In the Committee on the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, yesterday
week, Mr. H. Fowler's amendment, permitting the Judge to add a flogging to the imprisonment to be inflicted on the wretches who abuse girls under thirteen years of age, was lost by the majority of 125 to 91, the party who on other questions have been the most eager supporters of the Bill opposing flogging on what seems to us the very far-going
argument that they would be no parties to punishing brutality by brutality. That is an argument which would not only abolish the flogging already permitted in case of robbery with personal violence, but would abolish the death penalty for all offences. We confess that we sympathise with Mr. Fowler, Sir Richard Cross, Sir Henry Holland, Mr. Cropper, aud all who supported the severer penalty. Even Sir Fairer Hersehell's argument that a permissive penalty would be very uncertainly administered,—some Judges refusing to flog, and others flogging freely,—tells, in our opinion, rather against its permissive character than against the penalty itself. The only diffi- culty we should feel about the penalty is the danger of its being inflicted on the wrong person. If the clergyman who was wrongly found guilty of this offence some months ago, and who was recently discharged by the Home Secretary, had been flogged, he would hardly ever have recovered from so gross and shameful an injustice.