A DECLARATION OF THE PARLIAMENT Assembled at WESTMINSTER.

January 23. 1659.

ORdered by the Parliament, That this DE­CLARATION be forthwith Printed and Published.

Thomas St. Nicholas, Clerk of the Parliament.

EDINBURGH, Re-printed by Christopher Higgins, in Harts Close, over against the Trone-Church, 1660.

A DECLARATION OF THE PARLIAMENT Assembled at WESTMINSTER.

THe People of England having been necessitated to take up Arms in the just defence of their Lawes and Liberties against the late King: And it having pleased GOD, after a long War, and many Battels fought in the Field, so to [Page 4] blesse their Armies, and to bring the VVar to such an issue, that if they were not wanting to themselves, they might reap the fruit of all the Bloud and Trea­sure exhausted in that Quarrel, and not only be restored to their Freedom for the present, but secured against all the like attempts for the future. The Parliament hereupon, as the Trustees of the People, for the accomplishing of those ends, did declare and enact, That the People of England, and of all the Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging, should be thenceforth governed as a Common­wealth and Free State, by the Represen­tatives of the People in Parliament, and that without any King, or House of Lords; Judging: this not only to be the undoubted Right of the People, but that the Office of a King in these Nations, or [Page 5] to have the Power thereof in any Single Person, as also the House of Lords, was burdensom and dangerous to the Safety and Liberty of the People: And by this meanes the Foundations of a Publique Interest being layed in the place of that which was only private and personal, this People might grow up (through the goodness of God) into perfect Freedom, being Governed in the Supreme Power by their own Representatives; and in the Executive Power, by their known Laws and Judicatory; the best Measure and Standard of Liberty: their Navigation and Trade encouraged and promoted, which in all Monarchies is stinted and restrained. The true Protestant Religi­on both at home and abroad owned and countenanced, which under the former Constitution was clogged with vain and [Page 6] superstitious Ceremonies, and corrupt opinions touching Faith and Worship, imposed upon all, without any regard had to tender Consciences, and the Mi­nisters of the Gospel, and the Professors thereof, with Godliness it self, discounte­nanced and persecuted.

To this state of things did the Parlia­ment judge it their Duty to bring this Nation, and the Free People therof; and no man can reasonably doubt, but that long before this time, the Parliament (through the same good and gracious presence that had accompanied their un­dertakings) would have accomplished their Intentions in these things, and set­led the Commonwealth upon the Basis and Foundation aforesaid, if they had not been so often Interrupted, and there­by prevented hitherto from doing that, [Page 7] which alwayes was and is the utmost de­sire and intention of their hearts.

And yet the Parliament cannot but take notice of the Artifices that are used to mis-represent their Intentions, and to blemish their Proceedings before the People, unjustly charging them with a Design to perpetuate themselves now Sitting, to subject the People to Arbi­trary Power, and to govern them by Force. And as to matters of Religi­on on one hand, That they are enemies to the Ministry, their Maintenance by Tythes, to the Universities and Learn­ing, and encouragers of Fanatick Prin­ciples; On the other hand, That the Parliament is too severe, and of Impo­sing Principles in matters of Religion; not being ignorant, that those who by these means do industriously labour to [Page 8] dis-affect the People to the Parliament, are such, who by specious pretences would first put out their eyes, that they might not see the way to their own true Liberty, and then bring them back again into their old Servitude.

The Parliament therefore, to omit nothing in their power that may unde­ceive honest and well meaning men, have thought it necessary in this con­juncture of Time and Affairs, to De­clare and Manifest (as they do here­by) what their Intentions are, as to the Government of these Nations, with some other particulars relating there­unto; wherein they are Resolved (through the Goodnesse and Assistance of God) to remain constant and im­moveable.

[Page 9] 1. That the Parliament will pro­vide forthwith to perfect those beginings which are already made for setling the Government of these Nations and the People thereof in the way of a Commonwealth and Free State, with­out a King, Single Person, or House of Lords, in such manner, that they may be Governed from time to time by Representatives in Parliament chosen by themselves, in whom alone the Su­pream Authority of these Nations doth and ought to reside, and by such as they shall appoint and constitute as Officers and Ministers under them for the good of the People; And that the Parliament will make it their Care to form the Army and Forces of these Nations in such manner, that whilest it shall be found necessary for them, or any of them, to be [Page 10] kept up for the Safety of the Com­monwealth, they may be wholly sub­ject and obedient to the Civil Autho­rity.

2. There being nothing more essen­tial to the Freedom of a State, than that the People should be governed by the Laws, and that Justice be admini­stred by such only as are accomptable for Male-administration; It is hereby further declared, That all proceedings touching the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of all the Free People of this Commonwealth, shall be according to the Laws of the Land. And that the Parliament will not meddle with the ordinary Administration, or the Execu­tive part of the Law: It being the principal care of this, as it hath been of all former Parliaments, to provide [Page] for the Freedom of the People against Arbitrariness in Government.

3. And that they will make effectual provision for the Countenancing of a Learned and Pious Gospel-Ministry through all the three Nations, and for the encouraging and protecting them in the work of their Ministry against Di­sturbances. And as to their Mainte­nance, that by Tithes shall be continued, it being already established by Law, and is in it self the most certain, convenient and comfortable way of Maintenance, that in the Judgment of the Parliament can be setled. And therefore they do expect and require, That the Judges, Justices of the Peace, and others whom it concerns, do take care, that the Laws touching the same be put in ef­fectual execution. And for a further [Page 12] increase of Maintenance than hath been anciently setled upon Preaching Mini­sters, The Parliament doth declare, That the Augmentations by the Im­propriations of the late King, Bishops, Deans and Chapters, and Delin­quents not compounded for, as likewise by Tenths and First-Fruits, shall be continued and setled upon the preaching Ministry, not to be aliened or altered from that use; and distributed in such manner as they may be applied to such places as stand in most need, that every place in the Land may have a preaching Minister, who may be able to teach the People the good Knowledge of the LORD, and may have a comfor­table Livelyhood and Encouragement among them: As also that provision shall be made for due Liberty of Consci­ence [Page 13] in matters of Religion, according to the VVord of GOD.

4. The Parliament do Declare, That they will uphold the publique Ʋni­versities, and Schools of this Land, and not only continue to them the Privi­ledges and Advantages they now en­joy, but shall be ready to give them such further Countenance as may En­courage them in their Studies, and pro­mote Godliness, Learning, and good Manners amongst them.

5. The Parliament being very sen­sible of the great decay of the Trade of these Nations, will apply themselves to such Councils and Meanes, as shall be found most proper both for the spee­dy restoring and increasing thereof; Judging, That there is no one thing in the Affairs of State more impor­tant [Page 14] to the VVelfare, Strength, and Glory of a Commonwealth, especi­ally of this being an Island, then the Encouragement of Trade and Na­vigation.

6. As to the present Burthens which are upon the Nation, The Parliament is very sensible thereof, and of those Extravagant Councils and Actions which have engaged the Nation in so great a Debt and Charge, the guilt whereof will not rest upon them, though the danger and burden thereof doth. And it is one of the greatest Cares they have upon them, how to give the People that Ease which their Condition calleth for, and also provide for their Safety, and answer the pressing Necessities of the State; Which the Parliament hopes in some measure to do in a very short [Page 15] time, in case the unreasonable Dis­satisfactions and turbulent Actings of Ʋnquiet Men do not Continue the Charge longer than otherwise will be necessary.

Monday, Jan. 23. 1659.

ORdered by the Parliament, That this Declaration be forthwith Printed and Published.

THOMAS St. NICHOLAS, Clerk of the Parliament.

EDINBURGH, Re-printed by Christopher Higgins, in Harts Close, over against the Trone-Church, 1660.

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