laws, by which the king came to his crown; and no otherwise to the king, than whilft he should act according to those laws, that “ the common People,” that is, the house of Commons, should choose ; (quas vulgus elegerit.) For it were folly to alter the phrate of our law, and turn it into more genuine Latin. This clause (quas vulgus elegerit) which the cominons shall choose, Charles before he was crowned procured to be razed out. “ But,” lay you,“ without the king's aflent the people can choose no laws;" and for this you cite two statutes, viz. Anno 37 H. VI, Cap. 15, and 13 Edw. IV, Cap. 8: but these two statutes are so far from appearing in our statute-books, that in the years you mention neither of those kings enacted any laws at all. Go now and complain, that those fugitives, who pretended to furnish you with matter out of our statutes, imposed upon you in it; and let other people in the mean time stand astonished at your impudence and vanity, who are not ashamed to pretend to be thoroughly versed in fuch books, as it is so evident you have never looked into, nor so much as seen. And that clause in the coronation oath, which such a brazen faced brawler as you call fictitious, “The king's friends," you say yourself, “ acknowledge, that it may possibly be extant in fome ancient copies, but that it grew into difuse, becaute it had no convenient fignification.” But for that very reason did our ancestors insert it in the oath, that the oath might have such a signification as would not be for a tyrant's conveniency. If it had really grown into disuse, which yet is most false, there was the greater need of reviving it; but even that would have been to no purpose, according to your doctrine: “For that custom of taking an oath, as kings now a days generally ufe it, is no more," you say, “ than a bare ceremony." And yet the king, when the bishops were to be put down, pretended that he could not do it by reason of that oath. And consequently that reverend and sacred oath, as it serves for the king's turn, or not, must be folemn and binding, or an empty ceremony:- which I earnestly entreat my countrymen to take notice of, and to consider what manner of a king they are like to have,

[ocr errors]

if he ever come back. For it would never have entered into the thoughts of this rascally foreign grammarian, to write a discourse of the rights of the crown of England, unless both Charles Stuart now in banishment, and tainted with his father's principles, and those profiigate tutors that he has along with hiin, had induftriously fuggested to him what they would have writ. They dictated to him, “That the whole parliament were liable to be proceeded against as traitors, because they declared without the king's assent all them to be traitors, who had taken up arms against the parliament of England; and that parliaments were but the king's vassals: that the oath, which our kings take at their coronation, is but a ceremony :" And why not that a vassal too? So that no reverence of laws, no facredness of an oath, will be sufficient to protect your lives and fortunes, either from the exorbitance of a furious, or the revenge of an exasperated prince, who has been so instructed from his cradle, as to think laws, religion, nay, and oaths thein- . felves, ought to be subject to his will and pleasure. How much better is it, and more becoming yourselves, if you desire riches, liberty, peace, and empire, to obtain them afsuredly by your own virtue, industry, prudence, and valour, than to long after, and hope for them in vain under the rule of a king? They, who are of opinion that these things cannot be compassed but under a king, and a lord, it cannot well be expressed how mean, how base, I do not fay, how unworthy thoughts they have of themselves; for in effect, what do they other than confess, that they themselves are lazy, weak, senseless, silly persons, and framed for slavery both in body and mind? And indeed all manner of flavery is scandalous and disgraceful to a freeborn ingenuous perfon ; but for you, after you have recovered your loft liberty, by God's assistance, and your own arms; after the performance of so many valiant exploits, and the making so remarkable :in example of a molt potent king, to desire to return again into a condition of bondage and flavery, will not only be scandalous and disgraceful, but an impious and wicked thing; and equal to that of the Ifraelites, who for desiring to return to the Egyptian Navery X4


were so severely punished for that fordid, slavish temper of mind, and so many of them destroyed by that God who had been their deliverer. But what say you now, who would persuade us to become flaves? “ The king," fay you, “ had a power of pardoning such as were guilty of treason, and other crimes; which evinces sufficiently, that the king himself was under no law.” The king might indeed pardon treason, not against the kingdom, but against himfelf; and so may any body else pardon wrongs done to themselves; and he might, perhaps, pardon some other offences, though not always. But does it follow, because in some cases he had the right of laving a malefactor's life, that therefore he must have a right to destroy all good men? If the king be impleaded in an inferiour court, he is not obliged to answer, but by his attorney: does it therefore follow, that when he is fummoned by all his subjects to appear in parliament, he may choole whether he will appear or no, and refule to answer in perfon? You say, “That we endeavour to justify what we have done by the Hollanders example;" and upon this occasion, fearing the loss of that stipend with which the Hollanders feed such a murrain and pest as you are, if by reviling the Englith you should confequently reflect upon them that maintain yon, you endeavour to demonstrate “how unlike their actions and ours are.” The comparison that you make betwixt them I resolve to omit (though many things in it are moft false, and other things flattery all over, which yet you thought yourself obliged to put down, to deferve your pension.) For the English think they need not allege the examples of foreigners for their justification.

They have municipal laws of their own, by which they have acted; laws with relation to the matter in hand the best in the world : they have the examples of their ancestors, great and gallant men, for their imitation, who never gave way to the exorbitant power of princes, and who have put many of them to death, when their government became insupportable. They were born free, they stand in need of no other nation, they can make what laws they please for their own good government. One law in particular they have a great veneration for, and a very ancient one it is, enacted by nature itself, That all human laws, all civil right and government must have a respect to the safety and welfare of good men, and not be fubject to the lutts of princes. From hence to the end of your book I find nothing but rubbith and trifles, picked out of the former chapters; of which you have here raised so great a heap, that I cannot imagine what other design you could have in it, than to presage the ruin of your whole fabric. At last, after an infinite deal of tittle-tattle you make an end, calling “ God to witness, that you undertook the defence of this cause, not only because you were desired to to do, but because your own conscience told you, that you could not possibly undertake the defence of a better.” Is it fit for you to intermeddle with our matters, with which you have nothing to do, because you were desired, when we ourselves did not desire you? to reproach with contumelious and opprobrious language, and in a printed book, the supreme magiftracy of the English nation, when according to the authority and power that they are intrusted with, they do but their duty within their own jurisdiction, and all this without the least injury or provocation from them? (for they did not fo much as know that there was such a man in the world as you.) And I pray by whom were you desired ? By your wife, I suppote, who, they fay, exercises a kingly right and jurisdiction over you; and whenever she has a mind to it (as Fulvia is made to speak in that obscene epigram, that you collected fome centoes out of, Pag. 320) cries, “ Either write, or let us fight ;" that made you write perhaps, left the signal should be given. Or were you asked by Charles the younger, and that profiigate gang of vagabond courtiers, and like a second Balaam called upon by another Balak to rettore a desperate cause by ill writing, that was loft by ill fighting? That may be; but there is this difference, for he was a wise understanding man, and rid upon an ass that could speak, to curse the people of God: thou art a very talkative ass thyself, and rid by a woman, and being surrounded with the healed heads of the bishops, that heretofore thou hadst wounded, thou seemeft to represent that least in the Re

velation. velation. But they fay, that a little after vou had written this book you repented of what you had done. It is well, if it be fo; and to make your repentance public, I think the best course that you can take will be, for this long book that you have writ, to take a halter, and make one long letter of yourself. So Judas Iscariot repented, to whom you are like; and that youny Charles knew, which made him send you the purte, Judas his badge; for he had heard before, and found afterward by experience, that you were an apostate and a devil. Judas betrayed Christ himself, and you betray his church; you have taught heretofore, that bishops were Antichristian, and you are now revolted to their party. You now undertake the defence of their cause, whom formerly you damned to the pit of Hell. Chrift delivered all men from bondage, and you endeavour to enslave all mankind. Never queftion, since you have been such a villain to God bimtelf, his church, and all mankind in general, but that the fame fate attends you that befel your equal, out of despair rather than repentance, to be weary of your life, and hang yourself, and burst asunder as he did; and to send before-hand that faithless and treacherous conscience of yours, that railing conscience at good and holy men, to that place of torment that is prepared for you. And now I think, through God's assistance, I have finished the work I undertook, to wit, the defence of the noble actions of my countrymen at home and abroad, against the raging and envious madness of this distracted fophifter; and the asserting of the common rights of the people against the unjust domination of kings, not out of any hatred to kings, but tyrants : nor have I purpofely left unanswered any one argument alleged by my adversary, nor any one example or authority quoted by him, that seemed to have any force in it, or the least colour of an argument. Perhaps I have been guilty rather of the other extreme, of replying to some of his fooleries and trifles, as if they were folid arguments, and thereby may seem to have attributed more to them than they deserved. One thing yet remains to be done, which perhaps is of the greatest concern of all, and that is, That you, my countrymen,


« VorigeDoorgaan »