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less degree of severity, the liberty of the press, properly understood, is by no means infringed or violated. The liberty of the press is essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraint upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public. To forbid this is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequences of his own temerity. To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser as was formerly done, is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion and government.
Freedom of Censure. But to punish, as the law does at present, any dangerous or offensive writings, which are judged to be of a pernicious tendency, is necessary for the preservation of peace and good order, of government and religion, the only solid foundations of civil liberty. Thus the will of individuals is still left free; the abuse only of that free will is the object of legal punishment. Neither is any restraint hereby laid upon freedom of thought or inquiry; liberty of private sentiment is still left. The disseminating, or making public of bad sentiments, destructive of the ends of society, is the crime which society corrects. A man may be allowed to keep poisons in his closet, but not publicly vend them on the street as cordials. To censure the licentiousness of the press is to maintain its liberty.
CHAPTER XII.-OFFENCES AGAINST PUBLIC TRADE.
Division. Offences against public trade are either felonious or not felonious. Of the first sort are:
1. Owling. This is so called from its being carried on in the night. It is the offence of transporting wool or sheep out of the kingdom, to the detriment of its staple manufacture.
2. Smuggling. This is the offence of importing goods, without paying the duties imposed thereon by the laws of the custom and excise. This is restrained by a great variety of statutes, which inflict pecuniary penalties and seizure of the goods, and affix the guilt of felony.
3. Fraudulent Bankruptcy. Statute law takes notice of several species of fraud, to wit: the bankrupt's neglect of surrendering himself to his creditors; his non-conformity to the directions of the several statutes; his concealing or embezzling his effects to the value of 201.; and his withholding any books or writings, with intent to defraud his creditors.
Punishment. The offence of fraudulent bankruptcy, being an atrocious species of crimen falsi, ought to be put upon a level with forgery and counterfeiting. Under the statute of James II, the offender was placed in the pillory for two hours, with one of his ears nailed to the same, and cut off.
4. Usury. This is an unlawful contract upon the loan of money, to receive the same again with exorbitant increase. Under the statute, not only are such contracts totally void, but the lender shall forfeit treble the money borrowed. It is also an offence, to procure and solicit any infant to grant any life annuity, or to promise or otherwise engage to ratify it, when he comes
age. 5. Cheating. This is an offence more immediately against public trade. A vast number of statutes bear upon this subject, many of which relate to selling by false weights and measures. Also any deceitful practice in cozening another by artful means, , whether in matters of trade or otherwise, is punishable by fine and imprisonment, as is also the case where a man defrauds another of valuable chattels, by color of any false token or false pretence, or where he disposes of another's goods without the consent of the owner.
6. Forestalling the Market. This offence consists in buying or contracting for any merchandise or victuals coming in the way to market, or dissuading persons from bringing their goods or provisions there, or persuading them to enhance the price when there.
7. Regrating. This consists in the buying of corn or victuals in any market, and selling it again in the same market, or within four miles of the place, thus enhancing the price of provisions, as every successive seller must have a successive profit.
8. Engrossing. This is described to be, the getting into one's possession, or buying up large quantities of corn or other dead victuals, with intent to sell them again. This must of course be injurious to the public, by putting it in the power of a few rich men to raise the price of provisions at their own discretion. And so the total engrossing of any commodity, with intent to sell it at an unreasonable price, is an offence indictable and finable at the common law. Among the Romans, these offences and other malpractices to raise the price of provisions, were punished by a pecuniary mulct.
9. Monopolies. This is much the same offence in other branches of trade that engrossing is in provisions; being a license or privilege allowed by the king for the sole buying and selling, making, working or using of anything whatsoever ; whereby the subject in general is restrained from that liberty of manufacturing or trading, which he had before. These illegal combinations reached an enormous height during the reign of queen Elizabeth, but were in a great measure corrected in the reign of her successor. Combinations also among victualers and artificers to raise the price of provisions, or any commodities, or the rate of labor, were, in many cases, severely punished by particular statutes. In the reign of Edward VI, the punishment for the first offence was by a forfeiture of 101. or 20 days' imprisonment, with an allowance of only bread and water; 201. or the pillory for the second, and 401. for the third, or else the pillory, loss of one ear and perpetual infamy.
10. Unlawful Exercise of a Trade. This consists, where a party has not served as an apprentice for the seven years fairly required by law; as it is detrimental to public trade, from the supposed want of sufficient skill in the trader.
11. Inducements to Artificers to Settle Abroad. A tificers going into foreign countries, and not returning within six months after warning given by the British ambassador where they reside, shall be deemed aliens, and forfeit all their lands and goods, and shall be incapable of any legacy or gift. Parties who have enticed them abroad are liable to fine and imprisonment.
CHAPTER XIII._OFFENCES AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH
AND PUBLIC ECONOMY.
Offences against. Health. 1. Quarantine Evaded. If any person, infected with contagious disease, be commanded by the mayor or other proper officer of his town to keep his house, and shall disobey the order, he may be enforced. By statute of George II, the method of performing quarantine, or forty days probation, by ships coming from infected countries, was placed in much more regular order than formerly. Parties guilty of disobeying such directions, and also persons escaping from the lazarets, or place where quarantine is to be performed, were declared guilty of felony, without benefit of clergy.
2. Selling Unwholesome Provisions. This was punished by fine and imprisonment.
Offences against the Public Police or Economy. Some of these amount to felony, and others to misdemeanors only. Among the former are:
1. Clandestine Marriages. By statute, marriages must be celebrated in the church or public chapel, wherein banns have been usually published, except by license of the archbishop of Canterbury. To solemnize marriage in any other manner or place, or without due publication of banns or license obtained, not only render the marriage void, but subject the person sol.. emnizing it, to felony. It is also a crime to make a false entry in a marriage register, or to alter it when made. Also to utter the same as true, knowing it to be false; or to destroy or procure the destruction of any register in order to vacate any marriage.
2. Bigamy and Polygamy. Bigamy properly signifies being twice married. Polygamy, having a plurality of wives at once. Polygamy can never be endured under any rational civil establishment, whatever specious reasons may be urged for it by the eastern nations. In northern countries, the very nature of the climate seems to proclaim against it. It is punishable by the laws of Sweden with death. In England, by statute of James I, the crime is felony, but within the benefit of clergy. The first wife, in this case, shall not be admitted as a witness against her husband, because she is the true wife ; but the second may be, for she is indeed no wife at all; and so vice versa of a second husband.
Cases, where not a Felony. There are five cases, in which such second marriage, though in the first three void, is yet no felony. (1) Where either party has been continually abroad for seven years, whether the party at home had notice of the other's being alive or not. (2) Where either of the parties has been absent from the other seven years within this kingdom, and the remaining party has had no knowledge of the other's being alive within that time. (3) Where there is a divorce, or separation, a mensa et thoro, by sentence in the ecclesiastical court. (4) Where the first marriage is declared absolutely void by any such sentence, and the parties divorced a vinculo. (5) Where either of the parties was under the age of consent at the time of the first marriage; for in such case the marriage was voidable by the disagreement of either party, which the second marriage very clearly amounts to. But if at the age of consent the parties had agreed to the marriage, which completes the contract, and is indeed the real marriage; and afterwards one of them should marry again, it is probable that such second marriage would be within the reason and penalties of the act.
3. Vagrant Soldiers and Mariners. This is where idle soldiers and mariners wander about the realm, or persons pretending so to be; thus abusing the name of such honorable profession. This sanguinary law, making it a felony, without benefit of clergy, though in practice deservedly antiquated, still remains a disgrace to our statute book.
4, Gypsies. Outlandish persons, calling themselves gypsies, or Egyptians, are another object of the severity of some of our unrepealed statutes. These are a strange community of wandering impostors and jugglers, who were first noticed in Germany about the beginning of the 15th century, and have since spread themselves all over Europe. They first appeared in the year 1417, under passports, real or pretended, from the emperor Sigismund, king of Hungary. Pope Pius II mentions them in his history (1464), as thieves and vagabonds, then wandering with their families over Europe, under the name of Zigari; whom he supposes to have migrated from the country of Zigi, which nearly answers to the modern Circassia. In a few years they gained such a number of idle proselytes, who imitated their language and complexion, and betook themselves to the same arts of chiromancy, begging and pilfering, that they were expelled from France in 1560, and from Spain in 1591. In 1530, by statute of