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Civil War

The mournfull Cryes of many thousand Poore Tradesmen. London, 1648

The years of civil war saw an outpouring of petitions for liberties cast in religious, political, or economic terms — or as a fiery mixture of them all. This printed petition may have been passed out in the streets or posted in prominent places. It is addressed to both “members of Parliament and rich men of the city.” It dismisses the controversies over church governance as a distraction, and levels some highly specific charges of political corruption. It is not precisely clear who is making this impassioned plea for justice for the underclass, but the broadside includes some key terms used by John Lilburne and others known as Levellers.


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