Old Bailey Proceedings, 17th January 1677.
Reference Number: 16770117
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A true NARRATIVE Of the Proceedings at the Sessions-house IN THE OLD-BAYLY, At a Sessions there held On Wednesday the 17th of January 1676/7.
Giving a full Account of the true Tryal and Sentence of LODOWICK MUGGLETON For Blasphemous Words and Books.
As also the Tryals and Condemnation of a Woman for Killing her Bastard-Child; and of a Man for personating another person in giving Bayl before a Judge.
With an Account how many are Condemned, Burn'd in the Hand, to be Whipt, and Transported.
With Allowance. Roger L'Estrange.
LONDON: Printed for D. M. 1676/7.
The Proceedings at the Sessions in the Old bayly, on Wednesday the 17th of this Instant January 1676/7.
Not to trouble the Reader with a tedious Relation of things trivial or impertinent, the most considederable or remarkable Transactions of this Sessions were as follows.
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First, the tryal of that grand and notorious Impostor Lodowick Muggleton , of whom to give the world a brief Account, we must acquaint you, that he was originally a Journyman-Taylor , and (some say) afterwards kept a Botchers stall ; but having a strange enthusiastick head, began about the year 1651, to enter into Confederacy with one Reeves (another Brother of the Sheers) who resolve to cut out a new Scheme or Fashion of Religion; and to that purpose declare
themselves, The two last Witnesses of God that ever should be upon the Earth; and that they had absolute and irrevocable power to save and damn whom they pleas'd; to which end one call'd himself the Blessing, the other the Cursing Prophet . And the said Reeves dying some years since, Muggleton pretends his Spirit was left with him, and the whole power of Witnessing, Blessing, and Cursing, devolved into his hands, which he as impiously practised upon the least affront or opposition; pronouncing persons damn'd by their particular Names, blasphemonsly adding, That God, Angels, or Men could not afterwards save them. And as all Hereticks covet to be Authors and Ring-leaders to a Sect, so by divers printed Books and Corner conferences, he easily seduced divers weak and instable people (especially of the Female-Sex) to become his Proselytes, who from him call themselves Muggletonians: So impossible it is for the wildest and most senseless, as well as most impious Notions, when broached with impudence among the Rabble, not to meet with some heads so irregular as to embrace them for serious Truths, or divine Revelations.
This Muggleton's house being searched about August last, a great quantity of his books were seized, some of which, it was now proved, he owned the writing of, and that he had caus'd them to be printed; for which he was now indicted, many wicked Passages out of them being recited in the Indictment, but so horrid and blasphemous, that we think fit to spare the Christian modesty of each pious ear, by not repeating the same here, where there is no necessity for it. The Prisoner pleaded not guilty, but frustrated the general expectation, by saying nothing further either to excuse or justifie himself, but had a Counsel appear'd for him, who ingenuously declar'd himself asham'd to speak a word in favour of such a Cause; onely desired the Court to take notice, that the Books were dated before the last Act of Grace; but it being usual to Antedate or Post-date Titles of books, as best suits with the Publisher's interest, and that he had since that Act owned and published the same, that Plea was overrul'd; and the said Muggleton being found guilty by the Jury, was afterwards sentenced by the Court to stand three days in the Pillory
at three the most eminent places of the City, with Papers shewing his Crime; and his Books so seized, divided into three parts, to be burnt over his head upon the Pillory : And besides, to be fined Five hundred pound, and to continue in Goal till the same be paid , and afterwards for his life, unless he procured good Bail, such as the Court should accept of, and not of his own Gang, Faction, or Sect, for his being of the good Behaviour .
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The next was a woman of about Forty years of age, and one that had six Children by a Husband since dead, but was, it seems, still of too Youthful a temper; for being lately deliver'd, by her self, of a Bastard-child on a Wednesday-morning, she most barbarously murthered it by crushing the head, and wounding it both in the scull and eyes (as is supposed) with a pair of Sizzars , and then fairly puts it into a Platter and sets it upon a shelf, where it continued till Saturday-morning, when a woman lodging above her in the same house, coming down to visit her, and examining her more strictly, by reason
of some symptoms the observed, she now Prisoner confess'd she had miscarried, and looking for the Embryo they found a perfect Child murthered, as you have heard. She pretended her self distracted when the fact was done; but it appearing that she had sense enough to endeavour to conceal it, she was Convicted and Condemned .
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A man was likewise Condemned to die for a kind of unusual Crime, but such as the Law, by reason of its bad example and mischievous tendency, has thought fit to restrain with capital Punishment; which was, that there being a Suit at Law depending between two persons, the Prisoner comes and personating another man, is Bayl for one of the parties before a Judge; upon which afterwards the man whose name he had assumed knowing nothing of the business, was taken up, to his great damage , &c. He begg'd heartily for Transportation, but it could not be granted.
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Bayliff s and Followers were arraigned by
one they went to arrest, who pretended to have lost some odde Trifles ; but they were not found guilty .
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Two persons were Condemned to die, two Burn'd in the hand, and two sentenced to be Whip'd: And so the Sessions ended with the day.