A VINDICATION of the Army, under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax, with an answer to several Objections made against them, &c.

INasmuch as God did sharply reprove and correct his, for keeping divers Statute, and Commandments, yea of kings, as appears Mica. 6. 16. 15. Hos. 5. 11. we learn that unlawfull Commands are not to be obeyed, and that they who are to obey them are to judge of the lawful­nes of them: So that if the Magistrates Law or Command bee contrary to God, or against the safety and welfare of the people, the command is unrea­sonable, & ought not to be obeyed: but the command of disbanding the Ar­my at that time, was against the walfare and safety of the kingdom appears by these Reasons. 1. Because it was not for the safety of the Kingdom (it being divided into 3. parts) and unsatisfied and ready to fall one upon an­other to preserve themselves. 2. The burdens and oppressions of the king­dom were not removed. 3. Many wel-affected in several Counties have Pe­titioned them not to di [...]band. 4. The great expence of men, time & treasuer, yea al their Victories should have come to nothing if they had disbanded. 5. Their Commission required them to protect his Majesties subjects from violence and oppression. 6. The Parl. could not, or would not preserve the Army from ruine & destruction (although they had preserved their lives) nor secure them their Arrears: nature teacheth to preserve it self, (especially when none else wil. 7. The whole Army were slighted, although they were the means of saving the Kingdom from ruine & destruction: (yet they were judged enemies.) 8. They suffered some of them to be hanged for obeying their Commands: may they not expect the same when disbanded? 9. There was no safety in trusting to the Parliaments words and votes, seeing they so differ from the laws (of the Medes and Persians) if they would they could not keep them, because they have lost the love of the people. 10. The wel-affected were put out of place; of trust, & il-affected put in, (which is a bad presage.) 11. Al means with patience have been used, and nothing prevails, we have petitioned for our rights & liberties, & they are so far from grant­ing them: that they condemn them to be burnt by the Hangman: some of us they imprison, by which they fully declare, that they intend not the welfare and prosperity of this nation, but to rule & over-rule the people according to their wils and pleasures, (which they call the Prerogative power, or pri­viledge of Parliament. 12. Their principles are destructive, they say they may do what they please, their wills are Laws, none may call them to ac­count. 13. They are not wise enough to preserve themselves, much lesse the Kingdom. 14. They have betrayed their trust, & turned theeves and rob­bers. 15. They act contrary to the end & intent of a Parl: they consider not the sighings of the prisoners; they refuse to hear the complaints of the op­pressed, and crys of the poor. 16. Their votes hasten our destruction, by one Vote they would free us from all we have, & make us absolute slaves: Ini­quitie runs down like a mighty stream, and they judge them rebels & trai­tours that would stop it. 17. They redresse not our grievances, instead of removing them they increase them. 18. If the army had disbanded the Parl. might have given them the same mercy they did the Kings party, having them at advantage, stripped them of their estates, and imprisoned them, leaving many who were rich, not enough to procure them horse bread and water, (a practise most inhumane, and to be abhorred of Heathens) the mer­cies of the wicked are cruel. 19. Although they have sate this 6. years, we are not the better in respect of our oppression. 20. They abuse the whole kingdom, what great sums have been raised by Pole-mony, Len [...]ing, Lone, diverse kinde of cesments, the twentieth and fifth part, Fortification mony, Weekly meal, Free quarter, Plundering, Composition, Customs, Excise, Bi­shops lands, Kings revennues; some say half of the Land rents and reven­nues of the Kingdom have beene sequestered, and yet the Souldiers are not paid, nor the publick debts; Maimed Souldiers, Widdows and Fatherlesse by war are not taken care for and Recompenced: It's conceived the State is cheated of more then 200000. l. yea, and 100. times as much: the mony there is so much of it gone beyond the seas, that they want mony, and must think of new ways for more, yet give no accompt of that they have had; I con­demn not all in the House, there are some good men in the Parl. who are to be prised. Obj. The Armies demands are unreasonable. Ans. None judge them so but ignorant & corrupt men. Obj. Their demands are contrary to Law, and are a breach of the priviledge of Parl. Ans. They seek to remove our oppressions, and for justice against evil Members, and which nature & Religion requires: & if there be any Statute that is against the welfare & safety of the people, its better broke then kept: is it a priviledge of Parl. to protect evil men, that so they may be preserved to do us more mischief, and destroy us, we know not how the Parl. came to have a priviledge to destroy us: are ye sure that these be the Parl.-men, that when the Parl. began, did speak for the priviledge of the people, and now are all for priviledge of Parl? Is it their priviledge to preserve in authoritie and places of trust ty­rants, theeves & oppressours; if the Parl. and people differ concerning their priviledges; tis pitty the sword should deside it; let it rather be put to vote, and let the biggest vote carry it, the Parliaments vote you know, people speak, what say you? Answ. We will not allow it, for we judge it unrea­sonable to allow them to have a priviledge to destroy us: corrupt men will shelter themselves from tryal, and under the notion of priviledge of Parl. Gentlemen, ye see its concluded by the major votes, that its no priviledge Obj. The Army and the rest of the Independents can turne for their own ends, they were against the King and his party and the Bishops, and now they are for them all. Answ. We were not against him, but against his pro­ceedings (wee hate tyranny and oppression in all men) the late act of the King, in refusing, his liberty, yea Crown, rather then to act contrary to his Conscience, hath got him much credit and love; it appears he dislike; op­pression for matter of Conscience, he shewed more wisdom and Conscience in it, then all they did who knew his judgement and yet would urge him: this his act makes us think he was not so bad as the priests &c. reported, or else he is better then he was: & as for his party, its apparent they are wrong­ed, and are not like to be righted by them (who have abused them) they have suffered enough for their mistake, for my part (though I am none of them, yet) I think they ought to be let out of prison, and to have their estates again, and enjoy as much liberty as others: as for the Beshops our mind is not changed concerning their calling and persecution, and had they not troubled us, we had not petitioned against them: you know the Indepen­dents principle is, that Bishops and Presbyters should have as much liber­ty as themselves: let each take his way, and be content to be quiet, and let others alone, and do as we would be done to; al men cannot be of one mind, and until men who differ in opinion may enjoy their estates and live qui­etly, this Kingdom can have no peace. Obj. The Army speak well but they are not to be beleeved. Answ. Then we may not beleeve any, they are Englands tryed friends, who have long endured the hardship and extremi­ties of war, and often hazarded their lives for the safety of this nation, such as condemn and distrust them do ill require them. Obj. Many (yea the Priests) say, they will kill and plunder us. Answ. they are full of delusions and lyes; have the Army ever done so? have they not been at Cambridge, Berry, Ipswich, &c. where there is much treasure? yet did they not kill nor plunder any. Obj. Its not reasonable to resist authority, and that with their Armes. Answ. They resist not authoritie, but tyranny; the Armes are not theirs, but the Kingdoms who paid for them. Obj. If the Army be friends to England, why do they not what they intend quickly? Answ. I am cre­dibly inform'd the Army cannot hasten more then they do, they doe more then you are aware on: do you judge them idle because you do not see what they do? they are not ignorant that our oppessions are great, and that the Kingdom is almost undone, and that our necessities will admit of no delay: Rest satisfied, they prefer the Kingdoms safety & welfare before their own lives; so that Gods command, Reason, Religion, Conscience, their friends welfare and happines, their own honour and safety, all calls upon them to be harmlesse and active; they have caused the Parl. to reform somthing al­ready, we trust God will preserve them, and effect great things by them, and cause them to be (as they have been) a blessing and comfort to this Nation. Obj. But the Country is oppressed with them, &c. Answ. Then let the Country help, and put the work to an end, and if the common souldiers will not be ruled, the Country must help the Commanders to do it, who I hope, as they have cause, so they will have a great care to see that none be oppressed and abused: Let not the Army be all blamed for the fault; of a few, and perhaps un-avoidable: if any of this Army commit a fault, the Kingdom is like to ring of it, which will be a great grief to good men.

O England, England! what art thou? asleep or willing to be undone and inslaved with your wives and children and posterity? can ye sit still and see that ye are deluded, betrayed, oppressed, burdened & killed, do you not consider how many of you suffer & languish in misery? is not the king­dom almost undone? and yet the Scots are sent for, & the priests endeavour a new war against the Army, that have been a means to preserve you: have you not had war enough? that cost deer enough: would you have England like Germany? if we have more wars this Kingdom will be quite undone: if you must fight, fight against them who are your enemies, & not against your good friends: I trust you will not nor cannot in reason nor conscience justice and honour, fight against them who have sacrificed their lives for you, and endeavour the Kingdomes good: do you not see the Parl. ref [...]se to remove your grievances (how long wilt thou suffer thy self to be charmed (cheated) with fair words and promises of treacherous and deceitful men: why then do you not remove them your selves: ye may be free if ye will, be free now and ever, now or never, this is the seventh year, the year of Iubilie, such as refuse freedom now deserve to have their ears bored, and to be slaves for ever, Rise quickly (and it will be quickly done) or else your liberties are quite gon, and iron chains locked on: wil ye suffer your selves to be so abused as ye are: the next time ye chuse Parliament-men in many places, they had need chuse men more wise and faithfull, and not as some have done, chuse fooles and knaves, becau [...]e they are great ones: they are not aware of the wrong they do to themselves and the Kingdom by it.

Quest. Resolved, That the Parl. did secretly by their proceedings bid the army not disband: that the Parl. hath sleighted more of their votes then the Army, and that when necessity requires the souldiers ought to keepe their ranks, and follow their leaders; that the Parl. practises contradict their pretences: that they keep not their oaths, vowes, protestations and promises, and therefore are not to be regarded, much lesse trusted unto, that many of them deserve to bee thrust out of the house with contempt, as un­worthy for ever to sit there more, for their theft, treachery & perjury & be­traying their trust: is it not better for the Kingdome to have a Parl. every year, & that may sit but 6 moneths? So much for this time: Farewell.

It is desired that this be Set up, in Parish Churches, and Publick places, throughout this Kingdom and dominion of Wales, for their Information, &c.

The second Edition, corrected and enlarged. 1647.

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