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lity of a disinterested witness, swore against Dob. 1305. son's own confession, and against the mass of evidence, which had induced him and the other grand jurors to pass those damnatory resolutions, that Mr. Dobson was a very honest man : and he contin ued to employ him as his agent after the confession of guilt as he had done for many years before. Can it be wondered at after this, that Mr. J. Fox should have said from the bench, that Mr. Hart ought to produce a witness to his own character ? This 8th charge presented by Lord Abercorn to the Lords to be handed down to posterity on their journals and records, is ushered in by the impudently false and malignant words, that the said Luke Fox did contrary to every principle of law and justice, &c. : aud wonderful to state, Mr. Hart himself is brought before the bar of the House of Lords, as the principal witness to prove the charge * The jury having heard the charge given by Dissentof
the jury. the judge, retired to consider their verdict; and the judge proceeded to dispose of the remaining business of the assizes. After several trials had been gone through, a message was delivered to the judge, that the jury had agreed in their verdict : and being ordered into court, the foreman tendered a verdict; finding in substance the traverser
* The Rev. Mr. Robinson, who was foreman of the jury, that tried Dobson, a gentleman of great respectability, unequivocally declared, that if Mr. Hart had been then on his trial, they would have found him guilty of the same offence on the evidence given during the trial of Dobson.
1805. guilty of procuring a fictitious accounting afidavit.
The judge refused to take this verdict, as not being a finding on the issue, which they had to try, and again explained the nature of the issue, upon which the foreman said, that nine of the jury were for finding the traverser guilty of the offence generally: but that three were against it, alleging as a reason, that Dobson profited nothing by the fraud. The jury were again sent back to their room : and the judge finished what business remained : and amongst other things, he passed sentence upon M'Dowgal, who had been found guilty by the same jury. When the business drew near a close, the judge sent a message by a bailiff to the jury, to enquire, whether they had agreed, or were likely to agree in their verdict; to which a negative answer was given. After some time to a like message a like answer was returned: when by direction of the judge, the jury were informed, that if they were not likely to agree, the court would be adjourned until six o'clock on Monday morn. ing. The jury having once more sent a message to the judge, that they were not likely to agree, after having waited half an hour longer, the court was adjourned about eight o'clock on the Saturday evening, till six o'clock on the Monday morning. Within an hour after the judge had left the court, a message was sent from the jury to signify to him, that they had at last agreed in a verdict; finding the traverser guilty; with the intent of recommending him to mercy. Whilst the foreman was knocking at the door to send in the message, one of the
jury said, he never had agreed, and never would
*This was specifically sworn to in an examination taken by Mr. James Galbraith (who to his other numerous characters, adila that of a justice of the peace for the county of Donegal,) of John Stewart, Esq. (one of that jury) on the 2d of September 1803 ; before any accusation of Judge Fox had been thought of. The original examination is amongst the records of the county of Donegal.
This came out upon the cross examination of Mr. James Galbraith before the Lords. He had invited Mr. Robinson to dine with him in Dublin, offered him 1001. for going to London to give evidence against Mr. J. Fox, and urged his assurance, that he and his fellow jurors should be liberally rewarded, if they pould come forward in support of the prosecution.
1805. business was finished on the Saturday with the ex
ception of taking the presentments; and all the jurors and suitors and other persons attending the 'assizes were then discharged, except the grand jury, and the petty jury deliberating on their verdict in Dobson's case. The sentence, which Mr. J. Fox thought fit to pass upon M’Dowgal * was,
* Upon good and cogent reasons did Mr. J. Fox deem it ne. cessary to pass an exemplary sentence on this delinquent in a country, where Orangeism held the ascendancy, where it had been proved in evidence, that the crimes of wbich MDougal had been found guilty were a common practice, and that Dobson had made the frequency and notoriety of it his justification and defence. Whence it happened, that the frequency and impunity of delinquency had introduced a species of local morality, which treated the most flagitious crimes (perjury, robbery, of the public, and murder of informers, witnesses, &c.) as venial offences, and practically cleared them of shame and remorse by admitting the perpetrator into society, and swearing in a court of justice, and that he was entitled to the character of a very honest man. It may here be instructive to some readers to lay before them the general system of Irish law of Grant Jury presentments, out of which such an enormity of abuse has emanated. Within threescore years immediately preceding the union of Ireland with Great Britain, a code of laws was enacted by the parliament of Ireland, introducing a sytem till then un. known to any part of the United Kingdom, of makiug and repairing public roads and bridges, for the communication and conveniency of the inhabitants. By these statutes, which are numerous, the Grand Juries at the assizes are empowered to present any sums of money, limited in amount only by the de. mands made upon them, and by their own direction to be levied on their respective counties, for the purpose of making and repairing the roads, in the several districts of such counties.
These presentments, where a new road is to be made, cannot by law be passed, unless previous to the assizes, two credible
to be imprisoned one year; to pay a fine of 100l.
persons shall have made affidavit, that they had measured the Her new intended line of road : that it would take a specificied sum
to make it, and that such new line of road was situated between a market town and the sea. Such affidavits are to be given in to the secrctary of the Grand Jury, six days defore the assizes,
and to remain, afterwards, among the records of the county. From The Grand Jury may pass these presentments in their discré
tion. The money so presented is levied on the occupiers of the
number; and, confined to the tenants, and dependants of those,
treasurer, and gives receipts to his tenants (paying perhaps, a el rack rent for their land) for the money. The poor thus employed,
are, in consequence, countenanced in idleness, and protected in all fraud ; and a degrading despondency is created, debasing to the
spirit, and injurious to the industry of the people. The amount House of this tax has been generally calculated to exceed six hundred eral thousand pounds a year. The presentment for the county of Tip. Bu perary for the last year (1810) exceeded 100,0001. ' .
Every presentment contains a description of the road to be ody made or repaired; the sum to be expended, and the names of two
or more persons, who are appointed by the grand jury, to see, ity that the work is fairly, and properly done. These overseers are YOL, IL,