Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

It is also worthy of remark that "every practice or device by art, conspiracy, words, or news to enhance the price of victuals or other merchandise,” was punishable by the common law (y), and that the 7 & 8 Vict. c. 24 (an act for abolishing the offences of forestalling (2), regrating (a), and engrossing (6), and for repealing certain statutes passed in restraint of trade), provides (s. 4) that nothing therein contained “shall be construed to apply to the offence of knowingly or fraudulently spreading or conspiring to spread any false rumour with intent to enhance or decry the price of any goods or merchandise, or to the offence of preventing or endeavouring to prevent by force or threats any goods, wares, or merchandise, being brought to any fair or market, but that every such offence may be inquired of, tried, and punished” as before the passing of the act. It is therefore still a misdemeanor.

[ocr errors]

V. Combinations amongst persons to effect certain objects which are presV. Illegal com

ently specified, being very * prejudicial to the commubinations. nity, have by various statutes been rendered or declared

[ *190 ] to be illegal, and combinations accompanied with violence are in some cases severely punishable.

The law relating to combinations amongst workmen is for the most part set forth in the stat. 6 Geo. 4, c. 129 (repealing many former enactments upon the subject) as amended by the 22 Vict. c. 34. The first-mentioned statute renders it illegal “by violence to the person or property, or by threats or intimidation, or by molesting or in any way obstructing another,” to force or endeavour to force any workman to leave his employment, or to return his work unfinished, or to prevent him from hiring himself, or to compel him to belong to any club or association, or to contribute to any common fund, or to pay any fine or penalty, or to use violence, threats, or intimidation to or molest or obstruct any workman on account of his refusing to comply with any resolutions or regulations concerning the rate of wages, the hours of working, and so forth, or in like manner, as above set forth, to force or endeavour to force any manufacturer to alter the mode of carrying on his business (c). Provided that it shall not be illegal for persons to meet together for the sole purpose of consulting upon and determining the rate of wages or prices of the hours of work, whether the persons so meeting be the workmen (d) or the masters (e). An infraction of the above enactment subjects the offender upon summary conviction to imprisonment with or without hard labour for any time not exceeding three calendar months (f); an appeal, however, lies against such conviction to the quarter sessions. The 22 Vict. c. 34 (9) declares and enacts as follows: “That no workman or other person, whether actually in (y) 3 Inst. 196.

(6) Engrossing was the getting into one's (2) Forestalling the market, as described by possession, or buying up, large quantities of statute 5 & 6 Edw. 6, c. 14, is the buying or corn or other victuals, with intent to sell contracting for any merchandise or victual them again. coming in the way to market; or dissuading The statutes concerning the above offences persons from bringing their goods or provis- were repealed by the 12 Geo. 3, c. 71 ; but ions there; or persuading them to enhance they continued until the enactment cited in the price, when there, which practices make the text to be punishable at common law by the market dearer to the fair trader.

fine and imprisonment. (a) Regrating is described by the statute 5 (c) 6 Geo. 4, c. 129, s. 3. & 6 Edw. 6, c. 14, to be the buying of corn, (d) Id. 8. 4. or other dead victual, in any market, and (e) Id. 8. 5. selling it again in the same market, or within (f) Id. s. 3. four miles thereof.

(g) See Reg. v. Rowlands, 2 Den. 364. VOL. II.-58

.

or

employment or not, shall by reason of his entering into an agreement for the [ * 191] purpose * of fixing the rate of wages, or by reason merely of his endeav

ouring peaceably and in a reasonable manner, and without threat or intimidation, direct or indirect, to persuade others to cease or abstain from work,” in order to obtain the rate of wages or hours of work agreed upon, shall be deemed to be guilty of “molestation” “obstruction” within the meaning of the 6 Geo. 4, c. 129. But by a more recent statute it is enacted that any person wilfully committing an assault in pursuance of an unlawful combination or conspiracy to raise the rate of wages, or respecting any trade, or manufacture, or person concerned therein, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor (h), and that whosoever shall unlawfully and with force hinder or prevent any seaman, from exercising his lawful occupation, or shall use any violence to any such person with intent to hinder or prevent him from exercising the same, shall, on conviction thereof before two justices of the peace, be liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for any term not exceeding three months (i).

By various enactments (k) any person hindering the exportation of corn by violence or destroying granaries or grain intended for exportation, or using violence to deter others from buying corn within the kingdom, or unlawfully entering any ship and taking corn therefrom, will, according to the circumstances, render himself liable to punishment on summary conviction before two justices of the peace, or to be indicted for felony; and whosoever shall use any violence or threat of violence to any person, with intent to deter or hinder him from buying or selling, or to compel him to buy or sell any wheat or other grain, flour, meal, malt, or potatoes, in any market or other place, or shall use any such violence or threat to any person having the charge of any wheat or so forth, whilst on the way

from [ *192 ]

any

market town, or other place, with intent to stop the conveyance of the same, shall, on conviction thereof before two justices of the peace, be liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for any term not exceeding three months (?).

to or

VI. Destroying

VI. For the protection of those engaged in the manufacture of goods in pro- goods or in agricultural operations, each of the following offences cess of manufacture, &c.

is to be adjudged a felony: 1. The unlawfully and maliciously cutting, breaking, or destroying, or damaging, with intent to destroy or to render useless—any goods or articles of silk, woollen, linen, cotton, hair, mohair, or alpaca, or of any one or more of those materials mixed with each other or mixed with any other material, or any framework-knitted piece, stocking, hose, or lace, being in the loom or frame, or on any machine or engine, or in any stage of manufacture, or any warp or shute of silk, woollen, linen, cotton, hair, mohair, or alpaca, or of any one or more of those materials mixed with each other or mixed with any other material, any loom, frame, machine, engine, rack, tackle, tool, or implement, whether fixed or moveable, prepared for or employed in carding, spinning, throwing, weaving, fulling, shearing, or otherwise manufacturing or preparing any such goods or articles (m).

(h) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, s. 41. Punishment: (k) See 11 Geo. 2, c. 22, ss. 1, 2; 36 Geo. 3, imprisonment with or without hard labour, c. 9, ss. 1, 2. for any term not exceeding two years.

(l) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, s. 39. (*) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, s. 40.

(m) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 97, s. 14,

[graphic]

2. The entering into any house, shop, building, or place with intent to commit any of the offences above-mentioned (n).

3. The unlawfully and maliciously cutting, breaking, or destroying, or damaging with intent to destroy or to render useless, any machine or engine, whether fixed or * moveable, used or intended to be used for sowing,

[ *193] reaping, mowing, thrashing, ploughing, draining, or for performing any other agricultural operation, or any machine or engine, or any tool or implement, whether fixed or moveable, prepared for or employed in any manufacture whatsoever (except as before mentioned) (0).

For other criminal acts which might be viewed as affecting trade, the reader is referred to Chapter XIV., where offences against property generally are considered (p).

[blocks in formation]

OFFENCES AGAINST THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY,

MORALS AND ECONOMY.

The fourth species of offences, more especially affecting the commonwealth, are such as are against the public health and safety, morals and economy; matters of the highest importance, and for the preservation of which our magistrates and public men have been charged with special duties by the legislature. In this chapter, however, our attention will mainly be directed to indictable offences referable to the class indicated. Minor infractions of the law, belonging to the same class, which are summarily punishable, being for the most part un noticed (a).

Regard being had to the remarks above offered, our present object naturally subdivides itself into two portions, of which the first includes offences against the public health and safety; and the second includes offences against the public morals and economy.

I. Foremost amongst offences prejudicial to the public health is that of infringing the quarantine laws, which impose a probation upon ships coming First, Offences from infected ports, and are now comprised in the stat. 6 Geo. 4, against the public health c. 78. By sect. 21 of this act, if any officer of the customs or and safety.

other person charged with the execution of orders concerning I. Breaches of quarantine. quarantine or the prevention of infection, desert from his duty

(n) Ib. Punishment: (for each of the of- term not exceeding two years, with or with. fences supra), penal servitude for life, or for out hard labour, and with or without solitary not less than five years ; or imprisonment for confinement, and, if a male under the age of any term not exceeding two years, with or sixteen years, with or without whipping. without hard labour, and with or without (P) See particularly as to stealing goods in solitary confinement, and, if a male under process of manufacture, 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96, s. the age of sixteen years, with or without 62 ; and as to stealing merchandize from whipping.

ships, docks, or wharves, Id. s. 63. (6) 24 & 25 Vict. c. 97, s. 15. Punishment: (@) In Mr. Oke's Magisterial Synopsis, these penal servitude for not more than seven nor minor offences are enumerated. less than five years; or imprisonment for any

II. Other acts calculated to

[ * 195]

when so employed, and knowingly and * wilfully permit any person,

vessel, goods, or merchandise to depart or be conveyed out of the lazarat, or place appointed for the performance of quarantine, unless under authority from the crown or privy council; or shall knowingly give a false certificate that a vessel has duly performed quarantine, he shall be guilty of felony (6): and other less serious infringements of the provisions of the above statute will expose the offender to severe punishment by pecuniary penalties or imprisonment (c).

II. Irrespective of statute, certain acts obviously calculated to prejudice the public health are, on grounds of policy, indictable. Thus it has been held

indictable to expose in a public thoroughfare a person labouring

under a contagious disease (d); or to bring a glandered horse prejudice the public health.

into a public square at the risk of causing infection to the queen subjects (e); and it is a misdemeanor at common law to give to any person injurious food to eat, whether the offender be incited thereto by malice, or by a desire of gain; and whether he be a public contractor or otherwise (f). (682)

IIL A common nuisance is an offence against the health, safety, or wellIII. Nuisance. [ *196 ]

being of the community; being * either the doing of a

thing to the annoyance of all the queen's subjects, or the neglecting to do a thing which the common good requires (9). The nature of common or public nuisances, and their distinction from private nuisances, were explained in the preceding volume; when we considered more particularly the nature of a private nuisance as a civil injury to individuals. I shall here only remind the student, that common nuisances are such inconvenient or troublesome offences, as annoy the whole community in general, not merely some particular person; and therefore are indictable, not actionable: as it would be unreasonable to multiply suits, by giving every man a separate right of action, for what damnifies him in common only with the rest of his fellowsubjects. The class of indictable nuisances is accordingly very large, comprising acts dissimilar in kind, though in one particular agreeing—that they are

(6) As to the punishment for the above (e) Reg. v. Henson, Dears). 24. See also offence, see 7 & 8 Geo. 4, c. 28, ss. 8, 9; 1 Vict. “ The Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, c. 90, s. 5; 20 & 21 Vict. c. 3, s. 2; 27 & 28 1867” (30 & 31 Vict, c. 125), and the statutes Vict. c. 47, s. 2.

specified in sched. 1 thereto. (c) 6 Geo. 4, c. 78, ss. 17, 18, 21, 35.

(f) R. v. Diron, 3 M. & S. 11. Judgm. (d) R. v. Vantandillo, 4 M. & S. 73; R. v. Burnby v. Bollett, 16 M. & W. 654; R. v. Burnett, Id. 272 ; 29 & 30 Vict. c. 90, ss. 25, 38. Haynes, 4 M. & S. 214; 26 & 27 Vict. c. 117.

See the 30 & 31 Vict. c. 84, “An Act to con- See “The Poisoned Flesh Probibition solidate and amend the Laws relating to Amendment Act, 1864” (27 & 28 Vict. c. 115), Vaccination.” By s. 32 of this statute, any which extends the provisions of the 26 & 27 person inoculating for the small-pox is liable Vict. c. 113. to imprisonment on summary conviction. (g) 1 Hawk. P. C. 197.

(682) A person sick of an infectious or contagious disease, in his own house, or in suitable apartments at a public hotel or boarding-house, is not punishable therefor; nor is it an indictable offense, in his friends declining to remove him. Boom v. City of Utica, 2 Barb. 104. But it is indictable to maintain any building or institution likely to generate infection. Meeker v. Van Rensselaer, 15 Wend. 397; see People v. Townsend, 3 Hill, 479; State v Pearce, 4 McCord (S. C.), 472.

Openly exposing for sale, food that is known to be unwholesome (Hunter v. State, 1 Head (Tenn.), 160 ; People v. Parker, 38 N. Y. [11 Tiff.] 85; State v. Norton, 2 Ired. [N. C.] 10; State v. Smith, 3 Hawks. (N. C.] 378), and the exposure to use of unwholesome water (State v. Buckman, 8 N. H. 203), are indictable offenses. Goodrich v. People, 3 Park. 622.

done ad commune nocumentum (h). (683) Some such acts which are criminal and indictable as injurious to public decency and decorum, will be specified in the second subdivision of this chapter. Amongst public nuisances directly affecting the public health, safety, and well-being may here be mentioned:

1. Annoyances in, or closely adjoining to (i), highways (k), or affecting bridges (1), and public rivers (m), (684) by rendering the same inconvenient

(h) This technical conclusion to an indict. ions of the latter act. See also the 4 & 5 ment for a nuisance is not, however, essential. Vict. c. 51; 3 Geo. 4, c. 126, s. 110; Reg. v. Reg. v. Holmes, Dears). 207 ; 14 & 15 Vict. C. Ipstones, 37 L. J. M. C. 37. 100, s. 24.

(1) As to repairing public bridges, see stats. (1) Barnes y. Ward, 9 C, B. 392.

55 Geo, 3, c. 143 ; 43 Geo. 3, c. 59. (k) The principal act relating to highways (m) Judgm. Mayor of Colchester v. Brooke, is the 5 & 6 Will. 4, c. 50, with which is to 7 Q. B. 377; Reg. v. Betts, 16 Q. B. 102 ; Reg. be construed as one the 25 & 26 Vict. c. 61, v. Charlesworth, Id. 1023. so far as may be consistent with the provis

(683) Any thing directly deleterious to the health, comfort, or morality of the community at large (Brooks v. State, 2 Yerg. [Tenn.] 482; Com. v. Webb, 6 Rand. [Va.] 726 ; State v. Baldwin, 1 Dev. & Bat. (N. C.] 195), or to such part of the community as necessarily come in contact with it (Hackney v. State, 8 Ind. 494); is an indictable nuisance at common law. Id. See State v. Wright, 6 Jones (N. C.), 25, 27; State v. Hathcock, 7 Ired. (N. C.) 52 ; Com. v. Smith, 6 Cush. (Mass.) 80; People v. Jackson, 7 Mich. 432; Allen v. State, 34 Texas, 230; Savannah, etc., R. R. Co. v. Shields, 33 Ga. 601.

It is unnecessary to prove that the nuisance is positively injurious to health. If it shocks public morality, offends the senses, or disturbs the comfort of the community, it is sufficient. See Peak v. State, 10 Humph. (Tenn.) 99; State v. Moore, 1 Swan. (Tenn.) 136; Lansing v. Smith, 8 Cow. 146; Ashbrook v. Com., 1 Bush (Ky.), 139 ; Com. v. Brown, 13 Metc. (Mass.) 365. But the discomfort must be physical, not such as affects the taste or imagination merely. Cleveland v. Citizens' Gas-light Co., 20 N. J. Eq. 201. See Bradley v. People, 56 Barb. 72 ; People v. Sands, 1 Johns. 78.

No length of time will legalize a nuisance (People v. Cunningham, 1 Denio, 524; Mills v. Hall, 9 Wend. 315; Com. v. Upton, 6 Gray (Mass.], 473; Ashbrook v. Com., 1 Bush (Ky.), 139 ; Elkins v. State, 2 Humph. [Tenn.] 543); and what was not a nuisance at first, may, after a lapse of time, become such by increase of population in the neighborhood. Com. v. Vansickle, Brightly (Penn.), 69; Douglass v. State, 4 Wis. 387. So, it is no defense to a prosecution for nuisance to set up collateral benefits arising to the community (Caldwell's Case, 1 Dall. 150; Com. v. Vansickle, Brightly (Penn.], 69; Com. v. Belding, 13 Metc. [Mass.) 10); or that similar nuisances have been tolerated (Douglass v. State, 4 Wis. 387); or that the defendant was previously acquitted or convicted of maintaining the same nuisance. People v. Townsend, 3 Hill, 479; Beckwith v. Griswold, 29 Barb. 291. Nor is a license from government to do a certain thing any defense to such prosecution, if the work is performed in such a careless or negligent manner as to become a nuisance. State v. Buckley, 5 Harr. (Del.) 508; State v. Mullikin, 8 Blackf. (Ind.) 260; Del. Canal Co. v. Com., 60 Penn. St. 367. See Com. v, Kidder, 107 Mass. 188 ; Com. v. Reed, 10 Casey (Penn.), 275; People v. N. Y. Gas-light Co., 64 Barb. 55.

Nuisance at the common law is misdemeanor, in distinction from felony; and it follows that all who are concerned in maintaining the nuisance, whether agents or organizers, are principals. See Com. v. Kimball, 105 Mass. 465; Lowenstein v. People, 54 Barb. 299; State v. Bell, 5 Port. (Ala.) 366 ; Com. v. Major, 6 Dana (Ky.), 293; Com. v. Nichols, 10 Metc. (Mass.) 259 ; State v. Matthis, 1 Hill (S. C.), 37.

(684) Any obstruction of a public road or street, in such a way as to materially interfere with the public convenience, is indictable as a nuisance. Com. v. Gowen, 7 Mass. 378; State v. Knott, 2 Speer (S. C.), 692; People v. Cunningham, 1 Denio, 524 ; State v. Moore, 31 Conn, 479; Bell v. State, 1 Swan. (Tenn.) 42. But no indictment lies for obstructing a private road. Drake v. Rogers, 3 Hill, 604; People v. Jackson, 7 Mich. 432.

It is likewise an indictable nuisance to obstruct the passage of a navigable river by bridges or otherwise. State v. Freeport, 43 Me. 198; Penns. v. Wheeling, 13 How. (U. S.) 518; State

« PreviousContinue »