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for ever; as the House could no longer impoverish by fine, or add hard labour to imprisonment, no further or more effectual remedy than duress could be devised. The prisoner lingered in Newgate four months, till the prorogation in June, with spirit unbroken.

As soon as the gates of his prison were thrown open by the rising of parliament, he made a triumphant cavalcade along the streets of the metropolis, amid the cheers and huzzas of the populace. As the natural effect of persecution, a lately despised Jacobite became the idol of the hour. This popularity was remembered to his prejudice by a vindictive House of Commons, who, as soon as they met in November, on the motion of Lord Coke,f voted that he should be re-committed to Newgate, and receive the sentence of re-committal on his knees. But the bird was flown. Mr. Murray had prudently withdrawn to the continent. A reward of £500 was proclaimed by the Privy Council, at the instigation of the House, for his apprehension. Public feeling revolted at the violence of this persecu

his enemies became in time ashamed of their intolerance, and Mr. Murray had the consolation of learning that, by his firmness and sufferings, an end was silently put to a practice which, with reptile tenacity of life, had lingered for centuries. The name of the wag ought to be known, who had previously expressed his indignation by rubbing his knees, after rising from the bar, and exclaiming with an excusable double-entendre, “ This is the dirtiest house I was ever in during the whole course of my

life.'' The necessity for kneeling, after having been silently abrogated in practice for twenty years, was at length abolished by a standing order.

' Parliamentary History, vol. x.

tion ;

- When any

person,” Mr. Hatsell writes, & " is brought to the bar as a delinquent, to receive judgment of committal, or any other punishment, such person, till the standing order of 1772, must have received the orders of the House

upon his knees. The alteration made by that order was suggested by the humanity of the House, [their humanity, however, required much flapping to awaken it), who often have occasion to inflict punishment on persons, who would be more sensibly affected by this ignominious manner of receiving their sentence, than by the severest species of penalty the House can inflict.”

The rule had been sometimes waived in favour of particular persons, as Mr. Martyn, Colonel Wanklyn, but the only grace worthy the assembly of British gentlemen was that which abolished the prostration altogether. Before the House of Lords, when impeached by the Commons, the culprit, of whatever age or rank, is still enforced to kneel. An eyewitness has recorded the strong sense of disgust which this compulsory humiliation produced in the feelings of a gentleman. When Miss Burney complained to Mr. Windham of Warren Hastings kneeling at the bar—“'Tis a humiliation,” he said, “not to be wished or defended; it is indeed a mere ceremony-a mere formality, but it is a mortifying one, and so obsolete, so unlike the practices of the times, so repugnant from a gentleman to a gentleman, that I myself looked another way. It hurt me, and I wished it dispensed with.”

Impeachments are now regarded as themes merely of rhetoric, to round a period of oratorical invective;

Precedents, vol.iii.
Madame D'Arblay's Diary.

154

MEMOIRS OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

but, should the spectacle ever be revived in Westminster Hall, we may express a sanguine conviction that no English gentleman will feel constrained to avert his head in pity from the criminal, but that the ceremony of kneeling to receive his charge will no more be required from the accused than his performance of the Chinese kotow.

155

CHAPTER VI.

The Convention Parliament 'used their spiriting gently.'. They threatened, it is true, with all the engines of vindictive power, but were sparing of extreme punishment, and innocent of shedding blood. A few persons were excepted by name out of the Bill of Indemnity, twenty-six in number, including all those in actual rebellion against their majesties who were attainted ; and a bill was introduced, but never carried through, for inflicting pains and penalties “on such persons, as had been the occasion of violating the laws and liberties in the last two reigns. Only one member was expelled, and three more discharged; they directed very few prosecutions to the attorneygeneral; among them that of a cruel miscreant, Mr. Richardson, the keeper of Newgate, for his illegal usage of several of the king's subjects under imprisonnient. Their treatment of the judges, who presided over the legal iniquities of the two preceding reigns, has been severely censured, a with more severity, per, haps, than the very peculiar occasion called for.

Their noted serjeant-at-arms, John Topham, was served with notice of several actions of trespass, at the suit of persons whom he had taken into custody

• Lord Ellenborough in the case of Burdett v. Abbot.

by order of the House. His pleading their orders in justification had been overruled, and he petitioned the Convention. They resolved, that the judgments in the King's Bench against Topham were illegal, a violation of their privileges, and pernicious to the rights of parliament; and ordered, that the three surviving judges, Sir F. Pemberton, Sir T. Jones, and Sir F. Wythens, should attend at the bar. The first judge, being desired to give his reasons, answered, as a lawyer, that, though he remembered little of the case, if the defendant pleaded he did arrest the plaintiff by order of the House of Commons, and should plead that to the jurisdiction of the Queen's Bench, he thought, with submission, he could satisfy the House, that such a plea ought to be overruled; that he took the law to be so very clearly. This, undeniably, must be deemed a sound exposition of the law; but the House resolved, that the law of parliament supervened it, and declared that the orders and proceedings of that House, being pleaded to the jurisdiction of the Court of Queen's Bench, ought not to be overruled. Mistaken in their view of the law, and supposing, erroneously, the conduct of the judges to have been illegal, they ordered, with no excess of punishment on the hypothesis that their interpretation of the law was correct, the ex-judges into the custody of the serjeant-at-arms.

Their conduct during the sanguinary close of Charles the Second's reign, had not been such as to raise a prestige in their favour. Jones had been the presiding judge at the trial of Margaret Gaunt, the ermined executioner who adjudged an innocent woman to the flames. It was Pemberton who had presided at the sacrifice of Lord Russell, the proceedings in which

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