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1806. of the Prince of Wales, who appeared to take a
lively interest in the fate of the virtuous Irish Judge. His Lordship delivered a learned, constitutional and forcible speech against the origin and whole process of that state prosecution. The new ministry had certainly the merit of doing justice to Ireland, in rescuing two of her Judges from the fangs of ministerial vengeance, to gratify the malignant resentments of individuals, who fancied themselves insulted and exposed by any instance of virtuous independence upon the bench, Lord Grenville had repeatedly, during the session moved to put off the consideration of Judge Fox's case from time to time : and his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, as the friend of Lord Abercorn, said, he had been requested to signify to the House his consent, that the matter should be deferred for a short time, but trusted, as his Royal Highness expected, that the matter would not be put off sine die. On the 19th of June, Lord Grenville moved the order of the day, for taking into consideration the petition of Mr. J. Fox, which having been read by the clerk, his Lordship observed, thạt the period was now arrived, when it became a question, how far it would be either wise or expedient, or how far likely thie calls of justice would be answered by their Lordships entering, at such a period of the session, upon the investigation of a subject of such an extensive nature. For his part, when he considered the nature of the case they were called upon to investigate, and the very advanced period of the
session, he had no hesitation in giving a decided 1806. opinion against such a proceeding. With respect to the subject itself, in a more enlarged point of view, he had repeatedly expressed his opinion, that the proceeding originated, ab initio, in a place, where there existed no jurisdiction compe- tent so to take cognizance of, or to decide upon
it. That opinion he rested upon the broad principle, that by the law of parliament, or even by the constitution, no charge of this kind could originally be preferred or proceeded upon in that
House, as a court of appeal or of criminal juris| diction. In the last resort, they could decide ;
but, with exception of what regarded the maintenance of their own privileges, they could not constitutionally entertain a matter of criminal complaint in the first instance. In this he was borne out by the all the constitutional authorities, particularly by the case of Lord Chief Justice Holt, the authority of which afforded a decisive precedent in point. What he now said, he wished to be understood as in no degree referring to what might have transpired in evidence. That testimony was given er parte; and, therefore, whatever might have been sworn, nothing had been proved. His opinion rested not on any of the facts of the case, but upon the conviction, that the proceedings hitherto had were contrary to the law and the constitution of the country. For every case, wherein the law was transgressed, the law provided a remedy to be obtained by proceeding in a regular and lawful course. That House
was not a court of original jurisdiction. Were they to open the doors of the House to complaints of this kind, and proceed to entertain the present, upon what principle could they shut them against the complaint of any party, who might consider himself aggrieved by the decision of a judge upon a circuit, or by his behaviour to him as a juror? Where would the line be drawn? Other complaints must be entertained, as well as those against Mr. Judge Fox, and their Lordships might be occupied, as in the present instance, for three, nay, even to an extent of seven yeass. These proceedings would go to render not only more arduous and unacceptable the office of a Judge; but even in the way of expence to amercè him to that degree, as would absorb the whole of his well earned salary; the recompense of a life of toil, and studiously acquired science. No man could be more desirous than himself, to provide duly and legally for the safety and protection of their fellow subjects in that part of the United Kingdom ; but had his poor voice been attended to, another and more efficacious course would have been adopted. He should therefore propose to adjourn the further consideration of the case to a day beyond the certain extent of the present session, namely, that the far: ther proceedings in this case should be adjourned to that day two months. On that question hav
ing been put:
on The Marquis of Abercorn said, that he had Judge Fox's heard the Noble Lord with great pain and regret.
If, as was to be apprehended, from the great
weight and authority, which the Noble Lord had in that house, a negative was to be put upon the further proceedings in the case of Mr. Judge Fox, he feared, that there would be soon sufficient cause to lament the precedent established by such a decision, and that the Noble Lord himself would e're long repent it. He would not attempt to reply to the arguments adduced by the Noble
Lord for the purpose of proving, that the charges i ought not to be brought before the House, as he
considered the time was past for such an argu* ment; the House having already repeatedly decid
ed to the contrary. They had ordered witnesses I repeatedly to attend to give their evidence; a si
milar order had been again made this session, and witnesses were now in attendance. The witnesses had travelled many weary miles to attend at the
bar of that House to claim the justice, which was - due to them; and now, after having heard a part
of the evidence, and gone thus far, the proceeding was to be suddenly put an end to, the remainder of the charges was not to be investigated, and with respect to those, which had, the learned judge was to be deprived of the opportunity of rebutting the evidence against him. He regretted, that he must be under the necessity of detaining their Lordships a considerable time, but he felt it to be his duty, under the circumstances, in which the House was placed by the present motion, to call their attention to the whole of the evidence, which
related to the charges against Mr. Judge Fox, i with the view of putting it to them upon the whole
1:406. of the case, whether they could consistently, or
in justice, now suddenly abandon the proceedings,
Lord Chancellor Erskine supported the motion of Lord Grenville. Though the powers of the House might be inquisitorial as well as judicial, he apprehended that cases of complaint, in which that House must ultimately be the judge, should always originate in another place. I
Earl Moira was of a similar opinion, and enforced the necessity of allowing a person, who was pot deprived of his judicial functions, to go on in the undisturbed administration of them, until such time as a regular charge was exhibited before a proper tribunal.
Earl of Buckinghamshire opposed the motion, And Lord Hardwicke conceived that the charges should be proceeded in.