Descriptions of those presenting Root and Branch Petitions and other demonstrations in London in December 1641

George Long (Middlesex JP) ordered, on 10th December, constables to raise three hundred men and go to the Palace of Westminster to prevent 'tumults and assemblies of the people' and 'suppress riots and routs' after one Godwin had attempted to get Long to sign a petition to parliament against bishops. Godwin had 'said that 10,000 persons would come down to the parliament house to present it'.

Sir Simond D'Ewes declared in response on 10th December 1641:

that it was against the privileges of this House, to set up a guard upon us without our consent, be the pretences for doing it never so fair or specious.. We know there was a late design to bring up the army to overawe the parliament, and to give a law to us; and for ought I know a thousand men may as well effect this as well as twenty thousand.. For as it was pretended in the issuing out of the writs for ship money, that the kingdom was in imminent danger when it never enjoyed greater peace and security, so now if upon any feigned pretence a guard of 200 men may be set upon us, by the same reason a guard of a thousand or a greater number may be placed about us; by which means we shall neither be able to sit safely not to speak freely, and so not only our privileges, but the liberty also of the whole commons of England whom we represent shall be all taken away at one blow. But it is said that these men are assembled to suppress riots and routs: certainly that must be intended of real dangers not of imaginary; and especially they ought not under this colour to bring armed men even to parliament doors, where all things are in peace and quiet..

Source: B. Manning, The English People and the English Revolution (1976), p. 79. [George Long was subsequently imprisoned for his action]

The organisers of the Root and Branch petition gave out that the petition would be delivered on the Monday, but instead delivered it on the previous Saturday, the 11th December.
[Informing four men only in each ward] 'so they avoided the coming down of multitudes.. [The] aldermen, aldermen's deputies, merchants, Common Council-men, and many others of great rank and fashion, to the number of 400, who were selected to deliver the petition [in 50 coaches] accoutred in the best manner they could .. to prevent the aspersion that they were of the basest sort of people only which were that way affected..'

Alderman Pennington announced to the Commons that 'there were divers able and grave citizens attending without, to present this House with the formidable petitition we have been told of that should be brought to us by 10,000 persons: but he said that a small number was come with it, and that in a peaceable and humble manner... [the petition was] about three quarters of a yard in breadth and 24 yards in length' [signed by 15,000 or 20,000] aldermen, aldermen's deputies, merchants, Comomon-Council men, subsidy men, and citizens of London, rank and quality. [The person presenting it] with a speech civil and discreet.. [said] that they had got many thousand hands more to it but that they found many obstructions and much opposition from the lord mayor and others'.

Source: B. Manning, The English People and the English Revolution (1976), pp. 79-80.