HC Deb 02 May 1823 vol 9 cc8-30

Mr. Spring Rice having moved, "That Dillon, M'Namara, and Terence O'Reilly, attornies of Dublin, do attend this House on the 9th of May,"

Mr. Plunkett

said, he would avail himself of the opportunity which the motion afforded him of stating to the House a fact of considerable importance, not only to himself but to the question which had engaged, and was likely to engage still further, the attention of the House. It was in the recollection of the House, that both in the speech and motion of the hon. member for Armagh,* it was charged against him, that in having filed an ex officio information, after bills of indictment had been ignored by the grand jury, he had acted, in his office of attorney-general for Ireland, without precedent, and had introduced into the administration of the law a practice of which no instance had occurred since the Norman conquest. He had upon that occasion suggested, that from the authority of the Court of King's-bench, in cases which he cited, a fair analogy was to be traced, and sufficient to justify his proceeding. He had remarked that it was unfair, because he could not produce the precedents for the reasons he then stated, to suppose they did not exist. He had, however, since received a letter from a Mr. Foley, an attorney of Ireland, a gentleman whom he had not the honour of knowing, in which that gentleman stated, that seeing the reports of those debates in parliament, in which this subject had been mentioned, and the manner in which the argument had been used, he was induced, from a sense of justice to inform him that he believed a case took place in Ireland twelve years ago, in which an ex officio information had been filed by the attorney-general, after bills of indictment for the same offence had been ignored by the grand jury. He had replied to that letter, by thanking Mr. Foley, and requesting him to inquire into the subject. Mr. Foley had done so; and the following were the particulars. In October, 1811, a bill of indictment was preferred against a person of the name of Leach, for writing a letter to sir Edward Little-hales, soliciting the appointment of the place of Barrack-master. The bill contained three counts: the first was for sending a letter, proposing to give a bribe; the second, for offering money by way of bribe; and the third, for offering securities for money by way of bribe. That bill was ignored by the grand jury. The court of King's-bench, impressed * See Vol. 8, p. 964. with the disproportion between the evidence and the finding, ordered a second bill to be preferred. That second bill was also ignored; and, in the November following, an ex-officio information was filed by his predecessor in office. He held then in his hands attested copies of the indictment, and of the ex-officio information that followed the ignoring. And yet Mr. Saurin, the attorney-general of that day, was never called upon to explain the grounds upon which he took that course. He (Mr. P.) attributed his not having heard of that precedent, during the recent discussions, to the fact of its having escaped the recollection of his predecessor. He did not feel it his duty to lay these documents on the table of the House; because he would not seem to inculpate the character of the hon. gentleman who had preceded him; but he owed it to his own character to state, that, twelve years ago, the same thing had been done for which he was censured, and in which he was charged with having acted unprecedentedly. The conduct of the attorney-general at that period had never been impeached, nor had any doubt been entertained of its justice. He felt that this bore most strongly upon his own case, because that hon. gentleman had supposed he was only acting in the course of his duty.

Mr. Denman

asked if any judgment had been passed in the case mentioned by the right hon. gentleman.

Mr. Plunkett

replied, that judgment had been signed for want of a plea; but; in consequence of the contrition expressed by the defendant, and of his having lost a valuable appointment, no further punishment had been visited upon him.

Mr. Abercromby

said, he had heard this statement with the greatest astonishment. They had been told, from the beginning to the end of this business, that the imputation upon the character of the attorney-general for Ireland was that of having acted without precedent. The hon. member for Armagh had concluded, his speech by saying, that his conduct had been unprecedented, contrary to the practice of the court, and not congenial to the spirit of the British constitution. If the fact which had been just stated had then been known, it would have made the greatest possible difference in the case. He wished, however, to ask one question, and, if it should be answered in the affirmative, the House would see the bearing it must have upon this case. He wished to know, whether the person who was now the crown solicitor had held that office in 1811; There were two persons to whom, ex necessitate rei, all the particulars of this case must have been known—the then attorney-general and crown solicitor. He would beg the House to consider how the attorney-general for Ireland had been served in the discharge of his duty, when no communication of this fact had been made to him. If Mr. Saurin did not think fit to communicate the fact to his right hon. friend, that was a matter of courtesy of which he (Mr. A.) had no right to complain; but that the crown solicitor should not have informed his right hon. friend of it, seemed something more than accident. It was for the purpose of impressing upon the House the situation in which his right hon. friend was placed—the inconveniences of which he believed, were shared by the lord lieutenant himself—that he called their attention to this singular conduct of the crown solicitor.

Mr. Plunkett

said, he was bound in justice to the crown solicitor to state, that two gentlemen of the same name had held that office. They were father and son. The father was dead, and the son must have been a very young man at the period to which he had alluded.

Sir J. Newport

said, that however young that person might be, he had, at the period mentioned, acted for his father; and if he was then competent to do so, he must be well acquainted with the facts of the case.

Mr. Grattan

said, that as the gentleman alluded to had acted for his father during a series of years, he thought it advisable, that he should attend at the bar of the House. [Loud cries of "Mr. Saurin also."]

Sir N. Colthurst

thought it very possible that the crown solicitor might have forgotten the matter, as the right hon. gentleman himself had done so.

Colonel Barry

said, he would move that the name of Mr. W. Kemmis the crown solicitor, be added to those of the witnesses already moved for.

Mr. Calcraft

moved, that Mr. Saurin's name should also be added.

Mr. Goulburn

thought it would be a most inconvenient course to enlarge the examination of witnesses, unless in the course of the proceeding, circumstances M should arise of a nature to call for it.

Mr. Calcraft

consented to withdraw his motion for the attendance of Mr. Saurin. It was certainly difficult at present to state to what extent the examination would proceed.

Mr. Secretary Peel

wished the House to suspend its judgment with respect to Mr. Kemmis. The fact which had been stated by his right hon. friend was, undoubtedly, very important; but still he thought it possible that it might have been forgotten. Mr. Townsend who had concurred with his right hon. friend, had also been in office in 1811, and yet he did not remember it. The present lord chief justice of Ireland was at the same period the solicitor general, and yet, when the cause was tried before him, and the objection urged by the defendant's counsel, that this was a case without precedent, his own memory did not furnish him with this fact, with which it was almost certain that he must have been acquainted.

Colonel Barry

said, his reason for ordering the attendance of Mr. Kemmis was, because, in the course of the examination, matter might come out which it would be necessary for him to explain. From the number of witnesses summoned, it would appear that the examination was meant to be indefinite. If gentlemen should institute an inquiry into the feuds of unhappy Ireland from the time of Henry 2nd, he could have no objection to it; but he would not, therefore, lose sight of the question then before them; namely, whether the conduct of the sheriff did, or did not deserve the censure of the House? As gentlemen appeared willing to confine their examination to that point, he would withdraw his motion.

The motion was withdrawn. After which, the Speaker informed the House, that he had received a letter from Gabriel Whistler, the sub-sheriff of Dublin, stating that his attendance, in pursuance of the order of the House, would interrupt the judicial proceedings of the commission now sitting in the city of Dublin.—Sir F. Burdett then moved the order of the day for going into a committee of the whole House on the conduct of the sheriff of Dublin. The House having re solved itself into the said committee, sir Robert Heron in the chair,

Sir F. Burdett

said, that having, brought the proceeding to the present point, and put it in a train of investigation, he would now leave it in the hands of the gentlemen of Ireland, who were necessarily better acquainted with the subject, and more immediately concerned in the conduct and issue of the proceeding than he could possibly be. On the motion of Mr. Calcraft, the Serjeant was directed to cause all persons summoned as witnesses, to withdraw from the gallery.

Mr. Benjamin Riky

called in, and examined.

You are clerk of the crown in Ireland?—I execute the office of clerk of the crown in Dublin.

By Sir J. Newport. —How many years have you executed the office of clerk of the crown in Dublin?—For nearly 30 years; I have been in the office for 33 years.

Have you brought with you any document by which you can ascertain the state of the panels upon the commission juries in the city of Dublin?—I have.

Have you with you the panels for grand juries in the years 1819, 1820, 1821, and 1822?—I have, with the exception of the panel for Feb. 1820; I have the grand jury of Feb. 1820, but not the panel.

How comes that panel to be not in your possession?—The clerk whom I had at that time is dead; I was not able to lay my hand upon it, nor has it been found; I left directions when I was leaving Ireland to have it sent after me; I have got the grand jury, but not the panel.

Put in those panels which you have with you.—[The witness produced the same.]

Have you examined into the state of those panels, and can you state to the committee the number of corporators on each of those panels?—I have, and compared them with the list of common-council-men.

The question asked, is confined to the commission grand juries. There are other grand juries also impanelled in the city of Dublin, are there not?—There are.

What is the duty respectively of the commission grand juries and the other grand juries?—The duty of the commission grand jury is the disposing of indictments merely; that is the only court in Dublin of which I am an officer; however, I attend also the court of King's-bench, and I know that the grand jury of that court present all money affecting the city of Dublin, with the exception of certain presentments, made by the quarter sessions grand jury.

Can you then state what the respective attendance of the corporation upon the commission grand jury, and. upon the other grand jury, are?—The term grand juries, consist, for the most part of the aldermen of Dublin; I never have attended the quarter sessions court, and I do not know any thing of it.

Are the commission grand juries composed, in the same proportion of common council, as those term grand juries, you have already men tioned?—I apprehend not.

Who are the other persons on those grand juries, besides the aldermen?—Sheriffs-peers, I believe; aldermen and sheriffs-peers exclusively.

What is the meaning of sheriffs-peers?—A. gentleman who has served the office of; sheriff or fined by reason of his not having served that office.

Are the committee to understand that the common council are a different body from the sheriffs-peers and the aldermen?—I have always understood so.

How are the common council elected?—There is first the guild of merchants; the guild of merchants return, I think, thirty-one; there are different other corporations.

Do any of the other guilds elect as large a number of common council as the guild of merchants?—None, I believe; the election is every three years.

Will you state the number of sheriffs-peers, or common council, that were on the commission grand juries in the year 1819?—At the February commission, in 1819, there were six common councilmen sworn on the grand jury, and nine that were not sworn; at the July commission there were five sworn, and eighteen not sworn.

Were they not sworn on account of non-attendance?—They were; at the October commission, in 1819, it appears that there was not any common-council-man sworn on the grand jury, there were eleven on the panel; and at the December commission, in the same year; it appears there were three sworn on the grand jury, and four others on the panel. The first, in 1820, is the February commission, of which I have not the panel, but I have the grand jury from the record, and it appears there was one common-council-man sworn on the grand jury; at the June commission, in the same year, there were two sworn on the grand jury, and eleven on the panel; at the October, three on the grand jury, and five on the panel; at the December, three on the grand jury, and sixteen on the panel. In February 1821, there were nine sworn, and thirteen on the panel not sworn; in April there were two sworn, and two on the panel who were not sworn; in July there were seven sworn, and thirteen on the panel not sworn; in August, eight sworn, and thirty-two not sworn; in October there were eight sworn and nine not sworn. In January 1822, there were two sworn, and two; on the panel who were not sworn; in Feb. two sworn, and two not sworn; in April there were two sworn, and none other on the panel; in June there was not any common-council-man on the panel; of course, none sworn. In August 1822, there was but one on the panel; he was not sworn. In October there were five sworn, and fourteen who were not sworn; and at the January commission in 1823, there were fourteen sworn on the grand jury, and thirteen others on the panel who were not sworn; making, twenty-seven on that panel.

With reference to the last panel you have spoken of, how many does the entire panel consist of?—Fifty.

Have, you ever known any panel confined to so small a number as fifty?—I have not.

Will you read the numbers of each panel?—The number on the panel in Feb. 1819, is 61; in July, 72; in Oct. 95; in Dec. 87. In 1820, in June, 72; in Oct., 66; in Dec, 71. In 1821, in Feb., 67; in April, 107; in July, 82; in August, 79,; in Oct., 61. In 1822, in Jan., 77; in Feb., 87; in April, 68; in June, 72; in August, 85; in Oct., 62; then, on the panel of Jan. 1823,50.

Can you state what places the fourteen who were sworn occupied in the panel in 1823, whether there were any persons before them on the panel, or whether they answered, and in what manner, according as they were placed upon the panel?—The grand jury, in 1823, answered within the first twenty-six names; namely, three absent persons only.

Have you ever known an instance, before this time, in which such a circumstance took place, as that the persons should have answered in rotation in the manner you have just now stated?—I do not remember any such circumstance.

It appears that there were upon the panel, in Jan. 1823, twenty-seven common-council-men; 14 sworn, and 13 on the panel that were not sworn; out of a number of fifty, had you ever before known ah instance in which the common council formed a majority of the commission panel?—I do not find any such circumstance.

What was the entire number of the panel in August 1821?—Seventy-nine.

What was the number of common-council-men?—Forty.

By Mr. Plunkett.—How do you reconcile that with saying, that there was no instance, except the last, in which there was a majority of common-council-men?—I understood the question was in equal proportions; I misconceived the question; the corporators are 27, which is more than the half of fifty; but, perhaps, I have fallen into an error.

By Sir J. Newport.—Were the 14 common-council-men, whom you have stated to be sworn upon this panel, placed at the head of the panel?—The whole jury, with the exception of two after the foreman, answered in succession, until I came to the twentieth, there was then an absent gentleman, and then the other four were sworn; so that the whole jury ran in succession, with the exceptions I have mentioned.

Were the three that were absent, common-council-men or not?—Two of them, I think, were common-council-men; Lane, Sparrow, and White, are the absent gentlemen. Mr. Lane is a common-council-man; Mr. Sparrow, I believe, is not; and Mr. White is.

Is it is the ordinary course of calling over commission grand jury, that the grand jury is completed, without going nearly through the panel, in calling them over?—Very seldom; frequently the panel is called over twice, and often on fines.

Will you look at the panels of the preceding year, and state how far down the call proceeded before the grand jury was completed?—The range is from 57 to 105; there are, of course, intermediate numbers, 59, 67, 89, and so on.

By Lord Milton.—In the panel of the grand jury immediately preceding the last, what rank on the panel was the last named of the grand jury?—Fifty-six.

What rank was it on the one next previous to that?—Eighty-five.

By Mr. Brougham.—You mean by that, that the last man sworn on the grand jury was the eighty-fifth upon the panel?—Yes; but it frequently happens that the panel is called over and there are not enough without calling them on fines.

Will you state the place of the last man on the grand jury on each occasion?—It frequently happens that the names of the grand jury are called over to the end of the panel; a sufficient number to form the grand jury not appearing, they are called on fine, and then short of the last man frequently a grand jury are found.

What is the lowest number on the panel sworn on each occasion?—I shall be obliged to reckon them; they are not numbered on the panel.

Have you any means of informing the committee of the distinction between a person being called on fines, and a person being called on the first time that the panel is gone through?—In some instances, I have a statement of the number of fines appearing on the face of the panel; in other instances I' have not, as the judges sometimes direct that the panel shall be called on fines without actually entering them, and not having a wish to inflict fines if it is not necessary. I have already stated, that 57 appears to be the lowest number, and 105 the highest.

Have you any means of stating whether, on any given occasion, the whole of the panel was exhausted before a jury was obtained?—I have.

State in how many cases the panel was exhausted?—There are 18 panels; it will take some time to go through them.

[The witness was directed to make a return of the number of panels which were exhausted; the number of fines imposed; and, in respect of the panels that were not, exhausted, the lowest number that was called.]

By Sir J. Newport.—In what manner is the panel delivered in, and by whom?—It is delivered to me by the sheriff, annexed to a precept which has been previously delivered; to him, calling for the grand jury.

By Mr. S. Rice.—On the grand jury, in Jan. 1823, how many common-council-men were sworn?—Fourteen.

Is there any other occasion that has come within your knowledge, in which there has been upon the grand jury a majority of the common-council-men sworn?—None.

Referring to the panel of 1821, on which there was a majority of the common-council, will you inform the committee, whether that was, or was not, the occasion of the king's visit to Ireland?—It was.

Was there any business transacted by that grand jury?—The court adjourned in half an hour, all business being then done.

By Dr. Phillimore.—At what time of the year did the present sheriff enter into his office?—At Michaelmas.

By Mr. S. Rice.—What was the smallest number which you ever recollect to have been called on the panel before the twenty-three were sworn?—Fifty-seven.

By Mr. Scarlett.—Is the panel delivered to you by the sheriff or the under-sheriff?—Invariably, by one of the high sheriffs; they are usually both in court, but one hands the panel to me from his box to where I sit under the judge.

That was the case on the last occasion, was not it?—Yes, it was.

By Colonel Barry.—Is it not usual in the commission succeeding an election of common-council-men, to pay them the compliment of putting them on the grand jury; and are there not more common council-men put upon that than on common occasions?—My answer, then, is to apply to a jury every third year; there was a new common-council I believe, in Dec. 1822, from 1816 to 1819, and from 1819 to 1822. I do not belong to the corporation; I am not an officer of that board.

Will you refer, by going three years back, to Dec. 1819, and compare the one of Jan. 1820?—There was no commission in January 1820; the commission was in February. I have not the panel of February, but I have the grand jury.

Is that the only panel you have not?—It is the only panel within this range that I have not; but I have the crown-book, in which the grand jury are entered from the panel. The panel has not been looked upon as a record when the indictments are found, and the caption added to those indictments; I, however, preserve them.

That one which you asked for is the only one which is missing?—It is.

By Sir J. Mackintosh.—Have you the means of answering that question, in reference to former years, before the year 1819?—I have not; my search went back, commencing with 1819; but I have the sworn grand jury alluded to, in February, 1820.

Can you account to the committee, why that particular panel should be missing?—I cannot.

How many common-council-men were there upon that grand jury in February 1820?—One only.

Have you not stated, that you have in your possession a document which you consider as equivalent to the panel; the names of the, grand jury in Feb. 1820?—So far as the sworn grand jury go, I have.

By Colonel Barry.—Will you explain why you consider that equivalent to the panel?—Because it is entered in the crown-book from the panel immediately on the grand jury being sworn, and becomes the record.

Does it show the number of common-council-men who are upon the panel?—It does not.

Then how can it be equivalent to the panel?—I believe I have answered, as far as, the grand jury go; if not, I would wish to state that.

Can you state the names of the grand jury in January 1823, and how they were called and sworn?—[Here the witness read over from the crown-books the panel of January 1823.]

Can you state, which of those individuals were members of the common-council?—I can do it in a very short time if it is desired.—[The witness was directed to add this to his return.]

What is the smallest number to be found on the panels you have brought with you before the grand panel of October 1822?—Sixty-one.

By Mr. Brownlow.—When did sheriff Thorpe make his first return to you?—In Oct. sitting 1822.

What number did that panel consist.of?—Sixty-two.

The next return he made to you was the great panel of Jan. 1823?—It was.

How many did that consist of?—Fifty.

Are the panels in all cases signed by both sheriffs?—They are.

Was the panel in 1823 signed by sheriff Cooper and sheriff Thorpe?—It was; in law we consider them but one.

Is it not a matter of notoriety, that after the renewal of the common-council, the panel at the succeeding great commission consists of a greater proportion of common-council-men than the panels preceding the renewal of the common-council?—I never heard of that before this night.

By Sir J. Mackintosh.—What was the number of common-council-men who were sworn on the grand jury of the commissions in January 1820?—One only.

Was that the panel immediately after the renewal of the common-council?—It was, as I understood.

By Mr. T. Ellis.—Have you any means of ascertaining how many persons, sworn on the grand jury in 1823, were new common-council-men?—No otherwise than by reckoning them by the almanack, which marks them.

Have you referred to that almanack?—I have not it in the house.—[The witness was directed to add the number on the panel of January, 1823, who were new common-.council-men.]

Do you know whether all the common-coun- cil-men who attended on that occasion in Court, had attended on previous occasions at one or other times before, or whether any of them attended for the first time on the grand jury at that time?—I have not made any such examination.—[The witness was directed to add this to his return.]

By Mr. S. Rice.—Is the year in which the triennial election of members of the common-council takes place, a matter of notoriety in Dublin?—Oh, certainly.

Did it take place in December last?—Shortly previous to December they enter upon their office.

Was there a commission of Oyer and Terminer in Dublin, in Oct. 1822?—There was.

Are you aware who made out, copied, and returned the lists of the grand juries and petit juries for such commission?—I received the juries from the sheriff; I know nothing of the making of them out. I have no connexion whatever with the Sheriff's-office; the first knowledge I have of the panels coming from the sheriff, is his handing them to me in court.

By Mr. Bright.—Do you know, whether, in point of fact, those members of the common-council who were last elected, were upon the last panel?—I do not know at present.

By Colonel Barry.—If there is a failure in attendance of grand jurors, it is usual in the court to impose a fine, is it not?—It is usual to call the panel on fines, and frequently to impose fines.

Was there not a very strong expectation of business of very great importance in the different courts, to occur at this commission?—I do not recollect any thing of importance, but the affair at the theatre.

Was not there an indictment of the conspirators, the ribbon-men?—I believe that was in the county of Dublin, therefore my first answer should be with reference to the city of Dublin; the business for the county and city of Dublin is done in the same court, and going on by the same judges.

In the October preceding, was not there a trial of ribbon-men in the city of Dublin?—There was, of several.

With such important business before the court, would the chance of a person not attending being fined, be considerably greater?—I should suppose so.

Would not that, in your opinion, account for a greater attendance of grand jurors appearing consecutively than upon another occasion?—The jury have been frequently called on fines, and not answered in the same consecutive order, I never knew an instance of their so answering before.

By Mr. S. Rice.—Are you acquainted with the situation in, life of Joseph Henry Moore, who appeals 40, have been one of that grand jury?—I cannot say that lam.

Do you know that he acts as agent to the Atlas Insurance office, in Dublin?—I have heard that he does?—;I do not know.

By Mr. Hume.—Have you made diligent search for the panel of 1820, which is now missing?—I have.

Is that the panel which you stated was missing in consequence of the death of your clerk?—My clerk died shortly after that period; I do not know that it was in consequence of his death that the panel was missing.

By Mr. Plunkett.—When did you first miss that panel; when did you first discover it was not among the others?—They were never put together; they are usually rolled round the papers of the commission to which they belong. That panel I missed on Friday last.

Have the sheriffs of Dublin returned any commission grand panel to you, since January 1823?—They have.

How many did that grand panel consist of?—The panel of Feb. 1823, consisted of eighty-nine.

When did you first search for the panel of Jan. 1820?—On the day on which I could not find it.

When did you first see that panel?—I think I did not see it since the sitting of the commission; it is usually rolled round the papers of the commission, and they are put up in the press.

By Mr. Brownlow.—Where are those panels kept?—The papers of old date are preserved in the office, in a room in Green-street, attached to the court. The papers of more recent date are preserved in an apartment in my house, where the business is executed.

Are you to be understood to state, as the probable reason of that panel of 1820 being missing, the death of your clerk?—The panel might not be forthcoming, if he was living; but he would have been the most likely person, I think, to have found it.

By Mr. F. Lewis.—Are you able to state how many common-council-men appear in the panel returned in Feb. 1823, consisting of 89?—I can, by reference to the document.—[The witness was directed to add this to his return.]

By Lord Stanley.—Are you aware of any remarkable circumstance attending the panel that is missing?—I was not aware of any importance attached to it, till the questions proposed to me this morning.

By Mr. Bright.—You are not aware of any circumstance in that panel differing from the complexion of the other panels?—No.

Are you aware of any irregular or unusual practice in respect of the formation of the panel of Jan. 1823, except as far as concerns the numbers put upon it?—None.

By Mr. Denman.—Have you any means of recovering that panel in Feb. 1820, from any other source?—I should suppose in the Sheriffs-office only. The panel was made out there, and most probably they may preserve a copy of.

Can you obtain, yourself, the panel of Jan. 1817?—If I were in Dublin, I dare say I could.

Could you by sending for it?—I dare say it will be forthcoming.

Are there the means of seeing how many common-council-men were upon that panel, in the same way as it may be ascertained with respect to the panel of Jan. 1823, and of Jan. 1814?—Of course.—[The witness was directed to obtain those two panels.]

By Mr. R. Martin.—Are you not acting clerk of the crown for some counties in Ireland?—I execute the office of clerk of the crown on the home circuit, consisting of Meath, West Meath, King's County, Queen's County, Kildare and Carlow.

In this office, has it occurred to you to observe that a grand jury has been formed in going over 26 of the names upon the panel?—I think not.

Is it not an object with gentlemen in the counties, and conceived desirable by them, to appear at the assizes, and be upon the grand jury?—I have always observed a great desire on the part of the gentlemen, to attend.

And you are pretty certain that a grand jury was not obtained without calling for more names than 26?—I have no doubt of that.

By Mr. Brownlow.—Having stated that there was nothing else unusual on the face of the panel of Jan. 1823, except the small number of names put upon that panel, was it not unusual for 23 out of 26 persons to answer consecutively?—I thought I answered beyond the observations I have already made; namely, the smallness of the number on the panel; the extent of the number of common-council-men sworn on the grand jury, and the 13 common-council-men that were not sworn, to be added to that.

Then, in point of fact, there were three unusual circumstances attending that panel?—So it occurred to me.

Was there any thing unusual or irregular in the mode of composing the panel before the parties were sworn in Jan. 1823, except the number upon it?—It was unusual to have so small a number as 50 upon the panel; to have 14 common-council-men sworn on the grand jury; to have more than one-half of the whole panel common-council-men.

By Mr. Ellis.—You have stated Mr. Moore to be on that grand jury?—Joseph Henry Moore, of Bachelor's walk; I see he is. He also appears to be a common-council-man.

Can you say whether he was not a member of the former common-council?—Yes, he was.

Are not Mr. Moore and his family old and settled inhabitants of Dublin?—I do not know any thing of him; he appears to be a very respectable gentleman.

Was Mr. M'Guller, one of the persons indicted, a clerk to Mr. Moore?—I do not know. The persons indicted were Forbes, two Grahams, two Handwichs, and Brownlow.

By Mr. S. Rice.—Can you state, in reference to the panel of Jan. 1823, whether there are the names of any Roman Catholics upon that panel?—I believe there are not.

You can state, of your knowledge, whether, on former panels of commission grand juries, there were Catholics?—It is really a matter I never inquired into.

Have you ever known Roman Catholics serve on the commission grand juries for Dublin?—I have not a sufficient knowledge of the persuasion those gentlemen are of to answer the question.

By Mr. Plunkett.—Do you recollect having at any time, and when, sent the six panels for the year 1822, to any person?—On the evening of the 1st of Jan. 1823, I sent the six panels to the house of the attorney-general for Ireland.

Was that the evening of the first day that the grand jury sat?—It was; the bills 'of the indictment were preferred on Wednesday the 1st of Jan. about two o'clock in the day; the grand jury remained together until towards five in the afternoon, the bills were not then disposed of; they were sent up the following day, and upon the evening of the 1st of Jan. I sent the panels in consequence of a message I received.

Were you sent by the court to the grand jury, in the evening of that first day?—I was; in consequence of the length of time that the bills were before the grand jury, the judges ordered me to go up to the grand jury, and ask them whether they were likely to dispose of the bills that were before them; and I accordingly went up.

Is it usual for the court to do so?—It is not.

Have you ever known it done On any other occasion. I cannot recollect that I do know of it. In general, the grand jury send down the bills pretty speedily after they are preferred; but it may have occurred; I cannot possibly charge my memory with it.

Had the court any business before them, to occupy them when they sent you up?—No; the indictments alluded to were the first, and I think the only ones preferred.

Have you any means of knowing the number of witnesses they examined?—I suppose a great number; they were sent down to the grand jury; how many they examined I cannot state.

How many were sworn?—I cannot charge my memory with it.

There were a great number sworn?—There were.

If the grand jury were to examine all those, would it strike you as anything unusual the time they occupied?—It occurs to me they might have examined them all; but so much depends upon what each witness might have to say, I cannot say.

By Sir J. Newport.—What do you suppose to have been the reason that the court sent yon up to the grand jury?—I should suppose it arose from a feeling in the court that the grand jury had had time to dispose of the bills.

What was the length of time that they were Occupied, from the time that the bills went up till you went up by the desire of the court?—Three hours.

Were there not 27 witnesses?—No; there were not so many sworn the first day.

How many were sworn the first day?—I think not more than twelve. A great number were sworn the second day.

What answer did you get from the grand jury when you went?—That they had not disposed of them.

Did you report that to the court?—Oh, certainly.

Did the court make any observation?—I declare I am not aware of any.

Who were the judges?—Judge Moore and Judge Burton.

At what hour was it that you made your report?—I returned immediately; I think about five o'clock; the court then adjourned.

By Mr. Brougham.—Were you in your present office in the year 1811?—I was.

Did you know of a bill or bills having been preferred before the grand jury, by sir Edward Littlehales, on a charge of bribery?—There were two bills preferred at his suit.

Do you know what became of those bills?—They were ignored.

Do you know of any further proceedings that were had upon these charges?—I have seen an attested copy of an ex officio information, filed by the then king's attorney-general upon the same charges by Mr. Saurin, immediately after these bills were ignored, the following term.

Were any proceedings had upon that information?—It appears that there was judgment against the defendant for want of a plea.

Judgment went against him on the ex officio information after the bill had been ignored?—Yes.

In the courts of Dublin are there not two kinds of grand juries; term grand juries, and commission grand juries?—There are; and in Dublin a third, namely, the sessions.

But in no other part of Ireland are there three?—None that I know of.

The term, the commission, and the sessions, are peculiar to Dublin?—Just so.

In other counties of Ireland, there are the term and the commission?—There are the assizes and the quarter sessions.

Will you state what the sort of bills are that are preferred before the commission grand juries?—All felonies, all crimes in short within the city of Dublin that are preferred to any grand jury, except what are tried at the quarter sessions; in short, they appear to me to do the criminal assizes part.

Felonies and misdemeanors?—Yes; all the money transactions are taken from them.

But the commission grand juries deal with the charges of felony and misdemeanor?—Yes.

What do the session grand jury deal with?—They dispose of minor offences.

Minor criminal charges?—Yes, precisely; namely, assaults and petty larcenies, and other misdemeanors in short.

But matters of a criminal description?—Yes matters of a criminal description; they also, I understand, present some money to their officers, and for certain local purposes; that is the session grand jury.

So that the sessions grand jury not only deals with petty offences of a criminal nature but also with presentments respecting money to their officers?—So I have understood.

What do the term grand juries deal with?—The term grand jury present all money, with reference to Dublin, that is usually presented at the assizes.

I do not understand this: it is all Irish. Will you explain what you mean by the grand jury presenting money; what they do?—They present money to be raised off the city of Dublin for all public purposes.

To be raised on whom?—On the citizens.

In what way is it raised upon them?—Under those presentments.

Are they assessed according to their property?—The assessment takes place, I believe, with reference to ministers money, as it is called, [a laugh.]

We are getting deeper and deeper into ignorance. For what purposes is the money raised, which the term grand juries present?—A variety of purposes.

Will you name one or two?—For the gaols.; all public works.


And bridges?—All within the city of Dublin; in short, it is a grand jury cess, as it is called.

Lighting and paving?—No.

Salaries to officers?—[The witness was directed to withdraw.]

Mr. Dawson

rose to order. He said that they had before them the case of the conduct of juries upon criminal matters. The learned member was going into an examination with respect to their conduct as to civil concerns—a course which he submitted was irregular.

Mr. Brougham

said, he had had his misgivings that there was something in the state of Ireland, and in every thing connected with the administration of justice in that country, which would make it a very ticklish thing to ask a single question about it during the inquiry in which the House was engaged. He was not, therefore, much surprised at the interruption which had just been made. The hon. member who had made the objection would only allow the House a farthing candle glimmering before their eyes, instead of a torch, to light them through what he foresaw would be neither a short nor a simple examination. Now that the House had, God be thanked, for the first time, entered into an investigation of the gross and flagrant abuse of the administration of justice in Ireland, it was absolutely and indispensably necessary that every circumstance that could throw light on that investigation should be brought forward. It was impossible that the House could proceed one step, unless they knew what they were really about, and when he, for the first time, had heard of commission and of session grand juries, and a variety of other names wholly new to English members, what was more natural than to ask for distinct explanations, in order to enable them to put further questions? With that view he had put a question to the witness. How far corruption might have lurked in the answer, he could not say, because the answer had not been given.

Sir G. Hill

defended Mr. Dawson, from the sarcasms of Mr. Brougham, and said that he was most anxious for the fullest scope of inquiry.

Mr. Brougham

complimented the hon. baronet on his candour and manliness in declaring for an open and fair inquiry. He denied having dealt out any sarcasms. He had no cause for doing so.

[The witness was again called in.]

By Mr. Brougham.—You say the term grand juries present money, that is to say, order money to be levied for bridges, roads, and other public works; do they order money to be levied for any other expenses?—The gaols, penitentiaries, all those public buildings; in short, all monies presented off the city of Dublin, that is not presented by the sessions grand jury, is presented by them all public expenses.

Do the term grand jury and the sessions grand jury, taken together, levy money for the payment of the salaries of different officers?—They do.

What sort of officers?—Clerks of the crown.

Any other officers?—Clerks of the peace; they are called the town clerks in Dublin; for them a very considerable levy takes place, for a great deal of business is done in the Sheriff's-court; all gaolers and keepers of prisons, sheriff's fees; all demands of that sort.

Any other officers?—There are other minor officers belonging to the court, the officers of the court of King's-bench, and the officers of the Commission court.

All those they levy the money for?—They do.

Are those, or any of those, officers appointed, by the corporation of Dublin?—The town clerk is of their appointment, I apprehend.

The gaoler?—Yes, and the gaoler.

Any of the others?—The sub-sheriff.

Do any other officers appointed by the corporation receive salaries levied by the grand jury?—I cannot charge my memory at present with any other officers; their presentments are very considerable.

Do you recollect any other purposes for which monies are levied by the term grand jury, besides those you have mentioned?—I cannot charge my memory with any others.

The expenses of the prison, and clothing and providing for the convicts?—Of course, I mentioned the gaol and the penitentiaries.

Who gives the contracts for the clothing of those?—The grand jury appoint. I apprehend, the expense of bread and milk, and all those matters for the gaol, is very considerable.

Who give the contracts for those?—I apprehend the grand jury.

By open bidding?—I do not know.

You do not understand that word?—I understand it perfectly.

Open bidding is when an advertisement is made, and any person tenders, and that person is accepted who offers on the cheapest terms. You do not know whether it is done by open bidding or by close contract?—I do not.

Who are the present sheriffs?—The sheriffs elect, are Mr. Arthur Perrin and Mr. Samuel Lampray.

Mr. Sheriff Thorpe and Mr. Sheriff Cooper are in office at present?—Yes.

When were the sheriffs elect appointed to succeed the others?—Within this month, they come into office in September.

Do you happen to know whether they were on the grand jury which ignored the bills against Handwich and Graham?—They were; both of them.

Do you know any thing respecting the details for the expenses that are submitted to the consideration of the grand juries in the city of Dublin?—I am not acquainted with the entire detail; I have looked: over the presentments, as they have been printed.

Respecting contracts, have you never heard that there is a public competition for supplying the prisons with bread, and. meat and clothes, and so on?—I declare I do not know; it may be so, bat I am not aware of it.

Are you aware, that any person contributing to the payment of the grand jury levies, is able by law to traverse any presentment of a public kind that he thinks unfair and unjust?—I apprehend that all presentments are traversable.

By Mr. Dawson.—Do not you conceive, from your knowledge of the citizens of Dublin, that if any unfair presentment was passed by the grand jury of the city of Dublin, that would be instantly traversed?—I should rather hope it would.

If any improper practices are said to exist in the levying of money upon the citizens of Dublin, do not you think that the Citizens are more to blame than the grand jury, if such practices exist, for not traversing the presentments?—Very likely; I may be erroneous, but I would not come to that conclusion. [The witness was directed to withdraw.]

Mr. Goulbum

suggested whether it would not be for the convenience of the House, if the inquiry was to be entered upon to which the question of the hon. member would lead, to examine some witness who was well informed on the subject, which the present witness had acknowledged he was not.

Mr. Grattan

thought it was impossible that the witness could answer the question.

Mr. S. Rice

approved of the course of examination which had been proceeded in by Mr. Brougham.

Mr. Wynn

asked whether it was proper that the House should examine a witness as to inferences? The witnesses ought to be called upon to state facts, and members might then make their own inferences.

Mr. Brougham

imagined, from the question which had been proposed by the hon. member, that his questions must have been misunderstood. He had never charged the jury with malversation.

Colonel Barry

thought the House ought to dispose of the case of the high sheriff in the first instance. He would then support an inquiry into the mode in which grand juries were constituted in Ireland.

Sir J. Newport

thought it was impossible to disconnect the case of the high sheriff from the question of the constitution of grand juries.

Mr. Dawson

said, he had only endeavoured to follow up the line of examination marked out by the learned gentleman. The learned gentleman had talked of the flagrant abuse of the administration of justice in Ireland. He (Mr. D.) wished to show that the people of that country, if they were improperly treated, had the means of redress in their own hands. He would not, however, press the question.

[The witness was again called in.]

By Mr. Dawson.—Has not any person in Dublin, or in any county of Ireland, who pays the grand jury cess, a right to traverse, if he thinks any presentment unjust and unfair?—I always understood so.

As clerk of the crown, you can, perhaps, give a more decisive answer than, that you always understood so?—In the counties on the home circuit, I know the fact; with respect to Dublin, I believe it to be so.

By Mr. Brougham.—Would the person traverse the presentment at his own expense, or the charge of the county?—At his own expense.

By Sir G. Hill.—You.have referred to the ex-officio information which was tried in 1811; when was your recollection first called to the filing of that information?—This day.

Has it not been called to your recollection before this day?—No, it has not.

You have referred to documents this day, which prove a perfect accuracy of knowledge of the period, and the particulars, and the result of that ex-officio information, so filed in 1811?—I have.

Will you explain to the House, how you happened to be in possession of those peculiar documents?—With respect to the indictments, I was informed by letter from the clerk of the crown, under whom I hold a deputation, that he was applied to, for copies of indictments; they were in the commission court, of which I am an officer; they came over; he informed me that they were transmitted to London, and that he had examined them, that they were correct, and he called upon me to countersign them; I examined them, I compared them with an attested copy of the ex-officio information, of which attestation I know the officer and the signature, and upon that comparison I ascertain the fact.

You have not stated from what date those indictments were sent from Ireland to you?—I have the letter in my pocket; it is dated "Tuesday, 29th April."

Of what period were those indictments?—Of October, 1811.

Did the present crown solicitor in Ireland act in that capacity in October, 1811?—The crown solicitors at that time were Messrs. Thomas and William Kemmis, of which the elder of that firm is dead.

Mr. William Kemmis is the present crown solicitor?—He is.

By Sir J. Mackintosh.—Did he act as such, in conjunction with his fatter, in October, 1811?—I apprehend he did; he was young, however, and probably the greater part of the business was transacted by his father.

Have you an equal knowledge with him of those records in the office?—I have no knowledge of the ex-officio information that did not remain in my care; I have knowledge of the indictments in my court; but of the ex-officio information I have none.

By Mr. Bennet.—You have stated, that you have recently seen an attested copy of an ex-officio information in the case of sir E. Little-hales; where did you see that copy?—This morning, in the office or study of Mr. Blake.

Who is Mr. Blake?—A gentleman at the bar, I believe.

Was that sent to you, or was it sent to Mr. Blake to be given to you?—I apprehend it was sent to Mr. Blake; it was shown to me there.

Was it sent to Mr. Blake, or was it sent to the attorney-general?—I do not know; I did not see the envelope. The attested copy of the information was exhibited to me; I compared it with the indictment, and found, the offence to be the same accurately; the same transaction and saw that the information was attested: by Mr. Bourne, whom I know to be the clerk of the crown in the Court of King's-bench, and with whose hand-writing I am perfectly familiar.

By Mr. Plunkett.—Were not the attested copies of the indictments, and the information produced by the attorney-general for Ireland, at Mr. Blake's?—I think they were.

By Mr. Bennet.—What do you mean by their being produced by the attorney-general to you; did the attorney-general give them to you, or did Mr. Blake give them to you? It was in the office or the study of Mr. Blake.

Was the attorney-general present?—I think it was the attorney-general presented them to me.

By Mr. Brownlow.—Have you been in communication with the attorney-general since you have been over, upon this subject?—I have been here but a short time, and lie has had recourse to me, and has asked me questions.

You hold a public situation under the crown?—I cannot say that it is.

You are clerk of the crown?—I am only deputy.

By what tenure do you hold that situation?—I may be removed to-morrow; I have no certainty of the tenure under which I hold; the gentleman who holds the patent has it for his own life, and his son's; but, I believe, I may be removed at any moment.

By whom?—By the gentleman who has the patent, under whom I hold the deputation.

You are removeable at his pleasure?—I apprehend so.

You are not certain of the fact?—I have heard it stated by gentlemen of great eminence at the Irish bar.

By Mr. W. Courtenay.—You are convinced that is the case?—That is my conviction.

By Mr. Brownlow.—You state, that you think it was the attorney-general who gave you the attested copies of the informations that were filed in 1811; are you not quite certain that it was he who gave you the copy?—I am.

You stated, that you were shown the ex-officio information by the attorney-general; was that for the purpose of comparing it with the indictment?—It was; and I did compare it with the attorney-general.

Was that indictment in your possession?—I was informed of its arrival, but it came under cover, I believe from the post-office or the castle to come free; it did not come tome, but I was informed of its arrival by the letter in my pocket.

Were you the person to whose custody it ought to have come?—I do not think that was material.

Was it directed to you?—No.

To whom was it directed?—The letter was probably directed to the attorney-general; but in the same packet I received my letter.

By Mr. Plunkett.—The indictment did come into your possession at last?—It did.

And it was for the sole purpose of comparing the ex-officio information with that indictment that the attorney-general showed it to you?—And of attesting it, which I have done.

You know the hand-writing of the: person who has attested it—Perfectly.

It was for the sole purpose of your knowing that it was the hand-writing of that person, and of comparing it with the indictment, that it Was shown to you by; the attorney-general?—Exactly.

The panels have been in your possession? They have been; I brought them over with me in my trunk.

Have you had any other communication with the attorney-general, except on the subject of this inquiry?—Not the least.

By Mr. H. Gurney.—Is it, or not, within your knowledge, that in consequence of a great interest taken in those trials in the city of Dublin, almost the whole of the panel of fifty, sworn and unsworn, did attend?—I am not able to answer the question: I called the panel only down to a certain place; and whether more attended, or not, I really do not, recollect.

Is it in your knowledge, whether the corporators of Dublin have, or have not, generally, a precedence on those panels?—I do not think they have, because on looking at the sworn grand jury, in now no less than nineteen instances, I find that upon many of those grand juries, there were none; no corporators; on some, one; on some, two., Now for example; in a panel amounting to a hundred and seven, of which a hundred and five were called, there were but two common-council-men sworn on the grand jury.

Was it usual that those who were corporators of Dublin, stood at the head of the list?—I believe that is a matter into which I am to make an inquiry; I have not taken any account of the order in which corporators attend. [The witness was directed to withdraw.]

The chairman was directed to report progress, and ask leave to sit again. The House then resumed. The chairman reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again on Monday.