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nor men to be apprehended upon the mere suggestion of idle?? ! ness or vagrancy.
nor to be confined to certain districts ; nor the inhabitants of each district to be made responsible for one another's behaviour ; nor passports to be exacted from all persons entering or leaving the kingdom : least of all will they tolerate the appearance of an armed force, or of military law; or suffer the streets and public roads to be guarded and patrolled by soldiers; or, lastly, entrust the police with such discretionary powers as may make sure of the guilty however they involve the innocent. These expedients, although arbitrary and rigorous, are many of them effectual ; and in proportion as they render the commission or concealment of crimes more difficult, they subtract from the necessity of overt punishment.-Great Cilies multiply crimes by presenting easier opportunities and more incentives to libertinism, which in low life is commonly the introductory stage to other enormities ; by collecting thieves and robbers into the same neighbourhood, which enables them to form communications, and confederacies that. increase their art and courage, as well as strength, and wicked. ness; but principally by the refuge they afford to villainy, in the means of concealment, and of subsisting in secrecy,
which crowded towns supply to men of every description. These temptations and facilities can only be counteracted by adding to the number of capital punishments.--But a third cause, which increases the frequency of capital executions in England, is a defect of the laws, in not being provided with any
other punishment than that of death, sufficiently terrible to keep offenders in awe. Transportation, which is the sentence second in the order of severity, appears to me to answer the purpose of example very imperfectly; not only because exile is in reality a slight punishment to those, who have neither property, nor friends, nor reputation, nor regular means of subsistence at home; and because their situation becomes little worse by their crime, than it was before they committed it ; but because the punishment, whatever it be, is unobserved and unknown.
A transported convict may suffer under his sentence, but his sufferings are removed from the view of his countrymen : his misery is unseen ; his condition strikes no terror into the minds of those, for whose warning and admonition it was intended. This chasm in the scale of punishment produces also two farther imperfections in the adminstration of penal justice : the first is, that the same punishment is extended to crimes of very different character and malignancy; the second, that punishments separated by a great interval, are assigned to crimes hardly distinguishable from each other, in their guilt and mischief.
The end of punishment is twofold, a nendment, and example. In the first of these, the reformation of criminals, little has cver been effected, and little I fear is practicable. From every species of punishment that has hitherto been devised, from imprisonment and exilç, from pain and infamy, malefactors return more hardened in their crimes, and more instructed. If there be anything that shakes the soul of a determined villain, it is the expectation of approaching death. The horrors of this situation may cause such a wrench in the mental organs, as to give them a holding turn : and I think it probable, that many of those who are executed, would, if they were delivered at the point of death, retain such a remembrance of their sensations, as might preserve them from relapsing into their former crimes. But this is an experiment that from its nature cannot be repeated often.
| Barbarous spectacles of human agony, are justly found fạult with, as tending to harden and deprave the public feelings, and to destroy that sympathy with which the sufferings of our fellow creatures ought always to be scen; or if no effect of this kind follow from them, they counteract in some measure their own design, by sinking mens' abhorrence of the crime into commiseration of the criminal. But if a mode of execution could be devised, which would augment the horror of the punishe
ment, without offending or impairing the public sensibility by cruel or unseemly objects of death, it might add something to the efficacy of the example, and, by being reserved for a few atrocious crimes, might also enlarge the scale of punishment; an addition to which seems wanting ; for as the matter remains at present, you hany a malefactor for a simple robbery, and can do no more to the villain who has poisonel his father. Somewhat of the sort we have been describing, was the proposal not long since suggested, of casting murderers into a den of wild beasts, where they would perish in a manner dreadful to the imagination, yet concealed from the view.
In estimating the comparative malignancy of crimes of violence, regard is to be had, not only to the proper and intended mischief of the crime, but to the fright occasioned by the attack, to the general alarm excited by it in others, and to the consequences which may attend future attempts of the same kind.
Of frauds or of injuries which are effected without force, the most noxious kinds are forgeries, counterleitiug or die minishing the coin, and the stealing of letters in the course of their conveyance ; inasmuch as these practices tend to deprive the public of accommodations, which not only improve the conveniences of social life, but are essential to the prosperity, and even the existence, of commerce. crimes it may be said, that although they seem to aidiet property alone, the mischief of their operation dos i tere minate there. For let it be supposed, that the remissiuss er lenity of the laws should in any country, suffer offenens of this sort to grow into such a frequency, is to reazilerine use of money, the circulation of bills, or the pure Cocina veyance of letters no longer safe or practicauli; at troi flow, but thiat every species of trade and of activity cut decline under these discouragements; íuc bwin O.
sistence fail, by which the inhabitants of the country are supported; the country itself, where the intercourse of civil life was so endangered and defective, be deserted : and that, beside the distress and poverty which the loss of employment would produce to the industrious and valuable part of the existing community, a rapid depopulation must take place, each execution becoming less numerous than the last, till solitude and barrenness overspread the land : until a desolation similar to what obtains in many countries of Asia, which were once the most civilized and frequented parts of the world, succeed in the place of crowded cities, of cultivated fields, of happy and well-peopled regions. When we carry therefore forwards our views to the more distant, but not less certain consequences of these crimes, we perceive that, although no living creature be destroyed by them, yet human life is diminished ; that an offence, the particular consequence of which deprives only an individual of a small portion of his prosperity, and which even in its general tendency seems to do nothing more than to obstruct the enjoyment of certain public conveniences, may nevertheless, by its alternate effects, conclude in the laying waste of human existence. This observation will enable those who regard the divine rule of “ life for life, and blood for blood,” as the only authorized and justifiable measure of capital punishment, to perceive, with respect to the quality and effects of the actions, a greater resemblance than they suppose to exist between certain atrocious frauds, and those crimes which attack personal safety.
In the case of forgeries there appears a substantial difference between the forging of bills of exchange, or of securities which are circulated, and of which the circulation and cur. rency are found to serve and facilitate valuable purposes of commerce; and the forging of bonds, leases, mortgages, or of instruments which are not commonly transferred from one hand to another; because, in the former case, credit is nca
cessarily given to the signature ; and, without that credit, the negotiation of such property could not be carrie:l on, nor the public utility sought from it, be attained ; in the other case, all possibility of deceit might be precluded, by a direct communication between the parties, or by due care in the choice of their agents, with little interruption to business, and without destroying or much encumbering the uses for which these instruments are calculated. This destruction I apprehend to be not only real, but precise enough to afford a line of division between forgeries, which, as the law now stards, are almost universally capital, and punished with undistinguishing severity.
(Paley's Moral Philosophy.)
PUBLISHED IN TIE YEAR 1750.
OF THE SEVERITY OF PUNISHMENTS IN DIFFERENT
The severity of punishments is fitter for despotic governments, whose principle is terror, than for a monarchy, or a republic, whose spring is honor and virtue.
In moderate governments, the love of one's country, shame, and the fear of blame, are restraining motives, capable of preventing a multitude of crimes. Here the greatest punishment of a bad action is conviction. The civil laws have therefore a
* Chap. ix.