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An Admirable SPEECH Made by the Maior of READING, upon the occaſion of the late choice of a Burgeſs for that Town, JUNE 28. 1654. WITH A true and impartial NARRATIVE of the whole proceedings thereupon. Wherein is diſcovered the deſigne of the ſaid Maior, with the Aldermen and Prieſts of the ſaid Town, to deprive the Inhabitants of their vote of chuſing.

Publiſhed by a well-wiſher to the preſent Government in the making good of former ingagements to defend the free born people of ENGLAND in their Laws and Liber­ties.

Printed at LONDON, 1654.


THe Author hereof having been an eye and ear-witneſs of the late irregular and unjuſt proceedings of the Maior, Aldermen, and Prieſts of the ſaid Town of Reading, in their choice of a Burgeſs to ſerve in the approaching Par­liament; and meeting with divers falſe reports touching the ſame, tending to the diſhonour of the inhabitants of the Town afore ſaid, but finding no true account thereof given to pub­like view: Therefore, for ſatisfaction and information of the people, and for the love be bears to the Liberties of his native Country, (which are not a little concerned in this matter) the ſaid Author is induced to publiſh to the world an impar­tial Narrative of the whole buſineſs; which is as followeth.

THe Sheriff of the County having proclaimed the Writ from his Highneſs the Lord Protector for ſummoning a Parliament to meet at Weſt­minſter the third of September next, Mr. Frewen the Maior of Reading appointed Wedneſday the 28 of June laſt, at ten of the clock, for the inhabitants of the ſaid Town to meet in the Town-Hall, in order to the choice of a Burgeſs to ſerve in Parliament; and that at the day and hour aforeſaid, the Writ for choice ſhould be read. The people met accordingly.

Between nine and ten of the clock, the Maior and Aldermen withdrew themſelves in private (as did appear) to chuſe2 a Parliament-man: For as ſoon as the Clock had ſtricken ten, his Worſhip with all his retinue came into open Court; which being full of the inhabitants, the Cryer proclaimed Silence; and then the Town-Clerk with an audible voice did read the Writ for choice of a Burgeſs as aforeſaid. Which being done, the Maior made a Speech to the people, ſuch a one as it was; however, it was not much unlike his actions. Which Speech (for the ſingu­larity thereof) I have here inſerted; and it is as followeth.

Why d'yee hear me? here is a Writ directed to me, to chuſe a Burgeſs to ſerve in Parliament; and we have choſen Col. Hammond, and him we will have; and I will return the Writ for him.

What, right or wrong Mr. Maior? ſaid a Gentleman that ſtood by. I, (ſaid Mr. Maior) we have choſen him, and will return the Writ for him; and therefore you may go home a­gain, (ſaid he to the inhabitants.) Is not the Writ directed to us? (ſaid he meaning himſelf and Aldermen) and we have choſen Colonel Hammond, and we will have him.

But Mr. Maior (ſaid a Gentleman) the moſt conſiderable part of the Electors except againſt Colonel Hammond, and are here preſent, ready to publiſh to the world whom they have made choice of to ſerve them in Parliament, viz. Captain Caſtle, a man of conſcience, wiſdom and valour.

Whereupon, there was a cry amongſt the chuſers, four or five ſeveral times, A Caſtle, a Caſtle; inſomuch that the oddes did clearly appear (to the impartial and indifferent ſtanders by) to be five for one for Captain Caſtle againſt Colonel Hammond.

But the Maior ſtill ſtood it out, that the inhabitants had no power to chuſe a Burgeſs, and that the power did lie in himſelf and his Brethren the Aldermen. Whereupon the Electors of Captain Caſtle demanded, of the Maior to go to the pole; but3 he refuſed; and preſently drew forth the inhabitants into a Field called the Forbury, (without any adjornment of the Court, which ſignified a diſolution thereof) and in the ſaid Field the difference remained for matter of number as before, on Captain Caſtle's ſide, and the Electors again demanded of the Maior to go to the pole, and took witneſs thereof; but he refuſed again, ſaying, He would do as he pleaſed, he would return the Writ for Colonel Hammond; and ſo return'd into the Town-hall again with the people following of him, and then ſent forth the Bell-man (his common call or crier) to go about the ſtreets with his bell, cry­ing, All you that are for Colonel Hammond (to be a Parliament­man) muſt preſently appear at the Town-Hall. (For Mr. Maior is now ſitting to take your names.) The Maiors Officer (alſo) John Bartlet moſt induſtriouſly run about the ſtrees, ſearching the corners thereof, and Ale-houſes, crying out, Who are you for, hoe! For Colonel Hammond, would ſome anſwer; but alas, we dare not, neither muſt we vote, becauſe we are not worth 200 l. That's falſe, (would the Maior Officers reply) you may vote for all that.

And then demanding of another, Whom he was for, who ſaid, For Captain Caſtle; are you? (ſaid the Maiors Officer) you had beſt have a care what you do; for if you are not worth 200 l. you are not capable to vote.

Thus did the Maiors Officers run about the ſtreets, two hours after the Writ for the choyce of a Burgeſs was read, and a clear election thereupon paſſed, as by the teſtimony of ſufficient witneſs may appear.

In the mean time the Maior (who ought to have been Judge of the truth of election) with ſome of his Brethren ſate in the Town-Hall to take the names of ſuch which his Bell-man and other Offi­cers ſent in out of the ſtreets and ale-houſes; and withal, Parſon Fowler ſtanding up above the people, in the Maiors preſence, vaunting as in a ſtage-play, and perſwading ſuch ſo ſent in, as a­foreſaid to ſubſcribe for Colonel Hammond. And when they had acted their part, the Maior departed the Town Hall, being neer two of the clock in the afternoon; whereas a clear choice had paſſed for Captain Caſtle, at ten in the morning.


Thus far have If declared the truth of things as acted by the Maior, and his brethren the Aldermen, with ſome few other Prieſt-ridden men, who in­deed have been ridden ſo hard, that even their under­ſtandings have been weakned thereby; ſo that any ingenious man may behold the face of folly (and envie) upon their actions, as by this Relation may appear.

Further, conſider the Maiors bold attempt upon the Liberties of the people, in going about to intro­duce that which muſt needs render the people of England as abſolute ſlaves as any under the Turks dominion, by denying them the choice of their Law­makers, directly contrary to the minde of his High­neſs the Lord Protector and his Councel, who have ſo far teſtified their tenderneſs of the Peoples Liber­ty in that reſpect, that they have enlarged the num­ber of chuſers in Counties, by making many capa­ble of choice, that were incapable heretofore.

What colour can the Maior ſhew for ſuch his pra­ctices, in running ſo great a hazard as the Fine of above 1000l. to force the inhabitants of the ſaid Town out of their Liberties? Or how could he conceive, that ſuch irregular, fooliſh, and ridiculous ways and practices for the chuſing of a Burgeſs, ſhould be either honourable to himſelf, or acceptable to any wiſe man?

But certainly (as I ſaid before) the mindes and ſpi­rits of theſe men being ridden ſo much by the Prieſts, they are become barren and empty of all reaſon and underſtanding.

He who by the Inſtrument of Government was bound5 to ſee the choice orderly and peaceably made, in ſtead thereof, made factions and ſidings amongſt the people, as if he had purpoſed to ſet them together by the ears: and the Prieſts, who would be counted the Miniſters of the Goſpel of peace, are commonly found to be the fomenters of ſtrifes and diviſions; and did ſo ſhew themſelves in this Election of a Bur­geſs.

Munday June 26. Parſon Ford publikely in his Pulpit (in a baſe diſgraceful manner) ſaid, that he heard that the inhabitants of the Town did intent to chuſe a man on the other ſide of the water, (mean­ing Captain Caſtle:) it's true, (ſaid Ford) he is fit to make up differences between men about hogs break­ing over, or to mend up the hedge or ditch: but if you chuſe ſuch, (ſaid he) then it will be Good­man Parliament-man, and Goodman Juſtice. Now if the pride and inſolencie of this Prieſt Ford be ſuch, that he dares publikely ſpeak in ſuch ſcorn and contempt of one of his Highneſs the Lord Pro­tectors Juſtices of the Peace, what would he not do, had he power?

Correſpondent whereunto, was the carriage of Prieſt Fowler, who in a diſgraceful manner called the Tradeſmen (inhabitants of the Town of Rea­ding) The Ragged Regiment, becauſe many of them came in Waſtcoats, and with their Aprons before them. Which language, how well it becomes a Meſſenger of Chriſt (as he and his brethren call themſelves) any ſober Chriſtian can judge. And indeed, 'twas a mercy, (if not a marvel) that ſuch lan­guage, at ſuch a time, from ſuch a man, amidſt a mul­titude, had not cauſed bloodſhed.


But theſe are they that have in all Ages embraced all opportunities of ſowing diſcord amongſt bre­thren, and who have been the incendiares, and even the bellows, to blow up ſuch ſparks, as have ſet whole Nations in a combuſtion. And it is to be feared, that they have ſome ſuch deſigne now, as when they would have disbanded the Army: And therefore (my dear Brethren and Country-men) have I penned this ſheet, to give thee warning of ſuch deſignes and deſigners, in the like caſe.

There are (as I hear) ſix Gentlemen of Reading (viz. Mr. Dean, Captain Curtis, Mr. Goad, Mr. Write, Captain Goddard, and Mr. Stockwel) employed by the inhabitants to repreſent the Caſe to his Highneſs the Lord Protector.


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TextAn admirable speech made by the Maior of Reading, upon the occasion of the late choice of a burgess for that town, June 28. 1654. With a true and impartial narrative of the whole proceedings thereupon. Wherein is discovered the designe of the said Maior, with the aldermen and priests of the said town, to deprive the inhabitants of their vote of chusing. Published by a well-wisher to the present government in the making good of former ingagements to defend the free born people of England in their laws and liberties.
AuthorFrewen, Henry..
Extent Approx. 11 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 5 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A84921)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 118413)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 114:E745[17])

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Bibliographic informationAn admirable speech made by the Maior of Reading, upon the occasion of the late choice of a burgess for that town, June 28. 1654. With a true and impartial narrative of the whole proceedings thereupon. Wherein is discovered the designe of the said Maior, with the aldermen and priests of the said town, to deprive the inhabitants of their vote of chusing. Published by a well-wisher to the present government in the making good of former ingagements to defend the free born people of England in their laws and liberties. Frewen, Henry.. [2], 6 p. [s.n.],Printed at London, :1654.. (Annotation on Thomason copy: "July 10th".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Reading (England) -- Early works to 1800.
  • Great Britain -- Politics and government -- 1649-1660 -- Early works to 1800.

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ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2013-12 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A84921
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  • EEBO-CITATION 99866149
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