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forfeited. But, after remaining six months in pri- 1610 son, under sentence of death,* the King was pleased www to change the sentence to perpetual banishment.
In reading the judicial proceeding of those wretched times, our surprise is divided between the mulish conceit of individuals in declining the royal authori. ty, and the tyranny of government in the exercise of that authority. This mode of calling people before the Privy Council, and requiring them to make oath that they should answer every question which might be put to them, is as high a stretch of tyranny, as any tribunal on earth, I presume, ever attained. That no rude breath might pollute the Majesty of the Throne, a capital punishment had been annexed, even to the hearing of slanderous speeches against the King, without informing upon the authors; and the unsocial spiritt of the reformed religion had guarded its monopoly of the mind; by annexing the like penalty to those who gave food or lodging to a Popish priest. To call then people before the Council, and oblige them to give an oath that they should answer every question which might be put to them, was lay. ing them under the necessity of becoming public informers, in a case where the pain of death was an. nexed to the exercise of an act perhaps of hospitality or charity.
* Records of Just. 27th February, 1611.
† It is strange that the true religion, which is the only direct road to salvation, will not content itself with the endless spiritual consequences it presents to mankind, but that it will also deal out fire and faggot, to those who are so far mistaken, as to pursue their course to heaven by any other road.
I presume it must have been some motive of religion which induced the prisoner, Crichton, to decline the authority of the King and Privy Council. So nearly do extremes meet, that Black, the Presbyterian minister at St. Andrews, declined their authority in the year 1596, when cited before the Privy Council to answer for an offence which he had committed; * and Ogilvie, the Jesuit, declined the same jurisdiction, A. D. 1615, when required to answer every interrogatory that might be put to him. Black received a censure, but Ogilvie was hanged.
John Fleming, for Slanderous Speeches against the
THE prisoner was pursued at the instance of Sir William Oliphant of Newtown, King's Advocate, on account of treasonable, blasphemous, and damnable speeches, uttered by him to John Lauder, minister at Cocksburnspath. The prisoner most hum. bly threw himself in his Majesty's will, i. e. submitted to his Majesty's pleasure.t
The indictment set forth, that this Lauder, the minister, “having reprehended and found fault with the said John Fleming, because his son repaired not to the communion; saying to the said John, that • albeit (although) he contemned the order and dis
Spottiswood's Hist. p. 419. See the trial of Ogilvie infra.
+ Records of Justiciary, May 17, 1615.
cipline of the kirk, yet the King's most gracious 1615 Majesty, who is a most religious and godly Prince, and under whose blessed government the true religion
and discipline of the kirk is established, and ad• vanced, would not suffer such contempt and dis
obedience to pass unpunished! The said John Fleming, upon deliverance of the said speeches, shaking 6 off all fear of God, and that reverend respect which in conscience before God, and in his duty and al·legiance he owed to his Majesty, most treasonably,
blasphemously, and mischantlie*, replied to the said • minister in these words: Feindt nor the King shoot to dead or the morn, and that he die of the falling
sickness. And it being demanded of the said John « what moved him to utter such blasphemous and
horrible speeches against his Majesty? made this . scornful and disdainful answer, Were not the • King and his laws, f he had not wanted his lands; 6 and therefore he cared not for the King, for hanging would be the worst of it.'
The prisoner was not far mistaken in his prediction. He was sentenced to be banged at the cross of Edinburgh, and his moveable goods to be forfeited.
* From an obsolete French word, meschantment, wickedly, maliciously.
+ An oath, a mode of swearing.
# The cause of offence which this poor man had received was the loss of a law.suit.
Thomas Rois,* son of the late John Rois of Craigie, for writing and publishing at Oxford, a Pasquinade against the Scots.
1618 THE prisoner was prosecuted before Mr. Alexander mo Colville, Justice-depute, at the instance of Sir Wil
liam Oliphant of Newton, his Majesty's Advocate, who produced in Court an act of Privy Council, aua thorising the prosecution. I
The prisoner was charged in the indictment with the devilish and detestable firing, feigning, blas: *phemous uttering, and by writ publicly exposing,
of an villainous,t infamous, and devilish writ,' &c. In this pasquinade, which was in the form of a the sis, the prisoner had maintained, that all Scotsmen, except the King, his sons, and a very few others, ought to be debarred from the Court of England. He expressed his surprise, that the English, who in other
respects were quick enough sighted, should suffer such an unprofitable and pernicious multitude, the very offscourings of the people, to domineer within their territories. He laid down his thesis in ten propositions, or articles, composed in Latin, and written with his own hand. He affixed it to the door of St. Mary's church in Oxford, and publicly
* I know not if the family of Rois, or Ross, of Craigie, be still extant; but their armorial bearings are described by Sir James Balfour, Lyon King at Arms in the reign of Charles I.; Nisbet's Heraldry, vol. I. p. 416.
+ Records of Justiciary, August 20, September 10, 1618.
offered to defend his thesis, at the universities of Pa. 1618 ris, Cambridge, or Oxford. From all these seditious wo and inflammatory articles, the indictment concluded, that the prisoner had acted a most unnatural part towards his own countrymen, had endeavoured to stir up the English to murder them, and had transgressed sundry acts of Parliament, viz. James I. Parliament 2. Act 43.; James II. Black Acts*, Act 100.; James VI. Parliament 8. Act 134.; Parliament 10. Act 10., Parliament 14. Act 205.
However criminal the prisoner might be in exciting jealousies and dissentions between the English and Scots, it was truly absurd to charge him with having transgressed these statutes; for they related to the sowing dissention between the King and his people; and they were enacted before the union of the Crowns, at a time when the former of these nations was described in the statute-book, as our ancient
enemies of England.' Not only was the prisoner innocent of transgressing these statutes, but the Court of Justiciary had surely no jurisdiction over him, in an offence which consisted in having published a 'de
testable, fireing, blasphemous thesis,' at the university of Oxford. In those times, however, it was sufficient, if some attention was paid to the forms, without the smallest regard to the principles of law and justice. King James knew, that, even armed with the terrors of the Star Chamber, he could not, in England, overwhelm the prisoner with that destruction which he meditated; he therefore ema braced the illegal resolution of sending the prisoner
*.1, e. printed in Saxon character.