To the Choſen and betruſted Knights, Citizens, and Burgeſſes,
aſſembled in the High and Supream Court of Parliament.

The humble Petition of Elizabeth Lilburne, Wife to Leut. Coll: John Lilburne, who hath been for above eleven weeks
by paſt, moſt unjuſtly divorced from him, by the Houſe of lords, and their Tyrannicall Officers, againſt the Law of God, and (as ſhe conceives) the Law of the Land.


That you only and alone, are choſen by the Commons of England to maintain their Lawes, and Liberties, and to do them Justice and Right (a) Coll. of decl: pag. 254 336, 382, 508, 613, 705, 711, 716, 721, 724, 725, 726, 729. 730 which you have often before God and the World ſworne to do (b) coll. decl. page 361 863. proteſtation and covenant. yea, and in divers of your Declarations declared, it is your duty (in regard of the truſt repoſed in you) ſo to do (c) coll. declr. pag: 81, 172, 262, 266, 267, 340, 459. 462, 471, 473 488, 690. without any private aimes, perſonall reſpects, or paſſions whatſoever (d) col. decler: p. 464, 490. 750 and that you think nothing to good to be hazarded, in the diſcharge of your Conſciences for the obtaining of theſe ends. (e) coll. declar. pag. 214. and that you will give up your ſelves to the uttermoſt of your power and judgment to maintain truth, and conforme your ſelves to the will of God, (f) coll. declerp. pag. 666. (which is to do Juſtice and (g) Ier. 22. 15, 16, 17. right, and ſecure the perſons eſtates and liberties of all that joyned with you, (h) col. decler. page 666, 673. impricating the Judgments of Heaven to fall upon you, when you decline from theſe ends, you judging it the greateſt ſcandall that can be laid upon you, that you either do or intend to ſubvert the Lawes, Liberties, and Freedomes of the people, (i) col. decler p. 264, 281, 494. 497, 654, 694, 696. which freedomes &c you your ſelves call, the Common Birthright of English-Men, (k) col. decler. p. 7. 38 140, 845, who are borne equally free, and to whom the Law of the Land is an equall inheritance) and therfore you confeſſe in your Declaration of 1642-10-2323. Octob. 1642 (l) pag, 660. It is your duty to uſe your beſt endeavours, that the meanest of the Commonality, may enjoy their own birth-right, freedome, and liberty of the Lawes of the Land, being equally (as you ſay) intituled thereunto With the greateſt ſubject, The knowledge of which as comming from your own mouths and pen, imboldneth your Petitioner (with confidence) to make her humble addreſſes to you, and to put you in mind that her huſband above two moneths agoe made his formall and legall appeal to you againſt the injuſtice, and uſurpation of the Lords acted upon him, which you received, read, committed, and promiſed him Justice. But as yet no report is made of his buſineſſe, nor any reliefe or actuall Justice holden out unto him, although you have ſince found time to paſſe the Compoſitions as pardons, for the infranchiſing many of thoſe that your ſelves have declared Traytors, and Enemies to the Kingdome, which is no ſmall cauſe of ſorrow to your Petitioner, and many others, that her Husband who hath adventured his life, and all that he had in the World, in your loweſt condition for you, ſhould be ſo ſleighted and diſregarded by you, as though you had forgot the duty you owe to the Kingdome, and your many oaths, vowes, and Declarations, which neglect hath haſtned the almoſt utter ruine of your Petitioner her husband, and ſmall Children: For the lords in a moſt Tyrannicall and barbarous manner, (being incouraged by your neglect) have ſince committed her husband for about three Weeks cloſe priſoner to Newgate, locked him up in a little roome, without the uſe of pen, inke or paper (for no other cauſe but for refuſing to kneel at the Bar, of thoſe, that by Law are none of his Judges) (m) Magna Cha rta 29. Sir E. Cook 2. part. inſtitutes folio, 18,29. 46. Rot. 2, Ed. 3. the cruell Jaylers all that time refuſing, to let your Petitioner, or any of his friends, to ſet their feet over the threſhold of his Chamber dore, or to come in to the priſon yard to ſpeak with him, or to deliver unto his hands, either meat, drink, mony, or any other neceſſaries; A moſt barbarous and illegall cruelty! ſo much complained of by your ſelves in your Petition and Remonſtrance to the King, 1641-12-011. Decemb. 1641. (n) col, decler. 6, 7, 8. and deteſted and abhorred there by you, as actions and cruelties being more the proper iſhues of the Turks, Pagans, Tyrants, and men without any knowledge of God, then of thoſe that have the leaſt ſpark of Chriſtianity, honour or Justice in their breaſts: And then while they thus tyrannified over your Petitioners Husband, they command (as your Petitioner is informed) Mr. Seargeant Finch, Mr. Hearne, Mr. Haile, and Mr. Glover, to draw up a Charge againſt your Petitioners Husband, without giving him the leaſt notice in the world of it, to ſit himſelfe againſt the day of his Tryall, but contrary to al Law, Justice, and Conſcience, dealt worſe with him then ever the Star-Chamber did, not only in keeping his Lawyers from him, but even all manner of Counſellers and Friends, whatſoever, even at that time when they were about to try him, and then of a ſudden ſend a warrant, for him to come to their Bar (who had no legall authority over him) to heare his Charge read, where he found the Earle of Mancheſter his profeſſed Enemy, and the only party (of a lord) concerned in the buſineſſe, to be his chiefe Judge, contrary to that juſt Maxime of Law, that no man ought to be both party and Judge, A practice which the unjuſt Star-Chamber it ſelfe, in the daies of its tyranny, did bluſh at, and refuſe to practice, as was often ſeen in the lord Coventries caſe, &c.) And without any regard to the Earle of Mancheſters impeachment (in your Houſe) of Treachery to his Country, by Leut. Gen. Cromwell. which is commonly reported to be punctually and fully proved, and a Charge of a higher nature then he Earle of Straffords, for which he loſt his head, And which alſo renders him (ſo long as he ſtands ſo impeached) uncapable, in any ſence, of being a Judg, And a great wrong and injuſtice it is unto the Kingdom to permit him, and to himſelfe, if innocent not to have had a legall tryall ere this to his, Juſtification or condemnation. And beſides all this, becauſe your Petitioners husband ſtood to his appeale, to your honers, and would not betray Englands Liberties, which you have, all of you, ſworne to preſerve maintain, and defend; they, moſt arbitrarily, illegally, and tyrannically, ſentenced your Petitioners ſaid Husband to pay 4000 l. to the King (not to the State) for ever to be uncapable to bear any office in Church or Common-Wealth, either Marſhall or Civill, and to lie ſeven years a priſoner is the extraordinary chargeable priſon of the Tower, where he is in many particulars, as illegally dealt withall, as he was, when he was in Newgate.

Now foraſmuch as the lords as they claime themſelves to be a Houſe of Peers, have no legall judgment about Commoners, that your Petitioner can heare of, but what is expreſſed in the Statute of the 14. Ed. 3. 5. which are, delayes of juſtice, or error in judgment in inferior Courts only, and that with ſuch limitations, and qualifications, as are there expreſſed. which are, that there ſhall be one Biſhop, at leaſt, in the judgment, and an expreſſe Commiſſion from the King for their medling with it, All which was wanting in the caſe of your Petitioners Husband being begun and ended by themſelves alone, and alſo ſeeing that by the 29. of Magna Charta your Petitioners husband, or any other Commoner whatſoever, incriminall caſes are not to be tryed other wiſe then by their Peers, which Sir Edward Cook, in his Expoſition of Magna Charta (which book is printed by your own ſpeciall authority) ſaith is meant [Equals] folio 28. In which (ſaith he) folio 29. are compriſed, Knights, Eſquires, Gentlemen, Citizens, Yeomen, and Burgeſſes of ſeverall degrees, but no Lords, And in page: 46 he saith: No man ſhall be diſſeiſed,] that is, put out of ſeiſon, or diſpoſſed of his freehold (that is ſaith he) Lands. or livelihood, or of his liberties, or free cuſtomes,] that is, of ſuch francheſſes, and freedomes, and free cuſtomes, as belong to him, by his free birth-right, unleſſe it be by the Lawfull judgment] that is, Verdict of his Equals, (that is) (ſaith he) of [men of his own condition: ] Or by the Law of the Land] (that is, to ſpeake it once for all) by the due courſe and proſſes of Law. And (ſaith he) No man ſhall be in any ſort deſtroyed, unleſſe it be by the Verdict and judgment of his Peers [that is, Equals, or by the Law of the Land. And the Lords themſelves, in old time, did truly confeſſe: that for them to give judgment of a Commoner, in a criminall caſe, is contrary to Law, as is cleer by the Parliaments record in the caſe of Sir Simon de Bertford: 4. Ed. Rot. 2. the Copie of which is ſtill in the hands of M. Henry Martin, And they there record it, that his caſe who was condemned by them for murthering King Edward. 2. ſhall not be drawn in future time into preſident becauſe it was contrary to Law, they being not his Peers, that is his Equals. And foraſmuch as the manner of their proceedings was contrary to all the formall waies of the Law publikely eſtabliſhed by Parliament in this Kingdome, as appeares by ſeverall Statutes (o) 5. Ed. 3. 9. 25. Ed. 3. 4. 37 Ed. 3. 8. 38. Ed. 3. 9. 42, Ed. 3. 3. 17. Ri. 2. 6. Rot. parli. 43. Ed 3. Sir Jo: Alees caſe, Num 21, 22, 23, &c. lib. 10. fol. 74. in caſe dela. marſhalſea, ſee Cook, 2, part inſti: fol. 46. which expreſly ſay, that none ſhall be impriſoned nor put out of his free-hold, nor of his frencheſes, nor free Cuſtomes, unleſſe it be by the law of the Land, And that none ſhall be taken by Petition or Suggeſtion made to the King, or to his Counſell, unleſſe it be by endictment, or preſentment of good and lawfull people of the ſame neighbourhood where ſuch deeds be done, indue manner, or by procees made, by writ originall at the Common-Law: Which Statutes are Nominally and expreſly confirmed by the Petition of right, by the act made this preſent Parliament for the abolliſhing the Star-Chamber, and thereby all acts repealed that formerly were made in derogation of them. But contrary hereunto the lords (like thoſe wicked Juſtices ſpoken of by Sir Edward Cooke, inſtead of trying her husband by the Law of the Land, proceed againſt him by a partiall tryall flowing from their Arbitrary will, pleaſure, and diſcreſſion. For though they ſummoned him up to their bar, 1646-06-10June 10. 1646. to anſwer a Charge, yet they refuſed to ſhew it him, or give him a Copy of it, but committed him to New-Gate 1646-06-11June 11. 1646. (although he behaved himſelfe then, with reſpect towards them, both in word and geſture) meerly for refuſing to anſwer to their Spaniſh-Inquiſition-like-Interogatories, and for delivering his legall Proteſtation. There mittimus being as illeggall as their ſummoning of him, and their other proceedings with him. There commitment running, To be kept their not till he be delivered by due courſe of Law; but During their pleasure, which, Sir Edward Cook ſaith, is illegal, (q) 2. part. inſti: fol. 52, 53. and then locked up cloſe, that ſo he might be in an impoſſibility to underſtand how they intended to proceed againſt him.

Wherefore your Petitioner humbly prayeth to grant unto her husband the benefit of the Law, and to admit him to your Bar himſelfe, to plead his own cauſe, if you be not ſatiſfied in the manner of his proceedings, or elſe according to Law, justice, and that duty and obligation that lieth upon; forthwith to releaſe him from his unjuſt impriſonment, and to reſtrain and prohibit the illegall and arbitrary proceedings of the lords; according to that ſufficient power enſtated upon you; for the enabling you faithfully to diſcharge the truſt repoſed in you, and to vacuate this his illegall ſentence and fine; and to give him juſt and honourable repairations, from the Lords, and all thoſe that have unjuſtly executed their unjuſt commands, It being a rule in law, and a Maxim made uſe of by your ſelves in your Declaration 2. 16421642. (r) col decle. p. 733. That the Kings illegall commands, though accompanied with his preſence, doe not excuſe thoſe that obey them much leſſe the Lords, with which the Law accordeth; And ſo was reſolved by the Judges, 16. Henr. 6, (s) See Cook. 2. part. inſti. fol. 187. And that you will legally and judicially, examine the Crimes of the Earle of Mancheſter, and Col. King, which the Petitioners husband and others, have ſo often complained to you off; and do examplary juſtice upon them actording to their deſerts; or elſe according to Law and juſtice puniſh thoſe (if any) that have falſly complained of them. And that you would without further delay give us relief by doing us Justice. All which, ſhe the rather earneſtly deſireth, becauſe his impriſonment in the Tower is extraordinary chargeable and inſupportable. Although by right, and the cuſtome of that place, his fees, chamber, and diet ought to be allowed him and paid out of the treaſure of the Crowne) he having waſted and ſpent himſelfe with almoſt ſix yeares attendance, and expectation upon your honours for juſtice and repairations againſt his barbarous ſentence &c. of the Star-Chamber, to his extraordinary charge and dammage, and yet never received a penny, and alſo loſt divers hundreds of pounds, the yeare, he was a priſoner in Oxford Caſtle for you, neither can he receive his Arrears for his faithfull ſervice with the Earle of Mancheſter, although he ſpent, with him, much of his own mony, And the laſt year, by the unadviſed means of ſome Members of his Honourable Houſe was committed priſoner for above 3. moneths, to his extraordinary charges and expences; and yet in concluſion, he was releaſt, and to this day knoweth not wherefore he was imprisoned, for which according to law and juſtice he ought to receive reparations, but he never yet had a penny, all which particulars being conſidered, do render the condition of your Petitioner, her husband, and children, to be very nigh ruine and deſtruction, unleſſe your ſpeedy and long-expected juſtice prevent the ſame, Which your Petitioner doth earneſtly intreat at your hands as her right, and that which in equity honour and conſcience cannot be denyed her.

And as in duty bound, ſhe ſhall ever pray, that your hearts may be kept upright, and thereby enabled timely and faithfully to diſcharge the duty you owe to the Kingdome according to the Great Trust repoſed in you, and ſo free your ſelves from giving cause to be judged men that ſeeke your ſelves more then the publique good.

London 23 obscured 1646

Elizabeth Lilburne.