Friday, 3 August 2012

3rd August 1812: General Maitland shares concerns about the Peace Preservation Act with the Home Office

3rd August

My dear Sir

I received your letter of the 1st Inst. last night.

I have this moment seen all the Magistrates in this Neighbourhood on the Subject of the propriety of carrying into immediate and general effect, the Provisions of the 2nd Clause of the Peace Preservation Bill, and found them extremely disposed to concur in any Measure which they felt themselves authorized to adopt under that Clause.

A general doubt however seems to be entertained, whether in carrying it into legal effect, it would not be necessary to mention in the Body of the Warrant, either the Name, on Names of the Person, or Persons, or to particularize the House or Houses, and should this prove to be the real construction to be given to this Clause it naturally follows that in the Populous part of this Country it will be totally impossible to adopt any general Measure on the Subject and must be necessarily left to be executed as the discretion of Magistrates may [see] occasion

You will therefore under the circumstances oblige me, if you will send down with the shortest possible delay, their Opinion of the Crown Lawyers to the following Question.

Is it necessary that a Warrant under the 2nd Clause should state the Houses or Persons or is it to be understood that a more general Warrant, stating, say a Village, or a Township, may be legal under this Clause.

In stating this Case it may be necessary to add that no Measure will be adopted till the Answer arrives, and that the Magistrates are extremely anxious to carry the Provisions of the Bill into the fullest extent.

I am [etc]
T Maitland
John Beckett Esqr.
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/126.

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