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tion was formed), would be equally inconsistent with every rule of law and every principle of self-preservation :-it would be at once to authorize every description of mischievous persons to carry their destructive principles into immediate and fatal effect ; in other words, it would be to sign the doom and downfall of that constitution which protects us all.

I am sure, therefore, that for the crime, such as I have represented it to be, my learned friend will not, in the exercise of his own good sense, choose to offer

any defence or apology ; but he will endeavour to make the evidence I shall lay before you, appear in another point of view :-he will endeavour to conceal and soften much of that malignity which I impute, and I think justly, to the intentions and actings of these Defendants.

It was about the close of the year 1792, that the French nation thought fit to hold out to all the nations on the globe, or rather, I should say, to the discontented subjects of all those nations, an encouragement to confederate and combine together, for the purpose of subverting all regular established authority amongst them, by a decree of the 19th of November 1792, which I consider as the immediate source and origin of this and other mischievous societies. That nation, in convention, pledged to the discontented inhabitants of other countries, its protection and assistance, in case they should be disposed to innovate and change the form of government under which they had heretofore lived." Under the influence of this fostering encouragement, and meaning, I must suppose, to avail themselves of the protection and assistance thus held out to them, this and other dangerous societies sprang up and spread themselves within the bosom of this realm.

Gentlemen, it was about the period I mentioned, or shortly after, I mean in the month of December, which followed close upon the promulgation of this detestable decree, that the society on which I am about to comment, ten members of which are now presented in trial before you,-was formed *, The vigilance of those to whom the administration of justice and the immediate care of the police of . the country is primarily entrusted, had already prevented or dispersed every numerous assembly of persons which resorted to public-houses for such purposes ; it therefore became necessary

for disposed, to assemble themselves, if at all, within. the walls of some private mansion. The president and head of this society, Mr. Thomas Walker, raised to that bad eminence by a species of merit which will not meet with much favour or encouragement here, opened his doors to receive a society of this sort at Manchester, miscalled the Reformation Society : the name may, in soine senses, indeed import and be understood to mean a society formed for the purpose

persons thus

of beneficial reform ; but what the real

* The Manchester Constitutional Society was instituted in October 1790; the Reformation Society, in March 1792; the Patriotic Society, in April 1792.


purposes of this society were, you will presently learn, from their declared sentiments and criminal actings. He opened his doors, then, to receive this society : -they assembled, night after night, in numbers, to an amount which you will hear from the witnesses: sometimes, I believe, the extended number of such assemblies amounting to more than a hundred per

There were three considerable rooms allotted for their reception. In the lower part of the house, where they were first admitted, they sat upon business of less moment, and requiring the presence of smaller numbers ;-in the upper part, they assembled in greater multitudes, and read, as in a school, and as it were to fashion and perfect themselves in every thing that is seditious and mischievous, those writings which have been already reprobated by other Juries, sitting in this and other places, by the Courts of law, and in effect, by the united voice of both Houses of Parliament. They read, amongst other works, particularly the works of an author whose name is in the mouth of every body in this country; I mean the works of Thomas Paine ;-an author, who, in the gloom of a French prison, is now contemplating the full effects and experiencing all the miseries of that disorganizing system of which he is, in some respect, the parent–certainly, the great advocate and promoter.

The works of this author, and many other works of a similar tendency, were read aloud by a person of the name of Jackson, who exercised upon those

occasions the mischievous function of reader to this society.

Others of the Defendants had different functions assigned them ; some were busied in training them to the use of arms, for the purpose, avowedly, in case there should be either a landing of the French, with whom we were then, I think, actually at war or about to be immediately at war; or in case there should take place a revolt in the kingdoms of Ireland or Scotland, to minister to their assistance, either to such invasion or to such revolt. That they met for such purposes is not only clear from the writings that were read aloud to them, and the conversations that were held, but by the purposes which were expressly declared and avowed by those who may be considered as the mouth-pieces and organs of the society upon these occasions.

The first time, I think, that the witness Dunn, whom I shall presently produce to you, saw the Defendant Mr. Walker, Mr. Walker declared to him, that he hoped they should soon overthrow the constitution.The witness I have alluded to, was introduced to the society by two persons, I think of the names of M'Callum and Smith, and who, if I am not misinformed, have since taken their flight from this country to America. The first night he was there, he did not see their president Mr. Walker, but on the second night that he went there, Mr. Walker met him as he entered the door, and observing, from his dialect, that he was a native of Ireland, Mr. Walker inquired of him how the vo{unteers went on, and said, with a smile as he passed him in his way up stairs to the rest of the associated members, We shall overthrow the constitution by and by.The witness was then ushered into this room, where he saw assembled nearly to the number of a hundred or a hundred and fifty persons. The room was, I understand, a large warehouse at the top of the house; there were about fourteen or fifteen persons then actually under arms, and some of those whose names are to be found in this record were employed in teaching others the military exercise. It would be endless, as well as useless, to relate to you the whole of what passed at these several meetings.

Upon some occasions, Mr. Walker would talk in the most contumelious and abominable language of the sacred person of our Sovereign. In one instance, when talking of monarchy, he said, “ Damn Kings! “ what have we to do with them, what are they to us?" and, to show the contempt in which he held the lives of all kings, and particularly that of our own Sovereign, taking a piece of paper in his hand, and tearing it, he said, “ If I had the King here, “ I would cut off his head, as readily as I tear this

“ paper."

Upon other occasions, others of the members, and particularly a person of the name of Paul, who I believe is now in Court, held similar language :damning the King ;-reviling and defaming him in the execution of his high office ;- representing the

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