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the witnesses on both sides, there are some that it was impossible to draw any parallel charges made out against the panel, which it was impossible to allege a single point of rerender his conduct highly criminal — which semblance, between his most sacred majesty establish against him a very great malversation and the personage mentioned in Scripture, of duty, and which bring home to him a crimi- without seditious criminality. Whether the nality not to be distinguished from sedition. cause, nature, or duration of that awful infirmity
It is proved by all the witnesses for the be referred to, it was impossible, without criCrown—it is proved by those witnesses for minality, even in the most remote degree, to the panel to whom any credit is due—it is insinuate the resemblance or parallel. If the proved by his own declarations, which cannot resemblance was placed on the duration of the be beard without pity for his folly, and indig- infirmity, what was it? It was till his heart nation for his impiety, that he is a political returned to his God-it was till “ he knew preacher. To all who have paid attention to that the most high God ruled in the kingdom the progress of the trial, it must be clear that of men.” Who is there with the heart of a he bas been in the habit of arraigning, in his Christian, or with the loyalty of a British subdiscourses, the measures of government, and ject, that can dare to impute the resemblance ? of infusing among his hearers political dissa With regard to the libel against the House tisfaction. I say, that this general conduct is of Commons, there is some contradiction in most dangerous, criminal, and seditious, whe- the evidence. The witnesses for the Crown ther occurring in a sectarian like the panel, or do certainly say that the panel did use, toin a minister of the establishment. In a secta- wards that branch of the constitution, the exrian like the panel, it is more dangerous, be- pressions charged in the indictment, or somecause he is liable to no ecclesiastical superin- thing of similar meaning. It is proved by his tendance and jurisdiction. Such conduct, in own declaration that he discussed the merits deed, might lead to doubts as to the expedience of that Ilouse in a way not favourable to its of that unlimited toleration which the benignity character; and the witnesses whom he has of our constitution confers. In the one case or adduced in defence do not give such an exthe other, I repeat it, it is a prostitution and plavation as to exculpate him. They say that malversation of one of the most important he mentioned the expressions narrated in the duties of civil society.
indictment as having been uttered in that That the panel and all Christian pastors House by some of its members, in stating the ought to pray for the prosperity of the land in manner in which seats in it were acquired. which he lives—that he should pray for tran- There are many things, however, reported to quillity and good order—that he should pray be declaimed within the walls of parliament, for all sorts and conditions of men-that he which would be sedition if uttered any where should pray for his majesty, as the first and else; and the most wicked and seditious libels highest personage in the land-that, above all, might in this manner be disseminated with he should earnestly pray, that this venerated impunity, if such a justification were sufficient. person, who is followed into bis retirement by It is impossible, therefore, to hold the panel ihe reverential sympathy and tenderness of all as guiltless. Even if he had been a layman, his subjects, should be relieved from the cala- he would have been criminal, and much more mity with which he is afflicted, are essential is he culpable as a clergyman, enjoying the parts of his duty. But, beyond this, all is for free exercise of teaching religion to his fellowbidden ; and the arraignment of present public subjects, and professing to teach a religion of measures, and the discussion of daily politics, which the characteristic is charity. is equally a criminal departure from his duty Notwithstanding these circumstances, how. as a Christian pastor, and from his duty as a ever, I am satisfied that the proof has fallen British subject.
short of what I expected at the institution of That a general criminality characterises his this trial. In some part of the charge the conduct in these respects, no man can doubt. evidence is not sufficiently certain and explicit: But, besides all this, the evidence of particular in some part of the charge there is room to ottence is not slight. That he did presume to doubt if there be not some misunderstanding draw a parallel between Nebuchadnezzar and in the witnesses for the Crown; and in one our sacred sovereign, admits not of a doubt. part of the charge there is no evidence at all. Such a parallel was most criminally imprudent In one particular, perhaps, the evidence for and indiscreet. Of this fact there can be no the panel has afforded something like an exdispute; but there does exist some obscurity planation of a suspicious circumstance, alas to the extent to which that parallel was though the greater part of the evidence led in drawn. The witnesses for the Crown prove his behalf exhibits a degree of tutoring and that it was drawn to the utmost length of the preparation not in favour of its credibility, Scripture history. The witnesses for the panel But, on the whole, I am clear that the evidence say that it was not drawn to any improper is not such as to be pressed on a jury, and in effect—some of them say that it was drawn this opinion my inclination and official duty partially--some of them say that it was only coincide. I submit to you, that while a verdict drawn as to the duration of the infirmity with of Not Guilty cannot be reconciled with the which the Babylonish king was by the special evidence, the proper return for you to give is visitation of Heaven afflicted. But I do rm, that of Not Proven.
Mr. Jeffrey: - After what you have now duced as witnesses knew perfectly what was heard, I should think myself greatly to blame the general strain and tone of this gentleman's if I were to detain you with many words. political observations. All of them were his Now that the prisoner at the bar is safe, un hearers the whole time libelled on, and for questionably my great anxiety is removed. many months before and afterwards, down 10 Åt the same time, I cannot help regretting, the period when he was apprehended. They that my learned and honourable friend, who were all familiar with the character of his has made, on the whole, such an use of the topics, and the tone, temper, and import of his evidence as is to the credit of his sagacity and observations. Can you, then, hesitate to believe candour, did not carry his liberality a little this set of witnesses in preference to the other? further; for had he only said, as I think he can you hesitate to believe those who heard must have felt, that you should find a verdict and understood all he said, and who swear of Not Guilty, instead of a verdict of Not positively to the words he employed ? — and Proven, I should not have been called on to that too when their statement is precisely conaddress you at all. But, feeling that the pri- formable to the strain that he had uniformly soner is entitled to be freed altogether from maintained for months and for years before? the grievous charges in the indictment, I must To hesitate between these two classes of wittrouble you with a very few remarks.
nesses would be to hesitate between the report No doubt there is some contrariety on the of persons who understood a language, and face of the evidence. The witnesses for the persons who had but a smattering of it; or to Crown, you will recollect, said, but with the construe an ambiguous expression without any utmost hesitation, that their impression was, reference to the general scope of the composithat certain words were used, which, if you tion in which it occurred. could fully believe to have been used, would Some of the witnesses for the Crown went undoubtedly have attached blame—and blame to Mr. Douglas's church in order to discover of considerable magnitude-to the prisoner. whether he uttered any thing improper or But even if that evidence had stood uncontra- seditious; and is it to be supposed that for dicted, the singular hesitation and uncertainty them he abandoned his usual course? It is of their statements, and the manifest bias proved that he had been accustomed to pray which some of them had obviously received for, and to speak in favour of, the prince regent, from the character of their employment, do so and the royal family, for a long time before; affect their testimony, that you could never, and the persons who were quite aware, by upon the strength of it, think for a moment of previous experience, of the nature of his sentouching the liberty of a fellow subject. timents, language, and delivery, all speak
But, when you take into consideration the positively as to what took place on that occafacts disclosed in the evidence for the prisoner, sion, and on all other occasions. Their eviit appears to me that you can have no hesita- dence, therefore, must completely annihilate tion in finding him not guilty of the charges and swallow up the contrary evidence; and that preferred against him. In saying this, 1 am without supposing any malice or intentional free to state, that I have no inclination, and I mis-statement on the part of the witnesses for feel great satisfaction that I am not obliged, the Crown, some of whom were perfect to impeach the veracity of any of the witnesses strangers to Mr. Douglas, and others were you have heard this day. But the witnesses sent to hear him with their minds biassed by for the Crown were one and all substantially the magistrates. I am not saying that it was strangers to the preacher, and altogether un improper to send them, but the errand upon accustomed to his manner, which, as you have which they were sent was an unpleasant one, heard, is so rapid and peculiar, as to render and must naturally have biassed their minds. him nearly unintelligible to those to whom it The subject at which Mr. Douglas had aris not familiar. Our witnesses, on the other rived, in the course of his lectures, was the hand, were all persons who were in the habit mental derangement and subsequent restoraof attending his ministry. Some of them had tion of Nebuchadnezzar, and the incurable been many months his hearers, and were quite profligacy of his successor. Could any thing familiar with the general strain of his remarks; be more natural than for my client, when talkand passages difficult to be followed by others, ing of the unhappy malady of that ancient on account of the preacher's peculiarity of sovereign, to be struck with what had hapstyle, or infirmity of organs, were to them pened to our own sovereign, and at one and the perfectly plain and intelligible. If, then, same time to draw a parallel between their there had been any discrepancy in the evidence situations, and a contrast between their cha. as to what he said on the occasion in question, racters —— between the infidelity of Nebuchadthose who understood the language he em- nezzar and the piety of our king? He thought ployed were, beyond all doubt, the best judges it fair and reasonable to point out what was of what was meant by him when he may have similar in their situations and differeni in their been obscure and unintelligible to, or mis- characters. Is it necessary to suppose that, understood by strangers.
because he remarked a conformity in one But independently of this altogether, it is a point between Nebuchadnezzar and our sovecircumstance, in this case, quite overwhelming reign, he maintained that this conformity. and decisive, that the persons whom we ad esisted as to all points? You have it proved,
by abundance of testimony that Mr. Douglas | detailed to you in evidence. This reverend entertained the most loyal sentiments towards person was afflicted in his old age, by the mis his sovereign, and that he fervently prayed for conduct and public arraignment of his son at him three times a-day- that he expressed this bar. He went, for ihe first time in his loyal sentiments in loyal language. It is life, into a court of justice, to support his proved he expressed a wish that our sovereign, unhappy boy ou that occasion ; and coming like Nebuchadnezzar, might be relieved from home with lacerated feelings upon the event his sufferings, and that the glories of his closing of the trial, he showed the healing effect of life might be greater than those of his early days. religion and patriotism; and, bowing under
Is it in any respect unusual or improper, that the dispensation of God, kissed the rod of a minister of the gospel should make such an divine chastisement, and next paid a tribute to improvement and application of these remark- the justice of the country, by which the liberable events ? But, at the same time, is there ties and lives of bis majesty's subjects are any thing more likely than that persons coming guarded, and by which no person can be conwith a prepossession that they were to bear victed without convincing proof of his guilt. sedition, and finding a parallel drawn between In the course of that trial, being impressed Nebuchadnezzar and the sovereign of this with the solemnity and cautiousness of the procountry, should fall into the mistake of think- ceedings, and with the impartiality and mercy ing, that the parallel extended to the whole with which the criminal law is administered in history, and that when the preacher represented this tribunal, he took the earliest opportunity Nebuchadnezzar as cast down from the throne of delivering an encomium upon that law, on account of his infidelity and sins, he made under which he was then suffering in his feel. the same statement with regard to our king? ings as a parent, on account of the ignominy The witnesses do not even pretend to remem- and disgrace of his unbappy child. ber the words which he used; and they plainly In these circumstances, I say, he is entitled have no right to give their impressions instead to a complete verdict of not guilty under this of his words. They have an impression; but indictment: and I am persuaded, and think they did not remark, or do not recollect what you must feel, that no issue can be attended was said. It is evident, therefore, that they with such good effects, or can be so likely to are not giving testimony as to facts, but pro- promote love of the constitution,- love of the nouncing judgment upon facts which they do law,--and duty to the sovereign, as that which not know. They are usurping your province, shall send him home again to testify in favour without any evidence before them; and even of that law under which his son féll, and by if they were entitled to go upon vague impres- which he is saved. It will be your duty to sions without any distinct recollection, they send him back with his character untainted, should have been aware that it was impossible and his voice unimpaired, to praise more loudly not to commit mistakes, prepossessed as they than ever the blessings of that constitution were, and exposed to the incalculable disad- under which he lives, and to inspire worthy vantage of not hearing distinctly the words and favourable sentiments on this subject into which were uttered.
his hearers, who are stated to form a pretty The same observations apply to all the other numerous congregation. parts of the case.
And here I must take leave to intimate my As to the House of Commons. This gen- dissent from what was said as to the duties of tleman's sentiments are no doubt in favour of the clergy of this country. It is their first and reform in the Commons' House of Parliament. appropriate office, no doubt, to teach the docBut he thought this reform should be set about trines of religion and morality; but it is their only by constitutional means; and he had fre- privilege and function also to allude to our quently taken occasion to exhort his hearers duties to government, as well as to those we io abstain from violence. He was a friend to owe our neighbours. In those cases especially, petitioning ; but he stated that a prayer to in which the hearers are indebted for all the God would have more effect than a body of information they receive to their attendance armed men. I really cannot think that per- in church, there would be something wanting, sons who advocate the cause of reform by such if, besides the exhortations and spiritual adinstruments and such means, are very danger- vice which are afforded, allusions were not ous reformers -- or very fit objects for pro- occasionally made to the public duties of the secution.
people, as well as to their other moral and The whole strain of the evidence for the religious obligations. Crown is of the same nature upon that part of In the political sentiments of the defendant, the indictment which relates to the adminis-affection for the constitution has always been tration of the law. The witnesses may have the leading feature; and it is clear, from his supposed he was talking of the administration whole discourses and character, that he was of the law of this country, when he was speak- not given to disguise or concealment of any ing of other countries where it is notorious kind. The whole of his discourses have been that men have been treated with injustice, and remarkable for their loyalty, and respect for have been judicially murdered. One memo- the constitution as by law established, and sable proof of his sentiments in regard to the were such indeed as to be in all points charac administration of the law in this country was teristic of a good citizen.
You have no ground for hesitation, therefore, It must always be a satisfaction to the Court, I conceive, in your verdict; and you will not when the circumstances of any case are such do justice, if you do not send Mr. Douglas as to warrant a verdict of not guilty. I conhome with his reputation altogether unstained : gratulate you upon that verdict; but, at the which you can do in no other way than by a same time, I feel it my duty to state to you, verdici acquitting him entirely of the charges, that, if you consider your interest in future, and pronouncing him not guilty.
you will, in the discharge of your sacred funcLord Justice Clerk.-I am extremely happy, Notwithstanding the verdict which has been
tions, be careful in the selection of your topics. that from the course this trial has taken, you returned, I cannot at all commend the taste are relieved from all anxiety with regard to the which you have shewn in selecting the subjects result. The Solicitor-general has stated, that he cannot ask you to find a verdict of guilty dilate. I trust and hope, however, that you
upon which you have been accustomed to against the
panel as to any part of the charges will see the propriety in future of selecting contained in the indictment. The only ques. only those passages in Holy Writ, which, tion for you to decide, on considering all that while they enable you to discharge your sacred has taken place, is, whether you are entitled functions to your God, may not give rise to to express in the verdict your opinion that the prisoner is not guilty of the charges, by which comments susceptible of such a construction, you will free him from all blame, or whether that you utter or inculcate seditious sentiments.
as to lead hearers, even by mistake, to suppose you must limit yourselves to finding that the charges are not proven. In such a case,
Neil Douglas, attend to the interlocutor of I
the Court should deviate from my duty, were I to say
upon the verdict now to be read. more than that the issue is in your hands, and “The Jury, by the mouth of James Dundas that you will return that verdict which in your their chancellor, find the said Neil Douglas, consciences you think right.
panel, Not Guilty. The jury retired; and, after a few minutes « The Lord Justice Clerk and Lords Comconsideration, they returned an unanimous missioners of Justiciary, in respect of the ververdict of Not Guilty,
dict above recorded, assoilzie the panel simpliLord Justice Clerk.--Gentlemen, I am happy citer, and dismiss him from the bar.
“ D. BOYLE, I. P. D." to relieve you of any further attendance. Neil Douglas, in consequence of the verdict Neil Douglas.--I cannot
refrain from declarwhich a jury of your country has returned, ing, before I leave this Court, that I have a pronounding you not guilty of the crime of high regard for his majesty and for the royal sedition charged against you in this indictment, family, and I pray that every Briton may have it is now the duty of the Court to assoilzie you the same. I return you and the whole Court simpliciter, and to dismiss you from the bar. and Jury cordial thanks for this decision.
702. The whole Proceedings on the Trial of ARTHUR THISTLE
woon*, for High Treason, before the Court holden under a Special Commission, for the Trial of certain Offences therein mentioned, on the 17th, 18th, and 19th days of April: 1 Geo. IV. A. D. 1820.
men were sworn :-
On Monday, the 27th of March the After the Commission had been read,
The Grand Jury. knt. Lord Chief Justice of his majesty's Sob Raikes, esq. Fore- J. H. Pakenham, esq. Court of King's Bench.
John Warren, gent. The Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Dallas, knt.
John Stock, esq.
G. F. Young, shipLord Chief Justice of his majesty's Court
Thomas Milroy, esq. builder. of Common Pleas; and others his ma.
Robert Batson, esq. R. Meacock, gent. jesty's Justices, &c.
William Hills, gent.
Richard Jennings,esq. * Concerning him see the case of James H. Thompson, brewer. James Taylor, esq. Watson the elder, in the preceding volume of Richard Gibbs, esq. John Johnson, esq. this collection.
Thomas Lermette, esq. Francis Douce, esq.
James Gordon, esq.
or either House of Parliament; every pere W. Anderson, esq. W. Venning, gent. son so offending
shall be deemed and William Parry, esq. Stephen Taylor, esq. adjudged to be a Traitor, Jobn Booth, esq.
You will have observed that in the several descriptions of offence which I
have enumerated (except the levying war Lord Chief Justice Abbott.-Gentlemen mentioned in the ancient Statute) the of the Grand Inquest; we are assembled crime is made to consist in the compassin this place under the authority of his ing, imagination, or intention (which are majesty's special commission, issued for all words of the saine import) to perpetrate the purpose of inquiring into and bearing the acts, and not in the actual perpetration and determining certain offences therein of them. But it is further required, by particularly mentioned :
the ancient Statute, that the party accused These offences are,
of high Treason shall be thereof proveably First, all High Treasons, except such as attainted of open deed; and by the modern relate to the coin:
Statute, that the party shall express, utter, Secondly, Misprisions of Treason :
or declare his intention, by publishing Thirdly, The murder of one Richard some printing or writing, or by some Smithers, deceased, and any other crime or overt act or deed. The law has thus offence touching the death of that person: wisely provided (because the public
Fourthly, All offences against the per safety requires it), that in cases of this sons of Frederick Fitz-Clarence, William kind, which manifestly tend to the most Legg, James Ellis. John Surman, William extensive public evil, the intention shall Westcoatt, William Charles Brooks, John constitute the crime; but the law bas at Muddock, and Benjamin Gill, or any of the same time with equal wisdom provided them, contrary to the form of an Act passed (because the safety of individuals requires in the 43rd year of the reign of his late it), that the intention shall be manifested majesty, for (amongst other things) the by some act tending towards the accomfurther prevention of malicious shooting plishment of the criminal object. and attempting to discharge loaded fire Before the passing of the late Statute it arms, stabbing, cutting, and wounding. had been settled, by several cases actually.
It is my present duty to offer to your adjudged, and by the opinions of the textconsideration some remarks upon each of writers on this branch of the law, that these subjects, for your assistance in the all attempts to depose the King from his exercise of the important functions that royal state and title, to restrain his person, will presently devolve upon you, when orto levy war against him, and all conspirabills of indictment shall be laid before you. cies, consultations and agreements for the
The particular kinds of Treason, to accomplishment of these objects, were which it may be proper for me to call your overt acts of compassing and imagining attention, are in part to be found in the the death of the King. By this Statute, the ancient Statute of the 25th year of the compassing or intending to commit these reign of King Edward, the Third, and in acts—that is, to depose his majesty, to part in a Statute, passed for very wise restrain his person, or to levy war against purposes, in the reign of his late majesty. him for the purposes that I have mentioned
By the former of these Statutes, it is -is made a substantive treason; and declared to be Treason, if a man do com thereby the law is rendered more clear pass or imagine the death of our lord the and plain, both to those who are bound to King; or if a man do levy war against our obey it, and to those who are engaged lord the King in his realm. By the latter in the administration of it. It may be Statute it is enacted, That if any person proper for me to add, that it has been shall, within the realm or without, com established, in the like manner, that the pass, imagine, invent, devise, or intend, pomp and circumstances of military array, death or destruction, or any bodily harm such as usually attend regular warfare, are tending to death or destruction, maim or by no means necessary to constitute an wounding, imprisonment or restraint of actual levying of war, within the true the person of our lord the King; or to meaning of the ancient Statute. Insurdeprive or depose him from the style,
rections and risings for the purpose of honour, or kingly name of the imperial effecting, by force and numbers—however crown of this realm, or of any other his ill-arranged, provided or organized-any majesty's dominions or countries; or to innovation of a public nature, or redress levy war against his majesty within this of supposed public grievances, in which realm, in order by force or constraint to the parties had no special or particular compel him to chaoge his measures or interest or concern, have been deemed counsels; or in order to put any force or instances of the actual levying of war ; constraint upon or overawe both Houses and, consequently, to compass or imagine
such an insurrection, in order, by force . Stat. 36. G. 3rd, c. 7.
and numbers, to compel his majesty to