Anecdotage of Glasgow
Hawkie on trial by jury: Justice and
YOUR jurymen, at least the maist o
them that I hae seen and Im thankfu I was never before onymicht hae
been born and brocht up in a cabbage bed; ye may see, ony day, as mony
sensible-looking kail stocks, wi their curly heads looking ower the
creels in the green market and your special jury are nae betterthey only
differ in the length o their shanks. Every man worth twa hunner pounds is
fit to sit on a man and murder, transport him, or put him to gang up a
wooden turnpike for a month, and get nae farer up than twa or three
steps; for though hes gaun up a the time, he gets na oot o the bit,
which maks a perfect fule o a reasonable creature.
Its no the rent o a house that a
man lives in that should qualify him for the jury, for theres mony a twa-legged
calf that owns a castle; its no the number o his acres, for mony o your
lairds are of as muckle value to the community aneath the earth as aboon
it. They cam oot o yerd a they were worth was yerdthey gaed to yerd
at last when death had done his darg wi them.
Its no the claith that covers the
carcass; the tailor wi his shears, needle, and goose can thus qualify for
office, for if this be a thats necessary, a cuddy ass can carry claes;
nor ist being able to jabber Greek and Latinbeing brocht up at college;
for they come oot wi heads as naked as a sheep aff the shears. I wad
advise a thae numskulls to be made writers o, if they can sign their ain
name; theyll tak care o themselsand theres nae animal that I ken
grips the grass sae near .the grund as a goose.
So its nane o thae possessions or
adornments that, wi justice and humanity to poor criminals, should ever
determine between guilt and innocence; but its the man that has a heart
an head, that kens his ain heart, and what crimes are there, though
uncommitteddepend ont its no his faut that they wernaa man whas
tongue keeps within the teeth when he does guid to his neighbour happin
the naked, an fillin' the mouth o the hungryand instead o wishing puir
wretches on the tread-mill, or to let hangie put a runnin knot roun
their neck, would help to hide the puir wretch if they thoct that he
wouldna dot again.
Were such like folk set up as judges
o richt an wrang, innocence and guilt, in our kintra, from the Lord
Chancellor, whas head is whiles nae better filled than his seat, to a
magistrate o the Sautmarketwi some feasibility it might be said that
justice and judgment had their place among us.
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