The CASE of Mr. John Starkey.

HE being one of the Grand Jury for the County Palatine of Chester, at the Grand Sessions or Assizes held for that County in Anno 1683, did with Sir Thomas Grosvenor Bar. their Foreman, and the rest of the Grand Jury, upon Oath make a Presentment to that Court of the Fears and Apprehensions in their County, occasioned by unusual Meetings of great numbers of People, providing themselves with Stores of Arms, and riding and going armed about the Country, to the terror of the King's People, and distur­bance of the publick Peace. Whereupon the said Jury prayed the Court, That Security for the Peace might be given by the Earl of Macclesfield and others there­in named: For which Presentment the said Earl brought his Action against Mr. Starkey, grounded upon the Statute de Scandalis Magnatum; and to this he Plead­ed, That he did nothing, but as a Grand-Jury Man, in pursuance of the Articles gi­ven them in Charge, and according to their Evidence against the said Earl, and de­nied that he was Guilty of the Contrivance or Publication of this Presentment in any place, or in any other manner, than as one of the Grand Jury in the Court of Grand Sessions. Which Cause depended long in the Court of Exchequer, upon the Earl's Demurror to this Plea; and after several Arguments therein, Judgment was given for the Defendant Starkey; to Reverse which Judgment, the Earl hath Sued his Writ of Error.

The Judgment in the Exchequer was, by the unanimous Opinion of the whole Court, given for the Defendant, in regard the Matters contained in the Presentment were Matters proper for the Grand Jury to enquire of, and present, to secure the Peace of the Country, and good ground to require Sureties of the Peace. That the Grand Jury were the proper persons to enquire of and present such Actions; and that it was done in a proper Judicature at the Grand Sessions, where the Judges had proper Connizance of such Matters.

That in such Cases Grand-Jury Men have ever been held to be under the Pro­tection of the Law, and not liable to Suits for their Presentments, being in a Court of Justice, and in order to preserve the publick Peace.

And whether the Fact were true or false will not alter the Case, being accor­ding to the Evidence given before them; and were the Law otherwise, it would deter all Men of Quality and Estate from Serving their Country with Freedom and Chearfulness, if their Misinformation from others, or their own Mistakes in what they present only as Grand-Jury Men, should subject them to private Actions.

This Judgment given for Mr. Starkey was grounded upon good Resolutions, formerly given in Cases of the like nature; and therefore it is hoped this Judgment shall stand for Protection of Grand-Jury Men, in what they do in Execution of that Charge, and to prevent the Multiplicity of Actions which will otherwise ensue, not only against this Defendant, by all others required to find Sureties of the Peace upon this Presentment, but also against every one of that Grand Jury, and the Grand-Jury Men of other Counties in like Cases.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.