The distinctions between these several objects may be illustrated by an example.
In 1769, a jury gave a verdict of £4,000 damages against the Earl of Halifax for the wrongful imprisonment of John Wilkes, Esq. on suspicion of being the author of a state libel. It may be inquired, what sort of act did the jury perform, when by giving this verdict they appointed the sum in question to be paid by the one person to the other?
It was intended to be an act of punishment. If any juryman being angry with Lord Halifax also intended to produce pain in him, on account of the pleasure he took in thinking of that pain; in the case of such juryman it was an act of vengeance being done, however, on account of an act that had been done, viz. the imprisonment of Mr Wilkes, it was not an act of antipathy.
If any juryman did it with a view of deterring Lord Halifax or any one who might occupy that nobleman's place in future, from doing acts of the like kind, and of preventing the mischief apprehended from such acts, it was in him an act for amendment and determent. It could not, however, operate for the purpose of disablement, the paying of a sum of money, having no tendency to disable Lord Halifax, or those holding the same office, from imprisoning others who might become the objects of their dislike.
It was not an act of immediate self-defence, for self-defence implies attack, that is, implies that there is some person who is actually using his endeavours to do mischief to the party defending himself. If, however, any juryman thinking himself in danger of suffering in the like, or any other manner from Lord H. and persons liable to act as he did, joined in the verdict with the view of preserving himself from such suffering, to wit, by means of the restraint which the fear of similar punishment might be expected to impose on Lord Halifax and such other persons, on the part of such juryman it was an act of self-preservation.
The payment of the fine imposed could contribute nothing to the purposes of safe custody or physical restraint, neither was it an act of compulsion, for it was not designed as a means of compelling him to do anything.
It was not an act of torture; the penalty, if paid, was paid instantaneously; the act of paying ceasing of itself, and not being capable of befog protracted so as to be made to cease only at a future given instant.
If any juryman did it with the view of making Mr Wilkes amends for the pain he had suffered by the supposed injury in question, in such juryman it was an act of compensation; and if the juryman who intended to make compensation to Mr Wilkes also thought that it was right to tax Lord Halifax to the amount of the compensation proper to be given to Mr Wilkes, it was an act of taxation.
RP Book 1 Chapter 1