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the right to vote and hold office.'
By Mr. Wheeler, of Alabama:
Presidential electors to be chosen on the 3d Tuesday of October, and no other officers to be voted for on the same day, except Congressmen.
These are the amendments proposed to the 50th Congress, The immense number of them, no less than 44 in all, involving some thirty changes more or less in the Constitution, show how many defects there were in the instrument framed by the Convention over which George Washington presided, and of which so many eminent statesmen were members—defects, most of which have only been discovered after the lapse of a hundred years.
Most of these 'amendments have no merit whatever; and others, seemingly meritorious on their face, when closely examined, are found not to be of such utility and importance as to justify a change in the fundamental law. Probably the best thing Congress could do would be to reject the whole batch until the rage for amendments is over, and then if there is any one that is particularly desirable, take it up, discuss it with much deliberation, and if, in the language of the Constitution, it be "deemed necessary,” submit it to the States for consideration.
No doubt it is the illusive idea that a member, by voting for an amendment, does not necessarily commit hiinself to its necessity, that has caused such a flood of them to be poured upon Congress.
Charles B. Waite.
THE TRIAL OF WILLIAM PENN FOR
PREACHING THE GOSPEL.
William Penn, the son of Admiral Penn, was born on Great Tower Hill, in London, on the 14th of October, 1644. His mother was a Dutch lady whom the Admiral had met in one of his voyages to the Low Countries, and owing to his constant employment on the seil, the mother and son were left alone very much of the time during the early years of young William.
England was just at that time all torn up by the civil war in which the Parliament was arrayed against the King, and royalist and country parties were marching up and down the land to the terror of all quiet citizens. No one could tell how the strife would end. The battle of Marston Moor had been fought in the previous summer, and King Charles I. had been virtually dethroned. London was nothing but one huge encampment, and it was thought best for the “Dutch wife,' as the old Admiral always called her, and young William, to retire into the country. Accordingly they went to Wanstead, in Essex, near Chigwell, two very remarkable places for their historical associations as well as for the beauty of their surroundings.
Old Wanstead House was in its glory. It had been rebuilt by Lord Chancellor Rich and had received Queen Mary just before her coronation; had been visited by Queen Elizabeth for four or five days, and had witnessed the marriage of the Earl of Leicester with the Countess of Essex—the bridegroom being at the time lord and master of the domain. Chigwell too was
renowned for its stately palaces, its magnificent churches and schools, and it was in this region that Penn passed the first eleven years of his life. Here he received his first knowledge of the rudiments of learning and received his initiation into the classics. He early became acquainted with the great questions that divided the people, and having learned of the cruelties and the oppressions of the “established church” factions, he imbibed notions of independence which he took with him to Oxford. There they got bim into difficulty, which ended with his leaving the University and eventually becoming a Quaker.
His father, when he became acquainted with his vagaries, was greatly exasperated and turned bim out of doors. But when he himself became involved in difficulties, he became reconciled to his son, and forgave him when he found that it was impossible to convince him of his errors or turn him from his chosen way.
He did not believe in Laud or Laudism; thought that the fate of Charles I. was not undeserved, and that Cromwell did much to make royalty respect the will of the people. He believed that the final triumph of the people would be supplemented by “The rise, race and royalty of God in the soul of man.” He became a disciple of George Fox, was persecuted, thrown into prison and abused, but he never faltered or feared the results.
He studied law in Lincoln's Inn, and between the influences of the Holy Spirit and Magna Charta, he became strong in the faith and in the righteousness which that great charter of liberty would aid mankind in attaining.
He was accused of heresy, and at the instigation of the Bishop of London was thrown into the Tower, where he remained for several months. Here it was that he first tasted the real sweets of martyrdom, and here it was that he wrote his celebrated treatise, No Cross no Crown." While he was in the Tower, a servant came to tell him that the Bishop of London bad declared he should either recant or die a prison
"Thou mayst tell my father,” he replied, "that my prison sball be my grave before I will budge a jot; for I owe obedience of my conscience to no mortal man."
It seemed at that time as if the devil himself had taken possession of the rulers of men, and that such a thing as toleration and liberty of conscience were utterly unknown. The whipping post, the parish stocks, pelting by infuriated mobs, and impositions of enormous fines; these were cruelties inflicted on Quakers year by year. Different statutes were brought to bear upon them, and where no specific law could be produced, it was easy to require the oath of allegiance, which exposed them to six months imprisonment.
Their meetings were disturbed by lawless hoodlums, and unconsciouable brutes, who marched in a body to the places of worship at the sound of drums and fiddles. Women bad their hoods torn off and little boys were beaten with a cat-o-'nine tails. More than fifteen hundred were thrown into prison, and many died there, because they could not furnish bonds to procure their liberation. Three hundred and fifty died in jail within a little over ten years after 1660. Altogether, according to Penn's calculations, more than five thousand perished for the sake of religion. The reigns of Charles II. and James II. furnished hideous examples of their wrongs, the accounts of which are preserved in their “Canons and Institutions" and in “those grim and ponderous folios, among the records of their society, where they stand as if ready for the judgment day.” It is curious how this most harmless sect was persecuted both in England and in the New World-how they were driven out of Virginia and denied even the commonest offices of hospitality.
Penn spent some time in Ireland, in managing and looking after his father's estate, and on the continent; visited the Low Countries, traversed Germany, passed a year at Paris and saw persecution there in all of its forms. He early formed the project of obtaining an interest in the Western Hemisphere, where he and his people might live in peace and worship God as they saw fit.
This vision, which first dawned on his mind in his youth, he was enabled through the Providence of God partially to realize. Although he never lived to behold the dawning of the Great Republic, he did live to tread the soil of the new world and
to lay the foundations of a commonwealth which links his name forever with all that is good and great in this world—as lasting as time and eternity itself.
Few men living-indeed few Americans know or realize what an impetus he gave to religious freedom in his struggles through that long night of oppression, which characterized the reigns of Charles II. and James II., and few realize what he did for the protection of human rights by his open defiance of unjust judges and cruel persecutors who strove to destroy him and his friends under the forms of law. His position was in some respects like that of Cromwell, for he led all mankind by his boldness and his daring, and defied all of his oppressors. He succeeded in breaking down the prejudices of caste and exposing to open day the iniquities which characterized all trials by courts which were organized solely to convict.
To trace out the life of this most extraordinary man would require a volume. His life was replete with incidents of the most thrilling interest.
We have selected one only at this time which we deem of the greatest importance, and that is his trial “for preaching to an unlawful, seditious and riotous assembly" in front of the “Friends' Meeting-House" in Grace Church Street, London, in 1670.
It was in this year that the infamous “Conventicles Act” was renewed, which prevented all dissenters from worshiping as they saw fit.
Penn and his followers had suffered much up to this time, but he was not aware that armed force was to be used to prevent his people from peaceably assembling, until he repaired to the “meeting-house" in Grace Church Street, when he found it closed and guarded. He made up bis mind to preach to the crowd in the street. Another friend was with him, William Mead, a London linen-draper. Soon after the discourse had begun, both the preacher and his companion were arrested under warrant from the Lord Mayor, and immediately dragged off to Newgate.
What followed forms a curious chapter in the history of English jurisprudence. The prisoners were arraigned at the