Note: This is part of the Leveller Collection of Tracts and Pamphlets.
T.103 [1647.07.17] [Richard Overton], An Appeale from the degenerate Representative Body the Commons of England assembled at Westminster (17 July 1647).
[Richard Overton], An Appeale from the degenerate Representative Body the Commons of England assembled at Westminster: To the Body Represented, The free people in general of the several Counties, Cities, Townes, Burroughs, and places within this Kingdome of England, and Dominion of Wales. And in especiall, To his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax (Captaine Generall) and to all the Officers and Souldiers under his Command. By Richard Overton, Prisoner in the infamous Goale of Newgate, for the Liberties and Freedomes of England.
2. Cor. 10. 16. And when all Israel saw (as now England seeth doth the Parliament) that the King would not hearken unto them, the people answered the King, saying, What portion have we in David? And we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse: Every man unto his tents, O Israel, and now David, see to thine owne house: [so all Israel went to their tents.]
Cap. 11.4. Thus saith the Lord, yee shall not goe up nor fight against your brethren, returne every man to his house, for this thing is done of me: [And they obeyed the words of the Lord, and returned from going against Jeroboam.]
London, Printed in the yeare, 1647.
This tract contains the following parts:
17 July 1647.
TT1, p. 533; Thomason E. 398. (28.)
(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)
FROM THE DEGENERATE
REPRESENTATIVE BODY OF
the Commons of England Assembled
To the Body Represented,
The free people in Generall of the severall Counties, Cities, Townes, Burroughes and Places within this Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales.
And in especiall,
To His Excellency, Sir Thomas Fairfax (captaine Generall) and to all the Officers and Soldiers under His Command.
Right Excellent and Illustrious Generall, Honourable and Noble Officers, Faithfull and honest Gentlemen Soldiers, And all other duly respected Fellow Subjects, and free Commoners, of Wales.
This Kingdome of England, and Dominion of Wales.
It is confessed, that our English Histories and Records of the Actions and Transactions of our Predecessours, both of antient and late times, (so far as I can understand) do not afford me any example or president for any APPEALE from Parliaments to people, neither is there any such liberty provided in the Letter of our law: So that by such as preferre presidents and formalities, formes and figures, before the substance, life and spirit of all just presidents and Lawes, I may probably be censured and condemned for this present enterprize, as an open and desperate enemy to Parliaments and Magistracy, a subverter and destroyer of all Nationall Lawes and Government, and a reducer (to my power) of Kingdomes and people into confusion: To such I shall returne even the late words of (our now degenerate Parliament) That Reason hath no president, for Reason is the fountaine of all just presidents, I Book Decl. fol. 264.298. 709. 726. therefore where that is, there is a sufficient and justifiable president.
And if this Principle must be granted of, and obeyed by all, as by no rationall man can bee denyed, then the Act of Appeale in this nature if grounded upon right Reason is justifiable and warranted, even by That which gives an equitable Authority, life and being to all just Lawes, presidents and formes of Government whatsoever, for Reason is their very life and spirit, whereby they are all made lawfull and warrantable both for Settlement, Administration and Obedience; which is the highest kind of justification and Authority for humaine Actions that can be; for greater is that, which gives Being and justifieth, then that which receiveth and is justified: All Formes of Lawes and Governments may fall and passe away; but right Reason (the fountain of all justice and mercy to the creature) shall and will endure for ever; it is that by which in all our Actions wee must stand or fall, be justified or condemned; for neither Morality nor Divinity amongst Men can or may transgresse the limits of right reason, for whatsoever is unreasonable cannot be justly tearmed Morall or Divine, and right reason is only commensurable and discernable by the rule of merciful justice and just mercy; it is graduall in its Quantity, but one in its Quality; severall are its Degrees, but its perfection and fulnesse is only in God, and its several Branches and Degrees are only communicable, and derivated from Him, as severall Beames and Degrees of heat from the Body of the Sunne, yet all heat; so in Reason there are different degrees, as, from Morality to Divinity, and under those two heads, severall subordinate Degrees, all derivated and conveyed from the Creator (the originall Fountaine) to the creature, yet all one and the same in nature, the difference only lying in the degree of the thing, not in the thing it selfe; as, a Dwarfe is as much a man as a Gyant, though not so bigge a man; and so, though the gifts and graces of God are one radically, yet different in their species, and all from one and the same spirit, which can Act nothing contrary to its owne nature, and God is not a God of irrationality, and madnesse, or tryranny: Therefore all his communications are reasonable and just, and what is so, is of God.
And upon this Principle, as upon a firme and sure foundation all just Lawes and Governments are founded and erected; and in particular, the fundamentall Lawes and Government of this Kingdome; for, it is a sure and radicall Maxime in our Law, Nihil quod est contra rationem, est licium, Nothing which is against reason is lawfull, Reason being the very life of the Law of our Land: So that should the Law be taken away from its Originall reason and end, it would be made a shell without a kernill, a shadow without substance, a carkasse without life, which presently turnes to putrifaction; and as Reason only gives it a legall Being and life, so it only makes it authoritive and binding; if this be not granted, lust, will, pride, and what the Divell and corruption will, may be a Law; for if right reason be not the only being and bounder of the Law over the corrupt nature of man, that what is rationall (the which injustice and tyranny cannot be) may only and at all times be legall; and what is legall, to be simply and purely rationall, the which mercy and justice must be whensoever, wheresoever, and by whomsoever it be, for in it selfe it is legall, rationall and just, or else all would fall into confusion, disorder, madnesse and cruelty: and so Magistracie would cease, and be converted into inhumanity and tyranny.
So that it being most evident and cleare to the eye of Rationall Man, that this fundamental principle may not (in being to Magistracy it selfe) be expulsed the precincts of Magisteri all Government, but must be preserved (as the apple of its eye) intire and absolute therein, for all present and future supplies, as a sure and safe refuge to fly to in all straites and extremities whatsoever for preservation, safety, removall of oppressions, &c. or else no safety or reliefe from oppression either publique or private, to be lawfully attempted, pursued, or had: So that where that principle is, there legality and authority must be, and is concomitant to, and inseperable there-from, never to be altered while the Sun and the Moone endures; by it Kings and Kingdoms have their essentiall legall Being, without which they cease from being either Kings or Kingdomes. Therefore, that which doth institute, constitute, and authorize the regality of Kings and Kingdomes, certainly must needs be sufficiently authoritive for a particular, as for this expedient of mine, or the like, in case it be found under the protection and authority of the said principle of right Reason; as, I shall clearely evidence it to be.
First then, be pleased to consider, that it is a firme Law and radicall principle in Nature engraven in the tables of the heart by the finger of God in creation for every living moving thing, wherein there is the breath of life to defend, preserve, award, and deliver it selfe from all things hurtfull, destructive and obnoctious thereto to the utmost of its power: Therefore from hence is conveyed to all men in generall, and to every man in particular, an undoubted principle of reason, by all rationall and iust wayes and meanes possibly he may, to save, defend and deliver himselfe from all oppression, violence and cruelty whatsoever, and (in duty to his own safety and being) to leave no iust expedient unattempted for his delivery therefrom: and this is rationall and iust; to deny it, is to overture the law of nature, yea, and of Religion too; for the contrary lets in nothing but selfe murther, violence and cruelty. Now the unreasonable oppression of my selfe, my wife, brother and children, under the Arbitrary tyranny of the Westminster Lords, and the wayes and means that I have used for delivery therefrom considered, and weighed in the ballance of this naturall radicall principle of reason, this mine attempt of Appeale (though of a desparate nature) will be found the only meane wherein I may discerne any probability of reliefe for my selfe, my wife and my brother, to be brought unto iustice, as by and by I shall make both the one and the other more manifest and plaine.
Secondly, necessity is a law above all lawes, and this principle conveyeth and issueth forth authority and power, both to generall and particular cases, even to the taking up of unusuall and unexemplary courses for publique and particular deliverances, and yet such acts warrantable in, and by all sorts and societies of people whatsoever, and the actor, or actors thereof justified thereby: And upon this Principle, the Neitherlanders made an hostile defence and resistance against the King, of Spaine, their then Soveraign Lord, for the recovery of their just rights and freedomes; And upon the same point rose the Scotch up in Armes, and entrcd this Kingdome, without all formall countenance or allowance of King or Parliament, and were justified for that very act by this present Parliament. Yea, and even this Parliament upon the same principle, tooke up Armes against the King. And now (right worthy patriots of the Army) you your selves upon the same principle, for recovery of common right and freedome, have entered upon this your present honourable and Solemne Engagement, against the oppressing party at Westminster, and plead yourselves justifiable thereby, and tell them in the fifth pag. of your Declaration, That the Parliament hath declared it no resistance of Magistracie to side with the just principles and law of nature and nations, being that law upon which you have assisted them. So that if I be condemned for a Traytor by all or any of you, whether Scotch, Parliament or Army, for proceeding upon the said iust principles and law of nature, for common right and freedom, I tell you plainly, that out of your owne mouthes you shall be judged no less Traytors then my selfe, yea, allowers of that in your selves, which for treason you condemn in others: And if I suffer death by any party of you, all and every such person and persons, deserves to be hang’d, drawn, and quartered for Traytors by the same law, for if it be just against the one, it is also just against the Other, for iustice is no respecter of persons.
Now concerning my necessity to this course for reliefe, I shall by and by make evident and plaine to every common capacity; which being made evident, your Excellency, with the Officers and Soldiers under your command, are bound to endeavour my protection and safety (to your power) with your own in this enterprize of mine, undertaken upon your own principle for common right and freedome, and as well may you deliver one another up to the Gallowes, for this present Solemne Engagement of yours, as not visibly appeare in my vindication and justification together with your own, proceeding upon the very same principle with your selves for the same end.
Thirdly, The equity of the Law is Superiour to the Letter, the Letter being subordinate and subject thereto, and looke how much the Letter transgresseth the equity, even so much it is unequalle, of no validity and force: Yea, if the Law should comptroule and overthrow the equity, it is to be comptrouled and overthrowne it selfe, and the equity to be preserved as the thing, only legally, obligatory and binding. And by this principle (worthy Officers and Soldiers) you have charged the Parliament from their own Declarations to warrant this your present Expedition as in the 4 page of your own Declaration, is made manifest: To which principle, together with your selves, and with them I lay claime to a title for an equall justification and protection from the Letter of the Law, with the edge of that Sword (which both Parliament and Armie by that principle award from themselves) may not be sheathed in my bowells for though I am prisoner in the hands of mine enemies, yet can I not be condemned of them for this enterprize, without their owne condemnation of themselves in theirs against the King. So that in this act I do not outstrip the protection of that, which themselves have declared authorative against the letter of the Law, but am in all iustice and reason as iustifiable as themselves; or as this present Army in either or both their Engagements.
Fourthly, All betrusted powers if forfeit, fall into the hands of the betrusters, as their proper centure: and where such a forfeit is committed, there it disoblegeth from obedience, and warranteth an Appeale to the Betrusters, without any contempt or disobedience, to the powers in the least; for such an Appeale in that case is not at all from the power, but from the persons, not forsaking the power, but following of it in its retreat to the Fountaine. For as formerly the Parliament averred, and as now this honourable Army assumeth (Armie Declaration, pag. 4) All authority is fundamentally seated in the office, and but ministerially in the persons; therefore, the persons in their Ministrations degenerating from safety to tyranny, their Authority ceaseth and is only to be found in the fundamentall originall, rise and situation thereof, which is the people the body represented; for though it ceaseth from the hands of the betrusted, yet it doth not, neither can it cease from its being, for Kings, Parliaments, &c. may fall from it, but it indureth for ever, for were not this admitted, there could be no lawfull redresse in extremity, yea, magistracy it selfe should be transitory and fading like, as is corruption, of no certaine duration or moment, but it is unchangeable and certaine, man perisheth but it indureth: it alwayes is either in the hands of the Betrusted or of the Betrusters, while the Betrusted are dischargers of their trust, it remaineth in their hands, but no sooner the Betrusted betray and forfeit their Trust, but (as all things else in dissolution) it returneth from whence it came, even to the hands of the Trusters: For all iust humaine powers are but betrusted, confer’d and conveyed by ioynt and common consent, for to every individuall in nature, is given an individuall propriety by nature, not to be invaded or usurped by any, (as in mine Arrow against tyranny is proved and discovered more at large) for every one as he is himselfe hath a selfe propriety, else could not be himselfe, and on this no second may presume without consent; and by naturall birth, all men are equall and alike borne to like propriety and freedome, every man by naturall instinct aiming at his owne safety and weale: And so it is, that there is a generall communication amongst men from their severall innate properties to their Elected Deputies for their better Being, Discipline, Government, Property, and Safety.
Now as no man by nature may abuse, beat, torment or afflict himself, so by nature no man may give that power to another, seeing he may not doe it himselfe, for no more can be communicated to the generall, then is included in the particulars whereof the generall is compounded; for that were to goe beyond it selfe, for Being to goe beyond the power of being, which is impossible. So that if the betrusted act not for the weal and safety of the betrusters, they depart from their iust power, and act by another, which cannot be tearmed either humaine or divine, but unnaturall and divellish, rendring such usurpers as Monsters amongst men. Now these premises considered, I doe confidently conclude (if confidence may be derived from the iust principles of nature) that the transgression of our weal by our trustees, is an utter forfeiture of their trust, and cessation of their power: Therefore, if I prove a forfeiture of the peoples trust in the prevalent party at Westminster in Parliament assembled then an Appeal from them to the people is not Anti-parliamentary, Anti-magesteriall, not from that Soveraign power, but to that Soveraign power. For the evidence whereof I shall first present a discovery of their dealings with me, relating to the publique, and then their common course to the generall.
First then briefly concerning my selfe, upon the 11. of August 1646. the House of Lords sent (without any summons or other due processe for appearance) their Emisaries with a file of Musqueteers who beset mine house and entred the same, one with his drawn sword, and another with a Pistoll ready cock’d in his hand, and surprized me in my bed without any appearance or shew of any warrant eitheir legall or illegall, and in that warlike manner being led, and brought before a Committee of the said house, and afterwards before the house, where being put High Commission like to answer to Interrogatories against my selfe, the which I refusing to answer, & not being willing to yeeld my right as a Comoner into their prerogative clutches, I appealed from them being mine improper incompetent judges, unto the House of Commons, my legall Peers and Equalls, as by the great Charter of England I was bound, which in severall late printed papers I have made evident and clear to the view of all men, I was under pretence of contempt in word and gesture against that house, and for refusing to answer Interrogatories committed to Newgate, there to be kept till their Lordships pleasure should be further signified. And afterwards the House of Comons receiving mine Appeale, I was turned over with mine honoured friend and fellow sufferer in the said cause Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, unto the Committee for consideration of the Commoners Liberties, Mr. Henry Martin possessing the Chair, before whom in our contest betwixt the Lords about the right and freedome of the Commons of England; upon examination of the jurisdiction and prerogative of the one, the right and propertie of the other, we were both found illegally imprisoned, and that Act of the Lords desperate invasion and intrusion upon the Commoners freedoms, and our selves as legally free, as if no such arbitrary warrants had been issued forth against us. Whereupon in contempt and defiance of the Arbitrary domination of the Lords over the Commons, scorning to dance attendance any longer after their arbitrary warrants, resolved that as their Lordships found warrants, so should their Lordships find leggs to obey them, for being free from their arbitrary jurisdiction from the crown of my head, to the sole of my foot, mine should not dance after their pipe. Whereupon I was most incivilly and inhumanely dragged to Newgate headlong through the streets upon the stones through all the dirt and the mire, and being reviled, otherwise abused and beat, I was thrown into the common Gaole amongst Rogues and Fellons, and laid in double Irons. And since this time which was the 3. of November 1646 to this present 8 of Iuly. 1647. I could not prevaile with the Chair-man to make my report unto the House thereby to obtaine any reliefe. But as I am informed, that worthy Gentleman hath neither to been necessitated and inforced to forbearance through an absolute indisposition to iustice in the house, by the prevalency of a powerfull faction therein, though for my part I have been ever utterly averse to that lingring prudence, and have earnestly solicited the contrary, let the issue fall with me or against me.
Further, the tyranny of these Lords not ceasing here against me, they send their Catch poules to my house againe, where finding my wife in with her three small Children about her, tooke her and my brother away and brought them before the Lords prerogative Barre, rifled, plundered, and ransacked mine house exposing my 3. helplesse small children to the streets, and all this before any indictment, presentment, or other due processe of law preceeding. And by reason my wife would not be subiect to the arbitrary and diabolicall accustomary proceedings of that house, to answer to interrogatories, or to make oath against her husband or her selfe, concerning his or her life, liberty or goods, was, together with my brother, himselfe also refusing subjection to the said illegall procedings committed during pleasure to the New prison in Maiden lane, where ever since he hath continued in miserable durance and opression.
And then under the colour of another Order from the said house, most inhumanely and barbarously they dragged her away from that prison, with her tender infant of halfe a yeares of age in her armes headlong upon the stones, through the streets, in the dirt and mire, reviling and abusing her by the way with the scurielous names of Whore Strumpet, &c. and then not allowing her so much humane compassion, as might have been justly expected even from Turks, Infidels and Pagans they denyed her the mercy to be imprisoned with her husband, which either grace or nature might have taught them in the height of their Arbitrary passion, had they the least spark either of the one or the other in them, but as persons voyd of both, without all respect to the Law of God, or of Nature they violently divided her from mee, and in the foresaid most contemptible manner threw her into the filthy Gaole of Bridewell, that common shore, center and receptacle of Baudes, Whores, Pick-pockets &c. though for her own part shee never was, nor ever could be so much as taxed of the least in civility or immodesty either in countenance, word, action or gesture all the dayes of her life, but alwayes lived in all honest and godly conversation; in which infamous place shee hath ever since bin kept in cruel restraint, not permitting her to have the liberty to visite her husband, or to enjoy the comfort of her children about her, or to go a little abroad a with Keeper to take the fresh ayre, though for the want thereof her life hath been visibly and palpably endangered (a benefit ordinarily allowed to Whores and Pick-pockets imprisoned there) though unreasonable Gratuity, and extraordinary Surety was offered therefore to the Keepers. And in this our unnaturall and cruell division in three severall prisons, my selfe in one, my wife in another, my brother in the third, and my three children exposed to the mercy of the wide world; and our selves deprived of all meanes and wayes by industry to procure any livelihood, and all that we had for our subsistance and reliefe seised upon without all lawfull judgement, verdict of our equalls, Indictment, or other due processe of Law preceeding contrary to the Fundamentall Laws of the Kingdom, and under this unreasonable oppression & crueltie without the value of one halfe-peny from the Lords for reliefe, wee are forcibly kept at an extraordinary charge, in those their severall starving, stincking murthering Prison-houses, seven shillings being exacted and extorted weekly for my lodging, three shillings and six pence for my wifes, foure shillings for my brothers, besides the charge of subsistance for us and our children. And being reduced to this miserable condition, I prepared a Petition and Appeale (since published in print) in the behalfe of my wife and brother to the House of Commons, which for the better credence of our miserable condition, was presented by a competent number of women but notwithstanding all the agitation and sollicitation that we could use, an admission thereof into the House (so much as to be read) could not, nor can hitherto be obtained, & all through the prevalent power of a confederate Faction in the House, obstructing all reliefe and redresse of the people; so that, by that deluding over voting party in the House I am deprived and bereft of all meanes and hope of redresse whatsoever: the cause of Lieu. Col. John Lilb. and mine betwixt us as Commoners, and the jurisdiction of the Lords, as Lords depending upon the Determination of Parliament which so far as in the eye of reason we can judge, will never be till this House either be purged of the factious party therein, or else a new Parliament called. And the case being so with us, that betwixt Cannot and Will not, no right or justice can be had for us either from King, Parliament, or any Court of justice in the Kingdome whatsoever, and being not able to see my selfe, my wife brother and children perish under hopelesse & endlesse expectation of mercy from the hands of mine enemies, I Am forced to this desperate Attempt for finall destruction or present release, for on deliverance I am resolved by life or death if possibly I may, a sudden death to me being better and rather to be chosen then lingring destruction, the latter being so much the more terrible and cruell, by how much the more tedious then present.
Now therefore being driven thus to this desperate necessity and pinch; and further, the Parliament themselves having declared, that it is the liberty of every subject to enjoy the benefit of the Law and not arbitrarily and illegally be committed to prison, nor to have his or their lives, liberties, goods or estates disseased or taken away, but only by due processe of Law, according to Magna Charta, and the Petition of Right, which condemnes all High Commission like Interrigatory proceedings in a mans owne cause, enjoyning speedy Trialls for all causes whatsoever, without any intermission or obstruction to the due course or processe of Law. 1 part. Book Decl. p. 6, 7, 38, 77, 201, 277, 268, 458, 459, 660, 845. But being utterly denyed the Benefit of the Law of the Land, and of the just Declarations of Parliament through an obstructing party in the House: I must therefore, and do hereby in pursuance of my own safety (a principle warranted by the Parliaments owne Declaration to every particular man to provide for, even from the very Law of Nature, 1. part. Book Decl. p. 44 and p. 728.) make mine Appeale, and doe by these presents Actually and formally APPEALE from and against the Members Representative (as in their present mixture with, and continuance of Traytors and Tyrants) assembled at Westminster unto the Body Represented, (the true originall Soveraigne Authority of Parliaments) the free borne Commoners within this Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales for protection and reliefe against those obstructers of justice and judgement to wit, Denzil Hollis, Sir Phil. Stapleton, Sir Wil. Lewis, Sir John Maynard, Major Generall Massey, Mr. Glyn, Recorder of London, and from & against al other their Accomplices & Confederates members in the House of Commons, and charged, June 4. 1647 with High Treason against the Fundamentall Lawes, Rights and Liberties of the Commons of England, by His Excellency, Sir Thomas Fairfax and the Officers and Soldiers under his Command to be prosecuted in behalfe of themselves and the whole Kingdom. In this my Appeale craving no other benefit for my selfe, my wife and my brother, but a speedy deliverance from our severall respective Imprisonments till such times as the House shall be purged and cleansed from those corrupt and putrified members, (the obstructers and perverters of common right and freedom in the House, that I may not be passed upon, or judged in point of publique liberty and freedome, wherein every free commoners right interest and freedome is included by such as are open and declared enemies thereto, for it is most unreasonable and unjust that I should be subjected to the Arbitriment and Determination of mine and the Kingdomes enemies, for in so doing I should not only yeeld up my selfe to destruction, but therein betray the Commoners right and freedom (for which I have thus long contended) now at the last to be delivered up in my condemnation by those men to the Arbitrary jurisdiction of the Lords: For should my cause be overthrowne by the voyce of the oppressour, and this kind of exorbitant Domination setled and entailed to the Prerogative of the Lords, then the lives, persons and estates of the Commoners of England would all be laid waste to the wiles and pleasures of those prerogative usurpers; our lives; our wives, our persons and estates to be deprived, divorsed, imprisoned, & plundered at pleasure, not to be our own any longer, but theirs. And therefore the case being thus in the House and with mee, and in mine, with the Commons of England, I shall and do from henceforth utterly disclaime and renounce all triall and judgement by the degenerate Members Assembled therein, & shall hold all Orders and Ordinances whatsoever proceeding from them, though under the name of the two Houses of Parliament assembled at Westminster, as altogether invallid, and void of all Parliamentory authority and power, not obligatory or binding at all to the people, but to bee opposed and resisted to the death as counterfeit Orders and Ordinances, abusing the name and authority of Parliament, for it is no priviledge of Parliament for Traytors and Tyrants to fit and make Orders and Ordinances of Parliament, and then to publish them under the guize and vizor of that Soveraigne Authority no more then it is for any person to coyne or counterfeit the Image and superscription of the King, for Treason and Tyranny are inconsistent with the Being and priviledge of Parliament; for it is not their sitting upon the benches, or standing within the wals of that House which makes them Parliament men, or their Orders or Ordinances Parliamentory, authoritive and binding, but the discharging of their trust in moving and acting only for the weale and safety of the people [as] I their impowrers and trusters barely for that end. So that in deed and in truth that cannot bee said, or ought to bee reputed an Order or Ordinance of Parliament, which is contrary to their trust and the end of their Election and Session, for being our Parliament Deputys, doth not invest them with a Priviledge to destroy or save as at their pleasure, and to do with us as they list, we cannot do so with our selves, our power over our selves is but for our safety; therefore how can theirs which are but our deputies be for our woe.
Wherfore, so long as those Traytors to their Trust are not removed from their Session, but continued therin, over-powring and over-voting the dischargers of their Trust even so long they are in the maine degenerate from the naturall Essence and Being of the Parliament of England, for if the major part be fallen into the capacity of Tyrants and Traytors, sure their Parliamentary Being is therewith defunct and deceased.
For how can it in that capacity be tituled the Parliament of England? have they not in that degeneration devested and degraded themselves from their betrusted authority of the people, and become no longer their representory Deputies, or Trustees, except tyranny and oppression be the very substance and end of their Trust? certainly tyrants and oppressors cannot be the Representers of the Free-men of England, for freedom and tyranny are contraries, that which representeth the one, doth not represent the other; therefore such as are the representers of Free-men, must be substantial and reall Actors for freedome and liberty, for such as is the represented, such and no other must the figure or representation be, such as is the proportion, countenance and favour of the man, such and so must be the picture of the man, or else it cannot be the picture of that man, but of some other, or of something else, as the picture of a grim, meager, frowning face is, not the picture of an amiable, friendly smiling countenance; so tyranny neither is nor can possibly be the Representor of Freedome; therfore, though such in the House were once otherwise by their election, yet now they have changed themselves into a contrary capacity, and are so to be reputed and esteemed off; and I for my part do so, and no otherwise esteem of them, and do hereby proclaime and protest against them to all the free-men of England and Dominion of Wales, as so many traytors to the safety and weale of the people, both the eleven Members that are charged, and all such as are coactours and voters with them in further oppressions and tyrannies, over-swaying and bearing downe the voters for freedome and justice; imploring and beseeching all lovers of freedome and justice within His Majesties Dominions of England and Wales, as one man to rise up in the cause of the Army for the removall of those obstructors and traytors, and the bringing of them to a speedy and legall triall, that the wicked may be taken from before the face of the King, that his Throne may be established in righteousnesse and judgement, the liberty and freedom of the people recovered from the hands of oppressors and tyrants, and the Kingdom setled in peace and tranquillity, which only is, and ever shall be the prayers and endevours of your Appellant.
Now for the further clearing and making good of mine Appeal, I shal (as I promised before) briefly touch the accustomary course of their oppressive tyrannous cariage to the generality, whereby their degenerate state and capacity will more clearly appeare. But for brevity sake I shall omit the severall new oppressions, exactions and burthens wherewith the people are loaded every where, even till their backs are ready to break as everyman by woful experience can witnesse; and shall only relate to the maine & principall end of their Election and Session, which is for bearing the cries and groanes of the people, redressing and easing their grievances: And as touching this matter, this is their course, in stead of Reliefe for oppression, themselves do oppresse, and which is worst, then stop the mouthes of the oppressed; crutiate and torment, and not suffer the tormented to complain, but even torment them for complaining, sleight, reject and crush their Just and necessary Petitions, which is the highest kind of tyranny in the world, shut their doores and eares against the cry of the people, both of Country and City, yea, though the burthens of the oppressed are so great, that multitudes in a peaceable manner have attended the House daily with Petitions for no other thing, then for the Removall of oppression, and recovery of freedome, according to the fundamentall Lawes of this Kingdom, which they often Declared, covenanted, protested, and sworne with hands lifted up to the most high God to performe faithfully and truly.
Yet these very men contrary to their many Oathes, Covenants, Declarations, Vowes and Protestations, call the Petitioners Rogues, Villains, seditious, factious fellowes, and bid a pox of God on them, offer to draw their Swords at them, lift up their Canes at them in a menacing manner, shake them by the shoulders, and otherwise abuse them, and not only so; but imprison some of them, as Mr. Nicholas Tew, Mr. Browne, and Major Tuliday, the two first of them Prisoners to this houre, the third under Bayle; and they stay not here, but their arogance mounts higher and higher, even vote their Petitions Seditious, breach of their Priviledges, and cause them to be burnt by the hand of the Common hang man, (Missing side note: See the declaration at large in L. Col. Lil. late book intitled Rash Barbes unwarrantable.) even such petitions wherein was contained the Liberties and freedomes of the Commons of England, and no jot of anything either in word or circumstance that was not just, honest and reasonable, and their sworn duties to performe, and for which was, and is, the very end of their Election and Session to, and in the capacitie of Parliament: Yet these matters, even the Rights and freedomes of the people are rendred matters of Sedition, and to be set on fire and burnt, and that in the most contemptible manner, by the hands of the Common hangman: O most unheard of, unparaleld Treasonl heare O Heavens and judge Oh ye free Commoners of England, &c. where, and what is become of your Lawes, & libertyes: thus would they doe with your persons, even burne them by the hand of the Common hangman, had they but as much power over them as they have over your petitions and papers, and virtually they have don noe lesse for essentally and really they have burnt the Great Charter of England, for in those petitions were contained the cheifest heads of that Charter, by virtue whereof you hold your very lives, liberties, & goods, so that in that Act they did as much as in them lay, set all England on fire, burne and destroy all the lawes, Rights and liberties there of; and if this bee not High Treason, and an open and visible forfeiture of their Parliamentory Being and trust, I would faine know what is: I could adde unto this, their Declaration against the Army, stiling their petition (which was honest just and reasonable and their dutys to grant them effectually,) to be a dangerous petition, and all such to bee enemies to the state and disturbers of the publick Peace as proceeded therein making it enmity to the State, and disturbance of the publicke PEACE, humbly to Petition for the price of their Blood, and Sweat of their Brows, so dearly earned in the purchase of their and our safeties and freedome: and to this I could adde their setling the Militia into the hands of men of their owne faction in the City of London and in other parts of the Kingdome for the violent setlement of their owne pernitious tyrannicall ends, with multitude of other impieties, and cruelties, treacherous and treasonable acts and proceedings against the freedomes of the people, but for brevity sake at this present I shall commend to your pervsall and weighty consideration a most excellent and worthy treatise, intituled Plain truth without Feare, or Flatery, written (as the Title declares) by AMON WILBEE. the contents whereof, as concerning the traitorous partie in the House, I doe hereby actually lay unto their charge, to make them good against that partie upon the perill of my life, and concerning the equity and truth of the Charge therein contain’d against Denzill Hollis & the rest of that traiterous Faction I doe account it and owne it as if writ by my self, though for my part I do seriously professe unto the world that I was till I read it as ignorant of the writing composeing printing publishing or Author thereof as the Child that is unborne, yet such is the equity, honesty and truth thereof that had, I ten thousand lives, I would engage them all for the justification and maintenance thereof, and this will I say concerning that AUTHOR, that He deserves to weare the LAURELL from all that have writ (in that observant natture) since the Parliament began. The matters therein considered together with their desperate suppression of the petitionary endeavours of the well affected of London, besides their slighting, rejecting and refusing all other Petitions of the oppressed inslaved Countries, as from Buckinghamshire, Hartfordshire, &c. Except from Parties which co-operate for the advancement of the Prerogative and priviledge Faction, all others being fob’d off, with a Complementall acknowledgement of the good affections of the Petitioners, and with a Verball returne of thankes, and that the House would take their businesse into further consideration, or the like; which being all, and the most that ever could be obtained from them; when their Aspect was most indulgent towards US, and fairest for our Liberties, I say, those their Treasonable proceedings, Oppressions, and Tyranies duly weighed and considered, how can still their PARLIAMENTARY Being, and Station be granted? If it bee, sure it must bee pictured with the Heeles upward, for I may as well bee parswaded out of my Christen-Name, as made to beleive, it stands derect upon its feete; When I see it plainely reversed before mine eyes, for I shall never while I enjoy my senses, bee so stupid and blockish, to esteeme Ruine for Safety; Retrograde motion for direct Progression: now, this their Trayterous course of stopping and burning Petitions, abusing and imprisoning Petitioners, of it selfe is an absolute election, or putting the people out of the protection of PARLIAMENT; no rationall man can gainesay it; for Oppression is no Protection, offence no Defence. He that will not releife, is no Reliever; and hee that Oppresseth for complainning of Oppression, must needs be a Tyrant in the highest measure. Therefore loving Countrey-men and friends, I beseech you, lay your hands on your hearts & consider, what greater tyrannie and oppression can be, then to be oppressed and so to be deprivd of the means of relief, left hopelesse and helplesse, all passages of succour and support stopped and blocked up, the waters of your reliefe utterly dried up? Oh rub open your eyes for shame, rouse up your spirits, resume and take up your strength and authority into your owne hands, disowne and disclaime those desperate tyrants and traytors, and cast them forth from your trust as dirt and dung, or salt that hath lost its savour, for wherewith now shall they be savoured? Halters and Gallowes is more fit for them then places in Parliament: What, will you be more fearfull of them to bring them to justice, then they were of you to burne your Lawes and your Liberties? for shame never let an English spirit be taxed with that dishonour; you have Othniells, Ehuds, Baraks, and Gideons, before you, even a mighty and puissant vertuous Army, which hath most gallantly and honourably engaged for your and their own safety and protection from those unnatural tyrants and usurpers, to remove them from the Seat of your Authority, and to bring them to justice, that you and your children after you, may be delivered from the feare and prejudice of their cruelties, dwell in peace and safety, enjoy the price of your labour and travell quietly and freely to your selves, be absolute Lords and possessors of your owne, and to be made true and reall Freemen indeed; fall therefore into their assistance and protection, and trust no longer your perjured traiterous Trustees dissembled at Westminster, but save your selves from that cursed and wicked generation, now is the opportunity, doe not procrastinate nor delay, least your destruction be of your selves, I have discharged the trust of my sufferings unto you, which hath been simply and purely for your sakes, and have not drawne backe my hand from any thing for your weale, which to others have seemed too hot or too heavy to lift, and my conscience beares me witnesse of the honestie and uprightnesse of my heart for your preservation and safety, as its principal aime and intent in this Appellation of mine unto you, I am but one, and can discharge but the duty of one unto you, if you will suffer your selves, your Lawes and your Liberties, to be conquered and destroyed, I cannot help it, it is of your selves, and not of me, I have hitherto done my share, doe you but yours, and the worke will be presently done: I may chance be condemned for a mad-man and foole, but if you sit still and yeeld up your selves, as contented slaves, I cannot see, how you can be excused of madnesse or folly: Come, come, now is no time to sit thrumming of caps, if they will not give us leave, to use our tongues and our pens to present and make knowne our grievances, we must take leave to make use of our hands and swords for the defence and redemption of our lives, our Lawes and our Liberties, from the hand of the destroyer, for our safety must be maintained.
And can any reasonable man conclude, that our protection and assistance of them, and their protection and assistance of us are not relatives, and one dependent on the other? For what is the reason, that we have engaged our lives and estates thus in their defence, but that they should be as faithfull a protection unto us: Now our safety and protection lieth in the full and just enjoyment of our Lawes, our Rights, and Freedomes, and delivery from bondage and thraldome, the which being utterly denyed us, are wee not quite out of their protection, and left to shift for our selves, either to destroy or be destroyed? For can they think that their powerfull Priviledge doth extend not to leave the Commonalty of England so much, as even nature hath instincted in the very wormes of the earth, as exanimate and stupid as a blocke, worse then the bruit beasts of the field, which all to their power will save and defend themselves from mischiefe and harme? Certainely, they cannot expect it, for it is no more then their owne Doctrine hath taught us, and therefore no Blasphemy, Treason or Heresie, for they tell us, Dec. 2. Nov. 16. 6 Booke Dec. 1. Part 696. & pag. 150. That obedience doth not bind us to cut our owne throats, how then, can they expect that we should be our own butchers?
Deare friends, our destruction is beyond the Priviledge of Parliament, it is out of the compasse of that Betrusted Authority; while they move in the Sphere of our safety, their motions are Parliamentary, legall, and authorative, and to be obeyed, defended, and maintained, but on the contrary, the contrary must be concluded, for contraries have contrary consequents. For there is a difference betwixt their Parliamentary, and their owne Personall capacity, and their actions are answerably different; therefore, the rejection, disobedience, and resistante of their personall commands, is no rejection, disobedience, or resistance of their Parliament Authority: So that he that doth resist their personall commands, doth not resist the Parliament, neither can they justly be censured or esteemed as Traytors, Rebells, Disturbers, or Enemies to the State, but rather as Preservers, Conservers, and Defenders thereof.
And upon this principle of justice and reason, they grounded and justified their War against the King, witnesse their owne words, Book Dec. part 1. pag. 276. where they say by the Statute of 25. Edw. 3. It is a leavying of Warre against the King, when it is against his Lawes and Authorities, though it be not immediately against his Person, and the levying of force against his personall commands, though accompanied with his presence, if it be not against his Lawes and Authority, but in maintenance thereof, is no levying of Warre against the King, but for him; for there is a great difference betwixt the King as King, and the King as Charles Steward: Therefore pag. 279. they say, That treason which is against the Kingdome, is more against the King then that which is against his person, because hee is King: for that very Treason is not Treason as it is against him as a man, but as a man that is a King, and as he hath relation to the Kingdome, and stands as a Person intrusted with the Kingdome, discharging that trust: Even so, by the equity of the same reason, the represented Commons of England, in the like case, may justly make the same returne unto the Bodie Representative, as thus: It is a levying of warre against the Parliament of England, when it is against the Lawes, Rights, and Freedomes of the people of England, though it be not immediately against the persons of the Members in Parliament, and a levying of force against their personall arbitrary commands, though accompanied with their presence, if it be not against the Lawes, Rights and Freedomes of the people, but in maintenance thereof, is no levying of war against the Parliament, but for the Parliament, for there is a great difference betwixt Members in Parliament, as Members in Parliament, and Members in Parliament, as they are personally, Philip Stapleton, Denzill Hollis, &c. And therefore well may the Commonality of England reply, That Treason which is against the Commonalty, their Lawes, Rights, and Freedomes, is more against the Parliament, then that which is against their persons, because they are Members of Parliament. For that very Treason is not Treason, as it is against Philip Stapleton, Denzill Hollis, and the like, considered as they are men, but as men that are Parliament Members, and as they have relation to the people in generall, and stand as persons intrusted with their Lawes, Rights, and Freedomes, discharging their trust. This is as directly point blank against the Members in Parliament, as ever it was against the King, they must admit of this principle against themselves, or else they must grant themselves to be Rebells and Traitors in warring against the King, for they had no way, under heaven, or to this day have any way to justifie their leavying and maintaining of warre against him but that; for it was the very Axeltree upon which the equity of their proceedings were moved, and that by which still they stand justifiable in the eye of reason and justice: therefore the Members in Parliament, either in the particular or in the generall, because they are men intrusted in that capacity, may not therefore turne oppressors and tyrants at pleasure, for it is not their being in Parliament, or being Parliament-men, that will justifie their invasions and incursions upon the freedomes of the people; for as themselves have granted concerning the King, that the King is for the Kingdome, not the Kingdome for the King, and that the Kingdome is no more his owne, then the People are his owne: If he had a propriety in this Kingdome, what would become of the Subjects propriety in their Lands throughout the Kingdome, or of their Liberties? Book Dec. 1. part p. 266. even so may the Commonality of England reply to their Parliament-Members, that they are made for the people, not the people for them, and no otherwise may they deale with the people then for their safety and weale, for no more then the people are the Kings, no more are the people the Parliaments, having no such propriety in the people, as the people have in their goods to doe with them as they list. As they will not grant it to be the Prerogative of Kings, neither may wee yeeld it to be the Priviledge of Parliaments, for the safety of the people is the reason and end of all Governments and Governours, Salus populi est suprema Lex, the safety of the people is the supreme Law of all Commonwealths; all other Lawes, Edicts, Ordinances, Orders, &c. (such as most of our late pretended Parliamentarie ones have been) being contradictory thereto, are all traiterous and Antimagisteriall, to be opposed and resisted to the death, and the contrivers, promoters, and actors thereof, to be apprehended, judged and condemned, and executed as traytors to the safety of the people.
And whereas we have engaged our lives and fortunes against the King, to free his person from a traiterous and wicked Counesell about him, and the same they justified for ous by the rule of necessity, and safety, even so and much more, by vertue of the same principle may the body represented doe to the body representative, there being a more desperate and traytorus Counsell therein, for Immedicabile vulnus ense rescidendum est, ne pars sincera trahantur, the putrified and incurable members are to be cut of for the safety of the whole: for it was not the end of our undertakings to pull downe one kinde of oppressors to set up others more desperate and dangerous then the old, to remove a wicked Counsell from the King, and then to set up and tollerate a Counsell more traiterous and wicked in the Parliament, no, our ends and intents were simply against obstructions, and obstructers of justice and judgement, oppressions and oppressors, and to bring such Delinquents and Traytors to justice, whereby all impediments and obstacles to our freedomes might be removed; we did not ingage against them simply because they were concommitant to the King, but because they were seducers and perverters of justice, invaders and destroyers of our just Lawes and Freedomes: Therefore it is in vaine for our Members in Parliament to think that we will justifie or tollerate the same among them, which we would not indure in the King, to pluck off the Garments of Royalty from oppression and tyranny, to dresse up the same in Parlament Robes: No, no, that was ever and is farre from our hearts, and wee shall justifie or allow the same no more in the one then in the other, for to allow it in the one is to justifie it in the other, for it is equally unequall in both, and in it selfe resistable wheresoever it is found, for were it not resistable, all defensive war whatsoever were unlawfull: And upon this poynt we moved against the King, the equity thereof arising from an inherent principle of nature, concording with the Commandement of God, for were not tyranny in it selfe resistable, then a man might lawfully murther himselfe or give power to another to be his Butcher, but in regard by the Law of God in nature and in his word both the one and the other is verily unlawfull, therefore such kind of inhumanity and tyranny is to be resisted both in proper person and otherwise, shall we therefore be so inhumane, so unnaturall and diabolicall, to destroy and murther our owne selves, we may as well execute our selves with our own hands, as give leave to others to be our murtherers, for the matter would be all one in the execution, it would only differ in the instrument; therefore if we may not take that leave to our selves, nor give it to another, then wee must resist it in others as well as in our selves, for not to hinder is to give leave, and no hindrance can be without resistance, and if resistance must be, as is of necessity to be granted then in all reason and equity we are bound to use the most efectuall manner of resistance, If our destruction be endeavoured by another, faire means is to be used, but if that will not prevaile, we are bound to kill rather then to be killed: And upon this ground, in case we have to deale with a mighty and furious enemy, we are bound to the utmost of our power, to arme and fortifie our selves for our just and necessary defence, and by force of Armes to repell and beat back the invading assaulting enemy, whether it be an enemy for the confusion and exterpation of our persons, or for destruction and ruine of our Laws, our freedomes and liberties, for bondage and slavery are not inferiour to death, but rather to be more avoyded, condemned and resisted then present destruction, by how much the more that kind of destruction is more languishing then present, and in pursuance of the just and necessary defensive Opposition we may lawfully, and are in Conscience bound to destroy, kill and slay the otherwise irresistable enemy for our own preservation and safety whether in our lives, our Lawes or our liberties: And against the justice of this defensive principle no degrees, Orders or titles amongst men can or may prevaile, all degrees Orders and titles, all Lawes, Customs and manners amongst men must be subject to give place and yeeld thereunto, and it unto none, for all degrees and titles Magisteriall, whether emperiall, regall, Parliamentarie, or otherwise are all subservient to popular safety, all founded and grounded thereon, all instituted and ordained only for it, for without it can be no humane society, cohabitation or being, which above all earthly things must be maintained, as the earthly soveraigne good of mankind, let what or who will perish, or be confounded, for mankind must be preserved upon the earth, and to this preservation, all the Children of men have an equall title by Birth, none to be deprived thereof, but such as are enemies thereto, and this is the ground-worke that God in nature hath laid for all common-wealths, for all Governours and Governments amongst men, for all their Lawes, executions and Administrations: therefore all contrary Governments and Governours are ungodly, unnaturall, diabolicall, and trayterous, to be abhorred, condemned and resisted by all possible ways and meanes whatsoever: And from hence ariseth the true definition of Treason, for indeed Treason is no other then a destruction to humane society or actions overwhelming or apparently tending to the utter over throw of publick safety co-habitation and peace, or to the vassalage, bondage and thraledome of a people or Country; such actions and Actors are only treasonable and trayterous and no other, although it be the custome of tyrants and opressors unhappily intrusted with Imperial Regal or Parliament Authority to proclaim, condemne and execute such cheifly for traytors as are enemies to their opressions and tyrannies, their boundlesse prerogatives, arbitrary Domination, or the like, even as our degenerate Members dissembled at Westminster have done in the late Petitioners case of the Armie, making it a matter of Treason to petition for justice and right.
Now in regard, the Body naturall for its owne safety may prune, amputate and cut of the corrupt putrified Members from the Body Representative, yea utterly renounce, oppose, resist, and dissolve all the Members therein upon totall forfeiture of, and reall Apostacy from the true representative capacity of Parliament, and that this is most evident and cleare; it then inevitably followeth, that this naturall Body, by vertue of its instincted, inherent naturall Soveraignity, may create, or depute any person or persons for their Deputy or Deputies for the removall of those dead, corrupt, putrified Members from the seat and name of their Formall Authority, and for the supression of injustice and tyranny, recovery of liberty and freedome; but it may be, it will be objected, that by reason of distraction, confusion and disorder at such an exigency in the Body naturall, such a new deputation is not likely, or cannot possibly be formally effected, and therefore those forementioned Members though never so corrupt and destructive, must be continued and subjected unto. I answer, that the Body naturall must never be without a mean to save it selfe, and therefore by the foresaid permanent unalterable rule of Necessity and safety, any person or persons (in discharge of their duty to God, themselves and their Countrey) may warrantably rise up in the cause and behalfe of the people, to preserve them from imminent ruine and destruction, such person or persons, doing in that act no more then everie man by nature is bound to performe: For as everie man by the verie bond of nature and neighbourhood, in case his neighbours house be on fire, is bound forthwith without anie formall or verball deputation of the owner, to endeavour the quenching thereof with his utmost power and abilitie; even so and much more may the same bee said and of a whole Countrey or Kingdome, for necessitity in that case of extremity justifies the act of safety and preservation, in anie, though without anie formall election, deputation or condition from the people in generall thereto; for such Formalities must give place unto the maine, being but circumstances in comparison thereof, and a Kingdome or Commonwealth must not be neglected and lost for a trifle; in the cause of popular safety and freedome, wee must not straine at a gnat and swallow a camell, catch at the shadow and loose the substance, dote on formality while we lose our freedomes; we are bound to lay hold on every thing that comes next to hand, rather then perish; it is not the part of the just and mercifull Freemen of England to behold the Politike Bodie of this Commonwealth fallen amongst a crew of thieves, as Hollis, Stapleton, &c. stript of its precious raiment of freedome and safety, wounded and left groveling in its blood, even halfe dead, and passe by on the other side like the mercilesse Priest and the Levite: no, now is the time for the compassionate Samaritane to appeare to binde up its wounds, to powre in wine and oyle to engage in the defence and preservation of a distressed miserable people, for greater love and mercie cannot be amongst men then to take compassion, over the helpelesse and destitute.
Therfore, this Evangelicall principle of mercy (being of the nearest communication to the nature of God) is a warrantable ground for the solemne engagement of the Armie, like the compassionate Samaritan, to bind up the wounds of the almost murthered Lawes and Liberties of England; so that their Christian compassion and pity over the abused, beat, and wounded naturall Body of the land, is as an inpugnable Bulwarke of defence against the violent invective calumnies and reproaches of malitious tongues & Pens, and wil be an undoubted badge of everlasting honor through all generations to come, against which time and envie will never be able to prevaile. And in case they be inforced to a defensive resistance, in so doeing they will be no resisters, despisers, contemners or oppugners of Magistracy, Authority or Government, for tyranny is no Magistracie, therefore the resistance of Tyrants is no resistance of Magistrates, except it be of such so nominally; but really and essentially monsters and pests of humanity; for Magistracy hath its proper compasse and confines, and the actors and actions in that compasse are thereby rendered Magisteriall actors and actions to be obeyed by all, and resisted by none; and so such as are resisters thereof, are no Resisters of Magistracy, Authority and Government; but the resistance of the excursions or actions out of that compasse and capacity, is no resistance of Magistracy or Magistrates, for it is not their persons which makes their Ministrations Magisterial, but their Ministerial Magistration which makes their persons Magisteriall persons: for Magistracy is not inherent or consistent in the person, but in the office; their persons must run a parallell line in their Ministration with their office, or els their formall deputation or Commissions will not inright them into the true definition of Magistrates; for the office is but accidentally consistent in the forme or externall Commission, radically and essentially in the due Ministration.
Now Magistrarcy in its nature, institution, and administration, is for such a kinde of safety Nationall and generall, as wherein every individuall or particular person, of what sort or society soever, may fully and freely enjoy his liberty, peace and tranquillity, civill and humane; it is an Ordinance amongst men and for men, that all men may have an humane subsistance and safety to live as men amongst men, none to bee excepted from this humane subsistance, but the unnaturall and the inhumane, it is not for this opinion, or that faction, this Sect or that sort, but equally and alike indifferent for all men that are not degenerated from humanity and humane civility in their living and neighbourhood: And therfore the destroyers and subverters of humane society, safety, cohabitation and being, are to be corrected, expulsed, or cut off for preservation of safety, and prevention of ruine both publike and private: and thus is Magistracy for the praise of them that doe well, and for the punishment of those that doe evill.
And as for matters of conscience or opinion about Religion or Worship, with which humane society, cohabitation, and safety may freely subsist and stand together, that doth not fall under the power of the Magisteriall sword, either for introduction and setlement, or for extirpation and subversion; for the limits of Magistracy extend no further then humanity, or humane subsistance, not to spirituallity, or spirituall being; and no further, then its owne nature extends, no further may its compulsive power be stretched: And this is the true distinction for matter of subjection, betwixt God and Cæsar, and what is Gods wee must in the first place give unto God, and what is Cæsars, in the second place, freely and readily we must give unto Cæsar; the inward man is Gods prerogative, the outward man is mans prerogative; God is the immediate Lord over the inward, and mediately over the outward, but man is onely Lord over the outward, and though immediate thereover, yet but by Deputation or Commission from him who is thus both over the one and the other: And God who onely knoweth the heart, and searcheth the reines, hath reserved the governation thereof to himself as his own prerogative, and the onely means which he useth in this kinde of Government, that by his Ministers must be dispensed, is onely by the word, not by the sword; for the sword pierceth but the flesh, it toucheth but the outward man, it cannot touch the inward; therefore where by the word (to wit by Doctrine or Argumentation) the proper means to work upon the intellectualls and affections a conversion, is not nor cannot be obtained, there no humane compulsive power or force is to be used, either for plantation or extirpation.
And therefore it was that Christ refused the sword for the promulgation and setlment of his doctrine, for it was spirituall, and such were the weapons he used for that warfare of his; and therefore in immitation of his patterne (and practice of the Apostles) we must rather suffer for matters of faith, then be enforced or enforce thereunto: But it does not therefore follow, that by defensive force we may not maintaine, our naturall humane being and subsistance upon earth; for the contrary doctrine would tend to the utter confusion of humanity, the depopulation of Nations, Kingdomes, and Countries; though for the spirituall warfare, we are confined to spirituall weapons; yet for this humaine naturall warfare, humaine and naturall weapons may and are to be used, each according to its kinde; so that neither the one nor the other, in their distinctive propriety and administration is distructive or contradictory one to another, but both may properly meet and stand together in one individuall, without the least incroachment or prejudice to each others propriety: And if the Magistrate should so farre extend his compulsive force under pretence of religion and conscience, to the destruction of our humane subsistance or being, we may upon the points of your humane subsistance and being, lawfully make our defensive resistance, for in it selfe it is defendable against all opposition or destruction from whence or from whomsoever it shall be. And of this defensive resistance, none in duty can be excused, but in case of an utter depravation of power, for indeed it is granted of all, that where no power is, there no defence can be expected, and in the case of destruction in that kinde, the patient is innocent, and cleare from the guilt of his owne ruine: where nothing is given, there nothing is required; but unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required, Luke 12.48.
Therefore these premises premised, and deliberately weighed, I appeale to all moderate and rationall commoners to judge impartially about this matter, whether now, without all check or scruple of conscience, in maintainance and presuance of this Defensive principle of resistance, we may not every man of us (in duty to our owne natures, and to our native Countrey in generall) to the utmost of our lives and fortunes, be assistant and united to this faithfull Armie that now is, or to whomsoever shall rise up, and appeare in the defensive cause of this Kingdome, for the recovery of our naturall humane rights and freedomes, that all orders, sorts, and societies of the Natives of this Land, may freely and fully enjoy a joynt and mutually neighbourhood, cohabitation and humane subsistance, one as well as another, doing unto all men as we would be done unto; it being against the radicall Law of nature and reason, that any man should be deprived of an humane subsistance, that is not an enemy thereto; hee that is fit for neighbourhood, cohabitation, humane society and fellowship, and will freely comply and submit thereunto, ought not to be abridged of the same in the least measure; hee that shall deny, oppose and resist this, the same as an enemy to mankinde, and is guilty of the highest kinde of Treason that is, and deservs to be stoned, as was Hadoram by the children of Israel for his execution of the tirannicall commands of King Rohoboam, with stones that he dye, and to be cast out as the excrements of mankinde, unworthy of humane buriall, as once the Scots served one of their tyrannicall Kings, who after they had drag’d him at an Horses tayle at their pleasure, they threw his body into a Jakes, as Mr. Prin mentions in his power of Parliaments.
And therefore all Decrees, Edicts, Injunctions, Lawes, Ordinances and Orders whatsoever, or from whomsoever, which tend to the extirpation, suppression, or confusion of such a sort or party of men which are not onely meet but free and willing to maintaine, preserve, and uphold humane society, fellowship, tranquillity, and being; doing to all men as they would have all men doe unto them, are all trayterous, antimagisterall unhumane, and diabolicall, and the authors thereof no other then traytors and rebels to the nature of man.
Now therefore except such vipers and pests of humanity be divested from all legislatives and coercive authority, it is not possible that such inhumanities and tyrannies in government can be prevented or removed, for such Governours, such government, such Law-givers, such Lawes: If the wicked and unjust be not removed from the throane of government, it is impossible, that any such throane should be established in righteousnesse: therefore as all such tyrannies and inhumanities are resistable and of no man (that is not without naturall affection) to be received or obeyed; so every rationall honest Common-wealths man is in duty bound even from the just principles of divinity, humanity, and reason, with all his strength and might, either by pollicy or by force, or by both, to endeavour the extirpation and removall of such usurpers and oppressors, from the seat and place of Government, and to be ayding and assisting with life, person, and estate, to all ingagements and endeavours to bring such inhumane usurpers to exemplary justice: and this our Common-wealth swarming with such Monsters in nature and humanity, overspreading the whole Land with these tyrannies and oppressions, must either speedily be purged and cleansed, especially in the legislative and compulsive Authority thereof from that unnaturall faction, or else nothing but bondage, tyranny, and oppression remaineth for the inheritance of us, and our children after us.
Now in regard both King and Parliament are become captives through the force and pollicy of a powerfull faction at Westminster, that neither the one, nor the other can be any reliefe or protection to the people from injustice and oppression, both being upon the point dethroaned, the one from his Regall, the other from its Parliamentary Essence and being; So that in effect they are both dead unto the people: And now as the case stands, no publique visible Head, either Regall or Parliamentary, or other appearing on foot in the Kingdome for the people to fly to for succour and reliefe, or protection against the visible destroyers and subverters of their liberties but this renowned and faithfull Army; for it is now the only formall and visible Head that is left unto the people for protection and deliverance.
I shall therefore presume (most excellent Generall, honourable Officers, faithfull Adjutators, and Gentlemen Souldiers) and doe hereby presume in pursuance of my owne safety, and of righteous judgement betwixt the free Commoners Right, and the jurisdiction of the Lords, to make my humble addresse and appeale unto this Army, as to the naturall Head of the Body naturall of the people at this present, wholly (as much as in me lieth) resigning, submitting, and offring my person and cause unto your defensive protection, that in the behalfe of the people to whom I have appealed, you would, as in duty you are bound, contribute your best assistance for the liberty of the one, and just determination of the other, that neither my person nor yet my cause (which is every Commoners case) may be left to the tryall, censure and sentence of mine, and this Kingdomes enemies; but that both person and cause may be protected (as much as in you lieth) from them, and from all mischiefe and prejudice which their malice and violence may attempt against either or both; for the better facillitation and advancement of their owne arbytrary and tyrannicall ends and designes, appealing thus for my selfe and my cause for no other end, but that impartiall justice may freely proceed upon both without respect of persons or things; which I conceive is not reasonably to be expected from the judgement and determination of mine, and this Kingdomes enemies; this is cordially and freely my desire, that if I have done ought that either by the Law of God, of Nature, Reason, or the just Lawes of the Land, worthy of death, or other punishment whatsoever, that then the due execution thereof may be entailed to your just and solemne engagement, that your selves may cause it, and see it performed upon me accordingly without mercy: But if my person, and my cause in the eye of Religion, reason, and the just knowne Lawes, of this Land be found justefiable thereby and those severall afflictions, imprisonments, and miseries upon my selfe, my wife, brother, and Family by the Arbitrary Prerogative of the Westminster Lords be found illegall and tyrannicall, and their proceedings by vertue of their Lordly Prerogative, as actions apparantly, and openly tending to the utter subvertion of the fredomes and rights of the Commons of England, that then also, (as you have engaged your selves for common right to be derived, to every particular) you would actually & effectually make good that engagement to me in particular, not only your for the formall and legall deliverance of my selfe, my wife, and my brother (imprisoned also by vertue of their Lordly Prerogative) but also for our just and full reperations according to the Law of the Land, even as the nature of our respective abuses, imprisonments, &c. and the demerit of our Oppressioners shall impartially and justly deserve; and that justice may be answerably executed upon those Usurpers and Oppressors. notwithstanding their greatnesse to the future terrefying of such Prerogative Oppressors and oppressions, preservation and safety of the due right and freedomes of the people both to present and succeeding Posterity; and this is but just and reasonable, for why should not justice touch their Prerogative Lordships, as well as the meanest Commoners, and why should such sufferings at their hands passe without due reperation, for should they, it would be an encouragement to such Arbitrary spirits to be as exorbitant for the future as these; for where there is no punishment, there neither is nor will be any feare: So that if the notorious Act of their Prerogative fury, not only upon me and mine, but upon divers in the like nature, as Liv. Col. John Lilburne, Mr. Larners two servants, &c. be passed by without exemplary punishment and Mulct, the Commons will not be righted, nor will their Lordships be curbed in their exorbitant ambition; for should it be so smothered and passed by, the Commoners right would be more abused and invaded then, which then if wee should never be delivered by you, for by our durance the cause would be still kept on foot in expectation of future such determination; but if so delivered, it would be wounded, if not utterly quashed and destroyed by you, scarce ever to be recovered or reared up againe to this pitch: And this that I require, in point of liberty and reperation is no more, then what your selves have intituled me justly to claime at your hands; for have you not told us (as an Article of your engagement to see it performed before you disband) That all such as are imprisoned may be put into a speedy way for a just hearing and tryall, and such as shall appeare to have beene unjustly, and unduely imprisoned, may with their liberty have reasonable reparations according to their sufferings, and the demerit of their Oppressors (as is expressed in the 11. page your owne Declaration.)
Wherefore (truly honoured and faithfull Armie) thinke it not strange that thus in particular I have presumed to cast myselfe and my cause into the verge of your solemne engagement for the publique, for my cause in it selfe is generall, and every free borne Commoners case in the Kingdome, and my person one of that generall for which you have solemnely engaged and declared your selves for safety, deliverance, and protection; now you cannot engage and declare for the generall, but the particulars thereof must be joyntly and severally intituled thereto: Therefore this which I thus claime and expect from your hands, you cannot in justice and honour to your owne undertakings deny me; if you doe, you must deny your selves, and your solemne engagement, and so render your selves to the Kingdome as others have done before you, even deluders and deceivers of the people, and thereby instate the people into a just capacity of Insurrection against you, as well as your selves are now against others.
But being fully perswaded of the uprightnesse and innocency of your intentions, I shall expect that your workes will give witnesse to the truth of your words; for otherwise, they will bee but as empty shels, or as a dead letter to the people: Be therefore quick and active, and bee not demur’d, protracted and delayed by the old beaten subtile Foxes of Westminster into your owne, and our destruction: Can you imagine that they intend you any good? what have they done I pray you as hitherto, but fob’d, befool’d, and deluded you; say and unsay, backward and forward, hither and thither, no man knowes whither, and all but to circumvent, delude, and delay you, that they might gather time and ground.
For they well know what it is that hath lost the affections of the people, you must not think, they can be so insensible, as therof to be ignorant; and now they would run you upon the same rock whereon they have split themselves, to wit, the distaste of the people, that your wounds may be their cure; and assure your selves your ruine if you trace in their steps will be swifter then theirs; therefore thinke not to dally with, and beare the people in hand (as they have done before you) with faire promises, engagements, Declarations, Remonstrances, &c. and not to put the same into speedy execution; for the affections of the people will not admit of delayes, quick expedition will sharpen, but protraction will turne the edge of their spirits; If you dally with us, and befoole our expectations too long, we shall turne our pens, our hearts, and our hands against you, for our affection and concurrence with you, is but for our safety and protection, expecting more faire and honest dealing from you, then ever we could obtaine from the hands of our false Trustees at Westminster; have a care therefore how you interpose your owne light, and follow their Ignis fatuis, into their delusions and delayes, for if you doe not timely beware, your friends will become your enemies, their spirits begin to decline, and their tongues are busied with feares and surmises, therefore from the inch you may judge of the elle; though for a while the Countries may beare the burthen of your Quarters with patience, yet assure your selves, in a small time they will turne impatient, clamour and cry out against you; for the Countries cannot, as indeed there is no reason they should, indure to be oppressed; for such and so great hath beene their oppression, that it is in vaine to suppose, that an additionall oppression will gaine an acceptance or tolleration amongst them; you doe but now the worke of the enemy, for if you will play but a while with their Rattles and Gew-gawes, they will be provided, (what though the redemption of time and the losse of your credits) to give you an encounter, and then be sure the people must suffer, their blood and their treasure must pay for your negligence, therefore expect that the mischiefes of your demurres will be set uppon your account, when all flesh shall appeare, every man to receive according to his deeds.
Therefore right worthy and faithfull Adjutators, be advised to preserve that power and trust reposed in, and conferred upon you by the body of the Army intire and absolute, and trust no man, whether Officer or Souldier, how religious soever appearing, further then hee acts apparantly for the good of the Army and Kingdome: marke them which would and doe bring you into delayes and demurres, let their pretences be what they will be, their counsels are destructive; I am afraid, that your Officers are not too forward to interpose all delayes; therefore as I dare not totally condemne them, but honour them so farre as they have dealt honourably in your engagement, I onely advise you to bee cautious and wary; and keepe up your betrusted power and authority, and let nothing be acted, done, or concluded, without your consent and privity, for by that meanes the cause in a clandestine underhand manner may be given away; and what doe you know, but there is a designe amongst you, to take the power of all Adjutation from the hand of the private Souldier? for why must your late papers bee published, By the appoyntment of his Excellencie, Sir Thomas Fairfax and the Councell of Warre, as your Remonstrance and others, and not as formerly, by his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax with the officers and Souldiers of the Armie? are not the Souldiers as authoritive as formerly, or are they cast out, as if they had nothing to doe with the businesse? Sure I cannot judge that you will altogether bee befooled of your power; if you doe, I am sure we shall all be befooled with you; if that once be accomplished, then farewell our hopes in the Armie; for I am confident, that it must be the poore, the simple and meane things of this earth that must confound the mighty and the strong: therefore your Officers that seeke not themselves, and have no sinister ends nor designes in their brests, will be contented that your betrusted power be preserved intire in your hands till the end of your worke be accomplished; and rather then they will any wayes seeme to infringe it, be continued in their addition to your adjutation onely for advise and consultation, not for controll and conclusion, not desiring a negative voice any more in your Adjutation, then they and you would allow the King in the great councell of Parliament; that so the sence and minde of the Armie may not be prevented or denyed: If I erre in this caution and advice, I am sure that I erre not in my faithfull affections to your solemne engagement, and therefore the better to be excused; for my intentions are honest and upright therein, not minding mischiefe or prejudice against any, but solely and simply ayme and intending the good of the Army and Kingdome thereby.
If you wil own me & my cause, I shal take it as a grateful & acceptable service of love & affection, not only to my selfe but to the almost destroyed freedomes of the Commoners of England; if not, I have reckened my cost, and can in this cause for my Countrey upon honest and just priviledges, lay downe my life, as freely and as willingly, as my most malicious enemies can make it a sacrifice to their fury: Doe therefore, as it seemeth good in your owne eyes; I have discharged my conscience, and what I have done, I have done; and commit the issue thereof unto God, And so remaine,
From my Prerogative Captivity in Newgate (the Lords benediction) July 10. 1647.
Yours and this Kingdomes faithfull friend and servant for the just Lawes, Rights, and Freedomes of the people, to the death,
1. That for the future, the election and expulsion of Parliament Members may be so setled in the Electors, that none may be hindered, debard, or expulsed from serving his Country under any colour or pretence whatsoever, as for refusing the Covenant or other wise without order first, assent or concurrence of their Countrey.
2. That for the better security of the interest and power of the people, all titles, by Prerogative, Priviledge, Pattent, Succession, Peerage, Birth or otherwise to sit and act in the Assembly of Parliament, contrary to, and without the free choice and Election of the People, be utterly abrogated, nuld and made voide, and that all such so sitting, may be removed from sitting therein.
3. That the authority of Parliament may bee preserved and secured for the future from the obstructions and prejudice of a negative voyce in any person or persons whatsoever.
4. That every County may have liberty to choose some certaine number amongst themselves, to inquire and present to the Parliament, what be the just Lawes, Customes, and Priviledges of each County, and that those County Commissioners, be bound to receive all, and every impeachment, and impeachments, by any person or persons whatsoever, of the respective Counties, against any of their owne respective Knights or Burgesses in Parliament, for falsifying and betraying, his or their Countries trust, or any wise indeavouring the introduction of an arbitrary power in this Land. And that the said Commissioners have power and be firmely bound to impeach and attach in the name of their respective Counties, their said Member or Members, and to bring him or them to a legall and publique tryall. That in case such be found guilty, justice may be executed, and others in their roome, by the free choyce of the People bee sent. And in case any such Commissioner, or Commissioners shall refuse to prosecute any such complaint or impeachment, that then hee or they be ajudged guilty of Treason.
1. That all Courts which are not established by the just old Law of the Land: and all illegall offices, and Officers, belonging to the same, and all other vexatious and unnecessary Courts, be abolished by act of Parliament. And that provision bee made that for tyme to come, no Courts or Officers whatsoever may be obtruded upon the free Commoners of England, either by Royall grant, Pattent, Act of Parliament, or otherwise contrary to the old Law of the Land.
2. That according to the old Law and custome of the Land, long before, and sometime after the Conquest, There may bee Courts of Judicature for the speedy tryall and determination of all causes, whether Criminall or Civill, erected and established in every Hundred, for the ease and benefit of the Subject, to be holden according to the old custome once or twice every moneth, for the ending of all causes Criminall and Civill whatsoever, which shall happen in the respective Hundreds. That the Freemen of England may have a sudden, quick and easie dispatch of their suits, and be eased also of their vexations and chargable travellings from all parts of the Kingdome, for processe and tryall of their suits unto Westminster Hall.
3. That all such Officers, as by the ancient and common Lawes of this Nation, are illegible, and to be chosen by the free Commons, as Mayors, Sheriffes, justices of peace, &c. may be left to the free Election of the people, in their respective places, and not otherwise to bee chosen. And that all such publique affaires (now in being) Not so elected and allowed, may be forthwith removed, and others by the free choice of the people be constituted in their roomes.
1. That the extortions, and oppressive fees of Goalers may bee redressed and eased, and that strict and severe provision be made against all Goalers, and their deputies, to restraine them for the future from the like extortions and cruelties, now frequent in all Goales of the Land. And that there may be a strict and severe Inquisition after the blood of such prisoners as have beene murthered and starved by the cruelties of Goalers, that so the persons guilty thereof may have justice executed upon them.
2. That no Prisoners be put in irons, or to other paine, before conviction and condemnation.
3. That there may be cleanly and wholesome provision made in all the Goales of England, for the lodging of Prisoners, at the charge and cost of the State, and that no fees for Chamber-rent, for entering or deliverance, or any thing in lieu thereof, be exacted or demanded under a severe penalty.
4. That neither the high Court of Parliament, nor any other inferior Court or Magistrate whatsoever, may commit any free man of England to prison upon any pretended contempts, as is frequent in these dayes, but onely for transgression and breach of the knowne Lawes of the Land. And for the future (to award the free Commons of England from the revenge of arbitrary spirits,) that strong provision be made by Act of Parliament to that end.
5. That there may be a severe penalty provided against all Goalers and their Deputies, which shall receive any prisoner persons whatsaever, without a lawfull charge or commitment drawne up in writing, according to the true forme of the Law, with a lawfull cause therein expressed, and with a lawfull conclusion, him safely to keepe untill hee shall be delivered by due processe or Law, according to Magna Charta, and the Petition of Right, and not at the will and pleasure of the Committee.
6. That strong provision be made against all such Goalers as shall detaine any person or persons in prison after a lawful] discharge, as is frequent in all the Goales of the Land, whereby many poore free Commoners of England have been starved and dyed of hunger.
7. That all criminall persons that are condemned and reprived, may be acquit and set free.
1. That all Lawes of the Land (lockt up from common capacities in the Latine or French tongues,) may bee translated into the English tongue. And that all records, Orders, Processes, Writs, and other proceedings whatsoever, may be all entered and issued forth in the English tongue, and that in the most plaine and common Character used in the Land, commonly called Roman, or Secretary, and that without all or any Latine or French Phrases or Tearmes, and also without all or any abreviations or abridgements of words, that so the meanest English Commoner that can but read written hand in his owne tongue, may fully understand his owne proceedings in the Law.
2. That no free Commoner of England be inforced to put either by the high Court of Parliament, or by any subordinate Court, Officer or Minister of lustice, whatsoever in the Land to make Oath, or to answer to any Interrogatories concerning himselfe in any criminall case, concerning his life, liberty, goods or free-hold. And that neither the High Court of Parliament, not any subordinate Court, Officer or Minister whatsoever, before Indictment, presentment, verdict of 12 men, or other due processe of Law, may take away any free Commoners life, liberty, goods, or free-hold, contrary to the State of Magna Charta, cap. 29.25. Edw. 3. cap. 4.28. Edw. 3 cap. 3.41. Edw. 3.c.3. 1 Eliz. cap. 1 &c.
3. That all Statutes made for the compulsion of persons to heare the Common Prayer Booke, and for the exercise of other Popish Rits, and Ceremonies, may be abrogated and taken away, and that all and singular persons indicted, imprisoned, or otherwise molested upon the aforesaid Statutes may be inlarged and relieved.
4. That neither Membership in Parliament, Office nor function, whatsoever in the Magistracy of the Land, may be any protection or demurre in any wise against the due processe or course of the ancient and common Lawes of this Realme, but that in all cases of treason, murther, Burglary, and fellonie, in all Actions, Suites, and civill proceedings whatsoever, the greatest Man or men in the Realme, may be made equally lyable at all times and seasons, and in all places in the Land to the tryall, sentence and execution of the Law, with the meanest Commoner.
5. That all wicked persons that shall beare false witnesse against any free man of England concerning his life, liberty, goods or free-hold upon legall discovery, and probation thereof, be adjudged, and condemned of their lives, liberties, and free-holds, according to that which they would have done unto their Neighhours.
6. That the cruell practise of imprisoning Debtors may be provided against, and that due Rights and properties may be recovered upon more mercifull tearmes then by way of imprisonment.
7. That according to the Law of God, and the old Law of the Land, matters of theft may not be punished with death, and that such Malefactors may make satisfaction either by just restitution to the party wronged, or by an answerable servitude, and that such offenders upon the second conviction (lawfully had) be brand markt visibly in the most eminent part of their face, and confind to a singular habit. And upon the third lawfull conviction, to be put to perpetuall servitude, for the benefit of the State, saving to the party wronged, a competent deduction thereon, for restitution according to the theft. that upon all occasions of warre, such Bond-men may be taken for the Military service, and the impressing of free-men on that behalfe in some measure spared.
8. That every English Native, who hath goods, Wares and Merchandize, may have freedome to transport the same to any place beyond the Seas, and there to convert them to his owne profit, it being his true and proper inheritance to doe, according to the Statutes of 14. Edw. 3.2.12. Hen. 7.6. and therefore to the end the old trade ingrosing Company of Merchants may be dissolved, and the like for the future prevented.
1. That the grievous oppressions by Tythes and forced-maintenance for the Ministry be removed, and that the more easie and Evangelicall practice of contribution be granted, and confirmed for the benefit of the Subject, and his freedome therein, for prevention of the Lordlinesse, in and the Commotions, oppressions and, tyrannies, that might happen by the Clergy.
That all ancient Donations for the maintenance and continuance of Free-Schooles which are impropriate or converted to any private use, and all such Free-Schooles which are destroyed or purloyned of any freedome for propriety may be restored and erected againe, and that in all parts or Counties of the Realme of England, and Dominion of Wales destitute of Free-Schooles (for the due nurture and education of children) may have a competent number of Such Schooles, founded, erected, and indowed at the publique charges of those respective Counties and places so destitute, that few or none of the free men of England may for the future be ignorant of reading and writing.
That all ancient charitable Donations towards the constant reliefe of the poor, impropriate, and converted to other use, and all Hospitalls that are either impropriate, corrupted or vitiated from their primitive constitution and end, or be deprived of any of their franchise, profits or emoluments, may be restored, relieved, and rectified, and safely preserved to the reliefe and maintenance of poore Orphants, Widowes, aged and impotent persons, &c. And that there be a convenient number of Hospitalls, founded, erected, and constituted in all the Counties of England and Wales, at the publique charge of the respective Counties, for the good education and nurture of poore fatherlesse or helplesse children, maintenance and reliefe of poore widowes, aged, sick, and lame persons. And to that end, that all the Gleabe-Lands in the Kingdome, may be converted to the maintenance and use of those charitable houses.
That all grounds which anciently lay in Common for the poore, and are now impropriate, inclosed, and fenced in, may forthwith (in whose hands soever they are) be cast out, and laid open againe to the free and common use and benefit of the poore.
That strong provision be made that neither the Parliament, nor any inferior Court, Officer, or Minister of the Law whatsoever, may in any wise let, disturb, or molest any person or persons, from contriving, promoting or presenting any Petition or Petitions concerning their grievances, liberties, to the High Court of Parliament.