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the Peft of the Land, it's to them that we owe all our Difquiet; and let us know how to avoid them: I cannot think of any other way how to be fecure against them; we have no great benefit by convicting of them; kiffing goes fo much by favour, and they are fo tender a place that this Man and the other is pickt out to be exempted from the Penalty of the Law,there is fuch Picking, that few are left: These are my Thoughts, and if any thing I have propofed may be of ufe, I am very glad of it; if not, I hope I fhall have your Pardon for troubling
Here is not under the Sun a better (if fo good) a Government as ours: But the best conftituted Government in the World is fubject to one great fatality, and that is, whatever benefit we have by the Laws, at least most of the Priviledges we enjoy by it, depend upon the Will and Pleafure of those who are to fee to the execution of the Laws: For Laws that are not put in execution are vain and empty things, fignifying nothing; for Execution is the Life of the Law, and without that they are a dead Letter: Laws unexecuted are not far unlike to a Gun which if rightly used is a Weapon of great defence, but otherwife of no great ufe, and if it be charged, it may do much mischief, unless it be levelled at the right mark: So our Laws, if they are not executed, what advantage arifes to us more than from a wast paper? And if they are made ufe of, yet if they are not directed to their proper end, they may hurt those they ought not: So that it is out of doubt that they who
are intrusted with the execution of the Laws; it is an indispensable duty incumbent on them, that they take care not only that the Laws be duly put in execution, but alfo that they pursue their proper end and defign, in fhort, that neither the Innocent be condemned, nor the guilty acquitted; Therefore the execution of the Law is fo clear and undoubted a right of every Subject, that no power whatever can difpenfe with it: And they whose Duty it is to fee it done; if they either pervert or hinder the Law from having its course, are highly criminal, and ought to be called to a strict account about it.
Having faid this, I will in the first place tell you fomething of the Law in this cafe, and next give you fome account of the practice of our Judges and other Officers of Juftice, and then let any Man fay if he can, whether the Nation at this day has not great cause to complain.
Currat Lex, Fiat Juftitia, is the Life and end of our Government, and when the Law has not its Courfe, and Juftice is not done, then there is a diffolution of it: And he that will perufe my Lord Cooks Expolition upon Magna Charta, fhall find that it is a Fundamental and Ancient Right of the -Subject that Juftice is not to be delayed or de. nyed.
In the fecond part of my Lord Cooks Inftitutes, the 11th chap. on Magna Charta, he tells us, left any Party that hath right fhould be without remedy, or that there fhould be a failure of Juftice, therefore Statures are always fo to be expounded, that there fhould be no failure of Justice, but rather than that should fall out, that Cafe (by construction) should be excepted out of the Statute.
In the 29th Chap on Magna Charta, Nulli negabimus aut differemus Juftitiam vel ratum, and that by no means, Common Right, or Common Law fhould be difturbed, or delayed, no, though it be commanded under the Great Seal, or any Command whatsoever, either from the King, or any other, and this is backt or feconded by a Statute made the Second of Edw. III. chap. 8. which fays thus, That it fhall not be commanded Great Seal, nor the Little Seal to disturb or delay Common Right: And though fuch Commandments do come, the Juftices fhall not therefore leave to do Right in any point.
In his 2d Chap. on the Statute of Gloucester, he calls Delay the great Enemy to Juftice: In his 24th Chap. on Westminster 2d. Ne querentes recederent a curia fine remedio: And that is fupported by a Statute made the 13th of Edw. I. Chap. 50. where it tells us that no Man fhall depart from the Kings Court without remedy.
In the 25th Chap. on Weftm. 2d. Dominus Rex Voluntatem habens ut celeris fiat Juftitia: And the reafon hereof is given, for Expedit Reipublica ut fit finis litium.
And by a Statute made the 9th of Hen.III. ch. 29. It is enacted that Juftice fhall not be denyed or deferred: Therefore having faid this, I think I need fay no more to prove that Juftice or Right is not to be fold, deny'd, or delayed; And let any Man deny if he can, whether our Judges have not tranfgrefs'd in all these? Has not Juftice been Sold, and perverted; Witness the Acquittal of Sir George Wakeman, Sir Tho. Gafcoines, and Mrs. Cellier? Has not Juftice been denyed; Witness the abrupt difmiffing of the Grand Jury when an Indictment
was to have been given in to have proved the D. ofra Papift, and to prevent that great fervice to the Nation; the Jury was difmiffed, notwithstanding they had feveral other Bills of Indictment in their hands; by which Juftice was not only delay'd, but deny'd: And how many Instances more are there of this kind; Nay, the Contagion has fpread fo far, that it is more difficult to find a Cafe without thefe, or fome of them, than to produce multitudes of Cafes where Juftice has been Sold, Deny d, or Delay'd: So that our Judges have been very Corrupt and Lordly, taking Bribes, and threatning Juries and Evidence: Perverting the Law to the highest degree, turning the Law upfide down, that Arbitrary Power may come in upon their Shoulders: The cry of their unjuft dealings is great, for every Man has felt their hand, and therefore I hope their punishment will be fuch as their Crimes deferve, that every Man may receive fatisfaction.
It's fo long fince K. Alfreds time, that poffibly what was then done is out of their thoughts; for my Lord Coke in the third part of his inftitutes, chap. 101, makes mention of a great many Judges who were hanged in one year for falfe Judgment in K. Alfreds time, and if we look into the punishment of a corrupt Judge, which is recited by him in the 224 page, it might be fufficient to deter any Judge (who has either any Christianity or Morality) from offending in the discharge of his truft; but it may be fome wonder that they have forgotten what happen'd in the 24th of Edw. III. concerning William Thorp Chief Juftice, what a fevere punishment he underwent for Bribery; all which may be feen at large in page 223, 3d Part. And alfo