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mortgage, the borrower, it is evident, present? Would not the funds, when would have a right to deduct from it a placed even upon this footing, be liable sum (suppose fth) equal to that which the to be raised or depressed by any accilender would have had to pay on account dental difference in the foreign or dos of such sum, towards discharging the mestic relations of the country? in short, debt.
would nor the French government in the It will be observed, that in my estimate probable future relative situation of the of the amount of the national debt, I iwo countries, still have it in their power supposed that 8 per cent, would be paid to raise and lower stocks at their pleasure off at 60, whereas the Edinburgh re- in a time of peace, and take advantage viewers have asserted, in their critique of such changes of price, to put consi. on the bishop of Llandaff, that they derable sums in their own pockets? I would, and ought to be, paid off at 100. must confess, that I think not, especially On this supposition it is evident that the if it were enacted, that the stock holder stockholder would receive back almost should have a right, in case of the nontwice as much as he bad lent to govern- payment of his interest, or on the proment, the equity of which, to say the bability of an invasion, to be considered least of it, is certainly not very apparent. joint proprietor with whatsoever lando It would make a very material difference holder he pleased, and be authorised to also in the proportion which would be distrain for his dividends in the same required of every person's property to manner as is done for rent. In this case, discharge the debt.' This difficulty howe property in the (new) funds would be ever would be done away, at least with re- just as secure as property in land; it spect to ths of the sum due to the stock would be the same at least as a mortgage holder, by securing to him on the land on land, and as little liable to be affected and houses, the same annual interest in value by any difference in the situation which he receives at present. The pub= of the country with respect to foreign lic would, by the method I have pro- powers. In both cases, (that of the posed, (as far as ths of his property goes funds and a mortgage) a permissory right at least) fulfil their engagements with him to receive the rents would be vested in to the very letter, for if it is now worth the hands of a second person, who would while to give nearly 70l. to receive an be answerable with his whole property annual interest of 31. without having any for his fidelity in discharging his trust. other than the vague undefined security If it should still be found however, on which the funds rest at present, it that funded property was liable to be would surely be worth as much to re. affected by foreign influence, its annis ceive the same annual interest when the hilation might be easily effected, and the principal was secured on the best of all mischief done away at once by the actual possible funds--that of all the lands and transfer of th of the land and houses from houses in the nation. In short, I am per- the present proprietors to the stocks suaded, that after a measure of the kind holders. But in this case, the public I have pointed out was put in execution, would be in danger of losing the vast ada 3 per cent stock would soon get up tó vantages which they derive from life 80, and probably more than that sum, so and fire-insurance offices. These instithat if the stockholder had only Aths of tutions, valuable as they are, could his real claim secured to him in this scarcely exist if it were not for the facility manner, it would be worth as much to which the funds afford of safely investing him as the whole is at present. When his their capital and occasional receipts, and security was changed so much for the bet- as easily obtaining the occasional sums ter, and Aths of it were rendered so much which they may be liable to be called more valuable, the stock holder would upon to pay at a short notice. pot have much reason to complain, These institutions are, on the whole, so even though 4th of his capital, which is advantageous to a country, tbat it now worth 68, were paid off at 60; might be worth while to run some little neither indeed would it make much dif. risk of being injured by our neighbors, ference to the public, were they to pay for the sake of retaining them. This the remaining th or 66 millions at 68 or risk however might be diminished, were 70, the present price of stock instead of we to make a transfer of part (say :) 60, the price I have calculated upon. of the funded property; by this meaus
But a question here occurs, Would not the floating debt would be reduced to the price of stocks, even in this case, be about 140 millions, which perhaps is subject to the saine fluctuation as at no more than is necessary to render the
funds competent to produce all the ad. combatants will stand in the same révantages which they do at present, Jative situation after, as they did before Were we, however, to place the debt on their weapons were shortened.' Neither the footing I have proposed, and wisely would the diminution of individual ca. make a radical change both in our pital tend to diminish the spirit of comforeign and domestic policy, a thing mercial enterprise. It is not so much which we shall ere long be obliged to the absolute as the relative accumulation do, our financial arrangement of whate of capital, which creates and invigorates ever description would not be liable to commercial speculation. It is evident be in the least affected by any external indeed, that ihe national capital would or foreign influence whatsoever. I shall not on the whole he diminished; it would now proceed to exainine for a moment, only be divided amongst a greater num. how people engaged in trade would be ber of hands, and would therefore, in all atfected by the discharging of the nati- probability, be productive of greater be. unal debt" in the manner I have pro. neft to the country. The diminution posed. We have seen, that more than of the price of goods, consequent on the Thirteen millions, a sum considerably diminution of duties and taxes, would greater than the whole amount of the render our present circulating medium income-tax, would have to be raised an- more than adequate to carry on the nually from somewhat less than Ith of the commercial intercourse of the country. property of the country, and although This superfluous currency would be the taxes would be taken off to the amount saine as an accession of fresh capital, of more than twenty millions annually in and might be turned to the greatest naconsequence of this measure, still this tional advantage, by being employed ia part of the public would be but little the culture of the waste länds, under & benehted by it. They would have to general inclosure act. pay to the stockholder for the first year, as much in interest as they now pay in For the Monthly Magazine. taxes. The charge of interest indeed, On the PRACTICE exercised by the two would decrease in proportion as they HOUSES of PARLIAMENT of construing advanced in discharging the capital of LIBEL into CONTEMPT, and PUNISHING their debt. We are to consider there it by their own ORDER. fore, a portion less than fth of the national [Opinion of lord Erskine, on the right of property, as being levied upon for the first
Summary Attachment, even by the courte year at least, to the amount of near
of law, given so long back as 1785, on the 14 millions, and for the amount of all
'occasion of an Attachment issued by the the present taxes besides, except the income tax; and it is to be considered too,
Court of King's Bench of Ireland against that this will have for the most part to
the magistrates of Leitrim, for being engabe paid by people engaged in trade. It ged in holding a meeting for a reform in the would seem at the first blush, that to representation of the people in parliament. take so much of thoftheir whole property) It is applicable to the case of Mr. Gale annually, for tive successive years, from Jones, because the proceeding against him commercial people, would be productive is for an act that might clearly, safely, and of great inconvenience to them; but if effectually, have been brought before the we reflect a little, we shall see reason to
ordinary courts of law.] think that this will be by no means the
IN A LETTER TO A FRIEND. case. Every man's capital would be
Bath, Jan. 13, 1785. levied upon in the same proportion, and
FEEL myself very much honoured therefore every man would stand exactly
by your application to me on an in the same relative situation after, as he occasion so important to the public freedid before, the money was paid. Trade dom; and I only lament that neither at least, as carried on at present, is a my age nor experience are such as to sort of warfare; it is a struggle who can give my opinion any authority with the get the greatest share of the good things, court in which you practice: but whereand amass the greatest quantity of ever I have no doubt, I am alwảys ready wealth. As in contests of a different to say what I think; and you are, therea nature, he that has the longest sword, so fore, very welcome to my most public in this he that has the longest purse, sentiments, if any use can be made of usually gets the victory; but if all the them. swords, as well as all the parses, are You have very properly confined your equally' curtailed, it is evident that the questious to the particular case, farnisled
me hy the affidavit which you have trans- could not accomplish this without putmitted to me; and my answers therefore ting upon the record averments of their need involve in them no general discus. criminal purposes and intentions; the sions upon the principles of civil govern- truth of which averments, are facts which ment, which in the inere abstract are he must establish at the trial, or fail in not often usefal, nor always intelligible. his prosecution. It is the province of The propositions to which iny answers the jury, who are the best judges of the are meant strictly to apply, are
state of the nation, and the most deeply First, Whether the facts charged by interested in the preservation of its tranthe affidavit, on which your Court of quillity, to say, by their verdict, whether King's Bench is proceeding against the the defendants acted from principles of magistrates of Leitrim, are sufficient to public spirit, and for the support of good warrant any criminal prosecution for a governinent, or sought seditiously to dismisdemeanor whatsoever ?
(urb it. The one or the other of these Secondly, whether, supposing them objects would be collected at the trial, sufficient to warrant a prosecution by from the conduct of the defendants in information or indiciment, the court has summoning the meeting, and the purany jurisdiction to proceed by attach- poses of it when met. mient?
If the jury saw reason, from the evi. As you are pushed, in point of time, dence, to think that its objects, however I can venture to answer both these ques- coloured by expressions the most guarded tions at Bath, without the assistance of and legal, were, in effect, and intended my books, because they would throw no to be, subversive of government and light upon the first from its singularity, order, or calculated to stir up discontent, and the last is much too clear to require without adequate objects to vindicate any from them.
the active attention of the public, they As to the first: the facts charged by would be bound in conscience and in law the affidavit do of themselves neither es- to convict them; but if, on the other tablish nor exclude guilt in tħe defende band, their conduct appeared to be vinants. In one state of society such pro. dicated by public danger or necessity, ceedings might be highly criminal; and, directed to legal ohjects of reformation, in another, truly virtuous and legal. and animated by a laudable zeal for the
To create a national delegation amongst honour and prosperity of the nation, a free people, already governed by re. then no departure from accustomed forms presentation, can never be, under all in the manner of assembling, nor any incircumstances, a crime: the objects of correct expressions in the description of such delegation, and the purposes of their object, would bind, or even justisy, a those who seek to effect it, can alone de- jury to convict them as libellers of termine the quality of the act, and the the goveroment, or disturbers of the guilt or innocence of the actors.
peace. If it points (no matter upon what ne To constitute a legal charge of either cessity) to supersede or to controul the of these offences, the crown (as I before existing government, it is self-evident observed) must aver the criminal intenthat it cannot he tolerated by its laws. tion, which is the essence of every crime; It may be a glorious revolution; but it is and these averments must be either proa rebellion against the government which red at the trial, or, if to be inferred it changes.
prima facie from the facts themselves, If, on the other hand, it extends no may be rebulted by evidence of the des further than, to speak with certainty the fendant's innocent purposes. If the cri. united voice of the nation to its repre- minal intent charged hy the information sentatives, without any derogation of be not established to the satisfaction of their legislative authority and discretion, the jury, the information which charges it is a legal proceeding, which ought not it is not true; and they are bound to indeed to be lightly entertained, but say so by a verdict of acquittal. which many national conjunctures may *I am therefore of opinion in answer render wise and necessary.
to the first question), that the defendants The attorney-general might, undoubt. are liable to be prosecuted by informaedly, convert the facts contained in the tion; but that the success of such proaffidavit into a legal charge of a high secution ought to depend upon the opie misdemeanor; which, when properly put nion which the people of Ireland, form. into the form of an information, the de- ing a jury, shall entertain of their intenfendants could not demur to: but he tion in summoning the meeting, and the MONTHLY Mac. No. 199.
real bona fide objects of the assembly process, given some judgment, made when met.
some legal order, or done some act, It is upnecessary to enlarge upon these which the party against whoin it issues, principles, because their notoriety has or others on whun it is binding, have no doubt suggested this novel attempt to either neglected to obey, contumaciously proceed by attachment, where they have refused to submit to, excited others to no place; and I cannot help remarking, defeat by artifice or force, or treated that the prosecutor (if his prosecution be with terms of contumely and disrespect, founded in policy or justice) has acted But no crime, however enorinous, even with great indiscretion, by shewing that open treason and rebellion, which carry he is afraid to trust the people with that with them a contempt of all law, and the decision upon it which belongs to them authority of all courts, can possibly be by the constitution; and which they are considered as a contempt of any partimore likely to give with impartial justice, cular court, so as to be punishable by than the judges whom he desires tu de- attachment; unless the act, which is cide upon it at the expence of their oaths the object of that punishment, be in diand of the law.
rect violation or obstruction of something This is a strong expression, which per- previously done by the court which issues haps I should not have used in answer. it, and which the party attached was ing the same case in the ordinary course bound, by some antecedent proceeding of business; but writing to you, as a gen. of it, to inake the rule of his conduct. tleman, I have no scruple in saying, that A constructive exteusion of contempt the judges of the Court of King's Bench beyond the limits of this plain principle cannot entertain a jurisdiction by attach- would evidently involve every misdewent over the matter contained in the incanor, and deprive the subject of the affidarit which you hare sent me, without trial by jury, in all cases where the pusuch a gross usurpation and abuse of nishment does not extend to touch bis power, as would make me think it iny life. duty, were I a member of the Irish par The peculiar excellence of the English liament, ' to call them to account for it government consists in the right of being by impeachment.
judged by the country in every criminal * The rights of the superior courts to case, and not by fixed magistrates approceed by attachment, and the limita- pointed by the crown. In the higher tions imposed upon that right, are esta- order of crimes, the people alone can acWished upon principles too plain to be cuse, and without their leave, distinctly inisunderstood.
expressed by an indictment found before Every court must have power to enforce them, no man can be capitally arraigned; its own process, and to vindicate con- and in all the lesser misdemeanors, whicle tempts of its authority; otherwise the either the crown, or individuals borrorlaws would be despised, and this obvious ing its authority, may prosecute, the necessity at once produces and limits safety of individuals and the public freethe process of attachment.
dom absolutely depend upon the wellWherever any act is done by a court known immemorial right of erery dewhich the subject is bound to obey, obe- fendant to throw himself opon his coun. dience may be enforced, and disobedi- try for deliverance by the general plea of ence punished, by that summary pro- Not Guilty. By that plea, which in ceeding. Upon ibis principle attach- no sạch case can be demurred to by the ments issue against officers for contempts Crown, or questioned by its judges, the in not obeying the process of courts di- whole charge comes before the jury on rected to them, as the ministerial ser- the general issue, who have a jurisdiction vants of the law; and the parties on whom co-extensive with the accusation, the ere such process is served, may, in like man. ercise of which, in every instance, the ner, be attached for disobedience. authority of the court can neither limit,
Many other cases might be put, in supersede, controul, or punish. which it is a legal proceeding, since every Whenever this céases to be the law of act which goes directly to frustrate the England, the English constitution is at mandates of a court of justice, is a con- an end ; and its period in Ireland is ar tempt of its authority. But I inay ven- rived already, if the Court of King's ture to lay down this distinct and abso- Bench can convert every crime, by conJute limitation of such process, viz. struction, into a contempt of its autho *that it can only issue in cases where the rity, in order to punish by attachment. court wbich issues it, has awarded some By this proceeding the party offended
is the judge; creates the offence without representation of the people in the para any previous promulgation; avoids the liaments of both kingdoms, and a sincere doubiful and tedious ceremony of proof, admirer of that spirit and perseverance by forcing the defendant to accuse him- which in these days, when every impore self; and inflicts an arbitrary punishnient, tant consideration is swallowed up in vhich, if not submitted to and reverenced luxury and corruption, lias so eminently by the nation as law, is to be the parent distinguished the people of your country. of new contempts, to be punished like The interests of both nations are in iny the former.
opinion the same; and I sincerely hope As I live in England, I leave it to the that neither ill-timed severity on the pars parliament and people of Ireland to con- of government, nor precipitate measures sider what is their duty, if such au- on the part of the people of Ireland, may thority is assumed and exercised by their disturb that harmony between the rea judges: if it ever happens in this coun- mainiog parts of the empire, which ought wy, I shall give my opinion.
to be held more sacred, from a reflection It is sufficient for me to hare given on what has been lost. you my judgment as a lawyer upon both
T. ERSKINE. your questions; yet, as topics of policy can never be misplaced when magistrates To the Editor of the Monthly Alagazine, are to ,
OU will doubtless find a corner in vation, which both the crown and its courts would do well to attend to upon patriotic suggestion. Let the first square every occasion.
that shall be built in the capital of Engs The great objects of criminal justice land, or in any of its provincial cities of are reformation and example; but nei- eminence, such, for instar.ce, as Liverther of them are to be produced by punish- pool or Bristol, be called by an act of ments which the laws will not warrant: the legislature for that purpose, Freedom on the contrary, they convert the offen- Square, in honour of the abolition of der into a suffering patriot; and that slavery in the British colonies. A pillar crime which would have been abhorred may likewise be erected in the centre of for its malignity, and the contagion of this square; with appropriate emblems which would have been extinguished by and inscriptions, and the names of those a legal prosecution, unites an injured members of parliament who were most nation under the banners of the criminal, active and instrumental in the abolition to protect the great rights of the com- be recorded in letters of gold on one munity, which, in his person, have been side, and the names of the opposers in endangered.
letters of lead on the other, to perpetuate These, sir, are my sentiments; and you their ignorance and imbecility. ma; make what use of them you please.
BRITANNICUS. I am a zealous friend to a reform of the
i' cannot help concluding with an clot Y Pour miscellany for the following
MEMOIRS AND REMAINS OF EMINENT PERSONS.
MEMOIRS of the LIFE and works of fested a taste for drawing, in amusing CARSTENS.
himself by copying from the bad engra. A
SMUS JACOB Carstens was born vings coviained in his school-books.
the 10th of May, 1754, at St. Gur- The performances of Jurian Ovens, gen, a village reur Šleswick; where his one of the best disciples of Rembrandt, father was a miller, and his mother was and who had fixed his residence in Hola the daughter of an advocate. At nine stein, chiefly engaged bis attention; and years of age his parents sent him, as a he frequently inade use of a ladder, in day-scholar, to a school at Sleswick, order to examine them more closely. whence he returned home every even. g; llis imagination became exalted every and as he took with him in the mornings time he contemplated these fine producbis victuals for the day, be used to tions; and he thought it the height of make his meals within a church near the ambition, to aspire at being, soine time, gymnasium. There the paintings which able to execute inaster-pieces of equal decorater the walls, first awakened his merit. fie applied with considerable imagination ; for he had already mani. ardour to feeble attempts, but he was 8