Felix Vaughan

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Felix Vaughan (7 March 1766 – 22 April 1799) was an English barrister, known for his role as defence counsel in the treason trials of the 1790s.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

The son of Samuel Vaughan of Middlesex, a tradesman,[3] he was baptised at Westminster St James on 20 March 1766, and educated at Harrow School and Stanmore,[4] where he was briefly a pupil of Samuel Parr, who became a lifelong friend, as did Basil William Douglas, Lord Daer, a schoolfellow, son of Dunbar Douglas, 4th Earl of Selkirk.[5][6] He was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1785. He entered Jesus College, Cambridge as a fellow-commoner in 1786, graduating B.A. in 1790 and M.A. in 1794.[4]

Vaughan was in France and Geneva in 1790–1. He corresponded from the continent with John Richter[7] and William Frend.[8]

Opponent of the Pitt clampdown[edit]

Back in England, Vaughan was part of the London radical milieu including James Losh;[9] also one of the group dining with John Horne Tooke.[10] He was called to the bar in 1792.[4] In spring of that year he was involved in drafting the constitution of the London Corresponding Society (LCS).[11] and consulted about with[clarification needed] the Society for Constitutional Information.[12] He became a dedicated LCS member, much involved in legal matters.[13][14]

From early in 1793, judicial measures, some questionable procedurally and some seen to be over-severe, were used to repress reforming views. In July Vaughan successfully defended a Knutsford bookseller who had stocked works of Tom Paine.[15] Advising James Watt junior, then abroad, Vaughan took the view that he was safe from prosecution.[16] He was counsel, with John Gurney, for Thomas Briellat, convicted in December 1793 for using seditious language.[17][18] In making the defence case, Vaughan emphasised the ubiquity of the Association for Preserving Liberty and Property.[19]

In 1794 Vaughan visited Thomas Muir in his prison hulk, with Joseph Priestley.[20] In February, with Gurney, he successfully defended Daniel Isaac Eaton on a sedition charge, for publishing an allegory by John Thelwall.[21] The defence rested largely on freedom of the press, and the jury refused to find that Eaton had criminal intention.[22]

Vaughan took part as junior counsel in the defence of the reformer Thomas Walker on trial in Lancaster for seditious conspiracy, with Thomas Erskine.[23][24] The trial began in April 1794, and Walker was acquitted, with the main prosecution witness discredited.[25]

Vaughan in May 1794 defended George Harley Vaughan, a schoolmaster who had circulated a handbill about the war and its effect on the poor, on a seditious libel charge in Leicester.[26][27][28] He was present with John Frost when John Horne Tooke's house was searched after his arrest in May, and visited him in the Tower of London.[29] Subsequently, however, he was examined by the Privy Council, where he fended off implications of misprison of treason. As a consequence he was denied access to Horne Tooke, for a period from June.[30] He has been considered the author of the pamphlet Cursory Strictures of 2 October 1794 on the handling of the treason trials by Sir James Eyre LCJ, as has William Godwin.[31] He was junior counsel also that month in the trial of Thomas Hardy,[32] and for the trial of Horne Tooke in November.[33] Pages were removed from the LCS minute book, and Vaughan has been considered likely to be the person who did that.[34] Of the group of defendants charged with Hardy and Tooke, Jeremiah Joyce chose Vaughan as counsel, rather than the team of Erskine and Vicary Gibbs.[35]

In January 1795 Vaughan was unsuccessful in the defence of James Montgomery at Doncaster Assizes.[36] In 1797 he and Samuel Romilly defended John Gale Jones at Warwick Assizes; Jones was convicted but not sentenced.[37]

Thomas Banks made a series of plaster busts of the radicals around Horne Tooke, and Vaughan was included.[38]

Death[edit]

Vaughan died at his chambers in Lincoln's Inn, aged 32[39] or 33.[40] He left a legacy to Horne Tooke,[41] and property to Thomas Walker.[42] Samuel Parr composed a Latin inscription for him.[43]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Felix Vaughan, Lord Byron and His Times". Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  2. ^ Thomas Banks (1938). Annals of Thomas Banks. CUP Archive. p. 128. GGKEY:38ZS48NWC8R.
  3. ^ "Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Samuel Parr, 1829, Volume 1, Page 92". Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Vaughan, Felix (VHN786F)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. ^ Samuel Parr; John Johnstone (1828). The Works of Samuel Parr ...: With Memoirs of His Life and Writings, and a Selection from His Correspondence. 1. Longman, Rees. p. 79.
  6. ^ Professor John Barrell (16 December 2013). Living with the Royal Academy: Artistic Ideals and Experiences in England, 1768–1848. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-4094-0318-0.
  7. ^ Mary Thale (4 August 1983). Selections from the Papers of the London Corresponding Society 1792-1799. Cambridge University Press. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-0-521-24363-6.
  8. ^ "Janus: William Frend: Correspondence". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Losh, James (1763–1833), Romantic Circles". Archived from the original on 25 November 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  10. ^ James Epstein (2003). In Practice: Studies in the Language and Culture of Popular Politics in Modern Britain. Stanford University Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-8047-4788-2.
  11. ^ John Williams (1 January 1989). Wordsworth: Romantic Poetry and Revolution Politics. Manchester University Press. pp. 522–. ISBN 978-0-7190-3168-7.
  12. ^ Wharam, Alan (1992). The Treason Trials, 1794. Leicester University Press. p. 23. ISBN 0718514459.
  13. ^ Davis, Michael T. "London Corresponding Society". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/42297. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  14. ^ Eugene Charlton Black (1963). The Association: British Extraparliamentary Political Organization, 1769-1793. Harvard University Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-674-05000-6.
  15. ^ Jenny Graham (2000). The Nation, the Law, and the King: Reform Politics in England, 1789-1799. 2. University Press of America. pp. 503–4. ISBN 0-7618-1484-1.
  16. ^ Jenny Graham (2000). The Nation, the Law, and the King: Reform Politics in England, 1789-1799. 2. University Press of America. p. 602 note 210. ISBN 0-7618-1484-1.
  17. ^ Mary Thale (4 August 1983). Selections from the Papers of the London Corresponding Society 1792-1799. Cambridge University Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-521-24363-6.
  18. ^ Stephen Burley (1 October 2014). Hazlitt the Dissenter: Religion, Philosophy, and Politics, 1766-1816. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 183 note 149. ISBN 978-1-137-36443-2.
  19. ^ Carl B. Cone (2010). The English Jacobins, reformers in late 18th century England. Transaction Publishers. pp. 144–5. ISBN 978-1-4128-4362-1.
  20. ^ John Towill Rutt, ed. (1817). "The theological and miscellaneous works of Joseph Priestley". Internet Archive. p. 221 note. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  21. ^ Mary Thale (4 August 1983). Selections from the Papers of the London Corresponding Society 1792-1799. Cambridge University Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-521-24363-6.
  22. ^ H. T, Dickinson, Thomas Paine and his British Critics (PDF), pp.51–2, Enlightenment and Dissent No. 27, 2011
  23. ^ Davis, Michael T. "Walker, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/63603. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  24. ^ Wharam, Alan (1992). The Treason Trials, 1794. Leicester University Press. p. 123. ISBN 0718514459.
  25. ^ Jenny Graham (2000). The Nation, the Law, and the King: Reform Politics in England, 1789-1799. 2. University Press of America. p. 602. ISBN 0-7618-1484-1.
  26. ^ John Barrell (2000). Imagining the King's Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 1793-1796. Oxford University Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-19-811292-1.
  27. ^ The City of Leicester: Parliamentary history, 1660-1835, in A History of the County of Leicester: Volume 4, the City of Leicester, ed. R A McKinley (London, 1958), pp. 110-152 http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/leics/vol4/pp110-152 [accessed 2 April 2015].
  28. ^ Andrew Kippis; William Godwin (1795). The New Annual Register, Or General Repository of History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year ... G. Robinson, Pater-noster-Row. pp. 1–.
  29. ^ Wharam, Alan (1992). The Treason Trials, 1794. Leicester University Press. pp. 93 and 127. ISBN 0718514459.
  30. ^ Jenny Graham (2000). The Nation, the Law, and the King: Reform Politics in England, 1789-1799. 2. University Press of America. pp. 615–6 and note 41. ISBN 0-7618-1484-1.
  31. ^ Wharam, Alan (1992). The Treason Trials, 1794. Leicester University Press. p. 133. ISBN 0718514459.
  32. ^ Wharam, Alan (1992). The Treason Trials, 1794. Leicester University Press. p. 142. ISBN 0718514459.
  33. ^ Wharam, Alan (1992). The Treason Trials, 1794. Leicester University Press. p. 194. ISBN 0718514459.
  34. ^ Mary Thale (4 August 1983). Selections from the Papers of the London Corresponding Society 1792-1799. Cambridge University Press. p. 11 note 19. ISBN 978-0-521-24363-6.
  35. ^ John Adolphus (1843). The history of England: from the accession to the decease of King George the Third. Printed for the author, and published by J. Lee. p. 47.
  36. ^ Jenny Graham (2000). The Nation, the Law, and the King: Reform Politics in England, 1789-1799. 2. University Press of America. p. 654. ISBN 0-7618-1484-1.
  37. ^ Jenny Graham (2000). The Nation, the Law, and the King: Reform Politics in England, 1789-1799. 2. University Press of America. pp. 761 note 59. ISBN 0-7618-1484-1.
  38. ^ Rune Frederiksen; Eckart Marchand (27 September 2010). Plaster Casts: Making, Collecting and Displaying from Classical Antiquity to the Present. Walter de Gruyter. p. 294. ISBN 978-3-11-021687-5.
  39. ^ John Nichols (1799). The Gentleman's Magazine. E. Cave. p. 358.
  40. ^ The Monthly Magazine. 1799. p. 335.
  41. ^ Davis, Michael T. "Horne Tooke, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27545. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  42. ^ Albert Goodwin (1979). The Friends of Liberty: The English Democratic Movement in the Age of the French Revolution. Hutchinson of London. p. 365. ISBN 978-0-09-134170-1.
  43. ^ Samuel Parr; John Johnstone (1828). The Works of Samuel Parr, ...: With Memoirs of His Life and Writings, and a Selection from His Correspondence. 4. Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green. p. 572.

Category;Alumni of Jesus College, Cambridge