That a punishment may produce the effect required, it is sufficient that the evil it occasions should exceed the good expected from the crime, including in the calculation the certainty of the punishment, and the privation of the expected advantage.
All severity beyond this is superfluous, and therefore tyrannical.
What right, then, but that of power, can authorise the punishment of a citizen so long as there remains any doubt of his guilt? If he be not guilty, you torture the innocent; for, in the eye of the law, every man is innocent whose crime has not been proved Crimes are more effectually prevented by the certainty than the severity of punishment.
In proportion as punishments become more cruel, the minds of men, as a fluid rises to the same height with that which surrounds it, grow hardened and insensible; and the force of the passions still continuingg in the space of an hundred years the wheel terrifies no more than formerly the prison.
Is it not absurd, that the laws, which detest and punish homicide, should, in order to prevent murder, publicly commit murder themselves?
It is better to prevent crimes than to punish them.If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source.No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook.This is the fundamental principle of good legislation, which is the art of conducting men to the maximum of happiness, and to the minimum of misery, if we may apply this mathematical expression to the good and evil of life.... Let the laws be clear and simple, let the entire force of the nation be united in their defence, let them be intended rather to favour every individual than any particular classes of men; let the laws be feared, and the laws only. Nicklin, 1819),pp.xii,1819,47,5960,9394,104-105,148149. This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook.The fear of the laws is salutary, but the fear of men is a fruitful and fatal source of crimes. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997 The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of Fordham University, New York.The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.It is used with an intent either to make him confess his crime, or to explain some contradiction into which he had been led during his examination, or discover his accomplices, or for some kind of metaphysical and incomprehensible purgation of infamy, or, finally, in order to discover other crimes of which he is not accused, but of which he may be guilty.No man can be judged a criminal until he be found guilty; nor can society take from him the public protection until it have been proved that he has violated the conditions on which it was granted. If guilty, he should only suffer the punishment ordained by the laws, and torture becomés useless, as his confession is unnecessary.Erom Cesare Beccaria, An Essay on Crimes and Punishments, E. Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright.Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use.