« PreviousContinue »
T the summer-assizes, in a full exertion of all their great qualities,
year which it would be and had nearly for ever cut them off from A highly improper to men- the enjoyment of future tranquillity.
tion, the facts having so A youth had, during the allizes, been recently occurred, Sir Ed. taken into custody, and a bill of indict.
ward Markland, as I at ment was instantly preferred, and found present chuse to denominate him, was ap- against him by the grand-jury, for the pointed for the Northern Circuit. His murder and robbery of a gentleman of character for the moft acute discernment, the name of Archer, who was of an an. and the most inflexible integrity, had cient and respectable family in the counbeen established by an experience of ty, and in himself universally beloved. many years, and his decisions were at
The resentment of the populace against once the dread of guilt and the consola- this wretched culprit was so excessive, tion of innocence.
that the officers of justice had with diffi. Sir Edward was on this occasion ac. culty preserved him from their fury, and companied by his son Charles-Henry, he was at last conveyed into court al. who had long been esteemed as great an most covered by the filth with which their ornament to the bar, as his father was inconfiderate zeal had loaded the mise. to the bench: both possessed the most rable being. persuasive eloquence, and both enjoyed The minds of even the most enlight. the most unsullied reputation. Never ened were filled with the idea of the irre. were persons better qualified to detect or parable loss which all ranks of society had punish vice, never human beings created sustained by the shocking murder of the more capable of shielding or consoling deceased gentleman, and possessed there. virtue.
fore no room for compassion, had the They had gone through what is called loathed object been in their estimation the Long Circuit, and had now reached more worthy to receive it. There was, inLancaster, the last place of their defti- deed, hardly an eye that did not scowl at nation, with a reputation which must him with indignant abhorrence, while it have increased, if it had not long been traced in his dark, lank visage, fome proof fixed beyond the power of augmentation; of innate barbarism and ferocity; hardly and, most of the trials there being like a tongue that did not load him with wise ended, they began to anticipate the the bitterest reproaches, while it prodomestick felicity they should experience, nounced it's fatisfaction at finding him in the relaxation they had promised them- about to suffer the punishment to abunselves to enjoy, after the fatigues of bu- dantly due to such an atrocious offender. finess, at their family mansion in the vi- The youth had, in his whole deportcinity. At this period, however, a cir- ment, a majestick but not haughty recumstances occurred which required the serve, mixed with a noble yet humble
refignation; and he had refused to dif- they were so lately desirous of facrificing
a little aggravated by the criminal's aitcharacter; while his celebrated son, whose ful address to the passions; and which, prodigious talents were never lels want- in all his practice, he had never seen ed, exerted himself, in favour of the pro- equalled: artful as it was, however, he secution, to criminate the unhappy vice observed, that it promised nothing of tim; and the jury waited with impatience which the prisoner could avail himself; for the opportunity which they were and, as his guilt was abundantly maniabout to enjoy of evincing their love of fest, he begged the jury might be per. Justice by giving an instantaneous ver- mitted to give a verdiót about which there dict againit him. In short, all were pre- could not possibly be two opinions. The pared to act in concert for his destruc- culprit, he allowed, might be affected by tion; and it was from mere matter of remorse-and well he might for the form alone, that he was at length asked, commission of so horrid a crime; but it with a ltern and unbecoming austerity, was not, at the same time, by any means what he had to say in his defence. unlikely, that he felt far more concern
I am,' cried the collected youth-in at the prospect of impending punishment, a tone of the most powerful eloquence, and to that was most probably owing lifting up his languid eyes, as if to pre- the not uncommon distress into which vent the gushing tears from disgracing his apprehensions had thrown him. How, him by overflowing their channels the ever, he would not labour to aggravate « forlorn child of misfortune. Every the offence: it was, he truly said, quite
is my enemy, and I have no friend unnecessary! Pity, he added, was a lau. on earth! My life, therefore, is of lit- dable paffion; and it would have Ipared • tle importance; but my innocence I him the not very agreeable office in which * have been taught 10 value : it is that he was unhappily engaged, if the pri• which has comforted me in all my dif- foner had himself possessed the sinallelt
tresses, and it is that which now sup- portion of that divine quality: hut, howports me. This was the lesson which a
ever estimable compassion might be, it dying mother printed on my lips; whom was necessa'y that it should be directed • if I could forget, I were, indeed, no to proper objects, and exerted on proper • longer innocent!0, thou dear occasions; they were only the servants « faint!' he then most pathetically ex- of Justice, and Jultice liad solemnly proclaimed, " I follow thee I thy child, nounced--that blood should be the pricę • the child of thy misfortunes !' And of blood! thus saying, his agitated frame seemed During this time, the prisoner had suf. convulsed; he was unable to proceed; fered a levere fit; his whole frame was bis fpirits were exhausted; and he fell convulfed; and, beginning to revive, he motionless on the floor.
gave a loud shriek, just as the barrister What a change was in a moment ef- fat down. This accidental circumstance fected! Every eye now streamed with produced an inconceivable effect on the compassion for the unhappy youth who auditors: but the idea which had been had a few minutes before been so univer, thrown out, that his distress might be fally detested; and the loss of the good merely the result of consummate artifice, Mr. Archer, so universally, so justly re. assisted by the dread of a merited but iggretted, was for an instant forgot, while nominious death, foon represied the amithe surrounding fpectators all hastened able sensation in almost every bosom. to restore the miserable existence which Yet when he was again placed at the