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This article recounts the legal proceedings against those Puritan activists who challenged the government of Charles I in the 1630s. It demonstrates that most of our knowledge of these events has come from the highly colored accounts written by the defendants themselves. Closer examination demonstrates that Leighton, Prynne, Bastwick, Burton, and Lilburne set out to challenge the government, first by writing incendiary tracts about religion and then by refusing to recognize the jurisdiction of the courts into which they were brought. While they saw their causes as cases of conscience, Caroline officials saw them as attacks upon the legal and political system. They were convicted in formal legal proceedings, and while the penalties they received appear barbaric to our sensibilities, they were typical in such cases.