execution be done on Friday next, according to law. You shall have the full benefit of the law’ (State Trials, x. 114). Burnet records that soon after this trial Jeffreys went to Windsor, where Charles ‘took a ring of good value from his finger and gave it him for these services,’ remarking at the same time that as ‘it was a hot summer and he was going circuit he therefore desired he would not drink too much’ (History of his own Time, ii. 423). In the summer of this year Jeffreys successfully induced several corporations in the north to surrender their charters (The Historian's Guide, 1690, p. 161), and it was upon his unconstitutional advice that James almost immediately after his accession in February 1685 issued a proclamation that the customs should be collected and employed exactly as if they had already been granted to him by parliament (North, Life of Lord Guilford, p. 255). In May 1685 Jeffreys presided at the trial of Titus Oates, when he took the opportunity of paying off an old grudge against the prisoner by concurring in passing a barbarous and excessive sentence upon him (State Trials, x. 1079–1330).
Jeffreys was created Baron Jeffreys of Wem in the county of Salop on 15 May 1685, and on the 19th took his seat in the House of Lords (Journals of the House of Lords, xiv. 73). As no chief justice had ever been made a lord of parliament since the judicial system had been remodelled in the thirteenth century, this was an exceptional mark of royal approbation. In the same month Jeffreys tried Richard Baxter [q. v.] on the charge of libelling the church in his ‘Paraphrase of the New Testament,’ and overwhelmed him with abuse. Jeffreys was now the virtual ruler of the city, while the lord mayor enjoyed no more than bare title, and the corporation ‘had no sort of intercourse with the king but by the intervention of that lord’ (Reresby, Memoirs, p. 308). He had also practically superseded the lord keeper in his political functions, and the whole of the legal patronage was in his hands. On 8 July 1685, two days after the battle of Sedgemoor, the commission was issued for the western circuit. It consisted of Jeffreys as president, and of four other judges, viz. Sir William Montagu, the lord chief baron, Sir Cresswell Levinz, justice of the king's bench, Sir Francis Wythens, justice of the common pleas, and Sir Robert Wright, baron of the exchequer. On 24 Aug. an order was issued from the war office to all officers in the west to furnish such soldiers ‘as might be required by the lord chief justice on his circuit for securing prisoners, and to perform that service in such manner as he should direct’ (Mackintosh, History of the Revolution, p. 17). On the following day the commission was opened at Winchester, where the only case of high treason was that of Alice, lady Lisle, the widow of John Lisle, sometime president of the high court of justice (State Trials, xi. 297–382). Jeffreys's conduct of the trial was in the worst style of the times, but Burnet's account of it is grossly exaggerated; and though much may be said in favour of the justice of her conviction, the execution of the death-penalty cannot escape condemnation. The commission afterwards sat at Salisbury, Dorchester, Exeter, Taunton, and Wells. Bristol, which had an assize of its own, was the last place visited by the judges. The number of executions for high treason cannot now be ascertained with any precision, but there are good reasons for supposing that the number of 320, as given by Macaulay, is very much in excess of the truth (Inderwick, Side-Lights on the Stuarts, p. 392). More than eight hundred rebels were bestowed upon persons who enjoyed favour at court to be sold into slavery, and many others were whipped and imprisoned. Jeffreys himself appears to have amassed a considerable sum of money during ‘the bloody assizes,’ chiefly by means of extortion from the unfortunate rebels or their friends. On his return from Bristol Jeffreys stopped at Windsor, where James, ‘taking into his royal consideration the many eminent and faithful services’ which the chief justice had rendered the crown, promoted him to the post of lord chancellor on 28 Sept. 1685 (London Gazette, No. 2073). Jeffreys was installed in the court of chancery on 23 Oct., the first day of Michaelmas term, and at the opening of parliament on 9 Nov. following took his seat on the woolsack (Journals of the House of Lords, xiv. 73). On 18 Nov. he opposed the Bishop of London's motion for taking the king's speech into consideration, and insisted upon the legality and expediency of the dispensing power. He addressed the house in the same arrogant tone with which he was wont to browbeat both counsel and juries, and was compelled before the debate closed to make an abject apology for the indecent personalities in which he had indulged. On 14 Jan. 1686 Jeffreys as lord high steward presided over a court consisting of thirty peers whom he had selected for the trial of Henry Booth, second baron Delamere, for high treason (State Trials, xi. 509–600). On this occasion he seems to have behaved with some moderation, and Delamere obtained an unanimous verdict of acquittal. Shortly afterwards Jeffreys had a severe