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This manifest perjury, for which, had not the chief justice been almost as wicked as the informer, Bedlow ought to have been immediately indicted, brought to the bar, tried, sentenced, and cropped, was disregarded. His evidence was received during the remainder of Anderson's trial, and against most of the rest of the unfortunate men, who were all found guilty, on the testimony of Bedlow, and other wretches, equally profligate: and, although the State Trials make no mention of the final result, as to their fate, we have reason, from the temper of the times, to presume that they were hanged.

thousand pounds a year; I KNOW HIM AND HIS FATHER VERY WELL.

Anderson. My lord, could I but apprehend that I lay under so great a guilt, as to have been acquainted with so great a rogue as this fellow is, I would have been my own executioner, and not have expected my sentence at this bar.

L. C. 7. Do you know him well?

Bedlow. Very well, both him and his father. His father is an Oxfordshire gentleman.

Anderson. Now I think I shall prove the rogue perjured. Is my

lord chief baron in the court ? Court. Yes, he is. Anderson. Why then my father has the honour of being well known to his lordship, who knows this to be false.

L. C. Baron. No, no, Mr. Bedlow: he is a gentleman's son of quality in LINCOLNSHIRE.

L. C. y. You are mistaken, you are mistaken; his father is a LINCOLNSHIRE gentleman.

Anderson. And yet this rogue is upon his oath ; but indeed all his life is full of such mistakes.

Bedlow. I don't know. My lord Privy-Seal's nephew told me so!!!"331

331 State Trials, VII. 839.

THE AGE OF PLOTS AND PERJURY.

311

Who can read this statement without horror ? Who can regard otherwise than as a mere slaughter-house, a court of justice, where, on the trial of a number of men for their lives, merely for the worship of the Living God, the judge acts the part of the public accuser ;* where the witnesses for the accused are almost torn to pieces by the mob ;t and where the evidence is unhesitatingly received, of a wretch whose perjury is as clear as the noon-day sun; who is caught flagrante delicto; and whose confession of the hideous crime is made in open court,a wretch on whom

“ Sin, death, and hell had set their marks. "332 The reader may inquire, why these facts are here adduced, as few of them occurred in Ireland,

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*“ The chief justice gave sanction to all the narrow prejudices and bigoted fury of the populace. Instead of being counsel for the prisoners, as his office required, HE PLEADED THE CAUSE AGAINST THEM; browbeat their witnesses; and on every occasion represented their guilt as certain and uncontroverted,

7“When verdict was given against the prisoner, the spectators expressed their savage joy, by loud acclamations. The witnesses, on approaching the court, were almost torn in pieces by the rabble. One, in particular, was bruised to such a degree as to put his life in danger : and another, a woman, declared that, unless the court could afford her protection, she durst not give evidence. But as the judges could” [would, more properly]“go no farther than promise to punish such as should do her any injury, the prisoner himself had the humanity to wave her testimony:"334

332 Shakspeare.

333 Hume, IV. 329.

314 Idem, 342.

and most of them were not cotemporaneous with the events we develop ? He shall be satisfied. We wish, as we have stated at the commencement of this chapter, to establish, beyond the power of controversy, the prevailing spirit of the age, in fostering and rewarding perjury, forgery, and the fabrication of pretended plots, not only during, but previous and subsequent to, the period most particularly included in these investigations; in order to prepare the reader for a candid discussion of the pretended plot of 1641, the existence of which is so universally credited, that it requires a most extraordinary degree of liberality, even to suspend the operation of, and much more to eradicate, the inveterate prejudices that prevail on the subject.

( 313 )

CHAPTER XV.

The insurrection in 1641. Was there a general

conspiracy of the Irish, in that year, to murder the Protestants ?

THE decision of this question is attended with far more difficulty than any of those which we have heretofore presented to the view of the reader. The nature of the case does not admit of the same kind of evidence as we have been enabled to produce, and which, we flatter ourselves, has been found irresistible.

But the tale of this conspiracy has been so universally credited; so large a portion of the possessors of confiscated property in Ireland have been interested in affording it support and countenance; so much art and talent have been, for a hundred and seventy years, employed in giving it an air of plausibility; there is so much difficulty in proving a negative in any case, more particularly in the present one, which is naturally, and has been moreover artfully, involved in mystery ; and it is so extremely arduous an undertaking, to operate upon the public mind, when imbued with inveterate prejudices, that we regard the task as Herculean, and should have

abandoned it as impracticable, but that the narrative itself is replete with so many incredible and incongruous circumstances, as to carry strong internal evidence of fraud.

In order to give the story fair play, and to enable the reader to form a correct opinion on the subject, with all the evidence before him, we shall give the whole account of the discovery of the plot, as it stands in Temple's History of the Irish Rebellion, the authority almost solely relied on by all the other writers on the subject. We add some slight extracts from Borlase, containing a few additional particulars.

To simplify the examination, we have divided the whole into short sentences, each containing perfect sense, so as to oblige the reader to pause and reflect, as he proceeds.

This point being the main one we have in view in this work, we earnestly invoke the reader's calm and candid consideration of it. We hope that, laying aside all preconceived opinions on the subject, he will revolve it in his mind, as if it were wholly new, and he had now, for the first time in his life, to form a decision on it. We are aware that there are too many to whom a compliance with this request is impossible : and indeed a large proportion of mankind can never command independence of mind enough even to examine the evidence that militates with their early, and, of course, inveterate, prejudices; far less to reject those prejudices. We are therefore

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