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A Conference with the Souldiers.OR, A Parley with the Party of Horſe, which with drawn drawn ſword, entred the Seſſions at Mr. John Lilburn's Trial.


WHat are you? Are you Engliſh-men, and true Engliſh ſouldiers raiſed for maintenance and defence of the ancient Rights and Liberties of Eng­land, [the chiefeſt whereof are peaceable, free, and unforcible legal Trials, for mens lives and eſtates] if you are ſuch [as you ought to be] how is it that as a party of armed ſouldiers you enter the place and legal Courts of Juſtice, with horſe and ſwords drawn, and in the very face thereof, cuting, beating, haling by the hair of the head and tram­pling upon the people peaceably there, as is their right, to ſee that all men have juſtice come them.

Can you imagine that in ſo doing you do not over-aw, af­fright, and terrifie the Jury men preſent? and, in effect, tel them Mr. Lilburn's blond muſt now be had, and that right or wrong they muſt find him guilty: But, dear friends, what is this ye do? Was ever ſuch a thing done in the late Tyrants time? Nay, when in any time was the like violation of the liberties of Eng­land?

And what is it moves you thus to do, in his caſe, more then in all others? Is it becauſe you are commanded ſo to do? Think you that will ſuffice to juſtifie your actions at the Day of judg­ment before the moſt juſt and Al-ſeeing God? who hath made you men, furniſhed with judgments and conſciences, a­ble to diſtinguiſh between good and evil; and not beasts to rend and tear, fetch and carry, terrifie and affright, kill and deſtroy, without demanding a cauſe, or making ſome ſcruple for conſci­ence ſake Make you no difference between enemies in Armes, or in open Hoſtility, and peaceable people, when you are com­manded? The Lord work upon your hearts.


You would be offended any ſhould ſay you are not Chriſtians: Chriſt­ians judge nothing before the time: you, by this your violent appear­ance, doom him to death, before any thing is legally proved againſt him: whereas Chriſtians, in doubtful caſes, ought to judge the beſt; and all things, before proof, are to be eſteemed at leaſt doubtful.

But you judge, poſſibly, as you are told by ſome who thirſt after his blood, that his crimes are notorious and evident: Good chriſtian ſoul­diers be not deluded; nor delude your ſelves; for you cannot but know, that the worſt the Parliament laid to his charge, was no more, but that he had ſcandlized Sr Arthur Haſlerig, and the Committee of Haberdaſh­ers Hall; and publiſhed a Petition (offered to the Houſe) before they had read it: And for this, mark how they ſenten'd him (for its your own caſe) they fine him more than twice his eſtate; to wit, 7000 pounds, baniſh him for ever, and enact him to die as a Fellon, without benefit of Clergy, if he returned: This was their Judgment; and no marvel: for his Adverſaries were his Judges; and this without once hearing what he could ſay in his own defence; ſo haſty were they to be rid of him and cauſe they had: for had he ſtaid, he was like enough to prove thoſe things called Scandals, real Truths, to the hazard of Sr Arthur's new-gotten huge Eſtate, and to the laying open the foulneſs of ſome of the Committee; and which yet fearing he may live to effect, is now one main cauſe his life is ſo violently perſued.

You have heard much of the unrighteous Judgments of the Councel Table, High Commiſſion, and Star-Chamber; but never in the worſt of their Times was the like unto this: And are all thoſe Courts juſtly thrown down? And have you and your Officers routed the Parliament, that made this moſt cruel Judgment, and Act; and can you now thus violently appear to juſtifie his Trial thereupon, in ſuch ſort, as if you would force them to finde him guilty: And in ſo doing, do ye not draw his innocent blood upon you; yea, though the Jury ſhould acquit him, as, if they have any conſcience or fear of God in them, they muſt do, and no doubt will; as fearing him that can kill the ſoul, more then you (that would your conſcience permit you) can onely kill the body.

But it is to be doubted, there are other matters that raiſe your hatred againſt Mr. Lilburn; for a certain libellous book hath been officiouſly diſpierſed and read to and amongſt you and the reſt of the Army, inti­mating, That Mr. Lilburn hath been tampering to bring in Charls Stuart; and this (the more effectually to deceive you) under the Ouches or di­vers3 Witneſſes. But, dear friends, in this alſo you are not to be haſty in belief; for you know the like was publiſhed before his Tryal at Guild-Hall, by the Councel of State, to inrage the Souldiery and honeſt par­ty againſt him, and not one word proved true: So when you ſhall underſtand what wretched perjured Creatures thoſe Witneſſes are (men­tioned in that book) you will grieve at the horrid wickedneſſe of ſuch devilliſh ſtratagems: Beſides, a perſon of unqueſtionable credit with the chief of your Army, hearing of the miſchievous ſlander of Mr. Lilburn, hath offered, and is ready at all times, to depoſe upon oath, that during Mr. Lilburn's reſiding beyond ſeas, and ſince the War with Holland, he had the beſt and trueſt Intelligence of all proceedings there, from him, and moſt advantagious for the State of England; Which Mr. Lilburn certainly had never done, if he had had any deſign for Charles Stuart: But if you believe thoſe falſe aſperſions, onely ſo long as that through your paſſion and violence you ſhall occaſion his deſtruction, his deadly enemies by you obtain their bloody deſires, and you contract matter of ſad repentance for ever.

The holy Scriptures Rule to Souldiers, is, that they accuſe no man falſly; but to act violently, or earneſtly, upon a Report, is no leſſe in Gods ſight.

They are alſo to offer violence to no man; much leſſe to a priſoner: towards whom, the very Heathen Souldiers, in Paul's Caſe, have left you, and all Chriſtian Souldiers, a great example of care and tenderneſſe.

On therefore! be not worſe then Romans unto him; Be not like Danes or Normans to the People, and Courts of Juſtice: Be not like men who have made ſhip wrack of all good Conſcience: But be unto all in all your demeanour as becommeth Chriſtians; full of Mercy; full of Compaſſion: And ceaſe not to perſwade with your Commanders, to finde you Employment more agreeable to your Underſtandings and Conſciences; it being in all Caſes more ſafe to obey GOD rather then MAN.

The Publiſher to the Reader.

COuntryman, I pray thee take notice of two things in this place; firſt that thoſe lying and falſe informations lately publiſhed againſt Mr. Lilburn are printed for or by the councel of States-Printers, or Book­ſellers, viz. H. Hills, G. Calvert, and T. Brewſter, and ſo in reaſon may be judged to be Printed by the authority of the Councel of State them­ſelves4 or by the Authority of their Supream Lord, Maſter, and Creator the General.

2dly. I pray thee obſerve the perſons from whom thoſe informations or depoſitions came; firſt from one Iſaac Burkinhead alias Rogers, as he na­med himſelf beyond the ſeas, a moſt prophane, deboiſt, drunken Rogue, who in his converſation beyond the ſeas to delude the Cavaliers, and to make them believe he was really as they were, in his cups made no ſcru­ple, as ſom of his own comrades have credibly reported, to take a glaſs of beer or wine, and in their preſence to drink it, & wiſh that might be his poiſon if he were directly or indirectly an Agent, Intelligencer, or Well-wiſher to the Parliament of England, the Councel of State, the Gene­ral, or Mr Scot or any appertaining to them, or that wiſhed them well.

The ſecond perſon named as informer is Captain John Titus, a man of ſo vicious a life in his Cavalier way, for whoring, drinking, ſwearing, and for-ſwearing, as the world hath ſcarce his fellow, whoſe ſeveral per­juries upon Judicial Records in England, are ſaid by ſome of his own kindred not to be a few.

The third witneſſe, is one Capt. John Bartley, an Iriſhman or Rebel, and a grand Traitor and Pyrot for the late E of Derby, and who, as be­yond ſea he averred, could not be permitted in England to live, and who had no way to preſerve himſelf, his wife, and children from ſtarving be­yond ſea, but to combine with Mr Lilburns great adverſaries and their Agents, to do as wickedly to Mr Lilburn as he hath done.

The fourth witneſſe is one Rich. Foot, a young delboiſt, wicked, and prophane rogue, that robbed and ſtole from his brother, who lives near Blackwell-Hall, betwixt 2 and 3 hundred pound in gold, and run a­way beyond ſea with it, of a great part of which he being checked of by one Harbin, or the like name, Mr Lilburn out of his reſpect to one Col. Gamet, and Mr Ralph Parker, did the beſt he could to aſſiſt them in getting ſome part of it again, and did, but alwaies ſcorned to diſcourſe with ſuch a thief and rogue as the ſaid Foot upon State-affairs.

The fifth witneſſe againſt Mr Lilburn is one Staple-Hill, which the pub­liſher knows not; but in Mr Lilburns name and behalf earneſtly deſires as much liberty to publiſh a full and abſolute anſwer to thoſe moſt falſe, lying, baſe, roguiſh Cavalier informations, as there was given to the ſellers thereof, and then ſhall leave himſelf to the honeſt judgement of the Reader, to conſider whether are baſer follows, Mr Lilburn, or his mighty and great adverſaries, that imploy ſuch notorious known rogues to tell lies and falſe-hoods on purpoſe to deſtroy the innocent.


About this transcription

TextA Conference with the souldiers. Or, a parley with the party of horse, which with drawn drawn [sic] sword, entered the sessions at Mr. John Lilburn's trial.
Extent Approx. 11 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 3 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A88163)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 166626)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 109:E705[25])

About the source text

Bibliographic informationA Conference with the souldiers. Or, a parley with the party of horse, which with drawn drawn [sic] sword, entered the sessions at Mr. John Lilburn's trial. 4 p. s.n.,[London :1653]. (Caption title.) (Imprint from Wing.) (Annotation on Thomason copy: "July. 18. 1653.".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Lilburne, John, 1614?-1657 -- Early works to 1800.

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ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2011-04 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A88163
  • STC Wing L2089A
  • STC Thomason E705_25
  • STC ESTC R207116
  • EEBO-CITATION 99866187
  • PROQUEST 99866187
  • VID 166626

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