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The truth is, he had let slip a shrewd passage ere he was aware, not thinking the conclusion would turn upon him with such a terrible edge, and not knowing how to wind out of the briers, he, or his substitute, seems more willing to lay the integrity of his logic to pawn, and grant a fallacy in his own major, where none is, than to be forced to uphold the inference. For that distinction of possible and lawful, is ridiculous to be sought for in that proposition; no man doubting that it is possible to change the form of civil polity; and that it is held lawful by that major, the word “ arbitrary” implies. Nor will this help him, to deny that it is arbitrary,“ at any time, or by any undertakers,” (which are the limitations invented by him since,) for when it stands as he will have it now by his second edition,“ civil polity is variable, but not at any time, or by any undertakers," it will result upon him, belike then at some time, and by some undertakers it may. And so he goes on mincing the matter, till he meets with something in Sir Francis Bacon; then he takes heart again, and holds his major at large. But by and by, as soon as the shadow of Sir Francis hath left him, he falls off again, warping and warping, till he come to contradict himself in diameter; and denies flatly that it is “ either variable or arbitrary, being once settled.” Which third shift is no less a piece of laughter: for, before the polity was settled, how could it be variable, whenas it was no polity at all, but either an anarchy or a tyranny ? That limitation therefore, of after-settling, is a mere tautology. So that, in fine, his former assertion is now recanted, and “civil polity is neither variable nor arbitrary.”
53. Whatever else may persuade me, that this confutation was not made without some assistance or advice of the Remonstrant, yet in this eighth section that his hand was not greatly intermixed, I can easily believe. For it begins with this surmise, that “ not having to accuse the Remonstrant to the king, I do it to the parliament:" which conceit of the man clearly shoves the king out of the parliament, and makes two bodies of one. Whereas the
Answer,” gives his supposal, “ that they cannot be severed in the rights of their several concernments.” Mark, readers, if they cannot be severed in what is several, (which casts a bull's eye to go yoke with the toothless satires,) how should they be severed in their common concernments, the wel. fare of the land, by due accusation of such as are the common grievances, among which I took the Remonstrant to be one ? And therefore if I accused him to the parliament, it was the same as to accuse him to the king.
54. Next he casts it into the dish of I know not whom, “ that they flatter some of the house, and libel others whose consciences made them vote contrary to some proceedings.” Those some proceedings can be understood of nothing else but the deputy's execution. (44) And can this private concoctor of malecontent, at the very instant when he
(44) The Earl of Strafford's execution in 1640.
over, rather than to mention that public triumph of their justice and constancy, so high, so glorious, so reviving to the fainted commonwealth, with such a suspicious and murmuring expression as to call it some proceedings ? And yet immediately he falls to glossing, as if he were the only man that rejoiced at these times. But I shall discover to ye, readers, that this his praising of them is as full of nonsense and scholastic foppery, as his meaning he himself discovers to be full of close malignity. His first encomium is, “ that the sun looks not upon a braver, nobler convocation than is that of king, peers, and commons.”
55. One thing I beg of ye, readers, as ye bear any zeal to learning, to elegance, and that which is called decorum in the writing of praise, especially on such a noble argument, ye would not be offended, though I rate this cloistered lubber according to his deserts. Where didst thou learn to be so aguish, so pusillanimous, thou losel bachelor of art, as against all custom and use of speech to term the high and sovereign court of parliament, a convocation ? Was this the flower of all the synonimas and yoluminous papers, whose best folios are predestined to no better end than to make winding sheets in lent for pilchers ? (45) Couldst thou presume thus, with one word's speaking, to clap, as it were under hatches, the king with all his peers and
(45) They still continued to eat fish in Lent, like the Roman Catholics.
gentry into square caps and monkish hoods ? How well dost thou now appear to be a chip of the old block, that could find “Bridge Street and alehouses in heaven ?” Why didst thou not, to be his perfect imitator, liken the king to the vice-chancellor, and the lords to the doctors ? Neither is this an indignity only, but a reproach, to call that inviolable residence of justice and liberty by such an odious name as now a “convocation” is become, which would be nothing injured, though it were styled the house of bondage, whereout so many cruel tasks, so many unjust burdens have been laden upon the bruised consciences of so many Christians throughout the land.
56. But which of those worthy deeds, whereof we and our posterity must confess this parliament to have done so many and so noble, which of those memorable acts comes first into his praises ? None of all, not one. What will he then praise them for ? Not for any thing doing, but for deferring to do, for deferring to chastise his lewd and insolent compriests : not that they have deferred all, but that he hopes they will remit what is yet behind. For the rest of his oratory that follows, so just is it in the language of stall epistle nonsense, that if he who made it can understand it, I deny not but that he may deserve for his pains a cast doublet. When a man would look he should vent something of his own, as ever in a set speech the manner is with him that knows any thing; he, lest we should not take notice enough of his barren stupidity, declares it by alphabet, and refers us to odd remnants in his
topics. Nor yet content with the wonted room of his margin, but he must cut out large docks and creeks into his text, to unlade the foolish frigate of his unseasonable authorities, not therewith to praise the parliament, but to tell them what he would have them do. What else there is, he jumbles together in such a lost construction, as no man, either lettered or unlettered, will be able to piece up. I shall spare to transcribe him, but if I do him wrong let me be so dealt with.
57. Now although it be a digression from the ensuing matter, yet because it shall not be said I am apter to blame others than to make trial myself, and that I may, after this harsh discord, touch upon a smoother string, awhile to entertain myself and him that list, with some more pleasing fit, and not the least to testify the gratitude which I owe to those public benefactors of their country, for the share I enjoy in the common peace and good by their incessant labours; I shall be so troublesome to this declaimer for once, as to show him what he might have better said in their praise; wherein I must mention only some few things of many, for more than that to a digression may not be granted. Although certainly their actions are worthy not thus to be spoken of by the way, yet if hereafter it befal me to attempt something more answerable to their great merits, I perceive how hopeless it will be to reach the height of their praises at the accomplishment of that expectation that waits upon their noble deeds, the unfinishing whereof already surpasses what others before them have left enacted