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“ 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.”(2)
The 56 Geo. 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-,
longing to col“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
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
. (2) The third section enacts, that the hundred shall be brought within a
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.(6) Of an unlawful III. An unlawful assembly, according to the common opinion, assembly.
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) 1 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) i Hawk. P. C. c. 65. S. 9. There Birley, Lancaster Spring Assizes, 1892, may be an unlawful assembly if 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. Soley, 11 assembly as boing when three or more Mod. 116., though a man may ride assemble themselves together to com- with arms, yet he cannot take two with mit a riot or rout, and do not do it. biin to defend himself, even though
sons 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 I 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 c.5. §. 1.
Twelve perdisturbance of the public peace and the endangering of his Ma- so jesty's person and government, and that the punishments provided unlawfully asby the laws then in being were not adequate to such heinous sembled, and
not dispersing 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 one justice,
&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
stico on justice of lons, and suffer “quired or commanded by any one or more justice or justices of bo
death without “ the peace, or by the sheriff of the county, or his under-sheriff, bepefit 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
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 form of the procla- I Geo. 1. st. 2. mation, and enacts, that the justice of the peace or other person
her narson c.5. s. 2. pro
e peace or one 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
which it shall 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 Heath, J., kes v. the Bishop A. 566.
« riotous assemblies. God save the King." And every justice, sheriff, &c. within the limits of their respective jurisdictions are authorized and required, on notice or knowledge of any such unlawful assembly of twelve or more persons, to resort to the
place, and there to make or cause such proclamation to be made. I Geo. 1. st. 2. The third section enacts that if the persons so unlawfully, riotc. 5. s. 3. Per
i ously and tumultuously assembled, or twelve or more of them,
uses and tur sons so assembled, and not after such proclamation, shall continue together and not disperse dispersing themselves within one hour, that it shall be lawful for every jus
ut, tice, sheriff, or under-sheriff of the county where such assembly and taken be- shall be, and for every constable or other peace-officer within such fore a justice. county, and for every mayor, justice, sheriff, bailiff, and other
head officer, constable, and other peace officer of any city or town where such assembly shall be, and for such other persons as shall be commanded to be assisting unto any such justice, sheriff, or under-sheriff, mayor, bailiff, or other head-officer (who are thereby authorized to command all his Majesty's subjects of age and ability to be assisting to them therein) to seize and apprehend such persons so unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously continuing together after proclamation made; and they are thereby required so to do. And that they shall carry the person so apprehended before one or more of his Majesty's justices of the peace of the county
or place where such persons shall be so apprehended, in order to And if they their being proceeded against according to law. And the section make resist also enacts that if any of the persons so assembled shall happen to ance, the per- holilled moimoi
To be killed, maimed, or hurt, in the dispersing, seizing, or apprehendthem, &c. are ing them, or in the endeavour to do so, by reason of their resisting, indemnified.
then every such justice, &c. constable, or other peace-officer, and all persons being aiding and assisting to them, shall be free, discharged,
and indemnified concerning such killing, maiming, or hurting. 1 Geo. 1. st. 2. The fifth section provides, “ That if any person or persons do, c. 5. s. 5. Pre- “ or shall, with force and arms, wilfully and knowingly oppose,
“ obstruct, or in any manner wilfully and knowingly let, hinder, or proclamation na from being “hurt, any person or persons that shall begin to proclaim, or go made, felony“ to proclaim, according to the proclamation hereby directed to be
“ made, whereby such proclamation shall not be made, that then “every such opposing, obstructing, letting, hindering, or hurting, “ such person or persons, so beginning or going to make such “ proclamation as aforesaid, shall be adjudged felony without be“ nefit of clergy; and the offenders therein shall be adjudged
" felons, and shall suffer death as in case of felony, without benefit And persons “of clergy; and that also every such person or persons being so
“ unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously assembled, to the numwhere the pro- co clamation is
“ber of twelve, as aforesaid, or more, to whom proclamation hindered, and “ should or ought to have been made, if the same had not been not dispersing “ hindered, as aforesaid, shall likewise, in case they or any of within anhour, e felons without
“ them, to the number of twelve or more, shall continue together, “ and not disperse themselves within one hour after such let or “ hindrance so made, having knowledge of such let or hindrance “ so made, shall be adjudged felons, and shall suffer death as in
“ case of felony, without benefit of clergy." tions By the eighth section of the act, it is provided that no person to be commenced in shall be prosecuted by virtue of the act for any offence committed twelve months.
contrary to it, unless the prosecution be commenced within twelve months after the offence committed. (f)
By the 39 Geo. 3. c. 79. s. 1. reciting that divers societies had 39 G. 3.c 79. been instituted in this kingdom and in Ireland, of a new and dan- s. 1: Certain
societies are gerous nature, inconsistent with public tranquillity, and with the s
de suppressed. existence of regular government; particularly certain societies calling themselves“ Societies of United Englishmen, United “ Scotsmen, United Britons, United Irishmen, and The London “ Corresponding Society," and that it was expedient and necessary that all such societies, and all societies of the like nature, should be utterly suppressed and prohibited, as unlawful combinations and confederacies, highly dangerous to the peace and tran. quillity of these kingdoms, and to the constitution of the government thereof, as by law established, it is enacted, “ That all the " said societies of United Englishmen, United Scotsmen, United « Irishmen, and United Britons, and the said society commonly “ called the London Corresponding Society, and all other societies “ called Corresponding Societies, of any other city, town, or place, “ shall be, and the same are hereby utterly suppressed and pro“hibited, as being unlawful combinations and confederacies “ against the government of our sovereign lord the King, and “ against the peace and security of his Majesty's liege subjects.”
The second section of the statute enacts, that the said societies, 39 G. 3. c. 79. and every other society then established, or hereafter to be es- s. 2. Societies,
the members tablished, the meinbers whereof shall, according to the rules thereof, ofi or to any provision or agreement for that purpose, be required' or take unlawful admitted to take any oath or engagement which shall be an unlaw- oaths or enful oath or engagement, within the intent or meaning of the 37 G. 3. c. 123. (g) or to take any oath not required or authorized by the names of law; and every society the members whereof, or any of them,
's members or shall take, or in any manner bind themselves by any such oath or of persons engagement, on becoming, or in consequence of being members of forming comsuch society: and every society, the members whereof shall take, mittees, &c.
shall be kept subscribe, or assent to any test or declaration not required by law, secret. or not authorised in manner hereinafter mentioned ; and every so- where there ciety of which the names of the members, or of any of them, shall ar
or branch sobe kept secret from the society at large, or which shall have any cieties, are to committee, or select body so chosen or appointed, that the mem be deemed bers constituting the same shall not be known by the society at un
combinations large, to be members of such committee, or select body; or which and conshall have any president, &c. or other officer, so chosen and ap- fedcracies. pointed, that the election or appointment shall not be known to the society at large, or of which the names of all the members, and of all committees or select bodies of members, and of all presidents, &c., shall not be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose, and open to the inspection of all the members; and every society which shall be composed of different divisions or branches, or of different
(f) For the section of the act re- and that offenders in Scotland shall lating to the demolishing or pulling suffer death, and confiscation of movedown churches, chapels, houses, &c. ables. This statute is commonly called by rioters, see ante, 251. The ninth the Riot Act; and is required by s. 7. section of the act enacts, that she- to be openly read at every quarter riffs, &c. in Scotland, shall have the session, and at every leet or law day. same power for putting the act in (8) Ante, p. 129, et sequ. execution as justices, &c. have here :
some of the