Samuel Romilly Bibliography

Observations . . . on Executive Justice 1786
Rommilly argued that capital punishment should be abolished for minor offences. His tract was written in opposition to Madan’s Thoughts of the previous year. Madan had claimed that it was the uncertain enforcement of the death penalty, not its widespread availability, which rendered it questionable as a deterrent: it was the perogative of mercy that needed curbing.

Early in his career Romilly was influenced by Rousseau. He was a Chancery lawyer (from 1783), chancellor of Durham (1805-15) and M.P. (from 1806). Rommilly actively supported the early leaders of the French revolution and became associated with Jeremy Bentham and the circle of English law reformers. After the death of his wife he committed suicide.