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Rev. Jumes Kirkwood sworn.-Examined by corps ? – I was subaltern, and he was a captain
Have you served along with him in any Mr. Jeffrey.
in the Ayrshire. Are you acquainted with Mr. Baird P-I Did his conduct as an officer give satisfachave had that pleasure for nearly two years. tion !-He was a very active officer.
Do you know him intimately ?—Very inti- Do you know of a meeting held at Kilmately. No one more so.
marnock in December last ? --I heard of it. In the course of your acquaintance with Mr. Had you any conversation with Mr. Baird Baird, have you had conversations with him about it ?-Yes, once or twice. I heard à on political subjects ?--I have.
gentleman read an account of the proceedings Has he expressed his sentiments with appa- in a company from a Glasgow paper. rent sincerity and conviction With the Did you ever hear Mr. Baird say any thing greatest I have no doubt.
about the speeches ?-I never heard him make Did he express an attachment to the consti- any remarks on them. tution as established by law, or a desire to Do you know Mr. M‘Laren ?-Yes. have it altered ?-lle expressed a desire that Was he in that corps you spoke of?— Yes, the popular part of the constitution should be in my company. strengthened and increased, never that the Did he behave well?--As far as I know, constitution should be overturned.
sir. He wished some reformation of the repre
John Brown sworn.--Examined by sentation of the House of Commons ?-Yes.
Mr. Jeffrey. Did he ever explain by what means he thought this should be attempted ?-I have Are you a writer in Kilmarnock ?-Yes. often heard bim say he was anxious that any Have you a partner in business ?--Yes, the thing like violence should be avoided, and town-clerk. that none but constitutional measures should Are you acquainted with Mr. Baird ?—Very be taken.
well. Does Mr. Baird attend your congregation? Is he a respectable man ?-One of the most Yes.
so in the town. Is he a man of peaceable and moral conduct? Has he a family?-He is a widower, with To the best of my knowledge he is so. four or five children.
Did he ever discover any tendency to riotous Do you recollect a meeting in December or disorderly conduct ?-I never observed any last for petitioning parliament ?-Yes, I do. thing of that kind in him.
Do you know whether a committee met be. He is a peaceable man ?-I think so. fore and after that meeting?-I believe one sat
Has he any family !-He has several.chil-several days betore the meeting. dren.
Were you a member of it !-No, nor was I Do you think bim capable of intentionally ever at the meeting. . exciting tumult or violence among the people? Did Mr. Baird ever communicate to you --I should certainly think he is altogether in what was passing ?-Scarcely a day passed in capable of designedly doing so.
which we did not converse on the occurrences John Wyllie sworn.—Examined by
of the meeting; and I was in the habit of ask
ing what passed at the committee. Mr. Cockburn.
What did be state as the object of the petihold
any office under government? tioners ?- To procure a reforın in parliament. -I am surveyor of taxes for the third district of By what means ?-By constitutional means. Ayrshire.
Did he disavow violence or other means.?-Do you hold any military commission ?-I Most distinctly, was in the Volunteers till 1809, and I still hold You know Mr. Baird was at the public a commission in the Local Militia.
meeting: Did he give you any account of what I need hardly ask you if you are a keen re- took place there ? - Yes, he told me who spoke. former yourself?--I never attended meetings When the proceedings were published, I was for such purposes.
surprised at seeing a paragraph which I did You are rather ministerially inclined, I pre- not look for, and I told him it was a pity it sume. Do you know Mr. Baird ?-- Yes. was there. He said he disapproved of it him
What appeared to be his political senti- self, and was against printing it at all, but that ments?-He seemed to be a friend to the con- a vote was taken on the subject by the comstitution, but wished a reform in the represen- mittee, and they determined to print it, as they tation.
did not wish a garbled statement of the pro. He had no desire to overturn the constitu- ceedings to go before the public. tion?-I have heard him warmly extol the Did he make observations on any of the constitution,
other speeches ?-He pointedly objected to - Is he a quiet man:-Yes, he has been so MʻLaren's speech. ever since I knew him, and that is the greatest Did he object to any of the others ?-He part of his life.
disapproved of one or two, as having language Is he respectable in point of situation ?- too keen and disrespectful. Very much so.
Does it consist with your knowledge that he
has held commissions in military corps ?—He You will observe, then, that in the minor commanded a company of rifle volunteers for proposition of the indictment, the prisoners some time.
are charged-M‘Laren with having, at a public Did he give satisfaction in his military ca- meeting, on the 7th of last December, held in pacity ?-I never heard any complaint against the neighbourhood of Kilmarnock, and attendhim. I always conceived he behaved like a ed principally by the lower orders of the peogentleman.
ple, used certain seditious and inflammatory Was he lately appointed a commissioner of language, in speech which he then deliver. police of the town?-Yes, at last annual elec-i ed--a speech calculated to degrade and tion.
bring into contempt the goverment and legisFrom what you know of him was he sincere lature, to withdraw therefrom the confidence in his sentiments in favour of constitutional and affections of the people, and to fill the modes of proceeding for obtaining redress of realm with trouble and dissention. For the grievances ?— There is no question of that. precise expressions which he then employed, I He never approved of any other than constitu- shall beg leave to refer you at present to the tional modes of redress. I have known him copies of the indictment which are before you, intimately these eight or ten years.
in which the passages of the speech are detailWas he likely to say or do any thing to pro- ed at length, and lo which I shall hereafter duce disconteni?-I conceive he would be the be obliged more particularly to call your last man in the world to be guilty of any thing attention. of the kind.
The other panel, Baird, is charged with Are you clerk to the road trustees ?--Yes. baving published his speech, and with having
Did you understand Mr. Baird objected to been accessary to the printing and circulating these expressions not as being improper in a seditious tract or statement, purporting to be themselves but as likely to lead the persons an“ Account of the proceedings of the public who uttered them into a scrape ?-He did not meeting of the burgesses and inhabitants of appear to be apprehensive of any consequences the town of Kilmarnock, held on the 7th of to result from them, but he objected to them December 1816, for the purpose of deliberatas improper expressions.
ing on the most proper method of remedying Are you acquainted with MʻLaren ?-A the present distresses of the country, with a little. I have met him on business.
full report of the speeches on that occasion.” Do you know anything of his character ?-I Then follow particular passages contained in never heard anything against him.
that publication, which are alleged generally
to be seditious, tending to inflame the minds Lord Advocate.—Gentlemen of the jury; you of the public against the constitution of the have heard from the indictment that the panels kingdom, and which, it is affirmed, were pubare charged generally in the major proposition lished by him with the wicked and felonious with the crime of sedition, a crime well known purpose of exciting sedition against the Goin the law of Scotland, and with the generalvernment, and of withdrawing the affections description of which you must be already fa- of the people from the established order of miliar, but with which, at all events, you have things in the country. The publication has had additional means of being made acquaint- been duly authenticated, and although I shall ed, from the luminous and satisfactory judg- afterwards more particularly refer you to some ments of their lordships, delivered this morn- of its most striking passages, the whole, I trust, ing in the commencement of the trial. I shall will receive your full and deliberate considera-not, therefore, in this part of the observations tion. which it is incumbent upon me in discharge of In the conclusion of the indictment both my public duty to address to you, say any prisoners are charged with being accessaries thing in further explanation of the law of sedia to the crimes committed by each. From this tion, which--as a crime calculated to unsettle you will understand, that if, from a full consi, the order of society, and to introduce tumult, deration and investigation of the proof which anarchy, and bloodshed into these realms, I have laid before you, you should be of opinwhich, for upwards of a century have enjoyed ion that the prisoner Baird was accessary to the highest degree of freedom that ever fell to making the seditious speech delivered by the lot of any people—is one of the most dan MʻLaren, or that the other panel, MʻLaren, was gerous which can be committed against the accessary to publishing or circulating the sedistate. Before, however, concluding the re- tious libel, stated more particularly to have marks with which I shall have to trouble you, been sent into the world by Baird, then you it may be necessary for me to draw your atten- will
have to find, supposing
you are of opinion tion to the application of the law to the charges that the speech and publication are seditious, preferred against the panels. In the first in that both are guilty art and part of the crime stance, however, I shall confine myself exclu- laid in the indictment. sively to the evidence which has been adduced, In considering this part of the case as a in order to establish that the acts at least, al- question of evidence, I do not think that it is leged in the indictment to have been committed necessary for me to go very deeply into the by the prisoners, have been brought home to import of the depositions of the witnesses; for them.
I conceive, that while you are called upon to VOL. XXXIII.
discharge a most important duty, in declaring | MʻLaren states," that there was a public meetthe guilt or innocence of the panels as to the ing held at the Dean-park, near Kilmarnock, crimes libelled, and which may depend on on the 7th of December last : that that meeting considerations altogether unconnected with was for the purpose of petitioning parliament the mere fact of the delivery of the speech by for a reform of grievances. Declares, that the one, or the publication of the libel by the previous to that meeting there was a commitother, you can have no difficulty in forming tee of certain individuals in Kilmarnock for an opinion, that both, and each of them, at the purpose of bringing about the said meetleast, did commit the acts which are charged ing: that the declarant attended that comagainst them in this indictment. You can mittee, and David Ramsay Andrews, writer bave no difficulty in being of opinion, that it in Kilmarnock, Thomas Baird and Andrew is proved that M*Laren did deliver a speech at Finnie, merchants there, also, attended that the meeting, and that the speech did contain meeting: and the declarant has reason to supthe expressious which are cited in this indict- pose that they were members of it as well as ment: Neither, in my apprehension, can you himself. Declares, that the declarant first apdoubt, that the publication in question was the peared on the hustings, and opened the work of Baird ; that he not only superintended meeting; and being shown an Account of the printing, but assisted in preparing the the proceedings of the public meeting of the manuscript for the press; and that he sold burgesses and inhabitants of the town of and distributed this libel, prepared under his Kilmarnock,' and wherein is engrossed on own eye, with the utmost diligence, indefati- part of the fifth page, sixth, and part of the gable zeal, and persevering activity. In like seventh page, what the declarant said at openmanner, I, at least, cannot see where a doubting the above meeting, declares, that the decan exist, that it has been legally proved that clarant has perused said speech, and it is near MʻLaren was art and part in the publication, what the declarant said on the above occasion." and that he is now bound to answer for that He next, no doubt, makes an exception as to publication which was thus sent forth into the the inaccuracy of that speech,“ except what is world, be its qualities what they may.
said about the middle of the seventh page But though that is the impression on my about allegiance, which the declarant thinks he mind, and although I have no doubt that the did not deliver in the words as expressed in the same has been made upon the minds of all of publication.” you, it is, notwithstanding, my duty to go This, you will observe, is not denying the over that evidence, and to endeavour to point purport of the passage in the libel, but only your attention to its different parts, as appli- the words in which the import was conveyed cable to the charge against the panels sepa- to the multitude, and we shall see afterwards rately,--distinguishing, as I have said, the whether the prisoner bę correct in this part of
I statement am afterwards to take of the nature and import of the expressions.
the above meeting, the declarant put into writIn the first place, then, you will attend to ing what he must say at the opening of the meetthe evidence, by which it is proved that the ing: that he afterwards gave his part of the speech in question was actually delivered by manuscript to those who were appointed by the the prisoner MʻLaren.
committee to superintend the printing of the proUpon this branch of the case; I shall call ceedings, that the same might be published along your attention to the statement given by the with the rest. Declares, that James Johnstone, prisoner himself in his declaration emitted be- muslin-agent in the waterside of Kilmarnock fore the sheriff. But, before doing so, it may was called to the chair, and on that occasion be proper for me to state to you distinctly, that he made a speech, which was much approved in considering this part of the evidence, of by those present. Declares, that the resoyou must remember, that nothing contained in lutions, as engrossed in said publication, are the ihis piece of evidence can inculpate the other şame that were read at the public meeting, and prisoner, but can only affect the party by the manuscript was read to the committee previous whom it was emitted. Neither, I will fairly to the meeting, by Thomas Baird, merchant in tell you, is it to be taken as conclusive evidence Kilmarnock, one of the members. Declares, that son against him. It is, however, a very strong Hugh Crawford," printer in Kilmarnock, was cireumstance of presumption against him, employed to print the proceedings of the meetmade, as it has been admitted to have been in ing, which were afterwards sold at fourpence this case, voluntarily, while the prisoner was a-piece, to enable the committee to defray, the sober and in his sound senses, deliberately expenses. Declares, that the declarant attend and seriously. I shall submit to you, there-ed a meeting of the committee, when those fore, that when the admissions made in this who spoke gave in their manuscripts for print declaration are taken with the parole proof, ing; and the declarant thinks the foresaid. no doubt can be left upon your mind of the Thomas Baird was present: That a committee truth of the allegations made in the indicta was appointed to superintend the printing, ment, in point of fact, regarding the prisoner and the said Thomas Baird and Andrew FinMLaren.
nie were of that committee, And being shewn In the first place, then, the declaration of the printed report before mentioned, declares.
that he heard none of the authors find fault with “ let us lay, our petitions at the foot of the any thing that is therein contained; and the said throne; where sits our august prince, whose publication is docqueted and signed by the generous nature will incline his ear to hear the declarant and sheriff as relative hereto.” And, cries of his people, which he is bound to do by before concluding, he“ declares, that the words the constitutional laws of the country; and we on the sixth page, the fact is, we are ruled by are thereby bound to give him our allegiance : men only solicitous for their own aggrandize. But if he should be so infatuated as to turn a ment, and they care no farther for the great deaf hear to the general cries” or “ voice of body of the people than they are subservient his people, to hell with allegiance." That is to their accursed purposes,' were in the manu- the express statement given by a person who script wrote by the declarant, but were not re- himself attended the meeting as a party, who peated by him at the public meeting when on cannot be supposed to be very unfavourable to the hustings, as above."
the prisoners, and whose testimony, indeed, was Now, this is the declaration of the panel, and given in a way that must satisfy your minds he it must, as it will, be supported by other evi- did not intend to press the case more than it dence, before, as I have told you, it can have would bear against either of them. full authority with you as establishing the fact Next we have the witness Merrie, who exagainst the prisoner. You will, therefore, ob-pressly swears (though his memory is not disserve, that in this declaration he admits, gene- tinct as to the whole passage), that M‘Laren rally, that all the parts of his speech as given made the first speech. He remembers the in this printed paper, are accurate, with two words “ to hell with” or “ for such alleexceptions.
giance.” He says MʻLaren “ wished the The first exception is, that there is something people to address their august sovereign, and inaccurate in the words at the passage regard he meant their allegiance to him.” Then he reing allegiance; but he does not state, or allege, members the words, "if he turned a deaf ear in what particular these expressions are inac-to the voice of his people;" and after that came curate; neither does he deny that they convey the words “to hell with allegiance." the import of what he had delivered. And, no Besides the testimonies I have now referred doubt, there is an inaccuracy in the printed you to, I might, if it were necessary, go over account of this passage ; because, you will oh- the evidence of many more of the witnesses; serve, that one monosyllable, of very great im- but this must be superfluous. You will, howa port, is cautiously omitted, which, it is proved ever, keep in remembrance the evidence of by the rest of the evidence, beyond all doubt, Samson, who, when called back and examined the prisoner actually employed. The word for the prisoners, deposed, that he attended the “ hell” is omitted altogether; and while the meeting of the committee when the speeches prisoner refrained from stating what words were given in for publication by the different were incorrectly given, I should be entitled to persons by whom they had been delivered at infer that it consisted in this omission; and, if the public meeting; that M‘Laren was present so, it is of no importance to the general result. at that meeting of the committee, and that Indeed, it is enough for my purpose that he when he produced his manuscript, there was a admits generally the accuracy and authenticity correction made on it by Baird, which was of the publication; because I have the means read to the meeting; and that the pencils of supporting the strong evidence afforded by marking made by Baird were those very words this general admission, by other testimony I have referred to which are given in this which supplies whatever is wanting in his own speech, and copied into the indictment which declaration.
is lying before you. He states, that the words The second exception which he makes is; which were added by Baird with the pencil that some words, which are mentioned at the are, “ which he is bound to do by the laws of end of the declaration, are printed, which he the country: But should he be so infatuated did not deliver at the hustings; but you will as to turn a deaf ear to their just petition, he observe, that he admits that those words were has forfeited their allegiance. Yes, my fellow in the copy of his speech which he gave to be countrymen, in such a case to hell with our printed, and that he does not allege that he, at allegiance." These are the words which with any time. ever objected to the publisher, or to a pencil Baird added to M'Laren's speech in the committee, that his speech as delivered was his own presence. Now why, I will ask, aco not accurately given, but, on the contrary, that cording to the prisoner's own friend Mr. he acquiesced, down to the hour of his emitting Samson, were they added? Why, because the this declaration, in its being the true and committee wished to give a true account of fair account of the speech he had made on that what took place' at the meeting, or, to use his occasion.
own words, “because the manuscript delivered Let us' now attend to the parole proof, by in was not complete according to the way in which this declaration has been amply con- which the speech was delivered.” The comfirmed.
mittee did not wish to garble the proceedings, Of the two witnesses who were first examined, but to give a minute, true and accurate account you hare Finnie, who swears that the speech of what happened ; and the passage therefore which he heard M‘Laren deliver on that occa. was inserted. All this, you will remember, sion contained these words: “We will lay," took place in M‘Laren's presence; and did' he object to this addition being made ? No; on printing-house--that he did superintend the the contrary, he agreed that the passage should printing of it, assisting even in correcting the remain there, because it was an accurate account press, and that a great number of copies of what he had said. Some feeling of pro- were sent to his shop which he retailed and priety, no doubt, prevented the committee from distributed. putting in one word which had been used by Accordingly this admission, which, I have MʻLaren, and there is a blank accordingly in said, is, in point of law, a strong circumstance the printed paper; but the witnesses who of evidence against the prisoner, is amply conwere examined fill up the word, and tell you firmed by the depositions of the witnesses, by what is wanting. You have M‘Laren's ad- several of whom it has been proved that he atmission, therefore, in his declaration, of the tended the meeting upon the 7th of December, general accuracy of the printed account of and that he heard the speeches contained in his speech; you have the parole proof; this publication delivered or read by the peryou have this statement of Samson's; and sons to whom they are attributed. By others you have M‘Laren's virtual admission in the it has been proved that he was one of the comcommittee, that these were the expressions he mittee appointed to superintend the publicaused. It does, therefore, appear to me to be tion; and by one of that committee it is estabunnecessary to go further in examining evidence lished, that in the matter of publication he took on this part of the subject. I think it is clear a most active concern, perusing at least the that these words were used by M‘Laren, and manuscript of some of the speeches as they that of this it is impossible you should doubt. were given in by the authors or reputed I may now, then, put the prisoner MʻLaren authors; and that such was his vigilance, aside altogether, in so far as the mere fact of in providing that none of the precious the speech having been delivered by him is maiter which had come before the public concerned ; and it is exclusively to that I am meeting should be lost, that the passage speaking at present.
which is chiefly complained of in the first As to the prisoner Baird, we must also look charge against M‘Laren, having been omitted to the terms of his declaration. He declares, in the manuscript, he himself took his pencil, w that the 7th of December last was fixed for á and, for the edification of the public, to whom general meeting at the Dean-park: That the the pamphlet was addressed, actually wrote it declarant attended that meeting, and Alexander down on the press copy. M‘Laren, weaver in Kilmarnock, mounted the In like manner, you have it proved by hustings, and opened the meeting with a speech: Murray, Mr. Crawford's journeyman, that That James Johnstone, muslin-agent in Kilo Baird attended at the office during the time marnock, was called to the chair, and read a the publication was printing--that he examined speech to the meeting from a memorandum- the first proof, and suggested at least one, if book. And being shewn a manuscript con- not more corrections. sisting of nineteen pages, declares, That he is Again, as to the fact of publication, it is pretty certain that it is the same that he read proved by the prisoner's shop-boy, and by the to the meeting, and which the declarant saw witness who bought a copy at his shop, as also some days afterwards in Walter Andrew's office, by one of the members of the committee and which is docqueted and signed as relative appointed to superintendt be publication, and hereto. Declares, That the proceedings were who delivered great numbers of the pamphlet ordered to be printed, and the declarant was ap- for the purpose of being sold and distributed, pointed by the committee, along with several others, that Baird was the principal hand by whom to superintend the printing : That the declarant this publication, be its merits opdemerits what assisted in correcting the grummatical errors in the they may, was sent out upon the world. manuscript, along with the said Walter Andrew, When you consider this body of evidence, and the declarant assisted a little at the printing therefore, I cannot entertain a doubt that you office in correcting the proof-copy: And being must be clear that the fact of the publication shewn a half-sheet of paper, titled on the back, by Baird is incontrovertibly established. * No. 5, Mr. Burt's letter," declares, That said Upon this part of the question, therefore, words are of the declarant's hand-writing, and I have only further to remark, that there can the said half-sheet of paper was given in by be as little ground for doubting, that the prithe declarant to the printer, along with the rest soner M’Laren, besides being bound to answer of the manuscripts, and said half-sheet of paper for delivering the speech, which in this indictis docqueted and signed by the declarant and ment is charged with having been seditious, sheriff-substitute as relative hereto. Declares, must also answer for being an accessary to That the proceedings of said meeting were printing and publishing the pamphlet upon the printed by Hugh Crawford, and a great number table. The facts of bis having given in the of copies were sent to the declarant's shop, and he manuscript copy of his own speech for the retailed them at 4d. a piece.”
purpose of being published, and that he was a The result of this declaration seems to be, member of the committee of publication-facts that the prisoner admits that he was one of the which are proved beyond all contradiction by committee appointed to superintend the pub- the witnesses to whom I have already referred, lication complained of-that he assisted in cor- as well as by his own admission-can leave no recting the manuscript to fit it for going to the manner of doubt upon this subject.