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of the marquis of Hertford, then duke of Somerset, judged they could not better manifest their steadiness in the cause for which they had suffered, and their resolutions of adhering to their old principles, in support of the church of England, and the ancient monarchical government of this kingdom, than in choosing to place the protection of their interest in both under the care of one, who had so early distinguished himself, even from the first approaches of the civil war, in asserting and maintaining the distressed rights of the church and crown.

This history was first begun by the express command of king Charles the First, who, having a desire that an account of the calamities, God was pleased to inflict on the unhappy part of his reign, should be reported to posterity by some worthy, honest, and knowing man, thought he could not appoint any one more adorned with such qualifications, than this author.

It is a difficult province to write the history of the civil wars of a great and powerful nation, where the king was engaged with one part of his subjects against the other, and both sides were sufficiently inflamed: and the necessity of speaking the truth of several great men, that were engaged in the quarrel on either side, who may still have very considerable relations, descended from them, now alive, makes the task invidious, as well as difficult.

We are not ignorant that there are accounts, contained in this following History, of some eminent persons in those times, that do not agree with

the relations we have met with of the same persons, published in other authors. But, besides that they who put forth this History dare not take upon them to make any alterations in a work of this kind, solemnly left with them to be published, whenever it should be published, as it was delivered to them; they cannot but think the world will generally be of opinion, that others may as likely have been mistaken in the grounds and informations they have gone upon, as our author; who will be esteemed to have had opportunities, equal at least with any others, of knowing the truth; and, by the candour and impartiality of what he relates, may be believed not to have made any wilful mistakes.

However, all things of this nature must be submitted, as this is, with great deference to the judgment of the equal reader; who will meet, in his progress through this work, with many passages, that, he will judge, may disoblige the posterity of even well meaning men in those days; much more then of such as were crafty, cunning, and wicked enough to design the mischiefs that ensued: but he shall meet with none of malice, nor any but such as the author, upon his best information, took to be impartially true. He could not be ignorant of the rules of a good historian, (which, Cicero says, are such foundations, that they are known to every body,) That he should not dare to speak any falsehood; and should dare to speak any truth. And we doubt not, but through the whole progress of this History, he will be found to have given no

occasion of suspecting his writings guilty of partial favour, or unjust enmity; and we hope, that the representing the truth, without any mixture of private passion or animosity, will be so far from giving offence to any ingenuous man of this time, that it will be received rather as an instruction to the present age, than a reproach upon the last.

Moreover, the tenderness that might seem due, out of charity, good manners, and good nature, to our countrymen, our neighbours, or our relations, hath been indulged a long space of time; and might possibly be abused, if it should not give way, at last, to the usefulness of making this work public, in an age, when so many memoirs, narratives, and pieces of history come out, as it were on purpose to justify the taking up arms against that king, and to blacken, revile, and ridicule the sacred majesty of an anointed head in distress; and when so much of the sense of religion to God, and of allegiance and duty to the crown, is so defaced, that it is already, within little more than fifty years since the murder committed on that pious prince, by some men made a mystery to judge, on whose side was the right, and on which the rebellion is to be charged.

We hope therefore it will be judged necessary as well as useful, that an impartial account of the most material passages of those unhappy times should at last come out; and that we shall have the general approbation, for having contributed thus far to awaken men to that honesty, justice, loyalty, and

piety, which formerly Englishmen have been valuable for, and without which it is impossible any government, discipline, or authority can be long maintained.

There is no doubt, but this good king had some infirmities and imperfections; and might thereby be misled into some mistakes in government, which the nation, in parliament represented, might have reformed by moderate and peaceful counsels. But the reformation lost its name, and its nature too, when so many acts passed by him in parliament, that did restrain the prerogative of the crown from doing the mischiefs it had been taxed with, had not the effect they ought to have met with, of restraining the people too from further demands; and when the inordinate ambition, anger, and revenge of some of the great leaders could not be limited within any bounds, till they had involved the nation in blood, destroyed many thousands of their own countrymen and fellow citizens, and brought at last their own sovereign to lose his head on a scaffold, under a pretended form of an high court of justice, unprecedented from the beginning of the world; and, to finish their work, had overthrown all the laws of their own country, in the defence of which, they would have had it thought, they had been obliged to draw their swords.

Without question, every body that shall duly consider the whole account of these transactions, will be able to impute mistakes, miscarriages, and faults enough to both sides: and we shall leave

them to their own sedate and composed reflections. But we cannot omit making this one observation, that where any king by ill judgment, or ill fortune, of his own, or those intrusted by him in the chief administration of his government, happens to fall into an interest contrary to that of his people, and will pursue that mistake, that prince must have terrible conflicts in the course of his reign, which way soever the controversy ends. On the other hand, that people, who, though invaded and oppressed in their just rights and liberties, shall not rest satisfied with reasonable reparations and securities, but, having got power into their hands, will make unjustifiable use of it, to the utter subversion of that government they are bound in duty and allegiance to support, do but at last make rods for their own backs, and very often bring upon themselves, from other hands, a more severe bondage than that they had shook off.

To demonstrate this general observation, let it be considered in particular, what was the advantage this poor nation gained from all the victories obtained over king Charles in the field, and, afterwards, in the imprisoning, and prosecuting him to death: what amends did it make for the infringement and prejudice, they complained of, in their rights and liberties, to set up the protector Cromwell, who, under a thousand artifices and cruelties, intended no other reformation, but, instead of whips, to chastise the poor people with scorpions; and, instead of their idol commonwealth, which some had

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