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i derest and most compassionate feelings, “ and at the same time raise our highest « indignation against the instruments of “ it. But,” he adds, “ there is no danger “ of either, from a strict adherence to " the laws.”—Really !—Is it then iinpossible to make an unjust law ? and if the law itself be unjust, may it not be the very“ instrument” which ought "to 66 raise the author's, and every body's “ highest indignation ?" I see, in the last newspapers from London, that a woman is capitallyconvicted at the Old Bailey, for privatelystealing out of a shop some gauze, value fourteen shillings and three-pence: Is there any proportion between the injury done by a theft, value fourteen shil. lings and three-pence, and the punishment of a human creature, by death, on a gibbet? Might not that woman, by her labour, have made the reparation ordained by Go:1, in paying fourfold ? Is not all punilhment inflicted beyond the

merit

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merit of the offence, so much punishment of innocence? In this light, how valt is the annual quantity, of not only injured but suffering innocence, in almost all the civilized states of Europe !

But it seems to have been thought, that this kind of innocence may be punished by way of preventing crimes. I have read, indeed, of a "cruel Turk in Barbary, who, whenever he bought a new Christian Nave, ordered him imme. diately to be hung up by the legs, and to receive a hundred blows of a cudgel on the soles of his feet, that the severe sense of the punishment, and fear of incurring it thereafter, might prevent the faults that should merit it. Our author himself would hardly approve entirely of this Turk's conduct in the government of naves; and

yet
he

appears to recommend something like it for the government of English subjects, when he applauds the reply of Judge Burnet to

the

the convict horse.stealer ; who being asked what he had to say why judgment of death should not pass against him, and answering, that it was hard to hang a man for only stealing a horse, was told by the judge, “ Man, thou art not to be “ hanged only for stealing a horse, but s that horses may not be stolen.” The man's answer, if candidly examined, will, I imagine, appear reasonable, as being founded on the eternal principle of justice and equity, that punishments should be proportioned to offences; and the judge's reply brutal and unreasonable, though the writer 6 wishes all “ judges to carry it with them whenever “ they go the circuit, and to bear it in “ their minds, as containing a wise rea“ son for all the penal statutes which

they are called upon to put in execu« tion. It at once illustrates,” says he, “ the true grounds and reasons of all ca

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pital punishments whatsoever, namely, " that erery man's property, as well as “ his life, may be held sacred and invioo late.” Is there then no difference in value between property and life? If I think it right that the crime of murder should be punished with death, not only as an equal punishment of the crime, but to prevent other murders, does it follow that I must approve of inflicting the sanie punilhment for a little invafion on my property by theft? If I am not myself so barbarous, so bloody-minded, and revengeful, as to kill a fellow-creature for stealing from me fourteen shillings and three-pence, how can I approve of a law that does it ?. Montel- . quieu, who was himself a judge, endeavours to impress other maxims. He must have known what humane judges feel on such occasions, and what the effects of those feelings; and, so far from

thinking thinking that severe and excessive

punishments prevent crimes, he asserts, as quoted by our French writer, that

L'atrocité des loix en empêche l'exé«6 cution.

« Lorsque la peine est sans mesure, on ejf "souvent obiigé de lui préférer l'impunité.

La cause de tous les relâchemens vient " de l'impunité des crimes, et non de la mo" dération des peines.'

It is said by those who know Europe generally, that there are more thefts committed and punished annually in England, than in all the other nations put together. If this be so, there must be a cause or causes for such depravity in our common people, May not one be the deficiency of justice and morality in our national government, manifested in our oppressive conduct to subjects, and unjust wars on our neighbours ? View the long-persisted in, unjust, monopolizing treatment of Ireland, at length acknow

ledged

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