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who was fabricating letters applicable to a period 1600 long previous to that on which they were to be duced.
To come, then, to the extrinsic or positive evidence of these letters, it must be remembered, that a testimony of a very singular nature and force has already been produced, and that Sprott who gave it sealed it with his blood. The following proof is also given of the authenticity of these letters: Mr. Alexander Watson, minister of Coldingham, deposed, That on his conscience, he believed the five letters produced, to be written by the late Robert Logan of Restalrig, with his own hand, not only because the character resembled perfectly his hand-write every way, but also agreed with the fashion of spelling, which the deponent remembered in sundry specialities which he stated in his evidence. And, in confirmation of this, he produced three letters holograph of Restalrig, to show their conformity with the letters produced.
Mr. Alexander Smith, minister of Chirnside, deposed, That he was well acquainted with the late Logan of Restalrig, and also with his hand-write, having been preceptor to his children for many years. He swore that he firmly believed these five letters, and
every word of them, to be the proper hand-write of the Laird of Restalrig, both on account of the resemblance of character, and of the peculiarity of Restalrig's spelling, which was different from the mode commonly used, in many particulars, as spen cified at length by the preceding witness.
Sir John Arnot, * Provost of Edinburgh, deposed, w that he was well acquainted with Restalrig's hand
of write, having seen many of his writings, and re-
The Sheriff-clerk of Berwickshire, the Minister at
A sentence similar to that passed upon Gowry was pronounced upon Restalrig; a sentence, in one respect, as illegal as it was severe; for the treason laws only admitted of trial after death against the heirs of such persons as were known in their lifetime to have committed treason, as Dr. Robertson excellently argues. The statute, however, was not violated in any other particular, for the summons against Restalrig's heirs was executed within three years after
* Sir John Arnot was appointed treasurer-depute of Scotland about the year 1604. The General Register still shows the great estate he possessed in the counties of Edinburgh, Fife, Berwick, and Orkney.
+ Robertson's Hist. of Scotland, vol. II. p. 260.
his death. Such, however, was then the state of the 1600 country, that, in a capital trial, no man.could build wil his security on the precepts of law, the principles of justice, and the feelings of humanity.
I dismiss this investigation with submitting the following proposition: “ Whether, if the evidence I have presented of the state of parties in Scotland, and of their outrageous attempts; of what passed before such a multitude of witnesses at St. Johnston
on the important day; of Sprott's foreknowledge of the conspiracy, which he testified and sealed with « his blood; and of the authenticity of Logan's letters; " I say, if these united testimonies collected into one 6 focus do not ascertain the reality of Gowry's con. <spiracy, I submit, whether there be such a thing as 6 historical or legal evidence.'
Francis Tennent, Merchant-Burgess of Edinburgh, for Writing a Seditious Pasquinade against the King.
THE prisoner was indicted at the instance of Thomas Hamilton,* his Majesty's Advocate, for writing and dispersing slanderous letters, reproachful of the King, his progenitors, and council.
No counsel appeared for the prisoner; but he gave
* Afterwards Earl of Haddington, and Secretary of State.
1600 in defences in writing,t which must have been done
by a lawyer. His defences were:-That he was not apprehended nor prosecuted on account of a recent crime, but for a fact alledged to have been committed three years before: that he was not allowed the legal induciae, or warning of fifteen days, provided by statute for prisoners to prepare their defences: that no copy of the indictment was given him; but that he was summarily presented in pannell without any citation preceding: that 'speaking generally, with. * out cursing, is no lawful cause for taking a man's life,' according to the liberal and humane rescript of the Roman Emperors, Si quis Imperatori maledixerit. I
Quoniam si id ex levitate processerit, contemnen• dum est: Si ex insania, miseratione dignissimum: * Si ab injuria, remittendum.'
The Lord Advocate answered, That the prisoner's pleas of the distance of time at which the offence was committed, of his being furnished with no copy of the indictment, and being denied the usual time for preparing his defences, ought to be repelled, because the crime libelled was sedition against the Prince: that the defence which he founded on the Imperial Code ought also to be repelled by reason of the statute of James VI. parl, 14. c. 205. A statute, in which it must be confessed, that King James exceeded the tyranny of his predecessors, as it extended the pain of death to those who even read, or heard, any slanderous writings or speeches against the King, without lodging informations against the offenders. The Court repelled the prisoner's defences, and found 1600 the libel relevant.
* Records of Justiciary, October 8, 1600.
# Codicis lib. 9. tit. 7. 1. unic.
The Lord Advocate produced before the Court, and the Jury, which consisted of merchants and tradesmen of Edinburgh, two letters. These the prisoner acknowledged to be of his hand-writing; and the Jury, in respect of the act of Parliament cited above, and of the letters produced, unanimous
found the prisoner guilty.
It may, perhaps, appear surprising that the prisoner should have confessed; but, I apprehend it was both the most natural and most prudent conduct he could pursue: for it is probable the letters could have been proved against him; and he was threatened with the torture in the course of the process.
A royal warrant, dated at Linlithgow, Sept. 23, was then produced, ordaining the Court to pronounce the following sentence: That the prisoner be taken to the cross of Edinburgh, and his tongue cut out at the root; that a paper be fixed on his brow, denoting him to be the author of wild and seditious pasquils,* and that he then be taken to a gallows, and hanged till he be dead. But, as the King affected the vain boast of clemency, a second royal warrant was produced, in which the torturing and cutting out the tongue were dispensed with; and his Majesty was graciously pleased to declare, he was content that the prisoner should only be hanged: a sentence which was accordingly pronounced.
Immediately upon the prisoner's being sentenced, the Lord Advocate took away the letters upon which he was convicted, declaring, that he would not have them entered upon the record.