« ZurückWeiter »
1648 ; clearly epitomising the statutes belonging to this nution, which concern (and, as a golden rule, ought to regulate) the several estates and conditions of men; and, being duly observed, do really promote the peace and plenty of this commonwealth.
[First Published in 1649.1
Gentlemen, friends, and coun- open war against the public interest trymen, I do not question, but that of the nation, and so are cast, by the stile and title of our commis- God's justice, for their transgressions, under which 'we are now to sions into a mean and low condition;) act, and execute the authority and all I shall say, (with the poor compower committed to our hands, bc- fort of calamity, pity,) is this, that ing changed from Carolus Rer Ang- if they have not already tasted enough live, to Custodes libertatis Anglice au of the cup of God's wrath, for their thoritate parliamenti, works divers misdoings, let them take heed they effects upon the tempers and spirits engage not again, for fear that, of men, according as the spirits hereafter, they be enforced to drink themselves are tempered and affec- the dregs of his displeasure. Other ted; and that some of those spirits silly spirits there are, who, standing (like the sun upon. wax) it softens unbottomed upon any solid principles into obedience and compliance, and of their own, find themselves tossed others of them, again (like the same to and fro with the wind uhich blous sun upon clay) it hardens into stiff- from others mouths ; one while lisa ness and opposition. Proud, ambi. tening to the prophet, who bids them tious, and malignant spirits, finding go up to Ramoth-Gilead, and prosthemselves frustrated and defeated per; and by and by again yielding hereby of their designed hopes, and to him that bids them not go up, for hopeful designs, for obtaining their fear of perishing; and so they are desired ends; and, being filled with carried into cross and oblique opi. prejudice to others, and self-love to nions, and actions, tending to, and their own opinions, and therefore endangering, their utter ruin and baving turned themselves aside from destruction. And, to these men, all the use of their own reason, and I shall say, and advise, is this, that from all overtures and arguments of they will forthwith repair to the school satisfaction, and having given up of REASON, and suffer themselves to their understanding to blind affec- be guided and led by impartial and tions --it startles and confounds with wholesome lessons, and instructions, passions and amazements, heighten-' to a better information of their judo. ed into choler and disdain ; because ments, whereby they may be settled looking through the false glass of upon undeniable grounds in the their own self-interest, they tind no- knowledge of themselves, and the thing therein, but imaginary sha- truth, and of their own right, intekings of foundations, overturning of rest, and concernment. But anolaws, and confused heaps of ruins ther sort of men there are, who are and distractions. But to these, if willing to let their eyes stanut in the any such be present, (especially, if place where nature set them, and to 'they have been formerly engaged in make use of that reason and judgment,
which God hath given them, and, with governors were but made by the peoerected minds, to apprehend the sense ple, and for the people, with this of their own future happiness, and to reserve, that whensoever the people hearken to the voice which calls them should perceive, that their trustees, to the flourishing actions of a reform- and governors, did turn potestatem ed commonwealth, and therefore do into potentium, the power and auentertain this change with suitable thority of government, hy rule and opinions and compliance from these law formerly agreed upon, and congrounds which they thus propound and sented unto by the people, into an argue with themselves. ' armed force; and that they did alter
1. That all power and authority the people's rempublicam, into the is originally and primarily in God, governor's rem privatum ; and that and comes from God; and this their government, ceasing to be free, they rest upon, as being a scripture- was made to hang over the people's truth.
heads, as a lordly scourge to their 2. THAT GOD OUT OF HIS WIS- destruction; then, and from thenceDOM AND PROVIDENCE, HATH DIS- forth, and that with good comeliPENSED AND TRANSMITTED so ness of reason, the people belake MUCH OF THIS AUTHORITY AND themselves to thoughts of reformaPOWER TO MEN, AS IS NECESSARY tion; and finding cause to dislike FOR THEIR USE. First, as in rela their former choice, being not tied tion to the inferior creatures, to rule by any scripture rule to any one and govern them, as lord and king. form of government, they chuseagain, And, as in relation to one another, and take some other form, differing from a principle of nature, (conser- from that before, whereby they will vatio sui-ipsius) to seek and endea. avoid the evils they suffered under your their own preservation and se- their former choice, and enjoy the curity, which principle draws them good of a more beneficial preservato this conclusion (salus populi su- tion; for, like mariners and men in prema lex) the safety of the people a ship at sea, they will no longer is the supreme law, both of nature, trust an unskilful or perfidious steers. and nations. And from this natural man, lest they should be found guil. principle, and supreme law of na- ty of their own ensuing shipwreck ture, however all men, in their orin and destruction. ginal creation, are all of one and And this brings me to the next the same substance, mould, and assertion, and position, which ! stamp, yet, for preservation's sake, @wn as a most certain truth, and they find a fitness in subordinations positive assurance, THAT THE PEUand degrees among them, for the PLE, (UNDER GOD) IS THE ORIGI: better ordering of their affairs; and NAL OF ALL JUST POWER, AND so they appoint rulers, and autho- THAT, LET THE GOVERNMENT RUN rise governors over them, as trustees OUT INTO WHAT FORM IT WILL, for themselves. They also elect MONARCHY, ARISTOCRACY, OR DEgovertiment, create rules, orders, and MOCRACY, YET STILL THE ORIGI, laws, hy which they will have their NAL FOUNTAIN THEREOF IS FROM rulers and governors to guide and THE CONSENT AND AGREEMENT OP steer their actions in the course of THE PEOPLE. And from this asser. their government, to which they will tion, and position, I am led on furconform their obedience; and this ther, by plain reason, to understand, truth is ascertained from hence, that that rulers, and governors, are aca there were people before there were 'countable to the people for their mis, either rulers or governors of people, government; namely, when they and that therefore these rulers and transgress the rules, and laws, by
which the people did agree they part, you shall find nothing less would be governed. But, let me than excellency, or perfection in it! not be mistaken, for when I say ac- Look into your own stories, and you countable to the people, I do not shall always find the king and great mean to the diffused humours and lords, comites suos, as they were fancies of particular men in their called, incroaching upon the people's singular and natural capacities, but liberties and rights, and incroaching to the people, in their politic con- to themselves superlative prerogastitution, lawfully assembled by their tires and dominion over them. On representative.'
the other side you shall find again Touching the government of this the people struggling to preserve nation, it hath anciently been mo- themselves and their own interests, narchical, in the frame and consti- labouring still tu avoid the miseries, tution of it; but yet it never was a and to free themselves from the mispure monarchy; for a pure monarchy chiefs of their sufferings, is a clear tyranny: but it was a po- The times and transactions, before litical monarchy, or monarchy go- the Norman William got the crown, verned by laws, taking in thereto all and which past among the Britons, the goods, and avoiding all the ills, Romans, Danes, and Sasons, being both of aristocracy and democracy; dark and obscure, I pass by, and and so I may truly say, that look therefore, I shall only speak some, upon the frame and constitution of thing of the times and transactions it alone, and, as it were, upon the since. theoretical and contemplative part First, The tyrannical domination of it; and, supposing it possible that of that first William, and his son the practice would answer the theo- the second William, gave the people ry, no man can deny, but that it to see their ensuing miseries ; for, was a frame of most excellent order though they made choice of the se. and beauty : for, first, it had a king, cond William, who was but a second the chief officer, one single person; son, and rejected Robert, bis elder and therefore, avoiding the proud brother, yet they soon found their factions and contentions, usually kindness was suddenly forgotten, happening in aristocracy, as like, when unce the crown was obtained, wise, the disordered confusions, com. and, therefore, they refused, when mon in single democracy; but yet he was dead, to chuse again, till, a king bounded and compassed with by new engagements, oaths, and laws above him, being the rules alroyal promises of better government, ready made and given him to rule they were cheated into a second by; and, with a necessity of con- election of Henry the first, who was currence and compliance, with lords a younger brother likewise. But it and commons below him, for future was not long after before monarchy legislative power and authority, and placed the king, and pleasure and so avoiding the danger of tyranny will ruled, and the whole kingdom usually incident to monarchies, which almost was turned into forests; and commonly makes the monarch's will the laws, which the people were the law, and so establishing the go brought to live under and obey, were yernment upon this foundation, the cruel and insupportable laws of Voluntas lex imperatoris esto. the forest, which were made rather
But, alas! when I have shewed to preserve the beasts, than the peoyou the frame and constitution of ple within the bounds of forests. the late government, I have shewed Then the people, finding no other you all the beauty of it; for, when remedy, betook themselves to thoughts you come to examine the practical of reformation, as I told you at the first. And in the time of King persons to be the men in highest John, at Renymeed, they demanded esteem; nay, murderers and robbers, restitution of St. Edward's laws, for and the like, cherished and mainso they called that Saxon Edward, tained, and, if brought to public who was dead many years before, justice, and condemned for their but without any heir or successor of misdoings, yet pardoned again, and that kind, (for we never read of any set at liberty; and though (hy the St. King since him,) and by those fundamental law) parliaments, (the laws they say they will be governed, usual salve for the people's sores) and to those laws they will conform. were to be called and held twice a Hercupon a new compact is made; year, yet were they laid aside, and the articles of Renymeed, containing rarely made use of; and then, when most of St. Edward's laws, are con- they were called, it was but to serve firmed and established, by consent, the king's turn, for granting subsiin parliament, and so the people dies, or the like. And therefore when are for that time satisfied, and think the people perceived this, in the themselves very safe, as they well time of King Edward the second, might think so, under the security they thought fit to question his misof an act of parliament. But yet government, by articles of impeachthis act proved no security, for in a ment in parliament against him, and short time after, all was let loose then to depose him from his kingly again, and the same mischiefs and office, and to make his son, during oppressions upon the people were his father's life time, warden of the still continued as before, and many kingdom; and shortly after they made more additions made thereto, to the him king (while his father lived) by utter inslaving of the English nation. the name of Edward the Third. And
IIereupon the people stand up, now are acts of parliament mado once more, for their liberties and against the former mischiefs : First, native rights in the ancient laws of against the King's granting pardons the land, and demand, the second to robbers and murderers; and four time, to have them confirmed, and acts of parliament are made at the to be kept from violation, and so, neck of one another, and pursuing in the ninth year of King Henry the one before, telling the king plainly, third, was the great charter of the that he may not, he must not grant liberties of England (being but a'de pardons, but where he may do it claration of the ancient common by his oath, namely, in case of ho. laws of the land, and little differing micide, by misfortune, and homicide, from the articles of Renymeed, to- in his own defence. Secondly, for gether with the charter of the forest) more frequent holding of parliaments framed and consented to in full par. namely, that they should be held liament, and are the first acts of once a year, and oftener, if need be. parliament now extant in print. But little effect did these produce, And so the people sat down again for the mischiefs have continued, and under the protection of this second the people have still suffered, by the security; but, how weak a security breach of those laws, even until it proved, let the practice of the these very times, the very same misnext King, and all succeeding Kings, chiefs as before. tell you, though it had been con- In the time of King Richard the firmed and allowed by themselves Second, the disorders of the court, two and thirty times; for in the two and oppressions upon the people next Kings time you shall find the from thence, were so great and un. good men of the land discountenan- supportable, that the people articled ted, and vain, loose, and wanton against that King, and likewise de
posed him, and so they afterward since continued among us, and even
voice upon the people, which they But (as I said before) God's pu- also have with much lordliness pracnishment is just upon us; for as the tised in answer to the commons bills, war began here, so it hath ever though of the highest concernment