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Delivered in the Council-Chamber, upon the 4th of July, 1653,
To the persons then assembled and intrusted with the supreme autho
rity of the nation. This is a true copy, published for information, and to prevent mistakes.
Printed in the year 1654.
ntaining twenty-eight pages.
hither, gives you well to understand the cause of your being here. Howbeit, having some things to impart, which is an instrument drawn up by the consent and advice of the principal officers of the army, which is a little (as we conceive) more significant than that other of summons: we have that here to tender you. And we have somewhat likewise further to say to you, for our own exoneration; and we hope it may be somewhat further to your satisfaction. And therefore, seeing you sit here somewhat uneasy, by reason of the scantness of the room, and the heat of the weather, I shall contract myself, with respect to that.
I have not thought it amiss, a little to mind you of that series of providence, wherein the Lord hitherto hath dispensed wonderful things to these nations, from the beginning of our troubles to this very day. should look much backward, we might remember the state of affairs as they were before the short, and that which was the last parliament. In what a posture the things of this nation stood, doth so well, I presume, occur to all your memories and knowledges, that I shall not need to look so far backward, nor yet to the beginning of those hostile actions that passed between the King that was, and the then parliament. And indeed, should I begin this labour, the things, that would fall necessarily before you, would rather be fit for a history, than for a discourse, at this present.
But thus far we may look back. You very well know, after divers turnings of affairs, it pleased God, much about the midst of this war, to winnow, as I may so say, the forces of this nation; and to put them into the hands of men of other principles than those that did engage at first. By what strange providences that also was brought about, would ask more time than is allotted me, to remember you of. Indeed, there are stories that do recite those transactions, and give narratives of matter of fact. But those things wherein the life and power of them lay; those strange windings and turnings of providence, those very great appearances of God, in crossing and thwarting the designs of men, that he might raise
up a poor and a contemptible company of men, neither versed in military affairs, nor having much natural propensity to them, even through the owning of a principle of godliness, of religion : Which so soon as it came to be owned, the state of affairs put upon that foot of account, how God blessed them, and all undertakings, by the rising of that most improbable, despicable, contemptible means; for that we must for ever own, you very well know.
What the several successes have been, is not fit to mention at this time neither; though I must confess I thought to have enlarged myself
subject, forasmuch as the considering the works of God, and the operation of his hands, is a principal part of our duty, and a great encouragement to the strengthening of our hands, and of our faith for that which is behind. And then having given us those marvellous dispensations, amongst other ends, for that was a most prircipal end, as to us, in this revolution of affairs, and issues of those successes God was pleased to give this nation, and the authority that then stood, were very great things brought about; besides those dints that were upon those nations and places where they were carried on, even in the civil affairs, to the bringing offenders to justice, even the greatest; to the bringing the state of this government to the name, at least, of a commonwealth; to the searching and sifting of all places and persons; the King removed, and brought to justice, and many great ones with him; the House of Peers laid aside; the House of Commons, the representatives of the people of England, itself, winnowed, sifted, and brought to a handful, as you may very well remember.
And truly, God would not rest there (for, by the way, although it be fit for us to intitle our failings and miscarriages to ourselves, yet the gloriousness of the work may well be attributed to God himself, and may be called his strange work.)
You may remember well, that, at the change of the government, there was not an end of our troubles, although that year were such things transacted, as indeed made it to be the most memorable year (I mean 1648) that ever this nation saw; so many insurrections, invasions, secret designs, open and publick attempts, quashed in so short a time, and this by the very signal appearances of God himself, I hope we shall never forget.
You know also, as I said before, that as the effect of that memorable year 1648 was to lay the foundation of bringing delinquents to punishment; so it was of the change of the government. Although it be true, if we had time to speak, the carriages of some in trust, in most eminent trust, was such, as would have frustrated to us the hopes of all our undertakings, had not God miraculously prevented : I mean, by that closure that would have been endeavoured by the King, whereby we should have put into his hands all that cause and interest we had opposed, and had nothing to have secured us, but a little piece of paper:
But things going on, how it pleased the Lord to keep this nation in exercise, both at sea and land; and what God wrought in Ireland and Scotland, you likewise know, until the Lord had finished all that trouble, upon the matter, by the marvellous salvation wrought at Wor cester.
I confess to you, I am very much troubled in my spirit, that the necessity of affairs doth require that I should be so short in these things, because I told you before, this is the leanest part of the transaction, to wit, an historical narration, there being in every dispensation (whether the King's going from the parliament, the pulling down the bishops, purging the house at that time by their going away to assist the King, or change of government) whatever it was, not any of those things, but hath a remarkable point of providence set upon it, that he that runs may read ; therefore I am heartily sorry, that, in point of time, I cannot be particular in those things, which I did principally design this day, thereby to provoke and stir up your hearts and mine to gratitude and confidence.
I shall now begin a little to remember you of the passages that have been transacted since Worcester fight; whence coming with my fellow officers and soldiers, we expected, and had some reasonable confidence that our expectations shouid not be frustrated : That the authority, that then was, having such a history to look back unto, such a God that appeared for them so eminently, so visibly, that even our enemies many times confessed, that God himself was engaged against them, or they should never have been brought so low, nor disappointed in every undertaking; for that may be said, by the way, had we miscarried but once, where had we been? I say, we did think, and had some reasonable confidence, that, coming up then, the mercies that God had shewed, the expectations that were in the hearts of all good men, would have prompted those that were in authority to have done those good things, which might, by honest men, have been judged a return fit for such a God, and worthy of such mercies, and, indeed, a discharge of duty to those, for whom all these mercies have been shewed, that is, the interest of the three nations, the true interest of the three nations.
And, if I should now labour to be particular in enumerating some businesses, that have been transacted from that time till the dissolution of the late parliament, indeed I should be upon a theme that would be very troublesome to myself. For I must say for myself and fellow officers, we have rather desired and studied healing, than to rake into sores, and look backward, to render things in those colours that would not be very well pleasing to any good eye to look upon. Only this we must say, for our own exoneration, and as thereby laying some foundation for the making evident the necessity and duty, that was incumbent upon us, to make this last great change, I think it will not be amiss to offer a word or two in that, not taking pleasure to rake into the business, were there not some kind of necessity so to do.
Indeed, we may say, without commending ourselves, I mean myself, and those gentlemen that have been engaged in the military affairs, that, upon our return, we came, fully bent in our hearts and thoughts, to de. sire and use all fair and lawful means we could, to have had the nation to reap the fruit of all that blood and treasure that had been expended in this cause; and we have had many desires, and thirstings, in our spirits, to find out ways and means, wherein we might any ways be instrumental to help it forward; and we were very tender, for a long time, so much as to petition, till August last, or thereabouts; we never offered
to petition, but some of our then members, and others, having good acquaintance and relation to divers members of the parliament, we did, from time to time, sollicit that, which we thought (if there had been no body to prompt them, no body to call upon them) would have been lise tened to, out of ingenuity and integrity in them, that had opportunity to have answered our expectations; and truly, when we saw nothing would be done, we did, as we thought, according to our duty, remind them by a petition ; which petition I suppose the most of you have seen, which we delivered, either in July or August last; what effect that had is likewise very well known. The truth is, we had no return at all, that was satisfaction for us, but a few words given us. The business petitioned for, most of them, we were told, were under consideration ; and those that were not, had very little or no consideration at all.
Finding the people dissatisfied in every corner of the nation, and - bringing home to our doors the non-performance of those things that had been promised, and were of due to be performed, we did think ourselves concerned; we endeavoured, as became honest men, to keep up the reputation of honest men in the world; and therefore we had, divers times, endeavoured to obtain a meeting with divers members of Parliament; and truly we did not begin this till October last, and in those meetings did, in all faithfulness and sincerity, beseech them, that they would be mindful of their duty to God and man, and of the discharge of their trust to God and man. I believe these gentlemen, that are many of them here, can tell, that we had, at the least, ten or twelve meetings, most humbly begging and beseeching them, that, of their own accords, they would do those good things that had been promised, that so it might appear, they did not do them, by any suggestion from the army, but of their own ingenuity, so tender were we to preserve them in the reputation and opinion of the people, to the uttermost. And having had many of those meetings, and declaring plainly, that the issue would be the judgment and displeasure of God against them, the dissatisfaction of the people, and the putting things into a confusion, yet, how little we did prevail, we well know, and, we believe, is not unknown to you. At the last, when we saw, indeed, that things would not be laid to heart, we had a serious consideration amongst ourselves, what other way to have recourse unto; and when, indeed, we came to those close considerations, they began to take the act of the new representative to heart, and seemed exceeding willing to put it on; the which, had it been done, or would it have been done with that integrity, with that caution, that would have saved this cause, and the interest we bave been so long engaged in, there could nothing have happened to our judgments more welcome than that would have been; but finding plainly, that the intendment of it was not to give the people that right of choice, although it had been but a ceding right, or the seeming, io give the people that choice intended and designed, to recruit the house, the better to perpetuate themselves. And truly divers of us being spoken to, to that end that we should give way to it, a thing to which we had a perpetual aversion, which we did abominate the thoughts of, we always declared our judgments against it, and our dissatisfaction; but yet they would not hear of a representative, before it lay three years before them, without proceeding with one line considerably in it; they that could not endure to hear of it, then, when we came to our close considerations, then, instead of protracting, they did make as much preposterous haste on the other hand, and ran into that extremity; and finding that his spirit was not according to God, and that the whole weight of this cause, which must needs have been very dear unto us, who have so often adventured our lives for it; and we believe is so to you; when we saw plainly, that there was not so much consideration how to assert it, or to provide security for it; and indeed, to cross those, that they reckoned the most troublesome people they had to deal with, which was the army, which, by this time, was sufficiently their displeasure; when we saw this, truly, that had power in our hands, to let the business go to such an issue as this, was to throw back the cause into the hands of them we first fought with; we came to this first conclusion amongst ourselves, that, if we had been fought out of it, necessity would have taught us patience; but, to be taken from us so unworthily, we should be rendered the worst people in the world, and we should become traitors both to God and man; and, when God had laid this to our hearts, and that we found the interest of his people was grown cheap, and not laid to heart, and, if we came to competition of things, the cause even amongst themselves would even, almost in every thing, go to the ground; this did add more consideration to us, that there was a duty incumbent upon us, and truly | speak it in the presence of some that are here, that were at the close consultations; I may say, as before the Lord, the thinking of an act of violence was, to us, worse than any engagement that ever we were in yet, and worse to us than the utmost hazard of our lives, that could be, so unwilling were we, so tender were we, so desirous were we, if it were possible, that these men might have quit their places with honour. And iruly, this I am the longer upon, because it hath been, in our hearts and consciences, our justification, and hath never yet been imparted thorough to the nation; and we had rather begin with you to do it, than to have done it before, and do think, indeed, that these transactions be more proper for a verbal communication, than to have put it into writing. I doubt, whosoever had put it on, would have been tempted to have dipped his pen in anger and wrath; but affairs being at this posture, that we saw plainly and evi. dently, in some critical things, that the cause of the people of God was a despised thing, truly then we did believe, that the hands of other men must be the hands that must be trusted with it, and then we thought it high time for us to look about us, and to be sensible of our duty. IfI should take up your time to tell you, what instances we have to satisfy our judgments and consciences, that these things were not vain imaginations, and things that were petitioned for, but that fell within the compass of our certain knowledge and sense; should I repeat these things to
I should do that which I would avoid, to rake into these things too much; only this, if any body were in competition for any place of real and signal trust, how hard and difficult a thing it was to get any thing to be carried, without making parties, without things, indeed, unworthy of a parliament. And, when things must be carried so in a supreme authority, indeed, I think, it is not as it ought to be; but, when it came