Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

of the 25th of October last, and served while the captain was below by the proper officer; but on his deputy's attempting to take possession of the ship with the customary forms, the Dutch captain assailed him with the most insulting language and ungentlemanly behaviour; he threatened to throw him overboard if he did not quit the ship immediately, after having otherwise put him in fear of some personal danger and punishment in the event of attempting to execute his orders. The officer was, in consequence, obliged to leave them unexecuted. Dr. Lushington, on behalf of the salvors, moved the court for a warrant of attachment as against the person of the captain, (the former one extending to the ship and cargo.) He contended that every possible consideration had been shown for the situation of this person and the character of his government. Immediate information had been transmitted to the ambassador from the king of the Netherlands in London, as well as to his consul resident at Plymouth. The conduct of the captain, under these circumstances, was a manifest contempt of court; and the learned counsel maintained, that the course he had proposed in submitting his motion, was the only one that ought to be pursued in this case. Sir William Scott asked if any appearance had been given on behalf either of the ambassador or of the consul ? The king’s advocate replied in the negative. He was aware that, therefore, it was only by the indulgence of the court that

he could make any observation on the case before it ; but he suggested, that it was one of great nicety, seeing that the foreign officer's instructions could not, most probably, contemplate the occurrence of the events in question. Dr. Arnold had also, conjointly with his majesty's advocate, been consulted by the consul on this occasion, and hoped that proceedings would be suspended. The captain was, in some degree, intrusted with the honour of the national flag under which he was sailing; and it might be fairly presumed, was more anxious for the preservation of its rights than the observance of his duties. He trusted that time might be allowed, in order that he might communicate with his government. Dr. Lushington insisted that this was the case of a ship which had sought, and been assisted by, the aid of British vessels, by whom she had been brought within British territory and under the undoubted jurisdiction of his Britannic majesty. How, then, could it be urged, that this was a case of any peculiar nicety; or that it could be necessary for this of ficer to make any reference to his own government? His conduct had been clearly most reprehensible, and was clearly within the reach of this court. But he

[blocks in formation]

| country *}. r. Hunt rose, and said he had a motion to make, and it respected the magistrates at ManChester. Lord Chief Justice.—Well, what is the nature of it? Mr. Hunt.—My lord, I mean to move for a criminal information against them. Lord Chief Justice.—That is not competent for you to do. A criminal information must be moved at the suit of the king; and such a motion can only be made by some gentleman at the

country was to run the risk (he would not put it otherwise than conditionally) of having its authority invaded ? Sir William Scott asked what further time the other party meant to apply for, before the warrant of attachment should be granted? It was intimated that a fortnight or three weeks would be sufficient. Sir William Scott wished to know, whether the ship, in case

of the suspension, would remain

certainly in her port, and whether there was any intention of proceeding 2 The King's Advocate had no means of answering positively; but the ship being a complete wreck, he presumed the court had every means of protecting itself whatever it might decide upon. - Sir William Scott said, the court felt a desire to act with the greatest delicacy towards foreign states on occasions of this sort, and certainly not the less so in regard to the state in question. This was described as a ship of war, but her present situation was that of a merchant vessel, clearly; and the other vessels which had applied for this warrant were as clearly entitled to remuneration for salvage-service. There might be reasons on the part of the foreign minister here for the delay, which he was inclined to respect; but the British claimant must be protected. If he were given to understand that this ship would not be removed, however, he could not object to the warrant's being deferred for a short time; and this he desired might be signified to the minister,

who represented his government in this country, accompanied with an intimation that such removal must on no account take place. The court, in conclusion, observed, that it should grant the warrant of attachment, unless the assurance of her continuing in ports were speedily given him, which might be done by the proper parties, when so enabled, out of court, without waiting for the next court-day.

KING’s BENCH, Nov. 8. Criminal Informations.

The Lord Chief Justice, who was engaged in going through the bar a second time upon mo– tions for new trials, observing that Mr. Hunt had been some time in court, with a bundle of papers at his side, inquired through one of the officers whether he intended to submit an motion; and on finding the affirmative, called upon him, and stated that the court were now

bar.

Mr. Hunt.—I have looked io a

+ +

all the books, and I cannot find any instance in which the court has interfered to stop a prosecution of this kind. Lord Chief Justice.—I believe there is no precedent of the court allowing any but a gentleman at the bar to conduct a proceeding of this nature. Mr. Pollock we are ready to hear you. Mr. Pollock, however, had no sooner finished his motion, than Mr. Hunt again offered himself to the attention of the court, and begged to know whether their lordships would be pleased to advise him how he ought to proceed. Lord Chief Justice —No, we do not sit here for that purpose. Mr. Hunt (interrupting his lordship, who with some difficulty was able to add, that if he had sustained any personal wrong, he might bring a civil action) replied, he had been often told that courts of justice were open to all. He had strong reasons for making this a public proceeding, and he had neither money nor inclination to employ professional lawyers in the management of it. Lord Chief Justice.—All this court does is to prevent you from moving for a criminal information. Mr. Justice Bayley.—It may be as well to state on this occasion the reasons of the rule by which the court is now guided. It would be most improper, in the first place, that the time of the court should be occupied unnecessarily, or in the consideration of topics irrelevant to those points over which alone it exercises its jurisdiction, or to which it can, beneficially to the purposes of justice, advert. The

time of this court belongs to the public. Mr. Hunt (again interrupting). —I am one of that public. Mr. Justice Bayley.—You are, Sir, and are to be informed, that the king sometimes acts in this court by his own law-officers and sometimes by other professional gentlemen. Every criminal prosecution is carried on in his name; and for a long series of years a practice has prevailed, that none but gentlemen at the bar, whose education fits them for the conduct of such proceedings and who know by that education and from their experience what points ought to be urged and what topics may be brought forward without incurring blame, shall carry on the prosecution in court. It might otherwise happen, without any evil motive, but purely from honest ignorance on the part of an accuser, that the most injurious prejudices might be excited. It would, indeed, be a great hardship on a prisoner, charged perhaps with an offence affecting his life, that aprosecutor, merely because he knew not what it was proper to state and what it was necessary to omit, should bring forward matters with which a jury had nothing to do; but which, being brought forward, might produce an effect upon their minds which it would be impossible for the judge afterwards to remove or to control. The same observation must apply to cases of misdemeanors, and he knew of no solid distinction that could be made between what was to be addressed to a jury and what to that court, in cases at suit of the crown. There is no precedent of a criminal prosecution originating in this court except at the instance of officers of the crown, or of persons who in some respects stand in the character of public officers—I mean, of course, gentlemen at the bar. To abandon this rule of proceeding would be to destroy the distinction between civil and criminal cases. By the former, every individual may seek a remedy for personal wrong sustained; but the object of criminal proceedings is not private redress but public justice; and it is therefore impossible for us to accede to that course which you are desirous of pursuing. Mr. Hunt.—May I be permitted to offer a few observations on what has fallen from the learned judge P Lord Chief Justice.—No, Sir, you cannot. Have you any instances of an individual not at the bar, being allowed by this court to do what you are contending for 2 Mr. Hunt.—There is no precedent from the earliest institution of trial by jury to the contrary. Lord Chief Justice.—You have not answered my question. Mr. Hunt.—I wish to refer the court to a case which came on before lord Ellenborough, a short time before your lordship was appointed lord chief justice of England. Mr. Justice Bayley.—It was determined recently in the case of Milne, in the negative. Mr. Hunt.—I allude to a different case, that of the king, on the prosecution of Pitt, against the right hon. William Huskisson and others.

Mr. Justice Bayley.—l recollect that lord Ellenborough did suffer Mr. Pitt to be heard, and that I afterwards spoke privately to that noble and learned lord, for whom I always felt the greatest respect, but to whom I communicated my opinion that he was wrong on that occasion. His lordship acquiesced in the reasons I stated, and declared his conviction that the proceeding was incorrect, and that the mischief of such a precedent, if it was allowed to be drawn into one, could not easily be calculated. Mr. Gurney.—His lordship afterwards declared in court, that he was satisfied he had acted wrong. Mr. Hunt.—If this be law, it is useless for me to contend any further. Lord Chief Justice.—You are bound to submit to the authority of the court. Mr. Hunt.—This is the first instance of a prosecution being so impeded. ord Chief Justice.—There is scarcely any instance of a prosecution attempted to be thus commenced. Mr. Justice Holroyd.—I think it is clear that there is no precedent to justify an application on the part of the crown brought forward in the present manner. The object of all criminal prosecutions is public justice; and the court would act most improperly in allowing an individual to convert himself, at his own pleasure, into a counsel for the crown. Mr. Justice Best.—It is only where an individual can make himself party to a cause, that he ls is suffered to appear publicly before the Court. The person on the floor comes forward, not as any party to the suit, but as an advocate for the king. If it were a civil action, that would be carried on in the name of the applicant, and he would be entitled to conduct it personally. He cannot, however, be in a situation to do so under the present circumstances, unless he can adduce a sufficient precedent; and none such is to be found. What right then can this person have to obtrude himself upon the king, and in his name to conduct a prosecution against his subjects? The Court ought to make no such precedent; and indeed the relies which have been made upon it in this instance, are pregnant proof of the utility of the rule and the importance of adhering to it. Gentlemen at the bar know when to stop or to recede; but it is evident #. the present applicant will be content with nothing which this Court can decide. Mr. Hunt then declared his confident persuasion that no application would ever be made against the Manchester magistrates by any gentleman at the bar, and immediately left the Court, apparently much chagrined.

Court of common PLEAs, THURSDAY, DEC. 2.

Curling v. Buck—This was an action for a breach of promise of marriage, and the damages were laid at 1,000l. It appeared that the plaintiff, Miss . Anne Vol. LXI.

Curling, was a young lady of considerable personal attractions, residing with her mother, a lacecleaner, in Wood-street, Bondstreet. The defendant, formerly an officer of engineers in the East India company's service, now acted as minister to a congregation of Baptists, at a new chapel situate between Queen-street and Charles-street, Oxford-road. He had previously preached at a chapel in Titchfield-street. The lady was of the age of 22, and the defendant 28 years. The acquaintance commenced by the plaintiff, her mother and sister, going to hear the defendant preach in November, 1818; after which they visited each other. Shortly after it was agreed, that the family of the plaintiff should become his sectarians, and they accordingly joined the Baptist society and became a part of his congregation. The defendant then paid his addresses to the plaintiff, with the consent of her mother and with the knowledge of his father, a tailor, residing in Arundel-street, in the Strand : the families continuing to visit each other from November 1818, to April 1819, when the defendant thought proper to break off the intended marriage, which had been repeatedly promised and even published by bans. His letter on this occasion stated §."; other things) that his ather had given his absolute ne— gative to the connexion, and that if the union took place, it would prevent his father’s settling those debts which he (the defendant) had contracted in India, and which his father was now "liquidating, &c. Several love-letters

T of

« ZurückWeiter »