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It was not known that during the contest between Charles I. and the parliament, any Baptists were in the king's army, yet
court?-your very council is not free; only we have left your temples for yourself to worship in. So that I believe it will be a hard thing to root them out; although you tell the Scotch lord you will do it by degrees, as he reports.
"May it please your highness seriously to consider what hath been said, and answer these ensuing queries to your own conscience :
"1. Whether your highness had come to the height of honour and greatness you are now come to, if the Anabaptists, so called, had been so much your enemies as they were your friends?
2. Whether the Anabaptists were ever unfaithful, either to the commonwealth in general, or to your highness in particular? And if not, then what is the reason of your intended dismission?
3. Whether the Anabaptists be not as honest now as in the year 1650, and 51, and 52, &c.? And if so, why not as useful now as then?
"4. Whether the Anabaptists are not to be commended for their integrity, which had rather keep faith and a good conscience, although it may lose them their employments, than to keep their employments with the loss of both?
5. Whether the Anabaptists may not as justly endeavour to eat out the bowels of your government, as your highness may endeavour to eat them out of their employments?
6. Whether the Anabaptists did not come more justly into their employments in the army, than your highness came into the seat of government?
"7. Whether, if the Anabaptists had the power in their hands, and were as able to cast you out as you were them, and they did intend it to you as you do to them; whether, I say, your highness would not call them all knaves?
"8. Whether this be fair dealing in the sight of God and man, to pretend a great deal of love to the Anabaptists, as to major Pack and Mr. Kiffin, and a hundred more that I could name, when at the same time you intend evil against them?
"9. Whether the Anabaptist will not be in a better condition in the day of Christ that keeps his covenant with God and men, than your highness will be if you break with both?
"10. Whether a hundred of the old Anabaptists, such as marched under your command in 48, 49, 50, &c. be not as good as two hundred of your new courtiers, if you were in such a condition as you were at Dunbar in Scotland?
"11. Whether the cause of the army's defeat in Hispaniola was because there were so many Anabaptists in it? And if so, if that be the only reason why they are so much out of date?
"12. Whether your highness hath not changed your former intention, to have an equal respect to the godly, though different in judgment? And if so, whether it be not from the better to the worse?
"13. Whether your highness's conscience was not more at peace, and your mind more set upon things above, when you loved the Anabaptists, than it is now, when you hate their principles, or their service, or both?
"14. Whether your highness's court is not a greater charge to this nation than the Anabaptists in the army? And if so, whether this be the ease which you promised the people?
"15. Whether there be any disproportion betwixt the state of things now, and the state of things in the days of old? And if there be, shew us where it lieth, how, and when?
"16. Whether the monies laid out in the making of the new rivers and ponds at Hampton-court, might not have been better bestowed in paying the public faith, or the Anabaptists' arrears before their dismission?
"17. Whether it is not convenient for the Anabaptists to provide for their own safety, seeing from you they can expect none?
"18. Whether it will be any more treason to fight for our liberties and civil properties in these days, if they be denied us, than it was to fight for them in the days of the king?
"19. Whether the instrument of government be as the laws of the Medes and Persians that alter not? If so, how is it that Mr. John Biddle is now a prisoner? "20. Whether your highness may not as well violate the whole instrument of government as the 37th and 38th articles; if so, what security have the people for their liberty?
there seem to have been some of that persuasion among the troops of the parliament; and it has been assigned as a reason for dis
"21. Whether our liberty doth not wholly depend upon your will, and the will of a future protector, seeing the instrument of government is so little useful? If so, whether our condition be not as bad as ever?
22. Whether you may not as justly suffer all to be put in prison that differ from the church of England, as to suffer Mr. Biddle to be imprisoned?
23. Whether it will not be more abominable to the Anabaptists, or Independents, or Mr. Biddle, or any other professing faith in God by Jesus Christ, and are not disturbers of the civil peace, nor turn their liberty into licentiousness, to suffer for their consciences under your government, that promised liberty to such, than it was to have suffered under the king, that promised them none?
"24. Whether your highness will not appear to be a dreadful apostate and fearful dissembler, if you suffer persecution to fall upon the Anabaptists, or Independents, or them of Mr. Biddle's judgment, seeing you promised equal liberty to all?
"25. Whether this will not prove your highness's ruin, if you join with such a wicked principle to persecute for conscience, or to turn men out of the army for being Anabaptists, or for any such thing as differs from the church of England, seeing God hath confounded all such as have done so ?
26. Whether the old parliament was not turned out for leaving undone that which they ought to have done? And if so, whether those things have been done since?
"27. Whether the little parliament was not turned out for doing that which the other left undone; or taking away of tithes and other grievances? And if so, then, "28. Whether you did not intend your own ends more than you did the nation's good, in breaking the first parliament, and calling the second, and dissolving them again?
29. Whether the instrument of government was not preparing eight or nine days before the breaking up of the little parliament? And if so, whether you did not intend their dissolving?
"30. Whether you did not tell a shameful untruth to the last parliament, saying, that you did not know of their dissolving, that is to say, the little parliament, till they came to deliver up their power to you?
31. Whether your highness did not put a slur upon the lord Lambert, when he should have gone lord-deputy to Ireland, in telling the parliament it savoured too much of a monarchy; and so sent Fleetwood with a lower title?
32. Whether your highness do not intend to put another slur upon the lord Lambert, in sending for the lord-deputy to come into England, to make him generalissimo of the armies in England, Scotland, and Ireland?
33. Whether it is not convenient for the lord Lambert to consider of those actions, and to have an eye to your proceedings, lest by degrees you eat him out of all, as you intend to do the Anabaptists?
34. Whether the excessive pride of your family do not call for a speedy judg
ment from heaven, seeing pride never goeth without a fall?
35. Whether the six coach-horses did not give your highness a fair warning of some worse thing to follow, if you repent not, seeing God often forewarns before he strikes home?
My humble request is, that you will seriously consider of these few lines: although you may dislike the way by which they are communicated, yet let the matter sink deep into your heart; for these things should have met you in another manner, had not your highness cast off all such friendly communication by word of mouth, and the persons too, if they did but tell you plainly their minds. And take heed of casting away old friends for new acquaintance, as Rehoboam did, who forsook the counsel of his good old friends, and consulted with his young courtiers; which caused the ten tribes to revolt from him. And it is a deadly sign of a speedy ruin, when a prince or a state casts off the interests of the people of God; as you may see how Joash forsook the people and the house of God, and then his house fell before a few of the Assyrians, and at last his own servants conspired against him, and slew him.
* 1 Kings xii. 8.
banding one entire regiment in the army of the earl of Essex, that the colonel himself countenanced the separatists, particularly the Anabaptists. Although their numbers increased considerably from about the year 1649, to such a degree indeed as that the principal_officers in different regiments both of horse and foot became Baptists, particularly in Cromwell's own regiment of horse, and in that of the duke of Albemarle's regiment of foot, yet it is said, on good information, that previous to this there were not to be found, at any time, twenty persons of this denomination vested with command of any kind in the whole army. Until the year 1648, two only of this profession, Mr. Lawrence, and Mr. John Fiennes, a son of lord Say, were members of the house of commons; and in that year, before the death of the king, they withdrew from the parliament because they disapproved of its proceedings, and lived in retirement for about six years, when Mr. Lawrence was again called into public employment. In 1650, captain Mildmay, captain Pack, and sir John Harman, who were all Baptists, were preferred to commands at sea Major-general Harrison, whom Baxter pronounces, “a man of excellent parts, for affection and oratory, though not well seen in the principles of his religion +," was the only Baptist among the king's judges: and indeed it appears that he himself was not actually baptized till 1657, which was several years after that tragical event had taken place.
The following extract of a letter from captain Richard Deane, to Dr. Barlow, bishop of Lincoln, furnishes considerable information concerning the state of the Baptists at this period, and their conduct in the affairs of the state.
"The ground of my humbly tendering these ensuing pages to your lordship, is your declared condescension to peruse any small treatise that should be presented to you concerning the proper subject and administration of baptism. That they may in your lordship's charity, so far as their conversation suits with their doctrine, be admitted among the number of sincere Christians, I intend to bring to your remembrance some of their
"And therefore, O Cromwell! leave off thy wicked design of casting off the interest of the people of God; and let my counsel be acceptable to thee; and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thy iniquity by shewing mercy to the poor, and it may be a lengthening out of thy tranquillity.' For it is not strength united with policy, but righteousness accompanied with strength, that must keep alive your interest with God and the people. And when both these die, that is to say righteousness and sincerity, then adieu to thy greatness here, and thy eternal happiness hereafter.
"From him who wishes your happiness so long as you do well.-Printed for the information of all such as prize the liberty of their consciences, for which so much blood has been spill"."
• Crosby's History of the Baptists, vol. 2. p. 2—5. + Baxter's Life, part 1. p. 57.
leaders, and the occasions which prepared the way for the increase of their numbers.
"About thirty-eight years since, in the heat of our late troubles, episcopacy being laid aside, and presbytery only as it were by way of experiment for a season attempted, but never in a national way prosecuted with effect, every man was at liberty to pursue the persuasions of his own mind, as to entering into church-fellowship in distinct congregations, and therein to join with such as he conceived came nearest to the primitive pattern in worship and discipline. About that time and a little after there were many ministers, some who had been before ordained, and others who had been admitted to parochial and other public charges. Among whom of my acquaintance were Mr. Tombes, sometime preacher at the Temple; Mr. Christopher Blackwood in Kent, Mr. Benjamin Cox at Bedford, Mr. Edward Harrison, Mr. Daniel Dyke, and some others in or near Hertfordshire; Mr. Hansard Knollys, and many others who did openly profess, and several of them write and publish, their opinions concerning the proper subject and manner of baptism. Some of them voluntarily left their parochial charges and benefices, as not approving the baptizing of infants, and collected distinct congregations of such as agreed with them in this doctrine of baptism; which by a succession of ordained ministers in the places of such as are dead, remain to this day.
"In the year 1649, the Baptists greatly increased in the country, and their opinions did likewise spread themselves into some of the regiments of horse and foot in the army; and that in 1650 and afterward, some professing this opinion were called from their private employments, and preferred to commands at sea. Among others, captain Mildmay; to command the admiral flag-ship, under the late duke of Albemarle, when he was one of the generals at sea. Captain Pack, to command the flag-ship under sir George Ascue, rear-admiral; sir John Harman, to command the admiral flag-ship under his royal highness the duke of York.
"But, notwithstanding some of this sect had that countenance given them as I have mentioned, by such as had the principal management of affairs; yet this sect in general, as they have published in their apologies, were the least of any sort of people concerned in any vicissitudes of government that happened among My station within the aforementioned ten years gave me opportunity to know most persons and actions of note, in reference as well to civil as martial affairs, and particularly those of this sect. And although in and after the year 1649, their numbers did increase, insomuch that the principal officers in divers regiments of horse and foot became Anabaptists, particularly in Oliver Cromwell's own regiment of horse when he was captaingeneral of all the parliament's forces, and in the duke of Albemarle's own regiment of foot when he was general of all the
English forces in Scotland; yet by the best information I could have, there were not, at any time before the year 1649, twenty Anabaptists in any sort of command in the whole army; and until after the year 1648, there were no more than two, viz. Mr. Lawrence, and Mr. John Fiennes, one of the lord Say's sons, who made profession of this opinion, chosen into the commons' house of parliament, and both these did in that year and in the lifetime of Charles I., as I have been credibly informed, voluntarily depart from that parliament, as not approving their proceedings against the person of the king, and sat no more in it, but lived privately until about six years afterward. A new form of government being then formed, and in appearance settled, Mr. Lawrence was again called into public employment.
"I confess to your lordship, I never heard of any Anabaptists in the king's army during the contest between his majesty and the parliament and perhaps, because there were some in the parliament's army and none in the king's army, some persons have from thence taken occasion to affirm, that the opinion of Anabaptism in the church is opposite to monarchy in the state. It is true, as before is mentioned, that this opinion was no general bar to the continuance of such as did embrace it in public employments, though I have cause to believe that one special reason of disbanding one entire regiment in the earl of Essex's army was, because the colonel entertained and gave countenance to separatists and some Anabaptists. And that which occasioned Oliver Cromwell, after he usurped the government of lord-protector, to discharge at once all the principal officers of his own regiment upon other pretences was, for that they were all Anabaptists*."
It belongs to this period, also, to introduce some account of another distinguished military officer, who ranks among the denomination of Baptists. I refer to COLONEL HUTCHINSON, who was governor of Nottingham-castle during the time of the civil wars. He was one of the king's judges; and, whether in the senate or the field, uniformly distinguished himself as a person of great courage, judgment, piety, and liberality. An interesting narrative of his life and times, drawn up by his amiable and accomplished wife, has been recently issued from the press, in which the following account is given of the manner in which he was led to embrace the sentiments of the Baptists: the circumstances are related with the characteristic simplicity and good sense which pervade the whole work.
"At Nottingham they had gotten a very able minister into the great church, but a bitter Presbyterian. Him and his brethren my lady Fairfax caressed with so much kindness, that they grew impudent to preach up their faction openly in the pulpit, and to revile the others, and at length they would not suffer any of the
* Crosby, vol. 2. Preface, p. 2—5.