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. 1480) 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.

Quotes[edit]

  • It is cowardise and lack of hartes and corage that kepeth the Frenchmen from rysyng, and not povertye; which corage no Frenche man hath like to the English man. It hath ben often seen in Englond that iij or iv thefes, for povertie, hath set upon vij or viij true men, at robbyd them al. But it had not been seen in Fraunce, that vij or viij thefes have ben hardy to robbe iij or iv true men. Wherefor it is right seid that few Frenchmen be hanged for robbery, for that they have no hertys to do so terryble an acte. There be therefor mo men hangyd in Eglnd, in a yere, for robberye and manslaughter, than ther be hangid in Fraunce for such cause of crime in vij yers.
  • 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).

External links[edit]

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