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is forgiven, in order to continue the family, and comfort his aged parents in their decline.
Similar to this, there is a fpirit of mercy breathes through the laws of England, which fome irroneously endeavour to fupprefs; the laws however feem unwilling to punish the offender, or to furnish the officers of juftice with every means of acting with feverity. Those who arreft debtors are denied the ufe of arms; the nightly watch is permitted to reprefs the disorders of the drunken citizens only with clubs; juftice in fuch a case seems to hide her terrors, and permits fome offenders to escape, rather than load any with a punishment difproportioned to the crime,
Thus, it is the glory of an Englishman, that he is not only governed by laws, but that these are also tempered by mercy. A country reftrained by fevere laws, and those too executed with severity, (as in Japan) is under the most terrible species of tyranny: a royal tyrant is generally dreadful to the great, but numerous penal laws grind every rank of people, and chiefly those leaft able to refift oppreffion,-the poor.
It is very poffible, thus for a people to become flaves to laws of their own enacting, as the Athenians were to thofe of Draco. "It might firft happen, (says the historian,) that men, with peculiar talents for villany attempted to evade the ordinances already established; their practices therefore foon brought on a new law levelled against them; but the fame degree of cunning, which had taught the knave to evade the former ftatutes, taught him to evade the latter also; he flew to new shifts while juftice pursued with new ordinances; ftill, however, he kept his proper distance, and whenever one
crime was judged penal by the state, he left committing it, in order to practice fome unforbidden species of villany. Thus the criminal, against whom the threatenings were denounced, always escaped free; while the simple rogue alone felt the rigor of juftice. In the mean time penal laws become numerous, almost every person in the ftate, unknowingly, at different times, offended, and was every moment fubject to a malicious profecution." In fact; penal laws, inftead of preventing crimes, are generally enacted after the commiffion; instead of repreffing the growth of ingenious villany, only multiply deceit, by putting it upon new shifts and expedients of practising with impunity.
Such laws, therefore, resemble the guards which are fometimes imposed upon tributary princes, apparently, indeed, to fecure them from danger, but in reality to confirm their captivity.
Penal laws, it must be allowed, fecure property in a state, but they also diminish personal security in the fame proportion. There is no pofitive law, how equitable foever, that may not be fometimes capable of injuftice. When a law, enacted to make theft punishable with death, happens to be equitably executed, it can at best only guard our poffeffions; but when, by favour or ignorance, juftice pronounces a wrong verdict, it then attacks our lives, fince, in fuch a cafe, the whole com munity fuffers with the innocent victim: if, therefore, in order to secure the effects of one man, I should make a law which may take away the life of another, in fuch a case, to attain a smaller good, I am guilty of a greater evil; to fecure fociety in the poffeffion of a bauble, I render a real and valuable poffeffion precarious. And,
indeed, the experience of every age may serve to vindicate the affertion. No law could be more just than that called lafa mageftatis, when Rome was governed by emperors. It was but reasonable, that every conspiracy against the administration should be detected and punished; yet what terrible slaughters fucceeded in consequence of its enacting: profcriptions, ftranglings, poifonings, in almost every family of distinction, yet all done in a legal way; every criminal had his trial, and loft his life by a majority of witnesses.
And fuch will ever be the cafe where punishments are numerous, and where a weak, vicious, but above all where a mercenary magiftrate is concerned in their execution; fuch a man defires to fee penal laws increased fince he too frequently has it in his power to turn them into inftruments of extortion; in fuch hands the more laws the wider means, not of fatisfying justice, but of satiating avarice.
A mercenary magistrate, who is rewarded in proportion, not to his integrity, but to the number he convicts, must be a person of the most unblemished character, or he will lean on the fide of cruelty; and when once the work of injustice is begun, it is impoffible to tell how far it will proceed. It is faid of the hyæna, that naturally it is no way ravenous, but when once it has tafted human flesh, it becomes the most voracious animal of the forest, and continues to perfecute mankind ever after. A corrupt magistrate may be confidered as a human hyæna ; he begins perhaps by a private fnap, he goes on to a morfel among friends, he proceeds to a meal in public, from a meal he advances to a furfeit, and at laft fucks blood like a vampyre.
Not in fuch hands fhould the adminiftration of juftice be entrusted, but to those who know how to reward as well as to punish: it was a fine faying of Nangfu the emperor, who being told that his enemies had raised an infurrection in one of the diftant provinces: "Come then, my friends, faid he, follow me, and I promise you that we fhall quickly destroy them." he marched forward, and the rebels fubmitted upon his approach. All now thought that he would take the moft fignal revenge, but were surprised to see the captives treated with mildness and humanity.-How! cries his first minister, is this the manner in which you fulfil your promife? Your royal word was given, that your enemies fhould be deftroyed, and behold you have pardoned all, and even careffed fome! I promifed, replied the emperor, with a a generous air, to deftroy my enemies, I have fulfiled my word, for fee they are enemies no longer; I have made friends of them.
This, could it always fucceed, were the true method of deftroying the enemies of a state; well it were, if rewards and mercy alone could regulate the common wealth; but fince punishments are fometimes neceffary, let them at least be rendered terrible, by being executed but feldom, and let juftice lift her fword rather to terrify than revenge. Adieu.
FROM THE SAME.
I HAVE as yet given you but a fhort and imperfect de
scription of the ladies of England. Women, my friend,
To confefs a truth, I was afraid to begin the defcrip-
What chiefly distinguishes the fex at present, is the train. As a lady's quality or fashion was once determined here by the circumference of her hoop, both are now measured by the length of her tail. Women of moderate fortunes are contented with tails moderately long; but ladies of true taste and diftinction fet no bounds to their ambition in this particular. I am told the lady mayorefs, on days of ceremony, carries one longer than a