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§ 1293. The punishment of high treason by the common law, as stated by
Mr. Justice Blackstone,  is as follows: 1. That the offender be drawn
to the gallows, and not be carried or walk, though usually (by
connivance at length ripened into law) a sledge or hurdle is allowed, to
preserve the offender from the extreme torment of being dragged on the
ground or pavement. 2. That he be hanged by the neck, and cut down
alive. 3. That his entrails be taken out and burned, while he is yet
alive. 4. That his head be cut off. 5. That his body be divided into
four parts. 6. That his head and quarters he at the king's disposal.
These refinements in cruelty (which if now practised would be
disgraceful to the character of the age) were, in former times,
literally and studiously executed; and indicate at once a savage and
ferocious spirit, and a degrading subserviency to royal resentments,
real or supposed. It was wise to place the punishment solely in the
discretion of congress; and the punishment has been since declared, to
be simply death by hanging;  thus inflicting death in a manner
becoming the humanity of a civilized society.
§ 1294. It is well known, that corruption of blood, and forfeiture of
the estate of the offender followed, as a necessary consequence at the
common law, upon every attainder of treason. By corruption of blood all
inheritable qualities are destroyed; so, that an attainted person can
neither inherit lands, nor other hereditaments from his ancestors, nor
retain those, he is already in possession of, nor transmit them to any
heir. And this destruction of all inheritable qualities is so complete,
that it obstructs all descents to his posterity, whenever they are
obliged to derive a title through him to any estate of a remoter
ancestor. So, that if a father commits treason, and is attainted, and
suffers death, and then the grandfather dies, his grandson cannot
inherit any estate from his grandfather; for he must claim through his
father, who could convey to him no inheritable blood.  Thus the
innocent are made the victims of a guilt, in which they did not, and
perhaps could not, participate; and the sin is visited upon remote
generations. In addition to this most grievous disability, the person
attainted forfeits, by the common law, all his lands, and tenements, and
rights of entry, and rights of profits in lands or tenements, which he
possesses. And this forfeiture relates back to the time of the treason
committed, so as to avoid all intermediate sales and incumbrances; and
he also forfeits all his goods and chattels from the time of his