of The Tablet's first edition
THE QUEEN v. O'CONNOR. - The defendant in this case, when called up for judgement, made a long address to the Court in mitigation of punishment; after which, the judges having consulted together for a short time,
Mr Justice Littledale, as senior puisne judge, pronounced sentence. After stating the nature of the prosecution, he said, that though the defendant might argue that his speeches and writings had never excited people to try the employment of physical force, still no one could doubt that these speeches and writings had that tendency. The law could not suffer publication of this sort, so dangerous to the peace of society, to be made with impunity. The sentence of the Court on the defendant was, that he should be imprisoned in the Castle of York for eighteen calendar months, and that he should then find security for his good behaviour for the space (as we understood) of two years, himself in 300l., and two sureties in 150 l . each.
The defendant reminded the Court that, when at the assizes Mr. Martin, a Chartist, had applied to be imprisoned in York Castle, the governor had represented that place was full.
The Court would inquire into that circumstance.
The defendant then wished to ask that, in the meantime he might, as his health was not perfectly restored, be confined in the prison of this Court.
Lord Denman did not see any objection to that course, until the inquiry should be made as to the state of York Castle.
The prisoner was then removed in custody.
THE QUEEN v. BROGDEN. - Mr. Humfrey showed cause against a rule nisi for a criminal information to be filed against the defendant, the proprietor of the Newark Times , for a libel on Dr. Biggsby in his character of a magistrate, in respect of the proceedings at the last Newark election. The alleged libel set forth that the doctor had ordered the sticks to be taken away from the opposite party, while he allowed his party to retain possession of their sticks. The learned counsel said he had the affidavits of three persons who swore to the truth of the statement contained in the newspaper. Under those circumstances he thought the Court would discharge the rule.
Mr. Serjeant Adams and Mr. Waddington, in support of the rule, contended that it must be made absolute, as Dr. Biggsby swore distinctly that he had not been guilty of the conducted imputed to him.
The Court, however, thought the rule must be discharged, as there were the affidavits of three parties; and they could not believe, without evidence of the fact, that they had all been guilty of perjury.
Rule discharged without costs.
THE QUEEN v. THE LORDS OF THE ADMIRALTY. - Mr. Sergeant Shee moved for a rule to show cause why a write of mandamus should not issue to the defendants, commanding them to make an order of payment or pay over to Mr. Harris Stoneman the sum of 500l., being the amount of arrears of pay and emolument due to him as a purser of the ship Perseus, on the 19th of January, 1825. The affidavit of Mr. Stoneman set forth, that in the year 1825 he was tried by a court-martial for an alleged fraud, and sentenced to be dismissed the navy; that on the day of his dismissal the sum in question was due to him; and that, since his dismissal, he had applied to the Lords of the Admiralty for payment of his claim; that, in the year 1829, he received a letter from Sir John Barrow, the Secretary of the Admiralty, in answer to an application which he had made, stating that the Lords of the Admiralty had directed the navy board to pay him whatever was due for his services; that he afterwards attended at the navy board, which stated, in a letter, that it saw no objection to the claim, and referred him to the victualling board, which board, after some time, refused to pay the money, saying that he must get a fresh order; that he subsequently applied again to the Lords of the Admiralty for another order, but they refused to give it, on the ground that they had already given one; and that since then he had made several other applications, but always without success. He (Mr. Sergeant Shee) submitted that the Court would grant the rule, in order to compel the Lords of the Admiralty to pay a just demand, as the fact of Mr. Stoneman having been dismissed from the navy did not destroy his right to the pay and emoluments due to him at the time of his dismissal. The Court would recollect that there had been an appropriation fund, out of which such claims could be paid.
Lord Denman said the Court did not see out of what funds the present Lords of the Admiralty could pay this claim, and it never granted writs of mandamus in cases of this kind, unless the parties admitted that they had certain moneys which they held as trustees for the claimants, but which they refused unless the claimants performed some stipulations which they required of them Such was not the case in the present instance, and the rule must therefore be refused.
THE QUEEN v. THOROGOOD. - Lord Denman delivered the judgment of the Court in this case. It was a writ " de contumace capiendo ," which had issued against the defendant for the non-payment of church rates. A great many objections were taken to the validity of the writ, on the ground of several defects which appeared on the face of it, and the Court was called on to quash it. After enumerating the various objections which had been urged against the validity of the writ, his Lordship said it appeared to the Court, that all the objections to the writ were effectually answered, and the rule was therefore discharged.
THE QUEEN v. THE GUARDIANS, CHURCHWARDENS, AND OVERSEERS OF THE POOR OF ST. MARY'S, LAMBETH. - Sir W. Follett moved for a rule to show cause why a writ of mandamus should not issue, commanding the defendants to make provision for paying a debt due to the party for whom he applied, either by a separate poor rate or by a charge on a poor rate, in respect of a survey which had been ordered by the poor law commissioners, under the statute.
The Court granted the rule.
THE QUEEN v. THE CHURCHWARDENS OF THE PARISH OF LAMBETH. - Sir F. Pollock applied for a rule to show cause why a mandamus should not be issued to the defendants, commanding them to convene a vestry to proceed to a fresh election of churchwardens, on the ground that the last was a void election.
The Court granted the rule.
Mr. Baron Alderson ordered Catherine Mitchell (who was last session found guilty of administering laudanum to her illegitimate child, in consequence of which it died) to be brought up for judgment. When the prisoner was placed at the bar,
Mr. Baron Alderson said, that she had been convicted before him of the crime of murder. The circumstances were these:- She was the mother of a child nine months old, and having conceived the wicked design of destroying its life, she gave to the nurse who had charge of it a bottle, which she stated contained medicine, but which in reality contained a quantity of laudanum, and which she directed to be administered to the child. The nurse took the bottle, but did not intend to administer any portion of its contents. She placed it on the mantel-shelf, where, by God's providence, it remained for five days, during which time she (the prisoner) had an opportunity of relenting, but she did not do so, and after five days had elapsed, Providence, for its own purposes, allowed her wicked intentions to be carried into effect. She did not interpose to save the life of her offspring, and that life was at length destroyed by the instrumentation of a child of five years of age, who innocently administered the deadly poison to the unhappy infant. The judges of the land had taken the circumstances into their consideration, and they were unanimously of the opinion that the administering of the poison by that child under these circumstances was just the same as though she had herself administered the poison; and their unanimous opinion was, that she had been properly convicted of murder. The intelligent jury who had tried her, had recommended her to mercy, on account of the circumstances of her past life, as it appeared she had been seduced and deserted by the man who betrayed her. The recommendation to mercy had been taken into consideration by himself and the other learned judges, and after some deliberation, they had come to the conclusion that the sentence of death might be recorded, and that her life should be spared. He hoped she would, in the long exile to which she must necessarily be subjected, employ her life in the most abject penitence, with a view to obtain pardon from God for the grievous offence she had committed.
Sentence of death having been recorded against the prisoner, she was removed from the bar.
ATTEMPT TO MURDER. - Samuel Bailey , a sailor, was indicted for cutting and wounding William Coombes with a hatchet, with intent to kill and murder him.
William Coombes stated that he was a seaman, and had been on board the Sprightly schooner on her voyage in April last from St. Michael's to Falmouth. About eight o'clock in the evening of the 20th of April, witness was asked by the prisoner where the axe was? Witness told him that he had laid it under the windlass. The prisoner then went and got it, and placed it in the galley. He conversed until ten o'clock with the captain, who then went below. The conversation appeared very friendly, and Bailey accompanied the captain below. They afterwards came on deck together and in a few minutes afterwards witness heard the captain call out, "Murder! I am a dead man." The prisoner then ran towards witness with an axe and a knife in his hand, and said, if he spoke he was a dead man. Witness said, "Good God, Sam, is that you?" No reply was made; but the prisoner instantly struck witness on the head with the axe. The blow cut through his hat, and wounded his head. He then seized the axe, and the prisoner cut his hands with the knife, and endeavoured to get to his throat. In attempting to stab him in the throat, the prisoner inflicted a wound under his eye. Witness called out, and the mate came to his assistance, and after a struggle, the prisoner was secured. The prisoner was very comfortable during the voyage, and was quite sober at the time in question.
By Mr. Baron Alderson. - The prisoner was sent on board the Sprightly as a deserter from her Majesty's service. I suppose the prisoner's object was to make his escape, if possible.
The mate, James Bowles, gave corroborative evidence, and added that, when the prisoner was secured, it was discovered that the forecastle was fastened down, to prevent the men from coming upon deck. The captain was not yet recovered; his skull was fractured.
In answer to the charge, the prisoner said that he had drank two glasses of liquor on the day in question, and having got a wound in his head, liquor had a great effect upon him. He knew nothing about what had occurred.
The jury pronounced a verdict of Guilty.
Mr. Espinasse said that the captain was now lying at Falmouth, and was not expected to recover from the effects of the blows he received from the prisoner.
The learned judge ordered the prisoner to be called up for judgment, and said, the offence of which he had been convicted was one of a very serious description, and no doubt could remain but that his intention was to have destroyed the whole of the crew, in order that he might make his escape. No hope, therefore, under all the circumstances, could be held out to him of obtaining mercy in this world, and it was now the duty of the court to pass upon him the utmost sentence of the law. The learned judge then passed sentence of death upon him in the usual form, and he was removed back to Newgate.