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1805.

charge, viz.

s circumstances had taken place, without notice, and

behind his back? Eighth The eighth charge is specific, and requires some of Mr. Hart, detail to disclose to the uninformed or prejudiced

the real facts of the case, which will, at the same time, expose, in full deformity, the barefaced falsehood and malignity of the charge: “That at " the said assizes of Lifford the said Luke Fox did “ contrary to every principle of law and justice, “and with great indignity and outrage, arraign, “ prejudge and imprison John Hart, Esq., and “ did also conduct himself towards the jury iin.

pannelled in the unwarrantable and unconstitu"tional manner represented in the petition of the " said John Hart, by confining the said jury " from Saturday evening until the Monday niorn“ing following; declaring, that they might “ cool their consciences until that time.” Invention could have hardly brought together so ma. ny fancied incidents, as in this case actually concurred to illustrate the iniquitous traffic of Grand Jury presentments and road jobs * in Ireland.

turday the 27th of August 1803, at the M'Dougel assizes at Lifford, one M’Dowgal a substantial far. I

on. mer vas tried before Mr. J. Fox by a jury of the

county of Donegal, of which the Rev. Mr. Ro binson was the foreman, for having cheated the county of 461. Os. 4d. which had been raised un-' der a presentment for repairing a road, of which he had been appointed overseer by the grand jury

Cases of

and Dobson.

Vid. Ante Note, p. 29.

affidavit sound that suin upon it,

whe treasurer of

of the county. By that appointment he was to ' 1805., make and repair the road, aud. upon producing an affidavit signed by a justice of the peace, that he had expended that sum upon it, he would have become entitled to receive it from the treasurer of the county. He procured a Mr. G. Keys a magistrate to put his name to the form of an accounting affidavit, which he had not sworn, and thus fraudulently received the money without expending any part of it upon the repairs of the road. The practice was so frequent and public in that county, that Mr. M Dowgal hardly thought of defending himself against the indictment, and was found guilty without hesitation by the jury. Immediately after M’Dowgal's trial was finished, another person of more easy circumstances and respectability named Dobson, was put on his, trial for a similar offence; with this difference, that the sum presented and paid was 45l. ; that Mr. Hart, (through whose ground the road ran) was one of the three overseers appointed by the grand jury, well knew, that a very trifling part of the money had been laid out on the road, and that he (Mr. Hart) to whom Dobson was agent and receiver received the whole sum of 451, from the treasurer.' of the county ; that Dobson procured Richard Irvine, who was one of the overseers jointly with Mr. Hart to sign his name to the form of an affidavit, purporting, to account for the expenditure of 451. in making and repairing the road, as if the said Richard Irvine had sworn the same; and that said Dobson had procured Mr. Alexander M’Cul

1805.

loch a justice of the peace for that county to put
his name to it, as if it had been duly sworn before
him by Irvine; and that Dobson did at the Spring
assizes at Lifford on the 5th of April 1802, give
in and deliver such false instrument to the grand
jury, affirming it to have been sworn, and well
knowing the contrary : by which means the sum
of 45l. was ordered by the grand jury to be paid,
as it was paid to Mr. Hart, one of the overseers
named in the presentinent: and the owner of the
lands, through which the worst part of the road
ran: that Mr. Hart pocketed the whole of the
money, and left the road impassable : for accord-
ing to the evidence given on oath by Mr. Cham-
bers a justice of the peace and conservator of the
roads in that district, who surveyed the road in
question within very few months after it was al-
leged to have been made, that the work was ineffi-
ciently done, with sods and a little gravel sprink-
led over it; that the road was through a lowland !
in a mountainous part of the country, which was
the estate of Mr. Hart: that he enquired of the
tenants, why the road was not better done, and
was answered, that they owed Mr. Hart an arrear
of rent, upwards of three years, and that Dobson,
Mr. Hart's agent, came to the lands and divided
the road amongst them, according as every man
was in debt to his landlord : and that they after-
wards got receipts from Dobson, as far as the road
went: that they were allowed by Dobson only
4s. 9d. a perch, and they heard 6s. a perch had

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been given by the county. Mr. Chambers further
swore at the trial, that upon enquiry of Mr. Ir-
vine, why he had sworn such an affidavit, he had
indignantly denied, that he had ever sworn it:
though admitting, that he had been applied to by
Dobson for the purpose, and had said, that for a
church full of gold he would not do such a thing.
That Dobson then applied to Irvine to sign his
name to the paper : and that he did so. He durst
not refuse, because he had bog leave from Mr.
Hart, which he might be turned out of, if he re-
fused. He further swore, that the road was then
(1803) impassable, that he could not ride over it,
that he was forced to alight from his horse, which
was bogged in the road, and that the grass was
growing through a part of it: that he (Mr. Cham-
bers) had made a report, which he delivered in
writing to the grand jury of all those circumstances
at the Spring assizes in 1803. It was also proved
at the trial by Mr. Alexander Stewart, the foreman
of the grand jury, that Dobson was called before
the grand jury at that assize, and the report was
read to him: that he at first denied the charge, but
that he afterwards admitted it, and said it was a
common practice in that country. The grand jury
thereupon came to strong resolutions, censuring the
conduct of Dobson, and applied to Mr. J. Gal-
braith* (one of themselves) the Crown Solicitor,

as

* It will be remembered, that this charge of Mr. Hart against Mr. J. Fox was the first and only one brought forward against him so late as the 31st of May 1804. It prominently carries upon the face of it the essential spirit of the state persecution of

1905.

1:05. to prosecute him. It appeared further in evidence,

that Mr. Hart had received the entire sum of 451. so presented, soon after the Lent, assizes in 1802, and had allowed his tenants, in arrear of rent, to the amount; and that Dobson gave them receipts by his directions: That Mr. Hart was a grand juror at the time the presentment was first passed: and also when an alteration was made by the grand jury in the appoiutment of the overseers: Mr. Irvine, who though no tenant, was under the influence of Mr. Hart, having been substituted in the lieu of a. Mr. Michell. That Mr. Hart was likewise a grand juror, when the fictitious accountįng affidavit was given in by Dobson his agent in 1802. He was also on the grand jury, when Dobson at the Spring assizes in 1803, confessed his guilt: and when they passed the resolution of censure against him : and he was one of the grand jurors, who actually found the bill of indictment against Dobson, for the fraud and cheat, at which they were so highly indignant. Yet this very Mr. Hart, one of those indignants, came on the table at the next assizes, and putting off the character of a censorious grand juror, and assuming the qua

an upright and firm judge making a virtuous stand against the managers and controulers of a country, in which fraud, pecula. tion and perjury were admitted to be a common practice. Mr. Hart's petitions to the Lords and Commons were manufactured by Mr. James Galbraith, who exhibited himself at the bar of the House of Lords, as attorney to the prosecutor, crown solicitor, grand juror, purveyor of evidence, paymaster of witnesses, drawer of petitions, and witness in the cause.

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