|Lucy Hutchinson (16201681). Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson. 1906.|
Six Letters Relating to the Proposed Treaty of Neutrality for Notts, December 1642
British Museum, Add. MS., No. 25,901.
Sir John Digby, his summons.
For his honoured friends Isham Perkins and John Hutchinson, Esq., or to either of them this with speed.
SIR,Upon conference with divers gentlemen we thought it very convenient that the justices of this county should meet together to confer of such things as may best tend in these sad times to the peace and safety of this county. Wherefore I have thought it my part to request you whose names are here underwritten to give me meeting at the sign of the Talbot, Newark, upon Tuesday the tenth of this month. There we may together confer of such things as may be fittest both according to the law of the land and the law of nature, for the defence of our country and safety of our persons and estates.Hoping hereof you will not fail, I rest your assured loving friend,
JOHN DIGBY. December 9th, 1642.
Postscript.For Isham Perkins, Esq., and John Hutchinson, Esquire. I have sent the like intimation to all the Justices of Peace.
For John Hutchinson, Esquire, at Nottingham.
SIR,We received a letter from the high sheriff. Sir John Digby, dated the 9th of this month, importing his desire of a meeting of all the justices of this county, to consider of such things as might be fittest for the peace and safety of this county, and safety of our persons and estates, to which effect he informs us he also writ to you. According to which his letter, we, whose names are here underwritten, did meet in hope of an universal concurrence of the whole body of the county to so pious a work, which might avoid the effusion of blood, preserve our estates in peace for the present, and prevent factions for the future in our posterities, but unhappily we find here a slender appearance. The cause hereof we cannot guess, unless it be the report of some small forces which Mr Sheriff hath brought here for the guard of his own person, and this meeting, for which he hath good cause, as he hath made appear to us and will likewise to you upon your meeting; which force, if you please to give a meeting, shall be forthwith removed, with assurance upon our honour and reputation that no other shall be raised, if you, likewise, will give assurance upon your honour and reputation that none of your forces shall stir, nor any other by you be brought into this county during the present treaty; and if you please to come to this town, where we stay your answer, we shall give you the same assurance of safety both in coming hither, staying here, and returning, and if you shall think any other place more fit we shall meet you there, first receiving upon your honour and reputations the same assurance of safety. We profess before Almighty God we are here, as loyal hearts to his majesty, faithful hearts to the parliament, and compassionate hearts for the peace of this county, and if you shall meet us with the like we hope God will be with us, and his blessing.
For the Honourable the Lord Chaworth and the rest of the gentlemen at Newark.
SIRS,We do most joyfully receive your most favourable, and we are confident real, expressions of regard to us, and especial care of the general peace and safety of this county, which we take God to witness was the first ground of the course we are now in, and the only end of the same, wherein we beseech God to send us success answerable to the integrity of our hearts. For our giving you meeting we are most willing to do the same in any place secure, which we are assured will be to us wheresoever you shall pass your honour and reputations for our safeties; but yet we conceive no place so fit for the business we all intend as this town of Nottingham, being the county town, where we assure you upon our honour and reputation, you shall not only receive a free and glad admittance, a welcome continuance, and a friendly return, but a most friendly concurrence of us in all things for the public good. Although we were making us ready, as well for our own safeties, as also for the mutual assistance of those counties, when it shall be required, with which we have entered into an association, yet we had not so speedily set ourselves in this posture, had not a late warrant of so strange a nature issued forth through this county from Sir John Digby, and certain information being given us of a great force which he commanded to attend him from Mansfield to Southwell and Newark, and as we were further informed from thence to Nottingham, which put this town and the places adjacent into a great trouble and amazement; which said posture, though most sorry for the occasion thereof, we cannot decline for the reasons herein specified; yet we intend not thereby the least disturbance of any of you performing, as we hope you will, all good offices in your power for the good and tranquillity of this country; in full testimony whereof we do earnestly entreat you to lay aside all endeavours of raising a force in the country, and do us the favour to let us attend you at the place formerly desired, and then we do heartily wish and shall faithfully endeavour a perfect union and harmony in this whole county for our mutual defence in these miserable distractions. The town of Nottingham do most joyfully concur with us in the said course, as it may appear to you by a letter from the town of Nottingham to the corporation of Newark. We do earnestly entreat your speedy answer.
To the Honourable Francis Pierrepont, and our noble friend John Hutchinson, Esquire.
Your kind entertainment of our letter we are exceeding glad of, such is our zeal to the peace of this country. This our intended meeting by Gods blessing will uphold us, even as it were now sliding into blood and faction, which meeting that it may be most free and all scruples be removed, we have entreated two gentlemen, namely, Mr John Wood and Mr Robert Butler, of known moderation and discretion, to bring to us from you an explanation of one part of your letter, which seems to be conditional, which words are, that we intend not hereby the least disturbance of any of you performing, as we hope you will, all good offices in your power by the tranquillity of this county; by which words of your letter, you seem to us to be the judges whether we, or any of our carriage, be or have been, such as be good offices for the tranquillity of this county, for if they be not so esteemed by you we put ourselves under your power, you keeping yourselves in your posture of force. Sir, for the place, though it be out of our county and that, an indifferent place was most fittest for all, yet such is our desire for the peace and quiet of this county as we shall comply with your desires, and, though all our hearts tell us there is nothing why we should doubt, yet discretion certainly bids us desire a clear explanation of those words. Then, sir, we or at least two of us, come to you what day you please with hearts full of hope for the public, and rest with our prayers to God for a blessing.
CHAWORTH. December the 15th, 1642.
To our honourable good friends Francis Pierrepont and John Hutchinson, Esquires, these present.
HONOURABLE SIR,Nothing but peace, nothing but the safety of the county is intended by us, we protest before Almighty God; the hopes of which was near lost yesternight if this town had been surprised by some troops of Lincolnshire horse who presented themselves near the town; to prevent which and to preserve this much threatened town from foreigners, and the county from this barbarous and never enough to be hated plundering, the truth is we were not unwilling to continue those forces sent into this town by the Lord of Newcastle his excellency; which upon the settlement of peace among us we hope we shall be able to prevail with his excellency to remove, or place others, or none at all, as we shall agree for the peace of the country. Sir, unless you otherwise dispose we will wait on you at the lodge formerly appointed, betwixt ten or eleven of the clock or thereabouts, to-morrow, and we do engage our reputations that you shall have all safety, in coming, staying, and returning, and the same assurance, sir, we desire to have from you, though we hope it is needless from any of us, our hearts being so full of integrity to the happy issue of this work which, all other set aside, is the sole aim and shall be endeavour of your friends and servants,
JOHN DIGBY, Vic. Com. NEWARK,
23d December, 1642.
Postscript.NOBLE SIR,Upon the honourable parole of a gentleman from me and my troops, you shall be safe to come and go to the place appointed during the time of the treaty. This I underwrite with my hand,
To the Honourable Mr Francis Pierrepont, and to our noble friend John Hutchinson, Esquire.
HONOURABLE SIR,Your being upon the place, as it justifies you, so it may seem to lay some weight upon us. Give us leave to assure you that we are neither so uncivil to yourselves, or so careless of our countrys peace, as to have made the least fail of our parts, but the truth is we received not your letter until four of the clock yesterday, the hour being one, so as at that distance there was no possibility left us either to come or to send our excuse, not being certain of your being there, and, however, certain that you would be certainly gone before we could make any address to you. Now we have thus excused ourselves, we shall send the gentleman who you pleased to propose in your letter, to you, from whom we may receive what time and place you please to appoint, which by Gods leave we will not fail to attend, nor in the meantime to supplicate the great God of peace so to direct our meeting as may be to His glory, the peace of this country, in which if we be so happy for the public we shall not fail of the blessing of peace-makers. We shall trouble you no more at this time, but wait your resolutions, and rest your assured friends and servants,
December 24th 1642.
Postscript.Though a days loss of time is very considerable in this great business, yet in respect to morrow is Christmas day, we shall spend it in our devotions for a blessing to our endeavours, and not send to you until Monday morning.
[Note.This letter was received on Christmas day at noon.]