THE BRISTOL SPECIAL COMMISSION.
THE Commission was opened on Monday. A strong body of Po- lice mustered, under the superintendence of Mr. Dowling, one of the London officers ; and a large military force was posted in the town, ready to act had there been any necessity for their aid, but there was none.
The charge of the Chief Justice being important as an exposition of the law, we shall quote the whole of that part which relates to the special business of the Commission. His Lordship spoke as follows-
" Gentlemen of the Grand buy, we are assembled on the present occasion by virtue of the Special Commission of his Majesty, for the purpose of Inquiring into, hearing, and determining certain itharges, of no ordinary stamp and character, founded upon acts of tumultuous outrage, violence, and rapine, which have recently taken place within this City. This proceeding his Majesty, out of his paternal solicitude for his subjects, has thought fit to institute, rather than to leave the investigation and punishment of such charges to the ordinary course and stated periods of the administration of criminal ju- dicature within this city. For in the case of offences at once so alarming to the public tranquillity, and so dangerous to the property and safety of individuals, it is of the first importance to make it known to all, that inquiry and punishment follow close upon the commission of crime, in order that the wicked and ill-disposed may be deterred, by the dread of the law, from engaging in similar enormities, whilst the peaceable and industrious may look up to it with gratitude and affection, for the safeguard which it itends over their persons and property. But it forms, perhaps, a still stronger reason for an early trial of these charges, that where so large a number of persons as that con- tained in this calendar have been placed in confinement,the speediest means should be adopted to set at large the innocent, whoever they may be, and to restore them to the peaceful and honest exercise of their daily callings.
"Gentlemen, I 8111 unable, from any information which has been placed before us, to assign the cause or to trace the exact origin of those enormities you are now called upon to investigate. It appears, however, that a few hours before they were committed, a riotous and tumultuous assemblage of the people gathered itself together, with an ob- ject and for a purpose which no honest man or well-wisher to the laws of his country can sufficiently reprobate—I mean the open and avowed purpose of treating with insult and indignity, if not with personal violence, a gentleman placed in a high judicial sta- tion, bearing the authority of his Sovereign, in the administration of the Criminal Law within this city, and during part of the very time engaged in the actual exercise of his judicial function.
"Gentlemen, it is to be collected from the depositions which I have seen, that the out- rages, which will form the immediate subject of inquiry, commenced at about the time of -ttlusk on Saturday evening, the '29th of October last, anti ootrthined, with short inter- mission, until four o'clock on the Monday morning. When, after the Riot Act had been read, and the persons assembled, notwithstanding the proclamation, had refused for more than an hour to dispersOthemselves, the further progress of the riot was arrested, and the tumult entirely suppressed, by the vigour and energy of the military called in to the aid of the Civil Magistrate. I purposely abstain from a minute description of the terror occasioned to individuals, and of the outrages which took place in that interval against property, both public and private. Such description would be unnecessary to make you understand the application of the law to the facts, as they will appear before you in evidence, the chief object of which I have now in view; and it would have the una- roiclable consequence of depriving you of that calmness of temper and evenness ofjudg- ment which it is your duty to bring to the present investigation, where, on the one hand, the safety and wellbeing of the community, and on the other, the lives and liberty of the accused, depend so materially upon your decision, it would be unnecessary to make you understand the application.
"It is no part of my duty, on the present occasion, to consider whether the acts ofout- rage and rapine which afterwards ensued were caused by the riotous proceedings which occurred at an earlier period of the same day, or whether wicked and designing persons,
taking -advantage of the state of excitement in which the people already were, availed themselves of it effect their own purposes of destruction and plunder. It may, how-
ever, be safely concluded, that if the excitement which led to the defiance of the law at the earlier part of the day had never existed, the weightier crimes subsequently com- mitted by the populace would not have taken place; and it is precisely for this reason that the law of England bath at all times held in the greatest abhorrence riotous and tsimultuary assemblages of the people. No man can foresee at the commencement what course they will take, or what consequences will ensue. Though cases may occur, in which the object of such assemblies is at first defined and moderate, they rapidly
enlarge their powers of mischief, and from the natural effect of that excitement and ferment inseparable from the collection of multitudes in one mass, the original design
is quickly lost sight of, and men hurry on to the commission of crimes, which at their first meeting they had never contemplated. The beginning of tumult is like the letting out of water—if not stoppedat first, it becomes difficult to doso afterwards; it rises and creases until it overwhelms the fairest and the most valuable works of men. Gentlemen, it has been well said that the use of the law consists, first, in preserving men's persons
from death and violence; next, in securing to them the free enjoyment of their property; and although every single act of violence, and each individual breach of the law, tends to counteract and destroy this, its primary use and object, yet do general risings and
tamultnary meetings of the people in a more especial and particular manner produce this effect, not only removing all security both from the person and the property of men, bat for the time pulling down the law itself and daring to usurp its place. The law of England bath accordingly, in proportion to the danger which it attaches to riotous and
disorderly meetings of the people, made ample provision for preventing such offences,
Chief Justice Tindal, Mr. Justice Bosanquet, and Mr. Justice Taunton, accompanied by the Duke of Beaufort, the Lord Lieutenant of the county, took their places on the bench at eleven o'clock ; and the commissions being read, the Court adjourned till one ; when it re- sumed, and the names of the Grand Jurors were called over.
The following is a list of the Jurors—
John Manningford William Morgan Richard Ricketts John May Joseph Metford jun. John Acreman Daniel Fripp Henry Seeley Robert Edward Case Thomas Wilkinson Radcliffe Peter May. Thomas Kington Baillie, Foreman Charles Bowles Fripp Thomas Hill William Fordo William Watson Thomas Daniel jun.
Adam Holden Joseph Russell James Moore John Tomlinson James Lee John Heron and for the prompt and effectual suppression of them whenever they arise ; and I think It may not be unsuitable to the present occasion. if I proceed to call your attention, wills some degree of detail, to the various provisions of the law for carrying that purpose
into effect. "In the first place, by the common law, every private person may lawfully endeavour, of his own authority, and without any warrant or sanction of the magistrate, to sup- press a riot by every means in his power—he may disperse, or assist in dispersing, those who are assembled—he may stay those who arc engaged in it front executing their pur- pose; he may stop and prevent others whom he shall see coming up, from joining the rest. And not only has he the authority, but it his bounden duty as a good subject of the King to perform this to the utmost a his ability. If the riot is general and danger- ous, he may arm himself against the evildoers to keep the peace. Such was the opinion of all the Judges of England in the time ofQueen Elizabeth, in a case called " The Case of Arms " (Popham's Rep. 121), although the Judges add, " that it would be more dis- creet for every one in such a ease to attend, and be assistant to the Justices. Sheriffs, or other Ministers of the King in doing this. it would undoubtedly be more advisable so to do." For the presence and authority of the Magistrate would restrain the proceeding to such extremities until the danger was sufficiently immediate, or until some felony was either committed, or could not be prevented without recourse to arms; and at all events the assistance given by men who act in subordination and coueert with the civil Magistrate, will be snore effectual to attain the object proposed, than any offbrts, how- ever well intended, of separate and disunited individuals. But if the occasion demands immediate action, and no opportunity is given for procuring the advice or sanction ef a Magistrate, it is the duty of every subject to act for himself, and upon his own respon- sibility, in suppressing a riotous and tumultuous assembly : and he may be assured. that ulatever is honestly done by him in the execution of that object will be supported and justified by the common law. "And whilst I am stating the obligation imposed by the law on every subject of the realm, I wish to observe. that the law acknowledges no distinction in the respect behveeu the soldier and tlm private individual. The soldier is still a citizen, lying under the same obligation, and invested with the same authority to preserve the peace of the King. as any other subject. If the one is bound to attend the call of:the civil Magistrate, so also is the other ; if the one may interfere for that purpose when the occasion demands it, without the requisition of the Magistrate, so may the other too; if the one may em- ploy arms for that purpose when arms are necessary, the soldier may do the same. Undoubtedly, the same exercise of discretion which requires the private subject to act in subordination to, and in aid of the Magistrate, rather than upon his own authority. before recourse is had to arms, ought to operate in a still stronger degree with a military force. But where the danger is pressing and immediate; where a felony has actually been committed or cannot otherwise be prevented : and from the circumstance of the case no opportunity is offered of obtaining a requisition from the proper authorities, the military subjects of the King, like his civil subjects, not only may, but are bound to do their utmost, of their own authority, to prevent the perpetration of outrage, to put down riot and tumult, and to preserve the lives and property of the people. "Gentlemen, still further, by the common law. not only is each private subject bound to exert himself to the utmost, but every sheriff, constable, and other peace-officer, is called upon to do all that in them lies for the suppression of riot ; and each has autho- rity to command all other subjects of the King to assist them in that undertaking. By an early statute, which is still in force, the 13th Henry IV. e.7, any two Justices. together with the Sheriff or Under-sheriff of the county, shall come with the power of the county, if need be, to arrest any rioters, and shall arrest them ; anti they have power to record that which they see done in their presence against the law, by which record the offenders shall be convicted, and may afterwards be brought to punishment. And here I must distinctly observe, that it is not left to the choice or will of the subject, as some have erroneously supposed, to attend or not to the call of the Magistrates as they think proper ; but every man is bound, when called upon, under pain of fine and im- prisonment, to yield a ready and implicit obedience to the call of the Magistrate, and to do his utmost in assisting him to suppress any tumultuous assembly. For in the succeeding reign another statute was passed, which enacts, " that the King's liege peo- ple, being sufficient to travel, shall be assistant to the Justices, Sheriffs, and other offi- cers, upon reasonable warning, to ride with them in aid to resist such riots, routs, and assemblies, on pain of imprisonment, and to make fine and ransom to the King." In the explanation of which statute, Dalton, an early writer of considerable authorit y, ■le- shires, " that the Justices and Sheriff nmy command, and ought to have, the aid mei attendance of' all knights, gentlemen, yeomen, husbandinen, labourers, tradesmen, servants, and apprentices, and of all other persons being above the age of fifteen years, and able to travel." "Gentlemen, in later times, the course has been the the Magistrate, on occasions of actual riot and confusion, to call in the aid of such persons tit: Ile thinks necessary, and to swear them as special constables. And in order to prevent any doubt—if doubt could exist as to his power to command their assistance, by way of precaution—a receift statute (the let Geo. IV. e. 37) has invested him with that power in direct and express terms, where riot or felony is only likely to talse place, or may reasonably be appre- hended. Again, that this call of the Magistrate is compulsory, and not left to the choice of the party to obey or not, appears from the express enactment in that act, that if he disobeys, unless legally exempted, he is liable to the same fines, penalties, and punishment, as persons refusing to take upon them the office of constable were by law subject to. But the most important provision of the law for the suppression of riots, is to be found in the statute 1st Geo. I. stat. 2, c. 5, by which it is enacted, that if any persons, to the number of twelve or more, being unlawfully, riotously, and himultonsly assembled together, to the disturbance of the public peace, and being required or com- manded by any one or more Justice or Justices, or by the Sheriff, Sic., by proclamation. to be made in the King's name, and in the form stated in the act. to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, shall, to the number of twelve, or more, notwithstanding such proclamation, unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously remain or continue together, for the space of one hour after sot-it command or request made by proclamation, then such continuing together shall be adjudged felony, and the offenders shall suffer death as felons. ',Such are the different provisions of the laiv of England for the putting down of to - multuous meetings ; and it is not too much to affirm, that if the means provided by the
law are promptly and judiciously enforced by the Magistrate, anti honestly seconded by the cooperation of his fellow-subjects, very few and rare would be the instances its which tumultuous assemblages of the people would be able to hold defiance to the law, "Gentlemen, before I proceed to the consideration of the cases in the calendar, let nie impress on the attention of all those, who from idleness, curiosity, or mere thought- lessness, suffer themselves to form a part of a riotous and disorderly meeting, that they subject themselves unconsciously to the danger of punishment for crimes 'whiett they never contemplated; for where many are collected together in the prosecution of an illegal object, it is often impossible to discriminate between the active and the unoffend- ing part of the mob. It requires evidence on the part of the accused, which they may not be able to produce, in order to defend themselves against the charge of participa- tion in the guilt of others. The only safe course for the peaceable and well-disposed on all occasions oi popular tumult is this—to lend their ready aid to assist the Magis- trates in suppressing it, or at all events to separate themselves from the others. "Gentlemen, one class of cases likely to come before you will be founded upon tins statute 7th and 8th Geo. IV. m 30, 5.8, by which it is enacted, "that if any persona riotously and tumultuously assembled together, to the disturbance of the public peace. shall unlawfully, and with force, demolish, pull down, or destroy, or begin to demolish. pall down, or 'destroy, any house, stable, coach-house, outhouse, warehouse, office. shop, mill, &e., every such offender is guilty of felony, and, being convicted thereof shall suffer death as a felon." In cases of this description, you will consider whether the individual charged was one of the persons constituting a riotous assemblage, which was effecting the destruction of the building. If lie formed a part of such riotous as-
sembly at the time the act of' demolition commenced, or if he wilfully joined such riotous assembly, so as to cooperate with them whilst the act of demolition w-as going on, and before it u-as completed, in either case he comes within the description of the offence, and within the penalties •Imposed by the act, although he may not have been a person who actually assisted by his own hand in the demolition of the building.. " But the more numerous class of cases seems to be that which is founded upon the se- cond section of the same statute, by which it is enacted, "that if any person shall un-
lawfully and maliciously set fire to any house or other building mentioned above,
whether the same shall be in the possession of the offender or in that of any other person, with intent thereby to injure or defraud any person, every such offender shall
be guilty of felony, and, being convicted thereof, shall suffer death as a felon." In this
offence you will perceive it is no constituent part of the description in the statute, that the party charged should form one of a tumultuous or riotous assemblage for the dis- turbance of the public peace ; it is an offence that may be committed by a single indivi- dual. You will, therefore, in this case inquire, first, whether the parts- set fire to the building himself. In such case, no doubt of his guilt can exist ; ana if the proof fall short of this, you will then consider whether he was jointly engaged in the prosecution of the same object with those who committed the offence. If by his word or gesture he incited others to commit the felony ; or if he was so near to the spot at the time, that he, by his presence, wilfully aided and assisted them in the perpetration of the crime ; in either of these'eases the felony is complete, without any actual manual share in its commission ; and where the statute direets that -to complete the offence it must have been done with intent to injure or defraud an person, there is no occasion that any malice or ill-will should subsist against the person whose property is so destroyed. It is a malicious act in contemplation in law when a man wilfully does what is illegal, and which in its necessary consequence must injure his neighbour ; and it is unneces- sary to observe. that the setting tire to another's house, whether the owner Iva stranger to the prisoner or a person against whom he had a former grudge, must be equally in- Inflow to him ; nor will it be neeessary to-prove, that the house which forms the sub- ject of the indictment in any particular ease was that. which was actually set on fire by the prisoner. It will be sufficient to constitute the offence, if he is shown to have feloniously set on fire another house from which the flames communicated to the rest. No man can shelter himself from punishment on the ground that the mischief which he committed was wider in its consequences than he originally intended. "Gentlemen,another class of offenders will be that of persons who stand charged with acts of plunder and theft; and these may come before you either aggravated by the dr- cumstrinces of violence or threats to the person of the owner, or with the cirenmstance of a breaking into his dwelling-house or stealing the property thereout when the house was already broken open ; in both which cases the offence is considered of a more ag- gravated nature, and the measure of punishment is consequently wore severe; or the facts may assume the shape of a simple larceny of the goods of another. In all which cases. as in the case of arson before adverted to, nil who are present assentiug to and cooperating in the act are. in point of law, principal offeuders. The only other observation I would suggest is this—that where property which has been stelen is found in the possession of any person recently after the theft committed, unless circumstances appear to rebut suehyresumption, he may be presumed guilty of the. theft, until he can exidain or prove his innocent possession of the property. Upon the subject of a very numerous class of eases relating to the receiving of stolen property, with the guilty knowledge that it has been st.den, I hold it to be unnecessary to otli!r you any observation whatever. There is, however, one case which stands in a difti,rent situation from the rest, and to which it may be pmper that I siMuld call your particular attention—I moan the racil, of one Lewis, who was at large epee his recog- nizance, but has. I understand, surreudered—who stands chargcd upon no hiquest
he- ibre the Coroner, with the offence of umeslaughter, in shooting a boy of the name of Morris. It appears from the depositions before the Coroner, that Lewis was acting in aid of the civil authorities, in assisting to clear the streets, after proelanial len had been regularly made, requiring the rioters to disperse themselves. and after they had con-
tinued together for more than an hour from the time of making the push, ion. It appears also by the testimony of the wiinesses, that the pistol was no a nced at the bur who was unfortunately streek by the ball. The nature. however, of the (Aimee connilitted by Lewis, will not depend so much upon that Met. as Itr011 the eircamstaue.,s under which the pistol was originally discharged. If the tiring of th, pistol by Lewis
was a :ash act, uncalled for by the occasion, or if it was fikeliar,1 tly and carelessly, the offence would amonnt to manslau:Affs.: but if i: was 'discharged in the fair and honest execution o li;s duty, in endeavouring to disperse the mob, by reason of their resisting. the :Let et' ti in the pistol was then an .fet justified by the omasion under the Riot Act before retevrol to. ;Lull the killing of the boy would then amount to accidental death only, and not U the offence of manslo tighter. Von will, I doubt nut, wben the eiremnstances of the case are brought befifre you in evi- dence, deal with it as justice requires."
The Chief Justice briefly adverted to the eaaes of crime not connec- ted with the riots, but included in the Commission, which the Grand Jury would have to consider ; and closed his address by reeonneeuding to them to udge of the evidence brought before them coolly, delibe- rately, and impartially. The Jurors then retired to their chamber. The Court adjourned at half-past four, . until nine o'clock on the following day. Previous to the adjournment, several true bills were rettnmed.
When the Court had assembled on Tuesday, it immediately proceed- ed-to the trial of William Clarke, Patrick heaniey, James Williams, Daniel Higgs, James Courtenav, and John illecay, indicted " for that
they in that part of the parish of "Bedminster, within the city and county of Bristol, with others riotously and tumultuously assembled and pull- ed down and destroyed a house (tile gaol) the property of his Majesty." Other counts in the indictment laid it as the property of the Cor- poration of Bristol, of the citizens, of the Commissioners for Building the Gaol, and of the Governor. There was also another indictment for burningthe Gaol.
The Attorney-General opened the case, and described the nature of the offences with which Clarke and his companions were specially charged— In the first place, it would be proved that they were riotously-and ennultuously assembled together, to the disturbance of the public peace - that they were parading the town about noon on f-hmday the 30th i Oetjher, in the most riotous and disorderly manner ; thot ofter destroying the Bridewell by fire, they proceeded to the 1)111 lie Gaol ; and :rbether for the purpose of liberatins the psmens there confined, or whothi.r with a view to the general destruction of property, he was unable to determirm ; but it would he proved that they broke into the Gaol and set fire to sevend parts of it. It would be proved that 'Clarke, the first person mined in the indictment, was seen with a crow-bar on his shoulder actively engaged in acts of violence and outrage at the head of the party that attacked the Gaol, which was a strong building, and the gates of which required considerable force to break them down. They did resist for some time all the combined efforts of the mob. At length, however, an entrance was effected, by making a small hole through one of the gates, through which some of the rioters made good their way, and then snecceded in wrenching them from their hinges. It would be proved that the prisoner, Clarke_, was seen with a sledge- hammer battering the gate, for the purpose of making that entry, and using the most violent language at the head of the mob ; who finally succeeded in making good their way into the interior of the prison ; where they proceeded, amongst other acts of outrage, to the destruction of the Governor's house, which was in a short time reduced tothat heap of ruins that it now was. These acts would be satisfactorily. proved ; and it would be alamproved that the other prisoners cri- minally participated in those acts of outrage. To establish still more clearly the guilt of the prisoner Clarke, it would be preyed that he was afterwards seen with the keys of the prison in his hand, going about in one of the public-houses in this town, boasting of what he had done,---talking of the keys ot the Hen and Chickens or some expression to that effect, and still indulging in the most vio- lent and inflammatory language. He believed that this prisoner was rather of a superior caste, and one from whom such conduct was uot to have been expected. He stated himself to be a Dorsetshire man ; and it appeared that he had for some time been himself the proprietor of a public-house. It was to be the more lamented that an individual thus raised above the common crowd should have demeaned himself in so disgraceful and criminal a manner. He would be found from first to last as acting as the leader of the mob,—inciting them to acts of violence and outrage, and doing all the mischief it was in his power to effect. With regard to all the other prisoners, he did not believe that they would-be affected by evidence of the same strong description; but he believed there was no one of them who would not be clearly proved to have taken an active part in the late disgraceful riots.
The first witness called was the Taskmaster of the Gaol, William Stratton. Stratton narrated minutely the attack on the Gaol on the 30th October
Abouta quarter past two o'clock on that day, he heard a great cheering inthe direction of :Prince's Street. There was shortly after a great knocking at -the prison-gate. He was at the time inside the gates, in the open space between the outer wall and the Governor's house. Between the outer wall and the,Gover- nor's house there is an iron gate; a lodge is attached to the outer gate, and the rooms of it go over it. There is, besides the great gates, a small side-daor through the iuwer room of the lodge, by which persons could enter the yard of the prison. The knocking alluded to appeared to be caused by large hammers. While it we; going on, Mr. Stratton went on the top of the lodge, from whence he saw the persons assembled ; there were about 10,000 or 12,000 persons round the prison. The crowd was on both sides of the river ; about 1,000 persons being on the prison side of the river. In about three-quarters of an hour after the attack with the sledge-hammers began, the rioters made a hole in one of the great gates sufficiently large to admit one man, and one man did come in. Mr. Stratton, who was iaside the second iron gate, called to the man, and asked him what was his business. He was at the time making an entrance through the. hole in the daor. Five or six men came in a moment or two afterwards. He did not see any of the prisoners on that occasion; but he afterwards saw Cour- tenay inside the prison, assisting to drive the prison van into the river. The five persons who came in through the hole, wrenched off the bars of the gates, and there was a general rush of the crowd into the prison. About 300 or 400 rushed in. The inob first made their way through the inside iron gates to the Gover- nor's house and the interior of the prison. The Governor's house was in an open space in the interior of the prison. They then went to the places where the prisoners were confined. The prisoners were all let out, and not one was left in the prison. It was when the prisoners were let out that he saw the crowd driving the van out ; Courtemy was one of those doing so. The tread-mill part of the gaol, the Governor's house, and several other parts of the prison, were then set tire to ; this was about four o'clock. There wits a cry that " the sol- diers were coining." When the cry was raisecl, the rioters began to run away as fitst as they could out of the gaol, and Mr. Stratton and one of the turnkeys shut the gates on them. The soldiers, however, did not remain half a moment. One of them, who showed himself at the gate, at once turned round his horse, and went away again. After the soldiers retreated, there was a second general rush from the miters into the gaol. Up to that time there had been no lire. The first part of the gaol that fie saw on fire was a room in the Governor's house over the mile e. There was it great number of the rioters in the house at the time. Ile San- one of them looking with a spy-glass out of one of the windows ; others were breaking up the furniture, and throwing blankets, sheets, &c. into the river. Mr. Stratton, when the heuse xi-asset on fire, went out of the gaol, and he then saw that the tread-mill was on fire. It isbehind one of the yards, and is about forty yards from t'es f.,:i:Vi2rItur's house. When he quitted the prison there were about 3e0 there, ;tie; there was a great number of _persons outside. While wall:jag down to Wood's Hotel, about tifty or sixty yards from the prison-door, lie nat-the prisoner Clarke coming up. He hid an iron bar on his shoulder, and there were several boys and men walking after him. He saw him go into the prison, accompanied by several others. This was a few minutes after four o'clock, and nearly two hours from the first arrival of the rioters at the prison. The bar which Clarke bad on his shoulder was a spare rail bent at the end. /t u-as about two inches thick. It was such a rail as is to be found before houses in the street.
On his cross-examination and re-examination, Mr. Stratton adhered to this evidence ; that he saw none of the prisoners inside of the prison
but Courtenay, who wore on the occasion a smock frock ; and that he not Clarke, on his quitting the gaol, about sixty yards from the gates, after the gates had been broken and the prisoners released as described, and while the Governor's house and the tread-mill were on fire. He also adhered to the evidence that neither Clarke nor any of the pri- soners weree
amen, those whom he had seen battering the gates ; nor did he see any of them in the prison or about employed in any way, with the exception of Ceurtenay, helping to wheel the van into the river.
Selwyn, the next witness, who acted as assistant to the peace-officers on the occasion of the riots, swore that he saw both Clarke and Kear- ney hammering at the lower part of the outer prison-gate. This was before the soldiers came. He had not seen Clarke, whom he knew, on any previous occasion during the day. Kearney he had seen with the mob about one o'clock, when they were going towards the Bridewell : he was the most riotous of the whole. He had an iron bar in his hand, which he was s,.:ieieg about. On his cross-examination Selwyn said b he was about thirty ards from the door of the gaol, and hash his eye on it. He did not see Stratton come out, but the mob was so great that he might have come out without his seeing him. Clarke knocked at the door before there was any fire in the gaol ; it was about four o'clock, or a little after it, before the soldiers came. Clarke was in the act of breaking the bottom of the large gate when he first saw him ; he could pot see the small door; he (Selwyn) remained about five minutes after the mob entered the gaol, and not more. He gave information on oath before the Magistrates on Wednesday evening. There was suffi- cient room between the spectators and the mob to distinguish every person there. He went to the Council-house after he left the gaol ; but he could find no one there to watch the motions of the mob.
Phillips, a turnkey, described the attack on the gaol in nearly the seine terms as Mr. Stratton had done. He looked through the wicket when the hammering at the outer gates began ; but he saw neither Clarke nor Kearney nor any of the prisoners there, although, if they had been, be must &lye seen them. Clarke he saw enter the gaol about twenty minutes or half an hour after the outer gates had been forced, and after, to prevent the locks from being destroyed by the mob, he (Phillips) had unlocked the inner iron gate. Clarke went up a flight of stairs that led to the Governor's house; about an hour after, he saw him again, coming down the steps at the lodge which is by the iron gate. In the first instance, he had a crow-bar on his shoulder; when he came out of the gaol he had nothing in his hand. The tread-mill was fired in the interval between Clarke's ascending the steps to the Governor's house and his coming down those which are by the iron gate.
A man named Carver, a debtor, who was in the gaol at the time, was thenexamined; but he complained of illness, and of having almost en- tirely lost all remembrance of the events of the day. He saw Clarke at a late hour of the day, and thought he was then striking the iron gates with a hammer; at that time there were a great many persons striking them. -Shercock, another debtor, gave evidence to Clarke's being in the prison, and to his calling to the mob, "Come here," or "Come there,"—he could not say which : he could not tell whether.
the command was obeyed or not. There were a great many people: telling the -mob, some to do one thing, some another. They were breaking open the Transport-yard, when he saw Clarke. The latter - had no weapon in his hand at the time.
A man named Page, a waterman, who was on the opposite,sideof the river at the time; swore that he saw Clarke unship the staff and weather vane which was placed above the :prison, and throw it ,down: among the crowd. _Clarke bad passed the river_in.thermorning,and. Mr. Humphries, the Governor of the gaol. by the mob— A witness named 'Wallingford, swore to receiving from Clarke, about
for honesty, up to the unfortunate hour of the riots. dirung-rooni into the churchyard and Trinity Street ; came round a second
the other prisoners were called. A boy named Dalian swore, that a of the mob entered the Chapter-house and Chapter-room; many of the books man who very closely resembled Kearney set fire to the Governor's there were burned, and a great number brought out. The people within handed. house, by means of straw, over which he poured " turps" [turpentine] them through the windows awl the books st'ere carried across the churchyard, from a tan flask which he had in his pocket. Two witnesses swore and thrown by them into a dressing-room of the Palace, then in flaims. Jones that they saw him in the gaol-yard, breaking and destroying the furni- remained in tile churchyard till half-past live o'clock in the morning. The mob time of Mr. Humphries. A man named John Derrick swore that continued there all that time. Bendall, the prisoner, was one at them. He Jams Williams was present when the gaol-gate was broken in, and that saw him first about one o'clock in the morning ; and from that time until half- he was hammering at it. This witness admitted that he carried home Past two he was employed in going to the window of the Chapter-room, taking some books, and that he had been in custody for the theft. A blacksmith the books and then chucking them into the flames. Thme were several others named Pitman saw Williams in the gaol-yard about six o'clock ; he was taking the books at the same time. not at that time doing any thing. Evidence was given of some blankets In his cross-examination, Mr. Jones stated, that there were, during and shoes, which were identified as belonging to the gaol, being found in the time that he stood in the court, about one hundred persons there. the house of Williams's mother. A witness named Cressey swore, that He stood in the midst of them, and no one offered to molest him. The Higgs was picking pockets and hustling at the gaol-gates, and heaping books were thrown out of the Chapter-house window, and lay scattered wood against them before they were broken. Another witness saw all over the green; they were picked up by Bendall and others, and him with the mob. It appeared from the testimony of a third, Air. thrown into the Palace, which was all the time burning. There were Bannister, that Higgs, when arrested, gave a false residence. Watson, other parties who carried them away, with a view to save them-
e night constable, swore that Mecay was actively engaged in breaking There were ten or a dozen throwing- them into the flames, and some of them the gaol-gates. A witness named Williams saw Mecay and others looked like gentlemen ; at least from their clothes and appearance they seemed break into a blacksmith's shop close to the gaol, whence Mecay broughtaentlemen. Saw the prisoner different times receive the books and throw therm out a sledge-hammer and chisel. He also saw Mecay bring out a bag into the fire. He received them from the persons who looked like gentlemen, of pease from the gaol, which he scattered about, and the portrait of and from others. Mr. Humphries, which he kicked a hole in, and then threw into the A witness named Feaden corroborated the fact of Bendall throwing
river, the books into the burning Palace. He had also seen him in the Mr. Palmer, counsel for Clarke, wished to take an objection, that Square, opposite Mr. Miles's house, while it was on fire, destroying the charge against him was one of high treason, not felony, inasmuch books and furniture; he had a hammer or bludgeon in his hand. He as it was stated that he declared his intention of opening all the gaols had seen Benda several times standing in the Square, with a Reform . of England : he relied on the case of Dr. Watson. The Court over- petition in his hand; this was before the riots. Phillips, a young maa ruled this objection. who was in company with Feaden, gave evidence to the same facts. It Evidence was then gone into for the defence. On the part of was between one and two o'clock when these transactions took place. - Clarke, a number of witnesses swore, that in consequence of a hurt From the testimony of the officer that took him in custody, it ap. ,received some years ago, his conduct when in liquor was more like that peered that Bendall, when apprehended, wore tape round his arm and of a mad than a drunken person. His own mother was called: when she hat, and had a staff like a constable's. Benda said he belonged to the entered the box, Clarke was so strongly affected, that it was necessary Union, and had four shillings a-week from it. to remove him. He as well as the other prisoners had been kept John Robins, a labourer at Bedminster, described Simons as having standing in the dock during the whole long day ; ihen he was brought broken the window of the Chapterhouse with a stick or bar. This back, be was accommodated with a chair. He fainted a second time was about twelve o'clock. He afterwards met him in Reddiffe Street; while his mother was giving evidence. The fact of his having drunk he had then nothing in his hand. Simons said, when he met him, that very freely on the Sunday of the riots, previous to the attack on the he bad had 10/. taken from him. , gaol, was proved. Several persons swore most positively that Clarke Mr. Kelsey, a corn-factor, saw Bendall throw a stone at Sir Charles neither hoisted nor pulled down the flag, nor touched the flag-staff on Wetherell's coach, when near the Mansion-house, on Saturday.
the Governor's house. One of these was not more than fifteen yards This was the whole evidence for the prosecution. . distant when the staff was taken down, and saw it done. Clarke received For Bendall, five witnesses of respectability appeared,—one of theta . an excellent character for honesty, and general steadiness of behaviour, a chance evidence; who swore positively that he was of imbecile mind. from a number of the inhabitants of Bedminster, who had known him One of the witnesses, Mrs. Mary Ashley Sharpe, said he was incapabla
for years. of being trusted to do an ordinary errand, without some one accom- Four witnesses were examined with a view to prove an alibi in the panying him. None of the witnesses had, however, known the lad for -case of Courtenay. A witness named Bailey swore that he was in more than a year and a half at most. This point was noticed by Xt. 'company with Williams at Keynsham, five miles from Bristol, so late Justice Bosanquet, in summing up ; and he seemed to infer that evi- l's three o'clock on Sunday: it was twenty Minutes past four, before dence of imbecility for such a space of time was not sufficient, but..thali . afterwards repassed it at twelve o'cloek. When hesnishipped the staff, they reached the turnpike : whfin theyxot inte the town tbe prison Wag it was between three and four o'clock ; he was then without a hat or on lire. Bailey accounted foi the lslankets and shoes found at Wil- .coat. Wyatt, a toll-keeper, described Clarke as one of a mob which: liams's mother's : in going home, Williams found a blanket, 'with somes be saw proceediag towards the gaol about two o'clock of the day; thing wrapped up in it, on- the- bridge ; be picked it up, and carried it Clarke had at that time a bar over his shoulder. On passing Wyatt, with him. Other witnessea, confirmed . the fact of Williams being at he exclaimed, " We will have liberty." There were several hundreds Keynsham as late as three or half-past three (*lock. A debtor named of the mob in advance of Clarke, when he passed the bridge where Howes, who was in the gaol for two hours after the attack, swore that
Wyatt stood. during that time he did not see Kearney there ; he first saw him about
Mr. Cross, a merchant, spoke to Clarke's producing, on Sandy five o'clock, at the corner of the Grove. ' Several persons gave Kear- night, in the Horse and Jockey public-house, a bunch of keys, which ney a good character. An alibi was attempted for Higgs : the wit.. he said were the keys of the gaol, one of which was a master-key that nesses, however' could not swear Where he was from two to a quarter would open all the gaols in England: This was about twelve o'clock. past four o'clock on Sunday. Clarke was half drunk, and his acts said nianner were those of a mad- When the witnesses for the prisoners had been heard, the Attorneys. man. He, and four or five others who came with him, had small crow- General called a tidesvaiter, named Racker, who had been examined bars about thirty inches long, and about the . thickness of Mr. Cross's before the. Magistrates, who swore to seeing Courtenay breaking win,. thumb. Robert Harding Trickey was in company with Mr. Cross on dows in Queen Square, with an iron rod which he took out of the cellar the occagion. Clarke and his coMpanions entered in a mad way. of the Mansionhouse. Clarke took from one pocket a large bunch of keys, and from another It being now past eleven o'clock, the Court adjourned to Wednesday a larger key. Clarke said, " You —, here are the keys of the gaol ; morning; when, having, reassembled, the Chief Justice proceeded to and not a — gaol shall stand in England in a fortnight." They all sum up. The Jury.remained three hours and a half in deliberation;
appeared in liquor. They went away in about a quarter of an hour. the verdict was given in at five o'clock ; they declared William Clarke, Several other witnesses were examined to show that Clarke was with Patrick Kearney, Daniel Higgs, James Courtenay, guilty; and acquitted the mob in the course of the day. He was at the Britannia public- James Williams. Clarke fainted twice or thrice during the delivery of house twice, accompanied by several more ; the first time between one the Judge's charge. and two o'clock, the second time about an hour after. On the second The next trial was that of Thomas Bendall and James Simons, two oecasion, he had an iron bar on his shoulder; he was then " merry," half-grown lads, aged between eighteen and nineteen, for destroying but not very tipsy. At eight o'clock in the evening, be stopped at the the Bishop's Palace. There were two indictments, one for the dilapi.. door of a public-house in Nicholas Street. He displayed the bunch dation, another for the arson. of keys there, and showed some bacon which he said had belonged to Robert Jones, the Bishop's butler, described the attack on the Palace two or three on Monday morning, fotuteen.books, which Clarke bid The Bishop left the Palace at three o'clock on the Sunday afternoon. The mob broke in about eight o'clock. There are large gates between Lower and
him take care of. This was in Prince's Street, Queen Square. Upper College Green, about twenty yards from the Palace. Those gates lead Clarke asked, before giving him the books, " If he was a Reformer;" to the cloisters on the left, and to the Bishop's door on the right. No part of
and on being told that he was, he exclaimed " That's right." the Palace except the door abuts on the court. The gates were attacked by a
Rouse' landlord of the Boar's Head, spoke to Clarke's language violent hammering, and fell in about save" or eight minutes. On the breaking there on Sunday night. Clarke came to the Boar's Head about eleven of the gates, Jones, who was standing at his master's door, went into the Palace o'clock, accompanied by two or three men and some boys. Clarke said and closed it. About one hundred persons had come into the court-Yard before that he kept the Hen and Chickens at Bedminster, , and was w. landlord he fastened the door. The mob called out to him to open ; anti on his refu.s, as well as Rouse. . The party had crow-bars; and Clarke said he had a man said " Peg away." The door was then struck, and the two lower panda broken open the three prisons. He then produced some keys:. He knocked out in a very-few minutes. On the panels flying out, the mob rushed also said he and his few boys had burnt the Bishop's Palace; that he in. Jones retreated through a side-window ot the Palace into the churchyard;
had done a good day's work that day, and hoped to do a better to-mor- and over a high wall into Trinity Street from the churchyard. He came round. again as fast as he could to the front dour ; where he remained until the soldiers
row; he was intoxicated. came. When they came, he asked the commanding officer for three or four of
A female servant of Mr. Humphries proved the theft of the bacon. his men, whom he offered to lead ; but the officer would not allow them to dis-
Several other witnesses proved that Clarke was in Queen Square mount. The mob dispersed while the soldiers were at the Palace ; and Jones while the houses there were burning. Mr. Austin, a watch-maker, in consequence went into it. The furniture china, and glass, were destroyed, saw him with dishes and bottles in his hands, and heard him calling on and four beds were found On fire. The tijken had been cut and coals put in- the mob to come out of one of the burning houses. Mr. Humphries, side. The mob returned in about twenty minutes ; the soldiers in the meals the Governor of the gaol, proved the loss of four keys, one of which time having gone away. They caught Jones in the pantry. They had at this was a master-key. Two other witnesses were examined, who had seen time hammers and iron bars in their hands : he had seen but one crow-bar when Clarke in Queen Square: one of them gave Clarke ' a high character they first broke in. He once more retreated through the back staircase and The evidence against Clarke being finished, the svitnesses against time to the front door, and then he missed the soldiers. The Palace Iva%
soon after in flames, perliaps in a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes. Some a
-persons should have be en produc .d who had known the prisoner from his infancy. Simons called / o witnesses. They were both found
'While the Jury were considering their verdict, James Williams, already tried for the attack on the brao1$ was pro forma arraigned for theft; but the Attorney-General declined adducing any evidence against him, and he was acquitted and discharged.
[For Thursday's Trials, see page 12 of this Paper.] The Grand Jury have ignored the bill preferred against Captain Lewis for murder, and also that for manslaughter. He will therefore be tried on the Coroner's Inquest only. Mr. Campbell made an appli- cation to the Court on Wednesday to fix a day for the trial, but they were unable to comply with his request.
It has been.dctuTently reported in Bristol, that several prisoners charged with riotous assembling have subpoenaed Sir Charles Wethe- relL—Globe. [ This is going to the root of the matter.]
The reporters complain much of the conduct of the special constables of Bristol, who seem determined to keep up their character. Instead of regalia* and peace, they are the grand promoters of disorder and noise. Out of court and in court, they use their authority not to faci- litate business, but appear to consider it only given them to throw obstructions in the way.