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being very Como be of any Colis Common
will you teach the Court what Law is? It's Lex non scripta, that which many have studied thirty or forty Years to know, and would you have me to tell you in a Moment?
PEN. Certainly, if the Common Law be so hard to be understood, it's far from being very Common; but if the Lord Cook, in his Institutes, be of any Consideration, he tells us, That Common Law is Common Right, and that Common Right is the Great Charter-Privileges: Confirmed 9 Hen. 3. 29. 25 Edw. I. 1. 2 Edw. 3. 8. Cook Instit. 2 p. 56.
REC. Sir, you are a troublesome Fellow, and it is not for the Honour of the Court to suffer you to go on.
PEN. I have asked but one Question, and you have not answer'd me; tho' the Rights and Privileges of every Englishman be concerned in it.
REC. If I should suffer you to ask Questions till to Morrow Morning, you would be never the wiser.
Pen. That is according as the Answers are.
Rec. Sir, we must not stand to hear you talk all Night. PEN. I design no Affront to the Court,
but to be heard in my just Plea: And I must plainly tell you, that if you will deny me Oyer of that Law, which you suggest I have broken, you do at once deny me an acknowledged Right, and evidence to the whole World your Resolution to sacrifice the Privileges of Englishmen to your sinister and Arbitrary Designs.
REC. Take him away. My Lord, if you take not some Course with this pestilent Fellow, to stop his Mouth, we shall not be able to do any thing to Night.
MAYOR. Take him away, take him away, turn him into the Bale-dock.
PEN. These are but so many vain Exclamations; is this Justice or true Judgment? Must I therefore be taken away because I plead for the Fundamental Laws of England? However, this I leave upon your Consciences, who are of the Jury (and my sole Judges) that if these Ancient Fundamental Laws, which relate to Liberty and Property, and (are not limited to particular Persuasions in Matters of Religion) must not be indispensibly maintained and observed. Who can say he hath Right to the Coat upon his Back? Certainly our Liberties are openly to be invaded, our Wives to be ravished, our Children slaved, our Families ruined, and our Estates led away in Triumph, by every sturdy Beggar and malicious Informer, as their Trophies, but our (pretended) Forfeits for Conscience sake. The Lord of Heaven and Earth will be Judge between us in this Matter.
REC. Be silent there.
PEN. I am not to be silent in a Case wherein I am so much concerned, and not only my self, but many ten thousand Families besides.
OBSER. They having rudely haled him into the Bale-dock, William Mead they left in Court, who spake as followeth.
MEAD. You Men of the Jury, here I do now stand, to answer to an Indictment against me, which is a Bundle of Stuff, full of Lyes and Falshoods; for therein I am accused, that I met Vi & armis, illicite & tumultuose: Time was, when I had Freedom to use a carnal Weapon, and then I thought I feared no Man; but now I fear the Living God, and dare not make use thereof, nor hurt any Man; nor do I know I demeaned my self as a tumultuous Person: I say, I am a peaceable Man, therefore it is a very proper Question what William
Penn demanded in this case, An Oyer of the Law, in which our Indictment is grounded.
REC. I have made Answer to that already.
MEAD. Turning his Face to the Jury, saith, you Men of the Jury, who are my Judges, if the Recorder will not tell you what makes a Riot, a Rout, or an unlawful Assembly, Cook, he that once they called the Lord Cook, tells us what makes a Riot, a Rout, and an unlawful Assembly A Riot is when three, or more, are met together to beat a Man, or to enter forcibly into another Man's Land, to cut down his Grass, his Wood, or break down his Pales.
OBSER. Here the Recorder interrupted him, and said, I thank you Sir, that you will tell me what the Law is, scornfully pulling off his Hat.
MEAD. Thou mayst put on thy Hat, I have never a Free for thee now.
BROWN. He talks at random, one while an Independent, another while some other Religion, and now a Quaker, and next a Papist.
MEAD. Turpe est doctori cum culpa redarguit ad ipsum.
May. You deserve to have your Tongue cut out.
REC. If you discourse on this Manner, I shall take Occasion against you.
MEAD. Thou didst promise me, I should have fair Liberty to be heard; why may I not have the Privilege of an Englishman? I am an Englishman, and you might be ashamed of this dealing.
REC. I look upon you to be an Enemy to the Laws of England, which ought to be observed and kept, nor are you worthy of such Privileges, as others have.
MEAD. The Lord is Judge between me and thee in this Matter.
OBSER. Upon which they took him away into the Bale-dock, and the Recorder proceeded to give the Jury their Charge, as followeth.
REC. You have heard what the Indictment is. It is for preaching to the People, and drawing a tumultuous Company after them, and Mr. Penn was speaking; if they should not be disturbed, you see they will go on; there are three or four Witnesses that have proved this, that he did preach there; that Mr. Mead did allow of it; after this, you have heard by substantial Wit