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was dead or alive, or the sex of the animal, these things, which have no bearing on his guilt, either in intention or fact, enable him to come off victorious; and the circumstance is circulated among the thieves of the metropolis, and probably, wherever there is dense population, instructing them how to rob with impunity, and bid easy defiance to the laws.
But the temptations that are publicly allowed -youth and children, of both sexes, permitted to attend the fights of brutes, and more brutish men; and to ramble, in idleness and filth, a prey to the most designing among themselves, as well as to the more experienced thieves and vagabonds—drunkenness and low gambling, more especially in proportion to the density of the population, where they are capable of the greatest mischief, disregarded by those paid for repressing it, blind at once to their own duties and to the sufferings of many destitute wives and children--the public excitements to prostitution—the vindictive tone of some of our laws, which, by visiting small crimes with greater punishment than some crimes of much more heinous hue, morally reverse the relative situations of prosecutor and offender, and which the latter are very sharp sighted to discover and their imaginations to magnify; these, with other temptations too numerous and disgusting to dwell on, for which every opportunity is afforded, and a lamentable want of principle to guard against them, produce the crimes and enormities which astonish all who do not look at the causes, and the few who do look at the causes may naturally say, why how could it be otherwise while these things are allowed ?
The ever permiting, in prisons, experienced thieves to have any, the least connexion with the
young and early offenders, is so obviously mischievous, that no moderate expense, pains, or time, should deter the country from applying remedies without delay in every practicable instance. Indeed, no person should be suffered to visit a criminal inmate of a prison without bringing from a minister, warden, or overseer in his parish, a testimony that he appeared of sober life, and an obvious means of livelihood ; and any one being detected in introducing whatever had an immoral tendency, as playing cards (not that there would be any harm in them if they did not excite gambling or divert from the performance of duties,) immoral books or prints, spirituous liquors, &c. should be taken before a magistrate, and on conviction fined, and in default of payment, committed to hard labour. Idleness in begging and other necessitous children should be tenderly yet assiduously combated. If children, whether poor or rich, be brought up orderly, they will when out be cheerful and active; and if conduct or conversation in children be disgraceful, it would be a great kindness to them, to their friends, and to the community, to provide them employment and support : thus would the succession of crime be a good deal cut off, and their good behaviour would reward the country in a greater proportion than its expenditure, and it might be well for humane persons who encourage begging-children to learn, that from the confessions of criminals, begging in childhood was the immediate precursor of the crimes of very many of them.
and obscure individual never connected with either legislature or law to imagine he could frame a practical and useful code; but it appears, the chief difficulties which English legislators have met for several centuries in their attempts to amend, have been the insuperable and fatal errors of the present code, nay, so impossible is it to engraft usefulness on a system of falsehood and nonsense, that it appears to the writer there would be more difficulty in making a single law tangible and useful, engrafted on the present plan, than in framing a whole set of useful laws under the simple heads of—means of preventiondiscovery and apprehension—classification and employment of offenders, their good order and cleanliness-simplicity and promptitude of trial and punishment_lists of offences in classes, with maximum and minimum of punishment to each class, adapted to the mischievous tendency of the crime, the malevolent nature of it, and the real probability of useful warning to the offender or others.
Moderate rewards to the detectors of theft, whether under hue and cry, or previous or 67
subsequent discovery, payable out of the property recovered, and estimated with reference to its amount, and other circumstances.
An efficient magistracy, accountable for all their conduct to a superior body, to sit periodically.
A police, whose remuneration should always stand in the inverse ratio of the number of crimes committed, their magnitude and atrocity.
A strict injunction in the legal code to magistrates, judges, and juries, never to suffer any convicted criminal to escape a punishment provided for his crime, unless his state of mind exonerated him from being accountable for his actions.
With the exception of members of the legal profession, there are few reflecting people in this country, but would heartily join in the following positions, and the number is likely to increase and preponderate more and more.
Now whereas it appears that the laws of these realms are inadequate to their object, absurd in the neglect of their application to offenders, particularly the youth, and appear,