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An Appeal to the People From Richard Overton, An Appeal from the Commons to the Free People (1647) a - 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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An Appeal to the People
It is confessed that our English histories and records of the actions and transactions of our predecessors, both of ancient and late times, so far as I can understand, do not afford me any example or precedent for any appeal from parliaments to people. Neither is there any such liberty provided in the letter of our law. So that by such as prefer precedents and formalities, forms and figures, before the substance, life, and spirit of all just precedents and laws, I may probably be censured and condemned for this present enterprise, as an open and desperate enemy to parliaments and magistracy, a subverter and destroyer of all national laws and government, and a reducer (to my power) of kingdoms and people into confusion. To such I shall return even the late words of our now degenerate Parliament: that reason hath no precedent; for reason is the fountain of all just precedents. . . . Therefore where that is, there is a sufficient and justifiable precedent.
And if this principle must be granted of, and obeyed by all (as by no rational man can be denied), then the act of appeal in this nature, if grounded upon right reason, is justifiable and warranted, even by that which gives an equitable authority, life, and being, to all just laws, precedents, and forms of government whatsoever. For reason is their very life and spirit, whereby they are all made lawful and warrantable both for settlement, administration, and obedience; which is the highest kind of justification and authority for human actions, that can be, for greater is that which gives being and justifieth than that which receiveth and is justified. All forms of laws and governments may fall and pass away, but right reason (the fountain of all justice and mercy to the creature) shall and will endure for ever. It is that by which in all our actions we must stand or fall, be justified or condemned; for neither morality nor divinity amongst men can or may transgress the limits of right reason. For whatsoever is unreasonable cannot be justly termed moral or divine, and right reason is only commensurable and discernible by the rule of merciful justice and just mercy. It is gradual in its quantity, but one in its quality. Several are its degrees, but its perfection and fulness is only in God. And its several branches and degrees are only communicable and derivated from him, as several beams and degrees of heat from the body of the sun—yet all heat. So in reason there are different degrees, as from morality to divinity, and under those two heads several subordinate degrees, all derivated and conveyed from the Creator (the original fountain) to the creature, yet all one and the same in nature—the difference only lying in the degree of the thing, not in the thing itself, as a dwarf is as much a man as a giant though not so big a man. And soa the gifts and graces of God are one radically, yet different in their species, and all from one and the same Spirit, which canb act nothing contrary to its own nature. And God is not a God of irrationality and madness, or tyranny. Therefore all his communications are reasonable and just, and what is so is of God.
And upon this principle, as upon a firm and sure foundation, all just laws and governments are founded and erected, and in particular the fundamental laws and government of this kingdom. For it is a sure and radical maxim in our law, Nihil quod est contra rationem est licitum (Nothing which is against reason is lawful), reason being the very life of the law of our land; so that should the law be taken away from its original reason and end, it would be made a shell without a kernel, a shadow without substance, a carcass without life, which presently turns to putrefaction. And as reason only gives it a legal being and life, so it only makes it authori[ta]tive and binding. If this be not granted, lust, will, pride (and what the devil and corruption will) may be a law. For if right reason be not the only being and bounder of the law over the corrupt nature of man (that what is rational, the which injustice and tyranny cannot be, may only and at all times be legal, and what is legal, to be simply and purely rational, the which mercy and justice must be whensoever, wheresoever, and by whomsoever it be . . .),c all would fall into confusion, disorder, madness, and cruelty; and so magistracy would cease, and be converted into inhumanity and tyranny.
So that it being most evident and clear to the eye of rational man that this fundamental principle may not (in being [fundamental] to magistracy itself) be expulsed the precincts of magisterial government, but must be preserved . . . entire and absolute therein . . . as a sure and safe refuge to fly to, in all straits and extremities whatsoever, for preservation, safety, removal of oppressions, &c.; or else no safety or relief from oppression, either public or private, to be lawfully attempted, pursued, or had—so that where that principle is, there legality and authority must be, and is concomitant to, and inseparable therefrom, never to be altered while the sun and the moon endures. By it kings and kingdoms have their essential legal being, without which they cease from being either kings or kingdoms. Therefore, that which doth institute, constitute, and authorize the regality of kings and kingdoms, certainly must needs be sufficiently authori[ta]tive for a particular, as for this expedient of mine or the like, in case it be found under the protection and authority of the said principle of right reason—as I shall clearly evidence it to be.
First, then, be pleased to consider that it is a firm law and radical principle in nature, engraven in the tables of the heart by the finger of God in creation, for every living, moving thing, wherein there is the breath of life, to defend, preserve, guard,a and deliver itself from all things hurtful, destructive and obnoxious thereto, to the utmost of its power. Therefore from hence is conveyed to all men in general, and to every man in particular, an undoubted principle of reason: by all rational and just ways and means possibly he may, to save, defend, and deliver himself from all oppression, violence and cruelty whatsoever, and (in duty to his own safety and being) to leave no just expedient unattempted for his delivery therefrom. And this is rational and just. To deny it is to overturn the law of nature, yea and of religion too; for the contrary lets in nothing but self-murder, violence, and cruelty. Now the unreasonable oppression of myself, my wife, brother, and children, under the arbitrary tyranny of the Westminster Lords, and the ways and means that I have used for delivery therefrom, considered and weighed in the balance of this natural radical principle of reason, this, mine attempt of appeal (though of a desperate nature) will be found the only mean wherein I may discern any probability of relief. . . .
Secondly, necessity is a law above all laws. And this principle conveyeth and issueth forth authority and power, both to general and particular cases, even to the taking up of unusual and un-exemplary courses for public and particular deliverances. . . . And upon this principle the Netherlanders made an hostile defence and resistance against the King of Spain, their then sovereign lord, for the recovery of their just rights and freedom. And upon the same point rose the Scotch up in arms and entered this kingdom without all formal countenance or allowance of king or parliament, and were justified for that very act by this present Parliament. Yea, and even this Parliament upon the same principle took up arms against the King. And now, right worthy patriots of the Army, you yourselves upon the same principle, for recovery of common right and freedom, have entered upon this, your present honourable and solemn Engagement against the oppressing party at Westminster, and plead yourselves justifiable thereby, and tell them . . . that the Parliament hath declared it no resistance of magistracy to side with the just principles and law of nature and nations, being that law upon which you have assisted them. So that if I be condemned for a traitor by all or any of you, whether Scotch, Parliament, or Army, for proceeding upon the said just principles and law of nature, for common right and freedom, I tell you plainly that out of your own mouths you shall be judged no less traitors than myself, yea, allowers of that in yourselves, which for treason you condemn in others. * * *
Thirdly, the equity of the law is superior to the letter, the letter being subordinate and subject thereto. And look how much the letter transgresseth the equity, even so much it is unequal, of no validity and force. * * * And by this principle, worthy officers and soldiers, you have charged the Parliament from their own declarations, to warrant this your present expedition; . . . bya which principle, together with yourselves and with them, I lay claim to a title for an equal justification and protection from the letter of the law. * * *
Fourthly, all betrusted powers, if forfeit[ed], fall into the hands of the betrusters, as their proper centre.b And where such a forfeit is committed, there it disobligeth from obedience, and warranteth an appeal to the betrusters, without any contempt or disobedience to the powers in the least; for such an appeal in that case is not at all from the power, but from the persons; not forsaking the power, but following of it in its retreat to the fountain. For as formerly the Parliament averred, and as now this honourable Army assumeth, . . . all authority is fundamentally seated in the office, and but ministerially in the persons. Therefore, the persons in their ministrations degenerating from safety to tyranny, their authority ceaseth, and is only to be found in the fundamental original rise and situation thereof, which is the people, the body represented. For though it ceaseth from the hands of the betrusted, yet it doth not, neither can it, cease from its being; for kings, parliaments, &c., may fall from it, but it endureth for ever. For were not this admitted, there could be no lawful redress in extremity. Yea, magistracy itself should be transitory and fading like as is corruption—of no certain duration or moment; but it is unchangeable and certain; man perisheth, but it endureth. It always is either in the hands of the betrusted or of the betrusters. While the betrusted are dischargers of their trust it remaineth in their hands, but no sooner the betrusted betray and forfeit their trust but (as all things else in dissolution) it returneth from whence it came, even to the hands of the trusters. For all just human powers are but betrusted, conferred, and conveyed by joint and common consent; for to every individual in nature is given an individual propriety by nature, not to be invaded or usurped by any (as in mine Arrow against Tyranny is proved and discovered more at large); for every one as he is himself hath a self propriety—else could he not be himself—and on this no second may presume without consent; and by natural birth all men are equal, and alike born to like propriety and freedom, every man by natural instinct aiming at his own safety and weal. And so it is that there is a general communication amongst men from their several innate properties to their elected deputies for their better being, discipline, government, property, and safety. * * *
Now these premises considered, I do confidently conclude (if confidence may be derived from the just principles of nature) that the transgression of our weal by our trustees is an utter forfeiture of their trust, and cessation of their power. Therefore if I prove a forfeiture of the people’s trust in the prevalent party at Westminster in Parliament assembled, then an appeal from them to the people is not anti-parliamentary, anti-magisterial; not from that sovereign power, but to that sovereign power. For the evidence whereof I shall first present a discovery of their dealings with me, relating to the public, and then their common course to the general.1 * * *
But for brevity’s sake I shall omit the several new oppressions, exactions, and burdens, wherewith the people are loaded everywhere, even till their backs are ready to break, as every man by woeful experience can witness, and shall only relate to the main and principal end of their election and session, which is for hearing the cries and groans of the people, redressing and easing their grievances. And as touching this matter, this is their course: instead of relief for oppression, themselves do oppress, and, which is worst, then stop the mouths of the oppressed, . . . slight, reject and crush their just and necessary petitions, which is the highest kind of tyranny in the world, shut their doors and ears against the cry of the people both of country and City, yea, though the burdens of the oppressed are so great that multitudes in a peaceable manner have attended the House daily with petitions for no other thing than for the removal of oppression and recovery of freedom, according to the fundamental laws of this kingdom, which they [have] often declared, covenanted, protested, and sworn with hands lifted up to the most high God, to perform faithfully and truly.
Yet these very men, contrary to their many oaths, covenants, declarations, vows, and protestations, call the petitioners rogues, villains, seditious, factious fellows . . .; and not only so, but imprison some of them, as Mr. Nicholas Tew, Mr. Browne, and Major Tulidah,a the two first of them prisoners to this hour, the third under bail. And they stay not here, but their arrogance mounts higher and higher: [they] even vote their petitions seditious breach of their privileges, and cause them to be burnt by the hand of the common hangman—even such petitions wherein was contained the liberties and freedoms of the Commons of England, and no jot of anything . . . that was not just, honest and reasonable, and their sworn duties to perform.1 * * *
Halters and gallows is more fit for them than places in Parliament. What! will you be more fearful of them, to bring them to justice, than they were of you, to burn your laws and liberties? For shame! Never let an English spirit be taxed with that dishonour. You have Othniels, Ehuds, Baraks, and Gideons, before you, even a mighty and puissant, virtuous army, which hath most gallantly and honourably engaged for you and their own safety and protection from those unnatural tyrants and usurpers, to remove them from the seat of your authority, and to bring them to justice, that you, and your children after you, may be delivered from the fear and prejudice of their cruelties, dwell in peace and safety, enjoy the price of your labour and travail quietly and freely to yourselves, be absolute lords and possessors of your own, andb be made true and real freemen indeed. Fall therefore into their assistance and protection, and trust no longer your perjured, traitorous trustees dissembled at Westminster, but save yourselves from that cursed and wicked generation. Now is the opportunity. Do not procrastinate nor delay, lest your destruction be of yourselves. * * *
Dear friends, our destruction is beyond the privilege of Parliament. It is out of the compass of that betrusted authority. While they move in the sphere of our safety, their motions are parliamentary, legal and author[it]ative, and to be obeyed, defended and maintained. But on the contrary, the contrary must be concluded; for contraries have contrary consequents. For there is a difference betwixt their parliamentary and their own personal capacity, and their actions are answerably different. Therefore the rejection, disobedience, and resistance of their personal commands, is no rejection, disobedience, or resistance of their parliament[ary] authority; so that he that doth resist their personal commands, doth not resist the Parliament. . . .
And upon this principle of justice and reason they grounded and justified their war against the King. * * * Even so may the commonalty of England reply to their Parliament-members, that they are made for the people, not the people for them, and no otherwise may they deal with the people than for their safety and weal, for no more than the people are the King’s, no more are the people the Parliament’s, [they] having no such propriety in the people as the people have in their goods, to do with them as they list. As they will not grant it to be the prerogative of kings, neither may we yield it to be the privilege of parliaments. For the safety of the people is the reason and end of all governments and governors. Salus populi est suprema lex: the safety of the people is the supreme law of all commonwealths. * * *
Therefore it is in vain for our members in Parliament to think that we will justify or tolerate the same among them which we would not endure in the King—to pluck off the garments of royalty from oppression and tyranny, to dress up the same in Parliament-robes. No, no, that was ever, and is, far from our hearts, and we shall justify or allow the same no more in the one than in the other. For to allow it in the one is to justify it in the other, for it is equally unequal in both, and in itself resistible wheresoever it is found. For were it not resistible, all defensive war whatsoever were unlawful. And upon this point we moved against the King, the equity thereof arising from an inherent principle of nature concording with the commandment of God. For were not tyranny in itself resistible, then a man might lawfully murder himself or give power to another to be his butcher. But . . . by the law of God in nature and in his word, both the one and the other is verily unlawful. * * * And upon this ground, in case we have to deal with a mighty and furious enemy, we are bound to the utmost of our power to arm and fortify ourselves for our just and necessary defence, and by force of arms to repel and beat back the invading, assaulting enemy, whether it be an enemy for the confusion and extirpation of our persons or for destruction and ruin of our laws, our freedoms and liberties. For bondage and slavery are not inferior to death, but rather to be more avoided, condemned and resisted than present destruction, by how much the more that kind of destruction is more languishing than present. * * *
And against the justice of this defensive principle no degrees, orders, or titles amongst men can or may prevail; . . . all laws, customs and manners . . . must be subject to give place and yield thereunto, and it unto none; for all degrees and titles magisterial . . . are all subservient to popular safety, . . . all instituted and ordained only for it. For without it can be no human society, cohabitation, or being; which above all earthly things must be maintained as the earthly sovereign good of mankind, let what or who will, perish or be confounded. For mankind must be preserved upon the earth, and to this preservation all the children of men have an equal title by birth, none to be deprived thereof but such as are enemies thereto. And this is the groundwork that God in nature hath laid for all commonwealths, for all governors and governments amongst men. * * * And from hence ariseth the true definition of treason. For indeed treason is no other than a destruction to human society, or actions . . . tending to the utter overthrow of public safety, cohabitation, and peace, or to the . . . thraldom of a people or country. * * *
Now in regard the body natural, for its own safety, may prune, amputate, and cut off the corrupt, putrefied members from the body representative, yea, utterly renounce . . . and dissolve all the members therein, upon total forfeiture of, and real apostasy from, the true representative capacity of Parliament; . . . it then inevitably followeth, that this natural body, by virtue of its instincted, inherent natural sovereignty, may . . . depute any . . . persons for their . . . deputies for the removal of those dead, corrupt, putrefied members from the seat and name of their formal authority, and for the suppression of injustice and tyranny, [and the] recovery of liberty and freedom. But it may be, it will be objected that, by reason of . . . confusion and disorder at such an exigency in the body natural, such a new deputation . . . cannot possibly be formally effected, and therefore those forementioned members, though never so corrupt and destructive, must be continued and subjected unto. I answer that the body natural must never be without a mean to save itself, and therefore, by the foresaid permanent unalterable rule of necessity and safety, any . . . persons (in discharge of their duty to God, themselves, and their country) may warrantably rise up in the cause and behalf of the people, to preserve them from imminent ruin and destruction, such . . . persons doing in that act no more than every man by nature is bound to perform. For as every man by the very bond of nature and neighbourhood, in case his neighbour’s house be on fire, is bound forthwith without any formal or verbal deputation of the owner, to endeavour the quenching thereof with his utmost power and ability; even so, and much more, may the same be saida of a whole country or kingdom; for necessity in that case of extremity justifies the act of safety and preservation in any, though without any formal election . . . from the people in general thereto. For such formalities must give place unto the main, being but circumstances in comparison thereof, and a kingdom or commonwealth must not be neglected and lost for a trifle. * * * It is not the part of the just and merciful freemen of England to behold the politic body of this commonwealth fallen amongst a crew of thieves, as Hollis, Stapleton,b&c., stripped of its precious raiment of freedom and safety, wounded and left grovelling in its blood, even half dead, and pass by on the other side like the merciless priest and the Levite. No, now is the time for the compassionate Samaritan to appear, to bind up its wounds, to pour in wine and oil, to engage in the defence and preservation of a distressed, miserable people; for greater love and mercy cannot be amongst men than to take compassion over the helpless and destitute.
Therefore this evangelical principle of mercy (being of the nearest communication to the nature of God) is a warrantable ground for the Solemn Engagement of the Army, like the compassionate Samaritan, to bind up the wounds of the almost murdered laws and liberties of England. * * * And in case they be enforced to a defensive resistance, in so doing they will be no resisters, despisers, condemners or oppugners of magistracy, authority or government. For tyranny is no magistracy. Therefore the resistance of tyrants is no resistance of magistrates, except it be of such [as are] so nominally, but really and essentially monsters and pests of humanity. * * *
Now magistracy in its nature, institution, and administration, is for such a kind of safety, national and general, as wherein every . . . particular person, of what sort . . . soever, may fully and freely enjoy his liberty, peace, and tranquillity, civil and human. It is an ordinance amongst men, and for men, that all men may have a human subsistence and safety, to live as men amongst men, none to be excepted from this human subsistence but the unnatural and the inhuman. It is not for this opinion or that faction, this sect or that sort, but equally and alike indifferent for all men that are not degenerated from humanity and human civility in their living and neighbourhood. And therefore the destroyers and subverters of human society, safety, cohabitation, and being, are to be corrected, expulsed, or cut off for preservation of safety and prevention of ruin, both public and private. And thus is magistracy for the praise of them that do well, and for the punishment of those that do evil.
And as for matters of conscience or opinion about religion or worship, with which human society, cohabitation, and safety may freely subsist and stand together—that doth not fall under the power of the magisterial sword, either for introduction and settlement, or for extirpation and subversion. For the limits of magistracy extend no further than humanity or human subsistence, not to spirituality or spiritual being; and no further than its own nature extends, no further may its compulsive power be stretched. And this is the true distinction, for matter of subjection, betwixt God and Caesar; and what is God’s we must in the first place give unto God, and what is Caesar’s, in the second place, freely and readily we must give unto Caesar. The inward man is God’s prerogative; the outward man is man’s prerogative. God is the immediate Lord over the inward, and mediately over the outward; but man is only lord over the outward, and though immediate thereover, yet but by deputation or commission from him who is thus both over the one and the other. And God, who only knoweth the heart and searcheth the reins, hath reserved the gubernation thereof to himself as his own prerogative. And the only means which he useth in this kind of government, that by his ministers must be dispensed, is only by the Word, not by the sword. For the sword pierceth but the flesh; it toucheth but the outward man; it cannot touch the inward. Therefore where by the Word (to wit, by doctrine or argumentation, the proper means to work upon the intellectuals and affections) a conversion is not, nor cannot be, obtained, there no human compulsive power or force is to be used, either for plantation or extirpation.
And therefore it was that Christ refused the sword for the promulgation and settlement of his doctrine; for it was spiritual, and such were the weapons he used for that warfare of his. And therefore in imitation of his pattern, and [the] practice of the Apostles, we must rather suffer for matters of faith than be enforced or enforce thereunto. But it does not therefore follow that by defensive force we may not maintain our natural human being and subsistence upon earth; for the contrary doctrine would tend to the utter confusion of humanity, the depopulation of nations, kingdoms, and countries. Though for the spiritual warfare we are confined to spiritual weapons, yet for this human, natural warfare human and natural weapons may and are to be used, each according to its kind. So that neither the one nor the other in their distinctive propriety and administration is destructive or contradictory one to another, but both may properly meet and stand together in one individual without the least encroachment or prejudice to each other’s propriety. And if the magistrate should so far extend his compulsive force, under pretence of religion and conscience, to the destruction of our human subsistence or being, we may, upon the points of oura human subsistence, lawfully make our defensive resistance, for in itself it is defendable against all opposition or destruction, from whence or from whomsoever it shall be. And of this defensive resistance none in duty can be excused but in case of an utter deprivationb of power. . . .
Therefore, these premises . . . deliberately weighed, I appeal to all moderate and rational commoners to judge impartially about this matter, whether now without all check or scruple of conscience, in maintenance and pursuance of this defensive principle of resistance, we may not, every man of us, in duty to our own natures and to our native country in general, to the utmost of our lives and fortunes, be assistant and united to this faithful Army that now is, or to whomsoever shall rise up and appear in the defensive cause of this kingdom, for the recovery of our natural human rights and freedoms, that all orders, sorts, and societies of the natives of this land may freely and fully enjoy a joint and mutual neighbourhood, cohabitation, and human subsistence, one as well as another, doing unto all men as we would be done unto, it being against the radical law of nature and reason that any man should be deprived of a human subsistence, that is not an enemy thereto. He that is fit for neighbourhood, cohabitation, human society and fellowship, and will freely comply and submit thereunto, ought not to be abridged of the same in the least measure; he that shall deny, oppose and resist this, the same is an enemy to mankind and is guilty of the highest kind of treason that is. * * *
I shall therefore presume, most excellent General, honourable officers, faithful Agitators,a and gentleman soldiers, . . ., to make my humble address and appeal unto this Army as to the natural head of the body natural of the people at this present. * * *
Be therefore quick and active and be not demurred, protracted and delayed, by the old, beaten, subtle foxes of Westminster, into your own and our destruction. Can you imagine that they intend you any good? What have they done, I pray you, as hitherto, but fobbed, befooled, and deluded you . . ., that they might gather time and ground? * * *
Therefore, right worthy and faithful Agitators, be advised to preserve that power and trust, reposed in and conferred upon you by the body of the Army, entire and absolute. And trust no man, whether officer or soldier, how religious soever appearing, further than he acts apparently for the good of the Army and kingdom. Mark them which would and do bring you into delays and demurs; let their pretences be what they will be, their counsels are destructive. I am afraid that your officers areb too forward to interpose all delays. Therefore, as I dare not totally condemn them, but honour them so far as they have dealt honourably in your Engagement, I only advise you to be cautious and wary, and keep up your betrusted power and authority, and let nothing be acted . . . or concluded without your consent and privity. For by that means the cause in a clandestine, underhand manner may be given away. And what do you know but there is a design amongst you, to take the power of all agitation from the hand of the private soldier? * * * Sure I cannot judge that you will altogether be befooled of your power. If you do, I am sure we shall all be befooled with you. If that once be accomplished, then farewell our hopes in the Army. For I am confident that it must be the poor, the simple and mean things of this earth, that must confound the mighty and the strong. Therefore your officers that seek not themselves, and have no sinister ends nor designs in their breasts, will be contented that your betrusted power be preserved entire in your hands till the end of your work be accomplished, and rather than they will any ways seem to infringe it, [they will] be continued in their addition to your agitation only for advice and consultation, not for control and conclusion, not desiring a negative voice any more in your agitation than they and you would allow the King in the great council of Parliament; that so the sense and mind of the Army may not be prevented or denied. * * *
Certain Articles for the Good of the Commonwealth, Presented to the consideration of his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax, and to the Officers and Soldiers under his command.a * * *
1. That for the future the election and expulsion of Parliament-members may be so settled in the electors, that none may be hindered . . . from serving his country under any colour or pretence whatsoever, as for refusing the Covenant or otherwise, without order first, [and] assent or concurrence of their country.
2. That for the better security of the interest and power of the people, all titles by prerogative, privilege, patent, succession, peerage, birth, or otherwise, to sit and act in the assembly of Parliament, contrary to and without the free choice and election of the people, be utterly abrogated. . . .
3. That the authority of Parliament may be preserved and secured for the future from the obstructions and prejudice of a negative voice in any person or persons whatsoever.
4. That every county may have liberty to choose some certain number amongst themselves, to inquire and present to the Parliament what be the just laws, customs and privileges of each county. And that those county commissioners be bound to receive all . . . impeachments, by any person . . . of the respective counties, against any of their own respective knights or burgesses in Parliament, for falsifying and betraying . . . their country’s trust, or anywise endeavouring the introduction of an arbitrary power in this land. * * *
 That all courts which are not established by the just old law of the land, and all illegal offices and officers belonging to the same, and all other vexatious and unnecessary courts, be abolished by Act of Parliament. And that provision be made, that for time to come no courts or officers whatsoever may be obtruded upon the free commoners of England, eitner by royal grant, patent, Act of Parliament, or otherwise, contrary to the old law of the land.
 That according to the old law and custom of the land, long before and some time after the Conquest, there may be courts of judicature for the speedy trial and determination of all causes, whether criminal or civil, erected and established in every hundred, for the ease and benefit of the subject, to be holden according to the old custom once or twice every month, for the ending of all causes criminal and civil whatsoever, which shall happen in the respective hundreds. * * *
 That all such officers as, by the ancient and common laws of this nation, are eligible,b and to be chosen by the free Commons, as mayors, sheriffs, justices of peace, &c., may be left to the free election of the people in their respective places, and not otherwise to be chosen. * * *
 That the extortions and oppressive fees of gaolers may be redressed and eased, and that strict and severe provision be made against all gaolers and their deputies, to restrain them for the future from the like extortions and cruelties, now frequent in all gaols of the land. And that there may be a strict and severe inquisition after the blood of such prisoners as have been murdered and starved by the cruelties of gaolers, that so the persons guilty thereof may have justice executed upon them.
 That no prisoners be put in irons, or to other pain, before conviction and condemnation.
 That there may be cleanly and wholesome provision made in all the gaols of England, for the lodging of prisoners at the charge and cost of the state, and that no fees for chamber-rent, for entering or deliverance, or anything in lieu thereof, be exacted or demanded, under a severe penalty.
 That neither the High Court of Parliament nor any other inferior court or magistrate whatsoever may commit any freeman of England to prison upon any pretended contempts, as is frequent in these days, but only for transgression and breach of the known laws of the land. * * *
 That all laws of the land (locked up from common capacities in the Latin or French tongues) may be translated into the English tongue. And that all records, orders, processes, writs, and other proceedings whatsoever, may be all entered and issued forth in the English tongue, and that in the most plain and common character used in the land, . . . that so the meanest English commoner that can but read written hand in his own tongue, may fully understand his own proceedings in the law.
 That no free commoner of England be enforced,a either by the High Court of Parliament or by any subordinate court, . . . to make oath or to answer to any interrogatories concerning himself in any criminal case concerning his life, liberty, goods, or freehold. * * *
 That neither membership in Parliament, office nor function whatsoever in the magistracy of the land, may be any protection or demur in any wise against the due process or course of the ancient and common laws of this realm, but that in all cases of treason, murder, burglary, and felony, in all actions, suits, and civil proceedings whatsoever, the greatest man . . . in the realm may be made equally liable at all times and seasons . . . to the trial, sentence and execution of the law, with the meanest commoner.
 That all wicked persons that shall bear false witness against any freeman of England . . . be adjudged and condemned of their lives, liberties, and freeholds, according to that which they would have done unto their neighbours.
 That the cruel practice of imprisoning debtors may be provided against, and that due rights and properties may be recovered upon more merciful terms than by way of imprisonment.
 That according to the Law of God, and the old law of the land, matters of theft may not be punished with death, and that such malefactors may make satisfaction either by just restitution to the party wronged or by an answerable servitude, and that such offenders upon the second conviction (lawfully had) be brand-marked visibly in the most eminent part of their face, and confined to a singular habit. And upon the third lawful conviction, to be put to perpetual servitude for the benefit of the state, saving to the party wronged a competent deduction thereout for restitution according to the theft. And that upon all occasions of war, such bondmen may be taken for the military service, and the impressing of freemen on that behalf in some measure spared.
 That every English native who hath goods, wares, and merchandise, may have freedom to transport the same to any place beyond the seas, and there to convert them to his own profit, it being his true and proper inheritance [so] to do . . .; and therefore to thata end, [that] the old trade-engrossing Company of Merchants may be dissolved, and the like for the future prevented.
 That the grievous oppressions by tithes and forced maintenance for the ministry be removed, and that the more easy and evangelical practice of contribution be granted and confirmed, for the benefit of the subject, and his freedom therein, for prevention of the lordliness in, and the commotions, oppressions, and tyrannies that might happen by, the clergy.
 That all ancient donations for the maintenance and continuance of free schools, which are . . . converted to any private use, and all such free schools which are destroyed . . ., may be restored and erected again, and that all parts or counties, . . . destitute of free schools for the due nurture and education of children, may have a competent number of such schools founded, erected, and endowed at the public charges of those respective counties and places so destitute, that few or none of the freemen of England may for the future be ignorant of reading and writing.
 That all ancient charitable donations towards the constant relief of the poor . . . and all hospitals that are . . . vitiated from their primitive constitution and end, or . . . deprived of any of their franchise, profits or emoluments, may be restored . . . and safely preserved to the relief and maintenance of poor orphans, widows, aged and impotent persons, &c. And that there be a convenient number of hospitals . . . erected and constituted in all the counties of England and Wales, at the public charge of the respective counties, for the good education and nurture of poor fatherless or helpless children, maintenance and relief of poor widows, aged, sick, and lame persons. And to that end, that all the glebe-lands in the kingdom may be converted to the maintenance and use of those charitable houses.
 That all the grounds which anciently lay in common for the poor, and are now . . . enclosed . . . , may forthwith, in whose hands soever they are, be . . . laid open again to the free and common use and benefit of the poor.
 That strong provision be made that neither the Parliament nor any inferior court . . . may in any wise let . . . any person or persons from contriving, promoting, or presenting any petition . . . concerning their grievances [and] liberties, to the High Court of Parliament.
 Here follows an account (pp. 7-10) of Overton’s arrest, on 11th August 1646, by order of the Lords, on a charge of breach of privilege; his appeal to the House of Commons; its reference of the case, with Lilburne’s, to Henry Marten’s committee on the Commons’ liberties, which pronounced both imprisonments illegal; Overton’s refusal to appear again before the Lords; his imprisonment, as a result, in Newgate, from 3rd November 1646 till the time of writing (8th July 1647); and finally the arrest of his wife and brother. From the Lords his attack turns (pp. 10-13) to the eleven members of the Commons charged with treason by the Army, and concludes with a repudiation of the authority of that House, which by its acts has forfeited the character of a true Representative.
 Omitted passage cites the condemnation of the soldiers’ petition by the dominant Presbyterian party in the House of Commons, and the effort to gain complete control of the City militia.
[323. (a)]An Appeale from the Degenerate Representative Body the Commons of England assembled at Westminster: To the Body Represented. The free people in general of the several counties, cities, townes, burroughs, and places within this Kingdome of England, and Dominion of Wales. And in especiall, To his Excellency, Sir Thomas Fairfax (Captaine Generall) and to all the officers and souldiers under his command. By Richard Overton, prisoner in the infamous goale of Newgate, for the liberties and freedomes of England. [Quotes 2 Cor. 10, 16; 11, 4; and applies them to the contemporary situation of Parliament, City, and people.] London, Printed in the yeare, 1647 [July 17]. Marginal gloss omitted.
[324. (a)] + though;
[(b)] + not;
[(c)] + or else.
[(b)] + to.
[331. (a)] + as;
[334. (a)]adjutators (so below; also adjutation);
[(b)] + not.
[335. (a)] Appended to the Appeal;
[336. (a)] + to put.