To His Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Northampton,
My Lord, I must inform you of a grave disturbance of the peace at the recent celebrations of the Protectorate’s glorious victory over the False King, Charles, here at Northampton. Hidden by the usual revels and entertainments, four traitorous citizens - no doubt Catholic - took it upon themselves to breach the anti-theatre laws imposed by our glorious Protectorate. An underling of mine witness this squalid performance, and what follows is his description of the crimes perpetrated within.
To begin, these four actors took to the stage in full knowledge that they were breaking these new laws, claiming poverty had forced them to it. One even had the nerve to suggest that the histories of the Puritan revolution written by Parliament may even have some bias to them, in itself a hideous slander.
Once introduced, the actors began a representation of the battle at Naseby, from the point of view of one Royalist officer and a Labourer of Northampton fighting for Fairfax’s just army. In the describing of events on the left flank of Fairfax’s forces, they suggested that the Labourer and his comrades retreated in fear from the Royalist advance, when it is well known hereabouts that they withdrew to draw Rupert from the field. As this Labourer ran, they suggested he wounded said Royalist in a fearful struggle for a pistol - not as a heroic act for England, but a pathetic struggle for life.
Said Labourer was next to be seen in the Hospital at St John’s, where the Father of the hospital tended to the near fatal wounds of the Royalist. These actors then shamelessly represented one of the Mayor’s Justice’s of the Peace as some kind of villain, one who had come to transport the prisoner to the castle. Rather than obeying the JP’s commands, the Father of the hospital refused - claiming, against all common knowledge, that the Royalist was a patient deserving of care and attention. The JP was defeated, and left the hospital, leaving the Royalist under the guard of the aforementioned Labourer - who, rather than joyfully undertake his charge as any good citizen would, seemed to resent the order and desire it lifted.
After a dinner, the Labourer and the Royalist were seen in discussion - the Royalist obviously looking for some escape, whilst all the Labourer cared for was being relieved of his duty. They represented the rest of the battle at Naseby, whereby it became knowledge that the Royalist was also a Papist traitor.
As the Labourer attempted to warn the Father of the danger residing in his hospital, the Father failed to grasp his meaning. In a bout of slanders, he suggested that the Catholics had a right to their religion, and that St John’s was providing prayer for them. The Father even goes as far to say that the Puritan forces mutilated the wives of the Royalist army at Naseby, when it is known to all in these parts that they were Irish prostitutes. Such heresies and blasphemies must be charged to these “actors”.
Upon guidance from the Father, this Labourer then goes on an errand for the Royalist, returning to the field of battle to find his horse for him. Said animal is injured, and the Labourer is forced to shoot it for the Royalist. Whilst gazing on the dead Royalists, the Labourer suggests that the battle was merely a waste of life, rather than the valiant victory we know it to be.
On returning to the hospital, the Labourer finds the JP demanding again the removal of the Royalist to the castle. Instead of aiding on of the Parliament’s officers in his duty, the Labourer aids the Royalist prisoner in escape. Further more, he allows the Catholic to stay in his house for the night before seeking work in Northampton - here espousing the common knowledge that the gentry hereabouts enclosed lands deliberately to force the peasants away.
When the JP again arrives to take the prisoner - and also the Labourer, now a traitor - the Labourer again flouts the authority of the government, and is aided in escape by the Royalist. Hearing that the traitor King is held captive at Holdenby House, they make plans to visit him, making again common lies about the war.
When they reach Charles, they find him as we know him to have been - lying to Parliament in a vague attempt to re-build his shattered army and claim for England. Rather than proclaiming the glorious victory for the Protectorate, these actors left their audience with warnings of a future war to come, giving no indication of its final - blessed - outcome.
When myself and other Justices of the Peace attempted to arrest these traitorous performers, they managed to slip away into the crowds and escape. I urge you, my Lord, to give utmost attention to these rogues and villains, and aid me in seeking and punishing them,
Msr. Paul Dale Smith,
Justice of the Peace, Northampton.