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many had the striking peasant-beauty which seems sail like a bark freighted with angels !') It was a supernatural to an Italian clime. • The coral-fishery must stition of love and piety : I could not even smile at it. be a merry life,' I continued.
When the women turned to go home, I saw one of 'It is the life of a dog!' observed the young lazza- them still standing, as motionless as a marble statue, rone, stretching himself, as if exulting in his own lazi- gazing after the boats. It was the girl Bertina. I
looked at her wistfully. • Then why do those young fellows seem so merry?' Poor thing !' murmured a voice behind me. I was
Oh, signor, it is their first season : they do not almost startled at the gentleness of its tones, seeing know what is before them. I tried it once; but the that they came from my young lazzarone. Well, one man who goes two seasons to the coral-fishery is mad sometimes finds a grain of gold-dust in a bed of coarse or a fool-that is, if he lives through the first. I had sand. There was good in the lad, with all his dirt and rather starve on shore than be worked to death at sea.' laziness: I began to like him.
I tried to get some explanation from my young • Why are you so sorry for that young girl ?' I said. acquaintance respecting the hardships of the fishery; 'She is not worse off than all the other women who but his disgust appeared to be so great, that I could have sent their friends to the fishery. This was a ruse elicit nothing, except a repetition of the fact, that it of mine : it succeeded admirably. was • la vita d'un cane. I thought that the life of the 'I wonder the signor is not ashamed to speak so unlazzarone himself seemed of a very canine and half- feelingly,' said the lad, becoming energetic and angry civilised character, and could hardly imagine one that at once. • But it is always so with the cold-hearted was worse ; 90 I left him, and watched the fishermen Inglesi' (English). "Who would not be sorry for poor enter their boats. They were accompanied to the Bertina, when all the town knows that she ought to shore by a number of peasant women; and as I drew have married Ippolite Sacchi in peace and happiness, nearer, and looked in the faces of these mothers, sisters, and gone to live at the pretty vineyard on the side of betrothed wives perhaps, I found that my speculations, Vesuvius, if it had not been for But I beg the founded on the gay ribbons and holiday appearances, signor's pardon for running on thus,' interrupted he. were, to say the least of them, as fictitious as such Now, if there is one thing which a Neapolitan beggar fanciful pictures generally are.
likes better than lolling in the sun and eating macaroni, One soon begins to individualise in a crowd, choosing it is a gossip, when he can have all the talk on his own out those who seem most worthy to be made the foun- side. I knew the lad was longing to tell as much as dation of some romantic superstructure. My fancy | I to hear; but with that spice of cunning which makes lighted on a young pair who appeared superior to the newsmongers and news-seekers coquet with each other, rest, certainly not in dress, but in an indescribable we mutually tried to deceive ourselves—he and I presomething of air and mien that is best expressed by the tended just so much indifference as brought out the term “interesting.' I took an interest in them accord story in all its completeness. Despairing of ever conveyingly; and hidden by a shore-driven boat, used my ing in English the inimitable sketch which the lazzarone eyes, and-shall I confess it?-my ears too, with infinite gave—enriched by his energetic attitudes, his exprespleasure. It did them no harm, poor souls! What sive patois-I will endeavour to furnish a condensation was I to them, or they to me, save that their loving of this historiette. looks, their ill-suppressed tears, their lingering em- Ippolite Sacchi had been brought up from the cradle braces, touched a chord in a heart which, perforce, has by his half-sister, Madona Guiditta, his elder by some learned from such sympathies to still its individual twenty years. All the love which some hidden fåte had throbs, and to beat only in unison with the great pulse forbidden to expend itself in other ways, was concenof human nature.
trated on this boy. He was her pet, her plaything, Bertina, mia cara,' whispered the young fisherman, her pride. She loved him with a love passing the 'it is only a summer, a short summer. What is that love of women.' All their father's property bad been to the long life before us—a life spent together? The left exclusively her own, to the prejudice of little feast of San Michele will soon come, and then the Ippolite; but his sister never married ; - because no one fishery is over, and the fifty ducats will be gained. would have her,' my lazzarone observed. I thought, Think of this, Bertina!'
and am now sure, that he was mistaken. However, *Ah, Ippolite !' sobbed the girl, 'how can you talk of Madona Guiditta, miser and devotee as she was, and fifty ducats, which must seem nothing to you, though it consequently disliked by everybody, was yet almost is a great sum to me. But I have been poor all my life, like a mother to the young Ippolite, until he grew up, while you — Oh, Ippolite! I wish–I wish you had and excited her ire by falling in love ! never loved me, and then Madona Guiditta would not 'Look at Bertina yourself, signor,'continued my inforhave been angry, and you would not be perilling your mant,' and see if he could help it! A sweeter and better life for the sake of fifty ducats. Go back to her now, girl never lived, though she is only a poor vine-dresser. and tell her that you will not marry me, and that I Madona Guiditta was ashamed to call her sister, will promise to go away and never see you more.' though every one else thought the shame was on the
* You are very unkind, Bertina,' the young fisherman other side. The ugly old woman was so proud of her answered ; ' but it is too late now. I thought of your riches, and expected Ippolite to marry some one better doing this, so I got the money in advance, and now I than a poor village girl. She told him to choose beam obliged to go, and I am glad of it. I shall never tween his sister and Bertina-to live and be the heir return to my sister again ; and if you leave me, the of the vineyard, or be turned out without a danaro. He fishes in the coral beds may take Ippolite Sacchi, for all chose Bertina, as who would not? and was turned that he cares.'
away.' As he spoke, the girl clung around him, and stopped • And did he marry her?' his words with her tearful embrace. They never seemed • How could he, signor, when they had not a ducat to see their companions, only each other, although many between them? So he went to the coral-fishery, and a compassionate eye was directed towards them as well poor Bertina is left to work alone, until they both get as mine. "God help them, poor souls !' I said to my-money to marry upon. Heigho! it is better to be a self: there is trouble here, as there is all over the lazzarone, and do nothing. Will the signor give me a world, wherever love comes.' As the fishermen em- danaro for amusing him ? ' barked, the crowd of lamenting women shut out from my *Human nature is huinan nature after all,' I thought; sight Ippolite and his Bertina, so that I did not see their so I gave him the coin, and was turning away, when parting. Many of the women fell on their knees, and he pulled me by the sleeve. told their rosaries in silence; while others took hand- See, signor, there is Madona Guiditta come to look fuls of sand, which they threw after the receding boats, after the boats I suppose. I wonder she is not saying, . Posso dare come nave degli angeli!:-( May it | ashamed to see her own brother, whom she pretended
to be so fond of, among the coral-fishers. Ugh! there and the fishery is ended. No threats will induce the she stands, la donnaccione!'
sailors to work another day after that blessed time of It is impossible to give the full effect of this purely relief has arrived. The continued hard labour, the want Italian word, as the lad used it, accompanied by a mean- of sleep, and the bad food, which are the unfailing poring shrug: it implied all that was ugly, contemptible, tion of the coral-fishers, took effect in time even upon and abhorrent in female nature. I looked at her to the youth and strength of Ippolite Sacchi. His bright whom he applied it. She was a tall, thin woman, cer- and hopeful eye grew dim; and when, about a month tainly the reverse of beautiful ; but yet the time might before the feast of San Michele, his boat put into shore, have been when the roundness of youth softened her I saw that a great change had come over him. large, strongly-marked features, and the benign in- • It is the last voyage, indeed the last,' I heard him fluence of a happy and loving heart made them almost whisper to his betrothed, as the same evening they pleasing. We should not judge harshly of any one. I came down to the boat together. 'A little more pa. almost pitied her when I saw the expression of wild tience, Bertina, dearest, and I shall have earned the sorrow in her dark eyes, how they were strained to money, and then we will be married. With your care, distinguish the distant white sails, that looked like I shall be quite strong against the vine season comes ; floating sea-birds in the bay.
and tending the grapes will be delicious-quite like She creeps along, that no one may see her : she is play--after working at the coral-fishery.? ashamed, and well she may,' moralised the lazzarone- . Alas, alas! that you should have to work at all,
that poor Bertina there is happier than she. I wonder my Ippolite !' answered the girl, kissing his delicate if they see one another?'
hands, now hard and embrowned by labour. 'Oh that Apparently they did not, for Bertina sat under the I had the strength of a man, that I might work for shelter of a sand-hill, with her face buried in her lap, you! It breaks my heart to think that I am the cause and the sister of Ippolite seemed to see nothing but the of all this—I who would give my life to save you one vessel that was bearing to labour and danger the youth care.' who had been her darling for so many years.
I was a fool -I know I was; and yet there was someAt last the white sails disappeared, and Guiditta thing in that girl's love that made my eyes run over, turned to leave the beach. Bertina also rose up, and I hid myself behind the hillock where they sat, and the eyes of the two women met. The younger one was watched her as she laid his weary head on her shoulder, weeping bitterly; at the sight, the passing softness which and parted his long damp hair : I could bear it do had come over Madona Guiditta was changed into longer, but crept awayanger. How dared a mean peasant girl even to weep for her brother? She cast on Bertina a look of the
'Love's pain is very sweet.' bitterest scorn and jealousy, and swept away, leaving Why is it that we envy and long for even its sufferings, the poor maiden humbled to the dust. The young rather than the desolation of its utter absence ? vine-dresser waited until Ippolite's proud sister had On the eve of San Michele, all the other boats crowded passed out of sight, and then crept away, to toil and to into the harbour of Torre del Greco like a swarm of grieve for her lover.
white butterflies—all except the little vessel of Ippolite Many a time during the summer that I stayed at Sacchi. I was down on the beach, mingling with the Torre del Greco, a vague interest led me to follow the crowd. I did not see Bertina there; for the vintage steps of both Ippolite's sister and his betrothed. Very season had already begun, and the young vine-dresser winning was the latter, with her gentle beauty, her could not spare an hour from labour, not even for the patient toil, her faithful love, which found a brief re- sake of love. I was rather glad that she was absent : ward when, every fortnight or three weeks, the boats it would have been a sore pain to that tender heart to put in from the fishery, and Ippolite leaped on shore for witness all the happy greetings, while she herself had to a few tender words, a few half-weeping caresses, which endure the bitterness of suspense. At the time, 110 lightened his labour, and made him seem to suffer less one thought anything of this temporary delay in the from the hardships of the coral-fishery than those who arrival of one boat; but as the night passed, and the had no loving aim to reach at last. Still, they were feast of San Michele dawned, while the little bark was young, and love alone is happiness. My heart clung still absent, many from the town of Torre came down more to that lonely woman, whose only refuge was her to the beach with fear and anxiety in their countenances, pride. Erring as she was, I pitied Madona Guiditta There were other anguish-riven hearts besides that of more than I did those whom she had caused to suffer-Bertina. for who knew what bitterness might have drunk up the All that day I looked in vain for my little Mercury fount of love, which so rarely runs dry in a woman's of good or evil tidings-Pietro the lazzarone. He had heart! She had sinned; but who is it that the angels quite disappeared from his accustomed haunts. I in heaven weep over-the injured righteous, or the watched the various merry groups and processions, halfsinner?
festive, half-religious, which hailed the return of the My little lazzarone, Pietro, met me occasionally on coral-fishers; but in the midst of all, my mind often i the sands, and presuming on the easiness of an idle reverted to the poor Bertina, sorrowing unseen, perhaps man, often began to talk-chiefly about those in whom alone and unpitied; and more often than even to her I took an interest-as his quick perception soon found did my mind revert to the vineyard on the side of Ve. out, and of which his natural cunning took advantage. suvius, where one more wretched still abided. I had Many a stray soldo did the young scapegrace wile out of an idea that Pietro's absence was in some sort connected my pockets by his stories about Madona Guiditta and with these two; and it was a positive relief to me when, the pretty Bertina—how the father of the latter had at the close of the day, I saw him traversing the beach been a young man well-to-do in the world, but had with a restless haste that contrasted strongly with his ruined himself by his extravagance—and how Guiditta's usual lounging gait. father had helped him, and would have done more for "Good news runs fast, Pietro,' said I: ‘where are him, had he not married Bertina's mother, a low ser. you carrying yours?' vant girl. I did not believe the half of what Pietro The lad turned round and made his usual salutation; told me, and yet I wished it had been true. I put but the broad stereotyped smile of a Neapolitan lazzatogether the disjointed fragments, and framed a little rone contended with an expression of sorrow, which romance—the romance of a dreamer. It half atoned made him look comical in the midst of his evident grief. for the harshness of that desolate woman, and so I The signor's condescension would almost turn bad cherished it, for I would ever fain believe in the best news to good,' he answered, with an attempt at his usual side of humanity.
cajoling. But it would not do: the poor lad had a heart The feast of San Michele is the time when all the in his boson beneath those paltry rags, and the tears coral boats come on shore, whether fully laden ur not; stood in his black eyes as he added, “Oh, signor, do not
stop me; I am going to poor Bertina with the news more like Ippolite than'-a brilliant idea crossed the about Ippolite Sacchi!'
mind of the young beggar-than this ragged old jacket • What news? Is the boat come?'
to the beautiful new one which I could buy if the signor Alas, no, signor! But a fishing-smack has brought would only give me a few soldi.' the news that it was seen three days ago foundering in * At the old trade again, Pietro,' I said, trying to look the midst of a storm off the Barbary coast. There is angry, while a slight movement made the coins jingle little hope that poor Bertina will ever see her betrothed in my pocket, and reminded me that the bitter equi. again.'
noctial winds were just beginning to blow, and the lad's * And you are going to tell her so?'
brown skin peeped out at the holes in his shadowy No one else will; and she may bear it best from me apology for a coat. • It is a sin to encourage idleness,' -for Ippolite always liked me he was always kind, whispered Prudence, but Compassion put her sweet lips for I was an orphan like himself- and she knows I to my ear, and murmured, How hard were poverty would have done anything on earth for him.'
and orphanhood combined !' Somehow, Pietro got the * And where are you going to find her, Pietro?' soldi.
* At the church. She is sure to be at vespers, praying “So, Madona Guiditta is really kind to the poor for him, poor girl. Good evening to the signor!' And girl?' I pursued. ! Pietro scampered on, his bare brown feet hardly leaving "Oh yes, signor ; as kind as such an old creature can Į a trace in the sands.
be. At first she seemed as if she could hardly bear to I could not control my own steps ; insensibly they look at Bertina, but now she sits whole hours watching brought me to the church : I had kept Pietro in sight her; and I have often peeped through the vines, when antil he disappeared at the door. Then I felt in my very | they were sitting together, and seen Madona Guiditta heart what was passing within; I almost heard the take Bertina's head between her two hands-ugly brown scream of that widowed maiden, as his terrible news withered hands they seemed beside those soft cheeksmet her ear. Yet I could not prevent myself from and look into her face, muttering to herself for minutes entering the church.
together. The old woman may well look too; for poor It was almost empty. Throughout the day many Bertina's was once the prettiest face ever seen, and the happy hearts had poured out their thankful orisons- very image of her father's, who was the handsomest
for in Catholic countries religion is mingled with every fellow in Naples, people said. But the Signor Inglese į passing event of daily life—but these had gone away : can take little interest in these things.'
it was only mourners who came to pray and weep. I nodded, but did not farther detain my young infor. Through the sombre twilight, which always reigns in mant. As I walked on, it was with a thoughtful spirit. foreign churches, I saw one figure kneeling—no, less Another leaf in the great tablet of the human heart had kneeling than prostrate on the floor. I knew it was been unfolded before me through these unconscious Bertina, and that she had heard all. Pietro was not revelations. They set me pondering for a long time. beside her; he was advancing with an angry vehe- As we advance in life, we philosophise where we once mence towards another worshipper at a little distance- used only to feel. I was on the boundary of the two a woman covered with a hood. The lazzarone touched crises, and my meditations savoured a little of both. her dress, and she drew it away, as if from contamina- As the winter drew on, I began to experience the tion. But in another moment a shriek, wild as that I weariness of an aimless life. The subsiding of the hai expected from the patient, mute, sorrowing Bertina, passing interest which the little episode I relate had disturbed the quiet of the church. Pietro had told given me perhaps increased this feeling. My strolls Madona Guiditta of her brother's fate. It struck her about Torre seemed to have a painful uniformity, so I like a thunderbolt: she fell on the marble pavement projected a journey up the mountain. Perhaps some half insensible. A century of agony and conscience- vague remembrance of Bertina, and of the vineyard on stricken remorse nust have been comprised in that one Vesuvius, which seemed a very paradise to the little moment.
lazzarone, was the unconscious reason of my choosing When Madona Guiditta lifted up her head, Bertina this direction for my peregrinations. If so, the same had risen from her knees. The two women looked at chance led me thither; for one day, at the commenceone another for an instant, and then Ippolite's sister ment of a sudden storm, such as are peculiar to the opened her arms; the girl threw herself into them, and region, I found myself seeking shelter at a dwelling all pride, all enmity was forgotten-one common grief which fully answered Pietro's description. had united them, one all.sanctifying love for him who While I speculated on this, the door opened, and I was gone. Ippolite's sister and his betrothed went away was courteously welcomed in by a voice which I knew together; the elder mourner leaning on the arm of the well, though it was the first time its accents had ever younger, guided by her, and seeming to look to her been addressed to myself. I soon found myself sitting with all the helplessness with which an aged mother face to face with Madona Guiditta and Bertina. Little clings to her child. The proud woman was completely did either know how well the stranger had read the shattered by the blow.
hearts and the destiny of both. I watched them eagerly. I turned homeward, moralising, after my usual habit, A change had come over Ippolite's sister ; the harsh on what I had seen. How often it is the stern rod of lines in her face had melted away. When she looked affliction which strikes the rock, and the waters flow! at, or spoke to Bertina especially, there was a sweetAnd who shall say that the hand which deals the stroke ness in her countenance that made me remember with is not a merciful one? It was so now for both those surprise Pietro's epithet of donnaccione.' But most of desolate ones. Yet that poor Ippolite! Well, let us all did I marvel at the patient calmness of Bertina's not ponder too much on these things, but look to the face-a calmness which seemed the very sublimation of end of all.
grief. Then I knew how great and holy is the love : What has become of Madona Guiditta and Bertina ?' which survives even the parting of death, and through I inquired of Pietro, when, after an absence of some its intensity conquers even that last despair. time, I met him on the beach.
I was almost glad that the storm continued, so that The lad broke into a broader smile than ordinary. I had an excuse for remaining; but I was not exactly Oh, they are living together in the beautiful vineyard. pleased when the shaggy
head of Pietro
the lazzarone Madona Guiditta is growing quite fond of her poor peeped in at the door. Madona Guiditta turned away brother's pretty bride — the Virgin pardon her sins! with an expression of pain, but Bertina went and spoke But if the old wretch had come to her senses a little to the lad with her own kind tones. Pietro seemed unsooner, poor Ippolite would not be feeding the fishes off usually restless, though a continual succession of furtive the Barbary shore, nor Bertina pining her life away, as smiles appeared creeping about his mouth. At last he I know she is, though she smiles and looks cheerful for came close to Bertina, and whispered something that the sake of her lover's sister. A fine sister indeed! no I made her start and turn pale.
What is it? Oh, mother of mercy! what is it?' still more urgent at the present moment,the LAW OF she uttered tremulously.
The lad's eyes wandered uneasily towards the door. *Don't be frightened, Madona Bertina ; it is nothing authorities, and the suggestions of the Criminal Law
What is a riot? Mr Wise, collating the old standard -only the boat—the boat: I can't keep it any longer!' cried the boy, bursting into a caper of frantic joy, that Commissioners, gives this definition :- A riot is where nearly overthrew the table and myself too. Ippolite three or more persons are assembled together without is come back!'
the authority of the law, and engaged in the actual He was indeed ! for the next instant he darted into execution of a joint design of a private nature, with the room, and snatched to his arms-ah, the first em- violence, and to the terror of the people. The word brace was not the sister's, but the beloved Bertina's! |“private' here should more strictly be local, and it is Even then a pang seemed to shoot through Guiditta's used to distinguish the offence from high treason ; but heart, since, when Ippolite left his betrothed to fall on the neck of his sister, she only kissed his brow, said at all events, it is clear that three persons may commit softly, “Thank God,' and glided out of their presence.
a riot as completely as three thousand. Fewer cannot The happy ones never thought of this—how could they do so, any more than one person can be guilty of conknow it!
spiracy. A short time after, Madona Guiditta returned. Ber
As for the personnel of the riot, it may consist of men, tina and Ippolite looked anxiously towards her, and the
women, or infants. Infants at common law are under girl half withdrew herself from the loving arm of her betrothed. But there was no cause for doubt in that fourteen : above that age, they are punishable as perserene, affectionate, though half-mournful face.
sons of full years, while under it the penalty depends Bertina, the Virgin has heard our prayers,' she said. upon the opinions of the jury as to the extent of their "My brother, welcome home! Forget all the past, as knowledge that they were doing wrong. Women being I do. Ippolite, bring to me my sister !'
held to be rioters as well as men, are punishable in During that silent embrace I and Pietro crept out of their own persons; and husbands may take the flatterthe room. We had no business there. I do not think I shall ever see Torre del Greco again, becoming gravity by the text-books; that they are not
ing unction to their souls, which is offered to them with though I shall carry with me all my life a pleasant memory of the summer I spent there. But it is very to be flogged for their wives' misconduct. unlikely that I shall ever be allowed to forget the place,
The object of the riot is of no manner of consequence, since I have an active and faithful Italian servant, who the purpose of the law being simply to prevent violence has followed me half over Europe, and who keeps per- and tumult, under whatever pretence. If three or more petually reminding me of the beauty of a particular persons, for instance, indignant at a manifestly illegal vineyard on Mount Vesuvius. He never urges me to enclosure, combine to destroy it, they are rioters if they go there, except by picturing the happiness my pre- do so in the terms of the definition we have given. The sence would give.
. And the signor always likes to please other people indictment charges no specific purpose: it is the illegal rather than himself,' the fellow adds sometimes. combination, even for a legal object, which constitutes Sly Pietro! I should not wonder if you had your
the riot. An accidental affray, however violent and own way after all.
terrifying, is no riot ; although a lawfully-assembled meeting may become riotous, if they proceed to execute
their purpose with violence. THE LAW OF RIOTS.
A conspiracy, an unlawful assembly, and a riot, are It used to be said that the people had nothing to do three distinct offences. The first may exist in its purwith the laws but to obey them; but even if this were pose alone that of effecting any object, legal or illegal
, true, one would think that the people would have some by unlawful means; the second may likewise be withcuriosity to know what the laws really are which it is out aggressive acts, only threatening danger to the peace their duty to obey. The law, however, in this country, of the neighbourhood; while a riot is constituted by as regards the masses of the population, is a sealed the offenders being in the actual and violent execution book, committed to the charge of the lawyers ; and to of their project. Of these three, the unlawful assembly them all without the pale of the profession look for its would seem to be the grand difficulty. We can tell at interpretation. Offences are daily committed, of which once whether the means used by conspirators are legal the perpetrators know not even the name, far less the or otherwise; and about the nature of a riot there can penalty; and we constantly read in the newspapers, and be no doubt: but it is a very delicate task to interfere think it a capital joke, that a certain offender-to his with the free expression of public opinion, by declaring great astonishment—was “locked up!'
that a certain meeting of the people is likely to prove Something of this, no doubt, is owing to the equi- dangerous to the peace. Still, there is generally room vocal nature of the laws themselves, which appear to be for a very tolerable presumption. If the meeting exexpressly constructed to serve as a bone of contention presses, beyond any doubt, the will of the whole kingfor the lawyers ; and something, likewise, to their pro- dom, the question of illegality is at an end; but if, on digious number, which would demand the exclusive the other hand, it is merely the voice of a certain porstudy of many years—and then, for the most part, elude tion of the people, who endeavour, by the intimidation the inquirer. But still there are circumstances of life, of numbers, or physical force, to overawe the authocircumstances of constant recurrence, upon which it rities, it should unquestionably be put down as unlawful
. would be as easy as it would be advantageous to know In order to determine its character, we must weigh all the true bearing of the law; and to this extent, at least, the circumstances of the case; for we are by no means it is not too much to expect that men anxious both to to be governed by the opinion of timid or excitable walk in safety themselves, and discharge their active persons. We must consider the apparent animus of the duty as citizens of the commonwealth, would devote a leaders, as disclosed in their speeches, the time, place, small share of their attention. In this idea, various and manner of the meeting, and the state of the public cheap works have been printed of late years, explaining the law of debtor and creditor, landlord and tenant, and
* The Law Relating to Riots and Unlawful Assemblies, &c. By 80 on; but we have now one before us on a subject | Edward Wise, Esq. London ; Shaw and Sons, Fetter Lane.
mind at the time-whether temperate and rational, or assemblies. God save the King (Queen].” And every likely to be moved by the pressure of circumstances such justice and justices of the peace,' the act continues, to extravagance, recklessness, and revolt. A careful sheriff
, under-sheriff, mayor, bailiff, and other head consideration of these things by firm and reasoning officer aforesaid, within the limits of their respective men, will leave little place for error.
jurisdictions, are hereby authorised, empowered, and It is said, in our author's definition, that a riot must required, on notice or knowledge of any such unlawful, occasion 'terror to the people;' but the people may be riotous, and tumultuous assembly, to resort to the place represented by one man. If a single one of the Queen's where such unlawful, riotous, and tumultuous assembly subjects is terrified, that is enough ; although the aver- shall be, of persons to the number of twelve or more, ment as to terror-in terrorem populi—is essential to the and there to make, or cause to be made, proclamation validity of the indictment. In an otherwise perfectly in manner aforesaid.' So strictly are these formalities clear case, where this allegation was omitted, it was held of the proclamation observed, that in a case where that the defendants could not be convicted of riot. It is God save the King' (now the Queen') was omitted, unnecessary, however, that the terror should be rea- and in another where the additional words of the reign lised, for personal violence is not an indispensable ingre- of' after the first years' were introduced, it was decided dient in a riot.
that the indictment must fail. Who is guilty of riot? This, it will presently be It is further enacted that any opposition to the readseen, is a most important question, and must be an- ing of the proclamation—'opposing, obstructing, letting, swered as distinctly as possible. If the meeting be a hindering, or hurting' the persons reading or attempt. legal one, and a riot ensues, those only who actually ing to read-shall be considered as grave an offence as take part in the riot are guilty; but if the meeting be the remaining for an hour after it is read; and likewise in itself for an unlawful purpose, all attending it coun- that if the reading is prevented by such hindrances, tenance the illegal design. Knowing the meeting to be those of the rioters who are aware of the fact shall be illegal
, prudent persons ought either to absent them considered as guilty as if the proclamation had really selves, or assist in dispersing it. If they do neither, been made. We frequently hear of the Riot Act being they are at least an obstruction to the peace-officers, read more than once; but this is merely in order that and so far accomplices of the rioters. It is vain for there shall be no doubt as to the fact, not to give the a member of that illegal meeting to say, that although offenders more time, as is commonly supposed, for the he approved of the purpose, he did not approve of the computation of the hour of grace is made from the first violence; for the act of a single individual in such cir- reading. This statute, however, is merely cumulative. cumstances is construed to be the act of all, and the The magistrates remain possessed of all their powers military, when it is proper for them to act, would be for the suppression of crime; and rioters who think justified in firing upon the whole mob. A mob riot- that the proclamation gives them the right to do as ously burned a building ; but one of the persons appre- they please for an hour without interference, will find hended was proved not to have been present at the themselves prodigiously mistaken. The act extends to commencement of the fire, and it was therefore argued Scotland. that he could not be guilty as principal. The offence, The rights and duties of private individuals during a however, was not destroying the house by fire, but riot are perfectly clear and simple, although the great riotously assembling, and while the riot continued, de- body of the people, we apprehend, know very little molishing the house; and the prisoner was found guilty, about them. By the common law,' says Lord Chiefand transported for twenty-one years. The punish- Justice Tindal, every private person may lawfully ment for simple riots is fine and imprisonment, with or endeavour of his own authority, and without any warrant without hard labour; and for aggravated riots, in which or sanction of the magistrate, to suppress a riot by every houses or other property are destroyed, transportation means in his power. He may disperse, or assist in disfor life, or for any term not less than seven years, or persing, those who are assembled; he may stay those imprisonment for any time not exceeding three years; who are engaged in it from executing their purpose ; and solitary imprisonment, not exceeding one month at he may stop and prevent others whom he shall see any one time, or three months in any one year, may coming up from joining the rest; and not only has he also be inflicted.
the authority, but it is his bounden duty, as a good The enactments familiarly called the Riot Act were subject of the king, to perform this to the utmost of his made at the time when the newly-seated House of ability. If the riot be general and dangerous, he may Hanover was distracted by popular tumults, and they arm himself against the evil doers to keep the peace.' are of course distinguished by much severity. The But although the law not only permits, but enjoins this first section declares that all persons, to the number of interference, it is considered more discreet' for private twelve or more, who continue riotously assembled for persons to range themselves on the side of the authoone hour after proclamation is made (termed reading rities ; yet ‘if the occasion demands immediate action, the Riot Act), shall be adjudged felons, and suffer death, and no opportunity is given for procuring the advice or as in case of felony, without benefit of clergy. The sanction of the magistrate, it is the duty of every subpunishment has since then, as we have seen, been modi- ject to act for himself
, and upon his own responsibility, in fied,* but the other provisions are strictly enforced. suppressing a riotous and tumultuous assembly; and he When the proclamation is to be made, says the act, may be assured, that whatever is honestly done by him in the justice of the peace, or other person authorised by the execution of that object, will be supported and justified this act to make the said proclamation, shall, among by the common law.? the said rioters, or as near to them as he can safely It follows from the right to quell such disturbances by come, with a loud voice command, or cause to be com- force, that rioters are held criminally liable for the conmanded, silence to be while proclamation is making ; sequences of their resistance. If a life is sacrificed by and after that, shall openly, and with loud voice, make, such resistance, this is murder; and the deed of one or cause to be made, proclamation in these or words person, as we have already said, being chargeable upon like in effect :-“Our Sovereign Lord the King (Queen] all his aiders and abettors, the whole mob is guilty of chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, the capital felony. But private persons have not only immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to the right to interfere—it is their duty to assist the depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, authorities when called upon. Obedience is compulsory, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first under pain of fine and imprisonment; the refusal, like year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous the riot itself, being a misdemeanour.
When a riot is apprehended, too serious to be dealt * In a conviction under the Riot Act, the minimum of trans- with by the ordinary police force, special constables are portation is not seven years, as in ordinary cases of riot, but fif. summoned from the inhabitants of the district, and
sworn in.' The oath is as follows = I, A. B., do swear