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opportunity of making it. Let him be heard with patience. The prosecutors will be as glad as your lordships to find him innocent.
The evidence is to determine ; and upon that evidence we shall leave it.”'
The entire evidence was in accordance with Mr. Attorney's narration, and therefore little of it need be here given.
Earl Ferrers' own account of the actual murder was reported by the medical witness, Mr. Thomas Kirkland, a surgeon at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, who also described the last moments of Johnson, the victim, in the following examination :
Mr. Attorney. Did any discourse pass between you relating to their seizure of my lord's person ?-Mr. Kirkland. My lord did desire that I would take care he was not seized, and I promised him I would.
Did you tell him how you meant to represent it?-My lord asked me, what I should say upon the occasion, if I was called upon ? I told his lordship I should say, that, though Mr. Johnson was shot, yet there was a great probability of his recovering; and that I thought there was no necessity of seizing his lordship. His lordship then asked me, if I would make oath of that before a justice of the peace, if I was called upon ? I said, Yes.
Where was this ? and about what part of the night did the last conversation pass—It was in the parlour.
What time was it? Was it an hour before supper?-I think this was before supper ; but it was repeated before and after supper.
Did my lord, in this discourse, say any thing relating to Mr. Johnson? -He told me, that Mr. Johnson had long been a villain to him. He said, he began his villainy in 1953; that he assisted in procuring the act of parliament ; that he was in the interest of his enemies ; that, on Mr. Johnson's first coming there in the afternoon, he ordered him to settle an account. He then told him, Johnson, you have been a villain to me; if you don't sign a paper, confessing all your villainy, I'll shoot you. My lord told me Johnson would not sign one. Therefore, says he, I bid him kneel down on his knees to ask my pardon. I said, Johnson, if you have any thing to say, speak quickly. Then, said he, I fired at him. I know he did not think I would have shot him ; but I was determined to do it. I was quite cool. I took aim ; for I always aim with a pistol in this manner.
Did any thing pass in reference to the farm ?-My lord told me he had long wanted to drive Johnson out of his farm ; and that he imagined, after he recovered, he would go into Cheshire, from whence he came, and give him no more disturbance. He said he had long intended to shoot him : that the chief reason he did it at this time was, an affair be. tween Mr. Curzon, Mr. Burslem, and his lordship. But the greatest part of this discourse was at the time that my lord was full of liquor.
Was he so full of liquor as to be deprived of his understanding ?-I think not; he seemed to understand very well what he did.
Was he in liquor when you first saw him ?-Yes; not much.
Did he continue drinking during the time you saw him ?-He was drinking porter; they said it was porter.
Did you go to Mr. Johnson again ?-Yes; after supper I went up stairs to Mr. Johnson ; nothing material passed; but my lord enquired what I thought of Mr. Johnson ; and upon my setting things in the light I thought I should, my lord seemed very well satisfied.
Was any thing said about the bowels or guts ?–My lord asked, if the bowels were wounded, what would be the consequence? I said, some had had wounds in their bowels and recovered.
There was an expression used, that the bullet was lodged in the abdomen; was that your's or my lord's expression ?-It was my expression.
Did you and my lord sit together in the evening ?-Yes.
Was any wine brought ?-Yes ; Mrs. Clifford brought a bottle of wine, and then his lordship again repeated, that he had shot Johnson, and that he intended it.
Was there any thing passed between you relative to my lord's circum. stances ?-A little before he went to bed, before I went to Mr. Johnson the last time, my lord said, Kirkland, I know you can set this affair in such a light, that I shall not be seized if you will; I owe you a bill, you may have some of your money now, and the rest when you want it ; I told his lordship I did not want money, I should be glad to receive it when it was inust convenient to him.
Did you afterwards see niy lord and Mr. Johnson together ?-Yes.
What passed ?-My lord went up to the bedside, and spoke it temperately; Johnson, you know you have been a villain to me; Mr. Johnson made no answer, but desired my lord to let him alone at that time: my lord kept calling of him villain; his passion rose, and he began to pull the bed-clothes, and said, Have you not been a villain? Mr. Johnson said, My lord, I may have been wrong as well as others : upon this, my lord run up in a violent passion to the bed-side, I thought he would have struck him; but upon Mr. Johnson's declaring he might have been a villain to his lordship, my lord went to the fire-side.
How came Mr. Johnson to make that answer?-I winked at him, and he made the answer.
Was Miss Johnson in the room ?-Yes ; my lord went to her, after he had abused her father, and said, Though he has been a villain to me, I promise you before Kirkland, who I desire to be a witness, that I will take care of your family, if you do not prosecute,
Did my lord go out of the room ?-Yes; he went down stairs ; he sent for me, and told me, he was afraid he had made Miss Johnson uneasy; he desired I would tell her, he would be her friend : we came up stairs together; his lordship asked at the top of the stairs, whether I thought Mr. Johnson would recover: I replied, Yes; he said, then I may go to bed in safety; he went to bed directly,
What passed after?—The first thing I did I went to Mr. Johnson, who desired, for God's sake, that I would remove him; while we were talking, I heard my lord open the door, and call up his pointer : Mr. Johnson was a good deal alarmed at it, fearing my lord should come again ; but my lord shut the door; then he again entreated me to remove him.
Was any proposal made to remove him before that ?-Yes; Mrs. Clif. ford came down before that into the still-room, and said, Cannot Johnson be removed? My lord replied, No, he shall not be removed, till he be either better or dead : and some time after that he said, he was glad he had him in the house, that he could plague the rascal ; or some such words.
Why did you propose to remove him ?-I thought it prudent for many reasons to remove bim ; I imagined, Mr. Johnson would die; and if my lord came and found him dying, his resentment would rise against me; besides, Mr. Johnson was in a good deal of apprehension of being again shot; I really apprehended he might die through fear, for he was a man of a very weak constitution ; upon this I went to the Lount and got a parcel of fellows, and placed Mr. Johnson in an easy chair, and carried him upon poles to the Lount, where he got without being much fatigued.
Did you apprehend that the moving would be prejudicial to him, considering the condition he was in ?-It is impossible to say it might not ; but there was much more danger in leaving him at Stanton; and he expressed satisfaction on my removing him : when he came there, he desired he might be removed from one room where he was, into another; for he said, my lord might come and shoot him there, the window was facing the bed; I told him, he might make himself easy, I would place a sentry at each door.
At what time was Mr. Johnson removed ?-I believe about two o'clock in the morning; I am not quite certain of the hour.
How long did he live after that ?—He lived, as I was informed, till about nine ; I did not leave him till seven o'clock.
In what condition was he when you left him ?- Weak and low, and cold in the extremities.
What was your judgment about him ?—That he would be dead; he thought so himself.
What happened after he was dead ?—Nothing more than my examining the body.
What did you do upon that ?-I examined it the next day when the coroner's inquest was taken.
Did you give an account of the wound ?—The ball had passed just under the lowest rib, on the left side, through one of the guts, and through a bone we call the “os inominatum,” and lodged in the bone called the “ os sacrum.'
Do you apprehend that Mr. Johnson died of that wound ?—I do ; I am clear in it.
A Mr. Springthorpe, examined by Mr. Gould, thus related the seizure of Lord Ferrers.
Was you present at the time of taking Lord Ferrers ? - Springthorpe.
What time in the morning ?- I believe it was between ten and eleven o'clock.
Had you a multitude of people with you ?- The first part of the time I had not; but before he was taken there were a great many.
Was you armed ?-I had a pistol I took from Mr. Burslem's.
Where did you go first ?- I went to see Mr. Johnson; he was my friend, and I found he was dead. Mr. Burslem desired I would go and help to take Lord Ferrers: I condescended to do it. When I came to the hall yard, my lord in a few minutes came; he seemed to be going to the stable, with his stockings down, and his garters in his hands; his lordship seeing me demanded to know what I wanted. I presented my pistol to his lordship, and I said it was he I wanted, and I would have him ; he put his hand, whether he was going to put his garters into his pocket, or to pull out a pistol, I cannot say; but he suddenly run into the house. I never saw more of him for two hours; in about two hours he came to the garret window ; I went under the window; he called ; I asked him what he wanted; he said, How is Johnson? I said he was dead; he said, You are a lying scoundrel, God damn you. I told him he was dead; he said, I will not believe it till Kirkland tells me so. I said he was dead; he said, Then disperse the people, and I will go and surrender: let the people in, and let them have some victuals and drink. I told him I did not come for victuals, but for him, and I would have him. He went away from the window swearing he would not be taken. Two hours after that there was a report that he was upon the bowling-green; I was at this part of the house: I run there, and, by the time I got there, I saw two colliers had hold of his lordship. I said, I would take care nobody should hurt him. I took from a man that had hold of him, a pistol and a powder-horn ; I shot the pistol off, and it made a great impression against the stones. I heard my lord say, he had shot a villain and a scoundrel, and, clapping his hand upon his bosom, he said, I glory in his death. That is all I know of the matter.
Lord Ferrers being called upon for his defence, applied for an adjournment to the following day: to this Lord Mansfield objected, unless the Earl would open the nature of his defence, or give some reason why be was not then prepared to go on. This not being done, the Peers returned to the Chamber of Parliament to debate the question, and on their coming back into Westminster Hall, the Lord High Steward announced to Lord Ferrers that he was forthwith to proceed with his defence.
Lord Ferrers then addressed the Court as follows:
Earl Ferrers. “My lords, the kind of defence I mentioned to your lordships before, I really don't know how myself to enter upon ; it is what my family have considered for me, and they have engaged all the evidence that are to be examined upon this unhappy occasion, who I really have not seen ; I do not well know what they have to say: I should, therefore, hope your lordships will give me all the assistance that is possible in their examination.
My lords, I believe that what I have already mentioned to your lordships, as the ground of this defence, has been a family complaint ; and I have heard that my own family have, of late, endeavoured to prove me such. The defence I mean is occasional insanity of mind; and I am convinced, from recollecting within myself, that, at the time of this action, I could not know what I was about. I say, my lords, upon reflecting within myself, I am convinced, that, at that time, I could not know what I was about.
It has been too plainly proved, that, at the time this accident happened, I was very sober, that I was not disordered with liquor : your lordships will observe, from the evidence both of Mr. Kirkland and Miss Johnson, that it plainly appeared that this man never suspected there was any malice, or that I had any."
The evidence adduced in support of his Lordship's plea of insanity will be found fully summed up, and commented on, in the reply of the Solicitor General. The testimony of two witnesses, however, was of such moment, that it is here given at length. The first of these was the Hon. and Rev. Walter Shirley, who was thus examined by Earl Ferrers.
What relation are you to me ?- Brother. Do you know any, and which, of the family, that have been afflicted with lunacy; if you do, please to mention their names ?-I believe the prisoner at the bar has that misfortune,
What is your reason for such belief ?--I have many reasons for it. The first is, that I have seen him several times talking to himself, clenching his fists, grinning, and having several gestures of a madman, without any seeming cause leading thereto. I have likewise very frequently known him extremely suspicious of plots and contrivances against him from his own family; and, when he was desired to give some account what the plots were that he meant, he could not make any direct answer.—Another reason I have for thinking him so is, his falling into violent passion, without any adequate cause.
Do you believe that, at some tiines, I have been hurried into violent fits, so as not to know the distinction between a moral or immoral act? -I believe, at those times when my lord has been transported by this disease of lunacy, that he has not been able to distinguish properly between moral good and evil.
Has any other of the family, besides myself, been afflicted with lunacy? - I have heard- (stopt.)
Please to inform their lordships, whether, at the time I have been transported with such violent fits, they have been the effects of drink, and whether they have bappened when I was sober?—Frequently when iny lord has been sober, much more so when he has been a little inflamed with liquor.
Do you know of any intention in the family to take out a commission of lunacy against me?- I heard it talked of.
How long ago ?-I think I can recollect it was at the time of his lordship's committing the outrage at Lord Westmoreland's house that it was proposed to be done ; but afterwards they were afraid to go through with it ; and the reason given was, lest, if the court of judicature should not be thoroughly satisfied of my lord's lunacy upon inspection, that the damage would be very great to those that should attempt it.
Why was the family afraid that I should appear in the courts of judicature to be in my senses ?-Because my lord had frequently such long intervals of reason, that, we imagined, if he, on the inspection, appeared reasonable, the court would not grant the commission against him.
What damage do you mean that the family was apprehensive of, in case the court should refuse a commission ?-We apprehended my lord would sue us for scandalum magnatum.
Was the family apprehensive of any other kind of damage?-I know of none.
Att. Gen. My lords, I did not intend to have troubled this gentleman; but from what he has said, your lordships will permit me to ask him two or three questions ; I shall do it very tenderly, and with as much propriety as I can.-In giving his account of the noble lord's state of mind, as far as I could collect it, he said, that he had more reasons than one why he deemed him to be insane.
Attorney General. Mr. Shirley, you said that the first ground was, that his lordship would, at times, talk to himself, grin, and use certain gestures, proper only to madmen-Now, as to this first mark of insanity, was this frequently the case of his lordship ?- Very frequently.
Did he, at those times, speak loud, or use any intelligible language to himself ?-He did not.
Did he, at such times, offer to commit any mischief, or betray any marks of disorder, while in that situation ?-I do not recollect any.
Then, as far as I can understand you, at those times, his behaviour in those intervals was perfectly innocent.—Yes.
At such times have you ever entered into discourse with him ?-No, I do not remember.