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State Trials.







INCE 'tis observable that the best and bravest of mankind are far from being exempted from Criminal Prosecutions, and that potent malice, or prevailing faction, have too often attempted the most consummate merit; that Learning which shews how life, honour, and innocence are to be defended, when they shall happen to be injuriously attack'd, will not, 'tis presum'd, be thought inferior to that, which instructs us how to defend our less important rights.—And as the Common Law is nothing else but immemorial Custom, and the custoin and methods of Trial, and bringing offenders to Punishment, is no inconsiderable branch of that law; and since these, as other Customs, are only to be collected from former Precedents, 'tis something strange, that amongst the numerous Authors of Reports and Institutes, not one has hitherto thought fit to make any considerable Collection of this kind, or thorowly to methodize or digest this sort of Learning: nor can any probable reason be assign'd for this neglect, unless they have been deterr'd by the vast trouble and expence it must have been to any private undertaker.-As to the Crown Law already extant, 'tis so far from being a compleat Direction, even in the most ordinary Trials, that it affords little more than some imperfect Hints of what the Authors intended. And as to the Doctrine of Impeachments, Trials of Peers by Commission, or in Parliament, Bills of Attainder, and the Customs and Usage of Parliaments, in relation to these Matters: this is a Learning that remains entirely untouch'd, and is only to be collected from Precedents of this nature.

The Undertakers of this Work therefore have spar'd no pains or expence to procure whatever is valuable of this kind: they have had recourse to every library public and private, where they had intimation there was any thing worth inserting; and they have for some time since offer'd large encouragement to those who should contribute either Manuscripts or printed Trials, towards rendering the Design compleat. And having at length finish'd their Collection, they have added a Table to the whole, wherein all the various Learning the Work contains is reduc'd under proper Heads. And that which before lay dispers'd in many Volumes, very difficult to be obtain'd, and several valuable Manuscripts that have been perfectly buried in private hands, are here brought to light; and so dispos'd, that the studious Reader may make himself master of the subject, with much less labour and expence than has hitherto been requisite.

And as to the Manuscripts, such care has been taken to avoid all mistakes, that the Judges and Counsel, who were concern'd in such Trials, and are still living, have been attended with their respective Arguments, and have been pleased so far to encourage the Undertaking, as to correct whatever was amiss.

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Nor are the Publishers conscious they have omitted one remarkable Trial that could possibly be obtain'd, unless that of Mr. Hampden in the Case of Ship-Money, and that of my lord Strafford; both which being to be found in Mr. Rushworth, are already in the hands of most gentlemen, who are suppos'd to purchase these and the inserting them could be of no other use than to increase the bulk, and enhance the price of the Book. There is indeed another Account of my lord Strafford's Trial, which differs in some instances from Mr. Rushworth's, and is more concise; and this it has been thought proper to insert.

And as the Union of the two kingdoms of England and Scotland is so near compleated, and there remains little else to distinguish us at present but the municipal laws of the respective kingdoms, it has been thought advisable to add some remarkable Scots Trials in which (to do that nation right) are discovered great learning, eloquence, and strong reasoning. And indeed as the Civil Law prevails very much there, they have at least as large a field to exercise their parts and learning as our more Southern orators, who are so unalterably attach'd to their Common Law; and it must be admitted, that the Party accus'd has in Scotland all the fair play imaginable he has what Counsel he thinks fit; he has a Copy of his Charge in his own language his Counsel are permitted to inspect the very Depositions against him before he is brought to Trial; and they are so little in haste to dispatch a State-Prisoner, that the Trial often lasts some months. This specimen of Scots Trials, as it will at present be acceptable to the curious; so as we have one Senate, and one Legislature, it may hereafter give birth to the introducing such Methods of Trial in each kingdom, as in either shall appear to be founded on the greatest reason and justice.

As to any Partiality in this Undertaking, it seems almost needless to disclaim it; for the Reader has the Evidence and Arguments entire, without any alteration or diminution. It is true, as it falls out in History, so it will do here: the farther we search into Antiquity, and the higher we go, the less perfect will our Accounts be; the same exactness cannot be expected there as in Trials of a more modern date: but thus much may be said for the more antient Trials, that they are the most perfect and compleat that could possibly be procur'd.-We shall detain the Reader no longer than to observe, that this Collection will not only be useful to the Learned in the Law, and to those whose misfortune it may be to fall under a criminal Prosecution, but in many instances it corrects as well as illustrates our English History and there is scarce a controverted point in Divinity or Politics, but the Reader will find has been fully debated here by the greatest men our nation has bred. And if Justness of Argument and true Eloquence have any attraction, and these are talents worth improving, here will be found the greatest collection of fine Speeches, and Arguments, on the most important subjects, that have hitherto been exhibited to the world.





THE Collection of STATE TRIALS in four Volumes in Folio, being a Work very useful and necessary, to make it more complete, it was thought fitting (at the desire of several persons of eminency and distinction in the law) to add to it the remarkable Trial of Mr. Hampden, in the Great Case of Ship-Money (between his majesty king Charles I. and that gentleman). For that reason therefore we caused it to be printed of the same size, and on the same paper: tho' it would have been inserted in the Collection, could the Proprietors of this Copy have been prevailed upon to have parted with their property to the Undertakers, on their terms, which were very unreasonable. It is true, there are some of the Speeches in Rushworth, (a Book very scarce, and in few hands) but then their number is very small, and without the Records and other material Process herein contained, which are carefully printed from such authentic Manuscripts, that envy itself cannot detract from their intrinsic worth and value and those who would vainly endeavour to impose on mankind, That this Trial is in Rushworth, not only discover their ignorance, but shew themselves guilty of most scandalous and invidious reflections.

We shall therefore say nothing of the excellency of this Work, which is so useful for all English gentlemen in general, as well as for those of the Long Robe in particular; those who will take the pains to peruse it, will be convinced of this truth. The Twelve Judges, before whom this Case was argued in the Exchequer-Chamber, and the Council on both sides unanimously agreed, that no Case like this ever was argued in any Court of Judicature; they all declared it to be a matter of the highest concern and importance, and there was such a multitude of Cases, Precedents, and Records (above three hundred) quoted on both sides, and so many excellent Arguments made, of the greatest Learning, that the whole would seem almost incredible, but to those who will read them with attention.

How this Great Case went is well known to every one who has the least acquaintance with History; the Times were then troublesome, and some people took hence occasion to blow up the coals of dissension, which at last broke out into that dreadful conflagration, as ended in the destruction of an Unfortunate Monarch, and compleated the ruin of the best Constitution in the world. All the Judges (long before this Case was argued in the Exchequer-Chamber) gave their opinions in writing under their hands for the King; but whether, in this Affair, those sages in the law acted like Faithful Counsellors, must be left to the learned in that profession to determine. Every man will think as he is inclined; however, most certainly, it is of the greatest concernment and importance, for a Prince to have about him Faithful Counsellors; for after all, let them be never so wise, good, and just, it is an undoubted truth, that Princes see with others eyes, and hear with others ears.

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