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The Constitutional History of England, Vol. 2 of 2 Buchkatalog
Excerpt from The Constitutional History of England, Vol. 2 of 2: Since the Accession of George the Third 1760 1860
Among the remnants of a jurisprudence which General had favoured prerogative at the expense of liberty, was that of the arrest of persons under general warrants, without previous evidence of their guilt, or identification of their persons. This practice survived the Revolution, and was con tinned without question, on the ground of usage, until the reign of George III., when it received its death-blow from the boldness of Wilkes, and the wisdom of Lord Camden. This question was brought to an issue by N o. 45 of the North Briton, ' already so often mentioned. There was the libel, but who was the libeller? Ministers knew not, nor waited to inquire, after the accustomed forms of law: but forthwith Lord Halifax, one of the secretaries of state, issued a warrant, directing four messengers, taking with them a constable, to search for the authors, printers, and publishers and to apprehend and seize them, together with their papers, and bring them in safe custody before him. No one having been charged, or even suspected, - no evidence of crime having been o¿'ered, - no one was named in this dread instrument. The offence only was pointed at, - not the offender. The magistrate, who should have sought proofs of crime, deputed this office to his messengers. Armed with their roving commis sion, they set forth in quest of unknown offenders, and unable to take evidence, listened to rumours.
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