The Riot Act of 1714
Now you too can Read The Riot Act !
here is is folks, a scanned image the original riot act of 1714, repealed sometime in the nineteen sixties.
read it out to a crowd, but dont wait for the Kings' Thugs; run like hell!
God ▀av the King!
Benefit of clergy is a legal term. From medieval
times, it meant that a bona-fide clergyman could not be executed by the
civil authority. A reprieve from execution for an ordinary felon thus
became known as benefit-of-clergy. Judges had a measure of
discretion when applying the death penalty even though in these old
times the death penalty applied to mostly everything. For rioters,
under this act ,the judge had NO such discretion.
It certainly did not mean that the clergy were excluded from your
execution! Reading the riot act simply meant shouting out (from a
safe distance !) the words prescribed on the second page.
This image was taken from an ancient Statute Book, it reads a bit like
Hansard, but there was no Hansard service running in the parliament of
Captain Carrot, in one of Terry
Pratchett's remarkable books , said "Whereas..." to a riotously
assembled crowd and was (wisely) stopped by Commander Vimes. I forget
which book it was now.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riot_Act
there is more but that is all I have. My thanks to my old friend Irving
Gribbish for finding this in a dusty statute book somewhere in the
bowels of the Victorian State Library in Melbourne.