5 DECEMBER 1885, Page 3

We do not understand the fuss which has been made

about the execution of the murderer, Goodale, at Norwich. Berry, the executioner, adjusted the rope in the usual way, and the prisoner fell a drop of only six feet; but owing, it is believed, to some unusual weakness of the spinal column, the head was severed from the trunk. There has been a groan of horror from all England, the reason for which it is difficult to perceive. Decapitation is a much easier cause of death than strangling ; and the unhappy man in this instance must have been killed as instantaneously as if struck by lightning. His penalty, which was fully deserved, was, in fact, lighter than the one intended by the law. We comprehend the feeling which con- demns any mutilation of the body ; but this was as completely an accident as if Goodale had tumbled from a scaffolding on to area-railings, in which case there would have been no horror at all. The incident has revived the old discussion as to the best method of public execution, which comes up every five years, and never produce e anything. We adhere to our opinion that the most merciful, certain, and awe inspiring method is death by the bullet, as practised in all armies ; but it is vain to hope for any modification of the present practice. Englishmen and Americans think that murderers should be hung, just as they think that a jury should consist of twelve, not because the prac- tice is reasonable, but because it has existed so long as to create nn indissoluble association of ideas.