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woman, and that the rest were well-ordered men according to their years. His body being stripped, the Friends aforesaid were suffered to take it and lay it in a coffin, and to bury it where they thought meet, which the outcry of the people, it is likely, led unto, because of your murderers drawing the bodies of the said William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson very barbarously by the legs unto the hole that was digged for them near the gallows after their shirts were ripped off; which place old Nicholas Upshall, a Friend, endeavoured to fence in, because it was an open field, where beasts might turn up their bodies and so prey upon them; and wood being brought for that purpose, you threatened to pull down the paling if it should be put up, as in the book of the first part of our Friends' sufferings by your hands is more at large rehearsed; you thinking them not fit to live on the earth, or to be buried as or among men.
Well, thus far of this cruel murder, the manner thereof, and your proceedings thereupon, so far as at this distance have come to hand, which I have reckoned together, that in one period I might make an end of this bloody tragedy wherein, as you see, you are concerned. I shall now turn a little back in point of time, and see how your lips twittered and your stomachs rolled after another draught of blood, while your janizaries forced a dinner of blood for you from the life of the other.
Yet, before I pass to what remains, I cannot omit one passage, which is concerning a speech that was given out to cover your cruelty, “That if William Leddra would, he might go out of prison; ” as if it were his own fault that he there remained. Of which proof being made by one Thomas Wilkie, a stranger, who was a spectator of this bloody tragedy, and being found by him to be a lie, he wrote thereof to George Lad, Master of the America of Dartmouth, then at Barbadoes, which I shall rehearse in his own words, with the rest of the passage, according to the copy of his letter, as followeth:—
The Copy of a Letter from a Stranger to his Friend, touching the Death of William Leddra.
“Boston, MARcil 26, 1661.
“ON the 14th of this instant, here was one William Leddra, “who was put to death. The people of the town told me, “He “might go away if he would;' but when I made further inquiry, “I heard the marshal say, ‘That he was chained, in prison, from “the time he was condemned, to the day of his execution.' I am “not of his opinion, but yet truly methought the Lord did might“ily appear in the man. I went to one of the magistrates of “Cambridge, who had been of the jury that condemned him, as “he told me himself, and I asked him by what rule he did it. “He answered me, ‘That he was a rogue, a very rogue.’ ‘But “what is this to the question?' I said; “where is your rule?' He “ said, “He had abused authority.' Then I goes after the man, “William Leddra, and asked him, ‘Whether he, did not look on “it as a breach of rule, to slight and undervalue authority?' and “I said, ‘That Paul gave Festus the title of honour, though he “was a heathen:' I do not say these magistrates are heathens. “I said thus when the man was on the ladder. He looked on “me and called me ‘Friend,' and said, “Know, that this day I “am willing to offer up my life for the witness of Jesus.' Then “I desired leave of the officers to speak, and said, “Gentlemen, “I am a stranger both to your persons and country, and yet a “friend to both.’ And I cried aloud, ‘For the Lord's sake, take “not away the man's life; but remember Gamaliel's counsel to “the Jews, if this be of man, it will come to nought; but if it “be of God, ye cannot overthrow it. But, be careful ye be not “found fighters against God.' And the captain said, ‘Why had “you not come to the prison?' The reason was, because I heard “that ‘the man might go if he would;' and therefore I called “him down from the tree, and said, ‘Come down, William; you “may go away if you will.' Then Captain Oliver said, ‘It was “no such matter:' and asked, “What I had to do with it?' and, “besides, bade me begone. And I told him, ‘I was willing; “for I cannot endure to see this,' I said. And when I was in “the town, some did seem to sympathize with me in my grief. “But I told them, ‘That they had no warrant from the Word “of God, nor precedent from our country, nor power from his “majesty, to hang the man. I rest,
“THOMAS WILKIE.” “To Mr. George Lad, Master of the “America of Dartmouth, now at "Barbadoes.”
After you had put William Leddra to death, your Court sat, and you hoped, no doubt, that his death would cool or bring under Wenlock Christison, who came in upon you when you were trying William Leddra, to warn you of shedding any more innocent blood, for which you sent him to prison; and he speaking a few words to the people, who flocked about the prison in great multitudes when William Leddra was had out for death, your jailer put Wenlock into a hole, and now you caused him to be brought to your judgment-seat while the other was suffering death, and said to him, “Except you will renounce your religion, you shall surely die.” Though John Endicott, your governor, and Richard Bellingham, your deputy-governor, were both present, it nothing affrighted Wenlock Christison; but the power of God in him, for whose Truth he suffered, lifted him up above the fear of your bloody throne and threats of blood, notwithstanding all the heights of your cruelty; and he, whom you thus thought to terrify by the example of William Leddra, instead of shrinking from you, came upon you and said, “Nay, I shall not change my religion, nor seek to save my life, neither do I intend to deny my Master; but, if I lose my life for Christ's sake, and the preaching of the gospel, I shall save it.” Which noble valour for the Truth so returned upon you, and gave you such a check, that, after a few more words, you sent him to prison again, there to be kept till your next Court, which was to be in the Third and Fourth months, 1661. A certain person named Eliphalet Stratton, who made grave-clothes, in tenderness said to Wenlock Christison, “Oh, thy turn is next 1.” To which he replied, “The Will of the Lord be done.'' The Court sitting in the Third and Fourth months, 1661, the Lord mingled a spirit of confusion among you, that you were in a manner broken, and could not hold together to put the innocent to death; the sense of the innocent blood spilt, and the consequence thereof, being so weighty on some of you, that you could not consent to the putting of this servant of the Lord to death also, as aforesaid, insomuch that John Endicott, your governor, was wroth, and went away from the Court discontented, and kept from it for the space of two days, which sorely troubled those of you who panted after the blood of the innocent, that you prevailed with him at length to come, having assured him that, if he would come, and perform his place and discharge his duty, you would proceed against Wenlock according to your law. See what work is here, and what travail and conspiracy, to take away the life of the righteous from the earth ! And after two weeks, the space of time of the revolution of these your conspiracies of blood, during which the natural sun shone not in the firmament, a remarkable demonstration both of the displeasure of the Lord against your work, and the nature of the work that you were then about, which was black within and black without; the true figure and representation of this your wickedness and work,-and you being agreed, Wenlock Christison was brought before the judgment-seat, who, came thither in a good dominion, because he felt the power of God over all; and being there set, your governor asked him, “What he had to say for himself, why he might not die?” “I have done nothing worthy of death,” replied Wenlock; “if I have, I refuse not to die.” “Thou art come in amongst us in rebellion,” “ said another of you, “which is as the sin of witchcraft, and ought to be punished.” “I came not in among you in rebellion,” answered Wenlock, “but in obedience to the God of heaven; not in contempt of any of you, but in love to your souls and bodies; and that you shall know one day, when you and all men must give an account of the deeds done in the body. Take heed,” said he, “for you cannot escape the righteous judgments of God.” Then said Adderton, your major-general, “You pronounce woes and judgments, and those that are gone before you pronounced woes and judgments; but the judgments of the Lord God are not come upon us yet.” “Be not proud,” replied Wenlock, “neither let your spirits be lifted up; God doth but wait till the measure of your iniquity be filled up, and that you have run your ungodly race, then will the wrath of God come upon you to the uttermost. And as for thy part, it hangs over thy head, and is near to be poured down upon thee; and shall come as a thief in the night, suddenly, when thou thinkest not of it.” “By what law,” said Wenlock, “will ye put me to death?” “We have a law,” replied you, “and by our law you are to die.” “So said the Jews of Christ,” Wenlock replied; “‘We have a law, and by our law he ought to die.' Who empowered you,” said he, “to make that law?” One of you answered, “We have a patent, and are the patentees: judge whether we have not power to make laws.” Wenlock replied again, “How 3 have you power to make laws repugnant to the laws of England?” “Nay,” said your governor. “Then,” answered Wenlock, “you are gone beyond your bounds, and have forfeited your patent, and this is more than you can answer.” And he cried out and said, “Are you subjects to the king P yea or may ?” “What good will that do you?” replied your secretary. “What will you infer from that?” Wenlock answered, “If you are, say so; for, in your petition* to the king, you desire that he would protect you, and that you may be worthy to kneel amongst his royal subjects, or words to that effect.” To which one of you said, “Yea.” Then Wenlock answered and said, “So am I, and, for anything I know, am as good as you, if not better; for if the king did but know your hearts, as God knows them, he would