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add, that the only plaufible argument heretofore used for reftraining the juft freedom of the prefs, "that it was necessary "to prevent the daily abuse of it," will entirely lose it's force, when it is fhewn (by a seasonable exertion of the laws) that the press cannot be abused to any bad purpose, without incurring a fuitable punishment: whereas it never can be used to any good one, when under the control of an infpector. So true will it be found, that to cenfure the licentiousness, is to maintain the liberty, of the press.
CHAPTER THE TWELFTH.
OF OFFENCES AGAINST PUBLIC TRADE.
FFENCES against public trade, like thofe of the preceding claffes, are either felonious, or not felonious. Of the first fort are,
I. OWLING, fo called from it's being usually carried on in the night, which is the offence of tranfporting wool or sheep out of this kingdom, to the detriment of it's staple manufacture. This was forbidden at common law, and more particularly by statute 11 Edw. III. c. 1. when the importance of our woollen manufacture was firft attended to; and there are now many later ftatutes relating to this offence, the most useful and principal of which are thofe enacted in the reign of queen Elizabeth, and fince. The statute 8 Eliz. c. 3. makes the transportation of live fheep, or embarking them on board any ship, for the first offence forfeiture of goods, and imprisonment for a year, and that at the end of the year the left hand shall be cut off in fome public market, and shall be there nailed up in the openest place; and the second offence is felony. The ftatutes 12 Car. II. c. 32. and 7 & 8 W. III. c. 28. make the exportation of wool, sheep, or fuller's earth, liable to pecuniary penalties, and the forfeiture of the intereft of the fhip and cargo by the owners, if privy;
and confifcation of goods, and three years imprisonment to the mafter and all the mariners. And the ftatute 4 Geo. I. c. 11. (amended and farther enforced by 12 Geo. II. c. 21. and 19 Geo. II. c. 34.) makes it tranfportation for seven years, if the penalties be not paid.
2. SMUGGLING, or the offence of importing goods without paying the duties impofed thereon by the laws of the customs and excise, is an offence generally connected and carried on hand in hand with the former. This is reftrained by a great variety of statutes, which inflict pecuniary penalties and seisure of the goods for clandeftine smuggling; and affix the guilt of felony, with transportation for seven years, upon more open, daring, and avowed practices: but the last of them, 19 Geo. II. c. 34. is for this purpose inftar omnium; for it makes all forcible acts of smuggling, carried on in defiance of the laws, or even in disguise to evade them, felony without benefit of clergy: enacting, that if three or more perfons fhall affemble, with fire arms or other offensive weapons, to affift in the illegal exportation or importation of goods, or in refcuing the fame after seisure, or in refcuing offenders in cuftody for fuch offences; or fhall pafs with fuch goods in disguise; or shall wound, shoot at, or affault any officers of the revenue when in the execution of their duty; fuch perfons fhall be felons, without the benefit of clergy. As to that branch of the ftatute, which required any perfon, charged upon oath as a fmuggler, under pain of death, to furrender himself upon proclamation, it seems to be expired; as the fubfequent ftatutes, which continue the original act to the present time, do in terms continue only so much of the said act, as relates to the punishment of the offenders, and not to the extraordinary method of apprehending or caufing them to surrender : and for offences of this pofitive fpecies, where punishment (though neceffary) is rendered fo by the laws themselves, which by impofing high duties on commodities increase the temptation
Stat. 26 Geo. II. c. 32. 32 Geo. II. c. 18. 4 Geo. III. c. 12.
to evade them, we cannot furely be too cautious in inflicting the penalty of death.
3. ANOTHER offence against public trade is fraudulent bankruptcy, which was fufficiently spoken of in a former volume"; when we thoroughly examined the nature of these unfortunate traders. I shall therefore here barely mention over again some abuses incident to bankruptcy, viz. the bankrupt's neglect of furrendering himself to his creditors; his non-conformity to the directions of the several statutes; his concealing or imbezzling his effects to the value of 20/; and his withholding any books or writings with intent to defraud his creditors: all which the policy of our commercial country has made capital in the offender; or, felony without benefit of clergy. And indeed it is allowed in general, by fuch as are the most averse to the infliction of capital punishment, that the offence of fraudulent bankruptcy, being an atrocious species of the crimen falfi, ought to be put upon a level with thofe of forgery and falfifying the coin c. To this head we may also fubjoin, that by statute 32 Geo. II. c. 28. it is felony punishable by transportation for feven years, if a prifoner, charged in execution for any debt under 100, neglects or refufes on demand to discover and deliver up his effects for the benefit of his creditors. And these are the only felonious offences against public trade; the refidue being mere misdemesnors: as,
4. USURY, which is an unlawful contract upon the loan of money, to receive the fame again with exorbitant ircrease. Of this also we had occafion to discourse at large in a former volume. We there obferved that by ftatute 37 Hen. VIII. c. 9. the rate of interest was fixed at 10 l. per cent. per annum: which the statute 13 Eliz. c.8. confirms; and ordains, that all brokers fhall be guilty of a praemunire that tranfact any contracts for more, and the fecurities themselves fhall be void. The statute
See Vol. I. pag. 317. Beccar. ch. 33. 4 See Vol. II. pag. 481, 482.
• Beccar. ch. 34.
21 Jac. I.
21 Jac. I. c. 17. reduced interest to eight per cent; and, it having been lowered in 1650, during the ufurpation, to fix per cent, the fame reduction was re-enacted after the restoration by ftatute 12 Car. II. c. 13. and, lastly, the ftatute 12 Ann. ft. 2. c. 16. has reduced it to five per cent. Wherefore not only all contracts for taking more are in themselves totally void, but also the lender shall forfeit treble the money borrowed. Alfo if any fcrivener or broker takes more than five fhillings per cent. procuration-money, or more than twelve-pence for making a bond, he fhall forfeit 20%. with cofts, and fhall fuffer imprisonment for half a year.
5. CHEATING is another offence, more immediately against public trade; as that cannot be carried on without a punctilious regard to common honesty, and faith between man and man. Hither therefore may be referred that prodigious multitude of ftatutes, which are made to prevent deceits in particular trades, and which are chiefly of use among the traders themselves. For fo cautious has the legislature been, and fo thoroughly abhors all indirect practices, that there is hardly a confiderable fraud incident to any branch of trade, but what is restrained and punished by fome particular statute. The offence also of breaking the affife of bread, or the rules laid down by law, and particularly by ftatute 31 Geo. II. c. 29. and 3 Geo. III. c. 11. for ascertaining it's price in every given quantity, is reducible to this head of cheating as is likewife in a peculiar manner the offence of felling by falfe weights and measures; the standard of which fell under our confideration in a former volume. The punishment of bakers breaking the affife, was antiently to ftand in the pillory, by ftatute 51 Hen. III. ft. 6. and for brewers (by the fame act) to ftand in the tumbrel or dungcarth: which, as we learn from domesday book, was the punishment for knavish brewers in the city of Chester so early as the reign of Edward the confeffor. "Malam cervifiam faciens, in cathedra ponebatur ftercorisi." But
g See Vol. I. pag. 274.
3 Inst. 219.
i Seld. tit. of hon. b. 2. c. 5. §. 3.