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degree of affability and condescension which is consistent with the due support of his authority. It will render him friendly to the person of the criminal, while severe against the crime ; a distinction which the accused easily perceive, and often remember with gratitude. It will make him tender towards vagrants, who are frequently treated with undiscriminating harshness. It will dispose him rather to prevent, than to punish, breaches of the law; and on that principle will be the very motive which leads him not uncommonly to chastise early transgressors, and perfons convicted of small offences, with confiderable rigour, that he may deter them at once from the paths of guilt. It will restrain him, while in all cases, and especially in such as are flagrant, he is duly attentive to the responsibility of the bail produced, from exact


case securities disproportioned to the circumstances of the party against whom the complaint is made ; from proceeding to a legal enquiry while reasonable hopes remain that the aggressor might be induced, by the reiterated application of the person injured, to make satisfaction ; and from issuing an expen

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sive warrant, when a sixpenny summons will answer the purpose. It will determine him in adopting measures of prevention or of punishment in the case of offences threatened or committed, to exercise those discretionary powers, which in most instances are confided to him by the law, with lenity and moderation ; and to be guided as to the kind and the degree of the restraint or chastisement which he selects, by a regard to the welfare of the offender himself, as far as it may


compatible with the good of the neighbourhood and of the community. And finally it will on all occasions suggest to him, that among the various ways

in which his office enables him to promote the happiness of mankind, he is then employed in a manner not only the most satisfactory to himself, but perhaps the most useful to others, when he acts as a peace-maker ; when he removes secret ani

i mofities; puts an end to open quarrels ; prevents embryo lawsuits by a reference to private (a) arbitration; and unites the jarring


(a) These expressions are not to be understood as in the lightest degree exculpating a Magistrate, who permits


members of the same family in an oblivion of past misunderstandings, and a renewal of concord and harmony.

A considerable share of firmness of mind (and firmness of mind is by no means inconsistent with that active benevolence which has been inculcated) is absolutely necessary to carry a Magistrate through the duties of his ftation. It will be requisite in order to ensure to him that leadiness of demeanour, without which he will find it impossible to preserve order and decorum in his justice-room ; to restrain loquacity, petulance, impertinence, and rudeness; to curb the bold, and overawe the hardened. It will teach him to proceed with perseverance in the path of rectitude, neither daunted by menaces, public or anonymous, nor by the prospect of giving offence to the wealthy and powerful. But let him not forget that the fortitude which he is to cultivate is the offspring of religion ; not the obstinacy which originates from pride. Let

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prosecutions to be compounded, when either the law of the land or the public good requires that the offence should be openly punished.

him not persist in a wrong measure through shame of retracting, or through dislike to the person who has pointed out the mistake.

A Justice is under an especial tie unremitringly to promote by all right and seasonable means the influence of religion. From the various methods by which he may be enabled in the course of his official practice to diffuse a sense of piety, and an abhorrence of vice, two may be selected as deserving of particular notice. The one is, by never failing to administer oaths with deliberation and solemnity; nor to impress on the careless, the ignorant, and the profligate witness the extent of the obligation incurred, the heinous (6) guilt of perjury, and the futility of all attempts to escape that guilt by outward evasive acts, or by concealed mental equivocations. The other, by calling the attention of the culprit

(b) In some parts of the country many of the common people who come before Magistrates as evidences, are found to make use of a very blamable latitude in their interpretation of the ninth commandment; and think that they are guilty of no breach of it in deviating, though upon oath, from strict truth, in favour of the party accused.



to these very material circumstances; that his offence, be it what it may, is not merely a breach of the laws of the land, but a sin against God; and that it is not rendered less criminal in the eyes of his heavenly Judge, by any defect of evidence, or any informality of proceedings, which may shelter it from the cognizance of a human Magistrate.

Every situation and employment in life influences, by a variety of moral causes, the views, manners, tempers, and dispositions of those who are placed in it. The Justice of the Peace can plead no exemption from this general rule. The nature of his authority, and the mode in which it is exercised, have an obvious tendency to produce some very undesirable alterations in his character, by implanting new failings in it, or by aggravating others to which he may antecedently have been prone. His jurisdiction is extremely extensive, and comprises a multiplicity of persons and cases. The individuals who are brought before him are almost univerfally his inferiors; and commonly in the lowest fanks of society. The principal share of his


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