Sr. VVilliam Killigrew HIS ANSWER TO THE FENNE MENS OBJECTIONS Against the Earle of Lindsey his Dray­ning in Lincolnshire.

Printed at London, 1649.

The Fen-mens Objections against the Earle of Lindsey and his Participants.

FIrst, Our Adversaries doe object, That some Commissioners who are named in the body of the Decrees; have not set their Hands and Seals unto the said Decrees, being ingrossed into parchment.

2. They say, The Earle did bribe the late King and his Lords, to take away their Fennes.

3. They say, The Earle did dreyne these Fens by preroga­tive power, by the Kings Letters, and by the Lords Orders.

4. They say, That the ancient Commissioners of the Coun­try were put out, and Strangers put into Commission.

5. They say, That the Dreyners were parties, and Iudges.

6. They say, That the Fens, in question, were not drown­ed, and did therefore need no dreyning

7. They say, That if the Fennes did need to be drayned? yet not by such Malignants as we.

8. They say, That the Earle did undertake the worke against the Countries consent.

9. They say, The Earle did take the best land, and left the worst land for the Country.

10. They say, That the Fennes between Bourne and Kimeeae are the worst for drayning.

11. They say, That Kesteum side is drowned by the banke of our great River, which doth secure our own lands, and doth thrust up the waters on the land left unto the Country.

12. They say, That the Earles bankes doe cut off the an­cient Sewers of the Country, which otherwise would have drayned their Fennes.

13. They say, The Earle tooke possession by force of Armes, and kept possession by Troops of Horse, by great Guns, and by murdering the people.

14. They say, That the Commonners were imprisoned by the Lords Orders.

[Page 2]15. They say, That the Country was denyed the benefit of the Land by the Earles priviledge of Parliament.

16. They say, That this Parliament hath declared a­gainst the drayning of Fens as a grieveance to the Common-Wealth.

17. They say, That Sir Robert Barkhams case was judged in Parliament against me.

18. They say, That the Earle and his Participants have drayned the dry Fens towards Bourne, and not medled with the drowned Fens towards Lincolne.

19. They say, That the Country was defrauded by the Com­missioners, who sould the Earle too much Land by his Con­tract.

20. They say, That the Earle hath taken more Land then was alotted him.

21. They say, That the Earle hath exchanged certaine Lands, which the Country will not allow of.

22. They object, That the Drayners have fought against the Parliament.

23. They say, That my Father Sir Robert Killigrew, did by his Will dispose of two hundred Acres of these Fens to his two younger Sonnes, before the Earles work was begun.

24. They say, That I was nominated an undertaker with the Earle, and did relinguish my right.

25. It hath been also objected, That the Countesse of Exeter hath the Brovage on many of the Fens in question, and doth conceive her Interest to be prejudiced by the drayning.

26. It hath been also objected, that the Earle did give to Mr. Robert Longe 500.l. a year to manage his worke.

27. They doe farther say, That the Earle did smother a Verdict, by which the Iury found, that the Fens in question, were not surrounded.

Sir William Killigrews answer unto the Fen-mens Objections, at the Committee for the Earle of Lindsey his Levell, concerning the matter of Fact.

Mr. Goodwin,

I Suppose our Councell hath fully shewed, that we doe claim our title to the Fens in question, by the authority of the decrees of Sewers, read before this honourable Com­mittee, and remaining before you: And have fully proved those decrees to be according to the directions of the Laws and Statutes of this Land, and according to the Presidents of former times, for works of this kind: And by those De­crees, 'tis evident, that our contract was legall, and that we have performed our works according to our contract; by which we have brought honour and profit to this Nation: And I say this, least by any witty exposition, the letter of the Law should be now construed to a different sence from what those times understood it; by which this letter of the Law, may now prove a mote point, that was then clear. If so, we hope that equity will take place; for it concerns eve­ry man that hath an estate as well as us, that all equity be not devoured by the strict letter of the Law, and chiefly in such cases of profit to the State; where the law is doubtfull or short, it is proper for the Parliament to take care in equi­ty; and in our case the Royall assent being had to our De­crees; the words of the Statute are, That the Parliament only can repeale them. And to the Parliaments order we doe as gladly submit, as our adversaries would willingly decline.

In the next place I observe, that our opposers doe indea­vour to blast the credit of our just title of right, by pretended miscarriages in the matter of fact, in those that managed this businesse for the Earle of Lindsey; and by throwing seve­rall scandalous aspersions on the persons of the Dreyners, which makes me think it very necessary to give the Commit­tee such answers to our opposers objections, as I hope will [Page 4] vindicate the Earle and his Participants from being guilty of any wilfull crimes, or from any mistakes of consequence, or any project, or any thing like a project. For 'tis evident, that the Earle did undertake this dreyning at the suite of the Country (as appears by Sir Anthony Erbyes and the other Commissioners Letter to the late King) and in pursuance of many ancient Records of that County, shewing him the in­deavours of their Ancestors to have dreyned the same Fens, by new works, by generall taxes, in the same method, and in the same places as he now hath done, which was never here­tofore blemished with the name of a project; and all this grounded on severall invitations of former Parliaments to encourage private men to undertake those publique workes, which this present Parliament hath also approved, by setling of Bedford Levell by an Act, and therefore we hope, that we having walked in our Predecessors steps, by the advice of learned men in the lawes of Sewers; and having brought our works by a great charge and hazard, to the highest per­fection of any such works in this Nation, we shall have the protection of this Parliament, since in their wisedome they have thought fit to settle Bedford Levell.

1. Our Adversaries doe object, That some Commissioners who are named in the body of the Decrees, have not set their hands and seales unto the said Decrees, being ingrossed in parchment.

We answer, That when a great number of Commissio­ners, have unanimously made a Decree, and the Clerks books perfected, it is the constant use when the Sessions is ended, for the Commissioners to goe home, and for the Cleark of the Sewers a week, or a fortnight after to ingrosse the De­crees in Parchment, and then to ride unto the Commissio­ners houses that made the Decrees, to get their Hands and Seales; and having such a number as the Law requires, be­ing fix, the Clerke doth not trouble himselfe to ride over the whole Country to have every Commissioners hand that made the Decree; nor is it necessary for all to signe, it is enough that their names in the body of the Decree doe shew it to be their Act. And if one man, or more, should dissent, [Page 5] they are included by the major part, so that the major part be a number warranted by the Statute: If any doubt be made of this, we doe undertake to prove it all.

2. They say, The Earle did bribe the King and his Lords, to take away their Fens.

We answer, That the Earle might dispose of his Lands as he pleased, whether he gave them, or sould them, I con­ceive concernes not the drayning, nor those that adventured with the Earle, if any injustice was done for bribes, let that appeare, and let them that did it answer for it.

3. They say, The Earle did drain these Fens by Preroga­tive Power, by the Kings Letters, and by the Lords Or­ders.

We answer: That the Earle and we doe claime our In­terest by the Lawes of Sewers, as by the Decrees be­fore you is proved, and doe disclaime all Title, or Right, by any Prerogative Power, and doe say that the Kings Let­ters did only excite the Commissioners to proceed in a pub­lique good work, which was his duty, as it now is the Par­liaments, to further such a beneficiall undertaking, to inrich the State; and we say those Letters did but recommend the Earle to be the undertaker, but did not injoyne the Com­missioners to accept him. We further say, that by the date of all the Lords orders, those from the Star-Chamber, from the Councell-Table, and lastly, from the Parliament, it doth appeare that no such orderThese Or­ders were after the Earle had possession. was used by the Earle to pro­cure the drayning, but to preserve the workes doing, and done. The first order was long after the work was begun, and others after the Earle had possession, to preserve Corne from being destroyed, and houses from being puld downe, and to deterre such rioters.See the Or­ders and the Letters, and observe their Dates. By all this, we conceive it is cleare, that the Earle did not force the Countrey to consent to draining, by Prerogative Power, as is alledged.

4. They say, the old Commissioners of the Country were put out, and strangers put into Commission.

We answer: That the Commission used of course to be renewed every three, or five yeares: And it was at the Lord Keepers pleasure to change the Commissioners: And it was [Page 6] just and reasonable to put the chiefe of the Drayners into the Commission, who were become a part of the Country by that interest: And we further say, that the Lord Keeper might be informed by the Earle, that some eminent men of the Country, who at first did seeke to advance this worke, were turned against it, because they could not have such shar [...]s in the adventure with the Earle as they desi­red, or for some other private grudge, which we con­ceive a just cause for the Lord Keeper to leave out such as would hinder a publique good for private ends: And we further say, that it is likely that some did desire to be put out for their owne case, which is very usuall; however, it is e­vident, there was no evill intended by altering the Commis­sion, because there are above two hundred able and suffici­ent Gentlemen (most) of that Country in the Commissi­on,See the names in the Com­mission. by which authority, the Earles contract was made with the Country; and but two strangers, who could not over-rule that great number, to prejudice their own Country by any unjust act.

5. They say that the Drayners were Parties and Iudges.

We answer: That when the Tax of 13s. 4d. was laid on every acre drowned, there could be no parties, because the Earle had no interest, nor at making the contract of 24000 acres, until it was made, the Earle had no interest; and then, of them that did make that contract betweene the Countrey and the Earle, there was only two that had any relation to the Earle; for the now Lord Cobham, Sir Edward Heron, and Mr. William Langton, did some yeares after his Decree, become purchasers of their owne Fens, at 40s. an Acre, at which price those lands were publiquely offered to any of the Countrey to adventure for, and only these three Gentle­men did thinke those drowned lands to be so much worth in those dayes. The dates of these three Gentlemens deeds will shew how long after the contract they became Purcha­sers, and therefore cannot be justly called Judges and Par­ties at the making of the Contract, or laying the Tax three yeares before the Contract was made: Nor can Sir Pere­grine Bartu, nor Mr. Long's sitting on the Bench, (who [Page 7] were the only two that were afterwards concerned in the Earles interest) be reasonably thought to over-rule the other thirty Commissioners that did make the Decree of Contract,See the Law of the Con­tract. where the words are that no one man did dissent.

6. They say, That the Fens in question were not drowned, and therefore did need no drayning.

We answer: That by severall Records of that County now in Court, it appeares that the Fens in question have been ever hurtfully surrounded with waters; and that it hath bin for some hundreds of yeares the constant indeavours of the Commissioners of that Country, and of many other eminent men,See the Books. to have drayned the same Fens, in the same manner, and by new works in the same places where the Earle hath made his Draynes; It doth also appeare by our adversaries books lately printed, and distributed to the Members in Parlia­ment, that a little before the Earles undertaking, the Coun­try did proffer Sir Anthony Thomas, and Sir William Ay­lisse, a fifth part to drayne these very Fens in question, and that they demanded a fourth part, by which it appears that these Fens were drowned, and that the Country did desire to have them drayned, and was sufficient argument to per­swade the Earle to undertake the work, and therefore no Project, and may satisfie all indifferent men, that the Earl had no Prerogative Power, nor needed any; nor Lords Orders to force the Country to a compliance with him:See their printed Books. It also ap­peares by our adversaries other printed books, distributed to the Members of Parliament, that our opposers themselves doe desire to become drayners of the Fens in question, by all which, it is evident that these Fens did require drayn­ing.

7. They say, That if the Fens did need to be drayned, yet not by such Malignants as we.

We answer: That when we became Drayners, there was no cause to call us so, and we were fit to be drayners, be­cause in those dayes none in the Country did understand the Art of drayning, which is evident by the unusefull drayns of the Country, before the Earles undertaking, and by their wilfull and ignorant cleansing of their old crooked draynes [Page 8] this last year, hoping by so doing, to have shewed the world that our works were needlesse, to which end they have to this day dam'd up the Earles great Rivers, and by so doing, have now drowned all the Fens, to the great dammage and discontent of the Country, as appears by the present­ments of Sewers this last Summer, in which those dams are presented as common nusances, and are ordered to be taken up, but yet doe still remaine, and doe keep the Fens drown­ed, by which it seemes our opposers did not formerly, nor doe yet understand drayning, and therefore not so fit to be Drayners as the Earle,See the Pre­sentments in Court. by whose works the Fens were kept dry, untill they malitiously destroyd them, on purpose to drown what he had drayned.

8. They say, The Earle did undertake the worke against the Countries consent.

We answer, That the Contract was made by 32. Com­missioners, many of them Lords and owners of the said Fens, and this at a publique Session of Sewers in Sleaford, in the presence of many thousands of the people, all hearing the Contract debated openly in the Church, because the great Hall could not receive the Assembly, and the people did ex­presse much joy to have the Earle undertake it, and did unani­mously work in his Drayns,See the se­verall Pet­tions from the Coun­try in the Drayners behalf which lye before you in Court. and hereby inriched themselves, nor was here any appearing dissent in the Country, untill our Adversaries perswaded them, that they might have all the Earles Lands for asking.

9. They say, The Earle did take the best Land, and left the worst for the Country.

We answer, That by the Map it will appear, that the Earle hath alotted to him that Land which was worst, the lowest, and most drownd, the very Pan of all the Fens, and lyeth most remote from all the Towns, so that if those Lands that were worst, be now become best, it is a good evidence, that the Earle hath done his work well; for the truth is, those worst Lands which were ever drowned before the drayning, are by our works made good winter Corn Lands; And yet to let the world see how unjust this complaint is, the Earl did offer the Country to exchange all his Lands for so much of [Page 9] theirs; and they refused it, at a full hearing in the Lords house. The truth is, that the wit of man cannot set out the Earles proportion in any other place so profitable for the Country.

10. They say, That the Fens between Bourne and Kime-eae are the worse for drayning.

We answer, That those Fens are improved by drayning from 2s, 3s, 4s, an Acre, to 8s, 10s, and 13s. the Acre, as appeares by testimony be­fore this committee. We say also, that the Earle did at a hearing in the Lords house, offer the Country to become Tenant to the Country for all the remaining Common, at 10s. the Acre, which they refused, and by all Records, as well as by severall testimonies it appears, thoso Fens were not worth a forth part so much before the draining; therefore now improved to the great advantage of the Country.

11. They say, That Kesteven side is drowned by the bank of our great River, which doth secure our own Lands, and thrusts up the waters on the Land left unto the Country.

We answer, That if Kesteven side, or any other Fens in the Earles Level, doe lie forty dayes under water, the Country may re-enter on all his Lands, for not performing his Contract with them. And for the bank of the complained of, it is true, that when that River is full upon great sudden Floods, that bank doth thrust up the waters upon the edges of the Commons next to the River, more or lesse, as the Floods doe happen, but when the I'ide turns, within few houres, that water is carried off again; but suppose the waters should upon very great Floods in winter, be thrust up by this banke over halfe the Com­mons on Kesteven side, for some hours, or some few dayes, 'twere no harm to the Commons, nor breach of Contract in the Earle, unless the whole Commons do lye forty dayes under water, then we confess they may re-enter, and we do refer our selves to the Earles Contract for this particular; It is worth the noting: that they say, this bank, com­plained of, doth preserve our own Lands dry, winter and summer a­gainst all Floods (and we acknowledge it doth so) and do answer, that all Holland Fens, which doe all lye behind our lands, are as well secu­red by this bank, complained of, as our own Lands are, for when the waters shall break over this bank, it must run over all our Lands before it can come into Holland Fens; so that those of Holland, who are our chief opposers, ought not to complain; nor have those of Kesteven any cause, since we have performed our Contract with them; and over performed it with those of Holland: But the businesse is, they doe all grudge to see the Drayners Lands bear winter Corn, and Rape-seed, [Page 10] Hempe, and Flax, and will not allow us to improve our inclosed Lands above the Commons, which is very unjust, for it those of Kesteven side doe please, they may inclose one half of their Commons into small par­cels as the Drayners have done; and those of Holland may inlose all their Commons, and be as dry as our Lands are, but this subdivision of their Commons is no part of the Earles Contract; we desire the Contract may be strictly observed, and it will appeare that the Earle hath overdone his work, rather then been short in any part of it; and no man injured by it, but those that complain most have most benefit.

12. They say, That the Earles banks doe cut off the ancient Sewers of the Country, which otherwise would have drayned their Fens.

We answer, That if their old Drayns could have drayned them, how came the Country to lye drowned, so many hundreds of yeares? and how came we to find so many Records extant, that shew severall at­tempts to have drayned the Fens in question, by new works, if their old Draynes would have done the work? We doe acknowledge, that our great River doth cut off all those old country Drayns, on Kesteven side; which ever did, and still doe bring down the rain waters from the high Country into the Fens, by which the Fens were alwayes drowned, and by our taking of those waters into our River, we carry them into the Sea, which formerly did lye most part of the year on the Fens, because they had no sufficient vent by the old out-fals; and by this means only were those Fens capable of being drayned (as by the Map appears) so that we have cut off their old Drayns which did drown the Fens, but not meddle with their old Drayns, which did drayn them as they pretend: for by their old out-fals to the Sea, they could only drayn, and all those old Drayns, and out-fals to the Sea, doe lye behind the banks complained of, and behind all our inclosed Lands on Holland side; and we have not cut off those old Draynes, nor out-fals to the Sea, but have left them for the use of Holland Severals: and that the world may see how unjust this com­plaint is, we will prove, that the current of waters, which did for­merly run by their old Drayns, through Holland's Severals to the Sea, doe now runne backwards into our Drayns, and we doe carry those waters by our Rivers into the Sea another way; by which it is clear, that our Drayns are of use, and their old Drayns are of no use. And by this it's also clear, that the Lands alotted to us, are the lowest Lands in the Levell; because both from Kesteven side, and from Holland side, the waters doe run into our Rivers, and by them into the Sea. And by this also it appeares, that the Earles 14000. Acres, being the [Page 11] lowest, were the most drowned, and so the worst, before the drayning; and now the said Lands bearing good winter Corn, 'tis as evident that the Earle hath done a good work, and performed his Contract fully, when that which was worst of the Fens, is made the best by him: and that Holland Fens are as well drayned as his own, so that two parts of three,See the Contract. is better drayned, then by his Contract he was obliged, and Kesteven being the other third part, is as well as art can make it, and as well drayned, as by his Contract he was bound to doe.

13. They say, That the Earle tooke possession by force of Armes, and kept his possession by Troops of Horse, and great Guns, and by mur­dering the people.

We answer, That we have proved our comming peaceably into possession, by authority of a Decree of Sewers; and that we did build, plow,In all the time of Mr. Ellis his Commit­tee, our Adversaries do not once mention our taking possession by force, & if any force were, 'twas to keep the possession at our ejecti­on: as by the date of the year appears by their own proofs. and reap two yeares crops quietly, and part of the third sum­mer crop also, in all which time, there were neither Troops, or Guns used, or any man slain: we have also proved, that our houses were pulled downe, our Corne burned, our Draynes spoiled, our Tenants thrown out, and our possession taken from us by vio­lence, while we made no resistance, For while my house was pulled down, the Sheriffe and a Justice of peace looked on, and did use intreaties, but no force, to make the riotters desist. What was done by Sir Edward Heron when he was high Sheriffe, I know not, for we were then driven out of the Country, only I have seen seve­rall orders from the Parliament, to require him to quiet our possessi­on, and I believe, by his place he might call aid to assist him, for preserving the peace of the Country, which our adversaries now call a force: Nor doe I know what happened by Troops in the following war, which was after our being ejected. I doe undertake to prove, that my brasse Gun, so much talked of, was a raritle made by my Fa­ther, which I did for many yeares remove from house to house, where ever I dwelt, as an ornament to stand in my Hall. I also say, that my selfe was out of the Country, when my house was pulled downe, and never since have seene the place it stood on, till this last Summer 1649.

14. They say, That the Commoners were imprisoned by the Lords Orders.

We answer: That when any of the Commoners were indicted for [Page 12] riots, proved before the Commissioners on oaths, that the Jurie did still acquit them, which did encourage those ill affected, to hire some poore man to cut the Earles draines, by which, in one night great quantities of Corne was drowned: To prevent this evill, the Earle was constrained to petition the Lords, and to seek a speedier re­medie then to sue a poore man not worth a groat, for a 1000l. da­mage, during which suit the evill would still be acted by others.

15. They say, That the Country was denied the benefit of the law, by the Earles Priviledge of Parliament.

We answer: That in the dayes of the Lords House, the Earle had such a Priviledge, and yet he did decline his Priviledge, and sub­mit to the judgement of a Committee of this Honourable House, and while the cause did depend in hearing before them, he was throwne out of his right by those who now complaine against us, which was a higher contempt against this Parliament, than ever was done before to a Parliament, and a mighty oppression upon us by our adversaries.

16. They say, That this Parliament hath declared against the drayning of Fens, as a grievance to the Common-wealth.

We answer: That we believe it is a mistake in our adversaries, and that if there be such a Declaration, it was on some other Fens, and on mis-information, or before they were fully informed what great benefit the State would receive by drayning, as appeares by their sub­sequent Act for the setling of Bedford levell, in the preamble of which Act, they recite what benefit the Common-wealth receives by drain­ing.

17. They say that Sir Robert Barkham's case was judged in Parli­ament against me.

We answer: That Sir Robert Barkham's case concernes Sir An­thony Thomas his levell, and is for his ancient inclosed severalls on the title of melioration, and is in no kind agreeing with our case in question; for we claime only commons, and have not toucht any se­veralls, nor yet demanded any meliorations, though they be due unto us.

18. They say the Earle and his Participants have drained the dry Fens towards Bourne, and not medled with the drowned Fens to­wards Lincolne.

We answer: That the Earle hath drayned above one half of his Le­vell, and according to his contract, had 14000 acres set out by the Commissioners, that hee might, by re-imbursing part of his money, [Page 13] be inabled to goe through with his whole undertaking; but the Coun­trey having by force taken the 14000 acres from him, how is he able to go on with his work? They beat us out of the Country, and now complaine that we doe not finish our work: And yet in this too they are mistaken in what they say; for the Earle hath made his Sluces, and his Rivers, at the out-fall of a double capacitie, for his first levell from Bourne, on purpose to receive and carry off the waters of the second levell from Lincolne, so that a great part of that second worke is done, which they understand not, that say the Earle hath not begun his workes towards Lincolne. There is also a forty foot Drayn of 8 miles long, made with a particular Sluce to it for the levell towards Lin­colne, and two 15 foot drains more for the same levell to Lincolne.

19. They say, That the Country was defrauded by the Commissio­ners, who sold the Earle too much land by his Contract.

We answer:Note that the whole Land found hurtfully surrounded in this Le­vell, is 71000. acres, so that the Earles 24000. a­cres is a just third part. That the Fens in question, were before the draining, worth but 40s. an acre, and so the Earle sold those lands at the time to all that would buy of him: And we say, that if by our labour, charge, and hazard, the same land be now worth ten pound an acre, they doe complaine unjustly, and may by this rule, value a ship returned from the East-Indies; at the rate it was set out, which were a good way to overthrow all industry in a Common-wealth.

20. They say, That the Earle hath taken more land then was allotted him.

We answer: That our Lands were set out by sworn Surveyors, and we desire that they may be new surveyd, so that those men will bear the charge, if they have without cause complained.

21. They say, That the Earle hath exchanged certaine Lands, which the Country will not allow of.

We answer: That those exchanges were made by a Commission of Sewers, and is rather a benefit to the Countrey, then a prejudice, and onely some doe in a peevish humour dislike it: But if no reason will satisfie them, the lands shall be re-exchanged.

22. They object, That the Drayners have sought against the Parliament.

We answer, That many Participants with the Earle of Lindesey have not fought against the Parliament: and those that have, are now admitted to composition, and by that to grace and; so that our actions in the War (being not now in question) ought to be for­got, and our behaviour since only to be looked on: But our Adversa­ries urge our delinquency, as if that were a sufficient argument to de­ny [Page 14] us justice, in which the Honour of the Parliament is more concern­ed, then we in profit. This Objection puts me in mind on a old Pro­verb, That there is more confidence to be put in a reconciled Enemy, thon in a disaffected Friend.

23. They say, That my Father Sir Robert Killigrew did by his Will dispose of 200. Acres of these Fens unto his younger Sons, before the work was begun.

I answer, That this Objection is a mistake, for by his Will there is none of these Lands disposed.

24. They say, That I was nominated an undertaker with the Earle, and did relinguish my right.

I answer, That it was as lawfull for me to be an undertaker, as for any man: and I was by reason of my Fathers sicknesse made un­dertaker in his right; and untill my Fathers death, I never saw Lin­colne-shire; when the Earle did some yeares after desire me to relin­guish my title of being Drayner, that his Lordship might be sole Drayner, as a person most acceptable to the Country, by which I hope I have committed no crime.

25. It hath been also objected, that the Countesse of Exceter hath the Brovage on many of the Fens in question, and doth conceive her in­terest to be prejudiced by the drayning.

We answer: That those Fens on which she hath Brovage, are im­proved to a treble value by the drayning, and consequently her Bro­vage is so too: But to avoid all disputes, let the Countesse shew what profit her selfe, or her predecessors have ever made by the Brovage, and we will be liable to make her an increase of profit, that she may have benefit by the drayning.

26. It hath been also objected, that the Earle did give to Mr. Ro­bert Long 500l. a year to manage his work.

We answer: That if the Earle had given him a 1000l. a year, his paines and care might deserve it: But if that Gentleman have com­mitted any errours in ordering the businesse, let them be proved; or if he have injured any man in his management of this drayning, let the drayners Estates make satisfaction: But let not our opposers lay his particular actions to our charge, that had no hand in the ordering of the businesse. I say this, because my selfe am often named, as if I had directed all the proceedings concerning this work, who did never look after it untill now, that want of bread made me search into the old papers, that shewed me the Earles proceedings at the first Com­mittee, before the war begun; and from those papers I have what I do know of this businesse.

[Page 15]27. They doe further say, that the Earle did smother a Verdict, by which the Iury found that the Fens in question were not surrounded.

We answer: That the Verdict which they mention, was six yeares before the Earles undertaking began, and the next day after, the Com­missioners had laid a Tax of ten shillings the acre on the said Fens, and at the instant time when the Commissioners were in treaty with Sir Anthony Thomas, and Sir William Aylisse, to undertake the drayning; so that tis evident this Verdict was a practise by some private inte­rested parties, to interrupt that Treaty, and no way concerned the Earle of Lindsey, who many years after did become Drayner. We leave it to the judgment of judicious men, whether that Jury might not as well have returneda Verdict, that the Sun never shined in Eng­land, as that the Fens betweene the Rivers of Gleane and Witham, were not surrounded, when so many Records in Court do shew those Fens to have been many hundred yeares hurtfully surrounded, and the endeavours of all Ages to get them drayned, which the Earle hath now done in perfection, beyond all works of this kind in this Nation.

As to the many printed papers of our Adversaries concerning this work of drayning, they are so full of malice, and impertinencies, that I rest confident in the judgments of all prudent men, they carry their answers with them, and therefore I have not considered them.

What benefit the Common-wealth receives by this drayning

1 THe Common-wealth will receive all the benefit by the Earle of Lindseys draining, that it receives by the Earle of Bedfords drayning, and doth merit an Act to settle it equall with Bedford Le­vell, and we desire it on the same terms; in which Act there is pro­vision made for all grievances immaginable.

2 The State will receive present benefit, by the increase of the Customs, to many thousands pounds a year, when these new Planta­tions are setled.

3 Thirdly, when the 14000 acres belonging to the drainers shall be imployed for Corn, The City of London will not be forced (as it now is) to send 300000 li. a year out of the land to buy in Corn.

4. In perfecting of the works, and in husbandry, when all is fini­shed many thousands of poor people will be imployed, and severall Manufactures be set up, by using Flax, and making of linnen Cloth.

5. The State will receive honour by improving so much uselesse ground to so great profit; and by doing justice to the Drayners who have ruined there owne Estates, by bringing benefit to the State.

The Drayners humble desires.

1. THe Drayners do humbly desire, that personall recriminations may not pre­judice their just title to the Fens.

2. That since the Parliament hath admitted us to composition, and by that to grace and, we hope our actions in war will be forgot, and our behaviour since only looked on, as in other mens cases, in like condition.

3. We humbly desire, that those few men who doe oppose us, and have not autho­rity from the major part of the Country to hold up this contest against us, may be looked on as ungratefull persons, because the most violent of them are those that have destroyd the wealth of the land, that have against al law and equity, ruined our works, pulled down our houses, and burned our Corn, while this suit depended before a Committee of this Parliament: and this done in contempt of the Speakers Letter, which was read, while my house was pulling down, as is proved by testimony.

4. I say, that the chief of our opposers be those rich men whom the poor Com­moners do petition against, for over stocking their Commons, and do oppose us that they may still oppresse the poor Commonners.

5. We desire that they may be looked on as men, that ever have, and stil do decline the justice of this Committee, and Parliament, as appears by their many Petitions, to leave them to law Courts, when they know the Parliament is the only competent Judge of the case in question and our Decrees not reversable but in Parliament.

6. That they may be looked on as men that do abuse the trust reposed in them, by those of the Country, who do imploy them with false reports of their proceedings at the Committee, and do seek private interest under colour of a publique good; their main design being to out us that have done the work, and to become Drayners them­selves, who have drowned the Fens at this day, as appears by the last summers pre­sentments now before you.

7. The Drayners do humbly desire, that if it should have happened, that any mis­carriage in the Earles overseers of his work, or if there should have been any mistake of a word in law, that may make our title a mote point, that for this, all we who are adventurers and purchasers with the Earle of Lindesey, may not on so nice a point be utterly ruined, with our whole families, after the expence of 80000 l. by which the Common-Wealth is much inriched.

8. We humbly desire, that if any man have received prejudice by the drayning, or any been injured by the Drayners, or their Agents; that such injuries may be proyed, and we do submit to make such satisfaction as this Committee, or the Parliament shall appoint.

9. We do also humbly desire the like justice and satisfaction from those that have destroyd us and our works, by such unexampled ryots: I may say, by such ingra­titude and so barbarous a malice, that no civilized nation can parallel; and tis worthy consideration, that if multitudes of men shall be suffered to pull down houses at their wils, which were erected by the authority of a Decree of Sewers, they may do as much against a Decree of Chancery, and then where is our property so much talked of.

10. We humbly desire, that Sir Iohu Maynard may be considered as a man that hath no interest in those Fens now in question, but doth oppose us, in hope after our overthrow, if this design take effect, to repeale Bedford Act, but we do hope the Com­mon-Wealths good, will be preferred before his private designes; and that an Act of Parliament will not be so easily blown away by him.

[Page 13]11. And whereas some men do say, That the Drayners are much inriched by this work.. I do acknowledge that my self hath the greatest share of all the Participants; and I do only desire to pay my just debt due before this war began, to provide for my Wife and Children in a very moderate way, and to have but two hundred pounds a yea [...] for myself; If any man, that envize my estate will do this, I will quit all my interest in the Fens, to him, and whatever else I have in England; and account him the best friend I ever met with.

12. And lastly, We humbly desire, that we may be restored to our possessions in those Fens between Bourne and Kime-eae, and set in the same condition we were, when the first complaint was preferd to the Parliament: and that the Earles undertaking may be confirmed by an Act of Parliament, as in justice it should be; we having as much meritted an Act as Bedford Levell, or any other, which hath from time to time been confirmed by former Parliaments.



IN the fift Objection they say Some of the Commissioners were parties and Iudg­es, because they did purchase land of the Earle some years after his Contract was made.

By this Rule, if any Member of this Parliament shall (now after Bedford Act is passed) adventure any money for land in that Levell, our Adversaries may as well say, that such adventurers were Parties and Iudges, who did de­signe [Page] to becom adventurers before they made the Act: which is just the case of our few Commissioners here complai­ned of.


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