Note: This is part of the Leveller Collection of Tracts and Pamphlets.
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T.182 [1649.02.26] John Lilburne, Englands New Chains Discovered (26 February 1649).
John Lilburne, Englands New Chains Discovered; or The serious apprehensions of a part of the People, in behalf of the Commonwealth; (being Presenters, Promoters, and Approvers of the Large Petition of September 11. 1648.) Presented to the Supreme Authority of England, the Representers of the people in Parliament assembled. By Lieut. Col. John Lilburn, and divers other Citizens of London, and Borough of Southwark; February 26. 1648. whereunto his speech delivered at the bar is annexed.
26 February 1649.
TT1, p. 726; Thomason E. 545. (27.)
Since you have done the Nation so much right, and your selves so much honour as to declare that the People (under God) are the original of all just Powers; and given us thereby fair grounds to hope, that you really intend their Freedom and Prosperity; yet the way thereunto being frequently mistaken, and through hast or error of judgement, those who mean the best, are many times mis-led so far to the prejudice of those that trust them, as to leave them in a condition neerest to bondage, when they have thought they had brought them into a way of Freedom. And since woful experience hath manifested this to be a Truth, there seemeth no small reason that you should seriously lay to heart what at present we have to offer, for discovery and prevention of so great a danger. And because we have bin the first movers in and concerning an Agreement of the People, as the most proper and just means for the setting the long and tedious distractions of this Nation, occasioned by nothing more, than the uncertainty of our government; and since there hath bin an Agreement prepared and presented by some Officers of the Army to this honourable House, as what they thought requisite to be agreed unto by the People (you approving thereof) we shall in the first place deliver our apprehensions thereupon.
That an Agreement between those that trust, and those who are trusted hath appeared a thing acceptable to this honorable House, his Excellency, and the Officers of the Army, is as much to our rejoycing, as we conceive it just in it self, and profitable for the Common-wealth, and cannot doubt but that you will protect those of the people, who have no waies forfeited their Birth-right, in their proper liberty of taking this, or any other, as God and their own Considerations shall direct them.
Which we the rather mention, for that many particulars in the Agreement before you, are upon serious examination thereof, dissatisfactory to most of those who are very earnestly desirous of an Agreement, and many very material things seem to be wanting therein, which may be supplyed in another: As
1. They are now much troubled there should be any Intervalls between the ending of this Representative, and the begining of the next as being desirous that this present Parliament that hath lately done so great things in so short a time, tending to their Liberties, should sit; until with certainty and safety they can see them delivered into the hands of another Representative, rather than to leave them (though never so small a time) under the dominion of a Councel of State; a Constitution of a new and unexperienced Nature, and which they fear, as the case now stands, may design to perpetuate their power, and to keep off Parliaments for ever.
2. They now conceive no less danger, in that it is provided that Parliaments for the future are to continue but 6. moneths, and a Councel of State 18. In which time, if they should prove corrupt, having command of all Forces by Sea and Land, they will have great opportunities to make themselves absolute and unaccountable: And because this is a danger, than which there cannot well be a greater; they generally incline to Annual Parliaments, bounded and limited as reason shall devise, not dissolvable, but to be continued or adjourned as shall seem good in their discretion, during that yeer, but no longer; and then to dissolve of course, and give way to those who shall be chosen immediatly to succeed them, and in the Intervals of their adjournments, to entrust an ordinary Committee of their own members, as in other cases limited and bounded with express instructions, and accountable to the next Session, which will avoid all those dangers feared from a Councel of State, as at present this is constituted.
3. They are not satisfied with the clause, wherein it is said, that the power of the Representatives shall extend to the erecting and abolishing of Courts of justice; since the alteration of the usual way of Tryals by twelve sworn men of the Neighborhood, may be included therein: a constitution so equal and just in it self, as that they conceive it ought to remain unalterable. Neither is it cleer what is meant by these words, (viz.) That the Representatives have the highest final judgement. They conceiving that their Authority in these cases, is onely to make Laws, Rules, and Directions for other Courts and Persons assigned by Law for the execution thereof; unto which every member of the Commonwealth, as well those of the Representative, as others, should be alike subject; it being likewise unreasonable in it self, and an occasion of much partiality, injustice, and vexation to the people, that the Lawmakers, should be Law-executors.
4. Although it doth provide that in the Laws hereafter to be made, no person by vertue of any Tenure, Grant, Charter, Patent, Degree, or Birth, shall be priviledged from subjection thereunto, or from being bound thereby, as well as others; Yet doth it not null and make void those present Protections by Law, or otherwise; nor leave all persons, as well Lords as others, alike liable in person and estate, as in reason and conscience they ought to be.
5. They are very much unsatisfied with what is exprest as a reserve from the Representative, in matters of Religion, as being very obscure, and full of perplexity, that ought to be most plain and clear; there having occurred no greater trouble to the Nation about any thing than by the intermedling of Parliaments in matters of Religion.
6. They seem to conceive it absolutely necessary, that there be in their Agreement, a reserve from ever having any Kingly Government, and a bar against restoring the House of Lords, both which are wanting in the Agreement which is before you.
7. They seem to be resolved to take away all known and burdensome grievances, as Tythes, that great oppression of the Countries industry and hindrance of Tillage: Excise, and Customs, Those secret thieves, and Robbers, Drainers of the poor and middle sort of People, and the greatest Obstructers of Trade, surmounting all the prejudices of Ship-mony, Pattents, and Projects, before this Parliament: also to take away all Monopolizing Companies of Marchants, the hinderers and decayers of Clothing and Cloth-working, Dying, and the like useful professions; by which thousands of poor people might be set at work, that are now ready to starve, were Marchandizing restored to its due and proper freedom: they conceive likewise that the three grievances before mentioned, (viz.) Monopolizing Companies, Excise, and Customes, do exceedingly prejudice Shiping, and Navigation, and Consequently discourage Sea-men, and Marriners, and which have had no smal influence upon the late unhappy revolts which have so much endangered the Nation, and so much advantaged your enemies. They also incline to direct a more equal and lesse burdensome way for levying monies for the future, those other fore-mentioned being so chargable in the receipt, as that the very stipends and allowance to the Officers attending thereupon would defray a very great part of the charge of the Army; whereas now they engender and support a corrupt interest. They also have in mind to take away all imprisonment of disabled men, for debt; and to provide some effectual course to enforce all that are able to a speedy payment, and not suffer them to be sheltered in Prisons, where they live in plenty, whilst their Creditors are undone. They have also in mind to provide work, and comfortable maintainance for all sorts of poor, aged, and impotent people, and to establish some more speedy, lesse troublesome and chargeable way for deciding of Controversies in Law, whole families having been ruined by seeking right in the wayes yet in being: All which, though of greatest and most immediate concernment to the People, are yet omitted in their Agreement before you.
These and the like are their intentions in what they purpose for an Agreement of the People, as being resolved (so far as they are able) to lay an impossibility upon all whom they shall hereafter trust, of ever wronging the Common wealth in any considerable measure, without certainty of ruining themselves, and as conceiving it to be an improper tedious, and unprofitable thing for the People, to be ever runing after their Representatives with Petitions for redresse of such Grievances as may at once be removed by themselves, or to depend for these things so essential to their happinesse and freedom, upon the uncertain judgements of several Representatives, the one being apt to renew what the other hath taken away.
And as to the use of their Rights and Liberties herein as becometh, and is due to the people, from whom all just powers are derived; they hoped for and expect what protection is in you and the Army to afford: and we likewise in their and our own behalfs do earnestly desire, that you will publikely declare your resolution to protect those who have not forfeited their liberties in the use thereof, lest they should conceive that the Agreement before you being published abroad, and the Commissioners therein nominated being at work in persuance thereof, is intended to be imposed upon them, which as it is absolutely contrary to the nature of a free Agreement, so we are perswaded it cannot enter into your thoughts to use any impulsion therein.
But although we have presented our apprehensions and desires concerning this great work of an Agreement, and are apt to perswade our selves that nothing shall be able to frustrate our hopes which we have built thereupon; yet have we seen and heard many things of late, which occasions not only apprehensions of other matters intended to be brought upon us of danger to such an Agreement, but of bondage and ruine to all such as shall pursue it.
Insomuch that we are even agast and astonished to see that notwithstanding the productions of the highest notions of freedom that ever this Nation, or any people in the world, have brought to light, notwithstanding the vast expence of blood and treasure that hath been made to purchase those freedoms, notwithstanding the many eminent and even miraculous Victories God hath been pleased to honour our just Cause withall, notwithstanding the extraordinary gripes and pangs, this House hath suffered more than once at the hands of your own servants, and that at least seemingly for the obtaining these our Native Liberties.
When we consider what rackings and tortures the People in general have suffered through decay of Trade, and deernesse of food, and very many families in particular, through Free-quarter, Violence, and other miseries, incident to warre, having nothing to support them therein, but hopes of Freedom, and a well-setled Common-wealth in the end.
That yet after all these things have bin done and suffered, and whilst the way of an Agreement of the People is owned, and approved, even by your selves, and that all men are in expectation of being put into possession of so deer a purchase; Behold! in the close of all, we hear and see what gives us fresh and pregnant cause to believe that the contrary is really intended, and that all those specious pretenses, and high Notions of Liberty, with those extraordinary courses that have of late bin taken (as if of necessity for liberty, and which indeed can never be justified, but deserve the greatest punishments, unless they end in just liberty, and an equal Government) appear to us to have bin done and directed by some secret powerful influences, the more securely and unsuspectedly to attain to an absolute domination over the Common-wealth: It being impossible for them, but by assuming our generally approved Principles, and hiding under the fair shew thereof their other designs, to have drawn in so many good and godly men (really aiming at what the other had but in shew and pretense) and making them unwittingly instrumental to their own and their Countries Bondage.
For where is that good, or where is that liberty so much pretended, so deerly purchased? If we look upon what this House hath done since it hath voted it self the Supreme Authority, and disburthened themselves of the power of the Lords. First, we find a high Court of Justice erected, for Tryal of Criminal causes; whereby that great and strong hold of our preservation, the way of tryal by 12. sworn men of the Neighborhood is infringed, all liberty of exception against the tryers, is over-ruled by a Court consisting of persons pickt and chosen in an unusual way; the practise whereof we cannot allow of, though against open and notorious enemies; as well because we know it to be an usual policy to introduce by such means all usurpations, first against Adversaries, in hope of easier admission; as also, for that the same being so admited, may at pleasure be exercised against any person or persons whatsoever. This is the first part of our new liberty. The next is the censuring of a Member of this House, for declaring his judgement in a point of Religion, which is directly opposite to the Reserve in the Agreement concerning Religion. Besides the Act for pressing of Sea-men, directly contrary to the Agreement of the Officers. Then the stoping of our mouths from Printing, is carefully provided for, and the most severe and unreasonable Ordinances of Parliament that were made in the time of Hollis and Stapletons reign, to gag us from speaking truth, and discovering the tyrannies of bad men are refered to the care of the General, and by him to his Marshal, to be put in execution; in searching, fining, imprisoning, and other waies corporally punishing all that any waies be guilty of unlicensed Printing; They dealing with us as the Bishops of old did with the honest Puritan, who were exact in geting Laws made against the Papist, but really intended them against the Puritan, and made them feel the smart of them: Which also hath bin, and is dayly exercised most violently, whereby our Liberties have bin more deeply wounded, than since the begining of this Parliament; and that to the dislike of the Souldiery, as by their late Petition in that behalf plainly appeareth. Then whereas it was expected that the Chancery, and Courts of justice in Westminster, and the Judges and Officers thereof should have bin surveyed, and for the present regulated, till a better and more equal way of deciding controversies could have bin constituted) that the trouble and charge of the people in their suits should have bin abated: Insteed hereof, the old and advanced fees are continued, and new thousand pounds Annual stipends alotted; when in the corruptest times the ordinary fees were thought a great and a sore burden; in the mean time, and in lieu thereof, there is not one perplexity or absurdity in proceedings taken away. Those Petitioners that have moved in behalf of the people, how have they bin entertained? Somtimes with the complement of empty thanks, their desires in the mean time not at all considered; at other times meeting with Reproches and Threats for their constancy and publike affections, and with violent motions, that their Petitions be burnt by the common Hangman, whilst others are not taken in at all; to so small an account are the people brought, even while they are flattered with notions of being the Original of all just power. And lastly, for compleating this new kind of liberty, a Councel of State is hastily erected for Guardians thereof, who to that end are possessed with power to order and dispose all the forces appertaining to England by Sea or Land, to dispose of the publike Treasure, to command any person whatsoever before them, to give oath for the discovering of Truth, to imprison any that shall dis-obey their commands, and such as they shall judge contumatious. What now is become of that liberty that no mans person shall be attached or imprisoned, or otherwise dis-eased of his Free-hold, or free Customs, but by lawful judgement of his equals? We entreat you give us leave to lay these things open to your view) and judge impartially of our present condition, and of your own also, that by strong and powerfull influences of some persons, are put upon these and the like proceedings, which both you and we ere long (if we look not to it) shall be inforced to subject our selves unto; then we have further cause to complain, when we consider the persons: as first, the chief of the Army directly contrary to what themselves thought meet in their Agreement for the People. 2. Judges of the Law and Treasurers for monies. Then 5. that were Members of the Lords House, and most of them such as have refused to approve of your Votes and proceedings, concerning the King and Lords. 2. of them Judges in the Star-chamber, and approvers of the bloudy and tyrannical sentences issuing from thence.
Some of your own House, forward men in the Treaty, and decliners of your last proceedings; all which do cleerly manifest to our understandings that the secret contrivers of those things doe think themselves now so surely guarded by the strength of an Army, by their dayly Acts and Stratagems, to their ends inclined, and the captivation of this House, that they may now take off the Vail and Cloak of their designes as dreadlesse of what ever can be done against them. By this Councel of State, all power is got into their own hands, a project which hath been long and industriously laboured for; and which being once firmly and to their liking established their next motions may be upon pretense of ease to the People, for the dissolution of this Parliament, half of whose time is already swallowed up by the said Councel now, because no obstacle lies in their way, to the full establishment of these their ends, but the uncorrupted part of the Souldiery, that have their eyes fixed upon their engagements and promises of good to the People, and resolve by no threats or allurements to decline the same; together with that part of the people in Citie and Countries, that remain constant in their motions for Common goods and still persist to run their utmost hazards for procurement of the same, by whom all evil mens designes both have, and are still likely to find a check and discovery. Hereupon the grand contrivers fore-mentioned, whom we can particular by name, do begin to raise their spleen, and manifest a more violent enmitie against Souldiers and People, disposed as afore-said, than ever heretofore, as appeareth by what lately past, at a meeting of Officers, on Feb. 22. last, at White-Hall, where after expressions of much bitternesse against the most Conscientious part of the Souldiery, and others, it was insisted upon, (as we are from very credible hands certainly informed) that a motion should be made to this House for the procurement of a Law enabling them to put to death all such as they should judge by Petitions or otherwise to disturbe the present proceedings; and upon urging that the Civil Magistrate should do it, It was answered, that they could hang twenty ere the Magistrate one. It was likewise urged that Orders might be given to seize upon the Petitioners, Souldiers, or others, at their meetings, with much exclamation against some of greatest integritie to your just Authority, whereof they have given continual and undenyable assurances. A Proclamation was likewise appointed, forbidding the Souldiers to Petition you, or any but their Officers, prohibiting their correspondencies: And private Orders to be given out for seizing upon Citizens and Souldiers at their meetings. And thus after these fair blossoms of hopefull liberty, breaks forth this bitter fruit, of the vilest and basest bondage that ever English men groan’d under: whereby this notwithstanding is gained (viz.) an evident and (we hope) a timely discovery of the instruments, from whence all the evils, contrivances, and designes (which for above these eighteen moneths have been strongly suspected) took their rise and original, even ever since the first breach of their Promises and engagements made at New Market, Triploe Heath, with the Agitators and People. It being for these ends that they have so violently opposed all such as manifested any zeal for Common Right, or any regard to the Faith of the Army, sentencing some to death, others to reproachfull punishments, placing and displacing Officers according as they shewed themselves serviceable or opposite to their designes, listing as many as they thought good, even of such as have served in Arms against you: And then again upon pretence of easing the charge of the People, disbanding Supernumeraries, by advantage thereof picking out, such as were most cordial and active for Common good; thereby moulding the Army (as far as they could) to their own bent and ends premised; exercising Martial Law with much cruelty, thereby to debase their spirits, and make them subservient to their wils and pleasures extending likewise their power (in many cases) over persons not Members of the Army.
And when in case of opposition and difficult services, they have by their creatures desired a Reconciliation with such as at other times they reproached, vilified, and otherwise abased; and through fair promises of good, and dissembled repentance gained their association and assistance, to the great advantage of their proceedings: yet their necessities being over, and the Common enemy subdued, they have sleighted their former promises, and renewed their hate and bitternesse against such their assistances, reproaching them with such appellations as they knew did most distaste the People, such as Levellers, Jesuites, Anarchists, Royalists, names both contradictory in themselves, and altogether groundlesse in relation to the men so reputed; meerly relying for releese thereof upon the easinesse and credulity of the People.
And though the better to insinuate themselves, and get repute with the People, as also to conquer their necessities, they have bin fane to make use of those very principles and productions, the men they have so much traduced, have brought to light: yet the producers themselves they have and doe still more eagerly maligne than ever, as such whom they know to bee acquainted to their deceipts, and deviations and best able to discover the same.
So that now at length, guessing all to be sure, and their own (the King being removed, the House of Lords nulled, their long plotted Councel of State erected, and this House awed to their ends,) the edge of their mallice is turning against such as have yet so much courage left them as to appear for the well establishment of Englands Liberties: and because God hath preserved a great part of the Army untainted with the guilt of the designes aforementioned, who cannot without much danger to the designers themselves be suppressed, they have resolved to put this House upon raising more new forces, (notwithstanding the present necessities of the People, in maintaining those that are already) in doing whereof, though the pretence be danger, and opposition, yet the concealed end is like to be the over-ballancing those in the Army, who are resolved to stand for true Freedome, as the end of all their labours, the which (if they should be permitted to do) they would not then doubt of making themselves absolute seizures, Lords and Masters, both of Parliament and People; which when they have done we expect the utmost of misery, nor shall it grieve us to expire with the liberties of our native Country: for what good man can with any comfort to himself survive then? But God hath hitherto preserved us, and the justice of our desires, as integrity of our intentions are dayly more and more manifest to the impartial and unprejudiced part of men; insomuch that it is no smal comfort to us, that notwithstanding we are upon all these disadvantages that may be, having neither power nor preheminence, the Common Idols of the world; our Cause and principles, do through their own natural truth and lustre get ground in mens understandings, so that where there was one, twelve moneths since, that owned our principles, we beleeve there are now hundreds, so that though we fail, our Truths prosper.
And posterity we doubt not shall reap the benefit of our endeavours, what ever shall become of us. However though we have neither strength nor safety before us, we have discharged our Consciences, and emptied our breasts unto you, knowing well that if you will make use of your power, and take unto you that courage which becomes men of your Trust and condition, you may yet through the goodnesse of God prevent the danger and mischief intended, and be instrumental in restoring this long enthralled and betrayed Nation into a good and happy condition.
For which end we most earnestly desire and propose, as the main prop and support of the work, that you will not dissolve this House, nor suffer your selves to be dissolved, until as aforesaid, you see a new Representative the next day ready to take your room; which you may confidently and safely insist upon, there being no considerable number in the Army or else-where, that will be so unworthy as to dare to disturb you therein.
2. That you will put in practise the self-denying Ordinance, the most just and useful that ever was made, and continually cryed out for by the people; whereby a great infamy that lies upon your cause will be removed, and men of powerful influences, and dangerous designes, deprived of those means and opportunities which now they have, to prejudice the publike.
3. That you will consider how dangerous it is for one and the same persons to be continued long in the highest commands of a Military power, especially acting so long distinct, and of themselves, as those now in being have done, and in such extraordinary waies whereunto they have accustomed themselves, which was the original of most Regalities and Tyrannies in the world.
4. That you appoint a Committee of such of your own members, as have bin longest establisht upon those rules of Freedom upon which you now proceed; to hear, examine, and conclude all controversies between Officers and Officers, and between Officers and Souldiers; to consider and mitigate the Law-Martial; and to provide that it be not exercised at all upon persons not of the Army: Also to release and repair such as have thereby unduly suffered, as they shall see cause: To consider the condition of the private Souldiers, both Horse and Foot in these deer times, and to allow them such increase of pay, as wherewithal they may live comfortably, and honestly discharge their Quarters: That all disbanding be refered to the said Committee, and that such of the Army as have served the King, may be first disbanded.
5. That you will open the Press, whereby all trecherous and tyranical designes may be the easier discovered, and so prevented, which is a liberty of greatest concernment to the Commonwealth and which such only as intend a tyrannie are engaged to prohibit: The mouths of Adversaries being best stopped, by the sensible good which the people receive from the actions of such as are in Authority.
6. That you wil (whilst you have opportunity) abate the charge of the Law, and reduce the stipends of judges, and all other Magistrates and Officers in the Common-wealth, to a less, but competent allowance, converting the over-plus to the publike Treasury, whereby the taxes of the people may be much eased.
7. But above all, that you will dissolve this present Councel of State, which upon the grounds fore-mentioned so much threatneth Tyrannie; and mannage your affairs by Committees of short continuance, and such as may be frequently and exactly accountable for the discharge of their Trusts.
8. That you will publish a strict prohibition, and severe penalty against all such, whether Committees, Magistrates, or Officers of what kind soever, as shall exceed the limits of their Commission, Rules, or Directions, and encourage all men in their informations and complaints against them.
9. That you will speedily satisfie the expectations of the Souldiers in point of Arrears, and of the people in point of Accounts, in such a manner, as that it may not as formerly, prove a snare to such as have bin most faithful, and a protection to the most corrupt, in the discharge of their trust and duties.
10. That the so many times complained of Ordinance for Tyths upon treble damages, may be forthwith taken away; all which, together with due regard shewed to Petitioners, without respect to their number and strength, would so fasten you in the affections of the people, and of the honest Officers and Souldiers, as that you should not need to fear any opposite power whatsoever: and for the time to come, of your selves enjoy the exercise of your Supreme Authority, whereof you have yet but the name onely; and be inabled to vindicate your just undertakings; wherein we should not onely rejoyce to have occasion to manifest how ready we should be to hazard our lives in your behalf, but should also bend all our studies and endeavours to render you Honorable to all future generations.
Febr. 26. 1648. Being ushered in by the Sergeant at Arms, and called to the Bar, with all due respects given unto the House, Lieutenant Colonel John Lilburn, with divers others, coming to the Bar next the Mace, with the Address in his hand, spake these words, or to this effect, as followeth.
I am very glad that without any inconvenience unto my self, and those that are with me, I may freely and cheerfully address my self to this honorable House, as the Supreme Authority of England (time was when I could not) and it much refresheth my spirit, to live to see this day, that you have made such a step to the Peoples Liberties, as to own and declare your selves to be (as indeed you are) the Supreme Authority of this Nation.
M. Speaker, I am desired by a company of honest men, living in and about London, who in truth do rightly appropriate to themselves, the Promoters, Presenters, and Approvers of the late Large London Petition of the 11. of Sept. last, (which was the first Petition I know of in England, that was presented to this honorable House against the late destructive Personal Treaty with the late King) to present you with their serious apprehensions; And give me leave (I beseech you) for my self and them, to say thus much; That for the most part of us we are those that in the worst of times durst own our Liberties and Freedoms, in the face of the greatest of our adversaries; and from the begining of these Wars, never shrunk from the owning of our Freedoms, in the most tempestuous times, nor changed our Principles: Nay Sir, let me with truth tell you, that to the most of us, our Wives, our Children, our Estates, our Relations, nay our Lives, and all that upon earth we can call Ours, have not bin so highly valued by us, as our Liberties and Freedoms; which our constant Actions (to the apparent hazard of our Bloud and Lives) have bin a cleer and full demonstration of, for these many yeers together.
And M. Speaker, give me leave to tell you, that I am confident our Liberties and Freedoms (the true and just end of all the late Wars) are so deer and precious to us, that we had rather our Lives should breath out with them, than to live One moment after the expiration of them.
M. Speaker, I must confess I am to present you with a paper, something of a new kind, for we have had no longer time to consider of it, than from Thursday last, and Warrants (as we are informed) issuing out against us to take us, from those that have no power over us; we durst not well go our ordinary way to work, to get Subscriptions to it, lest we should be surprised before we could present it to this honorable House, and so be frustrated in that benefit or relief that we justly expect from you; and to present it with a few hands, we judged inconsiderable in your estimation, and therefore chuse in the third place (being in so much hast as we were to prevent our eminent and too apparent ruine) in person to bring it to your Bar, and avowedly to present it here: And therefore without any further question, give me leave to tell you, I own it, and I know so doth all the rest of my Friends present; and if any hazard should ensue thereby, Give me leave resolvedly to tell you, I am sorry I have but one life to lose, in maintaining the Truth, justice, and Righteousness, of so gallant a piece.
M. Speaker, We own this honorable House (as of right) the true Guardian of our Liberties and Freedoms; and we wish and most heartily desire, you would rouse up your spirits (like men of gallantry) and now at last take unto your selves a magnanimous resolution, to acquit your selves (without fear or dread) like the chosen and betrusted Trustees of the People, from whom (as your selves acknowledge and declare) all just power is derived, to free us from all bondage and slavery, and really and truly invest us into the price of all our bloud, hazards, and toyls; Our Liberties and Freedoms, the true difference and distinction of men from beasts.
M. Speaker, Though my spirit is full in the sad apprehension of the dying condition of our Liberties and Freedoms: Yet at present I shall say no more, but in the behalf of my self and my friends, I shall earnestly entreat you to read these our serious Apprehensions seriously, and debate them deliberately.
This we have adventured to publish for the timely information and benefit of all that adhere unto the common interest of the people, hoping that with such, upon due consideration, it will find as large an acceptance, as our late Petition of Sept. 11. 1648. And we thought good (in regard we were not called in to receive an answer to the same) to acquaint you, that we intend to second it with a Petition sufficiently subscribed, we doubt not with many thousands, earnestly to solicite for an effectual Answer.