Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

10 articles on this Page

Advertising

[No title]

News
Cite
Share

THE great Reform meeting in Hyde-park, so much feared and deprecated until the last moment, has happily passed off without giving rise to a single incident that could properly justify alarm. It must be a satisfaction to all parties in the State, whatever their own par- ticular, views as to Reform itself, to find that the-masses of the people have proved them- selves capable of taking part in a political demonstration on a large scale, in a most peaceable and orderly manner. It is high time, indeed, that the last remnant of the feel- ing that the working classes of the country are a disorderly rabble who cannot be trusted, should be dismissed from the minds of all who have ever entertained it. Their demeanour on each occasion of the metropolitan gatherings during the last few months has been all that their best fri-etidi could desire, and we have the testimony of General Peel and others to the fact that it has had the most salutary in- fluence upon those who were previously in- clined to look upon them with mistrust and suspicion: After the notice issued from the Home Office, warning all people to abstain from at- tempting to take part in Monday's meeting, there was every reason to fear that the avowed determination of the Reform League to persist would lead to a calamitous result. But the publication at the last hour, evidently by authority of the Government, of the opinion of the legal advisers to the Crown that there was no power to stop the demonstration, created as much satisfaction for the time as, undoubtedly, it caused surprise. Satisfaction could not but be felt that a collision between the authorities and the people would be avoided but it was certainly astonishing to find that the Govern- ment had taken up a position from which they were compelled immediately to Recede. The ill-advised notification issued by Mr. Walpole could only have been justified had there been a clear legal opinion in support of the exercise of authority to which it pointed; but the effect of the opinion was entirely the other way. Moreover, this opinion was not one for which the Government had been waiting, and -under which it could therefore act only on tho eve of the event, for it had been before the Government ever since the meetings of last year were first proposed. The mistake com- mitted would have been far more serious in its influence upon the authority of the Govern- ment had the Reformers been less moderate in their triumph. The actual state of the law has now been very clearly defined. As far back as 1856, the legal advisers of Lord Palmerston's Go- vernment had laid it down that although there was a right in the Crown to exclude the public from the parks, persons who had once entered could only be turned out by distinct notice that the -license to enter was withdrawn. In fact,, the .rules which apply to trespass in an ordinary case were i force with respect to the parks, and, righttof user having been es- b tablished, it could not be terminated suddenly, .if at all. It was this opinion which, in July last year, was laid .before Sir William Bovill and Sir Hugh Cairnes, the law advisers to Lord Derby's Government: and they were distinctly asked whether there was any legal authority to disperse by force a park meeting for political purposes. The answer was very clearly in the negative, and the general prin- ciple previously laid down was fully supported. It was further expressly stated that the con- templated assembly was not unlawful so long as the conduct of the persons taking part in it were peaceable. The difficulties of action in the way of interference of the Government, even under the law of trespass, were so great as practically to render it incapable of taking any steps in the matter. Publication of notice of ejectment would not be sufficient, for there are many who cannot and others who would not read, and a distinct service of notice and warning to each individual* must be shown. This, in the case of a mass meeting, is of course entirely out of the question. Moreover, after notice served the individual who has received it must be removed without violence, and can- not be arrested if he is quiet. "If the as- sembly remain peaceable, the police can do nothing but hand out man after man. In no b case can they legally clear the park by a charge." The military cannot be brought for- ward at all except in case of riot. 'With this clear and explicit opinion before them, the wonder is that the Government did not bring forward early in the Session the bill for the better protection of the parks, which they only introduced on the Friday night be- fore the meeting. By this bill it is provided that no meeting of a public character shall take place in the parks without the Sovereign's permission, and any person convening or as- sisting in such a meeting is liable to be arrested and summarily convicted, and to a penalty not exceeding £10, or one month's imprisonment.

BOROUGH PETTY SESSIONS.

ARCHDEACON'S VISITATION.

Advertising

FOREIGN AND BRITISH BREEDS…

BRITISH CATTLE.

[No title]

'--------'-----.-BRECON AND…

Advertising