« PoprzedniaDalej »
and the same blood and nation with the English, namely, the Teutonick, and that, in doing what is here required, they shall but shake off that tincture of Gallicism, which their ancestors took in Neustria, and rejoin themselves with their ancient countrymen; which also even their own honour requires of them, even according to the opinion of the ancient Treviri, who, as Tacitus recordeth, though inhabitants of France, yet disdained to be accounted of the French blood, but ambitiously adhered to their descent from Germany; the Gallick nation having been servile ever since the time of Julius Cæsar, and no other their language, which we so much dote upon, than an effect of the Roman conquest over them, and a testimony of their long vassalage and subjection to that empire.
But, if they can relish no honour but what must arise, and fetch life, from our shame, let them revolve how loth they would be to be served, as sometime the Romans dealed with the insulting Gauls, the relicks of Brennus's army, whom they utterly rooted out of Italy, nequis ejus gentis superesset qui incensam a se Romam jactaret, as an historian hath it; and, if they will needs continue the Danes succeeders in insulting over us, they may also remember that we are the posterity of those English who massacred them, and that when they had a potent kingdom at hand to revenge it, which these others are to seek for.
3. Lastly, State policy requires it, it being requisite to the good and safety of the kingdom in general; for, if ingenuous valour in the people, and their love to their king, state, nobility, and laws, with regard to honour, be the chief strength of a realm against foreign invasions (for instance, and testification whereof, we need look no further than the Scots) it is necessary, that, if our state should enjoy that strength, our nation enjoy these demands; for, how can we love and fight for those laws, which are ours only by our enemies introduction, and are our disgrace instead of honour; or for that sovereignty and nobility, in whose very titles, as before is related, we read our country to be already in captivity, and that the alteration of the state will be, to us, but changing of usurpant masters? Neither will the recordation of our ancient honour be any better a provocation to that purpose. Should the Turk go about to exhort his Grecian soldiers to valiantnestu in his cause, and against his foreign enemies, by commemorating unto them the ancient glory and prowess of their nation, would not that cohortation merit to be taken as an insulting irrision? and, should not the first effect thereof be a vindictive incitement of them against himself, as the most proper object thereof in all respects ? so also cannot the remembrance of our ancient glory, if we consider ourselves aright, incite us to any thing more than the clearing of ourselves from this insulting conquest, as already, and long since, pressing us with that dishonour, which other dangers at most but threateni and as, upon these grounds, we can scarce find courage to fight for the safety and preservation of the state; so for the same reasons have we as little heart to pray or wish for the same, until our national honour be restored to a coexistence there. with.
Since, therefore, these things are so behoveful for our nation to de mand, and for our state to grant, if, after due consideration thereof, we continue to want the happy fruition of the same, it must be ascribed either to an overgrown baseness of mind in the one, or an unnatural malignity in the other, as indulging rather to a foreign name, than to a nation whereof the said state is a part, and intrusted with the welfare and honour thereof; and in this still-servilising case it will be ridiculous for us, the nation, to pretend to honour or renown, but more proper for us for ever to profess ourselves of that quality wherein we take up our rest, to wit, captivity and servility: but, if we may descry a gloririous morning, and ávatons of our benighted honour, refulging in the happy accomplishment of these our desires, then shall we with alacrity press all that the English name investeth unto the defence and enlargement of the English dominion, and, instead of disclaiming our nation, and transfuging to others, as many of us now do, and have done especially in Ireland, we shall joy to make Anglicism become the only soul and habit of all, both Ireland and Great-Britain. Diri. Octob. 1642.
Judge of Assize for the Northern Circuit,
As it was delivered to the grand jury at York assizes, the twentieth of
March, 1648; clearly epitomising the statutes belonging to this nation, 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.
From a Quarto, containing 30 pages, printed at London, by T. W. for Matthew Walbancke and Richard Best, at Gray's Inn Gate, in 1649.
ENTLEMEN, friends, and countrymen, I do not question, but
that the stile and title of our commissions, under which we are now to act, and execute the authority and power committed to our hands, being changed from Carolus Rex Angliæ, to Custodes libertatis Angliæ authoritate parliamenti, works divers effects upon the tempers and spirits of men, according as the spirits themselves are tempered and affected; and that some of those spirits (like the sun upon wax) it softens into obedience and compliance, and others of them, again (like the same sun upon clay) it hardens into stiffness and opposition. Proud, ambitious, and malignant spirits, finding themselves frustrated and defeated hereby of their designed hopes, and hopeful designs, for obtain ing their desired ends; and, being filled with prejudice to others, and self-love to their own opinions, and therefore having turned themselves aside from the use of their own reason, and from all overtures and arguments of satisfaction, and having given up their understanding to blind affections,-it startles and confounds with passions and amazements, heightened into choler and disdain; because, looking through the false glass of their own self-interest, they find nothing therein, but imaginary shakings of foundations, overturning of laws, and confused heaps of ruins and distractions. But to these, if any such be present, (especially, if they have been formerly engaged in open war against the publick interest of the nation, and so are cast, by God's justice, for their transgressions into a mean and low condition;) all I shall say, (with the poor comfort of calamity, pity) is this, that, if they have not already tasted enough of the cup of God's wrath, for their misdoings, let them take heed they engage not again, for fear that, hereafter, they be enforced to drink the dregs of his displeasure. Other silly spirits there are, who, standing unbottomed upon any solid principles of their own, find themselves tossed to and fro with the wind which blows from others mouths; one while listening to the prophet, who bids them go up to Ramoth-Gilead, and prosper; and by and by again yielding him that bids them not go up, for fear of perishing; and so they are carried into cross and oblique opinions, and actions, tending to, and endangering, their utter ruin and destruction. And, to these men, all I shall say, and advise, is this, that they will forthwith repair to the school of Teason, and suffer themselves to be guided and led by impartial and wholesome lessons, and instructions, to a better information of their judgments, whereby they may be settled upon undeniable grounds in the knowledge of themselves, and the truth, and of their own right, interest, and concernment. But another sort of men there are, who are willing to let their eyes stand in the place where nature set them, and to make use of that reason and judgment, which God hath given them, and, with erected minds, to apprehend the sense of their own future happiness, and to hearken to the voice which calls them to the flourishing actions of a reformed commonwealth, and therefore do entertain this change with suitable opinions and compliance from these grounds which they thus propound and argue with themselves.
1. That all power and authority is originally and primarily in God, and comes from God; and this they rest upon, as being a scripturetruth.
2. That God, out of his wisdom and providence, hath dispensed and transmitted so much of this authority and power to men, as is necessary for their use. First, as in relation to the inferior creatures, to rule and govern them, as lord and king. And, as in relation to one another, from a principle of nature, (conservatio sui-ipsius) to seek and endeavour their own preservation and security, which principle draws them to this conclusion (salus populi suprema ler) the safety of the people is the supreme law, both of nature, and nations. And from this natural principle, and supreme law of nature, however all men, in their original creation, are all of one and the same substance, mould, and stamp, yet, for preservation's sake, they find a fitness in subordinations and degrees among them, for the better ordering of their affairs; and so they appoint rulers, and authorise governors over them, as trustees for themselves, They also elect government, create rules, orders, and laws, by which they will have their rulers and governors to guide and steer their actions in the course of their government, to which they will conform their obedience; and this truth is ascertained from hence, that there were people before there were either rulers or governors of people, and that therefore these rulers and governors were but made by the people, and for the people, with this reserve, that whensoever the people should perceive, that their trustees, and governors, did turn potestatem into potentiam, the power and authority of government, by rule and law formerly agreed upon, and consented unto by the people, into an armed force; and that they did alter the people's rempublicam, into the governor's rem privatam; and that their government, ceasing to be free, was made to bang over the people's heads, as a lordly scourge to their destruction; then, and from thenceforth, and that with good comeliness of reason, the people betake themselves to thoughts of reformation; and finding cause to dislike their former choice, being not tied by any scripture-rule to any one form of government, they chuse again, and take some other form, differing from that before, whereby they will avoid the evils they suffered under their former choice, and enjoy the good of a more beneficial preservation; for, like mariners and men in a ship at sea, they will no longer trưst an unskilful or perfidious stearsinan, lest they should be found guilty of their own ensuing shipwreck and destruction.
And this brings me to the next assertion, and position, which I own as a most certain truth, and positive assurance, that the people, (under God) is the original of all just power, and that, let the government run out into what form it will, monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy, yet still the original fountain thereof is from the consent and agreement of the people. And from this assertion, and position, I am led on further, by plain reason, to understand, that rulers, and governors, are accountable to the people for their misgovernment; namely, when they transgress the rules, and laws, by which the people did agree they would be governed. But, let me not be mistaken, for, when I say, accountable to the people, I do not mean to the diffused humours and fancies of particular men in their singular and natural capacities, but to the people, in their politick constitution, lawfully assembled by their representative.
Touching the government of this nation, it hath anciently been monarchical, in the frame and constitution of it; but yet it never was a pure monarchy, for a pure monarchy is a clear lyranny: but it was a political monarchy, or monarchy governed by laws, taking in thereto all the goods, and avoiding all the ills, both of aristocracy and democracy; and so I may truly say, that look upon the frame and constitution of it alone, and, as it were, upon the theoretical and contemplative part of it; and, supposing it possible that the practice would answer the theory, no man can deny, but that it was a frame of most excellent order and beauty: for, first, it had a king, the chief officer, one single person; and therefore, avoiding the proud factions and con
tentions, usually happening in aristocracy, as likewise, the disordered confusions, common in single democracy; but yet a king bounded and compassed with laws above him, being the rules already made and given him to rule by; and, with a necessity of concurrence and compliance, with lords and commons below him, for future legislative power and authority, and so avoiding the danger of tyranny usually incident to monarchies, which commonly makes the monarch's will the law, and so establishing the government upon this foundation,
Voluntas lex imperatoris esto. But, alas! when I have shewed you the frame and constitution of the late government, I have shewed you all the beauty of it; for, when. you come to examine the practical part, you shall find nothing less ihan excellency, or perfection in it. Look into your own stories, and you shall always find the king and great lords, comites suos, as they were called, incroaching upon the people's liberties and rights, and incroaching to themselves superlative prerogatives and dominion over them. On the other side you shall find again the people struggling to preserve themselves and their own interests, labouring still to avoid the miseries, and to free themselves from the mischiefs of their sufferings.
The times and transactions, before the Norman William got the crown, and which past among the Britons, Romans, Danes, and Saxe ons, being dark and obscore, I pass by, and, therefore, I shall only speak something of the times and transactions since.
First, The tyrannical domination of that first William and his son, the second William, gave the people to see their ensuing miseries; for, though they made choice of the second William, who was but a second son, and rejected Robert, his elder brother, yet they soon found their kindness was suddenly forgotten, when once the crown was obtained, and, therefore, they refused, when he was dead, to chuse again, till, by new engagements, oaths, and royal promises of better government, they were cheated into a second election of Henry the first, who was a younger brother likewise. But it was not long after before monarchy played rex, and pleasure and will ruled, and the whole kingdom almost was turned into forests; and the laws, which the people were brought to live under and obey, were the cruel and insupportable laws of the forest, which were made rather to preserve the beasts, than the people within the bounds of forests. Then the people, finding no other remedy, betook themselves to thoughts of reformation, as I told you at the first. And in the time of King John, at Renymeed, they demanded restitution of St. Edward's laws, for so they called that Saxon Edward, who was dead many years before, but without any heir or successor of that kind, (for we never read of any St. king since him:) and by those laws they say they will be governed, and to those laws they will conform. Hereupon a new compact is made, the articles of Renymeed, containing most of St. Edward's laws, are confirmed and established, by consent, in parliament, and so the people are for that time satisfied, and think themselves very safe, as they well might think so, under the security of an act of parliament. But yet this act proved no security, for, in a short time after, all was let loose again, and the same mischiefs and oppressions upon the people were still continued as before,