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Chance medly, when by accident 'a man Nays another, or in his own defence being alfáulted : These the Law pardons of Course.
Against his Goods.
To take any thing privately from his perfon.
To steal Horses.
Designedly to burn any Stacks of Corn or Hay.
To Rob a Church.
To break into a House and take any thing thence by day or night.
To Rob any Booth in a Fair or Market, are all Felony without Clergy.
The Acceslaries to all these and other Felonies, do fall within your inquiry : For generlly, where Clergy is taken from the Principal, the Accessary, before the Fact, is to suffer Death : And good reason is it, that he who was partaker of the Crime, and without whose concurrence and allistance it could not have been effected, should fall within the cordemnation of the Law.
Petty Lacinary is stealing of a thing under the value of 12d. tho it is a small offence, vet the fre vency of its being committed, requires your care to suppress it.
I would in particular recommend to you to take notice of Sabbath-breaking.
And Customary Swearing.
There are several other offences, that are inquirable of by you; but I omit to mention them, because I believe your own observation will help you therein. Only thus much I will observe in general, that whatever is an offence against the Publick, falls within your inquiry; and having said this, I will keep you no longer from your business.
Some Reasons against the Prosecu
ting the Dissenters upon the Penal Lairs.
Will offer my Thoughts as to the Prosecuting of Protestant Dissenters, at
this time upon the Penal Laws : But what I design to propose, is only what sways with me, and not to impose upon any Man, but to leave every one to approve or dislike it, according to the reasons I shall give.
To prosecute them who agree with us in the fame Doctrines, as it is not practiced in any other part of the World, no, not by the Papists themselves, so I fear it will look like a playing of their game for them: For it is confefied by the Jesnits, that they have found it the most infallible way to bring in Popery into any place by fomenting the divisions amongst Protestants : And if a Moderation be ever necessary, without question it is at this time expedient, and the House of Commons were of this opinion when they passed this Vote Jana 10. 108;. That is the opinion of this House, That the Prosecution of Protestant Disenters upon the Penal Laws is at this time grievous to the Subject; a weakning, the Protestant Interest, an encouragement to Popery, and dangerous to the Peace of the Kingdoni.
Now how far this ought to be regarded, I leave to every Man to consider ; but to my own particular, there seems to be great reafɔn and prudence in it, considering our present circumstances.
If it shall so fall, out since the making of the Act of the 22d. of this King againft
Seditious Conventicles, that the Dissenters have not at their Meetings preachd any Doctrine, but what tends to instruct and persuade Men to do their duty to their God; their King and their Country, then we ought to remember his Majesties Declaration from Breda, April 14. 1660. which I find in print in these words ;
We do declare a Liberty to tender Confciences, and
that no Man shall be disquieted, or called in question for differences of Opinier in matters of Religion, which do not disturb the Peace of the Kingdom ; and that we shall be ready to conser:t to such an Act of Parliament, as upon mature deliberation shall be offered to us for the full granting that Indulgence.
Though we are unhappy by reason of the want of a Law for the uniting of all Protestants, yet I conceive that this Declaration of his Majesty's is a very plain admonition to us, to use a tenderness' towards those who preach found Doctrine, and live peaceably with us; and for my part, I have not heard of any to be accused for Preaching unfound
Doctrine or Sedition; if there be any fuch, spare them not; but let the utmost severity of the Law pass upon them, and let them fuffer for evil-doing: But if there is no proof against them for preaching Sedition or Rebellion, it's hard to punish Men upon a Suppoution, who worship God in a way that may be acceptable to him: And though I can and do conform to what the Church enjoyns, yet I have so much charity as to believe that the Protestant Diflenters are in a direct way to Heaven, though they do not use the Ceremonies commanded by the Church, provided that they worsip God in fear, with a good Conscience, and live according to the Rule of his Word : If they love Mercy, do jnstly, and walk humbly with God : But if a Man, profesing himself to be of this or that Church, shall believe that he may take greater liberty, because of his profession, I tear it will not much avail him at the last day : It's the Heart that God regards; he requires Mercy rather than Sacrifice.
The Protestants in France are at this time under great Persecution, and if we continue to prosecute the Protestant Direnters here, what incouragement can they have to come over hither in hopes of bettering their condition, since they will be under the same circumstances with our Disenters; and if not here, where can they hope to be reJievel? And thus their condition is made desperate.