Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ment.

or

266

Trial uj. rer. Richard England. in the habit of gaming with the

attention to a case, the impordefendant, and having won of tance of which they had colleated him at whist 1681. he drew upon from the reading of the indicthim a bill for that sum, which he

They knew that

the accordingly accepted.

crime imputed to the unfortuneate It was then proved, that by gentleman at the bar was one of some means (not disclosed in evi the greatest that man was capable dence) this bill of 1681. came to of committing, that of wilfully the hands of the plaintiff, who

a had wrote a receipt on the back creature of his life.

The princiof it, purporting that he had re ples of the law of England, and ceived the contents of it.

the administration of criminal A witness was called, by whose justice being perfe&tly clear in the evidence it appeared that the bills minds of the jury, it would-be in question were two of those that unnecessary for him to explain had been given to the plaintiff, inuch at large upon; they would in satisfaction of the 1681. bill. be able to comprehend them

The learned judge observed, without 'allistance from him, that the bill of 1681. was unques. perhaps any assistance whatever ; tionably contaminated in confe at least this was clear to them, quence of its being founded on that in proportion as the charge an unlawful gaming transaction; was of great magnitude, the eviand the law was, that all bills or dence ought to be clear, precise, notes given as a security for, or and satisfactory, before a person in fatisfaction for such fuit, illegal standing in the unfortunate fitubills were void. This was the ation of the prisoner should be express meaning of the statute pronounced guilty.

The jury against illicit gaming, a practice had now a folemn duty cast upon 200 prevalent among young men.

them
upon

this occasion; they The jury found a verdiet for would find themselves called upon the defendant.

to pay attention to facts which would be laid before them; but

all direction necessary they would TRIAL of Mr. RICHARD ENG

receive from the bench as appli. LAND, for the Murder of Wil

cable to the law upon the facts, LIAM PETER LE ROWLES.

because it was by this and this alone, that a true judgment could

be formed. As to any observa. OLD BAILEY.

tions which he should find it his Friday, Feb 18.

duty to submit, the Jury would ICHARD ENGLAND

pay no attention whatever
them, except as they should

apo on an indictment for the murder pear to be supported by evidence; of William Peter Le Rowles, on and in forming their judgment the 18th day of June, in the 24th either for or against the prisoner, year of the reign of our sovereign he was sure that in the direction lord the King, by thooting him which they should have, they in a duel.

would have fatisfactory informaMr. Serjeant Adair opened the tion with regard to the law. case on the part of the prosecu Whatever, therefore, should be tion. He said it was his duty to his duty to state to the jury, should address the jury, and to call their be merely with a view to direct

their

to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Trial of Mr. Richard England. 267 their attention to the material duty to perform it. God forbid, circumstances of the cafe. But however, that they should do so whatever they should hear from but upon the clearest and most him in the opening of this case satisfactory evidence. When he for the crown, they would re had laid the case before the jury ceive merely as a narrative, and in pursuance to his duty, no man they would wholly suspend all would feel more satisfaction than impressions on their minds, be himself, if the jury should find it. cause the mere recital of facts poffible to deliver the prisoner ought to have no weight with from the charge imputed to him. them, as they were afterwards to But before he proceeded further, hear the evidence given by the wit it was necessary for him to state nesses; and the jury need not form to them the nature of the case any ideas of the law of this case, which they were to try. It was until they should have heard it ex not a direct murder, such as is plained by the learned judge. generally committed in secret,

To the jury was now commit. difficult of proof, and founded on ted the moit important truft.

circumftantial evidence, so as to On the one hand, they had under make it an intricate subject of their care the life of the prisoner inquiry. It was an act committed at the bar; on the other the in the face of day. The fact of care of the due and

public admi.

the death of the unfortunate gennistration of justice, which was tlemen for many years now no the support of the law of this

more, would not be matter of country. They were called upon doubt in the course of the inquifor the protection of innocence ry into this subject. The only as well as the detection of guilt. question for the jury would be, They were to decide between the whether the guilt of murder was, prisoner and the public, and to or was not, properly imputable to administer justice in mercy : and the prisoner at the bar for the although 'mercy ought never to Thare he had in that transaction. be lost sight of in a criminal pro But if he was right in the law, ceeding, yet it was not to defeat he was afraid that the application justice. The jury in this case of it to this case would denomiwould require fatisfaction by the nate this

act of the prisoner clearest evidence of the guilt of

murder. What might be the nothe prisoner, before they pro

tions entertained of honour in nounced him guilty: for it was this country, what impressions their duty, if they felt any doubt, those notions might make on the to avail themselves of the general private feelings of individuals, it presumption of innocence, which was not his duty to settle. He was the principle of the law of was afraid that these notions, England; but yet they neither which were too generally enterwould nor ought to shut their tained upon that subject, were eyes against clear evidence of such as could not be defended in guilt. If the facts upon the evi a court of justice. He believed dence should be clear that the that our modern notions of hoprisoner had been guilty of that were neither confonant to breach of the law imputed to him, the law of this country, nor the then the jury would have to per

law of God. The rule of the law form a painful talk, but still they of this kingdom upon this case, would be bound by their public he maintained to be this.-If a

K k 2

man

nour

268

Trial of Mr. Richard England.

[ocr errors]

man armed with the instrument of

account, as far as they could, of death meets by agreement another all the circumstances; and the man armed, and they enter into jury would judge of them as they combat, and one of them is killed, were applicable to the guilt or the survivor is guilty of murder innocence of the unfortunate If once this fact be established, gentleman at the bar, as to the he apprehended the murder to be

crimes imputed to him. The tesclearly proved. If any case of timony would be judged of as it this kind should be thought a hard was credible, either for or againft one, the whole of it must be left the prisoner. All the circumto the prerogative of mercy. stances, as far as they came to his The jury would find, under the knowledge, should be laid before direction of the bench, that in the jury, and he should leave the point of law the offence in such counsel for the prisoner to supply case would be complete. They in his behalf, if they should be would, therefore, in the present able, that which was defective in cafe, make application of the favour of their client. After all fact to the law, and they would this was done, the jury would then determine whether the pri. confider, under all the circumsoner was guilty or not. Whe stances of the case, whether the ther the circumstance called for prisoner was the cause of the the severeit punishment to the ut death of the unfortunate gentlemost rigour, in case of convic man who fell in this unhappy aftion, must be afterwards submitted fair; and in judging of this the to the tender consideration of the jury should not only be well acfountain of mercy in the exercise quainted with the fact itself, but also of the royal prerogative ; but the with all the circumstances immecourt could only proceed accord diately connected with it. Whating to law. He had stated what ever allegation which should be occurred to him upon this sub made on the one side, or on the ject. It would be extremely right, other, not immediately belonging however, for all the circumstan to the unfortunate cataftrophe ces of this unhappy transaction that happened, the jury would to be laid before the jury, to en dismiss, and they would keep their able them to form their judgment minds free from all impresions for or against the unhappy gen. which might be felt by the suptleman who now food upon trial posed character of the accused for his life. If this case should party. They would let rumour, at last turn out to be a cruel case which, he was sorry to say, had against the prisoner, he should too much prevailed on this transfeel no inclination to press that action, have no effect upon their matter upon the consideration of minds. They would look at nothe jury. He thould call his thing but the evidence which witnesses according to his inftruc should be given in the cause ; by tions, who would give the jury that, and by that alone, should an account of all the circumstan they be guided in their opinion. ces attending the transaction, as The learned Serjeant then profar as they knew them.--But his ceeded to detail the circumstanwitnesses, from the nature of the ces of the case, and the facts on case, must be liable to miftakes which it originated, fome of and impofitions of every kind. which were afterwards given in They would, however, give an evidence. When he came to take

notice

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Trial of Mr. Richard England. 269 notice of the delay which had the jury would give to the case taken place in the course of this the attention which the impor. prosecution, he observed to the tance of it demanded. Should jury, that it arose from the con they have any doubt upon the duct of the prisoner. He quitted cafe, they would give to the prithe kingdom immediately after foner the benefit of that doubt. the unhappy act, which formed But should the case be quite clear the present charge, and remained against the prisoner, painful as it abroad for many years. That he might be to the feelings of the lately returned to this country, was jury, they would pronounce him apprehended upon the outlawry, guilty. pleaded to it, and the outlawry was Lord Derby said, he rememreversed, and he now remained to bered being at Ascot races in the be tried upon his original indict year 1784 ; and he remembered, ment. It was now twelve years that the prisoner at the bar and fince this unhappy accident hap Mr. Rowles were there. The first pened. The jury might think per- thing that ftruck him was an adhaps there was a degree of animo

dress to the company by way of ; fity in the prosecution of this man caution, that the deceased was a

at this distance of time : upon this man who would neither pay the he should only say, that it would be money he borrowed, or loft. Mr. a principle extremely dangerous England was then fitting on a to the administration of justice, if bench in the stand ; Mr. Rowles persons who had committed crimes came up to him in a very boisterwere to withdraw for years, and ous and violent manner, and apafterwards to return and be per peared to offer to strike him, addmitted to avail themselves of the ing words to this effect--" What length of time which they had do you mean by that, you rascal, been absent, as a reason for their scoundrel ?" or some fuch word. not being tried. In this case, the The prisoner, with as much coolperson who prosecuted was not ness and temper as his lordship performing merely her duty, but ever saw in his life, said—“ Stand The was actuated by the feelings off, or I shall be obliged to knock of a mother, Her son had fallen you down ; our altercation has alby the hand of the prisoner, and ready too long interrupted the comher feelings would not permit her pany : if you have any thing to say to suffer that person who the con to me, you or your friends well ceived to be the murderer of her know where to find me.” His son, to walk at large in this coun lořdship added, he hąd reason to try, until after there should have believe some further altercation been an investigation of the case took place between the parties, in a court of justice. He was from the circumstance of their resure that whatever the feelings of maining in that situation for some the mother might be, she wished time; but, from the noise, he was the prisoner to be tried on the not able to collect any more. Some principles of public justice ; and time after this the parties withif the prisoner should be acquitted drew; and his lordship knew no of the charge, he trusted the ani more of the matter. mosity of the mother would be Captain George Denisthorp beburied. He concluded with ob ing called, he observed, that as serving, that he had no doubt but

a rumour had gone abroad, that

he

270

Trial of Mr. Richard England. he was second to one of the party, a&tly, it was so long ago. Mr. he submitted to the court whether Rowles' was dressed in a lighthe was bonnd to give his evidence coloured waistcoat, and some stripe in this case, as he might by his evi on it, to the best of his recollection. dence criminate himself.

He had no coat on; he was in his The witness having withdrawn, shirt sleeves. He heard a lady cry the right of examining him was ar out, “ Have not you tried your gued by counsel on both sides; after courage by three fires, or do you which the witness was called in mean to murder one another?” again. He was told by the court He could not pretend to say that to use his discretion, for that he this was said loud enough for the could not be compelled to give his gentlemen to hear it. He had evidence in this cale After some been near enough to hear the report conderation, he declined it, and of pistols before this; but after he withdrew.

came into the field he only saw two Mr. Serjeant Adair then pro piftols fired. After this the lady posed to make evidence of the de cried out aloud, that Lord Dar. positions which were taken before try wanted to speak with them. the coroner, when the inquest was The four gentlemen then came taken on the body of the deceased near the hedge, and left the ground Mr. Rowles. Four of the wit- they had been firing from, On neffes that were examined on that this the witness took notice of inquest were dead. The coroner

them. They appeared to him to is dead alfo. A person was able have a conversation, but he did to prove the hand-writing of the not know what it was. They foor witnesses; but not the band went to the place again, and took writing of the coroner : and there the situation which he saw them fore that part of the case for the come from ; he did not know prosecution was neceffarily aban the distance exactly ; but he bedoned.

lieved it was about eighteen yards John Sandiford, a coach-mafter, as before. He believed they both faid, that in the month of June, presented their pistols; Mr. Rowles' 1784, he went to Cranford-bridge went off, but the other gentlewith a coach, and a lady in it, man's did not go off. The witwhen he went to refresh his horses. ness did not know that gentleIn confcquence of what was faid to man; he was told it was England. him, he was induced to go to the - He presented his piftol again, house, which he pasied through, as and it went off, and shot Mr. well as the garden, and there he Rowles in the groin, as near as the faw tivo gentlemen fighting a duel witness could recollect. The time in a field near Mr. Goddard's before this fire, this gentleman house, about fifty or fixty yards off. fnapped, but did not fath ; after He had an opportunity of fee Mr. Rowles was shot, he took a ing what was passing. There were little bit of a reel and fell on the four of them there, two to the ground.

The person who shot fait fide, and two to the west side. him made the best of his way He knew one of them, ard he was out of the field. There was a cry the deceased Mr. Rowles. He

of "

keep on," but from whom believed they might be about he could not tell; the witness did eighteen yards distance from cach not see them go up to Mr. Rowles other, but he did not recollect ex when he fell. He had no oppor

tunity

« ZurückWeiter »