Imatges de pàgina

body to enable them to compel a change son after a little parley. Then they of government; there is no evidence encounter a hussar ; they stop him, of their having adopted any of the and one man asks for his arms : that other purposes in that hand-bill, or of was stated to you distinctly not to its coming from the mouth of my client, have been the prisoner at the bar; it or any person in his company. They was stated to be a person who was in took arms on the road, and had con- the battle, who he thinks escaped, and versations about their rights, but they is not in custody at all. Now, there never said they were to work out their is no proof of that being done for a rights by force, or to apply their arms common purpose, for another man of but for their own protection. It is the party interposed, and said, You supposed they went out in obedience shall not take his arms, and it was to this proclamation, and in particu- carried 80 ; and therefore you are not lar the part which relates to the sol- to attribute the proposed act of one as diers ; and yet you are asked to be- a common act in which the others are lieve that that party which was to se. involved, when it appears clearly that duce them were the actual aggressors they dissented. They have a colloquy in this hopeless conflict. But what do with him, and he counterfeits an affecthey do, according to the statement tion for their principles, and sympaof the other party? They march, thizes with them for those distresses avoiding all interference with those which he sees are the probable cause whom they want to overthrow, by of their melancholy speculation, which sneaking along the canal ; and when would be ludicrous, if it were not their object is frustrated, they go to a for its example, and the consequences desolate part of the moor, where there it has brought on its author. The was nobody to conquer, but where they hand-bill is then given to Cook, and go to hide till they could steal back word is carried to the troop at Kil. again to the city from which they had syth that armed men are parading come. Does this shew that they had the country, and a party is sent out. intended to compel a change of govern. I do not mean to arraign the conment? or is it not referable to the mi- duct of those persons ; but I think nor offence of going out to escort a there is rather scanty evidence to war. body of reformers to what may be call. rant their taking these men prisoners. ed illegal meetings, where seditious I have no doubt they acted honouraspeeches were to be made, and absurd, bly, and with use to the public; but ridiculous, and pernicious resolutions it was without authority, and all that come to? What reason have you to had been seen were six armed men. I sup ose but that they were armed think that was too equivocal to justify against the police, which had threaten- a war on the part of the military; but ed their dispersion ; which would have I do not dwell on that. The importbeen a rioi, but certainly would not ant thing is, that this troop sought have amounted to Treason.

the party, and the party did not mean Gentlemen, that is the way they to seek the troop. It is evident that were found; and let us see a little their object was escape, and the object more particularly how this unhappy of the troop was apprehension and catastrophe was brought about. They seizure. That is pretty manifest from met a person on the road, and one of the way in which they came forward; them asked for his arms; they were and therefore, Gentlemen, what posinot very resolute, for they allowed the tion were these men placed in, acting, man to walk away unhurt in his per- I think, wickedly and foolishly in the highest degree : but I do submit to of doubt on that point, that if you are you, from their conduct in this stage not satisfied that they were guilty of of the business, as well as in all the High Treason before, that was not an former, not proved to have been act- act of High Treason. It must have ing in furtherance of a treasonable ob- been consummated before, if that act is ject.

in therance of it ; nay, if it is held It is clear, beyond all possibility of to have existed before, that was not dispute, that when the military came an additional act of Treason ; and if in sight, their acting was in you think it existed before, it is only fence, and not an invasion of the troops upon the overt acts, constituting that to overthrow the government. It was previous Treason, that you can now in order plainly, and for no other pur- convict. You cannot believe the acpose than, to prevent their apprehen. tual conflict to have been undertaken sion and seizure by a body of armed from a treasonable motive ; their momen, that they made resistance. From tive was to all human sense, and every the panic which the sight of these man must see and feel it, a desperate soldiers threw them into, it is quite attempt of a parcel of men surrounded, plain, and no man of common sense to escape from apprehension for their can view it otherwise, that this was former conduct ; and if they had been not a voluntary aggression on their treasonably employed before, their act. part, but was a mere resistance of per- ing then was merely resisting their apsons in an attempt to apprehend them prehension, a case which cannot be stafor what they had before done ; and if ted as an act of Treason; but if they had they had not before committed Trea- been guilty only of a minor offence, son, the whole conflict on the field is and if any thing else was the amount referable to the mere fear of arrest by of their guilt, and they went out to questionable authority. Nor can it be protect themselves from arrest, it may denied, that men coming up at a hand be illegal and criminal, but it is not gallop, and brandishing their swords, treasonable. I say, the resistance to might naturally inspire them with fear, this alarming arrest, and the resisting that instant violence was intended, and the officers of justice, is not an act of that they had no resource but in a des- Treason ; and therefore, Gentlemen, perate resistance-though, if they had great as the popular aggravation is known who commanded that troop, that the case receives from this act, I they might have been assured, from end my statement of the evidence by his aspect, they would have met with repeating, that unless you are satisfied protection and quarter, which all their from the other parts of the case, that violence could not induce them to re. there are sufficient indications of a fuse. But, Gentlemen, they did not treasonable purpose, you can receive think so ; and in their rank of life and no evidence of that Treason from the with their feelings, and their diet of events of that field, and that the Treawhisky and porter, which was the son, if it existed, must have been comdiet of the preceding night, it is not plete before, and could not be created to be wondered at that they should then. act with violence. But that is not the Gentlemen, I have said a great deal point ; the point is, whether the his. more than I am afraid you have had tory of that onset affords any evi- the patience to listen to, or than, with dence of a treasonable purpose, if it is more preparation, or a juster applicanot proved antecedently by preceding tion of the evidence, I should have acts? And I say, without a shadow thought it necessary to trouble you with. I dare say, tedious as my ad. trial by Jury, and the committal of dress has been, many matters of im- the life of a fellow-creature to the portance have been omitted; but I care of twelve simple and uninstructcannot at this time tax my strength ored men, has been so honoured and your patience by any recapitulations of admired, the result must be satisfacthe evidence, or any glancing at the tory to all. To attend to those conheads I should have submitted. I siderations, Gentlemen, is not only leave this prisoner and this case in your privilege, but your duty; and it your hands ; confident that you will is merely because it is so, that trial by require no suggestion of mine, to re- Jury stands so high, and is canonized member not merely the general defi- as the greatest of all blessings, and ciency of evidence to which I have al- that without which, the most perfect luded repeatedly, but that you cannot laws would deviate into barshness and forget or be inattentive to the plead. cruelty. ings of that inward advocate, who not Gentlemen, I cannot but think, only does plead in the hearts of all hu- that now that the alarm and the im. mane and just and generous men, but mediate danger is over in the country, whom the law recognises as a legal we shall have a fairer chance than at and weighty advocate, even in ques- an earlier period ; you will look more tions of strict legal construction, and to the merciful considerations that in all questions, especially where the may induce you to be satisfied with actual truth of human motives, and the exposure already made, and to the true state of that unsearchable construe what is equivocal with that heart, the ways and movements of favourable leaning and bias towards which can never be completely disclo. mercy which the law expects and resed to any human eye, are a part of quires at your hands, and from the conthe materials on which a verdict of sciousness of having exercised which, condemnation or acquittal, in a case to your latest days, you will receive of life and death, must depend. The more pleasure than if you should act facts are clear and indisputable-I a Roman part, and decide, on a nice have not disputed them- I trust I point of evidence, to sacrifice these bave not misrepresented them. The unfortunate individuals, who are alwhole question is as to the purpose ready, by a forfeiture of esteem and and intention from which those acts respect, to be considered as the vic. proceeded, and which they were in- tims of those deeper and more wicked tended to accomplish and fulfil, if they designers whom the law has not yet had been allowed to be persevered in. overtaken. I think your feelings will This is a question, therefore, as to be different, if, in after times, you pass motives and designs ; the determina- by their dwellings, and instead of tion of which, though difficult, Juries meeting with the tearful countenanare obliged to undertake ; and to ces of their orphans and widows, you which, if they proceed divested of there find the men themselves reclaim. party feelings, and with a merciful in- ed from the disaffection with which clination towards the accused, I am they may have been tainted, redeemed satisfied they will not go wrong. I from that peril on the brink of which say, if along with a zeal for the they now stand, and enabled, by their conscientious discharge of their duty, reformation, to return to the exercise they take with them those humane of an industry which is beginning to and merciful considerations, for the be better rewarded, and to bring up sake of which the establishment of their children and their children's chil

dren to admire those Courts and those ther there was here assembled a consiJuries who have administered the law derable and a violent multitude, who in mercy, and have acquitted, not in- had provided themselves with arms, deed from a general imputation of who had arrayed themselves in a warguilt, nor stamping on them any badge like manner, who had actually proceedor signal of approbation, but merely ed to use those arms in the


which negativing the precise charge which has been so clearly proved to you by is before you, and taking advantage of a course of evidence that need not be the flexible nature of the charge on repeated - upon one and all of these which the conviction is demanded, re- points, it is impossible for any human fusing that conviction which might per understanding, that has bestowed the haps be reasonably granted, but which slightest attention upon the proceed. would be now far more wisely and ings which have been detailed in your generously and beneficially withheld.

presence, to entertain the remotest he. No evidence was called on the part sitation or doubt. It is a point which of the defence.

has been yielded with great discretion The Solicitor then rose, and after upon the other side ; and it is a point some general observations of the law upon which I should be ashamed to of Treason, observed :

say one word more to you. Therefore, In the first place, whether there Gentlemen, you are brought to a short, has been assembled an armed multi- and as I apprehended it, as clear a point tude-a multitude not armed with all as ever was submiited to the consider. the regularity of well-appointed war ation of any Jury ; the point is one -but a multitude deriving confidence which is common, not to the charge from their numbers, and armed in any of Treason only, but to all crimes that way with hostile weapons, such as are can by possibility be brought under sufficient in their apprehension to com- the consideration of Courts and Juries. mence that system of operations which It is brought to this point, what was constitutes the levying war. The the design of the parties with what next point, in considering this Trea- design did they proceed in the way in son, is, with what design, for the ac- which they are proved to have procomplishment of what purpose, is that ceeded - was their design an innocent multitude assembled, and has that mul design, a laudable design ? Nay, even titude so provided itself with arms ? taking it to be a criminal design, was

These are the points to which the it one of private import- was it for the learned counsel on the other side has vindication of any private right, pecuchiefly directed himself; although I culiar to any one of the individuals who could not help thinking, that he shew- were there engaged-was it for the ed much greater dexterity in withdraw- satisfaction of any private grudge-was ing your mirds from the proper sub- it for the inflicting of any private reject before you, than in giving you venge, that all these proceedings, these much assistance on the law; and for blood-thirsty, proceedings, were purthe best of all reasons, because if he sued? That is the question which you had done so, it would have exposed must lay to your conscience; and I am the naked, undisguised, and undisgui. persuaded, when you give a consciensable nature of that Treason, which, tious attention to the evidence, it is utI am confidently to contend before terly impossible, as I said before, for you, has been brought home, beyond you, or for any man, to entertain the the possibility of doubt, to the pri. most remote vestige of doubt. soner now at the bar.

Gentlemen, it is not necessary that Upon the first of these points, whe- the public design,-supposing I shall be successful in shewing they had a influence of insanity, or by accident? public design,-it is not necessary that No such thing. The duty of the pubthe public design should have been the lic prosecutor is completed by proving immediate destruction of the King, the fact of homicide; and that fact it is not necessary that it should have being proved, turns over upon the pri. been to accomplish any particular re- soner the whole duty of his own excul. straint or invasion of the kingly office; pation. Just so, Gentlemen, I apply but if the design was one to accom- the principle here. And if a party of plish a change in the constitution, be men, in regular array of war, are found it of any description whatever-if it in conflict with the troops of the King, were in the merest trifle in the consti- I say it lies upon them to prove that tution-if it were to accomplish the their purpose was not that which, from slightest alteration in the sacred form necessity, proclaimed by the circumof the constitution—and by force, for stances in which the parties are found, it was by force, and by nothing else, if is the inference which every man must the design existed at all,-it brings one

draw from the facts so proved. and all of them within the sphere and It has been earnestly maintained, the range, and within the awful penal. that the conflict with the King's troops ties of the crime which is now laid to did not constitute Treason, and cannot their charge.

be stated as an overt act of Treason ; Gentlemen, if there had been nothing and that if there was Treason at all, it more in the case but that the armed must have been completed at some party, so arrayed and marshalled and earlier stage of their proceedings. My prepared, with whom the prisoner was answer to this view of the case is short, joined, had been found in close and simple, and conclusive. I contend that hardy conflict with the troops of his the Treason was completed before the Majesty, I do not scruple to say, that conflict with the King's troops, of it lay upon them to prove that they which I need not repeat to you the de. were not levying war against his Man tails. The crime had arrived at its full iesty. Notwithstanding all that has measure of legal and moral consumbeen said about the presumptions in fa- mation by the assembling in arms. But vour of innocence, presumptions against I contend further, that their conflict which, in their fair and legal import, with the Hussars and Yeomanry was I should be the last person in the world nothing more than a natural and neto argue, I say, nevertheless, that per. cessary continuation of the active prosons may be placed in such a situation ceedings formerly begun ; and that the as to cast upon them the whole burthen accomplishment of their treasonable of exculpation; it is not necessary that design, and their personal safety, were I should plead this case to that degree, equally involved in the success of that but I do not scruple to lay down that contest. proposition as being founded both in reason and in law. Gentlemen, if a The Lord President, in summing man is seen to run another through the up, took a general view of the law of body-to blow out his brains, is any Treason, and then exhibited a sumthing more to be required of the pub- mary of the evidence, clearly intimating lic prosecutor than the proof of that his conviction that the guilt of the fact? Is he bound to prove that this prisoners amounted to High Treason. murder, as it is in its first appearancé, He considered this general view of the this act of homicide to call it by an

law and facts of the case to be the more abstract term, is not committed in self. necessary, after the eloquent appeal defence, is not committed under the which had been made to their passions,

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