19 AUGUST 1865, Page 22

The Law on its TriaL By Alfred H. Dymond. (A.

W. Bennett.)— This is a loosecollectionof stories, without order or method, put together for the benefit of the Royal Commissioners by a gentleman who occu- pied the position of Secretary to the Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment in the years 1850-57. Most of them apply to the times previous to the amelioration of the criminal code. Of course all sorts of irrelevant matters are lugged in—the eccentricities of juries, the fits of ill-temper in judges, the unfortunate accidents that have occurred at executions, as if those who maintain the necessity of capital punishment were desirous of hanging innocent persons, or re- sponsible for the misconduct of officials of high or low degree. The ex- Secretary seems to think that murderers ought not to be executed-1. Because they do not like it ; 2. Because their female relatives scream ; 3. Because the Home Secretary is so persecuted by the members of the Abolition Society that he does not know where to take refuge, and some- times loses his head ; and 4. Because juries require strong evidence before they convict. The last reason would be of importance if juries carried their requirements to undue lengths, but of this there has been no sign of late years, and the author goes back to 1859 for an instance. The great question of capital punishment must be settled on quite other grounds than the weak sentimentalism that pervades this volume.