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As these weighty and almost incredible charges which go vitally to affect the source of public
justice, were never followed up to a close, although by coming before parliament they acquired a publicity, and certainty of being transmitted to posterity to the discredit of the learned and respectable character attempted to be affected by them, historical justice requires, that an impartial statement of the circumstances, which gave rise to the accusations, should be handed down to posterity with the substance of the charges. The more so, as it is notorious, that the government was put to the expence of many, (some say 30,0001.) in preparations to bring these charges to a conclusion; and MrJustice Fox for the happiness of his country, still retains his seat on the bench, where for many years in the administra
felt it their duty to acquit him contrary to the recommendation of Judge Fox, who charged them very specially to find him guilty. Upon presenting their verdict, the Judge manifested considerable discontent, and on the following morning he called the grand jury before him, and in their presence and that of a crowded court, reprobated the conduct of the petitioners, stigmatized their characters, and held them forth to the country as persons not to be credited on their oaths. He also directed the Sheriff not to impannel them on any jury in future, and also to deliver their names to his successor in office, in order that they might never again appear upon any jury. They professed their readiness to produce evidence at the bar to substantiate their allegations, their wish to lay before the house a note of the evi dence upon the trial, to which the petition referred, and their hope, that justice would be done them in such way, as to the wis dom of the house should seem meet. The petition was ordered to lie on the table.
tion of justice he has exhibited the rare and esti- 1804 mable example of coupling profound learning with inflexible impartiality and firmness. For a lengtli of time, and more particularly from the commencement of the Armagh persecutions 'in' 1795, and the establishment and extension of the Orange societies through the northern counties, the source of public justice had become so habitually corrupt, that wherever the rights and interests of Catholics and Orangemen came into contest, the result was invariably favourable to the latter. Hence the prevailing belief, that the secret oath of an Orangeman obliged him never to swear against the life, credit, or property of a brother Orangeman. The opinion was in strict conformity with the unvarying run of Orange verdicts. The notoriety, with which most of the great landholders of the North cherished and encouraged Orangeism has been already noticed: and none shone more conspicuously zealous for perpetuating that system than the Marquis of Abercorn. sufficed, that it partook of any degree of preference, exclusion, intolerance, oppression, or ascendancy, to ensure the implacable hostility of Mr. Justice Fox. On the other hand, the Marquis of Abercorn found the views, spirit, and principles of the Orange societies peculiarly synpathetic with his own and he also knew how 1 congenial they were with the feelings and prospects of his friend Mr. Pitt. The hauteur and ambition, which actuated Mr. Pitt's public conduet, too powerfully pervaded the private cha
Lord Abercorn's in
racter of the Marquis for Mr. Pitt to admit him to the situation of viceroy, to which he appeared anxiously to aspire. The judge's virtue was too firm to heed the frown, or crouch to the will of power, title, or opulence.
The marquis of Abercorn was governor of the fluence in county of Tyrone, and the avowed friend and protector of the Orangemen it was impossible, that the conduct of an upright and inflexible Judge, bent on recalling long strayed justice to these northern courts, should not clash with the feelings, and wound the pride of that governor, The sacred character of a Judge of a court of record screened him from actions for any thing said on the bench in the exercise of his elevated function. In social intercourse, he was as open as any was as open other person to be questioned in an action for li bellous or defamatory words. As the observa tions, of which Lord Abercorn complained, were not laid by his Lordship, as made by the Judge from the bench, they could not be presumed to have passed in court. That circumstance would have aggravated the delinquency of the Judge, and
When this matter was on in the Lords on the 27th of June, Lord Carleton said, “The mere imputation of misconduct was a
very great infliction to any man of feeling, but when it was "thrown out against a person filling the dignified situation, that "the learned Judge did, the punishment in that instance was ag
gravated in a tenfold degree. His Lordship trusted, that the "learned Judge would not be compelled to linger under this torture of his reputation, but that the noble Marquis would in the course of that session bring forward the subject in such a "way as to afford him an opportunity of repelling the charges."
have more strongly warranted the Marquis's application to parliament. His Lordship was open, if he thought fit, to obtain redress from the law courts for any injury he might have suffered from the gross and wanton insult, which he complained had been offered to him by Judge Fox. His Lordship's object and plan appear to have been to crush the Judge with the resistless arm of power. He trusted, that his influence with the premier would give them sure effect. Mr. Pitt was too crafty to take the prosecution into the hands of Government, but threw it upon the shoulders of the Marquis, lest the failure might be laid to the account of Ministers. Of this the Marquis complained in the house of Lords with some degree of petulance: lamenting his own inexperience in drawing up criminal charges, he applied to lord Carleton to aid him in the odious task of crimination He made no secret of his having assumed the degrading function of providing, collecting, and preferring criminal charges against the learned and honorable Judge. For, said his lordship, in ad"dition to the petition of Mr. Hart, several "other charges of a similar nature had been "transmitted to him, couched however in such
Mr. Pitt did not survive the many delays and difficulties, which he either created or allowed to prevent this perplexing matter to government being brought to a conclusion. His suc cessors, as will be seen hereafter, thought differently upon the whole matter, and the Marquis of Abercorn commanded not that confidential influence upon their conduct, which had been visibly exercised upon that of Mr. Pitt,
loss of influ
"unparliamentary style, as would, he believed, ren"der it necessary to send them back to Ireland to "be put into some degree of shape." For that amongst other reasons he despaired of bringing the matter before the house during that Session. When on a future day he preferred his charges against the learned Judge, he closed the recapitulation of all the charges of his other informants, with an angry statement of his own gravemen; which was, that Judge Fox had grossly and wantonly insulted him and had publicly acknowleded, that he had so done to vex and annoy him. The several persons, whom Lord Abercorn had procured to prefer petitions against Judge Fox were all Orangemen and the unfortu nate man, whom Nicholas Morrison, who was also an orangeman, had most outrageously murdered, was a catholic.* Allora ni md
Mr. Pitt was little satisfied with the support he ence & pro- had received in Parliament since his, return, to rogation of office. Altho Mr. Addington had affected not to controul the late elections by any treasury influence, he now found himself constrained to exert his personal influence upon all the members, who owed their seats to his patronage or favor, to join him in opposing Mr. Pitt. Though he could brook the injury of being displaced, in order to readmit. Mr. Pitt to power, he could neitheir forgive nor forget
3. The author has been assured by a person of high honour and unimpeachable veracity present when Morrison was tried, that a more flagrant case of murder was never proved before a jury: and that the verdict of acquittal raised the indignation of every unbiassed man in court, as well as of the Judge.