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1, which enacted, that if any person or persons should knowingly send any letter without any name subscribed, or with a fictitious name, demanding money, venison, or other valuable thing, he should be guilty of felony without benefit of clergy. This enactment was extended by 27 Geo. 2, c. 15, to threats to kill, or murder, or to burn houses, &c., and by 30 Geo. 2, c. 24, to threats to accuse of any crime punishable with death, transportation, pillory, or other infamous punishments. There were several important differences in the defining of the different offences created by these statutes, which it is not now necessary to specify. See 2 Russell, 579 (n.) These statutes were repealed by the 4 Geo. 4, c. 54, s. 3, and their provisions re-enacted, and the latter statute is also repealed by the 7 & 8 Geo. 4, c. 27, except so far as relates to any person who shall send or deliver any letter or writing, threatening to kill or murder, or to burn, or destroy, as therein mentioned, or shall be accessary to any such offence, or shall forcibly rescue any person being lawfully in custody for any such offence.

*And now, by the 7 and 8 Geo. 4, c. 29, s. 8, it is enacted, [*863) that if any person shall knowingly send or deliver any letter or writing, demanding of any person with menaces, and without any reasonable or probable cause, any chattel, money, or valuable security, every such offender being convicted thereof, shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be transported beyond the seas for life, or for any term not less than seven years, or to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding four years, and if a male, to be once, twice or thrice publicly or privately whipped, (if the court shall so think fit,) in addition to such imprisonment.

For the remainder of the section, see post, p. 868.

Upon a prosecution under this clause, viz. for knowingly sending or delivering any letter or writing demanding of any person with menaces, and without any reasonable or probable cause, any chattel, money, or valuable security, the prosecutor must prove, 1, the knowingly sending or delivering of the letter by the prisoner ; 2, the nature of the letter or writing, and that it contains a demand, with menaces, and without any reasonable or probable cause; and 3, that the demand is of some chattel, money, or valuable security.

Proof of the sending or delivering of the letter or writing.] The sending or delivering of the letter need not be immediately by the prisoner to the prosecutor, if it be proved to be sent or delivered by his means and directions, it is sufficient. Upon an indictment on the repealed statute 27 Geo. 2, c. 15, for sending a threatening letter to William Kirby, it appeared that the threats were, in fact, directed against two persons named Rodwell and Brook. Kirby received the letter by the post. The judges held that as Kirby was not threatened, the judgment must be arrested, but they intimated that if Kirby had delivered the letter to Rodwell or Brook, and a jury should think that the prisoner intended he should so deliver it, this would be a sending by the prisoner to Rodwell or Brook, and would support a charge to that effect. Paddle's case, Russ. and Ry. 484 (a). Where the prisoner dropped the letter upon the steps of the prosecutor's house, and ran away, Abbott, C. J., left it to the jury to say, whether they thought the prisoner carried the

(a) 1 Eng. C. C. 484.

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Threatening Lettersdemanding money. letter and dropped it, meaning that it should be conveyed to the prosecutor, and that he should be made acquainted with its contents, directing them to find him guilty if they were of opinion in the affirnative. Wag. staff's case, Russ. and Ry. 398 (a). So in a case upon the 9 Geo. 1, c. 22, for sending a letter demanding money; Yates, J., observed, that it seemed to be very immaterial whether the letter were sent directly to the prosecutor, or were put into a more oblique course of conveyance by which it might finally come to his hands. The fact was, that the prisoner dropped the letter into a vestry-room, which the prosecutor frequented every Sunday morning before the service began, where the sexton had picked it up, and delivered it to him. Lloyd's case, 2 East, P. C. 1122. In a note upon this case, Mr. East says quære, whether, if one intentionally put a letter in a place where it is likely to be seen and read by the [ *864 ) party for whom it is *intended, or to be found by some other person who, it is expected, will forward it to such party, this may not be said to be a sending to such party? The same evidence was given in Springett's case, (2 East, P.Č. 1115,) in support of the allegation of sending a threatening letter to the prosecutor, and no objection was taken on that ground. 2 East, P. C. 1123, (u.) So where the evidence was that the letter was in the handwriting of the prisoner, who had sent it to the post-office, whence it was delivered in the usual manner; no objection was made. Heming's case, 2 East, P. C. 11:16.

It must appear that the prisoner sent or delivered the letter in question, knowing it to be such a letter as is described in the statute. In a case upon the 27 G. 2, c. 15, the evidence was, that the prisoner delivered the letter at the gate of Newgate, to a person who was employed in doing errands for the prisoners; that this person immediately carried it to the penny, post-office, whence it was regularly conveyed, as directed, to the prosecutor, but there was no proof of the prisoner's handwriting, or that he was acquainted with the contents. Hotham, B., left it to the jury to say whether, from the fact of the prisoner having delivered the letter as before mentioned, he knew of the contents, and the jury having found the prisoner guilty, the judges held the conviction right. Girdwood's case, 1 Leach, 142. 2 East, P. C. 1120.

Where the only evidence against the prisoner was a statement he had made, that he would never have written the letter but for W. G.; Lord Abinger, C. B., held it insufficient. Howe's case, 7 C. and P. 268 (6).

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Proof of the nature of the letter or writing.] It must be proved that the letter or writing was one demanding of some person with menaces, and without any reasonable or probable cause, some chattel, &c.

The act mentions letter or writing in general, and does not specify whether it shall or shall not have a signature, or a fictitious signature, or initials; and the questions, therefore, which arose upon the 9 G. 1, c. 22, respecting the mode of signature (see Robinson's case, 2 Leach, 749, ? East, P. C. 1110,) have become immaterial. Nor need the document have the form of a letter ; any writing containing a threat of the nature mentioned in the statute, is within the section.

Proof of the nature of the letter or writingthe demand.]

The

(a) 1 Eng. C. C. 398. (6) Eng. Com. L. Rep. xxxii. 506.

letter must contain a demand with menaces, and without any reasonable or probable cause. Whether the demand is such as is laid in the indictment is a question for the jury. .Girdwood's case, 1 Leach, 142; 2 East, P. C. 1121. The demand need not be made in express words; it is sufficient if it appear from the whole tenor of the prisoner's letter. See the cases cited infra. That the demand was made with menaces, and without any reasonable or probable cause, will also appear in the same manner; but should any doubt exist upon the latter point, the prosecutor should be *called to give some evidence of the want of reasonable and pro- ( *865 ] bable cause,

A mere request, such as asking charity, without imposing any conditions, does not come within the sense or meaning of the word “ demand.” Robinson's case, 2 Leach, 749, 2 East, P. C. 1110.

The prisoner was indicted for sending a letter to the prosecutor demanding money with menaces. The letter was as follows:

“Sir, as you are a gentleman and highly respected by all who know you, I think it is my duty to inform you of a conspiracy. There is a few young men who have agreed to take from you personally a sum of money, or injure your property. I mean to say your building property. In the manner they have planned, this dreadful undertaking would be a most serious loss. They have agreed, &c. Sir, I could give you every particular information how you may preserve your property and your person, and how to detect and secure the offenders. Sir, if you will lay me a purse of thirty sovereigns upon the garden edge, close to Mr. To's garden gate, I will leave a letter in the place to inform you when this is to take place. I hope you wont attempt to seize me, when I come to take up the money and leave the note of information. Sir, you will find I am doing you a most serious favor, &c., &c.? Bolland, B., doubted whether this letter contained either a menace or a demand, and reserved the point for the opinion of the judges, who held that the conviction was wrong. Pickford's case, 4 C. and P. 227 (a).

Proof of the thing demanded.] It must appear that the thing demanded by the letter or writing was a chattel, money, or some valuable security. Where the indictment charged, that the prisoner, intending to extort money, sent a threatening letter; and it appeared that it was for the purpose of extorting a promissory note, it was held that the evidence did not support the indictment. Major's case, 2 Leach, 772; 2 East, P. C. 1118; and see Edward's case, 6 C. and P. 515 (6), ante, p. 861.

(a) Eng. Com. L. Rep. xix. 357. (6) Id. xxv. 518.

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Statute 4 Geo. 4, c. 54.) That portion of the statute 4 Geo. 4, c. 51, which relates to threats to kill or murder, or to burn or destroy, was ercepted from the repealing statute of 7 and 8 Geo. 4, c. 27, vide ante, 862.

By 4 Geo. 4, c. 54, s. 3, if any person shall knowingly and wilfully send or deliver any letter or writing, with or without any name or sigeature subscribed thereto, or with a fictitious name or signature, threatening to kill or murder any of his Majesty's subjects, or to burn or destroy his or their houses, outhouses, barns, stacks of grain, hay or straw, or shall procure, counsel, aid, or abet the commission of the said offences, or any of them, or shall forcibly rescue any person being lawfully in custody of any officer or other person, for any of the said offences, every person so offending shall, upon being thereof lawfully convicted, be adjudged guilty of felony, and shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be transported beyond the seas for life, or for such term, not less than seven years, as the court shall adjudge, or to be imprisoned only, or to be imprisoned and kept to hard labor, in the common gaol or house of correction, for any term not exceeding seven years.

In a prosecution under this act, the prosecutor must prove, 1, the knowingly and wilfully sending or delivering a letter or writing, with or without any name or signature subscribed thereto, or with a fictitious name or signature; and 2, that it was a letter threatening to kill or murder, &c. No view or intent to extort money is required by this act to constitute the offence.

Proof of the sending or delivering of the letter, &c.] The sending or delivering will be proved in the manner before mentioned, with regard to other threatening letters. Vide ante, p. 863.

Proof that the letter was one threatening to kill or murder, &c.] Whether or not the letter amounts to a threat to kill or murder, &c. within the words of the statute, is a question for the jury. The prisoner was [ *867 ] indicted (under the 27 Geo. 2, c. 15,) for sending *a letter to the prosecutor, threatening to kill or murder him. The letter was as follows:

“Sir, I am sorry to find a gentleman like you would be guilty of taking M'Allester's life away for the sake of two or three guineas, but it will not be forgot by one who is but just come home to revenge his cause. This you may depend upon; whenever I meet you I will lay my life for him in this cause. I follow the road, though I have been out of London ;

from me.

but on receiving a letter from M'Allester, before he died, for to seek revenge, I am come to town. I remain a true friend to M'Allester,

"J. W." Hotham, B., left it to the jury to consider whether this letter contained in the terms of it an actual threatening to kill or murder, directing them to acquit the prisoner, if they thought the words might import any thing less than to kill or murder. The jury having found the prisoner guilty, on a case reserved, the judges were of opinion that the conviction was right. Girdwood's case, i Leach, 142; 2 East, P. C. 1121.

The prisoners were indicted on the 27 Geo. 2, c. 15, for sending to the prosecutor the following letter :

.“ Sir-I am very sorry to acquaint you, that we are determined to set your mill on fire, and likewise to do all the public injury we are able to do you, in all your farms and seteres [lettings) which you are in possession of, without you on next day release that Ann Wood which you put in confinement. Sir, we mention in a few lines, and we hope if you have any regard for your wife and family, you will take our meaning without anything further; and if you do not, we will persist as far as we possibly can ; so you may lay your hand at your heart, and strive your uttermost ruin. I shall not mention nothing more to you, until such time as you find the few lines, a fact, with our respect. So no more at this time

" R. R.” It was proved that this was in the handwriting of one of the prisoners, and that it was thrown by the other prisoner into the prosecutor's yard, whence it was taken by a servant, and delivered to the prosecutor. The prosecutor swore that he had had a share in a mill three years before this letter was written, but had no mill at that time; that he held a farm when the letter was written and came to his hauds, with several buildings upon it.' On a case reserved, it was agreed by the judges, that as the prosecutor had no such property at the time, as the mill which was threatened to be burnt, that part of the letter must be laid out of the question. . As to the rest, Lord Kenyon, C. J., and Buller, J., were of opinion, that the letter must be understood as also importing a threat to burn the prosecutor's farm-house and buildings, but the other judges, not thinking that a necessary construction, the conviction was held wrong, and a pardon recommended. Jepson and Springett's case, 2 East, P. C. 1115.

The prisoners were charged in one count with sending a letter to the prosecutor, threatening to kill and murder him, and in a second count with threatening to burn and destroy his houses, stacks, &c. *The { *868 ] writing was as follows: "Starve Gut Butcher, if you don't go on better great will be the consequence ; what do you think you must alter an (or) must be set fire ; this came from London. i say your nose is as long rod gffg sharp as a flint 1835. You ought to pay your men." negatived the threat to put the prosecutor to death, but found that the latter threatened to fire his houses, &c. Lord Denman, C. J., had some doubts whether the question ought to have been left to the jury, and whether the latter could be, in point of law, a threatening letter to the effect

On the case being considered by the judges, they held the conviction good after verdict. Tyler's case, 1 Moo. C. C. 428 (a).

The jury

(a) 2 Eng. C. C. 428.

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