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The Oxford Magazine;
For O C T O B E R, 1768.
The Behaviour of Judge J E F F E R I E S, at the Trial of the Reverend Richard Baxter, in the Court of Kings Bench.
THE revival of the name of judge JefFeries, among political writers, seems to carry with it some degree of ignorance, as'well as malice. That there can be no grounds for the insinuation that any judge upon the bench resembles him at present, will appear from considering his behaviour at the trial of the famous Richard Baxter, a non-conformist minister, in the court of king's bench.
In the beginning of the year 1685, Mr. Baxter was committed to the Jung's bench prison, by a warrant from the lord chief justice Jefferies, for his Paraphrase on the New Testament, and tried on the 18th of May, in the same year, in the court of king's bench. As his trial was a -very remarkable one, it is submitted to the notice of the public.
On the 6th of May, being the first day of Easter term, 1685, Mr. Baxter appeared in the court of king's bench, and Mr. Attorney declared he would fie an information against him. On the 14th,, the defendant pleaded Not guilty; and on the 18th, Mr. Baxter being much indisposed, and desiring farther time than to the 30th, which was the day appointed for the trial, he moved, by. his counsel, that it might be put off; on which occasion the chief justice answered angrily, Vol. I,
"I will not give him a minute's time more to save his life."—" We have had, fays he, to do with other forts 'of persons, but now we have a. faint to deal with; and I know how to deal with saints as well as sinners.—* Yonder stands Oats in the pillory, and he fays he suffers for the truths and so does Baxter. But did Baxter but stand on the other side of the pillory with him, I would fay two of the greatest rogues and rascals in the kingdom stood there." *
On the 30th of May, in the afternoon, Baxter was hrought to his trial before the lord chief justice at Guild*'' hall. Sir Henry Astihurst stood by him. Mr. Baxter came first into court, and waited for the lord chief justice, with all the marks of serenity and composure;' and his lordship made his appearance soon after with great indignation in his countenance; As soon as his lordship was seated, a short cause was called and tried j after which, the clerk beginning to read the title of another, "You blockhead, you, fays Jefferies, the next cause is between Richard Baxter and the king." Upon this, Baxter's, cause was called. The passages, mentioned in the information, were his Paraphrase on Matthew v. 19.— Mark ix. 39.—xi. 31.—xii. 38, 39, R 40.
116 The Behaviour of Judge fejseries at the Trial of Richard Banter.
40.—Luke x. 2.—John xi. 57.—and that the passages accused are natural Acts xv. 2. These passages were fe- deductions from the text."—" You lected by Sir Roge. L'Estrange, and humbly conceive" interrupted the some of his party. And a certain judge, " and I humbly conceive*— noted clergyman furniihed his ene- swear him, swear him.'"—" My lord, mies with some accusations found in answered Mr. Wallop, under favour, his Paraphrase on Romans xiii, &c. I am counsel for the defendant; and, as threatening the king's life; but if I understand either Latin or English t so use was made of them. The main the information now brought against charge was, that, in these passages, Mr. Baxter, upon such ^flight ground, lie reflected on the prelates of the church is a greater reflection upon the church us England, and so was guilty oisedi- of England, than any thing contained tion, Sec. The king's counsel opened in the book he is accused for."— To the informatiom at large, with its this his lordfliip replied, " Someaggravations. Messrs. Wallop, Wil- times you humbly conceive, andsomeliams, Rotherhatn, Atwood, and times you are very positive. You talk Phipps, were Counsel for Mr. Baxter, of your skill in church history, and of and were retained by Sir H. Astlhurst. your understanding Latin and English. Mr. Wallop said, " That he con- I think / understand something of ceived the matter depending, being them, as well as you; but, in short, a point of doctrine, it ought to be must tell you, that if you do not unreferred to the bijhop, or his ordinary} derstandyour duty better, I mall teach but if not, he humbly conceived the it you."—Upon this Mr. Wallop fat doctrine was innocent and justifiable, down.—Mr.Rotheram argued, " thai setting aside the inuendoes, for which if Mr. Baxter's book had sharp refiecthere was no colour, there being no tions upon the church of Rome by antecedent to refer them to" (i.e. no name, but.spoke evil of the prelates bishop or clergy of the church of of the church of England, it was to England named.) He added, " that be presumed, that the sharp reflections' the book accused, contained many were intended only against the preeternal truths; but they, ■who drew lates of the church of Rome."—^The the information, were the libellers, in lord chief justice replied, M That applying to the prelates of the church Baxter was an enemy to the name and. of England, those severe things, thing, the cflice and person of the which were written concerning some bilhops."—Rotherham added, " that prelates, who deserved the characters Baxter frequently attended divine fers which he gave them." "My lord," vice, went to the sacrament, and peradded he, " I humbly conceive, the shaded others to do so too, as was cerbijhops Mr. Baxter speaks of* as your tainly and publicly known, and had> lordship, if you have read church his- in the very book so charged, spoken tory, must confess, were the plagues very moderately and honourably of the of the church, and of the world."— bistiops of the church of England." Mr. Wallop, replied his lordfliip, Mr. Baxter added, " My lord, I "I observe you are in all these dirty have been so moderate with respect to causes; and were it not for you Gen- the church of England, that I have tlemen of the long robe, who should incurred the censure of many of the have more unit and honesty, than to Dissenters upon that account."— support and hold up these factious "Baxter for bi/hops! says Jefferies-, knaves by the chin, we should not be at that's a merry conceit indeed! Turn the pass we are."—" My lord," added to it! Turn to it!"—Upon this, RoMr. Wallop, "I humbly conceive, theram turned to a place, where it is TheJPeiav/eitr of Judge Jejstries at the Trial of Richard Baxter. 127
4ud, " That great respefi is due to those truly called bijhops among us." * Aye, said Jefferies, this is your Presbyterian cant—truly called to be bishops; that is himself, and such raffah, called to be bijhops of Kidderminster, and other such places. Bistiopt set apart by such factious, sniveling Presbyterians as himself. A Kidderminster bistiop he means; according to the saying of a late learned author,—and every parish mail maintain,— a tithe^pig metropolitan" — Mr. Baxter beginning to speak again, Jefferies fays to him, " Richard! Richard! dost thou think we will hear thee poison the court? &c. Richard! thou art an old fellow, an old knave. Thou hast written books enough to had a cart, every one as full of sedition (I might fay treason) as an egg is full of meat. Hadst thou been whipped out of thy nuriting trade forty years ago, it had been happy. Thou pretendelt to be a preacher of the Gospel of Peace, and thou hast one foot in the grave: 'tis time for thee to begin to think what account thou intendeit to give. But leave thee to thyself, and, I fee, thou'lt go on as thou hast begun: but, by the grace ©f God, I will look after thee, I fee a great many of the brotherhood, in corners, waiting to fee what will become of their mighty don, and a doctor of the party [Dr. Bates] at your elbow j but, by the grace of almighty God, I will crush you all."—Mr. Rotherham sitting down, Mr; Atwood endeavoured to shew, "that not one of the passages, mentioned in the information, ought to be strained to that sense, which was put upon them by the ittueudoes, they being more natural when taken in a milder sense; nor could any of them be applied to the prelates of the church of England, without a very forced construction." To evidence this, he would read some of the text; but Jefferies cried out, "sou shall
not draw me into a conventicle with your annotations, nor your jniveling parson neither.'' "My iord, rejoins Atwood, I conceive this to be expressly within Roswell's cafe, lately before your "lordship." "You conceive, says Jefferies, you conceive Amiss : it is not." "My lord,'* replied Atwood, ** thatlmay use the best authority, permit me to repeat your lordship's ovm words in that case." "No, you /hall not, answered his lordship. • You need not speak, for you are an author already; tho' you speak and write impertinently." Says Atwood, " I cannot help that, my lord, if my talent be no better; but it is my dijry to do my best for my client." After this, Jefferies proceeded to expose what Atwood had published; and Atwood, on the other hand, insisted, " that it was in defence of the English constitution; adding, that he never disowned any thing that he had written." Jefferies commanded him to sit down several times, but he still continued speaking. "My lord, said he, I have matter of law to offer my client ;'* and he proceeded to cite severaf cases, wherein it had been adjudged, "that -words ought to be taken in the MILDER fense, and not to be strained by inuendoes." ** Well," fays Jefferies, when Atwood had done speaking, " You have had your fay"— Mr. Williams and Mr, Phipps said nothing; for they saw it would be to no purpose. At last Mr. Baxter himself addressed his lordship to this effect: "My lord, I think I can clearly answer all that is laid to my charge; and I shall do it briefly. The sum is contained in these few papers; to which I shall add a little by testimony." But the judge would not hear him. After some time, the chief justice summed up the whole, in a long, and, some say, fulsome harangue, to this purport and tenor, ** 'Tis notoriously known, there has R 2 1 been