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own office? Now, none of these cases that have been cited by the gentlemen on the other side, at the trial, go this length. In the case of Mr. Leheup, it was an indictable offence; it was con

e trary to the form of the lottery act. In the case of Mr. Kennett, there was a duty laid upon him by the statute, to read the riot act; but suppose there had been no duty laid upon him by the statute, yet a man who is a common law officer, has a duty imposed upon him ; what I mean is, that there is nothing specific in the duty of this officer, which can lead the court to think that he is that official check upon the paymaster, and that he ought to have made up these accounts himself, so as to be answerable for the omission of another.

The sum of £2,600 seems not to me to be considered as a salary paid by the public; it is part of the account of the paymaster; it is deducted from his funds, and is distributed, not only to the accountant, but to all the menial servants in the office; the paymaster is the person who pays it, and it seems that the paymaster being responsible to the public, he has a sum of money issued to him, out of which he makes these deductions. Supposing the accountant and paymaster to be two distinct persons, and that the accountant is not subordinate, but superior to the paymaster, which he ought, according to the information, to be, if he is a check upon him; then certain sums of money would be issued to the paymaster for performing that duty; whereas he is considered as subordinate, and certain sums are deducted out of the paymaster's account, according to the abuse, as it should seem to me, of office; therefore, I should hope that your lordship will not conceive this to be an indictable offence.

It does not appear by the evidence that it was Mr. Bembridge's official duty to make up and adjust these accounts with the auditor of the imprest; and it not being his official duty, he himself could not be accountable for an omission in another, inasmuch as there can be no misprision in the English law, except in treason, for another person's concealing a thing, omitted to be done by another, which it was his duty to do himself.

But, inasmuch as your lordship has said, that we ought in this stage of the business to consider what the discretion of the court would dictate as a punishment if we shall have been so unfortunate as not to prevail in the objections we have taken to the verdict; in that case, I am sure, we can safely rely, not only upon the humanity, but even upon the most rigid justice of the court, when the sentence is to fall upon a man, not only respected and beloved in his private life, but who stands upon the evidence as a most intelligent and faithful servant of the public for a long series of years. Under such circumstances, your lordships will not

suffer

any

consideration of the prevalence and the danger of abuses in public offices, which, probably, led astray the jury in forming their conclusion, to effect your more calm and deliberate judgments if his offence is not tainted with the corruption imputed to him; and it is quite impossible the court can believe that if he had been conscious of even criminal neglect, much less of a foul and sordid misdemeanor, he would have spontaneously poured out a labored accusation against himself before inquisitors who had no right to demand from him any admissions, which could criminate himself. God alone can look into the hearts of men, but judges have a constant recourse to the most lenient constructions of human conduct when they sit in judgment upon their fellow-creatures ; and even when they are brought to the most manifest conclusions of guilt, however heinous, administer justice in mercy. I am aware that a solemn duty is cast upon your lordships when you are executing the laws, that guard the public revenue, above all in times which calls loudly for its support; but in a case like this, even the officers of the Crown, who are its guardians, will feel themselves justified in leaving to the court the full measure of merciful consideration, which it is always so pleasant to your lordships to exercise. I conclude with expressing my hope, that the painful duty of punishment will be spared altogether by your finding that there is no guilt in the defendant to be punished.

The court having refused the motion for a new trial sentenced Bembridge to be committed to the custody of the marshal for six calendar months, to pay a fine of £2,650, and to be imprisoned until payment of the fine.

Trial of JOHN VINT, GEORGE ROSS, and JOHN

PARRY, for a libel on his Imperial Majesty, Paul the First, Emperor of all the Russias: tried by a Special Jury, before the Right Hon. Lloyd Lord Kenyon, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, at Guildhall, London, on the 4th day of March, 39, George III. A. D. 1799.

STATEMENT.

The information filed by the Attorney-General against John Vint, printer, George Ross, publisher, and John Parry, proprietor of The Courier, a newspaper published in London, charged them with the publication of a libel against the Emperor of Russia. The tenor of the alleged libelous publication was that the Emperor had “made himself obnoxious to his subjects by various acts of tyranny, and ridiculous in the eyes of Europe by his inconsistency." The Crown sought to establish, that, a close friendship existing between the King of England and the Emperor of Russia, a libel upon the one monarch was an offence of which the other might take cognizance, and that each nation was bound to enforce a decent respect to the ruling powers of the other. The information is omitted as the substance of the charge sufficiently appears in the arguments of counsel and in the summing up of Lord Kenyon. The information was opened by the Attorney-General, Sir John Scott, afterwards Lord Chancellor Eldon,

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