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declare, that I will exert myself to the utmost to recover those rights which the Supreme Being has conferred upon his creatures; and that meither fear, hope, nor reward, shall prevail upon me to divulge the secrets of the society, or to give evidence against a member of this or any other society of a similar kind. So help me God I’” The attorney general then commented on different passages contained in this oath, and endeavoured to show that it would bear only a treasonable interpretation. Proceeding in his statement, he observed, that about the middle of summer they began to think it might be dangerous for themalways to meet at the same place. To avoid suspicion, they therefore went to various public houses: in Windmill-street, Oxford-street, St. Giles's, Hatton Garden,Whitechapel, in the Borough, about the Tower, and to the Oakley Arms in Lambeth. To these meetings they invited soldiers, and treated them: toasts were given to answer the objects of the association, such as “The cause of liberty.—Extension of rights.The model of France, &c.” They now increased greatly in audacity, and were betrayed by their confidence into the greatest extravagancies; some of them proposed a ay for attacking the Tower, and the great blow was to have been struck on the 16th of November, the day on which the king first intended to go to parliament. On the Friday preceding, a meeting took place; when Broughton prevailed upon two of the members to go to the Flying Horse, Newington, where they would meet a nice man, who proved to be col. Despard. The mode in which the Tower was watched and guarded was inquired into, and difficulties of intercepting
the king were considered, when Broughton suggested the idea of shooting the horses, as the coach would §: be stopped. “But,” said another, “would not the life guards cut us down? Then the prisoner exclaimed, “If no one else will do it, I myself will:” adding, with much solemnity—“I have well weighed the matter, and my heart is callous.” The attorney general then observed, that government was well aware of the proceedings of these people, but would not interfere 5. danger was at a distance: however, when the schemes were nearly completed, about 30 prisoners were arrested at the Oakley Arms, and a sufficient body of evidence collected to prove them guilty. The conspirators consisted of the lowest order of the people,
as journeymen, day-labourers, and
common soldiers, with the exception, however, of the prisoner at the bar. Several were discharged, and Windsor, the evidence, came
exceed the limits of reason, they will do what the prisoner had no right to expect, and what he, as attorney general, would solemnly protest against on the part of the public. He then proceeded to call the witnesses for the prosecution. Mr. J. Stafford, clerk to the magistrates of Union Hall, stated the arrest of the prisoners. Colonel Despard at first refused to be searched, but afterwards submitted, though nothing was found on him. There were three papers on the floor, which proved to be the oath, &c. already mentioned. Several police officers proved the presence of colonel Despard at the Oakley Arms. T. Windsor, the principal evidence, said, he was a private in the guards; and that on his return from Chatham, in March, he received some papers from J. Francis, which were similar to those already mentioned: Francis told him the object of the party was to overturn the present tyrannical system of overnment. The manner of taking the oath was by reading it secretly, and then kissing the card. One object of the members was to raise subscriptions for delegates to go into the country, and to pay for affidavits. The society was divided into companies of ten men, commanded by another, who bore
general. The f. Were every
where ripe, and were anxious for. the moment of the attack; “and,” added he, “I believe this to be the moment; particularly in Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, and every at town throughout the kingom. I have ed twenty miles to-day, and wherever I have been, the people are ripe.” Colonel Despard then said, that the attack was to be made on the day when the king would go to parliament. He then repeated the words used by the colonel respecting the callousness of his heart; and stated that, after the destruction of the king, it was proposed that the mailcoaches should be stopped, as a signal to the people in the country. that the revolt had taken place in London. The colonel was cau-, tious as to the admission of new members. At another meeting, the colonel, accompanied by 3.” ron, a discharged soldier, and er , observed—“We have been deceived as to the number of arms in the Bank; there: are only six hundred stand there, and they have taken the hammers. out to render them useless, as they must have been apprised of our intention.” They then returned to a public-house, when the colonel said privately to the witness— . “Windsor, the king must be put to
death the day he goes to the house; " and then the people will be at liberty.” He said, he would hims. self make the attack upon his ma-. jesty, if he could get no assistance. on that (meaning the Middlesex): side of the water. The prisoner " was introduced by Broughton to Wood said, that when the king was . colonel Despard at Newington, É. to the house he would post. when in the course of conversation himself as sentry over the great” the colonel said, that a regular #. in the Park; that he would " organisation in the country was load it, and fire at his majesty’s necessary, and he believed it was coach as he passed through the 3 . . . " - - •. * * * - * Park: ***
the title of colonel : Francis, and a person named Macnamara, called themselves colonels. Encouragements were given to get a number of recruits, É. which purpose cards were to be distributed through the country: afterwards the witness
; duty, be sometimes placed a sentry over that gun. .* Mr. Bonus proved the copy of the constitution and oath given to him. *o. T. Blaise, a private in the 2d battalion of guards, deposed, that Wood had told him of the union ef several gentlemen who had determined to form an independent constitution at the risk of their lives and fortunes: he said, the executive government had appointed Francis to be colonel of the first regiment, of national Macnamara called upon to point out three colonels, and 9ne artillery officer; and charged him to do it with the utmost impartiality. Francis then pointed out him (the witness) as a proper man for a colonel. The commissions were to be distributed previous to the attack, when one of the persons, named Pendril, observed, that if it had not been for four or five cowards, it would have taken place, before that day; adding, that he himself could bring 1000.
to the nature of the oath, which was read to him, because he could not read himself: he said, at one time there was an assemblage of people near the Tower, but they were immediately dispersed by orders from colonel Despard; but he admitted that the oath was administered to him by the colonel himself; at one meeting, the soldiers drew their bayonets, and said they were ready to die in the cause. On his cross-examination, he denied that he had ever been flogged, or had deserted.
; Connel, who had been arrested at the Oakley Arms, and admitted evidence, denied that his name was John, and insisted that it was Pat : he afterwards admitted that he was advised by the prisoner to play this trick on the counsel. He was dismissed.
Several other soldiers in the guards gave evidence as to the meeting of societies for overturning the government, under, the name of “ Free and easy," which met at different public-houses.
J. Emblin, a watch-maker, and
men into the field; and if any man a witness who appeared to be of a showed symptoms of cowardice, superior understanding, deposed, he would blow his brains, out: if that he attended at the Oakley any body dared to betray the secret, Arms on the suggestion of Lanthat man, he said, should have a der, but disapproved of the plans. dagger in his breast. The witness He also o: in stating the plan then deposed to meeting with colo- of attack already mentioned, which nel Despard at the §. Arms, was explained to him by Broughon which occasion he heard much ton, Graham, and others. Coloconversation about the best method nel Despard informed him that a of attacking the king: some said, very considerableforce would come the Parliament-house must also be forward, particularly in all the attacked, and after that they must t towns; and said that he had file away for the Tower. This been engaged in this business for witness, on his cross-examination, two years; and added—“I have admitted that he had been three travelled twenty miles to-day : times tried by a court-martial for every where I have been, the desertion, and accused of theft. people are ripe, and anxious for W. Francis, a private in the 1st the moment of attack.” This , deposed nearly to the same witness deposed to the plan for
the remarkable expression of the colonel before mentioned; also to a conversation about seising the Bank, when it was agreed that the Bank should be seized, and the Tower taken. Various subordinate plans were also detailed by the witness ; amongst others, Broughton told him, that it was resolved to load the great gun in the Park with four s or chainshots, and fire it at the king's coach as he returned from the house; and he would be d–d if it would not send him to hell. Here the evidence for the crown was closed. Serjeant Best then addressed the jury on behalf of the prisoner, and endeavoured to show that, from the nature and spirit of our constitution, a person in his situation is entitled to uliar favour. From the 36th of the present king, on which the indictment was partly founded, he insisted that it is not by testimony alone, or words spoken, that an accused person is to be found guilty, because a speech is subject to such serious misinterpretation: he laboured to show that words did not constitute an overt-act; yet he admitted that the colonel was at some of the meetings, and that he might have spoken obnoxious words; but before he could be convicted, it was necessary to prove that he knew the meeting was of a treasonable nature. #. denied that the printed card or paper was at all connected with the colonel, and cited the case of Layer and others, to prove that the crown did not content themselves with such trivial proof as was here adduced; and laid much stress on the circumstance of no arms having been prepared for the attack. His next object was to impeach the credibility of the witnesses, the concur
rent testimony of which was, in the present instance, of no more force than one. The great improbability of the story was his next point of ar ent; and he ridiculed the idea of fourteen or fifteen men in a common taproom, with no fire-arms but their tobacco-pipes, men of the lowest orders of society, who were to seise the king, the Bank, the Tower, and the members of both houses of parliament: in short, he considered the whole statement of the witnesses as too absurd to merit attention ; and that colonel Despard, who was a gentleman and a soldier, could not have embarked in such impracticable schemes unless he was bereft of reason. He them alluded to the past services of the colonel, who, in a joint command with lord Nelson, had preserved one of our valuable colonies: it was known that the colonel had been suspected
ong been confined, there was not sufficient evidence against him to go before a grand jury. He proceeded to comment on the character of the witnesses, and concluded in the words of the attorney general, that an improbable charge should be supported by conclusive evidence. Lord Nelson, sir A. Clarke, and sir E. Nepean, respectively considered the prisoner as a brave of. ficer, a loyal man, and one who returned from service with such testimonies, that it was impossible to doubt of his character. Mr. Gurney spoke in behalf of the prisoner, and endeavoured to invalidate the testimony of the witnesses. Colonel Despard declined saying any thing in his own behalf. . The solicitor general replied on the part of the crown; after which lord lord Ellenborough summed up the evidence, and stated the nature of overt acts: he read, verbatim, the whole of the evidence, commenting, as he proceeded, on the most striking parts ; after which the jury withdrew for half an hour, and returned with a verdict of Guilty, but they recommended the prisoner to mercy. Wednesday, Feb. 9.—The court resumed its sitting at nine o'clock, and the following prisoners were put to the bar: J. Francis, J. Wood, T. Phillips, T. Broughton, T. Newman, É. Tyndall, J. Doyle, J. Sedgwick Wratten, W. Lander, A. Graham, S. Smith, and J. Macnamara. After 16 follo by the crown, and 31 by the prisoners, the following jury was sworn, viz. G. Evans, J. Waring, R. Southby, R. Linton, J. Prior, J. Baker, J. Phillips, C. Tritton, D. Langton, J. Arnold, J. Winter, and B. Chitty. The solicitor general stated the case to the jury. He gave a short outline of facts to which it was intended evidence should be produced, explaining, as he proceed
ed, the nature of the overt acts
was made to bear more strongly on the parts which affected the prisoners than in the trial of colonel Despard. Lord chief justice Ellenborough made one of the most able, cloquent, and impressive addresses to the jury we have ever heard; and with the greatest clearness recapitulated the evidence to them. He did not conclude until six o'clock on Thursday morning. The jury then retired, and at 25 minutes before eight returned a verdict of Guilty against John Wood, Thomas Broughton, John Francis, Thomas Newman, Daniel Tyndall, J. Sedgwick Wratten, William Lander, Arthur Graham, and John Macnamara.Lander, Newman, and Tyndall, were recommended to mercy.— . Thomas Phillips and Samuel Smith were acquitted; and the charge against John Doyle was abandoned on the close of the evidence. Colonel Despard was then sent for, and placed at the bar, in front of the other prisoners. Those who were acquitted were withdrawn. Lord Ellenborough then passed the awful sentence of death upon the prisoners, in one of the most impressive speeches ever, perhaps, delivered on a similar occasion.— After o in a most able manner, the high enormity of the crime of which they had been convicted, and observing that, such vile purposes, however zealously begun, generally terminated in schemes of treachery against each other, he thus j :“With respect to the wicked contrivers of abortive treason now before me, it only remains for me to acquit myself of my last judicial duty.—As for you, colonel Despard, born * go were to bet