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and ofHces were likeliell to come from the king; and no
member of parliament in cither houfe could do too
much for the king> or be too much of his fide j and that


i;;S A Letter from a Per/on of ^lality*

men mifiht lawtully and worthily have in their profpcffc
luch ofhccs or benefits from him. With this the lords
acainlt the lull were in no terms fdtisfied, but plainly
ipoke out, that men had been, might, and were likely
to be, in cither h(jufe, too much tor the king, as they
called it ; and that whoever did endeavour to give more
|X)wcr to the king than the law and conflitution of the
government had given, efpecially if it tended to the in-
troducing an abfoluLe and arbitrary government; might
jullly be faid to do too much for the king, and to be
corrupted in his judgment by the profpcct of advantages
anil rewards ; though, when it is conlidered that every
deviation of the crown towards abfolute power, leflens
the king in the love and allection of his people, making
him become lefs in their intercll ; a wife prince will not
think it a fervicc done him.

And now remains only the lafl: part of the bill, which
is the penalty, different according to the qualification:*
of the perfons : ** all that are, or Ihall be privy-coun-
«* fellors, jultices of the peace, or polTcirors of any bene-
•* ficial olhce, ecclefiallical, civil, or military ; are to
•* take the oath when fummoned, upon pain of fooL
•• and being made incapable of bearing oiVice ; the niem-
•* bers of both houfes are not made incapable, but liable
•• to the penalty of 500I. if they take it not." Upon
all which, the conliderations of the debate were, that
thofo ol"hcers» and members of both houfes, arc, of all
the nation, the mod dangerous to be fworn into a
jiiithke, or change of the government ; and that, as to
the members of both houfes, the penalty of 500I. was
diredly againll the latter of the two previous votes ;
and although they had not applied the penalty of inca-
pacity unto the members of both houfes, becaule of the
firil previous vote in the cafeofthe lords ; neitherdurll they
adnutofa piopofition made by fome of thendllvcs, that
thofe that did not come up, and fit as members, Ihould
he liable to the taking the oath, or penalty, until they
did fo ; Net their ends were not to be compafled without
invading the latter previous vote, and, contrary to the
rights and privileges of parliament, enforce them to
fwear, or pav 503!. every pariiamenc. And this they


A Letter from a Per/on of ^dity, 239

Carried through with lb llrong a rcfokition, that having
experienced their misfortunes in replies forfeveral hours,
not one of the party could be provoked- to fpeak one

Though, befides the former arguments, it was ftrong-
ly urged, that this oath ought not to be put upon oilicers
with a heavier penalty than the tefl: was in the act of the
imm.ediate preceding feilion againil' the papil^s ; by
which any man might fit down with the lofs of his office,
without being in the danger of the penalty of 500!.
And aifo that this adl had a direc:! retro fpedt, which
ought never to be in penal laws ; for this act punifhes
men for having an office without taking this oath ;
which office, before this law pafs, they may lawfully
enjoy without it. Yet notwithftanding it provides not
a power, in many cafes, for them to part with it, before
this oath overtake them. For the claufe, '^ whoever is
'' in office the ift of September,'* will not relieve a
juilice of the peace, who, being once fworn, is not in his
own power to be left out of commiflion. And fo might
be inilanced in feveral other cafes. As alfo the mem-
bers of the houfe of commons Avere not in their own
power to be unchofen ; and as to the lords, they were
fu^bjecled by it to the meanell condition of mankind, if
they could not enjoy their birthright, without playing
tricks fuitablc to the humour of every age, and be en-
forced to fwear to every fancy of the prefent times.
Three years ago it was all liberty and indulgence, and
now it is strict and rigid conformity ; and what it may
be, in fome fhort time hereafter, without the fpirit of
prophefying, might be ffirewdly guelfed by a con-
sidering man.

This being anfwered with filence, the duke of Buck^
ingham^ whofe quality, admirable wit, andunufual pains
that he took all along in the debate againft this bill,
makes me mention hirn in this place, as general of the
party, and coming lad out of the field ; made a fpeech late
at night of eloquent and well-placed nonfenfe ; ffiovving
how excellently well he could do both ways, and hop-
ing that might do, when fenfe (which he often before
ufed with t!ie highcfi advantage of wit and rcafon)


^40 A Letter from a Per/on of ^lalliy,

vould not. But the carl of Winchclfca, readily appr(?-
bending the dialed", in a fhort reply \)\M an end to the
debate; and the major vote, *' ultima ratio fenntuiin^ cV:
*' conciliorum,'* carried the quertibn as the court and
bifl^iOps would have it *.

This was the lafl aci of this tragi-comcdy, which had
taken up fixteen or feventeen whole days debate ; the
houfc fnrino; many times till eight or nine of the clock
at night, and fomctimes till Tiiidnight ; but the budnefs
of privilege between the tv.o houlbsf gave fuch nn in-
terruption, that this bill never reported from the
coiiunittee to the houfe.

I have mentioned to you divers lords, that wcr
fpeakers, as it fell in the debate ; but I have not diftri-
buted the arguments of the debate to every particular
lord. Now you know the fpeakers, your curiofity mav
be fatisfied, and the lords I am fure will not quarrel
abouc the divifion. I mud not forget to mention thofc
great lords, Bedford, Devonfliire, and Burlington, for
the countc nance and llrppoit they gave to the Englifli
intercfl. The earl of l^edford was fo brave in it, that

♦ Mr. Fcbard in Ms hiftory of England (Vol. III. aJ an. 167^,
Pt!* j-^ v^ h:ith rn«nrcril)ed fcvcral paragrnphs out of this letter, though he
never ci:cs it ; and ends liis account of the debate thus : ** 1 he debate,
•' fays Ic, lalled fixteen or feventeen whole days, the houfe often fitting
*• till nine at night, and fometimes till midnight ; in the conclufion of
•* which, the Duke of Buckingham, as general of the party, and lall in
** the field, made a famous fpeech, coni^illing of eloquent, regular, and
•* well-placed nonfcnfe, hoping that that might prevail, when nothing
•• clfc would ; and fo brought confufion into the houfe;" where, befidcs
the inaccuMcy of bringing into his narrative and making his own the
fxprcflions, which the author of the letter hath w^C'S, by way of compli-
ment rr encomium, and thereby mifreprefenting the matter, he aliirms,
ihar the dtl>ate was put to an end, by the confufion, which the duke ol
Buckingham's fj>ccth brought into the houfe; whereas it appears by tic
Irtlcr itlclf, that no conlufion was brought into the houfe by that fpeech ;
but, on theeontran-, that, after a fhort reply of the earl of Winchelfea,
the qucHicn was put regularly 10 the vole, and carried as the court and
bifliops w(»uld have it.

+ Dr. Shirley having bnjught an appeal in the houfe of lords, from a
«^ecree in chancer)', a:;aln!^ lir John Klagg, a memlx-r of the houfe of
vommons ; the commons looked upon it as an infringement of their privi-
leges; and this occafioned aconied l)ctwcen the two houfcs, which ran fo
high, that the king thought fit to put a Oop to it, by proroguing the par-
lumcnt, oa the t^lhof Juac 1675, ^^^^^ ^^^)' ^^'^ ^-^^ near two months.


A Letter from a Per/on cf .^lality, i^t

he joined in three of nheprotcfbs ; fo alfo d^d'die earl of
Dorfet ; and the earl of Stamford, a young nobleniiii
of great hopes; the lord vifcount Say and Seal and the
lord Pagitt in two; the lord AiidJcy and the lord Fitz-
walter in the third ; and the lord Peter, a nobleman of
great cilarc, and always true to the maintenance of
liberty and property, in the lirll. And I fliould nou
have omitted the earl of Dorfet, lord Audlcy, and the
lord Peter, aniongfl: the fpeakers ; for -1 will affure you
they did their parts excellently v\'cll. The lord vifcount
Hereford was a Heady man among the country lords ; ^o
alfo was the lord Towndiend, a man juilly of great
elleem and power in his own country, and amongft all
thole that well know h\\n, The carl of Carnarvon
ought not to be mentioned in the lad place ; tor he came
out of the country on purpofe to oppofc the bill, fhick
very fad: to the country party, and fpoke many excel-
lent things againfb it. I dare not mention the Ron-ian
catholic lords, and fame others, for fear I hurt them ;
birt thus much I lliall fliy of the Roman catholic peers,
that if they were fafe in their cftates, and yet kept out
of office, their votes in that houfe would not be the m.oil
unfafe to England of any fort of men in it. As for the
abfent lords, the carl of Rutland, lord Sandys, lord Her-
bert of Cherbury, lord North, and lord Crew, ought to
be mentioned with honour ; havmg taken care their votes
Ihould maintain their own interelt and opinions. But
the eajls of Exeter and Chefterfield, that gave no proxies
this feilion ; the lord Montague of Boughton, that gave
his to the treafurer ; and the lord Roberts his to the Earl
of Northampton ; are not eafily to be underftood. If
you afl^ after the carl of CarliOc, the lord vifcount Fal-
conberg, and the lord Berkley of Berkley-Caftle, bc-
caufe you lii)d them not mentioned amonglt all their
old friends ; all I have to (liy is, that the carl of Carliflc
flepped afide to receive his penlion ; the lord Berkley to
dine with the lord-treafurer ; but the lord vifcount Fak-
conberg, like the nobleman in the gofpel, went away
forrowful, for he had a great office at court. But I de-
fpair not of giving you a better account of them next
fcfiion, for it is not poffihle, when they confidcr, that
Vol. iX. ^ R CromweU's

542 A Letter from a T erf on of ^ality.

Cromwell's major-general, fon-in-law, and friend,
fhould think to find their accounts amongft men that
fet up on fuch a bottom.

Thus, Sir, you fee the (landard of the new
party is not yet fet up, but muft be the work of
another fefTion ; though it be admirable to me, how
the king can be induced to venture his affairs upon
fuch weak counfels, and of fo fatal confequences.
For I believe it is the 'iw^ time in the world, that ever
it was thought advifeable, after fifteen years of the higheft
peace, quiet, and obedience, that ever was in any
country, that there fhould be a pretence taken up, and
a reviving of former mifcarriages, cfpccially after lb
many promifes and declarations, as well as acl:s of ob-
livion, and fo much merit of the offending party, in
being the inflruments of the king's happy return ; be-
fides the putting fo vaft a number of the king's fubjedls
in utter defpair of having their crimes ever forgotten.
And it mufl be a great miftake in counfels, or worfc,
that there fhould be fo much pains taken by the court
to debafe and bring low the houfe of peers, if a military
government be not intended by fome. For the power of
thcpeeragc, and a fianding army, are like two buckets, in
the proportion that one goes down, the other exadlly goes
up. And I refer you to the confidcration of all the hif-
tories of ours, or any of our neighbour northern monar-
chies ; whether Handing forces, military and arbitrary
government, came not plainly in by the fame fteps that
the nobility were lelTcned ; and whether, whenever they
were in power and greatnefs, they permitted the leaft
Ibadow of any of them. Our own country is a clear in-
Itancc of it ; for though the white rofc and the red
changed fortunes often, to the ruin, flaughter, and be-
heading the great men of the other fide; yet nothing
could enforce them to fecure themfclvcs by a Handing
force. But 1 cannot believe that the king himfelf will
ever dcfign any fuch thing ; for he is not of a temper
robull and laborious enough to deal with fuch a fort of
men, or reap the advantages, if there be any, of fuch a
government. And I thmk he can hardly have forgot


A Letter from a P erf on of ^.ality, 243

the treatment his father received from the officers of his
army, both -at Oxford and NcvvLirk ; it was an hard, but
almoft an even choice, to be the parliament's prifoner,
or their Have; but I am fure the grcatcft profpcrity of
his arms could have brought him to no happier condi-
tion, than our king his fon has before him, whenever he
pleafes. However, this may be faid for the honour of
this feffion, that there is no prince in Chriftendom
hath, at a greater expence of money, maintained for
two months fpace a nobler or more ufeful difpute of the
politics, mydery, and fecrets of government, both in
church and (late, than this hath been ; of which noble
defign no part is owing to any of the country lords, for
feveral of them begged, at the firft entrance into the de-
bate, that they might not be engaged in fuch difputes
as would unavoidably produce divers things to be faid,
which they were willing to let alone. But I muft bear
them witnefs, and fo will you, having read this ; that
they did their parts in it, when it came to it, and fpoke
plain, like old Englifli lords.

I fliall conclude with what, upon the whole matter, is
mofl: worthy your confideration, that the defign is *' to
*^ declare us firft into another government more abfo-
'' lute and arbitrary than the cath of allegiance, or old
" law, knew; and then '* make us fwear unto it,'* as it
is fo eflablifhed. And lefs than this the billiops could
not offer in requital to the crown for parting with it^
fupremacy, and fuffering them to be fworn to be cquaj
with itfelf. Archbiiliop Laud was the firfl: founder gf
this device. In his canons of 1640, you (hall find aa
oath very like this, and a declaratory canon preceding,
*' that monarchy is of divine right * ;" which was alfo


* In the conftitutlons and canons ecclefiatlical; treated upon by the
archbifhops of Canterbury and York, &c. in the year 1640, and pubJifhed
for the due obfervadon of them, by his majelly's authority, under the
great feal of England; the I. canon contains an explanation of the regal
power, ordained and decreed to be read by every parfon, vicar, curate,
or preacher, upon fome one Sunday in every quarter of the year at morn-
ing prayer ; wherein it is faid : " The nioft high and facred order of
*' kings is of divin« right, being the ordinance of God himfelf, founded

R 2 ia

244 ^ Letter from a Verfoji of ^ality.

p.flirmcd in this debate by our reverend prelates, and is
owned in print by no lefs men than archbiihop Uliicr,

«' in the prime laws ot'nan r.-, mid clciiriy cllablilhcJ b)- cxprefs texts both
•' of the OUi and New 'I illarncnt "

" For any perfon or pcrfons to fct up, maintain, or avow in any
** ^kint*'s) rcauTis or territories refp?dively, under any pretence v.liat-
«' (bcvcr, any independent CO adivc power, eitlier papal or popular (whe-
*• thcr directly or indirciiUy) is to undermine the great royal office, and
' ciin»iini;ly to overthrow that moll facrv-d ordinance, whicli God himfelf
•' hath cifablKhed : and fo is trcafonablc againll God, as well as againft
«« the king."

♦' For iubjcds to bear arms againll their kings, oflfenfivc or defenfive,
" upon anv pretence whatlbevcr, is at the lead to refill the powers, which
" arc ordained of God : and though they do not invade, but onlv refill,
*• vSt. Paul tells them plainly, they lliall receive to themfelves damna-
•♦ lion."

And, by the VI. canon, an oath againfl: all innovation of do<flrinc or
difciplinc is decreed and ord.iined to be taken, not only by all archbifhops,
and bifhops, and all other priclls and deacons; upon pain, if rhey refufe
ro take it, of being deprived of all their ecclefiallical promotions what-
fjevcr, and execution of their funclions, which they hold in the church of
Kn'jiand; but likewife by all mailers of arts, bachelors, and dodors in
di\initv, law or piiyfic ; all fchool mailers, &c.^ which hath thcfe words:
•• I A. R. do fwear, that 1 do approve the doctrine and difcipline or go-
** vernmcnteftablillied in the church of England, as containing all things

•• nec> ifjry to falvation Nor will 1 ever give my confent to

*• alter the government of this church by arch-biOiops, bilhops, deans,
" and arch-deacons, &c. as it (lands now cllabli filed, and as by right it
•• ought to (land," &c.

'I'hefc canons were no fooner publffhed, but there was a general outcry
rr.ude againll them. How they were treated by the puritans, may be {^^x\
\.\ a pair.phlet printed in i6|0, witn this liilo: •* Kngland's complaint ro
*' Jefus Chrill, againil the biihops canons, of ilie late linful fynod, a fedi-
** tioiis conventicle, a packc of hypocrites, a fworn confederacy, a traite-
'« rous confpiracy againlk the true religion of Chrill, and the weale pub-
*• lickc of the land, and confequei'tly a ;:iinll the kingdome and crowne.
" In lliis omplaint are fpcciiied thcfe impieties and infolcncies which
•• are m'^d notorious, fcattered through the canons and conllitutions of
** the fyid '.ir.ful fynod. And contuted by arguments annexed iurcunro,'*
in 410.' Several p.tliions being at tl.e {.\v!X. lime prefcnlcd to the king
;i7;tinll the new canons, ard particularly againll the oath before-mention-
v\ : his itiaiclly was pleafed to fufi-vend their execution : which, however,
c')uld not prevent their filling under the cenfure of :he houfe ol commons;
lor on the j6th of J)cceml>cr i6j.o, they declared that thofc canons did
contain many matters contrary 10 the king's prerogative, to the funda-
mcnial laws and llatutrs of this realm, to the rights of parliament, to the
pr.Kx:rry.ind liberty of the fubjecl, and matters tending to fedition, and
oftun^truus confcfjuencc. *• 'IluTe public ccn Cures of llie canons," fays
a learned nnd ingenious hiltorian, •' however grounded on prejudice
• • and laitioD, Imvc made them ever fincc reputed null and \ aid, c^'C."
^A•c the Complete Hillory of Englanil, ^c. Vol. Ill, .1, ann. 164.0.
p. 113. Loud. I7«9, in Ibl,


A Letter f rem a Per fun of finality. 245

and biiliop Snndcrfon f ; and I ara afraid it is the
avowed opinion of much the greater part of our dii2:ni-


+ Archblfhop UfTierdid, by order of king Charier. I, write a trcatife,
intitled, " Tlie Power communicated by God to the Prince, and the Obe-
*' dience required of the Subjed, &c." which was j)ublifhed, in the year
1660, by Dr. Sanderfon, bifhop of Lincohi ; and in that treatife, after
having obferved that the commands of princes are either of fuch thin<*s as
may and ought to be done, or of fuch as cannot or ought not to be done, he
puts this queltion : but how are fubjeds to carry themfeh^es, when fuch
things are enjoined as cannot or ought not to be done? 1 o which he an-
fwers, ** Surely not to accufe the commander, but humbly to avoid the

** command And, when nothing elfe will ferve the turn, as

** in things that may be done, wc are to exprcls our iubmiiliun by ai!;tive, fo
*' in things that cannot be done, we are to declare the fame by palFive obc-
*• dience, without refiflance and repugnancy ; fuch a kind of fufferino-
** being as fure a fign of fubjectio!] as any thing eile whatfoever." And
fome pages lower, he propofes an ohj-jc'lion, and anfwers it. " But, fa^'s
*' he, if men's hands be thus tied, will forne fay, no man's ftate can be
** fecure ; nay, the whole frame of the commonwealth would be in danger
-" to be fubverted and utterly ruined, by the unbridled luft of a diftempered
*^ governor."

** I anfwer, God's word is clear in the point, (Rom. xiii. 2, 5.) Who-
** foever refiileth the power, refiileth the ordinance of God; and they that
•* refifl: fhall receive to themfelves damnation; and thereby a neceffity is
*' impofed upon us of being fubjecl even for confcience fake ; which mav
'* not be avoided by tiie pretext of any enfuing mifchief whatfoever. I'br,
** by this means we (hould have liberty given unto us to (fames iv. ii,j
** fpeak evil of the law, and to judge the law. But if thou judge the law,
"*'* thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge, faith '^t. James. It be-
" comes us, in obedience, to perform our part; and leave the orderin'^of
*' events to God, whofe part only that is." The power communicated bv
God to the Prince, t^z. pag. 147, 149, 15c, 157. London, 1683, in Svo".
J)r. Sanderfon was of the fame opinion, as it appears by his long preface
to archbilliop UlTier's trcarife jufl: mentioned ; wherein, among other thin^^^s,
he fays, that a mixt monarchy is an arrant bull, a contradiction in adjedo,
and deilroyeth itfelf; but more particularly by that famous paiTage in a
fcrmon of his preached at Hampton-Court, in the year 1640: " No con-
** jundure of circumflances whatfoever can make that expedient to be
<■' done at any lime, that is of itfidf, and in the kind (Ov yap m yt^n xaAvr,
«* bTTor' s(pv xa?.&c. Eurip. PhocnifT. Ad. 3.) unlawful. For a man to blaf-
*l phcrae the holy name of God, to facrifice to idols, to give wrong ^t\^-
•* tence in judgment, by his power to opprcfs thcfe that arc not aole to
" withftandhim, by fubtilty to over-reach others in bargaining, to take
*' up arms, (ofFenfive or dei'en^ive) agaiml a lawful fov -reign; none of
** th.efe, and fundry other things of like nature, being all o: them flmply,
** and de toto genere, unlawful, may be done by any man, at any time, in
** any cafe, upon any colour or pretenfion whatfoever; the exprefs con)-
" mand of God himfelf only excepted, as in the cafe of Abraham for
** facrificing his fon (Gen. xxii.) Not for the avoiding if fcandal, not
** at the inllaiice of any friend, or command of any power upon tarth,

K 3 nor

24^ ^ L^'tter fr^m a Pcrfon of ^^tality,

fied clcrgv. If fo, 1 ani furc they are the mofi: dangerous
fort of men alive to our Enn;Iini government ; and it is
the firll: thing ought to be Kjokcd into, and ftridly ex-
amined by our parliaments. It is the leaven that cor-
rupts the whole lump. For if that be true, I am fure
rnt>narchy is not to be bounded by human laws ; and
the 8:h chapter o^ r Samuel will prove (as many of our
divines w(HiId have it) the great charter of the royal
prerogative ; and our ** Magna Charta ;** that fays,
** Our king:; may not take our fields, our vineyards, our
" corn, and our fliecp," is not in force, but void and
null ; becaufe againll divine inftitution. And you have
the riddle out, why the clergy arc fo ready to take
themfelves, and to impofe upon others, fuch kind of
oaths as thcfe. They b.ave placed themfelves and their
pofiedions upon a better and iurer bottom (as they think)
than ** Magna Charta •/• and fo have no more need of,
or concern for it. Nay, what is worfe, they have
trucked away the rights and liberties of the people, in
this and all other countries, wherever they have had
opportunity ; that they m.ight be owned by the prince
to be '* iure divino," maintained in that pretenlion by
that abfolute power and fore e ihey have contributed fo
much to put into his hands ; and that priell and prince
may, like Cafior and Pollux, be wor (hipped together as
divine, in the fame temple, by us poor lay-fubjech ;
and that fenfe and reafon, hu\ , properties, rights, and
liberties, inall be underltood, as the oracles of thofc
deities lliall interpret, or give fignilication to them ; and
never be made ule of in the world to oppofe the abfolute
aiid free will of either of them.

Sir, I have no more to fay, but beg your pardon for
this tedious trouble, and that you will be very careful to
whom you communicate any of this.

•• nor for the m.ilutcnancr of the lives or lilx-rties cither of ourfdvcs or

«* others; nor for the ilcfencc of religion ; nor for the prefervaiion of a

" church or (late ; no, nor yet, if that could be imagined pxjUihle, for the

** falvation of a foul, no, not for the rrdcmption of the whole world.

•• Sermon XII. ad Aulam, pa'ached at Hampton Court, Juh' iC, 1640,

•' on I Cor. X. 23. But all things arc not expedient But all thing!

*• edify nut." See XXXI V Sermons. cS^c. by Robert Sanderfon, ic,
pag. 522,01 the 8th edit. London, 1686, in fol.





Wherein he aflerts P. Malebranche's Opinion
of our feeing all Things in God.

THERE are feme, who think they have given an ac-
count of the nature of ideas, by telling us, '' we

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