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his tribunal, that, in the capacity of a magis- | me to condign punishment; and if you allow trate, he might give them a severe reproof, a criminal to escape unpunished, you are not and proper caution with respect to their only unworthy of a place in the commission, future behaviour. but become accessory to his guilt, and, to all intents and purposes, socius criminis. With respect to your proffered mercy, I shall decline the favour; nor do I deserve any indulgence at your hands; for, depend upon it, I shall show no mercy to you in the steps I intend to take for bringing you to justice. I understand that you have been long hackneyed in the ways of oppression, and I have seen some living monuments of your inhumanity-of that hereafter. I myself have been detained in prison, without cause assigned. I have been treated with indignity, and insulted by jailors and constables; led through the streets like a felon, as a spectacle to the multitude; obliged to dance attendance in your passage, and afterwards branded with the name of notorious criminal. I now demand to see the information in consequence of which I was detained in prison, the copy of the warrant of commitment or detainer, and the face of the person by whom I was accused. I insist upon a compliance with these demands, as the privileges of a British subject; and if it is refused, I shall seek redress before a higher tribunal."
They were accordingly led through the street in procession, guarded by the constable and his gang, followed by Crabshaw, who had by this time been released from the stocks, and surrounded by a crowd of people, attracted by curiosity. When they arrived at the justice's house, they were detained for some time in the passage; then a voice was heard, commanding the constabie to bring in the prisoners, and they were introduced to the hall of audience, where Mr Gobble sat in judgment, with a crimson velvet night-cap on his head; and on his right hand appeared his lady, puffed up with the pride and insolence of her husband's office, fat, frowzy, and not over clean, well stricken in years, without the least vestige of an agreeable feature, having a rubicund nose, ferret eyes, and imperious aspect. The justice himself was a little, affected, pert prig, who endeavoured to solemnize his countenance by assuming an air of consequence, in which pride, impudence, and folly, were strangely blended. He aspired at nothing so much as the character of an able spokesman, and took all opportunities of holding forth at vestry and quarter-sessions, as well as in the administration of his office in private. He would not, therefore, let slip this occasion of exciting the admiration of his hearers, and, in an authoritative tone, thus addressed our adventurer:
The justice seemed to be not a little disturbed at this peremptory declaration, which, however, had no other effect upon his wife, but that of enraging her choler, and inflaming her countenance. "Sirrah! sirrah!" cried she, "do you dares to insult a worshipful magistrate on the bench? Can you deny that you are a vagram, and a dilatory sort of a person? Han't the man with the satchel made an affidavy of it? If I was my husband, I'd lay you fast by the heels for your resumption, and ferk you with a primineery into the bargain, unless you could give a
"The laws of this land has provided-I says as how provision is made by the laws of this here land, in reverence to delinquems and manefactors, whereby the king's peace is upholden by we magistrates, who represents his majesty's person better than in e'er a contagious nation under the sun; but, how-better account of yourself-I would." somever, that there king's peace, and this here magistrate's authority, cannot be adequably and identically upheld, if so be as how criminals escapes unpunished. Now, friend, you must be confidentious in your own mind, as you are a notorious criminal, who have trespassed again the laws on divers occasions and importunities; if I had a mind to exercise the rigour of the law, according to the authority wherewith I am wested, you and your companions in iniquity would be sewerely punished by the statue; but we magistrates has a power to litigate the sewerity of justice, and so I am contented that you should be mercifully dealt withal, and even dismissed."
To this harangue the knight replied, with solemn and deliberate accent," If I understand your meaning aright, I am accused of being a notorious criminal; but nevertheless you are contented to let me escape with impunity. If I am a notorious criminal, it is the duty of you, as a magistrate, to bring
Gobble, encouraged by this fillip, resumed his petulance, and proceeded in this manner:-"Heark ye, friend, I might, as Mrs Gobble very justly observes, trounce you for your audacious behaviour; but I scorn to take such advantages: howsomever, I shall make you give an account of yourself and your companions; for I believe as how you are in a gang, and all in a story, and perhaps you may be found one day in a cord. What are you, friend? What is your station and degree?" "I am a gentleman," replied the knight. "Ay, that is English for a sorry fellow," said the justice. Every idle vaga. bond, who has neither home nor habitation, trade nor profession, designs himself a gentleman. But I must know how you live." "Upon my means." "What are your means?"
My estate." "Whence doth it arise?' "From inheritance." "Your estate lies in brass, and that you have inherited from nature; but do you inherit lands and tenements ?" "Yes." But they are neither
here nor there, I doubt. Come, come, friend, | Launcelot's quality. "Yes, I'll assure you, I shall bring you about presently." Here sir," said the wife, "my husband would the examination was interrupted by the arri- have bit off his tongue rather than say black val of Mr Fillet the surgeon, who chancing is the white of your eye, if so be he had to pass, and seeing a crowd about the door, known your capacity. Thank God, we have went in to satisfy his curiosity. been used to deal with gentlefolks, and many's the good pound we have lost by them; but what of that? Sure we know how to behave to our betters. Mr Gobble, thanks be to God, can defy the whole world to prove
Which shows there are more ways to kill a that he ever said an uncivil word, or did a
dog than hanging.
MR FILLET no sooner appeared in the judgment-chamber of Justice Gobble, than Captain Crowe, seizing him by the hand, exclaimed,-"body o' me! doctor, thou'rt come up in the nick of time to lend us a hand in putting about. We're a little in the stays here but howsomever we've got a good pilot, who knows the coast, and can weather the point, as the saying is. As for the enemy's vessel, she has had a shot or two already athwart her forefoot; the next, I do suppose, will strike the hull, and then you will see her taken all aback." The doctor, who perfectly understood his dialect, assured him he might depend upon his assistance; and advancing to the knight, accosted him in these words:-"Sir Launcelot Greaves, your most humble servant-when I saw a crowd at the door, I little thought of finding you within, treated with such indignity-yet I can't help being pleased with an opportunity of proving the esteem and veneration I have for your person and character:-you will do me particular pleasure in commanding my best services."
Our adventurer thanked him for this instance of his friendship, which he told him he would use without hesitation; and desired he would procure immediate bail for him and his two friends, who had been imprisoned contrary to law, without any cause assigned.
rude thing to a gentleman, knowing him to be a person of fortune. Indeed, as to your poor gentry, and riff-raff, your tag-rag and bob-tail, or such vulgar scoundrelly people, he has behaved like a magistrate, and treated them with the rigger of authority." "In other words," said the knight," he has tyranized over the poor, and connived at the vices of the rich: your husband is little obliged to you for this confession, woman." "Woman!" cried Mrs Gobble, empurpled with wrath, and fixing her hands on her sides by way of defiance, "I scorn your words. Marry come up, woman! quotha; no more a woman than your worship." Then bursting into tears,—“ Husband," continued she, "if you had the soul of a louse, you would not suffer me to be abused at this rate; you would not sit still on the bench and hear your spouse called such contemptible epitaphs. Who cares for his title and his knightship? You and I, husband, knew a tailor that was made a knight; but, thank God, I have noblemen to stand by me with their privileges and beroguetifs."
At this instant Mr Fillet returned with his friend, a practitioner in the law, who freely offered to join in bailing our adventurer, and the other two prisoners, for any sum that should be required. The justice, perceiving the affair began to grow more and more serious, declared that he would discharge the warrants and dismiss the prisoners.
Here Mr Clarke interposing, observed, During this short dialogue, the justice, that against the knight no warrant had been who had heard of Sir Launcelot's family and granted, nor any information sworn to; confortune, though an utter stranger to his per- sequently, as the justice had not complied son, was seized with such pangs of terror and with the form of proceeding directed by compunction as a grovelling mind may be statute, the imprisonment was coram non supposed to have felt in such circumstances; judice, void. Right, sir," said the other and they seemed to produce the same unsa- lawyer, "if a justice commits a felon for voury effects that are so humourously deline- trial, without binding over the prosecutor to ated by the inimitable Hogarth, in his print the assizes, he shall be fined." "And again," of Felix on his tribunal, done in the Dutch cried Clarke, “if a justice issues a warrant style. Nevertheless, seeing Fillet retire to for commitment, where there is no accusaexecute the knight's commands, he recol- tion, action will lie against the justice." lected himself so far as to tell the prisoners," Moreover," replied the stranger, "if a there was no occasion to give themselves any farther trouble, for he would release them without bail or mainprise. Then discarding all the insolence from his features, and assuming an aspect of the most humble adulation, he begged the knight ten thousand pardons for the freedoms he had taken, which were entirely owing to his ignorance of Sir
justice of peace is guilty of any misdemean-
common jail without sufficient cause." | humanly kidnapped her only child, and ex"True," exclaimed the other limb of the law, "and. for contempt of law, attachments may be had against justices of peace in banco regis: a justice of the peace was fined a thousand marks for corrupt practices."
With these words, advancing to Mr Clarke, he shook him by the hand, with the appellation of brother, saying, "I doubt the justice has got into a cursed hovel." Mr Gobble himself seemed to be of the same opinion. He changed colour several times during the remarks which the lawyers had made; and now, declaring the gentlemen were at liberty, begged, in the most humble phrase, that the company would eat a bit of mutton with him, and after dinner the affair might be amicably compromised. To this proposal our adventurer replied, in a grave and resolute tone," If your acting in the commission as a justice of the peace concerned my own particular only, perhaps I should wave any further inquiry, and resent your insolence no other way but by silent contempt. If I thought the errors of your administration | proceeded from a good intention, defeated by want of understanding, I should pity your ignorance, and, in compassion, advise you to desist from acting a part for which you are so ill qualified; but the preposterous conduct of such a man deeply affects the interest of the community, especially that part of it which, from its helpless situation, is the more entitled to our protection and assistance. I am moreover convinced, that your misconduct is not so much the consequence of an uninformed head, as the poisonous issue of a malignant heart, devoid of humanity, inflamed with pride, and rankling with revenge. The common prison of this little town is filled with the miserable objects of your cruelty and oppression. Instead of protecting the helpless, restraining the hands of violence, preserving the public tranquillity, and acting as a father to the poor, according to the intent and meaning of that institution of which you are an unworthy member, you have distressed the widow and the orphan, given a loose to all the insolence of office, embroiled your neighbours by fomenting suits and animosities, and played the tyrant among the indigent and forlorn. You have abused the authority with which your were invested, entailed a reproach upon your office, and instead of being revered as a blessing, you are detested as a curse among your fellow-creatures. This indeed is generally the case of low fellows, who are thrust into the magistracy without sentiment, education, or capacity. Among other instances of your iniquity, there is now in prison an unhappy woman, infinitely your superior in the advantages of birth, sense, and education, whom you have, even without provocation, persecuted to ruin and distraction, after having illegally and in
posed him to a violent death in a foreign land. Ah, caitiff! if you were to forego all the comforts of life, distribute your means among the poor, and do the severest penance that ever priestcraft prescribed, for the rest of your days, you could not atone for the ruin of that hapless family: a family through whose sides you cruelly and perfidiously stabbed the heart of an innocent young woman, to gratify the pride and diabolical malice of that wretched low-bred woman, who now sits at your right hand as the associate of power and presumption. Oh! if such a despicable reptile shall annoy mankind with impunity, if such a contemptible miscreant shall have it in his power to do such deeds of inhumanity and oppression, what avails the law! Where is our admired constitution, the freedom, the security of the subject, the boasted humanity of the British nation? Sacred heaven! if there was no human institution to take cognizance of such atrocious crimes, I would listen to the dictates of eternal justice, and, arming myself with the right of nature, exterminate such villains from the face of the earth!"
These last words he pronounced in such a strain, while his eyes lightened with indignation, that Gobble and his wife underwent the most violent agitation: the constable's teeth chattered in his head, the jailor trembled, and the whole audience was overwhelmed with consternation.
After a short pause, Sir Launcelot proceeded in a milder strain:-"Thank Heaven, the laws of this country have exempted me from the disagreeable task of such an execution. To them we shall have immediate recourse, in three separate actions against you for false imprisonment; and any other person who has been injured by your arbitrary and wicked proceedings, in me shall find a warm protector, until you shall be expunged from the commission with disgrace, and have made such retaliation as your circumstances will allow for the wrongs you have done the community."
In order to complete the mortification and terror of the justice, the lawyer, whose name was Fenton, declared, that, to his certain knowledge, these actions would be reinforced with divers prosecutions for corrupt practices, which had lain dormant until some person of courage and influence should take the lead against Justice Gobble, who was the more dreaded, as he acted under the patronage of Lord Sharpington. By this time fear had deprived the justice and his helpmate of the faculty of speech. They were indeed almost petrified with dismay, and made no effort to speak, when Mr Fillet, in the rear of the knight, as he retired with his company, took his leave of them in these words :-" And now, Mr Justice, to dinner with what appetite you may."
Our adventurer, though warmly invited to | I was, to be sure, but that don't signify; we Mr Fenton's house, repaired to the public gave 'em as good as they brought, and so inn, where he thought he should be more at parted. Well, if so be I can't see mother, his ease, fully determined to punish and de- I'll go and have some chat with Suky. What pose Gobble from his magistracy, to effect a d'ye look so glum for? she an't married, is general jail delivery of all the debtors whom she?" "No, no," replied the woman, “not he had found in confinement, and in particu- married, but almost heart-broken. Since lar, to rescue poor Mrs Oakley from the thou wast gone she has done nothing but miserable circumstances in which she was sighed, and wept, and pined herself unto a involved. decay. I'm afraid thou hast come too late to save her life.”
In the mean time he insisted upon entertaining his friends at dinner, during which many sallies of sea-wit and good humour passed between Captain Crowe and Doctor Fillet, which last had just returned from a neighbouring village, whither he was summoned to fish a man's yard arm, which had snapt in the slings. Their enjoyment, however, was suddenly interrupted by a loud scream from the kitchen, whither Sir Launcelot immediately sprung, with equal eagerness and agility. There he saw the landlady, who was a woman in years, embracing a man dressed in a sailor's jacket, while she exclaimed," It is thy own flesh and blood, so sure as I'm a living soul. Ah! poor Greaves, poor Greaves, many a poor heart has grieved for thee!" To this salutation the youth replied," I'm sorry for that, mistress. How does poor mother? how does Suky Sedgemoor?"
The good woman of the house could not help shedding tears at these interrogations; while Sir Launcelot interposing, said, not without emotion,-"I perceive you are the son of Mrs Oakley. Your mother is in a bad state of health, but in me you will find a real parent." Perceiving that the young man eyed him with astonishment, he gave him to understand that his name was Launcelot Greaves.
Oakley no sooner heard these words pronounced, than he fell upon his knees, and seizing the knight's hand, kissed it eagerly, crying," God for ever bless your honour, I am your name-son, sure enough-but what of that? I can earn my bread without being beholden to any man."
When the knight raised him up, he turned to the woman of the house, saying,-"I want to see mother. I'm afraid as how times are hard with her; and I have saved some money for her use." This instance of filial duty brought tears into the eyes of our adventurer, who assured him his mother should be carefully attended, and want for nothing; but that it would be very improper to see her at present, as the surprise might shock her too much, considering that she believed him dead. 66 Ey, indeed," cried the landlady, "we were all of the same opinion, being, as the report went that poor Greaves Oakley was killed in battle." Lord, mistress," said Oakley, "there wa'n't a word of truth in it, I'll assure you. What, d'ye hink I'd tell a lie about the matter? Hurt
Oakley's heart was not proof against this information. Bursting into tears, he exclaimed,-" O my dear, sweet, gentle Suky! have I then lived to be the death of her whom I loved more than the whole world?" He would have gone instantly to her father's house, but was restrained by the knight and his company, who had now joined him in the kitchen.
The young man was seated at table, and gave them to understand, that the ship to which he belonged having arrived in England, he was indulged with a month's leave to see his relations; and that he had received about fifty pounds in wages and prize-money. After dinner, just as they began to deliberate upon the measures to be taken against Gobble, that gentleman arrived at the inn, and humbly craved admittance. Mr Fillet, struck with a sudden idea, retired into another apartment with the young farmer; while the justice, being admitted to the company, declared that he came to propose terms of accommodation. He accordingly offered to ask pardon of Sir Launcelot in the public papers, and pay fifty pounds to the poor of the parish, as an atonement for his misbehaviour, provided the knight and his friends would grant him a general release. Our adventurer told him, he would willingly wave all personal concessions; but, as the case concerned the community, he insisted upon his leaving off acting in the commission, and making satisfaction to the parties he had injured and oppressed. This declaration introduced a discussion, in the course of which the justice's petulance began to revive; when Fillet, entering the room, told them he had a reconciling measure to propose, if Mr Gobble would for a few minutes withdraw. He rose up immediately, and was shown into the room which Fillet had prepared for his reception. While he sat musing on this untoward adventure, so big with disgrace and disappointment, young Oakley, according to the instructions he had received, appeared all at once before him, pointing to a ghastly wound, which the doctor had painted on his forehead. The apparition no sooner presented itself to the eyes of Gobble, than, taking it for granted it was the spirit of the young farmer whose death he had occasioned, he roared aloud-" Lord have mercy upon us!" and fell insensible on the floor. There being found by the company, to whom Fillet
ship, when he fought the French in the East Indies, and your son was not in the number." To this intimation she replied, after a considerable pause,-"Don't, my good neighbour, don't feed me with false hope. My poor Greaves too certainly perished in a fo
had communicated his contrivance, he was | the men that were killed in Admiral P's conveyed to bed, where he lay some time before he recovered the perfect use of his senses. Then he earnestly desired to see the knight, and assured him he was ready to comply with his terms, inasmuch as he believed he had not long to live. Advantage was immediately taken of this salutary dis-reign land-yet he is happy ;-had he lived position. He bound himself not to act as a justice of the peace, in any part of Great Britain, under the penalty of five thousand pounds. He burned Mrs Oakley's note; paid the debts of the shopkeeper; undertook to compound those of the publican, and to settle him again in business; and, finally, discharged them all from prison, paying the dues out of his own pocket. These steps being taken with peculiar eagerness, he was removed to his own house, where he assured his wife he had seen a vision that prognosticated his death; and had immediate recourse to the curate of the parish for spiritual consolation.
to see me in this condition, grief would soon have put a period to his days." "I tell you then," cried the visitant, "he is not dead. I have seen a letter that mentions his being well since the battle. You shall come along with me-you are no longer a prisoner, but shall live at my house comfortably, till your affairs are settled to your wish."
The poor widow followed her in silent astonishment, and was immediately accommodated with necessaries.
Next morning her hostess proceeded with her in the same cautious manner, until she was assured that her son had returned. Being duly prepared, she was blessed with a sight of poor Greaves, and fainted away in his arms.
The most interesting part of the task that now remained, was to make the widow Oakley acquainted with her good fortune, in such a manner as might least disturb her spirits, For already but too much discomposed. this purpose they chose the landlady, who, after having received proper directions how to regulate her conduct, visited her in person that same evening. Finding her quite calm, and her reflection quite restored, she began with exhorting her to put her trust in Providence, which would never forsake the cause of the injured widow and fatherless: she promised to assist and befriend her on all occasions, as far as her abilities would reach she gradually turned the conversation upon the family of the Greaves; and by degrees informed her, that Sir Launcelot, having learned her situation, was determined to extricate her from all her troubles. Perceiving her astonished, and deeply affected at this intimation, she artfully shifted the discourse, recommended resignation to the divine will, and observed, that this circum-able farm on his own estate. stance seemed to be an earnest of further happiness. "O! I'm incapable of receiving more!" cried the disconsolate widow, with streaming eyes. "Yet I ought not to be surprised at any blessing that flows from that quarter. The family of Greaves were always virtuous, humane, and benevolent. This young gentleman's mother was my dear lady and benefactress: he himself was O! he was the suckled at these breasts. sweetest, comeliest, best-conditioned babe! I loved not my own Greaves with greater affection-but he, alas! is now no more!" "Have patience, good neighbour," said the landlady of the White Hart, "that is more than you have any right to affirm-all that you know of the matter is by common report, and common report is commonly false; besides, I can tell you I have seen a list of
We shall not dwell upon this tender scene, because it is but of a secondary concern in the history of our knight-errant : let it suffice to say, their mutual happiness was unspeakable. She was afterwards visited by Sir sooner beheld, Launcelot, whom she no than, springing forwards with all the eagerness of maternal affection, she clasped him to her breast, crying.—“ My dear child! my Launcelot! my pride! my darling! my kind O! you benefactor! This is not the first time I have hugged you in these arms! are the very image of Sir Everhard in his youth; but you have got the eyes, the complexion, the sweetness and complacency of my dear and ever-honoured lady." This was not in the strain of hireling praise; but the genuine tribute of esteem and admiration. As such, it could not but be agreeable to our hero, who undertook to procure Oakley's discharge, and settle him in a comfort
In the mean time Greaves went with a heavy heart to the house of farmer Sedgemoor, where he found Suky, who had been prepared for his reception, in a transport of joy, though very weak and greatly emaciated. Nevertheless, the return of her sweetheart had such a happy effect on her constitution, that in a few weeks her health was perfectly restored.
This adventure of our knight was crowned with every happy circumstance that could give pleasure to a generous mind. The prisoners were released, and reinstated in their former occupations. The justice performed his articles from fear, and afterwards turned over a new leaf from remorse. Young Oakley was married to Suky, with whom he received a considerable portion. The newmarried couple found a farm ready stocked