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to slaughter, and great crimes when to that affair the character of a treathere is no slaughter ; but not ap- sonable assault, or a waging of war. proaching to the verge of Treason. I And here, Gentlemen, although for need not observe to you, that, when- your information it cannot be neces. ever an act is at all of an equivocal or sary to state it, it is necessary that I doubtful character, it is the duty of a should mention as a material basis of jury to hold, and it is the presumption the views of argument I humbly proof law, that the guilt belongs to the pose to submit to you, that it is a fact least aggravated view of the case ; too notorious to require any proof, and, therefore, actual conflict with the and too lamentable to escape the reforces of the King, although by arm- collection of any one, that for a long ed men, and obstinately and desperate. course of time anterior to the melan. ly pursued, is not even prima facie evi- choly transaction which has this day dence, or presumption of a treasonable been put in evidence before you, that intention; and if nothing else is pro- class of the community to which the ved, is not the least ground for a charge prisoner at the bar and his associates of that kind against the party, and confessedly belong, have been subject ought to be referred to the more com- to great sufferings and privations. I mon occasion for such a lamentable believe I may also say, that it is mat.
In order, therefore, to ter of equal notoriety, that those sufmake out this crime at all, there mustferings were, for a long course of time, be evidence, either by antecedent, or although, unfortunately, not to the by subsequent acts, of that treasonable end, borne by that class of persons purpose which is the result of the not only generally, but, I may say, guilt, and by which, if established by universally, with unexampled patience; acte properly distinguished as overt and that it is a lamentable feature of acts, the guilt would be complete this, and of many other cases of a simi. without the actual striking, and with. lar, and of a different description, with out the actual conflict. That, no which the courts of criminal jurispru. doubt, would afford an overt act, which dence in this country have lately been, would receive an unequivocal charac- and are still thronged, that the result ter from the proof of the purpose and of that long period of suffering has not intention. But so far from holding in the end been equally honourable to this transaction at Bonnymuir, which the character of those who were subis qualified to strike the imagination ject to it, as at the first there seemed or the feelings of the public at large, good reason to expect it might be. I say, so far from its being sufficient Gentlemen, I am sure you will not proof of a treason, I do maintain, that suspect me of stating this to you as the crime must be proved in your es- any species of defence or apology for timation, before you are entitled to crimes like this now charged against consider what took place there as any this prisoner, if they are proved, or material article of charge against the for any other species of crime that prisoner at all; and, therefore, so far is actually committed-guiltily, unfrom its being a separate act of treason doubtedly, although under the influin him, it is one you need not look to ence of such painful and deplorable in order to prove the treason ; because circumstances. Undoubtedly, Genthe treasonable purpose must be sufo tlemen, although a man be driven to ficiently made out by other circum. steal by excess of poverty, it is not stances before you are entitled to give the less theft ; and if the poverty is general, perhaps it is only the more of such offences, totally distinguishnecessary that the vengeance of the able from Treason, but leading to the law should be let loose against his same acts of resistance to the police thieving ; and if you should be satis- and regular order and general force fied, as we must all in general and in of the law in this country, which
may a large view be satisfied, whatever we in some cases indicate a treasonable may think of any particular case, that purpose.
We know, that the distress. much of disaffection, much of sedition, es in Glasgow indicated themselves much of disorder and alienation from first by that which continued to the their duty and allegiance, has unfor- last, I believe their fundamental and tunately characterized the times that general cause,—I mean by a combinatie but little behind us, though much tion of workmen for an increase of of it must be referred, and ought in their wages. That is an offence pucharity to be attributed, not to any nishable, and recently punished, by sudden depravation, but to the
the criminal law of this country, in tion of circumstances of an intolerably transactions in which a great part of grievous nature ; yet no lawyer, and the individuals now arraigned here no man, can say, that is any reason were directly engaged, or indirectly why those crimes should not be
concerned. After a time, the disconed, and why additional severity ought tent, the mutinous and combining spinot to be employed to counteract the rit that originated as a mere disorder incitements and tendencies to guilt in trade, and partook of a far milder that arise naturally under such cir- and less aggravated character than be. cumstances. And nothing can be more longs to any public offence against the abhorrent to my thoughts than to say, state, and had in the beginning nothat that is any ground for a jury not thing in it of a political offence at all, to apply the law, or for those who ad- undoubtedly received additional vio. minister the law not to give effect to lence by imbibing some portions of its vengeance, to repress crime in the political animosity. Then another of. season when the example is most like. fence came to be combined with these ly to be contagious. Gentlemen, I do dispositions, and, Gentlemen, the crime not state it either for that purpose, or of sedition reared its head in this forfor the vain end of disclaiming that merly loyal and tranquil land. purpose; but I think relevantly, and Gentlemen, the records of our criin a view that is entitled to your se- minal courts, events that every man rious attention, as bearing on this case, has heard of in every corner, have as affording the more likely, and more taught us how many prosecutions, how merciful and humane interpretation of many arrests, how many alarms, were acts, that would otherwise receive a propagated by seditious assemblies, severer construction. For if, in such seditious discourses, seditious libels a period, crimes not defensible are like and publications ; and, Gentlemen, noly to be committed, all these acts of thing was more natural, after these asresistance of the military power are semblies, these tumultuous meetings more likely to occur; and when they had become common, than that they do occur, great care should be taken should lead further to the commission to ascertain whether they are Treason, of that which hungry multitudes are or offences of a different nature from so apt to run into, pillage and plunTreason; and we all know, that during der, and indiscriminate attack on prithe distress that has prevailed, there vate property. Now, Gentlemen, it was a plentiful and lamentable harvest is in this state of things that you are
VOL. XII. PART II.
called on to find that certain persons, said to have been brought home to who went armed about the country, the prisoner, with some others, seem and resisted an attempt to arrest and to be relied upon as sufficient proof make prisoners of them, must neces- that these suspicions, these illegal, these sarily, and in consequence of that act, criminal acts, which I admit are probe held to have been so raised, and so ved against him, must necessarily pot armed, and so marching, not for the only have been illegal and criminal, purpose of defending themselves from but also treasonable; and that there is being brought to justice for any of evidence sufficient to force on a Jury, the minor offences to which I have al. bound to presume every thing for the luded, not to protect themselves in the prisoner, the irresistible conviction of continued career of committing those his guilt-and absolutely to exclude offences, but for the purpose of wa. us from putting any other interpretaging war against the government of the tion on his conduct than that he was country, and arming themselves to sub. armed for the purpose of employing vert the constitution of the country. his arms to compel a change in the Gentlemen, I say in such circumstan. constitution, or to effect a subversion ces a general view of the case would of the government and the regular eslead to the more merciful, as well as tablishments of the country. by far the more likely and probable Gentlemen, if that hand-bill had conclusion ; and that,
when so many been brought home to the prisoner at other more natural and more feasible the bar, as a person concerned in its purposes of such arming can be point. concoction—if any evidence had been ed out in the circymstances which con- laid before you that he had been a par. fessedly belong to the persons accused, ty, or a member of a committee for it will require clear and precise evi- organizing a provisional governmentdence to satisfy you that this conduct if any expression or speech had fallen must be connected with a treasonable from him, deliberately uttered, advi. purpose, and cannot be accounted for sedly and repeatedly uttered- for I by any other circumstances of proba. think it would require that--approbílity, such as are suggested by the ving the tenor of that publication, with real circumstances in proof.
eviderce that he understood the tenor Now, Gentlemen, with a view to the of it when he did so approve of it,evidence in particular, of which I think why, Gentlemen, I must confess that this is the general description, let us I should tremble for his fate ; and in consider to what it amounts. There spite of my reliance on the mercy with has been reference made to a hand-bill, which your justice would be temper. of a very abominable description ; and ed, I should scarcely dare to lift my as to which I cannot say that I feel eyes to ask what your justice might myself called upon to dissent from the have been called upon to pronounce. epithet that was applied to it on the But, Gentlemen, is that the case bere? part of the prosecution-I think it - Is there any evidence, in the first was a treasonable hand-bill. Allusion place, such as, 1 confess, I expected, has also been made to meetings of per- and I think I was prepared to rebutsons called Radicals ; and allusion has Is there any evidence that this indivi. been made to expressions said to have dual had, for any course of preceding been used by others, in the hearing of time, been engaged as an active rethe prisoner, of a purpose or desire to former, or a meddler in politics at all ? obtain what they called their rights: -Has it been proved that he was the and these things, as they have been hearer or maker of speeches at any ra
dical meeting, or a zealot for annual that it may and ought to be read to parliaments, and suffrage by ballot, or you ; and of course you must take it any other reform ?-Has the prosecu. as a part of the evidence laid before tor thought fit to go back so far as to you; yet their Lordships neither have, satisfy you that, upon whatever mo- nor can be imagined to have found, tives he acted during these four days, any thing more. They have not found those motives were even deliberately that that hand-bill is a paper, for the considered, or formed any part of his contents of which my client is responsettled opinions, or the rule of his ha- sible; they have not found that there bitual conduct?-Does he select his is any evidence by which his approbafirst victim on account of the aggra- tion of it is sealed ; indeed, it does vated and peculiar and prominent fea- not belong to the Court so to find tures of his offence, and yet he is un. it belongs to you, and you only, to find able to shew that he belonged to that that ; and their Lordships never inclass of persons with whom, undoubt. tended to prejudice that question. Now, edly, the greatest and most unexpi- Gentlemen, what is the evidence ?-I able guilt must rest, by whose machi. am unwilling to resume any part of the nations, by whose stimulating poisons, discussion, which you heard lately laid the mass of the ignorant population before the Court, or to ask you to has been infected ? Here there is no form a different opinion upon any foundation laid for the belief of a trea. the points upon which the opinion of sonable purpose; for that, like all other their Lordships has been delivered to fixed purposes for which persons are you; and, therefore, I shall not enter to be responsible with their lives, ought into the question of how far there is to be shewn not to be abandoned after sufficient evidence to satisfy you that a few days, but that the mischief was the two hand.bills, with which it is ripe in the country for years before; said that the prisoner at the bar has but there is no attempt to trace this been connected, were actually of the man back one step beyond the brief tenor of the documents upon the table, period during which his conduct has which have been sent to you as evibeen put in evidence before you to-day. dence ; but I do submit to you, in one
But, I say, while you are bound word, that neither of them are suffie to free the prisoner, from the utter ciently proved for you to proceed want of evidence on the point of all upon. That is an established fact, in participation in these plots and con. proceeding to consider the import of spiracies, and these committees, and the evidence laid before you, though I meetings, and associations, from which am bound to bow to the decision which this pernicious and detestable hand, has been formed, that they have been bill originally emanated, I admit, if so far proved, as to entitle you to forin you could fasten on him the adoption the conclusion which shall of that hand-bill as his creed, with you to be deducible from them; I say, evidence of his understanding it, how. there is no legal evidence that the ever much it might be regretted that hand-bill now produced by Mr Harpunishment could not find its way to die was of the same identical tenor with the most guilty, it would be impose the hand-bill of which a copy was seen sible to say sufficient had not been by him ; it is not proved to be of the proved against this party. But how same tenor as that the prisoner was do we stand as to this? Their Lord. found hearing read to him: you are ships have found that it is so proved the judges of that. I may admit, as in the circumstances of the case, as a rule of law, that though it is suffi
ciently proved to send it to a Jury, it who was naturally struck with horror is not sufficiently proved to entitle a and indignation at what he read of it, person to say, from recollection, that his interference with that person in his it is an exact copy of that paper, which attempts to pull it down, and the alone can affect the prisoner. The on- passionate and unbecoming language ly paper which can at all touch the which he used to him, are evidence to prisoner, is that which he is proved to a jury, in a case of blood, that he aphave personally heard it read. Now the proved of that paper, and adopted it contents of that paper are not in evi- as his own ; and that you are entitled dence before you, nor any copy com- to impute to him the blame of the pared with it, of the identity of that anonymous hand-bill, stuck up in the paper with others.
submit, in a streets for all who ran to read. This, court of criminal justice, you cannot I confess, is a stretch I should hardly hold identity to be established by the expect from
any one ; and without apcircumstance that it struck the witness pealing to that great law of reason, as being the same. That is not legal humanity, and justice, which we know evidence of identity; and you cannot to rule and predominate in the crimitake it upon you to touch the life of nal courts,--that the milder interprea fellow-creature, upon grounds so pre. tation is to be adopted ; and it is only carious.
are compelled to adopt that Then, again, what is the fact with which imports guilt, that you are enregard to this hand-bill? Why, Har- titled to adopt it. In other words, the die, the prisoner at the bar, is proved, prisoner is to remain in presumption of I think sufficiently proved, to have innocence, until you have clear and heard a part of it’ read—but only a overbearing evidence of guilt; and any part of it; and unquestionably there thing else, though it may justify sus. is not the least evidence that he heard picion, is not, on any account, to be the part that followed that to which assumed as evidence by a Jury, situathe witness spoke, and necessarily con- ted as you are, charged with the life fined his deposition, or that he either of a fellow.creature, where all sense, himself read, or heard the subsequent eyes, and minds, must be shut to suspart read at all. But supposing it were picions. I say, I need not appeal to ever so clear that he had heard it read these considerations here, because, confour times over from beginning to end, sidering the description of person, the deliberately and distinctly, is it pos- rank of life, and the temper, you may sible to maintain, that hearing a sedis suppose this man seditious, discontenttious paper read, or reading a seditious ed, and mutinous, suffering his share paper in the public streets, where all of privations, and feeling more than passers-by must read it, is enough to his share of excitements and provocainvolve the party who reads it in a se- tions to these things; and looking at ditious approbation of its contents ? him in that way. is it necessary to You, and thousands of loyal subjects, suppose the adoption of that bill to may have read it under the same cir- explain what took place with regard cumstances. His reading a part is ab- to it? What took place? He was solutely nothing, as to connecting him with thirty other people gaping round with the whole of it, or fixing him this watch-box, and listening to the with its tenor, as any exponent of his elocution of some cleverer fellow, who sentiments or opinions.
was delivering its contents to a circle But then we ze told that his con- of wondering auditors and spectators; versation with the respectable person and in the midst of this, to all men very