Note: This is part of the Leveller Collection of Tracts and Pamphlets.
(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)
T.155 [1648.10.17] Anon., Salus Populi Solus Rex. The Peoples safety is the sole Soveraignty (17 October, 1648).
Anon., Salus Populi Solus Rex. The peoples safety is the sole soveraignty, or The royalist out-reasoned: Calculated for the hopefull recovery of the considerate royalist, from the dangerous infection of the slie sophistry of Iudge Ienkings: In his late legend, published to perswade the people into a voluntary slavery, and obliged servitude to the Kings pleasure: most irrationally asserting, that the King is principium, caput, & finis Parliamenti. That the Parliament hath a power over our lives, liberties, laws, and goods, according to the known laws of the land.
Rom. 13.4. He is the Minister of God to thee for good.
Printed in the year 1648.
17 October, 1648.
TT1, p. 683; Thomason E. 467. (39.).
1. WHo is the absolute Soveraign, viz. Salus populi.
2. In what sense the King is Gods anoynted, jure personæ; that his person as King, is not his, but the Kingdomes, and therefore best disposed of when for the Kingdomes peace.
page 2 and 3.
3. That the Rights, Dues, Customes, Mannors, Houses, Lands, Revenues, Militia, &c. belonging to the King as such, yea, and the King himself as such, are more the Kingdoms, then the Kings, and the Kings only in the Kingdoms behalf.
page 3 and 4.
4. That the Parliament may lawfully do many things contrary to the expresse letter of the Laws not yet repealed, according to principles of reason and common safety; and that the people cannot be bound by any law, either to destroy it self, or suffer it self to be destroyed by King or Parliament, or any others, if it be in their power to prevent it.
page 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.
5. That it is not Treason, nor Rebellion (as the case may be) to disobey the personal commands of the King, nor to resist or fight against his personal commands.
page 13, 14.
6. That we are not bound by Covenant, Oaths of Allegiance, Supremacie, or any bonds whatsoever unto the King, abstracted, or distinguished from the Kingdome, but by all these Oaths are we bound to the Kingdome, as the King himself is.
page 14, 15, 16.
7. That the people themselves cannot give the King and Parliament a power to make Laws plainly and directly to enslave and ruine them.
8. Who shall judge.
9. That the Doctrine, that Salus populi suprema lex, doth not destroy, but ratifie just Government.
page 17 and 18.
10. That it is not the major vote of the People that must bear sway, but the rationall vote, not Vox populi, but Salus populi, &c.
page 19, &c.
VAriety of Accidents from God, doth produce variety of Actions amongst men; and several Occurrences of Gods providence, several Appearances of mans weakness: It is not the least of mans unhappiness, that he is the greatest enemy to his own interest; having opportunities for his own advantage, he lets them slip, and by brutish incogitancy, rather then natural impotency, (as our Parents at first) he is soon cheated into his own misery: his present contentment is his chiefest atchievement, and he will have his will, though it be his Woe; he is apt to kill his friends (as the Jews did Christ) for their endeavors to save him, and to court his enemy (as Eglon did Ehud) whose design is to slay him. The great Controversie between the King and the Parliament could never have been spun out into a seven years length, had the dim eyes of dull people been cleared up to a true discerning of their friends from their foes, and the difference of the way to their present weal or woe: they are apt, with the Army of Assyrians to travel to Samaria in stead of Dothan, and with the Jews to gratifie Cæsar in crucifying their Saviours; they are ever right in their own eyes, though their foot beat the path of their own misery: They side with the King against the Parliament, as presuming their own interest prospers herein; To satisfie their reasons is our present attempt; Let us hear their Objections, and consider our Answers.
First he Objects the just Soveraignty of his sacred Majesty, and the apparent wrong several wayes done to his Crown and Dignity.
Whom mean you by his sacred Majesty, and his just Soveraignty? Is it Carolus Rex, or Salus Populi? the King, or the Kingdom? was the Kingdom made for the King, or the King for the Kingdom? is the Kingdom the Kings, or the King the Kingdoms? doth the King maintain the Kingdom, or the Kingdom the King? Is not the State at large the absolute King, and the King (so called) the Kingdoms Steward? Is not the King and all Magistrates the Kingdoms ministers and servants? Is it not their duty and glory to serve the Kingdom? Must the King reign in the Kingdoms ruins, and be lifted up in their downfal? Hath he any thing (as King) but from the Kingdom? And can he have any thing from the Kingdom against the Kingdom? Is not the end greater then the means, health then Physick? VVas the King advanced by the people to debase his people? And are they bound to subject thereto? Is it the Ordinance of God, that millions of men should subserve the meer pleasure of one? Is such authority fit for any, but for him alone, whose nature is perfect, who cannot wrong? Must the pleasure of the King prostrate the Kingdom, or the Peace of the Kingdom the King?
But is not the King himself Gods anointed jure personae? And is not his person wronged, secured, imprisoned? Is he not in the right of his person exempt from all, and above all?
If he is Gods anointed jure personae, in the right of his person, he is mans appointed jure Coronae, in the right of the Crown, and therefore, though he is above every one, yet not all; and common safety is the sole Soveraign. His person is secured, but not imprisoned. Is not his personal safety to be preferred before his personal danger? Are there not those that would engage his person to the hazards of war against his own subjects, as they have done? Is not security better then danger? Is not this the case in respect of his person; his person as King, is not his, but the Kingdoms, neither hath he that power over his person as his meanest subject hath; we have heard that he cannot travel into foreign countreys at pleasure, as other men can; that he cannot marry whom he pleaseth, he cannot dispose of his children or Estate, he cannot part with his Kingdom, or any part of it to any forreign State, Scotch, French, Dutch, &c. He is not to do his own will but the just will of them that gave him his Authority: As he is the greatest L. in the Kingdom, (as Christ once was in the world) so he is the greatest servant, (as he likewise was) which is not his Cross, but his Crown; his shame, but his glory, did he discharge his place after his pattern in the Mount; the golden chains of Honor and Relations do oblige him, for Relative Honors are alwayes obligatory; and he that will accept of the Dignity of Government, must submit to the rules, the burthens, and troubles thereof; his person as King is more his peoples then his own, and most meet it is, that the person of the King should be disposed for the Peace of the Kingdom. Is it not more for his personal Safety, Honour, and Dignity, and Peace of the kingdom, that his person should be in Carisbrook Castle in the Isle of Wight, then in the head of an Army in Keinton, or Naseby, killing and destroying (as much as in him lieth) his faithful subjects? May not the servants of a Family, and the children thereof hold the hands, or secure the person of their father or master, attempting the destruction of them all? If his personal Liberty be the peoples ruine, and his personal Restraint the peoples safety; THAT the undoubted hazard of more bloody wars, THIS the hopeful means of setling Peace; his Restraint is both his own and his Kingdoms security, that is to be preferred before his personal Liberty.
But are not his Rights, Dues, Customs, Mannors, Houses, Lands, Treasures, Militia, &c. kept from him? And can loyal subjects see their Soveraign thus abused?
Are not his Crown, Scepter, Dues, Rights, Revenues, Mannors, Houses, Lands, Customs, &c. are not all these the kingdoms, and not the Kings, but in its behalf? can he alienate these to a forreign power, to Spain, France, &c. Hath he any Dues, Treasure, Rights, Customs, (as King) which he may challenge, and the Parliament must give him, though they know, and have reason sufficient to believe, that he will maintain a war therewith against his people? Hath not he all these for his people? And must he have these to ruine his people? Hath he any other right to these then the Lord Mayor of London to his Cap of maintenance, Sword, &c? Hath the King any Rights, to wrong us all with them? Was the end of the Kings Revenues, to make him able to destroy his subjects? Do not these run in their right channel, when only used for the Kingdoms safety? Neither is the King a competent Judge in this case, for he is to rule according to his great councel, and not to Judge his own will best, neither is the Supremacie of the King above the Supremacie of the Parliament; not that we have two Supremacies, nor one above another; we have no Supreame K. but one neither have we any Supreame Councel but one; and therefore as his Majesty hath no subject above him, so hath he no Conncel above his Parliament; and therefore as he ought to rule each individual, so ought he to be ruled by the whole. The Parliament is in the King, ruling according to their lawful Councel, and the King is in the Parliament, sitting by vertue of the peoples Election, and the Kings Writ; so that what the King does according to Law, we virtually do it, because our consent is in it; and what the Parliament doth, is done by the King his Authority being with them; so that when the King and the people act legally, they act mutually, the King in the people, and the people in the King, and therefore when the Parliament doth dispose of that which is called the Kings Rights, Dues, Revenues, Customs, &c. for the kingdom, the King doth it, and when the King disposeth of those things in that reference, the Parliament doth it; for omnia nostra facimus, quibus nostram impartimur authoritatem, we make that our own Act, to which we communicate our own Power; the kingdom universal is not subject to him, but he is bound to yield to it in its representative body, the Parliament; neither is he upon this account the subject of his subjects, but fellow servant with them for the good of the whole; it is his greater glory to be subject to the whole, and to serve the whole, then to Command each particular, and to Lord it over each individual: It was an Honor becoming the son of God, to be the Saviour, the great Minister, and servant of the world: Things are so much the more glorious, by how much the more serviceable to the world, upon which account, the Sun is more glorious then the Moon, and the Moon then the Stars, &c. This is Gods order in nature.
But the King is abused contrary to the known laws of the land, which are still in force; and debarred from that which the peoples representative have given him in former times, by several Acts and Statutes never yet repealed; the King claimes no power but by the law of the land; that the power of the Militia is in the King; that the law makes no distinction between the person of the King, and the power of the King, and ubi lex non distinguit, ibi non est distinguendum, &c. and that other Parliaments were as true Parl. as this, and therefore their laws and acts are still in force, if not repealed, &c.
VVe are not ignorant of your grave Oracle, Judge Jenkings, neither shall we spend the time to consider, and examine the truth of his assertions, what are Laws, Acts, Statutes, but taking for granted what he affirms, this we presume, it is not the name of Law, Acts, Statutes &c. which binde, but natures and ends; if these, viz. common peace, justice, and safety (the essentiall end of all Kings, Laws and Government) be plainly, clearly, and directly prejudiced by the observation of that which is called law, it is against the greatest law, and chiefest authority, to obey such laws so conducing; That is not a binding law which is made by King, Lords, and Commons, because so made; but laws are binding, or not binding, as plainly and directly relative to Common right, or wrong: Suppose the whole Parliament should make a law that we should turne Turks in matters of Religion, or submit to the Popes supremacy (as some formerly have done) is that a binding law to the people? no such matter, neither are they bound by it: If the Parliament should enslave us to another State, or forraigne power, are we bound like so many vassals, to subject hereunto? we cannot conceive it; it is true, they may make laws which may be prejudiciall to particulars, and these very particulars are bound hereunto notwithstanding, (for a particular mischief must be suffered, rather then a generall inconvenience) and it is true likewise, that they may make laws, the making whereof may accidentally be prejudicial to the whole, and so long as they are but accidentally, or contingently noxious, we conceive they are binding; but we presume they have no power from God or man to make any laws which are clearly, plainly, and directly against the common safety, peace and welfare of the people, and if they should make such laws, which (without dispute) are apparently so, we conceive they do not oblige; nay more, if they should make such laws, which at first were conducing to Common good, if after they appear (and that without dispute) to be most obviously against the common good, during such an appearance they are not binding, the reason is plain, because they are destructive to the end of their first creation, viz. Common good for is it in the power of any to do things that are destructive in their nature, unto those that betrusted them? and if they should do things so conducing, it is a sin, binding them over to give an accompt thereof to them that betrusted them, but binds not their trustees to the observation thereof, for the Common wealth cannot be bound by any law, though made by the Parliament, to destroy itself; the Law of God, nature, reason, all commanding and tending unto preservation, peace and safety.
As for the Militia of the kingdome (the great controversie between the King and the Parliament) the Judge judgeth it the Kings by law, by custome; he produceth his authority, viz. the Statute of the seventh of Edward the first, affirming that many other Statutes sithence the practice of all times, and the custome of the Realm, have placed it in the King: these assertions, attended with such authentique quotations of LAWS, STATUTES, CUSTOME, seeme to carry a most plausible, if not irresistible authority with it; but let not the Judge think we are all of his judgement, notwithstanding this; his positions are not presently turned into principles in all that read them; for,
First, suppose that the laws, in the true intent thereof did grant the power of the Militia of the kingdome to the person of the king, to be disposed of at his meet will and pleasure, yea, though he should wage war with his own Subjects therewith; and that his people by the said Laws are bound to submit thereunto, that is to say, to suffer the King to cut off the heads of as many of his Subjects as he shall please, yea, set up his Standard, invite foraigne forces to help him to destroy his own people with the Militia of the kingdome, are they bound by these laws? God forbid: Doth not Religion, reason, nature and grace teach men self preservation in all just wayes? laws against the very principles of Religion, reason, nature, and grace are irreligious, irrationall, unnaturall, and graceless, and therefore do not oblige: if the Judge saith it is the Kings (though fighting against his Parliament) by law, we say it is the Parliaments (fighting therewith for the people,) by reason; though we are not Lawyers yet we are men, and we shall ever resolve to joyne with reason against unreasonable laws, notwith such laws against reason; if that Par. of the 7. of Edward the first did (or this present Par. should) put the Militia into the Kings hands, Commanding us (if the King pleaseth) by Statutes and laws to put our necks upon the block, and let him cut off our heads, as Herod did John Baptists, or cut off our thumbs and great toes, as Adonibezeck did the thumbs and great toes of threescore and ten Kings; 1 Judges 7. are the people of this nation bound by such a Law? who but Turks, slaves, and vassals will so affirm? Are they not bound by nature and reason to resist those that shall attempt the execution of such laws? let he Judge answer this question like an English man, or a true bred Brittain, whether that this is Law in the truth thereof, that we are thus bound to submit in such cases? doth he think that this will down with men in their wits: the Parliament in Edward the first his time gave the power of the Militia to the K. ergo, our present Parliament are rebels and traitors for not suffering him to cut their throats with the Kingdomes Militia; but,
In the second place, it is not words, and syllables, and letters that make Laws, but the true meaning of the law, is the law, which meaning must alwaies relate unto common good, and although the Judge is pleased to beat our ears with the rehearsall of some part of that Act of the seventh of Edward the first, yet who ever reads that Statute shall finde, that the very express end of that Statute, in the former part of it, is in terminis, thus, for the honour of Vs, (viz. the King,) and the peace of Vs, and Our Realme, which words the Judge leaves out in his citation of that Statute, acording to the ancient custome of Sathan in his allegation of Scripture to our Saviour; may not the weakest capacity judge of the Judges sophistry in pleading Statutes? or can this be good arguing, the Parliament in the 7. of Edward the first said, That to the Kings of England it did belong, and their part it was throughout their Royall seignory straightly to defend force of armour, and all other force against our peace, &c. therefore the Militia is the Kings, and at his pleasure, though to the disturbance and destruction of the peace of this Realm: we make no question but the rest of his allegations of Laws, statutes, customes, are of the same sophistical interpretation, and may be as easily impleaded in his construction as this, and the rather have we reason so to beleive, because we see many Judges, and Lawyers, whose piety, parts, and judgement in matters of Law, render them not inferiour to Judge Jenkings, that are his antagonists in these things.
In the third place, was the Militia of the kingdom therefore the Kings and their Posterities, because the Prelates, Earls, Barons, and Commonalty of the kingdom did so declare it, and yield it? If so, that which these gave in order to preservation of the Peace of the Realm (as aforesaid,) their successors may with the same reference, and upon the same reason, re-assume; otherwise they had more power then their successors.
Fourthly, If the Judge saith, That the Kings have it not by vertue of the Parliaments declaring it to be his, but they have it from God, and it is inherent in the Crown, and if that Kings should abuse their just Authority and Power, to the oppression of their subjects and people, yet they must suffer, and submit their cause to God only, that Judgeth righteously, and will in time make inquisition for such injuries, and this indeed seems to be the Judge his judgement, for thus saith he out of Bracton, Rex non habet superiorem nifi Deum, satis habet ad pænam quod Deum expectat ultorem, that is, The King hath no superior but God, (which is true in respect of each particular, though false in respect of the whole) it is sufficient punishment unto him, that he expects God to revenge his unjustice upon him, though happily he believes not whether there be a God or no; if this be the Judges opinion, we demand,
First, Why did he so detest and oppose the ship-money, and monopolies, &c. as he saith in his Epistle he did? Was it not the Kings pleasure that these should be paid? Why did not he obediently yield thereunto, and require all others so to do, referring their cause to God, and expect his righteous Vindication of their wrong, but on the contrary did detest the same, and would not submit?
Secondly, if the Militia be the Kings, as properly as the Judge his books, or gowns are his owne, we demand how he came by it if he saith it is inherent in the Crown, we reply, that both the Crown, and all things thereunto belonging are the peoples, yea, the King himself, as such, is not his own, but the peoples: Are not our arms inherent to our persons? Have not we as good right to our own personal arms, as to our lands? And may he not aswel claim a right to all that we have, as well as our arms? The King would not have us take from him that which is his he must not take from us that which is ours; a Militia is inherent in every mans person to defend himself, and that the King should challenge every mans Arms as his due, is to challenge a right to enslave us all ad libitum; is not the power of the Militia best placed, where each man gives his consent to be armed? If the Militia of the kingdom be the Kings by inheritance, then are we (if he pleaseth) his meet slaves by inheritance; so that he is a born Lord, and we born Vassals, and like horse and mule we must be curb’d with bit and bridle, and be acted only by our riders reason, pleasure, whip, and spur, poor English slaves.
Again, doth the King challenge it from his Coronation? If so, then was the day of his Exaltation, the day of our Humiliation. Was not the King Crowned for our good? And can that be, if we be enslaved upon that account? Was the putting a Crown of Gold upon his head, the enabling him to put a chain of iron upon our necks? Is it the glory of the King, that he should be the King of poor slaves, or free men? Doth he not take an oath at his Coronation to rule his people for their best advantage, to administer unto every man his just rights, to confirm such Laws that the people make, conducing to common good? Doth not all this shew that his Coronation is chiefly intended for the publick, not meerly his prerogative? If the King hath right to the Militia by his Crown, if he shall take or improve this Militia against his people, Salus populi, that soveraign Lord, Commands to wrest it from him, to secure the Peace of the kingdom; if the King hath this right upon that account, then from the day of his Coronation we are his slaves and vassals, if he pleaseth; for if we will not yield, he hath (upon this supposition) a power to bend us to his Bow, or break our backs.
Again, hath he this right by custom? first, let Judge Jenkings shew us such a president that may every way answer the present case; that is to say, let him shew us when one, or more of the Kings of England have summoned up his or their people against the Parliament of England, set up a Standard to that purpose, proclaiming the Parliament, and all that joyn with them, Traytors, Rebels, &c. raising up Armies, marching in person before them into the field, endeavoring by pitcht Battails, by seizing upon strong Holds, Cities, and Towns, making Garrisons of them, Treating with Forraign parts for help and assistance to ruine their Parliaments and people; and that in this case the Parliaments and people submitted themselves in his, or their Commanding the Militia of the kingdom, and obeyed these Commands, to the utter ruine and destruction of themselves, and the enabling him, or them, to Tyrannize it over them at pleasure: And secondly, the Iudge must likewise, not only bring such a president so amplified, but must justifie the practice of such a people, so acting from the Principles of Religion, and Reason; otherwise let him not any longer beat the air, or our ears with the meet vaporing noise of former CUSTOMS, PRESIDENTS, &c.
In the last place, hath the King this personal right to the Militia of the kingdom, to dispose thereof at his pleasure, by vertue of the Commission of Array, and of Statutes made, as he saith, to that purpose? (vide The Copy of the Kings Letter sent to Leicester-shire, with the Commission of Array, Book of Declar. first Volumn, Page 344.) and upon this Judge Jenkings doth frequently and mainly insist.
To that we Reply, Supposing such Statutes so made, they were made either intentionally for the good, or hurt of the people; we are not to presume so irreverently, and unworthily of our Predecessors, as to think they would make any Laws, or Statutes, with an intention thereby to enslave the people to the meer pleasure of the King, that if so be the Kings of this Realm should at any time prove so unnatural, as to endeavor the destroying of their own Parliaments and people, yet should they be enabled hereunto by Authority of Parliament; and if so be the strict, and most exact literal sence of the words do confer such power upon them, yet this rule must take place, that prior & potentior est mens quam vox dicentis, the true intent of words, and so of Laws, Acts, and Statutes, is to be preferred before the meer letter and voice thereof; the meaning of the Law, is the Law, and not the letter thereof, in the strictness of it; the minde of the Law is the soul and spirit of it, the letter is but the carkase and shell, which of it self may kill, when the spirit thereof quickeneth, I shall appeal for this to Judge Jenkings himself, he saith in his Controversie with Mr. Pryn, That the Parliament cannot alter Moral Laws, and that it is a very ill position to maintain the contrary, (Vide Judge Jenkings his Works, Page 61.) wherein he speaks most truly, which Principle from his own lips, is sufficient (like Goliahs sword) though he seems to be the great Gyant of the host of the Philistins, coming against us with his Coat of Male, and weavers beam, we mean Statutes, Laws, Customs, Records, Authors, Judges, Lawyers, &c. to cut off his own head, or the head and heart of all his writings about this subject: The Judge knows very well, and we presume, by too much experience, that many Lawyers make more Law (falsly so called) with their wits at the Bar, then with the Law. Let the Judge give an Answer as becommeth one, whose desires and endeavors are, that his hoary heirs may be a Crown of glory, being found in the way of righteousness, and that is preparing to render up himself to give an account unto the Judge of all the earth, whether this Position be not most true, that omuis lex obligas secundum rectam voluntatem legislatoris obligantis, every Law doth binde according to the true and right meaning of the Law-makers, and no further; if so, can we prsume that former Parliaments should at least intentionally, and knowingly establish any Laws destructive to common Moral Laws? The Judge saith it is against a Moral Law, to delay, deny, or to sell Justice. Why so? because it is destructive to the very beeing of Common wealths so to do; we say likewise it is against a Moral Law, that a kingdom should suffer it self to be unkingdom’d, mined, and destroyed, (having a power in their hands to save themselves) self preservation is the Law of nature; surely our Predecessors would not knowingly make Laws that are unnatural, and if they should make Laws which in the letter only are conducing to publike wrong, yet that of Navarrus must take place, viz. It is not sin in a man not to obey his superior, when he hath probable reason to judge his superior was deceived when Commanding, or that he would not have given such a Command if he had known the truth: we know full well that common justice, equity, and safety is the foundation of Law, and that nothing is, or can be Law, that is directly, and without dispute, against these; and they are the greatest violators of Law, which in pretence of conscience to the letter of the Law, doth most unconscionably wrest and torture the true meaning of the Law, idem facit ac is, qui Legem transgreditur, qui sæva verborum prærogativa fraudulenter contra juris sententiam abutitur, he doth as bad as transgress the Law, who fraudulently abuseth the severe prerogative of words, contrary to the true intentional sentence of the Law; and if so, let the Judge himself (if his passions will give place to his intellects) judge whether his own Pen hath not transgrest the Law in the spirit and meaning of it, whilest he hath seemed to maintain the same; is it not Judas-like, to cry Hail Master to the body of the Law, (as he did to the body of Christ) and in the mean while, nay, by that very sign and token, to betray the life, & beeing of it, viz. the true meaning of the Law into the hands of known Traytors, and Delinquents, viz. The Cavalier party, who with swords and staves, viribus & armis, would utterly kill, crucifie, and destroy the Law; dealing with the Law, as Ehud with Eglon, bow to the outward body of it, and upon advantage thereof, thrust his Dagger or pen up to the very feathers, into the very heart, soul, and meaning of the Law, and so to destroy the very life blood of the Law. Law is either reasonable, or unreasonable; if unreasonable, (and that plainly, and without dispute prejudicial unto the whole) it is as unreasonable to obey them, as it was in them that made them, so to do; for the makers of such Laws do propose evil, and the obeyers thereof do confirm the same; Common Peace, Safety, and Preservation is the law of God, and so of reason and nature; personall interest against these, may be the laws of lust, pride and ambition, which do not oblige; all cannot be bound to one in Common prejudice, though each particular be bound to all, though unto personall losse; the whole owe not their lives to any, though each doth owe his life to the whole: God doth sometimes require that one should suffer for all, but never that all should suffer for one; common equity is the ground of law, and with that reference they are, or should be constituted, neither can they in reason any other wayes oblige.
Whereas therefore your admired Oracle tels you of the rights of Soveraignty, the power of the King, the power of the Militia is in the King, the power of making League with forreigners is in the King, the power of making war is in the King, that the Supream power is in the King, that to remove Councellors by armes is high treason, that the King is principium, caput, & finis, that the Parliament consisting of King, Lords, and Commons, have power over our lives, liberties, laws, and goods, that the King upon all Bills hath liberty of assenting or dissenting, that the two Houses ought not to meddle with the Kings revenues, that armes must not be borne in London or Westminster in time of Parliament, and many more assertions of this kinde, and produceth acts, laws, and custome, &c. for the authority thereof; well might he preach these doctrines to his simple country men of Wales, bred in the mountains, whose ears are astonished with Maiestique language, and sound of LAWS, STATUTES, RECORDS, &c. and whose eys are dazel’d with the glorious Robes, glittering Crown, and golden Seepter of the King, whose understandings were never burthened with the weight of an argument of the principles of nature, justice and reason; well might these things also be suggested to Turks, vassals and slaves, that know no law, but the meer will and pleasure of their grand siegniour; but alas, the sun is too much up in England, especially in London, that we should be catht with such silly and chaffy notions as these are; it is not the hoariness of the Judges hairs, (though in themselves honourable) nor yet the authority of his abilities, being a Judge, nor yet the multitude of his quotations, arguing his reading, but the reason, or reasonlesness of the thing he contends for that is considered with rational and understanding men; if he will give us this principle, that Solus poputi est suprema lex, we have enough to answer al his charming delusions, he may as well tel us that God made the Sun and the Moon, the day and the night, the summer and the winter, the seed-time and the harvest time, for mans destruction, and not for his preservation, as to tell us that he hath appointed any governours or governments whatsoever to the apparent prejudice of the Common-wealth, and that we must submit to the Kings meer will, though to our utter ruine; laws are lawless that are only calculated for the Kings personal benefit, and not peoples safety, and the truth is such pleas as those becomes rather the policy of the Prince of this world, that great Abaddon, and destroyer of mankinde, then the just soveraignty of lawfull authority; whose rules are (like its originall author, the great preserver of man and beast) all conducing to the preservation of all, not particular exaltation of any one.
But is it not Treason and Rebellion to disobey the Commands of the King? nay, to resist and fight against his personall Commands, is it not the greatest murther to strike at the King? is not sin so much the more sinfull, by how much the greater the person is against whom it is committed? and doth not the Parliament thus against the King?
Treason, Rebellion, Murther, These are great and sore charges, but they are but charges, not proofs, let us examine;
First then for Treason, what is it is not Treason the betraying of just trusts, and engagements; the greater the trust, the greater the Treason, the worse the traytor; is not that of a kingdome the greatest trust? whether will ye hurrie us? can any thing be treason which is not against the kingdome; if a man should kill the King, as it is the killing of his person, it is murther; but as his person is the kingdomes, wrong is done to a whole kingdome, and therefore is it Treason.
Secondly, for Rebellion, is it not to resist just Governours in their just government? and is not this found sometimes in particulars, not in the generall, in the whole state, who is above law, law being made for them, whose safety is the absolute Soveraigne? and are not they that shall resist the known laws of the Common safety, the greatest rebels? and is it not rebellion to side with such against the publike?
Thirdly, for Murther, is it not murther, without just cause to kill, or not to save (if we can) is not this true? though it relates but to one particular person, what is it then for him or them (especially betrusted with the safety of a kingdome) that shall not only deny to help it, but seek to destroy it, and strive by all means to raise up parties, both forraine and domestique to that end; and hath not this been the practice of——the Cavaliers?
But are we not bound by Covenant, by oath of allegiance, by oath of supremacy, to the person of the King? and whether there hath been a performance of these, let the world Judge.
The Covenant, the oath of allegiance, oath of supremacy, are doubtless obligatory, and it is not one of the least evils of our present times, that all Officers (from the King to the Scavenger) are forward to take, but negligent in performing their oaths, vows, and Covenants; but its not lawfull to take, or if taken, its unlawfull to keep any oaths, vows, and Covenants that are against the kingdome, though for the King; though properly nothing can be for the King, as such that is against the Kingdome; surely no man is bound by any oath of God to gratify one, to the griefe of all, or to raise one by the ruines of all; and if any have been so entangled with the devils oaths, binding themselves to do his work (viz. things unlawful) they are not to adde sin unto sin, wickednesse unto wickednesse, (that is) to DO evil, as well as to PROMISE the doing thereof; he that takes a Covenant to do things unlawfull, doth he not make a covenant with hell? and must the league of hell and death be maintained? but more particularly, touching the solemne League and Covenant, taken by both kingdomes; was the end of that Covenant to advance the soveraignty of the King against the safety of the people? to joyn with the King against the Parliament? is not the Covenant made more to the kingdome then the King? nay, is it not made to the kingdome only? and to the King in (not against) the preservation of the kingdome? are we not bound to make no defection to the Parliaments adversaries? and yet are we bound by the same Covenant to be (and side) with the Parliaments enemies? doth the Covenant oblige us to inconsistencies, to contraries? is he that takes the Covenant necessitated to break the Covenant? or can conscience plead Covenant in acting contraries? viz. siding with the Parliament against the King, and with the King against the Parliament? is good and evill, light and darkness, truth and error perfectly reconciled, that they can live, and love, and lodge together, and have made the Solemne League and Covenant their present habitation?
Again, for the Oath of Allegiance, is it not made to the kingdome in the King, ruling for the kingdome, and not to the King warring, or any wayes acting against the kingdome? is not the King sworne by oath to the kingdome, and we unto him in that reference? are we sworne to be true to the King against the kingdome? suppose the King should Command us to take up armes against the kingdom, doth the oath of allegiance binde us to obey it?
And so for the oath of Supremacy, is it any other, then to acknowledge him to be the chiefest Officer, in opposition to any other whatsoever? that he is the chief likewise in his Dominions, in opposition to the Pope, or any other particular Prince or Potentate whatsoever? not that he is the Supreme Legislative power of the kingdome, and that he is in all causes the sole Judge, and over all persons an absolute Lord, unto whose will and pleasure we are bound to subject actively or passively; neither doth such a power become any, but those that are perfect, as God himselfe is perfect.
But to answer all that may be said touching all oaths, vowes, covenants, and compacts whatsoever, are they not all reciprocall and mutual, the King being as well bound to the people, as the people to the King? we presume it will be granted, for either the King hath interest unto the Crown by birth, conquest, or compact; he will not challenge it simply by birth, no Kings sithence the Conquest claiming right hereunto simply, and meerly upon that account, but in conjunction with an oath and agreement with the people, giving an actuall right hereunto; neither will he challenge it by Conquest, if he did, what might be infered, is most obvious; he that hath, or can procure the longest sword, may have as true right as any other, &c. Therefore have the Kings of England right to the Throne thereof, partly by birth, and partly by compact; if so, all Oaths, Vows, and Covenants made to the King, can be no otherwayes understood, then upon condition of his performance of his Oaths, Vows, and Covenants made to his people; if so, then we querie whether the voluntary and plenary breach of his agreement with the people, doth not ipso facto discharge the people from their Oaths, Vows, and Covenants, untill such time as the agreement and compact between the King and people be again renewed, and both united? what the Parliament hath said touching the Kings Oath at his Coronation, made to his people, and also touching his waging war against the kingdome, and setting up his Standard to that purpose, with many other things of this nature, and the consequences thereof, is most notoriously extant in their own Declarations, and Remonstrances, published (as we conceive) on purpose to inform the people, (mainly concerned herein) whose judgements and consciences are so fully informed, and satisfied herein, that they cannot easily now be enslaved, and brought to submit to unreasonable bondage; doubtless that golden principle of Salus populi, will redeem their judgements from a voluntary slavery. English men will ever keep their principles, except an Army of Reasons and Arguments do take them from them, for they are now sufficiently instructed, that it is not in the just power of any authority whatsoever, to enslave the people.
But do not the people give the King and Parliament such a power, as that they may make Laws, Acts, and Statutes according to their meer will and pleasure, and so the peoples consent, evidenced by their own Act, in election of the several Members of Parliament, doth oblige them to submit thereunto; and if so, former Parliaments have given that power unto the King by known Laws, not yet repealed, which this Parliament deny him? and if this Parliament should do the like, we must submit quietly, either actively or passively hereunto.
We cannot presume any former Parliaments intentionally did ever make Laws to enslave the people, much less can we entertain the least thought, that this present Parliament, that hath so fully instructed us in the just rights of the people, will ever so do; they themselves having not only informed our judgements, but bound our consciences by impositions of Oaths, Protestations, Vows, and Covenants, to maintain in our several places and callings, the common safety of the people; but if they should so do, which God forbid, we may lawfully, nay, we are bound in conscience not to submit, but to defend our selves against the execution of such Laws, which, without dispute are Universally destructive. As for the people, they cannot give the Parliament a power to inslave themselves, for they are thereby self-betrayers, and in a degree self-murtherers; and is it not a sin for any to murther himself? Or is it in the just power of any to give a power to another to murther him? Or is it lawful, in case such power should be granted, to execute the same accordingly? The people therefore de jure cannot make Laws destructive to the common safety, or give any power to others to the making of such Laws.
But who shall Judge?
We answer, common, plain, general, and universal reason, and Moral principles; we do grant, and have asserted, that in doubtful and disputable cases, the Parliament shall judge: But shall the Parliament judge whether it be midnight at noon-day, and if they say that it is liberty and not bondage to be in chains, must we be satisfied? shall they judge whether day be night, or night day, whether summer be winter, and winter summer, whether common known good be evil, and the like evil be good? Suppose they should make a peace with the King, upon this condition, that their own persons and estates shall be secured to themselves and posterity, and all that have assisted them, shall be the K. vassals and slaves; must we acquiesce in their judgement as no oppression at all, because they call it righteous judgement? Can the Parliamnt Vote down Common reason and the principles thereof?
But will not this doctrine destroy all Government, and ravell us all into confusion?
No: can these Doctrins destroy Government, because they will not permit Governors to destroy the people; nay, will they not establish just Government by rooting out the unjust? Is not the Throne established by righteousness, and ruined by wickedness? Those Doctrines that rectifie Governors in administration of common right, and Justice, do fasten the Crowns of Government upon their head, for by doing every man right, their Throne is set up in every mans heart; and not only so, but the promised presence of an infinite power will ever secure, and prosper such administrations; it is most true, it is better to have any Government then none, but it is better to have a good one, then a bad one, it is not Government, but the evil thereof that these Doctrines implead, better is the Government of the great Turk, then no Government, because without all Government, homo homini demon, one man will be a devil to another; but it is better to have such a Government which will answer the Laws of God, reason, and nature, and just ends of Government, then such as will contradict the same: These Doctrines are all included in this, the Safety of the people is still the chiefest Lord, Rule, Reason, and Law.
But what mean you by the people? Do you not mean the Commonwealth? And is not the major part of the people, the people? And is not the major part of the people against the Parliament, and for the King? Look through all the Cities, Counties, Burroughs, Towns, and Villages, you shall finde every where that the greater party are for the King, and must not the minor part be included in the major, and submit to their Judgement?
We Reply, that upon presumption that the major party was the rational, knowing, and considerate party, doubtless in things in themselves disputable, the minor party is to be included in them; but upon presumption that the major party be the sensual, ignorant, and inconsiderate party, the minor party must not be included in their Vote: For must rational men subject unto sensual, and sober to mad men, because they are more in number then themselves? Who but a mad man will affirm it? Must wise men submit to fools, and considerate to rash men, because their numbers exceed? It is too too palpable, that the most of men are not the best of men; and their Votes and sayings are like themselvs, tending to the gratifying of their own personal lusts, and not common benefit, righteousness, and truth; men generally are sensual, and do not love to debate things in their judgements, being commonly idle, and cannot bear the labour of a rational Debate, and discussion of things in their minds, and also commonly sottish and ignorant of their own interest, and just rights and liberties, having indeed bin (by way of design) kept in blindness and ignorance, by manifold methods to that purpose; and although the Parliament hath said enough and enough to open their eyes, to reason out their own liberty from tyrannie and slavery, (which hath taken such hold on the hearts of wise men, as will never be dispeld again) yet generally men are inconsiderate, they love their ease, and are not naturally willing to engage in understanding what is right and wrong, &c. Must they include the more sage, grave, and considerate party? This we presume cannot be denied, viz. That if the minor party, being the better party, (as is in all kingdoms) must alwaies be included by the major; then ought the Parliament to Vote alwayes according to the most probable judgement of the major party, and not minde their own reason and arguments; which if granted, what mad work would there quickly be made in the Land? If the major party being the worser, must include the minor, then must the Gospel be spurn’d out of the Kingdom, all true Religion, and religious people supprest, and ruined, goodness, and good men must go to wrack, because the major Vote of the people will have it so; Yea, the truth is, Jesus Christ, that king of Righteousness, must quit his Government in the world, and his great adversary the devil, and his Viceroyes must sit upon the throne; for this would please the major party of most Kingdoms in the world: If the common Vote of the giddy multitude must rule the whole, how quickly would their own interest, peace, and safety be dash’t and broken? It is not vox, but Salus populi that is the supream Law: if the comon people do: Vote against common Principles, they that Vote not with them, must not be included in them: If men should prove only sensual, and so bestial in their Votes, they are rather beasts in mens shapes, then men truly so called, whose irrational bawling is not to be ballanced with (much less preferred before) universal reason, and the principles thereof; it is the major reason according to common principles, and not the major voice, that must include the minor, Did Herod and Pilate do well to deliver up our Saviour to be crucified, because the major voice of the people cryed out, Away with him, away with him, crucifie him?
We have heard your Arguments, examined your Objections, and delivered you our Answers; if they are short in satisfaction, shew us their insufficiency, you shall see our ingenuity in subiecting to reason where ever we finde it.
We have now heard your Objections, and returned our answers; to expect your eviction may be too great presumption; but your ingenious Reply in case of non-satisfaction, is our expectation; ingenuity quits railing, and quickens reasoning to side with King or Parliament upon irrationall resolution, and therefore so to continue because of our first resolves, is to throw by the principles of a man, and to refuse to reassume them; give us your Arguments, manifestly proving that the Kings wayes, his party, his constant proceedings did alwayes import the peoples interest (though waging war against his Parliament) the promotion of Peace, Religion, and Reformation in England, Ireland, and Scotland, especially in Ireland; that to stick unto him, is to support our own peace and interest, against slavery and tyrannie, our Religion, against superstition and Popery: and let these Arguments be truly so called, that is, have in them the life, power, and strength of reason, and we are resolved to quit our party, and joyn with yours; but in the mean while we shall keep our standing, and besides what we have said, we shall adde some further reasons of our present resolution, and present the same unto your serious consideration.
First, The QUALITY OF EACH PARTY, and here, though we cannot deny, but as on the one hand some good men may through the curious artifice of gilded pretences, and specious language, be drawn aside in the simplicity of their hearts, knowing nothing, to joyn issue with an evil party, as many did with Absolom, warring against his father David; the best of men being but men at best, and therefore though they were as innocent as Adam before his fall, yet obnoxious to the dangers of temptations as he was; so on the other hand, the worst of men for their own ends, and carnall advantages, may joyn themselves with a good party, though enemies to the Cause they pretend to fight for, as Judas was unto his Lord and master, and fellow servants, which may answer what may be said touching some good and evil persons mingled in each party, yet consider.
First the leaders, and the chief, main, and capitol Sticklers of each party; if we consider them in a Religious sense, then were not all the Papists in the kingdom the Kings great Adjutators, in promoting the wars against the Parliament? and are they not still in the same minde? were not the prelatical clergy, the superstitious Priests (for so they called themselves) the Popish and superstitious people throughout the Kingdom; were not these united together as one man for the King, against the Parliament? If we consider them in a civill respect, were not all the Patentees, Monopolizers, cruell usurping oppressors, both Lords Knights and Gentlemen, the pillars of Star-Chamber, Councell Table High Commission Court, &c. were not these the great Abettors, Maintainers, and Supporters of these wars against the Parliament? these were the leaders of the Kings party.
Secondly, Consider the generality of their Followers, and Allies thorowout the three Kingdoms; were not they the most profane, loose, wicked, ignorans, scandalous, scoffers at Religion, and Religious people; yea, the very scum of the people that did gather together against the Parliament? And is not that generation of men to this day the strength of their party, when ever opportunity will serve them to rally together? Now let reason speak, will Traytors fight for Justice, Delinquents for Laws, Papists for purity of Religion? How is the world turned upside down? Is Religion preserved by Irreligion, Piety by Iniquity, Purity by Popery? Is the Law maintained by Illegality, the Subject by Oppression? Can such a party, so qualified, be right in their Engagements?
A second reason of our present resolution, to keep our standing untill further eviction, is the good will of God, giving Testimonies from heaven, suppressing you, and succeeding us; breaking you, and blessing us from day to day; it is true, that success is not alwayes an infallible testimony of the goodnesse of the Cause, all things oftentimes falling alike to all men; but it is as true, that successes with their circumstances, do sometimes most evidently vindicate the minde of God in a doubtfull case.
First, when both parties have most solemnly appealed unto God, and called upon him to shew unto the world which party he owns, by succeeding them, blessing or blasting them, as he approves, or disclaims them; in such cases successes are evidences.
Secondly, When these successes are not once or twice, but carried on in an uniform manner for seven or eight years together, to the generall observation of all people, in whose ears they have thus appealed unto God, to manifest his minde, and the Truth of their Cause, by his blessing, or blasting them in their mutuall attempts; in such cases likewise successes are evidences.
Thirdly, When the Glorious Majesty, Power, and presence of God do most visibly appear in successes; when he maketh one to chase ten, and two to put a hundred to flight; when he breaks the heavens and comes down, making the mountains to flow down before him; when he shall with a small, contemptible, despised and disperst Army, break in pieces above four score thousand forces in actuall Arms against them, besides many thousands more ready to Arm themselves, and all within the space of about 6 or 8 moneths; when he shall fill the eyes, ears, and hearts of them that see, hear, and observe them, with admiration, and astonishment; doubtlesse in such cases, successes are to be looked upon as clear evidences of the Truth, Righteousnesse, and Equity of our Cause.
VVe have done for the present, and resolve for the future to live and die in our faithfull adherence unto common safety, as presuming our obligations hereunto, by all the bonds of Humanity and Piety, Religion and Reason, Nature and Grace and do apprehend, that it is the Duty and Glory of all Kings, Parliaments, and Magistrates whatsoever, to subserve the whole, and God, and their countrey; the one out of bounty, the other out of duty, will blesse them, love them, and reward them for it.