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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 parliament, 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,
ing to enter the city by force, but being repulsed, seeing no hopes, but only to conquer them by famine, he resolved upon that course, and shut up all the passages.
In the mean while John of Leyden betakes him to his sleep, and continues in a dream three days together; being awaked, he speaks not a word, but calls for paper; in it he writes the names of twelve men, who were to be chief officers over God's Israel, and to govern all things, for such, he said, was the will of the heavenly father, when he had thus prepared the way to his kingdom. He propounds certain doctrines unto the ministers, and requires them to confute them by testimonies of scripture, if they were able; if not, he would relate them unto the people, and enact them for laws. The doctrines were these, that no man was bound to one only wife, and that every man may take as many as he pleaseth. When the preachers disliked the doctrines, he calls his twelve rulers, and a general assembly of the people. In the presence of all he casts his cloke upon the ground, and upon it the book of the New Testament; by these signs he swears, that the doctrine which he had published was revealed unto him from heaven, and therefore he gravely threatens the ministers, that God would be highly displeased with them, if they consented not to it. It was in vain for them to resist, and therefore they yielded, and, for three days together, discourse unto the people of the lawfulness of polygamy; the issue was, that Leyden first takes three wives, whereof one had been the wife of John Matthew, the great prophet; many other follow his example, so that at length he was thought most praise-worthy that had most wives.
Many citizens of good sense, and good protestants, were extremely displeased with these mad doings; arming as many as they could, they meet together in the Market-place, and lay hold upon the prophet Knipperdoling, and their teachers; which the base people hearing, they gather in multitudes, assault them with great fury, take away their captives, and kill to the number of fifty, with extreme cruelty; for, binding them to stakes and trees, they shot them to death, the great prophet standing by, and commending this execution, as a thing well pleasing to God; others also were killed in another manner.
After some weeks, there ariseth a new prophet, a goldsmith; he calls the multitude into the market-place, and declares, the will and commandment of the heavenly father to be, that John of Leyden must have the government of all the world; that, with mighty forces, he was to go out to destroy all kings and princes without difference, sparing only the poor people who love righteousness; that he was to possess the throne of his father David, until he should yield up the kingdom to his heavenly father; that all the wicked must be destroyed, to the end, that the godly alone may rule and reign in this world. When the goldsmith had said thus much, John of Leyden falls down upon his knees, and, holding up his hands to heaven, Men and brethren, said he, this very thing was revealed to me many days go, though I did not publish it; but now it hath pleased the father to make it known unto you by this prophet.
John, being thus advanced to be a King, instantly puts his twelve.
enemy, is rashly to join battle, without any foresight of the inconvenience thereof: A thing so generally received of all our nation, for the best way, as who should seem to impugn the same is in danger to be made ridiculous, and his reasons to be holden for heresy, and not fit to be heard or read; and yet, how rude, ignorant, and untowardly we should and would present ourselves thereunto, make but some models of convenient numbers assembled, and you shall see the same.
In private quarrels for trifling causes, every man desireth to be exercised and skilful in that weapon, wherewith he would encounter his enemy; but, in this general conflict, wherein we fight for the safety of our country, religion, goods, wives, and children, we should hazard all in that order and form, wherein we are altogether ignorant and unexperimented.
But, because I have found it, by experience and reason, a very desperate and dangerous kind of trial, I would not wish any prince to venture his kingdom that way, unless he be weary of the same, it being the only thing for an invader to seek, and a defender to shun; for the one doth hazard but his people, and hath a lot to win a kingdom; the other, in losing of the battle, hath lost his crown.
A battle is the last refuge, and not to be yielded unto by the defendant, until such time as he and his people are made desperate.
In which kind of trial, seldom or never shall you see the invader to quail; no, though his numbers have been much less than the other.
There is a kind of heat and fury in the encounter and joining of battles; the which whose side can longest retain, on that part goeth victory; contrariwise, which side conceiveth the first fear, whether it be upon just cause, or not, that side goeth to wreck; yea, and oftentimes it falleth so out, before the pikes be touched.
Thus much to the uncertainty of battle; wherein albeit I would wish our nation to be well exercised and trained, it being a thing of great moment, yet to be used in our own country, as the sheet-anchor and last refuge of all.
A Caveat for the avoiding of that dangerous course in running down to the Sea side, at the firing of the Beacons.
THAT there be in every shire places appointed, whereunto the country may resort upon the firing of the beacons; which places of assembly should not be less distant, than five or six miles from the seaside at the least, for the footmen to gather themselves together, to the intent you may the better sort your men, put them in some order, and consult what is meetest to be done; which you shall hardly be able to do, if your place of assembly be within the view, or near unto the enemy, who will by all means seek to attempt you in your disorderly assemblies. Moreover, if fear once take your men, or they be amazed, if you had as skilful leaders as the earth doth bear, they would not be able to dispose or reduce them into such order and form as they would; nei
ther will the enemy give you time to deliberate what is best to be done, but you must either disorderly fight, or more disorderly run away. And, above all things, I especially advise to shun that old and barbarous custom of running confusedly to the sea-side, thinking thereby to prevent the landing of the enemy, or at least to annoy them greatly; which you shall never do; for, be it upon any invasion, you may be sure, that there is no prince will undertake so great an enterprise, but he will be sure to have such a number of boats, gallies, and other small vessels of draught, as he will be able to land at one time two or three thousand men; which boats shall be so well appointed with bases and other shot, as that they will be sure to make way for their quiet landing. And, for my own part, I much doubt, whether you shall have in two or three days, after the firing of the beacons, such a sufficient number as, with wisdom and discretion, were fit to deal or venture a battle with so many men as they will land in an hour, for any thing that ever I could yet see in the country's readiness at the firing of the beacons.
If the enemy doth intend but to land, and burn some houses or villages near to the sea-coast, for the prevention thereof, as much as may be, it were good to appoint only those, that dwell within two or three miles of the sea-side, to repair thither to make resistance; and, for their succour, you may appoint the horsemen to draw down to the plains next adjoining to the same, who may also keep them at a bay from straggling far into the country.
But, if the attempt be made by a prince purposed and appointed to invade, if you give them battle at the first landing, you offer them even the thing they most desire; and it is a thousand to one a conquest the first day.
My reasons are these: First, You give battle, but, I pray, with what people? even with countrymen altogether unexperimented in martial actions, whose leaders are like to themselves; and another thing, as dangerous as all this, You fight at home, where your people know the next way to save themselves by flight, in recovering of towns, woods, and by-ways.
Contrariwise, with whom do you encounter but with a company of picked and trained soldiers, whose leaders and captains are, no doubt, men both politick and valiant, who are made so much the more desperate and bold, by not leaving to themselves any other hope to save their lives, but by marching over your bellies. And besides, it is to be imagined, that, having spread some faction before, amongst yourselves, as there is no country free from seditious and treacherous malecontents, they are animated to pursue the victory more sharply. Again, if you once receive an overthrow, what fear and terror you have brought yourselves into, how hardly you shall bring a second battle, and how dangerous to fight with men dismayed, those that are of experience can judge. Likewise what pride and jollity you have put your enemies in, to march forward, having no forts, nor fenced towns, to give them any stop in this fear, or for your own people to take breath, and make head again; but that your enemies and factious companies of your own nation may join together, and be furnished with victuals, horse, and carriage at their will and pleasure, without which no prince can prevail in
under the conduct of Utricsh, Earl of Oberstein. They agreed also to sollicit King Ferdinand, the Emperor then in Spain, and all the other princes of Germany to join with them.
They sent also their letters to Munster, and gravely advised the besieged to desist from their ungodly and rebellious courses; professing, if they yielded not, that the bishop should have the forces of the empire to do justice upon them. This was about the end of December. In the beginning of January, they sent an answer in many words, but little to the purpose, yet so as they commended all their doings. To that charge laid against them of creating a new King, they said nothing in that reply. But, in other private letters to the Landgrave, they endeavoured to excuse it, speaking much of the general destruction of the wicked, and of the glorious reign of the godly in this life. Withal, they sent to him the book formerly mentioned, of the Restitution, and counsel him to repent by times, and not combine with other princes against them, being the holy saints of God. The Landgrave, having read their letter and their book, returns them an answer; and, because they pretended their new King to be made by especial direction from God, he desires to know, by what authority of scriptures they assumed that power, and by what miracles they confirmed it? and, whereas they called for a fair trial of their cause, the Landgrave replied, it was now too late; since they had already seized on the civil power, and been authors of so much sedition and calamity, it did appear to all the world, that they intended nothing else, but the ruin of all order and government both in church and state; that he had sent unto them many learned and godly ministers to instruct them in sound religion, whom they had scorned and rejected; that their doctrines and practices of rebelling against their magistrates, of robbing men of their goods, of polygamy, of setting up a King of their own, of a community of all things amongst Christians, and the like, are unchristian and abominable, contrary to all laws of God and men.
Upon this reply from the Landgrave, they write back again, and send him another book in the Dutch tongue, intitled, Of the Mysteries of Scripture. In their letters, they defend all their tenents; and in their book divide the ages of the world, into three parts: The first from Adam, to Noah, which perished by water: The second, this wherein we live, which is to perish by fire: The last shall be the new world, wherein righteousness shall reign. That, before this present world be purged with fire, Antichrist must be revealed, and his power abolished. That then the throne of David shall be erected, and Christ obtain a glorious kingdom upon earth, in his saints, as the prophets have foretold. That this age is like that of Esau, the wicked prospering, and the godly being afflicted; but that their miseries were now near an end, and the time of their freedom and restitution approached, when the wicked should be repaid fourfold, for all their persecutions, as was prophesied by John, in his Revelation.
That, immediately after the restitution, the new and golden age should follow, wherein the righteous saints should reign alone, all the wicked being utterly destroyed. These dreams were confuted by some learned divines appointed by the Landgrave. About February, the