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whereby they may be strengthened or better enabled to carry on war, armaments, or enterprises against us, or to defend themselves, or whereby the king's hands might be weakened, are acts of adherence to his enemies; any act whereby the relative war power of the enemy might be promoted, if done with that intent, is a treasonable adherence, though the attempt should prove abortive, and not produce the intended effect; because the party has done all in his power to render it effectual; and, gentlemen, wisely the law is so; for traitors would escape, if no punishment could be inflicted while the government existed; and it would be too late to attempt it when the government was overturned.
Notoriety is sufficient evidence of war, and of the French being enemies to the king and his government. Gentlemen, I shall now state the overt acts, which are set forth in the indictment, that you may see how far you think all or any of them are established. I shall also state the evidence, and I shall, afterwards, state the object which you are to look at, in a narrow point of view, for your consideration, that your attention may not be distracted.
[Here his lordship enumerated the 'several overt acts in the indictment, classing them as they related to the same subjects, and then proceeded :)
Gentlemen, the two prisoners stand indicted, as concerned in these several acts; and there has been evidence, if you give credit to it, that implicates them both in a conspiracy; and that having been done, every act committed by one is evidence against the other, to the extent of ascertaining the nature of the conspiracy; but it is always, in such cases, open to the jury to separate the prisoners, and to say how far guilt shall ultimately be confined to one or extended to both, by the particular evidence in the cause; therefore, gentlemen, in attending to the evidence in this case, you will consider it with its different relative bearings to the two pri. soners at the bar.
[His lordship then proceeded to recapitulate the evidence,
ohserving upon it as he stated it, and particularly pointing to the consideration of the jury such parts of it as tended to corroborate the evidence of Armstrong, and when he came to that part relative to the paper found by Alderman Alex. ander, he mentioned that it was found in a writing box which lay upon a table, open and unlocked, and that it did not appear in evidence whose property that writing box was, or to which of the prisoners the house belonged.]
Mr. John Sheares. I beg your lordship's pardon, it was in
my writing box that paper was found.
Lord Carleton. I could not call upon the prisoner for any admission of that kind, and I wish the case may be determined on the evidence alone. This paper was in the handwriting of John: 'no evidence was offered to disprove his hand-writing to it. It does not appear, by express evidence, which of the prisoners was to be deemed as having it in his possession; as against John, who had written it, it is of more weight, than against Henry: but as against the latter, it is of weight, as being the act of one of the conspirators, ascertaining the nature and objects of the conspiracy, nevertheless as to him leaving the discussion, as to the extent of his guilt, open. Gentlemen, this paper wants one circumstance of additional strength in not being published; but notwithstanding, it is very powerfully operative in the cause, as corroborative of the other evidence, and as marking the intention of the party whom it is to affect. A spirit of massacre and rebellion, an intent to destroy the existing government, and to usurp the sovereign power of the state, a hatred to the connection of Ireland with Great Britain, settled plans of attacks to be made on the king's government, and a system of terror and rewards are strongly expressed; in short, the paper speaks so plainly and strongly, that it is only necessary for you to hear it read without my remarking upon the different parts.
[After his lordship had gone through the whole of the evi. dence, he said:]
Now, gentlemen, a great deal has been urged, and you
must draw your attention to this subject. Much depends up-. on the credit which you give to the testimony of Captain Armstrong: his testimony is sought to be impeached, by showing that he does not believe in a Supreme Being, and in a future state of rewards and punishments. He has sworn that he does believe in a Supreme Being, and in a future state of rewards and punishments; though it has been · sworn he declared the contrary. If he does not believe in a Supreme Being, and a future state of rewards and pu. nishments, his evidence, to be sure, ought to go for nothing. Whether he has made those declarations which have been imputed to him, and if he did, whether he made them se. riously, and communicating his real opinions, or as matter of idle conversation, (for he has been described as giddy and inconsiderate in his expressions,) you are to determine. You will also consider the circumstances of corroboration which have appeared'; he gave an account of each meeting, as it was held; in that respect, the evidence of Clibborn supports and fortifies his testimony, and in several parts of his testimony, the papers established his credit in a very strong manner, as I more particularly pointed out to you when I stated those papers to you. The evidence of Kearney also has the same tendency, especially when the memorandum is taken into consideration ; on the other hand, as a further ground offered to impeach him, there is a circumstance to be considered, namely, the manner of his getting admission to the prisoners; it has not been pressed upon you that he was to be considered as an accomplice; but that he went as a spy, for the purpose of discovering the conduct of the prisoners. You will take that into your consideration, and see what influence it may have upon your minds as to his credit.
Gentlemen, I stated all the different overt acts, intimating, that I might afterwards suggest 'my ideas as to the object of your inquiry upon a shorter scale. With regard to compassing the death of the king, if meetings were held, or con
spiracies formed, to overthrow the government, to usurp the sovereign power of the state, to depose the king, in my apprehension, the evidence, if you believe it, and are . satisfied such was the object, is sufficient to establish the charge against the prisoners. Supposing the evidence satisfactory to your minds to establish the fact of a scheme formed to levy war against the king, this agitated war doubtless would (if levied) have been, in construction of law, express, direct war against the king's person, and an overt act of compassing and imagining his death. It was to be a war, referring to foreign aid, and invasion, and in which, if the French armies came in time, they might be participators, but which, for special reasons, was to precede the arrival of the French; the camp of the king's troops was intended to be taken by storm, or surprise, risings were to take place in various parts of the kingdom, and at periods which were to have a certain relation to each other; the king's artillery, his representative and council, and government, to be seized, and taken into the hands of the insurgents; all' those circumstances will be combined together by you, and if you
believe that the prisoners embarked in those designs, as stated by the evidence, the object, in truth, will then appear to be, to overset the government, to create a governing power in themselves, and the consequence would be the deposition of the king, a clear overt act of treason, in compassing his death. If, therefore, I say, you believe the evidence, as establishing the conclusions which I have mentioned, it is sufficient to maintain the first charge.
If you are satisfied upon the first count, that the facts which Į have just now alluded to, have been established against both the prisoners, you will find them both guilty ; if they are established against one only, you will find him guilty, and acquit the other upon that count; and if, gentlemen, you entertain one rational doubt, not merely a capricious doubt, but the doubt of sensible men, then, in a capital case, you will lean in favour of life.
With regard to the second count, for adhering to the king's enemies, I have stated to you that it is of the essence of that charge, that the act done must be with the imputed intent of aiding the king's foreign enemies. The evidence is a conspiracy to raise war, and open rebellion, to take the camp, city of Dublin, the castle, the lord lieutenant and privy council: These measures were to be carried into execution at a late period, but a scheme appears to have been framed to bring them forward, from the anxiety of the people involved in the conspiracy for their friends who were to be tried in Kildare at the then approaching assises; therefore, an intention was professed of having the rising at an earlier period than was first expected, and this was communicated to Captain Armstrong by the prisoner John Sheares, under the pressure of events, as he stated, which prevented them from waiting any longer the arrival of the French; you are, therefore, to consider, whether you can infer that this rising was acted upon with a view to aid the French. That intent is absolutely necessary. It is matter of notoriety that the French have been upon the coast the winter before the last, and might, possibly, be expected again. You must, on this count, be satisfied of this intent.
The other judges concurred in opinion with his lordship.
The jury then retired for 17 minutes, and brought in a verdict, finding both the prisoners Guilty.
As soon as the verdict was pronounced, the prisoners clasped each other in their arms.
It being now near 8 o'clock on Friday morning, the court adjourned to 3 o'clock.
When the court met at the hour appointed,
The Attorney-General moved, that Henry Sheares and John Sheares might be brought up for the judgment of the court.
Court. Let them be brought up.
Mr. M'Nally. My lords, none of the counsel assigned for the prisoners attend, but myself; I have, however, a Vol. I.