The Kings answer to the propositions for peace as was pretended in the club-mens petition to His Majesty with the copie of a letter from Sir Lewis Dives, and another from Colonell Butler, governour of Wareham, sent to them and read in their quarters : also a copie of articles and directions, and divers other passages of their proceedings and intentions, and a list of their chiefe leaders names and which of them are taken and who not : with other papers brought by our scouts from the army.
Charles I, King of England, 1600-1649.
Page  [unnumbered]Page  3

CAROLUS REX:

HIs Majestie being himselfe so deeply afflicted with the miseries and calamities brought upon all his poore Subiects in generall by this unnaturall war, doth not at all wonder, that the grievous and more particular sufferings of the Inhabitants of the Countie of Dorset should urge them to seek ease and releefe, though by wayes lesse regular; and being entirely perswaded, that their intenti∣ons in their late assembly, and in their present addresse to his Maiestie, are full of dutie and loyaltie to his person and government, is so far from reprehending them, that hee is verie glad to find so many of his loyall Subiects united in a joynt and heartie sence of the publike. And that by this particular application of themselves to his Maiestie, they have afforded him the meanes to informe them more particularly of the Justice of his cause, and his sincere and constant desires and endeavours for peace, than appeares by their profest neutralitie they have hitherto been: which that he might the better do, and that there may thereby be wrought a perfect union and coniunction between his Maiestie, and those who professe to be so sincerely affected with the same pious de∣sires of the publike good, his Maiestie will verie speedily send unto the Petitionees, or unto such as they shall depute within the said Countie, persons fully instructed in the course of all his Maiesties former pro∣ceedings, and of his present resolutions. And in the meane time, as an instance of his gracious intentions towards the Petitioners, hee is plea∣sed to give these particular answers to their severall desires.

To the first, that whensoever propositions of peace shall be made unto his Majestie by those at Westminster, his eares shall be alwayes open unto them and not only ready to receive them, but even to seek and sollicit for them, when ever hee can probably judge that they will not reject his overture, whereof the Petitioners need make no doubt, his Majestie having neglected no occasion to invite them to a treatie of peace, the blessing therof was never more to be implored of Almightie God, nor to be more industriously endeavoured by all good men, than at this time, when without it (as the Petitioners well observe) this Kingdome is likely to be made the prey of a forraine Nation, the Scots Page  4 being at this present advanced with an Army so far into the heart of the Kingdome, as already even to threaten the Westerne parts. And his Majestie doth further promise in the word of a King, that if a Trea∣tie may be procured, hee will seek no other conditions of peace, than those mentioned by the Petitioners, viz The glorie of God, in the maintenance of the true Reformed Protestant Religion, the just and inseparable right of the Crowne, the just power and priviledges of Parliament, and the lawfull rights and liberties of the Subject, and all these under none of these ambiguous termes whereby the contaarie partie have deluded and misled so many of his good Subjects, preten∣ding they fight for the same, making the knowne Lawes of the Land (which cannot deceive) the measure of each particular.

To the second his Majestie doth promise, that if a Treatie may be procured, he will earnestly desire a cessation of Armes, as hee did in the last at Vxbridge, though to his great griefe not consented unto by the other partie, to the end that a Treatie tending to peace may not proceed bloud: And his Majesties desire is, that the book of the said Treatie at Vxbridge to be read to the Petitioners for their satisfaction in this point, and manifestation of his desire of peace.

To the third, that in case for the sins of the Nation, the obstinacie of the other partie cannot be overcome; but that his Majestie and his People must yet be further scourged by Gods afflicting hand of war, that his Majestie is so deeply sensible of his Supplicants, and all his o∣ther good Subjects sufferings, by contributions, taxes, free quarter and plunder, that whatsoever can be done on his Majesties part in the three first, by all the moderation that can possibly be used, unto the latter by the severest justice shall be carefully and effectually endeavoured: As for the point of trusting in the Petitioners hands such of his Forts and Garrisons as shall be thought necessarie to be continued, his Majestie makes no doubt, but if peace may not be procured, it shall so evidently appeare unto the Petitioners, who have been the Authours, and are the Contrivers of their miseries, that they will prove the heartiest Cham∣pions of their Kings, their owne, and Gods cause; and consequently, be as fit persons as any his Majestie can chuse, with what neere best concernes his safetie, and their protection: but for this particular, as after for the future maintaining of the said Garrisons, his Majestie will by those whom he shall employ unto the Petitioners, advise with them of the time, and manner how his service may be done, must be their satisfaction.

Page  5 To the last, that a chiefe calamitie of war, is the silencing of the Lawes, and if it were possible to uphold their due and currant execu∣tion, the Sword could no longer: but as far forth as it is possible, that militarie affaires can be governed by legall inflictions on offenders, his Majestie is verie desirous to give the Petitioners all imaginable satisfa∣ction; but being a matter of such intricacie, the particular wayes and method of it must be ripened by further debate.

As for the point of leave for His Majesties mis-led Subjects, to lay downe armes, and to returne to their habitations, there to live unquestioned and unmolested, it is that whereunto his Majestie hath already many times given more then a permission, that is a speciall in∣vitation by severall gracious Proclamations, which for the Petition∣ers satisfaction, he shall very willingly renew; as for the other part which concernes those at present ingaged in His Majesties service, and those under restraint, His Majestie is too confident of the Petitioners affection to him and his Kingdomes safety, to believe while his ene∣mies are so strong, and daily forcing every man to take up Armes a∣gainst him, and whilst a Forraigne Nation is in the bowells of this Kingdome ready to devoure it, that they would wish him one man lesse in his Army, or one man more at libertie to joyne with them; as for all such persons as are absent from their home, and not inga∣ged, in His Majesties service, it shalbe verie accomptable to His Ma∣jestie, that they returne to their homes to tend the service and quiet of their Countrey, according to the Petitioners desires, and for all Acts of Parliament, and Lawes unrepealed, in what concernes the Civill Government in particular, for Assises, Sessions, and the like, the Petitioners undertaken the protection of His Majesties Ministers of Justice, His Majestie will i••ue his Commands unto them all respe∣ctively, to performe their constant duties to the established Lawes.

At the Court at Ragland Castle the 8.th day of Iuly, 1645.

By His Majesties speciall direction and Command.

George Digby.