A DECLARATION Of the Lords and Commons Assembled in PARLIAMENT, Setting forth the Grounds and Rea­sons, that necessitate them at this time to take up defensive Arms for the Preservation of His Majesties Person, The maintenance of the true Re­ligion, The Laws and Liberties of this King­dom, And the Power and Priviledge of PARLIAMENT.

Ordered by the Commons in Parliament, That this Declaration be forth with Printed and published.

Hen. Elsinge, Cler. Parl. D. Com.

August 3.

London, Printed for Edward Husbands, and Iohn Franck. 1642.

A Declaration of the Lords and Commons now Assembled in PARLIAMENT.

WE the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, Having taken into serious consideration, the pre­sent State and Condition of imminent danger, in which the Kingdom now stands, by reason of a malignant Par­tie, prevailing with His Majestie, putting Him upon violent and perillous wayes, and now in Arms against us, to the hazard­ing of His Majesties Person, and for the oppression of the true Religion, The Laws and Liberties of this Kingdom, and the Power and Priviledge of Parliament; all which, every honest man is bound to defend; especially those who have taken the late Protestation, by which they are more particularly tied unto it, and the more answerable before God, should they neglect it: Wherefore, we finding our selves ingaged in a necessity, to take up Arms likewise, for the defence of these, which otherwise must suffer and perish; And having used all good wayes and [Page 4] means to prevent extremities, and preserve the peace of the Kingdom (which good indeavours of ours, the malignity of our enemies hath rendered altogether successelesse and vain;) Do now think fit to give this accompt unto the World, to be a satisfaction unto all men, of the justice of our proceedings; and a warning unto those, who are involved in the same danger with us, to let them see the necessity, and duty which lyes upon them, to save themselves, their Religion, and Country; For which purpose, we set out this ensuing Declaration.

THat it appears by the Answer which His Majesty hath given to the humble Peti­tion for peace, presented unto Him by both Houses of Parliament, and those demands which He makes, That the designe which hath been so long carried on to alter the frame and constitution of this Government, both in Church and State, is now come to ripenesse; and the Contrivers of it, conceive themselves arrived to that Condition of strength, That they shall be able to put it in present execution.

For, What else can be signified by the demanding of Hull, the Fleet, and the Magazine to be immediate­ly delivered up, All our preparations of force to cease, And the defensive Arms of the Parliament to be laid down, And the Parliament to be adiourned to another place; then, That we should out of the sense of our own inability to make resistance, yeild our [Page 5] selves to the cruell Mercy of those who have possessed the King against us, and incited Him to violate all the Priviledges, and revile the Persons and Proceedings of the Parliament; or else, if (as it cannot be other­wise conceived) we do not grant what is so unreason­able and destructive, forthwith to bring on that force which is prepared against us, by the concurrence and assistance of Papists, an ambitious and discontented Clergy, Delinquents obnoxious to the justice of Parliament; and some ill affected Persons of the Nobility and Gentry; who out of their desire of a dissolute liberty, apprehend, and would keep off the Reformation intended by the Parliament.

These Persons have conspired together to ruine this Parliament, which alone hath set a stop to that violence so long intended, and often attempted, for the Alteration of Religion, and subversion of the Laws and Liberties of the Kingdom.

How farre we were plunged in a miserable expecta­tion of most evill dayes, and how fast this growing mischief prevailed upon us before the Parliament, needs not now be declared, It being so fresh and bleeding in every mans memory. Religion was made but forme, and outside; and those who made conscience to maintain the substance and purity of it, whether Clergy, or others, were discountenanced and oppressed, as the great Enemies of the State. The Laws were no defence, nor protection of any [Page 6] mans right, All was subject to will, and power, which imposed what payments they thought fit, to drain the Subjects purse, and supply those necessities, which their ill Councells had brought upon the King, or gratifie such as were instruments in promoting those illegall, and oppressive courses. They who yeilded and complied, were countenanced and advanced; all others disgraced and kept under: That so mens mindes made poor and base, and their Liberties lost and gone, they might be ready to let go their Religi­on, whensoever it should be resolved to alter it: Which was, and still is the great designe, and all else made use of, but as instrumentary and subservient to it.

When they conceived the way to be sufficiently prepared, They at last resolved to put on their Master­piece in Scotland, (where the same method had been followed) and more boldly to unmask themselves, in imposing upon them a Popish service Book, for well they knew the same Fate attended both Kingdoms, and Religion could not be altered in the one, without the other. God raised the Spirits of that Nation to oppose it, with so much zeal and indignation, That it kindled such a flame, as no expedient could be found, but a Parliament here, to quench it.

This necessity brought on this Parliament, and the same necessity gave it in the beginning power, to act with more vigour and resolution, then former Parlia­ments [Page 7] had done, And to set upon a Reformation of the great disorders, both in the Ecclesiasticall, and Civill state; which drew a more particular envy, and odium upon it, then was usuall to the generallity of Parliaments; and was a cause, that those, who had swallowed up in their thoughts, our Religion and Li­berties, and now saw themselves defeated by this means, bended all their indeavours, and raised all their forces to destroy it.

First, Whilest the Scottish Army remained here, they indeavoured to incense the two Nations, and en­gage their Armies one against the other; that in such a confusion as needs must have followed, the Parlia­ment might not be able to sit; and those forces de­stroying one another, might open some opportunity for them to gain their ends upon both Kingdoms; and that then, as their need, so the being of the Parliament might cease: The wisedome of the Parliament pre­vented that mischief, and composed those great diffe­rences betwixt the King and the Kingdom of Scotland. That plot failing, they endeavoured to turn the Eng­lish Army against the Parliament: This was discove­red, the chief Actors fled, and the danger avoided. Then they labour to stir up the Scottish Army against us; But such was the faithfulnesse and affection of those our Brethren, that they could not effect it.

After this they carry the King into Scotland, to try if a party could be there raised, to suppresse first, the [Page 8] good party in that Kingdom, and so strengthned from thence, the better to compasse their intended purpose here. At the same time, The Rebellion in Ireland, an egg likewise of their hatching, breaks out. But their plot failed in Scotland; yet upon hopes of successe there, Such preparatives were here, and such recourse of ill affected Persons to this Town, That the Parlia­ment thought it necessary for their own security, to have a guard. The King upon His return instantly dismisses that guard, and puts another upon us, which produced such ill effects, as we were glad to dismisse them, and rather run any hazard then have such a guard.

Thus left naked, Presently some Members of both Houses are unjustly charged with Treason; and the King comes with a Troop of Cavaliers to the House of Commons, to fetch those away by force, whom be had caused to be so unjustly accused; The greatest violation of the priviledges of Parliament, that ever was attempted, and so manifest a destructi­on of the right of the Subject, which is only pre­served by Parliament, That the City of London took a pious and generous Resolution, to guard the Parlia­ment themselves. Which so grieved and enraged those wicked Persons, who had engaged the King in that last, and all those other designes and practises against the Parliament, That they make him forsake White­hall, under pretence that His Person was there in dan­ger, A suggestion as false as the Father of lyes can invent.

[Page 9]Then do they work upon him, and upon the Queen, perswade her to retire out of the Kingdom, and carry him further and further from the Parliament, and so possesse him with an hatred of it, that they cannot put words bitter enough into his mouth, to expresse it upon all occasions; They make him crosse, oppose, & inveigh against all the proceedings of Parliament; encourage and protect all those who will affront it; take away all power and authority from it, to make it contemptible and of lesse esteem then the meanest Court; draw away the Members, commanding them to come to him to York, and in stead of discharging their duty in the ser­vice of the Parliament, to contribute their advice and assistance to the destruction of it; endeavour to possesse the people, that the Parliament will take away the Law, and introduce an Arbitrary Government; A thing which every honest Morall man abhors, much more the Wisdom, Justice, and Piety of the two Houses of Par­liament; and in truth such a charge, as no Rationall man can beleeve, It being unpossible so many severall per­sons, as the two Houses of Parliament consist of, about six hundred, and in either House all of equall power, should all of them, or at least the major part, agree in Acts of Will and Tyrannie, which make up an Arbi­trary Government; and most improbable, that the No­bility, and chief Gentry of this Kingdom, should con­spire to take away the Law, by which they enjoy their Estates, are protected from any Act of Violence, and Power, and differenced from the meaner sort of peo­ple, with whom otherwise they would be but fellow-servants.

To make all this good upon the Parliament; and ei­ther [Page 10] make the Kingdom beleeve it, or so awe it, as no body shall dare say the contrary; force is prepared, men are levied, and the Malignant party of the Kingdom, as was before specified, that is, Papists, the Prelaticall Clergie, Delinquents, and that part of the Nobility and Gentry, which either fear Reformation, or seek preferment by betraying their Country, to serve the Court, have combined, to bury the happinesse of this Kingdom, in the ruine of this Parliament; and by for­cing it, to cut up the freedom of Parliament by the root; and either take all Parliaments away, or which is worse, make them the instruments of slavery, to con­firm it by Law, and leave the disease incurable.

That done, then come they to crown their work, and put that in execution, which was first in their inten­tion, that is, the changing of Religion into Popery and Superstition.

All this while the two Houses of Parliament have with all duty and loyalty still applyed themselves unto His Majesty, and laboured by humble prayers, and cleer and convincing Reasons and Arguments in severall Pe­titions, to satisfie him of their intentions, the justnesse of their proceedings, their desire of the safety of His Royall Person, and of the Peace of the Kingdom.

And only to preserve that Peace, and prevent the per­nicious practises of these Incendaries, (such as the Lord Digby, who at first perswaded the King to get into some strong place, that He might there protect those, whom he stiled the Kings Servants, but in truth such as do divide Him from His Parliament and Kingdom, and might be revenged upon His Parliament, where he said Traitors bare that sway, And who in the mean time [Page 11] promised hee would do him service abroad, which by his own Letters appears to be the procuring of supplies against the Kingdom and Parliament, with which hee himself said he would return, as since he hath done dis­guised, with store of Arms, in the Ship called THE PROVIDENCE; And who had attempted upon the Kings first going from White Hall, to raise some numbers of horse and foot, under the colour of a Guard for His Majestie to be the foundation of an Ar­my against the Parliament, which then failing, hath since taken effect, and shews what was then in their thoughts, before Hull, or the Militia, or any thing else of that nature was in Question) the Parliament thought fit to secure Hull, least it might be a receptacle of such ill-affected persons, and of what aid could be gotten from Forraigne parts; the Fleet under the Earl of War­wick, to defend the Kingdom, and prevent such mis­chief from abroad; the Magazin of Arms, that they should not be imployed against Us; and the Militia of the Kingdom in such hands, as the Parliament might confide in, to suppresse commotions within our selves.

And how necessary all this was to be done, the suc­ceeding designes and practises upon them, all do suffi­ciently manifest; And great cause hath the whole King­dom to blesse God, who put it into the heads and hearts of the Parliament, to take care of these particulars. For were these pernicious persons about the King Masters of them, how easie would it be for them to master the Parliament, and Master the Kingdom? And what could we expect but ruine and destruction from such Masters, who make the King in this manner revile, and detest Us and our Actions; such, who have embarqued [Page 12] Him in so many designes to overthrow this Parlia­ment; such, who have so long thirsted to see Religion and Libertie confounded together?

Let the world now judge, what more could be done by Us, then we have done to appease His Majestie, and regain His Grace and Favour, if (after the presenting of such a Petition as the last was, so full of submisse, humble, affectionate desires of Peace, so full of Duty and Loyalty, as we thought malice it self could nor have excepted against it, And having received so sharpe a re­turn, such expressions of birternesse, a justification and avowed protection of Delinquents from the hand of Justice, Demands of so apparent danger, such manife­stations of an intention to destroy Us, and with Us the whole Kingdom; and this more clearly evidenced by their subsequent Actions, even since these Propositions have been made unto Us from His Majestie, overrun­ning severall Counties, compelling the Trained Bands by force to come in, and joyne with them, or disarming them, and putting their Arms into the hands of lewd and desperate persons, thereby turning the Arms of the Kingdom against it self) it be not fit for Us, not only not to yeeld to what is required, but also to make further provision, for the preservation of Our selves, and of those who have sent Us hither, and intrusted Us with all they have, Estate, Libertie, and Life, and that which is the life of their lives, their Religion, and even for the safety of the Kings Person now environed by those, who carry Him upon His own ruine, and the de­struction of all His People: At least to give them warning, that all this is in danger; That if the King may force this Parliament, they may bid farewell to [Page 13] all Parliaments, from ever receiving good by them; and if Parliaments be lost, they are lost: Their Laws are lost, as well those lately made, as in former times, all which will be cut in sunder, with the same sword now drawn for the destruction of this Parliament.

Then, If they will not come to help the Parliament, and save themselves, though both they and We must perish, yet have We discharged Our consciences, and delivered Our Soules; and We will look for a reward in Heaven, should We be so ill required upon Earth, by those of whom We have so well deserved; which We cannot feare, having found upon all occasions such reall Demonstrations of their love and affection, and of their right understanding and apprehension of Our and their common danger; Especially now, that the Question is so clearly stated, and that it appeareth that neither Hull, nor the Militia, nor the Magazin, are the grounds of the war, wch is so furiously driven on against us, by a Malignant party of Papists, those who call themselves Cavaliers, and other ill-affected persons; but so far forth onely, As the Parliament and all the Members of both Houses, & all other persons who have shewed themselves forward for the defence of the sin­cerity of Religion, the Laws and Liberties of the King­dom, and the just power and Priviledges of Parliament, are preserved and secured thereby.

For the many designes upon the Parliament above mentioned, The attempts to be possessed of Hull, and of the Magazine, by sending thither Captain Leg a De­linquent to the Parliament, for having had a hand in the treasonable practise to bring up the Army against us, and the Earl of Newcastle in a disguised habit, which [Page 14] was a pursuance of the Lord Digbies advice, and the en­deavouring to raise forces under pretence of a Guard to the Kings Person in the winter, All this before we medled with Hull, or Magazin, or Militia, shew plainly that Our Act in securing them, was not the cause of the Kings taking up Arms, and ex­ercising hostility upon His Loving and Loyall Sub­jects, which was in the thoughts and endeavours of those about His Majesty, who then had, and still have the greatest influence upon His Councells, before We thought of Hull, or Militia, or any thing else of that nature; And, that our resigning of them now, would not prevail with Him to make him lay down His Arms, and returne to His Parliament, and grati­fie the earnest and longing desires of His People, to en­joy His presence, favour, and protection: But that, if He could recover (either by Our Resignation, or any other way) pieces of so much advantage to Him, and weakning to Us, use would be made of them to Our in­finite prejudice and ruine, The intention being still the same, not to rest satisfied with having Hull, or taking away the Ordinance of the Militia; But, to destroy the Parliament, and be masters of Our Religion and Liberties, To make Us slaves, and alter the Govern­ment of this Kingdom, and reduce it to the condition of some other Countries, which are not governed by Parliaments, and so by Laws, but by the will of the Prince, or rather of those who are about him.

Yet willingly would we give His Majestie satisfa­ction in these particulars (and so have we offered it) could we be secured, that disarming our selves, and de­livering them up to His Majestie, (as the sword of Ju­stice [Page 15] is already put into the hands of divers Popish, and other ill-affected persons, by putting them into the Commissions of the Peace, and other Commissions, and putting out others that are well-affected) so wee should not for our own destruction put the Military sword into the hands of those evil Councellours, and ill-affected persons, who are so prevalent with His Ma­jestie, Papists many of them, or very late Converts, by taking the Oaths of Supremacie and Allegiance, for which, they may very well have a dispensation, or In­dulgence, to be enabled thereby to promote so great a service for the Popish cause, as to destroy the two Houses of Parliament, and through their sides, the Protestant Religion.

But we have too just cause to beleeve and know, con­sidering those continued designes upon Us, and the composition of the Kings Army, and of His Counsell at this time, that these things are desired, to be made use of to Our destruction, and the destruction of that which wee are bound by Our Protestation to de­fend, and woe to Us if We do it not, at least do Our utmost endeavours in it, for the discharge of Our Du­ties, and the saving of our Soules, and leave the successe to God Almightie.

Therefore we the Lords and Commons are resolved to expose our Lives and Fortunes for the defence and maintenance of the true Religion, the Kings Person, Honour and Estate, the Power and Priviledge of Par­liament, and the just Rights, and Liberties of the Sub­ject, And for the prevention of that mischievous design, which gives motion to all the rest, and hath been so [Page 16] strongly pursued these many yeers, The altering of our Religion, which if God in his mercy had not miracu­lously diverted, long ago had we been brought to the condition of poor Ireland, weltring in our own blood and confusion.

And we do here require All those who have any sence of piety, honour, or compassion, to help a distres­sed state, especially such as have taken the Protestation, and are bound in the same duty with us unto their God, their King and Country, To come into our aid, and assistance: This being the true cause for which we raise an Army, under the Command of the Earl of Essex, with whom in this Cause we will Live and Die.

FINIS.

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