Hale, Sir Matthew
Hale, Sir Matthew was born at Alderley, Gloucestershire, Nov. 1, 1609, admitted at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, in 1626, and at Lincoln's Inn in 1629. In 1653 (under the Commonwealth) he was made one of the judges of the Common Bench, and in 1671 he was elected to be chief justice of the King's Bench. He died Dec. 25, 1676. He was a learned lawyer, an upright judge, a pious Christian. The only spot upon his memory as a criminal judge is the notorious fact of his having condemned two wretched women for witchcraft, at the assizes at Bury St. Edmund's, in the year 1665. Hale in the course of the trial, avowed himself a believer in witchcraft, and the jury found the prisoners guilty, notwithstanding many impartial by-standers declared that they disbelieved the charge. No reprieve was granted, and the prisoners were executed. Hale was a voluminous writer. Of his legal publications we make no mention here; besides them he wrote An Abstract of the Christian Religion: — A Discourse of Religion: — Contemplations, Moral and Divine: — The Knowledge of Christ crucified (new ed. Glasg. 1828, 12mo). These and other minor pieces are gathered in his Works, Moral and Religious, edited by the Rev. T. Thirlwall, M.A. (London, 1805, 2 vols. 8vo). See Burnet, Life of Sir M. Hale (London, 1682, 12mo; also prefixed to his Works, above named); Baxter, Notes on the Life and Death of Sir M. Hale (Lond. 1682, 12mo; reprinted, with Hale's Thoughts
on Religion, Lond. 1805, 12mo); Campbell, Lives of the Chief Justices; English Cyclopaedia; Allibone, Dict. of Authors, s.v.