To the Kings most Excellent Maiestie,
Soit droit fait come est desiré.
Humbly shew unto our Soveraigne Lord the King, the Lords Spirituall, and Temporall, and Comons in Parliament assembled. That whereas it is declared and enacted by a Statute made in the tyme of the Raigne of King Edward the first comonly called Statutum de Tallagio non concedendo That no Tallage, or Ayde should be layde, or levyed by the King or his heires in this Realme, without the good will and assent of the Archbishopps, Bishopps, Earles, Barons, Knights, Burgesses, and other the Freemen of the Comonalty of this Realme. And by authority of Parliament houlden in the five and twentith yeare of the raigne of King Edward the third, it is declared and enacted, That from thenceforth no person should be compelled to make any Loanes to the King against his will, because such Loanes were against reason and the franchise of the land, And by other Lawes of this Realme it is provided, That none should be charged by any charge or imposicion called a Benevolence nor by such like Charge. By which the Statutes before mencioned, and other the good Lawes and Statute of this Realme, your Subiects have inherited this freedome. That they should not be compelled to contribute to any Taxe, Tallage, Ayde, or other like charge not sett by comon consent in Parliament. Yet neverthelesse of late divers Comissions directed to sondrie Comissioners in several Counties with Instruccions have issued, By meanes whereof your people have been in divers places assembled and required to lend certaine sums of mony unto your Maiestie. And many of them uppon their refusall so to doe, have had an Oath administred unto them not warrantable by the Lawes or Statute of this Realme, and have been constrayned to become bound and make apparance and give attendance before your Privy Councell, and in other places, and others of them have been therefore imprisoned, confined, and sondry other wayes molested and disquieted. And divers other charges have been layd and levyed uppon your people in severall Counties by Lord Leifetenants, Deputie Leifetenants, Comissioners for Musters, Iustice of Peace, and others by Commaund or direction from your Maiestie or your Privy Councell against the Lawes and free customes of the Realme. And whereas also by the Statute called the Greate Charter of the liberties of England, It is declared and enacted that no freeman may be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his freehold or liberties, or his free customes, or be outlawed or exiled, or in any manner destroyed but by the Lawfull Iudgment of his Peeres, or by the Lawe of the Land. And in the Eight and Twentith yeare of the raigne of King Edward the third, It was declared and enacted by authority of Parliament. That no man of what estate or condicion that he be, should be putt out of his land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disherited, nor putt to death without being brought to answer by due processe of Lawe. Neverthelesse against the tenor of the said Statute and other the good Lawes and Statute of your Realme to that end provided, divers of your subiects have of late been imprisoned, without any cause shewed, And when for their deliverance they were brought before your Iustice by your Maiestie's writte of Habeas corpus, there to undergo and receive as the Court should order, and theyre keepers comaunded to certifie the causes of theire deteyner, no cause was certified, but that they were deteyned by your Maiestie's Special comaund, signified by the Lords of your Privy Councell, and yet were returned back to severall prisons without being charged with any thing to which they might make answer according to the Lawe. And whereas of late greate Companies of Souldiers and Mariners have been dispersed into divers Counties of the Realme, And the inhabitants against their wills have been compelled to receive them into their houses, and there to suffer them to soiourne against the Lawes and customes of this Realme, and to the greate grievance and vexation of the people. And whereas also by authority of Parliament, in the five and twentith yeare of the raigne of King Edward the third It is declared and enacted, That noe man should be foreiudged of life, or lymbe against the forme of the Great Charter and the Lawe of the Land. And by the said Greate Charter and other the Lawes and Statute of this your Realme, noe man ought to be adiudged to death but by the Lawes established in this your Realme, either by the customes of the same Realme, or by Acts of Parliament. And whereas no offender of what kinde soever is exempted from the proceedings to be used, and punishments to be inflicted by the Lawes and Statute of this your Realme. Neverthelesse of late tyme divers Comissions under your Maiestie's Greate Seale have issued forth, by which certaine persons have been assigned and appointed Comissioners with power, and authority to proceede within the land according to the Iustice of Martiall Lawe, against such Souldiers or Maryners, or other dissolute persons ioyning with them, as should comitt any murther, Robbery, felony, mutiny, or other outrage or misdemeanor whatsoever, and by such summary course and order as is agreeable to Martiall Lawe, and as is used in Armyes in tyme of warr, to proceed to the tryall and condemnation of such offenders, and them to cause to be executed and putt to death according to the Lawe Martiall. By pretext whereof some of your Maiestie's Subiects have been by some of the said Comissioners putt to death when, and where if by the Lawes and Statute of the land they had deserved death, by the same Lawes and Statute also they might, and by noe other ought to have been iudged and executed, And also sundry greivous offenders, by cullor thereof, clayming an exemption have escaped the punishments due to them by the Lawes and Statute of this your Realme, by reason that divers of your officers and ministers of Iustice have uniustly refused or forborne to proceed against such offenders according to the same Lawes and Statute, upon pretence that the said offenders were punishable onely by Martiall Lawe, and by authority of such Comissions as aforesaid. Which Comissions, and all other of like nature are wholly and directly contrary to the said Lawes and Statute of this your Realme
They doe therefore humbly pray your most Excellent Maiestie, That noe man hereafter be compelled to make or yeild any guifte, loane, benevolence, tax, or such like charge, without comon consent by Act of Parliament. And that none be called to make answer or take such oath, or to give attendance, or be confined, or otherwise molested, or disquieted concerning the same, or for refusall thereof. And that noe freeman in any such manner as is beforementioned be imprisoned or deteyned. And that your Maiestie would be pleased to remove the said Souldiers, and Maryners, And that your people may not be soe burthened in tyme to come. And that the aforesaid Comissions for proceeding by Martiall Lawe may be revoked and annulled. And that hereafter no Comissions of like nature may issue forth to any person or persons whatsoever to be executed as aforesaid, lest by cullor of them any of your Maiestie's Subiects be destroyed or putt to death, contrary to the Lawes and franchise of the land.
All which they most humbly pray of your most excellent Maiestie, as theire rights and liberties according to the Lawes and Statute of this Realme. And that your Maiestie would allso vouchsafe to declare, that the Awards, doings, and proceedings, to the preiudice of your people in any of the premisses, shall not be drawne hereafter into consequence or example. And that your Maiestie would be alsoe graciously pleased, for the further comfort and safety of your people, to declare your Royall will and pleasure, That in the things aforesaid all your officers and Ministers shall serve you according to the Lawes and Statute of this Realme, as they tender the honor of your Maiestie, and the prosperity of this Kingdome.