A SPEECH, MADE By the right Honourable, IOHN Earle of BRISTOLL, In the high Court of PARLIAMENT, May 20. 1642.

Concerning an ACCOMMODATION.



A SPEECH, Made by the right Ho­nourable JOHN Earle of Bristoll, in the high Court of PARLIAMENT.

My Lords,

I Have spoken so often upon the subject of ACCOMMODATION, with so little acceptance, and with so ill successe, that it was in my intention not to have made any further essay in this kind; but my zeale to the peace and happinesse of this Kingdome, and my apprehensions of the neere approaching of our unspeakeable miseries and calamities, suffer me not to be master of mine owne resolutions.

[Page] Certainly, this Kingdome hath at all times ma­ny advantages over the other Monarchies of Eu­rope. As, of Scituation, of plenty of rich com­modities, of Power both by Sea and Land: But more particularly at this time, when all our neigh­bouring States are, by their severall interests so involved in Warre, and with such equalitie of power, that there is not much likelyhood of their mastering one another, nor of having their diffe­rences easily compounded. And thereby, wee being only admitted to all trades, and to all pla­ces: Wealth and Plenty (which ever follow, where trade flourisheth) are in a manner cast up­on us.

I shall not trouble your Lordships by putting you in mind of the great and noble undertakings of our Auncestours: Nor shall I passe higher then the times with in mine owne remembrance.

Queene Elizabeth was a Princesse disadvanta­ged by her Sex, by her age, and chiefly, by her want of Issue: yet if wee shall consider the great effects which were wrought upon most of the States of Christendome by this Nation under her prudent government; (The growth of the Mo­narchy of Spaine chiefly by her impeached; The United Provinces by her protected; The French in their greatest miseries relieved; Most of the Princes of Germany kept in high respect and refe­rence towards her and this Kingdome, and the peace and tranquillitie wherein this Kingdome flourished; and which hath beene continued downe unto us by the peaceable government of [Page 3] King Iames of blessed memory, and of his now Majestie, untill these late unhappy interruptions) Wee cannot but judge this Nation equally capa­ble, with any other, of Honour, Happinesse, and plentie.

Now, if in stead of this happy condition, in which wee have beene, and might be, upon a sober and impartiall inquirie wee shall find our selves to have bin for some few yeares last past in­volved in so many troubles and distractions, and at the present to be reduced to the very brinke of mi­series and calamities; It is high time for us to con­sider by what meanes wee have beene brought in­to them, and by what meanes it is most probable wee may be brought out of them.

This Kingdome never injoy'd so universall a peace, neither hath it any visible enemy in the whole world either Infidell or Christian: Our Enemies are only of our owne house, such as our owne dissentions, jealousies, and distractions, have raised up: And certainly where they are found (especially betwixt a King and his people) no other cause of the unhappinesse and misery of a State need to be sought after: For civill discord is a plentifull Sourse, from whence all miseries and mischiefes flow into a Kingdome.

The Scripture telleth us of the strength of a little City united, and of the instabilitie of a Kingdome divided within it selfe; So that upon a prudent inquirie, wee may assigne our owne jea­lousies, and discords, for the chiefe cause of our past and present troubles, and of our future feares.

[Page 4] It must be confessed, that by the counsell and conduct of evill Ministers, the Subject had cause to thinke their just liberties invaded; And from thence have our former distempers growne: For it is in the body politique of a Monarchie, as in another Naturall body, the health whereof is defined to be, Partium Corporis aequa temperies, an equall temper of the parts: So likewise, a State is well in health and well disposed, when Sove­raigne power, and common right, are equally bal­lanced, and kept in an eaven temper by just and equitable rules.

And truly, (My Lords) by the goodnesse of his Majestie, and by the prudent endeavour of the Parliament, this State is almost reduced to that equall, and eaven temper, and our sicknesse is ra­ther continued out of fancie and conceipt (I meane feares and jealousies) then out of any reall distem­per or defect.

I well remember, That before the beginning of this Parliament, some Noble Lords presented a Petition unto the King, and in that Petition did set downe all or most of the grievances and dis­tempers of the Kingdome, which then occurred to them. To these (as I conceive) the Parliament have procured from his Majestie such redresses as are to their good satisfaction.

Many other things for the ease, securitie, and comfort of the subject, have been, by their great industrie, found and propounded, and by his Majesties goodnesse condescended unto. And now wee are come so neere the happinesse of be­ing [Page 5] the most free and most setled Nation in the Christian world; Our dangers and miseries will grow greater and neerer unto us every day then other if they be not prevented.

The King on his part offereth to concurre with us in the setling of all the liberties and immunities either for the proprietie of our goods, or libertie of our persons, which wee have received from our auncestors, or which himselfe hath granted unto us; And what shall yet remaine for the good and comfort of his Subjects, He is willing to hearken to all our just and reasonable propositions: And for the establishing of the true Protestant Religi­on, he wooes us to it: And the wisdome and in­dustrie of the Parliament hath now put it in a hopefull way.

The rule of his government, he professeth, shall be, The Lawes of the Kingdome, And for the comforting and securing of us he offereth a more large and more generall pardon then hath beene granted by any of his Predecessors.

And truly (My Lords) This is all, that ever was or can be pretended unto by us.

Wee, on the other side make profession, That wee intend to make his Majestie a glorious King, To endeavour to support his dignitie, and to pay unto him that duty and obedience, which, by our Allegeance, severall Oathes, and late Prote­station wee owe unto him, and to maintaine all his just Regalities and Prerogatives, which I con­ceive to be as much as his Majestie will expect from us.

[Page 6] So that (My Lords) wee (being both thus re­ciprocally agreed of that which in the generall would make both the King and people happy) shall be most unfortunate, if wee shall not bring both inclinations and indeavours so to propound and settle particulars, as both King and people may know what will give them mutuall satisfacti­on, which certainly must be the first stepp to the setling of a right understanding betwixt them. And in this I should not conceive any great diffi­culty, if it were once put into a way of prepara­tion. But the greatest difficultie may seeme to be, how that which may be setled and agreed upon may be secured. This is, commonly, the last point in Treaties betwixt Princes, and of the greatest nicenesse, But much more betwixt a King and his Subjects, where that confidence and be­liefe which should be betwixt them, is once lost: And to speake cleerely, I feare, that this may be our case, And herein may consist the chiefest difficulty of accommodation: For it is much ea­sier to compose differences arising from reason (yea even from wrongs then it is to satisfy jealou­sies, which arising out of the diffidence & distrust, grow and are varied upon every occasion.

But (My Lords) if there be no indeavours to al­lay and remove them, they will every day increase and gather strength; Nay, they are already grown to that height, and the mutuall replies to those direct termes of opposition, That if wee make not a present stop, it is to be feared, it will spee­dily passe further then verball contestations.

[Page 7] I observe in some of His Majesties Answers, a Civill Warre spoken of. I confesse it is a word of horror to me who have been an eye-witnesse of those unexpressible calamities, that (in a short time) the most plentifull, and flourishing Coun­tries of Europe have been brought unto by an in­testine warre.

I further observe, that His Majesty protesteth against the miseries that may ensue by a Warre, and that he is cleare of them. It is true, that a protestation of that kinde is no actuall denouncing of Warre, but it is the very next degree to it, Vltima admonitio, as the Civilians terme it, The last admonition; So that we are upon the very brink of our miseries; It is better keep­ing out of them, then getting out of them: And in a State, the Wisdome of Prevention, is infi­nitely beyond the Wisdome of Remedies. If for the sins of this Nation, these misunderstan­dings should produce the least Act of Hostility, it is not almost to be beleeved, how impossible it were to put any stay to our miseries: For a Ci­vill Warre admits of none of those Conditions, or Quarter, by which cruelty and bloud are amongst other Enemies kept from extremiries; Nay, if it should but so happen (which God of his goodnesse avert) That mutually Forces, and Armies should be raised, Jealousies and Feares would be so much increased thereby, that any Ac­commodation would be rendred full of difficulty and length; and the very charge of maintaining them, (whilst, first a cessation of Armes, and then [Page 8] a generall Accommodation were in treating) the Wealth of the Kingdome would bee con­sumed.

And of this we had lately a costly example, For in those unhappy troubles, betwixt us and Scotland, after there was a stop made to any fur­ther Acts of Hostility, and a desire of peace ex­pressed on both sides, Commissioners nominated, and all the Articles propounded, yet the keeping of the Armies together for our severall securities, (whilst the cessation at Rippon, and the peace at London were in treating) cost this Kingdome not much lesse then a million of pounds. And if two Armies be once on foot here in England, either a sudden encounter must destroy one of them, or the keeping of them both on foot must destroy the Kingdome.

I hope therefore we shall make it our indeavour by moderation, and calmnesse, yet to put a stay to our so near approaching miseries, and that we shall harken to the wise advice of our Brethren of Scotland in their late Answer to the King and Parliament, wherein they earnestly intreat us, That all means may be forborn which may make the breach wider, and the wound deeper; And that no place be given to the evil Spirit of division, which at such times worketh uncessantly, and re­steth not: But that the fairest; the most Christian, and compendious way may be taken by so wise a King and Parliament, as may (against all malice and opposition) make his Majesty and his posterity more glorious, and his Kingdome more happy [Page 9] then ever. And in another place they say, That since the Parliament have thought meet to draw the practice of the Parliament of Scotland into ex­ample, in point of Declaration: They are confi­dent that the affection of the Parliament will lead them also to the practise of that Kingdome in composing the unhappy differences betwixt his Majesty and them, and (so farre as may consist with their Religion, Liberties, and Laws) in gi­ving His Majesty all satisfaction, especially in their tender care of his Royall Person, and of his Princely Greatnesse and Authority.

Certainly (My Lords) this is wise and brotherly advice; And I doubt not but we are all desirous to follow it. We must not then still dwell upon gene­rals (For generals produce nothing) But we must put this Businesse into a certain way, whereby particulars may be descended unto; And the way that I shall offer with all humility is, That there may be a select Committee of choyce persons of both Houses, who may, in the first place, truly state and set down all things in difference betwixt the King and the Subject, with the most probable wayes of reconciling them. Secondly, to descend unto the particulars, which may be expected by each from other, either in point of our supporting of him, or his relieving of us. And lastly, how all these Conditions, being agreed upon, may be so secured; as may stand with the honour of His Ma­jesty, and the satisfaction of the Subject.

When such a Committee shall have drawn up the heads of the Propositions, and the way of se­curing [Page 10] them, they may be presented unto the Houses, and so offered unto His Majesty by such a way as the Parliament shall judge most probable to produce an Accommodation.

(My Lords) What I have yet said unto you, hath been chiefly grounded upon the apprehensi­ons and feares of our future dangers. I shall say something of the unhappinesse of our present estate, which certainly standeth in as much need of reliefe and remedy, as our feares do of preven­tion; For, although the King and People were fully united, and that all men that now draw se­verall wayes, should unanimously set their hand to the work, yet they would finde it no easie task to restore this Kingdome to a prosperous and com­fortable condition: If we take into our considera­tion the deplorable estate of Ireland, likely to drain this Kingdome of men and treasure; If we consi­der the Debts and necessity of the Crown, the ingagements of the Kingdome, the great and unu­suall contributions of the people, the which, al­though they may not be so much to their discon­tent (for that they have been legally raised) yet the burthen hath not been much cased: Let us likewise consider the distractions (I may almost call them confusions) in point of Religion (which of all other distempers are most dangerous and destructive to the peace of a State.

Besides these publique calamities, let every particular man consider the distructed and discom­fortable estate of his own condition, for mine own part, I must ingeneously professe unto your [Page 11] Lordships, That I cannot finde out, (under the different Commands of the King and the Par­liament) any such course of caution and wari­nesse, by which I can promise to my selfe securi­ty or safety. I could give your Lordships many instances of the inconsistancy and impossibility of obeying these commands: But I shall trouble you with onely one or two.

The Ordinance of Parliament (now in so great agitation) commandeth all persons in Authority, to put it in execution, and all others to obey it ac­cording to the Fundamentall Laws of the Land; The King declareth it to be contrary to the Fun­damentall Laws, against the Subject, and Rights of Parliament; And commandeth all his Sub­jects of what degree soever upon their allegiance not to obey the said Ordinance, as they will answer the contrary at their perils.

So likewise in poin [...] of the King, comman­ding the attendance of divers of us upon His Person whereunto Wee are obliged by severall relations of our services and oathes: In case We comply not with his Commands, We are lia­ble to his displeasure, and the losse of those places of Honour and Trust, which We hold under Him: If We obey his Commands with­out the leave of the Parliament, (which hath not been alwayes granted) We are liable to the cen­sure of Parliament; And of both these We want not fresh examples; So that certainly, this cannot but be acknowledged to be an unhappy, and un­comfortable condition.

[Page 12] I am sure I bring with me a ready and obedient heart, to pay unto the King all those duties of loyalty, allegeance, and obedience which I owe unto him; And I shall never be wanting towards the Parliament, to pay unto it all those due Rights, and that obedience which we all owe unto it: But in contrary Commands, a conformi­ty of obedience to both, is hardly to be lighted on. The Reconciliation must be in the Comman­ders, and the Commands, and not in the obedi­ence, or the person that is to obey. And therefore untill it shall please God to blesse us with a right understanding betwixt the King and Parliament, and a conformity in their Commands, neither the Kingdome in publike, nor particular men in pri­vate can be reduced to a safe or comfortable Condition.

I have said thus much to give occasion to others, to offer likewise their opinions; For if we shall sit still, and nothing (tending to the stay of the un­happy mis-understanding betwixt the King and his People) be propounded: It is to be fea­red; That our miseries will hasten so fast up­on us, that the season and opportunity of ap­plying remedies may be past.

I have herein discharged my conscience, su­table to that duty which I owe to the King my Soveraigne and Master, and sutable to that zeale and affection, which I shall ever pay to the hap­pinesse and prosperity of the Kingdome, towards which I shall ever faithfully contribute my hum­ble [Page 13] prayers, and honest indeavours. And I shall no way doubt (whatsoever successe this my pro­position may have) it will be accompanied with the good wishes of your Lordships, and of all peaceable, and well minded men.


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