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individuals ought not to be subjected to, when furthering the ends of justice. Besides, the punishment after such a delay loses much of its effect, for the purpose of example: the crime is forgotten, the punishment only is considered, and the offender becomes an object of compassion.
As a consequence of the over-severity of punishment in some instances
of its total insufficiency in others of the uncertainty, delays, and expense of prosecuting-of the knowledge that throwing a juvenile offender into prison will ruin his principles and character for ever, arises the evil of unwillingness to prosecute. This disinclination is well known, and duly appreciated by offenders, and forms a prominent ingredient among the encouraging circumstances of their vocation. To overcome this disinclination, and to procure informations against offenders, public rewards are permanently offered. This has led to shocking cases of false witness, conspiracy, and unjust convictions. It has produced an order of men, who make Informing the business of their lives. These men are pests of society; they must find offenders, or their occupation is gone. If offenders ready made to their purpose are not discoverable, we have seen that they either excite men to become offenders, or falsely accuse them of being so. A modern act of parliament, to prevent the falsification of parish registers, rather unwittingły, it is presumed, has offered a check to this tribe, It gives to the informer half the penalty, as usual, the other half to the king; but the penalty to be divided betwixt these parties, is SEVEN ¡YEARS' TRANSPORTATION,
INTRODUCTORY PROPOSITIONS TO AN IMPROVED
SYSTEM OP PENAL LAW.
THE OBJECTS ENTERTAINED ARE: 1. The formation of a Code of Criminal Laws in which crimes and penalties are clearly defined; justly proportioned, and systematically arranged.
2. The rejection of all laws and restraints which are not of obo vious public utility, of all fictions, and of all présumptions inconsistent with plain sense, and also of all unnecessary derbage.
3. The prevention of crimes in preference to the reformation of criminals.
4. The pure, speedy, and cheap administration of justice.
THE DUTIES OF ALL MEN ARE: 5. To render to every one his due. 6. To act without causing unjust annoyance to any one.
7. To co-operate under the direction of Government for mutual security and welfare.
In furtherance of these objects and duties, the following propositions are submitted.
8. The law ought to extend equally over all the members of a community, and to reach its highest as well as its lowest members." “ Either law or force prevails in civil society.” (Bacon's Doctrine of Governments, p. 242. Ed. 1793.) “Of Law there can be no less acknowledged than, that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world. All things in heaven and on earth do her homage; the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempt from her power, both angels and men and creatures of what condition soever; though each in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy." (Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity.) Of Force, it may be added, her best commands are received with reluctance, her authority lasts no longer than her power is superior, and the individual whose will directs it, is invariably marked by jealousy, and oftentimes becomes the victim of hatred and revenge.
9. The laws ought to be consistent one with another, and ought not to be more numerous than is absolutely requisite for the maintenance of Justice and the good of the community. Individual enterprise, exertions, and enjoyments, ought never to be restrained or embarrassed by laws of questionable utility.
10. There ought to be no wrong without a practical legal remedy or punishment. It is not in the nature of man to sit down contentedly under injuries. Resentment of wrongs is a natural and useful feeling, for the dread of it checks the unjust in their designs. But sufferers are bad judges of the quantum of retribution due to their respective wrongs. The law of society undertakes this important task, but if it fails to provide redress, the law of nature supplies the deficiency. Individuals then endeavour to obtain satisfaction by means of their own; whence acts of personal vengeance, open or secret, chiefly prevail in countries where the administration of Justice is defective.
· 11. Fiction, deceit, and chicanery, ought not to be endured in the construction and administration of the laws. The object of all good legislation is to discourage these bad qualities, and to support truth, sincerity, and honesty; words and expressions therefore ought to be construed according to their received meaning with the generality of mankind, and no exception or plea allowed which is inconsistent with good sense and plain dealing.
12. In defining the boundaries of offences, care should be taken to set out the exact limits, the whole of the limits, and nothing beyond the limits. While comprehensiveness is aimed at, let not the arm of the law extend so far as to include the innocent in its grasp; for when this is done, the quiet of the people, and also their safety, are exposed to the attacks.of vindictive and corrupt men.
“Certainty is so essential to a law, (says the great Lord Bacon,) that a law without it cannot be just. A law ought to give warning before it strikes, and it is a true maxim, that the best laws leave least to the breast of the Judge.” The same authority adds in another place, “ That may be esteemed a good law which is, Ist. clear and certain in its sense; 2nd. just in its command; 3rd. commodious in the execution; 4th. agreeable to the form of government; and 5th. productive of virtue in the subject."
13. Small offences ought to be vigilantly noticed and promptly punished, they are the first steps toward great crimes: by arresting these effectually, crimes are checked ab initio. It is much better to prevent men from becoming criminals, than to endeavour to reform them after they have been suffered to become so. Lord Bacon says, “ In courts of Justice, let the first overtures and intermediate parts of all great offences be punished, though the end were not accomplished. And this should be the principal use of such courts, for it is the part of discipline to punish the first buddings of offence, and the part of clemency to punish the intermediate actions and prevent them taking effect." Doctrine of Government, p. 248.
14. The measure of punishment due to different offences, ought to be ascertained and laid down by the law, as neurly as possible ; so that the citizen may distinctly see the punishment he will incur upon misconduct; that that important part of a law, its penalty, may not be subject to the favor or aversion of a Judge, and that the Judge may be relieved from the pain, trouble, and responsibility of determining the amount of penalty.
[To be continued.]
It is said that the Dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies has at length been resolved upon. I congratulate France upon it. An opportunity is offered to her to pronounce herself upon her destiny. If henceforth she is not free, she may thank herself for her slavery. She will have spontaneously sanctioned it; she will have given herself up to it of her own free will; and, whatever may be the yoke imposed upon her, she will have no right to complain.
No doubt the career which the determination of the Government will present to her will be beset with many difficulties, and probably strewed with some snares.
Opinion, which when a popular election is the subject, ought, more than in any other circumstances, to enjoy an entire independence, has no means of making itself known, no organ to announce itself.
The persons of all the citizens are by law at the mercy of Ministers. I do not enquire if the Ministers abuse this power :
When a law exists, obedience to that law becomes a duty, and I should be always the first to exhort citizens to obedience; but at the same time that we obey we are allowed to ask what a law is; and those, above all others, have not the right of imposing silence upon us, who whilst the ancient law of elections was in force, heaped contempt, blame, and invective, upon it. I am not, therefore, afraid of overstepping the bounds of legal liberty by saying, that every law of exception directed against the legal liberty of individuals, is in opposition to all the principles guaranteed by the Charter, to every principle invoked by France before the Revolution in 1789, and which that Revolution has caused to be forgotten. When the Parliament of Paris, in a decree of the 3rd May, 1788, declared " That the right of each citizen, a right without which all others are useless, was, not to be arrested by any order whatever, without being immediately brought before the