The conduct of Jeffreys to Philip Henry.
Having presented several cases in which the conduct of the Chief Justice appears as little else than a compound of cruelty, injustice, and profaneness, it will be proper to record one instance in which he acted in a different manner, which shows some remaining influence of early education on such a mind as his.
Some time after the prosecution of Philip Henry, as related in a preceding page, Judge Jeffreys attended at the assizes for Flintshire, and it was remarked that he did not in private conversation appear to applaud what was done in this matter, as was expected. It was also said that he spoke with some respect of Mr. Henry, saying, "he knew him and his character well, and that he was a great friend of his mother's" - Mrs. Jeffreys, of Acton, near Wrexham, a very pious, good woman - "and that sometimes, at his mother's request, Mr. Henry had examined him in his learning when he was a schoolboy, and had commended his proficiency." And it was much wondered at by many, that of all the times Sir George Jeffreys went that circuit, though it is well known what was his temper, and what the temper of those times, yet he never sought any occasion against Mr. Henry, nor took the occasions that were offered, nor countenanced any trouble that was intended him.
One particular circumstance may be recorded. There had been an agreement among several ministers to spend some time, either in secret or in their families, or both, between six and eight o'clock every Monday morning, in prayer, for the Church of God and for the land and nation, more fully and particularly than at other times, and to make that their special errand at a throne of grace, and to engage as many of their praying friends as ever they could to the observance of it. This had been communicated by Mr. Henry to.some of his friends in London, and he punctually observed it in his own practice. He also mentioned it to some of his acquaintances, who observed it in like manner.
It happened that Mr. Ambrose Lewis, a minister in Derbyshire, to whom he had communicated this, was so well pleased with it that he wrote a letter concerning it to a friend of his at a distance, which letter happened to fall into hands that perverted it, and made information upon it against the writer and receiver of the letter, who were bound over to the assizes; and great suspicions Sir George Jeffreys had that it was a branch of the Presbyterian plot, and rallied the parties accused severely.
At length it appeared, either by the letter or the confession of the parties, that they received the project from Mr. Henry, which it was greatly feared would bring him into trouble; but Sir George, to the admiration of many, let it fall, and never inquired further into it.
It appears that there are some men "whose ways so please the Lord, that he makes even their enemies to be at peace with them;" and there is nothing lost by trusting in God.