The Levellers page

The poore wise-mans Admonition


under the Command of his
Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax,
read, assented unto, and subscribed
by all Officers, and Souldiers
of the severall Regiments,
at the generall Rendezvouz
neare Newmarket,
on the fift of June, 1647.

WHEREAS upon the Petition intended and agreed upon in the Army, in March last, to have been presented to the Generall, for the obtaining of our due and necessary concernments as Souldiers; the Honorable House of Commons being unseasonably prepossessed with a Copie thereof, and (as by the sequell we suppose) with some strange misrepresentations of the carriage and intentions of the same, was induced to send downe an Order for surpressing the Petition, and within two or three dayes after, upon further misinformation, and scandalous suggestions, of the like or worse nature, and by the indirect practice of some malitious and mischievous persons (as we suppose) surprizing or other wise abusing the Parliament. A Declaration was published in the name of both Houses, highly censuring the said Petition, and declaring the Petitioners, if they should proceed thereupon, no lesse then enemies to the State, and disturbers of the publick peace. And whereas at the same time and since, divers eminent Officers of the Army have been brought into question and trouble about the said Petition, whereby both they and the rest of the Officers were disabled, or dissouraged for the time, from further acting or appearing therein on the souldiers behalfe, And wheras by the aforesaid proceedings and the effects thereof, the souldiers of this Army (finding themselves so stopt in their due, and regular way of making knowne their just grievances, and desires to, and by their Officers) were enforced to an unusuall (but in that case nesessary) way of correspondence and agreement amongst themselves, to chuse out of the severall Troops and Companies severall men, and those out of their whole number, to chuse two or more for each Regiment, to act in the name and behalfe of the whole souldiery of the respective Regiments Troops and Companies, in the prosecution of their rights and desires in the said Petition, as also of their just vindication and writing in reference to the aforesaid proceedings upon and against the same, who have accordingly acted and done many things, to those ends, all which the souldiers did then approve as their owne acts.

And whereas afterwards (upon the sudden sending down of Field-Marshall Skippon, and those other Officers of the Army that were Members of the House of Commons, to quiet distempers in the Army, fresh hopes being conceived of having our desires again admitted to be made known, and considered in a regular way, and without such misrepresentations as formerly, the Officers and Souldiers of the Army (except some few dissenting Officers) did againe joyne in a representation of their common grievances, and the Officers (except as before) did agree upon a narrative Accompt of the grounds, rise and growth of the discontents in the Army, and their proceedings in relation thereunto, with an overture of the best expedients, to remove or satisfie the same; both which were presented to the same Members of the House, and by them reported to the House. And wheras the Parliament having thereupon voted, and ordered some particulars, onely towards satisfaction of our grievances, hath since proceeded to certain resolutions of sudden disbanding the Army by peeces; which resolution being taken, and to be executed, before full or equall satisfaction given to the whole Army in any of the grievances, before effectuall performance of that satisfaction in part, which the preceding Votes seem'd to promise, as to some of the grievances, and before any consideration at all of some others most materiall, (as by the result of a generall Councell of Warre on Saturday May 29. was in generall declared, and is now more fully demonstrated in particular by a representation thereupon, agreed unto by us: we all cannot but look upon the same resolutions of disbanding us in such manner, as proceeding from the same malicious and mischievous principles and intentions, and from the like indirect practises of the same persons abusing the Parliament, and is as the former proceedings against us before mentioned did, and not without carnall and bloody purposes (for some of them have not stuck to declare or intimate) after the body of the Army should be disbanded, or the Souldiers divided from their Officers, then to question, proceed against, and execute their malicious intentions upon all such particular Officers and Souldiers in the Army, as had appeared to act in the Premises in the behalfe of the Army: And whereas upon a late Petition to the Generall from the Agitants, in behalfe of the Souldiers grounded upon the preceding considerations, relating to the same resolutions of disbanding, the same generall Councell of Warre to prevent the danger and inconveniences of those disturbings, or tumultuous actings or confluences which the dis-satisfaction and jealousie thereupon also grounded, were like suddenly to have produced in the Army, to advise the Generall first to contract the Quarters of the Army, and then to draw the same to an orderly Rendezvouz for the satisfaction of all, and that his Excellency would immediately send up to move and desire the Parliament to suspend any present proceeding upon the said resolution of disbanding, to resume the consideration of the grievances, and desire, sent up from the Army, and not to disband it in pieces before just and equall satisfaction given to the whole; And whereas some of the Regiments appointed for disbanding, upon notice thereof withdrawing themselves from the Quarters adjacent to the appointed Rendezvouz, and drawing towards the Head-Quarters; and the contracting their Quarters, according to the said advice of the Councel of War.

We the Officers and Souldiers of severall Regiments here after named, are now met at a generall Rendez-vouz, and the Regiments appointed as afore-said to be disbanded, have not appeared, nor can appeare; but are resolved not to appeare at the severall and respective Rendezvouz, appointed as aforesaid for their disbanding; and divers other things have been done by severall other parties or members of the Army, necessarily relating to the good and concernment of the whole in those affaires. Now for as much as wee know not how far the malice, Injustice, and Tiranicall Principles of our enemies, that have already prevailed so far to abuse the Parliament and the Army (as is afore mentioned) in the past proceedings against the Army may further prevaile to the danger and prejudice of our selves, or any Officers, or Souldiers of the Army, or other persons that have appeared to act any thing in behalfe of the Army, or how far the same may further prevaile to the danger or prejudice of the Kingdome in raising a new warre, or otherwise: Therefore for the better prevention of all such dangers, prejudices, or other inconveniences that may ensue; and withall for better satisfaction to the Parliament and Kingdome, concerning our desires of conforming to the authority of the one, and providing the good and quiet of the other, in the present affaires of disbanding, and for a more assured way whereby, that affaires may come to a certaine issue, (to which purpose we herein humbly implore the present and continued assistance of God, the Righteous Iudge of all) wee the Officers and Souldiers of the Army subscribing hereunto; doe hereby declare, agree, and promise, to and with each other, and to, and with the Parliament and Kingdome as followeth.

1. That wee shall chearfully and readily disband when thereunto required by the Parliament, or else shall many of us be willing (if desired) to ingage in further Services either in England or Ireland, having first such satisfaction to the Army in relation to our grievances and desires heretofore presented, and such security, That we of our selves, when disbanded, and in the condition of private men, or other the free-borne people of England, to whom the consequencc of our case doth equally extend, shall not remaine subject to the like oppression, injury, or abuse, as in the premisses hath been attempted and put upon us, while an Army by the same mens continuance, in the same credit and power, especially if as our Judges, who have in these past proceedings against the Army so farre prevailed to abuse the Parliament and us, and to endanger the Kingdome; and also such security that we our selves, or any member of this Army or others, who have appeared to act any thing in behalf of the Army, in relation to the premises before recited, shall not after disbanding be any way questioned, prosecuted, troubled, or prejudiced for any thing so acted, or for the entring into, or necessary prosecution of this necessary agreement: (we say) having first such satisfaction and security in these things as shall be agreed unto by a Councell to consist of those generall Officers of the Army (who have concurred with the Army in the premisses) with two Commission Officers and two Souldiers to be chosen for each Regiment, who have concurred and shall concur with us in the premisses and in this agreement. And by the major part of such of them who shal meet in Councel for that purpose when they shal be thereunto called by the General.

2. That without such satisfaction and security, as aforesaid, we shal not willingly disband, nor divide, nor suffer our selves to be disbanded or divided.

And whereas we find many strange things suggested or suspected to our great prejudice concerning dangerous principles, interests and designs in this Army (as to the overthrow of Magistracy, the suppression or hindering of Presbytery, the establishment of Independent government, or upholding of a general licentiousness in Religion under pretence of Liberty of Conscience, and many such things; we shal very shortly tender to the Parliament a Vindication of the Army from all such scandals to clear our Principles in relation thereunto, and in the mean time we do disavow and disclaim all purposes or designs in our late or present proceedings to advance or insist upon any such interest, neither would we (if we might and could) advance or set up any other particular party or interest in the Kingdom (though imagined never so much our own) but shal much rather (as far as may be within our sphear or power) study to promote such an establishment of common and equal right and freedom to the whole, as all might equally partake of but those that do by denying the same to others, or otherwise render themselves incapable thereof.


The Levellers page

The poore wise-mans Admonition

Last modified: Apr 23, 2001, /english/levtae.html