102. THE HEADS OF THE PROPOSALS (1647)
The heads of the proposals agreed upon by his excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax and the council of the army, to be tendered to the commissioners of parliament residing with the army and with them to be treated on by the commissioners of the army.... That ... a certain period may by act of parliament be set for the ending of this parliament, such period to be put within a year at most, and in the same act provision to be made for the succession and constitution of parliaments in future, as followeth:
1. That parliaments may biennially be called and meet at a certain day, with such provision for the certainty thereof as in the late act was made for triennial parliaments, and what further or other provision shall be found needful by the parliament to reduce it to more certainty. And upon the passing of this, the said act for triennial parliaments [is] to be repealed.
2. Each biennial parliament [is] to sit 120 days certain, unless adjourned or dissolved sooner by their own consent; afterwards to be adjournable or dissolvable by the king. And no parliament [is] to sit past 240 days from their first meeting, or some other limited number of days now to be agreed on; upon the expiration whereof each parliament [is] to dissolve of course, if not otherwise dissolved sooner.
3. The king, upon advice of the council of state, in the intervals between biennial parliaments, [is] to call a parliament extraordinary; provided it meet above 70 days before the next biennial day and be dissolved at least 60 days before the same, so as the course of biennial elections may never be interrupted.
4. That this parliament and each succeeding biennial parliament, at or before adjournment or dissolution thereof, may appoint committees to continue during the interval for such purposes as are in any of these proposals referred to such committees.
5. That the elections of the commons for succeeding parliaments may be distributed to all counties, or other parts or divisions of the kingdom, according to some rule of equality of proportion; so as all counties may have a number of parliament members allowed to their choice proportionable to the respective rates they bear in the common charges and burdens of the kingdom, [or] according to some other rule of equality or proportion, to render the house of commons, as near as may be, an equal representative of the whole. And in order thereunto, that a present consideration be had to take off the elections of burgesses for poor, decayed, or inconsiderable towns, and to give some present addition to the number of parliament members for great counties that have now less than their due proportion, to bring all ... , as near as may be, to such a rule of proportion as aforesaid.
6. That effectual provision be made for future freedom of elections, and certainty of due returns.
7. That the house of commons alone have the power from time to time to set down further orders and rules for the ends expressed in the two last preceding articles, so as to reduce the elections of members for that house to more and more perfection of equality in the distribution, freedom in the election, order in the proceeding thereto, and certainty in the returns....
8. That there be a liberty for entering dissents in the house of commons, with provision that no member be censurable for aught said or voted in the house further than to exclusion from that trust and that only by the judgment of the house itself.
9. That the judicial power, or power of final judgment in the lords and commons ... may be cleared; and that no officer of justice, minister of state, or other person adjudged by them, may be capable of protection or pardon from the king without their advice or consent.
10. That the right and liberty of the commons of England may be cleared and vindicated as to a due exemption from any judgment, trial, or other proceeding against them by the house of peers, without the concurring judgment of the house of commons as also from any other judgment, sentence, or proceeding against them, other than by their equals or according to the law of the land.
11. The same act [is] to provide that grand-jurymen may be chosen by and for several parts or divisions of each county respectively, in some equal way ...; and that such grand-jurymen for their respective counties may at each assize present the names of persons to be made justices of the peace from time to time, as the county hath need for any to be added to the commission; and at the summer assize [they are] to present the names of three persons, out of whom the king may prick one to be sheriff for the next year.
For the future security of parliament and the militia in general, in order thereunto, that it be provided by act of parliament:
1. That the power of the militia by sea and land during the space of ten years next ensuing shall be ordered ... by the lords and commons assembled ... in the parliament or parliaments of England by such persons as they shall ... appoint for that purpose....
2. That the said power shall not be ordered, disposed, or exercised by the king's majesty that now is, or by any person or persons by an authority derived from him, during the said space; or at any time hereafter by his said majesty without the advice and consent of the said lords and commons, or of such committees or council in the intervals of parliament as they shall appoint.
3. That during the same space of ten years the said lords and commons may by bill or ordinance raise and dispose of what moneys and for what forces they shall from time to time find necessary, as also for payment of the public debts and damages, and for all other the public uses of the kingdom.
4. And to the end the temporary security intended by the three particulars last precedent may be the better assured, it may therefore be provided that no subjects that have been in hostility against the parliament in the late war shall be capable of bearing any office of power or public trust in the commonwealth during the space of five years without the consent of parliament or of the council of state; or to sit as members or assistants of either house of parliament until the second biennial parliament be passed.
For the present form of disposing the militia in order to the peace and safety of this kingdom and the service of Ireland:
1. That there be commissioners for the admiralty, with the vice-admiral and rear-admiral now to be agreed on, with power for the forming, regulating, appointing of officers and providing for the navy....
2. That there be a general for command of the land forces that are to be in pay both in England, Ireland, and Wales, both for field and garrison.
3. That there be commissioners in the several counties for the standing militia of the respective counties ... , with power for the proportioning, forming, regulating, training, and disciplining of them.
4. That there be a council of state, with power to superintend and direct the several and particular powers of the militia last mentioned for the peace and safety of this kingdom and of Ireland.
5. That the same council may have power, as the king's privy council, for and in all foreign negotiations; provided that the making of war or peace with any other kingdom or state shall not be without the advice and consent of parliament.
6. That the said power of the council of state be put into the hands of trusty and able persons now to be agreed on, and the same persons to continue in that power ... for the certain term not exceeding seven years.
7. That there be a sufficient establishment now provided for the salary forces both in England and Ireland, the establishment to continue until two months after the meeting of the first biennial parliament.
That an act be passed for disposing the great offices for ten years by the lords and commons in parliament ... , and after ten years they [are] to nominate three and the king out of that number [is] to appoint one for the succession upon any vacancy....
That an act be passed for confirmation of the treaties between the two kingdoms of England and Scotland, and for appointing conservators of the peace betwixt them....
An act to be passed to take away all coercive power, authority, and jurisdiction of bishops and all other ecclesiastical officers whatsoever extending to any civil penalties upon any....
That there be a repeal of all acts or clauses in any act enjoining the use of the Book of Common Prayer and imposing any penalties for neglect thereof; as also of all acts or clauses in any act imposing any penalty for not coming to church, or for meetings elsewhere for prayer or other religious duties, exercises, or ordinances; and some other provision [is] to be made for discovering of papists and popish recusants, and for disabling of them and of all Jesuits or priests from disturbing the state.
That the taking of the Covenant be not enforced upon any, nor any penalties imposed on the refusers, whereby men might be restrained to take it against their judgments or consciences....
That the things herebefore proposed being provided, for settling and securing the rights, liberties, peace and safety of the kingdom his majesty's person, his queen, and royal issue may be restored to a condition of safety, honour, and freedom in this nation, without diminution to their personal rights, or further limitation to the exercise of the regal power than according to the particulars foregoing....
Next to the proposals aforesaid for the present settling of a peace, we shall desire that no time may be lost by the parliament for dispatch of other things tending to the welfare, ease, and just satisfaction of the kingdom, and in special manner that the just and necessary liberty of the people to represent their grievances and desires by way of petition, may be cleared and vindicated.... That ... the common grievances of this people may be speedily considered of and effectually redressed, and in particular (1) that the excise may be taken off from such commodities whereon the poor people of the land do ordinarily live, and a certain time to be limited for taking off the whole; (2) that the oppressions and encroachments of forest laws may be prevented for the future; (3) all monopolies, old or new, and restraints to the freedom of trade to be taken off; (4) that a course may be taken and commissioners appointed to ... settle the proportion for land rates to more equality throughout the kingdom ...; (5) the present unequal, troublesome, and contentious way of ministers' maintenance by tithes to be considered of, and some remedy applied; (6) that the rules and
course of law, and the officers of it, may be so reduced and reformed as that all suits and questions of right may be more clear and certain in the issues, and not so tedious nor chargeable in the proceedings as now ...; (7) ... that the estates of all men may be some way made liable to their debts ... , whether they be imprisoned for it or not ...; (8) some provision to be made that none may be compelled by penalty or otherwise to answer unto questions tending to the accusing of themselves or their nearest relations in criminal causes, and no man's life to be taken away under two witnesses; (9) that consideration may be had of all statutes, and the laws or customs of corporations, imposing any oaths, either to repeal or else to qualify ... the same, so far as they may extend ... to the molestation or ensnaring of religious and peaceable people merely for nonconformity in religion....
That provision may be made for payment of arrears to the army and the rest of the soldiers of the kingdom who have concurred with the army in the late desires and proceedings thereof; and in the next place for payment of the public debts and damages of the kingdom; and that to be performed, first to such persons whose debt or damages ... are great, and their estates small, so as they are thereby reduced to a difficulty of subsistence; in order to all which ... we shall speedily offer some further particulars ... , which we hope will be of good use towards public satisfaction....
Ibid., VII, 731 f.
 No. 96A.