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exempted from compositions, or to pay but one year's revenue,
or a twentieth part.

These particulars aforegoing are the heads of such Pro-

Y a

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324 Constitutional Documents [1647

posals as we have agreed on to tender in order to the settling
of the peace of this kingdom, leaving the terms of peace for
the kingdom of Scotland to stand as in the late Propositions of
both kingdoms, until that kingdom shall agree to any alteration.
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 despatch of other things tending to the wel-
fare, ease and just satisfaction of the kingdom, and in special
manner :

I. That the just and necessary liberty of the people to
represent their grievances and desires by way of petition,
may be cleared and vindicated, according to the fifth head
in the late representation or Declaration of the army sent
from St. Albans'.

II. That (in pursuance of the same head in the said Declara-
tion) the common grievances of this people may be speedily
considered of, and effectually redressed, and in particular,

I. 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.

3. 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 ap-
pointed to remedy and rectify the inequality of rates lying
upon several counties, and several parts of each county in
respect of others, and to settle the proportion of land rates to
more equality throughout the kingdom ; in order to which we
shall offer some further particulars, which we hope may be

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 ques*
tions of right may be more clear and certain in the issues,

^ Rusbworth, Tii. 569.

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1647 J Heads of the Proposals offered by the Army 325

and not so tedious nor chargeable in the proceedings as now; in
order to which we shall offer some further particulars hereafter.

7. That prisoners for debt or other creditors (who have
estates to discharge them) may not by embracing imprison-
ment, or any other ways, have advantage to defraud their
creditors, but that the estates of all men may be some way
made liable to their debts (as well as tradesmen are by com-
missions of bankrupt), whether they be imprisoned for it or
not; and that such prisoners for debt, who have not where-
with to pay, or at least do yield up what they have to their
creditors, may be freed from imprisonment or some way pro-
vided for, so as neither they nor their families may perish
by imprisonment.

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 and provide against the same, so
far as they may extend or be construed to the molestation or
ensnaring of religious and peaceable people, merely for noncon-
formity in religion.

III. That according to the sixth head in the Declaration
of the army, the large power given to Committees or Deputy-
Lieutenants during the late times of war and distraction,
may be speedily taken into consideration to be recalled and
made void, and that such powers of that nature as shall
appear necessary to be continued, may be put into a regu-
lated way, and left to as little arbitrariness as the statute and
necessity of the things (wherein they are conversant) will bear.

IV. That (according to the seventh head in the said
Declaration) an effectual course may be taken that the king-
dom may be righted, and satisfied in point of accompts for
the vast sums that have been levied.

V. 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 pro-
ceedings thereof; and in the next place for payment of the

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326 Constitutional Documents [1647

public debts and damages of the kingdom; and that to be
performed, first to such persons whose debt or damages
(upon the public account) are great, and their estates small,
so as they are thereby reduced to a difficulty of subsistence:
in order to all which, and to the fourth particular last pro-
ceeding, we shall speedily offer some further particulars (in
the nature of rules), which we hope will be of good use
towards public satisfaction.
August I, 1647.

Signed by the appointment of his Excellency Sir
Thomas Fairfax and the Council of War.


72. Thb Kino's answbb to the Pbopositions of

[Deetpatched by the King September 9, 1647. Kushworth, vii. 810.
See Great Civil War, iii. 361, 366.]
Charles Hex.

His Majesty cannot choose but be passionately sensible (as
he believes all his good subjects are) of the late great dis-
tractions, and still languishing and unsettled state of this
kingdom ; and he calls God to witness, and is willing to give
testimony to all the world, of his readiness to contribute his
utmost endeavours for restoring it to a happy and flourishing

His Majesty having perused the Propositions now brought to
him, finds them the same in effect which were offered to him at
Newcastle: to some of which, as he could not then consent
without violation of his conscience and honour, so neither can
he agree to others now, conceiving them in many respects more
disagreeable to the present condition of affairs than when they
were formerly presented to him, as being destructive to the
main principal interests of the army, and of all those whose
affections concur with them : and His Majesty having seen the
Proposals of the army to the Commissioners from his two Houses
residing with them, and with them to be treated on in order to
the clearing and securing the right and liberties of the kingdom.

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i647] The King*^ ansWef- to the Propositions 32^

and the settling a just and lasting peace, to which Proposals,
as he conceives his two Houses not to be strangers, so he
belieyes they will think with him, that they much more con-
duce to the satisfaction of all interests, and may be a fitter
foundation for a lasting peace, than the Propositions which
at this time are tendered to him.

He therefore propounds (as the best way in his judgment
in order to peace) that his two Houses would instantly take
into consideration those Proposals, upon which there may
be a personal treaty with His Majesty, and upon such other
Propositions as His Majesty shall make, hoping that the
said Proposals may be so moderated in the said treaty as to
render them the more capable of His Majesty's fiill conces-
sions, wherein he resolves to give full satisfaction unto his
people for whatsoever shall concern the settling of the Pro-
testant profession, with liberty to tender consciences, and the
securing of the laws, liberties and properties of all his subjects,
and the just privileges of Parliament for the future ; and like-
wise by his present deportment in this treaty, he will make
the world clearly judge of his intentions in the matter of
future government: in which treaty His Majesty will be
pleased (if it be thought fit) that Commissioners from the army
(whose the Proposals are) may likewise be admitted.

His Majesty therefore conjures his two Houses of Parliament
by the duty they owe to God and His Majesty their King,
and by the bowels of compassion they have to their fellow sub-
jects, both for relief of their present sufferings, and to prevent
future miseries, that they will forthwith accept His Majesty's
offer, whereby the joyful news of peace may be restored to this
distressed kingdom.

And for what concerns the kingdom of Scotland mentioned
in the Propositions, His Majesty will very willingly treat upon
those particulars with Scotch Commissioners, and doubts not
but to give a reasonable satisfaction to that His Majesty's

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328 Constitutional Documents [1647

73. Letteb of Ohablks I to the Speaker of the

House of Lobds.

[Beodyed bj the Home of Lordi, Norember 17, 1647. ParliamentAry
Histoi^, Ui. 799. See MaMon*s L\ft of MUton, iiL 577. See Oreat
Civil War, iv. 24,]

Charles B«z.

His Majesty is confident, that before this time, his two
Houses of Parliament have received the message which he left
behind him at Hampton Court the nth of this month; by
which they will have understood the reasons which enforced
him to go from thence; as likewise his constant endeavours
for the settling of a safe and well-grounded peace wheresoever
he should be; and being now in a place where he conceives
himself to be at much more freedom and security than formerly,
he thinks it necessary, not only for making good of his own
professions, but also for the speedy procuring of a peace in these
languishing and distressed kingdoms, at this time to offer such
grounds to his two Houses for that effect, which upon due
examination of all interest may best conduce thereunto.

And beeause religion is the best and chiefest foundation of
peace, His Majesty will begin with that particular.

That for the abolishing Archbishops, Bishops, &c. His Majesty
clearly professeth that he cannot give his consent thereunto,
both in relation as he is a Christian and a King ; for the first
he avowee that he is satisfied in his judgment that this order was
placed in the Church by the Apostles themselves, and ever
since their time hath continued in all Christian Churches through-
out the world, until this last century of years ; and in this
Church in all times of change and reformation it hath been
upheld by the wisdom of his ancestors, as the great preserver
of doctrine, discipline and order in the service of God, As
a King at his coronation, he hath not only taken a solemn oath
to maintain this order, but His Majesty and his predecessors in
their confirmations of the Great Charter, have inseparably woven
the right of the Church into the liberty of the subjects ; and
yet he is willing it be provided, that the particular Bishops
perform their several duties of their callings, both by their
personal residence and frequent preaching in their dioceses, as
also that they exercise no act of jurisdiction or ordination, with-

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1647] Letter of Charles I to the House of Lords 329

out the consent of their Presbyters, and will consent that their
powers in all things be so limited, that they be not grievous to
the tender consciences of others. He sees no reason why he
alone, and those of his judgment, should be pressed to a viola-
tion of theirs: nor can His Majesty consent to the alienation
of Church lands, because it cannot be denied to be a sin of the
highest sacrilege; as also that it subverts the intentions of
80 many pious donors, who have laid a heavy curse upon all
such profane violations, which His Majesty is very unwilling to
undergo; and besides the matter of consequence, His Majesty
believes it to be a prejudice to the public good, many of his
subjects having the benefit of renewing leases at much easier
rates than if those possessions were in the hands of private
men ; not omitting the discouragement it will be to all learning
and industry, when such eminent rewards shall be taken away,
which now lie open to the children of meanest persons. Yet
His Majesty, considering the great present distempers concerning
Church discipline, and that the Presbyterian government is now
in practice. His Majesty, to eschew confusion as much as may
be, and for the satisfaction of his two Houses, is content that
the same government be legally permitted to stand in the same
condition it now is for three years ; provided that His Majesty
and those of his judgment, or any other who cannot in con-
science submit thereunto, be not obliged to comply with the
Presbyterian government, but have free practice of their own
profession, without receiving any prejudice thereby; and that
a free consultation and debate be had with the divines of West-
minster (twenty of His Majesty's nomination being added unto
them) ; whereby it may be determined by His Majesty and the
two Houses, how the Church government after the said time
shall be settled (or sooner, if differences may be agreed), as is
most agreeable to the Word of God, with full liberty to all
those who shall differ upon conscientious grounds from that
settlement ; always provided, that nothing aforesaid be under-
stood to tolerate those of the Popish profession, nor exempting
any Popish recusant from the penalties of the laws ; or to tolerate
the public profession of Atheism or blasphemy, contrary to the
doctrine of the Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, they
having been received by, and had in reverence of all the Christian

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33° Constftuhonal Documents [1647

Churches, and more particularly by this of England, ever since
the Reformation.

Next the militia being that right, which is inseparably
and undoubtedly inherent to the Crown by the laws of this
nation, and that which former Parliaments, as likewise this,,
have acknowledged so to be, His Majesty cannot so much
wrong that trust, which the laws of Qod and this land hath
annexed to the Crown, for the protection and security of his
people, as to divest himself and successors of the power of
the sword; yet to give an infallible evidence of his desire to
secure the performance of such agreements as shall be made in
order to a peace. His Majesty will consent to an Act of Parlia-
ment, that the whole power of the militia, both by sea and land,
for and during his whole reign, shall be ordered and disposed by
the two Houses of Parliament, or by such persons as they shall
appoint, with powers limited for suppressing of forces within
this kingdom to the disturbance of the public peace, and against
foreign invasion; and that they shall have power during his
said reign to raise monies for the purpose aforesaid ; and that
neither His Majesty that now is, or any other by any authority
derived only from him, shall execute any of the said powers
during His Majesty's said reign, but such as shall act by the
consent and approbation of the two Houses of Parliament:
nevertheless His Majesty intends that all patents, commissions,
and other acts concerning the militia, be made and acted as
formerly ; and that after His Majesty's reign, all the power of
the militia shall return entirely to the Crown, as it was in the
times of Queen Elizabeth and King James of blessed memory.

After this head of the militia, the consideration of the arrears
due to the army is not improper to follow; for the payment
whereof, and the ease of his people. His Majesty is willing to
concur in any thing that can be done without the violation of
his conscience and honour.

Wherefore if his two Houses shall consent to remit unto
him such benefit out of sequestrations from Michaelmas last,
and out of compositions that shall be made before the con-
cluding of the peace, and the arrears of such as have been
already made, the assistance of the clergy, and the arrears
of such rents of his own revenue as his two Houses shall

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1647] Letter of Charles I to the House of Lords 331

not hare received before the concluding of the peace, His
Majesty will undertake within the space of eighteen months
the payment of £400,000 for the satisfaction of the army ;
and if those means shall not be sufficient, His Majesty
intends to give way for the sale of forest lands for that
purpose. This being the public debt which in His Majesty's
judgment is first to be satisfied: and for other public debts
already contracted upon Church lands or any other engage-
ments. His Majesty will give his consent to such Act or Acts
for raising of monies for payment thereof, as both Houses
hereafter shall agree upon, so as they be equally laid ; where-
by his people, already too heavily burdened by these late
distempers, may have no more pressures upon them than this
absolute necessity requires.

And for the further securing all fears, His Majesty will con-
sent that an Act of Parliament be passed for the disposing of
the great offices of State, and naming of Privy Councillors for
the whole term of his reign, by the two Houses of Parliament,
their patents and commissions being taken from His Majesty,
and after to retufn to the Crown, as is expressed in the articles
of the militia. For the Couiii of Wards and Liveries, His Majesty
very well knows the consequence of taking that away, by turning
of all tenures into common socage, as well in point of revenue
to the Crown, as in the protection of many of his subjects being
infants ; nevertheless, if the continuance thereof seem grievous
to his subjects, rather than he will fail on his part in giving
satisfaction, he will consent to an Act for taking of it away,
so as a full recompense be settled upon His Majesty and his
successors in perpetuity ; and that the arrears now due be re-
served unto him towards the payment of the arrears of the aimy.

And that the memory of these late distractions may be
wholly wiped away, His Majesty will consent to an Act of
Parliament for the suppressing and making null all Oaths,
Declarations and Proclamations against both or either House
of Parliament, and of all indictments and other proceedings
against any persons for adhering unto them ; and His Majesty
proposeth, as the best expedient to take away all seed of
future differences, that there be an Act of Oblivion to extend
to all hi& subjects.

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333 Constitutional Documents [1647

As for Ireland, the cessation therein long since determined ;
but for the future, all other things being fully agreed, His
Majesty will give full satisfaction to His Houses concerning
that kingdom.

And although His Majesty cannot consent in honour and
justice to avoid all his own grants and acts passed under his
Great Seal since the 22nd of May 1642, or to the confirming
of all the grants and acts passed under that made by the two
Houses, yet His Majesty is confident, that upon perusal of
particulars, he shall give full satisfaction to his two Houses to
what may be reasonably desired in that particular.

And now His Majesty conceiyes, that by these his offers,
which he is ready to make good upon the settlement of a
peace, he hath clearly manifested his intentions to give full
security and satisfaction to all interests, for what can justly
be desired in order to the future happiness of his people, and
for the perfecting of these concessions, as also for such other
things as may be proposed by the two Houses; and for such
just and reasonable demands as His Majesty shall find necessary
to propose on his part, he earnestly desires a personal treaty at
London with his two Houses, in honour, freedom and safety;
it being, in his judgment, the most proper, and indeed only
means to a firm and settled peace, and impossible without it
to reconcile former, or avoid future misunderstandings.

All these being by treaty perfected, His Majesty believes
his two Houses will think it reasonable that the Proposals
of the army concerning the succession of Parliaments, and
their due elections, should be taken into consideration.

As for what concerns the kingdom of Scotland, His Majesty
will very readily apply himself to give all reasonable satisfac-
tion, when the desires of the two Houses of Parliament on their
behalf, or of the Commissioners of that kingdom, or of both joined
together, shall be made known unto him.

For the Speaker of the Lords* House pro tempore, to be
communicated to the Lords and Commons in the
Parliament of England, at Westminster, and the
Commissioners of the Parliament of Scotland.

Chables Hex*

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Agreement of the People for Peace 333

^74. The Agbbement of the People, as pbesented to the
Council op the Abmt.

[An agnemrat of the People for a firm and present peace, &c., E. 41a, ai.
October a8, 1647. See ChrtcA Civil War, iii. 383-394.]

An Agreement of the People for a firm and present peace
upon grounds of common right.

Having by our late labours and hazards made it appear to
the world at how high a rate we value our just freedom, and
Qod having so far owned our cause as to deliver the enemies
thereof into our hands, we do now bold ourselves bound in
mutual duty to each other to take the best care we can for
the future to avoid both the danger of returning into a slavish
condition and the chargeable remedy of another war ; for, as it
cannot be imagined that so many of our countrymen would have
opposed us in this quarrel if they had understood their own
good, so may we safely promise to ourselves that, when our
common rights and liberties shall be cleared, their endeavours
will be disappointed that seek to make themselves our masters.
Since, therefore, our former oppressions and scarce-yet-ended
troubles bave been occasioned, either by want of frequent
national meetings in Council, or by rendering those meetings
ineffectual, we are fully agreed and resolved to provide that
hereafter our representatives be neither left to an uncertainty
for the time nor made useless to the ends for which tbey are
intended. In order whereunto we declare : —

That the people of England, being at this day very un-^
equfidly distributed by Counties, Cities, and Boroughs for the
election of their deputies in Parliament, ought to be more
indifferently proportioned according to the number of the
inhabitants; the circumstances whereof for number, place,
and manner are to be set down before the end of this present


That, to prevent the many inconveniences apparently arising
from the long continuance of the same persons in authority,

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334 Constitutional Documents [1647

this present Parliament be dissolved upon the last day of Sep-
tember which shall be in the year of our Lord 1648


That the people do, of course, choose themselves a Parlia-
ment once in two years, viz. upon the first Thursday in every
ad March * , after the manner as shall be prescribed before the
end of this Parliament, to begin to sit upon the first Thursday
in April following, at Westminster or such other place as shall
be appointed from time to time by the preceding Representa-
tives, and to continue till the last day of September then next
ensuing, and no longer.


That the power of this, and all future Eepresentatives of this
Nation, is inferior only to theirs who choose them, and doth
extend, without the consent or concurrence of any other person
or persons, to the enacting, altering, and repealing of laws, to the
erecting and abolishing of offices and courts, to the appointing,
removing, and calling to account magistrates and officers of all
degrees, to the making war and peace, to the treating with
foreign States, and, generally, to whatsoever is not expressly or
impliedly reserved by the represented to themselves :
Which are as foUoweth.

1. That matters of religion and the ways of God*s worship
are not at all entrusted by us to any human power, because
therein we cannot remit or exceed a tittle of what our con-
sciences dictate to be the mind of, God without wilful sin:
nevertheless the public way of instructing the nation (so it be
not compulsive) is referred to their discretion.

2. That the matter of impresting and constraining any of
us to serve in the wars is against our freedom ; and therefore
we do not allow it in our Representatives ; the rather, because
money (the sinews of war), being always at their disposal, they
can never want numbers of men apt enough to engage in any
just cause.

3. That after the dissolution of this present Parliament, no
person be at any time questioned for anything said or done

.— ^ ^^W ^— -W- J w

^ I. e. in Mftroh in eyery other ye»r.

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1647] The Four Bills 335

in reference to the late public differences, otherwise than in

Online LibrarySamuel Rawson GardinerThe constitutional documents of the Puritan revolution 1625-1660 → online text (page 36 of 51)