Mr. Croftons Case SOBERLY CONSIDERED, plainly Stated, and humbly submitted to the consideration of JƲST and PRƲDENT Men. MADE PUBLIQUE To Silence Clamor, Correct Mistake, and Acquit him from the Charge of High Treason. Vrged by Tho. Tomkins Fellow of All Souls Oxon. and others in their Frivolous, Scurrillous and Invective Pamphlets.

Eccles. 8.14. There is a vanity done upon the earth; that there be Just men, unto whom it happeneth after the work of the wicked.
Isaiah 59.15, 16. Truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey; and the Lord saw it, and it displea­sed him that there was NO JUDGEMENT, and he saw that there was NO MAN, and wondred that there was NO INTERCESSOR.

LONDON, Printed for the Authours, 1661.

TO THE Right Honourable EDWARD EARLE OF CLARENDON, Lord High Chancellour of ENGLAND.

May it please your Honour,

ALthough the Confinement of Mr. Crofton, seemeth to pass with the least regard, we can­not but with grief observe, it hath not the least reflection on the Justice and Honour of his Majesties Government; The person being known to have asserted and adhered unto his Majesties Just Inter­est in the worst of times, under, and against the late Ʋ ­surpers, and their base Complyants and Confederates, unto the loss of his Estate and Liberty, and Hazard of his Life; nor is any Defection in his Loyalty visible to men, who can see no cause for his present Bonds, save the Casuistical debate of the Oath, the Providence of God had brought on this Kingdom, and that before it was in­terdicted by any Law.

[Page]We cannot but be afflicted to consider the insultation of his Majesties known enemies, in the sufferings of this man, his Majesties known Faithful and Loyal Sub­ject, who observing him to suffer with them, and more then the most of them, according to their Blasphemous Argumentation from providence, conclude (not without reproach to his Majesty) that his present bonds, is Gods punishment for his active endeavours for his Majesties most happy restauration, reputing his zeal therein, to have been his most grievous sin, which notwithstanding we are well assured, his heart doth abide most upright and sincere towards his Majesty.

We have in silence long expected some Ebedmelech, in the Kings Court, to procure his discharge from his Dungeon: and conceived some by the duty of their place bound, and better capacitated then are poor we, would have appear­ed by way of Apologie for his innocency, but have been therein failed; least therefore God should say, and wonder there was no Intercessor, we have presumed to break silence, and make Publique our apprehensions of his Cause and Case, submitting the same to the censure of Just and Prudent men.

It hath (Right Honourable) been suggested to us, nor have we been void of fear, that this Apologie for our Friend might prejudice him, and endanger us, though we confess we can conceive no cause thereof, save that irra­tionalitie and injustice which judgeth Truth to be treason, which we dare not but think is a stranger at, and kept at a distance from our Kings Court; we profess our deliberate thoughts conclude Magna Charta, and the Petition of Right shall be as soon violated, and the Pri­soners humble demand of an Habeas Corpus be determi­ned a crime, as this plain naked representation, be reflect­ed to his damage, or charged on us as an offence; We ob­serve [Page] the Quakers and others, do with much boldness pub­lish their Cases without Control, and we cannot suppose this course more offensive in Loyal, and sober Presby­terians, nor can reason condemn us for vindicating him, by that way whereby Tomkins and others have de­famed him.

We are not much acquainted with the Laws, nor do we understand how far some late Laws may extend; but we profess our selves men of Conscience, and fly to Your Honour as Judge of Equity: We have indeed considered our Friends Case, as it hath been represented by Vulgar Clamor, and Scurrillous Pamphlets, because we can know it by no other means, no Accuser, or Accusa­tion having appeared against Him; which if there ever do, we shall leave Him to Answer, and do not doubt but He will fully acquit himself; Our Consideration is such, as we fear not to Tender to Your most serious Scrutinie, with an assureance of a most Wise and Just Decree upon it, so far as Your Honours Power doth extend.

We want not matter of Clamorous complaint, concern­ing the hard Ʋsage of our Friend in this close Imprison­ment; Where by perdidit patriam, domum, familiam, imo & ecclesiam, cultumque Dei publicum; A manifest Bondage: the Illegal disposing of his Church, immediately on his Confinement, to the depriving of him of all possible means of Subsistance to himself, and nu­merous Family, and that without allowing him the main­tenance, he ought by Law to enjoy whilst His Majesties Prisoner: And the many tedious chargeable, and (what [...] worse) bootless applications by humble Addresses, and [...]any Submiss Petitions never Answered: But these we [...]ve, being unwilling to reflect on Persons or Personal [...] and convinced Our Friend suffereth by mistake, [...] [...]pprehension of what he is, and what he hath [Page] written; the which being hereby made manifest, we most humbly pray it may, and cannot doubt but it will obtain Your Honours most Favourable Mediation to the Kings most Excellent Majesty, for the discharge of his long Imprisonment.

VVe will not further trouble Your Honour, save to beg Your Pardon for this over bold Address, constrained by compassion to our Friend, and Conscience towards our Righteous God.

May it please Your Honour, We are Your Honours most Humble Servants,
  • Hugh Griffith.
  • Henry Hall.
  • James Green.
  • Thomas Eaton.

Mr. Croftons Case Soberly Considered, plainly Stated, and humbly propounded to the Consideration of Just and prudent men.

MR. Zechariah Crofton, Minister of Botolphs Algate, London, now is, and ever since the twenty third day of March 1660. hath been a close Prisoner in the Tower of London, not permitted pen, ink and paper, nor any other way or means whereby to plead his own cause, or vindicate himself from the calum­nies cast upon him, by the tongues and pens of violent and unreasonable men; we therefore conceiving our selves as fellow subjects interested in his restraint: And as men and Christians bound to Plead the cause of the oppressed, and to do as we would be done un­to; and observing that trembling, stupendious and God-amazing silence, which hath seized upon such (who in point of duty and ability) are more capacitated,Isaiah, 59.16. and char­ged to plead the cause of the poor, then are we our selves, have presumed to enquire into, and represent to others his case and condition, in reference to the cause of his pre­sent sufferings, which we are convinced are continued up­on him through misapprehension, he being reported and concluded to be, what indeed he is not.

Although every tongue and pen can now call him by no other name but Traytor, such as have known the man, his principles and practises, yea and suffering; and observed from what persons, and for what cause he received the [Page 2] same, cannot but know he was Conscientiously loyal, and constantly faithful to the Kings Majesty and his Interest in these Kingooms; he having manifested the same (beyond all possibility of denial by any) by his retaining his Loyalty and adhaering to the Exil'd King, as his only liedge Lord, in the very worst of times, under our late Usurpers; in his place and to his power opposing them, disowning their Autho­rity, denying to subscribe the Ingagement of fidelity to them, and declaring against it as sinful; dissenting from, and ma­ny times expostulating with his complying Brethren, and ever refusing to concur in any Addresle or Application to them: by his Sequestrations, and many sufferings he recei­ved from them, for no other cause, then his Loyalty unto his Majesty (then in a low Estate:1649:) by his Sermons preached at Namptwich, at West-chester, at Caherine Coleman and Pe­ters Church in Cornhill London, 1659. Vid. Pros­pring pro­faness, and his letter to a Member of the Rump-Parliament. rebuking the barbarous mur­ther of his late; Rebellion and defection from his now Ma­jesty, and perswading a penitential return of Allegiance to him our lawful Soveraign; the which he enforced with many Pathetical and pregnant perswasive Admonitions, publickly Printed; and the same is made the more legible by the joy of such by whom he formerly suffered, and with whom he now suffereth, who now tauntingly insult over his present sufferings, & upbraid him with his past adherency to his Majesty, saying, Nothing but a King would serve his turn, we hope he hath King enough now; we well knew they who were so zealous for the King, would fare no better, then those that were a­gainst him. These and the like Evidences of his sincere Loyalty are so notorious, that we should labour without cause and to no purpose, to specifie particular proofs, his very enemies, not being able to deny them; That this man retained the same affection to his Majesty after his happy Restora­tion, we need not inquire into his domestick Expressions of Joy, and daily praises to God, as evidences thereof; the same having been amply testified by his Publick Ministry, and the doctrine of Obedience and subjection to the King which he Preached at St. Antholines Church London, from 1 Pet. and the doctrine of Thanksgiving to God for so great a Mercy Preached on May 10. and June 28. 1660. at Buttolphs Algate immediately before, and after his Ma­jesties [Page 3] happy return, from that Text, 2 Sam. 22.48, 49, 50, 51. And by the Doctrine of humiliation for the horrid Regicide the barbarous murther of his late Majesty, which he preach­ed from 2 Sam. 1.11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. On the 30th of Jan. the same year, all which (were they not too tedious for a discourse of this Nature) we had thought to have inserted in these papers six out of those book notes which we took from his own mouth, when he preached the same; Thus much we will be bold to say, that the expressions of his Loyalty in those Sermons, were such as might vie with those who injoy the most of his Majesties favour, and admi­nister to all that know the man, matter of amazement and admiration, that he is resolved into such sufferings under pretence of Treason and disloyalty, which must needs be the result of mistake, or unkindness.

We cannot but admire with what honesty or modesty, men do confound Mr. Crofton with those (because profes­sedly the same with him in Ecclesiasticks,As doth Mr. Tomkins in his Stric­tures.) who acted or irritated open Rebellion against his late or present Majesty, (which his Soul ever abhorred,) or who did basely comply under our late sinful, shameful revolutions: with what face can men reflect the odium of these things, upon the person who acquitted his Conscience and Credit, by a constant and publique disavowing the one and the other, and in his place declaring the sinfulnesse of both, and whereof his writings do very plainly shew his dislike and detestation, making it his business to vindicate the Solemn League; and Covenant from the least causality of so sad effects, affirming these to have been the perjurious violation of that. We wish the Serious Reader, willing to be satisfied in this par­ticular, to review his Analepsis, pa. 7, 8, 15, 16. Analep­sis An elepthe, pa. 17, 18, &c. Berith Anti-baal, pa. 51, 52. When we consider Mr. Croftons constant Loyalty, and con­fessed vigour, and activity in bringing back the hearts of his Majesties Subjects, and reflect on his present sufferings, We must confess we are not without fear, that the envious Observation of some of his Majesties enemies, may cloud the honour of our most Gracious King, with the Oblivion of Joash towards Zechariah the Son of Jehoidah, or the unkind­nesse of Queen Mary towards Mr. Dobs, and the Gospellers of [Page 4] Norsock and Suffock, whom she Imprisoned and Pillored for only minding her of her promise to them passed, for the clearing her passage to the Crown.

The only matter our best enquiry will give us to under­stand, or our selves can rationally conj [...]cture, as an of­fence chargeable on Mr. Crofton, is, the Affirmation of the Ob­liging force of the [...]olemne League and Covenant, and in order thereunto observing and arguing the Legislative power of the two Houses of Parliament without the King; These two we con­fess are Legible in those writings, which bearing his Name in the World, are reputed his; These Books we have heard were Objected to him (without any specification of any thing or word Offensive or Trayterous,) when he was Committed Prisoner to the Tower; Concerning these As­sertions we humbly offer these things to be observed, which we conceive to be worthy a due and serious consi­deration.

1. First, Mr. Croftons Affirmation, or rather Argumenta­tion of these principles, was, before the same was Interdicted by ay Law or Authority, and (if without offence we may ob­serve it,) when it was a duty imposed on all his Majesties good Subjects (required to use their utmost endeavours to promote the ends of the Covenant, and that as an evidence of their Fidelity to God and their King) by his Majesties Royal Declaration, transmitted out of Scotland, and (which we have heard) was delivered to Mr. Crofton by a Colonel in his Majesties Army, marching to Worcester, with an express charge to believe and pursue it as his Majesties expresse Pleasure: We are sensible the affirmation of these principles is now forbid­den by a Law, and is punishable by a Premunire in such who shall affirm them, or either of them after the 24th of June, 1661. But in Mr. Croftons Case we cannot but observe, his Act was in August, September and October, many moneths before the Law which doth forbid it; What is a Premunire, by the Laws we conceive could be no Treason before the Law was made; Where there is no Law there is no Trans­gression; it is an advise worthy a King so just, and wise, as was King James his Majesties Grand-Father, and to be e­ver Remembred by all Princes and Ministers of Justice; Proceed judicially and spare none where you see cause to punish; [Page 5] But let your proceedings be according to Law, and remember Laws have their eyes in their fore-head, not in their neck, for the moral reason for the punishment of vices in all Kingdomes and Common-Wealths, is, because of the breach of the Laws standing in force, Speech in Parliament, 1621. the 19 of his Reign. for none can be punished for the breach of Lawes by Predestination, b [...]fore they were made: That Mr. Crofton was committed to Prison for this Cause, might be reputed an Act of Pru­dence; but that he is nor enlarged, now that his Spirit and Principles are under the Restriction of a Law, seemeth to us something hard and unpolitique; the rather for that a Royal command is fairly pretended to have engaged him in this contest, and that he did it before the bring o [...] that Law, according to which Justice must acquit him if he had been a Transgressor thereof, more then the time thereby di­rected for prosecution having passed between his Act and Commitment, and more then twice as much since he was confined, and yet no legal process hath past against him.

2. Mr. Crofton hath as a Divine Disputant and Casuist, affirmed these Principles as Weighty and Importart, but doubtful and undetermined by any good and Just Authority; He therefore having used the freedom and confidence of a dis­putant in his discourse, doth conclude his Argumentation with this profession;See the con­clusion of his fetters. Might my poor weak papers provoke more serious Casuists, (in good earnest as before God, and in the dread of an Oath,) to state and by right Religious Reason, resolve this case of conscience (though in the negative) I had obtained my de­sire, and (if I know mine own heart) none shall he more ready then my self to fall down and worship, and confess God is in you of a truth.

We have not known that in any well-governd Com­mon-Wealths, nor can our reason conceive that Logical Dispute and Casuistical Debate ▪ (of things weighty, doubtful and not prohibited) was, or could be Judged any crime, much less a crimen laesae Majestatis; We hope we may without of­fence observe, that the earnest opponents of the divorce of King Henry the 8th, and the Title of Renouned Queen Eli­zabeth to the Crown of England, or any of them were not for the same Apprehended or Imprisoned as Offendors, until after that the Law, (the mature and deliberate debates by [Page 6] both Universities, all the Casuists in Christendom and the Estates of Parliament, having first cleared and concluded the question disputed,) had duly interdicted the further debates concerning those matters; The Obligation of an Oath, (in which God is immediately concerned,) we think we may say with confidence) is not inferiour to the most weighty of these cases; and no man can or will deny Disputation is directed by God and nature, and used and allowed by all Men and Nations (the Barbarous Turk, and in cases of Religion only excepted,) as the only ready and rational means to discover truth, and disperse such clouds as darken the same; Confutations of fury and false witness are registred Comments on the ignorance and impietie of Stephens Antagonists; and of fire and force is the high disho­nour of Queen Maries Reign, the same better beseeming the wilful, malitious, obdurate Jew, and blind, bloody Papist, then the Rational Religious Christian, and reform­ing Protestant: whose onely Honourable warfare, hath been ever managed (unto good success) by Argumentati­on, enforced by Prayers, and Tears as their onely Wea­pons.

3. Mr. Crofton did not first begin and set on foot this Dis­pute: This controversie was provoked by the Reverend Bishop of Excester Dr. John Gauden; his Analysis sounded the Alarm, and challenged all men (who feared an Oath, sa­cred in its nature, and the onely security of humane Or­der and Societie) especially Ministers (the Guardians of truth, and guides to dutie) to appear unto the defence of the (since condemned) Covenant; Mr. Crofton indeed (forward in zeal, and having improved this Oath to the advantage of his Majesties happy return) did first step forth, and with all sobriety receive, and repell the Bishops first assault; the which the Dr. enforcing a second and third time, he resisted with more Logical and Theological strength, taking the Principles from Grotius the Civilian; the learned Sanderson now Bishop of Lincoln the Casuist, and Sir Thomas Smith, Horn and Fortescue the Lawyers, best ac­quainted with the constitution of the Government of this Kingdom; the which he useth as his Medium, by which to conclude his Argument: So that it is visible to all men that [Page 7] Mr. Crofton is defensive in this whole debate; and is no fur­ther criminal, then in suffering his Reason to infer, and relate the conclusion, which the principles approved by all men, and asserted by approved Authors do enforce: Civi­lians do conclude defensive, to be the most (if not onely) lawfal War: Our Law and Reason doth conclude in all Quarrels, the offence is in him who gave the first blow, and began the Fray, no man was ever found guilty of Murther▪ or Treason, for killing a man se defendendo; the heat of the Chase, and chance of Hunting, acquitted Sr. William Tyrrel from the guilt of Treason or Murther, though he slew King William the second; and men of Ingenuity will ac­knowledge it to be a most fair, candid and clear conquest, which is obtained by the Sword of Goliah, the enemies own weapons; whilest premises stand approved, other men will not want Mr. Croftons reason to infer the conclusion, nor can they think this common Act could be in him a Capital crime: We cannot but acknowledge the Wisdom and justice of our late Martyred Lord, King Charles the first, who de­termining to silence the Arminian Controversie (which then disturbed the peace of the Church) did first by his Royal Proclamation call in the Book Appello Caesarem published by Dr. Montagne Bishop of Chichester, as that which was the first cause, and gave occasion to those Disputes and Differences which troubled the quiet of the Church: We dare be bold to avouch it, that if Dr. Gauden had not appeared against, Mr. Crofton had not (in this way) appeared for the (now condemned con­sumed) League and Covenant, and we hope we shall not have cause to think the Bishops Analysts was let loose, to Ducquoy the sober, serious, conscientious, and sincerely Loyal Covenanter, into a snare of Destruction, by a Dis­putation of a matter so weighty, and undetermined.

4. Although Mr. Crafton may in this Dispute have strain­ed towards one extream, and seemeth to have attributed more to Parliaments, then what doth appertain unto them, (which is the ordinarie infortunium of a Dispute) yet he hath not in these wrightings uttered any expressions of Disloyalty, or disrespect to the Kings Majesty, or of advise and provocation, unto tumult and disorder in the people, whereby his Majesties Person, Crown or Dignity, could be endanger­ed, [Page 8] or the Peace of the Kingdoms be disturbed: But on the contrary, they contain (in the general scope of these writings, besides many particular expressions there­unto conducing) the greatest evidence, and security of Loyalty to the King, and peace unto his people that can possibly be given; as an evidence hereof we pray it may be observ­ed.

1. Mr. Crofton is so far from abetting, approving, or defending the Rebellion against and usage of his late Maje­sty, that he doth expresly disown, and damn the resistance of his Authoriry, and violence upon his Royal Person, as a most horrid and execrable Rebellion, a most base and Barbarous Regicide, See his Ana­lepsis, p. 8.15, 16. A­nalepsis, A­nalepthe. p. 105. Berith Anti-Baal, page 52, 53. a most odious and perjurious breach of the Covenant: Which he vindicateth from the odium thereof, and affirm­eth to have been so far from being the cause or accessorie occasion thereof, that it is in it self the most full security and strength unto the contrary, that ever was or could be given: and observeth the same to have been slighted, as an Almanack out of date, before that violence could be acted, or advised, which he determineth to have been a full and formal viola­tion of this Oath by the perjured pack who did pursue and effect the same.

2. This man is so far from detracting from the Kings Soveraign Power and Prerogative: that in these very writings he acknowledgeth the Kings Supremacy, in every particular, and in the greatest latitude thereof, ever chal­lenged by any English Prince, and he doth therefore urge the Covenant as consistant with, and enforcing to the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy: He affirmeth the Sub­jects Duty and Allegiance to be absolute, Analeps, A­nalepthe. p. 98 and due without any condition of their own prescription, or indenture; and without any respect to the quality or disposition of the King, good or bad, pious or impious; founded in and directed by simple, naked relati­on: And he asserteth the Kings Prerogative and Sovereign power to be such, as doth exempt his Royal Person, from all imposition of conditions, and from all coaction to accomplish­ment (of what he condescendeth to assume upon himself) by his Subjects, or any humane Power whatsoever; and there­fore this very man doth blame the Scots for indiscretion, and over much boldness, who being Subjects could dare to take [Page 9] the advantage of a straite condition, to put such terms (as they did) upon his Majesty.

3. Mr. Crofton is in these writings so far from a Seditious Spirit, and provoking any preposterous, heady, and sedi­tious attempts, and endeavours, that he bindeth all men in the performance of the Covenant unto just and lawful endeavours, and that within their places and callings, and there­fore he alloweth no weapons against Majesty, save Ministe­rial Rebukes and Admonitions in the Name of God the King of Kings; Parliamentory advice, proposal & Remonstrance, in the name of his Subjects, or the Collective Body of his King­dom; and vulgar Petitions and supplications from and by themselves, in reference to their vulgar concernments:Analeps. pa. 35. Analeps. Analep pag. 36 66, 67, 68, 69, 100 He disowneth and disalloweth all popular Tumults, and disorderiall Insurrections, and insolencies in the Subject; binding unto passive obedience, and quiet submission, all who cannot yield active obedience to the establishments decreed by the King, in Church and Common-wealth; whensoever he doth (as he durst do no other) observe the Wisdom, Ju­stice and Soveraign Power of Almighty God, in permit­ting, or disposing, the Irruptions and Insurrections of the natural, against, and upon the political Power, or the heady, disorderly, Tumultuous, and Seditious Agitations of the people against their Princes, he passeth not his Observati­ons, without a Notation of the sinfulness thereof; and a manifest expression of his own dislike of such wayes, and courses: If this man must be branded as a Preacher of Sedi­tion, we must confess our selves at a loss, how Truth shall be declared with due respect unto, and careful preservation of Or­der.

5. The Affirmation of these Principles, and the Dispu­tation in these Books mannaged, do very rationally pro­fess Loyalty, to be the Center (at least a chief part thereof) from which they sprang, and to which they are returned: Mr. Crofton argueth Loyalty as the impulsive cause thereof, Analeps. Analepthe▪ pag. 10, 11. and pleadeth it from such evidences which no sober Christian can, or will deny: We shall not conclude Declarations published under the distress of Royal Affairs, do exactly ob­lige the Kings accomplishment; yet cannot but conceive them to be the Subjects Appologie, and justification for his [Page 10] pursuit of the Royal Command thereby signified, and not any other way countermanded: We cannot but observe the chief of Mr. Croftons Books (objected against him as his onely Crime) were written before His Majesties Decla­ration concerning Ecclesiastical Affairs was published: This man owneth no sence of the Covenant, but what is truly Loyal, and fully securing to the Kings Interest and Prerogative: It is very well known he had in Press, and Pulpit, improved this very Principle of the Covenant, to bring back the hearts of the people, to the happy Restauration of His Sacred Majesty; and then he found Acceptance, Approbation, and Ap­plause, from those very persons who now reproach him, and rage against him for no reason, save reasoning the same Principles: We confess, we stand amazed, and cannot conceive with what colour of Justice, that which was an eminent Act of Loyalty, April, 1660. could be reputed, re­presented, and charged to be an Act of High Treason in Sep­tember following; no new Law intervening to interdict and so alter the nature of the Act, yet we know tempora mutan­tur, & nos mutamur ab illis; onely we conceive a temporizing weather-cock humour must direct, or the dictates of new made Laws must drive men into the change of Act, and estate: Mr. Crofton doth often protest Loyalty to be his end in this debate (which now seemeth to be his errour) and we have cause to believe it did really affect his heart, whence we finde no disloyal Act, or expression to have sprung; and this most Loyal profession, doth not a little demonstrate the sincerity thereof.Analeps. pag. 35. I confess we allowe unto his most Sacred Ma­jesty all humble submission, active or passive, whatsoever shall be by Royal Authority established in the Church (though never so cor­rupt yet) whilst consistent with Salvation; it may occasion unto me suffering, and a suspence of my Ministry, but it shall not ef­fect in me; or such on whom I have Influence, Schism from the Church, or resistance of His Majesties Right and Authoritie: and in the further, and more fervent enforcement of this de­bate, this man declareth, He had rather never put pen to paper, then that his writings should disturb the Peace of these two long di­stracted Nations. Analepsis Analep. p. 2.

Mr. Crofton may (we confesse) have taken into his judg­ment, some of those errors in politie, which the unhappy [Page 11] breach between his late Majesty and the late long Parlia­ment did foment; yet we humbly conceive malice it self cannot charge these writings (written with so legible a line of Loyalty, and love to peace and order) with Treason or Sedition: Certainly this breath is too sweet to come from ulcered lungs; These Principles and Professions could ne­ver proceed from a Trayterous Heart; and all Just men will acknowledge Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea: nor can they be charitably suspected of dissimulation, when things antecedent Concomitant and consequent, speak the since­rity of a Loyal breast, or when it is observed that these writings exactly square with that constant Loyalty he re­tained & expressed in the worst of times, from the first mo­ment of his Majesties Reign, and never stained with the least of action, affirmation, or compliance when almost all men made defection: Yea this man is so well known to us, that we dare affirm and will be bound to produce good de­monstration thereof (whenever he be brought out of his present bonds) he retaineth to this very moment the same Loyal Spirit and Resolution, although the wisest of Kings hath in his experiences made this observation, oppression will make a wise man mad.

We have read all those writings which bear Mr. Croftons Name, with as strict and acurate Observation, as we are capable of, and we grant, that in some of them, we sometimes meet with a Political Argumentation, which we could not but judge somewhat excentrical, and out of his sphear as a Divine; did we not consider all Arts and Scien­ces are hand-maids to Divinity; and not only useful, but necessary unto a Casuist, who must weigh circumstances be­fore he can give a right, clear and convincing Judgement to satisfie the Conscience: and we find this man to urge the same Casuistically, and in answer to the Objection of those, against whom he doth dispute; we hope it is not more out of Mr. Croftons way to Answer, then out of his Antago­nists way to Argue from Principles in Politiques, or the po­litical constitution of the Kingdom: If his fault be that he stept out of his place, we only pray it may be observed, he was drawn out by the pursuit of his Adversary, and martial Law will allow the man to pursue beyond his bounds, (provided he retreat in time) who may be justly punished, [Page 12] if he leave his place to assault the enemy, and yet,

The matter of Mr. Croftons Political Arguments hath been proposed to the Consideration of the Learned in the Law, and they see not any Crime or Capital Offence to be in them, any of them, or all of them put together; much less can they charge it to be Treason, the which the prohi­bition doth only punish with a Premunire since the 24th of June, 1661.

Our ears have been alarumd with the loud cla­mours of Mr. Croftons Treason, every scurrilous Pamphle­ter can better Proclaim, then prove him a Traytor; Every simple Calculator of the Almanack Observations, can more easily calender his commitment for High Treason, then give the least convincing evidence of his guilt: We have bestowed our mony upon these Pamplets, which insult o­ver him in this day of his Affliction, and confess we find in them big words, (preterea nihil,) venting themselves with the highest malice and greatest rage (the event as yet excep­ted,) that ever was expressed (against a man so innocent,) since the stoning of Stephen: Insomuch that we cannot but suspect it to spring from the same root, and to be an effect of the same Cause, the rather because when we would know the particular matter of his Treason, we find his violent accu­sers are not agreed among themselves: all indeed place it in words, for which the learned say there is no warrant, (unless in some special opinions relating to the Pope, de­termined by some special statutes,) but they are divided as to words.

Some tell us his Treason is for saying, the Par­liament had a Legislation without the King, but this is only punishable by a Premunire since the Law was made, which maketh it criminal: Lestrange fixeth his Treason in these words, The Lords and Commons were a lawful Authority, yet we find no Law which hath determined a crime in this po­sition, much less a Treason; we find Mr. Croftons Assertion thereof to be very cautious, and so well grounded that we can scarcely yet believe the same will be Judged an errour by any sober, serious English-man: being verified by the dayly practice and usage of Pa [...]liament: for our parts we must confess we dare not deny the Solemn League and Covenant to have been burned by a lawful Au­thority, [Page 13] and yet we do not know any Act of Parliament with a full, formall assent of the Kings Majesty which did direct the same: And we fear, if we should yet presume to disobey any Resolve, Vote or Order of one or both Hou­ses of Parliament, or condemne and resist the execution thereof by any other; this plea such Vote or Order was de­fective as to lawful Avthority, (not coming in the formality of an Act of Parliament, and a full Law with a Le Roy Le ve ult) would not acquit us from the contempt of the Au­thority of Parliament: And yet we cannot but observe Mr. Croftons Assertions concerning the Authority of Parlia­ment, to be no more then this, that it was lawful and suffici­ent, not full and compleat, without the expresse Royal Assent, Analeps. Analepth. Pag. 113. and that also under these two express qualifications, a Parlia­ment rightly constituted, and during their Session: he never Judg­ed any self-constituted assembly, or convention pack'd by a usurping Tyrant, to be a Parliament, nor any Vote, Re­solve, or order of Parliament to have in it any thing of the nature of Law, or Authority, (save to desend what was exe­cuted by virtue thereof the Parliament sitting,) when the Parliament is Dissolved: his words are these, A Parlia­ment duly Summoned, regularly elected and returned, rightly constituted and readily embraced by King and Kingdom; Analeps. Analepth. Pag. 116. can any true Englishman in any measure acquainted with the constitution of this Kingdome, or the Authority of the High Court of Parliament deny these to be a Just and Lawful Authority, to resolve, order, and enjoyn, yea and to execute their resolues, orders and injuncti­ons during the being of their Power, though not to establish Laws to be executed when they are dissolved and gone: And in every of his Books we find him often deny the two Houses to be full and compleat, though he affirm them a lawful and sufficient Au­thority: Sure Mr. Lestrange will not deny Lawful Autho­rity to be a Subject capable of majus and minus, and such as may admit of degrees; if Mr. Crofton be in this point in an error let any man by good demonstration correct him, we will undertake he shall not by obstinacy appear an Hereti­que in Politiques, but if his confutation must be only rage and violence, we desire Mr. Lestrange will let us know that English Law, which hath determined Treason for any man to think, say, or write the Lords and Commons assembled in [Page 14] Parliament are a Lawful Authority, and then we may be con­vinced Mr. Crofton suffereth as an evil doer, but till then we must let him know railing is no reason, not doth it become a man.

Mr. Tomkins who at length appeareth to rescue the Ox­ford Reasons from the force of Mr. Croftons Arguments; doth leave the Learned Authors thereof under their ob­served defects in Logick, History, Politiques, and Divinity, and as one whose pinched reason breaketh into passion, (in heat of anger) provoketh a more severe and bloody moderation then his Antagonist hath yet met with, crying out, Mr. Croftons saying that the Parliament ever retained a Jurisdiction over Church and Crown in short is High Trea­son.

How much the Universitie of Oxford are engaged to this their Valiant, Learned Defendant, we leave themselves to Judge: how much he hath bettered the cause under con­test let sober men Judge: with what ingenuity, candor and clearness he hath taken up and confuted Mr. Croftons Ar­guments, let any Sophomore, yea Fresh-man or ordinary Logician Judge: and how fair an Adversary he is, that a­larumeth the hand of Justice against his Antagonist, let Just and Wise men Judge: we are not now to Animadvert his animadversions, but to Apologize for our oppressed, defamed Friend, who cannot do it for himself: and here­in

We would give this confident Gentleman hearty thanks to clear his charge of High Treason, for we would not plead for it if we knew it, or could perceive it; But we yet think this is but one Doctors opinion, more visible to a Fellow of All-Soules in Oxford, then a Barrister or Bencher in the Temple, near London. This Fellow professeth himself a Reader of Cookes Institutes, and that Learned Lawyer telleth us there is no Treason but what is determined by the Statute of the 25th of Edward the 3d, and we find not this assertion forbidden therein, nor any Opinion determined, and Declared by that Statute to be Treason: This learned lawyer conclu­deth that Treason must be Factum not Dictum, words may make an Heritique but not a Traytor, we must confess Ox­ford Disputants have Determined Heresie in their Oppo­nents, [Page 15] he is the first of that learned University, who hath presumed to declare Treason.

We are sure these words make no immediate, and direct assault upon his Majesties Person, Crown, or Dignity; and the Lord Cook abandons all Glosses, Inferences, Interpre­tations, and consequences to be made by Judge or Coun­sel, in Cases of Treason.

Judge Jenkins guides the Judgement of Treason by the very Letter of the Law, for that in Criminibus a verbo Legis non est recedendum: And we cannot conceive how an Obser­vation of past Acts, can be Treason in the Logical, or His­torical Observer: Mr. Crofton noteth the Parliament retain­ed in times past; He doth note the Fact without any deter­mination of the jus and right of such retention; we would advise this Fellow to repair to All Souls, and reflect on his own Thoughts; and resolve us, that the Treason is not more in his own fancie and imagination, then in Mr. Crof­ton his expressions; we find he doth throughout his Book mistake the Person, which maketh us suspitious he misunder­standeth the position: on this man he reflecteth the odium of the violence of the Visitors in Oxford whom Mr. Crofton knew not, and it is disputable, whether he was then in England: The defection and complyances under Queen Richard and o­ther Vsurpers, which Mr. Crofton ever denyed, resisted, and detested, when some who then were, and now are most zealous complyers urged him, with this convincing argu­ment these times affords few Martyrs: and the purchase of Church Lands whilest Mr. Crofton would not take when he might, a living out of which he knew any man to have been Sequestered: He whose heat of Passion doth engage him to misread the Person, may well misinterpret his words, as indeed we observe he doth, understanding King by Crown, and Soveraign coercive, destructive power by jurisdiction: it is no hard matter to make a Traytor, if envy may interpret a mans words; we hope Mr. Tomkins will not take it unkind­ly; if he be excepted against, as to his being Judge, or Ju­ry which shall passe upon Mr. Crofton.

That we may not run into the error we rebuke in any o­ther, we shall not presume to give our apprehension of the loyal sence of these words, so positively charged to be High [Page 16] Treason; but shall make bold to present you with Mr. Crof­tons own exposition of them declared in a Letter written to some Friends, who desired to understand his sence and meaning therein: All men will allow him Waterford Law as the best and onely expositor of his own words, subject to misconstruction.

‘These words [the Parliament ever retained in themselves a Jurisdiction over Church and Crown] are so far from Treason; that they will not be found an error in politiques; if that rule be true which cannot be denyed, generalia generaliter sunt intelligenda: I fear you mistake the sence of every word in this short Sentence, and that you conceive Crown doth signifie the King, as if these two were not seperable; and so known to be in our Laws: And Jurisdiction doth signi­fie coaction, as if Coronae jus dicere did necessarily signifie Co­ronatum cogere per asperte; the which is a Sence inconsistent with, and contrary unto the Kings immunity from all hu­mane coaction, which I have expresly asserted in this very Treatise; You here understand Parliament, to signifie the Lords and Commons abstracted from the King; which sence this place and case doth not necessitate, though I do some­times so use that tearm: For Parliament here is opposed to Pope, and is noted to be the Subject of full and compleat Legislation (which I never do attribute unto, but do al­wayes deny, the two houses) unto the extendiag the preroga­tive of the Crown by the statute 1. Elizabeth: or restraint there­of by the Statute 17. Carol. in both which the King was a part of the Parliament: Learned men should expound the Text by the context; and in Reading a Treatise make one part expound another, and know, no Author is to be judged by the sound, much less by the seeming conse­quence of a single sentence:’ And now Mr. Tomkins where is Mr. Croftons High Treason? And yet we will not fear to let you know that admitting your sence of the term Parlia­ment, abstracted from the King there is nothing clearer in the political Constitution, and Administration of our Kingdom, then their retained jurisdiction over the Crown; We do not, nor did Mr. Crofton say over the King, the Subject of the Crown; we will not run you for proof hereof into the Histories of Forreign Countries, or our own Saxon [Page 17] times, in which we finde this Jurisdiction larger then Mr. Crofton doth assert it; but nearer home and hand be pleas­ed to consider,

1. King John yielded by consent of the Barrons (saith the Record) the Crown of England unto the Pope of Rome to hold it from, and under him; who often demanded the Surrender of it, but was answered the Parliament must give it; In Anno. 40. of King Edward the third, upon the Popes demand of the Crown of this Realm, the King appeal­ed to his Parliament, who judicially determined it was not in the power of King John, nor any other King of England to dis­pose the Crown; but in the sole power of Parliament.

2. The claim to the Crown made by Richard Duke of York, against King Henry the sixth, having reigned twenty eight Years, was by both parties, submitted by appeal, unto the Judgement of Parliament; who determined for the Duke; yet continued the Crown to the King, during his life, on condition of good behaviour towards the Duke, and in either case the Duke or his heir to possess it.

3. The several Successors in the strife between York and Lancaster, submitted the success of their Sword, to the censure of Parliament, as their onely security to the Crown; the Acts of one Parliament binding until discharged by a­nother, hence it is that the Statutes of that Age recorded in Speeds Chronicle do teach us this Doctrine: the Court of Parliament is of such Authority, and the people of this Land of such nature and disposition, (as experience teacheth) that the De­claration or Manifestation of any Truth or Right by the three E­states (Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons saith the Statute) assembled in Parliament, and by authority thereof, mak­eth before all things most Faith, and certain quieting to mens winds, and removing all doubts.

4. The Parliament did Bastardize and Legitimate the Children of King Henry the eighth, and they by their Au­thority enabled him to dispose the Crown to, or from his Children, with and under what conditions he pleased, ad­judging any his Children assuming the Crown, otherwise then by this Authority, to loose their Right, and be judged Traytors to the Realm, whence it came to pass that Edward the sixth, Queen Mary, and Elizabeth did hold and enjoy the [Page 18] Crown, by Authority of Parliament, and the Title of the last being questioned, produced the Statute 13. Elizabeth, which made it Treason during the Queens life, and loss of goods after her Death, for any man to deny the Autho­rity of Parliament to direct, dispose, limit, or restrain the Crown.

5. Statutes of Recognition have ever been reputed the onely riveting security to the Crown; and certainly these signifie more then a State Complement, and although they pass in the same Royal Formality, with other Laws, which concern the Subject; yet it must be confessed they receive strength by an Authority in this respect abstracted from the King, as do the Statutes providing monies the only support of the Crown.

6. If we should ask Mr. Tomkins who in the defect of Heirs hath Jurisdiction over the Crown, would he not dare for fear of Treason to say the Parliament, Bishop Bilson saith it in express tearms; and that not onely for our own King­dom, but all others also.

7. Before Mr. Crofton be condemned as a Traytor for saying the Parliament ever retained in themselves a juris­diction over the Crown, we hope the conclusion of our late Martyred Sovereign King Charles the first (who well knew the constitution of this Kingdom,His Answer to the 19. Propositions. and the extent of Royal Prerogative) will be denyed, for he affirmed the Power le­gally placed in both Houses is more then sufficient to prevent and restrain Tyranny, which must needs import a large Jurisdiction o­ver the Crown.

8. When we consider the Courts of Judicature, in Westminster Hall, do conclude judicially against his Maje­sty, in many Suits brought by him in Right of the Crown, against the Subject; and by the Subject against him: We cannot imagine it Treason to say the happy constitution of Eng­lands Government is such that the Courts of Justice have a Ju­risdiction over the Crown, much less to say the High Court of Parliament hath it.

If an Observation of Fact, without any assertion of Right; If the Sound of a Sentence capable of a most Loyal Sence; If a Position proved by constant Practise be Treason, we must leave Mr. Tomkins on the Bench, and Mr. Crofton at the Bar to [Page 19] receive his doom, but cannot deny our assent unto the Observation of the Statute, 1. Mariae, discharging the Laws which made words Treason: Those Laws are grievous which are so made, that not only the Rude, Ignorant and Ʋnlearn­ed, but also the learned and expert people minding honesty are of­ten and many times trapped for words only, without other fact, or deed.

We have with the most exact diligence we are capable of, Enquired and observed the reports of men, that we might be satisfied what is the great matter which causeth this man to be kept in so severe a durance, and some tell us he was ever Turbulent, and not quiet under any power: unto which we answer,

We presume his Turbulency, under our late Usurpers (being the Act of his Loyalty to his King, restlessely endea­vouring his happy Restauration) is not now supposed his crime, or any agravation thereof; The men who do now condemn him, did account it is duty, and honour when others were sinfully quiet, and we see not any dif­ference between this in him, and Jehoiadas endeavours a­gainst A [...]haliah, and for King Joash, save the one enjoyed the Comfort, Peace and Liberty of the effect, whereof the other was and is deprived: His Turbulency hath ever had Sin for its Object, Ministerial rebuke preaching or writing for its only Act and Expression; Which of the Prophets or Apostles were not? What Faithful Minister of the Gospel is not? can or dare be otherwise then thus Turbulant? This is not only Lawful, within his place and calling; But the Indespensable duty thereof: Elijahs must thus trouble Israel, and Amos Alarm the Kings Court, cost what it will or can: If he have ever appeared in, advised, or a­betted, any Seditious Tumult, Rebellions Insurrection, or Trayterous Conspiracy, we leave him to himself: But Tertullus himself is not able herein to charge him, and o­ther Acts of Turbulency, will subject them to trouble from the Lord, who do therefore trouble him, as a thing most righteous.

Some clamour against our Friend as Seditious, and Treasonable because against Episcopacy, and relying on that maxim, no Bishop no King: Conclude he cannot be a Friend [Page 20] to the King, who is an enemy to the Bishops, to which we an­swer.

Such as know him, and have read his Writings, will find if is clamour is not true, for he professeth for Episco­pal Degree which is much as our sober Reformers ever challenged, or our Learned Ʋsher approved; He is indeed against Papal Hierarchie, and that Episcopacy which was the step and seemeth the support of the man of sin, but sup­pose the utmost, his Opposition is purely Argumenta­tive, and is but ill resisted with Rage and Vio­lence.

No Bishop no King may be a maxim of State, but we have not known it to be a Principle in our Law, we have not heard of any Statute which hath so conjoyned the Mitre to the Crown, as that a dis-respect to that, must needs be reputed, and punished as a Treason against this; We hope we shall not offend if we say that is a sad Government which pretendeth to Divine Right, and yet hath no up­hold or guard but Violence and Oppression of Reason, urged against it, and cannot silence a Disputing Antagonist, o­therwise then by a close Prison.

We have heard a third cry, Mr. Crofton Preached against the Bishops, and provoked the opposition of them by fire and blood; to this we answer,

We heard the last Sermons this math did Preach, and can give the true account thereof, wherein we desire it may be noted,

1. He went not out of his way to fly in the faces of the Bishops; He had purposed a full exposition of the first E­pistle of Peter in his Lectures at Antholins London, in pur­suit whereof, he proceeded so far as to the last words of the second Chapter; And observed the Lord Jesus was the Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls: In the Explication of this Position, he enquired how? and by whom the Lord Jesus Christ did Execute this his Pastorall charge, and Episcopal Office, in and towards his Church? And Resolved and Asserted, the Lord doth execute this Pastoral charge and Episcopal Office by his Ministers, all, equally Authorized, and without any such Or­der or standing function of an Episcopus Episcoporum; The which having demonstrated by considerable evidence, and an­swers [Page 21] to Objections, he did press on his people, as a truth considerable to be understood, as relating to Christs Royal­ty, as King of his Church, and closed with this Observations in these express Terms, There seemeth unto me an Emphasis in those words, Rev. 11.7. Relating to the two Witnesses, when they shal have finished their Testimony: These words seem to re­late no less to the matter, then the time of these witnesses Prophesie, (viz.) That they must bear witness to the last punctilio of Christs Pastoral charge, and Episcopal Office, before they were slain: we all know this Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls, to work out our Salvation by his threefold Office of Prophet, Priest and King: And I cannot but observe each of those (besides the general assault and opposition of the whole) hath had a particular and special con­flict in the World, and hath constrained an open and Publique Testi­mony, from Christs Church in the fire and with their blood:

In the first Age of Christianity the great and special Question was concerning Christs Prophetical Office, whether the Scriptures or the Oracles of Apollo, Traditions of the Jewes, and Delusions of Impostors and Haeretiques should be received obeyed? and we well know in what fiery Tryals and with what fearful sufferings the Sheep of Christ did hear his voyce, decline strangers, and witnesse against them: this Office was no sooner rescued from violence, and esta­blished in the World by the blood of the Primitive Martyrs; but Christs Priestly Office was by the working of the man of sin denied and darkened, the great controversie in the Catholick Church con­cerned the one Mediator, and High Priest, the one Sacrifice once onely offered; or others made coequal with him, if not preferred be­fore him, and how long and bloudy conflicts were under-gone in the same the Histories of our Progenitors and Smithfield Flames do plainly shew: this Office was scarcely rescued from violence before Christs Kingly Office cometh on the Stage, and calleth for the Te­stimony of the Saints that the Government is on his shoulders ad­ministered by his own Officers, and Ordinances; and this must be attested in the greatest Tribulation; saddest Sufferings in fire and bloud that can befall us.

In this whole Discourse Mr. Crofton mentioned not fire and bloud, in any sence but passive, as doth the Apo­stle, Ye have not resisted unto bloud, Heb. 11.4. and disown­ed all actions unto fire and bloud, which at any time were or should be attempted on the pretence of Christs Kingly [Page 22] Office, declaring his detestation of that Mad, Treasonable Rebellion of Fenner and his Fellow real Phanatiques, which had lately passed to the scandal of the true Religion: these things our ears heard, and therefore do we testifie the same, yea and some of us wrote the same from his mouth (in characters) as they were by him spoken. Had Pagan or Popish Priests heard this Doctrine, and cryed out Treason or Heresie, it had not been strange; but the out-cry of Christian, and Protestant Bishops doth make us admire, and stand amazed.

These things considered, we humbly offer it to the con­sideration of Just and Prudent men sincerely affected to his Majesties Government, whether Mr. Crofton (what ever hath been suggested or clamored against him) hath done any thing worthy of death, or of bonds? and whether his enlargement, and restitution will not much more con­duce unto the honour of his Majesties Government, then the continuance of him in bonds, to the undoing of him­self, wife, and seven small children, by the expence of his poor Estate already wasted; and the real prejudice of his health, and ruine of many souls which might be saved by his Ministery? the liberty of the Subiect being fully secu­red by many Ancient and later Laws.


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