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If the recorder has spoke for no more than himself, it is well; but certainly, he little deserves to be thought a protestant, and a lawyer, that puts both reformation and law into the inquisition. And doubtless the supreme governors of the land are highly obliged, in honour and conscience, (in discharge of their trust to God and the people) to take these things into their serious consideration, as what is expected from them, by those who earnestly wish theirs and the kingdom's safety and prosperity.
POSTSCRIPT. The Copy of Judge Keeling's Case, taken out of the
Parliament Journal. Die Mercurii, 11° Decembris, 1667. The house resumed the hearing of the rest of the report, touching the matter of restraint upon juries; and that upon the examination of divers witnesses, in several clauses of restraints put upon juries, by the lord chief justice Keeling: whereupon the committee made their resolutions, which are as followeth :
First, That the proceedings of the lord chief justice, in the cases now reported, are innovations, in the trial of men for their lives and liberties; and that he bath used an arbitrary and illegal power, which is of dangerous consequence to the lives and liberties of the people of England, and tends to the introducing of an arbitrary government.
Secondly, That in the place of judicature, the lord chief justice hath undervalued, vilified, and condemned magna charta, the great preserver of our lives, freedom, and property.
Thirdly, That he be brought to trial, in order to condign punishment, in such manner as the house shall judge most fit and requisite.
Die Veneris 13° Decembris, 1667. RESOLVED, &c. That the precedents and practice of fining or imprisoning jurors for verdicts, is illegal.
Now whether the justices of this court, in their proceedings (both towards the prisoners and jury) have acted according to law, and to their oaths and duty, to do justice without partiality, whereby right might be preserved, the peace of the land secured, and our ancient laws established; or whether such actions tend not to deprive us of our lives and liberties, to rob us of (our birth-right) the funda
mental laws of England; and finally, to bring in an arbitrary and illegal power, to usurp the benches of all our courts of justice, we leave the English reader to judge.
Certainly, there can be no higher affront offered to king and parliament, than the bringing their reputations into suspicion with their people, by the irregular actions of subordinate judges : and no age can parallel the carriage of this recorder, mayor, &c. Nor can we think so ignobly of the parliament, as that they should do less than call these persons to account, who failed not to do it to one less guilty, and of more repute; to wit, judge Keeling : for if his behaviour gave just ground of jealousy, that he intended an innovation, and the introducing an arbitrary, government, this recorder's much more. Did chief justice Keeling say, “ Magna charta was magna farta ?' So did this recorder too: and did justice Keeling fine and imprison juries, contrary to all law? So did this recorder also. In , short, there is no difference, unless it be that the one was questioned, and the other deserves it. But we desire in this they may be said to differ, that though the former escaped punishment, the latter may not; who having a precedent before, did notwithstanding notoriously transgress.
To conclude : The law supposes the king cannot err, because it is willing to suppose he always acts by law, (and voluntas legis, est voluntas regis; or, the king's will is regulated by the law); but it savs no such thing of the judges. And since they are obliged by oath to disregard the king's letters (though under the broad and privy seal) if they any wise oppugn or contradict the law of the land; and considering that every single action of an inferior minister has an ugly reference to the supreme magistrate, where not rebuked; we cannot but conclude, that both judges are answerable for their irregularities, especially where they had not a limitation of a king's letter, or command; and that the supreme magistrate is obliged, as in honour and safety to himself, Alfred-like, to bring such to condign punishment; lest every sessions produce the like tragical scenes of usurpation over the consciences of juries, to the vilifying and contemning of justice, and great detriment and prejudice of the good and honest men of this famous and free city.
By WILLIAM PENN.
Published in the Year 1669:
To the Noble Bereans of this Age. When our dear Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed author of the Christian religion, first sent forth his disciples, to proclaim the happy approach of the heavenly kingdom, among several other things that he gave them in charge, it pleased him to make this one of their instructions; “Into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy ;” foreseeing the ill use unworthy persons would make of that message, and with what unweariness the implacable pharisee, and subtle scribe, would endeavour to pervert the right way of the Lord, and thereby prejudice the simple against the reception of that excellent testimony.
This being the case of the people called Quakers, who above every tribe of men are most maliciously represented, bitterly envied, and furiously oppugned by many of the scribes and pharisees of our time, for as impious wretches as those of that time reputed our blessed Saviour and his constant followers to be; it becometh us, in a condition so desperate, to provide ourselves with some worthy readers, men that dare trust their reason above reports, and be impartial in an age as biassed as this we live in ; whose determinations shall not wait upon the sentence of ignorance nor interest, but a sincere and punctual examination of the matter.
And since there are none recorded in sacred writ, on whom the Holy Ghost conferred so honourable a character, but the Bereans of that age (for that they both searched after truth impartially, and when they found it, embraced it readily, for which they were entitled noble); therefore it is
that to you, the offspring of that worthy stock, and noble Bereans of our age, I, in behalf of the so much calumniated abettors of the cause of truth, chose to dedicate this defence of our holy profession from the injurious practices of a sort of men, who, not unlike to the Jews of Thessalonica, that, envying the prosperity of the gospel among your ancestors, made it their business to stir up the multitude against the zealous promoters of it. And no matter what it be, provided they can but obtain their end of fixing an odium upon the Quakers : they do not only boldly condemn what they esteem worst in us (how deservedly we will not now say) but insinuate what is best to be criminal.
The sobriety of our lives, they call a cheat for custom; and our incessant preachings and holy living, a decoy to advance our party : if we say nothing to them when they interrogate us, it is sullenness or inability; if we say something to them, it is impertinency, or equivocation. We must not believe as we do believe, but as they would have us believe, which they are sure to make obnoxious enough, that they may the more securely inveigh against us. Nor must our writings mean what we say we mean by them, but what they will have them to mean, lest they should want proofs for their charges. It was our very case that put David upon that complaint, “ Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil." But to David's God' we commit our slandered cause, and to you the Bereans
Degenerate not from the example of your progenitors ; if
your desire after truth, give you clearer discerning of
of our age.