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forces he can raise, disband, and regulate at pleasure, because they cannot be turned against the liberties of the people; but the land forces he cannot raise without the consent of parliament. A standing body of troops is, indeed, established by parliament; but the funds for their payment are never granted for more than a year. The Mutiny Act, by which alone they are regulated, must be renewed from year to year.

The king, in the last place, is above the reach of all courts of law; but his ministers, his indispensable instruments, are answerable for all the measures of government. All misapplications of the public money, all ruinous and improper expeditions, all abuses of power are chargeable to their account; and the commons, the guardians of the constitution, have a right to impeach them at the bar of the house of lords. A minister impeached for misconduct cannot plead in excuse the commands of the sovereign, nor will it avail him, pleading guilty to the charge, to produce the royal pardon. He must suffer as the author of those measures of which he was the instrument: a noble and most effectual antidote against the evils of misgovernment!

The laws, which thus effectually limit the power of the crown, secure likewise the freedom of parliament. The freedom of debate cannot be questioned, or any member called to account on that score, in any court or place out of parliament.

To these observations I shall add a few remarks on three striking peculiarities of the English constitution in favour of the liberties of the subject: the Habeas Corpus Act, Trial by Jury, and the Liberty of the Press.

The methods which the laws of England formerly established to remedy unjust imprisonment, were what are termed writs of main-prize, de odio et atia, and de homine replegiando, which were orders to the sheriffs of the counties, to inquire into the causes of the prisoner's confinement, and, according to the circumstances of his case, either simply to discharge him or admit him to bail. But these methods are now tacitly abolished by the Habeas Corpus, which is a writ issuing from the court of King's Bench, whose effects extend over all England, by which the king requires the person who holds any of his subjects in custody, immediately to carry him before the judge, to certify the date of his confinement and the cause of it, and to abide the judge's decree whether he shall detain him or set him at liberty. Of this beneficial statute there were frequent evasions, which from time to time called forth various amendments. The last and most effectual of all was by the act of Habeas, which, as we have observed, passed in the thirtieth year of Charles II., and which has cut off every source of oppression and every handle of evasion.

The principal articles of this act are, in the first place, to fix the different terms for bringing a prisoner, in proportion to the distance of the place of his confinement: the longest term is twenty days. In the second place, the officer or keeper must, within six hours, deliver to the prisoner on his demand, a copy of the warrant of his commitment, under the penalty of one hundred pounds, and being disabled to hold his office. In the third place, no person once delivered by a writ of

Habeas Corpus shall be recommitted for the same offence, under the penalty of 5007. sterling. Fourthly, every person committed for treason or felony shall, if he require it, in the first week of the next term, or the first day of the next session, be indicted in that term or session, or else admitted to bail. If acquitted, or not indicted, he shall be discharged. Fifthly, any of the twelve judges, or the lord chancellor, refusing a writ of Habeas, shall forfeit 5007. In the last place, no subject of England shall be sent prisoner to Scotland, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, or to any place beyond the seas, under penalty to the party committing, and to all who assist or advise, of forfeiting 500l., to be recovered with treble costs, being disabled from holding any office, being imprisoned for life, forfeiting his whole estate for life, and being incapable of the king's pardon. Such is the nature of the Habeas Corpus, a most invaluable security for the personal liberty of the subject, a security which is enjoyed under no government on the face of the earth but our own.

It must be observed that the Habeas Corpus being an English law, and prior to the treaty of union, does not extend to Scotland. The liberty of the subject, however, is almost as effectually guarded in that country as in England; though there the term of imprisonment before trial may, indeed, be of longer duration. By the Scottish statute 1701, cap. 6, no person can be imprisoned in order to trial for any crime without a warrant in writing expressing the cause, and proceeding on a signed information, unless in the case of indignities done to judges, riots, and some other

offences mentioned in the statute. Every prisoner committed to gaol for crimes not capital is entitled to a release on finding bail, according to his circumstances; and for the relief of those who are unable to find bail, any prisoner may apply to the criminal judge requiring that his trial may be brought on without unnecessary delays. The judge, within twenty-four hours of such application, must issue letters directed to messengers for intimating to the prosecutor that he may fix a diet for the prisoner's trial within sixty days after the intimation, under the pains of wrongous imprisonment. Still further, and that there may be no unnecessary or oppressive protraction of a trial after it is once begun, the prisoner is entitled to insist for his liberty, if his trial is not concluded within forty days, if before the supreme criminal court, and within thirty if before any other. This privilege is competent to be pleaded in all cases, except in the crime of forgery. Thus the natives of Scotland seem to be nearly on a par with those of England, in that most inestimable of all blessings, personal liberty.

The only exception to the general liberty of the subject under the British government is the power of impressing seamen by the king's commission for the supply of the navy. This power has at all times been reluctantly submitted to, and much complained against as an infringement of the rights of the subject. But salus populi est suprema lex. If it is absolutely necessary for the preservation of the state, on occasion of sudden danger from an enemy, that the navy should be instantly and effectually armed, that circumstance

at once demonstrates the legality of the practice. Moreover, as the subjection to this hazard is known by all who engage in the profession of a seaman, their entry into the profession is a tacit consent to whatever is necessarily attendant upon it. It has been very clearly shown by Sir Michael Foster, that this practice, and the granting of powers to the Admiralty for that purpose, is of very ancient date, and has been uniformly continued to the present time, so as now to be understood as a part of the common law of the land.

Another of the highest privileges of a British subject is the trial of all crimes by jury. The preliminaries to trial are different in England and in Scotland. The number of jurors is different; twelve in England and fifteen in Scotland. Unanimity of opinion is required in the former, a majority of voices is decisive in the latter. In both modes of trial it is the privilege of the criminal to be judged by the impartial verdict of his peers. The prisoner has even a share in the choice of his jury, for the law has allowed him the right of challenging or objecting to such as he may think exceptionable. In England the prisoner may challenge peremptorily, that is, without showing any cause, twenty jurors successively. The witnesses upon the trial deliver their evidence in presence of the prisoner, who is allowed to question them, and to produce witnesses in his own behalf. In cases of treason the accused person may challenge successively thirty-five jurors; he may have two counsel to assist him on his trial; and no treason, unless actual attempt upon the

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