Page images

The state of government standing thus, if distempered times happen to be (as our chronicles have shewed some) where, by dissension between prince and people, the kingdom's ruin hath been endangered, it doth not so much prove that the English government is not the best, as that the best government may be abused. For in every monarchy, how limited soever, the prince's person is invested with so much Majesty, that it would seem a mockery in state, if there were no considerable power intrusted into his hands; yea, so much as that, if he be bad or weak, he may endanger the ruin of the kingdom; so necessary is it for all human ordinances, how wise soever, to leave somewhat to chance, and to have always need of recourse to God, for his assisting or curing providence.

And though the kingdom of England, by vertue of the government thereof, will be as hardly brought into a confusion, as any in Europe; yet there is no warrant against the possibility of it.

For it was ever heretofore seen, that our parliaments were rather a strength and advantage to an honourable wise prince, than a remedy against a bad or weak one; or, if we change the expression, they were rather an excellent diet to preserve a good reign in strength, than physick to cure a bad one; and therefore have been as much loved by sound and healthy princes, as loathed by them that were out of temper: the latter having thought them a depression of their dignity: As the former have esteemed them an advantage to their strength. So that in such times only the true convenience of that great council hath been perceived by England, and admired by foreign authors: In the other times it was, that those witty complaints have been in fashion (as Sir Robert Cotton speaks of a bad time) that princes in parliaments are less than they should be, and subjects greater. But on the contrary, that they have been an advantage to Kings, the constant series of our history will shew: 1. By those great atchievements which they have inabled our wise Kings to make, who were most constant in calling them, and consenting to them. 2. That no one prince was ever yet happy without the use of them.

It may therefore seem a paradox, that any prince should disaffect that which is so high an advantage to him, and a great wonder, that some Kings of England, not vicious in their dispositions, nor very shallow in their understandings, have so much kicked against parliaments. And that such have been, before we shew what reasons may be of it, see the characters of some princes, whose success and fortunes are known to all that read the histories, as they are delivered by Polydore Virgil, who in his sixteenth book speaks thus of Henry the Third: Fuit ingenio miti, animo magis nobili quàm magno, cultor Religionis, adversus inopes liberalis. He was of a gentle nature, a mind rather noble than great, a lover of religion, and liberal to the poor.

In his eighteenth book thus of Edward the Second: Fuit illi natura bona, ingenium mite, quem primò juvenili errore actum in leviora vitia incidentem, tandem in graviora malorum consuetudines et consilia traxerunt. Non deerant illi animi vires, si repudiatis malis suasoribus illas justè exercuisset. He was of a good nature and mild disposition, who, first by the errors and rashness of youth falling into small faults,

was afterwards drawn into greater, by the society and counsels of wicked men. There was not wanting in him a strength of mind, if, avoiding evil counsel, he could have made a just use of it.

And in his twentieth book, thus of Richard the Second: Fuit in illo spiritus non vilis, quem consciorum improbitas, et insulsitas extinxit. He was of a spirit not low or base, but such as was quite destroyed by the wickedness and folly of unhappy consociates.

A reason of this accident may be, that their souls, though not vicious, have not been so large, nor their affections so publick, as their great calling hath required; but being too much mancipated to private fancies and unhappy favourites, and long flattered in those affections under the specious name of firmness in friendship (not being told that the adequate object of a prince's love should be the whole people, and that they who receive publick honour, should return a general love and care) they have too much neglected the kingdom, and grow at last afraid to look their faces in so true a glass as a parliament, and, flying the remedy, increase the disease, till it come to that unhappy height, that, rather than acknowledge any unjust action, they strive for an unjust power to give it countenance, and so by a long consequence become hardly reconcileable to a parliamentary way.

Such princes (though it may see mstrange) have been a greater affliction to this kingdom, than those who have been most wicked, and more incurable, for these reasons: 1. They have not been so conscious to themselves of great crimes; and therefore not so apt to be sensible of what they have been accidentally made to do against their people by evil counsel, whose poison themselves did not perfectly understand. And therefore they are more prone to suspect the people, as unkind to them, than themselves as faulty, and so the more hardly drawn to repent their actions, or meet heartily with a parliament. 2. The second reason is from the people, who naturally look with honour upon the prince, and when they find none, or few personal vices in him (not considering that the true virtues of princes have a larger extent than those of private men) will more hardly be brought to think, though themselves feel, and suffer for it, that he is faulty; and therefore sometimes (which would hardly be believed, if experience had not shewed it) the people have been so rash as that, to maintain for the King an unjust prerogative, which themselves understand not, they have to their own ruin, and the King's too (as it hath after proved) deserted that great council whom themselves have chosen, and by whom only they could be preserved in their just rights; until too late, for the King's happiness and their own, they have seen and repented their great folly.

Such a desertion was too sadly seen, at the end of that parliament of Edward the Second, where the two Spencers were banished, and the tragical effects that followed, when the King found so great a party, both of clergy and laity, as inabled him to call home again his banished favourites; and proved fatal to so many parliamentary lords, as the like execution of nobility had never before been seen in England; over whose graves the people afterwards wept, when it was too late, and




Shewing what troubles befel in his reign, concerning the wars between him and his subjects; and also the manner how he set up his standard near Rudland, Henry of Essex being General, and the manner how he left his crown; necessary to be observed in these dangerous and distracted times of ours.

Printed at London for H. B. 1642. Quarto, containing eight pages,


N the year of our Lord 1154, Henry the Second was crowned; he was a man of a low stature, and fat of body, of a fresh colour, a valiant soldier, a good scholar, and of good expression in his speech; very wise, and much delighted with peace.

In the second year of his reign a council was held at Wallingford, where the nobles were sworn to the king and his issue, by an oath of allegiance composed by the king and his council for that purpose; after which Geffery the king's brother rose in rebellion, and did much hurt, but was afterwards overcome by the king, and all was yielded into the king's hands.

In the third year of his reign the Welchmen rose against him, and the king raised an army, and made Henry of Essex his chief general of the army; and, when the king was come into Wales, Henry of Essex, by the commandment of the king, raised the standard, and open war was proclaimed, and many from their own habitations (as also out of divers prisons) came to assist the king, and there was a great battle fought near to Rudland, where there were many men slain on both sides; but the king recovered the castle, and marched towards the cas tle of Basingwirk, where there was a great slaughter on the king's army, by reason whereof the army was much discouraged, and Henry of Essex, and those under him who had the trust of the bearing of the standard, did at that time let the standard fall down to the ground in the battle, which did so exceedingly encourage the Welchmen, that they pursued with great eagerness; the king himself was exceedingly dismayed hereat, and fled to save his life, but the two armies fought daily, for by the help of the Earl of Clare it was raised up again.

Now the king had appointed a navy of ships also to go forth against them, and Madoc ap Merideth was admiral of the seas, who had spoiled divers churches, and done much hurt in the Isle of Man, and Anglesey; but after much blood-shed they began on both sides to be weary of war, and there was an agreement and peace concluded, and

people see how many prerogatives of the prince, as we said before, are after long enjoying called in question. So that, by this means, their inconstancy seems to be grounded upon loyalty to the King, and they, perchance, with honest, but deceived hearts, grow weary of the great council of the land.

Another reason may be, that the prince himself averse from such a parliament, for the reasons aforesaid, can find power enough to retard their proceedings, and keep off the cure of state so long, till the people, tired with expectation of it, have by degrees forgot the sharpness of those diseases, which before required it.

By this means at last, accidentally a miracle hath been wrought after a long parliament, which is, that the people have taken part with the great delinquents against the parliament, for no other reason, than because those delinquents had done them more wrong, than the parliament could suddenly redress. And so the multitude of those great delinquents crimes hath turned to their own advantage.

But in such reforming parliaments, upon whom so much business lies, not only the inconstancy of the people hath been seen in history, but the unstedfastness of the representative body itself, and the distractions of that assembly, whilst they forsake each other under so great a burthen, have let that burthen fall dishonourably to the ground. The most unhappy instance, in this case, was that parliament of Richard the Second begun at Westminster, and adjourned to Shrewsbury, in the nineteenth year of his reign; a parliament that discharged their trust, the worst of any that I read of, where there was as much need of constancy and magnanimity, as ever was, to redress those great distempers, which were then grown upon the state; and as much mischief ensued by their default, both upon prince which people, and might have been well prevented, and his happiness wrought together with their own (in the judgment of best writers) if they had timely and constantly joined together, in maintaining the true rights of parliament, and resisting the illegal desires of their seduced King. But, being fatally distracted, the major part of lords and bishops wrought upon by the King, and the house of commons too far prevailed with, by Bushy the speaker, and his instruments, they utterly deserted the commonwealth, and, looking only upon the King's present desire, assented to such things, as made the prerogative a thing boundless; that he himself, as the story reports, was heard. glorying to say, that there was no free and absolute Monarch in Europe, but himself. Upon which, the same bad counsel, which had before brought him out of love with parliaments, brought him to as great an abuse of that power, which he had now gotten over a parliament. And then followed the blank charters, and other horrid extortions, besides, the suffering of some lords, whom the people most loved; and shortly after, by a sad consequence, his own ruin. Nor do we read, that any of those lords, who under colour of loyalty and love (as they called it) to his person, had trodden down the power and privilege of a parlia ment, under his feet, had afterwards so much loyalty to him, as to defend his crown and person, against the force of an usurper, who, without any resistance or contradiction, unjustly ascended the royal throne; the sad occasion of that miserable and cruel civil war, which,



in the following ages, so long afflicted the kingdom of England. This was the worst example of any parliament; but in other times, though bad too, they have proved better physick than any other earthly ways or means could be; yet their greatest vertue and excellency is seen, when they have been used as a diet, by honourable and just princes, such as this nation hath been often blessed with; and such who have thought it no more disparagement or depression of their dignity, to be ruled by the sway of that great council, than a wise guider of a ship would think it, to follow his compass; or any mathematician to be directed by his necessary rules and instruments.



For those Shires that lie upon the Sea Coasts.


London, printed by R. C. for Michael Sparke, senior, and are to be sold at the Sign of the Blue Bible, in Green-Arbour, 1642. Quarto, containing fourteen pages.

THAT in every shire be appointed one nobleman to take the chief charge for the ordering and governing of the same, and he to appoint a leader of the horsemen, and another of the footmen, and, under them, captains and officers of all sorts; which captains may be of the better sort inhabiting the country, if their courage and skill be answerable for it.

The chief leaders, both of horsemen and footmen, must be men of that experience, discretion, temperance, and judgment, as well in ordering and disposing of great numbers, as also in taking advantages of grounds, times, occasions, and matters offered. And it were to be wished they were such in all points, as the whole realm might be able to furnish every front shire but with two of that conduct and valour; that there might be also a meeting and drawing together of some convenient numbers, both of horsemen and footmen, to be trained and exercised into all manner of sorts and forms, as well frivolous as necessary, to the intent to make them the more perfect how to give and receive a charge. For I think, if you shall ask the opinion but of three captains, How horsemen ought to charge, and how they should receive a charge? And so likewise of footmen and their retreats, your three captains will be of two opinions at least; and yet the first thing, we offer unto the

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »