I Have now done with this Fox that ran up and downe the Towne, like one of Sampson's, with a Firebrand in his Tayl, indeavouring to inflame the people, and possesse them with an ill opinion of the Parliament and their Proceedings, that so they might be the better fitted and prepared to be made use of, by those who set him on work, and set on foot such other like practises amongst the people in the City for the end, thinking thereby to compasse their designes.Page 162
I shall end with making an Apology for my self, that I, who often reproach him for Un•haritableness, may be thought my selfe failing therein, because my Answer to this Discourse of his in many places is somewhat tart and sharp. I confesse my heart doth no way approve of overmuch sharpnesse in Polemic writings; but this man, to pass by his vaine and foolish boastings and braggs of his Country-men the Scots, and that to the disgrace of this Nation, not easily borne withall by an English man, hath in many places besides so basely and falsely, in mine owne knowledge, traduced and slandered truly pious and godly men, charging them with those things that they abhor to think of, much more to p•actise; and all this to the end to create offences and scandalls, and lay stumbling blocks in the way of those, who being well-affected people, see not into his Design, which he covers over with the shew of Zeale for the Church, which he calls Religion, and who are likely thereby to be turned out of the right way and made a prey of, if by pulling off the vizard and clearly and fully discovering the foule face that lies hid under it unto them, they be not disabused and preserved from being taken in this Grinn laid to in∣trap them, that I therefore think it necessary in such a case (to use his owne words, but with more reason and upon better ground) to answer a Foole according to his folly, lest he seeme both to himselfe and to others, to their hurt, wise in what he hath most falsely said, and to as ill an end. The Vizard of Zeale for Religion p•evailes very much with well-meaning people, as he termes them, in an insinuating way, whom he would abuse and bring to give credit to his lies and slanders, there∣by to draw them to have an ill opinion, both of men, and of wayes of truth; therefore it is not onely lawfull, but necessary in such cases, to discover unto the people such men and their practises to the full, which they use to mask under the specious Nam•s of Truth and Religion, pulling off their Vailes and Masks, and making their practises appeare such as indeed they are, that the people may be the better and sooner hrought to discerne them, hate them, and be kept from being insna•ed by them: and in this respect we see what the Prophet Elijah did, and what his carriage was in jeering the Priests of Baal, that he might thereby discover them and their falshood and madnesse the more apparently to the people: this was in him, and in like cases will be so in others, the exercise of Charity; and no breach of Charity, to have more respect to the people, that they may not be abused to their hurt, than to those, and their credits who seeke to abuse them; where I therefore have indeavoured to doe the same in this particular, having the same End, and doing nothing out of malice to the Party, (for whom I can desire and pray that being hereby the more convinced of his falsehood in things of great•st concernment, and of his slanders so often reiterated against men truly godly and of greatest worth and merit, he may be brought to prevent the judgements of God by true and timely repentance) I hope I may rest satisfied that I have not broke the Rules of Charity in this Answer; and that others also will so account of it.
To conclude, I now leave it to those who are Indifferent and Unprejudiced, to judge, by Whom Truth is manifested.Page 163
HAving had just occasion, in this my Answer, more than once to mention the sending of Emissaries into the City, and upon the Exchange, such as Cran∣ford to vent notorious lyes and base devised slanders, against honest men; that it may appear to all the world what G•ound I had for that my Assertion, I shall here, as an APPENDIX to the foregoing Answer, set downe what was witnessed by one Abraham Babington a Citizen, concerning that base slander, which Cranford published openly upon the Exchange, going thither on purpose for that end: This which Babington certified with others, as I remember, against Cranford, at the Barre in the House of Commons, when Cranford had there first denyed the thing, made him acknowledge it, and for his excuse, he had nothing to say, But that Mr. Baylie, one of the Scotch Commissioners and Ministers, wished him to doe it; but the least Proof thereof, or the least ground of suspition for such a thing, he could not shew, nor never was by any produced. Cranford was fined as I remem∣ber 500 l, and Imprisoned for breach of the Priviledges of the House. The Lords would never take any farther notice of it, in respect of their Members, but de∣spised so base a practice in such a person, having been openly in the House of Commons, convinced of it, and so censured for it; Spreta vanescunt: But a Member of the House of Lords, did goe to Alderman Langham's House, being a friend of his, to be satisfied, whether his two Sons would witnesse this, or not; which they did both much to this pu•pose, and as I remember, set it also under their hands. All that I wish concerning Cranford (to whom I beare no malice) is, that he may truely repent for so base and false a slander cast upon men of that Place and Worth, and to such an End, in such a Time and Place: whether it were a Lie of his owne inventing, or that he would carry it about being invented by another, the 15. Psalme may admonish him to repent for it. And as there could not be a baser Lye, than that of the Plot, whereof neither He, nor any Man in the world, as I have said, could ever shew the least colour or shadow of proofe; so that which he farther addeth concerning a Committee of seven Lords, and 14. Commons appointed to examine it, who would not meet together, because some of themselves were Parties, is easily to be manifested to be a notorious false in∣vented Lye; for there never was any such Committee, nor any such thing thought of in the Houses; or heard of, to appoint a Committee about, till he (as he saith) was sent to publish it upon the Exchange, for which he was presently sent for, and censured in the House, where, if there had been any such Committee appointed, he would certainly have alledged that in excuse of himselfe.
Being lately at Mr. Bellamy's Shop in Cornhill, about Exchange time, there came hastily into the Shop the second Son of Alderman Langham (who came immediately from the Exchange) and asked me, if I heard the news (speaking also to those in the Shop) I answered, I heard no news; No? answered he, there is as dangerous a Plot disco∣vered as hath been known, which was related by him to this effect; that a Sub-Com∣mitt•e of the grand Committee, or Committee of both Kingdomes had, and did hold correspondency with the Kings party, endeavouring to secure to themselves, their Estates and Lives, and in answer hereof engaged themselves to deliver up into the Kings hands all such Townes, Forts, Magazines, &c. as were intrusted in their hands, or what else, in furtherance of the Kings Designes: This he af∣firmed that Mr. Cranford the Minister should make publick upon the Exchange, in the hearing of many, wishing (I meane Mr. Cranford) that those that heard him Page 164 would make it more publick, and say to this effect, and he would make all good; and saith Mr. Langham, Mr. Cranford is now come from the House, and therefore you need not doubt of it, as Cranford himselfe had related. But within three houres after, going to the Excise Office, with one of the Officers of Excise, I met, in Broadstreet, both Alderman Langhams Sons, who were giving a large description of this afore∣mentioned businesse to Alderman Cullam, and after they had made it knowne to the full, it fell to my share againe to demand, if he could justifie what before he had infor∣med me concerning the great Plot; the Elder Gentleman, with the second, answered, that their Father had sent them both to M•. Cranford, to know farther of the great Plot that he had made so publick upon the Exchange; Mr. Cranford (as they told me) seemed very glad to heare that they were sent by their Father, (for so he ex∣pressed) saying, your Father is a stirring man, and I desire he should know the full of it, which, saith Mr. Cranford is thus; There is a Sub-Committe, of the grand Committee of both Kingdomes, and this Sub-Committee have indeavored to betray us and the Kingdome to save their owne Lives and Estates: In what man∣ner would they have betray'd the Kingdome, demands the Eldest Son? Mr. Cranford an∣swers, Sir, the Plot is as dangerous a Plot of Treason, as hath been known for a long time; for saith Mr. Cranford, this Sub-Committee have held correspondency with the Kings party, and have engaged themselves to give the King notice of all our designes, and doe what lay in their power, to deliver up all Townes, Forts, Castles, Magazines, and that they would assist him to the utmost, provided they might have security for their owne Lives and Estates. Mr. Langham farther de∣sired Mr. Cranford to tell him who they were that thus endeavored to betray the King∣dome? Sir, (saith Mr. Cranford) I have a Bedroll of Ten of them in my pocket, and you shall know who they are, for saith he, I desire they may be knowne, and to make the businesse as publick as I may; their names are these, viz. the Lord Say, the Lord Wharton, Sir Henry Vane Junior, Mr. Sollicitor, these are freshest in my memory, therefore I insert no other, onely the Lord of Northumberland; yea farther, saith Mr. Cranford, (according to these Gentlemens relation) there is a Com∣mittee of seven Lords and fourteeen Commons chosen to examine this Plot, and an Order, That unlesse all were present, it should not be examined; and that these seaven Lords and fourteen Commons would not be got together, many of them being parties in the Plot. This that I have told you (saith Mr. Cranford) you may make it publick, and I will make it good; every part hereof I question not but will be made good by those two Gentlemen before inserted: This very relation to the full did I hear from them a third time the same Evening upon the Exchange in the hearing of many; it being Mr. Cranfords desire to make it publick. This is the summe of what I heard from them.