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OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL-LORD NORBURY'S CHARGE-FINDING THE JURY-EMMET'S CELEBRATED SPEECH-HIS CLUDING REMARKS.
"My Lords and Gentlemen of the Jury,
"You need not entertain any apprehension that, at this hour of the day, I am disposed to take up a great deal of your time, by observing upon the evidence which has been given. In truth, if this were an ordinary case, and if the object of this prosecution did not include some more momentous interests than the mere question of the guilt or innocence of the unfortunate gentleman who stands a prisoner at the bar, I should have followed the example of his counsel, and should have declined making any observation upon the evidence. But, gentlemen, I do feel this to be a case of infinite importance indeed-it is a case important, like all others of this kind, by involving the life of a fellow-subject; but it is doubly and ten-fold important, because, from the evidence which has been given in the progress of it, the system of this conspiracy against the laws and constitution of the country has been developed in all its branches; and in observing upon the conduct of the prisoner at the bar, and bringing home the evidence of his guilt, I am bringing home guilt to a person who, I say, is the centre, the life-blood and soul of this atrocious conspiracy.
Gentlemen, with respect to the evidence which has been offered upon the part of the crown to substantiate the guilt of the prisoner, I shall be very short indeed in recapitulating and observing upon it— I shall have very little more to do than to follow the statement which was made by my learned and eloquent friend, who stated the case upon the part of the crown; because it appears to me that the outline which was given by him has been with an exactness and precision seldom to be met with, followed up by the proof. Gentlemen, what is the sum and substance of that evidence? I shall not detain you by detailing the particulars of it. You see the prisoner at the bar returning from foreign countries some time before hostilities were on the point of breaking out between these countries and France; at first avowing himself not disguising or concealing himself-he was then under no necessity of doing so; but when hostilities commenced, and when it was not improbable that foreign invasion might co-operate with domestic treason, you see him throwing off the name by which he was previously known, and disguising himself under new appellations and characters. You see him in the month of March or April going to an
obscure lodging at Harold's-cross, assuming the name of Hewitt, and concealing himself there for what purpose? Has he called upon any witness to explain it to you, if he were upon any private enterprise, if for fair and honourable views, or any other purpose than that which is imputed to him by the indictment? Has he called a single witness to explain it? No; but after remaining six weeks or two months in this concealment, when matters began to ripen a little more, when the house was hired in Thomas-street, which became the depôt and magazine of military preparation, he then thinks it necessary to assume another character and another place of abode, accommodated to a more enlarged sphere of action; he abandons his lodging, he pays a fine of sixty-one guineas for a house in Butterfield-lane, again disguised by another assumed name— -that of Ellis. Has he called any person to account for this, or to excuse by argument, or even by assertion, this conduct ?-why, for any honest purpose, he should take this place for his habitation under a feigned name?
"But you find his plans of treason becoming more mature. He is there associated with two persons, one of the name of Dowdall. We have not explained in evidence what his situation is, or what he had been; the other is Quigley-he has been ascertained by the evidence to have been a person originally following the occupation of a bricklayer; but he thought proper to desert the humble walk in which he was originally placed, and to become a framer of constitutions and a subverter of empires.
"With these associates he remains at Butterfield-lane, occasionally leaving it and returning again; whether he was superintending the works which were going forward, or whatever other employment engaged him, you will determine. Be it what it may, if it were not for the purpose of treason and rebellion, he has not thought proper by evidence to explain it. So matters continued until some short time before the fatal night of the 23rd of July. Matters became somewhat hastened by an event which took place about a week before the breaking out of the insurrection-a house in Patrick-street, in which a quantity of powder had been collected for the purposes of the rebellion, exploded. An alarm was spread by this accident; the conspirators found that if they delayed their schemes and waited for foreign co-operation, they would be detected and defeated, and therefore it became necessary to hasten to immediate action. What is the consequence? From that time the prisoner is not seen in his old habitation, he moves into town, and becomes an inmate and constant inhabitant of this depôt. These facts, which I am stating, are not collected by inference from his disguise, his concealment, or the assumption of a foreign name, or the other concomitant circumstances, but are proved by the positive testimony of three witnesses, all of whom positively swear to the identity of his person, Fleming, Colgan, and Farrell, every one of whom swears he saw the prisoner (tallying exactly with each other as to his person, the dress he wore, the functions he exercised), and every one of whom had a full opportunity of knowing him. You saw him at Butterfield-lane, under the assumed
name of Ellis-you see him carrying the same name into the depôt, not wishing to avow his own until the achievement of the enterprise would crown it with some additional éclat.
"The first witness, Fleming, appears in the character of a person who was privy to the conspiracy-he was acquainted with the depôt from the moment it was first taken-he had access to it and co-operated in the design-he was taken upon suspicion-and under these circumstances he makes the disclosure. If the case of the prosecution rested upon the evidence of this man alone, though an accomplice in the crime, it would be sufficient evidence to go to you for your consideration, upon which you would either acquit the prisoner or find him guilty. In general, from the nature of the crime of treason, from the secrecy with which it is hatched and conducted, it frequently happens that no other evidence can be resorted to but that of accomplices; and therefore, notwithstanding the crimes of such witnesses, their evidence is admissible to a jury. But, doubtless, every honest and considerate jury, whether in a case of life or not, will scrupulously weigh such evidence. If it be consistent with itself, disclosing a fair and candid account, and is not impeached by contradictory testimony, it is sufficient to sustain a verdict of guilt.
"But, gentlemen, I take up your time unnecessarily in dwelling upon this topic, which I introduced rather in justification of the principles which regulate such evidence, than as attaching any particular weight to it in the present instance; because, if you blot it altogether from your minds, you have then the testimony of two other persons not tainted with the conspiracy-one of them brought in while in a state of intoxication, and the other taken by surprise when he was watching at the door-in every respect corroborating the testimony of Fleming, and substantiating the guilt of the prisoner. You heard the kind of implements which were prepared, their account of the command assumed by the prisoner, living an entire week in the depôt, animating his workmen, and hastening them to the conclusion of their business. When the hour of action arrived, you see him dressed in military array, putting himself at the head of the troops who had been shut up with him in this asylum, and advancing with his party, armed for the capture of the Castle, and the destruction of his fellow
"Gentlemen of the jury, what was the part which the prisoner took in that night of horror, I will not attempt to insinuate to you; I hope and trust in God, for the sake of himself his fame-his eternal welfare -that he was incapable of being a party to the barbarities which were committed; I do not mean to insinuate that he was, but that he headed this troop, and was present while some shots were fired, has been proved by uncontroverted testimony. At what time he quitted them-whether from prudence, despair, or disgust he retired from their bands-is not proved by evidence upon the table; but from the moment of the discomfiture of his project, we find him again concealed. We trace him with the badges of rebellion glittering upon his person, attended by the two other consuls, Quigley, the bricklayer, and Dowdall,
the clerk, whether for concealment, or to stimulate the wretched peasantry to other acts of insurrection, you will determine. We first trace him to Doyle's, and then to Bagnall's; one identifies him, the other, from her fears, incapable of doing so; but the same party, in the same uniforms, go to her house, until the apprehension of detection drove them from her. When he could no longer find shelter in the mountains, nor stir up the inhabitants of them, he again retires to his former obscure lodging, the name of Ellis is abandoned, the regimental coat is abandoned, and again he assumes the name of Hewitt. What is his conduct in this concealment ? He betrays his apprehensions of being taken up by government, for what? Has any explanation been given to shew what it could be, unless for rebellion? There he plans a mode of escape, refusing to put his name upon the door. You find him taken a reluctant prisoner, twice attempting to escape, and only brought within the reach of the law by force and violence. What do you find then? Has he been affecting to disguise his object, or that his plan was less dignified than his motive-that of treason? No such thing. He tells young Palmer that he was in Thomas-street that night, he confesses the treason, he boasts of his uniform, part of which was upon his person when he was taken; he acknowledges all this to the young man in the house-a witness, permit me to remark, not carried away by any excess of over-zeal to say any thing to the injury of the prisoner, and therefore to his testimony, so far as it affects the prisoner, you may with a safe conscience afford a reasonable degree of credit.
"Under what circumstances is he taken? In the room in which he was, upon a chair near the door, is found an address to the government. of the country, and in the very first paragraph of that address the composer of it acknowledges himself to be at the head of a conspiracy for the overthrow of the government which he addresses, telling them, in diplomatic language, what conduct the undersigned will be compelled. to adopt, if they shall presume to execute the law. He is the leader, whose nod is a FIAT, and he warns them of the consequences!
"Gentlemen of the jury, you will decide whether the prisoner at the bar or Mrs. Palmer was the person who denounced those terms, and this vengeance against the government. What is found upon him? A letter written by a brother conspirator, consulting him upon the present posture of the rebellion, their future prospects, and the probability of French assistance, and also the probable effects of that assistance, if it should arrive. What further is found? At the depôtand every thing found there, whether coming out of the desk which he appears to have used and resorted to, or in any other part of the place which he commanded, is evidence against him-you find a treatise upon the art of war, framed for the purpose of drilling the party who were employed to effect this rebellion; but of war they have proved that they are incapable of knowing any thing but its ferocities and its crimes. You find two proclamations, detailing systematically and precisely the views and objects of this conspiracy, and you find a manuscript copy of one of them, with interlineations and other marks of its
being an original draft. It will be for you to consider who was the framer of it-the man who presided at the depôt, and regulated all the proceedings there, or whether it was formed by Dowdall the clerk, by Quigley the bricklayer, or by Stafford the baker, or any of the illiterate victims of the ambition of this young man, who have been convicted in this court, or whether it did not flow from his pen, and was dictated by his heart?
"Gentlemen, with regard to this mass of accumulated evidence, forming irrefragable proof of the guilt of the prisoner, I conceive no man capable of putting together two ideas can have a doubt. Why, then, do I address you, or why should I trespass any longer upon your time and your attention? Because, as I have already mentioned, I feel this to be a case of great public expectation, of the very last national importance; and because, when I am prosecuting a man in whose veins the life's blood of this conspiracy flowed, I expose to the public eye the utter meanness and insufficiency of its resources. What does it avow itself to be? A plan-not to correct the excesses, or reform the abuses of the government of the country; not to remove any specks or imperfections which might have grown upon the surface of the constitution, or to restrain the overgrown power of the crown, or to restore any privilege to Parliament, or to throw any new security around the liberty of the subject. No. But it plainly and boldly avows itself to be a plan to separate Great Britain from Ireland, uproot the monarchy, and establish a free and independent republic in Ireland' in its place! To sever the connection between Great Britain and Ireland! Gentlemen, I should feel it a waste of words and of public time, were I to address you or any person within the limits of my voice were I to talk of the frantic desperation of the plan of any man who speculates upon the dissolution of that empire whose glory and whose happiness depends upon its indissoluble connection. But were it practicable to sever that connection, to untie the links which bind us to the British constitution, and to turn us adrift upon the turbulent ocean of revolution, who could answer for the existence of this country, as an independent country, for a year? God and nature have made the two countries essential to each other; let them cling to each other to the end of time, and their united affection and loyalty will be proof against the machinations of the world.
"But how was this to be done? By establishing 'a free and independent republic!' High-sounding name! I would ask, whether the man who used them understood what he meant? I will not ask what may be its benefits, for I know its evils. There is no magic in the name. We have heard of free and independent republics,' and have since seen the most abject slavery that ever groaned under iron despotism growing out of them.
Formerly, gentlemen of the jury, we have seen revolutions effected by some great call of the people, ripe for change and unfitted by their habits for ancient forms; but here, from the obscurity of concealment, and by the voice of that pigmy authority, self-created, and fearing to shew itself but in arms under cover of the night, we are called upon