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ad frauds of a more heinous kind, from operating on the malefactor's lough not accompanied with vio- mind as a source of alarm at the cance or terror. He was quite ready pital punishment, actually lessened > allow, that here some serious dif. the terrors of transportation. Exculties presented themselves, but ulting at his probable escape from -ill he argued that this division of the more dreadful infiction, his joy rimes was clearly distinguishable and satisfaction eclipsed and obscurom the other classes of felonies hered those apprehensions with which ad noticed. Upon such an exten- he would otherwise contemplate the ive and important question he wish. penalties which he was certainly to :d not to be understood as giving suffer. Exile appeared to him not a any decisive opinion : but he put this punishment, but a refuge. In supto the House, not that judicial dis. port of this opinion, he would quote cretion should be entirely taken a. the authority of one whom, if he way, for it ought to be allowed an could not describe him as an eminent extensive range, and nothing could lawyer, all would agree to have been be more unjust than an undeviating deeply skilled in human nature, as rule of law; but whether it was con- well as a most active and experienced venient, upon the whole view of the Magistrate-he alluded to the celesubject, that the discretion of judges brated Henry Fielding. In a work should extend to life and death, in published by that gentleman, at the cases where the ordinary punishment period when the first parliamentary was transportation for life, or for li- inquiry was in progress, and entitled, mited periods? This question had “A Treatise on the Causes of Crime, : been first started in Parliament by there would be found this observa

his beloved and lamented friend, to tion—" A single pardon excites a whose memory justice had already greater degree of hope in the minds been done in this House by an ho of criminals than twenty executions nourable member, whose kindred do of fear.” But another most imvirtues and kindred eloquence pecu- portant consideration was, the effect liarly qualified him for the melancholy of such laws in deterring witnesses task. The question with regard to from coming forward with their evithe discretion that ought to be exer. dence, and the injured from comcised was not as to the infliction of mencing prosecutions. The better transportation, but as to the power part of mankind, in those grave and of superadding death as a punish- reflecting moments which the prosement in cases of an aggravated na. cution for a capital offence must al

ture. He did not mean to enter in. ways bring with it to their mind, : to any discussion of the principles shrunk frequently from the task im

maintained by Dr Paley on this sub- posed on them. The act of George ject. It had been argued on a for. II. for preserving bleaching grounds mer occasion, by the late Chief-Jus- from depredation, had been, from its tice of the Common Pleas, with re- excessive severity, seldom proceedference to this question, that if one ed on. Such was the case with seexecution only out of sixty convic- veral other acts, and more especially tions for capital crimes took place, with the act relating to bankrupts that one execution still served as a concealing their effects. He might dreadful example, and diminished refer also to an act passed in 1812, the chances of escape. He himself, for the purpose of consolidating the on the contrary, was prepared to con. different acts which created offences tend, that such an example, so far against the revenue laws, and repealing all those not therein specified. It to which he might add that of Lord had become manifest, he presumed, Grenville, who had maintained the that as Lord Bacon had long since same principles, in a speech as du observed, great penalties always tinguished by forcible reasoning


, deadened the operation of the laws. by profound political wisdom and a Sir Archibald Macdonald, who had majestic eloquence. Amongst all per long presided in the principal revenue ple an agreement between the lan court of the kingdom, had been con- and the general feeling of those who vinced of the truth of this principle. were subject to them was essential to Another point of great importance, in their efficacy. But this agreement considering the comparatively small became of unspeakable importance number of cases in which death was in a country where the charge of essordinarily inflicted, was, the effect cuting the laws was committed, in a which was produced by so frequent- great measure, to the people themly pronouncing the judgment. He selves. It was with these views and feared that its effect was to impair, opinions that he had been induced te and sometimes wholly to remove propose a full inquiry into the state those solemn impressions which it was of the Penal Code, not for the purdesirable should always be produ- pose of throwing new impediments ced on such an occasion. Of what in the way of our civil Government

, possible advantage could it be to pro- but to remove those already existing, nounce a sentence which every one before they become insuperable. His who heard it was satisfied would not object was to make the laws popular, be carried into execution ? To him and to reclaim an habitual reverence it appeared to be so much wanton for their administration. It was in subtraction from those terrors which order that their execution might be formed the chief guardian of society, made easy, their terrors overwhelmbecause without them neither life ing, their efficacy irresistible, that he nor property could be secure. How now implored the House to give this could those terrors be sustained, if subject its most grave consideration. murder and burglary were levelled He would beg to remind it, that Sir with offences deserving and receiv. William Blackstone, in his classical ing a much slighter punishment. The work on the laws of England, had law was deprived of its beneficent pointed out the indispensable necesenergy, and society of the protection sity under which juries often labourwhich it needed, whenever that au- ed, of committing what he called a thority was disarmed of its terrors. pious perjury, in estimating the vaHe entirely concurred in the opinion lue of stolen property. This was anof Sir W. Grant, that the great uti- other lamentable irregularity spring, lity of the punishment of death con- ing from the system. The practice sisted in the horror which it was na- resorted to by one of the wisest inturally calculated to excite; but that, stitutions of the country, so clearly to produce this end effectually, all indicative as it was of public feeling, criminal laws should be in unison afforded an instructive lesson to a with public feeling. Whenever they wise statesman. He had reason to were directly opposed to it, the end believe that in a few days many petimust be totally defeated. He brought tions from a body of men intimately

, to the support of this argument no connected with the administration of less authorities than those of Sir W. the law- he meant the magistracy of Blackstone, Mr Fox, and Mr Pitt; the country--would be presented,


raying for a general revision. A- Lord Castlereagh, after compliongst that body he understood that menting the honourable and learned at little difference of opinion pre- gentleman on the temperate and canmiled ; and that when their petitions did manner in which he had brought hould be examined, it would be forward the subject, remarked, that een that the names subscribed to his own views did not differ to any esem gave them an additional weight. great extent; but he was apprehenthe petition from the City of Lon- sive that the motion and speech of on was entitled to particular regard. the honourable and learned gentle& proceeded from Magistrates ac- man, although they could have no ustomed to administer justice in a such effect on that House, might be aost populous metropolis, and who construed elsewhere as casting a renecessarily possessed very great ex- proach, and ascribing a sanguinary serience. It proceeded from a body character to the jurisprudence of the

of most respectable traders, of men country. It was however with much peculiarly exposed to those depreda- satisfaction he had heard the intenions against which capital punish- tion of forming a new criminal code nent was denounced. An assembly explicitly disclaimed, and that it was to composed was one of weight and not in the honourable and learned lignity, and its representations on gentleman's contemplation to prothis subject were entitled to the pose the suppression of capital pugreater deference, inasmuch as the nishments altogether. It must be results of their experience appeared evident, in the circumstances of this to be in direct opposition to their country, that without this painful sastrongest prejudices. He would wish crifice to justice, there could be no also to advert shortly to another peti. sufficient protection for property, li

tion, which had been presented from berty, or life. He was also gratified the Society of Quakers. This peti- to find, that no opinion was enter

tion had been treated rather too tained that any interference with the harshly, and described as contain- exercise of mercy was expedient. ing a very extravagant recommenda- The administration of law could ne

tion. It concluded, however, with ver be attended with equal justice, simply praying that the House would without the free use of that preroadopt such a change as might be gative. The true question on which consistent with the ends of justice. he was at issue with the honourable It did certainly deviate into a specu. and learned gentleman, did not relation as to the future existence of late to the course which might ultisome happier condition of society, mately be taken, or the degree to when a mutual good-will might ren- which our penal enactments might der severe punishments unneces- be retrenched, but to that species of sary; but this was a speculation with proceeding which would be most which good and philosophical men likely to lead to a wise and salutary had in all ages indulged and consol- result. He fully admitted that two ed themselves. He should now con- important precedents had been adclude by moving for the appoint- duced, and that they were the more ment of a Committee to inquire in- deserving of consideration from the to and consider so much of the Cri- circumstance of the illustrious chaminal Law as relates to capital fe- racter of the persons by whom they lonies, and to report their opinions were established. Even on the nar. to the House,

row issue which the honourable gentleman had assigned to his own ques. had pushed his exertions in the tion, it appeared that, with all the cause. But of all the measures al able and illustrious supporters who projected, none ever received the had given their assistance to the sub- sanction of the other House. He ject, the consideration of the crimi- was most anxious that the House nal laws was not concluded in one should proceed on practical, not a session, but occupied the House for abstract principles; that they should two entire sessions. And what was not separate the theory from the the result? They sent up their bill practice of the law. The late & to the House of Lords, and it did not S. Romilly submitted a bill to that pass. The honourable gentleman House for the purpose of taking had not been able to prove that the away the punishment of death fa number of felonies was at all dimi- stealing privately from the person. nished by the continuous labour of What result ensued ? He would bez two years. If that honourable memo leave to refer to the returns. The ber's proposition for repressing a bill passed into a law four years ago. number of capital punishments was As far as he had been able, he had not accompanied by some measure watched the progress of that offence by which a secondary punishment for the last ten years, which was the should be substituted for that of best criterion at all times of the efdeath, which punishment should pro. fect of legislation; and he found duce the same effect of impressing that, so far from its having diminishoffenders with a salutary terror, the ed in frequency, the increase was House would certainly regard it as a enormous. He would take two pe: proposition founded entirely on an riods, one antecedent to the act, and abstract view of the laws ; and it was the other subsequent, reckoning that very abstract view which caused from the commencement of 1810. the failure of the measures taken in The number of convictions in that 1770. But what was the result of year was 136, and down to 1818, that course of proceedings in 1770? successively, as follows:–194, 224, The honourable gentleman had not 272, 311, 277, 402, 509, and 531. shown that it led to any permanent so that from those returns, which amelioration of our criminal code. showed the proportion to be assigned The honourable and learned gen- generally to the increase of crimes, tleman must permit him to say, it would appear that this very of. that modern times might have fur fence, the immediate object of that nished him with more effective pre- enactment, had increased fivefold


. cedents. If that House meant to The honourable gentlemen had askdo any thing in this most grave and ed, when he solicited the House to most important business, if they adopt his committee for an inquiry meant to devise, seriously, a secondo into particular punishments and the ary punishment to be substituted for increase of crimes, what business had death, he conjured them to banish it to inquire into the subjects of every thing like abstract and vision, transportation and secondary pu. ary reasoning. The honourable and nishments? It would have every learned gentleman had mentioned a business in the world to do so; if it late member, who brought to this should not, it would effect nothing. discussion legal talents, to be rivall. Every one in that House knew that ed only by the humanity of his in- out of the 13,000 criminals who tentions, and the zeal with which he annually crowd our prisons, 10,000


rere of the description alluded to by that his opposition was not founded he honourable gentlemen. It was on any wish to dispute the progress specially necessary to consider the of what he felt was their common fuestion of secondary punishments ; cause, but only in the apprehension or, take away the terror of the capi- that the principle of that honourable al punishment, and substitute no gentleman's motion would not be ther secondary penalty, whose in. productive of those results which he luence might deter offenders, and anticipated from the adoption of his he whole object of the law was left own. neutralized and invalid, and the re- The Speaker having proceeded to pression of crime would become put the original question, more precarious than ever. With Mr Buxton rose, and said, that he respect to the penalties attached to wished the very important question burglary, robbery, &c., the honour. now agitated should not be confined able gentleman had not called in to the

committee proposed by the question the law on those subjects. Noble Lord, for this reason—that all With respect to the nature of other the talents, and all the labour, and offences alluded to by him, such as all the zeal which that committee larceny, embezzlement, &c. their could bring into the House, would consideration was undoubtedly of be wanting for the discharge of the the first importance. But if ever important duties that would devolve there was a necessity of connecting upon them. Those duties he would the discussion of the offence with beg leave to recapitulate: they would that of the punishment, it existed in be, Ist, An inquiry into the present regard to these cases. Surely it was state of the prisons; 2d, The means most important to know the history to be adopted for improving the sysof crime, before they proceeded to tem of their management; 30, The legislate upon its penalties : and state of the police throughout the these two objects, he must stre. whole of the united kingdom ; 4th, nuously contend, ought to be con. The manner and nature of transporfined to the same committee. Re- tation ; 5th, The state of the hulks ; ferring to the immediate objects, 6th, The state of the convicts; 7th, however, of that committee proposed The state of a colony of Antipodes. by the honourable gentleman, he He had now to declare to that House really thought that that House ought his firm conviction, that the growth not to go into the duties and details of crime was mainly attributable to of classing prisoners, and arranging our penal laws. The Noble Lord the management of gaols : they had declared, that this increase was ought to enter upon the subject with owing to temporary causes, and had larger and more comprehensive instanced a continued war as one of views; and permit those duties to those causes. Now, he was disposed be imposed on others, whose habits to admit that war, by habituating men and inquiries better qualified them to scenes of violence and bloodshed, for the task. Satisfied, as he was, rendered them less sensible to that that the result of his own motion repugnance to the commission of would be, that a committee would crime inherent in our nature, and freproceed upon practical, and not quently operating to deter even the upon abstract principles, he must most hardened from the execution oppose the motion of the honourable of meditated outrages. But he had, and learned gentleman ; protesting, in order to ascertain the fact on this

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