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dan did act in the election of Mr. passed through the hall, they were Kirwan nominated to the general greeted with waving of hats and committee, and that such committee clapping of hands. Sheriff Rowas for the purpose of altering any bert Harty was received with the matter, by petition or otherwise, in most unbounded tumults of approthe church or state, you will find bation and applause. him guilty ; for it is our opinion, In order that the bearings and that the fact of his assisting at that merits of this most interesting and election, whether it was for the pur- important cause may be brought pose of petitioning or not, would fully and clearly before our readers, nt put him out of the operation of we have thought it necessary and the statute.
proper to subjoin a copy of the The other three judges expressed convention act. Thus they may their unanimous concurrence in the go along with us easily and reguopinion of the chief justice. ! larly in the observations we shall
It is impossible, indeed lan- think it right to o Ser, and detect guage sinks under the effort--to de- our arguments wherever they may scribe the anxiety manifested while seem to go contrary to the evident the jury were in their room. Al meaning and scope of the statute. though it was nine o'clock at night, " Whereas the election or apyet the hall of the four courts, the pointment of assemblies, purportcourt of king's bench, all the ave- ing to represent the people or any nues leading to the courts, the very description or number of the people attic windows at the top of the of this realm, under pretence of courts, were crowded with people. preparing or presenting petitions,
When it was announced that the complaints, remonstrances, and dejury had agreed to their verdict, clarations, and other addresses to after an hour and a half's delibe- the king, or to both or either houses ration, there was a deep silence for of parliament, for alteration of mata minute, Mr. Byrne, the clerk ters established by law, or redress of the crown, then called over the of alleged grievances in church and names of the jury: they having an- state, may be made use of to serve swered, Mr. Geale, the foreman, the ends of factious and seditious handed down the issue-Not guilty. persons, to the violation of the
The word was scarcely pro- public peace, and the great and nounced, when a peal of huzzaing manifest encouragement of riot, and shouting rung through the tumult, and disorder, be it decourt and galleries, and shook the clared and enacted, hy the king's very judicial bench. It was caught most excellent majesty, by and with by the anxious auditors in the hall. the advice and consent of the lords The judges attempted to speak- spiritual and temporal, and comthe officers attempted to act-the mons, in parliament assembled, and enthusiasm deafened and destroyed by the authority of the same, that every attempt. The judges waited all assemblies, committees, or other for some minutes, and the chief bodies of persons elected, or in any justice attempted to address the other manner constituted or apcourt, but he could not be heard pointed, to represent, or assuming nothing could be heard but the or exercising a right or authority lood, the overwhelming torrents of to represent, the people of this popular enthusiasm. As the jurors realm, or any number or descrip
tion of the people of the same, or course of law shall be guilty of a the people of any province, couniy, higb misdemeanour. city, town, or other district within “ 3. Provided always, that no. the same, under pretonce of peri- thing herein contained shall extend, tioning for, or in any other manner or be construed to extend, to affect procuring, an alteration of maiters elections to be made by bodies corestablished by law in church or porate, according to the charters state, save and except the knights, aird usage of such bodies corporate citizens, and burgesses elected to respectively. serve in the parliament 'thereof; « 4. Provided, also, that nothing and save and except the houses of herein contained shall be construed convocation duly summoned by in any manner to prevent or impede the king's writ,-are unlawful as the undoubted right of his majesty's semblies; and it shall and may be subjects of this realm to petition his lawful for any mayor, sheriff; jus- majesty, or both houses or either tice of the peace, or any other house of parliament, for redress of peace-oficer, and they are hereby any public or private grievance." respectively authorized and re- On an attentive and impartial quired, within his and their respec. consideration of this statute, it is tive jurisdictions, to disperse all clear, that unless proof were adsuch" unlawful assemblies, and, if duced that some other object, be. resisted, to enter into the same, and sides petitioning parliament, was in to apprehend all persons offending the contemplation of those who asin that behalf.
sembled, it could not apply to them. '" 2. And be it further enacted, The great difficulty arises in find.. that if any persun shall give or ing proof that there existed any publish, or cause or procure to be other object; but this proof, of given or published, any written or course, lay with the crown. The other notice of election to be hold fourth provision of the act, “that en,, or of any manner of appoint- nothing herein contained shall be ment of any person or persons to construed in any manner to prebe the representative or represen- vent or impede the undoubted right tatives, delegate or delegates, or to of his majesty's subjects of this act by any other name or descrip- realm to petition his majesty, or tion whatever, as representative both houses, or either house of par. or representatives, delegate or de- liament, for redress of any public legates, of the inhabitants, or of or private grievance," puts it beany description of the inhabi- yond a doubt, that the act was not tants, of any province, County, city, intended to apply to the case of a town, or other district within this convention assembled for the sole kingdom, at any such assembly; and real purpose of petitioning par. or if any person shall attend and liament. It may, indeed, be airged, vote at such election or appoint. that the fourth provision of the act ment, or by any other means vote merely guards the right of petitionor act in the choice or appointment, ing when exercised by assemblies of of such representatives or delegates, men acting for themselves, and not or other persons to act as such, delegated: but as the whole of the every person who shall be guilty of act refers to conventions--as it was any of the said offences respectively, brought forward and incorporated being thereof convicted by due with the law of the land, for the ex
press purpose of putting down con- nion, for the reasons we have just ventions of those who met under mentioned, that the laws of all the pretence of petitioning parlia. well regulated governments should ment, it would seem but just and be expressed against all delegated natural to infer, that the fourth meetings, unless where the object provision of the act guards con- is undoubtedly and manifestly such, ventional meetings, and not aggre- that no public evil can arise from gate meetings, (which are never them. once mentioned or hinted at, either There is only one argument that in the preamble or the body of the can be urged in favour of delegated act,) from being interrupted or con. meetings assembled for the redress sidered as illegal.
of public grievances; and that arIt is quite a foreign and inde- gument, if weighed well and exa. pendent question, how far it was mined in all its bearings, will be prudent in the catholics to have found to tell strongly against them. recourse to conventional meetings; It is contended that the subjects of how far it was consistent with their a country have an undoubted right professions of regard for the tran- to meet in delegated assemblies, quillity and peace of the country; whenever aggregate meetings fail and how far this proceeding, on in attaining their object; that in. their part, could be reconciled with dividuals, scattered through the the object which they professed , whole extent of a country, would solely to have in view. It is also have no chance of making their pe. a distinct and separate question, titions for the redress of grievances whether the convention act ought heard, unless they delegated persons not to have had the meaning fully to act for them. But why, it may and unequivocally given to it, which be asked, are delegates more likely the attorney-general and the chief to gain the object in view than ag. justice of the king's bench con- gregate meetings? Does not this tended it really possessed. On the argument imply, nay, does it not former point we have no hesitation rest on this, that government will in afirming, that the catholics nei- be threatened into submission by ther consulted the interest nor suc- delegated meetings in cases where cess of their cause, nor displayed they would refuse the request of the wisest and plainest proofs of aggregate meetings? And even regard to the well-being of their allowing the object of the petition country, when they had recourse to be of the highest possible imto delegated meetings. This step portance, are not the safety and the had too much the aspect of a wish very existence of the country oband intention to force from the jects of much greater importance? government by terror, what they And how long would that safety could not obtain by simple request continue? how long would the and petition. At any rate, it esta- country exist after government had blished a body of men in the me. been terrified into compliance, and tropolis of a disturbed country, those who had so terrified them who might have been led to make had felt their power? While, therea bad and improper use of the cha- fore, the right of petitioning by racter and power with which they aggregate meetings is not put were invested. With respect to down, or called in question, there the second point, we are of opi- cante little danger,---while in every
case case there must be much public meeting lord Fingal, when he was safety from a real convention act; asked by the magistrates whether and all friends to the catholics, and it was a meeting of the catholic to their cause and wishes, must re. committee, and what was their obgret that they had recourse to de. ject, declined giving any answer to legated meetings.
the first part of the inquiry; and The acquittal of Dr. Sheridan with respect to the latter part, conhaving, in the opinion of the attortented himself with stating, that ney-general, been the result of a they were met for the legal and defect of evidence only, while the constitutional purpose of petitionlaw had been distinctly laid down ing parliament. Now certainly, in by the chief justice as applying to both these cases, if the catholics the convention of the catholics, it were anxious to defend themselves was thought proper by government from all imputation of going connot to proceed with the trial of the trary to a known law,-if they other arrested delegates. By the wished fairly to meet the question, catholics, this determination not to and to ground their cause on its proceed with the trials was regard. plain and open justice,-at the first ed as the consequence of an appre- meeting they should have given the hension that the other supposed magistrates an opportunity of actdelegates would also be acquitted: ing; and at the second meeting the and as they regarded the acquittal character in which they assembled of Dr. Sheridan as the result of a should have been clearly and fear. conviction, on the part of the jury, lessly avowed, that the law did not apply to this On the 26th of December a most case, they resolved to continue numerous and respectable aggretheir delegated meetings. The at- gate catholic meeting was held, at torney-general had expressed a which, among other resolutions, hope, that as by the decision of the the following was passed :judges the convention act did ap. That a dutiful and humble address ply, and as of course the delegated be presented to the prince regent mectings were illegal, they would as soon as the restrictions were no longer be held. In this hope he taken off ; that the preparation and was mistaken. On the 23d of De presentation of such address be recember the committee of the ca. ferred to a board; and (what is cholic delegates met again. The most curious and important after select committee met first at a ta-' lord Fingal had objected to state vern in Larl-street, and afterwards the character of the last meeting at proceeded to the theatre, where a which he presided,) “ that neither great number of delegates attend the said board, nor the general ed. Here they were dispersed by committee of the catholics of Ire, the magistrates, who arrested lords land, does, or ever did, consist of Fingal and Netterville, the two persons in any manner constituted chairmen. At the first meeting of or appointed to represent the people the delegates they assembled before of this kingdom, or any number or the hour appointed; so that when description of them, or the people the magistrates made their appear- of any district within the same; ance the chairman had left the neither does the same consist of any chair, and the meeting of course persons charged with any further was virtually dissolved. At this or other function than that of pre
paring catholic petitions or ad. because the catholics form so very dresses to the different branches of burge a proportion of the inhabithe legislature."
tants, but because now the greater In such a state were the affairs number of their protestant brethren of Ireland left at the close of the take an interest in their cause, and year 1811—we say the affairs of look anxiously forward to the peIreland; for he must be ignorant riod when the catholics shall be saindeed of that country, who is not tisfied and peaceable, as the comconvinced that the affairs of the mencement of an æra most auspicatholics there may most justly cious to the well-being and prospeand truly be said to make up the rity of this branch of the empire. , affairs of the kingdom: not merely
CHAPTER XIII. Colonial Hisory of Great Briinin—- Jersey -Supposed Preparator of Bonaparte
to invade that Island-- Remarks on the Policy which probally iar's him to threaten the Invasion of Great Britain-Diference of Ofi";in 110w and fornurly respecting a French Invcsior--Trinida --Moti n made in the Lorise of Commons to introduce the Britisb System of Law into ibat Isiand-Motives wbicb led the Planters to pétition for Ibis Change--Difference bemeen ibe Englisb and the Spanish Laws w.tb regard to the Treatment of Slaves Milia-Administration of Justice in that Islanıl--Corpaints of ihe Inbabi. iants that ibeir Privileges bave not been preserved to bem (2-cording to Tr. aty --General System of our Policy with rispect to this island and our ocher Guns quests condemned-Sicily-Absurid and ruinous Pulley of its GovernmentRemarks on tbe Briiish Ministers ther-Queen of Scl-Her Attachment to the Frencb-Lord Willian Birinck's Rólurn to Inlard -- Remarkia
LTAVING allotted that space and long connexion with the moIT and consideration to the hi- thier country (if it may not more istory of the domestic events of properly and justly be considered Great Britain and Ireland, during as part of thac country), more the year 1811, which their relative closely allied to us in interest, if importance seemed to deserve and not in importance, than more didemand, we must now turn our di- stant and more recently acquired tention to the narration of the territories. The events that tock events that took place either in the place in Trinidad during the year colonies of Great Britain, or in 1811 will next claim the notice those states which inay be regarded of our narrative. They are curi.' as under her influence, before we ons, as givin' an insight into the proceed to the history of the naval mode by which, when we acquire and military transactions of this the colonial possessions of foreign period. The order which we shall powers, we in some instances and follow in this portion of our work cases retain the established laws very easily and naturally suggests and constitution, and in other cases itself. Jersey first presents claims ingraft the British upon them. to our notice, as from its vicinity Every thing that relates to Malta,