Imagens das páginas

Gentlemen, I know I am addressing persons whose magisterial duties have made them thoroughly acquainted with the subject of this letter; and I am certain I have stated no fact, to the truth of which your own experience will not abundantly testify. My object in addressing you, is most earnestly to call on you to take this subject into your immediate consideration; and if I should be so fortunate as to convince you of the truth of the general principle I have laid down, that early imprisonment is the primary cause of the increase of crime, to implore you at your different quartersessions, to unite in 'petitioning the Legislature to make such alteration in the law of Simple Larceny, as shall in their wisdom appear most fit and expedient. I am, Gentlemen, your obedient Servant,



For altering the Law of Simple Larceny as affecting Juvenile Offenders. WHEREAS it has been found by experience, that great evils have arisen from the commitment for trial of offenders of tender age accused of simple larceny; whereby such early imprisonment has tended to harden them in vice, and to render any attempt at reform more difficult and unavailing; And whereas it is expedient io provide a summary mode of proceeding against such offenders instead of that now in force ; Be it therefore enacted, &c. &c. That where any person shall be accused of simple larceny before iwo or more justices of the peace, it shall and may be lawful for such justices to inquire into the age, or reputed age, of such offender; and if it shall appear to them that he or she shall be under the age of twenty-one years, every such offender, being convicted of the offence so charged by one or more credible witnesses, or on their own confession, shall, at the discretion of such justices, be committed to an asylum or house of correction set apart exclusively for the reception of such offenders, for any time not exceeding twelve calendar months; or the said justices may order the said offenders to be whipped and discharged, or discharged only, at the discretion of such justices; and if any person so convicted shall be afterwards accused of simple larceny before one or more justices of the peace, then such person shall be proceeded against in the manner pointed qat by the various statutes now in force respecting simple larceny.

II. And be it further enacted, That the two justices of the peace, before whom such offender shall be brought, shall have authority to summou all persons, who know or declare any thing touching the offence of which the party stands accused, to appear before them at such time and place as they shall appoint, then and there to give evidence against the party accused, or

her behalf; and in case such person summoned shall neglect or refuse to appear, it shall and may be lawful for the said justices to issue their warrant to compel such persons to attend.

on his

III. And be it further enacted, That the two justices, before whom 'such offender shall be convicted, are hereby authorised and empowered, at the request of the prosecutor, or any other person who shall appear voluntarily or on summons to give evidence against any person so accused, or on his behalf, to order such sums of money to be paid to them as to them shall appear reasonable and sufficient for the expenses they have incurred in such attendance; and also to compensate them for their trouble and loss of time therein. And although no conviction shall take place, it shall still be lawful for the said justices, where any person shall have attended voluotarily or on summons, to order unto such person such sums of money as shall ap. pear to them reasonable and sufficient to reimburse them for the expenses which they shall have incurred by reason of such attendance; and also to compensate them for their trouble and loss of time. And the amount of the expenses of attendance before the said justices, and the compensation for trouble and loss of time, as well as the expense of conveying the offender to the house of correction or asylum, shall be ascertained by the certificate of such justices, delivered to the treasurer of the county, where such conviction or proceedings shall take place, and he is hereby authorised to pay the same.

İV. And be it further enacted, That the two justices of the peace, before whom such offender shall be brought, shall take the information on oath of those who give evidence of the facts and circumstances of the case, and shall put the same in writing; and such justices shall subscribe such information and examinations; and shall deliver the same, together with the conviction, to the clerk of the peace or other proper officer of the court of the next jail-delivery in the county where such conviction shall have taken place.

V. And be it further enacted, That the justices of the peace, at their next quarter-sessions of the peace after the passing of this act, shall appropriate some convenient and sufficient part of the house of correction for the exclusive reception of offenders committed under this act, entirely distinct from all other prisoners, or they shall erect, purchase, or rent some building or buildings with or without land, in any part of the county, which to them may seem most fit and convenient, for the exclusive reception of such offenders; and shall provide whatever appears to them to be necessary for the maintenance, labor, and instruction of the said offenders; the expenses in-curred thereby to be defrayed out of the produce of the county-rate, in the same manner as the other expenses of the county are defrayed.








LONDON: 1828.

[The following letter was written before the resignation of Lord Goderich was contemplated as probable. The letter is, however, addressed to him as the recognised head of a liberal Ministry, and not in his individual capacity; and the address has, therefore, been permitted to remain unaltered.]

So be there 'twixt your kingdoms such a spousal,
That never may ill office, or fell jealousy,
Thrust in between the paction of these kingdoms,
To make divorce of their incorporate league;
That English may as French, French Englishmen,
Receive each other! God speak this Amen!

Henry V., Act 5.

MY LORD, In addressing your Lordship on a subject of the most vital importance to the interests of this country, I am anxious to avoid all appearance either of servility or of presumption. The observations which I venture to offer to your Lordship’s notice are such as must have suggested themselves to many others, who, like myself, have remained in the humble station of spectators, without being called on to bear any part in the varied scenes of the political drama. It cannot, therefore, be supposed that I venture to obtrude my sentiments on one, whose experience and information must far exceed mine own under the delusion of self-conceit, and still less probable must it be deemed, that an obscure individual should endeavor to ingratiate himself with one whose situation in life is not only far above, but also most widely separated from his own. My real motives can be thus briefly stated. It is not sufficient that a large proportion,-nay, even that the majority of the community, -should think rightly, while others are to be found who, either designedly or from ignorance, are actively engaged in disseminating error, and at the present moment ample employment appears to have been found both for the malevolent and the weak.

The overthrow of a party originally formed during a conflict of opposite prejudices, and which continued to regard the defeat of their opponents as the test of their own wisdom, was an event anticipated by all who had not suffered themselves to despair of that natural good sense which has been fostered by the institutions of our country; whilst at the same time it could not be expected that the enjoyment of power would be quietly relinquished, or that the eyes which had been dazzled with its charms should be immediately opened to the milder but less seductive prospect of a liberal and conciliating policy. Fortunately, however, for the present generation, it appears to be now admitted that the happiness of the governed is the object of Government, and not less fortunate is the recognition of some degree of capacity in the people of every country to decide on the best mode of securing that happiness.

I address you, therefore, my Lord, as the successor of Mr. Canning, who had the manliness to carry into execution those measures of liberal policy which had long been recommended in vain by the most illustrious opponents of his former colleagues. By giving him your support, you have shared his fame; and what is of more importance to the people of England, -I might say to the civilised world, you have identified your principles with those which he adopted. The domestic difficulties to which he was exposed, already offer a less stubborn resistance; and Europe anxiously looks forward to the conduct of an Administration which may so far act in unison with the general feelings of their countrymen, as to afford a security against any return of the vacillation which disgraced their predecessors.

The subject of the present letter is intimately connected with the above prefatory remarks, since the prejudice that led to the formation of the late Ministry operated principally on our foreign policy, and the change which became perceptible in our relations with the continent of Europe, soon after the death of the late Lord Londonderry, does not yet appear to have effected a sufficiently determinate reaction. In order to express myself more clearly, and to set forth in the most striking point of view the urgent necessity of adopting a system which shall be at once enlightened, efficient, and uniform, I must recur briefly to the events which succeeded the termination of our late contest with France, and the settlement of Europe by the Allied Powers at the Congress of Vienna.

Had we been told that it was intended to select, as Plenipotentiaries of the different Powers then assembled in Congress, some young inexperienced statesmen, impressed with a vivid imagination of that which had recently passed before their eyes, and, like children before a mirror, fancying that they saw distinctly the straightforward course for the future, in the reflection of the past, we should probably have formed some such conjectures as these with regard to the conduct of our juvenile diplomatists. « France (they would have said) exhibited such a persevering spirit of domination under every form of government, her resources are so inexhaustible, her population so restless, and her frontier so extended, that it is impossible to adjust the balance of European power, unless we confine with the most watchful and rigorous severity this mercurial make-weight, which is perpetually disturbing the equilibrium.” This fundamental maxim being once adopted, and the situation of France being most favorable for any experiment which might be suggested, every artifice which policy could devise, every means of restraint which alarm could command, would occupy the almost exclusive attention of the victorious deliberators.

Adde cicutæ
Nodosi tabulas centum, mille adde catenas,

Effugiat tamen bæc.cæleratus vincula Proteus, But should there be present, besides the novices we have alluded to, some crafty speculators versed in the old Machiavelian theory of power, and incapable of appreciating any advantage less tangible than an extended territory, watching and fomenting with an assiduity resembling that of the owl in the fable the fears and jealousies of their neighbors, it would be difficult to imagine a more favorable opportunity for the development of their ingenuity.

Now, it cannot be denied, that although our first hypothesis. appear at first sight extravagant, yet the arrangements which took place at the Congress of Vienna present us with results similar to these above deduced from it. Experience and wisdom are not always acquired by years, and those who have been nurtured amid the mists of prejudice will with difficulty become capable of adapting their vision to a more extended horizon. The principle of alarm had effected such wonders in this country, that it now seemed irresistibly to hurry on its votaries, at a period when the master-conjuror, who first raised the perturbed spirit, would have quietly consigned it to its natural abode of darkness. The exhausted state of France after the continued campaigns of Napoleon, and especially after the last disastrous effort of his ambition, -the gradual change which had been effected in the disposition of the people by the harassing levies of the conscription, and in that of the higher classes of the community by the unconcealed despotism of their ruler, were at all events sufficient guarantees for the

The lamentable effects of the alarm-phrensy on such a mindas Burke's, are feelingly commented on by the author of the article on the correspondence between Burke and Lawrence, in the last number of the Edinburgh Review, VOL. XXIX.



« AnteriorContinuar »