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COMMENTARIES

ON THE

LAWS OF ENGLAND.

BOOK THE FOURTH.

OF PUBLIC WRONGS.

CHAPTER THE FIRST.

OF THE NATURE OF CRIMES; AND

THEIR PUNISHMENT.

THEIR

W E are now arrived at the fourth and last branch of

these Commentaries; which treats of public wrongs, or crimes and misdemesnors. For we may remember that, in the beginning of the preceding volumea, wrongs were divided into two species: the one private, and the other public. Private wrongs, which are frequently termed civil injuries, were the subject of that entire book: we are now therefore, lastly, to proceed to the consideration of public wrongs, or crimes and misdemesnors; with the means of their prevention and punishment. In the pursuit of which subject I shall consider, in the first place, the general nature of crimes and punishments; secondly, the persons capable of committing crimes; thirdly, their several degrees of guilt, as principals, or acces- [ 27 saries; fourthly, the several species of crimes, with the pu

* Book III. ch. 1. VOL. IV,

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