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douaire de sa veuve et la première dot de ses jeunes enfans! Quels" regrets unanimes n'a-t-il pas excités ?

So I &lsh murd,

Quelles funérailles! quels obsèques! Envoyant l'affluence, l'ordre et le sentiment de décence autant que de douleur qui régnait dans toute cette population, on aurait pu dire ces paroles de l'écriture Voilà un peuple sage et intelligent, une grande nation! (En populus sapiens et intelligens, gens magnu!) egach (Z

Quel encouragement, Messieurs, pour tous ceux qui, à son exemple, et comme vous y êtes appelés, sauront défendre et protéger les libertés et les justes droits d'une nation aimante et reconnaissante au-delà du tombeau !

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LETTER

TO THE

RIGHT HONORABLE ROBERT PEEL,

SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT,

&c. &c. &c.

ON

THE PRESENT STATE OF THE LAW

WITH RESPECT TO

ASSAULTS.

LONDON:-1826.

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SIR,

As the high office which you hold places the whole Police of the kingdom under your superintendence, I take the liberty of requesting your attention to what appears to me to be a serious imperfection in that Police ;-I mean the present state of the law' with respect to Assaults.

1

It is the boast of the English Constitution, that it gives protection of person and property equally to all, to the poor as well as to the rich. This may be true in theory; but it seems to me that in practice, the persons of the poor in the generality of cases -and indeed the persons even of the rich in very many-derive from the law no protection whatever ;-no protection at least from injuries, which do not extend to the loss of life or limb.

I shall perhaps make my meaning more clear by giving a particular instance.

•W

I will suppose, then, that a poor laborer, for some imaginary provocation, is severely beaten by a man considerably superior to him in length of purse as well as in bodily prowess. I will suppose this assault to be committed in the northern part of Wiltshire. I name this county in particular, because, from local circumstances, it is calculated to place the evil which I wish to see remedied in a strong point of view. The poor man,-who has a wife and family, and whose wages at this time of the year are eight shillings per week,-goes for redress to the Petty Sessions of the Division in which he resides, a distance of six or seven miles. He states his complant and obtains a warrant, for which he pays two shillings. He delivers the warrant to the constable, and attends again at the next Petty Sessions, when, in the presence of both parties, the case is gone into. The Magistrates, upon hearing the evidence, are satisfied that a gross and wanton assault has been committed, and advise the aggressor to

"speak with the prosecutor;" in other words, to make up the quarrel by the payment of some trifling remuneration for the loss of time and other expenses. The assailant, in all the pride of wealth, indignantly refuses, and nothing remains but to bind over both parties to the Quarter Sessions, one to prosecute, the other to be prosecuted. The poor man, who has already lost the best part of two days' work, has to pay half-a-crown for his recognizance, and two or three shillings to the constable, making his expenses, at this early stage of the proceedings, amount to nearly as much as he can earn by the labor of a week for the maintenance of his family.

I will suppose the assault to take place within twenty days of the Easter Sessions. The poor man accordingly has a journey of fifty miles to Salisbury. Having no money to procure professional advice, he is upon his arrival there rather at a loss what to do; but some person connected with the Court directs him in what manner to proceed. The bill of indictment is drawn, he is sworn in Court, and attends with his witnesses before the Grand Jury. A true bill is found without hesitation, and the prosecutor hopes to proceed to trial. The defendant however traverses; not because he is not sufficiently prepared, but solely and simply because he knows that the traverse will occasion additional expense, which he does not regard so long as it is ruinous as it must be ruinous-to the man whom he has injured. The poor complainant therefore, with a heavy heart, travels home apaxtos.. He was two days walking to Salisbury, and is two days walking home again. His subsistence and lodging for three nights, during his absence from his cottage, cost him at least the produce, of a week's labor, and he besides has had to pay certain fees in Court -fees trifling in amount, but in his case sufficient to deprive his family of two days' bread. For his witnesses he has been obliged to find means of conveyance, subsistence, and lodging, at an expense equal to the produce of his labor for a month. For any thing like redress he must wait three months longer, exposed meanwhile to the taunts and sarcasms of the man who has injured him.

The day of trial at length arrives. The poor man and his witnesses have to make another tedious journey of fifty miles to Warminster. In Court they have to "abide the pelting" of the wit, and cross-examination, of the practised orators, whom the purse of the defendant has arrayed against him. A plain tale, however, and a good cause, carry him through. The aggressor is found guilty, and sentenced to a short imprisonment, or to pay a fine to the King;-each party, of necessity, paying his own expenses. The Court cannot in any way indemnify the prosecutor,

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