« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
of their agreement of the people (upon the high repub can plan] which suited not with his designs: And make them odious, he denominated them Levellers, as they intended to ş level men of all qualities and estate
Did Croinwell absolutely, wrong them when he said this Is it pot probable that some of them leaned to the levellin principles of the headstrong Anabaptists? Was it not whe such Anabaptists were most in favour, that England saw church without bishops, a parliament without lords and king without a head? And were not these some importan steps taken towards levelling Anabaptistry ; though Crom well's ambition prevented Republicans and Leveilers frora proceeding any farther, as Baxter soon observes? The reade will be glad to see what Lord Clarendon says of the levelline Agitators.
“ The Agitators would not be so dismissed from State affairs, of which they had so pleasant a relish, &c., and therefore, when they were admitted no more to consultations with their officers, they continued their meetings without them, and thought there was as great need to reform their officers as any part of the Church or State. They entered into new associations, and made many propositions to their officers, and to the parliament, to introduce an equality into all conditions, and a party among all men ; from whence they had the appellation of Levellers ; which appeared a great party. They did not only meet, against the express commands of their officers, but drew very considerable parlies of the army to rendezvous, without the order or privity of their superiors; and there persuaded them to enter into such ep. gagements, as would in a short time have dissolved the government of the army, &c. The suppression of this licence put Cromwell to the expense of all his cunning, dexterity, and courage; so that after he had cajoled the parliament, as if the preservation of their authority had been all he cared for, &c., and had sent some false brothers to comply in the couo. sels of the conspirators, by that means having notice of their rendezvous, he was unexpectedly found with an ordinary guard at those meetings ; and with a marvellous vivacity, having asked some questions of those whom he observed most active, and receiving insolent answers, he knocked two or three of them on the head with his own hand, and then charged the rest with his troop, and took such a number of them as he thought fit; whereof he presently caused some of them to be hanged, and sent others to London to a more formal trial. By two or three such encounters, (of which that at Burford, mentioned by Baxter, seems to have been one,) for the obstinacy continued long, he totally subdued that spirit In the army, though it continued and increased very much in the kingdom; and if it bad not been encountered at that time,
At last they rendezvous at Burford to make head against him. But Cromwell had presently his brother Desborough, and some other regiments, ready to surprise them there in their quarters, before they could get their numbers together; so that above fifteen hundred being scattered and taken, and some slain, the Levellers' war Fas crushed in the egg.”
Page 64. “ The king being thus taken out of the way, Cromwell takes on him to be for a Commonwealth, put all in order to the security of the good people,) till he had removed the other impediments which were yet to be removed ; so that the Rump (that is, the rest of the house of commons, whom Cromwell still allowed to sit, after he had turned out the members who displeased him Dost) presently drew up a form of engagement, to be put upon all men, viz. “I do promise to be true and faithful to the Commonwealth, as it is now established vithout a king or house of lords.' So we must take the Rump for an established Commonwealth, and pronise fidelity to them.”
Io the following pages, Baxter tells us how Cromwell put down the Rump at last, and, page 74, he gives this account of the manner in which he farther laid aside his tusty friends the Anabaptists, who had done him so much service. “ The sectarian party in his army and elsewhere he (Cromwell] chiefly trusted to and pleased, till, by the people's submission and quietness, he thought himself well settled ; and then be began to undermine them, and by degrees to work them out: And though he had so often spoken for the Anabaptists, now he findeth them so heady, and so much against any settled government, ad so set upon the promoting of their way and party, that he does not only begin to blame their unruliness,
but also designeth to settle himself in the people's favour | by suppressing them. In Ireland they were grown so
high, that the soldiers were, many of them, re-baptized as the way to preferment: And those that opposed them, with that rough and brisk spirit of Cromwell, it would presently have produced all imaginable confusion in the parliathey crushed with much uncharitable fierceness. TO suppress these, he sent thither his son Henry Cromwell who so discountenanced the Anabaptists, as yet to deal civilly by them, repressing their insolencies ; and Major-general Ludlow, who headed the Anabaptists in Ireland, was fain to draw in his head. In England, Cromwell connived at his old friend Harrison, while he made himself the head of the Anabaptists and fanatics here, till he saw it would be an acceptable thing to the nation to suppress him, and then he does it easily in a trice, and maketh him contemptible, who but yesterday thought himself not much below him.”
From this short account of the reign of the Rump, and the craft of Cromwell, it is evident, that the high republican spirit, and the injudicious zeal of sectaries, especially of the Anabaptists and Antinomians, were the chief means by which that ambitious man ascended the seat of supreme power. And I wish, Sir, that your injudicious, well-meant zeal, may not prove a spur, or a saddle, to some ambitious, false patriots, who, under pretence of mounting the great horse Liberty, to fight our battles, and to deliver us from what you call “ abject slavery,” will ride over us with as little ceremony as Cromwell did over King Charles, the parliament, and the Rump.
Before I take my leave of Baxter, permit me to tran. scribe what he says concerning the Origin of lower; I accidentally found it in turning over his book for the preceding quotations; and his judgment, which exactly coincides with mine, confirms me in the sentiments which I have expressed in the beginning of this letter.
Page 41. “ For the parliament's cause, the principal writing was, Observations written by Mr. Parker, a lawyer : But I remember some principles, which, I think, he misapplied, viz. That the king is singulis major, but universis minor ; (superior to every one of his subjects, but inferior to the collective body of all ;) that he re. ceiveth his power from the people, 8c. For I doubt not to prove, that his power is so immediately from God, as that there is no recipient between God and him, to con.
rey it to him; only, as the King by (his charter) maketh him a Mayor or Bailiff, whom the corporatton chooses ; so God (by his law, as an instrument) conveyeth power to that person, or family, whom the people consent to ; and their consent is but a conditio sine qua non; and not any proof that they are the fountain of power, or that ever the governing power was in them; and, there. fore, for my part, I am satisfied, that all politics err, who tell us of a Majestas realis in the people, as distinct from the Majestas personalis in the governors. And though it be true, that quoad naturalem bonitatem, fc., (with respect to natural goodness, &c.,) the King is universis minor (inferior to the whole body of bis subjects)—yet as to governing power (which is the thing in question) the King is, as to the people, universis major, as well as singulis,-(superior to the whole body of his subjects, as well as to every one of them.) For if the Parliament have any legislative power, it cannot be as they are the body of the people, &c., but it is as the Constitution twisteth them into the government. For, if once Legislation (the chief act of government) be denied to be any part of government at all, and affirmed to belong to the peo. ple as such, who are no governors, all government will thereby be overthrown.”
If Baxter be right here, (and I believe you cannot prove him to be wrong,) is it not evident, Sir, that when you insinuate, “ Every one, who is a free-agent, or has a will of his own, or boils a pot, ought to have a place in the legislature, before he can be properly subjected to taxation, and, of consequence, to the laws,” you countenance one of the most dangerous principles of the levelling Anabaptists? A principle whereby all government may be overthrown by those, who know how to draw just consequences from false premises.
To return :
You say, Sir, that your opponent is a slave because he cheerfully submits to taxation without having a direct Representative in Parliament. But who is the greatest slave; Mr. Wesley, or the tools of lawless patriotism?
guarded letter to a friend, which contained nothing proper :- - Not to mention, I say, these, and the i tyrannical proceedings in America ; have not those s live under the immediate protection of the Sovereign London, felt the iron sceptre of king mob ? Has that tyrant, who, with his hundred arms, threw ( goods into the sea, in sight of Boston — has not t] many-headed tyrant, I say, destroyed that part of o houses in London, which the missile implements impotent rage could break in pieces ? And, as if it h: not been enough to attack and injure us in our shi and • houses ; have they not deprived us of our loc motive liberty ? Have they not insolently stopped i in the streets, and on the high-way? Have they do taken a temporary possession of our coaches and door to mark them with their insulting numbers, and wit the names of their principal agents ? Save they no
* It is not in London and Boston only, that this tyrannica spirit breaks out. It probably makes its appearance in mos American cities. Philadelphia is the seat of religious libert: and brotherly love no more. Persecuting tyranny and fierci insolence, openly patrol in the once free and peaceful city One of my parishioners, who went to settle there, sends bir friends word, that the day on which a fast was kept to obtain success upon the arms of the Provincials ; his windows were broken by the mob, because bis religious principles did not permit him to fast on such an occasion, and because he quietly taught his scholars to read the Scriptures. A vociferous mob has no ears, though it has arms and tongues more than enough: Or else the pacifc sufferer might have made his godly persecutors ashamed of their devotions, by setting his scholars to read, Isaiah lviii, 4, · Behold ye fast for strife and debate ; and to smite with the fist of wickedness ; ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to ake your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast as I have chosen This text might have suited the solemnity ; unless the following had been judged still more proper: Rebuke the company of the spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver ; scatter thou the people that delight in war.' (Psalm lxviii. 30.) My late parishioner was not the only one, who was injured on that memorable day. Among others, a quiet Friend, who ventured to open his china shop, is said to have had his goods broken by the new king for this offence, to the amount of many pounds.