A Vindication of Col. GEORGE GILL. Wherein the unjust proceedings of his Adversaries, both in procuring of the Sentence of Parliament against him; and keeping of the Re-hearing, is fully manifested.
WHEN I consider the way of my Education, and the course of my life; which hath been wholly strange to publishing of books; I begin to thinke that as God Almighty brings into every mans life somewhat unexpected and remarkable, so that by this crosse necessity that at the present lies upon me, he would make it evident to me in particular, that our lives are but clay in his hands, and that we scarcely come ever so sensibly to feele his hand as in the day of our adversity.
And therefore though I bemoan the injustice of men towards me, yet him I justifie and resigne my selfe up ro his will, and truly since he hath been pleased to permit affliction to lye upon me, to have my good name, nay my estate and trust taken away (which neverthelesse he will restore in his due time) [Page 2] I shall not doubt to lay open the whole series and proceedings of my troubles, the unjust and fraudulent prosecution of my Adversaties, the nature of my crime freely and clearly laid out, and lastly the sufferings that it hath occasioned to me. For though this be but a private businesse, and my Wife and Children seem only to be Sufferers, yet in a Commonwealth, since every man hath interest in justice, and all men are tyed to joyn their Forces against unrighteousnesse, I hold it more then private; and come what will, I will lay it open, cleaving always to the truth, and carrying my selfe with that duty and civility, as becomes me to that Power which God hath set over me.
I can speake it in the sincery and uprightnesse of my heart, and I hope without boasting, my conversation among men, hath been such ever since I came to deale in the world, that I never yet had any man justly mine Enemy; but either he who was an Enemy to the Cause I embarked in, or else some other, whom I had opposed in some unjust proceedings, and whom I had kept from oppressing the weaker: And upon this latter score, I justly fear, That Sir William Allenson of Yorke, and a Member of this present Parliament, became so sharp and so eager an Enemy, that for a crime which is no crime at all, or in the most rigorous interpretation, a mistake, I am Voted uncapable of their Service, whom I had faithfully and diligently served so many years (to the neglect of my businesse, and almost ruining of my estate) either as a Souldier or a Common-wealths man, and my estate ordered to be sold. But of that hereafter. Now [Page 3] that which hath brought all this trouble upon me, is no other then this.
In the second year of the late Charles, Leeds Town and Parish was Incorporated, and that illegally, by reason that the major consent of the Inhabitants was wanting, and it was well known by what Courtmeans it was at that time procured, but however procured it was, and the Governours acted accordingly, which produced many Suits and Tryalls at Law between them and the Clothiers.
At the beginning of these Troubles, nine of the ten Aldermen appeared for the late King, and thereby became uncapable of civill imployment, so that the Town was then at liberty and injoyed their former right, till these present Governours illegally and out of course created themselves, and took upon them to act according to the former Charter. But the Inhabitants being sensible of the inconveniencies they had formerly received by it, and not expecting the best things from them that so lusted after the power, procured a Commission under the broad Seal, directed to Sir John Savill Knight, Charles Fairfax, Henry Goodwick, Esquires, &c. Impowering them to command the High Sheriffe to empanell twenty four honest legall men, to inquire the legallity of the Charter, and their acting, which was accordingly executed, and it was found by the Jury, that the Letters Pattents were illegally procured without the major consent of the Inhabitants, and that it was prejudiciall to the Towne and Parish, and not standing with the good of the Commonwealth, and that they had illegally elected one another contrary to the letter of the Patent, [Page 4] so that the Inquision was returned, and remaines now in the Petty-Bag-Office.
Now Sir William Allanson fearing, as he had good cause, that it might fall heavy on his Brother, who contrary to his Oath and Trust, had acted so crookedly, and knowing I had a Charge ready against him, procured an Order of the Parliament that such Elections as had been made by the well-affected in any Corporation, though not according to the Letter of the Charter should be good; by which meanes the present Governours I dare affirme have oppressed more within these six yeares past, and brought greater sufferings upon the poore Inhabitants, then they had suffered in fourteene yeares before: I therefore having been so zealous and forward in this businesse in behalf of the Inhabitants as inprocuring the Inquisition, as also by a Petition to the Northern Committee, signed by me by the consent in the name and in the behalfe of the Inhabitants, and presented by my selfe in heir behalfes and Mr. Bains in the behalfe of the Aldermen in December 1647.
Sir William Allanson took an enmity to me because I opposed his Brother, and never since rested from any meanes that might bring my ruine, though I be verily of opinion, that if I had not opposed his Brother, or Stillington had not been too neer Crake Castle, we might have been friends to this day; But because you shall see how justly Sir William affords his Brother this Patronage, and how much need the other hath of it, and how just it is for any man that loves the Commonwealth to lay open the iniquities of such a man; I shall quote you one or two of them whereby he broke [Page 5] his Oath and Trust as a Sequestrator.
After the Rendition of Yorke, this Francis Allanson who is Sir Williams owne Brother, sent some peeces of Cloath belonging to Lancelot Iveson a Malignant, to Leeds as his own, and then and there demanded of the said Lancelot Iveson what hee would have for them a peece, hee answered that such a man whom hee then named gave usually 52 shillings or thereabouts; Mr. Allanson replyed, that if he would let him have them at 30 shillings, well it were, otherwise he would sequester them to the use of the Commonwealth, wherupon the poore man finding himself under a necessity of being cheated, consented, and the Commonwealth lost all the advantage of that Sequestration.
Will you have another of them? some four Aldermen of Leeds, whereof Mr. Allanson was one, had a Commission or Order for the providing of five or ten thousand pounds worth of Cloath for the use of the Scotch Armie, whereupon they tooke mens Cloathes (which the Inhabitants remember with complaint to this day) at what price they pleased, not suffering the Cloathier to sell his Cloath to others, and paid them in what price and manner they pleased; by which meanes they inriched themselves, though it was out of the groanes of the poore. But this and other things if they came to be scan'd, would I beleeve deserve a sentence severe enough against Mr. Allanson though he be now boyed up by Sir William his Brother; And truely Sir William for all his pretended zeale to the Cause, hath not wanted Cloaths to keep it warme, for upon pretended losses he had the Hamper-Office given him, and 'tis knowne that out of Bishops or Deans and [Page 6] Chapters Lands hte hath raised himselfe a very large Estate. But as I would impeach no man upon Rumours or Conjectures (for my selfe have felt too much of that) so will I not stand to examine how many men he raised in Yorkshire at the eruption of Charles Stuart, nor will I say hee is a Countenancer of Malignants; but 'tis a signe that Sir William hath a hollow place in his heart: For soone after the Death of the late King, in his journey towards Yorkshire, lodging at the George at Stanford, he there boasted to Malignants how wisely he had carried himselfe, viz. That there was but one other and himselfe of all his Countrey-men that voted for a personall Treaty with the King, and that he could wash his hands from having any hand in the Kings Blood. And these words are witnessed by Richard Morris and Mrs. Margaret Dobins, and Rich. Morris did repeat the abovesaid words in the presence of Captain Matthew Phillips 11th. August 1650. and hee then said he would justifie them upon Oath; Thus much for Sir William.
Another back Friend of mine was Mr. Sikes of Leeds, whom though I esteemed very much for his affection to the Parliament, yet I thinke the Nation is not much obliged by him, by reason of his unworthy discovery of the Mystery of Cloathing in Holland, and his planting of it in Scotland, to the great prejudice, and if God had not prevented, the inevitable ruine of many thousand of families. Yet because I opposed him in the behalf of M. Marshall Steward of the Court of Leeds, whom he endeavoured to have sequestered, to the intent that he might be made incapable of that Office, both by articling against him at the Committees [Page 7] of York and Indempnity, where he was both times cleared, Mr. Sikes of a Friend became an Enemy, and with his Son and Sir William Allanson laid that traine which since blew me up.
And truly, my heart beares me witnesse that I speak not out of malice, but out of love to the weale-publicke; I envy not that large Estate that Mr. Sikes now enjoyes, though it be much above the probabilities that he ever could have; but this in behalf of the Commonwealth I will say, that I am altogether unsatisfied as to the 4000 li. he had ordered him out of Goldsmiths-Hall, and the 3900 and odd pounds out of the Excise, both with Interest, after the rate of eight per cent. for I am confident the Parliament was herein surprized, and that if the businesse had been rightly understood, no such sums had ever been allowed.
Upon these hindges of malice was my ruine turned, and truly both how cunningly and with how high a hand it was brought in, I shall now tell you, and let all the world judge of me how far I have been unjust to this Common-Wealth, and whether I deserve not pitty that have languished above a yeare under a severe sentence without any hearing, when the Report and the Sentence was hastened within a few dayes.
For any Malignancy, I can in my Conscience say I ought not to bee taxed with it; my prayers, my endeavours, my estate have been all for the Parliament, and it hath been the endeavour of my soule to be serviceable to them in my Station, nay even some of these men from whose hands I receive now persecution, had bore witnesse of it, as may appeare by this Certificate.
WEE whose Names are under-written, desire humbly to certifie in the behalfe of Major George Gill, that he is a man of known integrity, hath extended himself far beyond his ability in the Publik Service of the Kingdom, in raising of Forces and otherwayes, & hath had great losses by the Enemies plundering, all which will appeare by Certificate, his Petition doth relate his Case and Condition; It is our humble request (to all before whom it shall come) that this our Certificate may be a meanes to further his proceedings for obtaining such an answer as may move to the rendring of him some reasonable satisfaction. March 1. 1648.
- John. Thoresbie Alder.
- John Dawson.
- Fran: Allanson.
- John Baynes.
- Richard Milner.
- James Moxon.
- Martin Iles.
- William Smithson.
Wee freely and heartily concurre with these Gentlemen in humbly praying that Major Gill may seasonably receive satisfaction.
Chr: Marshall, Minister. Peter Greatheed.
Now when the Parliament had Novemb. 24. 1642. enabled the Lord Ferdinando Fairfax to receive Money, Plate, Horse, and Armes upon the Propositions, for which the Publicke Faith was to bee engaged, I lent 60 li. upon the Propositions, and timely appeared in raising of a Troope of Horse compleatly armed, which with incident charges cost me above 600 li. 450 li. whereof I have paid Interest for ever since.
I was plundered to the value of a great sum while I was in the Service, I lost the use of a profitable Calling, [Page 9] which I can with a safe Conscience aver, brought me in more then the pay of that Command, though it had been fully and immediately discharged. After the Battle of Namptwich, I was sent by Sir Tho: Fairfaix to London with a Letter to the E. of Essex & about Monies, and I may justly say, I was mainly instrumental in procuring the City by way of loan, to lay down 10000li. which in that juncture of time, how acceptable a sum it must needs be, I leave any man to consider. In this Service we continued till by Order we disbanded, and my Arrears amounted to 1657li. 16s. 3d. After this the Parliament by Ordinance May 22. 1647. provides for the payment of the one third of the Arreares of the Northern Officers to be accepted by them in full satisfaction: My selfe being one of the said Officers, my accounts being audited, and so stated that the 600 li. which I advanced in Horses and Arms upon the Publick Faith was accounted amongst my Arrears, I was then in a straight, conceiving that the Parliament intended not to give one third in full for my Money lent, yet being in necessitie for Monies by reason of my losses in serving the Parliament, I was willing to accept of one third in full for my Arreares, and to receive one third of my 600 li. lent, but not for satisfaction. Therefore upon the 27 of May, before I tooke any assignment for any Money, five dayes after the said Ordinance passed, I Petitioned the Committee of the Northern Association, shewing that I could not accept of one third for the whole of my 600li. lent, & that the Ordinance mentioned only Arrears, and desired that my Case with my losses and sufferings might bee represented to the Parliament; [Page 10] whereupon the Comittee ordered that my Petition should be reported to the Parliament, and the Lord Fairfax writ Letters to Mr. Speaker, Sir Henry Vane, M. Brian Stapleton, and Mr. Luke Robinson, desiring that my Petition might be answered, and I might be satisfied for the said 400 li. and my losses.
Hereupon I received my Petition, and my Account, which was to make good the Petition, from the Clerk of the Committee, and put them into the hands of Mr. Bryan Stapleton to report to the Parliament, who as he hath already testified under his hand and seale, had them in his hand one whole yeare, but after his withdrawing I put them into the hands of Sir William Allanson, (so confident I was of my Innocency and Justice in the businesse) from whom I am to acknowledge I have received faire words, but that was all.
By this time were two yeares spent, and I could heare of no reparations for my losses and sufferings, and the Parliament at that time passing an Act for doubling upon Deans and Chapters Lands, I thought it but just and in-offensive to double the forementioned 400 li. being the two remaining thirds of the 600 li. with its allowed interest which made it 600 li. as money due upon the Publicke Faith, not discharged by way of Arreares. Now this hole being found in my Coat, Sir William Allanson and the Corporation of Leeds, Mr. Sikes the elder, who were my friends as I mentioned before, and Col. Matthew Alured (who hath made it since appeare that he thirsted after my Regiment, and I have cause to feare knew too much of the plot, for to a Friend of his he fore-told the [Page 11] sentence ten dayes before) put their heads together and endeavoured to bring me into the Penalty provided in the Act, and make me forfeit my Purchase which was a moat in some bodies eye. So the busines was referred to a Committee, before whom I appeared the 20th of July 1650. to make my defence, but there was nothing done in it, because Sir William Allanson would not suffer me to make my defence, and informe Col. Boswell who was in the examination of the businesse, as some worthy Members there present can witnesse; though Sir William Allanson making it his businesse, writ into Scotland that I was heard, and Col. Alured endeavoured to perswade the Commanders there the same, the better to weaken me in their opinions, and to keep back the assistance of my Lord Generall in case I should have Petitioned for it.
I went downe into the North, to raise my Regiment, and then Sir Wil. Allanson saw it was his time, so that there being the 25th. day of Iuly after, a Committee, Sir William Allanson, being of the Sub-Committee, drew up a report, and as I have reason to think, made it be entred into the book as past the twentieth (when it was known there was nothing done in it that day) and Sir Wil. Allanson the 30th. day after reported it to the House (I being then 150 miles off raising a Regiment for Scotland) which, I not being heard, and some being surprized, others I fear me not considering the depth of the matter, produced this Vote.