An essay on crimes and punishments beccaria

If, in examining the proofs of a crime, acuteness and dexterity be required; if clearness and precision be necessary in summing up the result; to judge of the result itself, nothing is wanting but plain and ordinary good sense, a less fallacious guide than the knowledge of a judge accustomed to find guilty, and to reduce all things to an artificial system, borrowed from his studies.

cesare beccaria

Every violent action destroys those small alterations in the features, which sometimes disclose the sentiments of the heart. Neither the power of eloquence, nor the sublimest truths, are sufficient to restrain, for any length of time, those passions which are excited by the lively impression of present objects.

an essay on crimes and punishments beccaria summary

The laws receive their force and authority from an oath of fidelity, either tacit or expressed, which living subjects have sworn to their sovereign, in order to restrain the intestine fermentation of the private interests of individuals. If censors, and, in general, arbitrary magistrates, be necessary in any government, it proceeds from some fault in the constitution.

voltaire crime and punishment

The Edition: current; Page: [57] necessity of protecting the informer from infamy. So that the very means employed to distinguish the innocent from the guilty, will most effectually destroy all difference between them.

It is opinion, that tormentor of the wise and the ignorant, that has exalted the appearance of virtue above virtue itself.

Cesare beccaria beliefs

The aggregate of these, the smallest portions possible, forms the right of punishing: all that extends beyond this is abuse, not justice. This was the object of the establishment of society, and was either in reality or in appearance, the principal design of all codes of laws, even the most pernicious. Ought such an abuse to be tolerated in the eighteenth century? We may talk as we please of the corruption and degeneracy of the present age, but happily we see no such horrid examples of cruelty and oppression. The accomplices commonly fly when their comrade is taken. Edition: current; Page: [23] This may seem a paradox to vulgar minds, which are more strongly affected by the smallest disorder before their eyes, than by the most pernicious, though remote, consequences produced by one false principle adopted by a nation. The dilemma is frequent. Is it possible that torments, and useless cruelty, the instruments of furious fanaticism, or Edition: current; Page: [47] of impotency of tyrants, can be authorized by a political body? In England, Beccaria's ideas fed into the writings on punishment of Sir William Blackstone selectively , and more wholeheartedly those of William Eden and Jeremy Bentham.
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On Crimes and Punishments