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The constitutional documents of the Puritan revolution 1625-1660 online

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Divine Providence hath led us, or the witness the Lord hath
borne, and the many signal testimonies of acceptance which
He hath given, to the sincere endeavours of His unworthy
servants, whilst they were contesting with the many and great
difficulties, as well in the wars, as other transactions in the
three nations ; being necessitated, for the defence of the same
cause they first asserted, to have recourse unto extraordinary
actions, the same being evident by former declarations published
on that behalf.

After it had pleased God not only to reduce Ireland and give
in Scotland, but so marvellously to appear for His people at
Worcester, that these nations were reduced to a great degree
of peace, and England to perfect quiet, and thereby the Parlia-
ment had opportunity to give the people the harvest of all
their labour, blood, and treasure, and to settle a due liberty
both in reference to civil and spiritual things, whereunto they
were obliged by their duty, their engagements, as also the great
and wonderful things which Qod hath wrought for them ; it
was matter of much grief to the good and well-affected of the
land to observe the little progress which was made therein,
who thereupon applied to the army, expecting redress by their
means; notwithstanding which, the army being unwilling to
meddle with the civil authority in matters so properly apper-
taining to it, it was agreed i^at his Excellency and officers
of the army which were members of Parliament, should be desired
to move the Parliament to proceed vigorously in reforming what
was amiss in government, and to the settling of the Common-
wealth upon a foundation of justice and righteousness ; which
having done, we hoped that the Parliament would seasonably
have answered our expectation : but finding, to our grief, delays
therein, we renewed our desires in an humble petition to them,



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1653] Declaration by the Lord General and Council 401

which was presented in August last; and although they at ihdX
time, signifying their good acceptance thereof, returned us thanks
and referred the particulars thereof to a Committee of the
House, yet no considerable effect was produced, nor any such
progress made, as might imply their real intentions to accomplish
what was petitioned for; but, on the contrary, there more. and
more appeared amongst them an aversion to the things them-*
selves, with much bitterness and opposition to the people of
God, and His spirit acting in them ; which grew so prevalent,
that those persons of honour and integrity amongst them, who
had eminently appeared for Qod and the public good, both
before and throughout this war, were rendered of no further
use in Parliament, than by meeting with a corrupt party to
give them countenance to cany on their ends, and for effecting
the desire they had of perpetuating themselves in the supreme
government, for which purpose the said party long opposed,
and frequently declared themselves against having a new repre*
sentative : and when they saw themselves necessitated to take
that Bill into consideration, they resolved to make use of it to
recruit the ^ouse with persons of the same spirit and temper,
thereby to perpetuate their own sitting ; which intention divers
of the activest amongst them did manifest, labouring to persuade
others to a consent therein : and the better to effect this, divers
petitions, preparing from several counties for the continuance of
this Parliament, were encouraged, if not set on foot, by ma^y
of them.

For obviating of thes^ evils, the officers of the Army obtaine4
several meetings with some of the Parliament, to consider what
fitting means and remedy might be applied to prevent the
same: but such endeavours proving altogether ineffectual, it
became most evident to the Army, as they doubt not it also
is to all considering persons, that this Parliament, through the
corruption of some, the jealousy of others, the non-attendance
and negligence of many, would never answer those ends which
God, His people, and the whole nation expected from them ;
but that this cause, which the Lord hath so greatly blessed
and borne witness to, must needs languish under their hands,
and, by degrees, be wholly lost; and the lives, Uberties, and
comforts of His people delivered into their enemies' hands.

Dd



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462 Constitutional Documents [1653

All which being sadly and seriously considered by the honest
people of this nation, as well as by the Army, and wisdom and
direction being sought fi*om the Lord, it seemed to be a duty
incumbent upon us, who had seen so much of the power and
presence <^ God going along with us, to consider of some more
effectual means to secure the cause which the good people of
this Commonwealth had been so Icmg engaged io, and to establish
righteousness and peace in these nations.

Ajid after much debate it was judged necessary, and agreed
upon, that the supreme authority should be, by the Parliament,
devolyed upon known persons, men fearing God, and of approved
integrity ; and the goyemment of the Commonwealth committed
unto them for a time, as the most hopeful way to encourage
and countenance all God's people, reform the law, and administer
justice impartially; hoping thereby the people might forget
Monarchy, and, understandiDg their true interest in the election
of successive Parliaments, may have the government settled upon
a true basis, without hazard to this glorious cause, or necessi-
tating to keep up armies for the defence of the same. And
being still resolved to use all means possible to avoid extra-
ordinary courses, we prevailed with about twenty members of
Parliament to give us a conference, with whom we freely and
plainly debated the necessity and justness of our proposals on
that behalf; and did evidence that those, and not the Act under
their consideration, would most probably bring forth something
answerable to that work, the foundation whereof God Himself
hath laid, and is now carrying on in the world.

The which, notwithstanding, found no acceptance ; but,
instead thereof, it was offered, that the way was to continue
still this present Parliament, as being that from which we
might reasonably expect all good things: and this being
vehemently insisted upon, did much confirm us in our appre-
hensions, that not any love to a representative, but the
making use thereof to recruit, and so perpetuate themselves;
was their aim.

They being plainly dealt with about this, and told that
neither the nation, the honest interest, nor we ourselves would
be deluded by such dealings, they did agi'ee to meet again
the next day in the afternoon for mutual satisfaction ; it being



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1653] Declaration by the Lord General and Council 403

consented onto by the members present that endeavours should
be used that nothing in the mean time should be done in
Parliament that might exclude or frustrate the proposals before
mentioned.

Notwithstanding this, the next morning the Parliament
did make more haste than usual in carrying on their said
Act, being helped on therein by some of the persons engaged
to us the night before ; none of them which were then present
endeavouring to oppose the same ; and being ready to put
the main question for consummating the said Act, whereby
our aforesaid proposals would have been rendered void, and
the way of bringing them into a fair and full debate in
Parliament obstructed; for preventing thereof, and all the
sad and evil consequences which must, upon the grounds
aforesaid, have ensued ; and whereby, at one blow, the interest
of all honest men and of this glorious cause had been in
danger to be laid in the dust, and these nations embroiled in
new troubles at a time when our enemies abroad are watch-
ing all advantages against us, and some of them actually
engaged in war with us, we have been necessitated, though
with much reluctancy, to put an end to this Parliament;
which yet we have done, we hope, out of an honest heart,
preferring this cause above our names, lives, families, or
interests, how dear soever; with clear intentions and real
purposes of heart, to eall to the government persons of approved
fidelity and honesty ; believing that as no wise men will expect
to gather grapes of thorns, so good men will hope, that if
persons so qualified be chosen, the fruits of a just and righteous
reformation, so long prayed and wished for, will, by the blessing
of Qod, be in due time obtained, to the refreshing of all those
good hearts who have been panting after those things.

Much more might have been said, if it had been our desire
to justify ourselves by aspersing others, and raking into the
misgovemment of affairs; but we shall conclude with this,
that as we have been led by necessity and Providence to
act as we havf done, even beyond and above oip* own thoughts
and desires, so we shall and do in that part of this great
work which is behind, put ourselves wholly upon the Lord
for a blessing; professing, we look not to stand one day

D d 2



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404 ConsMuhonal Documents [1653

without His Bupport, much less to bring to pass any of the
things mentioned and desired, without His assistance; and
therefore do solemnly desire and expect that all men, as they
would not provoke the Lord to their own destruction, should
wait for such issue as He should bring forth, and to follow
their business with peaceable spirits, wherein we promise them
protection by His assistance.

And for those who profess their fear and loye to the
name of Qod, that seeing in a great measure for their sakes,
and for righteousness' sake, we haye taken our liyes in our
hands to do these things, they would be instant with the
Lord day and night on our behal&, that we may obtain
grace from Him ; and seeing we haye made so often mention
of His name, that we may not do the least dishonour thereunto :
which indeed would be our confusion, and a stain to the whole
profession of Oodliness.

We beseech them also to liye in all humility, meekness,
righteousness, and loye one toward another, and towards all
men, that so they may put to silence the ignorance of the
foolish, who falsely accuse them, and to know that the late
great and glorious dispensations, wherein the Lord hath so
wonderfully appeared in bringing forth these things by the
trayail and blood of His children, ought to oblige them so to
walk in the wisdom and loye of Christ, as may cause others
to honour their holy profession, because they see Christ to be
in them of a truth.

We do further purpose^ before it be long, more particularly
to show the grounds of our proceedings, and the reasons of
this late great action and change, which in this we haye but
hinted at.

And we do lastly declare, that all Judges, Sheriffs, Justices
of the Peace, Mayors, Bailiffs, Committees, and GommissionerSy
and all other ciyil officers and public ministers whatsoeyer, within
this Commonwealth, or any parts thereof, do proceed in their
respective places and offices ; and all persons whatsoever are to
give obedience to them as ftdly as when Parliament was sitting.

Signed in the name, and by the appointment, of his
Excellency the Lord General and his Council of Officers.

Will. Malyn, Secretary.



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1653] The Instrument of Government 405

96. Summons to a Membeb of thb so-oallbd Babbbokbs

Pabliambnt.

[Jane 6, 1653. Old Pftrliamentaiy Hiitory, xz. 151. See Commmt'
wealth and Protectorate, ii. 283.]

Forasmuch as upon the dissolution of the late Parliament
it became necessary that the peace, safety, and good goyern-*
ment of this Commonwealth should be provided for; and,
in order thereunto, divers persons fearing God, and of ap-
proved fidelity and honesty, are by myself, with the advice
of my council of officers, nominated, to whom the great
charge and trust of so weighty affairs is to be committed;
and having good assurance of your love to, and courage for,
God and the interest of His cause, and of the good people of
this Commonwealth :

I, Oliver Cromwell, Captain- General and Commander-in-
Chief of all the armies and forces raised, and to be raised,
within this Commonwealth, do hereby summon and require
you (being one of the said persons nominated)

personally to be and appear at the Council-Chamber, com-
monly known or called by the name of the Council-Chamber
at Whitehall, within the City of "Westminster, upon the
4th day of July next ensuing the date hereof; then and there
to take upon you the said trust unto which you are hereby
called and appointed, to serve as a member for the county
of . And hereof you are not to fail.

Given under my hand and seal the 6th day of Jane, 1653.

0. Cbomwbll.

Tbb Instbumbnt o» Qovbbnmbnt.

[December 16, 1653. Old Parliamentary History, zx. 248. See Common^
wealth and Protectorate, ii. 331-336.]

The government of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland,
and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging.

I. That the supreme legislative authority of the Common-
wealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions
thereunto belonging, shall be and reside in one person, and
the people assembled in Parliament : the style of which person
shall be the Loid Protector of the Commonwealth of England,
Scotland, and Ireland.



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4o6 ConsMuttonal Documents [1653

n. That the exercise of the chief magistracy and the
administration of the government oyer the said countries
and dominions, and the people thereof, shall be in the Lord
Protector, assisted with a council, the number whereof shall
not exceed twenty-one, nor be less than thirteen.

in. That all writs, processes, commissions, patents, grants,
and other things, which now run in the name and style of
the keepers of the liberty of England by authority of Parlia-
ment, shall run in the name and style of the Lord Protector,
from whom, for the future, shall be derived all magistracy
and honours in these three nations; and have the power of
pardons (except in case of murders and treason) and benefit
of all forfeitures for the public use; and shall govern the
said countries and dominions in all things by the advice of
the council, and according to these presents and the laws.

IV. That the Lord Protector, the Parliament sitting, shall
dispose and order the militia and forces, both by sea and land,
for the peace and good of the three nations, by consent of
Parliament ; and that the Lord Protector, with the advice and
consent of the major part of the council, shall dispose and order
the militia for the ends aforesaid in the intervals of Parliament.

V. That the Lord Protector, by the advice aforesaid, shall
direct in all things concerning the keeping and holding of a
good correspondency with foreign kings, princes, and states;
and also, with the consent of the major part of the council,
have the power of war and peace.

YI. That the laws shall not be altered, suspended, abro-
gated, or repealed, nor any new law made, nor any tax, charge,
or imposition laid upon the people, but by common consent in
Parliament^ save only as is expressed in the thirtieth article.

YII. That there shall be a Parliament summoned to meet
at Westminster upon the third day of September, 1654, and
that successively a Parliament shall be summoned once in
every third year, to be accounted from the dissolution of the
present Parliament.

YIII. That neither the Parliament to be next summoned,
nor any successive Parliaments, shall, during the time of five
months, to be accounted irom the day of their first meeting, be
adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without their own consent.



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'«53]



The Instrument of Government



407



IX. That as well the n^xt as all other successive Parlia-
ments shall he summoned and elected in manner hereafter
expressed; that is to say, the persons to be chosen within
England, Wales, the Isles of Jersey, Guernsey, and the town
of Berwick-upon-Tweed, to sit and serve in Parliament, shall
be, and not exceed, the number of four hundred. The persons
to be chosen within Scotland, to sit and serve in Parliament,
shall be, and not exceed, the number of thirty ; and the persons
to be chosen to sit in Parliament for Ireland shall be, and not
exceed, the number of thirty.

X. That the persons to be elected to sit in Parliament from
time to time, for the several counties of England, Wales, the
Isles of Jersey and Guernsey, and the town of Berwick-upon-
Tweed, and all places within the same respectively, shall be
according to the proportions and numbers hereafter expressed :
that is to say,



Bedfordihire 5

Bedford Town ..*... i

Berkshire 5

Abingdon i

Beading i

Bnokinghftmshire 5

Buckingham Town .... i

Aylesbnry i

Wycomb I

Cambridgeshire 4

Cambridge Town I

Cambridge University ... i

Isle of Ely 1

Cheshire 4

Chester i

Cornwall 8

Launceston 1

Truro i

Penryn I

East Looe and West Looe . • i

Cumberland a

Carlisle i

Derbyshire 4

Derby Town i

DeTonshire 11

Exeter 2

Plymouth 2

Clifton, Dartmouth, Hardnem . i

Totnes i

Baroitable I



Tiverton i

Honiton i

Dorsetshire 6

Dorchester i

Weymouth and Melcomb-Hegis i

Lyme-Begis \ , i

Poole I

Durham 2

City of Durham i

Essex 13

Maiden i

Colchester 2

Gloucestershire 5

Gloucester 2

Tewkesbury

Cirencester

Herefordshire 4

Hereford • . .

Leominster

Hertfordshire

St. Alban's . . . . v . .

Hertford

Huntingdonshire

Huntingdon

Kent . I

Canterbury

Bochester

Maidstone

Dover

Sandwich »..,.,.



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4o8



Constitutional Documents



[1653



Queenborongh ...... i

LdvnoMhird 4

PrMton I

LftnoMtor i

Liverpool i

Manoheiter i

LeiootUrtbtre 4

Leioeiter 3

lincobuhira 10

Lmcoln a

Bolton ........ I

GrMithMn I

Stanford I

Great Grimiby i

liiddloMZ A

London i

Westminiter ...... a

Monmoatbahire 3

Norfolk 10

Korwieb a

Lynn-Begis a

Great Tormoatb a

Kortbamptonibire .... 6

Peterborougb i

Kortbampton i

Kottinghamibire ..... 4

Nottingbam a

Kortbumberland 3

Newcastle-upon-Tyne . . .

Berwick

Oxfordsbire

Oxford City

Oxford Uniyersity ....

Wooditock

Ratlandsbire

Sbropsbire

Sbrewsbury

Bridgnortb

Ludlow

Staffordsbire

Licbfield

Stafford

Newcastle-under-Lyne . . .

Somersetabire i

Bristol

Taunton

Batb

Wells

Bridgwater

Soutbamptonsb^'re . .....

Wincbester ,

Sontbampton

Portsmoutb

lileofWigbt



Aftdover ........ i

Suffolk 10

Ipswiob

Bnry St. Edmunds ....

Dunwicb

Sudbury

Surrey . ^

Soutbwark

Guildford

Reigate

Sussex

Cbicbester

Lewes

East Grinstead

Arundel

Rye

Westmoreland

Warwicksbire

CoTentry

Warwick

Wiltshire 10

New Sarum

Marlborougb

Derisee

Woroestersbire 5

Woroebter a



YoitCSBIRB.

Weat Riding 6

East Riding 4

North Riding 4

City of York a

Kingston-npon-Hull .... i

Beverley i

Scarborough. i

Richmond i

Leeds i

HaUfax i

Walks.

Anglesey a

Brecknockibire a

Cardfganahire a

Carmartbensbire a

Carnarvonshire a

Denbighshire a

Flintshire a

Glamorganshire a

Cardiff i

Merionethshire ...... i

Montgomeryshire a

Pembrokeshire a

Haverfordwest 1

Radnorshire a



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1653] The Instrument of Government 409

The distribution of tl)e persons to be chosen for Scotland
tiud Ireland, and the several counties, cities, and places therein,
shall be according to such proportions and number as shall be
agreed upon and declared by the Lord Protector and the major
part of the council, before the sending forth writs of summons
for the next Parliament.

XI. That the summons to Parliament shall be by writ
under the Qreat Seal of England, directed to the sheriffs of
the several and respective counties, with such alteration as
may suit with the present government, to be made by the
Lord Protector and his council, which the Chancellor, Keeper,
or Commissioners of the Qreat Seal shall seal, issue, and
send abroad by warrant from the Lord Protector. If the Lord
Protector shall not give warrant for issuing of writs of summons
for the next Parliament, before the first of June, 1654, or for
the Triennial Parliaments, before the first day of August in
every third year, to be accounted as aforesaid; that then the
Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal for
the time being, shall, without any warrant or direction^ witliin
seven days after the said first day of June, 1654, seal, issue,
and eend abroad writs of summons (changing therein what is to
be changeid aS aforesaid) to the several and respective Sheriffs
of England, Scotland, and Ireland, for summoning the Parlia-
ment to meet at Westminster, the third day of September next ;
and shall likewise, within seven days after the said first day
of August, in every third year, to be accounted from the dis-
solution of the precedent Parliament, seal, issue, and send forth
abroad several writs of summons (changing therein what is to
be changed) as aforesaid, for summoning the Parliament to meet
at Westminster the sixth of November in that third year. That
the said several and respective Sherifl's shall, within ten days
after the receipt of such writ as aforesaid, cause the same to be
proclaimed and published in vretj market-town within his
county upon the market-days thereof, between twelve and three
of the dock ; and shall then also publish and declare the ceitain
day of the week and month, for choosing members to serve in
Parliament for the body of the said county, according to the
tenor of the said writ, which shall be upon Wednesday five
weeks afber the date of the writ ; and shall likewise declare the



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4IO Constitutional Documents [1653

place whero the election shall he made : for which pnrpose he
shall appoint the most convenient place for the whole conntj
to meet in ; and shall send precepts for elections lo he made
in all and every city, town, horough, or place within his county,
where elections are to he made hy virtoe of these presents, to
the Mayor, Sheriff, or other head officer of such city, town,
horough, or place, within three days after the receipt of such
writ and writs; which the said Mayors, Sheriffs, and officers
respectively are to make puhlicatiou of, and of the certain day
for such elections to he made in the said city, town, or place
aforesaid, and to cause elections to he made accordingly.

XII. That at the day and place of elections, the Sheriff of
each county, and the said Mayors, Sheriffs, Bailiffs, and other
head officers within their cities, towns, horoughs, and places
respectively, shall take view of the said elections, and shall
make return into the chancery within twenty days after the said
elections, of the persons elected by the greater number of electors,
under their hands and seals, between him on the one part, and
the electors on the other part ; wherein shall be contained, that
the persons elected shall not have power to alter the government
as it is hereby settled in one single person and a Parliament.

Xin. That the Sheriff, who shall wittingly and willingly make
any false return, or neglect his duty, shall incur the penalty of
2000 marks of lawful English money ; the one moiety to the
Lord Protector, and the other moiety to such person as will
sue for the same.

XIV. That all and every person and persons, who have
aided, advised, assisted, or abetted in any war against the
Parliament, since the first day of January, 1641 (unless they
have been since in the service of the Parliament, and given
signal testimony of their good affection thereunto) shall be
disabled and incapable to be elected, or to give any vote in
the election of any members to serve in the next Parliament,
or in the three succeeding Triennial Parliaments.

XV. That all such, who have advised, assisted, or abetted
the rebellion of Ireland, shall be disabled and incapable for ever
to be elected, or give any vote in the election of any member to
serve in Parliament ; as also all such who do or shall profess
the Boman Catholic religion.



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1653] The Instrument of Government 411

XVI. That all Yotes and elections given or made contrary, or
not according to these qaalificationsi shall be null and Toid;
and if any person, who is hereby made incapable, shall give
his Yote for election of members to serre in Parliament, snch
person shall lose and forfeit one full year's value of his real
estate, and one full third part of his personal estate ; one moiety
thereof to the Lord Protector, and the other moiety to him or



Online LibrarySamuel Rawson GardinerThe constitutional documents of the Puritan revolution 1625-1660 → online text (page 43 of 51)