Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

treated with contempt, he should now remit the fines he had imposed.

The defendant. Permit me to thank your Lordship.

Mr. Justice Best then proceeded to state to the Jury the nature of the charge against the defendant, and declared that the libels which, had been read in evidence were impious and blasphemous attacks upon the Bible and upon Christianity. The defendant was, mistaken in supposing that the Judge presided in that Court merely for the purpose of receiving the verdict of the Jury, and preserving order. He had a higher duty to perform; he had to expound the law, and to take care that the Jury acted according to law. Undoubtedly, by Mr. Fox's Bill, the Jury were at liberty to return a general verdict upon the law as well as the fact. No man had a greater reverence for the meniory of that enlightened Statesman who was the author of that measure, which had removed a strange anomaly in the law of libel; but though the Jury were made the Judges of the law, they were not to act according to their arbitrary wills, but wider the dicfates of their consciences, their good sense, and their plain understanding, when applied to the questiou they were called upon to decide.

The Jury deliberated a few moments and returned a verdiet of Guilty.

On the motion of Mr. Gurney the defendant was ordered to be committed.

The defendant applied to be discharged on bail until next term, but Mr. Justice Best having told him that he would require him also to give security himself in 5001. and two sureties in 1001. each, to be of good behaviour in the mean time, he declined the benefit, he prayed.

The reader will discover that the foregoing is but an imperfect sketch of Mr. Davison's defence, it must be left to him to do justice to it in his own publication. Nothing can be more corrupt than the conduct of Best in striving to overawe the defendant by a threat of fining him. During Mr. Davison's defence, the Judge said the fines should be paid, but he had no sooner sat down, than Mr. Judge says directly, I shall remit the fines as I obtained my object in checking the defence. I fine you twenty pounds for that contempt. I fine you forty pounds more for that offence. I finé you forty pounds more for that insult. Why had you not gone a little further, Mr. Best? Why did you stop with such a trifle ? If you had fined a thousand pounds instead of a hundred, the defendant might have laughed at you, for by the time he gets out of prison after the sentence of the Court, you and your fellows must take to your heels, and you are but a hobbler. The opening of the case

by Gurney, and the summing up of Best, was a strong admission that the dear religion was going down hill. Mr. Gurney says it is now almost a question whether the law shall interpose or not, and Best says that any man might express his conviction that there is no divinity in it, if he does it temperately. What is this but an adinission that, there is no divinity in it ? IfJudge Hale had made such an expression about the Christian religion, as Abbolt made in my case, and Pest in that of Mr. Davison, he would have been cried down as an heretic, as an infidel, and he would have most likely have gone the same way as he sent the two poor old women, whom he convicted of witchcraft and pul to death as agents of the devil! The Christian religion is going to wreck in this country, and I think 5 or 6 years will see llic last of it in Britain. Weak atlacks avail nothiug—there is no other means of knocking it down than by the strongest expressions that can be used. Mr. Best said, that Hume and Gibbon expressed their admiration of its morality, and at the same time admitted that all our learned sceptics had argued that its morality was borrowed from the Pagan philosophers. This was a slip of the tongne, Mr. Best you spoke a fact in this expression, which I doubt not you knew to be a fact. Morality is no more dependent upon, or connected with religion, than I am with the Pope, -A certain system of ethics has existed in almost every society of men that were ever united, and the more free it has been from superstition the more virtuous, the more happy, and the more prosperous, has such-society been. Here is the all-important point, the hypocrites, who support the Christian mythology, cry out, there is no morality without the sphere of our religion: but the fact is, there is no morality within the sphere.

R. CARLILE.

Dorchester Gaol, Oct. 261h, 1820.

Priuled and Published by M. A. CARLILE, 53, Fleet Slreel.

The Republican.

No. 11, Vol. 4.] LONDON, FRIDAY, Nor. 10, 1820. [Price 6D.

A LETTER TO SIR JOHN COPLEY, SOLICITOR

GENERAL TO THE KING.

[ocr errors]

SIR,

It is reported of you, that you felt much disappointment at seeing your present colleague, Gifford, advanced to the . office of Solicitor General before you, that you undertook to defend Watson, in conjunction with Mr. Wetherell, on no other ground, but that of disappointment, and that you might have an opportunity of displaying your superiority, in point of ability, over the then Law Officers of the Crown, Shepherd and Gifford. You certainly did display a superiority; and the life of Watson was saved. Whoever has read the proceedings against the Queen in the House of Ignobles, must confess that Gifforu is but a fool, an idiot, when standing by your side, But greater abilities than yours have been prostituted to the worst of purposes. It is also reported, that prior to your appointment to your present office you professed to be a great admirer of Charles James Fox, and always kept his portrait suspended in your chambers, but that immediately on the minister offering to put you in your present office, you kicked the portrait of Fox out of doors! It is well known, that, in your early years ycu professed the principles which had been professed by your father the painter: but Whiggism is a species of easy, virtue: it is not proof against gold, although wheú gold is not to be obtained; it professes chastity. It is evident that you grow very sore whenever the Whigs accuse you of ratting, and you could never muster courage to tell them,

Vol. IV. No. 11.

Printeil by M. A. CARLILE, 556 Fleckstreet,

that they would be as willing to rat as yourself if they could be permitted to tread the path of office.

Personally, I have had little or nothing to do with you. The part you have played during my prosecutions, has been but a dumb and subordinate one: your bright superior, Gifford, has been my opponent; therefore, I shall pass over what concerns myself in this letter, and come to a summary of your conduct in prosecuting others. Your first effort in opposing the present struggle for liberty was at Chester, in the character of Chief Justice. Here you consigned Baguley, Johnson, and Drummond to two years imprisonment in Chester Gaol, because, they attended a meeting of reformers at Stockport, and related the cruelties they had suffered during the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and gave vent to their irritated feelings, as to what they would do with their cruel oppressors if they had but the power and the opportunity. You next, in your character of Solicitor General, assisted in the murder of Thistlewood, Ings, Tidd, Brunt, and Davison, at a time when you must have known well that the plot was managed entirely by the ministers and their agents, as a necessary bugbear before the General Election. You were next engaged in sending half a dozen news-venders to prison for selling the Republican, and attempted to excuse yourself by an abominable lie, in saying, it was because you could not reach the author.' You knew the author as well as I did, Sir, and

you declined prosecuting him on no other ground whalever, then because you knew it would be quite idle to add a greater extent of imprisonment to that to which he had been already sentenced. You knew well that there was but little chance for his filling out even that time in prison. This was the reason for your not reaching the author.' You knew .the author would defend the principles of the Republican, and because you could not increase his punishment, you thought it best to prevent 'the further discussion. But why, Copley, why make use of that lying and paltry excuse to imprison the ņews-yenders? Do I hear you say that Castlereagh ordered you to do so ? Probable.

I shall now come to notice your conduct in the House of Ignobles, as an opponent of the Queen, and, as a supporter of the vices of the King. This is the drift and purport of my addressing you, as you have made yourself a conspicuous cha, racter; though with an apparent horror and reluctance. In various parts of this business you have endeavoured to disavow

any personal feeling, and have hinted that you are doing nothing more than a duty which has been imposed upon you as Solicitor General, and which you have been commanded to perform. In point of principle this can avail you nothing, for an honest man would have resigned the office rather than perform the task. Therefore we must view you as a particeps criminis in the attempt to destroy the Queen, and as the aider and abettor of her husband. Besides, assuming all your Italian witnesses to have spoken the truth, you have given a colouring to their assertions which was not warranted in your summing up, and since the whole case has been developed, and perjury and conspiracy indubitably displayed on the part of the prosecutor, you have made a reply in a similar strain to that summing up, without admitting the slightest deviation from truth on the part of your Italians. You admit that conflicting evidence must have been expected in such a wide range of circumstances, but cry you :- I and my learned friend, knowing the truth of the story, felt satisfied that, at the close of the inquiry, although there might be conflicting evidence in some parts of it, the result would be, that the main features of the case, the great outline of it would be established by our own evidence, and, in all probability, by the evidence adduced on the part of the defence, so as to carry the plainest conviction to the minds of all, This is a very pretty assumption, after the removal of Rastelli, after the despotic absence of the Baron D'Ende, after the production of Ompteda's letters, and after the stedfast denial to hear any thing about the conduct of Ompteda and Colonel Brown. The outline of the case was kept altogether out of sight. The prosecutor, George Guelph, was no where to be seen or heard of. All his immediate agents ; except Powell and Majocchi, were kept the back ground; all the persons who have been running after her Majesty's discarded servants, and promising them great rewards to swear something against their old mistress, all those perspns have been shielded from exposure by the Jgnobles, and no evidence has been produced, but that of avowed hired and bribed discarded servants, and such as were discharged for some misconduct. At least, it is upon their swearing that the present case is pretended to be fully made out. And upon such perjuries, you and your learned friend (as you ironically call Gifford), are hardy enough, and base enough to pronounce the Queen as something worse than a comamor prostitute. The charge against the Queen is such as will admit of no moderation, no shades of guilt, it must be

« AnteriorContinuar »