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bouses in Scotland or acted in rebellious opposi- | supplications, and you will meet with redress from tion to law, so as to entitle it to wrest the pris. a mild and gracious King, who will recommena oner's expressions into an excitation of rebellion it to his ininisters to repeal it." Good God ! if against the state, or of violence against the prop- they were to wait till the King, whether from erties of English Papists, by setting up their firm- bene, olence or sear, should direct his minister to ness as an example? Certainly not. They have influence the proceedings of Parliament, how not even proved the naked fact of such violences, does it square with the charge of instant coercion though such proof would have called for no resist- or intimidation of the House of Commons ? If ance; since to make it bear as rebellious advice the multitude were assembled with the premedto the Protestant Association of London, it must itated design of producing immediate repeal by have been first shown that such acts had been terror or arms, is it possible to suppose that their perpetrated or encouraged by the Protestant so- leader would desire them to be qniet, and refer cieties in the North.
them to those qualities of the Prince, which, how. Who has dared to say this ? No man. The ever eminently they might belong to him, ne
never rabble in Scotland certainly did that which has could be exerted on subjects in rebellion to his since been done by the rabble in England, to the authority ? In what a labyrinth of nonsense and disgrace and reproach of both countries. But in contradiction do men involve themselves, when, neither country was there found one man of char- forsaking the rules of evidence, they would draw acter or condition, of any description, who abet- conclusions from words in contradiction to lan ted such enormities, nor any man, high or low, guage and in defiance of common sense? of any of the Associated Protestants, here or there, The next witness that is called to you by the who were either convicted, tried, or taken on sus-Crown is Mr. Metcalf. He was not in the lobby, picion.
but speaks only to the meeting in Coachmakers' As to what this man heard on the 29th of Hall, on the 29th of May, and in St. George's May, it was nothing more than the proposition Fields. He says that at the former, Lord George of going up in a body to St. George's Fields to reminded them that the Scotch had succeeded by consider how the petition should be presented, their unanimity-and hoped that no one who had with the same exhortations to firmness as before. signed the petition would be ashamed or afraid The resolution made on the motion has been read, to show himself in the cause; that he was ready and when I come to state the evidence on the to go to the gallows for it; that he would not part of my noble friend, I will show you the im- present the petition of a lukewarm people; that possibility of supporting any criminal inference he desired them to come to St. George's Fields, from what Mr. Hay afterward puts in his mouth distinguished with blue cockades, and that they in the lobby, even taking it to be true. I wish should be marshaled in four divisions. Then he here to be accurate (looking on a card on which speaks to having seen them in the fields in the he had taken down his words). He says: “Lord order which has been described; and Lord George George desired them to continue steadfastly to Gordon in a coach surrounded by a vast conadhere to so good a cause as theirs was; prom-course of people, with blue ribbons, forming like ised to persevere in it himself, and hoped, though soldiers, but was not near enough to hear wheththere was little expectation at present from the er the prisoner spoke to them or not. Such is House of Commons that they would meet with Mr. Metcall's evidence; and after the attention redress from their mild and gracious Sovereign, you have honored me with, and which I shall have who, no doubt, would recommend it to his min- occasion so often to ask again on the same subisters to repeal it." This was all he heard, and ject, I shall trouble you with but one observatiop I will show you how this wicked man himself (if namely, that it can not, without absurdity, be supany belief is to be given to him) entirely over- posed that if the assembly at Coachmakers' Hall turns and brings to the ground the evidence of had been such conspirators as they are repreMr. Bowen,' on which the Crown rests singly sented, their doors would have been open for the proof of words which are more difficult to strangers, like this witness, to come in to repori explain. Gentlemen, was this the language of their proceedings. rebellion ? If a multitude were at the gates of The next witness is Mr. Anstruther,15 wbe the House of Commons to command and insist on speaks to the language and deportment of the a repeal of this law, why encourage their hopes noble prisoner, both at Coachmakers' Hall, on by reminding them that they had a mild and gra- the 29th of May, and afterward on the 2d of cious Sovereign ? If war was levying against June, in the lobby of the House of Commous. It him, there was no occasion for his mildness and will be granted to me, I am sure, even by the graciousness. If he had said, “ Be firm and per. advocates of the Crown, that this gentleman, not severe, we shall meet with redress from the pru- only from the clearness and consistency of his d'ence of the Sovereign," it might have borne a testimony, but from his rank and character in the different construction ; because, whether he was world, is infinitely more worthy of credit than gracious or severe, his prudence might lead him Mr. Hay, who went before him. And from the to submit to the necessity of the times. The circumstances of irritation and confusion under words sworn to were, therefore, perfectly clear which the Rev. Mr. Bowen consessed himself to and unambiguous—"Persevere in your zeal and have heard and seen, what he told you be heard
• The Chaplain of the House of Commons. 18 This gentleman was a member of Parliament.
and saw, I may likewise assert, without any of- | authorized either the court or its law servants Ic Innse to the reverend gentleman, and without tell you so ? Or can it be decently maintained drawing any parallel between their credits, that that Parliament was so weak or infamous as in where their accounts of this transaction differ, the yield to a wretched mob of vagatonds at Edinpreserence is due to the former. Mr. Anstruther burgh what it has since refused to the earnest, very properly prefaced his evidence with this prayers of a hundred thousand Protestants o? declaration : "I do not mean to speak accurately London? No, gentlemen of the jury, Parliato words; it is impossible to recollect them at ment was not, I hope, so abandoned. But the this distance of time." I believe I have used his ministers knew that the Protestants of Scotland very expression, and such expression it well be were to a man abhorrent of that law. And though came him to use in a case of blood. But words, they never beld out resistance, il government even if they could be accurately remembered, aru should be disposed to cram it down their throats to be admitted with great reserve and caution, by force, yet such violence to the united sentiwhen the purpose of the speaker is to be mean. ments of a whole people appeared to be a measured by them. They are transient and fleeting; ure so obnoxious, so dangerous, and withal seu frequently the effect of a sudden transport, easi- unreasonable, that it was wisely and judiciously ly misunderstood, and often unconsciously mis- dropped, to satisfy the general wishes of the narepresented. It may be the fate of the most in- tion, and not to avert the vengeance those low nocent language to appear ambiguous, or even incendiaries whose misdeeds have rather been malignant, when related in mutilated, detached talked of than proved. passages, by people to whom it is not addressed, Thus, gentlemen, the exculpation of Lord and who know nothing of the previous design George's conduct on the 29th of May is suffieither of the speaker or of those to whom he ciently established by the very evidence on which spoke. Mr. Anstruther says that he heard Lord the Crown asks you to convict him. For, in George Gordon desire the petitioners to meet him recommending temperance and firmness after the on the Friday following, in St. George's Fields, example of Scotland, you can not be justified in and that if there were fewer than twenty thou- pronouncing that he meant more than the firm sand people, he would not present the petition, ness of the grave and respectable people in that as it would not be of consequence enough; and country, to whose constitutional firmness the that he recommended to them the example of the Legislature had before acceded, instead of brand Scotch, who, by their firmness, had carried their ing it with the title of rebellion; and who, in my point.
mind, deserve thanks from the King for temper. Gentlemen, I have already admitted that they ately and firmly resisting every innovation which dia by firmness carry it. But has Mr. Anstru- they conceived to be dangerous to the national ther attempted to state any one expression that religion, independently of which his Majesty fell from the prisoner to justify the positive, un- (without a new limitation by Parliament) has no erring conclusion, or even the presumption, that more title to the crown than I have. the firmness of the Scotch Protestants, by which Such, gentlemen, is the whole amount of all the point was carried in Scotland, was the re- my noble friend's previous communication with sistance and riots of the rabble ? No, gentle- the petitioners, whom he afterward assembled to men; he singly states the words, as he heard consider how their petition should be presented. them in the hall on the 29th, and all that he aft. This is all, not only that men of credit can tell erward speaks to in the lobby, repels so harsh you on the part of the prosecution, but all ihat and dangerous a construction. The words sworn even the worst vagabond who ever appeared in to at Coachmakers' Hall are, “that he recom- a court-the very scum of the earth—thought mended temperance and firmness.” Gentlemen, himself sase in saying, upon oath, on the present if his motives are to be judged by words, for occasion. Indeed, gentlemen, when I consider Heaven's sake let these words carry their popu- my noble friend's situation, his open, unreserved lar meaning in language. Is it to be presumed, temper, and his warm and animated zeal for a without proof, that a man means one thing because which rendered him obnoxious to so many cause he says another ? Does the exhortation wicked men-speaking daily and publicly to 10 temperance and firmness apply most naturally mixed multitudes of friends and foes, on a sub10 the constitutional resistance of the Protestants ject which affected his passions—I confess I am of Scotland, or to the outrages of ruffians who astonished that no other expressions than those pulled down the houses of their neighbors ? Is in evidence before you have found their way into it possible, with decency, to say, in a court of this court. That they have not found their way justice, that the recommendation of temperance is surely a most satisfactory proof that there was is the excitation to villainy and frenzy? But the nothing in his heart which even youthful zeal words, it seems, are to be construed, not from could magnify into guilt, or that want of caution their own signification, but from that which fol- could betray. lows them, viz., “by that the Scotch carried Gentlemen, Mr. Anstruther's evidence, when their point.” Gentlemen, is it in evidence be- he speaks of the lobby of the House of Commons. fore you that by rebellion the Seotch carried is very much to be attended to.
“1 their point? or that the indulgences to Papists saw Lord George leaning over the gallery, were not extended to Scotland because the rab- which position, joined with what he mentione, ble had opposed the'r extension ? Has the Crown of his talking with the chaplain, marks the time,
and cas*z a strong doubt on Bowen's testimony, speaks of them in such a manner, as, so far from which you will find stands, in this only material conveying the hostile i lea, which he seemed sufpart of it, single and unsupported. "I then ficiently desirous to convey, tends directly to heard him," continues Mr. Anstruther, "tell wipe off the dark hints and insinuations which them they had been called a mob in the House, have been made to supply the place of proof and that peace-officers had been sent to disperse upon that subject-a subject which should not them (peaceable petitioners); but that by stead. have been touched on without the fullest support iness and firmness they might carry their point; of evidence, and where nothing but the most un as he had no doubt his Majesty, who was a gra- equivocal evidence ought to have been received. cious prince, would send to his ministers to re- He says, “his Lordship began by bidding them peal the act, when he heard his subjects were be quiet, peaceable, and steady" --Dot “ steady'' coming up for miles round, and wishing its re- alone ; though, is that had been the expression, peal." How coming up ? In rebellion and singly by itsell, I should not be afraid to meet arms to compel it? No! all is still put on the it; but, “Be quiet, PEACEABLE, and steady." graciousness of the Sovereign, in listening to the Gentlemen, I am indifferent what other expres. unanimous wishes of his people. If the multi-sions of dubious interpretation are mixed with tude then assembled had been brought together these. For you are trying whether my noble to intimidate the House by their firmness, or to friend came to the House of Commons with a coerce it by their numbers, it was ridiculous to decidedly hostile mind; and as I shall, on the look forward to the King's influence over it, recapitulation of our own evidence, trace him in when the collection of future multitudes should your view, without spot or stain, down to the very induce him to employ it. The expressions were moment when the imputed words were spoken, therefore quite unambiguous ; nor could malice you will hardly forsake the whole innocent conitself have suggested another construction of text of his behavior, and torture your inventions them, were it not for the fact that the House was to collect the blackest system of guilt, starting at that time surrounded, not by the petitioners, up in a moment, without being previously con whom the noble prisoner had assembled, but by certed, or afterward carried into execution. a mob who had mixed with them, and who, First, what are the words by which you are therefore, when addressed by him, were instant to be convinced that the Legislature was to be ly set down as his followers. He thought he frightened into compliance, and to be coerced il was addressing the sober members of the asso- terror should fail ? “Be quiet, peaceable, and ciation, who by steadiness and perseverance, steady; you are a good people ; yours is a good cou'd coderstand nothing more than perseverance cause : his Majesty is a gracious monarch, and in that onduct he had antecedently prescribed, when he hears that all his people, ten miles as steadiness signifies a uniformity, not a change round, are collecting, he will send to his minis. of conduct; and I defy the Crown to find out a ters to repeal the act.” By what rules of con single expression, from the day he took the chair struction can such an address to unarmed, deat the association to the day I am speaking of, fenseless men be tortured into treasonable guilt ? that justifies any other construction of steadiness It is impossible to do it without pronouncing, and firmness than that which I put upon it be- even in the total absence of all proof of fraud or sore.
deceit in the speaker, that quiet signifies tumult What would be the feelings of our venerable and uproar, and that peace signifies war and reancestors, who framed the statute of treasons bellion. to prevent their children being drawn into the I have before observed that it was most imsuares of death, unless provably convicted by portant for you to remember that, with this exovert acts, if they could hear us disputing wheth- hortation to quiet and confidence in the Kirg, er it was treason to desire harmless, unarmed the evidence of all the other witnesses closed. men to be firm and of good heart, and to trust Even Mr. Anstruther, who was a long time altto the graciousness of their King ?
erward in the lobby, heard nothing further; so Here Mr. Anstruther closes his evidence, that if Mr. Bowen had been out of the case altowhich leads me to Mr. Bowen, who is the only gether, what would the amount have been ? man—I beseech you, gentlemen of the jury, to Why, simply, that Lord George Gordon, having attend to this circumstance-Mr. Bowen is the assembled an unarmed, inoffensive multitude in only man who has attempted, directly or indi. St. George's Fields, to present a petition to Par. rectly, to say that Lord George Gordon uttered liament, and finding them becoming tumultuous, a syllable to the multitude in the lobby concern- to the discontent of Parliament and the discredit ing the destruction of the mass-houses in Scot- of the cause, desired them not to give it up, but land. Not one of the Crown's witnesses; not to continue to show their zeal for the legal ob. even the wretched, abandoned Hay, who was ject in which they were engaged; to manifest kept, as he said, in the lobby the whole after that zeal quietly and peaceably, and not to despair noon, from anxiety for his pretended friend, has of success; since, though the House was not ever glanced at any expression resembling it. disposed to listen to it, they had a gracious Sov. They all finish with the expectation which he ereign, who would second the wishes of his peoheld out, from a mild and gracious Sovereign. ple. This is the sum and substance of the whole. Mr. Bowen alone goes on further, and speaks of They were not, even by any one ambiguous ex the successful riots of the Scotch But he pression, encouraged to trust to their numbers, as sufficient to overawe the House, or to their If Mr. Bowen, therefore, had ended here, I can strength to compel it, or to the prudence of the hardly conceive such a construction conld be destate in yielding to necessity, but to the indulg-cently hazarded consistent with the testimony of ence of the King, in compliance with the wishes the witnesses we have called. How much less, of his people. Mr. Bowen, however, thinks when, after the dark insinuations which such exproper to proceed ; and I beg that you will at- pressions might otherwise have been argued to tend to the sequel of his evidence. He stands convey, the very same person, on whose veracity single in all the rest that he says, which might or memory they are only to be believed, and who ontitle me to ask you absolutely to reject it. But must be credited or discredited in tolo, takes out I have no objection to your believing every word the sting himself by giving them such an immedi. olit, if you can: because, if inconsistencies prove ate context and conclusion as renders the proposi any thing, they prove that there was nothing of tion ridiculous, which his evidence is brought for. that deliberation in the prisoner's expressions ward to establish; for he says that Lord George which can justify the inference of guilt. I mean Gordon instantly afterward addressed himself to be correct as to his words [looking at his thus: “Beware of evil-minded persons who may words which he had noted down). He says “that mix among you and do mischief, the blame of Lord George told the people that an attempt had which will be imputed to you.” een made to introduce the bill into Scotland, Gentlemen, if you reflect on the slander which aid that they had no redress till the mass-houses I told you sell upon the Protestants in Scotland were pulled down. That Lord Weymouth 6 then by the acts of the rabble there, I am sure you sent official assurances that it should not be ex- will see the words are capable of an easy explatended to them.” Gentlemen, why is Mr. Bow. nation. But as Mr. Bowen concluded with tell. en called by the Crown to tell you this? The ing you that he heard them in the midst of noise reason is plain : because the Crown, conscious and consusion, and as I can only take them from that it could make no case of treason from the him, I shall not make an attempt to collect them rest of the evidence, in sober judgment of law; into one consistent discourse, so as to give them aware that it had proved no purpose or act of a decided meaning in favor of my client, because force against the House of Commons, to give I have repeatedly told you that words imperfectly countenance to the accusation, much less to war- heard and partially related can not be so recon. rant a conviction, found it necessary to hold up ciled. But this I will say—that he must be a rufthe noble prisoner as the wicked and cruel au- fian, and not a lawyer, who would dare to tell an thor of all those calamities in which every man's English jury that such ambiguous words, hemmed passions might be supposed to come in to assist closely in between others not only innocent but his judgment to decide. They therefore made meritorious, are to be adopted to constitute guilt, him speak in enigmas to the multitude : not tell- by rejecting both introduction and sequel, with ing them to do mischief in order to succeed, but which they are absolutely irreconcilable and intnat by mischief in Scotland success had been consistent: Foris ambiguous words, when coupled obtained.
with actions, decipher the mind of the actor, so as But were the mischiefs themselves that did to establish the presumption of guilt, will not such happen here of a sort to support such a conclu- as are plainly innocent and unambiguous go as sion ? Can any man living, for instance, believe far to repel such presumption? Is innocence that Lord George Gordon could possibly have more difficult of proof than the most malignant excited the mob to destroy the house of that great
wickedness? Gentlemen, I see your minds reand venerable magistrate, who has presided so volt at such shocking propositions. I beseech long in this high tribunal that the oldest of us do you to forgive me. I am afraid that my zeal has not remember him with any other impression led me to offer observations which I ought in jus. than the awful form and figure of justice: a mag. tice to have believed every honest mind would istrate who had always been the friend of the suggest to itself with pain and abhorrence with Protestant Dissenters against the ill-timed jeal- out being illustrated and enforced. ousies of the Establishment-his countryman, too I now come more minutely to the evidence on -and, without adverting to the partiality not the part of the prisoner. unjustly imputed to men of that country, a man I before told you that it was not All November, of whom any country might be proud ? No, 1779, when the Protestant Associagentlemen, it is not credible that a man of noble tion was already fully established, le evidence for birth and liberal education (unless agitated by that Lord George Gordon was electthe most implacable personal resentment which ed President by the unanimous voice of the whole is not imputed to the prisoner) could possibly con- body, unlooked for and unsolicited. It is surely sent to the burning of the house of Lord Mans- not an immaterial circumstance that at the very field.17
first meeting where his Lordship presided, a duri. ** Then Secretary for the Southern Department. afterward presented to Parliament, was read and
fal and respectful petition, the same which was 17 This reference to Lord Mansfield, then seated on the bench as presiding judge at the age of seventy. approved of; a petition which, so far from conbix, is not only appropriate and beautifal in itself, taining any thing threatening or offensive, con. but, as managed ly Mr. Erskine, forms a most con- went out of his case for an illust ‘ation or a picture vincing proof in favor of Lord George Gordon. This which refreshed the mind, but he brought baci with anis one of Mr. Erskine's exnollences, that be never him an argumeni.
veyed not a very oblique reflection upon the be- death, retailing scraps of sentences which they navior of the people in Scotland. It states, that had heard by thrusting themselves, from curiosi as England and that country were now one, and ty, into places where iheir business did not lead as official assurances had been given that the law them; ignorant of the views and tempers of both should not pass there, they hoped the peaceable and speakers and hearers, attending only to a part, constitutional deportment of the English Protest- and, perhaps innocently, misrepresenting that ants would entitle them to the approbation of part, from not having heard the whole. Parliament.
The witnesses for the Crown all tell you that It appears by the evidence of Mr. Erasmus Lord George said he would not go up with the Middleton, 18 a very respectable clergyman, and petition unless he was attended by twenty thou. one of the committee of the Association, that a sand people who had signed it. There they meeting had been held on the 4th of May, at think proper to stop, as if he had said nothing which Lord George was not present; that at that further ; leaving you to say to yourselves, what meeting a motion had been made for going up possible purpose could he have in assembling with the petition in a body, but which not being such a multitude on the very day the House was regularly put from the chair, no resolution was to receive the petition? Why should he urge it, come to upon it; and that it was likewise agreed when the committee had before thought it inexon, but in the same irregular manner, that there pedient? And why should he resuse to presen! should be no other public meeting previous to the it unless so attended ? Hear what Mr. Middle. presenting the petition. That this last resolution ton says. He tells you that my noble friend inoccasioned great discontent, and that Lord George formed the petitioners that if it was decided they was applied to by a large and respectable num. were not to attend to consider how their petition ber of the Association to call another meeting, should be presented, he would with the greatest to consider of the most prudent and respectful pleasure go up with it alone. But that, if it was method of presenting their petition : but it ap- resolved they should attend it in person, he expears that, before he complied with their request, pected twenty thousand at the least should meet he consulted with the committee on the propriety him in St. George's Fields, for that otherwise the of compliance, who all agreeing to it except the petition would be considered as a forgery; it have Secretary, his Lordship advertised the meeting ing been thrown out in the House and elsewhere which was afterward held on the 29th of May. that the repeal of the bill was not the serious The meeting was, therefore, the act of the whole wish of the people at large, and that the petition Association. As to the original difference be was a mere list of names on parchment, and not tween my noble friend and the committee on the of men in sentiment. Mr. Middleton added, that expediency of the measure, it is totally immate- Lord George adverted to the same objections rial; since Mr. Middleton, who was one of the having been made to many other petitions, and number who differed from him on that subject he, therefore, expressed an anxiety to show Par. (and whose evidence is, therefore, infinitely more liament how many were actually interested in its to be relied on), told you that his whole deport- success, which he reasonably thought would be ment was so clear and unequivocal, as to entitle a strong inducement to the House to listen to it. him to assure you on his most solemn oath, that The language imputed to him falls in most nat. he in his conscience believed his views were per- urally with this purpose : “I wish Parliament i sectly constitutional and pure. This most re- see who and what you are; dress yourselves in spectable clergyman further swears that he at your best clothes”—which Mr. Hay (who, I suptended all the previous meetings of the society, pose, had been reading the indictment, thought from the day the prisoner became President to it would be better to call "ARRAY YOURSELVES.” the day in question; and that, knowing they were He desired that not a stick should be seen among objects of much jealousy and malice, he watched them, and that, if any man insulted another, or his behavior with anxiety, lest his zeal should was guilty of any breach of the peace, he was to furnish matter for misrepresentation; but that he be given up to the magistrates. Mr. Attorney never heard an expression escape him which | General, to persuade you that this was all color marked a disposition to violate the duty and sub- and deceit
, says, “How was a magistrate to face ordination of a subject, or which could lead any forty thousand men? How were offenders in man to believe that his objects were different such a multitude to be amenable to the civil from the avowed and legal objects of the Asso- power ?” What a shameful perversion of a plain, ciation. We could have examined thousands to peaceable purpose! To be sure, if the multitude the same fact, for, as I told you when I began to had been assembled to resist the magistrate, ofspeak, I was obliged to leave my place to disen- fenders could not be secured. But they them. cumber myself from their names.
selves were ordered to apprehend all oflenders This evidence of Mr. Middleton's as to the among them, and to deliver them up to justice 29th of May, must, I should think, convince ev- They themselves were to surrender their fellows ery man how dangerous and unjust it is in wit. to civil authority if they offended. nesses, however perfect their memories, or how. But it seems that Lord George ought to have ever great their veracity, to come into a criminal foreseen that so great a multitude court where a man is standing for his life or could not be collected without mis. can not be cen
chief. Gentlemen, we are not try- condemnnisgilan 18 The first witress called for the prisoner. ing whether he night or ought to svernmeni.