The Seamans’ Protestation
Concerning their ebbing and flowing to and from the Parliament House, at Westminster: upon Tuesday the 11. day of January. 1642. Ordered, by the Vice-Admiral, to be published and set forth throughout the whole kingdom, as a manifestation of the seaman’s loyalty to their king, and love to their country.
THE SEAMANS Protestation. Our appearance above the Bridge, being a passage the Histories of England cannot exemplify, may cause our good intents and well-meaning, in the various apprehensions of most men to be misconstrued: For the speedier and more exact remedy of which, we have all resolved at length thus to declare ourselves.
First, as in duty we ought, We Protest to our great Lord and Master (his Most Excellent Majesty) that it was an Act of our own free voluntary disposition, not all, or any of us called or invited by the Parliament or Citizens of London, but came as well to protect White-hall, had his Majesty been there, as the Parliament house: but a rumour being spread amongst us, that great Court was in fear to be dissolved, and knowing too well the happiness of this Kingdome consists in their Sessions, remembering the words of Arch-bishop Cranmer, a Martyr of ever blessed memory, which were;
Woe be to England when there is no Parliament,
We seeing and hearing the whole City to be in complete arms, presently turned fresh-water soldiers, and with as sudden expedition as we could attended by water there progress thither, and joined our thunder of powder with the City Muskets, at there entrance into the house (the Temple of our safety) to the terror wee hope of all Papists, and the Lands enemies, who wish for nothing more than the dissolution of both houses. Whose harmony (if they proceed) will be to our perpetual good, and their sudden Confusion. We who are always abroad, can best tell no government upon the Earth is comparable to it; especially, for the keeping of a Crown upon a Kings head, for the procuration of the Subjects Loyalty, and unfeigned fidelity to their Monarch, for the flourishing of Traffic and Merchandising (this Kingdoms right-hand) the continuation of all, which is, was, and necessarily must be by Parliaments.
Witness the heavy and lamentable distractions in France, Spain, and Germany for want of them or the like Government.
Long therefore may they here flourish: in vain is it for us to keep the narrow Seas, if some go the way to lose the land. This confusion is that alone which glads the hearts of our enemies abroad, and makes them fat with laughter: while we sit and sit but effect nothing: Yet although the Conception is long, the birth will be the nobler, and that which Rome with all her curses shall not blast, we mean, the firm establishing of our Protestant Religion: in defence of which chiefly, we display our Colours on the seas, and expose each drop of bloud we have, to hourly danger; and all in behalf of our good and most gracious King, who is himself the Defender of our Faith.
Now to the City we manifest ourselves, and the occasion of our conflux, although we are a sort of people in this Commonwealth, which by the Preciser sort of you, are defined but little different from Atheists; and therefore should breed more wonder we should stickle for Religion. Be pleased to understand although we have no Churches, we say our prayers as well as you, and the same God you have at shore is ours at sea: whom we will serve although not so decently as we would, being for the most part of our dais restrained from a Church, to dwell upon the seas for your better security; for be it well known to you, your safety consists in ours, your churches I and your houses too, would quickly fall and lie in the dust, should we let passe Those who long to prey upon your lives and Fortunes: But for our Religion, King, and Country, (we do) will advance our Colours against the world: and for a Confirmation to you all of our true hearts, we have all Protested in this manner.
I A, B, C,
DO Protest before Almighty God, to maintain with my dearest life and blood, the Protestant Religion as it was established in the days of Queen Elisabeth: To acknowledge CHARLES, by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland: To stand, for the Privileges of Parliament. Utterly from my heart to abhor all Poperie, and Popish innovations.
So help me God.
Now it may appear to you all, the main and chiefest cause of our gathering together, we who are used to Tempests, never stood in fear of a greater then this at Land: That great vessel the Parliament house, which is so richly fraught with no less value then the price of a Kingdom, is fearfully shaken, and in great danger: Rome has Rocks, and Spain Quick-sands, to swallow her up; Now what remains, but that on our knees, we send up our prayers to that great Pilot of Heaven and Earth, who steers the world with his finger, that he would protect and defend her, to his own glory and our comfort: so shall our King be safe and firm in his Throne, while his Religion flourishes, and his Subjects peacefully and joyfully live smiling under his Sceptre: To the Eternal disgrace and shame of those, who have and would intend to subvert our proceedings.