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THE

TRIAL

OF

WILLIAM EDGAR,

FOR

ADMINISTERING UNLAWFUL OATHS.

PRESENT.

Right Hon. DAVID BOYLE, Lord Justice Clerk.

LORD HERMAND. LORD PITMILLY.

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Right Hon. ALEXANDER MACONOCHIE, Lord Advocate. JAMES WEDDERBURN, Esq. Solicitor-General. H. HOME DRUMMOND, Esq. | H. WARRENDER, W.S.Agent.

Counsel for WILLIAM EDGAR.

JOHN CLERK, Esq.
GEO. CRANSTOUN, Esq.
THOS. THOMSON, Esq.

JAMES MONCRIEFF, Esq.

FRANCIS JEFFREY, Esq.
J. P. GRANT, Esq.
HENRY COCKBURN, Esq.
J. A. MURRAY, Esq.

G. W. BOYD, W. S. Agent.

WILLIAM EDGAR was placed at the Bar.

LORD JUSTICE CLERK.-WILLIAM EDGAR, Attend to the Indictment against you, which is now to be read.

"WILLIAM EDGAR, present prisoner in the Castle of Edinburgh, you are Indicted and Accused, at the instance of ALEXANDER MACONOCHIE of Meadowbank, his Majesty's Advocate, for his Majesty's interest: That albeit,

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by an Act passed in the fifty-second year of his present Majesty's reign, entitled, " An Act to render more effec"tual an Act passed in the thirty-seventh year of his pre"sent Majesty, for preventing the Administering or Tak“ing Unlawful Oaths," it is inter alia enacted, "That every person who shall, in any manner or form whatsoever, administer, or cause to be administered, or be "aiding or assisting at the administering, of any oath or "engagement, purporting or intending to bind the person "taking the same to commit any treason or murder, or any "felony punishable by law with death, shall, on conviction "thereof by due course of law, be adjudged guilty of felony, "and suffer death as a felon, without benefit of clergy.' And further, by section fourth of the said Act, it is enacted, “That persons aiding and assisting at the administering of "any such oath or engagement, as aforesaid, and persons "causing any such oath or engagement to be administered, "though not present at the administering thereof, shall be "deemed principal offenders, and shall be tried as such; "and, on conviction thereof by due course of law, shall be "adjudged guilty of felony, and shall suffer death as felons, "without benefit of clergy; although the persons or person "who actually administered such oath or engagement, if 66 any such there shall be, shall not have been tried or con"victed." And further, by section sixth of the said Act, it is enacted, "That any engagement or obligation whatso"ever, in the nature of an oath, purporting or intending to "bind the person taking the same to commit any treason or "murder, or any felony punishable by law with death, shall "be deemed an oath within the intent and meaning of this "Act, in whatever form or manner the same shall be ad"ministered or taken, and whether the same shall be ac"tually administered by any person or persons to any other person or persons, or taken by any other person or per"sons, without any administration thereof by any other person or persons:" Yet true it is and of verity, that you, the said William Edgar, are guilty of the said crimes, or of one or more of them, actor, or art and part: In so far as you, the said William Edgar, did, at secret meetings, and on other occasions, at Glasgow, or in the immediate vicinity thereof, in the course of the months of November and December 1816, and of January and February 1817, wickedly, maliciously, and traitorously administer, or cause to be administered, or did aid or assist at the administering, to a great number of persons, to the amount of several bundreds, an oath or engagement, or an obligation in the

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nature of an oath, binding, or purporting or intending to bind, the persons taking the same to commit treason; which oath, engagement, or obligation, was in the following terms, or to the following purport:" In awful pre"sence of God, I, A B, do voluntarily swear, That I "will persevere in my endeavouring to form a brother"hood of affection amongst Britons of every description, "who are considered worthy of confidence; and that I will "persevere in my endeavours to obtain for all the people in "Great Britain and Ireland, not disqualified by crimes or "insanity, the elective franchise, at the age of twenty-one, "with free and equal representation, and annual Parlia"ments; and that I will support the same to the utmost of "my power, either by moral or physical strength, as the "case may require: And I do further swear, that neither "hopes, fears, rewards, or punishments, shall induce me to "inform on, or give evidence against, any member or mem"bers, collectively or individually, for any act or expres❝sion done or made, in or out, in this or similar societies, "under the punishment of death, to be inflicted on me by 66 any member or members of such societies. So help me "God, and keep me stedfast." Which oath, or engagement, or obligation, to the foregoing purport, did bind, or did purport or intend to bind the persons taking the same to commit treason, by effecting by physical strength the subversion of the established government, laws, and constitution of this kingdom, and especially by obtaining annual parliaments and universal suffrage by unlawful and violent means. And, more particularly, you, the said William Edgar did, upon the 1st day of January 1817, or on one or other of the days of that month, or of December immediately preceding, or of February immediately following, at a secret meeting, held in the house of William Leggat, change-keeper in King-street, Tradeston, in the vicinity of Glasgow, or elsewhere at Glasgow, or in the immediate vicinity thereof, wickedly, maliciously, and traitorously administer, or cause to be administered, or did aid or assist at the administering an oath or obligation in the terms above set forth, or to the same purport, to Peter Gibson, John McLauchlane, John Campbell, and Hugh Dickson, all present prisoners in the Castle of Edinburgh; as also to James M'Ewan, now or lately carding-master at Humphries Mill, Gorbals of Glasgow, and M'Dowal Pate, or Peat, now or lately weaver in Piccadilly-street, Anderston, in the vicinity of Glasgow, who, conscious of their guilt in the premises, have absconded and fled from justice; as also to John Con

nelton, or Congleton, now or lately cotton-spinner in Calton of Glasgow, or to one or other of them, and to other persons, whose names are to the Prosecutor unknown, the said oath, or engagement, or obligation, to the said purport, binding, or purporting to bind, the persons taking the same to commit treason, as said is. (2.) And further, you, the said William Edgar did, upon the 4th day of January 1817, or on one or other of the days of that month, or of December immediately preceding, or of February immediately following, at a secret meeting held at the house of Neill Munn, innkeeper and stabler in Ingram-street, Glasgow, or elsewhere at Glasgow, or in the immediate vicinity thereof, wickedly, maliciously, and traitorously administer, or cause to be administered, or did aid or assist at the administering an oath or obligation, in the terms above set forth, or to the same purport, to the said Peter Gibson, John M'Lauchlane, John Campbell, Hugh Dickson, M'Dowal Pate, or Peat, and James M Ewan; as also to James Hood, present prisoner in the Castle of Edinburgh, Andrew Sommerville, John Buchanan, and James Robertson, all now or lately prisoners in the tolbooth of Glasgow, or to one or other of them, and to other persons, whose names are to the Prosecutor unknown, the said oath, or engagement, or obligation, to the said purport, binding, or purporting to bind, the persons taking the same to commit treason, as said is. And you, the said William Edgar, having been apprehended and taken before Daniel Hamilton, Esquire, one of the Sheriffs-substitute of Lanarkshire, did, in his presence, at Glasgow, on the 6th day of March 1817, emit and subscribe a declaration; and having been taken before Robert Hamilton, Esquire, Sheriff-depute of Lanarkshire, you did, in his presence, at Glasgow, upon the 7th and 8th days of March 1817, emit and subscribe two several declarations; which declarations, being to be used in evidence against you at your trial, will be lodged in due time in the hands of the Clerk of the High Court of Justiciary, before which you are to be tried, that you may have an opportunity of seeing the same. At least, times and places foresaid, the said oath, or engagement, or obligation, to the same purport, binding, or purporting to bind, the persons taking the same to commit treason, as said is, was wickedly, maliciously, and traitorously administered, or caused to be administered; and some persons did aid or assist at the administering thereof; and you the said William Edgar are guilty thereof, actor, or art and part. All which,

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