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I now proceed to make a few observations of my own. There is no occafion to give you my authority, or the authority of those who hear me, upon this point.—There is no doubt that the prisoner was not entitled to be discharged; for, when a verdict of acquittal is entered, a Judge may order a party to be detained, and compel him to anfwer other charges that may have been brought against him. On this point there is no difference of opinion ; it is not even disputed at the Bar : the case is clear; and there is no doubt upon earth that a prisoner, in many cases, though he may be acquitted, as in the case of an appeal of murder, cannot be discharged though he be acquitted of the murder.
I have stated the evidence on the one side and the other ; and although there is strong contradictory evidence, yet I think there is a great deal of evidence which goes in support of the charge. There were some observations made by the Learned Counsel for the Defendants, which perhaps were not altogether warranted. Counsel are frequently induced, and they are justified in taking the moft" favourable view of their client's case; and it is not unfair to pass over any piece of evidence they find difficult to deal with, provided they cite fairly and correctly those parts of the evidence they comment upon. The Learned Counsel for the Defendants, in his remarks on the evidence, totally forgot the evi. dence of Mr. Parker. If his evidence is to be believed, and I know no reason why it is not, he certainly gave impor. tant evidence in support of this charge--that the Defendants evidently appeared to be attempting to stop the officers, and assisting the escape of Mr. O'Connor. The Learned Counsel for the Defendants did not choose to deal with this evidence, though he conducted the cause with all possible discretion, abilities and eloquence. As I have before observed, there is apparently a great deal of contradiction in this cause. I must again state the observation of Mr. Whitbread, and which was obvious if he had not made it, that, “ in such a scene of tu. "mult and confusion, many things must pass which escape the şi obseryation of every individual." But there is no doubt of one thing--one thing is clear ; if Rivett had not the scuffle which he swears he had with Mr, Fergusson and my Lord Thạnet, and if he did not wrench a stick out of Mr. Fergusson's hand, he is palpably forsworn, and grossly perjured. For him there is no 'excuse in the world. What motive he might have I do not know : he has no intereft ; and in weighing the testimony of witnesses, I cannot consider the rank of a person, nor his station. It is clear, if he has not told the truth, he is guilty of perjury, In this scene of tumult, men's minds must have been greatly distracted. It is for you to say what degree of credit you will give to all the witnesies ---These are the observations I have
to make ; and I should retire from my duty if I had not made
them to you.
It has been said, in the course of this cause, that it was against all probability.-Was it probable that an attempt was medi. tated to effect the escape of a person such as Mr. O'Connor in a Court of Justice, in a flarge town, and in a public part of that town? Was it probable that this man himself should at. tempt that, which, Mr. Sheridan faid, appeared to him to be an act of madness? Is it most likely that he should have at.. tempted this with hopes of success, with or without affiftance ? This is matter for your confideration. It is very likely you have forestalled all the observations I have made ; but still it was not less my duty to make them. The whole of this case is for your
decision. It is a case in which the interests of the individuals, as well as of the Public, are highly embarked.
Ar eleven o'clock at night the Jury retired; and after being out about an hour, they returned with the following verdict :
Fiday, 3d May.
Mr. Attorney-General—In this case of the King against Sackville Earl of Thanet and Robert Fergusson, Esq. I have to pray of your Lordships the Judgment of the Court.
LORD KENYON (to MR. ERSKINE)-Have you any thing to say for the two persons convicted ?
MR. ERSKINE--The cause having been tried at Bar, your Lordships are already apprized of every thing I could have to offer. I believe Lord Thanet and Mr, Fergusson with to say something to your Lordships,
My Lords, Before the Sentence is pronounced, I beg leave to address a few words to the Court :-not for the purpose of impeaching the veracity of the witnesses for the prosecution, or of arraigning the propriety of the Verdict; on those points
I shall fay nothing. What I mean to submit to the Court is, a short, distinct narrative of the facts, as far as I was con, cerned in them.
I attended the trial at Maidstone in consequence of a sube pona. When I had given my evidence, I retired from the Court, without any intention of returning, until I was particularly requested to be present at the defence made by Mr. Dallas, the prisoners' Counsel. At that time I had never heard of the existence of a warrant against Mr, O'Connor, nor of any design to secure his person if he should be acquitted.--The place I sat in was that which Mr. Dallas had quitted, when he removed to one more convenient for addresting the Jury. While fitting there, I heard, for the first time, from Mr. Plummer, that he had rçason to believe there was a warrant to detain Mr. O'Connor. When the verdict was pronounced, I went into the Solicitors' box, to shake hands with Mr.O'Connor, which I did without even speaking to him. Many others preffed forwards, apparently for the same purpose.. Upon a call for filence and order from the Bench, or from one of the Officers of the Court, I immediately sat down on the feat under that part of the dock where Mr. O'Connor itood. At that period fome confufion arose, from several persons attempting to get towards him, one of whom said he had a warrant to apprehend him, for which he appeared to me to be reprimanded by Mr. Justice Buller, in some few words, which I did not diftinctly hear. The moment the Judge had passed sentence on O'Coigly, a moft violent pushing began from the farther end of the feat on which I fat. From the situation I was in, I did not perceive that Mr. O'Connor was attempting to efcape. He was a good deal above me, and I sat with my back to him. I continued sitting in my place, until several perions on the same feat were struck, among whom, I imagine Mr. Gunter Browne was one, from the complaint he afterwards made of ill-treatment, but whom I never saw before or fince to my knowledge. I then began to feel the danger I was in ; but the tumult increased about me so rapidly, that I was unable to get over the railing before me. I stood up, however, and used all the efforts in my power to go towards the Judges, as to a place of safety ; but at that moment, by fome person or other, I was borne down on the table, where a man (I afterwards found was Rivett) struck át me several times with a stick, which I warded off, as well as I was able, with a small walking-stick.---Rivett, as he ftruck me, charged me with striking him first, which I denied, and called out to him, as loud as I could, that I had not ftruck him.
I have now detailed, as clearly as I am able, my situation and conduct, during the disturbance ; and I do most folemnly declare on my word of honour, which I have been always
taught to consider as equally sacred with the obligation of an oath, and am ready to confirm by my oath if I am permitted to do so, that I never did any one act but what was strictly in defence of my person. It is not at all unlikely, that, in such a scene of confusion, I might have pushed others, who pressed against me, to save myself from being thrown down ; but I most folemnly deny that I lifted my hand or ftick offensively, or used any kind of violence to any person. I declare upon my word of honour, that I knew nothing of the existence of a warrant to detain Mr. O'Connor, until I heard it from Mr. Plummer ; and that, even then, it never entered into my mind that it was to be served upon him in the Court, until some person called out that he had a warrant. I declare upon my word of honour, that the obstruction which the officers met with on the seat where I fat, was perfectly unintentional on my part, and was solely owing to the situation I was in :that I did nothing offensively, but, on the contrary, was violently attacked and assaulted; and that I retired from the scene of confusion as soon as I was able. And, finally, I do most solemnly declare upon my word of honour, that I did not concert with any person the rescue of Mr. O'Connor, by violence, or by any other means whatsoever ; that I had no idea of doing it alone ; and that I was not privy to any consultation of other perfons, either for the purpose of rescuing Mr. O'Connor out of the custody of the Court, or of preventing the execution of the warrant.
As I hold myself bound to state fairly, not only what I did, but what I said, as far as it is in my power to recollect what passed, with the agitation of such a tumult on my mind, I acknowledge that some words may have escaped me, which I ought not to have spoken. I am charged with having said, “ that I thought • it fair that he should have a run for it.” I will not dispute about the exact words. I confess they were extremely inconsiderate. Some allowance, however, I think, may be made for the instant feelings of a man so ill-treated as I had been.
My Lords, I am not sanguine enough to expect any immediate advantage from these declarations. I know they will not avail me against the Verdict : but the truth of them will not be suspected by those who know me; and hereafter, when all the circumstances of this transaction shall be coolly re-con. fidered, I am confident they will have weight with the Public.
“ My Lord, I have an affidavit prepared, if your Lordship will accept of it."
Lord KENYON.---To the same effect ?
against the verdict of a Jury : but I believe it may be ordered to be filed ; I believe there is no objection to that.
Mr. Erskine..-I believe there is not, my Lord.
* AFFIDAVIT. The Defendant the Earl of THANET maketh Oath, and faith; That he attended at the Special Commission held at Maidstone, in the county of Kent, for the Trial of Arthur O'Connor, Esq. and others, for High Treason, in consequence of a Subpoena ferved upon him, to give evidence on behalf of the said Arthur O'Connor, and which was the sole excuse of his attending at the said trial; and he faith,' that after he had given his evidence, he retired from the Court, and had no intention of returning thereto, till he was particularly preffed to be present to hear the defence of the Counsel for the Prisoners, merely as a matter of attention and countenance to the faid Arthur O'Connor, who was his acquaintance; and he further faith, that at that time he had no knowledge whatever of the existence of any warrant against the faid Arthur O'Connor, nor of any intention of securing his person, if he should be acquitted on the indictment. And this Deponent further faith, that he sat in the place which Mr. Dallas had left, when he went to a more convenient one for the purpose of addressing the Jury;
and that whilft he was sitting, there, he for the first time heard from Mr. Plummer, that he had reason to believe there was a warrant to detain Mr. O'Connor; and this Deponent further faith, that on the verdict's being pronounced, he stept into the Solicitors' feat to shake hands with Mr. O'Connor, which he did without even speaking to him, and without any other motive than that of congratulating him as a friend on his acquittal, át which time many others were coming to the fame place where this Deponent was ; that upon a call for order and silence from the Bench, or from one of the officers of the Court, he immediately fat down on the seat under that part of the dock where Mr. O'Connor food, and at that period a slight confusion arose from several persons attempting to get towards Mr. O'Connor, one of whom said he had a warrant to apprehend him, for which he appeared to be reprimanded by the Hon. Sir Francis Buller, in a few words which this Deponent did not difinely hear. And this Deponent further faith, that at the moment the Judge had passed sentence of death on O'Coigly, the most violent pushing began on the seat on which he sat (this Deponent not observing that Mr. O'Connor was attempting to get away), and he continued fitting in his
place till several persons on the same seat were struck, and amongst whom he believes was Mr. Gunter Browne, whom he never before or fince had feen to his knowledge ; and from that moment this Deponent began to feel the danger he was in, the tumult about him increasing so rapidly that he was unable to get over the railing before him ; that however he food up, and used all the efforts in his power to go towards the Judges as a place of fafety; but he was instantly pushed down on the table, when a man, whom he has since found was John Rivett, ftruck at him several times with a stick, which blows he warded off as well as he was able with a sınall walking stick, the faid Rivett charging this Deponent, as he struck at him, with striking him first, which this Deponent denied, calling out at the same time as loud as he could, that he had not struck him. And this Deponent further faith, that he never did, during the faid disturbance, any one act, but what was striatly in the defence of his person, though he admits that he might have pushed several perfons that pushed against him, so prevent his being thrown down, but that he did not lift hand or stick,