The Rationale of Punishment

Book III

Of Privative Punishments, Or Forfeitures

Chapter IV

Section III


By quasi-pecuniary forfeitures I mean the forfeitures of any kind of property that is not money, but is of such a nature as admits of its being exchanged for money.

The enumeration of the different species of property belongs more to a treatise upon civil law than to a work upon punishments. As many species of property, so many species of forfeiture.

The observations we have made upon pecuniary punishments may in general be applied to quasi-pecuniary punishment. The evil produced by their infliction may be estimated according to the pecuniary value lost; but there is one exception to be made with respect to objects possessing a value in affection. An equivalent in money will not represent any of the pleasures attached to these objects. The loss of patrimonial lands, of the house which has passed from father to son in the same family, ought not to be estimated at the price for which those lands or that house would sell.

Punishments of this kind are in general more exemplary than pecuniary punishments. The confiscation of lands, of a manor, for instance, more visibly bears the marks of a punishment, attracts the attention of a greater number of persons than a fine of the same or of a greater value. The fact of the possession is a fact known through all the district: a fact of which the recollection must be recalled by a thousand circumstances, and perpetuated from generation to generation.

These considerations open a vast field for reflection, upon the use of confiscations of territorial property, especially in the case of those equivocal crimes called rebellions or civil wars. They perpetuate recollections which ought to be effaced. We shall recur to this subject when we speak of Punishments misplaced.---Book IV.

[RP, Book III, Chapter IV, §2] [RP, Book III, Chapter V]