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entrusted in that service, and the due qualifications of such, who are now to be elected. I shall, therefore, confine my present thoughts only to one particular head, which yet, in my opinion, seems to involve in it the inevitable fate of England, which wholly depends upon the choice of members for the next session of parliament: I mean 'the choosing or refusing of such persons, who are now possessed of any places and preferments, depending upon the gift and pleasure of the court.' If herein my endeavours prove unsuccessful,! shall have nothing left, but the satisfaction of my own conscience to support me under the deplorable consequents and effects, which must necessarily attend the choice of a house of commons filled with Officers and court pensioners. This is the last struggle and effort the people of England have left them for their properties; and, should we now miscarry in this, we may sit down and idly shew our affections for our country, and fruitlesly bewail the loss of our liberties, but shall never meet with another opportunity of exerting ourselves in its service. That I may, therefore, set the minds of people right, in this particular, before it be too late, I think it will be only necessary to shew the danger of chusing members that are in places, from two considerations:
First, From the nature of such a parliament, considered in itself: And,
Secondly, From what has already been done by parliaments so qualified.
In both which, I shall be very brief, and content myself with much fewer arguments than might be urged upon this subject. For I should almost despair of being survived by the liberties of England, if I could imagine there was a necessity of saying much, in a case not only of such irresistible evidence and demonstration, but also of the utmost concern and importance to us.
2. First, then, we shall best be able to understand the nature of such an ill-chosen parliament, by comparing it with a true one, and with the original design of parliaments in their institution. I hope it need not be told, that they were, at first, intended for a support to the king's just prerogative, and a protection to the subjects in their as just rights andjprivileges: For maintaining all due honour to the executive power,and all suitable respectand encouragement to those, who are intrusted with the administration of the laws: For a poise and balance between the two extreme contending powers of absolute monarchy and anarchy: For a check and curb to insolent and licentious ministers, and a terror to ambitious and over-grown statesmen: For giving their advice to his majesty in all matters of importance: For making necessary laws, to preserve or improve our constitution, and abrogating such as were found burthensome and obsolete: For giving the king money for defraying the charges and expences of the government, or maintaining a necessary war against foreign and domestick enemies: For examining and inspecting the publick accounts, to know if their money be applied to its true use and purposes: In short, for the best security imaginable to his majesty's honour and royal dignities, and the subjects liberties, estates, and lives.
3. This being the nature and true design of a parliament, let us now see whether a house of commons, full of officers and court pensioners, will answer those noble and laudable ends of their consti, tutions. And, here indeed, I begin already to be ashamed of my undertaking; the proof of the negative is so ridiculous, that it looks too much like a jest, to ask any one in his wits, whether a parliament, filled with delinquents, will ever call themselves to an account, or what account would be given, if they should? Whether an assembly of publick robbers will sentence one another to be punished, or to make restitution? Whether it is possible, our grievances can be redressed, that are committed by persons, from whom there is no higher power to appeal? Whether there is any hope of justice, where the malefactors are the judges? Whether his majesty can be rightly informed in affairs relating to himself or the publick, when they are represented to him, only by such persons, who design to abuse him? Whether the publick accounts will be faithfully inspected by those, who embezzle our money to their own use? Whether the king's prerogative can be lawfully maintained by such, who only pervert it to their own sinister ends and purposes? Whether a parliament can be a true balance, where all the weight lies only in one scale? Or, lastly,Whether a house of commons can vote freely, who are either prepossessed with the hopes and promises of enjoying places, or the slavish fears of losing them? Methinks it is offering too much violence to human nature, to ask such questions as these; I shall, therefore, leave this invidious point.
4. Yet, lest still any should remain unsatisfied, or lulled into afond opinion, that these mischiefs will not ensue upon the elections they shall make, I shall further endeavour to convince those, who are most moved by the force of examples, by coming to my second particular, and shewing how parliaments, so qualified, have all along behaved themselves. And here I must confess there are not many instances to be given, the project of corrupting parliaments being but of a late date, a practice first set on foot within the compass of our own memories, as the last and most dangerous stratagem that ever was invented by an incroaching tyrant to possess himself of the rights of a free-born people; I mean King Charles the Second, who, well remembering, with how little success, both he and his father had made use of open arms and downright violence to storm and batter down the bulwarks of our excellent constitution, had recourse at last to those mean arts, and underhand practices, of bribing and corrupting, with money, those who were intrusted with the conservation of our laws, and the guardianship of our liberties. And herein he so well succeeded, that the mischiefs and calamities, occasioned by that mercenary parliament, did not terminate with his life and reign; but the effects of them are handed and continued down, and very sensibly felt by the nation, to this very hour. For it is to that house of commons the formidable greatness of France was owing, and to their account, therefore, ought we to set down the prodigious expences of the late war. It was by those infamous members that money was given to make a feigned and collusive war with France, which, at the •amo time, was employed either in subduing the subjects at home, or oppressing our Protestant neighbours abroad. It was this venal parliament in effect that furnished the King of France with timber and skilful workmen for building ships, as well as expert mariners, and a prodigious quantity of brass and iron canon, mortar-pieces, and bullets from the tower: by the help of which, our own treacherous king was able to boast publickly, and thank God, that he had at last made his brother of France a seaman. By this means the honour of England was prostituted, and our natural and naval strength betrayed, with which, like Sampson, we should easily have broken all the cords that Europe, or the whole world, could have made to bind and enslave us, had not this parliament made a sacrifice of all to the charms of a French Dalilah. To this profligate and villainous reign, we are to ascribe the loss of all the considerable charters of England, the deaths of our best patriots, the encouragement and almost establishment of Popery*, the decay of trade, the growth of arbitrary power, the ill effects of dishonourable leagues,
* Which will better appear, from the following letter, published in the year 1679, on half a sheet of paper, folio.
jf copy of a Letter, written by a Jesuit to the father-rector at Brussels, die* covering their designs upon England; and their judgment of the temper thereof: With a conjecture of the success of the parliament*
Let not the damp of astonishment seize upon your ardent and zealous soul, in apprehending the sudden and unexpected calling of a parliament. We have not opposed, but rather furthered it; so that we hope as much in this parliament, as ever we feared any in Queen Elisabeth's days.
You must know the council is engaged to assist the king, by way of prerogative, in case the parliamentary way should fail. You shall see this parliament will resemble the pelican, which takes a pleasure to dig out, with her beak, her own bowels.
The election of knights and burgesses have been in such confusion of apparent faction, as that, which we were wont to procure heretofore, with much art and industry (when the Spanish match was in treaty) now breaks out naturally, as a botch or bile, and spits and spews out its own rancour and venom.
Yon remember how that famous and immortal statesman, the Count of Gondamar, fed King James's fancy, and rocked him a-sleep with the soft sweet sound of peace, to keep up the Spanish treaty. Likewise, we were much bound to some statesmen of our own country, for gaining time, by procuring those most advantageous cessations of arms in the Palatinate, and advancing the honour and integrity of the Spanish nation, vilifying the Hollanders; remonstrating to King James, that that state was most ungrateful, both to his predecessor Queen Elisabeth, and his sacred majesty : That the States were more obnoxious than the Turk, and perpetually injured his majesty's loving subjects in the East Indies, and likewise, they have usurped from his majesty the regality, and invaluable profit of the narrow seas, in fishing upon the English coast, Att.
This great statesman had but one principal means to further that great and good design, which was to set on King James, that none but the puritan faction, which plotted nothing but anarchy, and his confusion, were averse to this most happy union. We steered on the same course, and have made great use of this anarchical election, and have prejudicated and amicipated the great one, that none but the king's enemies, and his, are chosen for this parliament&c.
We have now many strings to our bow, and have strongly fortified our faction, and have added twobulwaiks more: Forwlien King James lived (you know) he was very violent against Arminianism, and interrupted (with his pestilent wit and deep learning) our strong designs, in Holland, and was a great friend to that old rebel and heretick, the Prince of Orange
Now we have planted that sovereign drug, Arminianiim; which, we hope, will purge the Protestants from their heresy; and it flourishes, and bears fruit in due season.
The materials, which build up our bulwark, are the projectors, and beggars of all ranks and
nalities: Howsoever, both these factions co-operate to destroy the parliament, and to iniro
uce a new species and form of government, which is oligarchy.
These serve as direct mediums and instruments to our end, which is the universal catholick monarchy. Our foundations must be mutation ■. a mutation will cause a relaxation, which will serve as so many violent diseases, as the stone, gout, ice■ to the speedy destruction of our perpetual and insufferable anguish of body, which is worse than death itself.
We proceed now by council and mature deliberation, how, and when, to work upon the duke's jealousy and revenge, and, in this we give the honour to those which merit it, which are the Church Catholicks.
There is another matter of consequence,which we take much into our consideration,and tender care.which is to stave off the Puritans, that they hang not in the duke's ears; they are impudent and subtle people, and it is to be feared, lest they should negotiate a reconciliation be*
the shutting up of the exchequer, the progress of all sorts of debauchery, the servile compliances at court of a rampant hierarchy in the kingdom, the insolent deportment of the inferior clergy both in the universities and elsewhere, their slavish doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance; in short, a general depravation of manners, and almost utter extirpation of virtue and moral honesty. These and all the other mischiefs of that reign are justly chargeable to the account of that pensioned parliament, who either were the immediate authors, or the undoubted causers of them: Who, though they sat long and often, and could not be ignorant of our deplorable condition, yet having their eyes blinded with the dust of gold, and their tongues locked up with silver keys, they durst not cry out for the rescue of their country, thus inhumanly ravished in their very presence. It will not consist with my designed brevity, nor is it here necessary to give the reasons that induced the court to dissolve that parliament; nor shall I take any further notice of their great and fortunate oversight in doing it, nor of their unfeigned repentance afterwards for it; I shall only observe, that, if the nation had been so senselesly stupid to have chosen the same members a second time, who were pensioners in the foregoing parliament, we had long ago suffered the dismal consequences of our folly and madness in such a choice; nor should we now have had this liberty to warn one another against splitting upon the likerocks,and falling into the same precipices. But they were wiser in those times,and the consideration of the dreadful shipwreck,they had so lately escaped, made them chuse pilots of a quite contrary disposition, who, as far as in them lay, and as long as they were permitted to sit at the helm, repaired the shattered vessel of the commonwealth, restored its honour, revived its drooping genius, gave force to its laws, countenance to its religion, and, in a great measure, reduced our banished liberties, and exposed the persons, who sold them, to the universal hatred and reproach of their fellow-subjects; a punish. ment indeed infinitely less than they deserved, for the highest crime a member of parliament is capable of committing.
tween the duke and the parliament; itU certain, the duke would gladly have reconciled himself to the parliament atOxford andWestminster; but now we assure ourselves we have so handled the matler, that both duke and parliament are irreconcileable
For the better prevention of the Puritans, the Armmi.ni» have already locked up the duke'a ears, and we have those of snir own religion, which stand continually at the duke's chamber to aee whogors in and out. We cannot be too circumspect, and fearful, in this regard.
I cannot cliuse but laugh, to see how some of our own coat have accoutred themselves ; yosi would scarce know them, if you saw them: And it is admirable, how in speech and Restore they act the Puritans. The Cambridge scholars, to their woful experience, shall see we ran act the Puritans a little better than thev h;ive done the Jesuits: They have abused our sacred patrun St. Ignatius in jest, but we will make them smart for it in earnest, 1 hope, you will excuse my merry digression; for, I confess unto you, 1 am at this time transported with joy to sec how happily all instruments and means, as well great as less, co-operate unto our purooses.
But to return unto the main fabrick ; our foundation is Arninianiam. The Armenians, and
Jrojectors, as it appears in the premises, affect mutation ; this we second, and inter by probable rgumcnls. In the first place, we take into consideration the king's honour, and present necessity; and we shew how the king may free himself of his ward, as Lewis the Eleventh did. And, for his great splendor and lustre, he mav raise a vast revenue, and not be beholden to his subjects; which is, by way of imposition of excise. Then our Church Catholicks proceed to shew the means how to settle this excise, which must be by a mercenary army of horse and foot. For the horse, we have made that sure; they shall be foreigners and Germans, who will eat up the king's revenues, and spoil the country wheresocver they come, though they should be well paid; what havock will they make there, when they get no pay, or are not duly paid I They will do more mischief, than we hope the army will do.
We are provident and careful that this mercenary army of two-thousand horse, and twenty thousand foot, shall be taken on, and in pay, before the excise be settled. In forming the ex . ••ise,the country is most likely to rise ; if the mercenary arinv subju'^ute the country, then tlie soldiers and projectors shall be paid out of the confiscation*; if the countly be too hard for % he soldiers, (hen they must consequently mutiny, which is equally advantageous unto us. Our superlative design is, to work the Protestants, as well as ihe Catholicks, to welcome in a conqueror, and that is by this means: We hope instantlv to dissolve trade, and hinder the building of shipping, in devising probable designs, and pul'tii-^ on the state upon expeditions, as thai of Cadiz was, in taking away the merchants ship*, to that they may uot easily Caleb, ami light upon the West-India fleet.
5. As for King James's reign, though it was notoriously guilty of the breach and violation of most of our fundamental laws, which sufficiently justifies our carriage towards him, yet, cannot we say that his mismanagement is to be ascribed to the corruption of any parliament sitting in his time. It is true, indeed, he reaped too much advantage from the conduct of the bribed parliament in his brother's reign, and used all possible endeavoursto procure such another for himself, well knowing it to be the most effectual means for carrying on his ruinous and destructive projects; yet, either from the unshaken constancy of the people, or want of dexterity in his ministers, he was altogether defeated in his expectation.
6. This miserable disappointment of King James's hopes made way for our late glorious revolution, which was brought about by the hearty endeavours, and accompanied with the most unfeigned vows and wishes of all true lovers of their country, who, from hence, expected a full deliverance from their present miseries, and a sure remedy from their future fears. For what happiness might not the people well hope for under the government of the best of kings, supported by the best of titles, viz. The general consent and election of his people? We were filled with golden dreams, not only of a bare security for our estates and lives, but an inexhausted affluence of all manner of blessings a nation is capable of enjoying. But, though we have dreamt the dreams, yet have we not seen the visions. And though the nation is, by this time, sadly sensible, how wretchedly they have fallen short of their expected happiness, yet are they not all acquainted with the true spring and fountain from whence all their misfortunes flow; which is, indeed, no other, than that barefaced and openly avowed corruption, which, like an universal leprosy, has so notoriously infected and overspread both our court and parliament. It is, from hence, are plainly derived all the calamities and distractions under which the whole nation at present groans: It is this that has changed the very naturesof Englishmen, and, of valiant, made them cowards; of eloquent, dumb; and, of honest men, villains: It is this can make a whole house of commons eat their own words, and counter-vote what they had just before resolved on: It is this could summon the mercenary members from all quarters of the town in an instant, to vote their fellow-criminals innocent: It is this that can make a parliament throw away the people's money with the utmost profusion, without enquiring into the management of it: It is this that put a stop to the examination of that scandalous escape of the Thoulon fleet into Brest: It is this that has encouraged the mismanagements of the admiralty, in relation to the loss of so vast a number of men of war, and merchant ships, as well as other miscarriages, which were by all men judged to proceed, not from their want of understanding in sea-affairs: It is this that has hindered the passing a bill so often brought into the house for