Crime And Punishment Essay
The effects of this force are the confused series of human actions.
Punishments, which I would call political obstacles, prevent the fatal effects of private interest, without destroying the impelling cause, which is that sensibility inseparable from man. .) Pleasure and pain are the only springs of action in beings endowed with sensibility.
By this knowledge, commerce is animated, and there has sprung up a spirit of emulation, and industry, worthy of rational beings.
These are the produce of this enlightened age; but the cruelty of punishments, and the irregularity of proceeding in criminal cases, so principal a part of the legislation, and so much neglected throughout Europe, has hardly ever been called in question.
But it was not sufficient only to establish this deposite; it was also necessary to defend it from the usurpation of each individual, who will always endeavour to take away from the mass, not only his own portion, but to encroach on that of others.
Some motives, therefore, that strike the senses, were necessary to prevent the despotism of each individual from plunging society into its former chaos.
Every punishment, which does not arise from absolute necessity, says the great Montesquieu, is tyrannical. .) Thus it ws necessity that forced men to give up a part of their liberty; it is certain then, that every individual would chuse to put into the public stock the smallest portion possible; as much only as was sufficient to engage others to defend it.
In every human society, there is an effort continually tending to confer on one part the height of power and happiness, and to reduce the other to the extreme of weakness and misery.
The intent of good laws is to oppose this effort, and to diffuse their influence universally, and equally.
Weary of living in a continual state of war, and of enjoying a liberty which became of little value, from the uncertainty of its duration, they sacrificed one part of it, to enjoy the rest in peace and security.
The sum of all these portions of the liberty of each individual constituted the sovereignty of a nation; and was deposited in the hands of the sovereign, as the lawful administrator.