TRIAL OF TIIE EARL OF MAR, FOR SHOOTING AT A
IT may be remembered, that this trial was to have come on at Perth some time ago, and that, in consequence of the word "felonious" being in the indictment, and its being the privilege of a nobleman in all cases of "felony" to be tried by his Peers, it was postponed. The word was afterwards taken out of the indictment, and the technical objection was thus obviated. The trial took place at Edinburgh on Monday, before the High Court of Justiciary. The facts proved by the Re- verend Mr. Oldham, the party assaulted, and his servants, were as follows. Mr. Oldham having proceeded, on the 12th August last, to take possession of a moor near Perth, the shooting over which he had purchased from Mr. Baird of Forneth, found, shooting on the very centre of the moor, a gentleman, who turned out to be the Earl of Mar, and two servants. Mr. Oldham rode tip to the party ; when the Earl, stepping before his companions, seized the reins of Mr. Oldham'spony, and damned him for a poacher and a thief. Mr. Oldham was very much irritated at being so handled on his own shootirreground, and told the noble trespaseer that he was a liar and a scoundrel. After some further altercation, the Fowl, who had been swinging his double- barrelled gun about in a threatening and dangerous way, put it to his shoulder, and fired in the direction of Mr. Oldham. Mr. Oldham was not armed ; he leaped from his pony, thinking that the charge of the second barrel would follow the first ;. but the servants of the Earl interposed, and Mr. Oldham was permitted to draw off in safety. Two shots were afterwards fired, but Mr. Oldham was not certain whether they were fired at him or not. The impression on Mr. Oldham's mind was, that Lord Mar was drunk. His Lordship admitted that he fired in the di- rection of Mr. Oldham, but said that he did it only for the purpose "of scaring him away." A footman of the Earl was brought forward with a view to disprove some parts of the prosecutor's statement, but unsuccessfully. The Jury found the Earl guilty; and the Court sen- tenced him to two months' imprisonment.
The Lord Justice Clerk said—" I trust the punishment to be awarded will prove such admonition as to prevent the possibility of the repetition of such offence ;- while it will show to the public that this Court is no respecter of persons—the object of the law being to prevent crimes being committed by the highest as well-as the lowest in life." The crime for which this nobleman has been condemned, by that law which respects not persons, to a couple of months' confinement,—which will, we have no doubt, be lightened by all those means that rank and wealth can readily procure anywhere, and no where more readily than in Edinburgh, —was firing a loaded gun at a gentleman, his equal in respectability, while the object of his attack was peacefully and legally occupied on his own grounds, and while the assailant, in addition to his outrageous conduct, was himself a trespasser. We recollect a case not quite twenty years old, in which two or three young men, who on the occa- sion of a Reform illumination burnt a tar-barrel, broke a door, and gave a policeman a black eye, were condemned by the same Lord Justice Clerk—this honest admirer of impartial justice—to fourteen years' transportation. There was another and a later ease, of a hackney coach- man, who was convicted of the terrible crime of driving a worthy Councillor of the ancient borough of Lauder some half-way towards Dryburgh, by which means the vote of the Councillor perished, and his party were grievously perplexed—this was an Election riot : the coachman was condemned to mne months' imprisonment. No murder was threatened or attempted, nor any weapon of murder wielded, in either of these cases ; but then, the perpetrators were a sort of Re- formers ; and though the law be no respecter of persons, it has very pro- perly a sacred respect for principles.