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T. C. HANSARD, Pater-poster-row Press.


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ONLY a few copies of this pamphlet, sent by the distinguished Author to his private friends, have reached this country. It was published in America, by the authority and at the expense of the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana, under the title of a “ Report made to the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana, on the plan of a Penal Code for the said State." It contains the statement and development of principles of the highest importance, which cannot but be read in England with interest. There are persons, whom it is important to inform, who will be anxious to know how some of our institutions are viewed, and how, when full liberty is allowed to change them, they are modified by an enlightened Legislator, who is uninfluenced by our prejudices, and unfettered by our customs; and, this inquiry is calculated not merely to gratify curiosity, but to afford instruction. America owes much to England; more than it is possible for any American or Englishman to estimate. May she prove herself worthy of the boon, by continuing to extend and perfect the noble institutions she has received from this source, and may

back the benefit by exciting her benefactress to emulate her example !

she pay



It is in the hope that the publication of this pamphlet in England may contribute in some degree to produce an effect so much to be desired, because so much needed, that it is given to the British Public.

S. London, September, 1824.




To the Criminal Laws of this State.

WHEREAS it is of primary importance, in every well-regulated state, that the code of criminal law should be founded on one principle, viz. the prevention of crime, that all offences should be clearly and explicitly defined, in language generally understood : that punishments should be proportioned to offences ; that the rules of evidence should be ascertained as applicable to each offence; that the mode of procedure should be simple, and the duty of magistrates, executive officers and individuals assisting them, should be pointed out by law; and whereas the system of criminal law, by which this state is now governed, is defective in many, or all of the points above enumerated, therefore :

Section 1. Be it enacted by the senate and house of representatives of the state of Louisiana, in general assembly convened, That a person learned in the law, shall be appointed by the senate and house of representatives at this session, whose duty it shall be, to prepare and present to the next general assembly, for its consideration, a code of


criminal law in both the French and English languages, designating all criminal offences punishable by law; defining the same in clear and explicit terms ; designating the punishment to be inflicted on each ; laying down the rules of evidence on trials; directing the whole mode of procedure, and pointing out the duties of the judicial and executive officers in the performance of their functions under it.

SECTION 2. And be it further enacted, That the person so to be chosen, shall receive for his services such compensation as shall be determined by the general assembly, at their next session, and that a sum of five hundred dollars shall be paid to him on a warrant of the governor, upon the state treasury, to enable him to procure such information and documents relative to the operation of the improvements in criminal jurisprudence, particularly of the penitentiary system in the different states, as he may deem useful to report to the general assembly in considering the project of a code: he shall account to the general assembly, in what manner the said five hundred dollars has been disposed of.

Approved, February 10, 1820.

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