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 state_ Individual liberty, therefore, was viewed as permissible
 only within the limits of conformity as prescribed by civil and
 ecclesiastical authority°" Haskins, su_r_ p.2, at 17-18o
 The criminal law was thus concerned primarily with
 protecting community religious and moral values:
 (T)he criminal law of pre-revolutionary
 Massachusetts was remarkably similar to that
 of the Puritan eras The old Puritan ethic
 remained strong enough in the 1750_s so that
 crime was still looked upon as sin; the
 criminal as a sinner; and criminal law_ as
 the earthly arm of God. Criminal law surely
 was not the tool of the royal government in
 Boston_ which was unconcerned with the
 outcome of most cases and, in any event, has
 little power to influence that outcome. As
 a result, the chief function of the courts,
 the primary law-enforcement agencies,
 remained, as in the early colonial era, the
 identification and punishment of sinners.
 Nelson, "Emerging Notion of Modern Criminal Law in the
 Revolutionary Era: An Historical Perspective," 42 NoY.Uo L_
 Rev. 450, 451 (1967).
 While no scheme for the classification of (:rimes was
 developed in colonial America, most lawyers in Massachusetts and
 elsewhere were familiar with Blackstone_s classification scheme
 in England. It included offenses against God and religion,
 offenses against government, offenses against public justice,
 offenses against public trade and health, homicides offenses
 against the person, and offenses against habitations and other
 private property. 4 Blackstone, Commentaries 9!!_the Laws o<

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