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Concerning some acts done in a tumultuous and riotous manner,
Statutes. especial provision is made by particular statutes.
By the 1 Geo. I. st. 2. c.5. s. 4. “ if any persons unlawfully, 1 G. 1. st. 2.
riotously, and tumultuously, assembled together, to the dis- Rioters pull“ turbance of the public peace, shall unlawfully and with force ing down, &c. “ demolish or pull down, or begin to demolish or pull down, any houses, &c. “ church or chapel, or any building for religious worship, cer- guilty of “ tified and registered (according to the 1 W. & M. sess. 1. c. 18.) felony with“ or any dwelling-house, barn, stable, or other outhouse, that out clergy. " then every such demolishing, or pulling down, or beginning to “ demolish, or pull down, shall be adjudged felony without benefit “ of clergy, and the offenders therein shall be adjudged felons, “ and shall suffer death, as in case of felony, without benefit of “ clergy.” (1) Principals in the second degree are within this statute: and where a jury found by a special verdict that the defendant was present at a riot, and encouraged and abetted the rioters in beginning to demolish and pull down a dwelling house, by shouting and using expressions to incite them, it was held that he was a principal in the second degree, and as such ousted of his clergy, though he did no act himself. (u) By the eighth section of this statute no person is to be prosecuted, by virtue of the act, for any ofience committed contrary to it, unless the prosecution be commenced within twelve months after the offence committed.
The 9 Geo. 3. c. 29. s. 1. reciting the fourth section of the 9 G. 3. c. 29. 1 Geo. 1. st. 2. c. 5. and that doubts had arisen whether it ex- s. l. Rioters tended to the pulling down and demolishing of mills, enacts, &c. mills,
pulling down, " that if any person or persons unlawfully, riotously, and tumul- guilty ot fe“ tuously, assembled together, to the disturbance of the public long without
clergy. peace, shall unlawfully and with force demolish or pull down,
or begin to demolish or pull down, any wind-saw mill, or other “ wind-mill, or any water-mill, or other mill, which shall have “ been or shall be erected, or any of the works thereto re
spectively belonging; that then every such demolishing or “ pulling down, or beginning to demolish or pull down, shall be “ adjudged felony without benefit of clergy, and the offenders “therein shall be adjudged felons, and shall suffer death as in “ case of felony, without benefit of clergy." The fourth section provides, that no person shall be prosecuted by virtue of the act
420. (8th ed.) the 1st count of which mages in Scotland. Most of the cases is for inciling persons to assemble, upon this subject are collected in 2 and that in consequence of such in- Saund. 377 a. et seq. Further provicitement they did so; and the second sions also were made as to particular count states the inciting, and omits kinds of property, as mills, engines, the assembling in consequence of it. &c. by 41 G. 3. c. 24. 52 G. 3. c. 130. See a similar precedent" in 2 Chit. s. 2. 56 G. 3. c. 125. and generally by Crim. L. 506. and the principles stated, 57 G. 3. c. 19. s. 38. And a recent ante, p. 44, el sequ.
statute provides a shorter and more (1) 'The sixth section of this statute summary mode of proceeding than an makes provision for recovery of da- action in cases where the damage alInages done to any church, &c. by leged to have been sustained does not action against the inhabitants of the exceed 301. See 3 G. 4. c. 33.; and see hundred, or in some cases against the as to Ireland, 4 G. 4. c. 73. inhabitants of a city; and section 11. (u) Rex v. Royce, 4 Burr. 2073. provides for the recovery of such da- And see ante, 22, et seq.
prevent the loading, &c.
&c. to be
any offence committed contrary to it, unless such prosecution be commenced within eighteen months after the offence com
mitted. (0) 33 G. 3. c. 67.
The 33 Geo. 3. c. 67. s. l. reciting that seamen, keelinen, &c. s. 1. Scamen, had of late assembled themselves in great numbers, and had comAssembled who mitted many acts of violence; and that such practices, if conshall forcibly tinued, might occasion great logs and damage to individuals, and
injure the trade and navigation of the kingdom, enacts, “that if of any vessels,
any seamen, keelmen, casters, ship-carpenters, or other per.
“sons, riotously assembled together to the number of three or committed to
more, shall unlawfully and with force prevent, hinder, or obprison.
“struct, the loading or unloading, or the sailing or navigating, of
any ship, keel, or other vessel, or shall unlawfully and with “ force board any ship, keel, or other vessel, with intent to “ prevent, hinder, or obstruct, the loading or unloading, or the " sailing or navigating of such ship, keel, or other vessel, every
seaman, keelman, caster, ship-carpenter, and other person, (being lawfully convicted of any of the offences aforesaid upon any indictment found in any court of oyer and terminer, or general or quarter sessions of the peace for the county, division, district, &c. wherein the offence was committed) shall be committed either to the common gaol or to the house of correction for the same county, &c. there to continue and to be kept to hard labour for any term not exceeding twelve calendar months, nor less than six calendar months. The fourth section provides, that the act shall not extend to any act, deed, &c. done in the service or by the authority of his Majesty. The seventh section enacts, that offences committed on the high seas shall be triable in any session of oyer and terminer, &c. for the trial of offences committed on the high seas within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty. And by the eighth section it is provided, that no person shall be prosecuted by virtue of the act for any of the offences therein mentioned, unless such prosecution be commenced within twelve
calendar months after the offence committed. (w) 52 G. 3. c. 130. The 52 Gco. 3. c. 130., reciting the 1 Geo. I. st. 2. c. 5., and Rioters pull- the 9 Geo. 3. c. 29. and several other acts, and stating that it was ing down, &c. expedient and necessary that more effectual provisions should be buildings, engines, &c.
made for the protection of property not within the provisions of used in trades the said acts, makes the burning certain buildings, &c. used for or manufacto
manufactories ries, guilty of
a capital offence; and then enacts,—“That if any felony with
person or persons unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously, asout clergy. “ sembled together in disturbance of the public peace, shall un
“ lawfully and with force demolish or pull down, or begin to de“ molish or pull down, any erection and building, or engine, which “shall be used or employed in the carrying on or conducting of
any trade or manufactory, or any branch or department of any “ trade or manufactory of goods, wares, or merchandize, of any “ kind or description whatsoever, or in which any goods, wares, “ or merchandize, shall be warehoused or deposited ; that then
(a) As to the indemnification of persons injured by such destruction of (20) This statute was at first only mills, &c. see 41 G. 3. c. 24.; and where temporary, but was made perpetual thc damages are under 301. thc 3 G. 4. by 41 Geo. 3. c. 19.
every such demolishing or pulling down, or beginning to demo“ lish or pull down, shall be adjudged felony, without benefit of
clergy, and the offenders therein shall be adjudged felons, and “sball suffer death as in cases of felony, without benefit of “ clergy."(.*)
The 56 Géo. 3. c. 125. reciting the 1 Geo. 1. st. 1. c. 5., the 56 G. 3. c. 125. 9 Geo. 3. c. 29., and the 52 Geo. 3. c. 130., and that it was expe- pulling down, dient and necessary that more effectual provisions should be made
&c. engines, for the protection of property not within the provisions of those bridges, buildacts, enacts, —" That if any person or persons unlawfully, riot- ings; &c. be“ously, and tumultuously assembled together in disturbance of lieries, mines, “ the public peace, shall unlawfully and with force demolish, pull &c. guilty of down, destroy or damage, or begin to demolish, pull down, de- felony without
clergy. “stroy or damage, any fire engine, or other engine, erected, or to “be erected, for making, sinking, or working collieries, coal“mines, or other mines, or any bridge, waggon-way, or trunk, “ erected or made, or to be erected or made, for conveying coals “or other minerals from any colliery, coal-mine, or other mine, “ to any place, or for shipping the same, or any staith or other “ erection or building for depositing coals or other minerals, or “used in the managemeut or conducting of the business of any “ such colliery, coal-mine, or other mine, whether the same en“gines, bridges, waggon-ways, trunks, staiths, erections, and “other buildings or works, shall be respectively completed and
finished, or only begun to be set up, made and erected, that then “every such demolishing, pulling down, destroying and damag“ing, or beginning to demolish, pull down, destroy and damage,
shall be adjudged felony, without benefit of clergy; and the “offenders therein shall be adjudged felons, and shall suffer death “as in case of felony, without benefit of clergy."(y)
Women are punishable as rioters: but infants under the age of discretion are not.(=)
II. By some books the notion of a rout is confined to such Of a rout. assemblies only as are occasioned by some grievance common to all the company; as the enclosure of land in which they all claim a right of common, &c. But, according to the general opinion, it seems to be a disturbance of the peace by persons assembling to
(x) The third section enacts, that the hundred shall be brought within a persons injured by such demolishing, year after the offence committed. &c. inay recover the value or damage (y) The second and third sections in the same manner as is provided by provide as to the recovery of the value the Geo. 1. st. 2. c. 5. in respect of of property destroyed, and as to the the buildings mentioned in that act. proceedings for such purpose, in a And see now where the damages are manner pearly similar to the third and under 301., the 3 Geo. 4. c. 33. The fourth sections of the 52 Geo. 3. c. 130. fourth section provides as to some of See ante, note (r). And see now where the proceedings necessary to entitle a the damages are under 301., the 3 Geo. person to recovery; a notice within 4. c. 33. two days after the damage, an exa- (2) I Hawk. P. C. c. 65. s. 14. Anle, mination on oath, within four days 2, et seq. and 17. Bul an infant above after the notice, as to the persons who the age of discretion is punishable ; committed the fact being known, and and, though under the age of eighteen, a recognizance to prosecute if the of- need not appear by guardian, but may fenders are known. And there is a appear by attorney. Regin. v. Tanner, proviso also, that the action against 2 Lord Raym. 1284.
Of an unlawful assembly.
gether with an intention to do a thing, which, if it be executed, will make them rioters, and actually making a motion towards the execution of their purpose. In fact, it generally agrees in all the particulars with a riot, except only in this, that it may be a complete offence without the execution of the intended enterprize. (a) And it seems, by the recitals in several statutes, that if people assemble themselves, and afterwards proceed, ride, go forth, or move by instigation of one or several conducting them, this is a rout ; inasmuch as they move and proceed in rout and number. (1)
III. An unlawful assembly, according to the common opinion, is a disturbance of the peace by persons barely assembling together with an intention to do a thing which, if it were executed, would make them rioters, but neither actually executing it nor making a motion towards its execution. Mr. Serjeant Hawkins, however, thinks this much too narrow an opinion; and that any meeting of great numbers of people with such circumstances of terror as cannot but endanger the public peace, and raise fears and jealousies among the King's subjects, seems properly to be called an unlawful assembly. As where great numbers complaining of a common grievance meet together, armed in a warlike manner, in order to consult together concerning the most proper means for the recovery of their interests: for no one can foresee what may be the event of such an assembly.(c) So in recent cases it has been ruled that an assembly of great numbers of persons, which from its general appearance and accompanying circumstances is calculated to excite terror, alarm, and consternation, is generally criminal and unlawful.(y) And all persons who join an assembly of this kind, disregarding its probable effect and the alarm and consternation which are likely to ensue, and all who give countenance and support to it, are criminal parties. (2)
An assembly of a man's friends for the defence of his person against those who threaten to beat him if he go to such a market, &c. is unlawful; for he who is in fear of such insults must provide for his safety by demanding the surety of the peace against the persons by whom he is threatened ; and not make use of such violent methods, which cannot but be attended with the danger of raising tumults and disorders to the disturbance of the public peace. But an assembly of a man's friends in his own house, for the defence of the possession of it against such as threaten to make an unlawful entry, or for the defence of his person against such as threaten to beat him in his house, is indulged by law; for a man's house is looked upon as his castle. (d) He is not, how(a) i Hawk. P. C. c. 65. s. 8.
3 Inst. 176. (6) 19 Vin. Abr. Riots, &c. (A) 2., re- (y) Per Bayley, J., in Rex v. Hunt ferring to 18 Ed. 3. c. 1., 13 Hen. 4. and others, York Spring Assizes, 1820; c. ult., & 2 Hen. 5. c. 8.
and per Holroyd, J., in Redford v. (c) 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 65. s. 9. There Birley, Lancasier Spring Assizes, 1892, may be an unlawful assembly of the 3 Stark. C. 76. people assemble themselves together (2) Per Holroyd, J., ibid. for an ill purpose contra pacem, (d) I Hawk. P. C. c. 65. s. 9, 10. though they do nothing, Br. Riots, pl. 19 Vin. Abr. Riots, &c. (A) 5, 6. And 4. Lord Coke speaks of an unlawful by Holt, C. J., in Reyin. v. Suley, !! assembly as bing when three or more Mod. 116., though a man may ride assemble themselves together to com- with arms, yet be cannot take two with mit a riot or rout, and do not do it. biin to defend himself, even though
Twelve persons or more
ever, to arm himself and assemble his friends in defence of his close. (e)
The conspiring of several persons to meet together for the purpose of disturbing the peace and tranquillity of the realm, of exciting discontent and disaffection, and of exciting the King's subjects to hatred of the Government and constitution, may be prosecuted by an indictment for a conspiracy.(f)
Unlawful assemblies and seditious meetings having in many in- Statutes. stances appeared to threaten the public tranquillity and the security of the Government, several statutes have been passed for the purpose of their miore immediate and effectual suppression.
The 1 Geo. 1. st. 2. c. 5. s. 1., reciting that many rebellious 1 Geo. 1. st. 2. riots and tumults had been in divers parts of the kingdom, to the 188.8.131.52. disturbance of the public peace and the endangering of his Majesty's person and government, and that the punishments provided unlawfully asby the laws then in being were not adequate to such heinous sembled, and offences; for the preventing and suppressing such riots and after being tumults, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the commanded by offenders, enacts “that if any persons to the number of twelve or
&c. by procla“ more, being unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously assembled mation ; to be “ together, to the disturbance of the public peace, and being re- adjudged fe
quired or commanded by any one or more justice or justices of lons, and suffer “the peace, or by the sheriff of the county, or his under-sheriff, benefit of “ or by the mayor, bailiff or bailiffs, or other head officer, or jus- clergy. “ tice of the peace of any city or town corporate, where such 66
assembly shall be, by proclamation to be made in the King's “name, in the form hereinafter directed, to disperse themselves, “and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful bu“siness, shall, to the number of twelve or more (notwithstanding “such proclamation made) unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously “ remain or continue together by the space of one hour after such “ command or request made by proclamation, that then such con“ tinuing together to the number of twelve or more, after such “ command or request made by proclamation, shall be adjudged “ felony without benefit of clergy, and the offenders therein shall * be adjudged felons, and shall suffer death as in case of felony “ without benefit of clergy."
The second section of the statute gives the forın of the procla- 1 Geo. 1. st. 2. mation, and enacts, that the justice of the peace or other person Vides as to the authorized by the act to make the proclamation shall, among the form of the said rioters, or as near to them as he can safely come, with a loud proclamation, voice command, or cause to be commanded, silence to be while and manner in proclamation is making, and after that shall openly and with loud be made. voice make, or cause to be made, proclamation in these words, or like in effect :-“ Our sovereign lord the King chargeth and com" mandeth all persons, being
assembled, immediately to disperse " themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to “ their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made “ in the first year of king George, for preventing tumults and bis life is threatened; for he is in the of Bangor, Shrewsbury Summer Ass. protection of the law, which is suffi- 1796. cient for his defence.
(f) Rex v. Hunt and others, 3 B. & (e) By Healb, J., kes v. the Bishop A. 566.