Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

But before I press this business farther, if it needs be any farther pressed, that we should endeavour to rescue the honour, the virtue, 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 gene. rous to apprehend a thief till his sword were drawn, and he in a pos. ture to defend himself and kill me. But these people do not consider that whosoever is possessed 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 ruin of the commonwealth. A tyrant is a devil, 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. It is an opinion that deserves no other refutation than the manifest absurdity of itself; 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 thing the world were bewitched. I am fallen into a ditch where I shall certainly perish if I lie; but I refuse to be helped 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 a hazard in the cure. Is not this that ridiculous policy, he moriare, mori, to die for fear of dying? Sure it is frenzy not to desire a change, when we are sure we cannot be worse: et non incurrere in pericula, ubi quies centi paria metu. untur* 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 Englishmen. Now I address my discourse particularly to those that certainly best deserve that name, ourselves, that have fought, however unfortunately for our liberties, under this tyrant; and in the end, cozened 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 villainy, and sharers in the curse and detestation that is due to himself from all good men; others only 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, seeing they cannot have that of performance. What the people at present endure, and posterity shall suffer, will be all laid at our doors; for only 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 villainies he hath done, and authors of all to come. Shall we that would not endure a king attempting tyranny, shall we suffer a professed tyrant? we that

• Seneca.

resisted the lion assailing us, shall we submit to the wolf tearing us? If there be no remedy to be found, we have great reason to exclaim,

* Utinam te potius, Carole, retinuissemus quant hunc habuissemus,

* non quod ulla sit optanda servitus, sed quod ex d/gnitate domini 'minus turpis est conditio servi. We wish we had rather endur'ed thee, O Charles, than 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 it is as unanswerable, in us, to discretion as it is to virtue, to let this viper live; for first, he knows very well it is only 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 always fear that from our revenge, which he knows he hath so well deserved.

Lastly, He knows 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 lives against tyranny, will always have the will, when we have the opportunity to do the same again.

These considerations will easily persuade him to secure himself of 09, if we prevent him not, and secure ourselves of him. He reads in his practice of piety, * chi diviene patron, &c. 'He that makes him

* self master of a city, that hath been accustomed to liberty, if he de'stroys it not, he must expect to be destroyed by it.' And we may read too in the same author, and believe him, that those that are the occasion that one becomes powerful, he always ruins 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 fears; 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 helped them to it. And indeed it is 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 less 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 it is impossible to satisfy them) their disappointments make 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 wisdom and courage, be persuaded by his honour, his safety, his own good and his country's, and indeed

• Mach. IN. cap. '.. VOl. IX- X

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 discouragements 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 virtue, that we want noble examples to follow amongst ourselves. The brave Sindercomb hath shewed as great a mind asany old Rome could boast of; and, had he lived there, his name had been registered with Brutus and Cato, and he had had his statues as well as they.

But I will not have so sinister an opinion of ourselves (as little generosity of slavery hath left us) as to think so great a virtue can want its monuments even amongst us. Certainly in every virtuous mind there are statues reared to Sindercomb. Whenever we read the elopes of those that have died for their country; when we admire those great examples of magnanimity, that have tired tyrant's cruelties; when we extol their constancy, whom neither bribes nor terrors could make betray their friends; it is then we erect Sindercomb statues, and en. grave him monuments; 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 villainy. His poison was but a poor and common device to impose only on those that understood not tyrants practices, 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 died, let him send thither the pillows and feather beds with which Barkstead and his hangman smothered him. But to conclude, let not this monster think himself the more secure that he hath suppressed one great spirit; * he may be confident that Longus post ilium sequitur ordo idem peten. Hum decus.

There is a great roll behind, even of those that are in his own muster-rolls, and are ambitious of the name of the deliverers of their country; 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 pursue him where-ever he goes; they follow him every where, 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. 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 the house which he builded not;' We may be confident, and so may he, that e're long all this shall be accomplished: 'For the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the

• Awl what may Cecil and Toop expect for their treachery and perjury >

'joy of the hypocrite but for a moment. Though his Excellency * . 'mount up to the heavens, and his head reacheth unto the clouds, yet 'he shall perish like his own dung. They that have seen him shall 'say, where is he?' ..

POSTSCRIPT.

Courteous Reader, Expect another sheet or two of paper of this subject, if I escape the tyrant's hands, although he gets (in the interim) the crown upon his head; which he hath, underhand, put his confederates on to petition his acceptance thereof.

THE

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DISCOVERY AND CONFESSION, Made in the Time of his Sickness in the Tower.

WITH ALLOWANCE.

London, printed for R. Lee, without Bishopsgate, 1689. Folio, containing two pages.

1 HE dreadful apprehension of a future being, to a soul so ill prepared, and the terrors of conscience under the visitation of heaven, are of that sad weight, that no thought can imagine, but his that groans under it. When I turn my eyes inward, I can look upon myself, as no other than the unhappiest of men, loaded with infamy, misery, imprisonment, and almost despair, but, above all, with the universal hatred of a kingdom; so universal, that I stand the very center of shame, whilst every tongue that reviles, each eye that loaths, and every finger that points, seems to terminate in miserable me. Such is my hard fate, and such my serious reflexions, that I believe, had my faults been ten-fold greater than they are, it was impossible for me to disoblige mankind, in all my exalted glory, but half so much as I have pleased them in my fall: So naturally lovely, in the English eyes, does the distress and ruin of tottering greatness look, where they seem but just.

But all these accumulated calamities are but my lightest burthen; for, alas', how justly, and more sadly mad, I cry out with falling Wolsey, 'Had I served my God with half that zeal I served my 'king, he would not have left me thus wretched.' Wretched indeed! when my weakness of body calls me to consider, how near I may stand to that tribunal, before which the proudest of

* llf tuth now left th»t title for Hijhncis, and will shortly love that far King.

earthly judges, potentates, and princes tremble. The summons from that terrible judge is such an alarm, that what would I do, if possible, to soften that almighty justice, that stands armed against me? Could the confession of my crimes make the least part of their atonement, how happy should I think myself in unbosoming my whole soul, even to my secretest and minutest thoughts? The sense of which makes me borrow from my pains these few favourable, though distracted minutes, to use that candour and openness, before I leave the world, that may reconcile it, if possible, amongst all its odium and aversion, to, at least, one charitable thought of me.

But, alas! before I come to the sad narrative of those numerous ills I have committed; before I launch down into that deep torrent, my aking heart and sad remembrance lead me up to the fatal fountainhead, from whence they took their rise; and there, to my confusion, I am forced to acknowledge, my crimes are scarce so black, as the polluted source they sprung from. For, whereas ambition, interest, honours, those smiling court-beams, the common ignes fatui, are those gaudier snares, that mislead the wandering steps of other offending statesmen; I cannot but shamefully confess, that a viler and sootier coal, rancour and malice, warped me crooked.

The two famous occasions of my rising spleen, and bitterness of spirit, proceeded from the parliament's bringing me upon my knees for my abhorring of petitions; and, next, the City of London's turning me out of my recordership.

The anger, the rage, the spight I conceived at this double disgrace and affront, was the first accursed gall that poisoned me; a resentment that struck me so deep, and so cankered every faculty of my Soul, that what is it I did not study, contrive, and plot to be refenged? I profess, in the agony of my thought, I was a hundred times not only thinking, but resolving, if no other means, to turn wizard, to wreak my malice upon my enemies, had my small belief (heaven forgive me) of either a God or a devil, persuaded me there was any such creature as a witch, or such an art as sorcery.

As for that damned town of London, not Cataline, against Old Rome, was half so sworn a foe, as I, against that insolent proud city. Really and sincerely, I could willingly and heartily, out of my own pocket, though I sold my last rag in the world, have been myself at the charge of a new monument, so I had had but the pleasure of a second same occasion of building it. Nay, verily, I envied the fate of the old Erostratus, and that more modern worthy, Hubart; and could have wished my own name, though at the price of his destiny, engraven in the very room of that wisely rased-out inscription, on so glorious occasion.

It was then, alas! edged and enraged with a mortal hate, and an avowed vengeance against that accursed and detested city, and more detested parliaments, with two such meritorious qualifications. I applied myself to the once great Coleman's greater master, at that time ah early, and indeed almost governing pilot at the helm; both infallible recommendations to entitle me to the highest hopes of the

« AnteriorContinuar »