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crime. The learned judges are unanimously agreed that the expediency of justice and public security require there should not be a remission of capital punishment in this part of the criminal law. My lords, if we suffer this bill to pass, we shall not know where to stand ; we shall not know whether we are on our heads or on our feet. If you repeal the Act which inflicts the penalty of death for stealing to the value of five shillings in a shop, you will be called upon next year to repeal a law which prescribes the penalty of death for stealing five shillings in a dwelling-house, there being no person therein—a law, your lordships must know, on the security of which, and the application of it, stands the security of every poor cottager who goes out to his daily labour (!). He, my lords, can leave no one behind to watch his little dwelling, and preserve it from the attacks of lawless plunderers. Confident in the protection of the laws of the land—[that is, their supposed readiness to hang a man for stealing a rush-bottomed chair !]—he cheerfully pursues his daily labours, trusting that on his return he shall find all his property safe and unmolested.”

One stands lost in amazement at the absolute futility of the arguments thus elaborately put forth by a Lord Chief Justice of England. Let the laudatores temporis acti reflect upon them, and the cause they were intended to support, and admit that in some things we have improved upon our forefathers. But it should be added, for the further enlightenment of the reader, that the sole legislative achievement of this truculent judge was an act (43 Geo. III. c. 58) which created ten new capital felonies, and greatly increased the already "revolting severity " of our criminal code.

With infinite patience pursuing his labours in the cause of humanity, Sir Samuel Romilly, in 1811, carried two bills which abolished the punishment of death for stealing from bleaching grounds; and in the following year, he persuaded Parliament to repeal the Act of Elizabeth, by which soldiers and mariners wandering about the realm without a pass were doomed to death. A pamphlet on the “Criminal Law,” which he had published, produced a great impression on the mind of the public, and helped to create a feeling in favour of further reform. The esteem in which he was held for his high character, scrupulous integrity, and great powers was agreeably manifested by an invitation from a number of respectable citizens of Bristol to become a candidate for the

representation of their city. Two of his opponents, however, formed a strong coalition against him, and as he refused to sanction any lavish expenditure for corrupt purposes, he was defeated. Through the kindness of the Duke of Norfolk, he was afterwards elected for the borough of Arundel.

In the new Parliament our undaunted reformer once more proposed the abolition of capital punishment in cases of shop-lifting. The Commons passed the measure, but it was again rejected by the Lords. Sir Samuel then rested for a while from a crusade which seemed almost hopeless. But he was not idle. I have carefully examined the votes he gave in successive sessions on the various questions brought before Parliament, and I am prepared to say that he on no occasion flinched from his duty, and on no occasion gave a vote contrary to the principles of truth, justice, and freedom. Few of his contemporaries can show a record so unstained. a reformer before the day of reform, and on all subjects of foreign and domestic policy bis views were in favour of enlightenment and progress.

His efforts to promote the abolition of the slave trade never slackened, and Wilberforce had no more earnest or eloquent supporter. The

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crime. The learned judges are unanimously agreed that the expediency of justice and public security require there should not be a remission of capital punishment in this part of the criminal law. My lords, if we suffer this bill to pass, we shall not know where to stand ; we shall not know whether we are on our heads or on our feet. If you repeal the Act which inflicts the penalty of death for stealing to the value of five shillings in a shop, you will be called upon next year to repeal a law which prescribes the penalty of death for stealing five shillings in a dwelling-house, there being no person therein-a law, your lordships must know, on the security of which, and the application of it, stands the security of every poor cottager who goes out to his daily labour (!). He, my lords, can leave no one behind to watch his little dwelling, and preserve it from the attacks of lawless plunderers. Confident in the protection of the laws of the land—[that is, their supposed readiness to hang a man for stealing a rush-bottomed chair !]-he cheerfully pursues his daily labours, trusting that on his return he shall find all his property safe and unmolested.”

One stands lost in amazement at the absolute futility of the arguments thus elaborately put forth by a Lord Chief-Justice of England. Let the laudatores temporis acti reflect upon them, and the cause they were intended to support, and admit that in some things we have improved upon our forefathers. But it should be added, for the further enlightenment of the reader, that the sole legislative achievement of this truculent judge was an act (43 Geo. III. c. 58) which created ten new capital felonies, and greatly increased the already “revolting severity " of our criminal code.

With infinite patience pursuing his labours in the cause of humanity, Sir Samuel Romilly, in 1811, carried two bills which abolished the punishment of death for stealing from bleaching grounds; and in the following

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year, he persuaded Parliament to repeal the Act of Elizabeth, by which soldiers and mariners wandering about the realm without a pass were doomed to death. A pamphlet on the “ Criminal Law,” which he had published, produced a great impression on the mind of the public, and helped to create a feeling in favour of further reform. The esteem in which he was held for his high character, scrupulous integrity, and great powers was agreeably inanifested by an invitation from a number of respectable citizens of Bristol to become a candidate for the representation of their city. Two of his opponents, however, formed a strong coalition against him, and as he refused to sanction any lavish expenditure for corrupt purposes, he was defeated. Through the kindness of the Duke of Norfolk, he was afterwards elected for the borough of Arundel.

In the new Parliament our undaunted reformer once more proposed the abolition of capital punishment in cases of shop-lifting. The Commons passed the measure, but it was again rejected by the Lords. Sir Samuel then rested for a while from a crusade which seemed almost hopeless. But he was not idle. I have carefully examined the votes he gave in successive sessions on the various questions brought before Parliament, and I am prepared to say that he on no occasion flinched from his duty, and on no occasion gave a vote contrary to the principles of truth, justice, and freedom. Few of his contemporaries can show a record so unstained. a reformer before the day of reform, and on all subjects of foreign and domestic policy his views were in favour of enlightenment and progress.

His efforts to promote the abolition of the slave trade never slackened, and Wilberforce had no more earnest or eloquent supporter. The

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persecutions to which the French Protestants were exposed, the disabilities imposed upon aliens, the iniquitous severities of the game laws: against these he strenuously protested, while he opposed the measures taken by Lord Liverpool's Government for restricting the liberty of the subject, such as the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and the bill against so-called seditious meetings. The employment of spies and informers, who incriminated innocent men by their fictitious evidence; the imprisonment for libels, urged on by a Government which was tyrannical because it was weak, he denounced with a just indignation. But what is noticeable is, that though thus opposing the policy of a powerful majority, he secured and preserved the esteem of his opponents no less than of his friends. There was a charm about that fine nature, in its simplicity, its unselfishness, its profound truthfulness, its purity, which everybody felt. It is impossible for some men not to make enemies; it was impossible for Romilly not to make friends.

His career is a proof of the instinctive deference which the world pays to goodness. For Romilly was not a man of genius, though gifted with considerable talents; his intellect was not of that high order which compels instant and universal acknowledgement. His influence was the influence of character; and it was himself, and not his gifts, which was loved and admired.

His efforts for the amelioration of the Criminal Code were resumed in 1816, when, after the downfall of Napoleon, he probably thought the country would have leisure for the consideration of legal reforms. On the 16th of February he obtained leave to bring in a bill repealing William III.'s shop-lifting statute.

He justly described it as the severest and most sanguinary in our

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