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possessed?—I certainly did not communicate it to them in terms; but major Sirr was perfectly aware of those examinations; he himself was present at some of them; he had sworn the witnesses in others; and there was no holding back any part of the information we possessed; and I considered that major Sirr was entitled to have access to the whole of it, and would have access to the whole of it before he signed his committal; in compliance with my advice, as the whole of the evidence before us was in the hands of the Crown solicitor, I considered that he would, acting with proper discretion, inform himself of the whole of the case, and have it regularly reduced to the shape of informations, as was done by Mr. Gabbett; for in the case in which Mr. Gabbett committed, the evidence on which he acted was reduced to the form of informations, and the parties were bound over to prosecute in the usual way.

Was the opinion of the law officers of the Crown as communicated to the magistrates, entirely an opinion upon law, or an opinion upon their discretion ?-The opinion that was communicated to the magistrates, was on the point of law, that we thought the evidence in point of law would warrant a committal for a capital offence.

Are you aware that Forbes had been held to bail on the night of the riot?-I am not quite sure at this moment whether he was held to bail; he was apprehended on the night of the riot by Mr. Graves; I believe he was discharged on that night; I am not quite sure whether bail had been given.

pened after the play?—I believe there were; but really I submit to the honourable member, whether it is of any use examining me to those points, which will appear upon the printed report of the trial.

Will you permit the committee to assume, that this report is sufficiently accurate to reason upon at a future time?—I have no power to give such a permission; I have already said, I believe it to be a very fair report of the trial.

Were the prisoners tried on both indictments at the same time?—They were not indictments, they were informations; they were given in charge on both the informations at the same time; I should mention with respect to that, that the practice in this country and in Ireland is different; the custom in the courts in this country, is to include in the same information offences, which we in Ireland include in distinct informations, the consequence is, that the practice in the two countries is different; here parties, I believe, are not permitted to be charged at the same time on separate informations, but that is because they are really distinct offences; but in Ireland, where they split into two informations, offences of one and the same nature which are in fact one, they do allow the parties to be charged with the two informations at one and the same time.

By Mr. Bennet.-Do not the magistrates under the police, hold their offices at the pleasure of the Crown?-I believe some of them do, and some of them do not; some are appointed by the Crown, some by the city; I believe major Sirr does not hold at the pleasure of the Crown, but under the city.

Are you aware that he was committed for Does Mr. Graves?-Mr. Graves I believe feloniously conspiring to kill and murder the does, but major Sirr, the magistrate who commarquis Wellesley, on the 23d Dec. 1822?-mitted Forbes, I believe does not. Yes; that was the final committal.

- Were any instructions given to the magistrates, with respect to that committal?-No direction; no instruction further than the giving the opinion I have already stated.

Was that opinion founded upon the evidence that was given at the trial by Mr. Troy and Mr. Farley ?—I do not think I ought to answer any question as to what were the particular informations on which I gave my opinion, I am in the judgment of the committee whether I ought to answer that or not, I have personally no objection.

Were there any evidences examined upon that subject, at the trial of Handwich, Forbes and others, for the conspiracy?-Upon what subject.

With respect to Forbes ?-Oh! yes; a great many witnesses were examined; a report of the trial was published.

Is Mr. Gabbett removable by the Crown?— Mr. Gabbett, I believe, is removable at the pleasure of the Crown.

Major Sirr's is a patent place is it?—No, I believe not. I believe under the police act, there are city magistrates and persons named by the Crown, and that those police magistrates who are appointed by the city, cannot be removed by the Crown.

By Colonel Burry.-You have said that you believe all the informations were before Mr. Gabbett previous to his making out his committal ?-I rather believe so.

Mr. Gabbett was asked, "Had you been left to your own discretion would you have committed for the capital offence ?" to which he replied, "It is impossible for me to answer directly that question otherwise than thus, that I certainly, if it had been left entirely to myself, should have required the whole of the informations to be laid before me to exercise my judgment upon them?"-It certainly would appear from that, that the whole had not been-my impression was, that the whole had been-that impression was created partly by my having looked at a brief, which Were there any other witnesses examined by accident is here, and now in my possession, upon that occasion to the point of what hap-in which the dates of informations taken before

Is that copy of the trial tolerably authentic? -Indeed I should think so.

Was Mr. Farley, the attorney, examined upon that occasion?—Yes.

Was Mr. Troy examined upon that occasion? -Yes.

Mr. Gabbett are stated, and by which it appears that Mr. Gabbett had all the informations reduced to regular form before the day of committal, that answer would make it appear as if he had not. I have not seen Mr. Gabbett's evidence since he gave it.

Were the examinations which were taken by the law officers of the Crown in the absence of the magistrates, sworn before the same magistrates? I cannot be certain of that; I should think they were sworn before more than one magistrate; I think different magistrates came in, from time to time, as they happened to be on the spot; the taking of the examinations continued for six or seven days; whatever magistrate happened to be on the spot when a witness was examined swore the witness.

Is it the practice of the Crown officers in Ireland, to have witnesses sworn before any magistrates who may accidentally be present, those magistrates not afterwards taking cognizance of the case?-I cannot say that it is; but in this case the whole of the matter was before the police magistrates, and no magistrate who was not a police magistrate swore any witness. In the case of Mr. Gabbett, were those examinations which you state were reduced into regular informations, re-sworn?-I should rather think so; I can only speak as to conjecture and belief; for I had no share whatever in the reducing them into informations, and know nothing upon the subject..

in which those persons whose case is now under inquiry, should be bailed ?-Certainly not.

Or the refusal of bail?-I gave an opinion which implied a refusal of any bail; if it was a capital charge, of course, there could be no bail taken, unless before a judge.

The question refers to the time subsequent to the abandonment of the capital charge; the capital charge was abandoned at the commission; after that was abandoned, did you give any opinion as to the amount of bail to be demanded from Forbes?—No, I did not; I have a distinct recollection that the bail given for Forbes was on his own offer; he stated that he would give bail to the amount of 1,000l. which I certainly should never have thought of requiring, nor I never mentioned the sum; it was taken by the judge.

Did you consider, from the manner in which those applications which have been referred to were made to you from the country, with respect to advising on the amount of bail to be taken, or on the nature of the committal to be made by the magistrates, that they had been in the habit of making similar applications before?-There is one instance only to which I could give any answer, and it really is not material to the present inquiry. A magistrate in the country had apprehended a person for an offence which in its nature was not bailable, and he wrote to me to know whether I would give him authority to let out the party without bail. I certainly declined giving any opinion upon the subject, stating that it was not a duty that belonged to me.

It appears that some of these parties were first committed for a minor offence, and were afterwards committed for the capital offence? Two of them.

In point of fact, did the magistrates reduce the examinations taken before the law officers of the Crown into the regular form of informations?-On my knowledge I can say nothing upon the subject; it was the business of the magistrates; it was their duty, with which I had no concern; they exposed themselves to the action of the party if they committed him Was there any information received in the without a regular information, and the party interim between the two committals, on which was entitled to be discharged by a judge, if he the capital committal was founded?-I conwas committed without a regular information; sider that there must have been; the capital I should take for granted that the magistrates, committal did not take place until the 23rd, I who are experienced persons, would do that think, of December; the examinations had which was right; what they did I have learned been closed on the 21st of December; and I -principally in the course of the present investi-think material information had been received gation.

By Sir J. Newport.-Have you ever had any application from any country magistrates for your opinion, as to the committals of parties or the amount of bail which they should take? -I have had applications at times from magistrates in the country, in cases where I had no acquaintance with the transaction, but where they applied to me merely as attorneygeneral, and my uniform answer has been, that I did not feel it my duty to interfere, and I declined giving any advice.

Did you learn from those who made those applications, or the manner in which they were made, whether it had been the former practice to make applications of that nature? -I should rather decline answering that question; I think I ought not to answer it.

Did you give any opinion as to the amount

in the course of that last day's examination, which went to affect not only Forbes, but the two other persons who were capitally committed.

By Colonel Barry.—Are you certain that you are correct as to the magistrates not being removable at the pleasure of the Crown ?—Ï perceive the answer I gave to a former question has been in error; the magistrates named by the city are, I am informed, removable at the pleasure of the Crown.

Were any of the prisoners against whom bills of indictment were preferred, and ignored by the grand jury afterwards, held to bail to answer an information to be filed by the attorney-general ?-They were held to bail by the court for that purpose.

By Mr. T. Ellis.-Do you feel that the attorney-general of Ireland has a right to call on

any person to enter into bail, to answer an information to be preferred at a future period? -The short answer to that is, that it was not my act, but the act of the court and on the offer of the party.

Did any other of the parties, except Forbes, make that offer?-I believe they all did.

In point of fact, were any of the defendants kept in prison for two days after the ignoring of the bills, in consequence of not being able to get bail?-I do not know that fact.

Do you feel, as attorney-general, that you had a right to call on the defendants to find

bail to answer to an information which was not then filed ?-That is a question of law which it is not necessary to answer, as it was the act of the court, and on their own offer.

Do you know whether any of those parties who were committed on the capital charge, made any application to a judge in order to obtain their release ?-I never heard that they did; I believe it would have been competent to any of them to make such an application; and if there was no information, or an insufficient information, they must have been dis


Was it at your suggestion, or that of any of the law officers of the Crown, that those persons were held to bail by the court?—The parties came in, not waiting for the end of the commission, and they applied to be forthwith discharged. I got up for the purpose of saying, that they were not then entitled to be discharged without giving bail; after I made that observation, they made an application to be discharged on giving bail; and it was quite unnecessary to enter into any argument upon the amount; the bail was fixed between them and the court: that (it should be observed) was an application before the termination of the commission; had it been at the termination of the commission, that would have altered the case.

The examination of Mr. Plunkett being concluded,

inquiry had been abandoned, not because the House was unwilling to proceed with it, but because the right hon. member for Cavanshire, in the exercise of his discretion, with regard to the interests committed to his care, thought it unnecessary that it should be continued. He hoped it would be recollected, that the House had made no compromise with the right hon. member.

Mr. Calcraft then moved, that the chairman do lay before the House the minutes of evidence. The minutes were the table and to be printed, and the witaccordingly presented, ordered to lie on nesses discharged from attendance.

Mr. Secretary Peel said, he did not know whether he was regular or no, but he could not refrain from taking that opportunity of expressing, what he believed to be also the universal feeling of the House, his sense of the impartiality and ability with which the hon. baronet (sir R. Heron) had filled the chair, during the inquiry which had just concluded [Hear, hear !].

IRISH JOINT TENANCY BILL.] Mr. Dominick Browne, in rising to move the committal of this bill, admitted that the task lay upon him to prove Joint Tenancy injurious, though it was notoriously so, as the object of the bill was to discourage that tenure.-The system of joint tenancy was, he said, very ancient in Ireland, and very fit perhaps to protect clans of husbandmen against wild beasts, or more barbarous clans of hunting savages, but totally unfit for people emerged from a primitive state of society, living under fixed laws and institutions in an integral part of the British empire. Under this system, from ten to five hundred acres were let to from two tenants to one hun

Colonel Barry said, that being aware of the inconvenience that would result from the prolongation of the inquiry, per-dred jointly; every one of whom was receiving too the dislike of the House to go on with it, and feeling that the case of the high sheriff was so strong that it needed no further evidence to support it, was willing to decline calling any more witnesses. He was convinced that the result of the inquiry was to clear the high sheriff from any charge of improper conduct.

Mr. Denman said, that as he knew it was the opinion of some honourable members that it would be necessary to submit certain resolutions founded on the evidence which had been given at the bar, it was of importance it should be understood, that the further prosecution of the

sponsible for the rent of all the rest, as well as his own. They held the land in common, making a new division of the arable every year or two. The pasture was always undivided. They generally paid a rack-rent, and after they had built their huts without mortar, chimney, or window, all swore to 40s. profit on registering their freeholds arising from a joint lease for one or more lives. The uniform results of this system were, the naked squalid beggary of the whole-extreme indolence, the necessary consequence of the industrious paying for the idle and profligate each tenant tried merely to preserve his existence and that of his

family. Any effort at improvement was out of the question. Their life was reduced to that of brutes: amongst themselves there was constant disunion and petty litigation; against all others, there was continual union for every bad purpose. They resisted the ordinary process of law together, they distilled illegally; they fought together against other clans at fairs and markets. Sedition and disease spread like wildfire among them. They were at once in a state of savage licentiousness and abject slavery to their landlords. Being all bound for each other, he could at any moment ruin any one though worth far more than his own proportion of rent, by distraining him for the rent of all the joint-tenants. In short the landlord had every power over them, save that of life and death. He could strip any one of his whole property, including his miserable food. Even where joint-tenants were in the best circumstances, much of their time was lost in watching the proper application of their common funds. They all attended whenever money was to be received or paid for the general account. This system contributed more than any thing else, to the multiplying of a beggarly population. From persons never valuing a common right like an individual one, jointtenants readily admitted into their partnership all their sons and frequently their sons-in-law. Under such circumstances, was it extraordinary that the greater part of them could hardly get a sufficiency of potatoes to keep them from starving? He knew many instances of this kind. In one case, he knew of a large farm let to sixteen joint-tenants in 1784: in 1817 they had increased to 59.-It would be asked, if this system was so injurious, why did not the interests of tenants and landlords abolish it without legislative interference? The reason was simply this-it afforded a great facility of giving qualifications to dependent freeholders. Under this system, the whole male population of a property was registered as freeholders. This in itself was one of its greatest vices. By it, the whole people were demoralized by constant perjury. The bill removed this bounty on joint-tenancy, and placed it the other way on separate tenures.-It had been objected to this bill, that it would disfranchise many freeholders. He would reply to this, that it had no retrospective effect. It would certainly prevent freeholders being created by new joint leases. That it would check fictitious freeholds VOL. IX.

he would admit; but the number of bonâ fide voters would be increased: and they would be infinitely less dependent, as the landlord could have no further power over them, than the demand for the rent of each tenant, for which alone he could be responsible.

Mr. R. Martin opposed the bill, the, object of which is to prevent joint-tenants, in Ireland, from voting for freeholds in which they had severally less than a 40s. interest, on the ground, that it would deprive the Catholics, who were the mass of the small freeholders and joint-tenants, of the influence which they at present enjoyed.

Colonel Trench thought the principle of the bill most excellent. One of the great evils of Ireland was the splitting the land into so many small divisions for the purpose of creating votes. The great number of electors, which was a blessing in this country, was a curse in Ireland; for it only exposed the peasantry, in many large districts, to bribery and corruption, to drunkenness and to every kind of disorder. His only objection to the bill would be, that it did not go far enough. He wished for the introduction of a clause by which leases in common might be entirely put an end to.

Sir J. Newport fully concurred in the opinion of the hon. member who spoke last. Nothing had brought greater misery. upon Ireland than the subdivision of land among such a multitude of tenants.

After a few words from Mr. L. White, which were inaudible in the gallery,

Mr. T. Ellis expressed his concurrence in the principle of the bill. He mentioned an instance in which a farm of the value of 15l. was subdivided among 40 tenants, all of whom voted as freeholders.

Mr. J. Daly denied that the measure would have the effect of diminishing the number of Catholic voters, and pointed out the evils arising from the system of joint-tenancy in Ireland.

Mr. Hutchinson said, that nothing could be further from his intention than coun tenancing the system of fictitious voters in Ireland. He would go as far as any member to prevent such an abuse; but he must object to the bringing on of such a question in the then thin state of the House, where there were not more than a dozen Irish members present. The measure embraced a principle calculated to excite great discontent in Ireland... He should have no objection to the bill going 20

into the committee. There let his hon. friend make it as perfect as he could; but after that, he would wish it to remain over till the next session, to give the several counties of Ireland an opportunity of considering it in all its bearings.

Sir G. Hill approved of the bill, but the suggestion of the hon. member for Cork was so fair, that he could not but concur with it.

Mr. Grattan did not think that the bill went to disqualify any part of the Roman Catholics, but to establish the system of election by bonâ fide freeholders.

Mr. R. Martin said, that if the hon. member did not intend to press the bill this session, he would not object to going into the committee; but if he did intend to press it, he would divide the House.

The question being put, "That the Speaker do now leave the chair," the House divided: Ayes 54; Noes None. Teller, Mr. R. Martin.

The House then went into the committee.


Wednesday, May 28.

SPECIAL JURIES-PETITION OF MR. JOHN HUNT.] Mr. Hume said he held in his hand a petition which he deemed of great importance, and to which he called the most serious attention of the House. He should first state the contents of the petition, and next comment upon the allegations it contained. The petition was as follows:

"To the honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in parliament assembled, "The humble petition of John Hunt, of Old Bond-street, publisher

"Showeth,-That your petitioner was, in 1821, prosecuted on an ex-officio information by his majesty's attorney-general, for a libel in the weekly newspaper called the "Examiner," of which he is proprietor; and that previously to the trial he attended on summons, when the master of the Crown-office nominated the forty-eight jurors out of which the panel to try the case was to be formed. That your petitioner has also recently been in. dicted by the self-styled "Constitutional Association," for publishing an alleged libel on the late king, in a poem entitled the "Vision of Judgment;" and that he attended a similar nomination of the

Crown-office on the 15th day of the present month. That on both these occasions the master has insisted on selecting out of a book containing the names of many thousand freeholders and leaseholders of the county of Middlesex, such names only as he chose, proceeding on no understood plan, but picking out or passing over the names, entirely at his own will and pleasure.

"That the master declared it was the constant practice of his office to nominate from among those persons alone to whose names the designation of "Esquire" was affixed in the freeholders' book by the petty constables who make the returns to the sheriff. Your petitioner conceives this practice to be in the highest degree unjust and illegal; because all the freeholders and leaseholders are by law equally eligible to serve on special juries, yet by this arbitrary and absurd distinction the immense majority are excluded from the exercise of a great constitutional right, and the discharge of an important civil duty. Your petitioner could enlarge on the unauthorised, uncertain, and ignorant manner in which the title of " Esquire" is lavished by the district officer, and could state numerous instances within his own immediate knowledge, wherein the persons so styled have been retail tradesmen actually carrying on business; but he forbears to fatigue your honourable House with a detail which he trusts is not required, in order to convince your honourable House that nothing can be more unjust or ridiculous, than that the designation of Esquire, arbitrarily fixed by a subordinate district officer to the names of a small minority of the freeholders, should be held to give them an exclusive privilege to discharge the duty of special jurors, to the practical disfranchisement of the great majority of those whom the law has declared eligible.

"Your petitioner has further to complain, that the mode of nomination practised by the master is still more objectionable than this unjust exclusion, and in effect totally deprives the subject of all security for obtaining an impartial jury. A person holding the situation of master will naturally have a bias towards the Crown, and is obviously not a proper person to have the absolute selection of the jurors in any cause between the Crown and the subject. The law had however intended, as it appears to your petitioner, that though the master should be the in

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