PRIMS Full-text transcription (HTML)

THE FREE-MANS FREEDOME ƲINDICATED. OR A true Relation of the cauſe and manner of Lievt. Col. Iohn Lilburns pre­ſent impriſonment in Newgate, being thereunto arbitrarily and Ille­gally committed, by the Houſe of Peeres, Iune 11. 1646. for his delive­ring in, at their open Barre, under his Hand and Seal, his PROTES­TATION, againſt their incroaching upon the Common Liberties of all the Commons of England, in endeavouring to try him, a Com­moner of England, in a criminall cauſe, contrary to the expreſſe ten­nour and forme of the 29. Chap. of the great Charter of England, and for making his legall and iuſt appeal, to his competent, propper and legal Tryers and Judges, the Commons of England, in PARLIAMENT aſſembled.

TRue bred Engliſhmen, that have a life to lay down, for the defence of your juſt Liberties and Freedomes, (for to ſuch alone J direct my ſpeech) a­gainſt all incroachers, deſtroyers, and uſurpers thereof, (be they what they will be) I deſire to let you underſtand, that I your Countryman amongſt many others, have imbarqued all that I have in this world, in this one veſſell, cal'd the good Ship of good Hope, ſayling in the troubleſome Seas of England, bound for the long deſired Port, called the ſafe injoyment of Englands liber­ties and freedomes, the direct roade tending thereunto, is the path of Iuſtice, without the ſayling in which roade, it is forever impoſſible to arive there; And therefore fearing my Venture ſhould lately miſcarry, I tooke upon me the bouldneſſe to write an Epiſtle to Judge Reeve, one of Englands Pilots, which hath occaſioned a deſperate Storm to ariſe againſt me in particular, though there be nothing but wholſome and ſound ad­vice therein contained.

And perceiving by my late being with the Judge, that it was not well taken, nor likely to provide for my ſafety, againſt Col. Edward King, one of Englands rotten members, and branches, fit for nothing but to be cut off, out of Englands pleaſant and fruitfull Vineyard I thereupon writ further inſtructions to my Atturney, to draw up my Plea, which thus followeth.

To his faithfull and much reſpected friend and Attorney, Mr. George Ingram, at his Chamber in Cliffords Inne, theſe.


IN the cauſe wherein Colonell Edward King is plantive againſt me, in an action for pretended words ſpoken by me again him: I entertained you to be my Attur­ny, whereupon you appeared for me, and received Kings declaration the laſt Tearme to which I am now to plead, I deſire you therefore to plead to the ſame, that the ſaid Edward King long before the pretēded words alleadged by the declaration, to be ſpo­ken viz. in Auguſt 1644. was by Maſter Muffenden and Maſter Wolley and divers others of the Committee of Lincolne, accuſed and charged before the Honourable Houſe of Commons of high Treaſon, for his betraying the towne of Crowland un­to the Enemy, as by the fourth Article of the ſaid charge (whereunto reference be­ing had) will appeare. And by the twelf Article of the ſaid charge, the ſaid Edward King is accuſed for the negligent loſſe and delivery up of Grantham to the Enemy, which is adjudged to be high Treaſon, Rot. Parl. 7. Richard 2. Num. 38. 39. 40.

And for further plea, that the ſaid charge was before this action brought, and yet is ſtill depending, and only examinable and triable in Parliament, neither is the ſaid Colonell King yet acquited or tried for the ſame, beſides plead alſo that I am a wit­neſſe ſo the proofe of the ſaid Charge, and ſo not compellable to make further anſwer, or othe plea then this, untill the ſaid King have had his triall upon the ſaid Charge of high Treaſon in a Parliamentary way. This I hope the Court will accept and approve of, for a ſatisfactory and plenary anſwer and plea to his declaration, which you may draw up in forme as you ſhall find cauſe, whereunto I doe Authorize you, and for this pleading, this ſhall be your warrant and diſcharge, this I thought good to doe for the preventing of any colourable advantage, Colonell King might ſeeme to have, or any waies take through my neglect, or for want of a warrant to you to plead to his declaration, a judgment ſhould paſſe for him againſt me by default.

I have written to Maſter Juſtice Reeve, ſetting forth the true ſtate of the cauſe, a printed coppy I left at his houſe for him, which I perceive he hath peruſed, another I ſend you here incloſed, whereby you may be the better informed, and inabled to draw up my plea, and what you ſhall doe herein according to this warrant, I ſhall allow, in teſtimony whereof to this my warrant I have ſubſcribed my hand, and ſet to my ſeale this ninth day of June 1646. and reſt,

Your affectionate and faithfull friend JOHN LILBVRNE.

Sir, if you think fit to ſhew this to Judge Reeve or any other I ſhall approve of it.

Being moved out of mature conſideration, to give him theſe inſtructions, becauſe, (as J told him) if J ſhould plead in a formall way to the Plea, guilty, or not guilty, I ſhould thereby be the beginner of a dangerous preſident of deſtructive conſequence to the wholl Kingdome, becauſe that if a man intruſted, did turn traytor, and a company of honeſt men did endeavour, according to their duty, and to avoid the grievous ſinne of perjury, did endeavour to bring him to condigne puniſhment for his treaſon, & for that end referred Artickles of high treaſon in Parliament againſt him, with their names to them, and they, by reaſon of many publicke buſineſſes, by reaſon of the warres in, & diſtractions of the Kingdome, cannot conveniently, for halfe a yeare a yeare or more, try and adjudge the buſines, the traytor or accuſed perſon, being a crafty fellow, full of3 ill gotten money, and corrupt Alies, and becauſe that his tryall is delayed, he picks quarrels againſt his juſt proſecuters, and areſts them in actions of 2. or 3000l. at the Common Law, for calling him (as really he is) traytor, and toſſeth and tumbleth them, yea and it may be, by an unjuſt Puntillo in Law, brings them unto unavoidable ruine, by Common Law, which principally is inherent in the oracles ofrrng Iudges breaſts, who it may be, two houres before he paſſeth ſentence, is not reſolved what to decree for Law, and ſo by this meanes every honeſt man that complaines of a knave or traytor in the Parliament, or is a party intereſted, in making good the charge againſt him, may by ſuch wayes and meanes (by reaſon of delay in iudgement, which is not his fault) be brought by his cunning adverſary into the Common Law Bryers, as I am by King, who ought by Law to be in Priſon faſt by the heeles) and ſo all honeſt men for­ever diſcouraged in ſuch a cauſe, to complain of ſuch tranſgreſſours, let them act trea­ſon againſt the State univerſall and repreſentative, and do what they will; and this is juſt my caſe with Col. Ed. King, as by my printed letter to Iudge Reeve, I have truly & clearly declared.

But by my foreſaid inſtructions ſent to my attorney, I gave him authority (if he pleaſ­ed) to ſhew them to the iudge, which for ought I know to the contrary he did, which it may be may occaſion a complaint from him, or ſome others againſt me to the Lords, for immediately upon it, I am ſummoned before them, their warrant thus followeth.

Die Mercurij 10. June, 1646.

JT is this day ordered by the Lords in Parliament aſſembled, that Liev. Col. Lilburn, ſhall forthwith upon ſight hereof, appeare before the Lords in Parliament, to anſwer ſuch things as he ſtands charged with before their Lordſhips, concerning a Pamphlet, intittuled, theuſt mans juſtification, or a Letter by way of Plea in Barr. And hereof he ſhall not faile, as he will anſwer the contrary at his perill.

Ioh. Brown. Cler. Parl.

To the gentleman Uſher attending this Houſe, or his Deputy.

The Officer comming Iune 11th. laſt paſt to my Houſe, about 6. of the Clock in the morning, cal'd me out of my Bed, and after I had read his warrant, I told him that if there were not a tye of reſpect laid upon me to the Lords, for their faire and courte­ous dealing with me about my buſines, that was lately depending before them, I would not in the preſent caſe, obey their warrant, nor twenty more of the like nature, but would defend myſelfe in my own houſe (which is my Caſtle) againſt all that in ſuch caſes they ſhould ſend unto me, to the death, becauſe they have by the Law, no au­thority at all to mak me dance attendance upon them, in the preſent caſe, or to try me a Commoner, in any Criminall cauſe whatſoever, ceither for Life, Limb, liberty or eſtate, which I told him was the caſe now in hād, for his own warrāt did ſūmon me to appeare to anſwer a charge then before their Lordſhips, and this I wiſhed him to tell them muſt be my plea at their Barre at which, having promiſed him to appeare, he departed, ſo fitting my ſelfe in the beſt manner the preſent In-comes of God inabled me for the brunt.

J tooke my Journey towards Weſtminſter, and in the ſtreets meditating, deſired God according to his wonted manner to direct me, I preſently had contrived in my own brain, without any humane help in the world, a Proteſtation and appeal, my heart4 being ſet up ſo high to go on with it, although it ſhould be preſent death unto me, ſo I took ſanctuary at a friends lodging to compile it in a method, which being done I tranſcribed it faire with my owne hand, and then ſet my hand and ſeale unto it, and being loth to run ſo high a conteſt with the Houſe of Peers if by any meanes poſſible I could avoid it.

I repaired to a Lord a member of that Houſe, and told him my whole heart in my intentions, ſhewed him my paper, and read part of it to him, and deſired him to till ſome more of the Lords of it, if he judged it convenient, that ſo they might a little better conſider of it before they brought me to their Barre, and forced me to doe that that would tend to their extaordrnary dishonour, or my ruine and diſtruction, and doe it I both muſt and would by Gods aſſiſtance (I told him) if they called me to their Barre, telling him I judged it as baſe an action in me (both in the ſight of God and man) to betray my knowne and fundamentall liberties, as with my owne hands to cut my owne throat, proteſting unto him, that if he and the reſt of the Lords indevoured to deſtroy Magna Charta and to tread, it under their feet, as they would doe if they medled with me in this caſe, I would draw my ſword againſt them every man as freely as I would doe againſt the King, and the deſperateſt Cavalier with him, with much more that then I told him he departed to the Houſe, and I imediatly by water followed him, and what he did in it I doe not fully know, but I was not called in till about one a clock:

And being commanded to their Barr, the Earl of Mancheſter (their Speaker) com­manded Maſter Smith to ſhew me my printed Epiſtle to Iudge Reeves, and asked me (to this effect) if I knew that booke, and whether I did not leave (or cauſe to be left) one of them at Iudge Reeves houſe for the Iudge himſelfe.

Unto which I replyed, my Lord, if it may ſtand with the pleaſure of this Houſe, I deſire to know whether or no you have any formall or legall charge againſt me in writing, if they had I deſired to ſee it? that ſo I might read it, and then I would give them an anſwer to their queſtion

Whereupon after a little pawze and looking one upon another, the Earle of Stam­ford ſtept up and with much zeale preſſed his Lordſhip to hould me to the queſtion, (ſo ſaith the Earle of Mancheſter) anſwer to the queſtion.

My Lord (ſaid I) under favour, I conceive the thing I deſire of your Lordſhip, is very juſt and rationall (& ſo it is if you conſider their owne ſummons which expreſly commands me to appeare before them to anſwere a charge) but if nothing will ſerve your turne but a poſſitive anſwere to the queſtion, then my Lord there is an an­ſwere in writing under my hand and ſeale, which I will juſtifie and maintaine to the death, I beſeech you it may be read;

And with this I gave my paper to Maſter Smith their Cleark then at their Barre: Whereupon the Earle of Lincolne ſtept up and ſaid to the Speaker, my Lord what have wee to doe with his paper? command him to anſwer to the queſtion.

Lieutenant Colonell Lilburne (ſaith the Earle of Mancheſter) the Lords command you to anſwer poſitively to the queſtion, unto which I replyed my Lord, in that pa­per in Maſter Smiths hand is my anſwer to the queſtion, and to all others what­ſoever that you ſhall ask me, and no other anſwer I have to give you, neither ſhall I, and if that will ſatisfy you well and good, if not, ſeeke it where you can have it, for I for my part ſhall give you no other, where upon I was commanded to with­draw.

5And one of the Lords commanded the Cleark to give me my paper, (for ſaith he, what ſhall wee doe with it) but I refuſed to take it, and tould them, I would not medle nor make with it, there it was, and it was enough to me, that I had delivered it at their open Barre, do what you will with it, for my Lords, I am as careleſſe as you are, whether you will read it or no, ſo the Cleark threw it after me, but I would not medle with it, but withdrew, the words of which thus followeth.

The PROTESTATION, PLEA, and DEFENCE OF Lievtenant Colonell IOHN LILBƲRNE. Given to the Lords at their Barre, thurſday Iune 11th. 1646. with his Appeall to his competent, propper, and legall tryers and Judges, the COMMONS of ENGLAND, aſſembled in PARLIAMENT.

My Lords,

THis morning I received a ſummons under your Clearks hand, to appeare upon ſight thereof before your Lordſhips in Parliament, to anſwer ſuch things as I am charged with before your Lordſhips, touching a Booke called by your Warrant, a Pamphlet intituled, the Iuſt mans Iuſtification, or a Letter by way of Plea in Barre. My Lords I tould your Meſſenger, Mr. Bakers ſonne, that your Lorſhips had dealt friendly, honourably, and fairely with me in my apprehenſion, in my late buſineſſe, being in a legall and Parliamentary way, tranſacted, firſt by the Houſe of Commons, and ſo brought before your Lordſhips, which did lye as a tye upon my ſpirit, by way of Obligation, and now I would repay it, in laying aſide (ſo far at preſent my priviledge, as I am a Commoner of England) as in obedience to your ſummons (ſalvo jure) to appeare at your Barre, although (as J told him) your Lordſhips, by Magna Charta and the Law of this Kingdome have nothing to doe with me, being a Com­moner in any judiciall way, to try me in a criminall cauſe either for life, limb, liberties or eſtate, which is now the preſent caſe betwixt your Lordſhips and me, as appeares by your own ſummons, and this I deſired your meſſenger to tell your honours muſt of neceſſity be my plea at your Barr.

But that it may appeare that I do nothing headily or raſhly either in contempt of your juſt rights and powers, which I deſire you may long enioy, alwaies provided, you endeavour not my ruin and deſtruction with them, neither out of any deſire in the leaſt to conteſt with you, which in me to doe, (I acknowledge) would argue abun­dance of ingratitude, it being my principle to do to others as I would be done to myſelf; and as much as in me lyes, to endeavour to live in peace with all men.

But to be robbed of my life, or give way to be made a ſlave to any whomſoever, ei­ther by a voluntary giving up, or in ſilent ſuffering to be taken from me, my native, na­turall, juſt legall and hereditary freedomes and liberties, I am reſolved rather to un­dergo all extremities, hazards, miſeries, and deaths, which poſſibly the wit of man can deviſe, or his power and tirany inflict.

6And therefore my Lords, you being Peeres as you are called, merely made by pre­rogative, and never intruſted or impowred by the Commons of England, the originall and fountaine of Power, Magna Charta the Engliſh mans legall birth right and in­heritance, ſo often bought and redemed with ſuch great ſeas of blood, and milions of money, hath juſtly, rationally, and well provided that your Lordſhips ſhall not ſit in judgment, or paſſe ſentence in Criminall cauſes, upon any Commoner of England either for life, limbe, liberty or eſtate, but that all Commoners in ſuch caſes ſhall be tryed only by their Peeres and equalls, that is to ſay their fellow Commoners, as is amply and effectually declared in the 29. ch. of that great Charter, which previledge & immunity cannot juſtly be taken away, from the free Commoners of England by any power whatſoever on Earth, without a better and larger given in the roome of it, for all betruſted powers muſt and ought to be for the good of the truſters, Book decl. Pag. 150.

And this Charter in al ages hath in an eſpeciall manner been maintained, preſerved and defended by our Progenitors, and in a ſpeciall manner confirmed by 5. of Edward 3. ch. 9 the words be theſe, that no man from henceforth ſhall be attached by any accuſation, nor fore-judged of life nor limb, nor his land Tenements goods or chattles, ſeiſed upon otherwiſe then by the forme of the great Charter, which is further confir­med by the ſaid King, in the 25. of his Raigne, ch. 4. and by the petition of Right-made in the third yeare of this preſent King; and the Act made for the aboliſhing the Star-chamber &c. made this preſent Parliament, therefore my Lords as a free Com­moner of England, I doe here at your open Barre proteſt againſt all your preſent pro­cedings againſt me in this pretended Criminall cauſe, as unjuſt and againſt the tenor and forme of the great Charter (which all of you have ſworn unviolably to obſerve and cauſed the Commons of England to doe the ſame And therefore my Lords I doe hereby declare and am reſolved as in duty bound to God, my ſelfe, Country, and po­ſterity, to maintaine my legall liberties, to the laſt drop of my blood, againſt all op­poſers whatſoever, having ſo often in the field &c. advenrured my life therefore, and doe therfore from you and your Barre (as incrochers and uſurping Judges) appeale to the Barre and tribunall of my competent, proper and legall triers and Judges, the Commons of England aſſembled in Parliament: in teſtimony whereof, to theſe pre­ſents I have ſet my hand and ſeal, this preſent eleventh day of June, 1646.


And being not long without, the Gentleman vſher came civelly to me, and told me I muſt put off my ſword and give it to ſome of my friends, for I muſt go a priſoner to Newgate, ſo deſiring to ſee my Commitment, and to have a coppy of it before I ſtird to go, I had it accordingly, which thus followeth.


Die Iovis 11. Iune 1646.

IT is this day Ordered by the Lords in Parliament aſſembled, that Lievtenant Colonell Iohn Lilburne ſhall ſtand com­mitted to the Priſon of Newgate, for exhibiting to this houſe a ſcandalous and contemptuous Paper, it being delivered by himſelfe at the Barre this day, & that the Keeper of the ſaid Pri­ſon ſhall keepe him in ſafely, untill the pleaſure of this Houſe be fur­ther ſignified, and this to be a ſufficient Warrant in that behalfe.

Ioh. Brown Cler. Parl.

To the Gentleman Ʋſher of this Houſe, or his Deputy, to be delivered to the Kee­per of Newgate.

My uſage to me ſemes very ſtrange, that for doing my duty, in a juſt way to bring Col. King to condigne puniſhment, I ſhould be ſo tſt and tumbled as I am, by his meanes, (that per Iure, ought to dye for his offence or at leaſt by Law ſhould be in du­rance, till he receive his juſt doom) clapt formerly by the heeles, (as in my epiſtle to Iudge Reeve is juſtly declared) and lately at Kings ſuite arreſted upon an action of two thouſand pounds, and brought into Court, that have nothing to doe with the buſi­neſſe, it being dependant in Parliament, and there tyed up to ſuch rules, formallities, and Puntillo's, as all the reaſon I have, cannot underſtand, and then for writing my Plea, threatned, and told by the Judge himſelfe I had forever undone my ſelfe, by endeavouring to root up by the roots, the fundamentall law of England, by which I enjoy my life, and all that I can call mine, though as I told his Lordſhip, al­though he were a Judge, yet under his Lordſhips favour, I conceived he was in an error, I having not in the leaſt, medled with any fundamentall, known or viſible Law of England.

For the Law that I medled withall, was meerly, and onely an inviſible, uncertain, and unknown Law, that reſided in the Oracle of his Lordſhips breaſt, and his fellow Iudges, which (as I told him) I thought no man in England knew beſides themſelves, no nor I thought they themſelves neither, no not two houres before they decreed, and adjudged it for Law.

And yet for all this I muſt be forced to dance attendance (contrary to Law) to an­ſwer a charge without forme or faſhion in Law, at the Barre of the Houſe of Peeres, who knew very well, or at leaſt wiſe might know, that I knew as well as them­ſelves8 their power, juriſdiction, and the Prerogative Fountain, from whence they ſprung, as well as any of themſelves, having ſometimes diſcourſed of that ſubject freely with ſome of them.

And having lately (though unwillingly) conteſted with thoſe, to whome by nature and intereſt, I am a thouſand times more related unto then to them, meerely out of this principle, that I will not be a ſlave unto, nor part with my juſt liberty to any.

But I clearly perceive the hand of Joab to be in this, namely, my old back friend the Earle of Mancheſter the fountaine (as I conceive) of all my preſent troubles, who would have hanged mee for taking a Caſtle from the Cavaliers in Yorkſhire; but is ſo cloſely glu'd in intreſt to that party, that he protected from juſtice Colonell King, one of his own Officers, for his good ſervice in treacherouſly delivering or betraying Crow­land to the Cavaliers, and never called, nor that I could heare, deſired to call to ac­count his Officer, or Officers, that baſely, cowardly, and treacherouſly, betrayed and delivered Lincoln laſt up to the enemy, without ſtriking one ſtroke, or ſtaying till ſo much as a Troope of Horſe, or a Trumpeter came to demand it, his Lordſhips Head hath ſtood it ſeemes too long upon his ſhoulders, that makes him he cannot be quiet, till Lievt. Gen. Crumwels Charge againſt him, fully proved in the Houſe of Commons, be revived, which is of as high a nature I believe, as ever any charge given in there, the epittomy of which I have by me, & his Lordſhip may live ſhortly to ſee it in print by my meanes, and for my Lord of Stamford, at preſent I deſire him to remember but one Article, made at the de-livery of Exeter, which it may be, may in time coole his furious endeavour to enſlave the free People of England, the earthly Lord and Creator of his Creator, who I am confident do, and will ſcorn to be made ſlaves & vaſſsals, by the meer Creatures of their Creature the King. So being ſtraightened in time at preſent, I bid you farewell, and reſt.

Your faithfull Countryman, and a free Commoner of England. JOHN LILBVRNE.

To the right Honourable the choſen and Repreſentative body of England Aſſembled in Parliament.The humble Petition of L. C. IOHN LILBURNE A Free man of England.


THat your petitioner hath and doth look upon this Honourable Houſe, as the choſen and betruſted Commiſſioners of all the Commons of England, in whom alone (by right) reſides the formall and legall ſupreame power of England, and unto whom all the Commons of England have given ſo much of their Power, as to inable you alone, to doe all things whatſoever for their weale, ſafety peace and proſperity, the end of all Government, as is moſt excellently, by your Honourable declaration of the 17. of April laſt declared.

The knowledge and underſtanding of which, hath made your petitioner as a Com­moner (in his Countries ſtraits and neceſſities) to take up armes as his duty, to fight againſt the King (the ſervant of the Common wealth) and all the forces rai­ſed by his Authority (who ſought to deſtroy the end of Government, the ſafety and weale of the people) and to be faithfull in your ſaid ſervice, in the midſt of many deaths; contemning and ſlighting, the large proffers of the Kings Honours and preferments, ſent unto him by foure Lords, when he was a priſoner for you at Oxford, for which he was imediatly laid in Irons night and day, lockt up cloſe in a room, a Centinell ſet at his dore, that ſo he might not ſpeak with any whoſoever, forced to lye on the floore, kept without one farthing of allowance although he car­ried not one penny with him to the priſon

And within a few daies after was (for his continued reſolution) arraigned (in Irons) as a Traitor for his life before Judge Heath, before whom he pleaded to his indictment, profeſſing unto him at the open barre (when he preſſed your petitioner to ſave himſelfe) that he your ſupplyant was not ſeduced by any to take up armes, but did it out of a principle of duty to himſelfe, his country and the Paliament, and that he was reſolved to ſpend his blood in the defence of his owne and his Coun­tries liberties; alſo your petitioner upon the ſame grounds, hath often been in the field ſince, and done good ſervices, and hath continued faithfull in all his ingagements, and is reſolved (by the ſtrength of God) ſo to doe to the death.

Now for aſmuch as the liberties and freedomes contained in the 28. & 29. chap. of the great Charter of England, are the beſt legall inheritance that your petitioner hath, and for the preſervation of which, yee have ſo often ſworne to ſpend your lives and fortunes, and injoyned the people that truſted you to doe the ſame, and for the maintaining of which, your petitioner hath run the hazard of ſo many deaths and miſeries as he hath done, amongſt which liberties and priviledges this is not one of10 the leaſt (as your petitioner humbly conceives) that all Commoners whatſoever in criminall cauſes ſhall be tried by their equals or fellow Commoners; nevertheles the Houſe of Lords (commonly ſo called) ſummoned your petitioner to their Barre to anſwer a criminall charge there, contrary to the tenour of the great Charter ſo often confirmed, and although your petitioner told their Meſſenger, and after­wards ſome of themſelves, that by Magna Charta they had nothing to doe with your petitioner in ſuch a caſe, and that if he were called, he muſt and would plead this at their Barre, coſt it him what it would, and alſo intreated one of themſelves, to ac­quaint the reſt of his fellow Lords, that he muſt and would proteſt againſt them, and appeale to his competent proper and legall tryers and judges your Honours.

Yet notwithſtanding they forced your Petitioner to their Bar, and would have com­pel'd him, contrary to Law, reaſon, and Conſcience, and to the fundamentall liberty of all the free People of England, (ſo adjudged in his own caſe of the Star-cham­ber &c. by your honours and themſelves) to anſwere to Interrogatories concerning himſelfe, without ſhewing him any formall and legall charge in writing, although he earneſtly deſired to ſee it, if they had any, which was refuſed, and your Petitioner preſſed again and again with much vehemency, by their Speaker, to anſwer verball queſtions, which forced your Petitioner to deliver at their open Bar his Proteſtation, in writing under his hand and ſeale, as alſo his appeal to your Honours, his competent, proper and legall Tryers and Iudges; a true Coppy of which is hereunto annexed, for which alone, they committed your Petitioner to Newgate priſon, (as appeares by the Coppy of their commitment hereunto annexed) all which your Petitioner humbly con­ceives, tends to the disfranchizing him of his juſt liberties and freedomes, (and ſo to the making him a ſlave) and to the violation of their own Oathes and Covenants, and to the utter ſubverſion, and alteration of the fundamentall Lawes and government of this Kingdome, for the preſervation of which, ſo much blood and treaſure hath alrea­dy been ſpent.

Your Petitioner therefore, as a free-man of England, (who to his knowledge ne­ver did any act that deſerveth the forfeiting of his birth-right) humbly appealleth to your honourable Bar and Juſtice, as his proper, competent, legall tryers and Iudges, and humbly prayeth.

For aſmuch as he is a free Commoner of England, and ought not to be proceeded a­gainſt, nor his liberties and freedomes to be taken from him, in any arbitrary or extra-judiciall way. And for that their Lordſhips have no power, nor juriſdiction, accor­ding to the Law and conſtitutions of this Kingdome, to try and adjudge any free Commoner thereof, for any criminall cauſes whatſoever, concerning life, limb, liberty, or eſtate; And for that your Petitioner is impriſoned, contrary to the form and te­nour of the great Charter of England, and therefore altogether illegall, and meerly arbitrary; That your Honours will be pleaſed, according to your unparaleld Decla­ration of the 17th of April laſt, whereby is ſet forth, that you will not exerciſe, nor ſuffer to be exerciſed by any other, any arbitrary power, but that you will provide for the ſafety and weal of the People, (the primitive end of all government) according to the great truſt repoſed in you, and committed to you, by your Im powrers, the Com­mons of England, you will take your Petitioner into your protection, and not ſuffer him any longer to be kept in priſon, and ſpoyled of his Franchizes and liberties, but ac­cording11 to the ſaid Charter of liberties, your Proteſtations, Oaths and Declarations, the lawes and Statutes of this Kingdome, he may freely be inlarged out of priſon, and reſtored to his juſt libertie, with iuſt reparations for his damages, for the great wrongs done unto him, by his reproachfull impriſonment in the infamous priſon of Newgate, and the vindication and freeing of the whole Kingdome (according to their long and iuſt expectation) from the like uſurpation, and incroachments of their iuſt rights and privledges, and your Petitioner ſhall ever be ready to ſpend his life for you, and his Countries iuſt liberties, and in obedience to all iuſt authority, to anſwer any Charge, when the ſame ſhall be in a legall way brought againſt him.

And your Petitioner (as in duty bound) ſhall ever pray to God, to enable you to go on, to finiſh, and perfect the great things expected from you, according to the truſt repoſed in you. JOHN LILBVRNE.

A Poſtſcript, containing a generall Propoſition.

GOD, the abſolute Soveraign Lord and King, of all things in heaven and earth, the originall fountain, and cauſe of all cauſes, who is circumſcribed, governed, and limited by no rules, but doth all things meerly and onely by his ſoveraign will, and unlimited good pleaſure, who made the world, and all things therein, for his own glory, and who by his own will and pleaſure, gave man (his meer creature) the ſoveraignty (under himſelfe) over all the reſt of his Creatures, Gen. and indued him with a rationall ſoule, or underſtanding, and thereby created him after his own image, Gen. 1.26.27. and 9.6. the firſt of which was Adam, a male, or man, made out of the duſt or clay, out of whoſe ſide was taken a Rib, which by the ſoveraign and abſolute mighty creating power of God, was made a female, or Woman cal'd Eve, which two are the earthly, original fountain, as begetters and bringers forth of all and every particular and individuall man and woman, that ever breathed in the world ſince, who are, and were by nature all equall and alike in power, digniy, authority, and majeſty, none of them having (by nature) any authority domi­nion or majeſteriall power, one over or above another, neither have they, or can they exerciſe any, but meerely by inſtitution, or donation, that is to ſay, by mutuall agreement or conſent, given, derived, or aſſumed, by mutuall conſent and agreement, for the good benefit and comfort each of other, and not for the miſchiefe, hurt, or damage of any, it being unnaturall, irrationall, ſinfull, wicked and unjuſt, for any man, or men whatſoever, to part with ſo much of their power, as ſhall enable any of their Parliament men, Commiſſioners, Truſtees, deputies, Viceroys, Miniſters, Offi­cers or ſervants, to deſtroy and undoe them therewith: And unnaturall, irrationall, ſinfull, wicked, unjuſt, diveliſh, and tyranicall it is, for any man whatſoever, ſpirituall or temporall, Cleargy-man or Lay-man, to appropriate and aſſume unto himſelfe, a power, authority and jurisdiction, to rule, govern, or raign over any ſort of men in the12 world, without their free conſent, and whoſoever doth it, whether Cleargy-man, or a­ny other whatſoever, doe thereby as much as in them lyes, endeavour to appropriate & aſſume unto themſelves the Office and ſoveraignty of God, (who alone doth, and is to rule by his will and pleaſure) and to be like their Creator, which was the ſinne of the Devils, who not being content with their firſt ſtation, but would be like God, for which ſin they were thrown down into hell, reſerved in everlaſting chaines, under darknes, unto the judgement of the great day Iude ver. 6. And Adams ſin it was, which brought the curſe upon him and all his poſterity, that he was not content with the ſtation and condition that God created him in, but did aſpire unto a better, and more excellent, (namely to be like his Creator) which proved his ruin, yea, and indeed had been the everlaſting ruin and deſtruction of him and all his, had not God been the more mercifull unto him in the promiſed Meſſiah. Gen. Chap. 3.

per me Iohn Lilburne.

Curteous Countrymen to fill up this vacant place I ſhall deſire thee to reade the words of the Declaration of the Houſe of Commons, publiſhed 27. Ianu. 1641. which you ſhall find in the 41. pag. of the booke of Declarations thus.

And this Houſe doth further declare, That all ſuch perſons as have given any Councell, or endeavoured to ſet or maintain diviſion or diſlike, between the King and Parliament, or have liſted their names, or otherwiſe entred into any combination or agreement, to be ayding, or aſſiſting, to any ſuch counſell or endeavour, or have perſwaded any other ſo to doe, or that ſhall do any the things above mentioned; And ſhall not forthwith diſcover the ſame to either Houſe of Parliament: or the Speaker of either of the ſaid Houſes reſpectively, and diſclaime it, are declared Publique Enemies of the State and Peace of this Kingdome, and ſhall be inquired of, and proceeded againſt accordingly.

Secondly the three Votes of both Houſes May 20. 1642. which you ſhall find in the book of Declarations pa. 259.

Reſolved upon the Queſtion

1 That it appeares, That the King (ſeduced by wicked Counſell) Intends to make Warre againſt the Parliament, who (in all their conſultations and actions) have propo­ſed no other end unto themſelves, but the care of His Kingdoms, and the performance of all duty and loyalty to His Perſon.

Reſolved upon the Queſtion.

2. That whenſoever the King makes Warre upon the Parliament, it is a breach of the truſt repoſed in Him by His people, contrary to His Oath, and tending to the diſſolution of this Government.

Reſolved upon the Queſtion

3. That Whoſoever ſhall ſerve, or aſſiſt Him in ſuch Warres, are Traitors, by the Fun­damentall Lawes of this Kingdome, and have been ſo adjudged by two Acts of Parlia­ment, and ought to ſuffer as Traitors. 11. Rich. 2. 1. Hen. 4.

Joh Browne Cler. Parliament.

3. The Declaration of both Houſes in pa. 576. in theſe words Whereas the King &c.

4. The words in their Declaration for the vindication of Ferdinando Lord Fairfax. as you ſhall find pa. 914. in theſe words, The ſaid Lords &c.


About this transcription

TextThe free-mans freedom vindicated. Or A true relation of the cause and manner of Lievt. Col. Iohn Lilburns present imprisonment in Newgate, being thereunto arbitrarily and illegally committed, by the House of Peeres, Iune 11. 1646. for his delivering in, at their open barre, under his hand and seal, his protestation, against their incroaching upon the common liberties of all the commons of England, in endeavouring to try him, a commoner of England, in a criminall cause, contrary to the expresse tenour and forme of the 29. chap. of the great charter of England, and for making his legall and iust appeal to his competent, propper and legal tryers and judges, the Commons of England, in Parliament assembled.
AuthorLilburne, John, 1614?-1657..
Extent Approx. 41 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 7 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
Additional notes

(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A88189)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 113664)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 55:E341[12])

About the source text

Bibliographic informationThe free-mans freedom vindicated. Or A true relation of the cause and manner of Lievt. Col. Iohn Lilburns present imprisonment in Newgate, being thereunto arbitrarily and illegally committed, by the House of Peeres, Iune 11. 1646. for his delivering in, at their open barre, under his hand and seal, his protestation, against their incroaching upon the common liberties of all the commons of England, in endeavouring to try him, a commoner of England, in a criminall cause, contrary to the expresse tenour and forme of the 29. chap. of the great charter of England, and for making his legall and iust appeal to his competent, propper and legal tryers and judges, the Commons of England, in Parliament assembled. Free-mans freedome vindicated. Lilburne, John, 1614?-1657.. 12 p. s.n.,[London :1646]. (Caption title.) (Imprint from Wing.) (Burned by order of the House of Lords at the old Exchange in London, and in the yard of the new palace at Westminster, on July 13, 1646--McAlpin Collection Catalogue.) (Annotation on Thomason copy: "June 23 London 1646".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Lilburne, John, 1614?-1657 -- Imprisonment -- Early works to 1800.
  • Civil rights -- England -- Sources -- Early works to 1800.
  • Detention of persons -- England -- Early works to 1800.

Editorial statement

About the encoding

Created by converting TCP files to TEI P5 using tcp2tei.xsl, TEI @ Oxford.

Editorial principles

EEBO-TCP is a partnership between the Universities of Michigan and Oxford and the publisher ProQuest to create accurately transcribed and encoded texts based on the image sets published by ProQuest via their Early English Books Online (EEBO) database ( The general aim of EEBO-TCP is to encode one copy (usually the first edition) of every monographic English-language title published between 1473 and 1700 available in EEBO.

EEBO-TCP aimed to produce large quantities of textual data within the usual project restraints of time and funding, and therefore chose to create diplomatic transcriptions (as opposed to critical editions) with light-touch, mainly structural encoding based on the Text Encoding Initiative (

The EEBO-TCP project was divided into two phases. The 25,363 texts created during Phase 1 of the project have been released into the public domain as of 1 January 2015. Anyone can now take and use these texts for their own purposes, but we respectfully request that due credit and attribution is given to their original source.

Users should be aware of the process of creating the TCP texts, and therefore of any assumptions that can be made about the data.

Text selection was based on the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (NCBEL). If an author (or for an anonymous work, the title) appears in NCBEL, then their works are eligible for inclusion. Selection was intended to range over a wide variety of subject areas, to reflect the true nature of the print record of the period. In general, first editions of a works in English were prioritized, although there are a number of works in other languages, notably Latin and Welsh, included and sometimes a second or later edition of a work was chosen if there was a compelling reason to do so.

Image sets were sent to external keying companies for transcription and basic encoding. Quality assurance was then carried out by editorial teams in Oxford and Michigan. 5% (or 5 pages, whichever is the greater) of each text was proofread for accuracy and those which did not meet QA standards were returned to the keyers to be redone. After proofreading, the encoding was enhanced and/or corrected and characters marked as illegible were corrected where possible up to a limit of 100 instances per text. Any remaining illegibles were encoded as <gap>s. Understanding these processes should make clear that, while the overall quality of TCP data is very good, some errors will remain and some readable characters will be marked as illegible. Users should bear in mind that in all likelihood such instances will never have been looked at by a TCP editor.

The texts were encoded and linked to page images in accordance with level 4 of the TEI in Libraries guidelines.

Copies of the texts have been issued variously as SGML (TCP schema; ASCII text with mnemonic sdata character entities); displayable XML (TCP schema; characters represented either as UTF-8 Unicode or text strings within braces); or lossless XML (TEI P5, characters represented either as UTF-8 Unicode or TEI g elements).

Keying and markup guidelines are available at the Text Creation Partnership web site.

Publication information

  • Text Creation Partnership,
ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2011-04 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A88189
  • STC Wing L2111
  • STC Thomason E341_12
  • STC ESTC R200906
  • EEBO-CITATION 99861527
  • PROQUEST 99861527
  • VID 113664

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.