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1805.

ment against the learned judge, without having 1805. afforded him any opportunity of defence, or even explanation, the Marquis was advised to abandon his former proceedings, and recommence almost de novo.' He was advised, that the regular mode of proceeding was to address his Majesty for the removal of the learned judge from the bench; and when he moved such address accordingly, the House resolved itself into a Committee, to which all the several petitions and charges made against him were referred. Lord Chancellor Eldon warmly espoused the cause of the Marquis, sup

ported the proceedings, and gave him the friendly padvice to onit all the charges, which could not be

brought home to the learned judge in his judicial capacity ; which was effected. As some progress was made under this renewed process, several witnesses were examined on behalf of the prosecutor, and much matter of falsehood and misrepresentat1011 found its way to the records of that high tribunal, to the prejudice of the learned judge, who had no opportunity of repelling the charges, of refuting the falsehoods, or of exposing the malice

of the prosecution, it is deemed necessary to lay :before the public a more detailed statement of the

whole transaction, for the double purpose of iliustrating the system of government, and vindicating the administration of justice in Ireland.

In the summer of 1803, Mr, J. Fox and Mr. J. Detailed Osborne, who were appointed to go the North of them are West circuit, were. escorted by a military guard, from Dublin to Longford, the first assize town on

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that circuit. Thus were the fears of the govern. ment presented to the view of the people, in the novel exhibition of the judges of assize coming to administer justice amongst them, under the protection, and with the command of the army. Upon opening the commission at Longford, the loyalty and peaceable demeanour of all ranks of people appeared so unequivocal to the judges, that 5 they deemed it expedient to discontinue the mi- litary attendance, which had always in their eyes borne an unconstitutional appearance, and through the rest of the circuit, entrusted themselves to the protection of the yeomanry under la command of the sheriffs of the respective counties. Mr. J. Fox, as senior judge, charged the grand jury of Longford, in an address appropriate to the awful circumstances of the times. Endeavouring to awaken them to a high sense of the dangers, which hovered over them from external and internal foes, he called upon the exertion of their best energies. He reminded them of the recent horrors of the 23d of July, and warned them of the dangers of the leaders of that rebellion still remaining at large. He strongly commented on the nature and extent of that insurrection, and on the origin and motives of the persons engaged in it. He exhorted them to union amongst themselves : 10 forget their religious animosities, by which the country had been so long weakened and divided, and to join in presenting a dutiful and loyal address to the throne, praying his Majesty to strengthen the executive government of the coun

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try at a crisis so alarming and dangerous.* To the like purport he charged the grand juries at Erīniskillen and Lifford, the respective assize towns of the counties of Fermanagh and Donegal. The circuit ended at Derry, whence Mr. J. Fox returned immediately to Dublin; where having, in the usual mauner notified his return to the government, he was received at the Castle, without any intimation of any complaint or dissatisfaction at

any part of his conduct on circuit. Mr. J. Fox · attended his judicial functions in the Court of

Common Pleas during the subsequent terms (Michaelmas aud Hillary) and went the Connaught circuit at the spring assizes, unquestioned and unblamed, and unconscious of any displeasure or offence having been given to government, or to any individual, who had come before him on trial, or otherwise in court. It is evident, that if the learned judge's conduct, on the North West cir: cuit, in August 1803, had been blameable, the government was bounden to take immediate steps in vindication of the public justice of the country, by censuring or punishing the misconduct of the

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* Such was the outline or substance of the judge's charge, which mas made the subject of animadversion and accusation against him, at the distance of nearly twelve months. No complaint was ever heard of the charges delivered at Enniskillen and· Lifford, though to the same purport. At Lifford, Sir James Stewart, the Foreman of the Grand Jury applied, through Mr. J. Osborn, to Mr. J. Fox for a copy of the charge, (so satisfied were they with it,) with permission to print and publish it; which request Mr. J. Fox could not comply with, as he had not reduced it to writing

VOL. II.

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1805

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1805, judge. If any individual had been injured of

aggrieved by any word or act of the judge in his
judicial capacity, it behoved him not to lie by, till
the charge became stale, but to apply immediately
for redress, whilst the matter was fresh and ca-
pable of proof and defence. However, the first
intimation of any complaint or charge against J.
Fox, was made by the Marquis of Abercorn, on
the 28th of May, 1804, not to the judge, not in
the country, where the offences were charged to
have been committed, not by any member of the
Irish government, but in the House of Peers at
Westminster, behind his back, and without any
notice, “ that he had grave and serious matters of
“ complaint to bring before their Lordships
“ agaiust one of his Majesty's judges, in which
“ the administration of justice was deeply con
“ cerned,” and moved, that their Lordships should
be summoned on this momentous complaint. on
the following Monday : on which day, (31st May,
1804) his Lordship uttered a long virulent speech
of above three hours, in which he painted the con
duct and character of that revered judge, in the
blackest colours, which the malignity of humiliated
pride, and the venom of detected corruption
could supply. After this effusion of rancorous
vituperation of an absentee, without notice, or
means of meeting the charge, and without the
offer of evidence to support it, the Marquis of
Abercorn presented the petition of Mr. Hart,
which, upon his motion, was ordered to lie upon
the table.

25

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Character

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It has been frequently, and cannot be too often 1805 Temarked, that duplicity and secrecy were leading Characterfeatures of the system. The Marquis of Abercorn, toms of the

Pitt system. who through his agents and his own resentful assiduity, had consumed near ten months in preparing this masked battery to play upon the undefiled and uuassailed character of Mr. J. Fox, has furnished the public with pregnant additional evidence of

the insidious and base obsequiousness of Lord E Hardwicke's Government to that system, which

has brought Ireland to its present unfortunate situation. That passive Viceroy had so far lent himself to the mischievous suggestions of the base reptiles about him, as to have furnished to Lord

Abercorn secret arms to give effect to the maligwit nånt attack upon the absent Judge. The Marquis

read as a part of his speech before the Lords, a lėtbi ter from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to the

British Minister, in which the judicial conduct of

Mr. Justice Fox on the North West Circuit, was reporting arraigned in terms of marked reprobation. If such

publicity had not attended this official document, 11 posterity would not have credited the annalist, who

should have asserted, that an accusation of this pin public nature and national importance had thus

walked in darkness during a period of ten months; it that it had occupied the thoughts of the Irish Go

vernment in secret for such a length of time: that
it had travelled in an official shape to the British

Cabinet, without communication of any kind from
All the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or any person em-

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