1819: 60 George 3 & 1 George 4 c.1: An Act to prevent the Training of Persons to the Use of Arms, and to the Practice of Military Evolutions and Exercise.
[11th December 1819.]
WHEREAS, in some Parts of the United Kingdom, Men clandestinely and unlawfully assembled have practised Military Training and Exercise, to the great Terror and Alarm of His Majesty’s peaceable and loyal Subjects, and the imminent Danger of the Public Peace: Be it therefore 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,
[Meetings and Assemblies of Persons for the purpose of being trained, or of practising Military Exercise, or aiding therein, prohibited.]
That all Meetings and Assemblies of Persons for the purpose of training or drilling themselves, or of being trained or drilled to the Use of Arms, or for the purpose of practising Military Exercise, Movements or Evolutions, without any lawful Authority from His Majesty, or the Lieutenant, or Two Justices of the Peace of any County or Riding, or of any Stewartry, by Commission or otherwise, for so doing, shall be and the same are hereby prohibited, as dangerous to the Peace and Security of His Majesty’s liege Subjects and of His Government; and every Person who shall be present at or attend any such Meeting or Assembly, for the purpose of training and drilling any other Person or Persons to the Use of Arms, or the Practice of Military Exercise, Movements or Evolutions, or who shall train or drill any other Person or Persons to the Use of Arms, or the Practice of Military Exercise, Movements or Evolutions, or who shall aid or assist therein, being legally convicted thereof, shall be liable to be transported for any Term not exceeding Seven Years, or to be
punished by Imprisonment not exceeding Two Years, at the Discretion of the Court in which such Conviction shall be had; and every Person who shall attend or be present at any such Meeting or Assembly as aforesaid, for the purpose of being, or who shall at any such Meeting or Assembly be trained or drilled to the Use of Arms, or the Practice of Military Exercise, Movements or Evolutions, being legally convicted thereof, shall be liable to be punished by Fine and Imprisonment not exceeding Two Years, at the Discretion of the Court in which such Conviction shall be had.
[Persons so assembled may be dispersed, or detained and required to give Bail, and prosecuted.]
II. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for any Justice of the Peace, or for any Constable or Peace Officer, or for any other Person acting in their Aid or Assistance, to disperse any such unlawful Meeting or Assembly as aforesaid, and to arrest and detain any Person present at, or aiding, assisting or abetting any such Assembly or Meeting as aforesaid; and it shall be lawful for the Justice of the Peace who shall arrest any such Person, or before whom any Person so arrested shall be brought, to commit such Person for Trial for such Offence, under the Provisions of this Act, unless such Person can and shall give sufficient Bail for his Appearance at the next Assizes or General or Quarter Sessions of the Peace, to answer to any Indictment which may be preferred against him for any such Offence against this Act, in England and Ireland;
and in Scotland every such Person shall be arrested and dealt with according to the Law and Practice of that Part of the United Kingdom in the Case of a bailable Offence.
[Sheriffs Depute, &c. in Scotland to have the same Powers as Magistrates, &c. in England.]
III. And be it further enacted, That the Sheriffs Depute and their Substitutes, Stewards Depute and their Substitutes, Justices of the Peace, Magistrates of Royal Burghs, and all other inferior Judges and Magistrates, and also all High and Petty Constables, or other Peace Officers of any County, Stewartry, City or Town, within that Part of the United Kingdom called Scotland, shall have such and the same Powers and Authorities for putting this present Act in Execution within Scotland, as the Justices of the Peace and other Magistrates and Peace Officers and Constables aforesaid respectively have, by virtue of this Act, within and for other Parts of the United Kingdom.
[Offenders may be prosecuted as if this Act had not been made.]
IV. Provided also, and be it further enacted, That nothing in this Act contained shall extend to prevent any Prosecution, by Indictment or otherwise, for any thing which shall be an Offence within the Intent and Meaning of this Act, and which might have been so prosecuted if this Act had not been made, unless the Offender shall have been prosecuted for such Offence under this Act, and convicted or acquitted of such Offence.
[Limitation of Actions.]
V. And be it further enacted, That any Action or Suit which shall be brought or commenced against any Justice or Justices of the Peace, Constable, Peace Officer, or other Person or Persons, in that Part of Great Britain called England, or in Ireland, for any thing done or acted in pursuance of this Act, shall be commenced within Six Calendar Months next after the Fact committed, and not afterwards; and the Venue in every such Action or Suit shall be laid in the proper County where the Fact was committed, and not elsewhere;
[General Issue may be pleaded.]
and the Defendant or Defendants in every such Action or Suit may plead the General Issue, and give this Act and the special Matter in Evidence at any Trial to be had thereupon; and if such Action or Suit shall be brought or commenced after the Time limited for bringing the same, or the Venue shall be laid in any other Place than as aforesaid, then the Jury shall find a Verdict for the Defendant or Defendants; tad in such Case, or if the Jury shall find a Verdict for the Defendant or Defendants upon the Merits, or if the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs shall become nonsuit, or discontinue his, her or their Actions after Appearance, or if upon Demurrer Judgment shall be given against the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs,
the Defendant or Defendants shall have Double Costs, which he or they shall and may recover in such and the same manner as any Defendant can by Law in other Cases.
[Limitation of Actions, &c. in Scotland.]
VI. And be it further enacted, That every Action or Suit which shall be brought or commenced against any Person or Persons in Scotland, for any thing done or acted in pursuance of this Act, shall in like manner be commenced within Six Calendar Months after the Fact committed, and not afterwards, and shall be brought in the Court of Session in Scotland;
and the Defender or Defenders may plead that the Matter complained of was done in pursuance of this Act, and may give this Act and the special Matter in Evidence; and if such Action or Suit shall be brought or commenced after the Time limited for bringing the same, then the same shall be dismissed; and in such Case, or if the Defender or Defenders shall be assoilzied, or the Pursuer or Pursuers shall suffer the Action or Suit to fall asleep, or a Decision shall be pronounced against the Pursuer or Pursuers upon the Relevancy,
the Defender or Defenders shall have Treble Costs or Expences, which he or they shall and may receive in such and the same manner as any Defender can by Law recover Costs or Expences in other Cases.
[Limitation of Prosecutions.]
VII. Provided always, and be it further enacted, That no Person Limitation of shall be prosecuted by virtue of this Act for any thing done or committed contrary to the Provisions hereinbefore contained, unless such Prosecution shall be commenced within Six Calendar Months after the Offence committed.
[Act may be repealed, &c. this Session.]
VIII. And be it further enacted, That this Act may be repealed in the whole or in any Part thereof, or in any manner altered or amended, during the present Session of Parliament.
Further Reading: Wikipedia.