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WORD FOR THE ARMY,
TWO WORDS TO THE KING DOM.
To clear the one, and cure the other. Forced in much Plainness and
Brevity from their faithful Servant, Hugh Peters.
Nunc nunc properandus et acri
London, printed by M. Simmons, for Giles Calvert, at the Black Spread-Eagle,
at the West End of Paul's, 1647. Quarto, containing fourteen pages.
THO "HOUGH I have looked upon the scribblings of this age as the
fruits of some men's idleness, and most men's folly, and therefore should not willingly have owned myself, if found among that rabble: yet, when it grows so unlimitedly bigh, and impudently brazen, that some men I know, men even above flattery, and so sleek and smooth, in their uprightness (among whom I place the present general and his second) that I had thought nothing of that kind could stick, and yet these besmeared by uncircumcised pens.
1. Two things I resolved, which now I offer to the world. The first is an humble petition to the parliament, that they would please to try their now well-backed authority, that some one faithful discreet man may be chosen to divulge gazettes, courants, or news, who shall be accountable to the state, for what he prints or communicates to the kingdom; and that two of each party (for parties there are) shall undertake for what is printed on the behalf of either, that so all scandalous and slanderous personal affronts may be avoided, and matters worth time and reading may be published: or, if none of these may be gotten, at least men may put their naines to their papers, that honest men may know where to find an accuser; for, si sat sit accusare, quis erit innocens ? I list not to answer objections may be made hereunto; since this boundless kind of boldness were better curbed to some inconvenience, then continued to a mischief, even the poisoning the whole nation : it should not be a wise man's quære, what strength, wit, acuteness, &c. runs through such a paper but, cui bono ? II. My second resolve is, though not to answer every
pamphlet punctually, which rather than do, I might undertake to cleanse the stable in the story: yea, though my share lies so much in them, that it would be costly to purchase clean handkerchiefs to wipe off every spattering on my face, and I could as shortly, and more truly, answer
all, as he did Bellarmine, with, Thou lyest; knowing no public instrument, in no age, in no place, can travel without others dashing and dogs barking: yet, to prevent stones from speaking, and graves from opening, or some horrid unheard of thing from appearing, to satisfy the wide-mouthed world, and the black mouthed pamphleteers; I shall, in plainness and faithfulness, shew you the army's wounds since they put up their sword, and, with them, the state's disease; and, in humility, offer the cure, and leave all to a wonder-working God.
First, let me tell you, negatively, the evils, commonly charged upon the army, are not the army's evils. We have generally causam pro non causa, in which Mr. Prynne was wont to exceed, who spoke much more than he meant to stand to: the sum of all his is the army's rebel. lion. Another pedantick sounds a retreat, who, being nameless, will not endure a charge; the marrow of his divinity, non-obedience. Another brings the army to the bar, where he pleads with a company of balled threatenings, and would fright Fairfax with a sight of a king at Whitehall. One cries, they sin against Cæsar; another, they have deflowered the parliament; another, they have ravished the city; another, they are sectaries, enemies to government, false to God, to man, friends, enemies to themselves. They have lost Ireland, ruined England : Oh! taxes and free-quarter: Oh! this trinkling with the court, cries one: Oh! their doubtful carriage with the court, cries another : Cavaliers shall up, cries one: we shall never see good day, says another. I do not think Paul heard such a confused noise, when himself could hardly get leave to speak : that the word army must answer all the doubtful mischievous deadly questions in the world: for example;
Who brings famine? the army.
Who confounds all? the army. And if it should be asked the cavaliers and malignants, who conquered you? they would answer, the army: if the presbyters, who disappointed you? the army: if the independents, who leaves you in the dark? the army: and if Haman were asked, what he would do with these Jews? we know the answer: alas, poor army: qualis de te narratur fabula? But to my purpose; the grand complaint (which, as most insisted upon, so is most likely to have vulgar acceptance) is the army's disobedience to the parliament, by which the state was endangered to lose all consistency; in respect of which, the apprentices routing the house is but duty or innocency; or, at worst, a parallel practice.
To which this is my plain and full answer.
It is confessed they were not willing to disband at Walden, being urged thereunto, and denied in Essex, when expected and pressed: but consider, 1st, It was required but conditionally, with regard to their security, indemnity, and arrears, and none of these performed; it was not such a monstrum horrendum.
?dly, They were free Englishmen as soldiers, and must maintain their
obligation to the state, as well as answer the major and more corrupt votes of the house.
3dly, Nature commanded their self-preservation, when such instruments were sent to disband them, and command them for Ireland, of wbose non-integrity they had good experience.
4thly, When not long before they could not have leave to petition their faithful general, how should they expect any thing, being dise banded?
5thly, This piece of disobedience was not new unto them, when the same practice was familiar from men more mercenary in the north, and their denial never counted rebellion, but glibly swallowed.
6thly, I answer, and I desire it may be observed: the first force ever put upon the parliament was long before this, and that nearer hand : did not the city remonstrance hang like a petard upon the parliament door week after week, and every ward in course, to attend and fire it? Speak, gentlemen of the house, how you were accosted gand saluted, and in what language, till you were forced to speak pure London.
7thly, I do here offer to make good upon oath, that the commanding party, in the house, had more force upon them to disband us, than we put upon the house in refusing. For proof whereof, master Anthony Nicholls, lately with us at Kingston, before his flight, being urged by myself, before another sufficient witness, to speak to this point, calling for a testimony from heaven, professed, that, when the army offered at first to go for Ireland, he with the other impeached members fully condescended to it, and they gave him the agitation thereof; but, as he protested, the ministers in London came to them with violence, pressing the contrary upon this ground: that this army would soon conquer Ireland, fill it with schisms, and not only command it, but in a short time give law to England; and therefore would hear of nothing but the disbanding it, which, quoth he, put us upon that violent course: now who forced these ministers? I do not say; but you see who forced those parliament-men, and we know they would force the army; and upon denial the army are the forcers. And, if the city remonstraters durst speak, they can tell you who forced them to force the parliament; and if the apprentices would break silence, they could tell you who spit in their mouths, aud clapped them on the back.
In all this I speak not my delight, but my grief, that so many pulpits should plainly witness this force, as history tells us who poisoned king John. And though we have not been ignorant of this kind of violence (which I had rather attribute to my brethren's zeal, than their malice) yet you see how tenderly we have dealed with thuse: we knowing many godly amongst them, who have not yet declared against them, complained of one of them; nay, though this army, from first to last, never had any of these brethren to offer one sermon to us to encourage us in dangers, to rejoice with us in our success; nay, though they know wo want helps, and have been forced to use such help, as they have reviled us for, and so would have us make brick without straw; nay, though we know most hard measure met us; I do profess I conceive even Gangræna himself might have marched through the army unmolested, though we are not ignorant, hinc nostri fundi calamitas. The Lord pity and pardon, the army doth.
8thly, Lastly, The army durst not disband, not seeing a suitable power to stand betwixt honest men and their dangers; the garisons not possessed by men of trust, and the five thousand horse intended not in such hands as to be wished; and the best of them might be soon disbanded, when the foot scattered.
No, no, this is not the army's wound or sore; and, to answer the retreater's grand question, whence are wars? I answer with the apostle James, and add: peace begets plenty, plenty pride, and pride war, and war begets peace, and so round again The school boy, that helped hiin to so many Latin ends out of Tully, can answer a harder query; but, since he pretends to religion, I wonder this offended brother duth not attend the rule, Matth. xviii. Why cannot he as well speak tv a brother offending, and so tell him, as to tell all the world of him? I have been satisfied in my own spirit, that the godly could not be much offended with us, since none have taken the liberty of speaking to us; which, I dare say, from the general to the meanest officer professing godliness, had not been unwelcome.
But I look upon that author to be as great a stranger to the army, as he is often to his own principles, and his whole course to be a trade of retreating, and leave him to another pen. Nor is a general toleration the army's gangræna, when as they never hindered the state from a state-religion, having only wished to enjoy now what the Puritans begged under the prelates; when we desire more, blame us and shame us. Neither was ii the evil of the army, that, being modelled, they suddenly closed, and marched at that time, when the boldest complainer now would have given them t:vo parts of what they had, to have secured the third. Fri nils, it was not their evil to divide part of their force to Taunton, and, with another part, to fight at Nasehy, and after that, by God's blessing, to deliver up a free kingdom to an ungrateful inhabitant, and to an envious cruel piece of a parliament; nor did those honest-hearted, so much aspersed, Fairfax and Cromwell sin in owning the army at New.market; nor in their march from thence towards London; nor in their respects to those noble commissioners of parliament sent to them; nor in their courtesy to those discreet citizens from Lon. doni, who deserve much; nor their condescending to their desires to march off upon promise of two things: First, that they would put out the imperious reformadoes. Secondly, in securing the house, though neither performed; nor in scattering their forces at two hundred miles distance, and providing for Ireland ; nor in their return upon those confessed insolencies; nor in marching unto and through the city, to shew their barmless intentions; nor in securing the king in that juncture; nor in hearkening to their agitators in their just proposals; nor in asking inoney to avoid free quarter, and other burdens; nor in bringing those of the house, that fled to them, home again; nor in desiring a sound parliament, and clearing it from such persons as had shaken iheir publick interest; nor in propounding wholesome means to the house, and leaving them to their feet, to be enlarged, altered, or explained, to the kingdom's advantage; nor, lastly, are complaints against private soldiers the proper evil of the army, -since, when I speak of the army, mainly intend their counsel and conduct; for you know, in such a body, that sickness in pay causeth death in discipline. But positively we will turn up our lap, and shew you our nakedness, et habebitis confitentes reos. We acknowledge, we are reaping the ill fruits of our want of action: Sævior armis luxuria incubuit, victosque ulciscitur.
It may be, some of us have had our lordly dish in Jael's teni, and our head may be nailed to the ground; we may think, the war being ended, we may begin to look to our own comforts and subsistence; and we are apt to plead, who shall enjoy honour, and other advantages, but those that have won them through hazards? and think they may be confided in. It may be, some of us look upon our shops and trades, as things below us. We want that communion with God, and one with another, which we had in sad hours; we are forgetful of our mercies; we may be apt to quarrel one with the other, for want of an enemy.
We may have such a neighbour of the court, that some of us may be planet-struck, yet I hope not principle-shaken; we may wander too much from our own first underlakings, in the opinion of others.
We are not without varieties of thoughts about the matters of God, which never appeared when we had no time for talking, having so much to do and act. We cannot, we confess, live beyond our frailties, in many kinds: to be short, we have prayed more, loved more, believed more, than we do. We are grown effeminate with ease, and are more coued 'with a dead dog, than we have been with a living lion; we are less in heaven, and more on earth; and these truly, are our wounds, dear friends.
Some other diseases there are as much considerable amongst others, which may be of greater and stranger influence, as,
1. All men's unbelief in God for the carrying on his work; he is not minded in the whole business.
2. Our not designing a government from first to last.
3. Our general, proud, and careless carriages towards the present differences, which make so much noise amongst us.
4. A selfishness and negligence in commillees, and men intrusted, behaving themselves as if th«y could keep their painted and well-stuffed cabbins when the ship is sinking.
A general want of the fear of God, and that spirit of trembling before him, which, whilst it was upon Ephraim, he was a glorious tribe.
6. An oscitant and untrussed kind of deportment in all men towards publick affairs; the truth is, the want of a publick spirit threatens ruin
7. Unwarranted jealousies of all men, and all actions ; yea, though convinced of each others faithfulness.
8. Common unthankfulness and ingratitude to God and man; I fear, shortly, the greatest error, in the kingdom, will be the famine of love.
9. Delay to the distressed, making them more miserable than the matter of their complaints doth. 10. A spirit of lying and false witness-bearing, reaching to the un