QUERY XIV
 
        _The administration of justice and description of the laws?_

        Laws
        The state is divided into counties.  In every county are
appointed magistrates, called justices of the peace, usually from
eight to thirty or forty in number, in proportion to the size of the
county, of the most discreet and honest inhabitants.  They are
nominated by their fellows, but commissioned by the governor, and act
without reward.  These magistrates have jurisdiction both criminal
and civil.  If the question before them be a question of law only,
they decide on it themselves: but if it be of fact, or of fact and
law combined, it must be referred to a jury.  In the latter case, of
a combination of law and fact, it is usual for the jurors to decide
the fact, and to refer the law arising on it to the decision of the
judges.  But this division of the subject lies with their discretion
only.  And if the question relate to any point of public liberty, or
if it be one of those in which the judges may be suspected of bias,
the jury undertake to decide both law and fact.  If they be mistaken,
a decision against right, which is casual only, is less dangerous to
the state, and less afflicting to the loser, than one which makes
part of a regular and uniform system.  In truth, it is better to toss
up cross and pile in a cause, than to refer it to a judge whose mind
is warped by any motive whatever, in that particular case.  But the
common sense of twelve honest men gives still a better chance of just
decision, than the hazard of cross and pile.  These judges execute
their process by the sheriff or coroner of the county, or by
constables of their own appointment.  If any free person commit an
offence against the commonwealth, if it be below the degree of
felony, he is bound by a justice to appear before their court, to
answer it on indictment or information.  If it amount to felony, he
is committed to jail, a court of these justices is called; if they on
examination think him guilty, they send him to the jail of the
general court, before which court he is to be tried first by a grand
jury of 24, of whom 13 must concur in opinion: if they find him
guilty, he is then tried by a jury of 12 men of the county where the
offence was committed, and by their verdict, which must be unanimous,
he is acquitted or condemned without appeal.  If the criminal be a
slave the trial by the county court is final.  In every case however,
except that of high treason, there resides in the governor a power of
pardon.  In high treason, the pardon can only flow from the general
assembly.  In civil matters these justices have jurisdiction in all
cases of whatever value, not appertaining to the department of the
admiralty.  This jurisdiction is twofold.  If the matter in dispute
be of less value than 4 1/6 dollars, a single member may try it at
any time and place within his county, and may award execution on the
goods of the party cast.  If it be of that or greater value, it is
determinable before the county court, which consists of four at the
least of those justices, and assembles at the court-house of the
county on a certain day in every month.  From their determination, if
the matter be of the value of ten pounds sterling, or concern the
title or bounds of lands, an appeal lies to one of the superior
courts.

        There are three superior courts, to wit, the high-court of
chancery, the general court, and court of admiralty.  The first and
second of these receive appeals from the county courts, and also have
original jurisdiction where the subject of controversy is of the
value of ten pounds sterling, or where it concerns the title or
bounds of land.  The jurisdiction of the admiralty is original
altogether.  The high-court of chancery is composed of three judges,
the general court of five, and the court of admiralty of three.  The
two first hold their sessions at Richmond at stated times, the
chancery twice in the year, and the general court twice for business
civil and criminal, and twice more for criminal only.  The court of
admiralty sits at Williamsburgh whenever a controversy arises.

        There is one supreme court, called the court of appeals,
composed of the judges of the three superior courts, assembling twice
a year at stated times at Richmond.  This court receives appeals in
all civil cases from each of the superior courts, and determines them
finally.  But it has no original jurisdiction.

        If a controversy arise between two foreigners of a nation in
alliance with the United States, it is decided by the Consul for
their State, or, if both parties chuse it, by the ordinary courts of
justice.  If one of the parties only be such a foreigner, it is
triable before the courts of justice of the country.  But if it shall
have been instituted in a county court, the foreigner may remove it
into the general court, or court of chancery, who are to determine it
at their first sessions, as they must also do if it be originally
commenced before them.  In cases of life and death, such foreigners
have a right to be tried by a jury, the one half foreigners, the
other natives.

        All public accounts are settled with a board of auditors,
consisting of three members, appointed by the general assembly, any
two of whom may act.  But an individual, dissatisfied with the
determination of that board, may carry his case into the proper
superior court.

        A description of the laws.

        The general assembly was constituted, as has been already
shewn, by letters-patent of March the 9th, 1607, in the 4th year of
the reign of James the First.  The laws of England seem to have been
adopted by consent of the settlers, which might easily enough be done
whilst they were few and living all together.  Of such adoption
however we have no other proof than their practice, till the year
1661, when they were expressly adopted by an act of the assembly,
except so far as `a difference of condition' rendered them
inapplicable.  Under this adoption, the rule, in our courts of
judicature was, that the common law of England, and the general
statutes previous to the 4th of James, were in force here; but that
no subsequent statutes were, _unless we were named in them_, said the
judges and other partisans of the crown, but _named or not named_,
said those who reflected freely.  It will be unnecessary to attempt a
description of the laws of England, as that may be found in English
publications.  To those which were established here, by the adoption
of the legislature, have been since added a number of acts of
assembly passed during the monarchy, and ordinances of convention and
acts of assembly enacted since the establishment of the republic.
The following variations from the British model are perhaps worthy of
being specified.

        Debtors unable to pay their debts, and making faithful delivery
of their whole effects, are released from confinement, and their
persons for ever discharged from restraint for such previous debts:
but any property they may afterwards acquire will be subject to their
creditors.

        The poor, unable to support themselves, are maintained by an
assessment on the titheable persons in their parish.  This assessment
is levied and administered by twelve persons in each parish, called
vestrymen, originally chosen by the housekeepers of the parish, but
afterwards filling vacancies in their own body by their own choice.
These are usually the most discreet farmers, so distributed through
their parish, that every part of it may be under the immediate eye of
some one of them.  They are well acquainted with the details and
;oeconomy of private life, and they find sufficient inducements to
execute their charge well, in their philanthropy, in the approbation
of their neighbours, and the distinction which that gives them.  The
poor who have neither property, friends, nor strength to labour, are
boarded in the houses of good farmers, to whom a stipulated sum is
annually paid.  To those who are able to help themselves a little, or
have friends from whom they derive some succours, inadequate however
to their full maintenance, supplementory aids are given, which enable
them to live comfortably in their own houses, or in the houses of
their friends.  Vagabonds, without visible property or vocation, are
placed in workhouses, where they are well cloathed, fed, lodged, and
made to labour.  Nearly the same method of providing for the poor
prevails through all our states; and from Savannah to Portsmouth you
will seldom meet a beggar.  In the larger towns indeed they sometimes
present themselves.  These are usually foreigners, who have never
obtained a settlement in any parish.  I never yet saw a native
American begging in the streets or highways.  A subsistence is easily
gained here: and if, by misfortunes, they are thrown on the charities
of the world, those provided by their own country are so comfortable
and so certain, that they never think of relinquishing them to become
strolling beggars.  Their situation too, when sick, in the family of
a good farmer, where every member is emulous to do them kind offices,
where they are visited by all the neighbours, who bring them the
little rarities which their sickly appetites may crave, and who take
by rotation the nightly watch over them, when their condition
requires it, is without comparison better than in a general hospital,
where the sick, the dying, and the dead are crammed together, in the
same rooms, and often in the same beds.  The disadvantages,
inseparable from general hospitals, are such as can never be
counterpoised by all the regularities of medicine and regimen.
Nature and kind nursing save a much greater proportion in our plain
way, at a smaller expence, and with less abuse.  One branch only of
hospital institution is wanting with us; that is, a general
establishment for those labouring under difficult cases of
chirurgery.  The aids of this art are not equivocal.  But an able
chirurgeon cannot be had in every parish.  Such a receptacle should
therefore be provided for those patients: but no others should be
admitted.

        Marriages must be solemnized either on special licence, granted
by the first magistrate of the county, on proof of the consent of the
parent or guardian of either party under age, or after solemn
publication, on three several Sundays, at some place of religious
worship, in the parishes where the parties reside.  The act of
solemnization may be by the minister of any society of Christians,
who shall have been previously licensed for this purpose by the court
of the county.  Quakers and Menonists however are exempted from all
these conditions, and marriage among them is to be solemnized by the
society itself.

        A foreigner of any nation, not in open war with us, becomes
naturalized by removing to the state to reside, and taking an oath of
fidelity: and thereupon acquires every right of a native citizen: and
citizens may divest themselves of that character, by declaring, by
solemn deed, or in open court, that they mean to expatriate
themselves, and no longer to be citizens of this state.

        Conveyances of land must be registered in the court of the
county wherein they lie, or in the general court, or they are void,
as to creditors, and subsequent purchasers.

        Slaves pass by descent and dower as lands do.  Where the
descent is from a parent, the heir is bound to pay an equal share of
their value in money to each of his brothers and sisters.

        Slaves, as well as lands, were entailable during the monarchy:
but, by an act of the first republican assembly, all donees in tail,
present and future, were vested with the absolute dominion of the
entailed subject.

        Bills of exchange, being protested, carry 10 per cent. interest
from their date.

        No person is allowed, in any other case, to take more than five
per cent. per annum simple interest, for the loan of monies.

        Gaming debts are made void, and monies actually paid to
discharge such debts (if they exceeded 40 shillings) may be recovered
by the payer within three months, or by any other person afterwards.

        Tobacco, flour, beef, pork, tar, pitch, and turpentine, must be
inspected by persons publicly appointed, before they can be exported.

        The erecting iron-works and mills is encouraged by many
privileges; with necessary cautions however to prevent their dams
from obstructing the navigation of the water-courses.  The general
assembly have on several occasions shewn a great desire to encourage
the opening the great falls of James and Patowmac rivers.  As yet,
however, neither of these have been effected.

        The laws have also descended to the preservation and
improvement of the races of useful animals, such as horses, cattle,
deer; to the extirpation of those which are noxious, as wolves,
squirrels, crows, blackbirds; and to the guarding our citizens
against infectious disorders, by obliging suspected vessels coming
into the state, to perform quarantine, and by regulating the conduct
of persons having such disorders within the state.

        The mode of acquiring lands, in the earliest times of our
settlement, was by petition to the general assembly.  If the lands
prayed for were already cleared of the Indian title, and the assembly
thought the prayer reasonable, they passed the property by their vote
to the petitioner.  But if they had not yet been ceded by the
Indians, it was necessary that the petitioner should previously
purchase their right.  This purchase the assembly verified, by
enquiries of the Indian proprietors; and being satisfied of its
reality and fairness, proceeded further to examine the reasonableness
of the petition, and its consistence with policy; and, according to
the result, either granted or rejected the petition.  The company
also sometimes, though very rarely, granted lands, independantly of
the general assembly.  As the colony increased, and individual
applications for land multiplied, it was found to give too much
occupation to the general assembly to enquire into and execute the
grant in every special case.  They therefore thought it better to
establish general rules, according to which all grants should be
made, and to leave to the governor the execution of them, under these
rules.  This they did by what have been usually called the land laws,
amending them from time to time, as their defects were developed.
According to these laws, when an individual wished a portion of
unappropriated land, he was to locate and survey it by a public
officer, appointed for that purpose: its breadth was to bear a
certain proportion to its length: the grant was to be executed by the
governor: and the lands were to be improved in a certain manner,
within a given time.  From these regulations there resulted to the
state a sole and exclusive power of taking conveyances of the Indian
right of soil: since, according to them, an Indian conveyance alone
could give no right to an individual, which the laws would
acknowledge.  The state, or the crown, thereafter, made general
purchases of the Indians from time to time, and the governor
parcelled them out by special grants, conformed to the rules before
described, which it was not in his power, or in that of the crown, to
dispense with.  Grants, unaccompanied by their proper legal
circumstances, were set aside regularly by _scire facias_, or by bill
in Chancery.  Since the establishment of our new government, this
order of things is but little changed.  An individual, wishing to
appropriate to himself lands still unappropriated by any other, pays
to the public treasurer a sum of money proportioned to the quantity
he wants.  He carries the treasurer's receipt to the auditors of
public accompts, who thereupon debit the treasurer with the sum, and
order the register of the land-office to give the party a warrant for
his land.  With this warrant from the register, he goes to the
surveyor of the county where the land lies on which he has cast his
eye.  The surveyor lays it off for him, gives him its exact
description, in the form of a certificate, which certificate he
returns to the land-office, where a grant is made out, and is signed
by the governor.  This vests in him a perfect dominion in his lands,
transmissible to whom he pleases by deed or will, or by descent to
his heirs if he die intestate.

        Many of the laws which were in force during the monarchy being
relative merely to that form of government, or inculcating principles
inconsistent with republicanism, the first assembly which met after
the establishment of the commonwealth appointed a committee to revise
the whole code, to reduce it into proper form and volume, and report
it to the assembly.  This work has been executed by three gentlemen,
and reported; but probably will not be taken up till a restoration of
peace shall leave to the legislature leisure to go through such a
work.

        The plan of the revisal was this.  The common law of England,
by which is meant, that part of the English law which was anterior to
the date of the oldest statutes extant, is made the basis of the
work.  It was thought dangerous to attempt to reduce it to a text: it
was therefore left to be collected from the usual monuments of it.
Necessary alterations in that, and so much of the whole body of the
British statutes, and of acts of assembly, as were thought proper to
be retained, were digested into 126 new acts, in which simplicity of
stile was aimed at, as far as was safe.  The following are the most
remarkable alterations proposed:

        To change the rules of descent, so as that the lands of any
person dying intestate shall be divisible equally among all his
children, or other representatives, in equal degree.

        To make slaves distributable among the next of kin, as other
moveables.

        To have all public expences, whether of the general treasury,
or of a parish or county, (as for the maintenance of the poor,
building bridges, court-houses, &c.) supplied by assessments on the
citizens, in proportion to their property.

        To hire undertakers for keeping the public roads in repair, and
indemnify individuals through whose lands new roads shall be opened.

        To define with precision the rules whereby aliens should become
citizens, and citizens make themselves aliens.

        To establish religious freedom on the broadest bottom.

 
        To emancipate all slaves born after passing the act.  The bill
reported by the revisors does not itself contain this proposition;
but an amendment containing it was prepared, to be offered to the
legislature whenever the bill should be taken up, and further
directing, that they should continue with their parents to a certain
age, then be brought up, at the public expence, to tillage, arts or
sciences, according to their geniusses, till the females should be
eighteen, and the males twenty-one years of age, when they should be
colonized to such place as the circumstances of the time should
render most proper, sending them out with arms, implements of
houshold and of the handicraft arts, feeds, pairs of the useful
domestic animals, &c. to declare them a free and independant people,
and extend to them our alliance and protection, till they shall have
acquired strength; and to send vessels at the same time to other
parts of the world for an equal number of white inhabitants; to
induce whom to migrate hither, proper encouragements were to be
proposed.  It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate
the blacks into the state, and thus save the expence of supplying, by
importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave?  Deep
rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand
recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained;
new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and
many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce
convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of
the one or the other race. -- To these objections, which are
political, may be added others, which are physical and moral.  The
first difference which strikes us is that of colour.  Whether the
black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin
and scarf-skin, or in the scarf-skin itself; whether it proceeds from
the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some
other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as
if its seat and cause were better known to us.  And is this
difference of no importance?  Is it not the foundation of a greater
or less share of beauty in the two races?  Are not the fine mixtures
of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less
suffusions of colour in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony,
which reigns in the countenances, that immoveable veil of black which
covers all the emotions of the other race?  Add to these, flowing
hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their own judgment in favour
of the whites, declared by their preference of them, as uniformly as
is the preference of the Oranootan for the black women over those of
his own species.  The circumstance of superior beauty, is thought
worthy attention in the propagation of our horses, dogs, and other
domestic animals; why not in that of man?  Besides those of colour,
figure, and hair, there are other physical distinctions proving a
difference of race.  They have less hair on the face and body.  They
secrete less by the kidnies, and more by the glands of the skin,
which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odour.  This greater
degree of transpiration renders them more tolerant of heat, and less
so of cold, than the whites.  Perhaps too a difference of structure
in the pulmonary apparatus, which a late ingenious (* 1)
experimentalist has discovered to be the principal regulator of
animal heat, may have disabled them from extricating, in the act of
inspiration, so much of that fluid from the outer air, or obliged
them in expiration, to part with more of it.  They seem to require
less sleep.  A black, after hard labour through the day, will be
induced by the slightest amusements to sit up till midnight, or
later, though knowing he must be out with the first dawn of the
morning.  They are at least as brave, and more adventuresome.  But
this may perhaps proceed from a want of forethought, which prevents
their seeing a danger till it be present.  When present, they do not
go through it with more coolness or steadiness than the whites.  They
are more ardent after their female: but love seems with them to be
more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and
sensation.  Their griefs are transient.  Those numberless
afflictions, which render it doubtful whether heaven has given life
to us in mercy or in wrath, are less felt, and sooner forgotten with
them.  In general, their existence appears to participate more of
sensation than reflection.  To this must be ascribed their
disposition to sleep when abstracted from their diversions, and
unemployed in labour.  An animal whose body is at rest, and who does
not reflect, must be disposed to sleep of course.  Comparing them by
their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me,
that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior,
as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and
comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination
they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.  It would be unfair to
follow them to Africa for this investigation.  We will consider them
here, on the same stage with the whites, and where the facts are not
apocryphal on which a judgment is to be formed.  It will be right to
make great allowances for the difference of condition, of education,
of conversation, of the sphere in which they move.  Many millions of
them have been brought to, and born in America.  Most of them indeed
have been confined to tillage, to their own homes, and their own
society: yet many have been so situated, that they might have availed
themselves of the conversation of their masters; many have been
brought up to the handicraft arts, and from that circumstance have
always been associated with the whites.  Some have been liberally
educated, and all have lived in countries where the arts and sciences
are cultivated to a considerable degree, and have had before their
eyes samples of the best works from abroad.  The Indians, with no
advantages of this kind, will often carve figures on their pipes not
destitute of design and merit.  They will crayon out an animal, a
plant, or a country, so as to prove the existence of a germ in their
minds which only wants cultivation.  They astonish you with strokes
of the most sublime oratory; such as prove their reason and sentiment
strong, their imagination glowing and elevated.  But never yet could
I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain
narration; never see even an elementary trait of painting or
sculpture.  In music they are more generally gifted than the whites
with accurate ears for tune and time, and they have been found
capable of imagining a small catch (* 2).  Whether they will be equal
to the composition of a more extensive run of melody, or of
complicated harmony, is yet to be proved.  Misery is often the parent
of the most affecting touches in poetry. -- Among the blacks is
misery enough, God knows, but no poetry.  Love is the peculiar
;oestrum of the poet.  Their love is ardent, but it kindles the
senses only, not the imagination.  Religion indeed has produced a
Phyllis Whately; but it could not produce a poet.  The compositions
published under her name are below the dignity of criticism.  The
heroes of the Dunciad are to her, as Hercules to the author of that
poem.  Ignatius Sancho has approached nearer to merit in composition;
yet his letters do more honour to the heart than the head.  They
breathe the purest effusions of friendship and general philanthropy,
and shew how great a degree of the latter may be compounded with
strong religious zeal.  He is often happy in the turn of his
compliments, and his stile is easy and familiar, except when he
affects a Shandean fabrication of words.  But his imagination is wild
and extravagant, escapes incessantly from every restraint of reason
and taste, and, in the course of its vagaries, leaves a tract of
thought as incoherent and eccentric, as is the course of a meteor
through the sky.  His subjects should often have led him to a process
of sober reasoning: yet we find him always substituting sentiment for
demonstration.  Upon the whole, though we admit him to the first
place among those of his own colour who have presented themselves to
the public judgment, yet when we compare him with the writers of the
race among whom he lived, and particularly with the epistolary class,
in which he has taken his own stand, we are compelled to enroll him
at the bottom of the column.  This criticism supposes the letters
published under his name to be genuine, and to have received
amendment from no other hand; points which would not be of easy
investigation.  The improvement of the blacks in body and mind, in
the first instance of their mixture with the whites, has been
observed by every one, and proves that their inferiority is not the
effect merely of their condition of life.  We know that among the
Romans, about the Augustan age especially, the condition of their
slaves was much more deplorable than that of the blacks on the
continent of America.  The two sexes were confined in separate
apartments, because to raise a child cost the master more than to buy
one.  Cato, for a very restricted indulgence to his slaves in this
particular, (* 3) took from them a certain price.  But in this
country the slaves multiply as fast as the free inhabitants.  Their
situation and manners place the commerce between the two sexes almost
without restraint. -- The same Cato, on a principle of ;oeconomy,
always sold his sick and superannuated slaves.  He gives it as a
standing precept to a master visiting his farm, to sell his old oxen,
old waggons, old tools, old and diseased servants, and every thing
else become useless.  `Vendat boves vetulos, plaustrum vetus,
ferramenta vetera, servum senem, servum morbosum, & si quid aliud
supersit vendat.' Cato de re rustica. c. 2.  The American slaves
cannot enumerate this among the injuries and insults they receive.
It was the common practice to expose in the island
         Suet. Claud. 25.
         of Aesculapius, in the Tyber, diseased slaves, whose cure
was like to become tedious.  The Emperor Claudius, by an edict, gave
freedom to such of them as should recover, and first declared, that
if any person chose to kill rather than to expose them, it should be
deemed homicide.  The exposing them is a crime of which no instance
has existed with us; and were it to be followed by death, it would be
punished capitally.  We are told of a certain Vedius Pollio, who, in
the presence of Augustus, would have given a slave as food to his
fish, for having broken a glass.  With the Romans, the regular method
of taking the evidence of their slaves was under torture.  Here it
has been thought better never to resort to their evidence.  When a
master was murdered, all his slaves, in the same house, or within
hearing, were condemned to death.  Here punishment falls on the
guilty only, and as precise proof is required against him as against
a freeman.  Yet notwithstanding these and other discouraging
circumstances among the Romans, their slaves were often their rarest
artists.  They excelled too in science, insomuch as to be usually
employed as tutors to their master's children.  Epictetus, Terence,
and Phaedrus, were slaves.  But they were of the race of whites.  It
is not their condition then, but nature, which has produced the
distinction. -- Whether further observation will or will not verify
the conjecture, that nature has been less bountiful to them in the
endowments of the head, I believe that in those of the heart she will
be found to have done them justice.  That disposition to theft with
which they have been branded, must be ascribed to their situation,
and not to any depravity of the moral sense.  The man, in whose
favour no laws of property exist, probably feels himself less bound
to respect those made in favour of others.  When arguing for
ourselves, we lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just,
must give a reciprocation of right: that, without this, they are mere
arbitrary rules of conduct, founded in force, and not in conscience:
and it is a problem which I give to the master to solve, whether the
religious precepts against the violation of property were not framed
for him as well as his slave?  And whether the slave may not as
justifiably take a little from one, who has taken all from him, as he
may slay one who would slay him?  That a change in the relations in
which a man is placed should change his ideas of moral right and
wrong, is neither new, nor peculiar to the colour of the blacks.
Homer tells us it was so 2600 years ago.

        {'Emisy, gaz t' aretes apoainylai eyrythpa Zeys
        Aneros, eyt, an min kata dolion emaz elesin.}
        _Od_. 17. 323.

        Jove fix'd it certain, that whatever day
        Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away.

        But the slaves of which Homer speaks were whites.
Notwithstanding these considerations which must weaken their respect
for the laws of property, we find among them numerous instances of
the most rigid integrity, and as many as among their better
instructed masters, of benevolence, gratitude, and unshaken fidelity.
-- The opinion, that they are inferior in the faculties of reason and
imagination, must be hazarded with great diffidence.  To justify a
general conclusion, requires many observations, even where the
subject may be submitted to the Anatomical knife, to Optical glasses,
to analysis by fire, or by solvents.  How much more then where it is
a faculty, not a substance, we are examining; where it eludes the
research of all the senses; where the conditions of its existence are
various and variously combined; where the effects of those which are
present or absent bid defiance to calculation; let me add too, as a
circumstance of great tenderness, where our conclusion would degrade
a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings which their
Creator may perhaps have given them.  To our reproach it must be
said, that though for a century and a half we have had under our eyes
the races of black and of red men, they have never yet been viewed by
us as subjects of natural history.  I advance it therefore as a
suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race,
or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the
whites in the endowments both of body and mind.  It is not against
experience to suppose, that different species of the same genus, or
varieties of the same species, may possess different qualifications.
Will not a lover of natural history then, one who views the
gradations in all the races of animals with the eye of philosophy,
excuse an effort to keep those in the department of man as distinct
as nature has formed them?  This unfortunate difference of colour,
and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obstacle to the emancipation of
these people.  Many of their advocates, while they wish to vindicate
the liberty of human nature, are anxious also to preserve its dignity
and beauty.  Some of these, embarrassed by the question `What further
is to be done with them?'  join themselves in opposition with those
who are actuated by sordid avarice only.  Among the Romans
emancipation required but one effort.  The slave, when made free,
might mix with, without staining the blood of his master.  But with
us a second is necessary, unknown to history.  When freed, he is to
be removed beyond the reach of mixture.

        The revised code further proposes to proportion crimes and
punishments.  This is attempted on the following scale.

 
 I. Crimes whose punishment extends to _Life._
         1. High treason.  Death by hanging.
                           Forfeiture of lands and goods to the
                           commonwealth.
         2. Petty treason. Death by hanging. Dissection.
                           Forfeiture of half the lands and goods to the
                           representatives of the party slain.
 
 
 3. Murder.
         1. by poison.     Death by poison.
                           Forfeiture of one-half as before.
         2. in Duel.       Death by hanging. Gibbeting, if the challenger.
                           Forfeiture of one-half as before, unless it be
                           the party challenged, then the forfeiture is to
                           the commonwealth.
         3. in any other way.  Death by hanging.
                               Forfeiture of one-half as before.
         4. Manslaughter. The second offence is murder.

 II. Crimes whose punishment goes to _Limb_.
         1. Rape,   } Dismemberment.
         2. Sodomy, }
         3. Maiming,    } Retaliation, and the forfeiture of half the
         4. Disfiguring } lands and goods to the sufferer.
 III. Crimes punishable by _Labour._
         1. Manslaughter, 1st offence.   Labour VII. years
                                         for the public.
                                         Forfeiture of half as in murder.
         2. Counterfeiting money.        Labour VI. years.
                                         Forfeiture of lands and goods to
                                         the commonwealth.
         3. Arson.                       } Labour V. years.
         4. Asportation of vessels.      }
                                         Reparation three-fold.
         5. Robbery.                     } Labour IV. years.
         6. Burglary.                    }
                                         Reparation double.
         7. Housebreaking.               } Labour III. years.
         8. Horse-stealing.              }
                                         Reparation.
         9. Grand Larcency.              Labour II. years.
                                         Reparation. Pillory.
         10. Petty Larcency.             Labour I. year.
                                         Reparation. Pillory.
         11. Pretensions to witch-craft, &c.     Ducking. Stripes.
         12. Excusable homicide.         } to be pitied, not punished.
         13. Suicide.                    }
         14. Apostacy. Heresy.           }

        Pardon and privilege of clergy are proposed to be abolished;
but if the verdict be against the defendant, the court in their
discretion, may allow a new trial.  No attainder to cause a
corruption of blood, or forfeiture of dower.  Slaves guilty of
offences punishable in others by labour, to be transported to Africa,
or elsewhere, as the circumstances of the time admit, there to be
continued in slavery.  A rigorous regimen proposed for those
condemned to labour.

        Another object of the revisal is, to diffuse knowledge more
generally through the mass of the people.  This bill proposes to lay
off every county into small districts of five or six miles square,
called hundreds, and in each of them to establish a school for
teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic.  The tutor to be supported
by the hundred, and every person in it entitled to send their
children three years gratis, and as much longer as they please,
paying for it.  These schools to be under a visitor, who is annually
to chuse the boy, of best genius in the school, of those whose
parents are too poor to give them further education, and to send him
forward to one of the grammar schools, of which twenty are proposed
to be erected in different parts of the country, for teaching Greek,
Latin, geography, and the higher branches of numerical arithmetic.
Of the boys thus sent in any one year, trial is to be made at the
grammar schools one or two years, and the best genius of the whole
selected, and continued six years, and the residue dismissed.  By
this means twenty of the best geniusses will be raked from the
rubbish annually, and be instructed, at the public expence, so far as
the grammer schools go.  At the end of six years instruction, one
half are to be discontinued (from among whom the grammar schools will
probably be supplied with future masters); and the other half, who
are to be chosen for the superiority of their parts and disposition,
are to be sent and continued three years in the study of such
sciences as they shall chuse, at William and Mary college, the plan
of which is proposed to be enlarged, as will be hereafter explained,
and extended to all the useful sciences.  The ultimate result of the
whole scheme of education would be the teaching all the children of
the state reading, writing, and common arithmetic: turning out ten
annually of superior genius, well taught in Greek, Latin, geography,
and the higher branches of arithmetic: turning out ten others
annually, of still superior parts, who, to those branches of
learning, shall have added such of the sciences as their genius shall
have led them to: the furnishing to the wealthier part of the people
convenient schools, at which their children may be educated, at their
own expence. -- The general objects of this law are to provide an
education adapted to the years, to the capacity, and the condition of
every one, and directed to their freedom and happiness.  Specific
details were not proper for the law.  These must be the business of
the visitors entrusted with its execution.  The first stage of this
education being the schools of the hundreds, wherein the great mass
of the people will receive their instruction, the principal
foundations of future order will be laid here.  Instead therefore of
putting the Bible and Testament into the hands of the children, at an
age when their judgments are not sufficiently matured for religious
enquiries, their memories may here be stored with the most useful
facts from Grecian, Roman, European and American history.  such as,
when further developed as their judgments advance in strength, may
teach them how to work out their own greatest happiness, by shewing
them that it does not depend on the condition of life in which chance
has placed them, but is always the result of a good conscience, good
health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits. -- Those whom
either the wealth of their parents or the adoption of the state shall
destine to higher degrees of learning, will go on to the grammar
schools, which constitute the next stage, there to be instructed in
the languages.  The learning Greek and Latin, I am told, is going
into disuse in Europe.  I know not what their manners and occupations
may call for: but it would be very ill-judged in us to follow their
example in this instance.  There is a certain period of life, say
from eight to fifteen or sixteen years of age, when the mind, like
the body, is not yet firm enough for laborious and close operations.
If applied to such, it falls an early victim to premature exertion;
exhibiting indeed at first, in these young and tender subjects, the
flattering appearance of their being men while they are yet children,
but ending in reducing them to be children when they should be men.
The memory is then most susceptible and tenacious of impressions; and
the learning of languages being chiefly a work of memory, it seems
precisely fitted to the powers of this period, which is long enough
too for acquiring the most useful languages antient and modern.  I do
not pretend that language is science.  It is only an instrument for
the attainment of science.  But that time is not lost which is
employed in providing tools for future operation: more especially as
in this case the books put into the hands of the youth for this
purpose may be such as will at the same time impress their minds with
useful facts and good principles.  If this period be suffered to pass
in idleness, the mind becomes lethargic and impotent, as would the
body it inhabits if unexercised during the same time.  The sympathy
between body and mind during their rise, progress and decline, is too
strict and obvious to endanger our being misled while we reason from
the one to the other.  -- As soon as they are of sufficient age, it
is supposed they will be sent on from the grammar schools to the
university, which constitutes our third and last stage, there to
study those sciences which may be adapted to their views. -- By that
part of our plan which prescribes the selection of the youths of
genius from among the classes of the poor, we hope to avail the state
of those talents which nature has sown as liberally among the poor as
the rich, but which perish without use, if not sought for and
cultivated. -- But of all the views of this law none is more
important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people
the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty.
For this purpose the reading in the first stage, where _they_ will
receive their whole education, is proposed, as has been said, to be
chiefly historical.  History by apprising them of the past will
enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the
experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as
judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know
ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to
defeat its views.  In every government on earth is some trace of
human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning
will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate, and
improve.  Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of
the people alone.  The people themselves therefore are its only safe
depositories.  And to render even them safe their minds must be
improved to a certain degree.  This indeed is not all that is
necessary, though it be essentially necessary.  An amendment of our
constitution must here come in aid of the public education.  The
influence over government must be shared among all the people.  If
every individual which composes their mass participates of the
ultimate authority, the government will be safe; because the
corrupting the whole mass will exceed any private resources of
wealth: and public ones cannot be provided but by levies on the
people.  In this case every man would have to pay his own price.  The
government of Great-Britain has been corrupted, because but one man
in ten has a right to vote for members of parliament.  The sellers of
the government therefore get nine-tenths of their price clear.  It
has been thought that corruption is restrained by confining the right
of suffrage to a few of the wealthier of the people: but it would be
more effectually restrained by an extension of that right to such
numbers as would bid defiance to the means of corruption.

        Lastly, it is proposed, by a bill in this revisal, to begin a
public library and gallery, by laying out a certain sum annually in
books, paintings, and statues.

        (* 1) Crawford.

        (* 2) The instrument proper to them is the Banjar, which they
brought hither from Africa, and which is the original of the guitar,
its chords being precisely the four lower chords of the guitar.

        (* 3) {Tos dolos etaxen orismeno nomismatos omilein tais
therapainisin.}
        -- Plutarch. Cato.