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BENETTIS


477


BENEVENTO


the ecclesiastical courts and, if found guilty, to be ■degraded and returned for punishment to the lay court. St. Thomas objected, in the name of the Church law, to the first accusation in the lay court. Fitzstephen (Materials III, 47, quoted in Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law) says of the alleged customs: "They had never been previously written, nor were there any such customs in the Kingdom". The author of the "Leges Henrici" (ibid.) says plainly that no accusation, be it for grave crime, be it for light offence, is to be brought against any ordained clerk save before his bishop. (Leg. Hen. I, 57, § 9.) When a clerk was brought before a lay court, he proved his claim to benefit of clergy by reading, and he was turned over to the ecclesias- tical court, as only the clergj' were generally able to read. This gave rise to the extension of the benefit of clergy to all who could read. By statute in the reign of Edward III (25 Edw. Ill, c. 4) it was enacted that all manner of clerks, secular and religious, should enjoy the privilege of Holy Church for all treasons and felonies, except those imme- diately affecting his Majesty. This provision was ipplicable also to all who could read. In the reign of Henry VII a distinction was drawn between persons actually in Holy orders and those who in ather respects secular, were able to read, by which the latter were allowed the benefit of the clergy jnly once, and on receiving it were to be branded an the left thumb with a hot iron in order to afford Wdence against them on a future occasion. Henry VIII (28 Hen. VIII, c. 1, § 32, Hen. VIII, c. iii, § 8) bad even the clergy branded for the first time, but Edward VI abolished this, and excepted atrocious

^rimes, murder, poisoning, burglary, highway rob-

3ery. and sacrilege from benefit of clergy (1 Edw. VI, xii § 10), but peers of the realm were to be dis- charged in every case for the first offence, except Tiurder and poisoning, even though unable to read. \fter a layman was burnt on the hand, a clerk dis- harged on reading, a peer without either burning jr penalty, they were delivered to the ordinary X) be dealt with according to the ecclesiastical janons. The clerical authorities instituted a kind jf purgation. The party was required to take an )ath of innocence, twelve compurgators were called X} testify to their belief in the falsehood of the charges. Afterwards he brought forward witnesses .o completely establish his innocence. If found 5\ulty, the culprit was degraded if a clerk, and all were compelled to do penance. Many escaped by jerjury and leniency; hence steps were taken in

he more atrocious crimes to annul the privilege.

Later this privilege was allowed only after con- viction for men who claimed it because able to read, md then they knelt to the court praj-ing for their clergy and (18 EHzabeth, c. vii. § 2) the party was jumt on the hand, and discliarged witliout any nterference of the Church to annul his conviction. The judges were empowered (18 Elizabeth, c. vii) X) direct the prisoner to be imprisoned for a year jr a shorter period. Women in the rei^ of William md Mary were admitted to the privileges of men n clergyable felonies, on praying the benefit of the rtatute (3 and 4 Will, and M. c. ix, § 5). The idle ceremony of reading was abolished by 5 Anne c. vi, md all before entitled were now admitted to its Denefit. Branding was abolished and the offenders could be committed to a house of correction for six X) twenty-four months. (Geo. IV, c. xi; 6 Geo. I, c. xxiii provides for felonious thefts the transporta-

ion of offenders to .\merica for seven years.) The

srivilege of benefit of clergy was entirely abolished n England in 1827, by Statutes 7 and 8 Geo. IV, c. xxviii, § 6. In the colonies it had been recognized, 3Ut by Act of Congress of .30 .\pril. 1790, it was

aken away in the federal courts of the United States.


Traces of it are found in some courts of dilTerent states, but it has been practically outlawed by statute or by adjudication. It is now universally obsolete in English and American law.

Stephen, History of Criminal Law, I, xiii; Pollock and M.\iTLAND. History of English Law (Cambridge). I. s. v. Clergy, Green, History of the English People, II, bk. II. i; Fl.^nagan, History of Church in England, A. D. 1076 (London, 1S57): Chitty. Criminal Law, s. v. Benefit of Clergy; Desmond, The Church ami The Law (Chicago, 1898); Black, Law Dic- tionary, s. V.

R. L. BURTSELL.

Benettis, Jeremi.\h, a Friar Minor Capuchin and historical WTiter, d. in 1774. He belonged to the Province of Piedmont in Italy, and left two valuable historical treatises. The first, entitled "Chronica et critica historise sacrae et profanse" (Rome, 1766), deals with various astronomical questions and the religious rites and ceremonies of ancient peoples, and was wTit- ten with a view to facilitate the study of Sacred Scripture. In the second work, entitled "Privilegio- rum S. Petri vindicia" (Rome, 1756-66), he gives a history of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff.

HuRTER, Nom^nclator, III, 111.

Stephen M. Donov.^n.

Benevento (Benevent,4n.4) , Archdiocese of. — Benevento, the ancient Beneventuni, the principal city of the province of the same name in Campania, is situated on the River Calore, and contains a popu- lation of 25,000. It was founded at a very early period by the Samnites, who named it Maleventum. In 275 B. c. the Romans, having conquered Pyrrhus not far from there, took possession of the city and changed its name to the present form. In 268 b. c. a Roman colony was established at Beneventuni, which was enlarged and beautified by Augustus and other emperors. The arch of Trajan (porta ai/rra), entirely of Parian marble, still bears eloquent witness to the munificence of that emperor. In 545 the city was captured and destroyed by Totila, King of the Goths, but was rebuilt in 589 by the Lombard King .•^utharis, and made the seat of a duchy. In 1047 it fell into the hands of the Normans, who, however, were forced to relinquish it by Emperor Henry III in 1053.

The city, with the surrounding territory, was then turned over to Pope Leo IX, a relative of the emperor, in payment of the annual tribute rendered the Holy See by the Church of Bamberg; but shortly after- wards it was reoccupied by the Normans. The pope thereupon placed himself at the head of a powerful army "ut saltem humano terrore resipiscerent. qui divina indicia minime formidant " (that those who fear not the judgments of God may at least repent through human dread; Ep. VII ad Constantin. Mo- nomach.). The opposing forces met at the Drago- nara, and after a severe struggle the papal troops were put to flight, and the pope himself was forced to retire to Civitella. There Leo WTOught more by word of mouth than the arms of all his soldiers had been able to accomplish. The Norman leaders swore fealty to the sovereign pontiff, conducted him back to Bene- vento with great honour, and continued from that time forward the most devoted and loyal champions of the Holy See. This warlike expedition of Leo IX called forth the severe criticism of St, Peter Damian. Thenceforward Benevento was a part of the territory of the Holy See, which was always represented there by a delegate. From 1769 to 1774 it was in the po.s- session of Ferdinand I of Naples, and in 1806 Napo- leon made TallejTand Duke of Benevento. In 1814 it again came mider the jurisdiction of the Holy See; and from 1838 to 1841 Joachim Pecci, later Leo XIII, was civil delegate to this part of the papa! state in the heart of the Kingdom of Naples, and won great praise for his wise administration and his stern repression of brigandage. In 1860 Benevento was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy. Most noted among the citizens of Benevento during ancient times are: Papinianus, the