JAMES FERGUSON, an itinerant book printer, a native of Scotland, pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing some knives from the shop of Mr. Lancelot HARRISON, of Rickergate. The prisoner came into Court with a written defence, or rather apology, which showed that he had fully prepared himself for the part he had to perform. We had an opportunity of seeing this document—it thus commences:
"Have you any obgection to the Jury? No. I can have none, as the gentelmen is entirely unknown to me; but I supose they are all gentelmen of respectiability and Good reputation or otherwise they would not be selected for that purpos. Are you guilty"—
This question having been put by the Bench, FERGUSON read from his paper as follows: we copy verbatim et literatim:—
"To save the honourable Court the trouble in seeking precognitiance of witness, with penitance and sham I fuly acknoledge my Guilt, and sincerly bege the clemency of the honorable & learned Judges and Court for mitagation of puneshment, and hops you will endulge me so far as to make a few remarks on the subjeck.—I am a native of Scotland and a prenter by business, and being out of employ, and went to Manchester, leeds, hull, and york, and cam to new Castel on my return to Scotland, having failed in obtaing a situation; a man, profesing himself to be a hatter, was shown to bed to me; he got up at twelight in the morning, under pretence of going to the privey, and carried of with him my bundle of cloths and papers, som of them beng of the outmost emportance to me, and dresed himself comfortly in my cloths, saving my coat, and left me old desgreeable things to put on, and carried all my mony with him: he told me the evening befor that he was destained this way, and having got information on the road, I cam up to a man at branton, which came from new Castle—a hatter from Cork, Irland, seeking work; but he was not the man I was in queest of. I came to Carslile in despair of seing him, and totaly destituted of money; and having got a deal of spirites the evening befor, and that morning, from som Country men of my own, and som men which was with me in the service of my king and Country, I was in a state bordring upon insanity—l went into the shope in queeston, not with the intintion of cometing the shamfull deed that I was left to my self by divine and restraing grace to comit, but to ask a smal suport to facilitate my way, and no person being in the shope, I was instantanisly temped and left by god for a moment to commite the shamfull deed. I am arenged befor this Honourable Court and Jurey, the which I sincerly repent, and throw my self upon the mercey of the Judge and Jury. I have served my king and Country a soldier for twenty-tow years in the land service. I received several severe wounds on my head; so that when I drink any considerabl quanaty of spirites, it makes me in a Capacity not altogether Capapal of manageing myself, the which I strive to avoid for the said reason; but unhaply gave way to it on the ocasion for which I am justly cald in question. I enlisted in to the service in September 93, and joined the army under the Comand of His Royal Highnes the Duke of york in august 94. & was with armey on their Retreate through the severe winter of 94 in holand, and embarked from bremen the spring of 95 for England, and embarked July 95 for the west indians; was present under the Comand of Genneral Sir Ralph ABERCROMBIE at the Retaking of the Islands of St. Luciae, St. Vincent, & Grenade in the 1796; and in febuary 1797, took the Island of trenedad under the comand of the above General; in May 97, Disembark on portrico, but did not succeed; came hom in 98, and in 99 went to Holand with Sir Ralf ABERCROMBIE. The army was afterwards comanded by His Royal Highness Duk york in person. The army came hom in terms of negociation; & in 1800, embarked under the Comand of General Sir Ralph ABERCROMBIE with the army destind for egypt; disembarked in march 1801; the 8 day engaged; on the 13th, the General action; on the 21st, Sir Ralph was wounded, and died; continued there till the evacuation of the british army; and was in Scotland, Ireland, and England, till 1807; went on the expedition to Copenheagan, under the comand of General lord CATHCART; at the evacuation of the armey came to england; son after, was ordred on an expadition, under the Comand of Sir John MOOR, to Sweden; continued in gotenburgh Roads for 6 weks; came to speed head; sent out to portugal under the Comand of the said General Sir John MORE, wher we landed prevous to the action of vemierie; the armey was selected and sent to Spain, under the Comand of the said Sir John MOOR. We continued for a time in Salamanca, afterwards advanced upon Madred by Bennevente, in advance of which we wer nearly surounded, & comenced that fattal retreat to Coruna, where we engaged and defetated the enemy with the loss of our Comander-in-chief, and was obliged to mak a preciped embarkation, and sail for england in Jany 1809. Same year, went on the expodicion to flusing, under the Comand of the Earel of Chatham; came to england at the evacuation of the troops from walcheren; and the sam yeare, in december, sent out to lisborn, from whence we were ordered to cadez, under the Comand of General GRAHAM, where we was closely beseged till we were Cald to portugal the august following, upon the advance of a french army under MESINA upon portugal, till we gaind the Army under the Comand of lord wellington, by forced Marches, on the Hights of besaca, the day befor the action which took place there; lay at toresvedos lines till the enmy retread next springe, 1811. I shall not be too tedious. Was present at fontes de horo; at storming of Cuded rodridgo and Badegoce; at the Battel of Salamanca, siege of Bargos, battel of victorie, and at the afars that took place on the pyrenees, and near pampeluna; and at the storming of the french lines, front of Jeandeluce, alonge the foot of the pyreenes, and charging the enmy into Bayone; and was enged on the 9, & 10, & 13 december, 1813, when the enmeny salied out from bayone; was present in all the afaires that toak place on the march through france, ortes, &c. till we engeaged the emeny on the hights befor toulouse, which we defeated the enmy befor we knew of BONOPARTE's abdication. In this servis I was 5 times wounded. Soon after the British armey evocated france, and I was discharged 17th of December, 1814, and I have lived in Scotland with my famely; I have a wife and 3 of a famely, and on my industry depends theere suport; neither is anny of them able to do for themselves, being under 10 years of age. Therefor I hope that my longe and ardeous service in behalf of my Gracious King and Country—wherein, as an endividual, with my Companions in arms, headed by brave and meritorious Comanders, has maintaind the hazzardious Contest which at last terminated favourable and honourable to the british arms, and has brought our renound kingdom to rank high among the nations of urope; therefore, I hope, you will be gracisly pleased to sympathise with a faithful servand of my king and Country, who has permiscusly falen into a Crime by a sudent temtation, through my wants, and the agitaion of mind, together wiih the state of provaty I was then in, and I do assur you, my honourable Judges, not in the least habitualy inclind; therefor I throw Myself upon the Gracious Mercy and Clemancey, hoping you will be pleased to mitigat my sentance as your superior knowledge and high learing & station deems proper. I never was befor anny judges or magistrates for the liek before. I hope you will excuse this Iliterate pramble. I am your Honours humble and pennitent prisinar at the bare."
He was sentenced to two months' imprisonment in the Carlisle House of Correction.
John CROPP, John BURN, and Thomas THORNTON, the three soldiers of the 66th regt., lately committed for riot, and assaulting (stabbing with a bayonet) an aged woman, named Margaret ROUTLEDGE, in Finkle-street, as mentioned in our paper at the time, were discharged, there being no prosecution. At the period of committal, Margaret ROUTLEDGE was too ill to be bound over to prosecute, and thus these men most probably escaped conviction and consequent punishment. We hope they will in future have a better sense of duty as soldiers, and more respect for the lives of their fellow-subjects. The offence with which they were charged, with other irregularities of some of their comrades, led to the removal of the detachment of which they formed a part.
Reproduced with kind permission of British Newspaper Archives