A Landmark in the History of Juries [Trial]. Penn, William [1644-1718], Defendant. Mead, William [1628-1713], Defendant. The Peoples Ancient and Just Liberties Asserted in the Tryal of William Penn, And William Mead, At the Sessions Held at the Old-Baily in London, The First, Third, Fourth and Fifth of Sept. 70. Against the Most Arbitrary Procedure of that Court. Old-Baily, 1st. 3d. 4th, 5th of Sept. 1670. [London], Printed in the Year, 1670. 62 pp. Lacking final blank leaf. Quarto (7-1/4" x 5-1/4"). Stab-stitched pamphlet bound into quarter calf over marbled boards, gilt title to spine, top-edge gilt, endleaves added, title page and final leaf mounted, a few leaves re-hinged. Moderate toning, occasional light soiling, faint dampstaining and light foxing to a few leaves, faint imkstamp to foot of p. 62, faint embossed library stamp to title page, small chip to its upper corner. A nice copy in a handsome binding. $1,500. * First edition, one of five issues from 1670. Popularly knows as "Bushel's Case," this case was a landmark in the establishment of jury nullification and, more broadly, the idea that juries are independent bodies. Mead, a London merchant, and Penn, later the founder of Pennsylvania, were prominent Quakers. They were arrested for preaching to a large public gathering, an act Penn deliberately provoked to test the validity of the Conventicle Act, which denied the right of assembly to gatherings larger than five people for any religious purpose not affiliated with the Church of England. The jury found the two guilty of speaking in public but refused to say they were addressing an unlawful assembly. The infuriated judge demanded a verdict that declared them violators of the Act. When, following the lead of the foreman, Edward Bushel, the jury refused, the judge imprisoned the jurors for two days without food, water or heat. Upon release, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The judge then fined the jurors for contempt of court and returned them to prison until they paid their fines. On behalf of his fellow jurors, Bushel petitioned the Court of Common Pleas for a writ of habeas corpus. Sir John Vaughan, that court's chief justice, ruled ultimately that a jury could not be punished for the verdict it returned. English Short-Title Catalogue R40049.
Book number 69400