Page images

this excited great agitation in the minds of only that he was seen in Grosvenor-square, those who were present; they were so con- but that he was engaged in playing at dovinced of the fidelity of each other, so con- minos in a public-house at the corner of fident in the means which they had prepared, Charles-street, which is close to the square, that they could not brook the notion that there with a young man of the name of Gillan. was any possibility of failure. Such, at least, Upon the following morning, the 23rd, the was the general impression upon the minds of day on which the plans of the conspirators the persons assembled there; but you will find were to be carried into effect, you will find that one of them, called Palin, who was to that they met at Brunt's house; and that in bead a detachment for setting fire to the town, the afternoon, between two and three o'clock, thought that the suggestion made by Adams many of the persons again assembled there for ought not to be treated with inattention. the purpose of proceeding to another place, to Brunt proposed, in order to ascertain whether which I shall now call your attention. It was their scheme had been detected or not, that a thought, by these persons, that, in order) to watch should be set that night. Gentlemen, carry into effect the plan of assassinating his I ought previously to have stated to you, that majesty's ministers at lord Harrowby's house, upon the morning when this which I am re- those who were destined for accomplishing lating to you, took place, it had been ascer- that part of the plot should be brought togetained by the meeting, from a newspaper, that ther at some spot not very remote from Grosupon the following day a cabinet dinner was venor-square; and it will be proved to you to be given by lord Harrowby; an event long that on the Tuesday it was resolved that they anxiously wished for; an opportunity long should meet near Tyburn turnpike; and that desired by the prisoners, as by finding all bis those who were not intrusted with the whole majesty's ministers assembled at one place, of their schemes should have a word given they hoped the more easily and the more them, by which they might be able to ascereffectually to perform their diabolical work of tain, at their arrival there, who were the perassassination. Brunt proposed that a watch sons with whom they were to act. It however should be set, and the spot fixed upon was so happened, that before the Wednesday, the lord Harrowby's house. Brunt said, “If our prisoner Harrison procured a stable in an plan has been detected ; if there be any ground obscure street, called Cato-street, leading into for this suspicion which Adams entertains, no | John-street, in the Edgware-road, which was doubt there will be some preparation made at i considered by them a very convenieut place lord Harrowby's house, to meet the intended for assembling and making their preparations attack; and if, therefore, upon watching his for the attack at lord Harrowby's house. The house to-night and to-morrow morning, it shall , access to Cato-street, at each end, is under an appear that no soldiers are introduced into ' archway; so that it has the appearance rather that house or any of the adjacent houses, that of a mews than of a street; at one end it is no preparations are made for the expected ' accessible only by foot passengers, at the other attempt, we may be quite satisfied that our end there is an entrance for carriages. This plans remain undivulged, and that we are in stable was prepared for their meeting on that perfect security." I will not repeat to you evening ; Harrison and others were seen carthe expressions which were used at that meet- rying things into it in the course of the aftering; the exultation which was displayed at noon of the 23rd, and some cloth or sacking finding that at last this opportunity they had was nailed up against the windows of the been so long expecting would occur, and that building on the side looking into Cato-street, at last the day had arrived, on which they for the obvious purpose of preventing the would be able to perpetrate their nefarious persons opposite from observing what was crimes. It will be sufficient for you to bear passing within. them once, from the witnesses who will be On the afternoon of that day, Thistlewood, called before you.

Ings, Bradburn, Hall, and others of the party On that evening, in pursuance of the sug- met at Brunt's room, and you will find that gestion of Brunt, a watch was set in Grosvenor- they were seen putting flints into their pistols, square at six o'clock. Two persons, one of accoutring themselves, and arming themselves whom was Davidson, were to take the duty with blunderbusses, pistols and swords, with from six till nine, when they were to be re- which they were to proceed to Cato-street, lieved by two others, who were to remain till and afterwards to lord Harrowby's. twelve; it was thought that from that time till It was thought by Thistlewood that it would four in the morning no observation would be be proper to prepare some sort of address to necessary, but that at the last mentioned hour the people, which should be exhibited that the watch should be resumed. Davidson and night in different parts of the town, for the his associate went into Grosvenor-square, and purpose of exciting disaffection, and of incontinued there from six till nine. At that ducing persons to join their party; and he sat hour they were relieved by Brunt and the down, and wrote a proclamation, in the prewitness Adams, and a remarkable circumstance paration of which, circumstances occurred occurred upon that evening, which puts it out most material for your consideration. It will of all doubt that the prisoner Brunt was there. appear to you, that there being in the room It will be proved to you, by witnesses, not no paper upon whicb Tristlewood could write VOL. XXXIII.

4 G

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

the proclamation, and it having been suggested | ed Hiden to join them, detailed to him more
that cartridge paper would best answer the fully the objects they had in view, and requested
purpose, Brunt, the prisoner at the bar, sent he would not fail io attend between six and
his apprentice, Hale, to purchase some. Hale seven o'clock.
went out, and bought six sheets, which were In consequence of their plan being thus
afterwards carried into the room. Upon that known to my lord Harrowby and the govern-
paper Thistlewood wrote the proclamation, ment, means were taken to prevent its execu-
which it was intended should be stuck up near tion, by the apprehension of these persons in
the places to which they intended to set fire Caio-street, on the evening of the 23rd.
on that night, so that by the light it might be Between seven and eight o'clock there were
made visible to the persons collected in the assembled in Cato-street, Brunt the prisoner
street. The address was to this effect : “Your at the bar, Thistlewood, Ings, Harrison,
tyrants are destroyed; the friends of liberty Davidson, and others to the number of about
are called on to come forward, as the provi- four or five and twenty. I should here state
sional government is now sitting. J. Ings, 10 you, that the prisoner (who like the rest of
secretary. February 23rd, 1820.” Three of bis associates was anxious to increase their
these proclamations were prepared by This numbers, and to procure the assistance of as
tlewood, for the purpose of being used in the many persons as possible) had, on the preced-
manner I have stated to you.

ing day, the Tuesday, applied to a man of the After this was done, and after they had pro name of Monument, a shoemaker, to whom he vided themselves with arms, they proceeded to had been introduced two or three weeks before, the stable in Cato-street.

by Thistlewood; he told him he should want It is proper that I should in this part of the his aid on the following day, he imparted to narrative inform you, that upon the preceding him the watch-word by which they were to make day, intimation was given to lord Harrow by, themselves known to each other at Tyburn of the plan which these persons had in con- turnpike, the place of meeting at Cato-street templation, by a man of the name of Hiden, not having at that time been fixed upon. On a cow-keeper, living in Manchester-mews, the 23rd after they had procured this stable, Manchester-street, and who was known to one Brunt again saw Monument, and told him that of the conspirators, the prisoner Wilson. As he was to accompany Tidd ; that he was to go the night of the execution of their plan ap- to Tidd's house, in Hole-in-the-wall passage, proached, they became more and more anxious who would take him to the place of rendezvous to procure all the assistance they could ; they on that evening. You will have it proved 10 endeavoured to enlist associates from amongst you, that Monument did accordingly call at those with whom they were acquainted, and to Tidd's, and that he walked with Tidd to Cato whom therefore they had the less difficulty in street, and that he found Brunt there on his divulging generally' the schemes they had in arrival. agitation. Hiden was, as I have observed, At Cato-street, the execution of their plans known to Wilson, and it will appear to you, was brought under consideration. They had that two or three days before the Wednesday, there collected a quantity of arms and a number Wilson had imparted to him the outline of the l of those destructive instruments, grenades, the conspiracy, the taking the cannon and the use of which I will now state to you. It was assassination of his majesty's ministers, hoping intended that Thistlewood should knock at lord and expecting that Hiden would join them. Harrowby's door, under pretence of having a Hiden, when he came to reflect on the com note to convey to his lordship, and access into munication made to him, immediately felt the the ball being thus obtained, others of the necessity of making the matter known to those party were to follow him, secure the servants, more particularly interested in the event, and enter into the room in which the cabinet he wrote a letter to lord Castlereagh, and ministers were sitting, and there execute the communicated to him the intended proceed. murderous plan which they intended to effect. ings, which had been imparted to him by Wil. For that purpose they had prepared these son. He was unable to see lord Castlereagh grenades, which are balls of considerable size, personally, and he was fearful of being ob- in the centre of which is a quantity of gunserved to go into lord Castlereagh's house lest powder, about three ounces, inclosed in a tin. . it should be known to these persons that he case; round the case are placed pieces of iron; was making a communication; he therefore some of those grenades which have been opened took an opportunity of watching lord Harrow- contained long nails, of that description which by, when riding in the park on Tuesday, and is used to fix the tires of cart-wheels io the wood he delivered to him a letter addressed to lord work to which they are attached. About eight Castlereagh, requesting his immediate attention or ten of these nails are fastened as tightly as to it, stating that it was of the utmost import- they can be round the tin-case holding the ance; by these and other means the plot gunpowder, with tow dipped in a composition became known to lord Harrowby, and to the of pitch tar and resin. From the gunpowder government of the country. On the follow- a fuse communicated with the surface of the ing day, Hiden saw Wilson again in the street, ball, which, being lighted, would produce an and Wilson then told him that they bad fixed almost instantaneous explosion, pieces of to meet that evening in Cato-street; he solicit- iron would be dispersed around in all direc

tions, and the consequences would be, that the people and to excite them to insurrection. any person who should unhappily be struck by The leading officer directed bis followers to lay them would be deprived of existence, or be left hold of those two persons, in order to secure wounded, maimed, and lacerated. Between them ; but the officers being anxious to get seven and eight o'clock they began to prepare into the loft, Davidson and Ings were not themselves for the execution of their designs ; | taken into custody at the moment, although and doubts being entertained by some of the the knife was taken from Ings. The first of party, whether their number was quite adequate the police who went up was Ruthven; and it to all the objects they had in view, Thistle will appear, that while he was ascending the wood, in order to allay their apprehensions, ladder, either Ings or Davidson gave an alarm stated that they had men enough there for the from below to their associates above. On accomplishment of the assassination in Gros- Ruthven's gaining the loft, the first object that venor-square, and that there were other parties struck his notice was Thistlewood, whose perin different parts of the town for the accomplish- son was well known to him, Ruthven having ment of the duties assigned to them. This been acquainted with it for some years. statement of Thistlewood was founded in fact, Thistlewood, on seeing Ruthven, seized a for it will appear that after the party had taken sword which was on a carpenter's bench before their departure from Brunt's house, other him, and on which other arms were ranged, persons were expected to call there; amongst and retired into a smal room adjoining, fenc. them was a man named Potter, one who was ing with his sword, in order to keep off Ruthdeep in their schemes, and was the intended ven and his supporters, who were advancing, leader of a band upon that night. From Brunt's, and who announced to the persons assembled these persons were to be directed to proceed that they were officers of justice, and that they to the White Hart, from whence they were to were come to apprehend them. Ellis was immove in divisions to the execution of the mediately behind Ruthven, and he was followvarious tasks they had to perform. Palin was ed by an unfortunate man named Smithers. to be at the head of the fire party, and Cook Smithers, observing Thistlewood in this attitude was to command the detachment that was to in the small room, passed his companions, and take the cannon in Gray's-inn-lane and the advanced to apprehend him. On his approachArtillery-ground.

ing, Thistlewood came forward and thrust the After this had been stated by Thistlewood, sword into his heart; the lights were extinhe proposed that a selection should be made of guished; a cry was raised of" Kill the thieves, fourteen to enter the room at lord Harrowby's, throw them down stairs!" a rush was made to to destroy bis majesty's ministers. Among the ladder; the officers were precipitated into those who were to go into that room, the stable ; Thistlewood followed close behind were Harrison, who had been formerly in the them, discharged a pistol, as he descended, at Life-guards; Adams, who had some years ago another of the officers, then made his way served in the Oxford-blues; Ings, the butcher, through the stable and escaped. Several of who had prepared himself for the bloody scene the persons succeeded in eluding the vigilance in which he was to be an actor, in a most of the officers on that night, others of them remarkable way, the prisoner Brunt, and were apprehended; amongst them Davidson, Thistlewood. At the moment when they were after a very desperate resistance on his part; separating themselves, the officers entered the and I only call your attention to him now, in stable below, and discovered Davidson, one of order to state his conduct and expressions the persons included in this indictment, a man when he was taken into custody-conduct and of colour; he was armed with two pistols in a expressions evincing most clearly, if there belt, a blunderbuss in his hand, and a cutlass could be the least doubt upon the mind of any at his side, and was standing as sentry, at the man, what was the object of this conspiracy. foot of the step ladder which led from the On his being apprehended, he immediately stable to the loft above; Ings was also sta- exclaimed, “who would not die in liberty's tioned in the stable; he had a black belt round cause?” that “he cared not for his life, that his body, in which were inserted a brace of the cause in which they were embarked was pistols, and also a remarkable instrument, that of freedom, and who would not perish in which will be exhibited to you, a large that cause ?" These expressions must conbutcher's knife; he bad stated upon the pre- vince you that the object was to overturn the ceding day, and also upon the evening of their government, and that the assassination of his meeting in Cato-street, that with that knife he majesty's ministers was only the first step to himself intended to enter the room in which the accomplishment of that object. the ministers were sitting, and that he had The prisoner Brunt made his escape; he provided himself with it for the purpose of returned home about nine o'clock, or a little mutilating the bodies of lord Castlereagh and after, and Ilale, his apprentice, happened to be lord Sidmouth; he had also furnished himself in the house on his arrival; he came back with with two bags or haversacks, which he had his coat and boots extremely dirty; he told fastened over each shoulder; in these he in- his wife (and this is a part of the case which tended to carry off the heads of those two dis- it is most material for you to attend to) that it tinguished persons, in order that they might be was all over, that they had been attacked by exhibited on pikes in the street, to infuriate the officers, and he had escaped only with his

life. Presently after another man came in, , to you on his behalf by his counsel, when the who, it should seem, had been one of the party period arrives at which they will have to adin Cato-street, and had effected his escape, dress themselves to this case. I anticipate but had received in the contest some consider that it will be argued before you, that the plan able blows and wounds; he stated, that he had which this person had conceived was wild and been knocked down and hurt; they both ap- visionary, was impracticable, and that therefore peared to be glad to find themselves again you are to pay no attention whatever to the in the society of each other; and the prisoner evidence which shall be given to you to prove Brunt stated, that though they had been thus dis- its existence. Let me caution you as to the persed in Cato-street, "all was not yet over,” application of that observation to the present alluding, undoubtedly, to the different bodies case : whether the plan was practicable or not; collected in other parts of the town. And he whether they had over-rated their force and said to the other man, “come along;" and they their means of accomplishing it or not, is not went then out together; he was absent from a matter for your inquiry. The only question that time till near eleven o'clock, when he is, does the evidence which will be adduced to returned again to his house. Before he retired you, satisfy you, that the scheme I have detailed to rest, he directed Hale to get up on the fol- was harboured in the mind of the prisoner at lowing morning to clean his boots; and he the bar; if it were, and he acted in further. himself at an early hour awakened him, and ance and execution of it in the manner I have then asked him, whether he knew a place stated, however wild, however visionary, howcalled Snow's-fields, in the Borough. The lad ever impracticable it may have been, the guilt replied, “ he did not :” the prisoner told him which is imputed by the present indictment where it was, and then went into the back will be established and fixed upon him. room (that room which had been hired under But even in our own experience, other plans the false pretence of being a lodging for Ings, of a similar nature, equally wild, have been conbut in which, as I have stated, the meetings of ceived and formed; without adverting to any the conspirators were held, and their prepar- particular case, you will recollect, that, in estiations were made) and from the cupboard in mating the practicability of this plan, you are that room, he took out several hand-grenades not to reason upon it in the manner in which and some fire-balls; these he packed up in you or myself would judge of it coolly in our two baskets, covering one of the baskets with an closets, but you are to remember that these apron belonging to his wife, and which had been men had long entertained this project; that used as a window curtain to that room, telling they had brooded over it till they overlooked the apprentice, he was to take them and their all the difficulties which intervened between its contents, to a manofthenameof Potter, in Snow's. conception and its execution ; that they imaginfields. He had just finished, when Taunton, the ed a blow once struck by them, would excite officer, arrived at the house to apprehend him. the disaffection which they vainly imagined Taunton found the prisoner in his own room, prevailed in this large metropolis among a and you will hear the conrersation he had with great number of its inhabitants; that they him. Brunt affected not to know who it was should be joined by an overwhelming force, that had taken the back room ; said, that he had and that with that force they should be able to nothing whatever to do with it; pretended to overturn the existing government, leaving to be wholly ignorant of the two baskets which he the book of chance what other institution might had just been preparing, and denied any know- be substituted for it. The evidence will shew ledge whatever of any thing in that room. you what were their preparations, preparations An iron pot was standing there belonging to wholly inconsistent with the idea that the asthe prisoner, in which they had prepared their sassination of his majesty's ministers was the pitch and resin, and other combustibles; of only crime they meditated. You will find that this also he said he knew nothing, and persist- at Tidd's house was seized on the day after ed in his denial of being acquainted with the their meeting in Cato-street, no less a quantity contents of the baskets, although he had imme- than twelve hundred rounds of ball-cartridge; diately before been engaged in the act of pack they had procured, as I have stated, a great ing them, for the purpose of being sent off. number of grenades; they bad cartridges for Upon this he was apprehended, and he now the purpose of loading capnon; and, in addistands here for trial before you.

tion to these things, they were provided with Thistlewood also made his escape on the fire-balls, intended to be used in burning the night of the 23rd; he did not return to his different buildings which had been fixed upon, own home, but filed for concealment to the and amongst others the barracks near Porthouse of one Harris, in a street near Moor- man-square, well known to Harrison, who had fields; and on the morning of the 24th, at been quartered there. These preparations and about ten o'clock, was apprehended there in this ammunition shew plainly, that the work bed, with some of his clothes on.

they meditated was not to terminate in the asI believe I have now detailed, as briefly and sassination of his majesty's ministers, but that as clearly as I have been able, the main facts these conspirators had ulterior objects in conwhich will be adduced in evidence against the templation, and that they were bent upon the prisoner at the bar. I can anticipate, perhaps, overthrow and destruction of the government. some of the observations which will be made But let us for a momem consider that part

of the scheme to which your attention will be liable to do objection. The confirmation which very much directed in the course of this in- you ought to require in this instance should quiry, I mean the assassination of his majes- be such as to convince you that the general ty's ministers. With what view could these tenor of the narrative of Adams is true. Such conspirators meditate their destruction ? Were confirmation you will receive from witnesses they persons against whom, individually, these upon whom there is not the shadow of an immen had conceived revenge? Was it against putation-witnesses upon whose veracity you lord Liverpool, was it against the duke of may with confidence rely. Wellington, was it against the lord chancellor, But the case will not rest upon the testipersonally, that their hostility was directed ? mony of an accomplice, though fully confirmed, Who were the parties to make the attack? | A witness will be called before you, who was Were these twenty or five-and-twenty persons not an accomplice, and who, if his account be united by any common bond of interest? I not true, was a man endowed with the spirit ask you, as men of sense and understanding, of prophecy; I mean Hiden; because he, bewhether you can doubt that that part of their fore the transaction took place, communicated plan was more than a preliminary step? that it to lord Harrowby, at a time when he had their swords were not to be raised against his no interest whatever operating upon his mind majesty's ministers, as individuals merely, but to induce him to make the disclosure, except as distinguished personages filling the highest a desire of averting that evil which he saw imoffices in the state, and possessing the confi- pending over the person of that nobleman and dence of their sovereign. In that character his colleagues in office. Against Hiden no alone, bad the illustrious guests of lord Har- charge could have been or can be preferred, rowby become the intended victims of the in- because, although in words he appeared to asstigators and supporters of this horrible plot. sent to the scheme of the conspirators, he never This assassination was to have been the first act acted in a single part of the plot. If you reof the tragedy; the overthrow of the govern- ceive from this person not only an account of ment was to have been last.

the scheme, but one completely confirmatory It will perhaps be said that in a case like of the testimony of the accomplice, it appears the present, the testimony ought to be such as to me that it is no longer possible for you to to leave no doubt on your minds of the truth hesitate on the conclusion to which you are to of the story which is narrated--that it should arrive. I do not advert to the testimony of come from unpolluted sources, from witnesses Monument, because the observations which untainted by crime. Undoubtedly, in all cases apply to Adams apply equally to him. I submitted to the consideration of a jury, it is ought, however, to remark, that although their duty to be satisfied that the evidence is Monument was undoubtedly found in Cato. clear and conclusive before they pronounce a street, and had agreed to meet Brunt and Tidd verdict against the prisoner. But the secret there that evening, he does not appear to have machinations and designs of conspirators, been fully informed of the extent of the scheme planning and acting in a scheme like the pre- till his actual arrival in the room, and does sent, can only be developed to their full exient not seem therefore to be so deeply implicated by the evidence of some of those who have in the transaction as Adams. been participators in their guilt. An accom Such being the case, it will be your duty, plice in these cases is, generally speaking, the after you have heard the evidence, calmly and only witness that can be produced fully to deliberately to weigh the effect of it. If, after discover and make known to the court the the observations which I have made to you, plans and machinations of his associates. That you shall think that the proof adduced does ihe testimony of such a person ought to be not fully satisfy your minds of the guilt of the watched with the utmost anxiety and jealousy prisoner at the bar, and you shall entertain I most readily admit; and unless it receives a reasonable doubt respecting it (but it must confirmation from uncontaminated sources, a be a rational and a well-founded doubt), give jury is never advised to come to a conclusion the prisoner at the bar the benefit of it; but unfavourable to the accused. Upon his evi- if on the contrary, however wild in your estidence alone, in this case, however, I think you mation, and however impracticable the scheme will agree, when you have heard the story may have been, still, if upon considering the which the accomplice Adams will tell, and whole of the evidence, you shall be convinced the confirmation which will be given to you of that it was formed, and was on the eve of exethat story-confirmation of the strongest and cution, then, gentlemen, it is a duty you owe must impregnable kind, not as to one or two to yourselves and to your country to act upon particular circumstances only, but I might say that conviction, and, without hesitation, withas to almost all the leading facts which he will out regard to the consequences to follow from relate; I say, I think you will be satisfied that your decision, to pronounce a verdict of guilty. he is the witness of truth. To produce confirmation of every part of his testimony would

Lord Chief Baron.-Bring into court the be impossible, and if it were possible, it would other prisoners named in the indictment who render the evidence of the accomplice alto- have not been tried. gether unnecessary, because the account he is [William Davidson, Richard Tidd, James to give might then be proved by witnesses William Wilson, John Harrison,

« PreviousContinue »