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treats it, in it's very indictments, as a crime not fit to be named; peccatum illud horribile, inter chriftianos non nominandum.” A taciturnity observed likewife by the edict of Conftantius and Conftans1: "ubi fcelus eft id, quod non proficit fcire, jubemus infurgere leges, armari jura gladio ultore, ut exquifitis poenis fubdan"tur infames, qui funt, vel qui futuri funt, rei." Which leads me to add a word concerning it's punishment.

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THIS the voice of nature and of reason, and the exprefs law of God", determine to be capital. Of which we have a signal inftance, long before the Jewish difpenfation, by the destruction of two cities by fire from heaven: fo that this is an univerfal, not merely a provincial, precept. And our antient law in fome degree imitated this punishment, by commanding such mifcreants to be burnt to death"; though Fleta° says they should be buried alive: either of which punishments was indifferently used for this crime among the antient Goths P. But now the general punishment of all felonies is the fame, namely, by hanging and this offence (being in the times of popery only fubject to ecclefiaftical cenfures) was made single felony by the statute 25 Hen. VIII. c. 6. and felony without benefit of clergy by ftatute 5 Eliz. c. 17. And the rule of law herein is, that, if both are arrived at years of discretion, agentes et confentientes pari poena plectantura.

THESE are all the felonious offences, more immediately against the personal security of the fubject. The inferior offences, or misdemefnors, that fall under this head, are assaults, batteries, wounding, falfe imprisonment, and kidnapping.

V, VI, VII. WITH regard to the nature of the three first of thefe offences in general, I have nothing farther to add to what has already been obferved in the preceding book of these com

1 Cod. 9. 9. 31.

m Levit. xx. 13. 15.

Brit. c. 9.

。 1. 1. c. 37.

P Stiernh. de jure Goth. 1. 3. c. 2.
• 3 Inft. 59.


mentaries'; when we confidered them as private wrongs, or civil injuries, for which a satisfaction or remedy is given to the party aggrieved. But, taken in a public light, as a breach of the king's peace, an affront to his government, and a damage done to his subjects, they are also indictable and punishable with fine and imprisonment; or with other ignominious corporal penalties, where they are committed with any very atrocious defign. As in case of an affault with an intent to murder, or with an intent to commit either of the crimes last spoken of; for which intentional affaults, in the two laft cafes, indictments are much more usual, than for the abfolute perpetration of the facts themselves, on account of the difficulty of proof and herein, befides heavy fine and imprisonment, it is usual to award judgment of the pillory.

THERE is alfo one species of battery, more atrocious and penal than the reft, which is the beating of a clerk in orders, or clergyman; on account of the respect and reverence due to his facred character, as the minister and embaffador of peace. Accordingly it is enacted by the ftatute called articuli cleri, 9 Edw. II. c. 3. that if any perfon lay violent hands upon a clerk, the amends for the peace broken shall be before the king; that is by indictment in the king's courts: and the affailant may also be sued before the bishop, that excommunication or bodily penance may be imposed: which if the offender will redeem by money, to be given to the bishop, or the party grieved, it may be fued for before the bishop; whereas otherwife to fue in any fpiritual court, for civil damages for the battery, falls within the danger of praemunire'. But fuits are, and always were, allowable in the spiritual court, for money agreed to be given as a commutation for penance". So that upon the whole it appears, that a person guilty of fuch brutal behaviour to a clergyman, is subject to three kinds of profecution, all of which may be purfued for one and the fame offence: an indictment, for the breach

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of the king's peace by such affault and battery; a civil action, for the special damage sustained by the party injured; and a suit in the ecclefiaftical court, first, pro correctione et falute animae by enjoining penance, and then again for fuch sum of money as fhall be agreed on for taking off the penance enjoined: it being usual in those courts to exchange their spiritual cenfures for a round compenfation in money; perhaps because poverty is generally: esteemed by the moralists the best medicine pro falute animae.

VIII. THE two remaining crimes and offences, against the persons of his majesty's fubjects, are infringements of their natural liberty concerning the first of which, false imprisonment, it's nature and incidents, I must content myself with referring the student to what was observed in the preceding volume", when we confidered it as a mere civil injury. But, besides the private fatisfaction given to the individual by action, the law alfo demands public vengeance for the breach of the king's peace, for the lofs which the ftate fuftains by the confinement of one of it's members, and for the infringement of the good order of fociety. We have before seen, that the most atrocious degree of this offence, that of sending any fubject of this realm a prifoner into parts beyond the feas, whereby he is deprived of the friendly affiftance of the laws to redeem him from fuch his captivity, is punished with the pains of praemunire, and incapacity to hold any office, without any poffibility of pardon. Inferior degrees of the fame offence of false imprisonment are also punishable by indictment (like affaults and batteries) and the delinquent may be fined and imprisoned. And indeed there can be no doubt, but that all kinds of crimes of a public nature, all disturbances of the peace, all oppreffions, and other misdemesnors whatsoever, of a notoriously evil example, may be indicted at the fuit of the king.

Y 2 Rol. Rep. 384.

w See Vol. III. pag. 127.

* See pag. 116.

* Stat. 31 Car. II. c. 2.

z Weft. Symbol. part 2. pag. 92.


Hawk. P. C. 210.



IX. THE other remaining offence, that of kidnapping, being the forcible abduction or stealing away of man, woman, or child from their own country, and felling them into another, was capital by the Jewish law. "He that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to "death"." So likewife in the civil law, the offence of spiriting away and stealing men and children, which was called plagium, and the offenders plagiarii, was punished with death. This is unquestionably a very heinous crime, as it robs the king of his fubjects, banishes a man from his country, and may in it's confequences be productive of the most cruel and disagreeable hardships; and therefore the common law of England has punished it with fine, imprisonment, and pillory. And also the statute 11 & 12 W. III. c. 7. though principally intended against pirates, has a clause that extends to prevent the leaving of such perfons abroad, as are thus kidnapped or spirited away; by enacting, that if any captain of a merchant vessel shall (during his being abroad) force any person on fhore, or wilfully leave him behind, or refuse to bring home all fuch men as he carried out, if able and defirous to return, he shall suffer three months imprisonment. And thus much for offences that more immediately affect the perfons of individuals.

b Exod. xxi. 16. Ff. 48. 15. 1.

d Raym. 474. 2 Show. 221. Skinn. 47. Comb. 10.

Dd 2







'HE only two offences, that more immediately affect the habitations of individuals or private subjects, are those of arfon and burglary.

I. ARSON, ab ardendo, is the malicious and wilful burning of the house or outhouses of another man. This is an offence of very great malignity, and much more pernicious to the public than simple theft: because, first, it is an offence against that right, of habitation, which is acquired by the law of nature as well as by the laws of society; next, because of the terror and confufion that neceffarily attends it; and, lastly, because in fimple theft the thing stolen only changes it's master, but still remains in esse for the benefit of the public, whereas by burning the very substance is absolutely deftroyed. It is also frequently more destructive than murder itself, of which too it is often the caufe: fince murder, atrocious as it is, feldom extends beyond the felonious act defigned; whereas fire too frequently involves. in the common calamity persons unknown to the incendiary, and not intended to be hurt by him, and friends as well as enemies.


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