Note: This is part of the Leveller Collection of Tracts and Pamphlets.
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T.95 [1647.04.30] John Lilburne, The resolved mans Resolution, to maintain with the last drop of his heart blood, his civill Liberties and freedomes (30 April 1647)
John Lilburne, The resolved mans Resolution, to maintain with the last drop of his heart blood, his civill Liberties and freedomes, granted unto him by the good, just, and honest declared lawes of England, (his native Country) and never to sit still, so long as he hath a tongue to speake, or a hand to write, til he hath either necessitated his Adversaries, the house of Lords, and their Arbitrary Associates in the house of Commons, either to doe him justice and right, by delivering him from his causelesse and illegall imprisonment, and out unto him, legall and ample reparations, for all his unjust sufferings or else send him to Tyburne: of which he is not afraid, and doubteth not if they doe it, but at and by his death, to doe them (Sampson like) more mischief, then he did them all his life. All which is expressed and declared in the following Epistle, written by Lieut. Coll. John Lilburne, Prerogative Prisoner in the Tower of London, to a true friend of his, a Citizen thereof, Aprill 1647.
Isaiah 1.23, 24. Thy Princes are rebellious and Companions of Thieves, every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they Judge not the fatherlesse, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of host, the mighty one of Israel, Abel will use me of my adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies.
Acts 13 6, 7, 8. But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadduces, and the other Pharasees, be cryed out in the Councell, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the sonne of a Pharisee: of [...]e hope and resurrection of the dead, I am called in question. And when be had so said, there arosee a dissertion between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was devided. For the Sadduces say that there is no resurrection neither Angel nor Spirit: but, the Pharisees confesse both. And there arose a great cry: and the Scribes that were of the Pharisees part, arose and [...] saying; We find no evill in this man: but if a Spirit, or an Angel hath spoken to him, let us not [...] against God.
Acts 15.8. While he answered for himselfe, Neither against the law of the Jewes, neither against the Temple, nor yet against Caesor, have I offended any thing at all. Verse 16. To whom [...] answered, it is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die before that he which is accused, have the accuser face to face, and have licence to answer for himselfe concerning the crime against him.
Acts 22.25. And as they bound him with things, Paul said unto the Centurion that stood by, is it lawfull for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and be condemned, and verse 28. But Paul said, [...] was free borne.
This tract contains the following parts:
30 April 1647.
TT1, p. 506; Thomason E. 387. (4.)
Isaiah 1. 23, 24. Thy Princes are rebellious, and Companions of Thieves, every one loveth gifts, and followith after rewards: they Judge not the fatherlesse, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hast, the mighty one of Israel, Abel will use me of my adversaries, and avenge me of nine enemies.
Acts 13 6, 7, 8. But when Paul rerceived that the one part were Sadduces, and the other Pharasees he cryed out in the Councell, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the sonne of a Pharisee: of little hope and resurrection of the dead, I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissertion between the Pharisees and the Sadduces: and the multitude was devided.For the Sadduces say that there it no resurrection neither Angel nor Spirite but the Pharisees confesse both. And there arose a great cry: and the Scribes that were of the Pharisees part, arose and strove saying; We find no evill in this man: but if a Spirit, or an Angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.
Acts 15. 8. While he answered for himselfe, Neither against the law of the Jewes, neither against the Temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offerded any thing at all. Verse 16. To whom it was answered, it is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to dye before that he which is accused, have the accuser face to face, and have licence to answer for himselfe concerning the crime against him.
Acts 22, 25. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the the Centurian that stood by, is it lawfull for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and be condemned, and verse 28. But Paul said, that I was freebome.
TRue friend, after my reall respect presented unto [Editor: illegible word] &c. I desire to informe you that I am told, you are very much troubled at the proceedings with the Committee of the House of Commons, upon Munday, the 8. of Feb. 1646. That after I had stood so stifly at the beginning with them, upon the Lawes, Rights and priviledges every free man of the Kingdome, that I should undoe all, and let my firme hold goe, by answering at last to their Interrogatories, by which you say, I undid all I had done, and went against my owne declared principles, and not only so but by owning my book, have exposed my selfe to a great deale of hazard and danger, which I might easily have avoyded, if I had not answered their Interogatory.
Vpon serious consideration hereof, I judge my selfe bound in duty to my selfe, to write these lines unto you, for your satisfaction, and my own vindication, and therefore J shall begin to give you so true and reall a Narrative of my whole proceedings with them, as the utmost of my memory will inable me, part of which you your selfe were an eye and eare witnesse unto, and it was in this manner. About 9. o clock upon the foresaid Munday, Lewis a servant to the Sergeant at Armes came to my lodging in the Tower, and shewed me a Warrant he had to take my wife into safe custody, for dispersing some of my last bookes, and I told him it was very hard, for any Committee of Parliament, to send forth a warrant to make my wife a Prisoner, before they had heard her speake for her selfe, or so much as summoned her to appeare before them, and I plainly told him it was more then by law they could justifie, but however, I bore so much honourable respect unto the House of Commons, and all its Committees, that I would not perswade my wife to contempt their warrants, but if he pleased to take my word for her appearance, I would ingage my life for her, that she should be punctually at the houre appointed, to waite upon the Committee to know their pleasure: which ingagement he was pleased to take, but with all told me, he had brought a warrant to the Lieutenant of the Tower, to carrie me before the Committee at two a clock in the afternoon, but I told him, unlesse I see and read the warrant, I should not goe, but by force and compulsion, and therefore if he pleased to goe with me to the Lieutenant, and get him to let me read the warrant, I should readily obey it, which he did accordingly, but time being very short, I considered with my selfe what was most fit for me to doe, for I assured my selfe I was to goe before those, divers of which, would bend all their insensed mallice and indignation against me, and make use of all their power and wits, to intrap and insnare me, and therefore, I lifted up my soule to my old and faithfull Counceller, the Lord Jehovah and in my ejaculations, pressed my Lord and master, with a great deale of grounded confidence and cleernesse of spirit, to declare and manifest his faithfullnesse, in being present with me, to counsell, direct, incourage and stand by me, according to his promise of old (made unto me) in the tenth of Matthew, and to his praise and glory I desire to speake it, he presently came into my soule with a mighty power, and raised me high above my selfe, and gave me that present resolution that was able to lead me, with a great deale of assured confidence to grapple with an whole host of men; But in my owne spirit I was led presently to take care, to doe something for my wife as the weaker vessell, that so she might not be to seek in case she were called before them, and for that end, I drew her presently up a few lines, which I read unto her, and gave her instructions, that upon the very first question they should aske her, she should give them her paper, as her absolute answer to their question: unto which she readily assented and set her name to it, which verbatum thus followeth.
To the Honourable the Committee of the Honourable, the House of Commons, for suppressing of scandalous Pamphlets. The humble addresses of Elizabeth Lilburne, wife to Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, prerogative prisoner in the tower of London. Feb. 8. 1646.
YOu have all of you taken the Covenant, (for you have made an Order, that no man shall sit in your House, that will not take it) where you have sworn to maintain the fundamentall Lawes of the Kingdome, and for you to examine me upon Interrogatories, is contrary to the fundamentall Law of the Kingdome, (and for me to answer to them, is to be traiterous to my owne liberty) or for you to proceed by any other rules to punish me, for any reall or pretended crime, but what is declared by the Law, is unjust and unrighteous, and therefore I humbly intreat this honourable Committee, seriously to read and consider the Statute of the 42. of Edward the third, Chapter 3. which thus followeth. “Item, At the request of the Commons by their Petitions put forth in this Parliament, to eschew the mischiefes and dammage done to divers of his Commons, by false accusers which often times have made their accusation more for revenge, and for the benefit and for the profit of the King, or of his people, which accused persons, some have been taken[Editor: illegible word] which the Parliament is. and sometime caused to come before the Kings Counsell, by writ otherwise upon grievious paine against the Law: It is assented and accorded, for the good governance of the Commons, that no man be put to answer without presentment before Iustices, or matter of record, or by due processe and writ originall according to the old Law of the land, and if any thing from henceforth be done to the contrary, it shall be void in the Law, and holden for errour. And sutable to this is the 29. chap of Magna Charta, and the 5. E. 3. 9. and 25. E. 3. 4. and 18. E. 3. 3. 37. E. 3. 18. which are all and every of them confirmed by the Petition of Right, made in the third yeare of the present King, which expresly saith. “No man ought to be adjudged, but by the lawes established in the Realm, and not otherwise, which Petition of Right, you your selves have in every point confirmed, as appeares by the Statute that abolisheth the Star Chamber, and by the Statute that abolisheth Ship money, and you your selves with your hands lifted up to the most high God, have often sworne, vowed, protested and declared, you will maintaine preserve and defend, the fundamentall lawes of the land, and square your actions accordingly, and imprecate the wrath and vengeance of the great God of Heaven and Earth to fall upon you, when you [Editor: illegible word] to performe what there you sweare to, and declare, and therefore Gentlemen, what thoughts soever of displeasure you have towards me, I hope you will be so tender of your own honours and reputations, that you will not in the least indeavour to deale with me contrary to the true intent and meaning of the forementioned lawes, but if you should, I cannot stoop unto any tryal that is contrary to the pattern of the forementioned honest, just and good lawes, and if you please to let me [Editor: illegible word] the benefit of them, I shall be ready to joyne issue with you, whensoever you please, and legally to answer whatsoever I have said and done and so I humbly take my leave of your honours, and rest.
And having finished hers, and taken care to get a copy of it, I begun to thinke what to doe for my selfe, and being very confidently perswaded, that they would shew me my book, and aske me if I would owne it for mine, because this was their method the last yeare with me, as you may fully read in a printed Epistle I writ to you last yeare, when I was a prisoner under the sergeant at Arms of the house of Commons, which Epistle is dated July 14. 1645.
And in my answer to William Prinns notorious lyes and falshoods, *called Innocency and truth justified, pag. 6. 13, 14. 15. 16.
And therefore it fell to my pen and ink, but before I had writ a quarter of that I intended, my selfe to give into the Committee, my keeper came, and told me it was past one a clock, and therefore full time for us to be gone, being we were to be there by two, and in regard it was so very cold, we marched all the way by land, and comming to the outward Court of wards before the Committee sate I fell to perfect what I had begun, and as I was at worke, out came to me a Citizen and told me there was a young Gentleman in a fur jacket who looked something a squire, pressed with a great deale of choler and indignation, that I might be imediately called in to answer for my notorious crime, for writing the Oppressed mans appressions declared, which I say is a book of truth and honesty, and just as I had done, I was called in before the Committee, where I found (as I conceived them) a great many of the little better then theevish catch-poule Stationers, whose trade it is for divers of them illegally and little better then felloniously, to breake open honest mens houses and the Theeves and Rogues, carry away their true and proper goods,* and a very large company of Parliament men, as ever I see at a Committee to my remembrance before, and looking well about me, the most of them were to me men of new faces, and one of them appeared to me, to be one of Pryns infants or Minors, not above 18. yeares old as I conceived, but amongst them all I see not the face of one of my old acquaintance. And after I had rendered my respects to Mr. Corbet, the Chair-man thereof, he took a little book and read the title of it, The Oppressed mans Oppressions declared, &c. and also turned to the last end of it, and read the conclusion, which was subscribed Iohn Lilburn semper idem, and told me he was commanded by the Committee, to ask me this question, whether I would own that book for mine or no? unto which I answered. Sir, with the favour of this honourable Committee, I shall humbly desire to speake a few words, well said Mr. Corbet, answer to the question.
Sir, said I, if you please to give me leave to speak, well and good, if not, if you please to command me silence I shall obey you. Saith he the question is but short therefore answer to it, either I or no, Sir said I, I am now past a schole boy, and have long since learned to say my A, B, C, after my master, but have now attained to a more ripe understanding, so that I am now able to speak without being dictated unto what I should say, and therefore if you please to give me leave to speak my own words in my owne manner and forme, well and good, if not, I have no more to say unto you: Sir saith he, the question is but short, therefore you are commanded to give a possitive answer to it, unto which I replyed, Sir if you will not let me speak my owne words, in my owne way, I will neither tell you, whether I will owne it or disavow it, and with that he took his pen and writ part of what I said, and read it to me. Sir said I, what you have writ, is not full what I said, and therefore if you please to give me pen, inke and paper, I shall write what I said my selfe, and set my hand unto it, which he refused, but divers of the Parliament men, pressed him to keep me to the question. Vnto which I said, Gentlemen, if you please to give me leave to speak, well and good, if not lets come to an issue and command me out of doores, for I will not answer you till I have free liberty to speak, upon which one or two of the Committee said, let him speak, but saith Mr. Corbet, if after you have liberty for to speake, will you returne a possitive answer to the question? yea, Sir said I, that I will, well then speak said he speak. Sir said I what I have to say, is in the first place; in reference to the house of Commons, for apprehending with my selfe, that my carriage and speeches this day before the Committee, may be represented to the honourable House of Commons, to my detriment and dammage, I therefore judge it convenient for me to fortifie my self as wel as I can, and therfore I desire humbly to declare, that I own the constitution of the honorable house of Commons, as the greatest, best, and legallest interest, that the Commons of England have for the preservation of their Rights and Liberties, and I doe not only owne their constitution but also I honour their authority and power, and the power and authority of all Committees, legally deriving their power therefrom, and shall readily and cheerfully, yeeld obedience to all their commands, provided they act according to the rules of justice, and to the good knowne lawes of the hand, but not otherwise.
And in the second place, I desire to speake a few words of my thoughts of this Committee, but I was exceedingly interrupted, not only by the Chairman, but also by other Members of the House, and very much pressed to give an answer to the question, which made me say, Mr. Corbet, if you please to let me goe on in my own way, well and good, if not I have no more to say to you, for I came not hither of my owne head, to make a complaint unto you of my own, but I was sent for by you, (as I conceive) in a criminall way, to answer something before you, in which regard, it behoves me to stand upon the best guard that either law, reason, or judgement can furnish me with, and being that I apprehend, I am so much concerned in my present appearance before you, it exceeding much concernes me, to be very considerate and wise, in managing my business before you, therefore if you please, let me goe on to speak out what I have to say, and I thinke in conclusion, I shall give you as possitive an answer to the question as you desire.
So up stepped a welth Gentleman, one Mr. Harbert, as I remember his name, & desired Mr. Corbet to let me speak on, for saith he, you hear him promise to give you a possitive answer to your question.
Well then saith Mr Corbet, but will you as soone as you have spoken give a possitive answer to the question? Yea, Sir said I, (and clapt my hand upon my breast) upon my credit and reputation will I, then goe one saith he.
Well then Sir said I, two words concerning this Committee, and that at present I have to say is this, that I looke upon this Committee, as a branch deriving its power from the House of Commons, and therefore honour it, and I looke upon you in the capacitie you sit here, as a Court of justice, and I conceive you look upon your selves in the very selfe same capacity, but in case you do not, I have no more to say unto you, neither if ye be not a Court of Justice, doe I conceive have you in law, any power at all to examine me. But none of them replying upon me, made me take it for granted, they took themselves for a Court of justice, and therefore I went one and said, if you so doe, that is own your selves for a Court of justice, then I desire you to deale with me as it doth become a Court of Justice, and as by law you are bound, which is to let me have a free, open, and publique hearing. For Gentlemen, you have all of you taken the Covenant, in which you have lifted up your hands to the most high God, and sworne to maintaine the lawes of the Land. And it is the law of the land, that all Courts of Justice ever have been, are, and ought to be held openly and publiquely, (not close like a Cabinet Counsell) from whence no Auditers are, or ought to be excluded,* and therefore as you would not give cause to me to Judge you a company of forswarne men, I desire you to command your doore to be opened that so all the people, that have a mind to heare and see you, and beare witnesse, that you proceed with justice and righteousnesse, may without check or comptrole, have free accesse to behold you, they behaving themselves like civill men. But here arose a mighty stir by some Parliament men, who declared, fiery indignation in their very countenances against me, but especially, a Gentleman that sate on the left hand of the forementioned Gentleman in the fur jacket, who pressed vehemently to hold me close to the question, and keep to their Committee proceedings, but truly I conceived the Gentleman to be but a very young Parliament man, and one that neither had read, nor understood the lawes of England, and therefore Sir said I to him, to stop your mouth, I tell you, I blesse God, I am not now before a Spanish Inquisition, but a Committee of an English Parliament, that have sworne to maintaine and preserve the lawes of the Kingdome, and therefore Mr. Corbet, I know you are a Lawyer, and know and understand the lawes of the Kingdome, and I appeale to your very conscience, whether my desire of an open and publique hearing, be any otherwise then according to Law, sure I am Sir, it was the constant practise of this very Parliament at the beginning thereof that in all their Committees whatever, where they sat to heare and examine criminall causes, that they alwayes sate open, and I speake it out of my own knowledge, that you were then angry with any man amongst your selves, that did presse or move that you might sit in a cabinit and clandestine way, and truly Mr. Corbet, I thinke this Committee would take it very ill at my hands, if I should affirm you are more unjust & unrighteous now, then you were at the beginning for I my self, had about halfe a score publique hearings at a Committee about my Star-Chamber businesse, and therefore being now before you, upon a businesse in my thoughts, of as much concernment to me as that was: I beseech you, let me have the same fare and just play now, that then I had, and give not [Editor: illegible word] just cause to me and others, to say your actions and proceedings are unrighteous and unjust and therefore you sit in holes and corners, and dare not abide the publique view of your actions which will be too clear a demonstration to all the world, that your deeds are evill, Iohn 3. 10, 21. Well Sir said Mr. Corbet here is company enough to heare you, therefore you may goe on, true it is Sir, here is enough of my enemies but I see never a one of my friends: therefore if you please to command the doore to be not wide open, well and good, if not I will not say one word more unto you, so I was commanded to withdraw, which I did. And being called in againe, Mr. Corbet told me, he was commanded by the Committee to aske me the question againe, whether I would owne the book or no? But I told him I was the same man now, that I was when I withdrew, and therefore I said unlesse they would command and order the doore to be openned, that every man that had a mind to come in, might come in without let or molestation, I would returne as answer it all.
With that one of the Gentlemen said, the doore is open, and so it was, and whether they had given a private Order to the doore keeper so to doe I know not. Well Mr. Corbet said I, it is not an accidentall or casuall openning of the doore will serve my turn, but an orderly and legall openning of it, as that which ought to be done of right and justice, and therefore Mr. Corbet, it you please as you are Chair-man of this Committee, to command the doore to be set and stand wide open, I shall goe on, if not, I shall be silent.
Well then doore keeper (saith he) set open the doore, now Sir said I, with your favour, I shall expresse my selfe a little further to this Committee, whereupon I openned a written paper I had in my hand, and began to looke upon it, but Mr. Corbet told me, the question was so short that it needed no long answer to it, and therefore I might spare the labour of using my paper. Good Sir [Editor: illegible word] I beseech you, afford me but so much priviledge as you doe every mercenary Lawyer, that pleads his Clients cause for a fee before you, to whom you never deny the benefit of pleading by also help of his notes or papers, and I know no reason why I should be denyed the same priviledge in my own case, and therefore I humbly intreat you, to afford me the benefit of looking upon my own paper, but said Mr. Corbet, how came you to write these paper? did you know before hand what we would say to you? O Sir said I, you may remember I was severall times before you in this manner the last year, and I very well remember the method of your illegall proceedings with me then,* and being by you summoned now again to come before you, I did very strongly conjecture, that you would tread in the method of your old steps of Interrogatories, and therefore I judged it but wisedome and foresight in me, to fit my selfe for you, and accordingly I have writ down the substance of what I haue to say to you in this paper, saith Mr. Corbet, give me the paper and we will consider of it, no Sir said I, I beseech you excuse me, for you have been so hasty with me, that I had no time to copy it over, and I doe not love to part with my papers in this nature, without keeping copies of them, but if you please to let me goe on, either to read it to you, or to say it by heart to you, now and then looking upon it I shall very willingly give you a true copy of it under my hand. I pray you Mr. Corbet, said the aforementioned, Mr. Harbert let him goe on, which he assented unto, and I purposely past over the preamble of it, having already as I told them touched upon it, and begun in that place, where mention is made of the Star-Chamber. With which Sir William Strickland interrupted me, and said Mr. Corbet, I doe not like nor approve of raiking up these things, much lesse in comparing us to the Star Chamber, therefore I wish Mr. Lilburne would be perswaded to for beare these dishonourable expressions, for they are not handsome. Good Mr. Corbet I beseech you heare me a little, for under Sir Williams favour, I doe not compare you to the Star Chamber, but if you would not be compared unto it, then you must not walk in its unjust, and illegall ways, but Sir said I, for Sir Williams further satisfaction, I desire to let him know, I doe honour the true and just power of the House of Commons, as much as himselfe, and have adventured my life and blood, for the preservation thereof, as cordially, really and heartily, in the singlenesse and uprightnesse of my soule, as any man that at this day sits within the Walls of that house, whatever he be, and I have still the same love and affections, to the just interest of that house, and the same zeale to maintaine it that ever I had, and it doth not in the least repent me of what J have formerly done or suffered for it, though I thinke by their late dealings with me, I have as true and grounded cause administred unto me by them, to repent as any man in England either hath or ever will & therefore Sir, under your favour, although I be very unwilling like a simple man, to part with my just & legal rights to this Committee, a branch of the Honourable House of Commons, it doth not in the least therefore follow, that I am disaffected or disrespective of the just interest & power of the House of Commons, but rather it doth follow, that I am the same man now that ever I was before & Sir under your favour I tell you, it is neither for the honour, interest nor benefit of the house of Commons, for any of its Committees, to swallow down or destroy, the publique interest and liberties of the people, the preservation of which, (by their owne Declarations*) being the principall end wherefore the people chuse and trusted them to sit where they doe, and therefore Sir, I pray you, let me goe on, which was granted, but before I could get through my paper, there was a great hurly burly amongst the Parliament men, being extreamly nettled at my paper which many of them expressed in their speeches to Mr. Corbet, and desired him to silence me in the way I then was in, and hold me to the question-Gentlemen said I this is very strange proceedings, that you will neither let let alone, nor let me speake. Be it knowne unto you, that I conceive J stand in need neither of mercy nor favour from you, but only what reason, Law and justice affords me, neither doe I crave any other priviledge at your hands, but what the Earle of Strafford injoyed from you, (although you your selves judged him the greatest of offenders) which was a free and uninterrupted liberty to speak for himselfe, in the best manner he could, and to make the best defence for himselfe, that possible all the wit and parts he had, would inable him to doe, and sure I am this is a priviledge due by law to every Mutherer, Rogue, & Theefe,* which I am sure the arrantest Villaine that is arraigned at Newgate Sessions (for the notorioust of crimes) injoyes this priviledge as his right by law, to speake his owne words, in his owne manner, for the best advantage of himselfe, to his own understanding, and it is very strange to me, that I who am a free man of England, and am not conscious to the committing of a crime against the Law, shall not be suffered by a committee of Parlament, that have solemnly sworne to maintaine the lawes, to injoy that legall priviledge to speak my owne word; in my owne manner, for my most advantage and best defence, that is [Editor: illegible word] nor legally, nor cannot be denyed, at any Assizes or Sessions, to the most capitall, bloody, and arrantist Rogue in England. Truly Gentlemen, I must plainly tell you, I never was convicted of any crime at all that did in the least disfranchise me of my hereditary and legall Rights and Liberties, nor ever was legally in the least made uncapable of injoying the utmost benefit and priviledge that the law of England will afford or hand out to any legall man of England, But have at your command, many times and often adventured my life and all that I had in the world, for the maintenance and preservation of the lawes and liberties of England, with as much uprightnesse of heart and as much man love, courage and resolution, as any member of the House of Commons what ever he be, and therefore I tell you before this Committee, or any power in England, what ever it be, shall rob me of my just exacted recompence of reward for all my labours, travels and hazards (which recompence of reward is the injoyment of the just priviledges and benefits of the good lawes of the Kingdome, I will spend my heart blood against you, yea, if I had a million of lives, I would sacrifice them all against you, and therefore seeing you have all of you solemnly lifted up your hands to the most high God: and sworne to maintaine the Lawes of the Kingdome, I desire you for your owne credits sake to deale with me so, as not to give me to just cause, to avouch it to your faces, you are a company of forsworne men, and so to publish & declare you to the whole Kingdome. VVith this Mr Wever, Burgesse for Stamford spoke, “Mr Corbet, I conceive such reproachfull and dishonourable expressions as Mr. Lilburn gives us to our faces, is not to be induced or suffered, and therefore I beseech you, let us be sensible of the honour due to our Authority, and the house whereof we are Members.
Good Mr. Corbet, I intreat you heare me, for J desire to let that Gentleman know; J am very confident I have not you said any thing that is dishonourable to the legall and just interest and power either of this Committee, or the house of Commons whereof you are Members, and Sir if I should, I conceive you are enough to beare witnesse against me, and I thinke you judge your selves sufficiently indowed with power to punish me if I should doe as that Gentleman pretends, I have done, and truly Mr. Corbet, J must againe aver it before you, that I am no contemner nor despiser of the just and legall authority of the house of Commons, neither doe I desire to affront or reproach this Committee, but I pray consider, I am but a man, and a prisoner under many provocations, and to be so rufly falne upon as I am, by halfe a dozen of you at a time, and interrupted in making my legall defence, and not suffered to speake my own words, is very hard and it is possible hereby, I may be provoked to heat, and in heat say that that is not convenient and fitting, the which if J should doe I hope you Mr. Corbet, have understanding enough to iudge, and to reprove me for it, and truly Sir upon your reproofe, if I can possibly apprehend and see I have done amisse I shall presently cry you peccavic.
But here abouts, my wise seeing Mr. Wever so furious upon me as he was, burst out with aloud voice & said, “I told thee often enough long since, that thou would serve the Parliament, and venter thy life so long for them, till they would hang thee for thy paines, and give thee Tyburn for thy recompence and I told thee besides, thou shouldst in conclusion find them a company of unjust, and untighteous judge’s, that more sought themselves, and their owne ends, then the publique good of the Kingdome, or any of those that faithfully adventured their lives therefore.
But J desired Mr. Corbet, to passe by what in the bitternesse of her heart being a woman she had said unto them, and desired him to let me conclude my paper, and then J would give him a possitive answer to their question, which was granted, and I read out my paper, the true copy of which at large thus followeth.
MAy it please this honourable Committee, this any I see and read a warrant under the hand of Mr. Miles Corbet, directed to the Lieutenant of the Tower, to bring me before your honours, sitting in the inner Courts of wards, at two a clock this present afternoon, but no cause wherefore is expressed in the warrant therefore in the first place, I desire and humbly entreat this honourable Committee, to take [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] and [Editor: illegible word] the constitution, authority and power of the honourable house of commons, and looke upon it in its constitution, at the greatest and legall, best interest that the Commons of England both, and of all the Committees thereof, that legally and justly derive their power therefrom, and act according to the Law and just customes of Parliament, within their bounds, unto all whose commands so farre as the established law of England requires me, I shall yield all cheerfull and ready obedience, but having the last yeer very large experience of the arbitratry and illegall proceedings of some Committee or Committees of the House of Commons, and the Chair-man or Chair-men thereof, and fearing to meet with the like now againe, by way of prevention I am necessitated humbly to declare unto this honourable Committee, that in the dayes of the Star-Chamber, I was there sentenced for no other cause, but for refusing to answer to their interrogateries or questions, and upon the 4. of May, 1641. the honourable house of Commons, whereof you are Members upon the report of Mr. Francis Rouse made these ensuing Votes.
Resolved upon the question.
That the sentence of the Star Chamber given against John Lilburn is illegall and against the the liberty of the Subject, and also bloody, wicked, cruell, barberous and tyrannicall.
Resolved upon the question, that reparations ought to be given to Mr. Lilburn for his imprisonment, sufferings and losses, sustained by that illegall sentence.
Here is your own iust and legall Votes in my own case, to condemne as illegall and uniust; all inquisition proceedings upon selfe accusing interrogatories, and your Votes are sutable to the ancient and fundamentall lawes of this land, as appeares by the 29. chap. of Magna Charta, and the 5. E. 3. 9. and 25. E. 3. 4. and 28, E. 3. 3. and 37. E. 3. 18. and 42. E. 3. 3. the words of which last cited Statute thus followeth.
“Item at the request of the Commons by their Petitions, put forth in this Parliament, to escew the mischiefes and dammages done to divers of his Commons by false accusers, which often times have made their accusations more for revenge and singular benefit, then for the profit of the King or of his people, which accused persons, some have been taken, & sometime caused to come before the Kings Counsel by writ or otherwise, upon grievous paine against the law. It is assented and accorded, for the good governance of the Commons, that no man be put to answer without presentment before Iustices or matter of record, or by due processe and writ originall, according to the old Law of the land, and if any thing from henceforth be done to the contrary, it shall be void in the Law, and holden for errour.*
All which forementioned good Lawes are all and every of them confirmed by the Petition of right made in the third year of the present King Charles, which expresly saith, no man ought to be adjudged but by the lawes established in the Realme, and not otherwise, which Petition of right, you your selves in this present Parliament have in every point confirmed, as appeares by the statute that abolisheth the Star-Chamber, and by the Statute that abolisheth Ship-money and you your selves with your hands lifted up to the most high God, have often sworne, vowed, protested and declared, you will maintaine, preserve and defend the fundamentall lawes of the land, and square your actions accordingly, and imprecate the wrath and vengeance of the great God of Heaven and Earth to fall upon you, when you cease to performe what there you sweare to and declare. And therefore honourable Gentlemen, what thoughts soever of indignation and displeasure you have towards me, I hope you will be so tender of your owne honours and reputations that you will not in the least endeavour, to deale with me contrary to the pattern and meaning of the formentioned honest, just and good lawes, and if you please to let me enjoy the benefit of them, I shall be ready to ioyne issue with you, whomsoever you please, without craving any mercy, pity or compossion at your hands, and legally to answer whatsoever J have said or done.
But under the favour of this honourable Committee, I doe humblie conceive it will neither be just nor honourable for the house of Commons to punish me either for a pretended or reall crime committed by me in a hard, tedious, provoking and uniust imprisonment, while my case is depending before themselves, and I by themselves extreamly delayed in receiving iustice and right, therefore I make it my humble suite unto this honourable committee, to represent my iust desire to the honourable house of commons, that they would first adiudge my cause betwixt the house of Lords and me, which hath been dependant before them about this 8, moneths, and either according to the lawes and constitutions of the land, iustifie me or condemn me, and then in the second place, when they have done righteous and true iudgement in this, then I desire them if they have any reall or pretended crime or crimes to lay to my charge, committed by me in my present, hard, unjust and extraordinary provoking imprisonment, whilst J am managing my businesse before them, that then they would proceed according to law with me, and according thereunto to punish me without mercy or compassion, which proposition I hope is so rationall, that in iustiece it cannot be denied me. So humbly taking leave of your honours, I subscribe my selfe.
And having concluded my paper, now Mr. Corbet said I, if you please lets goe to the question, well then said he will you renounce this booke or no? Sir said I, I had rather give you leave to heugh me in ten thousand peeces, then renounce any act of mine, done by me upon grounded, mature and deliberate consideration, and therefore Sir, somethings before hand premised, J shall give you a possitive and satisfactory answer to the question.
And therefore in the first place, I desire you and all here present to take notice, that I doe not return you an answer to your question out of any opinion that J am bound in duty or conscience unto your Authority to doe it, because you command me to doe it, for I know J am (actively) only to obey you in lawfull things, which this is not in the least, for by law no man what ever is bound to betray himselfe.
Nor secondly, J doe not return you an answer to it, as though I were bound by any law in England there to; for I have before punctually proved it to your faces out of my paper, that it is altogether unlawfull by the law of the land, to presse or force me to answer to interrogatories. Neither lastly, doe I answer your interrogation, out of any base tymerousnesse to betray the liberties & priveledges of the lawes of England, or to save my from selfe your insenced indignation, and therefore protesting that my answering your question, neither is, shall or justly can be drawn into president in future time, to compell me or any other free men of England, to answer to interrogatories, and therefore having (premised these things) affirmatively, I return you an answer to your question out of this consideration, that when I pend that book, I was inwardly exceedingly pricked forward to it, and framed it, with a resolution to lay down my life in the justification of it. And secondly, J return you an answer to the question out of this consideration, that upon your summons, I came before you with an absolute resolution to owne and avow that booke, (though I have been much by some of my friends perswaded to the contrary) alwayes provided I could get somethings effected before I did owne it, which I have already done, (that so I might set it in a way to come to a legall justification.) For first J have got the doore openned, that so I might have a publique hearing as my right by law. And secondly, J have obtained liberty (though with much a doe) to declare before you, in the presence and hearing of all these people, the illegallity of all yours, and all other Committees proceedings, inforcing the free men of England, (against the known and fundamentall lawes, of the land, and your own oathes,) to answer to selfe accusing interrogatories, and now having fully effected what I desired and thirsted after, I come now with as much willingnesse and readinesse to answer to your question, as you are to have me answer to it, and avowedly I tell you, I invented, compiled and writ that booke, and caused it to be printed and dispersed, and every word in it I will own and avouch to the death, saving the Printers Erratas, which if you please to give me the booke, and liberty of pen and inke. I will correct and amend them under my own hand, and return you the booke again, with my name annexed, under my own hand at the conclusion of it. Well then said Mr. Corbet, take the book and pen and inke, and goe mend it, truly Sir, said I, I have but one good eye to see with, and yet for that, I am forced to use the helpe of spectacles, and I have very much this day wrained the strength of my eyes, with reading and writing, and besides the booke is five sheets of paper, so that it is almost impossible for me seriously and carefully (with my weak eyes) to read it over this night, but if you please to give me but any reasonable time, I will be very punctuall in returning it to you againe; so I had tell Wednesday in the afternoone given me, and accordingly I amended the faults under my own hand, which principally were litterall and verball faults, and at the conclusion of the booke. I writ, examined and avowed by me John Lilburn, 10. Feb. 1646.
And upon Wednesday, I inclosed the book with a copy of my forecited paper that I read at the Committee) in a letter sealed to Mr. Corbet the Chairman of the foresaid Committee, the true copy of which letter thus followeth.
ACcording to my promise, I have corrected the Printers Erratas, and subscribed my hand thereto, and sent you back inclosed the very book you delivered to me with a true copy of my paper I read before you at the Committee, which is all I have at present to trouble you with, but to subscribe myselfe.
But after this little digression, J return to the rest of that which followed at the Committee, which was to this effect, as soone as I had ownd the book, and received the book from Mr. Corbet, I said Gentlemen, you having as I perceive done with me, I shall humbly crave liberty to make one motion to this Committee, for the discharge of my wife, for by vertue of your warrant she is a prisoner, for dispersing some of my bookes, and truly gentlemen she is my wife, and set at worke to doe what she did at the earnest desire of me her (unjust imprisoned) husband, and truly I appeale to every one of your own consciences, whether you would not have taken it very ill at the hands of any of your wives? if you were in my case, and she should refuse, at your earnest desire to doe that for you that she by my perswasions hath done for me, therefore I intreat you to set her at liberty, and set the punishment of that her action upon my score, so with one consent she was discharged, for which I thanked them. Now Gentlemen with your favour and patience I humbly intreat you to heare me but one word more, which is this, I was the other day robd or at least plundered, and had my house violently, forceably, & without any colour of law or conscience entred, & an Iron latch drawn, as I am informed by one Whittaker a book-seller, who dwels in Pauls Church-yard, who with others like high contemners and violaters of the law, loaded away, as I am informed three porters with my true and proper goods, that I bought with my owne proper monie, and he pretended he did it by vertue of a warrant from this Committee, therefore I humbly desire to know, whether this Committee will avow his action, and heare him out in what he hath so done? No saith Mr. Corbet, he had no such power from this Committee, as forceably to enter your house, nor to meddle with any of your goods or bookes, but only at randome to seize upon all of this booke where he could find them. Well gentlemen, then here is a high act of violence and contempt of the law committed, for here is my house by violence entered, and so many of my goods as they pleased to seize upon carried away, none belonging to me being present to see what they did, and my doores by them left wide open, for any that had a mind to goe in and take away, and rob me of all the rest of my goods that they left, for which actions I hope I shall obtaine justice in time, but in regard you say your warrant did not authorize him to take any of my bookes, but The Oppressed mans Oppressions declared, and yet he tooke away abundance of severall other bookes besides that, which I bought with my monie I hope this honourable Committee will be so just as to command him faithfully to restore me them all again, or at least all but the hundred of the present bookes in controversie, and I was fairely promised I should have them, but as yet I have found no performance at all, though truly I doe conceive there was as many books carried away by him as stood me in about twenty or thirty pounds, for there was the greatest part of a thousand of my bookes, called London Charters, the printing of which with the paying for the copies of the originall Charters, &c. (which I had out of the Record office in the Tower) cost me almost twenty pounds, besides a great many of severall other sorts. And at my withdrawing, the people cryed out, they never would answer to close Committees any more, being the doores by law ought to be open, which they never knew before. Now friend, I know you are acquainted very well with some able and honest Lawyers, and therefore I pray doe me the favour as inquire of them, whether all these things laid together, it be not an act of Fellony in the forementioned Whittaker, &c. thus forceably to enter my house, and without any reall or pretended warrant to take away my goods; but if it be not fellony, I desire to know of them, what effectuall course, I may take in law, to obtaine my just and legall satisfaction for this illegall wrong, and making these catch-poule Knaves (who are as bad if not worse then the Bishops Rookes and Catch-poules) examples to all their fellow Knaves and Catch-poules.
Thirdly, I desire to know, whether by law, any free mans house in England can be broken open, or forceably entered under any pretence whatever? unlesse if be for fellony and treason, or a strong and grounded suspition of fellony or treason, or to serve an execution after judgement for the King?
Fourthly, if any person or persons whatever, shall indeavour to break open, or forceably enter my house, or any other free mens of England, upon any pretence what ever, but the forementioned, or some other that is expresly warrantable by the known law, whether according to Law or no, I may not stand upon my owne defence in my owne house being my Castle and Sanctuary, and kill any or all of those that so illegally (though under specious authoritive pretences) shall assault me.
Fiftly, whether in law it be not as great a crime in the foresaid Whittaker, &c. forceably to enter my house, and carrie away my own goods lawfully come by, under a pretence of a warrant signed by a single Member of the House of Commons, commonly called a Chair-man of a Committee. As for Sir William Beacher Clark of his Majesties Privie Counsell, Old Sir Henry Vaine a Privie Counceller, and (if I mistake not then) Secretary of State, and Mr. Laurance Whittaker that old corrupt Monopolizer, now Member of the House of Commons; by vertue of Regall, or Councell-Board authoritie, to search the pockets, or break open the study doors of the Earle of Warwick, the Lord Say, Mr. Hambden, Mr. Pym, Mr. [Editor: illegible word] or any other of those that was so served after the breaking up of the short Parliament, for which by this present Parliament (as I am credibly informed from knowing and good hands) Sir William Beacher was committed to the Fleet, Mr. Laurance Whittaker to the Tower, and old Sir Henry Vaine, who as it is credibly said was this principall actor in this businesse, and was in this present House of Commons, strongly moved against, againe, and againe, and in all probability had sparred soundly for it, if it had not been for the interest that his Son young Sir Henry had in Mr. John Pym, and the rest of his bosome associates, who as it plainly (now appeares, for ends besides the publique, had use to make of him against the Earle of Strafford, who was one of the chiefe men that stood in their way, and hindred them from possessing themselves of those high and mighty places of honour and profit that is now too much apparent they then aspired unto, and therefore truly when I seriously cast my eye upon their continued serious of actions, (especially of late) my conscience is overcome, and J am forced to thinke that there is a great deale of more truth in many of the charges fixed upon them, in those two notable Declarations of the Kings, (then at the first reading of them, I conceive there was) the first of which is the 12. of August, 1642. and begins book Decl. 1. part pag. 514. some notable passages of which Mr. Richard Overton and my selfe have published in the 6 pag. of out late discourse, called The out-Cry of Oppressed Commons unto which I shall desire to ad one more, and that is of their partiallity in judgement, which the King chargeth them with (ibim) page 516 “That they threw out of their house some Monopolizers, as unfit to be Law-makers, because their principles was not fit for the present turns of the powerfull party there, and kept in other as great Monopolizers as those they threw out, because they did comply with them in their ends, and the King instances Sir Henry Mildmer, and Mr. Laurance Whittaker, both of whom, for all their transgressions, still sit in the House. And if it be an act of treason to exercise an Arbitrary and tyrannicall power (for so it was charged upon the Earle of Strafford, &c.) then I will maintain it, Mr. Laurance Whittaker is guilty of it, for he hath severall times done it unto the free men of England, yea upon me in particular, as at large you may read in my book called Innocency and Truth, justified, to the apparent hazard of my life and being, for which I will never forgive him, tell he hath acknowledged his fault, and made me legalland just satisfaction, the which if he do not the speedier, seeing by his unreasonable priviledge, as he is a Parliament man, that by law I cannot meddle either with his body or goods, I will by Gods assistance (seeing I have no other remedy) pay him with my pen, as well as ever he was paid since his eyes was open, cost it what it will and therefore I now advise him, if he love his owne reputation, without any more adoe to acknowledge his fault by giving me legall satisfaction.
The King second Declaration, is an answer to the two Houses Declaration of the proceeding of the Treaty at Oxford 1643. and in the second part book Decl. pag. 100 printed Anno 1646. where in pag. 101. he chargeth them possitively, “that the maintenance and advancement of Religion, justice, liberty, propriety and peace, are really but their stalking horses and neither the ground of their warre nor of their demands, and I for my part must ingeniously protest and declare unto you, that the dealings of both houses with me, and others of the Kingdomes best friends is such, that as sure as the Lord lives, I should sin against my own soule, if I should not really beleeve this particular charge of his Majesties to be most undeniable true and just, and to my understanding he there gives notable demonstrations to evince and cleare the forementioned charge, I shall only instance that in pag. 112. 113. VVhere his Majestie framing an answer to something they say in their Declaration about the Iudges, and Members of Parliament, he saith. “That by never having appeared at all in the favour, excuse or extenuation, of the fault of those Iudges (who are to answer for any unjust judgement, in all which his Majesty left them wholly to their consciences, and whensoever they offended against that, they wronged his Majesty no lesse then his people.) And by his being yet so carefull of those Lords and Gentlemen, it may appeare that his Majestie conceives, that those only adhere to him, who adhere to him according to law. And whether the remaining part of the Houses be not more apt to repeale their own impeachments and proceedings against those Iudges, (if they conceive they may be made use of and brought to adhere to them) then his Majestie is to require they should, may appear by their requiring in their 14 propositions, that Sir John Bramston (impeacht by them selves of so great misdemeanors) may be made chiefe Iustice, and by their freeing and returning Iustice Barkly, (accused by themselves of high Treason) to sit upon the bench, rather then free and imploy Iustice Mallet, who was not legally committed at first, but fecht from the bench to prison by a troop of Horse, and who after so many moneths imiprisonment, remaines not truly impeacht, but wholly without any knowledge of what crime he is suspected.
And indeed their partiallity in doing justice and judgement, appeares in no one man in England (I thinke more, then in old Sir Henry Vaine, who by all men that I can talke with that knowes him and his practises, renders him a man as full of guilt (in the highest nature) and court basenesse, as any man what ever that was there. For I have credably been told by one that sate in the short Parliament, “that he was the maine and principall man, that instrumentally brok up that Parliament, for in the House in the Kings name he strongly moved for twelve Subsidies, when he had no such Commission from his Majestie, but did it of purpose to set the Parliament in a heat, and make them fly high against the King, of which heat he took advantage, and then went to the King, and incensed him against them, and thereby provoked him to break it up, on set purpose to save himselfe from being questioned about his dangerous and desparate Monopoly of Gun-powder, and other of his illegall Knaveries, in which he was deep enough even over both boots and shooes. For Sir Iohn Eveling was the old powder master, and then Sir Henry Vaine stept in, and justled him out, and got in one Mr. Samuel Cordwell one of his own servants that waited upon him in his Chamber, who had the sole Monopoly of making all the powder in England, and furnished power for [Editor: illegible word] into the Tower, which powder was sold out commonly for 18. per. l. at the first hand, besides the charge of getting first a warrant from the Counsell board, to the Lord Newport, then master of the Ordinance, to sell such and such so much powder, which warrant besides the losse of time and trouble, cost deare enough, then there was a second warrant from the Lord Newport, to be obtained to the officers of the Ordnance to deliver the powder out, according to the warrant of the Counsell board, and then there was a third warrant to be got from the officers of the Ordnance to the particular Clarke that kept the powder, all which besides trouble, cost, money, besides a fee of a mark which was paid by the buyer to the officers of the Ordnance, for every last of powder they delivered, and the forementioned Cordwell, Sir Henry Vaines Gun-powder Agent, constantly ingaged to bring in every moneth to the Tower 20. last, there being 24. barrells in every last, and 100.l in every barrell, and besides he (as the principall instrument of setting this dangerous Monopoly on foot) forced the Marchants, and sea men, many times for divers dayes together, to stop their viages to their great and extraordinary detriment, till they would give large bribes, or were forced to use some other indirect means, to obtaine his warrant, &c. to get powder out of his unjust Monopolizing hands to furnish their ships, for which notwithstanding they were forced to pay above double the price for it, (nay almost trible) according to the rate it was sold at before his Monopoly.
Yea, and by this meanes, he wickedly and illegally disfurnished all the Countryes in the Kingdome, as is notoriously known to all the Deputy Lieutenants, by meanes of which he laid the King some open to the invasion and over-running of a forraign enemy, which did create, nourish and foment, strange and strong jealousies in the people, that there was some strange and desparate designe upon them to inslave and invasolize them, which was no little occasion of our present warres, by blowing of coales to the fomenting and increasing of devisions betwixt the King and the people.
Yea, and besides all this, he was not one of the least of Canterburies Creatures, being not a little active in the Star-Chamber, to serve his ends, the smart of which with a witnesse, I am sure my shoulders felt. For upon the 13. of Feb. 1645. in the 13. yeare of the present King, the Lord Coventry, Earle of Manchester, Lord Newburgh, old Sir Henry Vaine, Judge Bramstone, and Judge Jones, in the Star-Chamber sentenced me for refusing to take an illegall oath to answer to their Interrogatories to pay to the King 500.l to be bound to my good behaviour to be whipt through the street to Westminster, and there to be set upon the Pillory, and then to remaine in prison tell I conformd to their tyrannicall commands. Which decree or sentence you may at large read in the 1, 2, 3. pages of my printed relation of my Star-Chamber sufferings, as they were presented by my Counsell, Mr. Bradshare, and Mr. Iohn Cook, before the Lords at there Bar, and proved by witnesses, the 13. Feb. 1645. the barbarous execution of which you may read not only in that relation, but also in a large relation of it, made and printed by me, that yeare I suffered, called the Christian mans tryall, and lately reprinted by Mr. William Larnar in Bishops-gate street, and in my bookes also then made, called, Come out of her my people, the afflicted mans Complaint, A cry for justice, my Epistle to the Aprentizes of London, and my Epistle to the Wardens of the fleet, which foresaid sentence the House of Commons after a long and judicious examination and debaite, thus voted.
Die Martis, May 4. 1641.
Mr. Rouse this day reported Iohn Lilburn his cause, it was thereupon ordered and resolved upon the question as followeth.
Resolved upon the question,
That the sentence of the Star-Chamber given against Iohn Lilburn is illegall and against the liberty of the Subject, and also bloody, wicked, cruell, barbarous and tyrannicall.
Resolved upon the question.
That reparations ought to be given to Mr. Lilburne for his imprisonment, sufferings, and losses sustained by that illegall sentence.
Ordered that the Committee shall prepare this case of Mr. Lilburnes to be transmitted to the Lords, with those other of Doctor Bastwicks, Doctor Leighton, Master Burton, and Mr. Pryn.
Hon. Elsing Cler. Dom. Com.
And though it was a matter of foure yeares before I could get this my ease transmitted to the Lords, the obstructing of which I cannot attribute to any, but principally to that old crafty Fox, Sir Henry Vaine, (who I am confident of it hath long since deserved the Ax or Halter) and and his powerfull interest and influence, especially by his sonne, young Sir Henry, though (Mathiavel like) he faces and lookes another way, who for all his religious pretences, I for my part thinke to be as crafty (though not so guilty a) Colt as his Father, which I beleeve I could easily and visibly demonstrate, which I groundedly apprehend I have sufficient cause administred unto me to doe, especially for some suttle, cunning, but mischievous late underhand dealings by as guilded instruments as himselfe, but at present for my own interest sake I will spare him, though (my fingers itches,) yet I must tell him, I am very confident for all his disguises, he will shortly be known to consciencious, men, to be but at the best (if he be no more) then one of the prerogative quench coales, to keep the people in silence, from acting and striving to deliver themselves from slavery and bondage.
And when, came amongst the Lords, they the 13, Feb, 1645 decreed, that that sentence, and all proceedings thereupon shall forth with before ever totally vacuated, obliterated, and taken of the file in all Courts where they are yet remaining, as illegall, and most unjust, against the liberty of the Subject, and law of the land, and Magna Charta, and unfit to continue upon Record, and that the said Lilburn shall be forever absolutely freed, and totally discharged from the said sentence and all proceeding, thereupon, as fully and ample as though never any such thing had been, &c.
Which where you may at large read in the foresaid relation, yea, and by an other decree, ordered me to [Editor: illegible word]. And down into the House of Common, they send my Ordinance for their concurrance, which is there again blockt up, as I may too justly conceive by the powerfull and unjust interest of the forementioned old, tyrannicall Monopolizer, Sir Henry Vaine, for which by Gods assistance, seeing I have no other remedy, nor meanes left me, to obtain my right, and the Iustice of the Kingdome, I am resolved to pay him, (and all that I can groundedly know and heare joynes and concur, with him to destroy me, and hinder me of justice and my right which should preserve me and keep me and mine alive) cost it hanging, burning, drowning, strangling, poysoning, starving, cutting to peices, or whatever it will or can, yea, though it tooke me all the interest I have in the world, in any or all the great ones there of, put Lien. Gen. Cromwell into the number.
And therefore J desire not only your selfe, (but all impartiall Readers that reads these lines) to judge whether it be not the hight of partiallity and injustice in the House of Commons, to suffer him to sit and vote there, especially they having throwne out divers others, for ten times lesse faults then he is publiquely known to be guilty of, and I desire you to satisfie me, whether or no the people for their owne wellfare are not bound, and may not groundedly petition the House of Commons to throw out him, who is so great a transgressor and violater of the Lawes of England, and therefore altogether unfit to be one of those that maketh and gives lawes unto the free men of England, for in my apprehension if there were no more to be laid unto his Charge, but to have been so unjust and unrighteous a Iudge, as to have had a finger in inflicting a sentence that is voted by the house of Comons in the dayes of their verginity, purity and uncorruptnesse, (to what it is visibly now, yea, himselfe sitting as a Member there) to be not only illegall, and against the liberty of the Subject, but also bloody, wicked, cruell, barbarous, and tyrannicall, it alone were legally and justly cause enough for ever to eject him. O England, England! woe unto thee! when thy chosen preservers turne to be thy grand destroyers, and in stead of easing thee of thy grievances, with a high hand of violence protect from justice those that commit them, and thou seest it and knowest it, and yet art like a silly Dove without heart, and dares not open thy month wide to reprove it, and indeavour by petition or otherwise the amending of it, surely and undeniably that body, who, or what ever it be that is not able to evacuate its exerements, is nigh unto the giving up the Ghost, or bursting out into such botches and ulcers, that it shall be an eye sore to all that behold it, and stinke in the nostrels of all men, that have their senses.
But with your patience, I will trace this old Fox a little further, and see how he hath plaid his cards since this Parliament sate, and to let pass his unfaithfull dealings with his master the King, whose Secretary of State he was, and yet could not, or would not keep his secrets, (which is an act base enough in itselfe) although as J have been told by one very neare and deare unto him, his places he injoyed under the King, were worth to him, 8000 l. per annum, but having as before as truly observed, before this Parliament (by acts of basinesse done, as he was a Courtier and a Courtiers Counseller) ran himselfe over boots and shooes and seeing that it was impossible for him and all his confederates, to break of this Parliament, as they did the late short Parliament, therefore it behoved him for the safety of his own head, to lay his designes so, as that he might by the swaying party merit preservation to himselfe, which to doe, being as he was a Secretary, privie to all the King and Courts principall secrets, though he was under an Oath, and the strictest obligation of secrecie that could be, yet they must all out, and out they went, as in the case of the Earle of Strafford, of which I have, heard some great ones say, it was scrued to the highest pin, if it were not higher then in honestly and justice it should, but all this was done, that he might not only save himselfe, but gaine an esteeme in the present Parliament, and so be in a possibillity, by the interest of his son, Sir Henry, (although to men that were halfe blind, there was, and I thinke still is a seeming enmity betwixt him and his Father) in time to make himselfe amends, for his 8000.l a yeare by his places, which by differring of the King (to save himselfe) he was likely to loose, (and indeed it is commonly reported, that in his place as one of the Committee of the King revenue, he hath learned to lick his own fingers well) and the first or grand step of honour he attained to, by the Parliament, was to be made Lord Lieutenant of the County of Durham, and the wars comming one betwixt the King and Parliament, to indeare himselfe againe unto the King (knowing that the chance of warre was doubtful) he sent his second son, Sir George Vaine to waite upon and serve the King, who in person was actuallt at, and in the battell of Edge-Hill, with the rest of his fellow Courtiers, but to make up his case the more with the King, though himselfe stand with the Parliament, where as a seeming friend to them, he was able to doe the King truer service, yea, and did it then if he had been with him, for instead of protecting, preserving, securing and defending the County of Durham, (of which he was Lieutenant) according to the duty of his place, and those many importunare desires expressed unto him by the well affected Gentlemen of the Country, which were all in vaine, for in stead of preserving the Country, he sent his Magazine of Armes from his Castle at Raby, (by his two principall servants, Mr. William Conyers Steward of his land, and Mr. Henry Dingly his Soliciter at law) as a present for the King, to the Earle of New-Castle, then in Armes at New Castle against the Parliament, who might then have been easily supprest at his comming to New Castle, if old Sir Henry Vaine had been true to his trust the Parliament reposed in him.
And that he sent them is visible enough, for they carried them openly and avowedly in the day time through the Country, boasting of their act both in their going and comming, and at New Castle from the hand of one of the Earles servants or Officers, received, a note for the receipt of those armes, that so when time should serve, Sir Henry Vaine might have it to justifie his good service done for his Majestie in being the principall instrument of raising the Earle of New Castles Army, and giving the King so great a footing in the North as there he had, for his Armes being sent to the Kings Generall so openly, publiquely and avowedly as they were, though his person were with the Parliament, yet it made all people there to conclude that he was himselfe absolutely for the King against the Parliament, which presently (his influence in those parts being great) got the Earle of New Castle a mighty repute and credit, and made those that were really for him to be impudent and bold in their attempts, and made abundance of Newters then to declare, (all or most of whom might at the first have been made serviceable to the Parliament, if they had been lookt to betimes) and the most of those few of cordiall, well affected Gentlemen, were immediately forced to fly and leave all they had behind them, and the rest that stayed, were immediately taken prisoners and destroyed, (as well as the other) in their estates, for which Sir Henry Vaines land and estate, ought in justice and conscience to goe to the last penny of it, to make them satisfaction, being the true instrumentall cause of all their losses, woe and misery, and of all the woe and misery of the whole North, occasioned by the Earle of New-Castles forces, and those that were necessitated to be raised to destroy them, which if they had never had a being, there had never been no need of the Scots comming into this Kingdome to our deare bought ayde, the evill consequences of whose comming, I am afraid England this twise seaven yeares will not [Editor: illegible word] of without a great deale of blood shed and misery, the yoak of Presbyterian bondage alone, (besides then co-operations, if not co sharing in the Civill government of England, to the unspeakable prejudice to the freemen thereof) which they brought with them over Tweed to this Kingdome, which is likely to prove 100. times worse then the tyranny and Lordlinesse of the Bishops. One thing more about Sir Henry Vaine I desire you to take notice of, and that is further to demonstrate, that his servants carried the Armes, not of their owne heads, but by his command, or at least good liking, is this, that he never complained to the Parliament of it, nor never indeavoured to have them punished for it, but rather protected and defended them, so that those that complained of them, as well as of himselfe, by reason of his greatnesse, could never be heard nor obtaine justice, though it was with some zeale followed by my Father, & my Vnkle Mr. George Lilburn, with other Gentlemen of the same Country, as you may partly read in Englands Birth Right pag. 19. 20. 21.
All this while, if the King lost the day and the Parliament prevailed, here was himselfe and his son, young Sir Henry to make good his interest here, so that of which side soever the [Editor: illegible word] went, the old crafty Fox was sure in his owne thoughts co stand upon his leggs, and be no looser, but perceiving the King likely to goe down the weather, by the Scots comming in, he whistles away his son Sir George Vaine from the Kings Army. And though the Parliament had upon the 20 May 1642 voted. That when soever the King in both war upon the Parliament, it is a breach of the trust reposed in him by his people, contrary to his oath, and tendeth to the dissolution of this Government. And that whosoever shall serve or assist him in such warres, are Traitors by the fundamentall lawes of this Kingdome, and have been so adjudged by two Acts of Parliament, viz. 11. R. 2. and 1 ll. 4:
And yet notwithstanding, though Sir George Vaine did both serve and assist the King actually at the battell at Edge-Hill, yet as soone as any footing by the Parliament is gotten in the County of Durbam, he is by his Father, (and I thinke I might say brother too) for it is impossible if young Sir Henry were honest and true to the publique interest of his Country, according to what he seemingly professes, and would be thought to be, that his father and brother should doe such actions as they have done and dayly doe, and escape scot free, and no man to be heard that complains of them, but rather crushed and destroyed, which could not be, if he and his interest did not support them in all their basenesse) I say Sit George is by his Father sent down into the Country, as the only fit man to govern it, by deserving well at the hands of the Parliament for being with the King at the battell of Edge-hill, and therefore his made the receiver of the Kings sequestered revenue there, worth to his particular a great many hundreds pounds per annum, and is also made chiefe Deputy Lieutenant, yea, as it were Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Iustice of peace and quorum, Committee man and Chair-man of the Committee, and hath also the Posse commitatis of the whole County put into his hands, as being the fittest man to be High Sheriffe there, yea, and now in that County, whatever a King is in his Kingdome, that saying of Daniel chap. 5, 19. concerning the power of Nebuchadnezzar being too truly verified of him and his father, in reference to their acted and executed power in that poor County, that whom they will they set up, (yea, even as arch blades as Sir George himselfo) and whom they will they pull down, and all the people there in a manner tremble and feare before them.
But this is not all, for the Parliament upon the clearing of the Country, sent a Magazine of Ammunition and Armes downe, which was landed and laid up at Sunderland in the possession of my Vnkle, Mr. George Lilburn, one of the Deputy Lieutenants, and Iustices of Peace, &c. of the County, which Sir George Vaine by his supreame prerogative sent for away, and put into his Fathers Castle of Raby and laid in store of Provisions there, but I will not say he sent for some scores of Cavieliers from a Castle in Yorkshire to come and take possession of it so soone as he had so done, but this I will say, that they did come and take possession of it with a great deale of ease, and it cost the Country some thousands of pounds before they could take it againe. So here you have at present a briefe relation of the game that Sir Henry Vaine hath plaid this many yeares together, by meanes of which he hath got a great estate, but I may say an ill estate, to leave to his son Sir Henry principally, a man for all the experience I have had of him, (and I have had not a little) no whit inferior in my apprehension to his Father in Mathiavels principles, for all his guilded professions, and truly it is very strange to me what the Family of the Vaines hath deserved of this Kingdome, that they must have so many thousands pounds a yeare out of the Kingdomes Revenue, in its present great and extraordinary poverty, as they have, never any of which ever hazarded the shedding of one drop of blood for the Parliament or Kingdome. And besides the two sonnes before mentioned, there is a third lately come out of Holland that was a Captain there, and though he hath not one foot of Land in the County of Durham, yet he is as I am informed lately made a Iustice of peace, and hath besides profitable and gainefull Offices there. I pray Sir, what doe you thinke such doings as this (of which the Parliament is full, as I could easily declare) doth portend to the whole Kingdome, doe you thinke that it portends lesse then absolute vassolage and slavery to the whole Kingdome, by a company of base and unworthy men, setup by the people, whom they may if they please pull downe by calling them home, and chuse honester men in their places, in a new Parliament to call them to a strict accompt, without doing of which the lawes and liberties of England are destroyed, and our proprieties utterly overthrow, that doe and will tyrannise ten times worse over us, then ever our prerogative task-masters of old did.
Sir, sure I am by the antient, good, just and unrepealed laws of England, it is inacted, that a Parliament should be holden every yeare once or more oftner if needed again for the maintenance of the lawes, and the redresse of divers mischiefes and grievances which dayly happen, 4. E. 3. 14. and 36. E. 3. 10. And by the act made this present Parliament in the 16. yeare of the King, called an Act for the preventing of inconveniences hapning by the long intermission of Parliaments, there it is provided, in case the King doe not performe his duty to the Kingdome, in summoning of Parliaments as he ought; that then we shall have a Parliament once in 3. yeare whether he will or no, as appeares by the Act itselfe, which most excellent. Act is altogether fruitlesse to the Kingdome, if we must have a perpetuall Parliament, and therefore an everlasting Parliament is the greatest abridgement and detruction to our lawes, liberties, and proprieties that possibly can be imposed upon us, the present Parliament men being in their owne principles unpuestionable, lawlesse, & uncontrowleable (and so art a kind of Monsters, rather of the Divells creation then Gods, for he never created and made any man lawlesse) during all whose sitting as they by their actions order the matter, we have no propriety in our lives, liberties, estates or trades, for all of them are subject to be destroyed by a Vote, and that sometimes it may be carried but by the Vote of one of Dr. Bastwicke [Editor: illegible word] or [Editor: illegible word] or Pryns Minors or Infants, it may be but of 18. yeares old, [Editor: illegible word] year as younger [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] to be by law that can sit in that House, nay to such a hight of tyrannie are these [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] grown, that they by Vote (without law or reason) take our liberties from us, upon any [Editor: illegible word] and false report of any of their Members, or any of their [Editor: illegible word] Catch poale without either the hearing us speak for ourselves, or so much as telling us the cause wherefore we are imprisonned, and this the last yeare in every particular was my portion, by the meanes of William [Editor: illegible word] the Speaker of the House of Commons, Dr. Bastwicke and that base and low order fellow, Col. Edward King, who divers yeares agoe deserved to be hanged for betraying the trust reposed in him by the Parliament, and this was lately the portion of Major [Editor: illegible word] by the means of M Hollis, Sir Walter Earle, Sir Phillip Stapleton, Sir Sam. Luke & the rest of their right trusty and doubty Associates. O brave Parliament! Which by its constitution and primitive practises, was a Bulwarke to secure the Commons of England from being carved up and destroyed, by the prerogative and wills of the Kings of England, but having now [Editor: illegible word] first station, destroyes us with unknown, unlimited and arbitrary priviledges, more then all the prerogatives of any King of England, since the first day of Magna Chartas establishment and are unaccomptable for any thing they say and doe, yea, and doe not only act the Parliamentary power, but also a regall power, yea, and though they count themselves the greatest Iudges in the Kingdome, yet contrary to law, justice, reason, and conscience, take upon them for fees, (which I may call bribes), to plead causes before Iudges of their own making, who dare as well eate their fingers ends, as displease them, and then in conclusion it may be the very same causes by way of appeale comes before themselves as supreme Iudges, and judge you how those causes must goe in which they have been, and it may be are Hackney Counsellers, which they ought not in the least to be, it being not only contrary to law, but the oathes of Iudges that any Iudge should give Counsell or be a Counseller.
Yea, Parliaments in former times used to be so carefull in the discharge of their Duties for the welfare of the people that did chuse and be trust them, that they would impose nothing upon the people that might be a burthen to them, without acquainting them first with [Editor: illegible word] Sir Edward Cooke that learned Lawyer in the 4. part of his Institutes Chap. of the high Court of Parliament, fol. 14 declares his words are as followith, which is printed by the present Parliaments Speciall order.
It is also the law of the Parliament, that when any new device is moved on the Kings behalfe in Parliament, for his aid or the like, the Commons may answer that they tendred the Kings estate and are ready to aid the same, only in this new device they dare not agree, without conference with their Countries, whereby (saith he) it appeareth that such conferences is warrantable by the law and custome of Parliament. And folio 34. (he saith) that at the Parliament holden in the 9 Edw.3 when a motion was made for a subsidy to be granted of a new kind, the Commons answered, that they would have conference with those of their severall countries and places, who had put them in trust, before they treated of any such matter. See my booke called Innocency and truth justified, pag. 60.
But now things by the present Parliament are so carried, as if they were absolute Lords overal the estates of all & every individuall in the Kindom, that chuse and trusted them, and as though they might leavie upon them at their wills what they pleased, and dispose of it how they pleased, even to their own particular pockets to the inrichment of their particular selves. See the Opressed mans Oppressions declared, pag. 22, 35. Regall Tyrannie p. 101, 104, 105, 106. and Londons account.
So that the People now, are without a Bol-worke to preserve them from being followed up by unlimited prerogative & unknown priviledges exercised by them [Editor: illegible word] by their own principles if they vote to set up popery on the turkish Alkoran [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] it because they vote and declare it, and if they vote into their owne pockets [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] (we must give) them unto them, or if they vote to monopolise unto themselves, all our wives and children we must part with them to them, because, they vote it, and have no remedy in helpe ourselves, because we have trusted them, (O brave Parliament principles) though we never intended them in the least any power at all to doe what they list, nor any other power, but only rationally to the best of their understandings. (according to justice [Editor: illegible word] right reason) and provide for our greater happinesse and better well being, which they them selves before they had got the King and his party downe, did honestly confesse, book Decl. I pag. [Editor: illegible word] to call the Iudges to an account, and to punish them if they should pervert the law and justice of the Kingdome, either by the Kings flatteries, letters, commands or threats, which the law expressly saith, they are not in the least to regard, in the administration of justice, 9. [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] E. 5. [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] E. 3. 9. 14 E. 3. 14. 11., [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word]. And if they see cause to call the Lord Treasury &c. to account, to know and see, if the publique Treasure of the Kingdome be [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] according to the end and uses that it is assigned [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] for the good preservation, safety and protection of the Kingdome and not to be imbezzled or wasted in ends or uses not warrantable nor justifiable.
But they were never in the least be trusted with a power to protect and beare out their own Members in all manner of treachery and basenesse committed by them against the Kingdome, (as I could easily instance they have, done to divers) and to cheat and cozen them of great and vast sums, of their, money, and yet not to be liable to be called to any account for it. See Mr. Andrew Burrells, Remonstrance to the Parliament of England, and the state of Irish affaires presented to the Parliament by the Committee of adventures in London, for Ireland, and Regall Tyranny Pag. 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106 in which pages it is declared, that a right reverend Gentleman of the House of Commons, Sir John Clotworthy and his agent Mr. Davis, have put in their particular pockets, 97195 l. of the money raised for the relief of Ireland, and I have heard that the foresaid Committee of Londoners had [Editor: illegible word] Sir John Clotworthy to the purpose in the House of Commons, about 2400 l. that they possitively say he hath in his hands, if as I am informed, he had not by a great deale of industry found some very great Citizens tardy (contrary to the law,) in transporting beyond the Seas, Silver and Gold, who improved all their interest to keep him from complaining, and it is thought prevailed on purpose with the said Committee to cease prosecuting, Sir John Clotworthy that so he might cease prosecuting them, for their transportations, nay it is verily though some lickt their fingers soundly about this businesse, for I have from very good hands heard, there are some notable blades about London, that can easily discover so many great men about London capitally tardy with transporting of the Kingdome treasure beyond the Seas, that if there were any that would doe impartial justice swiftly securing the penalty of the lawes, divers hundreds of thousands of pounds might easily be raised to be put into the publique purse, only it were worth the Commons of Englands serious looking to it that three quarters of it were not put into particular Parliament mens pockets. Oh for a new chosen Parliament to find out that almost unfathomable knavery that is amongst divers of this Parliament, about mighty sums of the publiques money. I dare boldly aver it, that all the businesse against Strafford, Canterbury, Lord Keeper Finch, Lord Chief Iustice Brimstone, brethren Iudge Bartlet, Barron Trever, Sir George Ratcliffe, The Farmers of the Custome-house, Alderman Abell, Mr.Calvert and the rest of their Cater-piller Monopolisers was never when they were openned, more odious to the people, then the villanny and roguery of divers of the present Parliament men would evidently appeare, if there were any uncorrupted and impartiall judges to lay it open, which as they are, is impossible to be found or had, they being generally and [Editor: illegible word] (in a manner) so corrupted with fingering the States money, that for my part I am very [Editor: illegible word] of it, they dare not rip up one anothers knavery, for feare he that first begins gets a [Editor: illegible word] himselfe before he hath done. Yea, I have observed it for divers moneths together, that it is a common practice in the House of Commons, that as soone as a Soldier is chosen a Parliament man, of whose honesty, valour and boldnesse, many people had high thoughts of, but [Editor: illegible word] him, and low up his lips, which gifts doe Ezekiel 23. 8. Deut. 16. 19 Eccles. [Editor: illegible word] within a moneth or six weekes very commonly, order that he shall have his Arrears cast up and paid him, or else a Vote for 4 or 5000, l. for one losse or another, so that for my part I [Editor: illegible word] though a man be never so gallant when he is in the field, yet such bewitching baites of money &c. is in the House of Commons, that as soone as he comes to sit there, he is in my thoughts three quarters spoyled, yea, and it may be in a very little time will be an enemy to that gallantry and down right honesty, he in the field professed so that for my part, of all the late Commanders that have been chosen to sit in the House, (they are so taken with the Silver baites of that House) that I profess for my part? will not give a groat a dozen for them, (to doe the Common wealth service in their present place) unlesse it be one or two at most amongst them, therefore say I, let us earnestly contest for the inioyment of our iust, nationall liberties and the long and antient just laws of England to have every yeare a fresh and new Parliament, to call this to an account for all our money they have had, and all the iniustice they have done us without which we are destroyed, both in our lawes, liberties and proprieties, but if any shall [Editor: illegible word] the Kingdome in generall will find; great hazards by a new choise, I say no, for it never such base men be chosen, if we have a fresh Parliament every yeare, to sit three or four score dayes at most, it will be as a rod kept over their heads to awe them, that they shall not dare to doe the Kingdome one thousand part of that iniustice that this Parliament hath done, for feare the next Parliament they shall be questioned, and then loose their heads or estates. Therefore in the Kingdomes good in generall, it is worth the indeavouring to get the same proviso in an annuall act, that now is in the trianiall made the 16. yeare of the King, & to settle the government of the Kingdome, either by the King againe, or some other way that the Parliament shall think fit, by chusing out a Committee amongst themselves to manage the great affaires of the Kingdome, till the next free and new chosen Parliament, for now we are under a Law, when Parliament men please to destroy us, and when the Law will not reach us, then their wills shall, tell which be done, England shall never inioy iustice, impartiallity, but be in the absolute condition of as perfect vassolage and slaverie, as either the Turks in Turky, or the pesants France, or the Boors in Flanders having neither the inioyment of liberty nor propriety now; it being I wil maintain it, the greatest act of breach of trust that ever the King did in his life when he passed the Act called the Act to prevent inconveniencies, by untimely dissolving the Parliament, made 1641. to let both houses sit as long as they pleased, and so make sitting in Parliament a Monopoly and heriditary to them and their heires for ever, which is such a palpable and visible violation of our essentiall and fundamentall liberties, that it is lesse to be indured by the honest free men of England, then any act of iniustice, or violence that ever he did to us in his life; for this is to universall that it absolutely destroyes both our lawes, liberties, trades, and proprieties, and makes us all perfect and absolute slaves, but Parliament men and their new made and created creatures, there being nothing wanting but the Kings consent to the twelfth Proposition, that both houses by law may levie upon the People, what money they please, and doe with it what they please, and never be accountable, and therefore I will add a fift thing, to those things of greatest evill mentioned by me in my Epistle dedicatory, before my booke called The Charters of London, and pray from the Popes unwritten [Editor: illegible word], Kings unlimitted Prerogatives, Parliaments unknown priviledges, the Lord Major, Court of Aldermen, and the rest of the prerogative Common-Counsell men of London, implicite saith, but especially from an everlasting Parliament, Good Lord deliver honest John Lilburne.
Now Sir, I come to speak a few words unto the state that you are in by reason of the trouble I have brought upon my selfe, (a you thinke) by owning of my booke, to which I answer.
Alasse! I professe it seriously, death it selfe is more acceptable to me, then to live, and be without cause destroyed in a Gaole, what should I be affraid of? For I assuredly know God in Iesus Christ, is my reconciled father, in the strength of which I have walked stedfastly above these ten yeares, so that I without doubt know he hath instore for me a crown of eternall glory in the Kingdome of glory, And cursed be he that is afraid of war that shall die, and of the feare of man which shall be made as grasse, and forget test the Lord his maker, that stretcheth forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the Earth, Esay 11. 12, 13. And truly to extraordinary large experience have I had of God, unfathomable loving kindnesse and truth, that there is nothing but sinne can make me afraid, (For the Lord is on my side, I will not feare what man can doe unto me, Psal. 118. 6. and 56, 4. 11. Heb. 13. 6) which I am principally tyed from by that overflowing, bounty, & goodnesse, that I have taisted in God.
And for my wife and children which most troubles me, unto whom I ought, and I hope have and doe beare a husband and fatherly affection unto, yet alasse, shall I for love of them sin against my owne soule, and be silent, when my conscience from sound grounds tells me God would have me to speake, to reprove the perversnesse and stiffe neckednesse of an Hypocriticall, uncircumcised, in heart generation of men, that under specious pretences goe about to inslave their native Country, and so by consequences strongly endeavour to destroy my wife and Children as well as my selfe, who must undeniably perish, if I should live with them, if the law and justice of the Kingdome be overthrowne, which cannot in likelyhood be avoyded, if God should not open the mouthes of some to speake, reprove and informe, and God having betrusted me with a Talent, yea, and by my unjust imprisonment, put on opportunity into my hand to improve it for his advantage and glory, accursed should J be in my own apprehension, if I should tye it up in a Napkin and hide it.
And besides when all ordinary meanes failes, to contest for my right (without the injoyment of which, my wife and children in the eye of reason must perish and be destroyed) In my understanding is the only way to obtaine it, but if in the persuit of my present contest I should loose my life, I can lay it downe with a great deale of comfort, and commit my wife and children with a great deale of confidence, in the faithfullnesse and care of God, who hath manifested so much unto me in all the straites and extremities that ever I was in, for the faithfull discharge of my duty to him in endeavouring to keep my consolence unspotted before him, I pray read my Epistle dated 11. Nov. 1638 and printed at the latter end of my answer to Pryn, called Innocency and truth justified.
Besides, in my present imprisonment, I am stript of all industrious meanes to provide for my wife and children, and am much more in the rode way by expences to destroy them, then to lay up six pence for their future subsistance, and which it long continued, in the eye of reason, I must either eat them, or they me. And therefore being in many straights in my owne spirit, and under many capitall oppressions, contrary to the law and justice of the Kingdome, I looked up to God, and pluckt up my resolution, and put pen to Paper on purpose if it were possible to give them a provocation to bring the forth to a publique tryall, that so it possible I could I might know what I must do, and yet so carrying my businesse; that I would in my own apprehension have the law of the land of my side, and advantages sufficient to render my adversaries [Editor: illegible word] and contemptable for their unjust proceedings with me and therefore it was that I that proposed before the forementioned Committee owned my book in that manner that I did, which if I had not, the credit of the book would have been blasted, and divers other great inconveniences to me would have followed.
And therefore knowing very well, that though divers in the house of Commons were [Editor: illegible word] the book; yet by law they themselves in their Arbitrary way, could not try me for it, the which if they should or had attempted, I should have shewed them their owne Oathes and Declarations, where they sweare and declare to maintain the lawes and liberty of the land, and should, as shall say to them as Tamer said to Judah after he had in his unadvised rashnesse condemned him to death for being with child by what [Editor: illegible word] but when she was brought forth she said to Judah her Father in law saying, saying to the man who [Editor: illegible word] are, am I with child, [Editor: illegible word] I pray thee, [Editor: illegible word] these, the signes and [Editor: illegible word] and [Editor: illegible word]. And Judah acknowledged them and said, she had been more righteous than I am because I gave her not to Shiloh my son and he knew her agonie more Ge. 38, 14, 15, 16 &c.
Even so should I have said, if they should have falne upon me with fury to have tryed me (for writing my booke) In their Arbitrary and Parliamentary ways (and falne upon me with as much heat for standing upon my legall priviledge, as Judah did upon Tamar, when he judged her to be burnt) whose Oathes? whose Covenants? whose Declaration and Protestations are all these? In all of which you have solemnly ingaged before the presence of the great God of Heave at Earth and all the world, that you will maintaine the lawes and liberties of the land. Yes, the House of Commons in their most excellent Declaration of the 19. April; 1646. book [Editor: illegible word] part folio, 879 expresly say, that although the necessity of the war given some disturbance to all proceedings, stopped the usuall course of justice, inforced the Parliament,for the preservance of this court to impose and require many great and unusuall payments from the good subjects of the Kingdome, and to take extraordinary wayes for procuring of moneys for their many pressing reasons, it having pleased God to reduce our affaires into a more hopefull condition then heretofore we doe declare, (marke this well) That we will not, nor any by colour of any authority derived from us, shall interrupt the ordinary course of justice in the severall Courts and Iudicatories of this Kingdome, nor inter meddle in cases of Private interest of [Editor: illegible word] where determinable, unlesse it be a case of maleadministration of justice where we shall see and provide, that right be done,and punishment inflicted as those shall be [Editor: illegible word], according to the laws of the Kingdome, and the trust reposed in us, which else where they say, is to provide for the peoples weale, but not for their woe and in other of their Declarations they declare, That the law, and the ordinary course of justices is the common birthright of every subject of England, and that the Law is in case of tryall, they declare it to be one and the same with that expressed in my forementioned paper, see 1. part book Declaration pag. 4, 7. 38. 39. 77. 278. 458. 459. 660. 845. see also The Anatomy of the [Editor: illegible word] pag. 8, 9, 10. The Out-cryes of Oppressed Commons, pag. 7, 8. and Vex Plebis, pag. 13, 14, 15, 16 &c.
And therefore if I be in an error, or have committed an evill in the judgement of the Parliament, for standing upon my legall priviledges against them, verily by the men whose are these, am I seduced, deluded, and led into error, discerne I pray you, whose are these, these Remonstrances, Declarations, Protestations, Oathes, Vowes, and Covenants, the benefit of which I ought to infer the which if they let me, I shall let you know I was not, nor am not altogether [Editor: illegible word] to know my owne priviledges at the Common Law, for I know it they indict me, (tell they have wholly altered the government) it must be in the Kings name, and for committing a crime against him, & this is expresly the form of their indictment & I am sure I can be found guilty of no crime committed against him, unless it be at their command, for drawing my sword & fighting against him and his Army, & in this I shall plead their own Ordinances and Declarations, where they promise to beare me harmlesse for so doing, and I am sure this is a good and sufficient plea before one of their owne Iudges, who hath no other power but what he derives from one of their owne Ordinances, which if he shall hang or destroy me, or any man, for actions done expresly in obedience to their Ordinances, for any thing I know he ought to be hanged as a wilfull murtherer for destroying me for doing actions in obedience to that power (and expresly commanded by them) from which he hath all his power, and hath no other power to sit as a Iudge, but by vertue of an Ordinance of the two Houses.
But if they should condemne me for this action, what doe they else but condemne in me the whole Parliament, and all that have in these warres adhered to them.
But if they should happen to indict me, for acting, committing, or indeavouring to act, or commit treason, rebellion, or insurrection against the Parliament, I very much question according to Law, and the present constitution of the Kingdome, whether any such indictment can be made or no, but if it can? I wonder then the Parliament doth not then try the Cavieleers in the severall prisons of London, that avowedly and professedly have drawn their swords against them to destroy them, yea, and glory in it as their duty so to doe, and truly it is the greatest injustice in the world, to let those goe scot free that are guilty in the highest nature, and to punish him or them that is not in the hundred degree so guilty, and yet this is my case, where if here I could not defend myselfe, (although believe I should be able to give them good store of strong and pulling reasons, which now I will not communicate to you) but yet they would goe one and presse me to plead to the indictment, I should desire to see and know, whether or no, my Iury of twelve men of my equalls were all legall men or no, yea, and something more besides.
And in the first place, if I were indicted for treason, I might by law, except against 35. Jury men without rendering any reason for it, see the 32. H. 6. folio. 26.[Editor: illegible word] H. 7. folio 19 Stam. Pleas Crowne, folio 198, Cookes 3. part Institutes, folio 24. and 27. and then I might except against so many as I could declare bore me a particular mallice for pre-judgement is a good challenge by the law, for the common law of the land, that a Iury men must be in different and impartiall before he be sworne, see Stamfords Pleas of the Crowne, lib. 3. folio 158. and Britten in his discourse of the lawes of the Land, folio 12. and 25. [Editor: illegible word] 3. chap. 3, 12. Ass. plea. 30 Bre-Challenge 42. 101. 120. 142. 156.*
And so within the compasse of malicions men against me would come all the Presbyterians, that have taken the League and Covenant, in the second Article of which [Editor: illegible word] part fol. 4. 2. 5. they have illegally and unjustly sworne to destroy and extirpate all Heretiques one of which they judge me to be, because I will not take that ilegall Oath, nor be conformable to Scotch, Antichristian Presbytery, and so have sworne to destroy me, before I be legally convicted, which in wicked and unlawfull.
For a man bound by an Oath before, to doe that which he is to doe upon the indictment; evidence and proofe thereof, is partiall, and not in different, see Cookes 1. part institutes libr. 1. chap. 12. sect. 234. pag. 156. who saith expresly, Jurors must be men without all exceptions.
And by the Statutes of 1. H. 5. 3. and 1. H. 6. 19, It is inacted, that no parson shall be admitted to passe in any inquest (or Iury) upon tryall of the death of a man, or in any inquest betwixt party, or party in plea reall, nor in plea personall, whereof the debt or the dammage declared, amount to forty markes, if the same person, (or Jurer) have not lands or tenements of the yearly value of forty shillings, alwayes provided that the party to be tryed doe make his challenge. And by the Statute of 17. Eliz chap. 6. It is inacted, that in all cases where any Juror to be returned for tryall of any issue, or issues ioyned in the Kings bench, Common pleas, and the Exchequer, or before any courts of assize, shall every one of them have estate of free hold in lands, tenements or Hereditaments to the yearly value of 4. l. at the least, and the Sheriffe or other Ministers, unto whom the meeting of the Pannell shall appertaine, shall not returne in any such pannell, any person, unlesse he may dispend foure pound by the yeare at the least, of free hold out of ancient demesne, within the county where the issue is to betryed, upon paine to forfeit for every person so returned in any such pannell that cannot dispend 4. l. free hold, 20s.
It is true that by the Statute of the 33. H 8. 13. it is inacted. That every person and persons being the Kings naturall Subject borne, which either by the name of a Citizen, or of a freeman or of any other name, doth injoy and use the liberties and priviledge, of any City, Burrough, or Towne where be dwelleth, and make his abode, being worth in moveable goods and substance to the cleare value of 40 l, be from henceforth admitted in try all of murthers and felons in every session, and Gaole delivery kept and holden in and for the liberty of such Cities, Burroughs and Townes are, albeit they have no freehold, provided alway, that this act doe not extend in any manner of wise, to any Knight, or Esquire, dwelling, abiding, or resorting in, or to any such City, &c. And I, by vertue of having been a Lieutenant Colonel, am an Esquire, as may easily be proved one of the Herauld of Aimes Office, and therefore in what place soever I am or shall be tryed may lawfully make my exceptions against every man of my Jury that is not worth in free land 4.l. per annum.
And besides, if none of these will doe me good, I have this last remedy that I am confident, I shall legally and fully prove any charge whatever, that in that booke I lay upon the Parliament in generall, or any member of it in particular, if I may from them injoy the benefit of the law, and then I pray what doe they gaine or I loose by owning and avowing the foresed booke.
But if you thinke that by owning of my booke, they are there by so exasperated, that I had the hazard of being destroyed by them by an act of power and will, to which I answer, by that law neither you nor any man in England is safe, but liable to be destroyed at their pleasure, yet the lesser part of themselves, are liable by that law every houre to be destroyed by the loss of the Major part, and then the Major part are liable every houre to be destroyed for a company of Tyrants and for sworne perjured men (for the king all their Oaths which they have taken to mantaine the law of the Kingdome, and like absolute Tyrants have made their will a law) by any company or multitude of men stronger then themselves, which if they should goe this way to work they would every houre be justly in feare of, but if they should be so farre be stuped and besotted as to run the hazard of their owne deserved ruine by destroying me by an act of power in cold blood, by the law of their owne will, I for my owne particular should be no looser by my translation from an earthly death, to an eternall life, and therefore I feare not their malice, nor care not a straw for the worst they can doe to me, being (notwithstanding the feare of your selfe, and other of my friends) resolved so to provoke them, that they shall either be necessitated & forced out of meer fear or shame to do me justice & right, by making & hearing my report (now in the hands of sluggish Mr. Henry Martin, whose prisoner principally I now am) judging my case, and setting me free at liberty, and giving me legall reparations for my illegall and unjust sufferings, or else out of meere madnesse, furie and revenge, to send me to Tyburne to be rid of me, of which I am not in the least afraid, and doubt not but if God should so forsake them, and the Devil so farre lead them as there to bring me, but at and by my death, I should (Sampson like, Iudges 16. 18. 29. 30.) doe them more mischiefe then I did them all my life, by pulling away the two maine pillars, that upheld their unfairly to be [Editor: illegible word] in house of tyranny.
And therefore, if you would avoid the evill you feare to come upon me, I entreat you to presse Mr. Martin (with whom I know you are acquainted) to make my report to the house, which he hath so unjustly kept in his hands so many moneths, to my unspeakable prejudice, and the unconceiveable prejudice of the whole Kingdom, and if he should say, that their house are not in a temper to doe either me, or the Kingdome concerned in me, justice, or right, and therefore it is better forborne then made, lest their house by Vote confirme what the Lords have done to me, to answer which I must tell you, I am as sure as that I am a man, that I have the Law of England on my side against the Lords, and which I thinke is unanswerably demonstrated in the forementioned books, and therefore let their house be in never so bad a temper, I most earnestly intreat you to presse him to endeavour to make it, and so quit his hands of it, I care not what the issue be, so he doe but discharge his duty, by attempting and endeavouring to make it, and take some of his Comrades to beare witnesse of it and send me the names of those that in that House stand up against me to hinder and pervert the justice of the Kingdome, in this particular case of mine, and I shall thinke him an honest man, and that he hath done his duty in endeavouring to obtaine justice and right for me, at the hands of those that ought impartially to hand it out to me, or the meanest Commoner and legall man of England, but this Sir I doe assure you, that if I can upon good grounds know the names of those that interpose their power & parts to hinder me of that justice and right which is my due in this particular, by the good, just and unrepealed law of the Kingdome, I will pay them with my pen upon the posts of London, and to the view of the whole kingdome, as well as all the wit, braines and parts I have will in able me to doe, cost it what it will, I pray Sir presse Mr. Martin but to indeavour the making of my report, for while it is in his hands, I am tyed in a manner by him hand and foot, and cannot as I would stir for my own good, till he hath rid his hands of it, one halfe of whose ill dealing with me, I should never beare nor take from all the professed adversaries I have in the world, which I must be necessitated in a large Epistle shortly to signifie to him, and publish his dealing with me to the world.
In the next place, if you desire to prevent that evill that you feare will be fall to me, then I pray you improve your utmost interest amongst the Commons of England in City and County, to petition to the House of Commons, either according to justice and right, to justifie or condemne me, and in case they will not receive, read and satisfactorily answer their Petitions, then I intreat you improve all your interest in them, to get them publiquely and avowedly to remonstrate and declare the Parliaments unjust dealings with them to all their fellow Commons of England, that I may not be necessitated to run the hazard of making my single appeale against them to all my fellow Commons, as well in the Army, as City and Country, which before I will be destroyed in prison without cause, I both must and will doe, though I should loose my life the next day after for so doing.
But now before I conclude, in regard I intend to make this Epistle publique, I will communicate to your consideration, two things of speciall concernment to me, and the first is a peace of justice of the House of Lords in its kind, as excellent as theirs to me is, and it is the case of one Mrs. Elizabeth Walter, the breviat of which as she her selfe gave it me in writing with her [Editor: illegible word] subscribed to it, I shall recite here verbatum, saving some of the Marginall notes.
SHrove-Sunday last is seaven year since my husband left me in this tomn with three children, a house and family, and left me but seaven pence for the reliefe of me and them. I followed him into the Country two hundred miles of this place, and came to him where he was in one Chapels house, who wrought such dissention betwixt us, that as soone as he see me, he took the Bible and by the Contents of that book he swore he would never more live with me, and fell to beat me most cruelly, and turned me out of doors.
On which I returned back to London, and put it to the House of Peers, 1 for some reliefe for me and my children: who sent for my husband up, 2. and at a full hearing, my husband being in place, before three score Lords, having nothing to alledge against me but that he would not live with me, they then ordered by his owne consent out of two hundred pounds a yeare, to pay me three score pounds a year and further what Estate should fall to him, either by the death of Grand-mother or mother, I should have the one halfe thereof, for the reliefe of me and my three children, 3. which is five hundred pounds a yeare more, All which orders my husband would never obey, but still stood under contempt. 4. The the house referred it to the Iudges, Foster and Heath, 5. to draw a sequestration for my life, according to Law, which they did, 6. and Brought it to the house, and the House confirmed it, 7. and ordered it to my Lord Keeper, who decreed it in Chancery, 8. and set it out under the greatfuale of England, I having all this while received nothing from the Estate, the great seale being made voide, I petitioned to the house in May last, 1646, for the new broad seale, which was granted me 9. and I therewith sequestred part of the Estate, but never received but one five pounds thereof.
In the meane time my husband petitions to the house for a re-hearing, (alledging he could prove incontinency against me) it was granted him, and comming with our Counsell to the barre, my counsell pleaded his severall contempts, at which time we were dismissed, then he petitions againe, gets of his contempt, paying me my arrears, 10. which was five hundred pounds, before he should have a re-hearing, then be petitions againe, and then I was ordered to suspend the arrears till after the hearing, 11. then we had a hearing Counsell of both sides meet, without witnesses, on his side there was nothing or little proves, and he feared no small aspertions were laid upon me, 12. then the Lords refered it is all the judges that know what alley money was due to a woman by the law, 13. who reported there was second among his obeyers, they dissinnulled all their former orders and took of their former stations 14. and dismissed the cause, though my Counsell cited to them severall cases, of women that were found guilty of incontinency, As Stavely, 15. Dutton and others.
I have spent above foure hundred pounds in the suite, and now and left without reliefe as at the beginning.
The Judges report was but verbal which is not ordinary.
At the giving me an estate, there was three score or four score lords, at the taking it away, there was not above twelve or fourteen, and two of them testified against it, which was my Lord North and Moulgrave.
My Counsell were Mr. Maynard, Mr. Herne, and Mr. Nudigan.
Now I pray you friend judge and consider, whether or no these Lords be not a company of brave and gallant conscionable men, fit to be our Law makers indeed, that can make a poore Gentlewoman dance above 6. yeares attendance for a little reliefe to keep her and her children alive, (for you see that when her husband left her, he left her with seven pence, and did not forsake her for any undutifullnesse or incontinancy but rather that he might have elbow room enough to live as incontinent as his lust pleased) and yet in conclusion to expose the poore Gentle-woman and her three children in the eye of reason to a perishing and starving condition, after she hath spent above 400. l. to obtaine that at their hands, that in it selfe is as just, equitable and conscionable, as anything in the world can be, (and after they have made her order upon order, for the possessing of her just desire, so full I thinke for I have read them all) as it is possible to be comprised in paper, and I desire not only you, but all the Ladyes and Gentlewomen in England, yea, all the Fathers of Feminine creatures, to consider what a sad thing it is, that if they shall bring up their daughters well, and bestow large portions upon them, and marrie them, and their husbands shall live with them till he hath got three or foure children upon them, and then at his pleasure without any just cause given him by his wife, (for the satisfying of his lust, upon a whore or whores) shall leave his wife and children to the wide world, and not allow them six pence to live upon, and then (which is worst of all) to be In such a condition, that they have no legall way to compell him to doe it, (for it seemes by the gallant, but not unspotted justice of the House of Lords to this Gentle woman, there is none) and yet they can find some to commit Mr. Stavely to prison, for refusing to pay his wife ally-money, who I my selfe have heard him, say, lives in the highest professed, and open incontinency that a woman can, I pray answer me this, whether these very Lords doe not by these two forementioned actions visibly declare, that they are greater friends to whores and Rogues then to honest chast men women? whether injustice oppression be not more delightsome to them, then justice, righteousnesse and truth? and whether or no it is possible to be in a worse a sadder condition, then when such men as these sit at the Helm, and govern the stearn of it, not by true, just, rationall principles, but by the crooked, injust and perverst principle of their owne crooked, partiall, and depraved wills. Oh England, England! woe, woe unto thee, in this thy present sad condition, which thou feelt, will not feel, and which thou feelest, but wilt not feele, but stoop Isakar like, unto the burthen, and not take any rationall course for thy preservation, from being as arbitrary and a prey to every forthright enemy, which of necssity thou must be in conclusion, in the way that is now stood, lastly if the Lords of Commons, or both of them put together, may doe unto thee what they please, without any controle, because they are thy Magistrates, and thou with all submission must stoop unto it, then of necessity thou art guilty as a wilfull murtherer, in shedding the blood of all the Cavieliers, for endeavouring to protect their King from thy violent and furious hands, who is a hundred times more secured and fortified, when the expressed and declared law of the Kingdome, then the Parliament is, who now doe what they list, yea, levie money upon us, and put it in that own pockets, and pretend we must not question them, and take them wherefore they doe so, because, we have trusted them. Oh brave Parliament principles indeed! fitter for the great Turke, then for English Parliament men.
The second thing I shall declare to you, is the scandalous and base dealing of William Prin with me, a fellow so unworthy and base, and so fraught with malice and bloodthirstinesse, and so habituated in telling lyes and falshoods, that a man of unspotted worth, honour and integritie, would scorne (as Iob saith chap. 30. 10) to set him with the dogs of his flock, who at about this 3. yeares hath been an agent in the hands of the Divell, maliciously and causelessly to indeavour (with all his might) the destruction of the generation of the righteous, purchased with the blood of the Lamb in this land and Kingdome, and either to have them burnt, hanged, kild, or banished, of which when I as a welwisher advertised him, as you may read in my printed Epistle to him, dated 7. Ianuary 1645. and in my printed reasons delivered into the Committee of Examinations, dated 23. Iune, 1645, the man was fild so full of fury as though he would eate me up at a mouthfull, and tossed and tumbled me at Committees, so as if he would have beat me to dust and powder, as you may partly read in my printed Epistles, dated 25. Iuly, 1615. and December 1645. Yea, and one day in Westminster Hall laid violent hands upon me, having my sword in my hand, to provoke me to strike him, that so I might loose my hand by striking in the face of the Judges, sitting in the Kings bench to Westminster hall, and afterwards his two great Comrades Dr. Bastwick and Col King, having by the Speakers meanes, (Prins Patron) got me uniustly clap by the heeles, from the 19. of Iuly 1649. to the 14. of October. 1645. I was by the whole house of Commons honourably released, as you may read in the 34. pag. of Innocency and truth justified, but yet in that unjust and unrighteous imprisonment, I was ordered by the House of Commons to be tryed at New-gate Sessions for my life, by the powerfull influence of Mr. Speaker and Mr. Gline, Recorder of London, in which businesse I have just cause to thinke that Pryn had more than a finger, because this when he see I was likely honourably to be delivered as a spotlesse and innocent man, he frames a booke, and publisheth it Cum privilegio and dedicates it to Mr. Speaker, in which book called The Lyar confounded, he possitively accuseth me of a most transcendent crime, viz. that I have conspired with other Separates and Anabaptists to toot out the Members of this Parliament by degrees, beginning with Mr. Speaker, whom if they could cut off (the Limb) all the rest would easily follow: and if this succeeded not, then to suppresse and cut off this Parliament by force of Armes, and set up a new Parliament of our owne house and faction, by this hainess charge, Pryn manifesteth himselfe a perfect Knave, and enemie to the Kingdome, in that he knew me guilty of such a thing, and never to this day durst question me or prosecute me for it, and if it be but one of his false malicious suggestions, then he proves, and declares himselfe a lyar to fix so notorious a falshood upon him that now, as well as formerly in this and all other things, bide defiance to him, see my answer to this in the 25. page of my booke called Innocency and truth Justified, yea, and in the same false scandalous and transcendent lying booke of his, beside scores of lyes, he fathers positively 13. or, 14. upon me in lesse then I, lines as I have truly declared in the 4, 5, 6. pages, of the last mentioned booke and there offered to his face, publiquely to prove what there I say against him, but the lying and paulterry fellow durst never embrace my challenge there made to him, and never so much as in any of his late voluminous lines, return one word of answer that ever I could see to what there I justly fix upon him, and therefore by his silence in their particular, though he durst printed scores of sheets since, have given me just cause now to proclaime him so notorious and base a lyar, that he is not ashamed to tell and publish above a dozen in 8. lines.
But the cowardly unworthy fellow, like one of Satans brood, who was a lyar from the beginning, John 8. 44. knowing that I was fast by the heales under a great indignation of the house of Lords, and knowing that my businesse by way of appeale was depending in the house of Commons, and ready for a report, that he might blast my reputation and credit, and so by consequence destroy me and mine, some weekes agoe at the house of Commons but, (as I have been informed from many good hands) made a most false groundlesse and lying report of me, that I was in their debt above 2000. l. which I had little [Editor: illegible word] them of and in his late booke published since, and dedicated to the House of Commons, called the Sword of Christian Magistracy supported, in the 10. 11. pages of his Epistle, he strongly endeavours to make me more odious and capitall, then the late beheaded Arch Bishop of Canterbury, and there and else where in his base lying booke, press to them to punish me as severely as they did him, although I am confident he is not able to fix any crime upon me, but that I am honester and juster then himselfe, and stands for the lawes and liberties of England, which he endeavours to destroy and overthrow, and set up a perfect tiranny, as by his late printed books is to evident, and though in this book as well as the Epistle, he hath so many bitter charges against me, yet in regard I have proved him so base and notorious a lyar already, which by his not vindicating of himselfe, he to my understanding grants to be true, I shall only at the present returne as briefe an answer as I can, to that most notorious lye of his laid downe in the 12. p. of his said Epistle, (after he hath expressed the Lords li nity to me, in not murthering and destroying of me as he would have them, for no crime in the world, but for maintaining the just and good lawes of the Kingdome, which they have all often sworne to preserve,) he expresseth himselfe in these words.
nd yet this obstinate seditious ungratefull wretch, in stead of a having pardon for his most insolent unsaintlike Libele,* contempts against the whole House of Peers, and severall particular Members of it, because your honourable House of Commons, will not tolerate him upon his Libelleus Petition, (against all Law and justice, in front of the Lords,* and their priviledges) in this his mutinous Libell, (viz. The Oppressed want oppressions declared) railes more upon your honours then the House of Peers, not only clamouring, upon you for arrears of pay, (when as there is not one farthing due unto him, for ought he could make appeare upon the reference of his Petition to the Committee of Accounts, who gave him a charge of above 1100. l. received from the Earle of Manchester and his officers only, besides free quarter which he tooke, of which he never yet gave it his account) but like a most seditious unworthy creature, confederated with some Malignants, in the Tower (who have furnished him with mistaken law and Records, to drive on their designes,) he threateneth you, &c.
Now for answer to which charge of 1100. l. that he falsely saith I received, for my owne vindication to the world, I shall give you this account, that by Commission under the hand and feete of the Clark of Manchester, dated the 7 day of October, [Editor: illegible word] I was made Major of a foot Regiment to Col. Edward King, and then the 16. of May, [Editor: illegible word] I was made Lieutenant Colonel to the Earle of Manchesters Regiment of Dragoons, which lasted till about or unto the last of Aprill, 1645 at which time I delivered the Troop and payment up to Col. John Obely neare Abington. By the first Commission there is due to me some 125. for 223. dayes service, at 24. s. per diem, and by the second Commission there is due to me 612. l. 10. 11. for 350. dayes service at 31. s. per diem, both being [Editor: illegible word] 2. s. of all which during my service under the Earle of Manchester (I aver it) I never received 200 l. as pay for all Pryns lyes, tis true, that upon the 20. of December, 1645. I received of Mr. Nesthrop, Col. Kings Treasurer, at Mr. Tilsons House in Boston, by the hands of Mr Stoddert then my Lieutenant, now a Captaine In Sir Harthesse Wallers Regiment, the sum of 51. l. 1. s. 10. d. for so much hid out for Col. King at London by his own order, [Editor: illegible word] guilt Sword, a Plush Coat with [Editor: illegible word] and Silver Cloths 10. year as of Bluth for his wives german Cornet and rich banners, two pairs of Stockings, one Crimson velvet saddle, one his maidens saddle, and one Scarlet saddle with furnitures, three pair of bouissers sutable, and a box and padlock to pack them in, and then also I laid out for him 25. l, 1. s. 6, d. and delivered him in a bill of particulars, and received my money of his man, for 7. year as of fine gray cloth, with fur trimming, three paire of spurs, soldiers bootes, Gloves, a Barter scale, a Part [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] and forty paire of great Port for portage and carriage from London to Boston of 255. l. or 2. d. per. l. But I hope Col. King doth not intend to make either me or the State to pay for all that this bravery.
After this I laid out for divers other particulars mentioned in a note, which I gave unto him and his clarke, 23. l. [Editor: illegible word]. s. [Editor: illegible word]. d. which money I received In February, 1643. and being [Editor: illegible word] of the town of [Editor: illegible word] under John, that often occaision to lay out small sums of money so that all things to the value of above 50. l. the particulars of which I alwayes gave him and his clearke under my hand, and received my money in reference to such a note dated such a day) as by my notes and receites under my own hand with him and his Clarke willfully opened. I also the 13. Ianuary 1643. at Lincolne, received of his Clarke 200. l. which was laid out is followeth. Paid to Captaine Cottons for the Colonels company, and Lieutenant Cols. [Editor: illegible word] and Capt. Bres at a little towne within halfe a mile of [Editor: illegible word] upon the hill in the house neare the heath, [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] paid to Capt. Durings Capt. 15. I, paid to Capt. Wrogs [Editor: illegible word] I, paid to him that Commands Capt. Aryes men as Quartermaster upon the beating up of their Quarters neare Lincole, 4. l. that he is to be accountable for, and six pound for himselfe by the Cols: order, paid by his order to Iohn Deon and Iohn Hugger two of his Soldiers, to carrie them to Cambridge 2. l. laid out to my Soldiers as per my rowle of the 27. December appears 27. l. 3. 2. [Editor: illegible word] d. paid for wringing at these fights: Lincolne, 33. paid for carrying [Editor: illegible word] at severall times to [Editor: illegible word] and Stedford, 11. l. 4. d. and this note his Clearke and my selfe did a little while after the said 13. Ianuary perfect, and he received particular [Editor: illegible word] from the severall Officers upon their acknowledging they had received the above said sum of me, and I dare boldly say it, I was as exact in perfecting all such accounts as this with his work, as an [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] England is in keeping his bookes, as by the notes of particulars in his hands will manifestly appeare, and then for my Soldiers with him, they were so constantly mustered under the Collonels nose by one of his owne creatures, that it was impossible if his man had a mind unto it, to have paid the leavie, especially either I or any under my particular command, being in enmity with his Muster master, and besides I aver it, that if one would we made a muster, and the next weeke we made another, if my one of the Soldiers that was in his muster route the week before, were absent by sicknesse the second time, although he lay, sicke in the very same Towne, and though we named the house where she was sick, and were ready to goe to shew him to the Muster Master, yet so exact was Col. King. that I nor my Lieutenant was not trusted with the pay of my particular sick Soldiers, and as for the payment of them, their money was most commonly received and paid by my Lieutenant, yet I commonly gave the receipt for it under my hand, in as exact a way as it was possible to make it, viz. received such a day, so much money, far so many dayes pay, for my Ensigne, two Sergeants, three Corperalls, and so many common Soldiers. My Lieutenant, himselfe usually received his owne money, and I received of Tho. Hunter the Cols. man at three severall payments, about three score pound is, which in my receipts I mentioned as my owne particular pay.
Besides this in February and March, 1643. I received of the said Thomas Hunter and one Mr. Browne, by Col. Kings appointment, betwixt two and three hundred pounds, in part of payment for divers things delivered at his earnest defence in his straights, into his Magazine at Boston, at least by 20. l. in the hundred cheaper then he there paid at the same time for the like, the exact copy of which particulars, as I had them under the hand of his to one Magazine keeper (the originall it selfe to my remembrance being delivered to Mr. Weaver at Lincolne) thus followeth.
February 5. 1643. Received from London by Major Lilburne appointment, two hundred and ninety Swords, were received immediately after by Major Lilburnes appointment, five hundred Swords, Feb. 1643. Received from Thomas Forman at Lyn, by Maior Lilburnes appointment, one chest of Swords, containing two hundred, received in Aprill, after from Major Lilburne, that his men brought into the Magazine and allowed them to my son Shepherdson, twenty Swords, so I received in Swords 1010.
Received of Major Lilburn 80. pair of Holsters for Pistols, and three hundred belts for Swords, received of Mr. Wood and Mr. Wind by Major Lilburnes appointment, we soon found collers of [Editor: illegible word], pistol bandaleers were received take the Magazine from Major Lilburn, but what moneyes hath bought it paid in for most of them I know not.
Now if you please to read the 42, 43, 44. and 46. pages of Innocency and Truth iustified, and the 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. pages of my painted Epistle to Iudge Reeves; called The iust mans iustification you shall largely and particularly see the cause of Kings killing [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] which was principally for his endeavouring in my apprehension to being [Editor: illegible word] for our fatall [Editor: illegible word] at Newarke, at which time, all accounts betwixt him his clarke and me was even saving my owne particular pay, and betwixt 100. and 100. l. for the foresaid swords, [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] [Editor: illegible word] when I was going away, I brought him in a true account [Editor: illegible word] any band what was due to me for them, and what I had received, and I am sure this was his answer, he had no money in booke then, but as soone as any came in he would care to pay me, so away I went to Bedford, any Generall, as in the two last mentioned bookes, you may read, and afterwards to Lincoln, where we had notable bussing, to bring King to a Councell of Warre, for his grosse and palpable knaverie and treachery, but we could not bring him to the touchstone, because the Earle of Manchester and his two Chaplins, Ash and Good, protected him in his basenesse, after that being at the seidge of Yorke, Mr. Tredwell a Cutler, living now at the Lyon near Fleet-Bridge, pressing me to perfect the account with him for the Swords I had of him, and being in a straight how to get my money from King, who I knew was mad at me, for protesting him so hard, I went unto Dr. Staines and complained to him, who gave me this insuing warrant.
“By vertue of my Commission of Auditor Generall for the whole Association and Army, and by vertue of my Lord of Manchesters present Order, these are to require you to give an accompt, what moneyes or payments have been made to Major Iohn Lilburn, Captaine Elbert Lilburn, and Captain Lieutenant Henry Lilburn, and to send it by the bearer hereof, Given under my hand, by my Lord of Manchesters warrant this 11. of Iune, 1644:By vertue of my Commission of Auditor Generall for the whole Association and Army, and by vertue of my Lord of Manchesters present Order, these are to require you to give an accompt, what moneyes or payments have been made to Major Iohn Lilburn, Captaine Elbert Lilburn, and Captain Lieutenant Henry Lilburn, and to send it by the bearer hereof, Given under my hand, by my Lord of Manchesters warrant this 11. of Iune, 1644:
“Also you are to give an account under your hand, what moneys Major Iohn Lilburne hath received of you for Swords, Belts, Bandaleers, Holsters, delivered into the Magazine of Boston.
To Thomas Howet Clerke to Col. King and pay master to the forces there.
per me Will. Staine.
This warrant I sent away to Boston by a carefull hand to my wife, to follow the Clarke, Kings meniall servant for an account, but none she could get, and then after Marston-Moore we came into Lincolnshire, where I met with the foresaid Mr. Tredwell, who pressed me for some money due to him for the foresaid Swords, and I went to Col. King with him then at Boston, and after an outside complement in his Hall, I told him I had got Auditer Generall to send his warrant to his man for an account, but it would not be obeyed, and therefore I was come to him my selfe with my friend to desire him to pay me the rest of the money due to me, for the Swords, he had had of me, that so I might pay my friend that which I owed him, for some of them, whereupon he told me he had none of me, unto which I replyed you will not offer to say so, for at your earnest intreaty I provided them for you, at cheaper rates a great deale then here you could have them, and by your expresse order delivered them unto your Magazine keeper, who under his hand hath acknowledged unto me the receipt of them, and you your selfe hath often been at the Magazine with me to view them, and thanked me for the cheapnesse and goodnesse of them, and hath also under your owne hand sent me divers orders for the issuing them out, at which the man was in a mighty fury, and fell a raging at me, and bid me before my friend as if I had been a dog, get me out of his doors, wherupon told him he was a base impudent lying fellow, and if he durst manifest so much manhood as to come out of his own doores, I would cudgell his coat for abusing me, but he plaid the coward and durst not stir, and so we parted. Now let all the rationall men in England judge where the fault was that my account was not made up, and upon this Mr. Tredwell and my selfe went to Lincoln, where we fully made Lieutenant Generall Cromwell acquainted how it was with us, who by his earnest importunity with the Earle of Manchester, got him as I remember to order Mr. Weaver to pay Mr. Tredwel 140. l. which he received of him, and [Editor: illegible word] I perceiving before first left Boston, that Col. King intended to play the Knave with me. I reserved above 200. paire of my Houlsters which he should have had from me in my owne hands, and afterwards got Mr. Jackson of Boston in his shop to sell some of them for me, and the rest by the Earle of Manchesters expresse order, Col. Edward Rossiter in his necessity had of me, for which and remember I received 40. l. of M. Weaver, and besides reserved about 20. l. worth of Sword belts which I was necessitated to bring to London, and have them still in my owne hands, and should willingly take for them lesse by 5. l. then what they cost me, and so much for King.
And now in the second place, for money received by me when I was Lieutenant Colonel of Dragoones, in which service I am sure I spent divers moneths and never received a penny, no not so much as to buy me a horse shooe, being forced to lend my Soldiers money divers times to shooe their horses, part of which I lost for my reward, and I am sure that from Feb 1643. to September 1644. which was 7. moneths time, I received not six pence pay, and then as we marched to Banbury leager, at Daintery towne, I and other of my Officers received at the hands of the Northampton Committee. 800. l. as part of six weekes pay, 215. l. of which Major Evers, my Major had for his troop, and Capt. Beamont 105. l. for his troop, and Capt. Abbot, 180. l. for his troop, and my selfe for my troop 220. l. which then by my muster route and debenter daited from the 25. March, to the 26. of August, 1644. [Editor: illegible word] being 22. weekes consisted of my selfe, Lieutenant, Cornet, Quarter-master, two Sergeants, three Corporalls, two Drums, and 85. common Soldiers, which said money at that Townes end was immediately paid to the troop, every Common Soldier having out of it five weekes pay to pacifie the mutinie they were in, and I am sure there was not one Soldier in the muster route but had it to a penny, and the Officers staid for theirs till we came to Banbury, where I sent my Quarter-master and other Quarter-masters to Mr. Golson the Treasurer for the rest of the six weekes pay, which every troop then and there received, and I am sure mine was faithfully disposed of according to the Muster Route to a penny, only as I remember, one or two had lost their lives at the Castle before the last money came, and then after that seidge we marched to the seidge of Crowland, a service hard and difficult enough, Where my Cornet received 100. of the Cambridge Committee, in part of the foresaid debenter, out of which I paid my Officers and all my Soldiers then in being 14 dayes pay, Which according to the rules and practice of Warre I thinke is more then I needed in strictnesse to have done, for 14 dayes pay according to the forementioned Debenter comes to almost 130. l. all the slaine and dead payes of which tell the next muster, I might if I Would justly have made my own. and then in my absence at Stamford as I remember my Lieutenant made a new muster, from Whom I received three Weekes pay, and he himselfe paid the Soldiers their pay, I thinke iustly, for when I came down to them at Sir Richard Stones, neare Huntington, heard no complaints from any of them, Where I also paid them 14 dayes pay I had received for them at London, and they having lately at Melton Mobury had a Skirmish with Sir Marmaduke Langdon, some of my Soldiers were wanting which my Lieutenant told me he did confidently believe were slaine, upon which at his desire, as I remember I paid three Soldiers that he had listed since the last muster, but I was a looser by the bargain, for the Soldiers supposed to be slaine were only prisoners, whose pay after their deliverance I faithfully in Glocestershire, paid unto them, and this is all the pay to a penny I received as an officer of Dragoons, being in all 91, dayes pay, wch for me, comes to 92. l. And after this being in London, Dr. Staines told me my brother Robert owed him 10. l. which he lent him, which he intreated me to pay him, which I condiscended to, if he Would get me a Warrant from my Lord for 20. l. which he did, and I received ten pounds of the Treasurer, and he ten pound more, and I gave him a receipt for 20. l. So here is a true account for all the money and pay I received, and I was never unwilling to come to a true accompt, but having alwayes truly sought for it, for when the new Modell was a framing, I was by no meane man profited a good command in it, but seeing that visibly there was such bitter designes against the poore people of God, who then as well as now were strongly indeavoured to be destroyed by them who with all their might they had indeavoured to preserve, and also the lawes and iustice of the Kingdome to my understanding in a very bad condition, I plainly told Lieutenant Generall Cromwell, I would die for Turneps and Carrets before I would fight to set up a power to make my selfe a slave, which expression be relished not Well, Whereupon I told him Sir I Will (if I Were free to fight againe) never serve a iealous master While I live, for the Parllament by their late Vote hath declared a iealousie in all men, that Will not take the Covenant, Which I can never doe, nor any other of their oathes, and therefore seeing I have served them faithfully, and they are grown iealous of me Without cause, after so much assured experience of my faithfullnesse, I Will never in the mind I am now of serve them as a Soldier, While I breath, let them get Whom they please and doe what they please.
And upon my ceasing the life of a Soldier, I with much industry and difficulty upon the 10 November, 1645, got a Petition read in the House of Commons for my Arrear, which Petition you may read verbatum with the Houses answer to it, in the 64, 65, 66, 67. pages of Innocency and Truth iustified, where you will find they order: That it be refered to the Committee of accounts, to cast up and state the accounts of Lieut. Col. Lilburn, and to certifie What it due to him to this house.
Ordered that it be referred to the Committee of accounts to call Col. King, and Dr. Stane before them and to state their accounts, and What is due to Lieut. Col. Lilburn from either of them.
And though it were strange to me to be referred to William Prin my mortall, malicious and deadly enemy, yet I went to the Committee of accompts, and what passed betwixt us, you may read in the 68, page of the last mentioned book, the sum of which was, William Pryn being in the chair, tendered to me an oath, which was to this effect, that J should sweare what was due unto me, and what I had received, and what free quarter I had had, what horses and armes from the State, which oath for the reasons there mentioned I refused to take, and am still resolved rather to loose all my money, & to be hanged, before I will make my self such a slave, by depriving my selfe of the benefit of the good and just law of England, by taking such a wicked and unlawfull oath, knowing very well that by the law of England, as well as the Law of God, a man is not bound to sweare against himselfe, where either his own honour, credit or profit is concerned.
And therefore having besides been plundered of divers of my papers concerning my Soldiers and Muster rowles at the seidge of Nowark, where by Kings meane I lost foure horses, my port mantle and cloathes, &c. to the value of almost 100.l. and was stript from the Crown of the head to the sole of the foot, and forced to march divers miles without either hat, cap or Perewig, (having lately before lost my haire with sicknesse and cruell usage in Oxford Castle, by William Smith, that mercilesse Turke) breaches or dublet, bouts or shoots, over hedge and ditchs for the safety of my life.
By reason of the losse of which papers, it was impossible for me upon my oath to give an exact account, and besides I never in my service dreamt of any such thing, walking then by that rule that was established in the Ordinances then in being, thinking that if the Army Comittee that was set over us to looke to us* and the Counsell of Warre that was to punish us for any the least misdemeaner committed, had nothing to say to me nor accuse me of, that I should have had my accounts audited and signed by those persons named in the Ordinances under whom I served and not be brought to a Committee at London, that was not in being when I ingaged my life nor had all the while I was a Soldier no power over us, nor never was in the field to know that belongs unto a Soldier, and are meerly in my apprehension intentively erected to cheat and insnare honest & faithful Commanders of their just due, though for my part I do acknowledge I have no particular charge concerning my selfe against any of that Committee but Pryn.
And when I told them I had my commissions ready to justifie my service, and craved so much money as my right for my faithfull service, and therefore desired them to let me receive a charge what moneys, &c. they could fix upon me, and I shall either acknowledge it or disprove it, but they told me they could doe nothing in my businesse unlesse I would take the oath, then I told them I must and would repair againe to the House of Commons that sent me thither, so I was dismist without receiving any charge, though I earnestly desired it, and so it remained and I followed my other businesse about obtaining reparations from the houses about my Star-Chamber sufferings, which when I had got it into a good forwardnesse to divert and disinable me to follow it by Pryns meanes, as I conceive, I was summoned to come before the Committee of Accounts with a warrant in these words.
By vertue of an Ordinance of Parliament of the 12. of February, 1643. for taking the generall accounts of the Kingdome, these are to require you to appeare before as of the Committee indicted by the said Ordinance at the House of Sir Freeman in Cornwell London, on Wednesday, next at ten of the clock in the forenoone hereof faile you not dated the 9. of March, 1646.
And comming before them, I desired to know their pleasure with me, and Mr. Pryn being in the Chair told me to this effect, Lieut. Col. you were some months agoe with us, by vertue of an order of the House of Commons about your accompts, and we gave you time ever since to state them, but we hearing nothing from you, according to our expectation about them, wee have sent for you to cleare your selfe of above two thousand pounds that is fixed upon you to be received of Mr. Goulsone the treasurer, Mr. Weaver, and Col. King, unto which I replyed to this effect, with the favour of this Committee, I by my owne seeking procured the Order from the House of Commons that gave you particular cognizence of my accounts, and accordingly I of my own accord brought it to you, being not compelled thereunto by any man, according to that which I conceived just I earnestly desired of you, that the parties concerned in my accounts might by you be summoned to come before you, that face to face I might receive a charge of what monys they had paid me, that so I might either confess it or disprove it, and then when your certificate for that which is behind, as due to me, which I am very confident in divers hundreds of pounds for any pay, for my hazardus, faithfull and industrious service, and truly Gentlemen, you refusing this unto me as you did, and would have had me upon my oath to have charged my selfe, which I for my part though you have an Ordinance of Parliament to authorise you so to doe, did, and still doe conceive it unjust, and therefore without hope from you departed to seeke my right, in a more legall and just way from those that sent me, and these was the tearmes upon which we then parted, and I am sure you neither desired not commanded me any more to come to you, neither did I promise to come to you, and besides this losse of time, is no losse to you nor the State, but to me, in which debt the State is, and as I to them, and assure your selves, if I had not assuredly known that the State is in my debt, I would never have taken so much paines, to have run through so many difficulties to have got my accounts audited.
And set the 2000. l. and above, you say I am to account for, it is very strongs to me how it is possible to fix such a charge upon me, having never received I am confident 200. l. of the Earle of Manchester, or any under him, for all my service under his command* and for the money for my Soldiers, it was most commonly paid unto my officers, and besides it was so little, and so seldome, and so well knowne before we received it, to the Soldiers, how much it was, that it was impossible for me or any under me, to count them, much lesse of any such sums, to be compared to 2000. l. And therefore I make it my earnest desire unto this Committee, that I may receive a particular charge from you in writing, and that I may not be tyed up to a few dayes to answer it, but that I may have some competent time allowed me, that so I may not be hindred or disinabled to perfect my businesse now depending before the Lords, which I have already made a good progresse into, and have got a decree for 2000. l. for my Star Chamber sufferings, and am dayly to waite upon them to perfect an ordinance they intend to make and send downt to the house of Commons, to inable me effectually to receive the full benefit of their decree, and I hope Gentlemen, you wil not hinder me to follow my business, by comanding me to wait here upon you, when I must of necessity be waiting upon the Lords or the Commons, and if you should command me to waite here, and I not come, by reason of my businesse at Westminster, which I am sure some of you knowes of, you would goe neare to take it for a contempt, yea, and for it, it may be clap me by the heels, by meanes of which my businesse with the houses would utterly be undon, and therfore I desire some competent time, but as I remember it was possitively told me they could not give me such a particular charge as I desired, before I had taken the oath, but yet divers of the Merchants said, God forbid they should hinder me from following my businesse at Westminster, especially seeing as one of them said, my businesse before the mass obtained by my own solicitation, which they conceived I would not so earnestly have followed unlesse it had been for my owne advantage, and hoped for benefit, notwithstanding the charge of 2000. l. against me, but Mr. Pryn pressed that I might speedily come againe, that so the state might not suffer by reason of the moneys I had received, and before them stood charged with. Truly Gentlemen for all this charge, I am very confident shall make it evident that I have been, and am as free from defrauding the State, or any of my officers or Soldiers of a penny as any man in England that ever the Parliament imployed, and I am sure that I am not in the Parliaments debt, but they in mine, and seeing that which I seeke from them is but some hundreds of pounds, and the businesse I am now of following of concernment to me, two thousand pounds thick, I pray give me leave for a time to lay the lesser concernment aside, that so I may not be disinabled to prosecute the obtaining of the greater, and Sir, if you Mr. Pryn thinke I am not responsible to answer the charge, you may either put in a barre to make stoppage of the money I expect to receive by my decree, or else I will put you in good securitie to answer this charge. With which the Committee was satisfied, and demanded of me what time I would demand, but I told them I conceived it not convenient for me to make my demand, before I heard how long time they were willing to give me, and they bid me take a moneth or six weeks, for which I thanked them, but withall told them, I would be with them sooner if I got my businesse done, but if I could not get it done, I told them I thought I should scarce be able to wait upon them, tell I had perfected that, so they left it indifferent. And this relation which here I have made for the substance of it, is a reall truth, I doe protest it in the sight and presence of God, and therefore dear friend. I pray you judge and consider seriously of the bitter and implacable mallice of this lying and base follow William Pryn, for I doe assure you to my remembrance I failed not to be at Westminster every day the Parliament sate, to follow my foresaid businesse, from the day of my being before the said Committee of accounts, to the day of my unjust imprisonment, in New gate by the Lords, which I am confident of, William Pryn by his secret and close designes had a finger in, and that he laboured by all the ways as he could to hinder me from obtaining my said two thousand pounds, for immediately upon my good successe in the Lords house, his brother in Evill Doctor Bastwick, put in his businesse of purpose to clog mine , so they all sate still before I had likely without rub to obtaine my just desire, and being a Presbyter, obtained quick dispatch there, and as I was informed foure thousand pounds, for his damages, although I am confident of it, my bodily sufferings was twenty times more then his, and I am confident of it in the eye of reason there was twenty times more visible ground for his sufferings then mine, I having not writ a line against the Bishops, not medled with them, tell they forced me to flye London, and hee had avowedly writ divers provoking, and invective bookes against them before his sentence in the Star-Chamber. And besides I am confidently perswaded Pryn was the maine instrument to provoke his [Editor: illegible word] our Tyburne deserving comrad?, and extraordinary great associate, Colonel Edward King to arrest me upon he 14. of April 1646. in a false and fained action of two thousand pound, for calling him Traytor, which I aver he is to the Parliament (if a man can commit treason against them) having as will easily be proved, (if the Parliament would doe any justice upon knaves and Villains) betrayed his trust reposed in him derivitive from and by the Parliament at Crowland, which said unjust arrest did not only disinable me to follow my businesse, but necessitate me to write that fatall Epistle to Judge Reeve, dated the 6. of Iune, 1646, now in print, and called the Iust mans Iustification, in which I have so truly, and lively pictured, the said unworthy fellow King, that I beleeve all the picture drawers in England cannot mend it, and being necessitated by way of defence to touch the Lord of Manchesters exceeding guilty conscience for protecting Col. King from the gallowes, contrary to justice and right and the Law martiall established by ordinance of Parliament under which authority they both fought, though Jam apt to thinke neither of them ever kild anything that had more danger in it then a Rat, yet I say forth at very Epistle the Earle of Manchester as to me is visibly caused me upon the 10. of Iune 1646. to be summoned up to the Lords barre, who by law are none of my Iudges* being not my Peers and Equalls, and there himselfe being Speaker, would contrary to law have killed me upon interrogation, for which I had necessitated in writing to protest against that which protest you may read in the 5.6 in The Free mans freedome vindicated, let which they unjustly committed me, and for which to this day I lye by the heeles, so not doubting but I have fully justified your objection, I commit yet to God, and rest, your faithfull and true friend ready to say downe his life for the liberties of his Country. John Lilburn.
From my unjust captivitie in the Tower of London, for the almost destroyed lawes and liberties of England, which condition I more highly prize though in misery enough outwardly, then the visablest best condition of any Member whatsoever that sits in either or both houses, being all and every of them for sworne, having all of them taken oathes to maintaine the Lawes and Liberties of the Land, and yet in their dayly practice destroy them of which sin and wickednesse they are all of them guilty, in regard they all sit there in silence, and doe not publiquely and avowedly to the whole Kingdome according to their duty declare their dislike of their crooked, unjust and Englands destroying wayes, this 30. April. 1647.
Which he was so free of, that he did print 13. or 14. in eight lines, as you there may read, pag. 4, 5, 6. see also pag. [Editor: illegible word]. ibim.
As lately Whataker the Book-seller, did mine the other day, loading away 3. Porters with my proper and truly come by goods, for which by Gods assistance I intend to arraign them as fellons, and hang them if Law will doe it.
See Mr. Pryns relation of Colonell Fines his tryall, pag. 11, 12, 13. and Regall Tyranny discovered, pag. 81, 81, 83.
Which you may fully read in the forementioned Epistle daited Iuly 25. 1645. and Innocencency and Truth justified.
See the Out cryes of Oppressed Commons. pag. 4, 5, 6, [Editor: illegible word] and Regall Tyranny pag. 33, 34, [Editor: illegible word], 72, 73.
See 1. H. 7. fol. [Editor: illegible word] in Sir Humphrey Straffords case.
Which the Parliament is.
See 28. E. 3. 13. [Editor: illegible word] H. 6. 29.
Thought a calumnister for my books are no Libels having my name to them to justifie them.
Who I say justly deserves it, for treading under their feet the fundamentall lawes and liberties of England, as in my case they have done which will sustain against the [Editor: illegible word] and all thy gangling lying associates in England.
See the Ordinance for the Earle of Manchesters Army of the 25. July 1642. b. d, 2. pt. f. 275, 276. 278. and of the 10. Aug. 1643. fol. 286. and of the 11. Oct. 1643. f. 360. and of the 20. Jan. 1643. f. 413. 414, 415. 416. and of the 15. May 1644. f. 492, 493. and of the 26. Sept. 1644. f. 451, 452. and compare them altogether and see if the Committee of accounts, or their selfe accusing oath be in any of them, and if not, why am I required to take it.
It is true, when I was a prisoner in New gate by the House of Commons, they upon the petition of some of my friends in London, (which you may read in Innocency and Truth justified, pag, 29. lent me 100. l. which I was told was in part of my arrears, though I did, and still doe loke upon it, as a gratitude of the house, for so unjustly imprisoning me, as then they did, or else of Mr. Speaker who was the principall instrument of clapping me by the heeles, without ever hearing me speake one word for my selfe or examining one witnesse against me, or ever to his day telling me wherefore I was so imprisonned.
See Magna Charta, Chap. 29. and the Petition of Right which confirmes it Cooke 2. part institutes fol. 27, 38, 46, 47, 48. Vox Plebis, pag. 32, 33, 39, 40, 41. Regall tyranny, page 43, 44, 75, 76. Londons Liberty in Chains discovered, pag. 68, 69, the Oppressed mans oppressions declared, pag. 17, 18, 19, the Outcryes of oppressed Commons, pag. 2, 3, 4, also the Anotomy of the Lords tyranny.