Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/202

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B. What acts were those?

A. One of them was, that all marriages should be made by a justice of peace, and the banns asked three several days in the next market: none were forbidden to be married by a minister, but without a justice of peace the marriage was to be void: so that divers wary couples (to be sure of one another, howsoever they might repent it afterwards) were married both ways. Also they abrogated the engagement, whereby no man was admitted to sue in any court of law that had not taken it, that is, that had not acknowledged the late Rump.

B. Neither of these did any hurt to Cromwell.

A. They were also in hand with an act to cancel all the present laws and law-books, and to make a new code more suitable to the humour of the Fifth-monarchy-men; of whom there were many in this Parliament. Their tenet being, that there ought none to be sovereign but King Jesus, nor any to govern under him but the saints. But their authority ended before the act passed.

B. What was this to Cromwell?

A. Nothing yet. But they were likewise upon an act, now almost ready for the question, that Parliaments henceforward, one upon the end of another, should be perpetual.

B. I understand not this; unless Parliaments can beget one another like animals, or like the phœnix.

A. Why not like the phœnix? Cannot a Parliament at the day of their expiration send out writs for a new one?

B. Do you think they would not rather summon themselves anew; and to save the labour of coming again to Westminster, sit still where they were? Or if they summon the country to make new elections, and then dissolve themselves, by what authority shall the people meet in their county courts, there being no supreme authority standing?

A. All they did was absurd, though they knew not that; no nor *that this would offend Cromwell,* whose design upon the sovereignty[1] the contriver of this act (it seems) perceived

  1. No, nor this, whose design was upon the sovereignty.