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for their weal, however they express the people hy flattering royalists, that negative in court-language and and proud and ambitious prelates, good words, We will send an an- viz. that the King had an original swer by messengers of our own ;' as right to rule : And, secondly, that if the people should expect they the King was accountable to none meant to return some concurrence but God for his misgovernment ; with them, when, God knows, no- for, lay but these two together with thing is less thought upon, or meant the negative voice, and let any man by them.

judge what they may and must And now let the people see their necessarily produce, in point of own condition, now let them con- tyranny and oppresssion over the sider how they have been abused by people. good words and phrases, which if I trust I have shewed you the they had clearly and universally un- true original of all just power and derstood the meaning of, or if these authority, and from whence it is negatives had been clearly expressed, that the exercise of authority and in downright language, We will power is practised among men over not (help you! or, 'We will not one another; I have shewed you ease you of your burthens or op- also the justice which lies in this : pressions that lie so heavy upon you,' ' That kings, rulers, and governors, truly then I presume the people and particularly the King of this would long since have been stirred nation, should be accountable to up to help themselves, and to have the people for their misgovernments endeavoured as well to take away and how destructive a tenet it is to the mischief, as to avoid the misery say, “That a king hath right to rule of such a government. For my own over men upon earth, and that yet part, I speak it freely from my heart, God hath not given a power to that as I am a free-man, both by earthly men to call him to account birth, and education, and am inhr for misgovernment;' unless you will ritable to the laws and free-customs suppose that kings at first did fall of England; so I do naturally desire from heaven, and were sent down the security of government, and I from above to exercise their wills, do willingly submit to the justice and act their lusts below. of known laws: But I have ever ab- And having said thus much upon horred all arbitrary powers, or to this subject, only to give a hint, be subject to the wills or passions from whence you may observe (till of men ; and therefore I have always "the parliament's own declaration be thought, 'since I could think any published, which, I hope, will fully thing upon the grounds of judgment and clearly set them out what the or reason, that, so long as these two grounds and reasons were, that the fore-mentioned negatives remained parliament had found the kingly oiupon the people, there could be no fice, within this nation, to be usesecurity or freedom in the govern- less and dangerous; and why, there. ment held over them: and therefore, they will no more trust the was no one thing that hath so firmly crown upon the head of any one fixed me in the way I have gone, person, nor transfer the custody of and wherein I now am, and to op- the liberties of England, and Engpose the other, as, the mischiefs I lishmen, into the power of another, understood to be in the two negative who may abuse them; and, therevoices of the King and the lords: fore, why, likewise, they resolve to Adding to this the two fundamental keep the crown within its proper court-errors, and destructive posi- place, the cabinet of the law, and tions, maintained and held forth to to allow the law only to king it among the people; and that the peo- memories) to deliver to you in wria' ple themselves (by their representa- ting, with the laws and the punishtives) shall be the only keepers of ments; and briefly to run over the their own liberties, by authority de- rehearsal of the facts only, without rived from their own supreme and further mention concerning them ; sovereign power, established in law yet with such necessary expositions and common surety: Which brings and explanations of particulars, as me now to the stile of our commis- shall be needful in my passage sions, Custodes libertatis Angliæ au through them; adding only this for thoritate parliamenti.

an animadversion to you, that you And, touching the King of Eng- and I are trusted, at this time, with land's right to rule, or title of law, the administration of justice in our by inheritance and descent, to the own country, amidst all the temptacrown of England, thus much may tions, which our several relations of be safely and truly said : That if friends, kindred, or acquaintance, it be an ancient and original inheri- can offer unto us; which shews, tance fixed in any one family, it that they, who do so trust us, have was gained at first by the power of great assurance and confidence in the sword, and by conquest; which us; and then we must conclude, title, in law, is but a disseisin, and that this confidence puts a greater an unlawful title, and therefore may obligation upon us to fidelity and be again as justly regained, as it integrity in the discharge and perforwas gained at first by force, and by mance of that trust committed to us. the stronger arm and sharper sword. Add to this that vinculum animæ, And, as it was so gained at first, so the bond of the soul, the obligation it hath been ever since, either by of an oath, and I doubt not but it the like pure force, or else by con- will be found, that, though love, sent of parliament, upon particular fear, and particular interest be the cases, kept and continued ; and so usual cords which halter justice, yet, you will find, if you look, how eve at this time, they will be found in Ty king, since the Norman William be, among us, but sorry and un(called the Conqueror) came to the masculine pieces of rhetorick, either crown: For, of all those five-and- to affright us from, or soften us in twenty kings and queens, which have our duties. since that time kinged it among us, The matter of your charge will there are but seven of them, who be to enquire into, and find out the could pretend legally to succeed their several offences, which have been former predecessors, either by lineal committed and done against the poor collateral title. I have not lei- litic body of the commonwealth, sure to repeat the particulars ; and as so many several diseases and inthis, I have said, may serve to give firmities in the several parts of the you occasion (if you be so minded) natural body of a man, which disto look further into it, and to satisfy temper and endanger the health of your judgments herein, and, by con- the whole; and they are of four sequence, to keep you from engaging sorts. against yourselves, and the nation, First, Such as are against the for a name, or for a thing, which is peace of the commonwealth, or not truth.

whereby public peace is disturbed ; And now I come to that, which and those I call diseases endangering is our true business, our work of the the heart of this politic body. first magnitude, opus diei in die suo, Secondly, Such as are against the articles of your charge, which I the justice of the commonwealth, intend (for the better helping of your or whereby public justice is per


verted; and those I call diseases out from all the parts of the counendangering the head of this politic try, and chosen to be the chief agents, body.

and first movers (as I may speak) in Thirdly, Such as are against the this work of justice, which is the plenty of the commonwealth, or subject of this day's service, and are whereby public plenty is diminish- the country's trustees for that pured; and those I call diseases offend- pose ; I do not question, but your ing the stomach of this politic body. public spirits are such, and common

Fourthly, Such as are against the love to your country such, (taking beauty and good complexion of the in even your own interests and parcommonwealth, or whereby this ticular profits and concernments) beauty and good complexion is dis- that you will be more ordinary carecoloured and defaced, contained un- ful to cleanse the country of these der the name and title of common weeds, and darnel, and cockle, that nuisances; and those I call diseases grow up among the corn; those offending the outward senses of this wicked and unreasonable men, which politic body.

are as pricks and goads, in the sides [Here the learned Serjeant proceeds toa of others, and live idly, loosely, and long detail of the various offences against wickedly, among the people, and the laws under the heads of 1. Treasons, are, as so many plague-sores, spread 2. Felonies, 3. Premunire, 4. Misprisons, over the body of the country ; and 5. Trespasses; in the course of which

the way, to cleanse the country of he diplays an astonishing fund of legal knowledge : as the laws have however

them, is to execute justice upon undergone numberless alterations in these

them; for the execution of justice respects, the detail would be uninte- is the work of God himself, the end resting to our readers in general. The of the law, the command of the charge concludes as follows :-] parliament, the magistrate's honour,

And thus you see how the wisdom the offender's terror, and the expecof the common laws of this nation, tation of all honest men: and thereand of the parliaments, from time fore (as once it was spoken in anoto time, hath provided for the secu- ther case) let it not seem a small rity and ease of the people; and thing to you, who are to begin this hath furnished us with a salve for work of justice, that you are sepaevery sore; and gives us rules and rated from the congregation, and insructions, how to govern ourselves, brought near to the God of heaven, that we may be helpful and useful to do the service of the tabernacle, to one another; and from whence it and to stand before the people, and is, that we may well conclude, ' If to minister unto them. And, haywe keep the law, the law will keep ing said thus much, I leave what us ;' and that, if we place the law remains to your diligence. All our in the throne, the law will preserve service begins in you; it is your and protect us, in safety and secu- ignoramus, or billa vcra, which opens rity.' Touchivg the offences, which and shuts, which shuts and no man áre committed by disobedient' and opens. lawless persons, you that are called



[First Published in 1644.]

This is true Liberty, when freeborn men
Having to advise the public, may speak free,
Which he who can, and will, deserves high praise ;
Who neither can, nor will, may hold his peace:
What can be juster in a state than this?

Euripid. Hicetid. This is not the liberty wbich we a former edict; and I abound with can hope, that no grievance ever other like examples, which to set should arise in the commonwealth: here would be superfluous. But if that let po man in this world ex- from the industry of a life wholly pect; but when complaints are freely dedicated to studious labours, and heard, deeply considered, and spee- those natural endowments haply not dily reformed, then is the utmost the worst for two and fifty degrees bound of civil liberty attained, that of northern latitude, so much must wise men look for. **** If know] be derogated, as to count me not I should thus far presume upon the equal to any of those who had this meek demeanor of your civil and privilege, I would obtain it to be gentle greatness, Lords and Com- thought not so inferior, as yourselves mons! as what your published order are superior to the most of them who hath directly said, that to gainsay, received their council; and how far I might defend myself with ease, if you excel them, be assured, Lords any should accuse me of being new and Commons, there can no greater or insolent, did they but know how testimony appear, than when your much better I find ye esteem it to prudent spirit acknowledges and imitate the old and elegant humanity obeys the voice of reason, from what of Greece, than the barbaric pride quarter soever it be heard speaking; of a Hunnish and Norwegian state- and renders ye as willing to repeal liness. And out of those ages, to any act of your own setting forth, whose polite wisdom and letters we as any set forth by your predecessors. owe that we are not yet Goths and If ye be thus resolved, as it were Jutlanders, I could name him who injury to think ye were not, I know from his private house wrote that not what should witbbold me from discourse to the parliamentof Athens, presenting ye with a fit instance that persuades them to change the wherein to show both that love of form of democracy which was then truth which ye eminently profess, established. Such honour was done and that uprightness of your judgin those days who professed the study ment which is not wont to be partial of wisdom and eloquence, not only to yourselves ; by judging over again in their own country, but in other that order which ye have ordained lands, that cities and signories heard “ to regulate printing ; that no book them gladly, and with great respect, pamphlet, or paper, shall be henceif they had aught in public to ac- forth printed, unless the same be monish the state. Thus did Diou first approved and licensed by such, Prusæus, a stranger and a private or at least one of such, as shall be orator, council the Rhodians against thereto appointed.” For that part which preserves justly every man's reason itself, kills the image of God, copy to him, or provides for the as it were in the eye. Alany a man poor, I touch not; only wish they lives a burden to the earth; but a be not made pretences to abuse and good book is the precious lifeblood of persecute honest and painful men, a master spirit, imbalmed and treawho offend not in either of these par. sured up on purpose to a life beyond ticulars. But that other clause of life. It is true, no age cau restore licensing books, which we thought a life, whereof perhaps there is no had died with his brother quadrage- great loss; and revolutions of ages simal and matrimonial when the do not oft recover the loss of a reprelates expired, I shall now attend jected truth, for the want of which with such a homily, as shall lay whole nations fare the worse. We before ye, first the inventors of it, should be wary therefore what perto be those whom ye will be loth to secution we raise against the living own; next, what is to be thought in Jabours of public men, how we spill general of reading, whatever sort the that seasoned life of man, preserved books be; and that this order avails and stored up in books; since we nothing to the suppression of scan see a kind of homicide may be thus dalous, seditious, and libellous books, committed, sometimes a martyrdom; which were mainly intended to be and if it extend to the whole impressuppressed. Last, that it will be sion, a kind of massacre, whereof primely to the discouragement of all the execution ends not in the slaying learning, and the stop of truth, not of an elemental life, but strikes at only by disexercising and blunting the æthereal and fifth essence, the our abilities, in what we know al breath of reason itself; slays an imready, but by bindering and crop- mortality rather than a life. But ping the discovery that might be yet lest I should be condemned of introfurther made, both in religious and ducing licence, while I oppose licencivil wisdom.

sing, I refuse not the pains to be so I deny not, but that it is of greatest much historical, as will serve to concernment in the church and com- show what hath been done by anmonwealth, to have a vigilant eye cient and famous commonwealths, how books demean themselves as against this disorder, till the very well as men; and thereafter to con- time that this project of licensing fine, imprison, and do sharpest jus- crept out of the inquisition, was tice on them as malefactors; for catched up by our prelates, and books are not absolutely dead things, hath caught some of our presbyters. but do contain a progeny of life in In Athens, where books and wits them to be as active as that soul were ever busier than in any other was whøse progeny they are ; nay, part of Greece, I find but only two they do preserve as in a vial the sorts of writings which the magispurest efficacy and extraction of that trate cared to take notice of; those living intellect that bred them. I either blasphemous and atheistical, know they are as lively, and as vic or libellous. Thus the books of Progorously productive, as those fabu- tagoras were by the judges of AreoJous dragons teeth ; and being sown pagus. commanded to be burnt, and up and down, may chance to spring himself banished the territory for a up armed men. And yet on the discourse, begun with his confessing other hand, unless wariness be used, not to know, “ whether there were as good almost kill a man as kill a gods, or whether not." And against good book : who kills a man kills a defaming, it was agreed that none reasonable creature, God's image: should be traduced by name, as was but he who destroys a good book, kills the manner of Vetus Comedia,

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