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In the early history of English law the rule was that accused persoi.s were compelled to answer to any criminal charge brought against them. The practice was akin to denying to a prisoner the right to be defended at his trial, or to exculpate himself by the testimony of witnesses–a practice derived from the civil law. But all this gradually was changed, and nemo tenebatur prodere seipsum became a maxim of the law. This maxim has been incorporated into the fundamental law, and established in the Constitution of the United States, as well as in those of the several States, when it has been espressly provided that no accused person shall be compelled to give evidence against himself in any criminal case.
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