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T.168 [1648.12.21] [William Walwyn], No Papist Nor Presbyterian (21 December, 1648)
[William Walwyn], No Papist Nor Presbyterian: But the modest Desires and proposalls of Some well-affected and Free-born People: Offered to The Generall Councell of the Armie, for Redresse of Grievances, In order to the late Representative, and Agreement of the People.
Quod tibi non vis, alteri ne feceris.
Published for generall satisfaction, 1649.
21 December, 1648.
TT1, p. 705; Thomason E. 477. (17.).
HAving long and sadly expected the settlement of this Kingdome in a firme and lasting Peace, freed from all Tyranny and oppression, and that the Free-borne People of this Land may enjoy such Immunities and Priviledges as of right belong unto us, which we being in some present and apparent hope (by the goodnesse of God) to enjoy; and having alwaies professed and owned that Principle of doing to others as we would be done unto, have thought fit to propound to those, who are at present impowered and intrusted by us the People, as our Representatives, some additionall grievances to be inserted into the Peoples Agreement, and these as well in behalfe and out of a fellow-feeling of others interests, as of our owne, being clearly in order to that so often repeated and promised Liberty of Conscience; which promise we are confident hath caused some interests to acquiesce, which otherwise might in all probability have assisted or adhered unto our professed enemies, even in the time of ours and the Armies greatest Existence; But now since God has been pleas’d to subjugate our enemies, and thus far to advance and owne this cause, we hope this successe of the sword will not cause any of the chiefe Officers of the Army or others to recede from their former principles, or forget their so often declared Liberty of Conscience without exception; In confidence whereof, and in order whereunto, we propound as followeth.
1. That all penall Statutes against non-conformists in Religion may be forthwith repealed, and made null, since for the most part all the well-affected and conscientious men of this Kingdome are as well concerned therein, and lyable thereunto, as the Papists. And that all Justices of Peace, Pursuivants, or other Persecutors, that shall any waies proceed upon any of those Statutes, may be severely punished.
2. That the Oathes of Supremacy and Allegiance, with the Nationall Covenant, and all other compulsory Oathes may be effectually declared against, and taken away.
3. That there may be a free and unmolested exercise of Religion, at least in private houses, for all sorts of People that professe Christ, none excepted.
4. That no person be forced to pay or contribute towards the maintenance of the publique Ministers, who out of Conscience cannot submit thereunto, but that they may be provided for in some other unoppressive way.
5. That (as it hath been well propounded by others against Lawyers, and the expence and protraction of Law Suites,) so likewise, that the excessive Fees of Physicians may be regulated and reduced, whereby the poore for a small and reasonable Fee may have the benefit of their skill; As in France, a Physicians common Fee for coming to a patient is a Quard escu, or 1. sh. 6. d.
6. That the Lands and Goods of all Papists, who cannot be lawfully charged or convicted by two sufficient witnesses either to have been in Arms against the Parliament or to have aided or assisted the King, be immediately discharged of all sequestrations, and unjust seizures, since that delinquency being cleared, it will follow, that they suffer meerly for Conscience sake, if still sequestred.
7. That Papists in Armes may be no worse dealt with in their Compositions then others in Armes; since to lay a Fine or mulct upon their Religion, is no waies in order to Liberty of Conscience.
8. That no person be disabled from bearing any Office in the Common-Wealth, for any opinion or practise in Religion, though contrary to the publique way.
9. That all persons whatsoever now in durance, who cannot be charged with any crime against the State, or are not imprisoned for debt, but that suffer only for Conscience sake, may be forthwith discharged.
Some perhaps may here object, that to grant thus much, would be too much in favour of the Papists; Whereunto we answer, That as we beare them no more love then what one Christian is bound to shew unto another, and their tenets much lesse; so we are clear of opinion, that it cannot perfectly be said to be Liberty of Conscience, nor can it be warranted by Scripture, that they or any others that weare the Title of Christians, should be excluded; besides, if any restrictions or penalties shall be continued on the Papists, though for the present we and other well-affected persons may be secure and unmolested, yet we know not how soon the same Lawes or penalties by any change of times, may be laid upon us; As hath been too evident of late yeares, when as the penall Statutes which we know were primarily intended against Papists and their Adherents, were made a foundation for the Bishops to exercise their Lordly and tyrannicall wills over many peaceable and conscientious men, for non-conformity in matters of Religion.
Here we may add the consistency of Liberty of Conscience, with many, nay most Governments, whether Monarchicall, Popular, or mixt, As in France, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, &c. where diversity of Faith exiles no confidence, but persons of all Religions are indifferently employed and found faithfull in Offices and places of greatest trust.
Againe if there be such penalties and restrictions put upon mens Consciences, they cannot be termed Free-borne People, and English Natives, but rather aliens, outlawes or men bar’d of all propriety of persons and goods, and without the protection of the Lawes, which are every mans birth-right; and what is the case of others to day, may be ours to morrow, according to the ebb or flow of fortune.
Here perhaps some others will object and say, that though all other Religions ought to be tolerated, yet Papists ought not, because they are Idolaters; whereto if you will take the answer, which we have heard some of them deliver (for we think it just to hear all parties, and hold it a work of Charity to convert any, by arguments from the Written Word) their answer is this, that they give not Pictures or such representations (as they call them) any Soveraigne honor, which is that that properly belongs to God, but an inferiour or relative kind of reverence or honor.
And if we take Papists in our or the common received sence, yet we cannot say they are such Idolaters, as those mentioned in the old Testament, who absolutely adored, even with Soveraigne honor, the Images of false Gods, which these Papists (for ought we can learne) doe not doe, but doe adore the Image of the true God; and therefore cannot properly be called Idolaters, at least in Scripture sence, but rather superstitious and Popish persons.
But supposing it to be lawfull or warranted by the Word of God, to persecute the Papists or any other sort of people professing Christ, yet we have observed in these last 7. years of their persecution, (which we confesse has been very severe, and we beleeve that their persecutors, if they ever get the power, will be as rigid and unchristian towards us) when many of them have been hang’d, drawn and quartered, others 7. or 8. yeares imprisoned onely for refusing such oathes as we, or perhaps the persecutors themselves cannot in conscience take, and many of their Estates sequestred onely for non-conformity in matters of Religion, yet we doe not see that this persecution hath any thing at all abated or lessened the number of them, but that they are rather increas’d by suffering; so that whether we respect our own principle, of doing to others as we would be done unto, or be steered by reasons of Religion or of common policy, we humbly offer and think fit, that no Agreement of the People be concluded (or offered to publike test) by any Representative, but that as a principal & materiall part which belongs to God, Liberty of Conscience to all that professe Christ without exception may be inserted, and the foresaid grievances redressed; so shall we with all true and Free-borne English men joyne hands and hearts against all Enemies to Peace and Godlinesse.