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pre-eminence, directly or indirectly, within this realm; and I do solemnly, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, that I do make this declaration, and every part thereof, in the plain and ordinary sense of the words of this oath, without any evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation whatever, and without any dispensation already granted by the Pope, or any authority of the See of Rome, or any person whatever: and without thinking that I am, or can be, acquitted before God or man, or absolved of this déclaration, or any part thereof, although the Pope or any other person, or authority whatsoever, shall dispense with or annul the same, or declare that it was null or void. So help me God.
made a record.
Which said declaration and oath shall be subscribed by Oath to be the person taking and making the same with the name at length, if such person can write, or with his mark, the name being written by the officer, where such person cannot write, such person, or officer, as the case is, adding the title, addition, and place of abode of such person, and the same shall remain in such court of record.
And the proper officer of such court with whom the Certificate custody of such record shall remain, shall make, subscribe, good evidence. and deliver a certificate of such declaration and oath having been duly made and subscribed, to the person who shall have made and subscribed the same, if demanded, for which certificate there shall be paid no greater fee than 28. and such certificate, upon proof of the certifier's hand, and that he acted as such officer, shall be competent evidence of such person's having duly made and subscribed such declaration and oath, unless the same shall be falsified.
The other statute, to which allusion was lately made, is Protestant the 52d Geo. 3. c. 155. and was made for the protection of
Disseaters. protestant dissenters; the former statutes for that purpose* not having been considered as sufficiently explicit, and, indeed, having given occasion to much controversy, and to what the court of B. R.considered as misinterpretation.† By the last mentioned statute it is enacted that “ No congrega- Places of wor. tion or assembly for religious worship of protestants (at ship of Proteswhich there shall be present more than twenty persons,
* 1 Wm. c. 18. and 19 Geo. 3. C. 44. † See Pract. Expos. title Dissenters, sect. 2.
beside the immediate family and servants of the person in whose house, or upon whose premises, such meeting shall be had) shall be permitted unless and until the place of such meeting, if the same shall not have been registered under any former act, shall have been certified to the
bishop, of the diocese, or archdeacon, or to the justices To be certified at the general or quarter sessions; and all places of meetby the Sessions ; or others.
ing so certified by the bishop or archdeacon's court, shall
be returned by such court once in each year to the quarter To be returned sessions; and all places of meeting certified to the quarter annually to, or sessions shall be returned once in each year to the bishop by Quarter Sessions. or archdeacon: and the bishop, or registrar, or clerk of
the peace, shall give a certificate thereof to such persons
as shall demand the same, on payment of 2s. 6d. &c. &c.” Exemption These requsites respecting the house of meeting, having from penalties. been complied with, the statute goes on to declare that,
“all teachers and preachers, and persons resorting to any place of worship thus certified, shall be exempt from all penalties under statutes relative to religious worship, on
condition of taking the oaths prescribed by 19 Geo. 3. Justice may re.C. 44. when thereunto required by any justice of the peace; quire dissent- of which taking of the said oaths, the said justice shall give ing ministers, &c. to take the a certificate according to a form therein prescribed, which
certificate shall be conclusive evidence; and any person Any person may require a may require a justice of the peace to administer the said justice to administer the oaths.” So that, as the law stands
all doubts respect
now, ing the discretionary power of justices in session to judge of the qualifications of persons offering to take the oaths,
and to accept, or reject, them, appear to be done away. * Constables The ceremony of administering these oaths of qualificacalled.
tion and indemnity, being concluded, it is usual, in the next place, for the clerk of the peace to call over the Constables of hundreds, and of parishes, &c. t which is
commonly done (with respect to the defaulters on the first Defaulters.
call) a second, and even a third time. On their not answering to the name of their respective parishes for
See Pract. Expos. title DissenTERS, sect. 2.
+ See ante, p. 64.
which they serve, on the third call, the court sets a fine upon the defaulters.*
Next, the same officer calls over the names of those that Grand Jurors are returned upon the grand inquest, who must now answer to their names, and now those who have any claim of exemption from law or courtesy, must address them to the chairman.t Those who remain to serve, having taken their places in the box assigned to them, the following oath is administered by the clerk of the peace, first to the foreman, thus :-
You, as foreman of this inquest, shall diligently inquire, and Oath. true presentment make, of all such matters and things as shall be given you in charge. The king's council, your fellows', and your own, you shall keep secret. You shall present no man for envy, hatred, or malice; neither shall you leave any man unpresented for fear, favour, or affection, or hope of reward; but you shall present all things truly as they come to your knowledge, according to the best of your understanding. So help you God.
Then the rest of the grand jury, by three at a time, in order, are sworn in the following manner:
The same oath which your foreman hath taken on his part, you, and every of you, shall well and truly observe and keep on your parts. So help you God. The Grand Jurors having all been sworn, it is the duty Charge to the
Grand Jury. of the chairman of the session to deliver his charge to them. I
. See ante, p.
+ See ante, p. 71. It is much to be lamented that this part of the chairman's duty is very frequently altogether omitted, and sometimes performed cursory, and even slovenly, manner. The calendar generally presents sufficient occasion for observations on the general state of morals in the particular district; on the activity of justices, chief constables, and all officers of the peace; and on other subjects immediately connected with the duties of the day: and there can be few instances of a session occur, in which there is not some indictment or other to come before the jurors, on which some information may not be, at least, convenient and acceptable, if not absolutely necessary. Indictments for assault, which frequently originate in a spirit of party, malice, or revenge, and are usually one item in the business of a quarter session, present a fruitful source of observation ; indictment of roads another; and some modern statutes
Recognizances The charge being concluded, the course is to call the called.
recognizances, especially such as are to prosecute and give evidence, that so bills, which have not been previously prepared, may be drawn by the clerk of the peace.
The bills, as they are got ready, that is to say, drawn out fairly and engrossed on parchment, (either by the prosecutor's professional adviser, or by the clerk of the peace,) with the names of the witnesses written on the backs of them respectively, are delivered to the Grand Jury, and the parties bound to give evidence upon them being sworn in court, are sent to the Grand Jury to give their evidence. * It is presumed of course that they are all in attendance for these purposes, either by recognizance or under subpæna; to which there can regularly be but one
(ex. gr. those which respect the coin, embezzlement by servants, friendly societies, saving banks, seditious meetings, and the regulation of the poor of all descriptions) comprehend so many more points of discrimination, as it is no disparagement of the discernment of such persons as usually compose the grand juries at quarter sessions, to say, must be much above their comprehension, without some explanatory remarks from the chairman, by way of previous charge.
These observations on the necessity for a charge at all events, naturally lead to some consideration of the sufficiency of the chairman to discharge this duty, and therefore to introduce a decided reprobation of a ineasure lately introduced into some counties, of the respective justices taking the chair by rotation. Nothing can be more subversive of regularity, consistency in practice, expedition in business, information to the jurors, authority over the advocates, or satisfaction to the country, than such a practice. To execute the various duties of chairman of a quarter session, as they ought to be executed, requires the personal qualifications of some legal knowledge, reasonable experience, an acquaintance with forms and technical proceedings, and a portion of that decision and authority, which can only be acquired by a confidence in the possession of these qualities, to at least a certain degree. Unless the chairman possess these requisites to some extent, the jury can receive no information, inexperienced advocates will run riot, and the county will not feel that respect for the court, which it is both desirable, and useful, that it should do. It leads also to another consequence, which ought neither to be agreeable to himself, or the Bench, or the saitors of the session, viz. that the clerk of the peace, being the only permanent and stationary organ of the court, instead of its minister, becomes its master.
* Dalt. c. 185.
exception, and that arising out of a privilege given by a statute* to prosecutors of offences committed within the county of a city, or town corporate, to prefer their indictments before the Grand Jury of the county adjoining, at the assizes for the same, on condition of entering into recognizance to pay the extra costs incurred by such proceeding, if the court shall so direct. In the case of this privilege being taken advantage of, it may be necessary to notice here, that the prosecutor, ten days before the session, must give to the defendant, as well as to the witnesses, notices in writing to that effect. In this stage of the proceedings, a few words on the Duties of the
Grand Jury, duty of Grand Juries (and which may well make part of the subject of the chairman's charge to them), cannot be considered irrelevant. It has been laid down in general terms by some of the greatest lawyers, that the Grand Jury ought only to hear the evidence for the king, that is to say, on the side of the prosecution.t
But others have received this position with some qualifications, I which indeed it ought to be; for they are sworn to present the truth, and nothing but the truth; and it may so happen, that they may not be able to elicit truth from the witnesses on the part of the prosecution only, and they may actually be convinced of that circumstance. The true intention seems to be this, viz. that prima facie the Grand Jury have no concern with any testimony but that which is regularly offered to them along with the bill of indictment, on the back of which the names of the witnesses, as we have observed, are inserted; their duty being merely to inquire whether there be sufficient apparent ground for putting the accused party on his trial before another jury of a different description. If nothing ambiguous or equivocal appear on this testimony, they certainly ought not to seek any further; but if their minds be not satisfied of the trath, so far as is necessary for their preliminary kind of inquiry, they are not prohibited from requiring other evidence in explanation of mere facts, but they can proceed no
38 Geo. 3. c. 52.
14 Black. Com. 303.
† 2 Hale's Hist. 157.