An Essay on Crimes and Punishments: By the Marquis Beccaria of Milan. With a Commentary by M. de Voltaire

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James Donaldson, 1788 - 238 pages

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Page 106 - ... mankind to be terrified at the approach of the smallest inevitable evil, whilst hope, the best gift of Heaven, hath the power of dispelling the apprehension of a greater, especially if supported by examples of impunity, which weakness or avarice too frequently afford.
Page 73 - ... a degree, that occupying the mind entirely, it will compel the sufferer to use the shortest method of freeing himself from torment. His answer, therefore, will be an effect, as necessary as that of fire or boiling water; and he will accuse himself of crimes of which he is innocent. So that the very means employed to distinguish the innocent from the guilty, will most effectually destroy all difference between them.
Page 19 - In every human society," says the celebrated Marquis Beccaria, " there is an effort continually tending to confer on one part the height of power and happiness, and to reduce the other to the extreme of weakness and misery. The intent of good laws is to oppose this effort, and to diffuse their influence universally and equally.
Page 208 - We are aftonifhed at the change, and yet nothing can be more natural. The condemned are forced to continual labour for a livelihood. The opportunities of vice are wanting. They marry and multiply. Oblige men to work, and you certainly make them honeft. It is well known, that atrocious crimes are not committed in the country, unlefs when there is too much holiday, and confequently too much idlenefs, and confequently too much debauchery.
Page 197 - And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church : but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Page 113 - THE execution of a criminal is, to the .multitude, a fpectacle, which in fome excites compaffion mixed with indignation. Thefe fentiments occupy the mind much more than that falutary terror which the laws endeavour to infpire; but in the contemplation of continued fuffering, terror is the only, or a leaft predominant fenfation.
Page 226 - I. That the council is above the pope. 2. That the pope cannot deprive the king of any of his rights by excommunication. 3. That ecclesiastics, like other persons, are entirely subject to the king. 4. That a priest who is made acquainted, by confession, with a conspiracy against the king and the state, must disclose it to the magistrates. On the...
Page 112 - The death of a criminal is a terrible but momentary spectacle, and therefore a less efficacious method of deterring others than the continued example of a man deprived of his liberty, condemned, as a beast of burden, to repair, by his labour, the injury he has done to society...
Page 104 - An overgrown republic can only be saved from despotism by subdividing it into a number of confederate republics. But how is this practicable? By a despotic dictator, who, with the courage of Sylla, has as much genius for building up as that Roman had for pulling down. If he be an ambitious man, his reward will be immortal glory? if a philosopher, the blessings of his fellow citizens will...
Page 111 - ... its liberty; or in times of absolute anarchy, when the disorders themselves hold the place of laws. But in a reign of tranquillity; in a form of government approved by the united wishes of the nation; in a state well fortified from enemies without, and supported by strength within, and opinion, perhaps more efficacious; where all power is lodged in the hands of a true sovereign; where riches can purchase pleasures and not authority, there can be no necessity for taking away the life of a subject.

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