Sivut kuvina

use any boat or barge, or expose any goods to sale; except meat in public houses, milk at certain hours, and works of necessity or charity, on forfeiture of 5s. Nor shall any drover, carrier, or the like, travel upon that day, under pain of twenty shillings.

X. Drunkenness is also punishable by statute 4 Jac. I. c. 5. with the forfeiture of 5s.; or the sitting six hours in the stocks by which time the statute presumes the offender will have regained his senses, and not be liable to do mischief to his neighbours. And there are many wholesome statutes, by way of prevention, chiefly passed in the same reign of king James I. which regulate the licensing of ale-houses, and punish persons found tippling therein; or the master of such houses permitting them.

XI. The last offence which I shall mention, more immediately against religion and morality, and cognizable by the temporal courts, is that of open and notorious lewdness: either by frequenting houses of ill fame, which is an indictable offence; or by some grossly scandalous and public indecency, for which the punishment is by fine and imprisonment." In the year 1650, when the ruling power found it for their interest to put on the semblance of a very extraordinary strictness and purity of morals, not only incest and wilful adultery were made capital crimes; but also the repeated act of keeping a brothel, or committing fornication, were, upon a second conviction, made felony without benefit of clergy." But at the restoration, when men, from an abhorrence of the hypocrisy of the late times, fell into a contrary extreme of licentiousness, it was not thought proper to renew a law of such unfashionable rigour. And these offences have been ever since left to the feeble coercion of the spiritual court, according to the rules of the canon law; a law which has treated the offence of incontinence, nay even adultery itself, with a great degree of tenderness and lenity; owing perhaps to the constrained celibacy of its first compilers. The temporal courts therefore take no cognizance of the crime of adultery otherwise than as a private injury.*

But, before we quit this subject, we must take notice of the temporal punishment for having bastard children, con

t Poph. 208.

1 Siderf. 168.

w Scobell. 121.

* See Vol. III. pag. 130.

sidered in a criminal light; for with regard to the maintenance of such illegitimate offspring, which is a civil concern, we have formerly spoken at large. By the statute 18 Eliz. c. 3. two justices may take order for the punish ment of the mother and reputed father; but what that punishment shall be is not therein ascertained; though the contemporary exposition was, that a corporal punishment was intended. By statute 7 Jac. I. c. 4. a specific punishment (viz. commitment to the house of correction) is inflicted on the woman only. But in both cases, it seems that the penalty can only be inflicted if the bastard becomes chargeable to the parish; for otherwise the very maintenance of the child is considered as a degree of punishment. By the last mentioned statute the justices may commit the mother to the house of correction, there to be punished and set on work for one year; and, in case of a second offence, till she find sureties never to offend again.



ACCORDING to the method marked out in the preceding chapter, we are next to consider the offences more immediately repugnant to that universal law of society, which regulates the mutual intercourse between one state and another; those, I mean, which are particularly animadverted on, as such, by the English law.

The law of nations is a system of rules, deducible by natural reason, and established by universal consent among the civilized inhabitants of the world;a in order to decide all disputes, to regulate all ceremonies and civilities, and to insure the observance of justice and good faith, in that intercourse which must frequently occur between two or more independent states, and the individuals belonging to each. This general law is founded upon this principle, a Ff. 1.1.9. b See Vol. I. p. 64.

y See Vol. I. pag. 459. z Dalt. Just, ch. 11.

that different nations ought in time of peace to do one another all the good they can; and in time of war as little harm as possible, without prejudice to their own real interests. And, as none of these states will allow a superiority in the other, therefore neither can dictate or prescribe the rules of this law to the rest; but such rules must necessarily result from those principles of natural justice, in which all the learned of every nation agree; or they depend upon mutual compacts or treaties between the respective communities; in the construction of which there is also no judge to resort to, but the law of nature and reason, being the only one in which all the contracting parties are equally conversant, and to which they are equally subject.

In arbitrary states this law, wherever it contradicts or is not provided for by the municipal law of the country, is enforced by the royal power: but since in England no royal power can introduce a new law, or suspend the execution of the old, therefore the law of nations (wherever any question arises which is properly the object of its jurisdiction) is here adopted in its full extent by the common law, and is held to be a part of the law of the land. And those acts of parliament, which have from time to time been made to enforce this universal law, or to facilitate the execution of its decisions, are not to be considered as introductive of any new rule, but merely as declaratory of the old fundamental constitutions of the kingdom; without which it must cease to be a part of the civilized world. Thus in mercantile questions, such as bills of exchange and the like; in all marine causes, relating to freight, average, demurrage, insurances, bottomry, and others of a similar nature; the law-merchant," which is a branch of the law of nations, is regularly and constantly adhered to. So too in all disputes relating to prizes, to shipwrecks, to hostages, and ransom bills, there is no other rule of decision but this great universal law, collected from history and usage, and such writers of all nations and languages as are generally approved and allowed of.

But, though in civil transactions and questions of property between the subject of different states, the law of nations has much scope and extent, as adopted by the law of d See Vol. I. p. 281.

Sp. L. b. 1. c. 7.

England; yet the present branch of our inquiries will fall within a narrow compass, as offences against the law of nations can rarely be the object of the criminal law of any particular state. For offences against this law are principally incident to whole states or nations; in which case recourse can only be had to war; which is an appeal to the God of hosts, to punish such infractions of public faith, as are committed by one independent people against another: neither state having any superior jurisdiction to resort to upon earth for justice. But where the individuals of any state violate this general law, it is then the interest as well as duty of the government, under which they live, to animadvert upon them with a becoming severity, that the peace of the world may be maintained. For in vain would nations in their collective capacity observe these universal rules, if private subjects were at liberty to break them at their own discretion, and involve the two states in a war. It is therefore incumbent upon the nation injured, first to demand satisfaction and justice to be done on the offender, by the state to which he belongs; and, if that be refused or neglected, the sovereign then avows himself an accomplice or abettor of his subject's crime, and draws upon his community the calamities of foreign war.

The principal offences against the law of nations, animadverted on as such by the municipal laws of England, are of three kinds: 1. Violation of safe-conducts; 2. Infringements of the rights of embassadors; and 3.' Piracy.

I. As to the first, violation of safe-conducts or passports, expressly granted by the king or his embassadors to the subjects of a foreign power in time of mutual war; or committing acts of hostilities against such as are in amity, league, or truce with us, who are here under a general implied safe-conduct: these are breaches of the public faith, without the preservation of which there can be no intercourse or commerce between one nation and another: and such offences may, according to the writers upon the law of nations, be a just ground of a national war: since it is not in the power of the foreign prince to cause justice

e See Vol. I. pag. 268.

to be done to his subjects by the very individual delinquent, but he must require it of the whole community. And as during the continuance of any safe-conduct, either express or implied, the foreigner is under the protection of the king and the law: and, more especially, as it is one of the articles of magna charta, that foreign merchants should be entitled to safe-conduct and security throughout the kingdom: there is no question but that any violation of either the person or property of such foreigner may be punished by indictment in the name of the king, whose honour is more particularly engaged in supporting his own safe-conduct. And, when this malicious rapacity was not confined to private individuals, but broke out into general hostilities, by the statute 2 Hen. V. st. 1. c. 6. breaking of truce and safe-conducts, or abetting and receiving the truce-breakers, was (in affirmance and support of the law of nations) declared to be high treason against the crown and dignity of the king; and conservators of truce and safe-conducts were appointed in every port, and empowered to hear and determine such treasons (when committed at sea) according to the ancient marine law then practised in the admiral's court; and, together with two men learned in the law of the land, to hear and determine according to that law the same treasons, when committed within the body of any county. Which statute, so far as it made these offences amount to treason, was suspended by 14 Hen. VI. c. 8. and repealed by 20 Hen. VI. c. 11. but revived by 29 Hen. VI. c. 2. which gave the same powers to the lord chancellor, associated with either of the chief justices, as belonged to the conservators of truce and their accessors; and enacted that, notwithstanding the party be convicted of treason, the injured stranger should have restitution out of his effects, prior to any claim of the crown. And it is farther enacted by the statute 31 Hen. VI. c. 4. that if any of the king's subjects attempt or offend upon the sea, or in any port within the king's obeysance, against any stranger in amity, league, or truce, or under safe-conduct; and especially by attaching his person, or spoiling him or robbing him of his goods; the lord chancellor with any of the justices of either the king's bench or common pleas, may

f 9 Hen. III. c. 30. See Vol. I. pag. 267, &c.

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