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way to bring in again the common enemy, and with him the destruction of true religion and civil liberty.
- But, because our evils are now grown more dangerous and extreme than to be remedied by complaints, it concerns us now to find out what remedies may be likeliest to save us from approaching ruin. Being now in anarchy, without a coimselling and governing power; and the army,
suppose, finding themselves insufficient to discharge at once both military and civil affairs, the first thing to be found out with all speed, without which no commonwealth can subsist, must be a senate or general council of state, in whom must be the power, first to preserve the public peace, next the commerce with foreign nations, and lastly to raise money for the management of these affairs : this must be the Parliament re-admitted to sit, or a council of state, allowed of by the army, since they only now have the power. The terms to be stood on are, liberty of conscience to all professing the Scripture the rule of their faith and worship : and the abjuration of a single person.
“ If the Parliament be again thought on to save honour on both sides, the well affected party in the city, and the congregated churches, may be induced to mediate by public addresses, and brotherly beseechings; which, if there be that
saintship among us which is talked of, ought to be of highest and undeniable persuasion to reconcilement. If the Parliament be thought well dissolved, as not complying fully to grant liberty of conscience, and the necessary consequence thereof, the removal of a forced maintainance upon ministers, then must the army forthwith choose a council of state, whereof as many to be of the Parliament, as are undoubtedly affected to those two conditions proposed.
“ That which I conceive only able to cement and unite for ever the army, either to the parliament recalled, or this chosen council, must be a mutual league and oath, private or publick, not to forsake each other till death; that is to say, that the army be kept up, and all these officers in their places during life, and so likewise the parliament, or counsellors, which will be no way unjust, considering their known merits on either side in council or in field: unless any be found false to any of these two principles, or otherwise personally criminous in the judgments of the two parties. If such an union of this be not accepted on the army's part, be confident there is a single person underneath. That the army be upheld, the necessity of our affairs and factions will constrain long enough perhaps to content the longest liver in the army. And whether the civil government be an annual demo
cracy, or a perpetual aristocracy, is not to me a consideration for the perils in which we are, and the hazard of our safety from our common enemy, gaping at present to devour us. That it be not an oligarchy, or the faction of a few, may be easily prevented by the members being of their own choosing, who may be found infallibly constant to those two conditions forenamed, full liberty of conscience, and the abjuration of monarchy proposed: and the well ordered committees of their faithful adherents in every county may give this government the resemblance and effects of a perfect democracy.
“ As for the reformation of laws, and the places of judicature, whether it be here as at present, or in every county, as hath been long aimed at, and many such proposals, tending, no doubt, to publick good, they may be considered in due time, when we are past these pernicious pangs, in a hopeful way of health, and a firm constitution. But, unless these things, as I have above proposed, one way or other, be once settled, in my fear, which God avert, we instantly ruin; or, at best, become the servants of one or another single person, the secret author and fomentor of these disturbances.
“ You have the sense of my present thoughts, as much as I understand of these affairs, freely imparted at your request; and the persuasion you
wrought in me, that I may chance hereby to be somewhat serviceable to the commonwealth, in a time when all ought to be endeavouring what good they can, whether much or but little. With this you may do what you please, put out, put in, communicate or suppresse : you offend not one, who only obeyed your opinion, that in doing what I have done, I might happen to offer something which might be of use in this great time of need. However, I have not been wanting to the opportunity which you have presented before me, of shewing the readiness which I have, in the midst of my unfitness, to whatever may be required of me as a publick duty.”
October 20th, 1659.
He then published, with a view to prevent the rising whirlwind which he considered likely to overwhelm the nation in destruction, “ The ready and safe way to establish a free Commonwealth.”
“Although, since the writing of this treatise, the face of things hath had some change, writs for new elections have been recalled, and the members at first chosen re-admitted from exclusion; yet not a little rejoiced to hear declared resolutions of those who are in power tending to the establishment of a free commonwealth, and to remove, if it be possible, this noxious humour of returning to bondage, instilled of late by some
deceivers, and nourished from bad principles and false apprehensions among too many of the people, I thought best not to suppress what I had written, hoping it may now be of much more use and concernment to be freely published in the midst of our elections, to a free parliament or their sittings, to consider freely of the government, whom it behoves to have all things represented to them that may direct their judgment therein; and I never read of any state, scarce of any tyrant grown so incurable, as to refuse counsel from any in a time of publick deliberation, much less to be offended. If their absolute determination be to enthral us, before so long a lent of servitude they may permit us a little shroving-time first, wherein to speak freely, and take our leaves of liberty.” In a second edition of this work he thus speaks:
“The parliament of England, assisted by a great number of the people who appeared and stuck to them faithfullest in defence of religion and their civil liberties, judging kingship by long experience a government unnecessary, burdensome and dangerous, justly and magnanimously abolished it, turning regal bondage into a free commonwealth, to the admiration and terror of our emulous neighbours. They took themselves not bound by the light of nature or religion to any former covenant, from which the king him