Transcript

The Chartists' Trial
CRIM 10/28, pp. 792, 822 & 852


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Before Mr. Baron Platt and the Seventh Jury.
2181. WILLIAM LACEY, THOMAS FAY, and WILLIAM CUFFEY, were indicted, for that they, with others, feloniously did compass, imagine, devise, and intend, to levy war against the Queen, in order by force and constraint to compel her to change her councils, and that they did evidence that compassing, &c., by divers overt acts set forth in the indictment: - 2nd COUNT, for a like compassing, with intent to depose the Queen from the style, honour, and dignity of the Imperial Crown, &c.
MR. ATTORNEY-GENERAL, with MESSRS. WELSBY, CLARKSON, BODKIN, and CLERK conducted the Prosecution.
(Upon the application of the Counsel for the prisoners, the whole Jury panel was read over. As the first Juror was about to be sworn, MR. BALLANTINE (for Lacey and Cuffey) challenged him, alleging as cause that he did not stand indifferent between the Crown and the prisoners. The ATTORNEY-GENERAL having pleaded issue was joined, triers were appointed, and each Juror was then sworn and examined on the voire dire, MR. BALLANTINE asking him whether he had expressed any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the prisoners, or any wish as to the result of the trial. Authorities referred to; 1 Coke on Lit., pages 158a & 287; Chitty's Criminal Law, page 550; Townley's case, reported in Foster; & Layer's case.
WILLIAM BROOM CROSS (police-sergeant, G 8). I was present at the apprehension of the prisoner Fay on Friday, 18th Aug. I rode in the same cab that brought him to Bow-street - on the way he told me he had been secretary to the confederate club, likewise to the Chartist club held at Cartwright's Coffee-house, but he had resigned the books on the Saturday previous.
JOSEPH THOMPSON (police-sergeant, F 11.) From information I received I went to 11, Hollins-street, Wardour-street, Soho, on the evening of 18th Aug. last, at eight o'clock, to a back room on the third floor - I there found Cuffey, and took him into custody - I told him he was charged with felony - he said, "Have you got a warrant?" - I said, "No, it is not necessary" - I told him he was charged with others with wilfully and unlawfully combining against her Majesty - he said, "Oh that is quite sufficient; I am a Chartist; I understand it" - West was with me - I commenced searching the room - I saw him go to a drawer, fumble about, and apparently take something out - I went and caught hold of his hand - we had a scuffle, and in the scuffle he tried to pass this pistol to his wife - it fell on the ground - he said it was loaded - I picked it up - it was loaded with powder and ball, and primed -I also found this banner with "Westminster district" on it (produced).
Cross-examined by MR. BALLANTINE. Q. Did he say that the banner had been used on various occasions. A. Not then; he said before the Magistrate that it had been used on 10th April, and also in Hertfordshire, at some land association of Mr. O'Connor's - I did not take Mrs. Cuffey into custody - she was rather active, as most wives are - this was a small room at the top of the house [.....]

822                                          HOOPER, Mayor.
...from Brewster, one for myself and one for a delegate that ought to have attended with me - they were to meet at twenty minutes past nine, and to bring what arms they could get - a motion was made as to where the localities should meet on the Wednesday - one was appointed to meet, at the Peacock, Westminster-road; another, at the Crispin, in Milton-street, Cripplegate; another, at Breadon's beer-shop, Shouldham-street; and the fourth, I think, at the Buck's Head, somewhere about Bethnal-green-road, or Hackney-road - a motion had been made the night before that the delegates should select four men that were willing to risk anything and everything to attend where Ritchie should appoint them; it was merely a conversation - they were appointed to meet Ritchie at the Orange Tree, from five to seven - they were called luminaries by Mullins - there was to be a pass-word-Ritchie was to say to them, when they came in, "Do you want me?" and if they answered "Justice" he would know they were the men sent by the delegates - nothing was said about what Ritchie was to provide, but that he would give instructions to these men; but each man was advised to come armed, if he could - we met at the Orange Tree, Red Lion-square on the 14th - there were between twenty and thirty present - Mullins, Payne, Brewster, Cuffey, Ritchie, Crookshank, Alnutt, Fay, Johnson, Pearce, Simmons, Fleming, two Granshaws, (brothers,) and a person named Ford; he was not a delegate, but was bail for Ernest Jones, he brought 6s. 1d. from a new locality started at Knightsbridge - I do not know where he lived; I understood that he came from Knighsbridge-district - at the same time he came, Mr. Reardon, the editor of the Northern Star, came under the pretence that he was sent to the meeting; but there had been reports that he was a Government spy, and they would not go on with the business till he left the room - he was asked to go down stairs - it was moved by Mullins, at that meeting, that each delegate should go back to his locality and pick four men out, who were willing to do anything that was required of them - some one asked what they meant by it, and he said he would point to the gas, and they might take by his pointing what he meant; and Cuffey said it was no use to mince the matter, they wanted them for firing, or anything that might be required of them; for it was no use to mince the matter now, they knew their necks were in jeopardy; in fact, the halter was round their necks, and it was no use to say it in half words; that they wanted men to fire station-houses, or warehouses, or anything that might be required of them - a motion was made that two delegates should be sent to the meeting of the engine-drivers of the North Western Railway to know what their opinions were; not to compromise themselves too much, by stating their views, and getting them to join the Chartists, but to hear the opinions of the drivers first; and if they found they were agreeable to close with the Chartists, they were to bring them to the meeting, or delegates from their body, on a future nigh - Crookshank and Ritchie were appointed to go, and 18d. was allowed them for expenses - a remark was made that they wondered Lacey had not come that night - they waited for him till half-past eight, and then adjourned to the Lord Denman - there was another meeting that night of Confederates, at Nagle's; I did not attend it - Johnson attended both these meetings - I did not, at that time, know that his name was other than Johnson - I did not know he was in communication with the police; in fact, he was the last man I should have thought of - I have not had any communication with him since, except one word as I stood in Court, now - the meeting before that at the Orange Tree was held, I think, at Breadon's - I remember two or three meetings at Hopkinson's...
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852
HOOPER, Mayor.
[.....] to the one produced was used in 1846 - this is not exactly the same plan of organization as was used in 1846 - it has been revised since - I do not see any very important difference - the plans of organization are similar to those which existed in my time - I was a member about six years, from the foundation up to 1846, and took an active part up to that time - I held offices - I was president of the City of London branch, and treasurer - I always considered the object was to obtain the Charter by peaceable and constitutional means, otherwise I should not have mixed myself up with it - I never witnessed any secret proceedings in the society - there were none in my department - there were delegates at that time - the plans for class-leaders were laid down, but not acted on.
WILLIAM DIXON. I am a collier by trade - at present I am one of the Directors of the National Land Company, and live at 114, High Holborn. I am a Chartist by political sentiments - I have been a member of the National Charter Association eight or nine years - (looking at one of the cards produced) this is a card of membership used by the National Charter Association - I never understood that its object was otherwise than to obtain the people's Charter by peaceable and constitutional means - there is something about class-leaders on this plan of organization (produced) - I do not see anything about delegates - this is the plan of organization now recognized - there have been revisions of it - there is nothing connected with the Association, or the means which it employs illegal, unconstitutional, or otherwise than peaceable - there is nothing about arms in this paper - there is nothing about arms connected with the Association - it is not a secret association, club, or confederacy - any one may join it, on the condition that he enters his name on the books, and subscribes to the six points of the Charter - to my knowledge, it has no secret correspondence with any association - it was not formed for the purpose of raising insurrection or rebellion in this country.
Cross-examined by MR. ATTORNEY-GENERAL. Q. Did not you attend as a Delegate to the Confederate Club on 10th April? A. No - I was a delegate on 10th April - I never attended the Confederate meetings, or the Davis' Club, or any of them - I was at Clerkenwell-green, at an outdoor meeting, when members were elected for the Convention.
MR. PARRY. Q. Have you seen the banner used? A. Yes, on several occasions - the first time was at the Land Demonstration at O'Connor Ville, Hertfordshire, on 17th Aug., 1846, at the anniversary of the commencement of the society - that was a perfectly peaceable meeting.
 
LACEY
GUILTY.
Aged 38.
Transported for Life.
FAY
GUILTY.
Aged 20.
CUFFEY
GUILTY.
Aged 60.
2182. JOSEPH RITCHIE was indicted for the like offence; to which he pleaded GULTY. Aged 42. - Transported for Life.


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