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self, by many forfeitures of a latter date or discovery, and our own long consideration thereon, had more and more unbound us, both to himself and his posterity; as hath been ever the justice and prudence of all wise nations that have ejected tyranny. They covenanted to preserve the king's person and authority, in the preservation of the true religion and our liberties; not in his endeavouring to bring in upon our consciences a popish religion; upon our liberties thraldom; upon our lives destruction, by his occasioning, if not complotting, as was afterwards discovered, the Irish massacre; his fomenting and arming the rebellion; his covert league with the rebels against us; his refusing more than seven times propositions most just and necessary to the true religion and our liberties, tendered him by the parliament both of England and Scotland.
“And what will they at best say of us, and of the whole English name, but scoffingly, as of that foolish builder mentioned by our Saviour, who began to build a tower, and was not able to finish it? Where is this goodly tower of a commonwealth, which the English began to build ?”
He thus boldly remonstrates with the nation in regard to the invitation which it was proposed to make to Charles. “If there be a king, which the inconsiderate multitude are now so mad
upon, mark how far short we are like to come of all
those happinesses which in a free state we shall be immediately possessed of.”
After shewing what a tide of immorality and profaneness it might be expected would flow after the restoration of the libertine who was considered by the abettors of monarchy the hereditary successor to the throne, he says:
“I will now proceed to show more particularly wherein our freedom and flourishing condition will be more ample and secure to us under a free commonwealth than under kingship.
“ The whole freedom of man consists either in spiritual or civil liberty. As for spiritual, who can be at rest, who can enjoy any thing in this world with contentment, who hath not liberty to serve God, and to save his own soul, according to the best light which God hath planted in him to that purpose, by the reading of his revealed will, and the guidance of his Holy Spirit? That this is best pleasing to God, and that the whole Protestant church allows no supream judge or rule in matters of religion, but the Scriptures, and these to be interpreted by the Scriptures themselves, which necessarily implies liberty of conscience, I have heretofore proved at large in another treatise, and might yet further by the public declarations, confessions, and admonitions of whole churches and states, obvious in all histories since the Reformation.
“This liberty of conscience, which, above all other things, ought to be to all men dearest and most precious, no government more inclinable not to favour only, but to protect, than a free commonwealth ; as being most magnanimous, most fearless, and confident of its own proceedings. Whereas kingship, though looking big, yet indeed, most pusillanimous, full of fears, full of jealousies, startled at every umbrage, as it hath been observed of old to have suspected most, and mistrusted them who were in most esteem for virtue and generosity of mind; so it is now known to have most in doubt and suspicion them who are most reputed to be religious. What liberty of conscience can we expect from those who from the cradle have been trained up and governed by Popish and Spanish counsels, and on such depending hitherto for subsistence?”
The commander-in-chief in Scotland, Monk, had arrived in London, April, 1659, when the following letter was addressed to that general by Milton. This was entitled,
“The present means, and brief delineation of a Free Commonwealth, easy to be put in practice, and without delay. In a letter to General Monk.” This was published from the manuscript in his works, after his death.
“ First, All endeavours speedily to be used, that the ensuing elections be of such as are al
ready firm, or inclinable to constitute a free commonwealth, (according to the former qualifications decreed in parliament, and not yet repealed, as I hear,) without single person, or House of Lords. If there be not such, but the contrary, who foresees not that our liberties will be utterly lost in this next parliament, without some powerful course taken of speediest prevention? The speediest way will be to call
forthwith the chief gentlemen out of every county, to lay before them (as your Excellency hath already, both in your published letters to the army, and your declaration recited to members of parliament) the danger and confusion of re-admitting kingship in this land; especially against the rules of all prudence and example, in a family once ejected, and thereby not to be trusted with the revenge; that
will no longer delay them with vain expectation, but will put into their hands forthwith the possession of a free commonwealth, if they will first return immediately and elect them by such at least of the people as are rightly qualified; a standing council in every city and great town, which may then be dignified by the name of city, continually to consult the good and flourishing state of that place, with a competent territory adjoined; to assume the judicial laws, either those that are, or such as they themselves shall now make seve
rally, in each commonalty, and all judicatures, all magistrates, to the administration of all justice between man and man, and all the ornaments of publick civility, academies, and such like in their own hands. Matters appertaining to men of several counties, or territories, may be determined as they are here at London, or in some more convenient place, under equal judges.
Next, That in every such capital place, they will choose them the usual number of ablest knights and burgesses, engaged for a commonwealth to make up the parliament, (or, as it will be henceforth be better called,) the Grand or General Councill of the Nation, whose office must be, with due caution, to dispose of forces both by sea and land, under the conduct of
your Excellency, for the preservation of peace both at home and abroad; must raise and manage the public revenue, but with provided inspection of their accompts; must administer all forien affairs, make all general laws, peace, or war, but not without assent of the standing council in each city, or such other general assembly as may be called on such occasion from the whole territory, where they may, without much trouble, deliberate on all things fully, and send up their suffrages within a set time, by deputies appointed. Though this Grand Council be perpetual, (as in that book I proved would be best, and most conformable to