Peine forte et dure

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PEINE FORTE ET DURE, Eng. law A punishment formerly inflicted in England, on a person who, being arraigned of felony, refused to plead and put himself on his trial, and stubbornly stood mute. He was to be laid down and as much weight was to be put upon him as he could bear, and more, until he died. This barbarous punishment has been abolished. Vide Mute.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
The proceedings seemed to have come to a definite end so far as he was concerned; for one had only to look at that granite face to realize that no peine forte et dure would ever force him to plead against his will.
In those days, such an act spawned a judgement called "peine forte et dure" or "dreaded press".
Clitherow, the wife of a butcher from York's Shambles, was put to death by the state by the especially horrible method of peine forte et dure. In other words, she was crushed to death.