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the public is, that we should live like one harmonious family, that we should banish all animosities, jealousies, and suspicions of one another; and that, living under the protection of a mild and impartial justice, we should endeavour, with one heart, according to our best judgments, to advance the freedom and maintain the security of Great Britain.
Gentlemen, I will trouble you no further ; I am afraid indeed I have too long trespassed on your patience, I will therefore proceed to call my witnesses.
On the examination of the witnesses, to the matters mentioned by Mr. Erskine in his Speech, the witness for the Crown, Thomas Dunn, was so entirely contradicted, that Mr. Law interposing, in the manner stated in the preface, the trial ended, and Mr. Walker and the other Defendants were acquitted.
THOMAS HARDY, ...::: FOR HIGH TREASON,
AT THE SESSIONS HOUSE IN THE OLD BAILEY.
The Trial began on the 28th of October, and ended on the 5th
of November, 1794.
SUBJECT OF THE TRIAL, &c. We have not been without considerable difficulties in preparing the introduction to Mr. Erskine's Speech upon this most memorable State Trial.. .
It was our original intention, as we have before stated, to have published such of Mr. Ershine's Speeches as we were able to collect, in the same manner as those of the Master of the Rolls in Ireland had been printed in Dublin, which led, as we have said, to the present publication--prefixing only, as in that collection, a short account of the occasions on which they were delivered. But as we advanced in the work, we found some of the Speeches, which we had collected, so closely connected with political differences in our own times, that, to avoid even the appearance of partiality, or of any desire to render the work subservient to the sentiments or views of any particular class of persons however eminent ;-above all, to avoid the most distant appearance of entering into the imputed or supposed
designs of the persons prosecuted by Government, and defended in the Speeches in question, we found it advisable, because in those instances practicable, to print not only the Speeches for the Crown, but the whole sub. slance of the evidence. This could not be done, upon the present occasion, without printing the whole Trial, which occupies three large volumes : yet, to give to Mr. Erskine's Speech--the publication of which is our principal design--its true spirit and effect, we found that it would be necessary to explain the nature of the arguments it opposed, and of the evidence which it appealed to, and had prepared a concise statement of the whole case.--Still apprehensive, however, that we might be suspected of leaning to the side of the parties accused by Government--and be charged with giving a garbled publication from motives foreign toour pro• fessions--we resolved to print the entire Speech of the Attorney General, in which he detailed the whole body of the evidence, and also the law respecting high treason, as he meant to apply it against the Prisoners, which, with the answer to it by Mr. Erskine, brings forward the whole outline of this interesting: proceeding.
Never, perhaps, were any persons accused of high treason (certainly not since the government became settled at the Revolution) exposed to such great difficulties in making their defence. It will be seen by the following Speeches, and by the Indictment prefixed to then, that the Prisoners were charged with compassing and imagining the death of the King, the overt act
being a conspiracy, which, though masked under the pretence of procuring by legal means a reform in the Commons House of Parliament, had for its real object the subversion by rebellious force of the whole frame of the constitution of the country.
In support of this Indictment it will be seen by the following Speeches, that the evidence for the Crown was divided into two distinct branches, viz, to establish, first, that such a conspiracy existed, and secondly, to prove that the Prisoners were parties to it. This course of proceeding had been sanctioned by the opinions of the Judges upon other trials, but the adoption of it upon this occasion, however legal, undoubtedly exposed the Prisoners to great peril of prejudgment, because almost the whole of the evidence given by the Crown against them had been collected by both Houses of Parliament just before the trial, and printed by their authority, and a Statute * had even l'een passed, declaring, that the treacherous conspiracy which constituted the first and very important branch of the evidence, did in fact exist within the kingdom. We say a very important branch of the evidence, because undoubtedly, if the Jury had considered that the evidence supported the truth of the preamble to the Act of Parliament, the Prisoners must have been in a
* 34 Geo. III. c. 54. The preamble to the Bill states, that " whereas a treacherous and detestable conspiracy has been “ formed for subverting the existing laws and constitution, and for “ introducing the system of anarchy and confusion, which has so lately prevailed in France, &c.
manner without a defence. Authority was also given to detain, without bail, persons already in custody, on suspicion of being engaged in the above conspiracy, or who should be thereafter committed on that account.
With regard to this Act of Parliument, it is im- possible, on the one hand, to deny the constitutional competency of Parliament to declare the existence of a dangerous and extended conspiracy, endangering not: only the safety, but the very existence of the State. On the other hand, the persons who may become obnoxious to suspicion, and be subjected to a public pro.' secution in consequence of such a legislative proceeding, come to a trial under seemingly insurmountable disadvantages.
. . In the very case before us, the two Houses of Parliament had collected and arrunged the greater part of the wrilten evidence afterwards produced by the Crown against the Prisoners, and in the preamble of the Act had given it the character of a detestable conspiracy, to subvert the monarchij, although, as has been already stated, the inquiry of the Jury was to be divided into two branches-First, whether the evidence, great part of which had been so collected and arranged in Parliament and published, substantiated the declaration made in the preamble of the Bill, of the existence of such a conspiracy to sutvert the Government : and secondly, whether the Prisoners had any and what share in it. Now it is most obvious, that if, in deference to the judgment of Parliament, the first part of this division had been found by the