THE Freeholders Choice: OR, A LETTER OF ADVICE Concerning ELECTIONS.


I Received yours of the 12th Instant, and am fully of your mind, That if our Representatives cannot be suffered to make Laws to re­gulate Elections, we must supply that defect by some Contract amongst our selves, whereby all unnecessary charge may be prevented, as of late has been done in most Counties in the case of Sheriffs; for otherwise the present Design of such frequent changes of Parliaments, may prove as pernicious to the peoples Interest, as the perpetuating of One Our Grandees do now see that they did outshoot themselves, and are full of re­pentance for their rash and hasty Dissolution of the late Odious over-long Parliament, and are therefore attempting to retrieve that error by tiring out the people with frequent changes, till they can get another for their [Page 2] tooth, as managable and mercenary as the former. And therefore to ob­viate this mischief, we must make Elections easie both to the Chusers and the Chosen. To consider of which, as also to contrive the management at a publick Charge, of all abuses by Mayors, Bailiffs, and Sheriffs, in making double and false Returns, and all other undue and illegal practi­ses; I shall with the rest of the Gentlemen in these parts, give you the meeting you desire.

I find all persons very forward to countenance this publick work, ex­cept the high-flown Ritualists and Ceremony-mongers of the Clergy, who being in the Conspiracy against the people, lay out themselves to accom­modate their Masters with the veriest Villains that can be pickt up in all the Countrey, that so we may fall into the hands again of as Treacherous and Lewd a Parliament as the Wisdom of God and Folly of man has most miraculously freed us from. To which end they traduce all worthy men for Fanaticks, Schismaticks, or favourers of them: nay, do but pitch up­on a Gentleman that believes it his duty to serve his God, his King and Countrey faithfully, they cry him down as a person dangerous and disaffect­ed to the Government, thinking hereby to scare the people from the free­dom of their Choice, and then impose their hair-brain'd Journey-men and half-witted Fobs upon them.

Wherefore I think it no less than a duty incumbent on us, in this time of publick danger, to expose these blind leaders of the blind, with their de­signed Conspiracy, to the people view, and to wipe off that little paint that is upon them, that the whole Nation seeing them in their proper co­lours, may have that contempt and scorn for them which they deserve.

For as no love nor kindness from Christians, can be too much to such Mi­nisters of the Gospel as shall diligently and faithfully discharge their duties, without officiously involving and turmoiling themselves in Secular affairs; so when they shall desert their own station, and prove cursed Instruments in the hands of their managers, of Cruelty, Rapine, and Oppression of a people, instead of preaching up the good tidings of peace and happiness to mankind, they then become a Den of thieves, and ought to be esteem­ed by all Lovers of their Countrey, as unnatural and publick disturbers of its peace and welfare.

By their Office, indeed, they are the salt of the earth, but having lost their savour, they are thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men, as our Saviour teaches. For pray now, because we ought to honour and most tenderly affect those that lay out themselves and Talents for the salvation of our souls; does it therefore follow that we must bear the same respect to such as endeavour the destruction of our bo­dies and estates? God forbid that so brutal an inference should infect the minds of men! A good Physician that administers wholesome and found Medicines, ought to be rewarded; but an ignorant or knavish Quack, that gives us poyson instead of physick, deserves an halter, though he has the Colledg-License.

[Page 3] St. James put a pertinent and honest question to the Christians of his time, From whence come wars and fightings amongst you? And were he now alive to repeat it, all Europe would answer him with one voice, From Knavish and Time-serving Priests, who consulting their own Secular advan­tage, and to heap up to themselves a worldly Mass of Wealth, of Grandeur, and of Power, have designed to make all people slaves to their Princes, and Princes slaves to themselves.

These Traditors of the Gospel have deserted the plain paths of Righteousness, and betaken themselves to a Serpentine course of creeping into Courts, and there have created and fomented misunder­standings and jealousies betwixt governing-Powers and their Subjects, that thereby they might seemingly become necessary to the one, and have an opportunity of pillaging, oppressing, and domineering over the other. 'Tis these Sons of Belial who in all ages have endeavoured to corrupt and stain the generous minds of Princes with Arbitrary and unmanly Maxims of Government and State, and have framed for them the weak Policies of Cruelty, Craft, Treachery, and formal Devotion, instead of Protecti­on, Wisdom, Justice, and Righteousness, which alone can establish a Na­tion; insomuch that Magistracy, which ought to watch for the good of the people, is fain to be watcht by the people, lest it ruine and undo them. 'Tis these Wolves in sheeps cloathing, who have eaten up the people of God like bread, and in all parts of the Christian world have spirited the making, and edg'd the execution of Persecuting and Sangui­nary Laws: Wherefore I believe good Father Jacob had a foresight of these sons of Levi, when in his Last Will and Testament he left them a Curse for a Legacy, instead of a Blessing; and if the whole world were now to make their Wills, all but Knaves and Fools would do the like.

You may easily call to mind a late Instance of the Humanity and Con­science of this Race of men here in England: For when His Majesty not long since Attempted to follow his own Inclinations, and emitted a Decla­ration of Indulgence to tender Consciences, the whole Posse Cleri seemed to be Raised against him: Every Reader and Gibeonite of the Church could then talk as saucily of their King, as they do now of the late Honourable Parliament; nay, they began to stand upon their Terms, and delivered it out as Orthodox Doctrine, That the King was to Act according to Law, and therefore could not suspend a Poenal Statute, that the Subjects Obedi­ence was a Legal Obedience; and therefore if the King commanded any thing contrary to Law, the Subject was not bound to obey; with so many other honest Positions, that men wondred in God how such Knaves should come by them. But wherefore was all this Wrath, and all this Doctrine? Meerly because His Majesty was pleased for a time to remove the sore backs of Dissenters from under the Ecclesiastical lash; the bloody exercise of which, is never denied to Holy Church, but the Magistrate is immediately assaulted with the noise and clamour of Demetrius and his Crafts-men.

[Page 4] But now the Tables being turned, the same mercenary Tongues are again all Sibthorp, and all Mannering, not a bit of Law or Conscience either, is now to be had for love or money, nor any limits to be put to the Kings Com­mands, or our Obedience: 'Tis a Gospel-Truth with these men, That all which we have is the Kings; and if he should command our Estates, our Wives and Children, yea, and our Religion too, we ought to Resign them up, submit, and be silent. And therefore in the approaching Elections, of all men, I would avoid such as are recommended by these Sycophants, lest such damnable Doctrine should crawl from the Pulpit, into the Parliament-House, to the destruction of Religion, and utter ruin of the State.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.