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are hereby authorised and required to be aiding and assisting unto the said Court in the due execution of the trust hereby committed unto them; provided that this Act, and the authority hereby granted, do continue in force for the space of one month from the date of the making thereof, and no longer.
71. THE AGREEMENT OF THE PEOPLE. [January 15, 1648. Old Parliamentary History, xviii. 519. See Masson's
Life of Milton, iv. 7.] An Agreement of the people of England, and the places there
with incorporated, for a secure and present peace, upon
grounds of common right, freedom and safety. Having, by our late labours and hazards, made it appear to the world at how high a rate we value our just freedom, and God having so far owned our cause as to deliver the enemies thereof into our hands, we do now hold ourselves bound, in mutual duty to each other, to take the best care we can for the future, to avoid both the danger of returning into a slavish condition and the chargeable remedy of another war : for as it cannot be imagined that so many of our countrymen would have opposed us in this quarrel if they had understood their own good, so may we hopefully promise to ourselves, that when our common rights and liberties shall be cleared, their endeavours will be disappointed that seek to make themselves our masters. Since therefore our former oppressions and not-yet-ended troubles, have been occasioned either by want of frequent national meetings in council, or by the undue or unequal constitution thereof, or by rendering those meetings ineffectual, we are fully agreed and resolved, God willing, to provide, that hereafter our Representatives be neither left to an uncertainty for times nor be unequally constituted, nor made useless to the ends for which they are intended. In order whereunto we declare and agree,
1 The Agreement of the People was originally drawn up in October 1647, Thomasson's date of purchase being November 3, 1647 (Civil War Tracts, Brit. Mus. Press Mark 412, 21). It is here printed with the subsequent modifications, as presented to the House of Commons on January 20. The petition which accompanied it (Old Parl. Hist. xviii. 516) was dated January 15, and that may therefore be taken as the date when the Agreement received the final approbation of the Council of the Officers.
First, that, to prevent the many inconveniences apparently arising from the long continuance of the same persons in supreme authority, this present Parliament end and dissolve upon, or before, the last day of April, 1649.
Secondly, that the people of England (being at this day very unequally distributed by counties, cities, and boroughs, for the election of their Representatives) be indifferently proportioned; and, to this end, that the Representative of the whole nation shall consist of 400 persons, or not above; and in each county, and the places thereto subjoined, there shall be chosen, to make up the said Representative at all times, the several numbers here mentioned, viz.
KENT, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, except such
as are hereunder particularly named
Sandwich, Hastings, with the Towns of Rye and Winchelsea
therein, except such as are hereunder named Winchester, with the Suburbs and Liberties thereof
Southampton Town and the County thereof
such as are hereunder particularly named
cept such as are hereunder named Bristol
8 3 I
SURREY, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, except
Southwark Southwark MIDDLESEX, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, except
such as are hereunder named London
Westminster and the Duchy HERTFORDSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein OXFORDSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, except
such as are hereunder named Oxford City
Oxford University GLOUCESTERSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein,
except Gloucester . Gloucester HEREFORDSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, ex
cept Hereford Hereford WORCESTERSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein,
except Worcester . Worcester WARWICKSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, ex
cept Coventry Coventry NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein,
except Northampton Northampton . BEDFORDSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein. CAMBRIDGESHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein,
except such as are hereunder particularly named . Cambridge University
Cambridge Town Essex, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, except Col
chester Colchester SUFFOLK, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, except
such as are hereafter named Ipswich
St. Edmund's Bury NORFOLK, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, except
such as are hereunder named Norwich Lynn
Yarmouth LINCOLNSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein, ex
cept the City of Lincoln and the Town of Boston. . Lincoln Boston
RUTLANDSHIRE, with the Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes therein
such as are hereafter named
Leeds Town and Parish .
therein, except Durham and Gateside .
except such as are hereunder named
GLAMORGAN, with the Boroughs and Parishes therein.
Provided, that the first or second Representative may, if they see cause, assign the remainder of the 400 representers, not hereby assigned, or so many of them as they shall see cause for, unto such counties as shall appear in this present distribution to have less than their due proportion. Provided also, that where any city or borough, to which one representer or more is assigned, shall be found in a due proportion, not competent alone to elect a representer, or the number of representers assigned thereto, it is left to future Representatives to assign such a number of parishes or villages near adjoining to such city or borough, to be joined therewith in the elections, or may make the same proportionable.
Thirdly. That the people do, of course, choose themselves a Representative once in two years, and shall meet for that purpose upon the first Thursday in every second May, by eleven in the morning; and the Representatives so chosen to meet upon the second Thursday in the June following, at the usual place in Westminster, or such other place as, by the foregoing Representative, or the Council of State in the interval, shall be, from time to time, appointed and published to the people, at the least twenty days before the time of election : and to continue their sessions there, or elsewhere, until the second Thursday in December following, unless they shall adjourn or dissolve themselves sooner ; but not to continue longer. The election of the first Representative to be on the first Thursday in May, 1649 ; and that, and all future elections, to be according to the rules prescribed for the same purpose in this Agreement, viz. 1. That the electors in every division shall be natives or denizens of England ; not persons receiving alms, bu such as are assessed ordinarily towards the rel of the poor; no servants to, and receiving wages from, any particular person; and in all elections, except for the Universities, they shall be men of twenty one years of age, or upwards, and housekeepers, dwelling within the division for which the election is : provided, that (until the end of seven years next ensuing the time herein limited for the end of this