We still betook ourselves to our arms; if you will say the liberties of the people was a part and a principal one too: It is true it was, I believe, not only pretended, but intended also: But the people are the most proper judges ; he, that is beaten, is best able to judge of the blows; and he that is diseased of the gout, or the like, he is most sensible of the ease, when he hath it; so the people, if their verdict may pass, whether the executive power in this protector, or in committees of parliament, be best; it is too apparent, if the people, whose servants these gentlemen pretend to be, might speak and be heard, they would veither give them meat, drink, nor looging for their work, but would be as bad as a high court of jus. tice I fear.


See Vol. I. p. 20.




Being a Recital of the Ruins over-running the People and their Trades; With an opportune Advice to returu to Obedience of their Kinys,

under whom they ever flourished. Navita de ventis, de tauris narrat arator;

Enumerat miles vulnera; pastor oves. “ Let mariners observe the winds, and painful ploughmen till their grounds ; “ Let honest shepherds feed their flocks, whilst soldiers glory in their wounds."

And so God save all who cry, GOD SAVE THE KING.

London: Printed for Charles Prince, and are to be sold at the east end of St.

Paul's. MDCLX.


E plebeians assuming the name, not of a house, but of a

kingdom of commons, having, for twenty years, stood fearfully staring (like our innocent sheep at the barking and howl. ing of dogs and wolves) not daring to tune our pipes of pastime, which to us and them were much more acceptable musick than the shrieking trumpets and affrighting drums, that, like thunder, warn us to our cottages, as in prevention of a storm.

We, who have been robbed of that rich treasure, our liberty, and of that honest freedom, whereby we drew our wholesome country air with safety, more natural to us than parliamentary pills or military lances, even we also find ourselves to be in the condition of our poor rustick neighbour, who hearing herself abused, and in danger to be ruined by her knavish and corrupted lawyer, cried out to the judge, that, in bearing ten children, she felt not so much pain as at that time she did to hold her peace,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

whilst she was wrongfully divested of her livelihood; therefore, our silence breaks forth.

But our case is far worse, for ours is already gone, even all the substance that we had; and being much against our will wasted (not, like prodigals, upon harlots, who, nevertheless, would have shewed some remorse towards them they had ruined). Our lot is rather like theirs, who, having fallen into the merciless hands of thieves and pyrates, are left wounded and stripped, yet not at all regarded by our hard-hearted landlords, or by our leech-like law. yers, nor yet by our uncharitable clergy, who load us with duty to death, and for example are the first that fly from the trial.

Even we plebeians, beholding ourselves to be the moral of that emblem which presents the prelate praying for all, and the lawyer pleading for all, and the soldier fighting for all, and the countryman feeding all, have sadly found that we only, the despised pea. sants, have dearly paid for all; therefore (if losers have leave to speak) let no man censure us, if we, being brought to the hog's ordinary, to beg the husks of them who devoured the kernels and substance of our food, be yet denied that relief; that we, remembering when we bore obedience to our pious princes, and enjoyed a heavenly Father who provided for us, do now return to him and to our gracious king, his lawful deputy, and, with unfeigned repentance and humility, cry out, saying, “ O heavenly Father, o earthly divine Sovereign,, we, even we, have sinned and rebelled against heaven and against thee, and are no more worthy to be called thy sons; make us yet thy servants, O God, and 0 King, that so, our timely repentance finding thy gracious pardon, we may become thy sons again.”

We now behold ourselves to be as the brutes in the wilderness, and hoping our lions, who by their power, and by the subtlety of their fox-like adjutants, have made themselves beastial kings over us, would, indeed, relieve and feed us according to their promises and our wants, do, on the contrary, find and feel, that, instead of help, our hunger is increased; instead of the liberty which they proclaimed, we languish in prisons, so that for the showers of joy (after which we have long gaped) our hearts are filled with heavi. ness, and our tongues utter only lamentations.

The oil and honey, promised us by Oliver, is turned into gall and bitterness; Lambert's free quarterings have licked up the little that was left in our cruses ; Lawson hath lost the honour of our

; and we who have so long feared and disclaimed, and cursed the papists, are now forced and glad to fly to a monk for safeguard, whom, nevertheless, we worthily bless; we worship him with our bodies, and endow him with our own and others worldly goods, yea, we willingly would espouse him also, did not his order forbid him to marry kingdoms; however, we will honour him as our Joseph, for his wisdom and courage in preventing us from devouring each other, as undoubtedly that famine, which we foresee, and he most prudently endeavours to prevent, would bring upon us,


The world admires and derides our causeless confusions, behold. ing that the quarrels of the most mighty potentates of Europe, for crowns and kingdoms, grounded upon justice and right, are soon and happily composed, whilst our unjust and unnatural cannibal. confusions are unwilling to look towards an end.

Was our royal state and unparalleled government the garden which we intended to weed? Behold, our foolish and unskilful hands have, together with our glorious monarchs, instead of ca. lomniated evil counsellors, plucked up our inheritance in law and liberty, and swept away our freedom and safety with our Solomon's beautiful and magnificent tents; was our religion, that goodly corn-field, said to be over-run with tares and thistles, and cockle? Behold the ignorant man hath been that evil husband-man, who, refusing the wise instructions of his Lord, hath maliciously eradicated the wheat root and branch, and scattered over the whole field tares and thistles, and briars and thorns.

Our scriptures which instruct us, by the fall of Israel's nation, whose prophets had admonished them by judgments which they found infallible, have no where repeated to us such provocations from that people, as we have given to our God, until those, when their combinations took counsel against the Son of God, and cru. cified the Lord of Life; and surely our unchristian rebellion, or at least theirs, which have practised such treasons, have produced such effects, as no mortal man came nearer the sufferings of our Saviour's humanity, than did our royal and divine sovereign, cru. cified by lawyers, preachers, and soldiers.

Our magistracy and judicatures, which are the pretended sanctuary to our liberty, and inheritable interest to justice and right, which, by our ancient laws, were founded upon God's law, have, through usurpation of power, been intrusted in such viscous and bird-limed fingers, as pone could have the benefit of them, but such as could give most for their sentence, insomuch as that, which was formerly under condemnation or bribery, hath lately grown to publick sale; whereby justice is become as valuable and common at rates as cardons at Rome.

We remember, that in the beginning of our late transcendent parliament (which none before it could reach in comparison of dangerous issues, and deadly fruits) how high the cries went against ship-money, patents, monopolies, illegal imprisonments, and such other breaches into our free-born interests, as appeared by the then condemning complaints, which searched our sores, to the worth of a sin; and yet amongst all those lamentations, which hooded our eyes, and deafened our ears, whilst our pockets were picked, and our wives fingers stripped, we never heard of excises, fifth and twentieth parts, sequestrations, taxes and contributions, and amongst all these oppressions, gifts to maintain foreign rebel. lions; but well we remember, that, whilst we honestly paid our tithes, we and our ministers enjoyed such a double blessing, as our souls fed upon the food, which now they want; and our mi. nisters rested contented with their dues, for which they returned grateful hospitalities, without the new ungodly encumbrances of augmentations, whereby robbing Peter to pay Paul, many of our church doors have so lost their keys, as none have entered into them for many years.

When we paid ship-money, which amounted not to so much as one of our Friday-night suppers, in the whole year, by the pole, we had safeguard to our seas, our wool went to the workmen, our cloathing passed by the merchants to all parts of the world; re. turns were made of all things we wanted at easy rates, even to richness, glory, and plenty ; our navigation was as sure as our tra. vel from one market to another; our meanest sea-men,' who took charge, had noble receptions at home and abroad; we enjoyed onr houses and lands in peace, and had no complaining in our streets ; our woods were guarded by laws, and supplied by plantation ; our fleets were formidable

upon all seas, and our people of all condi. tions, as well civil as soldiery, brought honour and dignity to our kingdoms.

Instead of these rejoicings, we are filled with howlings; our trades are generally lost, and there is none to give us work; our wool and leather, and corn, and butter, and cheese, are daily transported, and whilst we are lessened in our manufactures, and vocations and industries, we are raised in rents, and food, and taxes, and all things belonging to our livelihood; the mysteries of our crafts, and the materials of our manufactures, do find such ac. ceptable receipt in foreign parts, as unconscionable men have brought the ruins of their own country into a trade; and those laws, which for the chief benefit of the people, and the very life of trade, are made, are so boldly affronted, as the good patriots, who for the benefit of themselves and country, endeavour to prevent the great damages, which come by such bold attempts, are by cunning practices of clerks, and the remissness of superior officers, 80 discouraged, as that law, which was made to defend and encou. rage them, is carried fully against them, and the plaintiffs are sued at law, till they have neither cloke, por coat, nor bed, nor board, nor house, but a prison to receive them; widows wring their hands, and orphans lament, whilst there is none to deliver them ; every · man oppresseth his neighbour, for it seems good in his own eyes so to do, because, alas, we have no king.

If we look into our neighbour nations, we are the subjects of their mirth, and the song of the scornful; we (as if we were all guilty) are stiled murtherers, king-killers, and the very abjects among them trample upon us, for the blasphemous people among us have committed só horrible treasons, as ought not once to be named among us; if we turn our eyes and ears from these dismal spectacles and groans, we presently encounter another object of our sorrows, the body of our trades is anatomised, dissected, and, from the most intrinsick secrets thereof, is discovered to foreigners; all workings in wool, which together with that material have, by the providence of our ancestors, been, with all their wisdom, restrained from other nations, are now so much at liberty, and, by false-hearted Englishmen, made so familiar to strangers, as not only our mysteries are laid open, but our materials are made theirs, and that trade of cloathing, which, in one valuable kind or other, maintained eleven or twelve parts of our kingdôms, is almost to tally lost to England, which, for many hundreds of years, hath made them be both loved and feared of all other nations.

As for our fleets, which were formidable, and our navigation, which was honourable throughout the world, our ships are now daily brought into captivity, insomuch as, through our short and improvident war, made with Spain, above two-thousand English vessels have been carried into their ports, and all the goods in them are made prizes; many, who have been very able merchants, who have not only kept hospitality at home to the great relief of the needy, but have built and maintained tall ships abroad, to the ho. nour and strength of our kingdom, and to the increase of mari. ners and trade, have in these times been and still are brought to compound their debts, not with more disrepute to their credit than grief to tlieir hearts, and rnin to their families.

We could launch forth into an ocean of our calamities, did we not hold it to be more material and timely to prescribe remedies, which, being like to prove a long work by precept, we will shut it up into example: Look we, therefore, upon our neighbour na. tions, among whom, though there have been long divisions by claims, each thinking himself to be in the right, and each having the unanimous affection and assistance of their own subjects, have yet thought fit, if not been forced, to compound their differences, which they embraced with no small joy; our case is more formi. dable, the members of the same body continue fighting against their natural head, for maintenance of which quarrel they have too long destroyed each other; therefore, in obedience to the divine doce trine, and in compassion to yourselves and posterity, dear coun. try, return in duty to your lawful native sovereign, fall to your honest vocations; 'fear God and the king, and meddle not with them that are given to change'; you have dearly paid for the know. ledge of this truth, and let not now your obstinacy longer destroy you.

Let him, who hath illegally gotten any thing by the late annatural wars, make haste and restore it, and learn of that holy and inspired king David, “ that a small estate, rightly gotten, is more and more prosperous than innumerable riches of unrighteous purchase or plunder.” Though the Israelites, by God's command, divested the Egyptians of their wealth and jewels, yet it turned but to their own confusion; for even their most holy priests and instructors ensnared them with the works of their own hands, and though he called the molten images which he made out of their plundered ear-rings, and other ensigns of pride and luxury, their Gods which brought them out of Egypt, yet, doubtless, the devil had set such idols in higher esteem and honour with them than was the God of their deliverances. Their sufferings thereby are re. corded for our example.

« ForrigeFortsett »