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pointed one of the Commissioners to treat on the reduction of Oxford. In this capacity he performed
loyalty; and that we have no thoughts or intention to diminish his Majesty's just power and greatness.
« 4. We shall also, with all faithfulness, endeavour the discovery of all such as have been or shall be incendiaries, malignants, or evil instruments by hindering the reformation of religion, dividing the King from his people or one of the Kingdoms from another, or making factions or parties among the people contrary to this League and Covenant; that they may be brought to public trial, and receive tondign punishment as the degree of their offences shall require or deserve, or the supreme judicatories of both kingdoms respectively, or others having power from them for that effect, shall judge convenient.
“5. And whereas the happiness of a blessed peace between these Kingdoms, desired in former times to our progenitors, is by the good providence of God granted unto us, and hath been lately concluded and settled by both parliaments; we shall each one of us, according to our place and interests, endeavour that they may remain conjoined in a firm peace and union to all posterity, and that justice may be done upon the wilful opposers thereof in manner expressed in the precedent articles.
« 6. We shall also, according to our places and callings, in this common cause of religion, liberty, and peace of the Kingdoms assist and defend all those who enter into this League and Covenant, in maintaining and pursuing thereof: and shall not suffer ourselves directly or indirectly, by whatsoever combination, persuasion, or terror, to be divided and withdrawn from this blessed union and conjunction; whether to make defection on the contrary part, or to give ourselves to a detestable indifferency or neutrality in this cause, which so much concerneth the glory of God, the good of the Kingdom, and the honour of the King; but shall all the days of our lives zealously and constantly continue therein against all opposition, and promote the same according to our power against all lets and impediments whatsoever; and what we ourselves are not able to suppress or overcome, we shall reveal or make it known, that it may be timely prevented or removed : all which we shall do, as in the sight of God.
“ And because these Kingdoms are guilty of many sins and
a signal service to the republic of letters, by prevailing upon General Fairfax to spare the University with all it's ancient treasures of learning.
Though he sincerely lamented the fate of Charles I., he yet thought it his duty to take the Engagement to the Commonwealth; and, in 1652, he was elected by the parliament with some others to revise and reform the laws of England.
Cromwell, upon his appointment to the Protectorship, rightly judging that the countenance of Mr.
provocations against God and his son Jesus Christ, as is too manifest by our present distresses and dangers, and the fruits thereof, we profess and declare before God and the world our unfeigned desire to be humbled for our sins, and for the sins of these Kingdoms especially; that we have not as we ought valued the inestimable benefit of the Gospel, that we have not laboured for the purity and power thereof, and that we have not endeavoured to receive Christ in our hearts, nor to walk worthy of him in our lives, which are the causes of other sins and transe gressions, so much abounding among us; and our true and unfeigned purpose, desire, and endeavour for ourselves and all others under our power and charge both in public and in private, and in all duties we owe to God and man to amend our lives, and each one to go before another in the example of a real reformation, that the Lord may turn away his wrath and heavy indignation, and establish these churches and kingdoms in truth and peace. And this Covenant we make in the presence of Almighty God the searcher of all hearts, with a true intention to perform the same, as we shall answer at that great day when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed; most humbly beseeching the Lord to strengthen us by his Holy Spirit to this end, and to bless our desires and proceedings with such success as may be deliverance and safety to his people, and encouragement to other Christian Churches groaning under or in danger of the yoke of Anti-christian tyranny, to join in the same or like Association or Covenant, to the glory of God, the enlargement of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the peace and tranquillity of Christian kingdoms and commonwealths.”
Hale would give weight to his government,* ceased his importunities, till he had prevailed upon
* And also take off an intrepid barrister, who might powerfully thwart his views. He had already pleaded for the eleven members, whom as most actively hostile to his views, Cromwell had daringly stimulated the army to accuse. Hale's scruples about accepting a commission from an usurper were quieted by his considering, that the administration of justice and the protection of property were at all times necessary:' and he was greatly pressed besides by many royalist lawyers, particularly Sir Orlando Bridgeman and Sir Geoffrey Palmer; as well as justified by the opinions of Dr. Sheldon and Dr. Henchman, subsequently promoted to the sees of Canterbury and London. Cromwell, indeed, had declared, that if he mi
if he might not govern by red gowns, he was resolved to govern by red coats.'
On entering upon his employment, he drew up the following paper for his guidance:
Things necessary to be continually had in remembrance : 1. That, in the administration of justice, I am entrusted for God, the King, and Country; and therefore,
2. That it be done, 1. Uprightly; 2. Deliberately; 3. Resolutely.
3. That I rest not upon my own understanding or strength, but implore and rest upon the direction and strength of God.
4. That, in the execution of justice, I carefully lay aside my own passions, and not give way to them, however provoked.
5. That I be wholly intent upon the business that I am about, remitting all other cares and thoughts, as unseasonable, and interruptions.
6. That I suffer not myself to be prepossessed with any judge ment at all, till the whole busines and both parties be heard.
7. That I never engage myself in the beginning of any cause, but reserve myself unprejudiced, till the whole be heard.
8. That in business capital, though my nature prompt me to pity, yet to consider that there is also a pity due to the country.
9. That I be not too rigid in matters purely conscientious, where all the harm is diversity of judgement.
10. That I be not biassed with compassion to the poor, or favour to the rich, in point of justice.
him to accept the office of one of the Justices of the Common Bench, as it was then called : for which purpose he was made by writ a Serjeant in January, 1654. He had great scruples, however, concerning the legality of the authority, under which he was to exercise his new office; and, after he had gone two or three circuits, being told by Cromwell (who, upon his dismissing a jury specially returned by himself, resented his sturdy support of the dignity of the laws and the rights of the people) that he was not fit to be a - judge,' he replied, “ It was very true,' * and
11. That popular or court applause, or distaste, have no influence into any thing I do in point of distribution of justice.
12. Not to be solicitous what men will say or think, so long as I keep myself exactly according to the rules of justice.
13. If in criminals it be a measuring cast, to incline to mercy and acquittal.
14. In criminals that consist merely in words, when no more harm ensues, moderation is no injustice.
15. In criminals of blood, if the fact be evident, severity is justice.
16. To abhor all private solicitations, of what kind soever, and by whomsoever in matters depending.
17. To charge my servants, 1. Not to interpose in any business whatsoever ; 2. Not to take more than their known fees; 3. Not to give any undue precedence to causes; 4. Not to recommend counsel
18. To be short and sparing at meals, that I may be the fitter for business.
* • Who can read with indifference (asks an able writer) the reasons which, with his usual modesty and sincerity, he assigns for declining the judicial office, and in which he represents himself as having “ too much pity, clemency, and tenderness in cases of life, which may prove an unserviceable temper for
“ Mitis precibus, pietatis abundans, “ Poenæ parcus erat.”
(Claud. de IV. Cons. Honor. 113.)
thenceforward refused to try criminal causes. He was the more readily excused, we may be assured, because he acted with so much firmness and integrity, in opposition to the power from which he derived his commission. Of this Dr. Burnet, in his • Life of Hale,' produces one instance, which ought to be transmitted as a mirror for judges to the latest posterity. Soon after he was placed on the bench, a trial was brought before him at Lincoln
Yet so far did he share in the credulity of his contemporaries about witchcraft, that in the Suffolk Sessions (held at Bury St. Edmund's) of 1664, he not only condemned two widows of Lowestoff, but suffered judgement to be executed upon them : and even the learned Sir Thomas Browne, who wrote against « Vulgar Errors' (see a Note on the Life of Sir Thomas More, 1.90.) is said upon this occasion to have declared himself in court clearly of opinion, that the fits of the patients were natural, but heightened by the Devil co-operating with the malice of the witches ;' confirming that opinion by a similar case in Denmark, and so far influencing the jury that the two women were hanged.
Sir Matthew Hale was too wise to be pedantic, and too honest to be artificial. Knowledge, reflexion, and a lively sense of morality and religion had elevated his mind far above the petty gratifications, which high office supplies to the weakness of vanity and the restlessness of ambition. But I suspect that, in order to sooth some unquiet misgivings and some tender yearning of his soul, he by frequent efforts of recollection summoned to his aid those maxims, which might lighten the burthen of his painful office as a Judge. Hence, in his Contemplations Moral and Divine, we read, “ There must be duly considered the difference between a private person and a public person, whether minister or magistrate. The former, namely the private person, humility must teach him compassion, charitableness, gentleness : but the latter, being entrusted in a public ministration, doth alterius vices agere; his personal humility, as a private man, must teach him to be charitable, but yet not to be remiss or unfaithful in the exercise of his office.”,