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The sixth Year of George I.

A.D. 1719


Chap. VI.

An Act to prevent Delays in Writs of Error, and for further Amendment of the Law.


Whereas great delay of justice hath of late years been occasioned by defective writs of error, which as the law now stands are not amendable: for remedy whereof, be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That all writs of error now depending, or which shall hereafter be brought, wherein there shall be any variance from the original record, or other defect, may and shall be amended and made agreeable to such record, or the transcript thereof, by the respective courts, where such writ or writs of error shall be made returnable; and that where any verdict hath been or shall be given in any action, suit, bill, plaint, or demand, in any of his Majesty's courts of record at the Four courts in Dublin, or in any other court of record within this kingdom of Ireland, the judgement thereon shall not be stayed or reversed for any defect or fault either in form or substance in any bill, writ original or judicial, or for any variance in such writs from the declaration or other proceedings.

II. Provided nevertheless, That nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to any appeal of murther, or to any process upon any indictment, presentment, or information of or for any offence or misdemeanor whatsoever.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no antient judgment in any real or personal action shall from and after the three and twentieth day of January next be reversed or avoided for any error or defect therein, unless the writ or error or suit for reversing such judgment be commenced, or brought and prosecuted with effect, within twenty years after such judgment signed or entered of record.

IV. Provided always, That if any person, who is or shall be entituled to any such writ of error as aforesaid, shall at the time of such title accrued be within the age of twenty one years, or covert, non compos mentis, imprisoned, or beyond the seas, that then such person, his or her executors and administrators, notwithstanding the said twenty years expired, shall and may bring his,


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her, or their writ of error for the reversing any such judgment as he or they might have done in case this act had not been made, so as the same be done within five years after his or her full age, discoverture, coming of sound mind, enlargement out of prison, or returning from beyond the sea, or death, but not afterwards or otherwise.

V. And whereas certain persons, commonly called Quakers, alledge that they are persuaded in conscience, That the taking of an oath in any case whatsoever is contrary to the law of God, contained in the New Testament, and are frequently debarred and stopt at law from recovering their just demands, by reason that the persons who are sued and prosecuted by them, though for just debts, do oftentimes commence bills in equity in order to obtain injunctions for want of their answers, and they are often made parties to bills, wherein they are no ways concerned: be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for the lord chancellor, lord keeper, or other the lords commissioners of the great seal for the time being; and also to and for the chancellor, treasurer, lord chief baron, and other the barons of his Majesty's court of Exchequer in this kingdom for the time being, to take, or cause, or order to be taken, the answers of the said people, called Quakers, as aforesaid, to any bill or bills exhibited before them in their respective courts, they the said Quakers, who shall be obliged to give in their answers with their respective names or marks subscribed, making the affirmation before the person or persons authorized, or appointed by commission to take their answers, in the manner following:

I A.B. do hereby sincerely and solemnly declare, That I am perswaded in my conscience that the taking of an oath in any case whatsoever is contrary to the law of God contained in the New Testament; and, being thoroughly convinced thereof, I do farther sincerely and solemnly declare, That the answer I here give is in all points true, according as I give the same, and as the same is set forth in this present writing, to which I have subscribed my name, or made my mark.

Which affirmation shall be writ at large at the bottom of the parchment, whereon such answer shall be engrossed, and the name or names signed by the person or persons, who shall give in the same, if he or she can write, and his, her, or their mark or marks be put thereunto, if he, she, or they cannot write, and witnessed by the fix-clerk, or attorney, or sollicitor, who shall be concerned for him, her, or them so signing the same; and if


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any such Quaker or Quakers shall declare contrary to the truth required in the present case, and be thereof convict either upon indictment or information, he, she, or they shall be liable to, and suffer such pains and penalties, as persons convict of wilful and corrupt perjury are liable to by the laws and statutes of this realm.

VI. Provided always, That no person or persons shall be deemed a Quaker within the intention of this act, unless he, she, or they, shall produce a certificate or certificates thereof to the court or courts, wherein he, she, or they are sued, under the hands of six credible persons of their own congregation, of his or her being of that profession at least three years then last past.

VII. And whereas recognizances taken by his Majesty's judges of this land, or the chief baron, or other barons of his Majesty's court of Exchequer, are frequently lost or mislaid by the negligence of their clerks: be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all recognizances taken in his Majesty's court of King's bench, Common Pleas, or Exchequer, and the original book wherein they are taken, shall at the end of each term in every year be delivered up to the prothonotaries of his Majesty's court of King's bench or Common Pleas, or to the chief remembrancer of the said court of Exchequer respectively, by the respective judges in each court, to remain there, until they shall be vacated, as records in such courts.

VIII. And whereas many oppressions and great hardships and impositions are daily practiced in the several inferior courts of this kingdom, by means of actions levied and taken out without any just cause of suit against divers of his Majesty's liege subjects for great sums of money, on which the defendants in such actions are often imprisoned for want of great bail inhabiting within the franchises or jurisdictions of the city, town, borough, liberty, mannor, or place wherein such action or actions are levied, and where such defendants are strangers unacquainted, and often only travellers and trading in and to divers parts of this kingdom, and in many cases such actions have been sued forth by bailiffs and other evil persons in the name of seigned plaintiffs, and sometimes in the names of persons of little or no substance, who have no just cause of suit, to the great detriment of trade and oppression of many of his Majesty's subjects: for remedy whereof be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the first day of January one thousand seven hundred and nineteen, in all and every case and cases, wherein any action or actions shall be commenced or sued forth by, for, or in the name of any person or persons whatsoever, or in the name of any bodies corporate or politick against any person or persons whatsoever in or out of any court or courts


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to be held or holden for or within any county of a city or county of a town within this kingdom of Ireland, or for or within any burrough, mannor, liberty, jurisdiction or franchise within this kingdom, for any sum or sums of money whatsoever exceeding the sum of ten pounds sterling, in debt, detinue, trover, trespass, or action of trespass on the case; no person or persons, whose body or bodies shall be thereon arrested, shall be held to special bail, unless the plaintiff or plaintiffs, his or their agent or agents, or manager, or his or their attorney, shall before the mayor, sovereign, seneschal, or other magistrate or magistrates, officer or officers, legally impowered and authorized to hold court or pleas where such action shall be commenced or sued forth, or his or their lawful deputy or deputies, on application to him or them to that end made by petition or otherwise by the defendant or defendants arrested, make appear by bond, bill, note, deed, lease, counter part of lease, or other specialty, or by some sufficient affidavit, that such plaintiff or plaintiffs hath or have good and sufficient cause of action or suit against such defendant or defendants so arrested; and no defendant or defendants so arrested shall be held or obliged, on any action of debt so sued forth, to give special bail for any greater sum than what shall be so made appear to be due to the plaintiff or plaintiffs in such action of debt from such defendant or defendants as aforesaid, nor on any action of detinue, trespass, trover, or actions of trespass on the case, but where the plaintiff or plaintiffs, his or their attorney or agent, shall by sufficient affidavit make appear his or their cause of suit or action, and thereon the defendant or defendants in every such action shall not be held or obliged to give special bail for more than double the sum, which shall be made appear by such affidavit as aforesaid to be the just demand of the plaintiff or plaintiffs therein named against such defendant or defendants so arrested; and in all such case and cases, wherein such cause of bail as aforesaid shall not be made appear in manner aforesaid on such application, to that end made as aforesaid, the defendant or defendants so arrested shall be discharged out of custody and confinement, on entring his or their appearance to such action by his attorney.

IX. And for the more effectual preventing of all vexatious suits and dilatory proceedings in ecclesiastical courts; be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the first day of October in the year one thousand seven hundred and nineteen, no citation ex mero officio shall be issued out of any ecclesiastical court within this kingdom against any person whatsoever on account of any crime or immorality, which is punishable or corrigible by the ecclesiastical law, except such crime or immorality shall in the manner hereafter mentioned appear to have been


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committed within two years next and immediately before the issuing of such citation.

X. And be it further enacted, That from and after the day aforesaid every voluntary promoter of office, applying to any ecclesiastical judge for the issuing a citation on account of any crime, or immorality aforesaid, or some credible witness, voluntarily offering himself to be produced by the said promoter, and to be examined, shall before the obtaining of such citation be personally interrogated and examined upon oath by such ecclesiastical judge concerning the grounds and reasons of issuing such citation, which said oath every ecclesiastical judge is hereby impowered to administer to such promoter or witness; and all ecclesiastical judges respectively are hereby required to cause the examination of such promoter or witness to be reduced into writing and subscribed by the examinant, and to attest the same, as repeated before him the said judge, and then to lodge such written examination so attested in the registry of the court, whereof he is judge; and in case it shall not appear by such examination, that the said crime or immorality has been committed within two years as aforesaid, no citation shall issue; and after publication is decreed, the said judge shall cause the said examination to be annexed unto such depositions, as are taken in the cause then depending on such citation, and if upon hearing of the said cause it shall appear, that such voluntary promoter has failed in proving what in the said examination was alleged, such promoter shall be condemned in double costs.

XI. And for the better securing of all persons from being prosecuted in any ecclesiastical court upon such presentments, as may unadvisedly be grounded on uncertain rumours and malicious reports: be it enacted, That from and after the day aforesaid all persons whatsoever, who by law are required or enabled to make any presentments unto any ecclesiastical judge, shall before such presentment be received, and citation thereon granted, upon oath be interrogated and examined, or produce some credible witness to be interrogated and examined as aforesaid, by the ecclesiastical judge, unto whom such presentment is made; which oath every ecclesiastical judge is hereby impowered to administer in like manner as is before enacted in the case of a voluntary promoter; which said examination every such judge is hereby required to cause to be reduced into writing, and to attest, as also to lodge in the registry, and to annex the same unto the depositions in manner above mentioned; and in case it shall not appear by the said examination, that there is good and sufficient ground for such presentment, or that the crime or immorality in such presentment mentioned was committed within two years next and immediately


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before the making thereof no citation shall issue thereupon, and, if upon hearing the said cause upon such presentment instituted or depending, the allegations in such examination contained shall not be sufficiently proved; or if the person presented shall otherwise purge himself according to law from the charge of such crime or immorality, for which he is so presented, such person shall forthwith be dismissed without any fees to be paid to any person whatsoever.

XII. And be it further enacted, That from and after the day above mentioned all citations by any ecclesiastical judge, to be issued either at the instance of such voluntary promoter of the office, or upon presentment as aforesaid without such examination, as are herein before required to warrant and support the prosecution, shall be of none effect, and all proceedings thereon shall be and are hereby declared to be null and void.

XIII. And to prevent all expences and unnecessary delays in causes of defamation; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That in all causes hereafter to be commenced in any ecclesiastical court, on account of defamation cognizable in the ecclesiastical court, it shall and may be lawful for the ecclesiastical judge of such court, at the motion of either party, to proceed in a summary way, and that such summary way of proceeding in every or any cause of defamation shall by the authority of this act be reckoned and deemed to be to all intents and purposes as good and valid, as if the same had been in the ordinary and plenary way; any law or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.

XIV. Provided always, That nothing in this act shall extend, or be construed to extend, to hinder any archbishop or bishop, or their vicars-general, or any ordinary within this kingdom, from proceeding against any ecclesiastical persons subject to their visitation, and within their respective jurisdictions, for any neglect of duty, or for any fault cognizable in the ecclesiastical court either at their respective visitations or otherwise, in the like manner as they might or could do, if this act had never been made.

XV. And whereas many sheriffs and their under sheriffs for their private gain and advantage do hold their courts in the remotest corners and parts of baronies, where the greatest part of the inhabitants cannot resort without apparent loss of their time and business, to the damage of the public: be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the sheriffs court-leet or county-court shall be always held in the most convenient place in each barony, which lies nearest to the center of the same, and at a seasonable time in the day after the hour of nine in the morning, on pain that the sheriff or under sheriff offending herein shall be


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fined by the justices at the next assizes or sessions, on complaint and proof made thereof before them upon oath.

XVI. And whereas some doubt hath arisen, whether the children of popish parents, who by the permission of their said parents have been bred protestants, are to be reckoned as protestants, or as converts from the popish religion: be it further enacted, That all children of popish parents or parent, who from the age of twelve years have been constantly bred up in the protestant religion, and have received the blessed sacrament of the Lord's supper in the church of Ireland, as by law established, shall be reputed as protestants, and enjoy all the rights and priviledges of protestants.

XVII. Provided always, That if such children shall at any time after they come to the age of eighteen years declare themselves of the communion of the church of Rome, or be present at Mattins or Vespers according to the practice of the church of Rome, they shall be subject to all such penalties, as converted papists relapsing to popery are by laws liable to.

XVIII. And be it further enacted, That no satisfaction shall hereafter be entered on the record of any judgment upon the motion of any attorney, except the said attorney shall prove his warrant for acknowledging such satisfaction by affidavit of one credible witness in writing, to be filed in the office where such judgment is acknowledged.

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