A VIEW OF THE Proceedings of the WESTERN-COUNTIES FOR THE PACIFICATION Of their present troubles: AS ALSO OF THE PLOTS AND PURPOSE to Disturbe the same.

Psal. CXX. vers. V.

My soule hath long dwelt amongst those that be Enemies unto Peace.

Printed in the Yeare, 1642.

A VIEVV OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE Westerne Counties for the Pacification of their present Troubles &c.

IT hath been long the mischievous designe of those, who have embroyled this Kingdom in a Civill Warre, not only to maintain an Army of discontented and seditious persons, for the destruction of their Soveraigne, but to ingage the grea­test and most populous Counties in an un­naturall dissention amongst themselves. In prosecution of which wicked Counsailes, as they have spared no subtile Artifices, to infatuate and seduce the people to their own destruction, and the undoing of their wives and families: so when they find them sensible of those affli­ctions which they have pulled upon themselves, and willing returne into more peaceable courses; they have not failed to animate them to their former surie, and interrupt all Consul­tations and Agreements which might conduce unto their Peace. The first example of this kind was that of Yorkshire, the Gentry and Commonalty of the which, having played too long a part in this wofull Tragedy, had mutually agreed [Page 2] upon such equall termes of Pacification, as might restore that Country to its antient quiet; and this they had confirmed by the subscription of the hands of the most eminent & able men of either party. But this was presently disallowed by those factious spirits, who have too great a power in the two Hou­ses of Parliament, as being utterly destructive of their ends and hopes: and upon that dislike commanded not to be ob­served, and so by consequence annulled. How miserable a Theatre of blood, death, and rapine, that wretched County hath been made ever since that time, as we see now not with­out griefe and Lamentation, so shall Posterity, being lesse in­teressed in the quarrels which are now on foot, peruse the sto­ry of it with a greater sorrow. Cheshire as not farre off in situ­ation, was next unto this people in example also. They on the sense of those calamities under which they suffered, by nou­rishing an intestine warre in their own bowels, had fallen up­on the like attonement: and for the keeping of the same, the Principall Agents of each side had promised one another severally in the word of a Gentleman, and as they did desire to prosper, that both themselves, their Tenants, friends and servants would most strictly keep it. But yet this promise made in so solemne manner, and bound with such an impre­cation to observe the same, was not found sufficient, for the preventing of all further acts of enmity and desolation, there following on the neck thereof, a Declaration of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, wherein was signified and declared, That the said Pacification and agreement, was very prejudiciall to the whole Kingdom, derogatory to the power and Priviledge of Parliament; and therefore that not only the inhabitants thereof, but that the Gentlemen themselves who were the parties to the Articles were not bound unto them; and finally all the inhabitants thereof, commanded and re­quired [Page 3] to pursue their former Resolutions, for the assistance of the Parliament in the Common cause.

Though these examples might have terrified the most mo­derate men, such as were most inclinable to their Countries peace, from ventring on the like conclusions, which they per­ceived would not be left unto their power to observe or not: yet warre and discord are such troublesome and unwelcome guests, that notwithstanding these discouragements, the Western Counties have embraced the same Counsailes also, and entertained some Propositions, conducing to the introdu­ction of a blessed peace. And first the Gentlemen and other intelligent persons of the County of Dorset, having felt some of the effects of Warre in the action of Sherborne, and seeing how great a flame was raised in Devonshire, bordering next upon them, endeavoured to preserve themselves from that combustion which had laid wast so many of their neighbours houses. And to that end agreed amongst themselves upon such Articles, as the necessity of their affaires, and the sad spectacles before their eyes, did invite them to: whereof Sir Thomas Trenchard Knight, and Iohn Browne Esquire, two of the Deputy Lieutenants for exercising of the Militia, ac­cording to the Ordinance of the two Houses of Parliament, were as the first movers so [...]he most effectuall promoters too. And yet this Pacification so agreed upon, and at a time, when the whole County so distasted the proceedings of the two Houses of Parliament, that there was tenne against them for every one that would adventure in their cause, (as the said Gentlemen did signify by letters to diverse of their friends in the Lower House) was not held convenient. And thereupon Sir William Waller must be hastned to the Western parts, that by the power and reputation of his Armes the said Agree­ment might be broken; and all that had consented to the com­mon [Page 4] Peace might either be compelled to advance the Warre, or flie the Country.

In the mean time, whilest Waller was upon his March, and the affaires of Dorset-shire in so good condition, that it was hoped they would be able to make good their own Conclusi­ons: the Devon-shire and the Cornish Armies, who had so oft imbrued their hands in each others blood, though still with losse of men and reputation on the Devon-shire side, be­gan to hearken to such counsailes, as God had put into the hearts of some honest Gentlemen, (though otherwise of different opinions) to propose unto them. And it pleased him who maketh two to be of one minde in an house, so to incline the hearts both of the greater and the better part of those se­verall Counties, as first to hearken to a trnce, and on the ex­piration of that Truce (which was expired the seventh of this present March) to yeeld to a Cessation for twenty daies, that so the Treaty might advance with the more apparent hopes of an happy issue. Which being mutually agreed on for the common good, their next care was to choose Commissi­oners for each side, men of integrity and honour, on whom they might conferre a concluding power to bind all parties; and unto whose determinations they might with safety and assurance submit themselves. This done, and the Commissio­ners assembled at Mount-Edgecomb a place in Cornwall, on the fourth of March, to give assurance each to other, and to all the world, of their integrity, and of the reall intentions which they had to peace (secluded from all sinister and particular ends) they took a solemne Protestation, and afterward recei­ved the blessed Sacrament, for ratification of the same. The Protestation is as followeth, which I have here transcribed verbatim, that all the World may see, (if they be not blind,) with what syncerity and candor they purpose to proceed in so great a businesse.

[Page 5] I. A.B. doe solemnly vow and pretest in the presence of Al­mighty God, that I doe not only come a Commissioner to this treaty, with an hearty and fervent desire of concluding an ho­nourable and firme Peace between the two Counties of Cornwall and Devon, but also will to the utmost of my power prosecute and really endeavour to accomplish and effect the same, by all lawfull waies and means I possibly can, First by maintaining the Protestant Religion established by Law in the Church of Eng­land, The just rights and prerogative of our Soveraigne Lord the King, The just priviledges and freedome of Parliaments, together with the just rights and the liberty of the Subject; and that I am without any intention (by fomenting this unnatu­rall Warre) to gaine or hope to advantage my selfe with the reall or personall estate of any person whatsoever, or obtaining any Office, Command, title of Honour, benefit or reward, either from the Kings Majesty, or either or both houses of Parlia­ment now assembled. And this I take in the presence of Al­mighty God, and as I shall answer the same at his Tribunall, ac­cording to the literall sence and meaning of the fore-going words, without any Equivocation, Mentall Reservation, or o­ther Evasion whatsoever, So help me God. Which Protestation being thus taken, was subscribed also by the hands of all the Commissioners, being eighteen in number, for each County nine.

This preparation being made, and the syncerity of their in­tentions so fully manifested, the Commissioners authorized for Cornwall (considering that they stood on the higher ground) did first propound their Articles to those of Devon: Articles of so even a temper, and so agreeable to the Lawes established, that those of Devonshire had been bound to ad­mit the same, if all things had succeeded answerably to their former expectations and endeavours. The most materiall of them were to this effect. 1. That the book of Common-prayer, [Page 6] the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of England formerly established by lawfull authority, for the true and sincere worship of God, be duely and truely observed in all the parishes of both Counties, untill the Discipline be altered by such authority as it was established by; and that all the in­fringers & depravers of the same either of the Clergy or Lai­ty, be duely proceeded against according to the known Laws of the land. 2. That the Common and statute lawes of this Realm of England be truly and really put in execution against all offenders & violaters of the same laws in either County, ac­cording to the usuall legall course, and as hath been anciently accustomed. 3. That all trade, traffique, and free Commerce be open in and between both Counties, as heretofore in the most peacable and best times. 4. That no man in his person, estate, or goods, be arrested imprisoned, detayned, outed, dispo­ssessed, or any waies molested, by any power or authority, whatsoever, without due processe of the Lawes of the Land. And 5. That all new erected fortifications & set guards with­in the City and County of Exeter, and in and upon all towns Castles, Bridges and passages within the Counties of Devon and Cornwall be removed and flighted at the cost and char­ges of the Erectors of the same, and that his Majesties Forts, Castles, and other ancient and usuall places of command within both Counties, be put into the same hands and custo­die as they were in before these unhappy differences; and as­surance giuen for the maintaining of the same without any addition or alteration: and that all Armes and Ammunition, of all and every person and persons whatsoever, be restored a­gaine to the right owners. Tho other Articles there were, but these the principall. And these together with the Protestati­on, the said Commissioners desired might be published in all the Market-Townes and Parochiall Churches of the said two Counties, without any alteration either in the writing, read­ing, [Page 7] or publishing thereof: to the intent it might appeare un­to all the world, who were the faithfull observers of the said Protestation, first sworn to on the holy Evangelists, and af­terwards confirmed by the receiving of the blessed Sacra­ment; and who the violaters of the same.

These Propositions being so equall, and so agreeable to the known Lawes of the Land, were like to find but little oppo­sition from the Commissioners for the other County, if they met with any. But whilest they were in consultation how to transact and settle their affaires, in such a way as might be permanent and secure▪ it pleased God to put into their mindes the offering of a communication of the same pretious benefit to the adjoyning Counties of Somerset and Dorset; who as they had participated somewhat in the Calamities of the Warre, so could they not but be as sensible of the blessings & effects of their neighbours Peace. Which being taken by them into consideration, it was agreed upon of all sides, that letters should be written to the principall persons of those se­verall Counties respectively, to invite them to joyne with them in so good a work, conducing so apparantly to their common happinesse. And this accordingly was done, letters being written and subscribed by the hands of twelve of the Commissioners, Sir Ralph Hopton subscribing in the first place: which letters were dated from Mount-Edgecomb on the sixth of March, being the very next day save one, that they were assembled. So soone did they agree on that weighty poynt, that there may seem to be, some superior power, which did so readily induce and incline them to it. The place appoynted for the meeting, was the New Inne in Exeter; the day the fourteenth of this Moneth, which was Tuesday last, being the seventh of the Cessation. And that they might attend the ser­vice with the greater safety and more assurance of their lives and persons: there was a safe Conduct granted by the chiefe [Page 8] Factors of the two Houses of Parliament, for every one of the Commissioners of the said foure Counties, with two men a peece for their retinue, to come, remain, and returne (I speak out of the words of the Originall) to and from the said place or any other places which shall be appoynted for the treaty by the said Commissioners. Which letters of safe Conduct doe hear their date at Plymmouth, the seventh of March, subscri­bed in the first place, by the Earle of Stamford, after by Sir George Chudleigh, Northeote, Martyn, and others the chief sticklers in the former troubles.

One would not think, that an Accommodation so just and necessary, tending so visibly to the ease and benefit of all His Majesties Subjects in those Counties, so evidently conserva­tive of their lives and fortunes, which had before been made a prey to the sharpest sword; so sensibly conducing to the ad­vancement of Gods glory and the Kings Honour, should meet with opposition in that place, and amongst those per­sons, who hitherto have given out (and certainly would take it ill not to be believed) that they endeavour nothing more, then the establishment of all these on the surest grounds. Yet so it hapned, that when this newes was brought to the House of Commons, which was on Saturday March the eleventh in the afternoon: it was received with great heat and passion, as finding their authority to be there­by lessened, and that unlimited and arbitrary power which they had exercised before on the Subjects there, to be restrai­ned very much, if not quite destroyed. For now they saw that all those Counties would be freed from all those Tyran­nicall constraints and impositions, which had been forced up­on them by their Committees; that those in whom they most confided had betraied the cause, and were no longer willing to advance their ends in the oppression of their neighbours; that the people would again returne to the Kings obedience, and [Page 9] submit themselves to no other rule, then the known Lawes of the Realme; and who could tell whether the contagion of so dangerous an example might not infect the neighbouring Counties, and so prevaile at last over all the Kingdom. Besides there was another circumstance, which added much to their vexation and disquiet; which was that here they met not with a bare subscription of mens names; as in that of Yorke­shire; or only with a promise made in the word of a Gentleman, though bound and made up with an imprecation, as in that of Cheshire: but with subscription of the names of the Commissi­oners, the taking of a solemne Oath, and the receiving of the Sacrament to confirme the same. And such a three-fold cord (in case the Wise mans note be of any credit) is not easily broken.

And yet well fare a gallant confidence. They were resol­ved upon the question to Break all these bonds, to dissolve the Treaty, to reduce matters there to the same confusion which they had brought them to before, and make those neigh­ [...] like the sonnes of Cadmus, imployed upon no other service then to kill one another. Why should not two whole Counties perish, nay to say truth, why should not a whole Kingdom be exposed unto spoyle and ruine, rather then some suspected Malefactors be brought to yeeld them­selves to a Legall tryall? Were not the Tribunes of the People in the State of Rome, held to be inviolable; exempt for what­soever they committed, from all Law and punishment? Ra­ther then to give up the power, with so much art and industry acquired; let us adventure once on a poynt of Popery, and di­spence with them for their Oathes; which being taken by them without our consent, have no power to bind them. This last insisted on so cordially, by some that doe pretend most ha­tred to Popish errours, (as is advertised from London by let­ters of the 11. of March) that at the last it was concluded to [Page 10] dispatch Prideaux and Nicols two of their Members in all hast to Exeter, to signify their mislike of the whole businesse to the severall Counties, and by all means to break in pieces the Agreement, from which they feared such mischiefes would redound unto them. But it is hoped, that notwithstanding their endeavours to subvert this Treaty, and the Gentlemen and others of those Counties whom it most concernes, will not so easily be altered from their resolutions: beginning at the last (though long first) to reassume the use of their own sen­ses; to trust no farther to the insnaring arts of others, then they see cause for; to find in what a comfortable state they li­ved, when they could feele no power above them, but the mild Scepter of a mercifull and gratious King; and finally to perceive what irremediable calamities the York-shire and the Cheshire men have drawn upon themselves and their severall Countries, by breaking those Agreements, on the like temp­tation, which were so faithfully condescended to for their common good. However we may see even by these endea­vours, what hopes of ease, what inclination to [...] expected from the hands of those cruell Chirurgeons; who are so farre from binding up the wounds of this bleeding bo­dy, that they enlarge the Orifice and increase the number, and take delight in torturing the poore Patient, whom they have in Cure: how little sense there is in them of our deadly miseries, who sitting safely in the Senate, wrapt in warme furres, and guarded by full troopes of their own Auxiliaries, heare not the groanes of slaughtered men, nor the cries of Or­phans, nor the lamentation of the Widdowes, nor see that spoyle and devastation, which they have made of late in this flourishing Kingdome, under pretence of rectifying some few slips and errors in the former Government. From which un­mercifull kind of men, no lesse then from the Plague and Pe­stilence, Good Lord deliver us.


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