Chapter Fifteen

AuthorRichard D. Schneider
Cae Fftee
   o’clock the next day, a Saturday, Lord Chief
Justice Tindal, Mr. Justice Williams, and Mr. Justice Coleridge, ac-
companied by the lord mayor, the sheris, and other ocial persons,
entered the Old Court and took their seats upon the bench, which on
the right and left of the learned judges was soon afterwards crowded
with both ladies and gentlemen. ere were several ladies in the boxes
usually reserved for members of the City corporation and jurors-in-
waiting, and the courtroom was completely occupied, e Times re-
ported, “by attentive listeners, amongst whom was a large number of
young barristers,” to whom, very naturally, the case was a subject both
of curiosity and study. “e galleries,” it was noted, “were not as full
of visitors as they had been the previous day,” which, according to e
Times, was a result of “the extreme rudeness, in some degree approach-
ing ruanism” shown by the guards stationed at the court entrances
to the inux of extra reporters and curious spectators on the opening
day of the trial.
e jury was then called, the prisoner was placed at the bar, where
he stood some minutes, and then, as on the previous day, was given a
chair. He maintained the same quiet attitude and listless demeanour
as he had all along, not looking over at his lawyer until Cockburn had
begun his speech for the defence:
“May it please your Lordships and gentlemen of the Jury, I rise to ad-
dress you on behalf of the unfortunate prisoner at the bar, who stands
charged with the awful crime of murder, under a feeling of anxiety
so intense of responsibility so overwhelming that I feel almost
borne down by the weight of my solemn and dicult task. Gentle-
men, believe me when I assure you that I say this, not by way of idle
 . 
or common-place exordium, but as expressing the deep emotions by
which my mind is agitated.
“I believe that you – I know that the numerous professional breth-
ren by whom I see myself surrounded – will understand me when I
say that of all the positions in which, in the discharge of our various
duties in the dierent relations of life, a man may be placed, none can
be more painful or more paralyzing to the energies of the mind than
that of an advocate to whom is committed the defense of a fellow
being in a matter involving life and death, and who, while deeply con-
vinced that the defense which he has to oer is founded in truth and
justice, yet sees in the circumstances by which the case is surrounded,
that which makes him look forward with apprehension and trembling
to the result.
“Gentlemen, if this were an ordinary case – if you had heard of
it for the rst time since you entered into that box – if the individual
who has fallen a victim had been some obscure and unknown per-
son, instead of one whose character, whose excellence, and whose fate
had commanded the approbation, the love, and the sympathy of all, I
should feel no anxiety as to the issue of this trial. But alas! Can I dare
to hope that even among you, who are to pass in judgment on the
accused, there can be one who has not brought to the judgment-seat
a mind imbued with preconceived notions on the case which is the
subject of this important inquiry?
“In all classes of this great community – in every corner of this
vast metropolis, from end to end, even to the remotest connes of
this extensive empire, has this case been already canvassed, discussed,
determined, with reference only to the worth of the victim, and the
nature of the crime, not with reference to the state or condition of him
by whom that crime has been committed; and hence there has arisen
in men’s minds an insatiate desire of vengeance, nay there has gone
forth a wild and merciless cry for blood, to which you are called upon
this day to minister!
“Yet do I not complain. When I bear in mind how deeply the hor-
ror of assassination is stamped on the hearts of men, above all, on the
characters of Englishmen, and believe me, there breathes no one on
God’s earth by whom that crime is more abhorred than by him who
now addresses you, and who, deeply deploring the loss, and acknow-
ledging the goodness – dwelt upon with such touching eloquence by

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