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to the soldiers to this purpose: That he could not excuse himself and some other princes from some errors, but this could not excuse the rebels for their sedition ; that God every where expresly chargeth all people every where to honour and obey their magistrates: That of necessity people must contribute of their goods to the honour and support of their princes : That princes on the other side did protect them by their power and laws. That, whereas the rebels called for the liberty of their consciences, and of the gospel, though princes should deny it, yet that were no just cause of rebellion; that the gospel was propagated through the world, not by force and violence, but by patience and sufferance of the first Christians: That yet their clamours herein were causeless, and their pretences unjust, seeing the most princes of Germany had then given way to the reformation. That these rebels did but cover with the name of the gospel their own impious and bloody designs: That their true aim was, to take away all government, to bring in confusion into the state, atheism and barbarism into the church; that therefore their hypocrisy was so much the more damnable to pretend the name of God and of religion to their intended confusion; and more to this purpose.'
At the first onset the rebels were quickly and easily put into disorder, and above five-thousand slain upon the place, and three-hundred more taken in a town hard by; Muncer himself, hiding his head in a village, was apprehended, and brought to the Duke of Saxony and the Landgrave: Being asked by them why he had thus abused the miserable peasants, and raised these tumults; his answer was, he had done but his duty, and that such princes as hindered the resormation of the church ought to be so opposed. The Landgrave, on the contrary, proved unto him by testimony of scripture, that governors ought to be had in honour; that all sedition is forbidden by God, and that, by the laws of the gospel, no Christian may take arms against their lawful prince upon any pretext whatsoever. To this when he replied nothing, he was brought to the rack to know what his purposes were, and who were the principal contrivers of this conspiracy. His fellow Phifer was. taken and beheaded in Mulhouse; Muncer himself being brought upon the stage was extremely confounded and dejected, and not able to give any tolerable account of his faith, yet in general terms confessed his fault and his error, and his head, being cut off, was carried upon a spear through the army.
This Muncer was the first author of the much famed sect of the Anabaptists, so called from their doctrine and practice of rebaptising; for they forbid children to be baptised: And, if they have been, rebaptise them: They carried at first a great shew of sanctity; they talked, that it was not lawful for Christians to contend in law upon any occasions; nor to bear magistracy, nor to swear, nor to have any thing proper; but that all things ought to be common amongst all
These were at first their discourses, but by degrees they fell to publish other more pernicious doctrines. When this sect began first to creep in Germany, Luther and all other learned divines mightily opposed them, and magistrates every where punished them, yet secretly they inyour people; return unto your parliament, and so unto your lawful power ; return unto your parliament, and so unto your state and glory; where, when your royal assent hath confirmed those necessary privileges, which may keep whole the consciences and estates of your most loyal subjects, all this our body falls into atoms, and your majesty alune remains in glory, to be beheld the preserver of those privileges, which all our long and faithful endeavours have consulted with your majesiy.
A TRUE COPY
PETITION OF THE GENTLEWOMEN,
IN AND ABOUT THE CITY OF LONDON,
Delivered to the honourable the knights, citizens, and burgesses of the
house of commons, assembled in parliament, on February the fourth, 1641; together with their several reasons, why their sex ought thus to petition, as well as the men; and the manner how both their petitions and reasons were delivered: Likewise, the answer, which the honourable assembly sent to them, by Mr. Pym, as they stood at the house-door.
London, printed for J. Wright, 1642. Quarto, contajuing eight pages.
To the honourable knights, citizens, and burgesses of the house of commons,
assembled in parliament., The humble petition of the gentlewomen, tradesmen's wives, and many others of the female
all inhabitants of the city of London, and the suburbs thereof.
With lowest submission shewing, THA
HAT we also, with all thankful humility, acknowledging the unI wearied pains, care, and great charge, besides hazard of health and life, which you, the noble worthies of this honourable and renowned assembly have undergone, for the safety both of church and commonwealth, for a long time already past; for which not only we your bumble petitioners, and all well affected in this kingdom, but also all other good christians are bound now and at all times to acknowledge ; yet,
notwithstanding that many worthy deeds have been done by you, great danger and fear do still attend us, and will, as long as popish lords and superstitious bishops are suffered to have their voice in the house of peers, and that accursed and abominable idol of the mass suffered in the kingdom, and that arch-enemy of our prosperity and reformation lieth in the tower, yet not receiving his deserved punishment.
All these, under correction, give us a great cause to suspect, that God is angry with us, and to be the chief causes, why your pious endeavours for a further reformation proceed not with that success, as you desire, and is most earnestly prayed for, of all that wish well to true religion, and the flourishing estate, both of king and kingdom; the insolencies of the papists and their abettors raiseth a just fear and suspicion of sowing sedition, and breaking out into bloody persecution in this kingdom, as they have done in Ireland, the thoughts of which sad and barbarous events make our tender hearts to melt within us, forcing us humbly to petition to this honourable assembly, to make safe provi, sion, for yourselves and us, before it be too late.
And whereas we, whose hearts have joined chearfully with all those petitions, which have been exhibited unto you, in the behalf of the purity of religion, and the liberty of our husbands, persons, and estates, recounting ourselves to have an interest in the common privileges with them, do with the same confidence assure ourselves to find the same gracious acceptance with you, for easing of those grievances, which, in regard of our frail condition, do more nearly concern us, and do deep-' ly terrify our souls; our domestical dangers, with which this kingdom is so much distracted, especially growing on us, from those treacherous and wicked attempts, already are such, as we find ourselves to have as deep a share, as any others.
We cannot but tremble at the very thoughts of the horrid and hideous facts, which modesty forbids us now to name, occasioned by the bloody wars in Germany; his majesty's late northern army, how often did it affright our hearts, whilst their violence began to break out so furiously, upon
persons of those, whose husbands or parents were not able to rescue? We wish we had no cause to speak of those insolencies, and savage usage and unheard of rapes, exercised upon our sex in Ireland; and have we not just cause to fear, they will prove the forerunners of our ruin, except Almighty God, by the wisdom and care of this parliament, be pleased to succour us? Our husbands and children, which are as dear and tender unto us, as the lives and blood of our hearts, to see them murdered and mangled, and cut in pieces before our eyes; to see our children dashed against the stones, and the mother's milk mingled with the infants blood, running down the streets; to see our houses, on flaming fire, over our heads: Oh how dreadful would this be! We thought it misery enough, though nothing to that we have just cause to fear, but few years since, for some of our sex, by unjust divisions from their bosom comforts, to be rendered in a manner widows, and the children, fatherless; husbands were imprisoned from the society of their wives, even against the laws of God and nature, and little infants suffered in their fathers banishments: Thousands of our dearest friends have been compelled to fly from episcopal persecunons, into desert places, amongst wild beasts, there finding more fa
creased and raised many dangerous tumults. But especially in Munster the prime city of Westphalia: Where they acted a mad and most memorable tragedy.
In that city one Bernard Rotman, a minister, by his pains and preaching, had there reformed the church, and cast out the popish bishop and his clergy. About the year of our Lord 1533, John of Leyden, a taylor by his trade, an Hollander, and an earnest anabaptist, came to live in the city of Munster. This fellow privately insinuated the doctrine of rebaptisation, much contemning the contrary opinion; Rotman in the beginning vehemently preached against him, and his phantastical opinions, as pernicious both to the state, and to religion. Yet Leyden prevailed much with the base people, and infected great numbers, who had their secret meetings in corners and conventces most usually in the night, admitting none but such as were addicted to their opinions: And within a while Rotman himself began to incline towards them, and to condemn the baptism of children as impigus and heretical; insomuch that the number of anabaptists was daily increased : And the Landgrave of Hesse intreated by the senators of the city to send some preachers of learning to confute them, and contain the people in order and obedience.
Accordingly he sent unto them Fabritius, a messenger, and others, who were provoked by the anabaptists to a disputation which was admitted by them, and by the senators. But the sectaries, afterwards better considering their own ignorance and weakness, to which they were conscious, and trusting to their multitudes, refused to dispute, and took another course. One of them runs up and down the city as if possessed by the spirit, and cries, 'repent and be rebaptised, lest the wrath of God overwhelm you.' Divers others cried outin the same manner,
Some simple men obeyed for fear, being terrified with their clamours, and some of the richer sort, to save their fortunes; for the anabaptists began to rob all their adversaries, and gathered together into great troops; they possessed themselves of the arms and strongest parts of the city, and made proclamations, that all who were not rebaptised were to be accounted pagans and infidels, and to be killed. Rotman and Bernard Knipperdoling, his companion, send letters to all the neighbouring villages, inviting all of their faction forth with to come to Mun, ster, and promise liberal satisfaction for their estates and goods that they were to leave.
Hereupon multitudes of men and women, especially of the base beggarly sort, make haste to Munster. The citizens of the better sort, seeing the town filled with strangers, forth with secretly convey away themselves and their families, and leave these the anabaptists, who, now perceiving their own strength, and the weakness of the other party, first chuse new senators, all of their own faction, then create consuls, and make Knipperdoling the chief. They quickly afterwards' burn the suburbs, and spoilall churches; straightway they run, by troops, through all the streets, crying, repent; and soon after, get ye hence all ye wicked, if you mean to save your lives. They run armed up
and down, and chace out of the town all that did not favour the sect, without respect of age or sex, so that many women with child miscarried by
their violence; then they seize upon the goods of all those that are cast out. The Bishop of Munster, whom they had forced out, was lord of the city, and, to recover his right, had now besieged it with strong forces; so that the miserable people, that were turned out by the anabaptists, were rifled, and many killed by the bishop's soldiers. The fear thereof constrained many honest men, which abhorred the anabaptists, to stay in the city against their will.
The chief prophet among them, as they called him, was John Matthew; he sends forth his proclamations through the city, commanding every man, upon pain of death, to bring forth their gold and silver, and all their goods, unto a publick place appointed for the purpose: The people, astonished with the severity of this edict, were fain to obey it; if any man detained aught of his own goods, they were discovered by certain women that pretended to be prophetesses. Soon after, the same prophet commands, that no man keep any books in his custody, but only the holy bible; that all other books must be brought forth and burned : for this, he said, he had direction from heaven ; and accordingly all other books in great numbers were flung into the fire.
It happened about that time, that one Hubart Trutaling, a smith, a witty fellow, had jested somewhat sharply upon their prophets, whereupon they call the multitude, and command them to come armed ; they arraign the poor smith, and condemn him to die for his sauciness; which proceedings struck great terror in the people. Matthew, the chief prophet, doth execution upon the wretch, first wounds him with a spear, then shoots him through with a pistol.
The same prophet, taking his long pike, running in great haste to the gates of the city, cries, that God the Father had sent him a commandment to raise the siege, and to beat away the enemy : when he came near the soldiers, he was by one of them dispatched, and run through. Though by this event he was proved to be a false prophet, yet his friends and fellows, the other prophets, did so excuse and palliate the business unto the vulgar, that they much lamented his death, and thought it a calamity to have lost so brave a man. His fellow, John of Leyden, desires the people to be comforted, for it was long before revealed unto him, that Matthew was to die in that manner, and that, after his death, himself was to marry his wife.
Within a while they run to the churches, and ring out at once all the bells; that done, Knipperdoling begins to prophesy, and he foretells, that some in high places must be thrown down, others of mean condition raised up to great authority. Then he commands all churches to be defaced, affirming that this commandment came from God; and accordingly the commandment was executed few days after. John of Leyden delivers the sword to Knipperdoling, and appoints him to be the publick executioner, for so God had commanded, that he who was, but now, the highest magistrate, should take upon him the meanest office, and be the hangman; he undertook the office with great thanks and good-will.
The bishop alone, at his own charge, had, for some months, continued the siege ; afterwards divers of the neighbouring princes sent in monies and men to assist for him; he had made many assaults, think