|Edward Sexby (ft. 1642–1667)|
For further information see the following:
T.247 [1657.09.21] Edward Sexby, Killing, No Murder (21 September, 1657).
Edward Sexby [William Allen, Silius Titus], Killing, No Murder: with some Additions Briefly Discourst in Three Questions, Fit for Publick View; to deter and prevent Single Persons, and Councils from Usurping Supream Power. By William Allen.
And all the people of the Land rejoyced: and the City was quiet, after that they had slain Athaliah with the Sword. 2. Chro. 23.21.
Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the Lord, they made a Conspiracie against him in Ierusalem, and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there. 2. Chro. 25.27.
London, Printed MDCLIX (1659).
1st ed. 21 September, 1657; 2nd ed. 6 June 1659.
TT2, p. 239; E. 763 (1.)
(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)
May it please your Highness,
HOw I have spent some hours of the leisure your Highness hath bin pleased to give me, this following Paper will give your Highness an accompt. How you will please to interpret it, I cannot tell; but I can with confidence say, my intention in it is to procure your Highness that justice no body yet does you, and to let the people see the longer they defer it, the greater injury they do both themselves and you: To your Highnes justly belongs the honour of dying for the people; and it cannot choose but be unspeakable consolation to you in the last moments of your life, to consider, with how much benefit to the world you are like to leave it. ’Tis then onely (my Lord) the Titles you now usurp will be truly yours, you wil then be indeed the Deliverer of your Country, and free it from a Bondage little inferiour to that from which Moyses delivered his. You will then be that true Reformer, which you would be thought. Religion shall be then restored, Liberty asserted, and Parliaments have those priviledges they have fought for. We shall then hope that other Laws will have place besides those of the Sword, and that Justice shall be otherwise defin’d then the will and pleasure of the strongest, and we shall then hope men will keep Oaths again, and not have the necessity of being false, and perfidious to preserve themselves, and be like their Rulers. All this we hope from your Highness happy expiration, who are the true Father of your Countrey; for while you live, we can call nothing ours, and it is from your death that we hope for our Inheritances. Let this consideration arm and fortifie your Highnesses mind against the fears of death, and the terrours of your evil Conscience, that the good you will do by your death, will something ballance the evils of your life. And if in the black Catalogue of High Malefactor, few can be found that have lived more to the affliction and disturbance of Mankind then your Highness hath done, yet your greatest Enemies will not deny but there are likewise as few that have expired more to the Universal benefit of Mankind, then your Highness is like to do. To hasten this great good, is the chief end of my writing this Paper; and if it have the effects, I hope it will, your Highness will quickly be out of the reach of mens malice and your Enemies will onely be able to wound you in your memory, which strokes you will not feel. That your Highness may be speedily in this security, is the universal wishes of your grateful Countrey. This is the desires and prayers of the good & of the bad, and it may be the onely thing where in all Sects and Factions do agree in their Devotions, and is our onely common prayer. But amongst all that put in their Requests and Supplications for your Highnesses speedy deliverances from all Earthly Troubles, none is more assiduous, nor more servent then he, who with the rest of the Nation hath the honour to be
May it please your Highness,
Your Highness present Slave and Vassal,
IT is not any Ambition to be in Print, when so few spare Paper and the Presse; nor any instigations of private revenge or malice (though few that dare be honest now want their causes) that have prevailed with me to make my self the Authour of a Pamphlet, and to disturb that Quiet which at present I enjoy by his Highness great favour and* injustice. Nor am I ignorant to how litile purpose I shall imploy that time and pains, which I shall bestow upon this Paper. For to think that any reasons or perswasions of mine, or conviction of their own, shall draw men from any thing wherein they see profit or security, or to anything wherein they fear loss, or see danger, is to have a better opinion both of my self and them, then either of us both deserve.
Besides, the subject it self is of that nature, that I am not only to expect danger from ill men, but censure and disallowance from many that are good; for these opinions only lookt upon, not lookt into, (which all have not eyes for) will appear bloody and cruel; and these compellations I must expect from those that have a zeal, but not according to knowledge: If therefore I had considered my self, I had spared what ever this is of pains, and not distasted so many, to please so few, as are in mankind, (the honest and the wise.) But at such a time as this, when God is not onely exercising us with a usual and common calamity, of letting us fall into slavery that used our liberty so ill; but is pleased so far to blind our understandings, and to debase our spirits, as to suffer us to court our bondage, and to place it among the requests we put up to him; Indignation makes a man break that silence that Prudence would perswade him to use; if not to work upon other mens minds, yet to ease his own.
A late Pamphlet tells us of a great design discovered against the person of his Highness, and of the Parliaments coming (for so does that Junto profane that name) to congratulate with his Highness, his happy deliverance from that wicked and bloody attempt. Besides this, that they have Ordered, that God Almighty shall be mockt with a day of thanksgiving, (as I think the World is with the Plot) and that the people shall give publique thanks for the publique calamity, that God is yet pleased to continue his Judgments upon them, and to frustrate all means that are used for their deliverance: Certainly, none will now deny, that the English are a very thankful people. But I think if we had read in Scripture, that the Israelites had cryed unto the Lord, not for their own deliverance, but the preservation of their Task-masters, and that they had thanked God with Solemnity that Pharaoh was yet living, and that there was still great hopes of the daily encrease of the number of their Bricks: Though that people did so many things not only impiously and profanely, but ridiculously and absurdly; yet certainly they did nothing we should more have wondered at, then to have found them Ceremoniously thankful to God for plagues, that were commonly so brutishly unthankful for mercies; And we should have thought that Moses had done them a great deal of wrong, if he had not suffered them to enjoy their slavery, and left them to their Tasks and Garlick;
I can with Justice say, my principal intention in this Paper is not to declaim against my L. Protectour or his Accomplices; for were it not more to justifie others, then to accuse them, I should think their own actions did that work sufficiently, and I should not take pains to tell the world what they knew before. My design is, to examine whether if there hath been such a Plott as we hear of; and that it was contrived by Mr. Sindercombe against my L. Protectour, and not by my L. Protectour against Mr. Sindercombe (which is doubtful) whether it deserves those Epithites Mr. Speaker is pleased to give it, of bloody, wicked, and proceeding from the Prince of darkness. I know very well how uncapable the vulgar are, of considering what is extraordinary and singular in every case, and that they judge of things, and name them by their exteriour appearances, without penetrating at all into their causes or natures. And without doubt when they hear the Protectour was to be kill’d, they streight conclude a man was to be murdered, not a malefactour punished: for they think the formalities do alwayes make the things themselves, and that ’tis the Judge and the Cryer that makes the Justice, and the Goal the Criminal: And therefore when they read in the Pamphlet Mr. Speaker’s Speech, they certainly think he gives these Plotters their right titles; and, as readily as a High-Court of Justice, they condemn them, without ever examining whether they would have killed a Magistrate, or destroyed a* Tyrant, over whom every man is naturally a Judge and an Executioner; and whom the Laws of God, of Nature, and of Nations expose, like Beasts of prey, to be destroyed as they are met.
That I may be as plain as I can, I shall first make it a Question, (which indeed is none) Whether my Lord Protectour be a Tyrant or not? Secondly, if he be, Whether it is lawful to do Justice upon him without Solemnity, that is, to Kill him. Thirdly, if it be lawful, Whether it is like to prove profitable or noxious to the Commonwealth?
The Civil Law makes Tyrants of two sorts, Tyrannus sine Titule, and Tyrannus Exercitio. The one is called a Tyrant, because he hath no right to govern; the other, because he governs Tyrannically. We will very briefly discourse of them both, and see whether the Protectour may not with great Justice put in his Claim to both Titles.
We shall sufficiently demonstrate who they are that have not a right to govern, if we shew who they are that have; and what it is that makes the power just, which those that rule have over the natural liberty of other men. To Fathers within their private Families nature hath given a Supreme power. Every man, sayes Aristotle,(a) of Right governs his wife and children, and this power was necessarily exercised(b) every where, whilest Families lived disperst,(c) before the constitutions of Common-wealths; and in many places it continued after, as appears by the Laws of Solon, and the most Ancient of those of Rome. And indeed as by the Laws of God(d) and nature, the care, defence, and support of the family lies upon every man whose it is; so by the same Law there is due unto every man from his Family a subjection and obedience, in compensation of that support. But several Families uniting themselves together to make up one body of a Comon-wealth, and being Independent one of another, without any natural Superiority or Obligation, nothing can introduce amongst them a disparitie of Rule and subjection, but some power that is over them; which power none can pretend to have but God and themselves. Wherefore all power which is lawfully exercised over such a Society of men,Vid. Hooker. Eccles. Pol. lib. 1. c. 10. (which from the end of its institution we call a Common-wealth) must necessarily be derived either from the appointment of God Almighty, who is Supream Lord of all and every part; or from the consent of the Society it self, who have the next power to his, of disposing of their own liberty, as they shall think fit for their own good. This power God hath given to Societies of men, as well as he gave it to particular(e) persons; and when he interposes not his own authority and appoints not himself who shall be his Vice-gerents and rule under him; he leaves it to none but the people themselves to make the election, whose benefit is the end of all government. Nay, when he himself hath been pleased to appoint rulers for that people, which he was pleased peculiarly to own, He many times made the choice, but left the Confirmation and Ratification of that choice to the people themselves. So Saul(f) was chosen by God, and anointed King by his Prophet, but made King by all the people at Gilgal.(a) David was anointed King(b) by the same Prophet, but was afterwards, after Saul’s death, confirmed by the people of Juda,(c) and 7. years after by the Elders of(d) Israel, the Peoples Deputies, at Chebron. And it is observable, that though they knew that David was appointed King by God, and anointed by his Prophet, yet they likewise knew that God allowed to themselves not only his confirmation, but likewise the limitation of his power; for before his Inauguration, they made a league(e) with him; that is, obliged him by compact to the performance of such conditions as they thought necessary for the securing their Liberty. Nor is it less remarkable, that when God gives directions to his people concerning their government, he plainly leaves the Form to themselves: for he sayes not, When thou shalt have come into the Land which the Lord thy God gives thee, Statues superite Regem; But, Si(f) Dixeris statuam. God sayes not, Thou shalt appoint a King over thee; But if thou shalt say, I will appoint; leaving it to their choice, whether they would say so or no. And it is plain in that place, that God gives the people the choice of their King, for he there instructs them whom they shall choose, E medio fratrum tuorum, one out of the midst of thy brethren: Much more might we say, if it were a less manifest Truth, that all just power of Government is founded upon those two bases, of Gods immediate command, or the Peoples consent. And therefore whosoever arrogates to himself that power, or any part of it, that cannot produce one of those two titles, is not a Ruler, but an Invader, and those that are subject to that power, are not governed, but opprest.
This being considered, have not the People of England much reason to ask the Protector this Question, Quis constitut te virum Principem & judicem super nos? Who made thee a Prince and a Judge over us? If God made thee, make it manifest to us. If the People; where did we meet to do it? Who took our Subscriptions? To whom deputed we our authority? And when and where did those Deputies make the choice? Sure these Interrogations are very natural, and I believe would much trouble his Highness his Council, and his Junto to answer. In a word, that I may not tire my reader, (who will not want proofs for what I say, if he wants not memory) If to change the Government without the Peoples consent: If to dissolve their Representatives by force, and disannull their Acts: If to give the name of the Peoples Representatives to confederates of his own, that he may establish iniquity by a Law: If to take away mens lives out of all course of Law, by certain Murtherers of his own appointmentment, whom he names A High-Court of Justice. If to decimate mens Estates, and by his own power to impose upon the People what Taxes he pleases: And to maintain all by force of Arms: If I say all this does make a Tyrant, his own impudence cannot deny, but he is as compleat a one as ever hath been, since there have been Societies of Men. He that hath done, and does all this, is the person for whose preservation the people of England must pray; but certainly if they do, ’tis for the same Reason that the old Woman of Syracuse prayd for the long life of the Tyrant Dionysius, lest the Devil should come next.
Now if instead of Gods Command, or the Peoples Consent, his Highness hath no other Title but force and fraud, which is to want all Title: And if to violate all Laws, and propose none to Rule by, but those of his own will, Be to exercise that Tyranny he hath usurpt, and to make his Administration conformable to his claym: Then the first Question we proposed, is a Question no longer.
But before we come to the second, being things are more Easily perceived and found by the description of their Exteriour Accidents, and Qualities, then the defining their Essences: It will not be Amiss to see, whether his Highness hath not as well the outward Marks and Characters by which Tyrants are known, as he hath their Nature and Essential properties: Whether he hath not the Skin of the Lyon, and Tayl of the Fox, as well as he hath the Violence of the one, and Deceipt of the other. Now in this Delineation which I intend to make of a Tyrant, all the Lineaments, all the Colours, will be found so Naturally to correspond with the life, that it cannot but be doubted, whether his Highness be the Original, or the Copy. Whether I have in drawing the Tyrant, represented him? or in Representing him, Exprest a Tyrant. And therefore lest I should be suspected to deal un-sincerely with his Highness, and not to have Applyed These following Characters, but made them, I shall not give you any of my own Stamping, but such as I find in Plato, Aristotle,The marks of a Tyrant. Arist. Pol. l. b. 5. c. 10. vid. Mach. Discor. l. 1. c. 40 Tacitus, and his Highness own Evangelist, Machiavell.
1. Almost all Tyrants have been first Captains and Generals for the People; under pretences of vindicating, or defending their Liberties. Ut Imperium evertant Libertatem præferunt; cum perverterunt, ipsam aggrediuntur, sayes Tacitus;(a) to subvert the present Government, they pretend Liberty for the People; when the Government is down, they then Invade that Liberty themselves: this needs no Application.
2. Tyrants accomplish their ends much more by fraud than force. Neither vertue nor force (sayes Machiavel)(b) are so necessary to that purpose, as una Astutia fortunata, a Lucky craft: which sayes he,(c) without force hath been often found sufficient, but never force without that. And in another place(d) he tells us their way is Aggirare Lucer velli de gli huomini con Astutia, &c. With cunning plausible pretences to impose upon mens understandings, and in the end they master those that had so little wit as to rely upon their faith and integrity. ’Tis but unnecessary to say, That had not his Highness had a faculty to be fluent in his tears, and eloquent in his execrations: Had he not had spungy eyes, and a supple conscience; and besides to do with a people of great faith, but little wit; his courage and the rest of his Moral vertues, with the help of his Janizaries, had never been able so far to advance him out of the reach of Justice, that we should have need to call for any other hand to remove him, but that of the Hangman.
3. They abase all excellent persons, and rid out of the way all that have noble minds, Et Tertæ filios extollunt; and advance Sons of the Earth. To put Aristotle into other words, they purge both Parliament and Army, till they leave few or none there, that have either honour or conscience, either wit, Interest, or Courage to oppose their designs. And in these Purgations (saith Plato)(c) Tyrants do quite contrary to Physitians; for they purge us of our humours, but Tyrants of our Spirits.
4. They dare suffer no Assemblies. Not so much as Horse-races.
5. In all places they have their Spies and Dilators, that is, they have their Broughalls, their St. John’s (besides innumerable small spyes) to appear discontented and not to side with them; that under that disguise they may get trust, and make discoveries. They likewise have their Emissaries to send with forged letters. If any doubt this, let him send to Major General Brown, and he will Satisfie Him.
6. They Stir not without a guard, nor his Highness without his Life-guard.
7. They impoverish the people, that they may want the power, if they have the will,Arist. Ibid. to attempt any thing against them. His Highness way is by Taxes, Excise, Decimations, &c.Arist. Ibid.
8. They make war to divert and busie the people: And besides, to have a pretence to raise moneys, and to make new Levies, if they either distrust their old forces, or think them not sufficient.Id. Ibid. & Plato de Repub. l. 9. The war with Spain serveth his Highness to this purpose, and upon no other Justice was it began at first, or is still continued.
9. They will seem to honour and provide for good men:Id. Ibid. That is, if the Ministers will be Orthodox and flatter: If they will wrest and torture the Scripture to prove his Government lawful,Arist. Ibid. and furnish him with Title:Machiev. Pr. cap. 19. his Highness will likewise be then content to understand Scripture in their favour, and furnish them with Tithes.
10. Things that are odious and distastfull, they make others executioners of;Machiavel adds, And do grateful things themselves. But that I omit; for I really am unprovided of an 12. All instance for his Highness, for I have not yet heard of any good he hath does himself. and when the people are discontented, they appease them with Sacrificing those Ministers they imploy: I leave it to his Highness his Major Generals to ruminate a little upon this point.
11. In all things they pretend to be wonderful careful of the Publique: to give general accompts of the money they receive, which they pretend to be levied for the maintenance of the State, and the prosecuting of the War. His Highness made an excellent Comment upon this place of Aristotle in his Speech to this Parliament.
12. All things set aside for Religious uses, they set to sale; that while those things last, they may exact the less of the people. The Cavaliers would interpret this of the Dean and Chapters Lands.
Plato de Repub. lib. 8. Id. & Plut. passim.13. They pretend inspirations from God, and responses from Oracles to Authorise what they do, his Highness hath been ever an Enthusiast. And as Hugh Caper, in taking the Crown, pretended to be admonisht to it in a dream by St. Vallery, and St. Richard: so I believe will his Highness do the same, at the instigation of St. Henry, and St. Richard his two Sons.
Histor. of Fran. Ibid. lib. 5. c. 11.14. Lastly, Above all things they pretend a love to God and Religion. This Aristotle calls Artium Tyrannicarum potissimam; the surest and best of all the Arts of Tyrants, and we all know his Highness hath found it so by experience. He hath found indeed that in godliness there is great gain; and that preaching and praying, well managed, will obtain other Kingdoms as well as that of Heaven. His indeed have been pious Arms, for he hath conquered most by those of the Church, by prayers, and(a) tears. But the truth is, were it not for our honour to be governed by one that can manage both the Spiritual and Temporal Sword, and Roman like, to have our Emperor our High Priest: We might have had preaching at a much cheaper rate, and it would have cost us but our Tythes, which now costs us all.
Other Marks and Rules there are mentioned by Aristotle to know Tyrants by: but they being unsuitable to his Highness Actions, and impracticable by his Temper, I insist not on them. As among other things(b) Aristotle would not have a Tyrant insolent in his behaviour, nor strike people. But his Highnes is naturally chollerique, and must call men Rogues and go to Cuffs. At last he concludes he should so fashion his manners, as neither to be really good, nor absolutely bad, but half one, half tother. Now this half good is too great a proportion for his Highness, and much more then his temper will bear.
But to speak Truths more seriously, and to conclude this first Question. Certainly what ever these Characters make any man, it cannot be denied but his Highness is; and then if he be not a Tyrant, we must confess we have no definition nor description of a Tyrant left us; and may well imagine there is no such thing in Nature, and that ’tis onely a Notion and a Name. But if there be such a Beast, and we do at all believe what we see and feel; let us now enquire, according to the method we proposed,Whether it be lawful to kill a Tyrant? whether this be a Beast of Game that we are to give law to, or a Beast of Prey to destroy with all means are allowable and fair?
In deciding this Question Authors very much differ, as far as it concerns Supream Magistrates, who degenerate into Tyrants. Some think they are to be born with as bad(c) Parents; and place them in the number of those mischiefs(d) that have no other Cure but our Patience. Others think they may be questioned by that supream Law of the peoples safety; and that they are answerable to the Peoples Representatives for the breach of their Trust. But none, of sober sense, makes private persons Judges of their actions; which were, indeed, to subvert all Government. But on the other side, I find none (that have not been frighted or corrupted out of their reason) that have been so great Enemies to Common Justice, and the Libertie of Mankind; as to give any kind of Indemnity to a Usurper, who can pretend no Title, but that of being stronger; nor challenge the peoples obedience upon any other obligation but that of their necessity, and fear. Such a person, as one out of all bonds of Humane Protection, all men make the Ishmael,(e) against whom is every mans hand, as his is against every man. To him they give no more security then Cain, his fellow murtherer and oppressour, promised to himself, to be destroyed by him that found him first.
The reason why a Tyrants case is particular, and why in that every man hath that vengeance given him, which in other cases is reserved to God and the Magistrate cannot be obscure, if we rightly consider what a Tyrant is, what his crimes are, and in what state he stands with the Common-wealth, and with every member of it. And certainly if we find him an enemy to all Humane Society, and a subverter of all Laws, and one that by the greatness of his villanies, secures himself against all ordinary course of Justice: we shall not at all think it strange, if then he have no benefit from humane society, no protection from the law, and if, in his case, Justice dispenses with her forms. We are therefore to consider that the end for which men enter into society, is not barely to live, which they may do disperst as other Animals: but to live happily; and a Life answerable to the dignity and excellency of their kind. Out of Society this happiness is not to be had, for singly we are impotent, and defective, unable to procure those things that are either of necessity, or Ornament for our lives, and as unable to defend and keep them when they are acquited. To remedy these defects, we Associate together that what we can neither joy nor keep, singly, by mutual benefits and assistances one of another, We may be able to do both. We cannot possibly accomplish these ends, if we submit not our passions and appetites to the Laws of Reason and Justice. For the depravity of mans will makes him as unfit to live in Society, as his necessity makes him unable to live out of it. And if that perversness be not regulated by Laws, mens appetites to the same things; their Avarice, their Lust, their Ambition would quickly make Society as unsafe, or more, then Solitude it self, and we should associate onely to be nearer our misery and our ruine. That therefore by which we accomplish the ends of a Sociable life, is our subjection, and submission to Laws, these are the Nerves and Sinews of every Society or Common-Wealth; Without which they must necessarily dissolve and fall asunder. And indeed (as Augustine says) those Societies where Law and Justice is not, are not Common-wealths or Kingdoms, but Magna Latrocinia, Great Confederacies of Thieves and Robbers. Those therefore that submit to no Law,De Civit. Dei. are not to be reputed in the Society of Mankind, which cannot consist without a Law. Therefore Aristotle(a) saith, Tyranny is against the Law of Nature, that is, the Law of Humane Society, in which Humane Nature is preserved. For this reason they deny a Tyrant to be Partem Civitatis; for every part is subject to the whole; and a Citizen (says the same Author)(b) is he who is as well obliged to the duty of obeying, as he is capable of the power of commanding. And indeed he does obey, whilest he does command, that is, he obeys the Laws, which (says Tully) Magistratibus præsunt, ut Magistratus præsunt Populo, are above the Magistrates, as the Magistrates are above the People. And therefore a Tyrant that submits to no law; but his Will and Lust are the law, by which he governs himself & others, is no Magistrate, no Citizen or member of any Society, but an Ulcer and a Disease that destroys it; and if it be rightly considered, a Common wealth by falling into a Tyrannie absolutely looses that name, and is actually another thing: Non est civitas quæ unius est viri (saith Sophocles) that which is one mans, is no City. For there is no longer King and People, or Parlament and People, but those Names are changed (at least their Natures) into Masters and Servants, Lords and Slaves: And Servorum non Civitas erit sed magna Familia (says Grotius)(c) where all are Slaves, ’tis not a City, but a great Family. And the truth is, we are all members of White-hall, and when our Master pleaseth, he may send for us thither, and there bore through our Ears at the door-posts. But to conclude, a Tyrant, as we have said, being no part of a Common-wealth nor submitting to the laws of it, but making himself above all law; there is no reason he should have the protection that is due to a member of a Common-wealth, nor any defence from laws, that does acknowledge none. He is therefore in all reason to be reckoned in the number of those savage Beasts, that fall not with others into any Heard: that have no other defence but their own strength, making a prey of all thats weaker; and, by the same Justice, being a prey to all thats stronger then themselves.
In the next place, let it be considered, That a Tyrant making himself above all Law, and defending his injustice by a strength which no power of Magistrates is able to oppose; he becomes above all punishment, above all other justice, than that he receives from the stroak of some generous hand. And certainly, the safety of mankind were but ill provided for, if there were no kind of Justice to reach great villanies, but Tyrants should be Immanitate Scelerum tuti, secured by the greatnes, of their crimes. Our Laws would be then but Cobwebs indeed, made only to catch Flies; but not to hold Wasps or Horners: And it might be then said of all Common-wealths, what was said of Athens; That there onely small Theeves were hanged, but the great ones were free, & condemned the rest. But he that will secure himself of all hands, must know, he secures himself from none: He that flies Justice in the Court, must expect to find it in the street: and he that goes armed against every man,Grot. de ju. Bil. l. 1. c. 8. arms every man against himself. Bellum est in eos, Qui judiciis coerceri non possunt, (says Cicero) We have war with those against whom we can have no law. The same Authour, Cum duo fiat decertandi genera, &c. There being two ways of deciding differences, the one by Judgement & Arbitration;Ibid. [Editor: illegible word] 17. the other by force: the one proper to men, the other to beasts. We must have recourse to the latter, when the former cannot be obtained. And certainly by the Law of Nature, ubi cessat Judicium, when no Justice can be had, every man may be his own Magistrate, and do justice for himself. For the Law (says Grotius) that forbids me to pursue my right but by a course of Law: Certainly supposes, ubi copia est Judicii, where Law and Justice is to be had: otherwise that law were a defence for injuries, not one against them: and quite contrary to the nature of all Laws, would become the protection of the guilty against the innocent, not of the innocent against the guilty. Now as it is contrary to the Laws of God & Nature, that men, who are partial to themselves, & therefore unjust to others, should be their own Judges, where others are to be had; so it is contrary to the Law of Nature, and the common safety of mankind, that when the Law can have no place, men should be forbidden to repel force by force, and so to be left without all defence and remedy against injuries. God himself left not the slave without remedy against the cruel Master: And what Analogie can it hold with reason, that the slave that is but his Masters money; and but part of his Houshold-stuff, should finde redress against the Injuries and Insolencies of an Imperious Master? and a free people, who have no Superiour but their God, should have none at all against the injustice and oppression of a Barbarous Tyrant? And were not the incongruity fully as great, that the Law of God permitting every man to kill a Thief, if he took him breaking open his house in the night: because then it might be supposed he could not bring him to justice? But a Tyrant, that is the common Robber of mankind, and whom no Law can take hold on, his person should be, Sacrosancta, cui nihil Sacrum aut Sanctum, to whom nothing is Sacred, nothing Inviolable? But the Vulgar judge ridiculously like themselves. The glister of things dazles their Eyes, and they judge of them by their appearances; and the Colours that are put on them. For what can be more absurd in Nature, and contrary to all common sence, then to call him Thief and kill him, that comes alone, or with a few to Rob me:Exod. 21. And to call him Lord Protector and obey him, that robs me with Regiments and Troops? As if to rove with two or three ships were to be a Pirate, but with 50 an Admiral? But if it be the number of Adherents onely, not the cause, that makes the difference between a Robber and a Protectour: I wish that number were defined, that we might know where the Thief ends, and the Prince begins. And be able to distinguish between a Robbery and a Tax. But sure no English-man can be ignorant, that it his Birth-right to be Master of his own Estate; and that none can command any part of it but by his own grant and consent, either made expresly by himself, or Virtually by a Parliament. All other ways are meer Robberies in other Names:Exod. 22. 2. Auferre, Trucidare, Rapere, falsis nominibus imperium atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem apellant: To rob, to extort, to murder Tyrants falsly cal’d to govern, and to make desolation, they call to settle peace: in every Asseasment we are rob’d, the Excize is Robbery, the Custom’s Robbery, and without doubt, when ever ’tis prudent, ’tis always lawful to kill the Thieves, whom we can bring to no other justice.Tacit. in Vid. Agric. And not onely lawful, and to do our selves right, but Glorious, and to deserve of mankind, to free the world of that common Robber, that universal Pirat, under whom, and for whom, these lesser Beasts prey. This Firebrand I would have any way extinguisht. This Ulcer I would have any hand to lance. And I cannot doubt but God will suddenly sanctifie some hand to do it, and bring down that bloudy and deceitful man, who lives not onely to the misery, but the infamy of our Nation.
I should have reason to be much less confident of the justice of this opinion, if it were new, and onely grounded upon Collections and Interpretations of my own. But herein if I am deceived, I shall however have the excuse to have been drawn into that errour, by the examples that are left us by the greatest and most vetruous, and the opinions of the wisest and gravest men, that have left their memories to posterity. Out of the great plenty of Confirmations, I could bring for this Opinion, from Examples and Authorities; I shall select a very few: for manifest Truths have not need of those Supports; and I have as little minde to tire my self as my Reader.
de in Bal. lib. 1. c. 4.First therefore an Usurper that by onely force possesseth himself of Government, and by Force only keeps it, is yet in the State of War with every man, says the learned Grotius: and therefore every thing is lawful against him, that is lawful against an open Enemy, whom every private man hath a right to kill. Hostis hostem occidere volui, says Scævola to Persena; when he was taken, after he had failed in his attempt to kill him;Luc. lib. 2. I am an Enemy, and an Enemy I would have kil’d, which every man hath a right to do.
Contra publicos hostes, & Majestatis Reas, omnis homo miles est (says Tertullian,) Against Common Enemies and those that are Traitors to the Commonwealth, every man is a Souldier. This opinion the most Celebrated Nations have approved both by their Laws and Practises. The Grecian (as Xenophon tells us) who suffered not Murderers to come into their Temples, in those very Temples they erected Statues to those that kil’d Tyrants, thinking it fit to place their Deliverers amongst their Gods. Cicero was an Eye-witness of the Honours that were done such men, Græci homines, &c. The Greeks (saith he) attribute the honours of the Gods to those that kil’d Tyrants:Pro milone. What have I seen in Athens, and other Cities of Greece! What Religion paid to such men! What Songs!Plut. in Solon. What Elogies! By which they are Consecrated to Immortality, and almost Deified! In Athens, by Solon’s Law, Death was not onely decree’d for the Tyrant that opprest the State, but for all those that took any Charge,(a) or did bear any Office while the Tyranny remained. And Plato tells us the ordinary Course they took with Tyrants in Greece. If (says he) the Tyrant cannot be expuls’d by Accusing him to the Citizens; then by secret practises they dispatch him.
Amongst the Romans the Valerian Law was, Si quis injussu populi, &c. Whosoever took Magistracy upon him, without the Command of the people, it was lawful for any man to kill him. Plutarch makes this Law more Severe, ut Injudicatum occidere eum liceret, Qui Dominatum concupisceret. That it was lawful by that Law, before any Judgement past, to kill him that but Aspired to Tyranny. Likewise the Consular Law which was made after the suppression of the Tyranny of the Decemvirate, made it lawful to kill any man that went about to create Magistrates, sine provocatione, &c. Without reference and appeal to the people. By these Laws and innumerable Testimonies of Authors, it appears; that the Romans with the rest of their Philosophy, had learned from the Grecians what was the Natural Remedy against a Tyrant: Nor did they honor those less that durst apply it. Who as Polybius says (speaking of Conspiracies against Tyrants) were not, Deterrimi civium, sed Generosissimi Quique, & Maximi Animi; not the worst and meanest of the Citizens, but the most Generous, and those of greatest vertue.Hist. lib. 6. So were most of those that conspired against Julius Cæsar. He himself thought Brutus worthy to succeed him in the Empire of the World: And Cicero, who had the Title of Pater Patriæ; if he were not conscious of the design; Yet he at least affected the honour of being thought so. Quæ enim Res unquam, &c. What act (says he) O Jupiter more glorious! more worthy of Eternal Memory,Phil. 2. hath been done nor onely in this City, but in the whole world! In this design, as the Trojan Horse, I willingly suffer my self to be included with the Princes. In the same place he tells us, what all vertuous Romans thought of the Fact aswel as he. Omnes Boni, Quantum in ipsis fait, Cæsarem occiderunt: aliis consilium, aliis animus, aliis occosio desuit, Volunt as nemini; All good men (saith he) as much as in them lay killed Cæsar: Some wanted Capacity, some Courage, others opportunity; but none the will to do it. But yet we have not declared the extent of their severity against a Tyrant. They exposed him to Fraud, as well as Force, and left him no security in Oaths and Compacts; that neither Law not Religion might defend him, that violated both. Cum Tyranno Romanis nulla fides, nulla juris jurandi Religio, saith Brutus in Appian: With a Tyrant the Romans think no Faith to be kept, observe no Religion of an Oath. Seneca gives the Reason; Quia quicquid erat,Appian. lib. 7. de Benef. quo mihi cobæreret, &c. For what ever there was of mutual obligation betwixt us; his destroying the Laws of Humane Society, hath dissolv’d: so these that thought that there was in hostem nefas, that a villany might be committed against an Enemy: These that profest, non minus justè quàm fortiter arma gerere, to manage their Arms with Justice as well as Courage:Sin. These that thought Faith was to be kept even with the perfidious,(b) yet they thought a Tyrant could receive no Injustice, but to be let live; and that the most lawful way to destroy him, was the readiest.Id. No matter whether by force or fraud; for against Beasts of Prey, men use the Foyl and the Net,Saul of as well as the Spear and the Lance. But so great was their detestation of a Tyrant, that it made some take their Opinions from their Passions; and vent things which they could but ill justifie to their Morality, they thought a Tyrant had so absolutely forfeited all Title to Humanity, and all kind of Protection they could give him or his: that they left his wife without any other Guard for her Chastity, but Age and Deformity; and thought it not Adultery what was committed with her. Many more Testimonies might I bring; for ’tis harder to make choice,Sence. in exerc. 4. 7. than to find plenty. But I shall conclude with Authorities that are much more Authentique; and Examples, which we may much more safely imitate.
The Law of God it self decreed certain(c) death to that man that would do presumptuously, and submit to no Decision of Justice. Who can reade this, and think a Tyrant ought to live?Mic. Ephes. ad 5. Nich. But certainly neither that, nor any other Law were to any effect, if there were no way to put it in execution. But in a Tyrants Case, Process and Citation have no place; and if we will onely have Formal Remedies against him, we are sure to have none. There’s small hope of Justice, where the Malefactor hath a power to condemn the Judge.
All remedy therefore against a Tyrant is Ehud’s Dagger; without which, all our Laws were fruitless, and we helpless. This is that High Court of Justice where Moses brought the Egyptian: whither Ehud brought Eglon; Samson, the Philistins; Samuel, Agag; and Jehojada, the She-Tyrant Athaliah.
Let us a little consider in particular these several Examples, and see whether they may be proportioned to our purpose.
First, as to the Case of Moses and the Egyptian;Exod. 2. 11, 12. certainly every English-man hath as much Call as Moses, and more cause then he, to slay this Egyptian that is always laying on burdens, and always smiting both our brethren and our selves. For as to his Call, he had no other that we read of, but the necessity his brother stood in of his help. He look’t on his brethrens burdens, and seeing an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, knowing he was out of the reach of all other kind of Justice, he slew him.
Certainly this was, and is as lawful for any man to do as it was for Moses, who was then but a private man, and had no Authority for what he did, but what the Law of Nature gives every man; to oppose Force to Force, and to make Justice where he finds none. As to the Cause of that action, we have much more to say then Moses had: He saw one Hebrew smitten, we many English men murdered; He saw his brethrens burdens, and their blows, We, our Brethrens burdens, imprisonments, and deaths. Now sure if it were lawful for Moses to kill that Egyptian that opprest one man, being there was no way to procure an ordinary course of Justice against him: It cannot be but absurd to think it unlawful to kill him(a) that oppresses a whole Nation, and one that Justice as little reaches as it defends.
The example of Ehud shews us the natural and almost the onely remedy against a Tyrant, and the way to free an opprest people from the slavery of an insulting Moabite, ’tis done by prayers and tears, with the help of a Dagger, by(b) crying to the Lord, and the left hand of an Ehud. Devotion and action go well together; for believe it, a Tyrant is not of that kind of Devil that is to be cast out by onely Fasting and Prayer. And here the Scripture shews us what the Lord thought a fit Message to send a Tyrant from himself: A Dagger of a Cubit in his belly, and every worthy man that desires to be an Ehud, a Deliverer of his Countrey, will strive to be the Messenger.V. 15.
V. 20.We may here likewise observe in this, and many places of Judges, that when the Israelites fell to Idolatry, which of all sins certainly is one of the greatest; God Almighty to proportion the punishment and the offence, still delivered them into the hands of Tyrants; which sure is one of the greatest of all Plagues.
Judg. 15.In the story of Samson ’tis manifest, that the denying him his wife, and after the burning her, and her Father, which though they were great, yet were but private injuries, he took for sufficient grounds to make war upon the Philistins, being himself but a private man, and not onely not assisted, but opposed by his servile Countreymen. He knew what the Law of Nature allowed him; where other Laws have no place,V. 11. and thought it a sufficient Justification for smiting the Philistins hip and thigh, to answer for himself, that as they did unto him, so had he done unto them.
Now that which was lawful for Samson to do against many Oppressours, why is it unlawful for us to do against one? Are our injuries less? Our Friends and Relations are daily murdered before our faces. Have we other ways for reparation? Let them be named, and I am silenc’d. But if we have none, the Fire-brands, or the Jaw-bone, the first Weapons our just Fury can lay hold on, may certainly be lawfully employed against that uncircumcised Philistin that oppresses us. We have too the opposition and discouragements that Samson had, and therefore have the more need of his courage and resolution. As he had the men of Judah, so we have the men of Levi, crying to us out of the Pulpit, as from the top of the Rock Etam, Know you not that the Philistin is a Ruler over you?V. 14. The truth is, they would fain make him so, and bind us with Samson in new Cords; but we hope they will become as Flax, and that they will either loose from our hands, or we shall have the Courage to cut them.
2 Sam. 15. 23.Upon the same grounds of Retaliation did Samuel do justice with his own hand upon the Tyrant Agag. As thy Sword (says the Prophet) hath made women childless, so shall thy Mother be childless amongst women; nor is there any Law more natural and more just.
How many Mothers has our Agag, for his own ambition, made childless? how many Children Fatherless? how many have this reason to hew this Amalokite in pieces before the Lord? And let his own Relations, and all theirs that are Confederates with him, beware, lest men come at last to revenge their own Relations in them. They make many a woman husbandless, many a Father childless.in Discors. Their wives may come at last to know what ’tis to want a husband, and themselves to lose their children. Let them remember, what their great Apostle Machiavel tels them; that in contestations for the preserving their Liberty, People many times use moderation; but when they come to vindicate it, their rigour exceeds all mean, like beasts that have bin kept up & are afterwards let loose, they always are more fierce and cruel. To conclude with the example Jehojada hath left us; 6 years he hid the right Heir of the Crown in the house of the Lord, & without all doubt, amongst the rest of Gods services there he was all that time contriving the destruction of the Tyrant, that had aspired to the Crown by the destruction of those that had the right 10 it. Jehojada had no pretence to authorize this action, but the Equity and Justice of the act it self. He pretended no immediate command from God for what he did, nor any authority from the Sanedrin,2 King. 11. and therefore any man might have done what Jehojada did as lawfully, that could have done it as effectually.2 Chron. 23. Now what citation was given to Athaliah, what appearance was she cal’d to before any Court of Justice: her fact was her trial she was without any expostulation taken forth of the Ranges, and onely let live, till she got out of the Temple, that that Holy Place might not be defiled by the bloud of a Tyrant, which was fitter to be shed on a dung-hill, and so they slew her at the Horse-gate.Chron. 23. 14. And by the Kings house, the very White-hall; where she had caused the Blood-Royal to be spilt, and which her self had so long unjustly possest, there by Providence did she receive her punishment, where she had acted so great a part of her crimes. How the people approved of this glorious action of destroying, Tyrant, this Chapter tells us at the last verse.
And all the people of the Land rejoyced, and the City was quiet,2 Chron. 23. 14. after they had slain Athaliah with the sword. And that it may appear they no less honoured the Authors of such actions, then other Nations did; as in his life-time they obeyed Jehoiada as a King, so after his death, for the good he had done in Israel (saith the Scripture) they buried him amongst the Kings.2 Chron. 34. 16.
I must not conclude this story without observing that Jehojada commanded, that whosoever followed Athaliah should be put to death. Letting us see what they deserve that are Confederates with Tyrants and will side with them, and but appear to defend them, or allow them, his Highness his Councel, his Junto, and the Agaes of his Janizaries, may, if they please, take notice of this,Mr. Sindercomb’s Judge and Jury may likewise consider of this point. and repent, least they likewise perish. And likewise his Highness his Chaplains, and Tryers, who are to admit none into the Ministry that will preach liberty with the Gospel; may, if they think fit, observe, that with the Tyrant fell Mattan the Priest of Baal. And indeed none but Baals-Priests will preach for Tyrants. And certainly those Priests that Sacrifice to our Baal, our Idol of a Magistrate, deserves as well to be hang’d before their Pulpits, as ever Mattan did to fall before his Altars.
I should think now I had said much more then enough to the second question,2 Chron. 23. 17. and should come to the third and last I proposed in my Method; but I meet with two Objections lying in my way: The first is, That these examples out of Scripture, are of men that were Inspired of God, and that therefore they had that Call and Authority for their Actions, which we cannot pretend to,Object. 1. so that it would be unsafe for us to draw their actions into examples, except we had likewise their Justifications to alledg.
Object. 2.The other Objection is, that there being now no opposition made to the Government of his Highness, that the people following their callings, and trafficque, at home and abroad, making use of the laws, & appealing to his Highnes courts of justice: That all this argues the peoples tacit consent to the Government; and that therefore now tis to be reputed lawful, and the peoples obedience voluntary.
To the first I answer with learned Milton, that if God commanded these things,Sol. 1. ’tis a sign they were lawful and are commendable. But secondly, as I observed in the Relations of the examples themselves; Neither Sampson nor Samuel alledged any other cause or reason for what they did, but retaliation, and the apparent justice of the actions themselves. Nor had God appeared to Mosis in the Bush when he slew the Egyptian; nor did Jehojada alledg any Prophetical Authority or other Call to do what he did, but that common Call which all men have, to do all actions of Justice that are within their power, when the ordinary course of Justice ceases.
To the second my answer is, that if commerce and pleadings were enough to Argue the people’s consent, and give Tyrannie the name of Government,Sol. 2. there was never yet any Tyrannie of many weeks standing in this world. Certainly, we then extreamly wrong Caligula and Nero in calling them Tyrants, and they were Rebels that conspired against them; except we will believe, that all the while they reign’d in Rome, they kept their shops shut, and opened not their Temples, or their Courts. We are likewise with no lesse absurdity to imagine, that the whole 18 years time which Israel served Eglon, and 6 years that Athaliah reigned, that the Israelites quite desisted from traffique, pleadings and all publique acts: otherwise Ehud and Jehoiada were both Traytors, the one for killing his King, the other his Queen.
Third Question.Having shewed what a Tyrant is, his Marks and Practises; I can searce perswade my self to say any thing to that I made my third Question, Whether the Removing him is like to prove of Advantage to the Common-wealth or not? for methinks ’tis to enquire whether ’tis better the man die, or the Imposthume be lanch’d, or the Gangræn’d limb be cut off? But yet there be some, whose Cowardice and Avarice furnish them with some Arguments to the contrary; and they would fayn make the world believe, that to be base and degenerate, is to be Cautious and prudent: and what is in truth a servile fear, they falsly call a Christian patience. It will not be therefore amis, to make appear, that there is indeed that necessity, which we think there is, of saving the Vineyard of the Common-wealth, if possible, by destroying the wild Boar that is broke into it. We have already shewed, that it is lawful; and now we shall see, whether it is expedient. First I have already told you, That to be under a Tyrant, is not to be a Common-wealth, but a great Family, consisting of Master and Slaves. Vir bene servorum nulla est usquam civitas, sayes an old Poet, A number of Slaves makes not a City. So that whilest this Monster lives, we are not members of a Commonwealth, but only his living tools and Instruments, which he may employ to what use he pleases, Servi tua est fortuna, Ratio ad te nihil, sayes another; Thy condition is a Slaves; thou art not to enquire a Reason, nor must we think we can continue long in the condition of slaves, and not degenerate into the habits and temper that is natural to that condition: our minds will grow low with our fortune; and by being accustomed to live like slaves, we shall become unfit to be any thing Else, Etiam sera animalia si clausa teneas virtutis obliviseuntur, sayes Tacitus(a) the fiercest creatures by long constraint, lose their courage. And sayes Sir Francis Bacon, the blessing of Issachar and that of Judah, falls not upon one people, to be Asses crouching under Burdens, and to have the Spirit of Lyons. And with their courage ’tis no wonder if they lose their fortune as the Effect with the cause, and Act as Ignominiously abroad, as they suffer at home. ’Tis Machiavel’s(b) observation, That the Roman Armies that were alwayes victorious under Consuls, All the while they were under the slavery of the Decemviri never prospered. And certainly people, have Reason to fight but faintly, where they are to gain the victory against themselves; when every success shall be a confirmation of their slavery, and a new linck to their chain.
But we shall not only lose our Courage which is a useless and an unsafe vertue under a Tyrant, but by degrees we shall, after the example of our Master, All turn perfidious, Deceitful, Irreligious, flatterers, and what ever else is villanous and Infamous in Mankind. See but to what a degree we are come to already. Can there any Oath be found so fortified by all Religious Tyes; which we easily find not a Distinction to break, when either Profit or Danger perswades us to it? Do we Remember any Engagements? or if we do, have we any shame to break them? Can any Man think with patience upon what we have profest, when he sees what we Vilely do, and Tamely Suffer? What have we of Nobility amongst us but the name, the luxury and the vices of it? poor wretches, these that now carry that title, are so far from having any of the vertues, that should grace, and indeed give them their titles, that they have not so much as the generous vices that attend greatness,Dr. Locker. they have lost all Ambition and Indignation. As for our Ministers, what have they, or indeed desire they,Dr. Owen. of their Calling, but the Tythes? How do these horrid prevaricators search for distinctions to peece contrary Oaths? How do they Rake Scriptures for flatteries? And Impudently Apply them to his monstrous Highness? what is the City but a Great Tame Beast, that eats and Carries,Mr. Jenkins, &c. and cares not who Rides it? What’s the thing call’d a Parliament but a Mock? Composed of a people that are only suffered to sit there, because they are known to have no vertue, After the Exclusion of all others that were but suspected to have any? What are they but pimps of Tyranny, who are only Imployed to draw In the people to prostitute their Liberty? What will not the Army fight for? What will they not fight against! What are they but Janizaries, slaves themselves; and making all others so? what are the people in general bus Knaves, Fools, and Cowards; principled for Ease, Vice and Slavery? This our temper, his Tyranny hath brought us to already; and if it continues, the little vertue that is yet left to stock the Nation, must totally extinguish, and then his Highness hath compleated his work of Reformation. And the truth is, till then his Highness cannot be secure. He must not endure vertue, for that will not endure him: He that will maintain Tyranny, must kill Brutus, sayes Machiavell. A Tyrant, sayes Plato,(c) must dispatch all vertuous persons, or he cannot be safe;(f) so that he is brought to that unhappy necessity, either to live among Base and wicked persons, or not to live at all.
Nor must we expect any Cure from our patience, Inganno si gli huomini, sayes Machiavel,(a) credendo con la humilità vincere la superbia. Men deceive themselves, that think to mollifie Arrogancy with humility; a Tyrant’s never modest but when he’s weak; ’tis in the winter of his fortune when this Serpent bites not: we must not therefore suffer our selves to be couzened with hopes of his amendment: for Nemo unquam(d) Imperium flagitio quæsitum, bonis artibus exercuit; Never did any man manage that Government with Justice, that got it by Villany. The longer the Tyrant lives, the more the Tyrannical humour increases in him, sayes Plato,(e) like those Beasts that grow more curst as they grow old. New occasions daily happen, that necessitate them to new mischiefs, and he must defend one Villany with another.
But suppose the contrary of all this, and that his Highness were vi Dominationis convulsus, & mutatus, changed to the better by great fortune, (of which he yet gives no symptoms) What notwithstanding could be more miserable, then to have no other security for our liberty, no other law for our safety, than the will of a man, though the most just living? we have all our beast within us, and whosoever(sayes Aristotle)(f) is governed by a man without a Law, is governed by a man and by a beast. Etiam si non sit molestus(a) Dominus; tamen est miserrimum posse si velit, sayes Tully, Though a Master does not Tyrannize, yet ’tis a miserable thing that ’tis in his power to do so if he will. If he be good, so was Nero for five years, and how shall we be secure that he will not change? Besides, the power that is allowed to a good man, we may be sure will be claimed and taken by an ill. And therefore it hath been the custome of good Princes,(b) to abridge their own power, it may be distrusting themselves, but certainly fearing their Successours, to the chance of whose being vertuous, they would not hazard the welfare of their people. An unlimited power therefore is to be trusted to none; which if it does not find a Tyrant, commonly makes one: or if one uses it modestly, ’tis no argument that others will; and therefore Augustus Cæsar must have no greater power given him, then you would have Tibirius take. And(c) Cicero’s moderation is to be trusted with a consideration, That there are others to be Consuls as well as he.
But before I press this business father, if it needs be any farther prest, that we should endeavour to rescue the honour, the vertue and liberty of our Nation, I shall answer to some few Objections that have occurred to me. This I shall do very briefly.
Some I find of a strange Opinion, That it were a generous and a noble action to kill his Highness in the field; but to do it privately they think it unlawful, but know not why. As if it were not generous to apprehend a Theef, till his sword were drawn, and he in a posture to defend himself and kill me. But these people do not consider, that whosoever is possest of power any time, will be sure to engage so many either in guilt or profit, or both, that to go about to throw him out by open force, will very much hazard the total ruine of the Common-wealth.Sueton. in vit. Calig. A Tyrant is a Devill that tears the body in the exorcising; and they are all of Caligula’s temper, That if they could, they would have the whole frame of Nature fall with them. ’Tis an opinion that deserves no other refutation, then the manifest absurdity of it self; that it should be lawful for me to destroy a Tyrant with hazard, blood, and confusion, but not without.
Another Objection, and more common, is, the fear of what may succeed if his Highness were removed. One would think the World were bewitched. I am fallen into a ditch, where I shall certainly perish if I lye, but I refuse to be helpt out for fear of falling into another; I suffer a certain misery for fear of a contingent one, and let the disease kill me, because there is hazard in the cure. Is not this that ridiculous policy, Ne moriare, mori; To die for fear of dying.Seneca. Sure, ’tis frenzy not to desire a Change, when we are sure we cannot be worse; Et non incurrere in pericula, ubi quiescemi paria metuuntur, and not then to hazard, when the danger and the mischiefs are the same in lying still.
Hitherto I have spoken in general to all English-men; Now I address my discourse particularly to those that certainly best deserve that name, Our Selves, that have fought, however unfortunately, for our Liberties under this Tyrant; and in the end couzened by his Oaths and Tears, have purchased nothing but our slavery with the price of our blood. To us particularly it belongs to bring this Monster to Justice, whom he hath made the Instruments of his Villany, and sharers in the Curse and Detestation that is due to himself from all good men. Others onely have their Liberty to vindicate; We, our Liberty and our Honour. We engaged to the People with him, and to the People for him, and from our hands they may justly expect a satisfaction of punishment, being they cannot have that of performance. What the People at present endure, and Posterity shall suffer, will be all laid at our doors: for onely We under God have the power to pull down this Dagon which we have set up. And if we do it not, all Mankind will repute us Approvers of all the Villanies he hath done; and Authors of all to come. Shall we that would not endure a King attempting Tyranny, shall we suffer a profest Tyrant? We that resisted the Lyon assailing us,Cic. in Epist. ad Octav. shall we submit to the Woolf tearing us? If there be no remedy to be found, we have great reason to exclaime; utinam te potius (Carole) retinuissemus quam hunc habuissemus, non quod ulla sit optanda servitus, sed quod ex Dignitate Domini minus turpis est conditio servi; We wish we had rather endured thee (O Charles) then have been condemned to this mean Tyrant; not that we desire any kind of slavery, but that the Quality of the Master something graces the condition of the slave.
But if we consider it rightly what our Duty, our Engagements, and our Honour exact from us, both our Safety and our Interest oblige us to, And ’tis as unanswerable, in us, to discretion, as ’tis to vertue, to let this Viper live. For first he knowes very well, ’tis onely we that have the power to hurt him, and therefore of us he will take any course to secure himself: he is conscious to himself how falsly and perfidiously he hath dealt with us, and therefore he will alwayes fear that from our revenge, which he knowes he hath so well deserved.
Lastly, he knowes our Principles, how directly contrary they are to that Arbitrary power he must govern by, and therefore he may reasonably suspect, that we that have already ventured our liues against Tyranny, will alwayes have the Will, when we have the opportunity, to do the same again.
These Considerations will easily perswade him to secure himself of us, if we prevent him not, and secure our selves of him. He reads in his Practise of Piety,(a) chi diviene Patron, &c. He that makes himself master of a City, that hath been accustomed to Liberty, if he destroyes it not, he must expect to be destroyed by it. And we may read too in the same Authour, and believe him, that(b) those that are the occasion that one becomes powerful; alwayes ruines them, if they want the Wit and Courage to secure themselves.
Now as to our Interest, we must never expect that he will ever trust those, that he hath provoked and feared: He will be sure to keep us down, lest we should pluck down him. ’Tis the Rule that Tyrants observe, when they are in power, never to make much use of those that helpt them to it, and indeed ’tis their Interest and security not to do it: for those that have been the authors of their greatness being conscious of their own merit, they are bold with the Tyrant, and lesse industrious to please him. They think all he can do for them is their due, and still they expect more: and when they fail in their expectations, (as ’tis impossible to satisfie them) their disappointment makes them discontented, and their discontents dangerous. Therefore all Tyrants follow the example of Dionysius, who was said to use his friends, as he did his Bottles, when he had use for them, he kept them by him; when he had none, that they should not trouble him and lie in his way, he hung them up.
But to conclude this already over-long Paper, let every man to whom God hath given the Spirit of Wisdome and Courage, be perswaded by his Honour, his Safety, his own Good and his Countries, and indeed the duty he owes to his Generation, and to Mankind, to endeavour by all Rational means to free the World of this Pest. Let not other Nations have the occasion to think so meanly of us, as if we resolved to sit still and have our Ears bored: or that any discouragement or disappointments can ever make us desist from attempting our Liberty, till we have purchased it, either by this Monster’s death, or by our own. Our Nation is not yet so barren of vertue, that we want noble examples to follow amongst our selves. The have Sindercombe hath shewed as great a mind, as any old Rome could boast of; and had he lived there, his name had been registred with Brutus, and Cato; and he had had his Statues as well as they.
But I will not have so sinister an opinion of our selves (as little Generosity as Slavery hath left us) as to think so great a vertue can want its Monuments even amongst us. Certainly, in every vertuous Mind there are Statues rear’d to Sindercombe. When ever we read the Elogies of those that have dyed for their Country; when we admire those great Examples of magnanimity, that have tired Tyrants cruelties: When we extoll their constancys whom neither bribes nor terrours could make betray their Friends: ’Tis then we erect Sindercombe Statues, and grave him Monument: Where all that can be said of a great and noble mind, we justly make an Epitaph for him. And though the Tyrant caused him to be Smothered, lest the people should hinder an open Murder; yet he will never be able either to smother his memory, or his own Villany. His Poison was but a poor and common device to impose only on those that understood not Tyrants practises, and are unacquainted (if any be) with his cruelties and falshoods. He may therefore if he please, take away the Stake from Sindercomb’s Grave; and if he have a mind it should be known how he dyed, let him send thither the Pillowes and Feather-bedds with which Barkstead and his Hangman smothered him. But to conclude, Let not this Monster think himself the more secure, that he hath supprest one great Spirit,(a) he may be confident, that Longus postillum sequitur ordo idem petentium decus.
There’s a great Rowl behind, even of those that are in his own Muster-Rolls, that are ambitious of the Name of the Deliverers of their Countrey: and they know what the Action is that will purchase it. His Bed, his Table is not secure; and he stands in need of other Guards to defend him against his own. Death and destruction pursues him wheresoever he goes: they follow him every where,Job. 20. like his fellow-travellers, and at last they will come upon him like armed men. Darkness is hid in his secret places, a Fire not blown shall consume him; it shall go ill with him that is left in his Tabernacle.White-Hall. Hampton-Court, &c. He shall flee from the Iron weapon, and a bow of Steel shall strike him through. Because he hath oppressed, and forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away a House(a) which he builded not: We may be confident, and so may he, that ere long, all this will be accomplisht:V. 5. For the Triumphing of the wicked is but short, and the joy of the Hypocrite but for a moment. Though his Excellency(b) mount up to the Heavens, and his Head reacheth unto the Clouds, yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung, They that have seen Him, shall say, Where is He?
I Heartily wish for Englands sake, that your number may be far greater then I fear it is; and that his Highness his frequent purgations may have left any amongst you, that by these Characters are concern’d in this Dedication. That I and all men have reason to make this a doubt, your own action, as well as your tame sufferings do but too plainly manifest. For you that were the Champions of our Liberty, and to that purpose were raised, are not you become the instruments of our slavery? and your hands that the people employ’d to take off the yoak from off our necks, are not those very hands they that now put it on? Do you remember that you were raised to defend the Priviledges of Parliament, and have sworn to do it; and will you be employed to force Elections, and dissolve Parliaments, because they will not establish the Tyrants iniquity, and our slavery by a Law? I beseech you think upon what you have promised and what you do, and give not Posterity as well as your own Generation, the occasion to mention you with infamie, and to curse that unfortunate valour, and success of yours, that onely hath gained victories (as you use them) against the Common-wealth. Could ever England have thought to have seen that Army that was never mentioned without the titles of Religious, Zealous, Faithful, Couragious, the fence of her liberty at home, the Terrour of her enemies abroad; Become her Gaolers? not her Guard, but her oppressors? not her Souldiers, but a Tyrants Executioners, drawing to blocks and gibbets all that dare be honester then themselves? This you do; and this you are; nor can you ever redeem your own honour, the trust and love of your Country, the estimation of brave men, or the prayers of good; If you let not speedily the World see you have been deceived; which they will onely then believe, when they see your vengeance upon his faithless head that did it. This if you defer too long to do, you will find too late to attempt, and your Repentance will neither vindicate you, nor help us. To let you see you may do this as a lawful action, and to perswade you to it as a Glorious one, is the principal intent of this following Paper: Which, whatever effects it hath upon you, I shall not absolutely fail of my ends; for if it excites not your vertue and courage, it will yet exprobrate your cowardice and baseness. This is from one that was once one amongst you, and will be so again when you dare be so as you were.
VVHat is here treated of, appeareth to be lawful; there are not a few Examples, that it hath been followed amongst the Romans; the greatest part of their Emperours fell by the hands of private men: Some of them rather then they would fall by a private hand, or publick hand of Justice, did follow the Counsel here prescribed the late Tyrant, that is, to free others from the trouble of hanging him according to his defers, by killing himself; as Nero and others did before him by poysous and other means. The Advice is good, for none that ever attained to that Estate of Dignity, on Villany, but their Imaginations were served up to the deeming themselvs to be reckoned amongst the Immortal Gods: Men of less Dignity, though of much better mind, must not claim that acquaintance of the Gods, as these Wolves and Panthers. Nero must be deified 3 days before he was condemned to be whipt to death like a Rogue: All men desire rather to appear to be what they should be, than what they are. Their Commands are of Divine Stamp: The preservation of themselves is reckoned at a higher rate then the preservation of the people. They can perswade themselves no otherwise, but their dignity is bestowed upon them out of singular love from above; and that all inferiour to them are given to be vassals; and that they should hold Life, Liberty & Estates, by no other Tenure than that of Courtesie: If it were profitable for the Tyrant to take all three from all, as well as one of all from some, he would do it: But he will not do that, because he must preserve them, or at least so many that by them he may subsist: those whom he destroyed are always the best of men. The Tyrant that is the Subject of this Discourse, since none would put in execution what is here urged; nor yet the Army, who should have delivered him to Justice, and made him a famous Example to all afterages; God, by his Divine Hand of Justice, did deliver this poor Captivated Nation from under his hand: His death was not a death like unto other men; though some would have it so: Not one drop of bloud was found in his Heart, who had delighted to drink so much innocent bloud as he did, of many persons who were trappan’d by his Sicofants, who contrived the Plot, & drew in those persons, whose late sufferings prepared them, and made them apt matter for the receiving any thing propounded that had the least savour of Revenge, as Tinder to receive fire. These Sicovants afterwards became the discoverers of the Plots, and the Witnesses themselves; and the Army standing by as aiders and abettors of those horrid inhumanities, of which the Army have (in part) repented: There remaineth yet of their Repentance, Newness of Life, that is, Never more to be instrumental in aiding a Tyranny, either in one or more. The Expedients for prevention thereof, are such as these; That seeing it is lawful to kill a Tyrant and Usurper, without any express Law, it would be much more warantaable, and more encouragement, for Undertakers herein, if a Law were made, that in that Case onely it should be lawful for a man to kill another, that doth design, plot, conspire; or that setteth on foot any thing that tendeth to the erecting a Tyranny. Here it is not meant to countenance Murders, that after slaying a man, it shall be sufficient to plead he was erecting a Tyranny for himself or others: No, but his Plea for his Justification, shalbe attended with such Circumstances, and other Evidences and Proof, that it shalbe demonstrable and evident that it was so. Without some such kind of Law, and the often reading thereof as once it was a Custom, that Magna Charta should be read once a year in every Church throughout these Dominions, you shall never else be able to keep ourtTyrants. Would you do it by Arms, he maketh them his: would you do it by Law, he lifteth himself above the Laws? In such a Case, no Hand can reach him, but a private Hand. To what purpose is it, that a Common-wealth shall ordain, that it shall be Treason for any to attempt the Supremacy, and that it shall be punished with death, when such like Ordinances cannot take place, not be put into execution: unless that he who attempteth the Tyranny, do miscarry and fail of his Enterprise? But on the contrary, if the Usurper doth accomplish and effect what he undertaketh, then such kind of Laws are but dead Letters; for that the Law by a publick Hand of Justice cannot reach him, in regard that now he hath made himself Master of the Law, and all Courts of Justice, in which the Law is administred; therefore a private Hand of Justice must reach him: to that end and purpose, to preserve a State free, you must ordain such a Law that great Rewards shall be given, and respect shall be had to such person or persons, as shall kill a Tyrant and Usurper, that shall attempt the Supremacie of a Nation. If such a Law had been in being at that day that the sitting of this Parliament was interrupted; and that in prosecution of that Law some one or two had put it in execution upon Cromwel and Harrison, who took the Speaker by the hand, and drew him out of his Chair, it had doubtless prevented that Tyranny, that hath been over us for these six years, and might again the same day have given quiet to the sitting of the Parliament, if the same day the Execution had been done; the which, doubtless, would have been, if any such Law had been in being. Is it any other, then, in effect, than the same Law that it shall be death to attempt the Supremacie; and that it shall be lawful for any one to kill him, that shall attempt the Supremacie: You design his death, that shall do such a thing by your Law; onely the manner of the Execution differeth: Both are good, and when ordinary Justice cannot reach him, Extraordinry ought. The Reward to the person that shall deliver his Countrey in this manner, ought to be great, he ought to have his Condition bettered ten times, of what it was under the Tyrant; which will invite some to undertake the work. Killing of a Tyrant is onely lawful, when other means faileth. It is not lawful, but when the Publick may probably reap the benefit of it. If you should kill one Tyrant to set up another, you sin against God, and Nature, and Law.
[* ] Cato said of Pompey, It was alike Treason in him to usurp the giving him his life, as to take it away.
[* ] See Plutarch. the Life of Timolion, cited in the Continuation of this Session of Parliament justified, lately printed.
[(a) ] Pol. l. 1. c. 1.
[(b) ] Gen. 44. 24.
[(c) ] Arist. ibid.
[(d) ] 1 Tim. 5. 8.
[(e) ] Ex. 21. 5.
[(f) ] 1 Sam. 10. 2.
[(a) ] 1 Sam. 12. 2.
[(b) ] 1 Sam. 16. 14.
[(c) ] 2 Sam. 2. 4.
[(d) ] 2 Sam. 5. 3.
[(e) ] 2 Sam. 5. 3.
[(f) ] Deut. 17. 14.
[(a) ] An. lib. 16. Idem alibi. Cœterum libertas & Speciosa nomina prætexuntur, nec quisquam alienum servitium, & Dominationem sibi concupivit, ut non eadem ista vocabula usurparet. Mach. Discor. l. 2. c. 13
[(b) ] Il. princ. c. 9
[(c) ] Disc. l. 2. c. 13.
[(d) ] Prin. c. 18. Arist. Pol. l. 5. c. 11. Plato de Repub. l. 8. Ibid.
[(a) ] Preces & Lacrymæ sunt arma Ecclesiæ.
[(b) ] Pol. lib. 5. c. 11.
[(c) ] Ames Parentem si æquus est, si non, feras.
[(d) ] Sicut sterilitatem, aut nimios imbres &c. Tacit.
[(e) ] Gen. 16. 12.
[(a) ] Pol. lib. 3. c. 12.
[(b) ] Lib. 5. c. 8.
[(c) ] De sur. bel. l. 3. c. 8.
[(a) ] Let his Highness Junto marke this. De Repub. lib. 8. In Publici.
[(b) ] Regulus Qui longum semper sama &c.
[(c) ] Utique morietur virille Deut. 17. 12.
[(a) ] Vid. Et. Governador Christiano. c. 8. p. 40.
[(b) ] Qualquiera tiudadno me de repeter la fuerca, &c. Judg. c. 3. v. 11, 19, 20.
[(b) ] Discor. l. 1. c. 24.
[(c) ] Disc. l. 3. cap. 3.
[(f) ] De Repub. lib. 8.
[(a) ] Disc. lib. 2. cap. 14.
[(d) ] Tacit. Hist. lib. 1.
[(e) ] de Repub. lib. 9.
[(f) ] Cic. Phil. 4.
[(a) ] Pol. lib. 3. cap. 11.
[(b) ] Lycurgus. Theopomo. Plut. in Lycurg.
[(c) ] Vid. Orat. Cæsaris in Salust consp. cat.
[(a) ] Math. Pr. c. 5.
[(b) ] Ibid. c. 3.
[(a) ] And what may Cicil and Toop expect for their Treachery and Perjury?
[(b) ] He hath now left that Title for Highness; and will shortly leave that for King.