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BY the present volume, this Series of State Trials (termi-
ication of Modern State Trials to a more recent period.
In selecting from the very numerous cases which fall under
STA TE TRI A LS,
698. Proceedings in the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh
against ALEXANDER MʻLAREn and Thomas Baird, for Sedition, March 5th-7th: 57 GEORGE III. A. D. 1817.
HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY.
yet true it is and of verity, that you the said MARCH 5, 1817.
Alexander M‘Laren and Thomas Baird are
both and each, or one or other of you, guilty Present.
thereof, actors or actor, or art and part : in so Rt. Hon. David Boyle, Lord Justice Clerk. far as, you the said Alexander MʻLaren did, Lord Hermand,
at a public meeting, held at Dean-park, in the Lord Gillies.
vicinity of Kilmarnock aforesaid, on the 7th Lord Pitmilly.
day of December 1816, or on one or other of Lord Reston.
the days of that month, or of November imCounsel for the Crown.
mediately preceding, or of January immediRt. Hon. Alexander Maconochie, Lord Advo- ately following, which meeting was attended
cate (afterwards a lord of Session and Justi- by a great multitude of persons, chiefly of the ciary, with the title of Lord Meadowbank.] lower orders, wickedly and feloniously deliver James Wedderburn, Esq. Solicitor-General. a speech, containing a number of seditious and H. H. Drummond, Esq.
infiammatory remarks and assertions, calculated J. A. Maconochie, Esq.
to degrade and bring into contempt the ga H. Warrender, Esq. Agent.
vernment and legislature, and to withdraw
therefrom the confidence and affections of the Counsel for Alexander M'Laren.
people, and fill the realm with trouble and disJohn Clerk, Esq.
sention; in which speech there were the folJ. P. Grant, Esq.
lowing or similar wicked and seditious expresJames Campbell, Esq.
sions :-_" That our sufferings are insupportable, Mr. R. Morton, Agent.
is demonstrated to the world; and that they Counsel for Thomas Baird.
are neither temporary, nor occasioned by a Francis Jeffery. Esq.
transition from war to peace,' is palpable to Henry Cockburn, Esq.
all, though all have not the courage to avow
it. The fact is, we are ruled by men only soJ. S. Stewart, Esq.
licitous for their own aggrandizement; and Mr. 1. Campbell, W. S. Agent.
they care no farther for the great body of the Lord Justice Clerk. - Alexander MʻLaren people, than they are subservient to their acand Thomas Baird, attend to the indictment cursed purposes. If you are convinced of this, against you, which the clerk of Court will read. my countrymen, I would therefore put the
question, are you degenerate enough to bear “ ALEXANDER MʻLAREN, now or lately it? Shall we, whose forefathers set limits to weaver in Kilmarnock, in the county of Ayr, the all-grasping power of Rome; shall we, and Thomas Baird, merchant there, you are whose forefathers, at the never to be forgotten indicted and accused, at the instance of Alex- field of Bannockburn, told the mighty Edward, ander Maconochie of Meadowbank, his ma- at the head of the most mighty army ever jesty's advocate, for his majesty's' interest : trode on Britain's soil, Hitherio shalt thou that albeit, by the laws of this and of every come, and no farther; shall we, I say, whose other well-governed realm, Sedition is a crime forefathers defied the efforts of foreign iyranny of a heinous nature, and severely punishable: to enslave our beloved country, meanly permit, VOL. XXXIII.
in our day, without a murmur, a base oligarchy when liberty began to rear her drooping head to feed their filthy vermin on our vitals, and in the country; when associations were framed rule us as they will? No, my countrymen. from one end of the kingdom to another, comLet us lay our petitions at the foot of the posed of men eminent for their talents and throne, where sits our August Prince, whose virtue, to assert their rights; when a neighgracious nature will incline his ear to listen to bouring nation had just thrown off a yoke the cries of his people, which he is bound to which was become intolerable--what did the do by the laws of the country. But, should wise rulers of this country do? Why, they he be so infatuated 'as to turn a deaf ear to declared war, not only against the Prench their just petition, he has forfeited their allegi- nation, but also against the friends of liberty ance. Yes, my fellow townsmen, in such a at home."—Page twenty-ninth, “Our opprescase, to hell with our allegiance."
sors have taxed the very light of heaven ; and the said Alexander M‘Laren did, shortly there they seem surprised and indignant that we after, deliver, or cause to be delivered, your should not bear the insupportable burden, with said speech, in manuscript, to Hugh Crawford, which folly, corruption, and avarice, have printer in Kilmarnock, to be by him printed and loaded us, without reluctance and complaint." published. And you the said Thomas Baird - Page thirty-second, “ Their reverend hirehaving been present at the said meeting, and lings would convince you that you are suffering having heard the said speech, and others of a under the visitation of the Almighty, and similar tendency, delivered there, did, shortly therefore ought to be submissive under the thereafter, and in the course of the said chastening stroke.”—Page thirty-fifth, “We months of December or January, wickedly have these twenty-five years been condemned and feloniously print, or cause or procure to to incessant and unparalleled slavery, by a be printed, at the printing-office of the said usurped Oligarchy, who pretend to be our Hugh Crawford, in Kilmarnock aforesaid, a guardians and representatives, while, in fact, seditious tract or statement, intituled, “ Ac- they are nothing but our inflexible and detercount of the proceedings of the public meeting mined enemies.”—“They have robbed us of of the Burgesses and Inhabitants of the town our money, deprived us of our friends, violated of Kilmarnock, held on the 7th of December our rights, and abused our privileges."—.“ At 1816, for the purpose of deliberating on the present we have no representatives; they are most proper method of remedying the present only nominal, not real; active only in prosedistresses of the country, with a full report of cuting their own designs, and at the same time the speeches on that occasion;" which printed telling us that they are agreeable to our wishes." tract or statement did contain a number of se- -And you the said Thomas Baird having obditious and inflammatory remarks and asser- tained a number of copies of the said printed tions, calculated for the purposes above men- tract or statement, containing the said false, tioned ; and, in particular, a report of the wicked, and seditious passages, and others of said speech of you the said Alexander M'Laren, a similar tendency, and being altogether of a with the passage aforesaid, in the same, or seditious nature, did, in the course of the nearly the same terms; as also the following said months of December and January, and wicked and seditious passages, viz. page ninth, of February immediately following, at your —“And a House of Commons—but the latter shop in Kilmarnock aforesaid, wickedly and is corrupted; it is decayed and worn out; it feloniously sell, publish, and circulate, or cause is not really what it is called, it is not a House to be sold, published, or circulated, many of of Commons.”—Page tenth—“The House of the said copies thereof, at the price of fourpence Commons, in its original composition, con- each, or other small sum, one of which was sisted only of commoners, chosen annually then and there purchased by Hugh Wilson, by the universal suffrage of the people. No weaver in Kilmarnock. And you the said nobleman, no clergyman, no naval or military Alexander M‘Laren and Thomas Baird having officer, in short, none who held places, or re- been apprehended and taken before William ceived pensions from government, had any | Eaton, esq., sheriff-substitute of the county of right to sit in that House.—This is what the Ayr, did, in his presence, at Kilmarnock, on House of Commons was, what it ought to be, the 26th day of February 1817, both and each and what we wish it to be ; this is the wanted of you emit and subscribe a declaration : which change in our form of government—the Com- declarations, being to be used in evidence mons House of Parliament restored to its ori- against each of you respectively, and the ginal purity; and this, beyond a doubt, would manuscript of nineteen pages, and the half strike at the root of the greatest part of the sheet of paper, titled on the back, “ No. 5.". evils we groan under at the present day." - both referred to in the said declaration of Page eleventh," Is it any wonder, my friends, you the said Thomas Baird, being to be that this country is brought to its present unpre- used in evidence against you the said Thomas cedented state of misery, when the rights of the Baird, as also three copies of the printed people have been thus wantonly violated ?"- tract, or statement, above mentioned, being Page twelfth, “ But let us come nearer home. to be used in evidence against both and Look at the year 1793, when the debt amounted each of you, will be lodged in due time in to two hundred and eleven millions, and the the hands of the clerk of the high court of annual taxation to about eighteen 'millions ; justiciary, before which you are to be tried,
LIST OF WITNESSES.
that you may have an opportunity of seeing
City of Edinburgh. the same. At least, times and places foresaid William Marshall, jeweller, South-bridge-street, respectively, the said seditious speech was Edinburgh. wickedly and feloniously delivered, containing | Walter Lamb, upholsterer in Edinburgh, ibe said or similar wicked and seditious ex
Archibald M'Kinlay, haberdasher in Edinpressions: and the said seditious tract or state- burgh. ment, containing the said seditious and in- | John Baxter, confectioner there. flammatory passages, and others of a similar Sharp Callender, clothier there. tendeney, was wickedly and feloniously printed, Willium Puttison, junior, haberdasher in Edie sold, published, and circulated, or caused or burgh. procured so to be, as above mentioned : and Andrew Mellis, haberdasher there. you the said Alexander M‘Laren and Thomas John Pollock, insurance broker there. Baird are both and each, or one or other of James Howden, jeweller there. you, guilty thereof, actors or actor, or art and John Drummond, manufacturer there. part. All which, or part thereof, being found Alexander Anderson, general-agent there. proven by the verdict of an assize, before the James Spence, perfumer there. lord justice general, the lord justice clerk, and Peter Brown, lìnen-draper there. lords commissioners of justiciary, you the said William Kennedy, glover there. Alexander M‘Laren and Thomas Baird ought James Gilchrist, clothier there. to be punished with the pains of law, to deter Charles Howden, shoemaker there. others from committing the like crimes in all Edward Gilchrist, haberdasher there. time coming.
James Virtue, Button-manufacturer there. «H. HOME DRUMMOND, A. D." Jumes Richmond, insurance-broker there.
James Stoddart, wine-merchant there.
Andrew Wauchope, turner there. 1. William Eaton, esquire, sheriff-substitute
Town of Leith. of Ayrshire. 2. Thomas Weir, sheriff-clerk-depute of Ayr- James Harper, corn-merchant there.
James Duncan, ship-owner in Leith. shire. 3. Alerander Murdoch, writer in Ayr,
Wm. Lindsay, wine-merchant there, 4. Andrew Finnie, merchant in Kilmarnock.
James Skinner, cooper there, 5. William Merrie, wright there.
John Gowan, wood-merchant there. 6. Hugh Crawford, printer there.
Charles Murray, wright there. 7. Thomas Murray, journeyman to the said
John Somerville, tanner there.
AD. GILLIES. Hugh Crawford.
D. MONYPENNY. 8. James Johnstone, muslin-agent there.
David DovoLA$. 9. David Ramsay Andrews, writer there. 10. Hugh Wilson, weaver there.
Lord Justice Clerk.-Alexander M'Laren 11. James Samson, weaver there.
and Thomas Baird; What do you say to the 12. David Bow, shopman to Thomas Baird, libel? are you guilty or not guilty? merchant in Kilmarnock.
The following Defences had been given in.
Defences for Alexander M‘Laren, Weaver in County of Edinburgh.
Kilmarnock, to the Indictment at the in, James Watson, of Saughton.
stapçe of Alexander Maconochie of MeaCharles Fraser, of Williamston.
dowbank, bis Majesty's Advocate, for his Alerander Falconer, baker in Dalkeith.
Majesty's interest, for Sedition. William Crichton, glazier there.
“ The panel has been employed from his William Watson, farmer, Middle-Kenleith. early youth in his trade as a weaver. He has John Dodds, farmer, Saughton-mill.
always preserved the most sober and orderly John Drysdale, farmer, Clermiston.
habits, and, if necessary he could bring forward
complete proof of his uniform and steady County of Haddington.
loyalty. He never was engaged in any riot or George Rennie, of Fantassie,
disturbance whatever, and never was connectDavid Pringle, of Blegbie.
ed, or accused of being connected with any of David Skirving, farmer at East-Garleton. the societies, or combinations of men formed Peter Sheriff, farmer at Drem.
for unlawful purposes, or whose objects have John Hislop, junior, grocer in Haddington,
been regarded with suspicion. He was a vo
lunteer in the Glasgow Highland regiment County of Linlithgow.
during the whole period of its establishment, Norman Shairp, younger of Houston.
and when the volunteer system was put an end John Stewart, of Binny.
to, he transferred his services to the local James Gardner, junior, merchant in Bathgate. militia. During the greatest part of his service, John Calder, farmer at Drumcross.
he was a serjeant, a situation which he obJohn Russell, farmer at Mosside.
tained by his good conduct.
LIST OF ASSIZE.