THE CASE
OF THE
COMMONWEALTH
OF
ENGLAND,
STATED:

OR,

The Equity, Utility, and Necessity of a
Submission to the Present GOVERNMENT.
Cleared out of monuments both sacred and civil against
all the scruples and pretenses of the opposite parties,

viz., Royalists Presbyterians
Scots Levellers

Wherein is discovered severally the vanity of their designs
together with the improbability of their success and
inconveniences which must follow should either of them
take effect to the extreme prejudice of the nation.

Two PARTS

With a discourse of the excellency of a FREE STATE above a KINGLY GOVERNMENT.

By MARCHAMONT NEDHAM, Gent.

Salustius
Incredibile est memoratu, quantum adepta libertate, in brevi Romana civitas creverit.

Fr. Guicciard. Histor. lib. 10
Liberae civitates deo summopere placent; eo quod in iis, magis
quam in alio genere rerumpub. commune bonum conservetur,
jus suum cuique aequaliter distribuatur, civium animi vehementius
ad virtutem & laudem accendantur, religio colatur, sacra peragantur
.


To the Reader

PERHAPS thou art of an opinion contrary to what is here written. I confess that for a time I myself was so too, till some causes made me reflect with an impartial eye upon the affairs of this new government.

Hereupon, beginning seriously to search into the nature of it with the many pleas and objections made against it, and supposing those learned men who wrote before these times were most likely to speak truth as being uninterested in our affairs and unconcerned in the controversy, I took a view of their reasons and judgments; and from thence made so many collections, that putting them in order and comparing all together, they soon made a conquest over me and my opinion.

I know the high talkers, the lighter & censorious part of people, will shoot many a bitter arrow to wound my reputation and charge me with levity and inconstancy because I am not obstinate like themselves against conscience, right reason, necessity, the custom of all nations, and the peace of our own. But this sort of men I reckon inter bruta animantia,[1] among whom to do well is to hear ill; who usually speak amiss of those things that they do not or will not understand. From them, therefore, I appeal to the great tribunal, where it is known I have in this dealt faithfully, and to the more sober intelligences, here below, with whom these papers must needs find the more free entertainment because free from partiality and the least tincture of faction.

And that they may be the fitter to walk abroad in the world, I have divided them into two parts and accommodated them with a method suitable to those two parties whereof the world consists, viz., the conscientious man and the worldling. The former will approve nothing but what is just and equitable, and therefore I have labored to satisfy him (as I have done myself) touching the justice of submission. The latter will embrace anything, so it make for his profit, and therefore I have shown him the inconveniences and dangers that will follow his opposition of a settlement. Now, though the other should continue obstinate in their erroneous pretenses, yet of this latter sort I dare promise myself an abundance of proselytes, the greater part of the world being led more by appetites of convenience and commodity than the dictates of conscience. And it is a more current way of persuasion by telling men what will be profitable and convenient for them to do than what they ought to do.

But prithee read and then do what thou list. I have only one word more and that is to our modern Pharisee, the conscientious pretender and principal disturber of the public peace. If he will not be convinced by so clear testimonies but raise more dust about our ears to amaze the people, it must be concluded that all this noise of church reformation, conscience, and covenant is a mere malicious design to drive on a faction for the casting down of our present governors, that they may set up themselves in the seat of authority. Farewell and be wise. Being convinced of the truth of these things, I conceive myself obliged to show others the same way of satisfaction.

[1] Among the brute animals.


The Contents of the First Part

Chapter 1

That Governments Have Their Revolutions and Fatal Periods

Chapter 2

That the Power of the Sword Is, and Ever Hath Been, the Foundation of All Titles to Government

Chapter 3

That Nonsubmission to Government Justly Deprives Men of the Benefit of Its Protection

Chapter 4

That a Government Erected by a Prevailing Part of the People Is As Valid de jure As If It Had the Ratifying Consent of the Whole

Chapter 5

That the Oath of Allegiance and Covenant Are No Justifiable Grounds to Raise a New War in, or against, the Commonwealth of England

The intent of the first part is to prove the necessity and equity: of the second, to manifest the utility and benefit of a submission.


CHAPTER I

That Governments Have Their Revolutions and Fatal Periods

THE best of preachers, Solomon, taking the world for his text found no other application could be made of it than this, that "all under the sun is vanity."[1] And this he proveth, as did the wisest of philosophers, by the perpetual rotation of all things in a circle from "generation to corruption."[2]Inest rebus cunctis quidam velut orbis, &c. "There is," saith Tacitus, "as it were a wheeling of all things and a revolution of manners as well as times."[3] Nor are the huge bodies of commonwealths exempted from the same fate with plants, brutes, men, and other petty individuals;[4] and this by a certain destiny or decree of nature, who in all her productions makes the second moment of their perfection the first toward their dissolution.[5] This was observed to our purpose in the present case by the master of Roman eloquence, Idipsum a Platone, philosophiaque didici, naturales esse conversiones rerumpub. ut eae tum a principibus teneantur, tum a populo, tum a singulis.[6] "I have learned," saith he, "out of Plato's[7] philosophy that commonweals are altered by turns into the several forms of government: aristocracy, democracy, and monarchy." Nor can any reason be given for it besides those rapid hurricanes of fatal necessity which blow upon our affairs from all points of the compass:

    Sicut variae nascentibus
contingunt pueris animae, sic urbibus affert
hora, diesque mum, cum primum moenia surgunt,
aut genium, aut fatum
.[8]

Certum est & inevitabile fatum,
quod — ratio vincere nulla potest
;[9]quodque
— omnia certo fine gubernat
.

Sic omnia verti
cernimus, atque alias assumere pondera gentes;
concidere has
.[10]

The English of all is that as men are born into the world with souls, so cities have a fate or genius given them at the first founding of their walls;[11] and this fate is so sure and inevitable that no reason or wit of man can conquer it, but it directs all things to the appointed end.[12] Now that you may understand what fate is, Minucius Felix[13] calls it quod de unoquoque nostrum fatus est Deus, "that which God hath spoken or determined concerning every man."[14] "It is," saith Seneca, "that Providence which pulls down one kingdom or government and sets up another; nor is this done leisurely and by degrees, but it hurls the powers of the world on a sudden from the highest pinnacle of glory to nothing."[15] Hence it is, saith the same author almost in the language of Scripture, that "a kingdom is translated from one family to another, the causes whereof are locked up in the cabinet of the deity"[16] though Holy Writ hath left the main cause of such changes upon record, viz., the wickedness and injustice of rulers. It is the weight of sin which causeth those fatal circumvolutions[17] in the vast frame of the world. All things being as changeable as the moon and in a perpetual flux and reflux like the tides that follow her motion; so that what hath been is that which shall be, and there is no new thing under the sun.

It was the weight of sin which sunk the old world in a deluge and hath been the occasion, no doubt, of all succeeding alterations by permission of Divine Providence, Who leaves the men of the world to the fulfilling of their lusts that He may accomplish His own fatalities or decrees by an execution of vengeance.[18] Hence it comes to pass that the best established and mightiest governments of the world have been but temporary. Witness the four great monarchies: the Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman. And the time or age of a government hath by some been reputed for the most part five hundred years.[19] As for example, the Assyrian Empire lasted five hundred twenty years, till it was ruined by the Medes and Persians.[20]

The Athenian, from their first king, Cecrops, to Codrus, the last, continued four hundred ninety years, and then it was translated to a popular government.[21]

The Lacedaemonian commonwealth flourished much about the same number of years from the time of their founder, Lycurgus, to the days of Alexander the Great, under whom it fell.[22]

The Roman was governed by consuls about five hundred years too, from the expulsion of their kings till it was reduced again into a monarchy by Augustus.[23]

After Augustus, it stood in this form about five hundred years more under emperors, till Valentinian, the last emperor of the West, was slain at Rome; at which time the Empire was rent in pieces. The Vandals, under the conduct of Gensaricus,[24] possessed themselves first of France, then of Spain, at length of Africk,[25] and in Italy, of Rome itself. The Scots and English shook off the imperial yoke in Britain. The Burgundians and Franks seized part of France; the Goths another part of it and part of Italy, the country of Aquitaine with the seats of the ancient Cantabrians and Celtiberians in Spain; whilst the Lombards laid hold on Gallia Cisalpina. By which means the emperors had no certain power in the West after the time of Valentinian; so that relinquishing Rome, the old imperial city, they erected an exarchate at Ravenna, which was soon destroyed likewise by the Lombards.[26]

Now, though five hundred years be reputed the usual period of governments, yet some have not attained above half the number. As the Persian monarchy, which from Cyrus, the first, to Darius, the last, flourished no longer than about two hundred and thirty years.[27]

The Grecian, having completed two hundred and fifty after many strugglings and bloody bickerings betwixt the competitors, was divided into the several kingdoms of Macedonia, Syria, Pontus, and Egypt.

The kingly government of the Romans was abolished near the one hundred and fiftieth year after its institution.[28]

The Lombards domineered in Italy two hundred and forty years till they were subdued by Charlemagne and their last king, Desiderius, banished with his wife and children.

But this is not all. I can tell you of many royal families and famous governments that have had their fatal periods in a very short revolution of time, not exceeding one hundred years. As in the one hundredth year after the empire of Augustus, the Roman government came into the hands of princes that were strangers, as Nerva, Trajan, Adrian,[29] by nation Spaniards.[30]

In the year of Our Lord 200, Artaxerxes[31] erected a new kingdom of the Persians out of the ruins of the Parthians.

In the year 300, the Roman Empire was committed to the tutelage of princes Christian, as Constantius and Constantine the Great.[32]

Anno Domino 400 divers new kingdoms were raised out of the ashes of the Empire, enflamed by divisions, viz., in Italy, France, Spain, Africk, Asia, and England.

Anno 500 the western part of the Roman Empire was extinct until the time of Charlemagne and swallowed up at Constantinople in the Grecian.[33]

I could reckon up many more of these short-lived governments. But this may suffice to show that sooner or later they all have their fatal periods;[34] their crowns are laid in the dust,[35] and their glories buried in the grave of oblivion. No wonder then if our English monarchy, having arrived to almost six hundred years since the Conquest, should now, according to the common fate of all other governments, resign up her interest to some other power, family, or form. The late commotions and contests betwixt King and Parliament were as so many sharp fits and feverish distempers which, by a kind of antiperistasis,[36] are ever most violent in old age upon the approaching instants of dissolution. The corruption of the old form hath proved the generation of another which is already settled in a way visible and most substantial before all the world; so that 'tis not to be doubted but, in despite of opposition, it will have a season of continuance as others have had according to the proportion of time allotted by Divine Providence.[37] And this I am the more apt to believe in regard of its confirmation by a continued series of many signal victories and successes to the envy of all opposers and amazement of the world. Besides, I suppose it cannot be exemplified in history that ever kings were suddenly readmitted after they had been once expelled out of a nation. If any one case of this kind may be produced, there are an hundred to the contrary. So that if it be considered likewise how the worm works in many parts of Europe to cast off the regal yoke, especially in France, Scotland, Ireland, and other places, it must needs be as much madness to strive against the stream for the upholding of a power cast down by the Almighty, as it was for the old sons of earth to heap up mountains against heaven. And when all is done, we shall find it but labor in vain,[38] that we have but fortified castles in the air against fatal necessity to maintain a fantasy of pretended loyalty; the consequence whereof will be that at length in cool blood we may have leisure to consider how foolishly we have hazarded our lives and fortunes and sacrificed the lives of others with the common good and peace of the nation for the satisfying of an opiniated humor.


[1] MN: Ecclesiastes cap. I.

[2] MN: Continua est rebus generatio & corrupio. Arist. De gen. & corr. lib. 12. cap. 10. [Aristotle (384-322 B.C., Greek philosopher), De generatione et corruptione, bk. ii, chap, x.]

[3] MN: 3 Annal. [Tacitus (55?-after 117, Roman historian), Annales, bk. iii, chap. lv.]

[4] MN: Cents eunt cuncta temporibus. Nasci debent, crescere, & extingui. Seneca Consol. ad Hel. ["All things happen at appointed times. There is a time for being born, for growing, and for dying." Seneca (4 B.C.-A.D. 65, Roman statesman and philosopher), Ad Lucilium epistulae morales, no. 71.]

[5] MN: Numma rebus crescendi posuere modum. Lucan. ["Such is the limit of growth decreed by heaven." Lucan (39-65, Roman poet), De bello civili, bk. i, 11. 81-82.]

[6] MN: Cic. De divin. [Cicero (106-43 B.C., Roman statesman, orator, and author), De divinatione, bk. ii, chap, ii.]

[7] MN: Numeri fatales, vel periodi. Plat. ["Fatal numbers or periods." Plato (427?-347 B.C., Greek philosopher), The Republic, bk. viii, chaps, ii-iii.]

[8] MN: Prudent, lib. post, in Sym. [Prudentius (348-fl. 400, Roman poet), Contra orationem Symmachi, bk. ii, 11. 71-74.]

[9] MN: Ovid. [Ovid (43 B.C.-A.D. 17?, Roman poet), Tristia, bk. iii, chap, vi.]

[10] MN: Ovid Metam. [Ovid, Metamorphoses, bk. xv, 11. 420-22.]

[11] MN: De fato vide Lips. Polit. 1. I. c. 4. & 1. 6. c. 2. & in notis ad lib. I. Polit. cap. 4. ["Concerning fate see" Justus Lipsius (1547-1606, Flemish Catholic humanist and political theorist), Politicorum sive Civilis doctrinae (Amsterdam, 1632), bk. I, chap, iv; bk. VI, chap, ii; and Ad libros politicorum notae, bk. I, chap. iv., in Politicorum sive Civilis doctrinae (Amsterdam, 1632).]

[12] MN: Clapmar. 124. [Arnold Clapmar (1574-1604, German historian), De arcanis rerumpublicarum (Amsterdam, 1644), bk. III, chap, vii.]

[13] Minucius Felix (fl. 2d or 3d century A.D., Roman Christian apologist), Octavius, chap, xxxvi.

[14] MN: Vide Richter Axiom. pol. a pag. I. usque ad 50. [See Gregor Richter (1560-1624, German theologian), Axiomatum politicorum (Gorlitz, 1604), pp. 1-50.]

[15] MN: Senec. 2 Nat. quaest. [Seneca, Quaestiones naturales, Preface to bk. iii.]

[16] MN: Epist. 92. [Seneca, Ad Lucilium epistulae morales, no. 92. This passage not in letter cited.]

[17] Revolutions or gyrations.

[18] MN: Besold. 309. [Christoph Besold (1577-1638, German jurist), Synopsis politicae doctrinae (Amsterdam, 1643), bk. IV, chap, i.]

[19] MN: Peucerus De divinat. gen. fol. m. 30. & Gregor. Richter. Axiom, polit. I. & Qeconom. 5. cum multis aliis. [Kaspar Peucer (1525-1602, German physician and Protestant theologian), Commentarius de praecipuis generibus divinationum (Wittenberg, 1572), p. 22; Gregor Richter, Axiomatum politicorum, pp. 1-6, with many others.]

[20] MN: Herod. [Herodotus (5th century B.C., Greek historian), History, bk. i, chap, xcv.]

[21] MN: Isocr. Symm. [Isocrates (436-338 B.C., Athenian orator). Reference apparently to Symmachus.]

[22] MN: Idem.

[23] MN: Numerus quingentesimus est fatalis. Ultra quingentos annos non durum regna, ut ostendunt historiae omnium temperum. Peucer. in lect. Chron. Ann. 70. & 1569. ["The number 500 is fatal. Kingdoms do not endure beyond 500 years, as the histories of all ages demonstrate." These quotations apparently extracted from Kaspar Peucer in Gregor Richter, Axiomatum politicorum, p. 2.]

[24] Genseric or Gaiseric (d. 477, king of the Vandals).

[25] Africa.

[26] MN: lllud est ab antiquissima memoria preditum; civitates omnes anno quingentesimo converti, aut everti. Bodin, lib. 4. De republ. cap. 2. ["This has been proclaimed since most ancient time; all states have been transformed or overturned in their 500th year." Jean Bodin (1530-96, French political theorist), Les six livres de la republique (Paris, 1576), bk. IV, chap. ii.]

[27] MN: Etsi periodus fatalis regnorum & rerumpublicarum, plerumque congruat ad annos quingentos; tamen multa regna circa medium hujus periodi defecerunt. Strigel. I. Reg. 15. Peucer. De divin. p. 20. ["Although the fatal period of kingdoms and republics frequently coincides with a span of 500 years, many kingdoms disappear around the mid-point of that period." Victorinus Strigel (1524-69, German Protestant theologian). Reference not clear, but a similar passage appears in Strigel's Scholae historicae (Neustadt, 1586), pp. 39-40. But Nedham may have taken the reference and citation from Gregor Richter, Axiomatum politicorum, p. 9, as well as the reference and quotation from Kaspar Peucer which Richter included on p. 8.]

[28] MN: Hoc est, anno ab V.C. 244. ["That is, in the 244th year after the founding of Rome."]

[29] Hadrian (76-138, Roman emperor).

[30] MN: V.P. Greg. lib. 21. De repub. cap. 5. & Greg. Richt. in Axiom. pol. [Pierre Grégoire (1540-97?, French Catholic jurist), De republica (Leiden, 1609), bk. XXI, chap. v, and Gregor Richter, Axiomatum politicorum, pp. 1-6.]

[31] Variant name of Ardashir I (226?-240, king of Persia).

[32] MN: Annos 100. est fatalis principibus familiis. Matthias Christianas in specul. 171. vide Richt. in Axio. oec. 23. ["One hundred years is fatal for princely houses." Christianus Matthiae (1584-1655, German Protestant theologian and historian). See Gregor Richter, Axiomatum politicorum, p. 5.]

[33] MN: The Empire hath been usually translated from family to family at the end of the one hundredth year. Ibid.

[34] MN: Centesimas periodos fatales esse regnis, & regiis stirpibus, ostendens historiarum monumenta. Peu. in Orat. de miraculosa Stella. ["The records of history show that periods of 100 years are fatal to kingdoms and to royal families." The reference and quotation of Kaspar Peucer were apparently taken by Nedham from Gregor Richter, Axiomatum politicorum, p. 11.]

[35] In the original text, the words "in the dust" read "the in dust."

[36] Reaction aroused against any action.

[37] MN: Irriti sum conatus humani. Vide Richter. 684. ["Mortal efforts are vain." See Gregor Richter, Axiomatum politicorum, p. 684.]

[38] MN: Nulla vis humana vel virtus, meruisse unquam potuit, ut quod praescripsit fatalis ordo, non fiat. Ammian. lib. 23. ["No mortal force or power can ever prevent the accomplishment of divine decree." Ammianus Marcellinus (ca. 330-ca. 395, Roman historian of the Roman Empire), Rerum gestarum qui de XXXI supersunt libri XVIII, bk. xxiii.]


CHAPTER 2

That the Power of the Sword Is, and Ever Hath Been, the Foundation of All Titles to Government

TO CLEAR this, we need do no more but take a review of those governments mentioned in the former chapter in their rise and revolutions. The world, after the Flood, in time grew more populous and more exceeding vicious, being inclined to rapine, ambition, &c., so that, the pater familiar way of government being insufficient to correct those grand enormities, there was need of someone more potent than the rest that might restrain them by force.[1] Upon which ground it was that Nimrod, first of all men, complotted a new and arbitrary way of government, backing it with power by a party of his own, that those crimes which could not be cured by persuasion might be cut off by compulsion and that, by a power seated in his own sword and will, he might oppose the willfullness of others. But he, afterward abusing this power by stretching his own will too far over other men's wills to the prejudice of their well-being and oppression of the church, became the first tyrant in the world and therefore was called a mighty hunter, as having used his power to no other end but to lay the foundations of idolatry and tyranny.[2]

Thus you see the power of the sword to be the original of the first monarchy and indeed the first political form of government that ever was. For the maintenance whereof, he fortified himself in the lofty Tower of Babel, the beginning of the Babylonian or Assyrian government; which last name it took under Ninus and from him continued in a succession of thirty-six kings down to Sardanapalus who was overcome in battle by a conspiracy of his captains; among whom Arbaces, the Governor of Media, being chief, reigned in his stead & by his sword translated the title into his own family from the Assyrians to the Medes;[3] with whom it continued in a succession of nine princes till the sword made King Astyages give a surrender to Cyrus the Persian;[4] the last of whose successors, Darius,[5] yielded it up upon the same terms to Alexander the Great who erected the grand monarchy of the Grecians. King Philip, the father of this Alexander,[6] was confined at first within the narrow compass of Macedonia, too narrow for his ambition; and therefore by fomenting quarrels betwixt the Thebans, Phocians, Lacedaemonians, and Athenians he found means to undermine them one after another and by his sword made way for a title through those petty commonweals to the monarchy of Greece;[7] which, being improved the same way by his son to the dominion of the whole world, was lost again to the Romans by King Perseus, the last of the Macedonians; all whose glories, with those of his predecessors, served in the end only to aggravate his misfortunes and magnify the triumphs of a Roman consul. But the title to that of Macedonia and the other provinces had been lost from the family of Alexander above one hundred and fifty years before; it being immediately upon his death bandied by the great men of his army, and his mother, wives, and children slain by Cassander; who with Antigonus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, having by conquest rid their hands of all other competitors, shared the empire between themselves, Cassander reigning in Macedonia, Antigonus in Asia, Seleucus in Syria, and Ptolemy in Egypt; all whose successors successively resigned their titles, as did Perseus the successor of Cassander, to the sword of the Romans.

If we look to the original of the Romans, we find Romulus and his successors founding a kingdom upon the ruins of their kindred, friends, and neighbors. Next, the kingly title gained by the sword and subtility was the same way derived to divers of the seven kings and at length extinguished in Tarquin by the sword of the Senate; wherewith they drave[8] and kept him out of his dominions and made a title to those also of other nations so far that in the end they entitled themselves "Lords of the Whole Earth"; and so continued, till Caesar, wresting the sword out of their hands, became master both of it and them. Most of the successors of Caesar likewise made way by the sword to the imperial chair: as Augustus by the ruin of Lepidus and conquest of Antony; Claudius, Nero, and most of the rest by policy, murder, and the favor of the soldiery. At length, the sword divided the Empire into East and West, and in the same manner likewise each of them suffered many titular subdivisions till new titles were raised in the West by the sword of the Goths and Vandals, in the East by the Turks and Saracens.

If this be not obvious enough out of profane histories, take a view of those in Holy Writ where you shall find the sword the only disposer and dispenser of titles to commonweals and kingdoms. We find Jacob, on his deathbed, bequeathing one portion to Joseph above the rest of his brethren; and that was a parcel which he took out of the hand of the Amorite with his sword and with his bow;[9] unto which parcel the Scripture mentions not any title that Jacob had but by his sword. And as for the title which his posterity had unto the Land of Canaan, though it were allotted them by divine promise and dispensation, yet as to the eye of the world they were to lay claim and take possession by the power of the sword; and so accordingly they received commission to ratify their title by a conquest of the Canaanites, after which, jure gentium,[10] it became forever unquestionable.

In the history of the kings of Israel, we read that most of their titles have been founded upon powerful usurpation. Such was that of Jeroboam who, though the kingdom were designed to him by a declaration from heaven in the mouth of the prophet, erred notwithstanding in his overspeedy invading the sovereignty by force; and that act of his is branded with the black character of rebellion. Yet being thus gotten into the throne, God would not suffer him to be disturbed, saying the "thing was from Him," that is, by His permission.[11] And so he that was a traitor in rebellion, being once invested by a mere permissive act of Providence, came to have a positive right to the prejudice of him that was his sovereign and to the exercise of jurisdiction over those that had been of late his fellow subjects.

After Jeroboam, reigned his son Nadab, who was conquered and slain in battle at Gibbethon by Baasha; who with his sword settled the crown upon his own head;[12] which was worn afterward by his son Elah till he likewise was slain and the crown by force of arms usurped by Zimri; from whom also it was snatched in the same manner by Omri; who died peaceably and left the succession to his son Ahab without the least scruple all this while on the people's part in point of submission and obedience to these usurped powers.[13] Add to these usurpations that of Nebuchadnezzar over the holy city which he took by force of arms and carried away many of the Jews with their King Jehoiakim[14 ]into captivity to Babylon;[15] an action as full of injustice and cruelty as most that we read of. Yet, Nebuchadnezzar being once in possession by conquest, his title became right and good as may appear by the report given concerning Zedekiah, the successor of Jehoiakim, of whom it is said that he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar; which implies an investiture of right in Nebuchadnezzar by the sword or else that resistance of Zedekiah could not be called rebellion.[16]

To come a little nearer and give you a sight of this truth in modern practices it will be very convenient a little to examine the rights and titles of present princes to their several principalities within Christendom; whom if we trace up to their originals, we shall find to have no other dependence than upon the sword. What pretense had Ferdinand the Spaniard to seize upon the kingdom of Navarre but only to satisfy the spleen of Pope Julius II and his own ambition against the French? For which cause to make his way the easier he set upon John Albret unawares and forced him with his queen and children quite out of his dominions; which he afterward held in possession and brought the people under his allegiance.[17]

In the same manner Philip the Second, with an army under the command of the Duke of Alva, set upon Don Antonio, King of Portugal, and after he had subdued the kingdom, laid claim to the crown as his own by right; which he and his successors held till that now of late, in the reign of Philip the Fourth, it was recovered again by the sword of Don John of Braganza. Fair titles to the succession were pretended on both sides; but if either have the better this way, it must be Don John as being descended from Edward, a third son, whereas the Spaniard descends from Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of Emmanuel, King of Portugal. Yet it seems possession hath hitherto been held the best title, and the Portugals, having of late outed the Spaniard, made bold to stop his mouth with this answer: "That his predecessor Philip II had no right to the crown, it being contrary to their fundamental laws that any foreigner should succeed in the kingdom. And that it was lawful for a kingdom oppressed by arms, by arms again to recover its ancient liberty."[18] Which is enough to show that the Spaniard neither had, nor hath, any title beside his sword to lay claim to the kingdom of Portugal.

That Aragon was fairly annexed to the crown of Castile by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella cannot be denied. Yet it is notorious to all the world that the Spaniard hath, since this union, usurped much more in Aragon by force than his predecessors enjoyed before by right and dealt no otherwise with that kingdom than if it were his by conquest, exercising an absolute tyranny therein as well as other his dominions.[19] To this end, he abolished the ancient and most excellent constitution of that eminent office called the Justice of Aragon; whereto some one person was chosen by the vote of the people, who in most cases had a power to control the king. This was so great an eyesore to Philip the Second that, as Petrus Matthaeus[20] saith, he numbered these among the most glorious of his actions: that he had lessened the power of the Aragonians, deprived them of their greatest privileges, and demolished that grand office called "the justice," the bulwark of their liberty. So that what title the Spaniard now hath to tyrannize in Aragon is founded only upon force and usurpation. If we turn our eyes likewise upon his other dominions in America and those here in Europe, as Sicily, Naples, Milan, Flanders, etc., his title stands in all upon the same terms, viz., a possession by the power of the sword.

And this is just as much right as his kinsman the Emperor had to lay claim to the kingdom of Bohemia and afterward to seize upon the Palatinate;[21] Bohemia being an elective kingdom that had power of themselves to choose whom they pleased for king, and so made choice of the Prince Elector Frederick, whom the Emperor made bold to drive out of that and his own country by force of arms because he accepted of the election. And not only so, but after Frederick was dead, prosecuted the war to the prejudice of his heir, the present Prince Elector, whom he hath constrained to quit his dignity of the first electorship and resign it with the best part of his dominions upon hard terms to the Duke of Bavaria;[22] so that what title the Emperor hath to Bohemia, and the Duke to the rest, is derived rather from the sword of Mars than the scepter of Jove by right of succession.[23]

This act of violence against the Prince Elector gave an alarm to the other protestant princes of Germany to defend their estates by arms from the encroachments of the Emperor; and therefore, to avoid the inconveniences of emulation between themselves, they made choice of the Swede to be their chief; who, moved partly by the common interest of religion, but especially for several injuries done him by the Emperor, as may be read in that king's manifesto, undertook the war and with his sword hath carved out a title to many fair countries and privileges within the Empire.[24]

What title have the Swiss, the Hollanders, Geneva, &c., to their liberty but the sword? On the other side what title have the Medicis to domineer over the free states of Florence and Sienna to the utter ruin of their liberties but only force? Whereby Cosmus,[25] introducing an absolute tyranny under the name of duke, made himself more than a king and in emulation of the Muscovite glorified his successors with the style of Great Dukes of Tuscany.[26]

How the Pope's temporal power, which was once so small, in Italy came to be thus considerable is easily known if we take an account of the actions of Alexander the Sixth, who, of all the popes that ever were, showed what a pope was able to do with money and arms; and having a mind to make his son, Caesar Borgia, a prince in Italy, he taught him how to make use of the French forces to build himself a fortune in Romania [27] upon the ruin of the barons of that country.[28] And though the Pope's intent thereby was not to enlarge the church dominions but to make his son great, yet after his son's death, it turned to the church's advantage; the succeeding pope seizing upon all as heir of Borgia's usurpations, founded upon blood and treachery. After this pope, succeeded Julius, who finding the church thus made great, the barons of Rome quite extinct, and their parties worn out by Alexander's persecutions, found also the way open for heaping up moneys never practiced before Alexander's time. Wherewith acquiring forces, he endeavored to make himself master also of Bolonia,[29] to extinguish the Venetians, and chase the French out of Italy; in most of which designs he gained happy success. And thus you see how His Holiness himself came by a title to his temporal possessions; yet, as among the Jews none but the high priest might enter the sanctum sanctorum, so the Roman high priest, that none might presume to enter upon his territories, hath ever since gilded these magna latrocinia, these "great robberies," with the fair title of Saint Peter's Patrimony; so that having entailed it on himself first by the sword of Peter, it hath been the easier ever since by virtue of the keys to lock the right owners out of possession.

Out of Italy, let us pass into France; and there we find Charles the Seventh who, when his title to the crown was adjudged in Parlement less valid than that of the Queen of England, "appealed to his sword" as the only protector and patron of titles.[30] Of this truth the realm of France is a most sad example at this day, where the tyranny of their kings is founded and preserved by force, not only upon the shoulders of the peasant but on the destruction of their ancient princes and the majesty of Parlement; which retains not so much as a shadow of their old liberty. What is become of the duchies of Normandy, Brittany, Aquitaine, Burgundy, &c.? What title had the French kings to those countries, till they wormed and worried out the right owners by force of arms? What claim had they to this absolute domination over parlements but tyrannical usurpation? Yet Lewis the Eleventh[31] gloried in the action as if the fleurs-de-lis never flourished so well as when they were watered with the blood and tears of the people.[32] For, according to the ancient constitution, that kingdom retained a mixture of aristocratical power; so that the then supreme court of Parlement at Paris had a principal share in the government and nothing was imposed on the people but by the consent of their deputies. But now, having been mined out of their authority by the powerful encroachments of their kings and being overawed by armed powers held continually in pay for the purpose, their authority is defunct and their common interest in the affairs of the public translated into a private Cornell d'État, which depends upon the mere will of the king. And so the Parlement of Paris, which was once the supreme council, having surrendered its title to the sword of the king, serves now only for a petty court of judicature and a mere mock show of majesty.[33] Thus we see the French king's title to what he holds at home; and if we look abroad, he hath but the same right to what he got in Catalonia and Flanders. And yet we must needs say it is as good every jot as that of the Spaniard whose best plea is that his thieveries there have been of a longer prescription. And upon the same terms, of late years they have both lain at catch[34] for the duchy of Savoy and several parcels of Germany.[35] Here likewise, I might sift the title of the family of Oldenburg (the stock of the late king) to the crown of Denmark, and of Denmark itself to the duchy of Holstein; but to bring this discourse to a period I shall draw nearer home and make it as clearly appear likewise that the power of the sword ever hath been the foundation of all titles to government in England both before and since the Norman Conquest. First, the sword of Caesar triumphed over the liberties of poor Britons and gave the Romans here a title to their dominion.[36] Afterward, their liberty returning again when the Roman Empire fell to pieces, a new title was settled by the sword of our progenitors, the Saxons; who submitted for a time upon the same terms also to the Danes till the Saxons, impatient of the yoke, outacted by way of precedent the Parisian massacre or Sicilian Vespers and made use of their knives instead of their swords to recover their own title against the Danish tyranny.[37] Now if in these national revolutions of government I should examine those also of the regal families, we cannot from any examples produce more pregnant instances concerning the transitions of title from family to family merely upon the account of the sword. But I waive those and will take a view of our own affairs at a less remote distance and see whether William the Conqueror translated the government upon any better terms into the hands of the Normans.

And upon examination it appears he had no better title to England than the rest before-mentioned had at first to their several countries or than his predecessor Rollo had to Normandy itself.[38] For about one hundred and twenty years before, it happened that this Rollo issued in the head of a barbarous rout[39] out of Denmark and Norway: first into the duchies of Frize[40] and Renault;[41] afterward he seated himself by force in the possession of Rohan;[42] in a short time of all Normandy and missed but little of the conquest of Paris.

From him this William was the sixth Duke of Normandy; who, though a bastard, legitimated his title by the success of several battles against six or seven of his competitors more clear in blood than himself; by which means having secured his claim at home, he became the more confident to tempt his fortune with a design upon England. As for any right to the crown, he had none save a frivolous testamentary title, pretending that it was bequeathed to him by the last will of his kinsman, King Edward the Confessor; upon which pretense he betook himself to arms and with a collection of forces out of Normandy, France, Flanders, and other countries, landing in Sussex, he gave battle at Hastings and established himself a title by conquest upon the destruction of King Harold and of the laws and liberties of the nation, as may be seen in all our chronicles.[43]

After him his sons, the two succeeding kings William Rufus and Henry the First, made good their succession by the sword against Robert, their elder brother, as did King Stephen, a stranger, against Maud[44] the Empress, the right heir of that Henry. Next to Stephen succeeded Henry the Second, the son of Maud, who as heir of his predecessors' way of usurpation quartered the arms of England with the lordship of Ireland by the sword; as his successor, Edward the First, by the same means, cemented the principality of Wales to the kingdom of England with the blood of Leoline[45] and his brother David, the last of the Welsh princes. Next, Edward the Second was forced by arms to surrender his right to his son, Edward the Third; whose grandchild, Richard the Second, was in like manner by force of arms deprived by Henry of Lancaster; whose son, Henry the Fifth, made good not only that title but carved out a new one with his sword to the crown of France in defiance of the Salic constitution;[46] and left it so confirmed unto his son, Henry the Sixth, that he was crowned King of France at Paris and so continued till, fortune turning, his title was canceled there by the sword of the French as it was likewise in England by that of Edward the Fourth; whose son, Edward the Fifth, left the crown in the bloody hands of Richard the Third; from whence it was wrested by Henry the Seventh.[47] This Henry, from whom the late King derived his claim, came in with an army and, as one hath well observed, by mere power was made king in the army and by the army; so that in the very field where he got the victory, the crown was set upon his head, and there he gave knighthood to many of his commanders. Upon this foundation of military power he got himself afterward solemnly crowned at Westminster. And soon after, upon authority thus gotten, he called a parliament and in that parliament was the crown entailed upon him and his heirs. Thus both his crown and his parliament were founded upon power. As for any just title, he could have none. For he descended from a bastard of John of Gaunt, which though legitimated for common inheritances, yet expressly was excluded from succession to the crown. And for his wife's title, that came in after his kingship and his parliament, which had settled the crown before upon him and his heirs. And he was so far from exercising authority in her right that her name is not used in any laws as Queen Mary's was both before and after her marriage with the Spanish King.

Now having made it evident out of the histories of all times, our own and other nations', that the power of the sword ever hath been the foundation of titles to government, it is as clear likewise out of the same histories that the people never presumed to spurn at those powers, but (for public peace and quiet) paid a patient submission to them under their various revolutions. But it were vain to raise more dust out of the cobwebs of antiquity in so limpid a case, confirmed by the practices of all nations. Look nearer our own times into the wars of Germany and those betwixt the French and Spanish of late time in Catalonia and Flanders. One while, you might have seen the same town under the power of the Emperor, another while, under the Swede; this year under the French, the next under the Spaniard. And upon every new alteration, without scruple, paying a new allegiance and submission and never so much as blamed for it by the divines of their own or any other nation. Moreover, none can deny but that as Henry the Seventh and the rest before-mentioned came into this kingdom by mere power, without title of inheritance, so the whole body of this nation, as one observes, swore fealty and allegiance to them and obeyed them whilst they ruled; yea, doth yield subjection to their laws at this very day. And the learned in the laws do continually plead, judge, justify, and condemn according to those laws. So that herein the very voice of the nation, with one consent, seems to speak aloud: That those whose title is supposed unlawful and founded merely upon force, yet being possessed of authority, may lawfully be obeyed. Nor may they only, but they must;[48] else by the judgment of civilians[49] such as refuse may be punished as seditious and traitorous, the victors being ever allowed, jure gentium, to use all means for securing what they have gotten and to exercise a right of dominion over the conquered party. Whosoever therefore shall refuse submission to an established government upon pretense of conscience in regard of former allegiances, oaths, and covenants, or upon supposition that it is by the sword unlawfully erected, deserves none but the character of peevish, and a man obstinate against the reason and custom of the whole world. Let his pretense be what it will, resistance, in the eye of the law of nations, is treason; and if he will needs perish in the flames of his own phrenetic zeal, he can at the best be reckoned but the madman's saint and the fool's martyr.

Nescio an Anticyram ratio illi destinet omnem.[50]


[1] MN: Vide Pererium supra Genesin. [See Benito Pereira (ca. 1535-1610, Spanish Jesuit theologian), Commentariorum et disputatlonum in Genesim (Cologne, 1622), bk. XV, chap. x.]

[2] MN: Gen. cap. 10. [Gen. 10:8-9.]

[3] MN: Vide Justinum, & alias. [See Justin (fl. 3d century A.D., Roman historian) and others.]

[4] Cyrus the Great (d. 529 B.C., king of Persia).

[5] Darius III (d. 330 B.C., king of Persia).

[6] Philip II (382-336 B.C., king of Macedon).

[7] MN: Veluti, e specula quadam, libertati omnium insidiatus, dum contentiones civitatum alit, auxilium inferionbus ferendo, victos pariter victoresque subire regiam servitutem coegit. Just. lib. 8. ["Like a spy from his watchtower he laid in wait for a fit occasion to surprise them of their liberty, which he purposed to effect by feeding the fires of contention between city and city by lending aid to the weaker. And so he compelled both the conquered and the conquerors to submit to his royal service." Justin, Epitoma historiarum Philippicarum Pompei Trogi, bk. viii.]

[8] Drove.

[9] MN: Gen. 48. v. 22.

[10] By the laws of nations.

[11] MN: I Kings 12. 24.

[12] MN: I Kings 15. 27.

[13] MN: Cap. 16. [I Kings 16.]

[14] I.e., Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim.

[15] MN: 2 Chron. c. 36. [II Chron. 36:5-13.]

[16] MN: Ver. 13. [II Chron. 36:13.]

[17] MN: Vide Anto. Nebrissensem De bello Navarriensi. [See Elio Antonio de Nebrija (1444?-1522, Spanish humanist grammarian), Rerum a Fernando et Elisabe Hispaniarum felicissimis regibus gestarum decades duae, necnon belli Navariensis libri duo (Granada, 1545), fol. 73v.-86v.]

[18] MN: Vide Autorem Lusitaniae liberatae. [See Antonio de Sousa de Macedo (1606-82, Portuguese historian), Lusitania liberata ab injusto Castellanorum (London, 1645), bk. I, chap. xii; bk. II, chaps. i-vii; bk. III, chap. i.]

[19] MN: Covaruv. Pr. quaest. I. [Diego de Covarrubias y Leyva (1512-77, Spanish theologian), Practicarum quaestionum de fide et authoritate publici instrument, chap. i in Opera omnia (Leiden, 1606).]

[20] Pierre Matthieu (1563-1621, French historian). Not clear to which of Matthieu's works Nedham refers.

[21] MN: Ut patet ex aurea bulla Caroli IV. c. 17. ["As may be seen from the Golden Bull of Charles IV." Charles IV (1316-78, Holy Roman Emperor). The Golden Bull was issued in 1356. See K. Zeumer, Die Goldene Bulle Kaiser Karls IV (Weimar, 1908), vol. II, chaps. i, vii.]

[22] MN: See Instrumentum pacis. [A reference to the Peace of Westphalia, 1648.]

[23] MN: Feuda Germanica, praecipue dignitatum illustrium, ex provisions legis fundamentalis, & consuetudine perpetuae observantiae, ita ad liberos & agnatos pertinent, ut nec crimine laesae majestatis confiscari, nec bello justo, in praejudicium liberorum amitti possint. ut aiunt J. C. Germani. ["German fiefs, especially those held by illustrious dignitaries, belong by provision of fundamental law and through the observance of immemorial custom to the children and relatives, so that they may not be lost to the prejudice of the children either through confiscation for a crime of lese majesty nor in a just war, as the German jurisconsolts say."]

[24] MN: See Instrument. pacis. [Refers to Peace of Westphalia, 1648.]

[25] Cosimo I dé Medici (1519-74, grand duke of Tuscany).

[26] MN: Plenum regnum est in Florentino ducatu; quale plerumque subsequitur armis oppressam libertatem. Besold. in Synopsi. cap. 4. ["There is full sovereignty in the Florentine duchy; in such manner it often ensues that liberty is overwhelmed by arms." Besold, Synopsis politicae doctrinae, bk. I, chap. iv.]

[27] Romagna.

[28] MN: Nic. Mach. De principe. c. 11. [Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527, Italian statesman and political theorist), Il principe (Rome, 1532), chap. xi.]

[29] Bologna.

[30] MN: Ad mucronem gladii sui appellavit. Girard. l. 21. Pasquier. 5. cap. 7. [References are to Bernard de Girard, seigneur du Haillan (1535?-1610, French Catholic historian), and to Etienne Pasquier (1529-1615, French Catholic jurist), but it is not clear to which of their works Nedham is referring.]

[31] MN: Jactitare solebat, sua potissimum opera effectum fuisse, ut regnum Gallicanum quasi ex tutela, ad plenam pubertatem fuerit redactum. Besoldus In Synopsi. c. 4. ["He was accustomed to say that it had come about chiefly by his own effort that the kingdom of France was restored from tutelage, as it were, to full maturity." Besold, Synopsis politicae doctrinae, bk. I, chap. iv.]

[32] MN: Lehmann. 2. cap. 4. [Perhaps a reference to Christoph Lehmann (1570?-1638, German historian), Chronica der Freyen Reichs Statt Speyr (Frankfort, 1612), bk. II, chap. iv.]

[33] MN: Senatus Parisiensis in judicum curiam transmutatus. Besold. [Besold, Synopsis politicae doctrinae.]

[34] On the watch for an opportunity of seizing.

[35] MN: See Maluezzi, in The Events of the Spanish Monarchy. [Virgilio Malvezzi (1599-1654, Italian diplomat and historian), The Chief Events of the Monarchy of Spain (London, 1647).]

[36] MN: Caesar in Comment. [Julius Caesar (102-44 B.C., Roman statesman and writer), De bello Gallico, bk. v.]

[37] MN: See the English Chron. [English Chronicles.]

[38] MN: Histor. Norman. [André Duchesne (1584-1640, French historian), Historiae Normannorum scriptores antiqui (Paris, 1619).]

[39] Band.

[40] Friesland.

[41] Hainaut.

[42] Rouen.

[43] MN: Norman, ille spurius, Guilhelmus dictus, Anglicanum regnum vi occupavit; legesque tulit, nullas acepit. Besoldus in Synopsi. lib. I. cap. 4. ["A Norman, that bastard called William, seized the kingdom of England by force. He proposed laws but he accepted none." Besold, Synopsis politicae doctrinae, bk. I, chap. iv.]

[44] Matilda (1102-67, queen of England).

[45] Llewelyn ap Gruffydd (d. 1282, prince of Wales).

[46] The alleged fundamental law of the French monarchy, by which females were excluded from succession to the crown.

[47] MN: See the Chronicles.

[48] MN: Vide Grotium, De jure belli, l. 3. cap. 15. Bello ut alia acquiri possum, ita & jus imperantis, &c. [See Hugo Grotius (1583-1645, Dutch jurist and statesman), De jure belli et pacis (Paris, 1625), bk. III, chap. xv. "As other things may be acquired in a just war, so also imperial authority."]

[49] Writers on civil law as distinguished from common law or canon law.

[50] MN: Horat. [Horace (65-8 B.C., Roman poet and satirist), "I rather think wisdom would assign to them all Anticyra." Satyrae, bk. ii, satire 3, 1. 83. Anticyra was famous in antiquity as a place which produced hellebore or poisonous plants.]


CHAPTER 3

That Nonsubmission to Government Justly Deprives Men of the Benefit of Its Protection

IF AT any time it seem good to the wise disposer of states and kingdoms (who puts down one and sets up another) to permit the expulsion of such as were formerly in possession and admit others in their places, it cannot in reason be expected that those which refuse obedience to their authority should receive the benefit of protection; and that for several considerations.

First, because protection implies a return of obedience and friendship from the persons protected to those that protect them. Otherwise they put themselves into the condition of enemies, and by the law of nations, which indulges a liberty unto all that are in power to provide for their own security, they may be handled as public enemies and outlaws. Wherefore in this case so little of protection is due to them that they may be punished as traitors by some shameful execution. And it appears out of Grotius, in case of nonsubmission to new lords after a victory, the throats of every refuser are wholly at their mercy; and all this, de jure.[1]

Secondly, there being a necessity of some government at all times for the maintenance of civil conversation[2] and to avoid confusion, therefore such as will not submit, because they cannot have such a governor as themselves like, are in some sense mere anarchists and destroy the two main ends of all civil communion. The first whereof Aristotle sets down to be public safety, in relation whereunto each member of the commonwealth is concerned to have a care of the whole.[3] The second is public equity, for the administration of justice, encouragement of virtue, and punishment of vice, without which it's impossible to enjoy peace or happiness. Where this humor reigns, there those two can never be secured nor any political eutaxy,[4] good order, or tranquillity maintained, which is the very soul of government. For as much as, say the civilians, the essence of a commonweal consists ratione imperandi & parendi; in imperil & subjectionis recta ordinatione, "in a due course of commanding and obeying, rule and subjection." From whence, say they, we may conclude, regere & subjici, that "rule and subjection" are founded upon the law both of God and nature and they must needs be transgressors against both that upon any pretense whatsoever shall refuse to obey those powers that are set over them and open a gap to confusion, ipsa tyrannide deteriorem, "of far worse consequence than any tyrannical usurpation."[5]

Thirdly, private and particular persons have no right to question how those came by their power that are in authority over them. For if that were once admitted, there would be no end of disputes in the world touching titles. It is ground enough for the submission of particular persons in things of political equity that those which have gotten the power are irresistible and able to force it if they refuse. For, as touching this case, saith the most excellent Grotius, "Private persons ought not to take upon them to meddle with these controversies in point of title, but rather to follow them that are in possession."[6] For all power is from God; and our Saviour told Pilate the power that he had was given him from above, though all the world knows that Pilate was but a deputy governor and, in a civil acceptation,[7] received his power from Caesar, who was an usurper. To this accords that of Bodinus, I, De repub., cap. 6, who saith that "all governments are lawful in respect of the first cause, viz., God; but on the other side, if we regard secondary causes, all governments have had their beginning and foundation upon force and violence."[8] Now since all commanding powers hold their supremacy from God, and that by the law of nations, they have a right to exercise their power over those whom they hold in possession. Therefore by the law of God, which damns resistance against those powers,[9] and by the same law of nations, they which refuse submission to those powers (be they just or unjust by the way of acquisition) may be justly deprived of their possessions and protection.

To those testimonies before cited, let me add one more, to conclude, out of Bocerus.[10]Contra rempublicam quamcunque, superiorem non recognoscentem, si quis aliquid moliatur; is, ut criminis majestatis reus puniatur: Non quidem ex lege Julia; sed jure gentibus communi, quod cujuslibet imperantis tuetur majestatem. "If any man attempt ought[11] against any commonwealth whatsoever that acknowledges no superior, he may be punished as guilty of treason. And this by the custom and law of nations which provides for the authority and safety of all that are in power." Now saith the same author, "If any person will not acknowledge nor submit to those that rule the commonwealth, it is to be presumed that he hath some design in hand to their prejudice, and he may be punished accordingly." Which punishment, the crime being treason, amounts to loss of life as well as possession and protection.[12]


[1] MN: De jure belli, lib. 3. cap. 20. [Grotius, De jure belli, bk. III, chap. xx.]

[2] Society, intercourse.

[3] MN: 3. Polit. cap. 4. I Polit. cap. 2 & lib. 2. c. 4. & 6. [Aristotle, Politics, bk. iii, chap. iv; bk. i, chap. ii; bk. ii, chaps. iv, vi.]

[4] Good order or management.

[5] MN: Arist. I. Polit. cap. 5. Bellarm. De laicis, cap. 5. Molina. De jure & just. Tract. 2. dist. 26. [Aristotle, Politics, bk. i, chap. v; Roberto Bellarmino (1542-1621, Italian cardinal and Jesuit theologian), in Opera omnia (Cologne, 1617-20), vol. II, pt. II, bk. III, chap. v; Luis de Molina (1535-1600, Spanish Jesuit theologian), De justitia et jure (Mainz, 1614), vol. I, Tract. II, Disput. xxvi.]

[6] MN: Indicium sibi privatus sumere non debet, sed possessionem sequi. lib. I. c. 4. [Grotius, De jure belli, bk. I, chap. iv.]

[7] The sense in which a word is accepted.

[8] MN: Respectu primae causae omnia imperia legitima esse concedo; sed si quaeras de causis intermediis, &c. [Bodin, Les six livres de la république, bk. I, chap. vi.]

[9] MN: Rom. 13.

[10] MN: Tract. de majest. cap. I. [Heinrich Bocer (1561-1630, German jurist), Tractatus compendiosus de crimine majestatis (Tübingen, 1608), chap. i. Passage referred to by Nedham not found.]

[11] Aught, anything.

[12] MN: De regalibus, cap. 3. num. 307. [Bocer, Tractatus de regalibus (Tübingen, 1608), chap. iii, no. 307. Passage referred to by Nedham not found although chapter iii on the subject.]


CHAPTER 4

That a Government Erected by a Prevailing Part of the People Is As Valid de jure As If It Had the Ratifying Consent of the Whole

SINCE after the miserable confusions of a civil war there is in the end a necessity of some settlement, it cannot in reason be imagined (when the controversy is decided by the sword) that the conquerors should, as to the manner of settlement, submit to the will of the conquered party, though more in number than themselves; nor are they obliged to settle the government again according to the former laws and constitutions but may, in this case, use such means as nature instructs them in and erect such a form as they themselves conceive most convenient for their own preservation.[1] To this truth we have the testimony of the most learned Grotius, which I will set down at large. In bello civili, scripta quidem jura, id est civilia, non valent; at valent non scripta, id est, quae natura dictat, aut gentium consensus constituit. "In a civil war," saith he, "written laws, that is, the established laws of a nation, are of no force, but those only which are not written, that is, which are agreeable to the dictates of nature, or the law & custom of nations."[2] And "then that only is law," saith he, "which shall be declared by the prevailing party." Jus dicitur esse id quod validiori placuit, ut intelligamus fine suo carere jus, nisi vires ministras habeat. "That only which it pleaseth the stronger party to enact is said to be law, since it cannot accomplish the outward end of a law, except it be attended by force to constrain obedience."[3] Hence came it, saith the Florentine Secretary,[4] that "all the prophets that were armed, prevailed; but those that were unarmed were too weak. And therefore it behooves all legislators to be so provided, that if the people will not be ruled, they may compel them by force." "Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, and Romulus would never have been able long to continue the authority of their laws had they been without arms at command."[5] And Solon himself, the great Athenian lawgiver, declares he could never have established his laws at Athens had he not had power to second them; and that all those great matters which he effected in founding a commonwealth he did,

'Omou~ bi/hn te ki/ di/khn sunarmo/sav

"by coupling law and force, making authority and power walk hand in hand together."[6]

Moreover, as to the late contest betwixt king and Parliament, Grotius speaks very home[7] to justify the Parliament's late proceedings in positive terms.[8]Si rex partem habeat summi imperii, partem alteram populus aut senatus, regi in partem non suam involanti, vis justa opponi poterit, quia eatenus imperium non habet. Quod ubi sit, potest rex etiam suam imperii partem belli jure amittere; that is in English, "If the authority be divided betwixt a king and his people in Parliament, so that the king hath one part, the people another; the king offering to encroach upon that part which is none of his may lawfully be opposed by force of arms because he exceeds the bounds of his authority. And not only so, but he may lose his own part likewise by the 'law of arms.'"[9] From whence I plainly infer that if a king may thus, by right of war, lose his share and interest in authority and power, being conquered, then on the other side, by right of war, the whole must needs reside in that part of the people which prevailed over him, there being no middle power to make any claim.[10] And so the consequence is clear likewise that the whole right of kingly authority being by military decision resolved into the prevailing party, what government soever it pleases them next to erect is as valid de jure as if it had the consent of the whole body of the people.

These premises thus laid upon a sure ground show the weakness of his who wrote that so much magnified pamphlet entitled An Exercitation Concerning Usurped Powers, &c.[11] For the design of that gilded structure, raised upon the sandy foundation of a false hypothesis, is obliquely to charge the present powers in England as usurpers, though he have laid the scene in America. To this purpose, he spends his first chapter; where, telling what usurpation is, he defines it "an intrusion into the seat of authority without any lawful right, title, or calling" and insinuates it to the prejudice of the present governors, as if they were guilty of this intrusion without right or title. In applying this he first allegeth that the right and title to government is in a king, lords, & commons, co-ordinate in power, not in the commons alone. This indeed was true till the king, as I showed before, lost his title by right of war and until the lords likewise lost theirs by compliance with the enemies and invaders of the nation, for which cause they themselves also, by right of war, forfeited all their interests and privileges, as enemies; and so the whole authority devolved naturally into the hands of the commons.

But here the exercitator[12] objects also that the present governors have usurped over the majority of the House of Commons in that they were thrust out of the House by force. But, for answer, since by the equity of all laws accessories are punishable as well as those that are principal in the crime, therefore by the same right of war the secluded members also, in adhering to the conquered party, even after the victory, and favoring the invaders, were justly deprived of their interest; and the supreme authority descended lawfully to those members that had the courage to assert their freedoms, secure their own interest, themselves, and their adherents from future inconveniences, and take the forfeiture of those prerogatives and privileges of the king, lords, and secluded commons as heirs apparent by the law of arms and custom of nations to an investiture in the whole supremacy.[13]

One objection more he hath: How that "a calling from the people being necessary and essential to a humanely constituted magistracy," our present governors ought to have such a call; but not having it, they are therefore concluded guilty of usurpation. This is the sum of the objection, though not syllogistically deciphered. To which I answer: 1. That if only a call from the people constitute a lawful magistracy, then there hath very rarely ever been any lawful magistracy in the world, nor among us long before and since the Conquest. The proof of this may be confirmed by a review of those instances set down before in the second chapter where it is evident that all the world over most princes came into the seat of authority not only without a call but absolutely against the wills of the people; and so, many of them exercise the sovereignty to this very day. And particularly here in England most of our own kings reigned without any call, but made way by their swords; there being of those twenty-five princes that have kinged it among us, not above half a dozen that came to the crown in an orderly succession either by lineal or collateral title. And not any one of those half dozen but laid claim to it by virtue of their predecessors' usurpations without any call from the people; only in the investiture they had their consent because out of a love of public peace none would, or out of fear none durst, offer to question their titles. Now, if the former part of this objection were true, that a call were the only essential constituting a lawful government, then it would follow that, as all the world, so we and our ancestors have lived and paid obedience for the most part under an unlawful magistracy, which sure[14] no sober man will affirm. But if any will be so mad as to say it, I only propound to him this sober query: Why we may not now as lawfully submit to the present magistracy, in case it were unlawful, as our ancestors did heretofore to theirs for the public peace of the nation?

2. As to the assumptive part of this objection which insinuates that our present governors have no call or consent of the people, I answer that if by the consent be meant the consent of the body of the people, or of the major part of their representatives, this may hold requisite in a state not divided by civil war, but at peace within itself, where it is most consonant to reason that in case there be occasion to elect a supreme magistrate or magistrates, the election should be carried by the greater number of voices in such manner as voices are usually given in that state. But now in a civil war the case is altered when the controversy touching government is decided by the sword. For, ipso facto, the sword creates a title for him, or those, that bear it and installs them with a new majesty of empire, abolishing the old. Because, as the civilians say, "The ancient majesty of a state or commonweal continues no longer if it be changed either by a greater power or by consent of the people."[15] Where, you see, force and power is put in[16] equal balance with popular consent in relation to change of government. And as if it were the best pedigree of supremacy, they define the supreme authority to be that "which holds claim from God and the sword; and therefore is also as it were the author of its own original without dependence on any other; so that," say they, "every commonwealth, be it never so small, which acknowledged! no superior but God and the sword hath a right of majesty or political supremacy." Camman. Disput. de juribus majest. I. Thes. 70. 75. &c.[17] To this accords that of Grotius before recited, "that as in war all other things fall to the conquerors by way of acquisition, so likewise a right to govern the people and even that right also which the people themselves have to government." So that what government soever it pleases them to erect, the people having lost their right of election to them, must be as valid, de jure, as if it had the people's consent.[18] But as in this case there is no need of their express positive consent to justify a new government, so a tacit or implied consent is sufficient; which consent, as one saith well, is the very dictate of nature or common reason because it is better to have some justice than none at all; and there is a necessity of some coercive power or government lest all be left to disorder, violence, and confusion, which none, even of the conquered party, can be so unnatural as to desire. And therefore saith Suarez, "They do tacitly consent that justice be administered by the conquerors because it is a less evil to be governed by them than altogether to want due coaction and direction."[19]

Now, ere I conclude this chapter, I must needs wipe away one objection[20] very frequent in the mouths of many: that this transmission of title by right of war holds good when nation is engaged against nation, but in one single nation within itself it cannot; because, say they, it seems unreasonable that a nation should challenge a conquest over itself.

To this I answer[21] that warlike acquisitions hold as good in civil divisions within the same nation as in war betwixt nation and nation. For where a nation is engaged in a civil war and divided into parties, the eye of the law of nations looks not on them as one nation, but as two, according to that of Grotius:[22]In regno diviso, gens una, pro tempore, quasi duae gentens habentur, "In a divided state one nation during the time of its national divisions is esteemed as two nations"; so that what pre-eminence nation may gain over nation by right of foreign war, the same may be obtained likewise by one part of a nation against the other by right of civil war. And what the foreign conqueror may do in changing the government, abolishing old laws and establishing new, the same may be done also by the civil victor for his own security.

Thus by all the premises it is undeniably evident, in a way of application, that the present prevailing party in England have a right and just title to be our governors; and that this new government erected by them, to the subversion of the old, is as valid, de jure, as if it had the ratifying consent of the whole body of the people. Nor can they in any sense be counted usurpers, as is most irrationally intimated by the slight exercitator.


[1] MN: Necessitas summa reducit res ad merum jus naturae. Grotius De jure belli. I. 2. c. 6. ["Highest necessity reduces things to mere law of nature." Grotius, De jure belli, bk. II, chap. vi.]

[2] MN: Grotius, inter prolegomena, De jure belli. [Grotius, De jure belli, "Prolegomena."]

[3] MN: Grotius Ibid.

[4] MN: Nic. Mach. De principe, cap. 6. [Machiavelli, Il principe, chap. vi.]

[5] MN: See Grotius ib.

[6] MN: Vim jusque parilis copulans vincli jugo.

[7] To the point.

[8] MN: Grot. lib. I. c. 4. [Grotius, De jure belli, bk. I, chap. iv.]

[9] MN: Jure belli.

[10] MN: Eventus belli, velut aequus judex, unde ius stabat, victoriam dedit, Livius. 21. ["The result of the war, like an impartial judge, granted the victory to those who had the right." Livy (59 B.C.-A.D. 17, Roman historian), Ab urbe condita, bk. xxi, chap. x.]

[11] Edward Gee (1613-60, English Presbyterian divine), An Exercitation Concerning Usurped Powers (n.p., 1650).

[12] I.e., Edward Gee, author of An Exercitation.

[13] MN: Si qui jure suo uti non possunt, eorum jus accrescit praesentibus. Grotius De jure belli, lib. 2. c. 5. ["If any are unable to use their vote, their right falls to those present." Grotius, De jure belli, bk. II, chap. v.]

[14] Certainly.

[15] MN: Majestatem realem durare constat, quamdiu, vel vi majore, vel omnium quorum interest consensu, non mutatur. Besold. De majest. cap. I. [Besold, Synopsis politicae doctrinae, bk. I, chap. i.]

[16] In the text the positions of "in" and "is" are reversed.

[17] MN: Dicitur vero summa, quiet non alium nisi deum & gladium recognoscit; atque ideo suae originis quasi author existit. &c. Arnisaeus De majest. cap. I. [Henning Arnisaeus (d. 1636, German physician and political theorist), De jure majestatis libri tres (Strasbourg, 1635), bk. I, chap. i.]

[18] MN: Bello ut alia acquiri possunt, ita & jus imperantis in populum, & jus quod in imperio habet ipse populus. Grot. De jure belli. 1. 3. c. 15. [Grotius, De jure belli, bk. III, chap. xv.]

[19] MN: Lib. de legib. 3. cap. 10. [Francisco Suarez (1548-1617, Spanish Jesuit theologian), Tractatus de legibus, ac Deo legislatore (Lyon, 1619), bk. III, chap. x.]

[20] MN: Object.

[21] MN: Answ.

[22] MN: In Tractat. de legatis. [Grotius, De jure belli, bk. II, chap. xviii.]


CHAPTER 5

That the Oath of Allegiance and Covenant Are No Justifiable Grounds to Raise a New War in, or against, the Commonwealth of England

HAVING in the former chapters cleared the right and equity of the present government, in point of title, from the slanderous character of usurpation, I shall in the next place descend to examine the vain fancies of such as refuse a submission thereto upon pretense of conscience in regard of former obligations. These people are represented unto us under the ordinary notions of Royalists and Presbyterians: the former pleading the Oath of Allegiance; the latter, the Solemn League and Covenant, as a ground for their refusal.

As for the Oath of Allegiance: in a word, allegiance is but a political tie for politic ends, grounded upon political considerations; and therefore, being politically determined, when those considerations are altered by new circumstances (be it in relation to Caesar or the Senate) the old allegiance is extinct and must give place to a new. The same description may serve likewise for the Covenant. For even that part of it which relates most to religion will be found wrapped up altogether in matters of discipline and church polity to serve politic ends and interests, if the actions of our English and Scotch Presbyters may be admitted as a comment upon the text. I grant, both those oaths are religious acts as they are solemnized with the invocation of God as a witness. But as all actions are qualified from their principal end, so the main end of those oaths being obedience to the prince in order to the good of the public, they are of a political nature. And when such an alteration of affairs shall happen as extinguishes his title, I conceive we are not obliged, in this case, to pay him that submission which by oath we promised but ought rather to swear a new one to those that succeed him in the government.

For in promissory state oaths, as these two are, it is granted by all that there lurk several tacit conditions inseparable from the nature of all oaths and engagements and which are, as it were, the life and soul of the obligation. These tacit conditions, or, as Dr. Sanderson[1] calls them, "suppositions," are set down by divers authors, which I shall orderly apply to the matter in question. One tacit condition annexed to every oath is, "That the words of it be duly interpreted in a fair and equitable construction, not wresting it out of hatred or affection to any party."[2] This condition hath been but ill observed by the Scots and others in relation to their Covenant, who will not admit any construction but what may serve only to advance their own designs and heap hatred upon others. Witness their pleading for it in an absolute sense, or their own sense, when as[3] the principal parts of it are limited by express conditions, viz., that part which concerns the maintenance of the king and the privileges of Parliament is circumscribed with this clause "in" (or no otherwise than in order to) "the preservation of religion and liberty." And the other which relates to religion is as to manner of reformation qualified with another clause, viz., "according to the word of God." So that the old statu quo of king and Parliament was sworn to in a sense but secondary and subordinate, to show that the usual privileges of both might be quitted if they proved inconsistent with religion and liberty; as also that any reformation might be exploded to make way for one more consonant to the Word. And certainly if the present presbyterian whipsters [4] knew any other way more probable to advance their Kirk dominion than by making a pretended plea for prerogative a stalking-horse to the design, I believe both king and lords had been left long since to "God's blessing and the warm sun," as they say, in despair of any comfort from the Kirk's benediction. It seems now to me likewise that they added this clause, "according to the Word," not out of any love to a real reforming, but only that they might have a plea for the pulling down of episcopacy to introduce another form more suitable to their own ambitious ends, since that form that they contend for is as little consonant to the Word as the other, because they take little thence besides the bare name of presbytery to patch up a reformation. These things the world must needs believe of them till they lay aside their self-designings and admit of an equitable interpretation of the Covenant in the limitations expressed or according to that latitudo prudentialis, "the prudential latitude," spoken of by Dr. Sanderson, which ought to be considered in all oaths when the sense and meaning of them is in question. For, as we ought by all means to beware that we give not ourselves too great a liberty of interpretation to the end that we may shake off the obligation of an oath, "so none ought to fasten such a sense upon an oath, or any part of it, for their own profit or commodity which any other pious and prudent man, indifferent and uninterested in the business, would not collect and conclude out of the words of the oath."[5]

Moreover, if we did grant the Scots their own interpretation, yet it can be of small consequence to their ends, since the Covenant itself is extinct by reason of the breach first made by themselves. Let Grotius determine this truth, who lib. 2. cap. 15. saith, Si pars una foedus violaverit, poterit altera a foedere discedere: nam capita foederis singula conditionis vim habent. "If one party break a covenant, the other is no longer bound to it. For each particular head of a covenant carries with it the force of a condition,"[6] which condition in relation to the Covenanters is that either of them observe it with fidelity to each other. But the Scots have been so far from observing, that the whole nation have been involved in the breach of it by dividing the King from the people, the people from each other, and at length by a perfidious national invasion. So that, except they can show us some new foundation whereon that breach is repaired, the Covenant must needs be defunct in point of obligation. For, saith the same author, Foedus tacite renovatum intelligi non debet: Non enim facile praesumitur nova obligatio, nisi ex actibus qui nullam aliam interpretationem recipiunt.[7] "A covenant, being once at an end, cannot be supposed to be renewed tacitly. For a new obligation is not easily to be presumed, but by such acts as declare it and admit no other construction." Therefore, till the Scots and their partisans can produce evidences of a renovation of the Covenant by positive acts of state, they must of necessity grant that all Covenant obligations & relations are expired between the two nations of England & Scotland.

A second tacit condition latent in oaths promissory is expressed in these words out of the divinity of the Stoics by Seneca.[8]Tunc fidem fallam, & inconstantiae crimen audiam, si cum omnia eadem sint, quae erant promittente me, non praestitero promissum: Alioqui, quicquid mutatur libertatem facit de integro consulendi, & fidem meam liberat. "Then," saith he, "let me be accused of falsehood and inconstancy, if when all things remain the same as they were at the time that I promised, I shall not then perform my promise. Otherwise, any alteration whatsoever leaves me wholly at liberty and freeth me from my engagement." And a little after saith he, "Affairs ought to be in the same condition they were when thou didst promise to bind thee to the performance."[9] And in his thirty-ninth chapter he becomes more particular and saith, "In all promises do lurk these tacit conditions or exceptions, si potero, if I am able, si debeo, if I ought, si haec ita erunt, if things continue as they now are. If you require the performance of my promise, bring affairs into the same posture that they were in when I made it. But if any new alteration happen, why dost thou wonder, my condition being otherwise than it was when I promised, that I am changed in my intentions? Render things the same, and I am still the same."[10]

And that this holds good in Christian divinity, as well as Stoical, appears out of the afore-mentioned Doctor,[11] whose doctrine is equivalent and his terms convertible with those of Seneca, declaring that all promises have these tacit conditions, suppositions, or exceptions. Si Deus permiserit, "if God permit," which answers to Seneca's si potero; quoad licet, "as far as lawfully I may," which answers to his si debeo, rebus sic stantibus, "as long as things thus stand," which answers to his si haec ita erunt. According to which several suppositions in order, I shall examine both the Oaths of Allegiance and Covenant and prove their nonobligation.

First,[12] no man that enters into an oath or covenant can be so stupid as to promise the performance of anything without this tacit reservation within his own soul, that he will do it if "God permit him"; considering we can do nothing without Him, Who exerciseth His wisdom and sovereignty in the disposition of all human affairs, according to that of the Apostle James who bids us say, "If the Lord will, we will do this or that."[13] If so, then having sworn in the oaths before-mentioned to continue true and faithful to the King and his heirs, &c., it cannot be meant otherwise than with this clause, "If God please to permit their continuance in the government." But we plainly see God is not pleased to permit their continuance, since all men will confess that, at least, by a permissive act of Providence, another form of government is erected quite contrary to the old. Therefore if we consider the Oath of Allegiance and Covenant according to this first supposition, they are now of no force and obligation. But it may serve to satisfy a private man's conscience if in times past he have done his utmost to perform the duties required by those oaths during the former establishment. "The reason is," saith the same Doctor, "because seeing all things are subjected to Divine Providence and pleasure and that it is not in the power of any man to regulate all accidents which happen in the future, therefore he that hath used his whole endeavor to perform what he promised hath paid his allegiance and fulfilled the intent of his oath, the obligation ceasing when things cannot possibly be effected," as the Doctor saith, ex impossibilitate facti. Praelect. 2. sect. 12.[14]

2. As concerning the Doctor's quoad licet,[15] the second tacit condition or exception, it is to be presumed no man swears to anything but with this reservation, "as far as lawfully he may." If so, then in case it so happen that we cannot lawfully act in prosecution of those things which we have sworn to, our obligation ceaseth ex impossibilitate juris; as in the former, by an "impossibility of power" in us to effect what we were obliged unto, so in this, by an "impossibility of right" in us to act in order thereunto. For saith he, that is said to be impossible by an impossibility of right which a man hath no lawful power to endeavor. But as to the restoration of kingly government now that another is established (by as good a title, I have proved, as ever the kingly was), I would fain know what right or lawful power any private man hath, and which way he can ground it upon the Oath of Allegiance and Covenant, to endeavor the destruction of the new form of government and a restitution of the old. For private persons have no right to question those that are in power and "are no competent judges in controversies of that nature, nor ought they to meddle with them, but," as Grotius saith, "rather follow possession."[16] Yea, put case they were unlawfully possessed, usurpers, invaders, and tyrants, yet the same author saith, privato vi dejicere summi imperii invasorem non licet. "It is not lawful for any private person to endeavor the thrusting them out by force."[17]

Nor is this founded only upon human reason but also upon Scripture. That place in the 13th to the Romans,[18] "There is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God," is sufficient to convince every private conscience of the necessity of submission. That is, to submit to them so far as not to presume to dispute how they came by their power; and this course is most agreeable to the sense of all expositors, the practice of all times, and the voice even of natural reason, since the opening of a gap to question supreme powers and touch the tender eye of their authority would let out all into confusion, tumult following tumult, like billow upon billow, till the world were overwhelmed with a sea of miseries and distractions.

But, some may object,[19] if there be such a necessity of submission to supreme powers without questioning them, how then can this Parliament be justified in having questioned the King at their first sitting for divers of his actions? I answer,[20] there is a difference betwixt supreme power and the exercise of it. The controversy was not at first concerning his right of government, but the abuse of it by way of maladministration, in defense of which abuses he took arms; and so by the law of arms losing his right, as is proved before, the power descended to those that are now in possession, whose right we ought no more to question than at first we did his, their power deriving as natural a pedigree from heaven as his did and being as legally confirmed by the law of arms and nations as ever that was which he held from his predecessors. Now, in that the 13th to the Romans commands a submission and obedience in general terms, it is not meant to all powers in the arbitrary exercise of their power in time of peace but to all supreme powers in point of title, be it settled upon them by right of war,[21] inheritance, or any other way. And to support this exposition, give me leave here to introduce two of the main pillars of reformation, Bucer and Calvin, men famous in their generations, whose testimonies may serve once for all touching that so much controverted chapter to the Romans. "The Apostle," saith Calvin upon the place, "seems here to go about to take away the frivolous curiosity of men, who use often to inquire by what right those which have command did get their authority. But it ought to suffice us that they are in pre-eminence. For they did not get up to this height by their own strength but are set over us by the hand of God."[22] And saith Bucer also, on the same place, "When a question is made whom we should obey, it must not be regarded what he is that exerciseth the power, or by what right or wrong he hath invaded the power, or in what form he dispense it, but only if he have power. For, if any man doth excel in power, it is now out of doubt that he hath received that power from God. Wherefore, without all exception, thou must yield thyself up to him and heartily obey him."[23]

Seeing now all supreme powers are of God and that the Apostle commands subjection to them, but damns resistance, it is clear then, as to our case here in England, that we owe submission to the present governors and that no private man hath any warrant out of the Word to satisfy his conscience in the lawfulness of such actions as tend to disturb or thrust them out of possession. Therefore, according to this second supposition of the Doctor, no oath being of force to bind the conscience farther than a man may lawfully act, it follows evidently, the case thus standing, that the old allegiance is canceled and we bound to admit a new; and that both it and the Covenant have now no influence at all over us, but are utterly void and of none effect.

3. The third tacit condition or supposition implied in all oaths is, saith the Doctor, rebus sic stantibus,[24] "as long as things continue thus," it being to be presumed that when I swear to perform anything, I do it with this tacit reservation, if I be not hindered by an alteration of affairs. But if such an alteration happen that neither the same persons nor things are in being which I swore to maintain, my oath is at an end and the obligation ceaseth; which now is our very case here in England, the government being changed and new governors set over us. For this, the learned Grotius hath one instance very pertinent to our purpose. "An oath," saith he, "binds a man no longer if the quality or condition of the person to whom he swore be altered. As for example, if he that was a magistrate cease to be a magistrate."[25] In evidence whereof the same author allegeth a saying of Caesar's to the soldiers of Domitius, when Domitius was a prisoner. They were unwilling to serve Caesar because of the military oath they had taken for the other. But to take away this scruple, saith Caesar to them, Sacramento quidem vos tenere qui potuit, quum projectis fascibus & deposito imperio, privatus & captus ipse in alienam venisset potestatem? "How can he hold you bound by oath any longer, being outed of his authority and command, remaining a private man, and a prisoner, under the power of another?" Alas, "your oath ended together with his authority."[26]

Thus also according to this third supposition of the Doctor's, it is plainly to be inferred that since affairs of state stand not now in England as they were when we took the Oath of Allegiance, or the Covenant, but a new government is erected, therefore our obligation to the former is totally extinguished. And if the obligation be extinct, as I have proved in the several particulars before-mentioned, then the consequence is as plain: That neither of those oaths can be a ground sufficient to justify any Royalist or Presbyterian in denying a submission to the present government, or to raise a new war within the nation.


[1] MN: Sanders. De jura praelect. 2. sect. 1. [Robert Sanderson (1587-1663, English cleric, later bishop of Lincoln), De juramemi promissorii obligatione praelectiones septem (London, 1647), pp. 28-30.]

[2] MN: Idem in sect. 8. [Ibid., pp. 41-44.]

[3] At a time at which, when.

[4] Insignificant or contemptible persons.

[5] MN: Sanders, ibid, neve sensum aliquem juramento a nobis praestito, aut ejus alicui parti affingamus, proprii Commodi aut utilitatis causa, quem non quivis vir alius pius & prudens (qui est liberioris judicii, utpote cuja nihil interest) ex ipsis verbis facile eliceret. [Sanderson, De juramenti promissorii, pp. 43, 45.]

[6] Grotius, De jure belli, bk. II, chap. xv.

[7] MN: Grotius ubi supra.

[8] MN: Seneca lib. 4. De beneficiis, c. 36. [Seneca, De beneficiis, bk. iv, chap. xxxv.]

[9] MN: Omnia debent esse eadem quae fuerint cum promitteres, ut promittentis fidem teneas. [Ibid.]

[10] MN: Si aliquid intervenit novi, quid miraris cum conditio promittentis mutata sit, mutatum esse consilium? [Ibid., bk. iv, chap. xxxix.]

[11] MN: Sanders. Prae. lect. 2. sect. 10. [Sanderson, De juramenti promissorii, pp. 46-49.]

[12] MN: I. Si Deus permiserit.

[13] MN: James 4. [Jas. 4:15.]

[14] MN: Quia cum omnia divinae Providentiae & voluntati subsint, nec sit in cujusvis hominis potestate omnes futuros casus praestare; qui fecit quod in se fuit ut adimpleret quod promiserat, juramenti fidem exoluit. Rei impossibilis nulla est obligatio. Sanders. Ibid. [Sanderson, De juramenti promissorii, pp. 47, 51-53.]

[15] MN: 2. Quoad licet. [Ibid., p. 48.]

[16] MN: Grot. De jure belli. l. I. c. 4. [Grotius, De jure belli, bk. I, chap. iv.]

[17] MN: Ibid.

[18] Rom. 13:1.

[19] MN: Object.

[20] MN: Answ.

[21] MN: Potestates apud Ammianum aliosque dicuntur, penes quos sunt jura militaria. Arnold. Clapmar. De jure imperii. lib. I. cap. 10. ["They are called supreme authorities by Ammianus [Marcellinus] and others who hold the military power." Clapmar, De arcanis rerumpublicarum, bk. I, chap. x.]

[22] MN: Videtur Apostolus voluisse tollere frivolam hominum curiositatem, &c. Calv. in Rom. cap. 13. [Jean Calvin (1509-64, French Protestant leader at Geneva), Commentaires ... sur le Nouveau Testament (Paris, 1854-55), III, 228.]

[23] MN: Quum quaeritur cm parendum, non est spectandum qualis sit qui potestatem exercet, nec quo jure, vel injuria, quis potestatem invaserit. Bucer. in Rom. 13. [Martin Butzer (1491-1551, German Protestant theologian), Metaphrasis et enarratio in epist. D. Pauli apostoli ad romanos (Basel, 1562), pp. 564-65.]

[24] MN: 3. Rebus sic stantibus. [Sanderson, De juramenti promissorii.]

[25] MN: Non tenebittir, si cesset qualitas sub qua alicui juravit; ut si magistratus desinat esse magistratus. Grot. lib. 2. cap. 13. De jure belli. [Grotius, De jure belli, bk. II, chap. xiii.]

[26] MN: Sacramentum capitis diminutione sublatum. Ibid.


PART II

HAVING in the former part, as I think, fully manifested the necessity and equity, my design in the next is to show the utility and benefit of a submission. This I shall do by stating the nature of the designs of the several parties claiming an interest in this nation, viz., Royalists, Scots, Presbyterians, Levellers, as they stand in opposition to the present government and would each of them introduce a new form of their own. And that you may the better understand them and their affairs, I shall in a plain method, for the more easy conviction, proceed upon these particulars.

First, the great improbability of effecting their designs.

Secondly, the grand inconveniences which must needs follow, in case either of them be effected, to the prejudice of the whole nation.

Thirdly, the excellency of a free state or commonwealth as it is now established in England, and what happiness we may reap thereby.

After I have handled the two former, as they hold relation to the several parties, I shall bring up the rear with the third by way of conclusion.


CHAPTER 1

Concerning the Royal Party

THE Royalists are of two sorts. First, such as adhere to the Prince out of necessity. Secondly, such as adhere to him out of humor. The former are those who, being hopeless of a return or of the recovery of their fortunes by way of reconcilement, are constrained to run any hazard abroad with the head of their party and turn every stone to overturn the present powers here in England that they may set up themselves. The latter sort of Royalists are such as, though they served heretofore under the royal standard, yet through the favor of the Parliament, have regained possession of their estates. And therefore, being reinvested with their fortunes, they are loath as yet to attend the Prince in person though they follow him with their wishes and would be glad to embrace any design underhand or perhaps, when time serves, appear here again in the field to make way for his advancement. These may, not improperly, be called humorous royalists because they have only an obstinate and vainglorious humor for the ground of their behavior without any respect of advantage to themselves, but are ridden by the other to carry on the high-royal design of particular persons, and ran a new hazard of their own. To restore the single family of a prince, suppressed by the Almighty, they seem willing to venture the destruction of all their own families and to serve the ends of certain persons about him, men whose fortunes are desperate. They are apt to fool themselves into the loss of their own, as they must needs do if the Prince miscarry in his enterprise; whereas if he should carry it with success, they will be then where they were. They can be but masters of what they have already. The high ranters and fugitives are they that will be looked on at court. Those bellwethers of royalty will bear away the bell of preferment whilst the poor country-royalists (both gentry and yeomen) shall be glad to drudge and plow to pay those yet unknown taxations which must needs be collected to satisfy the forlorn brethren of the sword, the many younger brothers, and strangers which will come in with the grandees in hope to purchase a fortune by squeezing the public.

All which being considered, it is a wonder to see how they feed themselves with fantasies, who pretend in this nation to the restitution of royalty; how their eyes are dazzled with that sun which seems to rise upon their party, supposing the golden age must needs return again with him and that he will climb up to the meridian in spite of all opposition! But to give them a cooler for these conceits, I shall more particularly, according to the method before-propounded, show first the improbability of success in the new royal designs, and then the grand inconveniences that would follow such a success, that all mistaken persons may see how far they wander (to the hazard of themselves) out of that way which leads to the future happiness of this nation.

As to the improbability of the Prince's success in his design: first, he is like to have but a slender supply of foreign aids. For the affairs of Christendom are at this time so disposed that some princes want leisure, others, ability, to assist him. And divers there are which refrain for particular reasons of state. The Spaniard hath other fish to fry, keeping a serious eye upon France and lying at catch against Portugal. Besides, there are several reasons, not fit here to mention, which may dispose him rather to embrace the amity of this Commonwealth as it is now established; and whereof there is some hope, were there no other ground, in that he hath given our agent a friendly reception.

So likewise hath the King of Portugal, too, another agent, and how far he is from neglecting our friendship may appear by his demeanor toward our fleet in the port of Lisbon, where he hath given them the like freedom and entertainment as he doth to Rupert, carrying himself indifferently between both though he seem a little to incline somewhat more toward Rupert; not out of any good will, but only in regard of his pre-engagement to that party.

The King of France hath his hands full enough at home so that he hath little list[1] or leisure to mind affairs abroad; being jealous not only of the Spaniard, but even of his own subjects by reason of their regret at the insupportable taxes, the discontents and bandyings of his parlements in the several provinces, and the partisans of the imprisoned princes; all which seem to threaten, if not the monarchy itself yet, the family of the monarch.

Denmark hath hitherto given but a cool acknowledgment of so near an alliance, having been at the best but a retiring place for Montrose, seconding this with some other slight superficial courtesies, one of the best of which was to rid their hands of their guest by lending him a few bottoms;[2 ]first, to seek his better fortune in Swethland,[3] and then to waft him and his forlorn hope toward their long homes[4] into Scotland.

Some such trivial supplies likewise may be expected from the Swede with a few complements from the Emperor and German princes, their jealousies of each other not permitting them to spare their forces. For whosoever considers the delays and shifts made by the Emperor and his party in performing the Articles of Peace, and on the other side the resolution of the Swede and that party to have them fully performed (together with those heartburnings among them which break out often into flames in every corner), may easily imagine the peace of Germany is not long-lived, and therefore that neither of those princes will part with many of their soldiery.

The Hollanders esteem it a safe way to conform themselves ever to the prevailing party in England, having reason above all others to prize the friendship and amity of the English nation. And though some common courtesies are expressed there to the Prince by way of entertainment, yet these are done rather to comply with the desires of the Prince of Orange than out of any inclination or affection to the royal party; whereas the sense of the States Provincial (and in them the meaning of the whole people) is to preserve a strict correspondence with the Commonwealth of England. Nor do they relish those close combinations between the Prince of Orange and his brother; fearing so great an alliance may dispose Orange to aspire and establish a greater interest of his own than is meet for a member of a republic if monarchy come to its height again in England. Which they ought by no means to desire, but rather that England should continue as it is; not only for the former reason, but also for that such a neighborhood would be concerned in reason to admit them into a nearer friendship & complication of interests than ever they can hope from a monarchy.

Those things being considered, the Prince hath small hope of success in regard of any considerable supplies from foreign princes.

Secondly, put case he can, by the help of the many fugitive English, the Scots, and supplies drained out of the dregs of several countries, make shift to patch up an army or two to try his fortune; yet 'tis ten to one but they ruin his design. For, first, the introducing of foreigners will soon alienate the affections of the English as experience hath proved in all times. Secondly, Auxiliatores conducti ex diversis locis, nec disciplina inter se, nec affectione consentiunt.[5] "Mercenary auxiliaries that are collected out of several nations seldom agree either in discipline or affection." The reason of this is given by the same author. For, saith he, since the "customs of nations are diverse, therefore men of several countries, differing both in habit and manners, cannot long continue together without discovering an antipathy or contrariety in their natures, even to the ruin of that party with whom they are engaged."

To pass by the testimonies of many other statesmen, we have two very pertinent ones afforded us out of our own affairs: witness that emulation discovered between the Scots and English in the Hamiltonian invasion; and also, of late, between the English and Irish under Ormonde in Ireland, whereupon the English chose rather to join with the Parliament party than continue any longer engaged with the Irish. Lastly, those foreign mercenaries will, upon the least misfortune of war, desert the Prince and take up arms under the Parliament. For, as saith Patritius, "The faith of mercenaries depends upon fortune, and if she turn to the adverse party, thither they follow and incline their hopes and affections."[6] Yea, so little trust is to be given to these mercenaries that notwithstanding their condition be good, yet, saith another, "They are easily corrupted with money and, with rewards and promises of better pay, bought over to any other party, respecting gain much more than the cause of their engagement."[7] Judge then how the Prince is like to thrive with his foreign auxiliaries, if he shall have any, either in England or Scotland. For the reason of these things holds good in one nation as well as another.

Thirdly, since it appears how small success he is like to have by the aids of other princes, let us see whether he have any better hopes by foreign aid out of Scotland or Ireland to make a conquest of England. As for Ireland, he hath but poor expectations thence since the Lord Lieutenant hath swept away those adversaries with the besom[8] of vengeance and made way by a continued chain of miraculous successes to shackle that rebellious nation; and doubt not ere long to bind their princes with chains and their nobles with links of iron since every month[9] brings in fresh laurels of victory to their terror and amazement. But Ireland being given for lost, let us see next whether the Royalists are like to receive any more comfort from Scotland. It's an old saying nullum bonum ex aquilone, "no good comes out of the North." And, of all others, Royalists should be the least apt to believe any benefit to come out of that nation from whence proceeded the ruin and destruction of the late King and all their party; nor can they hope much better of them in time to come. For, first, they adhere to the Prince not out of any love to his interest but only in hope to settle their own upon his shoulders; and therefore if they can make a better bargain elsewhere, they will cast him off or, if he be in their power, sell him off as they did his father upon the first occasion. What else can he expect from a party whose interest was first founded upon the ruin of his great-grandmother, continued and augmented to the perpetual vexation of his grandfather, and at length prosecuted to the destruction of his father? Secondly, it is impossible to reconcile the two parties, royal and presbyterian; even as impossible (King James was wont to say) as to reconcile God and the devil. Thirdly, if they cannot be reconciled or stand together, then whatsoever agreement may be made, it will be but from the teeth outward. Nor can there be an union betwixt them upon any design but in the prosecution thereof they will mind the advancement of their several interests; which must make them jealous of each other, divided and partial in their counsels, and cause the inward rancor to break out to the prejudice and utter ruin of the whole engagement. Fourthly, let the Scots invade us again upon the royal or what score else they please, they will never be endured; especially in the northern parts, having heretofore by their perfidious and tyrannical behavior fixed an odious impression upon the spirits of the people and quickened the old antipathy betwixt the two nations. So that if the Prince come in with them, or by them, he will fare never the better, but much worse, for their sakes or their company. Lastly, they come, if they dare come, a most nasty, lousy, beaten generation against one of the most generous, best-accomplished, and most victorious armies in Christendom — an army that must needs be dishonored by such an enemy from whom never credit nor advantage is to be gotten. Yet it is meet they should be chastised since the Almighty, out of love to the future peace of our nation, seems to decree that Belial[10] and Dagan,[11] Montrose and the Kirk with her worthies should be sent after Hamilton. This indeed would be a fair step to reformation by setting out the corruption of that country which sticks like a scab upon the fair body of this fortunate island.

Now in the last place to conclude this particular touching the improbability of the Prince's success, since he hath little ground to hope for any by the assistance of other nations, let us examine what hope he hath from our own. Several reasons may be given to the contrary: as first, the people's hatred of foreigners and their fear of that plague, universal free-quarter,[12] with their averseness to war, having tasted some time of the sweets of peace. And though they are sensible of some necessary burdens, yet considering another war will increase new ones, more exorbitant, every man would be content with things as they are. For the common people, as the poet saith,

Duas tantum res anxius optat, panem, & circenses[13]

will be satisfied with bread and quietness rather than hazard their ease and security to serve the ambition of others.

Secondly, they will be the less apt to engage in any new insurrections and parties since the last thrived so ill, to the prejudice and shame of all the undertakers. Examples make men wise; and though many of them escaped without punishment in regard this government was not then declared, yet now that it is established and laws are made to defend it against all that offend in time to come, men will beware, I suppose, how they meddle since they can expect nothing less after another war than the punishment of traitors.[14]

Thirdly, put case the counties were resolved upon new insurrections. Yet what can be done by unwieldy bodies of raw men taken from the streets, the plow, or the harrows, rude and unacquainted with military discipline against a well-disciplined army of old soldiers? Consider what became of those vast numbers in Kent, Essex, &c., with what ease they were dispersed and how soon they vanished into nothing!

Fourthly, it is not like that the gentry, men of estates, will stir in any considerable number to hazard their possessions, being yet scarce warm in them, after a purchase made upon dear rates of composition. But if any are so mad as to venture on new designs, they might do well to consider how hard a matter it is to carry them on without discovery, seeing the state hath a party and friends in all countries and corporations. Besides, if they could carry it so close as to bring any petty design into action, yet they cannot but be snapped and nipped in the bud, the militia being so well-settled and a party ready in arms in every county. Now all these parcels of discourse being well-weighed together, I leave every man's intellect to make the conclusion what slender probability of success there is by the assistance of foreigners or natives in the present royal design against England.

Having thus in the former part of this chapter shown the improbability of success in the new royal enterprise, which were enough to wean wise men from engaging upon that score, I shall, according to the method propounded, in the next place state those grand inconveniences which would unavoidably follow to the prejudice of the whole nation in case the Royalists should proceed with success to the ruin of this government. The very consideration whereof should, methinks, be sufficient to startle all understanding men from wishing well to that party.

First, since there can be no medium of reconcilement betwixt our present governors and the son of the late King, it is granted by all that if ever he come into possession, it must be by conquest and the power of the sword. If so, then he will be as absolute as was William the Conqueror, and we all must be in the same slavish condition as our forefathers were under the tyranny of that Norman bastard. That government which heretofore was called monarchical will then be exactly tyrannical according to that saying of prudent Cicero in one of his epistles, Ex victoria cum multa mala, tum certe Tyrannis existit.[15] "As many other mischiefs, so certainly a tyranny ever follows a conquest." And therefore it was that when Henry,[16] the son of Maud the Empress, contended for the crown by arms against King Stephen and was like to prevail, the Estates of the realm wrought an accommodation betwixt them upon this ground because "they conceived it dangerous for them and the whole state to have a young prince get the mastery by his sword." For princes ever improve such kinds of victory to an advantage over the people, and success makes them cruel: witness the savage proceedings of Edward the Second[17] against his lords after he had overthrown them in battle in the northern parts, executing their persons and confiscating their estates as traitors; so that he is noted in our chronicles to be the first of all our kings after the Conquest who, to prosecute his revenge, gave a precedent of butchering the bodies of the English by beheading and quartering. This may be enough to show that to bring any prince into possession by the sword is to instate him in a tyranny.

Secondly, though the Prince of himself should not be inclined to tyranny, yet his followers, having a power over him, will soon persuade him to it. Nam legitimum regnum convertitur in tyrannidem, aut dominatum, cum aulopoliticis (qui plerunque odio prosecuuntur libertatem) facile aurem praebet princeps.[18] "For," saith one, "a well-regulated government is soon changed into a tyrannical domination when a prince gives ear to court politicians who, for the most part, are enemies to liberty." And as to our present case Machiavel speaks very aptly, that a nation which hath cast off the yoke of tyranny or kingship, for in his language they are both the same thing, and newly obtained their liberty, must look to have all those for enemies that were familiars and retainers to the king or tyrant. Who, having lost their preferments, will never rest but seek all occasions to re-establish themselves upon the ruins of liberty and to aspire again unto a tyranny; that exercising an arbitrary power, they may take more sharp revenge against all those that dare but pretend unto liberty.[19]

Thirdly, seeing that as things thus stand, to have a king again invested by the power of his own sword were all one as to have a tyrant erected with an arbitrary power to do what he list, it will not be amiss to take a view of the effects and consequences of tyranny. As, first, a trampling of all laws under foot.[20] Secondly, using all sorts of cruelties and rapine.[21] Hence it is that Cato called a king, carnivorum animal, "a ravenous creature";[22] and by Homer in the first of his Iliads?[23] a king is called, DhmoboroV basileuV, "a devourer of the people," so that no man's life or estate is in safety if they have a mind to bereave them of either; and for this purpose, Tacitus[24] saith, they always keep false accusations and witnesses in lavender.[25] Thirdly, no good man can live safe by them nor any man that is eminent for valor or virtue;[26] according to that of the tragedian Seneca,

Servare cives principi & patriae graves, claro tumentes genere, quae dementia est?[27]

Who acting the part of a tyrant saith, "It is a madness to preserve great persons when they once grow burdensome to their prince and country." Thus Tarquin taught his son Lucius to secure his tyranny by striking off the heads of those poppies in his garden which grew higher than their fellows; whereupon his ingenious son gave the world to understand, as well as himself, what his father's meaning was when afterward he destroyed all the principal men among the Gabines by force, treachery, and false accusations. No matter whether things be justly done or not, for a tyrant's maxims are such as this out of Lucian,[28]

Sceptrorum vis tota perit, si pendere justa incipit.

"That prince's scepter is not worth a rush who stands upon justice and honesty." Caesar hath left it upon record of himself, as Thucydides hath of Euphemus, and Euripides of Eteocles: that "all laws may be violated to make way to a domination";[29] that "a man may be wicked to obtain or maintain an absolute sovereignty";[30] that "a prince ought to account nothing unjust which is profitable."[31] To which may be added one more out of Seneca, that "where a prince hath no power to do ought but what is just, he reigns but by courtesy."[32] These are the usual rules by which tyrants steer their courses. And therefore it concerns all men to forbear their assistance to any that endeavor to resettle a king by the power of the sword lest he seat himself as a conqueror and so slip into an absolute tyranny. For it is seldom that kings forbear an arbitrary power if they can by any means usurp it over the people. And though there may sometimes happen a good king that will not make use of it to their prejudice, yet even then the people are not safe because, saith Sallust, it is in his power to be wicked if he please.[33]

Fourthly, if he come in by the sword, there will be no act of oblivion[34] passed beforehand. And if he gain possession, it is a question then whether he will grant any afterward; or if for fashion sake he do grant one, how far it shall extend and whether it may not be eluded to make way for revenge against particular persons who perhaps little dream of an inquisition for past offenses, as being of the moderate sort of offenders against the regal person and prerogative. All these quaeres are well worthy every man's consideration since revenge is esteemed inter arcana imperii,[35] one of the special mysteries in the cabinet counsels of royalty. For with them, as Tacitus saith, ultio in quaestu habetur, "revenge is counted great gain" and prized as the prime jewel of a crown. It is so sweet a morsel that even the best of kings could not refrain it;[36] as may be seen in the practices of David and Solomon.[37] We read how David pardoned Shimei for a time, and he seemed so earnest in the doing it that one would have thought the offense should never have been remembered. Also how he forbore to revenge himself upon Joab all his own days. Yet being to die, he gives charge to his son Solomon not to let them escape unpunished but that he should "bring their hoar heads unto the grave with blood," which afterward upon slight occasions was executed accordingly.[38] So Solomon himself likewise, though he forgave his competitor and brother, Adonijah, and bade him go to his house in peace,[39] yet he lay at catch still for some new occasion to be revenged. And therefore for a petty passion of love toward the Shunammite lady, in demanding her to be his wife, poor Adonijah was laid to sleep with his fathers. In our own chronicles we find also how that when Henry the Third had in the end gained the better by his sword over the Earl of Leicester and the people, he meditated nothing but revenge against all that had opposed him; razing the castles of his barons, confiscating their estates, and taking forfeiture of the charters of many corporations, especially of the Londoners whom he spitefully vexed ever after in body and purse upon every opportunity.[40] So likewise Richard the Second, because the Londoners were not willing to back him in his irregularities but had appeared cross to his designs, watched every way to be revenged on them; and upon a slight occasion of a tumult in the city, which nevertheless the mayor soon suppressed, he deprived them of the best part of their privileges and put them to the expense of no less than £20,000, a fine, considerable sum in those days of antiquity to be added to that invaluable loss of their liberties for so poor a matter as a petty tumult about a quarrel with a bishop's servant. But when kings have been disobliged by any city or persons, by hook or crook sooner or later they shall feel their displeasure.[41] And therefore Machiavel adviseth never to trust them. For whosoever, saith he, thinks by new courtesies to take out of their minds the remembrance of old injuries, is extremely deceived.[42]

Fifthly, if kings are thus revengeful, then what may we expect but the fatal consequences of that humor? It is an old saying,

Regnabit sanguine multo,
ad regnum quisquis venit ab exilio
,

that is, "his reign will be very bloody that comes from banishment to a kingdom." Whereof they shall be first sensible that have opposed his interest; and such are all those in this nation that have appeared for the Parliament against the encroachments of the prerogative. Nor let them flatter themselves that they shall escape better than others because they never opposed this Prince's person. It will be ground sufficient for his hatred that they bandied[43] against his father and the prerogative to which he is heir. Nor is it likely he will forget the observation made by one of his chaplains[44] in a sermon before him at The Hague; how that the Presbyterians held his father by the hair and the Independents cut off his head. Nor is it to be supposed that we should have many parliaments hereafter. For besides the provocations given by Parliament, it is against the nature of kings to love parliaments or assemblies of their people.[45] And it was left as a legacy by King James to his family in his Basilikon doron that his successors should neglect parliaments as much as might be. So that consider how this Prince is engaged not only by the interest of the crown, his particular personal interest of revenge, but also by the precepts of his grandfather and the common inclination of all monarchs, and we may easily imagine what will become of parliaments and parliament patriots if ever he get possession.

Sixthly, whereas many now adhere to him in their hearts in hope they shall be eased of excise and taxes, &c., if he be restored, they are exceedingly mistaken. I remember a passage out of the stories of France [46] that the Duke of Orleans, having upon a difference betwixt him and the King, laid a tax upon some of the provinces by their own consent to maintain his army. Afterward, allured with fair promises, they inclined the Duke to accord with the King, hoping to be eased of the imposition. But they fell short of their desires, for that which they had voluntarily imposed upon themselves was settled upon them per force by the King when he once had them in possession. And so that tax which was called the gabelle continues upon them to this very day as a token of their folly. Now, let us not flatter ourselves here in England that we shall fare any better in point of excise or other payments upon the Prince's restitution. If now we have burdens, we must then look to have furrows made upon our backs. If now we are through necessity put to endure a few whips, we shall then of set purpose be chastised with scorpions. It is not an excise or an army that we shall escape, but be visited with whole legions of foreign desperadoes which must be fed with greater payments than ever, and God knows when we shall be rid of them if the Prince settle upon their shoulders. Consider how many hungry Scots gape after this "gude land"; who with those of other nations must be satisfied out of the purses of our own whilst those that are their leaders will be gratified with this, that, and the other man's lands and possessions. And that this insinuation is no fiction but well-grounded upon precedents out of our own histories, in the practices of our kings, may appear by the proceedings of the Conqueror, who, being forced to extraordinary courses to satisfy his foreign soldiery, made bold so frequently with the estates of his subjects that the great lords of the kingdom, fearing it would come to their turns at last to part with their possessions, by way of prevention fled out of the land, some into Scotland, some into Denmark and other parts to try if by aid from abroad they might recover themselves and their fortunes again at home. But by this means they happened to lose all so much the sooner; for, miscarrying in the design, their estates were possessed and their offices supplied by the Norman favorites. Thus also, King Stephen, himself being a foreigner and relying most upon foreign arms to preserve him in possession, was constrained to take the same course for the satisfaction of his foreign auxiliaries, which consisted most of Flemings and Picards whom he especially trusted in his greatest actions, neglecting and oppressing the English. Thus did Henry the Third also in his wars with the barons; against whom, bringing in foreigners, he for reward invested them with others' lands and honors and laid heavy impositions besides upon the whole kingdom to make them satisfaction. And in those variations of fortune between the two houses of York and Lancaster; as often as either of them had occasion to make use of foreign arms to assert their titles, the estates of the adverse party and the purses of the people were sure to go to wrack for the pay of the soldiery. From hence then it appears that if the Prince put himself in possession by arms, we shall be so far that way from any ease of our burdens that they will be doubled and trebled, yea, and tenfold upon us.

Lastly, the Prince's confederation with the Scots and our English Presbyters, were there no other reason, might be enough to terrify any ingeniously minded people from giving their assistance, be they Royalists or not. For if the Kirk be able to bind the Prince to hard conditions and prove, like the sons of Zeruiah, too strong for him so that his interest bow to theirs, then instead of a regal (which is more tolerable), we must all stoop to the intolerable yoke of a presbyterian tyranny that will prove a plague upon the consciences, bodies, and purses of this free nation. The Scots by this means will effect their design upon us by stretching their covenant union to an equality of interest with us in our own affairs. And the English grandees of that party will seat themselves again in the House and exclude all others, or else a new Parliament shall be called of persons of their own faction. So that if they should carry the day, all the comfort we shall have by casting off the present governors will be only that we shall have these furious jockeys for our riders. Things, perhaps, shall be in the old statu quo as they were when the late King was at Holdenby;[47] whose son must then lay his scepter at the footstool of the Kirk or else they will restore him by leisure, as they did his father, into the exercise of royalty. By which means we should be brought again, as far as ever we were, from a condition of settlement and the Commonwealth reduced to ashes by endless combustions. On the other side, put case the Prince have the better end of the staff of the Presbyters, they relying upon his courtesy as well as the rest of the people. Then in case he carry the day, they and all are at his mercy and no bar will be in the way to hinder him from an ascent unto an unlimited power. So that you plainly see this present combination of Royalists and Presbyters, whichsoever of them be most prevalent, must of necessity put the nation in hazard between Scylla and Charybdis; that we cannot choose but fall into one of the pernicious gulfs, either of presbyterian or monarchical tyranny.

All these particulars being seriously considered, how improbable it is in the first place that the Prince should go on with success in his design, and then what miserable inconveniences must needs follow such a success in case he prevail, not only to the prejudice of any one party, but of all. I may undeniably conclude that all mistaken Royalists, as well as others, who live now under the protection of the present government are concerned out of necessity and in respect to their own well-being and benefit to wish well thereunto rather than prosecute the private interest of a single family and of a few fugitives, its dependents, to the hazard of their own families, with the peace and happiness of their native country.


[1] Desire.

[2] Ships.

[3] Sweden.

[4] Graves.

[5] MN: Petr. Greg. Tolos. lib. II. De repub. cap. 3. pag. 656. [Grégoire, De republica, bk. XI, chap. iii, pp. 297-301.]

[6] MN: Mercenarii militis fides ex fortunes pendet: qua inclinante ad hostes, ipsi etiam spem atque animum eo inclinant. Francisc. Patrit. lib. 9. De reg. tit. 15. [Francesco Patrizi (1413-94, bishop of Gaeta), De regno et regis institutione (Strasbourg, 1608), bk. IX, tit. xv.]

[7] MN: Solent plus lucrum quam causam sequi bellandi: Et ha factle ab hostibus, vel majore stipendio, vel donis, corrumpi possunt. Petr. Greg. Tolos. ubi supra. [Grégoire, De republica, bk. XI, chap. iii, p. 297.]

[8] Broom.

[9] Wing N376 reads mouth, evidently a printer's error.

[10] Satan.

[11] Babylonian deity.

[12] The obligation of having to provide free board and lodging for troops.

[13] MN: Juvenal. ["The populace strongly desires just two things — bread and games." Juvenal (60?-140?, Roman poet and satirist), Satyrae, no. 10.]

[14] MN: See the new Acts of Treason, and the Act for establishing an High Court of Justice. [Presumably Nedham is referring here to the Treason Act of May 14, 1649, and to the creation of a new High Court of Justice, March 26, 1650.]

[15] MN: Cic. Ad Att. 7. epist. 5. [Cicero, Epistolae ad Atticum, bk. vii, letter no. 5.]

[16] MN: He was afterwards King, by the name of Henry 2. See Daniel in the life of King Stephen. [Samuel Daniel (1562-1619, English poet and historian), The Collection of the History of England (London, 1626), p. 66.]

[17] MN: Daniel, in Edw. the Second. [Ibid., pp. 179-80.]

[18] MN: Besold. in cap. De morbis rerumpub. p. 312. [Besold, Synopsis politicae doctrinae, bk. IV, chap. i.]

[19] MN: Mach. De repub. l. I. c. 16. [Machiavelli, Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio (Florence, 1531), bk. I, chap. xvi.]

[20] MN: Leges opprimit timor. Sen. Herc. Fur. ["Fear oppresses law." Seneca, Hercules Furens, 1. 253.]

[21] MN: (a) Auferre, trucidare, rapere. Tac. in Agric. ["To steal, to slaughter, to plunder." Tacitus, Agricola, para, xxx.]

[22] MN: (b) Plutarch in Vita Catonis. [Plutarch (46?-120, Greek biographer and moralist), Lives, section on Marcus Cato.]

[23] Homer (fl. 850 B.C. or earlier, Greek epic poet), Iliad, bk. i, 1. 231.

[24] MN: (c) Delatores per praemia eliciunt. Tacit. Annal. 4. ["The informers were lured with rewards." Tacitus, Annales, bk. iv, chap. xxx.]

[25] To lay aside carefully for future use.

[26] MN: (d) Boni quam mali suspectiores sunt, semperque aliena virtus formidolosa est. Salust. Nec minus periculum ex magna fama, quam ex mala. Tacit. Agric. ["The good are held in greater suspicion than the bad, and the merit of others is always fraught with danger." Sallust (86-34 B.C., Roman historian), Bellum Catilinae, chap. vii. "Good report was as dangerous as bad." Tacitus, Agricola, para. v.]

[27] Seneca, Octavia, 11. 495-96.

[28] Lucian (ca. 120-ca. 200, Greek satirist).

[29] MN: Regni causa jus violandum esse.

[30] MN: Regni causa sceleratum esse.

[31] MN: Principi nihil est injustum quod fructuosum.

[32] MN: Ubi honesta tantum dominanti licent, precario regnatur.

[33] MN: Quamvis bonus atque clemens sit, qui plus potest, tamen quia malo esse licet, formidatur. Salust. Ad Caes. ["However good and merciful one may be, one who has more power is nevertheless feared since it is lawful for him to be evil." Sallust, Ad Caesarem senem de re publica oratio, sec. i.]

[34] An act granting a general pardon for political offenses.

[35] Among the secrets of sovereignty.

[36] MN: Dulce malum vindicia. ["Revenge is an agreeable evil."]

[37] MN: 2 Sam. 19. 18. [II Sam. 18 & 19.]

[38] MN: 1 Kings 2.

[39] MN: Ibid.

[40] MN: Daniel. [Daniel, The Collection of the History of England, p. 153.]

[41] MN: Ibidem. [I.e., John Trussell, A Continuation of the History of England Beginning Where Samuel Daniel ... Ended (London, 1636), p. 19, misnumbered 17.]

[42] MN: Mach. De prin. [Machiavelli, Il principe, chap. v.]

[43] Banded together.

[44] MN: Dr. Crighton. [Robert Creighton (1593-1672, chaplain to Charles I and Charles II, later bishop of Bath and Wells).]

[45] MN: Monarchae non amant ordinum conventus crebriores. Besold. De simulachris rerumpub. [Besold, Synopsis politicae doctrinae, bk. II, chap. ix.]

[46] MN: Du Serres. [Probably a reference to Jean de Serres (ca. 1540-98, French historian).]

[47] Holmby House.


CHAPTER 2

Concerning the Scots

I AM sorry I must waste paper upon this nation, but seeing they make themselves considerable by being troublesome, it will not be amiss to sound the depth of their present design; which that I may the better do, give me leave to trace them in their encroachments from the first to the last upon the English nation. Not to mention those of elder date, let us begin with King James who being a native Scot, out of love to his countrymen, or rather to himself that he might keep them quiet by stopping their mouths with the sweet morsels of England, was pleased to admit many of them into his court, then into his Council, and to be partakers of honors and offices equal to the best of our English. His son, the late King, knowing danger might come of discontent out of the northern corner, followed the same course that his father took to oblige them; holding them in pension, giving access to all beggars with such fair entertainment that most of them stayed here and not returned empty. This heaping of favors upon some stirred up the appetites and emulation of others; who seeing themselves neglected and not like to share in any of these enjoyments by the favor of the King, bethought them of another way to make themselves as considerable as the rest of their countrymen and gain an interest with the English. Seeing they could not thrive with the court, they would try what they could do without it.

Hereupon, being men of power in their own country, they became most zealous assertors of the presbyterian discipline against the episcopal; by which means they gained the friendship of all the religious party in England, then persecuted by the bishops who were at court the only favorites. Hereupon these leaders of the Scottish Presbyterians, beginning to grow active and forward in establishing their own form at home and also to propagate it abroad by encouraging their friends, gave such an alarm to the bishops that they, to cross the design, fell foul upon all of the opinion here in England. And not only so, but pressed the King to establish an episcopal uniformity in both kingdoms, even in Scotland as well as England. The forcing of this upon the Scots was a cause of the commotions in that kingdom. Whereupon a war ensued betwixt the King and them through the instigation of the bishops; which was soon ended to the advantage of the Scots in money and credit and to the dishonor of the King and the episcopal party.

This happy success wrought a very reverend opinion of them in the hearts of the well-affected party in England, who stood for the purity of religion and a liberty of conscience against episcopal power and innovations as also for the laws and liberties of the nation invaded by the prerogative. And for redress of these things, the King was necessitated to call a Parliament; who, not obtaining such relief of grievances as they expected by reason of a corrupt council of bishops and others about the King which alienated him from his great council, the Parliament, and afterward caused him to break out into a war against them, were constrained likewise to take arms in defense of our liberties. Hereupon recourse was had to the Scots for their assistance; who having the same enemies at court and being equally involved in the same common danger, it was supposed they were concerned in reason to join with the Parliament without any dispute or scruple. But they, considering now was the time to make their markets,[1] if ever, and their own interest as much English as might be, came not off so roundly as was hoped but fell to bartering like hucksters; and no bargain would be, forsooth, without a covenant. They would not join except they might be in a manner all one with us, and this union must be sealed with that Solemn League and Covenant. What their meaning was therein, we shall know by and by, by taking a view of their actions ever since, which are the most sure interpreters. Yet even at that time, "some men had their eyes in their heads, and many objections were made at divers expressions in the Covenant, and many desires for explanation of some articles more fully."[2] But the Scots standing stiff upon their own terms, and no conjunction like to be obtained without the Covenant, and the necessity of the Parliament's affairs admitting no delay, we were glad to take it as it was offered without further question or demurrer.

It was no sooner taken here at London, but immediately everyone began to make his advantage (through the multitude & ambiguity of expressions) and by it to promote his several interest; as if it had been made to engage unto a particular party, not to unite two nations in a common interest. But above all, the Scots, having had the honor of this invention, conceived themselves much injured by any that denied them the prerogative of making an interpretation; and in matter of religion urged their own discipline as the only pattern to reform the church by; and their plea had been fair enough out of the Covenant could they have proved it to be "according to the Word of God," which clause was most luckily inserted. Notwithstanding all the reasons to the contrary, the Scottish model was still pressed. The Scot was willing to ride, and, having (as he thought) the Englishman fast bridled with a Covenant, he began to switch and spur. The throne of the Kirk was the stalking-horse to catch geese; and if that could have been settled, then there had been no denying them whatsoever they would ask. They would have seated themselves surely in this fat soil. There would have been no removing them out of our councils whereof the necessity of our affairs had made them members and partakers. For had the Kirk interest been once confirmed among us, then, by virtue of that authority which they use to control the civil power, the Parliament must have been subservient to all their ends. And since it would have concerned the English clergy (to make their party strong and maintain correspondencies for their own preservation) to have gratified their Scottish founders in all their desires, the Scots might easily have translated the covenant union to as good as an absolute national union by gaining a joint interest with us in our affairs forever, and consequently in all the profits, great offices, councils, and concernments of this nation.

Now whether this were their design or not in the Covenant ab origine, I shall not determine; but let it be judged by their insolent behavior here among us after they were admitted to our councils. And therefore in the next place I shall examine their proceedings which most evidently represent them in their intentions. It sufficed them not, after they were come in, that they had an equal power with us in public affairs, in the Committee of both Kingdoms at Derby House (which was willingly allowed them for a time, so far as concerned the common cause of both nations in prosecuting the war), but driving a powerful party in both Houses, they took upon them to meddle with matters relating to the future peace and settlement of this nation, distinct from their own, and to provide for an equal interest with us therein. The first most notable evidence of this (though there had been many before) was discovered at the Uxbridge Treaty; where, propositions of both Houses for peace being presented to the King, it was found the Scots had so far provided for themselves by their party in the Houses that in time to come the ordering of the English militia, the power of making war and peace, and all other prerogatives of government were to be administered by a proportionable number of Scots as well as English — a thing so ridiculous and an encroachment so palpable that the King himself in one of his answers took notice of it and said he was not so much an enemy to the English nation as to sign those propositions; or somewhat (I am sure) to this purpose.

A second evidence or discovery of their encroachments was made upon their delivering in divers papers to the Parliament, at several times, wherein they disputed their claim and ventured their logic upon the letter of the Covenant to prove an interest in disposal of matters merely relating to our welfare; which they reinforced afterward with new recruits of argument when the King came into their army.

But not knowing well how to maintain their arguments, they were contented for that time to quit them, and their king too, upon such terms as are notorious to all the world; who being at length reduced under the power of the Parliament and Army, propositions of peace were sent to him at Hampton Court. Wherein no such provision being made for the Scottish interest as was in those at Uxbridge, their commissioners here protested against them, accused the Parliament of breach of covenant, and complained highly in one of their declarations that they should be so neglected. This may serve as a third evidence of their covenant design of encroachment. Whereto may be added one more, when the King was at Carisbrooke Castle; whither the commissioners of Parliament were no sooner arrived with propositions again but the Scots commissioners were at hand and for the same reason protested furiously against them. By which insolent demeanors and expressions from time to time and crying up the Covenant for their defense, it is clear enough what their intentions were when they urged it upon us; and that notwithstanding all the specious pretenses of brotherly love, their design in it hitherto hath been only to screw themselves into an equal interest with us in this nation.

Having smelt out their project thus far, give me leave to trace them on to the end as briefly as may be. The royal party being totally suppressed, and so no further occasion to make use of the Scottish army, the Parliament, with some difficulty, made shift to send them home into their own kingdom. But being defeated of their aims and expectations, they could not so rest. Having failed of their ends by pretending for Parliament, they resolved next to try what they could do upon the King's score, and so the grandees turned the tables in hope of an aftergame by closing with Hamilton upon the royal account; not doubting but if they gained the day this way, to recompense their travails with much more advantage. The Covenant, like a nose of wax apt to be turned any way, served this enterprise every jot as well as the former though the design were different from what it was, the great ones not caring much what became of the Kirk interest since they had agreed for the security of their own; which must needs have been very considerable if they could have redeemed the King and restored him into the condition of an absolute monarch. Therefore the Kirk, seeing themselves left thus in the lurch, thundered out their curses amain[3] upon that hypocritical engagement, as destructive to the Covenant.

But the grandees, being at a loss in this likewise upon Hamilton's defeat and followed home to their own doors by the brave English army, were glad to cry peccavi[4] to the Kirk, and also to our English commanders whom they dismissed with many promises of fair carriage for the future. Within a while after, a new door of hope being opened to them by the supposed succession of the late King's son, they, to ingratiate with him, proclaim him their King. And here, the grandees and the Kirk, joining hands again, become friends and offer their service for his restitution upon terms of the Covenant, which is their plea now at this very day. So that the Covenant, which was pretended to be framed at first for the preservation of this Parliament and the liberties of the people against the usurpations of regal power, is, now that the Scots can serve their design no longer that way, become the ground of their present combination with the Prince and their presbyterian brethren in England for the destruction of our liberties. Being resolved this way, since they have failed in all the rest, to try whether they can accomplish their profane projects through the Covenant by insinuating themselves into places of honor, profit, and power; that they may domineer in the possessions, as their pharisaical priests would over the consciences, of the English.

Thus having made way in discovering what the design of the Scots ever hath been and is at this instant under the fair covert of the Covenant, certainly no man that is master of an English spirit but will abhor the hypocritical pretenses and encroachments of that perfidious nation. And therefore, now that all men may beware how they be drawn into an engagement with them, I shall, according to my way, manifest first the improbability of their success and then the inconveniences which must necessarily follow in case their design be successfully effected.

First, as to the improbability of success, consider by way of comparison the great difference between the English and Scottish soldiery. Ours are heightened with extraordinary pay, bravely accomplished strong horse, well-disciplined veteran soldiers, better-spirited by reason of a more generous education; and to all these add the advantage of being Englishmen and the reputation of having been so long victorious. Let these considerations be laid in the balance against the Scots; fresh men, for the main, newly raised; a people of far less generous souls, poor in body, pay, and other accommodations, save what they have purchased by progging[5] here in England. Judge then in reason what these are able to do against so brave an army that contemns and scorns them as having beaten them with a handful, in comparison of their numbers, home to their own doors; an army that to all worldly advantages hath hitherto had a special protection from heaven, God having sealed them for his own by many miraculous victories and successes to the wonder of the whole world.

Secondly, consider that our English army are all of a nation, natives and unanimous, especially upon the appearance of any invaders; whereas the Scottish will be made up of divers factions, Royalists and Presbyterians, that come in pursuance of different ends. Which for the time that they continue together must needs be a cause of many confusions and partialities of counsels to the prejudice of their enterprises and proceedings; a spring of perpetual emulations that will soon untwist the confederacy so that in short time they must fall asunder like a rope of sand and the private soldiery be disposed to entertain thoughts of some new engagement to the ruin of the first.

Thirdly, we shall not only be provided for them here, if they dare be so unworthy as to invade us, but 'tis like this Commonwealth may find work for them at home and to cure their madness divert the humor with phlebotomy[6] by way of revulsion.

Fourthly, it is like they will be far from running much hazard to gain success unto the design. For if they prove a little unfortunate, the humor will alter; one good beating will make them understand there is another way of interest and thriving than under the wings of royalty. It may chance to make them remember, because they cannot forget, how long they have lived without a king in Scotland, while the grandees and the Kirk did all, and that the English have dealt more ingenuously to have no king than a presbyterian mock king. One rout, with this consideration, puts them presently into the humor of a republic as well as England. And then they will have no more work to do but to raise the market and get chapmen[7] for their King to put him off handsomely, that they may pay their army and go home again like Scots.

Lastly, the Scots, having no just ground of a war against England, can hardly be prosperous in the attempt. The Covenant can be none, being extinct, as I have proved in the former part of this treatise; besides, I shall add one reason more. It cannot in common sense be supposed to have been intended as an eternal obligation, binding both nations forever, or to bind the English nation with an implicit faith to whatsoever the Scots should expound to be righteous and necessary to be done here forever by way of government. But it appears intended only for a certain time for the prosecution of certain ends which were common to both nations as affairs then stood; and therefore, being of a transient nature because those ends by the alteration of time and other circumstances are found either not possible or inconvenient, the obligation expires of itself. This being the state of the Covenant, neither the Scots nor any other party can found a war upon it in reason or justice. If so, then having no other ground for a war but covetousness, emulation, and ambition, which as I showed in the preamble of this chapter have been cloaked under the Covenant, in all their engagements the hand of heaven will assuredly be against them for their unchristian practices, as may appear by these examples following.

First, the Athenians, carried on with covetousness, emulation, and a desire to possess themselves of the riches of the Lacedaemonians, were the author of the Peloponnesian War;[8] the consequence whereof was that it ended with the subversion of their city walls and the miserable slavery of their people. The same end likewise had the Carthaginians for moving an ambitious war against the Romans by the instigation of Hannibal; as also had the Thebans for their unjust invading the Macedonians.[9]

It is observable likewise how that Babylonian Queen and virago,[10] as Diodorus Siculus[11] tells us, being greedy after the wealth of the Indians, invaded them by an unjust war in hope to make a conquest; but the issue was that she was forced to fly home again most shamefully for the safety of her life. Thus Xerxes, invading Greece with a world of men and ships, was in the end glad of a poor fishing boat to get home out of Europe to a worse destiny in Asia, being slain immediately after his return by his uncle, Artabanus.[12] Upon the like occasion Cyrus lost his army and his life; and to quench his bloodthirsty humor his head was cut off and cast into a hogshead filled with blood by the Scythian Queen. Thus likewise Mark Antony, not content with half the empire of the world, invading his partner Octavius for the whole, lost all; and, being taken alive at mercy, laid violent hands on himself to prevent the fury of the conqueror. Thus Crassus, another Roman, being of the Scotch religion, a sacred hunger after gold, invaded the Parthians without cause against the advice of the Senate; in which expedition he lost his army and life. And the Parthians, considering what he came for, poured molten gold into his mouth in triumph and mockery.[13]

To these examples out of profane history, let me add a few out of the sacred. You may read, 2 Kings 15, how Sennacherib, the King of Assyria, made an impious invasive war against Hezekiah, King of Judah; the consequence whereof was the confusion of his army and revenge followed him to his own home so close at the heels that it was executed upon him by his own sons while he was at his superstitious devotion in the midst of his idols. Nor have wicked princes only been punished for invading the good, but you may read also that the good have had ill success in invading the bad. Thus good Josiah, a most religious prince, warring without cause against Pharaoh Necho, King of Egypt, received his death's wound at Megiddo, and after his death, the same King Pharaoh, to right himself of the injury done him by Josiah, waged war and, by God's permission subduing the land, made the whole nation tributary and took King Jehoahaz, the son of Josiah, and carried him prisoner into Egypt.[14]

Also, another good king of Judah, by name Amaziah, provoking Joash, a wicked king of Israel, without cause to battle, was utterly routed, the city of Jerusalem taken, the walls demolished, the temple spoiled, and Amaziah himself carried away prisoner to show how much the Lord of hosts and God of battle is displeased with unjust wars, that He will not prosper them, though made by His own people against the wicked that are His enemies.[15]

But there is one example more which methinks is very pertinent to our purpose; and that is of Ishbosheth, the son of King Saul, who laying claim to the kingdom after his father by prerogative of succession, made war against David who was chosen king by God's own appointment.[16] But to show that hereditary succession is no plea to justice, a war against the powers that are ordained by Him, He placed marks of displeasure against all that took part with Ishbosheth so that in the end Ishbosheth had his head struck off by some commanders of his own party and brought to David. Now, I leave this unto those that list to make the application. And withal they may do well to consider how the Spaniard prospered in '88 in his invasion against England; how ill he hath thrived ever in his attempts against the Hollander. And as for the Scots, I suppose that as it concerns them to consider the sad example of the late Hamiltonian invasion, so they and their adherents may learn from all these together that God will never prosper them if they proceed in their unrighteous combination.

Having shown the improbability of the Scots success, I shall in the next place discover the great inconveniences and hazards that our nation must needs undergo in case it should happen.

First, it being evident that their design in urging the Covenant upon us hath been to insinuate themselves into an equal interest with us in our own nation, it is to be supposed that having hitherto been defeated of their long-expected prey, they come now to prosecute it with the greater appetite. And it is to be presumed they will not serve their king with the Covenant at an easier rate than they intended it should have cost the Parliament.

Secondly, it is to be feared this so much desired interest of theirs may, if opportunities fall out right for their turns, be driven on farther by the sword than yet we are aware of. A national union hath been whispered often among them heretofore, and there's no doubt but they will bid high for it if ever they have occasion. And then it must needs be a very fine world when we are confounded with a miscellany of Scottish and English; when Scots shall be competitors with us in point of privilege; vie wealth with us in our own possessions, honors, and dignities; and either impose new laws upon us or alter the old as may make most for their advantage.

Thirdly, that these things may be is probable enough since, their king having no other rewards to give them, it is impossible he should satisfy the grandees and leaders any other way than by promising large accessions of interest with other men's honors and possessions; even those men's, perhaps, that are the moderate sort of transgressors. For in such cases, it is usual to stretch all offenses upon the rack to supply the necessities of the conqueror; and then if this happen, 'tis like a Scotch Covenanter's stomach will allow no distinction betwixt Presbyter and Independent but may digest the estate of an English Covenanter without so much as a scruple of regret or compassion.

Lastly, it is a very great wonder, since the present stage play of the Covenant and the actors are brought on this side the curtain and we know what they are, through all their disguise, and what they aim at, that yet many of our English should be so stupid as to be led away with their cheats and pretenses for a king and reformation. Also, since it is evident that their chief leaders and sticklers[17] gape only after profit and preferment and, according to the custom of all foreigners in arms, will make no difference between friend and foe so they may satisfy their covetous and ambitious ends; since the whole people likewise must of necessity be harassed with innumerable taxes to pay the rabble of their soldiery, certainly no true English heart can be so degenerous[18] as to forward or countenance them in their invading this nation.

Now for a conclusion to the whole, that these particulars may appear more solid than mere insinuations, give me leave to confirm them by many authentic examples; it being an ordinary case in the world that commonwealths and kingdoms have been oppressed often by those foreigners that came or were invited in as friends to give their assistance.[19] Here, before I proceed, let me call to mind a story of the hedgehog in the fable who being almost dead with cold chanced to light upon a fox's kennel; where, asking for entertainment, the fox, more compassionate than wise, grants his request. But the hedgehog, as soon as he recovered warmth, began to bristle and prick the fox; who, complaining of his unworthy carriage, the hedgehog made answer that if he found him troublesome, he might leave him and seek a new lodging. I shall make no application but leave those that would entertain the Scots as their friends to consider whether they should find more courtesy from them if they had power here than the fox did from the hedgehog, or than other nations have had from the friendly pretenses of foreign auxiliaries.

Concerning this, there are several precedents. The Macedonians, being invited by the Thebans to assist them against the Phocians, made a shift not only to seat themselves among the Thebans, but under the conduct of King Philip made way to the conquest of all Greece.[20] So the Persians coming as friends to aid one party in a civil division in Caria, suppressed both and deprived that commonwealth of its liberty.[21] And the Carthaginians, in the first Punic War, received more prejudice from the Celtae, their confederates and brethren in covenant, than from the Romans, their enemies.

The Goths and Vandals, being invited by the Emperor Theodosius for his assistance, deprived him of Italy and Spain.[22] Afterward the Longbeards or Lombards, being called in by Narses against the Goths, seated themselves for above 200 years in that part of Italy which from them was called Lombardy.

A quarrel happening between the two Saracen sultans of Persia and Babylon, the Persian called in the Turks, under the conduct of their captain Tangrolipix[23] out of Scythia, who seated themselves first in a part of his dominions.[24]

In the chronicles of Judah, we read how King Ahaz invited Tiglath-pileser, King of Assyria, to his assistance against the Edomites; who, coming as a friend, did him exceeding prejudice and laid a design then for the conquest of Jerusalem, which was afterward effected.[25] Josephus tells us likewise how that Pompey, being called to assist Hyrcanus in the recovery of the kingdom of Judea out of the hands of his younger brother Aristobulus, took occasion hereby to reduce it under the Roman obedience.[26]

In the time of the Emperor Frederick III, the princes of Italy being in contention, the Pope called in the Spaniard and several other princes to compose the quarrel;[27] which being done, a new one arose betwixt the auxiliary princes for the lordship of Italy, but the Spaniard drave away the rest and made bold to keep possession for himself. Thus likewise the Spaniards, being invited into Sicily and Naples to free them from the French, did indeed expel the French but possessed both kingdoms themselves. On the other side, a controversy arising between Lewis and John Sforza for the Duchy of Milan, John called in the Spaniards to his party, and Lewis the French. But the French, driving out John and the Spaniards, made themselves at that time masters of the dukedom and carried their friend Lewis away prisoner into France.

Thus in old time our ancestors the Saxons, being called in by Vortigern the British King to assist him against the invasions of the Picts and Scots, turned their arms against the Britons and, driving them into Wales, transmitted the possession of this island to us, their posterity.[28] So the Scots likewise, as Bodin saith, being called in to the assistance of the Picts against the Britons, possessed themselves of the best part of that kingdom, which they hold at this day.[29]

And now I would know of the admirers of the Scottish nation what assurance they can have that in case the Scots come in hither, with their King upon their shoulders and their fine flourishes of pretended friendship, what assurance they can have that they shall not serve us the same sauce as their ancestors did the Picts, and as ours did the Britons, or as others did other nations whom they oppressed under as glorious pretenses, in case they should get the power in their hands? Especially since of late time they have made so many palpable discoveries of encroachment upon the English nation.

Seeing therefore that their covenant cause appears a cause for intrenchment upon our national interest rather than for religion or monarchy, I may reasonably conclude that it concerns all parties whatsoever (if not for the improbability of their success and the miseries that would follow it, yet out of a detestation of their design) to abhor them in their invasion.


[1] To bargain.

[2] MN: See The Grand Case of Conscience Concerning the Engagement, Stated, &c. [The Grand Case of Conscience Concerning the Engagement Stated & Resolved (London, 1650), p. 4.]

[3] Violently.

[4] I have sinned.

[5] Soliciting, foraging.

[6] Drawing of blood.

[7] Merchants.

[8] MN: Strig. in Chron. part 2. p. 186. [Strigel, Scholae historicae, p. 186.]

[9] MN: Peucer. in lect. Chron. d. 18. lul. An. 73. [Reference not found.]

[10] MN: Semiramis. [In Assyrian legend, the wife of Ninus, the founder of Nineveh.]

[11] MN: Diod. Sic. Rerum antiq. l. 2. c. 5. [Diodorus Siculus (fl. 1st century B.C., Greek historian), Bibliotheca historica, bk. ii, chaps. xvi-xix.]

[12] MN: Bella injusta infelices successus, tristes, & tragicos exitus semper habent. Strig. 2. Reg. 14. p. 187. ["Unjust wars always have unhappy results, sad and tragic consequences." Strigel. Reference not clear. Xerxes was killed not by the Artabanus who was his uncle, but by his vizier who had the same name.]

[13] MN: Philip. Chron. Tom. I. Epist. per Peuc. edit. pag. 248. [Perhaps a reference to Johann Carion (1499-1537, German historian), Chronicon Carionis ... a Philippo Melanthone et Casparo Peucero (Lyon, 1576).]

[14] MN: 2 Chron. 35.

[15] MN: 2 Kings 14.

[16] MN: 2 Sam. chap. 2, 3, & 4.

[17] Partisans.

[18] Degenerate.

[19] MN: Ab istis exercitibus, quos defendendi mi causae attraxerunt, evertuntur. Peucer. [Reference to Peucer not clear.] Auxiliatores, ut solet fieri, postea fiunt domini. Strigel. 2 Paralip. 28. ["Those who come to aid usually become afterward the masters." The reference to Strigel's commentary on II Chron. 28 is not clear.]

[20] MN: Justin. [Justin, Epitoma historiarum Philippicarum Pompei Trogi, bk. viii.]

[21] MN: Xenoph. lib. 7. [Xenophon (434?-355? B.C., Greek historian), Cyropaedia, bk. vii, chap. iv.]

[22] MN: Pezel. part. 4. pag. 613. [Christoph Pezel (1539-1604, German Protestant theologian), Mellificium historicum (Frankfurt, 1649), pp. 406-31.]

[23] Togrul Beg (d. 1063?, Seljuk ruler).

[24] MN: Circa annum Christi 870. Chytraeus in Apocalyp. cap. 9. [David Chytraeus (1530-1600, German Protestant theologian), Explicatio Apocalypsis loannis (Wittenberg, 1564), chap. ix.]

[25] MN: 2 Chron. 28.

[26] MN: Josephus De bello Jud. lib. I. c. 12. [Flavius Josephus (37?-100?, Jewish historian), The Jewish War, bk. i, secs. 131-54.]

[27] MN: In Chron. Phil. lib. 5. [See above, note 13.]

[28] MN: Sam. Daniel. [Daniel, The Collection of the History of England, p. 6.]

[29] MN: Joh. Bodinus lib. 5. cap. 5. [Bodin, Les six livres de la république, bk. V, chap. v.]


CHAPTER 3

Concerning the English Presbyterians

WHENCE it was and for what ends presbytery was first brought into this nation is not here to be disputed. But if we grant the intentions of its first fautors[1] to be pure in the fountain, yet it appears polluted in the streams by the corruption of their successors. For, as the primitive pretenses of it were high and glorious in the innocence of its cradle, so being grown up to a full stature, it hath, after the manner of all other things that participate of worldly mixtures, in time contracted so many adulterations of worldly interest that it hath lost the beauty which it once appeared to have and serves every sophister as a cloak to cover his ambitious design.

But since it is arrived, notwithstanding, to such a height in the opinions of many as to be cried up for the only pattern of government under the Gospel, this is to be imputed to the blind zeal of those that are led and the deceitfulness of the leaders rather than to the intention of its learned founder, Mr. Calvin. For it doth not appear that ever he stretched his model so far as the necessity and universality of a divine right, but seems only to have hewn part of the building out of the rock of the Scriptures and pieced up the residue by politic and prudential rules such as he conceived might sound nearest the text and serve most conveniently to cement the disjointed members of the then broken and tumultuous commonwealth of Geneva into an entire and well-compacted body.

It was no sooner licked into form there but, as it is the fate of all things new, it began to be much extolled and admired; and the fame thereof, spreading in England as well as other parts, wrought in many of our countrymen an itching desire to go thither and instruct themselves in the nature and customs of the government. Where, of spectators, they soon became proselytes and, returning home with new affections, looked with an eye of disdain upon the bishops; as if themselves had indeed found out the pattern in the Mount because forsooth the words presbytery, elder, deacon, & assembly, &c., sound more gospellike than diocese, churchwarden, archdeacon, and high commission, &c. With these terms,[2] the ordinary sort of religious persons, not able to see through this shell of words into the kernel or substance of the business, were easily led to a belief of high matters; whereas this new form, like the Trojan horse, brought an army of mischiefs in the belly of it, which were never so fully discovered as till this Parliament. For immediately after that the episcopal form was abolished here, as corrupt and antichristian, the chief sticklers of the presbyterian clergy began to show their teeth and, sitting in an assembly cheek by jowl with the Parliament, intermeddled with their affairs, labored to twist their church discipline with the interest of state, claimed in their open pleas, discourses, and their confession of faith a power in themselves distinct from the civil, and demanded the voting of this in both Houses as jure divino[3] that so the Parliament might forever cut the throat of their own authority and magistracy.

These and many other pranks they played in hope to erect their intended domination. And though being often required, they were as little able as the bishops to show their pedigree from the Apostles or to derive the lineaments of their form from the body of the Scripture; yet they pressed it on still and wanted not their party in Parliament with the assistance of the Scots, whose interest it was, to second them. And here it might be wondered that so many knowing men and of able parts should prove so degenerous as to prostitute themselves and the majesty of the nation to serve the ambitious ends of a few priests; but that they had their ends in it, too, and were willing to follow the example of the Scottish grandees by gratifying the new clergy in the form of a national church with accruements of worldly pomp and power, the better to support their own in the states.

For this cause it was that they stooped so unworthily to the design of the Scots and the clergy; and being all of them combined in interest, they were in a manner necessitated to countenance and comply with each other in their mutual encroachments to the dishonor of our nation, the debasing of parliaments, and the extreme hazard of the liberty of our souls and bodies. All which being considered, you may see how exceedingly we are obliged to our present governors that they strove so mightily against the stream to prevent them all in their several designings; and what necessity lay upon them to expel that corrupt interest out of Parliament and to follow the counsel of the poet "in cutting off a rotten part" for the preservation of the whole "by the power of the sword."[4] By reason of this necessary and magnanimous act it is that they have made themselves so many enemies in the presbyterian party. For the Scots being defeated of their English interest, the secluded members of their hopes and privileges, and the clergy of their Kirk domination, incline all immediately to face about to the Prince and to hedge in him and his interest with their own as well as they can in hope of private revenge and a recovery without any regard at all to the good and peace of the public. Then gentlemen, if they prevail, ye will be but in the old posture again as you were; yea, and far worse than you were since all those church usurpations, which were then but in design, must needs be confirmed by a new alteration.

For this cause it is there are so many presbyterian jugglings in private, such murmurings abroad, and so many mutinies in the pulpit; such well-acted lamentations for the glory of the Kirk and the loss of their Diana,[5] that every prayer is a stratagem, most sermons mere plots against the state and upon their hearers. Thus the nature of their design being discovered, give me leave in the next place to manifest the vanity of their hopes; that if men will not forbear for shame of its hypocrisy, they may yet in consideration of the many sad consequents which may follow.

As to the improbability of their success, first, our English Presbyterians are very inconsiderable now in England because above three parts in four are fallen off since they were able to see through the pretenses of the grandees of their party; so that the small remainder can do little of themselves and all their hope leans upon Scotland, that bruised reed.

Secondly, as their party is but small of itself, so there is small likelihood of an increase because all the rest of this nation are opposite to them and their ways, being either Commonwealth's-men or Royalists. And though they use all endeavors to draw in the royal party to their own, yet it can never be effected, by reason that the old antipathy will revive upon every little occasion. For the Royalists look upon them still as the authors of their misery; and the Prince, who is head of that party, though he may feed them with fair promises, can never cordially embrace them, being the old enemies of his family. Nor will he count them any whit the less guilty for their hypocritical protesting against the death of his father. For they reduced him diminutione capitis[6] into the condition of a captive. They spoiled him as a king before others executed him as a private man. They deprived him of his earthly crown and kept him languishing; whereas his own party say others were more courteous in sending him to an heavenly.[7] In short, I affirm that the present powers have done nothing now in altering the government but what was done in effect before, or must have been done by the presbyterian party.

Thirdly, but suppose, what in reason cannot be supposed, that the Prince could forget old injuries and that the necessities of the chief of his party should bring down their stomachs to a compliance with presbytery; yet the main body of that party will never comply in a course so destructive to every man's interest of conscience and liberty, nor venture their lives and estates to establish a faction which they believe to aspire toward an intolerable tyranny over magistrates and people.

Lastly, the Presbyterians themselves may do well to consider what success they are like to have in their union with a prince whose interest is already declared to be revenged for the ruin of his father. Though they laid him not down upon the block, yet they brought him to the scaffold; and when time serves, the philosopher's maxim will prove good logic at court, Qui vult media ad finem, vult etiam & ipsum finem. "He that wills the means conducing to the end, wills also the end itself."[8]Ergo, will the courtiers say, since the Presbyterians put such courses in practice as tended to the King's ruin, they certainly intended it and are as guilty as others.

But to illustrate this a little, give me leave to close up this particular with a notable example.[9] It happened that Clearchus, the tyrant of Heraclea, was by a conspiracy of the grandees driven out of his dominions, they hoping when he was gone to have all power in their own hands. But there started up a party of the people which prevented them and settled the state in a condition of liberty and freedom. Hereupon the grandees, in disdain and revenge against this new party, conspired against the commonwealth and brought back Clearchus into possession. The tyrant being thus restored, instead of gratifying them that had a hand in his restitution, consulted to satisfy both his own revenge upon them for having opposed him at first and also the discontents of the people against them for their having deprived them of their late liberty. And therefore all the reward they received for bringing him back was that he sentenced them all to a most shameful execution. This is the story, and now I leave those Presbyterians that dream of high success in bringing back the Prince to make application.

As for the inconveniences which the presbyterian design would bring upon the whole nation, guess at them by these particulars following.

I shall pass by those inconveniences which must ensue their combination with the Scots, having sufficiently mentioned them in the former chapter, and consider those only that would follow the establishment of their presbyterial discipline. First, besides the many mischiefs it would bring upon the nation in general, the Royalists, of all others, can receive no content in it, being absolutely destructive to regal dignity. It never was embraced yet by any one nation in a national form but by Scotland. "This," as one hath observed,[10] "was done during the minority of King James when the lords and clergy, ruling all as they listed, at length parted stakes (though the clergy then got and still hold the better), that when he came to age, he found the fable of Ixion's Juno moralized upon himself. For as he embraced a cloud instead of a goddess, so the King, when he thought to grasp his scepter, laid hold on a manacle which kept his hands so fast during his abode there that he could never act but what they pleased to let him, according to their own directory of Kirk and state. And in process of time this heat of presbytery proved such an hectic[11] in the body politic of Scotland that the substance of kingly power was utterly consumed and nothing left, as we see at this day, but the bare bones, the very skeleton of a monarchy. Witness the absolute power exercised by their Parliament and the General Assembly of the kirkmen; but especially of this latter, which, like to the rod of Aaron, is in such a budding, thriving condition that it hath devoured the rod of Moses as his did those of the magicians of Egypt and proves a scourge to the magistracy and people."

Secondly, the difference betwixt the present powers and them is only this: that they would not have a king so much as in name; the Presbyterians would have no more but the name of king, a scarecrow of royalty. The state in downright terms have declared themselves free; the other pretend to maintain the monarchical form, yet actually destroy the very fundamentals of monarchy. And now I would fain know of the deluded Royalist which of the two deals most ingenuously; and if the Presbyters take place, wherein he can conceive his party will receive any advance or advantage. For besides that this mad discipline destroys bishops and clips the wings of regality, it will intrench also upon the lawyers, curb the gentry in their own lordships by a strange way of parochial tyranny, and bring all people into the condition of mere galley slaves while the blind priests sit at the stern and their hackney dependants,[12] the elders, hold an oar in every boat.

For thirdly, were those priests seated here, as they are in Scotland, in a sure succession, then as it hath been long since observed in print,[13] a correspondence being cherished between a clergy of the same garb and humor in both countries, they might finely toss thunderbolts of excommunication on both sides to gratify each other and so be able to terrify all persons that dare be averse in either nation and promote such only to places of honor and profit whose poorer spirits will vassalize their genius to serve the ends of their Kirk domination. In hope of this it is that we have so much bawling about the Covenant. And rather than fail of it, oh, how they pant after the Scots, who cannot choose but laugh in their sleeves at them to see them drive on the work at the peril of their necks; the new Scottish combination being, as I have shown, but a fresh onset to the first design of encroaching upon English interest and the maintaining of a faction here to serve the aims of Scotland and the ambition of a few Scottified English (some particular grandees among the laity and obscure rabbis[14] of the clergy) who are content to share dominion with the Scots. And so they may do that care not though they betray the whole commonwealth and state of the nation.

Fourthly, it being clear that the plot of presbytery is carried on merely for these unworthy ends, what madness is it for any men that pretend wisdom to hazard themselves and their fortunes, to draw on the guilt of innocent blood by embroiling their countrymen only to serve a faction whose practices (when they are invested with power) will be, as they ever have been, to make them share with others in the common calamity at present and entail slavery upon their posterity forever.

Fifthly, that I may give you a little more light in these things, consider that the reason why the presbytery contended for is so destructive of liberty is because of the popish trick taken up by the presbyterian priests in drawing all secular affairs "within the compass of their spiritual jurisdiction."[15] And this they do by means of that awe wherein they pretend to hold the consciences of the magistrate and people, the one being liable as well as the other by suspensions and excommunications to be exploded at pleasure as scandalous sinners. This appears by that large extent of their authority in judging of scandalous sins which reaches almost to every action of human life. So that all the people besides their favorites, from the counselor to the beggar, must at every turn stoop like asses to be ridden by them and their arbitrary assemblies.

Lastly, the settling of presbytery in such a mode would erect a power ecclesiastical distinct from that of the civil. For it is a maxim among all Presbyters, and we find it pleaded for at large in the confession of faith set forth by the Assembly of Divines, that there ought to be a jurisdiction in the church, that is, in their way of discipline, distinct from the civil. Which tenet of distinction must needs be the same, in effect, with that of the Church of Rome's supremacy; seeing those which plead now for a power without the civil will not be long before they arrive to such a height of presumption as to act above it or against it in pursuance of their own designs. It will be impossible to keep such a church discipline within its limits in any commonwealth which makes the same persons civil subjects and ecclesiastical superiors. To pass by many other examples of the strange inconvenience of that discipline in this one particular, I shall only produce one of late memory about the engagement of Hamilton; who, as I signified in the preamble of the former chapter, preparing to invade this nation without the Kirk's approbation, was by them opposed and all his party also in Parliament, which were the major vote. And after he had gotten as authentic an authority as that nation was conceived able to give him for his design, yet notwithstanding, the Assembly, because they saw the grandees had deserted them and left the Kirk interest in the lurch,[16] protested against Hamilton's proceedings and in him against the authority of Parliament whereby he was enabled, cursing him and his adherents.

Now therefore, considering what the nature and design of their presbytery is, what small success its abettors are like to find, and what mischievous inconveniences must unavoidably follow it, I leave every reasonable man within the closet of his own soul and conscience to make a conclusion: whether he ought not rather to engage with the Commonwealth than with this unreasonable party.


[1] Partisans.

[2] MN: Maxima pars vulgi capitur ambagibus. ["Most people are deceived by circumlocutions."]

[3] By divine law.

[4] MN: Immedicablle vulnus ense recidendum eft. Ovid. [Ovid, Metamorphoses, bk. i, 11. 190-91.]

[5] Source of gain.

[6] By forfeiture of civil rights.

[7] MN: See the Irish Bishop's sermon at The Hague, in print. [Henry Leslie (1580-1661, bishop of Down and Connor), The Martyrdom of King Charles (The Hague, 1649).]

[8] MN: Beda. Axiom. ex Aristotele. [Bede (673-735, English scholar, historian, and theologian), Axiomata philosophica (Geneva, 1631), p. 264.]

[9] MN: This story is recorded by Machiavel, in his first book De repub. [Machiavelli, Discorsi, bk. I, chap. xvi]

[10] MN: See the Case of the Kingdom Stated. Anno 1647. [Nedham, The Case of the Kingdom Stated (London, 1647), pp. 2-3.]

[11] A fever which accompanies consumption.

[12] Doing or ready to do work for hire, hireling.

[13] MN: See the Case of the Kingdom, ut supra.

[14] Those whose learning, authority, or office is comparable to that of a Jewish rabbi (a term frequently used contemptuously).

[15] MN: In ordine ad spiritualia.

[16] MN: Not out of any good will toward England, but because their discipline was not like to be set up here, if Hamilton had prevailed.


CHAPTER 4

Concerning the Levellers

WHAT these people aim at and how they would settle is as hard for me to determine as in what point of the compass the wind will sit next, since they are every jot as giddy and rapid in their motions. Yea, the very settlement which they pretend to would, were their desires granted, put the Commonwealth into an utter impossibility of settling, as I shall prove by and by when I come to particulars. In the meantime, that you may know what they are and how they came to be distinguished by this title, give me leave to trace them from their original and manifest how they were divided in affection from the Parliament. Which appears to be occasioned only by a mere misinterpretation or mistake of some passages in divers declarations of the Parliament and Army touching the liberties of the people; wherein they professed that the complete settlement of the liberties and peace of the nation is that blessing of God, than which, of all worldly things, nothing is more dear and precious in their thoughts. From this and the like expressions a certain sort of men of busy pates and that have a mind to seem somebody immediately took upon them to frame such comments and chimeras of liberty as might fit their own ends and fantasies; and in time disseminated such strange principles of pretended freedom among the common sort of soldiery and people that it became evident to all the world they sought not liberty but licentiousness.

And the first time that they began to appear considerable in view was in the year 1647 when that memorable contest happened betwixt the Army and the corrupt party then prevalent in both Houses and the city. At which time, though they did good service in helping to reduce the one and purge the other, yet no sooner had the Parliament recovered itself into a state of innocence and freedom and begun to act in such a way as they conceived necessary to establish the liberties of the nation but these men made bold to carp at their proceedings and cry out against them and the superior officers of the Army as perfidious and betrayers of the public interest; because themselves, a hotheaded rabble and the meanest of the people, might not have it settled after their own humor.

From whence it appears the first cause of the difference between the Parliament and them was their bold and impudent behavior in presuming to direct their wisdom what to do and taking upon them, dictator-like, to define what is liberty, and what not, and how it ought to be established; as if themselves alone were infallible and the only champions of universal freedom, and the Parliament such as either regarded it not or sought its destruction. And notwithstanding that they have manifested their great wisdom, courage, and care ever since in carrying on the work of freedom to this height wherein we now see it to the absolute confutation of these men's calumnies, yet their restless spirits proceed still in the same violent course, having of late in a presumptuous manner presented a mutinous, scandalous remonstrance, which nevertheless they call an "humble petition," to the Parliament; wherein they take advantage by the present necessities of the Commonwealth to slander them in their proceedings as oppressors of that liberty which they so zealously maintain and for the necessary defense whereof they are constrained to continue divers payments upon the people, at present, to purchase ease in the future.

Having thus discovered the vanity of their quarrel, in the next place give me leave to show what their design is. And this they profess (in that pamphlet called the Agreement of the People,[1] set forth May 1, 1649) to be a popular form, or a government by the people, as the only preservative of peace and liberty, wherein it is required "that the supreme authority of England and the territories therewith incorporate may reside henceforward in a representative of the people consisting of four hundred persons and no more; whereto all of twenty-one years and upwards are allowed a right to choose and be chosen members except servants and vagabonds." And because all persons have an equality of right to choose and be chosen without respect of birth, quality, or wealth, all orders of men being leveled in this particular, therefore the promoters of this way are not improperly called "Levellers." So that this term of leveling is equivalent with Aristotle's 'Isonomi/a, which is translated aequalitas juris, the "equality of right" before mentioned.[2] And the same author saith, this plea for "equality of right" in government at length introduceth a claim for "equality of estates," and the making of such laws as the agrarian laws[3] enacted by the popular boutefeus[4] in Rome whereby it was made criminal for any man to grow richer than ordinary. But of this, more anon.

Now therefore, since it appears how injurious their calumnies are and how perilous their design is to the Parliament and Commonwealth, I suppose it were time lost to stand [5] to prove the improbability of their success, seeing all persons of credit and fortune are concerned to abhor and detest this wild project. And though the four champions made proclamation in the head of their Agreement[6] that "according to the nature of truth, it hath made its own way into the understanding and taken root in the hearts and affections of most men," yet you must know these men they speak of are only the rude multitude who understand no more of the business than that it may prove a hopeful way to mend their own out of other men's fortunes and satisfy their natural appetites of covetousness and revenge upon the honorable and wealthy. In consideration whereof, I come next to give you a more exact and lively draft of the manifold, miserable inconveniences of that government (or rather confusion) so earnestly contended for by the leveling party.

First, such a democratic or popular form that puts the whole multitude into an equal exercise of the supreme authority, under pretense of maintaining liberty, is in the judgment of all statesmen the greatest enemy of liberty. For the multitude is so brutish that, as the Emperor Claudius said, they are ever in the extremes of kindness or cruelty;[7] being void of reason and hurried on with an unbridled violence in all their actions, trampling down all respects of things sacred and civil to make way for that their liberty, which Clapmarius calls a most dissolute licentiousness or a license to do even what they list[8] according to that of the lyric,

In vitium libertas excidit, & vim dignam lege regi,

"when liberty becomes the greatest vice and degenerates into violence." Such a liberty as this is recorded by Tacitus to have been among the Parthians, "an uncertain, loose kind of people living rather without government than in liberty";[9] or as Sallust speaks of the aborigines, "a rude sort of men without laws, without government, free and dissolute."[10] And Livy tells you how things were come to that "pass in the popular state of Rome that no regard was had either to the senate, or magistracy, or military discipline, or to the laws and customs of their ancestors."[11] When affairs are in this condition, then, as Aristotle saith, Mera Dhmokrati/a est extrema tyrannis, "mere democracy, or liberty, is extreme tyranny"; and, as Besoldus, plebs perniciosissimus fit tyrannus, "the people becomes a most pernicious tyrant." Hence it is, saith Guicciardin, Histor. lib. 2,[12] very pertinently to our purpose, that "many times when a people have got loose from the yoke of a tyranny or kingly government out of a desire of liberty, they proceed from one extreme to another" & sese, nisi retineantur, in effraenatam licentiam praecipitant; quae quidem & ipsa, jure tyrannis potest appellari, "and except they be restrained, run headlong to licentiousness; which also may be rightly called a tyranny." To which accords that of Peucerus, who most excellently describes the effects of it in these words: "The study of popular air, applause, and humor is a madness no whit inferior to tyranny itself.[13] Those which seek after it, as leaders of the people, become far more cruel and mischievous than single tyrants can be. For single tyrants are the less able to do mischief because they are constrained to stand in fear of others, but the furious multitude, fearing no colors,[14] are hurried on like a torrent and bear down all the banks of opposition." So that, as Clapmarius[15] saith, "reckon up those flagitious[16] enormities of kingly government together — as breach of faith, violation of things sacred, depriving men of their possessions, with all the acts of injustice and cruelty — and they abound much more in a mere popular state," or leveling popularity, "than any other." And therefore, Bodin concludes, since it is the highroad "to licentiousness and tyranny, it is justly condemned by all wise men of the world."[17]

Secondly, nor is it only a mere tyranny in itself, but so far destructive of a free state, especially a free state newly erected, that it soon causes a change of it into the form of a regal tyranny.[18] According to that maxim of politicians, facilis est transitus a regimine democratico ad monarchicum, "the passage is quick and easy from a mere popularity to monarchy." And that because of those discontents, emulations, and tumults which arise continually among them and whereby their leaders so tire them out that in a little time they willingly yield themselves under the yoke of any one person who seems willing and able to deliver and ease them by a settlement.[19] Thus Rome, that stately mistress of the world who disdained to stoop under victorious Caesar, falling afterward into popular divisions and discords more fierce than ever, soon grew weary and willing to bow her neck under Augustus.[20] Plutarch compares those popular tumults to the pangs of a woman in travail,[21] calling them 'Odi/nav reipub; "the pains of a commonwealth that must needs bring forth into the world some great kingdom or tyranny."[22] Now the person invested after this manner is usually some one of their leaders; who, by soothing and carrying them on upon high and glorious pretenses of liberty, gains so much confidence and power among them that in the end he bereaves them of liberty to disturb him or themselves any further. Thus, and by such arts as these, Julius Caesar first erected the imperial tyranny at Rome, as Pisistratus likewise made himself absolute at Athens and Dionysius the tyrant at Syracusa;[23] who pretending themselves great patrons of liberty stirred the people up against the Senate and counselors of state as enemies to that liberty whereof they were indeed the only keepers. And it is not to their leaders alone that they expose the public liberty, but oftentimes to those out of whose hands it was first recovered. Thus Agathocles the tyrant of Sicily, Periander, and several others have by this means, after they had been expelled, regained a possession. And therefore it cannot be improper here to return the language of our Levellers in their late petition home to themselves; that since they and divers others disaffected persons are so unwilling to embrace the Commonwealth in its present state and true condition of liberty, they are to be reckoned the only causers of those taxes and other inconveniences now lying upon us. Whereas if they would unite, as they ought, our burdens would be inconsiderable because the royal and foreign confederates would have the less confidence to assail us and force these necessities upon us, were we once free from those divisions, distractions, and dissatisfactions which Presbyters and Levellers occasion here among us.

Thirdly, it cannot but be sad to consider what tumults and combustions must needs happen every year by reason of those prodigious multitudes that are admitted to make choice of the persons to be entrusted in the representative.

And though there be one clause in the Agreement which seems to provide against riots at every choosing of the members, yet it is impossible to devise any means to prevent those inconveniences which will arise in a self-opinionated multitude upon such an occasion; wherein they all conceive themselves to have an equal interest and power, and touching which it can hardly be expected any conclusion can be made till from arguments they proceed to cuffs, and so, in the end, the club carry the election.[24]

Fourthly, it hath ever been the custom in these mere popular forms for the most part to make choice of the lowest of the people,[25] such whose persons are held in admiration by the rest of their fellows and like to satisfy them in all their phrenetic humors; a lively, sad example whereof we have in the popular state of Athens where they chose such persons to participate of the supreme authority as would countenance them and share with them in slaying or condemning the richer sort and then seizing upon their possessions, plundering their houses, and many more such fine effects of leveling liberty.[26] Hence it is they shift and change their governors so often, rejecting at every new election such as they have found averse to their licentious ways, as enemies of liberty, under pretense of putting better in their places; that is, such as indulge them in these and the like courses.[27]

Fifthly, by this means, unlearned, ignorant persons, neither of learning nor fortune, being put in authority, the Commonwealth cannot remain safe either in peace or war; for through covetousness and private necessity they will exercise rapine and injustice in time of peace and, by reason of their ignorance in the affairs of government, the state must needs run a hazard in time of war or any other public extremity. Here, let me call to mind a passage of the Romans, mentioned by Aquinas;[28] among whom it happened that two persons being chosen by the Consuls for the government of Spain, they were after the election found fault with; the one being very poor, the other accused of being covetous. And when it had been long debated which of them should be entrusted, at length Scipio, to end the controversy, stood up and concluded neither, because persons so qualified must needs be corrupt in their government and ever sucking the body politic like leeches wheresoever they can lay hold. Yet such persons as these, poor and unexpert in affairs, if they are busybodies and have a nimble faculty of prating, are usually adored by the vulgar as the only statesmen.

Sixthly, it is ordinary with the grand demagogues or leaders of the people to make sale of elections and all offices of judicature, honor, and authority. And upon these terms they many times admit the better sort into places of power and turn them out again at pleasure. So that, as Plato and Plutarch say, "mere popularity is no government, but is, as it were, a market wherein all offices of government are exposed to sale."[29] And he ordinarily gains the best bargain of authority that hath the longest purse and most powerful tongue to persuade the clerks of the market;[30] whereby it is to be supposed on the other side that the purchasers will see themselves no losers, it being a matter of course that such as buy authority should sell justice.

Seventhly, the plea of our Levellers for yearly representatives, with this caution that no man shall be chosen a member of two representatives together and that in the intervals we may be governed by a committee of their own members without a standing council of state, is very irrational. For what understanding can a succession of mean and new-elected persons have of the public affairs so as to manage them with skill and advantage in so short a time, seeing it is use and experience that fits a man for the carriage of grand concernments of state? We find in the Roman state, when it was most popular, that the multitude were never so mad as to cast off (though they took upon them now and then to control) the Senate, which was their standing council and without which no commonwealth can continue of any long standing. And therefore it is that, rather than such a council of state should be wanting, Aristotle adviseth us to entrust them with affairs altogether, they having all those advantages of observation, custom, and experience which cannot be expected from a tumultuary succession of raw and unexpert statists.[31] As for example we read in what a flourishing condition the commonwealth of Athens continued as long as affairs were ordered by that famous council, the Areopagites; and no sooner did the power come into the hands of the people but afterward all turned to confusion.[32] It were much to be wondered that the state of Rome stood so long in a popular form, but that we know it was also underpropped by the wisdom and authority of the Senate and had many eminent pillars to support it: as Menenius Agrippa, Furius Camillus, Papirius Cursor, Fabius Maximus, Cato Censor, Marcus Scaurus, and Pompey; upon whose virtues its subsistence depended and not upon those tumultuary sots, the many. Thus likewise the popular state of the Thebans subsisted a while by the singular wisdom and valor of Pelopidas and Epaminondas, who were no sooner gone but the popularity sunk of itself and came to nothing.[33] How much safer, then, must it needs be for the people of this nation to leave the succession of representatives and the form of a council in the future, with the time and manner of their constitution and rules for election, to be ordered by the wisdom and discretion of Parliament than after the humor of some obscure persons whose knowledge and interest in the public matters is no whit comparable to theirs and therefore not to be valued in competition with them for the ordering of such affairs as so highly concern the good and peace of the public.

Eighthly, this popular form is the only enemy of true generosity and virtue. For how much the more excellent any man hath approved himself either in conduct or counsel, so much the more he is suspected, hated, and calumniated by the ungrateful multitude. In the popular state of Rome, they had lex repetundarum,[34] a law whereby the multitude were enabled to call all public magistrates and officers to account, a course seeming plausible enough in itself. But hence proceeded those liberae accusationes whereby the people, having liberty to accuse magistrates, proceeded to calumniations[35] and continually vexed with false and unreasonable charges even those who had been most faithful and done very famous services for the commonwealth, just as our Levellers now exclaim against the Parliament and would, if they might, rage against them about public accounts, as appears by their old Agreement and their late petition; the consequence whereof would be that in the end they should be ostracized and receive an oyster shell or an olive leaf in recompense of all their labors.[36]

Thus the most famous captain Alcibiades, having done many services for the Athenian populacy, was only for a petty misfortune, and no other cause, in managing the war of Sicily called home and banished both from his command and country. At length, being sent for home again, he made them victorious over their enemies, the Lacedaemonians; yet notwithstanding so great merits, he was upon another turn of popular air for a misfortune in Asia sent the second time into banishment by those levelers.

So likewise another famous Athenian captain, Themistocles, received no other reward than banishment for all his meritorious achievements.[37] And Miltiades, who erected the Grecian trophies in Persia and asserted the liberties of Greece against all their enemies, was used far worse, being kept a prisoner all his life; and after his death they not only neglected to give him burial but, to stretch their ingratitude yet further, condemned his son, Cimon, to a perpetual imprisonment. In like manner they used Phocion, the most deserving of all the Athenian commanders, but with much more cruelty. For they murdered him with their own hands and afterward denied him burial. Whereupon, Bodinus, relating the story out of Plutarch, makes this observation, that when the multitude begin to insult against the most deserving men, they run beyond all shame and reason.

Nor was it thus only in Greece, but we find the same humor also among the Roman levelers, whereof that illustrious family of the Scipios was a sad example. For Scipio Major, he that for his famous exploits against Carthage was surnamed Africanus, having rescued Rome from the brink of destruction and freed her from the fear of that pernicious rival, was at his return home so afflicted and vexed with injurious calumnies of the unthankful rabble that for quietness sake he spent his days in a voluntary exile and at his death commanded such an epitaph[38] to be fixed upon his monument as might testify to aftertimes the great ingratitude of his people. They accused his brother also, surnamed Asiaticus, of defrauding the commonwealth and kept him a prisoner. In the same manner they calumniated likewise the most meritorious Scipio Nasica; so that to decline the popular fury he departed with the good will and consent of the Senate, as employed by them upon an embassy to Pergamus[39] from whence he never returned. By this it appears then that all generous spirits are concerned in reason to abhor the leveling way of government.

Ninthly, Aristotle saith where this leveling, popular form is erected there "is a necessity that all persons who are become eminent or potent, either by fortune, or virtue, should receive many high and heinous injuries from the vulgar."[40] And Tacitus gives the reason why it was thus in the Roman state; "because," saith he, "the common rabble have a kind of inveterate, hereditary hatred against the more noble and worthy persons,"[41] especially such as are councilors of state, as appears by their frequent calumniating the senators; punishing them sometimes with banishment, as they did Furius and many others, and often with unreasonable fines, as they did C. Dempronius, Q. Pomponius, and Virginius, &c.[42] And all this for the most part without any cause but merely to exercise their spleen, which takes the same course of enmity likewise against all that are wealthy, be they high or low. For it is reckoned, inter arcana, a prime mystery of "popular government to use all private tricks and ways of milking and gelding the purses of the rich."[43] Nor is that alone sufficient, but they fly out ever and anon into violence; and from plundering they proceed to that flat leveling of estates as is evident by those Licinian and agrarian laws made by the populacy of Rome whereby it was provided that no man should grow too rich nor be master of above fifty acres of land. And touching this, there is an insolent passage recorded by Livy how that when the Senate seemed unwilling to permit the division of certain lands among the common sort, the tribunes, or ringleaders of the people, asked the Senators "how they durst possess more than fifty acres apiece yet find fault with a division made of two apiece to the people!"[44] And the same author tells us so many quarrels and tumults arose about division of lands that the Senate knew not which way to prevent them till they disburdened the commonwealth by sending forth colonies and satisfying them with lands in the remote parts of Italy and other places.

Lastly, from leveling they proceed to introduce an absolute community. And though neither the Athenian nor Roman levelers ever arrived to this high pitch of madness, yet we see there is a new faction started up out of ours known by the name of Diggers. Who, upon this ground that God is our common father, the earth our common mother, and that the original of propriety[45] was men's pride and covetousness, have framed a new plea for a return of all men ad tuguria;[46] that like the old Parthians, Scythian nomads, and other wild barbarians, we might renounce towns and cities, live at rovers,[47] and enjoy all in common.

Now for a conclusion, all these considerations being put together, you may easily spell what Leveller is, what the meaning is of those zealous pretenders to liberty and freedom, and what their pretense may come to, it being the ready road to all licentiousness, mischief, mere anarchy, and confusion; which whosoever follows may stay long enough ere he see the performance of those glorious promises set forth in their late petition, wherein the people are made to believe fine things. But I leave them to judge whether this be the way to sit down securely under their own vines, under the glorious administration of justice and righteousness.

Odi profanum vulgum, & arceo. Horat.[48]


[1] MN: See the Agreement of the People. ["An Agreement of the Free People of England," Leveller Manifestoes of the Puritan Revolution, ed. Don M. Wolfe (New York, 1944), pp. 400-410.]

[2] MN: 6 Polit. cap. 2. [Aristotle, Politics, bk. vi, chap. ii.]

[3] MN: Indeque frequentantur agrariae leges; quae prohibent, me quis nimis dives efficiatur. Besold. in Synops. De democr. ["Since then, agrarian laws are become frequent, which prohibit anyone from becoming too rich." Besold, Synopsis politicae doctrinae, bk. I, chap. viii.]

[4] Incendiaries.

[5] Stay, stop.

[6] MN: See the Preamble of the Agreement. ["An Agreement of the Free People of England," Leveller Manifestoes, p. 401.]

[7] MN: Plebs ut prona in misericordiam, ita immodica in saevitiam. ["The multitude, inclined on the one hand to kindness and on the other, unbridled in ferocity."]

[8] MN: Clap. De arcan. dom. pop. [Clapmar, De arcanis rerumpublicarum, bk. V. chap. xix.]

[9] MN: Incerti nimirum, solutique & magis sine dominio, quam in libertate. 2. Annal. [Tacitus, Annales, bk. ii, chap. iv.]

[10] MN: Genus hominum agreste, sine legibus, sine imperio, liberum, atque solutum. Salust. [Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, chap. vi.]

[11] MN: Quoniam ea demum libertas Romae est, non senatum, non magistratus, non leges, non mores majorum, non instituta patrum, non disciplinam vereri militiae. Liv. l. 5. [Livy, Ab urbe condita, bk. v, chap. vi.]

[12] Francesco Guicciardini (1483-1540, Italian historian), Historiarum sui temporis (Basel, 1566), bk. II. [Historia di Italia.]

[13] MN: Tales longe sunt crudeliores, et longe plus nocent quam soli tyranni, &c.

[14] Fearing no foe.

[15] MN: Clapm. De flag. dom. cap. 19. [Clapmar, De arcanis rerumpublicarum, bk. V, chap. xix.]

[16] Infamous.

[17] MN: Omnium prope judicia vapulat; eo quod inibi licentia pro libertate habeatur. Bodin. 6. cap. 4. [Bodin, Les six livres de la republique, bk. VI, chap. iv.]

[18] MN: Petr. Gregor. 5. De repub. cap. 3. [Grégoire, De republica, bk. V, chap. iii.]

[19] MN: Componi non possunt, nisi imperio ad unum devoluto. Clapm. De arc. imp. 1. 2. cap. 14. [Clapmar, De arcanis rerumpublicarum, bk. II, chap. xiv.]

[20] MN: Eam rempublicam discordiis civilibus fessam, nomine principis, sub imperium accepit. Tacit. Ann. I. [Tacitus, Annales, bk. i, chap. i.]

[21] Labor.

[22] MN: Tumultas populares parturiunt regnum.

[23] Syracuse.

[24] MN: Scinditur incertum studia in contraria vulgus. ["The uncertain multitude is agitated by contrary desires."]

[25] MN: Contzen. I. Polit. cap. 20. [Adam Contzen (1575-1635, German Jesuit theologian and historian), Politicorum libri decem. (Mainz, [1620]), bk. I, chap. xx.]

[26] MN: Greg. Tolos. l. 4. De repub. c. 3. [Grégoire, De republica, bk. IV, chap. iii.]

[27] MN: Plebs rectores meliores vocat eos, qui magis ei indulgeat. Idem. ["The people call them better governors who may indulge them more."]

[28] MN: Aquin. De regim. princ. l. 4. cap. 15. [St. Thomas Aquinas (1225?-74, Italian theologian), De regimine principum, bk. IV, chap. xv.]

[29] MN: Dhmorati/a a#kratov, ou/ politei/a a/lla/ pa/ntwn po/lion politei/wn. Plato.

[30] MN: Ex favore & pretio, populus distribuebat magistratus. Polyb. 6. Histor. a pr. paruta. I. disc. ["The people bestowed the magistracy through favor and bribery." Polybius (205?-125? B.C., Greek historian), The Histories, bk. vi, no. lvi.]

[31] MN: Summa rerum sit penes paucos, qui antecellunt reliquos virtute & sapientia. Polit. I. ["Let the supreme power be in the hands of the few who are superior to the rest in virtue and wisdom." Aristotle, Politics, bk. vii, chap. iii.]

[32] MN: Thucydides l. 2. pag. 63. [Thucydides (472?-400? B.C., Greek historian), History of the Peloponnesian War, bk. ii, chap. lxv; bk. viii, chaps. xvi-xcviii.]

[33] MN: Bodinus. 6. De repub. cap. 4. [Bodin, Les six livres de la république, bk. VI, chap. iv.]

[34] MN: Lex repetundarum. [A Roman law concerning extortion in government.]

[35] MN: Liberae accusationes, & calumniationes. ["Unrestrained accusations and malicious charges."]

[36] MN: Ostracismus used at Athens, as Petalismus elsewhere; when the people banished any eminent man, the sentence was written either upon the shell of a fish, or an olive leaf. Arist. 3 Polit. c. 13. [Aristotle, Politics, bk. iii, chap. viii.]

[37] MN: Phil. Camerar. Cent. 2. Oper. succis. cap. 51. [Philipp Camerarius (1537-1624, German jurist), Operae ... meditationes historicae auctiores (Frankfurt, 1618-24), pt. II, chap. li.]

[38] MN: Ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem mea habes. ["Ungrateful native land, you have not even my bones."]

[39] Pergamum.

[40] MN: Ubi imperium plebis est, ibi patricios ac nobiles, multis magnisque injuriis, affici necesse est. Arist. 3. Polit. cap. 7. [Aristotle, Politics, bk. iii, chap. vii.]

[41] MN: Inveratissimum fuit in rep. Romana odium plebis adversus patricios. Tacit. [Tacitus.]

[42] MN: Livius. lib. 4. & 5. [Livy, Ab urbe condita, bks. iv, v.]

[43] MN: Clapm. De arcan. l. 2. c. 13. [Clapmar, De arcanis rerumpublicarum, bk. II, chap. xiii.]

[44] MN: Auderentne postulare, ut cum bina jugera agri plebi divideremur, ipsis plus quinquaginta jugera habere liceret? Liv. l. 10. [Livy, op. cit., bk. vi, chap. xxxvi.]

[45] Property.

[46] To peasant cottages.

[47] Without definite aim.

[48] "I hate the common crowd and keep them far away," Horace, Carmina, bk. iii, Ode I, l. 1.


CHAPTER 5

A Discourse of the Excellency of a Free State above a Kingly Government

HAVING in the former chapters stated the designs and given an account of those grand inconveniences which of necessity will ensue a success of the opposite parties, this next discourse must needs be very pertinent by way of conclusion to manifest the excellency of the present government, which they all endeavor to destroy. And though there needed no other argument to prove it and recommend it to the world than this, that it is the only bank which preserves us from the inundations of tyranny on the one side and confusion on the other,[1] yet it wants not of itself those many advantages above all other forms which render it most convenient to promote the peace, wealth, and honor of the English nation.

Yet it is a wonder to see how lightly men prize this invaluable jewel of liberty which hath cost the Commonwealth so much blood and treasure; trampling the precious pearl under their feet like swine so that the Parliament meet now with as many difficulties to preserve, as ever they had to purchase, it. But for this there are two special reasons which may be collected out of the Florentine's subtile discourses upon Livy;[2] who compares such as have been educated under a monarchy or tyranny to those beasts which have been caged or cooped up all their lives in a den where they seem to live in as much pleasure as other beasts that are abroad, and if they be let loose, yet they will return in again because they know not how to value or use their liberty. So strong an impression is made likewise by education and custom from the cradle, even upon men that are endued with reasonable souls, that they choose to live in those places and customs of government under which they have been bred rather than submit to better which might make more for their content and advantage. Hence it is that those poor slaves under the Turk, Persian, Tartar, Muscovite, Russian, French, and Spaniard, with other Eastern, Northern, and Western tyrants are so enamored of their chains that they admire their own condition above all others, and, like the Indians, adore the devil which torments them because they are ignorant of a better deity to protect them.

But besides education and custom under another form, there is second reason why men are so degenerous in spirit as to vassalize themselves and neglect the maintenance of their liberty. And that is, a general corruption and depravation of manners by luxurious courses when a nation is even swallowed up with riot and luxury; so that, being slaves to their own lusts, they become the more easily enslaved unto the lusts of another. The truth of this may be observed in the variation of the Roman state, which in its primitive innocence was so sensible of liberty that when Brutus and Collatinus had once expelled the Tarquins, the people almost readily joined with them as one man in defense of their freedom; yea, they were so zealous of it for a long time that no relations or considerations whatsoever of former merits could avail with them to spare those that attempted ought against it.[3] For when the sons of Brutus were found guilty of a conspiracy to bring back the Tarquinian family, they condemned them to death; and their own father was as forward as any to bring them to execution. So the famous Manlius likewise, to whom Rome owed both herself and liberty, being by him preserved against the Gauls in the greatest extremity, was notwithstanding, upon a discovery of his afterintent to surprise their liberty, thrown headlong down the Tarpeian Rock within view of the Capitol which he had so nobly defended. By which actions you may perceive that when Rome was in its pure estate, virtue begat a desire of liberty, and this desire begat in them an extraordinary courage and resolution to defend it; which three walked a long time hand in hand together and were the causes that the first founders of their freedom had so little difficulty in maintaining themselves against those invasions which happened afterward by the Tarquins and their royal confederates. But in process of time, when the Romans had lost that ancient virtue which purchased their liberty and an empire over the world, being softened in their manners and conquered by their vices whose dominions they had conquered, they soon bowed under the yoke of imperial tyranny. And though there appeared afterward some sparks of ancient courage and love of liberty among them when they took off Caesar himself, Caligula, Nero, and in the end rid themselves quite of that tyrannical stock of the Caesars, yet, I say, because those sparks were kindled only in a few of the more noble souls and the generality corrupt and degenerate from their old virtue, therefore such heroic minds as endeavored could by no means engage them to assert their liberty.

It is observable also in all times the Northern and more manly people that have no acquaintance with luxurious diets and apparel, nor care much to obtain them, nor to taste of those melting enchantments of more wanton nations, are endued with a greater courage and sense of liberty; whereas those people that inhabit the delicate parts of the world, as in Asia and other countries where civility hath degenerated into effeminacy, they ever have lived and do for the most part continue in miserable slavery at the will of imperious tyrants. And if at any time there have happened worthy resolutions in virtuous spirits to recover their freedom, they have for the most part failed in the enterprise by reason of the corruption of their party which causeth men at length to decline the common cause through pusillanimity, faction, treachery, or apostasy; being more superstitiously inclinable to adore the greatness of a tyrant than really affectionate to the worth of liberty. For this cause it was that in elder time the people of Naples, Milan, and Florence lost their freedoms as soon as they had gotten it.[4] And of late also the Neapolitans failed in their attempt, being a soft, effeminate people, easily bribed and courted out of their design with Spanish gold and complement; whereas the Swiss, Hollanders, and divers other hardy people stuck close to their leaders, and by their constancy, industry, and zeal of liberty accomplished the work.

By which parcel of discourse we may collect whence it is that our present governors meet with so many difficulties and oppositions from their own countrymen here in England, viz., by reason of our former education under a monarchy with the general debaucheries of all sorts of people which render them admirers of the pomp of tyranny and enemies to that freedom which hath been so dearly purchased. They are lovers of vanity more than of themselves or their country, humorous,[5] and led with an admiration of old customs to their own hazard rather than they will steer a new and reasonable course of far more convenience and commodity. So that if the Commonwealth had not a party of its own throughout the nation, men of valor and virtue, free from those corruptions of excess and riot, and sensible of liberty, it were then in reason to be expected they could not long maintain their station. But being supported by counselors, grave, serious, abstemious, and vigilant, and by a soldiery whose valiant commanders are severe and strict in discipline, both moral and military, when I consider this with the many other advantages which their enemies have not, their foundation seems to me impregnable and prompts me to this omen, that being every way qualified like those Roman spirits of old, they will be courted and confirmed by the Roman fortune.[6]

For shame or fear then, if not for love, let men forbear an opposition and consider what an honor it is to be in the list of that party which have ennobled themselves by their own virtue and the love of liberty. For as Cato saith in Plutarch, even the greatest kings or tyrants are much inferior to those that are eminent in free states and commonweals;[7] nor were those mighty monarchs of old worthy to be compared with Epaminondas, Pericles, Themistocles, Marcus Curtius, Hamilcar Barca, &c., and other excellent captains in free states which purchased themselves a fame in defense of their liberties. And though now the very name of liberty is grown odious or ridiculous among us, it having been a stranger a long time in these parts, yet in ancient time nations were wont to reckon themselves so much the more noble if they were free from the yoke of regal tyranny; which was the cause why there were then so many free states in all parts of the world. In our country here, before the time that Caesar's tyranny took place, there was no such thing as monarchy. For the same Caesar tells us how the Britons were divided into so many several states; relates how Cassivelaunus was, by the common council of the nation, elected in this their public danger to have the principal administration of the state with the business of war and afterward how the several cities sent their hostages unto him.[8] Whereby we perceive it was of old no monarchy but, like to the Gauls with whom it was then one also in religion, divided into provincial regiments without any entire rule or combination; only in case of common peril by invasion, &c., they were wont to choose a commander in chief, much like the dictator chosen by the Romans upon the like occasion.[9] And now we see all the Western world, lately discovered, to be, and generally all other countries are, in puris naturalibus, "in their first and most innocent condition," settled in the same form before they come to be enslaved either by so predominant power from abroad or someone among themselves more potent and ambitious than his neighbors. And such was the state heretofore not only of our nation but of Gaul, Spain, Germany, and all the west parts of Europe before the Romans did by strength and cunning unlock their liberties. And such as were then termed kings were but as their generals in war, without any other great jurisdiction.

If we reflect likewise upon the ancient state of Italy, we find no other forms of government but those of free states and commonweals, as the Tuscans, Romans, Samnites, and many others.[10] Nor is there any mention made of kings in Italy besides those of the Romans and Porsena. Concerning the ruin of whose family, though histories are silent, yet we read that Tuscany, whereof Porsena was king, became afterward a free state and continued so zealous of liberty ever after and such haters of monarchy that they denied the Veiians their assistance against the Romans for no other reason but because those Veiians had made choice of a king to protect them in their necessity; saying that they scorned to join with those men who had subjected themselves to the government of a single person.

Nor is it only a mere gallantry of spirit which incites men to the love of freedom; but experience tells us it is the most commodious and profitable way of government, conducing to the enlargement of a nation every way in wealth and dominion. "It is incredible to be told," saith Sallust, "how exceedingly the Roman commonwealth increased in a short time after they had obtained their liberty."[11] And Guicciardin affirms that "free states are most pleasing to God because that in them more regard is had to the common good, more care for impartial distribution of justice to every man, and the minds of men are more inflamed with the love of glory and virtue and become much more zealous in the love of religion than in any other form of government whatsoever."[12] It is wonderful to consider how mightily the Athenians were augmented both in wealth and power in the space of one hundred years after they had freed themselves from the tyranny of Pisistratus, but the Romans arrived to such a height as was beyond all imagination after the expulsion of their kings. Nor do these things happen without special reason, forasmuch as it is usual in free states to be more tender of the public in all their decrees than of particulars, whereas the case is otherwise in a monarchy; because in this form the prince's pleasure usually weighs down all considerations of the common good. And hence it is that a nation hath no sooner lost its liberty and stooped under the yoke of an usurper, but it immediately loseth its former luster; the body fills with ill humors and may swell in title but cannot thrive either in dominion or riches according to that proportion which it formerly enjoyed, because all new acquisitions are appropriated as the prince's peculiar and in no wise conduce to the ease and benefit of the public.

It is observable likewise in the course of hereditary monarchies that though a nation may have some respite and recruit[13] now and then by the virtue and valor of a prince, yet this is very rare. And when it doth happen, it usually lasts no longer than his life because his successor, for the most part, proves more weak or vicious than himself was virtuous. For, as Dantes[14] the Italian poet saith,

Non sicut in ramos ex imo stipite succus influit, in liberos sic orta parentibus ipsis descendit virtus.

"Virtue is not transmitted from father to son as the sap of a tree is from the root to the branches." Virtue is lost in the descent and comes not by traduction.[15] Therefore, Machiavel saith, not he that placeth a virtuous government in his own hands or family and governs well during his natural life, but he that establisheth a lasting form for the people's constant security is most to be commended.[16] It is recorded in history that the hereditary course of government was so odious to the Hungarians that when Ferdinand the First, King of the Romans, laid claim to that crown as heir in his wife's right, they chose rather to make a league with the Turk than subject their state to the inconveniences of an hereditary succession.[17]

Regibus est aliis, potiundi jure paterno
certa fides, sceptrumque patris novus accipit haeres.
Nos, quibus est melior libertas, jure vetuste,
orba suo quoties vacat inclyta principe sedes,
quodlibet arbitrium statuendi regis habemus
.[18]

The German poet Gunther, who reduced much of policy into poetry, in these verses commends the fashion of his own country; that since they had accepted the regal or imperial form of government, they were accustomed to trust their own judgments in making choice of their emperor rather than receive him blindly from the hand of chance or fortune. Nor do I find any that think a monarchy tolerable otherwise than upon terms of election, except it be Lipsius and such partial penmen as himself who were held in pension or relation by hereditary tyrants. For besides that common reason dissuades men from taking governors at adventure[19] without respect of wisdom or virtue, so if we take a view of the miserable events of it in all histories, it must needs deter men from the love of such a succession. And therefore the argument usually brought in defense of it, that it is the only way to prevent the inconveniences of an interregnum where the heir is uncertain, is of no validity; since it hath caused ten thousand times more bloody disputes between pretenders in point of title than ever happened in those interregnal controversies which have risen betwixt competitors by way of election. Witness the tedious, fatal bickerings which happened in France and other nations among princes of the blood and here in England between the two houses of York and Lancaster. It is observed also out of the ancient Roman history that all those emperors which ruled by right of inheritance proved most of them no better than savage beasts and all of them wicked except Titus;[20] but such as were advanced by election approved themselves noble and virtuous, as you may see in those five that succeeded Nerva to Marcus. And no sooner did the Empire return again into a course of inheritance but it ran to a loss and at length to the ruin of its glory and greatness.

But to waive this digression touching hereditary and elective monarchies, I affirm that neither of them are to be compared with a free state nor to be admitted, unless it be the latter by way of election and then only in case of extreme necessity; as the Roman commonwealth was wont now and then to create their temporary dictators,[21] into whose single hands they transmitted the whole power of ordering affairs, in time of urgent and imminent danger to avoid the inconvenience of delay which might be occasioned through the variety of opinions and multiplicity of counsels. However elective kings are found fault with because they usually practice such sleights that in a short time the government which they received for their own lives becomes entailed upon their families.

It is to be considered also that the kingly are not much less destructive than the leveling, popular tyrannies to gallant and worthy men.

Sors ista tyrannis
convenit; invideant Claris, fortesque trucidem
.[22]

Nor is it the worse sort of kings or tyrants only that hate brave and deserving persons, but even the most moderate and those that seem to be the best-conditioned become jealous and distasteful, supposing the fame and gallantry of their subjects detracts from their own estimation. And therefore they usually consult which way to dishonor or destroy them, by which means men are terrified from the love of glory and virtue. Demosthenes tells us Philip the Macedonian was so full of vainglory that he would arrogate the worthy deeds of his friends and other men to himself and make them seem to be his own. And he ever hated those commanders and governors which were victorious and successful more than such as were either careless or unfortunate.[23] His son Alexander was of the same humor too. For "when Antipater had gained a victory which he intended himself to have had the honor of, he could not forbear to utter his indignation, reckoning himself injured by the merits of his subject and servant."[24] And at another time he caused Parmenio to be put to death for no other cause but because he hated him, being suspicious of his extraordinary merits. Thus the Emperor Vespasian likewise behaved himself toward the General Antonius, by whose means Rome was secured for him against Vitellius and the imperial diadem placed on his head; which was no sooner done but Vespasian, instead of a reward, cashiered him of his command and all other employment whatsoever so that sinking under the burden of his own despair and the other's ingratitude, he lived not long after. In like manner Alphonsus Albuquerquius,[25] after he had brought most part of the East Indies under the obedience of his master the King of Portugal, was sent for home; and, outed of his command, died for mere grief and sorrow. Nor did Consalvus the Great or Ferdinando Cortese[26] fare any better for all their services.[27] Consalvus,[28] after he had driven the French out of the Kingdom of Naples and subdued it to Ferdinand of Aragon, was by him at his coming to Naples put out of his command and carried into Spain in little better condition than a prisoner, where his heart broke for grief immediately. How miserable then is the condition of the most generous spirits under tyrannous royalty, wherein princes count themselves disobliged by the bravest actions of their subjects! And Tacitus tells of one of the Caesars upon the like occasion, "that he conceived it prejudicial to his own honor and fortune and supposed himself insufficient to recompense extraordinary merits. For good turns seem then only acceptable to princes when they may be easily requited; otherwise they return hatred instead of thanks."[29] Cominaeus[30] also reports it from Lewis of France his own mouth, that he much more loved those whom himself had obliged by bounty and courtesy than such as had obliged him by their deserts.

Yea, so dangerous a thing is virtue in princes' courts that it is as much as a man's life is worth to be commended for it. And to this purpose we have a story in Polybius, lib. 6, how that one Apelles, being enemy to Aratus a favorite of King Philip the Macedonian, took occasion to extol him most highly to the King as a person admired by all for his many rare and incomparable virtues; knowing this was the way to bring him out of the King's favor;[31] which was, saith one, a new way of revenge, and it took effect to the destruction of Aratus. For after awhile he became so much disrelished that the King gave him a dose in convenient season which rid him away by a lingering sickness. And Aratus so well understood how the case was with him that when his friend Cephalon came to visit him in his chamber and asked how it came to pass that he spit blood? "O Cephalon," said he, "these are the rewards of kingly friendship and acquaintance."[32] Our own histories and our neighbors of France might furnish us with instances enough of the same nature; but at home here, look no further than Harry the Eighth, and we find him ever and anon bedabbled with the blood of the most deserving persons, as well as most of his predecessors. What persecution hath happened since is notorious to all of the meanest reading and observation. So that seeing it appears there is as little security for the bravest spirits in a regal as in a popular tyranny, certainly all persons of generous thoughts and resolutions are much more concerned to dislike it and apply themselves to the love of a free state. It being concluded by Aristotle the best of governments and is by experience known to be most conducing to the advancement of a nation every way in honor, profit, and dominion; having ever produced many more excellent heroes than any other form upon the stage of action, as is evident in the Grecian, Roman, and modern stories.

But one great argument of exception, I perceive among some, against this government is because men are permitted the freedom of their souls and consciences in the profession of religion. This they conceive inconsistent with the public peace; that no state can be of continuance with such a toleration, and that it is [not] [33] agreeable to the Word of God. To the latter part of this assertion, I answer that prudent toleration of opinions in matter of religion could never be proved yet by any of our Episcoparians and Presbyterians, in all their writings, to be repugnant to the Word; being as far to seek this way as they are to convince us of the sacred necessity of a national uniformity. Several instances there are to show how this Commonwealth hath punished those wild pretenders that profess manifest libertinism and blasphemy, many of whom at this day are in custody. And as long as these ill weeds are rooted out of the garden of the church, the wholesome, tender plants will thrive in beauty and virtue under their several measures and dispensations.

And that variety of opinions can be no way destructive of public peace, as is pretended, is evident by the customs of other nations, both heathen and Christian. The Egyptians have now among them no less than four several sects,[34] differing in doctrine and discipline and all derived from the superstition of Mahomet. Yet their great pontiffs and priests live in amity together, void of hatred and strife, and the common people also behave themselves accordingly without brawling or enmity. And it is usual for the more learned sort of them to dispute with each other and defend the opinions of their party; which they are allowed to do with all liberty so long as they fly not out into language against any of the four doctors who were the first patrons of those opinions. Wherein, if any chance to offend, they are punished by fine and imprisonment.

Lipsius tells us that in the Isle of Japan there are no less than nine religions, every man being at liberty to profess which he please.[35] So that in the same house you might see the husband of one religion, the wife of another, the son of a third, and yet no heartburning nor difference among them to the disturbance of the family. The Turk, we see, also allows an equal liberty to Christians and Jews, yet his empire hath long continued firm and peaceable, notwithstanding the variety of opinions tolerated among those of his own sect and others. The case is the same likewise in several Christian dominions; as Poland, Transylvania, Hungary, and even in the Protestant dominions in Germany. Yet the experiment is brought nearer home to us by our neighbors, the States of Holland; who by a prudent toleration of several professions have established themselves in such a measure of peace, plenty, and liberty as is not to be equaled by any of the nations round about them. And the reasons why those nations continue in peace, notwithstanding their difference in religious opinions, are confessed by the same Lipsius, a great Roman Catholic, to be these. First, because the prince and he that is the high priest among them carry themselves with the same aspect upon all, giving no countenance to one more than another. Secondly, because they severely punish such as offer to disturb their neighbors about any matter relating to religion. Thirdly, because they suffer not that religion to be evil spoken of which is publicly professed by the prince or state. Whereby it is implied that a toleration of different opinions in religion can be no prejudice to the peace of a nation so long as these rules are observed, but rather a grand preservative of public quiet; whereas persecutions for matter of religion have ever been all the world over the great incentives of sedition. And since it is of unavoidable necessity that while the world stands there will be divisions of opinion, certainly such a course must needs be most rational which shall provide ways of remedy against such inconveniences as may follow them rather than inventions of torture and torment to thwart and stifle them; because the understandings of men can no more be compelled, than their wills, to approve what they like not. So that from hence it appears plainly the great pretenders of national uniformity in religion, those high, imperious, uniformity mongers that would have men take measure of all opinions by their own, are the greatest disturbers of states and kingdoms; and seem of the same humor with the tyrant Mezentius who, if his guests were too long for his bed, cut them shorter and if they happened to be too short, he had engines of torture to stretch them longer, being resolved to fit them all to his own measure and humor.

Several other objections there are against this new government in the mouths of many people, but they are founded upon outward sense more than inward reason. They raise arguments from those things which are the effects of present necessity and not of the nature of the government itself. Whereas if men would unanimously join in an establishment, no such necessity would be. But as now, so always, all alterations of government, though for the better, have been declaimed against by the more ignorant sort of people, supposing those burdens will remain forever which governors are constrained to lay upon them for present subsistence and security. Yet hath been ever observed likewise that the more willing and forward people have been to settle in peace under a new government, the sooner they have been eased of all their grievances and pressures; according to that saying of Curtius, Obsequio mitigantur imperia.[36] And therefore in this case, Cicero adviseth "all men that would be safe to submit unto necessity."[37]

Whence is it that taxes continue but from absolute necessity? And this necessity is much augmented by the peevish humors of people; who remaining unsettled, give cause of jealousy to the state and of hope to their enemies, so that they are forced to keep up an army for security. When things stand thus, Tacitus affirms "there can be neither peace nor security without armies, nor armies without pay, nor pay without taxes.[38] And therefore," saith he, "they aim at a destruction of the government that would take away those profits whereby the commonwealth is supported."[39] From whence, by the way, may be collected what the meaning of our Levellers is in demanding a present release of all taxes and payments. And whereas great complaint is made against the imprisoning men in unusual ways and trying them by extraordinary courts and commissions of justice, know that of Tacitus takes place ever upon extraordinary occasions. Magna exempla semper habent aliquid ex iniquo, quod tamen adversus singulos Militate publica rependitur. "Great examples are not tied strictly to the rule; and though some particulars suffer by swerving from it, yet recompense is made in that profit which redounds to the good and safety of the public."[40] For it cannot in reason be presumed that such ordinary proceedings as are used in times of peace can be sufficient to secure a commonwealth "during the necessities of war, at which time laws use to be silent."[41] And those courses are judged most equitable[42] and have ever been allowed so by all states and statesmen which are dictated by common reason and prudence for their necessary preservation. To this accords that of Queen Dido in Vergil:

Res durae, & regni novitas, me talia cogunt moliri.[43]

And that of Hercules in the Tragedian:

Quod civibus tenere te invitis scias, strictus tuetur ensis.[44]

Therefore if men will not submit and settle but keep the state by their obstinacy under the necessities of war, they must, if they plot or attempt anything against them, expect such proceedings and consequences as attend the sword when it is drawn. But would they close cordially in affection and be resolved once to settle in opposition to all invaders and intruders and let the Commonwealth have leave to take breath a little in the possession of a firm peace, then they would soon find the rivulets of a free state much more pleasing than the troubled ocean of kingly tyranny; begetting fertility and verdure, as they run along, in all the meadows and reviving those pastures which royalty was wont to drown and swallow. Had they but once tasted the sweets of peace and liberty both together, they would soon be of the opinion of Herodotus[45] and Demosthenes that there is no difference between king and tyrant and become as zealous as the ancient Romans were in defense of their freedom. And though this discourse may sound like that concerning the joys of heaven in the ears of ordinary people, as of blessings afar off, yet since it is in your power to hasten them, why stand ye off and delay? Ye may, if you please, by an unanimous obedience quickly open the fountains of future happiness that justice may run down as a mighty stream in the channel of the laws, and righteousness and peace embrace each other.

Seneca in Herc. Fur.

Si aeterna semper odia mortales gerant,
nec caeptus unquam cedat ex animis furor,
sed arma faelix teneat, infaelix paret;
nihil relinquent bella. Tum vastis ager
squallebit arvis, subdita tectis face
altus sepultas obruet gentes cinis.
Pacem reduci velle, victori expedit,
victo necesse est
.[46]


[1] MN: If this government be destroyed, we must expect a regal, or a presbyterian, or a popular tyranny.

[2] MN: Mach. De repub. l. I. c. 16. 17. & 18. [Machiavelli, Discorsi, bk. I, chaps. xvi-xviii.]

[3] MN: Florus. [Floras (fl. beginning of 2d century A.D., Roman historian), Epitome rerum Romanarum, bk. i, chaps. ii-iii.]

[4] MN: Mach. l. I. c. 17. De repub. [Machiavelli, Discorsi, bk. I, chap. xvii.]

[5] Capricious.

[6] MN: Eis fuit domi industria, foris justum imperium, animus in consulendo liber; neque libidini, neque delicto obnoxius. Salustius. ["They had industry at home, a just rule abroad, in counsel an independent spirit subject neither to passion nor to crime." Sallust, Bellum. Catilinae, chap. lii.]

[7] MN: De Catone in sua condone ad Romanos consules, ["Concerning Cato in his speech to the Roman consuls." Plutarch, Lives, section on Marcus Cato.]

[8] MN: Caesar. Comment, lib. 5. [Caesar, De bello Gallico, bk. v, chaps. xi-xxii.l

[9] MN: Sam. Daniel. Of the State of Britain. [Daniel, The Collection of the History of England, p. 2.]

[10] MN: Mach. lib. 2. cap. 2. [Machiavelli, Discorsi, bk. II, chap. ii.]

[11] MN: Incredibile est memoratus quantum adepta libertate, in brevi Romana civitas creverit. Salust. [Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, chap. vii. The quotation also appears on the title page.]

[12] MN: De summopere placent; eo quod in us, magis quam in alio genere rerumpublicarum, commune bonum conservetur, jus suum cuique aequaliter distribuatur, civium animi vehementius ad virtutem, &c. Fr. Guicciard. lib. 10. Hist. [Guicciardini, Historiarum, bk. X, p. 352. The quotation also appears on the title page.]

[13] Renewal of strength.

[14] Dante Alighieri (1265-1321, Italian poet). The passage is evidently from Dante's La divina comedia, "Purgatorio," canto 7, 11. 121-23, but is inexact. Nedham probably copied it from a Latin translation of Machiavelli's Discorsi, i.e., Disputationum, de republica (Montbéliard, 1591), bk. I, chap. xi, p. 67.

[15] Transmission by generation to offspring.

[16] MN: Lib. De repub. 2. cap. 11. [Machiavelli, Discorsi, bk. I, chap. xi.]

[17] MN: Tam obstinate jus suum urserunt, ut Turcicae perfidiae se committere maluerint, quam sceptris haereditariis eum potiri. Besold. De successione regia. cap. 5. [Besold, Synopsis politicae doctrinae, bk. I, chap. v.]

[18] MN: Gunt. lib. I. [Gunther, of Pairis (fl. 1200, German poet), De rebus gestis Imp. Caes. Friderici Primi (Tubingen, 1598), pp. 8-9.]

[19] At hazard.

[20] MN: Mach. De repub. cap. x. [Machiavelli, Discorsi, bk. I, chap. x.]

[21] MN: Dictator was a king pro tempore.

[22] MN: Claud. 6 Consol. Honor. ["Such a fate befits tyrants. Let them envy the famous and slaughter the brave." Claudian (fl. 400, Latin poet), Panegyricus de quarto consulatu Honorii augusti, 11. 290-91.]

[23] MN: Orat. ad epist. Philippi. [Demosthenes (385?-322 B.C., Athenian orator), Answer to Philip's Letter.]

[24] MN: Curtius. l. 6. Suae demptum glorias existimans quicquid cecisset alienae. [Curtius Rufus (fl. ca. A.D. 50, Roman historian), Historia Alexandri Magni, bk. vi, chap. i.]

[25] Affonso de Albuquerque (1453-1515, Portuguese viceroy in India).

[26] Hernando Cortés (1485-1547, Spanish conqueror of Mexico).

[27] MN: Sepulveda. Comm. ad Arist. polit. 3. c. 9. [Juan Gines de Sepulveda (1490-1573, Spanish theologian and historian), tr., Aristotelis de republica libri VIII (Paris, 1548), bk. III, chap. ix.]

[28] Gonzalo de Córdoba (1453-1515, Spanish general).

[29] MN: Destrui per haec fortunam suam Caesar, imparemque tanto merito rebatur. Nam beneficia usque eo laeta sunt, dum videntur posse exolvi: Ubi multum antevenere, pro gratia odium redditur. Tacit. Annal. 4. [Tacitus, Annales, bk. iv, chap. xviii.]

[30] Philippe de Comines (1445?-1511, French historian).

[31] Polybius, The Histories, bk. iv. Apelles was an enemy to Aratus and tried to destroy him but in a different way (see chaps. lxxxii-lxxxvi). Apelles tried to use the method described by Nedham to ruin Taurion (see chap. lxxxvii).

[32] MN: Tau~t' e0stin, w} Kefa/lwn, e(pi/xeira th~v turannikh~v fili/av. Plutarch in Arato. [Plutarch, Lives, section on Aratus.]

[33] The omission of not in the text was evidently a printer's error.

[34] MN: Joh. Leo. lib. 8. [Joannes Leo Africanus (fl. 16th century, Arab geographer), Africae descriptio (Leiden, 1632), bk. VIII.]

[35] MN: Lips. lib. adversus Dialogist. [Lipsius, De una religione adversus dialogistam liber, pp. 22-23, in Politicorum sive Civilis doctrinae (Amsterdam, 1632).]

[36] MN: Curt. apud Alex. lib. 8. ["Commands are made mild by obedience." Curtius Rufus, Historia Alexandri Magni, bk. viii, chap. viii.]

[37] MN: Omnes intelligant, salvi esse velint, necessitati esse parendum. Cic. De offic. lib. 2. [Cicero, De officiis, bk. ii, chap. xxi.]

[38] MN: Tac. Hist. 4. [Tacitus, Historiae, bk. iv, chap. lxxiv.]

[39] MN: Dissolutionem imperii decent, si fructus quibus republica sustinetur, diminuantur.

[40] MN: Tac. Annal. 14. [Tacitus, Annales, bk. xiv, chap. xliv.]

[41] MN: Inter arma silent leges.

[42] Text reads "most and equitable"; the inclusion of and was probably a printer's error.

[43] MN: Aeneid. I. ["Stern necessity and the newness of my kingdom force me to do such hard deeds." Vergil (70-19 B.C., Roman poet), Aeneid, bk. i, 11. 563-64.]

[44] MN: Seneca. ["What thou knowest thou holdest against the citizens' will, the unsheathed sword must maintain." Seneca, Hercules Furens, 11. 343-44.]

[45] MN: See Axiom. polit. Rich. 57. p. 152. [Richter, Axiomatum politicorum, p. 152.]

[46] "If men should bear eternal hatred and if furious rage, once arisen, should never pass from our hearts and the conqueror should cling to arms and the vanquished prepare them, wars will leave nothing. Then the fields of the ravaged farms will lie untilled, the torch will be put to homes, and thick ashes will cover over the buried nations. To wish for a return of peace is advantageous for the victor, but for the vanquished it is indispensable." Seneca, Hercules Furens, 11. 362-69.


An Appendix Added out of Salmasius and Mr. Hobbes[1]

NOTWITHSTANDING that I have already in the former part of this treatise sufficiently proved these two particulars, viz., "that the power of the sword gives title to government," and that "governors thus invested (though perhaps unlawfully) may, and must be lawfully obeyed," yet being to appear in the world with a second impression and in regard of the present controversy touching government hangs upon these two hinges, I thought meet to fasten them more surely upon the reader and drive the nails home to the head by inserting some additions which I have collected out of Salmasius, his Defensio regia,[2] and out of Mr. Hobbes, his late book De corpore politico.[3] Not that I esteem their authorities any whit more authentic than those which I have already alleged, but only in regard of the great reputation allowed unto those books by the two parties, presbyterian and royal. And I suppose no man may triumph or cry a victory more honorably than myself if I can foil our adversaries with weapons of their own approbation. Wherefore I commend the whole to the consideration of those hot-livered gentlemen which call themselves the nonsubscribers of Cheshire, Lancashire, and the parts adjoining; who may, if they please, find a fair return here for all their malicious expressions and matter enough whereby to frame answers to their own futilous[4] objections.

How fairly the sword transmitted a title to our present governors and how lawfully they stand possessed is cleared in the first part of this treatise in particular. But the only drift at present is to determine the point of power in general and of submission and obedience to such a power, though it had been unlawfully gained. And now to the purpose.

Of the Power of the Sword in Point of Title, According to the Opinion of Salmasius in His Defensio regia

Page 188 and 189 he saith "people usually submit to the will and pleasure of others in a twofold manner and yield to be governed by them either by force and constraint after victory or voluntarily by their own consent."[5] Both these ways they are conceived to quit their own power and transfer it irrevocably to him, or them, that take them into protection. And though such as are subdued by arms lose their power by force, yet, being necessitated to yield submission to the victor, he is supposed to rule over them by their own consent. Moreover, it is to be observed that in this case not all those which yield to the conditions of an unjust peace imposed by the enemies but those only that bare[6] arms are understood to be the conquered party. And because the rest that never bare arms are constrained to follow the fortune of the other, therefore, for the settling of a firm peace, there follows a necessity of such a compact or agreement (though it seem somewhat unjust) that the conquerors should give law and become lords to them all as the conquered party. Therefore when Augustus had deprived the Romans of their liberty by force of arms, the people, seeing him in a condition to impose what laws he pleased upon them, framed a law royal; whereby they resigned up all power into his hands, when they could no longer resist him, and took an oath of allegiance as you may read there at large.

And this he illustrates, page 191, by a simile: that as in the case of a rape by the old law, if a woman had once desired to marry a man and it had happened afterward that he took her away from her friends by force and ravished her, she was no less his lawful wife than if she had been given to him by her parents. The marriage also became as lawful, though she were forced, if she gave consent to it after the rape. So likewise the same may be said of him, or them, who hold a government over men by force after a victory.[7] For as much as by that consent of the people which the people can no longer deny, the power of governing is established in the conquerors' hands and becomes no less lawful than if the people had consigned it to them of their own accord.

Page 195. Quod armis quaeritur, transit in ejus dominium qui acquisivit, &c. "Whatsoever is sought by force of arms falls of right into his power who hath made himself master." Hence it was that whenever such as were overcome in war sought to change or cast off their new lords and masters by rebellion, being proved guilty of the fact, they were either imprisoned or hanged.[8] For, saith he, page 197, it is evident even by the light of natural reason that such as are subdued ought ever to remain subject to the subduers because they had quarter given by the conqueror when "by the law of arms it was in his election to destroy or save them."[9] And therefore they are bound in consideration of his favor and protection to serve and obey him faithfully.

Page 228 he saith that at this day there is no commonwealth or kingdom extant in Europe, Asia, or Africa that can lay claim to any other beginning and increase of their greatness. And page 198 he saith that if the transferring and holding of governments on this manner by way of purchase and possession were not allowable, then it would follow there are no lawful ones now in the world since there are very few, or none at all, that had any other beginning.[10] Thus Alexander the Great carried away the Empire from the Persians. After his death his great captains by force converted the several provinces under their command into so many kingdoms which in time were swallowed up by the Roman Empire. At length, likewise, the Roman was divided by those barbarous nations that issued like an inundation out of the North and overran Europe, Asia, and Africk. In Britain the Saxons drave out the old Britons, the Danes the Saxons, as the Saxons afterward drave out the Danes again and then were themselves subdued by the Normans.

Of Submission and Obedience to Power (Supposed Usurped and Unlawful) According to the Opinion of the same Salmasius, ut supra.

Page 71, speaking about Christ and his apostles paying tribute to Caesar, saith he, who was this Caesar to whom they paid tribute? Was he a good and lawful prince? Or was he not rather a cruel tyrant both in the usurpation and exercise of his power? It was Tiberius that then reigned, who by the practices of his mother possessed himself of the Empire to which he had no right and secured it by the subtile sleights and wickedness of a woman while the right heir was excluded. Having invaded the sovereignty as a tyrant, as a tyrant he ruled. Yet since Christ himself so freely and willingly submitted himself, did he not in so doing signify, by the doctrine which he delivered and commanded his disciples to publish to all nations, that he desired not any change of that form of government which was then established? And did not his apostles declare to their successors and recommend unto the people the very same doctrine which they received from their lord and master? Peter in that his epistle general which he wrote to the Jews, scattered in all nations, commanded them to submit to every ordinance of man. By which, according to the best interpretation, is meant all principality or magistracy whatsoever. To whom accords Paul in his 13 to the Romans, where according to the old Greek copies we read "To all supereminent powers," and in the old Latin, "Be ye subject to all higher powers," as it is read also by Irenaeus and Ambrose in their commentaries. And whereas Peter saith, "To every ordinance of man," it is meant to every power which is set over men, to all magistrates as well as to kings. And whereas he saith "to the king as supereminent," it is to be noted that epistle was written from Babylon and so the subjection must be meant then of the King of the Parthians to whom he willed the Christians in the provinces of that country to be subject. And whereas it was superscribed to the converted Jews that dwelt in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, those things spoken by Peter may be meant likewise of the Roman Emperor. And who was emperor at that time but Nero. No ordinary tyrant but the most notorious, cruel tyrant in the world! So that, in all times since, his name hath been made use of by all nations as an ordinary appellation for the worst of tyrants. But whether it were to the King of the Parthians, or to the Roman Emperor, or whatsoever tyrant besides, Peter affirms there is a debt of subjection due unto them from the people. So likewise doth Paul in his forementioned chapter to the Romans and gives the reason why we should submit to all supereminent powers because: "There is no power but of God; the powers that are, are ordained of God."[11] And from thence he infers, "Whosoever resists the power, resists the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive damnation." Lastly, he saith, subjection must be yielded not only for fear of the anger of the magistrate, but also for conscience sake. As if we could not preserve a conscience pure and upright before God except we paid the obedience due unto all magistrates whatsoever without dispute concerning their right of power and supremacy.

Page 113, Paul, in his first Epistle to Timothy, chapter 2, exhorts that "Prayers and supplications be made for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty," because godliness and honesty cannot well subsist without peace and tranquillity. And there can be no peace and quietness without the safety of our governors. But what were those governors which the apostle commanded us to pray for? Certainly they were tyrants by usurpation that ruled in a tyrannical manner, haters of the true religion, persecutors and idolaters. Yet this was the rule, this the law, this the commandment. And, as he observes page 197, Christ himself was content to be born, to live and pay obedience, to acknowledge their authority in matter of tribute and judicature, and at last to be condemned injuriously and suffer death most shamefully under a tyrannical, usurped government. — Much more he hath to the same purpose, but let this suffice out of one of their own oracles to show: that if the present power were usurped (as our antagonists would suppose, though as yet they never proved it), yet their consciences cannot be secure from the guilt of that treason wherein they must needs involve themselves if they proceed in their pertinacious courses of disobedience and opposition.

Arguments for Submission Brought Out of Mr. Hobbes His Book, De corpore politico[12]

If it be true, which Mr. Hobbes saith,[13] that "The cause in general which moveth one man to become subject to another is the fear of not otherwise preserving himself; and if a man may subject himself to him that invadeth, or may invade, for fear of him"; or, if "men may join among themselves to subject themselves to such as they shall agree upon for fear of others; and if when many men subject themselves the former way there ariseth thence a body politic, as it were naturally," then it appears that since there is no other possible way to preserve the well-being of this nation but by a submission to the present powers (as I have proved in the second part of this treatise), we may pay subjection to them in order to our security. Nor can any hold a plea for nonsubmission upon pretense of having been invaded, or overmastered, by those whom he reckons here as invaders or usurpers. Nor can the prevailing party of this nation be blamed in any wise for joining among themselves to subject themselves to such as are now in authority for fear of foreign invaders. But having thus subjected themselves, they are naturally, lawfully, and completely united in the form of a[14] body politic, or commonwealth, truly called The Commonwealth of England.

Mr. Hobbes saith further,[15] "The end for which one man giveth up and relinquisheth to another, or others, the right of protecting or defending himself by his own power, is the security which he expecteth thereby of protection and defense from those to whom he doth so relinquish it. And a man may then account himself in the state of security when he can foresee no violence to be done unto him from which the doer may not be deterred by the power of that sovereign or supreme authority that is set over them. And without that security there is no reason for a man to deprive himself of his own advantages and make himself a prey to others. How far therefore, in the making of a commonwealth, man subjecteth his will to the power of others must appear from the end, namely, security." From whence may plainly be inferred that since no security for life, limbs, and liberty (which is the end of all government) can now be had here by relinquishing our right of self-protection and giving it up to any other power beside the present, therefore it is very unreasonable in any man to put himself out of the protection of this power by opposing it and reserving his obedience to the King of Scots or any other power whatsoever; it being clear that neither he, nor any other, can now protect us by affording any possible present security from violence and injury.

Section 8.[16] He saith, "And for as much as they who are among themselves in security, by the means of this [power or] sword of justice that keeps them all in awe, are nevertheless in danger of enemies from without, if there be not some means found to unite their strengths and natural forces in the resistance of such enemies, their peace among themselves is but vain. And therefore it is to be understood as a covenant of every member to contribute their several forces for the defense of the whole whereby to make one power as sufficient as is possible for their defense. Now seeing the use of every man's strength is transferred to him, or them, that have the sword of justice, it followeth that the power of defense, that is to say the sword of war, be in the same hands wherein is the sword of justice. And consequently those two swords are but one and that, inseparably and essentially annexed to the supreme power."

Section 9.[17] "Moreover, seeing to have the right of the sword is nothing else but to have the use thereof, depending only on the judgment and discretion of him, or them, that have it, it followeth that the power of indenture in all controversies wherein the sword of justice is to be used and in all deliberations concerning war wherein the use of that sword is required, the right of resolving and determining what is to be done, belong to the same sovereign or supreme power."

Section 10.[18] "Farther, considering it is no less, but much more, necessary to prevent violence and rapine than to punish the same when it is committed and all violence proceedeth from controversies that arise between men concerning meum and tuum, right and wrong, good and bad, and the like, which men use everyone to measure by their own judgments, it belongeth also to the judgment of the same supreme power to set forth and make known the common measure by which every man is to know what is his and what another's, what is good and what bad, and what he ought to do and what not, and to command the same to be observed. And these measures of the actions of the subjects are those which men call laws politic or civil. The making whereof must of right belong to him that hath the power of the sword by which men are compelled to observe them. For otherwise they should be made in vain." All these sections are so express and positive to our purpose that I need not press the inferences for submission upon the meanest understanding.

"There are three titles only by which one man may have right and dominion over another. The first is hereditary and takes place upon supposition of children begotten. The other two may take place presently, and these are voluntary offer of subjection and yielding by compulsion."[19] Likewise, he saith in the second chapter, section 15, "A man is released of his former subjection by conquest. For when it cometh to pass that the power of a commonwealth or kingdom is overthrown, he is discharged of his obligation to the former. For no man can serve two masters."[20]

"And since God speaketh not in these days to any man by his private interpretation of the Scriptures nor by the interpretation of any power above, or not, depending on the supreme power of every commonwealth, it remaineth that he speaketh by his vice gods or lieutenants here on earth; that is to say, by sovereign kings or such as have sovereign authority as well as they."[21]

"These things considered, it will easily appear that under the sovereign power of a Christian commonwealth there is no danger of damnation from simple obedience to human laws. For, in that the sovereign alloweth Christianity, no man is compelled to renounce that faith which is enough for his salvation, that is to say, the fundamental points. And for other points, seeing they are not necessary to salvation, if we conform our actions to the laws, we do not only what we are allowed but also what we are commanded by the law of nature, which is the moral law taught by Our Saviour himself. And it is part of that obedience which must concur to our salvation."[22]

Section 12.[23] "And though it be true that whatsoever a man doth against his conscience is sin, yet the obedience in these cases is neither sin nor against the conscience. For the conscience being nothing else but a man's settled judgment and opinion when his right of judging is once transferred to another, that which shall be commanded is no less his judgment than the judgment of that other. So that in obedience to laws, a man doth still according to his own conscience, but not his private conscience. And whatsoever is done contrary to private conscience is then a sin, when the laws have left him to his own liberty, and never else."

These things, together with the whole treatise, I once again recommend to all nonsubscribers, whether Royal or Presbyterian. God give them impartial hearts to weigh the particulars.

Rode, caper, vitem; tamen hic, cum stabis ad aras,
in tua quod fundi cornua possit, erit
.[24]


[1] The appendix is based on the copy of the second edition of 1650 (Wing N377) in the George Peabody Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore, Maryland. In the second edition it is paged 103-11.

[2] Claude de Saumaise [Claudius Salmasius] (1588-1653', French Protestant scholar), Defensio regia, pro Carolo I (n.p., 1649 [12 mo. ed.]).

[3] Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679, English philosopher and political theorist), De corpore politico or The Elements of Law (London, 1650).

[4] Futile.

[5] MN: Populi duplici modo in alterius arbitrium se dedunt, &c. [Saumaise, Defensio regia, pp. 188-89.]

[6] Bore.

[7] MN: This is that tacit consent mentioned by me in Part I, c. 4. p. 23. 24. [See pp. 39-40.]

[8] MN: Cruci affigebantur, aut in ergastulum trudebantur. pag. 196. [Saumaise, Defensio regia, p. 195.]

[9] MN: Quos poterat jure belli perdere, servatos maluit. [Ibid., p. 197.]

[10] MN: Imo nulla, quae non ad hoc instar nata, vel facta juerint. [Ibid., p. 198.]

[11] MN: Non esse potestatem nisi a Deo. Nihil differunt, omnes potestates esse a Deo ordinatas, & nullam esse nisi a Deo. [Ibid., p. 73.]

[12] See supra, note 3.

[13] MN: Part I, chap. 6, sect. 11. [Hobbes, De corpore politico, pp. 57-58.]

[14] In the original text, the words "of a body" read "a of body."

[15] MN: Part 2, chap. I, sect. 5. [Ibid., pp. 64-65.]

[16] MN: Sect. 8. [Ibid., pp. 66-67.]

[17] MN: Sect. 9. [Ibid., p. 67.]

[18] MN: Sect. 10. [Ibid., pp. 67-68.]

[19] MN: Part 2, chap. 3. sect. 2. [Ibid., p. 92.]

[20]Ibid., p. 90.

[21] MN: Part 2, chap. 7. sect. 11. [Ibid., p. 158.]

[22] MN: Chap. 6. sect. 11. [Ibid., p. 140.]

[23] MN: Sect. 12. [Ibid., pp. 140-41.]

[24] "Gnaw at the vine, old goat; however, when you stand before the altar, this is what will be poured over your horns."


FINIS


Contents | Text Version