REASONS WHY THE Supreme Authority OF THE THREE NATIONS (For the time) Is not in the PARLIAMENT, BUT In the new-established Councel of State, CONSISTING OF His Excellence the Lord General CROMVVEL, And his honourable Assessors.

Written in answer to a Letter sent from a Gentleman in Scotland to a friend of his in London. To which is added the Letter it self.

Printed at London, and are to be sold by Rich. Moone, at the seven Stars in Pauls Church-yard, neer the great North-door. 1653.


THis late dissolution of the Parliament puts us all here in a maze, and the most of this Country conceive themselves thereby to be in a worse condition then e­ver; both for that the little blossoming hopes, which the People here (especially the Clergy) were beginning to entertaine of some favour from the Presbyterian party sitting in the House, are now quite blasted and blown away: as likewise because we apprehend (how justly I cannot tell) that the unexperiencedness, and illiteracie of military men in the disquisition of divine or legal concernments, will by all appearance bring us to submit our necks to the absolute, uncontroulable, and arbitrary yoak of the sword: into which jealousies we are the more forcibly driven, that we think that act, whereby a rupture was made into the sacred authority of Eng­land, to have been both rash, unlawfull, and strange: and that so much the more, that those Parliamentary men were accounted the refuge and sanctuary of the People, the Representatives of the Na­tion, the braines of that politick body, whereof the Army is but the hands, and chusers and preferrers of these very men to their respe­ctive places, that were the extruders of them. I pray you Sir let me have your opinion of this great and sudden change by the next Post, whether you think the proceeding illegal or no, if conducible or de­structive to the good of Scotland, and how England and Ireland stand affected to the now established Councel.

Your most humble servant, C.N.



SOme other returnes from me to former Letters of yours upon subjects of the nature of that, which came to my hands this Munday the 16 of May, having as often as they were sent received from you that acceptance, which, by spirits of your ingenuity, is usually bestowed on men of such unprejudicate opinions, as, out of my affection to truth (without by-endes of my own) I have oftentimes ve­ry freely laid before you: do now encourage me in answer to your last of the date of the 10 of May, by which you are pleased to demand my sentiment concerning the new esta­blished authority, after the abrupt dissolution of the late tri­decennial Parliament, to give my pen as much scope, for your satisfaction, and the undeceiving of those, that possibly are mis-informed of my Lord General, & his honorable Councel of Officers, as in the interval betwixt the time of Mundays coming packet, & that of Tuesdays going one, I can get snat­ched from my other too too urgent occasions; Therefore do I expect of your courtesie, in case no more pressing busi­nes deprive me of leisure, that you would be pleased to par­don the contingence of my excursion beyond the ordinary limits of an Epistle; the prolixity will undoubtedly prove to you the less tedious, that you be thereby informed of the lawfulness of the change: of the Nations of England and Irelands approbation of it: and of Scotlands greater apparent happiness under it then the former Government; of all being mentioned in your Letter) I am obliged in answer thereto, to give you the best account I can.

Here do I intend to propound little or nothing of Neces­sity, although the most of the Parliamentary writers make that to be the main reason of turning the Monarchy of this Land unto a State; and that many others have said that the preservation of both the Army and Country did totally de­pend upon this late resolute action of breaking up the Par­liament: it shall suffice me, and I hope not displease you, that I endeavour to justifie the deed by the mildest and most moderate arguments can be devised, and of a nature averse from aspersing (but as little as may be) any former Judicatory.

Now if the question be stated, whether the Supreme au­thority be in the Parliament, or the Army; and that for the establishment thereof both power and lawfulness be ne­cessarily required, I doubt me all reason will carry it for the Army. Here would I intreat such as are of another opini­on, to make appear what it is they mean by the word Parliament, whether it be that kind of convention which the army did allow to sit at Westm. or the preceding one, consist­ing of King, Lords, and Commons, which (as the soul of man is said to comprehend the rational, sensitive, and vegetative faculties) was first constituted triennial, and afterwards by vertue of the same Royal source, from whence the former grant did flow, prolonged or perpetuated at the pleasure and discretion of the sitters: I believe that those who having declared against Monarchy do cordially decline it, will ra­ther admit of the former acception of the word; though per­haps it be said, that the army derived its power from the Par­liament, and not the Parliament from it; for I may say that the Lords and Commons chose the Army; which Army (when the Lords & many of the Commons had, by pressing too hard upon the Liberty of the subject, forfeited their places) took into their protection that part of the House which voted [Page 4]down Monarchy, and was called the Representatives of Eng­land; by which means I take it to be clear enough, that the Supremacy is in the Army, till they be pleased to resigne it in the fovour of new Representatives; for Parliaments were never hithereto called but by Kings or Queens of a regal po­wer, and that to parley with them, and advise them in dif­ficult matters, so that the very word thereof seemeth to sa­vour of malignancy, and probably ought to have been al­tered, as the terme of the lower House was turned to that of the House of Commons. Nevertheless passing by meer words, there being nothing more certain then that the thing sig­nified by the word Parliament was nothing else but the Kings great Councel, there being no more King, such a Coun­sel by infallible consequence is a non-entitie; and therefore Monarchy being extinct, the government of the Nation is inherent for the time in the persons of my Lord General, and his Councel of Officers.

Let not the Nation or any one therein startle at this, for as it is just where the power of Protection is, that there should be the Authority (all of us owing obedience to those that do protect us) so is it no new thing that so legal a right be pra­ctically exerced: is it not plainly set down in the Judges, how Ehud, after having killed King Eglon, ruled all Israel for the space of many years? did not the Empire of Rome en­large it self farther under the command of the Souldiery then the Senate; and the Roman Commonwealth flourish more under Julius Caesar and Augustus, then ever it did either be­fore or after their times? and yet I may very warrantably avouch, that the present Lord General of England was never so much subordinate to this State, as both of them were to that of Rome.

[...] we look into the state of Nature, which is that where­ [...] M [...]archies and States are posited, both in relation to [Page 5]one another, and in the manner of their own establishment, we shall very evidently perceive, that in whose person or persons the power is devolved, there resteth the Soveraign­ty. Nor is it meer strength that bringeth one or many to this power, it being requisite that wisdom and other con­curring qualifications contribute to so great a work: the Fox is wiser then the Lion, yet is the Lion king of brutes; not but that there are beasts stronger then he, (as is the Ele­phant) but that there is none in which strength, wit, agility, and generosity together are better commixed. My Lord General and the Officers of his Army are truly such: hath any people or nation out-witted them in their Treaties? hath any been more expedite in the active part? more valiant in the field, more patient in hardships, or more noble and mer­ciful then they after an obtained victory? Did all these en­dowments ever meet together in a Parliament, or concentre in a promiscuous unmilitary Body of Country-Gentlemen and Lawyers? It was the Army, I believe, and not the Par­liament, by whose wit and valour Ireland was reduced, Scot­land pacified, and England established.

What though they be Sword-men, should that derogate from their Authority? I say, No; for that God, who is Goodness in the abstract, and Wisdom it self, although he be called neither God nor Lord of Learning or Law, is no more intituled the God of Peace then he is the Lord of Hosts; the later title, by all appearance (if I may say so) being the more honourable, in that we worship God be­cause he is powerful, and love him for his goodness.

Furthermore, there is hardly any Argument that the Lord brings in the Scripture for his being the God of Israel, that is not deduced from his power, as the drowning of Pha­raoh's Army in the Red sea, the destroying of the Canaanites, the laying of the foundations of the earth, and setting of [Page 6]bounds to the Sea: nor were the new Israelites, who are the Christians, otherwise convinced of the Divinity of Christ, then by Miracles, which were the extraordinary effects of his power.

Thus do I conceive that the sole power of the Land is in my Lord General and the Army, and that no State can be well governed, where Authority is divorced from Power; for without Power, Authority is but as a naked Virgin exposed to the raging lust of a Satyr; nor where these two are se­parated from each other, can the Good be rewarded, or the Wicked corrected; because a State, how peremptory and commanding soever it be in issuing out of Orders, will ne­ver be able without a considerable power to confer recom­pences and inflict punishments. And if you think, that by such means we lie at the mercy of the Sword, being under the command of Military Officers; I must needs ask you, If you would rather be under Masters that have no Swords, and so be exposed to the devouring sword of Forraigners?

The Safety of the People is said to be the Supreme Law, yet are those that have the power in their hands the fittest Judges of that safety; because they are the best able to consider what and where the strength is which is the Guard of the Nation: nor is there any reason why we should be diffident of the discretion of those Officers, who are men of Publike spirits, & such as have not sought them­selvs; and therefore deserve to be accounted our Masters, by defending us from the violence of others, and preserv­ing us in those Rights that belong unto us.

We were made subject to this late Parliament (if we may so call it) by the meer vertue of that power wherewith the Army did protect it: and thus, by saving of our lives and goods, they have justly gained more dominion over us, then others can claim right unto. And seeing Egypt for se­veral [Page 7]Ages together was well governed by the Souldier-Mamaluks, who were not a free-born people, Should this Island grudge to be ruled by the freest spirited men in the world, and that under the conduct of my Lord General Cromwel, which title of General (for his sake) ought to be reputed no less honourable amongst us, then that of Impe­rator was amongst the Romanes. And to mount yet a little higher, I must needs think, that the Lord of Hosts, who is not ashamed to take the name of Generalissimo upon him, would not have us to be so inconsiderate, as to disrespect the Go­vernment of a General; especially for that being com­manded to be like our Father that is in heaven, that Go­vernment of all other is without doubt most rational, which draweth neerest to the model of His. God is our General, and did not onely hazard his life for our good, but died for us in the person of his Son. Let the Cherubims and Seraphins take the title of Parliament upon them, if they will, yet still is the Lord of hosts above them. For my own part, I would prefer the Sword of Gideon to the Rod of Aa­ron, and the Laurel to the Long Robe. Is not the High-Constable of France above the Chancellor, and a Knight in the Field before a Doctor in the Law? So should the General of our Army be above any Member in the Com­monwealth, and the Officers he adjoyneth to him partake of his pre-eminence.

Whereas you say, that those Military men are not like to be such Politicians, in foreseeing the dangers may be­fal the Country, as the Members of Parliament; I answer, If that Policie consist in preserving us from the Invasion of strangers, and discovery of Plots amongst our selves at home, That no men can be thought fitter then those that are in hazard daily, by the prevention or withstanding of those inconveniences. Do not Apprentiships make Trades­men [Page 8]so perfect in their Callings, that the most ingenious Scholar, how pregnant soever he be in setting down the mysteries of a Trade, cannot be so exquisite in his skill therein, as he that hath served to it any considerable time. The application is easie. And what although (as you say) they were no Lawyers, so they be just; nor Divines, if pious? Yet let us not imagine they are the less these, be­cause they are good Souldiers: should we think Armies want Reason, because they have Strength? I, on the con­trary, think that the knowing of their strength addes to their Reason. Why may not a woman be fair, though she be chaste? yea truely I think her Chastity makes her the fairer: if plurality of good qualities were not compatible in one person, the concatenation of Vertues would not be a so generally received opinion amongst the Wise: as Law­yers sometimes are esteemed bold, even when they do but speak; so may Souldiers be called prudent, whilst they are in fighting.

A well-grounded power nevertheless is that which gives the essential being to Authority, and the Sword that which infallibly governs every where both in Monarchies and States. Is not the Man accounted the Head in Matrimony, because of his being more powerful and vigorous then the woman? Genoa chose Spain for her Protector, because of his Power; and Geneva the French King, not for his great Wit, as I conceive it: therefore is it that we should have a more intrinsecal relation to our immediate Governours, and more intime application of our Obedience to their Commands.

This I say not to justifie every Conquest, although the Scriptures ordain us to be pliable to all superiour powers, because power is from God; of which passage I refer the interpretation to Divines, and in the interim aver the un­lawfulness [Page 9]of the Turks Authority, albeit it be seconded with sufficient Power; because the Question is not so much of Power alone, as of Power with Goodness, and the con­comitancie of Moral Vertues; whereof there is such store in my Lord General and his Officers, that in the Legend of all the Worthies have not been read more glorious atchieve­ments with less ostentation, nor more self-denyal in such actions as in former Ages have been honoured with the sublimest triumphs.

I, but (say you) the Parliament chose the General. What then? Although I have already proved the contrary; Is not the King of Poland above the People that elected him? And besides, it is not the Parliament which by his Officers was dissolved, that made him General; the Army had pur­ged it, and new-molded it several times before; and, which is more, if this late Parliamentary Authority was derived from the people, and that the Peoples safety, which is call­ed the Supreme Law, consist in the welfare of the Army, Is not the Army by that means protector of both, and the Of­ficers thereof the fittest Legislators when any danger is imminent? It is then upon that necessity (as many con­ceive it) of the preservation of the Peoples safety, which was thought to be in very great hazard, by the too-long sitting at the Helm of men of private spirits, minding one­ly their own businesses, that my Lord General and his Of­ficers did re-assume that power which properly was theirs. Or rather, to express it more warily, as the Lord of hosts stirred up the Parliament to new-model the Army, for the better furtherance of the War: so hath the God of peace moved the Army, by way of retaliation, to new-model the Government, for the greater tranquillity of the People.

Had it not been for the Army, the last Treaty (I believe) with the late King in the Isle of Wight, had, by establis [...] [...] [Page 10]him in his throne, hindred the erection of this Common-wealth; as being perhaps sensible, that the stream of a Parliament can have no longer infl [...]ence with any shew of right over the people, after the drying up of the Regal source from whence it sprang at first. It is that Army then, which by expulsing the old government, is become the true basis of the new one, and by destroying Monarchy hath set up that fabrick of a State, the managing whereof lyes upon their shoulders. Who burneth the wood en­gendreth the flame, which domineers over all the com­bustible stuff it can lay hold on: whilst the Parliament sate, it was the Army did animate them, the Army was their soul, and the Master-wheel by which they moved, in which sense I think my Lord General did acknowledge the Parlia­ments soveraginty, and in so doing did derogate nothing from himself and the Officers, who virtually governed by them, and thus in my opinion are to be interpreted all ad­dresses of mentioning the Supreme Authority of this Nation, the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Eng­land, of which authority the Officers of the Army were the very Soul, and they but the outward Organs Micro­tosmically Representative of the great body of the Re­publick.

In your letter you attribute the brains to the Parliament, and to the Army nothing but hands; but I say it is more like the brains were in the Officers, or at least more brains, allowing still the hands and feet to the Common Souldiery: it is not the brains of the Parliament, that have a proper influence upon the body of an Army, for the brains readily admit not of so great a separation and dist­ance from the hands; resolution and prudence should be still coupled together, else the body politick cannot long escape from ruine: timorousness in counsel maketh men [Page 11]forbear the doing of good, and too much temerity in the practical part prompteth hot spirits to the committing of wickedness, but together joyned, they make a most excel­lent temper; for from uniting the vehement heat of the one, to the extream coldness of the other, there resulteth a remisser quality in its mediocrity comfortable; this af­fording certainty in direction, and that a celerity in per­formance of what is good.

Whereas there is a buzzing, that the only refuge of the People was in former times the Parliament: so may I say that the people of Israel in their stinging afflictions had the like recourse to the Brazen Serpent, which never­theless was afterwards very lawfully taken down: we ought not to be such nominal Statesmen as to dote upon the words of Parliament, Law, Priviledges, or I cannot tell what, whilst all the things signified by them are violated and in­fringed even by those that idolize them in outward profes­sions: this is but like the doing of mischief in nomine domini, and wrapping a Wolf in a Lambs skin. What is the matter of words, or how the Supreme Authority be called, pro­vided the country be well governed? Would not any coun­try-man that is hungry, be better pleased, to have a loas of bread presented to him, although you call it a stone, then a stone to break his fast upon, which you shall call a loaf? What else is a Parliament, a sacred assembly, the representatives of all the people? unless their proceed­ings be accordingly very conscionable, and just, they are assuredly but words of no greater veneration then of old were Tyranny, Kingship, and Priesthood, which in Greece, Rome, and England, where they were most honoured, be­came afterwards odious: after the same manner, though this late Parliament was called the peoples Repre­sentative, and that the whole Nation did own them for [Page 12]such, yet do the people in general seem to be very well pleased with their dissolution, and not only they, but the soundest part also of themselves, as is perceivable by the facility wherewith so great an action was performed; it being done without any noise, struggle, or yet discontent but of very few.

But how comes that (say you) to be just now, which formerly in the late Kings coming to the House, but to require the number only of five members, was accounted unjust, and a ground sufficient for making a defensive war? I answer, The case is quite other; for besides that then was a time, wherein formalities were a great deal more to be regarded, Martial Law, and Military atchievements being things in this Land at that time quite unknown, the late King by his thus forcible coming in unto the House did break the priviledges which both his predecessors & him­self had given, and therefore having resigned his power to that Parliament, by vertue whereof they then sate legally, he ought, if there were any refractary members, to have consulted with the remainder of the body concerning them, who together with the rest of the house had by him that placed them undoubtedly been raised, had not they been taken into the tuition and patrociny of the Army, whose Power being from God, he hath accordingly con­tinued unbroken amidst the revolution of various and innu­merable dangers, to the astonishment not only of this Island, but of the whole world besides.

You say the action was violent: I say, No; for it was carried on with the greatest modestie and discretion that could be imagined. As for that which is called the rupture of the Parliament, it was as nothing: for if the action in it self was just (as I affirm it was) officious lingring cir­cumstances, in such important matters as can admit of no [Page 13]delays, are not to be regarded: Formalities, at best, in such a juncture of occasions, are but imbellishing orna­ments, or as paintings upon Sepulchres, where there is any tottenness in the main intendments covered by them. A Cordial in a Pitcher is more estimable then Poyson in an Agat; and a Homely Friend better worth the accosting, then a Courtly Enemy. He that permits one to wear his Cloak for a while, expecting he will do it civilly, may af­terwards require it from him, when he sees him abuse it. If those of the House be collationed with the Officers of the Army, we shall finde that Parliaments are composed but of Country spirits for the most part, not much inclined to Milice, and who, though an humor of enriching themselvs should impoverish the Country, will be so much the longer before they can goodly be made sensible of it, that suchlike men as they being but very little or seldom acquainted with dangers and losses, are never much nor often touched with a compassion or fellow-feeling of the sufferings of others: and any man will acknowledge himself more obliged to him or them that freely hazard their lives for him, then to such as will but faintly grant his Petition after a twelve­months delay perhaps, and expending more in attendance (to speak of nothing else) then he gets by it.

Admit there be better Lawyers, and greater Scholars a­mongst those of the Parliament, then any in the Roll of the Army-Officers; yet will it make nothing for your pur­pose; for that such skilful men ought rather to be subser­vient to the Officers, then thereby to pretend any Mastery over them, is by this apparent, that Speculation ascends un­to Action, wherein consists the life of all business, and con­sequently, those Literate men should very humbly and af­fectionately submit their studious elucubrations to the re­solute disposure of these other worthy Patriots, who by a [Page 14]Practical industry make the Theory of the former useful to the furtherance of the benefit of this Commonwealth. Should not Law be subordinate to Equity; and Learning to Goodness? God hath revealed more to Good men then to Scholars; and we finde not anywhere, that either Divines or Lawyers are men of better lives then others. Take along with you the tract of all the Prophets and A­postles, and you shall see that they were but obscure men both in Law & Literature: yea, their very Kings were taken and selected out of Shepherds, to signifie unto us that Law depends not altogether upon Learning: our Mindes are able to judge of Good and Bad, as our Eyes of Colours, although many times self-interest distracteth the thoughts of these our mindes, and quite diverteth them from the true and right apprehension of the object; as the Jaundise maketh every Colour appear yellow to the eye, which without that imperfection would have discerned aright of any thing exposed to the sight thereof.

In my opinion, therefore, the Supreme power ought nei­ther to be in Lawyers, nor Divines, nor both; because those that have been enriched by private contentions, will never harbour in their brests such publike spirits as shall suffice to establish domestick safety, and gain stand forraign inva­sion: for he is to be accounted the best servant, that doth his masters will, and not that other who says this is my masters will, yet doth but his own. Those quaint expres­sions, and flourishes of Rhetorick which in gilding a bad cause, being the effects of depraved Learning, do but cast a thick mist over the eyes of the hearers understandings, and fill their abused ears with empty sounds of new No­things, are not to be expected from the Officers of the Ar­my, who, delivering their minds ingenuously without either fard or affectation, prosecute good ends above-boord, by [Page 15]means void of all dissimulation and deceitfulness.

Here will I not utter so much as one syllable either a­gainst the whole Body of the Parliament, or any of its members, in taxing them with unnecessary delays of granting the subjects just demands, their having intended and accord­ingly prosecuted their own affairs more then those of the Publike, and such-like, whereof there is a great deal alrea­dy published by others; because I will not offer to do the Souldiery so much wrong, as to justifie their actions by the indirect way of Recriminating others: I shall remain con­tent with this comparative expression, in saying, That those who no less freely expose their persons for the defence of their Country, and maintenance of the Liberties thereof, into such extreme perils, as if they had the shift of a new life, wherewith to cloath themselves the next day (life be­ing more precious then external goods) should be preferred to those that for their own enrichment (if any such there be) would do the meanest prejudice to the livelihood of another.

The action (say you) is rash, unlawful, and strange. I think it truly more strange, that any such expression should proceed from a rational man: for as for the good of the U­niverse, water sometimes mounteth, and air descends, quite contrary to the propension of their own natures; so is it that what many times hath been found unlawful in private actions, may in publike ones be esteemed very just. Had Moses stood upon his principles of subjection & obedience to the Laws of the Prince of his native Country, (which ne­vertheless the Army was not so much liable unto in refe­rence to the Parliament) what had become of the Liberty of the people of Israel, and enlargement of the house of Jacob? However, although at the first appearance it seem to be an act of Will, yet is it so far from being unreasonable, that it [Page 21]is the last act and result of the highest pitch of Reason, and more praise-worthy then that action of the hands, where­by is brought a wholesome Potion to purge the brain for the safety of the whole body. If the Reasons have not as yet been made known, it is because of those worthy Gentle­men's being employed about matters of greater moment; theirs being the practical, & so fitter for Government, and that of others but Speculative, which grounded meerly up­on an aerial discourse of Laws, of aquum, of bonum, or other such-like specious things, proving, for the most part, or ra­ther always, in such spirits as are not bent on action, but common and general notions, do never produce any consi­derable thing; which defect is not to be found in my Lord General, nor the Officers of his Army.

You say they are not so literate as those of the Parliament: I say, For any thing you know they are; but albeit they were not, it is not much matter, so they be positively good, and comparatively better then such as are more learned; which I trust they are: for with so much knowledge as is fitting they are endowed; and in stead of superfluous ad­ditions of Literature, they make a serious application of the skill they have (wherewith they are qualified in a com­petent measure) to the perfect accomplishment of the most commendable actions. It is not he who makes the best de­finition of Vertue, that is therefore the most vertuous man. The best Divines are not the godlyest persons, nor were there any Lawyers in the Golden age. Subtilty in circum­stances, trivial quirks, and curious researches, in sub-distin­guishing of abstracted flimflam-notions, help very much to cry up men to the title of good Scholars, in the estimation of frothy Wits.

That we have men powerful, and such as are good, to rule over us, is all we should desire: and if by misfortune [Page 20]we were necessitated to make election of one alone of those qualities, it were better (in my opinion) our Governours were destitute of goodness, then that they lacked power: for good men, without power, would but leave us to the spoil of every body, whose wickedness they are not able to suppress, and abandon us as stubble before the fire, to those would bring us to a sudden & utter desolation: but so they have power, although otherwise they be bad enough, they will in all probability protect us against both forraign and domestick Invasions, were it to no other end, but to prey upon us themselves; which nevertheless they will be loth to do with too great extremity, because by those means not being able to do it long, they would by injuring others but weaken themselves, and so at last abstain from it out of the meer motive of self-love. If Power be thus much to be preferred, when it goeth fingle, which I speak in favour of the Souldiery, Why then should not the Officers of the Army have their due pre-eminence above any other, seeing besides the sacred power that is in their hands, they are the greatest paterns of Piety, and examples of Goodness, that the world affordeth?

It is absolute and uncontrollable (say you) and there­fore dangerous: I answer you, If an absolute power must rest somewhere in every government (according to the doctrine of the best politicians) it can (in my opinion) a­bide in no more convenient place then its own Sphere. What earthquakes happen, and violent concussion of things of great weight, even by what (to our seeming) is of far less moment, when they are debarred the liberty of working about their own center, as air or fire inclosed when either of them appetes an expansion!

Though other States now adayes be not governed so, what then? all States are not governed after one way, nor [Page 18]Monarchies neither; because the different inclinations of those that have the power, make what is unjust in one place to be accounted elsewhere just, and yet possibly there may be latitude enough for justice in both. Was not the body of the Israelites an Army, led under the conduct of their General Moses? who albeit he admitted of elders to ease him of a burthen, yet did not any acknowledge the Supreme Authority to lye in them. Would you in Scotland be like the Iews in their convenanting, and yet disagree from them in that wherein did consist their greatest honor? There is in Scotland (as I conceive it) no other kind of na­tive but Cavalier or Presbyterian; and seeing this latter one thrust out the master of that other, these others will (in my opinion) be content to be ruled by those that did protect them against the Malignancy of their competi­tors: if the other party be not pleased with it, I must think certainly, that it is upon a ground more destructive to that country, such as to have the Ministery to over­master it, and all the people implicitely tyed to have their dark faiths pin'd on those mens black sleeves, although most of them, for covetousness, cruelty, and oppression, be equal to the most corrupt of the laity.

You are afraid that by this change Scotland shall be more in slaved then ever. I must confess it hath not that shew of liberty, which it had in the dayes of Malcolm Kianmore; but taking it in general (some few persons only excepted that squeezed the rest) the Egyptian bondage was hardly greater then that which it endured under Presbytery, whose yoak in that Nation becoming lighter, as the power of the English increased therein (though not altogether taken off; because of the supposed prevalency, which some of the Presbyterially-affected Members of the late dissolved House, had over the counsels of the prime rulers [Page 19]there) you have now just reason to thank God, that by this change you are like to be relieved out of the jaws of so wild a monster, and freed from that Knoxian slavery, which made you miserable within your selves, and despica­ble unto all the other Nations of the World. Nor need­eth any of you to grudge at his being constrained (when it shall so happen) to submit no longer to the supreme dis­cipline of the Kirk; seeing the taking of such a coercive course is to use no more violence, then when one is hin­dred from prosecuting his own ruine, and yet (I think) the Commonwealth of England is not able to provide you with Governours that shall be more tender in laying of burthens upon your consciences, then my Lord General, and those select Officers of his Army, under whose com­mand you are, who are all of them haters of contentious divinity, and the forcing of mens minds to embrace un­known opinions; and who having done so great matters both in England and Ireland, will be now (I hope) very careful not to eclipse their reputation by misusing Scot­land.

And although there should be found in it some discre­pancy in matters of faith from the upright and true one; yet so long as those opinions break not out into action, and do onely hover about things concerning another world, there is no doubt but that they will acknowledge, how without the help of man, or any need of his coacting power, God hath a way of his own for the reclaiming of such: this straine to any judicious man will seem more moderate then that of the Presbyter, whose ambition it was to have the Scotish Covenant tread underfoot all the other professions in the world.

Tell me, I pray you, were not all of you (and that not long ago) epidemically infected with the dease of believing [Page 16]that in the yeer of the last Iubilee, the said covenant should be pompously set up in Saint Peters Church at Rome? nay further, was there any thing more commonly preached amongst you, then the cursing of Meroz for not coming out to help the Lord against the mighty? which text they applyed both for and against Monarchy, whilst the enemy remained still one and the same, so cunning they were in making a nose of wax of the Scriptures: as likewise the cursing of those that did the work of the Lord negligent­ly, and withheld their hand from blood. After this man­ner they stirred up (you know) the people there to be active in going about the designe of making an universal Kirk, which if they would do, promises were made to them, of being Gods select and covenanted people, of the driving of the Nations before them, and their eating the fat and drink­ing the sweet: all which had events so suitable to my ap­prehension, though contrary to their predictions, that now there is no more common saying, then that your Ministers have been false Prophets from the beginning, and men of doctrines inconsistent with any secular govern­ment, being so much the more dangerous, that they did always speak of God, and accounted their cause to be his.

For had they been contented to have said in their Pul­pits, Gentlemen, I am to tell you a story, and a tale truly worthy your hearing, although it might have been thought a kind of irreligious expression in a place of such reverence; yet would it have been of less prejudice to the auditory, and impiety in the speaker, then to have expres­sed themselves after this fashion, Thus saith God, this is the meaning of his covenant, even when what they spoke was upon contrivances of their own; for the promoval of by ends destructive to many duties which God requireth of us.

Such as were not Presbyterians, they aspersed with the name of Papist; and would have continued still so, if Pro­vidence had not put the power in the hands of those, who, though better Protestants then they, do nevertheless ac­knowledge the Papal authority to be less tyrannical then theirs, the effects whereof are so pernicious, that it were better for you in that Country to be left to your selvs, with­out any Government at all, the meer common laws of Na­ture, in such a case of Anarchy, being able to retain you in those duties, which, being drunken with the dregs of a sub­mission to Hierarchical Soveraignty (whether in one or many) you would otherwise be enforced to violate.

These, and many other such reasons (which any thing amply to deduce would require a Treatise apart) do give sufficient evidence against Ecclesiastical supremacie, where­of we stand in no great need; seeing all divine Laws are naturally imprinted in the heart of every good man. Co­vetousness expelled the Papists from amongst you, Pride overthrew the Bishops, & Lying, with both these, is like to pull down your Ministers; neither of all which qualifica­tions, whether joyntly or severally, are any way beseeming men of a Legislative Jurisdiction.

Your Presbyterian Tenets, like Scyrrus and Procrustes beds (to which long men were equalled by curtaling, and the short by racking out their limbs) will have all manner of Consciences so adapted to them, as to make the tender­est hearts shed innocent blood, and bring the proudest Po­tentates to submit to their Mas-Johns Delphian Oracle, who possibly pretending to a Prophetical spirit, leaveth almost no place untouched with his entousiastick bolts, but that wherein is fixed the blank of Truth, which he maketh shew to level at. Thus, without considering the various tempers of mindes, they would befool all men alike, and take the [Page 22]same course with the highest spirits, which Numa Pompilius did with the Commons of Rome, by means of his Nymph Agyria: or Sertorius in Spain by his white Hinde with the inhabitants there, & so possess men with conceits of their infallibilities in the dispensations of providence, even when they say no more, but, This will come to pass, for so God hath de­creed it: Presbytery must rule, for it is according to the Word; it be­ing more easie to say any thing, then to give a good reason for it: for, to speak truely, they never bring any reason but Testimony, and that onely grounded upon their own bare interpretations, flowing from worldly respects, self-inte­rests, and private designes towards dignity, profit, or plea­sure, which for many yeers together hath run so impetu­ously in that country, to the stirring up of choler and in­dignation in the auditory, against those at whose profes­sions or inclinations they had any dislike, that, as a clown who hath long fasted, will with a little strong drink be quickly fudled, those incendiary Churchmen do just so work upon the spirits of such as by a long abstinence from any nourishing doctrine are with their hot-waters of sedi­tion apt to be inebriated; there being no more several kinds of strong liquour, then there is variety of operating up­on such addle-brained heads.

There is hardly any judicious man but knoweth, that it was neither learning, piety, nor patriotism that perswad­ed any of that Nation to Presbytery, nor had they any of those three qualities in them that were the perswaders; yet let us not think it strange: for, as a cup of good Sack will make one fight, where Reason cannot prompt him to it, when he is sober; so will the vapouring words of fi­ery preachers oftentimes intoxicate a giddy-headed popu­lass, when sound and solid instructions are able to make no impression.

But that all Scotland, comprehending all the degrees of its inhabitants, should have been brought under that yoak, is (in my opinion) the onely miracle that was per­formed by Presbytery, and one (I think) never a whit les­ser then any mentioned in the Romish Legend, had that people of late been endowed with spirits equal to those of their predecessors. This degenerate deviation hath made most of the Nations of Christendom (if not all) look asquint upon them.

When the Presbyterians of Scotland prevailed against the King's party, they intituled themselves The people of God, because of their victories; which appellation, for such a reason, is every whit as due to the Great Turk, by having subjugated to his Scepter all the Christians of Greece and Armenia. They likewise prove in Scotland the same conclusion by their being afflicted; which title (should it require no other cause) might as properly have been ap­plied to the Canaanites and Gibeonites. After such a manner of reasoning, we may infer all things to be precious and sweet, that are of the colour of Gold and Honey: we may very well know, that affirmatively to attribute one general thing to two, makes not therefore those two things to be one.

In a word, if that their seeming wisdom in Divinity had bin turned to a more real performance of goodnes towards one another, they would have gained more Proselytes. I would not here have any man to think, that in twitting those men, I speak against Learning, but plainly assever that the Divines, both Episcopal and Presbyterian, by curbing mens Fancies, and suffering nothing to pass the Press which did not like them, buryed much Learning un­der the ashes of their sullenness, which since their fall hath begun to break forth into flashes of a most comfortable [Page 24]flame and chearful light. Of Presbytery at this time will I not speak much more, because to rip it up to the full would require a Volume by it self.

Another part of your Letter seemeth to import, that you do not hold your selves under this Government so altoge­ther free as formerly you were. What is (I pray you) the freedom you had under the Presbyter? was there any but such as shored up their interests, that could say he had a propriety to his own goods? was there ever any thing more common amongst the Kirk-men there, then to preach men out of their estates, which no other Protestants of this Isle did offer to do, but they? By which tyrannie of theirs, and other pressures proceeding from them, the most part of the inhabitants of that Land were so heavily oppressed, that laying aside those that are sequestred, whereof there are not many, the remanent of the Country is now under a far more easie yoak then it was at any time these nine yeers past: for although the Sess in Scotland be six times greater then in England, and truely more then that poor Country can well bear; yet is it much less then it was under the Go­vernment of Presbytery: for I have known Gentlemen there, whose whole rents were taken up to the payment of Publike dues, &c.

It sticks (I know) in your stomacks, that the English should be your Masters: yet to be united with England, and to be accounted as one Nation, I believe you would not think dishonourable. The territories of these two domini­ons God hath joyned and united; and truly I think that in former Ages it was the devil did disunite their hearts; of which division the Frenches taking advantage, struck in with the Scots: but what gain was it to Scotland to have their brothers in England their enemies? or did your joyning with France enrich Scotland? Did it make your Traffick to [Page 25]flourish, or put your Gentlemen into any happie state? or rather, did not your falling out with England put you into a quite contrary condition, and made you such, that you had almost hardly any thing else to brag of, but an ancient poverty, and invincible hatred against your brothers?

I know your common regret and condolement is, that Scotland was never so before as it is now, it having en­joyed a longer Series of Kings, without interruption of a Conquest, then any other kingdome in Europe, al­though their subdument was attempted by the Romanes, Picts, Danes, Saxons, and others, some whereof went tho­row with their designes in this your neighbour-nation of England. What then? though England hath had more change of Governours, so have fair women of suiters, even unto prostitution: and therefore, if besides the valour and prudence of the natives, any thing else, such as hills, bogs, heath, hunger, cold, or such-like, proceeding from the inac­cessibility and poverty of the Country, hath kept you till now a Virgin-nation, unexposed to the embraces of a for­raign Conquerour, you have nothing there to boast of more then others, whose valour being equal with yours, hath been oftner broke, for the want of these rugged assist­ances which do constantly attend you; a resistance made from an intrinsecal vertue, being much more commenda­ble, then a non-admittance because of outward impedi­ments: as a chaste woman at a Royal Court, is more praise­worthy then an encloystred Nun.

To be a free Nation, is to be subject to reasonable men: for, to conquer our own passions, and submit our selves to a just power, is the greatest freedom of any. To be left at random without Governours; to be in a continual state of war with your neighbours; or, like Cannibals, to be still devouring one another, without fear of Law, or terrour of [Page 26]punishment, is not to enjoy the liberty of a free Nation; for that permission to do wickedly, cannot be accounted li­berty in a humane society; nor is the freedom of such of the West-Indian Savages as remain unconquered, any great honour to them. After the Romane conquest of Greece, (which nevertheless was accounted (and that deservedly) a very warlike Nation) the Athenians and Lacedmonians, who before that time did constantly war against one another, lived then together in a very peaceable tranquillity, and were not ashamed of their subjection to the Romane Au­thority. What feuds have you had in Scotland, to the utter undoing of several great Families, even when you did re­pute your selves as free a people as any in the world? If now you would attain to the renown of being an honour­able Nation, strive with the English by way of emulation, who shall love other best, who shall shew most valour a­gainst a forraign invader, who shall be most judicious in Counsel, who shall give greatest encouragement to Tra­ding, and Merchandise it with most dexterity. You would have thought it a most glorious thing to have conquered England, although but to have done that in matter of the union of both Nations, which king James, for all his so­much-cried-up wisdom, could not get effectuated. What although the English have conquered the best part of Scot­land, if they have the same end before their eyes, which you would have had? Nor can I imagine, so that you joynt­ly become one Nation, that there is any greater matter in it, whether the English or you have been most instrumental in the means whereby that great work is accomplished, then whether with the right or left hand we shall eat, so the meat be good, and that we digest it well.

The Picts have been amongst you, and you expelled them: so were the Danes and Saxons, and you likewise [Page 27]overthrew them: the Romans have been there also, and you embraced their language: nor do I think it is for nought that you have these many ages past spoke the English tongue: they are now come to dwell amongst you, to ac­quaint you as well with their vertues, as with the dialect of their speech; and if they do it in somwhat more then equal terms, do not you nevertheless offer to repine there­at; the Sabins were in a better condition then ever, after their conjunction with the Romans, although the Sabins were the more ancient people, and that the Roman name swallowed up the glory of the other. You should not flatter your selves with fond conceits, and thereby incur the danger of losing the substance for the shadow; for to be such a Free-Nation as to be civil with authority above others, is a thing rather to be wisht for then expected by you: the soveraigne of the Planets hath removed his beams the further from you, and N [...]ptune fettered you with his watry shekels, that you may not harbour in your mind such ambitious thoughts: it is much if the whole Isle unanimously joyned, perform such magnanimous at­chievements.

Now for your further information in this parti­cular, I have thought it not unexpedient to send you with this Letter, another of that worthy gen­tleman N. LL. written to a gentleman in the coun­try touching the dissolution of the late Parliament, and the reasons thereof; wherein is shown you, how providence, many times, by several invisible degrees, brings forth her proposed intendments with those instruments, which seem to do the [Page 28]contrary; how many of the Parliament-men were content to self-center, and lay little designes for their own greatness, as if they had been called to the house to make up private breaches, and not publike ones: how private interests were carryed on by way of exchange: how incredibly long their delayes were in granting of the most just pe­titions: how they did spin out the time in the tos­sing of a feather even whilst they suffered the weightiest mattes of any to sink: how unjust they were in the courses taken for paying of Souldiers Debenters, and in their emitting of Surveyors for overvaluing and undervaluing of lands to their own private advantage, and palpable prejudice to the Commonwealth; and how by such means men of inconsiderable fortunes before they were mem­berfied, had afterwards raised themselves to huge and vast estates.

He shews us also in in the same Letter, how God hath singularly owned my Lord GENERAL and his ARMY, in crowning them by very remarkable suc­cesses, and how without the Army the Parliament had been exposed to the affronts of the multitude, as when by the Apprentices they were shut up within doors: he tells us how the liberty of the people being recovered by the sword, the Army [Page 29]ought to be the supervisor of those liberties, that no incroachment be permitted to be made there­upon: and that he who hath power to command, hath also power to guide, the one without the other being insignificant: he expresseth likewise, how the formerly-mentioned defects and abuses were to be redressed and remedied either by the Parliament, People, or Army: the first were so cunning they would not; the second so unskilful that they could not; and that therefore it was in­cumbent to the third like wise guardians to do it: and thus as arbitrators taking into their most seri­ous consideration the safety of the people, where­of themselves were a part, after they had percei­ved that neither addresses, reasons, proposals, nor petitions could prevaile any thing, they were forced to have recourse to that of the Physician ure & seca: furthermore he shews, to the end we startle not at the change of the Supream Authority from the name of Parliament to that of Counsel, that it is of as little effect, and signifieth no more then if a King or State should make some alteration in the titles of their credentials: being pleased hereto to subjoyn this Question, Whether it be bet­ter to be in slavery under the name of Liberty, or in liberty under the effects of slavery. All which, with many more, you in the said letter may peruse at leisure, without omit­ting that passage of his where he sayeth, that the Presbyte­rian is a Jesuite in a Geneva-cloak, onely some what more in­supportable.

Here without Latin, Greek, or any other language then plain English, have I delivered my mind unto you, and that barely, without searching so much as one testimony, or cit­ing any place in either sacred or humane writings; for that the truth seeks neither corners, nor embellishments; and that it is true which I have written; it is my firme opi­nion, in which I intend to continue, till with stronger argu­ments I be convinced, then as yet I have mentioned, or shall be able to produce, in asserting my Lord Generals pro­ceedings, and vindication of his Excellency and honour­able Councel of Officers.

These things (I hope) you will take in the better part, that they have proceeded from me who you know was never nor am a Papist; who am not, nor ever will be a Presbyte­rian: and who affects no Sectarianism; but loves to be such a sincere professors of the name of Christ, as to lay hold on faith in him, and accordingly regulate the whole course of my life thereby: and who besides those adjuncts will not decline this other one, that I am a compatriot of yours, and such a one (which I speak without either flattery or self-love) as hath ever from his yeers of discretion upwards, studyed the promoval of the honour of his native country, and prosecuted it to the outmost of his endeavours.

Your humble servant

In the title Page, next line but one before the imprinted, for added read premised. Pag. 2. line 21. Read Prolixity whereof. page 2. lin. 25. read all which,

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.