[Richard Overton], A Dreame, or Newes from Hell (1641).



Note: This is part of the Leveller Collection of Tracts and Pamphlets.



Bibliographical Information

ID Number

T.5 [1641.??] [Richard Overton], A Dreame, or Newes from Hell (1641).

Full title

[Richard Overton], A Dreame: or Newes from Hell. With a Relation of the great God Pluto suddenly falling sicke by reason of this present Parliament.

Printed in Sicilia on the back-side of the Cyclopean Mountaines. 1641

Estimated date of publication

1641, no month given.

Thomason Tracts Catalog information

Not listed in TT.

Editor’s Introduction

(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)

Text of Pamphlet


NOT long since an honest Yeoman comming up to London, to petition to the most honourable High Court of Parliament in his own behalfe, for an especiall wrong he had received from certaine Projectors, who had encroached upon a parcell of his Free-hold, neere to the Common where he dwelt, by direction of some well-minded people, came into Westminster Hall, where having walked a long time up and down, & not knowing unto whom to deliver his petition, among so many hundreds that he met withall, at last being desirous to take some repast, wherewith he might revive & comfort himselfe, he came to a place neere adjoyning, which was tearmed by the name of Hell, and having well satisfied himselfe with such a portion of meat & drunke as he thought might content his appetite, he demanded what might be to pay, and finding the reckoning to be beyond his expectation, he grew very much discontented at the payment thereof, and repairing presently to his Lodging, being not farre off, and being very much perplexed at his former Reckoning, he resolved at the last to betake himselfe to his Bed, and not long after falling into a slumbring sleepe (divers Whimzies and diversities of Motions, swimming in his braine of the supposed Hell where he had formerly beene) he dream’d he was in the true and locall Hell indeed:

Where being affrighted with the apparitions of divers hideous and ugly deformed diabolicall Fiends, who were by his cogitation numberlesse, he was transported by his fancie to the great Court of Grand Pluto, who being attended with a multitude of his blacke Guard, and other his stigmaticall Officers, there was an instant hurly-burly and combustion in the Court, about the suddennesse of Grand-Pluto falling into a greevous sicknesse; wherefore all the Court Doctors of Hell being summoned to appeare (with an infinit company of Witches, Conjurers, & Sorcerers, fetcht from all other places, to give their best advice therein, were admitted into his princely Chamber, and having cast his water, and debated the matter a long time about the difficulty of his Disease, at length they all agreed, that he fell sick of a Parliament.

Whereupon Proclamation being made in Pluto’s name throughout all his Hellish Dominions, to any whatsoever to repaire unto his Court, with promises of great reward and favour from him, that could by any wayes comfort him in this behalfe. Upon a sudden there appeared a multitude in long button’d cassacks, high collars, and square Caps, with small falling bands about their Necks, who seemed to strive, against all others, to be the first that might be admitted into his presence; and these were reported to be a company of Iesuites, who were the deere children of Pluto, who hearing that their Father was sicke, came in all submissive manner to visit him, and to offer their service unto him, and withall informed him, that if there were any Designe, Practice, Plot, Device, Study, or other stratagem whatsoever, that could administer him any comfort, or wherein they might any wayes expresse their duty unto him, or further enlarge his Kingdome, they would ride, runne, goe, trot, or what not to performe his pleasure therein, and withall, desired him to be of good cheere, and to be comforted in his Children, who were ready at all times to waite his will and pleasure, and to execute whatsoever he should command.

Hereupon they desired their Father Pluto to take notice of the former care they had to enlarge his Kingdome, by animating the great Metropolitan to be a meanes to bring in Popery, and to doe the best service he could therein.

And withall shewing how they had sowed sedition and discord amongst the English Hereticks, and provoked the Scottish Hereticks to rebell against their lawfull King, and to intrude into the Territories of this Land; and also had animated their beloved Brother Cardinall de Richlieu to raise a puissant Army for the invasion of this Land in two severall places, (viz.) at Dover and Portsmouth, at such times as the King was supposed to be most deeply employed in his Warre against the Scots; and likewise have wee not procured your great Secretary of State, Don Antonio Demonibus to make an especiall inrolement of all their names in your Kalendar, amongst those your deare Servants, the Plotters of the Gun-powder Treason, and those renowned Complotters of the former invasion into this Land in 88. and have not onely animated many noble personages, and others, to asist vs in our great Designe of bringing in of Popery into this Land, but have also procured divers Popish Books to be printed openly, thereby the better to encourage your Highnesse, deere Father, and the more to enlarge your Kingdome.

And for Courts of Justice, have we not also by our power and authority joyned with our dreadfull and High Commission, brought to passe, that if any Heretike, under the degree of a Lord, should but put on his Hat in the time of Divine Service, we kept him in our Ecclesiasticall clutches fiue or sixe yeares together. And have we not likewise in the Courts of Chancery, Kings-Beach, or common Pleas, procured diuers wayes and meanes wherby many men (though their cause were never so just) have beene either by continuall delayes wearied in their Suites, or by extorted Fees, Bribery, or other Devices, driven to sell and morgage their lands, goods, and whatsoever they have bin possessed off, that a man might have worne out Buff jerkins in that space, & yet they seldom or never had an end of their suites, but have bin fleeced and jeered out of their demeanes, so long as they could procure either mony or friends, and yet it hath bin carryed so neatly and cunningly, as if the course of Iustice had bin exactly performed.

And for the Court of Exchequer, we are able further to testifie unto you (deare Father) out of our owne knowledge, that it is one of the best Courts belonging to your infernall Kingdome, for if a suite be once commenced there, they have so many delayes by putting in of Pleas, making of Motions, putting off a suite from Terme to Terme, after a verdict given, or framing some excuses to arise from the Bench, when a Cause appointed for the day should be heard, or to cause Motion vpon Motion to be made, whereby so many Orders of the Court must be drawne vp, or pretending the Court not to be full, with other sinister devices and sleights there vsed; that wee have knowne some men to have served an Apprenticeship, and bin made Free-men, and also to have married Wives, and had children, and yet the suit formerly commenced not ended. Therefore, deare Father Pluto, be of good comfort, and take it not so much to heart, so long as you have such dutifull children, and loving subjects; assuring your selfe, that we will doe our best endeavours to recover you of this Disease.

Presently after this, there came a company of fellowes with broad Seales about their necks, who were nominated to be Pluto’s Iourney-men, and had the title of Patentees, who also hearing that their Grand-Master was suddenly falne sick, presented themselves in all humble manner, the further to expresse their duty and obedience vnto him; Relating unto their hellish Master, that according to their power and his appointment, they had ever bin obedient and faithfull servants unto him, in oppressing and squeezing the Common-wealth, and that they intended to continue therein, to the end of their dayes, and by what meanes they could possibly invent or devise, they would shew themselves to be dutifull servants unto him, in racking, poling, and pinching the poore both in city and country, vnder pretence of doing good in generall to the whole Common-wealth; and further declared vnto their Grand-Master, that in all their projects whatsoever, they had sheltred themselves vnder some great Patron, the better to colour their fraud and deceit: and likewise, that in case they had any colour of setting the poore on worke, for a generall good, they might with authority and strictnesse the more covertly hide their cunning and knavery, and withall assured their great Master, that they would sit up late, rise early, and spare no paines to encrease his Kingdome, and humbly craved his approbation, that they might bee further imployed either herein, or in what other businesse, in that nature it pleased him to command.

Whereunto Pluto replyed, that they had all done well, and left them at their owne disposing to doe what they found to be convenient, and so they were dispatched for the present.

Not long after, Cerberus the Porter of Hell, brought tydings vnto the palace of Pluto, that there was a post arrived with a packet of Letters from little Will; whereupon Don Antonio Demonibus, his chiefe Secretarie of State, was presently sent for to read them vnto Pluto, the contents whereof, as farre as could be gathered by those that were neere about him, was to this effect, That the said little Will, with divers other great personages of the State, would with all convenient speed that might bee, come in person to visit his greatnesse, and there to remaine with him in his Court. Whereat Pluto being very glad, began to be somewhat chearefull at the hearing of this newes, calling him by name the Sonne of his love, and further said, he had not thought to have seene him so soone, as now by his letters directed vnto him he did expect: and thereupon Pluto’s chiefe Secretarie of state was commanded to send an answer of the said packet of Letters by the same post to little Will, and the other great personages of State aforesaid, how glad he would be of their appearance in his Court, and what courteous entertainment they should have when they came there. Then Pluto gave command, that the post should be Royally rewarded for his paines, and called the post to him, & asked him what diet little Will did delight in, because the place where I keepe Court, is of a hotter Climate then he hath beene in heretofore, the post made answer that little Will formerly, did desire tips of eares, but the Cooke dressed them with the blood in them, and so he tooke a surfet; and ever since lived at a sparing diet. And further told his Highnesse that he need not be at too much charge for little Wills dyet, he tooke delight but in two dishes especially, and they were Lamb and Duck, and those he meant to bring with him. And suddainly vpon the departure of the post with this answer, Pluto gave strict charge and command vnto his infernall attendants, that divers faire Roomes should be presently trimmed vp, and hanged round about with Tapistry and Cloth of Arras, for the better entertainment of little Will and his fellowes, or any that came along with him. Then I was very desirous to know what this little Will was, at the first I could by no meanes learne, but at last I asked one that I supposed to be of Pluto’s neere attendants, if he knew him or no, he informed me, that he did not know him, but surely it was one that as yet had never been in Pluto’s Court before, and verily beleeved that he had performed some extraordinary businesse in Pluto’s behalfe, and deserved to be highly advanced in his infernall Court, and also supposed him to be some great personage, otherwise he would never have received the Packet of Letters which he sent him, with such cheerefulnesse, nor have given such a strict command to his chiefe Secretary, and others his infernall servants, for his speedy and present entertainment to his Court.

And notwithstanding the suddain expectation of little Wills comming into Pluto’s Court and the rest of his fellowes, which did not a little comfort and revive him in this his lingring sicknesse, yet Pluto found not all to be well in himselfe, but grew more and more to be perplexed and so wonderfully out of patience, that his ordinary attendants could hardly keepe him in his Bed, insomuch, that all his Hellish Doctors were once againe sent for to come with all speed vnto him, who being come there, they found that he was very dangerously sick indeed, and that he was fallen into a grievous relapse, and that there was no meanes left to recover Pluto’s health, and to restore him to his former strength againe, or to enlarge his infernall Kingdome, but that by some device or other this present Parliament might be dissolved and broken vp, which being fully agreed vpon by all his Doctors they informed his Highnesse. That if ever he expected to regaine his former estate, or to get any footing in England, he must with all speed call a generall Councill of all his infernall and wel-beloved Subjects, that they might advise and consult what way were best that this present Parliament might be dissolved as aforesaid.

Whereupon Cerberus by speciall command and appointment of Grand Pluto, had authority to set the gates of Hell wide open, and that all passengers whatsoever, (none to be denyed) might freely have accesse to come and heare the will and pleasure of Pluto, and also Charon was commanded with all possible speed to provide himselfe of as many Boats as he could to ferry them from all parts and places to this purpose, and when there was a huge multitude of all sorts gathered together in a large and spacious place, one of the chiefe Heraulds belonging to the internall court cryed out vnto the assembly with a loud voice, to crave a generall silence, after which, Pluto thus began:

My deare children, Servants, Iourneymen, and well approved Subjects, you see into what a low and weake estate I am brought, and as you have beene dutifull and obedient with all diligence hitherto to execute my commands, so my desire is, that you would alwaies continue vnto the end, I cannot forget your care, true love, industry, and paines you have taken in generall, for the enlargement of my Kingdome, and you my beloved Doctors, in endeavouring to performe your best skill, to recover my former health, as also you my dearest children whose Sanctity, we reverence, whose persons we adore, whose policies we wonder at, whose power we muse at, whose invincible Stratagems we stand amazed at, and whose Wisdomes we admire, neither can we but in the first place extoll, applaud, and highly commend you, for your extraordinary care in advancing our infernall Dominions.

And we are also pleased of our infernall grace and favour, to take notice of your great service done, in working the dissolution of the last Parliament, by which meanes nothing was effected for the good of the Hereticks, either concerning the church or common wealth, but thereby the Nobles of England were male-content, the Gentry discouraged, the Commons divided, the number of our servants, the Roman Catholikes infinitly encreased, and the whole Realme of England mightily oppressed; so as the successe of our designe was thereby no waies hindered.

Now my wel-beloved children, servants, Iourneymen, subjects, Allies, & all my well-willers whomsoever, if you could by any Device, Stratagem, Policy, Money, Friendship, or any other delusive or sinister means, study to dissolve or break up this present Parljament, w ch would be the onely way, as we conceive in our Diabolicall Princely Wisdome, to breake the bond of peace & vnity amongst them, and thereby to move God to leave them to themselves, you should not onely be enrolled in our everlasting Kalendar for our dearest children and Subjects, but also be placed neere us in our favour for ever; and then also, to our great comfort, our infernall Stratagem might speedily be executed vpon them, & our Kingdome mightily encreased and enlarged.

Therefore all you my deare children, subjects, attendants, and Allyes, who are willing to doe your best endeavours for the performing of this Enterprize; we require you to be ready to take the Oath ex officio, & to lay your hands vpon the Book. Whereupon with a generall acclumation & consent, they all promised to doe what possible in them lay to performe his request, and affirmed, that they all were willing to conset to his demand, & therepon they layd their hands vpon the Booke. Then Pluto causing his principall attendants to raise him a little higher on his Pillow, proceeded on this manner: You my loving Subjects who have stept aside, and made your legges your best protection, you also that are vnder the command of the Black Rod, and you that much feare you shall be questioned this present Parliament, and you my Iourneymen Patentees, and the rest of my loving Subjects here present, are you all willing to take the oath aforesaid for the breaking vp of this Parliament, then they all cryed with one voice; Willing, most willing, long live your Hellish Majestie, I beleeve you (said Pluto) take your hands from the Booke, I dare take your bare words. Whereupon Pluto’s great Counsell was called before his infernall Highnesse, and being assembled together, they all cõcluded, that forthwith a Proclamation should be sent abroad into all places in great Pluto’s name, the tenour whereof followeth.

TO the Pope, our right Trusty and wel-beloved Sonne, and all the Iesuiticall Rabble, our adopted Children, to the Spaniard, Italian, French, Dutch, or what Nation people, or in what parts soever this shall come, these are to give notice, that whosoever can by any fraud, friendship, money, or any other means whatsoever, dissolve & breake vp this present Parliament, That thereby great Pluto may recover not onely his former health, but that his Kingdomes and Dominions may also be enlarged, he shall for so memorable an Act, be seated inplace of Iudicature with his chiefe Iustice Rhadamantus; or next to Pluto himselfe, and forth with be made Vice-Roy of Hell, prince of this world, Arch-Duke of Styx, Acheron; & Phlegeton; Marquesse of Cosytus and Lethe; and sole Commander (vnder him) of all Infernall Spirits and Furies.

And herevnto, we, the sayd Grand Pluto have set our Hand and Seale Royall, in the presence of all our Children, Friends and servants aforenamed.

This being proclaimed with thundring Drums, and sound of Trumpets, awaked the honest Country-man, who having seen and observed in his Dreame, all these passages and occurrents, lay for a while as it were in a trance, trembling and in a great extasie, at last recollecting his senses, he arose, and going from his chamber to goe about his businesse, he met by chance with two of his owne Countrey-men, who had beene a long time encombred with Law-suites, vnto whom he related this his Dreame, with all the passages aforesaid, whereat they wondering, and much astonished, desired him to deliver vnto them a Copie thereof in writing, which he promised, and performed the next day following.