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to Popish recusants, and to stretch it to Protestant dissenters, was contrary to the true intent and meaning of it; and that the reading of the statute would make it plain and evident: and that the defendant's school was a public school, and so excepted by the statute; for the defendant taught it openly in the view of all persons. That he
was not obliged to have a licence, nor liable to any penalty, &c. Then he insisted upon the Act of Toleration, and spoke very well upon that head. His third counsellor said but little, the others having spoken so fully before him.
Lord Chief Justice Holt.
1 James I."
The statute was looked at.
"Read the statute of
First the paragraph
about schoolmasters, and then the title and preamble were read.
The paragraph was,
"And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person after the feast of St. Michael the archangel next, shall keep any school, or be a schoolmaster, out of any the universities or colleges of this realm, except it be in some public or free grammar-school, or in some such nobleman's or noblewoman's, or gentleman's or gentlewoman's house, as are not recusants, or where the same schoolmaster shall be specially licensed thereunto by the archbishop, bishop, or guardian of the spiritualities of that diocese, upon pain, that as well the schoolmaster, as also the party that shall retain or maintain any such schoolmaster contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, shall forfeit, each of them, for every day so willingly offending, forty shillings, the one half of all the penalties and sums of money before-mentioned to be forfeited, to be to the king, his heirs and successors, the other to him or them that shall or will sue for the same in any the courts of record in Westminster, by action of debt, bill, plaint or information, in which no essoyn, protection, or wager of law, shall be allowed."
was "An Act for the due Execution of
the Statutes against Jesuits, Seminary Priests, Recusants."
The preamble stood thus:
"For the better and more due execution of the statutes heretofore made, as well against Jesuits, seminary priests, and other such like priests, as also against all manner of recusants: be it enacted, &c. that all and every the statutes heretofore made against Jesuits, seminary priests, and other priests, deacons, and religious and ecclesiastical persons whatsoever, made, ordained, or professed, or to be made by any authority or jurisdiction, derived, challenged, or pretended from the see of Rome, together with all those made against any manner of recusants, shall be put in due and exact execution."
Lord Chief Justice Holt. "The statute is against Popish recusants, and none other."
The adversary's counsel argued, That the words, all manner of recusants, comprehended all other dissenters as well as Papists. Saying, when that act was made, the Puritans were as troublesome to the government as the Papists.
Note. This was a wresting the words of the statute beyond their true meaning; as may appear by observing, first, that the whole statute relates to Papists, and them only secondly, that the act plainly divides Papists into two sorts, namely, religious and ecclesiastical persons, and laymen of the church of Rome.
1. Religious and ecclesiastical persons in these words, "Jesuits, seminary priests, and other such like priests;" that is, such other Popish priests which are not bred up in seminaries, or, as the act more fully expresses it afterward, "Jesuits, seminary priests, and other priests, deacons, and religious and ecclesiastical persons whatsoever, made,
ordained, or professed, or to be made by any authority or jurisdiction, derived, challenged, or pretended from the see of Rome."
2. Laymen of the church of Rome in these words, "all manner of recusants;" that is, all manner of Popish recusants, that are not in orders, as the priests, nor professed to be of any order of monks or friars, as those called religious and ecclesiastical persons, mentioned in the act before.
3. That whereas the act begins thus, " For the better and more due execution of the statutes heretofore made, as well against Jesuits, seminary priests, and other such like priests, as also against all manner of recusants;" it is plain, by having recourse to the said statutes, that they have no relation to Protestant dissenters, whom the adversary's counsel called Puritans.
The trial was pretty long, and upon the whole matter, it was the opinion of the Lord Chief Justice Holt, That if a schoolmaster qualified himself according to the Act of Toleration, he should be exempted from all the pains and penalties of all and every the statutes made against Popish recusants and Protestant non-conformists.
The Lord Chief Justice, in summing up the evidence to the jury, took notice more than once, of the violence of the prosecution against the defendant. He also declared, That the statutes of the first of James I. did not reach public schools, and that the defendant kept a school openly and notoriously, which he took to be a public school; but would not then determine, whether the defendant were within the compass of that statute; but di
rected the jury to find the matter specially, telling them, they must find some time, the plaintiff having proved his declaration.
Whereupon the jury found one day, at which the judge seemed displeased, and turned them back, and then they found two days.
A copy of the special verdict here follows.
"We find that the defendant hath taught school during two days, being part of the time mentioned in the declaration, in his house at Tottenham High-Cross, in the county of Middlesex, not being licensed by any archbishop, or bishop, &c. as the statute of King James I. does direct. That the said school was no free school, nor established by any manner of endowment. But that the defendant taught any young persons who would come to be taught by him; and he taught his scholars openly and notoriously, in the view of all persons who had occasion to resort to his said house. And we find the defendant is a Quaker, and no Popish recusant. And as to the rest, nil debet.
Note. Upon this special verdict, the plaintiff proceeded no further, being at an apparent disadvantage because, if the matter in law, which was left to the construction of the judges upon the special verdict found by the jury, had been for the plaintiff, he should have recovered only 41. and no costs: whereas, if the opinion of the judges had been for the defendant, the plaintiff must have paid
The issue of this cause did so discourage his adversaries, that he was never after molested by them, in the peaceable following his honest and lawful employment.
THE reader will not expect, after such a variety of trials and exercises as Richard Claridge met with this year, that he could attend to writing much; but finding a manuscript or two, penned by him during this time of fatigue, we shall insert them.
About the time that he was summoned by the justices to take the oaths, under pretence of his being disaffected to the government, and inclining to Popery; to acquit himself of that groundless charge, he wrote the following paper, directed "To the inhabitants of Tottenham, in the county of Middlesex, or to whomsoever this paper shall come."
"Whereas I Richard Claridge, of Tottenham, have been by the adversaries of truth, in various ways defamed and traduced, and particularly, that I am a Jesuit or a Papist; for the removing of the scandals cast upon me, in respect of my religion, and satisfaction of all sober and moderate persons, both of this neighbourhood and elsewhere, I do solemnly, truly, and sincerely profess and declare, that I never was in time past, nor am at this present writing, and hope, by the grace of God, in whom alone I trust, never shall be either Jesuit or Papist, but was and am a real Protestant; protesting against all and all manner of Popery, either Romish or English. And,
"First, I believe in the one living and true God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, who is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, omnipresent, most holy, just, and good, without body, parts, or passions, and will be worshipped in spirit and in truth.
"Secondly, I do believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into hell, the third day he rose again
[Author's note.] Or continued some time in the state of the