Tuesday, 23 January 2018

23rd January 1818: Francis Ward attends the Court of King's Bench



After the Court had gone through the Bar, a young man of decent appearance presented himself on the floor, and expressed a wish to address their Lordships.

Lord Ellenborough inquired his name and the object of his address―to which he replied—

My Lord, my name is John Roberts, I have been confined in Lancashire Jail for some time under the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act, and have recently been discharged on my own recognizance of £100, by which recognizance I am bound to attend in the Court of King's bench on the first day of the present Term, and from day to day during the Term, to answer such matters and things as may be alleged against me on the part of his Majesty, then this recognizance to be void, otherwise to continue in full force; I appear here accordingly, in which to know what your Lordship has to say against me?

Lord Ellenborough―I have nothing to say to you; it is you are to say and me to hear.

Roberts―I hope your Lordship will tell me what to do?

Lord Ellenborough―no, you must tell me what you want; I am a Judge, and not Counsel.

Roberts―My Lord, my recognizance is to appear.

Lord Ellenborough―Well, and you have appeared and discharged your duty; you have done all you have to do. Call the peremptory.

Another man then presented himself, and said, my Lord, my name is Gill, I also have been confined under the Suspension Act, and liberated on a recognizance, calling on me, under forfeiture of £100 to appear in this Court on the first day of Term, and from day to day during the said Term, and not to depart the Court without leave; he wished to know what he was to do?

The Court answered him in the same terms as the last applicant, and again directed the Clerk to proceed with the Peremptory Paper. This, however, was prevented by another person stepping forward, and addressing their Lordships.

My Lord, my name is Johnson; I came from Exeter Jail; I am also discharged under a recognizance to appear in this Court from day to day during the Term. I have accordingly appeared, and wish to learn from your Lordship whether I must continue to present myself a daily during the Term.

Lord Ellenborough―You need not appear here any more till you are called on to do so.

Mr. Johnson—My Lord, this will not satisfy me; my recognizance says I must attend from day to day.

Lord Ellenborough—Do you wish to have this recognizance discharged? If you do, you must make an affidavit.

Mr. Johnson—Will your Lordship say, if I make such affidavit I shall be discharged.

Lord Ellenborough—I will say nothing till I know what appears on your affidavit.

Francis Ward, of Nottingham, then stepped forward—My Lord, I have to apply under similar circumstances—I have an affidavit.

Lord Ellenborough—We have already given an answer to you individually and collectively. Go on with the peremptory.

John Knight—My Lord, I live at Manchester, and was liberated from Worcester Gaol on the 1st of January, 1818, on a recognizance, calling on me to attend here from day to day. I have now attended, and wish to be dismissed as soon as possible.

Lord Ellenborough–You may go, now you have appeared, and have nothing more to do till you have notice.

Mr. Knight—But, my Lord, that does not satisfy me. I may be called on to attend again the very instant I get back to Manchester. I may go out of town to-morrow, and be called back the day after. I am not satisfied. This will neither suit my finances nor my business.

Lord Ellenborough—We can say nothing farther to you—The Court cannot assist you.

Samuel Drummond—My Lords, I come from Manchester under similar circumstances. I have now appeared—am I, in consequence, to consider this recognizance as null and void? If it is so, I shall now depart, and trouble you with no further questions.

Lord Ellenborough—We are not now called on to give an opinion. When something is done upon these recognizances, then we will give an opinion. We have noticed your appearance now, and should you in future be called on, we shall take that circumstance into consideration. You are now at liberty to leave the Court. The Court has repeatedly told you, that you need not attend again, without notice. We can do nothing more for you.

F. Ward again presented himself.―My Lord, I have an affidavit, and wish to make a motion. I wish to have this recognizance discharged, or immediately be brought to trial—I have no means of living in town, nor have I money to pay my way back to my home. I borrowed money to come to town.

Lord Ellenborough―We have already answered you. We cannot waste the public time. Proceed with the Peremptory Paper.

The Peremptory Paper was then called over, and their Lordships rose to leave the Court. Several of the persons who had previously addressed the Court pressed forward, but Lord Ellenborough, Mr. Justice Abbott, and Mr. Justice Holroyd, left the court.

Mr. Justice Bayley being the last of their Lordships,

F. Ward again addressed his Lordship―My Lord, here’s my affidavit; am I to understand that I am discharged from further attendance?

Mr Justice Bayley read the affidavit, and having done so, observed―I have read your affidavit, and think the wisest thing you can do is to go home again.

Ward—Do I now understand that my affidavit is received? If it is, I move that my recognizance be discharged, or that I be brought immediately to trial.

Mr Justice Bayley―I have before told you the Court cannot do this for you. If you asked me for advice, I again say, you had better go home about your business.

Mr. Johnson again presented himself, and said, they would all attend again, when they would come better prepared.

On the next day, Mr. Johnson brought his case again before the Court, and after some conversation had taken place between and the Learne Judges,

The ATTORNEY GENERAL rose and spoke as follows:―"My Lords, I had no no notice whatever of any such motions as those which you have heard being about to be made this day, save what I derived from the ordinary channels public information, in which I saw reported that which occurred yesterday. In consequence of what I thus collected, I felt it my duty to attend here and to state, that I have every reason to believe the Gentleman who has been making these applications, had notice before he left Manchester that his attendance in Court would not be required."

LORD ELLENBOROUGH―"Then the inconveniences and expense of being absent from his family is attributable to himself."

The ATTORNEY GENERAL—"So, I believe; and I believe that every other Gentleman who entered into recognizances under similar circumstances, received a like communication."

Mr. Johnson—"I do not mean to deny that."

LORD ELLENBOROUGH.―"Then there is an end to this business."

Mr. JOHNSON.―"But I wish to state the nature of the notice which I received."

LORD ELLENBOROUGH.―"Really the time of the Court, which belongs to other suitors, cannot thus be trifled with. We have your motion, and have given you the only answer of which it is susceptible."

Mr. JOHNSON.―"Then, I suppose, I will submit to the consequences."

Two other persons, named John Roberts, and Samuel Drummond, made similar motions, which were rejected.—Other persons were prepared to pursue the same course, but the Court would not hear them.
This is from the Nottingham Review of 30th January 1818.

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