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gaol. We had got some very good books to set forth our principles, and to inform the people of the truth; which the judge and justices hearing of, they sent captain Bradden for them, who came into the gaol to us, and violently took our books from us, some out of Edward Pyot's hands, and carried them away, so that we never got them again.
In the afternoon we were had up again into the court by the gaoler and sheriff's men, and troopers, who had a mighty toil to get us through the crowd of people. When we were in the court, waiting to be called, I seeing both the jury-men, and such a multitude of others swearing, it grieved my life to see that such as professed Christianity should so openly disobey and break the commands of Christ and the apostle. And I was moved of the Lord God to give forth a paper against swearing, which I had about me, to the grand and petty juries, which was as followeth :
Concerning Swearing. • Take heed of giving people oaths to swear: for Christ our Lord and Master saith, “Swear not at all; but let your communications be yea yea, and nay nay: for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil.” And if any man was to suffer death, it must be by the hand of two or three witnesses; and the hands of the witnesses were to be put first upon him to put him to death. And the apostle James saith, “My brethren, above all things swear not, neither by heaven, nor by earth, nor by any other oath, Test ye fall into condemnation.” Now you may see, those that swear fall into condemnation, and are out of Christ's and the apostle's doctrine. Therefore, every one of you having a light from Christ, who saith, I am the light of the world, and doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world; who saith, Learn of me, whose doctrine is, not to swear; and the apostle's doctrine is, not to swear; but let your jea be yea, and your nay be nay in all your communications; for whatsoever is more, cometh of evil: so then, they that go into more than yea and nay, go into the evil, and are out of the doctrine of Christ. Now if you say, that the oath was the end of controversy and strife, they who be in strife, are out of Christ's doctrine; for he is the covenant of peace : and who be in it, are in the covenant of peace. And the apostle brings that but as an example : as, men swearing by the greater; and, the oath was the end of controversy and strife among men; and said, verily, men swear by the greater: but God could not find a greater,
but swears by himself, concerning Christ; which when he
This paper passing among them from the jury to the justices, they presented it to the judge; so that when we were called before the judge, he bade the clerk give me that paper; and then asked me, whether that seditious paper was mine; I told him, If they would read it up in open court, that I might hear it, if it was mine I would own it, and stand by it. He would have had me to have taken it, and looked upon it in my own hand: but I again desired that it might be read, that all the country might
hear it, and judge whether there was any sedition in it or no; for if there were I was willing to suffer for it. At last the clerk of the assize read it with an audible voice, that all the people might hear it: and when he had done, I told them, it was my paper, and I would own it; and so might they too, except they would deny the scripture: for was not this scripture language, and the words and commands of Christ, and the apostle, which all true Christians ought to obey? then they let fall that subject; and the judge fell upon us about our hats again, bidding the gaoler take them off, which he did, and gave them unto us; and we put them on again. Then we asked the judge and the justices, what we had lain in prison for these nine weeks, seeing they now objected nothing to us but about our hats; and as for putting off our hats I told them that was the honour which God would lay in the dust, though they made so much ado about it; the honour which is of men, and which men seek one of another, and is the mark of unbelievers : for how can ye believe, saith Christ, who receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? and Christ saith, “I receive not honour from men ;” and all true Christians should be of his mind. Then the judge began to make a great speech, how he represented the lord Protector's person; and he had made him lord chief justice of England, and sent him to come that circuit, &c. We desired him then that he would do us justice for our false imprisonment which we had suffered nine weeks wrongfully. But instead of that, they brought in an indictment that they had framed against us ; such a strange thing, and so full of lies, that I thought it had been against some of the thieves ; how that we came by foree and arms, and in an hostile manner into the court; who were brought, as aforesaid. I told them, it was all false : and still we cried for justice for our false imprison. ment, being taken up in our journey without cause by major Ceely. Then this Peter Ceely spake to the judge, and said, May it please you, my lord, this man (pointing to me) went aside with me, and told me how serviceable I might be for his design; that he could raise forty thousand men at an hour's warning, and involve the nation in blood, and so bring in king Charles : and I would have aided him out of the country, but he would not go. And if it please you, my lord, I have a witness to swear it:' and so he called upon his witness : but the judge not being forward to examine the witness, I spake to the judge, and desired that he would be pleased to let my mittimus be read in the face of the court and country, in which my crime was sig.
nified, for which I was sent to prison. The judge said it should not be read; I said it ought to be, seeing it concerned my liberty and my life. The judge said again, It shall not be read;' but I said it ought to be read; for if I have done any thing worthy of death, or of bonds, let all the country know it. Then seeing they would not read it, 1 spake to one of my fellow-prisoners, Thou hast a copy of it, read it up,' said I. It shall not be read,' said the judge; " Jailer,' said he, 'take him away, I will see whether he or I shall be master.' So I was taken away; and awhile after called for again: and I still cried to have my mittimus read up; for that signified the cause of my commitment: wherefore I again spake to the friend that was my fellow-prisoner, and bade him read it up; and he did read it up, and the judge, justices, and whole court were silent; for the people were eager to hear it : which is as followeth :
Peter Ceely, one of the Justices of the Peace of this
County, to the Keeper of His Highness's Jail at Launceston, or his lawful Deputy in that behalf, Greeting.
" I send you herewithal by the bearers hereof, the bodies of Edward Pyot of Bristol, and George Fox of Drayton and Clea, in Leicestershire, and William Salt of London, which they pretend to be the places of their habitations, who go under the notion of Quakers, and acknowledge themselves to be such; who have spread several papers, tending to the disturbance of the public peace, and cannot render any lawful cause of coming into these parts, being persons altogether unknown, and having no pass for their travelling up and down the country, and refusing to give sureties of their good behaviour, according to the law in that behalf provided, and refuse to take the oath of abjuration, &c." These are therefore, in the name of his bighness the lord Protector, to will and command you, that when the bodies of the said Edward Pyot, George Fox, and William Salt, shall be unto you brought, you them receive, and in his highness's prison aforesaid you safely keep them, until by due course of law they shall be delivered. Hereof fail you not, as you will answer the contrary at your perils. Given under my hand and seal, at St. Ives, the eighteenth day of January, 1655.'
When it was read I spake thus to the judge and justices : Thou that sayest thou art chief justice of England, and
that be justices, ye know, that if I had put in sureties, I might have gone whither I pleased; and have carried on the design (if I had had one) which major Ceely bath charged me with : and if I had spoken those words to him, which he hath here declared, then judge ye, whether bail or mainprize could have been taken in that case.' Then, turning my speech to major Ceely, I said, “When or where did I take thee aside? Was not thy house full of rude people, and thou as rude as any of them at our examination, so that I asked for a constable or some other officer, to keep the people civil? But if thou art my accuser, why sittest thou on ihe bench? That is not a place for thee to sit in, for accusers do not use to sit with the judges : thou oughtest to come down, and stand by me, and look me in the face. Besides, I would ask the judge and justices this question, whether or no major Ceely is not guilty of this treason, which he charges against me, in concealing it so long as he hath done? Does he understand his place either as a soldier or a justice of the peace? For he tells you here, that I went aside with him, and told him what a design I had in hand, and how serviceable he might be for my design : that I could raise forty thousand men in an hour's time, and bring in king Charles, and involve the nation in blood. He saith moreover, he would have aided me out of the country, but I would not go; and therefore he committed me to prison for want of sureties for the good behaviour, as the mittimus declares. Now do not you see plainly that major Ceely is guilty of this plot and ireason that he talks of, and hath made himself a party to it, by desiring me to go out of the country, and demanding bail of me, and not charging me with this pretended treason till now, nor discovering it? But I deny and abhor his words, and am innocent of his devilish design.' So that business was let fall: for the judge saw clear enough, that instead of ensnaring me, he hath ensnared himself.
Then this major Ceely got up again and said, “If it please you, my lord, to hear me this man struck me, and gave me such a blow, as I never had in my life. At this I smiled in my heart, and said, “Major Ceely, thou art a justice of peace, and a major of a troop of borse, and tells the judge here in the face of the court and country, that I (who am a prisoner) struck thee, and gave thee such a blow, as thou never hadst the like in thy life? What! art thou not ashamed? Prithee, major Ceely, said I, where did I strike thee? and who is thy witness for that? who was by ?' He said it was in the Castle-green, and that captain Bradden was standing by when I struck him. I