« ZurückWeiter »
recovered against the hundred by the party robbed, if this law had not been made.
“ Provided also, that no person or persons, upon
the Lord's day, shall serve or execute, or cause to be served or executed, any writ, process, warrant, order, judgment or decree (except in cases of treason, felony, or breach of peace); but that the service of every such writ, process, warrant, order, judgement or decree, shall be void to all intents and
and the person or persons so serving or executing the same, shall be as liable to the suit of the party grieved, and to answer damages to him for doing thereof, as if he or they had done the same without any writ, process, warrant, order, judgment, or decree at all."
The force of education and example in forming the manners was particularly and most energetically demonstrated, in the characters of sir John Fitz-James, and sir Matthew Hale. An anecdote of each of those excellent men is worth all the illustrations of this work. The former had that strict sense of impartial justice, that he even dismissed his principal clerk for having received a tankard, not as a bribe, but as a present after the determination of a cause. His biographers say of sir John, “ that the instant he seated himself upon the bench, he lost all recollection of his best friends : who might pass before him without receiving the least intimation that he had ever
seen them." A relation once solicited a favour of him: “ Come to my house,” said he," and I will deny you nothing ; but in the king's court I must do you justice." The attorney-general was weak and criminal enough to request his interest on the part of the king, in a cause to be tried before him: “ I will do the king right,” he replied. A verdict was given against the crown, and the attorney-general expostulated with FitzJames; who dismissed the subject by adding, “ he could not do his majesty right, if he had pot done justice.”
Sir Matthew Hale was ever deaf to private recommendations and applications from persons concerned in causes brought before him. A duke thus circumstanced waited upon, and would have prejudiced him in his favour, under the despicable pretence of laying the case before him, that be might the more readily comprehend its merits when on the bench. Hale refused to listen to his representations; and told him, “ he acted improperly in this attempt to influence his opinion ; as he had determined never to hear either party till each were legally and openly confronted together.” The peer retired, a prey to confusion and indignation, and, soon after, complained to the king of our“ second Daniel :" who had the good sense and justice to reply," he might content himself that he had received no other insult;" adding, “ he verily believed he would have used
himself no better, if he had gone to solicit him in any of his own causes."
Burnet relates the following particulars of him in his life; which are repeated in “ Turner's Remarkable Providences,” fol. 1697. “ Another passage fell out in one of his circuits which was somewhat censured, as an affectation of an unreasonable strictness, but it flowed from his exactness to the rules he had set himself. A gentleman had sent him a buck for his table, that had a trial at the assizes: so, when he heard his name, he asked, “ if he was not the same person that had sent him venison ?" And, finding he was the same, he told him, “ he could not suffer the trial to go on, till he had paid him for his buck.” To which the gentleman answered, “ that he never sold his venison; and that he had done nothing to him which he did not do to every judge that had gone that circuit;” which was confirmed by several gentlemen then present. But all would not do; for the lord chief baron had learned from Solomon, that “ a gift perverteth the ways of judgment :” and, therefore, he would not suffer the trial to go on till he had paid for the present. Upon which the gentleman withdrew the record. And at Salisbury the dean and chapter having, according to the custom, presented him with six sugar loaves in his circuit, he made his servants pay for the sugar before he would try their cause.”
Dr. Burnet describes sir Matthew Hale as a man of unbounded charity, who gave the tenth penny of all bis receipts to the poor; and, at the same time, he carefully selected the objects of his bounty. After he had been appointed a judge, he sent his dividend of the rule and box
money to different gaols for the discharge of prisoners, who were carefully kept from a knowledge of their benefactor. The marshal of the king's bench was compelled, by virtue of his office, to present the judges of that court with a piece of plate as a New-year's gift. Sir Matthew wished to have refused it; but his brethren interfered, and insisted it was his right; and that a refusal might become a precedent to the injury of his successors. Convinced in part by this mode of reasoning, the worthy Hale begged he might receive the sum intended to be appropriated by the marshal for the purchase of the plate; which having been complied with, the whole amount was sent for the same purpose to the prisons.
The decent poor of his neighbourhood were frequently invited to his table, where they were treated with every attention. Those who were prevented from enjoying this gratification, by illness, had meat sent to their residences. When walking near his mansion, if he was addressed for charity, he immediately enquired why the party did not work : a declaration that they could not find employment, instantly procured
it from Sir Matthew ; who directed such persons to gather the stones in one of his fields into a heap, which he afterwards sent to the different roads for the amendment of them.
We have, at length, arrived at an æra to which we hope no future period in the history of England will furnish a parallel. It would be the height of presumption in me to pronounce whether Charles I. was tyrannical, or the people rebellious. I shall therefore only observe on the character of this monarch, that more unjustifiable steps were taken by many of his predecessors, without producing resistance; which proves that the people had either become more enlightened or more turbulent than their ancestors. Charles was certainly a man of grave and dignified manners, enlightened in his understanding, and a great patron of the fine arts: the popular acts of the interregnum were much the reverse.
If Mrs. Hutchinson may be relied upon as a faithful historian (and I do not perceive any reason to doubt her veracity, or the authenticity of her information), we are much obliged to her for the following traits in the characters of Charles I. Cromwell, and Ireton. The king was at Hampton Court, in the midst of his enemies, and either very weak or very deceitful in his
“ The king, by reason of his daily converse with the officers, began to be trinkling with them, not only then but before, and had