Page images

moment that is put out, ok all the light gave

er all us past, he death. "The

The late celebrated king of Prussia, intending to make, in the night, an important movement in his camp, which was in sight of the enemy, gave orders ihat by eight o'clock all the lights in the camp should be put out, on pain of death. The moment that the time was past, he walked out himself to see whether all were dark. He found a light in the tent of a captain Zietern, which he entered just as the officer was folding up a letter. Zietern knew him, and instantly fell on his knees to entreat his mercy. The king asked to whom he had been writing: he said it was a letter to his wife, which he had retained the candle these few

minutes beyond the time in order to finish. The I king cooly ordered him to rise, and write one line

more which he should dictate. This line was, to inform his wife, without any explanation, that by such an hour the next day he should be a dead man. The letter was then sealed and dispatched as it had been intended, and the next day the cap. tain was executed.

The cruel Parent. The honourable commodore Byron was an eye witness to the following shocking scene of brutal rage on the coasts of Patagonia. I shall present the reader with it in his own words. Here I must relate a little anecdote of our Christian cacique. He and his wife had gone off at some distance from the shore, in their canoe, when she dived for sea eggs; but not meeting with great success, they returned a good deal out of humour. A little boy of their's, about three years old, whom they appeared to be doingly fond of, watching for his father and mother's return, ran

into the surf to meet them. The father handed a basket of sea eggs to the child, which being too heavy for him to carry, he let it fall; upon which the father jumped out of the canoe, and, catch. ing the boy up in his arms, dashed him with the utmost violence against the stones! The poor little creature lay motionless and bleeding, and in that condition was taken up by the mother, but died soon after. She appeared inconsolable for some time, but the brute his father shewed little concern about it..

But we need not search the records of other countries for anecdotes of cruelty. Alas! Eng. land has been guilty in too many instances; we will only however select one : Alexander Leighton, a doctor of divinity, by desire of some of his friends, had written and published a book, entitled “ Zion's Plea against Prelacy.” It contained some warm, imprudent invectives against the prelates, and the conduct of those in power. Soon after the publication of the work, without an in. formation upon oath, or legal proof who was the author, Leighton, as he was coming from church, was arrested by two high commissioned pursuivants: they dragged him to the house of Laud, where he was kept till seven in the evening with out food. Laud returning at this time, in great pomp and state, with Corbet Bishop of Oxford, he demanded to be heard. The haughty Liud did not deign to see him, but sent him to Newgate: he was clapped into irons, and confined in an uninhabitable apartment; where, notwithstanding the weather was cold, and the snow and rain beat in, there was no convenient place to make a fire. From Tuesday night to Thursday noon he was unsupplied with food, and in this wretched dwelling was kept fifteen weeks, with. out any friend, not even his wife, being suffered to come near him. His own house, was, in the mean time, rifled by the officers of the high com. missioned court, his wife and children treated by these ruffians with great barbarity, himself denied a copy of the commitment, and the Sheriffs of London refused to bail him at his wife's petition. At the end of fifteen weeks he was served with a subpæna. Heath, the Attorney General, on an assurance that he should come off well, extorted a confession from him that he was the author of the book : an information was immediately lodged against him in the Star Chamber by Heath. He confessed the writing of the book, but with no such intention as the information suggested. He pleaded that his aim was to remonstrate against certain grievances in church and state under which the people suffered, to the end that parliament might take them into consideration, and give such redress as might be for the honour of the king, the quiet of the people, and the peace of the church. This answer not being admitted as satisfactory, the following cruel sentence was by this tyrannical court pronounced against him, though sick and absent, viz.

" That he should pay a fine of ten thousand pounds to his majesty's use; and in respect that ihe defendant had heretofore entered into the mi. nistry, and the court of Star Chamber did not use to inflict any corporal or ignominious punishment upon any person so long as they continued in or. ders, the court referred him to the high commission, there to be degraded of his ministry; that done, for farther punishment and example to others, the delinquent to be brought to the pil. lory at Westminster (the court sitting,) and there whipped; after his whipping, to be set in the pillory for some convenient space; to have one of his ears cut off, his nose slit, and to be branded in the face with S. S., for a sower of sedition ; then to be carried to the prison of the Fleet, and at some convenient time afterwards to be carried to the pillory, at Cheapside upon a market day, to be there likewise whipped, then set in the pillory, have his other ear cut off; and then be car. ried back to the prison of the Fleet, there to re. main during life, unless his majesty be graciously pleased to pardon him.”

Such was the sentence; which, when it was pronounced, that inhuman wretch bishop Laud pulled off his cap, and gave God thanks for it.

This sentence was given at the end of Trinity term. It was not till Michaelmas term following after the degradation that it was put in execution.

On Friday, November the 16th, part of his sentence was put in execution in this manner : In the new palace yard at Westminster, in term time, he was severely whipped, then put in the pillory, where he had one of his ears cut off, one side of his nose slit, branded on the check, with a red hot iron, with the letters S. S; and after. . wards carried back to the Fleet, to be kept in close custody. On that day sevennight, his sores upon his back, ears, nose, and face, not being cured, he was whipped again at the pillory in de Cheapside, and there had the remainder of his st sentence executed upon him, by cutting off the dan other ear, slitting the other side of the nose, and branding the other cheek. Dr. Leighton, in his own account of this horrid execution, adds that the hangman was made half drunk, and enjoined to perform his office with ferocity ; that he stood, after receiving the punishment of the lash, almost two hours in the pillory, exposed to frost and snow, and then suffered the rest ; that, being with these miseries disabled from walking, he was denied the benefit of a coach, and carried back to prison by water, to the farther endangering his life.

The treatment and prosecution of Dr. Leighton were notoriously illegal and inhuman. The judgment passed against him was by an arbitrary court, whose jurisdiction was unconstitutional, in a manner created by the crown, and cherished as a never failing engine of despotism. The tyranny it exerted outwent every example of former ages. It was the ready minister of vengeance to all who opposed the designs of Charles I, and entirely influenced in its conduct by the persecuting furious spirit of Laud. The sentence passed against the unhappy Leighton was directly contrary to the humane spirit of the British laws, and the single instance of such execrable barbarity would have disgraced the government of an absolute monarch.

Cruelty to Animals.

As cruelty should not be shewn towards the human species, neither should it be indulged towards the animal tribes. “I ever thought,” says judge Hale, “ that there is a certain degree of justice due from man to the creatures, as from man to man ; and that an excessive use of the




« EelmineJätka »