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It is unnecessary for me to add any thing to panel himself, cannot think that that punishthe opinions already given. I think the ment is too severe ;-he must recoHect and punishment suggested by your lordship, is must know, that his crime is upon the verge the moderate and proper punishment, and I of high treason. He was their secretary, most heartily concur with your lordship. he was one of the secret committee, whose
Lord Abercromby --My lord, this panel was duty it was, in this convention, to name a secretary to the society assuming to them- place for holding a committee of emergency, selves the name of the British Convention.- in the event of an invasion from France. My lord, the object which these societies My lord, after this, no man can think the held forth to the public at first was, a general punishment too severe. My lord, a very reform, without specifying the nature or the little more would have been necessary for the extent of it; and, my lord, I am disposed to public prosecutor to have charged him with believe, that, at that period, there were many high treason. As it is, I must concur in the well-disposed persons, in every part of the opinion which your lordships have given. kingdom, who joined these societies, with. Lord Justice Clerk.--My lords, I feel very out any wicked purpose, believing that their much for the situation of the panel; but, my sole object was, to render our constitution, ex- lords, we must not allow our feelings to incellent as it is still more perfect, without en- terfere with the discharging of our duty; we tertaining the most distant idea of overturn- must feel for the welfare of the country; and ing that constitution. My lord, whatever the what would have been the situation of the views of these persons -of these deluded country, if they had executed the scheme that persons, may be, every thinking man,- they were meditating? My lords, I could every man of common discernment-might have wished, and it would have made me see what was the object of the leaders of this happy, if he could have given a proper vindisociety, and that, under the pretext of re- cation of his conduct, so as to have got an forming the constitution, they intended to acquittal from the crimes with which he is overthrow it.
charged; and I should be very sorry to think, My lord, about the beginning of the year that he suffers for want of the advice of coun1793, it was well and justly observed, by a sel; but, my lords, it gives me a great deal person who, I fear, had but too good reason of satisfaction, that after the proof that was to know the real views of these societies, that heard yesterday, the ingenuity of no counsel, if the friends of freedom, as he termed them, Scolch or English, could have been able to could obtain the reform in parliament, which have satisfied an intelligent jury, that this they were then demanding, that, my lord, it man was innocent of the offence charged would immediately have been followed by the against him. abolition of monarchy, and the total over- My lords, if he suffers for the want of throw of our constitution. My lord, after counsel, he must, I am sure, impute that to they had been dispersed by the magistrates, himself, for he must know, that a map arthey had a meeting at the Cockpit; and, my raigned at the bar of this court, whether he lord, they ventured to declare to the public has money to pay counsel, or whether he has at large, and to their fellow citizens, that not, he need not go without, for this Court their sole and only object is, to overturn the would appoint him one; but it is very odd, present happy constitution, which we now that he should in place of applying to counsel enjoy.The name which they assumed to here for advice, go to an English counsel, themselves, denotes, in the clearest manner, whose place it is not to know the law of Scotthat that was their sole object, for they as- land, and who, certainly, had very little busisumed the name of the British Convention of ness with it.—But he reads something to the Delegates of the People, associated to ob- teach us a little of the English law; but they tain Universal Suffrage, and Annual Parlia- certainly have no business with Scotch law, ments. It was well observed, yesterday, and he being to be tried in a court of Scotland, that universal suffrage, at no period, had ever by the laws of Scotland, ought not to have obtained in any part of the constitútion, and meddled in it; and I am sure however able an never could in any state whatever, except one, English lawyer he may be, he knows nothing which is France, where it certainly exists at of the law of this country, to say that a man present in its fullest extent; and from the cannot be charged as being guilty, actor, effects it has produced there, sure I am, that or art and part thereof. Nothing but a we have no reason to try the experiment; total ignorance of the criminal law of this we have no reason to change the most perfect country, could have caused such an observasystem that, I believe, ever prevailed in any tion. nation in the world, for that system of despo- My brother took notice of an act made in tism under which that nation lies.
the reign of James 6th, saying " that if art My lords, such being the object they had and part is libelled, the generality of the inin view, we must all concur in that opinion dictment shall be no exception." "Before that which your lordships have given ;-and, my act, the prosecutor was not allowed to prove lords, that being the case, I must also concur any facts or circumstances but what were set with your lordships in regard to the punish- forth in the indictment, and this was attended ment. I think that no man, -I think the with very great inconveniences, because in
the course of evidence very often facts and gravation, that they have had not only the
As to the other part of the objection stated The lord justice clerk, and lords commissiby Mr. Skirving, as to the nature of the crime oners of justiciary, having considered the of sedition, I think we should not be deserv- foregoing verdict, whereby the assize, all in ing of the trust reposed in us, if he had this one voice, find the panel Guilty of the crimes day to seek into the nature of that crime, libelled : The said lords, in respect of the said when we have within these two months for verdict in terms of an act passed in the 25th the same crime, passed sentence of transpor- year of his present majesty, intituled, " An act tation against two persons, Mr. Muir and Mr, for the more effectual transportation of felons Palmer. It is paying a very bad compliment and other offenders, in that part of Great to the Court, after that, that we should now Britain called Scotland ?" ordain and adjudge be told, we do not know what we are doing, that the said William Skirving be transported and that we are yet to learn what sedition is beyond seas, to such place as his majesty, I thought we were fully apprized of what se- with the advice of his privy council, shali dition was, even before the case of Muir, declare and appoint, and that for the space of which was followed by that of Palmer. And, fourteen years from this date, with certificaI will say, that that opinion that the panel tion to him, if, after being so transported, he just now read, is absurd in itself, because if shall return to and be found at large, within acts of violence niust be committed to make any part of Great Britain, during the said it sedition, it is impossible that the crime of fourteen years, without some lawful cause, sedition can be committed at all, because it and be thereby lawfully convicted, he shall then ceases to be sedition, it becomes high suffer death as in cases of felony, without betreason; and if any act of violence had fol- nefit of clergy by the law of England. And lowed these meetings, the consequence would ordains the said William Skirving, to be carhave been thus, that gentleman would have ried back to the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, stood there tried for his life, and the forfeiture therein to be detained till he is delivered over of his estates, goods, and chattels, would have for being so transported, for which this shall followed.
be to all concerned, a sufficient warrant, My lords, as to the punishment to be in
ROBERT MʻQUEEN. flicted, as I have always considered sedition as the most dangerous crime that can be com- lords, and that I am not guilty of the crimes
Mr. Skirting. Conscious of innocence, my Initted, I think we cannot discharge our duty laid to my charge, this sentence can only to the country, unless we inflict for that crime affect me as the sentence of man. It is long a severe punishment. Mr. Muir was trans- since I laid aside the fear of man as my rule. ported for fourteen years, and the only hesi- -I shall never walk by it.-And, my lords, iation in that case was, whether it should be I could not be ignorant of this sentence, beli snited to fourteen years, or not. I have no inclination to go beyond in this case, but I
cause I knew it long before this ;--and I had ibaink it is impossible we can, consistently with forming me that such a sentence was to take
a letter from London this very morning, inthue justice of the country, pronounce a less
place. sentence upon this panel, than we did upon Mr. Muir.
Lord Justice Clerk. You heard that from My lords, it is an aggravation of his
counsel of London too I suppose. that with the example of Muir and Palmer
Mr. Skirving. No, I told your lordships before him, if he had before that thought his that was a voluntary thing, I consulted no conduct was innocent, and did not deserve a bigh punishment, he was told by the judges these two days will be rejudged;—that is my
My lords I know that what has been done of this supreme court in that case, the nature comfort, and all my hope. of the offence; and any prudent man would have taken care to have regulated his conduct accordingly, and given over those rebel In page 456, line 47, after the word, resolulious practices; but in place of that, he tions, should have been added the following: continues their secretary, and attends the Bri
--but being ordered to stand the last article tish convention. And, my lords, I do con on the record of the proceedings of the conceive, that if any more trials of this kind should vention, we cannot insert it till the terminar happen in time coming, it is still a farther ag- tion of this present session.
597. Proceedings on the Trial of MAURICE MARGAROT, on an
Indictment charging him with Seditious Practices. Tried before the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh, on the 13th and 14th of January: 34 GEORGE III. A. D. 1794.*
Clerk.- I do not know where he is. is the lord justice general of Scotland, I do
Mr. not see him in his place.
not competent to try me. My lords, I am * Taken in short hand, by Mr. Ramsey. “ The trunk was, however, taken. The
+ See the preceding and following cases. delegates were kept confined from that hour In the Gazetteer, No. 80, I find the following until five in the afternoon of the same day, article relative to this case:
without the least refreshment, and in a room “The London Corresponding Society.
where there was not even a single chair to
sit upon. Between five and six o'clock they “The London Corresponding Society, unit- were sent for to partake of a dinner prepared ed for the purpose of obtaining a thorough by an order of the sheriff; and at seven parliamentary reform, and thereby a restora- o'clock, M. Margarot being ordered into a tion of the British constitution to that degree private room, he inquired of the sheriff in of purity in which it was settled at the Re- what manner he meant to proceed ; and bevolution, having delegated two of their ing answered, by interrogatory, he told the members to represent them in the General sheriff, that he would not submit to such an Convention then sitting in Edinburgh for the unconstitutional practice; that if he had of. same constitutional purpose, the two said de- fended against the laws, he would answer to legates, M. Margarot and 'J. Gerrald, after his country, but it should be openly. having attended their duty in the said Con. “ The following questions were then put to vention, from the 19th November, until the him : 4th day of the present month of December, “ Are you a member of the British Con. both days included; and during which period vention -I do not acknowledge the legality the General Convention had thought it expe- of a private interrogatory.. dient to assume the title of the British Con- “ From what place or district are you a devention of Delegates of the People associated legate to the said Convention ! -As above. to obtain universal suffrage and annual par- “ Have you made or seconded any motions liaments, were, on Thursday the 5th of De in the said Convention, and what was the nacember, at seven o'clock in the morning, ture of those motions ?-As above. taken out of their beds in the Bull Inn on “[A piece of paper with some writing upon Leith Walk, by four men, armed with blud- it
, being shown him, he was asked] geons, headed by a sheriff's officer, who ac- “ Did you make said motion in the Conquainted them, that he had a warrant (which vention last night, or upon any other day?he refused to show them, although desired to As above. produce it) from the sheriff, for apprehending “ The procurator fiscal then desired that their persons, and seizing all their papers. the following question might be put to the
“ The Delegates submitted their persons, prisoner :but protested against the illegality of seizing “ Did you come to Scotland upon any pretheir papers. This protest being, however, vious invitation of any person or persons in of no avail against men armed with bludgeons this country?-Before I reply to this question and with warrants, all the papers found in I must inquire of the procurator fiscal, whetheir room, whether belonging to them or ther it be criminal in Scotland for any person others, whether left there accidentally, or de resident here to send an invitation to any signedly brought in, were, for conveniency, person residing in another country; or whethrown promiscuously into a small trunk be ther it be criminal in any such person residlonging to M. Margarot, together also with ing elsewhere, to accept an invitation from two pocket books of bis, containing bills to a Scotland, and repair hither? considerable amount, memorandums, and “ To this question the procurator fiscal private papers, his property. This done, J. with visible embarrassment, replied, Sir, you Gerrald and M. Margarot again renewed their were brought here not to ask questions, but protest against such usage ; and the latter to answer them. Then, Sir, (replied the locking the trunk, and putting the key in prisoner), I do not acknowledge the legality his pocket, forbade the officer to remove it, as of a private interrogatory.' otherways he should have to answer for so “ Here the examination ended. gross a violation of the constitutional rights “ But the procurator fiscal wanting to proof a British subject.
ceed to examiñe the papers contained in
cited before the lord justice general of Scot-, law, is a total objection to an indictmert. My land, the lord justice clerk, and lords commis lords, it may be said there is precedent for it, sioners of justiciary. Now we know this is but it is a fundamental principle, that no man the highest court in Scotland; we know there is to hold out his own laches. Why is he not is no higher office in Scotland than that of here to do his duty ?--If this innovation is lord justice general, and we know, that if it suffered, perhaps the attendance of the lord was an unnecessary post, it would not have justice clerk* will be dispensed with, and the 2,000l. a year salary, annexed to it,* and we attendance of the other judges; and at last, know that the indictment would have run be- perhaps, the clerk of the court, or even the fore our lord justice general, or lord justice macers, will form the high court of justiciary, clerk, because we know that the public pro- so that by one deviation and another, even the secutor will in this case and in every other, forms of justice will be done away. And, my trumpet up much the constitution, and as the lords, we cannot say that there has not been constitution of Great Britain is founded upon a precedent, where the lord justice general laws, and those laws can only be delivered in has appeared in his place, though perhaps Words, so the least variation of words in a that was not to the honour of Scotland, where
the duke of Argyle sat as lord justice general, the trunk, M. Margarot was desired to give for the purpose of trying a man, one James up the key. He refused complying with Stewart,t for the murder of a man of the name this request; and having asked whether the of Campbell, and the whole jury were Campsheriff acted under the sanction of a general bells except two, and that was the only inwarrant. Being answered in the negative ; stance where the Scotch have enjoyed the and well knowing that the laws, even in that privilege of having the lord justice general case, were still in his favour, and that the sit in their court. I deny even the compepapers of a Briton are by these very laws held tency of this court to argue upon, or maintain as sacred as his life, he told the sheriff, that their own competency, because it is the serforce alone could wrest the key from him. vant pretending to dictate to the master. As
“ The prisoner was then admitted to bail in well may it be said, we do not want a king, 2,000 merks.
as for the lord justice clerk to say, we do not “ The following is nearly the substance of want a lord justice general. J. Gerrald's examination before sheriff Harry I have met the laws, and I beg this may Davidson. He applied for a copy of it, but be taken under your serious consideration, was refused.
for what I say this day will not be confined “ Are you a member of the British Con- within these walls, it shall spread far and vention ?-You ought to have known that wide, and will undergo a revision in both before you sent for me here; that question Houses of Parliament in England. You altherefore I conceive to be unnecessary. ready know that there is an impeachment
“ From what district do you come, and hanging over your heads you know it is what description of persons sent you here?- shortly
promised to be brought forward. And, Decline answering. The persons who sent my lords, I object upon another ground, in me here, however, and the district in which I the criminality of which you are all implicatwas chosen, will be found mentioned in the ed, for there is this difference between the London Courier published towards the end of lieges and the judges, that a man is always October.
presumed innocent till he is found guilty; “ How long have you been in Edinburgh? | but the monient there is the slightest impuI cannot precisely recollect; but imagine tation upon a judge, he is presumed to be it may be about a month or six weeks. I criminal till his innocence is clearly proved. came soon enough, at all events, to do the A judge ought to be like Cæsar's wife, not business on which I was sent.
only spotless, but even unsuspected; that is “ What was that business ?-To procure, not the case with you, my lords. We have by peaceable means, annual parliaments and the promise of many men in England of great universal suffrage.
respectability who will bring it forward, and « J. Gerrald declined answering any further you may, though you are now sitting upon questions.
that bench, be brought to atone upon your “ Bailed in the same sum."
knees, perhaps with your lives, for any infrac* It has been recommended by the selecttion of the laws you may be guilty of. My committee on finance recently appointed by lords, we well know that Cambyses ordered the House of Commons, that after the termi- an unjust judge to be flay'd, and the skin of pation of the existing interest in the office of that judge covered the seat of his successor. lord justice general of Scotland, the president We also know, that in the reign of Alfred, of the court of session for the time being, (and I hold my authority in my hand, and should assume the title, rank, and privileges the history of England will furnish it to every of lord justice general, and that the salary now annexed to this office should be discon * As to the office of lord justice clerk, see tinued. See the First Report from the Select Vol. 10, p. 989, note. Committee on Finance, ordered by the House ^ See his case Vol, 19, p. 1, of this Collecof Commons to be printed, March 27th 1817. tion.
one) that in one year, forty-four judges were of it? It is from the necessity of things that hanged * -and you will know the fate of Jef we must judge of it--no other person can ferys, who, though the slow hand of the law judge of it, and therefore I hold that objeccould not overtake him, was torn in pieces by tion to be null and void. With respect to the the people.t. I do not mean to say that you attendance of the lord justice general-by are guilty—that remains for a higher decision act of parliament it is declared, that any three than mine, at that tribunal where you must of this court shall be a quorum to try any crisoon appear, to answer for those actions minal, consequently, though my lord justice which you have committed ; but you will re- general is absent, and even if your lordships member, that there will be at that day a mix- and I were absent, any other members of the ture of guilt and innocence-may the inno- court, provided there are three, is a legal quocence appear predominant;-I do not wish to rum sufficient for the trial, therefore I am of be one of your accusers on that day.
opinion that the objection should be repelled. My lords, the objection that I have stated Lord Justice Clerk.-Does any of your lordit is impossible to get over, for that man is ships think otherwise ?-I dare say not. Reremarkably accurate,-I mean the public pel the objection. prosecutor,--and if it was not necessary, he
[The objection repelled.] would not have inserted it. I
expect no Lord Justice Clerk. You will attend to the mercy from him, neither shall I expect any criminal libel that is to be read against you. thing like mercy from the Court in the situa Mr. Margarot.- Before that is read, my tion in which I stand, if what I have heard lords, I claim another privilege, which is, that be true,
of having my witnesses called over, and if My lords, there is another objection also- there are any who do not attend, I insist-I I need lord justice clerk and lord Hender-demand-I do not ask it as a favour-I deland's testimonies, as exculpatory evidences : mand it-you are on the seat of justice, and I wanted to bring them upon their oaths to take heed how you administer that justicethe bar, but though it is the privilege of an I demand it as my right, that a caption be Englishman-of a Briton I mean, for I wish granted against the absentees. the name of Englishman to be annihilated Lord Eskgrove. With respect to what Mr. in that of Briton-it is a privilege granted to Margarot has said of his witnesses, I dare say us by that constitution which is so loudly your lordships would not hesitate at sending a trumpeted up upon every occasion, that messenger to serve even your lordships, or panel at the bar, shall have the same com any man in the kingdom with a citation. I pulsory method of bringing his witnesses that hope it is not true, that the officer refused to his prosecutor has, that has been denied me. cite your lordships; it was his duty, and he The man whose business it is to cite witnesses ought to have done it. said, he would attend in court, and give bis Lord Justice Clerk.-Mr. Margarot, stand reasons why he did not dare to serve those up and hear the criminal libel read against judges with a citation. It is true, I mention- you. ed only the lord justice clerk to him, and I The Indictment read as follows: charged him to tell the lord justice clerk that I wanted his evidence, and I apprehend, George, &c. Forasmuch as it is humbly that you are not competent to determine meant and complained to us, by our right upon this objection. have obeyed the laws. trusty Robert Dundas, esq. of Arniston, our This is not the high court of justiciary, inas- advocate, for our interest upon Maurice Marmuch as it lacks the centre stone-inasmuch garot, merchant in Marybone, London, No. as it lacks the principal officer of the court, io, High-street, residing or lately residing, and the man who here should represent the at the Black Bull Inn, head of Leith Walk, king; and consequently the wording of the barish of St. Cuthbert's and county of Edinindictment is loose, and renders it null and burgh: that whereas, by the laws of this, and void. I have done my duty, and I demand of every well governed realm, sedition is a to be discharged froin your bar simpliciter. crime of an heinous nature, and severely pu
Lord Justice Clerk.-What do your lord. nishable; yet true it is, and of verity, that the ships say to this objection?
said Maurice Margarot has presumed to comLord Henderland.-My lords, the objection mit, and is guilty actor, or art and part of said as I understand it, is, that the lord justice crime: in so far as, the said Maurice Mar. general does not attend this court, and it is garot having been named a delegate by an even said, that we are not competent to judge association of seditious people, calling themof the force and validity of that objection. selves the Corresponding Society of London, Why, my lord, with respect to that, if we are did repair to Edinburgh with the wicked and not competent to judge of it, who is to judge felonious purpose of joining and co-operating
with an illegal association of evil disposed * See Vol. 8, p. 196, of this Collection. and seditious persons, who originally designed † Not quite so. Jefferys died in the Tower themselves, The General Convention of the of London: see the anecdote concerning him Friends of the People; but who have of late asat the end of Tutchin's case, Vol. 14, p. 1199, sumed the designation of, “the British conof this Collection.
“vention of the delegates of the people, as