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not apply themselves to give verdicts on his side, to be fined in the star-chamber; men of quality to be disgraced, set on the pillory, and wearing papers and such things as will appear through our evi, dence, can you think there was any moderation ? And yet truly, my lords, I can believe that if you compare his courses with other parts of the world ungoverned, he will be found beyond all in tyranny and harshness; but, if you compare them with his mind and disposition, perhaps there was modera. tion : Habits, they say, are more perfect than acts, because they are nearest the principles of action. The habit of cruelty in himself, no doubt, is more perfect than any act of cruelty he hath committed ; but, if this be moderation, I think all men will pray to be delivered from it; and I may truly say that is verified in him, the mercies of the wicked are cruel *".
The greatest atrocities charged agains thim during his government of Ireland were distinctly proved, and though he did adduce evidence to shew that ar. bitrary acts had likewise been committed by his predecessors, (how far that ought to have been deemed an apology, we shall not stop to inquire,) it was fully established that he had far exceeded them all. Take the case of martial law; it was distinct. ly proved that it had never been resorted to except on manifest rebels, the kerns chiefly, and that Lord Falkland's instructions allowed it only in the cases of war and rebellion : Now, the case of Lord
* Rush. vol. viii. p. 104 et seq.
Mountnorris affords the most complete evidence, to use the words of Clarendon, of a temper excessively imperious. Mountnorris alleges, and his allegation derives great support from Strafforde's letters, that the prisoner first took offence at a supposed want of respect to his brother, Sir George Wentworth, and then insisted upon Mountnorris making a dishonouroble sale of his offices : That he refused to sell at the deputy's command; and that the latter thence lay on the watch for his destruction. However this may be, the pretext for a sentence of death against Mountnorris by a court-martial was perhaps the most extraordinary that ever occurred in any country where such a thing as law was known. A Mr. Ainslie, a distant relation of Mountnorris, was in the service of the deputy, and had accidentally dropt a stool upon his gouty toes: Wentworth, enraged with pain, instantly struck him violently with his cane, and the incident happened to be a topic of discourse at the Chancellor's table in the presence of Mountnorris, who, his pride being naturally wounded at such treatment of a kinsman, remarked that the gentleman had a brother who would not have borne such an insult *. This having been reported to the deputy by eaves-droppers, who aimed equally at gratifying him and obtaining the other's offices, (Sir A. Loftus, the brother of the principal witness, and husband of Strafforde's fair friend, had been promised thechief of them,) Wentworth, who began todread that in Mountnorris he might find an enemy fit to ruin him afterwards, eagerly embraced the opportunity which seemed to present itself for that lord's destruction. The remark was made in April, and Mountnorris never heard, or thought more of it till December following, when he received a message to attend at a council of war next morning. Thither he went, perfectly unsuspicious of the cause, and inquired at his brother-councillors the mean: ing of this sudden summons to them all; but they pretended equal ignorance with himself. The deputy entered, and told the council that he had so unexpectedly summoned them for the trial of Mountnorris, who, though one of the council of the army, had spoken mutinously against him as the general; and he then produced a letter from the king commanding them to give reparation for the dangerous injury done to his deputy. The charge, which was materially different from what had real. ly passed, was then read to this effect: That it having been mentioned at the Chancellor's table, that Ainslie had let a stool drop on the deputy's toes, Mountnorris remarked, in a scornful and con. temptuous manner, “ perhaps it was done in revenge of that public affront that my Lord Deputy did me formerly; but I have a brother who would not have taken such a revenge.” The accused having heard the charge, and the king's letter read, fell upon his knees, and requested time for consul.
* Nothing of this kind appears in Rush. and probably it was not brought out. It was enough for Mountnorris to depose that the words charged were never spoken by him ; but in this I have followed the account of Clarendon, who, though very incorrect in regard to the trial, seems to have told the fact here, for his account is corrobo, rated by Baillie. Clar. vol. i. p. 220. Baillie, vol. i. p. 269.
tation, with a copy of his charge, and to be al. lowed to retain counsel ; but all was denied, and he was commanded instantly to confess or deny the words, for that they should be proved if he denied them. Mountnorris, as might be expected, was confounded, yet he pleaded for his right as a subject and a peer ; offered to take his oath that he had never spoken the words charged, and proposed to call the Lord Chancellor, and even his son, Sir A. Loftus, who obtained his place, and about twenty others who were present, to tes. tify his innocence ; but these requests, however reasonable, were all insolently rejected; while Lord Moore, who sat as one of the judges, and Sir Robert Loftus were desired to swear to the contents of a paper produced by the deputy, which appears to have been written out with his own hand, but which they had subscribed. Upon this testimony, the obsequious council found the accused guilty upon two articles of discipline, one importing banishment from the army, the other death. They long endeavoured to satisfy Wentworth with a verdict on the first; but he vehemently urged both or neither; and they, having previously stipulated for Mountnorris's life, gratified his revengeful enemy. The accused then received sentence of death, when the deputy told him that he should intercede with his Majesty for his life, and that himself would rather lose his arm than Mountnorris a hair of his head or drop of his blood, a speech, which, instead of soothing the convict, appeared to add fresh insult to injury, by putting the deputy's arm in comparison with his head. Mountnorris was instantly deprived of his offices, (which were bestowed upon this Loftus as a return for his wife's affection for Wentworth,) and committed to prison. Nor did the deputy intend that his sufferings should terminate even here. To soften his oppressor, Lady Mountnorris, who was a kinswoman of the deputy's by his second wife, Lady Arabella Hollis, addressed him in a most patheti. cal letter ; but she did it in vain *. Wentworth was inexorable, because his guilty conscience whispered to him that at no distant time the victim of his oppression might have it in his power to call for justice, and he eagerly grasped at the present opportunity of crushing him beneath the power of proving dangerous. Foiled in her interposition here, the lady escaped with difficulty to England to lay her complaint at the foot of the throne; and she was so far successful as to obtain a letter from the king for her husband's liberty, upon condition of his submitting to the deputy. A step so spirit. ed, as it evinced a disposition not tamely to brook oppression, inflamed Wentworth with additional rage by inspiring him with new fear, and he resolved so to avail himself of the terms expressed in the royal letter, as to exact an acknowledgment of the justice of the sentence, which he foolishly imagined would, in a great measure at least, secure him from the probability of after question, by bereaving his victim of his ground of complaint. On terms so humiliating, Mountnorris long refused to purchase his liberty ; but, wearied at last with op