« VorigeDoorgaan »
A. I saw nothing till I saw the sword hit upon Lord Tha. net's back.
2. That was not Rivett?
A. Yes, was he hit Lord Thanet upon the back with a sword-I did not know it was Rivett till afterwards,
Q. Were any of the lights put out ?
Omrod fwarn, examined by Mr. Adam. 2. I have but one question to ask of you—Did you
any body, at the time of the pronouncing of the verdićt at Maidftone, in the case of O'Coigly and O'Connor, lay hold of Ri. vett, or any of the officers ?
A. Yes; Rivett, Fugion, Wagstaffe, and I, were standing together; they wanted to cross the Court where Mr. O'Çon.
2. What was done to Rivett?
A. Two gentlemen in black got up and opposed him very much; I said to one of them, “ You must not obstruct this man; he is an officer of justice." Robert Parker sworn, examined by Mr. Garrow. you
in Court at Maidstone when the Jury returned into Court with their verdict, in the case of O'Connor and others ?
2. Nearest the great street of Maidstone, and far from O'. Connor. A. Yes,
2. Did you see any thing happen upon that verdi&t being brought in ?
1. Upon the verdict being brought in, he put his leg over the bar, feeling himself discharged, as he afterwards explained; a Bow-street officer then stepped up, and said, “ There was a warrant to detain him ;' Mr. O'Connor then
his again, and said, ” He thought he was discharged;" and one of the Judges said, "" He was not to be discharged,” or fome, thing of that fort; and he was quiet till sentence was over.
fee Lord Thanet ? Ā. Yes; I saw him on a seat at the front of the bar--I am perfectly sure I saw Lord Thanet.
2. After sentence had passed, did you see the Bow-street officers make any attempt to pass the bar where Mr. O'Connor Hood ?
A. Mr. O'Connor jumped over the bar, and then the Bow. îtreet officers both advanced in order to stop Mr. O'Connor ; the jailor called out, “ My Lord, am I to let him go ?" or something to that effect, and there was a contention ; several persons were assisting Mr. O'Connor to get out at the opposite door, and the Bow-street officers were attempting to stop him.
Q. Did you at that time see Lord Thanet?
Q. In what situation ? and what was be doing? F A. Lord Thanet evidently appeared to me to be obstructing the officers in their attempt to stop Mr. O'Connor.
2. Did you see any other person engaged in the same atA. Not any one whose person I then knew. 2. Did you observe any person whose dress was remarkable ?
A. I saw a gentleman in a bar gown and wig endeavouring to assist the escape of O'Connor ; but at that time I did not know the person of the gentleman.
2. Do you fince know who that gentleman was ? Ā. I only know by report.
2. Did you see any other person in a gown and wig acting as you have described'>
A. No, I did not.
2. Had you been in Court during any considerable portion of the trial
A. No, very little ; I had been in, for five minutes at a time, perhaps three times during the trial.
2. So that you had not an opportunity of observing that gentleman in the course of his profeffional duty? Ą. No,
Cross-examined by Mr, Gibbs. Q. You fay Lord Thanet appeared to you to be obftructing the officers ; did you see him do any thing?
A. I saw him resisting with his hands. 2. Pray, when was this ?-before or after the sentence ? A. It began immediately after the sentence; it began upon Mr. O'Connor getting over the bar.
Q. What did he do with his hands ?
Ă. The Bow-ftreet officers pushed forward ; and against one of them it was that he was making resistance,
2. Pray, which of them?
A. I cannot tell I do not know which I did not know either of them.
see the warrant ? A. Yes; I saw it handed over to be read.
2. Can you tell whether it was against either of those two men, or against the messenger, that he was making that resistance ? A. I cannot. 1
put his hand against one man that was coming forward ?
A. Yes, certainly.
Q. You said that you saw a gentleman in a bar gown that appeared to assift O'Connor?
A, I recollect that gentleman was ranged with the Counsel for the prisoners; and then he turned round with his face to the bar, and was in that manner contending to resist their ad. vancing towards the prisoner,
X. He was standing upon the ground, and reaching over ? 4. Yes.
Q. Standing, as I may be standing now, fuppofing this to be the bar?
4. Yes : supposing you was turned round, it would be exactly fo-- he turned round towards the bar.
End of the Evidence for the Crown,
THE HONOURABLE THOMAS ERSKINE.
GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY,
It now becomes my duty to address you--but for three of the Defendants only : because, though nothing could possibly have separated their cases in argument, yet it was thought prudent not to embarrass the mind of any one advocate with so many facts and circumstances as the defence of all of them might eventually have involved. My Learned Friends who fit behind me, were, therefore, to have defended the other two Gentlemen ; but as they have not been at all affected by any part of the evidence, it may, perhaps, be thought ad. visable by the Court that they should now be acquitted, left their teftimony should become material hereafter for those who remain under trial.
Several observations were made by the Attorney-General, in his short and dispaffionate address to you, well worthy of your attention. He told you, that he could not conceive a greater offence against the justice of any country, nor indeed against the
very character of Justice itself, than an attempt to confound and overbear its Judges and Ministers in the adminiftration of
Law. I admit it freely. The undisturbed and unruffled course of Justice is the universal source of human security. Statesmen have, in all ages, diftracted Governments by their ambition : parties will always create animofities, and sometimes confufion, by their discordant interests; tumults will occasionally arise out of the best of human paffions, in the best-ordered States : buc where an enlightened and faithful administration of justice exists in any country, that country may be said to be fecure.
It has pleased God to give us a long reign of that security in England. Indeed, if I were to be asked what it is which peculiarly distinguishes this nation from the other nations of the world, I should say that it is in her Courts she fits above them; that it is to her judicial system she owes the stability of all her other institutions : her inhabitants have for ages lived contented under her laws, because they have lived in fafety.
Gentlemen, the Attorney-General had certainly no occasion to enter into any explanation of his own conduct in the course of this prosecution : it was never my purpose to impeach it.
The question is not, whether he is justiñed in having arraigned the Defendants ? but, whether, upon the whole evidence, they are guilty, or not guilty? I say, upon the whole evidence ; bem cause, to secure myself an impartial hearing, I think it my duty to tell you, in this early part of my address to you, that I mean to call witnesses in their defence. You have heard attentively the accusing testimony : AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM. It is not two days ago that, in a similar stage of an important trial, the Noble Judge upon the Bench took occasion to remark to a Jury, that this was so facred a maxim of Justice, that we were frequently reminded of it by seeing it inscribed
upon very walls of our Courts.
It has been also truly observed to you (as the observation applies to the first of the Defendants upon the Record, my noble friend and client, Sackville, Earl of Thanet), that the charge against him is of a most deep and serious complexion. I think
He is a man of illuftrious rank-a hereditary Judge and Legislator of the kingdom; and a judgment, therefore, against him, is of far greater consequence than
to a mere private It is a great impeachment of such a person, that he infringes the Constitution of his country, of which he is a digniked guardian ; that he disturbs the execution of those laws of which he is a high magistrate ; and that, forgetting the duty annexed to his exalted station, the duty of giving the example to the people of order and obedience, he excites them to tumult, and violates even the sanctuary of Justice with misrule and violence. Mr. Fergusson, though inferior in rank to the Noble Earl, ftands eventually in a fituation, perhaps, of still greater delicacy, and is involved in deeper consequences. The son of a late eminent Lawyer in the other part of the Ifand, who
filled also a high fituation in its magistracy ;-himself bred to. the English bar ; not as a fashionable branch of education, or as an useful introduction into life ; but engaged in it learnedly, honourably, and successfully, as a profession, and as a profession by which he must live :-a young man, so circumstanced, has surely a most serious claim to your attention, and even to the most indulgent consideration. As to the other Gentlemen, I need hardly speak of them : because, though their names have of course been reiterated in the questions put to the witnesses, nothing approaching to criminal conduct has been established against them. We are here, therefore, upon a mere question of fact. You cannot but have observed, that the AttorneyGeneral and myself, instead of maintaining opposite doctrines, perfectly agree upon the principles which ought to govern your decision. The fingle object of inquiry is, the truth of this Record. Is the charge proved to your satisfaction ! or, rather, will it be so proved when the whole cause has been heard ? In adverting to what the charge is, I need not have recourse to the abstract I had made of the Information. The substance and coinmon sense of it is this :--that Mr. Arthur O'Connor had been brought, by legal process, into the custody of the Sheriff of Kent; that a Special Commiffion had assembled at Maidstone, to try him and others for High Treason ; that, upon the
opening of the Commission, he had again been committed by the Court to the fame custody ; that 'ie was afterwards again brought up to the bar, and found not guilty.; and that, after he was so acquitted, but before he was in strict form discharged by the order of the Court, the Defendants conspired together, and attempted to rescue him. This is the essence of the charge : the disturbance of the Court, and the assaults stated in the different counts of the Information, are only the overt acts charged to have been done, in pursuance of this purpose, to rescue the prisoner. The criminal purpose to rescue Mr. O'Connor, is the fact, therefore, of which you must be convinced, to justify the verdict which the Crown has called
upon you to proBefore I proceed to address myself to you upon the evidence, I will do that which must make it manifest that it is not my wish to confound your understandings in the investigation of facts ; for I will begin by relieving your attentions from the consideration of all circumstances that are neither disputed, nor fairly disputable, either as they are the result of what you have heard already, or as I think they must remain when the whole cafe is before you. I admit, then, that Mr. O'Connor, when he heard the verdict of the Jury in his favour, was disposed to leave the Court. The presumption, indeed, as it arises out of universal practice, as well as out of the law that warrants it, is, that he, as well as others, thought that the verdict of Not