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An Essay on the Trial by Jury by Lysander Spooner

AN ESSAY

ON THE

TRIAL BY JURY.

BY LYSANDER SPOONER.

BOSTON: JOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY. CLEVELAND, OHIO: JEWETT, PROCTOR & WORTHINGTON. 1852.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by LYSANDER SPOONER, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

NOTICE TO ENGLISH PUBLISHERS.

The author claims the copyright of this book in England, on Common Law principles, without regard to acts of parliament; and if the main principle of the book itself be true, viz., that no legislation, in conflict with the Common Law, is of any validity, his claim is a legal one. He forbids any one to reprint the book without his consent.

Stereotyped by HOBART & ROBBINS; New England Type and Stereotype Foundery, BOSTON.

NOTE.

This volume, it is presumed by the author, gives what will generally be considered satisfactory evidence,--though not all the evidence,--of what the Common Law trial by jury really is. In a future volume, if it should be called for, it is designed to corroborate the grounds taken in this; give a concise view of the English constitution; show the unconstitutional character of the existing government in England, and the unconstitutional means by which the trial by jury has been broken down in practice; prove that, neither in England nor the United States, have legislatures ever been invested by the people with any authority to impair the powers, change the oaths, or (with few exceptions) abridge the jurisdiction, of juries, or select jurors on any other than Common Law principles; and, consequently, that, in both countries, legislation is still constitutionally subordinate to the discretion and consciences of Common Law juries, in all cases, both civil and criminal, in which juries sit. The same volume will probably also discuss several political and legal questions, which will naturally assume importance if the trial by jury should be reestablished.

CONTENTS.

PAGE

CHAPTER I. THE RIGHT OF JURIES TO JUDGE OF THE JUSTICE OF LAWS, 5

SECTION 1, 5

SECTION 2, 11

CHAPTER II. THE TRIAL BY JURY, AS DEFINED BY MAGNA CARTA, 20

SECTION 1. _The History of Magna Carta_, 20

SECTION 2. _The Language of Magna Carta_, 25

CHAPTER III. ADDITIONAL PROOFS OF THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF JURORS, 51

SECTION 1. _Weakness of the Regal Authority_, 51

SECTION 2. _The Ancient Common Law Juries were mere Courts of Conscience_, 63

SECTION 3. _The Oaths of Jurors_, 85


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