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698. Proceedings in the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh

against ALEXANDER MÅLAREN and THOMAS BAIRD, for Sedition, March 5th-7th : 57 GEORGE III. A. D. 1817.


yet true it is and of verity, that you the said MARCH 5, 1817.

Alexander MʻLaren 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 M'Laren did, Lord Hermand.

at a public meeting, held at Dean-park, in the Lord Gillies.

vicinity of Kilmarnock aforesaid, on the 7th Lord Pilmilly.

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.

inflammatory remarks and assertions, calculated J. A. Maconochie, Esq.

to degrade and bring into contempt the goH. 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 J. S. Stercart, Esq.

it. The fact is, we are ruled by men only so

licitous for their own aggrandizement; and Mr. A. Campbell, W. S. Agent.

they care po 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

ALEXANDER M'LA REN, now or lately in shajnavee, 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- f 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, Hitherto 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 tyranny 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 French 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.” And you 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 MʻLaren 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 Tlouse 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 l the hands of the clerk of the high court of annual taxation to about ighteen millions ; | justiciary, before which you are to be tried,

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