NBC – 1849.08.25 – Orange Riots – Circuit Court – Grand Jury – #237 – F1

CIRCUIT COURT. – The trial of George McKelvey, Daniel Dunham, John Munford, and Squire Manks, for “illegally assembling,” having taken part in the Orange procession of 12th July last, was closed on Saturday evening, when the Jury acquitted all the parties.

On Monday, Archibald Brown was tried for firing at the procession, and wounding R. McAndrew in the wrist: he was acquitted. The next trial was that of Thomas Knowles, one of the Orangemen in the procession, who had been indicted for the murder of Patrick Allan, one of the assailants in Dock-street. He was acquitted by the jury without leaving the box.

On Monday, John Haggerty was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment in the Provincial Penitentiary, for a felonious assault on His Worship the Mayor on the 12th July; and David Haggerty to six months imprisonment in the common goal, with hard labour, for an assault, the same day, on Alexander Boon.

James Gallagher, Hugh McGowan, John Magner and Michael Collins, who had been indicted for firing pistols and throwing stones at the procession, were ordered to appear at the next term.

On Tuesday, the Grand Jury handed in the subjoined Special Presentment, which, after having been read in open Court, was handed over by His Honor Judge Carter to the Hon. Her Majesty’s Attorney General, for the action of the Executive Government thereon.

All the business before the Court having been disposed of, its sittings were closed on Tuesday evening.

St. John, N.B., Aug. 21, 1849.

The Grand Jury, now in session, bet to submit a Special Presentment to the Court, concerning the Riots which took place on the 12th July last.

That it was known to the Authorities prior to the 12th July that the Orangemen intended to walk in procession through the City.

That the Authorities were requested to interfere, and prevent such procession taking place, and were cautioned that should it be permitted, a breach of the peace was inevitable.

That our Chief Magistrate having reason to apprehend that such a procession would lead to a breach of the peace, consulted with the proper legal authorities, who advised him that the procession was not unlawful, and that he had no power to interfere to stop it.

That it does not appear that the Magistrates or Authorities took any measures to protect, or forbid the procession, or that they took the least precaution to prevent the apprehended breach of the peace.

That on the morning of the 12th July, it appears that the Chief Magistrate could find but two of his brother Magistrates willing to assist him in preventing or quelling the riot, and one of them was a gentleman from his years, not calculated for the emergency – and that it has been brought to the knowledge of this Jury that some declined their assistance, and that others went into the country, in the opinion of this Jury, to avoid being present on the occasion.

That it appears, that on the morning of the riot, the Chief Magistrate proceeded to the Police Office for assistance, and that there was no Policeman there – and that he could only procure the assistance of one policeman to go with him to the disturbed district.

That this Jury consider it incumbent on them to ask the Court to take such measures as will cause an immediate and rigid enquiry into the conduct of the Justices of the Peace of this City and County on that day.

That this Jury are of opinion, that if the Law does not give the authorities discretionary power to stop processions, or to interfere upon any occasion when they have the least apprehension of a disturbance of the peace and quiet of the City, that an amendment of the Law should be made as early as practicable.

That this Jury consider it their duty to express their opinion that all party processions, more particularly processions obnoxious to large numbers of respectable Freemen and Freeholders in this City, are improper – tending as they do, to keep alive and aggravate feelings of animosity between men on account of differences of religious belief.

That this Country does not require the aid of public processions, of Secret Societies, composed of men dressed in fantastic uniforms or badges, in order to preserve the Protestant Religion: but that on the contrary this Jury are of opinion, that such a procession as took place in this City on the 12th July, is necessary, and the results are calculated to scandalize and injure any good cause.

That this Jury do also express their belief that the continuance of these party feuds has a serious tendency to interfere with the progress and general prosperity of the Country: and they regret to have to express their opinion, that questions regarding the public good are set aside and compromised as secondary considerations – and that the gratification of party feeling, arising from difference of religious opinions, and of national descent, take precedence on questions concerning the general welfare.

That the peace of the City must be protected by the strong arm of the law, and by that alone; that no individual or individuals, beyond the pale of the authorities, should be allowed to resist the passage of any man or body of men, through the streets of the City – and that every attempt at mob law should be discountenanced and put down. The Riot at York Point might have been prevented had the authorities, with sufficient force, been early on the ground and dispersed the rioters.

The Grand July trust that the new Police Act, if vigorously and properly carried out, will do much to preserve the peace and quiet of the City.

The Grand Jury earnestly desire to thank His Honor Judge Carter, for the able and lucid Charge which he delivered at the opening of the present Court.

Respectfully submitted.
JOHN SEARS, Foreman.