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the censure of the chief justice tended to lay them, when he accused them of delivering into courtma false return.- Matter of such serious consequence falling from the bench, should be supported on the broad basis of truth.
That they apprehend, the language of asperity and menace, delivered in an authoritative stile, is unbecomingly addressed to a Grand Jury, who, by being regulated in their conduct by their principles and their oaths, ought not to be biassed by the exercise of power, or the influence of office, however elevated. They can readily conceive, that precedents of this kind (as were indeed observed and quoted by the court) may be found in the slavish times of the Tudors and Stuarts; but they are convinced, that no such instances have existed, since liberty was fixed upon a permanent basis at the revolution.
Your memoralists are of opinion, that a clear conviction in their own minds, of a bill being 66 not true," from the evidence produced, is a sufficient reason for not submitting it to the ulterior decision of the petit jury, which the chief justice prescribed to them, as their line of duty.
That, they are fully persuaded, the requisition made to the Grand Jury, individually to give their reasons to the court, which induced them to return the bills they presented “not true," was an incroachment upon the sacred rights of juries, which form the bulwark of our civil liberties:
It was a demand too, that militated in open defiance, and violation of their oaths and affirmations, from the obligations of which they know no authority on earth, that has a dispensing power to release them:-That they solemnly pledge themselves, the accusation of the chief justice, stigmatizing the jury with partiality, in refusing to exainine évidence, is ill-founded—The jury having deliberately
and and dispassionately searched into the merits of the case, and having forined a decision thereupon, before they had a knowledge of any further testimony, intended to be offered by the court.
In order, therefore, that the conduct of the court may not by our acquiescence under it pass into precedent, and be quoted in future cases, as an authority- Your memoralists, conceive it an indispensable duty they owe to themselves to their country, and to posterity,— to leave on
record a testimonial against it. To theinselves, · to evidence, that they merit not the inferences of
perjury, which might be drawn from the language of the chief justice ;-to their country,--that courts, finding that grand juries will support their own rights, and with them, the liberties of the people, may not attempt to encroach on them ;-and to posterity, that no advantage may result to their prejudice, by our silence. . That these benefits, arising from their salutary interposition may not be lost, they pray that this memorial may be filed amongst the proceedings of the court. ; Philadelphia, January 6, 1783.
(Signed) Zebulon Potts, Foreman; Samuel Cald. well, William Bingham, William Turnbull, Robert Hare, John Shee, William Davis, George Ord, Reuben Haynes, Jacob Barge, Jacob Hiltzhermer, John Harrison, David M'Cullough, Samuel Wheeler, Derreck Peterson, Caleb Emlen.
« This morning FREDERICK AUGUSTUS MuiLENBERG appeared on the Election Ground, and publicly declared, in the presence of a number of persons; that on the day he gave the casting vote, on the appropriations for the treaty, Mr. John
SWANWICK told him that he, Mr. MUHLENBERG, had saved the United States, or his country, by that vote.
" Mr. SWANWICK, one of the candidates at this election, after this, voted against the very measure on which he declared the safety of the United States depended.
6 Philadelphia, October 11, 1796." This did not prevent Swanwick from being elected.
“ Virginia, Leoninster, March 7, 1797. « This truly great man, after he had retired from the presidency of the United States, to the situation of a private citizen, was returned a petit juror, to an inferior court! and manifested his superior greatness of soul, 'by submitting to serve; and the jury had the honour to report that GEORGE WASHINGTON had been unanimously appointed their foreman !! Thus we see him, after having attracted the admiration of the world by the splendour of his talents in the niost exalted stations, exhibiting a sublime example of his submission to the duties of a private citizen!
“ Wonderful Man! Magnanimous flero !" The fact was, WASHINGTON's pridę was well known, and the Sheriff, who was a malignant Democrat, had a mind to mortify the old man, by thus returning him as a petit juror to the inferior court,' contrary to the practice of the State, according to which, if he had been suminoned at all, it would have been in the capacity of Grand Juror to the Supreme Court. The cautious WASHINGA TON, however, disappointed him; and, as was his practice through life, made a virtue of necessity, disguised his sentiments, and extracted popularity
from disgrace itself. Of all human beings, I verily believe, Washington was the most cunning.
Next, after the justices of the peace, or 'Squires, the most troublesome animals in America certainly are the Musquitoes and the Militia Officers; but these latter are far the most troublesome of the two. In England, a man' serves in the militia once in his life-time, and he is no more pestered with it; but, in that free country, America, he is a soldier as long as he can walk; he must attend muster every month in person, and find himself arms and accoutrements, or pay a fine for every failure. This is liberty ! Thus it is to be free and independent! Besides this regular plague, every man is liable to be called out at an hour's notice, and to be marched as far as the caprice of the little despot, called a governor, chooses to march him. He can never say when he shall be called, or where he shall be sent to. The following are copies of notices that I received in the city of Philadelphia.
« TAKE NOTICE, that you are enrolled in the 7th company of the 2d regiment of the Militia of the city of Philadelphia. “ March, 1797.
“WM. HEALY, Captain." "" To William Cobbet.”
« TAKE NOTICE, that by special order of his Excellency the Governor, you are personally to appear at the State House, properly arined and equipo ped for service, at the lour of ten o'clock in the forenoon, on Monday thọ 13th instant, to march where required. “. Philadelphia, Nov. 7, 1797."
“ LEWIS NICOLAS, “ To William Cobbett.” . “ Inspeetur.”
I hope the reader will not, for a moment, imagine, that I obeyed the suminonses of these wretches. I most certainly never did. I always threw them into the fire, these two excepted, which I preserved for the very use that I am now making of them. Nor did I pay a single fine. When they demanded fines from me, I refused to pay, and told the collector, that if he attempted to seize on my goods, I should plead my right of exception, as a British subject, and prosecute him for the seizure; but, people in general were obliged to obey, to pay the fine, or have their household goods seized and sold, or rather thrown away at auction; several were sent to jail. In fact, so disgraceful was it to be even seen amongst the rabble, called the militia, that hardly any man of credit would submit to it, and the whole establishment answered no earthly purpose, but that of extorting money from the respectable part of the people, to be shared amongst à swarm of hungry idle scoundrels, who lived by sucking the blood of the public.
The mode of appointing the officers, was calcu,lated to keep the arms constantly in the hands of
the most worthless and desperate part of the community. They were elected by the people. The following is the copy of a notice for an election of . this sort.
“ MILITIA ELECTION. “ NOTICE is hereby given to the enrolled citi. zens, between eighteen and forty-five years of age, residing within the bounds of the third regiment of Philadelphia county militia, to meet at the house of Catharine Fritz, No. 370, South Frontstreet, on Saturday the 12th day of January next; and then and there between the hours of ten o'clock in the morning, and six in the afternoon of said day, to elect by ballot one Lieutenant Colonel, for VOL. IX.