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business is transacted in his own house, before few spectators, and those in general indigent and illiterate. Hence he is liable to become dictatorial, brow-beating, consequential, and ill-humoured ; domineering in his inclinations, dogmatical in his opinions, and arbitrary in his decisions. He knows, indeed, that most of his decisions may be subjected to revisal at the sessions : but he may easily learn to flatter himself that he shall meet with no severe cenfure from his friends and brethren on the Bench, for what they will probably consider as an oversight, or at the most as an error easily remedied, and therefore of little importance. He knows too that he may be called to account before the Court of King's Bench: but he is also aware that great tendernefs is properly shewn by Courts of Law to the conduct (c) of a Justice, unless a culpable

intention

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(c) “ The country is greatly obliged to any worthy “ Magistrate, that without finister views of his own will “ engage in this troublesome service. And therefore if

well-meaning Justice makes any undesigned lip in his “ practice, great lenity and indulgence are shewn to him “in the Courts of law; and there are many statutes " made to protect him in the upright discharge of his

« office,

intention on his part is clearly proved ; and that the objects whom he may be tempted to aggrieve are usually too humble, ignorant, and timid, to think of seeking redress except in very palpable and flagrant cases, and frequently too poor to be able to undertake the talk of seeking it in any. .

In consequence moreover of being perpetually conversant in his official capacity with the most worthless members of the community ; destined as it were to register every crime perpetrated within many miles of his habitation; and witnessing petty acts of violence, knavery, and fraud committed by men who had previously maintained a tolerably good character in their neighbourhood; he may readily acquire the habit of beholding all mankind with a sufpicious eye; of cherishing sentiments of genow remains in existence, who makes it his

" office, which, among other privileges, prohibit such “ Justices from being sued for any oversights without “ notice beforehand; and stop all suits begun, on tender “ made of sufficient amends. But, on the other hand,

any malicious or tyrannical abuse of their office is usually severely punished ; and all persons, who receive

a verdict against a Justice for any wilful or malicious “ injury, are entitled to double costs." Blackstone, vol. i. p. 354.

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, object to create business for his own emolument; turns the exercise of his authority into an iniquitous traffic ; and prompts, encourages and shares the extortions and scan

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clerks in joint schemes of plunder and peculation ; received bribes for connivance from the keepers of disorderly houses; and suffered the young offender to proceed unmolested in the career of villany, until encouraged by impunity he committed a crime of such a nature as to secure to the Thief-taker, and of course to the Magistrate his partner, a handsome reward on conviction. From these imputations Justices of the Peace refident in the country are, I believe, in a great measure free. A celebrated modern poet indeed intimates that they are sometimes accellible to baits of another kind.

Examine well
His milk-white hand; the palm is hardly clean;
But here and there an ugly smutch appears.
Foh! 'twas a bribe that left it ; he has touch'd
Corruption. Whoso seeks an audit here
Propitious, pays his tribute, game, or fish,
Wild fowl, or venison, and his errand speeds.

Cowper's Task, book iv. This account, I would hope, is one of those poetical fictions, with which the votaries of the muses delight to embellish their performances. But if the practices here described actually take place, the Magistrate who is a party to them in a single instance ought to be branded with public infamy, and degraded from his office.

dalous

dalous profits of his agents. But the most intelligent and conscientious Magistrate, if he relies with implicit confidence on the good conduct of his clerks, and neglects to keep a watchful eye on them, must be more than commonly fortunate in his choice, if they do not gradually fall into the practice of exacting higher fees than they have a right to (e) demand, and of taking premiums for supposed good offices ; 'as for promising to procure begging passes for vagrants, or the next hearing on a busy day for a particular party, or to speak to their superior in favour of a person and his cause; or at least of making improper advantages of their situation, and rendering the attainment of redress expensive to the poor, by availing themselves of legal forms, and artful subdivisions of justiciary proceedings, needlessly to augment the number of their perquisites. Of this last manœuvre an example frequently occurs in the case of recognizances ; where, if five persons charged

(e) This practice might easily be prevented, were care taken to have a printed copy of the fees allowed to be received hung up, according to Act of Parliament, in a con: {picuous part of the office. VOL. I.

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now remains in existence, who makes it his object to create business for his own emolument; turns the exercise of his authority into an iniquitous traffic ; and prompts, encourages and shares the extortions and scan

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clerks in joint schemes of plunder and peculation ; received bribes for connivance from the keepers of disorderly houses; and suffered the young offender to proceed unmolested in the career of villany, until encouraged by impunity he committed a crime of such a nature as to secure to the Thief-taker, and of course to the Magistrate his partner, a handsome reward on conviction. From these imputations Justices of the Peace resident in the country are, I believe, in a great measure free. A celebrated modern poet indeed intimates that they are sometimes accessible to baits of another kind.

Examine well
His milk-white hand; the palm is hardly clean;
But here and there an ugly smutch appears.
Foh! 'twas a bribe that left it; he has touch'd
Corruption. Whoso seeks an audit here
Propitious, pays his tribute, game, or fish,
Wild fowl, or venison, and his errand speeds.

Cowper's Task, book iv. This account, I would hope, is one of those poetical fi&tions, with which the votaries of the muses delight to embellish their performances. But if the practices here described actually take place, the Magistrate who is a party to them in a single instance ought to be branded with public infamy, and degraded from his office.

dalous

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