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(ment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion, and government. But to punish, as the law does at present, any dangerous or offensive writings, which, when published, shall, on a fair and impartial trial, be adjudged of a pernicious tendency, is necessary for the preservation of peace and good order, of government and religion, the only solid foundations of civil liberty.]
each should employ, and prohibited from the parliamentary ordinances. new publications unless previously This Act expired in 1679, but was approved by proper licensers. On revived by statute 1 Jac. 2, c. 17, the demolition of this odious juris- and continued till 1692. It was diction in 1641, the long parliament
then continued for two years longer of Charles the first, after their rup- by statute 4 W. & M. c. 24; but ture with that prince, assumed the though frequent attempts were made same powers as the Star Chamber
by government to revive it in the exercised with respect to licensing subsequent part of that reign (Com. books; and in 1643, 1647, 1649 Journ. 11 February, 1694, 26 Noand 1652, issued their ordinances vember, 1695, 22 October, 1696, 9 for that purpose, founded princi- February, 1697, 31 January, 1698), pally on the Star Chamber decree of yet the parliament resisted it so 1637. (See Scobell, i. 44, 134; ii. 88, strongly that it finally expired, and 230.) In 1662 was passed the sta- the press became properly free in tute 13 & 14 Car. 2, c. 33, which, 1694, and has ever since so conwith some few alterations, was copied tinued.
OF OFFENCES AGAINST TRADE.
AMONG offences against trade, we shall notice, in the first place
I. The offence of smuggling, that is, importing or exporting prohibited goods, or without paying the duties imposed on goods not prohibited (a). This practice is not only opposed to fair trading, (which gives it a place in the present chapter,) but is a fraud upon the revenue; and it is, accordingly, restrained by the statutes relating to the customs, of which we spoke in a former volume (6). And by one of these, the 16 & 17 Vict. c. 107 (called the Customs Consolidation Act, 1853,) it is provided, that if any goods liable to the payment of duties, shall be unshipped from any ship or boat in the united kingdom (customs or other duties not being first paid or secured): or if any prohibited goods be imported into any part of the united kingdom: or if any goods which have been warehoused in the united kingdom, shall be clandestinely or illegally removed: or if any goods prohibited to be exported shall be put on board for exportation, or with that object brought to any place in the united kingdom; or shall be found in any package produced to an officer of customs as containing goods not so prohibited: or if any goods subject to any duty or restriction in respect of importation, or prohibited to be imported, shall be found concealed on board ship
(a) According to Blackstone (vol. iv. p. 155), “smuggling" is the offence of importing goods without paying the duties imposed by the
laws of customs or excise; but this is too narrow a definition.
(6) Vide sup. vol. II. p. 563.
within any port of the united kingdom,—then and in every of the foregoing cases all such goods shall be forfeited, together with any goods packed with or used in concealing them (c). By the same Act, it is further enacted, that every person concerned in importing or bringing into the united kingdom any uncustomed or prohibited goods, or in concealing the same, or in any manner dealing with goods liable to duties of customs with intent to defraud her Majesty thereof, shall, in each case, forfeit treble the value of the goods, or the penalty of 1001., at the election of the commissioners of customs (d). Also, every person found on board a ship liable to forfeiture by any Act relating to the customs, under the circumstances mentioned in 16 & 17 Vict. c. 107, may, on conviction before a justice, be imprisoned, with hard labour, for the first offence for not less than six months, nor more than twelve; for a second, not less than nine, nor more than twelve months; and for any subsequent offence, for twelve months (e). Moreover, if any three or more persons, armed with offensive weapons, shall within the united kingdom or the limits of any port, harbour or creek thereof, be assembled in order to be aiding, or shall aid, in the illegal landing, running or carrying away of prohibited goods, or goods liable to duties not paid or secured ; or in rescuing such goods after seizure; or in rescuing any person apprehended for any offence made felony by any Act relating to the customs ; or in preventing the apprehension of any person guilty of such felony,-every person so offending, and every person assisting or abetting therein, shall be guilty of felony: and he may be sentenced to penal servitude for life, or not less than fifteen years, or to be imprisoned for not exceeding three years (F). And any person who shall maliciously shoot at any vessel or boat belonging to the navy or in the service of the revenue, within one hundred leagues of the coast of the
(c) 16 & 17 Vict. c. 107, s. 209. (d) Sect, 232.
(e) Sect. 235.
united kingdom; or shall maliciously shoot at, maim, or dangerously wound any full pay officer of the army, navy or marines, or any officer of customs or excise, or those aiding them, while duly employed for the prevention of smuggling and in the execution of his or their dutyshall be guilty of felony; and such offender, also, may be sentenced to the punishments last particularized (f). So, if any person, (being in company with more than four other persons,) be found with any goods liable to forfeiture under any Act relative to the customs or excise; or be found (in company with any other person and within five miles of the coast, or of any tidal river) carrying offensive arms or weapons, or disguised in any way–he shall be adjudged guilty of felony; and he may be sentenced to penal servitude for not more than seven nor less than five years (9). And, finally, persons assaulting or obstructing any such officers as above mentioned (or their assistants) in the performance of their duty, by force or violence (though not made guilty of felony), may be sentenced to the same term of penal servitude, or to imprisonment, with hard labour, for not more than three years (h).
II. Among the offences against trade, must also be numbered those fraudulent practices which are provided against by the Debtors Act, 1869, in relation to the law of Bankruptcy. Of these, however, we have taken such note as seemed necessary in a former part of the work, when engaged on that branch of the law; and it will be unnecessary to recapitulate them in this place (i).
III. [ Cheating is another offence, more immediately
(f) 16 & 17 Vict. c. 107, s. 249.
(9) Sect. 250; 20 & 21 Vict. c. 3; 27 & 28 Vict. c. 47.
(h) 16 & 17 Vict. c. 107, s. 251; 20 & 21 Vict. c. 3. By 19 & 20 Vict. c. 75, s. 3, there is a penalty of 101.
attached to the offence of wilfully destroying or injuring any buoy or mark used in the Preventive Service, or for the purposes of the Customs.
(i) Vide sup. vol. II. p. 159.
(against trade ; which cannot be carried on without a punctilious regard to common honesty, and faith between man and man. Hither, therefore, may be referred that prodigious multitude of statutes, which are made to restrain and punish deceits in particular businesses, and which are enumerated by Hawkins and Burn, but are chiefly of use among the traders themselves (k). The offence of selling articles, knowing any trade marks thereon to be counterfeited, is reducible to the head of cheating (1); as is likewise, in a peculiar manner, the offence of selling by false weights and measures, the standard of which has already fallen under our consideration (m). The general punishment for all cheating which is indictable at common law (n), is by fine and imprisonment(o);] to which, by 14 & 15 Vict. c. 100, s. 29, hard labour may now be added ; though, if the cheating be in contravention of some special enactment, the easier and more usual way is by levying on a summary conviction, by way of distress
(k) By 19 & 20 Vict. c. 114, provisions are made“ to prevent false packing and other frauds in the hay and straw trade,” which trade is regulated by 36 Geo. 3, c. 88. We may also notice here, that Blackstone (vol. iv. p. 157) mentions the offence of breaking the assize of bread,- that is, violating the rules laid down by several statutes for regulation of its price, viz., 51 Hen. 3, st. 1 and 6; ord. pistor. 2 & 3 Edw. 6, c. 15; 31 Geo. 2, c. 29. But all statutes relating to the assize are repealed by 6 & 7 Will. 4, c. 37, and (as to the city of London) by 3 Geo. 4, c. cvi.,—which contain new regulations as to the bread trade.
It may be observed that by 34 & 35 Vict. c. 96, pedlars (who sell their wares by travelling about from place to place) are required to take out certificates before
they can exercise their calling, which must be annually renewed.
(1) Vide sup. p. 145. The penalty imposed for this species of cheating, is the forfeiture of the value of the articles, and an additional sum to the extent of 51. (25 & 26 Vict. c. 88, s. 4.) The adulteration of articles of food and drink, seems more especially an offence against the public health, and is noticed accordingly, post, p. 269.
(m) Vide sup. vol. II. p. 516.
(n) As to what cheating in mata ters of trade is indictable or otherwise, at the common law, see Rex v. Wheatley, 2 Burr. 1128; Rex v. Dixon, 3 M. & S. 11; Rex v. Haynes, 4 M. & S. 214; 2 Russ. on Crimes, bk. iv. c. 31, s. 1.
(0) See R. v. Treve, 2 East, P. C. 821; R. «. Dixon, ubi sup.; R. v. Haynes, ubi sup.