Imatges de pÓgina

It is in this case, as with what is called the British constitution. It has been taken for granted to be good, and encomiums have supplied the place of proof. But when the nation comes to examine into its principles, and the abuses it admits, it will be found to have more defects, than I have pointed out in this work, and the former.”

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Religion often made the pretext for rebelLion.


HAT all rebellions did ever be

gin with the faireft pretences for reforming of somewhat amiss in the government, is a truth so clear, that there needs no manifestation thereof from example ; nor were they ever observed to have greater success, than when the colours for religion did openly appear in the van of their armed forces; most men being desirous to have it really thought (how bad and vile foever their practices are) that zeal to God's glory is no small part of their aim; which gilded bait hath been usually held forth to allure the vulgar by those, whose end and designs were nothing else, than to get into power, and so to possess themselves of the estate and fortune of their more opulent neighbours.”

I do not undertake to write a full history of all the disturbances and insurrections, which

• Dugdale's Preface to his Short View of the late Troubles in England.

produced in the

have been raised against the government of this realm, but only to submit to the reflection of my countrymen some of the convul- . fions in the state, which have been here- Convulfions are tofore produced by the adoption and propa- state by levelgation of such levelling principles, as are now

ling principles. so frequently and so boldly attempted to be maintained and circulated, in order that a premonitory review of past scenes may prevent the necessity of corrective severity in future. The first person, who appears in our chro- Wat Tyler the

protomartyr of nicles to have acted openly upon this level- levellers in

England. ling principle, was Walter Tyler; who having been Nain in the most emphatical act of his calling, viz. that of levelling himself with his sovereign, may be properly called the protomartyr of levellers in England. In the fifth year of king Richard II. A. D. 1381, a collector of the poll tax, which was payable by every one above the age of sixteen years, took a very unwarrantable and indecent method of ascertaining whether the daughter of this Tyler were liable to the tax. The father upon his return home, undertook Cause of Wit

Tyler's rebei, to execute summary justice upon the col- lion. lector for the indignity offered to his daughter, and murthered him with his lathing hammer. He was applauded and supported


the Duke of

at the poll tax.

by some malcontents of the day; and from
thence broke out the open rebellion, of which
Speed gives the following account.

*“ Not long after the time of that Earles
imployment into Spaine, there fell out acci-
dents, which doe plainely conuince their error
to be great, who thinke that any madnesle
is like that of an armed and ungouerned mul-
titude, whereof these times (by a kind of fate

proper to childrens raigne) gaue a most danDiscontent at gerous document. The extreame hatred borne Lancaster, and by the people to John Duke of Lancaster,

calling himselfe king of Cafile and Le011, and
the difcontentment taken at an extraordinary
taxe, levied per pol upon all sorts of people,
who were aboue sixteene yeers of age, which
(as all other the euils of the time) they im.
puted to the duke (the manner being to count
them the authors of euils, who are supposed
to haue the greatest power of doing them)
mooued the enraged multitudes upon flight
and small beginnings to runne together in
so fearefull a torrent, that it seemed the king
and kingdome were sodainely falne under
their most wicked fury. There were in this
most rebellious insurrection, the commons
and bond-men (who aspiring by force to a

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* Speed's Chronicle, c. xiii. Mon. 50. p. 733, & feq.


ters of London.

free manumission) principally those of Kent
and Essex, whose example was followed in
the neighbourshires of Surrey, Suffolke, Nor-
folke, Cambridge, and other places, by in-
credible heards and droues of like qualified
people, who (specially in Norfolke) forced
fundry principall gentlemen to attend them
in their madding

ss They of Kent embattelled themselues The rebels maf.
under two banners of St. George, and about
threescore and tenne persons upon Black-
heath by Greenwich, and from thence came
to London, where the generality of people
inchining to them, they are masters. The
priory of St. John's without Smithfield they
kept burning for about seauen daies, and the
goodly palace of the Sanoy belonging to the
duke, with all the riches therein they con-
sumed by fire in a kinde of holy outrage,
for they threw one of their fellowes into the
fame, who had thrust a piece of stolne plate
into his bofome. The rebels of Elsex came The arclibithia
to Lambeth, burnt all the archbishop's goods, records, and

' and defaced all the writings, rowles, records, those of Chanand monuments of the Chancerie, as hauing a speciall hatred to the lawyers, little to their cisgrace, for t'at they shared herein with good men also, whom they hated. But their desperate wickednesse extended itselfe beyond


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cery, burnt.

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