A DECLARATION OF THE Lord General and his Councel of Officers; Shewing the Grounds and Reasons for the Dissolution of the late PARLIAMENT.

LONDON, ¶ Printed by Hen. Hills, and Tho. Brewster, Printers to the ARMIE: And by special Order Reprinted at Dublin, by Will. Bladen, 1653.

A Declaration of the Lord General and his Councel of Officers.

OUR Intention is not to give an ac­count at this time, of the grounds which first moved us to take up Arms, and engage our lives and all that was dear unto us in this cause; nor to mind in this Declaration the various Dispensations through which Divine Providence hath led us, or the witness the Lord hath born, and the many signal testimonies of acceptance, which he hath given to the sincere endea­vours of his unworthie servants, whilest they were contesting with the many and great difficulties as well in the Wars, as other transactions in the three Nations: being necessitated, for the defence of the same cause they first asserted, to have recourse unto extraordinary actions, the same being evident by former Declarati­ons published on that behalf.

After it had pleased God not onely to reduce Ire­land, and give in Scotland, but so marvellously to ap­pear for his People at Worster, that those Nations were reduced to a great degree of Peace, and England to per­fect quiet, and thereby the Parliament had opportuni­tie to give the People the harvest of all their labor, bloud, and treasure, and to settle a due libertie both in reference to Civil and Spiritual things, whereunto they [Page 2] were obliged by their dutie, their engagements, as also the great & wonderful things which God had wrought for them, it was matter of much grief to the good and well affected of the Land, to observe the little progress which was made therein, who thereupon applyed to the Armie, expecting redress by their means: notwith­standing which, the Armie being unwilling to meddle with the Civil Authoritie, in matters so properly ap­pertaining to it, it was agreed, That his Excellencie and Officers of the Armie, which were members of Parl. should be desired to move the Parliament to proceed vigorously in reforming what was amiss in Govern­ment, and to the settling of the Common-wealth [...] a foundation of Iustice and Righteousness, which having done we hoped that the Parliament would sea­sonably have answered our expectation: but finding (to our grief) delays therein, we renewed our desires in an humble Petition to them, which was Presented in August last, and although they at that time signi­fying their good acceptance thereof returned he thanks, and referred the particulars thereof to a Committee of the House, yet no confiderable effect was produced, nor any such progress made, as might implie their re­al intentions to accomplish what was Petitioned for: but on the contrarie there more and more appeared a­mongst them an Aversion to the things themselves, with much bitterness and opposition to the people of God, and his Spirit acting in them, which grew so pre­valent, that those Persons of Honor and Integritie a­mongst them, who had eminently appeared for God and the Publick good, both before and throughout this War, were rendered of no further use in Parliament, [Page 3] than by meeting with a corrupt Partie to give them countenance to carrie on their ends; and for effecting the desire they had of perpetuating themselves in the Supream Government. For which purpose the said Partie long opposed, and frequently declared them­selves against having a new Representative: and when they saw themselves necessitated to take that Bill into Consideration, they resolved to make use of it to re­cruit the House with Persons of the same spirit and temper, thereby to perpetuate their own fitting. Which intention divers of the activest amongst them did ma­nifest, labouring to perswade others to a consent there­in: And the better to effect this, divers Petitions pre­paring from several Counties for the continuance of this Parliament, were encouraged, if not set on foot by many of them.

For obviating these evils, the Officers of the Armie obtained several meetings with some of the Parlia­ment, to consider what fitting means and remedie might be applyed to prevent the same: But such en­deavours proving altogether ineffectual; it became most evident to the Armie, as they doubt not it also is to all considering Persons, that this Parliamēt through the corruption of some, the jealousie of others, the [...] attendance and negligence of many [...] answer those ends which God, his People, and the whole Nation, expected from them: But that this Cause which the Lord hath so greatly blessed, and bore wit­ness to, must needs languish under their hands, and by degrees be wholly lost, and [...], liberties, and comforts of his People delivered into their Enemies hands.

[Page 4]All which being sadly and seriously considered by the honest People of this Nation, as well as by the Ar­mie, and Wisdom and Direction being sought from the Lord, it seemed to be a dutie incumbent upon us, who had seen so much of the power and presence of God going along with us, to consider of some more effectual means to secure the Cause, which the good People of this Common-wealth had been so long en­gaged in, and to establish Righteousness and Peace in these Nations.

And after much debate it was judged necessarie, and agreed upon, That the Supream Authoritie should be by the Parliament devolved upon known Persons, men fearing God, and of approved integritie, and the Go­vernment of the Common-wealth committed unto them for a time, as the most hopeful way to encou­rage and countenance all Gods People, Reform the Law, and administer Iustice impartially: hoping there­by the People might forget Monarchie, and under­standing their true interest in the Election of successive Parliaments, may have the Government settled upon a true Basis, without hazard to this glorious Cause, or necessitating to keep up Armies for the defence of the same.

And being still resolved to use all means possible to avoid extraordinarie courses, we prevailed with about Twentie Members of Parliament, to give us a Confer­ence, with whom we freely and plainly debated the necessitie and justness of our Proposals on that behalf: and did evidence than those, and not the Act under their Consideration, would most probably bring forth som­thing answerable to that Work, the foundation where­of, [Page 5] God himself hath laid, and is now carrying on in the World.

The which notwithstanding found no acceptance, but instead thereof, it was offered, That the way was to continue still this present Parliament, as being that from which We might reasonably expect all good things. And this being vehemently insisted upon, did much confirm us in our apprehensions; That nor any love to Representative, but the making use thereof, to recruite, and so to perpetuate themselves, was their aym.

They being plainly dealt with about this, and told, That neither the Nation, the honest Interest, nor We our selves, would be deluded by such dealings: They did agree to meet again the next day in the after-noon for mutual satisfaction, it being consented to by the Members present, that Endeavours should be used, that nothing in the mean time should be done in Parliament, that might exclude or frustrate the Proposals before mentioned.

Notwithstanding this, the next morning the Parlia­ment did make more haste than usual, in carrying on their said Act, being helped on there in by some of the Persons engaged to us the night before, none of them which were then present endeavouring to oppose the same; and being readie to put the main Question for consummating the said Act, whereby out aforesaid Proposals would have been rendered void, and the way of bringing them into a fair and full Debate in Parlia­ment obstructed.

For preventing whereof, and all the sad and evil consequences, which must upon the grounds aforesaid, [Page 6] have ensued, and whereby at one blow the interest of all honest men, and of this glorious Cause, had been endangered to be laid in the dust, and these Nations imbroyled in new Troubles, at a time when our Ene­mies abroad are watching all advantages against us, and some of them actually ingaged in War with us; We have been necessitated, though with much reluctan­cie, to put an end to this Parliament; which yet We have done (we hope) out of an honest heart; prefer­ing this Cause above our names, lives, families or in­terest how dear soever, with clear intentions, and real purposes of heart, To call to the Government Persons of approved Fidelitie and Honestie: believing, That as none wise will expect to gather Grapes of Thorns, so Good men will hope, That it Persons so qualified, be chosen, the fruits of a Iust and Righteous Reforma­tion, so long prayed and wished for, will (by the bles­sing of God) be in due time obtained, to the refresh­ing of all those good hearts, who have been panting after these things.

Much more might have been said, if it had been our desire to justifie our selves, by aspersing others, and ra­king into the MisGovernment of Affairs; but we shall conclude with this. That as we have been led by Ne­cessitie and Providence, to act as We have done, even beyond and above our own thoughts and desires, so We shall and do, in that of this great Work which is behind, put our selves wholy upon the Lord for a bles­sing; professing we look not to stand one day without his support, much less to bring to pass any of the things mentioned and desired, with out his assistance: And therefore do solemnly desire and expect, That all men, [Page 7] as they would not provoke the Lord to their own de­struction, should wait for such issue as he shall bring forth, and to follow their business with peaceable spi­rits; wherein, We promise them Protection by his as­sistance.

And for those who profess their fear and love [...] the Name of God, that seeing, in a great measure for their sakes, and for Righteousness sake, We have taken our lives in our hands, to do these things, they would be in­stant with the Lord day and night in Our behalf that We may obtain grace from him. And seeing We have made so often mention of his Name, that we may not do the least dishonor thereunto, which indeed would be our confusion, and a stain to the whole Profession of Godliness.

We beseech them also to live in all humilitie, meek­ness, righteousness, and love one towards another, and towards all men, that so they may put to silence the ignorance of the foolish, who falsly accuse them: and to know, That the late great and glorious dispensations, where in the Lord hath so wonderfully appeared in bringing forth these things, by the travel and bloud of his Children, ought to oblige them so to walk in the wisdom and love of Christ, as may cause others to ho­nor their holy Profession, because they see Christ to be in them of a truth.

We do further purpose before it be long more par­ticularly to shew the Grounds of our Proceedings, and the Reasons of this late great. Action and Change, which in this we have but hinted at.

And we do lastly Declare, That all Iudges, Sheriffs, Iustices of Peace, Mayors, Bayliffs, Committees, and [Page 8] Commissioners, and all other Civil Officers, and Pub­lic Ministers whatsoever, within this Common­wealth, or any parts thereof, do proceed in their respe­ctive Places and Offices: and all Persons whatsoever, are to give Obedience to them as fully as when the Parliament was sitting.

Signed in the Name, and by the Appointment of his Excellen­cie the Lord General, and his Councel of Officers. William Malyn, Secret.

IRELAND.
By the Commissioners of the Common­wealth of England for the Affairs of Ireland.

THe Declaration before going, coming to our knowledge, We hold it our dutie to Publish the same unto all who are intrusted with the Mannagement of Publick Affairs in this Coun­trey, and to mind them that it is now their dutie (more than ordinarie) notwithstanding the pre­sent Alteration, to Act carefully and industrious­ie in their several Charges, and diligently to dis­charge their respective Trust; that the Common Enemie may not have Advantage from hence to [Page 9] work new Disturbance against the Publick Peace and Welfare: And that such as are in the service of the Common-wealth in this Land, must expect to be called to a strict account for their neglect herein. And in regard the present posture of Affairs are such, as extraordinarily con­cern the Interest and Welfare of all good People, VVe hold it our dutie earnestly to exhort them unto a special servent wrestling with the Lord, by humble Prayer and Supplication for VVis­dom and Strength unto those his Servants, on whom the Burthen and Care of preserving the Common-wealth in Peace, and settling the same in Rightousness, doth principally lie. For which end, VVe do appoint VVednesday the fourth of May next, and that Day seven-night be­ing the eleventh of May, to be set apart for so­lemn seeking the face of the Lord by all his Peo­ple in Ireland on that behalf.

  • Charles Fleetwood
  • Edm. Ludlow.
  • Miles Corbe [...]
  • Io. Iones.

ORdered, That Mr Bladen Printer, do Print the Declarati­on from his Excellencie the Lord General, and his Cou [...] ­cel of Officers, together with this Order.

  • Charles Fleetwood.
  • Edm. Ludlow.
  • Miles Corbe [...]
  • Io. Iones.

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