THE TRVE PORTRAITVRE of the KINGS OF ENGLAND; Drawn from their Titles, Successions, Raigns and Ends.

OR, A Short and Exact Historical description of every King, with the Right they have had to the Crown, and the manner of their wearing of it; especially from WILLIAM the Conqueror.

Wherein is Demonstated, that there hath been no direct succession in the line to create an hereditary right, for six or seven hundred yeers; faithfully collected out of our best Histories, and humbly presented to the Parliament of England.

By an impartial Friend to Iustice and Truth.

Psal. 146. 3.

Put not your trust in Princes.

Psal. 62. 9.

Men of high degree are a lye; to be laid in the Ballance, they are altogether lighter then vanitie.

Nihil est imperium ut sapientes definiunt, nisi cura salutis alie­nae,

Ammianus lib. 39.

LONDON, Printed by R. W. for Francis Tyton at the three Daggers in Fleet-street, neer the Inner Temple-Gate, 1650.

To the READER.

READER,

IN the Study of Politicks, the more confident we are, commonly the less proficient we are. For there is no other study wherein the Passions of men do more impetuously contravene, and over­turn right Reason. Men born in popular States, think themselves bound to abhor all Kings, as being De genere Bestiarum rapacium: So Rome it self pronounced from the mouth of Cato the Censor. Others on the contrary born under Monarchs, speak as odiously of Democracies, and make this reply to Cato, That even Rome her self, when she plundred a third part of the world, and graced her own Captains, with the pompous titles of Africanus, Asiaticus, Achai­cus, &c. was as ravenous a beast as any other. See what strong Byasses wisemen have, and obey. The Question is not, Whether this, or that form be free from oppression and injustice, or not; we know well, all Forms have their peculiar advantages, and disadvantages: and that at some times they all transgress their own Rules and Interests, as it were by ac­cident, and not out of misconstitution: The question is, Whether the one constitution or the other be more free, [...], from oppression, and injustice? Now for solution of this, greater light shines, and breaks in upon us from demonstration, and sensual proof, then from Syllogisms, and logical inductions. Reading assures us, that Rome was not so just to other Nations, nor so constant to the Interest of her own Citizens, when she was under Kings and Emperors, as she was, when she chose her own Consuls, and limited Magistrates. Tis as apparent also at this day, that the people of Venice, the German Hans-Towns, Switzer­land, [Page] the United Provinces, &c. do more flourish, and truly injoy the due benefits of Liberty, there the French, Turkish, or any Royalists whatsoever. Tis further as visible by the publike banks of Treasure kept in Democracies, and the strange splendor which Traffick brings to them beyond Monarchies, that Faith is not kept so sacred and inviolable where one raigns, as where Majesty and Supream Power remains vested in the people; and most sure it is, the sanctity and untemerated chastity of publike Faith is the best and firmest basis of all Government. To dispute these things, is to undervalue the report of our own senses; and to deny our own senses, is to deny our selves to be men. The enemies of our present Government ubraide this our popular model, the rather, because it exasperates all our neighbours against us; whereas this is a great argument for us, that our neighbours are troubled at the ejection of Monarchy. For neighbours are more apt to envie then pitty: and the condition of him that is envied, is far better then his that is pitied. The main advantage that commends Here­ditary Monarchy, is the unity of it, for that it is not so liable to civil broils and commotions, as other temperaments where the Magistrate is elective: Yet Reader, if thou wilt strip thy self of thy passions and prejudices, and peruse this Treatise, thou shalt see that even Hereditary Monarchy it self is far from being a soveraign, a re­medy against civil breaches and divisions. The Author of this Book is unknown to me, and the Book it self came casually to my hands, but I have been induced to publish it, because it invites thee not to Precepts, but Precedents, not to Disputable but to visible Politicks. I need say no more; by the Work rather then report judge of the Author, and by Experiment rather then Logick judge of the Work.

HENRY PARKER.

The true Portraiture of the Kings of England, drawn from their Titles, Suc­cessions, Reigns, and Ends, &c.

TO treat of the nature and difference of Go­vernments, the distinction and preheminence of Monarchy, or Aristocracie, with the other kinds, and forms, which have, according to the temper of the People, and the necessity of providence, had their course in the world, will be useless in this discourse, which is calculated only for this Nation, and to describe not so much the Government, as the Persons who have ruled among us, and is onely suited to Monarchy as it hath had the sway of the English Throne; a Discourse not so pleasing as profitable; we are loth to have our old soars launced, or to think of change, though it be of misery, the temper of this Nation being apt to be pleased with any thing that is stately, and costly, though never so dangerous and miserable; yet something must be said in generall, to prepare the way for the particulars of this Treatise, which is not intended as controversall, or definitive of the nature of things, but meerly practical and demonstrative, fit for every eye that means not to shut himself up in blindness, and darkness.

As the foundation and originall of Government is confest to be of equall Antiquity with the generation and multiplication of man­kind: so doubless the just and methodicall use, and due management of it, is as necessary to the well-being of men, as the exact propor­tions, and orderly motions of the Heavens are to the preservation [Page 2] of the Globes; and certainly without it the rationall world would be more miserable then the materiall without Sun, Moon and Stars, with all coelestiall influences, which as they do beautifie and be­spangle the world, so they do preserve it from returning to its first Chaos, and rude mass of matter; nothing being more contrary to that unity, and harmony, which the God of nature hath moulded, and disposed all things at first in, then disorder, and confusion, in which, as there is nothing of a deity to be discerned, so nothing of peace or happiness can possibly be found.

And notwithstanding all this, the world hath scarce known what the natural sweetness and true benefits of government are, but only as comparative and rather as opposite to Anarchy, then as advancing really and effectually the just liberties and freedoms of societies, or propagating the Commonwealth of mankind; for what through the ignorance and sloath of the people, and the pride and ambiti­on of Governors, the whole order and end of government hath been inverted, and subverted, upon all occasions; and that which was made for the good of the whole, hath been so contracted, and circumscribed in one person, that the great and soveraign use, and end of it, by practise and custom, hath been rather to set up the pomp, and state of one man, and his Family, then to promote or propagate the profit and happiness of the Universe; and whereas of right to its constitution, It should have a free Election as its ori­ginall, and common good for its end, and just and equall Laws for its rule; it hath had usurpation for its Principle, and tyranny, and bondage for its medium, and end. As to this day we may see in the greatest part of the world, where all the liberties of millions of men of all sorts of conditions, and ranks, are buryed in the glory and splendor of one Family; through which narrow channels, all honor and justice, all Law and reason are to run up and down the world.

And whereas the goodness, and beauty of government consists in the harmonious temperature of power, and obedience, of autho­rity, and liberty, it hath been quite otherwise inverted by practise, and made apparent to lie in the Majestie, and greatness of the Mo­narch, and the absolute subjection, and servitude of the people; and the excellency, and sweetness of it rather to be seen in the presence-Chamber, and the magnificence, and grandeur of the Court, then in the Courts of Justice, and the rich and flourishing estate of the [Page 3] Kingdom, nothing being accounted more politicall, and glorious, then to have the Prince high, and the Subjects beggars; and yet this Ceremoniall way of Government, hath took most place in the world, and got almost divine adoration, and hath thrust out all other forms of Government, (equally sacred with it self, and most pro­portionable to the nature and benefits of societies, and the Fee-sim­ple of all the liberties of the people (which are as their bloud and spirits in their veins) sold to maintain its State.

Besides many causes, and grounds of this degeneration (whereby so much misery hath overflowed the Nations of the world) I find two, which at present are principally to be mentioned; the first is the neglect of a right sence, and the often inculcating the originall, and end of government; and the next a lineal succession, or continuation of government, by a natural and supposed heirship; For want of the first, neither the people know their own rights, or how to maintain them; or the Governour his use and end, nor how to keep himself within the just bounds, and limits of his creation; for what be­tween the stupidity, and ignorance of the people in not knowing their primitive priviledges, that they are the originall, and end of vernment; and the pride, and ambition of men, when once they have got power, forget both how they came by it, and to what end they are distinguished from other men, government comes both to be usurped, and tyrannicall. Did the people but know that their choice and election is the foundation of just authority, & that none can rule over them but whom they appoint, they would not then be drawn into controversies and debates, whether it be treason in them to cast off a bad Governour, who have the only power of choosing a good one; and on the other side, if Kings, and Princes (for to re­duce all to them who have been most guilty of the abuse of govern­ment) had but the continuall sence of the root from whence they sprung, and the duties annexed to their Offices, they could not look on themselves as rulers, but tyrants when they acted for their own private Prerogative▪ in distinction from, and contrarie to the liberties and freedoms of the people; but these considerations have been by time and prescription worn out of the mind and me­mories of both, partly through continual insinuations of Court Maxims, and the spirit of bondage in the people, and by force and usurpation in the Magistrate, whereby it hath gone a long while for currant, that the people have no power, nor the Prince no ac­count [Page 4] to give but to God, from whom they challenge an immediate title, as if Kings and Princes, all their names, and successions were let down from Heaven, in the same sheet that the beasts were in Peters vision, and had not their root in the earth as all other Magistrates besides. We have had much ado of late, but to beat off from these Royal notions, both by pens and swords, and yet still they have too strong a hold in most mens hearts, though to their own undoing.

Whereas all men are equally born free, and naturaliz'd into all the priviledges of freedom and just liberty, no man can obtain a speciall power over any, but either ex pacto aut scelere, either by willing agreement, and consent, which is the right and just way of title, and most naturall, or by conquest, and usurpation, which is most exotick, and unjust; for the original of Kingly power, in the Scri­pture, we all know it came in as an effect of the wantonness, and discontents of the Israelites, against that speciall way of government God himself had set over them; And view the Character God gives to them of that government, and not a blessing he gives them with it; for its rise among the heathens, and nations (which knew not God (among whom that government most prevail'd;) it was cer­tainly first good, and grounded on the exorbitancies, and excess of other Magistrates, and a high opinion of the justice, and vertue of some particluar persons, as Cicero lib. offic. 2. excellently expresseth it; Mihi quidem non apud Medos solum (ut ait Herodotus) sed etiam apud majores nostros, servandae justiciae causa videntur olim bene morati Reges constituti: nam cum premeretur initio multitudo ab iis qui majores opes habebant, ad unum aliquem confugiebant virtute praestantem. As if taking it for granted that among all nations that Preservation, and execution of justice, with injoyning of vertue, was the first ground of the constitution of Kings; But they having got by their own goodness chief power and authority, use that favour they had gained from their own deserts, to advance their own family; and having got in the affections of the people, through the sence of their own present worth, what by power and force, and what by po­licy and craft, got the same power entailed on their heirs, and so by custom have made succession the onely right, or at least the most just to Crowns, and Scepters.

A principle which hath more hindred the advance of Govern­ment, and run it on more hazards and mischiefs then any o­ther, where by a fatall Custom, people must be irreparably con­tent [Page 5] with what they can finde, and reducing all to a blinde Fate, & Fortune, be he good, or prove bad, talis, qualis, give up both their own Wills and Liberties to such a succession, not only by a natural necessity, but a divine institution: How the world came to be so blinded, as thus to give away their Rights and Liberties, and mor­gage their understandings, and freedom, as bankrupts do their lands, is not to be determined, but by supposal of a judgement of God, and an over-reach of power and force, or by an Ignis fatuus of Po­licie and subtilty.

For this naturall and hereditary succession (which is now adored as the grand title) if truly considered, is nothing else but a continu­ation of conquest, or a surprisall by the good nature of the people, when they have been either low, and in fear, and taking advan­tage of their high esteem of some eminent person, who hath been more then ordinary instrumentall to them, have got the people to convey the same honor to their posterity after them; the peoples consent being thus ravished from them, Its made a law, both civil and divine to after generations; but the world is now, or should be grown wise: Let us consider the nature and use of this succession, both in general, and particular, especially as it hath been acted in England.

Among all the Catalogue of vanities which Solomon reckons up in his sacred retractations, there is none he puts such a character on, as for a man to spend his time and strength in getting of riches, and knows not who shall succeed him in the injoyment of the profit and good of his labour, or whether he may be a wise man or a fool; But what a misery, and worse then vanity is this, that the supream power of Government (in the right execution of which all the con­cernments of millions of men are interested) should be intailed on one man, (though never so deserving in his own person,) and the heirs of his body, be he good or bad, a wise man, or very nigh a fool, and so all their happiness depend on hap and hazard from generation to generation?

It cannot be rationally or spiritually supposed, that any man should be born a Magistrate or Governor, especially not successive­ly, when the best men, and most choise spirits, who have had the highest eminencies of vertue, and best improvement of education, and natural genius, are hardly fit for so great a work. If Kings have such a vis formativa in their loyns, as to beget Kings in the likeness [Page 6] of their Office, as children in the image of their natures, it must be necessarily supposed, that they must generate all these royall quali­fications together with them, and by the same naturall necessity transfer all their princely endowments to them also.

Whereas I had almost affirmed it, (and I hope no man can ac­count it either Heresie or Treason) that God himself cannot intail on any particular line of mankinde, the power and authority of Go­vernment out of his wisdom, and love to their happiness (without he meant to do it in judgement, and to plague the world) and not give them sutable and successive qualifications also, fit for that em­ploiment; It being Gods use (according to his wisdom, and righ­teousness) neither ordinarily nor extraordinarily to call out per­sons to any place, but he anoints them with proportionable gifts to it.

And yet the poor people (whom God hath naturally made free, and to make use of their own understandings and affections for their own good) are by this succession, bound up from the improvement either of soul or body, fain to be content with what they can get for present, and to shift it out from age to age (with the loss of all opportunities of choice) only with what corrupt nature brings them forth, which oftentimes travels sorely in pain with the curse of the Fathers who begat these Governors. Hence also it comes to pass, that oftentimes children are made Kings, and though they are un­capable at present for the actuall exercise of that office, yet are pro­claimed, as having the right, and title, and all things acted in their name, and the whole Commonwealth, it may be of many Nations, must wait for his capacity with fear and hope, which capa­city is also at best to be judged by his years, rather then fit­ness or qualification for so high a trust; and in the mean while the Kingdom must be governed by some Favorites of the last King, or some next kinsman to this; and while the King is thus in pupillage, we may well ask, who governs the Kingdom? And yet oftentimes it hath faln out, that their Government hath been bet­ter ordered in their nonage by others, then in their own by them­selves, as appears especially in the raign of Henry the third, and Henry the sixth, Kings of England; the first being but nine years old when his father died, the latter but nine moneths; who while they were yong, and under the protection of certain wise and sober men, the Laws were administred uprightly, and with much Justice; but [Page 7] when they themselves came to the years of Kingship, and Preroga­tive▪ so Royalled, that both Laws & Liberties were soon altered and abolished, as anon the Reader shall have a more exact account; And how sad is it, that when Government may be advanced as well, if not better by others in their minority, without their presence or influence, the world must be at such vast charges for a title, and to maintain it ere they can use it, and which is worst, that when they come to exercise it themselves, should make their title the ground of their Tyranny. But if it so happen (for its a meer chance)▪ that the next heir prove somewhat more then ordinary capable, yet what the next may prove, who knows? If he be an Infant, (as it many times falls out) then there must be patient and hopefull waitings, to see what he will be when grown up; untill that, there can be no further progress made in the alteration or reforma­tion of affairs, though of never so great, and present concernment; and when he comes to these years which Custom pronounceth him capable, how unreasonable is it, that nothing can hinder, or ex­clude him from his Authority, but that he is incapable of being beg'd for a fool? It being enough, if he can koow his own name, and be able to write himself Rex, though he knows little what be­longs to the Office, or relation of a King.

If he be one of riper years, and stature, on which this Su [...]ssion falls, then must all the observation of his nature, and the ominous, and more then Astrological aspects of his constitution, and educa­tion be forgotten; and although silenced in his pretended title, and a full complyance looked after, though opprest with never so many fears, and secret wishes of a more hopefull Governour; yea, and though he hath been never so active against the liberties of the peo­ple, when but a Prince, and given demonstrations what a Gover­nor they may expect, yet his succession must be his qualification, and indemnity, and his Title his vertue.

On this ground also it comes to pass, that oftentimes women come to hold the rains of government; and to steer at the Helm, as wel as men; for if there be any defect of the male line, the female succeeds; and that feeble and weaker sex, whom God & nature have ordained to be onely particular helps, and good Subjects, (only to keep up the name of a Family) must be invested with the highest authority, over the choisest, and most select spirits of many Nations, and all fur­ther thoughts of bettering the State of things utterly extinguish'd by a female pretence.

[Page 8]And which is most desperate by this succession, (and its plea of the only and absolute right) the fundamental liberties of the people are not onely insensibly undermined, but absolutely rooted up, and that birth-right priviledge of the people, their Election and choice, then which, they have nothing more naturall, and which is far more here­ditary to them and theirs, then by all the Laws of God▪ nature, and reason, Crowns can be to Kings and their heirs, is quite ex­tinguished; For pass by the first King, (who it may be as with us it hath been, came in by Conquest) you must go back in some King­doms five hundred, in others a thousand years, ere you can but re­cover the clear notion of a free election (wherin the peoples power and priveledge is alone and peculiarly seen) and yet that so faintly and hardly extorted from them, as great loans of mony from a cruel miser, without use or advantage; and though Election must be ac­knowledged at last, the first just ground of government, yet custom in successions soon wears out its right, and transfers it on the next bloud; And though in England it appears by the Coronation Oath, that there is even in succession a kind of election, yet its so limited in the line, that its as good as nothing, and so weak and implicitely manifested, that its but a meer customary Ceremony, which always is pursued by the natural title, and onely used to deceive the peo­ple, and as a step to the further confirmation of a more fun­damentall, and sure right; and its easie to demonstrate it; for our Kings soon forget it, ere they come from Westminster to Whitehall, or from the chair of Inauguration to the Presence Chamber. In a word, what gives all this ground of such an inevitable and successively insensible incroachment on the laws and liberties of Nations, but this lineall title, whereby the Son without remedy goes on where the Father left off, and by a divine pretence seiseth on what by nature is due to the meanest subject, as to himself? And what makes the present Kings so daring, and venturous to raise their own prerogative, but this, that that they know there can be no alienation of the Crown from his heirs, and that they may make it better (that is more tyrannicall?) but surer they cannot: And thus there is a constant hope, and possibility, by continuation and propagation of principles, and designs, backed with title, and authority, that what cannot be done in one Kings reign, may be done in the next, and so on; For the minds of Princes are not u­sually contracted, or contented with present enjoyments; especially [Page 9] if there be any restraint on their wills, or more of heighth, or ad­vancement to be attained unto.

Yea, this is one of the main reasons (that in our times can be ren­dred) why we have had such uneven actings, and such strange alte­rations in several Kings Raigns; the principles, and laws, the people have been always the same, who are capable of small or no variati­on or change, but as higher, and supream influences move them, of which none hath been so powerfull as Princes, who as they are Stars of the first magnitude, so of the strongest operations; and though the people be compared to the Sea, yet as the Sea, they have no turbulent motion of their own, but what is oc­casioned by violent and uncertain winds; but the great change hath been by the temper, and actings of Princes, and commonly the next successor hath been the omen and fate of the times; if any way good, then the Nation smiled, and his raign began the Spring; if probable, there was hopes; and yet both these at first promised, but at length frustrated; and however the beginnings were, yet the succession of acts demonstrated how the title was crea­ted; for untill they have made their succession sure, none have been more fair, and promising, but afterwards both Laws and Liberties, like favourites, have been advanced ad placitum; and what they have got an interest in by nature, that by prerogative they have centred in their own proper persons, even the most fundamentall privi­ledges of the people, and have only granted Leases unto the people of their own inheritances, and dated them not for life (which would have been too great a mercy) but as long as the Royall pleasure lasts, which changes alwayes with advantages. Yea, by this succes­sion Tyranny is so intailed, and all things so necessarily acted, as if the Prince were not onely the civil, but natural Parent of the peo­ple, and that Kings had begot the people as so many Bastards to obey, as they do beget one lawfully to raign over them.

Its too well known, that good and wise men are the fewest of the sons of men, and are commonly pickt out here, and there, as rich pearls on the shoar of violent torrents; but to expect in one Line, and Family, a succession of good, wise, and governing men, is almost as probable to Christians, as to expect Mahomets second coming among the Turks, after so many hundred years delusion; and although it must be acknowledged, that there have been some good Kings, yet they have been so few, that as their names [Page 11] from the beginning of the world can hardly make up the Dominical letters in the Almanack, or possibly supply the Holydayes in the year, so a little goodness hath gon far, and at the best we shall finde it but comparative; good Kings instead of better Governors, as some of the Roman Cesars, chose those to succeed them who were worse then themselves, that they might commend, and set off their own Raign, though tyrannicall enough in it self; and we may without any passion demonstrate, that the design by succession hath been rather to keep up the Governors, and palliate their vices, then ever to maintain or highthen the glory, and splendor, or carry on the benefit of the Government it Self in the execution of good and righteous Laws.

But to come nigher home, and leave generals (granting Succes­sion in it self to be a good title) let us view without partiality, the succession of the Kings of England, whereby they plead their title to the Crown, and we shall find in our Histories, that nothing hath been more commonly interrupted, then a succession of the next Heir; and for this seaven or eight hundred years (if not more) we have not had succession continued in any even line or just right, and no title was ever more broken, and unjust, then of our Kings, if they make a Lineall, and Hereditary succession the foundation of their right; Let us look but a little back to those which preceded the Norman race, especially among the Saxons and Danes, the ancient competitors for the Government of this Nation, and it will appear, that the right Heir hath been commonly past by; and Stran­gers or Usurpers preferred; to go no further back then to Alfred King of the West Saxons, and the twenty fourth Monarch of the Englishmen; as soon as he died, Athelstan his Bastard was preferred before his legitimate son Edmond, & after him got his own brother Edmond to succeed him; and though this Edmond left two sons, Ed­win, Dan. Hist. p. 14. Speed. and Edgar, yet as he & his former brother had usurped the Go­verment, so Edred his brother stept into the Throne, and put them by until he had finished his Raign, & then they took their turns; Edwin first, and Edgar after him; this Edgar had two wives, Ethelfled his first, and Elfrida the second: by the first he had issue, Edward, sir­named the Martyr, who succeeded his father in title; but having hardly felt the Crown warm, and fast on his head, was cruelly mur­thered, to make way for the second wives son Ethelred who suc­ceeded him, as Daniel well expresseth it, whose entrance into his [Page 10] Raign was blood, the middle misery, and the end confusion; and though he left his son Edmond, sirnamed Ironside, to succeed him, yet Canutus the Dane by compact got half of the Kingdom from him, and soon after the whole, setting up his Danish title, and mur­thering the two sons Edmund had left, with his brother Edwin, that no further pretence might be made by them of their title; and now come the Danes to convey their title by▪ Canutus; and yet Harold his bastard gets the Crown before Hardicanute, who was his legi­timate son; and among these three Kings (for the Government under the Danes continued but twenty six years, and only under these three was aone Usurper, & immediatly interrupted the right of succession. And the Danes Government being ended, which was but an inter­vall of conquest) the Saxons regain their title; and Edward, called the Confessor, the seventh son of Elthelred (who came in with the murther of the right heir) being kept as a reserve in Normandy) is elected King, and the Saxons title now begins to revive, but soon its extinguished, not onely by the Norman pretence▪ but by the next successor, Harold the second, son to Goodwin, Earl of Kent, Speed. who came in with the expulsion of Edgar Athlings the proper suc­cessor.

And with Harold ended the Saxon race, which had lasted about five hundred years, after the coming in of Hengist, and their Planta­tion in this Kingdom; and yet you see what have been the titles suc­cessively of these former Kings, wherein the Line hath not onely been now and then through force and violence cut off and discon­tinued, but usurpation solemnized with as much ceremony as any natural pretence: but these Instances are but as representations of objects afar off, which may seem otherwise then they are; we will go on and review the title of our Kings from William the Norman, Sirnamed the Conqueror, and by whom, not onely the line, but all the whole fram of Laws and Liberties were not onely curtail'd but changed; for though in the raigns of the former Kings, every Con­queror made his impression, and drew his Picture in England, yet never was the whole Scene of State changed untill now, and a new Modell so peremptorily (and without repeal) introduced, as by him: The first jus, or right of his title (the onely foundation of all the rest of our latter Kings (we all know was by meer Conquest, which as it is a disseisin in Law, so an unjust title in Reason, and common to one as unto another: yet he though a Bastard, (and so [Page 12] had less title to his Dukedom then to England which he won by the Sword) made himself the principal of that divine Succession we now stand upon, and all our Kings have no other pretence then by the succession of his Sword; and certainly, if the Fountain, and Head-Spring be corrupt, the stream cannot be Christall and pure; and yet (as Baron Thorpe declares in his Charge given at the Assizes holden at Yorke the twentieth of March, 1648. and now in Print) of all these twenty four Kings, which have King'd it amongst us since that William, there are but seven of them that could pretend legal­ty to succeed their former predecessors, either by lineal, or collate­rall title, (and he might have contracted that number, and have been modest enough.) But that the Reader may not be prejudiced, or wrap up his understanding in any expression, let him but follow the discents of the Kings of England in the line, (and pardon the first strange and exotick way of right) and he will discover, that as the first title was created by force, so the succession hath been continued by usurpation. Speed (too Royall a Writer) gives us a hint to go on upon in the Life of Henry the Fourth, page 746. (asketh by way of Interrogation) What right had Will, the Conqueror, the Father of all our glorious Tyrants? What right (we speak, saith he, of a right of equity) had his son William Rufus, and Henry the first, while their elder brother lived? and so he goes on. But to give a more particular account to the Reader, how▪ every King came to his Crown, Let us begin with the first of the first.

After that the first William, who laid the foundation of his right in the blood of the English, had left this world, as well as his King­dom, great strivings there were who should succeed; and though he left three sons, Robert, William, and Henry, yet could leave but one Heir, which was Robert; yet William surnamed Rufus, gets the crown set on his head, notwithstanding the elder brothers title, and though Robert fights for his right, yet being too weak in the field, is fore't to a composition, on these terms that he should injoy it after his decease, if he hapned to survive; and yet notwithstanding, Henry the youngest brother (called Henry the first) steps in, and makes use of his brothers absence to set up himself in his place; and Robert yet surviving, he weares it in his stead, and however he strove to re­gain his right, he at last was fain to yield up, not only his title, but his person to Henry, who not only unjustly excluded him from the succession to the Kingdom, but cruelly put out his eyes that he [Page 13] might only feel his misery, and never see his remedy. The line male of the Conqueror is now extinct, as well as it was irregularly diver­ted; as William got his right by his Sword, so all his successors main­tained it in imitation of him, rather then by any legal pretence they could derive from him. But Henry the first (though▪ he had come in over the back of his elder brother) that he might make more sure work for a succession, wanting issue male living, pitcheth on Maud his daughter, formerly married to the Emperor Hen­ry the fourth, who left her a widow, and died without issue; and having sworn all the Nobility (especially Stephen) to her, ordained her & her issue to be his successors in Englands▪ Throne, and married her again to Jeoffrey Plantagenet, the son and heir apparent of Fulk, then Earl of Anjou, by whom she had three sons, Henry, Jeffrey, and William; to Henry the Crown belonged as next heir af­ter his mother (by the usurped title of his father,) yet Stephen, Earl of Mortain, and Bulloign, son to Adelincia the third daughter of William the Conqueror, by Maud his wife, (notwithstanding his oath to the last King) gets the Crown set on his own head, and ex­cludes her, and her issue for the present; yet after he died, Henry, cal­led the second, sirnamed Shortmantle, though his mother was alive, enjoys it. This Henry had six sons, William, Henry Richard, Jeoffrey, Philip, John; the two first dying, Richard the third son, the first of that name, Sirnamed Ceur de Lyon succeeded his father; this Richard dying without issue, his yongest brother John usurps the Crown, notwithstanding Jeoffrey his elder brother had left a young son, named Arthur Plantaganet King of Brittain, who was heir appa­rant to the Crown; and after he dyed, Henry his son the third of that name succeedes him, though Arthurs sister was then alive, (though in prison) who was next to the title (such as it was); after him Edward sirnamed Longshankes, called Edward the first, layes hold on the Crown and wore it with much majesty, and after him Edward the second his son goes on, but still on the old account, and on the ruine of the most proper heirs; this Edward was deposed by the Parlia­ment for his ill government as anon shall be more fully related; and his son Edward the third of that name set up in his room; after him followed Richard the second, son to the black Prince, who was also deposed, after whose dethroning, Henry called the fourth, son to John of Gant Duke of Lancaster, and uncle to the former King, snatcheth up the Crown, though of right it, was to discend to Ed­mund Mortimer, Earle of March, the son and heir of Lionel Duke [Page 14] of Clarence, the third son of Edward the third, and an elder brother of John Duke of Lancaster; and thus we have nothing hitherto, but interruption, and usurpation; and those which in their own reigns can pretend a divine title by succession, which must not be altered, can for their advantage put by the succession of the issue of others. But to go on, Here now began the bloody wars, and contests be­tween the house of Lancaster, and York which made the world to ring of the misery of the civill wars of England, and all about a title, and neither of them (if seriously weighed) had a right title by succession, if the first title of their Ancestors were to be the ori­ginall; But that custome might be the best right, he got in his son Henry, who was the fifth of that name, to succeed; and his son Henry the sixt (though an infant) takes his place, untill Edward Duke of York overthrew his Army in the battle at Towton Field, and got him deposed, and was proclaimed King by the name of Edward the fourth, though the title had been carried on in the House of Lan­caster thorow three discents; thus favor, and fortune, not lineall suc­cession alwayes gave the best title; this Edward left two sons be­hind him, (to maintain the succession of the House of York) Edward and Richard Duke of York and five daughters. His eldest Son Ed­ward who was the fifth of that name, succeeded him in claim, & title, but rather lived then raigned (being an infant) had never any actu­all exercise of his government; for Ric. Duke of Glocester, and Uncle to this Infant, and made his Protector, that he might set up himself, causeth both the young titular King, & his Brother, (these two Roy­all Infants) to be barbarously murthered in their beds, and so wears the Crown himself, by the name of Richard the Third, untill Hen­ry Earl of Richmond (a twigg of a Bastard of John of Gaunt) by his valour at Bosworth field, having overthrown his Army, slew the Ty­rant himself, and created by his sword (for other he had none) a new title to himself, and was Crowned King, by the name of Henry the Seventh, who, what by his power and by a marriage of the Lady Eliz. the eldest daughter of Ed. the Fourth, confirmed his succession, & from him do all our later Princes derive their Title, as Henry the Eighth, Edward the Sixth, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, King James, and our last Tyrant Charls. This Henry, the foundation of our great ones, was himself but a private man, who as Speed says, had scarce any thing of a just title, or of a warrantable intention, but to remove an Usurper; besides there were many naturall heirs [Page 15] of the house of York which were children of Edward the Fourth, and George Duke of Clarence, Richards elder brother, who had bet­ter right: but when once a title is made, it must be maintained, and if it can but get thorow two or three Successors, its presently pro­claimed to be jure divino, and pleaded as the onely just title and right.

Thus you have a faithfull, and true account of the succession of our Norman Monarchs; we can onely say we have had so many persons raigning, and as Kings of England; but for a title by lineal succession, there is none, but what every man may make aswell as any man, and what is as proper to a stranger, as to an heir; power, and favour, murther and deceit being the most common principles of the right of most of our Kings to their government over us. If it be asked, as Speed doth, What right had William the Conqueror? then it must follow, What right had all the rest? but supposing his right, What right had these, who so many times cut off the line, and made themselves the Stock of future succession? and what mi­sery is it that this broken and usurped title must still be forced on us, even by an Ecclesiasticall, and Divine Institution, who have now a way of redeeming our liberties, and bettering our conditions, and following the direct line of just and true titles, the Election and choice of the people? Is not five or six hundred year enough for England to be under the succession of a Norman Bastard (pardon the expression, its true though plain) and to be sold with all its li­berties, from usurpation to usurpation, as well as from generation to generation? I need not be very zealous in application, the history is enough to make all wise men consider, by whom we have all this while been governed, and upon what terms; How tyranny and usurpation comes to be adored, if it have but a royall name added to it. Shall the Parliament of England be now blamed for cutting off that race of usurpers and tyrants, and reducing affairs to their first naturall and right principle; or will the people of England after all their experiences, centre their liberties and freedoms in a customary usurpation of succession, and lose their Common­wealth for the personall glory of a young Pretender? especially, when they have fought against the Father, and cut him off as a Ty­rant, endeavour to set up the Son to follow on both the first cause, and revenge, meerly because he was supposed to be proceeded of his polluted loyns: this blindness will be our misery, and endear us [Page 16] to a more perfect and more tyrannicall slavery then ever yet Eng­land felt.

But to go on, the Reader hath seen what a line we have had in England, and how pure a title our Kings have had to their Crowns; Lets now but have patience to view their actings successively, and yet shortly, and we shall better guess of their right by their raigns; for though one would think that they should endeavour to make good a bad title by a good raign, yet it hath been far otherwise; every man having made his right by force, maintained it by tyranny; and when they have gotten power, never remembered how, or to what end they attained it; if we look back again, and make a new and strict survey of their severall actings in their Government, and go over every Kings head since Willam the Conqueror, we shall not much mistake if we pass by Tur­kie, Russia, the Moors, and yet call Englands Kings Tyrants, and their Subjects Slaves; and however in the theory, and System it have been limited, and bounded by good and distinguishing Laws, yet in the exercise and practique part almost of every Kings Raign, we shall find it deserve as bad a name as others who are called most absolute; for the Laws and Priviledges which this poor Nation hath enjoyed, as they have been but complementally granted for the most part, and with much design, so they have ever (upon any occasion) proved but weak and low hedges against the Spring-tides, and Land floods of the Prerogative of the Prince, which hath always gained more on the priviledges of the people, then ever the Sea by all its washing and beatings of its boysterous and unmerciful waves hath gained on the Land; for if at any time the poor Commons (through much strugling, and a good and present necessitous mood of the Prince) have got off any present oppressions, and forced out the promise for enacting of any good and seasonable Laws: yet ei­ther the next advantage, or at least the next successor, hath been sure, either to silence, or diannul it, and incroached upon it; and ne­ver was Priviledge or good Law enacted, or gained to the people, but by hard pressure of the Subject, and with a predominant in­gredient of the Kings advantage, and still rather out of courtesie then right. We shall finde also that England for three or four hun­dred years together (some lucida intervalla excepted) hath been a stage of blood, and the astonishment of all Nations in civil wars, and that meerly, either for the clearing of the title to the Crown [Page 17] (which yet at last was onely made lawfull by the prevailing power, and as soon made illegall when another side got the better) or else by the Subject and Barons, taking up arms to defend themselves, and make Rampiers (if possible) against the inundation of Preroga­tive, and rather preserving, then obtaining any additions of liber­ties, and yet they were commonly defeated at last; for if for the present by some eminent advantage, they got a little ground, they soon lost it again by royal stratagems, and were either forced, or complemented▪ into their old miseries, with a worse remembrance of former actings. But to enter into the particulars of this sad Story:

All men know (or may) the tyrannical domination of that first William, who behaved himself as a Conqueror indeed, and a most perfect tyrant (since whom we have never had an English man, but one, who hath been naturalized by the succession of his Conquest as King of England) he presently changed most of our Laws, especially those wherein the English liberties were most transparent, and pre­served, and made new Laws, and those which he left, writ them all in French; disweaponed all the Natives, sent the children of the best, and most faithful of the Nobility into Normandy as Hostages, and the most gallant of the English were transported by him into France to serve his wars, that he might extinguish their Families; he advanced his Normans into all places of the Nation, and kept them as a guard over the English; brought in the cruel Forrest Laws, and dispeopled for thirty miles together in Hampshire, pul­ling down many Towns, and Villages, with Churches, Chappels, and Gentlemens Houses, making it a Forrest for wilde beasts, (which is ever since named the New Forrest, but was the old ensign of our misery and slavery) he laid on innumerable taxes, and made Laws royal, very severe, and in an unknown Language, that the English offending might forfeit their states and lands to him, which they often did, through ignorance: But alas, what need I mention these? who ever reads but our Histories, (and the most fa­vorable▪ and fawning Royalist) will see more then now can be ex­pressed; and yet here is the first fruits of our Kings and of their righteous title, whose succession hath been as much in tyranny after him, as in title: and yet we must, by a sacred obligation be bound to maintain with our blood, and lives, the branches of this rotten root, notwithstanding all the providential, and divine opportunities [Page 18] of casting off that miserable yoak which our forefathers, so sadly groaned under, and would have triumphed in the pouring out their blood (which they shed freely, but to little purpose) but to have foreseen their childrens children might have but the hopes of attaining to.

But although William the first made sure his Conquest to his ownWilliam Rufus. person, yet by his tyranny he gave ground of designs, and hopes of recovery after his death, & therefore the people who but murmured and mourned in secret formerly, consider now their condition, and that Robert the right heir was wanting, and his second son endea­vored to be set up, begin to capitulate, and repeat their former grievances, and to stand upon their terms, with the next Successors; But William Rufus who longed for the Crown, and saw what ad­vantage he had by his brothers absence, through the mediation of Lanke-Frank the Arch-bishop of Canterbury (a man for his vertue and learning in great esteem with the people) got himself to be accepted, and crowned King (with exclusion of his elder brother) by fair promises, and engagements to repeal his fathers Laws, and of promoting the liberties of the English (any probability being then taking to the poor people.) But no sooner had he got the Crown fastned on his head, (and defeated his brother in battle) but he for­gat all his own promises, follows directly his fathers steps, grows excessive covetous, lays on intolerable taxes, and merciless exactions, returns their longings, and hopes after their just libertie into a sad bondage and slavery. The poor people having thus smarted for their credulity, & renewing their sense of their misery, under the two for­mer tyrants, take heart once again, and refuse to admit any after his death, until (as Judge Thorpe well expresseth it in that forementio­ned discourse) they were cheated into a second election of Hen. the first, his youngest brother; for the people standing for their Liberties (and yet, alas, but negatively, rather to be freed from excess of oppression, then knowing what true freedom was) having felt the misery of their loss in the two former persons (shall I call them Kings?) Raign; denied any consent to another person of that stock without solemn capitulations, and covenants to settle just Laws, and to ingage for the execution of them, with abrogation of all for­mer mischievous and inconvenient ones, (which Matthew Paris calls unworthily, a Politique, but trayterous way of capitulating.) Whereupon Henry, who had nothing of title, made friends by his [Page 19] engagements, and Roberts absence in the Holy-land, and doth abso­lutely promise to begin all anew, constitute just laws, reform his Fa­thers, and brothers exorbitancies, and to be as a Nursing Father both to Church and State; these fair insinuations got him the Crown, though Robert was to have it first by his own right, and next by his Brothers Covenant and Will.

And that he might not seem altogether disproportionable to hisDan. life of Henry the first. engagement, the first action of his government was to bait the peo­ple, and sugar their subjection, as his predecessor in the like inter­position had done, but with more moderation and advisedness; but having once secured his title from his Brothers jus, and setled some affairs abroad, began much after the old strain, (yet not alto­gether so violent) yet these cruel and savage Laws of the forrest he revived, and put in execution, yea, urged as the most fundamen­tall Law of the Realm, and many sore in positions he levied (which the people were not able to bear;) that these two sons, though they ended the direct line, yet they propagated their Fathers tyranny; onely he got the throne by force; they by subtilty, and delusive en­gagements; and now the poor people, who had still been cozen­ed, and are commonly passive, begin in the next Kings reign, (viz. of Stephen, another Usurper) to be active, and to struggle for their liberties more seriously and thorowly, and not contented with pro­mises of abating former pressures, drew up the summ of their de­sires in a more exact method, and demand publikely the restoring and re-establishing of St. Edwards Laws (for such a rarity was that former Prince, as they Canonized him a Saint) which were many years before granted▪ but by new and strange successions buried; and Stephen, who came in odly to the Crown, and was continually in various motions to maintain it, confirmed all these laws, and to gain the people, ratified them by Parliament, the best security in these cases; But soon after Prerogative (like a Lion in chains) breaks forth again with fuller rage, and devours all these grants, with the hopes, and expectations of the people; for though in the two next Kings raigns these grants were not actually repeled, yet were laid by, and only wrapt up in parchments, and husht by the noise of Drums, and Trumpets. For Henry the Second, the next King, spent most of his time in cleering the controversie▪ between Regnum & Sacerdo­tium, the Crown and the Mitre, as in setling his own Title both here, and in Normandy▪ and Ireland; a while he and Thomas Becket [Page 20] were standing in the special rights, and priviledges of the Church, and State, the liberties of the people were laid asleep, and certainly he hated the former grants, because made by Stephen, who had stoln the Crown both from his Mother, and himself; the notablest story in this Kings reign (setting by his warlike atchievements) is, that after Becket had often foiled him in his authority, he was hand­somly whipt by the Monks, in going to visit Beckets shrine, which was part of his pennance, for giving secret order to Assasinats to make him away; And that he kept Rosamond as his Concubine, to the vexation of Elenor his Wife, who at last vented her revenge on her, having found her out in that intricate Labyrinth made on pur­pose for her at Woodstock, by the clew which Rosamond had carele­sly untwisted.

The next that laid claim to this Crown, was his son Richard the first, surnamed Ceur de Lion (as before) who was to be commended rather for his personal valour, in other Nations, then for any good done to this; He began well in enlarging his Mother Elenor, whom his Father had imprisoned, because she could not abide his lascivious living with his wanton Paragon Rosamond, and advanced many persons by speciall favours; yet these respects were more particular, then of any publike advantage to the State; for out of a blind zeal in those times, after he had been in England but four months after his Coronation, he went into the Holy-land, against the Turks, leaving the Regency of the Kingdom to an Ecclesiasticall Person, William Longchampe, Bishop of Ely, who to please the King, and by speciall command, undid the people, and commit­ted great exactions, and as Hoveden says, Clerum & populum oppri­mebat, confundens fas (que) nefas (que) did all as he listed, and little cared by what means he filled the Kings Coffers, and his own; (acting but by Proxie and in imitation of what his Master would have done, if at home▪ & by many a private command) as it afterwards proved; for when Richard undertook this voyage, that he might not seem at first burthensom to the people when he left them, and to main­tain both his design, and absence on their purses (and so alienate their affections from him when at so great a distance, and give grounds to his Brother John to try an experiment for the title) wifely sold much of his own estate to raise him monies, as the Castles of Berwick▪ and Roxborough, to the King of Scots for ten thousand pounds, and the Lordship, and Earldom of Durham, to Hugh then [Page 21] Bishop of that See, for much mony, as also many Honors, Lordships, Mannors, Offices, Priviledges, Royalties, to many of the Nobles, and rich Commoners, whereby he furnished himself with a vast trea­surie of mony for that service; and that you may see what interest he and his companions think they have in his peoples goods (how­ever they dissemble it) he often protested that he would sell his City of London (as my Author saith) to any that would by it, rather then be chargeable unto others; but notwithstanding all this, as the people were sadly opprest in his absence by his Viceroy, so much more when he returned by himself; for he then began to redeem his time, and to play Rex with a witness; he fell presently to plunder all religious houses, laid on new and unheard of Taxes on the peo­ple, and resumed into his hands again all the Lordships, Mannors, Castles, &c. which he had sold to his subjects, and confirmed it by all the security they could have from man; this is the misery of de­pending on royal promises, and engagements, which are usually no­thing else but complementall engins to move up the peoples affecti­ons, while they more easily, and insensibly drain out their blood, and purses, this was the end of this Rough, and Lionlike King, who reigned nine years, and nine months, wherein he exacted and consu­med more of this Kingdom then all his Predecessors from the Nor­man had done before him, and yet less deserved it then any, having neither lived here, nor left behind him monument of piety, or any publike work, or ever shewed love or care to this Common-wealth, but onely to get what he could from it; we see hitherto what a race of Kings we have had, and what cause we have to glory in any thing but their Tombs; and yet if we expect better afterwards, we shall be as much mistaken of their actings as they were of their right.

The next that raigned (though without any hereditary title) was King John, Stephens Brother; whose government was as unjust asDun. his title, for he (having by Election, out of fear and policy of State, got the Crown, with expulsion of Arthur the right heir ut supra) embarked the State, and himself in these miserable incumberances, through his violence and oppression, as produced desperate effects, and made way to those great alterations in the government which followed; the whole reign of this King was a perfect tyranny; there is in History hardly one good word given him; the Barons and Clergy continually opposed him, strugling for a confirmation of [Page 22] their long desired liberties, but were most commonly either cluded, or defeated by promises which were never intended to be perform­ed, until at last being more entirely united with the Commons, and stoutly resolved and confirmed by an Oath, taken at St. Edmunds-Burie in a general Assembly, they then swore on the high Altar, ne­ver to lay down arms, if King John refused to confirm and restore un­to them these liberties (the rights which this Kingdom was former­ly blest with, and which all the late Kings had cheated them of) the King knowing their power, and considering their engagements, makes use of policy, and desired time to answer them, entertain­ing them with smooth and gentle language, and courtesie, untill he had got strength, and then he began anew to try experiments of se­curing himself, and frustrating their desires: But the Lords continu­ing their resolution, and knowing nothing was to be obtained but by strong hand, assemble themselves with a great Army at Stam­ford, from whence they marched towards the King, who was then at Oxford; sent him a Schedule of their claimed liberties, with an Appendix of their absolute resolutions, in case of his denyal; this Tyrant having heard them read, with much passion replies: Why do they not demand the Kingdom as wel? and swore he would ne­ver grant these liberties, whereby himself should be made a servant▪ The Barons upon his Answer being (as Daniel saith) as hasty as he was averse, resolve to seaze on his Castles, and Possessions; and repairing to London, being welcomed by the Citizens, who had too long groaned under the same tyranny, they get a great access of strength by new confederates, and renew their spirits & oaths for the thorow prosecution of the war; the King seeing himself in a strait, which by no ordinary strength he could evade, by gentle and teem­ing Messages sent to the Barons, he obtained a Conference in a Medow called Running-mead, between Windsor and Sta [...]es, where armed multitudes came from all places, crying nothing but Liberty, Liberty, so sweet was that tone to them then: After many hard Conferences, the King seeing it no time to dally, & that they would not trust him with any complemental expressions, whom they look­ed on as formerly perjured, grants their desires; not only, saith Speed, for Liberties specified in Magna Charta & Charta Forrestae, but also for a kind of sway in the Government, by five and twenty selected Peers, who were to be as a check over the King, and his chief Justi­ciar, and all his Officers to whom any appeal might be made in [Page 23] case of breach of any article or priviledge confirmed by that Char­ter; And now one would think the people were secure enough; but though they seem now to have the livery, yet they had not the seisin; for presently the King having got now credit by the largeness of his grants, gets liberty with less suspicion to undo all; and in a short time (pretending these grants to be acts of force) having got power, renounceth his engagement by them, and afterwards repeals them, and dispoiled all these of their lands and possessions, who had any hand, or heart in procuring the former grants; and by new, and ad­ditionall Laws made them more perfect slaves then ever they were before, untill at last he was poysoned by a Monk, instead of being deposed.

But though he be dead, yet the miseries of this Nation ended not with him; for his son Henry the third; who succeeded him, though he could not at first follow on his Fathers designs, being an Infant, yet at last did not onely imitate, but outstrip him, yet the English Nation, (who are much given to credulity, and apt to be won by fair and plausible promises,) notwithstanding all the fa­thers iniquity, imbrace the son, having taken an oath of him to re­store, and confirm the liberties they propounded to his father, which he had often granted, and as often broken; but for all his first oath, they were fain, not onely to remember him of it, by peti­tions, but oftentimes by arms and strength. And though there was in this Kings Raign twenty one Parliaments called, and many great Subsidies granted, in confirmation of their liberties, yet every Par­liament was no sooner dissolved, but the ingagement ceased; a hint of two or three special Parliaments, and their success will not be amiss to be set down in this place.

This King not being able to suppress the Barons and people by his own strength, (they having gotten not onely heart, but power) sends to forraign Nations for aid, and entertains Poictovines, Italians, Almains, Provincioes to subdue his own people, and set them in great places; which dangerous and desperate design the Barons much resenting, raised their spirits, and ingaged them in opposition to his Government, and set them on with more courage to look after their liberties; therefore they several times stand up against the violence of Prerogative; but what through want of strength or caution they were commonly disappointed; yet rather (if we may speak truly) from the unfaithfulness of the King then [Page 24] any other defect, except it were their easiness to believe Kings, when their Prerogative, and the peoples liberties came in compe­tition; for after they had many times got, or rather extorted many promises, and confirmed them by oaths, (the best humane security) they were put to new designs, through either the suspention, or breach of them, witness these Instances; after many foiles▪ and tedi­ous and various delusions by this King (whose beams attracted most, dazled others) the Barons, and people (who were then una­nimous through mutual oppressions) fall more close, and severe on their principles, and wil not endure either delays, or delusions, and therefore effectually to redress their grievances, came very well ar­med to a Parliament then holden at Oxford (intended rather for getting Subsidies, then removing oppressions) in which Assembly they put the King to it, urge their former complaints with more zeal and reason, and with an addition of a mighty Spirit, demand the absolute confirmation of Magna Charta, and in a larger edi­tion (wherein are comprised those gallant priviledges of the Com­mons of England, which have yet been but kept by Ink, and Parch­ment) and not trusting the King, got his son, Prince Edward, toPryn. seal it, with an addition of twenty four (some write twelve) Peers which Fabian stiles the douze Peeres, not only to see these privi­ledges truly observed, but to be as joynt Regents with the King; and all the Lords, and Bishops in Parliament took a like Oath, to maintain these Articles inviolable; yea, and all that would have any benefit of residence in the Kingdom, were enjoyned to take the same; But these were too strict bonds for such a Princes wil, he soon finding advantages (as he sought them) recals all, gets a dispensation from the Pope for his forced Oath and to countenance his perjurie▪ and acts in the old account; the Barons again stand up with the peo­ple stoutly for the performance of the Articles of Oxford; and some­times brought him into straits; yea, fully▪ defeated him in manyMat. Pa­ris p. 961 Dan. Hist. p. 179. bloody battles, and regained the confirmation of the same laws, with security; that all the Castles throughout England should be delivered to the keeping of the Barons, that the provisions of Ox­ford be inviolably preserved, that all strangers should be dismist the Kingdom, but those which by generall consent should be thought fit to remain; this necessitous act though as it gave the people some peace and hopes, so it gave the King time to consider of new medi­ums, and therefore still to delay, and blind, he Assembles a new [Page 25] Parliament at London, where having (by the sprinkling of Court water) won many Lords to take his part, begins to surprise as many of the Barons as he could get, and spoiled their Castles and Houses, that success and authority grows strong on his side, and the Barons with some calme provisoes mediate a peace, insisting onely in generall that the Articles of Oxford might be observed; But the King relying on his strength, defies them as Traitors; which done, the peoples two Generals, the Earls of Leicester and Glocester, see­ing no other means but to put it to a day, supply their want of strength by their wit and diligence, and carefully and artificially pla­cing their battel (which was fought at the Town of Lewis in Sus­sex) overthrew the Kings Army, took the King, the Prince, the Earl of Cornwal, and his son Henry, the Earls of Arundel, Hereford, with many other Lords, and Gentlemen, both English and Scottish.

And now having the King, and Prince, and most of the Nobles, and a new confirmation of all, one would think the great Charter was out of danger, either of blotting or razing; especially if we con­sider the solemnities formerly used in the ratification of it, (as Daniel excellently relates it in his history, p. 169.) The people knowing that no civil promises, or verbal professions would hold in Kings raptur­ed by Prerogative▪ & devoted to perjury to maintain their tyranny, take a more Ecclesiasticall and divine way of obligation, swearing to excommunicate all that should be found infringers of that Char­ter; when the people with the King, and all the great Nobility were assembled with all the Prelates, and the chief Bishops in their reverent ornaments (with burning Candles in their hands) to re­ceive that dreadfull sentence; the King having one great Candle in his hand, gives it to a Prelate that stood by, saying, it becomes not me being no Priest to hold this Candle, my heart shall be a greater testimony; and withall laid his hand spred on his breast all the while the sentence was pronouncing, which was Authoritato omni­potentis Dei, &c. which done, he caused the Charter of King John his Father to be read, and in the end having thrown away their Candles (which lay smoaking on the ground) they cryed out, so let them that incurre this sentence be extinct and stinck in Hell; And the King with a loud voice said, As God help, I will, as I am a man, a Christian, a Knight, a King Crowned and Annointed, inviolably observe these things. Never were Laws saith he (whose words ex­press [Page 26] the thing most emphatically) amongst men (except those ho­ly Commandments from the Mount) established with more Maje­stie of Ceremony, to make them reverenced, and respected, then these were; they wanted but thunder, and lightning from heaven, (which likewise if prayers could have effected they would have had it) to make the sentence ghastly, and hideous to the breakers of it; the greatest security that could be given was an Oath (the onely chain on earth besides love, to tye the conscience of a man, and hu­mane societie together) which should it not hold us, all the frame of Government must needs fall quite asunder; yet so (almost a miracle (though over common among our Kings, saith Master Prin out of Mat. Paris) the Parliament being thus dissolved (by a sacredMat. Paris, p. 8, 9. and most solemn conclusion) the King presently studies how to in­fringe all the premises, his Parasites telling him the Pope could soon absolve him for a summ of mony, which afterwards the Pope did, and the King returned to his former oppressive courses with more violence, and hardness; and taking advantage by the division of the Barons, two Generals, the Earls of Leice­ster and Glocester, the latter of which joyned with the young Prince Edward, and Sir Roger Mortimer the Kings wicked Counsel­lor, a new and potent Army is raised by them, against the Earl of Leicester (who had the King prisoner) and those which kept con­stant with him for the Peoples Liberties; and he with the rest of the Barons, are overthrown; and immediately after a Parliament is cal­led, and all these laws and decrees made voyd; and that Parliament held at Oxford, wherein all these Laws were first confirmed by him, called Insanum Parliamentum, the mad Parliament; and all these Patents, Commissions or Instruments made to ratifie these Articles, were brought forth, and solemnly damned; and so bright and re­splendent did Prerogative break forth, that it was Proclaimed Treason in any but to speak or mention any of these Grants with the least approbation; and because the City of London had engaged with the Barons and People as a principal part of the whole, he would needs have burnt the City, had not some wise and potent Fa­vorites interposed, and yet they could hardly disswade him from that barbarous and impolitick wickednesse; But what he spared in their houses, that he gott out of their purses, and made up all his losses with a thorough subjection of their persons, and suppression of their liberties. I need relate no more of this King, nor make ob­servations, [Page 27] the Reader will be amazed at the repetition; he at least 20 times gave his promise for the confirmation, & execution of these just decrees (contained in Magna Charta) and as many times was perjured, notwithstanding all the solemnities, both Civil, Moral, and Ecclesiastical, used in the acts of ratification; this may learn us how to trust the most positive Engagements of Princes, which cross their own interest, and what to think of that word and promise they call Royall; this King reigned fifty six years, the longest of any King of England: But we have had too much of the story of him, as he had too long a time to rule, considering his temper, and de­sign. Its well if we can be wary for the future, and be more cauti­ous then to trust the most promising and insinuating Princes with our liberties, and priviledges, which can be no longer expected to be preserved by them, then they may serve as footstools to ad­vance them in the Throne of absolute Majesty, But no more of this King; never were there more hard strivings and wrestlings between tyranny and liberty, with such bad success to the people; I onely conclude his raign with the exhortation of the Psalmist, Psal. 146. 3. O put not your confidence in Princes, surely men of high de­gree are a lye.

King Henry is by this time layd in his grave, and one would think Magna Charta buried with him; His Son Edward, who was his right-hand in his wars against the Barons, and the principal Agent in their ruine, succeeds him in the throne; and instead of lessening goes on and makes an higher improvement of that royalty which his Fa­ther left him; having in his own person got the victory over the Peoples Libertyes in his Fathers time, and having wonne or worne out the greatest of those which opposed, and being long experien­ced in the world, so secured and advanced the Prerogative, that as one sayth, he seemed to be the first conqueror after the Conqueror that got the domination of this State in so absolute and eminent a manner, as by his government appears; He layd unsupportable Taxes both on the Clergy and Laity, even unto Fiveteens and halfs of their Estates▪ As for Tenths, that was comparatively accounted easy; the Barons and People for a long time durst not move for re­moval of greivances, untill that the King (being always in wars in France, Flanders, Wales and Scotland, and so needed continually vast sums of mony) called a Parliament wherein he demanded a great treasure of mony from the People, that he might give them [Page 28] somewhat in lieu of their expences, confirmed the two great Char­ters on the Petition of the Barons and People, (and so stopped their mouths) and this he did as often as he had extraordinary occasions for mony; But (like all other royall promises) they were perfor­med by leasure. Never was Royalty more Majestick and glorious then in this Kings raign, and the people less able to oppose; he was always so watchful and eager to enlarge his own power; I shall end his raign also with what Daniel that impartiall and witty Historian saith of him, He was more for the greatness of the Kingdom then the quiet of it; and never King before or since (except our last Charls) shed so much Christian bloud within this Isle of Britain, and was the cause of more in that following, and not one grain of benefit procu­red unto the people by all their expences on him, which was but to make themselves more perfect slayes.

The next King was Edward the Second his Son, who though more vicious then the Father, yet not more tyrannicall; he gave more advantage to the people thorough his lewd life and unmartiall na­ture, to seek the confirmation and establishment of Magna Charta, and other good Laws which were utterly supprest, and darken­ed in his Fathers reign. This Prince gave himself over to all wicked courses, and surrendred his Judgement, and the management of all affairs of State unto evill and corrupt Counsellors; especially to one Peirce Gaveston, who had both his ear and heart, unto whom he was so much endeared, that he ventured the loss of Kingdom, and all the hearts of his Subjects for his company, and preservation; and though the Barons had by often Petitions, and earnest sollicitations prevailed with the King to banish him, yet he soon after sent for him home, and laid him more nigh his bosom then before; on this the Barons raise an army against the King; and send him word, that unless he would observe the late Articles (which they had formerly by much▪ ado got him to sign in Parliament) and put from him Pierce Gaveston, they would rise in Arms against him as a perjured Prince; the King (whom they found, was apt to be terrified) yeilds again to his banishment, with this clause, that if he were found again within the Kingdom he should be condemned to death as an enemy of the State: All places were now dangerous to Gaveston; both Ireland (where he formerly was protected) & France also too hot for him; in this extremity, finding no security any where else, he again adventures on England, and puts himself once again into the Kings [Page 29] bosom (a Sanctuary which he thought would not be polluted with blood) and there he is received with as great joy as ever man could be; the Lords with more violence prosecute their suite to the King for delivering up▪ or removing him once more; but to no purpose; they therefore set forwards with an Army, say siege to the Castle wherein Gaveston was, took him, and notwithstanding the Kings earnest sollicitation for his life, they condemned him to the block, and took off his head; this obstacle being removed out of the way, the Lords having now the better end of the staff make advantages of it for demanding the confirmation, and execution of all those Articles formerly granted, threatning the King, that if he would not consent to it, they would force him by a strong hand; with this message they had their swords also drawn, and march towards London: A Parliament is called, where the King, after a submission by the Lords to him, for that act done against Gaveston, contrary to his consent, and will, grants the Articles and pardon to them. But the King goes on his old way, adheres to wicked counsel (waving the grave advice of his Parliament) and is ruled by the two Spencers, who acted with mighty strain of injustice, which caused the Lords again to take up arms, and stand for their Liberties, but are, through the revolt of some, and the treachery of others overthrown at Burton upon Trent, and two and twenty Noblemen, the greatest Peers in the Realm executed in several places for nothing but op­posing his evil Counsellors▪ this was the first blood of Nobility that ever was shed in this manner in England since William the first, which being so much, opened veines for more to follow; and now the beam of power being turned, regality weighs down all. But by degrees, through the continuation of his ill government, where­by he daily lost the peoples hearts, the Lords get an Army, and take the King prisoner, and by generall consent in Parliament de­posed him as a tyrant, and elected his son Edward the third to suc­ceed, and his son was crowned before his eyes. Thus ended his raign, but not his life.

Poor England which had laboured so long and successively under so many tyrants, and had contested so long with Royalty for their dearly purchased liberties, might now hopefully expect at least a dawning of Reformation, especially when they had got so much power as to depose Authority; and began, as it were, on a new account; and the truth is, affairs were now promising, and [Page 30] distempers seemed to wear away with the former Governor; yet the condition of the Kingdom, had but a new face on it, and grie­vances were rather not aggravated or multiplied then any whit re­moved, and oppressions may be rather said to be changed from one shoulder to another then abolished.

Prince Edward who succeeded, who was crowned in his fathers life, had observance enough to remember his fate, and was much warned by it, both to prevent and suppress insurrections, knowing by experience the full state of the controversie, and therefore began his Government very fairely, and with much applause; onely to pre­vent factions, and sidings, he privately caused his father, the deposed King to be cruelly murdered, and so sate more securely, though with more guilt upon the Throne; his raign was fifty years, & odd months, the longest next Hen. the third; he spent most of his time in the wars of France to regain his titile to that Crown, which the poor Subject felt in their estate and families, and it was a happiness (say some) that he was so much abroad; for when ever he came home, as he wan­ted money to supply his expences, so the people got ground to urge their Priviledges, & Magna Charta was at least twelve times ratified in this Kings Raign, and so often broken; yet because he goes under the name of the best Prince that raigned so long, and so well, let the Reader take but an Instance or two concerning his engagements to perform the grand Charter. This King in the first Parliament made the fifteenth year of his raign, had granted the enacting of divers wholsom and seasonable Laws, which he willed and ingaged unto for him and his heirs, that they should be firmly kept, and remain in­violable Master Prin, the Parlia­ments interest in the Militia, second part, p. 38. 39. for ever, for the ratification of Magna Charta, and other good Laws formerly enacted; and that all the Officers of State, as Chancellor, Treasurer, Barons of the Exchequer, Judges, &c. should at that present in Parliament, and for ever after, take a solemn oath before their admission to their Offices, to keep and maintain the point of the great Charter, and the Charter of the Forrest, &c. But no sooner was the Parliament dissolved, but the very same year he publikely revoked these Statutes, pretending that they were con­trary to the Laws and Customs of the Realm, and to his Preroga­tive and Rights Royal, &c. wherefore we are willing (saith he) pro­vidently to revoke these things we have so improvidently done; because (saith he) marke the dissimulation of Princes even in Parlia­ments) We never really consented to the making of such Statutes, [Page 31] but as then it behoved Ʋs, We dissembled in the Premises, by Prote­stations of revocation, if indeed they should proceed to secure the dangers, which by denying the same we feared to come, with many more such passages; and yet this King is the Phoenix of our more antient Monarchs; but the Reader may still learn what the best of our Princes have been, and what weak assurances any ingage­ments from them are where power is wanting from them, and ad­vantages present to them.

Another instance of his actings we may take up from the successe of his first siege of Tourney in France; having laid on heavy and ex­cessive taxes to maintain that war, and the people seeing no fruits of all promises for executing the Articles of Magna Charta, they re­fuse to pay any more, without more faithfull performance of his Vows, and solemn engagements to them, whereby he wanting mo­ny was fain to quit the place, and return for England, full of re­vengefull thoughts, and in much fury breaths out destruction to all the refusers; But the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury told him publike­ly, but plainly, that he had oftentimes as well as his Father offered manifest violences to the Liberties of the English Nation, compre­hended in that grand Charter, and if he expected Subsidies, from the people, he must more carefully maintain their priviledges so justly due. But the King vexed with such language, both storms against the Arch-Bishop, and as much as possibly he then could, sought the ruine of all that had made any refusall of payment of these taxes, although he had not in any manner performed his own promises. Yet I will end his raign, because he hath a name of a good King. (though as Speed saith, by the Generall vote of Historians, he com­mitted many foul errors in his government) with a good act he did at the fiftieth yeer of his age (which he kept as his Jubilee) he called a Parliament, and there freely heard the grievances of the people, and redressed many, especially a Petition of the Commons against the doublings of Lawyers; he caused the pleas which were before in French to be made in English; a necessary Law (saith Speed) if it had been as carefully observed; especially if he had or­dered (saith he) that the same should not have been written in French, That the Subject might understand the Law, by which he holds what he hath, and is to know what he doth. But all this is not for no­thing; for as he imparted grace unto his people (saith the same Au­ther) for so all acts of Justice are termed, wh [...]n granted by Kings, [Page 32] so he took a care to replenish his own purse by it, that the poor Commons obtain not any thing which they pay not too dear­ly for.

Here ends the Life of the best reputed Prince; and yet you see wherein his excellency lay; the best happiness the people had in his raign, was▪ that they had more engagements for their liberties with more cost, and the remembrances and sense of the goodness of them more fresh and sweet by the often repetition of them; but for execution or addition to them, they were as far to seek as in former times. And if it do possibly happen that in one Kings raign either through the goodness of his nature, or rather want of ad­vantages, there be an intermission of oppressions, (for that is the utmost to be expected) yet the next King will be sure to make it up, and if they give the people a little breath, its but that they may sow for the next to reap, or as they do with men on the rack, let them down, and give them cordials, and spiritfull liquors, that they may be the longer and more sensibly tormented; which was made good in the next Kings raign, viz. Richard the Second, who presently dashes and utterly nips these blossoms that sprung out in the former Kings raign, devoting himself to all uncivill and lewd courses, and to enable him the better unto it, layes on sad and miserable taxes on the people without so much as a mention or hint of their liberties, and as the parallel of Edward the second, both lived and died; Its enough to decypher his raign by his end; for he was deposed by the universal consent of the people in Parliament as a tyrannical, and cruel Governor, and not a good word spoken of him to commend him in his Government, and its pitty to aggravate his misery after his death, and yet (as we say) Seldom comes a better; when one is cut off, another like the Hidra's head springs up in his place. Henry the fourth who overthrew him in battel, and was made King in his stead (though by a wrong title) at first promised the new model­ling of Laws to the peoples ease, and did, as in a complement (ra­ther to secure his title, then out of affection to the people, or sense of his relation) redress many grievances, which were more gross and less concerning the Common-wealth; and as he did strive by these common acts to engage the people to him, so (as one that had continuall sence of guilt on him) he got the deposed King to be barbarously murthered in the Castle of Pomfret, that no competiti­on might endanger his title by his life; He spent most of his raign [Page 33] incontinuall wars about his title, and was often opposed as both a Tyrant and Usurper; but he still got ground on both the liberties and laws formerly granted; yet not so sensibly as in the former Kings raigns, that the people may be said to have a little respite from the vi­olence & heighth of Prerogative by him; but they may thank the un­justness, and brittleness of his title, for that he being more in fear of of loosing it, then out of love with the excess of his ancestors. I shall only add one story to conclude this Kings raign, which is universally reported by most of our Historians, worth observation, because it hath much of ingenuity in it, and because they were his dying words; Being cast into an Apoplexie, and nigh his end, he caused his Crown to be placed by him on his Pillow, least in the extremity of his sick­ness it might have been delivered to some other, who had better right thereunto then he had; But when his attendants, (through the violence of his distemper, supposed him to be dead, the young Prince of Wales seised on his Crown, whereat the King started up raising himself on his arms, demanded who it was that had so boldly taken away the Crown? the Prince answered that it was he; the King fell back into his bed, and fetching a deep sigh, and sending forth many a pensive groan, replyes thus; my son, what right I had to this Crown; and how I have enjoyed it, God knows, and the world hath seen; But the Prince, (ambitious enough of a Diadem) an­swered him thus; Comfort your self in God (good Father); the Crown you have; and if you die, I will have jt and keep it with my Sword as you have done; and so he did soon after, maintaining his Fathers injustice by his own.

And now comes up his Son Henry the Fifth as the next heir, who though while a Prince was given to many wicked practises, yet when a King, became moderate, and hath better commendation then most of his Ancestors; the people had two advantages and comforts by him; first, that his reign was short, and that he was much imployed in the war with France for regaining a title to that Crown, which he accomplished, and so they were free of Ci­vil wars; though they had still heavie taxes, yet they thought it bet­ter to pay for maintaining war abroad then at home; and truly, the people thought themselves very happy in this Kings reign, (though their priviledges were laid asleep) that they had a little breathing time from Domestick and Civil wars, and had hopes to regain by degrees a reviving of their Spirits.

[Page 34]But the next King, Henry the sixth, makes up what was wanting of Tyranny and Oppression in his fathers raign. He was Crowned King about the eighth or ninth moneth of his age, and so had not present oppertunity to shew his royalty. Until he came to age, the Kingdom was well governed by his three Uncles, Humphrey, Duke of Glocester, John Duke of Bedford, Thomas Duke of Excester, who by their wisdom and justice, kept up the flourishing estate of the English Nation; but when his years of nonage were expired, and he came to weld the Scepter with his own hands, (what as some favorably think out of weakness, for he was no Solomon) all things went presently out of order, and Prerogative breaks forth be­yond bounds; which gave occasion to Edward Duke of York to try conclusions for his title against the House of Lancaster, and making use of the discontents of the people through his evil Go­vernment, opposed him, and afterwards deposed him, and raigned in his stead by the name of Edward the Fourth, and so by Conquest he got the title to run through the House of York, having cut it off by his Sword from the house of Lancaster; notwith­standing actuall possession of three descents, many overtures of war were yet between them; for Henry was not yet dead, though for the present outed; but as a dying man strove for life, but being quite overthrown was imprisoned, and afterwards murthered to secure the Title; there was in these two Kings raign but meerly for a title fought ten bloudy Battles, besides all lesser skirmishes, wherein many thousands of Lords, Gentlemen, and Commons were slain, and yet not one jot of advantage gotten by it for the peoples liber­ties; It being the misery and folly of the people to venture all they have, to set up those over them who afterwards prove most tyranni call, and to sow seeds of future misery, by spilling their bloods for a usurped title.

In this Kings reign, as in the former, the whole land was misera­bly rent by unnaturall divisions against his title, and government; and though neither or these two had a just title (if we will begin from the root) yet all the bloud of the Nation is thought too little to be spilt to maintain their pretences; yet we may not reckon this King among the worst, had it not faln out that his title must be kept up with expence of so much blood and ruin of the English Nation; yet in his last five yeers, he laid on such extraordinary taxes, and changed the form of Laws, that he lost the love of all his Subjects.

[Page 35]For Edward the Fifth his Son, who succeeded him in title, we need but mention him, for he had but the name of a King (being an Infant) and his reign may wel be called an Inter-regnum, for ere he came to know what government was, he was cruelly murthered with his Infant Brother, by his Uncle Rich. Duke of Glocester, who reigned both for him, and afterwards for himself by the name of Richard the Third, a bloody and cruel man, rather a monster then a Prince, his name stincks in the English dialect; the shortness of his reign was the happiness of the people; for after three yeers usurpa­tion, he was slain in the field by the Earl of Richmond, who by his valour, more then his Title got the Crown by the name of Henry the Seventh; this was the best act that was done by him, in easing the Kingdom of such a viper. In his reign (who is the first root of our Kings since) the people had more hopes then benefits, and were rejoyced and made happy more by expectations, then enjoy­ments of any reall priviledge, or liberty. For though he took all the ways to secure his title by his marriage with the Lady Elizabeth daughter to Edward the Fourth, yet many stratagems were laid to disturbe his peace, which put him on acts of policy, and diligence, (which he excellently demonstrated) to free and extricate himself out of dangers and designs; many sad divisions were stil in the King­dom, all men were not pleased either with his title or government, and that they might but disturbe him, or hazard his Crown, they made Stage Kings, drest up pretty lads in Princely robes, and carri­ed them up and down the Kingdom as puppets for the people to gaze one, and admire; all this while King Henry had not time to advance his prerogative, while he was but securing his Title; but after he had done that, and now began to look on himself as free from either forraign or home competitors, and the coast of State seeming cleer from all thickning weather, he thinks of redeemingSir Francis Bacon. what he had lost by factions, and imployes his wit for bringing down the height of the English Nation, and plucking down their courage, and was especially (saith one) jealous over his Nobility, as remembring how himself was set up; and how much more did this humor encrease in him after he had conflicted with such idols and counterfeits as Lambert Simnel & Perkin Warbeck? the strangeness of which dangers made him think nothing safe; and thinking that the riches of the English occasioned their rebellions, he took a course to empty their Coffers into his; and the plot whereby he meant to [Page 36] effect it was by taking the advantage of the breach of penal Laws, which he both found, and made for that purpose; his Instruments which for this work were pickt, and qualified sufficiently, were Sir Richard Empson, and Edmund Dudley, men learned in the Law, and of desperate and subtle heads, and forward in executing the Kings commands; these two attended by troops of base Informers, Pro­moters, Catchpoles, Cheaters, Knights of the Post &c. went up and down the Kingdom, cruelly polled and taxed all sorts of people, and prosecute in every Shire the most deserving and generous men, that the Kingdom in a little time was more beggard, then by most of the former Civil wars; and all this done by the Kings speciall command, and countenance, that we may see what was the reason he began not sooner to play Rex; want of opportunity, and fear of loosing his Crown while he was advancing it; but the latter end of his raign was too soon, and too long for such actings. This King ends his raign with the greatest acts of tyranny; he made himself a rich King by beggaring his Subjects; after he had freed his own person out of danger▪ he imploys all his wits to enslave the English; the fruits both of his title and tyranny we have felt ever sence in these that followed him.

His son Henry the eighth of that name, succeeds him; in his first beginnings he seemed to be tenderly affected to the Common­wealth, and redressed many grievances, especially those which were laid on by his father, and executed by Empson and Dudley, doing Justice on them for their cruelty and oppression. But those affecti­ons were too good, and too violent to last long; the sound of Drums and Trumpets soon quasht them, and many encroachments grew on the peoples Liberties; many tempestuous storms and con­troversies there were in this Kings raign; but they were more Eccle­siastical then Civil, and so more dangerous and strong. In a word, he was accounted a better Souldier then a Governor, and more fit for a General then a King to govern by just and equal Laws; the best act he did, was the discovery of the wickedness of the Clergy, and casting off the Popes Supremacy, which yet he took to himself, and annexed it to his own Crown; as the most of his raign was ful of controversies and tempests, so all affairs were managed in a ranting and turbulent maner, not with that gravity & soberness as becomes civil and prudentiall transactions; he was very lascivious, and de­lightedMartin. much in variety, and changes of Laws, as wives; he often­times [Page 37] much pleased himself to be in the company, and was over­familiar with swaggering and loose fellows; and the people ever and anon found the power of his Prerogative at home, as his ene­mies did of his Sword abroad. Edward the sixth his onely son suc­ceeds him, a Prince that was too good to live long, the Phoenix of English Kings, had he had time to prosecute his intentions and ma­ture his genius; but the Sun in him did shine too bright in the morning; God gave England onely the representation of a good King, but would not in judgement let us be blest long with him; Religion began to revive, Liberty to bud forth, the people to peep out of their graves of slavery and bondage, and to have their blood fresh and blushing in their cheeks; but all is presently blasted by his death, and the people (who have seldom more then hopes for their comforts) are now fainting for fear; England is benighted; and hung with black; Queen Mary that Alecto, and fury of women succeeds; and now both souls and bodies of the people are enslaved, and nothing but bone fires made of the flesh and bones of the best Christians: But its too much to name her in the English tongue; Queen Elizabeth succeedes her, who being prepared for the Crown by suffering, came in a most seasonable time, both for her self and the people, who were made fuel for the flames of her sisters de­votion.

And now England begins to flourish again, and to recover its strength; many inlargements were granted, both to the consciences, and estates of the people; yet if we speak impartially, we were kept further off Rome, then royalty; yet doubtless she may be Chronicled for the best Princess, and her raign the most even, and best man­naged, with more fruits to the people then any of the former Kings, especially if we consider how long she governed this Nation; I end her raign with this Character, That she was the best Queen that ever England had, and the glory of her Sexe to all Ages.

The English Line is now ended; we must go into Scotland to seek for a King, because a daughter of Henry the seventh was marri­ed to James the fourth, King of Scotland; but I will not question his title.

King James the sixth of Scotland, and first of England, succeeded on the English Throne; A Prince that had many advantages to set up Prerogative, which he improved; he was too timorous to act, but most subtile in Councel and designs, and no King did more in­sensibly [Page 38] and closely undermine the Liberties of England then him­self; he gave us cause to remember from whence he came; but his peaceable raign was the rail to his design, and did choak suspition; we were brought by him very nigh Rome and Spain, and yet knew it not; he had an inveterate hatred against Puritans, as he had a fear of Papists, and made more of Bishops then ordinary by remem­brance of the Scots Presbytery; He had as much of Royalty in his Eye as any Prince could have, but had not so much courage to pro­secute it; the Puritan alwayes lay in his Spleen, the Papist on his Lungs, that he durst not, that he could not breath so clearely and strongly against them; but the Bishops lay in his heart. I will not rip up his personal failings after his death; he was the most profane King for oaths and blasphemies that England had besides, &c. He now grows old▪ and was judged only fit to lay the Plot, but not to execute it; the design being now ripe, and his person and life the only obstacle and Remora to the next Instrument, he is conveyed away suddenly into another world, as his son Henry was, because thought unsuteable to the Plot, it being too long to waite, untill Nature and Distemper had done the deed.

We are now come to our last Charls (who is like to end both that race and its tyranny) the perfect Idea of all the rest, and the most zealous prosecutor of the designs of all his ancestors, who, if Di­vine Providence had not miraculously prevented, had accomplished the utmost of their intentions, and for ever darkned the glory of the English Sun; so much I must say of him, that he got more wisedom by action, then could possibly be expected by his nature; experience that teacheth fools, made him wise; he endeavoured to act what others designed; he dissembled as long as he could, and used all parties to the utmost; But his zeal and hardiness brought him to his death. He needed no physick for his body, had he remem­bred his soul. But what need I mention him? he is the last of English Monarchs, and the most absolute monument of Monarchy, and ex­ample of tyranny and injustice that ever was known in England; he would have been what other Kings are, and endeavoured to attain what others would be; he lived an enemy to the Common-wealth, and died a martyr to Prerogative.

Thus you have seen a faithfull representation of the Norman race, under which we have groaned for about six hundred years; the first Title made onely by the Invasion and Conquest of a Stranger and [Page 39] Bastard, continued by usurpation and tyranny, that take away but two or three persons out of the list (and yet these bad enough if we consider all things) and all this while England neither had a right heir, or good King to govern it; and yet by delusion and deceit we must be bound to maintain that Title as Sacred and Divine, which in the beginning was extorted and usurping▪ as if gray hairs could adde reverence to injustice. England hath now an advantage more then all its Ancestors, of freeing it self from this successive slavery, and interrupting that bloody line, and after an apprentiship to bondage for so many hundred yeers, Providence hath given us our own choice; If we take it we are made; if not, the old judgement of God lies on us for our stupidity, and blindness. For my part, as I do not give much to that Monkish Prophecy from Henry the Se­venth times; Mars, Puer, Alecto, Virgo, Vulpes, Leo, Nullus (yet I wonder how the Devil could foresee so far off, and must needs say that it hath yet been literally fulfilled▪ both in the Characters of the persons, and the issue) yet I must so far give way to the power of divine actings on my faith, as to think that either we shall never have a King more, or else we shall have one sent of God in wrath, as the Israelites had, seeing we are not contented that way which God hath from Heaven led us to.

As for the Title of this Prince (who would fain be accounted the right heir) Let us but remember from whence he had it, and how its now tainted; were it never so just, the Treason of the Father hath cut off the Son; and how unwise an act, besides all other conside­rations, will it be for England to set up the Son to propagate both his Fathers design, and death. We may prophecy soon what a Go­vernor he is like to be which hath both suck't in his Fathers princi­ples, and his Mothers milk; who hath been bred up under the wings of Popery and Episcopacy, and doubtless suckt both brests; one who was engaged from the beginning in the last war against this Parlia­ment, who hath the same Counsellors his Father had, to remember him both of the design, and the best wayes of effecting it; one who hath never yet given any testimony of hopefullness to this Nation; who was in Armes when a Subject, against the Libertyes which England and Scotland spilt much blood for to maintain; one who hath both his Fathers and his own scores to cleer, and is sain to make use of all Medium's, though never so contrary, attended with all the crew of Malignants of three Nations; who is so relatively and [Page 40] personally engaged, that both old and new reckonings are expect­ed to be payd only by him. To his Father He is endebted for His Crown, and bound to pay His Debts, both Ecclesiastical and Civil (which will amount to no small summe); To the Papists He is engaged for their old affections, and hopes of new, besides the ob­ligation of duty to his Mother, and freeing her from her Monastry and Hermitage. To the Prince of Orange he owes more then his ransom, besides the States courtesies; to Ireland he is in more ar­rears then his Kingdom of Scotland will be able to pay, and to Scotland for his entertainment and enstalment more then England (for present or in many years) can repay without a morgage, or community of lands, and liberties, besides what he owes England for helping his Father to make the Parliament spend so many millions of treasure, besides blood (which would have weighed down all expences besides) and helping as a prime Agent the utter destruction of England; all which must be reckoned for with much seriousness; and if men have so much charity and generousness to forgive all, yet we have a reckoning with heaven to be discharged, which debt is yet unpaid (without we think the Fathers blood be sufficient satisfaction to divine Justice); and if that death should be a satisfaction for himself, yet not for his Son, who joyned with him, & now continues the same fault, and guilt, and intends to follow on with more violence and intention then ever. Can we think (& retain our memories and reasons) that Charls the Second can forget Charls the First? that custom and education can easily be altered? that the true and reall engagers with him and his Father, shall be ra­zed out of his heart, or that he can heartily love his opposers, but as he may make use them: or that when some Banks and Rocks are out of the way, the waters and floods of Royalty will not run in its wonted Channel? will Episcopacy dye in England, when King­ship is set up? Can reason think or dream, that Majesty will not eat out sincerity? or that Presbytery can flourish in that state where Prerogative is the ascendant? or is that person fit to be the medium of peace, and the glory of this Nation, who was the conjunct instru­ment of the war, & the survivor both of the war and peace? a per­son that durst not stay in his own Nation to plead his right, because of his guilt, whose youth and wilfulness is most unapt for the setling the storms and tempests of a distracted Nation. But no more un­till we feel the misery of such an attempt; It was said of Tiberius Caesar in a Satyricall expression, yet it proved true,

[Page 41]
Regnabit sanguine multo
Ad regnum quisquis venit ab exilio,
Suet. lib: 3. c. 59.

Who first exil'd is after Crown'd,
His reign with blood will much abound.

When this poor Nation (after all neglects of providences) hath spent its blood and treasure to set up this Prince in the Throne, (which it may be they shall never effect) yet at the last they must stand to his courtesy for all their Liberties, which they can never expect, and make him a Monarch. The patience and long suffering of God hath permitted usurpation and tyranny in England this long time for the hardness of our hearts, and sottishness of our na­tures, and it may be, may lengthen it out to the utmost, which will be a misery with a witness, and yet a just punishment of God on those who were born free, but will sell away their inheritances for nothing to a stranger. Did ever King since the world began (set­ing aside some who were Priests and Prophets also) naturally, and ingenuously, with a royall affection devote himself to the pro­pagating of the pure and reall liberties of the people? Let him be shown forth as a miracle; but that ever any one that hath been all his dayes, both in the Fathers time, and his own engaged in wars against the Liberties of the people, (solemnly proclaimed in Parlia­ment) and to set up Prerogative, either intended or managed his raign that way (how ever he was brought into his Government) I durst affirm to be a Paradox, and the utmost contradiction; I am sure its as impossible to be fouud in England as the Philosophers Stone among the Peripatecicks. But a word more to the Title, between the now present Power, and this Charls; what reason is there, and equity, that the Parliament of England (take them in what qualifica­tion you will (following to the utmost the first principles for the liberty of the people) should not be esteemed as just heirs, and their Parliamentary successors as this young Confident? shal William the Norman, (only having a better Sword) a stranger, one who by na­ture was never born heir of any thing, create himself a title to En­land, and a succession for many score of years, meerly on that ac­count? and shall every one after him break the line as they please, and take their opportunities to make themselves roots of Kings, [Page 42] though springing in the Wilderness? Shall Henry the Seventh (the Father of us all) who was little less then a Bastard, being the son of an illegitimate son of John a Gaunt, a forraigner, and private man, by fortune and power give himself a title to this Crown, and all our Kings since acknowledging Right by that Root? Must those Pretences be Sacred which have only the Ordination of a more keen and glittering sword? and a confirmation by Custome be thus Divine? and shall not the Parliament of England (cloathed with the Authority of all the People, and carrying all the Libertyes of England with them) backt with the power of a faythfull Army, be thought (in the utmost Criticisme of reason) to have as much title to propagate their Successe for our freedoms, as they have had to convey both their usurpation and tyranny? that a private claym by a better Sword should be jure Divino; and a publique Title both by reason, success, and providence of a solemn Assembly, who have been many years opposing the former oppressions, and now have gained it, should not be accounted valid, nor of equall right with a successive illegall claim? Let all the world be judge (who consider the premises) and let the violentest reason unroyalis'd speak its utmost. It is high time now to end that line that was never either well begun, or directly continued; Charls the Father is gone to his own place, and so is Charls the Son likewise, he being in his own proper Nation, Scotland; Let us keep him there if we be wise, and intend to be happy, and let England disdain to be un­der the domination any more of any forraign power for the future; and seeing we have conquered the Conqueror, and got the posses­sion of the true English title, by justice, and gallantry; Let us not lose it again, by any pretence of a particular, and debauched per­son.

FINIS.

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