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Why INTENTION is regarded?

To begin with the second case: this is already decided by the well known maxim, if it be just
that "Ignorance of the Law excuseth no man": and it is just, for two clear
reasons, first because it would be always pretended a pretence of that ignorance would always be made and you could never know whether
it was true or no: secondly because tho' you were satisfied of it's being true the,
mischief would be just the same and require just the same means to be taken to
prevent it.+

+ A third reason might still be
added that if it could be known
when men's were really ignorant
of the Law's was real, and it were held to
excuse them, they would take
care to be always ignorant: and
in the other case, they would
lending a willing ear to any System
of Religion or Morality that should
tend to prove the Action right; they
would come at last to think it so.
Experience teaches how strong
the influence is of interest
upon opinions, tho' silent gradual and
often unprecedented.

The third stands exactly upon the same footing: in both these cases the Executors Administrators <add>Ministers <add>Justice</add></add> of the
Law may bestow their compassion but they can never vary their decisions.

It is ever therefore an enquiry unnecessary as it is fruitless, what were the mere intentions
of a man committing an obnoxious act, which he appears to have
intended to committ.

The practice of all nations has been accordingly: in all nations necessity has long been
to punish violations of the Laws, whatever might have been their motives intentions in for violating

Whosoever doubted the insincerity of intentions motive? it is as well known as any
proposition of the sort can be so, that he thought imagine the parricide for which he suffered
to be an act agreeable to the Deity; and did for no other reason: his intentions
were to please the Deity and no other. Yet who ever censured his punishment (I
speak not here of the degree of it) as improper?

Whoever besides the suffering party ever doubts disapproved of the punishing of those who
been from time to time attempted to destroy overthrow the constitution of our own state by expelling
the Family to which it owes it's preservation? Yet what dispassionate man
can doubt but that the intentions motive of the oppugners were altogether as pure as
of the defenders?

The purity of the intention is possible is less still less liable to mistake in
those efforts of the Roman Catholics to establish their overthrow our religion which I
think ourselves obliged to use punishments to repress: yet and if it cannot be done with
who would think it a reason for not ever scruple to employing them?

It is unnecessary further to insist upon this logic: examples will occur in crowds to
every man of any reflection reading or experience.

I have used all along the
word intention in a moral
sense, because it has frequently been
so used by other men: but
it would be less liable to ambiguity
if to speak of intention
as belonging to the physical act
and motive to the moral
of purpose in doing that
act: and by this means the

Identifier: | JB/063/116/002
"JB/" can not be assigned to a declared number type with value 63.


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law in general

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why intention is regarded?





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jeremy bentham


[[watermarks::[gr with crown motif] [britannia with shield motif]]]


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