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To His EXCELLENCY, GENERAL MONCK. A Letter from the Gentlemen of Devon: in An­ſwer to his Lordſhips of January 23. to them directed from Leiceſter.

My Lord,

THere is a Letter which hath paſſed the Preſs under your Name, dated at Leiceſter 23. Jan. and directed unto Mr. Rolle, to be communicated to the reſt of the Gentry of Devon: &c. Whether this be your Excellencies Act or not, is the queſtion. If ſo it be, we receive it as a noble Reſpect from General Monk to his Friends and Country-men; if otherwiſe; we look upon it as the Artifice of an Anti-Parliamentary Faction, under the pretence of your Concurrence and Aid, to delude and enſlave the Nation.

'It is one thing for a Perſon of Honour freely to communicate his Thoughts and Reaſonings, (although in favour of a poſſible miſtake) ſtill referring the Iſſue to the determinations of Divinity, and Reaſon: and it is another thing, for a Confederate Party to charge ſuch a Perſon with failings properly their own.

To haſten the diſpatch of that little we have to ſay, the Authours of this are of that number to whom your Letter directs. We ſhall proceed according to our Duties, and Inſtructions, and briefly acquaint your Excellency with the ſenſe of thoſe that have entruſted us.

We ſhall begin (my Lord) with the Conceſſion of what we much ſuſpect; and take for granted, that the Letter ſo inſcribed, is really Yours. We are next, to return you the thanks of your Country-men, for the expreſſions of your Piety and Care, therein con­tained; and particularly, that in the head of your Army, you have rather choſen Arguments of Reaſon, then of Force. That you propoſe the word of God, for your Rule; and the Settlement of the Nation, for your end. That you take notice of many Factions, and Intereſts intro­duced, and yet profeſs a ſervicc to none of them. That you ſo earneſtly deſire to compoſe old Differences at home, and to prevent new miſ­chiefs from abroad. And finally; That you ſubmit the Reſult of all, to a fair, and rational examination.

To profeſs, and to perſue all this, is but like your ſelf; and to theſe purpoſes, we ſhall not ſtick to live and dye at your Feet. If upon Diſcuſſion of the Reaſons you alledge, we aſſume the Liberty which your Candour allows us, of declaring wherein we differ; we beg to be underſtood with all tenderneſs toward your Excellency; to whom, as a ſtranger to our late Oppreſſions and Calamities, the ſtate of our Affairs, and Affections, may probably be miſrepreſented. To obſerve your own Method; our Letter to the Speaker, importing the recalling of the Secluded Members was the occaſion of yours to Us; which ſayes, that;Before theſe Wars, our Government was Monarchical, both in Church, and State; but (as the caſe ſtands now) Monarchy cannot poſsibly be admitted for the future, in theſe Nations; becauſe it is incompatible with the ſeveral Intereſts which have enſued upon the Quarrel: viz. the Presbyterian, Independent, Anabaptiſts, &c. (as to Eccleſiaſticks) and the Purchaſers of Crown, and Biſhops Lands, Forfeited Eſtates, &c. (as to Civils) by which means, the ſupport it ſelf is taken away; ſo that the Conſtitution, qualified to fix all Intereſts, muſt be that of a Republique: To which, the Secluded Mem­bers of 1648. will never agree, many of them being Aſſertours of Monarchy, and Diſclaimers to all Laws made ſince their Secluſion: over and above, that the Army alſo will never endure it. The Concluſion this; that it were better for us to deſiſt from that Paper, and rely upon the Promiſes of this Parliament, for a due Repreſentative: a Proviſion for ſucceeding Parliaments, and a Peaceable Set­tlement, then by an unſeaſonable Impatience to embroil the Nation in a freſh Engagement.

From hence it appears, that we might be allowed a Free Parliament, but for four Reaſons. Firſt, The Major Part Inclines to Mo­narchy and they that have ſwallowed the Revenues of the Crown, declare againſt it. Secondly, The Entangled Intereſts of this Nation can never be United, but under a Republique. Thirdly, The Army will never endure it. And laſtly, It would beget a new War, whereas this Parliament promiſis to ſettle us in a laſting Peace.

To all which, in Order, and firſt, concerning Monarchy, (not as the thing which we contend for) we (onely) wonder why it is prejudged, and parti­cularly, by thoſe Perſons who have ſworn to defend it. But, my Lord, you have hit the Reaſon; they have gained by Diſſolving it, and they are afraid to loſe by Reſtoring it. Having put the Father to Death, whom they Covenanted to Preſerve; they Abjure the Son, whom they fear to Truſt. By Force they would maintain, what by Force they have Gotten. In effect; the Queſtion, is not ſo much, what Government, as what Governours: A Single Per­ſon will down well enough, with the fierceſt of them, when it lies fair for any of themſelves. Witneſs the late Protectour, and the later Lambert. Briefly, ſince the Death of the late King, we have been Govern'd by Tumult; Bandy'd from One Faction to the Other: This Party up to day, That to Morrow; but ſtill the Nation under, and a Prey to the Strongeſt. It is a feeble Argument againſt Monarchy, that we never have been happy ſince we loſt it: and yet nothing hath appeared to obſtruct our Quiet, but the Diviſion of the Booty. What Hath been, Shall be, ſo long as this Violence continues over us: nor can any other Government Settle the Nation, then that which pleaſes the Univerſality of it. And in that, we pretend not to direct our Repreſentatives: but which way ſoever they encline, we ſhall with our Lives and Fortunes Juſtifie, and Obey their Appointments.

Whether we have Reaſon, or not, in this Particular, let your Excellency Judge.

The ſecond Objection againſt a Free Parliament, is drawn from the Neceſſity of a Republique, to reconcile all Intereſts. To this, we offer, firſt, that is not neceſſary; next, that it is not ſo much as effectual, to that purpoſe; and laſtly, that a Free Parliament ought to Introduce it, if it were both the one and the other.

The firſt we prove, thus, It is not the Form of Government, but the conſent of the People, that muſt Settle the Nation. The Publique Debt, muſt be ſecured out of the Publique Stock; and that diſpoſed of by an Engagement of the Publique Faith, to ſuch Ends, and Purpoſes, as the Repreſentative of the Nation ſhall deem expedient for the Good of it. In like manner may all other Intereſts be ſecured; whether of Opinion, or Property, under what Form of Government ſoever a Free Parliament ſhall think fit to unite us. That it is not Neceſſary, enough is ſaid. We are now to deduce from your Lordſhips Text, that a Free State would be as little effectual alſo, as to our concernes. You are pleaſed to intimate the Dangerous Inclination of the People to Monarchy: and to Balance the Satisfaction, the Right, and the Ʋniverſal Vote of the Nation, with the Intereſts of ſome few perſons, that would Rule us Themſelves, (for that's the Engliſh of the Settlement they propoſe.) By this Argument, a Republique, excludes the Negative, and more conſiderable Intereſt, in favour of a Small, and a Partial one: and if it be granted, that a Free Parliament will never agree upon a Free State, it follows neceſſarily, that that Form will never do our Buſineſs. Laſtly, what Government ſoever is forced upon us, muſt certainly expire with the Force that impoſed it; and the Voice of the People (in this caſe) is the Declaratory Voice of Providence.

The third Difficulty is. The Army will never endure it. This is to ſay, You are to be Govern'd by the Sword.

To Conclude; The Fear of a New War, and the promiſe of a ſpeedy Compoſure, are the laſt Suggeſtions of Diſſwaſion to us. Alas, my Lord, do we not ſee that Parties are uniting againſt us, Abroad, and we againſt our ſelves at Home? How certainly ſhall we be Attempted, and how eaſily overcome; without ſuch a Medium to Reconcile us All, as may Pleaſe us All! but we are promiſed fair. We beſeech your Lordſhip to conſider the Promiſers. Are not theſe the People that vow'd to make our Laſt, a Glorious King? Juſt ſuch a Glorious Nation will they make of us. Did they not next Abjure a Single Perſon; and yet after that, ſet up ANOTHER, with Another Oath? Not to purſue this Subject further: Theſe Men we dare not Truſt, nor any other of that Leaven, we have no thoughts but of Juſtice to all Intereſts; and in order to that Settlement and Good we wiſh the Nation, we ſhall impower our Repreſentatives with the Command of all we are worth, and moſt remarkably evidence our ſelves, My Lord,

Your Excellencies Servants.

London, Printed for Y. E. 1660.

About this transcription

TextTo His Excellency, General Monck A letter from the gentlemen of Devon : in answer to his Lordships of January 23. to them directed from Leicester.
AuthorL'Estrange, Roger, Sir, 1616-1704, attributed name., ; Albemarle, George Monck, Duke of, 1608-1670..
Extent Approx. 11 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 1 1-bit group-IV TIFF page image.
SeriesEarly English books online.
Additional notes

(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A87907)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 163679)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 247:669f23[23])

About the source text

Bibliographic informationTo His Excellency, General Monck A letter from the gentlemen of Devon : in answer to his Lordships of January 23. to them directed from Leicester. L'Estrange, Roger, Sir, 1616-1704, attributed name., Albemarle, George Monck, Duke of, 1608-1670.. 1 sheet ([1] p.) Printed for Y.E.,London :1660.. (Anonymous. By Sir Roger L'Estrange.) (A reply to: A letter of General George Monck's, dated at Leicester 23 Jan. and directed unto Mr. Rolle to be communicated unto the rest of the gentry of Devon.) (Annotation on Thomason copy: "Jan. 31. 1659.") (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Albemarle, George Monck, -- Duke of, 1608-1670. -- Letter of General George Monck's, dated at Leicester 23 Jan. and directed unto Mr. Rolle to be communicated unto the rest of the gentry of Devon -- Early works to 1800.
  • Great Britain -- Politics and government -- 1649-1660 -- Early works to 1800.
  • Devon (England) -- History -- 17th century -- Early works to 1800.

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  • Text Creation Partnership,
ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2011-12 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A87907
  • STC Wing L1313A
  • STC Thomason 669.f.23[23]
  • STC ESTC R205566
  • EEBO-CITATION 99864911
  • PROQUEST 99864911
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