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** jure all endeavours to alter the government in the
*' church, without regard to any thing that rules of
^* prudence in the government, or chrillian compafTion
** to proteftant diffcnters, or the neceflity of affairs at
" any time, fl:iall or may require; upon thefe con-
" fiderations, we humbly conceive it to be of dangerous
'' confequence to have any bill of this nature fo much
" as committed, and do enter our diffents from that
*' vote, and proteflation againft it.'*







Which proteflation was no fooner entered and fub-
fcribed the next day, but the great officers and bifliops
raifed a (lorm againft the lords that had fubfcribed it ;
endeavouring not only fome fevere proceedings againfl
their perfons, if they had found the houfe would have
born it, but alfo to have taken away the very liberty
of entering proteftations with reafons. But that was
defended v/ith fo great abilitr, learning, and reafon, by
the lord Holies, that they quitted the attempt ; and the
debate ran for feme hours, either wholly to raze the
proteftation out of the books, or at leaft fome part of
It ; the exprelTion of *' chriftian compailion to prote-
*' ftant dilfcnters,** being that, which gave them moft
offence. But both thefe ways were fo difagreeable to
the lionour and privilege of the houfe, and the latter to
common {aw'it and right ; that they defpaired of carrying
it, and contented thcmfelvcs with having voted, " that

P 4. " the

2 1 6 ^ Lc' Her from a Ferfon of ^lality,

" the reafons given, in the Hiid protcftation, did rcflcdl
'' ijpoji the honour of the houfe, and were of dangerous
" confcri'encc." And I cannot here forbear to men-
tion the worth and honour of that noble lord Holies,
fuitable to all bis Inriuer life ; that whilft the debate was
at the heit2,ht, the protcfting lords in danger of the
Tower, he begged the houfe to give him leave to put
his name to that protcil, and take his fortune w ith thofc
lords, becaufe his licknefs had forced him out of the
houfe the day before ; fo that, not being at the quef-
tion, he could not, by the rules of tiie houfe, fign it.
This vote agamft thofe twelve lords begat the next day
the following protelt^tion, figncd by one and tw enty :

*' Whereas it is the undoubted privilege of each peer
" in parliament, when a queftion is pad contrary to his
" vote and judgment, to enter his protcflation againft
•' it; and that, in puiiuance thereof, the bill^ entitled,
" An ad: to prevent the dangers which may arife from
** pcrfons difafPeClcd to the government," being con-
*' ceived by fonie lords to be of fo dangerous a natiire,
"as that it was not tit to receive the countenance of a
** comjTiiimen: ; thofe lords did protcll againft the
'* cornmitmenr . f tne faid bill ; and, the houfe having
" taken exceptions at fom.e cxpreiTions in their protefla-
" tion, thofc lords, who were prcfent at the debate,
" did all cf them feverally and voluntarily declare, that
" they had no intention to reflect upon any member,
" much lefsupon the whole houfe ; which, as is humbly
'* conceived, was more than in ftrictnefs did conlill
*' with that abfoluie freedom of piv)telting, which is
•' infcparable from every member of this houfe, and
•' was done by them merely out of their great refpeol:
" to the houfe» aud their earncfl defire to give all faris-
'* faction concerning themfelves, and the clearnefs of
^' their intentions; yet the houfe, not fatisfied uith this
" their declaration, but proceeding tea vote, " That the
" rcafons given in the fild prote(?ation do reflecl upon
" the honour of the houfe, and are of dangerous confe-
" qucncc ;" which is, in our humble opinion, a great
" difcounrrnancing of the verv liberty of protefting:
*' we, who^t names arc underwritten, conceive ourfelves


A hotter from a Perfon of ^ality. 2 1 7

*■' and the whole houfe of peers extremely concerned
^* that great wound fliould be given (as we humbly
" apprehend) to io eflential a privilege of the whole
*' peerage of this realm, as their liberty of protefting ;
'' do now (according to our unqueftionablc right)
*' make ufe of the fame liberty to enter this our dilFcnt
*' from, and proteftation againll, the faid vote ;











After this bill being committed to a committee of the
whole houfe, the tirft thing infilled upon by the lords,
^gainfc the bill, was, that there ought to be palTed Tome
previous votes to fecure the rights of peerage, and pri-
vilege of parliament, before they entered upon the
debate or amendments of fuchabill as this. And at
laft two previous votes were obtained, whuh I need
not here fet down, becaufe the next proteftation hath
them both in terminis :

'' Whereas upon the debate on rhe biH, entitled,
'V. An ad to prevent the dangers which may arife from
^ perfons difaffcdled to the government,'* it was ordered
'' by the houfe of peers, the 30th of April laft, that no
** oath ftiould be impofed, by any bill, or otherwife,
*' upon the peers, with a penalty, in cafe of refufal, to
^' lofc their places, or votes in parliament, or liberty to
'' debate therein: and whereas alfo, upon riebatc of
" the fame, it was ordered, the third of this initant
"' May, that there ftiall be nothing in this bill, which
'' fliall extend to deprive cither of the houfes of \ arlia-
^' ment, or any of thcfr members, of their juft, an^ienc

*' freedom

2tS a L'-tter fr-m a P erf on of Quality.

^' freedom and privilege of dehatinj^ any matter or
" ' ^" '■ ->-■ '^ (hall be prnpnunded or debated in
J houfcs, or ar nay conference or com-
mittee of both, or either of the faid houfes of parlia-
"^-r; or toiichin^.^ the repeal, or alteration of any
or preparing any new laws ; or the redreffing
any public grievance ; bur that the faid members of
either en :hc faid hoiifc:>, and the affillants cf the houfe
of peers, and every of them, Ihall have the fame free-
dom of fpeech, and all other j:)rivilegcs whatfoever, as
they had before the making of this ad ; both which
" orders were palTed as previous directions unto the
*' committee of the whole houfe, to whom the faid bill
*' was committed, to the end that nothing fhcuid re-
** main in the faid bill, which might any ways tend
*' towards the depriving of either oi th'! houfes of par-
liament, or any of their members, of their antient
freedom of debates, or votes, or other privileges what-
fcx'ver ; yet the houfe being pleafed, upon the report
from the committee, to pafs a vote, 'I'hat all perfons
who have, or lliall have right to fit and vote in either
houfe of parliament, iliould be added to the firft
enac!ted claufe in the faid bill, whereby an oath is to
be in^pofed upon them as members of either houfe ;
which vote, we whofe names arc underwritten, being
peers of the realm, do humbly conceive, is not agree-
able to the faid two previou>: orders; and it having
been humbly oticred and infiRcd upon by divers o
us, that the provifo in the late ad, intitled, *' An ac^t
for preventing dangers that may happen from popifh
recufants,*' might be added to the bill dcpendmg,
whereby the peerage of every peer of this realm, and
all their privileges, might be prcfervcd in this hill,
as fully as in the faid late act ; yet the houfe not pleaiing
to admit of the faid provifo, but proceeding to the
pafTing of the faid vote ; we do humbly, upon the
grounds aforcfaid, and According to our undoubted
right, enter thi:. our diffcnt from, and proteftation
againfl the fame :


A Letter from a Per/on of ^mlity. i \ 9









This was their lad proteftation ; for, after this, they
altered their method, and reported not the votes of the
committee, and parts of the bill to the houfe, as they
pafTed them ; but took the fame order as is obferved in
other bills, not to report unto the houfe, until thev had
gone through with the bill, and fo report all the ar end-
ments together. This they thought a way of morediU
patch, and which did prevent all proteftations, until it
came to the houfe ; for the votes of a committee, though
of the whole houfe, are not thought of that weight, as
that there fhould be allowed the entering a dillent of
them, or proteftation againft them.

The bill being read over at the committee, the lord
keeper objeded againft the form of it, and deiired that
he might put it in another method ; which was eafily
allowed him, that biing not the difpute. But it was ob-
fervable the hand of God was upon them in this whole
affair; their chariot-wheels were taken oif, they drew
heavily ; a bill fo long defigned, prepared, and of that
moment to all their aifairs, had hardly a fenfible com-

The firft part of the bill that was fallen upon, was,
*' whether there Ihould be an oath at all in the bill ;'*
and this was the only part thecoi.rt-party defended with
reafon. For^ the whole bill being to enjoin an oath,
the houfe might rejed: it, but the committee was not to
deftroy it. Yet the lord Hallifax did with that quick-
ncfs, learning, and elegance, which are infeparabk from
all his difcourfes, make appear, that as there really was
no fecurity to any ftate by oaths ; fo alfo no private per-
fpn, much lefs ftates-man, would ever order his alfairs


2ao ^ Letter from a Pcrfon nf S>tiality,

as relying on it : no man would ever flccp with open
doors, or iinlockt-up trcafurc or plate, fliould all the
town be fuorn not to rob; fo that the iifc of multi-
plying oaths had been mod commonly to exclude or
dilhirb fomc honcll confcicntious men, who would
never have prejudiced the government. It was alfo
inlifted on by that lord and others, that the oath, impofcd
bv the bill, contained three claufes ; the two former
aifertory, and the lalt promiHory ; and that it was wor-
thy the conlidcration of the bilhops, whether aifcrtory
oaths, which were properly appointed to give teftimony
of a matter of fact, whereof a man is capable to be fully
aflured by the evidence of his fenfes, be lawful to be
made ule of to confirm or invalidate doctrinal ;)ropoli-
tions ; and \\hethcr that Icgiflativc power, which impofes
fuch an oath, docs not necelTarily alfumc to itfelf an
infallibility ? And, as for promiiiory oaths, it was de-
fired that thofe learned prelates would confiJcr the opi-
nion of Grotius, *' De jure belli 6c pacis," who feems
to nuke it plain, that thofe kind of oaths arc forbidden
by our Saviour Chrift, Matt. v. 34, 37*; and whether
it would not become the fathers of the church, when
they have well weighed that and other places of the
New Tcflament, to be more tender in multiplying oaths,
than hitherto the great men of the church have been ?
But the bidiops carried the point, and an oath was or-
dered by the major vote.

The next thing in confidcration, was about the per-
fons that fliould be enioincd to take this oath ; and

• iNotantium hie tft obiter, quod in Chriiti prxccptis, .'v: apu<J jacobum
de non jur.inilo clicitur, propric non ad aflirtorium juramcntum, ciijus
auud I'iiulum apoftolum cxcmpla extant aliquot, fed ad promiiToriiuTi
futuri inccrii p:rtir.crc. Oftcndit hoc cvidentcr oppofmo ilia in verbis
Chrifti: *' Audiftis diftum antiouis, non ix'ierabis, fed rcddcs Domino

Idem cvincit iliud in ChrilH verbis Trw ^* ^^070; IfAv* tx\ »a», «^, «, quod

fjc Jacobus explicat, rTA* «fi t/zi» to »ai »«/, ««», to m e, Nam

prius >a» «!v tr promilTum fignincat, pollcrius cjui implcmcntum, <S:c. Dc
juic belli U pacii, lib. II. cap. xiii. ^21.


A Leller from a Terjon of ^hiality, 221

thofe \vere to be " all fuch as enjoyed any beneficial
*' office or employment, ecclefiaftical, civil or military ;"
and no farther went the debate for fome hours, until at
laft the lord-keeper rifes up, and with an eloquent
oration, defires to add privy-counfellors, juftices of
the peace, and members of both hpufes ; the two former
particularly mentioned only to uflier in the latter,
which was fo direclly againft the two previous votes ;
the firfl: of which was enrolled arnongit the ftanding
orders of the houfe, that it wanted a man of no lefs
afTurance in his eloquence to propofe it. And he was
driven hard, when he was forced to tell the houfe, that
they were mafters of their own orders, and interpre-
tation of them.

The next coniideration, at the committee, was the
oath itfelf ; and it was defired by the country lords that
it might be clearly known, whether it were meant all
for an oath, or fome of it for a declaration, and fome
an oath ? If the latter, then it was dcfired it might be
diftindly parted ; and that the declaratory part fliouldbe
fubfcribed by itfelf, and not fworn. There was no
fmall pains taken by the lord-keeper and the bifhops
to prove that the two firft parts were only a decla-
ration, and not an oath. And though it was replied,
that to declare upon one's oath, or to abhor upon one's
oath, is the fame thing with, I do fwear ; yet there
was fome difficulty to obtain the dividing of them, and
that the declaratory part fhould be only fubfcribed, and
the refb fworn to.

The perfons being determined, and this divifion
agreed to ; the next thing was the parts of the decla-
ration ; wherein the hrft was, '' I A. B. do declare,
*' that it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatfoever,
" to take up arms againlt the king." This was liable
to great objections ; for it was faid, it might introduce
a great change of government, to oblige all the men
in great truft in England to declare that cxadl boun-
dary and extent of the oath of allegiance, and enforce
fome things to be dated, that are much better involved
in generals, and peradventure are rot capable of ano-
ther way of exprcflion, without great wrong on the one


2 22 A Letter from a Per/on r^f ^laliiy,

fide or the other. There is a law of 25th Edward III.
that *' arms fliall not be taken up againll the kin^^^ and
*' that it is trcalon to i\o 'io\* and it is a very jult and
realbnablc law. Hut 11 is an idle qucfiion at bell, to
aik, " whither arms in any cafe tan be taken up againfl
" a lawful prince;" becaufe it neceliarily brings in
the debate, in every man's mind, how there can be a
diQinaion then left between abfolute and bounded
monarchies, it" monarchs have only the fear of God,
and no fear of human refiftance to reftrain them. And
it was farther urged, that if the chance of human af-
fairs m future ages ihould give the french king a jull:
title and inveftiture in the crown of England, and he
ihould avowedly own a defign l5y force to change the
religion, and make his government here as abfolute as
in IVance, by the extirpation of the nobility, gentry,
and principal citizens of the proteflant party; whether
in fuch, or like cafes, this declaration will be a fer-
vice to the government, as it is now eftablifhcd. Nay,
and it was farther fiiid, that they overthrow the go-
vernment, that propofe to place any part of it above
the fear of man. For in our Englifh government, and
all bounded monarchies, w here the prince is not abfo-
lute, there every individual fubjcdt is under the fear of
the king and his people ; either for breaking the peace,
or difturbing the common intcrell that every man hath
in it ; for if he invades the perfon or right of his prince,
he invades his whole people, who have bound up in
him, and derive from him all their liberty, property,
and fatety ; as alfo the prince himfelf is under the fear
of breaking that golden chain and contexture between
him and his people, by making his intcrcfl contrary
to that they ju(\ly and rightly claim. And therefore
neither our anceflors, nor any other country free like
ourK, whilll they prefervcd their liberties, did ever
fufler any mercenary or Ihmding guards to their prince ;
but took care that his fafety lliould be in them, as theirs
was in him.

'ihough thcfe were the objections to this head, yet
they Were but lightly touched, and not fully infilU'd
upon, until the debate of the fecond head, where the


A Letter from a Per/on of ^ality. 223

fcope of the defign was opened clearer, and more dif-
tin& to every man's capacity.

The fecond was, *' And that I do abhor that traitor-
*' oils pofition of taking arms by his authority againft
*' his perfon." To this was objeded, that if by this
be meant an explanation of the oath of allegiance, to
leave men without pretence to oppofe where the indi-
vidual perfon of the king is; then it was to be con-
fidered, that the pofition, as it is here fet down, is
univerfal ; and yet, in mod cafes, the pofition is not
to be abhorred by honeil or wife men. For there is
but one cafe, and that never like to happen again,
where this pofition is in danger to be traitorous, which
was the cafe of the Long-parliament, made perpetual
by the king's own ad:, by which the government was
perfectly altered, and made inconfiftent with itfelf ; but
it is to be fuppofed the crown hath fufficient warning,
and full power to prevent the falling again into that
danger. But the other cafes are many, and fuch as
may every day occur, wherein this pofition is fo far
from traitorous, that it would prove both neceffary and
our duty. The famous inftance of Henry VI, who,
being a foft and weak prince, when tr^ken prifoner by
his coufm Edward IV, that pretended to the crown,
and the great earl of Warwick, was carried in their
armies ; gave what orders and commiffions they pleafed ;
and yet all thofe, that were loyal to him, adhered to his
wife and fon ; fought in a pitched battle againft him in
perfon ; and retook him. This was directly '' taking
" up arms againfl his perfon, and againll thofe that
" were commiflioned by him:" and yet to this day no
man hath ever blamed them, or thought but that, if
they had doncotherwife, they had betrayed their prince.
The great cafe of Charles VI. of France, who being
of a weak and crazy brain, yet governed by himfelf, or
rather by his wife, a woman of a pafTionate and heady
humour, that hated her fon the dauphin, a vigorous
and brave prince, and paffionately loved her daughter ;
fo that fhe ealily (being preyed by the vidory of Henry
V. of "England) complied to fettle the crown of France
upon him, to marry her daughter to him., and ow n his


2 24 A Letter from a P erf on of ^ual/'/y.

right, contrary to the Saliquc law. This was dircdf/
oppofcd v.ith arms and force by the dauphin and all
good frenchmen, even in his father's life-time. A
third inftance is that of king James of blefled memory ;
who, when he was a child, was fcizcd and taken pri-
foner, by thofe, who were jurtly thought no friends to
his crown or fafety. And if the cafe fhoiild be put,
that :^ future kin^ of England, of the fame temper with
Henry VI, or Charles VI. of France, fliould be taken
prifoner by fpaniards, dutch, or french, w hofe over-
growing power fliould give them thoughts of vaft
empire, and fliould, w ith the perfon and com.mifTion of
the king, invade England for a conqueft ; were it not
fuitable to our loyalty to join with the fon of that king,
for the defence of his father's crown and dignity, even
againft^ his perfon and commilhon .-^ In all thefe and
the like cafes, it was not juftified, but that the flri(^l
letter of the law might be otherwife conflrucd ; and
w hen wifely confidered, fit it fhould be fo ; yet that it
was not fafe either for the kingdom, or perfon of the
king and his crown, that it fliould be in exprefs words
fworn againfl: ; for if we fhall forfwear all dillincflions,
which ill men have made ill ufe of, either in rebellion
or herefy, we mufl extend the oath to all the particulars
of divinity and politics. To this the aged bilhop of
Winchcfler* replied, to take up arms, in iuch cafes, is
" not againfl:, but for the perfon of the king;" but
his lordlhip was told, that he might then as well, nay
much better, have left it upon the old oath of allegiance,
than made fuch a wide gap in this new declaration.

The third and lall part of the declaration was, "or
** againfl thofe that are commifTioned by him." Here
The malk was plainly plucked ofl\ and arbitrary go-
vernment appeared bare-faced, and a Handing army to
be fftablilhed by ai^t of parliament. For it was faid by
fcveral of the lords, that, if whatever is by the kings
conmiiilion be not oppofed by the king's authority, then
a (landing army is law, whenever the king pleafes ; and

• George Morlcy. }lc\v.i« then 7S yeark c!d.


A Letter /mm a P erf on of Ratify . 17 c,

Vet the king's coinmidion was never thought fufficient
to protecfl, orjudify any man, where it is againft his
authority, which is the law. This allowed, alters the
whole law of England, in the moD: eflential and funda-
iTiental parts of it ; and makes the whole law of property
to become arbitrary, and w ilhout elfed whenever the
king pleafes.

F'or inftance, if in fu it with a great favourite, a man
recovers houfe and lands, and by courfe of law be put
into poffe (lion, by the fiicriff; and afterwards a warrant
is obtained by the intereft of the pcrfon to command
fome foldicrs of the flanding army to take the pof-
fefTion, and deliver it back ; in fuch a cafe, the
man in poireflion may jufl:ify to defend himfelf, and
killing thofe, who Ihall violently endeavour to en-
ter his houfe. The party, whofe houfe is invaded,
*' takes up arms by the king's authority againll thofe
^ *^ who are commiflioned by him.*' And it is the fam.e
cafe, if the foldiers had been commifiioned to defend
the houfe againft the fneriff, when he firlt endeavoured
to take polfedion according to law. Neither could any
order or commifTion of the king's put a flop to the
fherifF, if he had done his duty in railing the whole
force of that county to put the law in execution ; nei-
ther can the court, from whom that order proceeds, fif
they obferve their oaths and .duty) put any ftop to the
execution of the law in fuch a cafe, by any command
or commifTion from the king whatfoever ; nay, all the
guards and ftanding forces in England cannot be fe-
cured by any commiffion from being a dired riot and
unlawful allembly, unlefs in time of open war and re-
bellion. And it is not out of the way to fuppofe, that
if any king hereafter fliall, contrary to the Petition of
Right, demand and levy money by privy feal, or other-
wife, and caufe foldiers to enter and dillrain for fuch-
like illegal taxes; that in fuch a cafe any man may by
law defend his houfe againft them; and yet this is of
the fame nature with the former, and againft the words
of the declaration. Thcfe inftances may fcem fome-
>vhat rough, and not with the ufual reverence towards
Vol. IX. Q^ the

2 20 -/ Lciicr frcw J Pcrjon of ^alky.

the crow n ; but they alleged, they were to be exxirfetT,
when all was concerned ; and without fpeaking thus plain,
it IS retui'ed to be underflood ; and, however happy
we are now, citheK in the prefent prince, or thofe wc
have in prolpcct, yet the funpoiitions are not extrava-
jj;unt, N\ hen we conlider kin^rs- are but men, and com-f
palled with more teniptarions than others : and as the
earl of Saliibury, who Rood like a rock of nobility,
and luiglill^ principles, excellently replied to the lord-
keeper, uho was plcafcd to term them remote inllan-
ccs ; that they would not hereafter prove To, whea
.this dcckiration had nnvde the practice of them jufti-

Thcle arguments enforced the lords for the bill, \o
a chani;e of this part of the declaration ; fo that 'they
agreed tht: fei ond and third parts of it Ihould run thus,
" And I do abhor that traitorous poll t ion of taking
'' arms by his authority againl^ his perfon, or agair/lt
** thofe that are connuiliioned by him according ta
** law, in time of rebellion or war, a^Tting in purfu-
" ance oi fuch commifii'jn." Which mends the mat-
ter very little ; for if they mean the king's authority,
and his la\Nful commilMon, to be two things, arxi fuch
as are ca})able of oppoiition ; then it is as dangerous to
the liberties of the nation, as^ \\ hen it ran in the
former worda, and we arc only cheated by new phraf-
ing of it. But if they underhand them to be one
and the lame thing, as really and truly they are ; then
>ve aie only to abhor the treafon of the polition of

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