BRISTOL COMMISSION.—OR Thursday, William Clarke and Patrick Kearney, both of
whom were found guilty of the attack on the New Gaol, together with other three—Matthew Warry, John Towel, and William Osgood—were again placed at the bar, on a charge of breaking into and destroying the Bridewell. The Attorney-General, in stating the case, alluded to the accident proved in evidence on the former trial of Clarke, which rendered that individual when intoxicated incapable of self-government : Sir Thomas seemed to think, that even if he were wholly so, he might still be amenable to law.
Mr. Evans, of the Bridewell, described the attack. Several prison- ers had been brought to the prison on the Satiirday. On Sunday, about half-past one o'clock, perceiving a great crowd of people stop at the gate, he, the Taskmaster, and Turnkey, armed themselves with swords, and drove the mob from the space which was enclosed by the Bridewell-gates, which usually stand open during the tiny, and shut them both. They endeavoured to keep them closed; and in doing so, Mr. Evans was seriously hurt on the heal with a stone, but the mob soon overpowered them, and burst the gates open. The enclosure was instantly filled, and Mr. Evans was compelled to retreat to the Go- vernor's house. The mob then attacked the priucipal door of the • prison, but retreated on his presenting a blunderbuss and threatening to fire. In this way, he held them in check for nearly half an hour. The mob then began to break through a blind window, composed of wood, belonging to the house. He asked the mob if the re- lease of the prisoners would satisfy them ? but gut no answer. He was called away from the window where he had taken his stand, to extricate his own family from the danger that threatened them ; and when he resumed his place there, the prisoners were let out. The whole were released before four o'clock ; at which time, the prison was on fire in several parts. About six o'clock, he passed by the skylight from his own house to that of a neighbour ; and soon after the house also was set on fire,—the mob having entered by the blind window. The outer gates were all unhung, and tossed into the Frome, and the whole of Mr. Evans's furniture was consumed. Mr. Evans could not identify any of the prisoners. The attack on the Bridewell was wholly unexpected, and no preparation had been made to resist it.
Stone, the turnkey, corroborated the description of the attack, and identified Kearney as one of the persons present on the occasion. He was walking backwards and forwards, with his hands • in his pockets. He also identified Towell and Osgood; neither of these appeared to be doing any thing, nor had they any weapon. Stone also stated, that after
the Governor's house was attacked, Towell asked him for the keys of the prison, and he thought he gave them to him ; but of this he was not certain.
A man named Phillips who was with the mob at the time, described Towel as one of those who broke through the blind window ; he had a crow-bar, and was encouraging the people about him, who were simi- larly engaged. Griffiths, a hair-dresser, also saw Towel endeavouring to break into the blind window, and endeavoured to prevail on him to desist. He asked Towel what he wanted ? and was answered, the release of the prisoners. Griffiths afterwards called the mob round him, and made a speech to them, in order to prevail on them to desist from their undertaking: he attempted also to get into the house to speak to Mr. Evans, but Stone would not allow him. When the speech and the negotiation were finished, the mob divided into three parties ; one went to unhinge the gates, one to break open the prison, the third continued the attack on the window. Towell went with the second party.
James Moss, who was evidence on the former trial, swore to Clarke's being in the mob that went to attack the Bridewell ; Clarke was somewhat in the rear. Clarke was among the crowd when hammering at the doors, and had a hammer in his hand.Moss was cross-examined, with a view to show that lie had bottles of' liquor in his possession at the gaol ; but he denied that he had.
Whittington, a publican in All Saint's Street, mentioned Clarke and about a dozen more having drunk a couple of gallons of beer at his house, about one o'clock : Clarke paid for one gallon ; and on the men leaving the house, he told them " to be quick," and afterwards called on them to " look sharp." Harriet \Towles, Mr. Whittington's maid, James Rouse, of the Boar's Head, and Cross, the landlord of the Horse and Jockey, gave similar testimony in respect to Clarke as was pro- duced on the first trial. Cross imagined Clarke to be mad, from his expressions about breaking open all the gaols of England.
A man named Stratton swore to Wany's breaking the windows of Reeve's Hotel. Two witnesses swore that Moss was acting with the mob, swearing and crying out " Reform !" and throwing property about, and conductinr, himself with great violence. Moss had some bottles of cider, which he had stolen from the prison, and which he called "Re- form ale." A number of witnesses were examined to Clarke's cha- racter; and a glazier named Edwards, who lived close by, swore that he was not among those who attacked the Bridewell-gates, and that no hammer of any kind was used in forcing them. None of the witnesses identified Osgood, who was not, of course, called on for any defence.
The Jury found the other four prisoners guilty.
THE NOTTINGHAM COMMISSION.—The Grand Jury at Nottingham were sworn in on Thursday. Lord George Bentnick is chairman. They were charged by Mr. Justice Littledale. Soon after retiring, they returned true bills against twelve individuals, for setting fire to the silk-mill at Beeston. The whole of these, with two exceptions, are very young men, three of them under twenty-one years of age. Another bill was found against tho same parties for demolishing the machinery, and a third for demolishing the mid. The trials were to commence yesterday. CHARGES AGAINST 'COLONEL DRERETON.—The following is a Sum- mary of the eleven charges preferred against this officer :—Want of vi- gour or effort in executing the directions of the Magistrates of Bristol on the 29th, 30th, and 131st October ; and conducting himself in so feeble and temporizing a manner as to encourage the rioters. With- drawing the troop of 14th Light Dragoons to their quarters at Fisher's stables, on Sunday ; and afterwards sending the whole detachment to Keynsham. Giving a false description of the men and horses so sent away, in representing them as jaded and exhausted. Refusing to recal the troops, though repeatedly entreated by the Magistrates to do so. Refusing the peremptory order of the Magistrates to protect the gaol ; and afterwards directing Cornet Kelson, when at length sent to protect it, on no account to use force. Remaining inactive at the Bishop's Palace during the perpetration of several acts of outrage. Negli- gence and inactivity in not endeavomi»g to extinguish the fire at the Mansiunhouse, and to prevent its spreading. Neglecting to avail himself of the services of the Doddiugton troop of Yeo- manry, on their arrival on Sunday night. Retiring to bed for several hours, on Sunday night, notwithstanding a letter from the .May:.,,r had authorized Inin to take whatever steps he might • con- sider necessary to restore and preserve the public pe::ec. His mani- fest reluctance to obey the orders of the Magistrate at four o'clock on :Holiday morning, when required to march troops to Queen Square. His improper and temporizing conduct towards the rioters,-in shaking hands and conversing with them, on various occasions during the 20th, 30th, and :31st. All vi deli acts, conclude the charges, " evince on the part of Colonel Drercton great want of the vigour and decision requisite for the duties in which he was engaged, are highly disgraceful to his cha- racter as an officer, and prejudicial to good order andmilitary disci- pline, and tend to destroy the confidence of the troops in their officers, and to reflect dishonour on his Majesty's service."