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sworn.-Examined by


Q. Was you at the Percy coffee-house on the 6th of November last?

A. I was.

Q. Did you see Mr. Frost there?
A. I did.

Q. Be so good as tell us whether you heard him say any thing, and what it was?

A. I did not attend to the conversation, till I heard what I thought very treasonable words, upon which I committed them to paper: I wrote it at the time with an idea of having it signed.

Q. Be so good as to read it slowly.

A. (Reads.) Percy coffee-house, 6th of November 1792. We, the undermentioned, do hereby certify, that at about ten o'clock this evening, Mr. John Frost came into this coffee-room, and did then, and in our presence, openly declare, that he wished to see equality prevail in this country, and no King, in a loud and factious way; and upon being asked, whether he meant that there should be no King in this country; he answered, Yes.That is all I recollect of seditious words.

Lord Kenyon. You put this down with a view that they might have been signed?

A. I did.

Mr. Wood. Was Mr. Frost drunk or sober at that time?

A. I never saw Mr. Frost before that time, but he did not appear to me to be a man in liquor, not in the least so.

Q. Have you ever seen him at any other time?
A. I have frequently since.

Q. Where may that be?

A. In Paris.

Q. How soon after this was it?

A. I arrived at Paris on the 27th of December, I think, to the best of my recollection; and I saw him a few days after my arrival there.

Mr. Erskine. We have surely nothing to do with what passed in Paris?

Lord Kenyon. I think I may hear it; if words in this country constituting a different offence, that might be prosecuted here; but this is quite a new question. In common slander this is always allowed.

Mr. Erskine. I confess, I cannot help entering my protest against it, and upon this plain principle, that it may be recollected that that question did arise, and that the Defendant may have the benefit of it.

Mr. Attorney General. I believe Mr. Erskine has misunderstood what I meant by putting the question. I meant merely whether he had ever seen Mr. Frost at any future time any where, and whether, from any conversation he had with him, he can take upon him to judge of the state in which Mr. Frost was upon the 6th of November 1792; that is, comparing his modes of conversing at future times,

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near or distant from that 6th of November 1792. I don't wish to ask a single question respecting Mr. Frost's conversation since that time, whatever the law may be upon the subject. I have a still more important reason for not asking it.

Mr. Erskine. My objection is by no means cured, but still more important. The question was this, <whether the witness shall be allowed to say from conversations with Mr. Frost

Mr. Bullock. I believe I can save you a great deal of trouble. I know nothing about it.

Lord Kenyon. I am clearly of opinion that it might have been asked in the way in which the Attorney General put it, if by his general deportment afterwards he could judge whether he was in liquor or not. I have not the least particle of doubt.

Mr. Erskine. Neither have I certainly upon that point, my Lord.

Q. Where have you seen him since?

A. At Calais the first time.

Lord Kenyon. I will not have all his life and conversation brought forward; I would not have him give evidence from conjecture or knowledge of what he was doing at Paris; all that I mean to allow is, whether from his general deportment at other times, he thinks he was sober at that time?

Q. How many times might you see him, think you?

A. It is impossible to say; I have frequently seen him at a coffee-house.

Q. Are

you able to judge from that, whether he was sober-or not when you saw him at Percy Street coffee-house?

A. He was what you may call a sober man.

Mr. Erskine. Was he like a man that had been drinking?

A. Drinking moderately.

Q. Two bottles of port, what do you say to that? A. I cannot say.

Q. It is very difficult to judge by weights and scales.

A. I thought he was sober by his manner.




I RISE to address you under circumstances so peculiar, that I consider myself entitled not only for the Defendant arraigned before you, personally for myself, to the utmost indulgence of the Court. I came down this morning with no other notice of the duty cast upon me in this cause, nor any other direction for the premeditation necessary to its performance, than that which I have ever considered to be the safest and the best, namely, the

records of the Court, as they are entered here for trial, where for the ends of justice the charge must always appear with the most accurate precision, that the accused may know what crime he is called upon to answer and his Counsel how he may defend him. Finding therefore upon the record which arraigns the Defendant, a simple, unqualified charge of seditious words, unconnected, and uncomplicated with any extrinsic events, I little imagined that the conduct of my Client was to receive its colour and construction from the present state of France, or rather of all Europe, as affecting the condition of England; I little dreamed that the 6th day of November (which, reading the Indictment, I had a right to consider like any other day in the calendar) was to turn out an epoch in this country (for so it is styled in the argument), and that instead of having to deal with idle, thoughtless words, uttered over wine, through the passage of a coffee-house, with whatever at any time might belong to them, I was to meet a charge, of which I had no notice, or conception, and to find the loose dialogue, which, even upon the face of the record itself, exhibits nothing more than a casual sudden conversation, exalted to an accusation of the most premeditated, serious, and alarming nature,verging upon high treason itself, by its connexion with the most hostile purposes to the state, and assuming a shape still more interesting from its dangerous connexion with certain mysterious conspiracies, which, in confederacy with French republicans,

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