Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

alleged Libel, but pronounces that I did | ing :-but then the Record must agree it with a Criminal Intention !- The Speech with both most minutely and circumstantially. of my Learned Adversary necessarily It does not do so!-li does neither. It pei agrees with the words and meaning of the ther agrees with my Paper, nor my affiRecord, —both ascribing to me a wilful davit-but is contradictory to both. criminality, a direct mischievous and Should it be pretended that the forms of wicked intent, to the end and for the pur. Court go so far as to allow that proof of poses set forth in the Information.-With- the Publication in London only shall be out attempting to follow my Learned Ads held sufficient, I will ask, why attempt to versary through the mazý path of legal name the specific place of Publication ?disquisition, it is simply to the plain and why should the King's Attorney invalidate positive declaration contained in that Re. his official instrument ?-why impeach the cord alone, that I propose to make my Re- Record by the introduction of a positive ply, and to rest the proof of my Innocence falsehood, if he had not known that the upon the broad basis of Truth.-Gen proof of the identity of the Place of Public tlemen,-In à cause like the present, I cation had been necessary to have susapprehend your own judgment will tell tained his information-when the simple you, and I should hope ihe Court will con: line of truth was plain before him? -But firm it, that if I show in any one in. I ask, if I had been as well prepared to stance that I am charged wrongfully,--that have disproved the Publication being the Instrument by which I am arraigned made in London, as I am prepared to disis fictitious and defective,--that it is defi- prove its being issued, where the Record cient in regularity as well as in substance. states it to have been issued, -would not

- say, Gentlemen, I apprehend it will his Lordship have held it fatal to the inbe only necessary to make this appear to formation ?-and I maintain the error is as procure me a ready acquittal.

palpable in the eve of reason and justice, I am aware, that there are certain cases as though ibe Publication had been issued wherein the law can dispense with forms, at York. as well as render them indispensible in In other criminal cases, the Law reothers. I kuow not, therefore, whether quires a strict adherence to fact in matters the error I shall detect will come under of evidence; and shall I not be entitled to the first or last denomination, but this I equal privilege with the assassin or the know, that the error will be none the less highwayman? for being disregarded; and that in cri This error is not imputed to me, and I minal cases, where the life or liberty of a leave it to your candour and justice to defellow creature is at stake, I hare under- cide, whether the consequence should not stood it to be the maxim of the Constitu- rest with those who committed it. tional Law of England to let the scale of I have shewn the Record to be false, mercy preponderate, and grant the benefit which states “ The Independent Whigh of informality to the side which most re. Sunday Newspaper, to be published in the quires it.

Parish of St. Mary-le-Bow, in the Ward of In the first place, then, allow me to Cheap ;--that Paper being published in direct your attention while I declare, that the Parish of Christchurch, in the Ward of the Place of Publication as set forth in the Farringdon Within. Is it possible, then, Record is erroneous. I know of no Pabli- that the Court shall proceed to try a cause, cation vended in the Parish of St. Mary- and a crimiħal cause 100, by a false instrule-Bow, in the Ward of Cheap ;-I have ment? Or should his Lordship decree never stated myself to have had any Pub that I must answer to a false arraignment, lication in such place. Let the Court refer I trust the Jury will never consent to to my aflidavit, nay, to the Publication ground their verdict upon the faith of an itself, or 10 any person who may be said instrument so palpably erroneous. to have purchased the same at the Office Should that, however, be the decision of of Publication, and their evidence must the Court, though I do not despair of a refute the substance of the Record. different sentiment being entertained by

The Law, I know, is held to be, that per. the Jury, I shall nevertheless proceed to sonal evidence is unnecessary in a case

observe, that this False Record stales also, like the present; the Court receiving and that I published the alleged Libel with acknowledging my affidavit, together with the most criminal intention :--and to the production of my Publication, as suffi- prove this, my Learned Prosecutor has atcient evidence of my printing and publish-tempted to shew,- or that I either wrote,

read, or even saw, the offensive article be- Court would permit, I would here call fore insertion,—not that I was privy to, or witnesses to prove that the article in quesparticipating in, the very act of its publi- tion was the production of another person, cation, — for this, Gentlemen, it was impos- and inserted without either my knowledge or sible that he could shew;- but only that consent;- but, Gentlemen, though the forms the Law considers me responsible for all of law debar me from the privilege of thus and every thing to which my name is af- unequivocally substantiating this fact, you fixed, whether with or without my con- will nevertheless credit the assertion; as sent, provided I enter my name in the you must necessarily conceive, situated as proper Books at the Stamp.Office for that I was at the time, a prisoner in a distant purpose. Thus you observe, Gentlemen, gaol, (the gaol of Dorchester,) that, ihat the Law is to be imperative upon me, morally speaking, I could not have had to keep me to the strict letter and mean the most distant idea of such an Article ing of my Affidavit, as entered in the Go being about to appear in my Paper; and vernment Books, while it assumes to itself that consequently it was a moral impossithe license to vary or mis-state facts at bility that I could either participate in the pleasure, and still justice must submit to its intention of the writer, or prevent its caprice. If such be the usage of the Law, publication.-) say, Gentlemen, I could I cannot say much in praise of its equity. produce evidence of this fact, if the But to proceed :-Gentlemen, I humbly Rules of Court would permit ;-but, conceive that you sit here this day, to de- though not suffered to do ibis, I can at cide not more upon the merits and ten least declare, which here I most solemnly dency of the Publication before you, than do, that the Article in question was written upon the positive assurance you may be so close upon the hour of publication, as brought to entertain of my intentional to preclude the possibility of any copy of guilt or innocence in the fact of its publi- it being sent to me before it was published cation.—His Lordship may tell you, that to the world :--but that when it did reach the matter in que-tion is a most beinous me, I have evidence also to prove that I Libel,-he may possibly convince you to disclaimed any knowledge of it-let this that effect,-but he must fail to convince circumstance, then, witness for me that I you that I entertained the Criminal Inten- had no Criminal Intention in its publication set forth in the Record.' Gentlemen lion.-- And now, Gentlemen, let me en-Reason, as well as Law, must agree, that treat you to reflect upon the unprecedented it is the Intention alone which constitutes perilous situation into which I have been the criminality of the deed. “I may driven, and from the effects of which I shoot mine arrow o'er the house and slay am thus brought to stand before you this my brother,”—but the Law would not day.-It is just and natural to trace effects condemn me, nor yet my conscience. to their causes, and the present will be With respect to this matter, I am as one found to have its source in the operation who is told he has done some act in his of that Power which now arraigns me.-I sleep, of which he is altogether uncon beseech

your earnest attention to this point. scious. But, Gentlemen, it is not (happily Gentlemen, I was borne away from the for me) it is not the Attorney-General's scene of my arocations,—deprived of the rouching it to have been done with a Cri- | personal superintendance of my concerns, mival Intention, which will weigh any still to be accounted amenable for every thing in your minds, provided your con- incidental error, and with this only altersciences do not concur in his opinion - native,-10 embruce immediate ruin, by re. Gentlemen, You sit here, deputed by the linquishing my meuns of support.-Driven, Constitution of your Country, to decide therefore, as I have been, into this present between innocence and accusation,-to peril by the rigorous operation of the elicit truth, -and such must constitute Law,-feeling, as I am made to do, the

The Law is understood to pressure of an awful responsibilily, with be grounded upon Truth ; and, whatever the combination of other evils which have colouring art or enmity may give to a resulted from it, -I cannot but feel, like. case, whatever inference or interpretation wise, the just and moral right I possess to may arise from professional learning or in- your indulgence and protection.—Gentlegenuity, -still, after all, His Lordship, I men, I take my God to witness, that I should hope, will tell you, that it is your neither saw nor beard of the Article in consciences which must decide,—that Truth question before its insertion ; I never must be the umpire. If the Rules of this counselled nor sanctioned its appearance ;

your Verdict.

and you must necessarily perceive, if you | attach to me, for the publication by my credit the assertion I have made, or the Agent, during my compelled absence, of evidence I desire to adduce, that it was an an Article, which I had no human means utter impossibility, from the nature of my of preventing the appearance of. Το situation, and the time and manner of its prove this fact incontestibly, and to anappearance, -an utter impossibility for swer all the proper and equitable ends of me to have done so.-And if I have shewn public justice, the writer of this alleged this, let me ask, where is the individual libel has, through the medium of his that can conscientiously pronounce me

Counsel, offered to surrender himself, if morally guilty of a malicious and wicked in the Attorney General would have contention in this matter i-What alone was sented to prosecute him instead of me, the morally possible for me to do in such a innocent victim. Is it not, then, inconcase, I have already offered. The Writer sistent with the principle of justice, of fair, and bona-fide Publisher has declared him- strict and impartial justice, to persist in self ready and willing to answer for its confounding ihe innocent with the guilty? production. This offer on our part has I do not say that the Attorney General been rejected; not rejected as to any refuses to accept the disclosure of the real backwardness in prosecuting the real Au offender, but he requires that I should thor, but only as to the condition of free-confess to what the Record implies, that ing me from implication.

is, the Criminal Intention of doing what Gentlemen, let me not be understood to was done by another;-that I should so infer that this conduct in my Learned far forget what was due to the dignity of Prosecutor is ascribable to any other mo. truth and my own honour, as to tamely tive than what he takes to be the line of acknowledge myself guilty of an act, in his public duty :- I cannot question but which I had not the smallest participation, that the practice and usage of the law con and withdraw my plea of innocence, by stitute his rule of action yet, gentlemen, suffering judgment to go by default. I may reasonably presume, that the just Gentlemen, for a resistance to such a principle of that duty, the true essence of mean and dastardly expedient to court our law, is to invoke correction upon, the forbearance of the Law, I trust I shall such, and such only, who can be proved experience rather your commendation to have deserved it: and therefore it is than your censure, and that my cause upon this ground I contend, that duty will thereby lose no interest in your conshould assimilate with reason and equity sideration. and not confound the technicalities of No, Gentlemen, that I am free,-unde. Law with the purposes of Justice. niably free from the Criminal Intention

To arrive at the true source of mischief imputed to me, I shall ever resolutely inthe Law wisely admits a power to arraign sist ;-and neither favour nor persecution the suspicious ;-but, when that true shall instigate me to a false confession ! source is tendered, when the real offender That I am morally innocent, even my is neither attempted to be disguised nor Prosecutor, (from the knowledge of the withheld, where is the justice which would situation into which his power had thrown involve the guiltless? Here is an implied me, joined to the representations which offence committed, and to get at the of- have been made to him on the subject), fender, (which surely must constitute the even he must conscientiously admit :full intent of justice,) the Law seeks its His Lordship himself, from the evidence remedy against such as lie within its cog- which I have desired to adduce, I feel asa nizance; -but, if I have been placed, by sured, must necessarily have perceived the sentence of this Court, for the long the same:_and you, Gentlemen, I trust, interval of three years, an almost solitary will fully shew you join in the sentiment prisoner in a gaol one hundred and twenty by your unprejudiced Verdict this day. miles distant from the place of the publi- It may be urged, that I brave or insult cation of my Paper, and thereby com- the Law by proposing to compound with pelled to submit the superintendance of its authority ;-hat it does not become that Paper to an Agent, or cease to pub. me to attempt to commute the peril I have Jish it, and thus have renounced the incurred ;-but, Gentlemen, let it be re means of subsistence for myself and fa- collected How I have incurred this awful mily, I appeal to your consciences as responsibility which is to burthen me with just, as feeling, as honourable men, if the the faults of another! Let it be rememcharge of criminal intention can possibly bered, that it arose wholly from compul

[ocr errors]

sion! It was the Law, as you well know, sion?-Or would yourselves, Gentlemen, Gentlemen, which took me from my place as a Jury summoned to decide upon a of business,-ny sphere of life;--and ba- case where any such fraudulent absence nished me to a distant Jail! It cannot be was apparent, not be sufficiently guarded supposed, that, by such a sentence it was against evasion, and decide accordingly – meant to be inferred, that I should be de. Besides, Gentlemen, let me ask,-are cases barred the means of my existence;-it such as mine at all common :- Has there aimed not at depriving me of the lawful ever been any thing similar before the sources of support,—to take from me my Court? And I may add, is it ever likely prop of life, and the power or means of to occur again, except probably in my maintaining my family ;-it was not in- own person, seeing the evil resulting from tended to act as a prohibition to the far. it'?-Among the many of my profession, ther pursuit of my profession :- yet how who have lately engaged the attention of continue that profession, with all its local the Law, has any one been placed in a necessities, without incurring this fearful like condition? Have they been forced a liability to accusation which now enthrals hundred miles from their place of business, me? - Therefore, Gentlemen, you must and from the spot where the offences were readily perceive, that it is from the opera- committed, (however superior in crimition of that very sentence that I am nality those offences were acknowledged placed in peril here this day :-) aver, to have been,)—and this at the hazard of that, from the operation of that sentence, their total ruin, or the awful risk of future and that alone, am I brought to answer liability from the conduct of agents ? this present charge :-because, had it been You perceive, therefore, Gentlemen, that possible for me to have prevented it,- precedent is not likely to be injurious, as (without doing what the Law could not my case appears destined to remain soinsist upon, namely, the abandoninent of litary, and may be dealt with without apmy necessary arocations),-1 say, had it prehension of consequences. I do not'say been possible for me to have prevented it, that men have not been banished to distant I should certainly have done so, and not Gaols, but has it been attended with like have incurred the present danger. Surely, circumstances ? - Have they been reGentlemen, nothing can be more unjust in duced to the necessity of employing litenature, that that one man should be made rary agents, or of relinquishing at once to suffer for the acts of another ;-for an their means of life ?-A man, it is true, offence which he neither prompted nor may exercise his ideas, though one hunsanctioned, which he could neither fore-dred miles from home, but not be able to see nor prevent !-Ruin undeserved, the correct the ideas of others: I was not Laws of a Just Government should never obliged to write, but, what is infinitely permit, much less promote. The Subject, worse, I was rendered liable to answer for who is criminally arraigned for an im- the writing of other persons ;-I was deputed offence, avowedly committed by barred acting for myself, where I could another person, surely, Gentlemen, should only act with effect, yet held liabie to acnot be doomed to languish under the in-count for the actions of others:--and the famy of a false accusation, and to perish alternative was the loss of my means of reproachfully by an unjust sentence.- support !-With this argument the law My Learned Adversary may endeavour may avow it has nothing to do ;--but I to set aside this my rational plea, upon maintain, that, in the instance before you, the ground of its inadmissibility with the this argument grows out of the operation custom and practice of the Court, as well of the Law ;-for, that it is to the operaas from the danger of precedent:- that the tion of that law that the present mischief plea of absence from the spot of Publica- is owing ;--when I say this, Gentlemen, tion is no defence in cases of this nature; I do not mean to vilify either the Law or and, if once admitted, would set wide the Court ;-but merely to impress the the gates of fraud and evasion, to the plain truth upon your minds, that, by mockery of justice and the injury of reason of the sentence which was passed society :-But, Gentlemen, will reason, upon me, (that is, the operation of the justice, or common humanity, admit of no Law,) I was precluded the power of su. difference between a voluntary or fraudu- perintending my business. lent absence, and one caused by compul

(To be continued.) Published by R. BAGSHAW, Brydges-Street, Covent - Garden :-Sold also by J. BUDD, Pail-Mall.

LONDON:-Printed by T: C. Hansard, Peterborough-Court, Fleet Street,

VOL. XX. No. 20.] LONDON, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 1811.

[Price Is.

609)

[610 TRIAL OF MR. WHITE,

Lieutenant Colonels inclusive ; it asked, why

these marks of honour were not distributed Proprietor of the Independent Whig.

also amongst the so!diers ; and it then This Trial, the proceedings of which, proceeded to make a comparison between as reported in the news-papers, have been the conduct of our government and the inserted in the present and the foregoing conduct of the Emperor of France as to Numbers of "he Register, call for some the distribution of marks of honour, and remarks from me, and, indeed, from every gave the preference to that of N:poleon, man, who has any portion of the English insisting that his was better caleuiated to press in his hands, and who wishes to see inspire the soldiers with zeal for the service that press retain any portion of the liberty in which they were engaged. Besides that it formerly enjoyed.

this, the article spoke of the present miThe publication, for which Mr. White wistry as weak and corrupt, and used, in was prosecuted, through the means of an this respect, those common-place expresInformation Ex Officin, related to an order sions, which each of the political parties for the bestowing of Medals upon Officers, are in the constant practice of using.lowho had been present at the battles, called wards their opponents. Bui, it said novictories, in Spain and Portugal. The thing more than those parties are in the Order appeared in the London Gazette, daily habit of repeating; and, surely, if sometime in the summer of 1810. Mr. the you'hful author was deceived, he White was in Dorchester Gaol at the time might well be excused if he took the when the publication took place. His parties at their words. As to this part of Son wrote the article, and it appears, that the article, however, it might as well have proof was produced, that the father never been omitted; it was filling up space to saw it, till after it was published. When no useful purpose; there was no man that the prosecution was commenced, Mr. White read the article who had not, long and was still in Gaol; the three years, which, long before, come to a settled opinion as før two former publications, he had been to the real character of the ministry, one sentenced to be imprisoned, were, as yet, way or the other. unexpired, when this new Information Ex As to the first part of the article, the Officio was instituted against him. The Attorney General alledged in his speech Son, conscious that the guilt, if any, lay against the unfortunate and woe-worn dewholly with him, offered himself io the fendant, that the tendency was to alienale Attorney General as the responsible per- the hearts of the soldiers from the service ; son, ready to abide the consequences. first, by telling them that they were deThis offer was refused, it is stated by Mr. prived of their due share of the honors White, unless the latter, by withdrawing they had won; and, next, more especihis plea of “ not guilty,would lay him ally by pointing out to them, that the self at the mercy of the Attorney General. French suldiers were, in this respect, used This Mr. White, conscious of his inno- better than they were. The reader will cence, refused to do; and, accordingly, perceive, that this argument makes no disthe prosecution was carried on against him. liinction between truih and fulshood ; for,

I shall first take a view of the nature of it is the tendency only that is braught the publication, having read it at the time, into view; so that, according to the Atand having also read it since, with great torney General, whether the statement attention. It was, for the most part, a were true or false, it would be equally crivery spirited and very sensible article, minal, if the tendency was to alienate the though written without that caution, which hearts of the soldiers fron the service; the present humbled state of the press and and, if this doctrine be admitted, every the fashionable clamour against bold ex thing is criminal that has such a tendency. pression rendered prudent. It complained Suppose, for instance, a farmer were io that the Medals in question were to be see a recruiting party going down a lane, given to every one of a rank aliove and were to see the serjeans, Corporal,

X

« ZurückWeiter »