RICHARD FULLER.
12th July 1797
Reference Numbert17970712-54
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceDeath

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463. RICHARD FULLER was indicted for feloniously endeavouring to seduce and entice one Matthew Lowe (the said Matthew Lowe being then a person serving in his Majesty's forces by land)from his allegiance and duty to his said Majesty .

Second Court. For maliciously endeavouring to incite and stir up the said Matthew Lowe to commit an act of mutiny, and to commit traiterous and mutinous practices against the form of the statute, and against the King's peace.

(The indictment was opened by Mr. Abbott).

Mr. Attorney-General. Gentlemen of the Jury. This is an indictment founded upon an act of Parliament, which passed upon the 6th of June last, and which enacted that persons committing certain act described in that statute should be deemed guilty of felony. Gentlemen, the facts I have to state to you, as committed by the prisoner, happened on the 8th of the same month; the offence therefore follows very speedly after the act of Parliament, and in fact may form a circumstance that may entitle the prisoner to mercy; the Constitution of this country has provided that mercy may be applied for, and you perhaps may conceive with me, that it will not be applied for in vain.

Gentlemen, the circumstances, however, which form the subject of the present indictment, if I do not mistake the effect of them, constitute a crime in the law of England of so high a nature, that independent of this Act of Parliament would subject the prisoner to an indictment for a capital offence.

Gentlemen, the indictment charges. in the words of the Act of Parliament, that the prisoner at the bar, after the passing of this Act, feloniously did, maliciously, and advisedly, endeavour to seduce Matthew Lowe , the said Matthew Lowe being then a person serving in his Majesty's forces by land, from his duty and allegiance; and it then charges that the same person (again in the words of the statute) feloniously, meliciously, and advisedly endeavoured to incite and stir up the said Matthew Lowe , he being then a person serving in his Majesty's forces by land, to commit an act of mutiny, and to commit traiterous and mutinous practices against the form of the statute.

Gentlemen, this act passed at a period when unquestionably transactions were passing, which threatened the peace of the country-dreadful and striking examples of which we have fatal proofs every day, but which for the security and peace of the country have become necessary; and I am sure I need not state to you, that in a moral as well as a legal view, those persons, who excite to acts of such fatal consequences to themselves and to the country, act perhaps more unpardonably than those who are made the excitements to their own misery.

Gentlemen, with these observations, I proceed to state to you the circumstances of the case. On the 8th of June, a person, who will be called to you as a witness of the name of Matthew Lowe , a soldier in the Cold-stream regiment of Guards , was in his way from London to Kew, where I understand he was quartered when he was accosted by the prisoner at the bar; and not being at that time dressed in a military habit, but in the ordinary cloaths in which you find persons who do not belong to that character in life; he made enquiries of him (and this is a circumstance perhaps deserving of attention, whether he belonged to the military, or what his situation in life was; that enquiry led to a communication on the part of Lowe, that he belonged to the military, and was one of the Coldstream Regiment of Guards. After this had passed, the prisoner at the bar desired him to go into a public-house, and he would there treat him with some liquor; when they had retired to this place, the Pack-horse on Turnham-green, the prisoner at the bar produced a paper, which I shall take the liberty to read to you, as I have it now in my hand, as it was delivered by the prisoner to Lowe.

Gentlemen, your attention will probably be called to the circumstance, that the printed paper thus delivered by the prisoner is passed upon a thicker paper, for the purpose of preservation; what use was to be made of it, when it was so carefully preserved, will be for you to judge.

(Here Mr. Attorney-General read to the Jury the bill above alluded to: also another bill which was delivered by the prisoner to Lowe).

Gentlemen, the person to whom these papers were shewn, for the purposes that it will be your duty to collect from the whole of the evidence, felt that loyal indignation, which, to the honour of the British soldiery, has been unquestionably their characteristic; in consequence of this, without stating the indignation that he felt at the moment, he will inform you that he thought it his duty to secure this man for punishment; they accordingly went from this Pack-horse, on Turnhamgreen, till they came to Kew-green, where he produced these papers again to other soldiers; they will tell you the observations that were made upon them by the prisoner, and you will attend to the evidence that they will give.

Gentlemen, if the evidence, on the part of this prosecution, should be such as shall satify you that the charge is founded in truth, it will then be incumbent upon the

prisoner to answer it; and I have no hesitation in requesting that you will listen to all that is stated on the part of the prisoner, with a view to explain his intention, with the most humane wishes that can be consistent with public justice; on the other hand, when you have heard the case, I am sure you will recollect that the verdict you are to give, is that verdict, which the law that you are here assisting in the administration of, calls for at your hands; and it is the great blessing of a British constitution, that it has provided that, even after the decision of a Jury has been given upon the case of any individual, a temperate, a wise, and a humane attention is secured to every individual in the county, with respect to any particular favourable circumstances that may form a part of his case.

Gentlemen, when the Legislature passed this Act, they imposed a duty upon me, which I am bound to perform, to lay cases that are thus circumstanced before the justice of Juries of the country; when I have executed that duty, I repose the safety of the prisoner, and the safety of the public, in those hands which, as long as we are happy enough to be permitted to preserve them, will continue to preserve every one of us that portion of practical liberty, which perhaps does not belong to the nature of other human institutions.

MATTHEW LOWE sworn. - Examined by Mr. Garrow. I have been a private in the Coldstream Regiment of Guards somewhere about four years; I keep a house, No.11, Snow's-rents, leading out of York-street.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar? - A. Yes; on the 8th of June I was going from London to Kew, when he overtook me

Q. Were you in your soldier's dress? - A. No; I was in coloured cloaths.

Q. Was the prisoner a stranger to you? - A. I had never seen him in my days before; he looked me earnestly in the face, and asked if I belonged to the military; I told him I did; he said he belonged to the Buckinghamshire Supplementary Militia ; when we came right opposite the Pack-house at Turnham-green, we had walked a very little way together, he asked me if I would go in and have a share of a pint of beer; I said, I would, as I was on my travels, but I would not stop longer than one pint; I went into the tap-room, and the prisoner called for a pint of beer, it was brought in, and he asked me to drink; after I had drank and set down the pot, he asked me if I could read, to which I told him I could; says he, I have something to shew you, with that he put his hand into his coat pocket, and pulled out a printed bill pasted upon some thicker paper.

Q. (Shewing him a paper). Was that the paper that he first took out? - A. Yes; he pointed out parts of it, and told me it was a true copy of every man's heart that wished his country well; then I read a little of it, and thought it was not a proper place to read such a thing in, I desired the prisoner to put it in his pocket, which he did; when he had put this paper in his pocket, he said, he had got some more of a better sort, and pulled them out of his pocket immediately, and gave them to me.

Q. Look at these and see if these are the papers that he said were of a better sort? - A. Yes; these are them, they have my mark upon them, he turned over to one passage, and desired me to read it.

(It is read).

Lowe. When I had read it, he said it was a true copy of every man's heart that wished his country well; I told him to put it in his pocket, for I was afraid somebody would over-hear us, and that I should be apprehended along with him; I told him we would go to a more convenient place, near Kew; I thought, as I was a stranger, I might get killed among the country people; I thought I could not apprehend him myself, and so I got him to a public-house near Kew, he laid down twopence at the bar, and said to the woman, at the Pack house, give me my guinea, at which the smiled, and gave him a farthing; we went from there to the Star-and-garter, near Kew-bridge, I saw one of my comrades, William Leach, sitting there, I called for a pint of beer, and said we might as well all drink together; while we were drinking, I beckoned to Leach to come out of doors, and told him that that man had got some seditious hand-bills in his pocket, I desired him to come over the Bridge, to the Rose-and-crown, where I could send for serjeant Calder; we drank the beer, and went over the Bridge, the prisoner and I went to the Rose-and-crown, and Leach and Calder came there to us; serjeant Calder did not come in at first, but Leach sent me out to serjeant Calder, and I gave him information of it, then I came into the house again leaving Calder out; then I desired this fellow to let me look at one of the bills, in the presence of Leach, he gave me that with the word "Soldiery" at the top, and I gave it over to Leach.

Q. Did the prisoner see you give it over to Leach? - A. Yes; we were all three close together, he was reading it in the presence of the prisoner when serjeant Calder came in; upon which the prisoner said, how do you do serjeant, will you drink, for I am a comrade; upon which serjeant Calder drank, and then he asked what I had got there; I said, it was a paper I had got from that man, pointing to Fuller; then serjeant Calder read it distinctly aloud, and while he was reading it, he made use of the same words that I mentioned before, that it was a true copy of every man's heart that wished well to his country.

Q. Was that after Calder had got to the conclusion, or during the reading of it? - A. During the reading of it, several times; I said to him, be

so good as let the serjeant look at the other bills; upon that, I took that bill from serjeant Calder into my own hand, and he had the others from Fuller; serjeant Calder read them all through aloud, and then asked him if he had got any more; he said, no; serjeant Calder then said, you must consider yourself as a prisoner, and he took him prisoner.

Q. Are you quite sure he is the man? - A. Yes.

Cross-examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. You say that he pointed to your attention particular passages, do you mean to say that he read those passages? - A. I do not know that he read them, his lips seemed to move as if he read them.

Q. Did he read any one single syllable for you to hear? - A. No, he did not.

Q. Upon your oath, did he not say he could not read them, and ask you to read them for him? - A. He did not say whether he could read or not; he asked me if I could read, but I did not ask whethere he could read or not.

Court. Q. I think you say he pointed you out some passages to read? - A. Yes.

Mr. Gurney. Q. What reward had your regiment advertised at this time for any person you could take up upon this sort of charge? - A. I did not know of any reward at that time.

Q. Had not your regiment offered a reward at that time? - A. They had, but I did not know it.

Q. Seventy or a hundred pounds, was it not? - A. I cannot say.

Q. Don't you believe it was seventy pounds? - A. I cannot tell.

Q. Do you believe it is less than seventy pounds? - A. I do not know.

Q. How long before had that reward been offered? - A. I do not know.

Q. Did not all your serjeants come forward and offer a reward? - A. I never saw any thing of the sort.

Mr. Garrow. Q. You have learned since, that they had offered a reward? - A. Yes.

Q. At the time serjeant Calder secured this man had you heard of any reward? - A. No; I only did it from the lucre of doing my duty.

WILLIAM LEACH sworn. - Examined by Mr. Fielding Q. You are a private in the Coldstream Regiment of Guards? - A. I am.

Q. Do you know Lowe? - A. Yes, he is in the same regiment; On the 8th of June last, Lowe came with another man to a public-house at Kew-bridge, the prisoner is the man; they came into the tap-room and called for a pint of beer, Lowe saw me there, and came and sat down by me; Lowe asked me, is all well at Kew; I said it was; Lowe then called for another pint, the prisoner called for the first pint; Lowe asked him if he would take a walk over the bridge, which he consented to; he went over the bridge, and Lowe asked me to step to serjeant Calder.

Q. Before you went for Calder, had you said any thing to Fuller, or he to you? - A. Nothing at all concerning the bills; we went to the Rose-and crown the other side of the bridge, Fuller and Lowe went into a little room, and when I came in they had a pot of beer before them, I joined them before Calder came; I told Lowe there was one wanted to speak with him; upon that he went out into the passage to serjeant Calder, and I remained with Fuller, but he did not say any thing to me.

Q. How long was Lowe absent before he returned to Fuller? - A. He might be about two minutes.

Q. Did he return by himself? - A. Yes; and Lowe asked him if he had got any of these bills about him in his pocket; Fuller asked me if I could read; and I told him I could; with that he pulled the bill out with the word "Soldiery" at the top of it; the serjeant then came in, and Fuller said, serjeant, how do you do, will you drink, I am a comrade of your's; I was reading the bill at the same time, and the serjeant said, what have you got there; I said I did not know particularly, and gave it to him; the serjeant began to read it loud, and Fuller said, what do you think of that serjeant, I think it is a true copy of every man's heart that wishes well to his King and country, he repeated that about twice while he was reading it; he then asked him if he had any more, and he said, yes; but he did not think so much of it as he did of the other; and when the serjeant had read it, he asked him if he had any more; he said, no; and then he told him he must consider himself as a prisoner.

Cross-examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. Did you know that an Act of Parliament had passed two days before this happened, making it death? - A. I do not know that it made it death, every man had signed his name to it.

Q. That was a bill offering a reward? - A. It was something concerning the army, and I thought it was very proper that I should assist in detecting him.

ROBERT CALDER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Abbott. I am a serjeant in the Coldstream Regiment of Guard; in consequence of some information that I received from Leach, I went to the Rose and Crown, into an apartment where Lowe was, he had come out and told me there was a man there with seditious bills, I went into the room a minute or two after him; when I went in, the prisoner said, serjeant, how do you do, I am a comrade; I asked him what he belonged to, he said, the Bucks Supplementary Militia; Leach had got a paper in his hand, I said, what have you got there,

Lowe said, it was a paper he had had from Fuller, and while I was reading it, he said, it was a true copy of every honest man's heart, who wished well to his country; I asked him if he had any more, and he gave me another, but he gave it me reluctantly, seeing my temper rather ruffled, and adverse to his principles; this paper, with the word soldiery at the top, I received from Leach, the other I received from Fuller.

(The bills read by the Clerk of the Arraigns.)

The prisoner did not say any thing in his defence.

Evidence for the Prisoner.

EDMUND HOLDERNESS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I live at Colebrooke, in Buckinghamshire; I have known the prisoner at the bar from a child, he is by trade a shoe-maker , and lived with his father.

Q. Do you know whether he can read or write? - A. I do not believe that he can; I never heard that his father sent him to school.

Q. What is the state of his understanding, is he a sensible young man, or otherwise? - A. I do not call him a real sensible young man; I never heard any thing amiss of his character.

Q. Is he of a disorderly and riotous disposition? - A. I never heard any thing of the kind.

JOSEPH WISE sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I live at Colebrooke, I have known the prisoner about fourteen years.

Q. Do you know whether he is able to read or write? - A; I never heard that he was, I have heard that he was not.

Q. Do you know any thing of his understanding, whether he is sensible or dull? - A. I do not think he is sensible.

Q. What has been his general character for peaceable behaviour? - A. I never heard any thing amiss of him before.

JOHN BAKER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I live in Baldwin's-Gardens; I have known the prisoner about ten years.

Q. Do you know whether he is able to read or write? - A. I have heard his brother-in-law say he cannot, I do not know myself.

Q. Do you know any thing respecting his understanding, whether he is sensible or otherwise? - A. I think he is not.

Mr. Attorney General. Q. Is that brother-in-law alive? - A. Yes.

Q. What is his name? - A. John Page .

JOHN CHESTERMAN sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney, I live in Union-court, Holborn; I have known the prisoner about nine years; I have every reason to believe that he can neither read nor write; I was employed as a labouring man in the country, and some of my work-fellows used to come to me to learn to read, among the rest, Fuller used to come, and when he had come about twice, he told me his head would not take it.

THOMAS HAWKINS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I have known Fuller twenty-seven years; I don't know whether he can read or write.

Q. What do you think of his understanding - do you think he is sensible? - A. No. I think he is not.

JAMES HALL sworn. - I live at Longford; I have known the prisoner six years, I have heard his father say, he never put him to school.

Q. What do you think of his understanding? - A. I think he is a fool.

WILLIAM GREENSILL sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. I live at Colebrook; I have known Fuller from his infancy, I do not know whether he can read or write.

Q. What do you think of his understanding? - A. I don't think he is sensible.

Mr. Attorney-General. Q. When did you leave Colebrook? - A. Tuesday morning.

Q. Do you know Page? - A. Yes.

Q. When did you see him last? - A. This morning.

Q. Has the prisoner brothers and sisters at Colebrooke? - A. He has sisters at Colebrooke.

Q. When did you see them last? - A. On Tuesday morning.

FRANCIS FULLER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. The prisoner is my son, he can neither read nor write.

Q. He is a militia man for the County of Bucks? - A. Yes.

Q. When he was attested, did he write his name, or make his mark? - A. He made a cross.

Court. Q. Can he read print? - A. No, he cannot.

The jury having retired an hour and a half, returned with a verdict of

GUILTY Death . (Aged 28.)

He was strongly recommended to mercy by the Jury, on account of the transaction having happened so recently after the passing of the act.

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice BULLER.


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