With this Plan before us, we shall be able to make our history more intelligible. What, then, is this history, as stated in the [cols. 1612] evidence which we find in print! We are not making any assertions; nor are we, at present, offering any opinions; I am about merely to put into the shape of a history, the substance of what is asserted by the witnesses; and that substance is this: That, on Friday, the 16th of May, about mid-day, JAMES WELSH (aged 20 years) had just quitted gravel-digging, and was going across the great field, E, in which he saw Jephson, who came up to him, and after asking him the way to Cherry Hinton, proceeded to make his unnatural propositions. That, after having pulled Welsh about a good deal and torn his trowsers and committed great indecencies, he asked Welsh to meet him at the same place in the evening of that same day, which Welsh promised to do. That Welsh then went home, and that he told several persons what had taken place, and, amongst others, some men, who engaged to go in the evening and to lie in ambush, in order to catch the monster. That, when the evening came, these men went and hid themselves in a little dell, or drinking place for cattle, at M, while Welsh went to meet the Parson at a place, I. That the Reverend Doctor came punctually to his time. That, after divers shocking indecencies, he let down his middle garment; but was drawn on by Welsh from I to K, and then to L, and then to the gap N, and, while the College Tutor was going through that gap, Welsh went along round by the men in the dell, who, after Welsh had got round through the gap, O, and the Reverend Gentleman had proceeded to nearly the last extremity, came out of their hiding [col. 263] place, and went and seized the Spiritual Person in the ditch, P, in a state which I must leave the witnesses to describe. That the men took him along towards the gate Q, and threatened to take him to his College, as the Right Reverend Father in God, PERCY JOCELYN, was taken to the watchhouse of St. Jamess parish, in company with his doxy, JOHN MOVELLY [sic], a Soldier of the Foot Guards. That Jephson besought them not to do this; and offered them money to let him go. That, at last, they, having first taken him to the hay-stack, B, let him go, upon his giving them two pounds nine shillings and sixpence and his watch [co. 264].
That there were five men who lay hid in the dell; and that, when they had dismissed the Reverend Member of the Holy Order, as it is called by this Sergeant Judge, the six divided the money amongst them. That these men, besides Welsh, were, JOSEPH HART, a cabinet maker; GEORGE WISEMAN, a labourer; WILLIAM BUTTRESS, a labourer; JAMES BUTTRESS, a turf-dealer; and PHILIP LANGHAM, a labourer. That the watch remained undisposed of; and that, the next day, Saturday, in consequence of some conversation between them, Hart and Wiseman, went, about ten oclock in the evening, to St. Johns College, where they saw the Doctor of Divinity and offered him his watch; but, that he would hold no conversation with them; told them to go out of his room; and shut the door agains them. Thus far the operations with the men. Then, as to the Doctors subsequent movements, it is in evidence, that, on this same Saturday, the 17th of May, he went [col. 264] before Mr. ABBOTT, a justice of the peace, and made a charge against some persons unknown. That this charge was afterwards withdrawn. That, on the Sunday, Hart was taken up by a constable, named SHALLOW; but, after examination, was discharged; and that, after this, the men had a good dinner given them at Shallows, and each of the six had a pound given him, as the amount of his share of the watch, which pounds were given by DOCTOR HAVILAND, the friend of the Reverend Doctor Jephson. That, on the Sunday morning, the Reverend Jephson went off to London, having authorized his friends to act for him generally. That, on the Thursday, the 22d of May, he came back to Cambridge, and preferred a charge of robberry [sic], before Mr. Abbott, against Hart, Wiseman, the two Buttresses, Welsh, and another; which charge was, the next day, dismissed; and on that day a charge was preferred against the Doctor of the Holy Order, and after the evidence of only one witness, the Reverend Doctor gave bail.
Such is the brief history of the material facts, as stated in the evidence. The nature of the evidence, together with other matters will be subject of remark, when I have inserted an account of the trial, as published in the newspapers before mentioned. I have inserted the whole, just as I find it in the newspaper. I request the reader to go through it with great attention; and to pause a little on the parts which I have distinguished by italic character. It seems that a Sergeant at Law, as they call it, named BOSANQUET, acted as Judge upon this occasion. [col. 265]
Mr. Sergeant BOSANQUET delivered the following charge to the Grand Jury:
21 JULY 1823.
Gentlemen of the Grand Jury There are not, I think, in the calendar which lies before me, any cases of very high enormity or violence, nor are there any which appear to require any legal explanation; if, however, any gentleman should wish for any information on my part, I shall be happy in offering any assistance in my power. But, Gentlemen, there is one case, which does not appear in the calendar, to which you will, I am sure, approach with feelings of the most painful interest. In what shape it will be laid before you, I, of course, am ignorant; but I am satisfied, Gentlemen, that I need not intreat you to pay to that case all the attention which it requires. You, Gentlemen of the Grand Inquest, will have to decide, when you have heard the whole circumstances as related against the defendant, whether the story, as told to you, has sufficient appearance of authenticity about it, unexplained and uncontradicted by him, to warrant your sending it to another Jury, or whether the tale is in itself too incredible to justify you in exposing him to a public trial; the consequence of which would be, to feed a low and filthy curiosity. If, therefore, the witnesses who will appear before you do not satisfy you that their account of the transaction is the true one, to throw out the bill in limine [i.e. declare certain evidence inadmissable] will be a duty which you owe to the object of the prosecution, to that learned body of which he is a member, and to that holy order to which he belongs. But, on the other hand, Gentlemen, your duty, as Grand Jurymen, is a duty paramount to every other obligation; and, if the story told you appears consistent and probable, it will be a part of that duty, though hoping that the defendant may given satisractory answer to his [col. 266] accusers, to send him to a public trial, however painful it may be to your own feelings. I have now only to request that you will send any bill that you may find, with as little delay as possible; in order that I may at once proceed to the trial of some of those cases of which the witnesses are in attendance, and save unnecessary expense and delay.
Trial of the Rev. Thomas Jephson,
Some trials of small importance having been disposed of on Tuesday, the above imporant case came on for trial on Wednesday morning, which from the previous high character the defendant had hitherto sustained, and the horrible enormity of the offence which he was now charged with having attempted to commit, had excited a deep and universal interest. At an early hour the court was crowded to excess; and so great was the pressure, that some gentlemen in the front rows of the strangers gallery were constrained to interrupt the proceedings of the court, and declare that it would ge impossible to live unless immediately relieved. Others stated the danger they were in from the front of the gallery being forced out. After some difficulty the javelin men, by the direction of the learned Judge, succeeded in inducing some persons at the back to retire, and the business of the court proceeded.
for a Misdemeanor.
There were three counts in the indictment; the 1st charging him with an assault upon James Welsh, and with making an attempt to commit an unnatural crime; the 2d with having solicited the same James Welsh to commit, &c.; and the third count charged him with having indecently exposed his person, with the view of exciting the passions, &c. of the same James Welsh, &c. The defendant pleaded Not Guilty.
Mr. F. K. EAGLE opened the pleadings.
Mr. PRYME stated the case to the [col. 267] jury. He stated, that he need hardly observe to them that the duty that he was about to perform was both a difficult and an unpleasant one, in charging before them an individual hitherto of high character and respectabiility; but it was peculiarly painful to him, who was a resident of the same town a member of the same University and whom he had been in the occasional habits of meeting at the tables of their common friends; but in the discharge of his duty as an advocate he must lay aside every private feeling. He trusted he should do that duty without harshness; but he trusted also that he should leave nothing undone which he ought to have done. He entreated the jury to discharge from their minds every thing they might have heard before they entered that court, as far as it was possible for the human mind to do it; and to come to the consideration of this important case, free from any improper prejudice. The learned gentleman then described the situation of the place where the alleged offence was committed. Between, and parallel to, the New-market and Linton roads it another road, but which for carriages is only an occupation road; terminating, after leading to the mill and some closes beyond, (a distance of about a mile) in a foot-path leading to Cherry Hinton. From this road, and a little before you come to the mill, but on the opposite side, is another occupation road leading only the length of one close, to the cricket ground, into which there is a gate, it then turns to the right, and passing along the top of the cricket ground there terminates, having a gate into a grass field; across this there is no way except a foot-path, used by the occupants of the next field, which is a large one in the occupation of Mr. Broadbelt, and there terminates. It was on the far side of this large field where the disgusting scenes charged in the indictment occurred. The learned gentleman then detailed at great length [col. 268]
the case for the prosecution as afterwards given in the following evidence of the witnesses for the prosecution, (which we shall here omit, it being inserted at length in its proper place,) illustrating as he went along the positions of the parties by reference to a plan, a sketch of which we have also given. This was not the unsupported testimony, observed the learned gentleman, of one individual, but the consistent narration of five; while it was confirmed in most of its material points by the evidence of the prosecutor himself: who had on the Saturday morning gone before Mr. Alderman Abbott, a magistrate, and laid a charge before him against some person or persons unknown, for having extorted from him his watch and money under a treat of charging him with an attempt to commit an unnatural crime. These depositions, which he should put in as evidence, admitted the fact of his having been there both in the morning and the evening. In the morning he said he took this place in his road from the back gates of St. Johns College to Horningsea that he entered the cricket groundby the shed, and crossed the adjoining grounds by the occupation path into the gret field, where he saw a Boy, and enquired his way to Cherry Hinton. He said he took this way to avoid the dust, but he, Mr. Pryme, should prove, that the morning was a wet one. In the evening he admits that he was there too, that he was walking along the Cherry Hinton road, and, desiring to ease himself, he passed through the gate into the lane leading to the cricket ground. Now the jury would observe, that there were two corners in this lane as soon as he got through the gate, where the hedges being high and thick would have effectually screened him; but he passed along this occupation road, round another corner where he would have been hid from onbservation, and then crosses into the great field, where seeing a Boy loitering about, he went through the hedge and had [col. 269] no sooner began to ease himself than he was seized upon by five men and dragged awy; and under the threat of having a certain charge made against him, gave them his watch and money. But what made his statement utterly unreconcilable was, that after he had gone to great a distance to avoid all observation, when he actually sees a Boy he only crossed a hedge through a gap for concealment. He admits that he was dragged the same way, as stated by the witnesses for the prosecution, close to Briggss house, and yet he made no alarm, where assistance might have bene procured. It is true he preferred a charge on the Saturday morning against some persons unknown, but on the evening when they went to his rooms with his watch and he might have secured them, the great gates being closed and the porter in attendance, he takes no steps to apprehend them; and on the Sundy when the names are actualy known, instead of attending before a magistrate to prosecute them when he had it in his power to bring them to justice he leaves the University leaves it in the middle of term while giving his lectures, and when he ought to be attending his duties and the then accused, instead of being prosecuted, are treated with a dinner and dismissed, if not with something else. The learned gentleman then contrasted such conduct with that of Hart, who, on being sent for, voluntarily came and candidly told his tale. He therefore put it to the jury, which part betrayed the consciousness of guilt. The learned gentleman concluded a speech of two hours by observing, there might be some little varriation in the manner of the witnesses telling their story; some might be nearer than others, while the memory of some might be more acute and tenacious than that of others. If several persons narrated, at the distance of several weeks, something they had heard, or some circumstance they had witnessed, nothing would be more probable than there would be a [col. 270] slight variation in their accounts, but this variation, if they agreed in all the great or important points, would rather weigh in favour of their credibiity than otherwise; and if the five witnesses whom he should call before them, were consistent not only each with himself, but consistent each with the other, he feared that but one result could be impressed upon their minds.
The following witnesses were then called:
James Welsh, 20 years of age come 19th next October: lives at Barnwell, knows the defendant, Jephson first saw him on the 16th of last May. Saw him in a field of Mr. Broadbelts was going across that field had been at work in the next ground at gravel digging it being a wet morning could not work. Witness turned away from him, thinking he might be somebody belonging to the ground, and would say something to him. When he turned away, defendant came up to him, and asked him the road to Cherry Hinton. Witness took him to a gap in the hedge G, telling him if he went to the gap, he would show him and said, if you go down that ground through the little gate, H, it will lead you to the road. He then gave witness a sixpence, for which he thanked him witness was going, when defendant took hold of his arm, and asked him if he liked a man witness said, I like a man very well witness not knowing what he meant; he than asked him to put his hand in his breeches. Witness refused asked him if he had a girl witness returned no answer he asked if her * * * * and if I could * * *; if ever he felt little boys . He said there were some men in the cricket ground, and asked whether I thought they would see them witness answered what would it signify. Defendant asked him to lie down in the ditch defendant then took him to a place where the hedge was thicker. He asked witness Could he be out all [col. 271] night; witness answered Yes, if business called him out. Defendant asked witness to lie down in the ditch, and pulled out and offered some more money witness told him he did not want his money defendant said, I hope you wont kiss and tell. Witness wanted to go, and he pulled witnesss trowsers and tore them. Defendant said he must kiss witness before he went, which he did Witness asked what time it was defendant looked at his watch, and said it was twelve. Defendant asked witness to meet him again in the evening, and witness said yes Defendant kissed him first. Witness went home in his way home saw W. Buttress, who was working for Mason, there were three others: Langham, James Buttress, and W. Golding, at work in the gravel pits told them what happened saw Mr. and Mrs. Salmon, told them; saw Mr. and Mrs. Hart, told them; told his aunt, and George Wiseman. Mr. and Mrs. Salmon, Mr. and Mrs. Hart, and Wiseman, all live in the same court. When at dinner saw defendant pass. There were then present William Barker, James Buttress, Philip Langham, and Buttresss sister, they all went out and saw him. They agreed to meet him; they started a quarter before nine; there were present J. Hart, J. and W. Buttress, G. Wiseman, and Langham, who all went. In the morning the defendant had told him where to meet him, it was he said a nice place, it is marked I. the others M.; it was two minutes before nine according to Buttresss watch when the gentleman came. Witness was at I.; the defendant was then coming over the gate by the tree and went up to witness; he said You stick true to your post young man; witness said Yes. Defendant got hold of witness, and wanted him to go into the ditch; but seeing witness was not willing, defendant said let us go down a little farther; they went down to he then put his hand in [col. 272] his pocket and gave him a pound note. Defendant then let down his own breeches to his heels; he then said he thought this was plenty of money for . He then got into the ditch with his breeches undone, and got hold of witness and endeavoured to pull him into the ditch marked L; and then tried to undo witnesss clothes; but witness not appearing willing, defendant said, I think you are not the young man I took you for; I must leave you. He then said, I think we are not safe here, we must go on the other side of the hedge; he went through the gap N. I went through the gap O, as I thought I could get through there better, and passed the spot M, where the other men laid. Defendant was then in the ditch P, where witness was, his person was exposed; * * * * * * * and said to witness Come, come, you are a long time, it is a long time since I had * * I like a man, but I dont like a woman. I will give you all the money I have when I have done with you. Two persons then came and took him out of the ditch. Witness had braces on; nothing happened to them after this. Hart and Wiseman were the two that took him out of the ditch, and said it was a pretty thing for a gentleman to act; he said nothing. They took him towards the gate marked Q; they said they would take him to Cambridge just as he was, he had then his breeches about his heels; he said, Where are you going to take me? They said to Mr. Purchas; the defendant answered, I know Mr. Purchas well, and he will send you away; they took him to the gate Q. Hart was going to take him over; defendant laid his hands on the gate, and said, Now, consider; I shall lose every thing I am now under if this is found out; I feel in my breast I have done wrong, I know it is a disgrace to the gown. Hart had hold of him; we took him at his request to the hay-stack, he said, Hush! hush! we shall be heard. [col. 273] There was a house about twenty-two yards from the gate. He said he would give every thing he had, (freely), if we would not expose him. He then bid Hart put his hand in his pocket, and take out what he had. Hart said, No! if I do, you will swear a robbery against me. He then said Give me leave to pull my trowsers up: he then put up his trowsers, and gave Hart two pound notes, and Wiseman nine shillings and sixpence; and said, I have given you all but my watch; and that I will give freely. He gave his watch to Hart, and said I have given you every thing I have Am I free? We said, Yes. We got over the gate twice, and returned home by the mill. He went the way that he came, the lonesome road. We all went home. On the Sunday following, witness was apprehended, and taken to Mr. Abbotts; but not questioned: No thing at all was said. Did not see defendant there, dined afterwards at Mr. Shallows the constable: had then been discharged.
Cross-examined. Had never seen Mr. Jephson before to his knowledge, never, in his life. The first words were Good morning to you, young man! He asked the way to Cherry Hinton, took him to the gap. It is very low there and might be seen easily all the way along. Could be seen by men at work in the cricket ground: I saw the man in the cricket ground. Dont know a man named Murcott: saw the man working there. On Sunday, was taken before the magistrate, but not examined: dont know the time, it was after witnesss dinner, but cant recollect the time. None were examined but Hart. Neither Wiseman, nor Mrs. Salmon, nor Buttresss sister. On Thursday was taken up again; Mr. Jephson was present; he made a charge against us for robbing him. Witness told the truth the whole truth, excepting some words which he could not then recollect, but since remembered. Witness [col. 274] cannot swear that he told the magistrate, I hope you wont kiss and tell. * * * * When he took hold of his hand, did not knock him down; would not take his money; witness took the sixpence for shewing him the way. He pulled out some money and offered it there was some silver. Cannot swear that he told this to the magistrate. He met no person in the gravel pits till he saw Wm. Buttress; they got home about half past 12; saw Mr. Jephson at Barnwell: did not mention this subject to the magistrate; sure he did not recollect it, knows the osier bed, there is a very much trodden path by the wheat towards Broadbelts field, but has never seen people walk along there. When they came upon him, he was not there apparently doing his business, he stood upright till then were almost close upon him, when he made believe with as much haste as possible.He did not mention the words there is money enough for one to the magistrate, had forgotten that too. Just after he said I must leave you; he went through a gap, he took his breeches in his hand, he didnt fasten them up, he went through a gap; I went round by another and met him, because he said follow me; he does not know what became of the 1l. note, but at night they divided 12s. 6d. apiece, received 25s. 6d., divided that too at Mr. Harts house. They said they would take the defendant to Mr. Purchass, as they did the Bishop to St. Jamess watch-house. Witness was among them all; Langham and Wm. Buttress had hold of witness; cant say at what time it was when they were taking defendant to Cambridge. There was a good deal said; did not hear all that was said. Defendant said I freely give you my money; I freely give you my watch. Witness never saw any girls that road; does not frequent it. Briggs has a daughter, but never saw her only in her fathers house. Dont know [col. 275] that the lane to the cricket ground is frequiented by women. Does recollect hearing defendant say he was a disgrace to the gown; did not tell the magistrate so, but one of the other witnesses did. Got a share of the watch on Sunday had a pound. Has lived at Barnwell 4 years; lives in the same yard with the other people.
Re-examined by Mr. EAGLE. For any thing witness knew, Mr. Jephson might be present at the magistrates. Did not know, at the first interview, what defendants name was, until he learned it from his discourse. His person was exposed before the men came up. The defendant came and said, at gap O, Come, come, you are a long time. Did know at the time he went from M. to O. that the other witnesses were then present. After the dinner, Shallow, the constable, gave them a pound apiece. Defendant was in the pathway when witness first saw him; had nearly got up to the gap G.: witness was near it also; witness was then near the middle of the ground.
Joseph Hart lives at Barnwell, is a cabinet-maker. On the 16th of May last, in consequence of a conversation with Welsh, went to a field with George Wiseman, William Buttress, James Buttress, Philip Langhorne, and Welsh. Went in expectation of meeting somebody there. When we got to the gravel-pit close, Welsh parted from us, and went to the place between the letter G. and tree. I and the rest went to the place letter M., we laid on our stomachs. It is a hollow place, dug out apparently for sheep to drink, without any fence; it was quite open to the field. We were not at all in the field O., but it (the drinking-place) projects into the field E. Heard two persons coming that way; knew Welsh to be one, the defendant was the other; first time witness saw them was at letter L. Then saw defendant embrace James Welsh several times; saw him undo his [col. 276] own trowsers saw him give Welsh some money, but how much witness did not know. They stood several moments conversing together, but could not then hear any thing. They went further together, and defendant still holding up his trowsers with his hand, he then pulled him into the ditch, and embraced him several times; but finding Welsh not agreeable to the conversation, he said, You are a hard young man, and I must leave you; but, if you think we are not safe, let us go to the other side; defendant then took up his trowsers in his hand, and jumped through the gap N., and said, Follow, follow. Welsh got through the gap O., and crossed very near our feet, and went to defendant, who was in the ditch P., with his trowsers about his heels; he said, Come, young man, you are a long time, it is a good while since I had * * *. Come, come, young man you are a long while * * * *. Welsh said, I cant, my braces are tied. Defendant then said, If you cant untie them I will untie them for you, his person was exposed, and was * * *. Defendant was in the act of untying Welshs trowsers, with his person exposed, when we took him. Witness and Wiseman went through the gap, letter N., where the defendant went through the others went through gap O, where Welsh had gone through; took hold of defendants collar. He said, Halloh! whats the matter; I am only easing myself. Witness requested to revert back. When Welsh was on the bank, and defendant in the ditch, defendant said, If I have not given you money enough, here is eighteen pence more, and, if that is not enough, I will give you all I have, when I have what I want with you. Witness then resumed the original line of evidence Wiseman and I dragged him up the close. He said, You are false men; this is a conspiracy against me; what do you [col. 277] intend to do with me? Witness answered, I will take you to Cambridge, as the Bishop was taken to St. Jamess watch-house. He asked, If that was the way the Bishop was taken? Wiseman said, Yes. Witness told him he would take him to Mr. Alderman Purchas; he said, You had better not, for he will send me away directly. We then said, We will then take you to your own College. He answered, Youll ruin me, if you do. His trowsers were about his heels, and one of the Butresss said, Perhaps the gentlemans watch will get broke. We took him to the gate, marked Q. Witness got over the gate, Wiseman being then cross-legged over it. The defendant said, Here are one, two, three, four, five of you, against one; now, consider, young men, if this becomes known I shall be a ruined man; he then said, Hush!! hush! some one will hear us! [col. 278] bade him give Wiseman the silver. I said is this all? he then gave his watch out of his waistcoat pocket, and said I am now free from you? I said Yes, I hope I shall never see you in such a situation again. He wished us a good night and buttoned up his clothes; we crossed the gae letter Q. and went towards the mill. He went the lonesome way home. This was all on the Friday. On Saturday morning I had some conversation with Wiseman, and in consequence of which I and Wiseman went to St. Johns, saw the lamplighter, and asked for Mr. Jeffersons rooms (the judge repeated the defendants, witness answered, Yes,) we went to the room, he was not at home; we walked round by Northampton-street; came to St. Johns again about a quarter past nine, enquired of the porter at the wicket, and saw Jonathan King, and found that Mr. Jephson was not yet at home; returned again at a quarter to 10 by Trinity clock, again saw Bell; we went to defendants rooms, knocked at his door twice, he said Come in; witness went in, and defendant said Are you the men that had me in hold last night, trembling at the time very much. Witness put his hand upon hs arm, and said If you will but hear what I have to say, no one knows what your name is but us, here is your watch, take it, it is no use to us; he said Go, go, or I will call some one. Witness said you may call as soon as you please. The defendant was then on the staircase, and he said Hush, hush! Witness followed him into his room again. He said Come out, come out; trembling very much in his way of speech. George Wiseman, who was standing on the landing, said Hart, you had better come out of his room. When witness came out, the defendant pulled the outer door to as quick as he could, and no one could get in. On Sunday morning, between ten and eleven, witness was apprehended by [col. 279] Shallow, the constable, and taken to Alderman Abbotts; did not see the defendant on Sunday; was detained at Doctor Abbotts till about six oclock, when he was discharged free, being declared innocent. Afterward we had a good dinner a very good dinner indeed, given us at Shallows, the constable, who also gave us a pound each. The two Buttresses were there as well; they also had a pound each.
Cross-examined by Mr. DENMAN. Came to ask for Mr. Jephsons name, becuase he told me his name against the gate; I knew his person, but could not recollect his name, it was at my tongues end. When I took him he was stooping as if in the act of easing himself cant say that I told this to the magistrate. When I first seized him, he told us to ask the Boy whether he had done any thing wrong; he did not state this before the magistrate; being asked why he did not, and how he came to forget to tell all these things to the magistrate; witness answered, I have perhaps forgotten as much on my side as on his. Did threaten to take him through the streets as the Bishop was taken. Saw him embraceJames Welsh several times; besides what he had given him at the gate, he gave him 1s. 6d. more. Had stated before the magistrate that he had given him 1s. 6d. did not say 50s. Defendant did not say let me do up my trowsers and I will go where you please. I did hear him give his name, the others might if their ears were open.
Q. Then was it not true that the other witness did not know his name? I asked htem if they knew his name, they said, No; I would not tell them, out of mercy to Mr. Jephson. Dont know that Shallow the constable was enquiring for him on Saturday; was at work all day. Was apprehended on the Sunday, and taken before Mr. Abbott. Was told that the deposition was made by Mr. Jephson. Shallow told me at half past six, that he had a warrant against [col. 280] me on Saturday evening. As soon as he went to Dr. Abbotts, the deposition was read over, Mr. Carrigan was present. (Some discussion here took place between the counsel and the court, as to the admissibility of this sort of evidence.) When witness begged to call back a few words, and said that nothing was read over to him ever before Mr. Abbott. Mr. Denman then again proposed the question in ordere to ascertain to which of the two statements the defendant adhered. Nothing had been read to him. Witness said Mr. Carrigan did not mention that to him or in his presence before Mr. Abbott, that Mr. Jephson had told him (Mr. Carrigan) of the fact on Thursday night. Did hear Mr. Jephson say on Thursday, that he had told Mr. Carrigan on the evening that it occurred. On Friday night was again discharged. Mr. Pryme was present and cross-examined the defendant Jephson. Mr. Bays was his attorney. On Saturday, the day after the examination, went about with blue ribbons in his hat. Mr. Bays drew up a paper, a petition for them witness carried it about, he went ony to three houses, considered it best to wait till all was over he wanted money to defray his expenses. Had told the magistrates that he had said to Jephson, that he would carry him into the town like the Bishop. Is a married man; he himself maintains his wife by his work. Being asked by Mr. Denman if he ever accommodated a friend with the loan of his wife he answered, no more than (the learned counsel) did. Went from the gravel-pits at a quarter before nine, the moon shone very bright, there were several persons present at the time of setting off, whom they told their errand to. Mr. Storks attended as counsel for Mr. Jephson, on Thursday, before witness had counsel, Mr. Pemberton and Mr. Atcheson were also present, on behalf of Mr. Jephson. I was not sworn, was only asked what I had to say. [col. 281] We were examined separately, and none that were examined, were allowed to converse with those that were not examined. About two hours after witnesss discharge, he preferred his charge against Mr. Jephson he is a journeyman carpenter is not able to support the expenses of a prosecution earns 18 shillings a week; had asked those three persons with a view of getting assistance towards the prosecution.
George Wiseman is a labourer at Barnwell. On the 16th May, in consequence of some conversation witness had with James Welsh, went with William and James Buttress, Joseph Hart, Philip Langham, and Jas. Welsh. The plan being shown to witness, he said, being a stranger he could not describe the marks on the plan. Parted with Welsh at the gravel-pits, and went into the wheat-field, laid down in a ditch near the barrel drain; saw defendant and Welsh together: they came near the gate: saw him take hold of Welsh, and kiss him several times, and saw defendant put his hand in his pocket and give him something; the wind blew so rough could not hear what was said: afterwards they came nearer to the spot where they were lying. Defendant got into the ditch and pulled Welsh in also. Defendants breeches or trowsers were down. Had his arms and hands about Welshs waist, as if to undo his breeches. In the scuffle Welsh struggled away,and got on the bank. Defendant asked if any body was coming; Welsh said, No. Defendant then took hold of his own trowseres, and said, he feared they were not safe there. Welsh then said, get through that gap and I will follow. Defendant got over one gap, and Welsh another. Welsh, in crossing, trod upon witnesss legs and coat. Welsh was a long time before he passed, defendant said, Come, young man, you are a long time, you are very hard; come, it is some long time since I had . [col. 282] Welsh went over; defendant was in the ditch; * * * * Witness and Wiseman passed over one gap, and the two Buttresses and Langham through another; Buttress said, pretty pastime for a gentleman; he said, You form a wrong idea, young man, I was but going to ease myself. Witness said, it is pretty * * * *. Took him out of the ditch with his clothes about his heels; told him we should take him to Mr. Alderman Purchas; he said if we did Mr. Alderman Purchas knew him well, and would send us about our business. Hart then said, take him to St. Johns College, and he said, For Gods sake, young man dont, for if you do, young men, I shall be a ruined man; we took him to the gate, and he said, Now consider young man, if you take me to College I shall be a ruined man for ever. Come from the gate; hush, young man, for if we are heard I shall lose every situation I am under. We then went from the gate, he wanted us to go to the hay-stack; we went; he said, There are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 of you, I will give you all the money I have not to expose me; he told Joseph Hart to put his hand in his pocket. Hart said, No; if he did he would swear a robbery against him. He said he was aware that he had done wrong, and that his conduct was a disgrace to the gown. Defendant then gave 2l. and me 9s. 6d. in silver, and said That is all the money I have about me, but here is my watch, which I give you, freely give you. He then put up his clothes; took his cane and went home by the lonesome road, and we went home by the mill road. In consequence of some conversation net morning, went to St. Johns College in the evening; saw the lamplights; was directed to Jephsons rooms; he was not at home, took a walk at the back of the College, called about a quarter before ten, knocked twice at the door, defendant called Come in; they went in: [col. 283] defendant met them with a candle, and said, A-r-e yo-u th-e t-w-o men th-at h-a-d me in hold last night; and told them to get out of his room, for Gods sake, and threatened if we did not get out to call some one. Hart said he might call if he would; he went to the landing one, two, or three times; cant say which. Hart told him not to make himself uneasy, for nobody knew any thing about it but them. Told Hart to come out and not to make any confusion there.
Cross-examined by Mr. DENMAN. Was in custody on Sunday; after being discharged, had a dinner given him at Shallows, the constable; had also a pound note given him, which he understood was to settle the matter about the watch. Was apprehended on Thursday and carried to Dr. Abbotts, there were present Dr. Abbott, Mr. Purchas, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Atcheson, and Mr. Pryme; was examined separately. Preferred no charge before the magistrate. Did not go about with blue ribbons; did not ask for money to carry on this prosecution. Did not say to any one, we have done this well, and we shall have a tradesman in it next. Dont remember any one saying, you have got well out of this scrape. Dont recollect that any thing was said of a tradesman of Cambridge. Did not hear any one say tht a tradesman would be charged next; can swear it was not said in his hearing.
William Buttress is a gravel digger; recollects going with James Buttress, George Hart, James Welsh, Philip Langham, and Wiseman, on the evening of the 16th of May. Went in expectation of meeting some one. Parted with Welsh; went and laid down with the others in the ditch; defendant joined Welsh, when they got to the gate; saw defendant kiss Welsh repeatedly; saw him put his hands in his pocket and give Welsh somethiung. They came a little farther [col. 284] from the gate towards us. Did not see more than having drawn further back lest the gentleman should see him, and another took his place. They crossed the hedges, the defendant at the gap marked N. Welsh at gap O. near our fee, while Welsh was getting over defendant said, Come on, come on. As soon as James Welsh got over defendant let down his clothes, he then attempted to untie Welshs trowsers, and said, Conme on, come, you are a long time; gave him more money there; he said Here is some more money. I did not see it, I heard it, but he said it was 1s. 6d. but when we heard this, we went over and taen him. Cant recollect what more was said; when I got over I said, Holla! here is fine doings for a gentleman. He said we were mistaken, he only came there to ease himself; we all said we knew what he was come for. He said ask the Boy; we said we did not want to ask him, for we knew before, we told him we knew he was to meet him at nine oclock: He then said you could not know this except the Boy has told you. They, Wiseman and Hart, took him out of the ditch, and took him up the close. He asked us where they were gong to take him, they said to Alderman Purchas,m he said I know Alderman Purchas, and he will send ou off; we then said we would take him to Cambridge, we took him to the gate. He said, Consider young men, if this is found out, I am a ruined man, and I shall lose every thing I am under; he said he would give us every thing he had about him, if we would let him go; he said, Hush, hush, or we shall be heard. We took him to the hay-stack; he then said we might take every thing out of his pocket. One said, No; if we do you will swear a robbery against us. He said if you let my hands go, I will give you every thing I have freely. He then gave 2l. to Hart, and 9s. 6d. to Wiseman, and said, That is all the money I have [col. 285] about me, but here is my watch and I give it all freely, and said I hope youll say nothing, or I am ruined. I had picked up his stick, and he went away, saying, Good night, my lads; he went by the lonesome road, and we returned by the mill-road.
Cross-examined by Mr. DENMAN. Had taken hold of the Boy as soon as he crossed the ditch not the ditch they laid in. Did not hear Mr. Jephson mention his name, will swear it. Cant recollect St. Johns being mentioned I went about with blue ribbons, but not for money. All went with blue ribbons except Langham and Wiseman. Never dodged young men and women in the fields, and got money from them never said he did. Did not mention such a thing to a man named William Carter.
James Buttress is a turf-dealer, lives at Barnwell, recollects seeing James Welsh the 16th of last May; in consequence of some conversation agreed to go witih him. J. Buttress, J. Welsh, George Wiseman, Philip Langham, and Hart. When we started, Mr. and Mrs. Markham, and Mr. and Mrs. Salmon were present; we parted in Mr. Broadbelts field, laid down a little behind the others, and when I first saw them, it was at the spot P.; when first I observed the defendant, he was in the ditch marked P. Welsh was on the outside with his breeches done up. Went with the others through the gap marked O. Hart and Wiseman taen the gentleman out of the ditch. We all went up the field together to the gate Q. When we got about a quarter over the field, I said perhaps the gentleman has got a watch or something in his pocket, that he may lose or break, he may tread on it. We then allowed him to do up his trowsers, and Hart went to the gate marked Q.; when the got there, he said, Think of this, young men, if it is known, I shall be ruined; for all that I am now under I shall lose. We then [col. 286] went to the hay-stack marked R. He said I will giv eyou every thing I have about my person if you will say nothing; he would have had Hart take what he had got out of his pocket. Hart said, If I do you will swear a robbery against me. He let him do up his trowsers, and he gave Hart 2l. and Wiseman 9s. 6d.; he then gave Hart the gold watch, and said I give you all freely; and begged us not to say a word about it, or I shall be a ruined man for ever. He said, Good night, young men; and we said, Good night, Sir. He went home by the lonesome road.
Cross-examined. He got hjis share of 12s. 6d. as well as the pound. There is a path against the first spot where witness first saw them,but is not aware that it was a public road.
Philip Langham lives at Oakington, five miles from Cambridge; was at Barnwell in the morning of Friday, the 16th of May. In consequence of something Hart told us, we went to the fields. Dined in the morning of that day at old buttresss; somebody passed, and Markham (Welsh) said That is Mr. Jephson, and I will swear to it. The question was twice repeated with the same answer; he was sure he said the name of Jephson. When they got into the field, they separated from Welsh. Witness got into the wheat; was leaning down; saw Welsh and the defendant; first saw them coming down by the side of the quick. When witness first saw them, defendant was in the ditch. Witness saw him let his trowsers down. Witness heard him say, Come, come, you are a long time; heard nothing else; the others were nearer. We all crossed the ditch; Wiseman and Hart took the defendant out of the ditch. When we got up to the gate, the defendant said, Consider, if this is found out, I shall be ruined for ever. He said to Mr. Hart, I freely give you leave to take [col. 287] all that I have about me. Hart said, No, if I do, youll swear a robbery against me. He said, Hush, hush, or we shall be heard. He put his hand into his pocket and gave Hart 2l. and Wiseman 9s. 6d. out of the other pocket, and said, I gave you all I have about me, except my watch, which I will give you freely. He then bid us good night, and went home by thelonesome road. We went by the mill, towards Parkers piece.
Cross-examined by Mr. COOPER. When against the grate, he said, I will give you the watch freely; saw they were pound notes that they were given.
By the JUDGE Was the place where you took the defendant out of the ditch, the first place you saw him? After saying that he first saw him by the side of the quick, he ultimately answered that he first saw him in the ditch where he was taken out. There was nothing particular about his dress, when he went by the quick. He had blue trowsers and a blue coat on. When in the ditch witness saw defendant had his trowseres down.
Elizabeth Buttress lives at Barnwell; one day last May, Langham and Welsh were dining at their house; it was on the Friday before they were apprehended. Welsh got up from dinner, and said, on somebody going by, That is the gentleman, and I will swear to it.
Cross-examined by Mr. DENMAN Only saw his back; should not know him again; he was neither tall nor short; he had a black coat on, and I think black trowsers too. Was never sent for to give evidence before the magistrates.
James Golding lives at Oakington; was at Barnwell on Friday, the 16th May; saw Welsh, who shewed him his torn trowsers and a sixpence. We could not believe him at first. Was asked to go in the evening, but would not go. Believed afterwards Welsh told the truth. [col. 288]
Robert Salmon, is the person that Hart works with; is a cabinet-maker; recollects the 16th of May; knows a Boy of the name of Welsh; had some conversation with him; he said he expected to meet a gentleman; he shewed me his torn trowsers.Welsh did not ask witness to go with them. Saw them all set off. This witness was not cross-examined.
Mary Salmon lives at Barnwell, recollects seeing Welsh on the morning of the16th, heard him mention his going to meet a gentleman; the Buttresses, Mr. and Mrs. Hart, Wiseman, and several others were present. Did not go before the magistrates at the examination.
Everitt is a servant at St. Johns College I saw Hart on Saturday evening; saw him speak to King; I left immediately. Was at the chambers on the Friday night; dont know, of my own knowledge, that Mr. Jephson was at Mr. Carrigans rooms; saw him frequently in the Court on Saturday, but dont know he was at Mr. Carrigans.
Crossexamined by Mr. DENMAN. Has been Gyp 19 years, and has waited on Mr. Jephson for all that time. His character is most excellent; never knew a man of more chaste, honourable, and correct conduct.
Re-examined by Mr. PRYME. Was his Gyp; had sometimes packed his clothes up, but did not pack any up the Sunday he went away.
Robert Grain, recollects Friday, the 16th of May, it was a rainy morning, and he could not work at the gravel pits.
Richart Hart knows Mr. Broadbelts 19 acre piece; it has a tree in it; he mended the fence. There is a place where the quick hangs over the drain; had some of the wood from Mr. Burrage.
Hannah Markham lives at Barnwell; knows Welsh, is aunt to him; remembers Welsh telling her something about meeting a gentleman; his trowsers were whole when he went out, but torn when he came home Welsh did not tell her any more about it.
Cross-examined by Mr. DENMAN. Is positive that Welsh did not tell her he was going to meet [col. 289] a gentleman, nor say any thing about it.
Alex. Scott Abbott, Esq. knows the defendant; he made a charge on Saturday,the 17th of May, against some persons unknown, which was afterwards withdrawn. There was also a charge made on the Thursday following, by Mr. Jephson, against Hart, two Buttresses, Welsh, and Wiseman, and one other who was not identified, which, on the Friday, was dismissed. On the same evening there was a charge made against Mr. Jephson, only one witness was then examined, but he was not cross-examined. Mr. Jephson gave bail. Mr. Abbott then put in the various depositions. The first deposition was made on Saturday morning.
The depositions were then read. They were bothh precisely the same, except that on Saturday the accusation was against persons unknown; but on the Thursday the names of the parties accused were mentioned. The deponent stated, that in returning from the Cherry Hinton Road, he entered a field for an occasion of nature. A Boy was in the field, who annoyed him very much by going about him. The Boy whistled in a curious manner. He asked him what he whistled for? He answered, I always whistle when I am alone. Deponent then wished to go into another field, and asked the Boy whether there was a gap? The Boy said, in a surly tone, If you look you may find one. Deponent then went through a gap into the corner of another field; and took down his small clothes. At that moment several men rushed on him. One of them said, Oh! weve found you at last. You are very punctual. He asked whether they were going to murder him? They said, No; well take you to Purchass, like the Bishop. There would be plenty of girls to look at him. Deponent now perceived that they wished to charge him with an unnatural crime. Two of the men had hold of the Boy. One of the men said, If you give us money enough, well let you go. At this time deponents trowsers [col. 290] were down; but he was now permitted to pull them up, and anxious to free himself from the persons who surrounded him, he put his hand in his pocket and gave them three one pound Cambridge Bank notes and 9s. 6d. One of them said, That is not enough. Another observed, Perhaps the gentleman has a watch. On which deponent took his watch from his waistcoat pocket and gave it to him. They then let him go, and when he entered College, before he proceeded to his own chambers he went to those of his friend Mr. Carrigan, and related all the circumstances. The next day he made a deposition before Mr. Abbott.
Appended to the deposition was an account of the cross-examination of Mr. Jephson by Mr. Pryme, at the time of his making the second charge. He then admitted that on the morning of the 16th of May, he went along by the field described by Welsh. He could not say the men demanded money, but he did not give up his money or his watch until he understood, from the language that was used, that there was an intention to charge him with an unantural crime. On Saturday he learned that the name of one of the men was Hart. He did not state that to the magistrate. He went to London on Sunday, and on his return inquired what steps had been taken, as he had authorized his friends to act generally for him.
Cross-examined by Mr. DENMAN. I am a magistrate of Cambridge; have lived here 11 or 12 years; have known Mr. Jephson nearly all that time; he considered him a gentleman of a most unexceptionable character. Mr. Jephson called twice on Saturday morning, when I was out; seeing his card I called on him, saw both Dr. Haviland and Mr. Carrigan before I saw Mr. Jephson; they both told me of the charge. Do not know the time Mr. Jephson left college. Never saw Mr. Jephson after the name of Hart was known, the charge with withdrawn not by Mr. Jephson; he supposed by his concurrence. Six pounds were given by Dr. Haviland for the watch; does not [col. 291] know Mr. Jephson knew any thing about the 6l. Mr. Pryme was sent for before the business began, but he was engaged at a bankruptcy business and did not come immediately, when he did come, all was read over to him.
Wm. Savage is a carpenter, measured the occupation raod, it is about 21 feet wide, the gate leading to it is about nine feet, there is about five fee tof hede on each side, the hedge is high and htick, beside there is a ditch about three feet; any one who desired to secret himself in either corner might, he could not be seen by any one on the road.
Mr. DENMAN said, it now became his duty to offer to the Court and Jury such arguments and observations as were necessary to the cause of the defendant a man holding a considerable station on society a man of refined education a man of that profession which could not brook the suspicion of any criminal charge whatever, and least of all of a charge so disgusting and disgraceful in its nature a man also, who, as they heard from two witnesses who new him, was ever considered before the present moment as a person of excellent morals, and of most unexceptionable character. They were called on to believe that this gentleman had not only forgotten the character he had so long and so uniformly borne, not ony that he had committed himself to the mercy of the low stranger whom he accidentally met in a remote place; not only that he had submitted to purchase the silence of the witnesses with respect to the infamous charge brought against him;; but that he had though proper to bring his infamy before a magistrate in the first place, and before a jury of his country in the next, merely that he might, by his own rash act, deprive himself of the benefit of that secrecy which he was said to have purchased. At least he might venture to observe, that when a charge of this kind was made, it ought to be founded on the evidence of witnesses not only numerous and [col. 292] strong, (but) reputable, consistent with themselves, and uncontradicted by others; and receiving all the confirmation which the nature of the case demanded. His learned friend, who in his eloquent and elaborate address had occupied two hours in laying before the Court every thing that could operate against the defendant, had told them that the human mind was incapable of stemming effectually the tide of prejudice which such a case as this was calculated to produce; and he called on them to dismiss from their memories every thing that was not proved on oath before the Court. This was a very wholesome admonition; and he would add, that it was more difficult to guard against prejudice in this case than in any other whatever, after the charge had been made in all companies in all newspapers after it had been made the common topic of barbarous, relentless, heartless, destructive calumny, this case was now brought before them, and with the prejudices which had been thus generated, the defendant had to contend. In deciding on such a case, the most well-meaning men ought to guard against their feelings; for the greater their integrity, the more pure their minds, the deeper would be their hatred and detestation of this crime; and good men were but too ready to rush to the conviction of the truth of such a charge, because, when it was made, humanity and nature shut their eyes against it, and refuse to enter into the loathsome investigation. Many of the observations of his learned friend, and much of the evidence, did not bear on the case, and could have no other effect than to exhaust the mind, and distract the attention, and render the advocate of the defendant less capable of grappling with this difficult case. They had been now nearly 10 hours on this case, and he would ask whether witness after witness had not been called into the box, of whom he did not think it necessary to ask a single question, because the evidence did not affect the charge. Of what consequence was the [col. 293] evidence of Richard Hart and Mr. Burridge, about the mending of fences and the state of the ground? Such evidence was useless to the prosecution, but would afford the defendants counsel considerable latitude of observation, because it showed the badness of the case, and the necessity there was for introducing matter which would divert the attention from the real facts. He did not deny that witnesses had been called before them who stated a case that deserved to be inquired into a case that ought to be got rid of by strong reasoning, by strong observation, and by a minute investigation of all its parts. Those witnesses stated what they alleged they had heard and seen, and if one-tenth of their statement were true, then the defendant had not about him one quality that belonged to man, unless, indeed, the desperate courage with which he had risked his fame and reputation could be accounted one. Then, inded, must he be, in the most extensive sense of the terms, a person of a lewd, abandoned, wicked, and evil life, to use the phraseology of the record. His learned friend had told them that they ought to dismiss from their minds everything they had heard out of doors on this subject; but he had not told them that everyday maxim of the courts, that a case of doubt was a case of acquittal that jurors, if they did not see their way distinctly through all the links which formed the chain of guilt, were bound to acquit. He, however, did not call on the jury to act upon that maxim. He called upon them, if they had, in the end, a doubt upon their minds not to acquit, but to convict. If he did not clearly show them that the defendant was innocent of this foul crime, let them find him guilty. He, as counsel for Mr. Jephson, with Mr. Jephson by his side, called on them to do so. They stood not there for an Old Bailey acquittal they stood for reputation. Any but a full and perfect acquittal would be a misfortune to the defendant. The publicity of this days proceedings would receive, would [col. 294] be a dreadful aggravation of the evils of his situation, since he came into Court this day, in the presence of his Maker and of his country, denying the charge altogether. He was not dragged before the Court as he was on that lamentable night: no he came here freely, voluntarily courting the fullest inquiry, and submitting himself to the enlightened justice of a British tribunal. He would state what his defence was. It was exactly that which the defendant had declared the transaction to be on the night when it occurred namely, that the whole was a foul and wicked conspiracy, supported by the most abandoned perjury, and disclosing the most improbable story that was ever told, although propped up by some circumstances which were admitted to have happened. He charged the witnesses against the defendant with conspiracy, perjury and subornation of perjury with the arrangement of evidence, that they might defend themselves in the best manner, by accusing one who was prepared to prosecute them. Such conspiracies were not new in the history of the world. Almost from the beginning of mankind such conspiracies were amongst the most common things that occurred, only varying according to the society in which their operation was to be applied. The sons of Belial were about the oldest family in the world, though certainly not the most respectable. That race was to be found in all countries sometimes accusing persons before the Inquisition sometimes exerting their arts to get rid of persons whose talents or whose virtues excited their hatred. Sometimes they were seen in the shape of spies and infomers, betraying the victims they had at first seduced, and in every instance they would find there were some circumstances apparently true, and apparently strong, which was the foundation on which they built that which was evidently false. Without some mixture of truth, falsehood could never enter a court of justice. If a man is to be accused of attempting the virtues of a married woman, his [col. 295] garment must be left in the chamber of the person attempted, the woman must be proved to have been in the garden where she was alleged to have committed adultery if Queen Ann Boleyn is to be accused of incontinence with her brother, some levity of conduct must be adduced in support of the charge; and he had known an instance, where the unmerited insults offered to a wife by the husband himself, were supposed to have been sufficient to drive her to a course of abandoned profligacy, and then he himself brought forward charges, founded on that probability which nothing but his own shameful transactions had caused and created. He should like to know something of the previous character of those witnessses. They all appeared to be in a low situation; and they all lived, it seemed, in the same yard at Barnwell. They had the whole of Saturday, the 17th May, to consult on what they should do to avert the danger which they apprehended, and they felt that they had but one course to take that of frightening the defendant out of the country. Certianly Mr. Jephson could not have remained an hour after their plan was perfected, if conscious innocence had not borne him out. It was not in the human heart to conceive that any man could come forward to meet such a charge unless he had the approbation of his own conscience. He could easily conceive that many a man, against whom such a crime was alleged unjustly, would die broken-hearted, wanting the firmness and courage necessary to meet it. They knew that there were persons who haunted the streets of London, and day after day extorted money under this horrible threat. Too often, he feared, did they pursue their victims even to the grave. In this case, fortunately, they had evidence, which he thought was conclusive, to show that the charge could not be true. His learned friend had stated, that two persons who wee examined, had brought the defendants watch to his chambers on the Saturday. He dared to say, that those persons [col. 296] in describing the perturbation of the defendant, had not exaggerated it. He believed that the best actor that ever existed could not adequately express the agitation of a man who saw before hm two wretches who had accused him wrongfully of the most heart-sickening crime. When his learned friend told them that the defendants refusal of the watch was a proof of his guilt, he knew not what the jury felt, but he certainly felt the utmost amazement. It was true those persons had found the defendant with his breeches about his knees, a situation from which every man would like to be relieved, (up to that point, and to that point only, did the truth extend, and it was fully admitted): it was true they had got possession of his watch, which, if they brought forward their charge in a court of justice, would be proof and confirmation of its verity. The defendant knew all this; and he would ask, if he were conscious of guilt, must they not believe him mad, if he did not, when opportunity allowed him, get back the watch get back the proof of crmiinality, at any expense whatsoever? It was impossible, if he were a guilty man, that he could have heard the proposition of those persons with any other feeling but that of the most profound satisfaction. The possession of the watch would at once remove the proof of his guilt, and he would then be out of their hands. But if this were a true fact, what would they think of the still stronger fact which was in evidence before them? On the very night the crime was said to have been committed, when he was in that situation which looked like guilt, when his watch had been taken from him, what did he do. On that very night, before he went to his own rooms, he consulted a friend on the subject. His learned friend said, No! no! He would say, Yes! yes! He had thought proper to read the deposition of Mr. Jephson, and it was stated in that deposition, that he called on Mr. Carrigan before he went to his own rooms. Mr. Carrigan was his friend, he [col. 297] admitted; but what had friendship to do with a case of this description? Mr. Carrigan, he contended, ought to have been called. Here, he must say, that it was unparalleled in the history of the criminal jurisdiction of this country, to give a deposition in evidence, and afterwards to say, that any fact contained in it was not proved, without calling witnesses to disprove it. That which he had stated was a fact that entitled Mr. Jephson to a verdict. If Mr. Carrigan had thought him guilty, he would have driven him from his chambers; but on the Saturday they found him acting with Dr. Haviland, and bringing the charge against those persons before Mr. Abbott the one a magistrate, the other two respectable Fellows of the College to which the defendant belonged. Why, also, was not Shallow, the constable called? Why was not Mr. Hunt, the barirster of this town, who acted as assessor to the magistrate, examined? It was said, because he left Cambridge on the Sunday, that he abandoned the first charge. But did he not return on the Wednesday and institute a fresh charge? On that occasion he underwent a cross-examination, a circumstance, which, as defendant was the person who made the accusation was most extraordinary; and it then appeared that he had given directiojs to Dr. Haviland and Mr. Carrigan to act for him generally. But yet, though he was sixty miles off, and could not know what those gentlemen might do, he was responsible for their proceedings. The defendant, as a rational man, said I am too much agitated to carry this business on, and I will therefore leave it to my friends. When it was said, that the defendant made it up, and withdrew the charge, he denied the statement. He was not present. Did he get the watch! 6l. it appeared, were given to those persons on account of the watch a proceeding of which he did not approve but Mr. Jephson had nothing to do with it. He went to London and returned on Wednesday, with Mr. Atcheson, the friend of his youth and of his family, [col. 298] to renew the charge which he could not pursue on Saturday, and yet that was made matter of inference and implication against him. His learned friend said, the defendant had agreed to the dismissal of the charge when he knew the names of all the parties. He denied this;; and if they looked to the evidence, they would find that there was not one word that bore out this assertion. Then much stress was laid on the dinner given to these men, as if he had presided over it, or had any thing to do with it. At that time he was on his wayi to towhn, and whereever blame attached, he was clear of it. The learned gentleman then proceeded to animadvert on the remarks which had been made on the place which the defendant had selected to retire to; and observed, that when a man felt that sort of call, he could not take time to select a place, but must take that which seemed on the moment to be most convenient and proper. His learned friend had observed, that the road near this place was only an occupation road, but it was quite notorious that all roads in the neighbourhoods of great towns were made use of the people would go into them in spite of opposition. The learned gentleman then proceeeded to contend that the defendant could not have gone into this field for a bad purpose, because the cricket-ground was higher than the field, and overlooked it. He would now come to the evidence for the prosecution, and examine, how far it was consistent and entitled to belief. The first witness was the Boy. His learned friend, in opening the case, anticipated a great many contradictions. He (Mr. D.) felt no such anticipation. He knew those parties could not have met each other so often without making their evidence veyr perfect. The learned gent. proceeded to comment on the evidence of Welsh, and pointed out the gross improbability of the defendants conducting himself in the manner which had been described to a perefect stranger. A man that could act in this manner, who could so conduct himself in the gap of a [col. 299] hedge, within view of a cricket-ground, would be more fit for Bedlam than for a grave judicial proceeding. Could they believe that such violence was used towards this Boy as would have been necessary to tear his trowsers? Assuredly they could not. And then the defendant, it was said, kissed him. Where was his English blood when such an insult was offered? Why did he not lay the offender low? But did he tell his aunt of this rencontre? Look to the evidence: No, he did not. He stated that he did tell her; but that was contradicted by his aunts testimony: and if he swore falsely in one instance, why not in another? Mrs. Hart was one of the persons to whom he told his story, but she was not called. The Boy stated that he pointed out the Gentleman to Eliz. Buttress and others. But Langham said, that he called out, when some person was going by, That is Mr. Jephson. This was most providential; because, as Langham had received none of the money, his evidence tended greatly to strengthen the case. But this statement could not be true, because the name of Jephson had not then been mentioned to any of the party. Here the witness differed in some points, but agreed in most, as they must necessarily do. Hart stated that the defendant embraced the Boy several times, but the Boy stated no such thing. He also spoke to the sum of 18d. being offered to Welsh, but Welsh said nothing about it. Welsh now swore, that when he would not come to terms, the defendant said, Theres money enough for ; but he had forgotten this before the magistrate. If he could forget such a circumstance, it went to vitiate his memory in every other respect. But if the defendant was such a monster as to indulge in those horrible propensities, could he, could any man use such odious language as was ascribed to him? Could such expressions fall from the lips of clergymen or gentleman, under any circumstances? The attorney in this cause was Mr. George Henry Bays, whose name [col. 300] he heard connected with a bill of indictment almost immediately after he entered the Court. His learned friend asked, What had his conduct to do with this case? It certainly had to do with it, when he himself, for the purpose of obtained money to pay their expenses, the largest of which was, he supposed, the attorneys bill. They went to three houses, but stopped at the fourth, because the door was shut in their face. Was there ever such a barefaced scoundrel? Was there ever one who better understood what he was about? If I take the money, thought he, that will not be a free gift; and then he threatens to drag the defendant to Cambridge, like the Bishop; which threat he knew would answer every purpose. Mr. Jephson now perceived what the parties meant to do, and, like any other man, he was anxious to extricate himself from them. It was not secrecy that he wanted to buy. No, for he immediately disclosed the whole business. If he had given gold to Hart and Wiseman,when they called on him next day, then the case would have worn a different appearance: but he refused to have any communication with them. Was this not a proof of innocence? He then adverted to the great respectability of the individuals who had come from every part of the kingdom to speak to the moral worth and purity of mind by which the defendant had always been distinguished; and concluded by observing, that the defendant, who was then sitting byi his side, awaited, not without deep anxiety, the issue of this inquiry, but, at the same time, with perfect confidence, that the Jury would restore him to his character, to his friends, and to his country.
He then called the following witnesses as to the character of the defendant. They all were evidently affected while giving their testimony. A crowded and respectable audience sympathized with their emotions, and some even shed tears.
The Rev. Dr. Wood sworn, and examined. I am Master of St. Johns College. I have known Mr. [col. 301] Jephson for many years. He was Assistant Tutor in our College. I knew him from the time of his first coming to reside in College, about twenty years ago. His moral conduct has been uniformly excellent; I never heard any thing else of him, nor did any one ever suggest a doubt of him to me. He would not be a Tutor of our College if he was not of the most excellent character.
The Rev. Ralph Tatum sworn, and examined. I am Tutor at St. Johns College, and Public Orator of the University of Cambridge. I have known Mr. Jephson since 1798. For moral, chastity, and decorum, Mr. Jephsons character was perfectly unexceptionable. Before this I never heard any reproach of him. In all his College and clerical duties he was most correct and exemplary. I never heard an indecent expression from him, nor an immoral sentiment.
The Rev. J. W. Hornbuckle sworn and examined, said, I am, since 1793, Resident of St. Johns College, and Tutor since 1809. I am intimately acquainted with Mr. Jephson since that. I know his general conduct and character; I have often examined him. For moral conduct he was excellent, and I considered him possessed of strong religious feelings. He had, for some years, the care of a parish, to which the College appoints. It was the parish of Horningsea.
The Rev. Charles Blake sworn, said I am Fellow and Bursar of the College of St. John. I know Mr. Jephson since 1803. I consider his character as fully irreproachable as that of any man that can be mentioned.
Yates Brown, Esq. sworn, said I live at Brighton. I am first cousin to Mr. Jephson. I am acquainted with him from his infancy. If I were called on to bring forward, from all human beings I have known, a specimen of purity, Mr. Jephson is the man I would name. His father is dead, but his mother is living. I know her and hs sister.
Mr. Nathaniel Atcheson sworn, said I live in Duke-street, Westminster. I am a solicitor, and am acquainted with Mr. Jephsons [col. 302] family since 1784. I was confidential friend of the family. I have known Mr. Jephson from his infancy, and his conduct and character were most unexceptionable.
Dr. Lee sworn, said I am Doctor of Laws. I live in Bedfordshire. My acquaintance with Mr. Jephson commenced in College. I was fellow. I am now married. I knew him intimately up to 1808. I was abroad from that to 1815. I then renewed my acquaintance with him. I never knew him to tell a falsehood, nor make use of an immoral Word, or an immoral allusion, Never heard any thing bad of him till this charge.
Richard Dalton, Esq. sworn, said I am a private gentleman, and I have been acquainted with Mr. Jephson 20 years. We were at College together, and I have known him ever since. I have pointed him out even to some of my friends, as a model of purity. His morality was without affectation his religion without ostentation.
The Rev. Mr. Hicks, sworn, said I have had a general acquaintance with Mr. Jephson for six years. For that time I considered his conduct most correct. I always thought him to do great credit to the two situations he held; first, as Tutor in a great College, and, secondly, as a Clergyman in care of a parish.
The Rev. Dr. Webb, sworn, said I am Master of Clare Hall. I have known Mr. Jephson, and he always bore an excellent character. This was his general reputation throughout the whole University.
The Rev. Philip Dodd, sworn, said I have the Rectory of Penthurst. I was Fellow of Magdalen College. I have known Mr. Jephson from his boyhood to the present time. I always thought him a man of well regulated mind, and of all my friends least likely to be influenced byi passions of this kind now charged to him.
Several other witnesses gave the defendant a most excellent character.
At 20 minutes after 12 oclock, the Jury retired to consider their verdict. In three quarters of an hour they returned with a verdict [col. 303] of Not Guilty. Which they prefaced by saying, that they were all of one opinion, but that opinion was wavering. They all had a doubt of the guilt of both parties; but as his lordship had said, that in case they entertained a doubt on the subject,that doubt should be turned to the benefit of the defendant; they, for that reason, acquitted him.
This is the verdict, then! As his Lordship had said, .... But, let us take the several parts intheir order; and, first of all, the Charge to the Grand Jury. Mr. BOSANQUETs name is, as that of a judge, rather new to me. I wonder whether he be a relation of the man who was Sheriff of Hampshire at the time of the Corn Bill, and who was a Bank Director at the time of the famous Report to Pitt, in 1797. I should like to know this; for it is interesting toknow the origin and connexions of great men. It seems, that the Jury called him a lord! And so, I recollect, the lawyers did DENMAN, when he passed the memorable sentence upon the shopman of Mr. Carlisle. However, as to this matter we must leave it for another time. The charge (as reported in the newspaper) is before us; and, if it be reported correctly, it seems to me worthy of being particularly noticed. The Grand Jury (if the report be correct) were told, that they were to cosider, whether the charge were consistent and probable; or, whether the tale be in itself too incredible to justify you in exposing him (Jephson) to a public trial; the consequence of which would be, to feed a low and filthy curiosity. If, therefore, the witnesses that shall appear before you, do not satisfy you, that their account of the transaction is the true one, to throw out the bill in limine will be a duty, which you [col. 304] owe to the object of the prosecution, to that learned body of which he is a member, and to that holy order to which he belongs.
Now, in the first place, I was ignorant that a Charge to a Grand Jury usually selected particular cases, and contained matter, thus, in the way of anticipation; and especially advice to pointed as this about the throwing out of bills In the next place, I was not, until I read this charge, aware, that Grand Juries had appeals made to them in this way in behalf of learned bodies and holy orders; nor could I have supposed, that the circumstance of a man belonging to these was to hae any weight at all with a Jury. The idea of a trials feeding a low and filthy curiosity is not new. It is, on the contrary, a very fashionable one, and it has been such for some time; ever since, indeed, the conduct of the higher orders have, at last, led to an exposure of some of them. Grand Juries are composed of the higher orders; and they are here pretty strongly cautioned against feeding the filthy curiosity of the lower orders.
But, letting this pass, it is new to me to learn, that a Grand Jury, before they find a bill, are to be satisfied of the truth of the charge. They, I thought, are to find the bill, if the evidence given before them be such as will, , convict the party. I always thought, that it was not their business to try the party, but to send him to be tried, or not. You, Mr. DELLER, were for instance, not sent to trial for an assault on the servant of the descendant of ROLLO. The Grand Jury threw out the bill. Why? Because, though the witness might swear to what was true; though the Jury were perfectly satisfied [col. 305] of the truth of his account, they did not think that you ought to be tried, because, that which he charged you with was, in their opinion, no assault. If the Grand Jury must, before they find a bill, be satisfied of the guilt of the party; then their bill should say GUILTY; and, if the doctrine here laid down by this BOSANQUET be sound, and be to have a general application, the finding of a bill is, in fact, a verdict of guilty. Upon the supposition, that the Grand Jury relied as implicitly on Bosanquet as the Petty Jury appear to have done, the conclusion must be, that the Grand Jury were satisfied that the account which the witnesses for the prosecution gave of the transaction, was a TRUE ONE. Supposing the Grand Jury to have acted upon the rule laid down by BOSANQUET himself, the Grand Jury pronounced Jephson guilty in their opinion; for, they were told that it was their duty to throw out the bill, unless they were satisfied of the truth of the charge; and they did not throw out the bill.
So much for the charge to the Grand Jury. The charge to the Petty Jury I do not find in print, and can discover nothing of what it was, except through the means of the verdict of the Petty Jury. But, before we come to this, let us hear Mr. DENMAN, the wise and public-spirited Citys Common Sergeant. Upon reading this speech, one stares at the idea of a man having been sent for to make it. Of Mr. Prymes speech we have but a mere outline; and yet, what answer does Denman give to any part of it? He sets out with observing in the slang of the Bar, that the Jury are called upon to believe: and then he proceeds with a string of as senseless assertions as ever were uttered by mortal man. Mr. [col. 306] PRYME if he had an opportunity (and, I do not known why he had not!) might, in the way of retaliation, have told the Jury what DENMAN called upon them to believe; and a bolder call certainly never was made even by bawling well-fed lawyer. A few of the things which Denman called on them to believe were these:
1. That the Reverend Doctor of Divinity went, in the morning, out of the public road, and prowled along a lane, across fields, got over three gates and went through a gap, and all this in order, as he asserted, to avoid the dust, and this, too, in a few hours after it had rained so much as to prevent men from working in a gravel pit close by!
2. That the Reverend Personage went, in the evening, out of the same public road, and into the same fields, for an ordinary occasion of nature; that he first got over the gate, and entered the road (A), the hedge being high, and there being a well-sheltered recess on each side of the gate; that he did not stop there; that he went on into the next road (C), got over the gate, went across the next field (D), got over another gate into the great field (E), went all along that field, then through a gap (N) out of it, and then, and not till then, found out a proper place for his purpose in the ditch P; that this occasion of nature allowed hm to go in search of a place, about a quarter of a mile; that, supposing the field E, to be square, the side (the field containing 19 acres) must be three hundred and two yards long, and that if you add to this the width of the field D and the length of the occupation road, the Reverend Person besides getting over two gates and crossing a gap, went, in search of a place, a quarter of a mile, and, that, having taken so far by [col. 307] his extreme delicacy, he, at last, after all his pains to obtain secrecy, yields to the call in the presence of Welsh! Denman called upon the Jury to believe this! But, did Denman forget the hour, when nature made this call upon the Reverend Person? It was at nine oclock in the night of the 16th of May. That is to say, ONE HOUR AND THIRTEEN MINUTES AFTER SUNSET. What! I can understand, that, even at that hour, a delicate person would naturally go out of a pbulic road on such an account; but, would he, at nine oclock at night, go to the distance of a quarter of a mile for such purpose, and over two gates and a gap and across fields of grass and wheat; and would he, after all, choose to perform the unsightly office in the presence of a great, surly, jeering boy? This was amongst the things that Denman called upon the Jury to believe.
3. That two things happened, during the same twelve hours, to bring the Reverend Priest to the same spot; two things each as wonderful as the other; the first a desire to avoid dust just after a rain; and the second a pressure of nature, whicih took the Reverend party over fields and gates and gaps to the length of a quarter of a mile, when he, at last, gave way to the pressure in the presence of Welsh. The Jury were called upon to believe in this most wonderfl concurrence.
4. They were called upon to believe, that Welsh and the other five men were in the fields by accident; in the fields of grass and wheat, at nine oclock at night, five of them out of sight and one of them standing about in sight; and all this without motive! They were called upon to believe, that HART, a cabinet-maker, went into the fields without a motive! How [col. 308] were these men to know that any one was coming? Denman says they conspired. Against whom? The conspiracy must have been hatched before they went from home. Several witnesses (not the parties,) prove, that they (the witnesses) were told what the men and Welsh were going for; that they saw them set out; one of these witnesses was was asked to go with them. Well, then, the conspiracy, if conspiracy Denman will have it, was formed BEFORE THE MEN LEFT HOME. And, on what foundation? On what foundation? I say. The men could not conspire against Jephson unless they knew, or suspected that Jephson was coming. And how should they suspect such a thing, unless some one apprized them of it? And how should anyone apprize them of it, if Jephson was taken out of the high road and along the lanes, across the fields, and over gates, and gaps, not by appointment, but by a mere accidental call of nature?
5. This Jury were called upon to believe that the men, being in the fields at nine o'clock at night by accident, after Welsh had told them and many others his morning story It is proved, mind,, beyond all contradiction and all doubt, that Welsh did tell his morning story to a dozen or twenty people. And, with this proof before them, the Jury were called upon to believe, that the five men and Welsh were in the fields, at nine oclock at night, by mere accident; and that, being there by accident, Jephson, equally by accident, went a quarter of a mile for the occasion of nature, and came to the very spot where five of them were secreted, and one of them lounging about. However, being there by accident, and, of course, without expecting Jephson, they, the moment he appeared, [col. 309] all began to act their part in the conspiracy, upon which they had set out with apprizing several persons of their intentions, and, amongst the rest, one person (GOLDING,) who was asked, but who refused to go with them! And yet this was amongst the things that the Jury were called upon to believe.
6. The Jury were called upon to believe, that the conspirators, who had met with Jephson by accident, extorted his money and watch from him, close by the highway side, and within thirty yards of the house of Briggs, whose family (and himself, too most likely) were at home; and that Jephson made no noise; but went away quietly, without even going to Briggss; and that the conspirators went away home, and went boldly about their usual affairs the next day. But, what strange conspirators were these! They not only extorted the money and watch by the way-side; but, they chose to do it in this place! This agrees with Jephsons own confession, mind. The conspirators by accident had him, with his middle garment down, in the ditch at P, which is probably about a hundred and fifty yards from the road side. Here they might, possibly, have carried on their work of extortion without much danger of the plundered party getting assistance; and, therefore, naturally wishing to be detected, apprehended and hanged, they took him all along the field up to the road side; and, finding, when they got to the gate, Q., that they might augment their chance of being hanged by getting nearer to Briggss house, they took the Reverend sufferer from the gae Q to the hay-stack, R; and there, within thirty yards of Briggss house and fmaily, they extorted the money and the watch. [col. 310]
7. Here is a good deal for a Jury to believe; but, far indeed is this from being all that Denmans large creed contained. He called upon the Jury to believe, that the Reverend Divine, having been led as aforesaid merely by an occasion of nature, and having been plundered as aforesaid; having had a felony of the deepest dye perpetrated against him; having had the most cutting insult offered him that ever was offered to human being; and having lulckily escaped from the villains with his life; Denman calls upon the Jury to believe, that, all this being the case, it was natural for the Reverend sufferer to go home to his apartments in the College, not only without calling at Briggss, but without going to any Magistrate or peace-officer, and without taking any one step towards the apprehending of the atrocious offenders, who, were gone off laughing home with his money and his watch! Denman says, indeed, and so said the Reverend Person in his deposition, that he called on his friend, Mr. CARRIGAN, the same evening, and related all the circumstances to him. But, Mr. CARRIGAN was not called by Denman to prove this; nor do we find Mr. CARRIGAN amongst the witnesses to character. Denman said, that Mr. CARRIGAN ought to have been called. Why did he not call him? It was he who ought to have called him. The prosecutors did not want him. Though, I must say, that if I had been prosecutor I would have had him. At any rate, what proof of innocence was this calling upon a friend, instead of going to a magistrate? The fellows might have been traced, caught, and in gaol by midnight. The Reverend Priests money and watch were in the hands of the banditti; and yet no step did he take to recover [col. 311] his goods or to cause the felons to be punished!
8. Well; but on the Saturday, what did he do? Why, on the Saturday, he made a charge before Mr. Abbott, a justice of the peace On the evening, or, rather, late at night, of the same day, HART and WISEMAN, the two very men wh received from hi his money and his watch, went to his apartments in his College, and were offering him his watch back, when he, in great haste, shut the door upon them, and left them on the landing-place of the stairs. Here, says DENMAN, we have a proof of his innocence! Mr. PRYME, on the contrary, chooses this as the strongest circumstantial proof of his guilt. What, says Denman, not take from Hart and Wiseman this proof of his guilt? Not get back, says Denman, when he might, the proof of his criminality? What, then, did their having the possession of his watch amount to a proof of his criminality? DENMAN himself says that it did appear to be such proof. And how was this to be removed by getting the watch back again? For DENMAN does not affect, I suppose, to believe that Hart and Wiseman did not intend to get some money in exchange for the watch. Denman would fain have us believe, that Hart and Wiseman came to give up the watch for nothing. It is manifest that they meant no such thing. JEPHSON well knoew that the demand on him would not stop there: and besides, how was he to hush the matter up by getting the watch back, after he had been and made a charge against the parties during the day of Saturday. He would have been glad never to have parted with the watch; but it was gone from his hands, and he had made a [col. 312] charge against persons unknown. Here, then, we can see a reason for refusing to take the watch. He had made a charge against persons unknown; and if he took the watch, he must have seized the persons; then the persons would have been known; and then out would have come the whole story before the magistrate, as it finally did. He had made a charge against persons unknown during the day of Saturday; two of these persons present themselves to him and put their persons into his power on the night of Saturday; the gates of the College are closed; the porters are in attendance; he has the unknown robbers in his hands; they tender him his watch; and he refuses the watch, and drives them away! And the Jury are called upon to believe that this is a proof of his innocence!
9. But surely he did something immediately after this? He had on the Saturday made a charge agianst persons unknown. Two of these persons come and show themselves to him, and put themselves into his power on the Saturday night. Never were fellows so impatient, so unreasonably impatient for a halter as these fellows. We have seen how far they took him along the field in order to get people to hear them from the high road or from Briggss house while they were committing the robbery. They could not be ignorant of what they had done. Having extorted money and a watch by the means of such a threat, they must know that they were liable to be hanged. But, finding nobody disposed to bring them to the gallows, they go, on the Saturday night, and get themselves shut into the College, produce the watch, and tender it and their necks to the Reverend Doctor! The Jury are called upon to [col. 313] believe in the guilt of these men! But now, what did the Reverend Divine do on the next day? He had made the charge on the Saturday against persons unknown. These persons made themselves known to him on the Saturday night; and, what did he do on the Sunday morning? Why, went in pursuit of them to be sure, or at least went to church to implore the Divine assistance in bringing the malefactors to justice. Gad! he did neither: but WENT OFF TO LONDON! And here, says Mr. DENMAN, he went to London, and as a rational man, said, I am too much agitated to carry this business on, and I will therefore leae it to my friends. Good God Almighty! Robbed of money and watch on the Friday, unde a threat of being accused of an unnatural crime; lay a charge against the unknown offenders on the Saturday; let the offenders go on the Saturday night, when they come and make themselves known to him; and, on the Sunday morning, set off to London, being too much agitated to carry on the business! And all this was to produce in the minds of the Jury impressions favourabe to an acquittal.
10. However, the friends were left to act for him generally. And what did the friends do? Why, they first had some of the men taken up and taken before a magistrate. After this the charge was withdrawn. The men, in place of being imprisoned, got a good dinner, and one pound a piece to give up the watch. This is what the friends of the Reverend Doctor did for him. Mr. Denman says, that it was not done by him; that it was not JEPHSON that got the watch back. That he had nothing to do with giving the money; that he had nothing to do with the dinner. To [col. 314] be sure he was not present. He was in London; but were not his friends pretty good judges of the state of the case? Did not Mr. CARRIGAN and Dr. HAVILAND do their best for him? It is monstrous to suppose that they did not. They might err in their judgment; but it is clear what they thought of the matter by their giving the men a dinner and money. Yet, this Jury is called upon to believe that even this decision of the friends is a proof of the innocence of the Reverend Priest!
11. But, back he comes from London with Mr. NATHANIEL ATCHESON, the confidential friend of the family of Jephson, and a pretty well known attorney. He returns to Cambridge on the Thursday. He is now recovered from his agitation, and he makes a charge against the parties by name. The parties are brought before the same justice of the peac,e Mr. Abbott. The men are discharged, after examination. They charge the Reverend Divine, and he is held to bail for a misdemeanor. Now, if he were prepared to charge these parties, what took him to London on the Sunday? He saw two of the parties on the Saturday night. He had them completely in his power. The matter was made up with them by his friends, who bought that watch of the men that he would not received, who treated and who gave money to these pretended robbers, who, on the Thursday, were again charged by JEPHSON himself.
Here are eleven points, which I should like to see DENMAN attempt to get over. I do not blame him for making so miserable a speech; but, if the above report be correct,he ought to have bene severely reproved for his insulting language to the witnesses. It appars that he asked Hart whether he ever [col. 315] accommodated a friend with the loan of his wife? No more than you do, said Hart. But this was not enough, and he should have had a great deal more if I had been at Harts elbow. He asked Wiseman whether he had not said to some one that they had done this job WELL, and that they would have a tradesman of Cambridge next? Wiseman answered that he never had said any such thing. Denman brought no evidence to support this insinuation, and if I had been the Judge, I should have taken care to rap his fingers well for asking such a question, unless he had been prepared with evidence to show that he had good reason for doing it. DENMAN asked William Buttress Whether he ever dodged young men and women in the fields to get money from them, and whether he did not mention this to William Carters? Buttress indignantly scouted the insinuation. But this was not all that Denman ought to have got for this; for noe one particle of evidence did he bring to show that he had any reason whatever for putting such a question.
DENMAN, among the strange things which he says that the Jury are called upon to believe, states the improbability of so eminent a person as Jephson exposing himself to a low stranger. In the same spirit, he says that all the men, who were witnesses against JEPHSON, were in a low situation of life. It is indeed no proof of JEPHSONs guilt, that Welsh is a common labourer; but, on the contrary, it is not any profe, positive or presumptive, of Jephsons innocence. Low as Welsh is, he is not lower than MOVELLY the Soldier was; and as to the witnesses being in a low state of life, can they be lower than the witnesses, on whose evidence were condemned to the scaffold the three brave men in Derbyshire and the four brave men in London. I observe, here, that I by no means pretend to justify the acts laid to the charge of those men. About those acts I can known nothing. Never paying any attention to the swearing of spies, and informers; but this I know that [col. 316] seven braver men never died; and this I shall always say of them when I have occasion to name or so allude to them. As to low situation in life, then, the witnesses here were mechanics and labourers.
Denman observed, that JEPHSONs going to Mr. CARRIGAN on Friday night and relating to him what had passed, this, DENMAN says, entitles him to a verdict! He adds, if Mr. CARRIGAN had thought him guilty, he would have driven him from his chambers. Very well, then. Here we have the thinking of Mr. CARRIGAN worth a good deal. Shall we not, then, thinkint something of his opinion on the Monday afterwards; when he, with Dr. Haviland, withdraws the charge against the men, and given them six pounds and a dinner?
Denman, in remarking upon the evidence of Welsh, observes, where he refers to the part where Welsh talks of the kissing, Where was his English blood when such an insult was offered him? Why did he not lay the offender low? As to English blood, that is mere cant, mere vulgar, cockney and play-house cant; but, for the laying low, in the first place, Welsh is only twenty years old; not likely to be very stout, for the parson calls him a boy; half starved, perhaps, for the gravel-pits had been his doom. What was he to do with a strapping well-fed parson, probably about forty years of age? I dare say the parson would have weighed down two of poor Welsh, who, living at gravel-digging, was, in all likelihood, dragging along an existence otu of three or four shillings a week. Besides, had Welsh lived in England for the last year without hearing of the fate of poor BYRNE? If Welsh had struck the parson, and no witnesses by, how soon would he have been in goal! [sic] How certain and how terrible his punishment! And yet, becuase he did not lay the parson low, his evidence, though corroborated by wo many others, and though ratified by the affair of the watch and by the holding of the person to bail, was [col. 317] to be discredited! An advocate must feel himself hard pushed indeed, when he can hazard an attempt like this.
You will say, Enough! enough! But, Sir, consider whom we have before us. Jephson is not only a Parson, but a Doctor Parson, and might, for aught we know, be a Parson-Justice. Let us, therefore, not quit him, till we have seen pretty nearly all that is to be come at relating to him. Denman sets out with as gross a fallacy as ever was uttered. He says, that, in order to find the Holy Order! man guilty, the Jury must believe, that he not only exposed himself voluntarily to a low stranger, but that he had thought proper to bring his infamy before a magistrate, and then before a jury, to deprive himself of that secrecy, which he was said to have purchased. Thought proper! What does the City of Wisdoms Common Sergeant mean? Why, he would have it believed, that this Teacher of the Higher Orders pushed forward with his charge against the men, and sought to be tried himself. But, how stand the facts? He made his charge against pesons unknown, on the Saturday. And, how was he to avoid this? Would Mr. CARRIGAN have, for one instant, believed his story, Besides, the men had his watch. He must have known, that they would not eat or drink the watch; that they would sell it, in short; of course, that thus the matter must come out; and that, if he himself remained silent, the imputation of guilt would be inevitable. How, then, does the Citys Law Sergeant make it out, that he thought proper; that is to say, that he volunteered the carrying of his case before a magistrate? And, as to his thinking proper to bring it before a Jury, it was Mr. ABBOTT, the Justice of the Peace, who thought proper to bind him o do that. What Jephson went off to London for no one pretended to say: but, at any rate, to set off to London did not look much like thinking proper to wait the issue of any trial at all. [col. 318]
But, says Denman, he comes into Court, and, in the presence of his Maker, denies the charge. I say nothing about the character of this act; I leave to the public to judge of it, and to characteize it: but, I say, that Denmans argument is not worth a straw. When I told my famous Special Jury, of whom THOMAS RHODES, the Cow-keeper, was the foreman; when I told them what the meaning of my published words was, You must not pay attention, said the late Ellenborough, to what is said by a man who stands, thus, in a perilous situation. To be sure Jephson was, according to Denmans account, in the presence of his Maker: but, so was the renowned Father in God, JOCELYN, when he clapped his hand to his heart at the trial of poor Byrne, who, on that oath, or that solemn declaration, was nearly flayed alive!
Last of all comes the evidence to character. This is sometimes worth a good deal. When the evidence of guilt is not clear; when here is a good deal of doubt hangs about the evidence; when the conclusion to be drawn depends, in any degree, on the character, or habits, of the party accused. But, in a case, where the evidence is full and complete, not one straw, except in mitigation of punishment, is evidence to character worth. Whether this was such a case I do not pretend to determine; but, if I am told to look at what was said of this learned, moral, pious, and pure Reverend Divine; if I am reminded, that he was called a spotless character, a model as to moral life and religiousness, I answer, that even Mr. YATES BROWNs specimen of purity, seleced from all human beings, was far, very far, surpassed by the character given of Father in God JOCELYN by a lawyer, who has since been made a judge. However, these witnesses to character, spoke, without doubt, what their observation warranted; and, as the greater part of them were Doctors of Divinity and other Reverend Divines, we must conclulde, that, the Reverend Doctor now before [col. 319] us was one of the most moral and pious of the whole body of Parsons of the Church of England as by law established.
Thus,for the present, I leave the Doctor and his worthy brethren to congratulate one another on the verdict, which was given. Of this verdict I shall say nothing; and, indeed, it is wholly unnecessary; but, I cannot refrain from observing what was done, with regard to this verdict, by the vile Old Times Newspaper. This constant trader gave a report of the Trial, which it would not have done had not the verdict cleared the character of a man exercising most imporant functions! The next day, however, the base Old Newspaper contained the following paragraph: In stating yesterday, that the investigation at Cambridge cleared the character of Mr. Jephson, we used that term with reference to the ordinary and legal effect of a verdict of acquittal. We feel it necessary to make this remark, as several correspondents have called upon us to explain our meaning. This is just the reverse of what it had said the day before. However, here it is as it is; and with it let us send the Parson off; just calling to mind, however, that the Reverend ALEXANDER BHODIE, Doctor of Divinity, and ANNA his wife (notwithstanding her coverture), both of Eastbourne, in the county of Sussex, swear, at the Stamp Office, that they are part principal propietors of this vile old newspaper; this thing that lies backwards and forwards, and that unsays or unswears, to-day, what it said or swore yesterday. To be principal proprietor of a vehicle like this is, I suppose, a specimen of purity in the literary way!
We have now got this affair upon records. We can return to it at our leisure. You and I and many thousands of others have suffered enough. It is but reasonable that we should have some little satisfaction.
I am, Sir, Your Friend
and most obedient Servant,
Printed and Published by and for J. M.Cobbett, No. 185, Fleet-street [col. 320]
SOURCE: Cobbetts Weekly Political Register, Vol. 47, No. 5, London, Saturday, 2 August 1823.
Saturday, 26 July 1823
At CAMBRIDGE ASSIZES, on Wednesday, the Rev. Thos. Jephson, a resident Fellow of St. Johns college, was tried on an indictment charging him 1st, with an assault on one James Welch, on the 16th day of May last, with intent to commit an unnatural crime; 2d, with enticing and soliciting the said Jas. Welch to commit an unnatural crime; and 3d, with indecently exposing his person to certain subjects of our Lord the King. This case excited the most intense interest; and long before the Learned Judge (Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet) had taken his seat, every part of the criminal court was crowded to excess. Mr. Jephson was in Court during the whole trial, and sat on the right of the Common Serjeant. The witnesses on both sides, except those to character, which were numerous and highly respectable, were ordered out of Court. The Common Serjeant was specially retained on the occasion.
Mr. Pryme opened the case at great length, and called several witnesses to substantiate the charges.
Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet addressed the Jury. He went through the whole of the evidence, on which he commented with great impartiality and acuteness, pointing out such contradictions as appeared in the testimony, and also remarking on those parts which were corroborative of each other, or were in unison with the deposition of the defendant. The Jury retired, and in half an hour they returned with a verdict of Not Guilty. They, however, added, that they were all of one opinion, but that opinion was wavering. They all had a doubt of the guilt of both parties; but as his Lordship had said, that in case they entertained a doubt on the subject, that doubt should be turned to the benefit of the defendant, they, for that reason, acquitted him.
The trial lasted from eight oclock on Wednesday morning, till past one on Thursday morning. (Jacksons Oxford Journal))
Sunday 27 July 1823
CAMBRIDGE, JULY. THE KING v. THE REV. THOMAS JEPHSON. This was an indictment against the defendant, a resident fellow and tutor of St. Johns College, charging him 1st, with an assualt on one James Welch, on the 16th of May last, with intent to commit an unnatural crime; 2d, with enticing the soliciting the said James Welch to commit an unnatural crime; and 3d, with indecenty exposing his person. This case excited the most intense interest; and long before the learned Judge, Mr. Sergeant BOSANQUET, had taken his seat, everyi part of the court was crowded to excess. Mr. Jephson was in court during the whole trial.
Mr. PRYME stated the case. He said that it was always exceedingly disagreeable to bring forward a charge against an individual who had hitherto borne the character of a man of respectability and probity; but when a brief was put into the hands of a counsel, it became his duty to state the case clearly and fully, utterly disregarding all adventitious circumstances. The defendant was a resident fellow of St. Johns College; and it would be proved by a boy, named Welch, who was employed in the gravel-pits at Barnwell, that on the 16th of May, the day being rainy, he could not screen the gravel, and he took a saunter into an adjoining field, where he met the defendant betweeen 11 and 12 oclock in the day. The dfendant called Welch, and asked him the nearest way to the Cherry-Hinton-road. Welch directed him. The defendant then gave him 6d. and asked him a variety of questions. He then came near Welch, took him by the hand, and asked him If he liked a man? Welch did not at the moment udnerstand what the defendant meant, and answered that he like men very well. The defendant then solicited him in terms which cannot be published, and offered him money if he would lie down in a ditch near which they were. He ultimately asked Welch whether he would meet him in the evening! Welch at first hesitated, but at length consented, and the defendant told him to come to the field at nine oclock, when it would be dark. He then said to the boy I must kiss you, which he did. They separated the defendant said I hope you will not kiss and tell. The first step Welch took was to go back to the gravel-pit, and it would be shown that when he arrived there he evinced some degree of alarm. He then communicated what had happened to several persons, and it was arranged that they should proceed with him to the field at nine. The boy was to seem as if alone, and the men were to be concealed so as to hear and see all that passed. The parties set out for the place at a quarter before nine. The party consisted of Welch, Joseph Hart, G. Wiseman, J. Butters, W. Butters, and Philip Langham. About nine Welch arrived, and the others secreted themselves. After waiting a few minutes, they saw the defendant come towards the field. The defendant then gave Welch some money, and kissed him seveal times. When Welch resisted, he strove to get him into the ditch. The defendant said, You are a very hard young man. I am afraid you are not the young man I took you for. He then gave Welch some more money, and said, We are not safe here, let us go through this gap into the next field. He got over the gap, and called to Welch, who did not come by that passage, but went through anothe which was near his friends. The defendant became alarmed, and said Come, come, you are a long time. The defendant then proceeded to acts of indecency not to be described. The witnesses, whom he would this day call, saw all this. They were but a few yards from the defendant, and were screened from his observation by the nedge and ditch. At that moment, thinking that the matter should proceed no farther, they came up suddenly and seized the defendant. His trowsers were then down. They took him out of the ditch, and said, We will take you to Cambridge, before a Magistrate, and they brought him along the field. The defendant observed, You are acting in a very wrong way I only came there to ease myself. Hart, one of the witnesses, said, That wont do, for we have heard all you said. We will take you to Cambridge, as the Bishop was taken to the watch-house. The defendant then begged very hard that they would permit him to button himself up, which they refused. He said, You treat me very hardly. They told him that they would take him before Mr. Purchas, a Magistrate in Cambridge. The defendants answer was, You may, if you please. I know Mr. Purchas very well; and if you take me to him, he will send you about your business. They then said, We will take you to St. Johns College, which the defendant entreated them not to do, as it would ruin him for ever. Defendant said, Consider, here are five young men against one: if it is known, I shall be a ruined man. All my places will be taken from me (meaning, doubtless, his appointments in college). One of the witnesses was proceeding to speak, when defendant said, Hush, some one will hear us. There was, it should be observed, a house near the gate, and the defendant requested the parties to go to a hay-stack, where they would be less observed. They went to the hay-stack, and the defendant again begged to hae his trowners up. This was complied with and he then pulled out two one-pound notes and some silver, which he gave to some of the parties. They certainly took this money. He afterwards, in consequence of an observation made by one of them, gave up his watch, watch-chain, seal, and key. He then said, I am now free. I hope you will not mention a word about it. If you do, I am a ruiined man. He afterwards said, Good night, young men, and went away. This statement he would prove by several witnesses; for Welch mentioned the circumsance not only to those who accompanied him, but to others who did not; and he would show, that during the interval between his meeting with the defendant in the morning, and his dinner-time, he pointe dout the defendant as the person whom he was to meet in the evening. On the evening of the following day, two of the witnesses, Hart and Wiseman, called at the chambers of the defendant. He had, it should be stated, given them his name on the night before, or rather a name like that which he really bore the name of Jefferson. They, however, discovered who the defendant really was, and on the Saturday they came to his rooms wth the watch, thinking that it might be a family watch; the defendant, when he saw them, ran about the place in distraction, and bid them quit the room. Hart exclaimed, Will you hear what I have to say? no one knows your name but us two. The defendant said, Take the watch, I give it freely, and want to have nothing more to do with it. Hart wished to speak to the defendant outside of his room, but he said, Hush! hush! and shut the door. On the Saturday morning, the defendant had gone before a Magistrate, and made a charge against certain person unknown, for taking his watch and money. Now, when, on the evening of that day, two of those very persons came to his chambers, what would he have done, if he really meant to prosecute them to conviction? Would he not have had them apprehended while they were n the College? Was not that the natural course for him to have pursued? The porter was at the gate there were persons in all the rooms adjoining, and nothing could have been easier than the apprehension of those persons. The alarm might have been given, and the individuals whom he had described in the morning as persons unknown, might have been identified. The defendant, however, took no such step. What was his subsequent conduct? Why, even after the name of one at least of the parties had been obtained, he abandoned the charge. Was that the course which an innocent man would take? What was the next step? He left Cambridge on the following day. This happened in the middle of term time, when he ought to have been doing his duty, by giving lectures every day. In the mean time other inquiries had excited an alarm, and he believed the police offices had ascertained the names of two others of the party. The defendant returned to Cambridge on the Wednesday, whether of his own accord or not, could not be known. On the former charge, the magistrates hearing that Hart was a party implicated, sent for him, and he immediately attended. Was that the conduct of a man who was guilty of extorting money? He came instantly, and a conference took place; the result was,that he was allowed to go about his business. On the Wednesday,the defendant preferred a new charge. On that occasion the defendant was himself examined, and he gave an account which showed clearly that he was at the spot mentioned by Welch, on the evening of the 16th, and that he was close to the same ground in the morning. He gave a long account of his rambles through fields and gfoves, without any ostensible object. He wanted, he said, to get to the walks at the back of St. Johns College, but perhaps the path he took was the most contrary. One reason he gave was, that he went there for the purpose of easing himself. Now, was that a probable cause? There was no necessity for his going up into that field for such a purpose. There was a gate in the road, and on each side of that gate was a hedge remarkably high and thick indeed, all along the lane there were high hedges and, in fact, if a person wanted to withdraw for that purpose, he could hardly find a more retired place than that just beyond the corner of the gate, where it was impossible he could be seen. What, then, could seduce him to go so far into this field, where there was no accommodation whatever to go into the very middle of the field? Was it for any other purpose but that which Welch stated? That was the question which the jury must decide. The defendant was laid hold of, and he was taken up to a hay-stack, near which there was a house. Now what would be the conduct of an innocent man accused of such an offence? Would he not have called for assistance from the house! And if the defendant had raised his voice, he must have been heart, and assistance would have been procured. Was, then, his account consistent? Was it credible? Could the jury for a moment believe the statement? Let this circumstance be coupled with those of two of the men coming afterwards to his rooms, with his suffering them to depart; and with his having abandoned his charge before the magistrate, after he had learned the names of one or two of the parties let those circumstances be coupled together, and then say, was such the conduct of an innocent men? It was very true the principal witnesses had received the watch and money. This was highly improper. But the question was, would the jury be prevented, in consequence of that transaction, from believing the concurrent testimony of five
persons, whose evidenc ewould be corroborated in several material points, by witnesses who had not received any money? He would now leave the case in the hands of the jury, perfectly convinced that they would return a verdict as would satisfy the justice of the case.
The principal witnesses, James Welch, Joseph Hart, George Wiseman, William Butters, James Butters, and Philip Langman, all deposed to the chief facts stated by the Learned Counsel; and Elizabeth Butters . . . [torn page] and Ann Markahm, to . . . cross-examined by Mr. DENMAN.
Abbott, Esq. I am a Magistrate of this town. The defendant made a complaint to me of certian persons unknown on the 17th of May, which was withdrawn on the Sunday following. Another charge was made on the Thursday following, against Hart, Wiseman, and Butters. That, also, was dismissed on the Friday evening. A charge was made on the same evening against Mr. Jephson. Hart was the only witness examined. Recognizances were entered into by the defendant. He gave security himself in 600l. and two sureties in 300l. each. (The witness produced the depositions made by Mr. Jephson.) The deponent stated, that in returning from the Cherry-Hingon-road, he entered a field for an occasion of nature. A boy was in the field, who annoyed him very much, by going about him. The boy whistled in a curious manner. He asked him what he whistled for? He replied, I always whistle when I am alone. Deponent then wished to go to another field, and asked the boy whether there was a gap? The bay said, in a surly tone, If you look, you may find one. Deponent then wet through a gap into the corner of another field, and took down his small-clothes. At that moment several men rushed on him. One of them said, Oh! weve found you at last. You are very punctual. He asked whether they were going to murder him? They said, No; well take you to Purchass, like the Bishop. There would be plenty of girls to look at him. Deponent now perceived that they wished to charge him with an unnatural crime. Two of the men had hold of the boy. One of the men said, If you give us money enough, well let you go. At this the deponents trowsers were down; but he was now permitted to pull them up; and anxious to free himself from the persons who surrounded him, he put his hand in his pocket, and gave them three one-pound Cambridge bank-notes and 9s. 6d.. One of them said, That is not enough. Another observed, Perhaps the gentleman has a watch. On which deponent took his watch from his waistcoat pocket, and gave it to him. They then let him go, and when he entered College, before he proceeded to his own chambers, he went to those of his friend Mr. Carrigan, and related all the circumstances. The next day he made a deposition before Mr. Abbot. Appended to the deposition was an account of the cross-exmaination of Mr. Jephson by Mr. Pryme, at the time of his making the second charge. He then admitted that on the morning of the 16th of May, he went along by the field described by Welch. He could not say the men demanded money, but he did not give up his money or his watch until he understood, from the language that was sued, that there was an intention to charge him with an unnatural offence. On Saturday he learned that the name of one of the men was Hart. He did not state that to the Magistrate. He went to London on Sunday, and on his return inquired what steps had been taken, as he had authorised his friends to act generally for him.
Mr. Abbott, cross-examined by the COMMON SERJEANT. Witness has been a Magistrate for 13 years. Never knew a man who bore a higher character than the defendant. Mr. Jephson called at my house, but did not see me. I, in consequence, waited on him. Hart came before me on the following day, and made a statement. I dont know of my own knowledge when Mr. Jephson left Cambridge. I did not see Mr. Jephson after the name of Hart was known, from the Saturday until the following Thursday. This charge was withdrawn. The 6l. to which allusion had bene made as having been distributed by Shallow (given to Welch and others by the friends of Mr. Jephson on account of the watch) was raised by three gentlemen in my dining-room. Dr.. Haviland, I believe, handed them over. I cannot say whether Mr. Jephson did or did not known any thing about them.
Mr. DENMAN addressed the Jury for the defendant in a very able speech. He did not deny that the witnesses had stated a case that deserved to be inquired into a case that ought to be got rid of by strong reasoning, and by a minute investigation of all its parts. Those witnesses stated what they alleged they had heard and seen, and if one tenth of their statement were true, then the defendant had not about him one quality that belonged to man, unless, indeed, the desperate courage with which he had risked his fame and reputation could be accounted for. Then, indeed, must he be, in the most extensive sense of the terms, a person of a lewd, abandoned, wicked, and evil life, to use the phraseology of the record. If he did not clearly show them that the defendant was innocent of this foul crime, let them find him guilty. He, as Counsel for Mr. Jephson, with Mr. Jephson by his side, called on them to do so. They stood not there for an Old Bailey acquittal they stood for reputation. Any but a full and perfect acquittal would be a misfortune to the defendant. The publicity which this days proceedings would received, would be a dreadful aggravation of the evils of his situation, since he came into Court this day, in the presence of his Maker and of his country, denying the charge altogether. He was not dragged before the Court as he was on that lamentable night: no he came here freely, voluntarily courting the fullest inquiry, and submitting himself to the enlightened justice of a British tribunal. He would state what his defence was. It was exactly that which the defendant had declared the transation to be on the night when it occurred namely, that the whole was a foul and wicked conspiracy, supported by the most abandoned perjury, and disclosing the most improbable story that was every told, although propped up by some circumstances which were admitted to have happened. (Here Mr. Denman entered at great length into an examination of the evidence adduced, pointing out what he thought were manifest variations and contradictions.) He strongly contended, that when the parties threatened to drag the defendant to Cambridge like the Bishop, Mr. Jephson perceived what the parties meant to do, and, like any other man, he was anxious to extricate himself from them. It was not secresy that he wanted to buy. No, for he immediately disclosed the whole business. If he had given gold to Hart and Wiseman, when they called on him next day, then indeed the case would have worn a different appearance: but he refused to have any communication with them. Was not this a proof of innocence? Mr. Denman then drew a very powerful comparison between the conduct of the prelate who recently fled from this country [i.e. Clogher] and that of the defendant, who nobly stood forward in defence of his moral character. He adverted to the great respectability of the individuals who had come from every part o the kingdom to speak to the moral worth and purity of mind by which the defendant had always been distinguished; and concluded by observing, that the defendant, who was then sitting by his side, awaited, not without deep anxiety, the issue of this inquiry, but a the same time, with perfect confidence, that the Jury would restore him to his character, to his friends, and to his country.
The following witnesses were then called: Dr. Wood, Master of St. Johns College, knew Dr. Jephson for about 20 years. He was assistant-tutor in the College, and would not have bene placed in that situation, if his moral character had not been without taint or suspicion. The Rev. R. Tatham, Public Orator to the University, had known Dr. Jephson intimately since 1802. His moral qualities, his chasstity and decorum, were perfectly unexceptionable in every respect. He was most exemplary in the performance of all his College duties. The Rev. T. W. Hornbuckle had been most intimately acquainted with him for nine or ten years. For moral sentiment and decorous conduct, he was most remarkable. Since he knew Mr. Jephson, as a Fellow, he considered him to be possessed of a strong religious feeling. The Rev. C. Blake could declare from his own experience that Mr. Jephsons general character for decorum and morality was quite irreproachable. T. Brown, Esq. of Brighton, first counsin to Mr. Jephson, knew Mr. Jephson from his infancy, and if he wished to point out a specimen of purity of mind, Mr. Jephson was the man he would select. Natnahiel Atcheson, Esq. solicitor, of Duke-street, Westminster, had been confidentially acquainted wth Mr. Jephsons family since 1784. The character of Mr. Jephson for decorum, propriety, and chastity, was excellent and unexceptionable. Dr. Lee, residing in Bedfordshire, had known Mr. Jephson since 1802. He never knew him to tell a falsehood in his life, nor to use an immoral word. R. Dalton, Esq. of Suffolk, was acquainted with Mr. Jephson for 20 years. He always thought him, and held him up as, a model of morality. His morality was without affectation, and his religion without ostentation. The Rev. James Hicks knew Mr. Jephson five or six years. His conduct in the performance of all his duties was irreproachable. The Rev. Dr. Webb, Master of Clare-hall, knew Mr. Jephson intimately for 12 or 14 years. He considered his moral character to be most exemplary. The Rev. Philip Dodd, Rector of Penshurst, Kent, knew Mr. Jephson from his boyhood. His character had always been most exemplary. He had a moral and well-regulated mind. The Rev. T. W. Barber had had a perfect opportunity of knowing him, as a resident Fellow in that University. His character was not only good, but most exemplary. He had frequently discoursed with him on theological subjects, and he appeared to enter into them with a keen and moral relish. The Rev. Mr. Norgrove knew Mr. Jephson intimately about seven years. His general character for morality was excellent. Mr. Thjomas Banyan and Mr. W. Tyres, of Horningsey, spoke in the highest terms of Mr. Jephsons moral qualities. The Rev. W. B. Whitfield, of Essex, had known Mr. Jephson for 14 or 15 years. His general character could not be exceeded for morality and decorum. Joseph Arnold, Esq. of Camberwell, knew Mr. Jephson for 13 years. His character was unexceptionable. The Rev. Morgan Jones had a perfect opportunity of knowing Mr. Jephsons character, which was truly excellent. The Rev. W. Winthrop; John Smith, Sq. Barrister-at-law; the Rev. Mr. King; J. S. Kershaw, Esq.; the Rev. J. B. Wilkinson; and the Rev. J. Graham, all spoke in the highest terms of Mr. Jephsons piety and morality.
The Learned Judge went through the whole of the evidence, pointing out such contradictions as appeared in the testimony, and also remarking on those parts which were corroborative of each other, or were in accord with the deposition of the defendant. In adverting to the testimony in favour of the defendant, he observed, that Mr. Jephsons delicacy of sentiment was particularly mentioned, and such delicacy of sentiment he held to be wholly irreconcileable with the expressions he is said to have used.
The Jury retired to consider their verdict. In half an hour they returned with a verdict of Not Guilty. They, however, added, that they were all of one opinion, but that opinion was wavering. They all had a doubt of the guilt of both parties; but as his Lordship had said, that in case they entertained a doubt on the subject, that doubt should be turned to the benefit of the defendant, they, for that reason, acquitted him.
The trial lasted from eight oclock on Wednesday morning, till past one on Thursday morning. (The Examiner)
[The report in the Ipswich Journal for Saturday 26 July 1823 added the following information about the conclusion of the trial: The Court, even at this hour of one oclock [1.00 a.m.], was still crowded with most respectable Gentlemen, who anxiously waited the result. The mob outside the Court-house was also great, and continued boisterous to the last moment. The trial lasted 17 hours.
THE CAMBRIDGE TRIAL.
Wednesday 30 July 1823
The King v. the Rev. Thos. Jephson, The trial of this indictment, from the previous high character and situation of the defendant, as a Clergyman and Fellow of St. John's college, in this University; as well as from the horrible enormity of the offence with which he was charged, excited the most intense interest. Mr. Denman was specially retained for the defendant. The Court was crowded to excess at an early hour, and so great was the pressure that some gentlemen in the front rows of the strangers' gallery were constrained to interrupt the proceedings of the court, and declare that they could not live unless they were immediately relieved. Mr. Serjeant Bosanquet entered the Court at nine o-clock, (on Wednesday morning) and the grial commenced immediately.
The indictment charged the defendant, Thomas Jephson, with having, on the 16th of May last, assaulted one James Welch, with an attempt to commit an unnatural crime, and for indecently exposing his person, &c. . . . (Bury and Norwich Post)
31 July 1823
An extraordinary sensation has been created throughout the country, by the late Trial at Cambridge, and, although we have no desire to emulate the conduct of those journalists who have given publicity to the disgusting the horibly disgusting evidence that was detailed on the occasion, we do feel that it ought not to be passed over in silence. It may be enquired what end can the record of such transactions answer? To this we reply, that where the party is fully and honourably acquitted, acquitted without the shadow of an insinuation to stain his character in future life, the publication of the evidence is of essential service to the defendant, in establishing his innocence in the eyes of the world; and on the other hand, where doubts exist in the minds of a Jury, and a verdict of not guilty is returned, less from an entire conviction of the prisoner's innocence, than from a wish to give him the benefit of those doubts, the publication of the facts of the case afford the only means of punishment of the culprit; the only medium for bringing shame and disgrace on the head of the offender. It entier case he can have no just grounds for complain. In giving a brief outline of this shocking trial, we shall be less scrupulous tan some of our brother editors, as it respects the suppression of the reverend gentleman's NAME, and far more decent than others in our narrative. The defendant on this occasion, Dr. THOMAS JEPHSON, Fellow and Tutor of St. John's College, has been for twenty years a Member of the University of Cambridge, during which period he appears (from the respectable testimony cited on his behalf), to have conducted himself outwardly with the greatest possible propriety, and to have performed his functions as a Parish Curate and a College Tutor most correctly. The indictment charged this person with intent to commit an unnatural crime, and with other gross indecencies. The evidence is of course much too distusting for publication in our pages. From the testimony of the witnesses for te prosecution, it appears that the reference gentleman revealed his intentions to a youth of the name of Welsh, and appointed to meet him in a field in the neighbourhood, at nine o'clock in the evening. The boy, in the mean time, communicated the particulars of this interview to several persons, and repaired to the place of rendezvous, accompanied by FIVE men, who lay perdu in a hedge, in order (as they respectively swore,) to be eye and ear-witnesses of Dr. Jephson's conduct. The evidence of these men is horrible. They threatened to drag him, in the situation in which they found him to Cambridge. To purchase hs freedom he gave them his watch and money, and was then suffered to escape. The main facts, and particularly the filthy language used by the defendant were sworn to most positively, not only by the lad Welsh, but also by his five companions. They were likewise confirmed in some unimportant particulars by seven or eight other witnesses not present at the time in question. On the evening of the following day, two of the men called on Dr. Jephson at his chambers in college, for the purpose of returning his watch. He was greatly agitated, and said Take the watch. I gave it freely, and want to have nothing more to do with it. On the Saturday morning, the defendant had gone before a magistrate, and made a charge against certain persons unknown, for taking his watch and money. Now, when, on the evening of that day, two or those very persons came to his chambers, what would he have done, if he really meant to prosecute them to conviction? Would he not have had them apprehended while they were in the college? Was not that the natural course for him to have pursued? The porter was at the gate the wicket only was open there were persons in all the rooms adjoining, for it was full term-time, and nothing could have been easier than the apprehension of those persons. On hearing the name of one of the parties concerned (for they had themselves told the affair all over Cambridge), the magistrate sent for him and he attended; after a conference HE WAS DISCHARGED On Wednesday Dr. Jephson preferred a fresh charge, and was then examined himself. He admitte dhe was on the spot on the evening mentioned by Welsh, and also in the morning. The reasons he gave for leaving the high road were, that the dust annoyed him. It was proved, however, that there was so much rain in the morning, that the men could not work in the gravel pits. He accounted for being undressed in another way. On the Sunday, although the names of all the witnesses were known, the charge was dismissed, and the men were treated by the constable, who had apprehended one of them, with a dinner. The defence consisted in pointing out some contradictions in the men's evidence, and in contending that the horrible conduct and disgusting language spoken to were utterly irreconcileable with the high character given to Dr. J. by so many witnesses of unimpeachable veracity and honour. No less than four-and-twenty gentlemen, from various parts o the kingdom, have come forward to depose on this public trial that hsi moral character had ever been without taint or suspicion; that he was a man of refined moral sentiment; that he possessed strong religious feeling; that hs morality was without affectation, and his religion without ostentation; that he was remarkable for the decorum and propriety of his conduct; that he was never known to tell a falsehood in his life, nor to utter an indecent expression. Nothing can be more complete as far as it goes than testimony. We remember, however, to have heard, that previous to the denouncement of that loathsome wretch, the Bishop of Clogher, he might have commanded the testimonies of a vast many noblemen and gentry, as to his religious feeling, his morality, and propriety, who judging of him from his outward deportment had regarded him a paragon of respectability. As to language, nothing could exceed the horrible character of that which was proved to have been employed by that odious libel onhumanity. Dr. Jephson attended the trial in person. It lasted sixteen hours, when after half an hour's consideration, the Jury returned a verdict of ACQUITTAL, with this qualification, that they were all of one opinion, but that opinion was wavering. They all had a doubt of the guilt of both parties; but as his lordship had said, that in case they entertained a doubt on the subject, that doubt should be turned to the benefit of the defendant, they, for that reason acquitted him. Thus (says the New Times, is the mind left in painful suspense; and either side of the dliemma presents a horrible picture of human depravity. Either a man who had passed through life with the unvarying appearance of high moral purity must be believed to have fallen at once into the depths of the most unutterable degradation, or no less than six persons must have joined in a conspiracy too fearfully iniquitous to be contemplated without shuddering. (Leeds Intelligencer)
Friday 19 December 1823
CAMBRIDGE, Dec. 17.
At a congregation on Wednesday the 10th inst. a Grace was passed to present a petition to the Visitor of St. Johns college, praying him to expel Thos. Jephson, Clerk, from that society, or to order such investigation of his conduct as the statutes of the college may require. (Stamford Mercury)
Tuesday 23 December 1823
Mr. JEPHSON. (From the Cambridge Independent Press.) At a congregation on Wednesday morning, which was but thinly attended, the Vice-Chancellor read the answer of the Bishop of Ely, the Visitor ofd St. Johns College, to the Petition voted by the Senate on the preceding Wednesday. It stated, that his Lordship had communicated with the Master and Seniority of St. Johns on the subject, and had recommended them to adopt such measures as would meet the justice of the case, and pointing out the particular statute under which the particular case came. The Master and Seniority replied, that they had already taken steps to meet the justice of the case, and had resolved (here we could not catch the particular expression used) that the Rev. Thomas Jephson should not be permitted to reside in College, nor to hold any office, until his innocence was more fully established. The Learned Prelates communication concluded by his observing, he had no power to interfere in the matter as Visitor, unless requested so to do by the Master and five Seniors. The congregation then broke up. (Morning Chronicle)
SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given. (Many reports were repeated verbatim across several newspapers, but I have not included them all.)
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1823",
Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 6 February 2015