« AnteriorContinuar »
touching the book and the letter in the gilt apple, and have advisedly perused and weighed all the examinations and collections which were formerly taken;
door, to see if he could light upon any prey. At last came out Mr. Williams, unknown to the pursuivant; but carrying, in his conceit, the countenance of a priest. The pursuivant, therefore, followed him to his inn, where Williams having mounted his horse, the pursuivant came to him, and told him, that he must speak a word or two with him. “ Marry, with all my heart, said Williams; what is your pleasure?" You must light, answered the pursuivant ; for you are a priest. "A priest? replied Williams; I have a good warrant to the contrary, for I have a wife and children." Being, however, obliged to dismount, the pursuivant searched him; and in his pocket was found a bundle of papers sealed up; which the pursuivant going to open, Williams made some resistance, pretending they were evidences of a gentleman whose law-businesses he transacted. The pursuivant insisting upon opening the papers, among them was found Balaam's Ass, with new annotations; of which, upon examination, Williams confessed himself to be the author. He was brought to trial on the 3d of May, 1619, for writing that and another book intitled Speculum Regale; in both of which he had presumed to prophesy, that the king would die in 1621, grounding this prediction on the prophecy of Daniel, where the prophet speaks of time and times, and half a time. He farther affirmed, that Antichrist will be revealed when sin shall be at the highest; and then the end is nigh: that such is our time; sin is now at the highest; ergo that the land is the abomination of desolation mentioned by Daniel, and the habitation of devils, and the antimark of Christ's Church. Williams's defence was, 1. That what he had written was not with any malice or disloyalty of heart towards the king, but purely from affection, and by way of caution and admonition, that his majesty might avoid the mischiefs likely to befal him; having added in his book, when he delivered the threats of judgment and destruction, which God avert, or such words. 2. That the matter rested only in opinion and thought, and contained no overt act; no rebellion, treason, or other mischief following it. 3. That he had inclosed his book in a box sealed up, and secretly conveyed it to the king, without ever publishing it. But the court was unanimously of opinion, that he was guilty of high treason; and that the words contained in the libel, as cited above, imported the end and destruction of the king and his realm; and that antichristianism and false religion were maintained in the said realm; which was a motive to the people to commit treasons, to raise rebellions, &c. and that the writing of the book was a publication. Reports of Henry Rolle, serjeant at law, part II. p. 88. In consequence of this judgment he had a sentence of death passed upon him, which was executed overagainst Charing-Cross two days after. MS. letters of Mr. Thomas
wherein we might attribute a good deal of worthy industry and watchful inquiry to my lord of Canterbury. We thought fit also to take some new examinations; which was the cause we certified no sooner. Upon the whole matter, we find the cause of his imprisonment just, and the suspicions and presumptions many and great; which we little need to mention, because your majesty did relate and inforced them to us in better perfection, than we can express them. But, nevertheless, the proofs seem to us to amount to this, that it was possible he should be the man; and that it was probable likewise, he was the man: but no convicting proofs, that may satisfy jury of life and death, or that may make us take it upon our conscience, or to think it agreeable to your majesty's honour, which next our conscience to God, is the dearest thing to us on earth, to bring it upon the stage which notwithstanding we, in all humbleness, submit to your majesty's better judgment. For his liberty, and the manner of his delivery, he having
Lorkin to Sir Thomas Puckering, Bart. dated at London, June the 24th and 30th, 1613, and March the 16th, 161, and May the 4th and 5th, 1619, among the Harleian MSS. Vol. 7002. At his death he adhered to his profession of the Roman Catholic religion, and died with great resolution. He prayed for the king and prince; and said, that he was sorry for having written so saucily and irreverently; but pretended that he had an inward warrant and particular illumination to understand certain hard passages of Daniel and the Revelation, which made him adventure so far. MS. letter of John Chamberlain, Esq. to Sir Dudley Carleton, dated at London, May 8, 1619.
This case was urged against the seven bishops at their trial in king James II.'s reign by Sir William Williams, then solicitor-general, who observed, Trial, p. 76, that it had been made use of by Mr. solicitor-general Finch on the trial of Col. Sidney, and was the great "case relied upon, and that guided and governed that case;" though there is nothing of this, that appears in the printed trial of Sidney.
It is but justice to the memory of our great antiquary, Sir Robert Cotton, Bart. to remark here a mistake of Dr. Thomas Smith in his life of Sir Robert, p. 26. prefixed to his catalogue of the Cottonian library, where he has confounded the Cotton, mentioned in the beginning of this note, with Sir Robert Cotton, and erroneously supposed, that the suspicion of having written the libel had fallen upon the latter.
so many notes of a dangerous man, we leave it to your princely wisdom. And so commending your majesty to God's precious custody, we rest
Your Majesty's most humble and bounden servants,
22 Jan. 1613.
TO JOHN MURRAY (a) OF THE BED-CHAMBER TO THE KING (b).
I KEEP the same measure in a proportion with my master and with my friend; which is, that I will never deceive them in any thing, which is in my power; and when my power faileth my will, I am
Monday is the day appointed for performing his majesty's commandment. Till then I cannot tell what to advise you farther, except it should be this, that in case the judges should refuse to take order in it themselves, then you must think of some warrant to Mr. Secretary, who is your friend, and constant in the businesses, that he see forthwith his majesty's commandment executed, touching the double lock; and, if need be, repair to the place, and see by view the manner of keeping the seal; and take order, that there be no stay for working of the seal of justice, nor no prejudice to Killegrew's farm, nor to the duty of money paid to the chief justice. Whether this may require your presence, as you write, that yourself can best judge. But of this more, when we have received the judges answer. It is my duty, as much
(a) He was created Viscount of Annan in Scotland, in August, 1622. Negotiations of Sir Thomas Roe, in his embassy to the Ottoman Porte, p. 93. In April, 1624, the lord Annan was created earl of Annandale in Scotland. Ibid. p. 250.
(b) This, and the three following letters, are printed from Harl. MSS. Vol. 6986.
as in me is, to procure my master to be obeyed. I
January 21, 1614.
Your friend and assured
I pray deliver the inclosed letter to his majesty.
To his very good friend Mr. John Murray, of his majesty's bed-chamber.
TO MR. MURRAY.
My Lord Chancellor, yesterday in my presence, had before him the judges of the common pleas, and hath performed his majesty's royal command in a very worthy fashion, such as was fit for our master's greatness; and because the king may know it, I send you the inclosed. This seemeth to have wrought the effect desired; for presently I sent for Sir Richard Cox (a), and willed him to present himself to my lord Hobart, and signify his readiness to attend. He came back to me, and told me, all things went on, I know not what afterwards may be; but I think this long chace is at an end. I ever rest
January 25, 1614.
TO MR. MURRAY.
I PRAY deliver the inclosed to his majesty, and have care of the letter afterwards. I have written
(a) He was one of the masters of the green cloth, and had had a quarrel at court during the Christmas holy-days of the year 1614, with Sir Thomas Erskine; which quarrel was made up by the lords of the marshal's court, Sir Richard being obliged to put up with very foul words. MS. letter of Mr. Chamberlain to Sir Dudley Carleton, January 12, 1614.
also to his majesty about your reference to this purpose, that if you can get power over the whole title, it may be safe for his majesty to assent, that you may try the right upon the deed. This is the farthest I I ever rest
Load Your's assured,
TO THE KING.
May it please your most excellent Majesty, I SEND your majesty inclosed, a copy of our last examination of Peacham (a), taken the 10th of this
(a) Edmund Peacham, a minister in Somersetshire [MS. letter of Mr. Chamberlain, dated January 5, 161.] I find one of both his names, who was instituted into the vicarage of Ridge in Hertfordshire, July 22, 1581, and resigned it in 1587. [Newcourt, Repertor. Vol. I. p. 864.] Mr. Peacham was committed to the Tower for inserting several treasonable passages in a sermon never preached, nor, as Mr. Justice Croke remarks in his Reports during the reign of king Charles I., p. 125, ever intended to be preached. Mr. Chamberlain, in a letter of the 9th of February, 1614, to Sir Dudley Carleton, mentions Mr. Peacham's having been "stretched already, "though he be an old man, and, they say, much above threescore: "but they could wring nothing out of him more than they had at "first in his papers. Yet the king is extremely incensed against "him, and will have him pro prosecuted to the uttermost. In another letter, dated February 23, we are informed, that the king, since his coming to London on the 15th, had had " the opinion of the judges severally in Peacham's case; and it is said, that most of "them concur to find it treason: yet my lord chief justice [Coke] " is for the contrary; and if the lord Hobart, that rides the western circuit, can be drawn to jump with his colleague, the chief baron [Tanfield] it is thought he shall be sent down to be tried, and "trussed up in Somersetshire." In a letter of the 2d of March, 1614, Mr. Chamberlain writes, " Peacham's trial at the western "assizes is put off, and his journey stayed, though Sir Randall Crew, "the king's serjeant, and Sir Henry Yelverton, the solicitor, were ready to go to horse to have waited on him there." "Peacham, "the minister, adds he in a letter of the 13th of July, 1615, that "hath been this twelvemonth in the Tower, is sent down to be tried " for treason in Somersetshire before the lord chief baron and "Sir Henry Montagu the recorder. The lord Hobart gave over "that circuit the last assizes. Sir Randall Crew and Sir Henry "Yelverton, the king's serjeant and solicitor, are sent down to