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A Poaching Affray

Following is the summing up Judge Craufurd at the trial on 7 January 1848 of four Vickers brothers, and William Beveridge. I believe the original poaching party consisted of three others who seemed to have escaped justice


WILLIAM BEVERIDGE, coal-miner, now or lately residing at Gowkshill, in the parish of Cockpen, and county of Edinburgh; and WILLIAM VICKERS, ALEXANDER VICKERS, GEORGE VICKERS, and RAMSAY VICKERS, coal-miners, now or lately prisoners in the prison of Edinburgh, you are Indicted and Accused, at the instance of ANDREW RUTHERFURD, Esquire, Her Majestys Advocate for Her Majestys interest:

THAT ALBEIT, by an Act passed in the ninth year of the reign of His late Majesty King George the Fourth, chapter 69, intituled An Act for the more effectual prevention of persons going armed by night for the destruction of Game, it is, inter alia, enacted, by section first, That if any person shall, after the passing of this Act, by night, unlawfully take or destroy any game or rabbits in any laud, whether open or enclosed, ;or shall, by night, unlawfully enter or be in any land, whether open or enclosed, with any gun, net, engine, or other instrument, for the purpose of taking or destroying game, such offender shall, upon conviction thereof before two Justices of the Peace, be committed, for the first offence, to the common gaol or house of correction, for any period not exceeding three calendar months, there to be kept to hard labour, and at the expiration of such period, shall find sureties by recognisance, or in Scotland by bond of caution, himself in ten pounds, and two sureties in five pounds each, or one surety in ten pounds, for his not so offending again for the space of one year next following, and in case of not finding such sureties, shall be farther imprisoned and kept to hard labour for the space of six calendar months, unless such sureties are sooner found; and by section second of said Act it is enacted, That where any person shall be found upon any land committing any such offence as is herein before mentioned, it shall be lawful for the owner or occupier of such land, or for any person having a right, or reputed right, of free warren or free chase thereon, or for the lord of the manor, or reputed manor, wherein such i land may be situate, and also for any gamekeeper or servant of any of the persons herein mentioned, or any person assisting such gamekeeper or servant, to seize and apprehend such offender upon such land, or, in case of pursuit being made, in any other place to which he may have escaped there from, and to deliver him, as soon as may be, into the custody of a peace-officer, in order to his being conveyed before two Justices of the Peace ;

and in case such offender shall assault or offer any violence with any gun, crossbow, fire-arms, bludgeon, stick, club, or any other offensive weapon whatsoever, towards any person hereby authorised to seize and apprehend him, he shall, whether it be his first, second, or any other offence, be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof, shall be liable, at the discretion of the Court, to be transported beyond seas for seven years, or to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour in the common gaol or house of correction for any term not exceeding two years, and in Scotland, whenever any person shall so offend, he shall be liable to be punished in like manner; and by section ninth it is enacted, That if any persons, to the number of three or more together, shall, by night, unlawfully enter or be in any land, whether open or enclosed, for the purpose of taking or destroying game or rabbits, any of such persons being armed with any gun, cross- bow, fire-arms, bludgeon, or any other offensive weapon, each and every of such persons shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and, being convicted thereof before the Justices of Gaol Delivery, or of the Court of Great Sessions of the county or place in which the offence shall be committed, shall be liable, at the discretion of the Court, to be transported beyond seas for any term not exceeding fourteen years nor less than seven years, or to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for any term not exceeding three years; and, in Scotland, any persons so offending shall be liable to be punished in like manner : AND ALBEIT, by the laws of this and of every, other well-governed realm, ASSAULT, especially when committed to the effusion of blood, serious injury of the person, and danger of life; As also, ASSAULT, especially when committed by DISCHARGING a LOADED GUN or FOWLING-PIECE, and more especially when committed to the effusion of blood, and serious injury of the person, are crimes of an heinous nature, and severely punishable:

YET TRUE IT IS AND OF VERITY, that you the said William Beveridge, William Vickers, Alexander Vickers, George Vickers, and Ramsay Vickers, are, all and each, or one or more of you, guilty of the crimes set forth in the second and ninth sections of the statute above libelled, or of one or other of them, actors or actor, or art and part, and of the said respective crimes of assault, aggravated as aforesaid, or of one or other of them, actors or actor, or art and part : IN SO FAR AS (1.), on the Night of the 18th. or Morning of the 19th, day of October 1847, (Monday or Tuesday) or on some other night or morning of the said month of October, or of September immediately preceding, or of November immediately following, you the said. William Beveridge, William Vickers, Alexander Vickers, George Yickers, and Ramsay Vickcrs, did, all and each, or one or more of you, unlawfully enter, or were HI certain land, being the plantation or wood commonly called Aikendean Wood, in the parish of Carrington, and county of Edinburgh, then and now or lately belonging to the Right Honour-able the Earl of Rosebery, by night, that is to say, between the expiration of the first hour after sunset and the beginning of the last hour before sunrise, to the number of three or more together, for the purpose of taking or destroying game or rabbits, being all and each, or one or more of you, armed with a gun or guns, or other firearms, or with a bludgeon or bludgeons, or some other offensive weapon or weapons:

FURTHER (2.), you the said William Beveridge, William Vickers, Alexander Vickers, George Vickers, and Ramsay Vickers, did, all and each, or one or more of you, Time above libelled, and within or near the said plantation or wood, and at or near that part thereof situate about thirty yards, or thereby, from the hedge dividing said wood or plantation from a field on or near the south-west thereof, commonly called Garden Park, being part of the farm of Aikendean, in the parish of Carrington aforesaid, then and now or lately occupied by John Flint, farmer, then and now or lately residing there, wickedly, feloniously, and violently, attack and assault Archibald White, then and now or lately assistant gamekeeper to Robert Dundas, Esquire, of Arniston, and then and now or lately residing at or near Arniston Main Gate, in the parish of Borthwick, and county of Edinburgh; Robert Hume, then and now or lately gamekeeper to the Right Honourable the Earl of Dalhousie, and then and now or lately residing at or near Dalhousie Stable-Yard, in the parish of Cockpen, and county of Edinburgh; John Falconer, then and now or lately assistant-gamekeeper to Robert Balfour Wardlaw Ramsay, Esquire, of Whitehill, and then and now or lately residing at Roslin Lee, in the parish of Lasswade, and county of Edinburgh; And William Liddel, then and now or lately gamekeeper to the said Earl of Rosebery, then and now or lately residing at or near Rosebery House, in the Parish of Temple, and county of Edinburgh, or one or more of them; and you did, all and each, or one or more of you, with a gun or guns, or with a bludgeon, or other offensive weapon or weapons to the prosecutor unknown, strike the said Archibald White one or more violent b1ow to the head and face, or some other parts of his person, and did knock or fell him to the ground, and did, while he was lying on ground, strike him one or more violent blows on the head or other part of his person, whereby the said Archibald White was wound and bruised to the effusion of his blood, serious injury of his person. and danger of his life; and you did, all and each, or one or more of you, then and there, threaten to shoot the said Archibald white, Robert Hume, John Falconer, and William Liddel; or one or more of them; and you did, all and each, or one or more of you, then and there, wickedly and feloniously, and within the distance of seven yards, or thereby, discharge at the person of the said Robert Hume a loaded gun or fowling-piece, and the contents, or part thereof, of the said gun or fowling-piece were lodged in the thighs or other parts of the person of the said Robert Hume, whereby he was wounded, to the effusion of his blood and serious injury of his person:

And you the said William Beveridge having been apprehended and taken before George Tait, Esquire, advocate, sheriff-substitute of Edinburghshire, you did, in his presence at Edinburgh, on the 20th day of October 1847, emit and subscribe a declaration: And you the said William Vickers and George Yickers having been apprehended and taken before Andrew Jameson, Esquire, sheriff-substitute of Edinburgh-shire, you did, in his presence at Edinburgh, on the 20th day of October 1847, respectively emit a declaration, which was subscribed by him in the presence of each of you respectively, by whom the same were emitted, you having each of you declared you could not write: And you the said Alexander Vickers and Ramsay Vickers having been apprehended and taken before the said Andrew Jameson, Esquire, you did, each of you, in I his presence at Edinburgh, on the 20th day of October 1847, respectively emit and subscribe a declaration: Which Declarations, being to be used in evidence against each of you the said William Beveridge, William Vickers, Alexander Vickers, George Vickers, and Ramsay Vickers, by whom the same were respectively emitted; As also, a medical report or certificate, bearing to be dated Gorebridge October 27 1847, and to subscribed John Symington Surgeon; As also, a medical report or certificate, bearing to be dated Lasswade 14 November 1~47, and to be subscribed R Smyth Surgeon late R N; As also, two, or thereby, guns; As also, four, or thereby, sticks or branches of trees; As also, a coat; As also, a pair of trousers; As also a bonnet, being to be used in evidence against all and each of you the said William Beveridge, William Vickers, Alexander Vickers, George Vickers, and Ramsay Vickers, at your trial, will, for that purpose, be in due time lodged in the hands of the Clerk of the high Court of Justiciary, before which you are to be tried, that you may respectively have an opportunity of seeing the same: ALL WHICH, or part thereof, being found proven by the verdict of an Assize, or admitted by the respective judicial confessions of you the said William Beveridge William Vickers, Alexander Vickers, George Vickers, Ramsay Vickers, before the Lord Justice-Genera1, Lord Justice-Clerk, and Lords Commissioners of Justiciary, you the said William Beveridge, William Vickers, Alexander Vickers, George Vickers, and Ramsay Vickers, OUGHT to be punished with the pains of law, to deter others from committing the like crimes in all time coming.

JAMES CRAUFURD, A.D.

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