The Newgate Calendar - THOMAS CAPPOCK<BR>

THOMAS CAPPOCK
The rebel bishop of Carlisle.

Illustration:
Thomas Cappock

   WE have already, in our statement of the strength of the garrison at Carlisle, announced a bishop, created by the Pretender. Such anecdotes of this enthusiastic rebel, as we have been able to glean from the public prints of the year of this rebellion, we have put together, in order to allot to this would-be Right Reverend Father in God, a memoir independent of the treacherous group among whom he swung on the gallows.

   On the 12th of August, 1746, the Lord Chief Baron Parker, Baron Clarke, Judges Burnett and Dennison, arrived at Carlisle, and by virtue of a special commission for that purpose to them directed, convened a Court, for the purpose of trying the rebels found in arms, on the surrender of Carlisle. On the 14th the Scotch prisoners were arraigned, but the witnesses in behalf of the crown (also Scotchmen) refused to swear in the form prescribed by the laws of England. The judges therefore deferred the trial in order to consult on this contumacy; but next morning allowed them to take the oath after the Scotch form. Bills of indictment were found against all the officers, as well as bishop Cappock; but the common men, amounting to near four hundred, were ordered to cast lots; and of every twenty nineteen were to be transported, and the twentieth put upon his trial for high treason. Some few refused this lenity, depending upon so deceiving the evidence as not to recognize them; for this purpose they cut off each others hair, changed their clothing, and by every other method which they could devise, disguised themselves.

   When the grand jury presented true bills, the whole of those indicted were brought to the bar, whom the Lord Chief Baron told that the Court desired them to choose what counsel they pleased, with a solicitor -- that the Court had given orders to their clerk, to make out subpoenas for them, gratis, and by virtue thereof, to bring forward such witnesses as they imagined could, in any manner, tend to their exculpation. [Note: We make here an involuntary pause upon the humanity of the English law, extended to the utmost in this case, to men taken in arms against their Sovereign and we rather doubt, whether the Pretender, had he gained his cause, would have allotted his prisoners quite so fair a trial.]

   In order to give them every chance for this end, the Judges adjourned the Court, and proceeded to the city of York, where a number of more rebels were in confinement, and where bills were found against seventy-nine of them. It was near a month before they returned to Carlisle. On the 9th of September, 1762, [they] were arraigned at the bar of the court of the latter city, of whom fifty-nine pleaded not guilty. On the 10th forty-five more were brought up, and all pleaded not guilty, except three, one of whom was a desperate turbulent fellow, a rebel captain named Robert Taylor, who had repeatedly vaunted that he would take Edinburgh castle in three days. The next day twelve more were arraigned, and among them was the more immediate subject of the present page -- the rebellious bishop.

   He appeared at the bar in his gown and cassock, assumed much confidence, and appeared to entertain no idea that he could be convicted. He made a speech to the Court and Jury, which chiefly went to shew, that he joined the rebels by compulsion alone. He called his father, and one Mary Humphries, to substantiate this assertion; but their evidence fell far short of so doing. A witness, however, proved, that the prisoner had made an attempt to escape from the rebels. On the other side, it was proved, that he voluntarily went with the rebels from Manchester to Derby, and thence back to Carlisle. It further appeared, that wherever the rebels went he read public prayers for King James, and Charles Prince of Wales, Regent of England. At Manchester he preached in one of the churches, and took his text from Psal. xcvii. "The Lord is King, the earth may be glad thereof." At Carlisle he appeared the Church Militant, with a hanger by his side, a plaid sash, and white cockade, acting also as a Quarter Master. Another witness proved, that this fighting bishop told him of his engaging two of the kings soldiers, and taking them both prisoners; and he vaunted, that his Prince had offered battle to the Duke of Cumberland, who run away; that they (the rebels) returned to Scotland, only to join Lord George Drummond, who had landed with many thousand French, to assist their cause. [Note: This gasconade had a spice of the French in it, from whom the mock bishop doubtless acquired this Bobadil-like boasting. We have even seen the reverse; the Duke constantly pursuing the Pretender.] His evidence, Miss Humphries, was shewn a letter, which she acknowledged to be the hand-writing of the bishop; wherein he had the effrontery to tell the barefaced falsehood of the Duke of Cumberland ordering him to be kept on half a pound of bread per day, and nasty water, because he advised to give battle to him at Stanwix, and protested against the surrender of Carlisle.

   The jury, notwithstanding the confidence apparent in the prisoner through his whole trial, which lasted sit hours, in two minutes found him guilty. The priest, it seems, still did not abandon himself to his fate; for in a few days it was discovered, that he and six more condemned rebels, had sawed off their irons, and were about to attempt an escape. The instrument with which they effected this,. was prepared for the purpose by a new and curious method. It is thus described, "They laid a silk handkerchief singly over the mouth of a drinking-glass, and tied it hard at the bottom, then struck the edge of a case knife on the brim of the glass, (thus covered to prevent noise) till it became a saw. With such knives they cut their irons, and when the teeth were blunt, they had recourse to the glass to renew it. A knife will not cut a handkerchief when struck upon it in this manner."

   Cappock, with the other convicted rebels, were hanged at Carlisle, on the 28th of October, 1746.

   [Note: Another furious non-juring priest was taken among the rebels, of the name of Robert Lyon. This turbulent rebel, under the gallows at Penrith, read a long and infamous libel against the King and Government of England, and the sheriff, to his disgrace, permitted him to harangue, in a similar strain near half an hour, with the halter round his neck; concluding with this hardened exclamation, "If my life was now given to me, I would still continue in the same principles, and assist the virtuous cause of King James."]

 

Prev Next