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was told by Amy Duny that they would all be destroyed, which accordingly came to pass. The witnesses being all examined-instead of stopping the prosecution and directing an acquittal, Lord Chief Baron Hale summed up in these words, clearly intimating that, in his opinion, the jury were bound to convict:
“Gentlemen of the jury, I will not repeat the evidence unto you, lest by so doing I should wrong it on the one side or on the other. Only this I will acquaint you, that you have two things to inquire after: First, whether or no these children were bewitched ? secondly, whether the prisoners at the bar were guilty of it? That there are such creatures as witches I make no doubt at all; for first the Scriptures have affirmed so much; secondly, the wisdom of all nations hath provided laws against such persons, which is an argument of their confidence of such a crime; and such hath been the judgment of this kingdom, as appears by that act of parliament which hath provided punishments proportionable to the quality of the offense. I entreat you, gentlemen, strictly to examine the evidence which has been laid before you in this weighty case, and I earnestly implore the great God of Heaven to direct you to a right verdict. For to condemn the innocent and to let the guilty go free, are both an abomination unto the Lord.”
The jury having retired for half an hour, returned a verdict of guilty against both the prisoners on all the indictments; and the judge, putting on his black cap, after expatiating upon the enormity of their offense, and declaring his entire satisfaction with the verdict, admonished them to repent, and sentenced them to die.
The bewitched children immediately recovered their speech and their senses, and slept well that night. Next morning, Sir Matthew, much pleased with his achievement, departed for Cambridge, leaving the two unhappy women for execution. They were eagerly pressed to confess, but they died with great constancy, protesting their innocence.
Charles II. was King and William Scroggs Chief Justice. The year was 1679.
CAMPBELL'S LIVES OF CHIEF JUSTICES, VOL. II, PAGE 261. Andrew Bromwich, being tried before him capitally, for having administered the Lord's supper according to the rites of the Church of Rome, thus the dialogue between them proceeded:
Prisoner.—I desire your Lordship will take notice of one thing, that I have taken the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and have not refused anything which might testify my loyalty.
Scroggs, C. J.—That will not serve your turn; you priests have many tricks. What is that to giving a woman a sacrament several times ?
Prisoner.—My Lord, it was not a sacrament unless I be a priest, of which there is no proof.
Scroggs.—What! you expect we should prove you a priest by witnesses, who saw you ordained? We know too much of your religion; no one gives the sacrament in a wafer except he be a Popish priest; you gave that woman the sacrament in a wafer; ergo, you are a Popish priest.
Thus he summed up: “Gentlemen of the jury, I leave it upon your conscience whether you will let priests escape, who are the very pests of Church and State; you had better be rid of one priest than three felons; so, gentlemen, I leave it to you."
After a verdict of guilty, the Chief Justice said: "Gentlemen, you have found a good verdict, and if I had been one of you I should have found the same myself.” He then pronounced sentence of death, describing what seemed to be his own notion of the Divine Being, while he imputed this blasphemy to the prisoner: “You act as if God Almighty were some omnipotent mischief, that delighted and would be served with the sacrifice of human blood.”
George III. was King; Lord Mansfield was Chief Justice. The year was 1780.
CAMPBELL'S LIVES OF CHIEF JUSTICES, VOL. III, PAGE 419. Lord Mansfield.—“There are here two questions for your consideration: First, is the defendant a priest ? Second, did he say
mazs ? By the statute of Queen Elizabeth it is high treason for any man proved to be a Popish priest to breathe in this kingdom. By what was considered a mild enactment in the reign of William III., a Popish priest convicted of exercising his functions is subject to fine and perpetual imprisonment. But, first, he is to be proved to be a priest, for, unless he be a priest, he cannot be touched for the enormity of saying mass; and then, unless he be proved to have said mass, the crime of being a priest will escape with impunity. Now the only witness to the mass is Payne-a very illiterate man, who knows nothing of Latin, the language in which it is said, and, moreover, he, as informer, is witness in his own cause; for, upon conviction, he is entitled to £100 reward. Several others were called, but not one of them would venture to swear that he saw the defendant say mass. One swore that he sprinkled with holy water; another, that he addressed some prayers to the Virgin Mary in English; another, that he heard him preach, and, being asked what the sermon was about, observed that ‘it taught the people that good works were necessary to salvation,' a doctrine which he looked upon as wholly at variance with the Protestant religion. Then, as to the defendant being a priest, you are not to infer that because he preached; for laymen ofter perform this office with us, and a deacon may preach in the Church of Rome. A deacon may be a cardinal—if he may not be a Pope. A deacon may even administer some of their sacraments, and perform many of their services; and we do not know that he may not elevate the Host—at least I do not know but that he may, and I am persuaded that you know nothing about it. If a deacon may perform all the ceremonies to which Payne swears, there is no evidence that the defendant is a priest. Why do they not call some one who was present at his ordination ? You must not infer that he is a priest because he said mass, and that he said mass because he is a priest. At the Reformation, they thought it in some measure necessary to pass these penal laws; for then the Pope had great power, and the Jesuits were then a very formidable body. Now the Pope has little power, and it seems to grow less every day. As for the Jesuits, they are now banished from almost every state in Europe. These penal laws were not meant to be enforced except at proper seasons, whien there is a necessity for it; or, more properly speaking, they were not meant to be enforced at all, but were merely made in errorem. Now, when you have considered all these things, you will say if the evidence satisfies you. Take notice, if you bring him in guilty, the punishment is very severe; a dreadful punishment indeed! Nothing less than perpetual imprisonment !"
The jury found a verdict of not guilty; but many zealous Protestants were much scandalized, and rumors were spread that the Chief Justice was not only a Jacobite, but a Papist, and some even asserted that he was a Jesuit in disguise.
The following will be found in Historic Characters and Famous Events, Vol. V., page 267:
When Penn and his fellow-religionists went, on the 14th of August, 1670, to their meeting-house in Grace church street, they found the doors guarded by a detachment of soldiers, and were forbidden to enter. Penn, taking off his hat, began to address them, when immediately some constables forced their way through the crowd and arrested him and another, Captain William Mead, a city draper, who had formerly been a trooper in the Commonwealth's service. On Penn's requiring their authority, they produced a warrant, prepared beforehand, and duly signed by the Lord Mayor, Sir Samuel Starling, before whom the two prisoners were now taken for examination. He ordered the Quaker to remove his hat, and on Penn's refusal, threatened to send him to Bridewell, and order him to be well whipped, but being warned that such a course was wholly illegal, he committed the two prisoners to the Black Dog, a sponging-house” of bad repute in Newgate Market, to await their trial at the Old Bailey.
This remarkable trial took place on the 1st of September. Penn's judges were ten in number: the Lord Mayor, four Aldermen, Sir John Robinson, Lieutenant of the Tower; Sir John Howell, the Recorder; and three Sheriffs. The indictment laid before the jury charged William Penn and William Mead with being accessories in an unlawful and tumultuous assembly, to "the great disturbance of the King's peace, to the great. terror and disturbance of many of his liege people and subjects, to the ill-example of all others in the like case offenders, and against the peace of the said lord, the King, his crown and dignity.”
The Clerk of the Court then said aloud: “What say you, William Penn and William Mead; are you guilty as you stand indicted, in manner and form as aforesaid, or not guilty ?"
Penn.—It is impossible that we should be able to remember the indictment verbatim, and therefore we desire a copy of it, as is customary in the like occasions.
Recorder.—You must first plead to the indictment before you can have a copy of it.
Penn.—I am unacquainted with the formality of the law, and therefore, before I shall answer, I request two things of the court: first, that no advantage be taken against me, nor I be deprived of any benefit which I might otherwise have received; secondly, that you will promise me a fair hearing, and liberty of making my defense.
Court.-No advantage shall be taken against you; you shall have liberty; you shall be heard.
Penn.—Then, I plead not guilty—in manner and form.
After a similar procedure had been followed in the instance of William Mead, the court adjourned for two days, and the prisoners were sent back to Newgate.
On the 3d of September the court sat again. The prisoners