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proved, that the noble institution of Juries is the grand palladium of our liberties ; a trial, which for the good it has done to posterity ought to be engraved on tablets of the most durable marble; for it was one of those events, which in conjunction with others of a similar sort, by showing the inadequacy of punishment for religion to its supposed end, not only corrected and improved the notions of succeeding ages in this respect, but by soon doing lessened the ravages of persecution, and the enmity between man and man. Nor ought posterity to be less grateful for it as a monument of the ferocity and corrupt usages of former times ; for, contrasting these with the notions and customs of our own age, we behold that which we oughé to contemplate, of all other things, with the greatest gracitude and delight, namely, the improvement of our social and moral being. In those times of bigotry the world seemed to be little better than a state of warfare between man and man; a state of warfare between man and his government, and this merely because the one differed from the other in those matters, of which God only was the proper and lawful judge. But now happily the case is altered. We behold
indeed the fabric of the tower yet remaining. We see Newgate with its renovated walls upon the same spot. But we know these no longer as the receptacles of innocent individuals suffering for conscience sake. We have our courts of law remaining; but we see an order, a decorum, and an improvement in the administration of justice unknown at the period of this memorable trial. Nor will the prospect be less grateful, if we quit the present for a moment and direct our eyes to the future. We have the best reason to hope, on contemplating the signs of the times *, that the day is rapidly approaching, when the Christian religion, which is capable of cementing men in the strongest possible union and for the noblest purposes, will be no longer the cause either of unnecessary division or of unmerited suffering. William Penn and William Mead, though acquitted by the Jury, continued in Newgate. * I allude to the voluntary repeal on the part of Government, last year, of this very Conventicle Act, and of the Five Miles Act; also to an extension of privilege to Dissenters; and particularly to those most noble institutions “ The British and Foreign Auxiliary BibleSocieties,” the business of which is conducted by an equal number of Churchmen and Dissenters acting harmoni
ously together. WOL. I. G They
They could not conscientiously pay the fines which had been imposed upon them; and until these were paid they could not obtain their discharge. The Admiral being informed of this, and being particularly anxious to see his son, sent the money privately, and thus procured the liberation of both of them. As to the poor Jurymen, who had been fined at the same time, I can no where learn what became of them, or how long they were allowed to languish in their prison.
The Admiral had been now long ill, and for some time confined to his chamber. His constitution in consequence of hard service, change of climate, and anxiety of mind, though he was not then fifty years of age, had begun to break, and this so rapidly as to create in him an expectation of his approaching end. He wanted therefore the conversation, kind offices, and consolation of his son. He had now a great regard for him. He 'had always indeed set a due value on the goodness of his heart, and on his exemplary moral conduct, though he had differed from him on the score of religion; but when he saw a person of such qualities and character seized, imprisoned, and pu.
nished, nished, he considered his treatment in no other light than that of oppression, and therefore clave to him more than ever. Besides, having no hope of his own recovery, he wished to confer with himn as to the settlement of his family affairs.
The more he saw of his son during his confinement, the more he esteemed him ; and the worse he grew in body, the more he became interested about his temporal wel. fare. He was sensible, while his religious turn and resolution, and while the existing laws of the country remained, that he would have many trials and much suffering to undergo. Impressed with this notion, he sent one of his friends to the Duke of York to desire of him, as a death-bed request, that he would endeavour to protect his son as far as he consistently could, and to ask the King to do the same, in cases of future persecution. The answer was gratifying, both of them promising their services on a fit occasion.
After this he grew worse. At a time of serious reflection, and not long before his death, he spoke thus: “Son William, I am weary of the world! I would not live over my days again, if I could command them
with a wish; for the snares of life are greater than the fears of death. This troubles me, that I have offended a gracious God. The thought of this has followed me to this day. Oh, have a care of sin ! It is that which is the sting both of life and death. Three things I commend to you. First, let nothing in this world tempt you to wrong your conscience. I charge you, do nothing against your conscience; so will you keep peace at home, which will be a feast to you in a day of trouble. Secondly, whatever you design to do, lay it justly, and time it seasonably; for that gives security and dispatch. Thirdly, be not troubled at disappointments; for if they may be recovered, do it: if they cannot, trouble is then vain. If you could not have helped it, be content; there is often peace and profit in submitting to Providence ; for afflictions make wise. If you could have helped it, let not your trouble exceed instruction for another time. These rules will carry you with firmness and comfort through this inconstant world.”
At another time he addressed his son in terms of complaint against the great profaneness and impiety of the age. He lamented