LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter XVI. 1819
Grímur Jónsson Thorkelín to William Roscoe, [10 June 1823]

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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“It has given me infinite pleasure,” says Mr. Thorkelin, in a letter dated the 10th June, 1823, and written by him in English, “to hear that you have lately published your ‘Additional Observations on Penal Jurisprudence.’ Heaven grant that your perseverance shall be able to open the eyes of British legislators—of the whole civilised world, and make the rulers confess that their penal laws are in many instances an abominable prostitution of common sense; and that such laws require a speedy reform, raised on the basis of humanity, and efficient plan of obviating crimes; inflicting adequate punishment on criminals; reducing them by penitence to social duties and industry of useful labour; and, finally, enabling them to obtain their own support with honesty, after they are discharged from their imprisonment.

“Your former treatise on penal laws I have read over twenty times, with increased pleasure. I never found, in my opinion, in any other work of that kind, so many good sayings or more good sense.

“It will give you, I hope, no small joy to hear that his Danish Majesty, the best of kings, has of late made many salutary alterations of the penal laws of Danemark, conform with your ideas. His Majesty is, indeed, no less sanguine and in-
defatigable in his beneficent wishes and pursuits, than the two British worthies, the best and greatest friends of mankind, Messrs.
Roscoe and Wilberforce. The King of Danemark emancipated the negroes in his West India island, in the year 1792; and long before abolished the slave trade in his dominions than the Lord Castlereagh came to Vienna, and bound the sovereigns of Europe to abolish the hateful trade in human beings. Neither the King of Danemark, nor Roscoe, nor Wilberforce, the earlier movers and patrons of the emancipation, were mentioned. Castlereagh solus tulit honores.

“My feebleness makes me throw away my pen; my strength forsakes me; but I trust to recover so far in the course of this summer as to be able more fully to satisfy my duty, and prove to you that I am, and will ever continue, with the most sincere respect,” &c. &c.