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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And in this extraordinary execution of justice


or not private persons, incessantly pursued unto death, and threatened with ineluctable destruction by tyrants and their emissaries, may, to save themselves from their violence, in case of extreme necessity, put forth their hand to execute judgment upon the chief and principal ringleaders, instruments and promoters of all these destructive mischiefs and miseries, who are open and avowed enemies to God, apostates, blasphemers, idolaters, tyrants, traitors, notorious incendiaries, atrocious murderers, and known and convict to be public enemies, prosecuting their murdering designs notourly and habitually, and therefore guilty of death by all laws of God and man; and in such an extraordinary case, put them to death, who have by law forfeited their lives to justice, when there is no access to public justice, no prospect of obtaining it in an orderly way, nor any probability of escaping their intended destruction, either by flight or resistance, if they be past longer unpunished; and so deliver themselves from their murdering tyranny, while they are under no acknowledged subjection to them, nor at peace with them, but maintaining a defensive resistance against them; and in this extraordinary execution of justice, being not chargeable with ignorance of matters of fact so manifest, nor mistakes of circumstances so palpable, nor with malice, rage or revenge against their persons for private and particular injuries, nor with enthusiastic impulses pretended as their rule, nor with deceit
or treachery in the manner, nor with any breach of relation or obligation, nor usurpation upon or prejudice to any lawful right whatsoever in the matter, nor with any selfish or sinistrous ends in the design; but forced to perform this work of judgment, when there is none other to do it, out of zeal for the glory of God, care of the country's good, love to their brethren, sense of their own danger, and respect to justice; to the end, that by the removal of these wicked destroyers, their war against the prevailing faction of their malignant enemies may be more successfully maintained, their religion, lives, laws, and liberties more securely defended, their brethren rescued, their murder prevented, impiety suppressed, the land cleansed from blood, and the wrath of God averted.' That this is the true state of the question, the preceeding assertions, all comprehended here, do make it evident. To which I answer in the affirmative, and shall come to give my reasons.

Secondly, Then I shall offer some reasons for this, first for some grounds and hypotheses of reason: then more expresly from scripture-proofs.

1. There may be some arguments offered from the dictates of natural reason, which I shall but only glance at.

1. I premit the consideration of the practice of all nations, even such from whom patterns have been taken for government, and who have had the most polite and purest policy, and have been the severest animadverters upon all extravagants and transgressors of their vocation: yet even among them, for private persons to destroy and rid the commonwealth of such burdens, and vile vermin so pernicious to it, was thought a virtue meriting rather commendation, than a thing to be condemned. I shall not here instance the laudable practices recorded in scripture; these may be seen in their own place. Neither do I speak of ruder nations, among whom this is a relict of reason, not of rudeness, as the Oriental Indians have a custom, whenever any person runs a muck, that is, in a revengeful fury, takes such a quantity of opium, as distracts them into such a rage of mad animosity, that they fear not to assault (which is the common operation of that portion there) and go through destroying whom they can find in their way: then every man arms against him: and is ambitious of the honour of first killing him,

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