CERTAIN PROPOSALS Humbly presented to the PARLIAMENT, In relation to the Common Good OF THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION.

By R. V. Esq

Prov. 14.34.

Righteousness exalteth a Nation.

Seneca, De vita beata, page 457.

Quaeramus quid optimè factum, non quid usitatissimum.

London, Printed for Francis Tyton, and are to be sold at his shop at sign of the three Daggers in Fleetstreet, near the Inner-Temple-gate. 1653.

To the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England

Right Honorable,

DId you but hear the utterings of every private breast that is well-affected to you (of others I speak not) certainly you would be sensible of much hard and grating language against some of you at least, if not against most of you; how just their cry is, your selves are best able to judge, and I most incompetent. That you, and all your subordinate Magistrates in the Land, might be Peace and Righteousness to the Nation, is the prayer of them that truly wish your and its welfare. Among the rest, it is the earnest desire of him that addresses these Proposals to you, that you might not onely be a blessing to this Land, but to the Na­tions round about you; yea, Benefactors indeed to the world; not (as one saith) like water-pots, that refresh your own plot of ground; but like showers, that water and make fruitful the whole earth. The Proposer humbly prayes, That when the intentness of your thoughts is unbent from the consideration of more pub­lique affairs, you would please to consider what is herein pro­posed to you. Some things therein (because of long contrary practise and custom) may seem novel or difficult at best; yet if you please to consider and examine them, you will finde they have more of custom and use, then Reason or Justice, against them; and it will be your greater honor, to reform early and rooted evils, then those that are of a late and junior rise; by how much great difficulties are the more adaequate objects of the grap­lings and encounters of great spirits, especially such as are backed with wisdom and strength. I could have labored more to please then to profit (as too many do now adays) for profits sake; but I hope to have learned better things, then to follow the Parlia­ment (or own the cause they have undertaken, which indeed I have) for loaves, but for a good conscience, which is a continual feast to a plain-dealing man, though (as the Proverb saith) He may dye a beggar. Sed timida probitas non prodest reipub.

I am yours and the Commonwealths faithful Servant, R. V.

CERTAIN PROPOSALS Humbly presented to the PARLIAMENT, IN Relation to the common good of the People of this Nation.


THat no Committee or Commissioners whatsoever, deriving power from the Parliament to give a Final Judgement or Sentence in any case between party and party, or the State and particular persons, may command the people (that are Auditors) to withdraw, in any case whatsoever; but that (while sitting in Court) they debate all cases openly, and give their judgement therein Coram Populo, as all inferior Courts of Justice in England, & elsewhere do; & as the Scripture directi­on [Page 4]and practise was; for there Courts of Justice were kept in theZac. 8.16 Deut. 21.19. Deut. 16.18. Josh. 20.4. Prov. 24.7. Dan. 2.49. Amos 5.12.15. Godwins Antiq. l. 2. c. 3. Gates, and in theAct. 16.19. Job 29 7. Market-place or open streets, which were places of the greatest popular resorts and concourse; and from Scripture we have not one warrantable Precedent to justifie the practise of commanding to withdraw by Com­mittees and Commissioners at this day; neither can they justi­fie it by the Laws of any other Nation, or by any colourable pretence of Reason; and it was accompted a matter of great lamentation in Scripture, for theLam. 5.14. Elders (or Judges) to cease from the Gates.

Object. 1. Yet some may Object, That all Committees of Par­liament for many ages heretofore, did usually command with­drawing, when they were to debate.

Answ. 1. It is confessed, that all former Committees of Parliament, without exception, did always command with­drawing, when they were to debate any case whatsoever; and not onely so, but when they were to give their opini­ons.

But Secondly, All Committees of Parliament (before this) were impowered onely to debate particular cases and grievan­ces, and to give their opinion thereupon to the Houses; they were not to give any conclusive and determinate sentence there­in, but that was to be left to the Parliament; upon which ac­count there was good ground of withdrawing: Because first it was fit the Parliament should know their Results, before common Auditors: And Secondly, because their opinions were but preparatory unto Laws that were to be Enacted by the Parliament.

Object. 2. It may further be objected from Scripture, That the Councel of the Jews in the 4. of the Acts 4.15. Acts, did command the Apostles Peter and John, to go aside, or withdraw, when their Preaching and doing Miracles in the name of Jesus were to be considered of.

It is Answered,Answ. 1. First, That this councel of the Jews was [Page 5]not a Court for execution of civil justice; as the deciding meum and tuum. This Sanhedrion, for so is the word in the ori­ginal (for ought appears) consisted of aActs 4.5, 6 High Priest, his kindred, who were ex genere pontificio, Rulers (i,) as some think, Military Officers, Elders, who were Senatores urbis, and Scribes, who were Disputers and expounders of the Law; all these made up a Consistory, mixt of Civil and Ecclesistical Judges (the like whereof was in Mat. 26.3. convened against Christ) which (though at2 Chro. 5. & 8. & 11. Mat. 10.17. Moses Cont­sens. in San­hedrim. Godwins Antiq. l. 5. c. 1 other times they sate severally, and had several Jurisdictions) did now agree to meet in a Coun­cel together (not a Court of Justice between party and party) to consider of a matter that they pretended to be of concern­ment to the peace of Church and State, as appears by their de­bates, and what was the result thereof; for (say they)Acts 4.16, 17. What shall we do unto these men? for that INDEED a notable miracle hath been done by them, is manifest to all that dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it; but that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them that they speak to no man henceforth in this name.

Secondly, Let it be observed, This Councel did confess, it was a notable miracle, that was done by Paul, and thatSee v. 14, 15. Because the Jews could say nothing against Paul and John, therefore they bid them go aside, because they might contrive something to stop their mouthes. they could not deny it; their own con­science told them the work he had done, was good, and it was not judged fit by them to de­clare it publiquely; because then the People (as well as their own consciences) would flie in in their faces; and indeed such deeds of darkness had need hate the light for fear of discovery: This is a very ill precedent for our Committees or Commissioners to warrant withdraw­ing.

That all Civil imployment whatsoever,2. PROP. may be disposed to the best and ablest men, and not given to ignorant friends, relations or seekers; contrary to that excellent Law in12. R. 2. c. 2 Richard the seconds time; which is in these words; None shall be pre­ferred for gift or brokage, favor or affection; and none that pur­sueth by himself, or another privily, or openly, be in any manner of office, or shall be put in the same, or in any other; but that all Officers shall be of the best, most lawful, and sufficient men ac­cording to estimation and knowledge: Which holds forth clear­ly, [Page 6]that all Officers should be pares negotiis, men of truth and knowledge of what they are called to do; or as the Scripture saith,Exod. 18.21. Deut. 1.13. Able men, fearing God, men of truth, and hating cove­tousness: And if the time (we are in) will not, or need not stick to such strict Rules, yet it is fit that persons that shall be preferred (be they relations or seekers) be of the fittest, wisest, and best men, knowing the work they are upon; else, as Solomon Eccle. 10.6 saith, Folly may be set up in great dignity; and Wisdom will be so high to such, that they cannot Prov. 24.7. open their mouth in the gates▪ and then a [...]hoo-maker may be supposed, without any experience to be able to make a suit of cloathes as well as a Taylor & a Taylor a pair of shoos as well as a Shoo-maker. It was the judgement of Moses, Deut. 1 13. that [...] sa­piens peritus. wise men (i.) skilful and experienced men understanding men, (i.) [...] erudi­tus, intelli­gens. learned and intelligent men: and men [...] notus fuit. known among the Tribes, (i.) famous for the aforementioned qualities, and of a good name with the people, should be Magistrates, Judges, and Officers under him; and accordingly was his choyce; for ver. 15. of the aforesaid Chapter, he set over the People of the [...] pri­marij [...], pre­stantissij [...]. chief among the Tribes, for Magistrates and Heads, (viz.) as the word signifies; the chiefest and choicest men: And as D [...]odati in his Comment upon this place expounds the word, chief men in gifts, in quality, in reputation, in authority; yea, in all manner of preheminencies and excellencies.

That a gross and irregular byassing for the State, by any person whatsover,3. PROP against any man ill-affected, or otherwise, may he branded for as hainous and great a crime as it was accounted in the beginning of this Parliament, for a Courtier to cleave to the interest of the King his master, against right and justice; else we not onely tolerate in our selves what we exclaimed at, and condemned in others; but we give it a Cha­racter of the highest approbation and countenance that may be, even our practise; and shew further, that it is not the crime, but the person that we were offended withal.

That all great Officers,4. PROP. who have great sallaries from the State, as Treasurers at war, Commissioners of the Custom­house, Commissioners of Excize,If great Of­ficers (who have great sallaries) be changed frequently, many men that are well-affected, may comfortably subsist, whereas now one man (in an age) and his posterity, are lifted up into the seat of pomp and pride, by excessive gain. &c. be changed every [Page 7]second or third year (if the Parliament think fit) and that faithfulness, true worth and wisdom, may be accompted better accomplishments, for such trusts, then wealth, (which some­times crept into these Offices) without any of these qualifi­cations; most rich men in most ages being accompted Sapi­entes ex crumenis.

That all persons whatsoever,5. PROP. which have gotten and do hold several profitable Imployments, as some officious favorites have gotten, and held five or six together at the same time, may surrender up all but one, which he or they may elect and hold to; and that the rest be disposed to those that want: And that favorites for the future may not have six or seven succes­sively one after another (as some have had) to the withhold­ing of bread from deserving mens mouthes.

That no person whatsoever (unless he refuse to appear upon summons) be sentenced to loose life, limb, or estate, by any Court whatsoever, no not by Parliament, before he be heard to make his full defence, and before his offence be clear­ly, and fully proved, and he thereupon be duely judged, it being agreeable to the Law of God, that the same should be done.

InJohn 7.51. Deut. 13.14. & 17.4. John we have it urged, that the Jewish Law did not judge any man before it heard him, and knew what he did: And in Deut. 13.14. the Judges, before they judged cases, were to enquire, and make search, and ask diligently, and behold if it be truth, and the thing certain; And in the 17. Chapter, the very same words are repeated and inculcated, least they should forget their duties; and holyJob 29.16. Iob alledges it as a great comfort to him in his affliction, that he searched out the cause that he knew not: And for proof of any mans offences, it is not enough that one Deut. 17.6. & 19.15, 16, 17, 18. Num. 3580. witness prove it, much less information or presumptions; for saith the Scripture, one witness shall not rise up against any man for any iniquity or any sin, in any sin that he sinneth, but at the mouth of two or three witnesses shall the mat­ter be established; therefore Jehoshophats charge to the Judges he set up in Judah, ought to be observed by all other Judges, that they should take heed what they do; for they judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with them in judgement.

That the selling of any Office whatsoever,7 PROP▪ by any person whatsoever, Judges or others, be severely punished.

That the number of persons in all Committees whatsoever (who have power of giving final and decisive judgements in any case) may be but few; 8. PROP. the penalties of their non-attendance up­on their duties (without good excuse) severe; and that an Oath be administred to every one of them, whether Parliament men or others, for the due execution of their trust.

That no person whatsoever (which hath part in the Legisla­tive Power) be trusted (while he remains such) with the exe­cutive power;9. PROP. for if he offends in the execution of the Law, he may be judge in his own case, and may contrive his own impuni­ty, and no inferior Court can judge him; and he will be under the temptation of doing what may seem good in his own eyes, up­on confidence of his being out of the reach of ordinary Courts of Justice.

That no Law be made relating to the reformation of any pro­fession or calling whatsoever,10. PROP. Cuique in sua arte, nemini in suo inter­resse creden­dum. without clear and deliberate con­sultation had with some of the best and wisest of such profes­sion or calling which is to be reformed.

That Parliament men (who are Judges of the Treason of of­fenders against the State,11. PROP. and consent to pass Laws for the con­fiscation of their estates) may not be purchasers thereof, either by themselves, or any other, to or for their use.

That no Law,12. PROP. that shall be penal, as to life, limb, or estate, do look backward to punish any person for things done, or omitted to be done many years before, except in cases where a clear and unquestionable malum in se is committed and not where a Law makes a thing (formerly dubious,Leges debent prospicere, non respicere. uncertain, or indifferent) a malum prohibitum afterwards.

That no Parliament-man whatsoever,13. PROP. may attend to move any Commissioners or Committees, deriving authority from the Parliament to give final judgement in causes, if he is not a mem­ber of the said Committees, or one of the Commissioners, or hath not some personal concernment of his own before them, wherein he may be prejudiced by his absence; or be not desired for the benefit of the State to afford his assistance; it being sup­posed an unthrifty course, to dedicate time appointed for pub­lique service, beneath its high designation.

That every member of Parliament whatsoever,14. PROP. be enjoyned to receive the requests and petitions of all distressed persons with­in [Page 9]the Circuits of that County or Corporation where he or they were elected, and heartily to endeavor the redress of their (elsewhere irremediable) grievances in Parliament, this cer­tainly being one main end of their election.

That Commissions of Bankrupt may be issued forth as well against any other persons as a Tradesman, 15. PROP. or one that lives by buying o [...] selling, if he fall under any of the marks of a Bankrupt, within the Statutes of13 Elik. 7.1. Jac. 15.21 Iac. 19. Queen Elizabeth, and King James, there being no reason that any Law should be partial to one man, and impartial and destructive to another, where both are equally peccant: And that the charges of these Com­missions, and cheats in the execution of them, may be enquired into, which sometimes prove the further ruine, rather then the relief of the Creditors.

That Tenant by the courtesie, 16. PROP. do allow one moiety of the e­state he holds in the right of his wife, to the childe or children he hath by her, towards his, her, or their maintenance; where­as now the husband may (during his life) choose whether he will allow them any thing at all towards their subsistance or education, although many such Tenants by the courtesie, have nothing to support themselves, but what they have from their wives; and it is by experience found, that many fathers are very unnatural in this kinde.

That no person whatsoever be amerced for not finding Bows and Arrows, 17. PROP. as now many Stewards of Courts do a­merce persons every year for the want thereof, which the [...].33.8. c. 9▪ &c. antient laws of this Land did direct should be provided; but are now become obsolete, and would be forgotten, did not some cheating persons disturb their rest, and revive them.

That no Laws at all (which relate to the people in gene­ral) be passed,18. PROP. before first the draughts of them be hung up in a publique place, where all persons of wisdom and knowledge, experience and integrity, may have recourse to view them,The [...] Tables among the Romans like this. See Live in En­glish. l. 3. p. 110. and may have liberty to adde to them, or give rational exceptions against all or any part of them, and fix his or their exceptions to the whole or part of them, or adde as cause shall require, to the end the Parliament may approve or dislike thereof, as it shall see cause▪ when the Laws shall come to be enacted; this would pre­vent many supplemental Acts, which now are necessarily made, [Page 10]and in a great measure might be spared, if the Parliament could see all future accidents and events that follow, after the making thereof, or could but see as much as all other wise men of the Nation do.

That a severe Law may be made against all obscene, lying, and malignant Diurnals, 19. PROP. that are now familiarly published to the world, which tend not onely to the keeping unfixed of the peoples mindes from a quiet obedience to the Government, but do fearfully debauch and corrupt their understandings.

That (if the Parliament should think fit) Thirty or Forty of the best and wisest persons in the Nation,20. PROP. may be appointed to sit with them in the House, to consult with them de arduis reipublicae; and that these may have no voyces, but sit as the Judges and Masters of Chancery sate heretofore in the Lords House, onely to advise with them; for it cannot be supposed that Parliaments are so infallible and clear-sighted, as to comprehend all cases in every circumstance (as time hath evi­dently discovered)There sate with the Iewish Iudges, men which were called [...] schollers of the wise. Godwins Anti. l. 5. c. 5. This also would fit other persons for future Representatives, by knowing the ways and methods of the present Parliament.

That all Commanders and Officers of the Army,21. PROP. and all other persons whatsoever, that shall threaten, or in any way un­lawfully sollicite Judges of any Court (who have taken oathes for the right administration of Justice, and not for fear, favor or affection, to respect persons in judgement) be punished in such severe manner, as to the Parliament shall seem just.

That Treasurers at War,22. PROP. Commissioners of Excise and Customs, and all other persons whatsoever, that have great sallaries from the State; and all Officers of the Army in times of peace and quiet,The Souldiery in Holland do pay excise, and all other pub­lique duties out of their pay, by way of defalcation, before it comes to their hands. may pay Taxes proportionable to their sallaries and pays, towards the defraying of the publike charge; for no other persons in the Nation are exempt­ed from it, as Tradesmen, who live by their labor and industry; or other Persons who have real or personal estates, Offices, or otherwise; whereas now an ordinary Tradesman, that hath but from hand to mouth, pays as much taxes for his house, as a great man that hath 1000 l. per annum from the State, as a Sallary for his place.

To conclude, It were not amiss, if great Persons,23. PROP. whom God hath lifted up many cubits above their brethren in the things of this world, would imitate the spirit of that excellent manNeh. 5.14, 15, 16. Nehemiah, who since he was Governor in Judah, together with his brethren, did not eat the bread of the Governors; and because of the fear of the Lord, would not follow the steps of the former Governors, who before him were chargeable to the people, by taking of them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver; For charity seeks not her own, 1 Cor. 13.5.


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