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1805.

vere sentence upon a defaulter in matters of of. fence, to which too many then in court were far

to account by affidavit sworn before a justice of the peace, to be
laid before the grand jury at the ensuing assizes. In order to
prevent abuses, it is provided, that no presentment should be va-
lid, unless first read in open court, and passed or fiated by the
judge : and that no order for payment of money by the trea-
surer, should be made without an affidavit, accounting for the
due expenditure of the money, and the honest execution of the !
work, being read in open court and allowed, or passed by the
judge. The former is what is called in Ireland, taking the pre-
sentnrents; and the latter, discharging the queries; because a
question is put on every accounting affidavit, before the judge já
allows or discharges it. In consequence of which, an order is
made for payment of the money presented to the overseers.

This is an invidtous and vexatious duty of the upright judge,
who will therefore give offence in all instances, where resort is
had to the most shameful practices, to evade the law; of which
some persons of a better description, from the facility given,
the frequency of the example, and the difficulty of detection
have not been found blameless. In the nature of the system,
abuses will be committed in the application of large surks of
money, to be accounted for in this cursory manner by affidavits,
hastily read in court, in the hurry of assizes, and where the judge
must be necessarily ignorant, whether the affidavits have been
duly sworn by the parties. These strong temptations to per.
jury have a direct tendency to sap the fundamental principles of
religion, morality, and justice. Every stage of a presentinent"
is marked by one, or more affidavits, which swells the number of
affidavits at assizes in Ireland to a number inconceivably great. :
In this state of things, where the fruads were so extensive and enor-
frous, the perpetration not discountenanced, the difficulty of
detection so great, as almost to insure impunity, it became the
imperious duty of a judge, whenever a conviction occurred, to
impose such a punishment, as would brand the offence with legal
ignomiay, and deter others from committing it. Under these.

familiarized, created general alarm and consterna- 1805. tion amongst those in particular, whose sympa thizing consciences brought to their recollection their own guilt. Hard were the reflections upon Mr. Hart from those, who bore in mind the grounds of dissent in such of the jurors, as had refused to find Dobson guilty, because he pocketted nothing by the transaction. This was clearly bringing home to Mr. Hart the original and primary offence, in which his agent Dobson was palpably an instrument for his benefit. Mr. Hart was a man of powerful influence and connections n the county : he was an acquaintance, and had. been a client of the judge, whose virtue would not permit him to fall into such a dereliction of honor and duty, as to allow affluence or influence to countenance, screen or encourage abuses, which had already become a national reproach...

Whilst the jury was deliberating on Dobson's case, Mr. Fox read over his notes of the evidence; duct of Mr. and finding, on consideration, that Mr. Hart was strongly implicated in the guilt of that transaction, and that a well connected chain of corroborating circumstances strongly tended to bring the real guilt and infamy of it to his door, at the sure peril of offending a set of men in that county (the Orange ascendancy) whose number and power it

Miscon

Hart,

circumstances, Ireland is highly indebted to the firm and virtuous judge, who passed so just and necessary a sentence upon so notorious and infamous a defaulter.

m 1805,

. was dangerous to provoke, he sent for Mr. James
Galbraith, the Crown Solicitor, to his lodgings, on
the Sunday, and gave him directions to reduce in-
to an information such of the different facts, which
had appeared in evidenec on the trial of Dobson,
as tended to implicate Mr. Hart in the guilt of
that transaction, and to have the information ready
to be sworn at the sitting of the Court, on the fol-
lowing murning!: Mr. Galbraith was thunder-
strucken: started many difficulties: made a vast pa-
rade of ignorance: attempted many explanations :
but at last submitted (most reluctantly) to the in-
exorable commnads of the virtuous judge, Early
on Monday morning, after the presentments had
been taken in Court, the Judge gave directions to
have Mr. Galbraith called; be had suddenly
disappeared : but was soon found and produced in
Court. The Judge desired him from the bench to
comply with the directions he had given him the
day before. On which Mr. Galbraith took Mr.
Chambers, the principal witness on Dobson's trial,
who had deposed the most material circumstances
against Mr. Hart, out of Court; and after hav-
ing settled the information together, they returned
into Conrt, and Mr. Chambers swore it before a,
magistrate then present. When the information
had been sworn, the Judge addressed the gentlemen
of the Grand Jury, stating the circumstances of Mr.
M‘Dowgallis and Mr. Dobson's trials, and the evi-
dence given on the latter, which appeared strongly
to affect Mr. Hart. He then letailed the nature
and circumstances, as they were detailed in the

information of his (Mr. Hart's) offence, and as 1805. they had appeared on the trial of Dobson. He : concluded by directing, that the sheriff should take Mr. Hart into custody, in order that he might give bail, to abide his trial at the next assizes for that offence. Mr. Dobson, who was standing in Court near the Judge, intemperately and repeatedly attempted to interrupt him. The Judge checked

him, with an assurance, that when he had done to what his duty required of him, he would give Mr.

Hart a patient hearing, should he have any thing to say. Mr. Hart got upon the table, the moment the judge had closed, and addressed him with unbecoming warmth; he was reminded, that the court was no place for such intemperance, and the sheriff was ordered to do his duty. Mr. Hart then went from off the table to the side bar, where traversers usually stand, not to the common' dock, * or felon's bar, as Mr. Hart falsely asserted in his petition. , Thence he addressed the judge in insolent terms of reproach and menace, intimating plainly a design to challenge him. He told him, that after his treatment of a nobleman of high rank, he was not surprized at his conduct towards

* Vid. ante note, p. 13. According to the known axiom, those,. who seek redress in a court of justice should enter it with clean hands. Mr. Hart, on the contrary, obtruded Inimself on the highest juridical tribunal in the British empire, with the wages of guilt in his hands, and the words of falsehood on his lips; having (unquestionably for the purpose of inflaming the public feeling against Mr. J. Fox) in one petition five several times distinctly repeated the notorious untruth, that by order of the Judge he was committed to the common felons dock.

1805.

Singular

conducto

Mr. Hart.

him : that, as a man of honour, he would resent it: called upon the Grand Jury to support his cause, and emphatically asserted, that he had done nothing more, than every man of them had been in the habit of doing : and concluded a most impudent address, by introducing again the nobleman by name, whom he had before alluded to, as if for the purpose of intimidation. Mr. Hart was not interrupted in his address. After it was finished, the Judge repelled the insolent attack with firm and dignified coolness. Mr. Hart then gave bail and was discharged.

Immediately after Mr. Hart had been admitted of to bail, and before he quitted the court, the jury to enclosed in Dobson's case were ordered into court, and after their names had been called over, and having been asked by the officer of the Court, 'whether they had agreed in their verdict ? Mr. Robinson, their foreman, answered in the negative; and instantly added, that Mr. Hart had procured access to the jury the day before, and had spoken to them, whilst shut up, and deliberating on the verdict, in words calculated to influence their verdict: that he told them Mr. M‘Dowgal had met with a most severe sentence, which he specified, and warned them, that if they found Dobson guilty he would meet with the same fate. The judge expressed suitable indignation at this outrage upon justice, and severely reprimanded Mr. Hart, who did not even attempt to repel the charge thus publicly inade upon him. Conscious of guilt, he shruuk from denial. His high crested

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