SPECIAL COMnissioN.—Tile Hampshire Special Commission was opened at Winchester on
Monday. The calendar comprehends about 300 cases,—for riotously assembling and destroying manufacturimag. ma chinery, and other felonies and misdemeanours, 6; for riotously assem- bling and manufacturing-machine-breaking; without the further aggra- vation, 61; destroying agricultural machinery, 59; assembling in-. breach of the peace, 62 ; riot and Slobbery, 66 ;' robbery, 43. The .mass of cases presents but one prisoner a stranger to the neighbourhood, and there is not a single charge Of arson. The whole of the offences are charged as having taken place between the 19th and 26th November.
The Judges on Monday were Baron Vaughan, Mr. Justice James Parke, and Mr. Justice Alderson. The Grand Jury consisted of Sir G. Bose, Sir Henry Tichborne, Sir Charles Hulse, Sir Joseph Yorke, Sir L. Curtis, Sir J. Lethbridge Sir Thomas Fdlowes, Sir G. Hanmond,
Sir Thomas Baring, Sir W. Lethbridge, Sir W. Heathcote, Sir H. Wilson, Sir J. Lee, Messrs. J. Fleming, P. Rainer, J. H. Beaufoy, T. Thistle- thwayte, J. Hornby, J. Morant, Henry G. Compton, R. Sheddon, W. Long, and G. C. Poore.-
Baron Vaughan addressed the Grand Jury at great length. In laying down the law as applicable to the several caSes in which the Grand Jury had to sit, he observed that, as a general rule, it was the undoubted right of every subject of the kingdom to employ his capital, and to con- duct his business, in such a manner as he might think conducive to his own interest, unless where the wisdom of Parliament had controlled him by legislative restriction : that where .particular wrong was suffered by any individual of the community, there was open to him the redress afforded by the courts of law ; and where the laws were injurious or
defective, there was the regular and constitutional mode of procuring their repeal or amendment by application to Parliament ; but all right
and law condemned an attempt of any party, however aggrieved, to sit as judge on his own case and to arrogate to himself the redress of his own wrongs. The learned Baron proceeded to enumerate the statutes and their provisions, as applicable to the different descriptions of crimes charged against the various prisoners on the calendar ; and the Grand Jury having retired for about an hour, returned with true bills against James Thomas Cooper, and thirteen others, for riotously and tumultu- ously assembling at Fordingbridge, and destroying certain machinery there, the property of Messrs. Thompson and others. The Attorney-General, after stating that the prisoners were arraigned sander the Malicious Injuries Consolidation Act, went on to describe the nature of the offence. The mob that assembled on the 23rd November; at Fordingbridge, amounted to about three hundred individuals. Cooper was on horseback, at the head of this tumultuous assembly.
Be took upon himself the management of its proceedings ; and when remonstrances were made to him respecting its conduct, be admitted himself to have power to control it. Cooper was told, when the first at- tempt was made to destroy the machinery belonging to Mr. Thompson.
that it would throw one hundred persons out of employment. He stated that he cared not for consequences ; and that if 5001. were offered him not to dest roy that machinery, still destroyit he would. After the act ofdestruca
Von was completed, Cooper shared considerable stuns of money with the persons-assembled-around him. The prisoners were armed withbbidgeons;
axes, saws, and other instruments, calculated to produce terror. They told Cooper that be was not to be interfered with—that they had placed themselves in his hands—that they were convinced that he was the real gentleman (Cooper was a stranger, and passed for Mr. Hunt), and that they
had unlimited confidence in his guidance. Cooper employed the powerwhiaa he wielded over them, to lead them to all kinds of devastation and mischief. So much for the criminality of the principal. With respect to the abet- tors, the Attorney-General observed that all those who act together in such riotous and tumultuous assemblages, are equally guilty in the consideration of the law with those who are .most active as principals. It was not the act of one individual, but of many individuals, of which the party ag. grieved by their violence complained : it was the act of the mob that was dangerous, not the act of any of the units of which that mob was com- posed ; for unless those individuals had acted together, the offence could not have been committed with which he was now bound to charge them. Cooper was heard to declare, that he had come down into Hampshire from a place twenty miles on the other side nf Iznalon ; that he had done much mischief of the same kind as that which he was then going to per- petrate at Fordingbridge, in other parts of the country ; and that he was therefore prepared to take a decided lead in executing intentions which he had no hesitation in avowing. " He it was," said the Attorney.. General, "that exhorted the remiss, reproved the peaceable, desiring the multitude to stick by him and by their colours, and encouraging them by his voice and gesture to go on with the work which they had so well begun. He therefore was responsible for all the destruction which had been committed by his command."
The number of witnesses was very great ; and the facts of the several cases, as proved in evidence, differed very slightly, if at all, from the view given of them by the Attorney-General in his opening. We give the judicial affirmation of Jonah Thompson, a member of the Society of Friends, and brother to the owner of East Mill, Fordingbridge. " My brother," he said, " is owner of East Mill. It is for the purpose of weaving sacks. I went out on the day it was destroyed. I went before the mob came IT. I met a large mob, and a person on horseback riding at their head. Ehere were, I think, between three and five hundred persons present in the mob. I know the person who rode on horseback. (Witness identified Cooper as the leader.) I said, My friend, may I ask what you are going to do ? ' He said, We are going to the factory to destroy the machinery,' or words to that effect. I expressed a hope that they would not do it, and they would be all sorry for it when they thought more about it. I don't remember what he said, the noise was so great. He soon after said, I should be heard ; and I addressed the whole body for about five minutes to dissuade them. The people became very clamorous to go on ; and he said to them, Attend to me,' and waved his hand—' let every man stand to his colours and go on.' I was near enough to hear him quite well. All the persons 1 was surrounded by were armed with large sticks. I saw a man with a saw. He and three others prevented me from f011owing Cooper. They said, ' You shall not ride with our leader.' This was about half a mile from the factory, where I first met them. 1 pointed cut to the people the consequences of breaking the mill ; and they said, It is of no use to talk to us ; you mast talk to our leader, who is a real gentleman, and we will do what he orders us to do.' This was not in Cooper's hearing. I heard a horn. blown after the des..truction was finished." Witness here turned to the dock, but said he could net identify any of the other prisoners as having been present on the occesion.
The rest of time witnesses spoke to the same effect with respect to Cooper as ordering, and the rest of the prisoners as acting under his .orders. It appeared that Cooper .got a fiovereign from .one man, but apparently only to distribute among the mob. He had no money when seized ; a fact which he dwelt on in his defence. • Agreeably to the beautiful arrangement of the English law, no counsel is allowed to plead for a mint when on'trial for his life ; and where the parties are unprovided with Money to fee a barrister, there is no counsel even to assist them in cross-examining a witness. In the present in- stance, Cooper was provided with counsel ; the rest of the prisoners- had mine, and not a solitary barrister stepped forward to aid them, until Baron Vaughan interposed, and requested Mr. Bosanquet to watch the evidence on the prisoners' behalf. The Commission, be it remembered, was a special one ; there was a host of Crown lawyers to act against the prisoners; the terror of the Bench was enhanced by the presence of noble individuals; and all this array of power and learning and inge. nuity was put in operation against a few rude, ignorant, illiterate hus- bandmen, unassisted by any aman being but a lawyer appointed to the task : he had twelve cases to watch—on the spur of the moment, without previous consultation with the prisoners, without previous knowledge of their case, or of the witnesses, or indeed of any of the facts to be investigated, except what the newspapers had given him. There was no lack of evidence against such of the prisoners asof the found guilty, and the verdict was apparently a proper one ; bu
value of the moral impression made on the community by such a mode of trial, we may be allowed to doubt. When the witnesses had been all examined, and the prisoners were called on for their defence, Cooper put in a written paper, in which he declared that he had been led &wear by the mob; that he never personated Mr. Hunt, but that the mob would have it that he was that gentleman. He said he had always borne a good character ; and he hoped the Jury would give him the benefit of their doubts, on the old established maxim, that it was better seven guilty should escape, than one innocent be punished. The other prisoners contented themselves with denying their guilt.
The Jury, without retiring from the box, returned a verdict of "guilty" against J. T. Cooper, G. Clarke, J. Fulford, S. Quintets, IL Eldridge, Charles Read, Charles Havtor, and J. Arney; and of "not guilty" in favour of W. Webb, J. "Goulding, W. Arney, J. Kiinber, G. Moody, and W. Newman. As the prisoners on this list of "guilty" and "not guilty" were rather numerous, on the suggestion of the learned Judge, the Jury consulted on each case; and for fear, after consulting, they should make any mis- take, _by the same advice they made a memorandum of the concluSion to which they had come. There is something extremely edifying in this process of putting down on a separate bit of paper the names of the persons that were acquitted, lest by acme unlucky chance they
might be hanged along with the rest. .
On Tuesday, Cooper, Fulford, and Reed, three of the men conileted —Newman and !Umber, two of those acquitted on the previous day...a together with four others, were tried onanother charge connected with the riots at Fordingbridge. The property destroyed in this case helouged to a Mr. Shepherd ; it was a thrashing mid also a manufacturing-Wilk, One of the prisoners, a lad named John Philpot, received' an excellent character. .It was also proved that he was compelled to go with the mob. The Jury found Cooper, A. Deadroan' G. Philpot, C: Read, and W.. Newman guilty, and acquitted John Philpot and the rest. Shepherd, acquitted on this trial, was immediately put to the bar along with Henry Eldridge, who bad been convicted on Monday, and four others, • charged with extorting money from Eyre Coote, Esq. of Westpark House : the prisoners and several others were taken in the .attempt. Mitchell, one of the witnesses, seems to have acted with great spirit on the occasion. " I was," said he, " keeping watch on that evening near the gate. A party came out from Bockhorn. I heard a person encouraging the others to come on. They came through. The gates were broken. One went back for the Rockburn mob. I heard one of them say, twice, 'I am d—d to hell, but we'll go on to Westpark House, and have either the house or the money.' I went on to inform Mr. Coote of what I heard. One of the men addressed Mr. Coote, who said, Well, my. lads, what do you want ?' One of them said, 'Money.' Then,' said he, money you shan't have.' The man then put his hand up, to strike or catch Mr. Coote. I went out and knocked one man down. I left him and went to another, who raised an iron bar to strike me. I knocked it out of his hand witit my stick. He then caught hold of my stick, which I let go, and seized him by the throttle. He then raised up his smock-frock, and drew out this hammer (pro- ducing a large hammer), with which he struck me on the head and stunned me for the moment. He was then going to run away, when one of my fellow-servants knocked him down. I don't know- who that man was. I saw the prisoners, Slade and Eldridge, amongst those who were taken into the hall. One man struck me, and cut through my hat. I don't know who he was."
The ..Jury found all the prisoners guilty ; and the whole, except Henry Eldridge, were immediately sentenced to be transported for life.
John Kimber, who was acquitted on Monday, was put to the bar on a charge of extorting money ; but the case fell to the ground, from a legal informality. The money extorted was laid as belonging to one Jane Perry: now Jane Perry had a husband; and although the Church in its charity had compelled him to endow her with all his worldly goods, the Law, in its wisdom, had declared her to be endowed with no worldly goods at all, either of her husband or any one else. What a woman has not, of that she cannot be robbed, whether it be money or any thing else. Kimber was subsequently tried on an amended indict- ment, and found guilty ; John Perry, in the second ease, being substi- tuted for Jane. The same prisoner, with Cooper and four others, were tried on a second case of extorting money ; which, however, was made out against Cooper only, and he alone was convicted. Two men, William Webb and William Arney, acquitted on Monday,. were next tried for breaking a thrashing-machine, and convicted. Baron Vaughan sentenced them to seven years' transportation ; having pre- viously declared, that for this offence he would always, while he sat on the bench apply the highest punishment allowed by law. When Judgcs make such resolutions, it behoves legislators to attend to what they have hitherto neglected—something like a classification of crimes. The discretion of a Judge has been sometimes complained of; but to adminis- ter invariably a measure of nunisliartent which .'fr 44 11(21-; templated as applicable to all cases, is not discretion, but the Want of it.
In the Nisi Prius Court on Tuesday, where Justice James Parke sat; the principal trial was that of 'Thomas Berryman, James Pearce; and five others for robbery at the house of Mr. Callender, steward to Sir Thomas jaring ;• from whom the mob extorted ten sovereigns, on con- sideration of not attacking Sir Thomas's mansion, where at that mo- ment there were none but servants residing. Berryman received the Money, and Pearce was active in demanding it. It was immediately afterwards drunk at a public-house hard by. The Jury found these two guilty, but recommended them to mercy—Berryman, because he had, by his influence with the mob, protected Sir Thomas's house as he pro- mised, and Pearce on account of his excellent character.
The next trial was of a similar character. The money—a sovereign ..—was charged as extorted from William Paine, in the parish of Mitchel- dever, on the 19th of November. On that occasion Hill, one of the prisoners, an old man, called Mr. Paine aside, and advised him to give the men a, sovereign, and so get rid of them. Mr. Sergeant Wilde wished to prove the animus which suggested the advice, by subsequent acts of Hill ; but failed. The whole of the prisoners were acquitted.
On Wednesday, a man named Buckingham, and another named Gre- gory, were found guilty of machine-breaking. The former was imme- diately sentenced to seven years' transportation, agreeably to Baron
• Vaugh an's resolution, that being the highest punishment. Gregory was afterwards tried on a second Marge of extorting money, and found . guilty on that charge also : no judgment was passed. Five others were found guilty, on the same day, of extorting money. There was nothing of peculiar interest in any of the cases. On Tuesday night, before . Mr. Justice Alderson, four lads, connected with the Fordingbridge riots, were convicted of the same crime, and one was acquitted : the four that were found guilty were recommended to mercy, on account of their youth.
Charles Pain, and seven others, all young men, were put to the bar, charged with riot and robbery at Mr. Sclater's, at Tangier Park, near .Basingstoke. The intimidation was very clearly proved ; and indeed it appeared that the prisoners had pretty impartially levied contributions at -all the neighbouring seats. There wasno complaint of wages from this mob. The Jury found all the men guilty. The same parties, and two others, were tried on a second indictment, for a similar offence, com- mitted against Harris B. Withers, Esq., in the same parish. They were convicted ; but the Jury and prosecutor recommended them to mercy. Only-one of the prisoners had counsel; but, on the suggestion of the Judge, :he..agreed to act for the whole—knowing, of course, as much of the cases Ale sandertook to defend, as he did of the cabinet secrets of the moon. A mum named Bolter, who had been acquitted was again tried on a similar, .1:Urge, and acquitted. Bolter was tried a third time and found guilty. The only fact. sworn to was, that he was with a party that took five shillings a miller named Dagwell; and that when theydemanded a sovereign, from Bolter observed that Dagwell was a poor man. But the Jury seem to have been weary of trying one man so often, for nothing. Coleman, a
elan who was triea along with Bolter on the third trial of the latter, was found guilty on his own confession.
Late on Wednesday night, fourteen- men were tried for rioting and machine-breaking, at Clatford, near Andover : they were all, except four, found guilty. The name of one of these men was Fey; but he was, says the reporter, called Paine by mistake ! Such are the advan- tages of special commissions, and trials of three or four hundred people in the course of three or four days. On Thursday, Mr. Henry Pollesfen, an attorney, was tried for sending a threatening letter to Mr. Purves, a magistrate at Gosport. There was no evidence but the handwriting ; which, besides, several witnesses swore was not that of the prisoner. There seems not the slightest reason for mixing, up this nonsensical affair with the riots. The Jury acquitted Mr. Pollexfen. Ten men were tried, on the same day, for pulling down the poor- house at Telburn. The mob, when they went to work, declared that their only object was to dislodge the overseer, old Harrison. They at the same time told Mr. Cobbohl, th.e clergyman, that 300/. a year was quite enough for him, and that they must have the tithe lowered. The Jury acquitted the whole of the prisoners, on the ground that they did not intend to destroy, but only to injure the house.
A man, named Goodall, was found guilty of extorting money from a Mr. Tacker.
Among other trials on Friday, six men were found guilty, before Mr. Justice Alderson, on a charge similar to all that had gone before,, of rioting and extorting money, at the house of Mr. Long, Carhampton. The only remarkable feature in this case was the confession of a witness, a fanner named Targett, who appeared to give a character to one of the prisoners, that he had himself accompanied the rioters to the clergyman's houve with a view to demand a reduction of tithes. He was very severely reproved by the Judge. The number of prisoners still remaining for trial exceeds 200—only one-third have been disposed of. One of the Special Commissioners *ill proceed to open the Wilts Commission on Monday, while the others re.. main to dispose of the cases at Winchester. The number of cases at Salisbury is said to amount to 600! A Special Commission will also be opened at Dorchester on Monday. LEWES Assizas.—On Monday, two young men, named Bish, were charged with writing a threatening letter to the Reverend Mr. Wood- ward, of Maresfield : they were acquitted. Thomas Brown, a boy of seventeen, charged with sending a threatening letter to Lord Shef- field, was found guilty, chiefly on his own confession. Mr. Justice Taunton sentenced him to banislnnent for life. The effusion, whose consequences have been so serious, was as follows:— " Please, my Lord, I don't wise to hurt you. This is the case all the world over. If you.den't get rid of your forebm steward, and farmer, and bailifi; in a few days time,—less than a month,—we will burn hira up, and you along with him. My writ- ing is bad, but my firing is gaod, my Lord."
On the same day, a man named Barnes was transported for fourteen years, for an attempt to extort money. On Tuesday, Edward Bushby was tried for setting fire to a stack be- longing to Mr. George Oliver, of East Preston, on the 28th November. The evidence was wholly circumstantial: it went chiefle
fact, that on the night of the stack's being fired, Bushby struck a light, and went out of the house where he lodged ; that he was absent for a quarter of an hour, and that in the interim the stack took fire. The • Jury found him guilty, and the Judge sentenced him to be executed for the arson.
CHARGE OF MURDER—Winter, the ship captain, who killedhis wife at Newhaven, in October last, was tried yesterday before Mr. Justice Taunton, at Lewes. The Jury brought in a verdict of manslaughter. The particulars of this very brutal and atrocious ease we formerly noticed.