A LETTER SENT TO AN HONOURABLE GENTLEMAN, IN WAY OF SATISFACTION, CONCERNING Some slanderous reports lately raised against the BISHOPS, and the rest of the CLERGIE of this KINGDOME.

Printed in the yeare, 1641.

To my noble friend Sir VV. VV. KNIGHT.

Much honoured Sir,

SO soon as (to my great griefe and asto­nishment) I received notice from you of the strange rumour generally scattered abroad, of a thousand horse or more, that should be provided by the Clergy, and especially by the Bishops of this Kingdome, for some dangerous, but secret exploit; I acquainted some eminent persons of that profession with the newes: Who at the first seemed to entertaine it with a smiling kind of neglect, as the fained device of a thing im­possible to finde beliefe: but when I told them, it was not onely seriously divulged, but also credi­ted by many, who seemed not in-judicious, they began to be strucken with much horrour, and a­mazement; and to lament the condition of them­selves, and the times; and to impute the first in­vention [Page 2] of this crime, to the malice of some ill af­fected persons, who meant, by this meanes, to stir up the envy, and unjust hatred of good people a­gainst their persons, and calling. Good Lord, said they, were wee not loaden enough before with the weight of more then our own enormities, but we must be crushed with the heavier pressures of imaginary mischiefes? Alas, what have we done thus to irritate, and enrage the world against us? What can it bee that makes us guilty of this fury? How many of us are there, that have not yet been taxed with any crime but our Rochet? yet wee suffer no lesse, then if it were an offence to be in­nocent. After they had a little breathed out their sorrow, they recollected themselves, and began to thinke what they might doe to give the world some kinde of satisfaction, in this odious asper­sion that is cast upon them: at last they resolved that however they doubted not but time would fully manifest their integrity, yet, that in the mean while it was not fit that their silence should make them accessary to their owne causelesse in­famy; and therefore they earnestly desired me to take, and give notice to your worthy selfe, and all other ingenuous persons, of their serious and so­lemne [Page 3] Protestation, before God and the world, of their cleare and perfect innocence in this be­halfe. They doe therefore call the God of heaven to witnesse, that they are so far from having any hand in any businesse of this kinde, that they ne­ver heard or received the least intimation of any attempt, word, purpose, or thought tending this way; neither can yet imagine what the meaning of any such combination, or enterprise might be: as those who have desired, in all their attendance on these publick services, to approve their fidelity, to God, their King, and Country. In the consci­ence wherof, they bade me to challenge all those secret whisperers, who have thus gone about to poyson their good names in the opinion of all loyall and true-hearted Subjects, to notifie and bring forth speedily the grounds of those accusa­tions; and to fix them upon such persons, as they dare charge for guilty; that the truth of these cri­minations may so appeare to all the world, as that either themselves may receive shame, or the offen­ders, judgement.

And withall they doe most humbly beseech the most honourable Lords, and Commons of this present Parliament, that they will be pleased, [Page 4] with all possible speed, to search this matter to the bottom; & to follow this foule slander home to the first rise; that if any of them be found, in the least measure, guilty of this crime, pretended a­gainst King, or State, hee may forthwith suffer condigne punishment to the utmost; wherein they profess that their hands shalbe the first upon him, as the unworthy and perfidious violater of their sacred Order: And, if this report shall bee found (as they are confident) utterly groundlesse, and meerly slanderous, they beseech that highest Court of Justice, for Gods sake, and for the Chur­ches sake, that they will bee tenderly sensible of this abominable injury, that is herein done to their holy profession; and take some speedy course for the publicke vindicating of their innocence to all the world.

And, lastly, they doe earnestly beseech, and in the name of God, adjure, all Christian people, to beware, how they give light credit to those slan­derous suggestions, that are, in these deplored times, most untruly raised, and cast abroad by uncharitable, and malevolent men, against those, whom God hath set over them; and who desire, in all good conscience, to bee approved to God, [Page 5] and men; and that they will forbeare to hurt their owne soules in wronging the innocent.

Thu [...] Noble Sir, I have been bold to give you an account of the entertainment of your ill news; not doubting of either your charitable beliefe of the truth of this unfained Protestation, or of your just forwardnesse for the satisfying of others; In which confidence, I take leave; not without my humble and fervent prayers to the God of peace, that he would be pleased to temper all hearts, and to compose them so to an happy unity and con­cord, that we may at the last returne to our homes with joy, and with the comfortable expectati­on of no lesse blessed times then we have lived to see.

Your much devoted friend, E. I.

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