Imatges de pàgina
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us,

we had

not say

interesting reading, a person comes up certainly entitled to that appellation, and pushes through the crowd. In which would appear a deception to the an idle, discontented, probably not very mind of a Glasgow weaver, who would moralor correct person, you know how say, I know all the magistrates of Glascraving the mind is for stimulants of gow, and this is not one of them. And, this kind; all tales of wonder, and all after all, is it to be conceived that this tales of crimes, are gladly sought after man, hearing those fine phrases, the by that idle part of the population, common slang of patriotism, all the whose passions being blunted on one usual verbiage, by which a man's head hand, and excited on the other, are is apt to be bewildered, would follow, most easily led to that sort of delight from a blundering reader, all that was which the exhibition of horrors sup- given out from this public desk in this plies to their uncultivated minds. În manner, and have an exact perception the midst of this wonderful story, a of the tenor of the work ? He had grave person comes forward, and in- heard enough, however, to excite his sists on interrupting the orator; and imagination, as all bombast does with before he gets half way through read- the ignorant, and he thought it fine ing the paper, he insists on tearing it and fashy, and was desirous to hear it down and carrying it away. I do not out; and I ask, which of if say it was becoming or right; I do seen such a performance, would not

it was not very wrong; I do have wished to read the whole of it? not say it was not suspicious, to use which of us would not have put it in the language this witness recollects the our pockets, and read it word by word prisoner to have used : but the sub- in the conclaves of our associates, just stance of it is, he asks what right have as Hardie and his associates were read. you to interfere ? and he is answered, ing it then?— There were words, the I am a magistrate. Now, we all know, Doctor said, between Mr Hardie the that in the towns of this country the magistrate and some of the other name of magistrate is almost exclu- people ; and there were, it appears sively bestowed on the borough ma. from Mr Hardie, but he says he cangistrates ; and though, in the law, the not recollect more than he stated, that justices of the peace are magistrates, he insisted on taking the paper down ; that is not the common acceptation of and this rude person, in all likelihood, the word, especially in the royal burghs. not having a command of temper, was There is a fat gentlemen in a black angry that he should be interrupted, coat calls himself a magistrate ; he is and said, I will be damned if you

take supposed to be a dean of guild, or a it down. You shall take my life's bailie, or something having the badge blood sooner. That was, no doubt, of authority; therefore I explain the a violent observation; but if a man is rudeness, the insolence, and violence once defied and comes to the heat of speech, when he said, where is your of blood arising from scuffling, we 'warrant? As Mr Hardie had no gold all know the indecorum to which he chain, the prisoner naturally thought may be hurried; and I ask, whether, he was usurping the character; he under these circumstances, you can never saw his person before, and there. hold that that language can in comfore, his appeal was unsuccessful, from mon sense, to say nothing of humania the fact that he did not see in that ty or law, be received by you as a precircle any person known to him. There suinption-though you have nothing was a mistake, in short, in the use of to do with presumptions, and ought the word magistrate by this person, to discard them with resentment from your minds

can that language afford hand-bill. I say, in the first place, that any sort of evidence that he knew more this is not proved ; that there is a fatal than he was then hearing, or that he and unsuppliable link in the chain of approved of, or understood, what he evidence, by which it ought to be conactually heard? I do submit there is nected with the person who gave it to a complete failure of the evidence on Cook; and, therefore, if that person this point, and that it would be the had been the prisoner, it would not most tremendous of all constructions have been a crime, because it is not of evidence, worse than any construc- proved to be the same with the one tion of treason ever attempted, to con- now produced. Evidence, from revict a person of a capital crime on such collection of similarity of tenor, is not a foundation as this.

receiveable evidence in any crime, much Gentlemen, I say there is not a par- less in the highest crime, where the ticle of evidence with regard to his proof is most difficult, and required adoption or approbation of that paper, to be most complete. But, Gentleand that every thing that occurred, men, supposing the bill to be traced not only may be explained consistent from the hand of the prisoner to Cook, ly with his not approving, and not un- how is that better evidence than the derstanding even that part which he other of his approbation of its conheard, but in common sense, consider- tents ? I put it to you not as persons ing his condition of life, it is by far who are bound to listen to quibbles the most natural presumption; and if and legal distinctions, but I put it to the favour were the other way, you you on the principle of common sense, would naturally and necessarily adopt as applied to evidence of simple facts, it : And therefore I cannot too much whether the delivery of a folded paper

in the outset against al- by one man shall amount to evidence lowing your minds to be poisoned by against another person then present, listening to any suggestions of this that he has a knowledge of the conkind, in viewing that legal, and pure, tents of that paper, and approves of its direct, or circumstantial evidence, by contents and circulation. This perwhich only you can find a fellow-crea- son takes a bunch of them out of his ture guilty of the tremendous offence pocket, and gives one folded up; can charged against this unhappy man to. any thing be so hazardous and full of day.

peril to all men who may be in evil Then of the other hand-bills I have company, if they are to be answerable, still less to say, before I dismiss them not only for what they see done and altogether. You have heard it proved approved of, but for what may be that this unfortunate man was on the done, in one sense, in their presence, road, not laudably, I fear, nor inno- but which is not done at all with recently employed, but, I say, not pro- ference to them? It is the knowledge ved to be treasonably employed, along of the contents of the paper that conwith five or six other persons, when stitutes the whole guilt ; and though they met this serjeant, whom you saw the paper is handed over in the preexamined to-day; and there a person, sence of another, you have nothing to who I think it is admitted was not the found the presumption that a person prisoner, did pull out of his pocket, merely present, of whom it is not proafter some conversation, a parcel of ved that he saw the inside of it, is to papers, and gave the serjeant one of be loaded with the whole sealed-up vothem ; which, it is said, has been pro- lume of guilt, which is not unsealed ved to be another copy of the same in his presence for an instant. Gen

caution

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tlemen, the maxim of law, that a'man, he left the place; but that he took if he sees a thing done in his presence any step connected with it is a matter without disavowing it, is liable for the of the loosest inference, and is not thing so done, is a hard maxim in some rendered even probable by any of the circumstances. Some men from fear, circumstances given in evidence to-day, and others from inattention, may be Then, Gentlemen, what are the present at words spoken and acts done, other circumstances ? I really am not which they ought to dissent from and aware that there is

formi. disavow ; and though they have had dable or considerable nature, except the purpose and inclination so to do, the statement contained in the prison. may, from inattention or stupidity, be er's own declarations, that have been prevented from doing it. I say, it is read to you; and, Gentlemen, it is al. hard they should still be made jointly ways most painful, I believe, to the responsible with the actor or speaker ; prosecutors, and I am sure it is to a but if they are to be answerable for Jury, when any material and necessary sealed papers delivered over in their part of a man's guilt is brought out by presence, there is no end to the injus- his own, as it must turn out, most imtice that may be done, nor any limit prudent, and perhaps inaccurate exto the anomalies and perversions of law pressions and declarations. that may follow. A plot against the Gentlemen, such declarations and man himself, a treasonable or murder- admissions are usually receivable evious scheme against a man, may be dence; but they are far indeed from handed over to a person in his pre- being conclusive evidence, and I rather sence, and he may thus be held acces. think I may say, that unless where sary to his own condemnation-what they connect facts that are proved by limit is there to that presumption? extrinsic evidence, though they may I ask you if you think there is any be allowable, it is hardly advisable to evidence to fasten on the prisoner the rely much on them. Why, Gentleguilt of that paper, or any intention men, the most solemn and complete of to approve of the paper, by the cir. all admissions, I believe, is hardly ever cumstance of a folded copy of it being stated as evidence, and certainly never passed from the pocket of one man to considered, or dwelt upon in evidence, that of another, who carries it away? in the case of a trial for crime-I mean —and yet that is the whole evidence the confession of the prisoner himself, with regard to his connection with in the presence of the Jury or the this paper, with which, it is said, he Court, although deliberately made, if is chargeable, and of which, it is said, ultimately, and in time, he withdraws there is evidence of his approbation and retracts it. Such is the humanity and adoption. If you think that is of our law, that it allows a plea of evidence, I own I should be less in- guilty which has been put in, upon re. clined to congratulate the country on consideration, to be withdrawn; and the institution of which you form a the fact of that plea having been enpart, and less willing to trust my client tered, though the most solemn admisto your decision ; but I will not be- sion of guilt that can well be imagilieve it is possible ; and, I am persua- ned, I believe, in practice is never urged ded, that you never will hold that this or referred to as evidence of guilt at hand-bill is to be brought against this all, in summing up the proof; yet of individual, farther than as proof that all confessions it is the most complete, it was posted in two places in Glas- and ought to be of the most unequivogow, and that he had read it before cal and decisive authority. I state that to you as an ordinary illustration ; but statement of which I shall conclude you must be aware how repugnant it the generalobservations I have to make is to all those feelings with which the to make to you, and nearly finish all administration of justice 'ought to be I have to say. tempered, and without which it would Gentlemen, I have very little doubt scarcely be justice for human crea- you may think it probable that the tures, that the elements of a man's arming of these men, and their marchcondemnation, who does not intend to ing from Glasgow, had some connecplead guilty, should in any case be ex- tion with politics and with reform, and tracted or construed out of statements I do not think more can be inferred that are obtained from him before a from the statement in the declaration ; magistrate, or otherwise.

any of any

but there is a wide step to be taken But, Gentlemen, one would apply from that to an admission, which the this caution with infinitely greater, subsequent and preceding parts of the and in this case, I think, with decisive declaration negative, and you can nestrength, to that part, which is the

ver suppose that he intended to cononly part of the declaration, that I tradict himself, that he intended no think is material, in which an avowal violence to any body, and that, in of the purpose of this armament is ta. point of fact, the speculations about ken down. It is said he armed him- annual parliaments and universal sufself in order to obtain a reform in Par. frage, were afterwards explained to be liament, or some such thing, or with a what he had heard other people say; view to obtain a reform in Parliament. but he had hardly any opinion on the Now, Gentlemen, considering how subject himself, not being in the habit these examinations are taken, I think of attending much to such subjects, it cannot be held that these were the which I think you are bound, in the abprecise words the prisoner uttered; sence of evidence to the contrary, to be. and in a matter not of naked fact, but lieve was the case. Now, Gentlemen, of opinion, and relating to notions of very grievous offences may be commita political kind, I scarcely think it al- ted by persons engaged in the pursuit of lowable to give a statement of the ob. such a reform, as appears to have been jects of a man in such concise terms in favour with this person and his asas these, and then to catch at such ex. sociates; but, Gentlemen, I think a pressions as decisive of guilt, which great proportion of this, and all that would not otherwise settle on him:

is necessary to suppose here, may be For while the declarations as to mat- supposed, without involving him in ter of fact may in general be safely re. the guilt of Treason. The statement ceived, the expression of opinions or he gives is substantially, that he went motives, which are always imperfectly out, having no purpose of hurting any given, and are always modified and re- body, to bring in other people who tracted on farther investigation, onght were friendly to the cause to Glasgow, not to be clapped down in two lines, and that he took arms for this and no and no questions asked in explanation. other purpose. I am aware this is I impute no blame here to the magis- treading on dangerous ground; but

I am sure they act most con- the case would be different in that view scientiously; but that is not the mode of it from the view the prosecutor takes of proceeding in this country. What here ;--if it was merely determined to the expressions are I really do not hold a meeting of a tumultuous nature, care, but they plainly admit of an ex- to have a petición drawn up at a great planation, and an explanation with the radical meeting, and determined also,

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amount to treason.

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that if the military, or police, came to radical or a seditious meeting is not disperse them, they would use force Treason. If smugglers are pursued by to prevent their dispersion. This is soldiers, who are employed to arrest the worst view of it: and this will not them, it is a riot to resist, but it is not

But all that the the crime with which you and I have declarant says is, that they intended to do to-night; although it is resisting to go and tell the people in the coun- lawful authority, although it is waging try that the cause was going on, and war against the King's forces in the if they would come and make more performance of their duty, in preventnoise, and make it appear that it is the ing the execution of a criminal and imgeneral wish that such reform should proper purpose then a-foot, and then be granted, we think it will be grant. following out by the persons engaged ed, and that the prisoner therefore in it. In short, where the

purpose

is went to get a large number to petition, not strictly treasonable, the mere asand went armed on this recruiting ser. sisting in maintaining that purpose by vice to prevent the interference of the force, although a heinous offence, alpolice.

though involving the party in great Gentlemen, this is a high crime: crime, is not Treason, unless the purbut it is not Treason, undoubtedly not pose was a treasonable purpose, which the Treason laid here ; for it is a very it would be impossible to say many different thing from a person arming cases it would be, though they were himself, on purpose, by active force, regularly armed. to overwhelm the government. If a Then, Gentlemen, I have only to man arms to protect himself, it may be bring you to the ultimate view of the an illegal act, if the act in which he is case, and see how it corresponds with so to be protected is in itself illegal. the supposition of its being treason, or But if the resolutions, and the peti- the supposition I submit, that it was tions, and the speeches of the convo- merely for the protection of an illegal cation of persons, had been carried and criminal, but not a treasonable through, they wouldonly have amount. purpose. Why, Gentlemen, I do not ed to the crime of sedition ; and if up- say that the inadequacy of the force on any attack made upon them they is of itself evidence, where there is clear had resisted, that would have been on proof of a treasonable purpose, or an ly a riot, not a treasonable waging of answer to the proof that a levying of war. I admit fully, at the same time, war took place. Desperate causes will that there is no distinction between a have desperate votaries and advocates, person saying I am not armed to over. and persons very often appear devoid throw the government by force, but of that understanding, by which alone only to defend myself against those their conduct could be ultimately forwho prevent my overthrowing it peace- midable ; but when you see them goably. But if I am only collecting meet- ing with arms to protect themselves, ings without proof of their intending and with such numbers as to render the any such overthrow, that is not Trea- idea of waging war absurd, the inade. son, and resisting dispersion there is

quacy

of their force is then a most denot Treason. I do not go, therefore, cisive and important feature in the upon the shadow of a distinction be- cause. Gentlemen, it is very remarktween active and passive force ; but able that there is no evidence of their there must be evidence that it was in. having addressed any body to join them tended to commit that which was Trea. in subverting the constitution; there son ; and resisting the dispersion of a is no evidence of their applying to any

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