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there are two or three words that offence hath been taken at, and although I can give a safe account of them, yet I must confess they do not now please me, but when the matter is good, and the intention of the writer honest, the Lord forbids us to make a man an offender in word.
Whatsoever is erroneous (I say as I did from the first) I shall leave it to its due censure; but for all that is of God, and of the Truth, or the sincerity of my intentions herein to the public weal, or the liberty I had by my place to propound such considerations to the Court, if these be questioned I must stand and fall with them.
THE INSTRUMENT OF
[The Instrument of Government is important in the history of written constitutions. It was adopted by Cromwell and his Council of Officers on December 16, 1653, and under it Cromwell assumed the office of Lord Protector. When the Parliament for which it provides met in September, 1654, it passed a constitution of which the Instrument was the basis.]
HE government of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging.
I. That the supreme legislative authority of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, shall be and reside in one person, and the people assembled in Parliament; the style of which person shall be the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
II. That the exercise of the chief magistracy and the administration of the government over the said countries and dominions, and the people thereof, shall be in the Lord Protector, assisted with a council, the number whereof shall not exceed twenty-one, nor be less than thirteen.
III. That all writs, processes, commissions, patents, grants, and other things, which now run in the name and style of the keepers of the liberty of England by authority of Parliament, shall run in the name and style of the Lord Protector, from whom, for the future, shall be derived all magistracy and honours in these three nations; and have the power of pardons (except in case of murders and treason) and benefit of all forfeitures for the public use; and shall govern the said countries and dominions in all things
by the advice of the council, and according to these presents and the laws.
IV. That the Lord Protector, the Parliament sitting, shall dispose and order the militia and forces, both by sea and land, for the peace and good of the three nations, by consent of Parliament; and that the Lord Protector, with the advice and consent of the major part of the council, shall dispose and order the militia for the ends aforesaid in the intervals of Parliament.
V. That the Lord Protector, by the advice aforesaid, shall direct in all things concerning the keeping and holding of a good correspondency with foreign kings, princes, and states; and also, with the consent of the major part of the council, have the power of war and peace.
VI. That the laws shall not be altered, suspended, abrogated, or repealed, nor any new law made, nor any tax, charge, or imposition laid upon the people, but by common consent in Parliament, save only as is expressed in the thirtieth article.
VII. That there shall be a Parliament summoned to meet at Westminster upon the third day of September, 1654, and that successively a Parliament shall be summoned once in every third year, to be accounted from the dissolution of the present Parliament.
VIII. That neither the Parliament to be next summoned, nor any successive Parliaments, shall, during the time of five months, to be accounted from the day of their first meeting, be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without their own consent.
IX. That as well the next as all other successive Parliaments, shall be summoned and elected in manner hereafter expressed; that is to say, the persons to be chosen within England, Wales, the Isles of Jersey, Guernsey, and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, to sit and serve in Parliament, shall be, and not exceed, the number of four hundred. The persons to be chosen within Scotland, to sit and serve in Parliament, shall be, and not exceed, the number of thirty; and the persons to be chosen to sit in Parliament for Ireland shall be, and not exceed, the number of thirty.
X. That the persons to be elected to sit in Parliament from time to time, for the several counties of England, Wales, the Isles of Jersey and Guernsey, and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and all places within the same respectively, shall be according to the proportions and numbers hereafter expressed: that is to say,
Bedfordshire, 5; Bedford Town, 1; Berkshire, 5; Abingdon, 1; Reading, 1; Buckinghamshire, 5; Buckingham Town, 1; Aylesbury, 1; Wycomb, 1; Cambridgeshire, 4; Cambridge Town, 1; Cambridge University, 1; Isle of Ely, 2; Cheshire, 4; Chester, 1; Cornwall, 8; Launceston, 1; Truro, 1; Penryn, 1; East Looe and West Looe, 1; Cumberland, 2; Carlisle, 1; Derbyshire, 4; Derby Town, 1; Devonshire, 11; Exeter, 2; Plymouth, 2; Clifton, Dartmouth, Hardness, 1; Totnes, 1; Barnstable, 1; Tiverton, 1; Honiton, 1; Dorsetshire, 6; Dorchester, 1; Weymouth and Melcomb-Regis, 1; Lyme-Regis, 1; Poole, 1; Durham, 2; City of Durham, 1; Essex, 13; Malden, 1; Colchester, 2; Gloucestershire, 5; Gloucester, 2; Tewkesbury, 1; Cirencester, 1; Herefordshire, 4; Hereford, 1; Leominster, 1; Hertfordshire, 5; St. Alban's, 1; Hertford, 1; Huntingdonshire, 3; Huntingdon, 1; Kent, 11; Canterbury, 2; Rochester, 1; Maidstone, 1; Dover, 1; Sandwich, 1; Queenborough, 1; Lancashire, 4; Preston, 1; Lancaster, 1; Liverpool, 1; Manchester, 1; Leicestershire, 4; Leicester, 2; Lincolnshire, 10; Lincoln, 2; Boston, 1; Grantham, 1; Stamford, 1; Great Grimsby, 1; Middlesex, 4; London, 6; Westminster, 2; Monmouthshire, 3; Norfolk, 10; Norwich, 2; LynnRegis, 2; Great Yarmouth, 2; Northamptonshire, 6; Peterborough, I; Northampton, 1; Nottinghamshire, 4; Nottingham, 2; Northumberland, 3; Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1; Berwick, 1; Oxfordshire, 5; Oxford City, 1; Oxford University, 1; Woodstock, 1; Rutlandshire, 2; Shropshire, 4; Shrewsbury, 2; Bridgnorth, 1; Ludlow, 1; Staffordshire, 3; Lichfield, 1; Stafford, 1; Newcastle-under-Lyne, 1; Somersetshire, 11; Bristol, 2; Taunton, 2; Bath, 1; Wells, 1; Bridgwater, 1; Southamptonshire, 8; Winchester, 1; Southampton, 1; Portsmouth, I; Isle of Wight, 2; Andover, 1; Suffolk, 10; Ipswich, 2; Bury St. Edmunds, 2; Dunwich, 1; Sudbury, 1; Surrey, 6; Southwark, 2; Guildford, 1; Reigate, 1; Sussex, 9; Chichester, 1; Lewes, 1; East Grinstead, 1; Arundel, 1; Rye, 1; Westmoreland, 2; Warwickshire, 4; Coventry, 2; Warwick, 1; Wiltshire, 10; New Sarum, 2; Marlborough, 1; Devizes, 1; Worcestershire, 5; Worcester, 2.
YORKSHIRE.-West Riding, 6; East Riding, 4; North Riding, 4; City of York, 2; Kingston-upon-Hull, 1; Beverley, 1; Scarborough, 1; Richmond, 1; Leeds, 1; Halifax, 1.
WALES.-Anglesey, 2; Brecknockshire, 2; Cardiganshire, 2; Carmarthenshire, 2; Carnarvonshire, 2; Denbighshire, 2; Flintshire, 2; Glamorganshire, 2; Cardiff, 1; Merionethshire, 1; Montgomeryshire, 2; Pembrokeshire, 2; Haverfordwest, 1; Radnorshire, 2.
The distribution of the persons to be chosen for Scotland and Ireland, and the several counties, cities, and places therein, shall be according to such proportions and number as shall be agreed upon and declared by the Lord Protector and the major part of the council, before the sending forth writs of summons for the next Parliament.
XI. That the summons to Parliament shall be by writ under the Great Seal of England, directed to the sheriffs of the several and respective counties, with such alteration as may suit with the present government, to be made by the Lord Protector and his council, which the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal shall seal, issue, and send abroad by warrant from the Lord Protector. If the Lord Protector shall not give warrant for issuing of writs of summons for the next Parliament, before the first of June, 1654, or for the Triennial Parliaments, before the first day of August in every third year, to be accounted as aforesaid; that then the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal for the time being, shall, without any warrant or direction, within seven days after the said first day of June, 1654, seal, issue, and send abroad writs of summons (changing therein what is to be changed as aforesaid) to the several and respective sheriffs of England, Scotland, and Ireland, for summoning the Parliament to meet at Westminster, the third day of September next; and shall likewise, within seven days after the said first day of August, in every third year, to be accounted from the dissolution of the precedent Parliament, seal, issue, and send forth abroad several writs of summons (changing therein what is to be changed) as aforesaid, for summoning the Parliament to meet at Westminster the sixth of November in that third year. That the said several and respective sheriffs, shall, within ten days after the receipt of such writ as aforesaid, cause the same to be proclaimed and published in every market-town within his county upon the market-days thereof, between twelve and three of the clock; and shall then also publish and declare the certain day of the week and month, for choosing members to serve in Parliament for the body of the said county, according to the tenor of the said writ, which shall be upon Wednesday five weeks after the date of