The Humble PETITION Of the Worshipful Thomas Adams, John Langham, and James Bunce, Aldermen of London.

Presented to the Lords at their Bar on Tuesday APRIL 25. 1648.

Wherein is declared their firm resolution to stand for the defence of the established Laws of the Land.

Also their Protestation against the Lords Jurisdi­ction over them or any other Commoners in Criminal Cases.

With their Appeal from the Lords to their proper and competent Judges (a Jury of their equals) and Judges sworn to proceed according to the known Law of England.

Together with A Salva Libertate by them sent to the Lieutenant of the Tower, APRIL 23. 1648.

The second Edition corrected.

Unto which is annexed a desire to have them read in all the Parish Churches of England and Wales.

London, Printed for J. Norris, April 25. 1648.

A Salva Libertate Sent to Colonel Tichburn Lieutenant of the Tower, on Sunday, April 23. by Thomas Adams, John Lang­ham, James Bunce, Aldermen of London, now Prisoners in the Tower.
Being occasioned by the receipt of a Paper sent unto them by the said Lieutenant wherin the said Lieut was seemingly authorized to carry them before the Lords on Tuesday next, being the 25 of APRIL.

To our honored Friend Col. Tichburn Lieutenant of the Tower.


WE received a Paper from you, seeming to authorize you to carry our persons before the Lords, to answer to a Charge: We are con­strained to inform you here by, that our persons ought not to be hurried to & fro, or disturbed [Page 4] at the pleasure of any man, neither can we yeeld obedience to the commands of any, which are not Legal; and therefore in case you intend to disturb us on Teusday next, we expect to see a legal Warrant from some person or Court, which have a Jurisdiction over us in case of a real or supposed Crime: And we must ac­quaint you, that the Lords have no legal power to summon us to answer to a­ny crime whereof we are accused or sus­pected: and therefore you must expect to answer for whatsoe­ver injury you offer to our persons, and know hereby, that we shall not voluntarily go from hence to Westminster by vertue of the paper received, but shal suffer you to carry us, if you shall send force which we cannot resist.

Your Friends and Servants,
  • Thomas Adams,
  • John Langham,
  • James Bunce.

To the right honorable the Lords assembled in PARLIAMENT. The humble Petition of Thomas Adams, John Langham, James Bunce Aldermen of London, &c.


THat if your Petitioners shall submit to your Lordships Jurisdiction over Commoners in those criminal cases or Novalisms in Law, intituled Articles of impeachment of high Treason and other mis­demeanors; They shall not only be Phe-loes de-ses, but also shall murther the persons, and ruine the estates of all the free born people of England; and that which is more, They shall betray the Common Law, which is the Supream Authority (under God) of the Nation, and the inheritance of every Free-mans posterity: And that which is worst of all, they shal be instrumental to pul down al the Judicatories of the Kingdom, and re­edifie an Arbitrary Government many stories higher then ever the Star Chamber, High Commission or Coun­cel Table were; and by the same rule that your Lord­ships have fined several Commoners 500l. a man for not kneeling or submitting to your Lordships Ju­risdiction in criminal cases, for which there is no Law, nay, which is absolutely and apparently against the fundamental Laws of the Land, and the ordinary rule of your own Court of Judicature, usually referring those causes which appertain to the Common Law, to the other Courrs of Justice, especially if the People [Page 6] desite it, so you may fine their fellow Citizens, and Commoners of England as many millions, and take away the lives and estates, of all as well as some, to the Perpetual destroying and inslaving the whole Kingdom. For by the 29 Chapter of the great Charter, all Commoners are to be tryed by their equals; and there are 30 Sessions of Parliament which confirm the great Charter, being a Statute declaratory of the Common Law, especially those eminent Laws, wherein your Lordships had your shares in making of them, viz. the Petition of Right in the 30 Caroli, and the Act for a­bolishing the Star-Chamber, and regulating the Coun­sel Table, in the 17. Caroli, in which many Statutes are enumerated, That Commoners ought to be tryed by their equals, by Bill of Indictment or writ original, and by those of their neighbourhood; And all Decrees and Judg­ments made contrary thereunto, are declared thereby to be null and void in Law, which bars all Presidents: And by severall Declarations and Ordinances your Lordships have declared, that Ordinances are no Laws, but temporary, during the Wars; and the cause of ne­cessity being taken away, your Lordships have promi­sed the free people of England, that they shall be govern­ed according to the known Laws of the Land, as it appears in the Ordinance dated the 15 of January, 1647. And it is against the Law of God, Nature and Nations, that any person or persons should be Judg and Parties, Ex­aminers & Accusers in their own cause, or to be tryed a­ny otherwise then by a known Law, for where there is no Law there is no transgression. It is declared by Sir Ed­ward Cook, that the Parliament cannot make a Law a­gainst the Law of Nature, which is custom according to Right and necessary Reason. That Presidents are no­thing [Page 7] in comparison of the Common and Statute Laws, being known Maximes in Law, A facto ad jus non va­let Argumentum; Gubernandum est legibus non exemplis: Articles are nothing in Law but meer Innovations and Prerogative extrajudicials, especially when ordinary persons are in question. The old Maxime in Law is, Non recurrendum est ad extraordinaria quando fieri po­test per ordinaria. And your Lordships are not only sworn, but have imposed several oaths, as the Protestati­on, and Solemn League and Covenant, upon the free Commoners of England; to defend the fundamental Laws of the Land. And they are confident your Lord­ships will be very tender of the preservation of the great Charter, in which is wrapped up our lives, liber­ties and estates; Your noble Predecessors being so glorious and famous Instruments in assisting the PEO­PLE, in purchasing the same.

Concerning the point of Presidents, which is all can be said for your Lordships, we shall give you this An­swer.

1. It is observable, that most Commoners, which have submitted to your Lorships Jurisdiction, were in the time of the Civil Wars, Flagrante Bello, not by compulsion, but by voluntary Petitions of the Commons in a summary way, to the King in person.

2. One President against your Lordships Jurisdi­ction is of more consequence then a thousand for it; The reason is plain, because all Courts of Judicature are bottomed upon the Law of the Land, and it cannot be supposed that any Court can be miscognizant of its own Jurisdiction. Your Lordships have confessed in Sir Simon de Berisfords case, that it is against the Law for Peers to try Commoners, and your Predeces­sors [Page] have promised upon record, that they wil never do the like again, though that occasion were superlative.

3. The Corporation of Cambridg was accused be­fore the King and Lords for complying with the Re­bels of Essex, Kent and Hartford, their Councel plea­ded against the Jurisdiction of the Lords House, in the point of Treason, and the King and Lords allowed of the Plea, as appears Rot. Parl. 5. Rich. 2. numb. 45.

4. As there are many presidents more may be al­ledged, that Commoners have denyed your Lordships Jurisdiction, and that your Lordship have transmit­ted such cases to the Common Law, if desired by the free people; so there can no president be shewn that Commoners, which have refused to be tryed by your house, have been over-ruled by them in point of Ju­risdiction.

5. There was never President, since there were Parliaments in England, That the same Session of Parliament hath imprisoned, fined, or any otherwise diss [...]i [...]ed or destroyed any man for obeying or execu­ting the Laws, Ordinances, or orders of the same Par­liament. And there are many Ordinances in force, which indempnifie all those which have acted by the authority of Parliament, viz. May 26. 1642. 1. part Book Decl. p. 281. June 14. 1642. p. 377.All honest Ministers and true hearted Englishmen, that love the Laws and Li­berties of their native Coun­try, are ear­nestly desired in all the pa­rish Churches and Market Towns in the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales to read the fore-going Petition publikely and openly, that so the people thereby may be instructed in their Laws and Liberties.

The Premises considered;

Your Petitioners being free Commoners of England, according to the known Laws of the Land (de Jure claim their birth right, which is to be tried by God & their Country, in His Majesties Court of Justice, by the sworn Judges of the Law, and a Iury of their equals of their own neighbourhood, where the pre­tended fact was done, the Courts of Iustice being open.

And your Petitioners shall pray, &c.

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