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ment resentment at individuals, but The obvious and only remedy for no measures for the general benefit. this deplorable state of things, lies These Parliaments, it is true, were in the establishment of a vigorous chiefly assembled under Protestant and efficient government, so orgainfluence; but it will hardly be as. nized as to meet and curb the wickserted, that the wisdom of their de. ' ed in all their enterprises ; and that cisions is likely to be much increa- by such means the disturbances of sed by the admission of O'Connell Ireland might be effectually quelled, and his band of Catholic Repealers; and order completely re-established, and, in truth, such is the exaspera- is evident from the success which tion of the parties in Ireland at each has attended similar undertakings in other, and the vehement passions other countries where the case was, which they bring to bear upon pub- to all appearance, still more hopelic affairs, that it is apparent that the · less. Scotland, in 1696, was very dissolution of the Union would be nearly in as bad a state as Ireland is instantly followed by such extreme now. Its whole population was not measures as would speedily rouse a 1,000,000; and of these 200,000 were civil war, of the most sanguinary sturdy beggars, who lived at free character, over the whole country, quarters on the inhabitants, and, as and terminate in the re-establish- Fletcher of Saltoun said in his ment of English ascendency, after memorable speech on the subject, years of suffering, as the only means feared neither God nor man. The of saving either life or fortune out country was divided by religion; of the general wreck.
had been the seat of civil war for Holding it, therefore, as a propo- seventy years; and its nobles, insition too clear to admit of dispute, stead of being disposed to co-opethat the amelioration of Ireland is to rate with Government for the restobe based on British connexion, and ration of order, were almost all founded on the measures to be leagued together to place a rival fabrought forward in the British Par- mily on the throne. How then was liament, we shall consider the means this state of anarchy checked in that which exist for the alleviation or re- country? By an admirably orgamoval of Irish grievances, and by nized system of criminal law, and a which ultimately the state of that resolute executive, which gradually country may be rendered somewhat extinguished the private feuds of more tranquil than it is under its the inhabitants, rendered hopeless present distracted rule.
the system of intimidation and vioWe have already stated, in the first lence which had so long prevailed, paper of this series, that the great and at length established order and and lasting misfortune in Ireland tranquillity throughout a kingdom has been that they have received in which had been desolated by feuds stitutions in imitation of England, and civil wars for three centuries. for which they are obviously disqua- Ireland is doubtless in a deplorable lified, and which are adapted to a state of anarchy; but it is not so totally different state of society; and bad as La Vendée and Britanny were, that, in consequence, the administra- after a million of Frenchmen had tion of justice has become defective, perished in the desperate conflict of the protection of life and property which that heroic land was the imperfect, and impunity been prac. theatre, and every family mourned tically afforded to criminals and anar- several of its members cut off by re. chists of the very worst description. publican vengeance; and yet by the This is an evil of the utmost magnis able efforts of Hoche and Carnot, tude; striking, as it obviously does, followed by the wise measures of at every species of industry, or the Napoleon, peace was completely regrowth of any habits of subordina- stored to its infuriated inhabitants. tion or regularity, and tending to It is evident, therefore, that the thing continue that state of anarchy in may be done; the only question which the country has so long been is, whether Government have resoplunged, and which perpetuates the lution enough to go on with the neredundant and miserable population, cessary measures to effect the object. which has so extensively overspread T he root of the whole evils comthe British isles.
plained of in the administration of
justice in Ireland, is to be found in upon by the Irish Government in the the placing the chief execution of the case of one circuit, a Clerk of the Crown criminal law in the hands of an un for each county; and that he should be paid magistracy, composed of gen- made an efficient officer for assisting the tlemen of the country who are per- magistrates in the investigation of crimes sonally implicated in the feuds which immediately on their commission, and in divide the inhabitants, instead of taking examinations. For this purpose intrusting it to public officers con
he should have an office in the county nected with government, and acting town, and a sufficient number of clerk's under the control of an undivided
to attend and afford assistance to the maresponsibility. We are quite aware gistrates at the petty sessions, to receive what tender ground this is, and how
their instructions, and to be ancillary to nearly it touches many of the most of their duties for the detection and pu
them in every respect in the discharge venerable and esteemed institutions
nishment of crime. The establishing of of England. In the observations
an efficient office of this kind would not which follow, therefore, we mean
only very much contribute to render the nothing disrespectful to the centre
laws more powerful, in preventing the of the empire. We know how well
violation of them with so much impunity their criminal machinery acts there, as is now the case, but it would also be and what a magnificent example of of great value in introducing a salutary civilisation has grown up under its improvement in the discharge of the mainfluence. What we allege is, that it gisterial duties, by rendering their prois unsuited to the more fervid tempe- ceedings more strictly conformable to the rament, stronger passions, and infe- forms and rules of law; a circumstance rior civilisation of the sister island; which will lead to a more upright and and that, without disputing its effi- efficient administration of justice, and go cacy in England, it may at least be far at the saine time to remove unfavouraffirmed that experience has proved able impressions sometimes entertained that it is entirely inapplicable to the by the people against the magistrates." Irish population.
The remedy here proposed is not We have the less hesitation in only one of obvious utility, and plainbringing forward these views, be- ly suitable to the evils which have cause they are entirely conformable
risen to so alarming a height, but it to the opinion entertained by the
is one of tried efficacy and expericommittee, who have collected such
enced fitness in another part of the a valuable mass of evidence on the
island, where the anarchy now felt state of Ireland during the last ses in Ireland once existed to as great sion of Parliament.-In their Report an extent; but it has gradually been it is stated,
• brought under by the steady adop“ The defects in the means of admi- tion of the very system of criminal nistering the laws consist principally in justice, which a sense of unbearable the magistrates not having proper legal evils has here suggested to the Parassistance in discharging what may be liamentary committee on Irish afconsidered the technical and formal parts fairs. of their duties ; in the insufficient means The Procurator Fiscals, as they for investigating and tracing crimes, from
are called, of the Scotch counties, their commission to the arrest of the de- who have been in full activity for linquents; and also in great negligence the last 150 years, are exactly the and irregularity in conducting all the pro- clerks of the crown suggested for ceedings, from the time of the arrest the Irish counties. They are public until the delinquents are brought before officers appointed for each county, the judge and jury for trial; and above all, in the want of some system for the by the Crown, or the Sheriff, and speedy and immediate bringing to justice they are intrusted with the preparaoffenders against the public peace, so as
tion of all the criminal cases which to meet in an early stage the effect of con
occur within their district. When spiracies to subvert the law.
any offence is committed, the injur“ In order to provide a remedy for ed party lays his story before this these defects the Committee are of opi- officer, and he thenceforward has no nion, that instead of a Clerk of the Crown trouble in the matter, except to apfor each circuit in Ireland, there ought to pear and give evidence when called be, according to the plan recently acted on for that purpose. In this way the
investigation of crimes is intrusted the guilty. The authority of the law, to a public officer, without any divi- indeed, is in the end vindicated; but sion of responsibility, who is con- not until murder, conflagration, and stantly on the spot ready to receive robbery have for months overspread information, and who soon acquires, the land; and when the assizes or from his extensive experience in special commission do meet, it is these matters, a degree of skill which only to wreak the vengeance of an no person but one of professional offended nation upon hundreds of habits can by possibility attain. The captives, who were led to the perpenumber of cases amounting in the tration of their crimes by the tardilarger counties to 300 or 400, which ness of the law in unsheathing its annually go through the office of sword. The committee have also this officer, renders him and his clerks reported on this evil, and the means in a short time perfectly familiar, of remedying it. not only with the forms of criminal procedure, but the mode of detecte “In adverting to the late mischievous ing crime, the haunts of offenders, associations in the Queen's County, unand the most desperate characters der the name of Whitefeet, and the frewho infest his district, while at the quent recurrence of similar associations same time his public situation ren
in other parts of Ireland, the Committee, ders him incomparably less the ob
although impressed with the strongest ject of popular obloquy, than coun
disinclination to recommend any new law
which should in any degree be a departry gentlemen or clergymen, who act
ture from the established constitutional as justices of the peace. So com
rule of law, when they see by experience pletely has this been proved by ex
so much crime has been committed, and perience in Scotland, that though the
so much injury sustained, from time to justices have the same power in most
time, from these associations, are of opirespects as their English brethren,
nion, a law might be passed which, withtheir criminal jurisdiction has almost
out being in any degree a departure from fallen into disuse, and all the crimi.
the principles of the Constitution, would nal business is prepared by these enable the Executive Government to put public officers, in whose hands ex. into force the administration of justice perience has proved it is so much more speedily, and at a less expense, than better conducted than by private can be done at present. But before they individuals, or the ordinary magis- proceed to state the provisions of such a tracy.
law, they beg to remark, that although it But it is not enough that an officer is quite true, as has been stated by the with an efficient board of clerks Chief Justice of the King's Bench, in his should exist in every county to pre- charge to the Grand Jury of the Queen's pare all the criminal cases which County, that the ordinary and regular occur in his district; it is indispen- laws have been found sufficient to put sable that some means 'should also down the various Whiteboy associations be devised for trvino offences imme. which have from time to time existed, it diately when they arise, and not per
is equally true, that in every instance
is equally. mitting the ruinous delay to ensue
every association has made itself complete wbich now generally intervenes be
master of the county where it has been tween the commission of the crime
formed, and committed all kinds of crimes
and enormities with impunity for a conand the punishment of the offenders.
siderable period before the enforcement As matters stand in Ireland at pre
of the powers of the law has produced a sent, it generally happens that the
remedy. The practice of having recourse violent and illegal associations with which the country in the South and
to a Special Commission, as the means
of carrying into effect a vigorous applicaWest is everywhere more or less
tion of the rigours of the law, has led to overspread, acquire an uncontrolled
tbis ; and while this practice is the sole command over the lives and proper- remedy which is had recourse to, the same ties of the iuhabitants before any result will necessarily occur, because the Court meets for the punishment of
be punishment of expense which attends the sending down the numerous crimes which have of a Special Commission, and the difficulbeen committed by its members; ty of making out a case for it to act upon, and thus the disorders are all com- must lead to postponing the appointment mitted before the terrible examples of it until a long time after an illegal con. occur, which are intended to overawe spiracy has commenced its operations. In
VOL. XXXIII. NO, CCV.
point of fact, although the law has in ge- “ And that the present laxity amounts neral proved sufficiently strong and effec- to a sort of bounty upon crime?-Yes, it tual for the ultimate suppression of While- relaxes the morals of the people, and boy associations, it has not been effec- makes them indifferent to the commistual in affording protection to the public sion of petty crimes; whereas if they were against being exposed to the crimes and properly punished, we should have a very atrocities of those conspiracies for a con- different state of things in Ireland.” siderable period previous to their being Here again we have experience in completely repressed.
Ireland, leading to the adoption of “ The first object of the law which the
the same system, which for three Committee recommend to be passed, is
centuries has been established with to give power to the Lord Lieutenant of
the happiest effects in Scotland. Ireland, if a case of violent disturbance
The Committee have been most of the peace by a Whiteboy association
meritorious in the labour they have shall actually occur, to issue his warrant
bestowed on the accumulation of for a special assembling of the Court of Quarter Sessions, at a period when, ac
evidence on this subject; but their cording to the ordinary course of the law,
recommendations, in many respects, it could not assemble; and if the occa: are tinged by a degree of timidity, sion should seem to require it, to appoint arising from an unwillingness to dea person of high standing at the bar to viate from old institutions, evidently act as Assessor to the Court. The Court unsuitable to the circumstances of to try all prisoners charged with White- the country. The recommendation boy and other offences below the rank of just quoted is a signal proof of this capital felonies; and to continue to sit by observation. For an evil of acknowadjournment from time to time until tran. ledged magnitude, of long standing, quillity shall be restored."
and universal extent, they propose
only the inadequate remedy of the An able officer, Colonel Sir John
assembly of an extraordinary Court Harvey, holding a high situation in of Quarter Sessions, by proclamation the Irish police, gives the following
from the Lord Lieutenant. Such decisive evidence in favour of a pub
temporary and casual measures will lic prosecutor in Ireland :
never be attended with any lasting “Do you think that the English principle good effect in a country so grievousof law, that the person injured shall be y distracted as Ireland is, and where the prosecutor for the injury, and incur the people have so long been accusthe expense of seeking redress, though tomed to comparative impunity for the injury is considered to be an injury every species of outrage. To strike to the public, should be applied to Ire- terror into a disorganized, disaffectland ?- No; I think it should always be ed, and almost insurgent peasantry, treated as an injury to the public, and a it is indispensable that the ordinary public prosecutor appointed; that might courts and the common law should remedy the evil.
be able to reach them at all times. “ If there was a public officer that
Such a system would be an act of should take charge of the informations
mercy to the deluded wretches themlaid before the magistrate, and superintend laying the bills before the grand jury, and,
selves; for how often does it happen if found, see that the case was properly
that a few striking examples at first conducted in court; if all that was con
are sufficient to put a stop to a sysducted by a public officer at the public
tem, which, if allowed to rise to a expense, would that tend to give the law
head, the transportation of hundreds full effect ?- Yes, and it would lead to
can hardly extinguish ? create a respect for the law, which does
To grapple with this dreadful evil, not now exist.
wbich lies at the root of so many of “ Is there not now so much impunity
the disorders of Ireland, we would that the people are careless of commit propose that there should be estating offences ?-Such has long been my blished in every county permanent impression.
magistrates, paid by the Crown, se« May not the impunity allowed in lected from men of character and those smaller crimes in ordinary times, eminence at the bar, who should be form the basis and tend to the extension authorised at all times to summon of insurrectionary crimes, when attempted juries for the trial of offenders against to be introduced by some factious or the public peace, and to inflict any Whitefeet party? - Yes, I think so. punishment short of death. The in
fluence of such a local authority al. if there were only half-a-dozen persons ways sitting, and wbich can apply to try for such offences. I recollect Mr the vigorous arm of the law to the Saurin saying, in 1815, that he would cornmencement of disorders, is incal- send down a special commission if there culable. Its efficacy has been abun- were only two cases; and he did send dantly tried in Scotland. Though one down to Limerick when there were the Sheriff in that country is not few cases, and it was quieted. vested with the power of transport
“ But before a single case could be preing criminals, yet the steady and in
in. pared for trial, might not such a gang as
you have alluded to, by their power of cessant application of the punishment of imprisonment has a most
intimidation, bring the county altogether
into a state of disturbance? - Certainly powerful effect in repressing dis
they might; but the more time allowed orders; and when combined with
the greater the disturbance. the severer sentences imposed by
“Are the means that magistrates posthe judges on the Circuit, complete
sess such as enable them at all times imly keeps under the tendency to anar
mediately to apply the law that is calcu. chy in that well-regulated country: lated to suppress insurrection ?-I think Larger powers would be required there ought to be in every county in Irefor the Irish Sheriffs, on account of land a police magistrate, a stipendiary pothe more disturbed state of the coun- ice magistrate, whose duty it would be try; but with these, and a vigorous to watch every offence, and the moment and efficient police, we have not the an outrage occurred, to enquire into every slightest doubt that by these means particular relating to it, and report it to tranquillity might ultimately be re- the crown solicitor or law officers. I stored even to its worst provinces. would have the chief constables not ex
The Committee have reported, actly as they are now, but of a lower class, that it is the long interval between such as sergeants in the army, and the dif. the crimes and their punishment ference of expense would make up for the which leads to the enormous height payment of the stipendiary magistrate. I to which Whiteboy outrages gene- know instances where chief constables rally arise in Ireland, before they are baving been captains or majors in the repressed by the terrible examples army, gentlemen at whose houses they of the Special Commissions or the
dined, did not like to ask them to go on Assizes.. What is the appropriate
duty to patrol after dinner. This would remedy for this evil? Evidently to
not be the case if they were taken from
hedin men in a lower rank. I would have a have a local court established in
police stipendiary magistrate for the whole every county, which could try crimes
county, and the difference of expense as soon as they were committed, and
would, in my opinion, be a great saving might transport the offenders as fast
to the county. as their outrages were perpetra
“ If the present magistrates of a counted, months before the tardy Grand
ty were to do their duty vigilantly, would Jury began to assemble, or the autho- these stipendiary magistrates be necesrities in Dublin could be moved to sary?_I think you require some person issue a special commission or procla in each county, whose duty it would be mation. The expedience of such an to enquire into and report on every outestablishment might be inferred a rage that occurred; for instance, a genpriori, from a consideration of the tieman may be absent when an outrage principles which govern the unruly occurs in his neighbourhood. There is part of mankind; it is abundantly in Limerick and Kerry a district of fifty proved by the example of Scotland; miles without a single magistrate. and, without any knowledge of its “You say that if the first symptom is establishment in that country, it has not immediately met and the parties been strongly recommended by all checked, that it goes on so rapidly tbat the witnesses best acquainted with it becomes next to impossible for magisthe real state of Ireland.
trates not being stipendiary to interfere Mr Barrington, Crown Solicitor with effect ?-Yes; it goes on till it aron the Munster Circuit, states this in rives at what you have seen in Clare and the strongest manner. Being asked in the Queen's County. the strongest manner. Being asked,
" Has not this been the case, that . “ Before you have a special commis- wherever an attempt has been made by sion, must not there be a considerable any party to introduce these insurrecextent of outrage ?-I would issue it tionary proceedings, they have so far suc.