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НЕ guilt of offending against any law whatsoever,
necessarily supposing a wilsul disobedience, can never be juftly imputed to those who are either incapable of understanding it, or of conforming themselves to it. i Hawk. c. 1.
Hence ideots and lunatics, who are under a natural dirability of distinguilling between good and evil, are not punishable by any criminal prosecution whatsoever. I Hawk. r. l.f. 1.
An ideot is a fool or madman from his nativity, and Ideocy. one who never has any lucid intervals. Co. Lit. 247. a. i Hale's Hifl. 29.
Therefore a person that is born deaf and dumb is in presumption of law an ideot, and the rather because he hath no pollibility to understand what is forbidden by law to be done, or under what penalties'. Hale's Hift. 34.
1 But if it can appear, that he hath the use of understanding, which many of that condition discover (hereon fee vol. i1. p. 33.) by signs to a very great writeafure, then he may be dried, and futter judgment and execution, though great caution is to be used thereis. Hale's Hift. 34• Vol. III. B