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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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it might, with propriety, be left to the discretion of
the court, in certain cases of second offences, to inflict
the same punishment as in cases of grand larceny;
since it can hardly be supposed, that any material or
lasting effect can be produced on a criminal, by the
labour and discipline of a penitentiary house, in a
shorter time than four or five years. And if he is
incorrigible by means of solitude, temperance, and
cleanliness, he will not merit, if he is guilty of a
second offence, a punishment less severe than impri-
sonment for that length of time.

It is not requisite, here, to enter into the details
of this plan of a county prison; which, if found, on
experiment, to succeed in the city of New York

, may
be extended to Albany, and one or two other coun-
ties, where the increase of population, and the fre-
quency of petty offences, may render it necessary.

Before concluding this account, it may be proper to
make a few remarks, the result of some observation and
experience, on a subject which may have an essen-
tial influence on the present scheme of punishments.

It has been observed by BECCARIA, whose opinions
have the force of axioms in the science of penal law,
that as punishments become more mild, clemency
and PARDON become less necessary; — that clemency
belongs to the legislator, and not to the executer of
the laws: a virtue which ought to shine in the code,
not in private judgments. To show mankind that
crimes may be pardoned, or that punishment is not
the necessary consequence, is to nourish the flattering
hope of impunity.—Let then the executer of the
law be inexorable, but let the legislator be tender,
indulgent, and humane.* * Dei Delitti e delle Pene, §20.—A misura che le pene divengono più
dolci, la clemenza ed il perdono diventano meno necessari, &c.

These principles, though just in theory, necessarily
presuppose a perfect system of penal law, by which
each punishment is with such exact justice appor-
tioned to each crime, that no difference of circum-