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To the Right Honorable (his Excellency) Oliver Cromwel, Lord Generall of all the Forces raiſed in England, Ireland, and Scotland, for the regainment of Englands long loſt Liberties, and to the Ho­norable Tho. Harriſon, Major Generall, and to the whole Councell of State ſitting at White-Hall, J. F. wiſheth health, and increaſe of true ho­nor in the Lord Jeſus here, and eternall glory in the glorious world to come.

Right Honorable,

AS for many years paſt (by the good hand of my God) I have been drawn forth for the publike,Whatſoever is not of Christ, is aſſuredly of the Divel, but cruelty, oppreſſion, and mur­thering of men and women in Priſons, Goals and Dun­geons, is not of Chriſt; Therefore of the Divell and his ſervants they are, (that ſo do) whoſe will they act, and to whom they obey.All Felons are baylable, and not to be impriſoned before Iudgement hath paſſed of their crime, fo. 73. and not for ſelf-ends,Thoſe that impriſon a free man, or blemiſh his credit, are by the Law infamous perſons, fo. 192. ſo I deſire ſtill to perſiſt to the glory of his great name, and this my countries welfare, being alſo ſtirred up thereunto by your (hitherto) moſt Chri­ſtian proceedings,Multitude of Clerks not to be permitted, fo. 246. and revived in my ſpi­rit by the great hopes I do retain of your faithfull perſeverance to the perfe­cting of this good work by you taken in hand (for the calling a new Repreſenta­tive) to the glory of God,No Writs of Accompt to be iſſued forth, becauſe none may impriſon another wrong­fully, fo. 247. the advance of the Kingdome of Jeſus Chriſt in true Juſtice, Judgement, and Mercy, and the reſtoration of this your Native Coun­tries Birth-rights and Liberties.

Upon that accompt I am incouraged moſt humbly to preſent theſe few lines to your pious wiſdome,No Right in Iudgement to be ſold for fees or bribes, fo. 258. and Chriſtian conſideration, hoping that your faith and zeale for Gods glory and this your Countries peace and tranquillity, will ſpeedily appear by your works to all the inhabitants of this Land,From the dayes of Alfred, King of England, to the time of Edward, Nationall Councells were held twice in the year.Reaſons ſhewed, That the new Statute for the impriſonment of men for debt, is Evill, Illegall, and quite contrary to the Fundamentall Law, reaſon, and the liberty of the people, fo. 283. 284. whereby all your friends in the Lord will have great cauſe of rejoycing, and your enemies will be inforced to acknowledge and ſay, that of a ſurety God is in you, and that he the only Lord of Hoſts,See that antient famous Law-book called, Mirror of Juſtice, fol. 6. the God of Iſrael, hath done very great and ex­cellent things by you for this poore inſlaved Nation under the Norman yoke, of 587. yeares continnance.

And therefore I do moſt humbly and heartily (in the Lord) beſeech you to conſider.

That it is deliverance from this Nor­man yoke of bondage and ſlavery,Juſtice and Right was then done truly, and all cauſes of controverſie determined within fifteen dayes, fol. 8. your ſelves, and the people of God in this Na­tion have fought for, to the hazzard of yours and their lives, the vaſt expenſe of treaſure, and effuſion of a Sea of bloud,None to be hang'd for theft, nor impriſoned for debt, fo. 192. 257. that notwithſtanding the innumerable bleſſings of God (through your indefa­tigable endeavours) conferred on this Nation, and the ſeverall vowes and pro­miſes made by the late Parliament to this Nation for the reſtoration of their antient Rights and Liberties, as by their Declaration of the ſeventh of April 1646.No Action to be entred nor received to Judgement, un­leſſeſecurity was firſt given to make good the plaint, and coſts and damages to the Defendant, if not made good, fol. 14. 233. 257. Falſe Witneſſes are to die the death, being attainted of a falſe appeal, fo. 228. and March 1648. appeareth; yet hitherto that great unſupportable and unparallell'd bondage of Arrest, and impriſonment of men and womens per­ſons, is ſtill continued, whereby the li­berty of the perſons (a point of higheſt concernment to the people in general) is left open to the violent,It is man-ſlaughter for any Officer to ſuffer the poore to ſtarve, or periſh, and not to relieve them, by ſetting them on work, fo. 228. barbarous, and de­ſtructive uſage of every covetous curliſh Naball, and moſt inhumane cruell op­preſſor, and the proſperity of the Law­yers, and their ſelfe-ſeeking adherents, hitherto preferred before the peace and well-being of this great Nation, the dangerous conſequence whereof is legi­ble to all, in this Maxime (what befalls one man to day, may befall another to mor­row.)

All impriſonment for debt,Impriſonment of men till they die in priſon, is man­ſlaughter by the Law, fol. 27. 28. 30. 274. Corrupt Judges were then puniſhed in the ſame manner and meaſure as had been by them unjuſtly adjudged, or inflicted upon others. folio 207. being clearly an incroachment upon the Com­mon Law; and therefore (in the firſt place) fit to be rectified at this time, and in this year of Englands Jubilee, 1653.

And as at preſent (through mercy) the ſpirits of all do partake of Chriſti­an liberty, ſo is it as requiſite and juſt, that our bodies (being the manſion houſes of our ſpirits) may enjoy liberty, and not to be buried alive in the ſeverall moſt filthy noyſome graves,None to be impriſoned, but for Felony, Murther, and Treaſon, fo. 29. 57. 231. 73. 274. Alſo Hen. 3.1218. called Goales, Priſons, and Dungeons.

That Liberty from the late Norman thraldome,Felons eſcape out of priſon is no mortall offence, becauſe warranted by the Law of Nature for ſafety, fo. 226. is the due birth-right of this Nation,No Iudge nor Officer is to take any fee of the people, nor reward, fo. 64. appeareth by the ſeverall Sta­tutes of this Land, from King Alfreds time, to the third year of this laſt King Charles, and was alſo acknowledged by all the Judges of this corrupt age, in the caſe of Sir William Herbors, reported by Sir Edward Cook, Lord Chiefe Juſtice, where it was reſolved,None to be impriſoned, but onely for mortall offences, fo. 73. that by the Com­mon Law,Any Judge once doing wrong, is never more to be obeyed, fo. 230. (which is to be underſtood the Great Charter of England) neither the body, nor Lands of the Defendant are liable to execution upon judgement for debt or damages (à fortiori) there­fore not to arreſts and impriſon­ment upon any Meſne Proceſſe whatſo­ever,Goales and Priſons ordain­ed for mortall offenders on­ly, fo. 72. Goalers puniſhable for plun­dering priſoners, exacting maimes from them, as put­ting them in irons, fo. 231. for that every man is an innocent perſon in the eye of the Law, untill con­demned by it.

How unreaſonable and unjuſt a thing is it then,Goalers to be ſeverely pu­niſhed for detaining any Fe­lon in priſon after his ac­quittalls; and if the Felon die in Goal, being acquit­ted, then the Goaler is to be hang'd, and is to loſe his place for exacting maimes from the priſoners, or for putting any of them in i­rons, fo. 231. that any free man of England ſhould ſuffer impriſonment upon a Capi­as, (which is the utmoſt puniſhment the Law can inflict upon any Malefactor) be­fore he be condemned by the Law.

It is therefore moſt clear,A Pleader (or Lawyer) once attainted of falſe pleading, or maintaining a­ny unjuſt Action or Cauſe, is to ſuffer bodily puniſh­ment, fol. 230. that all the Statutes and Judgements which have ſubjected the bodies of men and women to arreſts and impriſonment, are diame­trically oppoſite to the Law of God, to reaſon, to charity, and to the Great Char­ter, being the Fountain of all the Funda­mentall Lawes of England, therefore void and null; for that the body kept in an i­ron Cage (as a bird) cannot yeeld ſatis­faction for any debt, any other ways, nor by any other means, then by liberty and induſtry in ſome calling.

For that Charter is to be interpreted by it ſelfe,Judges to ſuffer death for pronouncing falſe Judge­ment, fo. 239. and not to be infringed by the innovating Lawes and opinions of Judges, that lived in the cruell tyranni­call inſlaving times,If Iuſtice thus take place again, wo then to all our Goalers, Priſons, and Counter-keepers of this age, by whom thouſands have been thus deſtroyed. whoſe wreſted con­ſtructions (of this very point in queſtion) hath ever tended more to the filling of their own purſes,No Goalers to keep a priſon to the diſhonor of the State, fo. 214. and the purſes of their adherents, with the unjuſt gaine of de­ſtructive contention, and by toſſing and tumbling of men and women from one priſon to another, and upon Habias Corpus, and Commitments, then to the due adminiſtration of Juſtice, according to the juſt rules of the Common Law of England.

Wherefore upon very juſt reaſons found­ed on the birth-right of this Nation,A Iudge that ſhall delay to relieve a priſoner, and he that impriſoneth any man till he die, and doth not re­lieve him, are both man­ſlayers, fo. 30. He hang'd Iudge Hall, be­cauſe he ſaved Truſtrom (the Sheriff) from death, who bad taken to the Kings uſe from ſome men their goods againſt their wills, for that ſuch taking and robbery hath no difference, fo. 241. & judgments paſſed by any againſt any one point of the Great Charter, (in point of this Nations Liber­ty) ought to ſtand and become as Null: and all the offenders are puniſhable in their eſtates and lives for murthering of ſo many thouſands, and robbing this whole Nation of their juſt Liberties; for if any one abſurd errour be admitted a­gainſt our liberty, a thouſand will fol­low, as at this day wofull experience ſhew­eth; and the periſhing lives of thouſands of families can teſtifie.

I do therefore in the behalfe of this (ſtill inſlaved) Nation,Alfred King of England hang'd 44. Iudges in one year, for oppreſſing the peo­ple by falſe Iudgement, fo. 240. become a moſt humble and earneſt Suitor unto your Excellency, and to this great Councell,He hang'd Judge Athel­ſtone, becauſe the judged Herbert to death for an of­fence not mortal, fo. 240. by whom the Lord hath done very great things for this Nation, to the admirati­on, yea to the aſtoniſhment of all Eu­rope, and by his powerfull actings in and by you, he hath made you to become Englands glory, and Europes wonder, by putting down the high and mighty, and exalting the humble and meek: Behold this is the Lords doing,He hang'd Iudge Rolfe for hanging a Felon for eſcaping out of pri­ſon before conviction, fo. 240. and it is marvellous in our eyes, and in the eyes of all Nations.

That by ſome ſpeedy courſe all the poor op­preſſed in the Land may be relieved and right­ed,He hang'd Iudge Di­ling, becauſe he cauſed Eldon to be hang'd, who killed a man by chance, fo. 242. the inſlaved out of all priſons forth with ſet free from the iron bands of their illegall and moſt cruell captivity, under which they are ſtill oppreſſed, yea preſſed to death.

That the abhominable tyrannicall Writ Ca­pias may be forthwith aboliſhed,Iudge Thlwell was impriſoned for impri­ſoning a man for an of­fence not mortall. and the moſt antient juſtifiable common courſe for levying of debts on mens eſtates may be reſtored, it be­ing indifferent to all that live under one com­mon Government, to take ſuch apt remedies one againſt the other, (for all juſt debts) as the wiſdome of our Anceſtors thought fit and u­ſed,Iudge Belling was hanged for judging Le­ſton to death by fraud. that ſo Foxes, Wolves, Bears, and Tygers,Iudge Oſwine was hang'd for judging Fulk to death out of Court, fo. 242. (I mean wicked Lawyers, Bayliffs, Serjeants and Goalers) may thereby be prevented from ra­vening any longer on the bodies of men and women, whereby their eſtates for many yeares paſt, have been and ſtill are a prey unto ſuch in­ſatiable. Monſters of Cruelty, and the oppreſſed, their wives and children, are thereby expoſed to famine and miſery.

The faithfull and ſpeedy accompliſhment of this will inable many thouſands (yea all) by their liberty,Iudge Seafold was banged for judging Ordine to death, for not anſwering.Iudge Muckline was hang'd, becauſe he hang'd Hellgrave by a Warrant of Indictment not ſpeciall, fo. 242. to uſe wayes and meanes of indu­ſtry to ſerve their country, labour in their ſeve­rall callings, make proviſions for payment of all juſt debts, and live peaceably and charitably one with another in this Commonwealth,Iudge Arnold was hanged for ſaving a Bayliff from death, who had robbed the people by diſtreſſes, and for ſelling diſtreſſes, and for extorting fines, fo. 241. to the glory of God, and to the honor of the Eng­liſh Nation, which hitherto for theſe her cruell practiſes, bears the burden of a great reproach, and is therein condemned by all other Nations, both Chriſtian and Pagan; let the cauſe be there­fore taken away, and then the effects will ceaſe.

The accompliſhment of theſe particulars in the ſpeedy diſſolution of all priſons for debt in the Land, and the due adminiſtration of Juſtice to the people in every County, Hundred, and〈1 page duplicate〉〈1 page duplicate〉Town Corporate by the Neighbourhood (ſo as no man may travell from his habitation above four or five miles for Juſtice, and not a hundred or two hundred miles,Iudge Therborne was hanged, becauſe he had judged one Oſgat to death, for a fact where­of be had been acquit­ted before againſt the ſame Plaintiff, which acquittance Oſgat ten­dered to approve by oath, but becauſe be did not aver it by Re­cord, Iudge Therborn would not allow of the Acquittall which was tendered to him, fol. 242. as now) will advance the Kingdome of Jeſus Chriſt,Iudge R•…wood was impriſoned for impri­ſoning a man for a debt due to the ſaid King Alfred himſelf, fo. 244. peace and hap­pineſſe to this Nation, and work the totall downfall of Satans Thrones of Injuſtice, ty­ranny, and oppreſſion, and of the quarterly faires kept at Weſtminſter, (by the illegall ingro­cers of pretended Juſtice) where men are daily bought and ſold in their eſtates, rights, and li­berties, and where a bit of parchment and wax (but of the reall value of one farthing) is by them ſold to the people at ſeverall rates,Iudge Perine was hanged for ſuffering a man to die in priſon, whom he had impriſon­ed for an offence not mortal. viz. from 2. s. 9.d. 4. s. 1.d. to 2.l. 3.l. 4.l. 5.l. yea 10.l. hath been given (in a long vacation) for one Habias Corpus by many people.

Behold therefore and ſee, are not ſuch men workers of iniquity, doing wickedly, by plead­ing falſly (in the preſence of the Lord) againſt the poor, and the oppreſſed, making thereby empty the ſouls of the hungry, and cauſing the drink of the thirſty to faile,Iudge Athulfe was hanged for cauſing Coppine to be hanged, before he was 21. years of age, fo. 240. their weapons whereby they murther the innocent, are Pens, Ink, Paper, Wax, and Parchment; yea they un­do the poor with lying words, overthrowing the cauſe of the righteous in judgement, and ſpinning out the thred of one ſuit in Law, to twenty, thirty, yea forty yeares continuance, thus making the remedy worſe then the diſeaſe of oppreſſion; and when the pulſes of one of their Clients beats ſlow, and the other Client is quite ſpent, ſo as he can neither kick nor winch (as ſome of themſelves have ſaid) then they con­ſult to tye theſe two together, by a Commiſſi­on,Iudge Marks was hanged for judging During to death by 12. men, who were not ſworn, fo. 240. into the Country, there (amongſt their friends) to provide more money againſt the next Term, and yet theſe perſons in the pre­ſence of their Clients ſeem to be as Adverſaries one to the other, and at the Bar plead and main­tain that for truth, which their own conſcience tells them, Tongue thou lyeſt.

Break their preſent power,He hanged Iudge Wul­ſter, becauſe he judged Haubert to death, though it was at the ſuit of the King. O God, caſt them down to the duſt (as the Prelates were) and let their houſes of wickedneſſe (called Inns of Court) become habitations for the poor, that ſo Judgment may dwell in our Cities, and Juſtice in the fruitfull field,He cut off the band of Iudge Hulfe, becauſe be did not cauſe the hand of Armock to be cut off, who had felo­niouſly wounded one Ricbald. fo. 245. cauſing the poore to re­joyce, and the oppreſſed to ſing for joy of heart, then the work of Juſtice ſhall be peace to all, and aſſurance of quietneſſe, yea deliverance from their great Oppreſſors, Lawyers, Impropriators, Lords of Mannors, cruell revengefull perſons, churliſh Naballs, and all other ſons of Beliall.

So ſhall God be glorified,He cauſed Judge E­dulfe to be wounded, becauſe he judged not Arnold to be wounded, who had feloniouſly wounded one Aldens, fo. 245. your honoura­ble Name, and names (as Iſraels Deliverers) recorded, and this whole Nation comforted, and ever ingaged to bleſſe God for you their great deliverers; ſtick faſt therefore unto the Lord your God in this work, as you have done unto this day, for behold, the Lord hath caſt out before you the great and mighty,He hanged all the Judges in every Coun­ty, who had falſly ſa­ved a man guilty of death, or falſly hanged any man against Law, or reaſonable excepti­ons, fo. 243. and none of them have hitherto been able to ſtand before your face.

Take good heed therefore, and love the Lord your God, and cleave not unto the Generation of cruell men, Joſhua 23.8. 9. 10. 11. Then ſhall ye be my people, and I will be your God, ſaith the Lord God, Jer. 30.22.

Theſe particulars aforeſaid (moſt noble and victorious Sir) together with my more then ten yeares cruell ſufferings undergone,The Lord God of Iudgment, Iuſtice and Mercy, grant that ſuch Juſtice may take place again in this Land, to the terror of all cruell oppreſſors, and to the reliefe of the poore op­preſſed, that ſo theſe great and powerfull ravenous Wolfes may not devoure the poore and innocent Lambs a­ny more, by making their perſons and e­ſtates a prey unto their teeths (as bitherto they have done, and where­in they glory;) for the truth hereof, I do ap­peal to all the people of England, who have for theſe many years longed for deliverance from theſe their bitter pangs and throws, and for the enjoyment of their freedom, peace and hap­pineſſe; witneſſe the many hundreds of Pe­titions preſented from ſeverall Connties, and alſo from ſundry per­ſons, to the late Par­liament, from time to time theſe 12. or 13. years ſpace, to the ſame effect, who were not ſo wiſe, as to conſider that the poore laborious feet ſupport and carry the head, and not the head the feet, and therefore in the firſt place the poore feet of the body and head, are to be cheriſhed and ſtrengthened for the better ſupport of them, both in their Walkings and National progreſs. For if the Lord had not been on my ſide, and ſtirred up your No­ble ſpirits for my deli­verance from thraldom, mine enemies had ſwal­lowed me up quick, for they were too mighty for me, and kept me locked up in one cham­ber above five years, viz. from February 1645. until April 1650. in the Fleet Priſon, London, without any juſt cauſe by them ſhew­ed to this day for ſo doing. from the hands of cruelties powerfull inſtruments, (for my ſeverall ſervices moſt faithfully per­formed for the State, yea ſundry times to the hazzard of life) I do without any deſire of re­venge on my cruell Adverſaries, moſt humbly refer to your grave wiſdome, and pious conſide­ration, beſeeching the Lord to be ſtill the pro­tector of you, by whom he hath done wonder­full things for this Nation, under his ſacred wing of ſafety, and your ſole Director in all your undertakings, to the comfort of all thoſe that wiſh well unto Sion, and to the amaze­ment and confuſion of his and your enemies. This is, and hath been the conſtant deſires of him, who in all faithfulneſſe ſubſcribes himſelf,

Right Honorable,
Your Excellencies, and his Countryes ſervant in all readineſſe (during this ſhort time of his fraile being in this world of miſery) to ſerve you in the Lord Jeſus. J. F.

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TextTo the Right Honorable (his Excellency) Oliver Cromwell, Lord Generall of all the forces raised in England, Ireland, and Scotland, for the regainment of Englands long lost liberties, and to the Honorable Tho. Harrison, Major Generall, and to the whole councell of state sitting at White-Hall, J. F. wisheth health, and increase of true honor in the Lord Jesus here, and eternall glory in the glorious world to come.
AuthorJ. F..
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A85118)

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Bibliographic informationTo the Right Honorable (his Excellency) Oliver Cromwell, Lord Generall of all the forces raised in England, Ireland, and Scotland, for the regainment of Englands long lost liberties, and to the Honorable Tho. Harrison, Major Generall, and to the whole councell of state sitting at White-Hall, J. F. wisheth health, and increase of true honor in the Lord Jesus here, and eternall glory in the glorious world to come. J. F.. [10] p. s.n.,[London :1653]. (Signed at end: This 25. of the 4. moneth 1653. J.F.) (Caption title.) (Place of publication suggested by Wing.) (A memorial against imprisonment for debt, etc.) (Annotation on Thomason copy: "Aug. 2. 1653".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Cromwell, Oliver, 1599-1658.
  • Debt, Imprisonment for -- England -- Early works to 1800.

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ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2014-11 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A85118
  • STC Wing F44
  • STC Thomason E216_4
  • STC ESTC R18957
  • EEBO-CITATION 99860514
  • PROQUEST 99860514
  • VID 157818

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