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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

They have frequently suborned witnesses


if by summar citation, he

will not, may be, because he cannot, compear; if once his name be in their Porteons' rolls, that is sufficient to render him convict. 2. They used also to seize some, and shut them up in prison year and day, without any signification of the cause of their imprisonment. 3. They can pick any man off the street; and if he do not answer their captious questions, proceed against him to the utmost of severity; as they have taken some among the croud at executions, and imposed upon them the questions. 4. They can also go through all the houses of the city, as well as the prisons, and examine all families upon the questions of the council's catechism, upon the hazard of their life, if they do not answer to their satisfaction, as has been done in Edinburgh. 5. When any are brought in by seizures, sometimes (as is said before) they let them lie along without any hearing, if they expect they cannot reach them; but if they think they can win at them any way, then they hurry them in such haste, that they can have no time to deliberate upon, and oftentimes have no knowledge or conjecture of the matter of their prosecution: yea, if they be never so insignificant, they will take diversion from their weightiest affairs, to examine and take cognizance of poor things, if they understand they dare vent or avow any respect to the cause of Christ: and the silliest body will not escape their catechization about affairs of state, what they think of the authority, &c. 6. If they be kept in prison
any space, they take all ways to pump and discover what can be brought in against them: yea, sometimes they have exactly observed that device of the Spanish inquisition, in suborning and sending spies among them, under the disguise and shew of prisoners, to search and find out their minds, who will outstrip all in an hypocritical zeal, thereby to extort and draw forth words from the most wary, which may be brought in judgment against them the next day. 7. When prisoners are brought in before them, they have neither libel nor accuser, but must answer concerning things that are to be enquired after, to all questions they are pleased to ask. 8. If at any time they form a sort of libel, they will not restrict themselves to the charges thereof, but examine the person about other things altogether extraneous to the libel. 9. They have frequently suborned witnesses, and have sustained them as witnesses, who either were sent out by themselves as spies and intelligencers, or who palpably were known to delate those against whom they witnessed, out of a pick and prejudice, and yet would not suffer them to be cast for partial counsel. 10. If they suppose a man to be wary and circumspect, and more prudent than forward in the testimony; then they multiply questions, and at first many impertinent interrogations, having no connexion with the cause, to try his humour and freedom, that they may know how to deal with him: and renew and reiterate several criminal examinations, that they may know whereof, and find matter wherein, to indict him, by endeavouring to confound, or intrap, or involve him in confessions or contradictions, by wresting his words. 11. They will admit no time for advice, nor any lawful defence for a delay, but will have them to answer presently, except they have some hopes of their compliance, and find them beginning to stagger and succumb in the testimony; in that case, when a man seeks time to advise, they are animated to a keenness to impose, and encouraged to an expectation of catching by their snares, which then they contrive and prepare with greater cunning. 12. If a man should answer all their questions, and clear himself of all things they can alledge against him, yet they used to impose some of the oaths, that they concluded he would not take; and according to the measure of the tenderness they discovered in any man, so they apportioned the oaths to trap them, to the stricter

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