A Discourse Concerning Treasons, and Bills of Attainder
Reprint of the first edition. One of the most controversial and feared powers of parliament, attainder was the extinction of the civil rights and powers of people convicted of treason or other grave felony. Its principal consequences were the forfeiture and escheat of lands and disqualification from holding, inheriting or transmitting land, either directly or through descent. Especially popular during the Reign of Henry VIII, bills of attainder were usually employed to punish persons who had displeased the king. (Essentially abolished in 1870, they were applied to outlaws until 1932, when they were abolished altogether.) As one would expect, their use as a tool of reprisal caused widespread resentment. West [d. 1726] appreciates this resentment, but argues that bills of attainder are justifiable in certain situations and defends their use.
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