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peopled so many acres, to rebuild the villages they have destroyed, or to let their lands to those who will do so. Restrain those engrossings of the rich, ncarly as bad as monopolies. Leave fewer occasions to idleness, restore agriculture, and regulate the manufacture of wool; that employment may be found for those whom want compelleth to be thieves, or who being now idle vagabonds or uscless servants will become thieves at last. If you find not a remedy for these evils, it is vain to boast of your severity in punishing theft; which, though it may wear the appearance of justice, is neither just nor salutary. For if you educate your people ill, and corrupt their manners from their infancy, then punish them for crimes to which they are disposed by education, what is it but to make thieves, and then punish them for being such?'
• While I was speaking, the counsellor was preparing an answer, and intended to recapitulate my discourse with all the formality of debate; on which occasion remarks are generally repeated with more fidelity than they are answered, as if strength of memory were the chief trial.
• You have talked prettily for a stranger (said he), who hath heard of many things among us wbich he hath not been able duly to consider. But I will explain the whole matter to you, first repeating in due order all you have said. I will then shew you how much your ignorance of our polity hath misled you, and will, lastly, answer all your
arguments. That I may begin where I promised : there were four things,
• Hold your peace (cried the cardinal) this will take up too much time. We will therefore, for the present, save you the trouble of answering, and will reserve this for our next meeting, which shall be to-morrow, if Raphael's and your business will allow of it.
• But, Raphael, (said the cardinal to me) I would know on what ground you think that theft ought not to be punished with death. Would you give way to it, or propose any other punishment more useful to the public? Since death doth not restrain theft, what terror or force could restrain the wicked if they thought their lives safe? Would they not feel the mitigation as an invitation to more crimes?'
: . It seemeth very unjust to me (I replied) to take away life for a little money, for nothing can be of equal value with life. And if it be said, that the suffering is not for the money, but for the breach of the law, I answer, extreme justice is an extreme injury. For we ought not to approve of those terrible laws, which make the smallest offences capital, nor of that opinion of the stoics which maketh all crimes equal: as if no difference were to be made between killing a man and taking his purse, between which, in reality, there is the greatest disproportion.
• God hath commanded us not to kill; shall we then kill for a little money? And if it be said, the command extendeth not to cases where the laws of the land allow of killing, on the same ground laws may be made in some cases to allow of perjury and adultery. God having taken from us the right of disposing either of our own lives or those of others, if it be pretended that the mutual consent of mankind in framing laws, can authorize death in cases where God hath given us no example, that it supersedeth the obligation of the divine law, and maketh mura der lawful, what is this but to prefer human to divine laws ? Admit this, and men may in all cases lay what restrictions they please on God's laws.
• If by the Mosaical law, though severe, being made for a stubborn people, fine, and not death, was the punishment for theft, we cannot imagine that in our new and merciful law, in which God treateth us with the tenderness of a father, he hath allowed of greater cruelty than to the Jews.
• On these grounds it is, that I think putting thieves to death, not lawful. And it is obviously absurd, and prejudicial to the commonwealth, that theft and murder should be punished alike. For, if a robber find that his danger is the same, if he be convicted of theft as if he had been guilty of murder, he will be incited to kill the person whom otherwise he would only have robbed; since, the punishment being the same, there is less danger of discovery,
when he who can best make it is killed. Thus, terrifying thieves too much, provoketh them to cruelty.
· But as to the question, what more convenient punishment can be found, I think the discovery of this much easier than the invention of any worse mode. Why should we doubt that the method so long in use among the old Romans (who so well understood the arts of government) was very proper. They condemned such as they found guilty of great crimes, to work all their lives in quarries, or dig in mines with chains about them.
· But the method I like best, is what I noticed in my travels in Persia, among the Polylerites, a considerable and well governed people. They pay a yearly tribute to the king of Persia, but in all other respects are free and governed by their own laws. They lie far from the sea and are environed with hills; and being content with the produce of their own country, which is very fruitful, they have little commerce with other nations. And as, according to the genius of their country, they have no inclination to extend their territory, so their mountains and the pension they pay the Persian secure them from invasion. Thus they have no wars. They live conveniently rather than splendidly, and may be called a happy rather than an eminent people ; for I believe their very names are unknown to any but their nearest neighbours.
• Those who are found guilty of theft among them, are
bound to make restitution to the owner, and not as elsewhere to the prince; for they reckon that the prince hath no more right to the stolen goods than the thief. But if that which was stolen be no longer in being, then the thief's effects are valued, and restitution being made, the remainder is given to his wife and children, and himself condemned to serve in the public works; but without imprisonment or chains, unless some extraordinary circumstances attend his crime. They go about at liberty, working for the public. If they be idle, they are whipped ; but if they work hard, they are well used and treated without any mark of reproach, save that their names are called over at night and they are shut up. They suffer no other hardship, but this of constant labour; for as they work for the public, so are they well provided for out of the public stock, which is managed differently in different places.
• In some places, whatever is bestowed on them is raised by charitable contribution, and though this method night seem precarious, so merciful are the inclinations of that people, that they are plentifully supplied by it. In other places, public revenues are set aside for them, or there is a poll-tax for their maintenance. In others, they are employed in no public work, but every one who hath occasion for labourers, gocth to the market-place and hireth them of the public, a little cheaper than he would do freemen; and if they prove lazy, he may quicken them with the whip. Thus there is ever some piece of work or other