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On the night of the 1st of May, Mr. R. effected his escape from prison. He made his way to the coast, where he prevailed upon two fishermen to take him into their boat, and put to sea. After many escapes from the dangers of a voyage in so small a vessel, and of being taken by the English cruisers, he was safely landed in France; from thence he came to America. It is almost needless to mention, that Mr. Rowan's mild and proper conduct in this country was such, that it extorted the approbation even of those who were adverse to his principles.
OF THE REVEREND WILLIAM JACKSON, FOR
ON the 28th of April, 1794, the Rev. Wm. Jackson was arrested and committed to prison, under a warrant issued by Lord Chief Justice Clonmell ; and, on the 23d of June, the grand jury of the county of the city of Dublin found an in.. dictment against him for high treason, of which the following. is an abstract:
First count. That Wm. Jackson, clerk, on the 3d day of April, 1794, being a false traitor, did compiss and imagine the death of the king, and did traitorously and feloniously intend the said king to kill, murder, and put to death.-Overt Act. That he did come to Ireland for the purpose of procuring information as to the state of the government, and the dispositions of the people ; which information he did attempt to transmit to persons exercising the powers of government in France, (with whom his majesty the king was then at war,) in order to enable the French to effect an invasion of Ireland.
Second count. That the said Wm. Jackson being a false traitor, did consult and conspire with divers others to levy and make insurrection, rebellion, and war.-Overt Acts. 1st. That he did excite the persons exercising the powers of government in France to levy war within Ireland—and twelve other overt acts of the same nature.
Third count. That the said Wm. Jackson unlawfully and traitorously was adhering, aiding, and comforting the persons exercising the powers of government in France, then being the enemies of the king. The overt acts laid in this count were the same as those in the next preceding one.
At half past ten the court sat, consisting of Earl Clonmell Chief Justice ; Mr. Justice Downes, and Mr. Justice Chamberlaine-Mr. Justice Boyd being absent.
The Rev. William Jackson was brought from Newgate, escorted by an officer's guard, (which continued in the hall during the trial, and prevented the crowd from pressing into the court,) and was put to the bar. The prisoner having declared himself ready for trial, the jury were called, elected, tried, and sworn. The case was opened by
Mr. Attorney-General. My lords, and gentlemen of the jury. The prisoner, the Rev. William Jackson, a clergyman of the church of Ireland, and a native of this kingdom, stands charged with high treason. He is charged with two species of that crime. One, that he compassed and imagined the death of the king; the other that he adhered to the king's enemies, namely, the persons exercising the powers of government in France, with which nation the king was at war at the time the fact was alleged to have been committed. The court will inform you that this indictment is grounded on the statute of Edward III. By that statute, confirming the common law, to imagine, design, or compass the death of the king, is made high treason; the only instance where a crime intended, and not committed, is made punishable with death, because as there is something so essential to society in the chief magistrate, (the king,) that the compassing his death is guarded against in this peculiar way, because the peace and safety of society depends, in a great measure, upon his single life.
But, while the law has thus wisely guarded against violence offered to the chief magistrate of the state, it has taken care that those who shall be charged with any intention of that kind shall not be easily or lightly found guilty; and, as the intention of the guilty person can only be known to himself and to the eye of providence, it is necessary, before he can be convicted of that horrid crime, that he should have mani
fested it by some overt act, openly done, and fairly proved, which shall make that intention plain and clear to the jury, who are to pronounce their verdict upon him. Upon this species of treason, I am to observe, what the court will also inform you of, that, to constitute the crime, it is not necessary that the party actually had an intention the king to put to death.
[Here Mr. Curran apologized for interrupting Mr. Attorney-General with a request that the witnesses for the crown might be sent out of court, which was readily complied with, as well by the crown officers as by the court; and a list of witnesses was desired on both sides, that they might be placed out of the hearing of the statement; but nothing more was insisted upon than that Mr. Cockayne, the principal witness for the prosecution, should withdraw.]
Mr. Attorney-General proceeded. Gentlemen, I was endeavouring to explain the charge in the first part of the indictment, that of compassing the death of the king. It is not necessary that the person accused intended to put the king actually to death; but if any thing which might in its consequences produce that effect, he is guilty of the crime charged upon him. Thus, if he meant to dethrone the king, it is settled law, that that would be of itself a compassing of his death; for, to dethrone a king, immediately leads to the last act of violence. Another similar instance is, that the pare ty having an intention to imprison the king, although it does not appear that he intended to put him to death, yet he is guilty by the law of compassing his death; for such an act is the immediate forerunner of the death of a king. Therefore, gentlemen, it is for you to consider when you shall hear the evidence, what the scope and design of the prisoner was.
He stands charged, in the first instance, with an intention of compassing the king's death; to support that charge there are fourteen overt acts laid; if any one of which is proved to your satisfaction, and is in its nature such as discovers to you this traitorous intention, then you will find the prisoner guilty. I shall not take up your time with enumerating the
several overt acts that are laid in the indictment; the principal one is, that the prisoner consulted with several others, to induce the governing powers of France to invade this kingdom, for the purpose of dethroning the king : the prisoner meeting, together with others, in such consultation, is an overt act, from which you will necessarily collect the preconceived intention of dethroning the king, which in law amounts to a compassing of his death.
Another act is, that the prisoner procured a statement of the kingdom of Ireland to be drawn up, and did put that into the post-office, to be sent into the kingdom of France, with a view of inducing the rulers of the French to invade this country, for the purpose of dethroning the king.
A further act is, that the prisoner endeavoured to persyade a certain person, named in the indictment, to go to France with intelligence, to persuade the ruling powers to make an inyasion, in order to dethrone the king.
Another is, that another person was endeavoured to be persuaded to go into France, to induce the enemy to make such an attempt.
It is also laid, that the prisoner came into this kingdom for the purpose of exciting a rebellion. That also is an overt act, which manifests the intention; and there are various others of a similar nature, particularly specified on the face of the indictment, if any one of which is proved to your satisfaction, then it will appear that the prisoner did incur the guilt of compassing the king's death.
The other species of treason is, that of adhering to the king's enemies; that species of treason is clearly expressed by the very term itself; but an overt act of that kind must also be laid, and, therefore, fourteen are laid to support that, the same as those which are laid to support the other charge : for, g’entlemen of the jury, it needs no argument to prove, that if a man invites an enemy, he adheres to that enemy; and if he gives that enemy intelligence, he adheres to him. It is needless to go over the fourteen overt acts to satisfy you