§ Colonel Evans rose, he said, for the purpose of bringing forward the Motion of which he had given notice, and he meant to do so with the greatest brevity. He had taken up the matter from a sense of duty, and not from a desire to attack any individual. It was not, indeed, a case that concerned individuals, but the exercise of magisterial authority. He knew nothing of the subject but what he had learnt from the pub- 147 lic papers; and all he wished the House to grant was information. He wished to have the information that was laid before the Magistrates of Winchester, which led to the taking up Mr. and Mrs. Deacle six miles from Winchester. He wished for the depositions on which the warrants had been made out, and which four or five Magistrates attended to carry into execution. The only documents from which he derived his information were an authorised statement in the public papers of the trial, and an ex parte defence which had been published by Mr. Bingham Baring. He was not disposed to enter into discussion, but merely to ask for information. He would show what was the character of the person arrested, by quoting the evidence of Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers was a clergyman, and he stated, "that he had known the plaintiff several years, and had seen the testimonials he had received at college; his father was a most respectable man." He would also quote a short passage from the summing-up of the Judge. "His Lordship could not help remarking, that the handcuffing was, to say the least of it, a very harsh proceeding towards a lady and gentleman who had been perfectly civil and quiet, and had offered no resistance, and whose station in life was that of a gentleman—the son of a clergyman of the Church of England." He had read these things with sorrow, and he was obliged to say, that his sorrow was not much assuaged by the defence which had been published. Mr. Bingham Baring had admitted, "that no attempt at escape was at any time made by Mr. Deacle; and though the state of the country rendered caution necessary, his conduct throughout was orderly and submissive." Yet this gentleman (who was quiet and orderly and submissive) and his wife, were taken away from their home, with unwonted violence. No attempt was made to substantiate the charge against them, and when Mr. Deacle appealed to a Court of Law, a verdict was given in his favour. Mr. Bingham Baring said, in the defence which he had published, "I come now to the material parts of the charges against me, which are substantially three. First, that I ordered the constable to hand-bolt the prisoners; second, that I dragged Mrs. Deacle personally by the body, her head hanging on one side of me and her feet on the other, through the mud to the cart; and third, that I struck 148 Mr. Deacle while in the cart, on the road to Winchester." Excepting the blow, Mr. Bingham Baring denied the charge, and proposed to prove his statement, but he had not given any reason to satisfy the public, that he should be able to disprove the other parts of the statement, any more than he was able to deny having given the blow. The trial of this case had created a strong ferment in that part of the county where it had occurred, and the House should, he thought, inquire into this abuse of magisterial authority. In London, also, this trial had excited a considerable feeling. Two trials had, in fact, taken place, and no evidence had been adduced on the first against the Deacles. If the papers for which he moved should remove the impression he at present entertained, he should be very glad; if they did not, he should think it necessary to follow up his Motion by moving an humble Address to his Majesty, to remove Mr. Bingham Baring from the Commission of the peace. The hon. Member concluded by moving an Address to his Majesty, for a Copy of the Indictment in the prosecution against Mr. and Mrs. Deacle; also, Copy of the Record in the cause Deacle versus Bingham Baring, with the result thereof, respectively, as the same were tried at Winchester; also for Copies of the Judges' Notes taken upon these trials.
§ Mr. Francis Baring rose to second the Motion, which, he thought, no person in the House could so properly do as he could. He was jealous of his character of a gentleman, which he felt was at stake, and he was gratified at the opportunity of making a statement in the House, which, but for the motion of the gallant Officer, would have been made elsewhere. The hon. Member had referred to the indignation excited by the statements in the public papers, and certainly these statements were calculated to excite indignation, and the indignation would be perfectly justified if the facts were as stated in the public papers. In making the House acquainted with the real facts of the case, he would beg leave to recall the attention of the House to the state of the county in which the transaction occurred. In the month of November, there was a great disturbance in Hampshire. He himself was called from another, and a peaceable part of the country, to a scene of riot and disorder. The arrest of Mr. and Mrs. Deacle took place on No- 149 vember 24th. At that time the whole country was full of mobs, and different classes of people were going about in great numbers, within a few miles of Winchester. The hon. Member read a list of several mobs of 700, of 1,000, of 100, of 400, of 600 people, which were going about on the days immediately preceding the day on which Mr. Deacle was arrested. That would show the House the state of the county of Hampshire at that time. A general panic prevailed, and it was publicly and repeatedly stated, that it was necessary to act with energy; that it was necessary that the police of the county should be diligent, and exceedingly watchful. A terror had spread throughout the county, excited by these mobs, and it was necessary, in order to preserve the peace of the county, that the greatest activity and energy should be exhibited on the part of the Magistrates. And here he must be allowed to remind the House of what had been said at the time the riots commenced. "Where," it was asked, "were the Magistrates? Why do they not appear, and each take his share in restoring order?" And, said the Newspapers at that time, "If the Magistracy acted with firmness and energy, all the disturbances would be quieted." At that time, depositions were made before the Magistrate, against the Deacles, and as he had a copy of them, he would trouble the House with a portion of them. The hon. Member accordingly read the deposition of the bailiff of the Earl of Northesk, who stated, that on the 23rd of November, a mob of persons came to that nobleman's house, within a few miles of Winchester, and demanded whether there were any threshing machines about the premises. He replied, there was a small winnowing machine, which was locked up in a barn. They then produced a paper for him to sign, agreeing to give the labourers 2s. a day. They then asked money of him, and, after several evasions, he gave them 5l. They then cried out, "Hurrah, now for the machine," and were about to break open the barn, where the winnowing machine was, had he not opened it. They then broke the machine into pieces. He saw at this time in the mob, a female on horseback, who he was told was Mrs. Deacle, of Ouselbury, who was said to have great influence with the mob. The female looked on while the mob was breaking the machine; she came with the 150 mob, and went away with the mob. The hon. Member then proceeded to quote the deposition of Mr. Francis Wright, Clerk, one of the defendants. He said, this gentleman deposed to having seen a mob on the 23rd, with a lady on horseback, in the midst of them. This party extorted money to the amount, as one of the men informed him, of 10l., and the lady was riding in front of them. A person told him (Mr. Wright), that this lady was Mrs. Deacle. One of the party asked him for 20s. The lady rode up to him, and asked him if there were any soldiers in the neighbourhood. There were two parties, and Mrs. Deacle rode from one to another. He had this conversation with her, but no more. The hon. Member then said, he had another paper, which was not the original deposition, but a copy, which he believed was correct, and would read to the House. The hon. Member then read the deposition of Stephen Child, as follows:—"That a large mob of persons had collected together on the 24th of November, and went about destroying machinery, and collecting money by using threats. Deacle was with this mob, and encouraged them by calling out 'Boys, cut in!' and seemed wholly to approve of what was going on. That on one occasion the mob went up to a house, where money was demanded. Deacle was with them, but kept in the rear, at the end of a lane; that a boy in the service of Deacle had a horn, or trumpet, which his master told him to blow; that this mob went to the house of Miss Long, and having insisted on her signing a paper for the reduction of tithes and rents, demanded 15l. of Miss Long, and eventually went away; that Deacle was with this mob also, but kept in the rear while they obtained the money—that from thence they proceeded to several other places; that Deacle stopped at a public-house with some of the party, but that Mrs. Deacle remained with the main body during the whole of the day, and assisted in the distribution of the money amongst them in the evening." He ought to observe, that there was a great difficulty in obtaining information—one man trembled exceedingly while he gave his deposition, and expressed his fears that his house would be pulled about his ears on his return home. Another deposition stated—"That a mob went to the house of a farmer, and that they were 151 accompanied by a man, whom deponent understood to be Mr. Deacle; that Deacle said to the farmer, 'We want your men.' The farmer replied—'You are a man of understanding, and I hope you will not take my men;' that another person then called out, 'You must sign the paper, and give us a sovereign;' that the man thus addressed said, 'I will sign the paper—but I have no sovereign to give.' That another person then called out, 'You must send your men, then, and give a half-sovereign, or, if you do not, you must give a sovereign; or, if you do not, it will be worse for you:' that Mr. Deacle was present, and that deponent also saw a woman on horseback along with this mob." Having thus stated the subject of the depositions made before the Magistrates, it might be also necessary to say, that there was a great deal of oral evidence to the same effect, which, of course, had its influence on the minds of the Magistrates who signed the warrant for arresting the Deacles. Of these Magistrates, however, he himself was not one. He was merely a party with some of his friends concerned in the execution of the warrant. He had, however, thought it right to trouble the House by reading the depositions at length, in order that the House might comprehend under what impressions the Magistrates proceeded to execute the warrant against these persons, and whether it could be fairly said, that they had grossly outstepped the bounds of their duty, invaded the privacy of domestic life, and wantonly insulted a modest and retiring woman, when it became necessary to take legal notice of the proceedings of a person who employed the influence of her sex, and the power of her station, to ruin the poor and the ignorant who lived in her immediate neighbourhood. A good deal had been said of the station of the Deacles. He was willing to allow, that they were much above the ordinary condition of the farmers in that part of the country; he was quite willing to admit, that their station was much above the class of those who had been charged with the proceedings which were unhappily, at that time, going on in this part of the county; but that only made their conduct the more reprehensible. He had seen, with pain, and with sorrow, the ignorant and deluded labourer guilty of acts which required the immediate interposition of the strong arm of the law; but when he 152 found a person like Mr. Deacle, a man above the common rank of farmers, employing his influence to encourage the commission of the offences of which the poor labourers had been guilty—inciting them to frame-breaking, encouraging them to demand the reduction of rent and tithes, and accompanying them to demand money, but stopping at the end of the lanes while his assistants went forward to the houses; when he saw all this, he thought, that such a person was deserving of the immediate attention of the Magistracy, and that it was a matter of policy, as much as of justice, to remove him from the scene of his offences, and to make him amenable as speedily as possible at the bar of public justice. That was the feeling of the Magistracy. It was with that view the arrest took place, under the circumstances which had been described; and he was bound to say, that after the execution of the warrant against the Deacles, they heard no more of any outrages in that part of the country. He might here observe, with respect to the conduct of the Magistrates, in ordering and executing the arrest, it was of no consequence that the facts stated in the depositions were not afterwards fully borne out on the trials. They were stated on oath, in the information before the Magistrates, and on that they were bound to act, and to apprehend the accused. He now proceeded to the three charges which were preferred against his relation and the other Magistrates, and which formed the subject of the evidence on the trial. The warrant was put into the hands of a constable named Lewington, who professed to be acquainted with the persons of the accused; and he might then observe, that he believed it was the very first arrest in that part of the country which had been, up to that time, attempted without the assistance of the military. On the trial this constable is represented to have said, that he told the Magistrate he required no assistance, and that he was not aware of the intention of the gentlemen to accompany him. But he could state on his oath, that Lewington told him, that Mr. Deacle was not a person to be taken easily. The words were so remarkable, that they made an impression on his mind, and he was positive on the point that they were used. He asked Lewington what he meant by that—did he mean to say that Deacle would resist? And Lewington answered, 153 that he believed lie would: and that he must have assistance. He (Mr. Baring) then told Lewington, that a party of gentlemen would accompany him, and desired him to get a light spring cart for the purpose of conveying the prisoners to Winchester. With regard to this cart, of which so much had been said, it was obvious that any other and speedier method of conveyance would have been more agreeable to those who had such a disagreeable duty to perform; but they conceived, that in a part of the country which, it should be understood, is rather wild and retired, no other conveyance could have well escaped notice. He was convinced, indeed, that if they had attempted to bring their prisoners away from their own house in a post-chaise, the house would have been surrounded, signals would have been given, the whole populasion would have been up in arms, and it would have been impossible to avoid the risk of a rescue. It was but the day before the execution of this warrant, that a military escort was necessary to convey the prisoners from Romney to Winchester; and he begged again to observe, that no warrant had been executed before without the assistance of the military. He thought it right also to remind the House, before he proceeded further, that he stood before them in some measure as a witness in favour of his relation, Mr. Bingham Baring, who had been so much censured for the part he took in those transactions, and whose conduct, he might add, had been so grossly calumniated. He proceeded now to speak more distinctly of the three charges brought against his relation, and he was entitled to do so with more confidence, as he himself had been acquitted of all participation in them by the verdict of a Jury. In the first place, then, the constable, Lewington, swore on that trial that Mr. Bingham Baring rode up to Mr. Deacle's, came into the house, and said, "Constable do your duty; hand-bolt them;" and he added, that he (Mr. F. Baring) and another gentleman were present at the same time. It should be here observed, that he did not intend to enter minutely into all the evidence in his possession, because, if he were to state all the facts, he might surrender all chance of justice which was yet left to his relation in a future examination of the case. He was ready now, however, to say most distinctly, that Mr. Bingham Baring did not enter the 154 room, as the constable stated; that no words such as those mentioned could have been used by Mr. Bingham Baring, and that it was impossible he could have given such an order as the witness described, because he had not even seen the Deacles until after they were confined with the hand-bolts and released. The person who gave the order he would not at that moment mention, nor say any more than that he accompanied them to identify the prisoner. After the handcuffs were removed, and after Mr. Deacle was taken to the cart, it was sworn, that Mr. Bingham Baring caught Mrs. Deacle in his arms, and dragged her through the mud, with her head and feet hanging close to the ground. Now he (Mr. F. Baring) was ready to state on his oath, that the constable was totally mistaken with respect to this part of the case. He was himself the person who carried Mrs. Deacle, and he would state the whole of the circumstances connected with that part of the transaction. They had waited some time for Mrs. Deacle's bonnet and cloak, but on finding that the delay was considerable, and that Mr. Deacle had been taken to the cart, he offered his hand to Mrs. Deacle, and prepared to follow the others, Mr. Bingham Baring having accompanied those who were with Mr. Deacle. Mrs. Deacle, on the way, complained of the mud through which it was necessary to pass, and he offered to lift her over a part of the path, which, as it is usual in farm-yards, was wet and dirty. He was almost ashamed to enter into such details. The lady said, she was afraid he would find her very heavy. He told her, he did not recollect in what terms, that he believed he should be able to carry her in safety; and he then took her in his arms, in the least familiar manner that was possible, and carried her, with all the respect due to her sex and station, about half a dozen paces, and then led her to the cart. On the way the servant joined them with Mrs. Deacle's bonnet and cloak, and she was then placed in the vehicle. This fact he could prove on the oaths of the whole of those gentlemen who had been made co-defendants with him in the action. It was admitted on the trial, that he (Mr. F. Baring) had not evinced anything like harshness or severity in his conduct, and it might very reasonably be presumed, that the witnesses whose testimony implicated Mr. Bingham Baring, were altogether mistaken in the evidence they gave. That 155 Gentleman, however, was deprived of the means of vindicating himself in the clearest possible manner, in consequence of the other parties engaged in the transaction having been made co-defendants with him. The third charge was, that Mr. Bingham Baring refused to allow Mrs. Deacle to be conveyed by her own horse. Upon this point it might be sufficient for him to say, that no time whatever was to be lost, for the Magistrates apprehended a rescue every instant. A man was seen standing at the door with a gun in his hand, which Mr. Bingham Baring took from him. Perceiving this, and well knowing the convulsed state of the country, the Magistrates were anxious to see the warrant executed without a moment's delay. Her horse was not ready saddled, and it would have taken some time before everything necessary could be arranged. Under such circumstances, it was not deemed right to allow those indulgences which, in a different state of things, he might have been very willing to grant. Whom were the Magistrates to trust to, surrounded as they were by a highly-agitated population? He, for one, at least, feared a rescue, and knowing that such an attempt would cause bloodshed, he considered, that that was not a proper time to listen to small objections. But it was said, that she was an invalid at the period when the transaction occurred. It might be so—but how could the Magistrates suppose, much less believe, that, when they had the evidence in the depositions before them, that at four o'clock on the previous day she was at the head of a body of men engaged in breaking machinery, whom she encouraged by her smiles? Had they any reason to think, that she was in a very delicate state of health? He now came to the cart in which the Deacles were conveyed. It was certainly a light market-cart, and, undoubtedly, at their first starting, they went at rather a quick pace, and Mrs. Deacle complained that they went too fast, and that she was affected by the jolting; but let it be considered, that the place they were going through was a narrow by-lane, in which an attempt at rescue could be easily made. They had passed on the road a servant of Deacle's, who had set out before them, and at one part of it they saw three men standing with a gate unhung, which, if they had thrown in their way, would have completely obstructed them for a time, and, in 156 the then agitated state of the country, they might not unreasonably dread an attempt at rescue, particularly as the road went round a village, from which even a small number of men might easily have obstructed their passage. They, therefore, did go on at rather a quick pace, but that it was not at any violent rate was proved by the fact, that the two constables who were on foot kept up with them without any difficulty. But when they came to the open road they went at a slower pace, and there they obtained a post-chaise, in which the prisoners were conveyed to Winchester. As to the alleged blow by Mr. Bingham Baring, he was not able to speak farther than this, that he saw nothing of it. There was, however, another gentleman with the cart, who could state, that he saw Mr. Deacle raise his hand to catch hold of the reins, and Mr. Bingham Baring at the same time raised his stick, and touching him gently with it, said, "Let the reins alone, Sir;" but this gentleman was made a co-defendant, and, of course, had no opportunity of stating that fact on the trial; but for his part he (Mr. F. Baring) saw no blow, or anything like a blow, or any temper that evinced even the slightest disposition to inflict a blow on the part of Mr. Bingham Baring. He might also add, that on his way to Winchester he spoke frequently to Mr. Deacle, and he never made any complaint that he had received a blow. Nor did he (Mr. F. Baring) ever hear anything on that subject until he received a letter from the attorney for the plaintiff, stating that he was going to bring an action. Having stated thus much of matters which had come within his own knowledge, he would ask, was the evidence of the constable sufficient to warrant such a colour as had been given to the whole transaction? He (Mr. F. Baring) had given his statement of the facts exactly as they occurred, with only the exception, that he could, as he had said, go into more minute details, on many minor particulars, but he did not think it would be fair to his friend to put other parties in possession of matters that had better first be brought forward before the tribunal which might have to investigate them. He now begged to thank the House for the patience with which it had heard him, and to express his gratitude to the hon. Member who brought forward this Motion, for the opportunity he had given him of appearing before the House 157 as a witness in behalf of his friend and relation. He had been reared up with his hon. friend for years, and he knew him, and, from his intimate knowledge of his disposition and habits, he would say, that he was the last man in the world who would be capable of such conduct as had been imputed to him in this instance. [An Hon. Member here intimated a desire to know why Mr. Deane had not been examined at the trial?] He was glad of the opportunity which the hon. Member had given him of noticing that fact, which would otherwise have escaped his attention. Mr. Deane was not examined. He saw no blow given; and even if it had been, he could not have seen it, for he almost immediately left the cart when the prisoners got in, and went on to Winchester, to order a post-chaise. He could not, therefore, be called upon to disprove an alleged fact, of which he could have no knowledge. But the House was aware, that counsel sometimes, looking to the effect of a powerful reply, were apt to throw a witness overboard. If the same investigation were to be gone into again, there was not an individual in any way connected with the transaction, whom he and Mr. Bingham Baring would not be most ready to put into the witness-box. But the misfortune of the case was, that all the principal parties who could speak to the facts as they occurred at Deacle's house, and on the road, were made co-defendants, and thus precluded from making the case known as it occurred. The hon. Member concluded by thanking the House for the patience with which it had allowed him to defend his relation and friend from the accusation of having been guilty of acts which every man of honour must condemn.
§ Mr. Serjeant Wilde
said, that having been engaged in assisting the Attorney General in conducting the prosecutions at the late special commission in Hampshire, he hoped he should be excused if he stated a few of the circumstances which had come to his knowledge as to some of the matters connected with this charge. Of the manner in which the warrant in this case was executed he knew nothing, but probably something might be inferred as to that matter from the circumstances he was about to state. It had become a part of his duty to investigate the informations that had been prepared, in order to ascertain who were the instigators of the pro- 158 ceedings for which so many were to be placed on their trial. In the course of those investigations, he found, that a certain number of farmers had met together and drawn up a paper addressed to landlords and clergymen, for the purpose of inducing them to lower their rents and tithes. At this meeting there were several whose names were stated, and amongst others this Mr. Deacle, and a man named Boyce. Soon after this, some of the same parties met again, attended by a considerable number of labourers, who pressed others to join; so that, at last, they became formidable in numbers, and proceeded to the houses of several gentlemen in the neighbourhood, at first insisting that the paper for lowering rents and tithes should be signed, then demanding money, and also destroying machinery. A party of this kind, amounting to 400 or 600, went to the house of Miss Long, armed with hammers, hatchets, clubs, and other kinds of weapons, and one of the persons in the crowd called out that the paper should be signed. The lady having signed it, Boyce, who was present, retired to the rear of the crowd, where Deacle was waiting. Boyce was a farmer in independent circumstances. The mob then demanded 15l., but went away after having obtained 5l. From that place they went about destroying machinery, and obtained money by threats of violence at several places. Having found that some of the farmers had set the example of breaking their own machinery, the labourers felt themselves justified, as it were, in going about to destroy the machinery of others, and there was no doubt that, but for the encouragement they had received from the farmers, they would never have proceeded to such extreme acts of violence. Boyce, who took so prominent a part in the proceedings, was tried, and acquitted, as much to his astonishment as he believed it was to that of every man who heard the evidence. He had every respect for the Jury who tried him, but he owned he was not able to account for the acquittal, except it were that it was produced in a great degree by the sympathy of those who were in the same condition of life as himself. On hearing the acquittal, he wrote to the Attorney General, who was in the other Court, stating the fact of the acquittal, and stating his opinion, that a man whom he believed to have been mainly instrumental in fomenting much of the riot and 159 disorder which had occurred in the county should not be allowed to escape, as there were other indictments against him. In this the Attorney General concurred, and by his advice, Boyce was brought before another Jury in the other Court, and on nearly the same evidence, but applying to another case, was convicted—not, however, of the capital charge, for he escaped that by a mere technicality, as Miss Long, the lady from whom the money was taken, did not see him at the moment it was given by her butler. He was, however, sentenced to transportation. Looking at the informations against Deacle, at his station in life, and the part he was described to have taken in these proceedings, he thought that he ought to be prosecuted, and in this the Attorney General concurred; and as the prosecution was intended, he used great caution in examining witnesses in other cases, in order to prevent the name of the Deacles from transpiring, that their case might be in no way prejudiced; that the prosecution had not been gone into, he could only attribute to the speedy pacification of the county which followed the first steps taken to bring the guilty parties to justice, and this was, in a great degree, owing to the prompt and vigorous exertions of those very gentlemen whose conduct formed the subject of the present discussion. Indeed, he would say, that the sudden restoration of the quiet of that part of the country was almost miraculous. If there was any harshness in the steps taken by these active Magistrates in the execution of their duty, he should regret it. Of that he knew nothing; but this he did know, that the case was one which required prompt and vigorous exertion. Whether they had exceeded the strict bounds of law, he could not state; but this he could state, that as all the parties who were made defendants were men of ample fortune, sufficient damages could have been recovered from any one; and if truth were the object, they would not have been joined as co-defendants. But those in the profession knew that where parties were thus joined, and all evidence shut out, the case could be only considered as ex parte. The parties were in some respect taken by surprise as to portions of the evidence: and if that should be made out to the satisfaction of the superior Court, a new trial might be granted: it would, then, be better to wait until that was known before the House proceeded any farther 160 with this case. As to calling for the notes of the Judge, he did not suppose the House would be ready to accede to it. They were the Judge's private notes, and there would be great difficulty in producing them. As this was not a case where a party was selected for any private motives, every allowance should be made for those who acted in the honest discharge of their duty. Another objection to this Motion was, the effect it might have on any future acts of Magistrates. If ever any similar circumstances should occur, which, he hoped, would not be the case, he trusted that Magistrates, instead of being prevented by the obloquy which had been thrown on these gentlemen, should rather be stimulated to carry into force the law, which, while it commanded respect, also inspired terror. He hoped that Magistrates would not be deterred from doing their duty by the misrepresentations that had gone forth in this case. In conclusion, the hon. and learned Gentleman observed, that though he regretted that the lady in this case might have been lifted over the mud, or carried to the cart, or in it, a little more quickly than was agreeable, still he must say, that he was glad that the result of these prompt and active steps, in apprehending those against whom informations were laid, had succeeded in putting down tumults, which though they had not been unattended with loss of life, might have been attended with a still greater loss, and that they had not been so they owed to the great activity of those very gentlemen whose conduct was so very, in his opinion, unjustly impugned.
Sir G. Rose
bore testimony to the great activity of Mr. Bingham Baring in endeavouring to suppress the riots that had taken place in the county. On one occasion, at great personal risk, he went into the midst of a large and riotous mob, and was the means, not only of dispersing it, but of bringing many of the most active of the rioters to justice.
said, it was impossible for him to remain silent, after hearing the speech just delivered by his hon. and learned friend (Mr. Wilde.) He would, however, in the first place, begin by stating, that no hon. Member of that House had stood more favourably in his opinion than Mr. Bingham Baring. Ever since he had known that Gentleman, as a Member of the House, he had considered him 161 as an example of mildness and affability, and utterly incapable of performing the act with which he had been charged. He was not, therefore, disposed to give credence to the charges made against Mr. Bingham Baring; and had they not been proved by evidence, he never could have believed, that that Gentleman had been guilty of one half of the severities alleged to have been committed by him. He was well aware of the important and difficult duties which Magistrates had to perform in times of disorder; and he thought, that no man should allow himself, when the danger was past, to judge too severely of their conduct, but should make some allowance for the circumstances in which they had been placed. But he regretted extremely, that his hon. and learned friend (Sergeant Wilde) had given a tone and temper to the debate which had not been imparted by the preceding speaker. If there was any point more than another respecting which he was anxious to obtain satisfaction (and his anxiety, he was sure, was shared by a great portion of the public), it was this—how far the Magistrates who were present at Mrs. Deacle's apprehension, conducted themselves with proper attention and delicacy towards her; and whether the severities alleged to have been committed towards that lady were actually committed by them? He had listened with great attention to the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. F. Baring) who, at the conclusion of his observations, stated, that he had himself afforded assistance to the lady to cross a puddle [laughter]. He saw the Members plainly enough who were laughing, and he thought that it would do them more credit if they refrained from such a proceeding. He wished to know whether, after the civility which was stated to have been shown to Mrs. Deacle, it was true or not that orders were given to convey her and her husband away handcuffed, and whether it was true, that Mr. Deacle attempted to take the reins and drive the cart? He wished, that his hon. friend had given some explanation on these points. He gave his hon. and learned friend credit for the due performance of those duties which he was called upon to discharge, but he asked him what possible connexion there was between the case of Boyce and Deacle? He had not imagined, before his hon. and learned friend acquainted him with the fact, that a man could be tried in one Court, and, after his 162 acquittal, be handed into another Court, and there again put on his trial, changing, perhaps, the form of the indictment. He thought such a proceeding was contrary to the principles of the English law. He understood, that his hon. and learned friend had stated, that Boyce, a farmer, was tried and acquitted on one charge, and that he was, at his learned friend's own suggestion, sent to another Court, and found guilty upon another indictment of rioting. He wished to know whether any orders for handcuffing were given; for such conduct was inconsistent with the opinion he had formed of Mr. Bingham Baring's character. He had also risen to protest against the language used by his hon. and learned friend, at the conclusion of his speech, when he stated, that it was one of the duties of Magistrates to strike terror into all around them. He was well aware, that in times of difficulty Magistrates were bound to perform their duty firmly, because in such cases firmness was mercy towards those persons who had been misled. He, therefore, did not dissent from the observations of his hon. and learned friend, that the Magistrate who hesitated to perform his duty to the utmost became a party to the crime. But he asked the hon. and learned Gentleman, whether we lived in a country where a Magistrate's presence ought to be a terror to all around him? Those were the words of the hon. and learned Gentleman. ["No, no!"] If he was mistaken, he should be happy to be corrected, but he did think that the hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that he hoped to see Magistrates striking terror into all around them—["No, no!"]—on all evil-doers at any rate. He, however, held, that in the situation in which the country was placed, the Magistrate should be regarded as an individual ready to afford protection to all, and not to strike terror, as had been recommended; and he had risen to enter his protest against such a doctrine. He should be most happy to find, that he had misunderstood the hon. and learned Gentleman on this point; for he could not but regret that so high a legal authority had recommended Magistrates to adopt a system of terror. He requested any Gentleman who differed from him in opinion to rise and state his sentiments in a manly manner, and refrain from the disorderly interruption of which they had just been guilty. If he had mistaken the meaning of the hon. and learned Mem- 163 ber's words, that Gentleman, so far from blaming, would feel obliged to him for giving him an opportunity to explain any thing which was doubtful in his speech. He had thought it his duty to ask for the information which he had done, respecting the case of Mr. and Mrs. Deacle; because, if it had not been for the evidence produced at the trial, and the conviction which took place, his own opinion would have led him not to have given credence to the charges made against Mr. Bingham Baring.
said, that the hon. member for Middlesex having asked for information on two points, he would endeavour to satisfy the hon. Member on the first point. He thought, however, that if the hon. Member had attended to the statement, which had already been made, and had likewise examined the circumstances which had appeared before the public, he would have seen, that there was no necessity to ask the questions to which he desired to have an answer given. One of the charges made against Mr. Bingham Baring was, that he entered the house of Mr. Deacle, and the room in which that person and his wife were sitting, and gave orders for putting handcuffs on them. His honourable friend, Mr. Francis Baring, had met that charge by stating, that Mr. Bingham Baring was not in the room, with Mrs. Deacle, and could not, therefore, have given orders to put the handcuffs on Mr. Deacle, and Mrs. Deacle. It was not denied that handcuffs were put on those persons, but if the hon. member for Middlesex had attended to the circumstances of the trial, he would have seen that Mr. F. Baring, as soon as he perceived the handcuffs, gave instant orders for their removal, and succeeded in extracting the hands of Mrs. Deacle from them, though, that not being a material fact before the House, Mr. F. Baring had omitted to mention the matter. It was, however, impossible to remove the handcuffs from Mr. Deacle, because they were so constructed as to require a key to unlock them, which was not at hand. The fact, therefore, was, that Mrs. Deacle was, as soon as her situation was observed, instantly released, and that Mr. Deacle, though he had the handcuffs round one hand, was not thereby incapacitated from using his other hand to seize the reins.
§ Mr. Sergeant Wilde
felt much obliged to the hon. member for Middlesex, for giving 164 him an opportunity of correcting an inaccuracy of expression into which he had fallen. What he meant to have said, but what he took for granted, from what had fallen from the hon. Member, he had not said, was, that when persons in large numbers engaged in riots, the presence of Magistrates, of men of rank and respectability, who could have no interest but to preserve the public peace, was calculated, and he hoped would have the effect of striking terror into the violent and disorderly; and he ought to have added, and inspire among the well-disposed, confidence in the laws. The hon. member for Middlesex inquired what connexion there was between the cases of Boyce and Deacle. He informed the hon. Member that Boyce and Deacle formed part of the same mob. They were the parties who prepared the papers which were carried round by men for the landlords and clergymen to sign. The reason why Boyce was tried twice was, because he had committed several robberies. He was tried for one robbery, and his next trial was for another robbery, committed at a different time and place, and totally distinct from the first. For that robbery he was prosecuted by the Attorney-General, and the Jury, without hesitation, convicted him.
said, that he would not take up the time of the House by going over the ground which had already been so well occupied by those who had gone before him; and he did not know that the details of the case required much addition from him. Whatever might be Mr. Bingham Baring's consciousness of his own innocence—whatever might be the kind feeling of his friends towards him, or their opinion respecting his character, and he believed that the hon. member for Middlesex had expressed the unanimous opinion of all who knew Mr. Bingham Baring, yet it was grievous for him to stand before the world in the light in which he had been placed for the last ten days. They perfectly well knew that the newspapers had the power of misrepresentation. No man's character, or the good opinion of his friends, proved any security to him against that slander which went forth into the world through their instrumentality; and had it not been for the interference of the hon. Gentleman (Colonel Evans) who had brought this matter forward, in as unobjectionable a mode as possible, he did not know whether there would have been an 165 opportunity of stating the facts of the case for months to come. He need hardly take the pains to notice the manner in which this question had been worked up in the public Journals. The persons who had been attacked were the most inoffensive persons, perhaps, in this great Metropolis, and, therefore, that sort of violent persecution which had been directed towards them was most extraordinary. The facts which came out at the trial were represented in glowing colours; for it was the evident object of those who got up this transaction, to produce an effect, and the consequence was, that a great sensation had been excited by the public Press of this country. He admitted, that the transactions, barely stated, were calculated to excite that feeling which was so generally expressed. Mr. Bingham Baring was not at Winchester during the trial, nor did any person in that part of the country think the matter of any importance, until remarks of the most astounding nature were made upon it. Mr. Bingham Baring knew nothing as to the mode in which the case had been conducted until he observed the violent manner in which he was attacked in the public Press. What did he immediately do? He said he would go to the country and see in what manner he could prove his innocence; but before he was able to start, he was fallen upon by the whole Press of the Metropolis, in a manner which made it impossible for him not to offer something of a defence without delay. Accordingly, he made a defence, closely following the facts as they appeared on the trial; but what was the conduct of the Press? Mr. Bingham Baring had taken the different charges in succession, and in the first place stated, that he did not order the handcuffing of Mrs. Deacle, and proved that it was impossible for him to have done so, because he was not in the room. Then, secondly, as to the dragging Mrs. Deacle through the dirt. For his part, he must say, that if there was any shadow of truth in the charge, that this woman was dragged with her head hanging one way, and her heels another, by Mr. Bingham Baring, that Gentleman would be disqualified from ever again showing his face before his fellow-countrymen. But Mr. Bingham Baring proved, that he was not there when the woman was taken away; and said, further, that he would produce the persons who actually took her. The House, indeed, had 166 that night heard the evidence of the Gentleman who actually led and carried her to the cart. In the same manner Mr. Bingham Baring positively contradicted every other charge, with the single exception of the case of the blow, respecting which he should state something presently. But what was the conduct of the Press, and of The Times newspaper, next day? They said, "We do not believe one word of your statement;" "it is quite impossible to be true," said those great friends of justice, and they determined that there was not a tittle of truth in Mr. Bingham Baring's defence. All that that Gentleman asked for was time, and he would engage to prove his statements by evidence; but The Times replied by stating, that it was all irresponsible gossip, and not to be believed. "If these things were true," said the editors, "why did they not come out at the trial?" The reason, Mr. Bingham Baring said was, because all the persons capable of proving the facts were made co-defendants, with the single exception of Mr. Deane, who, however, could have proved nothing, because he was not at the place at the time. This explanation, however, was called nothing but an impudent aggravation of his offence, and a flat denial was given to the truth of the statement. He valued as much as any man the liberty of the Press in this country, and no one was more convinced that they must put up with all its inconveniences for the benefit which it conferred; but when the Press was guilty of so much injustice as it had exhibited in the present case, he confessed, that they paid dearly for its advantages. He thought that the House must be convinced by the statement of the hon. and learned Sergeant, and the account which had been given of the disturbed state of the country at the time, together with the depositions given on oath before the Magistrates, that Mr. and Mrs. Deacle were concerned in the prevailing riots; he thought, considering all these circumstances, that the House would agree, that there were just grounds for arresting them; especially when it was seen, that on their apprehension a stop was put to the disturbances. If those parties had not been arrested, the Magistrates might then have been accused of neglecting their duty from cowardice. Undoubtedly, the justice of the arrest, and the mode of executing it, were two different things. He would not go again over, the two 167 charges, of ordering the handcuffing, and of dragging the lady through the mud, because, as he had before stated, Mr. Bingham Baring was not present at those transactions. He would read only one part of Mr. Francis Wright's deposition. The house where Mr. and Mrs. Deacle were apprehended was a farm-house. Mr. Francis Wright went into the parlour where Mr. and Mrs. Deacle were sitting, while Mr. Bingham Baring proceeded to the kitchen, where he saw a man armed with a gun, and observed several other fire-arms in the same place. Mr. Bingham Baring occupied himself in securing these arms, and in wetting the powder, and Mr. Francis Wright said, that he went into the parlour, where Mr. and Mrs. Deacle were handcuffed; he stated, that Mr. Bingham Baring gave no orders for the handcuffs to be put on, nor did he see Mr. Bingham Baring enter the room. Nothing was so absurd as the attempt to fix the order to handcuff Mrs. Deacle on Mr. Bingham Baring. It had already been proved that his hon. relative (Mr. Francis Baring) had released Mrs. Deacle from the handcuffs as soon as he observed her condition; and he would also have released Mr. Deacle, had he possessed the key which unlocked them, for the handcuffs were spring-lock handcuffs. But it was not an unusual practice to place handcuffs on persons arrested under similar circumstances. Mr. Bennett, the governor of Winchester Gaol, stated in his deposition, that about 400 persons in all were brought to the gaol under these arrests, and nearly the whole of them were handcuffed. Gentlemen must be aware that the execution of Magistrates' warrants was not unattended with difficulty at, a time of public disturbance. They were often executed in the midst of a mob of hundreds of persons, and therefore some means were necessary in order to secure the persons of the prisoners. But Mr. Bingham Baring proved, that he was not the person who ordered these parties to be handcuffed. Yet the constable, on whose evidence the accusation rested, stated, that he came into the room and ordered the handcuffs to be placed on. This was, however, shown to be impossible on the other side. He would now make a few remarks on the charge made against Mr. Bingham Baring, of having given a blow to Mr. Deacle. With respect to that charge, Mr. Bingham Baring said, that if he were put on oath, he could not 168 swear he did not touch Mr. Deacle. All he could say was, that riding by the side of Mr. Deacle, and observing that person repeatedly attempting to seize the reins, he called upon him to desist. He did not recollect to have done any thing to him; it was impossible for him to say that he did not touch him, for it was very difficult to prove a negative. He would put the House in possession of what Captain Neville, one of the parties present, said on the subject. After giving a detail of the case, exactly as had been already stated, Captain Neville stated, that Mr. Deacle attempted to seize the reins, when Mr. Bingham Baring, putting his riding-stick on the reins, called out to Mr. Deacle, "Sir, you are not the person to drive: let the constable do that." Captain Neville added, that he did not see Mr. Bingham Baring strike Mr. Deacle, and said, that had Mr. Bingham Baring given a blow, he must have observed it. That was the testimony of Captain Neville, who afterwards said, that he made that statement in justice to Mr. Bingham Baring. All the other gentlemen present at the transaction gave the same account of it; but Mr. Bingham Baring had not had the benefit of their depositions on the trial, because they were made co-defendants, though not a tittle of evidence was presented against them. His hon. friend had stated, that a Jury had convicted Mr. Bingham Baring, upon the oath of a constable, and that the depositions of these gentlemen, who expressed their readiness to swear to them, ought not to have greater weight than the evidence of the constable given on oath. But the grave part of the charge made, was not investigated at the trial. Mr. Bingham Baring was tried for an assault, and much heavier damages would have been given if he had been found guilty of the other offences which were imputed to him. The Jury, seeing that a blow was positively sworn to, and that no person was prepared to disprove that a blow was given, could not avoid pronouncing a verdict in favour of the plaintiff. Mr. Bingham Baring did not pretend to say, that he did not put out his stick; all he could speak to was the animus with which he did it. He thanked the House for the attention with which they had heard him. He was aware that the subject was more of personal than public importance, but it was not altogether unimportant. He would only say in conclusion, that if there 169 was any Gentleman in the House who had any doubt with respect to this matter, he would feel much obliged by that Gentleman calling upon him, and examining the papers. He would, indeed, be glad to submit the case to half a dozen Gentlemen, whom the hon. mover might select, and abide by their decision. So strongly, indeed, was he convinced that the whole case would bear the closest investigation, that he would be willing to take the editors of the newspapers who had been libelling and slandering Mr. Bingham Baring, and submit the case to their decision. The hon. and learned Sergeant had alluded to the possibility of further proceedings. This was a question for legal judgment, but there was undoubtedly a double difficulty in moving for a new trial. Those gentlemen who had given depositions in favour of Mr. Bingham Baring, could not be released from the indictment for the purpose of giving evidence; and there was this further difficulty, that it would be impossible to negative the assertion that a blow was given, and therefore the verdict for assault could not be set aside.
§ Sir J. Scarlett
was sure, that the statement of the hon. Member who had just sat down, would give universal satisfaction. The House sympathised with the feelings of the hon. Member, and was satisfied with the explanation which he had given of the conduct of his excellent and amiable relative. He was anxious to state the impression made upon his mind by reading the report of the trial in the newspapers. When he saw many persons included in the indictment, and a verdict given against one of them only, it immediately occurred to him, that the attorney for the plaintiff had made them co-defendants, in order to exclude them from giving testimony on the trial. The impression on his mind was, that the case was misrepresented, perhaps exaggerated, and supported by false testimony. He was certainly very much surprised at the comments which appeared in the newspapers on the trial. Perhaps the editors of newspapers were not aware of the practice often resorted to by attornies, to put together in one net all those persons who might be called as witnesses for the defence.
§ Mr. Hunt
hoped the House would listen with patience to the few observations he should make. The hon. and learned Gen- 170 tleman of that the upper end of the (Opposition) bench who had just sat down, had spoken of putting a number of people together in one net. And he begged leave to ask the hon. and learned Member whether his recollection of the conduct of attornies was at all sharpened by his knowledge that the hon. and learned Gentleman when Attorney-General for Lancashire, had put him (Mr. Hunt)—and all that were with him, into the same net, in order that he (Mr. Hunt) might not have an opportunity of making a defence. He was very happy to see the hon. member for Thetford laughing; but he would not make the slightest reflection on him, for he respected his feelings as a parent. He declared, that on reading the report of the trial, he was struck with horror at what appeared to him an extreme case of cruelty, practised by a gentleman who filled the office of Justice of the Peace, and who had committed one of the most offensive violations of the peace, by striking an unarmed and fettered female. He had himself experienced cruelty from officers, and he knew how much torture they had it in their power to inflict. He should be rejoiced to find, that the evidence given on that trial was not correct, but he confessed that he had heard nothing yet but unsworn testimony in opposition to the facts distinctly proved at the trial. They had as yet heard nothing about Mr. Deane. Oh! yes; he was told that some explanation was given about that gentleman while he was out of the House; for not expecting the question to come on, he had left the House and got his dinner. He had thought, that the noble Lord would not allow any other question but the eternal Bill to be discussed. He thought that the statement made by hon. Members was not sufficient proof that the constable had sworn falsely. It had been stated, that Mr. Bingham Baring was not in the parlour; but he might have called upon the constable from the kitchen to do his duty. He did not mean to say that Mr. Bingham Baring did so, but yet such a thing was possible. He had read the defence of that gentleman in The Times, and the comments made upon it. But he would not allow these comments to have any effect on his judgment, for he knew how easy it was for editors of newspapers to slander any one. He had suffered from them himself, and he supposed many other hon. Members had suffered in the like manner. He thought the best plan 171 to pursue would be, to call for a copy of the evidence produced at the trial, together with the Judge's observations and notes. If Mr. Bingham Baring waited until the time for a new trial, he would then be placed in an awkward situation, for his character would suffer if he failed to obtain a verdict; and how was it possible for him to get a verdict, if, as he stated, all his witnesses were included in the indictment as defendants? The hon. Member proceeded, amidst considerable interruption, to refer to the facts of the case, and in doing so, spoke of Mr. Bingham Baring having gone out to see Mrs. Bingham Baring in the cart. Members might laugh at his mistake, but he wished that Mrs. Bingham Baring had been in the cart instead of Mrs. Deacle. Mrs. Deacle had committed no offence, and no witness had ventured to swear, that Mr. Bingham Baring had not struck a blow at an unarmed man in fetters.
could not but strongly express his surprise at the observations just made, when he remembered, that he who wished to fix a stigma on the character of an hon. Gentleman—he who talked about injustice and oppression, was himself so unjust that he spoke in this strain, although he was not in the House when the explanation was given. If he were now to look for one who would exercise oppression and injustice—for a man who would dare to malign the character of another, without hearing his defence—he must look among the constituency of Preston—he must look among the Members of that House—he must, above all, look to that man who stood up as the friend and supporter of liberty and justice. He was sure that the hon. member for Preston could not have heard the statement of that hon. Gentleman, who, in so noble a manner, had stood forward, at the expense of his own character, to save that of his friend. He could not have heard it, or he surely would not have had the cruelty to make these remarks. He could not sit still and listen with patience to such remarks, without letting the House know the fact, that he who made them had not heard the defence. Although there had been no disturbances in the vicinity of his residence, yet there was a spirit of discontent, and the minds of the people were greatly excited. It was, therefore, necessary to act with energy and promptitude; but if such charges as the present were to be brought, 172 the magistracy would be deterred, if unhappily disturbances should again arise, from exercising proper firmness. In the neighbourhood of Mr. Baring's residence, the most violent outrages had been committed; and as there was a strong presumption that Mr. and Mrs. Deacle had encouraged the peasantry in these disturbances, warrants were issued for their apprehension. Caution was necessary in the execution of those warrants, as there was reason to suspect they would be resisted by the peasantry. It was to be regretted that handcuffs were used; but considering the temper of the people, the Magistrates were, in his opinion, justified in causing them to be put on. No orders, however, to that effect were issued by Mr. Bingham Baring; and Mr. Francis Baring had ordered those placed on Mrs. Deacle to be removed. The Magistrates, in the difficult position in which they were placed, were called upon to act with energy and decision. He believed they had done so; but he could not allow this question to be decided, without expressing his indignation at the conduct of the hon. Member, who was ready to condemn a man without hearing a word of his defence.
§ Sir J. Scarlett
said, that the hon. member for Preston had alleged that he spoke of counsel and attornies joining persons together in actions. He begged to inform the hon. Member, that he had never said any such thing, and that counsel did not interfere in that part of the proceedings. With respect to the hon. Member's own indictment, he (Sir James Scarlett) had not had any thing to do with the framing of it.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that the gallant Officer, by bringing forward this case, had afforded an opportunity for an explanation to be given of the circumstances attending it, and a most satisfactory one had been given; but the nature of the motion was such, that it was impossible the House could accede to it. From the general feeling which pervaded the House, he did not think it necessary to enter into any argument to prove that the papers ought not to be produced. He thought that his 173 hon. friend had acted right in seconding the motion, and availing himself of that opportunity of offering an explanation to the House. His explanation had proved satisfactory to the whole House, with the exception of one hon. Member, and that Member had not heard it. Having the pleasure of knowing Mr. Bingham Baring very well, he did not for a moment believe that he was capable of acting in the brutal manner which he was represented to have done. If there was one man in the world less likely than another to act in such a way, it was his hon. friend. He could not help concurring entirely in the indignation expressed by the hon. member for Thetford, at the conduct of those who had pressed on Mr. Bingham Baring in the way they had done, without giving him any opportunity of making his defence; and who, when he did offer a defence, treated it with derision and contempt. He should not do justice to his feelings, if he did not state, that he fully participated in the indignation which had been expressed at the conduct of those parties. The whole case was now fairly before the public, and he was quite sure, that all who had heard the speech of the hon. member for Portsmouth, or who might read it hereafter, must be perfectly satisfied, that the conduct of Mr. Bingham Baring, and of all the Magistrates, had been, in all respects, justifiable; and that they exhibited no harshness which the circumstances of the case did not render necessary. He did not think it necessary to detain the House further, but he had felt it to be due to himself to express his sentiments on the occasion as he had done.
said, that he felt highly gratified by the manner in which the motion had been received by the two hon. relatives of the gentleman whose conduct had formed the topic of discussion. At the same time he must say, that it was not exactly for a judicial opinion that he had brought the subject before the House. He should not state the fact, if he said that his conviction enabled him to participate to the full extent in what he observed to be the almost unanimous feeling of the House. He should be false to himself, if he stated, that he thought the case was satisfactorily put at rest, either with reference to the interests of the individual principally concerned, or to the Magistrates generally. He must confess, that he was both disappointed and astonished 174 at the manner in which the case had been put by the hon. and learned member for Newark. The hon. and learned Member had disappointed him, by having entirely failed to make out a point which he considered essential to be made out. He was astonished at the strong, he would not say arbitrary sentiments, which the hon. and learned Member had expressed. The hon. and learned Member seemed totally to forget, that not only was one of the parties in this case acquitted, but that the Crown brought forward no evidence against him. Yet, in defiance of the acknowledged principles of the English Law, the hon. and learned Gentleman had spoken of the Deacles as if they were convicted criminals. Unless he entirely mistook the hon. and learned Gentleman, he seemed, in portions of his speech, to consider Mr. and Mrs. Deacle to be still guilty, though those who had to prosecute them had not, found sufficient evidence against them to bring them to trial. He was sorry, that the hon. and learned Member had thought it necessary to become the calumniator of these unfortunate individuals, whether guilty or not, whilst the hon. and learned Member had left altogether untouched the important part of the statement which he had submitted to the House. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said not a word with respect to the Crown not having prosecuted for perjury the witnesses who had sworn the several depositions. That was a most important point. The hon. and learned Gentleman had likewise omitted to give any explanation of the fact, that the securities of the persons who had given evidence before the Grand Jury, but refused to come forward at the trial, were not proceeded against, which he believed was the usual course. He had felt it due to himself to say, that he could not fully concur with the feeling expressed by the House, but he would not press the motion to a division.
§ Motion negatived.