Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


482 B I0 GR AP H I C AL SKETCHES. to Liverpool, and visited Glasgow and Edinburgh in the spring of that year, on his way to London.’ As the case of Mr. Thomas Muir is so immediately connected with that of Mr. Skirving, in justice to the memory of Muir, and to record the opinion entertained of him by the bench, before whom he stood a culprit, we quote the following from the report of the speeches of the Lord Justice-clerk and of Lord Henderland before sentence was pronounced :-“ Lord Henderland observed, the punishment to be inflicted is arbitrary, of which there is a variety, Eanishment would be improper and ineffectual ; whipping was too severe and disgraceful, the more especially to a inan who had bore I& (Mr. Muir’s) ch,aracter and rank in life. There remains but one punishment in our law, and it wrung his very heart to mention it, viz. Transportation. His lordship observed, it was extraordinary that a gentleman of Mr. Muir’s description, of his respectable and learned profession, and of the talents he possessed, should be guilty of a crime deserving such a punishment, hut he saw no alternative.” ‘‘ The Lord Justice-clerk said, he was considerably affected to see the panel stand trial for sedition-a gentleman who had got a liberal education, was member of a learned and honourable society, possessed considerable talents, and had susfaimd U reqectuble character. His lordship agreed in the propriety of the proposed punishment, and he observed that the indecent applause which was given to the panel last night, at the close of his speech, convinced him that a spirit of discontent still lurked in the minds of the people, and that it would be dangerous to allow him to remain in this country. His lordship said this circumstance had no little weight with him when considering of the punishment Mr. Muir deserved.” After sentence was pronounced, Mr. Muir rose and said-“ My Lord Justice- Clerk, I have only a few words to say. I shall not animadvert upon the severity or the leniency of my sentence. Were I to be led this moment from the bar to the scaffold, I should feel the same calmness and serenity which I now do. My mind tells me that I have acted agreeably to my conscience, and that I have engaged in a good, a just, and a glorious cause-a cause which, sooner or later, must and will prevail, and, by a timely reform, save this country from destruction.” 1 360. THOMASH ARDYS,e cretary to the London Corresponding Society, was tried at the Old Bailey in 1794, on a charge of high treason. His trial, which excited great interest, lasted more than a week. After a learned and argumentative speech from the Attorney-General, and five days had been occupied in examining the witnesses for the Crown, Mr. Erskine, counsel for the prisoner, addressed the jury in an able and elaborate speech, and concluded by imploring We observe that steps are about to be taken to erect monumental pillars in honour of the Scotch political martyrs of 1793-4, on the Cdtou Hill of Ediubargh and in Regeut Circus, London. A grant of the site in the latter place has been voted by a majority (forty-one to eight) of the Vestry of Marylehone. The Edinburgh moniment is in the foriu of au obeliak, aud is erected on the Calton Hill.
Volume 9 Page 640
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print