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arguments made use of, by the most able

petition, wherein they charged the king with obstructing the justice of the nation, by proroguing the last Westminster parliament, - After the judge had pronounced the opinion of the court, he particularly declared, by the king's express command, that judgment should not be entered till his mojesty's pleasure was further known. This was not long delayed : for the lord mayor, aldermen, and citizens, having petitioned his majesty for favour and compassion: they were assured, that his majesty would not reject their suit, provided they submitted to his majesty's regulations. These were, indeed, of very hard digestion : for, as I have intimated above, the power of chusing their magistrates was taken away from the city and placed in the crown, where it abode till the Revolution----We may

suppose the city thought itself hardly dealt by: but they were told, “ Nothing is taken away from the city but what they are the safer and the happier for, if they will but understand their own advantage : and, effectually, it is not liberty that is now the question, but confusion. The point, in short, is this: The charter's forfeited, and his majesty is willing to remit that forfeiture, saving only to himself the exercise of those powers, without which he leaves himself at the mercy of his enemies, and his friends a prey and a scorn to a faction. But all that may be beneficial to the citizens, as a body incorperate, under the regulation of the law and the civil government: all this I say his majesty leaves still to the city, upon such conditions only as are of absolute necessity for the conservation of the public peace b.”

well

a See Echard, vol. III. p. 672. bL'Estrange Observator, No. 363. See also North’s Examen, p, 618m-639.

lawyers, to the contrary : they were, I say,

Some few corporations had surrendered their charters before this judgment: but after it, they almost all did it: to the joy of the court, who now were in a fair way to accomplish the long and deep-laid design of arbitrary power.--" His majesty cannot here forbear,” says a court writer and advocate, “ to let the world know what entire satisfaction he has taken in one special testimony of his subjects affections ; whence, through Gods gracious providence, the monarchy has gained a most considerable advantage, by means of this very conspiracy (the Rye-house]: and it is, that so great a number of the cities, and corporations of this kingdom, have since so freely resigned their local immunities and charters into his majesty's hands; lest the abuse of any of them should again 'hereafter prove hazardous to the just prerogatives of the crown. This his majesty declares he esteems as the peculiar honor of his reign; being such, as none of all his late royal predecessors could have promised to themselves, or hoped for. Wherefore his majesty thinks himself more than ordinarily obliged to continue, as he has hitherto begun, to shew the greatest moderation and benignity in the exercise of so great a trust : resolving, upon this occasion, to convince the highest pretenders to the commonweal, that as the crown was the first original, so it is still the surest guardian of all the peoples lawful rights and privileges.”—-Such was the language of a right reverend sycophant, who had been the panegyrist of Cromwell; and, after the Revolution, had the wisdom to take care of his spiritual powers and temporal revenues ! Well

Sprat's Account of the Conspiracy, p. 164.

31

declared forfeited by corrupt and infamous

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worthy must such a man be of belief, when declaring the good intentions of such a monarch!

Corrupt and infamous judges.] Whoever considers the sentences past in the courts of justice in the latter end of this reign, will naturally imagine, that care was taken to fill the bench with proper instruments to execute every purpose the administration had in view. Great complaints were made, in the house of commons, of their behaviour; and it is well known, that resolutions for the impeachment of Scroggs, Jones, and Weston, were made by the house of commons in 1680.-Mr. Booth, in the house, speaking on this occasion, said, “ Let any one deny, if he can, whether our judges have not transgressed? Has not justice been sold or perverted ? witness the acquittal of Sir George Wakeman, Sir Thomas Gascoines, and Mrs. Cellier. Has not justice been denied ? witness the abrupt dismissing of the grand jury, when an indictment was to have been given in to have proved the duke of York a papist; and to prevent that great service to the nation, the jury was dismissed, notwithstanding they had several other bills of indictment in their hands : by which justice was not only delayed, but denied. And how many instances more are there of this kind ? Nay, the contagion has spread so far; that it is more difficult to find a case without these, or some of them, than to produce multitudes of cases where justice has been sold, denied, or delayed. So that our judges have been very corrupt and lordly; taking bribes and threatning juries and evidence; perverting the law to the highest degree; turning the law upside down, that arbitrary power may come in upon their shoulders. The cry of their unjust dealings is great, for every man has felt their hand :

judges ; who were also made the instru

and therefore, I hope, their punishment will be such as their crimes deserve; that every man may receive satisfactiona." - “ These judges,” said colonel Titus, " are persons from whom we expect our antidote, and from these comes our poison. But I would say something in their commendation: I think them very grateful in hindering the presentment of persons that put them into their places.-Suppose no man will pursue a thief, what signify all your laws against robbery? I would be as favourable and good-natured as possible; but it must be to such as are so to me; not to such as would destroy my wife, my children, my religion, and property. As long as judges hold their places durante beneplacito, they will do what will please; and there is an end of your justice b.”Mr. Powle acquainted the house with something further in relation to the judges. “ Printing I take now to be free,” said he. “ After the dissolution of the last parliament, the act for regulating the press expired, and the old law remained. This was referred to the judges to consider; and they did agree, that there was no remedy against the liberty of the press without a new law. A few days after, some of the judges were removed, and the rest were of another opinion; and an extrajudicial judgment passed, by which pamphlets were suppressed.”_It is easy to guess, from these accusations, that the judges must have borne but very doubtful, not to say bad characters. However severe the things here spoken may seem; they, probably, were true. Mr. Finch, when speaking against the impeach

b

* Delamere's Works, p. 140. c Id. p. 60,

Grey's Debates, vol. VIIL p. 58.

ments of court vengeance by inflicting, on

ing of Scroggs for high treason, allowed, “ that he was not fit for his place, nor ever was; and had done crimes fit for great punishment.” “ North,” Burnet observes, “ had parts turned to craft; and was thought to mean ill, even when he did well b.” That he, probably, was a bad man, is evidenced by his favour in such a court : and his various promotions from it in his profession; the great friendship in which he lived with Lauderdale: the hand he had in the proclamation against petitioning for the sitting of parliament, for which he was in danger of being impeached: from his behaviour at Colledge's trial; in the business of the sheriffs, and of the charter of the city of London, and many other particulars; which, though applauded by his biographer, will transmit his name with dishonour to posterity. Withens was, confessedly, a mean man; and promoted merely for his servilityPemberton, and Saunders, though of considerable abilities, were eminent for their vices, and stuck not at any means of gratifying those who employed them ,—But Jefferies exceeded all in his zeal to the court, and his enmity to such as opposed it. We have his portrait drawn by different hands; but there is not one but is odious and disagreeable.-Mr. Booth, in the above-cited speech, speaking of him when chief justice of Chester, said, “Sir George Jefferies, I must say, behaved himself more like a jack-pudding, than with that gravity that becomes a judge. He was mighty witty upon the prisoners at the bar: he was very full of his jokes upon people that came to give evidence; not suffering them

b

a Grey's Debates, vol. VIII. p. 242, 243. Burnet, vol. I. p. 532. See their Characters in North's Life of Guildford, p. 222--226.

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