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ment or information; and shall not be re 109 of Burke's Works, 8vo. edit. of 1812. quired or directed, by the Court or judge be- The following was Mr. Dowdeswell's bill : fore whom such indictment or information shall be tried, to find the defendant or de
« Whereas doubts and controversies have tendants guilty, merely on the proof of the arisen at various times concerning the right publication by such defendant or detendants of jurors to try the whole matter laid in inof the paper charged to be a libel, and of the dicuments and informations for seditious and sense ascribed to the same in such indict- others libels: And whereas trial by juries ment or information.
would be of none or imperfect effect, if the “ Provided always, that, on every such trial juries were not held to be competent to try the Court or Judge before whom such indiet- the whole matter aforesaid; for settling and ment or information shall be tried, shall, ac
clearing such doubts and controversies, and cording to their or his discretion, give their for securing to the subject the effectual and or buis opinion and directions to the jury on complele henefit of trial by juries in such the matter in issue between the king and the indictments and informations ; Be it enacted, defendant or defendants in like manner as in &c. That jurors duly empannelled and sworn other criminal cases.
to try the issue between the king and the “ Provided also that nothing herein contained defendant upon any indictment or informashall extend or be construed to extend, to tion for a seditious libel, or a libel under any prevent the jury from finding a special ver- other denomination or description, shall be dict, in their discretion as in other criminal held and reputed competent' to all intents
and purposes, in law and in right, to try “Provided also that in case the jury shall every part of the matter laid or charged in find the defendant or defendants guilty, it said indictment or information, comprehendshall and may be lawful for the said 'de- ing the criminal intention of the defendant, tendant or defendants to move in arrest of and the evil tendency of the libel charged, as judgment, on such ground and in such man
well as the mere fact of the publication ner as by law he or they might have done thereof, and the application by innuendo of þefore the passing of this act; any thing I blanks, initial letters, pictures, and other de herein contained to the contrary notwith vices; any opinion, question, ambiguity or standing."
doubt to the contrary notwithstanding." Antecedent to the enactment of the above statute, an ineffectual attempt had been made in the House of Commons, (March 7th 1771), A prosecution was likewise instituted, in by Mr. Dowdeswell, to introduce a bill to consequence of an address from the House of remove doubts as to the right of juries in Cominons, against the printer and publisher trials for libel. Mr. Dowdeswell's motion of The World' for a libel contained in some for bringing in his bill was seconded by remarks on the tardiness with which that sir George Savile, and warmly supported by Hlouse proceeded in the business of Hastings's Edmund Burke. See the debate thereon, impeachinent. Sec 41 Comin. Journal, 463. Vol. XVII., New Parl. Hist. p. 43. Mr. Bostock the printer of the libel, was brought Burke's speech will be found in Pol. Y., p. ! to trial in May 1790, and found guilty.
572. Proceedings in the Case of John Friti, for High Treason,
at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey, on Saturday, April 17th: 30 GEORGE III. A. D. 1790.*
[1790, January 21st. As his majesty was
going in statc to the House of Peers, on passing the corner opposite Carlton-house, in St. James's Park, a stone was thrown at the coach by a tall man dressed in a scarlet coat, black breeches, a striped waistcoat, a cocked hat, with an orange-coloured cockade; he was immediately apprehended and taken to Mr. Grenville's office, in the treasury, Whitehall, where he underwent an examination by the attorney-general and
sir Sanipson Wright, before Mr. Pitt, Mr.
Taken in short hand by E. Ilodgson, and published by authority in the Sessions paper of the above date.
found by the grand jury against John Frith Mr. Garrow. I entirely concur with my for high treason; and on April 17th the fol- learned friend. We certainly, as counsel, are lowing proceedings took place :
suitors to Mr. Attorney-general's humanity,
that more time may be allowed for the priAt the Sessions House in the Old Bailey, soner's defence. Whether Mr. Frith himself before the right honourable William Pickett, will or will not consent, I do not know. lord mayor of the city of London; the right Mr. Garrow to Mr. Frith. Mr. Frith, we honourable Lloyd lord Kenyon, lord chief | have been applying to the Court, or to Mr. justice of his majesty's Court of King's-bench; | Attorney-general, to permit your trial to sir Beaumont lotham, knight, one of the stand over till next sessions, upon our judg. barons of his majesty's Court of Exchequer; ment; it appearing to us that it will be betthe honourable John Heath, esq. one of the ter, and your defence better arranged. justices of his majesty's Court of Common Prisoner. I object to it, on account of my Pleas; John William Rose, esq. serjeant at health being in a bad state through long conlaw, recorder of the said city, and others his ma- finement. I should rather meet it now: it jesty's justices of Oyer and Terminer of the is depriving a subject of his liberty, and encity of London, and justices of goal delivery dangering his health. of Newgate, holden for the said city, and Mr. Att. Gen. Notwithstanding what this county of Middlesex.
unhappy gentleman has said, I am given to JURY.
understand that there may be some circumWilliam George Thomas Hill
stances in his situation; and likewise that he Dutton Greenwood William Matthews
is not very well able in point of pecuniary Wm. Aug. Mitchell Francis Osliffc
concerns, to be so ready in the collection of Kains Ford William Ramsden
materials for his defence, as many other pri. John Dell William Sedcole
soners are: therefore if my friends are of William May Laban Tilbrooke.
opinion that he must go to his trial now un
der great disadvantages, possibly arising from Counsel for the Crown.– Mr. Attorney-Ge the last cause, as well as the other, I shall neral [Sir A. Macdonald, afterwards Lord | have no objection to give the gentlemen such Chief Baron]; Mr. Solicitor-General [Sir time as will enable them to collect such eviJohn Scott, afterwards successively Lord Chiet dence as they may choose. Justice, C. B. and Lord Chancellor]; Mr. Prisoner. Then I shall make an applicaLaw (now (1816) Lord Chief Justice, B. R.]; tion to some member of parliament or the Mr. Silvester (now Recorder of London]. legislature. I therefore totally appeal against Counsel for the Prisoner.- Mr. Shepherd
such power of putting off the trial any far[now Solicitor-General]; Mr. Garrow (now
ther; and whoever dares to oppose me in that Attorney-General].
respect, I will represent him to the legisla
ture, or some member of parliament; either The prisoner being put to the bar, the to general North, or some gentlemen whom I clerk began to arraign him, “John Frith, have the honour of knowing. * you stand indicted by the name of John Mr. Garrow. My lord, we are put into an • Frith;'--when Mr. Shepherd, one of hiscoun- arduous situation. But for one, I feel it to be sel, addressed the Court as follows;
my duty to take upon myself in opposition to Aly lord; before the prisoner is arraigned the prisoner, for the prisoner's benefit, to pray I wish to make an application. To-day my that the court, or rather the attorney-general friend Mr. Garrow and myself are counsel will consent to postponing this trial. for the defendant, Mr. Frith; and though we Court. Mr. Attorney-General has conducted are furnished with what we think a sufficient himself on this occasion as he always does, defence, yet we should feel ourselves defici- exceedingly liberally and properly; and is ent, it while we thought so, there were other ready to give all that indulgence which huevidence that could be brought forward, (and manity calls for, because justice could not we think there is some very important evi- be attained without reasonable delay interdence which might be procured before the posing, therefore it must stand over till next next sessions,) on behalf of Mr. Frith: on sessions. that account, we, as counsel for him, apply Prisoner. I do not admit of it. And I to the humanity of the attorney-general, to shall make an application to parliament, that beg he would consent to the postponing this I have been here three months in disagrecable trial to the next sessions.
confinement; and the king has broken the In this case we exercise our duty as coun mutual obligation between him and the subsel: Mr. Frith is entitled to the best of our ject; and the assault is of such a simple kind judgment: whether he will choose to be of manner; and what I have met with is of guided by that is certainly a consideration for such a nature, that I desire to speak by way his own inind. Mr. Attorney-general always of extenuation, and to plead guilty or not will attend to applications of this sort; / guilty to the facts. I then shall make an we therefore do hope that he will consent. application as being illegally detained in
Court. This application is made on our prison, that you will not admit a British subjudgment ?
ject to plead to the indictment: I therefore
shall make an application to the legislature, Mr. Shepherd. Mr Frith, you are aware that you are violating the laws of this king that the gentlemen of the jury who have dom. I will not put it in the power of the been just sworn, are going to inquire whether gentlemen that are employed for me to put you are in a fit situation to plead at this tinie, it off.
and to be tried. Now I wish you would Court. It is impossible for the most inat- state to these gentlemen what reasons you tentive observer not to be aware that there have to give, to induce them to think you may in this case be a previous inquiry neces
produce any memorandums. sary: such is the humanity of the law of Prisoner. I have had a physician attended England, that in all stages both when the me two months past. On the 22nd of January, act is committed, at the time when the pri- I came into these circumstances: and they soner makes his defence, and even at the day were pleased to send the king's physician to of execution, it is important to settle what examine me, whether I was perfectly in my his state of mind is*; and at the time he is senses: I persevered in being so, and would called to plead, if there are circumstances that take no drugs from the apothecary. I begged suggest to one's mind that he is not in the him to attend as a friend to me, to protect me possession of his reason, we must certainly be from insult, supposing there was any possibicareful that nothing is introduced into the lity that I could be insulted in this great administration of justice, but what belongs to prison: but if I had not been well, I would that administration. The justice of the law have had my own physician, Dr. Heberden, lias provided a remedy in such cases, there who attended my father formerly, wben fore I think there ought now to be an inquiry living: I looked upon him as a friend attendmade, touching the sanity of this man at this ing me, to prove that I was in my senses or time; whether he is in a situation of mind any thing else. I made memorandums of to say what his grounds of defence here are. his visits, and the various conversations that I know it is untrodden ground though it is we had together. I made memorandums likeconstitutional : then get a jury together to wise of letters: a letter which I wrote to inquire into the present state of his mind; Messrs. Cox and Greenwood; and I have a the twelve men that are here will do.
copy of it, and one that I wrote about the Prisoner to Mr. Garrow. I beg the favour 24th of February, during the time that the last to speak to you.
sessions was here, when I thought I might be Mr. Garrow. By all means, sir.
tried; I then re-copied it again. I then menPrisoner. The privy council were pleased to tioned that a disagreeable thing had hapsend the king's physician to me, after I had pened, that general Clarke is coming home appeared before my lord Kenyon on the 22nd in disgrace. To hide that infamy that has of January, I was examined at the privy | happened, they wished to give it out that I council by lord Camden ; and they seni the was out of my senses. The agents who had imking's physician to me. I made dates and mediately freed me from the inconveniences memorandums of the physician's visits, like I was under, they were ordered to deny the wise remarks that I spoke to him at various subject the liberty of drawing on his agent, on times; and of the apothecary's visits also : the nouse where he had money to answer his they persevered in my being in perfect health, bills. They acknowledged me to have been fit to meet my trial; and I have put down the perfectly in my senses at the time when I conversations.
first came to England; I drew on them, and Mr. Justice Heath. The jury will take I have totally freed myself from the inconvenotice of that.
nience I was under, from being improperly The Jury sworn as follows :-* You shall detained in the county of Cheshire. I was diligently inquire, and true presentment writing a letter of what was publicly given make for, and on behalf of our sovercign out concerning the subject: I then wrote to ' lord the king, whether John Frith, the Messrs. Cox, Cox and Greenwood to beg they
now prisoner at the bar, who stands indicted would send down some gentlemen here to ' for high treason, be of sound mind and un prove how the liberty of the subject was in‘derstanding or not, and a true verdict give vaded in 1787, in June; and such letters will according to the best of your understanding, prove that the 24th of last February I was so help you God.
right in my mind then; and that now I
re-copied it again about a fortnight ago : and * As to this see the case of Bateman, ante it went through my attorney to Messrs. Cox, Vol. XI, p. 467 : Sir John Llawles's Remarks Cox and Greenwood's house; that will prove on that case, p. 476 of the same Volume, and the state of my mind at that period of time. the authorities there cited. See also 4 Blackst. Mr. Garrow. Will you have the goodness Comm., pp. 24, 395, and Christian's notes ; Mr. Frith to state to the Jury the circumand in this collection the case of Purchase, stance that took place on your arrival at Vol. XV, p. 689, that of Edward Arnold, Vol. Liverpool, about the clergyman. XVI, p. 695, the note to that case, Vol. XVI, Prisoner. When I first arrived at Liverp. 765, the case of earl Ferrers, Vol. XIX, p. pool I perceived I had some powers like those 885; and the case of Hadfield, April 26th, which St. Paul had; and the sun that St. A. D. 1800.
Paul gives a description of in the Testament;
an extraordinary power that came down upon he said it was the psalms; I then talked me-the power of Christ; in consequence of about his trial, and he then entered into such my persecution and being ill-used, the public conversation as you have heard about St. wanted to receive me as a most extraordinary Paul and Christ. kind of a man ; they would have received me This conversation is not new, you have in any manner that I pleased. When I went heard it before !-Yes. to St. Thomas's church I was there surprised Prisoner. I said it was when I was landed to hear the clergyman preach a most extraor- at Liverpool, and was giving a narrative. dinary sermon upon me as if I was a god : I Mr. Garrow. From the whole of your infound my friends wanted me to support that tercourse with him, did it appear to you that kind of fanaticism in this country; this ser- he was insane?-I really thought so. mon was printed afterwards by Eyre the printer You think so now?-I do. at Warrington; when I came to London to the king concerning some military business I told
Richard Akerman, 'esq. sworn. him nothing about any supernatural abilities or You have had frequent opportunities of the power of God. When I went to the Infir- seeing Mr. Frith ? --I have frequently seen mary over Westminster-bridge, to the Asylum, Mr. Frith; I have been with him frequently. I was surprised to hear general Washington's State from the conversation you have had late chaplain Mr. Duche ; he said, I remem- with him, and his conduct on the whole what ber the words he said, “See him clothed in your opinion is of the state of his mind.—It grace," pointing to me; there were some is very hard I should be called upon; I have supernatural appearances at that time, there- heard such conversation as you have heard in fore I could wish the privy council when I court. came to England or the parliament, might be Mr. Garrow. I will not trouble Mr. Akerwitnesses that I did not want to set up any man. kind of powers to the public; but there are Prisoner. I have been very silent and close such extraordinary appearances that attend for many reasons, and to protect my person ; me at this moment that it is singular; and all I have read the psalms, my lord, as I had no I do daily is to make memorandums, daily to other books. prove myself in my senses; some friends in
Mr. Sheriff Newman sworn. Cheshire wanted me to set up some kind of fanaticism, some new branch of religion. Mr. Shepherd. Have you had any conver
Mr. Garrow. Would you be so good Mr. sation with Mr. Frith since he has been in Frith to inform the Court as you have an custody ?-Very frequently; I went the seopportunity now, of the complaint you made cond day after he was in Newgate; I went to me of the effect your confinement has upon entirely out of curiosity; I found him a subyou, and the pain in your ear?
ject of great compassion. He began talkPrisoner. In respect to the body of people, ing to me very deranged for the first ten miSt. Paul when he was at Jerusalem, the same nutes. I asked him, why he went over to kind of power then came down on the public; Holland? he said he went eastward in pursuit there is both a kind of good and evil power, of the light. I said, what light? he said, which we are all liable to in this world; why, you have read the scriptures? I said, in consequence of that I feel myself in a par- yes; says he, the same light that fell upon ticularly disagreeable situation in confine. St. Paul when he went to Damascus; I ment; I am under a state of suffocation said, what brought you back? why, says he, almost, the divine ordinances weighing, so when I got there I found the light was in the very low down that I am entirely reduced to west as well as in the east. He desired to a shadow almost, that is all to me as if it was have the liberty of walking in the yard; and a death seemingly, I am so in a state of con- I consulted Mr. Akerinan; and he said, there finement.
was an order concerning him. I found him The Rev. Mr. Villette sworn.
every time in the same way. was there once
when Dr. Millan came down; I met him Mr. Garrow. I believe Sir, you have had there; he for the first five minutes had doubts, an opportunity of conversing with this gen- but before he went away he was perfectly tleman since he has been in custody ?-Yes. satisfied the prisoner was insane; I have not
State the impressions that such conversa- the least doubt, nor possibly can have a tions made on your mind ?-The first time I doubt. I frequently found him reading in saw him I really thought from the appear- the book of Kings, and he told me he was ance he had, that he was deranged in his learning the art of war, and he should come mind; I took notice so to the man who had to be a general, and he should like to unthe care of him; some time after he sent for derstand the art of making war as the ana bible; I sent him one; then we had some cients did. conversation, and he told me he had a pocket Prisoner. I do not remember speaking volume of that book, but that they took it about that, and I made memorandums of my from him when he was before the privy coun- conversations with Mr. Newman. I never cil; he said. I am much obliged to you. I spoke about particular lights; I said, when I went to him a few days ago, he was reading, went over to Holland, as the ministers neg.
lected doing their duty to me as a subject, in this country; there is a power which women protecting me from the insults of the body are now afflicted with; there is a power that of people; stirring up licentiousness, aiming rules now, that women can torment men if at me; they drove me out of the kingdom; I they are in a room; over your head they may went to Holland to shelter myself from the annoy you by speaking in your ear; I have body of the people, but I do not remember had a noise in my ear like speech; it is in the saying any thing of following the light. power of women to annoy men publicly,
To Mr. Newman. Do you think it was ah. throughout the whole continent. solute incapacity of mind, or fcigned or as Could you satisiy one of the jury, that such suried ?-I believe-absolutely that he is totally a noise exists in your ear at this time ? -That deranged, and not in the use of his senses for there is a noise in my ear at this time? ten minutes together; every day I saw him Yes.-No; I am free from it now. he was so, and of that there is not a doubt; I Oh! you are free from it now?-Yes; but went at different times merely to make ob- it is the power and effects of what they call servations.
witchcrait, or some kind of communication Mr. Garrow. Mr. Frith, are you acquainted between women and men; but I have rewith Mr. Burnsell the auctioneer? - Yes; he inained such a chaste man for these four took an extraordinary liberty in putting into years, that it has fallen upon me particularly; the Public Advertiser, the 3rd of February, and the physician, by leaving me a month a letter, dated the ist, declaring me insane, ago and visiting me as a friend, will totally a most extraordinary liberty ; I thought it speak to the fact; the last time he visited prudent to keep a copy: I have made memo me was on the 19th of March; says he, I randums, but they have been taken from me hope you will be restored and fit to take by colonel Amherst, the same as Mr. Wilkes's your trial; but I know your friend Mr. Hopapers were seized, * a kind of alteration of garth--I have seen him ; and some people the laws of the land, a kind of scheme to that are in court will be able to declare me in make a man appear insane, to totally dis my senses; I have said little or nothing at guise, to undo the liberty of the British sub- ali lately, and been totally silent, so that it is ject; in fact, it is such a concerled evil that I impossible for me to be in that state. Shall do not know where it will end.
I beg the favour to address my lord? llad Mr. Burnsell any ill- will to you? Lord Chief Justice. If you please, Sir. None at all; he was only employed to hide Prisoner. Do you recollect me in the year the mutiny that those applauses of the 1775, when I applied to you in person on a clergymen had occasioned: he went to a case of some landed property between me and person that lives with Mrs. Dowdeswell, in one Entwistle at Cheshire? when you were a upper Brook-street; he had a letter, and was counsel and were one of my counsel, with perhaps feed; the clergyman declared me as one Mr. Ilughes--knowing me then, and a god, the body of the people as a man in- likewise in October, at the assizes, respecting sane; myself applying to the king merely to some contested property-some landed proget my birth again; when I went to my friend perty I have in Cheshire ? Now that circuminr. Burnsell, I spoke of no powers of God or stance may corroborate my declaration of the Christ.
state of my mind. Was that before the complaint with which L. C. J. I do not recollect it. you were afflicted in your car?-Before that,
Mr. Fuller sworn. i he pain in my car, shall I finish with respect to Mr. Burnsell?
I have frequently seen Mr. Frith since he If you please.-I found he wished to sup came from the East Indies; I have had oprose me not right in my senses, and that he portunities of conversing with him at particould produce no prooi; he has declared in cular times. the public papers, that I behaved in such Mr. Shepherd. Do you recollect any thing a violent manner in his house, as totally to particular in his conversation that induced prove myself out of my senses; I have the you to take notice of the state of his mind? facts now on one side put down, that I can Yes, several times; on Christmas eve was find no one circumstance of the kind, and 10 two years, I spent four hours with him; I put such a letter into the newspaper ! if they conversed with him for three hours before I wish to make a man appear insane, he should knew any thing was the matter with him; be taken before the lord chancellor, and there and upon asking him a question respecting make a general declaration some way or the matters he had mentioned before, conother; but it is done to interfere with the cerning his ill treatment by major Amherst liberty of the subject.
and ensign Steward, in the West Indies, he Mr. Frith, how long were you afflicted with declared then the reason he was -all-treated that complaint in your ear?-I endured it; I was, that he wished to reveal what the gosupposed it merely as a tritling thing; but that vernment wished to conceal; for that he coviplaint arises from a power of witchcraft
, saw a cloud come down from heaven; that which existed about a hundred years ago in it cemented into a rock, and out of that
sprung a false island of Jamaica, and because * See Vol. XIX of this Collection, he wished to reveal it, he had, he said, been