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ing the valleys at the feet of the Alps, ancient professors of the orthodox faith; by which edict they are commanded to abandon their native habitations, stripped of all their fortunes, unless within twenty days they embrace the Roman faith; and with what cruelty the authority of this edict has raged against a needy and harmless people, many being slain by the soldiers, the rest plundered and driven from their houses, together with their wives and children, to combat cold and hunger among desert mountains, and perpetual snow. These things with what commotion of mind you heard related, what a fellow-feeling of the calamities of brethren pierced your breasts, we readily conjectured from the depth of our own sorrow, which certainly is most heavy and afflictive. For being engaged together by the same tie of religion, no wonder we should be so deeply moved with the same affections upon the dreadful and undeserved sufferings of our brethren. Besides, that your conspicuous piety and charity toward the orthodox, wherever overborne and oppressed, has been frequently experienced in the most urging straits and calamities of the churches. For my own part, unless my thoughts deceive me, there is nothing wherein I should desire more willingly to be overcome, than in good-will and charity toward brethren of the same religion, afflicted and wronged in their quiet enjoyments; as being one that would be accounted always ready to prefer
the peace and safety of the churches before my particular interests. So far, therefore, as hitherto lay in our power, we have written to the Duke of Savoy, even almost to supplication, beseeching him that he would admit into his breast more placid thoughts and kinder effects of his favor towards his most innocent subjects and suppliants; that he would restore the miserable to their habitations and estates, and grant them their pristine freedom in the exercise of their religion. Moreover, we wrote to the chiefest princes and magistrates of the Protestants, whom we thought most nearly concerned in these matters, that they would lend us their assistance to entreat and pacify the Duke of Savoy in their behalf. And we make no doubt now but have done the same, you and perhaps much more. For this so dangerous a precedent, and lately removed severity of utmost cruelty toward the reformed, if the authors of it meet with prosperous success, to what apparent dangers it reduces our religion, we need not admonish your prudence. On the other side, if the Duke shall once but permit himself to be atoned and won by our united applications, not only our afflicted brethren, but we ourselves shall reap the noble and abounding harvest and reward of this laborious undertaking. But if he still persist in the same obstinate resolutions of reducing to utmost extremity those people, (among whom our religion was either disseminated by the first doctors of the
Gospel, and preserved from the defilement of superstition, or else restored to its pristine sincerity long before other nations obtained that felicity,) and determines their utter extirpation and destruction; we are ready to take such other course and councils with yourselves, in common with the rest of our reformed friends and confederates, as may be most necessary for the preservation of just and good men, upon the brink of inevitable ruin; and to make the Duke himself sensible that we can no longer neglect the heavy oppressions and calamities of our orthodox brethren. Farewell.
OLIVER, Protector of the Commonwealth of ENGLAND, &c., to the most High and Mighty Lords, the States of the UNITED PROVINCES.
OST High and Mighty Lords, our dearest Friends and Confederates : - We make no doubt but that all men will bear us this testimony, that no considerations, in contracting foreign alliances, ever swayed us beyond those of defending the truth of religion, or that we accounted anything more sacred, than to unite the minds of all the friends and protectors of the Protestants, and of all others who at least were not their enemies. Whence it comes to pass, that we are touched with so much the more grief of mind, to hear that the Protestant princes and cities, whom it so much behoves to live in friendship and concord together, should begin to be so jealous of
each other, and so ill disposed to mutual affection; more especially that your lordships and the King of Sweden, than whom the orthodox faith has not more magnanimous and courageous defenders, nor our republic confederates more strictly conjoined in interests, should seem to remit of your confidence in each other; or rather, that there should appear some too apparent signs of tottering friendship and growing discord between ye. What the causes are, and what progress this alienation of your affection has made, we protest ourselves to be altogether ignorant. However, we cannot but conceive an extraordinary trouble of mind for these beginnings of the least dissension arisen among brethren, which infallibly must greatly endanger the Protestant interests. Which if they should gather strength, how prejudicial it would prove to Protestant churches, what an occasion of triumph it would afford our enemies, and more especially the Spaniards, cannot be unknown to your prudence, and most industrious experience of affairs. As for the Spaniards, it has already so enlivened their confidence, and raised their courage, that they made no scruple, by their ambassador residing in your territories, boldly to obtrude their counsels upon your lordships, and that in reference to the highest concerns of your republic; presuming, partly with threats of renewing the war, to terrify, and partly with a false prospect of advantage, to solicit your lordships to forsake your ancient and most faithful
friends, the English, French, and Danes, and enter into a strict confederacy with your old enemy, and once your domineering tyrant, now seemingly atoned; but, what is most to be feared, only at present treacherously fawning to advance his own designs. Certainly he who of an inveterate enemy lays hold of so slight an occasion of a sudden to become your counsellor, what is it that he would not take upon him? Where would his insolency stop, if once he could but see with his eyes what now he only ruminates and labors in his thoughts; that is to say, division and a civil war among the Protestants? We are not ignorant that your lordships, out of your deep wisdom, frequently revolve in your minds what the posture of all Europe is, and what more especially the condition of the Protestants that the Cantons of Switzerland, adhering to the orthodox faith, are in daily expectation of new troubles to be raised by their countrymen embracing the Popish ceremonies; scarcely recovered from that war, which for the sake of religion was kindled and blown up by the Spaniards, who supplied their enemies both with commanders and money: that the counsels of the Spaniards are still contriving to continue the slaughter and destruction of the Piedmontois, which was cruelly put in execution the last year: that the Protestants under the jurisdiction of the emperor are most grievously harassed, having much ado to keep possession of their native homes: