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Howell: 'Why do you not pull off your hat then?'
Penn: 'Because I do not believe that to be any respect.'
Howell: 'Well, the court sets forty marks a-piece on your heads as a fine for your contempt of court.'
Penn: 'I desire it may be observed that we came into court with our hats off—that is, taken off— and if they have been put on since, it was by order of the Bench; and therefore not we, but the Bench should be fined.'
The jury being sworn, Sir John Robinson, suspecting that Edward Bushel, one of the jurors, known to be a reUgious man, objected to take an oath, pretended not to have seen him kiss the book, and desired him to be sworn again. Bushel was sworn a second time. Lieutenant James Cook was called.
Cook: 'I was sent for from the Exchange to go and disperse a meeting in Gracechurch Street, where I saw Mr. Penn speaking to the people, but I could not hear what was said on account of the noise. I endeavoured to make way to take him, but I could not get near him for the crowd of people; upon which Captain Mead came to me about the kennel of the street and desired me to let him go on, for when he had done he would bring Mr. Penn to me.'
Court: 'What number do you think there might be there V
Cook: 'About three or four hundred people.'
Howell: 'What do you know concerning the prisoners at the bar?'
Read: 'My lord, I went to Gracechurch Street, where I found a great crowd of people, and I heard Mr. Penn preach to them, and I saw Captain Mead speaking to Lieutenant Cook, but what he said I could not tell.'
Mead: 'What did William Penn say?'
Read: 'There was such a great noise I could not tell what he said.'
Mead: 'Observe this evidence; he saith, he heard him preach; and yet saith, he doth not know what he said.—Take notice (to the jury) he means now a clean contrary thing to what he swore before the Mayor when we were committed. I appeal to the Mayor himself if this be not true.'
Sir Samuel Starling would not answer yea or nay.
Court: * What number do you think there might be there?'
Read: 'About four or five hundred.'
Penn: 'I desire to know of the witness what day it was V
Read: 'The 14th day of August.'
Penn: 'Did he speak to me, or let me know he was there? For I am very sure I never saw him.'
The court would not allow this question to be put.
Another witness was called: his name not given.
Unknown Witness: 'My lord, I saw a great number of people, and Mr. Penn I suppose was speaking, for I saw him make a motion with his hands and
heard some noise, but could not understand what was said. But for Captain Mead, I did not see him there.'
Howell : “What say you, Mr. Mead,— were you there ?
Mead: 'It is a maxim in your own law-- Nemo tenetur accusare seipsum—which, if it be not true Latin, I am sure it is true English-No man is bound to accuse himself. And why dost thou offer to ensnare me with such a question ?
Howell : ‘Hold your tongue, sir.'
Penn: 'I desire we may come more close to the point, and that silence be commanded.'
•Silence in the court !' said the crier.
Penn: 'We confess ourselves so far from recanting or declining to vindicate the assembling of ourselves to preach, to pray, or worship God, that we declare to all the world, we believe it to be our indispensable duty to meet incessantly on so good an account; nor shall all the powers on earth be able to prevent us.'
Brown: “You are not here for worshipping God, but for breaking the laws.'
Penn: 'I affirm I have broken no law ; nor am I guilty of the indictment that is laid to my charge; and to the end that the Bench, the jury, myself, and those who hear us may have a more direct understanding of this procedure, I desire you would let me know by what law it is you prosecute me, and on what law you ground your indictment ?'
Howell : “Upon the common law.'
Howell: 'You must not think that I am able to sum up so many years and over so many adjudged cases, which we call common law, to satisfy your curiosity.'
Penn: 'This answer is very short of my question; for if it be common, it should not be so very hard to produce.'
Howell: 'Sir, will you plead to your indictment?'
Penn: 'Shall I plead to an indictment that has no foundation in law? If it contain that law you say I have broken, why should you decline to produce that law, since it will be impossible for the jury to determine, or agree to bring in their verdict, who have not the law produced by which they should measure the truth of the indictment?'
Howell (waxing warm): 'You are a saucy fellow. Speak to the indictment.'
Penn - 'I say it is my place to speak to matter of law. I am arraigned a prisoner. My liberty, which is next to life itself, is now concerned. You are many mouths and ears against me; and it is hard if I must not make the best of my case. I say again, unless you show me and the people the law you ground your indictment upon, I shall take it for granted your proceedings are merely arbitrary.'
Howell: 'The question is whether you are guilty of this indictment.'
Penn: 'The question is not whether I am guilty of this indictment, but whether this indictment be legal. It is too general and imperfect an answer to say it is common law, unless we know both where and what it is: for where there is no law, there is no transgression; and that law which is not in being, so far from being common law, is no law at all.'
Howell: 'You are an impertinent fellow. Will you teach the court what law is? It is lex non scripta. That which many have studied thirty or forty years to know, would you have me tell you in a moment V
Penn: 'Certainly if the common law be so hard to be understood, it is far from being very common: but if the Lord Coke in his Institutes (vol. ii. p. 56) be of any weight, he tells us that—common law is common right, and common right is the Great Charter privileges, confirmed by 9 Henry III. cap. 29: by 25 Edward I. cap. 1 : and by 2 Edward III. cap. 8.'
Howell: 'Sir, you are a very troublesome fellow, and it is not for the honour of the court to suffer you to go on.'
Penn: 'I have asked but one question, and you have not answered me—though the rights and privileges of every Englishman are concerned in it.'
Howell: 'If I should suffer you to ask questions till to-morrow morning, you would be never the wiser.'
Penn: 'That would depend upon the answers.'
Howell (writhing): 'Sir, we must not stand to hear you talk all night.'
Penn: 'I design no affront to the court, but to be heard in my just plea And I must plainly tell you, that if you deny me Oyer of that law, which you suggest I have broken, you do at once deny