THE LAW: 14 Magic Words

In 1637. at a time when theological disagreement was equated with political revolution, a contentious English gentleman named John Lilburne was brought before King Charles I's Star Chamber, accused of circulating Puritan writings. The Star Chamber, originally a reputable judicial council, had become a fierce and single-minded tribunal, given to extracting confessions by torture. Lilburne refused to take the chamber's normal oath of testimony, on the ground that no man was bound to incriminate himself. Although he was whipped, fined and jailed, his stand made him a popular hero.-

In 1950, a fierce...

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