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dation might be the consequence; whereas, rivers, from their position, in the lowest parts of the districts through which they passed, could be productive of no such dangerous result. At any rate, the law ought to be equal; and certainly, the smallest penalty ought not to attach to the highest degree of offence. The Bedford Level Act felonies were fit subjects for repeal, however proper they might have been at the time of their enactment. Sending threatening letters was another case in which the law was anomalous. A man might charge another with the grossest crimes, to extort money, and it was only a transportable offence; whilst sending directly for money, or venison, offences made capital by the Black act, was made punishable with death. There could be no reason for this, and the law should be equally applicable to both. The personating of Greenwich pensioners was another capital felony which should be repealed. The agents of government ought to be sufficiently cautious in money concerns to render the punishment of death unnecessary. The last case on which he proposed alteration, was the cutting of serges, in which the capital punishment should be remitted: In ac

mittee of 1819, in preference to those in the resolutions. In the report, there were four divisions of cases. The first was of the cases of crimes recommended by the committee to be left as misdemeanours at common law. Of these there had been 12 liable to capital punishment; four out of this number had been already repealed, and he proposed to do away with the capital punishment in the other eight. Most of them were crimes made capital by the Black Act. He admitted that it would be advisable to secure a better sanction for the law, by removing those penalties which could hardly ever be enforced. The second class consisted of offences of so malignant a nature, that if they actually occurred, nothing less than death could atone them. The next case was that of acknowledging and assisting in obtaining a fine, and recovery; the next, helping in the recovery of stolen goods; the next, maliciously killing or wounding cattle -an offence of a highly aggravated character, and of very unfrequent occurrence. He thought this last one peculiarly well calculated for the experiment proposed. The malignity which impelled to such a deed, no doubt, deserved death; but it might be better to add to the solemnity and efficacy of the laws by repealing it. In six-knowledging and proving a fine and reteen years, there had been only two convictions for this offence. It was a crime difficult to prove it was necessary to prove malice against the owner of the cattle, when it was obvious that there were many safe modes of doing him much more mischief open to such malice. The next case was that of cutting down trees, in which, in sixteen years, there had been but two convictions and one execution. The punishment might be changed to transportation. If offences should be found to multiply in consequence, it was only for the House to reconsider the question. With regard to No. 8, in this second class, he could not help regarding it as a strange anomaly. It awarded the punishment of death for the cutting down of the banks of rivers. Now, he had looked into sundry canal bills, to the num-vated circumstances, of confidential serber of fifty or sixty, and in not one of them had it been thought necessary to insert a clause making the cutting down of banks a felony; and yet canals were, from their nature, their; use, and the situations in which they were made, much more hazardous than the banks of rivers. Canals were made in high grounds, where, upon the bank being cut, an inun

covery, making false entries in registerbooks, and helping to the recovery of stolen goods, the penalty of death should be remitted. He next came to the cases of larceny. The stealing privately in shops, and the stealing on navigable rivers, and on canals, he was inclined to think, might be properly the subject of experiment, and that as to them, the capital punishment might be remitted. The most material of all the cases of larceny was, the stealing in a dwelling-house to the amount of 40s.; and as he could not class this with the other offences of the same name, he was not prepared to say that as to this there ought to be any alteration of the law. There were, within the latest periods, too many proofs of the progress of that offence, even under the most aggra

vants robbing their masters to a very large amount. "The law of England," said Justice Blackstone, "has so particular and tender a regard to the immunity of a man's house, that it stiles it his castle, and will never suffer it to be violated with impunity: agreeing herein, with the sentiments of antient Rome, as expressed in the words of Tully' Quid

stress on what he had stated as the authority of the House on this subject; for it should be recollected, that the bill to which he had alluded was rejected by a majority (certainly not a large one) on the question of its being read a third time. He (Mr. Peel) had certainly not come to the House with any prejudice on the subject, but the speech of the hon, and learned gentleman himself, had convinced him, that no alteration of the law which awarded the punishment of death in cases of forgery was desirable. He had come to that conclusion from the great number of exceptions which the

thought necessary and from that moment he was convinced that it was not expedient to pass any general law to mi

enim sanctius, quid omni religione munitius, quam domus uniuscujusque civium?" He was not therefore prepared to remit the capital sentence in cases of larceny in a dwelling-house. On reference to the returns, it would appear also, that the number of executions for this offence had been increasing. Instances there had been of servants who had robbed their masters of the whole of their property. This was a crime of a most dangerous tendency in a commercial country, and subversive of that confidence which ought to subsist between the master and the servant. He was fully aware of all the arguments arising out of the unwilling-hon. and learned gentleman had himself ness of prosecutors and witnesses to come forward; but he thought that inferences much too wide had been drawn from that circumstance. The trouble of attend-tigate the punishment of death in the case ance, and the expenses of the prosecution, were circumstances which pressed on the minds of prosecutors, and must have no inconsiderable share in producing that disinclination to prosecute, the whole of which was attributed to the severity of the law. Again, as to the frequent findings of juries, that goods of the actual value of 401. or 50l. were of the value of 39s. only. The hon. and learned gentleman argued on that, as the effect of humanity overpowering the regard which the juror ought to have to his oath. But in the evidence, the answer of Mr. Shelton to a question which involved the whole of the subject, accounted for many of those findings. That gentleman stated, that often when property was stolen, perhaps to a very large amount, it might not be possible to prove that the whole was stolen at one time, and therefore the finding of the jury was in such cases cor

rect.

As it was notorious to prosecutors, to witnesses, and to jurors, that if there were no aggravating circumstances in the case, the law would not be carried into effect, he did think that this answer of Mr. Shelton truly explained the great majority of the cases alluded to. As in the whole of these cases of larceny, it appeared there was no difference except in the single instance of stealing in dwellinghouses to the value of 40s., he could not arrive at the conclusion, that the capital punishment ought to be remitted.

The only other class of offences was that of forgery, on which he was certainly not prepared to bring in any bill to alter the law; and he thought the hon. and learned gentleman had laid too much

of forgery. This was the less necessary from the great diminution of executions. In the year 1822, there had been in England and Wales, only six executions for the offence of forgery; and this he thought might be urged as some compensation for the other evils which had attended the return to cash payments.With respect to the stealing of horses, sheep, and cattle, he was decidedly of opinion that it would be unwise in the House to fetter itself now with any resolutions on the subject. The same observation he would also apply to suicide, These appeared to him much too im portant to be thus incidentally disposed of, and were well worthy of a separate measure. He was prepared to bring in bills as to the three branches of larceny to which he alluded; or if it was the wish of the hon. and learned gentleman to introduce them, to concur with him, most sincerely as to that reformation of the criminal code. It was also his intention to propose a measure which would go to relieve the judges from passing sentences in those cases in which it was not likely the law would be carried into execution. There occurred, perhaps, forty or fifty cases of crimes of every different shade, for which, at the end of the sessions, sentence was indiscriminately passed. It was desirable to preserve the distinction between crimes, and not to lower the effect of the solemn sentence of the law by this indiscriminate application of it. The measure which he should propose would not be any invasion of the prerogative of the Crown, as the judges would only be required to enter the sentence on the re

he had dissuaded many persons from petitioning the House on this very important subject.

cord on which doubt might arise.-On | there would not be saved one human life the subject of increasing the efficacy of in the course of ten years. He hoped his secondary punishments, it might be ob- hon. and learned friend would not withserved, that at present we had transporta- draw his motion on the subject of larceny tion to Botany Bay, but that from change in dwelling-houses. He had hoped and of circumstances in the colony, it was believed, that his majesty's ministers now extremely difficult to make a pu- would have gone further than, from nishment of sufficient severity. As to the their declaration of that night, they prohulks, though abuses might have hereto-posed to go; and, relying upon this hope, fore existed, he was, from a full consideration of the subject, assured, not alone that these abuses had ceased, but that such a system of punishment, operating in confinement and labour on the public works, had, as far as it went, a beneficial tendency. There were at present 3,000 persons confined in that way. Consider able improvements had taken place in the management of our gaols; but though the efficiency of the tread-mill was acknowledged, yet it was not a species of punishment to be applied for fourteen years. There was another species of secondary punishment which he thought might be very efficacious to the suppression of crime; namely, a combination of hard la bour and expatriation to some of the colonies, the Bermudas for instance, where public works were carrying on. With that view, it was his intention to propose a bill which would get rid of banishment, as the law now stood, and substitute expatriation and hard labour in some of the colonies. He bad now stated the various points on which he differed, and on which he concurred, with the hon. and learned gentleman. He had stated his intentions so far as they agreed, either to originate measures, or to concur in those which the hon. and learned gentleman might propose. As, however, there remained others on which they disagreed, it was his intention to propose the previous question on the first resolution, leaving it open to the hon. and learned gentleman to propose, if he thought proper, separate measures for those parts of the question on which they differed.

Mr. Fowell Buxton rose, amidst loud cries of "question!" He observed, that the lateness of the hour alone prevented him from replying at length to the speech of the right hon. secretary. All he should then say was, that that speech had greatly disappointed him. He contended, that the recorded pledge of the House could be most imperfectly redeemed by the measures proposed by the right hon. gentleman, under the operation of which

Mr. Scarlett said, he could not concur with his hon. friend, the member for Weymouth, as to the impression which the speech of the right hon. secretary was calculated to make. It was with great satisfaction that he had heard that speech, and he could not but rejoice, that the efforts to ameliorate our criminal code, which had been so long and so strenuously made, had at length succeeded, and that his majesty's ministers not only acceded to the principle, but proposed to sanction a series of measures in conformity with that principle. He could not, however, agree with the right hon. gentleman's reasoning with respect to the discretion vested in the executive power as to the punishment of death. If that were admitted, it would apply to every crime. He had not seen the resolutions of his hon. and learned friend before that evening. He was ready to support any measure which went to the mitigation of the punishment for forgery; but he did not see the necessity, because he did not see the advantage, of the House being at that time pledged to any specific mode of mitigation, the principle being already admitted. For his own part, he was desirous of having an opportunity of saying, upon each resolution, whether he would adopt the previous question or not; and his hon. and learned friend must not think that, because he did not approve of every part of his resolutions, he was, therefore, unfriendly to their principle. He rejoiced that the day had at length arrived when those principles which his late lamented friend, sir Samuel Romilly, had long endeavoured to introduce met with the general concurrence of the government. His majesty's minister had con. fessed himself a convert to the opinion, that severity of punishment was not the most expedient method of repressing crimes; that punishment ought to be consonant to the feelings and sympathies of mankind; and that those feelings ought

to be enlisted on the side of the administration of justice.

The Attorney General observed, that even the sweeping resolutions of his hon. and learned friend would be inefficient to their proposed object. How did his hon. and learned friend propose to meet the case of larceny in cottages left unprotected in the day time, to which the existing law affixed a capital punishment? He complained that his hon. and learned friend had taken the House by surprise, in not having stated previously the specific nature of his motion, even to his own friends. The House, he thought, would require some notice before they would consent to adopt resolutions, each of them involving topics that would require separate discussion.

Mr. R. Martin begged leave to suggest to his hon. and learned friend, that if it was his intention to follow up his resolutions with bills, it would be injudicious to risk the fate of those bills by pressing the resolutions to a division. Many members who would vote against the resolutions might vote for every one of the bills. If, however, his hon. and learned friend persisted in dividing the House, he would

vote with him.

Sir J. Mackintosh, in reply, said, that he would trespass but a few minutes to explain the part which he should take with respect to the resolutions. He agreed with his hon. and learned friend, in rejoicing that the principles of his late lamented friend, sir S. Romilly, had been adopted to any extent; but he would have rejoiced still more, if they had been adopted more extensively; for, with the exception of one bill, the whole appeared to him to be a delusion. The conduct of his majesty's ministers upon this subject reminded him of an expression of a friend of his, with respect to another person, that he was a great friend to general principles, but had an exception for every particular case. With respect to the first resolution, he would ask, how often had the House of Commons voted for the very measure to which it pointed? Would the right hon. gentleman advise the House to undo what it had done? To retrace its steps and forfeit its pledge to the country? In proposing the resolutions, he only wished to take the sense of the House in a popular way. The question was precisely the same as if he had moved for leave to bring in a bill; at the utmost, it only

went to add another stage to its progress, and it was absurd to talk of such a thing as an irrevocable stage, the bill being as liable to be thrown out in one stage as in another. He should certainly persist in taking the sense of the House upon his first resolution. If the previous question were carried upon that, he should only put the other resolutions, for the sake of recording his opinion upon the Journals of the House. He should not take upon himself to introduce any other measures for amending the criminal code; because he must foreknow their fate. If the right hon. gentleman had the skill to induce the House to retract its solemn pledge given last year, he felt that, as a humble member of parliament, he could not resist such an influence.

The previous question, "That the question be now put," being put, the House divided: Ayes, 76. Noes, 86. Majority against sir J. Mackintosh's motion, 10. The previous question was then put on the other eight resolutions, and negatived.

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BULL-BAITING AND DOG-FIGHTS.] Mr. R. Martin moved for leave to bring in a Bill to prohibit Bull-baiting and Dog-fights.

hon. gentleman should have his voice, even though he stood alone.

Mr. W. Smith was happy that his hon. friend had introduced this subject. He hoped it would be successful, because he was convinced that a bill of this nature would be advantageous to the character of the lower classes of Englishmen. The practice of bull-baiting, dog-fighting, and badger-baiting, did not, whatever might be said to the contrary, add to the real courage of Englishmen. But it tended to keep up and extend a brutal ferocity, which was not advantageous to the country in any point of view. The argument which was founded on the impropriety of interfering with the amusements of the poor, while those of the rich were left untouched, would, if examined, be found fallacious. The pain which animals

Mr. Brougham said, he was a friend to the principle of any measure calculated to put an end to animal or human sufferings; but it was an objection to the present bill, that it did not go far enough. It aimed at the prevention of sports which formed the amusement of the lower orders, but did not interfere with those in which the more wealthy and powerful classes indulged. He would ask whe-suffered in the one instance, was incither fishing, grouse-shooting, hare-hunting, horse-racing, fox-hunting, and other diversions of the same kind, were not every whit as cruel as those against which the bill was levelled? When on a former occasion it had been urged that if the latter animals were not destroyed, they would overrun the earth, the late Mr. Windham had said, that that was a poor argument as regarded fishing. There was a sound as well as a ludicrous way of treating this subject; but it was enough for him at present to take an objection to it, because it tended to draw a distinction between the lower and higher classes of his majesty's subjects, with respect to amusements in which there was equal cruelty. He therefore gave notice of his intention to oppose the bill in every stage.

Mr. R. Martin said, that the argument of the hon. and learned gentleman was most absurd. It was as much as to say, that if five hundred persons were cast upon a rock on a desolate island, and all could not be saved, the attempt should not be made to save any of them.

Mr. Peel objected to the motion, because it belonged to a class of subjects which he did not think fit for legislation in this manner.

Mr. John Smith said, that so far as dog-fighting was concerned, he would vote for the bill. He understood that, in the very neighbourhood of the House, amusements, as they were miscalled, of the most gross and brutal kind were carried on. Such proceedings ought to be discouraged; and the motion of the VOL. IX.

dental and unavoidable, and the rich man would be better pleased if he could prevent its occurrence; but, in the other instance, the degree of pleasure in the spectator was proportioned to the quantity of suffering which was inflicted on the animal. If the conduct of those who pursued such pastimes were examined, he believed it would be found that their proceedings during the night were just as cruel and as lawless as they were throughout the day.

Sir M. W. Ridley could not agree with the hon. gentleman, that dog-fighting or bull-baiting had such a tendency to render men savage and ferocious. In his younger days he had witnessed some of these exhibitions; and as they had not made him ferocious, he thought they would not have a different effect on the people in general. Such subjects as these he considered to be far beneath the dignity of legislation. If the House entertained such questions, they would next be called on to provide a fit punishment for the slaying of cock-chafers and the destruction of flies.

Mr. R. Martin wished to know whether leave would be given him to bring in a bill merely to protect dogs; and whether, if he withdrew his motion now, he would be allowed to bring it forward at a more advanced period of the session? [Cries of "No, no."]

Mr. Fowell Buxton expressed a hope that his hon. friend would not be pre-. vailed upon to withdraw his motion. The same arguments had been urged against his former bill, the effects of which were

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