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commitment the reason for which nishment by every lawyer present ; it is made: that the court upon an according to Mr Selden's own achabeas corpus may examine into its count of the matter, whose resent. validity ; and according to the cir- ment was not cooled at the distance cumstances of the case may dis- of four-and-twenty years. charge, admit to bail, or remand the “ These pitiful evasions gave rise prisoner:
to the statute 16 Car. I. c. 10. 8, “ And yet, early in the reign of whereby it was enacted, that if any Charles I. the court of king's bench, person be committed by the king relying on some arbitrary prece- himself in person, (or by his privy dents, (and those perhaps misun- council, or by any of the memderstood,) determined that they bers thereof,) he shall have granted could not upon an habeas corpus unto him, without any delay upon either bail or deliver a prisoner, any pretence whatsoever, a writ of though committed without any habeas corpus, upon demand or mocause assigned, in case he was com. tion made to the court of king's mitted by the special command of bench or common pleas; who shall the king, or by the lords of the thereupon, within three court days privy council. This drew on a after the return is made, examine parliamentary enquiry, and pro- and determine the legality of such duced the petition of righ!s, 3 Car. I, commitment, and do what to jus. which recites this illegal judgment, tice shall appertain, in deliverinş, and enacts, that no freeman here- bailing, or remanding such priafter shall be so imprisoned or de
Yet still in the case of tained. But when, in the follow. Jenks, before alluded to, who in ing year, Mr. Selden and others 1676 was committed by the king were committed by the lords of in council for a turbulent speech at the council, in pursuance of his Guildhall, new shifts and devices majesty's special command, under were made use of to prevent his ena general charge of ' notable largement by law; the chief justice * contempts and stirring up sedition (as well as the chancellor) declining < against the king and govern- to award a writ of habeas corpus ad • ment,' the judges delayed for two subjiciendum in vacation, though at terms (including also the long va- last he thought proper to award cation) to deliver an opinion how the usual writs ad delibcrandum, far such a charge was bailable. &c. whereby the prisoner was disAnd, when at length they agreed charged at the Old Bailey. Other that it was, they however annexed abuses had also crept into daily a condition of finding sureties for practịce, which had in some mea. the good behaviour, which still pro- sure defeated the benefits of this tracted their imprisonment; the great constitutional remedy. The chief justice, sir Nicholas Hyde, at party imprisoning was at liberty to the same time declaring, that if delay his obedience to the first writ,
they were again remanded for and might wait till a second and a ! that cause, perhaps the court third, called an alias and a pluries, « would not afterwards grant a were issued, before he produced the
habeas corpus, being already made party: and many other vexatious ! acquainted with the cause of the shifts were practised to detain state• imprisonment. But this was prisoners in custody. But who. heard with indignation and asto. ever will attentively consider the
English English history may observe, that bailable, upon giving security to the Hagrant abuse of any power, by appear and answer to the accusa. the crown or its ministers, has al. tion in the proper court of judicaways been productive of a struggle; ture. 4. That officers and keepers which either discovers the exercise neglecting to make due returns, or of that power to be contrary to not delivering to the prisoner or his law, or (if legal) restrains it for the agent within six hours after demand future. This was the case in the a copy of the warrant of commit. present instance, The oppression ment, or shifting the custody of a of an obscure individual gave birth prisoner from one to another, withto the famous habeas corpus act, 31 out sufficient reason or authority Car. Il. c. 2. which is frequently (specified in the acı), shall for the considered as another magna charta first offence forfeit 1001, and for the of the kingdom; and by conse
second offence 2001. to the party quence has also in subsequent times grieved, and be disabled to hold his reduced the method of proceed. office. 5. That no person, once ing on these writs (though not delivered by hal eas corpus, shall be within the reach of that statute, recommitted for the same offence, but issuing merely at the common on penalty of 5001. 6. That every law,) to the true standard of law person committed for treason or feand liberty.
lony shall, if he requires it, the first “ The statute itself enacts, l. week of the next term, or the first That the writ shall be returned and day of the next session of oyer and the prisoner brought up, within a terminer, be indicted in that term or limited time, according to the di. session, or else admitted to bail; stance, not exceeding in any case unless the king's witnesses cannot twenty days. 2. That such writs be produced at the time: and if acshall be indorsed, as granted in pur- quitted, or if not indicted and tried suance of this act, and signed by the in the second term or session, he person awarding them. 3. That shall be dischargrd from his im. on complaint and request in writing prisonment for such imputed of. by or on behalf of any person com. fence : but that no person, after mitted and charged with any crime the assizes shall be opened for the (unless committed for treason or county in which he is detained, felony expressed in the warrant, or shall be removed by babeas corpus, for suspicion of the same, or as ac
till after the assizes are ended; but cessory thereto before the fact, or shall be left to the justice of the convicted or charged in execution judges of assize. 7. That any such by legal process) the lord chan- prisoner may move for and obtain cellor or any of the twelve judges, his babeas corpus, as well out of the in vacation, upon viewing a copy of chancery or exchequer, as out of the the warrant, or affidavit that a copy king's bench or common pleas; and is denied, shall (unless the party the lord chancellor or judge deny. has neglected for two terms to ap- ing the same, on sight of the war. ply to any court for his enlarge- rant or oath that the saine is rement) award a habeas corpus for fused, forfeit severally to the party such prisoner, returnable imme. grieved the sum of 5001. 8. That diately before himself or any other this writ of habeas corpus shall run of the judges; and upon the return into the counties palatine, cinque made shall discharge the party, if ports, and other privileged places,
and the islands of Jerścy and Guern- tute) that persons apprehended upsey. 9. That no inhabitant of on suspicion have suffered long imEngland (except persons contract. prisonment, merely because they ing, or convicts praying, to be were forgotten." transported; or having committed From this account it will appear some capital offence in the place to that by the suspension of the habeas which they are sent) shall be sent corpus act, persons may be impriprisoner to Scotland, Ireland, Jer. soned without the necessity of bringsey, Guernsey, or any places be- ing them to trial. Let us now exyond the seas, within or without amine in what respect this suspenthe king's dominions: on pain that sion could be useful to repress the the party committing, his advisers, disturbances by which part of the aiders, and assistants, shall forfeit country was agitated, and to secure to the party grieved a sum not less the safety of the government. than 5001. to be recovered with It is easy to conceive such a state treble costs; shall be disabled to of things, that a fair and impartial bear any office of trust or profit; trial cannot be expected, and that it shall incur the penalties of premu- may be prudent or necessary to nire; and shall be incapable of the imprison those against whom no king's pardon.
legal evidence of guilt can be • This is the substance of that brought forward. On these two great and important statute: which grounds, principally, was the susextends (we may observe) only to pension of the habeas corpus act the case of commitments for such justified by ministers. But if the criminal charge, as can produce no great mass of the people were loyal inconvenience to public justice by a and untainted, there could be no temporary enlargement of the prie apprehension that a fair and imsoner: all other cases of unjust im- partial trial would not be obtained; prisonment being left to the habeas and in fact, as we shall afterwards corpus at common law. But even have occasion to show, the only upon writs at the common law it is part of the kingdom, where those now expected by the court, agree. who were accused of high treason able to antient precedents and the were found guilty, was the very spirit of the act of parliament, that' centre of the disaffected districts. the writ should be immediately On this ground, therefore, there obeyed, without waiting for any seems hardly a sufficient reason to alias or pluries; otherwise an attach. be found for suspending the habeas ment will issue. By which admi. corpus act. The other ground is rable regulations, judicial as well as more tenable, provided the country parliamentary, the remedy is now were in such a state as to render complete for removing the injury of persons, who were only supposed unjust and illegal confinement. A to be proceeding towards illegal remedy the more necessary, because acts, dangerous to its tranquillity: the oppression does not always for, by the supposition, they had not arise from the ill-nature, but some, actually committed any act on which times from the mere inattention, of the law could take hold, otherwise government. For it frequently the suspension of the habeas corpus happens in foreign countries, (and act would not have been necessary has happened in England during with respect to them. temporary suspensions of the staa One beneficial consequence this
suspension suspension undoubtedly had: it re- the country, and though these dispressed the violent measures of turbances were fomented by the many; and, as we have already no- violent reformers; yet, as the great ticed, drove Cobbett out of the mass of the people were sound and country. But it certainly would be untainted, they would have worked much better in every point of view, themselves off with very partial and to preserve or restore tranquillity to temporary mischief; and that the the country by additional laws, (if laws of the country, though perthose in existence are not sufficient) haps they were not sufficient to than by such an infringement on have prevented all this mischict, the constitution as the suspension of yet were powerful enough to prethe habeas corpus act produces. vent any very serious evil, without, In all governments, and perhaps the suspension of the habeas corpus in free governments more than in act. Ministers ought to be the last others, precedent very properly is people to weaken the attachment of great weight and influence in and veneration of the nation for the the direction and justification of constitution ; yet it must be weaka measures. The most scrupulous ened, when they acknowledge by care, therefore, ought to be iaken, their measures, that unless it is that no bad precedents are set; or, violated, it is not adequate to the at least, that they be set as seldom putting down partial disturbances. as possible; and never unless when Ministers also should be the last the special necessity for them is people to show distrust in the namost urgent, and most distinctly tion: but this they certainly did, and unequivocally pointed out, as when, notwithstanding their declatheir sole justification; so that the ration that the great mass was loyal precedent of the justification, and and untainted, they deemed it neof the necessity on which it is cessary to employ spies, and to de. formed, may be as distinct and prive this great mass, thus loyal strong as the precedent of the mea- and untainted, of one of the great sure itself.
bulwarks of the constitution, on acOn the whole, therefore, we are count of the disaffection and disdisposed to be of opinion, that turbances of a few. though there were disturbances in
The Spenceans.-State Trials--of Watson, &c.-Brandreth, fc.-In Scot
"land.-Wooler and Hone-Remarks on the Duties of a Judge. N the volume of the New An- they were founded. To all who
nual Register for the year 1816 read this account it must appear, wę was given a very full and particular think, that the doctrines broached account of the tenets and the plans and maintained by the Spenceans of the Spenceans, as well as of the were those of a set of wrongbeaded reasonings and authority on which enthusiasts, alike ignorant of human
nature and regardless of the state but certainly from the men of pro.
among those who had not property, Government, however, seems to among the poorest and most hardhave thought otherwise; for in the working class of the community. first report of the secret committee, When it has been asserted that no one of the grounds on which the danger of a serious or permanent suspension of the habeas corpus act nature could possibly have arisen and the other measures that cur. from the disaffected in the manu, tailed the liberty of the subject were facturing districts, and especially recommended, rested on the dan. from the Spenceans, and therefore gerous and alarming doctrines of that it was not necessary to have the Spenceans, Our readers will suspended the habeas corpus act, recollect that the grand doctrine it was replied that we ought to which they taught was, that the look to the French revolution ; land ought not to be the property that it arose from small beginnings of individuals, but of the state; and from the lowest riot from men that all labour ought to be for the who were despised—but who proved common good and advantage: they themselves capable of overturning endeavoured to prove, that all the the government of France, and misery of the great mass of man- eventually of spreading ruin and kind, -all wars, and in short every misery throughout nearly the whole calamity with which man in society of Europe. But the cases are by had been inflicted, originated from no means similar : it certainly will theexistence of individual property: not be contended, that because in they also contended, that even those one case a government has been who by the present structure and overturned by the machinations of laws of society possessed a large men who were few in number, and share of property, would be bene- despicable in means and character, fited by giving it up to the come and to all appearance incapable mon stock.
of doing so much mischief; that It certainly is not necessary to therefore, in all cases, such calashow that the Spencean doctrines mities ought to be apprehended and were not the least likely to meet guarded against, by infringements with, or to make converts,' among on the liberty of the subject. All those who possessed any property: who recollect, or have read of, a few madmén, or enthusiasts ap- the state in which France was proaching to the state of madness, just before the revolution, must might indeed have been induced to know, that the moral poison had adopt the Spencean doctrines; as circulated through the greater part men of this description will always of the mass of the people, that it be found ready, by the very morbid entered into the vital parts. The structure of their minds, to become English violent reformers, and the the disciples of the most absurd mob in the disturbed districts, under doctrine that ever was broached; their guidance and instruction, cer