Tried for Treason
John Lilburne was a Leveller, a member of a group of mid-seventeenth-century English politicians who sought religious toleration and an end to parliamentary corruption. Lilburne, who argued that English subjects inherited a body of individual liberties that were enshrined in Magna Carta, was frequently imprisoned for his views. During his trial for treason in 1649, Lilburne lectured the court about a jury’s role in preventing unjust judgments, reading aloud key passages from Sir Edward Coke’s interpretation of Magna Carta. In this engraved frontispiece, Lilburne brandishes a copy of Coke’s Institutes.