« PreviousContinue »
The next charge was of a different nature: and perhaps more illustrative of some of the grand abuses of the system. “And with the same spirit. “ of oppression, the said Luke Fox did impose a “ fine of 2001. upon the Earl of Enniskillen for “some alleged informality in his conduct, as a “ Magistrate." These are the facts. On Judge Fox entering the county of Fermanagh, a person of the name of Patrick Breslin was returned to him on the calendar by the Sheriff, as having been committed by Lord Enniskillen to the county goal on the 8th of July 1803, and ordered by the committal to be kept in a room by himself, till further orders, and as being then in custody in the said goal. Another person, by name Patt Maguire, was in like manner returned on the calendar by the Sheriff, as having also been committed by the Earl of Enniskillen to the said goal, on the 18th of July 1803, and as being also then in custody under such committal. Mr. Johnson, the Clerk of the Crown, a diligent and intelligent officer, as his duty was, entered from the calendar these two persons in distinct numbers on his own and the Judge's crown book, as having been so committed - by Lord Enniskillen, but without specifying any charge of detainer. It was the sworn duty of the Judge under his Majesty's commission to deliver the goal of that county, and to enquire into the causes of the detainers and committals of them by Lord Enniskillen. The committals were called for and produced : they specified no offence whatever. The examinations or informations, on which alone
committals onght to be founded, were then called 1805.. for by the Judge, in order to learn what the offences charged upon them might be. The Clerk of the Crown certified, that no information or examination of either of them had been ever returned into his office. The Judge thereupon ordered the prisoners to be brought to the bar, in order to enquire of them, the facts alleged against them. The goaler then informed the Judge, that those two prisoners had been taken out of his custody on the 18th of August, (that is during the as
sizes) by a military guard sent for the purpose. · The Judge felt this to be a high indignity offered to his Majesty's commission : and enquired, if Lord Enniskillen were in town: on learning, that he was at his country seat, (Florence Court) he desired a friend of his Lordship's to go over to him with full instructions to relate the whole faithfully, make his compliments, and entreat his Lordship’s attendance in Court on the next day, which was the last day of the assizes. The Judge having waited in Court to as late an hour as he could, for the appearance of Lord Enniskillen: and having repeatedly enquired for him, he found it his duty upon his Lordship's non-appearance to fine him in each of those numbers lool. On quitting the Court, Mr. J. Fox wrote an official letter to Mr. Wickham, stating all the circumstances of the case, and desiring, that it might be laid before the Lord Lieutenant. The letter was acknowledged, and the Judge assured, that it was then lying be. '
1805. fore his Excellency for his consideration*. The
latter part of this third charge is put so indefinitely as to bafflle all possibility of defence. It leaves it utterly uncertain, what criminality is meant to be insinuated, for nothing specific is set forth. "And the said Luke Fox, in like manner “ imposed fines of different amounts on the Rev. ". Mr. Hawksliaw, of the county of Donegal;
Wm. Stewart, Esq. Provost of Enniskillen, and a " Pallas, Esq. and ------ Webster, Esq. Jus: “ tices of the Peace for the county of Longford,
, * Patt Maguire was never more seen or heard of. But the tragical end of the unfortunate Patrick Breslin is an awful warning to those of the system, who are so little satisfied with the good and established rules of the common law. This prisoner, though no soldier, nor enlisted as a soldier, was taken out of the hands of the King's Judge, out of the King's prison, which that Judge was commissioned to deliver, and was in the very, act of delivering; he was marched during the assizes to a military prison, where he was kept some time under the strictest confinement. He was afterwards tried by martial law, for seducing or endeavouring to seduce a soldier to desert: he was found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged. The sentence was confirmed by the Lord Lieutenant, and the unfortunate man was ordered for execution; which he attempted to prevent by cutting his own throat: the wound not proving fatal, he was hurried faint and bleeding in that agony and torture to the place of execution, near to the town of Enniskillen, where he was hanged by the neck, the rope binding the wound until he expired. In this case, there was no pretext for any necessity of trying him by court martial, because the offence, of which he was charged, was triable by jury under the 27 Geo. III. c. 40. (Irish) by which, seducing a solo dier to desert, or aiding or assisting therein, is made felony pumishable by death. But it is no trivial part of the system, to put down the trial by jury, and erect the standard of military jurisprudence upon its ruins.
" and several other Magistrates of different coun-' 1805. " ties on the said circuit.” By inspecting the re
cords of the Court of Exchequer, it will appear, mit that the four gentlemen named in that part of the
charge were fined for glaring offences under the
ling-house : the parties bailed did not appear, and on they forfeited their recognizances. It appeared
evident, that there also was collusion between the Bu Magistrate and the prisoners, and afterwards be
tween the prosecutor and the prisoners. Mr.
on oath having been made against him, and enJelica larging him on the eve of the assizes without tak
ing bail for his appearance : Mr. Pallas was fined - 201. as well as Mr. Webster for enlarging without
bail a prisoner charged with a capital offence
Both in the charge and motion made by Lord
whereas by the estreat, it appears only to have
The fiftl'article of charge, which was afterwards Fifth
proves nothing beyond the malicious levity of the fabricators of it. The mere recital, is the refuta-, tion of the charge, " That with the same spirit of VOL. 11.
1805., " oppression, the said Luke Fox did at Longford
" at the same assizes maliciously declare to the " then High Sheriff, that he was sorry, that the " said Sheriff had not left it in his power to fine
him; although the same Sheriff in every re“ spect to the best of his judgment and ability • discharged the duties of office, and had con“ ducted himself with every possible respect and « attention to the said Luke Fox.”
The sixth article of charge is in its nature imcharge.
portant and vital to the conduct of a judge. It is maliciously put in these words: “ That the said “ Luke Fox, on the said circuit, did, in violent “ and abusive language, wantonly, scandalously, " and unwarrantably traduce and libel the charac“ ters of William Armstrong, John Semple, Noble " Weir, and others, all of the county of Ferma. “ nagh (being jurors sworn upon a petty jury
at the last summer assizes, at Enniskillen, in the 1: “ county of Fermanagh) by declaring them not “ worthy to be believed on their oaths, and as un“ fit to act in the capacity of jurors ever again; “ and by ordering the clerk of the crown to deli“ ver in a list of their names to every succeding “ judge, as men unfit to be jurors, that they might “ prevent their serving as such in future. **, Thiel short, though important history of this manouvre and charge is as follows. The gentlemen of this ju
* This was the third or last castigated edition of the most noble Marquis's charges preferred against J. Fox. Mr. Armstrong's petition presented to the House of Commons by Colonel Cole went much further in charge. (Vide Note. p. 13.)