On Crimes and Punishments and Other Writings

This edition of Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishments and other writings presents an interpretation of his thought. Drawing on Italian scholarship, Richard Bellamy shows how Beccaria wove together the various political languages of the Enlightenment into a novel synthesis, and argues that his political philosophy, often regarded as no more than a precursor of Bentham’s, combines republican, contractarian, romantic and liberal as well as utilitarian themes. The result is a complex theory of punishment that derives from a sophisticated analysis of the role of the state and the nature of human motivation in commercial society. The translation used in this edition is based on the fifth Italian edition, and provides English-speaking readers with Beccaria\'s own order of his text for the first time. A number of pieces from his writings on political economy and the history of civilisation which were not previously available in English are also included.

• Follows Beccaria’s own ordering of the text • Introduction reinterprets Beccaria’s political philosophy • Makes a number of other pieces available in English


Acknowledgements; Introduction; Chronology; Biographical glossary; Note on the texts; Bibliographical note; On Crimes and Punishments; Frontispiece; To the reader; Introduction; 1. The origin of punishment; 2. The right to punish; 3. Consequences; 4. The interpretation of the laws; 5. The obscurity of the laws; 6. The proportion between crimes and punishments; 7. Errors in the measuring of punishments; 8. The classification of crimes; 9. Of honour; 10. Of duels; 11. Public peace; 12. The purpose of punishment; 13. Of witnesses; 14. Evidence and forms of judgement; 15. Secret denunciations; 16. Of torture; 17. Of the exchequer; 18. Of oaths; 19. Of prompt punishments; 20. Violent crimes; 21. The punishment of the nobility; 22. Theft; 23. Public disgrace; 24. Parasites; 25. Banishment and confiscations; 26. Family feeling; 27. Lenience in punishing; 28. The death penalty; 29. Of detention awaiting trial; 30. Trials and prescriptions; 31. Crimes difficult to prove; 32. Suicide; 33. Smuggling; 34. Of debtors; 35. Asylums; 36. On setting a price on men\'s heads; 37. Attempted crimes, accomplices and immunity; 38. Leading interrogations, depositions; 39. Of a particular kind of crime; 40. False ideas of utility; 41. How to prevent crimes; 42. The sciences; 43. Magistrates; 44. Public awards; 45. Education; 46. Pardons; 47. Conclusion; To Jean Baptiste d’Alembert; To André Morellet; Inaugural Lecture; Reflections on the Barbarousness and the Civilisation of Nations and on the Savage State of Man; Reflections on Manners and Customs; On Luxury; Index.