"Mr. Woodman, hif you goes to swore against or a
man in prison you shall have your farm burnt down to ground and look out yourself, or bets you shall have your hed and guts cut out."
Mr. Justice James Park, who tried Looker on the second indictment, observed, in reference to his former condemnation—" I shall, there- fore, feel it to be my duty to represent the precise situation of the case, as it concerns the prisoner, in the proper quarter; and every means, he may rest assured, will be taken to render him justice. His case I shall take care to lay before the dispenser of mercy in these matters, the Crown." The reported language of the bench and the bar is so puzzling, that we have sometimes to rub our eyes and read a second time. It may be necessary in point of form that the conviction which was produced by the misdirection of the Judge and the stupidity of the Jury should be cancelled by the Crown ; but who, in the name of all that is English, would ever dream of calling such an act a dispensing of mercy ? If the man Looker be not merely honourably dismissed, but remunerated for every minute he has been detained on the false conviction, he is a wronged and injured man. On Saturday, seven or eight men were condemned to banishment for life, and about twenty to banishment for seven years. It is quite inn. possible to count with accuracy all the cases in these trials.
The business at Salisbury terminated on Monday, with the condem- nation of a great number of men to various periods of banishment and imprisonment, and of two--James Lush and Peter Withers--to death.
In the case of Withers, an objection was taken by Mr. Ball, and urged With great ingenuity, that a hammer, which he watt charge& with
throwing, and by which a Mr. Codrington was struck from his horse, in a riot for the purpose of machine-breaking, was not a cutting or stab-
bing instrument ; and consequently that the offence did not come within the scope of Lord Lansdowne's amendment of Lord Ellenborough's Act. Mr. Baron Vaughan was very much disinclined to admit the objection, even though pleaded but for a respite ; and it was only in consequence of the rest of the bench being less positive, that it was admitted.
In his long address to the two wretched men, the leained Baron read and commented on the act, for the purpose of explaining to the criminal (who, in the condition in which he is described to have been, could not be extremely edified by the ingenious and elaborate argument), that the objection taken by his counsel was wholly worthless. The following pic- ture of the convicts, while receiving sentence, is given by the reporter of the Times.—" As soon as the Judges put on the black cap to lass the fatal sentence of the law, the pale ashy semblance of death stole over Withers's countenance ; his lips became livid as those of a corpse : his cheeks fell in, as if there had been no jaw to sustain them ; his eyes quivered with extraordinat v rapidity fir some minutes, then were turned upwards, so that nothing lint the whites were visible, and at last were closed, as if he wished to exclude. front his s:ght some fearful vision which passed before them. Drops of cold sweat rolled in torrents down his face, betraying the intense agony of which be was the. victim. At last, he could stand up against his sufferings no longer, but sunk, half fainting on the bench. It quite evident, that during great part of the dreadful sentence which was passed upon him, Ire had neither eyes sum ears for any thing that passed in Court. A spirit more completely broken I never saw. For a moment he fainted away. Ile recovered, however, without assistance : and the vacant glance which he dung around as he awoke to the melancholy consciousness of his fate, was to appalling to be soon forgotten. Ile Urea began to open and compress the fingers of his hands with great vehamenee ; but suddenly stopped, and placed his left hand to his throat. and touched his neckerchief, as if he were even then suffering under the sense of suffocation. By direc- tion of the learned Judge, all officer went to his assistance; a glass of water was handed to bins ; and he drank it off to the last drop, with the most feverish avidity. Nothing could he more truly wretched and lamentable than the spectacle of despair which he exhibited to the Court and to his fellow-prisoners. As Mr. Baron Vaughan proceeded with his sentence, it was found necessary to give him a wine-glass full of sal volatile and water ; this appeared to revive him ; and at the close of the address of the learned Judge, he was leaning his elbows on the back of the seat before him, with his hands raised in mute supplication to the Court for mercy. Whilst the sentence was passing upon Lush, his sighs and groans were most affecting:' While the prisoners were conducted from the bar, one of those inci- dents occurred which shake common minds in their notions of the beauty if not the fitness of those laws for the defence of property, of which England has such a severe abundance. As he was passing the Judge, one Piggott entreated their_Lordships to permit him to take his child with him abroad ; or, if they could not do that, to recommend the parish authorities to take care of it. It was only eight months old, and its mother had died in childbirth. When he was gone, it would here neither kith nor kin to look after We have met with few remarks more characteristic than the reply to this touching request. Mr. Baron Vaughan—" You ought to have thought of your child before you engaged in these outrages. Unfortu- nately, the Court has not the power to do that fin you which you now request."
It so happened, that in the hurry of condemning prisoners, this poor man, Piggott, and two others, were removed before sentence was passed : they were, however, arrested midway, reconducted to the bar, and sentenced as was meet.
The scene in the outside of the court-house, when the numerous prisoners were removing to the gaol, was equally distressing. We quote from the same report—" The car for the removal of the prisoners was at the back entrance to the cuurt-house, and was surrounded by a crowd of mothers wives, sisters, and children, anxiously waiting for a glance of their condemned relatives. The weeping arid wailing of the different parties, as they pressed the hands of the convicts as they stepped iuto the car, was truly heart-rending."
The commission was opened at Dorchester on Tuesday, by Mr. Jus- tice Alderson.
Two men were found guilty of extorting money, and five men ef machine-breaking.
HOUSE, one of the prisoners in the latter case—" My Lord, I hope yea will have mercy on me for the sake of my wife and children, who havens, other friend."
Mr. Barons VAUGHAX—" You should have considered what might haw been the consequence to your wife and children before you engaged in otd- rages of this kind."
"Hard words and hanging if your Judge be Page I"
There was another •case of machine-breaking tried by Mr. Justice Al- derson. The so-named machine had, in this case, been taken to pieces by a carpenter ; a part of it had been burnt ; it was admitted by the carpenter who burnt it, that without the restoration of these parts the machine could not be used. Mr. Justice Alderson, however, was clearly of opinion that it was a miwthine wi:hin the meaning of the act. Of four persons, convicted, in a subsequent trial, of breaking a real machine, two men were sentenced to seven sears' transportation, and. two boys to eighteen and six months' imprisonment and bard labour.
On Wednesday, two. men were charged with extorting two shillings from a person named Morey : they asked eighteen pence. Both of them received excellent characters. Sentence of death was recorded against them. To the one, Baron Vaughao intimated that he would be trans-
ported, but he did not say for how long : time other was told that he had one of the best characters ever given in a court. The learned Baron seemed inclined to act mercifully against this primmer, much doubting at the same time whether he were not sunning against the majesty of the law, in thus struggling against its better principles and his own. " think that I may venture." said the Baron, "to recommend his Ma- jesty not to send you abroad at all. What punishment may behereafter awarded you, I cannot met say. I almost fear that lain compromisimy my public duty in permittiny you to escape :oilfield a heavy proushrosati
for these things, when they occur, must be put down by the strong arm of the law. If the state of the country should require another special Commission to be issued, no lenity like this can be displayed." The prisoner was so foolish as to exclaim, on being compared, with the prosecutor, Mr. Morey, that he would rather be banished for twenty years than take his place. Mr. Baron Vaughan—" Sentence is not passed upon you, prisoner, and you are now in the hands of the Crown. I can assure you that you have not benefited yourself by that observation." Another young, man aged twenty-one, was tried for being one where a similar offence was committed : he was convicted, and is to be banished.
Eleven men were tried for breaking the pieces of a thrashing. machine. They did it very civilly. Ten of them were found guilty.
Five men were tried on the same day for extorting money from the rector of Stowe'. Provost. There was not a tittle of evidence to support the charge ; so they were acquitted. The same parties afterwards pleaded guilty to being present at an unlawful assembly, and were dis- charged on their recognizance:, to keep the peace. Several others were dismissed on similar terms. Mr. Justice Alderson, in addressing them, said-
" Let me advise you to show your contrition for what is past, and your sense Of the lenity now dealt out to you, by abstaining from joining in such riots in future. If you do, you will find that the day of mercy has passed, and that the day of judgment will come next." To liken the great Day ofJudgrnent to the Special Commission for the county of Dorset, was a new touch of the sublime.
Thus ended," says the judicious reporter of the Times, " the busi- ness of this very brief Special Commission ; in which, as will be seen by -the trials, no one case was brought on which might not have been just as well disposed of by the Magistrates in Quarter Sessions, without the parade of bringing- two learned Judges to this distance from London, and calling the county together at this very inconvenient season. The only serious case—one for cutting and stabbing—has, we understand, been left for the assizes."
• The commission at Aylesbury was opened on Monday by Justice Park. The trials commenced on Tuesday ; on which day, ten priso- ners charged with the destruction of the paper-mill of Mr. Lane, at High Wycombe, were tried, and, with two exceptions, found guilty. There were various other trials firr machine-breaking. One easels worth noting. Joseph Fowler and seventeen others were convicted of break- ing a thrashing-machine—sentence, two months' imprisonment—Judge, Sir James Park. We have noted above the case of a poor man, named Piggott, at Salisbury Assizes. Piggott was found guilty, with two others, of machine-breaking : let us hear Baron Vaughan's account of their offence—" Prisoners," said the Baron, "you were convicted of tumul- tuously and riotously assembling to demolish, and the Jury properly found that you had begun to demolish, the machinery on the premises of Mr. Gabey, at Fifield Downs. The sentence of death will be recorded in this instance—first, because it is in evidence that the machinery had not been used for some time ; and secondly, because it appears to have been of slight value, and its destruction has thrown no person out of employment. Let it not be supposed, however, that I mean on that account to say that machinery is not entitled to the protection of the law when it is of small value. Whether its value be great or small, it is equally entitled to protection." What was the sentence ?—" As there ap- pear no circumstances of aggravation in your case, we have determined to recommend the Crown to spare your tires. You must expect no further mitigation of your punishment. You will leave the country for life, and will have no further mercy extended towards you."
Twenty-four men were tried on Wednesday, charged with rioting and breaking the machinery of Mr. Davis's mill, at Chipping Wycombe. The damagein this case was estimated at 4001. Eight of the accused were acquitted, and sixteen found guilty. Nine others were tried for riot and assault. The whole party were drunk ' - they tore the shirt of a grave personage, named Godlyman ; and half begged, half extorted, a couple of shillings to get beer from a Miss Lane. They were found guilty of riot.
In several cases the men charged with rioting and machine-breaking at these assizes have pleaded guilty. On Thursday, twenty-three per- sons, fourteen of them charged with destroying Mr. Allnutt's machinery, and who had pleaded guilty to the charge, had sentence of death re- corded against them ; on the same day, a whole host, charged with breaking thrashing-machines, were discharged on their own recog-• nizances, and seventeen were tried for the same offence, of whom sixteen were found guilty. In this trial a witness acknowledged that he had been present as a "Spectator ;" and was informed that if he had been prosecuted he would have been transported. The Court desired.him to publish this, for the sake of his friends ; we publish it also for the sake: of our friends. The gentlemen of the press, if we may judge from the reports, attend most riots; and in their capacity of spectators, they may, some fine. morning, be transported, pencils and all. The Grand Jury have been permitted to go home ; but they are not discharged, as the commission does not terminate until the 1st of February.
The trials yesterday were principally for breaking farming implements —drill, horse-hoeing, and drain-ploughs. These are all machines in the eye of the law. There were some winnowing-machines also charged as having been wantonly broken. This last, which, from the com- plexity of its parts, is properly named a machine, has had bad luck in its day : superstition opposed it in the beginning—it was called an in- siention of the Devil, because, by "raising the wind," it trenched on his acknowledged prerogative. Ignorance, it would appear, is now at- tempting to finish what her worthy daughter began..
The witness in the first case was asked by the prisoner's counsel, if he had ever been in gaol.
Witness—" Yes ; but only for an assault." On whom ?—" On one of the men at the bar."
. Which ?—" Joseph Cornelius Turner ; but that has nothing to do with this business."
"To be sure not : you love him all the better for it ?" . •
"I neither love, nor fear' nor hate him." Witness proceeded to say he had never been in gaol but for assaults. The assault on Turner might have occurr61 seven years ago. Could not tell how often he had been in gaol. - By Mr. Justice PARK." Upon my life I can't tell how often I have been in gaol."
The prisoners were acquitted. • Eight others for rioting and winnowing-machine-breaking, were found guilty. The others, were occupied in trying seven others fin- a similar offence, when the latest reports were made up. One of the accused in this case is a man of small property ; worth about 20004 He is a miller, and there seemed a very strong desire to have him convicted.