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"Nec enim adfinitas vel amicitia nefarium cri"men admittunt. Peccata igitur suos teneant auc"tores: nec ulterius progrediatur metus quam "reperiatur delictum. Hoc singulis quibusque "judicibus intimetur *."? These very Emperors, with respect to treason, which touched them nearer than other crimes, talk a very different language. After observing, that will and purpose alone without an overt act, is treason, subjecting the criminal to capital punishment and to forfeiture of all that belongs to him, they proceed in the following words "Filii vero ejus, quibus vitam Imperatoria specialiter lenitate concedimus, (paterno "venim deberent perire supplicio, in quibus pater
ni, hoc est, hæreditarii criminis exempla me*tuuntur), a materna, vel avita, omnium etiam "proximorum hæreditate ac successione, habe"antur alieni: testamentis extraneorum nihil ca"peant: sint perpetuo egentes et pauperes, infa"mia eos paterna semper comitetur, ad nullos 166 prorsus honores, ad nulla sacramenta perveni"ant: sint postremo tales, ut his, perpetua egesta
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"We ordain, that the punishment of the crime shall ex*tend to the criminal alone. We hold his relations, his "friends, and his acquaintances, unsuspected; for intimacy, friendship, or connection, are no proof or argument of guilt. The consequences of the crime shall pursue only
« its perpetrator.
Let this statute be intimated to all our
L. 5. Cod. ad leg. Jul. majest.
*te sordentibus, sit et mors solatium et vita sup26 plicium *.??
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Human nature is not so perverse, as without veil or disguise to punish a person acknowledged to be innocent. An irregular bias of imagination, which extends the qualities of the principal to its accessories, paves the way to that unjust practice +. That bias, strengthened by indignation against an atrocious criminal, leads the mind hastily to conclude, that all his connections are partakers of his guilt. In an enlightened age, the clearness of moral principles fetters the imagination from confounding the innocent with the guilty. There remain traces however of that bias, though not carried so far as murder. The sentence pronounced against Ravilliac for assassinating Henry IV. of France,
"By a special extension of our imperial clemency, we "allow the sons of the criminal to live; although, from a rea"sonable suspicion of their inheriting his vicious nature, It "were not unwise to doom them to suffer the punishment of "their father. But it is our will, that they shall be incapable "of all inheritance, either from the mother, the grandfather, "or any of their kindred; that they shall be deprived of the ໄດ້ power of inheriting by the testament of a stranger; that
they shall be abandoned to the extreme of poverty and per"petual indigence; that the infamy of their father shall ever "attend them, incapable of honours, and excluded from the "participation of religious rites; that such, in fine, shall be "the misery of their condition, that life shall be a punishment, " and death a comfort."
+ Elements of Criticism, chap. 2. sect. 5. La band I*
· France, ordains, "That his house be erazed to "the ground, and that no other building be ever " erected upon that spot.", Was not this in imagination punishing a house for the proprietor's crime? !',
Murder and assassination are not only destructive in themselves, but, if possible, still more de>structive in their consequences. The practice of -shedding blood unjustly and often wantonly, blunts conscience, and paves the way to every crime. This observation is verified in the antient Greeks: their cruel and sanguinary character, rendered them little regardful of the strict rules of justice. Right was held to depend upon power, among men as among wild beasts: it was conceived to be the will of the gods, that superior force should be a lawful title to dominion: " for what right can "the weak have to what they cannot defend ?” Were that maxim to obtain, a weak man would have no right to liberty nor to life. That impious doctrine was avowed by the Athenians, and publicly asserted by their ambassadors in a conference with the Melians, reported by Thucydides*. Many persons act as if force and right were the same; but a barefaced profession of such a doctrine is uncommon. In the Eumenides, a tragedy of Eschylus, Orestes is arraigned in the Areopagus for killing his mother. Minerva, president of the court, decrees in favour of the Orestes: and for what rea
son?" Having no mother myself, the murder of
a mother toucheth not me *." In the tragedy of Electra, Orestes, consulting the Delphic oracle about means to avenge his father's murder, was enjoined by Apollo to forbear force, but to employ fraud and guile. Obedient to that injunction, Orestes commands his tutor to spread in Argos the news of his death, and confirm the same with a solemn oath. In Homer, even the great Jupiter makes no difficulty to send a lying dream to Agamemnon, chief of the Greeks. Dissimulation, is recommended by the goddess Minerva †. Ulysses declares his detestation at using freedom with truth and yet no man deals more in feigned stories §. In the 22d book of the Iliad, Minerva is guilty of gross deceit and treachery to Hector. When he flies from Achilles, she appears to him in the shape of his brother Deiphobus, exhorts him
Athens, from the nature of its government, as established by Solon, was rendered uncapable of any regular or consistent body of laws. In every case, civil and criminal, the whole people were judges in the last resort. And what sort of judges will an ignorant multitude make, who have no guide
but passion and prejudice? It is vain to make good laws, when such judges are the interpreters. Anacharsis the Scy
thian, being present at an assembly of the people, said, "It *was singular, that in Athens, wise men pleaded causes, and fools determined them.”
† Odyssey, Book 13,
§ Book 14, Book 15.
him to turn upon Achilles, and promises to assist him. Hector accordingly, returning to the fight, darts his lance; which rebounds from the shield of Achilles, for by Vulcan it was made impenetrable. Hector calls upon his brother for another lance; but in vain, for Deiphobus was not there. The Greeks in Homer's time must have been strangely deformed in their morals, when such a story could be relished *. A nation begins not to polish nor to advance in morality,till writing be common; and writing was not known among the Greeks at the siege of Troy. Nor were the morals of that people, as we see, much purified for a long time after writing became common. When Plautus wrote, the Roman system of morals must have been extremely impure. In his play termed Menæchmi, a gentleman of fashion having accidentally got into his hands a lady's robe with a gold clasp; instead of returning them to the owner, endeavours to sell them without shame or remorse. Such a scene would not be endured at present, except among pickpockets. Both the Greeks and Car-bups, doo Redet du st. #Ast Justhaginians
mens'n, tu b moshid
Upon the story of Jupiter being deceived by Juno, in the 14th book of the Iliad, Pope says, "That he knows not a "bolder fiction in all antiquity, nor one that has a greater air " of impiety." Pope it would seem was little acquainted with antiquity for such acts of impiety were common among the Greeks; and in particular the incident mentioned in the text, is not only more impious, but also a more gross violation of the laws of morality. MAGT T2 Al doute