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to excite a dread of punishment, that shall compensate for this immoral sympathy with the guilty. Blood for blood is the voice of nature. Blood for property is an outrage upon nature; and the instinct which induces us to revolt at laws framed in disregard of its dictates, it is in vain attempted to extinguish. Is it not then to be feared, that even that reverence for our laws, and that confidence in the practice of our criminal jurisprudence, which are so deeply rooted in our national character, may be undermined by a pertinacious adherence to the system of vindictive puvislument? Are we prepared to dare all the consequences of rendering the administration of justice unpopular among the nation at large, by a system which tries so severely the integrity of the jury, and devolves so dangerous and invidious a discretion upon the person of the judge?' Can a mode of punishinent which divests crime of half its ignominy, by rendering the culprit the object of cominiseration,* while it deprives justice of its beneficent character, both in respect of the victim wilom it makes no attempt to reform, and of those noviciates in crime whom it fails to intimidate, can such a mode have even a tendency to lessen the sum of crime? If not, what atonement can be maile for the enorinous cost of unnecessary misery at which the administration of justice bas so long been carried on? What reparation can be made to those unhappy beings, whom our sirort-sighted precautions for the interests of commerce, have sent, year after year, into the other world?

Unquestionably, such a system could never have been so long persevered in, had not some radical fallacy pervaded the opinions of our legislators, both as to the design and as to the operation of Penal Laws. With regard to their design, it seems to have been long considered that it partouk of resentiment or revenge; as if punishment was intended as a gratification of public feeling, or as if the dispensation of the moral government of God was committed to the partial and mutable arbitrations of human policy! ' It is from an abuse of language, remarks a very intelligent political writer, that we apply the word Punish

' ment to human institutions : vengeance belongeth not to man. " It is the end of penal laws to deter, not to punish.'t Were

* Barbarous spectacles of human agony are justly found fault • with, as tending to harden and deprave the public feelings, and to

destroy that sympathy with which the sufferings of our fellow

creatures ought always to be seen; or, if no effect of this kind • follow from them, they counteract in some measure their own

design, by sinking men's abhorrence of the crime in their cominise• ration of the criminal.? Paley.

+ This has been remarked by Paley, who says: The proper end • of human punishment is not the satisfaction of justice, but the

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it not so, what excuse could be made for passing by crimes of the most atrocious nature, in the scheme of penal legislation, and reserving as it were the whole collective vengeance of the insulted majesty of law, for acts of mischief and deceit, but of no heinous malignity? How shall we, on the supposition that punishment is a vindictive visitation upon crime, be able to retain any respect for laws which punish adultery with a fine, which permit seduction, under the most aggravating circumstances, to be committed with impunity, which withhold from the duellist the just recompense of cold-blooded murder, and yet, in the case of forging an ale-license or a perfumery stamp, inflict the punishment of death, as felony without benefit of clergy? It is obvious that no approach can be made by the laws of man, to an equitable dispensation of punishments upon the principle of vindictive retribution. And, indeed, the moral nature of man, lies wholly beyond the control of human legislation. To punish, not less than to reward, is a prerogative which the Divine Being has reserved to Himself. The simple purpose of the laws of civil society is, the protection of life and property. The design of the penal sanctions attached to those laws, is no other than to deter from the violation of them; that is, to deter either the offender from further transgression in his own person, or others by the force of his exaniple. Laws consist of salutary restraints laid upon the freedom of action which belongs to man in a state of nature, as the price of his enjoying the benefits of civil society. Punishment is a positive control imposed in some way upon bis physical power of offending, as the just consequence of a disregard of the law; its object is, not to injure him, but to obtain an adequate security against him for the future. The best possible way in which this security can be obtained, is, by taking away the disposition to offend, that is to say, by the reformation of the offender. Tbat mode of

punishment, therefore, which has a tendency to reform, is best adapted to the primary end of justice. Present security, however, must be obtained at any rate by that degree of coercion which shall both restrain and subdue the offender, which degree must be determined by the nature of his offence. When the enormity of the crime renders reformation improbable, or when no adequate security can otherwise be obtained, the obvious re


• prevention of crimes. In what sense, or whether with truth in any • sense, justice may be said to demand the punishment of offenders, « I do not now inquire: but I assert that this demand is not the motive • or occasion of human punishment. What would it be to the ma. • gistrate, that offences went altogether unpunished, if the impunity • of the offenders were followed by no danger or prejudice to the • commonwealth?' - Principles of Mor. and Pol. Phil. c, is.

source of the laws is permanently to deprive the individual of the physical power of ollending, by removing him from society; but this may be done without injury to his moral being. The final extinction of bis life, is an infinite injury, which deprives him ingeed of the power of offending, but at the same time cuts him off from all possibility of amendinent, seals up his character in hopeless incorrigibility, and consigos him over to despair. Unless by no other means of coercive restraint the ends of justice could be obtained upon the violater of the laws of society, does not every dictate of humanity require that a mode of punisovent thus injurious, vindictive, irremissible, should only in cases of extreme necessity, which admit of no alternative, be resorted to? But the mere interests of property require, as respects the individual himself, no such awful sacrifice.

It must be by its tendency to deter others, therefore, that the punishment of death in the case of crimes without violence, is susceptible of vindication. It will then require to be proved that it possesses this tendency in a bigher degree than any other mode, and the proof of its efficiency can be obtained only by an attention to facts. We think that facts bear an opposite testimony. Men are deterred from offending, not by the remote chance of detection and suffering, but by horror, at crime. Wbat makes the thief in many instances shrink from imbruing his hands in blood ? Not the dread of human punishment, for the same sentence awaits him whether he deprives a man only of his property, or whether he takes his life. The laws equalize these different degrees of guilt in the apportionment of punishment, and therefore tend rather to lessen the inducement to abstain from the greater crime, which may possibly serve to prevent the detection of the less. No: it is the law within, the as yet unextinguished voice of nature, that withholds him from the inexpiable crime, that leads him to choose taking all the chances of discovery and penal suffering, rather than bear about with him in the broad sunshine, the conscience of a murderer. He makes a distinction which the laws do not, and bardened as he may be, is not so lost as to confound all the gradations of iniquity.

It is not, we repeat it, the dread of suffering, so much as the idea of ignominy, which is adapted to render punishment effectual to deter from crime. Where this ignominy really attaches to the offender in the estimation of the public, it forms by far the most terrible ingredient in the apparatus of suffering. The spirit of many a hardened oílender has quailed before the expression of the vindictive indignation of the populace, and gladly would be bave escaped by a self-inflicted punishment, from those horrible re-echoes to his own conscience, which he was in his last woments doomed to bear in the voices of his fellow creatures.


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But the ignominy of any mode of punishment becomes lessened, when, instead of being reserved as the mark of the last degree of atrocity, it is indiscriminately inflicted on culprits for whom the predominant feeling is that of indignant commiseration, arising from their being regarded as victims of an excessive severity.

The eloquent reasoning of the late Master of the Rolls, Sir W., Grant, has often been referred to, but we cannot refrain from again quoting it here. It is not,' he said, by the fear s of death, but by exciting in the community a sentiment of hor

ror against any particular act, that we can hope to deter of' fenders from committing it; and, although the threat of death

may tend to increase this horror, when it is in conformity with

the public sentiment of the crime, it must be remeinbered &

that, when it is in opposition to this sentiment, it may have a • tendency to diminish it. If intimidation will prevent crime, ' why should not the terror of death attend the most trifling of• fences? Why stop at the terror of death for any offence?'

In a debate in tije Hlouse of Lords, on the question whether stealing to the amount of live shillings privately from a shop, should be punishable by death, the Lord Chancellor is reported to have said : “ To say that the panishment of death will not tend to • prevent the commission of crime, is absurd. It is a proposition

to which no man of common sense, aided by observation, can aso '

sent. Lord Grenville in reply said : If the argument of the • noble and learned Lord is of any avail, it will warrant the con. clusion, that it is only necessary for your Lordships at once, and • for every offence, to enact the law of Draco.' If the denunciation of death be the most effectual preventive of crime, and the relative fitness of the punishment is to be put out of consideration, it is a necessary inference, that the best mode of preventing any offence, would be at once to constitute it a capital crime. Bit in what single instance has the, denouncing this extreme penalty, on a crime antecedently of frequent commission, been followed by its disappearance from the criminal register? If the terror of death possesses the efficiency attributed to it, still more efficient, one would imagine, must be the terror of torture. In countries where crucifixion, or burning alive, or impaling is the established mode of punishment, do we find that there has taken place a diminution of crime? Has the silent repeal of our own barbarous laws respecting the execution of a malefactor for high-treason, led to any increase in the commission of

But we have instances of an opposite kind, instances of the auginented frequency of a specific crime in spite of the vindictive terrors superadded to the pre-existing law. This bas been strikingly the case in the present reign, with regard to forgery, notwithstanding the certainty with which the unmitigated


punishment has followed upon conviction. The total number of forged bank notes discovered by the Bank to have been forged, has been shewn to have increased between the years 1812 and 1818 from 17,885 to 31,180 ;* and the prodigious number of convictions for uttering these notes, which has taken place during the past few years, has actually sufficed to break down the severity with which the penal laws against forgery bad uniformly been administered. It has compelled the party which has acted as public prosecutor, to have recourse itself to means of evading the necessity of inflicting the sentence, by the assumption of a new and dangerous discretion. The culprit has been induced to decline the benefit of the trial by jury according to the laws of his country, as the condition of his securing the lenity noi of the sovereign int of the prosecutor! Among those persons charged with knowingly uttering forged notes, who have preferred tie certainty of the minor punishment to the risk of the greater, it is very possible that there bave been some against whom the fact of a guilty knowledge could not have been established to the satisfaction of a jury. With regard to the unhappy delinquents selected by the solicitor for trial, to whom the alternative of pleading guilty to the minor count has been refused, they have had their attention diverted from their individual guilt, by a sense of the partiality introduced into the administration of justice. It is this proceeding which has at length roused the attention of the public to the whole system upon which criminal prosecutions for forgery upon the Bank have long been carried on; to the conduct of the prosecutor in demanding indemnification, when by refusing payment of the forged note the Bank has sustained no loss; to the patronage indirectly afforded to informers of the lowest description and most abandoned character; to the inadequate evidence adduced to substantiate the forgery.; to the apparent apathy of the Bank Committee to the means of lessening the facilities attending the commission of the crimne; and lastly, to the glaring disproportion between the guilt of the offence and the sentence of the law, and the demonstrated inutility of the annual waste of life for the mere purpose of intimidation. It is impossible that such a system, when once developed to a British public, should long be persevered in.

No one imagines that a relaxation of the law would, taken by itself, ensure the decrease of crime. The restriction of Capital Punishments to crimes of violence, would be a triumph for the cause of humanity, but there are, it must be confessel, existing circumstances which would prevent its being immediately attended by any further beneficial result. Under the present

* It is remarkable that this aggregate increase arises solely from the increased number of forged $1. notes.

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