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on to account for his having first jus- William Clement, who deposed that tified, and afterwards abandoned, his the Political Register, in 1816, was plea of justification. Instructions for legally published
by William Cobbett, ihat plea had been delivered to his at. junior. In the beginning of 1817, wittorney, at a time when he was deeply ness published the Register. Witness engaged with business of more interest, kept his accounts with William Coband when he was not aware of the pre- bett, junior. He settled his accounts cise documents which would be neces- with the son ; but always considered sary for him to support that plea. He the father as responsible. He consihad power to prove all that he had said dered the father the proprietor of the against the plaintiff, and ten times more; Register, though not legally so. and whatever course the present action In his cross-examination, witness admight take, that proof should, in pro- mitted that he had never treated with per time, be forthcoming; but it was the son, but as the agent of the father. not ready now.
He well understood The father's name was entered in his that against no man but himself would books, although he settled accounts the present action have been brought with the son. Before Mr Cobbett He knew the political feeling which went to America, witness gave bills to the plaintiff trusted to. The Jury had à considerable amount for his use. been told that he had libelled Sir Fran- Those bills were given in anticipation cis Burdett, and it was hoped that the of the proceeds which were to arise Jury would visit that libel upon him from the sale of the Register. in the damages which they might give Charles Preston, clerk in the Stamp for the present.
He trusted, how- Office, produced an affidavit of Wil. ever, that they would do no such liam Cobbett, junior, dated 5th of Jathing, and he was sure that no man nuary 1816, stating himself to be sole would despise more heartily than the proprietor of the Political Registerhonourable Baronet himself, such a mi. and another of the 25th of the same serable attempt to pander to their pre- month, in the same year, stating himself judices. He still contended that the to be printer, publisher, and sole promutilation of a letter virtually amount. prietor of the Register. ed to a forgery of that letter. Even William Cobbett, junior, was next Dr Franklin, having made an impro- called. The material part of this witper use of some letters, obtained from ness's evidence went to the question, the Governor of Massachussetts, had whether he or his father was in truth been called a thief by Lord Rosslyn, the proprietor of the paper. The witat the bar of the House of Commons. ness swore that the property of the paMr Cobbett then remarked upon the per was made over to him by his faevidence which had been adduced by ther, and that his father received a sathe plaintiff, and intimated to the Jury lary from him, as editor. That salary the ground upon which he proposed varied from time to time, from 35 or to rest his defence that ground being 40 guineas a-week to 3501. simply this ;—that it was his son Wil. Witness was bona fide proprietor of the liam, and not himself, who bad been paper. He frequently made alterations the publisher of the libels in question, in the matter transmitted by his father, and that a considerable portion of the and made most material alterations in matter complained of in the Register that part of the Register of the 6th of of the 6th of March, 1819, had been March, 1819, which alluded to the written by his sons William and John. plaintif. He then called
In his cross-examination, witness ad
mitted that he paid his father no con. as the bona fide proprietor, or as the sideration for the assignment of the editor of the Political Register, would paper, and that he reassigned it with be liable for its contents. With reout receiving any consideration. Du spect to the alterations he had authoring the time that the paper was the rity to make ; if a principal authoproperty of witness, his father had not rised an agent to make reasonable alterthe power at will to resume it; but, ations, then, for the effect of such of course, if he had withdrawn his wri-' reasonable alterations he was still reting, the shadow only would have been sponsible. It was for the Jury to de. left to witness.
cide, whether the evidence had brought Mr John Cobbett, another of de- home to the defendant the libels in fendant's sons, deposed principally to question. If they were of that opinion, some alterations by him, and by his the line of defence adopted by Mr brother, in the article of the 6th of Cobbett, if not permitted to weigh in March, 1819, which regarded Mr aggravation of damages, would cerWright, the plaintiff. The alterations tainly be a very sufficient bar to any were made, because the article was not plea in mitigation. sufficiently bitter.
The Jury retired at about a quarter Mr Scarlett, in reply, contended, to nine, and, after an absence of near. that the whole course of Mr Cobbett's ly one hour and three quarters, redefence had been an aggravation of turned with a verdict for the plaintiff
. the injury which he had done to the -Damages, 1000l.; costs, 40s. plaintiff.
The trial occupied the Court from The Lord Chief-Justice, in sum. half past nine in the morning, till a ming up, held that Mr Cobbett, either quarter past ten at night.
Nesbett, FOR THE Murder of MR rest ; ten o'clock was the usual hour PARKER AND HIS HOUSEKEEPER. at which he went to bed. The house
keeper liad been seen as late as one Maidstone, July 28.
o'clock in the afternoon coming from
the butcher's with some meat for the The Common Serjeant detailed the use of the family ; she had been seen facts of the case. The deceased, Thon going to the house by a person mas Parker, lived in Mulgrave-place, lived opposite. By the same neighin the town of Woolwich. He was bour Mr Parker had been seen at four
age, and had formerly o'clock in the evening. It was a tembeen engaged in business as a works pestuous day, and therefore not very ing-jeweller in London. He had re. likely that they would be out after tired from business some years before four o'clock; indeed, so tempestuous his death, and lived in this house at was the weather, that it prevented Woolwich, in which there was only Mr Parker's son-in-law from going to one other inhabitant, a person who see him on that day, as he had inhad also met with her death on the tended. At seven o'clock a neighsame occasion. Mr Parker's habits bour, who lived in the next house
, were extremely regular, and being heard the door going. Thus things advanced in years, he retired early to remained till half-past one in the mid
dle of the night, when the watchman, a horrid sight presented itself. Two who was stationed near the house, dead bodies were found, half consuand who, he regretted to say, was med by fire. These bodies he belienow in Ireland, observed smoke issu- ved he should be able to identify, ing from the parlour window. He though evidence to that effect was immediately sprang his rattle, which scarcely necessary; for it was not drew to the place several soldiers likely that Mr Parker and his housefrom the adjoining barracks. The keeper should have left the house, alarm also attracted a carpenter's ap- and that two other persons had come prentice, who got in at a window, into it, and had been burnt to death, and was present when the door was The head of Mr Parker was almost broken
open. There were only Mr entirely consumed, but the left leg Parker and the housekeeper to be remained perfect, and furnished sufawakened and rescued from the fire, ficient proof of the identity of the and therefore the first object of the body. On the left foot there was persons assembled was to alarm them. found a shoe, which, having origiThey would learn from one of the nally been too small, had been burst witnesses that he went to the bed- in tying on-a circumstance that rooms, but found neither any person, would be proved by the person who nor the appearance of any persons made the shoe. The body of Sarah having been in them; there were no Brown was also known beyond any candles in the rooms. The beds had doubt. The surgeon who exami. been set on fire in both rooms; but ned the bodies had not the smallthere was no connexion between the est doubt that both had been dead fires in these two rooms, or between before they were burnt. The fraceither of them, and any other part of ture on the skull of Mr Parker was the house, so that they must bave quite sufficient to produce instant been lighted separately. They found death, and seemed to have been in. the parlour full of fire and smoke, flicted with the claw of a hammer. which they subdued by water, and On the head of the housekeeper, also, then they ascertained what had been there were two deep wounds; and it done there. On breaking open the was impossible that these injuries puter door, they found it had not could have been occasioned by fire. been bolted, and from this it appear. It was likely that the murderer was ed that the inmates of the house had single in the transaction, for the linen never gone to bed. There was an- was mostly all left behind, and the arother circumstance, which would shew ticles which had been taken away, that this fire had been caused by de- were chiefly jewellery and trinkets. sign, and that was, that in every room Innmediately after the discovery of which commanded a view of the street, the murder, a constable had taken there were blankets nailed up against charge of the house, and had taken the windows. The Jury would be told care to preserve the property found by the neighbours who lived oppo- in it. Among that property were se. site, that they had never known this veral articles of jewellery ; and it to have occurred before, and he would would appear in evidence that the arput it to their understanding, whether ticles found on the prisoner correit could be reasonably accounted for sponded exactly with those in the on any other supposition, than that it house ; for the whole plate and jewhad been done for the purpose of con- ellery were very old-fashioned ; and cealment. On entering the parlour, the articles would be sworn to by a person who had been the apprentice hill, to take the Portsmouth coach. of Mr Parker when he was in busi- By this plan he got back to Portsness, and who had assisted in the ma- mouth, and the moment he arrived king of many of them. At the time there he appeared to be rich. What there was no trace of the person who money
there was in Mr Parker's house had committed the crime; several he did not know; but he should be persons indeed were arrested on sus- able to identify the property found on picion, but were soon after dischar- the prisoner. The morning after his ged. He would now proceed to re- arrival at Portsmouth, he sent a per. late the case of the prisoner, as he son to Cole, with what the woman should be able to prove it in evidence. whom he cohabited with supposed to He had formerly been in the artillery be a 101. note, but what turned out service, and had been stationed at to be a 5l. Bank of England note. Woolwich; but he was discharged in The Jury would naturally expect that 1816, and had a pension of 9d. a-day. the prisoner should account for this He had a wife and six children at sudden alteration which took place Woolwich. It happened, that four in his circumstances after he left months before this murder, the pri. Portsmouth.
Not only did he send soner had been arrested on another the 5l. note to Cole, but he also made charge, but he had escaped from the this woman a number of presents, constable, and had left Woolwich a consisting of shawls and various artishort time before the murder was cles of dress, the amount of which she committed. His name was Nesbett, would tell when examined. But the but it would be proved that he went question was, on the prisoner's reto Portsmouth under the name of turn to Portsmouth, from what place Watson, and there he remained till did he come from London, or from February. During his stay there he Woolwich ? He should bring the priwas on terms of intimacy with a wo- soner's nephew into Court, though he man of loose character; and it was did not mean to examine so near a not likely that in such society he relation in support of the prosecution; should retain his money long. He but if the prisoner could shew by his was, in fact, altogether' destitute of nephew's testimony that he had not money when he left Portsmouth. On been at Woolwich, he should have an the 19th of February, he borrowed opportunity of doing so. The pri20s. from a person of the name of soner's sister lived at Woolwich, and Cole, leaving a box as security for the his nephew could prove that on his amount, and stating that he was go- return to Portsmouth, he brought ing to London to receive some mo- news of his mother's health, as a perney. Cole believed this, and advan- son coming from Woolwich. He ced the 20s. ; so that it appeared that would put this to the Jury as strong on leaving Portsmouth he was with- and pregnant proof that the prisoner out money. It would be proved, that had come from Woolwich, and not on the day after the murder, about from London. He continued to go one o'clock, he was seen at a place by the name of Watson ; but after called Mouse-hill, about 36 miles from thenews of this murder reached PortsLondon, and taken up by a Ports- mouth, it was discovered there that mouth coach. He stated to the coach- his real name was Nesbett, and a maman that he had made his way to Mil- gistrate, who deserved the greatest ford by the Chichester coach, and had praise for his vigilance and activity, walked over from Milford to Mouse, thought it proper that he should be
taken up. It would appear, that on ing taverns and theatres ; and it was the 10th of March, he gave a gold material to observe, that at the latter watch to a person of the name of he regularly appeared disguised, for Irish, to be cleaned, and that watch there he might be recognized by perhe afterwards sold to Barnard Solo- sons from Woolwich. To effect this mon. The prisoner supposed it to be disguise, he always wore a foragingall gold, and it might well have de- cap, and to it he added a pair of specceived
any person ; but it turned out tacles, though not in the habit of that only the inside case was gold, wearing spectacles. Those very specand that the outer case was gilt. The tacles, however, which had been worn account he gave of it was this :—He for the purpose of disguise, afforded thought it had been all gold, for it the very strongest proof of his guilt. had been long in the family, having Mr Parker, who was old, and whose belonged to his father, who lived to sight was bad, always used spectacles; the age of 84. At the same time he those he commonly wore were silver, also sold a number of silver table and and marked “ T. P.” Now the spectea-spoons, which bore the mark of a tacles which the prisoner wore, and P. at the top, with the initials T. and which had been found in his box, had M. below, Mr Parker's wife's name the initials “ T. P.” marked on them, having been Mary. In order to give and would be sworn to as the propera colour to this person, for supposing ty of Mr Parker. The prisoner, it that he was honestly possessed of the would appear, had carried arms about property,
he told him his name was with him, and had said that no person Page, that name answering the ini. should ever take him. The moment tials on the plate. No person had that Hunt and Hill, who arrested ever known the prisoner at Woolwich him, opened the door of the room in by the name of Page, and therefore which he was, he drew out a pistol, he would put this circumstance as a and presented it at Hill. Hill darted strong proof of guilty possession. on him instantly, and in the struggle Upon his return to Portsmouth, he which ensued the trigger was drawn, cohabited with the woman already but the pistol did not go off, but was mentioned, and she would state in afterwards found to have been loaded evidence his mind at that time to be to the muzzle with powder, but in his in an extremely disturbed state; so hurry the prisoner had omitted to put much so, that after a few days she de in any balls. While Hunt was coclined having any farther intercourse ming to Hill's assistance, the prisonwith him, her nights being disturbed er contrived to draw out another pisby his starts and troubled dreams tol, but was secured before he could the indications of a guilty mind. A discharge it; it was found to be loadfew days after this he prevailed upon ed with ball. In his trunk was found her to return, and told her there was a little red box, which contained a vaa secret on his mind which gave him riety of trinkets and articles of jewelgreat uneasiness ; that he had been lery, and among the rest a child's silthe cause of death to three persons, ver coral, which was very material. two men and a woman; that the men That coral he had with him when he he had killed in duels, and the wo- took the Portsmouth coach from man by a blow. The particulars of Mouse-hill, for the coachman bad these acts he promised to tell her at seen it. The mark on it, whatever it some future time. To drown reflec- was, had been filed off, and the file tion, he was in the habit of frequent- had been found in his trunk. The
VOL. XI. FART III.