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Cap of Liberty.
& aoirton astttftlg political $ufclicattom
Wo. 1, Vol. 1.] Wednesday, September 8th, 1819. [pkice 2d.
If Humanity shows to the God of this World,
A sight for his fatherly eye,
Resolr'd for their FREEDOM TO DIE.
Through the darkness of human control,
Through the eye of an heavenly soul. C. Phillips.
REPREHENSIBLE CONDUCT OF THE LANCASHIRE GRAND JURY.
By the last accounts from Lancashire, we perceive that the Grand Jury of that county have found a true bill for perjury against Mr. Richard Owen, pawnbroker, who swore so lustily against Mr. Hunt upon the late examination at Manchester. We really think that this man was paid by the bench of Magistrates for swearing to what those same Magistrates knew to be falshoods; else why protect him from answering every question which was likely to invalidate his testimony? Why over-rule Mr. Hunt's demand as to where he resided, or where he might be found, but that it was their interest to keep him aloof from prosecution until the effects of his perjuries were, if possible, visited upon the head of Mr. Hunt and his fellow sufferers under these administrators of every thing but justice. We trust, howevej, that a British Jury will set a proper value upon the warrant of a set of bungling blood-thirsty Magistrates, and likewise upon the verdict of a Grand Jury who could send before them people accused upon the testimony of a man against whom this same Grand Jury had found a true bill for perjury. This is consistency with a vengeance. But we have seen such strange transactions lately, transactions at which common plain forward reasoning stands abashed, at which even impudence must blush unless supported by such bare-faced effrontery as disgraced the forehead of Lord Castlereagh when he lately declared in the House of Young Lords (vulgariyand improperly stiled Commons), that if he had the
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remotest idea of having lost the confidence of the nation, her would instantly resign every concern in affairs of state. We nave witnessed such transactions that we truly declare we should not be at all surprised at finding a bill of indictment preferred against us for defrauding the revenue by abstaining from the use of porter, a liquor which we by no means are partial to. Nay, we doubt not but a, Grand Jury would be found to sanction the alledged crime, and send us before the court of Exchequer, where, as we are not wealthy enough to employ council to contend with ten or a dozen long robed gentlemen in array against us, a packed Jury would consign us to a prison under an enormous penalty from which even the Insolvent Act could not free us, it being an exclusive privilege of the crown to grant no mercy to its debtors.
Such is the boasted justice of England, that even our last palladium of freedom loses its effect in the great whirlpool of corruption, which has swallowed up in a few years the boast and pride of Britain, her glorious, but alas! too mortal Constitution. Yes, it is but too apparent that although a Jury of their peers may protect the'innocent from the machinations of a villainous, cruel, and arbitrary system, yet they cannot bring to punishment assassins who in the face of their Country and their God, slaughter indiscriminately men, women, and children, and drawing their weapons reeking from the defenceless bosom of bleeding innocence, claim and receive the thanks of a Prince whose foot is but lightly placed upon a tottering throne; whilst a Grand Jury can be packed to throw out those bills of indictment which every principle of virtue, of honor, of humanity, or of patriotism, would induce them to sanction with their authority, and with their warmest and most heart-felt approbation.
Indeed from the first hour that we heard of the murders at Manchester, we expected that the Magistrates would be screened by those possessed of more talent though as little virtue or humanity as themselves, from the vengeance which an insulted Nation demanded for its outraged laws. Nay, we thought and stiH think that even if consigned tor the scaffold by a Jury of their countrymen, the Royal Mercy will be extended between them and the punishment they so richly merit. It is strange, but it is also true, that this prerogative which for the most beneficent purposes was lodged in the Royal person, is the cause of every infringement and open violation of our liberties which we have of lato years witnessed; for is it to be supposed that the Manchester Magistrates would have dared to shed English blood, but that they trusted to the protection which the pious Sidmouth would induce the Prince to afford, by the extension of this authority, which was confided to him f&r far different purposes. We are aware that many people are of opinion that this privilege could nowhere be so well reposed as in the Sovereign Person; and although amongst that number the great Junius might be ranked, we must presume to express a different opinion. We would not nave any power reposed in the Crown which could by a bad Prince, or by a Prince badly advised, be turned as a weapon of destruction against the People. If we are asked, where then we would repose it? we reply, in the Constitutional Jury of the Country, who can have no sinister mofive in their extension of that great attribute of the Deity.
WHO ARE THE TRAITORS? High Treason is an attempt to overturn the highest authority m the kingdom; or in other words a conspiracy against the Sovereign People, in the person of the Monarch whom they have placed upon the throne. There is a maxim in our law, to wit, " the King can do no wrong;" signifying that his Ministers are accountable for all the mischiefs and unnecessary evils entailed upon the People during his reign. If Ministers, however, are supported in their crimes by the authority which the People have voluntarily vested in their Sovereign, (for other purposes than that of oppression,) in opposition to their petitions, or more properly speaking to their commands, we conceive, he becomes an accessary to the crime of treason against the People. For this it was that Charles was conducted to the scaffold; and although the cry of treason will be raised by the Royal House of Brunswick against the promulgators of such doctrines—although the Attorney General will be ready with his briefs to confound any but a London Jury—and although Monsieur Atkins, our present Right Worshipful Lord Mayor^ should send his posse of clubmen to take us into custody, still did George the First sanction it by his acceptation of the crown, and his successors by holding it, while the legitimate descendant of the House of Stuart is still living. If the House of Brunswick assert that the People have not the same right, if similarly oppressed, of again changing their rulers, they forfeit the only claim they ever had to the crown of England, viz. the choice of the People; and if honestly holding this opinion, they should ashonestly resign the crown to the unfortunate Plouse which for many years had worn it, or else place the nation ina similar condition to choose a sovereign of thent