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pocket, on which he had, for days, fubfifted; and, when seized by his enemies, burst into a flood of tears ! He was carried to London, and beheaded on Tower Hill the 15th of the fame month ; five strokes of the axe, owing to the timidity of the executioner, being necessary to the severing of his head from his body. He died lamented by the English people, who followed him to the scaffold with sentiments of the deepest commiseration.
In the month of September, 1685, JEFFERIES was fent down into the West to try, or rather butcher the delinquents; he was also accompanied by Colonel Kirke, a brutal officer, who vied with the judge in deeds of blood. His ruffian soldiers, he, in derision of the cruel acts they perpetrated, christened by the name of his lambs! A story is told of him which outrages the feelings of humanity. He, at this time, debauched a young lady, on the condition of saving her brother, who was a rebel, but whom he next morning hung opposite her chamber window! Pomfret, in his poem entitled Luft and Cruelty, has told this story in strains which cannot fail of imprelling us with its unparalleled infamy. The story, I am aware, has been differently related, and therefore its truth supposed to be invalidated. But Dr. Toulmin, in his Appendix to the Hifa tory of Taunton, has fo judiciously stated the particulars, with the objections, that no doubt of its reality can attach itself to the unprejudiced mind. Rapin, indeed, whose great merit is impartiality, remarks, that “ It was not possible for the King to find in the whole kingdom two men more deftitute of religion, honour, and humanity ; Jefferies and Kirke were two cruel and merciless tygers, that delighted in blood. Jefferies himself gloried in his barbarity, and boasted, on this occafion, that he had hung more men than all the judges in England fince William the Conqueror. Kirke was not behind Jefferies in cruelty and insolence. Immediately after the. Duke of Moninouth's defeat, being
fent to Taunton, he caused nineteen persons by his own authority, without any trial or process, and without fuffering their wives or children to speak with them, to be hanged, with fifes playing, drums bearing, and trumpets founding. In the same town of Taunton also, Kirke having invited his officers to dinner, ordered thirty condemned persons to be hanged, whilft they were at table, namely, ten in a health to the King, tex in a health to the Queen, and ten in a health to Jefferies !” The author of the Western Martyrology, obferves that it looked as if Jefferies, on this occasion, intended to have raised the price of halters; and Grain. ger calls him a murderer in the robes of a Lord Chief Justice, steeping his ermine in blood!
At Winchester, the venerable Lady Lisle was tried for harbouring one of the Duke's party, though his name was in no proclamation. The jury brought her in not guilty; but Jefferies sent them out in a great fury, they found her not guilty three times ; but the judge threatening them with an attaint of jury, she was brought in guilty, and executed, though upwards of feventy years of age
e! The only favour granted was, that the sentence of burning was changed into behead: ing. A gentleman also of respectability, was con. demned to be whipt once a year during his life through all the towns in Dorsetthire; the poor man petitioned the King to be hanged; and his Majesty, struck with the request, pardoned him. This gentleman afterwards lived to visit Jefferies in the tower, when, upbraiding him with his cruelty, the infamous judge's only reply was, that he had not exceeded his commiffion ! But instances of barbarity are without number.
The failure of this expedition of the Duke of Mon. mouth, is ascribed by historians to a variety of canses. Some attribute it to the departure of Fletcher of Salton, a very able man, who afterwards accompanied WILLI. AM; others declare that the Duke was betrayed by his own general, Lord Grey, a worthless character, whe
purchased his life 'on the occasion, but a few years after laid violent hands on himself. But whatever be the true cause, the cruclties exercised on the unfortunate men, produced in the minds of Britons an universal abhorrence of those agents by whose either remote or immediate influence they were perpetrated. Let us now, however, attend to JEFFeries, whose name will not be speedily forgotten in that part of the island.
I have lately met with two old books which contain an account of this dreadful business just after it had happened. A passage out of each thall be here transcribed, for the expressions indeed glow with an eloquent refentment. They both relate to JEFFERIES, and shew that he was held in utter deteftation.
“ Had the great Turk,” says Mr. Turner, a clergyman of the church of England,“ sent his janisaries, or the Tartar his armies among them, they had escaped better. Humanity could not offend so far, to deserve fuch punishment as JEFFERIES inflicted. A certain barbarous joy and pleasure grinned from his brutal foul. through his bloody eyes, whenever he was sentencing any of the poor souls to death and torment, so much worse than NERO, since that monster withed he had never learnt to write, because forced to set his name to warrants for the execution of malefactors. Jeffe. RIES would have been glad if every lette he writ were such a warrant, and every word á sentence of death. He observed neither humanity to the dead nor civility to the living. He made the West an ACELDEMA, some places quite de populated, and nothing to be seen in them but forsaken walls, unlucky gibbets, and ghostly carcases. The trees were laden almost as thick with quarters as with leaves. The houses and steeples covered as close with heads, as at other times frequently in that courtry with crows or ravens. Nothing could be liker Hell than these parts, nothing so like the Devil as HE. Caldrons hitfing, carcases boiling, pitch and tar (parkling and glowing, blood and limbs boiling, and VOL. VIII.
tearing and mangling, and he the great director of all. In a word, discharging his place who sent him ; the most deserving to be the late king's chief justice there, and chancellor of any man that breathed since Cain or JUDAS.'
To render this passage the more intelligible, it should be remarked, that the bodies of these victims having been first decapitated and embowelled, were boiled. in cauldrons of pitch and tar, in order to decorate the gibbets, which the barbarians were at that time busily erecting in almost every part of the country. The limbs of a beloved parent, an affectionate brother, or of a dutiful son, were thus exposed on the high roads, at measured distances, exciting at once'emotions of horror and indignation in the breast of the passing traveller.
The other paragraph is poetry, but the lines are not less full and expressive. They are supposed to have been written in the shades, and are addressed to JEFFERIES.
And sec, if terror has not firuck thee blind,
Upwards to gibbets points, downward to endless flames! These passages, it must be remembered, were written about the very time these savage trantactions took place, and this can be the only apology for the severe resentment by which they stand characterized.
The fortitude with which these unhappy men died, reminded the spectators of the martyrs whojoyfully ex;
pired amidst aggravated torments in the first ages of christianity. It is also remarkable, that the most eminent of the sufferers foretold with their last breath the termination of this violent and bloody business in the glorious Revolution. For, let it be recollected, that this horrible tragedy took place in 1635, and upon the arrival of our illustrious WILLIAM in 1688, the prin. cipal authors of it were scattered to the ends of the earth!
It is moderately computed, that for this Rebellion of about four weeks, three hundred and thirty-one were hanged in different parts of Somerset, Dorfer, and Devon; eight hundred and fifty were sold for flaves to his majesty's plantations in America, and four hundred and eighi were fined, whipped, confined in prison till either death or the revolution released them. Others have estimated, that the whole of those that died on this occasion, either in battle or in prison, or by the hands of the executioner, together with those that otherwise suffered in their persons or fortunes, amounted to more than two THOUSAND! The Appendix of Dr. Toulmin's valuable History of Taunton, contains a very interesting sketch of this insurrection and of those agonizing scenes with which it was succeeded *.
JEFFERIES, upon his return from the West, was made Lord Chancellor of England, and honoured with every species of courtly approvation. In the new edi. tion of the Biographical Dictionary is to be found the following sketch of the life of this monster. I fhall in.
* Daniel De Foe was engaged in this rebellion, and escaped. Milton also, a few years before, at the Restoration, freed himself from the danger of an execution by concealment. It is therefore remarkable, that the authors of Robinson Crusoe, and of Paradise Lost should have been thus exposed to such imminent danger in the cause of liberty, and surviving it, should have written two of the most curious, entertaining, and instructive works in the English language !
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