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Grub Street Journal Newspaper Archive: March 12, 1730 - Page 1

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Publication: Grub Street Journal

Location: London, Middlesex

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   Grub-Street Journal (Newspaper) - March 12, 1730, London, Middlesex                                NtfMB. X. The Grub-ftreet Journal Cf)Ut#&ap, MARCH, 12. 1730. Little Villains mufi fubmit to Fate, That Great Ones may enjoy the world in fiate.       Garth's Difpenfary, Cant. I. HAT Perfbns of confiderabfe fortune, or quality, tho* liable to the fame capital penalties with thofe in a lower ftation, yet fhould nor have thofe penalties inflicted on them, has been thought reasonable in ail nations; as is evident from their practice, the beft interpreter of public, as well as of private, opinions. And tho' this is looked upon by their ( Inferiors as too great a privilege : yet, unlefs the Laws ' were to be righteoufly executed upon all, without re-fpeft of Perfons, I cannot think but it would be much better on all accounts, that the Rich and Great fhould be exempted, not only from punifhment, for fome certain crimes, but even from profecution. For, befides that fuch'profceutions are generally ineffectual to the purpofe for "which they are carried on, which is the bringing a j�reat Criminal to Juftice, it being more'difficult to" get a rich man hanged, than to lave a poor fellow from the gallows; theft profecutions are the caufes of occafioos of many and great inconve-� niences and evils. ',' They occafion Ac-'Cjuairfcring away abundance, of money among the'inferior Onicers^more properly cal-fc^&el&s^^fil&eefr fcdras Jailors, Turnkeysiicc. vrfa npt only extort exorbitant fiims from their illuftri. i^digj^p^nBa, for the privileges'of the goal, and other accounts; but Ekewife ibmetjmes expofe them to con^ via&btj � by, 'fhewiog them at a certain price, like wild IkJW^lmctf&en) to the populace.   Thus Villains are " iarichfd.by the wealth of Gentlemen in confinement; which tfey would othefwife have fpent in a generous manper, to the advantage of honeft and induftribus people > and the Gentlemen themfelves are. rendered ridi-. caietu 'to the rabble. The proficutions of rich or great men-are frequently the occafion of much bribery, forgery, and perjury. For if they are really guilty of the crime of which they are accufed, they will -certainly employ their money in fuch 3 manner, ^s may be mpft likely to fecure them from -punffhment; and it is ten to one, that it will be fuc-cefsful. And even if they are innocent, they may think it proper tamake ufc of the fame method. For it fome-times happens, that profligate perfons (e/pecially in cafes where a finglc oath is of any validity) irx order to extort money from thofe who have ff great quantity, will charge thera with fome*capital crime: which, upon being dif-appointed ia their expectations, they will not Icrople, out of revenge, to fwear againft them in a Court of Judicature. In this cafe the Perlbn accufed may think it necefTary to hire fome Irifh F.vidences on his fide, to irr-validatethe falfhood of one teftimbny, by the falfhood of-another. Sometimes to make the connter proof more flrong, it may fcem neceflary to counterfeit Letters, &c. under the hand of the Accufer. And if this is not likely to be fufHcient, as in fome cafes it is nor, a majority of the Jury muft be bribed even to do juftice. 'Another ill confequeoce occafioned by fuch Profecutions is, that they fix a lafting mark of infamy upon 'Gentlemen, in the opinion of the undifcerning Vulgar :  who make little diftinfHon betwixt perfons accufed and ; convicted j and none at all betwixt the poor and the wealthy Convicts,, unlefs to the difad vantage of the lat-. 'fef.   For whenever a great man has been publicly accu-v"fea of any action which is accounted a great crime, ur.-\i -fcft bis inrioeence appears very plainly (which in the ge. ^v'neral and willful blindnefs of the world feldom happens) ,'"the amgatjfiptf^pprjhis honour, like that upon a Lady's, ''�� never forgotteji^but always remembered to his dif� grace. This has a very ill efre&*�pon the raindj of the common People? and Ieflens ve^'tattch that deference and refpeet which is due from Inferiors to Superiors. All thefe mifchievous confequences attend the bare Profecution of Great men, even, if -through either their innocence, or prudent manage�en|^hey?feape'conviftion. .But if through the malice or obftwacy of a Jury, they are brought in guilty} the ill confequences are much more numerous, and more grievous. A degradation from > their high fiction immediately follows: and a man of honour is delivered into the hands of a common Jailor, to be loaded with irons at his difcre-tioflj and is foon after brought to the Bar, and placed among common-Felons, with hb thumbs tied in a moft fcandalous manner, to receive the ftntence of condemnation. This is a mark of infamy upon an honourable Criminal, as indelible,"" as if he were ftigmatized 5 and expofes him, not only for the prefent, but even as long as he lives, to the contempt and obloquy of. the Populace. To condemnation fucceeds an application for a pardon ; which can feldom be obtained, without falfe re-prefentations of the character of the perfbn convicted, and of the circumftances of his conviftion. For the fu-preme Magiftrate, who has the ible power of pardoning, fuppofes all perfons guilty, who have been convicted according to law: and tho1, out of his gracious difpofition, he may be willing to give frequent ihftances of bis nter--cy j yet he cannot be fuppofed willing to extend it to any, but to proper objects. Who are fuch, in the vaft number of his Subjects, he can feldom know any other-wife, than by the representations of others , upon whofe veracity and honour he muft depend. But firice it feldom happens, that any Great man is capitally convicted, who has not before been guilty of the like, or of fome other crime of equal magnitude; how can fuch a Perfon be reprefented to a Prince, as a prpper object of his rhercyi but by a complication of falfities ? Thefe cannot poffibly be fuppofed to proceed originally from Perfons of honour about the Court 5 and therefore they themfelves muft be firft impo/ed on by the information they receive from others, who have been induced to give fuch favourable and falfc accounts by the prevalence of money. This opens a large fcene of bribery and corruption, to the inric-hraent of vile and profligate perfons,- who in-ftead of being in any capacity of being inftrumental in procuring mercy for others, ought to be made fevere examples of juftice themfelvesi But by whatever mean?, and upon whatever confederations, tho' never fo juftifiable and reafonable, a wealthy, but notorious Criminal is pardonedthe common People, who know nothing of the true motives and inducements to the exercice of mercy, and if they did, are not, perhaps, proper judges of them, generally exclaim againft it. They think it great partiality, that quality or riches (Tor they fee no other difference) .fhould fecure a man from the punifhment of a crime, which would expofe one of themfelves to certain death. Hence they infer, thar,~when the Law is rigoroufly executed upon a man in mean circumftances, he is not hanged for having broken the laws, and done any thing that is-really criminal and wicked,but for being poor. Affluent fortune they are fo far from thinking a circumftance which can any way render a Criminal a more proper object of mercy5*; that they look upon it as an aggravation of his guilt, fince his example hai a more extenfive and fatal influence, the contagion of wjbich they think ought conlequently to be prevented by the fevereft punifhment. vAnd therefore their clamours will run much higher, if ever it fhould happen, that fuch a Perfon fhould obtain a pardon for a crime of which he has been capitally convicted, after having committed-the like feveral times, and by means of his wealth faved himfelf from former convictions : one who, perhaps, from the meaheft cir-cumflances fhall have raifed himfelf to immenfe wealth by the vileft and bafeft methods 1 who by his flight of hand fhallhave conveyed to himfelf theeftates, and by hi* debaucheries corrupted the morals of great numbers" of Gentlemen: in fhorr, one whole whole life fhall have not only been one continued fcene of intemperance, pTofane-nefs, lewdoefs, and villany, but who fhall have continually boafted and gloried in the moft flagrant inftances of his wickednefs. If ever fuch a cafe as this fhould happen, the People, who will look upon fuch a wretch as a common nuifance, will be apt to cenfure the coirpaf-fion fhewed towards him, as cruelty to the Public. And yet, even in a cafe like this, there may be fuch wife, and juft, and good reafons for the exercice of mercy, as the Vulgar are not able to comprehend; and therefore will certainly repine, and murmur, at fuch a iig-nal inftance of Clemency. That there may - be fuch reafons will appear from this one Observation, That Great men, who have ofren the greareft perlbnal failings, may be of fuch confequence, egber in a civil, or military capacity, that the taking them off for any of them, may be an unfpeakable detriment to a nation. It may deprive it of perfons of the moft-confummate abilities to ad-minifter juftice, and to^jnanage the Whole Scheme of affairs at home, or to lead Armies, and negotiate Treaties abroad. . After employing my thoughts, among other State* menders, to find out a remedy for the great inconveni-encies above-mentioned, I cannot think of any more proper, than humbly to propofe*- That a Law may be made exempting all Perfons of fuch a particular dignity or fortune from all profecutioos for Murder, Sodomy, and . Rape, committed upon thofe who have not-an effort of fuch a particular value. I fix upon thefe three fpffe of Crimes, becaufeitis in refpect of thefe chiefly, that Perfons of fortune are expofed to moft danger from thpfe who have little or none, on account of the admiffion of one direct fingle witnefs in thefe cafes, together with concurrent circumftances. This matter may be regulated after the manner of the Game-Act; and fecure the property of fuch crimes which are committed for diverfion to Gentlemen, who are duly qualified. This privilege would be a good mark of diftmdtion j and more effectually prefer ve a due fbbordination betwixt the fuperior and inferior, ranks of men. And tho* the latter might, perhaps, at firft raife a clamour againft fuch a law j yet when" they came to confider the matter calmly, they would be perfectly eafy, being convinced a? the advantages arifing from it even to themfelves. For it would oblige them to fit down quietly under the firft injury j and thereby fecure them from the trouble and charge of vain profecutions, to which they now fo frequently expofe themfelves. Thefe fcntiments are confirmed by thole of.theinge-nious Dr. Croxall, who in Fab. xcvii. has thefe words. One tcbo is alrt/tdy great and opulent, is by thofe -very ' means frivileg'd to commit ahnoft any encrmities. But it is nteeffary, that a.Shew and ~Birm of Juftice fhtuU bt kept up [among inferior perfons] : othsrwif, mire Peeple to be ever fo great, and fo fucetfsful Rogues, they -would not be able to keep pojftjjion of., and enjey their plunder. Ba vi us. Verfes occafioned by a late famous Sermon, on ere Peters, Calamy, and Manton Scripture phraf- for Strafford's qurTentf, O i/rael, was cry'c; And PJJBIHkpfc, and Prophecies appl} .d : W here-Ctf%R| Meroz, twang'J. through n With rageiilmn'd the long-car^d, rebel.Cm   

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