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fair proceedings. Whereas kingship, though looking big, yet indeed most pufillanimous, full of fears, full of jealousies, startled at every umbrage, as it hath been observed of old to have ever suspected moft, and mistrusted them who were in most esteem for virtue and generosity of mind, so it is now known to have most in doubt and fufpicion them who are most reputed to be religious. Queen Elizabeth, though herself accounted so good a protestant, so moderate, fo confident of her fubjects love, would never give way so much as to presbyterian reformation in this land, though once and again befought, as Camden relates, but imprisoned and persecuted the very proposers thereof; alleging it as her mind and maxim unalterable, that such reformation would diminish regal authority. What liberty of conscience can we then expect of others, far worse principled from the cradle, trained up and governed by Popish and Spanish counsels, and on such depending hitherto for subsistence ? Especially what ean this last parliament expect, who having revived lately and published the covenant, have reengaged themselves, never to readmit. episcopacy? Which no fon of Charles returning but will most certainly bring back with him, if he regard the laft and strictest charge of his father, “to persevere in, not the doctrine only, but government of the church of England; not to neglect the speedy and effectual fupprelling of errours and fchifms;" among which he accounted presbytery one of the chief. Or if, notwithstanding that charge of his father, he submit to the covenant, how will he keep faith to us, with disobedience to him; or regard that faith given, which must be founded on the breach of that last and folemneft paternal charge, and the reluctance, I may say the antipathy, which is in all kings, against presbyterian and independent discipline? For they hear the gospel speaking much of liberty; a word which monarchy and her bishops both fear and hate, but a free commonwealth both favours and promotes; and not the word only, but the thing itself. But let our governors beware in time, left their hard measure to liberty of conscience be found the rock whereon they thipwreck themselves, as others have now done be
fore them in the course wherein God was directing their steerage to a free commonwealth ; and the abandoning of all those whom they call fectaries, for the detected falsehood and ambition of some, be a wilful rejection of their own chief strength and interest in the freedom of all protestant religion, under what abusive name soever calumniated.
The other part of our freedom consists in the civil rights and advancements of every person according to his merit: the enjoyment of those never more certain, and the access to thefe never more open, than in a free commonwealth. Both which, in my opinion, may be best and soonest obtained, if every country in the land were made a kind of subordinate commonalty or commonwealth, and one chief town or more, according as the shire is in circuit, made cities, if they be not so called already; where the nobility and chief gentry, from a proportionable compass of territory annexed to each city, may build houses or palaces befitting their quality, may bear part in the government, make their own judicial laws, or use these that are, and execute them by their own elected judicatures and judges without appeal, in all things of civil government between man and man; fo they shall have justice in their own hands, law executed fully and finally in their own counties and precinets, long wished and spoken of, but never yet obtained; they shall have none then to blame but themselves, if it be not well administered ; and fewer laws to expect or fear from the supreme authority; or to those that shall be made, of any great concernment to public liberty, they may, without much trouble in these commonalties, or in more general assemblies called to their cities from the whole territory on such occasion, declare and publish their aslent or dissent by deputies, within a time limited, sent to the grand council ; yet so as this their judgment declared shall submit to the greater number of other counties or commonalties, and not avail them to any exemption of themselves, or refusal of agreement with the rest, as it may in any of the United Provinces, being fovereign within itself, ofttimes to the great disadvantage of that union. In these employments they may,
much better than they do now, exercise and fit themselves till their lot fall to be chosen into the grand coun: cil, according as their worth and merit shall be taken notice of by the people. As for controversies that shall happen between men of several counties, they may repair, as they do now, to the captial city, or any other more commodious, indifferent place, and equal judges. And this I find to have been practised in the old Athenian commonwealth, reputed the first and ancientest place of civility in all Greece; that they had in their several cities a peculiar, in Athens a common government; and their right, as it befel them, to the administration of both. They should have here also schools and academies at their own choice, wherein their children may be bred up in their own sight to all learning and noble education; not in grammar only, but in all liberal arts and exercises. This would foon spread much more knowledge and civility, yea, religion, through all parts of the land, by communicating the natural heat of government and culture more distributively to all extreme parts, which now lie numb and neglected, would foon make the whole nation more industrious, more ingenious at home; more potent, more honourable abroad. To this a free commonwealth will easily assent; (nay, the parliament hath had already some such thing in design) for of all governments a commonwealth aims most to make the people flourishing, virtuous, noble, and high spirited. Monarchs will never permit; whose aim is to make the people wealthy indeed perhaps, and well fleeced, for their own Thearing, and the supply of regal prodigality; but otherwife fofteft, baseft, viciouseft, fervilest, easiest to be kept under : and not only in fleece, but in mind also theepilheft; and will have all the benches of judicature annexed to the throne, as a gift of royal grace, that we have justice done us: whenas nothing can be more essential to the freedom of a people, than to have the adminiftration of justice, and all public ornaments, in their own election, and within their own bounds, without long travelling or depending upon remote places to obtain their right, or any civil accomplishment; so it be not supreme, but subordinate to the general power and union of the whole republic. In which happy firminels. as in the particular above-mentioned, we shall also far exceed the United Provinces, by having, not as they (to the retarding and distracting ofttimes of their counfels or urgentest occasions) many sovereignties united in one commonwealth, but many commonwealths under one united and intrufted sovereignty. And when we have our forces by sea and land, either of a faithful army, or a settled militia, in our own hands, to the firm establishing of a free commonwealth, public accounts under our own inspection, general laws and taxes, with their causes in our own domestic fuffrages, judicial laws, offices, and ornaments at home in our own ordering and adminis. tration, all distinction of lords and commoners, that may any way divide or sever the public intereft, removed; what can a perpetual fenate have then, wherein to grow corrupt, wherein to encroach upon us, or usurp? or if they do, wherein to be formidable ? Yet if all this avail not to remove the fear or envy of a perpetual fitting, it may be easily provided, to change a third part of them yearly, or every two or three years, as was above-men
tioned; or that it be at those times in the people's · choice, whether they will change them, or renew their power, as they shall find cause.
I have no more to say at present: few words will save us, well considered; few and easy things, now seasonably done. But if the people be so affected as to proftitute religion and liberty to the vain and groundless apprehension, that nothing but kingship can restore trade, not remembering the frequent plagues and peftilences, that then wasted this city, such as through God's mercy we never have felt fince; and that trade flourishes no where more than in the free commonwealths of Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries, before their eyes at this day, yet if trade be grown fo craving and importunate through the profuse living of tradesmen, that nothing can support it but the luxurious expenses of a nation upon trifles or superfluities; so as if the people generally should betake themselves to frugality, it might prove a dangerous matter, lest tradesmen should mutiny for want of trading; and that therefore we must forego
and set to fale religion, liberty, honour, safety, all con. cernments divine or human, to keep up trading: if, lastly, after all this light among us, the same reason shall pass for current, to put our necks again under kingship, as was made use of by the Jews to return back to Egypt, and to the worship of their idol queen, because they falfely imagined that they then lived in more plenty and prof. perity; our condition is not found but rotten, both in religion and all civil prudence; and will bring us foon, the way we are marching, to those calamities, which attend always and unavoidably on luxury, all national judgments under foreign and domestic llavery: fo far we shall be from mending our condition by monarchising our government, whatever new conceit now possefles us. However, with all hazard I have ventured what I thought my duty to speak in feafon, and to forewarn my country in time; wherein I doubt not but there be many wise men in all places and degrees, but am sorry the effects of wisdom are so little seen among us. Many circumstances and particulars I could have added in those things whereof I have spoken; but a few main matters now put speedily in execution, will suffice to recover us, and set all right: and there will want at no time who are good at circumstances; but men who set their minds on main matters, and sufficiently urge them, in these most difficult times I find not many. What I have spoken, is the language of that which is not called amiss ~ The good old Cause :" if it seem strange to any, it will not seem more ftrange, I hope, than convincing to backsiders. Thus much I should perhaps have said, though I were sure I should have spoken only to trees and stones; and had none to cry to, but with the prophet, “O earth, earth, earth!” to tell the very soil itself, what her perverse inhabitants are deaf to. Nay, though what I have spoke should happen (which thou suffer not, who didft create mankind free! nor thou next, who didt redeem us from being servants of men !) to be the last words of our expiring liberty. But I trust I shall have spoken perfuafion to abundance of fenfible and ingenuous men ; to some perhaps, whom God may raise to these stones to