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former of which no person can be legally elected to any office relating to the government of any city or corporation, unless, within a twelvemonth before, he has received the facrament of the lord's fupper according to the rites of the church of England: and he is also enjoined to take the oaths of allegiance and fupremacy at the fame time that he takes the oath of office: or, in default of either of these requifites, fuch election shall be void. The other, called the teft act', directs all officers civil and military to take the oaths and make the declaration against transubstantiation, in the court of king's bench or chancery, the next term, or at the next quarter feffions, or (by subsequent statutes) within fix months, after their admiffion; and alfo within the fame time to receive the facrament of the lord's fupper, according to the ufage of the church of England, in fome public church immediately after divine service and fermon, and to deliver into court a certificate thereof figned by the minister and church-warden, and also to prove the fame by two credible witneffes; upon forfeiture of 500 l, and disability to hold the faid office. And of much the fame nature with these is the statute 7 Jac. I. c. 2. which permits no perfons to be naturalized or restored in blood, but fuch as undergo a like test: which test having been removed in 1753, in favour of the Jews, was the next feffion of parliament restored again with some precipitation.

THUS much for offences, which ftrike at our national religion, or the doctrine and discipline of the church of England in particular. I proceed now to confider fome grofs impieties and general immoralities, which are taken notice of and punished by our municipal law; frequently in concurrence with the ecclesiastical, to which the cenfure of many of them does also of right appertain; though with a view fomewhat different: the fpiritual court punishing all finful enormities for the fake of reforming the private finner, pro falute animae; while the temporal courts resent the public affront to religion and morality, on

Stat. 13 Car. II. ft. z. c. 1.

Stat. 25 Car. II. c. 2.

which all government must depend for support, and correct more for the fake of example than private amendment.

IV. THE fourth fpecies of offences therefore, more immediately against God and religion, is that of blafphemy against the Almighty, by denying his being or providence; or by contumelious reproaches of our Saviour Chrift. Whither alfo may be referred all profane fcoffing at the holy fcripture, or expofing it to contempt and ridicule. These are offences punishable at common law by fine and imprisonment, or other infamous corporal punishment: for chriftianity is part of the laws of England.

V. SOMEWHAT allied to this, though in an inferior degree, is the offence of profane and common fwearing and curfing. By the last statute against which, 19 Geo. II. c. 21. which repeals all former ones, every labourer, failor, or foldier fhall forfeit 1 s. for every profane oath or curfe, every other perfon under the degree of a gentleman 2 s. and every gentleman or person of fuperior rank 5 s. to the poor of the parish; and, on a second conviction, double; and, for every subsequent conviction, treble the fum first forfeited; with all charges of conviction: and in default of payment shall be sent to the house of correction for ten days. Any justice of the peace may convict upon his own hearing, or the testimony of one witnefs; and any constable or peace officer, upon his own hearing, may fecure any offender and carry him before a juftice, and there convict him. If the justice omits his duty, he forfeits 5, and the constable 40 s. And the act is to be read in all parish churches, and public chapels, the funday after every quarter day, on pain of 5 l. to be levied by warrant from any justice. Befides this punishment for taking God's name in vain in common discourse, it is enacted by statute 3 Jac. I. c. 21. that if in any stage play, interlude, or shew, the name of the holy trinity, or any of the persons therein,


I Hawk. P. C. 7.

di Ventr. 293. 2 Strange, 834.

be jeftingly or profanely used, the offender fhall forfeit 107, one moiety to the king, and the other to the informer.

VI. A SIXTH fpecies of offences against God and religion, of which our antient books are full, is a crime of which one knows not well what account to give. I mean the offence of witchcraft, conjuration, inchantment, or forcery. To deny the poffibility, nay, actual existence, of witchcraft and forcery, is at once flatly to contradict the revealed word of God, in various paffages both of the old and new teftament: and the thing itself is a truth to which every nation in the world hath in it's turn borne testimony, by either examples feemingly well attested, or prohibitory laws, which at least suppose the poffibility of a commerce with evil spirits. The civil law punishes with death not only the forcerers themselves, but also those who confult them; imitating in the former the express law of God, "thou shalt not suffer a "witch to live." And our own laws, both before and fince the conqueft, have been equally penal; ranking this crime in the fame class with herefy, and condemning both to the flames ". The president Montefquieu ranks them alfo both together, but with a very different view: laying it down as an important maxim, that we ought to be very circumfpect in the profecution of magic and herefy; because the most unexceptionable conduct, the purest morals, and the conftant practice of every duty in life, are not a sufficient security against the suspicion of crimes like these. And indeed the ridiculous ftories that are generally told, and the many impostures and delufions that have been discovered in all ages, are enough to demolish all faith in such a dubious crime; if the contrary evidence were not alfo extremely ftrong. Wherefore it seems to be the most eligible way to conclude, with an ingenious writer of our own, that in general there has been fuch a thing as witchcraft; though one cannot give credit to any particular modern inftance of it.

• Cod. 1.

9. t. 18. Exod. xxii. 18.

3 Inft. 44.


Sp. L. b. 12. c. 5.

i Mr Addifon, Spect. N° 117.


OUR forefathers were stronger believers, when they enacted by ftatute 33 Hen. VIII. c. 8. all witchcraft and forcery to be felony without benefit of clergy; and again by ftatute 1 Jac.I. c. 12. that all perfons invoking any evil spirit, or confulting, covenanting with, entertaining, employing, feeding, or rewarding any evil fpirit; or taking up dead bodies from their graves to be used in any witchcraft, forcery, charm, or inchantment; or killing or otherwise hurting any person by such infernal arts; should be guilty of felony without benefit of clergy, and suffer death. And, if any person should attempt by forcery to discover hidden treafure, or to restore ftolen goods, or to provoke unlawful love, or to hurt any man or beaft, though the fame were not effected, he or she should fuffer imprisonment and pillory for the first offence, and death for the second. These acts continued in force till lately, to the terror of all antient females in the kingdom: and many poor wretches were facrificed thereby to the prejudice of their neighbours, and their own illusions; not a few having, by fome means or other, confeffed the fact at the gallows. But all executions for this dubious crime are now at an end; our legislature having at length followed the wife example of Louis XIV in France, who thought proper by an edict to restrain the tribunals of justice from receiving informations of witchcraft. And accordingly it is with us enacted by statute 9 Geo. II. c. 5. that no prosecution shall for the future be carried on against any perfon for conjuration, witchcraft, forcery, or inchantment. But the misdemesnor of perfons pretending to use witchcraft, tell fortunes, or discover stolen goods by skill in the occult sciences, is ftill deservedly punished with a year's imprisonment, and ftanding four times in the pillory.

VII. A SEVENTH fpecies of offenders in this class are all reFigious impoftors: fuch as falsely pretend an extraordinary com

* Voltaire Siecl. Louis xiv. Mod. Univ. Hift. xxv. 215. Yet Vouglans, (de droit criminel, 353-459.) still reckons up forcery

and witchcraft among the crimes punishable in France.


miflion from heaven; or terrify and abuse the people with false denunciations of judgments. These, as tending to fubvert all religion, by bringing it into ridicule and contempt, are punishable by the temporal courts with fine, imprisonment, and infamous corporal punishment'.

VIII. SIMONY, or the corrupt presentation of any one to an ecclefiaftical benefice for gift or reward, is alfo to be confidered as an offence against religion; as well by reafon of the facredness of the charge which is thus profanely bought and fold, as because it is always attended with perjury in the person presented". The ftatute 31 Eliz. c. 6. (which, fo far as it relates to the forfeiture of the right of prefentation, was confidered in a former book ") enacts, that if any patron, for money or any other corrupt confideration or promise, directly or indirectly given, shall present, admit, institute, induct, install, or collate any person to an ecclefiaftical benefice or dignity, both the giver and taker shall forfeit two years value of the benefice or dignity; one moiety to the king, and the other to any one who will fue for the fame. If perfons alfo corruptly refign or exchange their benefices, both the giver and taker shall in like manner forfeit double the value of the money or other corrupt confideration. And perfons who shall corruptly ordain or licence any minister, or procure him to be ordained or licenced, (which is the true idea of fimony) shall incur a like forfeiture of forty pounds; and the minister himself of ten pounds, besides an incapacity to hold any ecclefiaftical preferment for seven years afterwards. Corrupt elections and refignations in colleges, hofpitals, and other eleemofynary corporations, are alfo punished by the fame ftatute with forfeiture of the double value, vacating the place or office, and a devolution of the right of election for that turn to the crown.

1 I Hawk. P. C. 7.

m3 Inft. 156.

n See Vol. II. pag. 279.


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