Page images


were asked, whether if any other judgment than done ; the only use of it is to shew the Court the usual judgment for High-Treason were who the prisoner is, and when that is apparent, given upon him, it would attaint his blood ? the Court does ofteu proceed against him, The judges were of opinion, that the judgment though he refuse to hold up his hand at the for High-Treason appointed by law, is to be bar; therefore the omission of that ceremony, drawn, hanged, and quartered; and in the in this case, is no legal cxception, as all the courts and proceedings below they can take no judges hare declared. notice of any judgment for High-Treason but " And as to the provisos in the statute of that.

the 13th year of this king, their lordships do Then sir Creswell Levinz, the king's Attor- find that they are in no sort applicable to this dey General, desired to be heard on his majes- case, forasmuch as the proceedings against your ty's behalf

, which the House gare leave for him lordship are not grounded upon that statute, to be ; who said, he knew no other judgment but upon the statute of 25 Edw. 3. And yet by law for High-Treason, but drawing, hanging if the proceedings had been upon the latter and quartering; if any other judgment were statule, the provisos therein could have done given, it would be prejudicial to his majesty, your lordship no service at all. and be a question in the inferior courts as to “ My part therefore which remains, is a very bis attainder of High-Treason.

sad one : For I never yet gave sentence of Whereupon their lordships ordered, That death upon any man, and am extremely sorry the Lord High Steward do pronounce the that I must begin with your lordship. ordinary Judgment of death upon the lord “Who would have thought that a person of viscount Stafford, as the law hath appointed in your quality, of so noble an extraction, of so cases of High-Treason.

considerable estate and fortune, so eminent a Anda Message was sent to the House of Com- sufferer in the late ill times, so interested in the mons from their lord ships, by sir Timothy Bald- preserı..ion of the government, so much wyn and sir Samuel Clark :

obliged to the moderation of it, and so personLords, to acquaint this House, That their lord have entered into so iofernal a conspiracy as Mr. Speaker ; We are commanded by the ally obliged to the king and his royal father for

their particular favours to you, should ever ships are going presenuy into WestminsterKail , to give judgment against William viscount of the state, the subversion of religion, and, as

to contrive the murder of the king, the ruin Stafford." [Mr. Speaker left the chair )

inuch as in you lay, the destruction of all the The committee of Commons appointed for souls and bodies in three Christian nations? the management of the evidence against the “ And yet the impeachment of the House of prisoner, with the rest of the Commons, went Commons amounts to no less a Charge, and into Westminster-Hall, to the court there of this Charge their Lordships have found you erected ; to be present when the Lords gave Guilty. judgment of High-Treason against him upon “ 'That there hath been a general and des. ibe impeachment of the Commons of England. perate conspiracy of the Papists, and that the After a short time their lordships were adjourn- death of the king hath been all along one chief ed into Westminster-Hall, coming in their for- part of the conspirators' design, is now appamer order into the court there erected; where rent beyond all possibility of doubting. being seated, and the Lord High Steward being “ What was the meaning of all those treaon the woolsack, attended by Garter principal ties which were published about two years king of arms, the usher of the black rod, eight since against the oath of allegiance, in a time of the serjeants at arms kneeling with their when no man dreamt of such a controversy! maces, the ninth making proclamation for What was the meaning of Father Conyers's silence ; which being done, the Lord High sermon upon the same subject, but only beSteward gave Judginent opon the prisoner as cause there was a demonstration of zeal, as they followeth :*

call it, intended against the person of the king? Lord High Steward. “My lord Stafford; which the scruples arising from that oath did That which your lordship hath said in arrest of somewhat hinder. judgment hath been found by iny lords, "pon “ To what purpose were all the correspolique consideration bad of it, to be of no moment dencies with foreign nations ? The collections at all. It is no essential part of any trial, that of money among the Fathers abroad and at the prisoner shoulu hold up his hand at the bar ; | home? What was the meaning of their gorern. there is no Record ever made of it when it is ing themselves here by such advices as came

frequently from Paris and St. Omers? And * “ December 7, 1680. Ordered by the Lords hov: shall we expound that letter which came spiritual and temporal in parliament assembled, from Ireland, to assure the Fathers here, that That the thanks of this flouse be given to the all things were in a readiness there too, as soon Lord High Steward, for his speech this day to as the blow should be given ? the lord viscount of Stafford in Westminster

“Does any man now begin to doubt how Hall, at what time his lordship pronounced the London came to be burnt*? Or by what ways judgment of this House against bim. And bis lordship is hereby desired to print and publish * “ Lord Nottingham, when he gave Judg. the same. Jo. Brown, Cleric' Parlianientor." | ment, delivered it with one of the best speeches

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and means poor Justice Godfrey fell? And is you do or no, I am to assure your lordship, it not apparent by these instances, that such is That all my Lords here, even they that have the frantic zeal of some bigotted Papists, that condemned you, will never cease to pray for they resolve, no ineans to advance the Catholic you, that the end of your life inay be Christian cause shall be left unattempted, though it be and pious, how tragical soever the means are by fire and sword?

that must bring you thither. “ My lord, as the Plot jo general is most “And now, my lord, this is the last time manifest, so your lordship's part in it hath been that I can call you my lord; for the next words too too plain. What you did at Paris, and I am to speak will attaint you. The Judg: continued to do at Tixall in Staffordshire, shews ment of the Law is, and this Court doth award, a settled purpose of mind against the king; and That what you said at London touching honest Will, shews you were acquainted with that conspi- came; from thence you must be drawn upon

“ • You go to the place from whence you racy against the king's life which was carrying on here too: And in all this there was a great

a hurdle to the place of execution : When degree of malice ; for your. Iordship at one

you come tbere, you must be banged up by

• the neck, but not till you are dead; for you time called the king heretic and traitor io God;

'must be cut down alive, your priry-members and at another time you reviled liini for misplacing his bounty, and rewarding none but

'must be cut off, and your bowels ript up betraitors and rebels.

'fore your face, and thrown into ibe fire.

· Then your head must be severed 'froin your “ And thus you see that which the wise man forewarned you of, is come upon you :

• Curse

'body, and your body divided into four quar, • not the king, no, not in thy heart : For the

ters; and these must be at the disposal of the birds of the air shall reveal, and that which

king. And Gud Alinighty be merciful to your

• soul.'". " hath wings will declare the natter.'

“ Three things I shall presume to recom- Prisoner. My lords, I humbly beseecis you mend to your lordship's consideration. In the give me leave to speak a few words; I do give first place, your lordship now sees how it bath your lordships hearty thanks for all your favours pleased God to leave you so far to yourself, to me. I do here, in the presence of God Althat you are fallen into the snare, and into the mighty declare, I have no malice in my heart pit, into that very pic which you were digging to them that have condemned me ; I know not for others. Consider therefore, that God al who they are, nor desire to know; I furgite mighty never yet left any man, who did not first them all, and beseech your lordships all to leave him.

pray for me. My lords, I have one bumble re. “ In the next place, think a little better of quest to make to your lordsbips, and that is, it than hitherto you have done, what kind of my lords, That the little short time I have to religion that is, in which the blind guides have live a prisoner, I may not be a close prisoner as been able to lead you into so much ruin and I have been of late, but that Mr. Lieutenant destruction as is now like to befal you. may have an order that my wise and children

“ In the last place, I pray your lordship to and friends may come at me. I do humbly beg consider, That true repentance is never too This favour of your lordships, which I hope you late. A devout penitential sorrow, joined with will be pleased to give me.* an humble and hearty confession, is of mighty L. H.S. My lord Stafford, I believe I may, power and efficacy both with God and man. with

my lords leave, tell you one thing further, “There have been some of late who have that my lords, as they proceed with rigour of refused to give God the glory of his justice boy justice, so they proceed with all the mercy and acknowledging the criines for which they were compassion that may be; and therefore my condemned; nay, who have been taught to be- l lords will be humble suitors to the king, that he lieve, that it is a mortal sin to confess that will remit all the punishment but the taking off crime in public, for which they have been ab. your head. solved in private, and so have not dared to gire Prisoner, (weeping). My lords, your justice God that glory which otherwise they would does not make me cry,


your goodness. have done.

“ God forbid your lordship should rest upon * Macpherson, in what he calls (see the Informs; God forbid your lordship should be troduction to lord Clarendon's Case, vol. 6, p. found among the number of those poor mis. 291, of this work,) “ The Life of James the taken souls, whom the first thing that unde. Second, written by binself,” (p. 110.) says, ceives is death itself.

“ Carlisle and Escric had voted Stafford their Perhaps your lordship may not much es. kinsman Guilty, yet moved to change his senteem the prayers of those whom you have long tence 10 perpetual banishment. This being rebeen taught to miscall heretics; but whether jected they desired to see him under pretence

of carrying the bishop of London and Dr. he had ever made. But be committed one Burnet to him. They only wanted to get great indecency in it: for he said, Who can something out of him against the duke of doubt any longer that London was burned by York: but the Lords would not allow them to Papists, though there was not one word in the see him alone, without a Recorder present, so whole Trial relating to that matter." Burnet. their project was disappointed.”

Then the Lord High Steward broke his staff, His majesty afterward ordered the Lord and the Lords adjourned into the Parliament High-Chancellor to issue out under the great Chamber, and the Commons returned to their seal of England the following writs for execuHouse, and the prisoner with the axe boroe be- ting the said late viscount Stafford; the first fore him with the edge towards him (it being being to the lieutenant of the Tower, to decarried contrarily during his trial) was sent liver him on the 29th of December 1880, beback to the Tower.*

tween nine and eleven o'clock in the forenoon, Burnet tells us, that lord Stafford be- name some who had now great credit, but bad haved himself during the whole time, and at once engaged to serve their designs: I said, the receiving bis Sentence, with much more nothing could be more acceptable than the constancy then was expected from him. And discovering such disguised Papists, or false Probe thus proceeds: “Within two days after testants : yet upon this I charged him solemnly he sent a message to the Lords, desiring that not to think of redeeming his own life by acthe bishop of London” (Compton, one of the cusing any other falsely, but to tell the truth, SEVEN; see their Case, A.D. 1688, infru.]“ and and all the truth, as far as the common safety I might be appointed to come to him. We was concerned in it. As we were discoursing waited on him. His design seemed to be only of these matters, the earl of Carlisle came in, to possess us with an opinion of his innocence, In his hearing, by lord Stafford's leave, I went of which he made very solemn protestations. over all that had passed between us, and did He heard us speak of the points in difference again solemnly adjure him to say nothing but between us and the Church of Rome with great the truth. Upon this he desired the earl of temper and attention. At parting he desired Carlisle to carry a message from him to the me to come back to bim next day; for he had House of Lords, that whensoever they would a mind to be more particular with me. When send for him he woald discover all that he I came to him, he repeated the protestations knew: upon that he was immediately sent for. of his innocence; and said, he was confident And he began with a long relation of their first the villainy of the witnesses would soon ap- consultations after the Restoration abont the pear: he did not doubt I should see it in less methods of bringing in their religion, which than a year. I pressed him in several points they all agreed could only be brought about by of religion; and urged several things, which he a toleration. He told thein of the earl of Brissaid he had never heard before. He said, these tol's project; and went on to tell who had uno things on another occasion would have made dertaken to procure the toleration for them: some impression upon bim; but he had now and then he named the earl of Shaftsbury. little time, therefure he would lose none in When he named him he was ordered to withcontroversy ; so I let that discourse fall. I draw: and the Lords would hear no more from talked to him of those preparations for death him. It was also given out, that in this I was in wbich all Christians agree: he entertained a tool of lord Halifax's to bring him thitber to these very seriously. He had a mind to live, blast lord Shaftsbury. He was sent back to if it was possible: he said, he could discover the Tower : and then he composed himself in nothing with relation to the king's life, pro- the best way he could to suffer, which he did testing that there was not so much as an inti- with a constant and uudisturbed miod: he mation about it that had ever past among supped and slept well the night before his exethem. But he added, that he could discover cution, and died without any shew of fear of many other things, that were more material disorder. He denied all that the witnesses had than any thing that was yet known, and for sworn against him. And this was the end of which the duke would never forgive bim; and the Plot. I was very unjustly censured on of these, if that might save his life, he would both hands. The earl of Shaftsbury railed so make a full discovery. I stopped him when he at me that I went no more near him. And was going on to particulars; for I would not the duke was made believe, that I had perbe a confident in any thing in which the pub- suaded lord Stafford to charge him, and to dislic safety was concerned. He knew best the cover all he knew against himn : which was the importance of those secrets; and so he could beginning of the implacable hatred he shewed only judge, whether it would be of that value on many occasions against me. Thus the in. as to prevail with the two Houses to interpose nocentest and best meant parts of a man's life with the king for his pardon. He seemed to may be misunderstood, and highly censured.". think it would be of great use, chiefly to sup- It is certainly worthy of attention, that in port what they were then driving on with rela- the course of this effort to save his life, lord tion to the duke. He desired me to speak to Stafford did not confess any of, according to lord Essex, lord Russel, and sir Willian Jones. Burnet's expression, “ those particulars for I brought him their answer the next day; which which he was judged." If he had made such was, that if he did discover all he knew con- a confession, it might yet leave many minds cerning the Papists designs, and more parti- unconvinced of bis guilt. In bad times, it is not cularly concerning the duke, they would en- surprising confessions of uncommitted crimes deavour that it should not be insisted on, that should be made for the purpose of obtaining le must confess those particulars for which he mitigation of punishment. With respect to lord was judged. He asked me, what if he should Bacon's Confession, (See bis case Vol. 2, p.1087.)

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

at the usual place without the Tower-gate, to ut fiat executio Judicii prædicti, modo et forma the sheriffs of London and Middlesex ; and the prout dictis Vicecomitibus London et Middleother being for them then and there to receive sex, per aliud breve nostrum prædictum prehiin into their custody, and to lead him to the cipimus; Et hoc nullatenus omittas, sub usual place upon Tower-hill, and there to cause periculo incumbente; aliquo Judicio, Lege, his head to be cut off, and severed from bis • Ordinatione, seu mandato præantea habit', body: which wrils were in form following: • fact, ordinat', seu dat' in contrarium non obó

stante. Teste meipso apud Westm. decimo · Carolus Secundus Deigratia Angliæ, Scotiæ, octavo die Decembris, Anno regni nostri Franciæ, et Hiberniæ Rex, fidei defensor, &c. tricesimo secundo.

BARKER,' • Locumtenenci Turris nostræ London salutem :

· Carolus Secundus Dei gratia Angliæ, Scotiæ, • Cum Willus Vicecomes Stafford, per Com | Franciæ, et Hiberoiæ Rex, fidei defensor, &c.

munes Regni nostri Angliæ in Parliamento - Vic. Londou et Vic. Middlesex salutem : Cuin • assemblat', de alta proditione necnon diversis

• Willus Vicecomes Stafford, per Communes aliis criminibus et ofensis per ipsum perpetrat' regni nostri Angliæ in Parliamento assemblat', • et commissis, iinpetit' fuit, ac superinde per

de alta proditione, necnon diversis aliis crimi• Dominos Temporales in præsenti Parliamento

onibus ei offensis per ipsum perpetrat' et com. • nostro convent', triat', convict' et debita juris missis impetit fuit; ac superinde per Doininos • forma attinct fuit

, et morti adjucat' existit; • Temporales in præsenti Parliamento nostro cujus quidem Judicii executio adhuc restat

convent', triatus, convict' et debita juris forma • facienda. Cumq; prædictus Vicecomes Staf- attinct fuit et morti adjudicat existit; cujus • ford in Turri nostra London, sub custodia tua detent' existit : Præcipimus tibi et per præ- . Præcipimus vobis, et per præsentes firmiter

quidem Judicii executio adbuc restat facienda; sentes firmiter injungendo mandamus, quod in injungendo mandamus, quod in et super vice' et super vicesimum nonum diem instantis mensis Decembris, inter horas ponam et unde-inter horas nonam et undecimam, ante meri

simum nonum diem hujus instantis Decembris, cimam, ante Meridiem ejosdem diei, ipsum diem ejusdem diei, dictum Vicecomitem · Vicecomitem Stafford, usq; locum usualem

• Stafford, extra Portam Turris nostræ London, • extra portam Turris prædictæ ducas; ac ipsum, yobis tunc et ibidem deliberandum, prout per « Vicecomitibus Civitatis nostræ London

( aliud breve Locumtenenti Turris nostræ • Middlesex, adtunc et ibidem deliberes : Qui- | London directum præcepimus, in custodiam 'bus quidem Vicecomitibus nos per aliud breve

vestram adtunc et ibidem recipiatis, et ipsum . eis inde direct, præcipimus prædictum Vice- . sic in custodia vestra existentein, statim usque I comitem Stafford adtunc et ibidem recipere, usualem locuin super le Tower-hill ducatis; there are anecdotes that the bribes were

ac caput ipsius Willi. Vicecomitis Stafford,

• adtunc et ibidem amputari, ac a corpore suo not received by him but by his servants, and

* omnino separari faciatis ; aliquo Judicio, Lege, that he was either totally ignorant of them, or

• Ordinatione, seu Mandato præantea habit', at worst no otherwise blameable than by not

• fact, ordinat', seu dat' in contrarium, non ob. exertiog bimself to prevent the practice, and

stante: Et boc (sub periculo incumbente) that his confession proceeded merely from an

• nullatenus omittatis. Teste meipso apud apprehension of exasperating government, and • Westm. dccimo octavo die Decembris, Anno aggravating his own punishment by a denial. regni nostri tricesimo secundo. BARKER. Pliny relates an anecdote of this sort : Con• fessus est (sc. Licinianus) quidem incestum.

There were two Writs to the Sheriffs, both . Sed incertum utrùm quia verumerat; an quia alike verbatim, one delivered in London, the graviora metuebat, si negâsset. Fremebat other in Middlesex. • enim Domitianus, æstuabárque ingenti invi- Whereupon the Sheriffs doubting whether

diâ, destitutus.-Celer, cui Cornelia objicies that was a sufficient authority for them to exe• batur, cùm in comitio virgis cæderetur, in cute the prisoner by beheading only, the sen• hâc voce perstiterat ; Quid feci? Nihil feci. tence of death being otherwise given, petitioned • Ardebat ergo Domitianus, et crudelitatis et the Lords in parliament to take the premises

iniquitatis infamiâ. Arripit Licinianum. Ille, into consideration, and to make such Order as • ab iis quibus erat curæ, præmonetur, si comie should be agreeable to right and justice, as by . tium et virgas pati nollet, ad confessionem the following Petition appears.

confugeret, quasi ad veniam fecit-Locutus est pro absente Herennius Senecio, tale quid

• To the Right Honourable the Lords Temporal

in Parliament assembled; the humble Pedam, quale est illud, Kutus Hárgonhos: (See the Iliad, Book 18, line 20.] • Ait enim, Ex

tition'of Slingsby Bethel, esq.; and Henry 'advocato nuncius factus suin. Recessit Lici- Cornisb, esq. ; sheriffs of London and • njanus. Gratum hoc Domitiano; aded ut

Middlesex : gaudio proderetur, dicerétque, absolvit nos • Sheweth; That your petitioners have re• Licinianus. Adjecit etiam non esse vereceived a writ under the great seal of England, ·cundiæ ejus instandum. Ipsi vero perrisit și reciting, that judgment had been given by quâ posset ex rebus suis rapere antequam your lordships against William viscount Stafa bona publicarentur, exiliúmque molle,, for High-Treason, and divers other præmium, dedit.'

"crimes and offences, upon the Impeachment

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


of the Commons in Parliament assembled, and hiin. And accordingly, he was delivered to * commanding your Petitioners to cause the the sheriffs between the gates and the hars. * said viscount Stafford's head to be severed Before the prisoner came, several people * from his body upon the 29th day of this in- were upon the scaffold, among which were two

stant Dec., notwithstanding any judgment, appointed to write. The headsman came up • law, ordinance, or command to the contrary : with two blocks, one old, one new, in a bag;

That your Petitioners hare not as yet re- also the axe covered with a cloth. The new ceived any command from your lordships for block being taken out, was corered over executing the said judgment. Nay it ihere with black, and laid upon a piece of black fore please your lordships to take the premises bays, about two yards and a half long, upon • into consideration, and to make such order which the prisoner was to stretch himself. 'therein, as shall be agreeable to right and jus. Then the coffin was brought up, being coloured * tice. And your Petitioners shall pray, &c.' with two letters, W. S. 1680. Then the prisoner Upon which the Lords did declare as followeth: came upon the scaffold, and asked for the exe

cutioner; upon his appearing, he asked him, December 21, 1680.

If he had received money for the cloaths? • Upon application from the sheriffs of being answered, No, his man took out a purse • London and Middlesex, inaking some scru- of 51., which the headsman objected against, ples concerning the execution of the late lord and the prisoner gave him two guineas more.

viscount Stafford, which were found by this After a short pause, he stepped to one side of • House to be unnecessary, this House do de- be scaffold, and taking a Paper out of his clare,That the king's writ ought to be obeyed.'* pocket, read it as his Speech, [Which came out The said sheriffs likewise made application to print, as his Speech) and was as follows:

the very same day, before two of the clock, in the House of Commons upon the aforesaid matter, who made the following resolve:

By the permission of Almighty God, I am

this day brought hither to suffer death, as if December 23, 1680.

I were guilty of high-ireason. I do most truly, Resolved, &c. Tbat this House is content in the presence of the eternal, omnipotent, and that the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex all-knowing God, protest, upon my salvation, • do execute William late viscount Stafford, by That I am as innocent as it is possible for any • severing his head from his body only.' man to be, so much as in a thought, of the

Accordingly, on the Wednesday following, crimes laid to my charge. being the 29th of December, between nine and “ I acknowledge it to be a particular grace ten in the forenuon, the two sheriffs, with a con- and favour of the Holy Trinity, to bave given nie siderable number of gentlemen on horseback, this long time to prepare myself for eternity, went to the Tower-gate, and there demanded I have not made so good use of that grace as I William Howard, late viscount Stafford; when a ought to have done, partly by my not having gentleman belonging to the Lieutenant of the so well recollected myself as I might have done, Tower, told the Sheriffs, That the Lieutenant and partly, because not only my friends, but would wait on them presently, and bring the my wife and children have for several days been prisoner to the bars: To which the sheriffs forbidden to see me, but in the presence of one answered, That they must preserve the privi- of iny warders. This hath been a greal trouble leges and bounds of the city : An officer re- and distraction unto me, but I hope God of his plied, “Sir, We were ordered to draw up two infinite mercy will pardon my defects, and accompanies froin the gate to the bar, and there cept of my good intentions. you are to receive the prisoners.'

“ Since my long imprisonment, I base conSheriffs. Gentlemen, we will preserve the sidered often, what could be the original cause liberties of the city: And we are come at the of my being thus accused, since I knes mfgate to demand the prisoner; whether the self not culpable, so much as in a thought; and Lieutenant will deliver him or no, we demand I cannot believe it to be upon any other ac

count than my being of the church of Rome. For the debates in the House of Commons I have no reason to be ashained of my religion, concerning the king's power to vary the execu- for it teacheth nothing but the right worship of rion, see 4 Cobbett's Parl. Hist. 1261. Mr. God, obedience to the king, and due subordinaFox speaking of the fatality as it were, with which tion to the temporal laws of the kingdom. in the transactions relative to the Popish Plot | And I do submit to all articles of faith believed men's minds were divested of all their wonted and taught in the Catholic church, believing sentiments of justice and humanity ; observes, them to be most consonant to the word of God. that “ even after the condemnation of Stafford, And whereas it hath so much and often been lord Russel himself, whose character is wholly objected, That the church holds that sovereiga (this instance excepted) free from the stain of princes, excommunicated by the pope, may, fancour or cruelty stickled for the severer mode by their subjects, be deposed or murdered: As of executing the sentence, in a manner which to the murder of princes, I have been taught as his fear of the king's establishing a precedent a inatter of faith in the Catholic church, that of pardoning in cases of impeachment, (sor this such doctrine is diabolical, horrid, detestable, no doubt was his motive) cannot satisfactorily and contrary to the law of God, nature, and excuse." Fox's James II.

nations; and as such, from my heart I re

« PreviousContinue »