Front Page Titles (by Subject) An Appeal to Parliament From the Large Petition of the Levellers 1 (March 1647) b - Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents
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An Appeal to Parliament From the Large Petition of the Levellers 1 (March 1647) b - Arthur Sutherland Pigott Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents 
Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts with Supplementary Documents, selected and edited with an Introduction A.S.P. Woodhouse, foreword by A.D. Lindsay (University of Chicago Press, 1951).
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But such is our misery, that after the expense of so much precious time, blood, and treasure, and the ruin of so many thousands of honest families, in recovering our liberty, we still find the nation oppressed with grievances of the same destructive nature as formerly, though under other notions, and which are so much the more grievous unto us because they are inflicted in the very time of this present Parliament, under God the hope of the oppressed.
For as then all the men and women in England were made liable to the summons, attachments, sentences, and imprisonments of the Lords of the Council-board, so we find by woeful experience, and the suffering of many particular persons, that the present Lords do assume and exercise the same power, than which nothing can be more repugnant and destructive to the Commons’ just liberty.
As then the unjust power of the Star Chamber was exercised in compelling men and women to answer to interrogatories tending to accuse themselves and others, so is the same now frequently practised upon divers persons, even your cordial friends, that have been, and still are, punished for refusing to answer questions against themselves and nearest relations.
As then the great oppression of the High Commission was most evident in molesting of godly, peaceable people for nonconformity, or different opinion or practice in religion, in judging all who were contrary-minded to themselves to be heretics, sectaries, schismatics, seditious, factious, enemies to the state and the like, and under great penalties forbidding all persons, not licensed by them, to preach or publish the Gospel: even so now at this day, the very same, if not greater, molestations are set on foot and violently prosecuted by the instigation of a clergy no more infallible than the former, to the extreme discouragement and affliction of many thousands of your faithful adherents, who are not satisfied that controversies in religion can be trusted to the compulsive regulation of any, and after the bishops were suppressed did hope never to have seen such a power assumed by any in this nation any more.
And although all new illegal patents are by you abolished, yet the oppressive monopoly of Merchant Adventurers and others do still remain, to the great abridgment of the liberty of the people, and to the extreme prejudice of all such industrious people as do depend on clothing or woollen manufacture (it being the staple commodity of this kingdom and nation), and to the great discouragement and disadvantage of all sorts of tradesmen, seafaring men, and hindrance of shipping and navigation.
Also the old tedious and chargeable way of deciding controversies or suits in law is continued to this day, to the extreme vexation and utter undoing of multitudes of families—a grievance as great and palpable as any in the world. [And] that old and most unequal punishment of malefactors is still continued, whereby men’s lives and liberties area liable to the law’s corporal pains (as much inflicted for small as for great offences, and that mostb unjustly) upon the testimony of one witness, contrary both to the Law of God and common equity—a grievance very great, but little regarded.
And also tithes and other enforced maintenance are still continued, though there be no ground for either under the Gospel, and though the same have occasioned multitudes of suits, quarrels, and debates both in former and latter times.
In like manner multitudes of people, poor distressed prisoners for debt, lie still unregarded in a most miserable and woeful condition throughout the land, to the great reproach of this nation.
Likewise, prison-keepers or gaolers are as presumptuous as ever they were both in receiving and detaining of prisoners illegally committed, [and are] as cruel and inhumane to all, especially to such as are well-affected, as oppressive and extorting in their fees, and are attended with under-officers of such vile and unchristian demeanour as is most abominable.
Also thousands of men and women are permitted to live in beggary and wickedness all their life long, and to breed their children to the same idle and vicious course of life; and no effectual means used to reclaim either, or to reduce them to any virtue or industry.
And last, as those who found themselves aggrieved formerly at the burdens and oppressions of those times, that did not conform to the church-government then established, refused to pay ship-money or yield obedience to unjust patents, were reviled and reproached with nicknames of Puritans, heretics, schismatics, sectaries, or were termed factious or seditious, men of turbulent spirits, despisers of government, and disturbers of the public peace: even so it is at this day in all respects with those that show any sensibility of the fore-recited grievances, or move in any manner or measure for remedy thereof; all the reproaches, evils, and mischiefs that can be devised, are thought too few or too little to be laid upon them, as Roundheads, sectaries, Independents, heretics, schismatics, factious, seditious, rebellious, disturbers of the public peace, destroyers of all civil relations and subordinations. Yea, and beyond what was formerly, nonconformity is now judged a sufficient cause to disable any person (though of known fidelity) from bearing any offices of trust in the commonwealth, whiles neuters, malignant and disaffected, are admitted and countenanced. And though it be not now made a crime to mention a Parliament, yet it is little less to mention the supreme power of this honourable House. So that in all these respects this nation remains in a very sad and disconsolate condition, and the more because it is thus with us after so long a session of so powerful and so free a Parliament, and [one that] hath been so made and maintained by the abundant love, and liberal effusion of the blood, of the people. And therefore . . . we . . . do most earnestly entreat that you will stir up your affections to a zealous love and tender regard of the people who have chosen and trusted you, that you will seriously consider that the end of your trust was freedom and deliverance from all kind of grievances and oppressions.
1. And that, therefore, in the first place, you will be exceeding careful to preserve your just authority from all prejudices of a negative voice in any person or persons whatsoever, which may disable you from making that happy return unto the people which they justly expect, and that you will not be induced to lay by your strength till you have satisfied your understandings in the undoubted security of yourselves and of those who have voluntarily and faithfully adhered to you in all your extremities, and until you have secured and settled the commonwealth in settled peace and true freedom, which is the end of the primitive institution of all government.
2. Secondly, that you will take off all sentences, fines, and imprisonments imposed on commoners by any whomsoever, without due course of law or judgment of their equals, and to give due reparations to all those who have been so injuriously dealt withal, and for preventing the like for the time to come, that you will enact all such arbitrary proceedings to be capital crimes.
3. Thirdly, that you permit no authority whatsoever to compel any person or persons to answer to any questions against themselves or nearest relations, except in cases of private interest between party and party in a legal way, and to release such as suffer by imprisonment or otherwise, for refusing to answer to such interrogatories.
4. Fourthly, that all statutes, oaths, and covenants may be repealed so far as they tend, or may be construed, to the molestation and ensnaring of religious, peaceable, and well-affected people, for nonconformity or difference of opinion or practice in religion.
5. Fifthly, that no man for preaching or publishing his opinion in religion in a peaceable way, may be punished or persecuted as heretical, by judges that are not infallible but may be mistaken as well as other men in their judgments, lest upon pretence of suppressing errors, sects, or schisms, the most necessary truths, and sincere professions thereof, may be suppressed, as upon the like pretence it hath been in all ages.
6. Sixthly, that you will for the encouragement of industrious people, dissolve that oppressive company of Merchant Adventurers, and the like, and prevent all such others by great penalties for ever.
7. Seventhly, that you will settle a just, speedy, plain, and unburdensome way for deciding of controversies and suits in law, and reduce all laws to the nearest agreement with Christianity, and publish them in the English tongue, and that all processe[s] and proceedings therein may be true, and also in English, and in the most usual character of writing without any abbreviation, that each one who can read may the better understand their own affairs, and that the duties of all judges, officers, and practisers in the law, and of all magistrates and officers in the commonwealth, may be prescribed, their fees limited under strict penalties, and published in print to the knowledge and view of all men; by which just and equitable means this nation shall be for ever freed of an oppression more burdensome and troublesome than all the oppressions hitherto by this Parliament removed.
8. Eighthly, that the life of no person may be taken away [but] under the testimony of two witnesses at least, of honest conversation; and that in an equitable way you will proportion punishment to offences, so that no man’s life be taken away, his body punished, nor his estate forfeited, but upon such weighty and considerable causes as justly deserve such punishment; and that all prisoners may have a speedy trial, that they be neither starved nor their families ruined by long and lingering imprisonment; and that imprisonment may be used only for safe custody until time of trial, and not as a punishment for offences.
9. Ninthly, that tithes and all other enforced maintenances may be for ever abolished, and nothing in place thereof imposed, but that all ministers may be paid only by those who voluntarily choose them, and contract with them for their labours.
10. Tenthly, that you will take some speedy and effectual course to relieve all such prisoners for debt as are altogether unable to pay, that they may not perish in prison through the hard-heartedness of their creditors; and that all such who have any estates may be enforced to make payment accordingly, and not shelter themselves in prison to defraud their creditors.
11. Eleventhly, that none may be prison-keepers but such as are of approved honesty; and that they be prohibited under great penalties to receive or detain any person or persons without lawful warrant; that their usage of prisoners may be with gentleness and civility, their fees moderate and certain; and that they may give security for the good behaviour of their under-officers.
12. Twelfthly, that you will provide some powerful means to keep men, women, and children from begging and wickedness, that this nation may be no longer a shame to Christianity therein.
13. Thirteenthly, that you will restrain and discountenance the malice and impudency of impious persons in their reviling and reproaching the well-affected with the ignominious titles of Roundheads, factious, seditious, and the like, whereby your real friends have been a long time, and still are, exceedingly wronged, discouraged, and made obnoxious to rude and profane people; and that you will not exclude any of approved fidelity from bearing office of trust in the commonwealth for nonconformity, but rather neuters, and such as manifest disaffection or opposition to common freedom, the admission and continuation of such being the chief cause of all our grievances. * * *
 I follow Professor Pease (Leveller Movement, p. 158 n.) in accepting a pamphlet acquired by Thomason on 19th September 1648 [E. 464 (19)] as presenting the text of this petition. See also Tracts, ed. Haller (3. 397-405), where the whole pamphlet is reproduced.
[318. (b)]To the Right Honourable and Supreme Authority of this Nation, the Commons in Parliament Assembled. The humble petition of many thousands, earnestly desiring the glory of god, the freedome of the common-wealth, and the peace of all men [Sept. 19, 1648].
[319. (a)] + as;
[(b)] + most.