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ruffian of the time was Judge Jeffries. The judicial ermine has often been disgraced by prejudiced judges; but Jeffries was the worst monster that ever sat on the bench. He hung men with as much relish as did Berkeley of Virginia. His term was called the “bloody assizes," and to this day the name of Judge Jeffries is applied in reproach to the scandalous ruling of a partial judiciary.
The accession of James II. made fewer changes in the American colonies than was anticipated. Perhaps, had his reign been longer, the changes would have been greater. The suppression of Monmouth's rebellion gave to the colonies many
useful citizens. Men connect themselves, in the eyes of posterity, with the objects in which they take delight. James II. was inexorable toward his brother's favorites. Monmouth was beheaded, and the triumph of legitimacy was commemorated by a medal, representing the heads of Monmouth and Argyle on an altar, their bleeding bodies beneath, with the following: “Sic aras et sceptra tuemur." (“Thus we defend our altars and our throne.”)
“Lord chief justice is making his campaign in the west," wrote James II. to one in Europe, referring to Jeffries' circuit for punishing the insurgents. “He has already condemned several hundreds, some of whom we are already executed,
more are to be, and the others sent to the plantations."
The prisoners condemned to transportation were a salable commodity. Such was the demand for labor in America that convicts and laborers were regularly purchased and shipped to the colonies where they were sold as indented servants. The courtiers round James II. exulted in the rich harvest which the rebellion promised, and begged of the monarch frequent gifts of their condemned countrymen. Jeffries heard of the scramble, and indignantly addressed the king: “I beseech your majesty, that I inform you,
that each prisoner will be worth ten pound, if not fifteen pound, apiece, and, sir, if your majesty orders these as you have already designed, persons that have not suffered in the service will run away with the booty.” Under this appeal of the lord chief justice the spoils were divided and his honor was in part gratified. Many of the convicts were persons of family and education, and were accustomed to ease and elegance.
“Take all care,” wrote the monarch, under the countersign of Sunderland, to the government in Virginia, “take all care that they continue to serve for ten years at least, and that they be not permitted in any manner to redeem themselves by money or otherwise, until that term be fully expired. Prepare a bill for the assembly of our
colony, with such clauses as shall be requisite for this purpose.”
No legislature in any of the American colonies seconded such malice, for the colonies were never in full accord with James II. Tyranny and injustice peopled America with men nurtured to suffering and adversity. The history of our colonization is the history of the crimes of Europe, and some of the best families in America are descended from the indented servants of the Old World.
In Bristol, kidnapping had become common, and not only felons, but young persons of birth and education were hurried across the Atlantic and sold
Never did a king prove a greater tyrant or more inhuman and cruel than James II. After the insurrection of Monmouth had been suppressed, all the sanguinary excesses of despotic revenge were revived. Gibbets were erected in villages to intimidate the people, and soldiers were intrusted with the execution of the laws. Scarce a Presbyterian family in Scotland, but was involved in proscription or penalties. The jails were overflowed, and their tenants were sent as slaves to the colonies. Maddened by the succession of murders; driven from their homes to caves, from caves to morasses and mountains; death brought to the inmates of a house that should shelter them; death to the bene
factor that should throw them food; death to the friend that listened to their complaint; death to the wife or parent that still dared to solace husband or son; ferreted out by spies; hunted with dogs; the fanatics turned upon their pursuers, and threatened to retaliate on the men who should still continue to imbrue their hands in blood. The council retorted by ordering a massacre.
He that would not take the oath should be executed, though unarmed, and the recusants were shot on the roads, or as they labored in the field, or stood at prayer. To fly was admission of guilt; to excite suspicion was sentence of death; to own the covenant was treason.
Sometimes the lot of an indented slave was a happy one. Hundreds and thousands of fugitives flying from persecution came to the New World, while thousands of others were sent as convicts.
Virginia received her share of the latter.
One bright spring morning a ship from England entered the James River with a number of these indented slaves to be sold to the planters. Notice had been given of the intended sale and many planters came to look at the poor wretches huddled together like so many beasts in an old shed, and guarded by soldiers. Mr. Thomas Hull, a planter of considerable means, and a man noted for his iron will, was among those who came to make purchases.
“Well, Thomas, have you looked over the lot?”' asked another planter.
“No, Bradley, have you?”
“Yes, though I am shortened in money, and unable to purchase to-day.”
'Well, Bradley, what have you seen among them?
“There are many fine, lusty fellows; but I was most interested and grieved in one.”
“He is a man who has known refinement and ease, is perchance thirty-five and has with him a child."
« A child ?"
“Yes, a maid not to exceed ten years, but very beautiful with her golden hair and soft blue eyes.
“Is the child a slave?”
“His is truly a pathetic story as I have heard it. It seems he was a widower with his child wandering about the country, when he fell in with some of the Duke of Monmouth's people and enlisted. He was captured at Sedgemore, and condemned by Jeffries. The child was left to wander at will; but by some means she accompanied her father, managed to smuggle herself on shipboard, and was not discovered until the vessel was well out to sea. Then