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A LETTER Sent from Captaine LILBVRNE, To divers of his Friends, Citizens, and others of good account in LONDON, Wherein he fully expreſſeth the miſery of his impriſonment, and the barbarous uſage of the Cavaliers towards him.

Deſiring them (if it were poſſible) to uſe ſome means for his releaſement.

London, Printed for Iames Rogers. 1643.


A Letter ſent from Captaine Lil­burne to divers of his friends in LONDON.

My deare friends,

IT will ſeeme ſtrange to you, conſidering the miſerable condition of my preſent for­tune, and the ſtrictneſſe of my impriſon­ment, to receive any notice from me of my affaires; but God having bleſt me with the opportunity of this treaty, and convenient meſſenger, I thought it fit to give you the true intelligence how things ſtand with me at this inſtant time of my writing. I am thanks be to God in very good health, though in as ſtrict impriſonment as can be poſſible unleſſe I ſhould be in a dungeon; and ſince Judge Heath, whom God forgive, pronounced ſentence of death againſt me, I have been loden with Irons; but thoſe either by direct command from His Majeſty, or out of his owne cle­mency or by the mediation of ſome about him, are now ta­ken ofrom me. The report was here immediately after my condemnation, that I ſhould ſuffer an ignominious death but4 ſince the Honourable the High Court of Parliament, in my favour put out their Declaration that rumour hath been quite daſhed, ſo that I muſt confeſſe I owe my life more to their bounty, then to the gentleneſſe of my enemies, who went about as much as poſſible in them lay to deprive me of it and truly I ſhould very cheerfully have received my feath, being ſecured by the innocence of my owne conſcience, that I ſhould have dyed Gods true religious, and my Countries Martyr, for whoſe ſake I put on Armes. And not my impri­ſonment, nor death, would have ſo much afflicted me, as doe the thoughts, that by my reſtraint I am deprived of doing my beſt endeavour, according to my poore abilities, in ſer­ving the affaires of that ſtrength of this kingdome, and champion of true Religion, the Honourable the High Court of Parliament: In whoſe ſervice, if I had dyed valiantly in the field in the face of thoſe enemies to all goodneſſe and humanity, the Cavaliers, it would have been a more wel­come benefit to me then this impriſonment, wherein I lye and languiſh under a daily death; the griefe whereof would certainly take away my life, did not the goodneſſe of the cauſe for which I ſuffer, like an Angell of light, come and comfort me in this darkneſſe, and make me not onely ſcorne my afflictions, but even rejoyce that I am held worthy for Gods cauſe, and my Countries, to undergoe theſe bonds; and ſhould they never ſo long impriſon my body, it ſhould not a jot inthrall the liberty of my minde, which is above the unhappineſſe of my fortune; and I doe ſtill ſerve the State and Parliament as much in the integrity of my heart, and wiſhes, as I did when I had my freedome, and converſe as familiarly with you in my underſtanding, as when I was at London with you; marry the greateſt croſſe that hath be­fallen in this my durance, is, that the barbarouſneſſe of my Gaolers and viſitants, the Cavaliers, who never ceaſe revi­ling me, calling me Round-head, Parliament-dog, and termes of the like villany and diſgrace, never ſuffering me to enjoy the quiet of being alone, but when they are weary5 of tormenting me; ſo that ſometimes, as I am a man, I am not enough fortified againſt their reproaches; which to a couragious mind, breed more torments then to have ones body cut into a thouſand peeces; and certainly, I ſhould unarmed as I am divers times fly in the faces of theſe adver­ſaries to God and all good men, did not my reaſon tell me it were an act of deſperate cowardiſe, rather then truly valour in any man to ſeeke his owne death; For no more mercy would they ſhew to me in ſuch a caſe, then Turks would, nay perhaps, not ſo much; the Turks themſelves being ſurely better civilized, then theſe monſters of Chriſti­anitie, who neither reſpected the Divine or Humane Lawes, but make whatſoever their wicked deſires guide them to, that onely is a Law to them, nor is it in the power of the King or his Officers to reſtraine them from any outrage they have a will to commit: they keeping his Mayeſtie and thoſe Noble-men that are with them, ſcarcely in any condition better then that of im­priſonment, or as hoſtages for their owne ſafetie; ſo that in my duty to his Majeſty, to whom I told the Cavaliers to their teeth, I was as loyall a Subject as the beſt of them. I doe much pity the miſery of his preſent miſ­fortune, being inforced to doe nothing contrary to their de­ſires, not having liberty to diſpoſe of his owne intenti­ons or Perſon: but theſe Cavaliers have their powerfull agents in his Councells, and, as it were, their ſpies upon his Perſon, leſt Hee ſhould (as I doe verily believe His Highneſſe would, if it were poſſible) make an eſcape from them, (of whoſe behaviour His goodneſſe muſt needs be weary) to London, to His high Court of Parliament, as I was informed from an old friend of mine at Court, a Yeoman of the Guard, one very well affected to the King and Parliament, who hath given mee divers viſits ſince my impriſonment: hee further more avowing, that the Cavaliers inſult ſo much over His Majeſties meniall ſervants, that they with their domineering, and the want6 of their ſalaries, are ſo much oppreſſed, that they would, if it were poſſible withdraw themſelves from Court to London to their houſes; but if any one of them ſhould but attempt his eſcape, the Cavaliers would cut his throat. And ſurely, this man whom you all know, hath beene next to my owne innocence, the greateſt comfort I have had in my impriſonment: and hee that hath given mee to underſtand (for I am never ſuffered to goe abroad, or to ſpeake with any body elſe that will informe me any thing truely) that his Majeſty intends certainly to make His aboad at Oxford during this Winter, and hath for that cauſe bought up, or taken upon truſt, all the corne and other proviſion could be poſſible procured in the Countrey thereabouts; that they are in great want of powder and ammunition in the Kings Army, and that ther ſouldiers ſteale away daily for want of pay; and that all the hopes his Majeſty hath of ſupplies, is from the Earle of Newcaſtle, who ſhould receive them from beyond ſea: that the towne of Oxford is not ſo well fortified as is reported; and that the Kings Army there is nothing ſo ſtrong as they report it, and this was all the newes which he would relate to me for truth. And this I thought good to certifie unto you; and as con­cerning mine owne affaires, you may imagine, my deare friends, how heavie a burthen it is for mee to groane under the weight of this impriſonment, which ſurely is as grievous to mee as that was of the Prophets commit­ted by Ahab, to be fed with the bread and water of af­fliction; for Gentlemen, doe but conſider with your ſelves, if it were any of your owne caſes to be as I am at this inſtant, bereaved of your libertie, and by that meanes de­prived of the ſocietie of your friends and kindred, robb'd of all that is either pleaſant or delightfull to mankind; I doe believe (though the cauſe of your ſufferings were as noble as mine is, which is as noble and honeſt as ever cauſe was, or can be, your humane frailties wearied with7 the afflictions of your preſent misfortune, and conſidera­tion of your paſt happineſſe (would as I doe now) de­ſire liberty, to be freed from the griefes you are oppreſſed with, and be reſtored to the happineſſe you have beene ſo long deprived of. I wiſh, I profeſſe to you not my liberty ſo much for theſe ends though, as that by it I ought have occaſion to beſtow my ſelfe in the quarrell of the Common-wealth againſt theſe divelliſh Cavaliers, who have vilified mee as much as it is poſſible for ſuch traducers of God and all good men to doe; nor ſhould I ever receive ſo much comfort from any worldly bleſ­ſing, as to ſee my ſelfe once more in the field in com­pleat harneſſe againſt thoſe Malignants to the Common-wealth, they ſhould then quickly perceive I ſhould with Gods Grace, be able to right my ſelfe of part of the a­buſes they have with ſo much deſpight caſt upon me

I would therefore deſire you, deare and truly friends, to uſe all the meanes in your poſſibilities that may pro­cure my liberty. I know the honourable the high Court of Parliament wil not be wanting to the effecting of my freedome; and I doe believe his Excellency the Earle of Eſſex, might by the commutation or exchange of ano­ther Captaine of their ſide for mee, worke my reſtitu­tion to libertie: his Excellencies owne noble diſpoſition and the affection hee beares naturally to his Souldiers and Commanders, will be as forward in any treaty of that nature as you will deſire hee ſhould be; let me there­fore injoyne you, as you have ever reſpected the good of your unfortunate friend, or ever will give a teſtimony of the reallitie of your ufaigned affections to mee, to omit no occaſion, either by this meanes or any other, which to you may appeare better for the ſudden reſtitu­tion of my libertie, which is not more precious to mee then my ardent deſires of expreſſing in the moſt ample manner my affections to the common-wealth, my zeale to Gods true Religion; and laſt of all, my love to you8 Gentlemen, whom I eſteeme as deare as my ſelfe, and wiſh none of you may ever have ſo much misfortunes as to fall into the hands of theſe inhumane Butchers, the Cavaliers. I ſhall not need with any further inducements or circumſtances to ingage you to a forwardneſſe in my behalfe, I ſhould then in that, abuſe the integritie of your honeſt friendſhip, I know I cannot be more ready to deſire your paines in this kind then you will be to im­ply them; and ſo the God of mercy and peace bleſſe, ſanctifie and preſerve you all, and ſend the light of his countenance, his beſt of bleſſing downe on the honou­rable the High Court of Parliament, that they may pro­ceed cheerefully as they have begun for the glory of God and all our goods in the great buſineſſe of the Com­mon-wealth, And if I be never ranſomed, but die in my impriſonment, I ſhall joyfully take my lot, and thinke I fell happy in ſuffering for my Religion and Countrey, the Common-wealths true ſervant, and your entire friend,

I. L.

About this transcription

TextA letter sent from Captaine Lilburne, to divers of his friends, citizens, and others of good account in London, wherein he fully expresseth the misery of his imprisonment, and the barbarous usage of the Cavaliers towards him. Desiring them (if it were possible) to use some means for his releasement.
AuthorLilburne, John, 1614?-1657..
Extent Approx. 11 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 5 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A88215)

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Bibliographic informationA letter sent from Captaine Lilburne, to divers of his friends, citizens, and others of good account in London, wherein he fully expresseth the misery of his imprisonment, and the barbarous usage of the Cavaliers towards him. Desiring them (if it were possible) to use some means for his releasement. Lilburne, John, 1614?-1657.. 8 p. Printed for Iames Rogers,London :1643.. (Annotation on Thomason copy: "Jan: 3d".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Prisoners' writings, English -- Early works to 1800.
  • Great Britain -- History -- Civil War, 1642-1649 -- Early works to 1800.

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