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ting a nature, that it paffes through many hands in a short time; and no buyer could be safe, if he were liable to return the goods which he had fairly bought, provided any of the prior vendors had committed a treafon or felony. Yet if they be collufively and not bona fide parted with, merely to defraud the crown, the law (and particularly the ftatute 13 Eliz. c. 5.) will reach them; for they are all the while truly and substantially the goods of the offender and as he, if acquitted, might recover them himself, as not parted with for a good confideration; so, in case he happens to be convicted, the law will recover them for the king.

II. ANOTHER immediate confequence of attainder is the corruption of blood, both upwards and downwards; fo that an attainted person can neither inherit lands or other hereditaments from his ancestors, nor retain thofe he is already in poffeffion of, nor transmit them by descent to any heir; but the fame shall efcheat to the lord of the fee, fubject to the king's fuperior right of forfeiture: and the perfon attainted fhall also obstruct all descents to his pofterity, wherever they are obliged to derive a title through him to a remoter ancestor.

THIS is one of thofe notions which our laws have adopted from the feodal constitutions, at the time of the Norman conqueft; as appears from it's being unknown in those tenures which are indifputably Saxon, or gavelkind: wherein, though by treafon, according to the antient Saxon laws, the land is forfeited to the king, yet no corruption of blood, no impediment of defcents, enfues; and on judgment of mere felony no efcheat accrues to the lord. And therefore, as every other oppreffive mark of feodal tenure is now happily worn away in these kingdoms, it is to be hoped, that this corruption of blood, with all it's connected confequences, not only of prefent efcheat, but of future incapacities of inheritance even to the twentieth generation, may in process of time be abolished by act of parliament: as it ftands upon a very different footing from the forfeiture of lands for

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high treason, affecting the king's person or government. And indeed the legislature has, from time to time, appeared very inclinable to give way to fo equitable a provision; by enacting, that, in treafons refpecting the papal fupremacy and counterfeiting the public coin', and in many of the new-made felonies, created fince the reign of Henry the eighth by act of parliament, corruption of blood shall be saved. But as in fome of the acts for creating felonies (and those not of the most atrocious kind) this saving was neglected, or forgotten, to be made, it seems to be highly reasonable and expedient to antiquate the whole of this doctrine by one undiftinguishing law: efpecially as by the afore-mentioned ftatute of 7 Ann. c. 21. (the operation of which is poftponed by statute 17 Geo. II. c. 39.) after the death of the fons of the late pretender, no attainder for treason will extend to the difinheriting any heir, nor the prejudice of any person, other than the offender himself; which virtually abolishes all corruption of blood for treafon, though (unless the legislature should interpofe) it will still continue for many forts of felony.

Stat. Eliz. c. 1.


* Stat. 5 Eliz. c. II. 18 Eliz. c. 1. 8 & 5

9 W. III. c. 26. 15 & 16 Geo. II. c. 28,




E are next to confider how judgments, with their several connected confequences, of attainder, forfeiture, and corruption of blood, may be fet afide. There are two ways of doing this; either by falfifying or reverfing the judgment, or elfe by reprieve or pardon.

A JUDGMENT may be falfified, reverfed, or voided, in the first place, without a writ of error, for matters foreign to or debors the record, that is, not apparent upon the face of it; so that they cannot be affigned for error in the fuperior court, which can only judge from what appears in the record itself and therefore, if the whole record be not certified, or not truly certified, by the inferior court; the party injured thereby (in both civil and criminal cafes) may allege a diminution of the record, and cause it to be rectified. Thus, if any judgment whatever be given by persons, who had no good commiffion to proceed against the perfon condemned, it is void; and may be falfified by fhewing the special matter, without writ of error. As, where a commiffion iffues to A and B, and twelve others, or any two of them, of which A or B shall be one, to take and try indictments; and any of the other twelve proceed without the interpo


fition or prefence of either A, or B: in this cafe all proceedings, trials, convictions, and judgments are void for want of a proper authority in the commiffioners, and may be falfified upon bare infpection without the trouble of a writ of error; it being a high misdemesnor in the judges so proceeding, and little (if any thing) fhort of murder in them all, in cafe the person so attainted be executed and fuffer death. So likewife if a man purchases land of another; and afterwards the vendor is, either by outlawry, or his own confeffion, convicted and attainted of treafon or felony previous to the fale or alienation; whereby fuch land becomes liable to forfeiture or efcheat: now, upon any trial, the purchasor is at liberty, without bringing any writ of error, to falfify not only the time of the felony or treason fuppofed, but the very point of the felony or treason itself; and is not concluded by the confeffion or the outlawry of the vendor; though the vendor himself is concluded, and not fuffered now to deny the fact, which he has by confeffion or flight acknowleged. But if fuch attainder of the vendor was by verdict, on the oath of his peers, the alienee cannot be received to falfify or contradict the fact of the crime committed; though he is at liberty to prove a mistake in time, or that the offence was committed after the alienation, and not before b.

SECONDLY, a judgment may be reverfed, by writ of error: which lies from all inferior criminal jurifdictions to the court of king's bench, and from the king's bench to the house of peers; and may be brought for notorious mistakes in the judgment or other parts of the record: as where a man is found guilty of perjury and receives the judgment of felony, or for other lefs palpable errors; fuch as any irregularity, omiffion, or want of form in the process of outlawry, or proclamations; the want of a proper addition to the defendant's name, according to the statute of additions; for not properly naming the sheriff or other officer of the court, or not duly defcribing where his county court was held; for laying an offence, committed in the time of

2 Hawk. P. C. 459.

b 3 Inft. 231. 1 Hal. P. C. 361.


the late king, to be done against the peace of the prefent; and for many other fimilar causes, which (though allowed out of tenderness to life and liberty) are not much to the credit or advancement of the national justice. These writs of error, to reverfe judgments in case of misdemefnors, are not to be allowed of course, but on fufficient probable cause fhewn to the attorneygeneral; and then they are understood to be grantable of common right, and ex debito juftitiae. But writs of error to reverse attainders in capital cafes are only allowed ex gratia; and not without express warrant under the king's fign manual, or at least by the consent of the attorney-general. These therefore can rarely be brought by the party himself, especially where he is attainted for an offence against the state: but they may be brought by his heir, or executor, after his death, in more favourable ⚫ times; which may be fome confolation to his family. But the eafier, and more effectual way, is

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LASTLY, to reverse the attainder by act of parliament. This may be and hath been frequently done, upon motives of compaffion, or perhaps the zeal of the times, after a sudden revolution in the government, without examining too closely into the truth or validity of the errors affigned. And fometimes, though the crime be univerfally acknowleged and confeffed, yet the merits of the criminal's family fhall after his death obtain a restitution in blood, honours, and eftate, or fome, or one of them, by act of parliament; which (fo far as it extends) has all the effect of reverfing the attainder, without cafting any reflections upon the juftice of the preceding fentence.

THE effect of falfifying, or reverfing, an outlawry is that the party shall be in the fame plight as if he had appeared upon the capias: and, if it be before plea pleaded, he shall be put to plead to the indictment; if after conviction, he shall receive the fentence of the law: for all the other proceedings, except only the process of outlawry for his non-appearance, remain good and


с 1 Vern. 170. 175.

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