« FöregåendeFortsätt »
against him: this is painful to flesh and blood, which must not inherit the kingdom ; but it brings the soul into the liberty of the sons of God, where the peace of God, and the joy of his salvation flow, as a pure river that is never dry. Oh! that you may have eternal life, that you may not miss of your desire through the subtle working of the enemy of your souls, that seeks to divert you from the right way of God by many stumbling blocks; but be not offended in Kim, that he may bless you : and remember, that all things are possible with him with whom we have to do; for all power in heaven and earth is given him that hath enlightened you: therefore do not murmur, do not despond, do not presume, but hearken to his voice, in whom the prince of this world hath no part, and he will give you power to resist him: and remember, that to them that overcome, shall be given a new name, and they shall have right to eat of the tree of life, that stands in the midst of the paradise of God. My God shed abroad his love abundantly in your hearts, to the love and obedience of the truth, that you may all be saved in the day of the Lord, in whose visiting love I bid you all farewell.
Your well-wishing friend,
WILLIAM Penn. From the Downs, the 30th of the Sixth month, 1682.
THE PEOPLE'S ANCIENT AND JUST LIBERTIES
IN THE TRIAL OF WILLIAM PENN AND WILLIAM MEAD, At the Sessions held at the Old Bailey, in London, the Ist,
3d, 4th, and 5th of September, 1670, against the most ar. bitrary procedure of that Court.
To the English Reader. If ever it were time to speak, or write, it is now; so many strange occurrences requiring both.
How much thou art concerned in this ensuing trial, (where not only the prisoners, but the fundamental Laws of England, have been most arbitrarily arraigned) read, and thou mayest plainly judge.
Liberty of conscience is counted a pretence for rebellion ; and religious assemblies, routs and riots; and the defenders. of both are by them reputed factious and disaffected.
Magna charta is magna far- with the recorder of London ; and to demand right, an affront to the court.
Will and power are their great charter; but to call for England's, is a crime, incurring the penalty of the baledock and nasty hole; nay, the menace of a gag, and iron shackles too.
The jury (though proper judges of law and fact) they would have over-ruled in both: as if their verdict signified no more, than to echo back the illegal charge of the bench. And because their courage and honesty did more than hold pace with the threat and abuse of those who sat as judges (after two days and two nights restraint for a verdict) in the end they were fined and imprisoned for giving it.
Oh! what monstrous and illegal proceedings are these ! Who reasonably can call his coat his own, when property is made subservient to the will and interest of his judges ? Or, who can truly esteem himself a free man, when all pleas for liberty are esteemed sedition, and the laws that give and maintain them, so many insignificant pieces of formality.
And what do they less than plainly tell us so, who at will and pleasure break open our locks, rob our houses, raze our foundations, imprison our persons, and finally deny us justice to our relief? As if they then acted most like Chris
tian men, when they were most barbarous, in ruining such as are really so; and that no sacrifice could be so acceptable to God, as the destruction of those that most fear him.
In short, that the conscientious should only be obnoxious, and the just demand of our religious liberty the reason why we should be denied our civil freedom (as if to be a Christian and an Englishman were inconsistent); and that so much solicitude and deep contrivance should be employed only to ensnare and ruin so many ten thousand conscientious families (so eminently industrious, serviceable, and exemplary; whilst murders can so easily obtain pardon, rapes be remitted, public uncleanness pass unpunished, and all manner of levity, prodigality, excess, profaneness, and atheism, universally connived at, if not in some respect manifestly encouraged) cannot but be detestibly abhorrent to every serious and honest mind.
Yet that this lamentable state is true, and the present project in hand, let London's recorder, and Canterbury's chaplain, be heard.
The first, in his public panegyrick upon the Spanish Inquisition, highly admiring the prudence of the Romish church in the erection of it, as an excellent way to prevent schism. Which unhappy expression at once passeth sentence, both against our fundamental laws, and Protestant reformation.
The second, in his printed mercenary discourse against toleration, asserting for a main principle, "That it would be less injurious to the government to dispense with profane and loose persons, than to allow a toleration to religious dissenters.'-It were to overdo the business to say any more, where there is so much said already.
And therefore to conclude, we cannot chuse but admonish all, as well persecutors to relinquish their heady, partial, and inhuman persecutions (as what will certainly issue in disgrace here, and inevitable condign punishment hereafter); as those who yet dare express their moderation (however out of fashion, or made the brand of fanaticism) not to be huffed, or menaced out of that excellent temper, to make their parts and persons subject to the base humours and sinister designs of the biggest mortal upon earth; but reverence and obey the eternal just God, before whose great tribunal all must render their accounts, and where he will recompense to every person according to his works.
THE TRIAL, As there can be no observation, where there is no action; so it is impossible there shall be a judicious intelligence without due observation.
And since there can be nothing more reasonable than a right information, especially of public acts; and well knowing how industrious some will be to misrepresent this trial, to the disadvantage of the cause and prisoners; it was thought requisite, in defence of both, and for the satisfaction of the people, to make it more public. Nor can there be any business wherein the people of England are more concerned, than in that which relates to their civil and religious liberties, questioned in the persons before named at the Old Bailey, the first, third, fourth and fifth of September 1670.
There being present on the bench, as justices,
sheriffs. Richard Ford, alderm. James Edwards,
The citizens of London that were summoned for jurors, appearing, were impanelled; viz.
Cle. Call over the jury.
Cry. Oyes, Thomas Veer, Ed. Bushel, John Hammond, Charles Milson, Gregory Walklet, John Brightman, Will. Plumstead, Henry Henley, James Damask, Henry Michel, Will. Lever, John Baily.
The form of the Oath. You shall well and truly try, and true deliverance make
betwixt our sovereign lord the king, and the prisoners at the bar, according to your evidence. So help you God.'
The Indictment. That William Penn, gent. and William Mead, late of
London, linen-draper, with divers other persons to the jurors unknown, to the number of three hundred, the 15th day of August, in the 22d year of the king, about eleven of the clock in the forenoon of the same day, with force and arms, &c. in the parish of St. Bennet Grace. church, in Bridge-ward, London, in the street called Gracechurch-street, unlawfully and tumultuously did assemble and congregate themselves together, to the disturbance of the peace of the said lord the king : and the aforesaid William Penn and William Mead, together