Jeremy Bentham on Death-Punishment
Crawfurd's Letters from British Settlers in India.... .....
Fowler's Tour in the State of New York Tour through South Holland. (Family Library, No. XXIII )
Cooper's Last of the Mohicans. (Standard Novels, No. VI.) The Dutchman's Fireside, 2 vols . . .
Love, by the author of "Rhymes on the Corn-Laws."
Bloom's Pulpit Oratory in the Time of James the First
Salmon on Prolapsus of the Rectum NATURAL PurLosoenv, Captain Woodley's System of the Universe... ..... Reward. Ridgway.
Whittaker and Co. Murray.
Colburn & Bentley. Ditto.
Longman and Co. Whittaker and Co. Author.
THE SPECTATOR'S LIBRARY.
THE punishment of death for crime is in all respects a clumsy contrivance : its inaptitude to produce the end desired has lately been demonstrated by Mr. BENTHAM, in a pamphlet addressed to the French Chambers.
A punishment, if inflicted at all, should be at least efficient ; it .ought also to be an infliction which may be measured out accord- ing to the object to be answered ; and it should not be productive of evil. Now, the punishment of death is not efficient; it is ir- remissible; and it is mischievous. It is inefficient, by various causes. First, because of the natural horror felt at depriving a fellow-creature of existence; judge, jury, prosecutor, witnesses, all will aid the prisoner, except in cases which have excited indig- nation, in evading the law. Nay, in order to save the criminal from the law the judge is sworn to administer, he will direct the jury, who is sworn to find a true verdict, to bring in the value of thirty-nine pounds sterling to be thirty-nine shillings. Thus, owing to the Draconian spirit of the law, crime escapes with im- punity, and goes on increasing. It is found by experience, that the punishment of death is inef- ficient, for crime does not diminish. Criminals become callous to the fear of death; and is it surprising that they should ? it is a point of their profession. Are not soldiers hired to be shot at for a shilling a day ? will not gentlemen go out to fight duels for a petty affront? Why should not men running the chances of crime also grow callous to the fear of death ?—The fact is, they are better paid and more urgently tempted than the soldier—why should they not be equally brave? The soldier stands upon the body of his fallen comrade to load his musket ; the pickpocket plies his trade under the gallows. Insensibility to death may be always reckoned upon, when the excitement is sufficiently great: the chance of death will always be run when there is a fair chance of escaping it for a long time. In fact, are we not all in this predicament—the term a little longer, the chance much smaller—indeed it is a dead certainty, and yet who cares ?
It is a bad property in a punishment when it is irremissible either in whole or part. There is no punishing with death by de- grees. You cannot half-hang a convict, and remit the rest of his punishment in case of subsequent proof of innocence, or in re- ward of important disclosures, or indeed of special service rendered in any other shape. The punishment of death is in this respect worse than other instantaneous punishments,—such as whipping, fining, pillory, &c.; for there the man is in a capacity of receiving compensation or satisfaction in a variety of modes. This vice of irremissibility acts directly upon witnesses. A man hesitates to produce a conviction, by his testimony, which will be followed by a punishment that cannot be remitted if afterwards found undue. We are all so liable to err, that a man, however confident, will pause before he pronounces that which fixes the doom of the accused FOR EVER.
It. is a lesser mischief which attends the punishment of death, that by putting out of the world a person who has long been con- versant with crime and criminals, you are probably disposing. wan- tonly of an important depositary of facts,—you are extingurshine. evidence. Under certain kinds of prison discipline, and under the hands of a preventive police, such means might be used with a very great advantage. Another mischief of this punishment is, that it is necessary to vest somewhere or other the power of pardon. The power of par- don, vested as it usually is in kings, s not only unduly and ca- priciously exercised, but it is also a perpetual source of delusion to their subjects. Listen to the eloquence of Mr. BED:111Am on this !point.
"Wherever, with a title such as that of King, a Monarch has place,— So it is that, under the influence of fear and hope, imagination has ex- alted bins into a being of a superior order—a sort of God. In this God upon earth, the people behold the God of their idolatry :—image, deputy, and representative, of the God which is in heaven. As such they wor- ship him, they bow down to him, they kneel to him, they pray to him. Whatsoever it is that he bids them do, that of course they feel disposed to do, repelling, as undutiful, the consideration of what may be the conse- quences. To this maleficent exaltation, death-punishment is in a pro- digious degree contributory. In the hands of the God of heaven is the power of life and death : so accordingly is it in the hands of this God upon earth ; in his hands and no others. The God which is in heaven has his attributes : some of them belong to him in severalty ; others he holds in joint-tenancy, having for partner this his likeness—the God Upon earth. In the import of the word mercy is included the supposition of the existence of a power of producing pain and pleasure—of producing it in cases in which the production of it is not required by justice; or, on any other score, by the greatest happiness principle. Mercy is of the number of the attributes of the God of heaven: it is of the number of those in which, by law, he has for partner, this his deputy—the God upon earth."
Pardon should only be granted on the discovery of innocence wholly or in part, or in case of reward for information or service, or from the multitude of the delinquents. And then pardons ought to be as regularly tried and weighed as the conviction of the criminal itself.
The punishment of death may be said to be generally tolerated rather than generally approved. The fact is, that it has so long and so generally been put in force, that persons naturally fall into the idea, under the influence of custom-prejudice, that it must be right, and they are not induced to question its aptness or propriety. By persons, moreover, who give such subjects but a cursory at- tention, it is thought to be absolutely necessary to the existence of society. Timid persons, who are always the cruelest, would not hear of the cessation of this punishment, lest crime should sud. denly and fearfully increase, and they themselves be exposed to injury. The experiment has been tried, as in Tuscany for some years, and crime diminished instead of increasing. If, as is allowed on all hands, punishment is efficient according to its certainty and not its severity, then death can never be ao efficient punishment; for the nature of it is such that it can never be held out with certainty, as long as it is in the heart of man, though he be injured or sworn to execute the law, to deal out death with reluctant horror. The words that ought to be the passwords of the legislator against crime are, PREVENTION and PRISON DISCIPLINE.
Mr. CRAWFURD has published a thin volume of important Let- ters from Indigo-planters in India, relative to the state of justice and civil polity in the interior of that country. The obstacles thrown in the way of British settlers in India are well known: these letters show the important advantages the planters, who exist there only by a licence, and who are unable to hold land in the country, confer upon it, and under what difficulties, imposed by the jealous policy of the Company, they are made to labour. The planters of indigo are diffusers of capital to an immense extent; they employ a vast quantity of labour; and the occupation they have given to land has raised the rents of the better soils nearly one half. It may give some idea of the interior policy of India, when it is stated that the possession of any given portion of land is nearly always disputed ; and that, if one party lets the land to the indigo-planter, it is more than probable that some rival claim- ant will clandestinely reap it, or that the antagonist party will meet and fight for the crop which the indigo-planter has sown1 paid rent for in advance, and spent considerable sums in the cul- tivation of. Every disputed claim is put in a sort of Indian Chan- cery; and, in the end, the longer purse has always the truer title. There are in some districts as many as thirty thousand causes oi. the file ; and if a final decree is got in twelve or fourteen years, justice is thought to proceed at an average rate. Bribery is noto- rious—all the native officers of the court are open to it ; and owing to the confusion of languages and the bribery of inferior officers, the judge seldom approaches the rights of the case. The indigo- planters have more materially advanced civilization and improved the condition of their neighbourhoods than any other class; and yet their existence is scarcely permitted by the Company as at present constituted—they are viewed with eyes of extreme jealousy and dislike. We refer to these Letters for details which ought to interest every man who presumes to give a vote which, directly or indirectly, may affect the legislation of India.
Mr. FOWLER'S Journal of a Tour in the State of New York, in the year 1830, is the plain and intelligent narrative of a sensible and actiN e individual, who appears to have been desirous of judging for himself of the prospects of the Transatlantic settler. He was probably in his visit somewhat influenced by the anti-aristocratio feelings so fast growing up in this country, and desirous of ascer- taining how a land unblessed with lords managed to govern itself and be happy. His reports are favourable. The chief novelty in his views is, that he prefers the old settled state of New York and the banks of the Hudson, for the settlement of the farmer capable of purchasing land at thirty or forty dollars the acre, to the more western states. A voyage to North America and back is beconi-. ing so commonplace, that unless a traveller has something more than ordinary incidents to recommend him to notice, he scarcely ventures to press. We do not think that Mr. FOWLER would have published his tour had not his course beefi varied by the grand event of a shipwreck on the romantic islands of the West, the Azores. Mr. FOWLER'S account of these islands, lost as they are in indolence, superstition, and misgovernment, is a pleasing addi- tion to his work.
Of the nature of Mr. FOWLER'S more miscellaneous remarks, the following quotation will afford a sample. "I noticed a peculiarity in the toll-gates as we passed along (which articles are much less frequent than in England), namely, their drawing up in portcullis fashion, instead of opening as ours do ; a custom in eastern countries referred to by that beautiful and sublime passage in the Psalms, 'Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates l' 8re. "Another and a very convenient dissimilarityrelafes to the coachman; who does not expect the slightest fee or remuneration. There is no eter- nal opening of the door, and `Please, Sir, I stop here;' Please, Sir, r don't go any further;' Please, Sir, remember the coachman,'—which is not always quite so pleasing as they would kindly desire it to be. Here, the fare paid, generally without opposition, about four cents a mile, yo* have done with all demands relative to the coach. At the end of every stage the man retires with his horses, which he has to attend upon him- self, though this is a much less onerous duty than in England,—brushes,
curry-combs, Rce. being but little in request. I do not, in any instance, recollect seeing him at all assisted even in taking out or putting in. Pretty soon after he has cleared himself away, the driver, who is next to
proceed, appears with his team, and though this changing is not quite so expeditious an affair as you may sometimes witness when running oppo- sition with us—I think I have known it performed in twenty seconds—
you are off again in as little time as under the circumstances you would suppose possible. " There is a very striking difference, too, perceptible at the inns. Look for no bowing landlord or obsequious waiter at the door to welcome your arrival ; you may alight or not, as you please, and in some instances
be served as if you, and not they, were the party obliged. Neither expect to find any snug parlour or Traveller's, or I suppose I must now say Com-
mercial Room, to retire to ; the bar seems the only inhabited apartment about the house; and there, upon arrival, the company immediately proceed : within it are always to be met with conveniences for wash ing—thevery first operation—and a comb and a brush attached together by a string, sus- pended most likely from the ceiling, pro bon° public°, and used sans cere- monie by all corners and goers, though / took the liberty of declining the
accommodation. You would suppose that all the news and affairs of the commonwealth (as they most likely have) had gained access to this place, or, at any rate, you feel perfectly assureitof being in a land where that valuable engine, the press, suffers not the slightest embarrassment: papers, daily and weekly, local and from different parts of the Union, are strewed about in ' charming profusion,'—the merits of all persons and all things are discussed by all present,—the walls are covered with advertisements of elections—fares of stages and steam-boats, when and where running—auctions—sales of land—sales of stock—sales of mer- chandise—sales of every thins; that can be sold—quack medicines without end—the most prominent ' specifics for dyspepsia,'—but take exempli gratiathe heads of half a dozen matters which I:saw succeeding each other : Real estate for sale, at a low price, and easy terms to the purchaser.' —` Gotham.—Chronicles of the City of Gotham, from the papers of a re- tired common Councilman ; by the author of John Bull in America ; just received and for sale by E. Peck and Co.'—' Lectures on Univer- salism, by Joel Parker, pastor of the third Presbyterian Church, Roches- ter.'—' Journal of Health, price twenty-five dollars per annum.'—' Canal transportation.'—' Capital prize of 20,000 dollars I Fortune's home.'—' I want a first-rate miller, and am willing to pay a first-rate price for this fall. G. G. Kingman.'—' Stage fare reduced I! !—Pioneer stages from Rochester and Utica, four dollars per seat and under ; and to intermediate places in proportion. Caution to the Public—A variety of methods having been resorted to in order to impress the public mind with the belief that the Pioneer stages are discontinued, the public are respectfully informed that the proprietors of the said line are running two daily lines of stages be- tween Rochester, Canandaigua, and Utica, and one daily line from Utica to Albany (Sabbaths excepted) ; and that in point of comfort, speed, and low rates of fare, this line shall not be surpassed: office, &c.—R. Hunt, agent.'—' Broken Banks ! Bills of the Bank of Columbia, Middle District, and Washington and Warren, purchased by the subscriber, C. W. Dun. das, Clinton House.'—' VSTailsworth's cheese.'—New shad.'—' Antibilious Pills.'—' Cash for corn and rye.'—' Cash for wheat.'—' More new goods at the auction store, No. 1, Buffalo Street, near the market.'—' Lake Ontario steam-boat.'—' Ontario female seminary.'—' Stray horse.—Came into the stable of the subscriber, on the 19th instant, a light bay horse, with white bind-legs, and one white fore-foot, supposed to be five or six years old— the owner is requested to identify his property, pay the charges, and take him away—Luman Ashley.'—' A trunk gone.'—' American independence for ever.'—' Debilitated :'—but, perhaps, the foregoing may suffice."
The following is Mr. FOWLER'S account of Auburn, which may be taken in connexion with our remarks on capital punishment. It is one of those institutions for the establishment and conduct of which the young state of America deserves immortal honour.
"About six o'clock I applied at the door for admittance, which was granted on my paying twenty-five cents, and one of the keepers commis- sioned to conduct me over the establishment. We first visited the cells, which the convicts leave at half-past five in the morning. These gloomy abodes are about seven or eight feet long, by four feet wide, and perhaps about seven feet in height. They are lighted from windows in the roof of the passage into which they open through ponderous iron doors. All the furniture they contain is a hammock, which is let down in the day-time, a stool, and a Bible upon a shelf in one of the corners. From these we passed on to the workshops, where the convicts were busily employed in their different avocations ; tailoring, shoemaking, weaving; machine, button, cabinet making, &c. ; coopering, and smiths' work in general. These various manufactures, besides what are requisite for the prison, are furnished to all the principal stores in Auburn, and sent to differentparts of the State. My guide afterwards conducted me to the cooking apart- ment, where some of the convicts were engaged in preparing the morn- ing's repast for the rest, and which I presently saw arranged with great neatness in the general eating-room : it consisted of coffee, Indian corn bread, and boiled fish. At half-past six they were summoned by a bell to partake of it, upon which occasion I had a good opportunity of observ- ing some of the most striking characteristics of the system. The con- victs were arranged in separate corps, moving in a single file, with a slow lock step, and erect posture, keeping exact time, with their faces in- clined towards their keepers (that they may detect conversation, of which !lone is ever permitted), all giving to the spectator somewhat similar feel- ings to those excited by, a military funeral.' In a short time all were seated at the different tables, in the most orderly and regular manner, and, upon a signal being given by the keepers, with one simultaneous movement commenced their meal. Had I not witnessed the scene, I should have supposed it morally impossible for such a number of individuals to be assembled together, for such a purpose, with so little noise and confusion. It was a very interesting, though at the same time a very. painful and humiliating spectacle ; and various were the re- flections which hurried across my mind whilst looking round upon these imprisoned victims of crime, of almost every grade and malignancy. Some appeared calm and resigned, or sensible of the guilt and degrada- tion of their situation ; others displayed an entire indifference to their fate; whilst in a few I noticed the black expressions of obdurate cruelty, ferocity, and revenge, demonstrating but too plainly the justice of the doom which had overtaken them.
"Breakfast concluded (and there did not appear, on the part of the keepers, the smallest disposition to hurry over the ceremony; all were allowed sufficient time, and materials too even for a hearty repast), the pri- soners rose again in like order, and were forthwith marched back to their different workshops and employments ;—here, the guide informed me, they were kept until twelve o'clock, when they were again summoned to dinner, after which they resume their labour till six, when their daily toil is done : they are then marched off to their separate cells, each carry- ing his supper with him, and eating alone, if not in darkness, his last' cheerless meal. There is a chapel within the prison, which the prisoners attend regularly every Sabbath ; a Sunday school has also been established; and in the hospital every attention is paid to such as require it. " The severity of the punishment here exercised consists in preventing every kind of intercourse of one convict with another : whether at their work or at their meals, they are compelled to observe the most absolutos and uniform silence ; not the slightest attempt at communication would escape notice ; and every offender against this tenacious and positive re- quirement is punished by flogging,—an alternative, however, rarely needed. I observed the young and the old, and every description of cha- racter, mixed indiscriminately together, but from which, with the re- strictions imposed, no evil consequence can possibly arise. A decided majority, upon leaving the prison, have become reformed and usefuL members of society. It is altogether conducted upon an admirable prin- ciple, and reflects the highest credit upon the projectors and the country ; affording, at the same time, an exalted contrast, when compared with our miserable receptacles for this class of society : in them if reformation take place, it is by miracle ; here frequent, and the end and: object of the insti- tution."
The following brief account of Rochester will show what may be done in eighteen years by an enterprizing people.
" Before seven o'clock this morning, I had perambulated the streets, as well as a part of the suburbs of this remarkable village, which has fully answered every representation I had heard of it. It is, indeed, scarcely credible that in the period of eighteen short years a place of the present extent and importance of Rochester should have arisen from the wilds of a forest ; .and, if such evidence were needed, it would alone speak volumes as to the energy and enterprise of a people who, with the ob- stacles and impediments which they must have had to contend against, have produced such splendid results. There are not only spacious and well-arranged streets, with corresponding stores and warehouses, and private residences of elegance and respectability; but, besides a court- house, gaol, and eleven churches, two markets, two banks, and several very excellent hotels, there is a museum, institute, an Athenmum, an arcade, a Vauxhall, public baths, reading-rooms, &c. &c. and a popula- tion of more than 13,000 souls and, in the face of all this, there are even now the stumps of trees standing in some of the streets. Surely, as Spafford well observes, it must be admitted that the growth of this place has been rapid, almost beyond example in any country, even in our own, the best supplied with such examples.'"
Mr. FOWLERS report of American manners is more favourable than that of Captain HALL,—chiefly, perhaps, because they are seen from a different point. In the description of the hasty and disgusting style which the Yankees have adopted of bolting their meals, the two travellers agree exactly. The following is Mr. FOWLER'S lively account of a beastly exhibition. " By this time I have seen something more of the routine of affairs at inns, &es than at the close of my first day's stage travelling, which has but tended to confirm the observations I was then about to have made. They are not the comfortable, do-as-you-like public or private sort of places which the English hotels are ; and though the fare may be quite as good, oftentimes in greater profusion, few Englishmen, with the sys- tern pursued, would relish it half so well. Suppose a roomy bar, as here- tofore described, full of strangers and residents of the town, who half" live at the hotels, standing about, ten minutes before dinner, as impatient as a throng at a theatre, until the ringing of a bell announces the repast ready to be pounced upon. Forthwith, one simultaneous rush takes place to the dining, or general, or only eating-room; and each, as near as may be, seating himself in the vicinity of bis favourite dish, the dire at- tack comirsances. A novice would be apt to conclude that all had a heavy bet depending upon the quantity devoured in a given space of time ; 'tis an affair in which each one is concerned exclusively for himself, carving, or cutting, and cramming down whatever he pleases, leaving his neigh- bour at liberty to do the same, or to do nothing at all,—all alike to him,. —except, as I am pleased to do the Americans the justice to say upon these, as all other occasions, the utmost deference and most respectful attention is ever paid to the ladies. But few words, perhaps, are spoken by the whole company ; as each individual clears, or rather dismisses his plate, for it is rarely half cleared, 'another, and another, and another' succeeds, until he has gone the whole round of soup, fish, flesh, pud- ding, pastry, and dessert,—all frequently upon the table together,—and brought the performance to a close ; which is no sooner effected than up he starts, as if some contagion were spreading round the table, or there were a greater merit in bolting than in properly masticating a meal, in devouring with precipitancy, than in eating with decent deliberation ; and, hurrying off to the bar, addresses himself to smoking, chewing, &c. —spitting everywhere, of course, with most perfect freedom: who would suffer restraint in a land of liberty ! In the intervals between meals, there is usually as much taken in the way of drams tossed down with equal expedition, as would serve an Englishman, at his meals, twice over. The difference is, that the one enjoys it, relishes it; the other takes it because it is habitual to him, and, without a moment's reflection in any way about it, is satisfied, for the time, if the act be only performed. I do not give this merely as a specimen of coach travelling; there haste and helter-skelter are often unavoidable; but i consider it a fair outline of these proceedings at hotels, in any part of the country where I have been, as much upon one occasion as another. At private houses, and in good society, there is no want of courtesy, and the most genuine good breeding and hospitality; but even here I think I have no- ticed a system of despatch neither necessary nor quite agreeable ; a con- fusing and intermixing of courses, Sec.; for instance, ever understanding • that it is heresy itself not to vanish with the cloth, and what to an Englishman would very much give the idea of hurrying over a meal to start a journey. "Let no one charge me with advocating any of those after-dinner ex- cesses so common with us; none can more despise and condemn them ; but some pause, at least, before retiring, and a friendly glass or two, if you will, I must think not only a social and agreeable, but a decent and proper custom. I can see no reasonable objection to it. The plea of the. abuse of any practice is but a poor argument to constrain us to forego its; use or propriety, neither of which appear to me unconnected with this: For myself, however, I shall retain my prejudices, let others think as they will. I may be asked, whether, at an hotel, a gentleman would not be furnished with a private room and table, if he desired it ? With the first no doubt he might ; but as to the latter, if it were not refused altogether, it would be esteemed a most out-of-the.way request, and in all probability be made so unpleasant to him that he would be most easy,, in a short time, to dispense with it, and take his chance, pell-mell, with- the rest. -" What is done with the parlours, I know not. At every good inn there are mostly several ; and those on the first floor are to be seen car- peted, about half furnished, the door standing wide open, and no one in them. The drawing-rooms above are often elegant, and these I have oc- casionally seen occupied, but more commonly empty. As to lodging, when not intruded upon by company of one sort or other, it is all that can be wished ;—you are generally waited upon by black servants, who are civil and attentive, and expect not money, but fair words."
This is at Buffalo, twenty-one miles from Niagara.
Mr. FOWLER'S book contains numerous farming details, which will probably prove the most valuable part of the work to the class for whom the publication is chiefly designed.