THE TRIALL OF Mr. JOHN GIBBONS, In Westminster-Hall, before the High-Court of Justice, beginning July 18. 1651.

HAB. 1. VER. 13.

Thou art of purer eyes then to behold Evil, and canst not look on Ini­quity; wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue, when the wicked deavoureth the man that is more righteous then he.

ECCLES. 7. VER. 15.

There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousnesse, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickednesse.

LONDON, Printed in the Year, 1652.

To the Reader.

HE, who while he readeth, taketh notice that these Notes being taken from the Prisoner, in taking them from his Notary, and that the Copy of his Charge, and of the Deposition of the Witnesses, and the help of a Councell at Law, which had been granted to others, (which was frequently, and with all earnestnesse pleaded for, and pressed by him) were flatly, and peremptorily denyed, shall rather wonder, that so much of their unjust and illegall proceedings hath come to light, then be offen­ded that this Narration (collected out of his own seattered Papers) cometh abroad imperfect; read therein the meeknesse, cheerfulnesse, and constancy of the Innocent, condemned; the malice, iniquity, and obstinacy of the cruel Persecutors: bear with the defects in the relation, at least; let them run upon that reckoning, who are ac­countable for his Bloud: Be ye followers of the Faith, and patience of him who ha­ving endured the triall, hath received the crown of Life, which the righteous Lord hath promised to them that love him: Beware of the wolves of the evening, that walk in sheeps clothing, not sparing the Flock, and the Lord of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternall glory by Christ Jesus, after ye have suffered, make ye perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you to him, be Glory for ever and ever.



Friday the first day.

Potter and he were both brought to the Barre together.

POTTERS Charge was first read, unto which he pleaded Guilty, and made a large Narrative of all his Crimes a­gainst the State; very much was he examined against Ma­ster Gibbons, but no hurt at all he did him: after they had done with him, the Charge of Master Gibbons was read, which, when he heard, he spake in this manner.


My Lord, this Charge is very new to me, I have been a Pri­soner under close Imprisonment for many weeks together, and never knew before this time what it was in particular that was laid to my Charge: And now I doe hear my particular Accusation, it is so strange to me, that I doe not know what to say to it at the first hearing; there­fore I humbly beseech your Lordship that I may hear it read again.

Attorney Generall.

My Lord, Master Gibbons heard Potters Charge read, which was very like to his own, so he hath heard it twice already; how­ever my Lord, he may hear it read again, for he may hear it thrice.


Come let him read it again, he is a young man, let him have what favour he may have; mark it well, now you hear it again.

After reading, Master Gibbons spake in this manner:

[Page 4]

My Lord, I am brought hither by an Order of this Court, which Order mentions a Charge of Treason exhibited against me; I should betray the Liberty I am born unto, If I should not desire a Triall, accor­ding to the fundamentall Laws of this Nation, which is by a Jury of my Neighbour-hood; the benefits and advantages are exceeding great, there­fore I doe earnestly crave to have them.


The State have thought of another way of Triall, which you you must have, and submit to; this is best for your advantage, and more honourable then any other you can have, therefore you must plead Guil­ty or not Guilty.


My Lord, I shall never be so prodigall of my Bloud, as to throw away my Life, by refusing a Triall before you, though I am not sa­tisfied in this new way of Triall; yet I shall not refuse to plead in confi­dence of my own Innocency, and in hope of your tendernesse in matters of Bloud: But before I Plead, and Answer to my Charge, I have this humble motion to make.

Here he spake very much on the first day of his Triall, moving very much for Councell; but after he had used many Arguments to perswade the Court to incline to it, and could not have it, he desired the Court to be the Councell for him, and take care of his Life, and not suffer him by his own ignorance, to weave a web for his own ruine and destructi­on. After much said of this nature, he pleaded not Guilty; the which being entred in the Book, they proceeded to the Triall.

Attorney General. The Attorney Generall began with a long speech, how Master Gibbons had plotted and contrived these Treasons, named the Meetings, and the places, where he said it began presently after the late Kings death, under the pretence of getting the King to Scotland; but the truth was, they intended to settle him upon this Common-wealth. And further, that he the said John Gibbon as a false Traitour, and out of a ma­litious and wicked purpose and designe to raise insurrections in this Na­tion, did severall dayes and times in the years 1648, 49, 50, and 51. and at divers other times and places within this Common-wealth, together with Chistopher Love, Piercy, Jermin, Massey, &c. and other their Complices, being false Traytours to this Common-wealth, trayterously and mali­tiously Complot, Contrive, and endeavour to raise Forces against this Common-wealth, settled in way of a free State, without King, or House of Lords, and for the subversion of the same did raise, and collect divers great summes of Money, and did hold intelligence by Letters, Messages, and Instructions with CHARLES STUART, sonne of the late King, and with the Queen his Mother, and divers other persons, being false Traitours to this Common-wealth.

And further, he the said John Gibbons, together with Christopher Love, William Drake, Peircy, Jermin, &c. and other their Complices, since the death of the late King, severall dayes and times in the years aforesaid [Page 5] within this Common-wealth of England, and elsewhere did traiterously and malitiously declare, publish, and promote CHARLES STUART, son of the late King, commonly called the Prince of Wales, to be King of England, meaning of this Common-wealth.

And further, to carry on the said Designe, he the said John Gibbons severall days and times in the respective years afore-said, together with Christopher Love, William Drake, Peircy, &c. did endeavour to procure the Scots to invade this Common-wealth of England.

And further, that he the said John Gibbon, on the 6th of Aprill, 1650. and on divers other dayes and times between the 29th day of March, 1650. and the first day of June 1651. at London, and elsewhere, did give, use, and hold correspondence with the said CHARLS STUART, son of the late King, and the Queen his Mother, Jermin, Peircy, &c.

And further, to accomplish the said Designes, he the said John Gibbon, on the 6th day of Aprill 1651. at the places afore-mentioned, did hold, and give correspondence and intelligence, with divers persons of the Scotish Nation, as Argyle, Lowden, Lo hian, &c. Enemies to this Com­mon-wealth, and adhearing to the King in the Warre against them.

And further, the said John Gibbons did traiterously, and malitiously abbet, assist, countenance and incourage the Scotish Nation, and divers other persons adhearing to them, and did convey great sums of Money, Armes and Ammunition into Scotland, and elsewhere: All which wicked practices and designes of him the said John Gibbons were against this Com­mon-wealth, Parliament, and People; and in manifest contempt of the Lawes of this Nation, and Acts of Parliament: and in such cases made, and provided.

After he had ended, the Witnesses were called in; the first was Major Adames, the second Colonell Barton, the third was Captain Hatsell, the fourth Colonell Baines, the fifth Major Alford, the sixth Captain Farre, the seventh was Master Jekell, the eighth was Major Huntington, the ninth Master Harvey, the tenth was Major Corbet: Adames being first examined, his testimony was to this effect.

Adames Testimony.

That the Correspondency of John Gibbons, with the rest above-said, was to endeavour an Agreement between the King, and the Scots; the first Meeting was at the Swan in Fish-street, where Master Gibbons was; at that place there was only a consideration how to carry on the Correspond n­cy. There was also a Petition to be sent to the King, (as I was informed) and the meeting in this place, was in reference to that also. There was Letters written to Scotland, and some received thence, which Mr. Gibbons was privie to.

After Master Drake went away, we met at Master Loves house, where Master Gibbons met also; there were Letters read, and I think Master Gibbon [Page 6] did hear them, and did confer about them: the Letters sent to Jermin, Peircy▪ &c. at one time or other Master Gibbons was present, and heard them read. This was before Titus his going away.

Then after there were Letters sent from the King, which were read at Master Loves house, where M ster Gibbons was present, and heard them read; Master Gibbons brought likewise a rough draught of the instructions that were to go to Holland

A so▪ there was a Letter read at Master Loves from Alderman Bunce, where Master Gibbons was present▪ Also a Letter after Dunbar F [...]ght from Scotland, relating how Affairs stood there, and that Letter (as I remem­be [...], was for Armes and Money) was read at MasterLoves house, where Master Gibbons was present at the reading of it.

Master Gibbons was a constant man at all Meetings.

A Letter sent from Massey read at M [...]ster Loves for Arm [...]s and Money, M. Gibbons was present, and three or four hundred pounds agreed to be sent.

A Letter was written to the Estates of Scotland, to procure Massey, and the English to be in est [...]eme.

Master Gibbons sometimes acquainted me where we were to meet.

Lieutenant Col. Baines Test [...]mony.

A little while after the death of the late King, there was a Meeting at the Swan at Dowgate, where severall persons were; but whether M. Gib­bons was there, I know not; but Captain Titus was there, and gave a large commendation of the young Prince, and moved that a Petition might be drawn up, and sent to the Prince from the Presbyterian party here; there was a debate upon it, and this designe was looked upon as the onely visible way to preserve the Presbyterian party, and to bring the Prince to the Crown.

Colonell Bartons Testimony.

A while after the death of the late King I was going into Cannon-street, and at Dowgate I met with Will. Drake, who desired me to meet him at the Swan at Dowgate; when I came there, I found Capt. Titus, Leiut. Col. Bains, and divers other persons, I believe M. Gibbons was not there; I came in while they were in discourse, and I could not well hear them; but at their rising, I asked M. Drake what was the occasion of their Meeting, and he told me that Capt. Titus had given a good report of the Prince, and did desire that some addresses might be made to him, that thereby he might be taken off from his Cavaliering Councellors.

After a while William Drake came to me for 10l ▪ which he said was to furnish a friend of his which did want an 100l. he desired I would not de­ny him, and because he was a good Customer to my house, I did len [...] it him; and after I heard it was for Capt. Titus. As for the Prisoner, I think he was not at the Swan at Dowgate, for I did not know him till af­terwards.

[Page 7]Major Alfords Testimony.

At the Meeting at the Swan at Dowgate, where divers were; Captain Titus made a large Narration of the Princes deportment, declaring how inelineable he was to cast off his Cavaliering adherents, if he were but as­sured there was a People in England that stuck to their Covenant, he was weary of his other Councels, and was ready to apply himself to the ends of the Covenant.

A Petition was brought to the Bear in Bread-street, where it was read, and d [...]bated among us and agreed to be drawn up, and Capt. Titus and Drake were sent away with it.

I doe not remember that Master Gibbons was at either of these Meet­ings.

There was Money raised for Titus; Drake had 10l. of me, he had it in private; Capt. Titus had 30l. for his Journey: He went over twice (I think) and if so, the second time Master Gibbons was there; the second time I saw Master Gibbons, he brought me to his Chamber; and the third time he and I went with some Papers to Gravesend, agreed on at Master Lov [...]s: These Papers were either a Commission, or Instructions, or both together in one; but this was the substance, That the Lord Willoughby, and others▪ should go to the Treaty at Breda, and to presse the King con­cerning this Agreement with Scotland.

Master Gibbons was at Master Loves house when the Commission and In­structions were agreed upon; he and I went to Gravesend, and (I think) he carried the Papers: but of this I am sure, that he knew the end of our going; we tarried there all night, and delivered the Papers to M. Mason.

I did goe to Callice, when I came back, but I doe not know whether the Papers that I brought over (being read at Master Loves house) were read all at one time or not, if they were, then Master Gibbons was there.

I was present when the Letters came after Dunbar Fight at M. Loves, the Letters came from Col. Massey; they gave an account of the Fight there, and of the estate of Affaires; and withall, writ for Money and Armes to be sent by way of Holland. I cannot say M. Gibbons was present: There was Money agreed upon there to be raised for Massey and Titus; M. Gibbons was many times at the Swan at Dowgate, he was constant at the Club. But after M. Drake fled, we did take in other men into the Club; M. Gibbons was as little absent as any man.

M. Gibbons did put me upon it to shew friendship to M. Mason, and he gave me this reason, That so M. Mason might represent our good affecti­ons to the King; and M. Gibbons did desire me to defray the Charges of that nights Expences at Gravesend, where M. Mason was telling me, that if I were not allowed it by our Friends, he would doe it.

[Page 8]Master Harvey his Testimony.

I came to the knowledge of this Designe at severall meetings and pla­ces; M. Gibbons told me of 2000l. wch was to be sent into Scotland, and that Massey was to land Forces in the West; and concerning my Lord Generals Souldiers, that many of them were run away; and concerning the Trained Bands of the North, he said they waited but for one blow to be given in Scotland; he told me also of a Town that was to be deli­vered.

Major Huntingtons Testimony.

The first that made me acquainted with this Designe was M. Gibbons who told me, that if I would come to M. Loves house, I should hear the Newes; I went to M. Loves, and when I came there, that which I heard, was a Paper sent from Massey, Graves, and Titus, brought by Drake, and read by him; M. Gibbons was there then, there was many more there in M. Loves Closet, but I cannot say well who they were.

The Testimonies of the rest of the Witnesses could not be well heard, neither can they be had, the Books being so close kept.

After all was ended, M. Keeble desired Master Gibbons to speak for him­self.


My Lord, I have now stood here neer 5 hours, and am both spent in my body and spirit, and that I am as unable in body to speak for my self, as I am disabled to make my defence without the Court grant me time; a Copie of my Charge, the depositions of the Witnesses, & assigne me Coun­cell. And therefore, before I plead, or answer to my Charge, I have this humble motion to make (I being a man altogether ignorant and unac­quainted with the Lawes) that this Court would be pleased, as I said be­fore, to assigne me Councell to advise me in my Chamber, and to plead for me in the Court: and that your Lordship, and this Court would be pleased to give me a Copy of my Charge, and to assigne me a Solicitor to solicite my businesse for me.


M. Gibbons, you must proceed to make some generall defence for the present.


My Lord, I hope you will doe as God use to doe, allow some grains of allowance, that a man that hath nothing but weaknesse, and ig­norance, may help himself.

Upon this motion the Court adjourn'd, and M. Gibbons was taken away by the Keeper of Newgate, and thereafter came a Warrant to bring him to the Bar the Wednesday following. The reply that M. Att. made to Gib­bons appeal we cannot have.

In the mean time there were severall friends that went to mediate, and speak for him to the Judge, who did lay out his simplicity and inno­cency, labouring what they could for the saving of his Life. The Judge answered, that he was not so simple as he was set out by them, and that he [Page 9] doubted not but that he was a Servant to greater Persons, who had im­ployed him: but if he would be ingenious, and discover the parties that were in that designe, he would labour to save his Life, and do him good; but if he would not confesse, he could not help him. Yet still they in­terceded for him, untill at last the Judge told one of them, that verily he was perswaded that he was Innocent; but neverthelesse, if he did not re­veal all those whom he knew to have any knowledge of the businesse be­sides himself, nothing could be expected but death: he was extream desi­rous to have a discovery of some persons of Quality, but M. Gibbons constantly affirmed he knew none, neither would he accuse any, for he had rather die, then be a means to scandall, or hazard any good man, this he constantly affirmed with an undaunted resolution to the last.

Wednesday the 2d dayes Tryall, July 23.

Master Gibbons being brought before the Court, my Lord Keeble spake as followeth.


MAster Gibbons, the Court out of abundance of favour to you, nave given you time from Friday till now, whereby you may be able to make your Defence; therefore it is now expected you should proceed, and plead what you have to say.


My Lord, the last time I was before this honourable Court, after I had desired a Jury, and was denyed it, I did in confidence of my own Innocency, and your tendernesse in matters of Bloud, submit to a Triall, though I was no way satisfied in this new way of Triall; but be­fore I could plead, I made this humble motion, perceiving the Charge against me for High Treason, was against severall Statutes, Lawes, and Acts of Parliament, which I never saw, heard, or read them in my life.

My life and estate thus being drawn into Question (my Lord) it did very much concern me to be well advised, there being many things in the Statutes which made for my advantage, both in my Plea and Defence; therefore I did humbly beseech your Lordship, and this High Court, that I might have Councell in Law assigned me▪ both to advise me in my Chamber, and plead for me in this Court, that so I might be able to take all those lawfull advantages which the Statutes and Acts of Parliament afford me, which I was not able to doe my self, being ignorant of the [Page 10] Lawes; this being denied, and I seeing I could no way obtain Councell to preserve my life, as I did see the State had got great Councell against me to prosecute me for my life. I did humbly beseech your Lordship, and this High Court, that you would be so far of Councell against me a poor Prisoner standing at the Bar, drawn in question before the Justice for my life, that you would not let the Learned Councel of this Common-wealth take any advantage against me through my Ignorance, or want of skill in the Laws: but that if the Statutes and Acts of Parliament, and Laws of the Land did afford me any advantage, which I might over-slip through my Ignorance, that your Lordship and the Court, out of your bowels of compassion to a poor Prisoner, would stand for me, that I might not have any wrong done, nor Law denied, which by right was due unto me; upon these considerations my Lord, I did plead not Guilty: I do hum­bly thank your Lordship, and the Court for the time you have given me, but as unable to answer, or speak for my self now, as I was the last time, I took my leave of this Court, being wholly unfurnished, and altogether dis-inabled to make my defence; for when I came back to my prison at Newgate, with an expectation of meeting both the Copie of my Charge, and the deposition of the Witnesses, I found all was taken away from my Notary, whom I brought a purpose to this place to help me therein; see­ing my self thus totally deprived, and cut off from all helps, and hopes of making my defence, I could not tell whither to goe or send but to your Lordship, whom I thought, upon my humble Petition, might have granted both a copy of my Charge, and the depositions of the Witnesses: but seeing that could not be granted, I am left without all possibilities of pleading, or making any defence: Therefore I do now again with all humi­lity addresse my self to your Lordship, and this honourable Court, and doe most earnestly desire a Copie of the Charge, also the depositions of Witnesses and Conncell assigned me to come to my Chamber to advise me there: also Councell to plead for me before this Court, and a Solicitor assigned me to follow my businesse; and if God shall not incline your hearts to shew this mercy, I doe not look upon my self as able to make my defence, as to stand before a company of armed men.


The Court will be very tender of your bloud, and they must, and will be as tender to preserve the bloud of the Common▪wealth, in execution of Justice upon Traitors that seek to destroy them; you have had a great deal of favour and time given you, therefore now you must make your defence.


My Lord, if ever Prisoner that came before this Court had reason to cry, and call for possible helps and advantages that may be allowed them, much more have I cause to doe the same, verily believing never un­till now there was ever any brought before Justice so unable to help, or answer for himself as I am; therefore I humbly beseech your Lordship, and this High Court; and I doe withall, earnestly desire Councell, a copy [Page 11] of my Charge, the depositions of the Witnesses, without which I am neverable to Plead, or make any defence for my life: and the rather am I invited to crave, and desire the same, for that I have both heard, and seen Presidents before mine eyes of this nature. Major Rolf, that was accused for High Treason, had Councell assigned him, by whose assistance he sa­ved his life. Sir John Gell, before this Court of Justice, had his Brother, Master Gell, to speak for him; and since, M. Love had Councell to plead for him in this very place.


M. Gibbons, you will not be denyed Councell, or any thingelse that may help you, if there be found matter of Law: Goe on, and make your defence, and make it appear to the Court that there is matter of Law, and you shall not be denied Councel, and what ever else may doe you good.


My Lord, had I the severall advantages that others have had to offer such matters of Law, I should be as ready as any else to doe it; but being deprived of all these helpes by the Officers of the Court, who took away the book from my Notary, after he had written the Charge; therefore my Lord, without a Copy of the Charge, and the depositions of the Witnesses, it will be in vain for me to trouble this honourable Court, when I never had fight of the Charge, nor depositions of the Witnesses; the want of which have so dis-inabled me, (seeing I could not have help of Councell to advise me) that I cannot tell what in the world to say my self.


M. Gibbons, you must proceed to plead, or else you will incense the Court more then you are aware of, for you to stand out thus, and plead for that which cannot be granted, will doe you no good; therefore I advise you no longer to stand out, but make your defence.


My Lord, if I should begin to proceed, and make my defence, be­ing (as I said already) totally ignorant in all the Lawes, and utterly un­able both in memory and parts to take all just and clear objections against the advantages of the Charge, and Evidences; if I should make my defence when all means are thus taken away, I should certainly throw away my own life, and become guilty of shedding my own bloud; therefore I had ra­ther a 100 times leave my self to the mercy and Justice of the Court, who, I hope, are very sensible how much the life of a man is worth, and withall, consider the hard measure I had, in taking away the books of those that wrote for me, that so I could never have sight of the Charge, nor Depo­sitions of the Witnesses, which all others have had, nor no Councels to advise me. Thus being left naked, and destitute of all helps, I had rather submit to the mercy of the Court, then ever plead to save my life: my Lord, I am perswaded, I stand to be Judged by a Court where I see the faces of those that truly fear God, and that they will seriously weigh and consider that the bloud of any, for whom Christ hath died, is exceed­ing precious in the sight of God, who will not take any advantage against [Page 12] any for their ignorance, and that you also doe remember that all your Judgements will be judged over again at the Tribunall of Christ, who will both be a Councell and Advocate for me a Prisoner now standing at the Bar: thus hoping that you will reckon the life and bloud of the meanest person, for whom Christ hath died, as much worth as the life of the greatest. I will rather submit to your mercy, then Plead, if I cannot have, what I doe desire: But being very unwilling to have any hand to de­stroy my self, and so become guilty of my own death; therefore, though for want of help I be not able to make my defence, yet I shall make an Appeal to the Court, which is all I can doe; and therefore desire you seriously to weigh and consider how far short the Evidences come, and how full of contrarieties and contradictions; by the Law there ought to be two lawfull and sufficient Witnesses to make a man Guilty of Treason; these Witnesses must agree punctually in their testimony, and the Trea­son they prove must be against the expresse words of the Act: Also the Law will not suffer those that are Guilty and Convict of the same Crime, by their own confessions, whereof they accuse me, to give Evidence a­gainst me; these Witnesses therefore cannot be lawful and sufficient against me, they having confessed thus much against themselves, and so do either witnesse against me out of fear of Death, or promise of Reward: this I am certainly inform'd will be proved against Major Adams, and was de­clared in the face of the Court at M. Loves Triall concerning the Testi­mony of Major Adams, which is the most materiall Witnesse against me: I hope your Lordship and the Court will look upon it, as not onely he hath been offered, received, and taken Money to discover the Designe, and witnesse against me; but also in regard to whatsoever he swears as that I should bring in the rough draught of Instructions to M. Loves: And as to my presence at the Swan at severall Meetings, was both contradicted, and positively sworne against by severall other of the Witnesses: none but he doth say that I was present at the reading of any Letters of the Fight at Dunbar; nor none but Adams sayth I was present at M. Loves house when any monies was debated; nor none but Adams sayth I was a constant man at Meetings, thatever I invited any to a Meeting. I hope your Lordship and the Court will consider, that though there are ten Witnesses produ­ced against me, besides severall questions asked Capt. Potter at the Bar concerning me; yet many of them neither said, nor swore any thing that touched me at all: and of those that doe reach me in their T [...]stimony, not any two did agree in proving the same Fact. As concerning the par­ticular T [...]stimony of M. Harvey, unto which no one Witness but himself ei­ther say or swore the least tittle of it to be true; being struck with wonder, and amazed to hear these things given in against me, which m [...] heart never thouvht, no [...] my tongue never spake: I doe both bef [...]re your Lordship, and this High Court, and the presence of all the people, lay it before the righteous▪ God to plead my Cause, and judge between me a Prisoner at [Page 13] Bar, and M. Harvey, that falsly accused me. I did further desire, that this Appeal might be set upon Record, and meet me before the Tribunall seat of Christ, and that both your Lordship, and them that sit in this Honou­rable Court, might follow this my Appeal to the Judgement Seat, and there witnesse it before the presence of the Lord against me when I am p [...]eading for mercy, if ever I spake, or heard these things which he hath accused me of. My Lord, I shall go further, and did offer unto the Court, that if in all England they could find a man that would say any of these things M. Harvey accused me of; then I said more particularly, if any whom I had most frequently convers'd withall, or any of those that kept my company would say they ever heard me say any of these words, the next time I came before this honourable Court, I would come and plead Guilty. And I doe now say, if it please your Lordship, and the Court to give me time, I shall be able to produce Witnesses, I shall make it appear M. Harvey is as unfit to be a Witnesse in any Court of Record, as he was unfit to be a Justice of Peace in Essex, where he was Indicted for many and notorious offences. If I might have time, I should produce witnesses that M. Harvey was the Originall reporter of some of those things he accused me of. And concerning Major Corbets Testimony, I know little in it, but that I shall call God to witnesse I knew not Mason; I did then in the face of the Court declare how much he had wronged me, for that I had ac­quainted the Committee who examined me, that I both knew Mason, and told them the place, and how I came to know him; besides, there is a Copy of my Examination abroad that doth confirm the same; that Corbet came to me more like a Murtherer, then like a Christian: and because I did call God to witnesse against these untruths he charged me withall, he did in effect, judge my Soul to the Devill, and my Body to the Gallowes, and so he left. For which unchristian carriage of his, I both complai­ned to M. Price, Clarke to the Warden in the Fleet, my Keeper, and some others. My Lord, I am charged with being a Solicitor, and represented as a man that had nothing else to do but follow such businesses as here I am accused of; which is a life so unlike an English man, and so ill-becom­ing a Christian, that I have all the dayes of my life walked a contrary course: if it were necessary, multitudes of Witnesses will testifie the same for me. I was entertained by my Master to waite upon him in his Cham­ber, after he was gone to the House, I had constant occasions to go into the City, either to lay out, pay▪ or receive Money: so much experience had I gained, as I entred upon a Merchants Trade, dealt with many and se­verall merchantable Cōmodities, having a wife children then living, that was the Trade I resolved to follow. My Wife dying, I went over to France some little time after with my Master▪ and carried many Merchantable Commodities with me, where I found library to encrease my experience my Master returning to England, where he stayed not a year▪ but we [...] back again into France, I was left behind to wait upon my Lady: my im­ployment [Page 14] in my Ladies service is sufficiently known to be such as daily lead me to go into the City; the 19th of July 1650. my Lady went from the City, there was a necessity one man she must leave behind in London, which fell to my portion, and my businesses called me daily into the City, sometimes to go to Councell, sometimes to shew Bills of Exchange, sometimes to pay Monies, sometimes to lay out Money, and buy severall things which both my Master and Lady did daily send for to me; there was some Letters that came constantly every week from my Lady; some out of France to one M. Charboners, whose house was in Tower-street: I missing these Letters often on the Monday, went on the Tuesday for them, which was the day that we met at the Club, which was the main reason of my being so constantly there; where I met for no other end then to see the faces▪ of my Friends, and to discourse of the Newes of the Town: most of what ever I heard there discoursed on, I found in the printed Books; nothing doe I know was ever said or done there prejudiciall to the State; but since it is looked upon as a Crime, I would I had never come there. Concerning my Master, were it necessary, I would here make a Declaration, that he never left me to do any businesse, but to wait upon his Lady, and to provide, buy, and send those things into France that were necessary for him: For Letters, I never received any from him, but such as might have lookt all the world in the face; neither think I, I need say much to clear this, for that the State have seen most of those Letters that my Master sent before they ever came to my hands. My Lord, this is all I can say, being unwilling to trouble the Court any longer, but must de­clare how much I am amazed to be Indicted by so high a Charge, of Trea­son, as I dare say never lookt any such man as I am in my condition in the face till now, and doe fully perswade my self that your Lordship will rather pity my ignorance, and sad condition; then look upon me as a man either fit for Plots, or any such matter I am Charged with. I doe protest, that if I would make a Declaration of every Act I have done, of every Word I have said, of every line I have Written; I never knew it came up to the border of Treason, what ever is laid to my Charge: And whereas Major Adams charges me of being at severall meetings presently after the late Kings death; I did not see them not nine months after the death of the King: And after I came acquainted with Alford, and all that ever he layes to my Charge, is going down to Gravesend, but he did not say whether he or I carried the Commissions or Letters he speaks of; it is hard for me to remember what the discourse was a year and half since, but I dare say he doth most falsly charge me that I should bid him shew kind­nesse to Mason, that so he might represent the Presbyterian Party consi­derable to the King, and that I should bid him disburse some Money, and pay all the Charges, and if it was not paid him by the Company again, I would; this to the best of my remembrance is all false; Capt. Far (who is another of the Witnesses, who went along with me, and Alford) did declare [Page 15] it in the face of the Court, that he knew no such thing, and that Major Alford was the man that invited him to Gravesend; and so I doe protest, he did me, or else I had never gone. For Letters, I doe not remember that ever I touched any; nor did Major Alford in the least swear positively I did; onely he saith either he or I did deliver them; Alford doth not swear that ever I wrote, that ever I saw them open, or ever heard them read. All this my Lord was done above a year and half ago, and I hope if there shall be any thing found done amisse in that Journy, the Acts will clear me, for that it is said, if a man be not Indicted within a year, he is not to be Ar­raigned, or questioned. All that Maj. Huntington says, is, He saw me at Master Loves when the Instructions were read, but whether I heard them he could not swear, but he saw me go out of one room into another; and since he sayes I met him in the street, and asked him if he would not go to M. Loves to hear Newes: and when we came there, after Prayer half an hour, Will. Drake pulled a Letter out of his Pocket, neither swore he what it was, nor that I heard it read. My Lord, upon the whole, I do say, among all the ten Witnesses, there is not one that doth say or swear that ever I wrote Letter, sent Letter, or received Letter; that ever I collected Money, paid Money, or received Money; or that ever I discoursed any thing prejudiciall to the State; not any one Witnesse doth say any one thing to my Charge done for more then this year and half besides Major Adams; and all that ever he swears, is, being present at Letters read; he neither sayes I heard them, or ever discoursed any thing concerning them. So my Lord, except it be one single Witness, there is nothing laid to my Charge done this year and half; so my Lord, the utmost that the whole proof against me doth amount un­to is, but hearing of Letters read at the second hand, and all this but in the utmost were but misprision of Treason if fully proved; but being but one single Witnesse to swear this, I cannot imagine it will ever hurt me. For Potter, Jekell, Far, or Alford, (who knew as much by me as Adams) did not say any such thing; and all that Adams did say, is but hearing of Let­ters; he doth not say that ever I sent means to the King: though I never did this, yet I have weakned my self, and opened my purse to help the State. About the time the Kings & Scots were agreed, I furnished my Brother with a considerable sum of money, and sent him into Ireland to doe the States service, where he gained a Command under my Lord, and did very good service for the State. My Lord, had I ever such a mind to the War in Scotland, I could have sent my Brother thither, and not into Ireland. Thus my Lord, I have gone as far as I can in making my appeal to the Court, being utterly unable to make any defence, I do hope there wil be no advan­tange taken by my Ignorance, but you will be pleased to take my condi­tion into your consideration, and yet grant me both time and Councell, and give me a Copy of my Charge, and the depositions of the Witnesses, which is no more favour then was allowed to the Archbishop of Canter­bury, and Deputy of Ireland: I crave leave of your Lordship, and the Court, [Page 16] that I may not suffer for want of experience, nor that my ignorance may be made use of to work my ruine and destruction: From my youth I have studied the Scripture, but never have studied the Lawes in my life, and therefore all that I have to help my self with is, from the Scripture; where I find that ignorance hath constantly the Plea at the Bar of Heaven, and so I am certain should have at the Bars of all the Courts of Justice. Abimelech that committed a very great sin in taking another mans wife from him, he plea­ded his integrity, and God did spare him, because he knew it not▪ God hath alwayes been wonderfull tender of the life of a man, and that in the time of the most strictest Lawes, so much care did he take to preserve the life of man, that he provided Cities of refuge to flie unto, if any killed a man by accident, or unawares: Murther is a great crying sin, yet were it done una­wares God made a City of refuge to flie unto, that the man might be safe, & out of danger of the revenger. My Lord, whatsoever I have done amiss, I do profess it is out of ignorance, I never knew I broke any of the Acts of Parl. nor that I offended the Laws of England; & therefore I hope my ignorance shall have the plea at your Bar, as I am sure it shall have at the Bar of God; I have often heard that the Law of England is the Law of Mercy, and that there is no Law in the world looks with more tenderness and compassion upon a mans life: therefore I say as David concerning the sword of Goliah, There is none like that, give it me; the same I do say this day, no Law is like to our English Laws, therefore let me enjoy thē, I know the benefits & advanta­ges▪ hereby is wonderful great; I do verily believe I am before a Court that are fully perswaded that the strict-beholding eye of God looks upon them, and beholds all your intentions, and the thoughts of your heart to­wards me, and sees whether you do deny me any help or advantage that may save my life. Therefore I earnestly beseech your Lordship, and this Honourable Court to look upon the Laws of England, and see whether there be not some helps, some City of refuge to flie unto, where I may be out of danger of all that I am here charged with. My Lord, this is the first time that ever I was brought upon a Stage, the first time that ever my name was heard of, or I known to be an Offender against the State: And whatsoever shall now be found in me amisse, I desire there may be a favou­rable construction made of it, and not to be strained beyond what my in­tention was, who have alwayes abhorred from my very soul all designes that have tended to bloud; I have alwayes stood firme to the Cause of Liberty and Religion, and all the interests thereof: these are the Princi­ples I first took up, these are the Principles I have alwayes held; from which Principles I never yet departed, I have alwayes had a bleeding heart when the Church hath been in a suffering condition; I have never been of a bitter spirit, but have alwayes carried a most tender and Christian respect towards those that were of an unblameable life and conversation: And where I thought there was truth of Grace, however contrary to me in judgement, yet I have loved them, and imbraced them as Christians; I have [Page 17] alwayes lived peaceably, never no disturber of the Church or State, either by writing, or printing Books, or any thing else. May it please your Lordship, it is my desire you should do as God did, when the cry of Sodom came up before him, I will goe down saith he, and see whether they have done al­together according to the cry which is come up to me, if not, I will know: the Lord that knows all things, knew before what Sodom had done, but after the manner of men, he came down, to teach all Courts of what they should do before they proceed to Judgement. My Lord, here hath been a great Charge against me, a great crie come up unto your ears, I desire you to to doe God did, that is, to know whether it be according to the cry, that you would seriously weigh all that the Witnesses have said; gather all the Circumstances together, and see the utmost that it doth amount unto, and then I am sure you will see the Evidences to come so infinite short of what the Charge and cry hath been against me, that you will find argu­ments to incline to mercy; and if I might not be quitted, yet at least you will let me have those helps and advantages that the Lawes afford me, and God hath commanded you to give me; that you will not keep any thing from me, that I, according to Justice, have demanded, and for the want of wch see me destroyed before your faces; therefore I do once more with all earnestnesse desire you will not deny me a Copy of my Charge, also the depositions of the Witnesses, and assigne me Councell to come to my Chamber, and plead for me at the Bar, without which you take from me all these helps that should enable me to make my defence; without wch it is impossible for me to go any further, and must declare that I want all the materiall things that should help me to save my life, when I see before my eyes all possible advantages to undo me▪ MyLord, I am able to say no more, if thus my just request shall be denyed, I have gone as far as I can without them both to clear my innocency, and vindicate my self from that which is laid to my Charge; and am most confident, if you would let me have what you cannot justly deny me, a Copy of my Charge, and the deposi­tions of the Witnesses, I should stand as clear in the eyes of the Law, in the eyes of your Lordship, and all thi [...] Court, as I am clear in the eyes of God, and my own Conscience, from what is unjustly Charged upon me. And thus much I have done, and am able to do no more; therefore if you do deny me, I shall be abundantly satisfied; howsoever, it shall please God to suffer you to deal with me. Concerning the Witnesses, I have little further to say, but desire that the Lord would forgive them, as I do freely, would not change conditions with them, though I were sure to die in fire flaming, or in the mouth of Lyons, even in the worst condition that could be imagined▪ I both pity, and desire to mourn for them, who have so despe­rately wounded their own Souls and Consciences to destroy my life. And the Lord grant, that not one drop of my bloud which they have endea­voured to shed, may not stand betwixt them and Mercy, when they are up­on their dying beds a crying for it. And this is the worst hurt I wish them [Page 18] for all the wrong they have done to me. Now the Lord of Heaven direct your Lordship, and this honourable Court, that you may not suffer the Witnesses Testimonies to be strained for me to lose my life upon circum­stances, or what is supposed to be, or in Conscience thought, but accor­ding to clear proof and evidence; do that which may give you comfort upon a dying bed, and no more then you dare look God in the face with­all, and answer to me his poor servant, who am innocent at the Bar of the Lord Jesus Christ, where I shall have free liberty to speak, and you must, and shall hear me; the Lord of Heaven direct you, that you do no more then what the Law will allow, and that what you doe, may be ac­cording to the mind of God, and most for his Glory, and the good of me a helplesse prisoner at the Bar; and so let it go which way it will, I shall submit with abundance of content and satisfaction, and with a quiet spirit, say the will of the Lord be done.

Thus having ended his speech, the Court adjourned untill Friday next, and so M. Gibbons was carried back by his keeper, and ordered to be brought before them again on Friday after.

Friday, about twelve a clock M. Gibbons was brought to the Bar.


COme M. Gibbons what have you to say?


My Lord, I have not much to say, being totally dis-inabl [...]d▪ and cut off from those means that might help me to save my life, which the last time I was here, I fully declared, and as earnestly de­sired both a Copy of my Charge, and the depositions of the Witnesses, and Councell assigned me this I pleaded for, untill your Lordship told me the Court would be encreased if I didnot proceed to my defence, which made me dare to go no further, but rather chuse to submit to the mercy of the Court, and make an appeal to their justice, where I desired that you would seriously weigh and consider how wonderfull short the whole evidences come; there was not any two agreeing Adams, the materiall Witnesse, most what he said, was disproved by the other severall Witnesses that came after: I hope the Court is very sensi­ble how little is laid to my Charge by Major Adams after so great an inquisition, as he daily set upon me, inviting of me to his house in the City, to his house in the Country, going from one shop to another, where he hought I did come; to Aldermanbury Church, and all other places where he did hope to find me; after all this sifting, and trying, what was it he got out? nothing but the hearing of Letters read, which none but himself Swears. My Lord, all that I have to say is, to desire both your Lordship, and this Court, to consider with what great aggravation the At­torney [Page 19] Gen. did multiply, and aggravate against me beyond all that ever the Witnesses said, leaving out all what might serve for my advantage. My Lord, how the Attor. General could bring Major Alford, and Major Adams together, and so make them double witnesses against me, that is not possi­ble for me, or any man else to understand. First, what Adams sayes, is con­cerning of my bringing in of the rough draught of Instructions, which I wholly deny, and so do all the Witnesses that came after him, to the best of my remembrance▪ and some of them sware positively that Drake brought it in; none but himself says that I brought it in: to testifie unto this, Major Alford sayes nothing: but all that he sayes is, That I went down to Graves­end with him, and did not say or swear that I either carried the Instructi­ons, or delivered them, or that ever I heard them read; all that he can say is, that I went with them, but whether he or I delivered them, that he can­not tell: He speaks of some discourse concerning shewing of kindnesse to Mason, it being a year and half ago, I am not able to charge my self with what I said then, but dare say he hath falsly accused me: what Major Alford sayes more is, onely that I should bring them to Masons Chamber in the Strand, delivered not, nor sayes that we had any discourse at all, but took our leaves, and came away presently; another time, said Alford▪ I brought Mason to Titus to M. W [...]itarrs a Book-sellers, and that Mason and Titus went up to the Chamber, where they had private discourse together; he did not say that I went up to the Chamber, or heard, or knew any thing what their discourse was. Now my Lord, I hope by this time both your Lordship, and the Court, are satisfied what slender testimony there is against me. First▪ my Lord, I was never heard of, til [...] I cam [...] to Gravesend with [...] Alford, only something that Major Adams says of m [...], me [...]ting at the Swan, which all the other Witness [...]s doth acquit and clear me from. Now my Lord, to what Major Alford saith, is nothing but giving a vi [...]it to Titus and Mason, which, I hope, will never be thought any crime; for that neither of them both were declared Enemies to the State, and therefore certainly it could be no hurt for me to see them. And besid [...]s, what ever Major Alford charges me withall, is a year and half since, therefore am acquitted by your own Acts. So that it cannot enter into my th [...]ughts by what Act of Par­li [...]m [...]nt or Law you can passe any Sentence against me: For all that ever is laid to my Charge done within this year, is nothing but hearing of Letters read; which not any one but Major Adams say s, and he neither saith what these Letters were, and that ever I discoursed, or said any thing▪ con­cerning them. Thus my Lord, you see there is but one single Witnesse throughout. My Lord, I waited upon a Gentleman that led me to 2 or 3 Meetings, by which means I gained a nearer acquaintance, which now proves part of my unhappinesse, seeing it is become a crime to meet Friends at the Club, and other places, and hear Letters, and other News read, which is all that I am Charged with. My Lord, I hope I am before a Court that doth consider, that all those days works will be judged over [Page 20] again; therefore I cannot imagine that any Court of Justice in the world will proceed to Sentence upon so slender a Testimony that lies before you, but that you will rather allow me those helps that may enable me to end the difference that is betwixt the State and me, that is, to let me have a Copie of my Charge, the deposition of the Witnesses, and Councell assigned me; without which, it is as impossible to defend my self, as for a little child to encounter an Armed man with a drawn Sword in his hand. My Lord, I have no more to say, but shall submit to God what­soever comes; and, as I said before, so I say again, I do freely forgive the Witnesses, but do desire that the Court will not proceed upon so slight and slender Testimonies, which never can, nor will hold water in the sight of God, or Law.


M. Gibbons, most of what you have said now, you said before, only you made some little addition, the Court hath debated your business and Life, with as much care as if you were the greatest Noble man in Eng­land, and upon the debate, they are perswaded in their Consciences that you deserve to be Sentenced.

Attor. Gen.

My Lord, M. Gibbons pleads for his Life, and I for Justice in the befalf of the Common-wealth, therefore I desire you will proceed to Sentence according to the Judgement of the Court. Whereupon Sen­tence was read: After that all the whole Charge was read, and M. Gibbons Sentenced as a False Traytor, to return to that place from whence he came, so to suffer death, by having his Head severed from his Body.

After Sentence Keeble spake in this manner.

M. Gibbons, you having nothing to doe, but to prepare your self for God; you have a great acquaintance among the Ministers, you should do very well to send for them, and reveal what you know, and so do the State what good you can before you die.


Have you any thing more to say?

But M. Gibbons said not one word more, but took his leave of the Court, humbly bowing to them; and after that, he bowed to the Attorney Ge­nerall, and took his leave of him, and so came down the Staires with abundance of cheerfulnesse, speaking to his friends, and shaking them by the hands. And in this manner he went along the Hall untill he took Coach to go to prison.

Were we but able to give the world account of these three dayes Triall that M. Gibbons had, with what scorn and provocations the Attorney Generall did all along carry himself; and how much he was dis-inabled by taking away his Papers, and all other things, whereby he should make his defence; and now at last receive the Sentence of Death upon such a Testimony as very few, or none, are satisfied with that heard the Triall; were it all published to the world, I dare say such hard measure and deal­ing, and so severe a Triall was never known upon English ground.

[Page 21] A relation how Master Gibbons was cheated of two hundred pounds by Smith, Under-keeper at Newgate, and Dyke his Master, who invited him to make his escape, and agreed with him for the aforesaid summe to conduct him safe away, and thereafter basely betrayed him; take the words as they were less in writing by M. Gibbons himself, with his own hand.

A true relation how I was invited to escape out of Prison by Smith, who with his Master Dyke agreed most cruelly to betray, and cozen me of two hundred pounds.

UPon Wednesday night I called up Smith to pay him two shil­lings, I had a 20s piece in my hand, let me see it said Smith; when he had it, I told him I did not care if I gave 200 of these for my Liberty; said Smith, I was offered 300. I told him it was the first time I heard it. Smith came up again to my Chamber about one of the clock upon Thursday morning, and when he had awakned me out of my sleep, was very earnest to perswade me to be gone, if I would give a 100 in hand, and promise another, he would let me goe? I told him I would rather die my self, then either wrong him, or his Master, he said it could be no wrong to neither. Here he told me a long story of one Wharton, over the Gallery by the great yard; I told him there were some friends of mine were looking over, and said I might get away by that Gallery; I told them I never meant to try, for indeed I did abhor to make such an escape, or to break prison to hurt any person. But M. Smith still following me with perswasions, and fully awakning me out of my sleep, told me he would let me out of the Gate, and did give me assurance it would neither hurt him, nor his Master. At last I did advise, and concluded, that if I did not accept of such a fair call, and free offer, I might become guilty of my own death. So at last I concluded to give him a 100l. and writ him a Note for another 100. Smith having got my 100l. seemed very carefull to have me alter my habit, and told me, that with some difficulty, he had sent his wife away, and therefore bad me prepare to be gone; he went down before me to see that the yard was clear, and when he had made some search, he let me out of the Gate, where, by his appointment, stood Dyke, and [Page 22] another man, with Smiths wife ready to receive me, who presently called me by my name, brought me in again, and kept my 100l. from me; and that same night Dyke went down to acquaint the Councell of State. Now I appeal to all, whether such cruelty was ever practiced, as Dyke and Smith have done upon me a dying man. It was resolved to go quickly to the Scaffold, but Dyke and his man, as if they intended to gratifie the Devil, useth all possible means to take off my thoughts of dying, by prescribing a way to be gone; which Smith entreated me to accept of, and offered to go along with me himself; when I did not accept of, then Smith told me a long narration how he would answer the Councell of State how impossible it was to prove any thing against him, and that he knew his Master could receive no hurt, nor he neither: And that he did verily believe the Councell of State, and his Master both, would be glad if I were gone. I do forgive both Dyke and his man, but I fear the Lord will make a sad reckoning with them both: remember the words of a dying man, and mark their end, and blesse God when I am dead for his goodnesse towards me; for all this is so far from unfitting me, that it makes me the more willing to leave the world, blessed be God, I am going from such a Generation.


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