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Mr. Goodchild.—I do not, my lord, ask whether that is a conspiring to levy war, but whether that becomes a levying of war under the fourth count.
Lord Chief Baron.—I thought it best to submit to your consideration the first and third counts, because I think there is less difficulty upon those subjects than any others; the first and third counts, beyond all question, charge high treason under the act of his late majesty.
Mr. Goodchild.—At the same time I should feel it my duty, as a juror, to give a verdict on the whole indictment if I may ask your lordship's opinion upon the law.
Lord Chief Baron.—I shall be very o to give you any assistance in my power; if there is, in your opinion, evidence of a levying of war, it will be under that count; do I make myself understood?
Mr. Goodchild.—Perfectly, my lord.
[The jury retired at twenty minutes before four, and returned into court in twenty minutes, with a verdict, finding the prisoner Guilty on the third and fourth counts.]
Mr. Attorney General—My lord, I yesterday * called the attention of the Court to a publication of the trial of Arthur Thistlewood in a Sunday newspaper, called The Observer, in violation of the order which had been made by the Court previously to that trial. I was not then in a situation to bring this matter formally before your lordship, not having been furnished with the documents necessary to bring the matter in such a shape before the Court as that they might be enabled to deal with it. I have now an affidavit, stating the purchase of one of the Observer newspapers, at the shop of the proprietor, Mr. Clement, in the county of Middlesex, on Monday the 24th of April. I am also furnished with a certificate from the Stamp-office, accompanying a copy of the original affidavit filed at that office by Mr. Clement, in which he states that he is the publisher and sole proprietor of that paper. I apprehend, therefore, that your lordships have evidence now before you, not only that Mr. Clement is the proprietor and publisher of the paper in question, but that he actually sold this paper; and (if it were necessary) that he sold it with a full knowledge of the injunction of the Court, for I have only to call your lordship's attention to a passage in the newspaper itself, to satisfy you that he has done it with a full knowledge of the order made previously to the trial, for he states, that after the jury were sworn, the lord chief justice then present thus delivered himself:—“As there are several persons charged with the offence of high treason by this indictment, whose trials are
* See the commencement of the present trial.
Lord Chief Baron.—That is a conspiring to |
| after to serve, should not be influenced by the
publication of any of the proceedings which may take place until the whole of those proceedings shall be finished; it is expected that all persons therefore will attend to this admonition.” I deem this to be a most flagrant, wilful, and daring violation of the order of the Court; and considering the benevolent motive which actuated the minds of your lordships upon that occasion, I think it would be unbecoming in me, having this fact brought to my notice, not to bring it under the consideration of the Court, that they may deal with this person as they in their wisdom shall think fit. I shall therefore move that these affidavits be received, and that your lordships may proceed to punish this person for his contempt in such manner as the Court may think proper.
Lord Chief Baron.—Let the affidavits be read. The affidavit of George Holditch, of Yeat's-court, Carey-street, newsman, and Elijah Litchfield, of Lincoln’s-inn, gentleman, was read; George Holditch stating, that he had on the 24th instant purchased the newspaper in question, at the shop of William Innell Clement, No. 169, Strand, from a person acting as servant in the shop, and that he paid one shilling for the same; and Elijah Litchfield stating, that he saw the person whose name is subscribed to the certificate annexed sign the same. The certificate annexed was read, containing a copy of the affidavit of William Innell Clement (sworn at the Stamp office on the 22nd of January 1816) that he was the printer, publisher, and sole proprietor of a certain newspaper; that the printed newspaper was proposed to be printed at his office at his dwelling-house, No 169, in the Strand, and that it was intituled The Observer. Mr. Justice Richardson.—Mr. Attorney General, have you looked at the act of parliament to see that the copy of the affidavit, so certified, is evidence in all cases?
Mr. Attorney General.—I apprehend so my lord; the 9th section of the 38th Geo. 3rd cap. 78 directs that the affidavit shall be filed, and certified copies shall in all proceeedings, civil and criminal, touching any newspaper and so on, be received and admitted as conclusive evidence; we add to that evidence the actual sale of the paper at the shop of the person against whom I apply.
Mr. Justice Richardson.--Do you make any distinct motion?
Mr. Attorney General,—That he may be punished for his contempt in such way as the Court may think right.
Mr. Justice Richardson.—It will be proper to direct the attendance of the party, that we may see whether he has any excuse to offer.
Mr. Attorney General—I will apply in the first instance for a rule to shew cause, if your lordship pleases.
Lord Chief Baron.—This is undoubtedly avery grave accusation; the order was certainly
made after great consideration by the Court. with a view to prevent michief and injustice; nothing can be more prejudicial to justice than to publish proceedings of this description in the course of an inquiry. The person must be. ordered to attend here on Friday morning, at the sitting of the court.” o
* See the further proceedings upon this subject on Friday April the 28th at the conclusion of the trial of William Davidson, and Richard Tidd, infra. .
705. The whole Proceedings on the Trial of WILLIAM DAvidson and Rich ARD TIDD, for High Treason, before the Court holden under a Special Commission, for the Trial of certain Offences therein mentioned, on the 26th and 27th days of April : 1 Geo. IV. A. D. 1820.*
SESSIONS HOUSE, OLD BAILEY,
The Hon. Mr. Baron Garrow.
Mr. Baron Garrow.—Gentlemen of the Jury, it may perhaps have surprised you that, as we are sitting and you are in Court, we should not have proceeded to business. The Court are so anxious to show that we attend with the greatest solicitude to your convenience, that I think it proper to state, that the pause is at the solicitation of the learned counsel for the prisoner. I am sure that you will feel it proper, that we should wait a few moments to give effect to that solicitation.
Mr. Curwood.—My lord, the prisoner Davidson, has no objection to uniting in his challenges with the prisoner Tidd, whose trial the Attorney-general had proposed to take next.
Mr. Baron Garrow.—Gentlemen, I have now to communicate that to you to which it would have been improper to advert before. The learned counsel for the prisoners (whose exertions have been witnessed more than once) have thought it necessary to communicate with them, whether it would be necessary to pursue the course of severing their challenges, or whether two of them would take their trial by the same jury. We have in effect gained time by the pause, for he has communicated to me, that the two next prisoners are content not to sever their challenges, but to be tried together.
* See the preceding trials of Thistlewood, Ings, and Brunt.
[Richard Tidd and William Davidson were set to the Bar.]
The Jury Panel was called over, commencing with No. 145.
Edward Cherill, stonemason, challenged by the
Thomas Robins, silversmith, challenged by the
Crown. Francis Dorill, esq., challenged by the prisoner. William Percy, plasterer, sworn. John George Holmden, fuse-cutter, sworn. Archibald Ritchey, stone-mason, challenged by the Crown. John King, gentleman, sworn. Charles Elton Prescott, esquire, sworn. Benjamin Rogers, farmer, sworn. Richard Laycock, esquire and cow-keeper, challenged by the prisoner. George For, sawyer, challenged by the Crown. William Acock, plumber, challenged by the Crown. Edward Cuel, carpenter, challenged by the Crown. George Golding, surveyor, sworn. Robert Roberts, oilman, challenged by the Crown. William Bound, founder, challenged by the Crown. Charles Page, esquire and merchant, sworn. William Cole, farmer, challenged by the prisoner. John Lewis, watch-maker, challenged by the Crown. Edward Flower, esquire and schoolmaster, challenged by the prisoner. John Balm, gentleman and tallow-chandler, challenged by the Crown. John Young, gentleman and scale-maker, sworn. Stafford Price, gentleman and currier, challenged by the prisoner. James Cary, joiner, challenged by the prisoner. William Edgecombe, joiner, challenged by the prisoner. Richard Emery, cooper, challenged by the Crown. Stephen Gaurd, bricklayer, challenged by the Crown. Thomas Brayne, mason, challenged by the Crown. William Butler, baker, sworn. William Benn, farmer, challenged by the Crown. John Roper, gentleman, challenged by the Crown. JWilliam Norton, sawyer, challenged by the prisoner. William Blasson, gentleman, challenged by the Crown. Thomas Lester, bookseller, challenged by the Crown. Mr. Lester.—My lord, as this is the third
time that I have been challenged, * may I request to be dismissed.
Mr. Baron Garrow.—I can only assure you, in the language of the lord chief baron, that though the objection has obtained the name of challenging the juror, it ought not to be considered as giving any offence to him. Par
* He had been challenged in the previous cases of Arthur Thistlewood, and John Thomas Brunt.
ticular reasons may occasion an objection to a particular individual, but I cannot take it for granted that on a future trial you might not be called upon to serve with a ready assent on both sides, therefore I cannot dispense with your attendance on this occasion; I wish I could.
Mr. Attorney-General.—There are several gentlemen sworn on the present jury, who have been challenged on one side or the other, on preceding trials.
Mr. Baron Garrow.—From circumstances of a private nature I have not been able to attend in the early part of the proceedings here, but that which I stated as the result of practical experience is exemplified on the resent occasion; for gentlemen who have n challenged on former trials, are sworn to try the prisoners now at the bar: if they arose out of any supposed incapacity or party principle, those objections would continue; further information may induce those, protecting the interests of the public, or of the accused, to do in other instances that which they appear to have done in several instances already.
individuals, but it accuses them of the highest
crime known to the law, of that which strikes at the existence of the government, and aims at its entire subversion—to substitute, in its place, some provisional government, whose pledges for good government were to be slaughter and conflagration. It will not be necessary for me to state to you the indictment more particularly than that in the first count it charges a compassing and imagining (that is an intent) to depose the king, and in another a compassing to levy war against the king, in order to compel him to change his measures, The evidence which we shall lay before you will most completely substantiate both of those charges. The law has wisely made the intention to commit these crimes high treason, so as that intention be manifested by overt (or open) acts; the acts done in furtherance of this intention are charged in the indictment, and will be proved by the witnesses. e indictment comprehends several persons, Arthur Thistlewood, James Ings, and John Thomas Brunt (whose trials have taken place), the two prisoners at the bar, Davidson and Tidd, upon whose fate you are to pronounce (and six other persons) of the names of Wilson, Harrison, Bradburn, Strange, Gilchrist and Cooper, all of whom, and many others will necessarily be introduced to you in the course of this inquiry. Of these persons the first, named Arthur Thistlewood, was undoubtedly the leader; he had sustained the rank of a gentleman; and it is a striking feature in this case, that a person in that rank should be found associated as he has been with the other persons named in the indictment, most, if not all, of whom are working mechanics. When this plan was first conceived, it may not be in our power to demonstrate; but you will find, that so far back as the month of January, it had arrived at considerable maturity; that the plan (which was afterwards acted upon) had then been formed to assassinate his majesty's ministers at a cabinet
dinner; and it was then hoped, when all the persons intrusted by his majesty with the direction of public affairs should have been cut off at one blow, that by following that up by conflagrations in different parts of the metropolis, and by armed men acting in various directions, the reins of government might be seized by these conspirators and the government itself overthrown. To perfect this plan, and enlist into its execution as many persons as possible, meetings were held in various places: we shall not have occasion to follow those meetings into different parts of the town but we shall confine our evidence principally to meetings which took place first in a back room at a publichouse called the White Hart, and were afterwards removed, for greater security to a two-pair of stairs back room in a house in which the prisoner Brunt (who has been tried) actually lodged in Fox-court, Gray'sinn-lane. It was contrived, that Ings should take the lodging; that he should profess an intention to bring his furniture in ; but no furniture was ever brought in : the key of the room was kept by Brunt; and in this room sometimes once a-day and sometimes twice aday, the meetings of these conspirators were held, for the purpose of maturing the plan that had been conceived, and of devising all the means of its execution. The death of his late majesty (which took place on the 29th of January) for some time disconcerted their plan of operations. Until after his late majesty's funeral, of course cabinet dinners were suspended; the conspirators became impatient of the delay which occurred, and that impatience gave birth to other projects for carrying the same object into effect. At one time it was proposed to divide their force into several parties, to attack the ministers separately at their respective houses; and it was thought that by this means, though it was not likely all should take effect, they might be able to take off four or five whom they particularly marked for destruction; at another time, another project was entertained, to break out on the night of his late majesty's funeral, at which time the cabinet ministers would necessarily be at Windsor, and the guards would be at Windsor; when, therefore, there would be neither the head to direct, nor the arm to execute the resistance to the measures which they projected ; and it was thought, in the absence of all those means of resistance, they might carry their plan into execution. This, however, was on consideration abandoned, and they looked forward with eagerness to the next cabinet dinner that should take place, which by bringing all his
majesty's ministers into one house, and into
one room, would give them the means, at one blow of effecting their destruction. These cabinet dinners take place during the sitting of Parliament, at the houses of the members of the cabinet alternately, usually I believe, on a Wednesday; but though no notice had been given of any dinner, they were certainly looking forward to that Wednesday to which you will particularly direct your attention (the 23rd of February) for the accomplishment of their pupose; and, as the time drew near, every exertion was made to complete their preparations; pikes were provided and pikehandles, composed of rough sticks cut from trees seven or eight feet long, ferruled at the end, with holes bored for the admission of pike-heads; pike-heads were procured, some old bayonets, others old files filed to a point to operate as a bayonet or pike-head; pistols, blunderbusses, swords, hand-grenades and fire-balls. The hand-grenades which were constructed were not such as are made by military men, but, for the purposes of destruction, perhaps scarcely less effective; about three ounces and a half of gunpowder put into a tin case or chamber rather smaller than this, which I hold in my hand [holding up to the jury an ink-stand], a tin fuse brazed into it, containing a powder prepared for priming, which communicated with the gunpowder in the tin case or chamber, then stocking or cloth cemented round the tin case; a number of nails or other pieces of iron inserted round that; then more cloth cemented; and the whole bound round very tight by tarred string, so as closely and completely to compress it; and, as you very well know, it requires no military skill to be aware that if fire be communicated to the fuse, and so to the powder in the chamber, that would explode, and those pieces of iron would be scattered round like so many bullets. The greatest destruction would be thereby effected. It was proposed that these hand-grenades should be one means of the destruction of his majesty's ministers, by being thrown into the room where they were assembled; but many more were constructed than were requisite or could be used for that purpose, these were intended to effect the other and ulterior objects of their guilty plan. Besides these, there were fire-balls, composed of pitch, tar, oakum, brimstone, and resin, which had been all made up into balls to be set on fire; these thrown into the windows of buildings would infallibly set those buildings on fire; a considerable number of these were provided. Besides these there was a large number of cartridges for muskets and istols, and not a few cartridges for cannon. any of these instruments were prepared at Fox-court, many in other places, and the principal dépôt for them was in the house of the prisoner Tidd; and you will find, that though Arthur Thistlewood was looked up to by these conspirators as their leader, the two prisoners, Tidd and Davidson, were not inconsiderable or inactive coadjutors, that they entered into the conspiracy heartily and zealously, that they forwarded it to the utmost of their power, and that they were amongst the most eager for its complete and perfect execution. On the Sunday preceding the Wednesday which I have mentioned, these conspirators
held a larger meeting than usual to concert their measures: they met again on the Monday; they met again on the Tuesday, on which morning they received intelligence that a newspaper announced a cabinet dinner for the next day at the earl of Harrowby's, in Grosvenor-square. The news was at first doubted ; but the newspaper being sent for, it was found correct. This excited the greatest degree of exultation, expressed by some in the most savage and ferocious terms, by another in terms of shocking impiety; but it was received by all as good news that now all their enemies were to be brought together within one room, all within the means of destruction; and they lost no time in proceeding to consider and to develope all the means by which they should effect their guilty purpose. Thistlewood detailed those means to the meeting in a manner which showed that they had been all well considered; the detail was received with acquiescence and approbation, and a determination that the plan should be carried into execution. The course of proceeding which This— tlewood proposed was this: That they should proceed in a body to the house of the earl of Harrowby ; that Thistlewood should knock at the door, and offer to the porter a letter; that the body should instantly rush into the house; that two, armed with swords pistols and handgrenades, should guard the staircase which led to the upper part of the house; that two others, similarly armed, should guard the staircase leading to the lower part of the house; and that two others, with the same weapons, should be left to guard the area; and that then fourteen should enter the noble earl's dining-room, armed with swords, pistols and hand-grenades, and should massacre every one they found there. They were then to go to other places, where other parties were to act—for other parties were to be assembled in different parts of London; one to set fire to the barracks in King-street, by throwing one of those fire-balls into the hay-loft, which had a window looking into a mews; others to proceed to Gray's-innlane, to seize two pieces of artillery that were there; others to proceed to the Artillery-ground, to seize four pieces of artillery which were there; to march from thence to the Mansionhouse, to plant the cannon so as to batter it, in case those within should refuse to surrender; to take possession of the Mansion-house, to establish therein a provisional government; then to take the Bank, and to give it up to pillage. This most atrocious plan, as I before said, was approved of, and they all resolved to act upon it; and every degree of necessary activity seemed to be infused into every mind, to be ready for the perpetration of the crime. They parted, to enable Thistlewood and some others to visit some meetings in another part of the town (one known by the name of the Mary-lebone Union) and it was settled they should meet there the next day. The next day they did meet there; all things seemed ready.