Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

They will by no means endure, that his Majesty be obeyed in the apprehension of the lord mayor, and the other three gentlemen ; for it is the sense of both houses, that this demand is against the privilege of parliament, and most dishonourable to the city. For the first, I dare not speak my mind, though I must confess myself not able to answer the King's reasons in many of his declarations upon that point; but for, the second (under the favour of both houses) whether it be dishonourable for the city, whether it be fit to be done or no, we are the best, indeed, we are the only judges. I will take the liberty to speak freely my conscience in this case, as a friend to justice, as a lover of these men, and as a servant to the city; and, as all these, I protest to God, if I were now lord mayor, and the other three were my father and my brothers, I would satisfy the King in this point. Did his Majesty ask to have them in to death, merely upon his accusation; or have them sent bound hand and foot to Oxford, where it might be in his power to proceed against them in an extraordinary way, it might seem unreasonable; but to apprehend them to keep them in safe custody, that his Majesty may proceed against them according to the known laws, under which they were born and bred, where, if guilty, they must be left to the justice of the law, and his Majesty's mercy, if innocent, will receive an honourable acquittal, seems to me so just in the King to ask, and so necessary for us to yield to, that the denying it implies a doubt in us of the innocence of those whom we will not submit to justice. Here is a way to find out the King's evil counsellors! If these men do their part, like men of good consciences, submit to the tryal of the law, which is the only judge of guilt and innocence, and are found clear from that heavy charge his Majesty accuses them of, how gloriously will these men live hereafter? And the King cannot refuse to deliver those up who have wickedly conspired the destruction of honest men: But, if we should only cry out, that the King is misinformed, and dare not trust ourselves upon a tryal, we may preserve our safety, but we shall lose our reputation. Thus much for justice, for the gentlemen's sakes now: This way, you see, a way to honour and safety too, if there be innocence; but, do you think, after a month's longer enduring the miseries which are now upon us, men will not more importunately and impatiently enquire after the causes of their sufferings, if they shall find, that the denial to give up four men (who, it may be, are not of any known merit too) to be tried by the law, being accused of high-treason, and conspiring to take away the King's life, incensed our gracious King against us, and kept him from being amongst us, whereby our trade decays, and such violencies and outrages are every day committed: I say, can any sour men bear the burden of this envy and malice? Will not some stout, bold persons, incensed and made desperate by their, and the common sufferings, tear these men in pieces? We have been all

young men and apprentices, let us remember the spirit was then amongst us; would we have suffered all our hopes to have been blasted and destroyed by any four, or fourteen men? Let us not flatter ourselves, there is the same courage still in the city, which, at some time, will break out to the ruin of more than these men; but I thank that worthy that told

A WORTHY SPEECH,

SPOKEN IN THE HONOURABLE HOUSE OF COMMONS,

By Sir Benjaman Rudyard,

FOR ACCOMMODATION,

BETWIXT HIS MAJESTY AND HIS PARLIAMENT.

JULY THE NINTH, 1642.

July 18. Printed for Richard Lownds, 1642. Quarto, containing eight pages.

to

Mr. Speaker, IN N the way we are, we have gone as far as words can carry us: We

have voted our own rights, and the king's duty: No doubt there is à relative duty between a king and his subjects; obedience from a subject to a king, protection from a king to his people. The present unhappy distance, between his Majesty and the parliament, makes the whole kingdom stand amazed, in a fearful expectation of dismal calamities to fall upon it: It deeply and conscionably concerns this house to compose and settle these threatening, ruining distractions. Mr. Speaker, I am touched, I am pierced with an apprehension of the honour of the house, and success of this parliament. The best way give a stop to these desperate, imminent mischiefs, is, to make a fair way for the king's return hither; it will likewise give best satisfaction to the people, and will be our best justification. Mr. Speaker, that we may the better consider the condition we are now in, let us set ourselves three years back: If any man then could have credibly told us, that, within three years, the queen shall be gone out of England into the Low Countries for any cause whatsoever; the king shall remove from his parliament, from London to York, declaring himself not to be safe here; that there shall be a total rebellion in Ireland, such discords and distempers both in church and state here, as now we find; certainly we should have trembled at the thought of it; wherefore it is fit we should be sensible now we are in it.

On the other side, if a man then could have credibly told us, that, within three years, ye shall have a parliament, it would have been good

But hark you, gen

face of ône papist there. When he first raised his army, did he not, by proclamation, forbid any to come to him? tlemen, where would you have these papists be? Can they live in the air, or in the water? Beyond sea you will not suffer them to pass; if they stay at their houses, they are plundered, it is a good justification for plundering, that they are papists. Are they 10t the King's subjects, and should they not fly to him for protection? Is there any law, that

says the papists must not assist the King with men, arms, or money, when he is in distress, and when he conceives himself to be in danger of his life? Let us look about us, if this world hold, not only all the papists, but all the gentlemen of England will find it necessary to carry all they have to the King, and venture it in that bottom.

But both houses have declared, that there hath been no plundering by the direction of parliament. Here, I think, they would be willing to admit the King io be part of the parliament, to save their honour; otherwise, if plundering signifies the coming with violence into one's house, and taking away his goods against his consent, sure there hath been much plundering, even by the direction of the houses ; but have they ever punished plundering of the worst sort, if they have not directed it? Will a declaration of both houses repair the fine wainscot and the goodly leads of honest George Binyon's house? Let me tell you, the time hath been, the loss of such a citizen would have been talked of in another way. I wonder what kind of government is preparing for us, when they will not allow that the imprisonment of our persons is the taking away our liberty, or, the taking away the twentieth part of our estates is the destruction of our property; and did you mark what a notable reason was given us for this? The same law, that doth enable them to raise forces, doth likewise enable them to require contributions. It doth indeed, yet one might be without the other; but I would these gentlemen had chose another auditory to have convinced with this argument; the country people will be no more couzened by the city, when they hear what kind of oratory prevails over us; we shall be shortly told, when they have a mind to our houses, that the same law, which gave them authority to take away our money, gave them likewise power to do the other too.

The King tells us, if we shall hereafter contribute any thing for the maintenance of the army, which, he says, is in rebellion againstehím (he pardons what is past, mark that) he will deny us the benefit of his protection with foreign princes, which he will signify to his foreign ministers; what remedy have the lords and commons found for this now? Sufficient to do the business, they declare, that this is an excess of rigour, and injustice beyond example, and therefore they hope his Majesty will be induced, by better counsel, to forbear the execution. A very sovereign declaration; but it is ten to one, if we do not obey his Majesty in the injunction he hath laid upon us, he will use this excess of rigour. I know not how little you, that trade only within the kinga dom, may think yourselves concerned in this; but I say, whoever understands the trade abroad, and the benefit of being a subject to the King of England, will not run this hazard; for, let him be assured, in

[blocks in formation]

the instant the King disclaims him, he is ruined, and therefore, you who have estates abroad, look to it.

Gentlemen, I have troubled you very long, but, in good faith, the manner and the matter of the last day's work hath lain so heavy upon my heart, that I should have thought I had forfeited this gown, and this chain, if I had been silent, and, that I had betrayed the liberty of that famous city, which I am sworn to defend. One word I had forgotten to mention, the caution which was given us of such messengers as his Majesty should send, that we should observe them, that they might be dealt with, as messengers of sedition: God forbid we should live to see any messengers, sent to us from our gracious King, evilly intreated, I would be loth myself to outlive such a dishonour; if his "Majesty shall vouchsafe us the honour of sending to us, let us use and defend his servants, as persons sent to us for our good; if it shall be otherwise, fire from heaven will consume this city. Let us not be wrought upon, by fair words, to contribute or lend more money for the maintenance of this civil, bloody dissension, or bring desolation and confusion upon this glorious city, for the support of four men, who, if innocent, will be safe; but let us remember the happiness and flourishing state we enjoyed, whilst we yielded obedience to our royal sovereign. Let us not, upon the general discourse of evil counsellers, rebel against a prince, upon whose person malice and treason cannot lay the least blemish, but must confess his religion, justice, and charity to be so transcendent, that, if he were a subject, would render him most amiable. Let us consider, that, if he be oppressed, there can be no end of these troubles, but we and our children shall be perpetually weltering in a sea of blood; whereas, if his enemies be overthrown, the whole kingdom will, within a moment, be restored to all the calm, pleasure, and plenty of peace. And therefore, if we intend to enjoy what we have, and that the younger men shall grow up to the same state we enjoy; if the memory of our forefathers, or the hope of our posterity, can move any thing with us, let us lay hold on the King's mercy, and submit to every proposition in his answer.

Whilst the alderman was speaking this speech, several great interruptions were made with hissing, and other such noises, soine crying, No more, No more; others as importunately, Hear him, hear him, hear him; so that it was about an hour after he began to speak, before he ended: Whenever the clamour began to stop him, he sat down, without shew of any disturbance, and, when that noise was conquered, he began again, saying what he said last, and so proceeded; only once, when Alderman Bunce said, he spoke against the honourable house of commons, and that it was not to be endured; the alderman replied, with a little sharpness, that he had as much liberty to speak in that place, as any member of the house of commons had in the house of commons; and, if other men were content to lose their privileges, it should be remembered, that it was against his will. At which there was a great shout and acclama. tion, We will not lose our privileges; and after that there was not the least interruption, but the alderman was heard with great patience and attention. As soon as the speech was done, and the great shout and That they will never desert you, but will stand by you, with their lives and fortunes, for the preservation of the city in general, and those persons in particular, who have been faithful, and deserved well, both of the parliament and kingdom; and they will pursue all means, both with their lives and fortunes, that may be for the preservation of this city, and for the procuring of safety, happiness, and peace to the whole kingdom.

The speech of this noble lord being entertained with loud expressions of joy and thankfulness by the commons, and after some time of silence being made, Mr. Pym, that worthy member of the house of commons, and patriot of his country, gave the sense of both houses, upon the several passages of his Majesty's answer, expressing it as follows:

A Speech, delivered by John Pym, Esq.

MY Lord Mayor, and you worthy citizens of this noble and famous" city of London, I am commanded by the Lords and Commons to let you know, that, in this answer, which hath been published to you, they do observe many things of great aspersion upon the proceedings of parliament, very scandalous and injurious to many particular members of this city; whereupon they think, that it becomes them, both in tenderness of their own honour, and in respect to you, to take away all those aspersions, and to let you know the truth of their proceedings, which have been full of honour and justice, as they stand in relation to their own duty, and full of humility and obedience towards his Majesty, and of care for the common good, and so shall ever be. And they have commanded me to let you know the true answer to most of those things that are imputed either to the parliament, or to the city, by obe serving some particulars of this book which hath been read to you, and to let you know the proceedings in their own native condition, clear from those misrepresentations, which make them appear in a quality much different from the truth; which before I enter into, I am to declare, as the sense of both houses, That your petition was so full of loyalty, humility, and obedience, that you might well have expected an answer of another kind.

The first observation I am to make you is this : That it is said here, • That his Majesty was inforced by tumults to leave the parliament, and to go from Whitehall, and to withdraw himself into those courses, which now he hath taken.'

I answer thereunto, I am commanded to tell you, That there was no occasion given, by any tumults rising out of this city, or the suburbs, which might justly cause his majesty's departure; and you may very well remember, that, after his violent coming to the commons house of parliament in that unusual and unheard-of manner, which was the be ginning of these unhappy differences, the very next day his Majesty came into the city without any guard ; that he was present at the common founcil, dined at the sheriff's, and returned back again, with manifold

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »