Obrazy na stronie

information, which I hope to obtain by a personal inspection of the prisons, has unavoidably delayed what I have to add to the sixth and last book.

I have only to add, on this subject, that from the progress already made, I hope that the wbole system will be presented at the next session. And I submit to the legislature, whether it would not be proper to direct, that when finished it shall be printed for the inspection of the members.

This report is intended to apprize the representatives of the people, what changes are proposed to be made in their criminal jurisprudence ; to inform them why these changes are deemed necessary; to lay before them a plan of the whole work; to announce the principles on which it is established; and by the exhibition of a part, to shew in what manner it may be reasonably expected that the whole will be executed.

In performing this duty, the line traced by the law, under which I was appointed, has been scrupulously 'adhered to. In its execution, I claim no other merit than that of diligence, and a most conscientious desire to perform it in such a manner as will best reconcile humanity with justice, and the great interests of freedom with both.

The representatives of a free people, although they may do nothing to forfeit the confidence of their constituents, cannot always expect to retain the power of serving them. A spirit of change is inherent in our government; it gives it energy, and is even necessary to its existence. We appear in public life; perform or neglect the duties assigned

to us; and then, pushed off the stage by younger, more active, or more popular candidates, we return to the mass of our fellow-citizens; in common with them, to suffer the evils, or enjoy the benefits of the measures we have adopted. It is not always, that in the brief space allotted to us for the performance of our functions, we have an opportunity of making it an epoch in the annals of our country, by institutions, with which a grateful posterity will identify the names of those by whose patriotic labours they were established. This rare occasion now presents itself for your acceptance. If the work, which your wisdom has directed, and which your sound judgment, experience, and care will modify and correct, should effect the object of giving to your country a penal code, founded on true principles concise, correct, humane, easily understood, guarding with the same scrupulous care the rights of the poorest citizen, and of the most influential member of society; inforcing firmly, not harshly, a strict obedience to the laws; repressing with an even hand the abuses of office and the licence of insubordination ; protecting the good, restraining, punishing, and reforming the wicked ; arraying the best feelings and most powerful passions, as well as the understanding on the side of the law ; making disobedience, unwise and inattractive, as well as dangerous; arming all your institutions with public opinion, and directing its irresistible force against vices and crimes ; rendering your judges venerated as the oracles of justice, and your courts respected as its sanctuary. Should this be the result, few

public bodies can boast a fáirer claim than you will then have to the approbation of their constituents, and the gratitude of posterity. For you will have rendered an essential service, not only to your own country, by securing its internal peace, and establishing its reputation for wisdom and justice, but to the other states, by giving them an useful and honourable example, and to the whole world, by demonstrating the ease and safety with which abuses are corrected, and improvements introduced under a free government, and exemplifying its superiority, by this proof of the rapid progress it has enabled you to make in the science of legislation, during the few years you have enjoyed it. And the grateful prayers of the innocent whom you will have saved; of the guilty you will have reformed, and of the whole community, whose feelings will no longer be lacerated by public exhibitions of suffering and of death, will combine with your own consciousness of rectitude, in drawing down a blessing on your lives, and diffusing a glow of happiness over that hour, when the remembrance of one measure effected for the interests of humanity, or the permanent good of our country, will be of more value, than all the fleeting and unsatisfactory recollections of success in the pursuits of fortune or ambition.

All which is respectfully submitted.






Art. 1. This code is divided into six books; each book into chapters and sections; the whole, composed of articles numbered throughout each book.

The first book contains definitions explaining the sense in which certain words and phrases are used in the course of the work, and directs the mode in which this code shall be promulgated and taught.

The second contains a preamble; and general dispositions, applicable

1. To the exercise of legislative power in penal jurisprudence.

2. To prosecutions and trials.

3. To the persons who are amenable to the provisions of the code and of the circumstances under which acts that would otherwise be offences, may be justified or excused.

4. To the repetition of offences.

5. To different persons participating in the same offence as principals, accomplices, and accessaries.

The third book defines offences and designates their punishment.

The fourth establishes a system of procedure in all criminal cases, relative to

Complaints or accusations.-Arrests.-Commitments. - Indictments. - Informations. — Arraignments and trials.—To the formation of grand juries, their duties and forms of proceeding.–To the securing the attendance of witnesses.--To the forms to be observed in all proceedings in court.

- To the administration of oaths.—To the granting and executing search warrants.—To the requiring security against the commission of offences which are apprehended.—To the granting of writs of habeas corpus, and the provisions necessary to giving it effect.

The fifth contains rules of evidence as applicable to trials for each of the offences made punishable by this code.

The sixth relates to the establishment of a penitentiary, and contains rules for its government.

Art. 2. Whenever in this code, the office, trust, state, or relation of tutor, ward, administrator, executor, ancestor, heir, parent, child, minor, infant, master, or servant; and the relative pronouns he or they, as referring to them, are used, they are intended to mean as well females as males, standing in those relations, or exercising the same offices, trusts, or duties, unless the contrary be expressed.

ART. 3. The general terms-whoever; any person; any one; and the relative pronouns-he, or

« PoprzedniaDalej »