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282. The Trial of SLINGSBY BETHEL,* esq. at the Bridge House in
Southwark, for an Assault and Battery on Robert Mason, at the Election of Members of Parliament for the Borough of
Southwark : 33 CHARLES II. A.D. 1681. THE Court being sat, the jury were called, as Francis Ferrey, Richard Frankling, Thomas follows: Edward Collingwood, brazier, Francis Wade, butcher, Edw. Kemp, ale-draper. Waker, comb-maker, Zebulon Newington, Being sworn, the Indictment was read. chandler, alias salter, William Head, woollen- “ 'The Jarors for our sovereign lord the draper, Humphry Roberts, John Allyn, baker, king, upon their oath do present, That Slingsby John Morgan, grocer,
William Morrice, Bethel, late of the parish of St. Olave's South
wark, within the town and borough aforesaid, * The following character of Bethel is from in the county of Surry, esquire, on the 19th the hostile and indignant muse of Dryden : day of March, in the three and thirtieth year “ 'The wretch who Heav'n's anointed dar'd to curse; aforesaid, and within the town and borough
of the king, with force and arms at the parish Shimei, whose youth did early promise bring Of zeal to God, and hatred to his king,
aforesaid in the county aforesaid, in and opon Did wisely from expensive sins refrain,
one Robert Mason, at that time one of the king's And never broke the Sabbath but for gain ; watermen, in the peace of God, and of our lord Nor ever was he known an oath to vent,
the king, then and there standing, did assault Or curse, unless against the government.
and make a battery, and the said Robert Mason Thus, heaping wealth by the most ready way then and there most grievously and dangerously Among the Jews, which was to cheat and pray ; did beat, wound, and evil entreat, so that his The City, to reward his pious bate
life was greatly despaired of, and other enorAgainst his master, chose him magistrate.
mities that then and there be offered to, and His hand a vase of justice did uphold;
brought on the said Robert Mason ; and then His neck was loaded with a chain of gold.
the same Slingsby Bethel, then and there, to wit, During his office treason was no crime ; The song of Belial had a glorious time:
the same 12th day of March, in the 33rd year For Shimei, though not prodigal of pelf,
aforesaid, in the parish aforesaid, in the town Yet lov'd his wicked neighbour as himself.
and borough aforesaid, in the presence and When two or three were gather'd to declaim, hearing of very many of the subjects of our soAgainst the Monarch of Jerusalem,
vereign lord the king, then and there to the Shimei was always in the midst of them ;
said Robert Mason, he spake, uttered, and with And if they curs’d the king when he was by, a loud voice declared and published these proWould rather curse than break good company. voking, threatening, and opprobrious words, to If any durst his factious friends accuse,
wit, . Sirrah,' pointing at the said Robert MaHe pack'd a jury of dissenting Jews, Whose fellow-feeling in the godly cause
son, 1, (meaning himself, Slingsby Bethel
• will have your coat,' (a certain cloth coat of 2 Would free the suff'ring saint from human laws : For laws are only made to punish those
red colour, with which the said Robert Mason Who serve the king, and to protect his foes.
was covered, and adorned with a certain badge If any leisure time he had from pow'r,
of our said lord the king upon the said coat (Because 'tis sin to misemploy an hour)
6 plucked off your back,' to the great terror, disHis bus'ness was, by writing, to persuade
turbance, and trouble of divers of our sovereign That kings were useless, and a clog to trade : lord's liege people and subjects, being then and And, that his noble stile he might refine,
there present, to the evil example of all others No Racbabite more shunu'd the fumes of wine. offending in the like case, as also against the Chaste were his cellars, and his shrieval board, peace, crown, and dignity, of our sovereign The grossness of a City-feast abhorrid :
lord the king, &c." His cooks, with long disuse their trade forgot, Cool was his kitchen though his brains were hot. Mr. Peasely. My lord, and you gentlemen of Such frugal virtue malice may accuse,
the jury, Slingsby Bethel, esq. stands indicted, But sure 'twas necessary to the Jews :
for that he, the said Slingsby Bethel, made an For towns, once burnt, such magistrates require, assault and battery on Robert Mason : as also for As dare not tempt God's providence by fire. menacing and threatning words ; saying to him With sp'ritual food he fed his servants well,
the said Robert Mason, Sirrah, I will have But free from flesh, that made the Jews rebel ; And Moses' laws be held in more account,
your coat plucked off your back,' to the great For forty days of fasting in the Mount.”
terror and damage of the said Robert Mason,
&c. to which indictment he has pleaded, Not “ In the year 1680, Bethel and Cornish Guilty. were chosen sheriffs. The former used to Mulloy. My lord, and you gentlemen of walk about more like a corncutter than sheriff the jury, I am counsel for the king, against of London. He kept no house, but lived upon Slingsby Bethel, esq. who, upon the 19th day chops ; whence it is proverbial, for not feasting, of March last, in the 33rd year of the king, did to Bethel the City." North’s Examen. assault Robert Mason, one of the king's water
men, and did injuriously beat and strike the Mr. Thompson. By whose solicitation came said Robert Mason, did give several opprobrious you there? words, saying, he would have his coat plucked Mason. I was desired to be there. off his back, &c. To which he pleadeth, Not Thompson. What did he strike you also with Guilty.
his fist? - Mason. Yes, Mr. Holt. My lord, and you gentlemen of Thompson. Where did he hurt you with all the jury, I am counsel for the king, against his blows ?-- Mason. On the breast. Slingsby Bethel, esq. you understand the issue Thompson. How you are to try, it hath been opened ; the ques. Mason. He gave me twenty blows at least tion is, whether Mr. Slingsby Bethel be guilty I can swear safely; but how many more, I of this battery, and the matter contained in the know not. indictment, and the aggravating words therein Thompson. Did not you, before Mr. Bethel or no? The occasion was, that in March last, came there, interrupt the people's coming to there was an election for two burgesses to be poll, and what did Mr. Bethel say ? chosen to serve in parliament for this borough; Mason. He asked what I did there, and bid this Robert Mason was desired to come from me go down. Lambeth, to see whether any of that parish Justice Pyrs. Did Mr. Bethel single you out came to poll
, which had no right so to do. The from the rest of the company ? competitors were, sir Richard Hove, captain Mason. Yes, be did. Rich, Slingsby Bethel, and Edward Smith, King's-Counsel. Call Adams. Adams, what esqrs. Mr. Slingsby Bethel shewed, at his en can you say? Did you see Mr. Bethel strike trance into the borough, what inclination and Mason, and what words did he say? temper he came with ; for his followers, and Adams, first witness. There was a tumult such as came with him, came with their God- at the stairs, and they called to me, being condamme's, and several execrable oaths against stable, and when I came, Mr. Bethel and Mason those that voted against him; after the election were together, and a great company followed began, and the poll demanded, truly, then Mr. them; I said, Sirs, pray keep the peace; and Bethel acted his part, and took occasion to go 1 saw Mr. Bethel give him two or three shugs, of from the place where he was, and strike se- and said, Sirrah, I will bave your coat off Feral persons that were acting against him, par- your back ;' and Mason answered, • Ay and so licularly this Robert Mason, finding him to be you would my master's too, if you could.' against him, took his cane, and knocked him Holt. Adams, tell the court what you think over the pate, and afterwards knowing him to would have been the consequence if Mason had be the king's waterman, said he deserved to struck again. have his coat plucked over his ears : were the Adams. It would have been of a sad conseaffront against him as a single person, it were quence. not of so bad consequence; but we are to take Holt. What was Mr. Bethel's behaviour, notice of the solemnity of the occasion of the when be entered into the borough ? Did you meeting: now, consider the occasion, it was see him come into the borough? for the choosing of parliament-men; and had Adams. They came in and cried, No Ab. it dot been for the prudence of the waterman, horrers, No Abhorrers. in for bearing to strike again, God knows the Thompson. Did you hear Mr. Bethel say so? eflects
, and what an uproar it might have oc- Adams. No. casioned: but he prudently refrained, and took Thompson. Did you hear him swear ? his course in a legal way, and according to law Adums. No, hath preferred this indictment against Mr. Thompson. Who was it that swore ? Slingshy Bethel. Now though the said Mr. Holt. He that rid first. Bethel be so great a man, and
a person of value Thompson. Mason said, Mr. Bethel gave him lately Sherift of the city of London : and he, twenty blows ; Did you see it ? Robert Mason, appearing to be but a poor wa- Adams. I was not there all the while, I did terman, yet I don't question, he will find an not see it. English jury to do bim right,
Thompson. Thomas Walbroke, what can you King's-Counsel. Call Mr. Robert Mason, say to the case in hand ? Artbor Adams, Thomas Walbroke, Griffin Walbroke. I stood by the stairs when My. Meade, Tho. Smith, Alexander Dory, Bethel passed; I saw Mr, Bethel thrust him
down the stairs, and I said, Robert, take care Mr. Holt. Mason, What can you say on the what you do! Mr. Bethel said . Sirrah, come king's and your own behalf, concerning this down Mason said, 'I will come when I see Inatter?
my own time, I do nobody any hurt: Mr. Mason. I was standing upon the steps, by Bethel answered, I'command you to come the door in the artillery ground, and Mr. Be- down, and his answer was, ' I will when I see thel came and gave me divers blows on the my own time. stairs, knocked me with his cane, and followed Thompson. Did you see any blow given by me down beating of me, and said, Sirrah, I Mr. Bethel ? will have that coat plucked over your ears;'
Walbroke. No I saw none; I won't swear and I answered, So you would my master's to any blows, but I saw two or three pushes in los, if you could.'
the breast; he pushed bim back,
Thompson. And how many blows were given, Mulloy. Call Lawrence. He appeared. ten, twenty, or how many ?
Lawrence, give the court and jury an account Walbroke. I will not answer any thing con- of what you know of the quarrel between Mr. cerning that.
Bethel and Robert Mason. Did you see Mr. Thompson. Upon the oath you bave taken Bethel give him any blows ? And give an ac(being, f think, you are an honest man) had count of the behaviour of Mr. Bethel and his the waterman this coat on at that time? Or company, when they came into the borough. had he not a campaign coat over it.
Thompson. This indictment is for an assault Walbroke. He had that coat, but I don't re- and battery; if you can give an account of member any other.
that, do; bat not of the behaviour of those that King's Counsel. Call Griffith Meade. Give came with Mr. Bethel; that is not the matter an account of what you can of this matter.
at this time. · Meade. I saw a great number of people Holt. I answer, Sir, it is not ; but we ask the come to the place, and saw Mr. Bethel give him question, to make out the behaviour of Mr. a push, and that was all.
Bethel and bis company, and shall leave it to Thompson. What words did you hear? the jury, what judgment to make of it. Meade. No words.
Lawrence. I saw the persons that came with Thompson. How was this man clothed ? Mr. Bethel, bectoring and swearing at a strange Was he clothed with this coat, or bad he a cam- rate, and the persons which rid before, cried paign coat over it ?
Hollow, hollow. Meade. I cannot tell.
Thompson. I appeal to Mr. Holt; What if Thompson. Upon the oath you have taken, John an Nokes, or Tom a Styles, swear and how many blows did you see given, because hector, &c. shall Mr. Bethel answer for that, in they say twenty ?
a matter that falls out long afterwards, as this Mcade. No blows at all, but a little push. did ?
Call Thomas Smith. (He appeared.) What Lawrence. I saw their behaviour, as I have do you know?
said ; and when Mr. Bethel came to Robert Smith. As Robert Mason and myself stood Mason, he stood with his hands behind him, together, Mr. Bethel came round the burying- Mr. Bethel bid him come down; be said, s, place, and he brought a great multitude of per- he would not : Then said Mr. Bethel
, I will sons with him, and bid Mason come down the pluck your coat off'yonr back ? and Mason ansteps : Mason answered, I will
come down swered, Ay, and so you would my master's too, when I see my time. Mr. Bethel said, If you if you could. will not come down, I will have your coat Lord Mayor. Did Mr. Bethel swear, when plucked off your back. Afterwards many words he came into the Borough ? passed, which I cannot remember, and Mr. Lawrence. No. Bethel pushed him on the breast.
Lord Mayor. Who did swear? Second Counsel. Mr. Smith, Pray give the
Lawrence. He that rid first. court an account of the behaviour of the men Thompson. May it please your lordship, I that followed Mr. Bethel : Did you not see am of counsel for Mr. Bethel the defendant, Mr. Bethel give Robert Mason a 'push, when who has been, and stands indicted for making he was in the Artillery ground ?
an assault and battery upon Robert Mason; Smith. I saw none.
and for speaking many menacing and threatHolt. What do you think the consequence ening words, as, that he would pull his coat had been, if Mason had struck again? over his ears, &c. and for giving several blows;
Smith. Had he given any blows again, I do unto which we have pleaded, Not Guilty; believe a hundred and a hundred had been slain. They have produced several witnesses, and
Thompson. Smith, pray give an account of Robert Mason himself, who is so thoroughthe behaviour of the men that came with Mr. stitch in the case, that he swears so as no one Bethel, and what coat Mason wore, and whe- can believe him; for his own witnesses do not; ther he had not a campaign coat on it ? for they do not swear, nor pretend to swear
Smith. Sir, I know not that, but he had the like him, being not able to stretch at that rate; same coat then on his back which he has on he is desperately mistaken, to speak the best
Thompson. Why, what made you think, if For this Mason swears Mr. Bethel gave bin Mason had struck Mr. Bethel, that it would 20 blows at least, but how many more he have made such a great disturbance.
cannot say : see how this will look, when we Smith. Because he was the king's servant. shall prove, by substantial and credible men, Call Alerunder Dory. Dory, give the court that not one blow was given, or push either
. an account of the matter in question. Did you But suppose he were pushed, yet his evidence see Mr. Bethel give Masou any blows? agree not one with another; for some swear
Dory. Sir, Mr. Bethel gave him some pushes to one push, some to more but Mr. Mason in the breast, and said he would have his coat swears to the full number of 20 blows at least, Sff his back.
and that positively, but how many
, he Thompson. Had he the same coat on as now doth not remember.' But suppose it were $0, he hath
yet the matter is not sp much, but what may Dory, I saw the same, and no other. be justified by the occasion given ; and what
would be a good plea in law, in an action, will , ance, have you a right to poll ? He answered. be the same upon pleading Not Guilty in this It may be I may. I told him, if he woulduot case.
be civil, I should take a course to indict him.' May it please your lordship, the occasion of Thompson. And what was he doing ? Mr. Bethel's coming here was this; being Travers. He was throwing people from both about the chusing of parliament-men for this sides with his elbows. In this time, a report borough, the competitors were, sir Richard being carried to sheriff Bethel, of a person's How, Mr. Rich, Mr. Bethel, and Mr. Smith; leg broken, and a man like to be killed, there was a house wherein they appointed to sheriff Bethel came to the steps, and took him poll, called the Artillery-House: when they just by the arm, thus-[Shewing the manner] came to take the poll at this place, where there -and said, Pray, Friend, what hast thou to do is a pair of stairs which leads to the door, the here, hast thou a right to poll ? At first he manner of taking the poll was thus; first to said, He had ; afterwards he said, No. Then fill the house, by that door to the stairs, and said sheriff Bethel, Pray go about your busiafter they had voted, to put them out at the ness. Mr. Bethel gave no blow, nor did so other door; this being the occasion of the much as shew any passion, or angry countebattery, (however aggravated) will, to all that nance; and said no more : but others said, know it, or shall take the matter into consi- | Mason was a rude person, and that he deserved deration, seem a very shameful thing to ground to have his coat plucked over his ears. an indictment upon. But this Mason, a very Thompson. Did you not hear Bethel say so ? officious man, who had no right to poll, (as Travers. No, but it was said by some of the himself confesses) and who might have spared company. the trouble (for any authority he had) of Thompson. I ask one question more. Mason coming there, and it might have been better said he had twenty blows, what say you to he had stayed at home, by what he bas sworn. that ? This man and one Sam. Sams, a hectoring Truvers. He had not one, upon the bath carnan, were set upon the stairs ; and their that I have taken. business was not (as they now pretend) to take Thompson. Had he this coat on, or ao ? notice who were fit to poll, but to understand Travers. Truly I know not, I cannot tell; who were for Mr. Bethel and Mr. Smith, and but he had a badge, whereby he discovered those they did abuse, and push them down the himself to be some gentleman's servant. steps ; which Mr. Bethel being informed of, Thompson. Was Sams there? came out of the house, and spoke civilly to Holt. Mr. Thompson, is that a fair ques. them, and said, Friends, Wbat have you to do tion ? here? If you have not a right to poll, come Thompson. I did it purposely to try your obdown from the place : which Mason refusing, servation; you would call to what others did long the defendant took bim gently by the hand, before the battery, I must not ask if one was and led him down the steps, giving neither there at the time of the battery. blow nor push; we shall call witnesses to Holt. Did you not see Mr. Bethel on the prove this. Now, for a gentleman that stood Artillery-ground, was not Mason pushed as one of the competitors for a parliament-man, there? at that time, in that place, he might do this to Travers. I tell you, Sir, there was not one a person that had nothing to do there: nay,
blow given. they themselves say, there ought not to be any Holt. Then you did not see the quarrel on interruption at an election, and that the inter- the ground? ruption was from themselves, and that occa- Travers. I tell you, there was no quarrel on sioved the mighty battery they make-so much the ground : I stood on the steps when sheriff of . We shall call our witnesses, and make Bethel came ; and the sheriff
, when he was this matter appear to be our case; and then, half way on the steps, seeing the waterman's though Mason bath spoken of 20 blows, it posture he was in, said, friend, have you any believed, as there is but little reason for it, it thing to do to poll'; it you have not, why do will be sufficiently justified by the witnesses you make a disturbance? He answered, It we shall produce, and the evidence we shall may be I have, and it may be not. Pray, give in this matter.
Friend, said sheriff Bethel, if you have not, Call Mr. Nath. Travers, constable, Mr. Ben- come down, I went from thence about the jamin Tarrant, Mr. Geo. Hampton, Mr. ground, and did not see the least blow given, Mark Clark, Mr. Thomas Weekes, Air. Ben- or any appearance of passion. jamin Gerrard.
Thompson. Before Mr. Bethel came, how Thompson. Let us begin with Mr. Travers. did this man behave himself, did he not shout, Mr. Travers, what account can you give of the and behave himself rudely ? matter?
Holt. Let him speak of himself, let not Travers. May it please your lordship, I re- words be put into his mouth. member it as if it were but just now; I was Thompson. Had he a red coat on ? called out of the house, to come to this door, Travers. I cannot say it. hearing the people were in a very great dis- Thompson. Mr. Tarrant, what can you say ? turbance; 1 came to this Robert Mason, and Turrunt. I was on the ground when the said, What do you there, to make this disturb- sheriff came, I was at some distance ; but VOL, VIII.
upon the oath I have taken, I saw Mr. Bethel Bethel came; and had not Mr. Bethel come to and the waterman coming together, but I saw appease the tumult, I do believe there had been no blow, and I am sure there was not one much mischief done by them and Sams. blow given.
Thompson. Upon the oath you bave taken, Mr. Weekes, Give an account of what you were any blows given ? know.
Hatfield. No, Sir, there were none. Weekes. My lord, I saw sheriff Bethel when Thompson. Were there any blows given by he came into the ground, and went up the Mr. Bethel ? steps; I made haste after him, and was there Hatfield. No, Sir, not one ; for Mr. Bethel all the while, and there was nothing like a being informed of the incivility of Mason and blow; but all he did was to this purpose- Sams, Mr. Bethel came civilly to them, and inPray, Friend, (said he) if you have no right treated them to come down, and bid them be to poll, go your way, what have you to do gone, and not make a disturbance. bere ? And I followed after him into the Ar- Mulloy. Call Lawrence again, to shew that tillery-ground, and there was nothing of a Mason did not make the disturbance. blow, or any thing like it.
Lawrence. I saw Robert Mason, and the Thompson. You were there all the while ? party with him, behave themselves very civil; Weekes. Yes, I was.
and the disturbance that was proceeded from Thompson. Yet Mason saith, there were 20 the other party. blows given,
Thompson. This is the same man we had Weekes. Upon the oath I have taken, there but now, he is called to witness again ; ? was none, nor any thing like it.
pretty way of multiplying witnesses : I appeal Holt. Nir. Weekes, do you live in Londou, or to Mr. Mason himself, whether this be not the do you live in the Borough ?
same man you called once before? Weekes. Sir, I live in London.
Thompson. My lord, and you gentlemen of Holt. What is this witness to the purpose the jury, I think the case is plain, and needs no then ?
arguments; I shall only take notice how Thompson. May not a man live in London, careful these men are (as they pretend) 19 and be a good evidence here ? Notwithstanding, keep the king's peace. The matter you see
, call Mr. Gerrard.
in short, is Mr. Bethel (who stood for a parliaMr. Gerrard, what can you say ?
ment-man of this place, and at the same time Gerrard. I was in the ground before Mr. bore an eminent character, as sheriff of the Bethel came out of the polling-house; and I city of London) upon information given of the saw this waterme, and Sam. Šams, thrusting disturbance made by this Mason, and of the of people down, that seemed to be for Mr. untairness of their proceedings, only came Bethel and Smith, crying, How and Rich. civilly, and took him by the arm, persuading
Weekes. My lord, my memory failed in this him to come away, and make no disturbance. point; but, upon the oath I have taken, what And this is the truth of the case, and the that gentleman swears, it is true.
mighty battery they pretend to. Now, supThompson. Pray, Sir, (as you seem to be a pose that when people are in such a croud, sober man) were any blows struck by Mr. and upon such an occasion, there were some Bethel ?
pushes (as is the utmost here pretended) could Gerrurd. I went with sheriff Bethel there this be a sufficient matter to ground an indictat that time, and asked the waterman what he ment upon ? No, gentlemen, no: this indicthad to do there ? I cannot well tell what an- ment, and the design of it, is to raise a dust
, swer he made ; but Mr. Sheriff said, If you and, if possible, to cast reflections on Mr. have no right to poll, pray go about your busi- Bethel ; but it is more than they can do in ness. Upon the path'I have taken, he did not point of law, by any matter here proved, if strike one blow, no more than he doth now, Mason's witnesses do swear true : yet you see standing in this Court before your lordship. how Mason behaves himself, crying How and
Lord Muyor. Was there any pushing or Rich, striking down all that came between thrusting by Mr. Bethel ?
Sam. Sams and him ; so they broke the peace, Gerrard. Upon my oath, my lord, not any. and raised the disturbance themselves. And in
Thompson. And you say you were there all that case, any man (and why not Mr. Bethel?) the while, and saw no disturbance given by might have taken him, and carried bim before Mr. Bethel ?
a magistrate, and have justified it. But now, Gerrard. J am sure there was not.
for the credit of the thing: you see that none Thompson. Had he this coat on, or no ; or swears it but Mason himself; but even he bad he not a campaign coat on?
swears to that impossibility, so over-reaches Gerrard. To the best of my remembrance the matter, through the excess of his passion he had a campaign coat on, and I believe in swearing, that no one can believe him; if he he had.
had sworn modestly, as the rest did, to two or Thompson. Mr. Hatfield, pray give an ac- three pushes, it might have been credited; count of what you know of the matter. but to 20 blows, no one can believe it ; neither
Hatfield. There were two men which I saw doth any one of his own witnesses swear like in red coats, which pushed down the people him, or of so much as one blow given: so there that came to poil for Dir. Betbel, before Mr. is not one word Mason saith can be credited.