THE INEFFICACY OF THE GALLOWS.
MARIE GALLOP has been hanged, and Mary Shaming, for aught that appears to the contrary, will be hanged ; and two men have been hanged at Liverpool ; and two men are to be hanged at Ips- wich. Human beings have died for crime, and are about to die for crime : the dead speak with certainty the consequences of crime, the living with still more oppressive uncertainty the risks which criminals incur. And yet crime is not abated. Look to the week's annals of crime under the head of murder alone—that offence which so many averse to death-punishment in all other cases would still visit by the infliction of death.
The poisoning of a woman at Salt-hill, for which an ex-mem- ber of the Society of 'Friends has been committed on suspicion, occupies a large space in the papers of the week. In addition to this case, the papers of Monday contained an "attempted murder of a wife by her husband " ; those of Tuesday, "the Yarmouth murder," and "the suspected murder at Twig Folly "; those of Wednesday, a "murderous assault and highway robbery" near Liverpool, and "revelations concerning a murder committed eight years ago, near Ruislip in Middlesex " ; those of Thursday, "an alleged attempt to poison a wife and family," and "the Croom poaching and murder." The newspapers of the week read like a reprint of "God's revenge against murder."
Faster than the condemned criminals can be turned off, candi- dates for the vacant halter press forward. Irregular volunteer deeds of death multiply faster than those of the hangman : mur- der by act of Parliament has no chance against the active rivalry of the illicit dealer. Every class of society contributes its recruits to the trade of murder : it is carried on briskly everywhere. The grave starched sectarian with a scientific education, and the poaching clown rude and untaught as the savage of the back- woods, are equally adepts in it : the highway and the domestic hearth afford equally fitting fields for its exercise. In vain the gibbet rears its black form to deter the murderers : its presence wears only to awaken in them a spirit of defiance and emulation. "Experience teaches fools," says the proverb : then legislators
must be more unteachable than fools, for the experience of this week differs in no respect from the experience of all other weeks. Surely it is time that they should desist from the miserable rivalry of saying to the murderer " we too can extinguish life," and try to devise some really effective means of deterring him from crime, or of alluring him.