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she hid some white-washed farthings be- and slipped it under her cloak; the shophind her stays, on which the jury found man saw her, and she laid it down : for her guilty as an accomplice with her mas- this she was hanged. Her defence was, ter in the treason. The master was hang- (I have the trial in my pocket) “ That ed last Wednesday; and the faggots all she had lived in credit, and wanted for lay ready, no reprieve came till just as the nothing, till a press-gang came and cart was setting out, and the girl would stole her husband from her; but, since have been burnt alive on the same day, then, she had no bed to lie on; nothing had it not been for the humane but casual to give her children to eat; and they were interference of lord Weymouth. Good almost naked; and perhaps she might have God! Sir, are we taught to execrate the done something wrong, for she hardly fires of Smithfield, and are we lighting knew what she did.” The parish officers them now to burn a poor harmless child testified the truth of this story; but, it for hiding a white-washed farthing? And seems, there had been a good deal of shopyet, this barbarous sentence, which ought lifting about Ludgate; an example was to make men shudder at the thought of thought necessary, and this woman was shedding blood for such trivial causes, is hanged for the comfort and satisfaction of brought as a reason for more hanging and some shopkeepers in Ludgate - street. burning. It was recommended to me not When brought to receive sentence, she many days ago, to bring in a Bill to make behaved in such a frantic manner, as prov. it treason to coin copper as well as gold ed her mind to be in a distracted and deand silver. Yet, in the formation of these sponding state; and the child was suck. canguinary laws, humanity, religion, and ing at her breast when she set out for Typolicy, are thrown out of the question. I burn. This one wise argument is always suffi- Let us reflect a little on this woman's cient: If you hang for one fault, why not fate. The poet says, for another? If for stealing a sheep, why « An honest man's the noblest work of God.”
18He might have said with equal truth, that why not for a handkerchief that is worth
“ A beauteous woman 's the noblest work of eighteen pence, and so on? We therefore
God." ought to oppose the increase of these new laws; the more, because every fresh one But for what cause was God's creation begets twenty others..
robbed of this its noblest work? It was for When a member of parliament brings no injury; but for a mere attempt to in a new hanging law, he begins with clothe two naked children by unlawful mentioning some injury that may be done means. Compare this, with what the to private property, for which a man is not state did, and with what the law did. The yet liable to be hanged, and then proposes state bereaved the woman of her husthe gallows as the specific, infallible means band, and the children of a father, of cure and prevention, but the Bill in its who was all their support; the law deprogress often makes crimes capital, that prived the woman of her life, and the scarce deserve whipping. For instance, children of their remaining parent, exthe Shop-lifting Act was to prevent posing them to every danger, insult, and bankers and silversmiths, and other shops, merciless treatment, that destitute and where there are commonly goods of great helpless orphans suffer. Take all the cirvalue, from being robbed; but it goes so cumstances together, I do not believe far, as to make it death to lift any thing that a fouler murder was ever committed off a - counter with an intent to steal. against law, than the murder of this woman Under this. Act, one Mary Jones was exe- by law. Some who hear me, are perhaps cuted, whose case I shall just mention : it blaming the judges, the jury, and the hang. was at the time when press warrants were man; but neither the judge, jury nor hangissued on the alarm about Falkland's man are to blame: they are but ministeriał Islands. The woman'shusband was pressed, agents; the true hangman is the member their goods seized for some debts of his, of parliament; he who frames the bloody' and she, with twosmall children, turned into law is answerable for all the blood that is the streets a-begging. It is a circumstance shed under it. But there is a further connottobe forgotten, that she was very young, sideration still. Dying as these unhappy (under 19) and most remarkably hand- wretches often do, who knows what their some. She went to a linen-draper's shop, future lot. may be! Perhaps, my hon. took some coarse linen off the counter, friend who moves this Bill, has not yet con
sidered himself in the light of an executioner; no man has more humanity, no man a stronger sense of religion than himself; and I verily believe, that at this unoment he wishes as little success to his hanging law as I do. His nature must recoil at making himself the cause, not only of shedding the blood, but perhaps destroying the soul of his fellow-creature. But the wretches who die are not the only sufferers; there are more and greater objects of compassion still: I mean the surviving relations and friends. Who knows how many innocent children we may be dooming to ignominy and wretchedness? Who knows how many widows hearts we may break with grief, how many grey hairs of parents we may bring with sorrow to the grave 2 The Mosaic law ordained, that for a sheep or an ox, four and five fold should be restored ; and for robbing a house, double; that is, one fold for reparation, the rest for example; and the forfeiture was greater, as the property was more exposed. If the thief came by night it was lawful to kill him; but, if he came by day, he was only to make restitution; and if he had nothing, he was to be sold for his theft. This is all that God required in felonies; nor can I find in history any sample of such laws as ours, except a code that was framed at Athens by Draco. He made every offence capita, upon this modern way of reasoning, “That petty crimes deserved death, and he knew nothing worse for the greatest.” His laws, it was said, were written not with ink, but with blood; but they were of short duration, being all repealed by Solon—except one for murder. An attempt was made some years ago by an hon. friend of mine to repeal some of the most absurd and cruel of our capital laws. The Bill passed this House, but was rejected by the Lords, for this reason, “It was an innovation, they said, and subversion of law.” The very reverse is truth. These hanging laws are themselves innovations. No less than three and thirty of them passed during the last reign. 1 believe, I myself was the first person who checked the progress of them. When the great Alfred came to the throne, he found the kingdom over-run with robbers; but the silly expedient of hanging never came into his head: he instituted a police, which was to make every township answerable for the felonies committed in it. Thus property became the guardian of property; and all robbery was so effec
tually stopped, that (the historians tell us) in a very short time a man might travel through the kingdom unarmed with his
purse in his hand.
Treason, murder, rape, and burning a dwelling-house, were all the crimes that were liable to be punished with death by our good old common law. And such was the tenderness, such the reluctance to shed blood, that if recompence could possibly be made, life was not to be touched. Treason being against the king, the remission of that crime was in the crown. In case of murder itself, if compensation could be made, the next of kin might discharge the prosecution, which, if once discharged, could never be revived. If a ravisher could make the injured woman satisfaction, the law had no power over him; she might marry the man under the gallows, if she pleased, and take him from the jaws of death to the lips of matrimony. But so fatally are we deviated from the benignity of our ancient laws, that there is now under sentence of death an unfortunate clergyman (Dr. Dodd) who made satisfaction for the injury he attempted; the satisfaction was accepted; and yet the acceptance of the satisfaction and the prosecution bear the same date. There does not occur to my thoughts a proposition more abhorrent from nature, and from reason, than that in a matter of property, when restitution is made, blood should still be required. But in regard to our whole system of criminal law, and much more to our habits of thinking and reasoning upon it, there is a sentence of the great Roman orator, which I wish those who hear me to remark; exhorting the senate to put a stop to executions, he says, “Nolite, quirites, hanc saevitiam diutius pati, quae non modo tot cives atrocissimè sustulit, sed humanitatem ipsam ademit consuetudine incommoderum.” Having said so much on the general principles of our Criminal Laws, I have only a short word or two to add, on the two propositions now before us. One, as moved by the honourable gentleman (Mr. Combe) to hang persons that wilfully set fire to ships; the other, moved as an amendment by my hon. friend (sir Charles Bunbury) is to send such offenders to work seven years on the Thames. The question arises from the alarming events of the late fires at Portsmouth and Bristol; for which the incendiary is put to death. But, will an act of parliament prevent such men as John the Painter from coming into the world, or controul them when they are in it? You might as well bring in a Bill to prevent the appearance, or regulate the motions, of a comet. John the Painter was so far from fearing death, that he courted it; was so far from concealing his act, that he told full as much as was true, to his own conviction. When once a villain turns enthusiast, he is above all law. Punishment is his reward, and death his glory. But, though this law will be useless against villains, it is dangerous, and may be fatal to many an innocent person. There is not an honest industrious carpenter or sailor, who ma not be endangered in the course of his daily labour; they are constantly using fire and combustible matter about shipping, tarring and pitching, and calking; accidents are continually happening; and who knows how many of those accidents may be attributed to design Indeed, the Act says, the firing must be done “wilfully and maliciously;” but judges and juries do not always distinguish right betwixt the fact and the intention. It is the province of a jury only to try the fact by the intention; but they are too apt to judge of the intention by the fact. Justices of peace, however, are not famed for accurate and nice distinctions; and all the horrors of an ignominious death would be too much to threaten every honest ship-wright with, for what may happen in the necessary work of his calling.
But, as I think punishment necessary for so heinous an offence, and, as the end of all punishment is example; of the two modes of punishment I shall prefer that which is most profitablein point of example. Allowing, then, the punishment of d ath its utmost force, it is only short and momentary; that of labour permanent; and so much example is gained in him who is reserved for labour, more than in him who is put to death, as there are hours in the life of the one, beyond the short moment of the other’s death. .
Mr. Henry Dundas spoke against the motion.
The question was put: for the words 10; against them 39; the Bill was ordered to be reported, but it was afterwards dropped.
Debate in the Commons on the Budget.] May 14. Lord North rose. His lordship observed, that the expences of the American war were great, but they were necessary, and would of course require a L VOL. XIX.]
suitable provision. The arts of designing men had wrought upon our subjects in that country, to throw off her constitutional dependency on this, and to resist our lawful authority, by an appeal to arms. Government had taken every step which was likely to recall the colonists to a proper sense of the duty they owed to the mothercountry. Lenient measures had, however, an effect very different from what might
reasonably be expected; our moderation
only increased their insolence; our tenderness their disobedience; and what arose from sentiments the most indulgent and affectionate on our part, was interpreted to spring from motives which never existed. Our moderation was looked upon to have proceeded from timidity, and our reluctance to coercion to an inability to support our just authority. The avowal of independence cleared up what had been hitherto deeply involved in obscurity; and that in such a manner, and accompanied with such striking circumstances, as to afford reasonable expectations, that from that instant there would but two descriptions of men exist in this country; such as would be for exerting the whole strength of this country in support of its legislative authority, and such, as looking upon the task attended with great expence and difficulty, might think it better to withdraw our care and protection entirely. These expectations, however rational, did not turn out as might be expected; for the very persons who think America of the utmost importance to the strength and national dignity of Great Britain, nevertheless contend, that the surest means of recovering it, is to abandon our rights, by way of insuring them. The other description of men, who might think the recovery of America not worth the trouble, and expence, were so inconsiderable in point of number, that he mentioned them merely for form sake; so that he might, stating the exception of the two descriptions just mentioned, justly affirm, that there was a very great majority of the nation at large, who were for prosecuting the war against our rebellious subjects in America, till they should acknowledge the legislative supremacy of parliament, or be compelled to it. His lordship then observed, that from a variety of concurrent circumstances, nothing decisive had been attempted till late in the course of the last summer, when, considering that the time for carrying on military operations had been far advanced, our arms effected as much as the most
sanguine expectations could have formed. | 105,0001. half-pay to reduced officers, So matters stood at the close of the cam - 93,0001. horse guards reduced, 1,0001. paign. We had now every reason to ex. American extraordinaries, 1,200,0001. pect, that the present would effectually Hessian chasseurs, 36,0001. Hanau ditto, put an end to the distracted state of that 16,000). Anspach troops, 39,0007, deficicountry, by compelling the obstinate to a ency, Hessian chasseurs, 3,000l. total exdue submission to the laws, and by afford./pence of army, 3,773,0001. Ordnance, ing a protection to those, who, from com- 320,0001. extra ditto 272,0001. in all, pulsion, had been forced into measures 592,0001. Miscellaneous services : Scotch they secretly abhorred. The expences of roads and bridges, 7,0001. civil establishthis just and necessary war were great, ment in America and Africa, 27,0001. and the burdens consequent of such mea. American surveys, 3,0001. Gernian hossures heavy; however, the propriety of pitals, 41,000l. sufferers in · America, them being acknowledged, it remained 33,000l. convicts on Thames, 1,8001. with government only to provide for those Commons addresses, 13,000/. expences expences in such a manner, as to throw advanced for inquiries relative to the state the weight as much as possible upon the of the poor throughout England and opulent;, or, in other words, to tax pro | Wales, 5001. in all, 144,0001. Exchequer perty instead of labour. In a commercial bills discharged, 1,500,0001. vote of credit and manufacturing country, customs, ex discharged, 1,000,0001. civil list arrears, cises, or taxes, which eventually affect the 618.000l. prizes to be paid in lottery, merchant or manufacturer, ought to be 500,0001. grants 1776, 61,0001. three and avoided; so ought all taxes of any kind, a hali per cent. 1758, 44,0001. land, which are felt by the lower part of the 250,0001. malt, 200,0001, in all 558,0001. community, either as raising the price of Total of supplies, including 56,9901. exraw materials, or falling heavy upon ar- cess of ways and means, 12,592,5311. ticles of daily and necessary consumption. Before he proceeded to state the sum he This could not always be the case, par- | intended to fund, he observed, that a tax ticularly in great operations of finance ; upon servants was often strongly recombecause, when large sums are to be raised, mended, as those who kept them were they require suitable provisions, and must always presumed to be proper objects of reach the body of the people, who are the taxation; that the operation of the tax great consumers; but in instances where would have a double effect; respecting the sums wanted will admit of it, the ob- those in the high classes of life, it would jects of taxation should ever be property be taxing a luxury, and one too of the and the luxuries of life. The taxes, there. first magnitude; and as to the middling fore, which he meant to propose to the people of all descriptions, it could not be House, were to be laid strictly conformable very severely felt. It was designed to be to the system of taxation he had now ex. a tax upon male servants. With such as plained. They would be productive kept two male servants, and all who kept taxes; they would fall on property, where a greater number, it might most certainly that object was in contemplation; or upon be deemed a luxury, which rose in pro. what was generally understood to bear a portion to the number. Some kept thirty direct relation to the luxuries of life. or more male servants. Every one would
His lordship then proceeded to state the readily agree, that men of that description different items granted in the committee might well afford to pay a guinea each. of supply, under the respective heads of Descend downwards to the person who expenditure. He said, the expence of kept but two, the principle held good. If maintaining seamen, including 45,000 the tax should press hard upon any person marines, was 2,340,0001. ordinary of navy, of that description, all he had to do was 400,8051. buildings, 465,5001. Greenwich to keep but one. There was but one hospital, 4,0001. navy bills paid off, | plausible objection to the tax; and it was, 1,000,0001. in all 4,210,305l. Army in that it would press hard upon great numAmerica, &c. 648,0091. staff in Great Bri. bers of people who kept but one, and did tain, 11,4701. Hanoverians in Gibraltar, not keep a second; persons who possessed &c. 56,0741. Hanau troops, 18,0001. ditto but scanty incomes, &c. Even in that Waldeck, 17,0001. do. Brunswick, 93,0001. case, he doubted much whether the tax Hessians, 336,0001. provisions for foreign would be much felt. Few, indeed, kept a troops, 41,0001. deficiencies ditto, 7,0001. male servant who would have just reason artillery ditto, 48,000l. Chelsea hospital, to complain ; there might be some excep
tions; but it was impossible for the mind of man to frame a general tax, that would not fall seemingly heavy upon some individuals. Besides, as the tax was expected to produce a large sum, and was taken in the ways and means accordingly, it would be very improper to make such exception, on purpose to relieve persons of that description from the tax; because it might, in fact, exonerate a very great number of persons that were well able to pay. For instance, those who kept but one servant would not only avoid the tax, but he that kept two, to avail himself of the exemption, might discharge one; and thus a very great number, much the greater who were to contribute to the tax, would be totally exempted. For these reasons, he would propose it to be a general tax; because it was intended to be productive, which it never could, if those who were to contribute so largely to it were to be exempted, in order to free a few individuals, who might not be proper objects of a tax, intended to be laid on luxury. Computing, therefore, that there were about 100,000 male servants in this country, liable to pay the tax at one guinea per annum, he should take it at that computation, which would produce 105,000l. He observed, that it was only designed to tax servants retained for luxury, not those employed in trade, manufactures, commerce, &c. The next tax he proposed to lay, was an additional duty on all deeds and paper writings sealed. The shilling stamp laid on the 7th Geo. 2, produced 32,000l. the tax laid on the last year produced rather more; an additional tax, therefore, of 18d. would produce about 45,000l. He meant to extend it to certain transfers of property in the northern part of the kingdom, to surrenders of copyhold estates in England, which, at a very low computation, would produce 10,000l. per annum; so that the whole of the stamp duties would amount to 55,000l. He estimated those duties very low, for though there was an additional shilling laid upon deeds the preceding session, they produced an increasing revenue. The duties laid on the materials used in the making of glass on importation was a very impolitic one, because it tended to encourage the foreign manufacture, and discourage our own. He should, therefore, move to have the duty upon importation repealed, to have additional duties, nearly equal to a prohibition, laid upon
wrought or manufactured glass imported; which would, at least as far as the home consumption was concerned, give us the whole of the manufacture. It must be by the way of an excise; it was unavoidable; but when the smallness of the duty was considered, and the great advantages balanced against it, he trusted it would be found every way acceptable and beneficial. To effect this, he proposed to repeal the duties laid, by the 19th of the late king, on all materials or metals imported, and used in the making of glass; and to insure the monopoly, to lay a duty of 16d. per pound, on all enamelled, stained, and paste glass, window glass, and glass cakes; and 4s. per dozen on all bottles imported. This would of necessity keep the whole glass manufactory within the kingdom. It would lower the materials, and totally prevent the native manufacturer to be under-sold. In consideration of this very great encouragement to enable the manufacturer to pay the tax, he would propose to lay the following excises; that is to say, 7s. per hundred on all spread glass; 14s. on all other window glass; 3s.6d. per cwt. upon all materials prepared and used in the making of common bottles, not being phials, or intended to hold chymical preparations, garden glass, and other phials, made of common bottles. This tax, he computed, would bring in about 45,000l. The last tax he had in contemplation, was a tax upon another species of property, upon estates, houses, and goods, sold by auction. The tax was intended to answer more purposes than those of mere finance. Auctions were multiplied of late years, in all parts of the kingdom, to that excess, as to be very mischievous to every fair trader; and in many cases were attended with circumstances of gross fraud and imposition. But even where they were accompanied with no such circumstances, they were fair objects of taxation, and were already taxed in Holland, the country in Europe where the public burdens were most judiciously laid on. If the manner of paying a tax had any thing to recommend it, the present would; for it would at all times be paid with facility, from the produce of the sale, without putting the person who was to pay it to any difficulty. He believed it would be a very productive tax, but he should take it at 37,000l., much under the mark. As auctioneering was become so extremely profitable a business, and from which such