« AnteriorContinuar »
and acquitting William Mead. This act was signed by all the twelve. On hearing it read aloud, Sir Samuel Starling shouted at the whole jury, 'What, will you be led by such a silly fellow as Bushel—an impudent, canting knave! I warrant you, you shall not come upon juries again in a hurry.' And then turning on Thomas Vere, the foreman, he exclaimed, 'You are a foreman indeed! I thought you understood your place better.' Howell came directly to the point.
Howell: 'Gentlemen, you shall not be dismissed till you bring in a verdict which the court will accept. You shall be locked up, without meat, drink, fire, and tobacco. You shall not think thus to abuse the court. We will have a verdict by the help of God, or you shall starve for it.'
Penn: 'My jury, who are my judges, ought not to be thus menaced. Their verdict should be free— not forced.'
Howell: 'Stop that fellow's mouth, put him out of court.'
Starling (to the jury): 'You have heard that he preached; that he gathered a company of tumultuous people; and that they not only disobey the martial power, but the civil also.'
Penn: 'That is a mistake. We did not make the tumult, but they that interrupted us. The jury cannot be so ignorant as to think we met there to disturb the peace, because it is well known that we are a peaceable people, never offering violence to any man, and were kept by force of arms out of our own house.'
One of the jury pleaded illness, as a reason why he should not be locked up without fire, food, or water.
Starling: 'You are strong as any of them. Hold your principles and—starve.'
Howell: 'Gentlemen, you must be content with your hard fate; let your patience overcome it. The court is resolved to have a verdict.'
The whole Jury: 'We are agreed; we are agreed; we are agreed.'
'Let the constables be sworn,' said Howell, 'to keep them in a room apart, with neither meat nor drink, with neither fire nor light.' The constables were sworn, and the unhappy jurors dragged away.
TRIAL OF THE JURY (1670).
Next day was Sunday, but the court assembled at the Old Bailey as on other days. At seven o'clock the jurors' names were called, and each man answering to his name, the clerk inquired,—
Clerk: 'Are you agreed upon your verdict V
Clerk: 'What say you? Look upon the prisoner at the bar. Is William Penn guilty of the matter whereof he stands indicted, in manner and form as aforesaid, or not guilty V
Vere: 'William Penn is guilty of speaking in Gracechurch Street.'
Starling: 'To an unlawful assembly V
Bushel: 'No, my lord. We give no other verdict than we gave last night.'
Starling: 'You are a factious fellow; 111 take a course with you.'
Bludworth: 'I knew Mr. Bushel would not yield.'
Bushel: 'Sir Thomas, I have done according to my conscience.'
Starling: 'That conscience of yours would cut ray throat.'
Bushel: 'No, my lord, it never shall.'
Starling: 'But I will cut yours as soon as I can.'
Howell (merry): 'He has inspired the jury; he has the spirit of divination; methinks he begins to affect me,—I will have a positive verdict, or else you shall starve.'
Penn: 'I desire to ask the Recorder a question. Do you allow the verdict given of William Mead V
Howell: 'It cannot be a verdict, because you are indicted for conspiracy—and one being found Not guilty and not the other, it is no verdict.'
Penn: 'If Not guilty be no verdict, then you make of the jury and of the Great Charter a mere nose of wax.'
Mead: 'How! Is Not guilty no verdict V
Howell: 'No, it is no verdict.'
Penn: 'I affirm that the consent of a jury is a verdict in law; and if William Mead be not guilty, it follows that I am clear, since you have indicted us for conspiracy, and I could not possibly conspire alone.'
Howell found it convenient not to notice this way of viewing the case. A scene of great confusion followed, with threats on the part of the magistrates, met by unflinching firmness from the jurors. Again the twelve good men were sent to their room; again they returned with the same verdict of ' Guilty of speaking in Gracechurch Street.' It was clear they could do no more according to the evidence laid before them. When Vere announced the result of their third examination, the legal conductor of the trial roared:—
Howell: 'What is this to the purpose? I say, I will have a verdict' And then scowling fiercely at Bushel, cried, 'You are a factious fellow. I will set a mark on you; and whilst I have any thing to do with the city, I will have an eye upon you.'
Starling (to the other jurors): 'Have you no more wit than to be led by such a pitiful fellow? I will cut his nose.'
Penn: * It is intolerable that my jury should be thus menaced. Is this according to the fundamental laws? Are they not my proper judges by the Great Charter of England? What hope is there of ever having justice done when juries are threatened and their verdicts rejected? Has not the Lieutenant of the Tower made one of them out worse than a felon V
Howell -- 'My lord, you must take a course with that fellow.'
Starling: 'Stop his mouth. Gaoler, bring fetters, and stake him to the ground.'
Penn: 'Do your will: I care not for your fetters.'
Howell (suddenly enlightened): 'Till now I never understood the reason of the policy and prudence of the Spaniards in suffering the Inquisition among them; and certainly it will never be well with us till something like the Inquisition be brought into England.'
Starling told the jury they must retire until they could agree upon a verdict of guilty. They refused. They had consulted three several times;