Imatges de pÓgina
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wealths of Greece and Rome, and was often the first step to advancement.

The punishment appointed for false testimony has been death: but the most natural and equitable punishment, (which also appears to have been inficted in some + nations, and in the į Roman

government at a certain period) is that Deut.xix. which the law of Moses prescribes. If a

false witness rise up against any man, to teMify against him that which is wrong; then both the men, between whoin the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the priests, and the judges which shall be in those



* Ut qui falsum testimonium dixisset, e faxo Tarpeio dejiceretur. XII. Tab.

In France, I suppose in some cases only, this crime is said to be now capital. Monter. Spir. of Laws. Book 29. Chap. 11.

+ Diod. Sic. Lib. 1. Di divdws Tsvão rala. γορήσαίες ώφειλον τύτο αθεϊν, δ τοίς συκοφαληθείσικ έτέτακίο.

| Cum calumniantes ad vindi&am pofcat fimi. litudo fupplicii. C. 9. 2. 17.

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days; and the judges shall make diligent inquiftion; and behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsly against his brother; then shall ye do unto him as he had thought to have done unto his brother. So shalt thou put the evil away from among you. And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. And thine eye shall not pity, but life Mall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

And were it not a matter of extreme difficulty to pronounce concerning the utility of laws, without the experience of them; one would think, that, as the sea verest punishment of wilful false testimony would be no more than just; fo it would be the most likely to advance the cause of truth and justice, and the haps' piness of every nation in the world.

For the crime surely is of the deepeft dye; as wicked and as hurtful as can R4


well be committed. Indeed it is not easy to imagine a greater degree of depravity, than goes to the commission of this offence; or a complication of more grievous fins, than are comprehended in it.

For, to pass by the perjury, which belongs to this offence but by accident, and has been already mentioned; first, it is murder, or robbery, (as the case may happen to be;) and that more grievous, than if done by open violence, as loading the innocent with disgrace and infamy.

Secondly, It is a violation of truth. And this surely is no small part of every crime into which it enters. An act of injustice or cruelty, when it is joined with treachery, or brought about by. falsehood and fraud, is doubly detestable, and raises our indignation to the highest pitch.


tal parts.

Thirdly, False testimony is peculiarly injurious to society. The immediate object of the crime, is far from being the only sufferer: the state itself is hurt; and that not merely by the loss of a single member, if that be the confequence; but it receives, as it were, a wound in it's via

For the administration of publick justice, is the very life of civil society: it's Being depends upon it: if this be destroyed, we fall back that moment into a state of nature. Now false testimony, in every instance, interrupts this administration of justice; and would stop it entirely, were it universally prevalent. A judge does not fee every thing with his own eyes; he can only execute the laws, hy giving credit to the witnesses : truth, and civil society muft. expire together.

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Solemn false testimony is an offence, that must always be deliberate and pre-, meditated. It is not the effect of any sudden transport or gust of passion, but shews a temper resolutely corrupt, and hardened in wickedness.


Lastly, for what need to pursue this hateful offence through all it's aggravations? it requires a degree of impudence, and meanness, a strength of forehead, and baseness of heart, that can only belong to the very worst, the vileft, and moft abandoned character : fo that if fome other crimes were as pernicious as this, yet hardly could any be fo odious. A bold usurper, a bloody cyrant, is advanced, no doubt, to a high pitch of wickedness: yet even he is able to inspire us with some degree of reverence for his authority or accomplishments, and force us to mix respect with our abhorrence of him. But his spies and his fycophants, the tools with which he does his work, and who are so ready ever


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