T.163 [1648.12.06] [William Walwyn], A True and Ful Relation (6 December, 1648).
[William Walwyn], A True and Ful Relation of the officers and Armies forcible seising of divers eminent Members of the Commons House, Decemb. 6. & 7. 1648. As also, a true copy of a letter lately written by an agent for the Army in Paris, dated 28 of Novemb. 1648, to a Member of the said House, a great creature and patriot of the Army; Clearly discovering, That their late remonstrance and proceedings do drive on and promote the Jesuits and Papists designes, to the subversion of religion, Parliament, monarchy, and the fundamental laws and government of the Kingdom.
London, Printed in the yeer 1648.
This tract contains the following parts:
6 December, 1648.
TT1, p. 698; Thomason E. 476. (14.).
(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)
THe Officers and Councell of the Army, being discontented with the Votes passed in the Commons House upon a long and serious Debate (which continued all Munday, and Munday night last, till Tuesday morning about 9 of the clock) to this effect, That the Kings person was removed out of the Isle of Wight by the Generals Command, without the knowledg or consent of the House. And, That the Kings answers to the Propositions of both Houses upon the Treaty, were a sufficient ground for the house to proceed to the settlement of a safe and wel-grounded Peace. On Wednesday, the sixth of this instant December, 1648. placed strong Guards of the Army (as well Horse as Foot) in the Palace yard, Westminster-hall, the Court of Requests, and in the stairs and Lobby leading to the Commons-house, where Col. Pride (who commanded the Guards that day) Sir Hardresse Waller, and other Officers, violently seized upon divers Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the Commons house in the Parliament stairs and Lobby, as they were going to the House, to sit and discharge their duties there, and by plain force thrust and carried them prisoners into the Queens-Court, notwithstanding their open protestations of breach of Priviledg of Parliament, without having any warrant for such commitment but their Swords, or assigning any cause at all but their own arbitrary wills: and there kept them prisoners under a strong Guard, denying them liberty of access to the House, which they desired. Mr. Edward Stevens and Col. Birch being gotten into the House before their seizures, were called to the door by feared Messages sent to them by the Officers, under other mens names, and there seized on, and violently pulled out of the House, though they cryed out to the Speaker to take notice of the horrid force upon them; and so were haled thence into the Queens Court; Harry Martin the Horse stealer, though in actuall Rebellion against the House, and formerly ejected out of it, being in the mean time admitted to sit as a competent Member. The House being informed of this strange violence offered to their Members by those who professed themselves their Servants and Protectors, sent the Sergeant of the House to the Queens Court, to demand the Members there detained, and required their attendance in the House: Which Message, though delivered, was disobeyed, wherewith he acquainting the House: Thereupon the House sent the Serjeant forth with the Mace, to fetch away the imprisoned Members, but the Soldiers and Officers violently kept him back at the Door, and would not suffer him to execute their command. Hereupon the House resolved not to proceed till these Members were restored, yet notwithstanding the Officers stil proceeded to seiz more Members, as they came to, or went from the House, carrying them all Prisoners to the Court aforesaid. About three of the clock in the afternoon, Hugh Peter with a sword by his side, like a boisterous Souldier came rushing in to see the Prisoners, and take a list of their names, by order from the Generall, as he alledged; where some of the Prisoners demanding of him, by what authority they were thus imprisoned and kept from their duty, he answered, By the power of the Sword; and returning thither soon after, he released Sir Benjamin Ruddier and Mr. Nathaniel Fiennes (as he said) by the like power of the Sword.
Night drawing on, the Prisoners desired the Capt. who guarded them, to desire Col. Pride to speak with them, to the end they might know by what authority, and for what cause they were thus detained by him, being Members. The proud Colonel returned this Answer, That he had other imployment for the present, that he could not wait upon them. Soon after Hugh Peter and some other Officers acquainted them, that they should all be removed to Wallingford House, where they should have all fitting accommodations provided for them, and where the General and Lieut. Gen. would come and speak with them, and that Coaches were provided to carry them thither: upon this assurance, the Prisoners went all from the Queens Court, to take coach at the Lords stairs, where Coaches attending them, in stead of being carryed to Wallingford House as was promised and expected, they were stayed at the back-gate of Hell, (a common Victualling-house so called) and there thrust all into the common dining-Room, and after that translated into two upper Chambers. When it grew late, Sir Robert Pye and some six more were offered liberty to go to their lodgings (being neer) upon their paroll, to appear before the General the next morning: who conceiving it inconsistent with the Priviledge of Parliament, and a prejudice to their Cause, refused to give any other paroll, then to appear in the House the next morning; which being not accepted, they were all inforced to remain in Hell that night, most of them having no other beds to rest their heads on (though ancient and infirm, and Gentlemen of Honour) but the floor of the Room, and Benches and Chairs: yet they patiently underwent this affront and duresse in Hell it self (culled out of purpose to put a meer signal brand of contempt and infamy upon them and the Parliament) reading and singing Psalms to God, spending most of the night in Discourses and walking, without taking one minutes rest or sleep. It was a very sad spectacle to see so many eminent and Honourable Members of Parliament so uncivilly and discourteously used by their domineering Servants, who exceeded all Regal and Prelatical Tyranny in former times; which afforded convenient lodgings and accommodations to their Prisoners. The Provost Marshal (under whose custody they were unworthily put as Malefactors) was so ashamed of this dishonorable usage, that after some conference concerning it, he repaired to the General to White-hall, to acquaint him with it, and receive his further Order.
The next morning (being Thursday) the Prisoners expecting the issue, he returned to them about 11 of the clock, and acquainted them, that it was the Generals pleasure they should all wait forthwith upon him and his Councel of War at White-Hall, where he desired to conferr with them: whereupon, they were presently put into Coaches and carried to White Hall like Traytors or Felons, with strong Guards of Horse and Foot attending them, and there brought into the Kings Lodgings fasting, and tired out with watching the night before: where arriving about 12 of the clock, they expected a present Answer. But our new Grandees and great Councel of the Army took so much Royal State upon them, as to make them wait their leisure til it was night before they vouchsafed to send them any answer, at which time, disdaining to call the imprisoned Members in, or to honour them with their more them Lordly presence, they sent out 3 Officers to acquaint then with this dilatory answer, That other intervenient affairs of great concernment were now in agitation before the General and his Councel, so as they could not admit them to their presence that night, as was expected; and that the General and his Councel, for their better accommodation, had given order that they should be lodg’d at 2 Inns in the Strand, to wit, the Swan and the Kings Head, for that night, where they should receive from them the next morning some Propositions to be considered of. After which, the Provost Marshal taking the names of those who were to be lodged at the Kings Head, and a list of those who were to be conducted to the Swan, carried them all prisoners to the said Inns thorow the streets in the dirt on foot (except some 6 or 7 onely, who were lame and aged) with a Musketier attending upon every one of them in particular, and a strong Guard marching before, behinde, and on one side of them, like so many Traytors and capital Malefactors, to the great admiration and discontent of all persons wel affected to the Parliament, and joy & rejoycing to all Malignants, Papists, and Cavaliers, who, had they been conquerors of the Parliament, could not have used them with more rigour, scorn and disdain then these pious Saints and Grandees of the Army have done, before they have attainted them of any particular crime or breach of trust; whereof the whole Kingdom can declare all or most of them innocent.
Being brought Prisoners to the said Inns, they had strong Guards set upon them, and a Sentinel at every chamber door all night. Thus do these new usurpers of a more then Regal and Tyrannical power, trample upon the Members of the House of Commons (their former Masters) as if they were no better then the dirt in the street; and to exasperate the cõmon souldiers against them, have slandered the imprisoned Members, to be the only detainers of their pay; when as none of them ever fingered one penny of their moneys: and if any Members be guilty of such a crime, it must be those who have most relation to the Army, and professe themselves their greatest friends.
Thursday morning the Officers and Army guarding the House in the same manner as on Wednesday, some of their Officers standing at the Commons door with a List of Parliament mens names in their hands, demanded every Members name as he came to the door to enter the House, and those whose names were in their List, they forcibly excluded the House, and turned down the stairs, though they earnestly pressed for entrance: and some of them acquainted the Speaker by Letter with the high affront and breach of Priviledge; but could finde no redresse, the Officers admitting onely such who were not in the List: About 40 Members were thus forcibly excluded, but not imprisoned; onely Mr. Gewen was seised upon by one of Col. Hewsons Officers, carried prisoner to the Queens Court, and from thence to White-hall to the rest of the imprisoned Members, who were there attending upon the General and his Councel: This day the Great Conqueror Lieut. Gen. Cromwel entered the Commons House, and received thanks for his great services, which had been more Honourable for him to receive in a full and free House, then in an empty and forced; the House (by reason of the restrained and excluded Members, with others driven away by this horrid violence) being not above 80. in Number, having formerly resolved not to proceed till their Members were restored, and the force upon them removed; after some debate and opposition, the House was divided upon this Question, whether they should now proceed or not? which was carryed in the affirmative, 50. voting in the affirmative, and 28. or 30. in the negative, that they should not; who presently left the House, most of them resolving to come no more till the House and Members were righted; this done, to abuse and mock as well God as men, they appointed Friday for a solemne Humiliation, to be kept in that House, not to expiate the Armies open violation of their Priviledges, force and breach of Faith, both to God and the Parliament, which had been commendable, but to procure a blessing on the forcible and unparliamentall proceedings, for the subversion of Monarchy, Religion, Lawes, Liberties, and three Kingdomes in a moment: dethroning and beheading the King, and desinheriting his Posterity, and introducing a popular Anarchy and Tyranny under the power of a perfidious Army, worse then any slavery under the great Turk: The Lord humble them in good earnest for these crying sins and treasons, and either convert their hearts, or confound all their treasonable destructive devices of this kind, which will render them infamous to the present and all future Generations, and bring them unto speedy ruine, notwithstanding all their present usurped power. It is beleived by divers understanding men of great experience, that the Jesuits have laid this plot, and fomented these distempers in the Army, by the Agitators, some of them being Jesuits, others Anabaptists, leavened with Jesuiticall principles; who over-reach the honest-minded and plain-hearted Christians in the Army by their speciall pretences of Justice, and speedy setling of the Common-Weale, but in such a way as will bring all to suddain confusion, and make our three Kingdomes a prey to the Popish party; and our forraign Popish enemies, who will make Bonefires of joy in Italy, Spain, France, Ireland, and other forraign parts for this unparaleld force upon the Houses, and the designes of the Army now in prosecution.
Friday morning the imprisoned Members expected a Message from the Generall and his Councell, according to promise; but they received none, such is their dilatorinesse and fidelity in point of promise, onely one came with a message from the Generall to Sir Robert Harley to this effect, that he might go home to his house, and continue there, so as he would give his word not to oppose the present actings and proceedings of the House or Army, varying in his expressions; at which Sir Robert desired time to advise with his fellow prisoners, being a matter which equally concerned them; the like offer was since made to Sir John Merrick, by which it is apparent, that all these prisoners crime is onely the discharge of their duty, in opposing the present designes and actions of the Army, to subvert the fundamentall Lawes, Liberties and Government of the Kingdome, and the ancient forme of Parliaments; for which treason Strafford & Canterbury lost their heads by judgment of this very Parliament.
By all these passages, compared with the Armies late Remonstrance and Declaration, it is most perspicuous to all the Kingdome,
1. That the Officers and Army have offered far greater violence to the Priviledges, Houses, and Members of Parliament, and acted more towards the dissolution of this present, and subversion of all future Parliaments, then ever the King or his Cavaliers, the Gunpowder traytors, Germyn or Percy did; or the Reformadoes and London Apprentices did, whom yet the Officers and Army declared against, and prosecuted as Traytors, though they neither imprisoned nor kept back any Member from the Houses.
2. That they have violated their Covenants, Oaths, Trusts, and solemne ingagements to the Parliament, City, Country and Kingdome, in as high or higher degree as ever the King and his evill Counsellors did, in invading the priviledges, forcing the Houses, imprisoning the Members of Parliament, and indeavouring by open force to subvert the fundamentall Government, Lawes, Liberties and Customes of the Realme, and the Ancient frame and being of Parliaments, for defence of all which they were raised, and covenanted to fight for and maintain.
That they have usurped a far greater and more dangerous, arbitrary and tyrannicall power, over both Houses of Parliament, and their Members, and over the persons and estates of their fellow-Subjects, then ever the King, or the worst of his Counsellors did, and that under the feigned pretences of present necessity, and common safety, of which they make themselves the only supreme Iudges, not the Parliament, as the King did in the case of Ship-money: and therefore they must either justifie or acquit the King & his party from all those charges & objections against him in their late Remonstrance, for which they presse the Houses in point of justice, both to depose and execute him as a Traitor to the Common-wealth, or els incur the self-same crime and guilt, and subject themselves to the same judgment and execution, which they desire to be inflicted upon Him and His.
|M. Wheeler.||Col. Ed. Harley.|
|M. Lane.||M. Swinsen.|
|Sir Samuel Luke.||M. Crew.|
|Sir Thomas Soame.||M. Ed. Stephens.|
|Sir Benjamin Ruddierd.||M. Buller.|
|Sir Richard Anslow.||Sir Gilbert Gerrard.|
|Sir Robert Pye.||M. Gerrard.|
|Sir Anthony Irby.||M. Nath. Fines.|
|M. Clement Walker.||Sir Simon d’Ewes.|
|M. William Prynne.||Sir William Lewes.|
|M. Bunkley.||Sir Iohn Clotworthy.|
|Major Generall Massey.||Lord Wenman.|
|Sir Walter Erle.||Colonell William Strode.|
|M. Greene.||Commissary Copley.|
|Colonell Birch.||M. Vaughan of Exeter.|
|M. Boughton.||Sir Harbottle Grimstone.|
|Colonell Leigh.||M. Prisley.|
|M. Henry Pelham.||M. Gewen seized upon Thursday.|
|Sir William Waller.||Sir Henry Cholmley seized at his lodging, and sent prisoner to the Crowne.|
|Sir John Merrick.|
|Sir Martin Lister.|
|Sir Robert Harley.|
For it was not an enemie that reproached me, then I could have borne it; neither was it he that hurted me, that did magnifie himselfe against me, then I could have hid my selfe from him. But it was thou, a man mine equall, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsell together, and walked unto the house of God in company. Let death seize upon them, and let them goe downe quick into hell: for wickednesse is in their dwellings, and amongst them. As for me, I will call upon God: and the Lord shall save me.
I Was exceeding glad to receive the Doctors lines, that intimated your recovery from that distemper that had seized upon you; I doubt not but it had this effect upon you, to let you see, what a fraile thing our bodies are, and what need we have to be sure of our building not made with hands, reserved in heaven for us.
I am at present (praised be God) indifferent well, the place where I am, in respect of all outward accommodations, very well agreeing with me, and very much exceeding England, onely defective in this, that I cannot find a M. Westrow, nor Doctor Stanes here, to make a bosome-friend; and yet in that it is not altogether so barren as I did, and you may well imagine it: I am fallen into the acquaintance of three or foure Catholikes of very great ingenuity, and in their way of much Religion: undoubtedly it is an error to look at all Papists through the same perspective; for they are more to be differenced then English Papists can be. I find their opinion of, and dependence upon the Pope, little, or nothing what we imagine it to be, and better principled to make members of a Commonwealth, then the most English. Their opposition to the King is not to be reconciled; their hopes are now upon the Army, to whom they wish all prosperity, as to the setling of a Representative, being extremely distasted with Regall hereditary power throughout the world.
It seems my Lord Say hath undertaken to procure a Passe from the House for Sir Kellam Digby to come over to England; he is not, according to your rule, a Delinquent, but it seems came over into France by the House of Commons Licence, acquitted from any crime. Let me desire you when it comes to be moved in your House, give it the best promotion you can; one would think a businesse so reasonable should find no opposition: But to such a constitution as you are of, no man can tell what is reasonable. He never was in Armes, and I believe, can easily answer any thing that can be objected (save his Religion) why he should be from under Sequestration. Let me intreat you to speak to as many of your acquaintance as you can, that when it comes to be moved, it may not be repulsed. I could heartily wish you and Mrs. Westrow, and the Doctor had a good occasion to bring you over into France; (if so) I should not think of returning into England whilest you stayed. I have no more at present, but my own and wifes best respects to you and Mrs. Westrow, I remaine,
Paris, 28. Novemb.
Your very assured friend,
By this Letter it is apparent,
That the Jesuited Papists in France are in such opposition to our King for his compliance with his Houses of Parliament to settle the Kingdome, and extirpate Masse and Popery, that they are not to be reconciled to him, and therefore indeavour to depose and bring him to execution, and disinherit his posterity.
That their hopes to effect this their designe against, and execute this their revenge upon the King, are now upon the Army, to whom they wish all prosperity.
That they foment, and prosecute with their prayers and advice, the Armies new Modell for setling of a Representative in Parliament, of purpose to dissolve this present Parliament, (which hath acted so much against them and their Popish Religion, and is now giving it its finall and fatall blow, if they and the King shall close) and to subvert all Parliaments for the future, for feare of falling into the like danger by them.
That Independents, and friends of the Army have a far better opinion of Roman Catholikes, then English Protestants; as being better principled to make members of a free Commonwealth then they: And therefore are more likely to favour, and close with Roman Catholikes, then English Protestants, in carrying on their new designes, expressed in their late Remonstrance.
That the Jesuites and Roman Catholikes are extremely distasted with Regall hereditary power throughout the world, the onely obstacle to their designes, in subverting the Protestant Religion, and making all Kingdoms meere vassalls to the Pope and Sea of Rome; and therefore the Officers and Army in prosecuting their Remonstrance, and new intended Representative, and subverting Regall hereditary power, do most apparently carry on nought else but the very Jesuites and Roman Catholikes Interests and designes, and accomplish their desires, either wittingly or willingly, as acting by their principles, if not counsells, and aiming at their very ends; which is high time for all wise and well-affected Protestants both in the Army, Parliament and City, and our three Kingdoms, most seriously to consider and prevent the imminent ruine and destruction even of our Reformed Religion it self, and our hereditary Monarchy, the present and all succeeding Parliaments; our lives, Liberties and Kingdomes, all now drawing to their fatall period, by the heady violence, trechery and disobedience of that very Army, which hath been raised, cried up, and trusted upon too much, as their onely Saviours, for which God in justice may now make them their principall and sudden destroyers, unlesse both they and we repent.