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returning precipitantly, if he withhold us not, back to the captivity from whence he freed us? Yet neither shall we obtain or buy at an easy rate this new gilded yoke, which thus transports us: a new royal revenue must be found, à new episcopal; for those are individual: both which being wholly dissipated, or bought by private persons, or assigned for service done, and especially to the army, cannot be recovered without general detriment and con fusion to men's estates, or a heavy imposition on all men's purses; benefit to none but to the worst and ignoblest sort of men, whose hope is to be either the ministers of court riot and excess, or the gainers by it: but not to speak more of losses and extraordinary levies on our estates, what will then be the revenges and offences remembered and returned, not only by the chief person, but by all his adherents; accounts and reparations that will be required, suits, indictments, inquiries, discoveries, complaints, informations, who knows against whom or how many, though perhaps neuters, if not to utmost infliction, yet to imprisonment, fines, banishment, or molestation? if not these, yet disfavour, discountenance, diregard, and contempt on all but the known royalist, or whom he favours, will be plenteous. Nor let the ~^w royalized presbyterians persuade them

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"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 fair 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 ever 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. Queen Elizabeth, though herself accounted so good a protestant, so moderate, so confident of her subjects love, would never give way so much as to presbyterian reformation in this land, though once and again besought, as Camden relates; but imprisoned and persecuted the very proposers thereof; alledging it as her mind and maxim unalterable, that such reformation would diminish regal authority. What liberty of conscience can we then expect of others, far

worse principled from the cradle, trained up and governed by Popish and Spanish counsels, and on such depending hitherto for subsistence?"

"I have no more to say at present: few words will save us, well considered; few and easy things, now seasonably done. But if the people be so affected, as to prostitute religion and liberty to the vain and groundless apprehension, that nothing but kingship can restore trade, not remembering the frequent plagues and pestilences, that then wasted this city, such as through God's mercy we never have felt since; and that trade flourishes no where more than in the free commonwealths of Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries, before their eyes at this day: yet if trade be grown so craving and importunate through the profuse living of tradesmen, that nothing can support it, but the luxu rious expences of a nation upon trifles or superfluities; so as if the people generally should betake themselves to frugality, it might prove a dangerous matter, lest tradesmen should mutiny for want of trading; and that therefore we must forego and set to sale religion, liberty, honour, safety, all concernments divine or human, to keep up trading: if, lastly, after all this light among us, the

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same reason shall pass for current, to put our necks again under kingship, as was made use of by the Jews to return back to Egypt, and to the worship of their idol queen, because they falsely imagined, that they then lived more plenty and prosperity; our condition is not sound but rotten, both in religion and all civil prudence; and will bring us soon, the way we are marching, to those calamities, which attend always and unavoidably on luxury, all national judgments under foreign and domestic slavery: so far we shall be from mending our condition by monarchising our government, whatever new conceit now possesses us. However, with all hazard I have ventured what I thought my duty to speak in season, and to forewarn my country in time; wherein I doubt not but there be many wise men in all places and degrees, but am sorry the effects of wisdom are so little seen among us. Many circumstances and particulars I could have added in those things whereof I have spoken: but a few main matters now put speedily in execution, will suffice to recover us, and set all right: and there will want at no time who are good at circumstances; but men who set their minds on main matters, and sufficiently urge them, in these most difficult times I find not

many. What I have spoken, is the language of that which is not called amiss "The good old Cause:" if it seem strange to any, it will not seem more strange, I hope, than convincing to backsliders. Thus much I should perhaps have said, though I were sure I should have spoken only to trees and stones; and had none to cry to, but with the prophet, "O earth, earth, earth!" to tell the very soil itself, what her perverse inhabitants are deaf to. Nay, though what I have spoke should happen (which thou suffer not, who didst create mankind free! nor thou next, who didst redeem us from being servants of men!) to be the last words of our expiring liberty."


This production of Milton's was made the subject of a sportive and a serious reply: the former, a ludicrous pamphlet affecting to issue from Harrington's republican club, was called "The Censure of the Rota Mr. Milton's Book, entitled, "The ready and easy Way to establish a free Commonwealth;" and the latter was styled, "The Dignity of Kingship asserted in Answer to Mr. Milton's ready and easy Way, &c."

P. W. vol. iii. 421, 422, 428.

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