The Trial of John Twyn for High Treason 1663/4 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 19 October 2005 21:17

The Trial of John Twyn for High Treason 1663/4 by Graham Twinn

The Trials of John Twyn, Printer, for High Treason; also of Thomas Brewster, Bookseller, Simon Dover, Printer, and Nathan Brooks, Bookbinder, for Misdemeanors, at the Old Bailey: 15 Charles 11 A.D.1663,..

Five several Indictments being drawn up, viz. one of High Treason, against John Twyn printer; and the other four for Sedition, viz. two against Thomas Brewster bookseller, one against Simon Dover printer, and one against Nathan Brooks bookbinder; were presented to the Grand Inquest in London, at the sessions of gaol delivery of Newgate, holden at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey, the 19th day of February 1663. Except that against Brooks, which was found the day following, by the same inquest. And after divers witnesses were sworn and examined before the said grand inquest, the said bills of indictment were severally returned Billa Vera.

The Names of the said Grand Inquest being as followeth, viz. Arthur Jourdan, Arthur Browne, Simon Rogers, James Whetham, Ralph Blore, Isaac Barton, Roger Locke, Thomas Cooper, Samuel Taylor, Roger Hart, John Watson, Christopher Pits, Thomas Gerrard, John Cropper, Thomas Partington, Ralph Coppinger, Matthew Peluzer.

“At the Sessions in the Old Bailey, 20th Feb. 15 Car. 2 John Twyn was indicted on the Stat 25 Ed. 3 of High Treason, for compassing and imagining the king’s death, and the overt act laid in the indictment was, the printing of a seditious, poisonous and scandalous book entituled; “A Treatise of the execution of justice, wherein is clearly proved that the execution of judgment and justice is as well the people’s as the magistrate’s duty, and if the magistrates pervert judgment, the people are bound by the law of God to execute judgment without them, and upon them.” And besides that title of the book, several passages in the book were set forth in the indictment which in substance were, first, that the supreme magistrate is accountable to the people.       2. The people are incited to take the management of the government into their own hands. 3. The people are encouraged to take up arms against the king and his family.  4. They are stirred up to revolt, as an action honourable and conscientious, and encouragements given to any town, city or county in the three kingdoms to begin the work. 5. The people are exhorted, not only to cast off their allegiance, but to put the king to death. And upon the evidence it was proved, that Twyn being a printer, by himself and servants printed this book; That he corrected some of the sheets, and that he scattered many of them to be sold; and he was found guilty, and had judgment for high treason, and was accordingly executed.
At this trial were present of the judges the chief justice Hyde and myself, and also my brother Wylde recorder of London, and resolved by all clearly that printing and publishing such wicked positions, was an overt act declaring the treason of compassing and imagining the king’s death, which was also agreed by the rest of the judges upon our discourse with them.” Kelyng.

At Justice Hall in the Old Bailey. Feb. 20, in the morning

The Court being set, Proclamation was made: “O Yes! All manner of persons that have any thing more to do at this sessions of the peace, and sessions of Oyer and Terminer, held for the city of London and sessions of gaol delivery holden for the city of London and county of Middlesex; draw near and give your attendance, for now the Court will proceed to the Pleas of the Crown of the said city and county. God save the King.”
Silence commanded.
Clerk of the Peace. Set John Twyn to the bar (who was set there accordingly) John Twyn, hold up thy hand.
Twyn. I desire to understand the meaning of it. (But being told he must hold up his hand in order to his trial, he held it up.)
Clerk. Thou standest indicted in London by the name of John Twyn, late of London, stationer, for that thou as a false traitor against the most illustrious Charles the 2nd, by the grace of God, of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, king, defender of the faith etc., thy supreme and natural lord and sovereign – not having the fear of God in thine heart, nor weighing the duty of thy allegiance, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil; and the cordial love, true duty, and natural obedience, which true and faithful subjects towards our sovereign lord the king bear, and of right ought to bear, altogether withdrawing; minding and with all thy force intending the peace and common tranquillity of this kingdom to disturb; and sedition and rebellion within these his majesty’s kingdoms to move, stir up and procure; and discord between our said sovereign and his subjects to make and move; the 27th day of October, in the year of the reign of our said sovereign lord Charles the 2nd, by the grace of God etc. the 15th, at the parish of St Bartholomew’s, in the ward of Farringdon without, London, aforesaid, traitorously didst compass, imagine and intend the death and final destruction of our said sovereign lord the king, and the ancient and regal government of England to change and subvert; and our said sovereign lord the king of his crown and regal government to depose and deprive. And these thy most wicked treasons and traitorous imaginings to fulfil, thou the said John Twyn, the said 27th day of October, in the year aforesaid, in the parish and ward aforesaid, advisedly, devilishly, and maliciously didst declare, by imprinting a certain seditious, poisonous, and scandalous book, entitled, “A Treatise of the Execution of Justice,” etc. in which said book, amongst other things, thou the said John Twyn, the 27th day of October, in the year aforesaid, in the parish and ward aforesaid, falsly, maliciously, and traitorously didst imprint, etc. – against the duty of thy allegiance, and the statute in that case made and provided; and against the peace of our said sovereign lord the King, his crown and dignity.
What sayst thou, John Twyn; art thou guilty of this high treason whereof thou standest indicted, or Not Guilty?
Twyn. With all due submission to your honours, I desire to speak a few words.
L.C.J. Hyde. You must first plead to your Indictment, and then you may say what you will; that is the rule of the law. We receive no expostulations till you have pleaded to the indictment, Guilty or Not Guilty.
Twyn. I do not intend to answer to the Indictment, by what I shall now say; I am a poor man, have a family and three small children; I am ignorant of the law, and have been kept prisoner divers months ---
L.C.J. Hyde. Pray plead to the Indictment; you shall be heard, say what you will afterwards.
Twyn. I humbly thank you, my lord.
Clerk.  Are you Guilty or Not Guilty?
Twyn. I beseech you to allow me counsel, and some consideration; I desire it with all submission.
L.C.J.Hyde. You must plead first; then ask what you will.
Clerk. Are you Guilty or Not Guilty?
Twyn. Not Guilty of those crimes.
L.C.J.Hyde. God forbid you should.
Clerk. How wilt thou be tried?
Twyn. I desire to be tried in the presence of that God that is the Searcher of all hearts, and the disposer of all things.
L.C.J.Hyde. God Almighty is present here; there is no other trial by the law of England, but by God and the peers, that is the country, honest men. You shall have all your challenges, and all that is due to you, by the help of God; we are bound to be your counsel, to see you have no wrong; therefore put yourself upon your trial; say how you will be tried.
Twyn. I desire to be tried in the presence of God.
L.C.J.Hyde. So you shall; God Almighty is present here, looks down, and beholds what we do here; and we shall answer severely, if we do you any wrong. We are as careful of our souls, as you can be of yours. You must answer in the words of the law.
Twyn. By God and the Country.
Clerk. God send thee a good deliverance.
L.C.J.Hyde. Now say what you will.
Twyn. I am a very poor man.
L.C.J.Hyde. Nay, let me interrupt you thus far; whatever you speak in your defence, to acquit yourself of this crime, that you may reserve till by and by. This is but an arraignment; afterwards the evidence for the king is to be heard, then make your defence. If you have any witnesses on your part, let’s know their names, we will take care they shall come in. If I did not mistake, you desired to have Counsel; was that your request?
Twyn. Yes.
L.C.J.Hyde. Then I will tell you, we are bound to be of counsel with you, in point of law; that is, the court, my brethren and myself, are to see that you suffer nothing for your want of knowledge in matter of law; I say, we are to be of counsel with you. But for this horrid crime, (I will hope in charity you are not guilty of it, but if you are) it is the most abominable and barbarous treason that ever I heard of, or any man else; the very title of the book (if there were no more) is as perfectly treason as possibly can be. The whole book through, all that is read in the Indictment, not one sentence, but is as absolute high treason as ever I yet heard of. A company of mad brains, under pretence of the worship and service of God, to bring in all villainies and atheism (as is seen in that book.) What a horrid thing is this! But you shall have free liberty of defending yourself. To the matter of fact, whether it be so or no; in this case the law does not allow you counsel to plead for you; but in matter of law, we are of counsel for you, and it shall be our care to see that you have no wrong done you.

Simon Dover, Thomas Brewster, and Nathan Brooks are now similarly brought before the court, indicted and plead Not Guilty.


Clerk. Set John Twyn, Simon Dover, Thomas Brewster, and Nathan Brooks to the bar.
Clerk. John Twyn, those men that you shall hear called, and personally appear, must pass between our sovereign lord the king and you, upon trial of your life or death; if you will challenge them or any of them, you must do it when they come to the book to be sworn, before they be sworn. And you that are for seditions and offences, look to your challenges.
Dover. We desire we may have a jury of booksellers and printers, they being the men that only understand our business.
L.C.J.Hyde. There are those already that understand it as well as booksellers or printers; besides, half the jury are such, and they are able to make the rest understand it; but you may challenge whom you will.

The Jury were, William Samborne, William Rutland, Thomas Honylove, Robert Lucas, Robert Beversham, Richard Royston, William Hall, John Williams, James Flesher, Simon Waterson, Samuel Thomson, Thomas Roycroft. Who were severally sworn by the oath following;” You shall well and truly try, and true deliverance make, between our sovereign lord the king, and the prisoners at the bar, whom you shall have in charge, according to your evidence. So help you God”.
All Four. We are all satisfied with the jury.
Clerk. Crier, make proclamation. “O Yes! If any one can inform my lords the king’s justices, the king’s serjeant, or the king’s attorney, before this inquest be taken between our sovereign lord the king and the prisoners at the bar, let them come forth, and they shall be heard; for now the prisoners stand at the bar upon their deliverance; and all others that are bound by recognizance to give evidence, against any of the prisoners at the bar, come forth and give evidence, or else you will forfeit your recognizance.”
Clerk. John Twyn, hold up thy hand. You of the jury, look upon the prisoner and hearken to his cause; you shall understand that he stands indicted in London by the name of John Twyn, late of London, stationer. (Here the Indictment is read over again.) Upon this Indictment he hath been arraigned and thereunto hath pleaded Not Guilty; and for his trial, hath put himself upon God and the country, which country you are. Your charge is to enquire whether he be guilty of the high treason, in manner and form as he stands indicted, or not guilty. If you find him guilty, you shall inquire what goods and chattels, lands and tenements he had at the time of committing the said treason, or at any time sithence. If you find him not guilty, you shall enquire whether he fled for it; if you find that he fled for it, you shall enquire of his goods and chattels, lands and tenements, as if you had found him guilty; if you find him not guilty, nor that he did fly for it, say so, and no more, and hear your evidence.
Mr North, Barrister of the law. John Twyn stands here indicted, for that he as a false traitor to the most illustrious Charles the 2nd etc., not having the fear of God before his eyes, nor weighing the duty of his allegiance, etc. (Here was opened the form of the Indictment.) To which he hath pleaded Not Guilty; if there shall be sufficient evidence given you of the charge in the indictment, you must do the king and the nation that justice, as to find him guilty, that sentence of law may pass on him.

To here
Mr Serj. Morton. May it please your lordships, and you gentlemen that are sworn of this Jury, I am of counsel with the king against John Twyn, the prisoner here at bar, who stands indicted of a most horrid and damnable treason; it is, the compassing and imagining the death of the king, to deprive him of his crown and royal government, and to alter and change the ancient legal and fundamental government of this kingdom; which he has endeavoured to do, and did intend to do, by printing a traitorous and seditious Book, which in itself contains as many and as great treasons as it was possible either for the malice of the devil, or the corrupt and treasonable thoughts of blood-thirsty men to invent; it contains treasons against the king in his own royal person; against his government, both ecclesiastical and civil; full of treasons as my Lord Chief Justice was pleased to observe to you, treasons against the queen, scandals against all manner of professions both in church and kingdom, of magistracy and ministry.  My lord, there are in this Indictment, thirteen paragraphs of that treasonable book recited; and each of them contains as many treasons as there be lines in it.  Nay, my Lord, this treasonable book was intended to set a flame in this nation, to raise and stir up rebellion in this kingdom against the king and his government.  I shall observe to your lordship the time when it was to be printed; it was in the beginning of October, your lordship knows, and I do not doubt but the Jury have heard, that there was a great and dangerous design in this nation, set on foot by men of dangerous principles, to embroil this nation in a new war, for the destruction of the king and his government.  It was executed in part, as far as time and other circumstances would give way and leave to the undertakers (the 12th of October last); and, my lord, it was proved upon the execution of a Commission of Oyer and Terminer at York, that there was a council here on London, that sat to prepare matter for an universal rebellion all England over.  They sent their agitators into the north, west, and all parts, to give notice to their party to be ready to rise at a certain time.  Several days were appointed, but it seems they could not be ready till the 12th of October; for the seditious books that were to lead on that design, and the libels and declarations could not be printed before that day. And truly that had been printed and published too, if there had not been great diligence used by the king’s agents and ministers, to take them just as they were preparing it.  This book, gentlemen, doth contain a great deal of scandal upon the king’s government, dispersing false and base rumours, to the prejudice of it.  It is a rule in my lord Coke, “That the dispersing of false and evil rumours against the king and government, and libels upon justices of the kingdom, they are the forerunners of rebellion.”
We shall now go to the Proof; We shall prove that this prisoner at the bar, to print this Book, had two presses in one room; That he himself did work at one of those presses, his servants at the other by his command, and in his presence; That he did compose part of it, print the sheets, correct the proofs, and revise them all in his own house, which were corrected and brought back into the work-house by himself, in so short a time, that they could not be carried abroad to correct, so that he must needs correct them himself; That this work was done in the night-time (and it was proper, as it was a deed of great darkness, and not fit indeed to see the light; and it was well it was strangled in the birth, or else for ought I know, we might by this time have been wallowing in our blood). We shall make it appear that this man, when Mr L’Estrange came to search his house, broke the forms, conveyed away as many of the sheets as he could from the press to other places; yet notwithstanding, God’s providence was so great in the thing, that he left there three or four sheets, which Mr L’Estrange then seized on, and many more within a little time after; And somewhat of the same matter remained upon part of a form of letter, which his haste would not give him leave to break.  When he was charged with it by Mr L’Estrange, he confessed that he had printed some sheets of this seditious Book; and being demanded by Mr L’Estrange, what he thought of it? He told him, he thought it “was mettlesome stuff”. He had great joy in it; he confessed he had received money for printing of this; and much other matter, taken upon examination before Mr Secretary. We shall call our witnesses; I should have observed to you, that this man would have done it with all the privacy that could be, and to be done forthwith; there was great haste of it, about the beginning of October, and the design in the north was upon the 12th; so that it was clearly intended for that design.
Several witnesses were sworn
Joseph Walker. My lord, whereas my master is indicted for printing this Book ---
Ld. Hyde. Your master! Who is your master?
Walker. He at the bar.
Ld.Hyde. What say you of it?
Walker. I desire to see the Book; (it was shewed him.) About the four first pages of this Treatise I composed.
Ld. Hyde. Who delivered it to you to compose?
Walker. My master delivered the copy to me.
Ld.Hyde. What do you mean by composing?
Walker.  Setting the letters.
Ld. Hyde. Well, and you set the letters to print according to the copy; and you had it of your master, had you?
Walker. Yes, my lord; but all this copy we did not print.
(Part of the copy in Manuscript being shewed him, he said, he composed by that copy.)
Serj. Morton. How much did you print?
Walker. About three sheets.
Serj. Morton. How many of those did your master compose?
Walker. Truly, sir, I cannot tell.
Ld Hyde. Did he compose one?
Walker. As to a whole one, I cannot say.
Mr Recorder (Mr Serj. Wilde).Did he compose the Title?
Walker. Here is no Title.
Mr Recorder. No? Read the top.
Walker. A Treatise of the Execution, etc. (He reads the Title)
Mr Recorder. Did your master compose that? – Walker. No, I did.
Ld Hyde. Did your master give you that to compose? – Walker. Yes.
Serj. Morton. Who composed the second, third and fourth sheets?
Walker. I composed some of them, but to particularize, I cannot.
Ld. Hyde. Who gave you what you did?
Walker. My master.
Ld. Hyde. Can you turn to any part of that you did compose?
Walker. I cannot tell that.
Ld.Hyde. You composed, you say, four pages; There are eight in a sheet; Who composed the other of the same sheet?
Walker. I think my master did.
Ld Hyde. At the same time, and in the same room with you?
Walker. He wrought not in the same room.
Ld. Hyde. After you had stamped the sheet, who did peruse and over-read it, to see if it were right?
Walker. I carried them into the kitchen, and laid them down upon the dresser by my master.
Ld Hyde. Who compared them?
Walker. I know not.
Ld. Hyde. Who brought them back to you?
Walker. My master brought them into the workhouse, and laid them down.
Ld. Hyde. Was there anybody in the house that might correct it?
Walker. Not that I saw.
Ld. Hyde. When you had carried a sheet down, how long was it ere it was brought back again?
Walker. About an hour, or an hour and a half.
Ld.Hyde. Was there any body in the house besides you and your master?
Walker. There was my fellow-apprentice, and the woman that keeps the house.
Ld. Hyde. Were there no strangers there?
Walker. No, my lord.
Recorder. Were they printed in your master’s house? –Walker. Yes.
Serj. Morton. What room?
Walker. In the press- room.
Serj. Morton. Did your master work at the press about this work any part of the time?
Walker. Yes, I saw him beat some sheets.
Ld.Hyde. When you had printed one sheet, were there not some mistakes of the letters to be mended?
Walker. Yes, there were literals
Ld.Hyde. Who made the amendments?
Walker. Upon my oath, I cannot tell.
Ld.Hyde. Do you believe it to be your master’s?
Walker. I cannot tell that.
Ld.Hyde. Have you seen your master write heretofore?
Walker. I have seen him write, but because I have heard of them that could counterfeit mens hands, I dare not swear it was his writing.
Ld. Hyde. Were the amendments that were brought back like his hand?
Walker. The letters were something like them, but I cannot swear positively that they were his.
Ld.Hyde. No, that you cannot, unless you saw him write them; but was it like his hand?
Walker. It was not much unlike his hand.
Mr. Recorder. Did not your master use to correct other works before this?
Walker. Yes.
Recorder. Then by the oath that you have taken, were not the corrections of this book like those of other corrections of his own hand?
Walker. I know not that
Recorder. Did anybody correct books in your house but your master?
Walker. No, sir.
Serj. Morton. Did you see your master with copy?
Walker. Yes, he had copy before him.
Serj. Morton. What time was this printed? By night or by day?
Walker. In the night-time.
Serj. Morton. What directions did your master give you about printing it? Did he direct any privacy?
Walker. He was not much desirous of that.
Recorder. At what time did you work about it?
Walker. In the morning, from two till four or five.
Serj.Morton. Pray, sir, thus; were you in the house when Mr L’Estrange came up?
Walker. Yes.
Serj. Morton. Were you at work then or before?
Walker. Not when he was above, but immediately before I was.
Recorder. You are not bound to conceal treason, though you are bound to keep your master’s secrets.
Serj. Morton. What were you then at work upon?
Walker. Upon the signature D, the sheet D of this treatise.
Serj. Morton. What did your master say, when you told him Mr. L’Estrange was below?
Walker. Very few words; I cannot be positive in them.
Serj. Morton. To what purpose were they?
Walker. Hearing somebody knock at the door, I went down into the composing-room, and looked through the window, and saw people; I imagined Mr. L’Estrange was there, and I told my master; whereupon he said, He was undone, or to that effect.
Recorder. Did he not wish you to make haste in composing it?
Walker. No, he did not.
Recorder. How long had you been at work upon it? How many days?
Walker. I cannot tell justly.
Recorder. You can guess.
Walker. About three or four days.
Recorder. Did not your master work in that time?
Walker. He was in the work-house and did set letters.
Recorder. Did he not likewise print?
Walker. Yes, he did.
Serj. Morton. Did not you, by his direction, break the form which Mr L’Estrange came to search?
Walker. I brake one indeed.
Serj. Morton. What became of the other?
Walker. My fellow-apprentice brake it.
Serj. Morton. By whose direction?
Walker. I had no orders for it; I brought it down, and went to set against a post, and it fell in pieces.
Serj. Morton. Did you ask your master who delivered him this copy to print?
Walker. I did ask him two several times; but he made no answer.
Ld. Hyde. Did he not say, “He would not tell you;” or that “it was no matter to you;” nor nothing?
Walker. Yes, he did afterwards say, “it was no matter to me.”
Recorder. Did not your master nor fellow-apprentice tell you who brought the copy?
Walker. No.
Recorder. And did not you know?
Walker. No.
Serj. Morton. Was he not used to tell you the author of books that you printed?
Walker. The authors he did not; but for whom they were printed he used to tell me. My lord, I humbly beg pardon for what I did, I was his apprentice.
Ld. Hyde. How many sheets did you print?
Walker. Two reams on a sheet, which makes a thousand.
Ld. Hyde. The first page being the title of it, your master brought to you to compose; at the same time when you were composing one part, your master was composing another part of the same sheet in the next room; and part of it your master did print as well as compose; I think you said this?
Walker. Yes.
Ld. Hyde. Likewise that the proofs were carried to him to overlook, and he brought them back within an hour, or an hour and a half after, and laid them down in the work-house; and that you saw the hand of the amendments, but you cannot swear it was his, only you say that it was not unlike it; and that he had corrected former sheets that you had printed, and that the hand with which he corrected others and this, was alike; and that there was no stranger in the house to correct it?
Walker. Not that I saw.
Ld Hyde. This is the substance of what you said? – Walker. Yes.
Recorder. Did your other man, or you ever correct? – Walker. No.
Recorder. Did he use other correctors at any time?
Walker. Yes, about some books.
Recorder. What books?
Walker. Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity.
Ld Hyde. You did rise to work at two of the clock in the morning about it; and your master said when you told him Mr L’Estrange was below, that he was undone?
Walker. It was so, my lord.
North. Mr L’Estrange, pray tell my lord and the jury of your taking this.
Mr L’Estrange. My lord, I do remember, that three or four days, or thereabouts, before the 12th of October last, I had notice of a press that had been at work for several nights in Cloth Fair, and employed a person to watch the house; who told me that they still gave over early in the morning, at day-light or soon after. At length intelligence was brought me in these very words, “That now they were at it as hard as they could drive” (which was about four in the morning). I arose, went to one of the king’s messengers, and desired him to take a printer by the way; who did so. And I called up a constable, and so went to Twyn’s house, where we heard them at work. I knocked a matter of a quarter of an hour, and they would not open the door, so that I was fain to send for a smith and force it; but they perceiving that opened the door and let us in.  There was a light when we came; but before the door was opened, it was put out. When I was got upstairs, and a candle lighted, I found a form broken (that is, the letters dispersed), only one corner of it standing entire; which was compared by a printer that was there, with a corner of a page newly printed, and appeared to be the same.  This form was brought down out of the press-room into the composing-room.  As yet we could not find the whole impression; but at last they were found thrown down a pair of back-stairs.  I remember they told me the impression was a thousand.  I asked him where he had the copy? He told me, He knew not, it was brought to him by an unknown hand.  I told him he must give an account of it.  He told me at the last, He had it from Calvert’s maid. I asked him where the copy was?  He told me, He could not tell. (When I speak of the copy, I mean the manuscript.)  We searched near two hours, and could not find it; And at length went thence to the constable’s house in Smithfield, and staid there a while with the prisoner.  I asked him, Mr Twyn, said I, who corrected this sheet?  Alas, said he, I have no skill in such things.  Who revised it then? Who fitted it for press?  Truly I had nobody but myself; I read it over.  What thought you upon reading it?  Methought it was mettlesome stuff; The man was a hot fiery man that wrote it.  But he knew no hurt in it.
Serj. Morton. When you had taken these sheets, were they wet or not?
L’Estrange. They were not only wet, but half of them were imperfect, printed only on one side.  Missing the copy, I told him after he was carried to Whitehall; Mr Twyn (said I) it may possibly do you some good yet, to bring forth the copy. If you will be so ingenuous to produce the copy and discover the author, you may find mercy for yourself; pray therefore get this copy. Perchance I may make some use of it.  After that his servant Bazilla Windsor brought out this part of the copy. (Producing a sheet of Manuscript in court.)
Ld. Hyde. Joseph Walker, was the whole copy of this book in the house when you composed that which you did?
Walker. I cannot tell; I saw it but sheet by sheet.
Recorder. Did not you see the whole entire copy in your master’s hand?
Walker. No; But (taking some part of the manuscript in his hand, said) this is the hand that I composed by.
Recorder. Mr L’Estrange, where had you the entire copy?
L’Estrange. It was only the copy of the last sheet, that I took in the press.
Recorder. Who helped you to that?
L’Estrange. Bazilla Windsor, by direction of the prisoner, as I conceive. For I told him, if you can help me to the copy, it may do you some good; and soon after part of it was brought me by her.  I asked Mr Twyn further, How did you dispose of those sheets which you had printed, those several heaps, whither are they gone?  He told me, he had delivered those sheets to mistress Calvert’s maid at the Rose in Smithfield.
Recorder. You say he told you mistress Calvert’s maid received them of him; did you since speak with that maid?
L’Estrange. I was long in searching Twyn’s house, and one of his apprentices made his escape, and probably gave notice of it; For the night I went to mistress Calvert’s house, she and the maid too were fled.  I have since taken the mistress, and she is now in custody; I have heard nothing of the maid since.
Justice Keeling. Twyn owned to you that he had corrected some of the sheets; that he had read them, and said, it was mettlesome stuff.
L’Estrange. I did ask him in the house of the constable, Who corrected this? The corrector must certainly know what it was.  Said he,” I have no skill in correcting.”  But when I speak of correcting, I mean who revised it, over-looked it for the press? “I read it over,” says he.
Twyn. I never said such a word.
L’Estrange. He spake this in the presence of two or three here present.  Could you read over this book, said I, and not know that it was not fit to be printed?  “I thought it was a hot fiery fellow; it was mettle, or mettlesome stuff.” Somewhat to that effect.
Serj. Morton. What did you hear him confess before sir Henry Bennet?
L’Estrange. He owned the thing; that is, he acknowledged he had printed the sheet I showed there, and two other sheets of the same treatise.
Serj. Morton. Did he acknowledge he corrected them?
L’Estrange. I know not whether before sir Henry Bennet he did, or no.
Serj. Morton. What know you about money received by him?
L’Estrange. He said Calvert’s maid paid him 40s in part for that work.
Twyn. I said I had received money of Calvert’s maid for work I had done; but named not that.

Mr Dickenson sworn.

About the 7th day of October, it being Wednesday, as I remember, about five o’clock, we attended Mr L’Estrange, myself and others; we came to the house of the prisoner in Cloth Fair, and upon the back-side of his house we stood listening a good while, and heard presses a working. Upon that I came to the forepart, by Mr L’Estrange’s order, and knocked; but none would answer. I took the constable’s staff, and knocked again; and none would answer yet.  After that Mr L’Estrange knocked near half an hour; and no body coming, he at last sent for a smith’s hammer to force it open.  Afterwards they came down and opened the door.  Then Mr L’Estrange and the printer (Mr Mabb) went up stairs.  I continued below with the constable and the king’s messenger, to observe whether any went in or out.  After which, some sheets fell down on the other side of the house.  Meeting with one of them, and perceiving they had discovered the sheets they enquired after, I read some part of it; and finding what it was, I went up and found the sheets thrown behind the door.  Mr Twyn (said I), I wonder you would print such a thing as this, you could not chuse but know that it was very dangerous to do any such thing.  He answered,” That he did not consider what it was.” Questionless, said I, you could not but know it was very dangerous; for when you revised it, you must needs know the sense of it.  I think it was a dangerous business; what did you think of it?  Says he, “I thought he was a good smart angry fellow, it was mettlesome stuff;” or to that purpose.  This was the substance of our discourse.
I did see some of the sheets printed on one side, and some on both sides; the form lay disordered; yet not so but there was one corner of it yet remaining, and I having the sheet in my hand did compare them together, and to the best of my remembrance, I do remember these very words, “Execution of Judgment”, and “Lord have.”
Ld. Hyde. Who did he say revised the press?
Dickenson. He seemed to confess that he had corrected it himself; for when I urged it to him, that he could not chuse but know the matter of it by reading it; truly, says he, “I thought he was an angry smart fellow; it was good mettlesome stuff, indeed.”
Judge Keeling. The question asked by my Lord is, Whether he did confess he revised it, or whether you did collect it from his reply?
Dickenson. Truly, by that answer I guessed he corrected it.
Recorder. Did he confess that he read it?
Dickenson. I put that question to him; and, to the best of my remembrance, he did not deny it.
Ld. Hyde. To Mr L’Estrange he confessed he read it over.

Thomas Mabb sworn.

My Lord, I was with Mr L’Estrange in this man’s house; and being there, going up, we found the press had been lately at work.  There was at each press a sheet laid; I took them off the tinpin (some of the jury understand that term); they were just laid upon the points, printed on one side.  I gave Mr L’Estrange these two sheets, the same with these (shewing two sheets), some were perfect, others imperfect.  I could not find the form a great while.  I gave him the sheet to peruse; and in the mean while I went down, and below I found the two forms, but broken; somewhat indeed was standing, whereof I took part in my hand, and read in the letters.  Mr Dickenson having the sheets, he heard what I read, and looking on the sheets, found them agree.
Twyn. What were the words that you read?
Mabb. The words were “Execution and Judgment,” and “Lord have.”  There was a back pair of stairs out of his press-room, partly between his house and his neighbours; and in the hurry they had thrown the sheets down there; part fell behind the door, and part at the bottom.  When I questioned him how many was done, he said 500; but I adjudged those I saw to be about 750.  Looking again over the door, I espied the remainder of the sheets, about 250 more, and I brought them together; and then he owned there was 1000.
Ld. Hyde. What else do you know?
Mabb. At the constable’s house I heard him use the words, that “it was mettlesome stuff,” and that  “no body corrected it but himself.”  Said I, I wonder you would offer to do it; you could not compose it, but you must understand it.  Said he, “It was my bad fortune to meddle with it.”  Said I, You lost a press but a little while since, I wonder you would do this.  He seemed to be sorrowful.
Serj. Morton. He did confess he corrected it?
Mabb. Yes, my Lord.
Twyn. No, my Lord, I did not.

John Wickham sworn.

Upon the 7th of October, as I take it, about four o’clock in the morning, Mr L’Estrange came to my house, being one of the king’s messengers, and told me I must go immediately with him to Cloth Fair, and sent me to call one Mr Mabb by the way.  I met Mr L’Estrange near Mr Twyn’s house between five and six o’clock; we had a constable, and went and knocked at the door; they knocked at least half an hour before they got in.  I heard some papers tumbling down, and heard a rattling above, before they went up.  But I stood at the back door, to secure any from running out that way; and at last, when they said there were some sheets thrown into the next house, I went and looked, and there were two or three hundred, and they were wet, newly come off the press.  That is all I can say.
Serj. Morton. Did you hear this man say that he had corrected it?
Wickham. No; but I having him in custody at my house, I asked him about it; he said, “It was a very bitter thing, that it was his unhappy fortune to meet with it.”
Jury. Did he confess he printed it?
Wickham. Not to me.
Serj. Morton. He said, “It was a bitter thing;” and that “it was his unhappy fortune to meet with it.”  Make the best of that; compare that with the rest of the evidence.

William Story sworn.

Gentlemen of the jury, upon the 7th of October last, early in the morning, I was sent for to Mr L’Estrange into Cloth Fair; we went to the house of this Twyn.  After some time knocking, they went up stairs, and brought down several papers; I know not what they were.  I went into the next house with Mr Wickham, and there we found two or three hundred sheets, and brought them to Mr L’Estrange.  I asked the prisoner at my house, whether he could not write or read?  He said, Yes.  Did not you know treason when you read it?  “It was a fiery thing; I did not mind it much; but I should have got money by it.”
Mabb. He owned he had but a very small price for the doing of it.

Mr Joseph Williamson sworn.

That which I can say is, that I know this (looking upon a paper) to be my own hand writing, and to be the examination taken of this Twyn.  I took it; and he owned it after it was written.
Serj. Morton. What was the substance of it?
Ld. Hyde. What did he confess before Mr Secretary, when he was examined?
Williamson. He said, that the copy of the book was brought to him by one Evans, maid to Mrs Calvert.  That for the author, being asked if he knew him, he said he did not; and that he had seen the copy of three sheets of the book; that he had printed only two of those sheets, a thousand exemplaries of each.
Judge Keeling. Did he confess that?
Williamson. Yes.  And further, That he had delivered them to this Evans at the sign of the Rose in Smithfield; that he himself had corrected those sheets he had printed, and that he had read them after they were printed; that for his pains and printing of them, he had received 40s in part from this maid at the delivery of them at the Rose; that the maid carried away those exemplaries from the Rose; and that he parted with her at the door.
Serj. Morton. I hope you observe, gentlemen.  We have now done; we desire the prisoner may give his answer to it; and then we shall make our reply.
Ld. Hyde. What say you?  You have heard the witnesses, and what is laid to your charge.
Twyn. I did never read a line of it in my life.
Ld. Hyde. That’s impossible. I’ll tell you; First, your own man, who set part, swears you did both set and print part of this book yourself; you gave him the title to set.  You composed one part of the book, whilst he was composing another part.  Is it possible you could compose, and not read a line of it? He tells you further, when the first sheet was printed, he brought it into the kitchen, and laid it down, knew not of any one in the house but yourself; about an hour, or an hour and a half after, you brought it back again corrected, laid it down; and the hand that corrected it was not unlike your hand upon other correction of books.  Pray, brother Morton, let the jury have books, and Mr Lee read the Indictment, that they may see they agree.
Serj. Morton. I observed to you there were thirteen treasonable Paragraphs; you shall find them marked out in the margent.
Ld. Hyde. You shall see there are treasons with a witness; see the very title.
Mr Lee. (Reads the Title of the Indictment) “A Treatise of the Execution of Justice; wherein is clearly proved, that the Execution of Judgment and Justice is as well the people’s as the magistrates’ duty; and if the magistrates pervert Judgment, the people are bound by the law of God to execute Judgment without them and upon them.”
Ld. Hyde. That you gave to your man to set.
Mr Lee reads, “It is one of the scarlet sins of this nation, that the people suffered their Rulers, etc” – The particular Passages are too impious to be published, and indeed too foul to be repeated, but in substance.  Those mentioned in the Indictment are as follows:
1. The Supreme Magistrate is made accountable to the people.
2. The People are rebelliously incited to take the menage of the government into their own hands.
3. They are animated to take up arms, not only against the person of his sacred majesty, but likewise against the royal family.
4. They are stirred up to a Revolt (in that very term) as an action honourable and conscientious; making publication in the next clause of encouragement to any town, city, or country in the three nations to begin the work.
5. The people are laboured not only to cast off their allegiance to the king, but in direct terms to put his sacred majesty to death.  And to the purposes before mentioned tends the whole scope of the Treatise.
Serj Morton. You may judge of the rest by this; we will not put you to any more expence of time; there hath been sufficient treason in that which you have read.
Ld. Hyde. Now say what you will.  But I must tell you, in those particulars that have been compared, there is as much villainy and slander, as is possible for the devil or man to invent.  It is to destroy the king in his person, to rob him of the love and affections of his people, to destroy the whole family, and all government, ecclesiastical and civil.  And this you read by yourself, owned, and caused to be printed.
Twyn. Except it was that sheet which Mr L’Estrange read to me when I was taken, I never heard it before, nor read it.
Ld. Hyde. Your man swears that you did set and print part of it; it is impossible to compose and set, but you must read it.  Nay, you did examine and correct the sheets; brought them up again.  Mr L’Estrange swears you confessed you read it over; it was “mettlesome stuff”.  Mr Dickenson says, you did not say you read it over; but he saying to you it was impossible you should set it and not read it, you told him also it was “mettlesome stuff”.  You could not judge it to be “mettlesome stuff”, but you must read it.  There is Mr Williamson says, that you confessed before Mr Secretary Bennet that you had seen three sheets, printed off two sheets; corrected those two sheets; and after printed, and delivered them; and that you had 40s in part of payment.  Besides this, when Mr L’Estrange came first, you were up (nay, at two o’clock in the morning).  When they came and knocked at the door, they heard presses going, you would make no answer till they called a smith, with intent to force it open.  When they came in, they found a form brought out of the printing-room, and broken, all but one corner; that taken up by a printer, and compared with the lines of the printed sheets, and found to agree.  Some of the sheets were printed on one side only, the rest perfected, you threw them down stairs, part into your neighbour’s house, you said you were undone, when you understood Mr L’Estrange was there.  What needed all this, but that you knew what you were doing, and did it purposely to do mischief?  
Twyn. I did never read or hear a line of it, but when Mr L’Estrange read it when I was taken.
Judge Keeling. Was it printed at your house, or no?
Twyn. I know not but that it might; Not that I did it with my own hand.
Judge Keeling. The papers were found wet with you; Who was in your house?
Twyn. My two servants.
Judge Keeling. Did any set them at work but yourself?  Did they work of their own heads?
Twyn. I did use to set them at work; but I did not set them on that particular work.
Ld. Hyde. Have you any thing else to say?  God forbid but you should be heard; but the jury will not easily believe such denials against so much evidence.
Judge Keeling. Tell us to whom you carried this copy to be corrected?
Twyn. I know not who corrected it.
Ld. Hyde. If you have any thing to say, speak it; God forbid but you should have a full hearing; Say what you will.
Twyn. I say I did not read it, nor heard it, till Mr L’Estrange read it.
Ld. Hyde. Have you any thing else?
Twyn. It is possible I may, upon consideration.
Ld. Hyde. We cannot spend all the day. I must let the jury know they are not to take your testimony.
Serj. Morton. I am counsel for the king. I shall reply, if he will say no more.
Judge Keeling. You have heard your charge; this is your time to make your answer.  If you do not speak now, you must not speak after.  Therefore if you have any thing to speak in your justification, or witnesses to call, now is your time.
Ld Hyde. Let me give you this caution. We cannot spend time in vain; we have other business before us, and it grows late.  The best counsel I can give you, is this.  You said at first, that you desired to be tried in the presence of God.  You are here in the presence of Almighty God, and I would to God you would have so much care of yourself, and do so much right to yourself, to declare the truth, that there may be means of mercy to you.  The best you can now do towards amends for this wickedness you have done, is by discovering the author of this villainous book.  If not, you must not expect, and indeed God forbid that there should be any mercy towards you.
Twyn. I never knew the author of it, nor who it was, nor whence it came, but as I told you.
Ld Hyde. Then we must not trouble ourselves.  Did you never see the hand before, with which this copy is written?
Twyn. No.
Ld. Hyde. I am very confident you would not then have been so mad, as to have taken such a copy; a copy fraught with such abominable treason and lies; abusing, in the first place, the late king that is dead, who was, I will be bound to say it, as virtuous, religious, pious, merciful, and just a prince as ever reigned, and was as villainously and barbarously used by his rebellious subjects.  Nay, you have not rested here, but have fallen upon this king, who has been gentle and merciful beyond all precedent.  Since he came to the crown, he has spared those that had forfeited their lives, and all they had; and he has endeavoured to oblige all the rest of his people by mildness and clemency.  And after all this, for you to publish so horrid a book, you can never make amends.  God forgive you for it.
Twyn .I never knew what was in it.
Ld. Hyde. You of the jury, I will say only this; that in point of law, in the first place, there is no doubt in the world, by the law of the land, the publishing such a book as this, is as high a treason as can be committed; by this he has endeavoured to take away the life of the king, and destroy the whole family, and so consequently to deliver us up into the hands of foreigners and strangers.  It is a great blessing that we have the royal line amongst us.  But, I say, there is no question (and my brothers will declare the same, if you doubt it) that this book is as fully treason by the old statute, as much the compassing and endeavouring the death of the king, as possible.  And he rests not there, but incites the people to rebellion, to dethrone him, to raise war.  And the publishing of this book is all one and the same, as if he had raised an army to do this.  The proof is, that he set part, printed part, and corrected it; by his own confession, read it over, “It was mettlesome stuff”; confessed how many sheets he printed; the reward and recompence, you took notice of it.  And I presume no man among you can doubt but the witnesses have spoken true; and for his answer, you have nothing but his bare denial.  And so we shall leave it to you.

Then the jury went out; and after about half an hour’s consultation, they returned to the Court, and took their places.
Clerk. Are you all agreed of your verdict?
Jury. Yes.
Clerk. Who shall say for you?
Jury. The foreman.
Clerk. Set John Twyn to the bar.  Look upon him, my masters, how say you, is he Guilty of the High Treason whereof he stands indicted, or Not Guilty?
Foreman. Guilty.
Clerk. of Newgate. Look to him, Keeper.
Clerk. Hearken to your verdict, as the court hath recorded it.  You say that John Twyn is Guilty of the High Treason whereof he stood indicted, and that at the time of committing the said Treason, or any part since, he had no goods, chattles, lands nor tenements, to your knowledge; and so say you all?
Jury. Yes,
Clerk. John Twyn, thou has been arraigned for High Treason, and thereunto hast pleaded Not Guilty, and for thy trial hast put thyself upon God and the country, and the country hath found thee Guilty; what canst thou say for thyself, why the court should not proceed to judgment, and thereupon award execution of death against thee, according to the law?
Twyn. I humbly beg mercy.  I am a poor man, and have three small children, I never read a word of it.
Ld. Hyde. I’ll tell you what you shall do.  Ask mercy of them that can give it; that is of God and the king.
Twyn. I humbly beseech you to intercede with his majesty for mercy.
Clerk of Newgate. Tie him up, Executioner,
Crier. O Yes! My lords the king’s justices command all manner of persons to keep silence while judgment is in giving, upon pain of imprisonment.
Ld Hyde. John Twyn, I am heartily sorry that your carriage and grievous offences should draw me to give that Judgment upon you that I must.  It is the law pronounces it, god knows it is full sore against my inclination to do it.  I will not trouble myself or you with repeating what you have done; but only this in the general, John Twyn, for you.  Yours is the most grievous and highest treason, and the most complicated of all wickedness that ever I knew; for you have, as much as possibly lay in you, so reproached and reviled the king, the dead king, and his posterity, on purpose to endeavour to root them out from off the face of the earth.  I speak it from my soul, I think we have the greatest happiness of the world, in enjoying what we do under so gracious and good a king; yet you in the rancour of your heart thus to abuse him!  I will be so charitable to think you are misled.  There’s nothing that pretends to religion, that will avow or justify the killing of kings, but the Jesuit on the one side, and the Sectary on the other; indeed, it is a desperate and dangerous doctrine, fomented by divers of your temper, and it’s high time some be made examples for it.  I shall not spend my time in discourse to you, to prepare you for death.  I see a grave person whose office it is, and I leave it to him.  Do not think of any time here, make your peace with God, which must be done by confession, and by the discovery of those that are guilty of the same crime with you.  God have mercy upon you; and if you so do, he will have mercy upon you.  But forasmuch as you John Twyn have been indicted of High Treason, you have put yourself upon God and the country to try you, and the country have found you Guilty; therefore the Judgment of the court is, and the court doth award, “That you be led back to the place from whence you came, and from thence to be drawn upon an hurdle to the place of execution; and there you shall be hanged by the neck, and being alive, shall be cut down, and your privy members shall be cut off, your entrails shall be taken out of your body, and you living, the same to be burnt before your eyes; your head to be cut off, your body to be divided into four quarters and your head and quarters to be disposed of at the pleasure of the king’s majesty.  And the Lord have mercy upon your soul.”
Twyn. I most humbly beseech your lordship to remember my condition, and intercede for me.
Lord Hyde. I would not intercede for my own father in this case, if he were alive.


The Behaviour and Speech of Mr. John Twyn at his Execution.

In the interval betwixt the condemnation and execution of John Twyn, divers applications were made to him, in order both to his temporal and eternal good; and in particular, Mr Weldon, the Ordinary of Newgate, spent much time and pains upon him, to convince him of that horrid crime for which he was to suffer; particularly pressing him to a confession both of his offence, and of the author of that treasonable piece for which he was to die.  His answer was, That it was not his principle to betray the author, but it belonged to others; whereupon Mr Ordinary demanded of him, What it was that could prevail with him to undertake the printing of it?  He said, He was a poor man; that he had received 40s and the promise of a larger sum, whereupon he undertook it; but who it was that made him that promise, he would not discover.
Mr Ordinary did likewise further urge him to a confession of the Author, upon a confidence that such a discovery might save his life; to which he replied, That he neither could do it, nor did believe himself obliged to it, if he could; for better (says he) one suffer than many.  Being pressed to receive the blessed Sacrament, he returned, That he was not free to do it; he was against receiving according to the forms of this Church, and he hoped he might do well enough without it; and in this temper he continued until he came to the place of execution, where going up the ladder, Mr Sheriff told him, That if he had any thing to say, he should remember the cautions he had given him.
Twyn. I suppose this appearance of people doth expect that I should say something as to the matter I come here for.  It is true, I come here condemned as a Traitor, for printing a book, taken to be, owned to be, and judged to be scandalous and seditious.
Sir R Ford. And treasonable, put that in too.
Twyn. For my own part, I can say this, I knew it not to be so, until I came to the bar to be tried.  I was surprised in the doing of it, both in the beginning, and at last, I was clear and free in my own thoughts, as not to intend any sedition.
Sir R Ford. I would not willing interrupt a dying man.  I told you before that you must not declare any thing in justification, or mitigation of so foul a crime; but if you had any thing to say that was for the disburthening of your own conscience, or to give any good admonitions to the people to beware of falling into the like crime, you should be patiently heard; but I wonder you should go about to justify yourself in this, when you did confess both to my brother here, and myself after Sentence, that that which was passed upon you was just and deserved.
Twyn. I do not say otherwise of it, but that it was just; but as to my ignorance of the matter of intending or imagining to foment and contrive any such thing tending to such ends, but barely for getting a little money for my family; I was as clear as the child unborn of any other design knowingly, of any such thing, I do look upon it as a surprizal.  First, I was surprized in this matter, by reason of that dangerous sickness and weakness I was in when it was brought; I received it with my own hands, but it was wrapt up in waste paper, and so I delivered it to my servant, he went on with it; and two or three days after, it was taken from me by those that came to search my house, who themselves told me, they came upon information; so that it was a matter I was surprized with when it was brought in, by reason of my sickness and weakness, being unable to overlook it; and likewise as soon as it was brought in, the third day I was discovered in it, by some way of information; and whether those that were the senders of it in, might not be the discoverers, I know not.  Some discovery was made by the confession of those that searched my house; they came by information, not by chance.  Then when they had taken me, I did ingenuously acknowledge and confess who I had it of; and yet for all this the searching after those persons concerned, was neglected that whole day, though they were at home, and easy to be taken, I could prove it.
Sir R Ford. Mr Twyn, give me leave to tell you once more, that I am heartily sorry you have given me the occasion to interrupt you a second time; all these things you pleaded at the bar, and said as much as you could; the wisdom and justice of the bench did not think this to be a sufficient excuse of that treason you are found guilty of.  I would ask to what end this discourse tends?  Tell me your end.
Twyn. My end is this, and it please your worship, to shew how ignorant and unacquainted I was with the nature of the thing; and how far I was in my conscience from intending that Treason.
Sir R Ford. You say you were surprised, and that you knew not the Treason; was it not clearly and plainly (by your own servant) proved that you composed some part of it, and printed it yourself, and corrected it?  You understood English, or else you could not correct it; if you understood English, or sense, you could not be ignorant that it was a horrid piece of Treason, such as no honest man ought to see and conceal one half hour; therefore do not justify yourself, it serves not to any purpose here, or in the world to come.  If you are not guilty of the malice, you have the more easy access to comfort hereafter; but that will not help you here on earth.  Pray spend that little time you have to some better purpose than this; if you have any thing to say that may become a modest man to say, we are willing to hear it.  If you can remember any person that assisted you in correcting it, or otherwise were concerned in it, say it.
Twyn. No person assisted me, I corrected it not; it was carried out of my house to correct, and brought in corrected.
Sir R Ford. You shall not say that you are denied that Christian liberty a dying man ought to have; we are not to suffer any reflections on this business, you had a fair trial.  I say, we would not deprive you of your liberty of speaking, but do not abuse that liberty that is given you, by spending your time impertinently, and fruitlessly; but if you have any thing further to offer to God, which is more for your good, go to that.
Twyn. I shall forbear to insist any further, as to the narration of that matter; I shall be very unwilling and tender of reflecting any thing upon the king, or the government, or give offence to your worships any way.
Sir R Ford. Nothing but that shall offend us.
Twyn. I shall go to prayer.
Sir R Ford. Do, do, we will join with you, and pray for you.
                 He continued in private prayer on the ladder some time.
Sir R Ford. Executioner, do not turn him off, ’till he has given you a sign.
Mr Ordinary of Newgate. Mr Twyn, give a sign to the executioner, when you have done; you must not throw yourself off, you will be your own executioner in that.
Twyn. Executioner, when I give you the sign, by pulling you by the shoe, then turn me off.
Executioner. I will, I will, the Lord bless thy poor soul.
    Afterwards, the executioner coming down, Mr Twyn told him, the sign should be by moving his foot.
Twyn. “O Lord, hear the Prayer of thy poor servant, receive me into thy mercy!  Lord, in thee I believe, receive my spirit!  Lord Jesus! Let my prayers be acceptable in thy sight!  O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer!  O Lord, I beseech thee, receive me into the arms of thy mercy; let me have an inheritance with thee, to live with thee for ever, and then come, Lord Jesus! come quickly!”
    Then giving the sign, the Executioner did his office; and being cut down, his head was severed from his body, and his body divided into four quarters, which are to be disposed of as the king shall assign; since which time, his head is placed over Ludgate, and his quarters upon Aldersgate, and other gates of the city.

    It will be here convenient to make two Observations upon the words of the prisoner:

First, he says, That the proofs were sent out of his house to be corrected, and brought back again corrected, and so not corrected by himself; which is not only contrary to what he formerly owned, as was made out by several proofs at his Trial, concerning his own correcting of it, but to his solemn declaration at the bar, avowing, that he knew nothing more of the business than what he there delivered.  For, supposing such a confession; the next question would infallibly have been, To whom was it carried? or, Who corrected it? as the readiest way to the discovery of the author.

Secondly, he says, That the persons concerned (meaning Calvert, and her maid) were neglected that whole day, being at home, and easy to be taken, which is disproved, both by his own servants, and Mrs Calvert’s.  And likewise proved, on the other side, That if he himself would have ordered his apprentice to have looked after the maid (as he promised, and was directed), she had been secured that very morning; the fellow meeting her in St Bartholomew’s Close, within a quarter of an hour after his master was carried away, not knowing that she had any concern in the business.  As to the mistress herself, she is, at present, under custody.



1. Ld. Hyde was Sir Robert Hyde, Chief Justice of the King’s Bench. He was first cousin to Edward Hyde, the Earl of Clarendon and Charles 11’s chief minister. He sheltered Charles 11 after Worcester (1651) at Heale. He died in 1665 ”on the bench”.

2. Judge Keeling was actually Sir John Kelyng.  He succeeded Ld Hyde as Chief Justice of the King’s Bench in 1665 and held the post till his death in 1671.

3. The Recorder of London was Sir William Wilde (Wylde) who became Recorder of London in 1659. He became a judge of common pleas in 1668 and later removed to the King’s Bench.

4. Lord North was Francis North who was a barrister in the Middle Temple in 1661.  He later became Chief Justice of common pleas and in 1682, Lord Chancellor. He took part in James 11’s coronation in 1685.

5. Serjeant Morton was Sir William Morton who became serjeant-at-law in 1660, then king’s serjeant in 1663 and justice of the King’s Bench in 1665.

6. Mr. L’Estrange was Sir Roger L’Estrange, a well-known pamphleteer and propagandist in the Royalist cause. A controversial figure, he was himself imprisoned in 1688, 1691 and 1695-6 after the Revolution. In 1663 he advocated a stringent censorship of the press and in that same year was appointed surveyor of printing presses and a licenser of the press.

7. Mr Secretary Bennet was Henry Bennet, first Earl of Arlington. He was keeper of the privy purse and secretary of state 1662-1674. In the latter year he became Lord Chamberlain.

8. John Wickham was a messenger of the Great Chamber in Ordinary.

9. According to the Hearth Tax returns Joseph Williamson lived in West Harding Street in 1663 in a house with four hearths.

10. Thomas Mabb himself printed the account of the trial and since he was one of the main witnesses and it was printed within months of the event, the account is likely to be accurate.

11. Mrs Calvert was Elizabeth the wife or widow of Giles Calvert, another bookseller in London. She was a widow. Her son seems to have been Nathaniel (Nat) Calvert the owner of the Rose in Smithfield. Elizabeth Calvert was frequently in trouble with the authorities for selling seditious books and imprisoned, but seems to have escaped the ultimate penalty.

As for John Twyn himself, he states he was a poor man with three small children. There is no mention of his wife, and a woman is said to be looking after the house. The Hearth Tax returns for 1663 show that the only householder of this name in Cloth Fair is Susan Twinne who lived in a house with three hearths. These returns were corrected up to 1666, so who was Susan? Was she perhaps John’s wife or his mother? Certainly there is a marriage recorded in the parish of All Hallows London Wall between John Twine and Susan Waker in July 1647. The date seems about right and she is the only Susan I have found living in London at this time connected to a John Twyn.  I have not so far found any record of  children, however.

The other problem is where John had come from. The only other evidence apart from that given above is the issuing of a Warrant on October 14th 1663 to Sir Edward Broughton “for Francis, Richard and Robert Twinne to see their brother in the Gatehouse”.

With these clues in mind there appears to be one probable origin. That is the family of Robert Twynne and Jane (Waren) in Kelshall in Hertfordshire. They had 7 children there, including John (1618), Francis (1620), Richard (1630) and Robert (1634). The other three children were girls. This is the correct family make-up and the ages are approximately right. There is no further reference to this John in Hertfordshire so he may have moved to London. In addition we already know that in the neighbouring parish of Rushden, an estate was leased by Richard Twinne who had inherited it from his father John Twinne at Duxford. This Richard had also been accused of Treason against Philip and Mary, and pardoned, in 1555, so there may be a family tendency there to be Non-Conformist or Puritan and generally anti-establishment.

Unfortunately the Parish Registers for Rushden are lost before 1608 which makes it difficult to be sure of the link between Richard  and Robert, though this is the most likely connection since no Twinns are recorded anywhere else in Hertfordshire at this time.

The only other reference to John Twyn is the Petition mentioned in the Calendar of State Papers Domestic. This appears to have been misplaced under 1642 (There is a note to this effect in the Calendar), and may be a mistake for 1662. “ Petition of John Twyn, stationer, of London to Sec Nicholas. Petitioner is heartily sorry if he has justly incurred the displeasure of his Majesty or the Council, through misinformation.  He not being at home when your messenger came, he had free liberty to search where he would; and so he should have had, had petitioner been at home; and, as his servants report, he made as near a scrutiny as possible.  Petitioner being a very poor man, his wife dead and no guide to look after his four small children but himself and he no way able to defray the messenger’s fees, he implores you to release him; and upon any occasion if you please to cause his house to be searched he will willingly submit thereunto.  As to the best of his knowledge he never printed anything any way prejudicial to his Majesty or his Council, so he engages he never will for the future.”

Author: Graham Twinn © MMV
Last Updated on Friday, 28 December 2007 11:14