« IndietroContinua »
Having said this, he takes his solemn and last leave of all his lamenting friends, and now prepares for that dreadful assault of death he was speedily to encounter. His friends placed themselves at the corners of the press, whom he desired, when he gave the words, to lay on the weights. His hands and legs are extended, in which action he cries out, thus were the sacred limbs of my ever blessed Saviour stretched forth on the cross, when suffering to free the sin-polluted world from an eternal curse.' Then crying forth, with a clear and sprightful voice, Lord Jesus receive my soul,' which was the promised signal, those sad assistants perform their dreadful task; and laid on at first-weight, which, finding too light for a sudden execution, many of those standing by added their bur. thens to disburthen him of his pain; which, notwithstanding, for the time of his continuance, as it was to him a dreadful sufferance, 80 was it to them a horrid spectacle, his dying groans filling the uncouth dungeon with the voice of terror. But this dismal scene soon finds a quiet catastrophe, for, in the space of eight or ten minutes at the most, his unfettered soul left her tortured man. sion, and he, from that violent paroxysm, falls into the quiet sleep of death.
His body having laid some time in the press, he was brought forth, in which action, e’re coffined, it was so much exposed to publick view, that many standers-hy beheld the bruise made by the press, whose triangular form, being placed with the acute angle about the region of the heart, did soon deprive that fountain of life of its necessary motion, though he was prohibited that usual favour in that kind, to have a sharp piece of timber laid under his back to accelerate its penetration. The body appeared void of all scars, and not deformed with blood, but where the eminencies of the press touched on the middle parts of his breast, and upper of the belly; his face was bloody, but, as it appeared to the most inquisitive spectators, not from any external injury, but the violent forcing of the blood from the larger vessels into the veins of the nose and eyes, whose smaller branches, forced open by so sudden a compression, as if they mourned in the colour of his crime, had their last tears composed of blood: and, now commit. ted to that sable cabinet, his coffin, he is, in a cart that attended at the prison door, conveyed to Christ-church, where his ashes shall sleep, till time herself be dissolved to eternity: and, as it is our christian duty to hope, hath made good, in every part, this excellent saying of an ancient philosophical poet:
Cedit item retro, de terra quod fuit ante,
Thus did they leave the busy world, the one
Which fatal swiftness did the other lead,
No, let her mourn; the sad expression runs
In the same strain with what her true-born sons Disrobe their thoughts in; but methinks I hear A sort whose separation would appear, As if refin'd with purer flames of zeal, Than other christians are; by no appeal Made to the throne of Mercy to be won, From harshly censuring: but such acts being done By men, whose different judgments not embrace Their tenents in the whole, defects of grace, Not human lapses. But take heed thy proud And pharisaick heart speak not too loud, Where heaven commands a silence. Since none knows To what mysterious destiny he owes A debt to nature, in whose gloomy cell Life's fairest transcripts have too often fell By sad untimely deaths. Then, with the free And christian candour of white charity, Forbear to cast thy sable.censure on This sanguine guilt; and, since that both are gone Beyond the verge of mortal knowledge, let Not thy harsh censure aggravate the debt, Which (if they Nature's common laws obey) Just sorrow teaches all their friends to pay.
A ROD FOR THE LAWYERS:
WHO ARE HEREBY DECLARED TO BE THE GRAND ROBBERS
AND DECEIVERS OF THE NATION;
GREEDILY DEVOURING YEARLY MANY MILLIONS OF
THE PEOPLE'S MONEY,
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
A WORD TO THE PARLIAMENT,
A WORD TO THE ARMY.
BY WILLIAJ COLE, A LOVER OF HIS COUNTRY.
Isa, x. 1, 2.-Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write
grievousness that they bave prescribed : To turn aside the needy from judge ment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows
may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless. Isa, iii. 14.—The spoil of the poor is in your houses.
London: Printed in the year 1659. Quarto, containing twenty pages *.
COURTEOUS READER, H4
AD not my affections to my countrymen more engaged me,
than any particular enmity I have against the lawyers corrupt interest, by any damage I have sustained by them, I should have forborne publishing the ensuing lines. But if the very heathers
non solùm nobis nati sumus," we are not only born for ourselves, but that, next to the duty we owe to God, we are bound, every individual man, to be a helpful member to his country. Why should I, or any man, keep silence, whilst this pes. tiferous generation of the lawyers runs from city to country, seeking whom they may devour? It is thy duty, as well as mine, to cry aloud for justice against them; it is thy duty, and every honest Englishman's to the land, to take care hereafter never to chuse any of that generation to make laws for us: I say, not to chuse them for parliament men. Were not there too many of them now in this present parliament, I should hope and expect far better things than now I do; but now God is pulling down the high and mighty, is discovering the wickedness of men in power, hath, most miraculously, slain the glory of princes, I can with confi.
* This is the fortieth number in the catalogue of pamphlets in the Harleian Library. VOL. VII.
“ Deus dabit his quoque finem.” I do not altogether despair, that, before I die, I may see the inns of coarts, of dens of thieves, converted into hospitals, which were a rare piece of justice: that so as they formerly have immured those that robbed the poor of houses, so they may, at last, preserve the poor themselves.
That the end of all laws and magistracy ought principally to tend to the ease. safety, and well-being of the people governed, I presume no rational man or men will deny. And, indeed, therefore it is the usual cry and saying, both among the masters of oppression, the lawyers, and the ignorant people that know no better, that the laws of England, as also the ways of executing them, are the safest and best laws in the world; and whosoever shall alter the said laws, or ways of executing them, will unavoid. ably introduce a mischief instead of a benefit. But to those is answered, that the major part of the laws, made in this nation, are founded on principles of tyranny, fallacy, and oppression, for the profit and benefit of those that made them; for know this, that when William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, undertook to conquer this nation, he was not singly himself able to raise money or men enough to perform such a design, without the voluntary conjunction of most of the nobles and gentry that were his sub. jects ; who sold and mortgaged almost all the lands and estates they had in Normandy, to furnish them out in that design. Now, therefore, when the said William had conquered this nation, he was forced to suffer those his Norman peers to share with him in the benefit, as they voluntarily did in the hazard. From him it came to pass, that he, the said conqueror, and his nobles, made a division of the land amongst themselves, and whosoever were tenants to the said conquerors, held all their lands for a long space in vassalage under thein, merely at their will and mercy; whereupon all laws were made in French, and it was accounted a base thing in England to be called an Englishman. Then did these con. querors make such laws as suited best to keep the people in slavery and subjection, as the English now use the Irish, that they might have all the benefit they possibly could screw out of the people. Hence came it to páss, that all penal laws were made for the benefit of the king, the lords of manors, and other great officers, who were the king's creatures. This was, and still is, the ground aud reason why the life of man, which assuredly, by the law of reason, is sullicient to answer any crime, was not alone taken away
upon conviction of treason, murther, or felony, but also the estates of offenders were forfeited by law to the king, or lord of the manor; which hath been the cause that many an innocent hath suffered, as Naboth, who was destroyed by Ahab, that so he might enjoy his vineyard. These laws were not before the conquest, neither have been since the conguest ever introduced in Kent; which county submitted to the said Duke of Normandy, reserv. ing to themselves their laws and rights; and therefore it is the saying in Kent, 56 the father to the bough, and the son to the plough:” and surely in that county is as little robbing, murthering, &c. as in other counties; and therefore there is not such necessity for that law, as some sophisters pretend, to keep the people in dread and awe: neither indeed do i think there is such an absolute necessity for the hanging men for theft, but, as heretofore in the nation, there may be another way found out, more agrecable to the laws of God and reason, for punishing of theft, as selling to foreign plantations, or the like, &c. But, if at last the law to hang thieves must continue, I wish it may take hold of the great ones first, lest we renew the practice once in Athens, where they hanged none but little thieves, and the great thieves pronounced sentence. - Verbum sat sapienti:" I am more afraid of those that rob by power of a law, than those that sneakingly endeavour to take my purse on the highway. Now, although it may be alledged, and truly that is all, for by reason it cannot be proved, that there is some reason for the forfeiting the estates aforesaid; yet, at least, let the person damnified be the enjoyer, or the wife and children of the person murdered. But why there should come forfeitures on ships cast away, driven up to full seamark, to lose the best cable and anchor; men to be carried away into lavery, taken at sea, the ship remaining with her lading firm and sound, to be forfeited to the lord admiral for a deodland to be forfeited; to say, if a horse drown his master, the horse to be forfeited, and this to be pleaded for; or many such laws, to be grounded on reason, is so ridiculous, that I think the first and grand deceiver of mankind cannot find sophistry enough to furnish the lawyers with to plead for it.
But some will say, that, though we were conquered, yet our noble ancestors, by dint of sword in the barons wars, regained • their freedom, and forced the king to condescend to that famous law, called Magna Charta.'
For answer, know this, that when the nobles in those days found the king altogether inclined to his minions and flatterers, and thereby made laws to inslave the said nobles as well as the com. mons had been before, they saw there was a necessity for them to stand
up for their own privileges; who, being popular, what by fear and love, they engag d the commons with them in war, and took the king prisoner, forcing him to consent to all things that were vecessary, to preserve themselves from the king's will, but never, in the least, acted from any love to the poor commons, but what they were absolutely necessitated to; neither freed the said