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AN Index to HovveU's Edition of the State Trials has long been a desideratum : amongst all classes of readers, and particularly amongst members of the legal profession, it has been a constant subject of regret that so valuable a repository of historical and constitutional information should be almost inaccessible, as a book of reference, for want of a con- venient Index. The publishers, having determined to close the Work with the Thirty-Third volume, have much satisfaction in being able to annoimce to the Public, that a digested Index to the whole collection is now nearly ready for the Press, and will be published early in the Year 1827, and form the Thirty-Fourth volume of the entire Work.

In making this Compilation, the object has been to furnish the general, as well as the professional Reader, with an easy instrument of reference to every thing contained in the collection ; and it has been considered that the simplest method of arrangement will be best calculated to effect this object The Index, therefore, merely consists of two Tables, alpha- betically arranged ; the first being a Table of Names, with a short abstract under each name of the Contents of the Work, so far as they relate to the individual to whom the name belongs, and a reference to the passages in which he is mentioned : the second being a Table of principal matters, containing references to all the leading subjects, and all the incidental circumstances, throughout the whole collection. The heads of reference, in both Tables, have been made as numerous and particular as possible, with a view to afford a large number of such points as may most probably occur to the memory of the Reader, and by which he may be guided directly to the object of his search.



State Trials








T. B. HOWELL, Esq. F.R.S. F.S.A.






VOL. xxxm.






Lmm OF THE AUG 21 1900

T. C. HiMirif, FriBlcr, PatenuMSer-row Preih


B Y the present volume^ this Series of State Trials (termi- nating with the Reign of his late Majesty) is brought to a close ; nor is there, at the present moment, any intention to continue the publication of Modem State Trials to a more recent period. Availing themselves, , therefore, of the opportunity which thus presents itself, the Publishers have completed their arrangements for the early appearance of a. Gei^ekal Digested Index, embracing the contents as well of the First as of the Second Series.

In selecting from the very numerous cases which fall under the denomination of State Trials, those which form the Second Series, care has been taken to reject none the omission of which would be inconsistent with the genial object of the work. Of those which have been omitted, some did not appear to be of su^ffident importance to counterbalance the inconvenience of the great eMension of the work which their insertion would have occasioned; and others, in so far as relates to material points, are f idly reported elsewhere.





Page ()98. Proceedings in the High court of justiciary at Edinburgh


for Sedition^ a. d. 1817 •••• 1

699. Proceedings in the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh^ on two

successive Indictments^ raised by his Majesty's Advocate^ against WILLIAM EDGAR^ for administering unlawful Oaths^ a. d. 1817 145

700. Proceedings in the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh^ on two

successive Indictments, raised by his Majesty's Advocate, against ANDREW M'KINLEY, for administering unlawful Oaths, a. d. 1817 275

Proceedings against JAMES M'EWAN and others at Glasgow ... 629

701. Proceedings in the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh, against

NEIL DOUGLAS, Universalist Preacher, for Sedition, a. d. 1817 633


702. The whole Proceedings on the Trial of ARTHUR THISTLE- WOOD, for High Treason, a. d. 1820 681


703. The whole Proceedings on the Trial of JAMES INGS, for High

Treason, a. d. 1820 ••• «• «.... 957

704. The whole Proceedings on the Trial of JOHN THOMAS BRUNT,

for High Treason, a. d. 1820 1177

705. The whole Proceedings on the Trial of WILLIAM DAVIDSON

and RICHARD TIDD, for High Treason, a.d. 1820 1337

ADDENDA to ihe Case of VALENTINE JONES, Esq., yd. x. of

this Continuation, p. 336 •• 1567




698. Proceedings in the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh against Alexander M'Larek and Thomas Baird, for Sedition^ March 5th 7th: 67 George III. a. d. 1817.


March 5, 1817.


Hl Hon. Bamd BmfU^ Lord Justice Clf^rk.

Lord Bermani*



Lord Baton.

Countelfor the Croum*

. Rl Hon. Alejotider MataiuKMe^ Lord Adfo- - cate [afterwards a l<»d of Session and Justi- ciary, with the title of Lord Meadowhank.J Janes Wedderktmj Esq. Solicitor^eneral. H. H. Dmifwiondy Esq. J. A, Maeonoekiey Esq.

H, Wmraukry Esq. Agent.

Coiamlfor Alexander M*Lat€n. Jckn Clerk, Esq. J. P. Grant, Esq. James CamjieUy Esq .

Mr. JR. Morion^ Agent.

Counsel for Thomas Baird,

Thmas Jeffery, Esq". Benry Cockbum, Esq. X 5. Stewart^ Esq.

Mr. J. Campbell, W, S. Agent.

Xorrf Jftf^ior C2»r&. Alexander M'laren and Thomas Baird« attend to the indictment against you, which the clerk of Court will read.

" Alexander m«laren, now or lately

weafer in Kilmamack, in the county of Ayr, and Thomas Baird, merchant there, you are indicted and accused, at the instance of Alex- ander Maoonodiie of \Meadowhank, his ma- jesty's' advocate, for his majesty's interest: thai albeit, by the laws of this and of every other well-governed realm, Sedition b a crime of a heinous nature, and seveitly punishable :

VOL. xxxm.

yet true it is and of verity, that you the said Alexander M'Laren and Thomas Baird are both and each, or one or other of you, guilty thereof, actors or actor, or art and part : in $o far as, you the said Alexander M*Laren did, at a public meeting, held at Dean-park, in the vicinitv of Kilmarnock aforesaid, on the 7th dajT of December 1816, or on one or other of the days of that month, or of November im- mediately preceding, or of January immedi- ately following, which meeting was attended by a great multitude of persons, chiefly of the lower orders, wickedly and feloniously deliver a speech, containing a number of seditious and in&mmatory remarks and assertions, calculated to degrade and bring into contempt the go- vernment and legislature, and to withdraw therefrom the confidence and affections of the people, and fill the realm with trouble and dis- sention ; in which speech there were the fol- lowing or similar wicked and seditious expres- sions : " Tliat our sufferings are insupportable, is demonstrated to the world ; and that they are neither temporary, nor occasioned by a transition * from war to peace,' is palpable to all, though all have not the courage to avow it. The fact is, we are nUed by men only so* ficitous for their own a^randizement ; and they care no farther for the great body of the people, than they are subservient to their ac- cursed purposes. If you are convinced of this, my countiymen, I would therefore put the question, are you degenerate enough to bear it ? ShaJl we, whose forefathers set limits to the all-grasping power of Rome; shall we, whose forefathers, at the never to be forgotten field of Bannockbum, told the mighty Edward, at the head of the most mighty array ever trod^ on Britain's soil, ' Hitherto shait thoa come, and no farther;' shall we, I say, whose forefathers defied the efforts of foreign tyranny to enslave our beloved country, meanly permit, B



Trial of Alexander McLaren


{ii Our day, wifkettt a murmiir, a base oligaithy to feed their filthy yermin on our vitals, aud rule us as they will ? No, my countrymen. Let us lay our petitions at the foot of the throne, where sits our August Prince, whose gtacious nature will incline his ear to listen to tiie cries of his people, which 1^ is bound to do by the laws of the country. But, should he be so infatuated as to turn a deaf ear to- their just petition, he has forfeited their allegi- ance. Yes, my^ fellow townsmen, in such a case, to helL with our allegiance." And you the said Alexander MLaren did, shortly there- after, deliver, or cause to be delivered, your said speech, in manuscript, to Hugh Crawford, printer in Kilmarnock, to be by him printed and published. And you the said Thomas Baird having been present at the said meeting, and having heard the said speech, and others of a similar tendency, delivered there, did, shortly thereafter, and in the course of the said months of December or January,, wickedly and feloniously print, or cause or procure to be printed, at the printing-office of the said Hugh Crawford, id Kilmarnock aforesaid, a seditious tract or statement, intituled, " Ac- count of the proceedings of the public meeting of the Burgesses and Inhabitants of the town ofKifinainock, held on the 7lh of December 1816, for the purpose of deliberating on the most proper method of remedying the present distresses of the country, with a ftiU report of the speeches on that occasion ;*' which printed tract or statement did contain a number of se- ditious and inflaipmatory remarks and asser- tions, calculated for the purposes above men- tioned ; and, in particular, a report of the said speech of you tne said Alexander M'Laren, with the passage aforesaid, in the same, or nearly the same terms ; as also the following wicked and seditious passages, viz. page ninth, . " And a House of Commons but the latter is corrupted ; it is decayed and worn out ; it is not really what it is called, it is not a House of Commons/' Page tenth " The House of Commons, in its original composition, con- sisted only of commoners, chosen annually by the universal suffrage of the people. No nobleman, no clergyman, no naval or military officer, in short, none who held places, or re- ceived pensions from government, had any right to sit in tliat House. ^This is what the House of Commons was, what it ought to be, .and what we wish it to be ; this is the wanted change in our form of government the Com- mons House of Parliament restored to its ori- ginal purity ; and this, beyond a doubt, would strike at the root of the greatest part of the evils we groan under at the present day."-*- Page eleventh, " la it any wonder, my friends, that this country is brought to its jpresent unpre. bedented state of misery, when the rights of the people have been thus wantonly violated 1'*-^ ^age twelfth, " But let us come nearer home*. J^ok at the year 1793, when the debt amounted to two hundred and eleven millions, and the annual taxation to about eighteen millions ;

when liberty began to rear her drooping head in the country^ when associations were framed from one end of the kingdom to another, com- posed of men eminent for their talents and virtue, to assert their rights ; when a neigh- bouring nation had just' thrown off a yoke which was become intolerable ^what did the wise mien of this coavtry do? Why, they declaved war, not only against the French nation, but also against the friends of liberty at home.*' Page twenty-ninth, " Our oppres- sors have taxed the very light of heaven ; and they seem surprised and indignant that we should not bear the insupportable burden, with which folly, corruption, and avarice, have loaded us, without reluetance and eomplatnl?-* Page thirty-second, ** Their reverend hire- lings would convince you that you are suffering under the visitation of the Almighty, and therefore ought to be submissive under the chastenii^ atroke.''"-'Page thirty-fifth, ^ We have these twenty-five years been condemned to inceMant and unparalleled slavery, by a usurped Oligarchy, who pretend to be our guardians and repvesentatives, while, in fsLCi, they are nothing but our inflexible and deter- mined enemies.**—^' They have robbed ns oF our money, deprived us of our friends, violated our rights, ana abused our privileges.** ** At present we have no representatives ; they are only nominal, not real ; active only in prose- cutmg their own designs, and at the same time telling us that they are agreeable to our wishes.^ ^And you the said Thomas Baird having ob- tained a number of copies of the said printed tract or statement, cootaiDing the said falser wicked, and sedKioufi nasaages, and othcia of a similar tMidency, ana being altogether of a seditious nature, did, in the coerso oi the said months of December and January, and of February immediately following, at your shop in KUmamoek aimsaid, wickedly and feloniously sell, publish, and circulate, or cause to be sold, published, or circulated, many of the said copies thereof, at the price of 'fourpence each, or other small sum, one of which was then and there purchased by Hugh Wilson, weaver in Kilmarnock. And you the said Alexander McLaren and ThoDM» Baird having been apprehended and taken before WilUaai Eaton, esq., sheriff-substitute of the county of Ayr, did, in his presence, at Kilinamock, on the 26th- day of Febraary 1817, both and each of you emit and subscribe a declaration : which declarations, being to be used in evidence against each of you respectively, and the manuscript of nineteen pages, and the half sh^et of paper, tilled on the back, ** No* 5,*^ both referred to in the said declaration of you the said Thomas Baird, being to be used in evidence against you the said Hiomes Baird, as also three copies of the printed tract, or- statement, above mentioned, beie^ to be used- in evidence agaipst both and. each of vou, will be lodged in due time in, the hands of the clerk of the high court of justiciary, before which you are to be trieif^


and Th&mas Bairdjbr S^khn,

A. D. 1817.


ttat ywx nay have sn opportunify of Mefn^ the tane. At letst, times and places foresaid respectively, the said seditious speedi was wickedly aod feloniously delivered, ooBttibibg the said or aroilar wicked and seditious ex- pressions : and the said seditious tract or state- meat, coDtaioing the said seditious and in* dammaioiy paasages, and others of a similar tendency, was wicJkedly and felonioosly printed^ sold, pablished, and circulated, or caused or procured so to be, as above mentioned : and you the said Alexander M'Laren and Thomas Baipd are both and each. Of one or other of you, guilty thereof, actors or actor, or art and pait. All which, or part thereof, beins found proven by the verdict of an assize, beu>re the lord justice general, the lord justice derk, and lords commissioners of justiciary, you the said Alexander M'Laren and Thomas Baird ought to be punished with the pains of law, to deter others from committing the like crimes in all time coming.

" H. Home Dbumkovd, A. D.*'




William Eaton, esquire, sheriff-eubstitQte

of Ayrshire.

Thomas Weir, sheriff-clerk-^epate of Ayr^


3. Alexander Murdochj writer in Ayr.

4. Amirew Fmnie, merchant in Kilmarnock.

5. WUiiam Merrkj wrigbt there.

6. Hugh Crmrfordf printer there.

7. Thomas Murray, journeyman to the said Hugh Crawford.

6. Jamer JohatsUme, muslin-agent there. 9. David Ramsay Andrews, writer there.

10. Hugh Wibon, weaver there.

11. Jamn Samson, weaver there.

12. David Bow, shopman to Thomas Baird, merchant in Kilmarnock.

U. HoMx Dbummovd, a. D.


CoaMty of Edinburgh.

Jtanes Watson, of Saughton. Charles Eraser, of Williamston. Alexander Falconer, baker in Dalkeith. William Crichion, glazier there. « WUUam Watson, farmer, Middle-Ksnleith. John Dodds, fanner, Saughton-mill. John Drysdale, farmer, Clermiston.

Couttiy of Haddington.

George Remtie, of Fantassie.

Daoid JPringle, of Blegbie.

David Skhrving, farmer at £ast-Garleton.

Peter Sheriff', fanner at Drem.

John Hukp, junior, grocer in Haddington*

County of LinUthgow,

¥atm&n Shmrpy younger of Houston.

Jafei Stewart, of Birniy.

James Gardner, junior, merchant in Bathgate.

JbAit Colder, farmer at Drumcross.

John Buttell, farmer at Mosside.

CUy vf TAMnargh,

WUliam MoriWi^ jeweller, South-brjd'ge-dtrcet^ Edinburgh.

Walter Lamb, upholsterer in Edinburgh.

Archibald M'Kinlay, haberdaiihcr in Edin- burgh.

John Baxter, confectioner there.

ShatTp Callender, clothier there.

William PiUtison, junior, haberdasher in Edia* burgh.

Andrew Mellis, haberdasher there.

John Pollock, insurance broker there.

James Hbtc(/ini, jeweller tliere.

John Drtanmona, manufacturer there.

Alexander Andehon, general-agent there.

James Spence, perfumer there.

Peter Brown, hnen-draper there.

William Kennedy, glover there.

James Gilchrist, clothier there.

Charles Howden, shoemaker there. , Edward XxUchrist, haberdasher there.

James Virtue, Button-manufacturer there.

James Richmond, insurance-broker there.

James Stoddart, wine-merchant there.

Andrew Wauchope, turner there.

Town ofLeith,

James Duncan, ship-owner in Leith. James Harper, corn-merchant there. Wm. Uumay, wine-merchant there, /osaet JSkitmer, cooper there. John Oowan, wood*4nerchant there. Charles Murray, wright there. John SomeruUle, tanner tliere.

Ad. Gillies.


David DduoLAS^

I/frd Justice Clerk. Alexander M*Lareti and Thomas Baird ; What do you say to the libel ? are you guilty or not guilty ?

Ptfne/i.— Not guilty.

The following Defences had been given in.

Depbvcbs for Alexander M'Laren, Weaver in Kilmarnock, to the Indictment at the in- stance of Alexander Maconochie of Mea- dowbank, his Majesty's Advocate, for his Majesty^s interest, for Sedition.

^'The panel has been employed horn his early youth in his trade as a weaver. He has always preserved the most sober and orderly habits, and^ if necessary he could bring forward complete proof of his uniform and steadjT loyalty. He never was engaged in any riot or disturbance whatever, and never was connect- ed, or accused of being connected with any of the societies, or combinations of men formed for unlawful purposes, or whose objects have been regarded with suspicion. He was a vo- lunteer in the Glasgow Highland regiment during the whole period of its establishment, and when the volunteer system was put an end to, he transferred^ his services to the local militia. During the greatest part of his service, he was a serjeant, a situation which he ob- tained by Ids good conduct.



Trial ofAktander M'Lareu



Of lale yeaiiytlu^mieliamoBgiiiaDyoUiierty . lamented the distresses of the ceuotiVy from which he himself had severely suiTerea in his' situadbn and prospects. He tiierefore approv- ed of the petitions, which were presented in such numhers to his royal highness the Prince Begenty and the two Houses of parliament, the object of which was to obtain relief.

** A meeting was held near Kilmarnock in the month of December last, at which a great multitude of people attended, for the pnrpose of considerinff of the expediency of petitioning his royal highness the Prince Ilegent and the Houses of Parliament, upon the present dis- tressed state of the country, and the subject of parliamentary reform. The panel was pre- sent at that meeting, and made a short speech, not in the terms alleged in the libel, but in other tetms, which appeared to him to be warranted by law in such a case. The meeting was afterwards addressed by other persons; certain resolutions were agreed to; petitions were drawn out, addressed to the Frince Regent, and to the two Houses of par- liament. These petitions having been signed by a great number of persons, were sent to Ix)ndon and presented. The petitions ad- dressed to the two Houses of Parliament were presented, read, and ordered to lie on the table of each house. In his speech, the panel did nothing more than lawfully recommend the said petitions^: and he denies that he is guilty of the crime of sedition.

^'The panel took no charge whatever of printing the pamphlet produced with the libel ; and he finds that his own speech is inaccurately reported.

** It is an evident misconception, that such a speech, spoken at a lawful meeting for lawful purposes, was calculated to degrade and bring' into contempt the' government and legisla- ture, and to withdraw therefrom the confidence and affections of the people, and fill the realm with trouble and dissentions. If there are grievances or abuses, or such men as bad rulers, or bad ministers, those who complain against them, or petition against them, do only exer- cise their legal rights. The panel, while he was disposed to petition for redress of griev- ances, was filled with the same reverence for the legislature and all its different branches, and for the government of the country as established by law, that is impressed on the mind of every good subject.

'* Under protestation to add and eik.

" John Clekk. ** J. P. Grakt. " James Campbell."

LIST of exculpatory WITNESSES.

Hugh WiUon, weaver, Kilmarnock. Jumet Samson, ditto, ditto. '

James Johnstofie, muslin -agent there. John Kennedif, schoolmaster there. John £/!ac^iMW(^ Vool-spinner there.

Dbfs«cs8 for Thomas Baiid, to'the IndicUnent at the instance of his Majesty's Advocate for the Crime of Sedition.

** The panel denies that he is guilty of the crime diarged against him. He was not a speaker at the meeting mentioned in the indictment, and neither spoke mor v^rote any of the words there set forth. He also denies that he printed or published any of the said words; and if any circumstances shall be proved tending to connect him with the publi* cation or sale thereof, he has no doubt, both from the tenor of the said words and the nature of his concern with them, that it will be apparent that he is entirely guiltless of the crime here charged.

*' Under protestation to add and eik.

•* F. Jeffrey.


** J. S. Stewart.**

list of exculpatory witnesses.

John Andrews, chief magistrate of Kilmarnock. DaM Hamsay Andrews, writer there. WaJUer Andrews, writer there. Andrew Finnie, merchant there. James Johnstone, muslin agent there. John Brown, writer there. Baiiie William Brown, manufacturer there. John WilUe, assessor of taxes there. Bjoberi Howie, merchant there. Tfiomas Murray, printer there. The Rev. James Kirkwood, relief minister there,, residing at Riccarton.

Lord Justice Clerk. ^Have the counsel Cor the panels any objections to state to the relevancy of this indictment ?

Mr. Campbell, I appear on behalf of the panel, Alexander M'liiren. It is not my intention to state any objections to ttie relevancy of the libel, but to explain to the Court and Jury the nature of the concern which he had in the transactions now brought before this Court. At the same time, it is proper I should state, that we who are his counsel hold it to be the undonbted law and law which has never been questioned in this part of the country that it is the province of the jury to consider both the facts and the law of the case that it is for them to say whether the facts charged in the indictment are proved in the course of the trial, and if they find them proved, whether these facts do amount to the crime charged. And that being the case, we hold that we are not deprived of the benefit of any pleas which we may afterwards maintain, by any interlo- cutor of relevancy now to be pronounced.

I conceive also, that in justice to the panel and in justice to the opposite side of the bar, (who always meet me with liberality, and whom I wish to meet in the same manner), I should at once and openly state the nature of the defence we intend to maintain, and should say something of the history and character of the I panel.


and Timtu Bakd/or SeUition.


Tlie paaely after learmng the tnde of m *«reayer, to the coooty of Perth, went to Glasgow, where be continued a good many yean. He acted as assistant foreman in a ■lecrantile bouse, and during the whole of his -engagement gave entire satisfaction to his employer. Seventeen years ago he entered into the Highland corps of yolunteers in tluit city, and soon rose to the rank of serjeant, and continued with the corps till it was disbanded, and the volunteer associations were discon- tinued. He next went to Kilmarnock, where a great many weavers are occupied in working lor the manufacturers of Glasgow ; and« at the same time, he again gave his services to the public, by entering into the local militia corps of that district, in which corps |ie continued down to 1812, when the period of its service expired. And not only was there no complaint against him during all these periods, as a man either troublesome or quarrelsome, but he maintained in Kilmarnock, during the period of nearly eight years during which he lived there, a character remarkable for sober habits, attachment to good order, and to the govern- ment of the country ; and last harvest, during a riot which occurred about a scarcity of meal, so far was he from taking any part in the riot, that when a house was to be attacked, he put himself forward along with two constables in order to protect the house. He enjoyed the same decent, respectable, and good character, till this charge of sedition was brought against him.

He does not deny that he attended the meeting in December. His means of subsist- ence, and those -of his neighbours about him, had been graduslUy declining. They had ar- rived, before the period I speak o% at, 1 hope, their worst state of distress ; for he worked fifteen hours a day for 5s. a-week, although he is not only one of the best workmen, but so expert as to be able to execute the best work in the shortest time. And I will prove, that other workmen who could execute as' good work, bot who were not so expert and expeditious as my client, were able to obtain only 3s. a-week. The panel admits that in this distress he began to think of the causes which had reduced his neighbours and himself froin a condition in which they were prosperous and happy to a state in which they could scarcely gain the means of subsistence ; he confesses he came to be of opinion, tfiat the evils were partly owing to toe excessive taxation which had been imposed on the country; and he and some othera thought it right to call a meeting of the inhabitants of the place where he resided, to consider the propriety of a petition to the legislature on the subject of their distresii^ its causes, and what appeared to them to be the proper remedies;

Thev conceived, that to do this was their nndouDted right ; and it will not be denied on the opposite side of the bar, that such was their right. There is no charge in the indict- ni^t that the meeting was illegal. .It was a

A. D. 1817.



legal neeting which they were entitled to hold : it was for a legal purpose ; there was no harm in going there; and every person waa entitled to state the grievances he felt, and in a manner that might induce the meeting to take constitutional measures for what he con- ceived would bring them relief. Tl^ panel did not intend to take any part in the proceed- ings, nor to open the meeting as he did. fiut those persons who were to have opened the proceedings, were not equal to the task wbea the time came, and he was asked to undertake what was refused by the others. He went into a house in the neighbourhood, and hastily threw upon paper some observations which he wished to submit to the meeting. He did ad- dress the meeting, but he did not submit to it, and there were not contained in that paper— what are cited as offensive expressions in the last part of the indictment.

As to tl^e passage about a corrupt adminis- tration, which is cited in the indictment, it was in the manuscript, but was not spoken in the field. I admit that the manuscript afterwards went into the hands of the committee of the petitioners, at the request of the committee, in order to be printed in an account of the pro* ceediogs, but he had no concern in printing that account.

With regard to the expressions which are charged as seditiously directed against the legislature, we shall satisfy the jury, and shall show your lordships, ^hat giving them a fair construction, they contain nothing improper against any of the orders of the state, against the King, the House of Lords, or H'ouse of Commons. In sound construction, the ex- pressions apply only to the administration for the time, and every person at such a^ meeting is entitled, if he thinks it right, to attack the policy, and conduct of ministers. I need not enter into the question, whether there has been roal-administration or not; but every person feeling himself aggrieved is entitled to state his grievances, and more particulariy at a meeting convened for the purpose of apply- ing to the legislature for redress. This will not be denied. And what was done in conse- quence of this meeting, and of the speeches which were made there? Every thing was conducted in a regular and orderly manner;, no injury was done to any property or to any person ; the only consequence of the meeting was, that three petitions were resolved on, one to the Prince Regent, another to the House of Lords, and the third to the House of Commons ; which last petition, when presented to that House, was ordered to be brought up and to lie on the table. This i* proof that the peti- tions contained nothing that was offensive to the Prince Regent, nothing seditious, nothing offensive to the Houses of rarliament. Every thing that resulted was legitimate and proper.

Taking the whole circumstances into consi- deration, it clearly appears, that th# first pas- sage objected to, relates to the measures of ministers ; and I will prove even by witnesses



Trial rfdUmnitr M*Liiren


for tlie cTOwn> th^t, bo fa» was my dtent from employing any exprieasions disrespectliil to- wards the head of the govemme&t, that he did quite the reverse, and ftpoke with the titmost respect of the Prince Regent.

This being the situation of the maCtefy and my client having done nothing but what he was entitled to do, we ^all show that the lan- guage he used was no other than what he was completely authorised* to use. In numerous petitions to parliament, much stronger lao** guage has been used, and found not only to be not seditious, but to be not disrespectful to the House. What was the language held when Parliamentary Reform was llrst talked of at the Thatched-house-tavem ? in the second resolution of that meeting it was said, ** This meetipg, considering that a general application by the collective b(^y to the Commons Ilouse of Parliament cannot be made before the close of the present session, is of opinion, that the sense of the people should be taken at such times as may be con? enient this summer, in order to lay their ^veral petitions before par- liament early in the next session, when their pmposition for a Parliamentaty Reformation, wUhout ufkick neither the liberty of the natkm <wn be preserved, n&r the permanence of a wise and virtuous administration can be secured, may re- ceive that ample and mature discussion which so momentous a question demands/' * These are strong terms, and imply, that, without le^ formation in the representation of the people, the liberty of the subject is in danger ; and if there is any doubt as to the meaning of the passage, look to the letter written by Sfr. Pitt to Mr. Froet, in which it is said, that Reform '^ is essentially necessary to the independence of parliament, and the liberty of the people.'' f Down to this day strong language is always used in petitions on that subject and never objected to, except when the House of Com- mons is denied to represent the people, or matter is introduced against the House that is not relevant to the object of the petition.

It has been laid down by constitutional lawyers and statesmen, by lord Thurlow, by Mr. Pitty and Mr. Fox, that where the language is expressive of the grievance, however strong it may be, it is justifiable. I therefore submit, that, as it is competent to put such language into a petition to parliament ^as such lan- guage has not been held objectionable in the House of Commons, it cannot be considered as seditious, or as tending to bring the legisla- ture into contempt. If such language is law- ful in petitions to parliament, then it must be held lawful in the speeches and resolutions made at meetings pi^paratory to such peti- tions. For there would be an inconsistency and absurdity in saying, that such language might be lawfully used in a petition, which if used in discussing whether it should be in- serted in the petition would be unlawful. If

> » 1 II I H III .1 W^— —■ I 11 III ,11 .— .PW«— .^W^MMW^— "

* 1 How. Mod. St. Tr. 493, note. t 1 How. Mod. St. Tr. 494, note.

it should be neeessary, we shall make out to the satisfaction of your lordships and the jury, thatthe language, even as stated in the indid- ment, does not amount to sedition. Having stated thus much, I conceive I have

3«ned the nature of the defence we mean to ead, at sufficient lehgth to make the oppo- site sHle of the bar aware of the nature of^our. defence, and I think it unneceisary to detain your lordships any longer.

Lord Justice Clerk. ^It is a perfectly fair and distinct statement.

Mr. Mrey,'^! appear here in behalf of Thomas JBaird. k suppose we are all agreed, that it it the right and province of ^the jury to take into consideration both the facts and the law of the case; first, to find whether the fiicts libelled are proved ; and then to judge of the import of the facts so proved. We have no desire to quash the trial in any prelimioaiy stage of the proceedings ; and, notvcithstand* ing some incorrect stater, ents in the libel, as we do not wish to shrink f^om investigation, we shall not trouble your lordships vriUi any preliminary objections to the relevancy.

I have little farther to state in addition to the written defences. Mr. Baird is a ^mer- chant in Kilmarnock, and has always main- tained, not only an irreproachable but a re- spectable character in the estimation of both his superior and equals. He also has served his country in a military capacity, and held, successively, commissions in different bodies of volunteers. In the last corps to which he vras attached, he served down till ihe dissolu- tion of the volunteer system in 1813, when the allowances which had been given to them were taken «way ; and his conduct, character, and sentiments, were always considered loyal, respectable, and praiseworthy.

He also had entertained ideas, the wisdom and propriety of which cannot here be made a subject of discussion : But to what he consi- dered as defects in the constitution, he wished to apply none but constitutional remedies. A spectator -of the general distress around him, and a participator in it, he believed that the evil was ascribable, at least in part, to a de- fective representation in the Commons House of Parliament; and he therefore thought it proper to present a respectful petition to the legislature on the subject. He attended the' public meeting which assembled for that pur- pose ; but he did not take any part in tlie dis- cussion, not being gifted with powers of oratory, nor wishing to obtrude himself on the public notice. He did however attend the meeting, and he heard the speeches which were not so violent as they have been repre- sented.

Some expressions were at the time repit)- bated by him, as tending to throw an odium on the geneml cause of Reform ; and after- wards, when it was determined that some account of the proceedings should be publisbei^, and the orators gave in t^if tpeeckes to the


and Thiuu Bamlfor Sidiliint.

A. D. 1817.


commitee for pablieatioD, he repeated his oik jectioDs ftgatost printing Mveral passagM which appeared to him to be improper ; bttC he was oTemikd by a majority ot the committee, who wished a full publication of the proceedings. As the fuoda of the petitioners were low^ it eocurred to the committee that some small pittance might be.c<41ected from the publiea- tion, to defray the expenses necessary for the pfepaiatioa dT the petitions. In this way, he oonaemed to the publiealioRy but at the same time protested against puUisluDg any impropet ezpccssions ; but not hayiag any idea (as such a oiscoveiy indeed had not then been made in any quarter)^ that the expressions, tfaoagfa censarable^ were of a naittre to infer criminal Gonseqaeneesy be gare no critical attention to the minute contents