Then in their Petitions.
They desire a r•newed Treaty of King and Parliament, with Ces∣sation of Arms.
Page 819That the Garisons of Dorset and Wiltshire be put into their hands, till the King and Parliament agree about the disposal of them.
That they be free from all charge but maintenance of those Garisons.
That all Laws not repealed be in force, and to be executed by the ordi∣nary Officers.
That all men that desire, may lay down Arms, and others who have absented themselves from their Dwellings may have liberty to return home.
This being the sum, and sufficient to trouble the General what to do, he (and the Committee with him) conclude of this An∣swer.
Although the Paper brought to me being not subscribed cannot chal∣lenge any Answer,* yet to clear my self from aversness to the satisfaction of the Countrey, who are pretended to be intrusted in these Petitions, I return this.
That my affections, and the affections of this Army, are as much in∣clined to peace, as any mens whatsoever. And we undertake the War for no other end than the establishment of a firm and happy peace, by op∣posing the Enemies thereof, and that I shall be ready so far as it concerns me, to further all lawfull means to procure it.
But having seen the Petitions, for the conveyance of which a Let-pass is desired; I must profess my self not so well satisfied with some things contained in them, as to concur to their delivering by any act of mine.
1. In particular, That a Cessation is desired, whilest by Letters writ∣ten by the King and Queen, (taken at the Battle at Naseby) it evident∣ly appears, that Contracts are already made for the bringing in ten thou∣sand French and six thousand Irish.
2. It is further desired, That the Garisons in these parts, whereof three are Sea-ports, should be delivered up to the Petitioners; which to grant were for the Parliament to acquit part of the Trust reposed in them by the Kingdom, and (considering these foreign Preparations) to run very great hazzards of these Ports to themselves and the whole Kingdom.
It is further propounded, That liberty be given to all Souldiers to dis∣band, and to return home, if they desire it; which may with equal ju∣stice be desired by all parts of the Kingdom, and so the Parliament made unable to mannage the War before Peace be setled.
These Considerations with some other, as yet to be debated, will not al∣low me to grant the Desire of the Letter.
But as to that other part of the Petition, which declares the Grie∣vances of the Countie by Plunder and violence, committed either by Garisons or Armies, I do hereby promise and undertake for the Garisons and Armies under the Command of the Parliament, that whatsoever Page 820 Disorders are committed by them, upon a Complaint making known the Offences and the Persons, justice shall be done and satisfaction given.
As also that I shall endeavour that the Parliament Garisons be regu∣lated according to any reasonable agreement with the Countrey; and without doubt the Parliament will cause them to be slighted so soon as the condition of these parts and the publick good shall permit.
And that the Army under my command shall be ordered as may be most for the good and advantage of these Counties, and the whole Kingdom, of which some reasonable testimony is already given in their quiet and orderly passage through these and other Counties without many of those Complaints which usually follow Armies.
I further desire, that in the publishing of this my Answer to your Request, all assembling of the people to pu•••ck Rendezvouz may be for∣born, and that Copies hereof may be dispersed to the several Parishes, that the Countrey may be acquainted herewith.