A LETTER TO THE Earl of SHAFTSBURY this 9th. of July, 1680. From TOM TELL-TROTH a Downright Englishman.

My Lord,

I Have lived to see your Lordship Great as well as Popular, and a stout Assertor of the Protestant Religion and Interest. Wherefore to your Lordship have I thought fit, in this time of danger to our native Countrey, to lay before you the great Mischiefs that both the Monarchy and Protestant Religion do suffer, in respect of the present Designs of Papist and Commonwealths-man: And when I have discover'd to your Lordship their Intrigues, as far as my strict scrutiny and search into them (besides sufficient Testimonies from others truely informed) have satisfied me, I hope we shall take such adequate Measures from them, to satisfie both your Lordship and this Kingdom, that Ruine and Desolation will come swift on us, Confusion and every evil Work, if some speedy Remedy be not instantly proposed by the Wisdom of the great Councel of this Nation.

And first, my Lord, Your Lordship will please to give me leave to make a Paral­lel, between the past Actions of the designing men before and after 1641. to the happy Restoration of the King, by it I shall be able to satisfie your Lordship, that what was then designed and effected upon the Person of the late King, Church of Eng­land, and Government, were the results of such pernicious Counsels and Designs, as are now hatching by these Sons of Belial, to the present disturbance, if not ruine of our flourishing Church and Kingdoms.

Now 'tis obvious to all that have had any knowledge of the late Transactions be­fore 1640. and after, that the Papist seeing our Church so well guarded with purity of Doctrine and Faith, with innocent Ceremonies, to defend her from the Invasion of slovenly and dishonourable worshipping of the great God; as well also to avoid the Superstition and Foppery of the Worship of the Church of Rome. Behold what Emissaries were there sent out, and with what Cloathing to deceive; the Puritan must be drawn in to make an outcry against Canons, Ceremonies, and whatever was enjoyned by Law in the Worship of God must be Antichristian, at least it must be said unlawfully imposed on their tender Consciences. From sowing these Doctrines, the poor and the ignorant were taught to believe Bishops to be the very Limbs of An­tichrist, and Superstition and Idolatry brought by them into the Church; and ma­ny worthy Patriots, such as Pryn, Bastwick, and Burton, &c. would smell Popery and Superstition in Gown, Surplice, Cross in Baptism, worshipping God towards the East, (a primitive Custom in the Church of God) &c. then publish to the World the great care they had to bring things to a due Reformation both in Church and State. But behold the consequence of this Undertaking; they had no sooner gone about to [Page 2] undermine the Church of England, but then 'twas fit time to call in question too the Miscarriages of State, and to be sure Archbishop Laud, who was the most eminent Assertor of the Rights of the Church, and as true a Protestant as ever lived, must be the first man cryed down by the Teachers and the Rabble, for being Popishly incli­ned, or rather for being a Papist, and must be butcher'd too for that supposition; by his death ended the Tranquillity of the once flourishing Church of England: Thus far had Papist hand in hand with Fanatick Rage and Zeal triumphed over us. But after this, 'twas not enough to bring our Church low, but we must yet go higher—well! What encouragement has the King given to Papists of late, by preferring them to Places of great consequence in the Government, such as were Strafford, &c.—These Persons, ay those, must be removed for evil Counsellors, or we shall have no Peace in our Israel; accordingly our zealous Teachers sent their Disciples abroad in all Avenues of the City, to cry down evil Counsellors, for that their design was to bring in Popery, and destroy Liberty, ay the Liberty of the Subject. And then for­sooth Ship-money, (a huge burden to what we have felt since) was (against Mag­na harta) indeed every thing in the Government found fault with, as either Po­pishly or Arbitraily inclin'd, then cry out for Reformation, Reformation. And when for Peace-sake, our good King had granted many of their unreasonable Demands, and had deliver'd to their Fury innocent Bloud, to prevent, as he thought, the shed­ding much more, yet would not their Rage stop here, but at last King, Church, and all brought to destruction, by the most horrid Rebellion and Villany, as can scarce be paralell'd in any Kingdom in the World in all its circumstances.

And now, my Lord, one would think, that this pretended glorious Reformation, should have produced some Settlement by this time to the tottering Kingdom: No truly; we found nothing but Sect springing out of Sect, and they that once prayed and fought together against the Peace of the Kingdom in one Body, and as it were, under one denomination, are presently dwindled into many little Parties and Saint­ships, and every one crying to his Neighbour, I am holyer than thou art; so that from Papist sprung Puritan, from Puritan Presbyterian, from Presbyterian Independent, from thence Anabaptists, Antinomians, Fifth-Monarchists, Sweet Singers in Israel, Quakers, Muggletonians, and the Lord knows what, till by and through the Incon­stancy of their Persons and Judgements, and the various Frekes of the several Hu­mours, all was reduced to a Chaos; so that neither a single Usurper, nor a Parlia­ment without a King, nor Committee of Safety, nor Keepers of the Liberties, or Councels of Officers, and Strength of Arms, could produce any Quiet, till God wonderfully restored Him, whose undoubted Right it was to sway the Sceptre of these Kingdoms. And thus, my Lord, I have in short given your Lordship an Ac­count of what has been acted in those Times: Let me now crave leave further to make the Parallel with the present Times; and therein if I reflect on some of the busie and designing men, I hope I shall not break the Laws of Decorum, because things are brought to that Crisis, that if an honest English Heart will not now speak home to the purpose, (for ought I can see) he may evermore hold his peace.

Well then, my Lord, Do we not now perceive as clear as the Sun at Noon day, that the same Men, or Men of the same Principles are again hard at work to under­mine, and destroy both our Church and State too? What divided Interests and Fa­ctions have there been for Seven Years last past, and more, to bring the King and Governours into disgrace, by frequent Clubs at Coffee-houses and Taverns, on purpose to break the Bonds of Unity among us. From these Places, and Sinks of Sedition and Rebellion, have there not been many of a higher form, who through Discontent, or love of Faction, and change of Government, or for not being con­tinued or preferr'd to the Highest and most Honourable Places therein, have endea­voured all they can to breed Differences between the Two Houses of Parliament, [Page 3] by throwing in some little matter with a Ball of Contention at the end on't, pur­posely to hinder the prosecution of what should tend to the advancement of the Publick Weal; And what can be more plain, than that such Designs were like those of 1641. Since, because the Bishops would not herd with Common-wealth-mens In­terests, (Yet my Lord, I do believe the Bishops are as prudent Men, and can as well tell the nature of an Oath, together with the Design as well as the Consequence thereof,) as any States-man I know of in the Kingdom, let them pretend to what they will; And besides, I am sure their Interest is so interwoven in the Monarchy of England, that neither Popery, nor any other Interest besides that of their own Church as established by Law, can any ways preserve them, unless they will all as one Man fall down and Worship the great Image, and be all things to all men, that they may be sure to get something, as many (my Lord) pretended Famous States­men have done in the several Changes of Government in these Kingdoms; (but that is not to be supposed of them,) since they would not, or did ever joyn with any such Interest as oppos'd Church or State; and thus how did both City and Country, Clubs, and Coffee-houses ring, that the Bishops were the only opposers of the true Interest of the Kingdom, and the great occasion why Justice could not be done on Capital and Notorious Offenders. This, my Lord, is a true spice of old 1641. and Your Lordship cannot but observe, that it hath brought the Bishops into suspition with the Vulgar sort, that they are driving on the Popish Design, and that there is not above Two Protestant Bishops amongst them all, as they give out.

Well, but this will not do yet; 'tis not so long since Laud was murder'd, and Strafford: People sufficiently smarted under Covenanting Reformers, and Army-Saints, and 'tis not easy to play the same Game over again the same way; and this the Designing Men see, and so are said to have other Artifices to rend the Govern­ment in pieces, and reduce it to its former Chaos or Designed Commonwealth; So that if neither disquieting or dividing Parliaments, nor secret combining Clubs against Great Ministers of State, nor a seeming weariness of the Monarchy of England, nor disgracing the Governours of the Church, nor suspition of Popery, and the introdu­cing thereof, will do the business to exasperate the People, as in 1641. why truly then comes forth a PLOT full of Treason and Popery; then forsooth the D. must needs be the Foundation of this Damnable Plot, and the Discoverers (who no doubt have been blessed Instruments to save us at this time from the Paw of Antichrist,) must be revered as Demy-Gods among the Vulgar, but more especially among the Precious Independant and Anabaptist Faction; But not to reflect on the Kings Evi­dence, for no doubt deservedly did those suffer who were condemned by the Justice of our Laws, and many more deservedly may that have had a hand in that perni­cious and Bloody Design against His Majesties Sacred Person and Government. In this Hurly Burly what a Confusion did it bring the Kingdom into? How did it ne­cessitate the King to Prorogue and Adjourn, yea, and Dissolve Parliaments from time to time? when he could not but so do for the preservation of the Peace of the King­dom, and defeating the Designs both of Popish and Self-designing Men who sought to disturb it; and so apparent this was, that no Loyal Heart but trembled at it. Then again forsooth all miscarriages of this nature must be attributed to the D. and his Party, and given out by the Designing Men, that no Parliaments should ever sit again, but all would be Arbitrary, and accordingly Guards must be doubled to de­fend us from Jesuits, and Popery, and this Bugbear of Arbitrary Government. Now in the name of Machiavel where are we going next? Oh! cries the first and deep­est among the Designers, Let us but keep off the King from Parliaments till his Re­venue will not answer the Charge of the Crown, and put him into the condition his Father of Blessed Memory was, that he will be necessitated to call one, then he shall be obliged to redress all the Grievances, hang all Plotters, (provided they be [Page 4] none but such as are Popishly inclin'd,) punish Church Offenders, and Saint Perse­cutors; then shall he be obliged to hearken to every thing we shall propose about the Succession; Then we shall be able to make our own terms with him, either we will have M. or we will know why; We will have one Black Box or other found wherein the Writing is that will prove what we would have Legitimate, and Suc­cessor to the Crown, in opposition to Royal Word, and whatever Demonstrations shall be to the contrary, provided it effectually hinders, and deprives the known, true and Lawful Successor that's Popishly affected; and we will never leave Clubbing nor Meeting, till we have effected this, maugre all former Designs by Popish Councels, or Protestants whatsoever.

Indeed my Lord, it were to be wisht for the quiet and welfare of the Nation, that these, and such like Designs were laid aside, and every one study to do his own business, to obey wholsom Laws, then to trust again to new Law-makers: For my part, My Lord, I wonder what it is these Men would have, if they think that ever Popery or Arbitrary Government can govern in this Kingdom, then they have rea­son to be thus concern'd: But my Lord, though I am a plain old English-man, I can see as far it may be as one that sees less; and I protest, my Lord, that after having read over abundance of such ware as little Andrew Marvel's Unhoopable Wit and Polity, and the Independent Comment amongst it, together with the Growth of Popery, &c. as also the Naked Truth, Treatises about French Interests, and the Suc­cession of the Crown, and all this bustle they have made amongst us. To say the truth, my Lord, I am Tom tell Troth, and between your Lordship and I, I do not believe there's any need of such Books, or any such Jealousies; for in Gods Name, what can preserve us, but being zealous for our Religion, and obedient to our Superiors? and what can preserve them, but the Love of their Subjects, and governing according to the Laws they have made, and are oblig'd to maintain? and for my part, I don't see any Invasion of Liberty & Property as they term it; I see indeed a sort of men, will be always restless and buzzing the vulgar Ear with strange Fears and Jealousies, which tends to nothing but destruction both of Prince and People. Truly, my Lord, (your Lordship being a Person of such eminent Parts, and having known most of the pub­lick Humours of this Land and People this 40 years) I think your Lordship would do well to find out some of these Underminers of the publick Peace of the Kingdom, that meet in Taverns, and other publick Houses, and by your strong Arguments convince them, that this is not the way to bring about their Designs, whatsoever mixture of Councels they may have; And since your Lordship lives in that great City wherein these Persons are said to reside, Your Lordship would send them such unquestionable Rules to walk by, as may tend to the securing of the peace of the Kingdom, rooting out all Jealousies and Fears of Popery and Arbitrary Government, As also to endeavour to fix them to the old ways of Loyalty and Obdedience, which are the only paths of Peace to dwell in: Then shall we see that 'twill be our Interests (whatever we imagine Liberty and Property to be,) to promote the Ho­nour of God, and the Religion of this Kingdom as established by Law, to Honour and obey the King according to the Laws, to love one another as Men and Christi­ans, and to lay all our Heads, Hearts and Hands together to support the same. My Lord, I shall now conclude this long Epistle without any other Complement, than that I am,

Your Lordships Most Humble Servant, Tom Tell-troth.

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