University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

expand sectionA. 
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
expand sectionF. 
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
collapse sectionL. 
4509. LAW, Lex Talionis.—
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 

4509. LAW, Lex Talionis.—

The Lex
although a restitution of the Common
Law, * * * [is] revolting to the
humanized feelings of modern times. An eye
for an eye, and a hand for a hand, will exhibit
spectacles in execution whose moral effect
would be questionable; and even the
membrum pro membro of Bracton, or the
punishment of the offending member, although
long authorized by our law, for the
same offence in a slave, has been not long
since repealed, in conformity with public sentiment.
This needs reconsideration. [291]
To George Wythe. Washington ed. i, 146. Ford ed., ii, 204.
(M. 1778)


From Jefferson's letter to George Wythe enclosing
the draft of the bill for “Proportioning Crimes and
Punishments in cases heretofore capital”.—Editor.