Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

thought her the more secure by marriage. If
it be urg'd that both the other Ladies pro-
tected by this Law are wives, which lessens
the force of my last argument; I desire it
may be consider'd that all the care of those,
is only upon account of their husbands, viz.
the King, and Prince of Wales, in whom
the publick is so much concern'd; but not
at all for them, before they become those
Princes wives: Whereas one so near the
Crown as a King's eldest daughter, is in her
own person of too great consequence, not
to be guarded by this Law 'till she has a
husband, who is then suppos'd capable of
defending her himself against all such violent

IT may be objected, that if a rape only
was meant, there was no need of this Law
against it ; because that crime committed
against the meanest person was already pu-
nishable with death: but in this case the
death is made more severe, and also the
blood attainted.

10. As to the following Article, my Lord COKE has another odd opinion ; That, altho it comes within this statute, to assist the King's enemies; it does not reach those who affift rebels; because (he says) rebels cannot pro



perly be call’d enemies, but rather traitors. Accordingly he makes a great difference between the crimes of conspiring with a foreign Prince (which he accounts Treason) and of conspiring at home with other subjects to levy war (which he says is none, unless the war be actually made) which seems as if he allow'd a people, in some extraordinary cases, to project a remedy among themselves, but never to confide in, or join with, any stranger about it.

II. The next Article is about counterfeiting the Great Seal, and Privy Seal ; where both the Privy-Signet, and Sign Manual are left out, but added (I think unwisely) in a later statute.

12. CLIPPING, washing, and filing mo. ney for lucre fake, are also added since to the Treasons in this Act about money. But, tho' both these additions only supply what appears to be rather forgotten than left out of this statute; yet I wonder at those Parliaments that thought such inconsiderable things worth their breaking a gap for an addition of Treasons, after their wise ancestors had by this Law made such a fence against them, by taking away all those at the common Law:

13. BUT


him to



husband man hi ferie

, ted; it thích

aulet of arrit

acesto tufan

13. But the most considerable part of all this statute is the word (provably) a most significant one; and yet in our printed Statute-books 'tis changed into the word (probably) one most dangerous, and unintelligible, and worthy of a publick amendment in Parliament : For tho’’tis rectify'd in the margin of KEBLE's collection ; such a wrong word foisted in, is a little suspicious, and would hardly be continu'd so long there by chance. Perhaps it has been thought there is more need of difcouraging all such attempts, than of setting bounds to the Judges, or Jury; but 'tis plain that King EDWARD the third was not of that mind.

14. The next thing is the clause which makes it Treason to kill the Chancellor, Treasurer, or any Justice in doing his office; by which their persons are not otherwise protected than in the execution of their employments : And the reason why a King's person is made by this Law so very sacred at all times, is because he is always executing his great office either by himself or his deputies; all acts of justice running still in his name, who is ever suppos’d to intend that right should be done even against himself or favourites; and therefore any failure of


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

di Zea.


in this




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

But our

it in those deputies is punishable, notwithftanding any direction they may have from him to excuse it.

IS. THERE are three other Treasons mentioned after this ; of a wife's killing her husband ; a servant his master; or a clergyman his prelate ; on which I will only observe, that a worse than all these is omitted ; in imitation I suppose of old Rome; which made no Law against Parricides, because they thought human villainy incapable of arriving at so great a height. ancestors might have consider'd, that two thousand years are a great while for mischief to grow in, especially in these hot Climates of Zeal and Enthusiasm.

16. Now comes the most important clause in this Act to be consider'd, which is in these words.

“ And because that many other “ like cases of Treason may happen in time to

come, which a man cannot think nor de“ clare at this present time, it is accorded, “ That if any other case, supposed Treason, “ which is not above specify’d, doth happen

“ before any Justices ; the Justices shall tarry /" without any going to judgment of the « Treason, 'till the cause be fhew'd and deVOL. H.


" clar'd

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

« clar'd before the King and his Parliament, " whether it ought to be judgd Treason or “ Felony."

THERE has been so great a difference in opinion about the true interpretation of this clause, that I hope it is a little excusable, if (in a matter allow'd by all to be obscure enough) a man so ignorant of the Laws as I am, should happen to be as much in the wrong as many others.

But, to begin with the several interpretations of this clause: Some will have it understood, that it gives a right to the judicial power of the House of Lords, to judge any other facts Treason which they shall think of such ill consequence to the publick, as to deserve that name, and the punishment belonging to it. For, they say by the word (Parliament) in matters of judicatory, is always meant the House of Lords only; because the other House has nothing to do with things of that nature, unless to accuse and bring offenders before the Lords to be tried. And as to the King's being mention'd in the clause ; they pretend that 'tis only according to the form in all courts of judicature, where the King is always supposed to be


« AnteriorContinuar »