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Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769)

Sir William Blackstone

BOOK 4, APPENDIX

§ 1. Record of an Indictment and Conviction of Murder, at the Assizes.

Warwickshire,
to wit.       }   Be it remembered, that at the general session of the lord the king of oyer and terminer held at Warwick, in and for the said county of Warwick, on Friday the twelfth day of March in the second year of the reign of the lord George the third, now king of Great Britain, before Sir Michael Foster, knight, one of the justices of the said lord the king assigned to hold pleas before the king himself, Sir Edward Clive, knight, one of the justices of the said lord the king of his court of common bench, and others their fellows, justices of the said lord the king, assigned by letters patent of the said lord the king, under his great seal of Great Britain, made to them the aforesaid justices and others, and any two or more of them, whereof one of them the said Sir Michael Foster and Sir Edward Clive, the said lord the king would have to be one, to inquire (by the oath of good and lawful men of the county aforesaid, by whom the truth of the matter might be the better known, and by other ways, methods, and means, whereby they could or might the better know, as well within liberties as without) more fully the truth of all treasons, misprisions of treasons, insurrections, rebellions, counterfeitings, clippings, washings, false coinings, and other falsities of the monies of Great Britain, and of other kingdoms or dominions whatsoever; and of all murders, felonies, manslaughters, killings, burglaries, rapes of women, unlawful meetings and conventicles, unlawful uttering of words, unlawful assemblies, misprisions, confederacies, false allegations, trespasses, riots, routs, retentions, escapes, contempts, falsities, negligences, concealments, maintenances, oppressions, champarties, deceits, and all other misdeeds, offenses, and injuries whatsoever, and also the accessories of the same, within the county aforesaid, as well within liberties as without, by whomsoever and howsoever done, had, perpetrated, and committed, and by whom, to whom, when, how, and in what manner; and of all other articles and circumstances in the said letters patent of the said lord the king specified, the premises and every or any of them howsoever concerning; and for this time to hear and determine the said treasons and other the premises, according to the law and custom of the realm of England; and also keepers of the peace, and justice of the said lord the king, assigned to hear and determine diverse felonies, trespasses, and other misdemeanors committed within the county aforesaid: by the oath of Sir James Thompson, baronet, Charles Roper, Henry Dawes, Peter Wilson, Samuel Rogers, John Dawson, James, Philips, John Mayo, Richard Savage, William Bell, James Morris, Laurence Hall, and Charles Carter, esquires, good and lawful men of the county aforesaid, then and there impaneled, sworn, and charged to inquire for the said lord the king and for the body of the said county, it is presented, that Peter Hunt, late of the parish of Lighthorne in the said county, gentleman, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, on the fifth, day of March in the said second year of the reign of the said lord the king, at the parish of Lighthorne aforesaid, with force and arms, in and upon one Samuel Collins, in the peace of God and of the said lord the king then and there being, feloniously, willfully, and of his malice aforethought, did make an assault; and that the said Peter Hunt with a certain drawn sword, made of iron and steel, of the value of five shillings, which he the said Peter Hunt in his right hand then and there had and held, him the said Samuel Collins in and upon the left side of the belly of him the said Samuel Collins then and there feloniously, willfully, and of his malice aforethought, did strike, thrust, stab, and penetrate; giving unto the said Samuel Collins, then and there, with the sword drawn as aforesaid, in and upon the left side of the belly of him the said Samuel Collins, one mortal wound of the breadth of one inch, and the depth of nine inches; of which said mortal wound he the said Samuel Collins, at the parish of Lighthorne aforesaid in the said county of Warwick, from the said fifth day of March in the year aforesaid until the seventh day of the same month in the same year, did languish, and languishing did live; on which said seventh day of March, in the year aforesaid, the said Samuel Collins, at the parish of Lighthorne aforesaid in the county aforesaid, of the said mortal wound did die: and so the jurors aforesaid, upon their oath aforesaid, do say, that the said Peter Hunt him the said Samuel Collins, in manner and form aforesaid, feloniously, willfully, and of his malice aforethought, did kill and murder, against the peace of the said lord the now king, his crown, and dignity. Whereupon the sheriff of the county aforesaid is commanded, that he omit not for any liberty in his bailiwick, but that he take the said Peter Hunt, if he may be found in his bailiwick, and him safely keep, to answer to the felony and murder whereof he stands indicted. Which said indictment the said justices of the lord the king abovenamed, afterwards, to wit, at the delivery of the jail of the said lord the king, held at Warwick in and for the county aforesaid, on Friday the sixth day of August, in the said second year of the reign of the said lord the king, before the right honorable William lord Mansfield, chief justice of the said lord the king assigned to hold pleas before the king himself, Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe, knight, one of the barons of the said lord the king, and others their fellows, justices of the said lord the king, assigned to deliver his said jail of the county aforesaid of the prisoners therein being, by their proper hands do deliver here in court of record in form of law to be determined. And afterwards, to wit, at the same delivery of the jail of the said lord the king of his county aforesaid, on the said Friday the sixth day of August, in the said second year of the reign of the said lord the king, before the said justices of the lord the king last above-named and others their fellows aforesaid, here comes the said Peter Hunt, under the custody of William Browne, esquire, sheriff of the county aforesaid, (in whose custody in the jail of the county aforesaid, for the cause aforesaid, he had been before committed) being brought to the bar here in his proper person by the said sheriff, to whom he is here also committed; And forthwith being demanded concerning the premises in the said indictment above specified and charged upon him, how he will acquit himself thereof, he says, that he is not guilt thereof; and thereof for good and evil he puts himself upon the country: and John Blencowe, esquire, clerk of the assizes for the county aforesaid, who prosecutes for the said lord the king in this behalf, does the like: Therefore let a jury thereupon here immediately come before the said justices of the lord the king last abovementioned, and others their fellows aforesaid, of free and lawful men of the neighborhood of the said parish of Lighthorne in the county of Warwick aforesaid, by whom the truth of the matter may be the better known, and who are not of kin to the said Peter Hunt, to recognize upon their oath, whether the said Peter Hunt be guilty of the felony and murder in the indictment aforesaid above specified, or not guilty: because as well the said John Blencowe, who prosecutes for the said lord the king in this behalf, as the said Peter Hunt, have put themselves upon the said jury. And the jurors of the said jury by the said sheriff for this purpose impaneled and returned, to wit, David Williams, John Smith, Thomas Horne, Charles Nokes, Richard May, Walter Duke, Matthew Lyon, James White, William Bates, Oliver Green, Bartholomew Nash, and Henry Long, being called, come; who being elected, tried, and sworn, to speak the truth of an concerning the premises, upon their oath say, that the said Peter Hunt is guilty of the felony and murder aforesaid, on him above charged in the form aforesaid, as by the indictment aforesaid is above supposed against him; and that the said Peter Hunt at the time of committing the said felony and murder, or at any time since to this time, had not nor has any goods or chattels, lands or tenements, in the said county of Warwick, or elsewhere, to the knowledge of the said jurors. And upon this it is forthwith demanded of the said Peter Hunt, if he has or knows anything to say, wherefore the said justices here ought not upon the premises and verdict aforesaid to proceed to judgment and executions him: who nothing farther says, unless as he before had said. Whereupon, all and singular the premises being seen, and by the said justices here fully understood, it is considered by the court here, that the said Peter Hunt betaken to the jail of the said lord the king of the said county of Warwick from whence he came, and from thence to the place of execution on Monday now next ensuing, being the ninth day of this instant August, and there be hanged by the neck until he be dead; and that afterwards his body be dissected and anatomized.


§ 2. Conviction of Manslaughter.

________ upon their oath say, that the said Peter Hunt is not guilty of the murder aforesaid, above charged upon him; but that the said Peter Hunt is guilty of the felonious slaying of the aforesaid Samuel Collins; and that he had not nor has any goods or chattels, lands or tenements, at the time of the felony and manslaughter aforesaid, or ever afterwards to this time, to the knowledge of the said jurors. And immediately it is demanded of the said Peter Hunt, if he has or knows anything to say, wherefore the said justices here ought not upon the premises and verdict aforesaid to proceed to judgment and execution against him: who says that he is a clerk, and prays the benefit of clergy to be allowed him in this behalf. Whereupon, all and singular the premises being seen, and by the said justices here fully understood, it is considered by the court here, that the said Peter Hunt be burned in his left hand, and delivered. And immediately he is burned in his left hand, and is delivered, according to the form of the statute.


§ 3. Entry a Trial Instanter in the Court of King’s Bench, upon a Collateral Issue; and Rule of Court for Execution Thereon.

Michaelmas term, in the sixth year of the reign of king George the third.

Kent: The King
against Thomas Rogers     }  The prisoner at the bar being brought into this court in custody of the sheriff of the county of Sussex, by virtue of his majesty’s writ of habeas corpus, it is ordered that the said writ and the return thereto be filed. And it appearing by a certain record of attainder, which has been removed into this court by his majesty’s writ of certiorari, that the prisoner at the bar stands attainted, by the name of Thomas Rogers, of felony for a robbery on the highway, and the said prisoner at the bar having heard the record of the said attainder now read to him, is now asked by the court here, what he has to say for himself, why the court here should not proceed to award execution against him upon the said attainder. He for plea says, that he is not the same Thomas Rogers in the said record of attainder named, and against whom judgment was pronounced: and this he is ready to verify and prove, etc. To which said plea the honorable Charles Yorke, esquire, attorney general so our present sovereign lord the king, who for our said lord the king in this behalf prosecutes, being now present here in court, and having heard what the said prisoner at the bar has now alleged, for our said lord the king by way of reply says, that the said prisoner now here at the bar is the same Thomas Rogers in the said record of attainder named, and against whom judgment was pronounced as aforesaid: and this he prays may be inquired into by the country; and the said prisoner at the bar does the like: Therefore let a jury in this behalf immediately come here into court, by whom the truth of the matter will be the better known, and who have no affinity to the said prisoner, to try upon their oath, whether the said prisoner at the bar be the same Thomas Rogers in the said record of attainder named, and against whom judgment was so pronounced as aforesaid, or not: because as well the said Charles Yorke, esquire, attorney general of our said lord the king, who for our said lord the king in this behalf prosecutes, as the said prisoner at the bar, have put themselves in this behalf upon the said jury. And immediately thereupon the said jury come here into court; and being
elected, tried, and sworn to speak the truth touching and concerning the premises aforesaid, and having heard the said record read to them, do say upon their oath, that the said prisoner at the bar is the same Thomas Rogers in the said record of attainder named, and against whom judgment was so pronounced as aforesaid, in manner and form as the said attorney general has by his said replication to the said plea of the said prisoner now here at the bar alleged. And hereupon the said attorney general on behalf of our said lord the king now prayeth, that the court here would proceed to award execution against him the said Thomas Rogers upon the said attainder. Whereupon, all and singular the premises being now seen and fully understood by the court here, it is ordered by the court here, that execution be done upon the said prisoner at the bar for the said felony in pursuance of the said judgment, according to due form of law: And it is lastly ordered, that he the said Thomas Rogers, the prisoner at the bar, be now committed to the custody of the sheriff of the county of Kent (now also present here in court) for the purpose aforesaid; and that the said sheriff of Kent do execution upon the said defendant the prisoner at the bar for the said felony, in pursuance of the said judgment, according to due form of law.

      On the motion of Mr. Attorney General.
      By the Court.


§ 4. Warrant of Execution on Judgment of Death, at the General Jaildelivery in London and Middlesex.

London and
Middlesex
  {  To the sheriffs of the city of London; and to the sheriff of the
county of Middlesex: and to the keeper of his majesty’s jail of Newgate.

Whereas at the session of jail delivery of Newgate, for the city of London and county of Middlesex, held at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey, on the nineteenth day of October last, Patrick Mahony, Roger Jones, Charles King, and Mary Smith, received sentence of death for the respective offenses in their several indictments mentioned; Now it is hereby ordered, that execution of the said sentence be made and done upon them the said Patrick Mahony and Roger Jones, on Wednesday the ninth day of this instant month of November at the usual place of execution. And it is his majesty’s command, that execution of the said sentence upon them the said Charles King and Mary Smith be respited, until his majesty’s pleasure touching them be farther known.

          Given under my hand and seal this fourth day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty eight.
James Eyre, Recorder. L. S.


§ 5. Writ of Execution upon a Judgment of Murder, Before the King in Parliament.

GEORGE the second by the grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, king, defender of the faith, and so forth; to the sheriffs of London and sheriff of Middlesex, greeting. Whereas Lawrence earl Ferrers, viscount Tamworth, has been indicted of felony and murder by him done and committed, which said indictment has been certified before us in our present parliament; and the said Lawrence earl Ferrers, viscount Tamworth, has been thereupon arraigned, and upon such arraignment has pleaded not guilty; and the said Lawrence earl Ferrers, viscount Tamworth, has before us in our said parliament been tried, and in due form of law convicted thereof; and whereas judgment has been given in our said parliament, that the fair Lawrence earl Ferrers, viscount Tamworth, shall be hanged by the neck till he is dead, and that his body be dissected and anatomized, the execution of which judgment yet remains to be done: We require, and by these presents strictly command you, that upon Monday the fifth day of May instant between the hours of nine in the morning and one in the afternoon of the same day, him the said Lawrence earl Ferrers, viscount Tamworth, without the gate of our tower of London (to you then and there to be delivered, as by another writ to the lieutenant of our tower of London or to his deputy directed, we have commanded) into your custody you then and there receive: and him in your custody so being, you forthwith convey to the accustomed place of execution at Tyburn: and that you do cause execution to be done upon the said Lawrence earl Ferrers, viscount Tamworth, in your custody so being, in all things according to the said judgment. And this you are by no means to omit, at your peril. Witness ourself at Westminster the second day of May, in the thirty third year of our reign.

        Yorke and Yorke.

T H E     E N D.