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they had agreed to a a verdict and signed it; they could give no other.
Howell: 'Gentlemen, we shall not always be at this pass with you. You will find that next session of Parliament there will be a law made that such as will not conform shall not have the protection of law. Mr. Lee,' addressing a law-officer of the court, 'draw up another verdict that they may bring it in special.'
Lee: 'I cannot tell how to do it.'
Jury: 'We ought not to be returned, having all agreed and set our hands to the verdict.'
Howell: 'Your verdict is nothing. You play upon the court. I say you shall go and bring in another verdict or you shall starve; and I will have you carted about the city as in Edward the Third's time.'
Vere (who had fasted thirty hours): 'We have given in our verdict, in which we are all agreed; if we give in another, it will be by force, to save our lives.'
Starling: 'Take them up to their room.'
Officer: 'My lord, they will not go.'
The Sheriff was told to use force.
They were again locked up for the day and night; left without food, without fire, without water,—to endure the agony of another night of raging fever, brought on by thirst and want of rest . They spent the night in anxious talk. They could not sleep for pain. Their chamber was unutterably foul; for Howell had refused them every article of chamber furniture. Some wandered in their thoughts.
Some said they must give way or die. But those who fought for freedom of conscience--for the rights of jurors-supported from within by a strong sense of martyrdom, held on. They were prepared to die; but never to betray the cause of right.
Next day the court sat again. It was Monday morning and the proceedings began soon after sunrise. Yet the room was crowded. As the jury came into court, the men were pale and dark, but firm and resolute. The forms were gone through in succession, while the agitated audience tried to read the faces of the jurors.
Crier : “Silence in the court on pain of imprisonment!
Clerk: 'Gentlemen, are you agreed in your verdict ?
Clerk: 'Look upon the prisoners. What say you, is William Penn guilty of the matter whereof he stands indicted in manner and form, or not guilty ?'
Vere: 'You have our verdict in writing with our hands subscribed.'
Clerk: 'I will read it
Howell: 'No. It is no verdict. The court will not accept it.'
Vere: 'If you will not accept of it, I desire to have it back again.'
Court: “The paper was no verdict, and no advantage shall be taken of you for it.'
Clerk: 'How say you: is William Penn guilty or not guilty?'
Vere: 'Not guilty.' (Movement and emotion in the court)
Clerk: 'Then hearken to your verdict.' (Reads) 'You say William Penn is not guilty, and you say William Mead is not guilty. Say you all so V
Jury: 'We do.'
The court was not content; each man, it said, must answer for himself The names were called over one by one in the hope that some one more timid than the rest would side with the bench In vain; each juror answered to the call, and distinctly and without qualification pronounced—' Not guilty.'
Howell: 'I am sorry, gentlemen, you have followed your own judgments and opinions rather than the good advice which was given you. God keep my life out of your hands! But for this the court fines you forty marks a man and imprisonment in Newgate till the fines be paid.'
Penn: 'Being freed by the jury, I demand to be set at liberty.'
Starling: 'No. You are in for your fines.'
Penn: 'Fines! What fines V
Starling: 'For contempt of court.'
Penn: 'I ask if it be according to the fundamental laws of England that any Englishman should be fined except by the judgment of his peers? Since it expressly contradicts the 14th and 29th chapters of the Great Charter of Engand, which says, No free man ought to be amerced except by the oath of good and lawful men of the vicinage.'
Howell (with severe and simple logic): 'Take him away; take him away; take him out of the court.'
Penn: 'I can never urge the fundamental laws of England, but you cry out, "Take him away, take him away I" But this is no wonder, since the Spanish Inquisition sits so near the Recorder's heart. God, who is just, will judge you for all these things.' The two prisoners and the twelve jurors alike refused to pay the fines—the first as a matter of conscience; the second, because, under the influence of Bushel, they were induced to dispute the power of the court to inflict this fine. The fourteen gentlemen were all removed to Newgate.
From his prison chamber, Penn wrote to his sick father daily; and his letters breathe the most affectionate and devoted spirit. He deplores the Admiral's illness, and his own compulsory absence from his bed-side; but the cause of English freedom is at stake, he is detained contrary to law, and he beseeches his family not to think of paying the fine in order to get him out . However anxious to be near his father at such a time, he would do nothing unworthy; he would trust in God and in the justness of his cause. Even when Bushel and his fellows had been acquitted, Penn and Mead refused to pay their fines, but a few days after their removal, a turnkey came to them with news that some unknown friend had paid their fines—and they were free to go away.
Admiral Penn was lying on his death-bed. The excitement caused by his son's arrest, imprisonment, and trial, had made him worse; and when William hastened home from Newgate to Wanstead he was scared to find that, in the opinion of medical men, his father had only a few days to live.
'Son William/ said the veteran, 'I am weary of the world; I would not live my days over again, if I could command them with a wish; for the snares of life are greater than the fears of death.' The Admiral had ceased to think of his great disappointment; but he retained his patriotic ardour to the last. He bewailed the corruption of the age, the profligacy in high places, the daily traffic in justice, the contempt into which the court was falling, the rottenness at home, the decline of power abroad. He gave his children three maxims as a legacy: 'First—Let nothing in this world tempt you to wrong your conscience; so you will keep peace at home, which will be a feast to you in the day of trouble. Secondly—Whatever you design to do, lay it justly and time it seasonably, for that gives security and despatch. Lastly—Be not troubled at disappointments; for if they may be recovered, do it; if they cannot, trouble is vain: if you could not have helped it, be content; there is often peace and profit in submitting to providence, for afflictions make wise: if you could have helped it, let not your trouble exceed your instruction for another time. These rules,' said the Admiral, 'will carry you with firmness and comfort through this inconstant world.'
The dying man had risen into that region which is above the fear and favour of the world. His frame of mind was calm, confiding, and religious.