Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
The Blessings of Peace
By Sir John Cheke (15141557)
From The Hurt of Sedition how grievous it is to a Commonwealth, set out in the year 1549
O NOBLE peace, what wealth bringest thou in, how do all things flourish in field and in town, what forwardness of religion, what increase of learning, what gravity in counsel, what devise of wit, what order of manners, what obedience of laws, what reverence of states, what safeguard of houses, what quietness of life, what honour of countries, what friendship of minds, what honesty of pleasure hast thou always maintained, whose happiness we knew not, while now we feel thy lack, and shall learn by misery to understand plenty, and so to avoid mischief by the hurt that it bringeth, and learn to serve better, where rebellion is once known; and so to live truly, and keep the kings peace. What good state were ye in afore ye began, not pricked with poverty, but stirred with mischief, to seek your destruction, having ways to redress all that was amiss? Magistrates most ready to tender all justice, and pitiful in hearing the poor mens causes, which sought to amend matters more than you can devise, and were ready to redress them better than ye could imagine; and yet for a headiness ye could not be contented; but in despite of God, who commandeth obedience, and in contempt of the king, whose laws do seek your wealth, and to overthrow the country, which naturally we should love, ye would proudly rise, and do ye wot not what, and amend things by rebellion to your utter undoing. What states leave ye us in now, besieged with enemies, divided at home, made poor with spoil and loss of our harvest, murdered and cast down with slaughter and hatred, hindered from amendments by our own devilish haste, endangered with sickness by reason of misorder, laid open to mens pleasures for breaking of the laws, and feebled to such faintness that scarcely it will be covered.
Wherefore, for Gods sake, have pity on yourselves, consider how miserably ye have spoiled, destroyed, and wasted us all; and if for desperateness ye care not for yourselves, yet remember your wives, your children, your country, and forsake this rebellion. With humble submission acknowledge your faults, and tarry not the extremity of the kings sword; leave off with repentance, and turn to your duties, ask God forgiveness, submit ye to your king, be contented for a commonwealth one or two to die.