The COPY of a LETTER from a Stranger to his Friend, touching the Death of W. Leddra.
Boston, March 26. 1661.
ON the 14th of this instant here was one William Leddra, which was put to Death. The People of the Town told me, he might go away if he would; but when I made further Enquiry, I heard the Mar∣shal say, That he was chained in Prisen from the time he was Condemned to the day of his Execution. I am not of his Opinion: but yet truly me thought the Lord did mightily appear in the man. I went to one of the Magistrates of Cambridge, who had been of the Jury that condemned him (as he told me himself) and I asked him by what Rule he did it? He answered me, That he was a Rogue, a very Rogue. But what is this to the Question (I said) where is your Rule? He said he had abused Authority. Then I goes after the † man, and asked him, Whether he did not look on it as a breach of a Rule, to slight and undervalue Authority? and I said that Paul gave Festus the title of Honour, though he was a Heathen (I do not say these Magi∣strates are Heathens.) I said then when the man was on the Ladder (who looked on me, and called me Friend, and said, Know, that this day I am willing to offer up my Life for the Witness of JESUS) Then I desired leave of the Officers to speak: and said, Gentle∣men, I am a stranger both to your Persons and Country, and yet a friend to both: and I cryed aloud, For the Lord's sake, take not away the man's Life: but rememberPage 198 Gamaliel's Counsel to the Jews; If this be of man, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow its but be careful ye be not found fighters against God. And the Captain said, Why had you not come to the Prison? The Reason was, because I heard the man might go if he would, and therefore I called him down from the Tree, and said, Come down William, you may go away if you will. Then Capt. Oliver said, it was no such matter; and asked, What I had to do with it? and besides, bad me to be gone: And I told them I was willing; for I cannot endure to see this, I said. And when I was in the Town, some did seem to sympathize with me in my Grief. But I told them, that they had no Warrant from the Word of God; nor President from our Country; nor Power from his Majestie to hang the Man. I rest,
Your Friend, Thomas Wilkie.