To the Supreme Authority, the Parliament of the Common-VVealth of ENGLAND. The humble Petition of divers constant Adherers to this Parliament, and faithfull Assertors of the Fundamen­tall Lawes and Liberties of the Commonwealth.

Humbly shewing,

THat forasmuch as the originall ground of our many years contentions, wars, and miseries, was because incroachments, breaches, and innovations had been fre­quently made and inforced upon the people, in prejudice of, and tending utterly to subvert their fundamentall Lawes (their Birthright and chief Inheritance) as plentifully appeareth throughout the Declarations and Remonstrances of Parliament, in justification of the war against the King and his Adherents: and of the Army, in justification of their Proceedings against the corrupted Members; being all in behalf, and for preservation of those Fundamentall Rights, without which there was no hope of enjoying any comforts of life, or so much as life it self, but at the pleasure of some men, ruling meerly according to Will and Power; as the Army solemnly and truly urged.

And forasmuch as those many Victories, mercifully vouchsafed by Almighty God in approbation of this Cause, have not been obtained at a low and easie rate, but as through a Sea of blood, and all kinds of miseries (whereof we have had a large proportion) thereby rendring the cause more prcious to our thoughts, and working our Consciences into sad fears of wrath, for the long deferment of the Restoration of those fundamentall Lawes to their primitive power in this Nation (as of right is due) clearly from all incroachments and innovations any wayes introduced; whether by Kings solely, or joyntly with their Instruments, as Clergy, Lawyers, Statesmen, or other corrupt interests in Parliaments; most of the Statute Lawes being more or less tainted therewith; fearing also a return of the like wofull wars and miseries up­on us, and that this unsetled, distracted, and divided Nation will never be free from discontents and deadly quarrells, untill our ancient Native Rights and Fundamentall Laws are so cleared and secured, as hath been faithfully promised both by Parliament and Army; and upon which we (with thousands others) were invited and drawn forth to assist both, with all our abilities.

These considerations lying sadly upon our spirits, and observing as yet a very small propension to this work; though we judge it the proper end of all just indeavours in these late Troubles, the only right Improvement of all Victories and Successes: Lest the same should be utterly omitted, and either New things taken up of a contrary nature, or this great opportunity passe away as a Dream; we deem our selves bound in Conscience, in pursuance of our faithfulnesse to Parliament, Army, and Common­wealth, in most earnest manner

To pray, as our Birthright, and the common right of the Nation;

1. That henceforward no man be Attached, Fined, Imprisoned, Outlawed, or adjudged of Life, Limb, Liberty, or Estate, but by Juries; according to the old Law of the Land: And that whatsoever practice or proceedings have been, or are contrary thereunto, whether by way of standing Committees, Courts Martiall, high Courts of Justice, or the like; may be abolished for ever.

2. That no man be put to his defence at Law, upon the bare saying or accusation of any; but by presentment of faithfull men, and lawfull witnesses, brought openly face to face.

3. That no man be compelled by Oath, or otherwise, to answer to questions against himself.

4. That all controversies between party and party, may be finally decided, past all Appeal, within a prefixt time, by Juries in the Hundreds, or County Courts; that so there may be no more tedious travelling from all parts of the Land to Westminster, nor any further vexation, and consumption of mens estates by the Court of Chan­cery, or the rest of the Courts there; nor any further attendance or dependance upon the uncertain Appearance and Votes of Committees there, or elswhere: Also that all Malefactors may have the like speedy Tryalls, and no longer be destroyed or vitiated by long Imprisonments; That Bayle be not denied where it ought to be taken; That food and other necessaries be provided for prisoners (whilest such) at the common charge; and no fees taken by Goalers of their prisoners; and that all Proceed­ings in Law may be free, without charge or fees from the parties to the Officers.

5. That punishments be proportioned to offences, according to the true intent of the fundamentall Lawes; that no man be punished in a meane manner for a great fault, nor highly for a small, and that nothing be deemed Treason, but what manifestly appeareth to tend to the subversion of the Fundamentall Liberty of England: and that upon judgments in criminall cases the parties damnified may be satisfied out of the estates of the offenders, and not confiscate to the Commonwealth: And that Witnesses may be sworn in behalf of the accused, as well as for the Prosecutor.

6. That none be questioned or molested for Matters of Conscience and Religion; the grounds of implacable trouble, and the very spawn of Tyranny and Superstition; and that Tythes (sprung from the same root, and tending to the same end, and to the obstruction of Tillage and Industry) may also cease, and no inforced maintenance imposed in the place thereof.

7. That all servile Tenures of Copy-holds, and the like (as well as the Court of Wards) together with the unjust descent of Inheritances to the eldest son only, (the prin­pall remaining badges of the Norman Conquest, and main support of Regall Tyranny, creating Royalties in every Manour, and in all such Families) may also in some convenient way, and in some reasonable time, be both reduced to the old equall wayes, as was before the times of bondage.

8. That there be no more imprisonment of mens persons for debt, but that all estates may be liable to make satisfaction; that so the poor and unable may not be destroyed for want of ability, nor the rich and able (as they have done) turn prisons into places of protection.

9. That none be pressed or compelled to serve in wars; the power of Counties (alwaies at the direction of Parliament) being sufficient (joynt or separate, as occasion may be) for suppressing of all Insurrections and forraign Invasions, as they may be ordered, with help of Salary Forces, and such Voluntiers as out of conscience would be aiding therein; as (blessed be God) hath been seen of late.

10. That Trade to all p [...]rts beyond the Seas be equally free to all Englishmen, and here at home exempt from ingrossings, Monopolies and Forestallings, and disbur­thened of Custome, Excize, and all other peculiar charges and per plexities, occasioned by Offices and Officers; the freedome of Trade conducing very much to the inrich­ing and strengthening of the whole Land: and that all publike moneys may be raised by an equall rate, upon all reall and personall estates, free from charge to the Com­monwealth, or trouble to Traders in Collection.

11. That all publique Officers, as Sheriffs, Justices, Coroners, Constables, and the like, be all annually chosen by those of the place where their Jurisdiction is to be ex­ercised, and none imposed.

11. That all Statute Lawes, and all corrupt Customs, Ordinances of Parliaments, or Practices, of what time or continuance soever, contrary to any of these Fundamen­talls, may be repealed and abolished, that all things tending to their establishment be revived.

13. That Parliaments or rather (according to the more antient and rightfull denomination) Common Councells of England, may with all convenient speed (and due care had, against the admission of such as have forfeited their rights) be returned to their due course of being Annually elected, for the more sure conservation of these Fun­damentalls, and of the publique peace and welfare of this Nation: and to provide such necessary Lawes (not contrary unto these) as in their wisdomes shall appear most profitable for the Commonwealth; a frequent change of such as are trusted with power and authority, whereby all men come to tast of subjection as well as rule, being essentiall to the freedome and safety of the Nation.

And we also humbly entreat that satisfaction may be speedily given to the Nation in point of accompts, of all estates and moneys received: that the publique Faith may yet be recovered and made good, by satisfying those that freely lent in times of greatest hazard and necessity. That all just Arrears to Souldiers or others may be du­ly paid. That all Juries may be impartially returned, and freed from those overawings of Judges, and intanglements of Lawyers accustomed, whereby the most juditious sort of men are discouraged from attending that publique service. That Registers may be appointed through out the Common-wealth, to ascertain all sales and mortgages of lands, for prevention of such grosse deceipts as have been usuall by double and treble sales and morgages of one and the same parcells. That a just care may be had of the poor of the land; that the wast places may be their portion; labour provided for such of them as are able, and necessaries for such as are impotent. And for the advance­ment and defence of truth and right; that the Printing Presse may be set at liberty; that so all things being thus rightly and conscionably disposed, those who have been our adversaries, and all the world may see, that we have not strove for particular advantages, but generall good, and common right; and be at length convinced, the happinesse of this Nation doth not in the least depend upon a King, or House of Lords, nor upon the wills or arbitrary discretions of men, but upon unalterable Na­tive Laws, unto which all are bound and ought to submit.

And though in doing hereof you should meet with great oppositions, yet greater will be your strength then ever, in that the whole Army, and all the people (disinga­ged from corrupt and self-interest) will be wholly at your command; these being the just ends of our just war, the proper and long hoped for fruits of all their labours, and many dangers; bringing great glory to God in the faithfull performance of all promises and engagements, true freedome and security to every well minded person in particular, and universall good to the Commonwealth; in restoring of our long detained and almost obliterated Native Rights, with an immediate redresse of a mul­titude of old and new contracted grievances; wherein also you will fulfill the Fast which God hath chosen: In loosing the bands of wickednesse, unbinding the heavy burthens, setting the oppressed free, and breaking every yoke, and then will your light break forth as the morning, and your health spring forth speedily, your righteousnesse shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your exceeding great reward. And therfore we beseech you neither to be discouraged nor to defer the work, but go on without ceasing, until you have perfected the same. And that the Lord our God may blesse, honour, and preserve you therein, shall ever be the prayers of

Your humble Petitioners.

This Petition (for restoring to the People of this Nation all their ancient and just Rights) was subscribed by thousands of cordiall Friends to this Parliament, Inhabitants of London, Westminster, South­wark, and places adjacent; and was by a competent number of them presented to the Parliament upon the 23. of June 1652. And they were called in, and the Petition read, but no answer at all given thereunto.

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