Guide Dishonesty: Or, The Sin of Theft and of Injustice, Revised Edition (With Active Table of Contents)

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The work of evangelism and spiritual development honors one dimension of the area; the work of peace and justice honors the interpersonal dimension. In essence, the two are inseparable and those who work in these fields do well to remember the holistic nature of what God is doing. Jesus taught that because we are the light of the world, we should let our light shine before others Matt. Building community and relationships can be the object of our job, as in the case of community organizers, youth workers, social directors, event planners, social media workers, parents and family members, and many others.

But they can also be elements of our job, whatever our occupation. When we welcome and assist new workers, ask and listen as others talk about matters of significance, take the trouble to meet someone in person, send a note of encouragement, share a memorable photo, bring good food to share, include someone in a conversation, or myriad other acts of camaraderie, we are fulfilling these two purposes of work, day by day. Finally, godly work promotes the good life.

God led his people out of Egypt in order to bring them in to the Promised Land where they could settle, live, and develop. Likewise, what Christians experience in the world is not ideal either. We still wait for a new heaven and a new earth. But many of the laws of the covenant that God gave through Moses have to do with ethical treatment of one another.

But there can be no light to the nations that is not shining already in transformed lives of a holy people. Grand Rapids: Baker, The literature in Old Testament theology on this point is immense both in scope and depth of analysis.

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Providing even a summary of the issues and approaches to this matter exceeds the scope of this article. For an able discussion of what is at stake and a fuller understanding of the position taken in this article, see Bruce K. Elmer A. Grand Rapids: Baker, , Christopher J. He also equipped Aaron with skill surpassing that of the high officials of Egypt Exod.

These disasters caused personal misery. Disease caused livestock to die Exod. Crops failed and forests were ruined Exod. Pests invaded multiple ecosystems Exod. In Exodus, ecological disaster is the retribution of God against the tyranny and oppression of Pharaoh. But we can see that when economics, politics, culture, and society are in need of redemption, so is the environment.

Each of these warnings-in-action convinced Pharaoh to release Israel, but as each passed, he reneged. Finally, God brought on the disaster of slaying every firstborn son among the people and animals of the Egyptians Exod. The appalling effect of slavery is to "harden" the heart against compassion, justice, and even self-preservation, as Pharaoh soon discovered Exod. This reversed the effects of slavery, which was the legalized plunder of exploited workers. When God liberates people, he restores their right to labor for fruits they themselves can enjoy Isa.

Work, and the conditions under which it is performed, is a matter of the highest concern to God. Moses, Aaron, and others work hard, yet God is the real worker. While on the journey from Egypt to Sinai, Moses reconnected with his father-in-law Jethro. This former outsider to the Israelites offered much-needed counsel to Moses concerning justice in the community. Israel had already experienced unjust treatment at the hand of the Egyptian taskmasters. Walter Brueggemann has observed that biblical faith is not just about telling the story of what God has done.

One of the first things we learned earlier about Moses was his desire to mediate between those embroiled in a dispute. In the current episode, we see just the opposite. First, he rendered legal decisions for people in dispute. Furthermore, it was detrimental to Moses and unsatisfying for the people he was trying to help. All of the other cases were to be delegated to subordinate judges who would serve in a four-tiered system of judicial administration.

The qualification of these judges is the key to the wisdom of the plan, for they were not selected according to the tribal divisions of the people or their religious maturity. They must meet four qualifications Exod. First, they must be capable. It describes people who have a clear understanding of commonly recognized morality that stretches across cultural and religious boundaries.

Third, they must be "trustworthy. Finally, they must be haters of unjust gain. They must know how and why corruption occurs, despise the practice of bribery and all kinds of subversion, and actively guard the judicial process from these infections. Delegation is essential to the work of leadership. Though Moses was uniquely gifted as a prophet, statesman, and judge, he was not infinitely gifted. Therefore, the gift of leadership is ultimately the gift of giving away power appropriately.

The leader, like Moses, must discern the qualities needed, train those who are to receive authority, and develop means to hold them accountable. The leader also needs to be held accountable. Wise, decisive, compassionate leadership is a gift from God that every human community needs. Delegation is the only way to increase the capacity of an institution or community, as well as the way to develop future leaders.

The fact that Moses accepted this counsel so quickly and thoroughly may be evidence of how personally desperate he was. This observation may encourage Christians to receive and respect input from a wide range of traditions and religions, notably in matters of work. Doing so is not necessarily a mark of disloyalty to Christ, nor does it expose a lack of confidence in our own faith. It is not an improper concession to religious pluralism. On the contrary, it may even be a poor witness to produce biblical quotes of wisdom too frequently, for in so doing, outsiders may perceive us as narrow and possibly insecure.

Christians do well to be discerning about the specifics of the counsel we adopt, whether it comes from within or without. It is almost impossible to exaggerate their effect on subsequent history. They constitute the basis of the moral principles found throughout the Western world and summarize what the one true God expects of his people in terms of faith, worship and conduct.

For these reasons, we will be attentive to what the text of Exodus actually says, for this is what we hold in common. At the same time, we hope to be aware and respectful of the variety of ways that Christians may wish to draw lessons from this part of the Bible. Kenneth Barker, ed. We begin by recognizing that Exodus is an integral part of the whole of Scripture, not a stand-alone legal statue.

Christopher Wright has written:. The common opinion that the Bible is a moral code book for Christians falls far short, of course, of the full reality of what the Bible is and does. The Bible is essentially the story of God, the earth and humanity; it is the story of what has gone wrong, what God has done to put it right, and what the future holds under the sovereign plan of God.

Nevertheless, within that grand narrative, moral teaching does have a vital place. And our mission certainly includes the ethical dimension of that response. Because this term is so central to the entire discussion at hand, it will help us to clarify how this Hebrew word actually works in the Bible. The word Torah appears once in Genesis in the sense of instructions from God that Abraham followed. It can refer to instructions from one human to another Ps.

To highlight the rich and instructive nature of law in Exodus, we shall sometimes refer to it as Torah with no attempt at translation. In Exodus, it is clear that Torah in the sense of a set of specific instructions is part of the covenant and not the other way around. In other words, the covenant as a whole describes the relationship that God has established between himself and his people by virtue of his act of deliverance on their behalf Exod. This is significant for our understanding of the theology of work. In Christian terms, we love God because he first loved us and we demonstrate that love in how we treat others 1 John Willem A.

It can be a challenge for a Christian to draw a point from a verse in the book of Exodus or especially Leviticus, and then suggest how that lesson should be applied today. How do we avoid the charge of inconsistency in our handling of the Bible? The diversity of laws in Exodus and the Pentateuch presents one type of challenge.

Another comes from the variety of ways that Christians understand and apply Torah and the Old Testament in relationship to Christ and the New Testament. Still, the issue of Torah in Christianity is crucial and must be addressed in order for us to glean anything about what this part of the Bible says concerning our work. The following brief treatment aims to be helpful without being overly narrow.

God gave the Torah as an expression of his holy nature and as a consequence of his great deliverance. Reading the Torah makes us aware of our inherent sinfulness and of our need for a remedy in order for us to live at peace with God and one another. God expects his people to obey his instructions by applying them to real issues of life both great and small.

The specific nature of some laws does not mean God is an unrealistic perfectionist. These laws help us to understand that no issue we face is too small or insignificant for God. Even so, the Torah is not just about outward behavior, for it addresses matters of the heart such as coveting Exod. Later, Jesus would condemn not just murder and adultery, but the roots of anger and lust as well Matt. However, obeying the Torah by applying it to the real issues of life today does not equate to repeating the actions that Israel performed thousands of years ago.

Already in the Old Testament we see hints that some parts of the law were not intended to be permanent. In some important sense, he embodied all that the temple, its priesthood, and its activities stood for. Much in the New Testament confirms the Torah, not only in its negative commands against adultery, murder, theft, and coveting, but also in its positive command to love one another Rom.

In the end, only Jesus could accomplish this. On the other hand, new covenant believers do not work that way. For our purposes in considering the theology of work, the previous explanation suggests several points that may help us to understand and apply the laws in Exodus that relate to the workplace. They are to be taken seriously but not slavishly. On the one hand, items in the Ten Commandments are worded in general terms and may be applied freely in varied contexts. On the other hand, particular laws about servants, livestock, and personal injuries exemplify applications in the specific historical and social context of ancient Israel, especially in areas that were controversial at the time.

These laws are illustrative of right behavior but do not exhaust every possible application. Christians honor God and his law not only by regulating our behavior, but also by allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our attitudes, motives, and desires Rom. To do anything less would amount to sidestepping the work and will of our Lord and Savior.

Christians should always seek how love may guide our policies and behaviors. The Ten Commandments are worded as general commands either to do or not do something. These laws fit the social and economic world of ancient Israel. Gordon J. They are to be thought of not as the ten most important commands among hundreds of others, but as a digest of the entire Torah. All the law, as well as the prophets, is indicated whenever the Ten Commandments are expressed. That is, when applying the Ten Commandments, we will take into account related passages of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments.

The first commandment reminds us that everything in the Torah flows from the love we have for God, which in turn is a response to the love he has for us. Nothing else in life should concern us more than our desire to love and be loved by God. The other concern—be it money, power, security, recognition, sex, or anything else—has become our god. Observing the Ten Commandments is only conceivable for those who start by having no other god than God.

In the realm of work, this means that we are not to let work or its requirements and fruits displace God as our most important concern in life. Jesus warned of exactly this danger. But almost anything related to work can become twisted in our desires to the point that it interferes with our love for God. How many careers come to a tragic end because the means to accomplish things for the love of God—such as political power, financial sustainability, commitment to the job, status among peers, or superior performance—become ends in themselves?

When, for example, recognition on the job becomes more important than character on the job, is it not a sign that reputation is displacing the love of God as the ultimate concern? A practical touchstone is to ask whether our love of God is shown by the way we treat people on the job. If we put our individual concerns ahead of our concern for the people we work with, for, and among, then we have made our individual concerns our god. In particular, if we treat other people as things to be manipulated, obstacles to overcome, instruments to obtain what we want, or simply neutral objects in our field of view, then we demonstrate that we do not love God with all our heart, soul, and mind.

In this context, we can begin to list some work-related actions that have a high potential to interfere with our love for God. Doing work that violates our conscience. Working in an organization where we have to harm others to succeed.

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Working such long hours that we have little time to pray, worship, rest, and otherwise deepen our relationship with God. Working among people who demoralize us or seduce us away from our love for God. Working where alcohol, drug abuse, violence, sexual harassment, corruption, disrespect, racism, or other inhumane treatment mar the image of God in us and the people we encounter in our work. If we can find ways to avoid these dangers at work—even if it means finding a new job—it would be wise to do so. If that is not possible, we can at least be aware that we need help and support to maintain our love of God in the face of our work.

David W. The second commandment raises the issue of idolatry. Idols are gods of our own creation, gods that have nothing to them that did not originate with us, gods that we feel we control. In ancient times, idolatry often took the form of worshiping physical objects.

But the issue is really one of trust and devotion. On what do we ultimately pin our hope of well-being and success? Anything that is not capable of fulfilling our hope—that is, anything other than God—is an idol, whether or not it is a physical object. In the world of work, it is common to speak of money, fame, and power as potential idols, and rightly so. Yet when we imagine that we have ultimate control over them, or that by achieving them our safety and prosperity will be secured, we have begun to fall into idolatry.

The same may occur with virtually every other element of success, including preparation, hard work, creativity, risk, wealth and other resources, and favorable circumstances. As workers, we have to recognize how important these are. The distinctive element of idolatry is the human-made nature of the idol.

At work, a danger of idolatry arises when we mistake our power, knowledge, and opinions for reality. But what is wrongful use? It includes, of course, disrespectful use in cursing, slandering, and blaspheming. But more significantly it includes falsely attributing human designs to God. Regrettably, some Christians seem to believe that following God at work consists primarily of speaking for God on the basis of their individual understanding, rather than working respectfully with others or taking responsibility for their actions. The third commandment also reminds us that respecting human names is important to God.

Do you know the name of the person who empties your trash can, answers your customer service call, or drives your bus? If these examples do not concern the very name of the Lord, they do concern the name of those made in his image.

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The issue of the Sabbath is complex, not only in the book of Exodus and the Old Testament, but also in Christian theology and practice. The first part of the command calls for ceasing labor one day in seven. In the context of the ancient world, the Sabbath was unique to Israel. On the one hand, this was an incomparable gift to the people of Israel. Such an abominable state of things is silently tolerated, to say the least, by slaveholders—deny it who may. And what is that religion that sanctions, even by its silence, all that is embraced in the ' Peculiar Institution? We have said, Isabella was married to Thomas—she was, after the fashion of slavery, one of the slaves performing the ceremony for them; as no true minister of Christ can perform, as in the presence of God, what he knows to be a mere farce, a mock marriage, unrecognised by any civil law, and liable to be annulled any moment, when the interest or caprice of the master should dictate.

With what feelings must slaveholders expect us to listen to their horror of amalgamation in prospect, while they are well aware that we know how calmly and quietly they contemplate the present state of licentiousness their own wicked laws have created, not only as it regards the slave, but as it regards the more privileged portion of the population of the South?

Slaveholders appear to me to take the same notice of the vices of the slave, as one does of the vicious disposition of his horse. They are often an inconvenience; further than that, they care not to trouble themselves about the matter. In process of time, Isabella found herself the mother of five children, and she rejoiced in being permitted to be the instrument of increasing the property of her oppressors! Think, dear reader, without a blush, if you can, for one moment, of a mother thus willingly, and with pride , laying her own children, the 'flesh of her flesh,' on the altar of slavery—a sacrifice to the bloody Moloch!

But we must remember that beings capable of such sacrifices are not mothers; they are only 'things,' 'chattels,' 'property. One moment it seems but a frightful illusion; again it appears a terrible reality. I would to God it were but a dreamy myth, and not, as it now stands, a horrid reality to some three millions of chattelized human beings. I have already alluded to her care not to teach her children to steal, by her example; and she says, with groanings that cannot be written, 'The Lord only knows how many times I let my children go hungry, rather than take secretly the bread I liked not to ask for.

Another proof of her master's kindness of heart is found in the following fact. If her master came into the house and found her infant crying, as she could not always attend to its wants and the commands of her mistress at the same time, he would turn to his wife with a look of reproof, and ask her why she did not see the child taken care of; saying, most earnestly, 'I will not hear this crying; I can't bear it, and I will not hear any child cry so. Here, Bell, take care of this child, if no more work is done for a week.

When Isabella went to the field to work, she used to put her infant in a basket, tying a rope to each handle, and suspending the basket to a branch of a tree, set another small child to swing it. It was thus secure from reptiles and was easily administered to, and even lulled to sleep, by a child too young for other labors. I was quite struck with the ingenuity of such a baby-tender, as I have sometimes been with the swinging hammock the native mother prepares for her sick infant—apparently so much easier than aught we have in our more civilized homes; easier for the child, because it gets the motion without the least jar; and easier for the nurse, because the hammock is strung so high as to supersede the necessity of stooping.

After emancipation had been decreed by the State, some years before the time fixed for its consummation, Isabella's master told her if she would do well, and be faithful, he would give her 'free papers,' one year before she was legally free by statute. In the year , she had a badly diseased hand, which greatly diminished her usefulness; but on the arrival of July 4, , the time specified for her receiving her 'free papers,' she claimed the fulfilment of her master's promise; but he refused granting it, on account as he alleged of the loss he had sustained by her hand.

She plead that she had worked all the time, and done many things she was not wholly able to do, although she knew she had been less useful than formerly; but her master remained inflexible. Her very faithfulness probably operated against her now, and he found it less easy than he thought to give up the profits of his faithful Bell, who had so long done him efficient service. But Isabella inwardly determined that she would remain quietly with him only until she had spun his wool—about one hundred pounds—and then she would leave him, taking the rest of the time to herself. Just think of us!

Just think! Why, there was Charles Brodhead promised his slave Ned, that when harvesting was over, he might go and see his wife, who lived some twenty or thirty miles off. So Ned worked early and late, and as soon as the harvest was all in, he claimed the promised boon. His master said, he had merely told him he 'would see if he could go, when the harvest was over; but now he saw that he could not go. His master asked him if he intended going, and on his replying 'yes,' took up a sled-stick that lay near him, and gave him such a blow on the head as broke his skull, killing him dead on the spot.

The poor colored people all felt struck down by the blow. Yet it was but one of a long series of bloody, and other most effectual blows, struck against their liberty and their lives. The subject of this narrative was to have been free July 4, , but she continued with her master till the wool was spun, and the heaviest of the 'fall's work' closed up, when she concluded to take her freedom into her own hands, and seek her fortune in some other place.

The question in her mind, and one not easily solved, now was, 'How can I get away? Thank you, God, for that thought! As she gained the summit of a high hill, a considerable distance from her master's, the sun offended her by coming forth in all his pristine splendor. She thought it never was so light before; indeed, she thought it much too light. She stopped to look about her, and ascertain if her pursuers were yet in sight. No one appeared, and, for the first time, the question came up for settlement, 'Where, and to whom, shall I go?

She sat down, fed her infant, and again turning her thoughts to God, her only help, she prayed him to direct her to some safe asylum. And soon it occurred to her, that there was a man living somewhere in the direction she had been pursuing, by the name of Levi Rowe, whom she had known, and who, she thought, would be likely to befriend her. She accordingly pursued her way to his house, where she found him ready to entertain and assist her, though he was then on his death-bed.

He bade her partake of the hospitalities of his house, said he knew of two good places where she might get in, and requested his wife to show her where they were to be found. As soon as she came in sight of the first house, she recollected having seen it and its inhabitants before, and instantly exclaimed, 'That's the place for me; I shall stop there.

Van Wagener, absent, but was kindly received and hospitably entertained by their excellent mother, till the return of her children. When they arrived, she made her case known to them. They listened to her story, assuring her they never turned the needy away, and willingly gave her employment. She had not been there long before her old master, Dumont, appeared, as she had anticipated; for when she took French leave of him, she resolved not to go too far from him, and not put him to as much trouble in looking her up—for the latter he was sure to do—as Tom and Jack had done when they ran away from him, a short time before.

This was very considerate in her, to say the least, and a proof that 'like begets like. When her master saw her, he said, 'Well, Bell, so you've run away from me. Isaac S. Van Wagener then interposed, saying, he had never been in the practice of buying and selling slaves; he did not believe in slavery; but, rather than have Isabella taken back by force, he would buy her services for the balance of the year—for which her master charged twenty dollars, and five in addition for the child.

The sum was paid, and her master Dumont departed; but not till he had heard Mr.

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Van Wagener tell her not to call him master—adding, 'there is but one master; and he who is your master is my master. Van Wagener, who was master to no one. With these noble people, who, though they could not be the masters of slaves, were undoubtedly a portion of God's nobility, she resided one year, and from them she derived the name of Van Wagener; he being her last master in the eye of the law, and a slave's surname is ever the same as his master; that is, if he is allowed to have any other name than Tom, Jack, or Guffin.

Slaves have sometimes been severely punished for adding their master's name to their own. But when they have no particular title to it, it is no particular offence. A little previous to Isabel's leaving her old master, he had sold her child, a boy of five years, to a Dr. Gedney, who took him with him as far as New York city, on his way to England; but finding the boy too small for his service, he sent him back to his brother, Solomon Gedney.

This man disposed of him to his sister's husband, a wealthy planter, by the name of Fowler, who took him to his own home in Alabama. This illegal and fraudulent transaction had been perpetrated some months before Isabella knew of it, as she was now living at Mr. Van Wagener's. The law expressly prohibited the sale of any slave out of the State,—and all minors were to be free at twenty-one years of age; and Mr. Dumont had sold Peter with the express understanding, that he was soon to return to the State of New York, and be emancipated at the specified time. When Isabel heard that her son had been sold South, she immediately started on foot and alone, to find the man who had thus dared, in the face of all law, human and divine, to sell her child out of the State; and if possible, to bring him to account for the deed.

Arriving at New Paltz, she went directly to her former mistress, Dumont, complaining bitterly of the removal of her son. Her mistress heard her through, and then replied—' Ugh! Why, haven't you as many of 'em left as you can see to, and take care of? A pity 'tis, the niggers are not all in Guinea!! Making such a halloo-balloo about the neighborhood; and all for a paltry nigger!!! And what have you to support him with, if you could? Have you any money? And I'll have my child again. And in speaking of it, she says, 'Oh my God! I know'd I'd have him agin.

I was sure God would help me to get him. Why, I felt so tall within —I felt as if the power of a nation was with me! After leaving her mistress, she called on Mrs. Gedney, mother of him who had sold her boy; who, after listening to her lamentations, her grief being mingled with indignation at the sale of her son, and her declaration that she would have him again—said, 'Dear me!

What a disturbance to make about your child! What, is your child, better than my child? My child is gone out there, and yours is gone to live with her, to have enough of every thing, and be treated like a gentleman! Oh, I must have my child. And well it was for Mrs. Gedney, that, at that time, she could not even dream of the awful fate awaiting her own beloved daughter, at the hands of him whom she had chosen as worthy the wealth of her love and confidence, and in whose society her young heart had calculated on a happiness, purer and more elevated than was ever conferred by a kingly crown.

But, alas! At this point, Isabella earnestly begged of God that he would show to those about her that He was her helper; and she adds, in narrating, 'And He did; or, if He did not show them, he did me. This homely proverb was illustrated in the case of our sufferer; for, at the period at which we have arrived in our narrative, to her the darkness seemed palpable, and the waters of affliction covered her soul; yet light was about to break in upon her.

Soon after the scenes related in our last chapter, which had harrowed up her very soul to agony, she met a man, we would like to tell you who, dear reader, but it would be doing him no kindness, even at the present day, to do so, who evidently sympathized with her, and counselled her to go to the Quakers, telling her they were already feeling very indignant at the fraudulent sale of her son, and assuring her that they would readily assist her, and direct her what to do.

He pointed out to her two houses, where lived some of those people, who formerly, more than any other sect, perhaps, lived out the principles of the gospel of Christ. She wended her way to their dwellings, was listened to, unknown as she personally was to them, with patience, and soon gained their sympathies and active co-operation. They gave her lodgings for the night; and it is very amusing to hear her tell of the 'nice, high, clean, white, beautiful bed' assigned her to sleep in, which contrasted so strangely with her former pallets, that she sat down and contemplated it, perfectly absorbed in wonder that such a bed should have been appropriated to one like herself.

For some time she thought that she would lie down beneath it, on her usual bedstead, the floor. However, she finally concluded to make use of the bed, for fear that not to do so might injure the feelings of her good hostess. In the morning, the Quaker saw that she was taken and set down near Kingston, with directions to go to the Court House, and enter complaint to the Grand Jury.

By a little inquiry, she found which was the building she sought, went into the door, and taking the first man she saw of imposing appearance for the grand jury, she commenced her complaint. But he very civilly informed her there was no Grand Jury there; she must go up stairs.

When she had with some difficulty ascended the flight through the crowd that filled them, she again turned to the ' grandest ' looking man she could select, telling him she had come to enter a complaint to the Grand Jury. For his own amusement, he inquired what her complaint was; but, when he saw it was a serious matter, he said to her, 'This is no place to enter a complaint—go in there,' pointing in a particular direction.

She then went in, where she found the Grand Jurors indeed sitting, and again commenced to relate her injuries. After holding some conversation among themselves, one of them rose, and bidding her follow him, led the way to a side office, where he heard her story, and asked her 'if she could swear that the child she spoke of was her son?

She took it, and putting it to her lips, began again to swear it was her child. The clerks, unable to preserve their gravity any longer, burst into an uproarious laugh; and one of them inquired of lawyer Chip of what use it could be to make her swear. He then made her comprehend just what he wished her to do, and she took a lawful oath, as far as the outward ceremony could make it one.

All can judge how far she understood its spirit and meaning. He now gave her a writ, directing her to take it to the constable at New Paltz, and have him serve it on Solomon Gedney. She obeyed, walking, or rather trotting , in her haste, some eight or nine miles. But while the constable, through mistake, served the writ on a brother of the real culprit, Solomon Gedney slipped into a boat, and was nearly across the North River, on whose banks they were standing, before the dull Dutch constable was aware of his mistake.

Solomon Gedney, meanwhile, consulted a lawyer, who advised him to go to Alabama and bring back the boy, otherwise it might cost him fourteen years' imprisonment, and a thousand dollars in cash. By this time, it is hoped he began to feel that selling slaves unlawfully was not so good a business as he had wished to find it. He secreted himself till due preparations could be made, and soon set sail for Alabama. Steamboats and railroads had not then annihilated distance to the extent they now have, and although he left in the fall of the year, spring came ere he returned, bringing the boy with him—but holding on to him as his property.

It had ever been Isabella's prayer, not only that her son might be returned, but that he should be delivered from bondage, and into her own hands, lest he should be punished out of mere spite to her, who was so greatly annoying and irritating to her oppressors; and if her suit was gained, her very triumph would add vastly to their irritation.

She again sought advice of Esquire Chip, whose counsel was, that the aforesaid constable serve the before-mentioned writ upon the right person. Esquire Chip next informed his client, that her case must now lie over till the next session of the court, some months in the future. I cannot wait; I must have him now, whilst he is to be had. But in this instance, he was mistaken in his reckoning. She assured him, that she had not been seeking money, neither would money satisfy her; it was her son, and her son alone she wanted, and her son she must have. Neither could she wait court, not she.

The lawyer used his every argument to convince her, that she ought to be very thankful for what they had done for her; that it was a great deal, and it was but reasonable that she should now wait patiently the time of the court. Yet she never felt, for a moment, like being influenced by these suggestions. She felt confident she was to receive a full and literal answer to her prayer, the burden of which had been—'O Lord, give my son into my hands, and that speedily!

Let not the spoilers have him any longer. She had a short time previous learned that Jesus was a Saviour, and an intercessor; and she thought that if Jesus could but be induced to plead for her in the present trial, God would listen to him , though he were wearied of her importunities. To him, of course, she applied. As she was walking about, scarcely knowing whither she went, asking within herself, 'Who will show me any good, and lend a helping hand in this matter,' she was accosted by a perfect stranger, and one whose name she has never learned, in the following terms: 'Halloo, there; how do you get along with your boy?

He said, 'Look here! I'll tell you what you'd better do. Do you see that stone house yonder? Stick to him. Don't give him peace till he does. I feel sure if you press him, he'll do it for you. When she had told him her story, in her impassioned manner, he looked at her a few moments, as if to ascertain if he were contemplating a new variety of the genus homo, and then told her, if she would give him five dollars, he would get her son for her, in twenty-four hours.

When inquired of by people what she had done with the overplus, she answered, 'Oh, I got it for lawyer Demain, and I gave it to him. She was perfectly willing he should have every coin she could raise, if he would but restore her lost son to her. Moreover, the five dollars he required were for the remuneration of him who should go after her son and his master, and not for his own services.

The lawyer now renewed his promise, that she should have her son in twenty-four hours. But Isabella, having no idea of this space of time, went several times in a day, to ascertain if her son had come. Once, when the servant opened the door and saw her, she said, in a tone expressive of much surprise, 'Why, this woman's come again! When the lawyer appeared, he told her the twenty-four hours would not expire till the next morning; if she would call then, she would see her son.

The next morning saw Isabel at the lawyer's door, while he was yet in his bed. He now assured her it was morning till noon; and that before noon her son would be there, for he had sent the famous 'Matty Styles' after him, who would not fail to have the boy and his master on hand in due season, either dead or alive; of that he was sure.

Telling her she need not come again; he would himself inform her of their arrival. After dinner, he appeared at Mr. Rutzer's, a place the lawyer had procured for her, while she awaited the arrival of her boy, assuring her, her son had come; but that he stoutly denied having any mother, or any relatives in that place; and said, 'she must go over and identify him.

When he was questioned relative to the bad scar on his forehead, he said, 'Fowler's horse hove him. But the boy persisted in denying his mother, and clinging to his master, saying his mother did not live in such a place as that. However, they allowed the mother to identify her son; and Esquire Demain pleaded that he claimed the boy for her, on the ground that he had been sold out of the State, contrary to the laws in such cases made and provided—spoke of the penalties annexed to said crime, and of the sum of money the delinquent was to pay, in case any one chose to prosecute him for the offence he had committed.

When the pleading was at an end, Isabella understood the Judge to declare, as the sentence of the Court, that the 'boy be delivered into the hands of the mother—having no other master, no other controller, no other conductor, but his mother. And it was some time before lawyer Demain, the clerks, and Isabella, could collectively succeed in calming the child's fears, and in convincing him that Isabella was not some terrible monster, as he had for the last months, probably, been trained to believe; and who, in taking him away from his master, was taking him from all good, and consigning him to all evil.

When at last kind words and bon-bons had quieted his fears, and he could listen to their explanations, he said to Isabella— 'Well, you do look like my mother used to'; and she was soon able to make him comprehend some of the obligations he was under, and the relation he stood in, both to herself and his master. She commenced as soon as practicable to examine the boy, and found, to her utter astonishment, that from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, the callosities and indurations on his entire body were most frightful to behold.

His back she described as being like her fingers, as she laid them side by side. He answered, 'It is where Fowler whipped, kicked, and beat me. Oh Lord, "render unto them double" for all this! Oh my God! Pete, how did you bear it? She had a little baby, and Fowler cut her till the milk as well as blood ran down her body.

You would scare to see Phillis, mammy. Sometimes I crawled under the stoop, mammy, the blood running all about me, and my back would stick to the boards; and sometimes Miss Eliza would come and grease my sores, when all were abed and asleep. Eliza Fowler.

As soon as possible she procured a place for Peter, as tender of locks, at a place called Wahkendall, near Greenkills. After he was thus disposed of, she visited her sister Sophia, who resided at Newberg, and spent the winter in several different families where she was acquainted. She remained some time in the family of a Mr. Latin, who was a relative of Solomon Gedney; and the latter, when he found Isabel with his cousin, used all his influence to persuade him she was a great mischief-maker and a very troublesome person,—that she had put him to some hundreds of dollars expense, by fabricating lies about him, and especially his sister and her family, concerning her boy, when the latter was living so like a gentleman with them; and, for his part, he would not advise his friends to harbor or encourage her.

However, his cousins, the Latins, could not see with the eyes of his feelings, and consequently his words fell powerless on them, and they retained her in their service as long as they had aught for her to do. She then went to visit her former master, Dumont. She had scarcely arrived there, when Mr.

Waring entered, and seeing Isabel, pleasantly accosted her, and asked her 'what she was driving at now-a-days. She very gladly assented. When Mr. Waring had done in the courthouse—for he was the uncle of Solomon Gedney, and attended the trial we have described—and declared 'that she was a fool to; he wouldn't do it.

She had not worked long in this frame of mind, before a young daughter of Mr. Waring rushed into the rooms exclaiming, with uplifted hands—'Heavens and earth, Isabella! Fowler's murdered Cousin Eliza! The child further informed her that a letter had arrived by mail bringing the news. Immediately after this announcement, Solomon Gedney and his mother came in, going direct to Mrs. Waring's room, where she soon heard tones as of some one reading. She thought something said to her inwardly, 'Go up stairs and hear. But on this occasion, Isabella says, she walked in at the door, shut it, placed her back against it, and listened.

She saw them and heard them read—'He knocked her down with his fist, jumped on her with his knees, broke her collar-bone, and tore out her wind-pipe! He then attempted his escape, but was pursued and arrested, and put in an iron bank for safe-keeping! If this narrative should ever meet the eye of those innocent sufferers for another's guilt, let them not be too deeply affected by the relation; but, placing their confidence in Him who sees the end from the beginning, and controls the results, rest secure in the faith, that, although they may physically suffer for the sins of others, if they remain but true to themselves, their highest and more enduring interests can never suffer from such a cause.

This relation should be suppressed for their sakes, were it not even now so often denied, that slavery is fast undermining all true regard for human life. We know this one instance is not a demonstration to the contrary; but, adding this to the lists of tragedies that weekly come up to us through the Southern mails, may we not admit them as proofs irrefragable?

The newspapers confirmed this account of the terrible affair. When Isabella had heard the letter, all being too much absorbed in their own feelings to take note of her, she returned to her work, her heart swelling with conflicting emotions. She was awed at the dreadful deed; she mourned the fate of the loved Eliza, who had in such an undeserved and barbarous manner been put away from her labors and watchings as a tender mother; and, 'last though not least,' in the development of her character and spirit, her heart bled for the afflicted relatives; even those of them who 'laughed at her calamity, and mocked when her fear came.

460 Mahatma Gandhi Quotes To Bring The Best Out Of You

It all seemed very remarkable to her, and she viewed it as flowing from a special providence of God. She thought she saw clearly, that their unnatural bereavement was a blow dealt in retributive justice; but she found it not in her heart to exult or rejoice over them.

She felt as if God had more than answered her petition, when she ejaculated, in her anguish of mind, 'Oh, Lord, render unto them double! Isabel could never learn the subsequent fate of Fowler, but heard, in the spring of '49, that his children had been seen in Kingston—one of whom was spoken of as a fine, interesting girl, albeit a halo of sadness fell like a veil about her.

We will now turn from the outward and temporal to the inward and spiritual life of our subject. It is ever both interesting and instructive to trace the exercises of a human mind, through the trials and mysteries of life; and especially a naturally powerful mind, left as hers was almost entirely to its own workings, and the chance influences it met on its way; and especially to note its reception of that divine 'light, that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Her mother, as we have already said, talked to her of God. From these conversations, her incipient mind drew the conclusion, that God was 'a great man'; greatly superior to other men in power; and being located 'high in the sky,' could see all that transpired on the earth. She believed he not only saw, but noted down all her actions in a great book, even as her master kept a record of whatever he wished not to forget. But she had no idea that God knew a thought of hers till she had uttered it aloud. As we have before mentioned, she had ever been mindful of her mother's injunctions, spreading out in detail all her troubles before God, imploring and firmly trusting him to send her deliverance from them.

Whilst yet a child, she listened to a story of a wounded soldier, left alone in the trail of a flying army, helpless and starving, who hardened the very ground about him with kneeling in his supplications to God for relief, until it arrived. From this narrative, she was deeply impressed with the idea, that if she also were to present her petitions under the open canopy of heaven, speaking very loud, she should the more readily be heard; consequently, she sought a fitting spot for this, her rural sanctuary.

The place she selected, in which to offer up her daily orisons, was a small island in a small stream, covered with large willow shrubbery, beneath which the sheep had made their pleasant winding paths; and sheltering themselves from the scorching rays of a noon-tide sun, luxuriated in the cool shadows of the graceful willows, as they listened to the tiny falls of the silver waters. It was a lonely spot, and chosen by her for its beauty, its retirement, and because she thought that there, in the noise of those waters, she could speak louder to God, without being overheard by any who might pass that way.

When she had made choice of her sanctum, at a point of the island where the stream met, after having been separated, she improved it by pulling away the branches of the shrubs from the centre, and weaving them together for a wall on the outside, forming a circular arched alcove, made entirely of the graceful willow. To this place she resorted daily, and in pressing times much more frequently. At this time, her prayers, or, more appropriately, 'talks with God,' were perfectly original and unique, and would be well worth preserving, were it possible to give the tones and manner with the words; but no adequate idea of them can be written while the tones and manner remain inexpressible.

She would sometimes repeat, 'Our Father in heaven,' in her Low Dutch, as taught her by her mother; after that, all was from the suggestions of her own rude mind. She related to God, in minute detail, all her troubles and sufferings, inquiring, as she proceeded, 'Do you think that's right, God? She talked to God as familiarly as if he had been a creature like herself; and a thousand times more so, than if she had been in the presence of some earthly potentate.

She demanded, with little expenditure of reverence or fear, a supply of all her more pressing wants, and at times her demands approached very near to commands.


Control may be found to exist where the wild animals have been tamed, for example, or caught 12 or in cases where they are so young that they cannot escape from the landowner's control. Scotting and Rasjke , [] Grim L Rev a very briefly reported decision involving larceny of electricity consumed by the making of a series of telephone calls without payment. By virtue of The Electricity Supply Amendment Act, , section 6 1 , an offence under section 10 of the Act may be prosecuted summarily: see further McCutcheon , para A provision analogous to section 10 is the Postal and Telecommunications Services Act, , section The inclusion of a specific provision section 13 dealing with the abstraction of electricity and the fact that such a small use of electricity, if held to amount to theft, would transform a trespasser into a burglar, doubtless weighed with the Court.

McCutcheon , para 42, fn This was not the position at common law, where domestic animals such as dogs and cats were not the subject of larceny. Section 21 of the Larceny Act, made the theft of domestic animals a summary offence; section 18 specifically provided for the theft of dogs. Section 5 of the Larceny Act, prohibits the theft or unlawful possession of dogs after a previous summary conviction for such an offence under section 18 of the Act and the corrupt taking of rewards for recovering stolen dogs.

Where animals e. It should be noted that statute has intervened 15 to make criminal the taking of certain such animals, including deer, 16 hares or rabbits in warrens at night, 17 and fish from waters on land adjoining or belonging to dwellinghouses. Section 1 3 b of the Act provides that the carcase of a creature wild by nature and not reduced into possession while living is not capable of being stolen by the person who has killed the creature, unless after killing it he has abandoned possession of the carcase. A similar provision 19 applies to the larceny of things severed from the realty.

We will examine the notion of abandoning possession in these two contexts presently. The thing stolen must have an owner. Land has never been the subject of larceny. However, section 8 1 makes it punishable as in simple larceny to steal or, with intent to steal, to rip, cut, sever or break :. The requirement is a necessary, but not sufficient, element of the actus reus of theft. Thus, wild animals in their natural state are not the subjects of larceny, even though the landowner or his surrogates may have sufficient property in them ratione soli to maintain an action for trespass or conversion for interference with them: cf Case of Swans , 7 Co Rep 15b, at 17b, 77 ER , at Moreover, section 11 deals with the larceny of ore from mines; this constitutes felony with a maximum term of imprisonment of two years.

Section 1 3 a provides that things adhering to the realty may be stolen after severance therefrom, provided that save as specified in sections 8 and 11 :. A similar provision, 26 as we have seen, applies to the larceny of the carcase of an animal ferae naturae. Legal fictions got in the way of common-sense in relation to the larceny of title-deeds.

The theft of trees and shrubs, and of plants, roots or vegetable production in gardens, orchards, pleasure grounds, nursery grounds, hothouses, greenhouses or conservatories is similarly made a felony under sections 8 2 and 3. In Billing v Pill , [] 1 QB 70, it was held that an army hut which was bolted to a concrete base was not attached to the realty, for the purposes of section 1 3 a.

Cf Skujins , [] Crim L Rev Statutes have long since modified the position. Section 6 of the Larceny Act, provides that the larceny of a will, codicil or other testamentary instrument, either of a deed or of a living person, is a felony, punishable by penal servitude for life. And section 7 deals as we have seen with the larceny of documents of title to land.

It also prohibits the larceny of judicial records and documents and other official papers and documents. Moreover, sections 27 to 30 of the Larceny Act, punish the destruction, obliteration or cancellation for a fraudulent purpose, of documents of title, choses in action, wills and records. If a thing taken lacks any value it cannot be the subject of theft. This judicial approach has greatly facilitated prosecutors over the years; they have been able to obtain convictions for dishonest conduct largely falling outside the scope of the offences against property by framing indictments for the larceny of items of infinitesimally small value, such as the paper of cancelled bank notes 34 and of a worthless cheque.

It may perhaps be noted here that it is not a good defence to a charge of larceny that the accused left by way of exchange something of a value equal to, or in excess of, the value of the thing taken. The only defence open to the accused would be a possible lack of mens rea , either because he believed that the owner consented or because he believed he had a legal right to take the thing. There are thus two essential elements in this aspect of the actus reus : taking and asportation.


Kenny , para The taking constitutes a trespass to the article stolen. Larceny has always been conceived as an offence against possession. The notion of possession in larceny is far from simple. These distinctions can best be understood as reflecting robust policy decisions rather than as giving effect to any deep theoretical structure.

See Coslet , 1 Leach , ER , Cherry , 1 Leach , n a , ER , cf Lapier 1 Leach , ER where the defendant was held rightly convicted of robbery for pulling an ear-ring from a woman's ear, the ear-ring later being found among the curls of her hair. A prosecution witness gave evidence that she had seen the appellant's left hand withdrawing the victim's purse right out of her bag. She told the victim, who, on checking, found that the purse was in the bag but that the bag was open. The Court of Criminal Appeal took the view that, if the witness's evidence were accepted in its entirety, it clearly established the offence of larceny from the person under section 14, and that accordingly, on previous authority, the conviction should be set aside.

Counsel for the prosecution contended that the jury were not bound to accept the witness's observation as infallible; and might reasonably have considered that, while accepting her as a truthful witness, she might have been mistaken in her observation as to the degree of asportation that had taken place. Moreover, nobody's attention appeared to have been directed to the importance of the degree of asportation and the jury had received no instruction with regard to the matter. The Court of Criminal Appeal did not accept this line of argument. Davitt P for the Court said at p55 :.

If they did they must have acquitted the accused of simple larceny. The failure adequately to instruct the jury may have resulted in the accused being deprived of a reasonable chance of acquittal. In these circumstances we are of opinion that the conviction cannot stand. See also Simson , Kel 31, 84 ER defendant took plate out of a trunk and laid it on the floor, but was apprehended before he carried it away; held unanimously that such removal amounted to larceny. Cf Taylor , [] 1 KB Under this fiction the owner was treated as retaining 'legal' possession notwithstanding that he allowed the actual physical control of the thing to pass into the hands of his servant or of his guest.

It is worth noting briefly how servants gradually become enmeshed in criminal liability for disposing of their masters' goods. The doctrine of the master's legal possession initially extended only to the control by the servant of the article while still on the master's land or premises. Gradually, however, the scope of the servant's legal possession was constricted until finally the rule became that the servant never had legal possession of his master's property which he controlled by virtue of his position as servant. To this there was an exception: property given to the servant by a third party to pass on to his employer was regarded as conferring legal possession on the servant.

A series of cases has held that the owner of an article retains legal possession where he parts company with it briefly in circumstances where he would reasonably assume that the person exerting temporary control over the article would hand it back virtually immediately. It is very difficult to construct a convincing principled rationale for treating this kind of case differently from one of bailment or trust.

The general rule originally was that a bailee who misappropriated the property entrusted to him was not guilty of larceny, since he had taken the property into his possession and carried it away with the consent of the owner. The English equivalent, 21 Hen c 7, had been enacted thirteen years previously. We must now consider the question as to how and when a bailment is created. The essence of the concept is that of delivery of goods on a condition or trust that they are to be restored to the transferor or according to his directions as soon as the purpose for which the goods are delivered has been achieved.

Cases not usually amounting to a bailment include the receipt of purchase money by an auctioneer from a purchaser or of rent by a land-agent from a tenant. Where no such duty exists, he may be charged with fraudulent conversion. In Rogers v Arnott , 55 the English Queen's Bench Division held that the attempted larceny of a tape-recorder by a bailee amounted to fraudulent conversion and that thus the defendant had been rightly acquitted of attempted larceny since he was guilty of the complete offence of larceny.

Conversion per se has been defined in a civil action as an act intentionally done inconsistent with the owner's right The analogy is misleading because no civil action is possible unless the true owner has suffered damage; but this is not so in the case of a criminal prosecution for fraudulent conversion. One cannot therefore, determine for the purpose of the criminal law whether there has been a conversion simply by asking whether the true owner has suffered damage. He might indeed recover the article intact, but this would not of itself prevent a prosecution of the dishonest bailee.

Donovan J approved of Turner's view, expressed in Kenny and Russell , both of which works Turner edited. Kenny 58 had stated:. The prisoner must have possession of the goods, otherwise he would not be bailee, and then, as it would seem, any conduct on his part which shows that he assumes either the full title of ownership in the goods, or asserts a right to pass the full title of ownership, will amount to such conversion as will render him guilty of stealing them within the statute.

And in Russell 59 the author had this to say:. But for the purposes of the law of larceny it is submitted that it is necessary that the offender should have possession of the goods, and that when. See also the 19th ed, para In Pear , 60 in , the defendant had hired a horse in London, giving an address to the livery-stable-keeper beforehand and saying that he would ride the horse to a destination in Surrey and return the horse by 8 p. In fact he sold the horse that day; the jury found that at the time of the hiring, he had no intention of going to Surrey and that at this time he had intended to sell the horse.

It seems clear that Pear can be understood properly only if it is regarded as involving a naked policy determination, indefensible in terms of civil law notions of contract where they impinge on the issue. If this doctrine were sound there is no logical escape from the conclusion that the existence of the like fraudulent intention ought to have the same effect, so as to negative the consent of the owner, when the transaction is not one of purported bailment involving the transfer of possession merely, but when the transaction is, for example, one of the purported sale, involving the transfer of the ownership of the chattel The decision of the judges in Pear's case that the deceit which eliminated the consent which the owner intended to give when he regarded himself as parting with merely the possession.

The doctrine of the Pear case was anomalous, but it was highly important since it did much to expand the common law of larceny to meet a social need. It was widely applied, and the special offence which it covered came to be known as 'larceny by a trick', an inapt name which has caused a good deal of confusion in later law. Following the legislation, there was no longer any need for the prosecution to try to show that the defendant had the intention from the beginning of misappropriating the article coming under his control.

The requirement that from the beginning of the bailment, the bailee should have the intention to steal was emphasised in the Irish case of Rogers. Having taken the draper to a room upstairs, the person left the room, ostensibly to locate his brother. He never returned. He was later found some distance away, with the suit under his arm. Crampton J, in charging the jury, 69 stressed that the question they had to try was whether, from his conduct, they could:. In Buckmaster , 71 in , a welshing bookmaker was held guilty of.

Russell had gone on to express the following conclusion at p If this person had intended to pass property, rather than mere possession, in the coins, the relevant offence would have been false pretences 72 rather than larceny. Lord Coleridge CJ was of opinion that the conviction ought to be affirmed for two reasons. It is true that the prosecutor would have been satisfied if he had received back, not the identical coins which he deposited, but other coins of equal value, but that does not show that he meant to part with his right to the money.

In my opinion the evidence clearly shows that he meant to do nothing of the kind. Kenny is strongly critical of the decision. He notes that the English Court for Crown Cases reserved:. The better approach to the problem of the welshing bookmaker today may be to treat the case as one of fraudulent conversion rather than larceny. The legislation in contrast to section 44 3 of the Larceny Act, did not make it possible to convict for false pretences where the sole charge was for larceny: cf Kenny , para Kenny notes that:.

Perhaps this understates the extent to which Buckmaster was willing to welsh; the intention to do so may well have been present, subject perhaps, to a willingness to pay up if it turned out that he had enough to pay all backers. As has been mentioned, section 1 1 of the Larceny Act, provides that, to commit larceny, the defendant must have taken and carried away the thing that is stolen.

The concept of consent is a difficult one in this context. Thus, on the latter approach, an owner may be held not to have consented to a taking when in fact the owner never had any view, one way or the other, as to the limits of the consent he was giving to the taking of the item. The relationship between these two approaches will be examined presently. First it is desirable to consider the issue of consent in four specific contexts: obtaining possession by a trick, intimidation, mistake and larceny by finding. The requirement in section 1 1 that the taking be without the owner's consent continues to apply.

The crucial distinction here drawn by the courts is between consent to transfer the ownership in the goods which, if induced by a trick, may render the wrongdoer guilty of obtaining the goods by false pretences, 77 and consent to transfer possession in them, which, if similarly induced, may render the wrongdoer guilty of larceny. As the contract cases 79 dealing with fraud as to personalty show, it can be far. Of section 32 of the Act. Cf Kenny , para , interpreting Cundy v Lindsay , 3 App Cas as necessarily involving Blenkam's guilt of the offence of larceny. So far as the judges in the case addressed Blenkiron's position at common law, their comments are less than fully enlightening.

Although from the owner's actions he may seem to be consenting to transfer of the ownership of the property, closer examination of the facts shows that this is not the case. Some courts have adopted a robust approach and have upheld the conviction of the defendant for larceny; others have examined the issue more analytically and found that the facts justify false pretences rather than larceny. What the courts have yet to do is provide a coherent analytic rationale for finding of larceny in this type of case.

An example of the above approach is Hollis. The essence of the fraud was that they succeeded in convincing her that she had merely given change out of a half-sovereign for a small purchase, while in fact she finished up handing over the change plus a half-sovereign. Their convictions for larceny were affirmed. It is clearly stealing In contrast in Williams , 63 the defendant, a customer in a shop, had pretended to place two shillings in the till when in fact he only placed a shilling there.

The shop assistant, believing that two shillings had gone in, gave him change of that amount. The defendant was acquitted. Id , at The defendant was convicted of both charges, to the surprise of the prosecution authorities, who had neither expected nor wished that he be convicted of the second charge. Smith B after mentioning the matter to another judge, permitted the prosecution authorities to enter a nolle prosequi afterwards.

He cannot, therefore, be convicted upon the indictment, though it might be otherwise if he had been indicted for obtaining the shilling by false pretences. So also in Thomas , 86 the defendant and another man had been drinking together in a beer house. The landlady was unable to give change for the man's sovereign; the defendant offered to go out and get change. The man gave him the sovereign. The defendant left and later misappropriated it. A person may be guilty of larceny by a trick, not only where he induces another to part with the possession of goods in a state of psychological confusion but also where he interferes with a vending machine so as to release from it a product which quite clearly the owner would not have intended the machine to disgorge in such circumstances.

As Kenny 88 observes:. In Hands 89 the defendant used a brass disc, the size and shape of a penny, to obtain a cigarette from a cigarette vending machine. The means by which the cigarette was made to come out of the box were fraudulent, and the cigarette so made to come out was appropriated. We will examine later in this paper the question whether this principle extends to the abstraction of materials from computers. This reflects the previous law. In Lovell , 91 a travelling grinder, given six knives to grind, demanded of the woman who owned the knives that she pay over four times the going rate.

The clerk had consulted the wrong letter of advice and the defendant was aware of the error. The Court was of opinion that the clerk had passed possession rather than ownership of the money either because he had no authority to pass ownership or because, if he had such authority, this mistake meant that he had not consented to do so. There is some uncertainty as to the nature of the mistake which falls within the scope of section 1 2 i c. A mistake can of course range from one as to the person to one as to the nature, quality or value of the property.

On one view Middleton can be interpreted as involving a mistake as to identity; 99 on another, it might be considered a case of mistake as to the amount of money to be paid. In Moynes v Cooper , an employee, having received an advance on his wages, later was paid the full amount of his wages by the wages clerk, in ignorance of the advance. When he received these wages from the clerk, the employee was not aware of the error, but he later opened the packet containing the wages, discovered the error, and kept the contents.

Section 1 2 i This provision is unhappily drafted. It has for long been accepted that an honest finder does not commit trespass to the goods found, while he is preserving them for the owner. This absence from liability may be based on the presumed consent of the owner; as well as the fact that the finder does not intend to deprive the owner of the goods.

The mental state of the finder is of cardinal significance. Thus, the test is not whether in fact the owner could easily be found but rather whether the finder, at the time of the finding, believed that he could be so found. The defendant had counted the sovereigns and told a companion that she would give the companion a treat of porter. She later went with the child to where the child had found the money and there found another half sovereign and a bag. The owner of the property, a poor woman, was met by a friend of the defendant about two hours later, lamenting the loss of the sovereigns.

The friend told this to the defendant, and told her where she believed the owner lived, but the defendant told her friend to mind her own business. The next day she gave her half a sovereign of the money for herself. Id , para Whiteside CJ for the majority said:. There is nothing to show that at the time the child brought in the money the prisoner knew the property had an owner, or, at all events, to show that she was under the impression that the owner could be found.

Her first act was to conceal the amount and to buy the silence of those who knew that she had gotten the money. Glyde is no authority to quash this conviction, inasmuch as there was no evidence in that case to show belief on the prisoner's part that the owner of the money could be found, while the smallness of the amount raised the presumption of abandonment. In this case all the three ingredients spoken of by Wightman J, in Moore are present. This is an interesting point, worth highlighting, as it shows that, at all events by , the courts looked to the legislature to improve the law so as to make the law coincide with accepted moral norms.

This would suggest that by then the days of bending legal rules to secure convictions were coming to an end. In the light of Whiteside, CJ's remarks regarding the relationship between trespass and larceny, it is helpful to record Kenny's statement that:. Furthermore, an owner of land has a 'qualified property' propter impotentiam in such creatures ferae naturae as are too young to fly or run away, and may maintain a civil action of trespass against anyone who without his permission takes them off the land, although such taking is not larceny.

In several respects, the common law adopted the metaphor of the convergence into one legal person of husband and wife. From this developed the rule that an appropriation of his goods by her would not constitute a larceny. As an exception to this rule, a person with whom the wife committed adultery could be convicted of larceny where he assisted her in taking goods from the husband. Subject to subsection 3 , every married woman shall have in her own name against all persons whomsoever, including her husband, the same remedies and redress by way of criminal proceedings for the protection and security of her property as if she were unmarried.

Subject to subsection 3 , a husband shall have against his wife the same remedies and redress by way of criminal proceedings for the protection of his property as if she were not his wife. No criminal proceedings concerning any property claimed by one spouse in this subsection referred to as the claimant shall, by virtue of subsection 1 or subsection 2 , be taken by the claimant against the other spouse while they are living together, nor, while they are living apart, concerning any act done while living together by the other spouse, unless such property was wrongfully taken by the other spouse when leaving or deserting or about to leave or desert the claimant.

In any criminal proceedings to which this section relates brought against one spouse, the other spouse may, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any enactment or rule of law, be called as a witness either for the prosecution or defence and without the consent of the person charged.

See also Harrison , 1 Leach 47, ER In any indictment or process grounding criminal proceedings in relation to the property of a married woman, it shall be sufficient to allege the property to be her property. As we have noted in our Report on Receiving Stolen Property , the English Court of Criminal Appeal construed an equivalent statutory provision as meaning, not simply that a spouse falling within its scope could not be prosecuted, but that no crime was committed by that spouse.

Thus the person receiving goods which would have been stolen goods save for that provision was held not guilty of the offence of receiving since they were not stolen goods. The decision is in some respects a technical one, and there is always the possibility that an Irish court would come to a different conclusion in the light of a consent-based analysis. It should perhaps be noted here that, in Walsh in the Supreme Court held that the presumption of marital coercion was inconsistent with the Constitution.

Thus the old law on the subject of marital coercion and larceny has been rendered redundant. The mens rea of the offence of larceny has given rise to some difficulty. As we have seen, three elements are involved: the taking and carrying away must be done i fraudulently, ii without a claim of right made in good faith, and iii with the intent, at the time of the taking, permanently to deprive the owner of the thing stolen.

Each of these elements requires separate examination. Until recently the courts did not trouble themselves with the question whether the defendant's conduct had been fraudulent. It may have seemed beyond argument that a person who took another's property without claim or right, intending to deprive him of it permanently, could not be considered to have been acting other than fraudulently.

At one time it was considered that larceny would be committed only where the defendant took the item for the purpose of personal gain to himself.

Editor’s Foreword

In Cabbage in , a different approach gained prominence. The majority of the Court for Crown Cases Reserved upheld the conviction. Six Five judges thought the conviction wrong. Their reasons are not stated in the report. To harmonise the law with public opinion on these cases the legislature in intervened by a statute which provided in effect that such conduct should only be a petty offence, with power to the justices to dismiss the charge, even if proved, without proceeding to conviction.

After this enactment the doctrine with regard to lucrum became obsolete, and since it does not appear either directly or by implication in the Larceny Act, , it must be taken not to be the law now, even if indeed it ever had been. Lord Goddard CJ said:. The matter was not addressed in the judgment. Misappropriation by Servants Act, This Act applied to England only. The person who takes the property must know when he takes it that it is the property of another person, and he must take it deliberately, not by mistake, and with an intention to deprive the person from whom it is taken, of the property in it.

A very simple illustration would be that of a person who picked up a suitcase at a railway station believing that it was his. There, the taking is under a mistake and he is not taking it fraudulently. Of course, if he knows that it is not his own, as is the case with those people who haunt the railway stations for the purpose of stealing suitcases, then it is larceny; but if a person, although he is not setting up a claim of right against someone else, takes away a suitcase in the mistaken belief that it is his own, he is not acting fraudulently. We think that the word 'fraudulently' in section 1 must mean that the taking is done intentionally, under no mistake and with knowledge that the thing taken is the property of another person.

For the later words of the definition in section 1, 'with intent, at the time of such taking, permanently to deprive the owner thereof', plainly show the necessity for proof of intention, while the same words are quite sufficient to indicate that the taker must act 'with knowledge that the thing taken is the property of another person'; moreover if a taker honestly thinks that it is his own property which he is taking or thinks that he has the consent whether express or implied of the owner, even then the omission of 'fraudulently' would not injuriously affect him since he would still have the defence of 'claim of right made in good faith'.

In a supporting footnote, Kenny states:. Sed quaere : in such a case there is surely an implicit claim of right. In Wallace , a fifteen year old boy was indicted for stealing a jacket, vest and trousers, the property of the guardians of the Newtownards Union. He had been admitted into the workhouse as a pauper.

At the time of his admission his own clothes had been taken from him and the articles of clothing in question given to him by the workhouse officer. After spending about a fortnight as an inmate, he had applied to the guardians for his discharge and the restoration of his own clothes.

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They had refused, alleging that he was too young to be discharged. Shortly afterwards the defendant had surreptiously left the workhouse, wearing the clothes supplied there to him. This statement offers no clear conceptual basis for the directed acquittal. The reference to harshness may suggest that the Chief Baron proceeded ex misericordia but his unqualified statement that the guardians had had no right to act as they had done implies a more principled justification.

We can only speculate as to what that should be: perhaps necessity, the lack of fraudulent conduct on the part of the defendant or more weakly a claim of right. It has from the earliest of times been accepted that an honest belief by the defendant that he has the right to take the item affords him. In the law of tort, it is generally accepted that to confine a person by taking their clothes, leaving them with the option of walking naked out of the area of confinement, should constitute false imprisonment.

The victim of this type of conduct would seem entitled to plead necessity in availing himself of the opportunity to wear clothes supplied by the defendant. The Court in Wallace did not address the question whether the defendant had intended permanently to deprive the guardians of the clothes in which he made his escape. Where something is seized by a landlord in a distress for rent under a mistaken idea that some rent is due, or in ignorance that the article seized is one which is privileged by law from being distrained on.

Where corn is taken by a gleaner, honestly and openly, in a locality where gleaning is customary, although not lawful. Where the taker believes that the other has abandoned the thing; or that what he is taking is his own property; or that it is something which he has a right to take, whether as an equivalent of his own property or with a view to mere temporary detention e. The fact that the defendant acted openly may afford support to his defence based on a bona fide claim of right.

Where the defendant believed that he was entitled as partially-unpaid vendor of a horse, to fetch it back, he was held to have been improperly convicted. Winstanley v Caravan is a troublesome decision. They had pawned the goods entrusted to him. He made it clear, however, that he saw no objection to a conviction by reason of the existence of the indemnity. It is worth recording in full his observations on this issue:.

In both Grey and O'Loughlin the Court of Criminal Appeal rejected the proposition that the fact that a claim is not well founded in law or in fact should deprive the defendant of the defence of claim of right made in good faith. In both cases the Court held that the honesty of the belief sufficed.

In neither is it expressly stated that an honest but unreasonable belief is sufficient but this is consistent with both and may be considered implicit in the generality of the reference to the honesty of the belief. Kenny , para footnote references omitted. I am clear that the form of indemnity proved in this case creates no conflict whatever between civil and criminal proceedings, and that if a larceny had been committed and proved, an indictment would lie.

In fact a printed notice at the foot of the Society's form of Indemnity seems to have been framed with a view to anticipate such objection as I have heard raised, and also with a distinct reference to the observations of Tindal, CJ, in Kier v Leenan , 9 QB, , a leading modern authority on the compromise of offences. The requirement in section 1 1 of the Act that the accused should intend permanently to deprive the owner of the thing taken, reflects the common law as it had developed in the nineteenth century.

Yet in a decision thirty four years later, the slow development of the law on this matter is apparent.

In Holloway , the defendant had moved certain dressed skins from one place to another in a tannery where he was employed the unsuccessful aim being to mislead his employer into paying him for work on the skins which he had not done. The case which I put, of borrowing a horse for a year, without the owner's consent, with intent to ride it through England and then return it, shows this. But if we say that borrowing alone would constitute larceny, we are met by similar cases the other way.

With regard to the definition of larceny, we have of late years said that there must be an intention to deprive the owner permanently of his property, which was not the intention in this case.