Page images


to be again

of the person keeping such house, &c. may adjudge the licence to, be forfeited. (m)

The thirtieth and three following sections of the act relate to s. 30, 31, 32, the recovery of the pecuniary penalties, which may be incurred 33. Recovery

of penalties under the act, their application, and the limitation of actions : against justices, &c. for any thing done in pursuance of the act. of actions. Penalties exceeding 201. may be recovered by action of debt; and those not exceeding 201. may be recovered before a justice in a summary way.

The thirty-fifth section enacts that nothing contained in the By s. 35. the act shall be deemed to take away, or abridge, any provision already, act

affect other made by the law of the realm, for the suppression or punishment of

0 provisions any offence described in the act. And by the thirty-sixth section made by law : it is provided, that no person shall be prosecuted under the act, and by s. 36.

is not to opefor having been a member of any illegal society, if such person

rate against shall not have acted as a member, after the passing of the act; but persons not that the act shall not extend to prevent any prosecution, by indict- having acted as ment or otherwise, for any thing which shall be an offence within th

in members after. the act, and which might have been so prosecuted, if the act had the act. not been made.

The thirty-sixth section also provides that no person prosecuted And by s. 36. and convicted, or acquitted, of any offence against the act, shall persons probe liable to be again prosecuted for the same offence.

secuted, not

prosecuted for the same offence. The thirty-seventh section contains a provision, that where any S. 37. empowproceeding or prosecution shall be instituted for any offence against en

U ney-General or the 39 Geo. 3. c. 79. or this act, either by action or information, Lord Advocate before any justice or justices, or otherwise, the attorney-general to stay proin England, or the lord advocate in Scotland, may order them to ce

... certain cases ; be stayed; and, in case of any judgment or conviction, one of his and a secretary Majesty's principal secretaries of state may, by an order under his of state to slay hand, stay the execution of such judgment or conviction, or mitigate, or remit, any fine or forfeiture, or any part thereof.

the forfeiture. The act does not extend to Ireland. And it was enacted, that it might be repealed, or in any manner altered, during the session. (n)

As to Ireland the Irish act, 33 Geo. 3. c. 29. and a late statute, Unlawful socie4 Geo. 4. c. 87. declares certain societies, clubs, &c, in that coun- ties in Ireland. try, to be unlawful assemblies, combinations, and confederacies; makes the members guilty of an unlawful combination and confederacy, and provides for the suppression of the societies and the punishment of the members. And a more recent statute, 6 Geo. 4. c. 4. was passed to amend the former acts relating to unlawful assemblies in Ireland: but it is to continue in force only, for two years from the passing of the act, and until the end of the then next session of Parliament. (a)

Several statutes have lately been passed for the purpose of regu- of places used lating places used for delivering lectures, and holding debates : fo

and debates. (m) Id. s. 29. Section 14 of the 39 “son keeping such house, &c.” Geo. 3. c. 79. is similar, except that it (n) S. 39, 40. does not contain the words "with the (a).S. 12. "knowledge and consent of the per

the Attor

execution, or


but the enactments contained in them are for the most part of

limited duration, 36 G. 3, c. 8.

Many of the sections of the 36 Geo. 3. c. 8. were intended to remedy the evil occasioned by persons who, under pretence of delivering lectures and discourses on public grievances, delivered lectures and discourses, and held debates, tending to stir up hatred and contempt of the king's person and government, and of the constitution : but this statute was limited to a duration of three

years from the passing of the act, and until the end of the then 39 G. 3. c. 79. next session of Parliament. (0) It is referred to in the 39 Geo, 3. 8. 15. Places of lecturing, c. 79. s. 15. which, reciting that divers places had been used for debating, or lectures or debates, which were not within the former act, but reading, for

which lectures or debates had in many instances been of a seditious the purpose of raising money, and immoral nature, and that other places had been used for sedi&c. to be tious and immoral purposes, under the pretence of being places of deemed disor

* meeting for the purpose of reading books, pamphlets, newspapers, derly, unless previously or other publications, enacts, that every house, room, field, or licensed.

other place at or in which any lecture or discourse shall be publicly delivered, or any public debate shall be had on any subject whatever, for the purpose of raising or collecting money, or any other valnable thing, from the persons admitted; or to which any person shall be admitted by payment of money, or by any ticket or token of any kind, delivered in consideration of money or other valuable thing, or in consequence of paying or giving, or having paid or given, or having agreed to pay or givc, in any manner, any money or other valuable thing; or where any money or other valuable thing shall be received from any person admitted, either under pretence of paying for any refreshment, or other thing, or under any other pretence, or for any other cause, or by means of any device or contrivance whatever; and every house, &c. which shall be opened or used as a place of meeting, for the purpose of reading books, pamphlets, newspapers, or other publications, and to which any person shall be admitted by payment of money, or by any ticket, &c. (as before) shall be deemed a disorderly house or place, within the said act of 36 Geo. 3. unless the same shall have been previously licensed in the manner afterwards mentioned in the act. And the persons by whom such house, &c. shall be opened or used, are to forfeit 1001. for every time of opening or using, and be otherwise punished as the law directs in cases of disorderly houses; and every person conducting the proceedings, debating, or furnishing books, &c.; and also every person giving or receiving money, &c. in respect of the admission to any such house, &c., or delivering out, or receiving, any tickets or tokens, knowing such house, &c. to be opened or used for any such pur

pose, is, for every such offence, to forfeit twenty pounds. 39 G. 3. c. 79. . It is further enacted, that any person appearing as master, or as

· having the management of any such house, &c. shall be deemed to liable as persons opening be a person by whom the same is opened, or used, and liable to be houses, &c. sued or prosecuted, though not the real owner or occupier. (P) S. 17. Jus A power is also given to any justice who shall, by information

(o) The date of the act is the 18 (1) 39 Gco: 9. c. 79. s. 16. December, 1795.

[ocr errors]

upon oath, have reason to suspect that any house, &c. is opened or rices by inused for lectures, debates, reading, &c. contrary to the act, to go formation on to such house, &c. and demand to be admitted ; and, in case of ad

oath, suspect

ing any place mittance being refused, such house, &c. is to be deemed a disorderly to be opened house or place within this act, and the said act of the 36 Geo. 3. for lectures,

&c. may deand the provisions in both the acts are to be applied to such house,

be applied to such house, mand admit&c. where such admittance shall have been so refused; and every tance; and if person refusing is to forfeit twenty pounds. (9)

refused, the

place is to be deemed disorderly, and the persons refusing to forfeit 201... The eighteenth section of the act relates to the licensing any S. 18. et segu,

as to licences place for lecturing, or reading, by two or more justices at their a

for lectures, general sessions, or at a special session held for the purpose; but &c. and the gives a power to the justices at any general sessions to revoke such power of juslicence. And any justice may demand admittance to any licensed tices to de.

mand admit. place; and, in case of refusal, such place is to be deemed, notwith- tance to places standing the licence, a disorderly house or place, within the act; licensed; and and every person refusing such admittance is to forfeit twenty

as to forfeiture

y of licence. pounds. (r) It is also provided, that any two justices upon evidence, or oath, that any licensed place is commonly used for lectures or discourses of a seditious or immoral tendency, or that books, &c. of a seditious or immoral nature are there commonly kept, and delivered to be read, may declare the licence to have been forfeited. (s) Every house, &c. licensed for the sale of ale, or liquors, is to be deemed licensed for reading within the act : but two or more justices on evidence, on oath, that seditious or immoral publications are usually distributed there for the purpose of being read, may declare the licence for selling ale, or liquors, to have been forfeited. (t)

The act is not to extend to lectures delivered in the universities The act is not by members, &c. or to lectures delivered in the hall of any of the to extend to

certain places. inns of court by persons authorized ; and payments to school." masters are not to be deemed payments for admission to lectures within the act. (u) And prosecutions for any penalty imposed by Prosecutions. the act are to be commenced within three months after it shall limited. have been incurred. (w)

The statute 13 Car. 2. c.5. reciting the mischiefs of tumultuous 13 Car. 2. st. petitioning, enacts, that no person shall solicit or procure the get- .. c. 5. as to

7 tumultuous ting of hands or other consent of any persons above the number of petitioning. twenty, to any petition, &c. to the king or the houses of Parliament, for alteration of matters established by law in church or state, unless the matter thereof shall have been first consented unto and ordered by three justices, or by the major part of the grand jury of the county, &c. at the assizes or quarter sessions ; or, in London, by the lord mayor, aldermen, and common council : and that no person shall repair to his Majesty or the houses of Parliament, upon pretence of presenting or delivering any petition, &c. accompanied with excessive number of people, nor at any one time with above the number of ten persons; upon pain of incurring a penalty not exceeding one hundred pounds, and three

[merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

months' imprisonment for every offence; such offence to be prosecuted in the court of King's Bench, or at the assizes or quarter sessions, within six months, and proved by two credible witnesees. (a) But there is a proviso, that the act shall not hinder persons, not exceeding ten in number, from presenting any public or private grievance or complaint to any member of Parliament, or to the king, for any remedy to be thereupon had: nor extend to any address to his Majesty by the members of the houses of Parliament, during the sitting of Parliament. (b)

The common law, and also several more ancient statutes than those which have been mentioned, authorize proceedings for the restraining and suppression of riots. By the common law the sheriff, under-sheriff, constable, or any other peace-officer, may, and ought to do, all that in them lies towards the suppressing of a riot, and may command all other persons to assist them: and by the common law also any private person may lawfully endeavour to appease such disturbances by staying the persons engaged from executing their purpose, and also by stopping others coming to join them. (c) It has been holden also, that private persons may arm themselves in order to suppress a riot; (d), from whence it seems clearly to follow that they may also make use of arms in suppressing it, if there be a necessity. However, it may be very hazardous for private persons to proceed to these extremities; and such violent methods seem only proper against such riots as savour of rebellion. (e) But if a felony be about to be committed, the interference of private persons will be justifiable ; for a private person may do any thing to prevent the perpetration of a felony.(f) In the riots which took place in the year 1780, this matter was much misunderstood, and a general persuasion prevailed that no indifferent person could interpose without the authority of a magistrate; in consequence of which mich mischief was done, which might otherwise have been prevented. (g)

The statute 34. Edw. 3. c. 1. empowers justices of the peace to restrain and arrest rioters; and, having been construed liberally, it has been resolved, that a single justice may arrest persons riotously assembled, and may also authorize others to arrest them by a parol command. By the statute 13 Hen. 4. c. 7. s. 1, the justices of the peace, three or two of them at the least, and the sheriff or under-sheriff of the county where any riot, assembly, or rout of people against the law shall be made, shall come with the power of the county (if need be) to arrest them; and shall arrest them; and shall have power to record that which they shall find

Suppression of riots. By statutes.

(a) 13 Car. 2. st. 1. c, 5. s. 2. court, that neither that nor any other

(6) 13 Car. 2. st. 1. c. 5. s. 3. By I act of Parliament had repealed it, and W. and M. sess. 2. c. 2. s. 1. art. 5. that it was in full force. " Rex v. Lord usually styled the Bill of Rights, it is Gcorge Gordon, Dougl. 571. enacted, " That it is the right of the (c) 1 Hawk. P. C. C 65. s. 11. “subjects to petition the king, and (d). Case of arms, Poph. 121. Kel. “ that all commitments and prosecu- 76. “tions for such petitioning are illegal.” (e) i Hawk. P. C. c. 65. s. II. It was contended, that this article had if) By Chambre, J. in Handcock v. virtually repealed the statute 13 Car. Baker and others, 2 Bos. and Pul. 265. 2. c. 5.: but Lord Mansfield declared it (g) By Heath, J. in Handcock v. Bato be the unanimous opinion of the ker and others, 2 Bos, and Pul. 265.

so done in their presence against the law: and by such record the offenders shall be convicted in the same manner as is contained in the statute of forcible entries. (h) In the interpretation of this statute it has been holden, that all persons, noblemen and others, except women, clergymen, persons decrepit, and infants under fifteen, are bound to attend the justices in suppressing a riot, upon pain of fine and imprisonment; and that any battery, wounding, or killing the rioters, that may happen in suppressing the riot, is justifiable. (0)

An indictment for a riot must shew for what act the rioters of the indictassembled, that the court may judge whether it was lawful or meat and trial. not:(k) and it must state that the defendants unlawfully, assembled ; for a riot is a compound offence: there must be not only an unlawful act to be done, but an unlawful assembly of more than two persons. (1) In a case where six persons being indicted for a riot, two of them died without being tried, two were acquitted, and the other two were found guilty, the court refused to arrest the judgment, saying, that as the jury had found two persons to be guilty of a riot, it must have been together with those two who had never been tried, as it could not otherwise have been a riot. (m) But as two persons only cannot be guilty of a riot, it was held, that where several were indicted, and all but two were acquitted, no judgment could be given against the two. (n) And though the indictment in this case charged a battery upon an individual as well as a riot, and it was argued that the riotose, &c. was only to express the manner of the assault, and a kind of ag gravation of the offence, it was held that the two persons could not be intended to be guilty of the battery ; that the offence was special and laid as a riot, the riotose extending to all the facts, and the battery being but part of the riot; so that the defendants being acquitted of the riot were acquitted of the whole of which they were indicted. But it was also held, that if the indietment had been, that the defendants, with divers other disturbers of the peace, had committed this riot and battery, and the verdict had been as in this case, the king might have had judge ment. (0) Upon an indictment against H. Hunt and others, for a conspi- Evidence upon

an indictment racy and unlawfully meeting together with persons unknown,

my for a conspifor the purpose of exciting discontent and disaffection, at which racy in unlaw

(h) 5 R. 2. stat. 1. c. 7.

of riots. (1) 4 Plac. Com. 146, 147. Hale (k) Reg. v. Gulston and others, 2 495. The statutes 17 R. 2. c. 8. 2 H. Lord Raym. 1210. 5. c. 8. and 19 H. 7. c. 13. relate also (1) Reg. v. Soley et al. 2 Salk. 593, to the summary proceedings of jus- 594. tices, &c. in cases of riots, which it is (m) Rex v. Scott and another, 3, not thought necessary to mention fur- Burr. 1262. ther in this work. The different sta- (n) Rex v. Sadbury and others, 1 tutes and the construction put upon Lord Raym. 484. and see 19 Vin. Abr. them may be seen in 1 Hawk. P. C.c. Riols, (E) 1. 15. s. 14. et seq. and 5 Burn. Riots, 8c. (0) Rex v. Sadbury and others, 1 II, III, IV, V. The statutes 2 11. 5. C. Lord Raym. 481. S. C. 2 Salk. 593. 8.2 H. 5. c. 9. and 2 H. 6. c. 14. re- pl. 2. and 12 Mod. 262. 19 Vin. Abr. late to process out of chancery in cases Riols, (E) 6.

« EelmineJätka »