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T.225 [1651.02.4] Anon., A Declaration of the Armie concerning Lieut. Collonel John Lilburn (14 February, 1651).
Anon., A Declaration of the Armie concerning Lieut. Collonel John Lilburn; and their Resolution to establish the People in all their just Rights, Liberties, Priviledges, and Freedomes. With the Remonstrance, and Petition, of the Officers and Souldiers, Citizens and Countrey-men, Rich and Poor; With all the distressed and oppressed People of England; To the Parliament. Together with their Propositions and Desires; and a gallant way propounded, for the taking off all Taxes, a time prefixed; the uniting of all Parties; the establishing of Peace; and making Trade free.
Imprinted at London, for G. Horton, 1652.
This pamphlet contains the following parts:
14 February, 1651.
TT1 p. 827; Thomason E.654 (11).
To the Parliament of England; concerning Lieut. Col. John Lilburn; And the humble Petition of the Citizens of London, the free-born Denizens in the respective Counties, Poor and Rich; and all sorts, with all the Distressed and Oppressed People of England.
THe Officers and Souldiers in the Army, having received Advertisements of the heavy Censure which L. Col. Lilburn (at present) lies under a Councel was called, and after a large Dispute, many declared their ardent affection, To stand and jail with so great and faithful an Assertor of England’s Liberties. Others resolved, To submit their Wills, to the Will of the Power that imposed the Sentence, declaring, That they will leave no means nor dangers unattempted, to establish the People in the fulness of their Liberties and Freedoms. Which cordial Result, re-minds me of that most excellent and emphatical Petition of the freemen of England, to the Parliament; A Copy whereof followeth:
THat it being the work of Nature, Reason and Christianity, by which we shall be judged in the last Day, (Mat. 25.) And the very bottom of all pretences in all Corporations and Councels, To cloath the naked, feed the hungry, visit the sick, and relieve the oppressed: All former Lawes, statutes, and consultations having been of small effect hitherto: houses of Correction being more apt to make men (from being poor) to become Vagabonds and Beggars, by taking from them the Repute of so much Honesty, as not to be intrusted with employment; and conveying into them a further impudency, or desperateness (as by experience is manifest) and many having of late years perished for want of Necessaries: The Lord having now put into your hands a present opportunity, of adding this great Work to all the mighty works which he hath done by you.
May your Honours be pleased to grant to your Petitioners (all due respects being first had to your great losses & damages, out of Delinquents Revenues) or so many of them as shall be thought fit, and to all the poor of England, the remainder of what is due upon publike Accounts. 2 All or so much of the Commons, Forests, Chaces, &c. as is due unto the Poor. 3 All Mines not wrought on at present, all drowned lands, lands deserted of the Sea, or the like, they agreeing for what is due to any Owner. 4 The sole benefit of all Manufactures, Engines and Inventions either by Sea or Land, by your Petitioners brought into Use in England. 5 All Parish Collections, and concealed or abused Charities, with power to search all Records, Wills, Church-books, & books of Accounts to that purpose, gratis: to be as a publique Treasure of the Land, for all publique Designs, in one common joynt Stock.
And some of your Petitioners will put in sufficient security; 1 To provide all necessaries for the Army. 2 To pay the Arrears of the Army within 5 years. 3 To take off all Taxes within one year, except Customs. 4 To pay all the debts of the publique Faith which remain due at 6. per Cent, within 10 years. 5 To set up a publique Banck, as in Amsterdam, Venice, and other places. And if your Honours shall think good, to grant the Fishings, Customs, and Revenues of the Navy, &c. then your Petitioners will undertake to maintain a constant Navy at Sea, and to secure the Merchants at. 1 per Cent, a month, for the narrow Seas. 2 To take off the Customs from unwrought Materials and Commodities, and Food and Ammunition imported, and lay them upon unwrought Materials and Commodities, and Food and Ammunition exported. 2 To take off all Customs from Manufactures exported, and lay them upon Manufactures imported.
Thus may your Honours be eased of great Burthens; be free to other great affairs; Take away all Taxes and Groanings of the people; Reconcile all parties; Gain the love of the people; Make Trade free; Establish the peace of the Nation; Establish your own peace before God and Man; And bring down the blessings of God abundantly upon all your faithful Endeavours.
As for my own part I am a free-man; yea, a free Denizen of England; and I have been in the field with my sword in my hand, to adventure my life and my bloud (against Tyrants) for the preservation of my just freedom; and I do not know that ever I did an act in all my life, that disfranchised me of my freedom; and by vertue of my being a freeman (I conceive) I have as true a right to all the priviledges that do belong to a freeman as the greatest man in England whatsoever he be; and the ground and foundation of my freedome I build upon the grand Charter of England, which is published and expressed in the 9 of HEN. 3. Chap. 29. which I humbly crave leave to illustrate as followeth, viz. That no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned; or be diseised of his free-hold or liberties; or free Customs; or be out-lawed or exiled; or any wise destroyed: Nor we will not passe upon him, nor condemn him; but by lawful Judgment of his Peers; or by the Law of the Land; we will sell to no man; we will not deny; or defer to any man either Justice or Right. And the priviledges contained herein are my birth-right and inheritance; which priviledges have been ratified and confirmed to the free people of England by the Parliament assembled at Westminster; and many Declarations put out against the late King for violating of them.
And truly, I cannot chuse but remind you, That the Law of England is the birth-right and inheritance of the people of England; yea of the meanest as well as of the richest: And although the Law of England be not so good in every particular, especially in the administrative part of it, as I could wish it were; yet till I can see a better, I (for my part) will make much of that which we have, as the principal Earthly preserver and safeguard of my life, liberty and property for it, viz. Magna Charta Chap. 29. saith, No free-man shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his freehold or free Customes, or be outlawed or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor past upon, nor condemned, but by lawful Judgment of his Peers; or by the Law of the Land; and that Justice and Right shall not be sold denied, or deferred to any man. See Sir Edw. Cook’s excellent Exposition upon this in his 2. par. Instit. fol. 46, 47. &c. Printed by the late forcibly dissolved Parliament for good Law. And positively declared, To preserve unto the people inviolably their fundamental Laws and Liberties, in reference to their Lives, Estates, and all things appertaining there unto.
A Charge of High-Treason is preparing to be exhibited against Mr. Ainslow, a learned Professour of the Law, and now prisoner in the Presse-yard at New-gate, for writing and divulging a Treasonable Book against Mr. Attorney-General Prideaux, and divers other Honourable Members: His Tryal is ordered to be upon Friday the 30 of this instant January. At which time, the Articles of Impeachment are to be read; which (its believed) will produce an immediate Sentence, answerable to his demerits, being a matter of great and incomparable consequence.