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them that he would, and he was true to them
because they had been true to him. But it was
not easily done; the courts were opposed to it, for it
limited their power a kind of power that every→
body covets the power to punish without regard
to law. He was obliged to hang forty-four judges
in one year for refusing to give his subjects a
trial by jury. When the historian says he hung
them, it is not meant that he put them to death
without a trial. He had them impeached before
the grand council of the nation, the Wittenagemote,
the parliament of that time. During the subse-
quent period of Saxon domination, no man on
English soil was powerful enough to refuse a legal
trial to the meanest peasant. If any minister or
any king, in war or in peace, had dared to punish
a freeman by a tribunal of his own appointment,
he would have roused the wrath of the whole popu-
lation; all orders of society would have resisted it;
lord and vassal, knight and squire, priest and peni-
tent, bocman and socman, master and thrall, copy-
holder and villein, would have risen in one mass and
burnt the offender to death in his castle, or followed
him in his flight, and torn him to atoms.
again trampled down by the Norman conquerors;
but the evils resulting from the want of it united
all classes in the effort which compelled King John

It was

to restore it by the Great Charter. Everybody is familiar with the struggle which the English people, during many generations, made for their rights with the Plantagenets, the Tudors, and the Stuarts, and which ended finally in the revolution of 1688, when the liberties of England were placed upon an impregnable basis by the Bill of Rights.

Many times the attempt was made to stretch the royal authority far enough to justify military trials; but it never had more than temporary success. Five hundred years ago Edward the Second, closed up a great rebellion by taking the life of its leader, the Earl of Lancaster, after trying him before a military court. Eight years later the same king, together with his lords and commons in parliament assembled, acknowledged with shame and sorrow that the execution of Lancaster was a mere murder, because the courts were open and he might have had a legal trial. Queen Elizabeth, for sundry reasons affecting the safety of the State, ordered that certain offenders, not of her army, should be tried according to the law martial. But she heard the storm of popular vengeance rising, and, haughty, imperious, self-willed as she was, she yielded the point; for she knew that upon that subject the English people would never consent to be trifled with. Strafford, as Lord Lieutenant of

Ireland, tried the Viscount Stormount before a military commission. When impeached for it, he pleaded in vain that Ireland was in a state of insurrection, that Stormount was a traitor, and the army would be undone if it could not defend itself without appealing to the civil courts. The parliament was deaf; the king himself could not save him; he was condemned to suffer death as a traitor and a murderer. Charles the First issued commissions to divers officers for the trial of his enemies according to the course of military law. If rebellion was ever a cause for such an act, he could surely have pleaded it; for there was scarcely a spot in his kingdom, from sea to sea, where the royal authority was not disputed by somebody. Yet the parliament demanded in their petition of right, and the king was obliged to concede, that all his commissions were illegal. James the Second claimed the right to suspend the operation of the penal laws a power which all the courts denied but the experience of his predecessors taught him that he could not suspend any man's right to a trial. He could easily have convicted the Seven Bishops of any offence he saw fit to charge them with, if he could have selected their judges from among the mercenary creatures to whom he had given commands in his army. But this he dared

an excuse.

not do. He was obliged to send the Bishops to a jury, and endure the mortification of seeing them acquitted. He, too, might have had rebellion for The conspiracy was already ripe, which a few months afterwards made him an exile and an outcast; he had reason to believe that the Prince of Orange was making his preparations on the other side of the channel to invade the kingdom, where thousands burned to join him; nay, he pronounced the Bishops guilty of rebellion by the very act by which he arrested them. He had raised an army to meet the rebellion, and he was on Hounslow Heath reviewing the troops organized for that purpose, when he heard the great shout of joy that went up from Westminster Hall, was echoed back from Temple Bar, spread down the city and over the Thames, and rose from every vessel on the river — the simultaneous shout of two hundred thousand men for the triumph of justice and law.



William Pinkney, LL.D., was born in Maryland in 1764; admitted to the bar in 1786, and soon obtained a large practice. He was a member of the Maryland convention, called in 1788 to ratify the United States Constitution; served in the State council, house of delegates, and Senate, and in 1796 went to England as commissioner under the

Jay treaty. He returned in 1804, and the next year was made attorney-general of Maryland. In 1806, he was again sent to England as minister extraordinary, and he remained as minister resident from 1807 to 1811. He was Attorneygeneral of the United States from 1811 to 1818, and served in the War of 1812 as commander of a volunteer corps, receiving a dangerous wound at Bladensburg. He was elected to Congress in 1815, and appointed minister to Russia the next year. He entered the United States Senate in 1819. He died in 1822.


HE opinion which the chief justice has just delivered is not, and I thank God for it, the law of the land. If you have the slightest doubt on the subject, I will undertake to remove it, to show you that the cases have been misconceived, and that the conclusions drawn from them are erroneous.

No man can feel for the learned judge who has just given you his instructions, a reverence and affection more sincere than I do. But reverence and affection for him shall not stand in the way of the great duty which I owe to a fellow citizen, who relies on me to shield his innocence from the charge of guilt, and his life from an attainder for treason. I had hoped that, since his motives were admitted on all hands to be entitled to praise, since the grand jury had associated with their indictment a certificate of the purity of his views, and a solemn recommendation that the prosecution should be abandoned, he would at least have been left by the district attorney, and the court, to obtain from

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