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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And avowed a design to destroy


The

foregoing historical representation of the matters of fact, doth clear the circumstances of the actions: which if ever any of that nature performed by private men without public authority, could be justified, will at least demur the condemning of them. For, the men, or rather monsters, thus removed, had not only been perjured apostates from, and conjured enemies against God, in a conspiracy with the devil, to destroy the reformation, and the remnant that professed it, affronted blasphemers, perfidious betrayers of the country, and enemies to the commonwealth, malignant incendiaries, and habitual murderers of many of the Lord's people, who, for many notorious crimes, had forfeited their lives to justice; but were insolently prosecuting their murdering designs, informing the council, and instigating them against innocent people to destroy them utterly, procuring from them bloody orders to spare none, but cut off all who might fall into their hands, and vigorously and vigilantly with all violence pursuing their murdering mandates, both in their own persons, and by villains, whom they hounded out as intelligencers to get, and to give notice where any of those people might be detected, whom they avowed, and avowed a design to destroy, when in the heat and height of their rage they were cut off. The actors were noways subject to them, nor any other way related, than declared and independent enemies are to one another, having renounced all relation to them and their masters, as magistrates
and their superiors; and were in no terms of peace with them, but maintaining an hostile opposition and carrying, without cessation, arms to resist them; and when they got that advantage over them, that these enemies were seeking against them, they declared solemnly to them, and died, declaring it to the world, that they were not moved out of private revenge for personal injuries they had done against themselves; but being touched with the zeal of God, love to their country, respect to justice trampled upon by tyrants, and for saving themselves, rescuing their brethren, and preventing their murdering them, because there were none that would or could execute justice upon them legally: therefore they were forced to put forth their hands against them as enemies, with whose preservation their own could not consist. Their circumstances were such, that they were redacted to the greatest of extremities, precluding all other human possibility of preserving themselves and their brethren from the destruction intended, and declaredly resolved, and restlessly sought and prosecuted, by these murderers, being persecuted to the death by them, daily chased, hunted, way-laid, turned out of their own habitations, intercommuned, discharged and denied all harbour in any house, under the hazard of the same pains that themselves were liable to, which was death by the present law and so forced to hide in caves and dens; out of which they durst not come forth, if it were but to seek bread for themselves, without iminent danger of their lives; the country raising the hue and cry after them, whensover they were seen, whereby many were killed as soon as they were apprehended: hence they could neither escape in the land, nor by flight out of the land, passages by sea and land being stopt, and none suffered to go any where, without strict examination what they were, which was impossible for them to elude: and many other specialties of misery and danger were ingredients in their circumstances, that no words can represent to them that are altogether strangers to them. Wherefore, in such a strait and pinch of perplexity, when they could not other wise escape the fury of these firebrands, nor demur and deter the rest of them from an uncontrouled pursuit after the lives of innocents, nor otherwise avert the wrath of God against the land for the impunity of such vermine; and seeing there was no access to address


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