Petition for a Free Parliament, November 17, 1688

The following petition was presented to King James II by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York elect, the Bishop of Ely, and the Bishop of Rochester.

It was signed by:

Dr. William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury
Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Grafton
James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormond
Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset and 1st Earl of Middlesex
John Holles, 4th Earl of Clare
Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon
Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Burlington
James Annesley, 2nd Earl of Anglesey
Lawrence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester
Francis Newport, 1st Viscount Newport of Bradford
Dr. Thomas Lamplugh, Archbishop elect of York
Dr. William Lloyd, Bishop of St. Asaph
Dr. Francis Turner, Bishop of Ely
Dr. Thomas Sprat, Bishop of Rochester
Dr. Thomas White, Bishop of Peterborough
Thomas, Bishop of Oxford
William Paget, 7th Baron Paget of Beaudesert
James Brydges, 8th Baron Chandos of Sudeley
John Bennet, 1st Baron Ossulston

A printed version of the text can be found on pages 430-431 of State Tracts (London: Richard Baldwin, 1692; reprinted by Scholarly Resources, 1973).

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty,

The humble petition of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, whose names are subscribed.

May it please Your Majesty,

We Your Majesty's most loyal subjects, in a deep sense of the miseries of a war now breaking forth in the bowels of this your Kingdom, and of the danger to which Your Majesty's sacred person is thereby like to be exposed, and also of the distractions of your people, by reason of their present grievances; do think ourselves bound in conscience of the duty we owe to God, and our holy religion, to Your Majesty, and our country, most humbley to offer to Your Majesty, that in our opinion, the only visible way to preserve Your Majesty, and this your Kingdom, would be the calling of a Parliament, regular and free in all its circumstances.

We therefore do most earnestly beseech Your Majesty, that you would be graciously pleased, with all speed, to call such a Parliament, wherein we shall be most ready to promote such counsels and resolutions of peace and settlement in Church and state, as may conduce to Your Majesty's honour and safety, and to the quieting the minds of your people. We do likewise humbly beseech Your Majesty, in the mean time, to use such means for the preventing the effusion of Christian blood, as to Your Majesty shall seem most meet.

And your petitioners shall ever pray, etc.

W. Cant
Nom. Ebor
W. Asaph
Fran. Ely
Tho. Roffen
Tho. Petriburg
Tho. Oxon

His Majesty's most gracious answer.

My Lords,

What you ask of me, I most passionately desire: And I promise you, upon the faith of a king, that I will have a Parliament, and such an one as you ask for, as soon as ever the Prince of Orange has quitted this realm; for, how is it possible a Parliament should be free in all its circumstances, as you petition for, whilst an enemy is in the Kingdom, and can make a return of near an hundred voices?

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