Slike strani

invites them to brutalize themselves, jurors, so as to agree upon a verdict. by taking up the task of the execu- In this country, however, where the cutioner, and pelting, stoning, and trial by jury had existed for many censometimes murdering a wretch, who turies, a man would be supposed to has neither the means of fight nor re- have a very perverted understanding, sistance !

if he could imagine that, after having The act of parliament extending advanced all the arguments he could the trial by jury in civil causes to in support of his impressions, he would Scotland, was passed during the pre. be perjured in finally acquiescing with sent session ; a measure which may the opinions of the majority, and find. be considered as by far the most im- ing a verdict accordingly. He must portant, and, it is hardly to be doubt. also observe, that he thought this bill ed, the most beneficial alteration on might be a precedent for important the jurisprudence of Scotland which amelioration in a part of the English has taken place for a long course of law. In our ecclesiastical courts, the years. In the discussion on this bill, proceedings (which also went on writin the committee of the House of ten depositions,) were enormously ex. Commons, the following very judici. pensive and dilatory. He hoped that ous remarks were made by Sir Samuel when the attention of the House was Romilly. He said, that'“ he did not called to the advantages of trial by rise to oppose the progress of this jury in Scotland, they would also see bill. He thought, on the contrary, the propriety of a similar mode of trial that it was a bill which would confer in many of the cases before our ecclethe most important benefits on Scot. siastical courts.”—The bill was carriland. He could by no means consi- ed through parliament with the utmost der it as a mere experiment, but as an cordiality and unanimity, and any difimmediate remedy for a great practi- ference of opinion that took place recal evil. From his own experience in lated to subordinate matters of detail. appeal causes from Scotland, he knew The law, as it now stands, differs from that the greater part of them turned the English law as to jury-trial in seupon mere matters of fact. The mode veral particulars. The Jury Court is of trying these questions now in Scot. not a separate and independent tribuland was enormously expensive as well nal, but a subsidiary court to the Court as dilatory.. A case which in Eng. of Session, before which all causes land might be disposed of by, a jury must be brought, as formerly. It is fire or six weeks after the action was only particular questions of fact which brought, was often pending in Scot. are remitted for trial to the Jury Court; land for seven or eight years. There and even these questions the judges was another great advantage, in the of the Court of Session have it in their trial by jury, that the countenance, discretion to remit or not to the Jury the deportment, and tone of voice of Court, as they shall think proper. the witness, was a sort of living com. When a question of fact has thus been mentary on the value of his testimony. tried before the Jury Court, the verdict This was an advantage that trials ta. is returned to the Court of Session, ken upon written depositions could who, in the further progress of the not have. He certainly valued highly cause, proceed upon the fact thus es. the conscientions scruples of those pe- tablished, in the same manner as if it titioners, who supposed, that after ta- had been conclusively established by king the juror's oath, they could not evidence before themselves. Thus the give up their opinion to their fellow Jury Court is precisely a substitute, and an excellent one, for the old me- seem to be the case, yet, on a nearer thod of taking proofs by commission. consideration of the matter, the pracAnother peculiarity in the new Scotch tical effects of the two systems will apsystem is, that, if a jury cannot bring pear very different. The difference themselves to a state of unanimity in consists in the tendency of the one systwelve hours, they are dismissed, and tem, much more than the other, to a new trial is granted. These modifi- produce a patient, anxious, and candid cations of the law of jury trial, as it investigation of the case before the has been established in England, have jury. Where the law expressly debeen wisely adopted in its first intro. clares, that the voice of the majority duction into a country, on whose shall be held to be the verdict of the forms of judicial procedure it has jury, it may too often be the case that made so great and sudden a change. this voice may be collected in a careBut, as the inhabitants of Scotland less and hasty manner. The majority become better acquainted with it, and may be swayed by the plausible opiinore thoroughly convinced of its many nions of one or two individuals who inestimable advantages, it will, in all may take a prominent part in the disprobability, be gradually more extend. cussion ; while others, who may be ed in its application, and more com- far from satisfied with the

argupletely assimilated to the practice of ments they hear, may content them. England.

selves with simply expressing their The provision for dismissing a jury, dissent, holding themselves not reif they cannot agree unanimously in sponsible for a verdict given by a matheir verdict in twelve hours, was in. jority of which they formed no part. troduced, in consideration of the scru- It is well known, that many men may ples of a great number of individuals form just and sound opinions, and yet in Scotland, who apprehend, that it have such a disinclination and inaptimust be often impossible for a jury to tude to argue in support of these opigive a unanimous verdict without some nions, that, in ordinary cases, and withof the members violating their oath : out some paramount inducement, they And this provision has been happily will sooner submit to see them overimagined, as it obtains all the advan. ruled than enter into any controversy tages of the system of unanimous ju. in vindication of them. Now, it is ries, while it secures to the most con- precisely the legal obligation on juries scientious juryman the certainty of not to give a unanimous verdict which furbeing compelled to concur in a verdict nishes this paramount inducement on contrary to his own opinion, and, at every man who is strongly impressed the same time, avoids the inconvenien. with the soundness of his own opinion, cies of juries making up their verdicts to communicate this impression to the from a mere majority of votes. Anopi. others. When the verdict must by nion has gone abroad, that, as in the law be unanimous, every juryman, Ly case of unanimous juries, the verdict his oath, becomes responsible for it to must be agreed on, in many instances, his conscience. But what is the exfrom an understanding that the minori. tent of this responsibility and what ty must yield to the majority, this una- is the extent of the obligation thus imnimity is merely fictitious; and that, posed on him by his oath ? Can he extherefore, it would be better to have it pect that eleven other men must in. declaredatonce that the verdict shall be evitably form the same opinion with determined by the voice of the majority. himself, an expectation which, by the But though this may, at first sight, laws of human nature, is plainly chime

the case.

rical? Or is he obliged to insist, that to his own conscience, that he has the whole body of his brethren shall re- used every means in his power, not only main in confinement, till the greater to investigate the case, but to place his number of them are starved into a con- views in the clearest light before his currence in his opinion? If the first of brethren. This is plainly all that he these suppositions is obviously impos- could do ; and it is hardly to be consible, the second is as obviously unjust; ceived how any conscience should be so for the individual in question would scrupulous as to feel it insufficient. If hardly have so much reason to be at it it be answered to all this, that a ju. peace with his conscience, after having ryman is bound by his oath to deliver compelled a number of others by a his verdict according to his own opicontest of physical strength to adopt nion alone, the reply is, that this is not his opinion, which he himself must ad.

The meaning of the oath mit to have been presumptively wrong, must be taken as interpreted by the as if he had yielded to the united law of the land ; and that this is not conviction of the greater number, and the interpretation of the oath, must be concurred in an opinion which must inferred from the very circumstance of have been presumptively right. Still, the law requiring the verdict to be however, every individual of the jury unanimous. The law cannot demand is responsible for the verdict ; but the an impossibility; and therefore, in reresponsibility must in reason be limited quiring juries to concur in an unanie to this, that every individual shall ex- mous verdict, it requires merely, that ert his faculties to the uttermost ; first, each juryman shall make every possiin an unremitting attention to the pro ble exertion to form a sound opinion ceedings of the trial, and next, in a himself, and to produce it in others ; most patient and careful examination and that he shall

, after having done so, and discussion of the evidence, in order concur in the opinion of the greater that he may have it in his power, in number, though it should not be the the case of the general conviction not same with his own, being in unison with his own, to say




Proceedings in Parliament on the Bill for Restricting the Importation of


The subject which received the great- nion of this committee, that any sort of est share of the attention of parliament foreign corn, meal, or flour, which this year, was the state of the corn may by law be imported into the laws. The unexampled distress of the united kingdom, shall at all times be agricultural interest, the ruinous ef- allowed to be brought to the united fects of which were now felt by every kingdom and to be warehoused there, class of the community, rendered it a without paymentof any duty whatever. matter of paramount importance to 2. “ That such corn, meal, and endeavour to find some remedy for an flour, so warehoused, may at all times evil of such fearful magnitude. It will be taken out of the warehouse, and be be recollected, that, in the preceding exported without payment of any duty year, a bill was brought into parlia. whatever. ment for protecting the agriculturists 3. " That such corn, meal, or flour, by additional restrictions on the impor. 80 warehoused, may be taken out of tation of corn; but that this bill was the warehouse, and be entered for not passed. Committees, however, home consumption in the united kingwere appointed by both Houses, for dom, without payment of any duty the purpose of enquiring into the cause whatever, whenever foreign corn, meal, of the agricultural distress, and the or flour, of the same sort, shall by law means of relieving it. These commit- be admissible into the united kingdom tees entered into long and laborious for home consumption. investigations, in the course of which 4. “ That such foreign corn, meal, they examined a great number of in. or flour, shall be permitted to be imdividuals, who, from their situation or ported into the united kingdom, for pursuits, were supposed to be most home consumption, without payment ? qualified to afford useful information ; of any duty, whenever the average and after these enquiries had been prices of the several sorts of British completed, and the reports of both corn, made up and published in the committees had been laid before their manner now by law required, shall be respective Houses, Mr Robinson, on at or above the prices hereafter speci17th February, 1815, brought for- fied, viz.

Per Qr. ward, in a committee of the whole Wheat...............

80s. House of Commons, the following re- Rye, Pease, and Beans ...... 53s. solutions :

Barley, Beer, or Bigg. 40s. 1. Resolved, “ That it is the opi. Oats.........


But that, whenever the average prices But that, whenever the prices of Briof British corn shall respectively be tish corn respectively shall be below below the prices above stated, no fo- the prices above specified, corn, or reign corn, or meal, or flour, made meal, or flour, made from any of the from any of the respective sorts of fo- respective sorts of corn above enumereign corn above enumerated, shall be rated, the produce of any British co. allowed to be imported or taken out lony or plantation in North America, of warehouse for home consumption, shall no longer be allowed to be imnor shall any foreign flour be at any ported into the united kingdom for time importable into Ireland.

home consumption. 5. “ That the average prices of the 7. “ That such corn, meal, or flour, several sorts of British corn, by which the produce of any British colony or the importation of foreign corn, meal, plantation in North America, as may or four, into the united kingdom is to now by law be imported into the unibe regulated and governed, shall con- ted kingdom, shall at all times be pertinue to be made up and published in mitted to be brought there and warethe manner now required by law; but housed, without payment of any duty that, if it shall hereafter at any time whatever. appear that the average prices of Bri- 9. “ That such corn, meal, or flour, tish corn, in the six weeks immediate- so warehoused, may be taken out of ly succeeding the 15th February, 15th warehouse, and entered for home conMay, 15th August, and 15th Novem- sumption in the united kingdom, whenber in each year, shall have fallen be- ever corn, meal, or four, of the like low the prices at which foreign corn, description, imported direct from any meal, or four, are by law allowed to such colony or plantation, shall be adbe imported for home consumption, no missible for home consumption, but such foreign corn, meal, or four, shall not otherwise.” be allowed to be imported into the These resolutions were discussed at united kingdom for home consump- great length in the committee on the tion, from any place between the ri. 17th, 228, and 23d February, when vers Eyder and Garonne, both inclu- they were agreed to. On the 27th a sive, until a new average shall be made long debate took place on the ques. up and published in the London Ga- tion, whether the report of the comzette, for regulating the importation mittee should be brought up, which into the united kingdom for the suc- was carried in the affirmative. On ceeding quarter.

28th February the resolutions of the 6. "That such corn, meal, or flour, committee were agreed to by the being the produce of any British co. House, and leave given to bring in a lony or plantation in North America, bill upon these resolutions. On Ist as may now by law be imported into March the bill was accordingly prethe united kingdom, may hereafter be sented by Mr Robinson, and read a imported for home consumption, with- first time ; and every stage of its proout payment of any duty, whenever gress, till it was passed on the 10th of the average prices of British corn, made March, was accompanied by long and up and published as by law required, animated debates. On the 13th March shall be at or above the prices hereaf- the bill was brought into the House ter specified, viz.

of Lords, and read a first time. At Wheat.............................. 67s. the same time a motion was made by Rye, Pease, and Beans...... 44s. Earl Grey for a further enquiry into Barley, Beer, or Bigg...... 33s. the state of the corn laws, which, after Oats.........

22s. a long discussion, was negatived by a

Per Qr.

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