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.
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.
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 INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to that regMe is unmatched.(g) Jer. 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,

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
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
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
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, (p) 2. part. initi.
5. 1.
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, The anchoring character for the marginal note marked with “P” is not present in the text, but, based on the sequence of other annotations, it should appear between “which expresly say” and “Sir Edward Cook saith, is illegal”; based on the citation patterns in the document and contents of the note, it most likely was meant to follow “those wicked Justices spoken of by Sir Edward Cooke.”
(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
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 1 wordobscured 1646

Elizabeth Lilburne.