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Lord Chief Justice: Alas! if there has
been an attempt to escape, there can be no
pretension to complain of hardship.

Mr. Hungerford said, there was no
instance of any prisoner being shackled with
irons in the Tower before Mr. Layer;
indeed, the irons had to be sent for from
Newgate. Coke had held that no prisoner
should be arraigned in chains.

No change was made at the time, but
when the trial came on, on the twenty-first
of November, Mr. Hungerford again
desired that the prisoner's irons might be

Lord Chief Justice: The irons must be
taken offwe will not stir till the irons
are taken off. The irons were then removed.

The prisoner's counsel made but a poor
fight of it. The evidence was overwhelming.
It was shown, however, that Lynch
was an idle, dissolute fellow, and that
Plunkett was a broken man, not to be
trusted. Mrs. Mason, also, was proved to
be a thief and an infamous person, and the
prisoner declared that she had opened the
parcel of letters, and probably introduced
forged ones. Layer denied that the papers
were in his own handwriting, although his
clerk confessed he had written them by his
master's orders. The fire-arms he had
taken for bad debts, and had kept them to
protect his property. Layer also tried to
prove that the money he had given men was
mere charity. As for Lynch, he was not
likely, on so short an acquaintance, to have
so soon trusted him with dangerous and
important secrets. Layer contended that
though there might have been a consulting
and agreeing about levying a war, yet
that it did not appear that the war to be
levied was such a war as the law adjudged
to be treason. In a word, he denied that
anything done by him amounted to an
overt act of treason.

Layer was found guilty, and sentenced
to be hung and quartered. The prisoner
begged a long day, in order to make up
the accounts of Lord Londonderry, and
other gentlemen with whom he had
corresponded. "When this is done," he said
with some dignity, "if His Majesty does
not think fit graciously to continue me in
this world, I will dare to die like a
gentleman and a Christian, not doubting but
that I shall meet with a double portion of
mercy and justice in the next world, though
it is denied me in this."

After many respites, the unfortunate
Jacobite was hung at Tyburn, on the 17th
of May, 1723. He made a short speech on
the ladder, recommending the Pretender,
and delivered papers to the under-sheriff
and a friend of his own present. The letter
to Mr. Walter Price, under-sheriff, at his
house in Castle-yard, Holborn, began thus:

"MR. SHERIFF,—I having previously
resolved to employ all the time allowed me
at the place of execution in devotion and
making my peace with God, I have,
instead of any speech I could make to the
spectators on this unfortunate occasion,
committed my last thoughts of all worldly
affairs to writing, and have sent two
authentic duplicates to two trusty friends
to testify thereby to the world, in due time,
and as occasion offers, the true principles
of both my religion and loyalty, as well as
the unparalleled hardship and injustice I
have lately met with, for which I pray
God forgive the author thereof, and so
taking leave of this vain world, God in
mercy receive my soul. Amen."


The conspirator's dismembered body was
given to his wife and sister for interment,
his head was carried to Newgate, and the
next day fixed upon Temple Bar.

Years after, one stormy night, the rebel's
skull blew down, and was picked up by a
non-juring attorney, named Pierce, who
preserved it as a relic of the Jacobite
martyr. It is said that Dr. Richard
Rawlinson, an eminent antiquary, obtained
what he thought was Layer's head, and
desired in his will that it should be placed
in his right hand when he was buried.
Another version of the story is, that a spurious
skull was foisted upon Rawlinson, who died
happy in the possession of the doubtful

And this is the last we hear of the
unlucky Jacobite plotter of Southampton-

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