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complete quandary—so much so, that I felt quite uncomfortable at being so near him, and was about to shift my position, when a person, evidently of authority, desired me to remain, saying, it was necessary for me to be close to him, upon which the judge became much more alarmed. Presently casting my eyes behind me, I saw the little fat citizen who accused me of stealing the watch, and he also was quaking with fear; taking another look about me, I discovered the Bow Street officer who robbed me of the ten pounds in a state of self-conviction and positive fright. In order to relieve myself from these disagreeable objects, I kept my eyes constantly fixed upon the judge, whose whole countenance and frame were the personification of justice; the very air we breathed seemed to be impregnated with this virtue, and I became so entranced as to be incapable, for a time, to think of any thing that had previously transpired, but stood feeling myself every moment filling and dilating with the admiration of the principle of justice. The great men of this world looked so little when brought to its test, that if I had any alloy in the contemplation of this splendid throne, (although unadorned with silver or gold,) it was in the pity I felt for them; and the agony they must be in, at having in a few minutes undergone so great a change as to find this virtue place many above whom they had heretofore considered beneath them. It was no small part of the punishment, I remarked, that the moment they entered the place, they were in a state to see and know the full extent of their errors, and of the vain hope of any attempt to disguise them ; this saved the judge and the officers of the court much trouble: there was no swearing of witnesses, no examination and cross-examination, as I had been accustomed to hear and see in the courts above, but each person, when it came to his turn, went voluntarily up to the judge and recounted his doings, which I could not but observe, in almost all cases, were of the very worst character; and I had the satisfaction to be informed from what I then heard, that in almost every instance wherein the parties had left the best name behind them above, they brought, in proportion, the worse one down below, and vice versâ. It was then I thought I saw the. full extent of the passage in the New Testament, which says, unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.” The parsons sometimes apply this sentence to questions of charity, and, at others, they say it refers to gifts of the mind, just as their purpose or arguments may require, but the great Judge of this world and of men's actions takes the passage in a more comprehensive sense. He will consider what each individual could and ought to have done during his probation on earth, according to his nature and the circumstances which in his whole path environed him. The birth of man is a gift, so are all his attributes; his health, strength, passions, construction of mind, or the conformation of materials which produce thought, called mind; these, together with the influence that other men, whether good or bad, have over us, and with whom, from our cast in life, we were constrained to associate, are all gifts, and will be taken into account when the requirements are reckoned up against us.
Presently it came to the judge's turn, who tried me, to announce who he was, and what he had been about upon earth. O what a course of iniquity was then laid open: he confessed that when he commenced the study of the law, that obtaining justice for his fellow men never entered into his consideration ; that gain was all he had in view, and knowing that rogues had more money than honest men, he studied the laws of his country, not for the purpose of understanding the principles of justice, but to become practised in quibbles, and to serve rogues for hire. He then stated how he sold himself to a political faction, and in his speeches and writing supported the profligacy of a few, and the oppression of the many, for the promise of the Attorney-generalship; how, when he became
judge by the vilest means, (all which he detailed, but the particulars were too much for my memory, and would occupy too much space, if I could recollect them,) that he became impatient, arbitrary, and petulant, and never could endure long investigations in criminal cases, because he became prejudiced (knowing his own wicked heart) against all mankind; especially against those who ever entered a prison, whether sent there by the wickedness of others, the stupidity of magistrates, or for real offences, when committed to save a human being from starving. Then turning his eyes towards me, he continued, “I confess that when this man was tried, I was afraid the sessions would last eight days, and I wanted to get them over in six, because the Duke of
had invited me down to his house in the country, upon a shooting party, where I was to meet some high political characters, from whose interest I expected promotion. I also confess, that I was very tired of trying so many men for the same kind of offences, in which there was no interest, and that I thought it better to consider them all guilty, and persuade the jury as fast as possible to think the same, so get rid of the trouble in a shorter time than usual ; and it was in this mood that the man behind me, and a great number of others that I see about here, came to be tried; many of whom I now know to have been innocent of the crimes of which they were found guilty.” So saying, he hung his head, and looked the most foolish of the group. The judge now for the first time spoke, and said, “There is no image so awful as that of man sitting in judgment upon man; who are ye, that ye judge one another ? Ye are all ignorant, full of infirmity, miserably imperfect, and narrow in your views. You have been honoured among men with being permitted to wear the robe of authority, decorated with ermine, but you have dishonoured yourself; the most exalted honours heaped on mortality, destitute of that social virtue, justice, would be tarnished with reproaches and disgrace. Justice not only revenges, but rewards ; not only condemns, but acquits ; it is, however, a plant which appears never to have grown in your garden : these men whom you have unjustly condemned, justice declares must be rewarded, and you punished - stand on one side for the present.”
The fat little citizen then came forward, and with somewhat more modesty of manner than the judge, expressed rather awkwardly his contrition for his errors, saying, “I now confess that I accused this man unjustly of stealing my watch ; the fact is, that I went into the boxes at the theatre by myself, and meeting with an acquaintance, I was induced to accompany her to a certain house, where I suppose I was robbed, for on my return to the theatre I missed the watch I had about me when I went into it. After searching in vain for the female, I was puzzled what course to take, for the watch was one which originally belonged to my wife's father, and upon it she set a great store, and it could not be replaced with another; besides, I thought if I could by any means find out the girl who had robbed me, that the circumstance of my going to a house with her must come out, in which event, as my wife was not only jealous in her nature, but turbulent withal, that I should have a very sorry life of it. In this dilemma I went into the pit, and after sitting a short time there, conceived the scheme of making my loss to appear as though it had taken place where I then sate; this I was the more induced to do, as I saw near the spot a friend who would not fail to carry the particulars to my wife, and thus bear me out in the tale, as to the manner in which I represented I had lost the watch.” When he had finished that part of his history, he was commanded to stand on one side; upon which the Bow Street officer came forward, and confessed that he had robbed me of twelve pounds ten shillings, although I never accused him of taking more than ten; he then went into a long account of the number of similar robberies he had committed. I had heard and known something of these fellows' tricks, but the extent of this officer's practices would exceed all belief, were I here on earth to enumerate every one, as he candidly recounted them. As he was ordered to withdraw, I prepared myself faithfully to detail my own history, and rely upon the principle of justice, which upon all occasions swayed the court; but just as I was congratulating myself upon being so happy as to have an impartial and unprejudiced hearing, the gaoler unlocked my cell door, and awoke me, saying, I was to make haste, and prepare to go once more before an earthly magistrate.
We all three, very shortly afterwards, were placed inside the dock, when a gentleman came forward and deposed, that he lived in a house sitúate at Tottenham ; that on a certain night four men broke into it, and that, after ill using him, and tying his wife and himself to the bed-posts, they robbed the premises of all the money, plate, and other valuables they could lay their hands upon; and further, that one stood over himself and his wife with a pistol, threatening in the most horrible manner to blow their brains out if they made any noise, adding, that one of the prisoners, pointing to me, was the man, and the other two, with a third, not present, were the men who went up stairs and packed up the things. Upon hearing this positive swearing, I merely asserted my innocence, and begged of the prosecutor to re-consider his oath ; but he was firm to his text, and said he was sure I was the man, while the magistrate bellowed out, “We know you, fellow! and pray how came you in such company?" I replied that he might know me, and that I might have been found in bad company, but that could not make a man, who was innocent of a particular crime, guilty. I was told to hold my tongue, while my fellow prisoners said not a word. This scene ended in our being committed to Newgate for trial, where we were loaded with irons in a most unmerciful manner. Having no friend, I took an opportunity one day to speak to the ordinary of the prison, and the better to secure his favour and good services, I faithfully recounted my history, and the desire I still had to obtain an honest living : the first question, however, he asked me, threw me off my guard, and he left me, I could see, full of suspicion. He said, “ Pray, if you had a desire to be honest, how came you to keep company with these men ?"
Reflecting upon my perilous situation, and the parson's question, I saw no hopes of escape, unless I could prove an alibi; and if I succeeded in doing that, the other two guilty men would escape, because no jury would have believed the prosecutor upon his oath, after the manner he swore that I was the person who held the pistol to his head. This circumstance increased my difficulty of proof, as nothing but the strongest evidence, I was sure, would be received. As the parson was another time in our yard, I addressed him, and said, “Sir, you asked me the other day how I came into such bad company, after quitting the service of the pork butcher.” Well,” said he, “ what have you to say to that question ?” I answered, “ That most persons in the world had some friends who cared for them-some creature to whom they could speak in confidence, and consult when in trouble ; and if their own conduct had been bad, yet there was generally some individual who would rejoice to see them reform, and give them encouragement to amend their ways; but,” said I, “you will please to remember, this is not my case, from my childhood upwards I have never known any but dishonest men, excepting only the pork butcher, who is now dead, and his servants, who are gone I know not whither, although these persons only can prove my innocence, because I was at work with them at pig killing, or dressing, at the very time this burglary was committed." I then called to his recollection the unhappy and forlorn situation I was in when I left the pork butcher's house, and represented how extremely natural it was for me to go to a house where I was known, where I could make sure of a bed, and have
some human being to speak to ; telling him, that those who had friends and relations, knew not how to make allowances for one placed in the world as I was. I urged that animals of opposite natures frequently contracted friendships, rather than live in entire solitude; even cats and dogs associate, rather than live alone; the horse and the cow, and the ass and the horse, will be seen creeping towards each other, when confined in a field or a close without any other company, for the sake of a little companionship.
This reasoning made some impression upon the person to whom it was addressed, for he said smilingly, "Why, you are quite a philosopher.” I then explained to him that I thought I was naturally endowed with a turn for reflection, and that the circumstances of my life having forced me into a calling against my inclination, made me frequently look into the affairs of the world pretty closely ; besides I had, in my time, associated with some very clever fellows, men who had had a superior education, and become abandoned from habits of extravagance. But as I told him the principal eause of my improvement was the being in the company's service for three years and a half, during which time I spent all my leisure hours either in tavern-parlours, where disputations were carried on by respectable men, or in reading at home at my lodgings. The ordinary then took down the name of the street where I had lived, and said he would see me the next day. I could not now but seriously reflect upon the peculiarity of my situation : if found guilty I knew I'must suffer death, for at that time (1800) all housebreakers were executed; and if acquitted, I could not help thinking what was to become of me after the confessions I had made to the ordinary; no person would venture to employ me, that was certain ; and would the authorities of the country be justified, I thought, in turning me again upon the world, when they knew that I had no choice between seeking a corner in which I might lie down and perish for want of food, or committing depredations upon the public?
(To be continued.)
“ The castle--that is, the old castle—is a complete ruin. The walls of the room in which Charles the First was imprisoned, and whence be tried to make his escape, are almost completely thrown down, as though in remorse for having retained so innocent a victim.”—Journal of a Tour through the Isle of Wight.
Why hath the hand of Time thrown down thy walls,
233 The Chamber of Death
252 Mr. Wilkinson's Topography of Thebes
254 Tasso's Familiar Spirit
269 Confessions of a Quack Doctor
270 The Marriage Festival
275 Eruption of Mount Ætna
276 Diary of a Blasé
280 Irish Song-Sweet Ellen O’More
286 Scraps from School and College
287 The Life of a Sub-Editor
293 I'd be a Spirit
305 Autobiographical Sketches connected with Laycock Abbey 306 Names
319 The Life, Opinions, and Pensile Adventures of John Ketch 326 Telesforo de Trueba
LITERATURE.-NOTICES OF NEW WORKS.
The Philosophy of History, &c.
Head, Neck, and Chest
Marine Rifle Legion
75 ib. 76 ib.