The court had listened with patience to both testimony and speech, and was now to pass sentence, acting up to the advice of a shrewd English lawyer, to one who without much legal learning had been appointed to a judgeship in a colony, never to give his reasons when he pronounced judgment, for although the judgment had an equal chance to be right or wrong, the reasons were almost certain to be incorrect, Justice Miller contented himself with finding the prisoner guilty, and sentenced him to a week’s confinement in the town workhouse.
It was not without some surprise that the friends of Holden heard the decision. Although contemplating its possibility, they had indulged a hope that the Justice would be unwilling to subject one so harmless, and whom they considered innocent of all intention to violate the law, to any punishment; but with that reverence for law which characterizes New England, and without which there can be no security for free institutions, they submitted, although not without some murmurs. It was in vain, they knew, to ask for any mitigation; Justice Miller having once pronounced sentence, being as inexorable as the Supreme Court. The room was soon nearly emptied of the spectators, none remaining except the particular friends of the prisoner. Nothing remained but to carry the sentence into execution. Holden’s friends also at last took a sorrowful leave, and the mittimus being made out, it was handed to Basset, to remove the prisoner to the place of destination.
For the sake of greater security, Basset now produced a pair of handcuffs, which he put on the condemned man’s hands, who offered no objection, but calmly submitted to his fate.
my sweet soul, I mean setting thee at liberty,
enfreedoming thy person: thou wert immured, captivated, bound.