ENGLANDS Mad Petition To the Right HONOURABLE The, &c.

The Humble Petitions of above 12. Millions of Well-affected (before so ill di­stracted) people of all sorts, Ages, Sexes and sises within the Kingdome of England and Dominion of Wales, all desiring the enlargement of Bedlam, and o­ther respective place in the Cities of London and Westminster, with other Cities, Towns, and Boroughs, throughout the Kingdome and Dominion afore­said.

Presented to the Houses on Thursday, August 26. 1647.

⟨Aug: 27⟩ Printed at London betwixt Bishops-gate-street and More­fields, in the yeare of Englands recovery of her madnesse, 1647.

To the Right Honourable the, &c. The Humble Petition, &c.
Humbly sheweth,

THat whereas wee your Honours poore Petitioners, having most lamentably served more then a Pen­tarquie (even almost the time of an Apprentiship) to the Lunary profession (or Art Mad-cap) where­in we have beene so miserably proficient, that He­rostrates Franciscus Gaticus, Balthazar de Castro, Diego Engrenis, and even Adam Bolacius himselfe (so celebrated by Antiquity) were but meere novices to us; wee doe out-strip in mad hu­mours all our Predecessours; whatsoever mad exploits have bin reported as done heretofore, to ours will hold no parallel; wee have exceedingly surpassed all the mad shavers, mad Compani­ons, mad Blades, mad Rognes, mad Rascalls, mad Toms, mad Maudlins, mad Besses, and mad-caps what or whosoever: How we have justifi'd the premises in these late past yeares, hath been sufficiently, and if it be possible, more then apparent to all Chri­stendome; England was the Theater for action, and the gazing (and admiring world) the Spectators; were ever any of our Predecessours so franticke, as to engage Lives and Fortunes in as unnaturall warre against an unequalled vertuous King, our dread, undoubted, and Anointed Soveraigne? Were ever Turkes, Tartars, or Caniballs, so barbarously inclined as wee have been, making no esteeme not difference between blood and blood; kindred or alien? Hath not the father murdered the son, the sonne the father; brother hath (Gaine-like) kill'd brother, the unckle slaine his nephew, and the nephew his Unckle, and thought they had done good and godly service? Have wee not beene so franticke, that without any legall consideration or suspi­tion of eyes or thoughts; wee have madly dislocated a principall [Page 2]Joynt of our Parliament (and indeed next to the head) and yet we are so consoperated in our Lethargy, that wee have not so much as mention'd it for a fault, and that is the Places and Vo [...]es of the Bishops, for ever since Parliaments have beene used in England, all till this present) have consisted of Lords Spirituall and Temporall, and the House of Commons, but now these spi­rituall Lords (which are the Bishops) are not once nam'd (nor thought on) and yet wee pretend for a legall and compleat Par­liament, is not this extreame madnesse? what is, if this bee not, when such a notorious thing as this is, shall passe by (and through) so many eyes and eares, without taking notice of?

In the next place, have we not madly thrust out of doores our ancient and Orthodox Faith, and both willingly & foolishly lent our hands to pull in unheard of Novelisme, Phantastick profa­nation, and even Mimicie in Divine Worship? Wee have tran­slated the Episcopall Cathedra, to the Coblers Chayre; the Doctors Pulpit, to the Coopers Tub; the East and West end of the Church, to the Taylors Tables end; and the Weaver, (whose shuttle runnes through his braines as well as his Loome) takes upon him to bee a wrester of Gods Word (out of its proper sence) because it shall bee like himselfe, void of good sence: The Plebean will bee a Predicater of highest Mysteries; and the Sylvestrick Swaine is become a Reverend Rabin of Re­velations.

Nay, moreover (Right Horrible) wee your poore Petitio­ners are so egregiously infatigated, and so strenuously infatuated with the preposterous vaine of Diabolicall zeale, that to blas­pheme God seriously, and rayle against our Soveraigne sincere­ly, hath instead of Atheisme and Treason, beene accounted (a­mong us spirituall mad people) for Religious duties; our wo­men (a thing unexampled in any precedent age, whom the A­postle prohibits speaking in the Church) are growne so impu­dently mad, that they assume the office of Preaching; so that it well appeares (Right Horrible) that betweene the Incubus and the Succubus, (those male and female Devils) these Predicating Trades-men, and these dis-illuminated women were begotten; and although Humphrey thinkes the time too long to bee barr'd from Jones bed, for the month of her lying in, but makes use of [Page 3](in the intrim) his double-diligent Nurse, or his Neighbours wives assistance, under the pretence of a tollerated Gander­month, yet hee (and indeed all wee mad people) thinkes it a small matter to seperate gracious Charles and Mary, not for a month, or months, but for whole yeares; what madnesse ever equall'd this? What Spirit but the Devill can dictate such hor­rid and mischievous thoughts as wee have been possest with (and hope to be dispossest of by your pious endeavours?)

Wee old men and women, whose age should admit of no no­veltie, are as farre intoxicated with the supine Sallad of this il­literate Lettice, that forgetting all antiquity (and the example of our prudent Predecessours) wee have (as being indeed turn'd children againe) as greedily suckt in the Milke of Schisme, and overthrow of Government, as the youngest addle braine of them all. Wee of the middle sort (of men) have madly arm'd our selves, madly marcht into the Field, madly waged Battell, madly kill'd one another, not regarding (as before is mentioned) ei­ther Proximity, Consanguinity, Affinity, Alliance, Christianity, Vicinity, or Naturall Affection. Wee the women, both old, middle aged, and young, have with our tongues beene as active (as men with their hands) to draw the cords of ruine upon the whole Nation, as if wee had beene to perswade all Christendome to take up Armes (against Christs) and our common enemy the Turke. Wee the younger sort of men, Boyes, Apprentices, and Striplings, (especially in and about the Cities of London, and West. Villages adjacent, and Lines of Communication, have madly put our selves forward by the notion and example of mad, blood-thirsty Reformadoes and Commanders, to set the said City, and consequently the whole Kingdome on a flame of a new and most horrible destructive warre.

Briefely (right Horrible) we your Petitioners, of all Ages, Sorts, Sizes, Sexes, Sects, and Complexions, have madly involved our selves in an (almost) universall Lunacie and Apostasie from God and our King; from Religion, to Sensualitie; from Vertue, to Vice; from Chastitie, to Lubricitie; from Christian Charitie, to Heathenish Crueltie; from Unitie, to Singularitie; from Pietie, to Hypocrisie; from Veritie, to Vanitie; from Humili­tie, to Superbitie; from Moderation, to Ostentation; from the [Page 4]right understanding of Divine Mysteries, to blind Zeale with­out knowledge; and from the Path of Heaven, to the Wayes of Hell, eternall Death and Destruction. This our deplorable Condition, be pleased with your Power and Charitie rightly to consider; and weighing in the Ballance of your unquestionable (and infallible) Intelects, every Part, Parcell, Branch, and Bud of the premises, vouchsafe to let our mad Petition finde as fa­vourable accesse to your Honours, as many Petitions (in the like nature) have found heretofore: The summe of all our de­sires is, that you will take into mature consideration (and com­miseration) That whereas a great multitude of people, of both Sexes, commonly called Mad people (but nothing neere so Mad as wee) are confined in an Hospitall, betweene Bishops-gate-street and More-fields, vulgarly named Bedlam (or Bethlem) that you will be pleased to turne them out into the wide world, and let us (for so many as the sayd Hospitall can containe) to be pos­sessed of their roomes: for indeed the case is plaine (and there­fore considerable) that those people (for the most part) grew distracted through super-abundant Love, not finding a r [...]cipro­call correspondencie in affection; but (wretched) wee are Mad through superabundance of Malice, wee most madly and despe­rately hating, maligning, abusing (both with Tongue and Hand) a gracious, loving, mercifull, pious, and prudent King (the mir­ror of Monarchs and example of Princes) who all this too long time of our hayre-brayn'd Distraction, hath wooed and invited us to his Highnesse love, patiently expecting the returning of our Sences to their offices, and us to our just obedience: but all to little, or no purpose; we were madly resolv'd, and so went madly on, to our owne and the hazard of the whole Kingdomes Ruine.

Furthermore, be pleased to take notice, that the said Hospi­tall being very small (in respect of our vast number) to give a charitable Purge to all the Prisons in and about the Cities of London and Westminster, the Villages adjacent, and Lines of Communication, and also to all other respective Prisons throughout the Kingdome of England and the Dominion of Wales, wherein are most unnaturally and cruelly inclosed and detained many honest, sober, wise, discreet, religious, and ver­tuous [Page 5]Knights, Esquires, Gentlemen, and others of good ranke and qualitie, onely (and solely) for their integritie and loyaltie to God and his Anoynted; these wee would likewise (by the aforesaid Purge) have relaxed, discharged, and restored both to their Liberties and Livelyhoods, wee madly possessing their pla­ces: notwithstanding the premisses, wee doe desire (in this ge­nerall worke of Justice and Mercie) to except some who are now in Prison (among those sober men aforesaid) that are al­together (if not madder) as mad as the maddest of us all, and chiefely (as the Chiefe indeed) John Lilburne, who being a mad Lieutenant-Colonel alreadie, wee desire to make Commander in Chiefe of all our Mad multitude.

Lastly, when by these Chaynes of Affliction wee shall be re­stor'd to our lost Wits, that then you will be mildly pleased to accept of a sober Petition for our lost Rights, Religion, Lawes, Liberties, and Priviledges, all which wee (miserable mad people) have purchas'd with the losse of our Wits, and Loyaltie, and some of us, Lims and Livings.

This if your Wisdomes shall thinke convenient to grant, it will be a Beacon to your Charitie, a Lanthorne to your Lenitie, a Mirror of your M [...]rcie, and a Trumpet to your Fame; and wee your poore Petitioners (as in dutie obliged) shall be ever be­holding to your Clemencie, and alwayes pray for your encrease of Grace, and Loyaltie towards God and Caesar, and an equall, legall, and charitable distribution of all the Wealth which you (by your Wit and Subtletie) have gotten of us foolish Mad People, &c.

A Postscript concerning the deliverie and Receit of the foresaid Mad Petition.

No sooner this Petition came unto
the hands of those to whom it was presented,
But all of them (as well the high as low)
began to rave; Thus being discontented,
They gave this Answer: Why, you frantick Elves,
Sue you to us, who are stark mad our selves?
Have you not danced after our mad Pipe?
have we not beene examples to you all?
Thinke you, if that our wits were sound and ripe,
we could our selves stand by, and see you fall?
No, no, Plebeians, wee'l no further wrong you,
We are as mad as he that's mad'st among you.
Yet be you comforted (and so are wee)
hoping we shortly shall our wits recover;
Wee something now regard his Majestie,
so let the people doe all England over:
Then, by Gods Blessing, (to our joy and gladnesse)
Wee shall see England cured of her Madnesse.
By th'influence of that bright Northern Star,
which now auspiciously upon us shines,
Mad England shall regaine her wits so far,
that all shall prayse his Name, who thus inclines
The hearts of Subjects to their Soveraign Prince;
O such a Cure, Mad England lack'd long since.
FINIS.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.