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cherous cunning animal. Another derivation is brought from two Anglo-Saxon words,-fee, which in that ancient tongue and in modern English (means a species of property or money given upon certain occasions; and lon, which in modern German signifies prix, price. Fee-lon of consequence signifies pretium feudi. The author of the Commentaries on the Laws of England adopts this last etymology. But felony is a term which implies an active sense; it represents an action, and should, I think, be derived from a verb rather than from two substantives, which taken separately or conjointly have no active signification. The verb fallere is probably the origin of the French faillir. There is an Anglo-Saxon verb which is probably the root of the English verb to fail. By a metaphysical process, very common in all languages, this word, passing from the direct to the figurative sense, has been brought to signify, falling into error-being in fault-failing in duty-falling off from allegiance. This derivation is one of Spelman's, which appears to me the most natural and rational. But here is quite enough about the word felony. No matter where it comes from, provided it goes away.

"When this word was brought into English jurisprudence after the Norman conquest, it was applied only to a small number of crimes, which were of the greatest enormity: robbery committed arms in hand-arson-homicide; such were the first crimes which constituted felony. But men of law by different subtleties added clause on clause and punishment on punishment still under the same name. At the same time the legislature, not knowing how to do better, added continually to the list of these punishable offences, still calling them felonies, till at last it has become the denomination not of a single crime, or a single punishment, but of a heterogeneous mass of punishments and of crimes of all sorts and of all degrees. If you tell me that a man has committed a felony, I am not the least forwarder as to my knowledge of his offence: all the idea that this word presents to my mind is the notion of the punishment which he is to suffer, and even this notion is not definite. As to his offence, it may be an offence against an individual, or it may be an offence against a particular set of men,-an offence against the state, or an offence against himself. Felony, in short, is a term which confounds all order, defies every species of arrangement, and spreads darkness over all English penal legislation."

We cannot follow our author further through the present definitions of felony with and without benefit of clergy: but all he says on this subject is well worthy of attention.

"One of the punishments for certain crimes, that come under the head of Felony without benefit of clergy, is to have the letter M if for murder, or T for thief, branded in large letters with a red-hot iron on the left thumb.

"But this punishment has been changed so far from the original words and meaning of the law, and the mode of its present execution in England, that it has become absolutely a farce The mode is still to use a branding-iron indeed; but it is a cold iron, and it is merely applied to the arm or leg of the delinquent, but leaves no mark. If a hot iron be used, a piece of raw bacon is put between the iron and the flesh; this broils and whizzes, to the great edification of all who assist at the ceremony. What should be great we turn to farce.'



farce.' What powerful effect the fear of the shame of being branded with an indelible ignominious mark may have upon the human mind, may be esti mated from a fact quoted from Stedman.

"A Frenchman of the name of Destrades, who had introduced the culture of indigo into Surinam, and who during many years had been universally esteemed and respected in that colony, was taken ill at the house of one of his friends at Demerara. An abscess was formed on his shoulder: he would not allow any human creature to dress or to see it; it grew worse and worse, and he became dangerously ill; but still he could not be prevailed upon to admit of any surgical assistance. At length, when he despaired of recovery, he put an end to his life with a pistol. Then his secret was revealed; on the shoulder was discovered the mark of a V (for voleur) with which he had been branded.

"We do not cite this fact as an argument for restoring the English law to its former severity. Far from it. Here is a striking example of the cruel consequences of these uncertain punishments which operate according to the sensibility more than in proportion to the guilt of the offender, which extend through the whole of after life, so as to preclude all hope of redeeming character, and consequently to take away from the delinquent the motive and almost the possibility of reformation. No; we cannot desire to see again in use a punishment which so offends against one of the first conditions and objects of just punishment; but we point out that now is the time formally to abolish it-now, when the letter of the law has been changed, so that respect for precedent and ancient usage cannot be pleaded; now, when the mode of pretending to execute it exposes the law itself to contempt and derision.

Our author's observations throughout his examination of all the existing crimes and punishments included under the terms felony with or without benefit of clergy, are expressed with a happy alternation of reasoning and irony which mutually assist each other and agreeably relieve attention. For the mode of remedying every defect that is pointed out in any punishment, we are constantly referred to the chapter (the 6th) on the characteristics of just punishment. Under some of the heads there mentioned its fault must appear, and with its fault the principle at least by which we are to obtain the remedy may be found.

We have now gone through this Treatise on Punishments with a careful and almost with a jealous eye, keeping continually in mind that aphorism which Lord Coke justly upheld, "It is not the complaining tongue we need, but the amending hand."

In the work before us, tongue, hand, and heart go together, so as to deserve combined blessings and general confidence. The Editor in his preface tells us that this Treatise on Punishments and Rewards may be considered as opening to us the Tartarus and the Elysium of legislation: he observes that we should enter the Tartarus only for the purpose of endeavouring to soften the torments of those who


are doomed there to abide; that over the gates of these infernal regions the terrible line of the poet,

"Lasciate speranza voi ch' entrate,"

should not be inscribed.

We have found the benevolent promise of the preface faithfully fulfilled. Our way has not been so dreary as, from the painful nature of the objects we had to examine, might have been anticipated. We have felt uniformly sustained not only by the hope, but by the reasonable expectation, that these labours will tend considerably to assuage the misery and increase the happiness of our fellow-creatures. We may trust with the more confidence to the pleasures of the promised Elysium. "Happily the subject of rewards, by its novelty, and by the idea of the virtues, talents, and services which it brings into view, will conduct the reader through a most agreeable road." [To be continued in our next.]

ART. XVII.-Memoirs of Granville Sharp, Esq. By Prince Hoare.

[Continued from p. 148.]


E return now to the year 1783, beyond which time we had stept to concentrate Mr. Sharp's labours in promoting Episcopacy in the United States. In this year a tragical event occurred at sea, which obliged him to renew his benevolent endeavours in behalf of African slaves. It took place on board the ship Zong, the captain of which, aided by the officers and crew, had thrown alive into the sea one hundred and thirty-two of the slaves, to defraud the underwriters. This case having been recorded in most of the early publications written for effecting the abolition of the slave-trade, and having been repeated in many others for the same purpose even to the present day, we feel it unnecessary either to take up the time or to harrow up the feelings of the reader by detailing it. We are bound, however, to mention it, that Mr. Sharp's labours may be duly appreciated on the occasion.

His determination was to prosecute, if possible, the captain and those concerned for murder. To prepare himself for this prosecution he attended a trial at Guildhall, which took place between the owners and the underwriters of the vessel; and that no fact, connected with his view of the subject, might be lost or misrepresented, he took with him a short-hand writer into court. But, alas! the persons thrown overboard were then considered only as horses, mules, or cattle, few people at that time of day interesting them.

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selves in their cause as human beings. He had the misfortune to hear the counsel for the owners of the vessel make use of the following words:" There is (said the counsel to the Judges) a person now in court (at the same time turning round and looking at Mr. Sharp) who intends to bring on a criminal prosecution for murder against the parties concerned; but, said he, the blacks are property. So far from the guilt of any thing like a murderous act, or so far from any show or suggestion of cruelty, there was not even a surmise of impropriety in the transaction; and to bring a charge of murder against the persons concerned would argue nothing less than madness in him who should bring it." He had the mortification also of hearing Lord Mansfield himself uttering nearly the same ideas. "The matter left to the jury," said his lordship,


was, whether it was from necessity; for they could have no doubt (though it shocked him very much) that the case of slaves was the same as if horses had been thrown overboard. It was a very shocking case."

After such exclamations, and by such persons, in a public court of justice, Mr. Sharp perceived that he should have more difficulties to encounter, than, in his simple and christian views of right and wrong, he had imagined. He was determined therefore to appeal to persons in authority to assist him in the case in question. He wrote therefore to the Duke of Portland, then first Lord of the Treasury, to implore his interference in this case; but receiving no answer, he addressed himself to the Lords of the Admiralty, and sent them an attested copy of the whole trial. He addressed himself, he said, to them, as persons whose province it was to inquire concerning all murders committed in British ships on the high seas: but here also he was again disappointed. Finding therefore that his efforts were ineffectual, he determined to give to this horrible transaction the utmost publicity in his power. He first sent a detail of it to the public papers. He then handed about manuscript copies of the minutes of the trial to the bishops, then to certain members in both houses of parliament, and lastly to benevolent individuals of character and influence in private life. By these means this tragedy became a subject of conversation, and there began with it a rising abhorrence of the slave-trade. In short, the providential interference of Mr. Sharp on this occasion may be considered as one of the great events, which shook the foundation of the slave-trade in this country, and which led to the formation, only four years afterwards, of a society for its abolition.

In the year 1786, notwithstanding the decree in favour of Somerset, there were individuals in London audacious enough to attempt to violate it, under the hope, no doubt, that they should escape discovery. A miscreant of this sort had seized Harry Demaine, a


negro, and forced him on board a ship at Gravesend to be taken to Barbadoes and sold there as a slave. But it was no easy thing to elude the vigilance or to outstrip the activity of Mr. Sharp. No sooner was he informed of the transaction, than with an incredible celerity he procured a Habeas Corpus, and rescued him, as he had done Thomas Lewis, just as the vessel was getting under weigh to leave the Downs. A few minutes longer, and he had been too late.

About this time the decree in favour of Somerset began to be productive of a serious evil, which Mr. Sharp considered himself bound to correct. This led him into circumstances which occasioned him to become a benefactor in an entirely new department, and where his benevolence will be seen burning again with equal lustre as before. Though this decree might have been once or twice secretly eluded, it had yet given protection to the great body of Africans who were then, and who since that time had arrived, in England. The consequence of this was a great accumulation of black people in London, who had been slaves, and (as these had no masters to support them and no parishes to go to for relief); great accumulation of black beggars in the streets. They were seen there in such numbers as to become a nuisance. As Mr. Sharp was their known patron, they all flocked to him. His purse was open to their wants, as far as it would go: but it required large purse to relieve so many. In this situation he formed a scheme, by which he conceived that he should relieve the public and at the same time provide for their permanent support. He determined upon sending them to some spot in Africa, the land of their ancestors, at his own expense, where, when they were once landed under a proper leader, under a judicious code of laws, and with implements of husbandry, and suitable provisions for a time, they might by moderate industry gain their own livelihood. Just at this time Mr. Smeathman, who had lived for some years at the foot of the Sierra Leone mountains, and who knew the climate, and nature of the soil and productions there, and who had formed a plan for colonizing those parts, and substituting a natural trade in the produce of the country in lieu of the slavetrade, was in London inviting adventurers, but particularly the black poor, to accompany him on his return to his ancient abode. Mr. Sharp was very soon informed of Mr. Smeathman's plan; for the black people came to consult him, being unwilling to trust themselves with Mr. Smeathman without his special advice and consent. He accordingly had several meetings with Mr. Smeathman; and being convinced of the uprightness of his intentions, and of the practicability of his plan, he adopted it for his black orphans, and consented that Mr. Smeathman should become their leader; but he reserved to himself the power of drawing up a code of laws,

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