|Worthy Aldermen and Citizens. Their Loyalty.
ships 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
Rule of your own Court of Judicature, usually referring those Causes which
to the Common Law, to the other Courts of Justice, especially if the People
desire it; so
you may Fine their Fellow Citizens, and Commoners of England as many Millions,
take away the Lives and Estates of all, as well as some, to the perpetual
enslaving the whole Kingdom. By the 29th Chapter of the great Charter, all
Commoners are to be tried by their Equals; and there are Thirty Sessions of
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
them, viz. the Petition of Right in 3o Caroli, and the Act
for abolishing the Star-
Chamber, and regulating the Council Table, in the 17th Caroli, in which many
are enumerated, That Commoners ought to be tried by their Equals, by Bill of
Indictment, or Writ Original, and by those of their Neighbourhood: And all
Judgments made contrary thereto, are declared thereby to be null and void in
which bars all Precendents. And by several Declarations and Ordinances your
Lordships have declared, that Ordinances are no Laws, but temporary, during the
and the Case of Necessity being taken away, your Lordships have promised the
People of England, that they shall be governed according to the known Laws of
Land; as it appears in the Ordinance, Dated the 15th of January, 1647. And it
the Law of God, Nature and Nations, that any Person or Persons should be Judge
Parties, Examiners or Accusers in their own Cause, or to be tried any otherwise
a known Law; for where is no Law, there is no Transgression. It is declared by
Edward Cook, that the Parliament cannot make a Law against the Law of Nature,
is Custom, according to Right and necessary Reason. That Precedents are
Comparison of the Common and Statute Laws. These being known Maxims in Law, A
facto ad jus non valet Argumentum. Gubernandum est legibus non exemplis:
are nothing in Law but meer Innovations and Prerogatives extrajudical,
ordinary Persons are in Question. The old Maxim in Law is, Non recurrendum est
extraordinaria quando fieri potest per ordinaria. And your Lordships are not
Sworn, but have imposed several Oaths, as the Protestation, and Solemn League
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,
Estates: Your Noble Predecessors being so glorious and famous Instruments in
assisting this People in purchasing the same."
Concerning the Point of Precedents, which is all can be said for your Lordships,
shall give you the Answer."
"It is observable, that all such Commoners, which have submitted to your
Lordships Jurisdiction, were in the Time of the Civil Wars, Flagrante Bello, not
Compulsion, but by voluntary Petitions of the Commons in a summary way, to the
King in Person."
"One Precedent against your Lordships Jurisdiction, is of more Consequence
than a Thou-
sand for it: The Reason is plain, because all Courts of Judicature are bottomed
Law of the Land; and it cannot be supposed that any Court can be miscognizant of
own Jurisdiction. Your Lordships have confessed in Sir Simon de Benisford's
that it is against the Law, for Peers to try Commoners; and your Predecessors
promised upon Record, that they will never do the like again, though that
were Superlative: Rot. 2. Rot. Parl. 5. Numb. 45."
"The Corporation of Cambridge was accused before the King and Lords, for
complying with the Rebels of Essex, Kent and Hertford; their Council pleaded
the Jurisdiction of the Lords House, in the Point of Treason, and the King and
allowed of the Plea."
"As there are many Precedents more may be alledged, that Commoners have
denied your Lordships Jurisdiction, and that your Lordships have transmitted
Cases to the Common Law, if desired by the Free People; so there can no
shewn that Commoners, which have refused to be tried by your House, have been
over-ruled by them in Point of Jursdiction."
"There was never Precedent, since there were Parliaments in England, that
same Session of Parliament hath Imprisoned, Fined, or any otherwise disseized or
destroyed any Man, for obeying or executing the Laws, Ordinances, or Orders of
same Parliament. And there are many Ordinances in Force, which indemnify all
which have acted by the Authority of Parliament, viz. May 26. 1642. 1. P. Book
P.281. June 14. 1642. P.377."
Your Petitioners being Free Commoners of England, according to the known Laws of
the Land, (de Jure) claim their Birthright, which is to be tried by God and
Country, in his Majesties Court of Justice, by the sworn Judges of the Law, and
of their Equals, of their own Neighbourhood, where the pretended Fact was done,
Courts of Justice being open.
And your Petitioners shall Pray, &c.
And how forward and instrumental the City was in bringing back King Charles the
after his long Banishment, and in restoring the Ancient Constitution of the
after the Usurpation, may appear by their promoting a Free Parliament, and other
notable Things done by them at a Common-Council, December 29. 1659.
The City's Acts for bringing back King Charles the IId, at a Common Council, December, 1659.
At the Committee of Common Council, &c.
To this Common Council was presented a Report by Alderman Fowke; the Tenor
1. THAT this Committee conceive the City of London is at
this Time in imminent and extraordinary Danger.
2. That they judge it absolutely necessary at this Time, for the Court of