Category — Justice

Tuesday, May 23. 1704.

Numb. 23.

WE told you in our last, of a Trial at Law, at the Queen’s Bench Bar at Westminster, about a Gentleman’s Assassinating another in the Street, after having twice Challeng’d him, once for himself, once for another Man – and that on a full Tryal, the Assassin was Fin’d 200 Marks, and the other 100 Pounds.

Our Scandalous Club brings a Case before them of another Gentleman, who stabb’d an Honest Man into the Back, as he was going up Stairs.

I have related both these Stories, in Order to compare our Proceedings in such Cases in England, and to shew how much more Justice is to be had in like Cases in France: Not that I would too highly applaud the French Justice, but I should be glad to make an Essay towards an Act of Parliament, for better settling this Matter in our English Laws.

As to Challenging, Assassinating, and the like, the first would have been immediate Death without Mercy, as we have seen in various Instances already, as to Assaulting a Man in the Street with Cane and Sword, endeavouring to force him to fight; I shall not pretend to say what the Court of Honour in France would have awarded in such a Case, but this I can tell, that they have been very severe in like Cases. [Read more →]

May 23, 2008   No Comments

Saturday, May 20. 1704.

Numb. 22.

OUr last Paper observ’d, that in this Evil of Duelling, as in most other Cases, several Essays were made as a Remedy before it was brought to Perfection. Lewis XIII. made as severe Edicts against it, as any body could expect, having every day some Broil or other among his Nobility; and Cardinal Richlieu claims the Honour of making the first Edict of this Nature.

But there were two Deficiencies in all they Attempted upon that Head, which the Present King of France effectually supplyed.

First, Tho’ the Edict was severe enough, the King suffered himself to be prevailed with, by Intercession, to remit the Execution of the Sentence, till he came to be Insulted in his very Pallace Royal, and have Murthers committed, and Duels fought under the very Windows of his Bed-Chamber.

This serv’d to convince the World, that this Evil was too predominant to be Cured with Common Application; that something out of the Ordinary way of Justice, must be done to suppress so uncommon a Mischief. [Read more →]

May 20, 2008   1 Comment

Tuesday, May 16. 1704.

Numb. 21.

THE last Paper insisted upon the Divisions of the Confederacy, being Fatal to their Prosperity, and a Principal Cause of the present Superiority of France, to the rest of Europe.

I presume no body will pretend to call it a false Suggestion, or that it is not too true, that the Confederacy has suffer’d on this Account; If this be not a true Reason, No other can be given, but what will be a Satyr upon the whole Confederacy; since if they were United, and did they Act by Common Concert, it must be Impossible but the French Power, Leagued against by 17 Nations, besides Petty Princes, must, long since, have been reduc’d to Reason.

If then the Divisions of Europe are the Ruin of the Confederacy, they that attempt to Divide them, are accessary to the Destruction of us all, and ought to be Treated accordingly; and there I leave it, to return to the Chain of our Discourse.

I broke off the Articles of the French Authority, over their Subjects, with the Instances of the King’s severe Justice upon Duelling, and the Particulars History and living Testimony give us of the Proceedings in the Courts of Honour. [Read more →]

May 16, 2008   No Comments

Saturday, May 6. 1704.

Numb. 18.

OUR last ended with the Character of the profound Submission made by all the Gentry of France, to the Command of their absolute Monarch; Gentlemen who have travel’d in France too lately for History to come at the Heels of the Fact, tell us very diverting Stories of the Court of the Marshals in Cases of Personal Affronts, and the extraordinary Justice done by way of Reparation in Point of Honour, which the French call L’Amende Honorable.

I have often fancy’d there is something more of the Old Custom, which we call Lex Talionis, in this way of judging, than in any Proceedings I have read of – If I give the Reader the Particulars of some, from the many I have heard, I desire the Favour of the Censorious Part of Mankind to take this with them by the way.

I cannot satisfie my self to say any thing in Print, without either being very sure of my Authorities, or letting the World know upon what Foot, as to Credit, they are to take it. – ’Tis my Opinion, if an Historian relates a Falshood without the due Caution of telling his Reader how he had it, he pawns his own Reputation upon the Truth of it, makes himself answerable, and the Fraud becomes his own.

Wherefore, tho’ I may on the Credit of the Authors, tell the World I believe firmly the Instances I am going to give are Genuine; yet I shall always tell you when I have a Story from a Report of Gentlemen, or from a positive History. [Read more →]

May 6, 2008   No Comments