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The question is then reduced to this : is it absolutely necessary to convict and punish offenders in Calcutta without a jury? if it be, we must follow the example of Solon, who enacted such laws as were, though not the best in themselves, yet the best that circumstances would admit. I am not convinced that such a necessity exifts, and strongly incline to think it does not. The evil to be remedied is the small number of magistrates ; the obvious remedy is to appoint a greater number. If the legislature therefore would give the Governor in council, a power to appoint from six to twelve justices of the
peace, those justices would (under the direction of government) appoint subordinate peace officers, whose legal powers are very considerable yet accurately defined; but a superintendant of the police, is an officer unknown to our system, borrowed from a foreign system, or at least suggesting the idea of a foreign conftitution, and his powers being dark and undefined, are those which our law most abhors. The justices would hold a session every
quarter of a year; without troubling the members of government, who have other avocations ; so that in every year there would be six sessions for administering criminal jultice; but then comes the great question, how could the juries be supplied without injury to those who should sit on them? Now, without urging that some occasional trouble, and perhaps loss, are the fine which Englishmen pay for their freedom; without intimating that but a few years ago, an application to parliament was made, among other objects, for a trial by jury in all cases, even in Calcutta ; without contending, that if summary convictions be once made palatable, we should gradually lose our relish for the admirable mode of trial, on which our common liberties at home almost wholly depend; without rambling a moment from the point before
persons qualified to serve on petty juries, would be far more than sufficient to divide the trou. ble with convenience to themselves, and benefit to the community,
On the whole, the annual burthen on each individual, especially if a kind of rotation were observed, or even if the chance of a ballot were taken, would be too inconsiderable to weigh a feather against the important object of supporting so excellent a mode of trial..
After all, are we sure that the British subjects in Calcutta, would be better pleased than myself with any slur upon the constitutional trial by jury ? and as to the natives, besides the policy of allowing them all the beneficial effects of our judicature, (and that à trial by twelve men, instead of one,
with à power of exceptions is a benefit, must be granted by all,) I rather think that the inhabitants of a British town, owing local allegiance, are entitled to the local advantage of being tried by a British form. In all events, if it be a benefit, they ought not to be deprived of it without some greater publie good to compensate the private injustice, than would result, I apprehend, from the power of summary conviction, if it were exercised
by men, whose monthly gains would depend on the number of complaints made, and of fines levied.
I am confident therefore, after mature deliberation, that nothing more is to be desired than a power in this government, of appointing justices of peace by annual commissions ; and these being my sentiments, I rely on your friendship, so long and so constantly manifested, that if it should be thought proper to mention the concurrence of the judges, you will remember that their concurrence was not unanimous.
I could easily have said all this and more, but I chose this mode through delicacy and fear of giving pain. Farewell, and as I esteem you, so esteem, dear Sir,
Your ever affectionate, &c.
Sir William Jones to y. Shore, Esq.
Gardens, 1788. I thank you heartily, my dear Sir, for every part
of of Oriental gems, both for the Durr and the
your letter, and for
Shebeb * ; the pearls appear with more lustre by, the side of the beads.
Your quotations from the elegies of Washi are sweetly pathetic ; but I will not detain your fervant by more observations. Sacontala, will hardly be finished before I
go my cottage; happy shall I be if
your occupations allow you to pass a few days near it. Adieu.
Sir William fones to y. Shore, Esq.
Gardens, 1788. The verses are worthy of Catullus, and in his manner; they would appear
well in Hendecasyllables. I will think at some leisure moment of giving them a Persian dress according to your hints. I rejoice that you have it in your power to relieve your mind" by poetical imagery; it is the true use of the fine arts.
I have been reading cafes for a judgment on Tuesday, from nine o'clock till past two. -Farewell.
* An Oriental expression for prose and verse.