That you may know the generall Reasons of Our being here, you must understand, That when We found it neither safe, nor honourable, to expose Our Person to the tumultuous and licentious proceedings of many (which to this day are unpunished) who did disorderly approach neer Our Court at Whitehall, We trusted this part of Our Dominions chiefly to reside in; whereas most of the Gentry already have, so We assure Our selves the rest of you will give Us cleer testimony of your service and obedience, which we will never use otherwise then for the defence of the true Orthodox Religion professed and setled in Queen Elizabeths time, and confirmed by the Authority of the Statutes of this Realm, the defence of the Laws and Fundamental Constitutions of this Kingdom (as the justest Measure and Rule for Our Prerogative, and your Liberties and Rights;) and lastly, for the preservation of the Peace of this Kingdom.
As for Our own Zeal to the Protestent profession, We refer all the world to Our daily exercise of, and Our Declarations concerning it, and execution of the Laws against Papists; so likewise We cannot but declare Our Self most heartily sorry to finde such Separatists and Schismaticks, who presume against the Law, to foment new Doctrines and disciplines to the disturbance of Church and State.
For the Law, it being the common inheritance of Our people, we shall never inforce any Prerogative of Ours beyond it, but submit Our Self to it, and give you, and all Our Subjects the fullest latitude of it, both for the liberty of your Persons, and the propriety of your estates. And for the invoilable confidence and assurance hereof, as We take God (the Searcher of all hearts) to witnesse Our reall intention herein, so We shall no longer desire you to stand for the defence of Our Person, Honour, and just Prerogatives, then we shall maintain the Laws of the Land, the liberty of your persons and the propriety of your Goods.
And for the cleer understanding of Our Resolutions to maintain Peace, we may have the confidence and happiness to refer (against all malignity whatsoever) to Our former Sixteeen yeers Reign: (too long to dissemble Our Nature) if in all this time We never caused the effusion of one drop of bloud, it must needs be thought, that in Our riper judgement in Government, We should never open such Issues as might drown Us and Our Posterity in them: But we are sure to have no enemies, but in the defence of the true Protestant Profession, the Right of the established Laws, and for the preservation of peace, and certainly all these must be all yours, as well as Our enemies.
And to the end that this present Posture wherein we meet, should not affright you with the distempers of the times, the Example of the two Houses having made Us prepare for a Guard to Us and Our Childrens Persons, We wish you to look into the composition and Constitution of it, and you will finde it so far from the face or fear of War, that it serves to secure you, as well as Us, from it: For Our Choice is of the prime Gentry, and of one Regiment of Our Trained Bands, which cannot be thought to oppresse the Countrey - (being their own) nor war with themselves. And we furthur assure you, We never intended to use Forraigners or disaffected in Religion: And that you may fully assure your selves of Our sole dependancy upon the love and service of Our own People, to live and die with them, We have armed these Our Subjects; which had been most irrationall, if we had ever intended to have used Strangers: And furthur, you may perceive that We receive none, but such as stand cleer in Loyalty and Religion, for which reason We have caused the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy to be given them. Likewise, to prevent any distempers at home, We have, and shall put the Trained-Bands of all this Our Kingdom under the Command of Persons of honour, confidence, and affection to their Country, straitly charging, upon their Allegiance, no Officer to accept any command in them, nor Souldiers to obey any, save such as are authorized by Us. And for the prevention of any innovated power over you, you shall have Us here to govern you, and the Souldiory to protect you in peace, and to relieve you against all oppressions; for that, as we have told you before, must arise from some great violation (which we hope God will prevent) and not from this preparation of our Subjects. Therefore let none of you be affrighted with vain fears; if such a War should follow, it follows the authors home to their own doors: And such (by the confidence of Our Person with you) We assure Our Self you are not.
Here We had left you to your fidelity and duty, had not some malicious insolence in Our former meetings sent forth most presumptuous Summons, deceiving Our people, and presuming upon Our Royal Authority; and these present themselves as great Defenders of Religion, peace, and liberty; Whereas they become infectious and contagious to the people, seducing them into vain fancies and delusions, as may appear by their Warrants which we could trace to som: pulpits, as We are credibly informed: And you see it were just in Us, to punish these as Authors of sedition, but that it would be too great a favour, for it would honour them with the Title of Martyrdom, for Gods cause, as they vainly pretend: But you may now see from whence this Spirit comes, that would make Us to be in the Act of destruction of Religion, Our person a disturber of the peace, and ready to introduce slavery. These here are all forraign Forces We have, or ever shall intend to have, to act these great designes, notwithstanding the vain fears hitherto imagined. So that you see it is high time that these fancies were dispersed and driven away, that We might be repaired in Honour and Interest, and you enjoy the blessing of peace and happinesse; the advancement whereof shall be Our study and comfort: and therefore We shall (when you shall think it a convenient time) ease you in the number of the Trained-Bands: And for your Billet-money, it had long since paid, but that no part of the Subsidies (which We passed for that purpose) came to Our hands, and We shall not be wanting in any thing that lyeth in Us, for the full satisfaction thereof: And shall make Our Grace and Bounty to you answerable to your best fidelity and loyalty, as occassion shall be offered to Us.
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