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THE JUST DEFENCE OF JOHN LILBƲRN, Againſt Such as charge him with Turbulency of Spirit.

Job 5.15.

But he ſaveth the poor from the ſword, from the mouth and from the hand of the mighty.

ALthough it be a ſmall thing with me now, after many yeers of ſuffer­ings, to be judged of any, or of mans judgement, knowing now apt men are to judge things haſtily before the time, before the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkneſs, and wll make ma•••ſt the councels of the hearts, yet conſidering how vehemently at•••ent my life is ſought after (as for a long m••••hath been) and that thoſe who ſo earneſtly deſire my blood want­ing matter in〈◊〉to compaſs〈◊〉have by their politick Agents, filld almoſt eve­ry mans mouth〈◊〉clamours againſt me, that I have ever been, and continue a man of a turbulent〈◊〉alwayes oppoſing, ſtriving, and flying in the faces of all au­thorities, reſt〈◊〉and never ſatisfied whoever is uppermoſt; yea, though thoſe2 whom I my ſelf have labored by might and maine to advance and bring into power: and that therefore it is very requiſite I be taken off, and that otherwiſe England muſt never look to reſt long in peace; yea, ſo turbulent, that if there were none in the world but John Lilburne, rather then want one to ſtrive withall, forſooth, John would certainly quarrel with Lilburne. Finding that this, how ſlight and unjuſt ſo­ever, hoth prevailed more then true Chriſtianity would admit, and threatens my life more then any matter that is againſt me, moſt men of judgement evidently ſee­ing that nothing is laid to my charge, worthy either of death or bonds; I take my ſelf obliged to vindicate my converſation from all ſuch wicked & cauſleſs aſperſions leſt by my ſilence I ſhould ſeem guilty, and to have nothing to plead in my defence.

All therefore who have any of the true fear of God in them, may pleaſe to take notice, that as they ought to judge nothing before the time, ſo are they to be care­ful not to judge according to appearance, but to judge righteous judgement: the reaſon is, becauſe the appearance of things, the gloſs and outſide is uſually made by politicians, the Arts-men and Crafts-men of the world, for maintenance of their corrupt intereſts; theſe will be the ſole interpreters of men and things, raiſing, by art and ſophiſtry, ſuch miſts before mens eyes, as what therewith, and by changing themſelves into the ſhape of Angels of light, deceive (were it poſſible) the very elect: but whoſoever judgeth according to their Vote, is certaine to judge amiſs, may ſoon be a ſlanderer, and ſoon after a murtherer; and if he ſtop not quickly, go to hell with them, which is the end of all ſuch as love and make a lye, eſpecially ſuch lyes as whereby mens lives are put in danger.

For thus dealt the falſe prophets with the true, and by their craft and policy led ma­ny people to deſtroy them; and ſo likewiſe dealt the Scribes and Phariſees with the Lord Jeſus himſelf, giving out he was a wine-bibber, a friend of Publicans and ſin­ners, that he caſt out devils by Beelzebub the prince of devils: and that for no other cauſe, but that he publiſhed doctrines deſtructive to their intereſt of glory and do­mination.

And juſt ſo dealt they with the Apoſtles and Diſciples of our Lord, as may be ſeen Acts 4. and throughout the whole body of the Scriptures: and as Heb. 11.37. were ſtoned, were ſawn aſunder, were tempted, were ſlaine with the ſword, wandered about in ſheep-skins and goats-skins, being deſtitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy; they wandered in deſarts, and in mountaines, and in dens, and caves of the earth. And all theſe in their ſeveral times were reviled and reproached as turbulent perſons, as Paul and Silas were in Acts 17.6. And when they found them not, they drew out Jaſon and divers brethren unto the rulers of the City, crying, Theſe that have turned the world upſide down, are come hither alſo, whom Jaſon hath received, and theſe do all contrary to the decrees of Caeſar, ſaying, There is another King, one Jeſus.

And thus in every age ever ſince hath it been, as witneſs all the volumes of the books of Martyrs, and the Chronicles of almoſt every nation; and thus ſome­times upon a religious, and ſometimes upon a civil account, and very often upon both in one and the ſame perſons: the moſt faithful ſervants of Chriſt in every country where they lived, being ever the greateſt ene­mies to tyranny and oppreſſion, and the moſt zealous maintainers of the known laws and liberties of their Country, as was John Hus in Bohemia, Jerom of Prague, John Wickliff in England, the Martyrs in Queen Maryes dayes, the Hugonots or Pro­teſtants in France, the Gues in the Low-Countryes; all not only eſteemed2 Hereticks by the Church, but rebels and traytors to their ſeveral States and Princes.

And to come home to our ſelves, and to our own knowledge, none have in the leaſt oppoſed the illegal practices of thoſe that for the time being have been upper­moſt, but as they have been given out to be Hereticks and Schiſmaticks; ſo alſo to be factious and ſeditious, men of contentious and turbulent ſpirits: and this for no other cauſe, but for ſtanding for the truth, and contending for the known laws of the land; the proſecutors and cryers out of turbulency, proving ever unjuſt perſons and oppreſſors; and the oppreſſed and ſufferers, though through the poli­cies of wicked men they have been ſuppoſed to ſuffer as evil doers, yet a ſhort time hath proved they have ſuffered for truth and right, and were both faithful to God, to their conſciences, and trueſt friends to their native countries, and to the laws and liberties thereof, which rightly underſtood, give check to all ſuch unjuſt and evil practices: So that if men would but conſider whence the cry ariſeth, and that it com­eth ever from thoſe that do the injury, and is done purpoſely to fit and prepare ſuch for deſtruction as oppoſe their unjuſt deſigns, that whom by law they cannot de­ſtroy, firſt to kill their reputation, and to render them odious; that ſo what vio­lence or bloody injuſtice is done unto them, may be digeſted, if not fully approved. I ſay, were theſe truths conſidered, well-meaning people would not be ſo eaſily de­luded and drawn in to cry, as theſe politicians cry; nor ſo eaſily under the notion of turbulent ſpirits give up in ſacrifice the lives and bloods of their deareſt and beſt friends, to the lawleſs luſts and wills of ambitious men, untill none are left that dare utter one word in defence of known rights, or once open their mouths in oppoſi­tion of arbitrary and illegal proceedings.

For wherein can it be made appear that I ever have been, or am of a turbulent ſpirit? true it is, ſince I have had any underſtanding, I have been under affliction, and ſpent moſt of my time in one priſon or other; but if thoſe that afflicted me did it un­juſtly, and that every of my impriſonments were unlawful, and that in all my ſuf­ferings I have not ſuffered as an evil doer, but for righteouſneſs ſake; then were they turbulent that afflicted and impriſoned me, and not I that have cryed out a­gainſt their oppreſſions; nor ſhould my many impriſonments be more a blemiſh un­to me, then unto the Apoſtle Paul, who thought it no diſhonour to remember thoſe that ſomewhat deſpiſed him, that he had been in labours more abundant, in ſtripes above meaſure, in priſons more frequent, in deaths oft.

And truly, though I have not wherewith to compare with thoſe glorious witneſſes of God, that in the Apoſtles times ſealed the teſtimony of Jeſus with their bloods, nor with thoſe that in the ages ſince, down to theſe times, who have with the loſs of their own lives brought us out of the groſs darkneſs of Popery, into a poſſibility of diſcerning the clear truths of the Goſpel; yet as I have the aſſurance of God in my own conſcience, that in the day of the Lord I ſhall be found to have been faithful, ſo though the policies of the adverſaries of thoſe truths I have ſuffered for, do blinde many mens underſtandings for a ſeaſon concerning me, yet a time will come when thoſe that now are apt to cenſure me of raſhneſs and turbulency of ſpirit, will dearly repent that ever they admitted ſuch a thought, confeſs they have done me wrong, and wiſh with all their hearts they had been all of my judgement and re­ſolution.

There being not one particular I have contended for, or for which I have ſuffer­ed, but the right, freedome, ſafety, and well-being of every particular man, woman, and child in England hath been ſo highly concerned therein, that their freedome or4 bondage hath depended thereupon, inſomuch that had they not been miſled in their judgements, and corrupted in their underſtandings by ſuch as ſought their bondage, they would have ſeen themſelves as much bound to have aſſiſted me, as they judge themſelves obliged to deliver their neighbour out of the hands of theevs & robbers, it being impoſſible for any man, woman, or child in England, to be free from the ar­bitrary and tyrannical wills of men, except thoſe ancient laws and ancient rights of England, for which I have contended even unto blood, be preſerved and main­tained; the juſtneſs and goodneſs whereof I no ſooner underſtood, and how great a check they were to tyranny and oppreſſion, but my conſcience enforced me to ſtand firme in their defence againſt all innovation and contrary practices in whom­ſoever.

For I bleſs God I have been never partial unto men, neither malicing any, nor having any mans perſon in admiration, nor bearing with that in one ſort of men, which I condemned in others.

As for inſtance, the firſt fundamental right I contended for in the late Kings and Biſhops times, was for the freedom of mens perſons, againſt arbitrary and illegal impriſonments, it being a thing expreſly contrary to the law of the land, which re­quireth, That no man be attached, impriſoned; &c. (as in Magna Charta, cap. 29.) but by lawful judgement of a Jury, a law ſo juſt and preſervative, as without which intirely obſerved, every mans perſon is continually liable to be impriſoned at pleaſure, and either to be kept there for moneths or yeers, or to be ſtarved there, at the wills of thoſe that in any time are in power, as hath ſince been ſeen and felt abundantly, and had been more, had not ſome men ſtrove againſt it; but it being my lot ſo to be im­priſoned in thoſe times, I conceive I did but my duty to manifeſt the injuſtice there­of, and claime and cry out for my right, and in ſo doing was ſerviceable to the li­berties of my country, and no wayes deſerved to be accounted turbulent in ſo doing.

Another fundamental right I then contended for, was, that no mans conſcience ought to be racked by oaths impoſed, to anſwer to queſtions concerning himſelf in matters criminal, or pretended to be ſo.

The ancient known right and law of England being, that no man be put to his de­fence at law, upon any mans bare ſaying, or upon his own oath, but by preſentment of lawful men, and by faithful witneſſes brought for the ſame ſame face to face; a law and known right, without which any that are in power may at pleaſure rake into the breſts of every man for matter to deſtroy life, liberty, or eſtate, when according to true law and due proceedings, there is nought againſt them; now it being my lot to be drawn out and required to take an oath, and to be required to anſwer to queſti­ons againſt my ſelf and others whom I honoured, and whom I knew no evil by, though I might know ſuch things by them as the oppoſſors and perſecutors would have puniſhed them for, in that I ſtood firm to our true Engliſh liberty, as reſolvedly perſiſted therein, enduring a moſt cruel whipping, pilloring, gagging, and barbarous impriſonment, rather then betray the rights and liberties of every man; did I de­ſerve for ſo doing to be accounted turbulent? certainly none will ſo judge, but ſuch as are very weak, or very wicked; the firſt of which are inexcuſable at this day, this ancient right having now for many yeers been known to all men; and the latter ought rather to be puniſhed then be countenanced, being ſtill ready to do the like to me or any man I then contended alſo againſt cloſe impriſonment, as moſt illegal, be­ing contrary to the known laws of the land; and by which tyrants and oppoſſors in all ages have broken the ſpirits of the Engliſh, and ſometimes broken their very hearts,5 a cruelty few are ſenſible of, but ſuch as have been ſenſible by ſuffering; but yet it concerns all men to oppoſe in whomſoever; for what is done to any one, may be done to every one: beſides, being all members of one body, that is, of the Engliſh Commonwealth, one man ſhould not ſuffer wrongfully, but all ſhould be ſenſible, and endeavour his preſervation; otherwiſe they give way to an inlet of the ſea of will and power, upon their laws and liberities, which are the boundaries to keep out ty­rany and oppreſſion; and who aſſiſts not in ſuch caſes, betrayes his own rights, and is over-run, and or a free man made a ſlave when he thinks not of it, or regards it not, and ſo ſhunning the cenſure of turbulency, incurs the guilt of treachery to the pre­ſent and future generations. Nor did I thruſt my ſelf upon theſe conteſts for my na­tive rights, and the rights of every Engliſhman, but was forced thereupon in my own defence, which I urge not, but that I judge it lawful, praiſe-worthy, and ex­pedient for every man, continually to watch over the rights and liberties of his country, and to ſee that they are violated upon none, though the moſt vile and diſſolute of men; or if they be, ſpeedily to indeavour redreſſe; other­wiſe ſuch violations, breaches, and incroachments will eat like a Gangrene upon the common Liberty, and become paſt remedy: but I urge it, that it may appear I was ſo far from what would in me have been interpreted turbulency, that I contended not till in my own particular I was aſſaulted and violated.

Neither did I appear to the Parliament in their prime eſtate as a turbulent per­ſon, though under as great ſuffering as ever ſince, but as none grievouſly injured, contrary to the Laws and Rights of England; and as one deſerving their protection and deliverance out of that chraldom wherein I was, and of large and ample repa­ration, as they did of Mr. Bulon, Mr. Pryn, and Dr. Baſtwick; and which their fa­vourable and tender regard to perſons in our condition, gained them multitudes of faithful friends, who from ſo juſt and charitable a diſpoſition appearing in them, concluded they were fully reſolved to reſtore the Nation to its long loſt liberty without delay.

Being delivered by them, and underſtanding their cauſe to be juſt, the differences between them and the late King daily increaſing, I frequently adventured my ſelf in their defence; and at length, the controverſie advancing to a war, I leſt my Trade and all I had, and engaged with them, and did what ſervice I was able; at Edge-hill, and afterwards at Branford, where after a ſharp reſiſtance, I was taken priſoner; and refuſing large offers if I would renounce them, and ſerve the King, I was carryed a pinioned priſoner to Oxford, where I endured ſorrows and afflictions inexpreſſible: yet neither by enemy nor friend, was ever to that time accounted turbulent, though I there inſiſted for my Rights as earneſtly and importunately as ever, and as high­ly diſdained all their threats or allurements; and again found ſo much reſpect from the Parliament, as when my life was moſt in danger, to be once more preſer­ved by them; though then not ſo freely as at firſt, but upon the earneſt and almoſt diſtracted ſolicitation of my dear wife, violently ruſhing into the Houſe, and caſt­ing her ſelf down before them at their Bar: for now their hearts were not ſo ſoft and tender as at firſt: but ſo far was I then from this new imputation of turbulency, either in City, Country, Parliament, or Army, that I had every ones welcom at my return; and my Lord General Eſſex to expreſs his joy and affection to me, though he knew me a noted Sectary (a people he was ſo unhappy to diſaffect) that he gave me no leſs then betwixt 200 and 300l. in mony, and offers of any kindneſs; which I ſhall ever thankfully remember to his juſt honour.

But Col. Homſteed, and all non-conformiſts, Puritans, and Sectaries being daily6 diſcouraged and wearied out of that Army; and the Earl of Mancheſter Major Ge­neral of the aſſociate Counties, giving countenance unto them, I put my ſelf under his Command, my then moſt dear friend, as much honored by me, as any man in the world, the now Lord General Cromwel, being then his Lieut. General: what ſer­vices I performed whilſt I continued under their command, will not become me to report; I ſhall onely ſay this, that I was not then accounted either a coward, or unfaithful; nor yet of a turbulent or contentious ſpirit, though I received ſo much cauſe of diſlike at ſome carriages of the ſaid Earl, as made me leave the ſervice, and ſoon after coming for London, diſcovered ſo great a defection in the Parliament from their firſt Principles, as made me reſolve never to engage further with them, until they repented and returned, and did their firſt works: from which they were ſo far, as that there had not been any corrupt practice formerly complained of, either in the High-Commiſſion, Star-Chamber, or Councel-Table, or any exorbitancies elſe­where, but began afreſh to be practiſed both by the Houſe of Lords, and Houſe of Commons, without any regard to thoſe Antient fundamental Laws and Rights, for the violation of which, they had denounced a war againſt the King.

Nor did they thus themſelves, but countenanced and encouraged the ſame throughout the Land, illegal impriſonments, & cloſe-impriſonments, & examinations of men againſt themſelves, everywhere common; and upon Petitions to Parliament, in ſtead of relief, new Ordinances made further to intangle them, and all ſtill point­ed againſt the moſt Conſcientious peaceable people, ſuch as could not conform to Parliament-Religion, but deſired to worſhip God according to their own Judgements and Conſciences; a juſt freedom to my underſtanding, and the moſt juſt and reaſon­able, and moſt conducing to publick peace that could be; and in the uſe whereof, I had in ſome yeers before, enjoyed the comfortable fruition of a gracious God and loving Saviour; and which occaſioned me, ſo ſoon as the Controverſie about liber­ty of Conſcience began, to appear with my pen in its juſt defence, againſt my quon­dam fellow-ſufferer Mr. Pryn, as a liberty due not onely according to the word of God, which I effectually proved, but due alſo by the fundamental Laws of the Land, which provide that no man be queſtioned, or moleſted, or put to anſwer for any thing, but wherein he materially violates the perſons, goods, or good name of another: and however ſtrange the defence thereof then appeared, time hath proved that it is a liberty which no conſcientious man or woman can ſpare, being ſuch, as without which every one is lyable to moleſtation and perſecution, though he live never ſo honeſtly, peaceably, and agreeable to the Laws of the Land; and which every man muſt allow, that will keep to that golden rule, to do as he would be done unto.

And though my ready appearing alſo for this my native Right, and the Right of every man in England, gained me many adverſaries (for men will be adverſe to the beſt and juſteſt things that ever were, till through time and ſound conſideration, the underſtanding be informed) yet neither for this was I accounted turbulent, or of a contentious ſpirit.

My next engagement was as a witneſs againſt the Earl of Mancheſter, upon Arti­cles exhibited by his Lieutenant-General Cromwel; wherein I being ſerious, as know­ing matters to be foul, opened my ſelf at large, as thinking the ſame was intended to have been thorowly proſecuted: but the great men drew ſtakes, and I was left to wreſtle with my Lord, who, what by craft, as ſetting his miſchievous Agent Col. King upon my back, and the Judges of the Common Pleas, and upon that the power of the Houſe of Lords, as got me firſt an impriſonment in New-gate, and after that in7 the Tower. Againſt which oppreſſion, for urging the fundamental Laws of England againſt their uſurped and innovated powers, I then began to be termed a factious, ſe­ditious, and turbulent fellow, not fit to live upon earth. For now by this time, both Houſe of Lords and Houſe of Commons were engaged in all kindes of arbitrary and tyrannical practices, even to extremity. So that I muſt pray the judicious Reader well to mark the cauſe for which I was firſt accounted turbulent, viz. for urging the fundamental Law of the land againſt thoſe that thought themſelves uppermoſt in power, and above the power of Law, as their practices manifeſted; and he ſhall finde, that for no other cauſe have I been reputed ſo ever ſince to this very day; and that it ſhall be any mans portion that doth ſo

About this time, the Army began to diſpute the command of Parliament; and that as they largely declared, becauſe the Parliament had forſaken their rule, the funda­mental Laws of England, and exerciſed an arbitrary and tyrannical power over the conſciences, lives, liberties, and eſtates; and inſtanced in me and others, who had been long illegally impriſoned. Theſe now eſpouſing the publike Cauſe, and that their onely end was, that the ancient Rights and Liberties of the people of England might be cleared and ſecured, not onely prevailed with me, but thouſands others in London, Southwark, and moſt places thorowout the Land, ſo to adhere unto them, as notwith­ſtanding great preparations againſt them both by Parliament and City of London, yet they prevailed without bloodſhed. A friendſhip they ſhould not have forgotten.

Obſtacles being thus removed, I who with many others, had adhered to them, daily ſolicited the performance of the end of this great undertaking and engagement, viz. the re-eſtabliſhment of the fundamental laws: but as it appeared then in part, and more plainly ſince, there being no ſuch real intention, whatever had been preten­ded upon this our ſolicitation, the countenances of the great ones of the Army began to change towards us, and we found we were but troubleſome to them, and accounted men of turbulent and reſtleſs ſpirits; but at that time the Agitators being in ſome power, theſe aſperſions were but ſecretly diſperſed.

We ſeeing the dangerous conſequence of ſo ſuddain a defection, from all thoſe zealous promiſes and proteſtations made as in the preſence of God: and having been inſtrumental in their oppoſition of the Parliamentary authority, and knowing that in our conſciences, nor in the ſight of God, we could not be juſtified, except we perſevered to the fulfilling of the end, The reſtauration of the Fundamental Laws and Rights of the Nation; and I eſpecially, who had ſpilt both my own and other mens bloods in open fight, for the attainment thereof, look'd upon my ſelf as no other or better then a murtherer of my brethren and Country-men, if I ſhould onely by my ſo doing make way for raiſing another ſort of men into power, and ſo enable them to trample our Laws and Liberties more under foot then ever. Upon theſe grounds, I ceaſed not day nor night to reduce thoſe in chiefeſt power into a better temper of ſpirit, and to perſwade them to place their happineſs not in Ab­ſoluteneſs of domination, but in performance of their many zealous Promiſes and Declarations made with ſuch vehemencie of expreſſion, as in the preſence of God, and publiſhed in print to all the world; urging what a diſhonour it would be to the whole Army, to have their faith ſo broken and violated, that though they might ſucceed in making out power and domination to ſome few of them, yet God could not be ſatisfied, nor their conſciences be at peace. This was my way to moſt of them for a long time: but I may truely ſay, with David, They plentifully payd me hatred for my good will; and for my good counſel, (for ſo I believe time will prove it, though now they ſeem to ride on the wings of proſperity with their ill-gotten8 wealth and power) they layd ſnares to take away my life.

And in order thereunto, I with others being at the proſecuting of a Petition, one of their officious Spyes lays an accuſation againſt me at the Houſe of Commons bar; where clayming a Tryal at Law for any thing could be alleadged againſt me, and denying their Authority as to be my Judges, and for maintaining that I ought not to be tryed in any caſe but by a Jury of my Neighbourhood; For this doing, I was ſent again priſoner to the Tower, where I continued for many months; and then again accounted a factious, ſeditious, and turbulent fellow, that owned no Authori­ty, and that would have no Government; the cauſe being ſtill the ſame, for that I would not renounce the Law my birthright, and ſubmit to the wills of men in power, which as an Engliſh man I am bound to oppoſe.

But new Troubles appearing, and the great ones being in ſuppoſition they might once more need their diſſatisfied friends, after a ſore impriſonment, I obtained my li­berty, and ſo muchhew of reſpects, as to have the damages (alotted for my ſufferings under the Star-chamber ſentence) aſcertained: but not the leaſt motion towards the performance of publike engagements, but only as troubles came, as about that time they did appear, upon the general riſing & coming in of Hamilon, Goring, and the like, then indeed promiſes were renewed, and tears ſhed in token of repentance, and then all again embraced as Friends, all names of reproach ceaſe, turbulent, and leveller, and all; and welcome every one that will now but help; and this trouble being but over, all that ever was promiſed ſhould be faithfully and amply performed: but no ſooner over, then all again forgotten; and every one afreſh reproached, that durſt but put them in minde of what they ſo lately had promiſed: yea, all ſuch of the Army, under one pretence or other, excluded the Army, and ſo nothing appearing but a making way for Abſoluteneſs, and to render the Army a meer mercenary ſer­vile thing, ſutable to that end, that might make no conſcience of promiſes, or have any ſenſe of the Cauſe for which they were raiſed.

Perceiving this, I with others having proved all their pretences of joyning in an Agreement of the People to be but deluſion, and that they neither broke the Par­liament in pieces, nor put the King to death, in order to the reſtauration of the Fundamental Laws of the Nation whatever was pretended, but to advance them­ſelves; I having been in the North about my own buſineſs while thoſe things were done, and coming to London ſoon after, and finding (as to the Common Freedom) all things in a worſe condition, and more endangered then ever, made an application to the Councel of the Army by a Paper, wherein were good grounds of prevention: but ſome there making a worſe uſe thereof, interpreted the ſame a diſturbance of the Army, earneſtly moving they might get a Law to hang ſuch as ſo diſturbed them; affirming they could hang twenty for one the old Law could do.

Whereupon, we applyed our ſelves to the new purged Parliament, with a Pa­per called The Serious Apprehenſions: unto which obtaining no anſwer, I endea­voured to have gotten hands to another Paper to be preſented to the Houſe, which was printed under the title of The ſecond Part of Englands new Chains diſcovered; wherein was laid open much of what ſince hath been brought upon the Nation of will and power; which at this day deſerveth to be read by all that conceive me to be of a turbulent ſpirit, wherein they will finde the cauſe ſtill the ſame, viz. my conſtant adherence to the known rights of the nation, and no other.

Upon this, I was fetched out of bed and houſe by a party of horſe and foot, in ſuch a dreaded manner, as if I had been the greateſt traitor to the laws and liberties of England that ever was; the ſouldiers being raiſe onely againſt ſuch traitors, and9 not to ſeize upon men that ſtrove for their reſtoration; but now the caſe was altered 'and I muſt be no leſs then a traitor, and ſo taken, and ſo declared all over England, with my other fellow-ſufferers, and all clapt up priſoners in the Tower, and after a while cloſe priſoners, and then not only aſperſed to be factious and turbulent, but Atheiſts, and Infidels, of purpoſe to fit us for deſtruction.

And though after a long and tedious impriſonment, they could never finde where­of legally to accuſe us for any thing they put us in priſon, yet ſcrap'd they up new matter againſt me, from the time they gave me liberty to viſit my ſick and diſtreſſed family; a thing heathens would have been aſhamed of (but who ſo wicked as diſ­ſembling Chriſtians?) and upon this nw matter, ſmall as it was, what a Tryal for my life was I put upon? what an abſolute reſolution did there appeare to take away my life? but God and the good Conſciences of twelve honeſt men preſerved me, and delivered me of that their ſnare; which ſmote them to the heart, but not with true repentance; for then had they ceaſed to purſue me: but juſt before that my Tryal, it is not to be forgotten, how a Declaration was ſet forth by the then Councel of State, ſignifying my complyance with young Charles Stuart, juſt as now was publiſh­ed in print upon the very morning I was brought to the Seſſions-houſe: yea, and the ſame papers brought into the now Parliament, of purpoſe to beſpeak and pre­vent the effect of thoſe Petitions then preſented in my behalf, and to turn the ſpirits of the Houſe againſt me: ſo that nothing is more evident, then that the ſame hand still ſtones me, and for the ſame cauſe; and that I may be murdered with ſome credit, firſt they kill me with ſlanders: but as they in wickedneſs, ſo God in righteouſneſs, and the Conſciences of good men in matter of Juſtice, is ſtill the ſame; and I can­not doubt my deliverance.

God and the Conſciences of men fearing him more then men, freeing me from this danger, I endeavoured to ſettle my ſelf in ſome comfortable way of living, trying one thing and another; but being troubled with Exciſe, wherein I could not ſnerk like other men, I was ſoon tired; and being dayly applyed unto for Counſel by friends, I reſolved to undertake mens honeſt cauſes, and to manage them either as Sollici­tor or Pleader, as I ſaw cauſe; wherein I gave ſatisfaction. And amongſt others, I was retained by one Maſter Joſ. Primate in a cauſe concerning a Colliery, which I found, though juſt, to have many great oppoſers, and chiefly my ingaged adverſarie, Sir Arthur Haſelrige, one that did what he could to have ſtarved me in priſon, ſeizing one my moneys in the North, when I had nothing to maintaine my ſelf, my wife and children; this cauſe had many traverſes between the Committee in the North, and the Committee for ſequeſtration at Haberdaſhers-Hall.

And ſo much injuſtice appeared unto me to have been manifeſtly done, that I ſet forth their unworthineſs as fully as I was able, and at length the cauſe being to re­cerve a final determination before that Committee, I with my Client and other his councel appeared daily for many dayes, proving by undeniable arguments, from point to point, the right to be in Maſter Primate: but Sir Arthur Haſelrige a Member of Parliament and Councel of State, and a mighty man in the North and in the Army, ſo beſtirred himſelf, That when Judgement came to be given, it was given by the major Vote againſt my Clyent, quite contrary to the opinions of moſt that heard it, and to my Clients and my underſtanding, againſt all equity and con­ſcience.

Whereupon, my Client by his petition appealed to the Parliament, wherein he ſup­poſeth that Sir Arthur had over-awed the Committee to give a corrupt Judgement. And being queſtioned, avowed the petition to be his own, and cleared me from ha­ving10 any hand therein. The houſe were in a great heart, and quarrelled my giving out the petitions before they were received by them, though nothing was more com­mon; but order a rehearing of the whole matter by a large Committee of Members of the houſe in the Exchequer-Chamber, where notwithſtanding the right appeared as clear as the Sun when it ſhines at noon-day, to be in my Clint, to all by-ſtand­ers not preingaged, yet whilſt it was in hearing, long before the report was made, I had divers aſſured me I ſhould be baniſhed; and when I demanded for what cauſe, I could get none, but that I was of a turbulent ſpirit. It was ſtrange to me, nor could I believe a thing ſo groſly unjuſt could be done, and provided nothing againſt it.

But upon the report of Maſter Hill the lawyer, moſt falſe as it was, the Houſe was ſaid to have paſſed Votes upon me of ſeven thouſand pound fine, and perpetual baniſhment.

And upon the Tuſday after called me to their Bar, and commanded me to kneel once, twice, and again; which I refuſing, and deſiring to ſpeak, they would not ſuffer me, but commanded me to withdraw; and the next news I heard, was, that upon paine of death, I muſt within twenty depart the land: which though altogether groundleſs, yet finding all rumors concurring in their deſperate reſolutions, thought it ſafeſt to withdraw for a ſeaſon, into ſome parts beyond the ſeas; and ſo I did, where I had been but a very ſhort time, but I ſaw a paper intituled An Act in execution of a Judgement give in Parliament, for the baniſhment of Lieut. Col. John Lilburne, and to be taken as a felon upon his return, &c. at which I wondered, for I was certaine I had received no Charge, nor any form of trial, nor had any thing there laid to my Charge, not was never heard in my defence to any thing.

Nevertheleſs, there I continued in much danger and miſery for above ſixteen mo­neths, my eſtate being ſeized by Sir Arthur: at length underſtanding the diſſolution of the Parliament, I concluded my danger not much if I ſhould return; and having ſome incouragement by my wife, from what my Lord General Cromwell ſhould ſay of the injuſtice of the Parliaments proceedings, and of their (pretended) Act, I caſt my ſelf upon my native country, with reſolutions of all peaceable demeanor to­wards all men; but how I have been uſed thereupon, and ſince, the Lord of heaven be judge between thoſe in power and me; It being a cruelty beyond example, that I ſhould be ſo violently hurried to Newgate, and moſt unjuſtly put upon my trial for my life as a Felon, upon ſo groundleſs a meer ſuppoſed Act, notwithſtanding ſo ma­ny petitions to the contrary.

And now, that all men ſee the groſneſs of their cruelty and bloody intentions to­wards me, and having not conſciences to go back, they now fill all mens mouthes, whom they have power to deceive, that I am of ſo turbulent a ſpirit, that there will be no quietneſs in England except I be taken off.

But dear Country-men, friends, and Chriſtians, aske them what evil I have done, and they can ſhew you none; no, my great and onely fault is, that (as they conceive) I will never brook whilſt I live to ſee (and be ſilent) the laws and rights of the Nati­on trod under foot by themſelves, who have all the obligations of men and Chriſti­ans to revive and reſtore them. They imagine, whilſt I have breath, the old law of the land will be pleaded and upheld againſt the new, againſt all innovated law or practice whatſoever. And becauſe I am, and continue conſtant to my principles upon which I firſt engaged for the common liberty, and will no more bear in theſe the violation of them, then I did in the King, Biſhops, Lords, or Commons, but cry aloud many times of their abominable unworthineſs in their ſo doing; therefore11 to ſtop my mouth, and take away my life, they cry out I never will be quiet, I never will be content with any power; but the juſt God heareth in heaven, and thoſe who are his true ſervants will hear and conſider upon earth, and I truſt will not judge according to the voice of ſelf-ſeeking ambitious men, their creatures and relations, but will judge righteous judgement, and then I doubt not all their aſperſions of me will appear moſt falſe and cauſleſs, when the worſt I have ſaid or written of them and their wayes, will prove leſs then they have deſerved.

Another ſtratagem they have upon me, is, to poſſeſs all men, that all the ſouldiers in the Army are againſt me; but they know the contrary, otherwiſe why do they ſo carefully ſuppreſs all petitions which the ſouldiers have been handing in my be­half? indeed thoſe of the ſouldiers that hear nothing but what they pleaſe of me, ei­ther by their ſcandalous tongues or books, may through miſinformation be againſt me; but would they permit them to hear or read what is extant to my vindication, I would wiſh no better friends then the ſouldiers of the Army; for I am certaine I never wronged one of them, nor are they apt to wrong any man, except upon a miſinformation.

But I hope this diſcourſe will be ſatisfactory both to them and all other men, that I am no ſuch Wolfe, Bear, or Lyon, that right or wrong deſerves to be deſtroyed; and through the truth herein appearing, will ſtrongly perſwade for a more gentle conſtruction of my intentions and converſation, and be an effectual Antidote againſt ſuch poiſonous aſps who endeavour to kill me with the bitterneſs of their envenomed tongues, that they ſhall not be able to prevaile againſt me, to ſway the conſciences of any to my prejudice in the day of my trial.

Frailties and infirmities I have, and thick and threefold have been my provocati­ons; he that hath not failed in his tongue, is perfect, ſo am not I. I dare not ſay, Lord I am not as other men; but, Lord be merciful to me a ſinner; But I have been hunted like a Partridge upon the mountains: My words and actions in the times of my trials and deepeſt diſtreſs and danger have been ſcanned with the ſpirit of Jobs comforters; but yet I know I have to do with a gracious God, I know that my redeem­er liveth, and that he will bring light out of this darkeneſs, and cleer my innocency to all the world.


About this transcription

TextThe just defence of John Lilburn, against such as charge him with turbulency of spirit.
AuthorLilburne, John, 1614?-1657..
Extent Approx. 41 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 6 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A88204)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 118459)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 110:E711[10])

About the source text

Bibliographic informationThe just defence of John Lilburn, against such as charge him with turbulency of spirit. Lilburne, John, 1614?-1657.. 11, [1] p. s.n.,[London :1653]. (Caption title.) (Imprint from Wing.) (Annotation on Thomason copy: "Aug: 23 1653".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Lilburne, John, 1614?-1657.

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ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2011-12 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A88204
  • STC Wing L2123A
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  • EEBO-CITATION 99866195
  • PROQUEST 99866195
  • VID 118459

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