John Fortescue

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One would much rather that twenty guilty persons should escape the punishment of death, than that one innocent person should be condemned and suffer capitally

Sir John Fortescue (c. 1394 – c. 1476) was an English lawyer, the second son of Sir John Fortescue, of an ancient Devon family. He was born at Norris, near South Brent, Devon.

Sourced[edit]

  • One would much rather that twenty guilty persons should escape the punishment of death, than that one innocent person should be condemned and suffer capitally.
    • De laudibus legum Angliae (c. 1470), reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Moche Crye and no Wull.
    • De laudibus legum Angliae (c. 1470), ch. x, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). Compare, "All cry and no wool", Samuel Butler, Hudibras (c. 1663), part i. canto i. line 852; see also more cry than wool.
  • Comparisons are odious.
    • De laudibus legum Angliae (c. 1470), ch. xix, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).