMITTEE OF SAFETY,

UPON THE EMERGENT OCCASIONS OF THE NATION.

Delivered in by M. R. Secretary to the said Committee,

To prevent false Reports and prejudicate Censures.

London : Printed for Jeremiah Hanzen, 1660. Folio, containing twelve pages.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HONOURS, I AM come here, according to order to present unto you an

exact account of what money was disbursed by the Committee of Safety, in the short time of their sitting. Truly, I would fain

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

justify myself, and those who were my masters, for I desire to ap. pear an honest man outwardly, whatever I am inwardly. I know, and am not ignorant, what a good thing it is to be a good stew. ard; for I know you love good stewards, and have thrown out the family of the Stewards, because you thought them not to be good stewards. I make no question, but your honours will find this to be a just and true account; for I learned subtraction, multiplica. tion, and addition, while I was at Drury-flouse; and, I thank God, I attained also to some small knowledge of the golden rule. I could have wished with all my heart it had been more, yet I intended to have perfected my knowledge in the Committee of Safety, had my time not been so short; however, I intreat your honours to consider, that the Committee of Safety could be at no small charges, in regard of the expences that wait upon authority. We had many mouths to feed, many wanting brethren, that were in charity to be relieved; and charity, your honours know how lau. dable a thing it is. All men love money, all men seek for it, and are not well till they have it; and would you have the Comunittee of Safety more than men? Truly, I can assure your honours, they were but men at their highest, and now they are God knows what; it is thought, some of them wow wish they were women. It is true, changes have been very advantageous to a great many nien in these tiines, but there are no changes now can do them good, but such metamorphoses, as the poets speak of. I myself wish I had been changed into an elder-tree, to have been cut out into put. guns, when I first fingered a penny of their money, Truly, I think the curse of Şimun Magus fell upon them; for no sooner was their money spent, but they were forced to run away; so that I may say of thein, that they and their money perished together, How it perished, I hope your honours will hereby receive full sa. tisfaction. I would have your honours contented with this ac. count, which I harc here brought; but I assure your honours, if you will not, I can bring you no other. I have one word more, l:y way of petition : That your honours would be pleased to consider my condition; and, if I have laid out any money out of my purse (as you may hereby perceive that I have) that you will be pleased to restore it me again, and give me ten times as much more. It is a sad thing to be poor and needy. O hunger, hunger,' said the famous Champion of England, more sharp than the stroke of death, thou art the extremest punishment that ever man endu.

red; if I were now king of Armenia, and chief potentate of • Asia, yet would I give my diadem, my scepter, with all my pru. ? vinces, for one sliver of browu brcad. I speak this to show you how much it concerns every man, and as well myself, as any body else, to prevent poverty; which makes me urge my petition to you once again, that you would not only not take away what I have got, but rather, as I said but just now, give me ten times

May it please your honours, I have done; the Lord bless you, and incline your hearts to pity and compassion. .

Received, out of the treasuries of the Excisc, Customs, and the

[ocr errors]

more.

Exchequer, four-hundred and thirty thousand pounds. Disbursed as followeth:

TIE ACCOUNT.

and three pence.

Imprimis, For three-and-twenty long clokes, at seven pounds ten shillings per cloke, to cover the Committee of Safety's kna. very, one

hundred seventy-two pounds ten shillings. Item, For six dozen of large fine Holland handkerchiefs, with great French buttons, for the Lord Fleetwood, to wipe away the tears from his excellency's cheoks, at twenty shillings per hand. kerchief, seventy-two pounds.

Item, For four new perriwigs for his lordship, at six pounds a perriwig, together with a dozen pounds of amber powder, with four wooden blocks, and half a dozen of tortoise-shell combs, forty, one pounds ten shillings.

Item, For a silver inkhorn, and ten gilt paper-books, covered with green plush and Turky lcather, for his lady to write in at church, seven pounds, three shillings,

Iten, Paid his young daughter's musick.master and dancingmaster, for fifteen months arrears, due at the interruption of the parliament, fifty-nine pounds five shillings.

Item, For twelve new brass nails that were wanting in his coach, and removing all his excellency's horses shoes, and blooding his pad nag, one hundred and sixty pounds, one shilling, and two. pence.

Item, For four rich mantles for his lady, two laced, and two em. broidered, and a brave new gown made toʻcongratulate her husband's new honour, two hundred and seventy pounds.

Item, Bestowed by her order, upon the journeymen taylors, and given to him that brought home and tried on her said gown, seven pieces in gold, seven pounds fourteen shillings.

Item, For changing an old fashion caudle cup, and three silver skillets that were melted, ten pounds.

Item, For the use of his excellency's rooms, his chairs and col. shions, as also for candles and Scotch coals, while the Committee of Officers sat in his house, five-hundred pounds.

Item, For an innumerable company of pectoral rolls and lozen: ges, to dry up his excellency's rheum, at two pence a piece, thirty pounds, two shillings, and two pence.

Iten, Paid the apothecary's bil!, for pills and clysters for the last autumn, cighty-one pounds twelve shillings.

Item, For two rolls of Spanish tobacco for Colonel Sydenham, at twenty shillings per pound, according to the protector's rate; and five black pots to warm ale in, at twelve pence a-piece; together with ten groce of glazed pipes, at nine shillings the groce, forty-five pounds, thirteen shillings, and four pence.

Item, For two gilt horn-books for his great son, at two shillings and six pence 2-piece, five shillings.

Item, Bestowed upon the Lord Lambert, to buy him the several pictures of Moses, Mahoinet, Romulus and Remus, Cæsar,

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »