[Page 1] Essex's Excellency: OR THE Gallantry of the Freeholders of that County.
Being a short Account of the Brave British Behaviour of those Worthy Freeholders, in the Choice of their Knights to serve in the next Parliament.
Together with The Truly Noble LORD GRAY His SPEECH at the Close of their Choice.
Published by an Eye-witness of their most Noble Courage for the Example of their Neighbouring Counties.

AS Long Parliaments have been heretofore the great mischief & ruin of the Free-born English man's Liberty, which this Nation in general began to he very sensible of, by the abundant Evils that had like to have befallen the good people of England, even almost to the over­throw of all Propriety and Priviledges, as well as Religion, which the All-wise God, out of pity to this Nation, hath how at last put an end unto, by an unex­pected hand of Providence: So did there lately seem to threaten as great an Evil by burdening the Counties with the Choice of too frequent Parliaments; and the Cause of this Fear did not arise in the hearts of wise men without some Cause; for Drinking and Revelling, being grown into both Fashion and Custom in many places of this Kingdom, both Burroughs and Counties, as necessary Qualifications to make a wise Representative, Gentlemen indeed, those that are really such in their sober deportment and carriage, began to grow weary; though they could not but see, that nothing but utter destruction must at last most certainly swallow up both them and their Posterity, in some short time, in case persons were Chosen; as only obtained their Elections by Drinking and Feasting the Country. For wise men well know that such excessive Charges was so unreasonable a thing to be born by any honest person, that hath no other end than his Countries good, that it could not but be imagined long since that those persons that got such their Elections by those waies and means, had ano­ther end in it, and designed repayment again in a private and unjust way out [Page 2] of the peoples pockets, by selling their Votes at a dear rate for the raising of money, and in other matters of great moment.

Nay, some persons, and not a few, to the eternal Infamy of both them that paid, and them that received such wages of unrighteousness, were grown to that excess after they were sent up Members to the late Long Parliament, that they received yearly more money for selling their Country, than it cost them to be so elected; so that at last to be once got a Parliament man, was grown a sure way both of profit and honour, though purchased out of the poor peoples hearts blood; for those men to have good places, or large Pensions, would and did as easily part with their Countries Liberty, and the Peoples Freedom and Right, as well as their money; and, which may easily appear, if we consider their domi­neering over their Equals, and despising Law, and longing for Seats in the late Long Parliament, to be continued to them and their Heirs for ever.

But not to trouble you further with their ill Proceedings at this time, since we have yet room for hopes that we shall have once more an English Parlia­ment that will look into such miscarriages, and give a due reward to such Offenders in the late Long Parliament, who either for Places or Pensions, sold their Votes and their Country at a cheaper rate than Esau did his birth­right.

But as to the Gallantry and Nobleness of divers of the Gentry of Essex, as well as the whole body of the Freeholders, there take this short Narrative; The Writ being directed for the Choice of two Knights for the Shire, Tuesday last, the 12th. of this Inslant August was appointed the Day, being the first County-Court; And whereas Sir Eliab Harvey, and Collonel Mildmay were former Members in the last good Parliament. Collonel Mildmay did sometime before the Day of Election intimate to Sir Eliab Harvey his intentions to stand to be one of the Knights of the Shire; and that as they had been both chosen before, he believed the Country would now do the like freely; but though the Col­lonels Interest in the County was looked upon by all to be that which brought them both to be so easily Elected before; yet Sir Eliab (as is believed) trust­ing either to his own Interest, or the Interest of the Duke of Albemarle. and some other of the Gentry. did absolutely refuse to joyn himself with Collo­nel Mildmay; but on the contrary, was resolved to sland alone, that now his Interest with the Duke, and some of the Gentry, and Sir Thomas Middleton, was sufficient not only to be Chosen Knights of the Shire himself; but a [...]so wholly to lay aside and disappoint the Collonel of his intentions; and in effect under hand to oppose his Election, which was thought to be more easily done, because the Collonel, like the old English-man, was resolved not to be at any cost or charges in the obtaining his Election, thinking, as indeed it is a bur­den sufficient to serve their Country as their Member, and not vainly to throw away his Estate, as well as his labour to be their Servant too; for that his Noble Spirit well knew, that he that served his Country faithfully, deserved the Thanks of his Country, without spending his Estate to be Chosen: but some were not idle all this time, since the Dissolution of the last Parliament, to reproach, vilifie and abuse that Worthy Person, Collonel Mildmay; yet the summe of all their malice could reach no higher, after all, but to reproach him for a Phanatick, a name too common in the mouths of our half Prote­stants, and so little understood by them; but too too grateful to the Papists, by which they have most maliciously branded every sober person in England [Page 3] with that name; nay, a man can hardly pass through the Streets with so­briety in his face, but he is branded for a Phanatick; and by some that would make us believe they are Protestants themselves; but if Phanatick does denote a mad man, as I have understood it alwaies did, till within the compass of twenty years last past, then I am sure it is as false an aspersion cast on that Worthy Person, as that was which was cast upon the Apostles, that they were mad-men for Preaching the Resurrection from the dead, and Judgment Day to come; but let such, whoever they are, know, it is a thousand times more honourable to be called by them Phanaticks than good Christians, a thing I fear they are very little acquainted with more than the Name: But there we leave them where they most delight, and proceed to tell you, that some of the Tribe of Levi both before and at this Election were very zealous, against this worrthy person Coll. Mildmay; for one of them standing by a Papist, that Voted against the Collonel, cryed, well done, he did not doubt but that they should agree well enough in the main, though not in all points. Some sent their Paper­pellet to all their Neighbourhood, and especially to their own Club of the Long Robe, and did incourage and threaten them upon their obedience to their Diocessian, that they should not fail, but make all the Interest possibly they could, that Collonel Mildmay might not be Chosen, but all hands for Sir Tho­mas Middleton, whom they knew would never fail their Cause, nor their Church, which was all those Gallions cared for, no matter what became of their Country; it was the Liberties and Sauciness of the Lay-men they hated; and they must be brought into blind obedience to them, and pin their Faith on their sleeves, or else all was undone, and the King and Country lost; this was their cry and exhortation; and my Lord Duke supposing his Interest in the Country to be made greater by slanding up against Collonel Mildmay, with all his power and might, both in his person and friends, engages all against the Collonel, and musters up all to come and give their Vote for Middleton against Mildmay.

But the day being come, the Roads were every where filled round Chelms­ford with vast numbers of Gentry and Freeholders, the night before there not being room enough in that Town for Lodging, and in the Morning by Seven of the clock Coll. Mildmay came from his house to the place near the Hop­ground, with about 1000 Gentlemen and Free-holders, where met him my Lord Shandish with about 1000 more, all on horse back, crying out▪ A Mild­may, a Mildmay, with many vollies of Acclamations; presently after the ever noble and renowned Lord Gray met the Collonel in a most sumptuous habit, with his led Horses in rich Trappings, and about 2000 Horse attending him; then the Lord Gray with the Collonel began to march into the Town, where they were met with near 2000 Horse more, and so passing through the Towm into the Field in very good order, with their mouths loudly hollowing for A Mildmay only, and crying out. God bless my Lord Gray, they there rested for about an hour, while they drew up in a posture to be viewed, and being then all got together, was not esteemed less than 6000 men. Not long after came into the Town Sir Thomas Middleton, with about 150 or 200 Horse-men, and my Lord Duke and Sir Eliab Harvey with about 400 men more, accounting their Servants and Attendants; and Sir Eliab came into the Field near to Coll. Mildmay: but the Collonels men being angry that Sir Eliab should espouse another interest, and not joyn with the Collonel, resolved unanimously as one man, that they would only give one Voyce for the Collonel, and Reserve the [Page 4] other for such a person as the Collonel should please to nominate to them him­self: which being resolved, the Collonel with his company drew out of the Field to the Town-house, and riding several times about it, with an incredible shout for a Mildmay, a Mildmay, that scarce the like was ever seen at any Election; and the hour being come for the Writ to be read, the Collonel goes to the Town-Hall, and being told the High Sheriff was ready, made a short Speech to the people to this effect.

Gentlemen and Friends, since I see you judge me worthy to serve you as a Member in this next Parliament, I promise you, according to the best of my un­derstanding, faithfully to discharge that trust you so unanimously intend to re­pose in me; and since you judge me a fit Person, I hope you may give some cre­dit to my recommendation of another Person to joyn with me in that Service, which I shall name with your leave, and if you approve of, and judge him wor­thy also, though he be not here, yet he may soon be sent for to come among you: To which all the People gave a great shout, and cryed, Name him, name him; which then the Collonel did, and told them, John Lomott Honeywood, Esq; a Person of a very good Estate in this County, was in his Judgment a very honest and worthy Person, and one that he did verily believe would serve them faith­fully: Which the people liking, immediately with a great shout cried, Send for him, a Honeywood, and a Mildmay, and none else; and so the word being given out among the Free-holders, and the Collonel with them surrounding the Market-places two or three times, that the people might be all informed of the second person, every man at last (which was within the compass of half an hour) cryed out as much a Honeywood as a Mildmay; and Mr. Honeywood being come up to the Company, he and the Collonel, with Sir Eliab Harvey, and Sir Thö­mas Middleton went into Court, where the Sheriff was ready, and the Noble Lord Gray did the Collonel and Mr. Honeywood the Honour to enter into the Court with them, to see matters fairly carryed, which otherwise might not have been: The Duke of Albemarle on the other side, and some of the Gentry were pleased to be in Court also; and the Writ being read about Ten of the clock at the High Sheriffs command, who in all the occurrences of the whole action carryed himself like a worthy Gentleman, and did endeavour as much as could be to prevent any disorders in the Election: The Writ being read, and demand being made who they would chuse for their Knights of the Shire, was immediately answered by the whole people with loud cryes. A Mildmay, a Mildmay, and no Courtier nor Pensioner; and then silence being made again, and demanded who they would have for the other person, they did as unani­mously cry out, A Honeywood, a Honeywood, a good Protestant; and it could hardly be perceived, that any there present of the Electors were of an other mind, or took so much as notice of Sir Eliab Harvey, or Sir Thomas Middle­ton, (except their Servants, and those that came along with the Duke, and his Attendants) but notwithstanding the great inequality both in the Field and the place of Elections, as it is before expressed, yet Sir Eliab Harvey and Sir Thomas Middleton demanded the Poll; and before the beginning of the Poll. Sir Eliab Harvey was pleased to tell the people, that Coll. Mildmay had broke his promise with him; but in what, was not then understood, otherwise than it was suspected he meant, that Coll. Mildmay ought not to have joyned with any other Person but him, but the Collonel giving ear to what was said by him▪ declared to the people, That he never was in the least guilty of leaving Sir Eliabs interest, or designing so to doe, or under any promise to joyn with [Page 5] him whatsoever; for that it was so far from any such thing▪ that he told him; Sir Eliab, I wonder you should charge me thus, when you know the contrary▪ that I did desire you to stand with me, and to joyn interests together, to save the Countrey Trouble and Charges; and you absolutely denyed it, and always returned me answer, You must not, nor would not joyn with any: Which words of the Collonel were attested in the Court to be true, by a very worthy Gentleman, that averred to his knowledge, the Collonel had [...]ought to Sir Eli­ab, and was absolutely denyed.

These words passing▪ the Poll was begun, and each Person that stood had his Clark to take the Poll, which began about Eleven a clock that day, where was such excessive thronging of the Free-holders, being eager to be polled; that the Court was fain to adjourn several times that day to ease themselves; the tumult being great, and the Countreymen fearing some trick might be put upon them, would not leave the place at no rate, crying out. It was a shame that any Gentleman should offer to stand a Poll at so vast a disproportion, since the whole Countrey was for Mildmay and Honeywood, and wondred that Sir Eliab Harvey, and Sir Thomas Middleton, and the Duke▪ would oppose the Countrey, who was all but as one man; but Sir Eliab Harvey in reply to Coll. Mildmay then told the people, That now he did declare he would joyn with Sir Tho. Middleton; but after a little space, when he was informed that Coll. Mildmay had never joyned with any man till he came to the place of Election, and saw him joyn with Sir Thomas Middleton, then Sir Eliab Har­vey very worthily told the people, he would not at all concern himself in joyning with any man whatsoever. And no sooner was the Poll begun, but some per­sons that would be thought both to be Gentlemen, and the wisest Justices in the County, in opposition, and as it then should seem to warrant no other than to breed a disturbance, first on the Bench gave Coll. Mildmay and his party very reviling Language, as pitiful inconsiderable Phanaticks, and the like, and such words as only befitted a railing person in his Pulpit▪ or a drunken God­damme, telling them they had none but a company of Clowns, and that the Collonel had never a Gentleman among them, nor any person that was a Gen­tleman would offer to set up such persons to be Parliament-men, and the like: which proceedings did enrage the Free-holders, and made them cry out, they were better men than themselves; and all their abuses and tricks could not perswade nor affright them from standing up for their Countreys good; and then told them, None but Papists and Half-Protestants would abuse such men. But those of Sir Thomas Middleton's party, and such especially as polled for him, were not content with giving ill language of the basest sort, but upon the Bench did all they could to make disturbances, by violences offered to the Collonels person, one of them having the Impudence (who calls himself a Knight) to take him by the Hair or the Nose, to provoke the Collonel to strike, that so there might be a quarrel, so as to make a disturbance and evacuate the Election, or at least prolong the Poll, which was aimed at on purpose to tire out the Countrey-people, it being Harvest-time, and also they hoping, that they bearing their own cost and charges, would send them home the sooner; so that by delaying the Poll, they might at last be in some equality with the Collonel, and when the Collonel well answered that Person, and they saw that would not doe, and that the Noble Lord Gray began now to be sensible of their abuses and designs, the next thing they undertook, was to quarrel with the Lord Gray himself; but the person that did that being a Peer, and the Noble [Page 6] Lord Gray vindicating his Honour with that Peer, and giving him an answer suitable to a Challenge said to be sent him. I shall not further repeat that mat­ter: But when that would not do their work neither, then some of the Justices of the Peace (as they pretended themselves) for the promoting their cause, fell upon the Clark that took the Poll for Coll. Mildmay, and a wrathful Fellow, to shew his kindness to his Friend the Duke, and the other persons that stood against the Collonel, in his abundant Wisdom, Justice and Manhood, assaulted the said Clark, and struck him several times, upon pretence the Clark did not doe his duty by standing bare to his Worship, though then the Court was shut, (and the Sheriff not there, which only made the Court) and committed the person into custody for calling the Clergy-men Priests; although he could not but well know, it is a Title they all own, and would fain be termed such; and the Clark must be carried to Prison, and the Books he had taken the Poll in must by all means be taken from him, which was indeed thought to be the design of the quarrel, to get the Books from him: Then a worthy person which did only intimate his mislike of these things, by interposing himself, was abused. But these proceedings, though very prejudicial to the persons that bore them, yet were no advantage to their own party, for the worthy Free-holders were the more incensed against them; And if the Wisdom of my Lord Gray, the Sheriff and the Collonel, had not been great, these proceedings might have caused great mischiefs; but the Countrey-men were so sensible of the brave courage and gallantry of my Lord Gray that no sooner was he, the Collonel and Mr. Honeywood leaving the Court to go to their Lodgings at all times, but they all as one man, attended them with great shouts, crying, God bless my Lord Gray for standing for the Countrey-men; and then crying out, A Mild­may, a Honeywood: but when the other party went from the Court, there was silence enough. Thus the Poll continued from Tuesday about Eleven a clock till about nine on the Friday following: where in all that whole time the Freeholders Zeal was so great. that they never abated of their Courage▪ and like Noble English men, worthy Eternal Honour, lay in Town at their own cost and charges, and scorned to put their Members to two pence charge; but divers of them did help and assist one another, and with that willingness and chearfulness, that it is beyond expression, which other Counties having so good an Example, I hope will take pattern by, and scorn to be treated by the Mem­bers they chuse, but will bear their own charges, and not discourage honest men, which would serve them, were it not for the excessive charges, as well as burden.

These worthy Freeholders would often say, That it was the high way to make men Pensioners and Knaves, to put them to charges to be Chosen; and so constant were these men in their resolutions of Chusing those worthy Gentle­men, that they would call out to the Court oft times when they were so thronged, and almost stifled to death, That they would not be tired out not­withstanding the discouragements they met with sometimes from the Court in preferring other persons that came in fresh to be Polled before them. And they would often say, if we stay this month we will not be tired out, and other times cryed out most bitterly in the Streets against the Pensioners in the late Long Parliament, that had almost sold them for slaves: And at other times when they were told they would lose their Corn on the ground if they stayed longer, they made this bold Answer, That they would rather trust God with [...]eir Corn, than trust the Devil to chusetheir Parliament-men. For that they [Page 7] did now clearly see that all was at stake, and that they had too long pinn'd their Faith on other persons sleeves; with a multitude of such other hearty expressions, too tedious here to be related.

But on Friday morning, about seven of the Clock, no person almost appear­ing to Poll against the Collonel, and Proclamation being made three times, that all persons should come in to Poll, or else the Poll would be shut up; a­bout eight of the Clock all being Polled that appeared, the Poll was shut, and the Court adjourned till One that day, till the Books were cast up, which was done by that time, in presence of divers persons appointed by the Sheriff to see the same fairly done; but the Duke, with Sir Thomas Middleton, and Sir Eliab Harvey withdrawing from the Court after the Poll was shut up, it was thought fit to send to them to be present at the casting up of the same; but Sir Eliab Harvey immediately left the Town, and Sir Thomas Middleton did not appear himself, but sent a person to inspect the Poll; but no sooner was the Poll closed, but news was brought there were about 500 came to the Town on purpose to be Polled for Collonel Mildmay and Honeywood, and ma­ny hundreds more that day came in for that purpose. It was given out over night that the Poll would be continued several daies longer, and so divers per­sons went home and returned as occasion offered; but the Poll being call up, was found to be one thousand five hundred ninety two for Coll Mildmay, 1517 for Mr Honeywood, six hundred sixty nine, for Sir Eliab Harvey, 754 for Sir Tho­mas Middleton, among which were some persons that were convicted Papists, and above 200 of the Tribe of Levi some of which, to the dishonour of their Profession behaved themselves, to say no worse of them, not like sober men, there being so much good Liquor in the Town, and the generosity of those they took part with, being too much abused by them: But notwith­standing the two Knights men; were nobly kept and entertained, and no man­ner of Entertainment given by the other side; yet the difference was so great, and would have been as much more, had the Poll continued longer; but the Poll continued for the two Knights to the last man.

But the Sheriff returning to the Court at the time according to custom, proclaimed Collonel Mildmay, and Mr. Honeywood duely Elected, and then Indentures were sealed in Court; after which the Lord Gray calling to the Freeholders in a very handsom Speech to this effect delivered himself.

Gentlemen, your zeal you have shown for your Liberties; and the Countries good at this Election, and your gallant Carriage and Behaviour, is never e­nough sufficiently to be commended; and that which more highly commends you, besides the pains you have taken in attending the hardships that have been put on you, is that you have born your own Charges of this Election your selves, and have not been chargeable to the Gentlemen you have Chosen, but have wisely considered; that such as make it a Trade to bear the Counties Charge, and feast them to be Chosen, do fetch the same out of the Country mens pockets another way, which tends to the ruin of your Estates and Liberties: And I hope this good President will be imitated by our Neighbouring Counties; therefore I shall say no more to you at this time, but wish you still to continue your Zeal and Courage for the maintaining your Liberties, and the Prote­stant Religion.

[Page 8] At which the Freeholders gave a great shout, crying out, God bless your Honour, and all good English-men that will stand up for the Peoples Liber­ties; and then the Knights in two Chairs were carried round the Town, and brought to their Lodgings with an innumerable company of people shouting and crying. A Mildmay and Honeywood; which being done, my Lord Gray and the Sheriff dined at the Collonel's Chamber, with some other of his friends, and the People attended on Horse-back to wait on my Lord Gray and the Collonel, and Mr. Honeywood out of Town, which was done about five of the clock, with near five hundred Horse; But I must not forget to relate one Passage which was committed by a person that was against the Collonel, and one that call'd himself a Gentleman,) that while my Lord Gray and the rest were at Dinner, a little before they were taking Horse to go out of Town, a poor Country-man going along the Streets, by the Door where the Opposites lodged, and crying out, A Mildmay and Honeywood, he seeing the Country-man's Zeal, knock'd him down, and broke the Country-man's Legg, and after­wards fled to the Inn for shelter; but the Country-man's friends acquainted the Lord Gray and the Collonel with the action, they immediately ordered the person that did the fact to be seized, which was done, and he committed to Goal, and ordered the poor man to be carefully lookt after; which ill Action ought not to be laid to the charge of any but malicious persons; and indeed so much of malice did appear by the words and actions of those that Polled against the Collonel, that a sober man would blush to hear; and among the rest was given out, That no Gentleman, or like a Gentleman, would appear on the Collonel's side, which was so notoriously false, that by the very. Book wherein their names were entered, can testifie there were as many Gentlemen of Estates, and men of quality appeared for the Collonel, as they had, and rather more, except Clergy, my Lord Howard, my Lord Gray, with Sir Eliab Harvey himself, and divers other Lords and Gentlemen, making up the numbers of Freeholders on the Collonel's side.

This being the true Account, though not drest up in Terms of Art, or varnish­ed with a florid stile, is hoped will be acceptable to those honest Freeholders; and when other Countries shall see the brave Courage and Wisdom of this County of Essex, in the Choice of two such worthy Men, in spight of all Op­position, that they will imitate their Pattern, and no more suffer themselves to be feasted, and drunk out of their reason, which is the reason that Ill men are too often Representatives in Parliament, which never designed by their En­tertainments given to the County, but to be doubly and trebly reimburst out of their Electors pockets, which way doth inevitably indanger the Loss and Liberty of the whole Nation in general.

And now good Country-men, do but consider nothing can so soon enslave you and your Posterity, as the Choice of ill Members in Parliament; for to have your Throats cut in the face of Law, is a thousand times worse than the the Force of Arms; and assure your selves, they are worse than the Papists, or at least no better, that would go about to perswade you to submit to any thing short of your just Rights and Liberties.

FINIS.

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