« ForrigeFortsæt »
nocent or innocent; fortitude to prosecute and laid for the mother, and was taken up by the execute; temperance, so to carry justice as it be child, and killed the child : and so in that notonot passionate in the pursuit, nor confused in rious case, whereupon the statute of 22 Henry involving persons upon light suspicion, nor pre- VIII., chap. 9, was made, where the intent being cipitate in time. For this his majesty's virtue of to poison but one or two, poison was put into a justice, God hath of late raised an occasion, and little vessel of barm that stood in the kitchen of erected, as it were, a stage or theatre, much to the Bishop of Rochester's house; of which barm his honour, for him to show it, and act in the pottage or gruel was made, wherewith seventeen pursuit of the untimely death of Sir Thomas of the bishop's family were poisoned : nay, divers Overbury, and therein cleansing the land from of the poor that came to the bishop's gate, and blood. For, my lords, if blood spilt pure doth had the broken pottage in alms, were likewise cry to heaven in God's ears, much more blood poisoned. And, therefore, if any man will comdefiled with poison.
fort himself, or think with himself, Here is great This great work of his majesty's justice, the talk of impoisonment, I hope I am safe; for I more excellent it is, your lordships will soon have no enemies; nor I have nothing that any conclude the greater is the offence of any that body should long for: Why, that is all one; for have sought to affront it or traduce it. And, he may sit at table by one for whom poison is therefore, before I descend unto the charge of prepared, and have a drench of his cup, or of his these offenders, I will set before your lordships, pottage. the weight of that which they have sought to And so, as the poet saith, “concidit infelix impeach ; speaking somewhat of the general alieno vulnere ;" he may die another man's death. crime of impoisonment, and then of the particular And, therefore, it was most gravely, and judicircumstances of this fact upon Overbury; and, ciously, and properly provided by that statute, thirdly, and chiefly, of the king's great and worthy that impoisonment should be high treason; becare and carriage in this business.
cause whatsoever offence tendeth to the utter The offence of impoisonment is most truly subversion and dissolution of human society, is figured in that device or description, which was in the nature of high treason. made of the nature of one of the Roman tyrants, Lastly, it is an offence that I may truly say of that he was “lutum sanguine maceratum,” mire it, “non est nostri generis, nec sanguinis.” It is, mingled or cemented with blood : for, as it is one thanks be to God, rare in the isle of Britain: it is of the highest offences in guiltiness, so it is the neither of our country, nor of our church; you basest of all others in the mind of the offenders. may find it in Rome or Italy. There is a region, Treasons “magnum aliquid spectant;" they aim or perhaps a religion for it: and if it should come at great things; but this is vile and base. I tell amongst us, certainly it were better living in a your lordships what I have noted, that in all wilderness than in a court. God's book, both of the Old and New Testament, For the particular fact upon Overbury. First, I find examples of all other offences and offenders for the person of Sir Thomas Overbury: I knew in the world, but not any one of an impoisonment the gentleman. It is true, his mind was great, or an impoisoner. I find mention of fear of but it moved not in any good order; yet, certainly casual impoisonment: when the wild vine was it did commonly fly at good things; and the shred into the pot, they came complaining in a greatest fault that I ever heard of him, was, that fearful manner; Master, “mors in olla." And I he made his friend his idol. But I leave him as find mention of poisons of beasts and serpents; Sir Thomas Overbury. “the poison of asps is under their lips.” But I But take him as he was, the king's prisoner in find no example in the book of God of impoison- the tower; and then see how the case stands. In ment. I have sometimes thought of the words in that place the state is as it were respondent to the psalm, “let their table be made a snare.”make good the body of a prisoner. And, if any Which certainly is most true of impoisonment; thing happen to him there, it may, though not in for the table, the daily bread, for which we pray, this case, yet in some others, make an aspersion is turned to a deadly snare: but, I think rather, and reflection upon the state itself. For the perthat that was meant of the treachery of friends son is utterly out of his own defence; his own that were participant of the same table.
care and providence can serve him nothing. He But let us go on.
It is an offence, my lords, is in custody and preservation of law; and we that hath the two spurs of offending ; “spes have a maxim in our law, as my lords the judges perficiendi,” and “spes celandi:" it is easily know, that when a state is in preservation of law, committed, and easily concealed.
nothing can destroy it, or hurt it. And God It is an offence that is " tanquam sagitta nocte forbid but the like should be for the persons of volans;” it is the arrow that flies by night. It those that are in custody of law; and therefore discerns not whom it hits: for many times the this was a circumstance of great aggravation. poison is laid for one, and the other takes it; as Lastly, to have a man chased to death in such in Sanders's case, where the poisoned apple was manner, as it appears now by matter of record ;. for other privacy of the cause I know not, by think, I may truly affirm, that there was never in poison after poison; first roseaker, then arsenic, this kingdom, nor in any other kingdom, the then mercury sublimate, then sublimate again; it blood of a private gentleman vindicated cum is a thing would astonish man's nature to hear it. tanto motu regni,” or, to say better, “cum tanto The poets feign, that the Furies had whips, that plausu regni.” If it had concerned the king or they were corded with poisonous snakes; and a prince, there could not have been greater nor man would think that this were the very case, to better commissioners to examine it. The term have a man tied to a post, and to scourge him to hath been almost turned into a “justitium," or death with snakes ; for so may truly be termed vacancy; the people themselves being more diversity of poisons.
willing to be lookers on in this business, than to Now I will come to that which is the principal; follow their own. There hath been no care of that is, his majesty's princely, yea, and, as I may discovery omitted, no moment of time lost. And, truly term it, sacred proceeding in this cause. therefore, I will conclude this part with the saying Wherein I will speak of the temper of his justice, of Solomon, “Gloria Dei celare rem, et gloria and then of the strength thereof.
regis scrutari rem." And his majesty's honour is First, it pleased my lord chief justice to let me much the greater for that he hath showed to the know, that which I heard with great comfort, world in this business, as it hath relation to my which was the charge that his majesty gave to Lord of Somerset, whose case in no sort I do prehimself first, and afterwards to the commissioners judge, being ignorant of the secrets of the cause, in this case, worthy certainly to be written in but taking him as the law takes him hitherto, for letters of gold, wherein his majesty did forerank a subject, I say, the king hath to his great honour and make it his prime direction, that it should be showed, that were any man, in such a case of carried, without touch to any that was innocent; blood, as the signet upon his right hand, as the nay, more, not only without impeachment, but Scripture says, yet would he put him off. without aspersion : which was a most noble and Now will I come to the particular charge of princely caution from his majesty ; for men's re- these gentlemen, whose qualities and persons I putations are tender things, and ought to be, like respect and love; for they are all my particular Christ's coat, without seam. And it was the friends: but now I can only do this duty of a more to be respected in this case, because it met friend to them, to make them know their fault to with two great persons; a nobleman that his the full. majesty had favoured and advanced, and his lady, And, therefore, first, I will by way of narrative being of a great and honourable house: though I declare to your lordships the fact, with the occathink it be true that the writers say, That there is sion of it; then you shall have their confessions no pomegranate so fair or so sound, but may read, upon which you are to proceed, together have a perished kernel. Nay, I see plainly, that with some collateral testimonies by way of in those excellent papers of his majesty's own aggravation: and, lastly, I will note and observe handwriting, being as so many beams of justice to your lordships the material points which I do issuing from that virtue which doth shine in him; insist upon for their charge, and so leave them to I say, I see it was so evenly carried, without pre- their answer: and this I will do very briefly, for judice, whether it were a true accusation of the the case is not perplexed. one part, or a practice of a false accusation on the That wretched man, Weston, who was the actor other, as showed plainly that his majesty's judg- or mechanical party in this impoisonment, at the ment was “ tanquam tabula rasa, as a elean pair first day being indicted by a very substantial jury of tables, and his ear “ tanquam janua aperta," as of selected citizens, to the number of nineteen, a gate not side open, but wide open to truth, as it who found " billa vera,” yet, nevertheless, at the should be by little and little discovered. Nay, I first stood mute: but after some days' intermissee plainly, that, at the first, till farther light did sion, it pleased God to cast out the dumb devil, break forth, his majesty was little moved with the and that he did put himself upon his trial; and first tale, which he vouchsafeth not so much as was, by a jury also of great value, upon his conthe name of a tale; but calleth it a rumour, which fession, and other testimonies, found guilty: so is a heedless tale.
as thirty-one sufficient jurors have passed upon As for the strength or resolution of his majesty's him. Whereupon judgment and execution was justice, I must tell your lordships plainly; I do awarded against him. After this, being in prenot marvel to see kings thunder out justice in paration for another world, he sent for Sir John cases of treason, when they are touched them- Overbury's father, and falling down upon his selves; and that they are “ vindices doloris knees, with great remorse and compunction, asked proprii:" but that king should, “ pro amore him forgiveness. Afterwards, again, of his own justitiæ” only, contrary to the tide of his own motion, desired to have his like prayer of forgiveaffection, for the preservation of his people, take ness recommended to his mother, who was absuch care of a cause of justice, that is rare and sent. And at both times, out of the abundance of worthy to be celebrated far and near. For, I his heart, confessed that he was to die justly, and
that he was worthy of death. And after, again, at ships, that this infusion of a slander into a king's his execution, which is a kind of sealing-time of ear, is of all forms of libels and slanders the worst. confessions, even at the point of death, although It is true, that kings may keep secret their informthere were tempters about him, as you shall hear ations, and then no man ought to inquire after by-and-by, yet he did again confirm publicly, them, while they are shrined in their breast. But that his examinations were true, and that he had where a king is pleased that a man shall answer been justly and honourably dealt with. Here is for his false information; there, I say, the false the narrative, which induceth the charge. The information to a king exceeds in offence the false charge itself is this.
information of any other kind; being a kind, Mr. L., whose offence stands alone single, the since we are in a matter of poison, of impoisonoffence of the other two being in consort; and ment of a king's ear. And thus much for the yet all three meeting in their end and centre, offence of M. L. which was to interrupt or deface this excellent For the offence of S. W. and H. I., which I piece of justice ; Mr. L., I say, meanwhile be-said was in consort, it was shortly this. At the tween Weston's standing mute and his trial, time and place of the execution of Weston, to takes upon him to make a most false, odious, and supplant his Christian resolution, and to scandal. libellous relation, containing as many untruths as ize the justice already past, and perhaps to cut lines, and sets it down in writing with his own off the thread of that which is to come, these hand, and delivers it to Mr. Henry Gibb, of the gentlemen, with others, came mounted on horsebed-chamber, to be put into the king's hand; in back, and in a ruffling and facing manner put which writing he doth falsify and pervert all that themselves forward to re-examine Weston upon was done the first day at the arraignment of questions: and what questions? Directly cross Weston; turning the pike and point of his impu- to that that had been tried and judged. For what tations principally upon my Lord Chief Justice of was the point tried ? That Weston had poisoned England; whose name, thus occurring, I cannot Overbury. What was S. W.'s question? Whepass by, and yet I cannot skill to flatter. But ther Weston did poison Overbury or no? A conthis I will say of him, and I would say as much tradictory directly : Weston answered only, that to ages, if I should write a story; that never man's he did him wrong; and turning to the sheriff, person and his place were better met in a business, said, You promised me I should not be troubled than my Lord Coke and my lord chief justice, in at this time. Nevertheless, he pressed him to the cause of Overbury.
answer; saying he desired to know it, that he Now, my lords, in this offence of M. L., for might pray with him. I know not that S. W.is the particulars of these slanderous articles, I will an ecclesiastic, that he should cut any man from observe them unto you when the writings and the communion of prayer. And yet for all this examinations are read; for I do not love to set the vexing of the spirit of a poor man, now in the gloss before the text. But, in general, I note to gates of death; Weston, nevertheless, stood conyour lordships, first, the person of M. L. I know stant, and said, I die not unworthily; my lord he is a Scotch gentleman, and thereby more igno- chief justice hath my mind under my hand, and rant of our laws and forms: but I cannot tell he is an honourable and just judge. This is S. whether this doth extenuate his fault in respect W. his offence. of ignorance, or aggravate it much, in respect of For H. I., he was not so much a questionist; presumption; that he would meddle in that that but wrought upon the other's questions, and, like he understood not: but I doubt it came not out a kind of confessor, wished him to discharge his of his quiver: some other man's cunning wrought conscience, and to satisfy the world. What upon this man's boldness. Secondly, I may note world ? I marvel! it was sure the world at Tyunto you the greatness of the cause, wherein he, burn. For the world at Guildhall, and the world being a private mean gentleman, did presume to at London, was satisfied before; " teste” the bells deal. M. L. could not but know to what great that rung. But men have got a fashion now-aand grave commissioners the king had committed days, that two or three busy-bodies will take upon this cause; and that his majesty in his wisdom them the name of the world, and broach their would expect return of all things from them to own conceits, as if it were a general opinion. whose trust he had committed this business. For it Well, what more? When they could not work is the part of commissioners, as well to report the upon Weston, then H. I. in an indignation turnbusiness, as to manage the business; and then his ed about his horse, when the other was turning majesty might have been sure to have had all things over the ladder, and said, he was sorry for such well weighed, and truly informed : and, therefore, a conclusion; that was, to have the state ho. it should have been far from M. L. to have pre- noured or justified; but others took and reported sumed to have put forth his hand to so high and his words in another degree: but that I leave, tender a business, which was not to be touched but seeing it is not confessed. by employed hands. Thirdly, I note to your lord-/ H. I., his offence had another appendix, before
this in time; which was, that at the day of the The questions that are to be asked ought to verdict given up by the jury, he also would needs tend to farther revealing of their own or others give his verdict, saying openly, that if he were guiltiness; but to use a question in the nature of of the jury, he would doubt what to do. Marry, a false interrogatory, to falsify that which is "res he saith, he cannot tell well whether he spake judicata," is intolerable. For that were to erect this before the jury had given up the verdict, or a court of commission of review at Tyburn, after; wherein there is little gained. For whe-against the King's Bench at Westminster. And, ther H. I. were a pre-juror or a post-juror, the one besides, it is a thing vain and idle: for if they was to prejudge the jury, the other as to taint them. answer according to the judgment past, it adds
Of the offence of these two gentlemen in gene- no credit; or if it be contrary, it derogateth noral, your lordships must give me leave to say, thing: but yet it subjecteth the majesty of justice that it is an offence greater and more dangerous to popular and vulgar talk and opinion. than is conceived. I know well that, as we have My lords, these are great and dangerous ofno Spanish inquisitions, nor justice in a corner; fences; for if we do not maintain justice, justice so we have no gagging of men's mouths at their will not maintain us. death: but that they may speak freely at the last But now your lordships shall hear the exami. hour; but then it must come from the free motion nations themselves, upez which I shall have ocof the party, not by temptation of questions. casion to note some particular things, &c.
A CHARGE DELIVERED
BY SIR FRANCIS BACON, KNIGHT,
THE KING'S SOLICITOR-GENERAL,
ARRAIGNMENT OF THE LORD SANQUHAR,
IN THE KING'S BENCH AT WESTMINSTER.
The Lord Sanquhar, a Scotch nobleman, having, in private revenge, suborned Robert Carlile to murder John Turner, master of fence, thought, by his greatness, to have borne it out; but the king, respecting nothing so much as justice, would not suffer nobility to be a shelter for villany; but, according to law, on the 29th of June, 1612, the said Lord Sanquhar, having been arraigned and condemned, by the name of Robert Creighton, Esq., was, before Westminster-hall Gate, executed, where he died very penitent. Al whose arraignment my Lord Bacon, then solicitor-general to King James, made this speech following:
In this cause of life and death, the jury's part | agree, in some sort extenuates it; for certainly, is in effect discharged; for after a frank and formal as even in extreme evils there are degrees; so confession, their labour is at an end: so that this particular of your offence is such as, though what hath been said by Mr. Attorney, or shall it be foul spilling of blood, yet there are more be said by myself, is rather convenient than ne- foul : for if you had sought to take away a man's cessary.
life for his vineyard, as Ahab did; or for envy, My Lord Sanquhar, your fault is great, and as Cain did; or to possess his bed, as David did; cannot be extenuated, and it need not be aggra- surely the murder had been more odious. vated; and if it needed, you have made so full Your temptation was revenge, which the more an anatomy of it out of your own feeling, as it natural it is to man, the more have laws both dicannot be matched by myself, or any man else, vine and human sought to repress it; “ Mihi vinout of conceit; so as that part of aggravation I dicta.” But in one thing you and I shall never leave. Nay, more, this Christian and penitent agree, that generous spirits, you say, are hard to course of yours draws me thus far, that I will forgive: no, contrariwise, generous and magnanimous minds are readiest to forgive; and it is a day's justice, had not God in his providence weakness and impotency of mind to be unable to removed them. forgive;
But, now that I have given God the honour, let
me give it likewise where it is next due, which “Corpora magnanimo satis est prostrasse leoni." is to the king our so
This murder was no sooner committed, and But, howsoever, murders may arise from seve- brought to his majesty's ears, but his just indig. ral motives, less or more odious, yet the law both nation, wherewith he first was moved, cast itself of God and man involves them in one degree, into a great deal of care and providence to have and, therefore, you may read that in Joab's case, justice done. First came forth his proclamation, which was a murder upon revenge, and matcheth somewhat of a rare form, and devised, and in with your case; he, for a dear brother, and you effect dictated by his majesty himself; and by for a dear part of your own body; yet there was that he did prosecute the offenders, as it were a severe charge given, it should not be unpu- with the breath and blast of bis mouth. Then did nished.
his majesty stretch forth his long arms, for kings And certainly the circumstance of time is heavy have long arms when they will extend them, one upon you: it is now five years since this unfor- of them to the sea, where he took hold of Grey tunate man Turner, be it upon accident, or be it shipped for Sweden, who gave the first light of upon despite, gave the provocation, which was testimony; the other arm to Scotland, and took the seed of your malice. All passions are suaged hold of Carlile, ere he was warm in his house, with time: love, hatred, grief; all fire itself burns and brought him the length of his kingdom under out with time, if no new fuel be put to it. There- such safe watch and custody, as he could have fore, for you to have been in the gall of bitterness no means to escape, no, nor to mischief himself, so long, and to have been in a restless chase of no, nor learn any lessons to stand mute; in which this blood so many years, is a strange example; cases, perhaps, this day's justice might have and I must tell you plainly, that I conceive you received a stop. So that I may conclude his mahave sucked those affections of dwelling in ma- jesty hath showed himself God's true lieutenant, lice, rather out of Italy and outlandish manners, and that he is no respecter of persons; but the where you have conversed, than out of any part English, Scottish, nobleman, fencer, are to him of this island, England or Scotland.
alike in respect of justice. But that which is fittest for me to spend time Nay, I must say farther, that his majesty hath in, the matter being confessed, is to set forth and had, in this, a kind of prophetical spirit; for what magnify to the hearers, the justice of this day ; time Carlile and Grey, and you, my lord, yourfirst of God, and then of the king.
self, were fled no man knew whither, to the four My lord, you have friends and entertainments winds, the king ever spake in a confident and in foreign parts; it had been an easy thing for undertaking manner, that wheresoever the offendyou to set Carlile, or some other bloodhound oners were in Europe, he would produce them forth work, when your person had been beyond the to justice; of which noble word God hath made seas; and so this news might have come to you him master. in a packet, and you might have looked on how Lastly, I will conclude towards you, my lord, the storm would pass: but God bereaved you of that though your offence hath been great, yet, this foresight, and closed you here under the your confession hath been free, and your behahand of a king that, though abundant in clemency, viour and speech full of discretion; and this yet is no less zealous of justice.
shows, that though you could not resist the Again, when you came in at Lambeth, you tempter, yet you bear a Christian and generous might have persisted in the denial of the procure- mind, answerable to the noble family of which ment of the fact; Carlile, a resolute man, might you are descended. This I commend unto you, perhaps have cleared you, for they that are reso- and to take it to be an assured token of God's lute in mischief, are commonly obstinate in con- mercy and favour, in respect whereof all worldly cealing the procurers, and so nothing should have things are but trash; and so it is fit for you, as been against you but presumption. But then your state now is, to account them. And this is also, God, to take away all obstruction of justice, all I will say for the present. gave you the grace, which ought indeed to be more true comfort to you, than any device where- [Note, The reader, for his fuller information in by you might have escaped, to make a clear and
this story of the Lord Sanquhar, is desired to plain confession.
peruse the case in the ninth book of the Lord Other impediments there were, not a few, Coke's Reports; at the end of which the whole which might have been an interruption to this series of the murder and trial is exactly related.]