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ENGLANDS Mad Petition To the Right HONOURABLE The, &c.

The Humble Petitions of above 12. Millions of Well-affected (before ſo ill di­ſtracted) people of all ſorts, Ages, Sexes and ſiſes within the Kingdome of England and Dominion of Wales, all deſiring the enlargement of Bedlam, and o­ther reſpective place in the Cities of London and Weſtminſter, with other Cities, Towns, and Boroughs, throughout the Kingdome and Dominion afore­ſaid.

Preſented to the Houſes on Thurſday, Auguſt 26. 1647.

Aug: 27 Printed at London betwixt Biſhops-gate-ſtreet and More­fields, in the yeare of Englands recovery of her madneſſe, 1647.


To the Right Honourable the, &c. The Humble Petition, &c.Humbly ſheweth,

THat whereas wee your Honours poore Petitioners, having moſt lamentably ſerved more then a Pen­tarquie (even almoſt the time of an Apprentiſhip) to the Lunary profeſſion (or Art Mad-cap) where­in we have beene ſo miſerably proficient, that He­roſtrates Franciſcus Gaticus, Balthazar de Caſtro, Diego Engrenis, and even Adam Bolacius himſelfe (ſo celebrated by Antiquity) were but meere novices to us; wee doe out-ſtrip in mad hu­mours all our Predeceſſours; whatſoever mad exploits have bin reported as done heretofore, to ours will hold no parallel; wee have exceedingly ſurpaſſed all the mad ſhavers, mad Compani­ons, mad Blades, mad Rognes, mad Raſcalls, mad Toms, mad Maudlins, mad Beſſes, and mad-caps what or whoſoever: How we have juſtifi'd the premiſes in theſe late paſt yeares, hath been ſufficiently, and if it be poſſible, more then apparent to all Chri­ſtendome; England was the Theater for action, and the gazing (and admiring world) the Spectators; were ever any of our Predeceſſours ſo franticke, as to engage Lives and Fortunes in as unnaturall warre againſt an unequalled vertuous King, our dread, undoubted, and Anointed Soveraigne? Were ever Turkes, Tartars, or Caniballs, ſo barbarouſly inclined as wee have been, making no eſteeme not difference between blood and blood; kindred or alien? Hath not the father murdered the ſon, the ſonne the father; brother hath (Gaine-like) kill'd brother, the unckle ſlaine his nephew, and the nephew his Unckle, and thought they had done good and godly ſervice? Have wee not beene ſo franticke, that without any legall conſideration or ſuſpi­tion of eyes or thoughts; wee have madly diſlocated a principall2 Joynt of our Parliament (and indeed next to the head) and yet we are ſo conſoperated in our Lethargy, that wee have not ſo much as mention'd it for a fault, and that is the Places and Voes of the Biſhops, for ever ſince Parliaments have beene uſed in England, all till this preſent) have conſiſted of Lords Spirituall and Temporall, and the Houſe of Commons, but now theſe ſpi­rituall Lords (which are the Biſhops) are not once nam'd (nor thought on) and yet wee pretend for a legall and compleat Par­liament, is not this extreame madneſſe? what is, if this bee not, when ſuch a notorious thing as this is, ſhall paſſe by (and through) ſo many eyes and eares, without taking notice of?

In the next place, have we not madly thruſt out of doores our ancient and Orthodox Faith, and both willingly & fooliſhly lent our hands to pull in unheard of Noveliſme, Phantaſtick profa­nation, and even Mimicie in Divine Worſhip? Wee have tran­ſlated the Epiſcopall Cathedra, to the Coblers Chayre; the Doctors Pulpit, to the Coopers Tub; the Eaſt and Weſt end of the Church, to the Taylors Tables end; and the Weaver, (whoſe ſhuttle runnes through his braines as well as his Loome) takes upon him to bee a wreſter of Gods Word (out of its proper ſence) becauſe it ſhall bee like himſelfe, void of good ſence: The Plebean will bee a Predicater of higheſt Myſteries; and the Sylveſtrick Swaine is become a Reverend Rabin of Re­velations.

Nay, moreover (Right Horrible) wee your poore Petitio­ners are ſo egregiouſly infatigated, and ſo ſtrenuouſly infatuated with the prepoſterous vaine of Diabolicall zeale, that to blaſ­pheme God ſeriouſly, and rayle againſt our Soveraigne ſincere­ly, hath inſtead of Atheiſme and Treaſon, beene accounted (a­mong us ſpirituall mad people) for Religious duties; our wo­men (a thing unexampled in any precedent age, whom the A­poſtle prohibits ſpeaking in the Church) are growne ſo impu­dently mad, that they aſſume the office of Preaching; ſo that it well appeares (Right Horrible) that betweene the Incubus and the Succubus, (thoſe male and female Devils) theſe Predicating Tradeſ-men, and theſe diſ-illuminated women were begotten; and although Humphrey thinkes the time too long to bee barr'd from Jones bed, for the month of her lying in, but makes uſe of3 (in the intrim) his double-diligent Nurſe, or his Neighbours wives aſſiſtance, under the pretence of a tollerated Gander­month, yet hee (and indeed all wee mad people) thinkes it a ſmall matter to ſeperate gracious Charles and Mary, not for a month, or months, but for whole yeares; what madneſſe ever equall'd this? What Spirit but the Devill can dictate ſuch hor­rid and miſchievous thoughts as wee have been poſſeſt with (and hope to be diſpoſſeſt of by your pious endeavours?)

Wee old men and women, whoſe age ſhould admit of no no­veltie, are as farre intoxicated with the ſupine Sallad of this il­literate Lettice, that forgetting all antiquity (and the example of our prudent Predeceſſours) wee have (as being indeed turn'd children againe) as greedily ſuckt in the Milke of Schiſme, and overthrow of Government, as the youngeſt addle braine of them all. Wee of the middle ſort (of men) have madly arm'd our ſelves, madly marcht into the Field, madly waged Battell, madly kill'd one another, not regarding (as before is mentioned) ei­ther Proximity, Conſanguinity, Affinity, Alliance, Chriſtianity, Vicinity, or Naturall Affection. Wee the women, both old, middle aged, and young, have with our tongues beene as active (as men with their hands) to draw the cords of ruine upon the whole Nation, as if wee had beene to perſwade all Chriſtendome to take up Armes (againſt Chriſts) and our common enemy the Turke. Wee the younger ſort of men, Boyes, Apprentices, and Striplings, (eſpecially in and about the Cities of London, and Weſt. Villages adjacent, and Lines of Communication, have madly put our ſelves forward by the notion and example of mad, blood-thirſty Reformadoes and Commanders, to ſet the ſaid City, and conſequently the whole Kingdome on a flame of a new and moſt horrible deſtructive warre.

Briefely (right Horrible) we your Petitioners, of all Ages, Sorts, Sizes, Sexes, Sects, and Complexions, have madly involved our ſelves in an (almoſt) univerſall Lunacie and Apoſtaſie from God and our King; from Religion, to Senſualitie; from Vertue, to Vice; from Chaſtitie, to Lubricitie; from Chriſtian Charitie, to Heatheniſh Crueltie; from Unitie, to Singularitie; from Pietie, to Hypocriſie; from Veritie, to Vanitie; from Humili­tie, to Superbitie; from Moderation, to Oſtentation; from the4 right underſtanding of Divine Myſteries, to blind Zeale with­out knowledge; and from the Path of Heaven, to the Wayes of Hell, eternall Death and Deſtruction. This our deplorable Condition, be pleaſed with your Power and Charitie rightly to conſider; and weighing in the Ballance of your unqueſtionable (and infallible) Intelects, every Part, Parcell, Branch, and Bud of the premiſes, vouchſafe to let our mad Petition finde as fa­vourable acceſſe to your Honours, as many Petitions (in the like nature) have found heretofore: The ſumme of all our de­ſires is, that you will take into mature conſideration (and com­miſeration) That whereas a great multitude of people, of both Sexes, commonly called Mad people (but nothing neere ſo Mad as wee) are confined in an Hoſpitall, betweene Biſhops-gate-ſtreet and More-fields, vulgarly named Bedlam (or Bethlem) that you will be pleaſed to turne them out into the wide world, and let us (for ſo many as the ſayd Hoſpitall can containe) to be poſ­ſeſſed of their roomes: for indeed the caſe is plaine (and there­fore conſiderable) that thoſe people (for the moſt part) grew diſtracted through ſuper-abundant Love, not finding a rcipro­call correſpondencie in affection; but (wretched) wee are Mad through ſuperabundance of Malice, wee moſt madly and deſpe­rately hating, maligning, abuſing (both with Tongue and Hand) a gracious, loving, mercifull, pious, and prudent King (the mir­ror of Monarchs and example of Princes) who all this too long time of our hayre-brayn'd Diſtraction, hath wooed and invited us to his Highneſſe love, patiently expecting the returning of our Sences to their offices, and us to our juſt obedience: but all to little, or no purpoſe; we were madly reſolv'd, and ſo went madly on, to our owne and the hazard of the whole Kingdomes Ruine.

Furthermore, be pleaſed to take notice, that the ſaid Hoſpi­tall being very ſmall (in reſpect of our vaſt number) to give a charitable Purge to all the Priſons in and about the Cities of London and Weſtminſter, the Villages adjacent, and Lines of Communication, and alſo to all other reſpective Priſons throughout the Kingdome of England and the Dominion of Wales, wherein are moſt unnaturally and cruelly incloſed and detained many honeſt, ſober, wiſe, diſcreet, religious, and ver­tuous5 Knights, Eſquires, Gentlemen, and others of good ranke and qualitie, onely (and ſolely) for their integritie and loyaltie to God and his Anoynted; theſe wee would likewiſe (by the aforeſaid Purge) have relaxed, diſcharged, and reſtored both to their Liberties and Livelyhoods, wee madly poſſeſſing their pla­ces: notwithſtanding the premiſſes, wee doe deſire (in this ge­nerall worke of Juſtice and Mercie) to except ſome who are now in Priſon (among thoſe ſober men aforeſaid) that are al­together (if not madder) as mad as the maddeſt of us all, and chiefely (as the Chiefe indeed) John Lilburne, who being a mad Lieutenant-Colonel alreadie, wee deſire to make Commander in Chiefe of all our Mad multitude.

Laſtly, when by theſe Chaynes of Affliction wee ſhall be re­ſtor'd to our loſt Wits, that then you will be mildly pleaſed to accept of a ſober Petition for our loſt Rights, Religion, Lawes, Liberties, and Priviledges, all which wee (miſerable mad people) have purchas'd with the loſſe of our Wits, and Loyaltie, and ſome of us, Lims and Livings.

This if your Wiſdomes ſhall thinke convenient to grant, it will be a Beacon to your Charitie, a Lanthorne to your Lenitie, a Mirror of your Mrcie, and a Trumpet to your Fame; and wee your poore Petitioners (as in dutie obliged) ſhall be ever be­holding to your Clemencie, and alwayes pray for your encreaſe of Grace, and Loyaltie towards God and Caeſar, and an equall, legall, and charitable diſtribution of all the Wealth which you (by your Wit and Subtletie) have gotten of us fooliſh Mad People, &c.

A Poſtſcript concerning the deliverie and Receit of the foreſaid Mad Petition.

No ſooner this Petition came unto
the hands of thoſe to whom it was preſented,
But all of them (as well the high as low)
began to rave; Thus being diſcontented,
They gave this Anſwer: Why, you frantick Elves,
Sue you to us, who are ſtark mad our ſelves?
Have you not danced after our mad Pipe?
have we not beene examples to you all?
Thinke you, if that our wits were ſound and ripe,
we could our ſelves ſtand by, and ſee you fall?
No, no, Plebeians, wee'l no further wrong you,
We are as mad as he that's mad'ſt among you.
Yet be you comforted (and ſo are wee)
hoping we ſhortly ſhall our wits recover;
Wee ſomething now regard his Majeſtie,
ſo let the people doe all England over:
Then, by Gods Bleſſing, (to our joy and gladneſſe)
Wee ſhall ſee England cured of her Madneſſe.
By th'influence of that bright Northern Star,
which now auſpiciouſly upon us ſhines,
Mad England ſhall regaine her wits ſo far,
that all ſhall prayſe his Name, who thus inclines
The hearts of Subjects to their Soveraign Prince;
O ſuch a Cure, Mad England lack'd long ſince.

About this transcription

TextEnglands mad petition to the Right Honourable the, &c. The humble petitions of above 12. millions of well-affected (before so ill distracted) people of all sorts, ages, sexes and sises within the kingdome of England and dominion of Wales, all desiring the enlargement of Bedlam, and other respective place in the cities of London and Westminster, with other cities, towns, and boroughs, throughout the kingdome and dominion aforesaid. Presented to the Houses on Thursday, August 26. 1647.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A83972)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 114509)

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About the source text

Bibliographic informationEnglands mad petition to the Right Honourable the, &c. The humble petitions of above 12. millions of well-affected (before so ill distracted) people of all sorts, ages, sexes and sises within the kingdome of England and dominion of Wales, all desiring the enlargement of Bedlam, and other respective place in the cities of London and Westminster, with other cities, towns, and boroughs, throughout the kingdome and dominion aforesaid. Presented to the Houses on Thursday, August 26. 1647. [2], 6 p. betwixt Bishops-gate-street and More-fields,Printed at London :in the yeare of Englands recovery of her madnesse, 1647.. (Annotation on Thomason copy: "Aug: 27".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Satire, English -- 17th century.
  • Great Britain -- History -- Civil War, 1642-1649 -- Fiction -- Early works to 1800.

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ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2014-11 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A83972
  • STC Wing E2993
  • STC Thomason E404_30
  • STC ESTC R201863
  • EEBO-CITATION 99862352
  • PROQUEST 99862352
  • VID 114509

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