THE Wiltshire Rant; OR A NARRATIVE

Wherein the most unparallel'd Pro­phane Actings, Counterfeit Repentings, and evil Speakings of THOMAS WEBBE

Late pretended Minister of Langley Buriall, are discovered; the particulars whereof are set down in the following Page.

Also the Proceedings of those in Authority against him. With a Catalogue of his untruths in his Masse of malice, and Replies to sundry of them.

By Edw. Stokes Esq;.

ISAIAH 59. 4, 5, 6.

They trust in vanity and speak lies, they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity: They hatch Cockatrice eggs, and weave the Spiders Webb; He that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a Viper.

Their Webbs shall not become Garments, neither shall they cover them­selves with their works, their works are works of iniquity.

LONDON, Printed for Ralph Smith, at the Sign of the Bible in Cornhill near the Royall Exchange. 1652.


  • Thomas Webb late pretended Minister of Langley Buriall
    • Appears in Wilts like an Angel of Light. Page 3.
    • Obtains a Parsinage. ib.
    • Refuseth Tithes. ib.
    • Burieth his second wife. ib.
    • Makes himself sure to another mans wife. p. 4.
    • Commits Adultery with her by his own confession. ib.
    • Marrieth a third wife. ib.
    • Becomes a kinde of Pander to his own wife. p. 6.
    • Hath a man-wife, who is discovered. p. 7.
    • Fals at variance with Mistress M. W. another mans wife. p. 10.
    • Is accused of sundry horrid crimes and misdameanors, by Mistress M. W. and divers others. p. 11.
    • The Catalogue of the women he said he had lien withall. p. 12.
    • He getting the French-pox gave it his wife. ib.
    • Salmons blasphemous Letter. p. 13.
    • The particulars of his fained repentance. p. 14.
    • Maketh frequent Confessions of his unclean life to M. Stokes and others. p. 15.
    • His first Letter to M. Stokes, confessing his uncleannesse. p. 16.
    • His second Letter of Confession and repentance to Edw. Stokes, and William Shute Esquires. p. 17.
    • His third Letter to William Shute Esq. p. 19.
    • Preacheth against whorish women and the sinne of uncleannesse. ib.
    • Becomes friends with Mistress M. W. p. 21.
    • Scorns and contemns such as dislike his waies, and those to whom he confessed his unclean life. ib.
    • His companions. p. 21. His study. 22. Songs. p. 22.
    • Is become a lover of Musick and mixt dancing. ib.
    • Seeks the ruine of his own fellow-creatures, for relating his wick­ed word, and works. p. 23.
    • Is charged to have been taken in the act of Adultery with M. W. p. 29.
    • [Page] Is examined upon the information, which is upon Oath, and com­mitted to Goal. p. 33.
    • Rails against his accuser and the Justices. p. 34, 35.
    • Pretends a second repentance in Goal. p. 39.
    • His deliverance and return from Goal. p. 43.
    • The Articles of prophanenesse and scandall against him. p. 47.
    • Depositions to the Articles against him. p. 49. to 56.
    • His ejectment from the Parsonage of Langley B. p. 57.
    • His Masse of malice discovered. p. 58.
    • A Catalogue of his lies. p. 60, 61, &c.
    • Replies to some of his lies and self-invented blasphemies. p. 66, 67, 68, 69.
    • His blasphemy upon Record. p. 82.
    • His late progresse into, and return from Wilts. ib.



THou art here presented with a Narra­tive of one of the most saddest Stories that hath been related in this latter age, in which you have these three parti­culars:

First, A true Character of T. W. late Minister of Langley Buriall, his life and actions, according to his own Confessions, Letters and Accusations of his own dear fellow-creatures, whilst he continued Ranting upon the publique Stage of Wilts, with the proceedings of the Justices against him the said Webb.

Secondly, Thou hast laid before thee a Catalogue of Parson Webbs most notorious untruths dispersed in his Mass of malice against his Judge, the Justices of Peace, and his accusers and prosecutors, &c.

[Page] Thirdly, Thou hast divers of those untruths guarded with replies of truth tending to clear up the innocency of the most falsly accused E. S. from those fierce, foul and hell-invented aspersions laid to his charge by the malevo­lent mock-Parson T. W.

And the Narrative aforesaid is now made publique, First, To inform the world upon what grounds Tho. Webb was prosecuted and tried for his life in the County of Wilts; and wherefore he was ejected the Parsonage of L. B.

Secondly, To give a true Character of the most delu­sive Parson T. W. that others be not deceived by him, as many hundreds in Wilts have been, many of whom are bound to curse the day that ever they saw his fawning face, or heard his deceitfull tongue.

Thirdly, To clear up the innocency of those in Autho­rity, and to make it manifest that their proceedings against the said T. W. were neither unjust, illegall, nor malicious, as the Author of the Mass of malice and his Ranting gang give out.

Fourthly, To lay open the weaknesse, wickednesse and vanity of the Ranting principle and practice, that Wis­dom may be justified of her children, &c. and the mouth of ungodlinesse stopped.

To conclude with the Psalmist, Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies, Psal. 40. 4.

Reader, Thou art desired to take notice of two particu­lars, for the better understanding of the Author, in the en­suing Narrative.

First, That it is not his intention in any wise to cast re­proach or contempt upon any of the Godly, able Mini­sters [Page] of the Gospel, for such he accounts worthy of double honour, according to that 1 Tim. 5. 17. whom to despise, is to despise Jesus Christ, whose messengers they are, sent out to proclaim the grace and love of God to sinners, that they may be turned from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God; whose number the Lord increase for the glo­ry of his great Name.

But prophane, ignorant and scandalous Ministers, and such as take upon them the work of publique Ministers and Preachers, when never sent of the Lord, nor allowed or approved of men, nor any way gifted and qualified for so glorious a work, whose light is but darknesse, whose con­fidence is in the flesh, whose God is their belly, who glo­ry in their shame, who minde earthly things: Amongst which number you shall finde the painted sepulchre, and wandering starre T. W. with his most besotted faction and adherents: These are the mock-Parsons and Priests men­tioned and intended in the Narrative, and none other; and who in their best estate make but a fair shew in the flesh, to accomplish their wicked and most pernicious ends, which when obtained, their abominations appear to the great scandal of Religion, and the righteous waies and people of God.

The second particular is to let the Reader know that the said Narrative is the more dark and hard to be understood, because the names of many persons, principall actors in the Wiltshire Rant, and others deluded and abused by them, are at this time past over in silence, and not made publique, and that for these Reasons:

First, Many of them seem to repent of their folly and madnesse; and if their repentance prove true (and not like that of T. W.) their names shall be concealed for ever by this Author, otherwise they may appear with their actions in due time.

[Page] Secondly, Some of them have been but as weak instru­ments in the hands of the mighty Ranters, and therefore wholly past over in silence.

Thirdly, Some of them have promised to publish to the world the Wiltshire Rant more perfectly then the Author, and therefore at present their names are left out.

Fourthly, Some being in great esteem as yet amongst the godly people, the Author was unwilling to publish those words and papers which he received from others of the Ranting crue, concealing them in hopes that they will acquit themselves like men; and withall knowing that the Ranters, especially T. W. and his fellows, are like to the Cretians, who are alwaies liars, evil beasts, slow bel­lies: But they shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be manifest unto all men.


MAnifest it is that the Accuser of the Brethren, the old Serpent, the Lier from the beginning, could never have acted so much mischief in the world, if he had alwaies appeared in his own Shape: wherefore that he may the better accomplish his ends, he presents himself oftentimes in the shape of an Angel of Light, and so he teacheth all his angels or ministers to appear: So the false prophets of old, the deceivers of this age, and all hypocrites appear in Sheeps cloathing, with a form of godlinesse, with the Word of the Lord in their mouths; and although these persons know nothing as they ought to know, yet they assume all knowledge to themselves: And al­though they are possessed by an unclean spirit, yet sometime they cry up a clean conversation; and all this is because they would the more easily accomplish their corrupt interests, beguile unstable souls, and lead captive silly professors. Nay many of these are so much given up to beleeve lies, to deceive, and be deceived, that they are become pure in their own di [...]s: And as the man that would tell a lie so of­ten that at last he beleeved it to be a truth, so these men being practi­sers of evil, beleeve themselves and their cursed waies to be righte­ous, and that from a cursed principle which they hold, (viz.) There is nothing sin but what a man thinks to be so: This the wise man speaks of, Prov. 30. 11. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthinesse. A right character of our Wiltshire Ranters, who speak great swelling words of vanity, sport­ing themselves in their own deceivings, whilst they beguile unstable souls, and ly in wait to deceive the ignorant. But notwithstand­ing these painted Sepulchres are discovered by truth and time, which maketh manifest, and it will appear that whilst they assume all knowledge to themselves, and professe themselves wise, they be­come fools, and this is the great work of our blessed Saviour, to dis­cover [Page 2] cover and destroy the works of the devil, to take away the counter­fet painting and false covering cast upon foul and unclean hearts, and to lay them open to publique view: and certainly Jesus Christ will first or last bring every hidden work to light, the purest hypo­crite must be discovered, as well as the prophane person: and this dis­covery is made divers waies.

1. Sometimes by the terrible pangs of a guilty and accusing con­science, hastening and hurrying the soul towards desperation: in this condition many times the most secret and hidden works of darkness are brought to light; and now men vomit up their own shame and confesse with horror and astonishment of spirit, their former cursed and abominable waies and actions.

2. Sometimes by the falling out of those who have been brethren and co-partners in iniquity; this way many theeves are brought to the Gallows, and unclean persons to Justice: And to the honour of God, and to his praise be it recorded for ever; The Ranters were building their Babel of Prophanenesse and Community in Wiltshire, but were constrained to pluck it down with their own hands, they laying open each others wickednesse, having each other before the Magistrate, and accusing each other in the day of their fury and hor­rible confusions, as this Narrative will demonstrate.

3. Sometimes hypocrites and dissemblers to regain their lost cre­dit by a fained repentance, lay open the wickednesse, madnesse and folly of their own hearts and waies, and confesse their most secret and bosome lusts, and hidden corruptions, with promises of a new life, and never more to turn to folly; yet having eyes full of adul­tery, and that cannot cease from sin; they return with the Dog to the vomit, and with the Sow that was washed to the former wal­lowing in the mire: notwithstanding with the whore mentioned, Prov. 30. they wipe their mouths and say, they have done no wick­ednesse. These can sometimes speak purely, yet live filthily: They plead liberty, yet are the servants of sin. These are self-justitiaries, self-seekers, such as sacrifice to their own nets; lovers of them­selves and their own deluded followers: Despisers of those that are good, or do any waies protest against their witlesse, worthlesse whimseys and practises; yet through the just judgement of the Lord, these deluders, seducers and deceivers, are oftentimes brought to light, and are made (mauger their hearts) to demonstrate what they are in reality.

[Page 3] And what discovery the Ranting crew, even the most eminent of them have made of themselves and of each other, the ensuing narrative will sufficiently demonstrate, in which you have little be­sides their own Confessions, Letters and Accusations of each other, and that will sufficiently declare that their destruction and ruine is of themselves, and not from the Magistrate, as they most untruly give out, with a world of other notorious lies and scandals; (the fittest imployment of such a generation of people) which they heap upon all that disown their cursed principles and lascivious waies.

The most notorious Champion whereof that have caused the enemies of God to blaspheme, and made sad the hearts of the peo­ple of God,T. W. ap­pears like an Angel of light. and is become the greatest monument of scandall and reproach as ever appeared in North Wiltshire, is one Thomas Webbe late of Langley Buriall within the said County; who came as an Angel of Light into those parts, with a great form of godlinesse, in sheeps cloathing; whereby he gained with ease the affections of many, not only hypocrites, but sincere hearted Christians, who took him to be as he only seemed to be: As new things, so new or strange persons affect much: So new brooms sweep clean; this man seems to be of a blamelesse life and conversation: and being furnished with cunning and expression, makes use of it to his best advantage, and so rouls up and down,T. W. ob­tains a Parsonage till at last he takes up his rest at Langly aforesaid; and having obtained the parsonage there, he preached and practised for some short space, that none could spy out his wickednesse.

This young Stripling, having formerly made himself a Preacher, forsaking his lawfull Calling,T. W. refu­seth tithes. becomes a Parish Priest or Parson; and being setled to his content, and obtaining a Gleab worth 70lb per annum, he cunningly, to increase his fame, refused the Tithes, protesting against them as an unjust Tax; by which means he ob­tains the good will of divers of the most ignorant parishioners, and others lookt upon him as a consciencious man, not knowing what he had been, nor what he was.

Not long after his settlement he buries his second wife at Langley aforesaid;T. W. buri­eth his se­cond wife. who had not lain many daies in the grave, but he the said Thomas Webbe became so far in love with a certain Gentlewo­man (notwithstanding her husband was then and there living) insomuch that he engageth himself to be a faithfull friend and [Page 4] servant unto her,T. W. makes himself sure to another mans wife. T. W. com­mits adultery by his own confession. not to marry with, or make use of any other wo­man besides her self; and thereupon he had (as he saith) divers times carnal knowledge of, and fellowship with her.

But as he said conscience fled in his face, and would not suffer him to continue this vile course: But its rather thought one woman was not sufficient to satisfie his brutish lust.

And therefore in a short time he marries a modest sober young woman,T. W. marri­eth his third wife. without the consent and to the great grief of her friends; whereupon a great difference grows between the two former lust­full lovers; the Parson is charged with perfidiousnesse and breach of promise, but he being grown a cunning Parish Priest, hath a salve ready to cure this sore, gives satisfaction by a new Engagement; which made good that saying of his, That there's no Heaven but wo­men, nor no hell save Marriage: So that this late Marriage prevents not the rage of lust in either. But notwithstanding that so many times a week are set apart for the satisfying of the flesh. And now any reasonable creature would think that the former Marriage, and the late agreement would have contented both parties. But the u­nion (in wickednesse) is not yet near enough; And therefore about March 1650. two houses being too many, and at too great a distance for such choice lovers: Both families are united in one, and Thomas Webbe removes, the former distance being almost a slight shot, was too farre to strike whilest the iron is hot; neither could wicked­nesse be acted so covertly, nor kept so closely in many meetings, (and it was not yet time to professe their principles publiquely to the world.) Here modesty commands the Author in silence to pass over many particulars of uncleannesse confessed by the said Thomas Webbe in the time of his pretended Repentance and Reforma­tion.

Well, now the famous families are united, and the uniters won­derfully well pleased, and none displeased. The Patron and the Par­sons wife rejoice, being in hopes to enjoy each others love more constantly then formerly: But the devout Parson and his co-partner in wickednesse, having brought their Swine to so fair a market, re­solve to eat no such flesh; nor to be so prophane or silly as to delight themselves with lawfull things; leaving that to those that know not their liberty; and to nice and weak-sighted Pharisees (as they term those that dare not, will not, cannot, run with them into the same excesse of Riot) And let those deluded souls feed their fancies [Page 5] with vain hopes or empty husks as long as they please, all's one to these endeared lovers, who have attained to the height of humane society, and Christian (alias diabolicall) liberty, and to so much perfection as to know their fellow-creatures from other cattell. 'Tis not for servants to pry into their Masters nor Mistrisses secrets, nor to meddle with their meat. Mixt Governours of a mixt family ha­ving the highest knowledge and deepest understanding, are fittest to bear Rule, and to rule the rest: Wherefore no pitty nor praise shall attend the forlorn hope of the P. and Parsons wife, who are ordain­ed to stand as Ciphers, or at best as servants, to stand still or wait, whilst those who are more spiritually wicked, give up themselves to chambring and wantonness.

Well, Thomas Webbe being a Parson of the last Edition, and ha­ving undertaken a great charge, laies about him how to manage all his affairs, as becomes a man of so excellent parts and calling, and hold out to the end; which that he may be able to do, and come off with credit, the sweet draughts of an Independent heat, the most coroborating cordials, the fattest morsels, and the most delicate fare is provided for his sweet tooth (which never goes alone) and good reason, for hereby he is made able to give content to his fel­low Creature, and to answer all scruples that might arise against him from or by means of any pretended relation, or formall union, such as Ranters term marriage to be.

For you are to understand that ere a long time is past over, even before this pious (or rather impious) Parish Priest, had taken his fill of lust; although the Gentlewomans husband remains conten­ted, yet the Parsons wife being more sensible, begins to grumble, and grows passionate, and manifests much trouble; fearing least her husband Thomas Webbe (notwithstanding his seeming sanctity) would prove an unclean Parson. Hereupon the slipshood Priest is put to his trumps; yet he having taken so many degrees in wicked­nesse, resolves to answer and silence this case of conscience also; and therefore summons all his wits together, and when he findes them all too shallow, he cals to his councell his fellow-creature, who be­ing of better understanding, and of riper wit then himself (two heads being better then one) they make up and contrive a silencing argument to satisfie and content this complaining Spirit of the poor woman.

Hereupon a cunning and devillish plot is contrived, for they ap­prehend [Page 6] action to be more prevalent then argument, to make her un­derstand her liberty and the Ranters true doctrine.

And therefore in the first place the Parsons wife is instructed in the lawfulnesse of making use of any other man (setting relation aside) whom she could most affect: And further she is taught that God hath not tied up mankinde from those injoyments which are left free to the beasts of the field, &c.

From this doctrine arise many uses, but the use which is insisted upon is an use of examination; the Parsons wife is strictly exami­ned by Webbs fellow Creature, Whom she loved best, or whom she could love most besides her husband? The woman being prest ex­ceedingly upon this point, and being (as is supposed) ignorant of the depths of Satan, and not knowing that there was a hook under the Bait, confesseth, that next to her husband she could most affect such a man, naming a lusty young man, who lived not far from Langley, and one who made often resort thither, and was in great esteem with the fellow-Creatures, and therefore as right as a gun (and as pat to the purpose as might be) to accomplish the design in hand, which was to cure the rage of jealousie in one, and to set two fellow-Creatures at the more liberty and freedom; and good reason that one womans tongue should be silent, whilst two consciences were rockt asleep in the cradle of lust made after the Ranting mode.

But secondly,T. W. a kinde of Pander to his own wife. There is a time and place appointed. The time is whilst Thomas Webbe is Preaching in the publique Congregation, and therefore most likely to be on the Lords day: and the place is near the Congregation. At this time and in this place, by the great industry and contrivance of Webbe and his fellow Creatures, the young man aforesaid, and the Parsons wife meet, where no time is to be lost, and therefore whilst Webbe is Preaching in the Church, others of his fellow Creatures, whom he had taught to live above Ordinances, are practising their higher principles at home; and to that purpose a sumptuous bed is perfumed and well warmed (to prevent danger) and the young man with the Parsons wife, are brought into the said bed, and the backwardnesse of the woman is spurred forward by the subtile perswasions of the fellow Creatures; and her modesty overpowred by the immodesty of the others, so that ere the preachment is done in the Church, the practice is ef­fected in the house, and in bed these persons are laid, and then the [Page 7] Parson is sent for by his fellow Creatures, who hastily and chier­fully comes into the said chamber, where he perceives (as he had before plotted) his wife in bed with the young man; at which sight Webbe (as one transported) in stead of a sharp reproof or other dislike, brings out of his Priestly budget, this reverend grave salute; Well said T, (saith he, naming the young man) is this your liberty? well done wife, well done, pray God blesse you together, or to that effect: and so departed the chamber, having his mouth filled with laughter, and his heart with confidence, that he had laid his wifes tongue as still as his own conscience: And though (thinks he) I am with my sweet and lovely Mistress, and fellow Creatures early and late, night and day, taking my fill in dalliance and fleshly delight, yet my wife cannot clamour; if she be jealous, yet she must say nothing, least I cast this in her dish: Oh unheard of wickednesse! Oh pretty prophane Preacher! Art thou he that livest in the Spirit? that hast attained to a higher light? that art raised up against a time of Re­formation, to help forward the work? Art thou more wise, more holy, more knowing then the Bishops, and the Episcopal Preachers? Then the Presbyterian and Independent Ministers, or rather, art thou not altogether notwithstanding like a deceitfull Idol? Thou art guil­ded with godlinesse I say: Art thou not altogether in the flesh? Is not the light that is in thee darknesse? Art thou not raised up of the devil to bring an evil report upon the work of Reformation? Do not the Episcopalians hate thy waies in wickednesse? Do not the Presbyterians hear of thy fame, or rather infamy, and harden them­selves against the Independants amongst whom thou hast, to their grief been numbred? And yet thou continuest amongst strangers as a cheater amongst true men, of whom they are not aware; who on­ly with the ranting crue take thee to be some great one: yet God hath opened thy painted Sepulcher in Wilts, and all the godly fly from thy infection.

But to go on, leaving for a time this L. Parson with his female fellow Creatures, as full of security and content, as of lust and un­cleannesse. The Reader is to take another relation along with him,T. W. his man wife discover'd. that so he may know this goodly Preacher. Wherefore note that Webbs most principall favourite, and greatest choicest associate in the whole Country; for one of his own Sex, was one J O. a comely young man, and a man of a seeming sober behaviour, even as Webbe himself, of whom a stranger cannot but say, or at least think, that [Page 8] butter would not melt in his mouth (as we use to say) yet here you will perceive, as the Proverb is, The still Sow eats all the draught. This man with his Cob-webb seeming sobriety, and unclean inside, is taken by Tho. Webbe, as men use to take their wives, For better for worse: So I say, this man is honoured with the title of Webbs wife, for so he cals him, My wife O; and O owns Webb for a hus­band; and now where ever they come, 'tis my wife O, and my husband Webb. True it is, Webb is become a great lover of Musick, which to prophane hearts is an in-let to lust: but whether ever he plaied any hellish tune with his Organ or Church musick yea or no, is not yet discovered: But this is discovered, that both the man and the man-wife were in other things brethren in iniquity, and have brought more shame upon the professors of the Gospel, then all the hypocrites and whore mongers of this later age.

This J. O. is of an honest Stock and Parentage and lived in his Country in good esteem, and with good repute, till such time as he was all wood and Married to this holy unholy Parish-Parson, Tho. Webb. But now Cat after kinde, he soon becomes Ranting ripe, and enters with the first upon the Stage, publickly to act what he had privatly learnt from husband Webb: Whereupon he shakes hands with, and bids farwell to his naturall affection (the first step towards the perfection of Ranters) he forsakes his own lawfull wife, dwel­ling, and children, and Country to boot; and takes to himself as a Companion and Traveller, a light Maid forsooth, being his neigh­bours daughter, which he takes without parents consent, as his fel­low creature; and away he goeth: and as Webbe before, so Mr O. now travels into other Countries, to gain credit and esteem, which in his own Country was totally extinct. And the better to do this, Webbe makes him a Preacher before he goeth; for Webbe is most eminent this way, to teach men how to use the tongue; so as it may not prejudice the principle or the practice of their purely im­pure sect, or hinder the building of their R. Babel.

Well into Kent and into the Isle of Shepy there these travellers go: O. appears there like a great new light, though no bigger then a farthing candel, grows into esteem with men of quality, and with the good people in those parts becomes a most singular Preacher there: and gains a living or some other stipend for his said Preach­ing: but long he continues not there, ere all the fat fals into the fire, and the two Lovers fall at variance; and so through the righ­teous [Page 9] judgement of God, the Travellers return, the woman to her Parents, and O to his Wife and family, crying shame on his shame­full progresse, and pretending to the Authour great sorrow; and hath promised to lay open the pernitious waies of the Ranting crew. Wherefore no more of this, but to conclude this sad story with these Queries.

1. Whether J. O. aforesaid being an ingenuous young man, was not a fit piece of the Creation, to be a wife for T. Webbe the Parson?

2. Whether the said Webbe be not a man of a thousand to make a Parish Parson, and publique Preacher in this time of Refor­mation?

3. Whether all the godly people in Wiltshire ought not to admire the singular parts and gifts of this famous non-such Parson, as the happiness of such as injoy him?

4. Whether they ought not to be recommended amongst those that are eminent lovers of Liberty and Christianity, that subscribe a Certificate of Webbs preachings and actings, to help him to prefer­ment for the future in a strange place?

But now to return and review this famous mock-Parson, with his female fellow-Creatures, you may finde him enjoying his liberty with all quietnesse and content, and for a time without check or controul swimming down the stream of lust. Yet the hand of Ju­stice is pleased sometimes to fall upon, and to affrighten, even those that are lulled asleep in all carnall security, and become senslesse in their lusts; and so it happens to the unhappy Parson, who thought erst while that he had for ever silenced his wives tongue, and his own conscience, but now findes himself deluded: what ever his conscience doth, yet his wife grumbles afresh, and begins to look sad upon the businesse, and to take to heart her husbands familiarity with his fellow-Creatures; and so much is the poor woman per­plexed with their doings, that she seems willing to chuse death at any hand, rather then her husband should continue in the tents of wickednesse: whereupon Webbe is advised to have a care of his wife, and to remove her from the aforementioned family, otherwise evil would come of it. Well, the Parson seeing no other remedy pre­pares himself for a journey, and takes his wife with him; a great kindnesse, that a man of his principle could so far humble himself and deny himself, as to leave for a while his fellow Creature, and [Page 10] cleave to his wife, but Patience perforce is a medicine for a mad Dog. the Cynicall Parson is necessitated hereunto, for fear of, and to pre­vent a worse inconvenience: But it's not long ere Webbe returns in hopes to be accounted a white boy, as formerly, and to be recei­ved as in times of Yore;T. W. fals at variance with Mi­stress M. W. but he is deceived in his expectation: He is to give an account of his idle journey, of his pretended kindnesse to a simple thing call'd a Wife; of going out and returning in, as if he were at his own dispose; and so high are these misdemeanours stretch; that the silly Parson is at his wits end; for being an English man (and more a Parson) he goes better led then drove; he answers his fellow Creature somewhat sutable to her furious spirit, and pre­tends more love to his wife (contrary to his former promise or the rule of Ranting) which was crime enough: but 'tis an ill winde blows no body good, the poor woman is like to enjoy better times then formerly, whilst on the other side the fellow Creature acts the part of jealousie even to distraction, pretending she would be her own executioner, and lay violent hands on her self: Yet still the breach grows wider, and the difference greater; that God who sets bounds to the raging sea, sets bounds also to the raging lusts of wicked persons. The pitifull Parson is in a peck of troubles; whilst things are thus disjointed, he well knew he was the common table talk of the Country, that the godly people grieved for him and were ashamed of him, that the prophane made him their scorn and reproach, and with the same wounded through his sides. All that appeared for Religion or Righteousnesse in those parts; therefore now the man resolves upon another way, and though his fellow Creature causeth the P. to break the Parsons head, yet afterwards she brings him a plaister, in hopes to reclaim him; yet he resolves to set up his flag of defiance against his own dear fellow-Creature: [Ranters are seldom long true to themselves or principles:] neither her strikings or stroakings, nor frowns, nor flatteries, nor threats, nor fawnings, shall move him to hearken to her again: So that the house is so foul, and the much stirring hath caused so great a stink, that the housholders must part, P. W. to his Parsonage, and the rest, Gent. as you were.

Now the mock-Parson bethinks himself how to regain his lost Credit with the good people, and such as are enemies to the Ranting way; and to that purpose pretends a sight and sense of his sin; cries out also upon the lewdnesse of his fellow-Creature. She also ringing [Page 11] a Langley peal of Webbs wickednesse and uncleannesse, both which follow in order briefly.

The spirit of a man seems to possesse the hatefull hearts of the late lustfull lovers; and as great is the present hate, as the former love, so that the Magistrates are complained to, and called upon to hear the businesse; whereupon a day and place is appointed, where two of the next Justices meet (viz.) Mr Stokes and Mr Shute.

But before the meeting, Mr Stokes receives these ensuing lines, on the behalf of Parson Webb.

Sir, I have something to declare unto you, which though I know not how to speak for my self, yet I can hartily beg you for my friend poor Tho. Webbe, which his fall it is true is exceeding great; and by himself greatly lamented, and to my knowledge so exceedingly beset by a pernitious woman, and her perfidious bloudy company, that did you know the particulars you would take her to be the only monster of that Sex: And I hear you go anon where you will have the hearing of it; for Gods love have no prejudice against him for former failings acted by him: but answer the desires of an insatiable woman in her own folly, and you shall a thousand times engage, &c.

Fra. Bayliff.

Well the time appointed is come, the Justices met, and many Country people of all sorts are come together to see these rare per­sons, and to be informed in the truth of things: But by reason one of the Justices could not stay, there was nothing done as to Justice that day, only the parties charged each other with horrid crimes and misde meanours; and Webb confesseth his folly and naughtinesse in one kinde, denying it in another, Preaching a Billingsgate Ser­mon, as if he had met with all the Oister wives at once, but was an­swered in his own kinde; and so the company was dismist, only a­nother day afterwards appointed for a hearing, which was the se­cond day of Sept. 1650. at Chippenham, where the aforesaid Justi­ces met; where Mistris Mary White and divers others appear, and tender upon oath to prove against the prophane Parson these high crimes and misdemeanors following.T. W. ac­cused by Mistress W. and o­thers.

The Information of Elizabeth Briscoe, taken against Tho. Webbe Clerk, the second of September 1650. before Edward Stokes and William Shute Esquires.

[Page 12] She informeth, That she hath heard the said Tho. Webbe say often times within this half year, upon some private discourse in her Ma­sters house, That Moses was a Conjurer, and that Christ was a decei­ver of the people: And that Preaching and lying was both alike unto him. And further saith, That when Lieutenant Col. Lilborn was upon his Triall, the said Webbe drank a health to the counfounding of the Parliament, and then said they were Rogues and Devils.

And further she the Informant saith, That the said Webbe said (in a boasting way) That he had lain with six women; and affirmed, that he could lye with any woman except his own mother: and then he na­med the women, which he had lain withall, (viz.) with two Captains wives at Bristol, Mistress R. of Bathe, the wife of Cap­tain M. his Aunt D. of Batheston, and with a Majors wife at London.

And further she this Informant heard the said Webbe say, That he had lain with one S. C. of Slaughtenford, and that she had given him the French-pox, and he gave it to his wife.

  • To this foul Charge Mrs White also subscribes her Name at large.
  • Elizabeth Briscoe. I Mary White do testifie the same.

The Information of William Lewis Yeoman, and Edith his wife, taken as aforesaid, &c.

William Lewis saith, That about the midst of May last, on a Sun­day in the afternoon, Tho. Webbe Minister of Langley was asleep in the said William Lewis his Chamber, when the Sermon Bell was tolling, and then he awaking him told him, that there was a great number of people come to hear him: Whereunto he then answered, Ah poor fools, they be come to sit and gape upon me whilst I tell them lies. And then further said, Now Preaching and lying are to me both one case: and also Edith Lewis, wife of the said William, was then in hearing of these words so spoken by the said Webb, as aforesaid, who verrifieth the same.

  • William
  • Lewis.
    • Edith

The Information of Anne Brewer, wife of John Brewer of Cor­sham, taken as aforesaid.

Who Informeth, That about Whitsuntide last, she heard Mistress [Page 13] Mary White tax Thomas Webb concerning the words that he had formerly spoken unto her, which were, That Moses was a Conju­rer, and that Christ was a Deceiver of the people; which he did not deny; but said, If Mistress White would swear it, he would forswear it: and then also said, That Preaching and lying were both one case unto him.

And then Mistress White further charged him that he did about the time that Lieutenant Col. Lilborn was upon his Trial, drink a health to the Confusion of the Parliament; whereunto he replied also, That he would forswear that ever he drank any such health.

Anne Brewer.

Besides all this, Mistress W. chargeth the said Parson to have en­deavoured to force her Chastity, and strive to Ravish her in her hus­bands house: And withall she produceth two other female crea­tures of the same house (viz.) a married woman, and her own maid-servant; who would have sworn that the pretious Parson would have committed uncleannesse with them, and had attempted the same oftentimes. Withall the said Mistress White chargeth the Par­son and fellow-creature to be a great Ranter; and to prove this, she produceth this most horrid and blasphemous Letter, written to him from one Salmon, the Contents whereof followeth.

My own heart bloud, from whom I daily receive life and being, in whom my eternall freedom is perfected, to whom is ascribed now and for ever, Amen.

Thou art the Webb of my own spinning, I have laboured to bring them forth in this glorious form that thou now livest; let me cloath my self with the Webb of my own travel. My dear thou art to me as a gar­ment of Needlework, I wear thee as my choicest robes of Royalty; be­cause thou art as a vesture upon me, winde nor weather affright me not; the Northren gales and Borean blasts of cruelty, I know cannot pierce through thee, my garment of salvation. Well, to be brief, I know, my heart, thou art not altogether unascertained of my present estate as ap­pears by yours lately received. My love, thy patheticall lines, I did with much tendernesse accept, and I shall never forget thy love therein manifested. Cop, my, thy own hart is gone to London; No other note from the Vulgar but hanging at least for him. The last week five one a Souldier was burnt through the tongue for a businesse of the same nature. [Page 14] The glory of these things possesseth multitudes both in City and Country, notwithstanding all their cruelty. For my own part I finde my Genius much elevated and heghtened, to look the worst of casualties in the face, that can succeed these things: My condition outwardly is very poor, when lying here at great expences, yet am I made not to care for the future, although sometimes I scarce know over night how I shall be pro­vided for on the morrow. Well, what my Titular Angel, the Gardian Genius will do with this handfull of earth, I know not, neither am at all troubled, but that if I live, my love to thee; if I die, I die to thee: So that whether living or dying I am

thy To. Salmon.

Ten thousand salutes, alias holy kisses to thy dear wife, with whom is my heart; my tender respects to thy Ʋncle, my Father, his Spouse, my beloved, my dear love to Mary your maid: Eternal plagues consume you all, rot, sink and damn your bodies and souls into devouring fire, where none but those that walk uprightly can enter. Sirs, I wish you damnable well, because I dearly love you; the Lord grant we may know the worth of hell, that we may for ever scorn heaven: For my own part I am ascended far above all heavens, yet I fill all things, and laugh in my sleeve to think whats coming: well I say no more, but farwel.

From my Pallace of Royal Majesty, in the last year of the reign of the beast, and in the day wherein the neast of all hearts are ripening as fast as possible may be.

Well, you see what the Charge is, and by whom laid against the prophane Parson; not by the Justices, not by such as were enemies by profession, but by his own converts, his endeered lovers, and fellow-creatures; these are they that vomit the Spider out of the Webb, and spread the venome of its poyson in publique, which be­fore lay private amongst the fraternity.

Yet to all this the Parson pleads the general issue, Not guilty, especially not in manner and form as is alleadged; and therefore he gives the special matter in evidence; and by a fained repentance (as afterwards will appear) he confesseth his notorious wicked­nesse and uncleannesse, and promiseth amendment for the fu­ture.

This repentance of Webbs appears in these particulars.

1 First, By his seeming humiliation.

[Page 15] Secondly, By his Confessions to persons wholly averse to the 2 cursed principles and practices of the Ranting way.

Thirdly, By Letters under his own hand writing.3

1. As for his Humiliation 'twas wonderfull to behold the head of this Bulrush to hang so low; his countenance is changed, his looks more lamentable, then lustfull; the extraordinary poudring of his head and frizling of his hair, and other inticements to lust and wantonnesse (his former every daies garb) is now wholly laid by, and in all things he now appears as at the first, Poor Tho. Webb, and not like the proud and insolent Parson of Langley; and it's remar­kable, how at the first meeting of the Justices, he smote himself upon the breast, and threw himself upon the ground before many witnesses, seeming exceedingly to lament his unclean life.

2.T. W. con­fesseth his unclean life. His Confessions were wonderfull, both to Mr Stokes and di­vers others, to whom he confessed, that he had frequently commit­ted folly and uncleannesse, even ever since the death of his second wife; and that he had committed the detestable sin of uncleanness so often in one day, that he was glad when he could take the Air. And further before many witnesses confessed, that the child which the Gentlewoman was then great withall, was of his own beget­ting; naming the time when, and the place where it was by him so begotten; and that he never forc't her, neither needed he to do so, but that alwaies she tempted him to commit the sin of unclean­nesse with her: And further the said Webb alledged that Mistress W. would have hid him for some time in a private place in her hus­bands house, as her own closet, and then make the Parsons wife, and the world believe that Webbe was gone beyond sea, whilst in the mean time a stock of money is providing for such a journey, that they might go both together; with a world of other things of a vile nature, which for brevities sake I passe over.

3. The Letters under his own hand writing follow, which are upon record, and in the custody of Mr Stokes, and so not to be deni­ed or forsworn by the Parson, or any others of the Ranting Knights of the Post.

To the Worshipfull Edw. Stokes Esq. and Justice of the Peace for this County: Present.

Dear Sir,

PRay give me leave to expresse my whole self unto you,T. W. his first Let­ter to M. Stokes, confessing his un­cleannesse. which by these in brief I shall do in the name of a true Christian, one who sincerely loves the Lord Jesus Christ: It's well known to our loving and wise God, that evil that hath been committed by me, which I cannot chuse but confesse and acknowledge, for my sin is alwaies before me, and for the same I heartily wish my self accursed for the pretious Gospels sake which is blasphemed by it, and truly amongst all my trouble, that is the only thing that troubles me; for the rest I am innocent, and God himself knows they never entered into my thoughts: But for that, O my sinne which I have committed against my Lord and mercifull God, and all good men, I am guilty; I have made the members of Christ the members of an harlot, and God hath suffered the strange and adulterous woman to lead my poor simple spirit captive, though she stand like a bold and impudent woman in the justification of her self: O look for a most sad and fearfull coming of the Lords just judgement and vengeance upon her. Dear Sir, I professe to you my heart is smitten within me, for my sin is great, and lies very heavy and sore upon me; and nothing troubles me but that: as for the present proceedings against me since I knew my self free, and that it's because God hath called me home from the waies of an adulterous woman, though they should touch my life, yet I blesse God that I am made able to slight them, and to be very carelesse of them, on­ly I shall do what in me lies to defend my self from them: And in order thereunto, whilst I am at London, I shall advise with some friend about it, and so if our wise God so order it, I shall return and appear before you at the time appointed, which is this day fortnight, as I understand, humbly thanking you that you would grant a longer time, and withall I humbly intreat you to stand my friend as to let nothing be acted against me in my absence. I know the way of an unsatiable woman is to ruine and to have the life of one whom they cannot mold to their Lusts. And for my part, if she doth ruine me, as that is her intentions, I shall glory in for greater would my misery have been, if I should have continued in the waies of her uncleannesse. O, dear Sir, it's impossible almost to be­lieve the many temptations she hath followed me withall, and the many devises she hath used ever since the difference, to bring me over to her self again: But O let me be accursed, and O that the earth might swal­low [Page 17] me up alive, rather then I should hearken to her again. Dear Sir, Your neighbour Uncles doth me much wrong, and I am forced to write in an unusual manner to him: I beseech you to desire him to desist and for­bear giving out such scandalous and false things against me as he doth: I know he cannot but see into the malicious proceedings that are against me, as by his own words to me he did acknowledge; yet with them he takes parties, and he and his son in law Crook doth very much wrong and abuse me, whereas if they loved the Gospel which they would professe, they would be silent. Therefore I beseech you, though not for my sake, yet for the Gospels sake desire him to forbear: and truly in equity, though my foot hath slipped and I have sinned against God, yet none ought to de­vide me, and speak reproachfully of me, especially such who would be thought professors of the Gospel, and so much the more that God hath touched my heart and made it very sensible of its sin. Thus dear Sir, in faithfulnesse and truth I have made you acquainted with my present con­dition, the truth of which I hope God will make good by my life and con­versation; which is the prayers of him who is,

Sept, 2d 1650. Your true friend and servant
Tho. Webbe.

For the Worshipfull Edw. Stokes and William Shute Esquires, and Justices of Peace for this County: Present.


UNderstanding by my neighbour Brumham that the meeting was put off till Munday come fortnight,T. W. se­cond Let­ter to M. Stokes, and M. Shute, confessing his un­clean life. I took the liberty this day to go towards London, for that my father lieth very sick and weak, and to see him will be great satisfaction to me. As touching the businesse de­pending before your Worships, when you and others have had a full and clear hearing of it, and that the tales of both are heard, it will appear to proceed from the height of malice, and that its but the fruit of an un­satiable womans malice: For the question is thus to be stated, and the businesse is thus to be considered (viz.) There hath been a great famili­arity and friendship between Mistress White and I, till it was within this three or four moneths, in which time we have both committed a great evil, of which it pleased God to make me sensible; whereupon I began to forsake, and my spirit grew much troubled, and estranged my self from Mistress White; which she perceiving, and having attempted allwaies and means to keep me, but finding all to be in vain, she now pro­ceeds in this way against me; the truth of which our wise and al-knowing [Page 18] God knows, and which all impartial and unbiassed judgements cannot but see: for were there truth in what they say, which there is not, yet for as much as they have for a long time concealed it; and notwithstand­ing none was so great and so much in her favour as I was, so long as God gave me over to be one with her in iniquity, it appear to be but malice: Much more might be said to prove that it proceeds to be from malice; they in telling their own tale bewray themselves, as witnesse M. White, who what he swore to the Jurors, as the Jurors will testify upon oath, when called thereto, he denied before you; nay though Un­cles was by him, and did justifie before him. A fuller relation of the whole businesse between Mistress White and I, ye shall hear upon the day appointed, wherein I shall answer for my self, and which I have provided to passe through the presse into the publique. And if it be the will of God, that through the malice of a strange woman I must suffer, I dare not question my God for it, it is the just wages of sin. O that vile thing that hath been committed between us, and that it will be made very good to me; for I blesse my God for it, who hath delivered my poor soul out of her hands, for greater would have been my wo and misery, if I should have continued and have gone on with her in our evil courses, then now she can make me by all her false and malicious cour­ses against me; and therefore rejoyce that God hath called me home, and not suffered me to go on in the waies of sin continually, which makes me very much to slight and to be carelesse of what ever she can do against me; and I much rejoyce in my present sufferings, being fully assured, and it's that which I can testifie to the whole world, that my present suf­ferings are because I will no longer serve the filthy lusts and desires of the flesh, and this is no new and strange thing, Solomon speaks often of it, By the means of a whorish woman A man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adultresse seeks for the precious life. Well, I had rather die through her malice, then in her wickednesse; and I blesse my God for it, I speak it unfainedly, that I had rather beg my bread from door to door, and end my daies in sorrow, then to sit down with her, and serve the lusts and desires of the flesh as I have done: and so the will of my God be done, and according to the time appointed, I hope I shall be come down from London, and shall wait upon your worships. This accompt I thought good to give you, that so it should not be thought by any, that I had withdrawn my self out of fear, and for being guilty, a thing which my very adversaries will be very ready to give out: No, I bless my God for it, that as to those things which they charge me withall, I am free [Page 19] from them all, my enemies themselves being judges, if they will speak but the truth: However the Lord will judge between us, and to his judgement I refer my self, and am no waies afraid what they can do un­to me: Now I shall rejoyce, for I account it's better to suffer by sin, and forsaking the way of uncleannesse, then it is to suffer in sin and in the way of uncleannesse. O bepity that woman, for there is a most fearfull coming of the Lords vengeance and judgement upon her. Gent. I am

Your most humble servant, Tho. Webbe.

Both the aforesaid Letters were received by the said Justices, Septemb. 2. 1650.

To the Worshipfull William Shute Esq. this.

Worthy Sir,

ACcording to my promise I have been with M.T. W. his third Let­ter to Mr Shute. Stokes, to whom I have given satisfaction, as by our tithingman I have sent M. White word more then once or twice, but he cannot tell how to leave his old way of contention: and therefore out of a malicious spirit he troubles your Worship, seeking thereby to make you an instrument to execute the base and wicked desires of his wife and her wicked confedera­cy: But I know not what the will of our wise God is to do with me; I have no heart to stir, but to sit still and see his salvation which he will work for me, and patiently take his present hand that is upon me; for it's just, and I have deservedit by my great folly, wherein with that wo­man M. W. I have caused the name of Christ to be evil spoken of, and his dear Saints reproached, for which the Lord give us both hearts to be truly humbled, and to repent with a repentance that may never be re­pented of, which is truly the hearty prayers of him who is: worthy Sir,

Your Worships most faithfull friend and servant, Tho. Webbe.

Nay,T. W. preacheth against whorish women, &c. besides all the foregoing signs and tokens of repentance, the Parson proceeds further, and desires all persons to take warning by him to beware of a whorish woman; and not only was this ad­vice to single persons or to persons in private; but his zeal carrieth him farther even into the pulpit, where in the face of the whole Congregation at Langley aforesaid he Preached upon that Text [Page 20] mentioned, Proverbs 6. 26. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a morcell of bread, and the adulteress seeketh for the precious life. From whence he admonished his Auditory to beware of such persons; telling them that Solomon was experienced that the adul­terous woman tended to the ruine of all those that followed them, and likewise (though he was no Solomon) yet he brought in his own experience; and by that also urged the Parishioners not to follow the way of uncleannesse with such, as he had done, &c.

Upon the view of the aforesaid Humiliation, Confessions and Letters, being acted to the very life (by this Jugling Parson) many were in expectation of a great change, and began to think he was real, and so truly sensible and sorrowfull for his evil and unclean life, and therefore he was received again into favour amongst many good people, who exceedingly rejoyced in his returning, who were but lately grieving for his Ranting and wickednesse.

Neither can his seeming repentance be parallel'd by any Converts, though sincerely returning home to God, especially in the former part and outward appearances: But as the joy of the hypocrite is short, so the repenting of wicked and unclean hearts, is but as the crack­ling of thorns under the pot; as lightning fils the room with light, but suddenly leaves it as dark as formerly; or as the morning dew dried up with the rising sun; or as the early summer-fruit is soon ripe and soon rotten; so is the repenting noise of the Ranting Parson, whose crackling is extinguisht with the fire of lust; the lightning leaves the room of his prophane heart, and darkness keeps possession there; the dew is dried up through the rising up of L. flames; and Rottennesse seaseth the early fruit of his seeming repentance. Solo­mon saith truly, Pro. 27. 8. As a bird wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place, &c. Was not this man as a silly bird to wander from his place? from his lawfull calling? from the wife of his bosome? from his pretended purity, to lay the egs of his filthinesse in other birds nests? But because he could act any part on the devils stage; he imitates the Cuckoe also, the better to increase a generation of a more pure strain then are produced by lawfull marriage.

And then see how farre he wanders in a counterfeit repentance: one would have thought his own tongue had raised so many Bul­warks against his own self, that it was altogether unpossible for him any more to return again into his wonted folly or way of wicked­nesse, [Page 21] or to have familiarity with his fellow-creature any more for ever.

But it hath been the usuall practice of these vain persons to give the most cursed titles to each other, that ever the world practised, or the devil invented, as Toad, Toads brood, Toads Spane, Witch, Devils brood, and such like, with most horrible cursing each other, like mad Bedlams or Devils incarnate. See Salmons Letter before recited to Webb, and yet they love each other intirely; scorning and jearing all that are not of their own Sect; their prophane lan­guage and terms being as they pretend, uttered in a mystery to de­stroy the precise wickednesse of the professing party, who make con­science of these words, waies and actions.

So it seems that what ever the Parson pretended,T W. scorns those to whom he confest his unclean­ness. yet he inten­ded no such matter: he now slights and scorns all those to whom he had confessed his wickednesse, and to whom he promised amend­ment, and dotes again upon his fellow-creature; enters into the house of H. W. at set times, and at private waies, where all matters of difference are husht up, and the fellow-creatures reconciled up­on a personall Treaty;T. W. be­comes friends wth M [...]s. W. after the Gentlewoman was brought to bed, and delivered of her childe (which Tho. Webbe said he be­got.)

This agreement of the fellow-creatures, fils the Country with a famous sound, astonishment seiseth the hearts of those that lately rejoyced in his repentance and return; but now all their hopes of him die, in so much that divers reject farther society with him, which the lust-loving Parson bears with scorn enough (being so abundantly satisfied with returning to his vomit.) The old lascivi­ous dresse and garb is now taken up again, and the humble Parson acts afresh the part of a most proud and insolent phantastick, and appears more like unto a prophane stage-player, then Parish Parson or sober Christian. His long shaggy hair, which lately hung like a forgotten excrement, is now taken into consideration, and fur­bisht up with so much frizell and pounder, as if nature or lust had al­tered its course on the sudden. We have read of men, that through sudden fear have been turned grey in one night; why may not a lascivious joy upon its resurrection operate as much upon this vain man?

1.T. W. his compani­ons. His companions now are not these to whom he pretended a repentance, no, they are slighted, but the Ranting professors, and [Page 22] such as were most notoriously ignorant or scandalous, or both; these are his fellow-creatures and daily associates.

2. Solomons Proverbs which lately were so well expounded by him, and applied against whorish women, are now expunged out of his mouth and minde, and the rest, his study of the Scripture must give place to a study more noble in the esteem of illiterate Ranters,His study. called Astronomy; in which he is likely to become a proficient as soon as other Egyptian fortune-tellers; nay more, he being a man of so much learning, wisdom and experience, may happly attain to know how far he may wade in English dirt, and not fall into a French mire.

3. 'Tis not Davids Psalms of repentance or praising that the Par­son can now sing,Songs. but foolish fancies and witlesse songs are his de­light, being uttered ex tempore.

4. Musick and mixt dancing is now also grown into fashion and practice,T. W. a lo­ver of Mu­sick and mixt dan­cing. with this Parish Parson, to which the youth of the Pa­rish and others are invited, that so the work of conversion may not cease, nor the building of the Ranting Babel be at a stand any more, as lately in the Apostacy of the prime Parson and fellow-creatures.

'Tis recorded of Cain, that to quiet his accusing conscience he went to build Cities; and the learned Parson Webbe knows that a multitude of businesse, and variety of imployments, was the only means to make him have no more conscience of sin; and therefore farwell humiliation, confession and sorrow for sin, I have other fish to fry; welcome my sweet Mistress (let the falling out of us lo­vers be the renewing of love.) Welcome my lascivious dresse and whoring garb, I am no precise Parson; welcome thou new noble study of Astronomy, I am weary of this Scripturing; though I have gained a Parsonage by it, yet i'le use no more then may keep it: welcome my fine fancies and ex tempore songs, you are pleasing to me, and I with you must please my fellow-creatures: welcome Musick, mixt dancing and mirth, thou art more pleasing to me then those sighs and groans which erst while I poured out most foolish­ly, to the great scandall and reproach of the Ranting cause; this is the way to attain to our true liberty and freedom, which a foolish niceness would rob us of.

Such expressions all wise persons reade in the Parsons practice; and whether the particulars are not fitting qualifications for a Par­son and publique Preacher, let Christians stand by whilst the pro­phane world judge.

[Page 23] But to proceed with all possible brevity; The reconciliation is upon such sure grounds between the fellow-creatures that it holds to this day; yet the counsell of the Lord shall stand; destruction shall arise to evil doers from among themselves.

And therefore the Reader is desired to take notice that when Thomas Webbs family was united with Mistress W. there being houseroom enough; another of the same gang is taken with his fa­mily, and there retained as a convenient inmate: for the fellow-creatures were acquainted with the old saying of Cheaters, when they have enticed young travellers into their company, The more the merrier. Now you must note that this man (William Lewis by name) was lately become a very great enemy to M. Stokes, who had formerly opposed him in his Ranting principles: For the first that ever manifested those principles publiquely to M. Stokes, was the said W. L. and F. B. Whereupon the said parties were received with greater love amongst the fellow-creatures at Langley, and the said W. L. entertained, and who but he with the Parson and his, &c.

And so they continue great friends for a good space; but when the differences first arose between Webbe and his Mistress,T. W. seeks the ruine of his own fellow-creatures. this Lew­is and his wife assist Mistress W. and chargeth the Parson, as you may see formerly expressed; wherefore the Parson resolves to call them to an accompt for taking parties with the weaker vessell against the mighty male Ranter.

But Lewis being now jealous of this new friendship, is become a strict observer of the waies of Parson Webbe, and dislikes with his private approaches through bye waies, and his long abode made upon his friendly visits early and late; he now begins to have an e­vil opinion of his Landlady, and thinks her as lewd as her fellow-creature: Hereupon Lewis discovers his minde to his own wife, she thereupon-declares to her husband, what she both heard and saw.

Now the rage that was formerly in Tho. Webbe the Parson against his fellow-creature, who likewise hers against him, unite against Lewis and his wife, and for telling tales out of school, are threatned to be soundly whipt. Fear now possesseth the wofull hearts of Lewis and his wife. Mistress W. takes with others a journey to Glocester, and to the whispering place or some better Oracle they repair, where being advised, home they return, and in their compa­ny [Page 24] one J. M. for the better nodification of Goodwife Lewis, upon whose aproach she is surprised with fear of what former threatnings would amount unto in the close; and therefore though it was late in the night, and the waters out, yet as late as it was, away runs Lew­is and his wife to Justice Stokes, and requires a Warrant of the peace against Thomas Webbe, Mistress W. E. B. her servant, and the said J. M.

Mr Stokes knowing the aforesaid parties were Ranters all a row, was very shie of medling with them, and unwilling to hearken to any of their stories or complaints, and the rather, because the parties complaining, as well as the fellow-creatures, were his bitter ene­mies, and expressed so much a good while before; because as a Magistrate he had expressed himself (as well as being a Christian) against the Ranting principle, as is before remembred.

Wherefore Mr Stokes demands of them why they trouble him about such complaints? why at that time of the night? why they did not rather get the assistance of some of their friends to reconcile them? or if not, wisht them to repair to some other Justice of the Peace.

To which William Lewis answers, Sir, although there have been some former difference between us in matters of opinion, yet I take you to be a just man, and that you will do Justice impartially, which is that we desire: He said, we came this late, because, it was but even now that Mistress W. and her company came home with I. M. a most wicked and prophane man; and that he was brought on pur­pose to do his wife or himself a mischief, and had given out threat­ning speeches so soon as he was alighted from his horse, the woman in the mean time seeming to be wonderfully affrighted.

Mr Stokes asked her how they fell at variance: the woman re­plied that she had discovered some lewd actions of Thomas Webb and Mrs. W. which was come to their ears again, and therefore they have threatned and sworn to be revenged upon me and my husband; so that I dare not return home any more without danger of life, and therefore I desire surety of the peace to be granted against them.

Mr Stokes replied again, Surely I doubt 'tis not fear brought you hither, but rather revenge; for I understand you were arrested at Mr Whites suit the other day.

William Lewis confessed he was arrested, but the cause of that ar­rest was but a beginning of that revenge which the Parson and Mi­stress [Page 25] W. had threatned against them, because they disliked their wickedness. She said further, she would not for a world go such a way to work as to seek revenge, but she could take her oath that she was afraid of her life.

When nothing would serve to silence the parties, Mr Stokes ten­ders her (with admonition not to swear falsly) the Oath, which she takes, and thereupon grants her a Warrant of the peace against the said Parson Webb, Mistress W. I. M. and E. B.

After the Warrant was perfected, these persons make a full rela­tion to Mr Stokes of all passages at Langley between the fellow-crea­tures, and particularly William Lewis acquainted him with the foul act of Webbs being taken in the act of adultery with Mrs. W. a little after Michaelmas last past, and this complaint to Mr Stokes was Nov. 23. 1650.

William Lewis cals his wife, and she makes good the Informati­on, and tenders to swear it; divers questions Mr Stokes put to her tending to weaken, if not stifle the Information: but she stands bold­ly in the justification of it, with a world of other most horrible and hatefull crimes and practices of theirs, not to be named.

Two questions Mr Stokes desires them to satisfie him in; one is Why the fact was concealed till now? The second was, Whether ever they took M. W. to be a good woman? To the first query the answer falls in from the womans own mouth; afterwards to the second he answers, that they lookt upon M W. to be a godly, reli­gious, and as wise a woman as any in the Country, till of late they had found to the contrary; but Webb had discovered himself to be a leacherous knave long ago.

Well, Mr Stokes takes the womans Information, but not upon Oath, and so made no further proceedings upon it, thinking per­haps the woman might be (as Ranters usually are) of another mind another day.

But they continue the same tune from day to day; W. L. follows Mr Stokes for a prosecution; M. Stokes acquaints two of his fellow-Justices with it, and a day is appointed for a hearing of the business.

Well, in the mean time the Warrant of the peace is served on M. W. and Thomas Webbe, and they also meet on the 25. of Novem. before M. Stokes; M. W. gives sureties to keep the Peace; Webbs credit is so much cract, that he must needs pretend that he will go to Goal; yet rather then he should go alone, and be in Lo [...]s pound [Page 26] without a fellow-creature, M. W. (such is the tender love and pity of the woman to the Parson) moves her husband to stand for one of Webbs sureties; but some having more wit then some, he refu­seth, and pleaded an ingagement to the contrary; at which the lit­tle Gentlewoman seems angry: And anon M. W. and his wife mount on horseback, and are returning home; but before they had rode a flightshot from the place, M W (findes better arguments on horseback then afoot) prevails with her husband to become a surety for the Parson (what will not love do?) So M. W. and his horse face about, and he brings his wife with him for a witnesse that he himself (with another Gentleman) was surety for Tom. Webbe, that he should not go to Goal, nor stay at home to break the publique peace; so away they went: And for as much as William Lewis had expressed himself to be in a great fear of M. W. life, by the fellow-creatures, they sent M. White to another Justice of Peace, where he swears that he standeth in fear lest W. Lewis, Edith his wife, &c. will take away his life, hurt and main his body, or burn his houses: Whereupon he obtains a Warrant, and binds them to the Peace: withall, the better to effect the businesse, (viz.) the design of the fellow-creatures, he procures a Warrant to search for stoln goods; by which means they search Lewis his part of the house, and pretend they finde goods of M. W. there: So they arrest Lewis as a felone, and hale him and his wife, &c. before the Justice, where whilst their Mittimus is making, and M. White binding over to prosecute, Parson Webb and his, &c. are imployed in getting Lewis his possession; so they are turned out of doors, and their goods secured to the totall undoing of the said Lewis.

The Information of Henry White of Langley Buriall Gent. a­gainst William Lewis and Edith his wife, taken upon Oath, before Edward Stokes Esquire, Novemb. 26. 16 [...]0.

He this Informer saith, that of late he hath had certain houshold goods, feloniously stoln from him the said Henry White out of his dwelling house, and having obtained a Warrant from a Justice of peace, he made search in a part of his own dwelling house at Lang­ley aforesaid, being in the possession of the said William Lewis, where he found certain parcels of his goods [...] lost, (viz) One new Exe for a Wam never used; certain Apples, in measure about one bushel, and a certain Table-board in length about ten scot; whereupon he [Page 27] the said Henry White chargeth him the said William Lewis and his wife upon suspition to have feloniously stoln the said goods at seve­rall times from the said Henry White.

Henry White.

The Examination of William Lewis taken as aforesaid.

He this Examinant saith, that he is altogether guiltlesse of the felonies charged by M. White against him, That the Exe mentioned in the Information, was lying and being in the room where upon search it was found, when he the Examinant first entered possession of that part of the house belonging to M. White in Langley aforesaid, and there ever was at M. Whites command for his use: For the Ap­ples, he this Examinant saith they were his own goods by vertue of a contract or bargain made with M. White about three weeks be­fore the feast of Michaelmas last past: As for the Table-board he this Examinant saith he borrowed the same of Mary the wife of Henry White, and set the same upon two Tressles in a certain room of the said house, not with any intent to defraud the said M. White; and further he this Examinant saith the said M. White hath four or five times in a day frequented the said room. and made use of the said Table, and never questioned any thing till this very day; and further he hath not to say.

The Examination of Edith Lewis the wife of the said William, taken as aforesaid.

Shee this Examinant saith, that the Information is altogether untrue, that the said Exe was in the said room when she first came into possession thereof with her said husband: That the Apples men­tioned in the Information, are her said husbands goods: That the Table-board was in the house when they came to it, and there they intended to leave it: And further she saith, the said M. White did every day resort into the said Room, and made use of the same Table, and till this day never questioned the same; and further she hath not to say.

You see what the felony is which M. White through the instigati­on of the fellow-creatures charge against Lewis and his wife, and you may easily guesse that the warrant of the peace was upon the same ground. Notwithstanding the Grand jury at the triall findes [Page 28] M. Whites Bill of Indictment to be but an Ignoramus.

By what is past you may perceive what a spirit of giddinesse had possessed the primest actors upon the Ranting stage. The Idolators of old having worshipped their Idol God, through the just judge­ment of God Almighty, fell out among themselves, and sheathed each others sword in their brothers bowels: So these having com­mitted folly, act the part of madnesse and enraged fury, and resolve never to quit the stage till they have devoured each other, and then the longest liver take all. Lord how true is thy word, Though hand joyn in hand, iniquity shall not go unpunished. 'Twas wonderfull to see the love of the fellow-creatures, but the other day what a union there was among these persons, and others of the same kidney, not yet named, united in family, living under one roof; united in prin­ciple, united in practice, united in all things becoming fellow-crea­tures and lovers of community; yet now like simple children, which for a time delight in each other, and laugh and play friendly together; but anon, fall out and fight with each other, or rather like drunkards, which for a while love each other intirely, praise each other to the skies, and despise all that are not as themselves, pot-com­panions; yet afterwards having added drunkennesse to thirst, fall to boxes and blows amongst themselves, wounding and tearing each other to pieces: such was the behaviour of these who were drunk with folly and frenzy in the time of their Ranting Catter­walle.

You may perceive all the discovery made by the actors them­selves, and very remarkable it is that their own councels and their own tongues brought their horrid wickednesse to light, loudly pro­claiming that publiquely, which before was but privately suspected and whispered. Remarkable also it is that hitherto none prosecu­ted them to this day that were not of their own party; except one warrant granted against the fellow-creatures, at the request of one S. V. about August before; to whom one of the faction and councell discovered their wicked waies and practices; but the businesse being upon the stage, the discoverer shrunk in the wetting, only manife­sted that birds of a feather must hang together; otherwise not a man moved towards their publique prosecution, or any way sought their disgrace.

Neither need any man act that way, seeing the parties concerned had entered upon the work, as if they had taken it to task.

[Page 29] 1. So you have seen the breach, first made between the most choice fellow-creatures, after the highest expressions of love and L.

2. You have seen the breach made up again by the learned Parson (in wickednesse) alias mock Parson.

3. You have seen the said Parson, First, in his seeming sobriety. Secondly, in his Ranting. Thirdly, confessing and repenting. Fourth­ly, Ranting as before.

4. You have seen evil arising afresh against both Parson and fellow-creature from their own Sect and gang.

5. You have seen the fellow-creatures furiously working the ruine and destruction of their accusers.

Now it remains that the charge of Lewis and his wife against Tho. Webbe and M. W. and the proceedings of the Justices there­upon, be also made manifest, as it lieth upon record, which is here made publique upon this account, only to manifest to the world that the ruine and distraction of this people arose from among their own selves, and not from the Justices, as Tom Webb in his masse of malice most untruly gives out.

The Information of Edith Lewis wife of William Lewis of Langley Burhill, T. W. char­ged to have been taken in the act of adultery. Yeoman, given the 23. of Novemb. 1650. unto Edward Stokes Esq. against Thomas Webb of Langley aforesaid Clerk, and Mary White wife of Henry White of the same Gent. for and concerning the felonious committing of the horrible and crying sin of adultery together, and now again taken upon oath this 9th of Decemb. in the year aforesaid before George Ivy, the said Edward Stokes, and William Shute Esquires, three of the Justices of the Peace within the said County, as followeth.

Who saith, That her husband and she living in part of the said Henry Whites house in Langley aforesaid, she this Informant was sent by the said Mistress Mary White to Chippenham upon a Satur­day, between Michaelmas and Alhallontide, and making more haste from thence, then she usually did at other times; she went into that part of the house wherein the said Mistress White lived, and finding no body in any of the lower rooms, she went up stairs, and a chamber-door near the stair-head being open, she stept into the said chamber, and there saw the said Thomas Webbe lying upon the body of the said Mistress Mary White, and being in the very act of [Page 30] adultery with her, upon the bed there: And further she this Infor­mant saith, that there was in the same room at the same time one John Morrice a souldier of Gloucester, who hastily came to the said chamber-door to put back her this Informant; he supposing (as she conceived) that she had been Mr Henry White aforesaid, husband of the said Mary: but she being in the chamber before he could shut the door against her, he let her alone, where she stood as one ama­zed, and in exceeding great fear. Then the said Thomas Webbe a­rose from off the bed and place where he lay, to one side, and the said Mary White to the other side, and afterwards they two together, with the said Morris, fell to dancing, using in their said dancing much filthy and unclean language, worse then ever she this Infor­mant heard from any others, with whom she this Informant com­plied in dancing for the time, for fear they should do her some mis­chief, but was glad when she was gon from them. And this In­formant being asked, why she concealed it so long, saith, that she told her own brother Thomas Riley of Calve of it, the next day after it was done; and that she durst not acquaint any other with it, for that she lived under the same roof with the said Mistress White, and did not know what injury they might have done her, if she should have spoken of it: But not being able to hide it long from her hus­band, at length she acquainted him with it; who, as soon as he heard of it, caused her presently to go to Justice Stokes, and inform him of it. And this Informant appearing again before the said George Ivye, the 17. day of February following, saith further, that the day wherein she took the said Thomas Webbe and Mary White in the act of Adultery, and left uncertain upon her former Informa­tion, was the very next Saturday after Michaelmas last past, as she doth now perfectly remember.

The Information of William Lewis of Langley aforesaid, Yeoman, taken upon Oath the 17. day of February 1650. before the said George Jvy, against the said Thomas Webbe and Mary White, as aforesaid.

Who saith, That about the 10th or 11th of June last past, there being a great falling out between the said Mr Webbe and Mistress White, she the said Mistress White did in the presence and hearing of this Informant and divers others, charge the said Mr Webbe, that he had many times indeavoured to ravish her, & force her chastity: to [Page 31] which the said Webb replied, that he needed not to do so, for that he had oftentimes had carnal knowledge of her with her own consent; and that she had sent her own husband Mr Henry White to fetch him four mornings in a week out of his bed, of purpose to ly with her; & that she had formerly told him, that the childe where with she then went, was his, and that he begot it on her on S. Stevens his day at night last past; and that her servant Elizabeth Briscow was as good as her self, for that she lay with John Morris and young Organ of Castle-combe: Which things being bruted up and down the Coun­try, some honest and religious people of Calve sent one Thomas Riley of the same, to this Informant, to learn the truth of it; to whom he the said Informant gave this answer, That the said Mr Webb and Mistress White had charged each other as aforesaid, not only in the hearing of this Informant, but also in the presence of M. White and Mistress Webbe, being the husband and wife of the said Mistress White and M. Webbe, and that he conceived them to be both naught; and further saith, that this quarrell continued between the said M. Webb and Mistress White, untill the said Mistress White was deliver­ed of the childe wherewith she then went, and it grew to that height, that there were above twenty suits in Law depending be­twixt Henry White aforesaid, and the said M. Webb, and that short­ly after Mistress White was brought to bed, and indifferently well recovered of her childe birth, the aforesaid Elizabeth Briscow told him this Informant, that her Mistress had a great desire to speak with M. Webb, and had appointed her to bring him unto her: Whereupon this Informant remembring what had formerly passed betwixt them, and fearing that they would grow as familiar again, as they had been before; did the more strictly observe their doings, and the Thursday following being the next Thursday after Michael­mas last past, he saw the said M Webb and the said Iohn Morris walking athwart the grounds towards M. Whites house, and coming near the said house, they stood still under an Oke, and lookt about them, and after a little pause, they went a by-way through the Orch­ard and Garden into the said house through a door seldom used; and the said Morris continued there all that night; and for the greatest part of the night the said Morris and the aforesaid Elizabeth Briscow drawing a servant of this Informants into their Company did no­thing but curse and swear, sing lewd songs, and drink such pro­phane and blasphemous healths, as this Informant never heard the [Page 32] like before; and the next morning being Friday, the said Riley (whose sister he this Informant married) coming again to his house, he the said Informant told the said Riley, that he feared, that M. Webb and Mistress White would grow too familiar again, and that there would be murther or some other mischief follow it; and did thereupon turn away his aforesaid servant, and forbid his wife to meddle or make with Mistress White or any of her businesse: And further saith, that his wife told him, that the said Webb and Morris were the greatest part of that afternoon in the chamber together with Mistress White: And this Informant further saith, that the morrow after being Sa­turday about one or two of the Clock in the afternoon of the same day, M. White and his sister being then from home, and this Infor­mants wife likewise at Chippenham, he saw the said Webb and the said Morris walk in the Church-yard together, and after a little while slipt into the said M. Whites house the back way, through the said Orchard and Garden, and towards the evening he saw the said Webb come forth of the said house again the same way. And the next day being Sunday in the evening, this informant asked of the said Elizabeth Briscow, how it chanced that the said Morris had not preached there that day? to which she replied, that the said Morris intended to have preached, but she would not let him, and that she told him, that he should not come thither roguing and whoring, and yet make people believe he was godly.

The Examination of the said Mistress Mary White taken the 9. day of Decem. 1650. before the three aforesaid Iustices; she the said Mistres White being then and thither brought, and charged with the feloni­ous committing of the said act of Adultery, with the aforesaid M. Webb, as followeth.

Who being examined whether she this Examinant, Thomas Webb aforesaid, and one Iohn Morris were together at her said husbands house on any Saturday betwixt this and Michaelmas last past, or not? denieth that ever they were, but saith that the said Webb and Morris were on the Friday next after Michaelmas day there in her own chamber, at her said husbands house; and that all the same time Eli­zabeth Briscow this Examinants maid-servant was also in the same room, and during all the while that they continued there: and fur­ther saith, that the said Webb and Morris have been divers times se­verally [Page 33] at her husbands house since Michaelmas last past, but never both together, except that one time. And this Examinant doth also utterly deny, that the said Thomas Webb had carnall knowledge of her then or at any other time, or that she, the aforesaid Tho. Webb. the said John Morris, and Edith Lewis aforesaid ever danced toge­ther; or that she, or the said Webb, or either of them are any waies guilty of the things wherewith they are charged in the Information of the said Edith Lewis.

The Examination of the said Thomas Webb taken before the said Ju­stices, as aforesaid.

Who saith, That there being some suits at Law depending be­twixt the said M. White, and him this Examinant; he the said Exa­minant and one John Morris a souldier at Gloucester, went to the house of the said M. White the Friday before Michaelmas day to talk with him and his wife about reconciling the said Law-suits, and Mistress White lying in about the same time, sent for him this Exa­minant and the said Morris into her Chamber, and there had dis­course of the businesse: And being further asked, whether he and the said Morris were ever together in that or any other chamber of the said Mr Whites, with the aforesaid Mrs White at any other time since the said Friday before Michaelmas; confesseth and saith, that he this Examinant and the said Morris have been severall times to­gether in that house with the said Mistress White, but denieth that they were together in any of the chambers of the said house, with the said Mistress White ever since that time, and doth also deny that he had then ever before or since any carnall knowledge of the said Mistress White, or that he the said Examinant, with the said Mistress White, and the said Morris, and the said Edith Lewis danced toge­ther, or spoke such words as they are accused of by Edith Lewis aforesaid.

After the aforesaid Informations and Examinations were taken,T. W. com­mitted to Goal. the said Mr Webbe and Mistress White for their said offence were both committed by the three afore-named Justices to the common Goal for the said County of Wilts, where they remained prisoners till the Assises following.

[Page 34] When the fellow creatures understood their mittimus, and saw whereto they must trust, they seem to be somewhat milder then before, and more moderate in their language then formerly; but after a little pause, Webbe being a better Scribe then Parson, imploys his pen, and tumbles out of his treasury of self-confidence and impu­dence, expositions of the Parliaments Act of Adultery in Folio, and sends them to M. Stokes, amongst which he asserts these parti­culars.

1. That no Parson (though made a felon by that act) is to be proceeded against till after Presentment or Indictment at Assises or Sessions, and the verdict of twelve men is to be the leading card to sentence, or any other proceedings upon this new Law.

2. That no Justice of Peace or other Officer is to imprison or se­cure the felons mentioned in the said Act, till after Indictment and Conviction.

3. That the Justices had no power to summon Tho. Webbe nor Mistress White before them, nor power to hear the complaints, nor to send them to Goal though offending against the said Act, accord­ing to what is charged against them.

4. That the Parliament would rather a man should fly for such an offence then suffer death, and therefore they have provided that no other proceedings are to be then upon Indictment; wherefore (saith he) the Parliament would be glad to be rid of them so.

5. That old Laws are not a rule for Justices to walk by in their proceeding against offenders as are made so by modern and late Acts.

6. That Judge Nicholas can give no councel upon this Act more then another man; for first, it is a new Law, and he is as young a Lawyer in the knowledge of it as another.

7. It is distinct from all other Laws, for it both afflicts and affords that which no other Law doth.

Then he laies down his own verdict upon the Justices proceed­ings, and saith.

That they are Acts of inhumanity and injustice.

That they are beyond all Law, equity, reason, president and com­mon respect that one creature oweth to another.

That neither Reason nor Wisdom was called to their Councels or Consultations.

That their present proceedings were to gain aplause amongst the [Page 35] multitude, and that nothing hath more served the enemies designs, then their cruel and tyrannicall proceedings against them.

That such dealings are not amongst Turks and Infidels that are acted against him and his, &c.

Then he fals to these Queries.

1. Who shall secure the Tithingman for what he doth upon the Justices unjust proceedings?

2. What provision is made for conveying him and his &c. to Goal, for a foot they cannot go, and horses they will not hire?

3. Whether (seeing they were States-prisoners) the State ought not to make provision for them, both to the Goal and in the Goal?

4. Whether they ought not to have received more favour being they were publique persons, and had laid out themselves for the pub­lique, and upon the publique service, though they were guilty, and the Act required such dealings?

5. Seeing they were bound to the Peace before, and were no Rogues nor Vagabonds, whether that was not sufficient; and the rather seeing the poor Gentlewoman is sickly, and not inferiour to those that committed them?

Then he fals to his proud and insolent threats, and tels M. Stokes,

That for as much as bayl was offered and refused; now it should not be given if the Justices accept of it.

Then for the great wrong and injury which I sustain (saith he) through the Justices, I will seek a remedy by a Law and equity.

That the businesse shall be publiquely questioned, and Mr Stokes made ashamed of it.

That whatsoever he hath formerly confessed or written to M. Stokes, he values it not, but challengeth M. Stokes to do him what prejudice he can, and not to spare.

That he is resolved to turn every stone, to finde out, and to be sa­tisfied of the justness of the Justices proceedings against him.

The Letters bear date, From my illegal and discourteous restraint, Decemb. 6. 1650.

From my unjust, illegal and tyrannical restraint, Langley Buriall, Decemb. 12. 1650.

Signed, This Nations true friend and servant, Tho. Webbe.

To all which and much more of the like nature, M. Stokes returns to Tho. Webb only these ensuing lines.

Sir, Your lines savour of so much passion, conceitednesse and untruth, that to answer them particularly, would argue more vanity and weak­nesse in me, then yet you impute to me. I perceive 'tis your manner to revile at any that crosse you in your lusts: Your Janus-face and conver­sation is sufficiently known in these parts. I own those acts of Justice you now lie under; you may continue your taunts and threats, and do your worst, either with or without them: Justice is my Master, which I cannot betray to humour you in your lusts.

Your hypocrisie hath hampered you, and your own practices, if not principles, have brought this judgement upon you, which when you come to your self, you will acknowledge and give glory to God in truth: till which time I am content to lye under your reproach and scorn, and there subscribe,

Your, &c. E. S.

By what is last past, surely there's no Reader that views this Parson, but must needs admire him for his deep judgement and sin­gular knowledge in the act of adultery, and the Parliaments Act a­gainst the same, of which he is the only expositor after the Ranters understanding, which he hath fully exprest, that it wants no refu­tation; and he that goes about to convince a Ranter in any point, either of Law or Gospel, may as well undertake to wash a Black-more white.

Yet at length towards Goal the fellow-creatures go, and know­ing the farthest way about was the nearest way home, they go as Parsons in Perambulation; but in stead of reading Epistles and Gos­pels, when they are at their utmost bounds, these reade railing and invective lectures against the Justices and their accusers: for being the only champions of liberty, and such as had laid out themselves for the publike, they resolve not to be cast down, but bravely to car­ry out the businesse, for they were well assured that old birds could not be catcht with chaff, nor such eminent fellow-creatures so ex­pert in the knowledge of Liberty and L. to be catcht by a new Act of Parliament against Adultery; they knew well enough how to manage the businesse, they can produce witnesse enough to out­swear whatsoever shall be sworn against them; what if one or two fellow-creatures be faln off from, and out, with these choice lovers, and tell tales out of school, and swear in publique what was acted more private? that's nothing, there are five for one remain faithfull [Page 37] to the cause, and they can swear for a need that the evidence is upon malice, and that there was no such thing acted, &c. and this every man that knew any thing of the Ranters principles or waies, knew upon what score there was no danger of death in the parties before they came to triall, and therefore some who were forc't to speak at the time of triall, did it to lay open their wickednesse not to take a­way their lives (which were secure) but Whoremongers and adul­terers God will judge.

Long these persons had not continued in Goal, but they sue for bayl, which the Parson a little before scorns to accept of, yet now all possible means they use for liberty upon bayl; to which purpose M. Stokes is again courted by Parson Webb and his then agent M. B. as if all the businesse had depended upon his will; withall they tell him that the Justices of Salisbury much wondred at the proceedings, and said M. Swanton was offended thereat; and further said he would bayl him if he had the informations; whereupon M. Stokes procured the Informations and Examinations, and sent them inclo­sed to M. Swanton with these lines:

Honoured Sir,

BEing informed that you were offended with the proceedings of the Justices against one Webb and Mistress White, because sent to Goal, and not bayled, and that if you had a Copy of the said proceedings you would bayl them, I thought good to send you the Copy for your sa­tisfaction, and withall to tell you that I do not in the least credit any re­port that proceeds from this raging Ranting crew: And indeed having experience of your prudence and wisdom, I am satisfied with whatsoever you shall do on their behalf, and shall only acquaint you that the persons aforesaid have rendred themselves very scandalous, and were of evil fame long before the accusation for which they stand committed; in so much that Webb hath openly confessed, that the childe lately born of the body of Mistress White was begotten by him the said Webb, &c. And that he had carnall knowledge of her he confest in a Letter to my self, when lately he pretended to be troubled in conscience for his sin. Sir, I can make it appear (notwithstanding his fair glosse to strangers) that he is a meer piece of hypocrisie and deceipt; as for the Gentlewoman, she hath lived so long in these parts, that I need say nothing as to her parti­cular; I perceive their design at present is to render their accuser infa­mous, of whom I have only this to say, that I have observed her conver­sation [Page 38] for divers years, and yet neither by my own observation or other information did I ever take her for other then a modest and sober woman; but what they (viz) Webb and Mistress W. have made of her since they have all lived under one roof together, which was ever since March last, I understand not; but she seems to be very serious in what she char­geth them withall. Sir, I write not this to hinder their bayl, but to give you light upon what accompt we proceeded against them as we have done. The next day after our mittimus was made, M. Shute and my self acquainted Judge Nicholas with what we had done, who justified our proceeding, and in whose judgement they were not baylable.

Your cordiall friend and servant, E. S.

M. Swantons reply to M. Stokes.


AMongst all affronts and abuses I ever received, I never a more scan­dalous, as by so false and foul an information made to you, as ap­pears by the first line of your Letter, that I should take offence from you and the rest of my fellow Justices, that Webb and Mistress White should be sent to Goal, and not bayled: so base and unworthy a relation delivered you as before I intend either to reade over the Examinations, or to consider what to do in the businesse, I must give you an account of the daily continued labours and endeavours of the delinquents to be bail­ed, which hath been prosecuted with all the eagernesse that can be thought of; and on Wednesday last, by their mediation, I was sent for to Lieu­tenant Generall Ludlow to have bailed them, at which time I gave him such full satisfaction, perusing the mittimus, and informing him of the foulnesse of the fact, and the regard we ought to have one of ano­ther in these cases of baylment, that I satisfied him untill I could get a copy of the Examinations I could not be able to give any resolution towards bayling them, the mittimus being so full as proof and oath, of being taken in the act of adultery, which I perceive to be made good by the Examination. Sir, I pray conceive that I am not so slight, as that false relator should make me, for its not a straw difference to me, whe­ther M. Webb or Mistress White be at liberty or in the Goal, and therefore I shall desire you that I may know the relator, for I professe I shall question him. And now I have given you a full answer of your Letter, I shall let you know, and my other good friends M. Ivy and M. Shute, that I conceive you have proceeded according to the Law; but yet if you please to be at the Sessions, and the Court may con­ceive [Page 39] them baylable, I shall joyn with them; but Sir, be assured no man shall have a more tender respect unto you and all others of your place, then

Your most assured Friend Fra. Swanton.

Together with this Letter more Letters came from Webb and his Agents to M. Stokes, intimating that his Letter hindered their bayl, and earnestly intreating a word from him to M. Swanton; where­upon M. Stokes wrote these insuing lines:

Honoured Sir, I have received yours, to which I shall give you a more satisfactory answer when I see you, then I can at present, having only time to acquaint you that the prisoners suppose that my last to you is the only hinderance they are not bayled, for so they write to me, and ex­ceedingly presse me to write to you to take their bayl. Sir, I am confi­dent if they were baylable in your esteem, you would not defer it, but I thought good to tell you that now they impute their imprisonment till the Sessions, to proceed from my Letter, the truth of which is known to you; but notwithstanding all abuses which they have heaped upon me, I have not yet sought the least satisfaction, much lesse revenge; neither would I by any means hinder their bayl, if any Justices are free to take it.

Your faithfull friend to serve you, E. S.

The reason why these Letters are inserted, is to shew that there was no plot nor contrivance between the Justices, and that M. Stokes did nothing maliciously against the fellow creatures, or hinder their bayl, as the Parson hath given out, who having lost a Parsonage, hath made lies his refuge, as if he intended to be a Chaplain to the father of lies, for which he is learned enough.

But yet notwithstanding they are not bayled, no not at the next generall quarter Sessions, where M. Stokes appeared not, and there­fore could be no obstruction, yet the Gentlewoman might have in­largement, but like a good and loving soul to her dearest friend refu­sed it,T. W. pre­tends a se­cond re­pentance in Goal. unless he might partake of the same priviledge, as M. B. con­fessed. But Webb now perceiving how things went, intends to act a­nother part of repentance, having made himself weary of his Ran­ting party, as the letters and message hereafter immediatly following demonstrate.

Honoured Sir,

AS to the will of our wise God, which is fulfilled in my present con­dition; I must indeed, I am made to acknowledge it; and there­fore for that I have blamed and passionately wronged you, I am heartily sorry and humbly implore your goodnesse for to have me excused for it; I shall now learn to submit to a divine will, who is just in what it doth, and will justifie all those whom it makes use of for its accomplishment, &c.

Your humble servant, Tho. Webbe.
Dear and Honoured Sir,

WHat the decree is that is gone forth from the presence of our good and wise God, I do not know, nor indeed am I able to spel it out, the characters almost passe my Intelligence; for providence acts so darkly to me, and in so many paths of contrariety, that indeed I am almost amazed, and were it not that former experiences were renued in me, and that I do draw something of sweetnesse from many sweet pro­mises, I should look upon my self as an undone, lost man. I say wisdom acts beyond my genius, and apprehensions; very much ingaged should I be in this my straight, you would by your own enjoyment help me to learn and understand; I hope God will yet make me to know, and do his pleasure; and this confidence I have, that out of this wildernesse he will deliver me: Oh that my patience would carry me forth to the end, and not suffer me to murmer against him! no nor against any he is pleased to inflict upon me. Many thanks and returns of love to your dear Lady and your self for your love and care towards me, which I must and shall for ever acknowledge to be altogether undeserved by me, and though my desires for my liberty and your well wishes take not ef­fect, yet I do heartily thank you; and truly I professe it from my heart, it will for ever oblige me, not only to subscribe, but to be, dear Sir,

Your cordiall friend and humble servant, Tho. Webbe.
Honoured Sir,

THat which at first moved me to write to you, and to expresse my self in so bold and rude language, truly was my love to you, for I could have chused to have writ to others, but indeed I ever loved you, and was perswaded my lines would have been received without excepti­on; but understanding my lines were not to be born withall, I most [Page 41] humbly desire you to have me excused for them, and to impute them to passion, not to any thing of prejudice; for I professe it might proceed from the former, but as for the later it had no place nor footing; for I owe you no prejudice, but as formerly I love and honour you. Furthermore, I humbly intreat you to give a gratious hearing to what I have intrusted my loving and very good friend M. Bayliff to acquaint you with, and so far own me, if ever you will do me good, as to answer it gratiously: I would have made my Paper the Messenger, but truly I could not do it conve­niently, and therefore made bold with my friend to do it for me, to whom I have imparted my whole heart, and my present condition as it now stands; I have faithfully declared my self to him, and have desired him to acquaint you with it, and so humbly intreating you to give him a hearing, and to act for me as one who once was your near friend, and still is,

Honoured Sir,
Your faithfull friend and servant, Tho. Webbe.

The request of the arch-Parson made known by M. Bayliff, was, that he was exceedingly wearied and tired out with Mistress Whites company in Goal, that she by her flatteries and frowns still indea­voured to keep him in his evil and unclean courses with her, whose provocations and temptations gave him no rest; and therefore he humbly desires to be removed into any other prison out of her com­pany, where he might be at rest, and then he would publish to the people of God the whole businesse in truth and in Print (concerning his unclean life with the said Gentlewoman) which now he could not perform, because of her presence with him; nay he could not now, such was his condition, so much as write or speak a word but she grew jealous it tended to unfaithfulnesse. Besides this re­lator added that the Parson had no rest, unlesse he were sucking at her breasts, which was his work amongst others (after one Puppy had lost his life by often sucking) or merry and frolick with her, according to the accustomed manner; and besides said, that she left her own husband and came and lay upon Webbs bed and body, this relator being then in bed with the said Webb, and there with many tears and threats indeavoured to keep him to her self; not­withstanding with much ado he writes the foregoing lines, and ear­nestly desired M. Stokes his assistance to work a separation between him and Mistress White, in putting of them to severall Goales.

[Page 42] M. Stokes upon the receipt of this Letter and Message said but lit­tle, and did lesse, being well assured that this proceeded at best but from a short-lived heart-qualm, or rather it was only a vail to cast over M. B. whilst at once the amorous Parson and his Giglets made a jear of the Messenger, the message, and he to whom it was sent, as afterwards was manifest.

Yet you see the inconsiderate Parson Webb seems to practice a pensive mans part, after all his audacious and malepert carriage and demeanor before remembred. Notwithstanding this repentance also hastily proves abortive, and the Parson faceth about to his fel­low-creature, who in a few daies after, wrote this ensuing Letter to M. Bayliff, in answer to one of his formerly sent to perswade her to shew kindnesse and respect towards Parson Webbs wife, who was gone to visit her husband in Goal; for it was feared, it seems, that Mistress White would not nor could not dissemble her princi­ples, but would openly dislike that Mistress Webb should be so bold as to take such a journey to see her husband, having no more right to him then a formall union, which is nothing to the liberall and free union of fellow-creatures.

The Letter of Mrs. White to M. Bayliff follows.

Kinde Friend,

I Am very sensible of your realities and endeared friendship towards us, you shall finde us as truly yours in whatsoever lieth within our powers, when opportunity shall honour us with some ample expressions, whereby we may expresse in deed rather then word what we would be. Dear friend, To shew gratefulnesse for all favors, and the truth of our profession, which is no lesse then the height of humane society, in which (though darkly) I will walk as far as I know to all, but especially I have observed your desires, though not without trouble, and I must tell you sensibly also how much it reflects upon me, knowing my self so grosly abused, yet am as I am, it must lie upon more worth to requite and aquit, then I have yet found acted towards me from my dearest friend; we shall be glad to see you, I doubt till two daies before the Assi­ses I shall not get Bess and Goody Brewer, then I hope you will all meet here; till when, and ever be most confident I am sincerely,

Your Friend both in life and death, M. W.


Mr Webbe is so taken up with his friends, I beseech you excuse him for not writing, I am sure he is yours as much as his own: his dear love to you.

The aforesaid Letter is inserted to shew the Reader that the An­tick Parson did but meerly dissemble, whilst he sought a divorce from his fellow-creature in the Goal, for in these lines you may perceive how great the union is; so that now M. Stokes is no more troubled with Letters or Messages, nor hears no more of the Lovers untill the Assises.

Not to trouble the Reader with the deportment of the fellow-creatures in Goal,T. W. his deliverāce and return from Goal. nor what unworthy design Webbe puts in pra­ctice to save his Neck; nor to mention any thing concerning the Witnesse produced on his behalf at the Triall, all which requires a Volume: but the Author forbears these particulars: being tender of the good Names of some, who at present seem to repent for what they have acted in relation to the deceiptfull mock-Parson.

As for the Triall it self, the Author will passe over that also in si­lence, because all things acted there were in the face of the whole Country, wherefore the impudent mock-Parson at the Triall needs no discovery, it's so famously known in Wiltshire. The grand Ju­ry findes the Bill of Indictment, the Jury for life and death finde him not guilty, whereupon he is freed: And surely now any mo­derate man would have thought he would have given glory to God, turned over a new leaf, and left off his Ranting way: This was expected from him, because of his Goal-repentance not long before; but in stead hereof he continues the same pace as before, nay he be­comes more proud, imperious and impudent then ever. After he had kept holy-day with the Ranting gang in Sarum, he returns to­wards his Parsonage, but the farthest way about, to visit the fellow-creatures: Wherefore M. W. being sent home the nearest way, Webb with Mistress W. and his own wife, with others, returns by the way of Warminster; in which progresse, such was the demeanor of the Libertine Parson, lately delivered out of the hand of Justice, but still fast in the devils clutches, that he publiquely owns his relation to his fellow-creatures, to be above and more binding to him then his relation to his own wife, which was but formall, but the other was real. Upon this, with other his most impudent carriage, the [Page 44] Parsons wife (poor woman) expecting better things, as the fruit of his sufferings; but now seeing her hopes to fail, she fals into a labirinth of misery and heart-distress, and presently in the same room earnestly desired M. F. Bayliff (then in company, who was one of Webbs witnesses at the Triall) that he would run her through with his sword, for she was no longer able to bear as she had done. Not to trouble the Reader with all passages in the Parsons return from his Chappell at Fisherton, to the Parish Church of Langley; you shall only know that at Bradford the Sack went merrily down the Witnesses throats, and the rest of the fellow-creatures, who well deserved it: But amidst their Cups they quaff about this health, Here is a health to the Star that now is in the Eclipse, but hereafter shall shine in perfect glory; which the Relator thus interprets, The Star in Eclipse is Mistress White, who though now despised because of the peoples ignorance of true liberty, yet hereafter, when it should be known, she should shine in perfect glory (viz.) be had in high accompt and esteem.

Well, at length home the fellow-creatures come, divers are in ex­pectation that the mock-Parson will surely now become a new man, at least in apperance; but he reforms like a Parsons Ape, the clean contrary way, he swaggereth it out most bravely with his proud looks, poudered pate, and prating tongue; he breaths out no lesse then ruine and destruction against all opposers, amongst which M. Stokes must have a large share, he shall no longer continue in the Commission of the Peace (a great revenge) because he acts so ir­regularly and unjustly, as to prosecute the Law against the honest party, and makes no difference between common whoremongers, and Masters of Art, alias mock-Parsons and Priests Apes (a sad case.) Well all the influence of this honest party is withdrawn, which rai­sed M. Stokes into the sadle, therefore he must needs fall; and the propheticall Parson foretels strange things to come, and fortunes to befall divers persons, which will all be fulfilled the next black mun­day. And after a while the Parson takes a journey to London, and appears before the Committee of Plundered Ministers (who so bold as blinde Byard!) in hopes to continue Parson of Langley by that power which he despised, the better to out-brave Mr Stokes and o­thers, to whom he had whined and howled out his own wicked­ness: for he well knew though he had narrowly escaped the Halter, yet he appeared in an unclean and most ugly shape to all tender spi­rits. [Page 45] And at length about May 1651. he sends Mr Stokes, under his own hand writing, the Copy of an Order from the said Com­mittee, with four Articles against himself, to be examined by, and certified from the Justices, and desires Mr Stokes to appoint a time and place for the execution of the said Order, which Mr Stokes ap­pointed accordingly, and withall promised the mock-Parson to make good the charge himself against him, which when his grace understood, he startles not a little, and at length scribles back an invective Letter to M. Stokes, acquainting him also that his time would not now permit to have the businesse heard, for he must wait upon his wife (a kinde Parson) to Batly, which proved a shift, whereupon M. Stokes gives this reply to the P.

Sir, Though you snarl at creatures, and like a mad man strike at those that are next you, yet when you shall be delivered from your frenzy, you will say, It was the iniquity of your heels that compassed you about, and not malice in your Opposers: You might have enjoyed your being at Langley long enough with the love and liking of all that fear God or love the Nation, had you been true to your self or friends; your dissembled Repentance had once almost re-inthroned you in the hearts of honest men, had not your revolting and revellings tumbled you down from thence. When you appeared in sheeps clothing, who harmed you, who molested you, who advanced themselves above you? When you ap­peared in another shape, who did not pity you and pray for you, and ex­pect your return, &c. Had you learned the doctrine of self-denial but half so perfectly as that of self-justification, certainly your present con­dition had been such as now you fain it to be. But why do you boast your self in your own deceivings? your great swelling words of vanity af­frighten none save fools or women. You do well to study the Law, but I wish your understanding therein prove not abortive, like your Gospel knowledge. But howsoever you need not fear, the times are so peaceable, theeves cannot, and so good honest men will not rob you of any privi­viledge due to you: The whole body of Articles you may meet withall, with the Committee of Plundred Ministers, or have a Copy here when my Clerk is at leasure. You can appoint and wave meetings at your pleasure, you can both juggle and play fair at the same game, 'tis no matter into what shape you lick your self, so long as you like your self. Sir, Your contemptible reproaches and threats are but badges of honour, which you are pleased to cast, though with another intent upon.

E. Stokes.

About the later end of August following, these ensuing Orders and Articles were sent down by the Committee for Plundered Mi­nisters, unto the Justices of the Peace for the said County of Wilts.

By the Committee for Plundered Ministers, August the 8th 1651.

ORdered that the Articles exhibited against Thomas Webb Mini­ster of Langley Burhill in the County of Wilts (a copy whereof is annexed) be referred to the Justices of the peace in the said County, or any two or more of them, who are desired to receive the said M. Webb his Answer to the said Articles; and to summon before them, examine and crosse-examine the witnesses that shall be produced, as well for proof of the said Articles, as of the defence of the said M. Webb, and to cer­tifie the said Articles, answer and Examinations to this Committee, by the eleventh day of November next, close sealed. And the said Ju­stices are desired to secure the profits of the said Rectory, till this Com­mittee shall have heard and determined the cause upon the said return, and to see that no spoil be made on the said Personage-house or Glebe-lands thereunto belonging.

By the Committee for Plundered Ministers, August the 13th 1651.

ORdered that the Additionall Articles this day exhibited against Thomas Webb Minister of Langley Buthill in the County of Wilts (a copy whereof is annexed) be referred to the Justices of the Peace in the said County, or any two or more of them, who are desired to receive the said M. Webb his Answer thereunto; and to summon before them, and examine, and crosse-examine the Witnesses that shall be produced, as well for proof of the said Articles, as of the defence of the said M. Webb, and to certifie the said Articles, together with the former Articles, Answers and Examinations to this Committee, close sealed up with all convenient speed, and the profits of the said Re­ctory are to be secured according to the former Order of the 8th instant, in the mean time.

Articles of Prophanenesse and Scandall against Thomas Webb the pretended Rector of the Personage of Langley Burhill in the County of Wilts.

1. THe said Thomas Webb never had any legall Order for his in­cumbency there, but by the help and favour of his pretended Patronesse Mistress Mary White, and some other Parishoners of the same Parish upon his promise unto them of non-taking Tithes, ob­tained the Parsonage, usurping the place of an Incumbent there, contrary to the Orders made by the Honourable Committee for Plun­dered Ministers, and the Committee of this County.

2. The said Webb stands charged to be an Adulterous person, and to have committed the detestable sin of uncl-annesse with divers women (besides his pretended Patronesse Mistress Mary White) and hath confessed the same, and gloried therein, and affirmed he could lye with any woman save his own Mother.

3. The said Webb stands charged to have affirmed in his dis­course, that Moses was a Conjurer, and that Christ was a deceiver of the People.

4. The said Webb stands charged to have affirmed, that Preaching and lying are both alike to him.

5. The said Webb stands charged to have tearmed his hearers fools for coming to gape on him, whilst he told them lies.

6. The said Webb stands charged to have drank to the confound­ing of the Parliament, and to have tearmed them Rogues and De­vils, withall saying, that if he were (by those that heard him) ac­cused for any of the afore-mentioned crimes, he would for swear the same.

7. The said Webb hath in an high nature scandalized and abused Judge Nicholas, George Ivy, Edward Stokes and William Shute Es­quires, and other the Justices of the Peace for this County, for dis­charging their duties, both in Law and Conscience, according to the trust reposed in them.

8. The said Webb hath done much waste, and made great spoil and destruction upon the Gleab lands of the Rectory of Langley Burhill aforesaid, by cutting down, and selling at very low rates, a great part of the Wood and Trees late growing and being upon the same, which were before his coming thither much stored, and better replenished with Wood then any Parsonage in those parts; [Page 48] besides also he hath let fallen, pulled down to the ground, and sold away part of the housing belonging to the Parsonage-house there.

9. The-said Webb stands charged by the most knowing Christi­ans in his own Parish, to have Preached false and unprofitable Do­ctrine.

WHereas we have received two several Orders from the Committee of Plundered Ministers (purporting certain Articles, heretofore to have been exhibited against Thomas Webb Minister of Langley Burhill in the County of Wilts) referring the same to the Justices of the Peace in the said County, or any two of them, who are desired to receive the said Mr Webbe his Answer thereunto; and to summon before them, and examine and cross-examine the Witnesses that shall be produced as well for part of the said Articles, as of the defence of the said M. Webb; These are to give you to understand, That we Justices of the Peace of the Coun­ty aforesaid, intend (God permitting) to execute the contents of the said Order at the house of Captain Taylor, being at the sign of the White Hart in Chippenham, on the 12th day of September next ensuing after the date of these presents, between the hours of eight and nine of the Clock in the morning of the same day; where if you think fit you may produce Witnesses to be examined on your part and behalf; and we shall be then ready to receive your Answer according to the Contents of the said Order.

To Thomas Webb Mi­nister of Langley Burhil.

This Paper following was delivered in by the said M. Webb unto the said Justices, at their appointed meeting for the executing of the aforesaid Orders: viz.

Grounds of Exceptions against Sr Edward Bainton, William Shute Esq. &c. and against the Examination intended.

1. FIrst, That the Charge to be examined, is not the Charge exhi­bited before the Honourable Committee, upon which the Or­ders were granted, which occasioned this meeting.

[Page 49] 2. That most part of the Charge hath been already answered, and the accused quit.

3. That in some part of the Charge the Examiners themselves are concerned.

4. The Examiners have manifested abundance of prejudice against the accused, as will easily be made to appear.

5. The accused stands bound in Judgement and conscience to pro­secute the Examiners (for neglect of doing of their duty for the Common-weal, in the late time of danger) whenever called there­unto, and hath already declared against it, as he believes is known to some of them.

6. Lastly, Such was the height either of ignorance or malice, if not both, that when the Warrant for appearance was sent, they sent neither copy of Orders nor charge, but I was forc't (though not bound to it) to send to them for the Charge and Orders, and as yet have received but a part of the Charge, and but a Breviat of the Orders.

These and other grounds are my Exceptions built upon, which I humbly tender, that they may be seriously considered, and I have right done to me: No more is desired by him, who in the integrity of his own spirit, subscribes to these his Exceptions,

Tho. Webbe.

Depositions of Witnesses taken at Chippenham in the County aforesaid, the day of September, in the year of our Lord God, One thou­sand six hundred fifty and one, against Thomas Webb Minister of Langley Burhill in the said County, by George Ivy and William Shute Esquires, two of the Justices of the Peace for this County; by vertue of two several Orders unto the Justices of the Peace of the County aforesaid; or unto any two or more of them directed from the Honourable Committee for Plundered Ministers, the one of which Orders bears date, Aug. 8. last past, and the other bears date the 13th of the same moneth: in manner following, viz. Charles Aland of Lang­ley Burhill aforesaid, Yeoman, aged thirty two years or thereabouts, Sworn and Examined, deposeth as followeth:

TO the first Article this Deponent saith,I. That the said M. Webb (about a moneth since) did confesse in this Deponents hearing, [Page 50] that he had no Order from any Authority to possesse himself of the Rectory or Parsonage of Langley aforesaid, or to Officiate there; but that he did Officiate there by the consent and approbation of some of the Parishioners of Langley aforesaid. And this Deponent further saith, That he did thereupon shortly afterwards search in the Office of the Committee for Plundered Ministers, to finde whether the said [...]. Webb had any such Order or Authority from thence, as aforesaid, but could finde none.

To the sixth Article this Deponent saith,6. That the Sunday seven­night before Mistress White and the said M. Webb were carried to Prison for committing of Adultery together, in the Church yard before the morning-Sermon, the said M. Webb and this Deponent walking there together; and this Deponent being formerly ap­pointed to be a Lieutenant unto one Captain Parsons, designed to be a Captain of the Militia▪ forces of this County; the said M. Webb to perswade this Deponent to dissert the said service, and to with­draw his affection from the Parliament, used amongst other per­swasions these words following, That the Parliament was unjust, and dealt unjustly in gathering too much monies, and imploying the same to their own private uses, and not for the publick; and that if he and others might have liberty, they would prove it, or spoke words to the like effect: And at one other time the said M. Webb told this Deponent, That God would appear for and on the behalf of the Cavaliers once more.

To the eight Article this Deponent saith,8. That when the said M. Webb came and entred into the Rectory or Parsonage of Langley aforesaid, the Glebe-land thereunto belonging, was very well sto­red and replenished with Timber-trees, and other Underwood, and that since that time the said M. Webb hath cut down, burnt and sold, all or the greatest part of the same Trees and Underwood; and hath also pulled down two substantiall out-houses belonging to the said Rectory or Parsonage-house, and sold away the materials thereof. And this Deponent further saith, That the said M. Webb being re­quired by a Warrant, which came under the hands of Edward Stokes Esq. being both a Committee man and a Justice of the Peace of the said County of Wilts, to surcease from making of further spoils upon the Glebe of the said Parsonage, he the said M. Webb returned se­ven Queries in Writing upon the backside of the said M. Stokes his Warrant, by way of mocking and jearing of him, and withall abused [Page 51] the said Warrant, before he sent it back unto the said M. Stokes defi­ling the same with his own or some others excrements, as this De­ponent doth verily believe.

To the ninth Article this Deponent saith,9. That the Lords-day seven-night before the said M. Webb was committed to Prison as aforesaid, he heard the said M. Webb deliver in his morning-Ser­mon on that day in the Parish-Church of Langley aforesaid, to his Auditors then and there assembled, That he was no Minister of God, and wisht them not to look upon him as a Minister, for that (said he) God had put an end to all Ministers and Ministrations, and at the same time perswaded the people not to conform themselves to any visible Ministrations, either for Church or state (meaning thereby, as this Deponent conceiveth) that they should not obey any Eccle­siasticall or civil Authority. And further in the same Sermon he informed the people, That God requires no obedience to any Scri­pture-commands. And this Deponent further saith, that after the said Sermon was ended, the said M. Webb being asked by this Depo­nent, what then meant all the Epistles of the Apostles? whereunto the said M. Webb then answered, that they concerned us not.

Edward Stokes of Tytherton Lucas in the said County of Wilts Esq. aged Thirty six years or thereabouts, Sworn and Examined, deposeth as followeth:

TO the first Article this Deponent saith,1. That after M. Hughes had left the Parsonage of Langley Burhill aforesaid, the same being destitute of an Incumbent, one M. Martyn had Orders both from the Honourable Committee of Plundered Ministers, and also from the Committee of the said County of Wilts to Officiate there, and to receive the Tythes and Profits there-out arising; which Or­ders the said M. Martyn shewed unto this Deponent; and upon the request of the said Martyn this Deponent went along with him un­to the Parish-Church of Langley Burhill aforesaid; who being come thither, and intending to Preach, was opposed by the said M. Webb, Mistress Mary White, and some other of the Parishioners, who la­boured to have M. Webb to Officiate there; some of them then con­ceiving him to be a very godly and profitable man, but have since found themselves deceived; and others upon his promise of not taking Tithes of them, did altogether set themselves against the [Page 52] said M. Martyn, which made him to depart thence, and leave the cure: And the said M. Webb hath thereupon continued there ever since, without any Order or other Title to the same place.

To the second Article this Deponent saith,2. That there having formerly been overmuch familiarity between the said Mr Webb and the said Mistress White the wife of Henry White Gent. about June 1650. there happening a great varience between them the said M. Webb and Mistress White, the said Webb then seemingly▪ professed to this Deponent to be a great penitent, and exceedingly troubled for his vile conversation; and divers times since that, did both by words and letters of his own hand-writing confesse to this Depo­nent, that he had committed the detestable sin of uncleannesse with the said Mistress White; through whose temptations he had com­mitted it so frequently with her, that at length he was glad when he had the liberty to walk in the air. And the said M. Webb seemed to this Deponent to be so penitent, that he wished himself accur­sed for the pretious Gospels sake, that had been so blasphemed by his wicked and unclean conversation: And further said, that soli­citations were used to bring him over, and reconcile him again un­to the said Mistress White, but he then wished, saying, Oh that I might be accursed, and the earth swallow me up alive, rather then I should hearken unto her any more! Notwithstanding all which imprecations he shortly after grew intimate and familiar with her again, and was so open and impudent in his carriage with the said Mistress White, that he was charged upon Oath to have been taken in the very Act of Adultery with the said Mistress White, where­upon they both were committed to the common-Goal for the Coun­ty of Wilts aforesaid, there to remain untill they should be dischar­ged from thence by due order of Law.

Robert Jeffryes of Langley aforesaid Yeoman, aged Forty three years or thereabouts, Sworn and Examined, deposeth as followeth.

TO the second Article this Deponent saith,2. That this Depo­nents wife being sent for to Mistress White the wife of Henry White of Langley aforesaid Gent. when she was intravell with her childe (whereof she was then shortly afterwards delivered) the said M. Webb came to this Deponents house about a weeks space after her delivery, not usually having come thither before that time, [Page 53] and then asked her how Mistress White did; and told this Depo­nents wife in his this Deponents hearing, That the childe which Mistress White had them brought into the world, was his the said M. Webbs childe, or no bodies. And this Deponent further saith, That this present day the said M. Webb told this Deponent, that if he did come to be examined against him, that he would bring his Action for the same against him.

Deborah Clerke late servant to the said Robert Jeffryes, aged Seven and twenty years or thereabouts, Sworn and Examined, deposeth as followeth:

TO the second Article this Deponent saith,2. That in some short time after Mistress White was delivered of her childe, the said M. Webb came to her said late Masters house, and asked her Dame how Mistress, White and her childe did, and withall, did thereupon say in a boasting way, That the childe which Mistress White had then brought into the world, was his the said Webbs childe, or no bodies.

Edith Lewis wife of William Lewis of Langley aforesaid Yeoman, aged Forty years or thereabouts, Sworn and Examined, deposeth as followeth:

TO the second Article this Deponent saith,2. That about Whitsun­tide last was twelve-moneth, the said M. Webb, this Deponents husband, and she this Deponent, being conferring together con­cerning matters of Religion; she this Deponent did then and often­times since bear the said M. Webb say, That he did live above Ordi­nances, and that it was lawfull for him to lye with any woman. And at one time above the rest, the said M. Webb, Mistress White, this Deponent, and divers others sitting in the Gate-house of the dwel­ling-house of the said Mistress White (there being tame Pidgeons in the Court) the said M. Webb observing a great Cock Pidgeon to tread divers of the Hen Pidgeons there, said unto those that were there present, that it was lawfull for every man and woman, and that they ought to take that liberty and freedom one with the other, as those Pidgeons did, although they were not married the one to the other.

[Page 54] To the fourth and fifth Articles this Deponent saith,4, 5. That upon a Lords day in the afternoon about Whitsuntide last was twelve-moneth, the said M. Webb being asleep in a room of the dwelling-house of her this Deponents husband, and sitting in a chair, this Deponents husband came to him, and awaked him, and then said unto the said M. Webb, that it was time to go to Church, for the Bell had done ringing, and there was a great audience of people come to hear him; whereunto the said Mr Webb answered her hus­band, in her this Deponents hearing, Alas poor fools, why do they come so far to hear me, and stand gaping upon me, whilst I tell them lies! Whereupon this Deponents husband asked the said Mr Webbe, What? do you tell them lies in the Pulpit? whereunto he replied, That lying and Preaching was all one to him.

To the eight Article this Deponent saith,8. that when the said M. Webb entred into the Rectory or Parsonage of Langley Burhill aforesaid, the Glebe-lands thereunto belonging were very well stored and replenished with Timber-trees of all sort, and other Un­der-wood, and that since that time the said M. Webb hath hewed, cut down, burnt, and sold all or the most part of the said Timber and Under-wood, which were any thing worth, and hath mored and grubbed up about the one half part of the Copice-ground be­longing to the said Rectory; And that in summer last was twelve-moneth the said M. Webb did hire Workmen, who did by his ap­pointment pull down an handsome Barn belonging to the said Re­ctory, and sold away the materials thereof.

Robert Powell of Langley Burhill aforesaid, Husbandman, aged Fif­ty years or thereabouts, Sworn and Examined, deposeth as fol­loweth:

TO the last Article this Deponent saith,9. That the next Sunday after the Lent Assises, being the first Sunday after M. Webbe came from Salisbury Goal, he heard the said Webbe in his then mor­ning Sermon, Preach and declare to his Auditors then assembled in the Parish-Church of Langley aforesaid, these words following (that is to say) That the works of Jesus Christ and his Apostles were dead works and carnall, and ended when they died, and ser­ved but for their time only, and that people might live unto God without Jesus Christ; yet said, I must confesse that Jesus Christ [Page 55] was the greatest Ordinance that ever God set up, and yet the Saints may live unto God without that Ordinance.

Nicholas Gale of Langley aforesaid Miller, aged Five and twenty years or thereabouts, Sworn and Examined, deposeth as followeth.

TO the last Article this Deponent saith,9. that about Whitsuntide last upon a Sabbath day he did hear the said M. Webb in his mor­ning-Sermon, Preach and declare in the said Parish-Church of Langley to his Auditors, these words following (that is to say) that the doctrine and practice of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, were dead works, and ended when they died: and that Preaching and Praying cease, for the Lord hath no ears to hear. And this Depo­nent further saith, that at another time afterwards, upon a Sabbath day, he heard the said M. Webb deliver in a Sermon, in the said Pa­rish-Church of Langley, that Ministers ought not to be believed, though they did Preach the truth, except they could work miracles, as Christ and his Apostles did.

Hugh Wastfeild of Langley Burhill aforesaid Yeoman, aged Forty years or thereabouts, Sworn and Examined, deposeth as followeth:

TO the eight Article this Deponent saith,8. That when the said M. Webb came and entered into the Parsonage of Langley afore­said, the Glebe-land thereunto belonging was very well stored and replenished with Timber-trees and other Under-wood, and that since that time the said M. Webb hath hewed, cut down, burnt, and sold a great part of the same Trees and Wood, and hath grubbed and mored up a great part of the Copice-ground thereunto belong­ing; and that since the said M. Webbs coming to dwell in the Parso­nage-house of Langley aforesaid, there hath been a great Barn or Hay-house appertaining to it, pulled down, and the Material's there­of were either burnt or conveyed a way.

To the last Article this Deponent saith,9. That he hath heard the said M. Webb deliver in severall Sermons these things following (that is to say) that the Baptisme of water was only John's Mini­stry, and was a legall washing, and to be reckoned amongst legall things; that Gods reaching his people is not by any outward Or­dinance or Ministry, or means, but by the inward unction and a­nointing; [Page 56] and that all preaching, all conference or speaking one to another is but meer declaring to each other what we are taught, and not any Ministry, as for the teaching one of another; and that he knew not whether Pauls Epistles do concern us or no. And fur­ther this Deponent saith, that he did hear the said M. Webb deliver in a Sermon, That he did hope to live so long, and that it was now in working, that there should be no such thing as a Parsonage or Mi­nister in England.

The Certificate of George Ivy and William Shute Esquires, to the Honourable Committee for Plundered Ministers, after they had taken the aforesaid Depositions.

WE do humbly Certifie your Honours, That we being the two next Justices of the Peace for this County of Wilts, unto Langley Burhill aforesaid, that are unconcerned in this busi­nesse, did in pursuance of your two several Orders hereunto annex­ed, prefix a time and place for the execution of the same, whereof the said M. Webb had sufficient notice, and upon his appearance be­fore us this present day, we did shew unto him the said Webb the Charge and Articles exhibited against him, and required his answer thereunto; and withall offered to examine and cross-examine any Witnesses that he should produce unto us for his defence: but the said Webb after much uncivil carriage used by him in the presence of us, and divers others, and many frivolous and unfitting discourses, tending only to the diminution of your Authority, and the dispa­ragement of our selves, and the rest of the adjacent Justices, as not being fit to examine that or any other businesse that concerned him, instead of an Answer, did at length deliver us the afore-recited scan­dalous Exceptions, and withall told us, that he would give us no other answer, and that we should not examine or crosse-examine any Wit­nesses for him by these Orders, or used words to that effect.

We humbly conceive it necessary to signifie these things by them­selves, and have also herewith sent the Execution of your Orders so far as Witnesses come in; but we did not examine upon the Ar­ticle wherein we and other Justices are concerned, because we would avoid all cause of exception, and we did inform the said M. Webb of so much, before we examined any Witnesse.

[Page 57] Upon the Articles and Depositions aforegoing the most famous Parson was ejected the Parsonage of Langley Burhill, T. W. his Ejectment from his Parsonage of L. B. in September 1651. by the Honourable Committee of Plundered Ministers, where the said Webb appeared in his own defence, being armed cap a pe, with his wonted silly self-confidence, impudence and ignorance, who, notwithstanding though he had over-stood his Market, refu­sing to examine or crosse-examine Witnesses in the Country; yet now propounds to the Committee of Examination, as aforesaid, only he desires two other Justices of Peace to be joyned with those whom he termed his adversaries, with such like frothy conceits, as vain as himself; but they hold no water, the mock-Parson is redu­ced to his pristine purity (viz.) a Priest without a Parsonage, which act of Justice operates much upon the Parsons foul stomack, and therefore though the Parsonage be evacuated, yet the dregs remain, which are brought up and disgorged at severall times, or by de­grees.

First, The unsavory salt was no sooner cast to the dunghill, but the ejected quondam Parson lays about him, and seeing his tongue was too short to tell of his misfortunes, and to bespatter his perse­cutors, he betakes himself to his Pen, and writes his black Parson-like Epistles to the honest, alias Ranting Party, acquainting them what had fallen out, and then rails, Parson-wise, against Mr Stokes, giving him such titles as can belong to none save mock-Parsons, and withall promiseth his fellow-creatures to write a book and publish it against Mr Stokes and others, and then sets down such particulars as he intended to Print against M. Stokes, which he hath with some alteration performed.

Secondly, He abuseth the Honourable Committee of Plundred Ministers, taxing them with injustice, and tels his friends that he will indeavour to turn the stream, assuring them that if not this, yet another Representative will do it.

Thirdly, He makes them believe he is very near a very good set­tlement in another place, and presseth them to gain him (with speed) a Certificate from the honest party.

So after this non-such Parson had a while lain his wits a soaking in the stinking puddle of envy and Revenge, and bent his tongue like bows for lies, he composeth a certain ill-shapen Libell, as full almost as the Author of untruth and error.

Which monster so far resembles a well-formed creature, that it runs upon two legs.

[Page 58] The first whereof is to inform the world, That Tho▪ Webb is a man of excellent parts, and full of piety, an enemy to uncleannesse, to blasphemy, to Parsonages, to Tithes, and whores, a man of a pub­like spirit, of sound judgement, of great temperance, and a sufferer for righteousnesse sake.

The second is, That all those that did not flatter him in his wick­ed and unclean waies, or did in any thing dislike his Rantings and counterfeit repentings, were unjust, cruell, tyrannicall, malitious, and bloudy minded men; and amongst the rest M. Stokes (being the greatest opposite to the Ranting Parson) is to be numbered a­mongst the worst of men, he is now a blasphemer of the highest rank, a deceiver, and what not, &c.

upon these two legs the Libell comes into the world, the father whom it resembles gives it a name, and the witnesses names being in number a hundred and four, are fastened to a silly certificate, to justifie the father, that by their credit the monstrous birth may tra­vell the Common-wealth, without being questioned or dealt withall as a runnagate or base born brat.

The Name or Title is A Masse of malice against Tho. Webb late Minister of Langley Burhill in the County of Wilts discovered.

IN the Title you may note that this Parson hath often times in publique and private denied that he was any Minister, yet here writes himself, Late Minister of Langley B.

Secondly, Whilst he was possest of a Parsonage, he said there were no Ministers in England, yet now being spewed out of the same, he prints himself, Late Minister of L. B.

He saith of his work, It's a true relation, which indeed is most untrue, as also are those six severall Heads attending the relation (though they all walk upon two legs, as before mentioned) as in the catalogue afterwards will appear.

Then he most prophanely abuseth two several Texts of Scripture, applying that which is true in David the Type, or Christ the Anti-type, unto his unclean and most graceless self.

The first is Psalm 35. 11. False witnesses did arise up, they laid to my charge things that I knew not. He hath been charged to be a whore-master, and he hath acknowledged himself so to be (see his Letters [Page 59] before) and yet here he saith in a Scripture phrase, They laid to my charge things I knew not.

The second Scripture to support the Masse of malice and the Au­thor, is Psalm 38. 20. They also that render evil for good are mine ad­versaries, because I follow the thing that good is.

It seems all those that disliked Webbs wicked waies are such as render evil for good; he justifies his own actions, and by a Scripture phrase, saith they are good, and he follows the thing that good is: Surely the thing that the Parson follows is not good, unlesse Ran­ting, Revellings, Whorings and counterfeit Repentings be good; these he hath followed to the heels, as the relation makes manifest: But it seems these are good, and so followed by T. W. late Minister of Langley B. and such as dislike him are his adversaries, and render evil for good. But let the mock-Parson alone to condemn all others, and trumpet out his own praises, saying, Stand further off, I am ho­lier then thou, &c.

The Certificate in the front of the Masse of malice being so ridi­culous, frivolous, and untrue, needs no more but the bare reading over by the Ingenuous man, the thing it self being but the brainlesse birth of a broad-brim'd professor, who when he shaped it to his own liking, dealt with it as counterfeit cripples with their self-made sores (viz.) lye in the high wayes and publike places to move pi­ty in the passengers to gain relief: So the professor aforesaid repairs with his scabbed Certificate into the high-waies, Markets and Chur­ches; where after much beggery and basenesse, above one hundred names are subscribed; the pretence is to gain the Parson another place: however, the subscribers, some of them school-boys, deboist, swearers, covetous earthworms, drunken companions, with un­known names, to fill up the number, some Ranting professors with about three or four plain-hearted men, brought in through deceipt, whose names passe like Jackdaws among the Rooks; and some there were that set their names in the rear, because Mr White was in the front, and they alledge they have as good reason to subscribe▪ as he and more too; yet some of all these are ashamed to see and own their fair names in the front of so filthy a monstrous Masse of ma­lice, &c.

So much for the Title and Certificate: For the Masse it self the Author will not foul so much paper to answer a fool according to his folly, nor trouble himself nor the Reader with a particular Sur­vey [Page 60] and reply to all the materials of which the Masse of malice is composed of.

Wherefore you shall have first a Catalogue of divers of the most ill-shapen untruths laid down, which are the subject matter of the malicious Masse.

Secondly, You shall afterwards finde replies of truth, to divers of the most notorious quondam Parsons hell-invented untruths against M. Stokes, by which you may guesse at the whole Masse, and perceive the depth of its Malice.

The Catalogue of Untruths follow.

1 WHat follows is a true Relation of all my sufferings; the un­just, cruel and heard dealings I received from some in au­thority, and such who desire to be esteemed godly.Untruth.

2 The first beginning of my troubles was my imprisonment, never was such harsh and rigid proceedings against any offenders, &c.

3 Our Justice being prejudiced against us, especially against the 4 Gentlewoman, who had oftentimes opposed him about our Rates, he having a hundred and twenty pound per annum in our Parish, and would never pay any rate for the Parliament and Army, p. 3.

5 Mr Stokes took Mistress White aside, and read to her an Informati­on given him by Good wife Lewis, as the cause wherefore she desired a Warrant of the Peace against us, p. 4.

6 He (viz.) Mr Stokes being glad of any accusation, is easily wrought upon (though it be contrary to all law and reason) to pro­secute us, pag. &c.

7 The Justices that day called a petty Sessions, and caused the Coun­try to be there, though they (as before they had resolved) did nothing for the Country, pag. 5.

8 The woman did tremble as she was speaking, and lookt like death, p. 5.

9 They (viz) the Justices could give me no answer, but would re­fer that matter to Judge Nicholas, p. 5.

10 They were resolved, and neither Law nor Reason should alter 11 them, though I used many rationall and strong arguments with them, p. 6.

12 We offered Bail, but it was denied us, p. 7.

13 Lewis and his wife were then bailed for felony, upon Bail not worth 10l p. 7.

[Page 61] And this the wise Justices would have had done and indeavoured 14 for to do most unjustly and cruelly, time after time, denying me the time, p. 9.

Mr Stokes about three weeks before our triall sent me a time which proved false, p. 9.15

For what they had done (viz.) Mr Stokes and M. Shute▪ they 16 could not say any thing, for M. Ivy was gone, but they would the next morning talk with Judge Nicholas, p. 9.

Such were the threats M. Stokes followed the Officer with,17 pag. 10.

M. Swanton seemed to be much troubled, saying, he admired at it,18 and if the businesse had been before him, he would have freed us, and sent Lewis and his wife to Goal, and that if we would procure the deposition he would bayl us, p. 10.

Whereupon I sent to M. Stokes for the Deposition, but he denied 19 it me, p. 10.

He (viz.) M. Stokes saith, M. Ivy hath the Information, when he 20 hath it, p 11.

And at length on purpose to keep us in Goal, sends the Deposition 21 inclosed in a lying Information to M. Swanton, and so continues us prisoners to his lying, ignorant and malitious spirit, p. 11.

Judge Nicholas saith, O sirra, you know the Law, do you? you are 22 one of Lilborns faction, you shall be banisht, saith the Judge, p. 12.

Upon this womans accusation they had an opportunity to lash me,23 not for the fact so much as for Lilborns faction: You shall be banisht, saith the Judge, p. 13.

I was not suffered to speak, p. 13.24

The Judge did promise our prosecutors that we should not do a­ny thing against them, p. 13.25

The Indictment was to this effect, p. 13.26

This amazed his Lordship, and set his bloud on fire.27

He spake to her in a very chiding, scolding manner, p. 14.28

He discovered himself to be full of malice and envy, p. 15.29

She being upon her trial, could hardly have the liberty to speak for 30 her self, his Lordship sometimes bawling and taunting at her, saying he would go from the Bench, &c. p. 15.

And the woman swore to the 6th of October, p. 15.31

They were intended to do what they could to deprive us of our lives, p. 15.32

[Page 62] 33 This wicked woman invents an accusation against the Gentle­woman and my self, which had its countenance from the Justi­ces,Untruth. p. 17.

34 Reason was a stranger in the Court at that time, and there were not ears to hear peace for justice, p 17.

35 I desire liberty to speak but none was granted, and whenever I desired it the Judge held out his stick as if he would have struck me, p. 17.

36 The Judge incouraged my adversaries to speak, by his putting 37 words into their mouths, and interpreting what they said, to his own and worst sense, p. 18.

38 M. Stokes fearing that he should miss of his ends (viz.) my death, 39 [...] the whole series of his actions tended to, p 18.

40 His Oath was returned to him with abundance of disgrace, for M. Bayliff solemnly took his Oath, that he told him no such thing, pag. 18.

41 He then produced two Letters, pretending they were my ac­knowledgement of the fact, p. 18.

42 They held forth no such thing as a Confession.

43 The whole story of M. Bayliffs Deposition, p. 19. A most noto­rious untruth made by T. W. never spoken by M. B. in Court.

44 M. Stokes (saith the Libeller) was so impudent as to swear 45 falsly in the Court to take away our lives which he thirsted af­ter, p. 19.

46 M. Stokes (saith Webbs Masse of malice) thinking to get him­self 47 a good name, indeavours to take it out of our Ashes; and ra­ther then he will miss of his ayms, he will swear falsly in open Court.

48, 49 But he respects neither Law nor Gospel, but is a blasphemer and contemner of both, p. 20.

Perfect malice and envy leads him to another design (saith the 50 Ranting Parson) for to take away my means, which after much in­justice 51 and grosse abuse acted towards me, he hath obtained.

52 The wrong and injury done to me was very great, not only in taking away my means, but rendring me under a most foul and un­clean vizard, p. 20.

53 So an honest man, one M. Richard Wick supplied my place in my absence, p. 21.

54 So M. Pinell parted and looked after the businesse no further, [Page 63] though very much solicited thereto by M. Stokes, p. 21.

But M. Stokes he sends to a solicitor that attends the Commit­tee,55 p. 21.

M. Stokes being troubled in his minde that nothing was done a­gainst 56 me, p. 22.

Which two Orders were not then created, nor was there any such 57 thing as an Order, p. 22.

He summons me to appear before the Commissioners, p. 22.58

M. Stokes returns me this answer, that he had sent up the body of 59 another Charge against me, p. 4.

He will have this Massey, and sent his Letter for him, as it was pro­ved 60 to his face the 22. of September last.

Great preparation was made by M. Stokes, &c. for a Petition to the 61 Committee for Massey.

What was acted by these men (viz.) M. Stokes and M. Shute (saith 62 the Libeller) not knowledge, nor any interest in the thing, but impu­dent malice, p. 46.

Sr Edward Baynton and his faction caused them to be disban­ded,63 p. 50.

Their sending me the Warrant without either Charge or Order,64 bewrayed in them abundance of ignorance or malice.

So about ten daies after, when M. Stokes his partner Cha [...] Aland 65 and Massey had hatcht a Charge, then it was sent to me, p. 51.

The great grounds of exception, pag. 52. are printed contrary to 66 the original Copy.

Wherein falsly they informed that I contemned the Committees Order, p. 53.67

But M. Wiliington told me what I had done, questioned the Autho­rity 68 of that Committee, p. 53.

The Articles intended to be examined, were not those exhibited 69 before the Committee, p. 53.

The Libeller intimates, pag. 54. That M. Stokes did carry up the 70, 71 Examination against him to the Committee, and solicited for a poor slipshood-Parson, p. 54.

Truly mine eyes have seen him do such horrid acts of blasphemy (saith the Libeller) of the highest nature as ever I heard related to be done by any, p. 54▪ 72

He is become (viz) a meer dissembler with God and man.73

He is a publick mocker, jearer and derider of all publick worship,74, 75 [Page 64] and fell down upon his knees to a mock-prayer, and made the same a subject of mirth, pag. 54.

76 M. Stokes and my self, with two or three more, lay at the Bores-head in Salisbury, p. 55.

77 And came to bed with very blasphemous words in his mouth, pag. 55.

78 Finding a bottle he filled it with his Urine and set it by his Filth.

79 He used the gesture of kneeling.

And expressed himself in this abominable and blasphemous lan­guage 80 to me, (viz.)

81 That I should kneel down and partake the Communion.

82 Saith he, pointing to his dung, Here is the body of Christ.

83 Pointing to his urine, saith he, Here is the bloud of Christ.

84 To every cup of Sack or Bear, he would make a mock of the Lords Supper.

85 He would teach me to make a spiritual face, p. 55.

86 They cannot away to hear of love and good works, p. 56.

I might insert many other acts of his blasphemy (as true as the 87 rest,) p. 56.

88 Well, saith the Libellous Parson, I may diminish, but indeed I have not added any thing to them.

89 Nakedly as they came from him I have here inserted them.

90 I might insert (saith he) his (viz.) M. Stokes, his pocketting up of 4l which were collected of the honest party in my Church.

He issued out his Warrants for the raising of him mony to buy him 91 Trumpets and Banners, p. 56.

92 I was not suffered to give in my Answer, saith the Parson, in any fair, even and just way, p. 57.

93 In the 57. pag. he hath set down the Articles of prophaneness and scandall against himself falsly.

In the same page he belies M Stokes concerning his Deposition to the first Article.

94 Being earnestly desired (saith he) by M. White (and the Parish) I accepted. Q. Is not M. White and the Parish beholding to T. W? Answer, M. White is, having raised his fortunes and saved his tythe by this acceptation, p. 58.

95 He saith M. Stokes and M. Martyn were both satisfied that the right lay in M. White and not in the Committee, p. 58.

96 The people with one consent cried, A Webb a Webb.

[Page 65] Untill it was within this half year, M. Stokes looked upon me as 97 their Minister, and hath often pressed me to take Tythes.98

He saith M. Stokes hath sevenscore pounds a year land in our Parish,99 (viz.) Langley, as true as the rest, he hath but 30l per annum there, during his fathers life, p. 59.

Truly (saith the Parson that cannot speak truth) such is the enmity of my spirit against the evil of uncleannesse, that I should be never 100 given over to commit, much lesse to glory in it, p. 60.101

She (meaning Good wife Lewis) M. Stokes sent his Warrant to 102 come against me, p. 61.

This last clause struck the nail on the head before the Commit­tee,103 p. 62.

At that time M. Stokes and I were a little intimate, p. 62.104

And in this late time of danger engaged my self, p. 62.105

I hope (saith Webb) its because they knew themselves guilty of having dealt very unjustly by me, which is all that ever I said of 106 them, p. 63.

The following certificate which is from the most knowingest and godliest Christians, pag. 63.107

The Justices most knowingest Christians are such who will swear and speak most falsly, p. 63.108

Their own consciences do acquit me, p. 64.109

All the honest party the whole Country throughout will clear me,110 saith Parson Webb, p. 64.

They have sought to take away my life, p. 65.111

Here you have the true Relation of my Case, p. 65.112

The unjust (saith the unclean Parson) and harsh dealing I have received from the Justices was the cause of the great Odium cast up­on me, p. 65.113

Truly this was the plot even to send me to the Goal, and thereby 114 cast a cloud of filth over me, p. 65.

I acted amongst many of the Country for the bringing of him,115 (viz.) Geo. Ivy Esq. to an accompt for his Malignancy, p. 65.

He is not a fit man (meaning Mr Shute) to act in any publique imployment, p. 65.116

Of M. Stokes he saith he knows that the woman who was my ac­cuser,117 hath to my self and others, charged him with many things of the same nature, p. 66.

When danger was eminent, he laid down his Commission, p. 66.118

[Page 66] 119 When he was made Justice for the Peace he faces about, p. 67.

120 When these worthy Gent. Lieut. Col. Lilborn, M. Walwin and the rest were put into the Tower,Untruth. he towred up his just principle also, and arraigned them and their well-wishers at the tyrannicall and u­surping bar of his Justiceship.

121 He hath expressed himself bitterly against them, p. 67.

Often saying that he would give 200l to have me taken out of the 122 way, p. 67.

123 He hath alwaies envied the happiness and prosperity of the Gen­tlewoman, p. 67.

124 He caused the sault of M. Whites, to be taken away, p. 67.

125 He perswades her (viz.) Mistress White to sell a parcell of Plate; 126 She left the sale to him, could never have any accompt, only recei­ved 127 eight pounds, p. 67.

128 Many writings of consequence was put into his custody, but not since to be found, p. 67.

129 His envy is against the estate and the Gentlewomans prosperity, and therefore he will do what he can to destroy it, p. 68.

130 Of all things written and related by this notorious Libellous Par­son, he saith though it be large yet its all true.

In the Catalogue aforegoing, you have the most part of those scandalous and slanderous untruths, as they lay in Order in Tho. Webbs disorderly Masse of malice: In which he hath (as he thinks) justified himself, and sufficiently bespattered with his black mock-Parson mouth both Judge and Justices, especially M. Stokes, on him he hath vomited all his own shame, contracted with the long enjoyment of a fat Parsonage and a fine Concubine.

That it may the more clearly appear that the said Catalogue is a bundell of notorious untruths: some few of them, and they the most grosse (against M. Stokes) are answered; by which the Reader may see of what mettle the rest are made.

In the 53. pag. of his Masse of malice, he confesseth that he is eje­cted the place (viz.) the Parsonage of Langley B. and in the 20. pag. he attributes the ejectment to M. Stokes, as you may see in the 51 untruth in the Catalogue before.

Wherefore it is very necessary that M. Stokes should be required and rewarded for so good a work, and the Parson scorns to be un­gratefull; and therefore not as a bribe before hand, but as a gratuity [Page 67] afterward, he brings out of his learned Treasury (viz.) his most unchristian and Parson-like heart, a whole Masse of malice, and laies, through his Pastorall charity, the greatest mess of the said Masse on M. Stokes his Trencher.

And therefore in the 54 page, he begins afresh, as a Parson reco­vering breath to compleat his Masse of malice, with a Truly, truly, saith he, my eyes have seen him do such horrid acts of blasphemy of the highest nature, as ever I heard related to be done by any; nay I never heard of the like acted by any, whether Atheists, Pagans or Infidels.

Answer, How or when could the Parson see with his eyes such 1 horrid acts of blasphemy, and not with his tongue reprove nor ad­monish the offender? surely no conclusion can be gathered from hence but this, either he believes his own eyes, or else was a party in those acts, for silence gives consent.

Honest Parsons or true Christians, having the least part of grace 2 remaining in the heart, would have used other means or waies to bring a blasphemer to the sight of his evil, then publish the same in a Libellous Pamphlet two years after the fact, yet before any o­ther admonition, you may easily conclude 'tis publisht in a Masse of malice.

That M. Stokes is such a man, or guilty of such high crimes, must 3 be proved by more persons, and those of better repute then the quon­dam Parson of Langley, and registred in a better record, and more true then Webbs Masse of malice, otherwise none but vain and light creatures will credit the report.

M. Stokes affirms that he hath had no familiarity with Webb for 4 four years last past ended in July 1652. And therefore if his eyes have seen M. Stokes do such horrid acts of blasphemy, either a Parsonage or a blasphemous principle hung in the Parsons light that he could never see to speak of it, but conceal it till he brought forth his Masse of malice.

The very reason the Parson urgeth why he concealed it till now,5 will clear up the innocency of M. Stokes: the tender respects, saith he, I did owe to him, because he carried a fair correspondency with honest people, hath made me hitherto to conceal the same. (Mark) would not any man of reason think that there was reason enough for the Parson to indeavour to convince M. Stokes of his error, as the Scriptures direct? and if M. Stokes had refused his admonition, he [Page 68] might have publisht the evil to the honest party, towards whom he carried a fair correspondency, and those honest men might have assisted the Parson in so good a work; but surely the Parson was ig­norant of his duty, otherwise he never saw those horrid acts of blas­phemy, nor ever thought of them till he had sat upon, and almost hatcht his Masse of malice.

But to come to some particulars he saith in the aforesaid 54 page of M. Stokes.

In the first place he is a publique mocker, jearer and derider of all publique worship.

1 Answer, M. Stokes his daily practice both in publique and private acquits him of this slander.

2 The consciences of his greatest opposites, even Webb and divers more of the Ranting crew, will free him now in private, and shall at the last and great account, publikely confesse that this charge procee­ded from the brains and bowels of a discontented Parson, who ha­ving lost a good name and a fat Parsonage, behaves himself as a Bear that is robbed of her whelps.

3 Yet M. Stokes confesseth that he hath been addicted to laughing and jearing at false and formall worshippers, both Papists and common Protestants, who make ignorance the mother of devotion, and wor­ship an unknown God, or the true God after a manner not prescribed in Gods word.

Moreover he confesseth that he hath privatly and publiquely jear­ed those that Preach and Pray, and Professe to, for to gain good names, fat Parsonages, and handsome women for wives and whores, that makes merchandise of the word of God, that serve not the Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly; and this Tho. Webb knows, whose works praise him in the gate.

4 M. Stokes (who before the Lord acknowledgeth that he is lesse then the least of all Gods mercies) affirms, that he hath a most ho­nourable accompt and high esteem of all Gods Ordinances, of all true worship and worshippers, and withall believes that Marriage it self is an Ordinance in force, honourable amongst all, and the bed undefiled; which the accuser believes not, nor yet the Command­ment which saith, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours wife.

The Parson gives one instance to prove M. Stokes such a publique mocker, but it's as solid as the Parson is learned, (viz.) that M. Stokes, Captain Matraners and himself were all three in London a­bout [Page 69] two years ago, and lying (liars had need of good memories) in the blew Bores-head in King-street, the morning we were to come out of town, M. Stokes fell down upon his knees to a mock-prai­er in Westminster Abby.

Answer, M. Stokes affirms that to his best remembrance he was 1 never in London with Webb and Treavers together, but confesseth that about four years since he was in Westminster with the said par­ties. There is a sign of a blew Bores-head in Kingstreet, at which house all the parties lay, but surely the Bores-head is neither so large nor so hollow as to lodge three persons within its own bulk; yet the Parson affirms we were all being in London, and lying at the blew Bores-head in Kingstreet.

As for the mock prayer, M. Stokes understands not what the Par­son 2 means, yet when he shall print a right time, and also a Copy of the mock-prayer, M. Stokes will be so ingenuous to confesse his er­rors and miscarriages in publique worship; yet that either then, or at any other time any thought, word or action passed M. Stokes with an intent to make a mock of that holy Ordinance of prayer, or any other publick worship, is the highest untruth and scandall as ever Satan by any of his instruments (whether spirituall) or lay Par­son charged upon any creature that expected salvation by Jesus Christ.

M. Stokes knoweth that all prayer not acted by faith, is mock-prayer; 3 and he believes that the saying of David is true, (viz.) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer: To al­low ones self in the practice of any known sin, and to come before the Lord in daily prayer, is mock-prayer.

It's much to be feared that the Libertine Parson Webb is well ac­quainted with mock-prayer. Reason 1. He hath both Preached and 4 Prayed to get and keep a Parsonage. 2. By his own confession he lived in the vile sin of uncleannesse a long time together, and yet in that time constantly Preached and prayed in the publique Congrega­tion: Quere, Whether those prayers were not mock-prayers? 3. He hath confessed that he hath not had the assistance of the Spirit, as in former times, and yet he kept his appointed howers of prayer in the publique Congregation; Q. Were not these mock-prayers? yet all these are left out, and one pretended mock-prayer by a mock-Parson in his Masse of malice fastened upon M. Stokes, &c.

Yet the Parson saith not that M. Stokes made a mock-prayer, but 5 [Page 70] fell down on his knees to a mock-prayer; so whether he means the prayer of the Minister, or the gesture of kneeling, or the pillar to which he kneeled, he is desired to demonstrate what he means when he wipes his eyes with his Masse of malice, or makes an addition to that learned Libell.

In the second place he forms a most Execrable blasphemy in the Masse of malice, p. 55. concerning the Lords Supper, not to be thought of, much lesse named amongst the Christians; and indea­vours to fasten that also upon M. Stokes, and this he saith was com­mitted at Salisbury, at the Bores-head, there after the time before mentioned, which was about two years since.

1 M. Stokes affirms that he was not with the said Webb at Salisbury at that time, nor at any time since, except when he was upon his tri­all for Adultery at Lent Assises, 1650.

2 M. Stokes affirms that he never lay at the Bores-head in Salisbury by himself, with the said Parson, nor with any other person, and that he knoweth no such sign; moreover he affirms that if he can be disproved in either of these answers, he is contented to be branded with the blackest mark of infamy that ever was due to a blas­phemer.

3 M. Stokes beleeves, that were himself (or any) guilty of so horrid and most accursed actions, God is so just and jealous of his own glo­ry, that as great plagues and furies would pursue the offender, as be­fell Julian, Judas or Spira.

4 M. Stokes affirms the whole story of the blasphemy, as penned and published by Webb, is of the Libellers own invention, and never had a being, but in Tho. Webbs brain or practice till, it came from thence to fill up his Masse of malice against M. Stokes.

5 M. Stokes beleeves the Sacrament of the Lords Supper to be of Divine Institution, and of great use to all believers at this day, he cannot justifie himself, but must confesse that he hath sinned against the Lord in the use and neglect of his holy Ordinances, but to speak or to act any thing by way of derision or derogation to any one of them (even those that are now abolished) is that which his soul abhorreth and trembleth to think of.

6 The ridiculous author of the Masse of malice, hath divers times in publique and private, preacht and disputed, That believers into whom Christ or the Spirit is come, are no longer to use the Ordi­nance of the Lords Supper, for which learned conceit of his, M. [Page 71] Stokes confesseth that he hath grossely jeared the said Parson, but ab­borreth the thought of under valuing, much more of blaspheming that body and bloud by which only he expects eternall salvation.

Yet M. Stokes is beholding to the Christian moel-Parson, not for 7 creating a most cursed and detestable blasphemy and fastening it up­on him, but for weakning his own evidence, giving himself the lye, and clearing the accused, for so he doth in the 20th line of the afore­said 55. pag. in these words, Blasphemy that I never heard in my life. If he had said That he had never heard the like in his life, or never heard before, it might have been otherwise understood: But to conclude, after he hath filled up with most accursed circumstance a self-invented blasphemy, he clearly acquits the accused, and saith, blasphemy that I never heard in my life. Lord how good thou art? this is thy hand and thy doing I Thou hast made the Author of the Masse of malice to acquit the innocent, in the middest of his fierce and foul Charge, To thy name be all the glory.

The Libidinous Parson saith himself, That he made no words of 8 the businesse till now, concealing it till now from all people, where­fore if M. Stokes were guilty, must not the Parson be as far forth guiltty as himself; Is a man of his Coat and Calling to conceal a blas­phemy of that nature, without check to the blasphemer or complaint to the Magistrate for two years together? but it seems the blasphe­my, as great as it is, had never been contrived nor revealed, had not this spirituall Parson faln into travell with, and longed to be deli­vered of a monstrous Masse of malice: And therefore who will not conclude that this blasphemous bastard (being as ugly and defor­med as the fellow-creatures could make it) had the corrupt brains of Parson Webb for its womb, and the father of lies for its midwife, who brought it forth, and wrapt it up in a Masse of malice, and then deal with it as petty whores with their poor bastards (viz.) give them suck and lay them at other folks doors.

But the peremptory Parson is a man of reason, and therefore is not without reason for the concealment of the said blasphemy, yet the unreasonableness of the reasons will acquit M. Stokes.

His first reason is because we were there met, and about the affairs of the Country.

Answer, The meeting about the affairs of the Country could 1 not prevent a zealous Christian, much lesse so eminent a Parish Par­son as Tho. Webb (who is none of the shame fast Parsons) from a [Page 72] dislike, or a check to so grosse an evil in his companion.

2 Must the affairs of the Country be a sufficient ground to exempt a man (when he is imployed therein) to set him scot-free from the check or controul of reverend grave Divines, though he commit the highest crime against the Lord of life and glory. Surely Parson Webb is no Minister of the Lords making, that prefers the publique imployments and Country affairs, above the glory of Jesus Christ the great Bishop and Shepherd of our souls.

3 M. Stokes beleeves that the Commonwealth of England, is not so barren of good men, that its affairs must be managed by blasphe­mers, and they never told of their evils neither, untill such time as a little malice be grown into a Masse, but from such blasphemers, and such Parsons good Lord deliver the Commonwealth of Eng­land.

But Parson Webbs second reason is, He was well thought of, and therefore, saith he, I concealed it till now from all people.

1 So long as a man is well thought of, he may commit any sin or blas­phemy whatsoever, without check or reproof; surely if this spiri­tuall man had not been mad, he would never insert this reason so void of all understanding.

2 The Reader may easily see day light through this little hole: Tis no matter how much a man blasphemes, nor what sins he becomes guilty of so long as he is well thought of amongst the Ranting crew, called amongst themselves the honest party: let a man be friendly to these, and let them alone with their carnall lusts and spirituall li­vings, (viz. Parsonages) and all shall be well; but cross them in ei­ther, they will load you with their own actions, and lay upon you a a Masse of malicious filth.

3 M. Stokes believes he is as well thought off in his Country amongst all sorts of people (Ranters only excepted) as ever: yet he desires rather to be good, then to be accounted so; he values not the prai­ses of men, yet loves a good name, which no sort of people, high or low, rich or poor, nor Cavalier nor Roundhead, nor Presbyterian nor Independant, ever sought to rob him of; till the famous male­volent Parson Tho. Webb and his fellow-creatures (whose tongues and pens are no slander) undertook the charge of the work in a Masse of malice, and this M. Stokes accompts as an addition to his good name and honour (viz.) to be evil spoken of by the genera­tion of Ranters; whose wicked waies and practices are an abhor­ring [Page 73] to his soul, which the mock-Parson knoweth to the grief of his prophane heart.

The next materiall thing the Parson chargeth M. Stokes withall, follows in the same pag. 55.

I having taught (saith he) one Lords day from the words of St James, Be ye holy in all manner of conversation. And shewing how a Christian ought in all his actions to set a strict Watch over himself, and see that he imitate the divine life: And M. Stokes being present after I had ended my discourse, and going out of the Church, he asked me why I medled with such stuff as that was, &c.

Answer, This knowing arrogant Parson you may perceive is so 1 well read in the new Testament, that he quotes St James for St Pe­ter, for the Text is, 1 Pet. 1 15. But his imployment is so great, and his travel so hard to bring forth a Masse of malice, that for hast he robs S. Peter, and belies S. James.

M. Stokes affirms that the doctrines as they are now set down in 2 the Masse of malice, (as Christian Watchfulnesse and imitation of the divine life) are excellent doctrines most profitable to beleevers: but neither the one nor the other were ever preached by Parson Webb in M. Stokes his hearing, and disliked of by him, neither did the Parson ever Preach upon that Scripture, as M. Stokes remem­breth.

Yet M. Stokes confesseth that about four years since he heard the 3 said Parson preach in the Parish Church of Largley a very unprofi­table Sermon, without any life, power, or appearance of the spirit of God, shewing the Auditory how much and how often they should eat and drink; when he ought rather to shew that that which enters into the body defileth not, but that from the heart proceeds murthers, adulteries and the like, and to have indeavoured to have made clean the inside of the cup and platter, for till the heart be cleansed and purified through the presence of the Spirit of Christ, there can be no Christian watchfulnesse, nor imitation of a divine life: These with all observations of meats and drinks perish with the using, and are bodily exercises which profit little; and this way of preaching by Tho. Webb was friendly reproved by M. Stokes, who then seemed to take it well, and a little after confest to M. Stokes that he had not the assistance of the Spirit of God in his preaching, as formerly, but now this reproof is become a crime [Page 74] to make up the Masse of Malice.

4 M. Stokes disliking the preaching of Parson Webb, acquaints him with it presently, which argued love and friendship in him.

But this Parson conceals all Mr Stokes his errors and miscarriages, as he saith, till now, that is, till he brought forth that worthy work, the Masse of malice; in which he is so far from mentioning of reall errors, that he indeavours to fasten upon him many most notorious untruths of his own devising and invention.

5 If M. Stokes had not been a lover of good works, and the Parson an enemy thereunto, both parties had continued lovers and friends to this day: Yet the Author of the Masse of malice justifies himself, and condemns M. Stokes to be an enemy to sound doctrine and good life, hoping thereby to recover his lost credit, and render himself a most rare and singular Parson.

In the next place the famous Parson in the 56. page of his Masse of malice, saith, I might insert many other notorious acts of his blasphemy.

1 M. Stokes beleeves the male-contented Parson to be a man of a quick invention, nimble wit, and ready pen, and therefore wonders why he behaves himself like a Preacher, that having ended his mat­ter with his hour-glasse, saith, I might insist upon these and these particulars, when poor soul he hath not a word to say more; so this man at first mentions many acts of blasphemy, insists upon one, and then saith, I might insert many more; and who knows not but that he might, had not his charity prevented, or his invention failed in raising so famous a structure as the Masse of malice?

2 M. Stokes is not offended with this Parson for revealing or con­cealing any thing concerning him, nor for creating blasphemies, or other crimes in a Masse of malice to lay upon him; he well knows that the Parson and all the fellow-creatures are acted by a power irresistible, which makes them to say and swear any thing against those that hate their Ranting practices and blasphemous unclean waies: yet M. Stokes cannot own Parson Webbs base born brats, but must leave them to their ghostly father, who is most pure in his own eyes.

3 M. Stokes (though a great sinner before the Lord) challengeth Parson Tho, Webb and all others of his invenomed generation, fel­low-creatures, male and female; whether Ranters in judgement or practice, or both; to invent, say, swear, write, print, publish, [Page 75] whatsoever they know, think or can imagine against him, which may tend to his dishonour or disgrace; for he is resolved to defie the devil and all his works; knowing that it is God that justifies, and therefore accounts it his greatest honour to be evil spoken of by that generation.

Furthermore in the same 56. page he saith, what I have asserted is enough, and is no more then what is truth in every particular of it.

Who seeth not that Tho. Webb is satisfied with his Masse of ma­lice▪ 1 and that one of many acts of blasphemy is enough to record at this time? What I have asserted saith he, is enough to discover what the man is: So that the Reader is to take it for granted, that the Parson is very sparing and loth to speak his whole knowledge; yet fearing his assertion will not be beleeved, he saith, 'tis all true: So that you must understand that the Parsons doings are all righteous, and his sayings all true, so that his word must passe without check or doubt. All Parson Webbs scandals and self-intended blasphemies, reviling censures and reproaches are all true, you are not to question them, because Thomas Webb is Author of them, which M. Stokes knoweth to be true.

But to fasten a belief in his Reader, he is fain to use all his Eccle­siasticall 2 understanding at once; for, thinks the reverend Church­man, if this be not believed against M Stokes, all my labour is vain, and my Masse of malice will not be regarded nor had in esteem a­mongst those that are adverse to the Ranting rout; and therefore having wip't his beard, and set his countenance, he devoutly and de­murely imitates the whores and bauds, when they act the part of grave Matrons and honest women: or deceiptfull Shopkeepers, who with a truly put off their Tarnisht wares; so the hypocriticall Parson, to make men believe his lies, saith, To imprecate and make protestations is not my usuall manner of speaking; for truly, saith he, I approve not of any such thing, but according to my manner of speaking, which is as I am taught by the Scripture, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; in very truth all these things are true.

So that you may believe him, for all his untruths are uttered by Divine right by the excellent Parson, and fastened in a Scripture phrase upon Mr Stokes, who doubts not but the Parson can prove the legality of his uncleannesse and blasphemous waies by the Scri­pture; he can gain Parsonages, Marry, Baptize and Bury persons, [Page 76] live disorderly in his Whoring, Ranting, reproaching and reviling at any who please him not; and confirm himself and his deluded followers by a Scripture phrase, Believe him you that list.

3 You may see his manner of speaking in his letters before menti­oned that he loves neither imprecations nor protestations; but withall you will conclude, that he that cannot speak truth of him­self, nor well of his fellow-creatures, can much lesse speak well of Mr Stokes, though as he pretends he makes conscience of a manner of speaking which he hath learned in Scripture. So Satan and all his false prophets set forth their untruths in a Scripture language, not out of love to truth or Scripture, but to obtain their own cur­sed ends (viz) ruine to the souls, bodies or good names of those that fear the Lord, and hate their hypocriticall and lascivious waies, otherwise this Parson would have learnt and practised other lessons out of the Scriptures then those he makes use of to make up his Masse of malice.

But the Parson proceeds in his charitable way of concealment, of M. Stokes his errors or blasphemies, but yet makes them pub­lique, and saith in the same page, I might insert his pocketting up of four pounds, collected of the honest party in my Church, for to defray the charges of our Bristoll friends in carrying up a Petition to London.

1 Mr Stokes might answer that this slander which the quondam Parson might insert, is as true as the rest which he hath inserted, which are all as like the father, since he hath given himself over to commit uncleannesse with greedinesse, and hath followed the spirit of error as ever they can look.

2 Mr Stokes knows not what the learned Parson in wickednesse means by his Church, in which he saith the four pound was col­lected, unlesse it be the Parish-Church of Langley Burhill: if so, Mr Stokes affirms that in Parson Webbs Church he never recei­ved a penny for any such use as he mentions in his Masse of malice.

3 M. Stokes acknowledgeth that in the year 1647. on a Lords day, after evening Sermon, there was a collection of monies in the Par­sonage house of Langley. And further M. Stokes affirms that he re­ceived the moneys there collected to the use aforesaid, which amoun­ted to the just summe of 29t—11d and no more, as the note yet re­maining will demonstrate, who paid it in the particulars, and how [Page 77] much the summe is in grosse, which is just 29 [...]—11d, towards which summe the accomptant Parson Webb paid not one farthing. Now 25s M. Stokes paid of the said summ to one William Coller appointed to receive the same; so that the whole summe M. Stokes stands charged withall is 4s—11d, which the Parson hath scrued to 4l, the better to build a Masse of malice.

This very Parson when he saw that for his high crimes and mis­demeanors,4 he was outed of his Parsonage; within a few dayes af­ter writ letters to his fellow-creatures in the Country; and among the rest one to M. B. row in the custody of M. Stokes, where he tels of his ejectment, and promiseth to print against Mr Stokes the very particulars now publisht in his Masse of malice, in which he chargeth M. Stokes with 3I, but in the Masse of his malice hath stretcht it to 4l as you have seen before.

M. Stokes affirms that the payment of the twenty five shillings 5 before mentioned to W. Coller, according to order, was a work of supererrogation in him, and that he might justly have retained it in his own hands to this day, and given a good account thereof to a wiser man then Parson Webb, whom it principally concerned, for it no way concerned him, but to fill up his Masse of malice.

Another blasphemy or crime (which the Parson pleaseth) is the pocketting up of twenty pound to buy Trumpets and Banners,Masse. this was paid he said by the Committee of Wilts about two years ago to M. Stokes.

Answer, M. Stokes affirms, that (that not about two years ago,1 but) in the year 1648. against Duke Hambletons Invasion, the Com­mittee of Wilts assigned to M. Stokes and others, then in command, 20l to each Captain to defray their extraordinary charges, and to provide themselves with necessaries fit for War. And further M. Stokes confesseth, that after the whole service was over, the Cava­liers every where beaten, and the L. Generall Cromwel, with part of the Army in Scotland, then M. Stokes received the 20l, and about 7 or 8l more at severall times, which was all the money of the Common-wealths that he ever received for the service, in which he spent a far greater summe, continuing the command from the be­ginning of June, untill about November, 1648. 'Tis believed that if Parson Webb had gained no more by Preaching and pra­ctising, then M. Stokes hath by the late troubles, by his charge­able Offices and Imployments, all along the War, he could never [Page 78] have been so much given up to pride and covetousnesse.

2'Tis manifest to the whole Country, that for 10 years space M. Stokes hath spent his time in the service of the Commonwealth, which hath proved a great burthen to him, in respect of his Estate, which is but small: That he hath spent and lost much in the time of his banishment from his estate and publique imployment, and yet never sought any place of advantage or profit in the Nation, nor ever sought after Honour, except it were to be faithfull to his own conscience and the Commonwealths Cause, the prosperity whereof is all the praise or reward Master Stokes expects.

Where is the man that can stand forth and truly say, M. Stokes, you did me injury in the Warre, you eat my meat and paid not for it, you rode my horse, you received a bribe, you have en­riched your self by these Warres, you were cruel when in place of trust and Honour, you were covetous to cheat or cousen the Country or Commonwealth; you sought great things for your self, you have solicited a Parliament man, a Member of the Coun­cell of State, or Officer of the Army to assist you in the gain­ing an Office, or Honour, or Profit, which you spent on your lusts: let such a man stand forth and make the challenge, and M. Stokes will be his bond-man for ever.

But the Parish-Parson, as lawlesse as a Parish-Bull may bellow forth his black charge, and roar out his Masse of malice, and say all manner of evil against M. Stokes, right or wrong. Oh excellent Parson!

And therefore in the next place he tells the Reader that M. Stokes issues out his Warrants for the raising of him money to buy Trum­pets and Banners for the Troop. An aspersion so false and silly, that none but Ranters have the boldnesse or impudence to affirm, or weaknesse to believe: All the Commissioners in the whole County, all the Constables, petty Constables, and Tithing-men; and all that pay a penny towards the Publique Charge of the Nation, will readily and chearfully tell the Parson, that this is an untruth: But fit enough for his Masse of malice.

The last thing M. Stokes takes notice of amongst all the quondam Parsons aspersions is,

That M. Stokes upon his marriage, and when danger was emi­nent, he laid down his Commission, and left the Troop without a Commander.

[Page 79] A most manifest untruth, The whole work of the Nation was 1 over; the Scots and English Cavaliers wholly ruined and bro­ken: And further M. Stokes continued the command six or eight weeks after he had Orders to disband, as the Committee of Wilts can testifie, whose Orders and Letters yet remain to manifest the contrary.

The Charge of the Command being insupportable to M. Stokes, 2 and the work for which they were raised being over; having also many occasions of his own, requiring his attendance, he only took leave of the Troop, and left it to be commanded by his then Lieu­tenant, Cap. Henry Aland, who continued it by Order of State for the Irish service, where he is at this day.

Let it be considered by any person, not Ranting ripe, what 3 need there was of a County-Troop in November 1648. un­lesse to eat up the poor Country with Free-quarter (for no pay was then to be had) and to pull the curse of the needy upon M. Stokes. Yet saith this State mock-Parson, when danger was eminent M. Stokes laid down his Commission. That Masse must needs be great that's made up with such abominable and malicious untruths, invented and brought to the work by an opprobious Par­son in his luxurious and malevolent humor.

And that all the world may see that not only an unclean, but also a lying spirit was the Author of the Masse of malice; here is inserted the Committees Order for Disbanding the said Troop.

At the Committee of Parliament, for the said County, the 22. of Septemb. Anno 1948.

THat all the Horse that are now in pay under severall Captains in this County,Wilts. and those under any other Command,Ord. be this day disbanded, and forthwith paid for what service they have lately done in this County, and this day; and that only Thirty be conti­nued under the Command of Cornet Anthony Yardly, and that those Thirty men which are to be continued are to be approved by this Committee.

A true Copy
Examined by Jonath. Hill, Clerk to the said Committee.

These are the most principall calumnies and foul aspersions that the Parson hath attributed to M. Stokes, which are most faithfully answered and retorted: There are many more, but so ridiculous as not worth a reply.

1 But let the Reader take them together, and consider with him­self these particulars: 1. If M. Stokes were guilty of such foul crimes, How comes it to passe that Webb in all his angry and re­proachfull letters, never mentioned a word to M. Stokes of any one of them.

2 When he fains a repentance, and by his own letters confessed his abominations to M. Stokes; its as clear as the sun, that he then did not take M. Stokes to be the man as he hath set him out to be in the Masse of malice, the letters being of a later date then these pre­tended crimes; neither is it likely that he would make a blasphe­mer his Confessor.

3 His own expressions in his own letters to M. Stokes, clear him: besides those before mentioned in this Narrative there are many other in M. Stokes his hand, which discover to the world, that he is not such an offender, save in Webbs Masse of malice: Amongst divers take notice of this one of the 3d of Aug. 1650. which is af­ter the time wherein the blasphemy and crimes are said to be com­mitted in the Masse of malice.

Sweet Sir,

I Ever took you to be a cordiall and a true friend to the Saints and truth of Christ, and therefore I professe to you unfainedly from my heart, that exceedingly I love you and tender you, and could I but assure my self that you would receive me with the same sweetnesse of spirit as formerly, and with the spirit of meeknesse restore me, wherein I am fallen. Oh how glad would my heart be to see you! While you were at London I longed for your coming home▪ because to you I would unbosome my self, but I was cast off by you to my great grief and sorrow, &c.

Now Reader, if Parson Webb in Aug. 1650. took M. Stokes to be a cordiall and a true friend to the Saints and truth of Christ how can he justly charge M. Stokes as in his Masse of malice, with such ab­horred crimes of an elder date.

Neither can it be imagined that he would have unbosomed him­self to a blaspheamer, deceiver, &c.

[Page 81] So M. Stokes is acquitted by his accuser before the accusation received any being.

Let it be considered, whether Webb had not better thoughts of 4 M. Stokes but a very little time before his triall; for about the time Lieutenant Gen. Ludlow went into Ireland, the said Webb being then in Goal, drew with his own hand a Petition to the Parlia­ment, that Edw. Stokes Esq. might command the Regiment of Horse for Wilts, in the place and absence of Col. Ludlow, and this Petition he promoted by his Agents then at liberty, untill M. Stokes himself put a period to that design. Quaere, Whether then he took M. Stokes to be the man as now he hath printed him to be in his Masse of malice. Yet the crimes charged are of a far elder date by his own accompt.

But besides all this M. Stokes is acquitted in his own conscience, which is better to him then 10000 witnesses, and therefore can boldly say, Who art thou that condemnest? it is God that justifies, who will clear up the innocency of his servants, and finde out (to their shame) all such as make lies their refuge, and become false accusers of others, as the ridiculous Author of the Masse of malice hath done; who having made himself drunk with the much bib­ing at the Ranting cup, behaves himself like a mad Bedlam, stri­king those that are next him. In his repentings you have seen him striking and wounding his own dear fellow-creatures, charging them through and through, with malice and wickednesse. And so soon as he is reconciled to them, he Raves and Rants like a most furious frantick, against all other that could not dandle or flatter him in his wicked and unclean waies; So that the Parliament it self, the Committee of Plundred Ministers, the Judge, and the Justices of Peace for the County of Wilts, amongst which M. Stokes acknowledgeth he is not worthy to be named; these are the ob­ject of Webbs Masse of malice, and are more or lesse abused by the filthy Libell so called.

And well may the mock-Parson charge M. Stokes with blasphe­my, in his Masse of malice, being himself a blasphemer upon pub­lique Record; All delinquents delight to fasten their own titles and actions upon the most innocent persons; so the delinquent Parson having been discovered and convicted to be a blasphemer, he gives away his own title, and imputes his own abhorred actions to M. Stokes.

[Page 82] That the said Parson is a blasphemer himself,T. W. his blasphemy upon Re­cord. you shall finde upon diligent inquiry, that he stood charged about the year 1644. be­fore the then house of Lords, to be a Blasphemer, one that had de­livered many blasphemous principles to the people; whereupon he was by the said House committed, and stood so for some time; yet afterwards he pretended a repentance of those errors, subscri­bing a form of Recantation with his own hand, and afterwards gave thanks to a Minister of the Assembly, for being a means to draw him off from those errors; and blessed God for his mercies to him, for he was in the ready way (as he said) to Atheism, and many of his companions in those opinions were turned Atheists. Notwithstanding all this he both preached and practised as before, holding forth many things against the glory and truth of Jesus Christ and Scripture; and not long after came into Wilts, as trans­formed into an Angel of Light, upon which stage he hath acted the Ranting part, as is before expressed.

The last thing concerning Tho. T. W. his late pro­gress into, and return from Wilts. Webb the Author of the Masse of malice, is this, he comes lately (viz) about March last into Wilts, to visit the honest party, and disperse his malitious Masse. Well, he visits his friends, and amongst the rest (to colour the bu­sinesse) he gives his poor wife a visit, only by way of comple­ment, but durst neither to stay with her, nor in any wise to keep her company, as men usually do, &c. but hastens away to visit his man-wife J. O. and others; so to Langley he comes, where he was received with all alacrity amongst his honest party, where divers met, to whom he declared that he lately Preached upon that Text, The spiritual man is mad, and now resolved to dissem­ble no more (viz.) never to receive Parsonage, nor Preach more, nor yet to conceal his principles from the world, as he had done: But being asked by one, what he would do if his Mistress should cast him off; said, that he should be the most miserable man living, and thought he should make away with himself. So to put it out of doubt that he would dissemble his principles no more, he takes the childe, which he said he begot on the body of another mans wife, (yet never went to see his own childe born in lawfull Matrimony, though he rode by the house where it was kept by the mothers friends;) and himself became a convoy, riding by the Waggon in which the childe was carried through the Country towards Lon­don, and for part of the way afterwards, sends back the party that [Page 83] did attend it, and himself plaies the part of (not only a loving fa­ther, but) a nurse, till it met the mother and her husband, where the joy was compleated: And this the impudent mock-Parson per­formed, as if he had done it in the height of contempt against both Religion and Magistracy.

So I have done with the mock-Parson and his Masse of malice: Many things I have omitted, because I would not be over-tedious, and the Narration being of too great a bulk already, I forbear to add. If in any particulars I seem to offend, let it be thy glory, courteous Reader, to passe it by. I was forc't to the work which I never sought after, nor do not delight in; yet what I have done, I have done it publiquely and truly, that truth may be manifest, and falshood discovered, that the righteous waies and people of God may be justified, and the wicked waies and works of ungodly men may be condemned. Wherefore, as I wish all that respect the health of their bodies, to take heed of Empericks and Mounte-banks; so I advise all that respect the health of their souls, and peace of their spirits to take heed of mock Parsons, and counterfeit Preachers, who though they appear in sheeps cloathing, yet in­wardly are ravening wolves; I mean such as make themselves Preachers and Parish-Parsons to gain Parsonages or filthy lucre for their Preaching; amongst which number you may finde T. W. From whom, that God may deliver thee, and all that fear his great Name within the Commonwealth of England, is the daily prayer of this Author.


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